From the Cedar City Public Library:
EXCERPS TAKEN FROM THE BIOGRAPHY OF SAMUEL KENDALL GIFFORD
Which was dictated by himself and written by
Hannah Jane Gifford Tuttle, a Granddaughter.
My father, Alpheus Gifford, (on hearing of Joseph Smith, the Prophet who had lain the foundations of a new church, and who was everywhere spoken evil of) was prompted by the Spirit to go to Palmyra where the Church was organized. Here he learned the truth and was baptized. This was in 1830 or very early in 1831. I was told by my uncle that it was in 1831 but President Young told me afterwards that it was in 1830. He (father) was ordained a Priest and returned home in company with Enos Curtis who accompanied him to Palmyra and also received the Gospel. Father brought home with him five books of Mormon and was full of joy and Thanksgiving. He preached the Gospel until the Church was moved from New York to Ohio when he and several others went to Kirtland to again visit the Prophet. That was in 1831. Father was there ordained an elder. He returned again to Pennsylvania in connection with his brethren, for that was their home. Mother also received the Gospel.
Early in the spring of 1833, Elias Higbee, Issac Higbee, and John S. Higbee chartered a steamboat in which they went with their substance and took my father and family with them down the Ohio River and up the Missippi(sp) River to St. Louis Mo. From here they traveled by team to Independence where we arrived early in the spring of that year. We settled first on the Big Blue River, later in what was known as Batson Settlement which was presided over by Peter Dustin. And later in another part where we lived in an old log house without a floor until the 12th of November of the same year, 1833. Then we were driven by a ruthless mob and were obliged to leave the country. Myself, my brothers Ichabod , William and Henry and my sister Rhoda had been baptized by Soloman Hancock in the spring or early summer of that year.
On the 14th inst. we crossed the river into Clay Co. We went about two miles from the river where a branch of the church was organized with John Lowry as president. We remained there after being threatened by mobs stirred up by men from Jackson County. In 1844 (sp 1834) Joseph Smith with some hundred and fifty men came up from the east in what is known as the Zion's Camp. Failing to agree with the people of Jackson County to have the saints restored to their homes in Jackson County. As the people of Jackson County and Clay Co. together had threatened the utter destruction of the saints if they did not leave Clay County, a treaty was entered into by which the saints were permitted to remove to a portion of Ray County and called Caldwell County, where a city was laid off and named Far West. Here I was enrolled in the first company, I believe, of militia that was ever organized by the Latter-Day Saints and here I first saw the Prophet Joseph Smith. And I saw the chief corner stone placed in it's place, of the temple that will some day be built in Far West. But the people of Missouri were not satisfied to let the Saints have a resting place and remain in peace in that state. Mobs were constantly disturbing the Saints. Men, women and children were massacred. The chief apostle, David Patten, was slain and finally by the exterminating order of Governor Lilburn J. Boggs, an army of two or three thousand was sent to Far West.
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After a time my father and others moved some twenty miles up the river near the town of Lima and settled where some were in Adams County and some in Hancock County across the line. And here a branch of the church was organized, presided over by Isaac Morley. We remained here in peace for a short time.
Again I was enrolled in a military company belonging to the Nauvoo Legion. Soloman Hancock was our mayor (major?). Stephen Markham was our colonel. I attended every general training in the city of Nauvoo which was 30 miles above the Morley Settlement.
I attended the first conference that was held in the city of Nauvoo, presided over by the Prophet Joseph Smith. After the conference was over my father and I met with a lot of the brothers in the house of Joseph Smith. The Prophet talked to us for some time upon our persecutions and drivings from our homes and property and said he was going to the city of Washington to lay our grievances before the President of the United States. This was in October 1839.
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I cannot add anything to the History of the Church for it is plainly written by many. But I left Nauvoo and traveled in the first camp.
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I worked a month in St. Joseph in a wagon shop. Took a trip to St. Louis and back on a steamboat. Returned to Pisgah in the fall of 1847 where I remained manufacturing chairs and so forth until the spring of 1850. Then I crossed the plains witnessing the awful calamity caused by Cholera. Both Saints and sinners were left on the Plains by the hundreds. Arrived in Salt Lake Valley about the 11th of Sept. Was called to Sanpete where I arrived in Nov.
In the spring of 1851 was again enrolled in a military company belonging to the Nauvoo Legion. I was first elected third Corporal and gradually promoted until the Walker War broke out when I held the office of Orderly Sergent. These duties I performed during the war. Then I was gradually promoted until I held the position of first Lieutenant. Syrenna Taylor who was Captain soon died. I was then elected and received a Captain's Commission. Afterwards I was elected Major but soon removed to Southern Utah and did not obtain a commission.
I had served six years in the city council in Manti City. I acted for some time as councilor and spokesman to Gad Yale who presided over the mass Quorum of Seventies. On May 16, 1857 was ordained one of the presidents of the forty-eighth Quorum of Seventies by President Joseph Young. I acted as teacher for many years in Manti, had charge of the first teachers ward. I belonged to the Manti Thespian Society for many years. At the time of the Reformation for more than one month I attended from one to three meetings in a day. I was a teacher in the first Sunday School that was organized in Manti.
In November 1862 I visited Southern Utah to which place I removed in November 1863. I lived in Shonesburg where I continued my labors as a ward teacher of the Rockville Ward and also as Superintendant of the Sabbath School. I manufactured a great many chairs, did some farming, raising fruit and so forth. Again I acted as Orderly Sergent in the Militia. In 1866 was again called to serve in the Indian War known as the Navajo or Piede war. Afterwards I again received a First Lieutenant Commission which office I held until bearing arms was forbidden by a wicked governor.
In the 6th of April 1870 my wife died and was buried near my two sons who had previously died.
I was appointed by president Jacob Gates to reside over the seventies of the Rockville Ward then consisting of four settlements, namely Rockville, Grafton, Shonesburg and Springdale. At the time of the localizing the quorums of seventies I was set apart under the direction of President Gates as one of the presidents of the nineth quorums of seventies with headquarters at Toquerville. I travled with Brothers Dodge and Savag from settlement to settlement to complete the organization of the quorums and to stir up the seventies by way of their duties and to prepare them for missionary labor. I performed some home missionary labor in the St. George Stake of Zion. When the United Order was organized I took great interest in laboring for the benefit of the community until the Order was dissolved. Soon after President Brigham H. Roberts counseled the old men of the Seventies to go into the High Priests Quorum. I obeyed the council and was ordained by Daniel Duncan McArthur. I have attended many conferences in St. George, attended conference in Salt Lake City at the time of the dedication of the temple on the 6th of April, 1893. I had previously attended the laying of the cornerstone of that great temple on the 6th of April 1853, just 40 years previous to the time of it's dedication. I attended a number of general conferences in Salt Lake previous to this time. I had the privilege of attending one celebration of the 24th of July, twenty miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon with President Young's party. I assisted what I was able to in building the St. George Temple, the Manti temple and also the Great Salt Lake Temple. I have spent a great deal of time and means, considering what little means I possessed, in gathering records, laboring for the benefit of the living and the redemption of the dead.
On the 6th day of Sept. 1902 I was ordained a Patriarch by Apostle Mathias F. Cowley. I have blessed up to date (Mar. 5th 1904) three hundred and one persons including all of my posterity that are still living excepting two little babies. I have been afflicted in many ways. My second wife wo had been sealed to me in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City on the 2nd. of Jan 1871 died 20 June 1902. On the 26th or 27th of April 1881 I was seized with a terrible pain in my right eye which continued to grow worse until I was nearly blind. On the first day of May I met Robert Picton at Rockville and started on the Home mission to travel around the Stakes. I suffered immensely with my head and eyes, could scarcely see anybody or anything but filled my mission. I did not miss one meeting and spoke to people on the principles of Tithing the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, for that was the mission given to us. I returned home on the 3rd of June. When I returned home I was in great misery but after two or three bottles of Ray Ways Ready Relief [Rawleigh's Readi-Relief ?] I got so I could do a little work. But I continued to suffer with my head and eye, my right eye going entirely blind and my left eye blind by spells until eight years ago this month when I became entirely blind to see no more in this life. I have come near to the brink of the grave a number of times but through fulfillment of promises of the Servants of God I have been able to do a considerable work in the temple and am still anxious to work in the temple. I have a great work before me which I would like to perform before I pass away, but oh how long shall I have to wait for help? I have labored from one day to eight weeks at a time as time would permit since the temple was opened for endowments. It has now been six months since I have been to the temple and I cannot go without assistance and my pleadings are in vain. I am now eighty-two years and about four months and would like to complete my work for the dead.
As Saviors on Mt. Zion we must redeem our dead.
They died without the Gospel, we labor in their stead.
And when we pass beyond the veil how our friends will meet us there,
As Saviors upon Mt. Zion, a crown we then shall wear.
Then come ah come, dear children, no more the work delay.
It is a glorious labor, a labor that will pay.
Oh let me no more plead in vain, your duties now fulfill.
Then come, oh come, dear children, you know the Master's will.