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Memoirs of President W. W. Blair

By Elder Frederick B. Blair

Chapter 1

President W. W. Blair
President W. W. Blair
President W. W. Blair
President W. W. Blair

During the summer and fall of 1851, residing near Amboy, Lee County, Illinois, I became .interested in the doctrine of Christ taught by a body of Latter Day Saints, less than twenty in number, located in that vicinity, and on the eighth day of October, after thorough conviction of the truth of that doctrine, I was baptized by Elder William B. Smith, brother of Joseph the Seer, and confirmed by him and others; and after four days, in answer to silent, fervent prayer, was as literally baptized with the Holy Spirit as I had previously been of water. Radically changed by these experiences, my hopes, desires, and purposes were directed decidedly and deeply into religious channels closely in harmony with the religion of Christ as set forth in the New Testament. In all this new life I was happily joined by my wife and my mother the day following my own baptism. For weeks and months afterward my highest anticipations in respect to the peace and love and spiritual blessings of the gospel were more than realized; but in less than a year trials of a very distracting character came to me through the doings and teachings of leading officers in the little branch, and with a determination not to fellowship nor walk in communion with ministers or members of that kind, at the closing of a morning service in the branch on a Sunday, Elder Edwin Cadwell and myself stated the leading features of our grievances, and the stumbling-blocks we had encountered, and there and then publicly, quietly withdrew. In this we were soon followed, in a quiet manner, by a few others.

During the four years that followed, we maintained our faith in the doctrine of Christ and in the latter-day work as set forth in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants.

In 1854, removing from my farm near Amboy, I engaged in mercantile pursuits at East Paw Paw, twenty-five miles east of Amboy.

In the latter part of 1855 my mind began to be deeply moved in respect to matters of religion, my former experiences in the church, and my future prospects. This continued on over into 1856. At times my meditations and convictions were of such range and force as to finally lead me to resolve that, whatever others might do, it was my duty to honor God and seek to live in harmony with the light I had received of him.

I became acquainted, personally, with Elders John E. Page, John Gaylord, and William Marks, formerly members and ministers in the church in the times of Joseph the Seer, and we with a few others resolved to meet together for religious services when practicable and also have Elders Page, Gaylord, and Landers preach the gospel as they might find opportunity. Our efforts in this direction did not meet with desired success, for it seemed the needed favor of God through the Holy Spirit was sadly lacking.

In the latter part of November, 1856, after nightfall, two young men entered my store, and at first sight I was impressed that they were Latter Day Saint ministers, though in those times we never saw or heard of any ministers of that denomination, in our vicinity, except the ones before mentioned. I perceived that they watched my movements with manifest interest, and this continuing, I at length concluded that they wished to confer with me on business matters. I therefore stepped forward and accosted them, when the younger of the two, who afterward proved to be Edmund C. Briggs, called me by name and greeted me with "Good evening." He explained who he was, and introduced me to his companion, Samuel H. Gurley.

In questioning them I learned they had just come from Amboy and desired to visit with me. I at once took them to my home, and on the way there asked them as to what called them into that region at that time, and they said they were sent forth of God by prophecy from Zarahemla, Wisconsin, to visit the Latter Day Saints and tell them that the Lord was reviving his work, had begun the reorganization of the church in that region, that the Spirit of the Lord was teaching and guiding the Saints in a great degree, and that it had been revealed to them, at various times, in various places, and through different persons, that the time was near at hand when the Lord would call Joseph, the son of Joseph Smith the Seer, to take the lead of the church. In this they seemed very sanguine, but it all sounded to me as idle tales. However, I was glad to meet them, for in those times we seldom saw any one who claimed to be a Latter Day Saint. On reaching my home I introduced them to my family, had refreshments prepared for them, and resolved to learn what I could in respect to their faith and the work they represented.

That evening we engaged, in a room by ourselves, in a spirited discussion of the matters they presented, and continued it until the next morning near three o'clock. It was now Sunday, and after our morning repast we again repaired to the parlor, and after fervent prayer as before, in which we all joined, we again entered on a critical discussion of the theories advocated by them. This continued until near noon, and it found us no nearer united than at the beginning. They now seemed to abandon the idea of convincing me of their theories by argument, and in order not to appear opinionated or beyond the reach of argument, I said to them if they knew their position to be correct on matters under consideration to go ahead and that I might possibly learn it by and by.

Brother Gurley, who had been the chief speaker hitherto, seemed reluctant to say anything further, whereupon Brother Briggs rose to his feet, took the Book of Mormon from the table, leafed it over rapidly as if seeking to find some particular passage, and then placing his hand to his mouth and trembling from head to feet, while the tears coursed down his cheeks, seemed to read these words, "I, the Lord, will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy, and I will forgive whom I will forgive." But these words are nowhere to be found in the Book of Mormon. Just as soon as he began speaking, the Holy Spirit, such as had borne witness to me of the doctrine of Christ at the beginning, seemed to fill the room and also the persons of all present with its enlightening, convincing, and heavenly power. Bro. Briggs raised his right hand and broke forth with a prophecy directed to me, declaring what had been my desires and intentions, declaring also that I would soon be released from my temporal affairs, would be called to the ministry, would be made "an apostle of the Lamb of God," be called to preach the gospel and "thresh the Gentiles by the power of God's Spirit"; said that the Lord would soon call Joseph, the son of Joseph the Seer, to be president of the church, and that the standard then erected would never fall, also that the' work of the Lord would go forth in power and triumph until its final completion. He pronounced by prophecy the blessing of health upon my household, this, no doubt, referring to my wife and our little daughter, Mary Caroline, both of whom for the sixteen months preceding had been in very poor health, but after which they became strong and vigorous. When Brother Briggs sat down, Brother Gurley arose and spoke with great liberty and power in the spirit of prophecy.

The manifestation of the Spirit of God on this occasion was greater, more searching and assuring than anything I had ever before witnessed.

Relating these experiences to my wife, and assuring her that the young men were indeed the servants of God (a matter she had doubted), she replied that she knew they were such, for the Lord, in answer to her secret prayer that morning, had given her witness that they were.

During the brief stay of these two inexperienced young ministers, the Lord gave abundant evidence through the Holy Spirit that they were his servants, and that their mission was indeed ordained of him.

As the holidays approached, Mrs. Blair and I went by railway and sleigh to Blanchardville, Wisconsin, near one hundred and fifty miles distant, meeting with Father Zenos H. Gurley and family tit Yellowstone, and then with the branch called Zarahemla. Here we witnessed most interesting and 'convincing evidences that they were the Lord's people, for the love of Christ and the gifts of the Holy Spirit were plainly manifest among them. Here we learned further of the wonderful manner in which the Lord had blessed and guided them in respect to the work of reorganization and the coming in the near future of Joseph, the son of Joseph, to be the president of the church.

Soon after our return home, I went to Amboy and there learned of the remarkable healing of Brother Jotham T. Barrett under the administration of Elders Gurley and Briggs when on their way to my place. I knew he had been a great sufferer from bronchial consumption for a long time. He had been pronounced beyond all help by his physicians, but when these young elders called upon him, and by his request prayed for him and his family, it was revealed by the Holy Spirit that the brother would be fully restored; whereupon they administered to him according to the order of the church and he soon recovered excellent health, lived many years thereafter, and died of other causes, triumphant in the faith.

In the spring of 1857 typhoid pneumonia was very prevalent in and around East Paw Paw. I had what was evidently a severe attack of the same, suffered extremely for a time, believed God would heal me by the prayer of faith, and therefore, in the absence of elders, requested my wife to join with me in prayer for my relief. She sang a verse or two of a familiar hymn, kneeled in prayer at my bedside, and in a few moments I felt sensibly and joyfully the presence of God's Spirit in my heart, from whence it spread with its healing power throughout my entire person, giving instant release from pain and fever, imparting sweet restfulness of body and spirit which was immediately followed by gentle perspiration and quiet sleep from which I awoke next morning completely relieved of every symptom of disease, and after a short time "entered upon my usual duties.

Not long after this I had a most peculiar and instructive vision, whether a night vision or otherwise it matters little. I saw myself in a low valley walking alongside a deep, crooked, filthy stream. Coming to the head thereof, I stood on the shore of a pool of filthy water in the midst of which I saw a large, powerful, wily serpent. On the brink of the pool there stood a woman clad in garments once rich and beautiful. In form and feature she seemed perfect, but her countenance, her raiment, and her general appearance indicated degradation, defilement, and sorrow. She was looking directly into the face of the serpent, and the serpent seemed to have enthralled her with his continuous, searching, seductive gaze. Tears fell rapidly from her eyes, and occasionally she would heave a deep sigh. My heart was sorely pained as I contemplated her deplorable condition, and I said to her, "Woman, what is the cause of your sorrow?" To this she replied, "My husband has left me." Instantly it flashed upon my mind that I knew her husband and knew him to be a just, a pure and noble man, and I also knew that he had put her away because of her unfaithfulness to her marriage vows. I then said to her, "I know your husband, and I know that if you will return to him, confess your wrong-doing and assure him that you will for ever be a faithful wife, he will forgive you the past, receive you in confidence and love, and your future will be full of joy and prosperity." Her heart seemed touched with hope, she broke away from the gaze of the serpent, a smile lit up her countenance, and she turned her face toward the home of her husband, the serpent meanwhile casting vicious glances toward me, and then rushing with all its fiendish power to the edge of the pool, and, seizing with its mouth a piece of ice, turned upon its back and died.

I then saw the woman step briskly up a narrow pathway to an eminence of surpassing beauty, and following saw her press on till she reached a palace, the beauty, magnificence, and perfection of which were beyond all human understanding. The material of which it was composed, its proportions in length, in breadth, in height, in ornamentation and surroundings, filled the soul with a sense of their absolute perfection. The surrounding landscape, including garden and field, fruit and forest-trees, overhanging heavens brighter than the most beauteous summer skies, the vision was filled with a picture of felicity such as never greeted the eye of mortals. I then was given to know that I must enter upon my labors as a fisherman. Not long after this I was given to understand the vision and know its meaning. The woman was the church; Christ was the husband; the serpent was Satan; the home of the husband and its surroundings were the glorious conditions to which the church will ultimately come," and my ministrations in the premises pointed to my calling and work as a servant of the church, for Christ's sake.

From this time forward to the spring of 1859 the few who constituted the Reorganized Church were greatly blessed and comforted and taught of God's Spirit in proportion as they lived faithfully before the Lord, the Spirit frequently testifying at different times, in different places, that the Lord would soon call his servant Joseph to lead his church.

At the close of a conference held near Beaverton, Boone County, Illinois, April 6, 1859, on the request t of Brethren William Aldrich and J. C. Gaylord, of Burlington, Wisconsin, Brother Edmund C. Briggs and myself took a mission into their neighborhood, teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God and the work of the Reorganization. These brethren had heard of the revival of the work of the church, and on attending the conference at Beaverton received such numerous and satisfying evidences that the work was ordained of God and approved by his Spirit, that they readily united with it and sought earnestly to advance its interests. When going from Beaverton to Burlington we encountered no little opposition by persons once members of the Strangite church, but who had abandoned that and cared little or nothing for any kind of religion. Some of these, however, after mature investigation, joyfully received us and the work we were representing. The Holy Spirit wrought mightily in many instances in their conversion, and a prosperous, happy branch of the church was organized; its numbers greatly increased and its faith fully confirmed by the gifts and graces of the Spirit of God in the very place where disgrace and desolation had befallen Strangism.

After spending some weeks in Wisconsin we returned to Illinois, preaching by the way. Near Waukesha, Wisconsin, at the residence of Almon H. White, we met a peculiar phase of spiritualism. The mediums claimed to personate the dead, a Doctor Woodruff also pretending by the power of spirits to personate both the living and the dead. Many predictions were made by these mediums concerning our work in the future, the work of the church we represented, also concerning other persons, which time proved utterly false, as we had expected. Some of the spiritualists whom we met in Wisconsin had been Latter Day Saints, but had reached the conclusion that spiritualism would finish up what was begun in these latter days by the coming forth of the fullness of the gospel.

June 10 and 11, 1859, a conference was held at the schoolhouse near Edwin Cadwell's, Amboy, Illinois, Elder Z. H. Gurley presiding. This was one of the most spiritual seasons enjoyed in those days by the faithful Saints. William Marks, president of the High Council of the church and of the stake at Nauvoo up to the death of Joseph the Seer, met with us for the first time. He came with Brethren Aldrich and Gaylord at their urgent request, though doubtingly and reluctantly. But before the close of the first day's exercises, which were devoted to prayer, testimony, and partaking of the sacrament, the Lord gave him convincing and satisfactory evidence, by his Spirit, that the work we were then engaged in had his divine approval. The gifts abounded with the little congregation in a very notable manner. The gift of tongues was given to the little twelve-year-old daughter of Brother C. G. Lanphear and she arose and spoke therein as the Spirit gave utterance." A young married sister, Helen Pomeroy, a stranger to Brother Marks, arose under the power of the Spirit, walked down the aisle, and coming directly in front of him, he then sitting in the stand with Elder Gurley, lifting up her hands she said to him, "Thus saith the Lord;.O thou man of God! In times past thou hast sat with my servant Joseph the Seer; and in times near to come thou shalt sit in council with his son. When I called my servant Joseph he was as a lone tree; but when I shall call his son he shall be as one of a forest."

Upon this Brother Marks arose, weeping with joy and gladness, and said, "This manifestation I know is by the Spirit of God. It is the same Spirit the faithful Saints ever enjoyed when I first received the gospel in the state of New York, and which we also enjoyed in Kirtland, Missouri, and "at Nauvoo, when we lived uprightly before the Lord. I know by the evidences I see and feel here today that God loves and owns this people and the work they have in hand." And immediately when he sat down Elder Gurley explained briefly the former position and works of Brother Marks in the church, and then Brother Marks, upon vote, was received into fellowship in the church with his former priesthood.

This conference provided for the publication of a hymn-book based upon the hymns published in a former edition, selected and compiled by Sr. Emma, the wife of Joseph the Seer.

Elder E. C. Briggs and myself were here appointed a mission in Illinois and Iowa, and provision made for us to go as far west as Council Bluffs. A goodly number were added to the church by baptism at this conference, and the Saints were greatly strengthened and confirmed.

June 21, Elder Briggs and I left home to prosecute our mission in the south and west, and we continued on to LaSalle and Chillicothe and then to Brother Rufus Benjamin's, three miles east of Princeville, Peoria County, Illinois. In all these places we distributed tracts, talked with the people, building up the interests of the work the best we could. Near the latter place we were opposed by Elder Z. Brooks, who, with others, sought to organize a church based chiefly on the Bible and Book of Mormon. Jehiel and Phineas Bronson with their families received us kindly. From this point we traveled on, fasting and praying, until we reached the vicinity of Victoria, Knox County, where we met Brethren Harvey Strong, T. G. Cook, Joseph Wilder, and their families, who received us joyfully. After spending a short season here we proceeded on to Burlington, Iowa, and were received cordially by Brethren Morton, Webster, and others.

July 1, we reached Montrose and Nauvoo, from whence we went to String Prairie, Iowa, where we met a goodly number of former members of the church, distributed tracts among them and conversed on church affairs as we had opportunity. Here we were in doubt whether we should go to Keokuk and take steamer for Council Bluffs., or go directly west overland, through a wide and sparsely settled country.* But making the matter a subject of prayer, we soon perceived it was best to go the latter way, and we therefore proceeded on, generally on foot, passing through Farmington, Mount Sterling, Keosauqua, Pittsburg, Stringtown, Centerville, and Corydon to Garden Grove, making the distance between Centerville and Garden Grove on the fifth day of July over forty miles, on foot.

Here we learned that there were some former members of the church living at Franklin, near by, and also some at what is now known as Pleasanton. Going to Franklin, we met Brethren Jefferson Copland and Oliver Hoskins. We held a series of meetings at this place, and though sharply opposed by Campbellites, Methodists, and Dunkards, we nevertheless succeeded in baptizing near twenty members and organizing a church.

On the twelfth day of July we reached Brother G. M. Hinkle's. He was once a noted man in the church, but was now a Rigdonite. Here we also found Ebenezer Robinson, a Rigdonite, and president of the projected Iowa and Missouri line railroad. We remained here until the 21st and formed the acquaintance of George Morey, Austin Cowles, R. Booth, A. W. Moffett, Joseph Gold, John Keown, and their families, Joseph Younger, and others, all professedly interested in the work we represented.

On the evening of the 17th we held service at the house of Brother George Morey, and at the close we were requested to administer to Helen, his daughter, who was. confined to her bed by liver disease. It pleased the Lord to give her relief straightway, and on Monday, after preaching to a goodly number at ten o'clock, we proceeded to Grand River where I baptized ten persons, Miss Helen Morey being one of the number. Another one of the number was a Miss Elizabeth Hartman, who the evening before made light of our administration to Miss Morey, saying she too would "be a Mormon if Helen was healed." And it pleased God to heal the latter also of a long-standing affliction, this blessing being sealed upon her by Brother Edmund Briggs in her confirmation the evening following. These two cases of healing were, for many reasons, very notable, for both were sorely afflicted and were likewise but recently instructed in the gospel of Christ.

Leaving this happy little band, Brother Hinkle took us by carriage to Decatur City, Franklin, and thence on by way of Prairie City, Hopeville, and Afton to Fontanelle. Parting with Brother Hinkle here, we proceeded on to Lewis and thence to Wheeler's Grove. Here we learned of a small branch of Cutlerites about ten miles away on Farm Creek, presided over by Father Calvin Beebe. Leaving Brother Levi Graybill’s, who lived near Wheeler's Grove, we went on to Brother John Smith's, and thence to Brother Beebe's, who received us with Christian kindness and patiently investigated our claims and testimonies concerning the Reorganized Church and the predicted coming of Joseph, the son of Joseph the Seer, to be its president.

It should be borne in mind that a chief feature of our mission work was to tell the scattered Saints concerning the latter-day apostasy, the fact that God had begun to reorganize his church on its original foundations and was approving and blessing it with his Spirit, and to tell them also that the Lord had revealed to many by his Spirit, at different times and in different places, that the time was near at hand when he would call Joseph the son of Joseph the Seer to stand at the head of the church, also teaching and exhorting all to faithfully serve God, seek his blessings and obtain testimonies for themselves that the tidings we bore and the word we preached were both ordained and approved of God.

When Sunday arrived, the thirty-first day of July, it found Elder Briggs suffering from the leading symptoms of typhoid fever, which had afflicted him for the past three days, and so sorely at times that he was well nigh prostrated. When between Indian Town and Wheeler's Grove, on the 29th, he was so overcome that we went aside from the road, and he desired to be permitted to go to sleep. After prayer and administration we were reminded, vividly, of the experiences of the disciples in the garden of Gethsemane, when an unnatural sleep was thrown over them, as recorded in Matthew 26: 40–45. We now felt it important that he should obtain relief at the hands of the Lord, for we were conscious that we would be called upon to take part in the services at the meeting on that day. We accordingly repaired to a clump of cottonwood trees back in the cornfield, and sitting down beneath the shade we prayerfully deliberated upon the best course to pursue, and resolved that God would hear and answer prayer in our behalf, and that Brother Briggs would be restored. We united in fervent pleadings to the Lord for his special aid, and this we did three times, when the Holy Spirit came with cheering power, witnessing that our prayers were heard, and in a moment Brother Briggs exclaimed, weeping, "Thank God, I'm healed. That power of sleepiness has all left me!"

Returning to the house, we were soon on our way with Father Beebe and his family to the residence of Brother Newton Richards, where services had been appointed. When Father Beebe had opened the services of the occasion, he stated to the people that Joseph the Seer taught them in years gone by, that when any important matters are presented to the Saints and they had no means at hand to determine as to their correctness, they should then humbly seek the Lord in fervent prayer, asking him for wisdom and knowledge on which to decide. He said, "These brethren brought to me statements concerning the soon coming of Joseph the son of Joseph to take the president of the church, and I was unable to decide as to whether such were true or not. I therefore have sought unto the Lord, as Brother Joseph instructed us, and the Lord has witnessed to me by his Spirit that these are his servants. I therefore present them to you as his servants that we all may hear what they have to say."

Upon this, by request, Brother Briggs gave a brief account of the rise of the work of the Reorganization in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin, giving many testimonies of the Spirit had concerning the coming of young Joseph to preside over the church. I then followed with a discourse on the latter-day apostasy, the need of a revival and reorganization of the church, treated of the law of lineage, also of the promises made in the revelations and church records concerning the posterity of Joseph the Seer in connection with the presidency of the church and the sucessorship of the Seer.

At the close of this a young brother, James R. Badham, a Cutlerite, rose and spoke in tongues with much power, bearing testimony to our mission, and stating that the Saints under Father Cutler had enjoyed the same Spirit that had directed the work we were then engaged in. This interpretation was through Father John Smith, an aged, noble, white-haired brother who, like Simeon of old, had been waiting for the consolation of Israel. Father Smith further said by the Spirit, pointing to Brother Briggs and myself, "These brethren are on a mission of great importance. The Lord has been with them, and he will still sustain them; and they will be the means in the hands of the Lord of laying the foundation of a great work in all this upper country." The Spirit was poured out upon many others, some of whom likewise bore witness to our mission.

We now began to perceive why it was that Satan, for the few days previous, had sought to render Brother Briggs, the chief witness, powerless to carry forward his mission work.

Leaving the Saints and friends rejoicing in the experiences had on Sunday, the next day, in company with Brother Levi Graybill, we went on, to a small settlement five miles east of Council Bluffs, distributing tracts among scattered Saints, and passed on to Council Bluffs the second day of August. On the 5th we went to Florence, a point four miles north of Omaha, and visited among the few Brighamites located at that point, also with some Saints who had returned from Salt Lake disgusted with matters of religion as they found them there.

On the seventh day of August, having returned to Council Bluffs and holding services twice near Park's Mills, we were sharply opposed by some who had abandoned Mormonism and taken up with spiritualism and infidelity; and though young and inexperienced in gospel work, nevertheless the Lord stood by us and enabled us to both defend and advocate the work we had in hand with gratifying success.

The 9th found us, in company with Brother Archibald Patten, at Union Grove, the guests of Brother Samuel Wood. At this point we held meetings, the Lord confirming our efforts to the joy of many. Here we administered to old Sr. McGahan and her granddaughter Sabrina, both of whom were lying ill of fever, and the Lord raised them up. Some here testified that we had been shown them in dream and vision before we came.

On the 14th we held services at Bigler's Grove, preaching to many interested listeners. We met with some opposition, though we found some friendly to our work. On the 16th at Galland's Grove we called on a number, former members of the church, among them William VanAusdall, Uriah Boundy, J. A. Mclntosh, Alexander Hunt, Alexander McCord, and others. After this we called at Calhoun, Magnolia, and some other points, at all of which places we found former members of the church, the most of whom had been following the fortunes of Brigham Young, Baneemy-Thompson, or J. J. Strang, and seemed like sheep without a shepherd.

On the 28th we held a two-day meeting, agreeable to previous notice, near the residence of David Fry, in Bigler's Grove, and Elders Jehiel Savage, J. M. Adams, Lebbeus T. Coons, Charles C. Perrin, and others, on invitation, took part in our services. After this we visited and preached at various points in Harrison, Shelby, and Pottawattamie Counties, and on the 31st we organized the Union Grove Branch with eighteen members.

On Sunday, the eleventh day of September, at Farm Creek, Brother Briggs baptized Calvin A. Beebe and Angeline, his wife, also Mrs. Submit Beebe, and at our confirmation and testimony-meeting the gifts of prophecy and tongues were manifested in a large degree.

The 12th, we reached Manti, near where is now Shenandoah. Here we found about forty families under the leadership of Elder Alpheus Cutler, the most of them claiming that he was the successor to Joseph the Seer, though he himself disclaimed that calling in conversation with us; indeed, Elders Cutler and Wheeler Baldwin said to me that the former did not claim to be the prophet, seer, and revelator to the church; nevertheless he claimed to preside over the church and the priesthood.

On the 14th we preached to a small audience, the people seeming to be afraid to investigate our position, or to have theirs investigated. I give these details in order that the reader may discern the exact state of affairs as we found them in Western Iowa and Eastern Nebraska on our first mission to those places.

Leaving Brother Briggs to labor in Western Iowa, on the fifteenth day of September I went by way of Clarinda, Hawleyville, and Gravity, to Lexington, in Taylor County; thence to Franklin, near Leon, where I held a series of meetings. Brother Archibald Patten had kindly taken us by carriage to many points in Western Iowa and had brought us thus far on our journey east. Calling at Brother George Morey's, near Pleasanton, and holding some meetings, on the 22d we started by the way of Franklin, Garden Grove, going thence to Montrose and Burlington, where I took train for home on the 28th, having been absent from home near four months.

In the November following, I went preaching down on Fox River in the vicinity of Sandwich and other points in that region. On the 18th we organized the Fox River Branch. About this time Sister Mahala Rogers, wife of Brother I. L. Rogers, had been suffering for some days from a felon on her hand. Various remedies had been used and but little relief obtained. Learning these facts and feeling powerfully constrained by the Spirit of God, I went out and in secret prayed to the Lord fervently that she might be healed; and while engaged in prayer the witness of the Holy Spirit was given, assuring me that she would be relieved. Returning straightway to the house, I had been seated but a moment when Sister Rogers, coming in where Brother Rogers and I were, went to him, unwrapping her afflicted hand, and said, "Why, Israel, my hand which has pained me so terribly, now feels so strangely. The pain is entirely gone and it feels so funny." Prompted by the Spirit I went at once to them and told her in the name of the Lord that her hand should be entirely healed, and thereupon anointed it in the name of the Lord and prayed for the confirmation of the blessing. From that time forward she had no further trouble from the affliction, and her hand was made whole, as she testifies unto this day.

About this time Brother A. M. Wilsey and myself held a series of meetings at the Rogers' schoolhouse, we staying nights at Brother I. L. Rogers'.

About midnight, on one occasion, Brother Rogers called us up to sit with the family, saying that his wife's sister, Mrs. Roxy Austin, a Methodist widow lady, was very sick, nigh unto death, and that she would not probably live until morning. On arising we learned that she had been seriously ill for some days past, that she had been treated therefore in a medical way with no relief. Under constraint of the Holy Spirit we went to her room, where Sister Rogers was watching and ministering for her. Talking to her of the goodness of God, his willingness and power to help the needy, assuring her that we had known many instances of healing in answer to prayer, she at length signified her desire to be anointed and prayed for in the name of the Lord. Brother Wilsey proceeded to anoint her and when, in doing so, he said, "I anoint you in the name of Jesus Christ," at that moment the Holy Spirit came with power, giving assurance that the Lord was mindful of our needs; and, laying our hands upon her, she trembled and wept, rejoicing in her instantaneous recovery. Truly the Lord magnified his name on this occasion, and to God and the Lamb be all the glory.

Ten days after this, Mrs. Austin, with a goodly number more, were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. From this time forward to the close of the year 1859, I continued preaching at various points in Fox River Valley; also at Paw Paw and Amboy, in Lee County, Illinois, a few uniting with the church by baptism.

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