| Rich Branch on Log Creek
Rockford Township, Caldwell County, Missouri
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Excerpts of Bathsheba W. Bigler Smith
Coming to Caldwell County, 1838
When I was in my sixteenth year, some Latter-day Saint elders visited our neighborhood. I heard them preach and believed what they taught.
On the 21st of August 1837, I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by Elder Samuel James, in Jones' Run on the farm and near the residence of Augustus Burgess, and was confirmed by Elder Francis G. Bishop…My mother was baptized this same day. My sister Sarah, next older than me, was baptized three days previously. My father, and my two oldest sisters, Matilda and Nancy, together with their husbands, Col. John S. Martin and Josiah W. Fleming, were baptized into the same church soon afterwards. My uncle, Jacob Bigler, and his family had been baptized a few weeks before.
The Spirit of gathering with the saints in Missouri came upon me, and I became very anxious indeed to go there that fall with my sister Nancy and family, as they had sold out and were getting ready to go.
My brother, Jacob G. Bigler, having gone to Far West, Mo., joined the church there and bought a farm for my father, and then returned. About this time my father sold his farm in West Virginia, and fitted out my mother, my brother, and my sister Sarah, Melissa and myself, and we started for Far West, in the company with my two brothers-in-law and my uncle and their families. Father stayed to settle up his business, intending to join us at Far West in the spring, bringing with him, by water, farming implements, house furniture, etc.
On arriving in Missouri we found the State preparing to wage war against the Latter-day Saints. The nearer we got to our destination, the more hostile the people were. As we were traveling along, numbers of men would sometimes gather around our wagons and stop us. They would inquire who we were, where we were from, and where we were going to. On receiving answers to their questions, they would debate among themselves whether to let us go or not; their debate would result generally in a statement ot the effect of, 'As you are Virginians, we will let you go on, but we believe you will soon return, for you will quickly become convinced of your folly.' Just before we crossed Grand River, we camped over night with a company of Eastern saints. We had a meeting, and rejoiced together. In the morning it was thought best for the companies to separate and cross the river by two different ferries, as this arrangement would enable all to cross in less time. Our company arrived at Far West in safety. But not so with the other company; they were overtaken at Haun's Mill by an armed mob - nineteen were killed, many others were wounded, and some of them maimed for life.
Three nights after we had arrived at the farm which my brother had bought, and which was four miles south of the city of Far West, word came that a mob was gathering on Crooked River, and a call was made for men to go out in command of Captain David W. Patton, for the purpose of trying to stop the depredations of the men, who were whipping and otherwise maltreating our brethren, and who were destroying and burning property. Captain Patten's company went, and a battle ensued. Some of the Latter-day Saints were killed, and several were wounded. I saw Brother James Hendrix, one of the wounded, as he was being carried home; he was entirely helpless and nearly speechless. Soon afterwards Captain David W. Patton, who was one of the twelve apostles, was brought wounded into the house where we were. I heard him bear testimony to the truth of Mormonism. He exhorted his wife and all present to abide in the faith. His wife asked him if he had anything against any one. He answered, 'No.' Elder Heber C. Kimball asked him if he would remember him when he got home. He said he would. Soon after his he died, without a struggle.
My father had to lose what he had paid on his farm; and in February, 1839, in the depth of winter, our family, and thousands of the saints, were on the way to the State of Illinois.
[Taken from Edward W. Tullidge, The Women of Mormondom (New York: n.p., 1877) pp. 150-155].
|Rich Branch Members
Other Reminiscences on Log Creek
The Rich Branch was located in Rockford Township, Caldwell County, Missouri. Rockford Township was much larger in the 1830s than it is today. All of present day Kidder, Mirabile, and Rockford townships were then Rockford Township. Settlers were attracted to the desirable wooded groves and prairie lands surrounding the upper reaches of Log Creek a little south of Far West. As Mormons began settling in Cladwell County, the extended Rich family selected several parcels of land about four miles south of town. Charles and his father cleared land and improved their farm.
During regular visits for church gatherings, the Riches became acquainted with the Peas, whose home was in the city of Far West.
Charles C. Rich
Charles and Sarah Pea planned to be married. A log home was constructed for the newelyweds, probably with help from his Father and others in the immediate Log Creek neighborhood.
Sarah left the following account:
"As Far West was a place everybody lived in log houses so my husband had built a nice hewed log house and got it reddy to live in by the time we were married. It was 4 miles from Far West and we mooved to our coasey and happy home and we thought we ware the hapyest couple in all the land. My husband had a beautifull prospect for a nice farm with plenty of timber and watter and our plans were laid for a comfortable and happy home in the near future or [our] religion being first with us in all things. . . Mr. Rich had a nice horse and rigg so we attended meeting ever[y] Sunday at Farr West." [Godfrey, Godfrey and Derr (1982): 98].
Other families arrived and Log Creek grew into a sizable settlement of church members. Charles was selected as Presiding Elder of the Rich Branch of the church.
Log Creek School