About Perrigrine G. Sessions
Perrygrine Sessions Birth: Jun. 15, 1814 Newry Oxford County Maine, USA
Death: Jun. 3, 1893 Bountiful Davis County Utah, USA
Son of David Sessions and Patty Bartlett
Married Julia Ann Killgore, 21 Sep 1834, Newry, Oxford, Maine
Married Mary Call, 28 Jun 1845, Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois
Married Lucina Call, 28 Jun 1845, Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois
Married Fanny Emorett Loveland, 13 Sep 1852, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
Married Sarah Crossley, 2 Mar 1861, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
Married Elizabeth Gabriell Brindover, 25 Mar 1865, Salt Lake City, Utah
Married Sarah Ann Bryson, 29 Sep 1866, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
Married Esther Mabey, 22 Nov 1868, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
Orson F. Whitney, History of Utah, Vol. 4, p. 102
Perrigrine Sessions was a native of Newry, Oxford county, State of Maine, and was born June 15, 1814. His parents were David and Patty Sessions; the father a well-to-do farmer and stock raiser, possessing also a grist-mill, a saw-mill and other machinery. The son received a good education, but spent all the years of his boyhood and early manhood upon the home farm, which he seldom left except to market products, which had to be taken to Portland, sixty miles away. He was a natural farmer and stock raiser, and these pursuits, with milling, completely occupied his time. He lived with his father until the latter's death in 1849, and was always his partner in business, the two holding their property in common. Just when the Sessions family became connected with Mormonism, the writer of this sketch is not informed. They left the State of Maine in June, 1837, and journeyed by way of the intervening States and Lake Erie to Kirtland, Ohio, where they joined the main body of their co-religionists. Perrigrine Sessions was then a married man, having wedded Julia Killgore September 31, 1834. A few years later the family took up their residence at Nauvoo, Illinois, where they remained until the exodus. Mr. Sessions was a member of the Nauvoo police force, and one of the body guard of the Prophet Joseph Smith. From Winter Quarters, on the Missouri River, he and his family crossed the plains to Salt Lake valley in the emigration of 1847. Four days after his arrival at the Pioneer settlement, Perrigrine Sessions moved his wagons northward about ten miles, and camped upon the spot where sprang up Sessions' Settlement, since called Bountiful. There he located permanently, and was the first settler of the section now comprised in Davis county.
When Johnston's army invaded Utah in 1857–8, the Sessions family went south as far as American Fork, taking with them twenty-eight wagon loads of provisions and utensils; but after peace was declared they returned to their home in the north. Mr. Sessions continued in farming and stock raising, and also engaged in the milling business with President Heber C. Kimball. Later he took stock in the Bountiful and Brigham City Co-operative institutions, and was also interested in Z. C. M. I. at Salt Lake City. From 1871 to 1877 he was the postmaster at Bountiful.
Perrigrine Sessions was counselor to the first Bishop of North Canyon Ward—the first ward organization in his neighborhood—and held that position until the ward was re-organized under its new name Bountiful. Subsequently he was President of the High Priests' Quorum of Davis Stake for a number of years. Prior to that he held the office of a Seventy, to which he was ordained at Kirtland in 1837.
His missionary record is as follows: In 1839–40 he went upon a mission to Maine, and again visited that State as a missionary in 1841–2. From September, 1852, until August, 1854, he was on a mission to England, and in 1856–7 was colonizing with a portion of his family in Carson valley, then in Utah, but now in Nevada. In 1868 he again visited his native State, but returned home sick the year following. In 1870 he went to Maine to gather genealogical information, and in 1877–8 was there on a mission, in company with Elders William I. Atkinson and Judson Tolman.
In the building of temples, churches, school houses, and in the immigration and support of the poor, Perrigrine Sessions played his part. He was industrious, frugal and thrifty, and gathered around him considerable property. He had a large family—nine wives and fifty-two children—thirty-eight of the latter living at last accounts, and at his death he left to each of his wives a comfortable home, with ample means to support and educate his children. He died at East Bountiful June 3, 1893.
Last of the Three Pioneers of Bountiful Passes Away--Crossed the Plains Six Times. Fifteen Years Devoted to Missionary Labors, Traveling over 50,000 Miles--Father of Fifty-Five Children.
Peregrine Sessions, last of the three pioneer settlers of Bountiful, passed away of old age last Saturday, June 3, 1893, after an illness of many months.
Peregrine was the son of David and Patty Sessions, the oldest of a family of eight children, and born June 15, 1814, in Newry, Oxford Co., Maine. His early life was spent working on a farm of 400 acres with his father, attending the district school during winter. Sept. 21, 1834 he married Julia Ann Kilgore of Newry, Maine. Was baptized into the church by the first bishop Partridge on the 17th of Sept. 1834. June 5th, 1837, he and his family started for Kirtland here they arrived in November of the same year. Later the family moved to Far West with the Saints and after the family's arrival there he made a trip to Maine to attend to some business. Feb. 18th, 1839, he was ordained a Seventy by Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, and on the 17th, of June of that year he went on his first mission, which was to the state of Maine, being absent from home until June 14th of the following year. In April 1842, he started on his second mission to Maine arriving home again in June 1844. He served as Joseph's and Brigham's body guard for three years. Lost his first wife, Jan. 5, 1845. Left Far West and moved to Nauvoo and in Feb. 1846, left the last named city for Winter Quarters, finding his father and mother in Council Bluffs. He built a log house in Winter Quarters, and during the winger made a trip back to Missouri after provisions; also went out on several hunting expeditions to supply the camp with meat and honey which he was very successful in getting.
June 5th, 1846 a traveling outfit was secured and the great journey across the plains commenced; in the way of provisions, three hundred pounds of flour was allowed each individual. There were 600 wagons in the entire train, the first eighty-seven being in his charge.
P. G. Sessions and P. P. Pratt traveled ahead of the company to select camping places, suitable place to ford rivers, etc. He arrived in the valley of the great Salt Lake on the 25th of Sept. of the same year. He made the first wagon track north of the Hot Springs, locating in Bountiful the same fall of of his arrival.
The following spring (1848) he sowed seven acres of wheat and planted fourteen acres of corn, but later that year, for about seven weeks, the crickets threatened their crops, but still they had a good harvest; wheat being as high as $10 per bushel. This year he built the first house that was ever erected in this town, which was later named after him.
On Oct. 15gh 1848, started back east after his sister Sylva, returning to Utah on the 26 of June 1850 with a company of 149 mean and were on their way to California to hunt gold. These miners left considerable money with him for provisions which they bought to supply them on their journey, flour then being $50 per cwt.
In 1851, he built his large adobe house (57x57). Sept. 1852, left on a mission to England, returning three years later. The year of fifty-seven was spent in Nevada on a mission. In sixty-nine and seventy-two he sent to Maine doing missionary work and gathering genealogies. Much of the latter part of his life was spent in laboring in the temples for the dead and much means was used for that purpose.
Six wives and forty-one children are left to mourn his loss; two wives and fourteen children having preceded him.
Funeral services were held in the Tabernacle on Tuesday, June 6th, where an unusually large audience, composed of old and young, assembled to show their last respects to the highly esteemed pioneer and leader.
David Stoker, E. B. Tripp, Apostle John Henry Smith and Prest. Joseph F. Smith were the speakers.
Utah Digital Collection, Davis County Clipper, 8 June 1893, 1
Perrigrine Sessions Biography
Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, Daniel Spencer/Perrigrine Sessions Company (1847)
Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, Perrigrine Sessions Company (1854)
Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, Perrigrine Sessions Company (1857)
Parents: David Sessions (1790 - 1850) Patty Bartlett Sessions (1795 - 1892) Spouses: Lucina Call Sessions (1819 - 1904) Mary Call Sessions (1824 - 1865) Elizabeth Gaberiell Beirdneau Sessions (1827 - 1903) Emmorett Fanny Loveland Sessions (1838 - 1917) Esther Mabey Sessions (1850 - 1930)* Sarah Ann Bryson Sessions (1850 - 1934)* Julia Ann Kilgore Sessions (1815 - 1845)* Sarah Crossley Sessions (1843 - 1906)* Children: Martha Ann Sessions Smoot (1835 - 1877)* Carlos Lyon Sessions (1842 - 1926)* Julia Parke (1847 - 1938)* Byron Sessions (1851 - 1928)* Fanny Emmorett SESSIONS Baird (1855 - 1908)* Cyril Sessions (1855 - 1861)* Keplar Sessions (1856 - 1932)* Lucinda Sessions Kendall (1858 - 1950)* Chester Sessions (1859 - 1924)* Harvey Sessions (1859 - 1948)* Perry Sessions (1860 - 1896)* Agnes Emorett Sessions Stoddard (1861 - 1913)* Lucina Sessions (1862 - 1863)* Sylvanus Sessions (1863 - 1937)* Mary Elvira Sessions Ashdown (1864 - 1933)* Lucina Sessions Waite (1865 - 1929)* Mary Sessions Scott (1866 - 1898)* Samuel Sessions (1867 - 1925)* Joseph Sessions (1868 - 1917)* Sylvia Sessions (1869 - 1870)* Thomas Mabey Sessions (1870 - 1955)* Wallace Orlando Sessions (1870 - 1958)* Orson Sessions (1871 - 1949)* David Albert Sessions (1872 - 1892)* Hyrum Sessions (1873 - 1943)* William Wesley Sessions (1873 - 1877)* Jane Maria Sessions (1874 - 1875)* Jedediah Sessions (1875 - 1932)* Lillis Cordelia Sessions Egan (1875 - 1953)* Presley T. Sessions (1876 - 1876)* Eliza Triphana Sessions Armstrong (1877 - 1943)* Parley Pratt Sessions (1877 - 1915)* Patty Orilla Sessions Hatch (1879 - 1983)* Susan Geneva Sessions Neath (1879 - 1962)* Hannah Ann Sessions (1880 - 1880)* Sarah Ann Sessions Clark (1881 - 1941)* Ezra Sessions (1881 - 1966)* Sarah Sessions (1881 - 1881)* Olive Howells (1883 - 1976)* Linnie Sessions Hepworth (1885 - 1928)* Heber John Sessions (1885 - 1980)* Hannah L Sessions Burningham (1886 - 1942)* Walter Sessions (1887 - 1889)* Alvin Sessions (1890 - 1971)* Calvin Sessions (1890 - 1975)*
- Point here for explanation
Burial: Bountiful Memorial Park Bountiful Davis County Utah, USA Plot: b-11-31-1
PIONEER OF 1847
I, Perrigrine Sessions, was born June 15, 1814, near the town of Newry, Oxford County, Maine.
My mother, Patty Bartlett Sessions, was born February 4, 1795, at Standish, Maine.
My father, David Sessions, was born April 4, 1790, in Farley, Orange County, Vermont.
My father and mother had a family of eight children of which I am the eldest.
My grandfather was Enoch Bartlett, and his wife, Anna Hall Bartlett, was my grandmother on my mother’s side.
My grandfather, David Sessions, was born in Boxford, Massachusetts, and married Rachel Stevens, my grandmother. He fought in the Revolutionary War and received a pension of $96.00 a year.
My parents lived on a farm at my birth, but the land was very poor, so two years later they sold their property and moved to a place about eight miles away. This was good land and my parents prospered well.
This neighborhood was mostly Methodists, and as neither of my parents belonged to any church, they began about this time to think and read the Bible. They decided that baptism was right, so on October 1, 1816 my mother was baptised and in October 1818, two years later, my father was baptised, into the Methodist Church.
Soon after this, they built a large house, and my grandparents came to live with them.
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In 1832, our family was stricken with typhus fever, and three of the family died. There were eleven of the family sick at that time, and many of the neighbors were in the same condition.
In August 1833, Mormonism was introduced into this part of the country by Hason Aldrich and Horace Cousin. As soon as my mother heard them preach, she believed. Father, however, thought they should wait and consider a little longer. As soon as he gave his consent, in July 1834, she was baptised into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Daniel Bean.
She stood firm and scorned all opposition from her neighbors and brothers and sisters for one year before any of us joined.
Two months later, I was married to Julia Kilgore. She was light complexioned, beautiful features, medium sized, and had a sweet, gentle, loving disposition. September 17, 1835, I embraced the gospel and was baptised by Edward Partridge and Isaac Morley, two good and holy men.
Five days later, September 22nd, our first child, a girl, was born, and we called her Martha Ann.
About a year later my wife joined the church, being baptised August 1, 1836, by Lyman Johnson, one of the twelve apostles at that time who has since been cut off from the church. About this time we began to meet with persecution and my wife’s friends opposed her with all the arguments they could possess, but she maintained her integrity against it all.
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We had some privileges with the Saints, as there was a branch of the church in a near town, having thirty members. Daniel Bean, who has since bee cut off the church, presided over the branch.
At this time we were often visited by members of the twelve and by many elders. The twelve held conferences at my father’s house on August 12, 1835. Brigham Young and Lyman Johnson, two of the twelve, were there and talked of the necessity of gather wit the Saints in Zion. This seemed a great sacrifice to make, but my father and I began immediately to sell our property, of which we had considerable, as we were well fixed. We finally disposed of it, and we all started for Zion. My father, my Mother, on brother, one sister, and I and my family with Uncle Jonathan Powers and his family.
We took leave of our neighbors and friends on June 5, 1837. Many tears were shed by our friends and my wife’s aged mother and father. We traveled by land and water until we arrived in Kirtland, Ohio, where we met the prophet Joseph Smith and heard him preach in the temple of God which the Saints had built at this place.
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We had many things to try us at this time. We were all taken sick with measles and remained there six weeks. Then traveled on to Missouri. This was a long and hard journey. We lived in our tents in good and bad weather. We finally arrived at Far West, Missouri in November. Here there were many Saints gathered, some living in tents, eating parched corn, but all seemed to be happy and contented, and the spirit of the Lord was with them.
Many had been driven by mobs from their homes in adjoining counties and States. Many had bee killed, some saw their homes burned and their farms destroyed and their crops wasted, but joy and peace seemed to be there with them.
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In the fall of 1837 the Prophet and his family, together with his brother, Hyrum, arrived at Far West with many of the Saints. On July 4, 1838 the foundation for another temple was laid. This again excited the mobsters, as the heavy emigration caused much excitement, and many threats were thrown out against us.
Father and I bought some land, five acres of which we cultivated, and built two block houses upon it. We some enclosed 100 acres more, broke forty of this, and planted crops. The crops soon looked fine, so I returned to our old home to settle some property we had left unsettled. I was very sick on the way. After much trouble I arrived at the home of my father-in-law, and the place of my birth. Here I lay sick for six weeks before I could finish my business and start west again.
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I met Orson Pratt and his family, and I traveled with them to New York. Here we received news that the mob had broken out again, and that many of the Saints had been slain. We hurried to Boston where the news had been confirmed. Our feelings could never be penned, the anguish and suspense I suffered, not knowing if my wife and parents had suffered or had been slain.
We hurried on, but were detained by low water. It was November before we reached St. Louis. It was very cold and the rivers were choked with ice, which hindered us a great deal. Oh the heart aches. Here I was, three hundred miles from my loved ones, and they in the midst of such troubles.
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I left Orson Pratt and started on foot as there was no prospect of being taken by water. I walked several days and then bought a horse to ride the remainder of the way. Everyone I met told me of the trouble, and many threatened to kill any Mormon they saw. I was not molested, and arrived November 28th. I found my family had not suffered at the hands of the mob, but they were in sickness.
About twenty-five of the Saints had been slain and fifty or sixty of them were in prison, among them our beloved prophet. They were in cold, wet dungeons, eating horse meat, and guarded by those who swore that they should never leave the prison walls alive.
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Soon after my arrival, the Saints received and epistle from the Prophet, saying that we must leave the state. He advised us to move to Illinois. It was a cold winter and many of the Saints were destitute, having been robbed of all their possessions. However, we were full of hope and joy, and we all pledged ourselves that every one of the poor should share with us, and we would not stop until the last one had been moved from the state of Missouri. There were twelve hundred souls in all. This caused zeal and kindled the hearts of the elders who end on preaching the gospel.
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It was at this time that I was ordained one of the seventies by Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball. I realized the responsibility placed upon me and the importance of my calling.
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We started in February, it was very cold and we had to live in tents along the side of the road. Here women and children waked until the shoes fell of their feet, and they were compelled to walk barefoot. Every town through which we passed, jeered and threatened us. Some of our people were taken and whipped nearly to death. Finally we arrived on the banks of the Mississippi River and found two hundred families camped, unable to cross as the ice was so thick. We were detained three weeks, my dear mother and wife were both sick with fever and chills. There was about three inches of snow and we were living in tents, and had only parched corn to eat. Many died for want of food and comfort. Women gave birth to babies in tents by the side of the road. Such suffering and sorrow I cannot describe to you.
At last after three weeks we crossed the river and stood on the other side of the bank. We bid farewell to Old Missouri and breathed the air of freedom again.
The people here were different. They took us into their homes and tried to make us comfortable. Many became our best friends, and many joined the church afterwards. By May, all of the Saints were out of the state of Missouri, and brother Joseph was liberated from prison. He joined the Saints and held conference at Quincy, Illinois. Oh the joy it gave us to see the face of the prophet again and to hear his voice, encouraging us and reviving our spirits, for we were like sheep without a shepherd, scattered by darkness and storm.
Here a place was chosen for the saints to locate. Nauvoo, then called the city of Joseph.
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Father and I rented some land about twelve miles from the town on the Mississippi River. On June 27, 1839, I left on my first mission to preach the gospel to the Gentiles in my native state of Maine. My company and I started without purse or script and traveled on foot most of the way. We arrived October 10, 1839. Here I labored with good results among my friends and relatives. I baptised many and planted the seed of the everlasting gospel in many hearts that I know will spring forth and bring fruit later on.
On April 23, 1840, I took leave of the saints of my native land and started for my home in the west. I arrived June 14th. Oh the terrible condition in which I found my family. I shall never forget it, but I shall not murmur one work, as God was with them.
My father’s family and mine were living in a little log cabin, 14 feet square, no chimney, no clinking, no floor, nor paint. The roof leaked like a sieve with every shower. They had scarsely a whole garment upon their bodies and very little to eat.
In these circumstances, we struggled with poverty, sickness and death among the saints.
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In fall, October 6th, the Lord directed us through the Prophet Joseph, to build another temple unto him, giving him the pattern. With scarcely any tools, spades shovels or wagons to haul the stone, we began. We laid the cornerstone and the work started to roll on.
Now sickness fell upon my house. My wife, my child and I were drawn near the jaws of death many times from September 1840 until May 1841. Then the Lord blessed us, and we recovered. We moved to a farm twenty miles away and worked through the summer so I could build a home in Nauvoo. This was a great undertaking, as we were in terrible poverty. I had not the first dollar to my name, but I did have the spirit of God, and I knew he would bless me. He did.
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In December we moved to our new home, and in March, Father was called to Maine on a mission. I worked on the temple, using his team to haul stone and wood from the islands of the river. In April I was again called upon a mission to my native state, Maine. I left immediately. After a long journey, William Hathaway and I arrived. He soon left me to take his family to Zion, as they resided in this state. I was left alone with my labors about June 1st with nothing of this world to help me, but the kind hand and strong arm of Israel’s God sustained me and prospered me in my mission. I labored with good results until May 4th, the following year, when I started for home with friends who were not saints.
I received my passage to Buffalo, New York, for my service to them. They surely treated me well. At Buffalo, I left them and joined some saints and traveled by wagon though rain on bad roads. Many of the bridges were washed away and we were forced to swim the streams. I suffered greatly for want of food and care, as I had worn myself out in the first part of the journey. I was sick and suffered greatly. There was no place for me to sleep but in the open, and there was scarcely any food. On the 14th of June, I arrived at home in Nauvoo, my children scarcely knew me, and I in turn scarcely new my wife, for she was suffering with lingering consumption and could hardly stand on her feet.
The saints once more suffered keen persecution. False writs were sworn out, man of the saints were thrown in prison, among them the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum who were murdered in cold blood by a mob of black-hearted wretches on June 27, 1844, a day to be remembered, while eternities roll on, and the wrath of an offended God is not satisfied with the murdering of His Prophet. Here the saints had a trial almost as great as the saints in the time of Christ, when he was crucified, and they were left alone.
Some were seeking for power, and some were trying to find place in the presidency of the church. There was much discussion in the church, some were for Sidney Rigdon, but most of them were for the twelve apostles. At length Sidney and his followers went to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where they tried to establish a church. Many of those who had been cut off the church gathered with him, and he gave them high offices. They could not leave of their wrong doings, and the prophecies of Sidney Rigdon were not fulfilled, as they were not inspired by God, but only by an imaginary heart.
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The Saints who were left in Nauvoo clung together, obeying the commands that the prophet had left, and finished the temple. Health and prosperity crowned their labors and the church was in peace throughout 1844.
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On January 25, 1845, my beloved wife left me after a long and lingering illness and I laid her to rest in Nauvoo, Illinois, by the side of my sister, Amanda. Here I am, left with two little children to mourn the loss of my dear companion, who feared to do wrong, and served God with all her heart, might, mind and strength.
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Now once more the mobs set upon us and our homes were burned and property destroyed. Saints were driven, imprisoned, beaten and slain. The lives of the twelve were sought as was the life of the Prophet before, I write this journal with my firearms on the table before me, ready to defend my own life and that of my family if necessary.
In October 1845 the saints agreed that again they must move and began preparing to do so, making wagons and gathering supplies for the purpose. We must search our a place to worship our God.
On January 20th I received my endowments in the House of the Lord with my second wife, Lucina Call, and rejoiced greatly. After much hardship I finally got mother and father ready to start with me. On February 10th I started and followed the road made by saints that left in February. Our group was detailed to Brother John Taylor. We had a single wagon and team with all the earthly possessions which we could carry with us. We continued our journey through unsettled country, through the state of Iowa, to Council Bluffs, on the Missouri River.
On June 22nd, we met the main camp of about twelve hundred wagons. They had stopped to build a boat with which to cross the river. Here we were surrounded by Indians on all sides and over one hundred miles from the Gentiles. Here, though we had no houses, I felt at home, for my home was in a wagon, and we could move as we pleased
I spent about one month ferrying saints across the river. When we had nearly all across, Captain Allen came and wanted five hundred men to go to Mexico, as Mexico and the States were at war. This seemed a hard thing to let that number of men go, but we had to save our lives and those or our families, for the mob spirit was in the whole nation from the highest to the lowest. If our men did not go, the government would send mob on us. Although it looked hard, we had to do it. In two days the number was made up and in a short time they were on their way on foot, with a journey of a thousand miles before them, over the deserts to fight for a nation that had driven them out of their midst.
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This stopped our camp and we were obliged to give up our plan to cross the Rocky Mountains this season. After all were safely across the river, a part of the camp started for Grand Island, about two hundred miles up the Platte. I started with the rest with father and mother and traveled for forty miles. Here we came to the Elk Horn River and I with about one hundred others were detailed to stop and to build a bridge. Here we stayed about ten days, while some two hundred wagons went on. When they arrived near Grand Island they found the grass insufficient to winter the cattle, and they took a north course to strike the Missouri River some two hundred miles above the Bluffs. This was the council of the Presidency which had not overtaken us. After ten days of hard labor in the water waist deep, putting in the abutments for the bridge, we had council to return to the main camp that had moved up the river about twelve miles to a place called Winter Quarters. While on the way Mother was taken sick with a fever, and when we reached camp, we did not expect Mother to live. This was August 1, 1846. Here I found many sick and dying daily, and but a few able to work. I with about twenty others went to work cutting hay to winter our stock. I labored one month while Mother, my wife Lucina, and Mary were sick with ague. This was the first of September. I had a hard time until the twenty-fourth. We moved camp about four miles to the river where I built a house to winter in, although I had not a foot of lumber, and timber was scarce.
Each family had to work to prepare for the winter. This was tedious job as many families had no man to build for them or to take care of them. All did what they could for themselves and others. It would astonish the world to se how quickly twelve hundred houses were build, in addition to two good flour mills, although we had very little grain to grind.
I got ready a house sixteen by twenty feet, and we moved into it on the 13th of December. Here I had a hard time to take care of our cattle as the Indians were killing them every day. We got the cattle together into a herd of about four thousand, which I help to take care of for about one month, camping with the cattle and watching them by day and night.
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December 17th, we started for Missouri for provisions. We were gone twenty days, camping by the road, on a journey of one hundred and sixty miles. The snow fell two feet deep while I was gone. This seemed as hard a journey as ever a man has endured. The weeks were very cold, and not house to put our heads in, but the blessings of God was with us, and we arrived home with some flour and meat with which to sustain our families.
I then started a company of six men for a hunt. We went about fifteen miles, broke our wagon and had to camp on a bleak dessert with Edmond Ellsworth. It was the coldest night I ever saw, and we came within a hair’s breadth of freezing to death. We stayed there eight days. I was knocked down by a limb that was blown from a tree, and I was obliged to return home, or rather was sent for by the Presidency of the church, who thought I was frozen to death.
After a few days, I started with William Empey on another hunt, we traveled about forty miles and found some game, deer, turkey, wolves and wild honey. We killed several turkeys, and had a good time until the last three days when about two feet of snow fell.
We arrived home on the 20th of February, and stayed for seven days. Here we had joy and satisfaction eating honey and turkey. On the 27th I started with William Cutler and William Hathaway for the states of Missouri and Iowa. The roads were very bad and we made slow headway, although we had a good team. Nothing of importance happened to us along the way. We found many of the old mobocrates in Clay and Bay Counties.
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One incident happened in 1838 when I was on my way out of Missouri, near Palmyra, with Joseph Smith Sr. the father of the Prophet, and Carlos Smith in a snow storm. We called at a house to buy some corn and to stay the night. Father Smith asked the man if we could camp there and buy some feed. He said: "Are you Mormons?" Father Smith said, "Yes." "Damn you, you can’t stay here." with many other insulting words. We all turned from him, and when we were in the street Father Smith took off his hat although snow was falling, and with uplifted hand said: "In the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, let that man be cursed in his basket and in his store and let his mane be cut off from under heaven."
We all said, "Amen."
When I came to travel that road again, two years had passed. This was brought fresh to my mind, for behold, there was naught to mark the spot but the ruins of his house burned to ashes. His orchard had broken down, his farm a picture of desolation, his wife and three children had burned to death in his house and he at the time was in close confinement and insane. Here I saw the power of the Holy Priesthood manifested, for at the next house we had been received kindly and father Smith had left his blessing upon the house, the farm and the family. Here my eyes beheld his blessings and happenings fulfilled to the letter. All was a picture of prosperity and happiness. All this had passed and the two men were ignorant of the cursing and blessing placed upon them as we passed on.
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I called at Nauvoo to settle some business and found many of my old friends. I stayed with Sister Parley P. Pratt. Then I went by steamboat to Iowa City. Here I found my brother David, and Sylvia, my sister, all ready to start to visit Father and Mother at Winter Quarters. I stayed two days, then took a team of horses and we all started. We traveled through the upper part of the state of Iowa. In some places it was one hundred miles between houses, and in many places we had to build bridges and head the streams.
This was not a pleasant journey, but we arrived safely at Father’s on the of April. I found my family all well and glad to see me.
I found that a company of Pioneers had started for the Rocky Mountains. There were about on hundred men in that company. They had been gone five days when I arrived.
The Indians came near the town and took seven head of cattle from some boys, shot at the boys and left. The alarm was given, and bout six of us started after the Indians. We followed them for fifteen miles, recovered several of the cattle, but there were too many of them for us, as there were about thirty Indians. After we returned home, there was an alarm given that forty Indians were on their way to a herd of cattle that was up the Missouri River about one hundred miles. I started with nine others with two mules and provisions. We traveled day and night until we found the herd. We found the Indians had killed four cows. We herded the cattle together as soon as we could and put a guard around the. When we had finished, the Indians came upon us, and all fired three guns at us, but not a man was touched. This occurred about nine in the evening, and again before morning the came and were near the camp before we saw them. We drove them away and they came no more.
Here I suffered more that I had ever done in my life. My feet were blistered, and I had no rest day or night for ten days. When I arrived home I could hardly walk, as I had been about six days without a break. I now had to prepare to follow the pioneers.
My sister let us have some money with which I bought our outfit for the plains. This was three hundred pounds of flour for each person. We got ready and started on the 5th of June, 1847. My sister, Sylvia, and David started back to Iowa on the 9th of May. This would be our last look at them in this world.
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At this time, the Indians seemed to be stirred up against us, and we dared no travel in small companies. We had to keep up guard day and night. This caused us much trouble as men were scarce in camp. Five hundred had gone to the Mexican War, and over one hundred pioneers left us with almost half of the teams without teamsters except females. This seemed hard indeed, but go we must at this crises and under these circumstances. The God in heaven only knew when our journey would end, but with a cheerful heart the whole camp rolled on the trackless plains without a guide save the Almighty whome we trusted.
We camped about five miles away with about thirty wagons. I was called upon by Parley P. Pratt to call out a guard for the night and until otherwise directed. This I did, and in the morning several wagons came up, and we started with about forty wagons in my charge. I had to see that all kept their places and were ready for an attack of any kind by the Indians.
We made a good drive to a stream called the Papeo. We camped again in a storm of hail, rain, thunder and lightening. The alarm came that the Indians had scared the cattle. All turned out and ran after the cattle. We ran after by the light of the lightening. When a flash came we could see them plainly. Then all was dark. We went about a mile and a half and recovered the cattle, all safe.
In the morning we built a bridge and crossed the stream. Thence we traveled to the Elk Horn River, a distance of thirty-five miles. We found it very high and about one hundred and twenty feet wide. Here I selected ten men and left the rest in charge of the camp. We went up the river about five miles, got some dry timber and built a raft to cross our wagons. In two days we were all safely across, at this time the wagons came as fast as we could cross them.
I selected fifteen men and went to build a public corral to put the cattle in. In two days I had ten acres well fenced. I then raised al liberty pole about seventy feet high with a white flag. Here the people gathered and organized for their journey. There were captains of hundreds, fifties and tens. I was appointed captain of fifty. The first organized one in the company was father John Smith, the patriarch of the whole church, and Parley P. Pratt, one of the twelve.
After all were organized in my company there were eighty-seven wagons and fifty men over fourteen years of age. We had some thirty wagons without a man to drive them. My mother was one of them. This seemed hard as we had no road. There were six hundred and sixty wagons in all the camp.
We had to wait for two pieces of cannon that we had left. This detained us for several days, during which time we caught plenty of fish for my company. Here I found myself under heavy responsibility to keep up the guards and to provide for the other camp duties. When the cannon came, Parley P. Pratt, with me and company, was appointed to herd the whole camp. This was another great task, as we had no roads save what er had made here. I was obliged to direct almost the whole move of the camp. Brother Pratt and I had to go ahead of the camp on foot to hunt out the way, build bridges, hunt food across the streams, which exposed us to the Indians more than the other men were exposed. We had not traveled far one day when, about four miles ahead of the camp, we found a fine horse for each of us. This gave us much joy and thankful hearts, as we found it much easier to ride than go by foot. One of the horses even had a saddle and bridle on. I will say that this was a blessing of God to us.
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When we reached the Platte River, we found fresh Indian tracks and the bones of a man that had been killed. In two or three days the wolves had eaten the flesh from the bones. We gathered them up and burned and buried them, and set up a sign by the grave. This plainly told us we were in danger and set us on our guard. We went on with our journey killing some game on the way.
When we arrived at the loop of the Platte River, we found a place to ford the river, although we had to drive all our cattle several times to tramp the quicksand so that we could cross our wagons. The stream was about half a mile wide, and this hindered us for about two days, but we all crossed safely.
We then had thirty-five miles without water over a sandy plain. In the afternoon it began to rain. This furnished us with plenty of water for our stock, and we camped without wood. Here we found plenty of antelope, several of which we killed. We continued our journey to Wood River. This was a fine stream of water running through a level plain, which empties into the Platte River. Here we found a sight of the Pioneers and a letter which gave us much joy. I will say that once in a while we would find the trail of the Pioneers. Here we found that they had killed eleven buffalo, but we found no sign of new buffalo. We did see a few Indians. We were among the Pawnees.
We continued our journey to Elm Creek. Here we found plenty of buffalo, and camp halted to hunt. I selected five men of my company and we started about eleven o’clock and returned the next night with twenty-five hundred pounds of meat. This cheered the camp.
We continued our journey until near Chimney Rock, where the cattle of one of the "fifty" stampeded, and many cattle were lost. The whole camp was stopped, and I had to let fourteen yoke of oxen go out of my company. This weakened our teams so that we could move but slowly, as our loads were heavy and our cattle began to die. Here we made slow headway. When we neared Laramie, we met Colonel Kane from California accompanied by forty men. Here too, we met brother Jeremiah Willey returning form the Battalion of the Mexican War, we heard too, from the Pioneers and this gave us much joy.
We continued our journey to Fort Laramie, here we bought several yoke of oxen, repaired our wagons, set tires, etc. We found the Platte River very low, so that we could ford it with very little difficulty. We made our way over the black hills. Here we struck the old California road, and we found that although it was hilly road, we could travel more easily. Yet our teams were worn out, and many of the cattle died. This allowed us to make only slow headway. Here we left the remainder of the buffalo of which we had used for the past three hundred miles. The antelope here were plentiful and we killed many of them. This was great help for food in the camp. It made our journey more agreeable.
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We had but few accidents. One day as we were traveling one of Parley P. Pratt’s children fell out of the wagon. The wheel ran over the child’s body, and it was picked up for dead. Two or three elders were called who laid hands on the child and gave it a blessing and it was made whole. This was one of the many that was healed by the ordinance of the Laying on of Hands.
We held meetings on the Sabbath in our various companies and the gifts of the gospel attended camp in all our travels. We met with the Lamanites almost daily, but they seemed friendly and almost glad to see us.
When we arrived at the upper crossing of the Platte, we met several of the Pioneers on their way back after their families. This gave us fresh courage, although our teams were quite feeble, hardly able to move the camp. By the blessings of God we continued our journey. We met the presidency of the church near a stream called the Little Sandy. Here we called a halt, and they gave us a brief account of the valley with many instructions pertaining to the course the camp should pursue.
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When we arrived in the valley, the camp was cheered, as we had but about two hundred miles to travel before we could build and inhabit. Although we were in the midst of the wild men of the mountains, our spirits were refreshed and it seemed as if our burdens were light, although we were wearing out with the long and tedious journey.
Four inches of snow fell upon our arrival at the Big Sandy. This was but the first day of September. The weather was cold and the ground was frozen. After two or three days the weather turned warm, and we were able to travel on. Most of the Saints were obliged to travel afoot, many without shoes.
After a journey of about four months, we landed in the Great Salt Lake Valley, on the twenty-fourth of September, 1847. All were well, and not a death had occurred in my company of four hundred souls. Several children were born along the way, staying with the main camp five days.
Upon arrival, I took a herd of cattle and my family and started north. Here I made the first track made past the Hot Springs. I traveled ten miles and camped with the herd of cattle. Here I had my hands full to take care of the cattle. I lived in a wagon as before.
The weather was fine, and but little snow fell. In about a month, Father and I had built a house in Salt Lake City, or in the Fort. The first thing was to build a Fort of houses by joining house to house. This house was built of logs, sixteen by twenty-four feet, and containing two rooms. My father and mother moved in with a part of my family. This made it seem a little more like a home. I will say here that my father and I lived as one family all the days of our lives and have all things in common. What was one’s interest, was the interest of all the family.
After this I continued with the herd until spring. I then gave up the herd and began to put in a crop of grain. I sowed seven acres of corn, beans, peas, pumpkins, squash and melons. After my wheat crop began to grow, the crickets came like the locus in the day of Moses. Thus I had my hands full trying to save the crops. This lasted for seven days without one day of rest. The crickets came in March.
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On the 25th of April, 1848, my daughter Julia was born in Salt Lake City, in the midst of the hard times.
Wheat was worth ten dollars a bushel, and many families were without bread. This continued until harvest. Parley P. Pratt’s family was one among the many. Some lived on roots and greens with the little milk the cows gave. At last the harvest came with plenty, although many fields had been completely destroyed by the crickets. These crickets were as large as a man’s finger to the second joint, and were brown in color. They mad a noise somewhat like that made by a mouse when alarmed.
My crop came in well, and I had some 500 bushels of grain to sell. This was a great help to me. I bought cattle and horses with the funds I received in October.
I built myself a log house, sixteen by thirty-six feet, and we moved into it in November. I began to feel comfortable with my family, although we had some annoyance with the Indians. They would steal or cattle and horses, yet we were able to keep from open war with them. With it all times seemed prosperous with the most of the Saints.
This fall our population was nearly doubled by the emigration across the plains. The First Presidency came, and the people began to spread out in the valley of the mountains, blessed with peace and prosperity.
The winter was mild, and we had but little snow. In the spring I planted my fields, this was in 1849, and our crops grew well.
In June the emigration came, a flock going to California to dig for gold. This gave the Saints a chance to trade with them for many tools, clothing and stock of all kinds. The made money plentiful and all things went well for the Saints, for the set time had come to favor Zion, which had been spoken by the prophets. Here prosperity seemed to smile upon me, my cattle and horses increased in marvelous manner and my crops did extremely well.
On the fifteenth of October, I started back across the plains to the States to get my sister, Sylvia, and her family. This was a hard journey, as I had dome six hundred miles of snow and cold weather all the way to Iowa. I arrived in Iowa City on the first day of January, 1850. Here I found my sister and my brother, David, well and glad to see me. The object of my journey looked hard to accomplish, for in a short time after my arrival I found that my sister was on the back ground, and it was doubtful if she would leave for the valley. At length she told me that I must not feel bad, for she was going to get married that night. I had had to travel thirteen hundred miles after her, only to be disappointed. Finally I persuaded my brother to return home with me.
Accordingly, we fitted out and started for home on the eleventh of April with a company of men who were going to California to dig gold.
We continued our journey to Council Bluffs. Here we crossed the Missouri River on the sixth of May and organized a company of one hundred and forty-nine men. I was elected captain of the company which was composed of popular men too, judges, lawyers and one priest. I and my brother were the only Latter-day Saints in the company, but they all treated us with respect. I led the company through and arrived home on the 26th of June 1850. I found my family all well and glad to see me once more.
Here I found everything high. Flour was worth fifty dollars per hundred; corn meal was worth twenty-five dollars. Other provisions were in accordance with these prices. My family had in hand $1350.00 in cash, and before my company left, I had taken about seven hundred dollars more. The emigration to the gold mines made money plentiful. Their cattle were poor and worn out, teams were very cheap and our cattle and horses, being fat would bring any price we cared to ask. I cleared in trade some $2000.00 in about two months.
My crops came in well, and all that I put my hand to was blessed of the Lord. My brother stayed with me. In the fall I began to build myself another house, thirty-seven feet in square and two stories high. I dug the well and cellar and hauled the stone. Before the spring of 1851 opened, I had the well and the cellar dug and the foundation for the house laid. I then put my crops in a made the adobes and the house was put up before harvest. My crops came in well, and in the fall, I finished the house and moved my family into it the first of January, 1852.
We had a mild winter with but little snow. We still had some difficulty with the Indians, four of our people and fifteen Indians being killed.
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I male this journal short and leave many things out. I will say here that my father died August 11, 1851 as a result of a paralytic stroke. He lived about a week after he was stricken. He was buried in Salt Lake City, Utah. This left mother alone. I helped to build her a house, in the city, fenced her city lot, and set out some fruit trees.
The city improved very fast this year, and health and prosperity seemed to smile upon the Latter-day Saints in the valleys and the mountains. The labors of the Elders abroad among the nations of the earth had a great influence, and many embraced the Gospel as restored in the last days.
At this time health of my family was good. In February, Mary became ill and continued sick about a month, during this time Martha Ann was married to William Smoot under the authority of Brigham Young.
In the spring I sowed my fields quite early, the crops prospered, and we had a plentiful harvest. About this time the emigrants came in by the thousands, both Gentiles and Saints. All things that the Saints did were blessed and prospered in a marvelous way.
On the first of September I was called on a mission to England with some one hundred and twenty others to different parts of the world. This required a sudden start, but I was able to make all of the arrangements and started on the 15th. I hired Moses Daley to carry me across the plains, paying him fifty dollars. When I arrived in Missouri, we all got together and organized a branch. Daniel Spencer being made President. Then we proceeded on our way with varied experiences of joy and pleasure.
On January 1, 1853, I arrived in Liverpool, England. On the 7th I attended a Conference and was appointed to preside over the Manchester Conference. This I did with great pleasure and success until my release. Although I was in ill health most of the time. (There is no mention of the date of his release)
Salt Lake City, March 19, 1866. I left home to go to my native state to secure genealogies. I was well received by my relatives and friends among whom I visited for some time. I returned home July 14, 1866.
I then visited my sons and daughters in the north for a few weeks, but was taken sick and did not enjoy myself much. I returned home in poor condition.
Perrigrine Sessions was the husband of eight wives and the father of fifty-five children. He lived to be 78 years old, loved and honored by all the met. Jew, Gentile or Saint. He spent fifteen years in the mission field for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In the little cemetery at Bountiful, Davis County, Utah rests the remains of this noble, world known hero of pioneer days, my Father.
--Hannah Sessions Burningham
The David and Patty Bartlett Sessions Family
Sedgwick Research Home
http://www.sedgwickresearch.com/sessions/perrigrine_sessions_diary.pdf FAMILY RECORD Perrigrine Sessions, Born June 15, 1814 at Newry, Oxford Co. Maine, U.S.A. Married to Julia Ann Kilgore of Newry, Oxford Co. Maine, on Sept. 21, 1834 at newry, Oxford Co. Maine, by John Libby, Witnesses Elijah Searles and Joan Searles. Julia Ann Kilgore Sessions, Born June 24, 1815, at Newry, Oxford Co. Maine. Married to Perrigrine Sessions, of Newry, Oxford Co. Maine on Sept. 21, 1834 at Newry, Oxford Co. Maine, by John Libby. Witness Joan Searles and Elijah Searles. Children Martha Ann Sessions, Born Sept. 22, 1835 at Newry, Oxford Co. Maine, Married William C. Smoot of Salt Lake City, Utah at Bountiful, Davis Co. Utah. Died Jan. 1877 at Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah. Carlos L. Sessions, Born July 17, 1842 at Nauvoo, Hancock Co. Illinois. Married to Elizabeth Wintle of Bountiful, Utah at Bountiful, Davis Co. Utah. -------------------- Find a Grave
Perrygrine Sessions Birth: Jun. 15, 1814 Newry
Perrigrine Sessions's Timeline
June 15, 1814
Newry, Oxford County, Maine
September 21, 1834
September 17, 1835
September 17, 1835
September 17, 1835
September 22, 1835
Newry, Oxford, Maine USA
July 17, 1842
Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois, USA
Salt Lake City,Salt Lake,Utah
June 28, 1845
Nauvoo, IL, USA
June 28, 1845
Nauvoo, IL, USA