Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Wilford Woodruff’s First Mission, part 15 (Graphic History)

Wilford Woodruff’s First Mission, part 15 (Graphic History)

By: Ardis E. Parshall - December 20, 2009

Adapted from Leaves from My Journal, by Wilford Woodruff; artwork by Douglas Johnson.







to be continued …

Text from Leaves from My Journal

… I mounted my horse to ride to Clark’s River, in company with Seth Utley, four other brethren and two sisters. The distance was twenty miles.

We came to a stream which was so swollen by rains, that we could not cross without swimming our horses. To swim would not be safe for the females, so we went up the stream to find a ford. in the attempt we were overtaken by a severe storm of wind and rain, and lost our way in the darkness, and wandered through creeks and mud. But the Lord does not forsake His Saints in any of their troubles. While we were in the woods suffering under the blast of the storm, groping like the blind for the wall, a bright light suddenly shone around us and revealed to us our dangerous situation on the edge of a gulf. the light continued with us until we found the road. We then went on our way rejoicing, though the darkness returned and the rain continued.

We reached Brother Henry Thomas’s in safety about nine o’clock at night, having been five hours in the storm and forded streams many times. None of us felt to complain, but were thankful to God for His preserving care.

On the following day I preached in Damon Creek and organized a branch called the Damon Creek Branch, and ordained Daniel Thomas a Teacher.

On the 19th of December I again preached at the house of Brother Clapp, and baptized five persons; one was a Campbellite preacher.

On the following day I preached at the house of Brother Henry Thomas, when a mob of about fifty persons collected …

Wilford Woodruff’s First Mission (Graphic History) part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9, part 10, part 11, part 12, part 13, part 14, part 15, part 16, part 17, part 18



  1. Good stuff. This all happened in Western Kentucky, in the area along the banks of the Tennessee River.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — December 20, 2009 @ 12:52 pm

  2. Thanks once again.

    Comment by ricke — December 20, 2009 @ 1:21 pm

  3. Amazing.

    Bruce Crow: Thanks for your insight into this.

    Comment by Steve C. — December 20, 2009 @ 3:39 pm

  4. We still need that protection in the pouring rain along the Southeastern corridor this year :)

    Thanks Brother Crow for the geography pointer.

    Comment by Allison — December 21, 2009 @ 11:59 am

  5. Allison: I can’t agree more with you. In Arkansas we’ve gotten nearly twice the normal amount of rain this year!

    It seems that WW is always getting drenched as he travels the South on his mission.

    Comment by Steve C. — December 21, 2009 @ 2:50 pm

  6. That’s OK, he has that insta-press knit suit!

    Comment by Hunter — December 21, 2009 @ 4:01 pm

  7. Another thanks to Bro. Crow for introducing Elder Woodruff’s Kentucky mission. With Abraham O. Smoot, he ventured into Calloway County, just north of the Tennessee line. He found some interested families in the area of Wadesboro including the Rial and Margaret Allen family. Four of their children quickly accepted the message and the two oldest sons, James and Lewis were baptized. Andrew, then 18 and Martha, then 13, were refused permission by their baptist parents. James and Lewis went to Far West with Bro. Smoot in 1836. When the saints were run out of Missouri, James and Lewis and their families returned to Calloway County. It was not until 1862 that they were able to migrate west. But in 1846, Andrew, now independent, went to Winter Quarters via Nauvoo. Still single Martha went along, helping Andrew’s wife drive an ox team to Utah in A.O. Smoot’s company that arrived in the valley in September, 1847. Andrew later settled in Draper.

    James and Lewis, finally made the trip in 1862. James finally settled in Cache Valley and Lewis became a pioneer to Southern Utah, Nevada, Arizona and was a stalwart in the United Order, dying in Orderville in 1883. Elder Woodruff’s short time in Kentucky is still bearing fruit with literally thousands of descendants of that family as well as from their neighbors, the Clapps, Thomases, and Smoots.

    Comment by Curt A. — December 22, 2009 @ 1:50 pm

  8. Bravo, Curt A., for the long view!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 22, 2009 @ 2:01 pm

  9. Very cool to hear some of the “rest of the story,” Curt A.

    Comment by Researcher — December 22, 2009 @ 2:20 pm

  10. Wonderful, Curt A. I love to hear stories like that. Sounds like part of the Allen family were in the company of about two hundred souls with about forty teams that I have been looking at recently. Curt, is your source family records?

    Comment by Bruce Crow — December 22, 2009 @ 3:51 pm

  11. Yes, Bruce, Andrew Jackson Allen, the one who was 18 when WW converted the family in Calloway County, was with the 4th hundred (223 folks) under A.O. Smoot in 1847. Andrew began a regular journal in 1856 and began it with a retrospective of the conversion experience and continued through his journey west. He continues regular entries throughout his life. I have a copy. Makes interesting reading.

    Comment by Curt A. — December 22, 2009 @ 5:10 pm

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