Kirtland to Missouri
Biography of Lorenzo Dow Young by James Amasa Little published in the Utah Historical Quarterly, volume 14, 1946
In the summer of 1837 there was much persecution in Kirtland, and many of the Saints left there for Missouri, among them Lorenzo D. Young. He sold off his property, fitted up his teams, and in the autumn, in company with Brother Isaac Decker, started for the Western Zion. On account of sickness in his family he laid by at Dublin, Indiana. In the meantime he started back on the road with his team to assist brethren who might be on the road from Kirtland. After traveling a few miles the first day he unexpectedly met his brother Brigham, who was also fleeing from persecution. Said he, "Brother Joseph Smith is on the way and you had better go back with me; wait until he comes up and go along with us." Lorenzo remained in Dublin until the Prophet and others came along, and in February, continued his journey to Missouri. On the way, in jumping from his wagon he fell and split the cap of one of his knees on a sharp stone. The injury was both painful and dangerous, and he suffered much in riding over rough roads on a loaded wagon. At Terre Haute, Indiana, his leg was examined by a surgeon, who said that if it got well it would always be stiff, but he did not believe the doctor, and had faith that he should again have the use of it. With 400 miles of travel he suffered much, but got the use of his leg the following summer, as he believed, through the administration of the Elders.
The company crossed the Mississippi River on the ice at Quincy, Illinois, and were the last to cross in that way that season. [p.48] When near the west side of the river the ice was so weak that the horses were taken from the wagons and planks were laid down on which to run the latter ashore.
In March, 1838, Brothers Young and Decker arrived in Daviess County, Missouri.14 The former purchased a farm from a Missourian, put in crops, built a house, purchased stock, planted an orchard and prepared for a permanent home. Mr. Decker rented a farm but the remainder of the company went on to Far West, twenty-two miles farther. Lorenzo and his friend Isaac Decker labored diligently during the summer, generally holding meetings on the Sabbath. Matters remained quiet around them until election day, 1838, the memorable 6th of August. The Missourians determined that the Mormons should not vote, but the latter asserted their rights, and a fight took place at the polls in the town of Gallatin, as related in Church History. Lorenzo, not feeling like attending election, did not go. This fight greatly excited the Missourians and was the beginning of serious trouble to the Saints in Daviess County.
             Lorenzo lived eighteen miles from Adam-ondi-Ahman, and soon after the election he left his family on his place and accompanied by Brother Decker went there on military duty as a guard for about two weeks. After completing their term of military service the two started for home with but one horse, which they rode by turns. As they passed through the town of Gallatin, eight miles from home, Lorenzo was walking and Mr. Decker was ahead of him on the horse. About twenty rods from the road, and near a whiskey saloon, was stationed a company of Missourians. As the former was passing nearly opposite to them a party of men stopped in front of him and their leader ordered him also to stop. He was armed with a sword but the party, numbering twenty-two, were [p.49] mostly armed with rifles. Nothing was said to Brother Decker, who halted and was sitting on his horse a short distance off watching the proceedings.
The sergeant in charge of the party asked Lorenzo where he had been, where he was going, and if he was a Mormon, with many other questions, which were answered truthfully. After Lorenzo had answered one of his questions, with a profane epithet, he called him a liar. After this Lorenzo answered no more questions. The sergeant was about half drunk as were probably some of his men. He became much irritated at the silence of his prisoner and was very profane and abusive. Said he, "You have probably been robbing and burning in this section and ought to be killed. Anyhow I will make you open your mouth." He directed his men to form a half circle, a little distance from Lorenzo, evidently to concentrate the fire, and then ordered, "Make ready." In describing this scene Lorenzo says:
Every rifle was drawn on me. I prayed in my heart and felt much assurance that they would not be permitted to kill me. My life trembled in the balance, awaiting the leader's order to fire or recover arms. The latter order came. He then asked excitedly, "Now will you talk?" But I remained silent.
This performance was repeated; he was filled with wrath and commanded his men the third time, "Make ready, aim." It looked as though my time had surely come; but at this critical moment, a man in military garb armed with a sword, came running from the camp near the saloon. When near enough to be heard, he cried out, "Hold on!" The men lowered their guns, and again there was a respite for me. As he approached he demanded, like one having authority, "What are you doing?" The officer who had been abusing me replied, with an oath, "I am going to kill this Mormon." The superior officer ordered him to take his men to camp. As he did not move readily his superior drew his sword stepped in front of him and declared with an oath if he did not move at once he would take his head from his shoulders. His tone and manner indicated that he meant business, and the sergeant moved off with his men.
The officer who released me declared that the other was drunk and did not know what he was doing. He asked me many questions similar to those the other officer had asked, but in a gentlemanly manner, and I answered them frankly and truly. His heart softened and he bade me go on my way, adding, "Mr. Young, if you are ever in trouble in this war, and can do so, send for me and you shall not be hurt unless it is over my dead body." I made [p.50] a memorandum of his name, military title, etc., but regret to say that in my many moves have lost it. Again was the prophetic promise of my mother fulfilled, and my life lengthened out for some wise purpose.

The Battle of Crooked River from the Dairy of Lorenzo Dow Young
Perhaps I had slept two hours, when I was awakened by the bass drum sounding the alarm on the public square. I was soon out to see what was the matter. There were five men on the ground, of whom I inquired the cause of the alarm. They informed me that two of the brethren had been taken prisoners by the mob on Crooked River, tried by a court martial that day, and condemned to be shot the coming morning at eight o'clock. A company of men was wanted to go and rescue them. Preparations were hurried and in a short time forty mounted men, under the command of David W. Patten were ready to start.
We kept the road to a ford on Crooked River, twenty miles distant, where we expected to find the mob. As day was breaking we dismounted about a mile from the ford, tied our horses and left Brother Isaac Decker to watch them. We marched down the road some distance when we heard the crack of a rifle. O'Banion [Patrick O'Banion], who was one step in advance of me, fell. I assisted John P. Green, who was captain of my platoon, to carry him to the side of the road. We asked the Lord to preserve his life, laid him down, put a man to care for him, ran on and took our place again. The man who shot Brother O'Banion was a picket guard of the mob, who was secreted by the road-side. Colonel Patten at this time was in the advance at the head of the company. As we neared the river the firing was somewhat lively, and he turned to the left of the road with a part of the command, while Captain P. P. Pratt and others turned to the right. We were ordered to charge, which we did to the bank of the river, when the enemy broke and fled.
I snapped my gun twice at a man in a white blanket coat, and while engaged in repriming, he got out of range. A tall, powerful Missourian sprang from under the bank of the river and with a heavy sword in hand, rushed towards one of the brethren (who afterward proved to be Robert Thompson) crying out, "Run you devils or die!" Brother Thompson was also armed with a sword, but was a small man and poorly calculated to withstand the [p.55] heavy blows of the Missourian. He defended himself well, but his enemy was forcing him back towards a log over which he would doubtless soon have fallen and been slain. I ran to his aid and leveled my gun within two feet of his antagonist, but it again missed fire.
           The Missourian turned on me, and Brother Thompson, for some reason, did not come to the rescue as it seems he should have done. I succeeded in parrying the Missourian's blows until he backed me to the bank of the river. A perilous situation, for I could go no further without going off the perpendicular bank, eight or ten feet to the water. In a moment I realized my chances were desperate. At this juncture the Missourian raised his sword, apparently throwing all his strength and energy into the act, as if intending to crush me with one desperate blow. As his arm extended I saw a white hand pass down the back of his head and between his shoulders. For a moment his arm seemed paralyzed, giving me sufficient time to deal him a desperate blow with the breech of my gun, which parted at the handle, sending the butt some distance from me, and bending the barrel (as was afterward ascertained) ten inches. As my enemy fell his sword dropped from his grasp; I seized it and dealt him three desperate blows on the neck. At the same time John P. Green, the captain of my ten, came up and reported that Colonel Patten was killed. In the midst of much excitement I reached him. He lay on the ground badly wounded in the abdomen. Said he, "Get a horse and get me away from here." Our horses were a mile in the rear, but there were a number of the enemy's tethered around unsaddled. Standing near was a Missourian who had been taken prisoner, guarded by two of the brethren. I requested him to bring a saddle. Considering the situation and his condition he answered me very impertinently. Instantly my blood boiled with indignation. I drew the sword I had taken from the Missourian and declared with an emphasis that gave the man to understand that I was in earnest, "You scoundrel, get a saddle at once or I will take your head from your shoulders."
He instantly started for a tent, closely followed by me. He brought a saddle which was put on to a horse. Colonel Patten was raised up to put him into the saddle, but so severely did it hurt him that he begged to be laid down again. Then a pair of the enemy's horses were harnessed to one of their wagons. With two other brethren I went to a tent and gathered up a lot of bedding [p.56] and put it into the wagon for the wounded. I got into the wagon and took Brother Patten, as the brethren handed him up, and laid him in the blankets. He was a man weighing 180 pounds. It afterwards appeared almost miraculous to me that, in the excitement of the occasion, I handled him and others of the wounded so easily.
Besides Colonel Patten there were five other wounded men put into the wagon: James Hendricks, Wm. Seely, a Brother Hodge, and two others whose names are forgotten. The body of Brother Obanion, who was killed, was also put in with the wounded. That of Gideon Carter, for some reason not seen at the time, was left on the ground but was afterwards recovered.

Brigham Young History, 1801-44, ed., E. Watson (1968), p.24 -27
On reaching Dublin, Indiana, I found my brother Lorenzo and Isaac Decker, and a number of other families who had stopped for the winter. Meanwhile the Prophet Joseph, Brothers Sidney Rigdon and George W. Robinson came along. They had fled from Kirtland because of the mobocratic spirit prevailing in the bosoms of the apostates.
The day Joseph and company started, Isaac Seeley and wife arrived. The house was pretty well littered up. I sat writing to my wife, but I welcomed them to the use of the house and what was left in it. Brother Samuel H. Smith came along, who tarried with me until my Brother Lorenzo returned from Cincinnati, and Brother Decker from Michigan, whose families had gone forward with Joseph. We prepared to follow, and started on, overtaking the Prophet four miles west of Jacksonville, Illinois, where there was a branch of the Church.
After stopping a few days and resting, we proceeded to Quincy, where we found the river frozen over, though it had been broken up. Joseph and I went down to the river and examined the ice. We soon learned that by going through the flatboat which lay the end to the shore, and placing a few planks from the outer end on the ice, we could reach the heavy ice which had floated down the river a few days previous, sufficient to bear up our teams. We hauled our wagons through the boat and on to the ice by hand, then led our horses on to the solid ice, and drove across the river by attaching a rope to the wagon and to the team, so that they would be some distance apart. The last horse which was led on to the ice was Joseph's favorite, Charlie, He broke the ice at every step for several rods.
After leaving the boat we struck out in a long string, and passed over in safety. Two or three hours afterwards Brother Decker and family, and D. S. Miles, crossed on our track, but it was with great difficulty and risk that they got across, many times having to separate from each other and get on to a solid cake, the ice was so near breaking up.
We travelled from the river about six miles and camped for the night: next morning proceeded on our journey. When we arrived at Salt River we found that the ice had broken up so that we could not cross. The ferryboat was sunk, and we tarried a day or two at this place.
Brother Joseph said to me one morning, "Let us go and examine the ice on the pond." We found the old ice had sunk, and had not left the pond when the river was broken up, and there had another foot of ice frozen over; and by plunging our wagons 2 1/2 or 3 feet into the water, we could gain the solid ice on the pond; at the other shores we found the same. We got our wagons and horses across the ice, then took a canoe which lay in the pond, and placed one end of it on the shore and the other on the solid ice, and walked through the canoe on to the ice, and pulled the canoe across the ice to the other shore.In this way we crossed the families and landed directly in the woods, on a very steep sideling hill. We managed to get our wagons along the cleft of the bank; six or eight men held them up, and thus we worked our way to the road.

History of the Church, Vol.3, Ch.11, p.153 - p.154
The Quarterly Conference convened at Far West this day [October 6th,1838] at ten o'clock according to adjournment, Presidents Marsh and Young presiding Elder Benjamin L. Clapp said he had just returned from Kentucky, where he had been laboring, and that many doors were open there. A call was made for volunteers to go into the vineyard and preach, when Elders James Carroll, James Galliher, Luman A. Shurtliff, James Dana, Ahaz Cook, Isaac Decker, Cornelius P. Lott and Alpheus Gifford offered themselves. President Marsh instructed them not to go forth boasting of their faith, or of the judgments of the Lord, but to go in the spirit of meekness, and preach repentance.

Missouri to Illinois
From the Biography of Lorenzo Dow Young
Mr. Isaac Decker, an old time friend and neighbor of Lorenzo's, hired a Mr. Bidwell to move his family into Illinois. The [p.62] destitute family, with clothing barely sufficient to cover their nakedness, with a meager supply of food of poor quality, was put into a wagon and started on a journey of 250 miles, accompanied by two other teams, a little after the holidays. There were several inches of snow on the ground. With the chilling winds, the short days, and the long cold nights, there was little, in the general surroundings of these people, to mitigate the usual severity of the season.
Missourians were generally a very hospitable people and, where they were not possessed of the spirit of vindictiveness towards the Saints, they kindly gave them shelter in outhouses and such room as they could afford. At other times they had no other shelter than the clear, blue vault of Heaven with the cold glittering stars that shone on all humanity alike. The forest furnished them an abundance of fuel but the vapor of the atmosphere settled on the branches of the trees in beautiful frostwork, and the ground was frozen hard and covered with snow. These surroundings might have appeared beautiful to people luxuriating in warmth and comfort, but to these thinly clad, poorly fed fugitives, the snow had that sharp crisp sound under their feet that indicated severe cold, the intensity of which they soon felt when, even for a short time, they left the smoke and partial warmth of their campfire. Partial, because while the fire warmed one side of their frail bodies, the cold air was chilling the other.
From the words of William Young, son of Lorenzo Dow Young
             I still retain a vivid recollection in one of our encampments. After supper the men of the camp, as suited the wants or caprice of each family, scraped the snow off the frozen ground preparatory to making beds. Contiguous to the camp fire lay a large oak tree, once prominent among surrounding trees, but now laid low through age or the fury of the elements. This afforded a little shelter from the bitter night winds on that side, and it was here that my mother made the bed for herself and children.
In addition to the scanty supply of bedding, it was necessary to put over us such outward garments as we could spare; in this way and by sleeping together, a fair degree of warmth was insured. As another day of toil and privation drew to a close, that devoted mother kneeled down in the chilling air by our scanty bed, in which were deposited her dear children for the night. From the depths of affliction she poured out her soul in prayer to Him who could understand the sorrows of others, for He also had drunk to the dregs the bitter cup.
No human pen can portray the depth of humility, the fountains of devotion that were opened up in that soul; but many of the words and sentiments of my mother at that time sank deep into my heart. The spirit that accompanied them begot faith in me in the Gospel which I trust has thus far moulded my life in accordance with its glorious principles.

History of the Church, Vol.4, Ch.27, p.471
In November [1841] two hundred and four Saints arrived at Warsaw, from England, led by Joseph Fielding, and were visited on the 24th of November by Elders Willard Richards, and John Taylor of the Twelve, and counseled to tarry at Warsaw according to the instruction of the First Presidency.
December 13.--Isaac Decker, presiding Elder at Warsaw, stated to the Presidency of Nauvoo, that Mr. Witter had raised one dollar per barrel on flour, and sold the sweepings of his mill to the Saints at $2.25 per hundred; and that Witter and Aldrich had forbidden the brethren the privilege of getting the old wood on the school section, which they had full liberty to get; that the price of wood on the wharf had fallen twenty-five cents per cord since the arrival of the Saints; that the citizens had raised their rent, &c.; and the First Presidency decided that the Saints should remove from Warsaw to Nauvoo immediately; and that the proceedings at Warsaw be published in the Times and Seasons.

Brigham Young History, 1801-44, ed., E. Watson (1968), p.124 - p.125
[Nov.]26 [1842]—I was suddenly attacked with a slight fit of apoplexy. Next morning I felt quite comfortable; but in the evening, at the same hour that I had the fit the day before, I was attacked with the most violent fever I ever experienced. The Prophet Joseph and Elder Willard Richards visited and administered unto me; the Prophet prophesied that I should live and recover from my sickness. He sat by me for six hours, and directed my attendants what to do for me. In about thirty hours from the time of my being attacked by the fever, the skin began to peel from my body, and I was skinned all over. I desired to be baptized in the river, but it was not until the 14th day that Brother Joseph would give his consent for me to be showered with cold water, when my fever began to break, and it left me on the 18th day. I laid upon my back, and was not turned upon my side for eighteen days.
I laid in a log house, which was rather open; it was so very cold during my sickness, that Brother Isaac Decker, my attendant, froze his fingers and toes while fanning me, with boots, greatcoat and mittens on, and with a fire in the house from which I was shielded by a blanket.

footnotes from biography of Lorenzo Dow Young
25. Prior to this mission to Ohio, on March 9, 1843, Harriet Page Wheeler Decker, wife of Isaac Decker, was married to Lorenzo as a plural wife. Presumably an amicable separation had been arranged between Harriet and her first husband, though the record is blank.
For a time she lived with her first husband at Freedom, N. Y., and in 1833 removed to Portage County, Ohio, where they became members of the Mormon Church. Subsequently, the Deckers took up land near Kirtland, Ohio, and acquired considerable prosperity, only to lose everything in the catastrophe which overtook the Saints in 1837. For the journey to Missouri they were furnished a team by Lorenzo Dow Young. Still hounded by disaster, they fled from the new Zion to Quincy, Illinois, and ultimately settled in Nauvoo. Here, Harriet separated from Isaac Decker and married Lorenzo Young, March 9, 1843.

In the spring of 1844, Lorenzo D. Young was appointed to a mission to the state of Ohio by the Prophet Joseph. He left Nauvoo the first day of June accompanied by his son William and Elder Isaac Decker, to journey with teams. It was a year remarkable for unusually high water in the streams of the country. The Mississippi and Missouri Rivers and their tributaries overflowed and flooded the bottom lands contiguous to their banks. Even the small streams of the country were difficult to cross on account of high water and the soft marshy bottom lands. They were ferried a considerable distance over the Illinois River and its flooded bottom, at times passing over fields of corn three or four feet under water. About the 28th of June they arrived at Springfield, the capital of the state of Illinois. There they designed to lay by for the waters to subside. Two or three days after their arrival the news reached them, by Phineas H. Young, of the assassination [p.71] of Joseph and Hyrum Smith in Carthage Jail, on the 27th of June. A consultation was held and it was decided to send one of the party back to Nauvoo to learn the condition of affairs there, and bring word if it was thought advisable for them to return.24 William G. Young was at first selected to go, but finally Elder Isaac Decker was sent, leaving his wife and daughter to go on with Lorenzo. Phineas returned to Exeter, where he resided.

Arriving near Waynesville, Lorenzo D. Young rented a house. From there he and his son William went to the town of Chilicothe where they met Elders Joseph Young and Lorenzo Snow. The former had also been sent to Ohio on a mission but had made the journey by water. The three traveled about seventy-five miles and attended a conference of the Saints. From there the two brothers accompanied by William returned by way of Chilicothe to Waynesville, preaching by the way. They organized a branch at Waynesville as the fruits of their labors. Lorenzo traveled and preached the Gospel during the summer, sometimes alone, at other times in company with his brother, Joseph. Many believed and were baptized. They organized two branches of the Church. Mr. Isaac Decker had come out to Ohio during the summer and with his wife and daughter returned to Nauvoo with Lorenzo in the autumn.25
On the way Lorenzo Young met with a very severe accident. In throwing down hay from the loft of a barn where he kept his horses overnight, he fell about eight feet and struck his side across a pole, breaking two or three of his ribs. He was about two hundred miles from home and suffered much pain on the way, from the jolting of the wagon and from not having anyone to assist in taking care of his team, but with the blessing of the Lord, he arrived home safely. His son William remained in Ohio. Soon after his father left, William was ordained an Elder in Waynesville, and set out on a preaching mission with Elder William [p.73] McBride, when only seventeen years old. He returned to Nauvoo in May, 1845. As soon as Lorenzo had sufficiently recovered from his injuries he was sent back to Ohio by the Apostles to gather funds with which to assist in building the temple. He spent the winter of 1844-45 in preaching and gathering funds and returned to Nauvoo in March, 1845.