Monday, August 25, 2014

Martin Luther Ensign and Mary Dunn

 I hope that those of you coming to this blog for family history information are also joining Family  I am finding pictures that I have never seen before.  The autobiographies of both Martin Luther Ensign and Mary Dunn have also been uploaded to their Memories page on Family Search.  I decided to copy, paste, and put them in a blog post in their entirety.  I found that the Memories autobiography for Martin Luther Ensign needed  a great deal of editing.  I have done my best.  I will upload this edited version to his Memories section as well.  Enjoy!


 I am the son of Horace and Mary Bronson Ensign. Born March 31, 1831, in Little River Village two and one half miles northeast of Westfield, Hamden, Massachusetts. My parents received the gospel in 1843. Edwin S. Wooley, being the first elder that brought the Gospel. Father went to hear him through curiosity as he had been represented as a Saint, and was convinced the first sermon he heard. He invited him to Little River  to lunch and mother was converted also, and many others, and a branch was organized. 

We started for Nauvoo in the spring of 1845 in March. I was now 15 years old, had no schooling after this time as we were traveling to make settlements in uninhabited country. In our travels the route was from Massachusetts through Connecticut to New Haven, from there to New York, then Philadelphia, through the state to the Ohio River, down to Marysville, thence up the Mississippi River to  Nauvoo. Most of the Saints had been driven out before we got there. We arrived in Nauvoo in May stayed about three weeks, bought wagons and cattle, and then took our journey west across Iowa three hundred miles to the Missouri River. I drove a team for John Wooley, brother of Edwin S. Wooley. They had been to Westfield on missions. 

There was a city laid out on the west bank of the Missouri River, called Winter Quarters. There we built a house of hewed logs, one of the best in the city. Ward meetings were held in it during  the winter and after we came west there was a store kept in it. There were at least 2000 inhabitants and 1,250 homes and dugouts built. This place was afterwards called Florence  and was about 5 miles up the river from Omaha in Indian country. The land had not come into market. It was a very cold and sticky place and many people had chills and fever, and scurvy or “black leg" as it was called by some. I took the chills and fever in September and they continued with me until the next spring. Hundreds were sick and destitute and a great number died. Father died with scurvy on his birthday November 28, 1846 being 48 years old. 

Now we were without a father and in a wild Indian country, our provisions running short, we were unaccustomed to a life of this kind and now we were left with a widowed mother with six children on her hands, the oldest being Datus Horace, 21 years of age—Luman Ashley, John Calvin, Martin Luther, Rufus Bronson and Lydia Esther. After the house was built and some prairie hay was cut, the boys took a team and went down into Missouri for provisions for the winter. It was very cold crossing the large prairie. They went again in the spring to get more to take across the plains. 

The pioneers started from Winter Quarters about the middle of April.  We started about the 15th of May 1847. Luman drove Brother Frost's team.  Calvin and Rufus drove Mother's teams. I went with Ira Eldridge and drove three yoke of oxen and a wagon to the Valley for John Eldridge, brother of Ira, who had gone with the pioneers. Datus went with the pioneers. He and Brother Frost went together. They took a plow ready stocked and were the first to plow a furrow going a few rods and broke the beam. (The remains of this, after being worn out, were put in the museum as a relic.) 

There were six companies of one hundred wagons each, with six captains of hundreds, twelve captains of fifties, and sixty captains of tens, making one thousand wagons in all, to the best of my judgment the way they were organized. We drove close together for protection until near Fort Laramie,  not knowing our destination until we met some of the pioneers who were sent back to meet us and let us know our destination. We were told it was Great Salt Lake Valley about 550 miles further on. We were told to break up in the fifties and go as fast as our teams could travel.

After leaving Fort Laramie we left the Platte and went over the Black Hills, a very hilly road but plenty of food and water and wood, coming out to the Platte River again. Went up the river for a few days then crossed it and went to Independence Rock on the Sweetwater River. Camped here and  had a dance on the rock, it being flat on top and large enough for cotillion. The pioneers were here on the 4th of July and gave it the name. 

We went up the Sweetwater to the dividing ridge of the Rocky Mountains. Now we came down the western slope. On Big Sandy Creek we met the returning pioneers, President Brigham Young and company. Datus was with them. He came back with us, Ira Eldridge's fifty being in the lead of all the companies. Arriving in the valley on 18 September, five or six days before any of the other companies, we drove to the Fort that the pioneers had built around a term of blocks. There were two extensions made to this fort, one of ten acres on the south, and the other of five acres on the north.  We built in the north one, on the east side near the corner.  We got our logs in Emigration Canyon, built a house with nearly a flat roof made of poles and canes, and a wagon box taken apart for the floor.  We were told it would not rain so we built a flat roof, so did all the rest, but it wasn't long before we saw our mistake for we got several good soakings.

The winter was quite warm, very little rain or snow. Stock fattened all winter as there was an abundance of grass. When we had our little house finished, we examined our provisions. As Uncle Samuel Ensign's provisions and ours were together, we divided according to the number in each family.  We had one barrel of wheat and two and a half bushels for seed and possibly a little flour. We were put on short rations. Mother asked us how we should eat. Should we eat as long as we had any, or have a little each day?  We told her to do as she thought best and we would be contented. So we had a little each day of chopped wheat, sometimes sifted and sometimes not.

Brother Christmore built a small grist mill at the mouth of City Creek canyon in the fall of 1847. We took our wheat there and had it chopped. We found a patch of thistle roots one and one-half mile south of the Fort, about three acres. We dug them to eat through the winter. They were very good. There were a great many bushels dug and eaten that winter. As soon as Sego Lilies made their appearance, we dug them as long as they were good and had to depend on them for a living. Three of us dug them nearly every day in the spring of 1848. We sowed our wheat just north of where the City and County building would eventually be built, about two and one half acres. It came up and grew very nicely until the crickets began to eat the leaves and some of the heads. For want of water the crops were light. At the lower end where the water did not reach, the crop turned a little yellow. We cut some with our knives and laid it in the sun for a few days then rubbed it out and took it to the mill and had it chopped. When it was baked it was green in color, but was it good. We hadn't had any wheat for a long time, now we filled up for a while.  I found about a quart of potatoes where the pioneers had planted and dug them. None of them larger than a red plum. We planted them and had about three  bushels that we kept for seed for the next year. We lived on rations for three years. 
In the spring of 1849 we moved our house from the Fort onto our lot on the corner of Second East and Third South and built an adobe house the same year.  In 1850 we rented the adobe house to Wadell and Company for a store.  The men were from S. Louis.  They stayed about a year.  In 1849 there was a great immigration through Utah to California for gold, the same in 1850 and for several years.  In 1851 I did a lot of work on the first tabernacle that was built in Salt Lake City.  I was baptized in August by Bishop Edward Hunter and confirmed.  We worked every tenth day for tithing for Mother.  On January 8, 1852, Mary Dunn and I were married by Daniel Spencer.  In the Spring we moved to Centerville, Davis County, and rented a farm from Julius Osten. Our furniture consisted of a table, a long bench or settee, a bedstead, and two stools that I made. We borrowed a bake kettle of Uncle Samuel.  Mary, my wife, had the bottom of a kettle, a set of dishes, knives, forks and bed clothes, these she had worked out for, more thoughtful than I was.

I raised a crop on shares. In September moved into Beck's house a half mile south and stayed there until February 1853. We then moved to Ogden to my brother Datus' and stayed there until May.  I cut some house logs on the Weaver River bottoms, hauled them to Datus’ place, hewed them and put them up.  I then cut poles for Stewart Brothers and took wheat for pay. I got enough to last me until harvest, (flour was worth $12 per hundred.) We then moved to North Ogden, took up a piece of land and hauled my house there. Father Dunn had bought a tract of land of Merrit Rockwell in Box Elder, as it was then called, and wanted me to go there with him, so I put up my house on a piece of land he gave me, nine acres, about thirty rods west of where George Reeder's house now stands.  We lived temporarily in an old log house covered with brush.  It had snakes in the roof and one got into our bed one night.

In June 1853, Simeon Carter and Bishop William Davis ordained me a teacher.  This was the first time I had prayed, the morning before I was ordained.  In July we were counseled to move our houses together and form a fort for protection against the Indians.  The fort was located on the block where John Forsgreen now lives, in the third ward.  Three times in one year I moved my house.  We had some Indian trouble in the winter and spring. In the fall we built a large log meeting house, getting the logs from William Lewis Cannon, and having them ripped by two men with a pit saw.  In 1854 I rented a farm from Jefferson Weigh. In the fall of 1854 Brigham City was surveyed, that is, Plat A, 1/2 miles square.

Father Dunn, A. Haes, and I with four teams went for iron two hundred miles out West on the old emigration road as far as Khakey Ford on the Humboldt River. The iron we got was from wagons that were left by emigrants that were going to California for gold. Their teams gave out and they had to leave the wagons. They had been burned by the Indians or by the owners. We got four loads. I sold mine for flour, pound for pound. Flour was then $.10 a pound and very scarce.

In 1855 I was called to go to the Cache Valley and hew and put up some log houses for the church on the Church Farm. They were the first built in the Valley and were for the herdsman. The winter of 1855 and 1856 was a very cold and long one. Snow from 18 to 24 inches deep all winter. From November to April thousands of cattle died of starvation or were drowned for trying to get water from rivers and sloughs. Provisions were very scarce, some people ate the cattle that were drowned and in the spring they lived on roots and pig weeds until harvest. In 1the spring of 1856 President Brigham Young and Company commenced to build a grist mill. Two of the hands boarded with us, Uncle Samuel and Mr. Taggert. The company was supposed to furnish the provisions but I never got any and we were soon without. The men were then taken, one to Samuel Smith's and one to Lorenzo Snow's. I then killed a beef and cut the meat into thin slices and jerked it over a fire, cut and dried on the sticks the same as some of the Indians did. I traded some of it for grain to George Hamson for grain. With that and roots and greens we got through to harvest. 
 The mill was owned afterwards by Lorenzo Snow and Samuel Smith. In the fall of 1856 the Reformation was proclaimed by the Presidency of the Church and all were was catechized as to their standing by men appointed for that duty. We were asked if we were stealing, if so we were to ask forgiveness and return four fold, and to make all things right, and be baptized for our sins. All who made full confession were blessed in so doing, for all of were guilty more or less. 

In 1857 I was called to go on a mission to England with  seventy-two other elders and cross the plains, a thousand miles with handcarts, with which to draw our provisions, bedding and cooking utensils, clothing, etc.  In March, before going on my mission we went to Salt Lake City and had our endowments and I was ordained an Elder.  I did not return home until after April Conference.  Mother came to Ogden with William Deuchens and Datus brought her to Brigham City.  Before starting on my mission I told an old Indian where I was going.  He asked when I was leaving and said he would come and see me go. He came and saw me part with Mother and the three girls; he stood by the fireplace, the tears coming from his eyes in streams.  He said he would get my wife ducks and fish, and he did.  He was the only person who came to bid me goodbye.

Mother of Martin Luther Ensign, Mary Bronson

Harvey Pierce and I started from home on 18 of April 1857 for Salt Lake City with his team. We put our cart behind and reached there on the 20th. Henry Lee joined us in our cart. Now we were three. Joseph Young ordained me a Seventy on April 21st or 22nd, and then we were set apart for our missions on the 22nd by the Apostles. We started from Salt Lake City on April  23rd to cross the plains with our handcarts. About five hundred of the brethren came with us and lent a hand onto the Bench and then bid us "God Speed." Some came with us a few days. It was a grand sight to see the company start out.

 On the 24th we organized our company with Henry Herriman, president; William Brench, Captain; George Goddard as clerk and we had a chaplain. We now continued our journey up the canyons, fording the creeks filled with the snow water, on over the mountains, crossed East Canyon Creek eleven times one day, water about 3 feet deep and is cold as ice; taking off our boots and pants to keep them dry. Forded every stream on our route.  Crossed Green River one Sunday morning, it was very cold, snowing and blowing. We took our clothes and put them on our shoulders. The water was three and one half feet deep with large boulders, it was a hard struggle to cross the river, about 40 rods wide. The snow was about 3 inches deep when we got over. Stayed the rest of the day in the brush and made a huge fire and held meetings in the afternoon. (I will not write anymore of our trip to the Missouri River as it can be found in my Journal.)

We arrived at Florence, June 13,. After selling our carts, blankets, and etc. My share was $7.00. We got aboard the steamboat, "Morris Greenwood" for St. Louis; paid $3.00 for a deck passage and $1.40 for provisions. We arrived in St. Louis on the 18th. There was a branch of the church in St. Louis and Horace Eldridge was President. He gave me money for my passage to Cincinnati, about $7.00 and went by train. Arrived the 23rd. There was a branch of the church in Cincinnati and I was given $10.00.  The fare to Philadelphia was $11 so I borrowed one dollar from brother Miner Atwood which took me there. Brother Angus Cannon was President here. He gave me $4.00, the fare to New York was $3.00. I gave Atwood his dollar and landed in New York without a dollar on 3rd of July, and was destined for England. There were fifteen elders with me who had money to pay their fare, $23.00 each. President John Taylor presided here. He asked me if I had friends here in this part whom I could get some money of. I told him I had some from Massachusetts, 300 miles away, but no means to get there. He then saw the Captain who said he would take me for $15.00 provided I would go without a berth or dishes to eat on. I consented to go and took my journey with the rest. We took passage on the ship “Dreadnaught” a sailing vessel. On July 7, we left, and after a pleasant voyage of 28 days arrived at Liverpool on 4th of August 1857. I was not very well, had caught cold before leaving New York, but was not seasick and enjoyed the voyage well. Our rations were very poor; the sea bread was wormy and everything was of poor quality. We did not eat all our rations but gave it to a brother in Liverpool. We had a barrel of black tea we did not use.

Apostle Orson Pratt was president of the mission. He gave the elders fields to labor in. He asked me if I could take it rough and tumble and I told him I thought so as I had rolled and tumbled there. "Then I will send you up to Sutherland" he said "in the North East of England." August 6, I started for my destination, before reaching there, my money gave out. He had not given me money enough to reach there. I had to sell a pair of shirts. An old lady paid me $.48. She said the woman that made them made them too short. I stayed all night at Cartside. In the morning I paid $.12 for supper, bed and breakfast. Bought a ticket with the money left. Rode on cars as far as I could then had 12 miles to walk, through raining and mud, arriving in Sutherland about four o'clock in the evening, my clothes and shoes wet through. After two hours hunting found the office. . .  I don't think I will ever forget that place. Arrived August 7, found Brother William J. Smith who had been looking for me. He received me very warmly, gave me a second hand suit of broadcloth which I wore while I was in England. I was now worn out and had a bad cold and sick with the hardships of a journey so far, without the necessaries of life, exposed to all kinds of weather, and was not able to leave the office for 20 days; then was very weak. I labored in England five months and 17 days, in North Umberland County and Durn County up into the borders of Scotland. William J. Smith was with Thomas Wallace, president of the conference. I received notice to return home January 12, 1858. I now made preparations to return home. The brethren gave me a suit of clothes and other things that I would need on my journey, also about $20 in cash. I visited all of the branches of the Saints and bid them adieu, and reached Liverpool, and took ship on January 21, 1858 and left for New York on a sailing vessel; was seven weeks coming to New York.  Arrived March 10 in a snow storm, having a very rough voyage. On the 11th started for Massachusetts on a steamboat up North River, thence across New Haven Bay to New Haven, Connecticut, then on the Canal railroad to Westfield, Hamden County. Arrived on the 13th in Little River Village, the place where I was born, two and one half miles southeast of Westfield. I stayed three weeks visiting my relatives and old acquaintances, having a very pleasant time.

Henry Herman left me in New York and went to Boston, Massachusetts under the understanding to meet me at Westfield. He came and we continued the journey to Florence. Came by the way Albany, New York then to Cinncinatti then to St. Louis.  Here paid our fare on steam boat that was being loaded with supplies and teamsters for the Utah War.  We did not know this until after we had paid our fare, but one of our brethren told us of this before we left, but it was too late; we had no more money and had to go.  When they left the wharf, they fired a cannon and hurrahed for the "G___D___Mormons" and said if they knew there was a Mormon on board, they would throw them in the river, but we kept mum and they did not find out we were Mormons or give us any trouble.

We landed at Omaha on 17th of April and at Florence five miles above the same day by stage.  In a few days all of the Elders had arrived and preparations were made to continue our journey to Utah.  The Church furnished teams, wagons, and provisions to bring us home.  We had 12 wagons, 50 horses and mules.  We started from Florence, May 1.  There were eight men in our wagon; Thomas King, Robert McBride, Eli Pearce, Enoch Reese, T. Roberson, Henry Herriman, and M.L. Ensign.  I was chief cook.  There were about 125 men in the company as near as I can remember.  We had to walk most of the way.  I walked nine-tenths of the way or more. We had a very good journey all came safe and without any trouble.

The army that came to Utah was at Bridger, 125 miles from Salt Lake City.  We took a road north of them and came into the head of Echo Canyon.  The army started from Bridger the same day.  We passed there.  We came onto the Front guard who were repairing the road and bridges in Echo Canyon.  They wanted to stop us, but peace had been declared by the Commission sent out for that purpose, so we were not disturbed.  We passed them and came 60 miles that day, camping on East Canyon Creek.  We arrived in Salt Lake, June 21, 1858, making the journey in 52 days.

In the spring of 1858 all of the north of Utah moved into the southern part of the territory on account of the army coming, with orders to the guards that were left in each settlement to burn all the houses and barns and to destroy all orchards.  Because of the “move south”,  I found my family living in Payson, 120 miles from home, all well and living in a cellar belonging to Robert Snider. That is the girls were there. Mother had come north to meet me and had missed me. She came back and we met in the cellar. We started for our home in Brigham City July 4th. We met the army on the 5th in the narrows of the Jordan River and were delayed for half a day because we could not pass them on the dugway. It was a very hot day and we suffered for water for our teams and ourselves. We arrived home July 10th.   All was desolate. The doors, floors, ceilings and board fences had been taken to make boxes to hold flour and other things in the move, many not expecting to return, so all was free for all.
God had blessed us while I was gone. I left the family very short of provisions, only about 40 pounds of flour, and a little pork, only enough to do for a few days and no prospects for more. But Brother Daniel Hill came to tend the gristmill here, with the intention of boarding himself, but finally gave it up and came and boarded with mother and paid her in flour and meat, etc.  So she had provisions. From trading with the Indians she got a good yoke of cattle.   She had three heads to move south with, she had killed one of those I had left for beef for the winter.

When we got home the wheat was ready to cut, but I no cradle or scythe to cut it with. Brother Gibbs had a scythe and said if I would make a cradle we could cut together or turn about so I was provided with grain. The wheat was a volunteer crop. We had 35 bushels down in the field where it was very weedy. I cut it and Mother pulled the wheat out of the weeds. I had 80 bushels five miles north on a farm, later owned by Ezra Barnard.  All together we had 115 bushels, more than we had ever raised in one year before and without any being sowed. God had blessed me greatly. But we had no vegetables. In the fall I killed an ox and sold half of it to a man from California and got 25 pounds of sugar and a bolt of sheeting, the most we had had at one time since we were married.

I labored on the farm and in the canyons until 1862, the year of the high water. I worked on the Bear River ferry for Abraham Slanruker through the summer. The mines were found in Montana in 1861. In 1863 Jarvas Johnson commenced to work in company with me. We built a shop with water power on Box Elder Creek and did carpenter work together for 12 years. We built a sawmill at the head of Box Elder Canyon ourselves in 1866. In 1867 we formed a company and sent to the States and bought a portable sawmill and put it on Paradise Creek. I rented it and ran it on shares for a year. In the fall of 1869, I worked for the Railroad Company making frames for tents and setting them up, building houses and camp furniture for the men, making as high as $25.00 a day some times. In 1872 a crazy man who broke in and started a fire with shavings burned our shop. In 1873 Johnson and I built a sawmill in Blacksmith Fork Canyon, Cache County, for Unsworth and Company. In 874, I commenced to work for the Brigham Co-op, had charge of the carpenter and furniture departments for three years. In 1877, I went to Logan Canyon and had charge of a stream sawmill for the Brigham Co-op for one year, had about 30 men under my charge.  September 18, I was ordained a High Priest by Lorenzo Snow and set apart as a High Counselor in the Box Elder Stake of Zion.

I helped build the bridge across Bear River at Bear River City, 1875. The county built the bridge at Standings in 1882. I had charge of the hands, burnished the materials and kept the pay roll. James Pett was the architect. In 1882 I was elected Justice of the Peace and held that office for ten years, being elected five times, and held the office of Coroner three terms, 1886 to 1892.  In 1892 we formed a creamery company and built a creamery costing $5,300.00. I put in $200.00 though first the company ran it at a loss. In 1893 I rented it and ran it two months, then stopped for want of a market for butter. I lost stock, land and $800.00 in the business. The creamery was built on my land.

I have been farming, gardening, etc., and have continued up to the present time, 1897. Since my arrival in these valleys I have worked a large donation on all the public buildings; first in Salt Lake City on the first tabernacle for two or three months, besides labor for tithing every tenth day for four years for Mother; later I worked on the public buildings of Brigham City, the court house and also working in the Logan Temple, October 1883 to March 1884, putting the arches in the bit room where we go through the veil. The Temple was dedicated in May 1884.

(Martin Luther Ensign died May 18, 1911 at Brigham City, Utah).

MARY DUNN ENSIGN 1833-1920 * Autobiography and Testimony. Dated 1908 and 1914 

I, the daughter of Simeon Adams and Adaline Rawson Dunn, was born November 2, 1833, in the town of Van Buren, Wayne County, Michigan, moved to Nauvoo in 1841. We settled on what was called Hyde and Parley Street, not far from the home of the Prophet. I very well remember the first time I saw the Prophet Joseph Smith. It was in July 1841. We had just arrived in Nauvoo when we met him just below the Temple hill. He stopped and shook hands with all the family, even the baby, and had words of comfort and encouragement for us all. I thought what a good man he must be to notice us little children. After that I saw him often as we located not far from his home. On one occasion my father, Simeon A. Dunn was sick and the Prophet came to our house to administer to him. He commenced to joke him about our house. He said, "I don't know as I would have had faith to administer to you if you hadn't built your house two stories high. It can be seen from all over town." Ours was the first two story house in Nauvoo. I can well remember seeing him on parade with his trumpet. It was one fourth of July and there were ladies in the parade with him. A sham battle was fought. I thought he was the finest looking man I ever saw, riding his black horse and dressed in his military suit. He certainly looked grand. I also remember when he was kidnapped by the Missourians. How dreadful everybody felt! In three hours time there were five hundred men ready to go to his rescue. Father was one of the number. How glad everyone was when he arrived home five days later! Then our sorrow was turned into joy. How earnestly we did pray for him day and night, until he was returned and our prayers had been answered! It was one continual persecution for him until he felt he could stand it no longer, so he concluded to go west and find a place for his people. I remember when the people found he had gone, there were certain ones among us who raised a hue and cry, "The shepherd has deserted his flock." It seemed as though they could give him no rest so he came back and faced his enemies until they took his life, together with his brother Hyrum, at Carthage jail. When he made his farewell speech we could hear him from our home. Gov. Ford had promised protection to him and his people but you all understand how that pledge was kept. They were on horse back when they passed our house the next day. It was a sad day long to be remembered. Father was on a mission to the Eastern States. Mother and I were going to Brother Chase's house to see if we could hear anything from him, as he and Brother Chase were on a mission together. It was after sundown. We heard a man coming on a horse, shouting. We stopped to see what he wanted. It was Stephen Markham, he had just arrived from Carthage, they had driven him out. He told us what he expected had happened, as he had heard shooting in that direction. That night the gloom that was cast over the city no pen can describe. Cows lowed, dogs howled. The whole atmosphere was impregnated with calamity. The next morning news was received of the massacre of our Prophet and Patriarch. The feeling that we had cannot be described. The people expected that the mob would come in body and massacre the entire colony of Saints. We all felt as though we did not care, now that our Prophet was gone. But in contrast to the composure of the Saints, fear seemed to seize the hearts of our enemies, and they did not have power to go any farther. So we had a little peace for a while so far as the mobs were concerned. I remember when the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum were brought home and placed in the Mansion House. Thousands went to view the remains. I did not go to see them. I felt as though I could not endure it. It seemed more than I could stand to see those poor souls cold in death. When they were taken to the cemetery they passed our house. It was a sad sight. 

The cry was soon made, "Who will lead the Church?" Sidney Rigdon was one candidate. I was at the meeting when he stood in his carriage and harangued the people nearly three hours. He thought it his place to lead the people. The Saints did not know what to do. It seemed as though everything was at a standstill. Meetings were held in a large grove at that time. One afternoon there was an immense congregation in attendance. Meeting was opened as usual and Brigham Young stepped to the stand. It seemed as though the Prophet was before us, and had been resurrected. People craned their necks to get a better view of him, he so resembled the Prophet in looks and speech. Surely the mantle of the Prophet had fallen on Brigham. I remember so well, what father said on our way home after meeting. In speaking to a friend about the circumstances he said, "They need not hunt any farther, Brigham Young is the man." And so it turned out to be. Sydney Rigdon went the way of all those who raised their voices against this people. 

We left Nauvoo in 1846 and settled in Winter Quarters in the spring of 1847. President Brigham Young called a colony to settle about fifteen miles away, on the Missouri River to raise grain for the coming immigrants. In 1848 we started across the plains in President Brigham Young's company. I started without shoes, and drove a yoke of oxen. (She was not yet fifteen years old) I had no shoes until September. How I suffered with my feet, especially when we went through the cactus! 

We settled in Salt Lake City, in the Eighth Ward. About the first of January, President Brigham Young called the people together and told them to take out their seed grain and weigh what was left to see how much there would be per day for each person. From then on we lived on three-quarters of a pound of corn meal a day for five persons, until greens came, also thistle roots etc., and then we would give Father our corn cake, as he had to work hard. 

In the year 1852, I married Martin Luther Ensign. In 1853, we moved to Brigham City and went through the hardships of pioneer life. In 1856 my husband went to fill a mission in Great Britain. He traveled across the plains with the handcart company. I was left with three children. My step-mother died and left five. We were compelled to move south on account of Johnston's Army. I then had those eight children to care for, and I drove a team and went as far as Payson. Our teams consisted of oxen and cows. I have gone through some very trying times. I have had nine children, six of whom are living at this date, January 23, 1914, and are all strong, active workers in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. My husband died May 18, 1911. In closing I want to bear my testimony to the divinity of the mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I knew him to be a prophet then and my testimony has grown with the years, and today I am firm in the knowledge that this work is of God. It is my desire that I and my posterity may ever prove true to the covenants that I have made.

50th Wedding Anniversary photograph

The children and some spouses of  Mary Dunn and Martin Luther Ensign,
My great, great grandmother and their oldest child, Mary Adeline, is seated on her father's left with her husband, John Lloyd Roberts seated next to her.

Comment by Eunice Ensign Nelson:   "We do not know the story of love and romance which brought Martin Luther Ensign and Mary Dunn together. She came with a pioneer company in 1848, and January 8, 1852, they were married. Their first home was in Centerville, Davis County, Utah, and here their first child, Adeline, was born. Several more moves were made before the family home was finally established in the northeast section of Brigham City, where the old house still stands. (1935) The original one room was added to, at intervals, until a commodious two-story frame building finally evolved. The home was always a source of wonder to us, as grandchildren. The attic was a veritable fairyland, filled with magazines, pictures, mottoes, etc., and the cellar always seemed full of smoked hams, delicious apples and Grandmother's appetizing pickles and fruit. If it were summer time, there were fresh fruits and vegetables of all kinds, and Grandmother was an A - l cook. Her chicken pies will always be a shinning light in my memory as a child. She had big feather beds and linsey-woolsey sheets or blankets, and to have windows open in the winter was not known. Before we began a meal the dish water was put on the stove to heat, and after the last one was through eating it wasn't many minutes until the dishes were washed and put away. The rule never varied. No dirty dishes ever sat around in Grandmother's kitchen. Her dishes were interesting: a set with gold bands and brown leaves as a border. Another interesting thing to me was to watch her chop vegetables in a wooden bowl with a two bladed chopping knife. She could sit squatting on her feet while she prepared the vegetables for a meal or picked strawberries for dinner. This splendid pioneer couple lived to see many of the blessings, which we enjoy today, unfold before them: electricity, water in the house, telephones and automobiles. They celebrated their golden wedding on January 8, 1902 in the Ward House at Brigham City. Many of their numerous posterity and friends did honor to their integrity and faith in gathering to Utah and making it a haven for us.

Photos in later years

Photos taken in late life

Mary sitting on the porch with family members

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