19 – John W. Brackenbury

1: Mr. Brackenbury state your name, age and place or residence?
My name is John W. Brackenbury, and I was born in 1829 on the 12th day of August in Ohio.

2: How long did you live in Ohio?
Well I can’t say positively how long it was.

3: Did you ever live in Missouri?
Yes sir.

4: When?
I think we came here in the spring of 1832. My mother came here then I think and I with here, any how I was here in 1833.

5: Can you remember that?
Yes sir.

6: You were for years there?
I was three years old, in my fourth year, and I can remember going to school when I was three years old.

7: Did you live here in Jackson County?
Yes sir.

8: What part of Jackson County did you live in?
My mother had then acres of land upon the Big Blue.

9: How far from Independence was that?
Well it must have been seven or eight miles. Well I don’t remember just how far it was that is I cannot state just exactly how far it was, but it was up in what was called the Whitmer Settlement.

10: It was in the Whitmer Settlement, or what was called that?
Yes sir.

11: How long did you reside in Missouri from that time on?
Well my mother went out when the drive was in November 1833.

12: Did you go with her?
Yes sir.

13: Well to what place did you go?
We went across the river down here at what is now called Wayne City, and we crossed over in the bottom and camped there by a big sycamore log, and stayed there all winter.

14: Have you and recollection of the circumstances under which you left, you and your mother?
Well I remember my mother taking three of us children, there was three boys, she had four boys but the oldest one was not at home, and I remember her taking us three up to, in sight, to a man’s house by the name of Joshua Lewis.

15: That was where?
That was as near as I can remember about three hundred or four hundred yards from our house, yet it was in sight of it.

16: From where you lived on the Blue?
Yes sir.

17: Did your father reside here at that time?
My father died in York state before we came out here, when I was between one and well when I was about two years old, and I don’t remember him at all. We lived in Ohio at the time but he was over in New York state at the time he died, so he died away from home.

18: Did you know at the time you left Jackson County, the occasion of your leaving?
No sir, not at the time mother took us up to Mr. Lewis’s, but I know this much, I know that that day while we were there it was in the afternoon. I remember that because of the fact that it was not long until they took us out, and while we were there a man by the name of Philo Dibble came to the house. I don’t think he had a middle name and I remember him because he lived just across the road from us. I knew him and his wife I remember them distinctly, well he came to the house and I remember seeing his powder horn, and the bullet wound right through the powder horn, and the splinters were sticking to his side.

19: Who was that, -what was his name did you say?
Philo Dibble, was the man’s name. He was the man I said lived right across the road from where my mother lived, and he was the man who was wounded.

20: Well now what did he belong to?
He belonged to the church, The Latter Day Saints Church, and so did Mr. Lewis. I remember the circumstances and it made a very powerful impression on my mind for child as I was, -an infant, yet I remember his looking so white, and they took him upstairs. It was a long house, but there was an upstairs to it, so they took him up there, and just before night he was brought down, or came down himself, -anyway he got down, and went off, and then night came, and it was not long, -almost right away after that mother took us out in the corn field and so did Mrs. Lewis and her children, for there was not men around, There was no men there when Philo Dibble came there either, and we stayed there in the corn field all night, and in the morning when we came back to the house I remember that the house was torn down to the eaves, and the rafters was all off it, and I remember going into the house, and there was a table sitting in the middle of the room, and a big large pan of honey setting on it, and I remember seeing the dust on the honey. That is another of the things I remember very vividly. Well then they took us away from there off into the woods to a school house, and there was the women and the children and some old men, or an old man there, but I don’t remember who the old man was but he was there, -anyway they stayed there all day, and there was quite a crowd there in that school house. It was a new school house, for at that time when they would built a house with logs as most all of them were built that way they would chink it up, and mud it, but there was no chinking in this, and it had a puncheon floor made out of split logs, hewed on one side, and the benches were the same. I remember that, and the women and the children and the old man were there all day crying and in great distress. Well from there it was a blank until we went to the river, for I don’t know where we went from there but I know we got to the river, for I remember seeing the river and crossing it and going over in the bottoms and camping by a big log, and we stayed there all winter by that big sycamore log, and from that we moved over to Arthurs Hill about three miles from Liberty.

21: Can you state from your recollection anything about the number of people that were with you at that time?
No sir, I have no recollection, so I could not tell you.

22: Well then where did you go?
Well I say they moved out the next spring and went up about Arthurs Mill about three miles from Liberty, -I think the name of the man that run it was Michael Arthur.

23: Was that in Clay County?
Yes sir, about three miles from Liberty. It was there in Clay County on a creek called Shoal Creek, I think

24: How long did you remain there?
Well it was over a year.

25: Then where did you go?
I think we went from there to Far West.

26: From there where?
From there we went to Daviess County.

27: Daviess County, Missouri?
Yes sir, we remained then in Daviess County until the trouble came up again.

28: You remained there until the trouble came up again?
Yes sir, and I remember something about that trouble.

29: Do you remember what year that trouble was in?
Well I am not positive about the year that we went there, but I remember positively about the year we left there. I was pretty young when we went there and I can’t remember the year, but I was older when we left and so I can remember positively the year that we did leave. We left there and went over to Quincy, Illinois and that was in ’38.

30: That was in 1838?
Yes sir.

31: You went to Quincy Illinois?
Yes sir.

32: What time in 1838 was that?
That was in the latter part of the year, – in November I think. I think it was some time in November and pretty cold weather, and I remember that right well for I helped to drive the cows, and it snowed and rained and we camped in the mud. I remember all these things that I am not detailing distinctly for I was getting big enough by this time to remember everything that took place. Well we went from there to Quincy in 1838 and from there up to Nauvoo in ’39.

33: How long did you remain at Quincy?
We went to Quincy late in the fall of ’38 and stayed there that winter until in the spring of ’39 and then we moved on to Nauvoo, and we stayed there until the time Brigham Young left for the West and we went with him as far as the Missouri river, but there we seen so much of their manner of doing business that mother left him, and we went back to Quincy and remained there.

34: Do you remember any thing about the temple at Nauvoo?
Oh yes sir.

35: The temple was built there was it not?
Well it was never finally completed.

36: First I will ask you what years you were there at Nauvoo, – from the time you first went there to Nauvoo how long did you remain?
Well we went there sometime in the spring of 1839, and we remained there until sometime along in 1846 I think it was when we left there. We left at the time of the hegria from Nauvoo.

37: Did you leave there in 1846 is that what you said?
Yes sir.

38: Were you back there any time subsequent to that?
Yes sir, I was back there since that time. I went back to see Joseph.

39: What time was that?
I forget whether it was in 1849 or 1850.

40: Was the temple finished?
No sir, and when I went back there that time the temple was torn down.

41: Do you know whether or not it was ever completed?
When I was there it was not finished. I know that for I have been in it and over the top to bottom many a time and when left there in 1846 it was not finished, and the next time I was back the re after that it had been burned down, – struck by lightning they said and burned.

42: Was that in 1839?
No sir, the time that I said that I saw it last when it was not completed, and before it was burned down was in 1846.