Note: This version of Ella Mae Judd’s biography of Theodore is taken from Wally and Frances Gray’s old family history website (archived here). Frances is a descendant of Theodore’s daughter, Charlotte, and Wally contributed many family history articles to the TTFO newsletter prior to his death in 2012. Wally and Frances posted most of the contents of the 1978 TTFO publication The Theodore Turley Family Book (a.k.a Red Book) to their website in the early days of the internet, an invaluable resource for family researchers. Their posting of Theodore’s biography from that book, however, was unique. It was retyped by the author herself in 1997. Ella Mae Judd incorporated Olive K. Turley’s corrections to the biography, and also included a special explanatory note at the end. Although historical research has now cast doubt on some of the family folklore found here, it’s still a treasure for Turley family members.
THEODORE TURLEY was born 10 April 1801* in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England, the son of William Turley and Elizabeth Yates. Theodore married Frances Amelia Kimberley** 26 November 1821, Harborne, Staffordshire, England. Frances was born 22 June 1800, in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England and died 30 August 1847, in Winter Quarters (now Florence), Douglas, Nebraska. The parents of Frances Amelia Kimberley were Thomas Kimberley and Sarah Hitchens. Theodore died 12 August 1871 in Beaver City, Beaver, Utah.
*Originally 1800. This and subsequent corrections designated with an asterisk (*) were made as a result of “Corrections and Additions” submitted by Sister Olive K. Turley.
**Spelling of “Frances” and “Francis” both found in genealogical records; not verified.
“Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.” (D&C 2; cf. Mal. 4:5,6.)
The prophet Elijah appeared in vision to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery on April 3, 1836 in the Kirtland Temple. What was his great mission–one that would bring fathers and children so much closer together? The prophet of old conferred upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery the keys of the sealing power–the authority to seal husband and wife, parents and children, for all eternity.
This great prophet brought to the earth the keys which make it possible for mankind to be saved in the highest glory of the Celestial Kingdom. However, with great blessings come great responsibilities. It became the responsibility of every Latter-day Saint to seek out his kindred dead and have saving ordinances performed for them, for persons can be exalted only in family groups.
The prophet Joseph Smith said: “The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead.” Speaking of ordinance work for the dead, he said: “Those saints who neglect it, in behalf of their deceased relatives, do it at the peril of their own salvation.” Neglect is not something which happens only over a long period of time. It happens every day. Every time a day passes that we do not do something for our dead, we are neglecting them. Let us not neglect this important work. If those who read this Biography and Autobiography are not made more aware of their responsibility to their dead, then it has little value.
I have regarded this as a work of love and devotion–a sacred duty. My father is Wallace Mar Turley, son of Alma Ruben Turley, son of Isaac Turley, son of Theodore Turley, about whom this work evolves. In all sincerity I bear testimony that my heart has been turned to my fathers–not only the ones mentioned above, but the countless hundreds of thousands who have gone before, who have made my life and its many blessings possible.
The preparation of this Biography and Autobiography has been an extremely difficult task, and only through the cooperation of many individuals was its completion possible. I extend sincere thanks to Brother A. William Lund, Assistant Church Historian, for granting me permission to use materials available in his office. Brother Lauritz G. Petersen of the Library Staff in the Church Historian’s Office was very helpful and deserves much credit. Brothers Newburn I. Butt and Joseph Sudweeks of the Brigham Young University Library Staff also rendered assistance.
I am especially grateful to my parents, Wallace M. Turley and Margaret W. Turley, for encouragement, financial aid, and help in proofreading. Dorothy G. Hatch also helped with the proofreading. Hortense M. and Helen Fuller spent many hours and contributed much material. Bits of information, helpful suggestions, and encouragement were received from Charles Turley, Floyd and Olive Turley, Alma Turley Heaton, Ernest Turley, Esther Turley McClellan, Gerald Fuller, Hazel M. Roy, Fred Turley, and Josephine Turley Hatch. If this work has any value, it may be attributed to the above named individuals.
Ella Mae Turley
[Retyped November-December, 1997, by Ella Mae [Turley] Judd…]
On April 6, 1830 in Fayette, New York, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized–a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, which shall not be left to another people, and which finally shall consume all other kingdoms, and stand forever. Surely the “times of restitution of all things,” spoken of by the prophets of God, had now come, for an angel had flown in the midst of heaven, “having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” (See Rev. 14:6,7.)
True, an angel had restored the Gospel, but he had not preached it unto “them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue and people.” That responsibility was left with the membership of the Church, which at that time consisted of some six to nine persons. An impossible task? With the restoration had come the priesthood, the Book of Mormon and the gift of the Holy Ghost. The missionary spirit descended upon the membership of the new Church in rich abundance, so that they were happy to leave their homes and their families to go forth and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As they went forth they found that the God of Heaven had for centuries been preparing a people to receive His Gospel; that they knew the voice of the Master. The success of these early missionaries was comparable with that of Peter and Paul of old, for they had the same message of salvation.
In the short space of 120 [now nearly 170] years The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has become the greatest force for good in the world. Today we can be thankful to the Lord for the restoration of the Gospel; and we can be thankful to our progenitor and heir, Theodore Turley–thankful that he had the courage to receive the testimonies of these early missionaries and accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which has made it possible for us to enjoy the blessings and happiness to be received therefrom. Let us concern ourselves in some measure with the life of Theodore Turley–how he was contacted by missionaries, his conversion to the Gospel, and how it affected his life.
I. HIS EARLY LIFE
Theodore Turley was born April 10, 1801, just twenty-nine years lacking four days before the organization of the Church, in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England. His father, William Turley, and mother, Elizabeth Yates, were the parents of ten children, and were staunch professors of Godliness.
It is probable that the early years of Theodore were spent in the vicinity of Birmingham, for in 1818 he commenced preaching Methodism there. Preaching was not his only concern, for we find that on November 26, 1821 in the church in Harborne, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England, he was married to Frances Amelia Kimberley.
As the story goes, this Frances was a very brave girl, and had decided that she would never marry a coward. At one time one of her suitors was on guard duty. In order to test him, she got a gun, concealed herself in one of the nearby trees, and fired seven shots. Frances did not marry that man. Later, when she was ready to get married, all of her suitors were called in and lined up behind a curtain, with their hands out. It is said that she chose Theodore’s hands because they were not soft, and because they showed character.1
Theodore was a master mechanic, and for some time previous to the year 1825 was employed by the King of England. He and his partner had a contract to make dies to stamp English money. When the job was completed the partner collected the money and skipped town, leaving Theodore with some bills to pay. His creditors were about to have him thrown into jail when the King, who had taken a liking to Theodore, realized the situation and offered to give him a tract of land in Canada and set him up in a blooded herd of cattle. Theodore and Frances accepted this offer, and in 1825, with their two children, emigrated to Canada.2
II. HIS CONVERSION TO
THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS
Theodore and Frances settled at Lake Ontario and Theodore continued to preach Methodism. We can imagine that their activities in Canada were very much as they had been in England.
In the year 1836, Elder Parley P. Pratt carried the Restored Gospel to Canada. While on this mission he converted, among others, Elders John Taylor and Isaac Russell, who continued to preach Mormonism after Elder Pratt had departed. They had considerable difficulty obtaining a place to preach; finally they called upon Theodore Turley to see if they could procure the use of his chapel to present the Gospel. Theodore not only loaned his chapel, but asked the members of his congregation to come and listen. They sang, prayed, and listened to the message. Theodore said to himself, “That is the truth and I shall be condemned if I do not accept it.”3 In the words of Theodore Turley, “He [Isaac Russell] came to me and said he had been warned in a dream that he must come to my house to preach. I received the truth the first time I heard it, and my wife also was baptized on the 1st of March, 1837.”4
Quoting Theodore Turley’s Journal again, we find, “Baptized, Confirmed and Ordained a Priest by Elder Parley P. Pratt March 1, 1837.” There is an error here, either in the date or the person performing the ordinances, for Parley P. Pratt was not in Canada at that time. He did return to Canada a short while later, however, and it is very possible that at least Theodore’s ordination in the priesthood was performed by Elder Pratt. In the Journal History of the Church, dated April 24, 1837, we find the following entry: “A conference was held at Churchville. Theodore Turley was ordained a Priest.”
Theodore was “called to take a mission, March 2, 1837, built up a Church of 17 members in three weeks, among the members were Elder Mulholand, Stauding and Mulliner.”5 Concerning Elder Mulliner, we have the following record: He and his wife, Catherine Nisbet Mulliner, emigrated to America in 1832 and settled near the city of Toronto. There they first heard the fullness of the Gospel proclaimed, and were baptized by Theodore Turley September 10, 1837.6 It is also believed that Theodore was instrumental in converting a Sister Heward.
“Then I was ordained an Elder by Parley P. Pratt, continued preaching until we went to Kirtland and from there to Missouri and remained one year.”7
Before we leave Canada it may be interesting to note a prophecy given by Heber C. Kimball upon the head of Parley P. Pratt before he went on his first mission to Canada: “Thou shalt go to Upper Canada, even to the city of Toronto, the capitol, and there thou shalt find a people prepared for the fullness of the gospel, and they shall receive thee, and thou shalt organize the Church among them, and it shall spread thence into the regions round about, and many shall be brought to the knowledge of the truth and shall be filled with joy; and from the things growing out of this mission, shall the fullness of the gospel spread into England, and cause a great work to be done in that land.”8 Certainly this revelation had reference particularly to such men as Elder John Taylor, later to become a President of the Church, but it may be more than coincidence that Theodore Turley actually was prepared for the fullness of the Gospel, did help spread the Gospel to the “regions round about,” and later performed a mission for the Church in England.
“Sold my farm for $1400. Started with two wagons and four horses in company with Elder John Snider and family, Joel Terry and family. Arrived in Far West on July 28, 1838. Elder Babbo [or Balbo] and family, and Bro. Lemon and his family also went with us. Distance about 1000 miles traveled by land, desirous of settling my family in peace, far from the noise of war, etc., with the advantages of communion with the people of God.”9 Under date of July 28, 1838, Joseph Smith makes special mention of Brother Turley’s arrival: “Elder Babbitt, with his company from Canada has arrived, and Brother Theodore Turley is with him.”10
From that time forward it was the lot of Theodore and his family to suffer the hardships and persecution which followed the Saints in those days. Why were they willing to make these sacrifices? Could any other reason in the world have persuaded them to leave their comfortable home as well as a prosperous business in Canada and travel miles over a wilderness only to be met with the wicked treatment of a violent mob, than a burning testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and an assurance that the Spirit of the Lord was with them?
III. HIS ACTIVITIES IN FAR WEST
Before delving into the activities of Theodore Turley in Far West, perhaps it would be well to consider briefly the state of affairs of the Saints there. Those who had been living in Jackson County were brutally drive from that place by mob action in 1833. The people of Clay County had taken them in temporarily, but when it was found that they would not be able to go back to Jackson County the citizens of Clay County informed them that they were no longer welcome there. Although the Saints were in no condition to travel, they left Clay County peacefully and settled principally in Far West.
During these years the main body of the Church was in Ohio. In the face of persecution and poverty they were striving to complete the Kirtland Temple. It was indeed a dark time for the Church, for in the latter part of 1837 over half of the members of the Church in Kirtland were either excommunicated or left the Church. Because of persecution both within and without the Church, the leaders were forced to flee for their lives. They were followed by the loyal members of the Church in the latter part of 1837 and the early months of 1838, their destination being Far West. Besides these two groups, there was a large emigration from Canada in 1838, of which Theodore Turley was a member.
Even in Far West the Saints were not free from persecution, much of it being instigated by the State. “The Devil and all his host was determined we should not enjoy it long for he caused the Missourians to maltreat us and unconstitutionally drive us from the state.”11 Under date of October 17, 1838, Governor Boggs issued his infamous Extermination Order, stating that “the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the state as necessary for the public peace–their outrages are beyond all description.”12 Probably the first fruits of this order was the Haun’s Mill Massacre. On October 31 Colonel George M. Hinkle, the highest militia officer in Caldwell County, betrayed Joseph Smith and other leading brethren to the mob, and the Saints were left to their own devices.
In December of 1838 Theodore Turley was appointed by the citizens of Caldwell as a member of a committee to draft a memorial to Congress and sign it in their behalf.13 He was also a member of the High Council of Zion, which met in Far West Wednesday, December 19, 1838.14 “I was ordained a Seventy in Far West in 1838 by Heber C. Kimball.”15 (The date was December 22.) On the 19th of January, 1839, the Council of Seventy met at the home of Theodore Turley.16
In the minutes of a public meeting held at Far West, January 26, 1839, it was resolved “that a committee of seven be appointed to make a draft of a preamble and resolution…to be presented to a future meeting for their consideration.” Theodore Turley was one of the committee appointed. It was also resolved “that the committee be further instructed to ascertain the number of families who are actually destitute of means for their removal, and report at the next meeting.”17
On January 29 the second meeting was held. “On motion of President Brigham Young, it was resolved that we this day enter into a covenant to stand by and assist each other to the utmost of our abilities in removing from this state, and that we will never desert the poor who are worthy, till they shall be out of the reach of the exterminating order of General Clark, acting for and in the name of the state.
“After an expression of sentiments by several who addressed the meeting on the propriety of taking efficient measures to remove the poor from the state, it was resolved, that a committee of seven be appointed to superintend the business of our removal, and to provide for those who have not the means of moving, till the work shall be completed.”18 Says Theodore Turley: “Was appointed one of the committee to remove the poor after Boggs’ extermination order.”19
In the evening of the 29th the committee who had been appointed for removing the poor from the state met at the home of Theodore Turley, and organized themselves. Over three hundred and eighty of the Saints subscribed themselves to the previously mentioned covenant.
“Joseph, the Prophet, not willing to be behind the other brethren in the good work, from his gloomy dungeon at Liberty, sent the brethren $100 to assist in removing the Saints.”20
On February 1 the committee again met at the home of Theodore Turley. The number on the committee was increased to eleven. “Several of the Committee addressed the meeting on the arduous task before them, and exhorted all to exert themselves to relieve and assist them in the discharge of the duties of their office, to the utmost of their abilities. Elders Young and Taylor in the most forcible manner addressed the assembly on the propriety of union in order to carry our resolutions into effect….” The committee met again in the evening at the home of Theodore Turley.21
On February 12 “the committee on removal sent a delegation to Sister Murie to ascertain her necessities….” Applications for assistance were made by several of the Saints. On the 13th it was voted that “Theodore Turley be appointed to superintend the management of the teams provided for removing the poor, and see that they are furnished for the journey.”22 The next day the committee met again and “Elders Bingham, Turley, and Shearer, were appointed to sell the house of Joseph Smith, Sen., to a gentleman from Clay County.”23 The next meeting we have record of was at Theodore Turley’s on March 8.
On March 15 “the Prophet Joseph and others petitioned Judge Tomkins, or either of the Supreme Judges of the state of Missouri, for a state’s writ of habeas corpus, that he and his brethren might be brought before either of those judges, that justice might be administered.” Heber C. Kimball was requested by the Prophet to go to Jefferson City to present the petition, and Theodore Turley was appointed to accompany him. “We took copies of the papers by which the prisoners were held, with the petition to the Supreme Judges, and immediately started a distance of 300 miles; visited the judges, and laid the whole matter before them individually, according to our best abilities; neither of them would take any action in the case, although they appeared friendly, and acknowledged that the brethren were illegally imprisoned. We also presented a petition to the Secretary of State, the Governor being absent. He appeared very kind, but like the other officers, he had no power to do good!”24
Heber C. Kimball and Theodore Turley returned immediately to Liberty. Arriving there on the 30th, they went to call on Judge King. He was very angry because they had reported the case to the governor. “I could,” he said, “have done all the business for you properly, if you had come to me; and I would have signed the petition for all except Joe, and he is not fit to live.
“They then visited the prison, but were not permitted to enter; all the communication they had with the prisoners took place through the grate of the dungeon. Joseph bid the brethren to be of good cheer, ‘for,’ said he, ‘we shall be delivered; but no arm but God can deliver us now. Tell the brethren to be of good cheer, and get the Saints away as fast as possible.'”25
“On April 5th, Brothers Kimball and Turley returned to Far West. On that day a company of about fifty men in Daviess County swore that they would never eat or drink again until they had murdered Joe Smith. Their captain, William Bowman, swore, in the presence of Theodore Turley, that he would ‘never eat or drink, after he had seen Joe Smith, until he had murdered him.’ Also eight men–Captain Bogart, who was the county judge, Doctor Laffity, John Whitmer, and five others–came to the committee-room at Far West and there presented Elder Theodore Turley the paper concerning the revelation of July 8, 1838 to Joseph Smith, that the Twelve were to take their leave on the Temple site at Far West, on April 26th, to go to the Isles of the Sea, and then asked him to read it.
“Turley said, ‘Gentlemen, I am well acquainted with it.’ They said, ‘Then you, as a rational man, will give up Joseph Smith being a Prophet and an inspired man, now he and the Twelve are scattered all over creation; let them come here, if they dare; if they do, they will be murdered. As that revelation cannot be filled, you will now give up your faith?’
“Turley jumped up and said, ‘In the name of God that revelation will be fulfilled.’ They laughed him to scorn. John Whitmer hung down his head. They said, ‘If they (the Twelve) come, they will get murdered; they dare not come to take their leave here; that is like all the rest of Joe Smith’s d–d prophecies.’ They commenced on Turley and said, ‘You had better do as John Corrill has done; he is going to publish a book called ‘Mormonism Fairly Delineated;’ he is a sensible man, and you had better assist him.’
“Turley said, ‘Gentlemen, I presume there are men here who have heard Corrill say that ‘Mormonism’ was true, that Joseph Smith was a Prophet and inspired of God, etc. I now call upon you, John Whitmer: You say Corrill is a moral and good man; do you believe him when he says the Book of Mormon is true, or when it is not true? There are many things published that they say are true, and again turn around and say they are false.’
“Whitmer asked, ‘Do you hint at me?’
“Turley replied, ‘If the cap fits, you may wear it; all I know is that you have published to the world that an angel did present those plates to Joseph Smith.’
“Whitmer replied, ‘I now say, I handled those plates; there were fine engravings on both sides. I handled them; they were shown me by a supernatural power.’ He described how they were hung and accordingly acknowledged all.
“Turley then asked him, ‘Why is the translation not now true?’ He said, ‘I could not read it (in the original) and I do not know whether it (i.e., the translation) is true or not.’ Whitmer testified all this in the presence of eight men.”26
Also on April 5 the committee on removal met, and the subject of “providing some clothing for the prisoners at Richmond was discussed, and the propriety of sending two brethren to Liberty, to make sale of some lands, was taken up, and Elders H. G. Sherwood and Theodore Turley were appointed.”27
The next day the committee on removal met in council. “The business of the council was the consideration of the order of the leaders of the Daviess mob, delivered this day to the Saints in Caldwell county, to leave before Friday next.” They decided to move the Saints out of the county, to Tenney’s Grove. “The mission of Elders Sherwood and Turley to Liberty was deferred for the present.” Sunday, April 7, the committee again met at Theodore Turley’s.28
“When the Saints commenced removing from Far West, they shipped as many families and as much goods as possible to Richmond, to go down the Missouri River and up the Mississippi to Quincy, Ill… The exodus throughout was managed with consummate wisdom, and in view of all the difficulties in the way, with less suffering than could have been expected. The distance to the point of the Mississippi River where most of the exiles crossed over to Illinois was over two hundred miles in an easterly direction. The weather was cold and the roads generally muddy and bad. Scores of Saints died from exposure and fatigue on that memorable journey. The move was not undertaken in a solid body, and seldom in regularly organized companies, but in small squads–two, three, and from that to a dozen teams and upwards traveled together. Not a single family who wished to go was left behind, as the committee appointed to superintend the removal paid particular attention to all the poor, and furnished them with the necessary teams and provisions to perform the journey.
“While the Saints were making preparations to move away as fast as possible the mob was continually threatening the lives of the members of the committee and others. Thus frequently armed bands of mobbers came into Far West and abused men, women and children, stole horses, drove off cattle, and plundered houses of everything that pleased them… Because of the persecutions, the committee, on the 14th of April, 1839, moved thirty-six families into Tenny’s Grove, about twenty-five miles from Far West, and a few men were appointed to chop wood for them, while Elder Turley was to furnish them with meal and meat, until they could be removed to Quincy. The corn was ground at the committee’s horse mill at Far West.
“On the morning of the 18th Elder Kimball went into the committee room and told the members of the committee who were present to wind up their affairs and be off, or their lives would be taken. Later in the day a number of mobbers met Elder Kimball on the public square in Far West and asked him if he was a d–d ‘Mormon.’ He replied, ‘I am a “Mormon”‘. ‘Well,’ they said, ‘G–d d–n you, we’ll blow your brains out, you G–d d–d Mormon,’ and they tried to ride over him with their horses. This took place in the presence of Elias Smith, Theodore Turley and others of the committee. Almost immediately afterward twelve men went to Elder Turley’s house with loaded rifles intending to shoot him. They broke seventeen clocks into matchwood, broke tables, chairs and looking-glasses, smashed in the windows, etc., while Bogart, the county judge, looked on and laughed. One mobber by the name of Whitaker threw iron pots at Turley, one of which hit him on the shoulder, at which Whitaker jumped and laughed like a mad man. The mob shot down cows while the girls were milking them, and threatened to send the committee ‘to hell jumping,’ and ‘put daylight through them.’
“The brethren gathered up what they could and left Far West in one hour. The mob stayed until they left, and then plundered $1,000 worth of property which had been left by the more well-to-do Saints to help the poor remove. One mobber rode up and finding no convenient place to fasten his horse, shot a cow that was standing near, and while the poor animal was yet struggling in death, he cut a strip of her hide from her nose to the tip of her tail, which he tied around a stump and fastened his halter to it.
“During the commotion of the day, a number of records, accounts, history, etc., belonging to the committee were destroyed or lost, on account of which the history of the Church only contains a few definite dates of the doings of the committee.
“On the 20th of April, 1839, the last of the Saints left Far West. Thus a whole community variously estimated from twelve to fifteen thousand souls, had left, or were about to leave the State of Missouri, where they had experienced so much sorrow, and found a temporary shelter in the State of Illinois, chiefly in Quincy and vicinity and a few in the territory of Iowa on the north.”29
Theodore Turley “remained there (Far West) until all the saints were removed and Joseph Smith got out of prison.”30 It is interesting to note here that in his haste Theodore tore some paper from the wall of his home in Far West, which is still in existence.31 He goes on to say, “I left in Caldwell a dwelling house and stable, garden, well of water with conveniences, a work shop well fitted up, ten acres of timber land, two town lots. Unrighteously driven from the same, with about 10,000 (ten thousand) souls in company, trusting till God shall redeem us from the injustice of man. In consequence of the extreme forteage of labors of fitting up teams, etc., to convey the poor to the State of Illinois; being appointed one of the committee for that purpose. The journeys to the various prisons; the journeys with Petitions to the Gov. Boggs and to the Supreme Judge of the Courts of the State of Missouri. Laboring variously for the relief of my brethren and sisters for the space of nearly six months; after the fatigues of war. The particulars of which is impossible to describe. Then journeying with my wife and children 200 miles in a wet time; living in a tent for the space of 13 weeks and never having the privilege of sleeping under a roof for this time.”32
“Elders Turley and Clark had traveled but a few miles from Far West when an axle-tree broke, and Brother Clark had to go to Richmond after some boxes, which delayed them some days.”33 They were not delayed long, however, for on the 24th of April we find them at Tenney’s Grove.
In order to more clearly interpret some of the events which transpired during the next several days we shall have to review a few happenings of the previous year. A revelation had been received by the Prophet Joseph on July 8, 1838, in which a commandment was given him to have the members of the Quorum of the Twelve go on foreign missions. They were to take leave of the Saints in the city of Far West on April 26th, 1839, on the building spot of the house of the Lord. This is the revelation which members of the mob and apostates from the Church had taunted Theodore Turley with a few days before.
“By the twenty-sixth of April, the day set for them to take leave of the Saints to start on their mission, nearly all the members of the Church had been driven from Far West.”34 “It seemed almost impossible that the prediction could be fulfilled, as the Saints had all been driven out of Missouri, and it would, according to the threats of the mob, be as much as an apostle’s life was worth to be seen in Far West. Some of the leading men in the Church thought that in view of the persecutions and scattered condition of the Saints at that time, the Lord would not require the Twelve to fulfil his words to the letter but that, under the circumstances, he would take the will for the deed. The apostates and mobbers rejoiced at what they thought would be the failure of one of the revelations given through the Prophet Joseph; they thought that surely in this instance, at least, his words would be vain.
“But this was not the feeling of President Young and those of the Twelve Apostles who were with him. He asked them individually what their feelings were upon the subject. Their desires were, they said, to fulfil the revelation. He told them that the Lord had spoken, and it was their duty to obey, and leave the event in his hands, and he would protect them. Consequently, Brigham Young, Orson Pratt, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith and Alpheus Cutler left Quincy for Far West to fulfil the revelation. They met John E. Page, who was an Apostle at the time, on the road, and told him they wanted him to go to Far West with them, which he did.”35
Just before reaching Far West (at Tenney’s Grove) Brigham Young and his traveling companions met Brothers Smith, Turley and Clark of the committee who had been left there to attend to the removal of the poor Saints, but had been driven from town. They told the Apostles that members of the mob had come into Far West and tantalized them on the subject of the revelation, saying that it was one of Joseph Smith’s revelations which could not be fulfilled, as the Twelve Apostles were scattered to the four winds; and they threatened them severely if they were found in Far West the next day. In the face of these threats, Elders Smith, Clark, and Turley, turned around and accompanied the Apostles and the other brethren to Far West, having faith that the Lord would protect them.
“Early on the morning of the 26th of April–the day mentioned in the revelation–a conference was held, 31 persons were cut off from the Church, and the Apostles and Saints proceeded to the building spot of the Lord’s house. Elder Cutler, the master workman of the house, then recommenced laying the foundation, agreeable to revelation, by rolling up a large stone near the southeast corner.”
Seven of the Twelve Apostles were present. “They then sang ‘Adam-ondi-Ahman;’ after which they took leave of eighteen Saints, agreeable to the revelation. The conference was then adjourned.
“As the Saints were passing away from the meeting, Theodore Turley said to Elders Page and Woodruff, ‘Stop a bit, while I bid Isaac Russell good-bye,’ and knocking at his door called Brother Russell, whose wife answered, ‘Come in; it is Brother Turley.’
“Russell replied, ‘It is not; he left here two weeks ago.’ He appeared quite alarmed; but on finding it was Turley, asked him to sit down, but he replied, ‘I cannot; I shall lose my company.’
“‘Who is your company?’ inquired Russell.
“‘Yes, don’t you know that this is the 26th, and the day the Twelve were to take leave of their friends on the foundation of the Lord’s house, to go to the islands of the sea? The revelation is now fulfilled, and I am going with them.’
“Russell was speechless and Turley bid him farewell.
“Thus was that revelation fulfilled, concerning which the enemies said: If all the other revelations of Joseph Smith were fulfilled, that one should not be, as it had place and date to it.”36
Concerning this Isaac Russell it may be interesting to note here that he was one of the first Elders to contact Theodore Turley in Canada. He was also one of those thirty-one persons who were excommunicated from the Church the morning of the 26th, without any hearing. “Turley subsequently, in Utah, related to Russell’s sons, Samuel and George, that he was present at the conference near Quincy, Ill., where Joseph was informed of the proceedings at Far West, and that the Prophet there arose with tears in his eyes, and, referring to Isaac Russell, said that he felt to bless him and that he should be blessed. It is a fact worth recording that Brother Russell never took sides with the enemy either in word or deed.”37
IV. HIS ACTIVITIES IN COMMERCE, OR NAUVOO
The principal point of exodus from Missouri was Quincy, Illinois. “During the summer of 1839 the Saints who had been driven from Missouri continued to gather at Nauvoo and settle on the lands which had been purchased by the Church authorities. The violent persecution they had passed through in Missouri had well nigh wrecked the people. They had been stripped of their earthly possessions, until they were reduced to the most abject poverty. And the exposure and hardships endured made them an easy prey to the malaria that infected Nauvoo and vicinity. Another thing which doubtless contributed to make them unable to resist the ravages of disease, was the fact that a period of relaxation was following the intense excitement under which they had lived for more than two years.”38
Says Theodore Turley: “We arrived in Commerce, Illinois, in the Spring of 1839. It being a new place on the banks of the Mississippi, hence without a house or convenience of a house to shelter in, but the spring being far advanced feel it necessary to set on to plant some corn, potatoes, etc., before I start to build my house.
“After accomplishing the same began to get logs, stone, etc. My family having the expanse of the firmament for a covering besides a tent made of factory cotton. Frequently when I come home I find my family wet through to the skin, and the fire all washed away and my dear little children cuddled under their mother’s cloak. Myself as wet as possible, and no fire to dry our clothes. Sometimes the bed wet when we would rise in the morning, this would try the faith and patience of all.”39
It was necessary that the patience and faith of the Saints be tried. Little did they realize that their next move would be many times more rigorous and tiring. Only the strong would be able to survive.
The Saints were an industrious group, and began immediately to build a beautiful city where a swamp had been. Many of them contracted malaria and other diseases in the process, but even this brought blessings. Perhaps never in this dispensation has the gift of healing been so manifest as it was when Joseph Smith in company with other brethren were miraculously healed, rose from their beds, and went up and down the banks of the River healing the afflicted by the power of the priesthood.
We now remember that Theodore Turley intimated to Isaac Russell that he was going on a mission. A conference of the Church was held May 4, 5, and 6, 1839, where Brother Turley was one of the Seventies appointed to accompany the Apostles of Europe. Theodore’s occupation at that time was gunsmithing. At the same conference it was decided that “Brother Turley’s gunsmith tools shall remain for the general use of the church until his return from Europe.”40
After the conference adjourned Theodore was probably very busily engaged in making arrangements so that his family would be taken care of during his stay in the mission field. “In the forepart of June, 1839, Elder Theodore Turley raised the first house built by the Saints in Commerce, on ‘Lot 4, Block 147, of the White Purchase,’ or on the corner of what afterwards were named Water and Carlin Streets, on the same block upon which Joseph afterwards built the Nauvoo Mansion.”41 Says Theodore Turley, “I came to Nauvoo with Joseph Smith the Prophet and built the first house that was built by a Mormon in Nauvoo; was one of the committee to fix the size of the lots and run off the streets & co.”42
On the second of July Joseph, Hyrum, Sidney and others “all went to Brigham Young’s, where Wilford Woodruff and George A. Smith were blessed as two of the Twelve Apostles; and Theodore Turley was blessed as a Seventy. Brother Hyrum gave the Twelve some good advice on the nature of their mission; to practice prudence and humility in their preaching, and to strictly hold on to the authority of the Priesthood. Brother Joseph taught many glorious and important principles to benefit and bless them on their mission; teaching them to observe charity, wisdom, and a fellow feeling for each other, and love one towards another, in all things, and under all circumstances, unfolding keys of knowledge, to detect Satan, and preserve us in the favor of God.”43
On Sunday, August 4, 1839, “the Church passed a resolution that the Twelve proceed on their mission as soon as possible, and that the Saints provide for their families during their absence.”44
V. HIS MISSION TO ENGLAND–FROM NAUVOO TO LIVERPOOL
“September came, and the Apostles prepared to take leave of their families and friends and depart on their mission to Europe. Again the evil one laid his plans to circumvent them. As he once afflicted righteous Job, striving to overthrow his trust in God, he now sought by similar means to undermine the faith and integrity of these latter-day servants of the Lord. But his efforts were unavailing; he had the same class of spirits to contend with as in days of old; men who could say with the patient man of Uz, though bowed in sorrow and humiliation: ‘I know that my Redeemer liveth,’ and ‘though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.’45
The departure of these brethren on their missions is one of the remarkable phenomenon of the Church. Brigham Young “had been prostrated for some time by sickness, and at the time of starting on his mission was so feeble that he had to be assisted to the ferry, only some thirty rods from his house. All his children were sick, and he left his wife with a babe but ten days old, in the poorest of circumstances, for the mobs of Missouri had robbed him of all he had.”46 “Elder Kimball left his wife in bed shaking with ague, and all his children sick. It was only by the assistance of some of the brethren that Heber himself could climb into the wagon.”47 The others left their families in comparable circumstances.
Theodore Turley records: “September, 1839, was set apart by the Prophet Joseph and Hyrum Smith, when John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff was to go to England… Took leave of my family this day under peculiar circumstances considering the late troubles we have had in the State of Missouri, it only being 34 months since I with my family left Toronto, Canada for Caldwell Co., Far West. I was with the Twelve at the fulfilling of the revelation concerning the re-laying the foundation stone of the Temple in Far West and then taking leave to go upon a mission to Great Britain.
“This connected with labors I was not accustomed to, brought upon me a bilous fever, etc., and was taken with western chill fever, confined eleven weeks. However, having been set apart for the mission to preach the gospel in England, feel it my duty to start as soon as possible to perform the same. My children, five of them have been sick with the fever and my wife worn out with fatigue, all seeming to cry to me, it is impossible for you to go. The fever left upon one of my legs a swelling frightful to look at. My leg contracted, could not put it to the ground. Feeling much on account of the Apostles, all but one being gone on their missions was determined that when the other one should start, I would go at all risks. Bro. George A. Smith being the last and him better now, though still far from being in health, came and told me he was going on Saturday, this being Friday. Still fast in my bed, stated I should go with him. Got the elders to lay hands on and pray for me. Received some strength, my leg better, prepared for the start the next day.”48
The departure of Elders George A. Smith, Reuben Hedlock, and Theodore Turley was no less remarkable. Elder John Taylor records: “I would here remark that very few of my brethren that came along were any better situated than I was in regard to disease. Elder Turley was taken out of his bed and put into a wagon when he started. Elder George A. Smith and Elder Turley, who started together, were both so blind with disease that when driving the horse a little distance themselves, they could not see a stump on the road side, and, running over it, were upset out of the carriage.”49 “Elders Smith and Turley were unable to get up, not because of any injuries they had received, but because of their illness. Elder Hedlock helped them into their wagon and they resumed their journey. They had not proceeded far when they met some gentleman who stopped their team and said to the driver: ‘Mr., what graveyard have you been robbing?’ The remark being elicited by the ghostly appearance of the Elders en route for England.”50
“Thus in sickness and poverty, without purse and without scrip, leaving their families destitute of the comforts of life, with nothing but the assurances of the people, who were as poor as themselves, that they should be provided for,…[they]…turned their faces toward Europe to preach the Gospel to the highly civilized peoples of the world… They had ringing in their ears the words of Jesus: ‘He that loveth father or mother, houses or lands, wives or children more than he loveth me is not worthy of me.’ And again they had the promise: ‘There is no man that hath left houses, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children for the kingdom of God’s sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.'”51
Theodore Turley records: “Six thousand miles traveled in company with Brother George A. Smith, one of the Twelve, and Bro. Hedlock of the Quorum of High Priests, traveled the first day 14 miles, stopped the night, having no grain for the horse, had to turn him upon the prairie for the night. The next morning started for Quincy [and] when we had traveled a few miles was taken with the chill fever. Shook and burnt with fever till we arrived in Quincy on the 24th of September, 1839, where we found Apostles Young and Kimball both sick. Stopped one day and then started for the East, arrived in Gray Villo on the 27th and held meeting. The next morning started for Jacksonville on the 30th of September. Stopped at Bro. Wilson’s, held meeting instructing the saints in the things of God. Stopped one day and a half arrived in Springfield, Illinois, Oct. 3. Stopped with sister Snider received much kindness from the brethren. Met with them each night exorting them and instructing them in the things of God, until the eleventh day. Departed leaving the blessings of God upon them, leaving thence for Pleasant Garden, stopped at Bro. Pratt’s.”52
At Springfield they were met by Elders Kimball and Young. Friday, October 11, in the evening, Elders Young, Kimball, George A. Smith, Hedlock, and Turley started from Springfield, traveled eight miles on their journey, and stayed with Father Draper. “When we went into the house, Brother George A. Smith, while stooping down to warm him at the fire, dropped a small flask bottle, containing tonic bitters, out of his pocket, on the hearth, and broke it; at this occurrence Father Baker [Draper?] was very astonished, and said, ‘You’re a pretty set of Apostles, to be carrying a bottle of whiskey with you.’ We explained to him that the bottle contained some bitters which the brethren at Springfield had prepared for George A. because of his sickness; this appeased his righteous soul, so that he consented to allow us to stay through the night.”53
Saturday, October 12, the Elders of the British Mission left Father Draper’s and pursued their journey toward Terre Haute. They arrived at Terre Haute on the 17th, and stayed with Nahum Milton Stow’s. On the 17th Elder Heber C. Kimball had an unfortunate experience which almost cost him his life. He became ill while staying with a drunken Dr. Modisett. The Dr. gave him a tablespoonful of morphine, and only through the anxious care of Brigham Young during the night was his life saved. “In the morning Brothers Smith, Turley, Hedlock and Murray came to see us. They laid their hands on me and prayed for me. When they left they wept. Father Murray felt very sorrowful; said he, ‘we shall never see Heber again; he will die.’ I looked up at them and said, ‘Never mind, brethren, go ahead, for Brother Brigham and I will reach Kirtland before you will.’ Brother Brigham gave them all the money we had except five dollars, and told them to take good care of the team, and make all possible speed to Kirtland.”54 The next day the brethren resumed their journey.
Says Theodore Turley: “October 17th attended meeting with Bro. Babbitt Saturday and Sunday; three times. Found Bro. Babbitt doing a great work here. On the 22nd of Oct. left for Indianapolis. Oct. 23rd, met Bros. Law and Hicks family east of Richmond. Received $25.00 for to help us on our mission. October 26th arrived in Dayton where we found Bro. Taylor. Attended a conference in company with the brethren at Bro. Houton’s 8 miles east. Oct. 27th Bro. Taylor preached on Sunday and then arrived in Springfield the same night. Visited Columbus Prison in company with Bro. Smith, Taylor, and Hedlock (on Thursday we visited prison). The cells for each prisoner was 8 feet long and 4 feet wide. 480 convicts had commenced building the State House. We reached Lawderville on the 30th. Thence to Worcester on the 1st of November, 1839. Arrived in Strongville on the 2nd; 3rd arrived in Cleveland. 4th met with Bros. Young and Heber C. Kimball after leaving them sick in their Hotel. Arrived in Kirtland, visited the House of the Lord with the Brethren on Nov. 5th, and 7th, and on the 9th attended meetings in the House of the Lord, much gratified. And wrote to my family in the West. Met with the brethren in Kirtland every other night attended meetings with Bro. Taylor. We received our washings and etc. at Bro. McBride’s house in company with Bro. Phelps of the Quorum of Seventies.
“And Bro. Miles Prest of the Seventies, Bro. McBride of the same Quorum and Bro. Dixon a member. Thence to the House of the Lord to proceed with the other part of the Holy Ordinance of God, to that of our anointing and washing of feet etc. in company with Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and George A. Smith, each of the Quorum of the Twelve and in company with considerable number of Elders, had a good meeting. The oil consecrated by Bros. Young, Kimball and Smith.”55
Recorded in the Documentary History, we find: “In the evening, President Brigham Young anointed Elder John Taylor in the House of the Lord, and Elder Daniel S. Miles anointed Theodore Turley, all of which was sealed with the shout of Hosanna.”
To continue with Theodore Turley’s account, “Apostle Young anointed Bro. Taylor, Bro. D. S. Miles, Theodore Turley and part of the Elders Quorum. Prayer was then offered up by Bro. Taylor for his own individual self. And then confirmed by shouts of Hosannah, and then offered up the desires of my heart; that confirmed and sealed by the congregation by shouts of Hosannah. Proceeded to Theodore Turley’s feet, and then Bro. Taylor delivered a prophecy. Meeting closed. Bro. Young offered prayer. On the 20th met at Bro. Morton’s in conference; Heber C. Kimball being called to the chair. Four Elders volunteered to go and preach. On the 22nd parted with the brethren in Kirtland and came to Fareport to take steamboat for Buffalo. There being so great a storm had to wait 4 days in port. We had a quick and stormy passage down the lake. Took stage from Buffalo to Betavia, from thence to Rochester in steam cars and on the 29th of November, 1839, at 7 p.m. Started from thence at 9 p.m. took stage to and from thence to Auburn where we left the Brethren, Brigham Young, George A. Smith. Left Bro. Kimball 8 miles east of Betavia, Bro. R. Hedlock at Betavia to visit the brethren in that place. Arrived at Auburn 29th Nov. 1839 at 10 a.m.
“Took cars for Albany in company with Bro. Taylor: R.R. fare $7.50 arrived in Albany Nov. 31st 1839 at 6 a.m. Took boat for New York. Distance from Mississippi to N.Y. 1511 miles, (One thousand five hundred and eleven miles).
“My journey from Albany to the Potteries in England is written in a small ipto January 26, 1840.” [ipto: up to?] [Where is that journal?]
“After much sickness, and many experiences in preaching the Gospel along the way, they…met in New York City on December 13th… At a conference held on that day in New York, Parley P. Pratt prophesied that the mission of the Twelve to Great Britain would be known to all nations of the earth. It has been fulfilled.56
The brethren spent a few days in New York, preaching and adding new members to the Church. It is interesting to note here that “when Elder Taylor arrived in New York, Elder Woodruff had been there some time, and was all impatience to embark for England, but as yet the former had no means with which to pay for his ocean passage. Although supplied with all the means necessary on his journey thus far, after paying his cab-fare to the house of Brother Pratt he had but one cent left. Still he was the last man on earth to plead poverty, and in answer to inquiries of some of the brethren as to his financial circumstances, he replied that he had plenty…
“That evening at a council meeting Elder Pratt proposed that the brethren assist Elder Taylor with means to pay his passage to England as Brother Woodruff was prepared and desired to go. To this Elder Taylor objected and told the Brethren if they had anything to give to let Parley have it, as he had a family to support and needed means for publishing. At the close of the meeting Elder Woodruff expressed his regret at the course taken by Elder Taylor, as he had been waiting for him, and at last had engaged his passage.
“Elder Taylor: ‘Well, Brother Woodruff, if you think it best for me to go, I will accompany you.’
“Elder Woodruff: ‘But where will you get the money?’
“Elder Taylor: ‘Oh, there will be no difficulty about that. Go and take a passage for me on your vessel, and I will furnish you the means.’
“A Brother Theodore Turley, hearing the above conversation, and thinking that Elder Taylor had resources unknown to himself or Brother Woodruff, said: ‘I wish I could go with you, I would do your cooking and wait on you.’
“The passage to be secured was in the steerage–these missionaries were not going on flowery beds of ease–hence the necessity of such service as Brother Turley proposed rendering. In answer to this appeal, Elder Taylor told Brother Woodruff to take a passage for Brother Turley also.
“At the time of making these arrangements Elder Taylor had no money, but the Spirit had whispered to him that means would be forthcoming, and when had that still, small voice failed him! In that he trusted, and he did not trust in vain. Although he did not ask for a penny of anyone, from various persons in voluntary donations he received money enough to meet his engagements for the passage of himself and Brother Turley, but no more.”57
And thus we see how the Lord watched over his servants. Says Heber C. Kimball: “Brother Brigham often suspected that I had put the money in his trunk, or clothes; thinking that I had a purse of money which I had not acquainted him with, but this was not so; the money could only have been put in the trunk by some heavenly messenger, who thus administered to our necessities daily as he knew we needed.”58
On December 19, 1839, Elders Woodruff, Taylor, and Turley sailed out of the New York Harbor for Liverpool, England, on the packet ship Oxford. Says Wilford Woodruff, “We had storms and rough weather, but most of the winds were favorable for quick passage. While on the ship a Methodist minister got into a discussion with some Catholics who were in the company, and the arguments of the minister ran rather more into abuse than sound argument.
“Elder Taylor told the Methodist minister that he did not think it was becoming in a daughter to find so much fault with the mother as they did, for as the Methodists came out of the Catholics, Elder Taylor thought the mother had as much right to enjoy her religion unmolested as the daughter had. That ended the argument.”59
Before we take up the labors of Theodore Turley in the British Mission, he has an interesting insertion in his Journal. “These lines composed by Eleanor Graham of New York on the departure of the Twelve:
‘My soul does grieve when I do know,
With whom we have to part.
‘Tis with the servants of the Lord
So near unto my heart
And yet I know it is God’s will
That you should from us go
To save mankind in other lands
From everlasting woe.
Go on ye servants of our God
To earth’s remotest bounds
And preach the everlasting word
And heal the grievous wounds.
First to the Gentiles; then the Jews
And gather Israel in
The Lord now calls out, soon he’ll choose
And cleanse the saints from sin.
May you fast o’er the waters ride
And land safe on the other shore
And spread the Gospel far and wide
Let darkness reign no more.
Farewell ye chosen Twelve, farewell
Until we meet again,
On Zion’s land, I hope to dwell
And there with thee to reign
–Till then, farewell.’
VI. HIS MISSION TO ENGLAND–
ACTIVITIES IN ENGLAND
“After an adventurous journey, Elders Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, and Theodore Turley arrived in Liverpool, England, Jan. 11, 1840.”60 On the 13th they visited with Mr. George Q. Cannon, father of President George Cannon. In the evening they took cars to Preston, a branch which Heber C. Kimball had built up in 1837 and left in the care of Willard Richards. Three days were spent in Preston visiting the Saints.
They did not remain in Preston, however. On the 17th a council was held at the home of Willard Richards to determine where the brethren should labor. Theodore Turley acted as scribe at that meeting. It was arranged that Theodore go to “the Potteries in Staffordshire, and to Birmingham if the Spirit so led….” The Potteries included Tunstell, Burslem, Stoke, Lane End, and several other towns and villages.* Let us remember that Theodore’s family resided in the vicinity of Birmingham. He was led there, we may suppose, by the Spirit. That town later became a Mormon stronghold second only in importance to London.61
On the following day the brethren met and blessed each other, and then separated and departed for their various fields of labor. Elders Woodruff and Turley traveled part of the way together. They went by way of Manchester, where Theodore spent eight days before resuming his journey to Birmingham.
The material contained in the following pages is taken largely from the History of the British Mission and Theodore Turley’s Journal. No attempt has been made to incorporate these facts into a story. They are presented simply as a day by day account. When not otherwise stated, the references are from the Journal.
“Jan. 20th, 1840.–This day found my father much worn out with hard work, bent down to the earth. I pray God to deliver him soon from such bondage as this, but there is a smile always on his countenance. This morning Mr. and Mrs. Mills, also my mother and sister, Charlotte, and then my father and my brother, John, and then Grandfather, and then John’s family. Much pleased with John’s 4 children, so clean and neatly dressed. Much pleased with Sister Mills’ children. George and Thomas are fine young men, as tall and manly as their father. Mary Ann’s a fine young woman, Sophia is the image of my sister, Mary Ann, when young Elizabeth is sickly, a slender child, dreampt I was coming. Richard, Charlotte, William, a fine boy. Sister Mills is weakly at this time. Mr. Mills is aged but still about the same worthy man as ever.”
January 22, 1840.–Elders Woodruff and Turley arrived in the Potteries district and commenced their labors. Visited the home of Brother William Benbow and were kindly received by his wife, Sister Ann Benbow.62
January 23, 1840.–Elders Woodruff and Turley held a well attended meeting in the home of Brother Alfred Cordon at Burslem and visited at the home of Brother George Simpson.63
“January 27th, 1840–This morning woke up in health after a hard day’s work yesterday, at Bro. Benbow, in Hanley, Stafford Shire, after expounding the scriptures to the family walked two miles to Burslem. There found Elder Woodruff at Bro. Cordon’s. Took dinner at Bro. Cordon’s then went to visit some of the saints, then walked to meeting at Lane End about 6 miles. Spoke after Bro. Cordon, then took supper (dinner) at Bro. Ira Whittiker, Lane End and then blessed his two children. Laid hands on one Bro. for a swollen neck. Then went and laid hands on a sick child. Then blessed two children and walked back to logings very tired in body.
“January 28th, 1840–Tuesday morning at Cordon’s feel something the effects of yesterday’s hard work. (Recorded in the History of the British Mission we find: “Elder Turley had quite a sore throat the day after their arrival.”) Spent day in conversation upon the Second Coming of Christ and the nature of Christ’s Kingdom when it should be set up, etc. with Bro. Woodruff about the nations that will be left on the Earth when Christ reigns with his saints, etc. and I read considerable, attended meeting at night in Burslem. Bro. Woodruff preached and after which a man of the name of Jones opposed the work of God; read a pamphlet against the work of God, which I feel he will be delivered up to Satan. I went to Hanley and slept at Bro. Benbow’s and he gave me 5 shillings to help carry me to Birmingham this day, 29th of January, 1840.
“Bro. Alfred Cordon Navigation road at Mr. Goodwin’s works Burslem Stafford Shire. Arrived in Birmingham 10:15 p.m. could not find any of my friends, had to stay at the Blue Bell Inn, Bristol Street, near a number of my friends.
“January 31, 1840.–This morning found myself in bed at my mother’s with my grandfather by my side not little pleased to find all alive except Bro. Fredric. Grandfather is able to work and earn his living. Works still in Livery Street where he has worked for 18 years. Walks a mile for his dinner every day. He is in good health. The same persevering old man. Spent part of the day with my mother and the rest of the day with Sister Mills and family. Much delighted with them. Sister Wolton is much bowed down to the earth and very thin in flesh. Slept at mother’s.”
[February 1, 1840.–See end of Biography for important genealogical information provided by Olive K. Turley].*
“February 1, 1840.–This morning at Mother’s in Thurst Street No. 65. I pray God to give me access to the understanding of my relations that they may understand the things of God as they are. I read several Chapters to my Mother and made a few remarks. I then visited the market place and Town Hall, both the most splendid buildings I ever saw. The Town Hall is 152 feet in length, 65 feet wide, 65 feet high inside; the organ more than 50 feet high; weight, 50 tons–equal to 100,000 lbs; the length of center pipe, 35 feet; 2 feet in diameter, largest pipe 35 feet long by 3 feet in diameter; 3,000 pipes; 5 rows of keys; 63 stops. The branches for gas light 6 feet 6 inches long.
“The purpose for this building is for general musical festivals, concerts, Bible songs, meetings, missionary’s meetings, missionary tea parties, public dinners, flower shows, and public lectures. A splendid building of grey marble stone obtained from Anglesy in opposite Wales; Mr. Campbell, keeper of the building. The building is warmed with hot water and air, the flue forced up by cold water on producing cold are under the hot sent up by ventilators, etc…
“This day finished it in company with Mrs. T. Kimberly and her son Thomas. Took supper with them. Thomas has grown a fine young man and has a boy 2 years old. This night stopped at my mother’s.
“February 2, 1840.–This morning went to the Methodist Chapel. Seen many of my old acquaintances. I pray God to give the people eyes to see.
“Spent the afternoon with my father, mother and some of my friends; the evening with Bro. Walton and Sis. Walton at my Bro. John’s with his family. Slept at my mother’s with my grandfather.
“Feb. 3, 1840.–This morning my heart’s desire before God is that He will open my way that I may preach to my parents the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I took dinner with Sis. Mills, seen my Uncle Thomas Hart this morning. Spent the afternoon in trying to obtain an opportunity to communicate to my Bro. John the glorious things of the Kingdom of God. I went to see my wife’s Bro. Jessie Kimberly, found him and wife and 7 children enjoying good health but in want of employment. I spent the night in communicating to my grandfather, mother and father the things that God has done and will do in this generation.”
February 3, 1840, Wilford Woodruff said: “I became convinced it was the will of the Lord for one of us to go to Birmingham and taking all things into consideration we thought it best for Elder Turley to go. Consequently he left Burslem for Birmingham on the 29th of January.” Under date of January 29, the day of his departure, it is recorded, “Elder Theodore Turley left Burslem,
Staffordshire, England, for Birmingham. Since his arrival in Burslem he and Elder Woodruff had preached almost daily and visited the Saints.”64
“Feb. 4, 1840.–This morning took breakfast with mother and then went to see Sis. Mills found her sick, then I went to see my Bro. John’s family. I pray God to give my Brother eyes to see the truth as it is in Jesus Christ. This afternoon I went to see Mr. J. Lilley a Methodist preacher, used to be acquainted with me 20 years ago. He appears to be very dark as to the things of God. I could not get him to understand the plan of Salvation, nor the revelations as given the timely warning. I spent the rest of the day in conversation with my mother and family. Oh! I desire their salvation, I pray God to give me his Holy Spirit to help me and give them hearts to understand. I hope to have an opportunity soon. Dined with Bro. R. Mills, visiting the 13 acres of land. Took tea at Bro. R. Mills; spent part of the evening with Bro. John Turley, took supper with John and his wife at his house in Liland Street.
“February 5, 1840.–Took breakfast at my mother’s. Took dinner with Bro. R. Mills. Wrote this morning to Elder W. Woodruff at Burslem, Stafford Shire. This afternoon wrote to my wife’s sister in London. This evening I hope to spend in company with my brother John to converse about the things of God.
“February 6, 1840.–This morning went to see my brother John but he being engaged with business could have no opportunity to converse with him. Oh! I hope to have an opportunity soon; dined with Bro. R. Mills, visiting the Botanic Gardens to see the various collections of roots and plants, covers 13 acres of land. Took tea at Bro. R. Mills; spent part of the evening with John Turley, took supper with John and his wife at his house in Liland Street.
“February 7, 1840.–This morning took breakfast at mother’s went to see Jessie Kimberly, had some conversation with his father Will, etc. Then went and dined with Sis. Walton, then went to see my wife’s aunt Vindness Hugh [widow of Hugh Bolton Kimberley].* Then I went to see my old master James Parkes, and took tea with him. I hope the Lord will open a door for me to preach the Gospel unto his people. Spent the evening bearing my testimony to my grandfather and family and slept at mother’s.
“Feb. 8, 1840.–Saturday, this morning took breakfast with mother. Went to meet my sister Davis in company with brother-in-law Mills. Spent the day with Sister Davis and mother. Bore my testimony in truth and sincerity, kept me talking or preaching all day till I am hoarse. Took supper with Sis. Ann and Sophia, father, mother, and grandfather. Slept with my grandfather. My sister Ann has come from London to Birmingham to see me.”
Also on February 8, Wilford Woodruff records: “I received a letter from Elder Turley Thursday; he was in Birmingham preaching to his relatives in the family circle, but was soon expecting to preach in public; he had hard work to preach to his parents, who had been professors of Godliness forty years, and had great confidence in their ministers.”65
“Feb. 9, 1840.–This morning took breakfast with Bro. John’s family on purpose to converse with him on the things pertaining to the Kingdom of Heaven, walked with him some distance, but oh, how has tradition bound round the understanding [slight correction made]* of the children of men. They truly have eyes but see not. I long for their salvation, that the God of Heaven may grant me the desire of my heart in this respect. This afternoon spent with my relations. The house crowded with persons to see me. I had an opportunity to testify of the goodness of God. I am somewhat encouraged, hoping some of my relations will embrace the faith which is my earnest desire before the Lord. Slept this night with grandfather in Birmingham.
“Feb. 10, 1840.–Enjoying good health, thank God for it. Took breakfast with mother in company with sister Ann from London and my sister Sophia Davis from Alberstone and by her request I go to Alberstone this evening to see Bro. Davis. She is paying my expenses. My sister Ann is married to one Mr. Goldfinch of London. Arrived in Alberstone 8:30 p.m. at my sister’s a distance of 20 miles fair [fare] in coach 5 shillings sterling I pray God to give me wisdom and feel like doing His will and bearing my testimony before my relations of the things of God. I visited the machinist institution, in Birmingham in company with my 2 sisters and John.
“Feb. 11, 1840.–This morning at my sis. Davis’ at Alberstone, Warwickshire, Printer and Stationer, this morning I am longing to leave my friends so that I may go to preach the Gospel to the world as some of my relations are not willing to receive my testimony. I pray God to open their eyes to see their situation, and privileges God offers them. This day spent with my sister in conversation with her on the nature of religion as revealed. I took a walk out this afternoon meditating on the goodness of God to me and my family. Oh, I long to be worthy of that Comforter that Jesus promises to His Disciples the manifestation of the Father and Son, the ministering of Angels, the Lord grant it to me.
“Feb. 12, 1840.–This morning is very wet; has not been wet for a long time so that farmers of England cannot get the seed into the ground. There was but very little wheat sown last fall; there must be great distress next season in consequence. It has been wet for about 10 months. I am this morning still hoping soon to get into a field that I can labor in without giving offense to my relations. I think I shall soon go to Wolverhampton in Stafford Shire. My journal from this to the 14th of April, 1840, is written in a pattent pocket Journal.” [Where is that Journal?]
Elder Turley returned to the Potteries from Birmingham, and expressed a desire that Wilford Woodruff go to Birmingham to erect the standard, as it was his native place. Says Wilford Woodruff, “He thought I should do better than himself; he had preached a few times in public this side of Birmingham, but not in Birmingham. And as I was getting ready to go, the Lord manifested to me that it was his will for me to go another way, which was to go to Birmingham, or about forty miles East of it.”66 On March 16 we have the following report: “The latest account from Elder Turley, he was well, preaching and baptizing in the Potteries.”67
Sometime between March 16 and April 11 Theodore Turley was arrested and thrown into prison. We can only wish that his Journal during this period were available to us so that we could know more of the details. On April ll Wilford Woodruff wrote: “I went into the jail and had an interview with Elder Theodore Turley who had been falsely imprisoned upon a warrant for debt which had been contracted fifteen years before he left England, and which he supposed was settled.”68 Joseph Smith says, “The real object was to stop his preaching.”69
Going back to Theodore’s Journal, we find:
“April 14, 1840.–This morning my feelings and reflections are keen in this my confinement here in Goal and my brethren whom the Lord has sent on this mission to England are now arrived in this land and I deprived of the privilege of meeting with them in Conference after leaving my family and all to preach the Gospel, now Satan has deprived me of an opportunity of preaching by shutting me up in prison. Thank God I can preach to the people here, I ask for wisdom to act as the Lord would have me. I wrote a letter this day to Elder Richards and the Twelve and one for one of the prisoners.”
The letter which follows is an excerpt from the one written to Elder Richards: “I was privileged Sunday evening last for the first time of preaching publicly to all the prisoners of the debtor’s wards. I proclaimed the gospel to them, as well as I could. The Lord has been with me in my confinement. There came into this prison last Saturday, a Baptist preacher, who used to preach in Hanley next to where we preached. He was requested to preach, but refused, stating in the usual spirit that they had better hear the Latter-day Saint. With this they came to my cell. I sprung at the opportunity, and after I had done, I called publicly upon him, if he had anything to say. He replied he thought they had better retire and ponder these things over in their cells. One is solemnly converted to obey the Gospel the first opportunity he has. Several others are much taken up with the doctrines that I advanced and one in particular, a sensible man, who has been much perplexed with the doctrines of the day. So much so that his mind was almost poisoned against the Bible; he is now diligently searching the Scriptures. I have lent him Elder Pratt’s work, the ‘Voice of Warning;’ he wants to buy one. There is strife as to who shall have it. I could sell some of them, if I had them, and they would be scattered to different parts of the land soon. Dear Brother! It is a very difficult place to attempt to preach the pure principles of the Gospel in, for the mind of every individual is so busily engaged in contriving means to elude justice, and at all intervals they bring out of their evil hearts the abominations therein contained, and in order to smother reflection they have resource to gambling and drunkenness. They also use the most obscene language I have ever heard, thus glorying in their shame. I cannot give you the particulars of my situation; I am awaiting the arrival of particulars from my brother and then I will send to you. Dear Brother! I feel much sorrow at being deprived of the blessings of attending the conference of the Twelve. I am pleased at the sound of their arrival. Satan’s kingdom will quake, and the bulwarks thereof tumble to the ground. I know that the Lord can accomplish His work without my labor in the vineyard. I am but a cipher before him, but whether I have the privilege or not, my heart is in the work, and I long to have the opportunity of lifting up my voice proclaiming the will of God.”70
Continuing with Theodore Turley’s Journal–
“April 15, 1840.–This day I have spent in reading and writing and visiting a sick man here in prison. I long to know the result of a letter I sent to my brother John Turley.
“April 16, 1840.–Still in prison but thank God I have my health better. This day my mind is somewhat engaged in thought as this day the first conference is held on this land by the Quorum that God has chosen in these last days to preach the Gospel and warn this land of things that are coming upon the same. I feel much at being deprived of the privilege of meeting with them. I have this day read considerable to a sick prisoner. I hope he will obey the Gospel. I have studied a little of the system of short hand.
“April 17, 1840.–I received a letter from Bro. John Turley of Bern stating that Mr. L., Attorney will take less than half he demanded of me and I have sent him an answer. Also writing to Thomas Kimberly. I pray God to bless my endeavors to do His will.
“April 18, 1840.–This being Good Friday, so called in England. This morning I am well in health. Thank God for it. The morning spent in writing one Epistle to the Potteries and some shorthand. I seen Bro. Thomas from Stoke. He came into the prison for to see me, and brought me a loaf of bread. I spent the afternoon in writing 2 letters for 2 prisoners and some shorthand. I preached publicly this evening to the debtors on the broken covenant and plainly preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them. After I had done a preacher of the Baptist order called me a demolisher.
“April 18, 1840.–This morning I received a letter from Sis. Eliza Bromley and Sis. Pool, from Manchester and from Bros. Smith and Woodruff, from New Castle and a brother from Lane all came to visit me this day in Goal and brought me provisions and some money, received a letter from Bro. John and my trousers and linen. My poor mother does not know that I am here in this confinement as it would be too much for her to bear it at this time of her life, as she is weak in body. I spent most of the day with my friends that came to see me. I pray God to give me wisdom at all times to act in righteousness before him according to His Holy Laws. I ask God to bless Sis. Pool that came so far to see me and the brethren and all the saints and my dear wife and all the children.
“April 19, 1840.–This morning I arose and wrote an epistle to Sis. Eliza Bromley of Lane End and I also received a letter from Elder Hedlock, stating that he was at the conference in Preston, and also the nature of his journey from the time I left him in Betavia, N. Y. There was a conference 33 branches represented, and somewhere about 1520 members. 33 Elders, 53 Priests, 33 Teachers, 10 Deacons, making in all, 1650; thus you see how the work is rolling on in this land in the short time of two years and six days. I spent part of this day reading. This evening I preached to the people in prison on the principles of revelation, about two hours. The Lord helped me. I now lay me down to sleep in my cell on my sackcloth, contented till my change cometh. I pray God to bless my wife and children and all the saints.
“April 20, 1840.–This day I wrote 3 letters for my fellow prisoners and one to Elder Hedlock, the rest of the day I spent in talking with the prisoners.
“April 21, 1840.–This morning I spent till breakfast in walking around the yard for exercise after breakfast Elder Cordon with 11 others came to see me in Prison. I am much rejoiced to see my brethren and sisters, they brought me some food and some pudding from my Daughter Eliza Bromley. I brought a long epistle for my parents and all their children; directed to Bro. John Turley. I wrote a letter to Wolverhampton and then read considerable and this evening preached again in this prison. Bore witness to the revelations which have been made. I pray God to help my exertions to spread the truth; I pray Thee to bless my family and all the saints. Amen. I ask for wisdom that the adversities may not have the power to destroy nor take advantage.
“April 22, 1840.–This morning wrote a letter for a poor prisoner and also an epistle to Wolverhampton to my relatives there. The rest of the day I spent almost in idleness, being put about with guarding and swaring [swearing] of those I am obliged to amongst. I am now tired of this situation and company.
“April 23, 1840.–This morning in good health, thank God for His goodness to me. I am here but when I shall get away, I know not. I hope soon. Long to hear from Bro. John. I have spent this morning conversing with some on the principles of righteousness. The whole day spent in conversing with the prisoners and wrote one letter.
“April 24, 1840.–This morning received a letter from Elder Taylor. Says my family was in good health Feb. 2, 1840, thank God for that comfort. My mind is still anxious for news from Birmingham. I wrote to Bro. John Taylor this day. My testimony is requested by Mr. Penkhurst, I hope he may see.
“April 25, 1840.–This morning I await the arrival of the mail for news to decide my situation. I pray God to bless my enemies and turn their hearts to Him. I received a parcel from Sis. Bromley. Wrote to her; mailed a letter to Elder Hedlock. I received a letter from my Bro. John with the sorrowful tidings that Thomas Kimberly could not let me have the means (money). I wrote to him upon the subject. I received this like all other things as to prevent me having the chance of doing any good. I saw this day in the paper a statement made by the application of Elder Cardon the magistrate for the license on House in Burslem as follows Latter Day Saints. Alfred Cardon, a young man of the working class made application to Mr. Rose to have House in Burslem licensed for preaching in. He stated that lately he had been preaching in Hanley and that he had been prohibited in consequence of the House not being licensed.
“Mr. Rose: To what persuasion do you belong?
“Applicant: To the Latter Day Saints who have lately been sent by God.
“Mr. Rose: Have you been sent of God?
“Applicant: Yes, sir.
“Mr. Rose: I think there are plenty of Churches and Chapels in this neighborhood without licensing fresh places.
“Applicant: With great modesty. Yes, but God does not seem to approve of them. The magistrate not appearing disposed to argue the point, with the young man the matter dropped, now look out.
“April 26, 1840.–This day I feel cast down my mind heavily burdened with various reflections. I know not how to act, far from home and means to employ a Lawyer or to compromise and above all, this may have a tendency to lessen me in the estimation of the Saints, but I appeal to the Court of Heaven and to that only can I depend. This evening a Mr. Penkhurst preached to the people here on the love of God, pleased most of them well. There is also a Methodist preacher came in last Saturday. The Pharacauk principles are detestable. I pray God to ask according to His will in all things. I wrote to Elder Cardon. God bless my wife and children. Amen.
“April 27, 1840.–This morning in good health, thank God, but I cannot help saying I long to be out of the Hell and in the field of labor. I wrote some of the debtors the first principles of the doctrines of Christ. I preached this evening again the people are severely tied by the Devil to keep them from the truth. I pray God to bless my efforts.
“April 28, 1840.–This day I have written a letter and seen my worthy bros. George A. Smith and Willard Richards. They came to see me at Stafford Prison. I hope in the God of my salvation he will deliver me out of this place.
“April 29, 1840.–This day spent in writing and reading.
“April 30, 1840.–This day spent in practicing shorthand, sent a letter to Parley P. Pratt.” (On the 30th Elder Richards visited with Elder Turley).
“May 1, 1840.–This day spent in practicing short hand. I pray God to grant me grace to do His will. I do hope to hear from my Bro. John.
“May 2, 1840.–I received from the Saints of Lane End some provisions and a letter from Sis. Bromley. I wrote her a letter. I received a letter from Bro. George A. Smith, one in shorthand.
“May 3, 1840.–Sunday this morning I wrote a letter to a Rev. W. I. Shaw of Sheffield, making known to him the principles of the religion of Jesus Christ, as [made]* known by revelation. I wrote a letter to Mr. Padock. I this day feel seneable of my imprisonment. I long for the time when I shall lift up my voice to the inhabitants of this land to warn them of the things that are coming upon them and the necessity of repentance. This afternoon I received a letter from Bro. John Turley stating that he had been busily engaged for my deliverance and that there is prospect of my release. I wrote him a letter.
“May 4, 1840.–Monday morning wrote to Bro. Cordon Berslem Stafford Shire Potteries. The address for Elder Hedlock–Mr. John Sanders, Marchant, Alston, Cumberland. Spent most of the day in studying shorthand.”
On May 4, Brigham Young wrote to George A. Smith, “I was glad to hear that you went to see Brother Turley. I meant to have stopped to see him but it was otherwise. I shall write him soon, I expect.”71
“May 5, 1840.–This day I have written part of the system of shorthand, and in conversation on the Kingdom of Christ. Still in prison.
“May 6, 1840.–This day I have a letter from Bro. John stating he expects my discharge from this place tomorrow. Thank God for that. I wrote a letter to him, also one to Elder Woodruff. I received one from Bro. Bradbury in Burslem.
“May 7, 1840.–I spent the day as though I had nothing else to do than meditate and reflect as tho the Lord would give me deliverance soon.”
On May 7, Brigham Young wrote to Joseph Smith: “Had any of us better come back this fall? I suppose that some that come over with us will return; Brothers Clark and Hedlock, and Brother Turley if the latter gets at liberty. I suppose you have heard that he is in prison. He has been there ever since my arrival in England, and how long he will remain the Lord only knows. He was put there through the influence of a priest, as nigh as I can learn, for some old pretended claim, but no one can find out what that claim is…I have just received a letter from Brother Turley, which states he expects to leave his place the next day.”72
“May 8, 1840.–This morning I rose early. Pleased with a dream. My little daughter came to me and said, Papa, Papa, I am glad to see you. From various impressions I shall be delivered from this. This day at 8 a.m. I received the information that my discharge was come while I thank God for this blessing. I had taken the coach for Lane End and arrived at Bro. John Whittiker. Then went to Bro. Thomas Ameston’s and then walked to Stoke in company with Sis. Ameston. Saw the saints in Stoke. They were so delighted to see me restored. I slept at Bro. John Rowley’s when there a number of saints came to see me. Slept in company with Bro. Smith. Laid hands on Sis. Elderson, she being sick.”
Joseph Smith says, “Elder Turley was released from Stafford jail, where he had been confined since his arrest on the 16th of March last, at the instigation of John Jones, a Methodist preacher, on the pretense of a claim arising under a partnership with another man fifteen years ago, before he left England; but the real object was to stop his preaching. He was without provisions for several days, but the poor Saints in the Potteries, on learning his condition, supplied his wants, some of the sisters actually walking upwards of twenty miles to relieve him. He preached several times to the debtors, was visited by Elders Woodruff, Richards, George A. Smith, A. Cordon, and others, and was dismissed from prison on his persecutors ascertaining their conduct was about to be exposed. This rather encouraged than disheartened the Elders, as I had told them on their leaving Nauvoo, to be of good courage, for some of them would have to look through grates before their return.”73
“May 9, 1840.–This day in company with Elder George A. Smith walked to Burslem from Stoke. We ordained Bro. Hume to the office of a Priest in the stake, he being much afflicted with rheumatism or rheumatics, he jumped up and ran after us praising God. When we arrived in Burslem visited many of the Saints when they rejoiced much at my deliverance. I then attended a conference where we ordained 2 Elders, Bro. Glover and B. Simpson, 2 Teachers, Bro. Bradbury and Bro. Parker. Bro. D. Bowers was nominated Deacon, but not present. Slept at Bro. Johnston’s.
“May 10, 1840.–Sunday this morning in company with Elder G. A. Smith I go to Hanley, Bro. Smith preached, I brake bread. In the evening I preached for a while and Elder Smith preached to the congregation. Confirmed one member and ordained Bro. Daniel Bowers to the office of Deacon.
“May 11, 1840.–This day I wrote to Bro. John Turley and then walked to Stoke and visited Sis. Handerson and several of the Saints and also one Mr. Mumford. Then I walked to Lane End, then visited the Saints there. I hope they will be able to resist the Devil. I preached to a large congregation.
“May 12, 1840.–This morning at Sis. Whittiker’s I visited the saints in this place and accompanied Sis. Bromley to Stoke and there laid hands on Sis. Handerson. I then accompanied George A. Smith visited the Pot Manufactory in Stoke. I then walked to Hanley to Mr. Martin’s and after the necessary conversation baptized her. Then walked to Burslem and slept at Bro. Johnston’s.
“May 13, 1840.–I went to New Castle to preach in company with George A. Smith, preached in the streets. One baptized.” [This day Wilford Woodruff received a letter from Theodore Turley].
On May 15, 1840, Willard Richards wrote the following to George A. Smith: “I read your letter to Brother Young and also Brother Turley’s… If Brother Turley wants room to exercise, he will find himself abundantly supplied with room to labor here, and we recommend him to tarry at the Potteries till Brother Young comes, which will be in a few days. Brother Young would like to see him and we all rejoice with Brother Turley, and if he concludes to come here, or go elsewhere, let him do it secretly; let no one but yourself know where he goes, and his enemies cannot follow, and he will save himself much trouble.”74
Now back to the Journal:
“May 16, 1840.–From Stoke to Hanley, visiting the saints and to Burslem and then to Hanley, to be measured for some clothes, then to Burslem to sleep.
“May 17, 1840.–Walked to Leek in company with Bros. Walker and Johnson 10 miles and preached to the people after dinner and at night.
“May 18, 1840.–In Leek preaching from house to house. Preached publicly at 7 p.m. and at 11 p.m.; baptized 5 women and 3 men. Retired at 2 a.m.
“May 19, 1840.–Walked to Burslem; met G. A. Smith about noon.
“May 20, 1840.–In company with G. A. Smith visited several families of the Baptist order; preached the truths of the Gospel, also visited the brethren.
“May 21, 1840.–Visited some in Hanley, took dinner at Mr. Taylor’s. Spent the afternoon with him and one of the Baptist’s of this place. Preached hard against the errors of the day, this evening at meeting with Elders Young and Smith. Slept in Burslem with the same Brethren at Bro. Johnston’s. We thot it best for Bro. Smith and I to tarry in this region until conference.”
This was the first time that Theodore had seen Brigham Young since he left New York, for by the time Brigham Young arrived in England, Theodore was in prison. Of this meeting Brigham Young reported the following to Elders Wilford Woodruff and Willard Richards: “I found Brother Turley there; he feels well, is preaching and baptizing; he is going to Birmingham. I told him to go according to his own feelings; he is willing to do anything that we say; he wants to see you and sends love with the rest of us.”75
“May 22, 1840.–In company with Elders B. Young and G. A. Smith. Bro. Smith wished me to go to Lane End and preach this evening. I walked from Burslem and visited some of the saints and from there to Lane End preached at night.
“May 23, 1840.–Visited among the Saints.
“May 24, 1840.–This morning I preached in a room obtained from the T. Totals society. I met with the saints in the afternoon, preached at night to a large congregation.
“May 25, 1840.–Still in Lane End, I hope to see some fruits of my labors. This night I preached to a large congregation, a number followed me to my lodgings to inquire after the truth. Slept at Bro. Whittiker’s.
“May 26, 1840.–This morning I spent with the saints in Lane End and then went to Stoke, visited some there. Then to Hanley visited some there. Then to Burslem preached here at night. Slept at Bro. Johnston’s.
“May 27, 1840.–Went to Hanley. Taught from house to house the things of the Kingdom and at night preached to a large congregation on temperance.
“May 28, 1840.–Went to Birmingham to see my parents. Arrived 7:30 p.m. I saw I was once more in company with my parents. I pray God to bless my visit.
“May 29, 1840.–Spent with Bro. John and family.
“May 30, 1840.–Spent with my parents in Birmingham and relatives.
“May 31, 1840.–I preached the necessity of Baptism to my parents. Oh! my soul is grieved in consequence of the traditions that have been instilled into them by the damnable doctrines of man. I pray God to bless them with eyes to see the truth. I feel much my spirits are down.
“June 1, 1840.–This morning taking leave of my relations for the North. I traveled to West Broomwitch to see my relatives here, found them all alive and well. Slept at Mr. N. Woods.
“June 2, 1840.–This day at Grets Green West Groom Parish, teaching the things of the Kingdom of Heaven. Preached at night also.
“June 3, 1840.–In Grets Green teaching the things of the Kingdom of God.
“June 4, 1840.–Went to the Brades. Saw some of my father’s relations. Preached to them the Gospel. I returned to Grets Green. These two men came to inquire of me about the doctrines of Christ. I preached Jesus and the resurrection unto them; there also came some to entangle me in my talk. They brought a traveling preacher of the name of Leek to see if he could counteract the effects of my preaching the Gospel. But thank God he gave me words that he could not gainsay. The people that heard, some were left in amazement and others in praise of God for sending the truth. I can’t leave the people at present. They are beginning to have their eyes opened.
“June 5, 1840.–Still in Grets Green instructing the people in the things of the Kingdom. I feel the awful situation of those that are teaching the foul principles of man and leading the innocent astray from the paths of truth. This morning preached in Swan Village, afterward a man by the name of Hicks opposed the truth. I pray God to give him eyes to see his situation. I then baptized John Robinson and Mary Robinson and Jane Wood.
“June 6, 1840.–Still in Grets Green, went to see Mrs. Jones. She is much troubled that I should be so persecuted. She said she must be baptized. I went to see a gentleman by the name of Williams, he received my testimony; said he had preached 35 years and looking for the coming forth of the work of God. He is going to try and get me to preach in the chapel.
“June 7, 1840.–This morning confirmed 3; administered the sacrament to them. Spoke to the congregation in the afternoon; preached in the street. At night fulfilled the appointment of a Methodist Preacher; many believed. Went to bed quite tired.
“June 8, 1840.–Wrote Elder Smith in the Potteries. Visited the people that were inclined to believe the truth. Received scolding from Mr. Woods for baptizing two of his daughters; one of them was married and the other 22 years of age. I preached to a congregation at Hill Top this night. The Lord enabled me to bare testimony to the things of God, as made known by the ministering of angels. I baptized two, Mrs. Jones and George Wood.”
On June 8 Theodore Turley wrote from Grets Green, near Birmingham, to George A. Smith: “I left Lane End, and arrived in Birmingham a quarter before eight o’clock; at my father’s, found them well. My brother’s family are sick–no opportunity with my brother. He had to leave town upon business. I preached to my parents; my mother is so bound by the damnable errors of man; that she thinks so much of that, I am grieved. I left on Monday for Broomwitch and found that my former preaching and letters from Stafford were not lost, but were working like leaven in meal. One preacher had not preached Methodism; nor could he. I preached on Tuesday. All the time I have been there, there has been either preachers or leaders calling upon me, some in the spirit of enquiry, others trying to eat me up. It is hard fighting. They brought a traveling preacher, by the name of Leek, in this circuit, to oppose me. We had a discussion and the people were ashamed of him. Some are raging mad against me. There is one class really broken up. Wednesday I preached, and Thursday also, and on Friday I baptized three. A preacher opposed me. Six more gave their names for baptism on Saturday and I was invited to the house of a gentleman at Hill Top; I had an interview with him. He received me with warmth, received my testimony, said he had tried to preach the gospel for thirty-five years, but was convinced that he lacked the power of God, and he had preached the second coming of Christ and the Restoration of the Jews. He had suffered much opposition on account of his going to try for me to preach in their chapel. Sunday morning I held meeting, confirmed three, and administered the Sacrament to them. I spoke to the congregation. In the afternoon preached in the street and at night I was invited to fill the appointment of a Methodist local preacher. The house was filled and I preached two hours; many believed. Numbers say they must be baptized. The preacher stated publicly that he must be baptized; prayed that God would enable them all to examine the truths that he had heard, and obey them. He and his wife told me that they will obey the commandment. A great fuss was raised. I have no chance to visit the different places around. I pray God to send more laborers in the vineyard. Brother Smith, do come and help me here. There is Birmingham and Woverhampton, and ten or twelve other towns here, that are perishing. This morning I have had a storm; a relative came to call me to task for baptizing two of his daughters; one is married, the other twenty-three years of age. He has poured out his Methodist threats against me, but I was as independent in feeling and speech as the Son of a King.”76
“June 9, 1840.–Not well, had a bad night’s rest. I went to see my parents. I traveled to Birmingham. I long for their salvation. Slept at my father’s.
“June 10, 1840.–This morning had some conversations with my grandfather upon the subject of baptism. He confessed it a duty, but is fearful of his health being injured. I took leave of my parents and traveled to West Broomwitch and preached at Bro. Robinson’s. After preaching, baptized two, Bro. Painter and Sr. Walker.
“June 11, 1840.–Not enjoying good health; God is good to me. There is much opposition. Sis. Jane Wood has much to try her faith. I preached to a good congregation this evening at Princes End; had a conversation after.
“June 12, 1840.–Visiting the people, communicating the truths, there is much opposition to the truth in this place. Preached at night at Bro. Robinson’s in Grets Green.
“June 13, 1840.–Traveled to Birmingham, 6 miles, to see my father and mother. Went to visit my relations. Sis. Mathan has received great benefit from the use of some consecrated oil for the sore affliction of rhumatics. Thank God He hears my prayers on her behalf. She was very kind to me when in prison. The Lord reward her for all, and I bless her in the name of the Lord. Amen.
“June 14, 1840.–Arose early to converse with my father and grandfather. My father told me he was ready to be baptized [emphasis added]. He would like grandfather to go at the same time. I walked to West Broomwitch. My sis. Charlotte accompanied me. Met the saints at Bro. Painter’s. The rest of the evening instructing among the people. They threaten my life; the influence of priest-craft is so great that it makes it hard work.
“June 15, 1840.–I walked to Birmingham with my sister. She came to preach. Spent the day in Birmingham; at night I taught my parents the nature of Faith.
“June 16, 1840.–Walked to Grets Green; then visited from house to house, teaching of the things of the Kingdom. Then walked to Wedensbury. Preached in the Baptist chapel; then walked to Grets Green. Very stormy; caught a bad cold; had a number of preachers to hear me.
“June 17, 1840.–Not enjoying good health; waiting for Elder Woodruff. At night went to Princess End and preached in the Baptist chapel. They invited me again. I returned to Grets Green. There was a number waiting for me to injure my body. Some threatening to horse-whip me and others threatening to put me down a coal pit. They surrounded the house till 2 a.m. One came in, and called me all ill names and gave many threats. My sister Charlotte from Birmingham brought me a letter from America that comforted my heart. Saying [a page was torn from Theodore’s Journal so we do not know what the letter stated].
“June 21, 1840.–This morning arose at 4 a.m. to go and baptize Bro. Walker and Sr. Painter, 8 of our friends accompanied me to the water. Returned, held a prayer meeting and then took breakfast, 10 met in the Church in sacrament. 2:30 p.m. and at 6 p.m. Slept at Enoch Woods.
“June 22, 1840.–Traveled to Birmingham visiting the friends there.
“June 23, 1840.–Went to look up a place for to baptize. Traveled all around Hofston pool; round the old walk I used to when a little boy. Reminds me of my former days. Expect to see Mr. Allgood. Slept at Father’s.”
On June 23 Wilford Woodruff called upon sister Mary Packard who informed him that Elder Turley was in another part of the town and had commenced baptizing.
“June 24, 1840.–Went with Bro. John Turley to the factory and to see the Alms House, etc. I then took dinner at my mother’s. I then walked to West Broomwitch to see Elder Wilford Woodruff; he sent me a letter to mother’s. I called to visit Mr. Icke. Elder Woodruff preached at night. I then baptized 4 at 11 p.m. Thank the Lord for his mercies in this respect.
“June 25, 1840.–This morning I feel there is a spirit from the Powers [of Darkness that takes (?) my heart (?). I ask God to preserve me and bless me and]* deliver me. I spent the day with the saints and Elder Woodruff. Preached at Bro. Walker’s; baptized Bro. Mathews and confirmed him on the road and he went on his way rejoicing. Ordained Bro. Painter, Priest and Bro. Robinson, Teacher, and then slept at Bro. Woods in company with Elder Woodruff at Grets Green.
“June 26, 1840.–This morning I arose to take leave of the few saints the Lord had given me after the hard labors I have had in this region. I left them under peculiar feelings at this time; Satan raging so powerful around them I and Elder Woodruff left them in the hands of God and we then proceeded from thence to the Potteries to attend conference; a distance of 38 miles. When we arrived at Lane End and visited the saints there I was rejoiced to see Sis. Eliza Bromley once more; when I reflect how she fed me; clothed me and visited me when in prison, I pray God to reward her a hundred fold in the Kingdom of our Heavenly Father, and that this her kindness should be handed down to future generations as a memorial to her.”
Taken from the History of the British Mission: “Elder Wilford Woodruff and Theodore Turley traveled by omnibus from West Broomwitch to Lane End…Arriving at Lane End, the brethren called upon the Saints and thence went to Stoke. Spent the night at Alfred Cordon’s.”
“June 27, 1840.–Wrote in company with Elder G. A. Smith and W. Woodruff a letter to Pres. Smith in America. Saints much rejoiced to see us here.
“June 28, 1840.–Attended a field meeting at Stoke; preached in the morning; at noon baptized Bro. W. Martin and Bro. Henry Cloens; then proceeded to the field meeting at night to Hanley room; then walked to Lane End.”
Referring to the History of the British Mission we find: “Elder Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith and Theodore Turley met with the Saints at Stoke and held a camp meeting. A large congregation was present. Elders Smith, Turley, and Alfred Cordon preached in the forenoon, and Elders Woodruff and Smith in the afternoon.”
“June 29th, 1840.–Walked to Hanley to attend conference. Elder G. A. Smith called to take lead in conference. Elder Cordon as clerk. Ordained 4 priests, and 2 teachers. Bro. Whittiker was ordained an Elder. The members in these branches, Burslem and Hanley 61. Tunstell 5 and 1 priest. Lane End 35, 1 Priest. New Castle 15, 1 Priest, 1 Teacher, Leek 40. Cheedle 1, Total 168. Meeting adjourned till 5 p.m. Elders Smith, Woodruff and myself addressed the official members on their various duties then at 7 p.m. Elder Woodruff preached to a large congregation, then I walked to Burslem spent the night at Bro. Johnston’s.
“June 30, 1840.–Walked to New Castle visited saints there, then walked to Hanley and preached to a large congregation.
“July 1, 1840.–Left Burslem in company with Elder G. A. Smith, and Wilford Woodruff for Manchester, had it wet all the way; arrived at 1:30 p.m. Found Elders Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, Brigham Young, Willard Richards and H. Clark.
“July 2, 1840.–Thursday in Manchester spent in counsels and writing and preaching at night, then slept in company with Wilford Woodruff.
“July 3, 1840.–Friday visited the Manchester museum in company with above named Elders. A vast collection of birds and beasts, mummies and a head of New Highland Chief Sattewa; some ancient Egyptians; stone coffins with many ancient characters upon them; a representation of the largest diamond in the world worth 122,000,000 pounds of sterling. Met in council at the Star Office Oldame Road No. 149 with the officers of the Church, in this region, instructions given on the manner, and operations of the gifts. Slept at Bro. John Walker’s, Cocston St. No. 10, Manchester.
“July 4, 1840.–Went to see the Geological Gardens in company with Elders Young, Pratt, Kimball, Woodruff, Richards, W. Clayton, and John Needham, a number of wild beasts, lions, tigers, leopards, elephants, rhineroses, camels, 3 brown bears, 2 polar bears, walrus, deer from various climates, monkeys, then the flowers. Elder Kimball and I went to Stockport 7 miles to preach. Slept at R. Stafford’s all night.
“July 5, 1840.–At 10 a.m. preached at Stockport and again at 2 p.m. a large assemblage present confirmed 2 members in the evening, at 6 p.m. preached to a large audience.
“July 6, 1840.–I went to Manchester by steam car 7 miles in 15 minutes in company with a number of the saints.”
At a meeting held July 6, 1840, a “new hymnbook was introduced and received the unanimous approbation of the meeting. A number of brethren were ordained to the ministry and then President Young called upon those officers whose circumstances would permit them to devote themselves entirely to the work of the ministry, and who would volunteer to do so.”77 Theodore Turley was one of those who stood up.
“July 7, 1840.–Elder R. Hedlock’s address No. 3 East Tarbutt St. Glasgow, No. 23, High St. Pensley Scotland.
“July 8, 1840.–The Counsel desires that I shall go to America to take charge of a company, still in Manchester with the brethren.
“July 9, 1840.–Thursday it was desired that I should go to Bolton to visit the saints.
“July 10, 1840.–This morning in Bolton in company with Elder Amos Fielding visiting the saints find great confusion among them.
“July 11, 1840.–At Bro. G. Naylor’s in Bolton wrote a letter to Sister Bromley and mailed it, I had a conversation and bore testimony to the class-leader at Bro. Naylor’s house.
“July 12, 1840.–This morning preached at the rooms in Bolton, laid hands on a member [number?] of the sick, took dinner at Bro. Greenhalches, broke bread with the saints in the afternoon, I preached at 6:30 p.m. to a large congregation.
“July 13, 1840.–I feel to thank God for the health that I enjoy after a hard day’s labor, I pray God to give me wisdom to all things in righteousness and truth, this evening I preached in the street. I baptized 1, traveled 2 miles to the water.
“July 14, 1840.–This morning at Bro. Naylor’s then I went to Greenhalth and Sister Greenhalth [Greenhalch?] gave me some to travel with.
“July 15, 1840.–In company with some of the saints in Chiley, Sis. Mary Stockton gave me a pair of stockings to comfort my feet.
“July 16, 1840.–In good health start for Preston. Arrived at Bro. Joseph Fielding’s find them all well.
“July 17, 1840.–Expect to go to Chorley visited Bro. David Fielding gave him some instructions, then traveled to Elder Withnells for the night, met a number of the saints there.
“July 18, 1840.–This morning took leave of the saints Chorley to see Bro. Greenhalch arrived in Bolton at 5:30 p.m. I received a letter from Sis. Eliza Bromley of Lane End. I wrote an answer back to the same then I attended a council meeting of the church in Bolton. Slept at Bro. Naylor’s.
“July 19, 1840.–Sunday I preached in Bolton in the afternoon. Broke bread with the saints; laid hands on a number of sick, comforted one and ordained Bro. George Naylor a Deacon. The meeting was very profitable one for the saints.”
[There is reference to the casting out of an evil spirit by Theodore Turley on this date, which was unavailable to the author.]*
“July 20, 1840.–Visited the saints in and about Bolton laying hands on the sick, etc. I preached at night to a large congregation, numbers of them believed. I had four follow me to my lodgings, to inquire after the truth. I was up till 12 at night.
“July 21, 1840.–In Bolton preached at night, Bro. Joseph Fielding came to Bolton and bore testimony to the truth.
“July 22, 1840.–Wednesday in company with Elder Fielding visited some of the sick and administered to them then took leave of the saints in Bolton traveled to Manchester.”
[This is the last entry in the Journal of Theodore Turley. It is not likely that he would keep a day by day account of his mission, or his life, up to a certain time and then for apparently no reason at all terminate his writing. Perhaps material other than this is in existence today. If so we should spare no effort or expense in securing it.]
VII. HIS MISSION TO ENGLAND–
FROM ENGLAND TO NAUVOO
On July 23, 1840, “Wilford Woodruff sealed up a package of forty-two letters and his journal from Montrose to England, to send to his wife with Elder Turley.”78
On August 11 “Elder Theodore Turley started for Liverpool to prepare a ship for about eighty saints to emigrate.” A man whom Wilford Woodruff converted “gave one hundred pounds of sterling to Elder Turley to pay the deposit money and secure the passage of those who were to go through his benevolence.”79
In September of 1840 “Elders Young and Richards went from Manchester to Liverpool and in the evening organized a company of saints bound for New York, by choosing Elder Theodore Turley to preside, with six counselors.”80
We learn a little more about this emigration from the History of the British Mission: “Most of them are very poor; those who had money have given most of it to help those who have none. If this was not sufficient, we, seeing the poverty and distress of some families, have made use of our own credit among the brethren to carry them along with the rest. It was the decision of the council in July that Elder Turley should lead this company to Zion, and he goes accordingly.”81
It is difficult to determine the exact sailing date. Theodore Turley says: “September 12th, 1840 sailed with the first company of 209 Saints for Nauvoo.” Recorded in the History of the British Mission we find: “About 9 o’clock in the morning (September 8) the ship North America sailed from Liverpool with about 200 Saints on board, bound for New York. The ship was tugged out into the open sea by a steamer. Elders Young and Richards accompanied them 15 or 20 miles and left them in good spirits… The company had a prosperous voyage to New York, where they arrived in the beginning of October, and from there they continued the journey to Buffalo, New York. Owing to the expensiveness of the route many of the emigrants fell short of means to complete the journey to Nauvoo; they therefore divided at Buffalo, a part going to settle in and around Kirtland, Ohio, while the balance, under the leadership of Theodore Turley, continued the journey to Nauvoo, at which place Joseph the Prophet states that he had the pleasure of welcoming about 100 of them about the middle of October or November, 1841.”82 It is probable that they arrived in New York sometime in October and did not arrive in Nauvoo until sometime in November.
In the Millennial Star, recorded September, 1840, the Saints in England bid Theodore Turley Godspeed in his return trip to his family.83
William Clayton was one of the Saints who emigrated at that time. When he arrived in Nauvoo he wrote a letter back to some of his friends in England, telling of the journey. The following material is taken from that letter:
“Nauvoo, November 29, 1840.
“… I rejoice that we have arrived at our journey’s end and have the privilege of resting ourselves. Travelling is laborious work and especially at this season of the year, but notwithstanding all the difficulties and dangers through which we have had to pass we are here and we are healthy and cheerful for which we feel very thankful. If we had left England about six weeks sooner we should have had a pleasant journey. I suppose more so than any other part of the year; but it is impossible to come this distance but what the weather will be either too hot or too cold and we have had both. However the journey lies before and although it is impossible for pen to describe to you the difficulties you will have to endure you must come or suffer the vengeance of heaven and for my part I will say that if I was in England now and had experienced all the journey it would not in the least deter me from coming for I have often found that in the greatest seasons of suffering we have the greatest cause of rejoicing and so it has been with us for when we have thought impossible even then was our happiest moments… Those that come to this land must set their minds firm to come through all and not flinch if death should stare them in the face. The Lord calls for valiant hearted men who are not afraid to die. A company of saints who come to this land would greatly lessen their sufferings by taking care to be firmly united together for if once Satan can cause enmity or confusion it is with great difficulty that you can repair the breach especially when under such peculiar circumstances.
“We have been a kind of mixed company and this has increased our troubles some from one part of the country and some another, some have been fed a little on strong food, others but newly baptized. Some have been much whipped, others scarcely heard their duty and in such a company you may naturally suppose many things would occur to try all parties. I think another such a mixed company will not come together at least I hope not. We have not yet suffered sufficient to make us all of one mind and wherever you go you may expect [to find] men as men and not as angels, and man is naturally prone to evil as the sparks fly upward…
“In my last letter which I hope you have received I gave you a general outline of those things which passed to the time we landed at New York; In this, I will give you a history of events since that time to the present. We tarried in New York until Wednesday the 14th of October, during this time we moved our luggage from the ship to the steam boat Congress for West Troy about 6 miles beyond Albany…Previous to our leaving the ship the custom house officers came to examine our boxes which was soon done for they only looked at the top of the goods without examining to the bottom of our boxes. The Captain of the ship North America, told Elder Turley that he should be very glad to bring another company of the Saints over. He inquired into our principles and if we had a church in New York. Elder Turley introduced him to President Foster, who told him where they held their meetings, etc…
“Provisions at New York were cheap. We could have a good supper for about 6 pence or 9 pence, English money. Honey, 5 pence per pound, fruit very cheap. We left New York about 5 o’clock on the Wednesday afternoon and a delightful sight we had at this time. Seven steamboats all left the harbor at once which was a noble sight. Three or four of our company tarried at New York. One family from Macclesfield, named Mops. The brethren here were much interested in our welfare and showed great kindness towards us. We slept on board the ship until the Tuesday and this night we slept on the steamer… We arrived at Albany about half past five and at West Troy at nine on Thursday evening. At this place we tarried all night and on Friday our Company divided and went on three canal boats. Two not being sufficient to carry us. We left West Troy about four o’clock, myself and Elder Turley taking the last boat…
“Meat is cheap along this road. At one place Mr. Turley bought a sheep ready dressed for 6 shillings. We could get no very good butter and but little milk as people will not take pains to churn the milk and in many instances will not milk the cows only as they need milk. There are a great many pigs kept all along which seem to run at large.
“We passed the town of Syracuse on the 21st… On Thursday the 22nd, Mr. Turley and myself left the boat which our folks were in and took the packet boat in order to overtake the other two which was a long way before us on account of our boat not sailing on the Sunday, because the owner was religious.
“We came in sight of the Erie River about three in the afternoon Friday… We had a strong wind to encounter and in one place our boat was driven on shore and some of the passengers thrown down by the shock. We arrived at Buffalo about six o’clock in the evening. We passed one boat near to Buffalo. The other had arrived in the morning. We had purposed to go to the Niagara Falls as we was then only about six miles distant, but these boats being come in we could not have the privilege.
“On the morrow we went to engage a steamboat for Chicago, but quickly found that there was only one boat intending to go there at that time. This being the case we had no privilege of going for any less than the ordinary fare which was something more than $2.00 besides luggage. At this we felt troubled because it was double the price we expected to go for. The other boat did not arrive until Sunday noon. The weather at this time began to blow very cold and we had considerable fall of snow. Some of the company went directly on board the steamboat and lodged there for a few nights. The others went into a warehouse to lodge. On the Saturday, Elder Turley made some more inquiry concerning the fare, but found it impossible to get to Chicago for less than $2.00 each person and half price for children. This was an important crisis. Many of the Company was almost destitute of money and some destitute of both meat and money and could get no farther. There was not sufficient means to be had in the Company to take the whole and consequently some must remain at Buffalo. This was truly an affecting scene, but could not be avoided. At this time Elder Turley was almost heartbroken on account of having to leave some of the Company and as it was in former times, when he could see no way open the Lord made His kindness manifest and sent deliverance, whilst he was enunciating upon our situation, Brother Kellog the presiding elder at Kirtland passed by him. Brother Turley knew him and stopped him. They had a season of rejoicing together and Brother Turley told him the whole of our situation. Brother Kellog immediately offered to take either the whole or part of the Company to Kirtland, which is not very far from Buffalo. Here was our deliverance. The company began to rejoice and all went off well. A privilege was then given to all who chose to go to Kirtland and those who could go through to Commerce.
“Amongst those who went to Kirtland was George Slater and family from Penwortham. Many are those who went to Manchester. The Greenhaugh’s concludes to remain in Buffalo a little season until they can get means to move themselves. They had money offered them to go on, but they preferred working themselves through. We felt considerable at parting with this part of our company yet we knew that all was well. We have since seen that it was right, they went to Kirtland. We went on board the steamboat, Illinois, but could not leave Buffalo at that time on account of the rough weather. It was very wet and cold and we had considerable snow storms. About seven o’clock on Thursday morning, October 29th, we left Buffalo and notwithstanding the bad weather we proceeded rapidly on Lake Erie. We called at Fairport partly on account of the storm and partly to take in wood for fire. (There are scarcely any coals burned here.) We were then only about eleven miles from Kirtland. I had a great desire to go and see the house of the Lord, but could not. In a few hours we started again. We had some pleasant sailing up the Lakes after the wind abated. We saw many hundreds of wild ducks, especially upon the Lake Saint Clare. We arrived at Chicago about half past one A. M., Wednesday November 4th. At this place same day we engaged wagons to Disonville about 110 miles from Chicago. I might have said that on the steamboat we had to sleep near to the engine where passengers was continually passing night and day almost. We laid our bed on boxes, but had so little room that often our feet was intruding beyond the bed and lay bare. It was not pleasant, but we could not help it. Sometimes we were almost suffocated with heat and at other times almost starved with cold. The vessel was crowded with passengers and some of them of a course kind. We left Chicago same day about three o’clock P. M…. First day we traveled about 12 miles across a dreadful prairie. We were delighted with its appearance. We called at an Inn or Tavern. Here we had to make a fire in the woods and cook and eat out of doors. We had the privilege of sleeping in the tavern upon the floor, but as we had expected our beds at Chicago to lighten the wagons we found the soft side of the boards very hard for the first time. However we slept pretty well for we had been much fatigued during the day. We arose in the morning before daylight, made our fire out of doors and got a comfortable breakfast. The oatmeal we brought from England came in well. We arrived at Dixonville about three o’clock on Saturday afternoon, some of the Company did not arrive until Sunday. During this journey we cooked our victuals out of doors. At noon we had only one hour allowed us to cook and eat dinner; but in this time we made a fire, washed up pots, peeled potatoes and boiled them and fried our beef and ate our dinner ready for starting at the hours end… Although we were thus situated I assure you we were happy and cheerful. At Dixon we engaged an empty house to sleep in. There was no fireplace in the house, consequently we had to cook out of doors. The weather was cold, but in other respects favorable. About ten besides children slept in the same house… Here we purchased a boat bottom and in a few days had it ready for sailing. During the time we remained at Dixon we had to sleep on our boxes and often the sides of the box made our bones ache, but the more we suffered the more cheerful we appeared. On Friday the 15th, we went on board our boat and loaded our boxes. On the morrow we sailed down Rock River for Commerce. On the 20th, we passed the rapids. Here many of us got out to walk in order to lighten the boat… The journey has done the old folks no harm. Same day we entered the Mississippi River. On Saturday the 21st we had to camp in the woods there being no houses near. We had fixed our tent over a few boxes and 14 of us slept several nights in a place about 2 1/2 yards long and about 45 feet broad. We had not room to lay down and scarce room to sit. We could not stretch out our legs which caused them to ache some. This seemed a hard fare and it was about the worst of all our journey. One night it rained exceeding heavy and the rain ran through the tent and wet us through. We could not take off our wet clothes, but let them dry on our backs… Some of the time the frost was so severe that our tent was quite stiff and we could scarce cook our victuals at all. On this night (the 21st) Elder Turley addressed the saints while camped in the woods and it was a time long to be remembered. Some spoke in tongues and William Poole interpreted. On Sunday night we called at a tavern and as we expected landing we washed and cleaned ourselves and changed our clothes. We got stuck fast on a tree on Monday which hindered us some and we did not arrive that night but stopped about 9 or 10 miles from home.
“…The boat arrived (in Commerce) about 2 o’clock. We had not sailed in the night on account of the islands and trees which lay in the river and made it dangerous to navigate. We were near 11 days on this boat during which time I never had my clothes off, neither had William Poole and he and myself was laid down only a few nights during this time and then our bed was not feathers, but hay. Our families slept on boards having the empty beds under them. The weather was exceeding cold, but preserved us and we arrived in Commerce well and joyful.
“A committee had been formed to provide accommodations for us when we arrived…We were 11 weeks and about 11 hours between starting from Liverpool and landing at this place…”84
VIII. BACK IN NAUVOO
Theodore Turley’s mission to England was probably one of the spiritual highlights of his life. We, as his descendants, can point with both pride and humility at his enviable record. But Theodore’s attitude was not one of boasting, or pride, as can be illustrated by the number of times the words, “Thank God!” appear in his Journal. His return home must have been a joyous occasion for his family as well as for himself. To be back in Zion, among the Saints of God, undoubtedly was a source of much happiness to him. His heart no doubt swelled with pride when he observed the progress made by the Saints in so short a time.
A missionary, when he returns from his field of labor, must orient himself back into his society. One of the first things we find Theodore doing upon his return home is preaching in Iowa. Elder John Smith, Ambrosia, Lee County, Iowa, states, “Brother Theodore Turley preached here last Sunday and preaches again next Sunday.”85 Elder Turley opened up his shop and resumed his activities as a gunsmith, Elder Amasa Lyman assisting him in this work.86 It is interesting to note here that one of Theodore Turley’s daughters later married Elder Lyman. Theodore evidently had other business interests, for in March of 1843 Joseph Smith wrote: “I told Theodore Turley that I had no objection to his building a brewery.”87
In February of 1841 Theodore and some of the other brethren organized themselves into the Nauvoo Agricultural and Manufacturing Association–an organization for the promotion of agriculture, etc. He was made Weigher and Sealer of the city of Nauvoo and in June became Lieutenant-Colonel in the Nauvoo Legion, 5th regiment, 2nd cohort. Later, in June of 1844, Joseph Smith appointed him Armourer-General of the Legion. Hosea Stout was the Colonel, and seems to have depended a great deal upon Theodore Turley.88
During the years between 1841 and June of 1844 Joseph Smith was called to appear in court frequently. Often Theodore Turley was among the brethren who accompanied him to his trial and testified in his behalf. The Prophet Joseph seems to have visited with Elder Turley many times during these trying times. For a few examples we find: January 1843, Case in court adjourned and Joseph Smith spent some time after dinner in conversation with Hyrum and Theodore Turley. December 5, 1843: Joseph Smith met the Twelve, also Wm. W. Phelps, Wm. Clayton, and Theodore Turley in council on important business. December 16, 1843: After Council, Joseph Smith conversed with some of the Twelve, brother Turley, and others, until 8 p.m. We also find Joseph Smith “settled with Theodore Turley, and gave him the deed of a lot.”
On January 11, 1843, Joseph Smith sent invitations to many of the Saints to a dinner party to be held at his home the following Wednesday, the occasion being the fifteenth wedding anniversary of Joseph and Emma. Theodore and his wife apparently accepted their invitation and attended the affair. It was no ordinary dinner party. The guests arrived between the hours of ten and twelve a.m. They sang songs, discussed topics of the day, and related anecdotes until 2 o’clock p.m. when four different tables were served by Joseph and Emma. At six o’clock p.m. they dispersed with many thanks and expressions of gratitude.89
Although the Saints had been willing to forget the cruelties they had suffered in the State of Missouri, they found that to be a nearly impossible task. The Missourians had not forgotten that they had vowed to kill the Mormon Prophet. They followed the Saints to Illinois and their persecutions built up until 1844, when a climax was reached. Perhaps even more dangerous to the Prophet were the actions of some of the apostates from the Church, including John C. Bennett, William and Wilson Law. Among other things the apostates purchased a printing press and published a paper called the Nauvoo Expositor. This paper was of such a libelous and slanderous nature that the City Council of Nauvoo declared it a public nuisance and ordered the City Marshal to destroy the type. The apostates jumped at the chance to make it look bad for the Mormons. They set fire to their own establishment and spread word throughout the country that the Mormons were responsible for this destruction. It is probable that this affair, more than any other single incident, was responsible for the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph.
On June 10, 1844, “Theodore Turley, a mechanic, being sworn, said that the Laws (William and Wilson) had brought bogus dies to him to fix.”90
Under date of June 20, 1844, Joseph Smith says: “I gave directions to Theodore Turley to commence the manufacture of artillery. He asked me if he should not rent a building, and set some men to repairing the small arms which were out of order. I told him in confidence that there would not be a gun fired on our part during this fuss.”91 Also on the 20th Joseph wrote to the members of the Quorum of the Twelve who were absent on missions and told them to come home immediately.
The Prophet finally came to the conclusion that the mob was only interested in himself and Hyrum. They decided to cross the river and go west, understanding that if they ever again fell into the hands of the mob their lives would be worth nothing. A posse arrived in Nauvoo on the 23rd of June to arrest Joseph. They declared that they would guard the city until they found the Prophet, if it took three years. At this some of Joseph’s friends sent messages to him requesting him to come back and give himself up.
When Joseph Smith found that he was going to Carthage to give himself up he wrote a letter to Governor Ford requesting that a posse come and escort him to Carthage–that he was willing to come and be tried.
“Colonel Theodore Turley and Elder Jedediah M. Grant were dispatched as messengers with Joseph and Hyrum’s letter to the governor in Carthage. When the governor had read the letter, he agreed to send a posse to escort Joseph in safety to Carthage. But immediately afterwards a lawyer by the name of Skinner came in and made a very bitter speech to the governor about Joseph; he was joined by Wilson Law, the apostate, and Joseph H. Jackson, a man who had been guilty of almost every crime. They told him naught but lies. The ‘poor, pitiful creature of a governor’ was so easily influenced by what these enemies said to him, that he treated the brethren coldly, and took back the promise he had made about sending an escort to accompany Joseph. It was an honor, he said, not given to any other citizen. Neither would he suffer the brethren to stay in Carthage through the night; but ordered them to start for Nauvoo at 10 o’clock and carry orders to Joseph to be at Carthage by 10 o’clock the next morning without an escort. He threatened that if Joseph did not give himself up at that time, Nauvoo would be destroyed, and all the men, women and children that were in it.
“Brothers Turley and Grant immediately started on their return trip, but did not arrive at Nauvoo until 4 o’clock the next morning, the horses wearied in consequence of the long ride. They reported to Joseph the excitement which prevailed in Carthage, but as he had promised to go there and give himself up to the authorities, nothing could now shake him in his resolution.”92
We all know the of events which transpired during the next few days, which culminated in the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph and Hyrum Smith. We can only wish that we had a more complete account of the actions of Theodore Turley during those days. We can be very thankful that Theodore was among the members of the Church who recognized Brigham Young as the chosen Prophet of the Lord to succeed Joseph Smith.
Persecution continued in Nauvoo. Sometime before October 16, 1844, Theodore Turley made a trip to New Orleans to purchase 100 muskets for the Nauvoo Legion. They were inspected by Hosea Stout at the request of General Rich.93 In 1845, on February 13, “Brother John Kay came after me [Hosea Stout] to go to Brother Turley’s and consult on the safety of some of the Twelve whose lives were sought.”94 Also in February of 1845 a rumor was circulated that two suspicious persons had been at Brother Theodore Turley’s enquiring for President Young and Elder Kimball. They were supposed by Brother Turley to be plotting to waylay some of the leading brethren of the Church.95 On March 7, 1845, Hosea Stout went to Brother Turley’s to get a pistol repaired. Thus we see that Theodore was still a gunsmith.
Sometime in March of 1845 a committee was appointed to write the history of the Nauvoo Legion for Elder Willard Richards who was writing church history. The committee was composed of Charles C. Rich, A. P. Rockwood, Theodore Turley, and Hosea Stout. They met and proceeded to business until about 8 o’clock, and then sent the report by way of Theodore Turley to see if Elder Richards approved of it. April 16, 1845, part of the city of Nauvoo was incorporated. Theodore was appointed one of the trustees.96
As conditions became worse, the Nauvoo Legion became more active. Hosea Stout records, September 11, 1845: “Went to see Col. Turley and while there received orders from General Rich in person to have the 2nd Cohort put in readiness to repel an attack in the minutes notice. Col. Turley and I went to put the orders into execution and came to my house and took dinner and went down to the flat for some business.”97 This is only one of the many activities of the Legion during this period. On September 15, 1845, Theodore Turley acted as Colonel over the 5th Regiment. Also on September 15 a meeting was held in the Masonic Hall to hold council against the mob. They decided to put the Legion into immediate readiness for defense.
The Nauvoo Charter was repealed, thus leaving the City of Nauvoo without any civil authority. Mob action from this point continued to grow worse. On the 21st of September, 1845, Cyrus Daniels was shot through his right arm, which shot completely shattered it. The ball had hit just above the elbow, both bones were broken, and his arm was in a desperate condition. He went to Colonel Turley’s for assistance. Theodore, in order to get Bro. Daniels’ coat off had to tear it in pieces. He then set the broken arm as best he could, and they sent for a doctor.98 Many times during his life Theodore was called upon to render such assistance. Years later, in Utah (October 23, 1866), a John P. Lee and his family were attacked by the Indians. During the skirmish a Brother Lillywhite was shot in the breast. The wounded man was placed under the care of Theodore Turley in Beaver, Utah. Another incident which occurred in Beaver also illustrates this point. One time his daughter-in-law, Clara Ann Tolton Turley, was burned severely. She bore testimony that she would never have lived if Theodore had not been a good “doctor.”99
It appears that Theodore and his family did not live right in the City of Nauvoo at that time, for on September 24, 1845, a committee selected by a council to move families, goods, etc., into Nauvoo, requested that Theodore move his family to that city.
On the 16th of November it was learned in Nauvoo that Theodore Turley had been arrested at Alton on a charge of bogus making. The charge of course was brought by those antagonistic to the Church, and was not founded on fact. On the 24th of November the council “wrote Elder Theodore Turley, who was in jail, awaiting his examination.” On the 30th, at a meeting in the attic of the Temple, Joseph Young prayed for Theodore Turley. Judge Pope was moved to say that he was convinced Elder Turley was imprisoned through persecution, and said he would discharge him when he arrived in Springfield.100
Many articles were published against the Saints during these years, saying everything they could to make it look bad for the Mormons. The following is one of several articles involving Theodore Turley: “The younger brother of Holy Joe, the late Mormon leader, is fulminating his decrees and prophecies and proclamations for Cincinnati. He cuts off the unholy Twelve because they have been indicted for counterfeiting U. S. coin, and a Brother Turley, an elder of the Church, also catches it because he has been confined in the Atlas Penitentiary.”101
IX. HIS JOURNEY WEST
It soon became apparent that the Saints would not be able to remain in their beautiful city. As persecution and mob action increased, the leaders of the Church cautioned the members not to strike back, as they were going West in the Spring, and did not want to do anything that would bring any more opposition. On September 22, 1845, the citizens of Quincy held a mass meeting and passed a resolution demanding that the Saints begin removing at once. During the Winter of 1845-46 preparation for removal went forward, and in February of 1846 we find Theodore Turley on his way to Winter Quarters, or the present Florence, Nebraska.
In the evening of February 22, 1846, Theodore Turley visited Hosea Stout in order to ascertain the number of wagon makers and blacksmiths there were in camp, so that they could be set to work. On March 10, 1846, at a camp at Richardson’s Point, it is recorded: “Two four-horse teams which were sent back to Farmington or Lick Creek on Sunday returned with the families of John Gheen and Theodore Turley.”102 March 19, 1846, we find: “Today the camp moved again. Amasa Lyman and Theodore Turley stayed, not being ready for want of teams.”
Sometime before November 28, 1846, Theodore Turley arrived at Winter Quarters, for at that time he was voted a member of the High Council there. Winter Quarters, when the Saints arrived, was a wilderness. Miraculously, a city appeared. There was much sickness and many deaths in camp, due, as Col. Kane suggested, “to the low state to which their systems had been brought by long continued endurance of want and hardship.” Theodore Turley buried six members of his family at this place, including his beloved wife, Frances Amelia. Of those who died at Winter Quarters, Brigham Young said: “They who prematurely came to death here at Winter Quarters were as truly martyrs as those who were killed outright or who perished in the hardships of the flight from Missouri.”103
Let us at this point become a little better acquainted with Frances. Elder Amasa Lyman paid her a tribute when in 1839 he said, “I boarded with Brother Theodore Turley’s family. Sister Turley was most kind and unremitting in her attention to my comfort. Under her treatment I regained my health and remained until March, 1839, when I went to Quincy, Illinois.”104 We can only imagine the activities of Frances while her husband was on his mission to England. We have already mentioned Frances was a very brave woman. Once when the mob were stealing stock in Far West Frances told her father to give her Old John, and she climbed on him with a loaded blackwhip (handle loaded with buckshot). She rode into the herd and got the stock and hit one of the mobbers with the blackwhip. She brought back the cows and the bull. Another time Frances took her father and his friends to a meeting in Nauvoo in a sleigh and on her return the buffalo robe blew up in front of the horse, causing him to run away. She jumped on the horse and brought it to a stop. A man that watched the procedure joked with Theodore and offered him a thousand dollars for Frances. At this it is said that Theodore acted very indignant.105 Be it said to her everlasting honor that she accepted the doctrines of the Church, and was faithful and true to her husband to the end.
On January 20, 1848, in the Pottawattamies lands in Iowa, Theodore Turley signed a petition for a Post Office. On the 27th of March, 1848, at Miller’s Hollow (Kanesville), Theodore Turley was present at a political meeting by invitation.
It is supposed that Theodore crossed the plains in 1849 in Silas Richards’ Company. At that time he possessed 3 wagons, 12 oxen, 1 cow, 4 loose cattle, 1 dog, and 3 guns. Also listed are 7 members of his family. [We do not have conclusive proof that he came in this company. It still has to be verified.]
Sometime during the year 1850 Theodore and his family were in Utah County, for their names appear on the Census record. It is believed that Brother Turley later went to Salt Lake City and started a grist mill. On August 8 we have Samuel Richards paying Theodore $1.00 for cleaning his gun. Samuel Richards lived in Salt Lake City at that time. We may here include an interesting incident. Theodore Turley invented an octagon barrelled gun. On one trip he and his companions saw a herd of antelope. He said, “Watch me get the head antelope.” One woman said, “You might as well point your gun in another direction, because you’ll never get it.” He did–at 1000 yards with one shot, if this account can be believed. The gun was stolen down in Old Mexico by an Austrian painter.106
X. HIS MISSION TO SAN BERNARDINO
Sometime between August, 1850 and the Spring of 1851, Theodore Turley and part of his family, along with about 500 other Saints, went to settle the San Bernardino, California area. Elders Charles C. Rich and Amasa Lyman were appointed by Brigham Young to preside over the mission. They purchased a huge tract of land, the San Bernardino Rancho, and built the “Old Fort” for protection against the Indians. The Saints were prosperous and happy, and the mission had promise of great success.
July 5th and 6th, 1851, the first conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in California was held in the mouth of the canyon known as Sycamore Grove. Theodore Turley was nominated a member of the High Council. His activities in the San Bernardino Mission, as usual, were many and varied. “Immediately after conference we organized a daily school under the superintendency of Hosea Stout, assisted by Brother R. Clift. The school numbers some 125 and a Sunday School was under the supervision of Brother Turley, with numbers about the same, assisted by Brothers Hosea Stout and Clift.”107
Among his other activities he was one of the Directors of their Library Association and Treasurer of San Bernardino. On March 15, 1856 he was sustained as the President of the High Council, and at a special conference on March 16 he was appointed to the Southern California Mission. He was called upon many times to offer prayer in their meetings. He seems to have been one of the favorite speakers, for there are about eighteen recorded instances of his preaching to the Saints. A fuller account of some of these activities follows:
April 6, 1852–Elder Theodore Turley addressed the congregation at some length contrasting the arrival of the Saints in California with their happy situation and the beneficial results that flows from obedience to counsel.
September 30, 1854–Theodore Turley addressed the conference upon the perfect organization of the Church, the spread of the Gospel, the evils existing among the Saints, and the necessity of reformation. President Rich followed and said, “As regards the remarks of Brother Turley, he is right; the organization of this Kingdom is complete or it would not be the Kingdom of God.”
October 21, 1854–A special meeting was held in the evening at which the brethren agreed to send a party to the gold diggings with a view to raise means to lift the endebtedness of the ranch, the party to be under the supervision of Brothers Theodore Turley and David Seely.
September 26, 1855–Elder Theodore Turley arrived from the upper country and reported that a company of Australian saints had arrived at San Pedro and were now waiting conveyance to San Bernardino.
January 1, 1856–Elder Theodore Turley reported at San Bernardino that they had found a quick silver mine.
March 24, 1856–Elder Theodore Turley in San Bernardino addressed the congregation upon the principles in relation to the Children of Israel.
April 6, 1856–Elder Theodore Turley addressed the congregation upon the subject of faith.
May 5, 1857–Theodore Turley and party returned from an exploring trip, on which they had discovered a rich vein of silver near Mt. San Barnardino.108
During the latter part of the year of 1857 the peace of the Saints was again threatened severely. The leaders of the Church learned that an Army from the eastern states was on its way to invade Utah territory. They immediately gave direction to those Saints in the outlying territories to come home to Utah. The Saints from San Bernardino returned to Utah in several companies in the closing months of 1857 and early months of 1858. Many of them made their homes in the southern settlements of the territory. They brought large stores of arms and ammunition. “Within six weeks a thousand persons will have forsaken their homes in that valley in obedience to the commands of their chief. Men, women and children go off without a murmur and with countenances lighted with stern joy, at the assurance…that they are about to fight and destroy their enemies. There is not one line in the face of a Mormon that does not defiantly say, “We will die before we submit.”109
XI. BACK IN UTAH
The reports on the life of Theodore Turley from this point on are very fragmentary. However, we do have enough to know that he was still active in the Church, and took a part in community affairs.
On February 22, 1858, Theodore Turley attended and addressed a mass meeting held at Cedar City, Utah. He was a member of a committee to draft a preamble and resolutions relative to the course of Brigham Young, and he signed that memorial.
Especially interesting to us is the report of a conference held October 7, 1859. Theodore Turley “bore testimony to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ; referred to the words of Daniel relative to the stone being cut out of the mountain without hands and spoke of the influences by which he had been surrounded; told of his experiences in California, while preaching the gospel there. President Heber C. Kimball spoke in high commendation of Brother Turley. Said he, ‘I have been much gratified to hear the remarks of brother Turley. And I was exceedingly pleased to see him this morning. I naturally love him, for he is a true man. He is as true as gold that has a little dross in it; there is a good deal of the true metal in him. We all more or less partake of the world and the flesh, and the devil, and that is the dross which is in us.'”110
On December 18, 1859, Theodore Turley was a resident of Washington, Utah, and addressed a conference in Cedar City. On January 19, 1862, he spoke in the tabernacle in Salt Lake City. In August of 1854 [1864?] an important convention met at Salt Lake City. Theodore Turley was a delegate at the convention from Beaver County.111
We have no account of Theodore’s activities between the year 1866 and 1872, when he passed away. We do know that he died after suffering untold pain from the dread affliction, cancer of the mouth. That condition may account for a few years’ silence.
In a sense men like Theodore never die–they just pass from one sphere of activity to another. He spent his life serving his fellowmen. He started a great work, and we must carry it on. Are we going forward in a way that would be pleasing to him? That is our challenge.
*Theodore Turley and Frances Amelia Kimberley Turley were endowed in the Nauvoo Temple 20 December 1845 and sealed in the Nauvoo Temple 19 January 1846. Their family consisted of five sons and five daughters: two, Theodore and Frances Amelia [Daniel], born in England; six born in Canada: Mary Ann [Cook], Priscilla Rebecca [Lyman], Frederick, Obia, Sarah Elizabeth [Franklin] and Isaac; and two in Nauvoo: Charlotte [Bushman] and Jonathan. Frances Amelia died 30 August 1847 in Winter Quarters, Douglas, Nebraska. Young Theodore (1822-1822), Frances Amelia Turley Daniel (1824-1846), Obia (1834-1834) and Jonathan (1842-1846) preceded their mother in death.
Mary Clift was the second wife of Theodore Turley. They were married 2 January 1842 and sealed in the Nauvoo Temple 3 February 1846. Mary was born 16 June 1815 in Clifton, Gloucester, England, daughter of Robert Clift and Elizabeth. Their children were Jason (1842-1843), Ephraim (1845-1845), and Theodoreus (1848-1848), who died in infancy, and Frances Kimberley Turley [McIntosh] who was born near Owens Lake, Pioneer Trail or in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mary died 30 March 1850 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Theodore Turley was married to Eliza Clift 6 March 1844 and sealed in the Nauvoo Temple 3 February 1846. Eliza was born 2 July 1813 in Clifton, Gloucester, England (sister to Mary Clift, above). Their family consisted of two daughters, Henrietta (1845-1846) and Emma (1847-?), who seem to have died in early childhood.
Theodore Turley and Sarah Ellen Clift were married 26 April 1844 and sealed in the Nauvoo Temple 19 January 1846. Sarah Ellen was born 3 May 1817 in Clifton, Gloucester, England (sister to Mary Clift above). Their family consisted of two sons born to Sarah Ellen in a previous marriage: Longmore Congrove Clift Selwyn and George Augustus Clift Selwyn, both of whom lived to adulthood; and Princette (1845-1847), Joseph Smith (1846-1847) and Hyrum Smith (1846-1847), who all died in infancy, the last two being twins. Sarah Ellen died 4 May 1847 in Winter Quarters (now Florence), Nebraska, the same year as Frances Amelia Kimberley.
Theodore Turley and Ruth Jane Giles were married 18 June 1850 and sealed that same day in the President’s Office (PO) in Salt Lake City. Their family consisted of three sons: Joseph Orson, Jacob Omner and Alvin Hope. Orson was adopted; the last two were born in San Bernardino, California. The first two lived to adulthood; Alvin Hope died at approximately age 17. Ruth Jane Giles died March, 1881, in Beaver City, Beaver, Utah, ten years after Theodore.
*Information on this page taken from various Family Group Sheets (not verified) and The Theodore Turley Family Book, published November 1977 by Nancy Romans Turley, “with the help of many Turley family members.”
CORRECTIONS AND ADDITIONS TO:
THEODORE TURLEY BIOGRAPHY AND AUTOBIOGRAPHY
by Olive K. Turley
“The Nauvoo Records give Theodore’s birth date as 10 April 1801. He was baptized in St. Martin’s Parish, Birmingham, Warws., Eng., 27 May 1801.
“Mr. W.E.C. Cotton, late of London, researcher for us for more than eight years, said there never has been a parish by the names of Breton or Brenton, Briton or Brinton in Birmingham. I’d like to know where these names came from and why the differences in spelling.
“Theodore was baptized in St. Martin’s Parish; the older sister at Deritend Chapel in Aston Parish, and his younger brothers and sisters in St. Philip’s Parish, all in Birmingham, and near the center of the city.
“Hurst Street was just south of the center of the city. The William Turley family lived on a street called Holloway Head in 1817, when the son William died, and on the street called The Horse Fair in 1830, when Frederick died. These last two streets are just south of Hurst Street. The deaths and names of streets come from Aris’s Birmingham Gazette, and the streets have been located on a map of Birmingham in our possession.
“Elizabeth Yates was baptized in Edgbaston Parish, Warws., Sept. 10, 1775, but was likely born a few days earlier. Edgbaston is to the southwest of Hurst Street.
“The Vicar at Harborne looked for Theodore’s marriage in his registers but didn’t find it. I suppose sometimes the clerks failed to record events: however, it is a likely place. His first son, Theodore Jr., was born 4 Sept. 1822, and baptized at St. Phillip’s Parish 26 Nov. 1822, likely on their first wedding anniversary.
“(Corrections made by comparing the printed Biography with a photostat copy of the original diary of Theodore Turley. I will give the date of the entry and the corrections. Each can be found in either edition by looking for the date from the diary. However, this first information, which comes from page 2 of the photostat copy, isn’t given under a specific date in the Biography.)
“Page 2 of photostat says: Theodore and family arrived at Far West 18 July 1838. It also says that he took leave of his family for his mission to England 21 Sept. 1839.
“The Biography gives the names of places in the Potteries section of England as Stake or State and Hauley. In every case the original diary very plainly gives them as STOKE AND HANLEY. Quoting from Vol. 18 of American Peoples Encyclopedia concerning the city of Stoke-on-Trent (on the River Trent): ‘The city is composed of the six towns of Stoke, Burslem, Hanle [Hanley?], Longton, Tunstall, and Fenton which were united in 1910.’
“Feb. 7, 1840: This woman was the widow of HUGH BOLTON KIMBERLEY, brother of Thomas, Frances Amelia’s father. Both men died in 1832. This widow was found in the 1851 Census. At that time, English widows liked to be called by their dead husband’s name. I imagine Theodore decided to add the word “Hugh” so we would know which aunt it was.
“Feb. 9, 1840: Should read ‘how has tradition bound round the understanding of the children of men.’
“May 3, 1840: as known by revelation should read: ‘as MADE known by revelation.’
“June 25, 1840: the first sentence reads thus, ‘This morning I feel there is a spirit from the Powers of Darkness that takes (?) my heart (?). (Can’t be sure of these two words–they appear to be TAKS and HURT, which don’t make sense.) I ask God to preserve me and bless me and deliver me.’
“There are many places where the exact wording of the Diary isn’t given in the copy, but as a rule, the meaning is about the same. However during the last month, July, many of the entries haven’t been completely copied. There is a story on July 19th of Theodore casting an evil spirit out of a young man.
“One very important part that has been left out is on page 13 and 14 of the photostat copy. Feb. 1, 1840 THE GENEALOGY OF MY ANCESTORS[.] The age of my father, William Turley, born 1770. Son of Joseph Turley in Segley (Sedgley) Parish, Staffordshire. Steward under Lord Dudley, clerk of the Parish. A man of understanding. Died in the year about 1819. My father is now 70 years old.
“Elizabeth Turley my mother, daughter of Ann Yates, born in Edgbiston (Edgbaston) Parish, Staffordshire (Warws.) in the year 1775. Farmer Joseph Yates died in the year 1783. Ann Yates then married John Bolton. Year my grandmother was born, March 25, 1758. Died 1824. Had 3 children: Elizabeth, Thomas, and Ann Yates. My grandmother Hart had 14 children; her maiden name was, Weakman (Wakeman?). Died in her 50 year.
“My mother married in the year 1792; had 9 children. Elizabeth, 1795; Mary Ann, 1796; Sophia, 1798; Theodore, 1800; William, 1804 (?); Ann, 1805; John, 1808; Frederick, 1812; Charlotte, 1818.
“It is possible for a man not to know exactly the year of birth of brothers and sisters and not the exact year of the marriage of his parents. It is strange that we have two different years of Theodore’s birth, both given by him, but the baptism seems to indicate that 1801 is right.”
EXPLANATORY NOTE FROM ELLA MAE [TURLEY] JUDD
Appreciation is here expressed for the corrections of Sister Olive K. Turley. However, the implication that I left out parts of the Theodore Turley manuscript are unjustified. At the time of original publication, 1951, I was grateful for any scrap of original information, and would have included it in the Biography, had it been available to me.
The corrections of Sister Olive K. Turley are included in this typing of the Biography and Autobiography, generally marked with an asterisk [*].
I have had a very enjoyable time retyping this manuscript during November and December, 1997. For me, much water has gone under the bridge since it was published more than 46 years ago, including the acquisition of a husband (also a descendant of pioneer ancestors) and 12 wonderful children.
Surprisingly, I have found very few places I would change, or would want to change. When I did this work I was 21 years old, a full time student at Brigham Young University, and also was working 1/2 time for the then-Division of Religion. I feel now, as I did then, that I was inspired to begin saving references to Theodore Turley which I noticed while studying for my religion classes. I then began gathering more information by reading other books, visiting libraries and corresponding with individuals. I worked desperately and with the help of many family members to get the booklet ready for distribution at a Turley Family Reunion, held in the Fall of 1951 in Woodruff, Arizona.
Admittedly, some of the information gathered from individuals may fall into the category of “folk lore,” but most of it is documented and authentic.
My feelings at this time are very similar to those I had 46 years ago, at completion of this project: I am so very grateful to Theodore Turley and his wife, Frances Amelia Kimberley, for their faithfulness to the newly restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the many sacrifices they made to assure that their posterity would be recipients of its blessings. Their examples have strengthened my own testimony, and my own resolve to make the Gospel the center of my life.
Ella Mae [Turley] Judd
- Interview with Ernest Turley, Mesa, Arizona, August 1, 1951 by Hortense M. and Helen Fuller.
- Theodore Turley’s Journal.
- Andrew Jensen, Historical Record, Book 1, p. 352.
- Theodore Turley’s Journal.
- Parley P. Pratt, Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, p. 142.
- Theodore Turley’s Journal.
- Joseph Smith, Documentary History of the Church, Vol. III, p. 48.
- Theodore Turley’s Journal.
- B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol. I, p. 479.
- Joseph Smith, Ibid, Vol. III, pp. 217-224.
- The Millennial Star, Vol. 16, p. 633.
- Theodore Turley’s Journal.
- Journal History of the Church.
- Joseph Smith, Ibid., Vol. III, pp. 249-252.
- Theodore Turley’s Journal.
- Andrew Jensen, Ibid., p. 716.
- Joseph Smith, Ibid., Vol. III, pp. 254, 255.
- Ibid., p. 261.
- Ibid., p. 263.
- Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, pp. 457, 458.
- Andrew Jensen, Ibid., pp. 458, 459.
- Ibid., pp. 715, 716.
- Joseph Smith, Ibid., p. 308.
- Ibid., p. 309
- Andrew Jensen, Ibid, p. 713-16.
- Theodore Turley’s Journal.
- [Was] in possession of Floyd Turley, Woodruff, Arizona, now deceased. He also had some of Theodore Turley’s original handwriting. Perhaps a family member has it.
- Theodore Turley’s Journal.
- Joseph Smith, Ibid., Vol. III, p. 325.
- B. H. Roberts, The Rise and Fall of Nauvoo, pp. 43-46.
- Andrew Jensen, Ibid., pp. 466, 467.
- Ibid., p. 135.
- B. H. Roberts, Ibid., pp. 43-46.
- Theodore Turley’s Journal.
- The Millennial Star, Vol. 17, p. 214.
- Andrew Jensen, Ibid., p. 747.
- Theodore Turley’s Journal.
- Orson F. Whitney, Ibid., p. 259.
- Joseph Smith, Ibid., Vol. IV, p. 5.
- Orson F. Whitney, Ibid., pp. 264, 265.
- B. H. Roberts, Ibid., pp. 43-46.
- Theodore Turley’s Journal.
- Journal History of the Church.
- B. H. Roberts, Ibid.
- Ibid., pp. 43-46.
- Theodore Turley’s Journal.
- Orson F. Whitney, Ibid., pp. 268-270.
- Theodore Turley’s Journal.
- Richard L. Evans, A Century of Mormonism in Great Britain, pp. 93-95.
- B. H. Roberts, Life of John Taylor, pp. 72-74.
- Orson F. Whitney, Ibid., p. 273.
- Wilford Woodruff, Leaves From My Journal.
- Andrew Jensen, Ibid., p. 96.
- Orson F. Whitney, Ibid., p. 277.
- History of the British Mission.
- Joseph Smith, Ibid., Vol. IV, pp. 127, 128.
- History of the British Mission.
- Joseph Smith, Ibid., Vol. IV, pp. 125, 126.
- Ibid, pp. 127, 128.
- History of the British Mission.
- Orson F. Whitney, Ibid., pp. 284, 285.
- History of the British Mission.
- Millennial Star, September, 1840, No. 5, Vol. 1.
- Kate B. Carter, Heart Throbs Of the West, Vol. 5, pp. 373-380.
- Journal History of the Church.
- Andrew Jensen, Ibid., p. 123.
- Joseph Smith, Ibid., Vol. 5, p. 300.
- Hosea Stout’s Diary.
- Joseph Smith, Ibid., Vol. 5, pp. 248-253.
- Journal History of the Church.
- The Millennial Star, Vol. 24, p. 247.
- Andrew Jensen, Ibid., p. 559.
- Hosea Stout’s Diary.
- Journal History of the Church.
- Hosea Stout’s Diary.
- Interview with Ernest Turley.
- Journal History of the Church.
- St. Louis Daily New Era, St. Louis, Mo., Charles C. Ramsey, Prop. Vol. VI, No. 291, p. 3, March 7, 1846.
- Journal History of the Church.
- B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol. 3, pp. 153-154.
- Andrew Jensen, Ibid., pp. 123, 130.
- Interview with Ernest Turley.
- Hosea Stout’s Diary.
- This material is all taken from Andrew Jensen, History of the San Bernardino Mission.
- B. H. Roberts, Ibid., p. 245.
- Journal History of the Church.