IIEDWARD BUNKER, SR 1822-1901
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Orson Pratt Brown's Uncle
Edward Bunker, Sr.
Edward Bunker was born on August 1, 1822 at Atkinson, Penobscot County, Maine to Silas Bunker, Jr. and Hannah Berry.
The Annotated Edward Bunker
|Chapter 11 - The Big Move
In 1894, at age 72, Edward Bunker paused to reflect on his long and full life. He wrote a brief autobiography touching on what he felt were the most significant events. Unfortunately, the story he told was brief, to the point, and lacked the rich detail and emotion that could have instructed and inspired us. But from that autobiography and other information we can piece together the fabric of a marvelous life. His life reached from early nineteenth century New England to the untamed American West and the broad pioneering movement.
He traversed the North American continent, east to west, north to south several times. He spent three years amongst the working class Victorian subjects of the British Isles. He was a frontiersman, soldier, and missionary. With great leadership and knowledge based on practical experience he built roads and communities and skillfully navigated the rugged way. But more important to him than anything else he may have accomplished was his faith and family.
[Note: Quotations from Edward's writings will be included in the text printed in italics and preceded with an "EB".]
EB: I was born in the town of Atkinson, Penobscot County, State of Maine, August 1, 1822. My parents were Silas Bunker [Jr.] and Hannah Berry Bunker. I was the youngest of nine children; seven boys and two girls, whose names were as follows:
 Abigail , married Mr. [Samuel F.] Heath;
 Nahum [Berry, 1804], married Irene Thayer;
 Hannah , married John Berry;
 Alfred , who never married;
 Martin , married Mary Ann Gilpatrick;
 Kendall [Kittredge, 1812], married his cousin, Rachel Bunker;
 Silas , died when 27 years old, unmarried;
 Sabin  married after I came west so I do not know who he married.
 [Edward 1822]
Edward tells little of life in the small New England town of Atkinson, Maine. Going back it is possible to reconstruct the stage on which he played out his youth. Beginning in 1820, two years prior to Edward's birth, several significant things happened: 1) Maine was admitted to the union as the 23rd state, 2) The inland territory of Maine was divided and sold to private individuals, and 3) Silas Bunker, Jr., Edward's father, moved his wife and eight children from the coastal town of Trenton to Atkinson, a new town on the edge of the north woods of Maine. That same year Joseph Smith, a fifteen-year-old boy in upstate New York, claimed to have seen a heavenly vision that would become the foundation for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
In 1820 the population of Maine was about 300,000, mostly scattered along the Atlantic seaboard. The people were sturdy middle class descendents from Pilgrim ancestors mixed with emigrants from various countries. Home, church and family were important. When not tending crops, they were clearing land, sailing, hunting in the woods, and fishing the Atlantic coast or inland waterways.
As towns became more crowded and opportunities for cheap land in the new upstate regions developed, many relocated to the numerous communities that were springing up across the state. Edward's uncle, Benjamin, had taken his family up the Penobscot river about 70 miles from Sedgwick and settled at Williamsburg on the edge of the North Woods. The land was inexpensive and resources abundant. Soon Edward's father and another uncle, Thomas, followed and settled their families at the nearby towns of Atkinson and Charleston, respectively. Atkinson was a small farming community with a population of 250, incorporated in 1819. The town had a physician, Dr. E. W. Snow who had moved to the town in 1818 from New Hampshire and was regarded as a kind generous man and good physician.
When the town was incorporated, Judge Atkinson of Dover, New Hampshire, for whom the town was named, presented the town with one hundred books for a public library. The center of town was called "The Mills" where a saw mill and store were located. There was a church in town and a tavern on the outskirts at Jameson Hill.
Here, in a little farming community surrounded by the north woods, Silas Bunker, Jr. and Hannah Berry welcomed their ninth and last child into the world. They named him Edward Bunker after Hannah's father.
Edward was a fifth generation descendant of James Bunker who had come to America in 1646 from England. Edward's line of Bunkers had slowly migrated from the original Bunker Garrison at Durham, New Hampshire up the Atlantic coast to Sedgwich, Maine and finally inland to Atkinson. Edward's older brothers and sisters were marrying and establishing themselves in nearby communities. Edward must have had relatives all along the New England coast. His father, Silas, was one of eleven children raised in the Sedgwick area and his mother, Hannah, was one of nine children raised in the Trenton area.
During Edward's youth the North Woods became alive with the sound of the axe felling tall trees. Rough and rowdy men flooded into the woods in the winter time to harvest the waiting lumber. Bearded, hairy-chested loggers in red shirts and gray pants, with boots and woolen hats, would leave the summer-time sailing trade to paddle up the Penobscot. After the trees close to the river were cut, the loggers moved deeper and deeper into the forest.
Swampers build roads into the interior. Choppers cut the logs, barkers strip the bark, and teamsters and their oxen drug the logs across the snow to the river. In the spring, logs jammed the Penobscot river surrounding the numerous islands whereon the Penobscot Indians dwelled. Eventually the logs would reach Bangor, Maine's leading lumber port. The population of Bangor went from under 3,000 in 1830 to 8,000 in 1834. It was a town built on the lumber trade, where land speculators, loggers, and the related businesses thrived.
No information is yet available to indicate that Edward's family was ever involved in the lumbering trade. The loggers were a rough bunch contrasted with Edward's people who were close to home and family. But Edward's later ability to build roads and handle an ox-team suggests that he may have had some experience as a youth in the wintertime activity.
In the winter of 1829, Edward's grandfather, Silas Bunker, Sr. traveled the 70 miles from his home at Sedgwick to visit Williamsburg. He was 82 years old and probably visited all three families at the time. On his way home he stopped at Blue Hill to visit his daughter, Jennie, and in the morning opened the wrong door by mistake and fell into the cellar. He was seriously injured and lay near death for ten days.
Not only was Silas, Sr. in serious condition, but Edward's uncle Isaac Bunker, who lived at Sedgwick, became ill at the same time. Isaac died February 11th, 1829 and Silas, Sr. died four days later, on February 15th, 1829. The double funeral and loss of his grandfather must have seemed a strange time for a six-year-old boy.
The census of 1830 counted a population of 418 at Atkinson. Edward was 8 years old and youngest of the 6 boys still at home. His older brothers undoubtedly taught him patience and humility early in life. But, as the youngest, perhaps his mother was protective which endeared her even more to him. In that same year Joseph Smith officially organized the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with six members at Fayette, New York. Though Edward was not aware of this event, it would be of great significance in his later life
The next few years passed with all the natural joys and hard work of a rural small town existence: Exploring the North Wood, White Mountains, and Moosehead Lake, swimming and fishing in Pushaw Pond and Alder Stream.
On April 27th, 1836, Edward's older brother Martin, married Mary Ann Gilpatrick, probably a cousin on his mother's side. Edward's grandmother's maiden name was Gilpatrick. Martin and Mary moved to Trenton, Maine, where most of the Gilpatricks lived
The next year Edward's uncle Tom at Charleston built a boat called the "Betsey Bunker" in honor of his wife and intended for his son, Richard. Richard was 17 and just two years older than Edward. Tom hauled the vessel overland more than 20 miles and launched it in the Penobscot River at Bangor, Maine on the 4th of July. Edward may have watched with keen interest as this modern Noah built his Ark. He may have shared Richard's enthusiasm and silently desired that he too could travel up and down the river.
On April 7th, 1838 when Edward was sixteen his older brother Kendall married Rachel Bunker. Rachel was Uncle Tom Bunker's daughter and Edward's cousin. The family had several instances of intermarrying with cousins and must have been very close as an extended family.
EB: When I was about sixteen years old, Father sold our home and moved to Charleston at which place we lived five years. During our stay there, Father deeded his farm and other property to my brother Silas on condition that he take care of the old folks as long as they lived.
The census of 1840 showed Charleston with over 400 residents. Thomas Bunker (Edward's uncle) and a household of nine lived next door to Kendall Bunker (Edward's brother) and his household of three. Silas Jr.'s residence was some distance from Thomas and Kendall and identified five people living there.
EB: When I was nineteen years old, I left home with the consent of my parents and brother Silas, to work for myself, as Silas owned the property, I felt I ought to have my time. After an absence of two or three months, Silas requested me to come back and live at home as he was lonely without me. He offered me a deed to one-half of the property if I would go back. I refused the offer, telling him it would be a good home for him and he could care for father and mother.
A nineteen-year-old Edward was experiencing the same desire to travel that had taken charge of an eighteen-year-old James Bunker in England five generations earlier.
EB: A spirit of unrest had taken possession of me and I longed to get away. The farm was a good one, consisting of 100 acres of land, good buildings and a nice stock of cattle. Silas felt so lonely without me that he rented the farm and went to Trenton, a distance of sixty miles, to work for my brother Martin. After he got work, he wrote for me to come there, too. As work was plentiful and I could get a job, I went down. A few days after my arrival, Silas was taken sick with filious fever. I stayed with him until he died. Before his death, realizing his time had come and not wishing the property to go back into Father's hands as he was not capable of taking care of it, he wished to deed the property to Martin and myself for the benefit of Father and Mother.
So we had the deeds drawn up and he sat up in bed and signed them. After the death of Silas, Martin made me a proposition which was this: He would pay the funeral expenses and the doctor bills and deed me his share of the property if I would pay him $200 and take care of the old folks. Or he would pay me $200 and take care of the old folks if I would deed him my share of the property and pay Silas' funeral expenses. I accepted the latter offer, which astonished Martin very much. We returned to Charleston, where at my request, he gave Father and Mother a life lease and I deeded him my share of the property.
After this was done, I returned to Atkinson, bought a small farm of my brother Kendall and took a notion to visit my brother Nahum living in Boston. Accordingly, Brother Sabin took myself and a load of shingles to Bangor. I sold the shingles and worked my passage to Plymouth.
I visited Nahum in Braintree and he proposed we visit Alfred, who was living in Hartford, Conn. This we did. Alfred wanted me to remain with him, as I could get plenty of work and good wages, so I spent the summer there.
In the fall, my brother-in-law, John Berry [Hannah's husband] came along and wanted me to go to Wisconsin with him to see the country. Alfred was away from home at the time, but I packed my trunk and left for the West without bidding him good-bye, and never saw him again.
The Erie Canal had been completed in 1825 and with it a connecting waterway from New York City to the Great Lakes region. Horace Greeley's admonition "Go West, Young Man" seemed to whisper in many a young man's ear. In 1844 railroads were being built connecting the Atlantic with the Ohio region.
The fact that Edward does not mention traveling either on the Erie Canal or by rail suggest these new and exciting modes of transportation were probably not used. It seems most likely the 600 mile trek from Hartford, Connecticut to Cleveland, Ohio was made on horseback. Their trip probably went to New York City and then across the roadways of Pennsylvania.
CHAPTER 2 The Mormons
"Then I knew why it was that I had
been led from my father's house and left
my mother whom I loved dearly."
Kirtland had been a rural trading center of about a thousand people prior to 1831. In January 1831 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon Church), which was less than a year old, moved its headquarters from New York State to Kirtland, Ohio. It was to be a temporary gathering place until a permanent place could be found. In five years the population grew to over 3,000 and from 1833 to 1836 a temple was built. During this same time, the Mormons were also gathering at Jackson County, Missouri.
In 1837, a general bank panic swept the country and the Kirtland bank failed, closing its doors in November of that year. Joseph Smith took blame for the economic problems and left Kirtland in January of 1838 for Missouri. The main body of the church gradually left Kirtland and moved to Far West, Missouri, leaving behind a few members, including Martin Harris.
The murder of Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, in June of 1844 may have stimulated new interest and fascination in Kirtland. It may have been a popular place to visit and get away from the routine of the day. Discussion might well have centered on the temple in Kirtland and reported "revelations" that had occurred there.
EB: I went to Kirtland to visit friends and see the temple. While there we met Martin Harris, who invited us to his house, where we went and heard him bear his testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon.
Martin Harris was the first scribe to assist in the translation of the Book of Mormon from the original golden plates, and mortgaged his farm so the Book of Mormon could be published. He was one of the "Three Witnesses", who testified they had seen an "Angel of God" and the "Golden Plates" from which the book was translated. His testimony, with that of the other witnesses, was published with the Book of Mormon.
The testimony of Martin Harris to Edward Bunker was undoubtedly electrifying. Others who heard his testimony recounted that he appeared to be "a man with a message, a man with a noble conviction in his heart, a man inspired of God and endowed with divine knowledge."
The book, A New Witness for Christ in America, recounts the testimony of Martin Harris as follows:
"Do I believe it! Do you see the sun shining! Just as surely as the sun is shining on us and gives us light, and the moon and stars give us light by night, just as surely as the breath of life sustains us, so surely do I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, chosen of God to open the last dispensation of the fullness of times; so surely do I know that the Book of Mormon was divinely translated. I saw the plates; I saw the angel; I heard the voice of God. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, I might as well doubt my own existence as to doubt the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon or the divine calling of Joseph Smith."
The witness to the previously stated testimony recounts:
"It was a sublime moment. It was a wonderful testimony. We were thrilled to the very roots of our hair. The little man before us was transformed as he stood with hand outstretched toward the sun of heaven. A halo seemed to encircle him. A divine fire glowed in his eyes. His voice throbbed with the sincerity and the conviction of his message. This was Martin Harris whose burning testimony no power on earth could quench. It was the most thrilling moment of my life."
Edward must have come away from his visit with a similar feeling and a desire to investigate further.
EB: I obtained work at Cleveland for eight dollars a month and board. While in Cleveland, Mr. Berry found the Book of Mormon, read it, and brought it to me to read, which I did. John Berry left me and went to Pittsburgh to obtain work and we agreed to meet in Wisconsin. The man with whom I was living had the "Voice of Warning", which I read also. I found a branch of the church there, attended the meetings, became convinced of the truth of Mormonism, and was baptized in the month of April, 1845. Then I knew why it was that I had been led from my father's house and left my mother whom I loved dearly.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Days Saints was only 15 years old in 1845. It had been persecuted wherever it went due to some unique beliefs and a requirement of total commitment from those who joined. The Church had grown rapidly and the promise of a better life touched many.
A Voice of Warning was a pamphlet written in 1837 by Parley P. Pratt, one of the high ranking Apostles of the Church. It's title page stated "Instruction to all people or an introduction to the faith and doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints."
The preface begins: "During the last nine years, the public mind has been constantly agitated, more or less, through all parts of our country, with the cry of `Mormonism, Mormon-ism, Dilusion, Imposture, Fanaticism,' etc., chiefly through the instrumentality of the press. Many of the newspapers of the day have been constantly teeming with misrepresentations and slanders of the foulest kind, in order to destroy the influence and character of an innocent society in its very infancy; a society of whose real principles many of them know nothing at all."
"The object of this publication is to give the public correct information concerning a religious system which has penetrat-ed every state from Maine to Missouri, as well as the Canadas, in the short space of nine years; organizing Churches and conferences in every region and gathering in its progress from fifty to a hundred thousand disciples."
The pamphlet contained seven chapters addressing various aspects of the doctrine of the Church. Two quotes from the text seem significant in relation to Edward's life. In the first chapter the author contends that only a literal interpretation of the Bible is correct.
This is followed early in the second chapter where the author states: "But O! kind reader, whoever yea are, if you are not prepared for persecution, if you are unprepared to have your name cast out as evil, if you cannot bear to be called a knave, an impostor, or madman, or one that hath a devil; or if you are bound by the creeds of men to believe just so much and no more, you had better stop here." The point is driven home with: "Indeed, it is our firm belief in the things written in the Bible, and careful teaching of them, that is one great cause of the persecution we suffer."
This then was the basis for Edward's belief in this new religion: (1) A prophet was leading the church and as such had translated the Book of Mormon from an ancient record, (2) The Bible was correct and a literal translation of such was required, and (3) Persecution would surely follow anyone with a committment to this new belief. After investigating the doctrine and meeting with the people, Edward so deeply believed that he gave his whole heart to the venture.
EB: After the lakes were opened, I got higher wages, $16 a month at Akron where I worked one month. Then I went aboard a boat and landed at Chicago, then a small frontier town. From there I went to Rock River, Wisconsin, to visit my cousin Patience Millet, and friends from Maine. After the time was spent there, during which time I told them I was a Latter-day Saint, they accused the Mormons of believing in polygamy. I told them it was only a slur and a false statement. At the end of my stay, I took the stage to Galena, ninety miles distant, and then aboard a steamboat, went down the Missis-sippi River and arrived at Nauvoo in July 1845.
Nauvoo was a city that stood on a bold point half encircled by the placid yet majestic Mississippi River. From the banks of the river the ground rose gradually for at least a mile where it reached the level of the prairie that stretched eastward in luxuriant growth of natural grasses and patches of timber. The city was on the west edge of Illinois and about 190 miles north of St. Louis on the Mississippi river.
When the Mormons were driven from Missouri in 1839 they purchased land at Commerce, Illinois. It was a disease-ridden swamp land which they drained, laid out into a square grid of ity blocks, and dedicated Nauvoo-the-Beautiful.
The Mormons began to build another temple and were gathering in great numbers. An estimated 25,000 Mormons lived in Nauvoo and surrounding villages by 1844. Persecution followed the Mormons. It continued until it culminated in the martyrdom of Joseph Smith, their leader, at Carthage Jail, Illinois, in June of 1844.
When Edward arrived in Nauvoo in 1845, the city was in a state of semi-chaos. Several individuals claimed succession to Joseph Smith and leadership of the Church. Factions had broken away, but the greatest number remained under the leadership of Brigham Young and the Apostles. There were continuing attacks from individuals and groups in the surrounding communities. Mormons living in the outlying areas saw their homes burned and were chased into the city.
EB: I had a letter of recommendation to George A. Smith, who was in council with his brothers, but came out and spoke to me and asked me what I was going to do. I told him I did not know, but wished to do whatever was the best. He asked me if I had any money. I told him I had some. He advised me to hire my board and go to work on the temple, or Nauvoo House. So I hired my board and went to work on the temple. I paid my tithing from the day I was baptized every tenth day and the tenth of the worth of my clothes. After having paid my tithing, I went to work for the Nauvoo House, cutting hay for them on the prairie with two of the brethren. We camped where we worked until the mobs broke out and began to burn the farms and drive the Saints into Nauvoo. I joined the militia and went out as a guard to assist some of the Saints to move in. I was in the infantry company that went by order of the Sheriff of Bannock County to make arrests of those who had been burning and plundering the homes of the Saints.
In late 1845, armed mobs continually threatened the lives of the Mormons. Finally, in February of 1846, about 16,000 Mormons evacuated Nauvoo. They went west, crossing the Mississippi River on the ice and in ferries. It must have seemed like the children of Israel in their exodus from Egypt: The Mormons took 3,000 wagons, 30,000 head of cattle, and great numbers of horses, mules, and sheep.
EB: The presiding priesthood compromised with the mob and agreed to leave Nauvoo. Then I crossed the river to Montrose and went to work for Peter Robinson, threshing grain and making flour barrels.
While at Montrose, Edward Bunker met Emily Abbott. She was born September 19th, 1827 at Dansville, Livingston County, New York, the oldest child of Stephen Joseph Abbott and Abigail Smith. Her father owned a woolen mill that converted wool to broadcloth. They lived in a large two-story frame home and sent Emily to the best grammar school available.
Stephen Abbott, being caught up in the spirit of westward emigration, heard of the rich farm land of the Mississippi Valley. After traveling to Pike County Illinois, he bought 160 acres of farmland and 40 acres of timberland and then returned for his family. In 1837, when Emily was not quite ten years old, her family left New York state traveling down the Allegheny River in a five week trip that eventually took her to a new home in Illinois.
Two years later, in 1839, her family came in contact with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and was baptized. The Mormons were gathering at Nauvoo, Illinois and the Abbott family sold their holdings and, in 1842, joined with the others there. Stephen Abbott became good friends with James Brown, and upon learning of polygamy they vowed to each other that if one should die, the other would marry his widow and care for her and the children. Both had large families at the time: Stephen Abbott had eight children, six girls and two boys.
Music was loved by the Abbott family. Stephen became the bugler in the Nauvoo Legion, the local military. Young Emily, who could never remember tunes very well before, would love to sing the songs she heard at the meetings.
In October of 1843, Stephen went to gather cord wood from a small island in the Mississippi River. While so engaged he contracted pneumonia and died on the 19th. The loss of their father and husband was devastating to the family. A few months later the Prophet Joseph Smith was martyred, and Emily's world was turned upside down.
Each member of the family had to help out with sustaining the family. Since Emily was the oldest she sought employment outside the home. She obtained work with several families, one of which was Thomas King. Here she acquired the skills of a seamstress and tailor and met Edward Bunker. The devastation and hardship of the past was tempered by this newfound friendship and romance.
EB: While at Montrose, I became acquainted with Emily Abbott and we were married in Nauvoo by [Apostle] John Taylor, February 19, 1846, just before Brother Taylor crossed the river to join the Saints at Sugar Creek.
At the time of the exodus from Nauvoo, Captain James Brown took Emily's mother, Abigail, as his wife. He was an important figure in the community and had other responsib-ilities, but did all he could to assist the Abbott family. During Brown's frequent absences, Edward stepped in to offer leadership and assistance to the Abbott family.
EB: After my marriage, not being plentifully supplied with this world's goods, I went down the Mississippi to Keokuk. There I obtained a job cutting cord wood at 50 cents per cord, boarded myself, camped in the timber, did my own cooking, and cut 15 cords of wood a week. I worked about three weeks and obtained enough money to buy a few of the necessities of life.
I returned home and Brother William Robinson offered to take myself and wife West on condition that I drive and care for the team and Emily assist with the cooking. We agreed to do this and journeyed westward with the main body of the Saints.
When we got to Garden Grove, Mr. Robinson concluded he couldn't take us any farther, so we remained there. With the help of Brother Steward, a young man who had just been married, I bought a log cabin of one room. We put a roof on it and chucked it, but it was minus doors, floor or windows. We moved our wives into it and I went to Missouri with the intention of earning money enough to buy a team and wagon.
I was in company with two other brethren, and being unable to reach the nearest town, thirty miles distant, we camped the first night in the woods without blankets or fire. The mosquitoes were very bad. Arriving at my destination, I worked one week for corn and bacon.
At this time the report reached us that the United States government had called for a company of Saints to go to Mexico. I did not believe it, but the spirit of the Lord directed me to go home. So the following Saturday, with the side of a bacon slung over my shoulder, I started for home, thirty miles distant.
As I neared my destination, I met some brethren hunting stock and they confirmed the report I had heard concerning the call for a battalion to go to Mexico. They also told me that Brigham Young had written a letter to the Grove calling on all the single men and those that could be spared to come to the Bluffs, 140 miles distant west, to assist the families and care for the teams of those who had joined the battalion, and they in turn could have the use of their teams to bring their families to the Bluffs.
Next day being Sunday, I went to meeting and heard the letter read. Volunteers were called for and I was the first to offer my service. Eight others followed my example. They agreed to meet me at my house the following Tuesday morning at nine o'clock and we would start together for the Bluffs.
Tuesday morning came, but none of the men who had agreed to meet me put in an appearance, so, with my small bundle of clothes and provisions, I started alone on the journey of 140 miles, and only one settlement on the way. When within two days journey of the Bluffs, I overtook Mr. Robinson, who had left us at Garden Grove. He had lost a child and his teamster had deserted him, so he besought me to drive his team on to the Bluffs, which I did.
When within ten miles of our journey's end, a messenger came into camp about midnight with the information that 16 men were wanted to complete the battalion. The camp was called up and not one volunteered until I broke the ice. Soon others followed and the required number made up.
When Edward left Emily, it was under the assumption that he would be back a short time later with a team to assist in the migration. The next thing she knew, he was in the battalion and on his way to Mexico. Emily and her mother's family were left to care for themselves until Edward returned. They, with other families of the proposed battalion, were scattered in a string of camps for hundreds of miles across Iowa. They were to depend on their own initiative and the help of friends for their survival, with no certain gathering place designated, and no immediate prospect of a permanent settlement.
It would be easy to criticize Edward for this lack of concern for his wife, but one has to realize that they both were firmly committed to this new faith. The doctrine of the church promised great and marvelous spiritual blessings to those who would sacrifice their personal needs for the building of the kingdom on earth. Edward felt this sacrifice was his duty and that the Lord would protect and provide in his absence.
CHAPTER 3 The Mormon Battalion
At Council Bluffs, President Young gave a farewell address to encourage those who had enlisted. He assured them that their families would be cared for, and fare as well as his did, and he would see that they were helped along. He predicted that not one of those who had enlisted would fall by the hands of the nation's foe, that their only fighting would be with wild beasts. This undoubtedly was of some reassurance to Edward as well as the rest of the battalion and their families.
EB: The next morning [July 22, 1846] we filed out of camp and went to Trading Point on the Missouri River, where the Battalion was camped for a few days. We took up our line of march for Fort Leavenworth.
The Battalion reached St. Joseph, Missouri on July 29th, 1846 and on August 1st arrived at Fort Leavenworth, on the Kansas side of the Missouri River. The company included 549 officers, privates and servants. Families also traveled along in wagons as a support staff.
A company of Missouri volunteers called the Dragoons, had just left Fort Leavenworth headed for Santa Fe, under the direction of Colonel Doniphan. A separate regiment called the "Missouri Volunteer Cavalry" would accompany the Battalion. How ironic that Mormons were to share the trail with the bitter enemy who had recently driven them from Missouri.
The paymaster at Fort Leavenworth was surprised at striking differences between the Mormons and the Missourians. Every man in the Mormon company was able to sign his own name to the payroll. Only about one in three of the Missouri volunteers could put his signature to the document. The paymaster also noted that the members of the Mormon Battalion were generally more intelligent, submissive and obedient to their commanding officers.
EB: We received our arms and camp equipage. We had the privilege of drawing our clothes or the money in lieu thereof. Most of the Battalion men received the money and sent the greater portion of it back to our families.
The objective of the Battalion was to reinforce Kearney's army in California and to build a supply route from Santa Fe to California for future military operations. Each soldier received forty-two dollars. They carried with them clothing, bedding, a few rounds of ammunition, a knapsack and a canteen that held three pints of water. Wagons carried tents which the men slept in by night.
EB: We moved out a short distance from Fort Leavenworth and went into camp waiting for Col. Allen, who was sick at the fort. On learning that Col. Allen was dead, Lieut. Smith was given command of the Battalion and he put on a forced march to Santa Fe [beginning August 14, 1846].
A few days out from Ft. Leavenworth quite a number of the Battalion took sick with chills and fever. Doctors Sanderson and McIntyre were assigned to the company. Dr. Sanderson, or as the company would come to call him, "Doctor Death", was the senior physician and threatened with an oath to cut the throat of any man who administered any medicine without his orders. Dr. McIntyre was a good botanic physician, but was restricted by the command. Some of the Battalion members felt at times that even Lieutenant Smith was subservient to Dr. Sanderson's will.
Each morning the sick were marched to the Doctor's quarters where "wicked cursing" accompanied the administration of calomel and arsenic from the "Old Iron Spoon". These were nearly all the medicines he utilized except for a concoction of bayberry bark and camomile flowers which he used as "strengthening bitters". Needless to say, several died along the way as a result of the offered cure.
The battalion followed the Santa Fe Trailwhich was first carved by William Becknell in 1821 and had since become a two-way thoroughfare of international trade. It proceeded diagonally across Kansas through the Oklahoma panhandle to Santa Fe, New Mexico.
During this early part of the trek they came upon buffalo. To emigrants from the east the scene was overwhelming, for as far as the eye could see roamed herds of majestic buffalo. They turned the plains into a "shaggy rug." Edward must have gazed in awe at the sight.
By mid-September they left the Santa Fe Trail and the Arkansas River at a point were Dodge City now stands. Here the commanding officer insisted the accompanying families not specifically enrolled as part of the battalion should be detached and sent under a guard of ten men up the Arkansas River to Pueblo, a settlement in the southeast corner of the present state of Colorado.
The battalion then took a short-cut across the "Jornada " or Cimmarron desert to the Cimmarron River. This was a "rattlesnake ridden hot-bed of Indian warfare." The Comanche, a powerful and ferocious tribe, would attack a halted caravan of wagons, stampede and steal the stock and possibly attack the camp. The Indians would likely avoid a well-armed battalion of soldiers; and with any luck this route would be faster than the Santa Fe trail, which circled the desert.
Edward had been an enlisted solder for two months now. He was twenty four years old and probably in better physical condition than many in the company. Surely he was torn between concern for Emily, coping with the hardship of the trek, and anticipation of the great adventure of the new frontier.
During the latter part of September the men were reduced to two-thirds rations. The only drinking water was "brackish" and many of the men became sick with what was called "summer complaint". The main source of fuel for camp fires was buffalo chips which became harder to find as they moved through the desert.
On the 24th, they came across a human skull and the bones of one-hundred mules that had perished in the elements. That night they encountered and camped with a company of traders going south to Santa Fe.
The next day they marched twenty miles over a rough and mountainous road and finally arrived at Gold Spring. There they found good water and saw timber for the first time in several days. On the following day they saw deer, elk and antelope and reached Cedar Springs by nightfall.
As they left the monotony of the barren plains, some of the men saw real "mountains" for the first time. Edward had grown up by the White Mountains, but what he approached now were much larger and majestic.
The teams and men were growing more and more weary. Each night the battalion pitched their tents on a four to six acre area, sometimes by good water and other times by stagnant water. The men attributed the hardship to the lack of three basic elements: (1) Food, (2) Water, and (3) Judgement on the part of their commander.
As October came the men marched on, passing within half a mile of an ancient structure. As they marched they gazed to the north to see what had once been a castle, fortification or other large building. It was almost 200 feet long and averaged four feet high with rock laid in cement. The whole countryside appeared to have been fashioned with an elaborate canal system that irrigated the once-fertile land.
On reaching the Red River the company was divided into two divisions: The first, containing the strongest and most able-bodied men, went ahead; The second, containing the women and sick, followed more slowly. The first arrived at Santa Fe on the 9th of October and the second on the 12th.
Upon arriving at Santa Fe, the first detachment was received by a salute of one hundred guns by order of Colonel Doniphan, a steadfast friend of Joseph Smith and the Mormons during their troubles in Missouri.
Santa Fe gave Edward his first taste of western Mexican-American culture. It must have been an eye-opening experience for the young devotee. With a population of 6,000, it was the oldest seat of government in the continental United States. It predated Plymouth colony by 10 years. The main square was a market and meetingplace where ranchers brought produce loaded on donkeys. Spaniards, Americans, Mexicans, and Indians mingled there by the one story adobe governor's palace surrounded by flat topped adobe houses. Fresh and dried fish could be obtained in the nearby Indian pueblos.
The town was a wide-open wild west Spanish town with saloons, gambling houses, dance halls, sport centers (for cockfights) and alluring retreats where "warm-blooded Spanish and Mexican women sold love at a price". The Mormon men restrained themselves and were busy in preparation for the coming trek. They outfitted six large ox wagons, four mule wagons, plus five mule wagons for each company. Teamsters were assigned to each.
EB: When we got to Santa Fe we drew all of our money and sent a portion of it back to our families. [On October 13th, Captain] Cooke was left at Santa Fe by order of General Kearney to take command of the Battalion and lead it to California.
At Santa Fe I was detailed as assistant teamster to Hyrum Judd. By so doing I did not have to carry my gun and knapsack and was exempt from guard duty. One detachment of the Battalion consisting of the women and  sick men were sent on Sunday Oct. 18th, to Pueblo under the command of Captain James Brown to Benton's Fort to winter.
The Battalion left Santa Fe on Monday, October 19th, following the Rio Grande River to the south. There were three guides assigned to the unit. One of them was Jean Baptiste (Pomp) Charbonneau, the son of Sacajawea and a Canadian Frenchman. Captain Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition had wanted to adopt Jean and raise him as his own, but that never occurred. In 1823, while living with his father in Kansas, Jean met a German Prince who took him to Germany. "In a castle near Stuttgart, Pomp lived among royalty, received additional education as well as training in court behavior, and traveled with the prince throughout Europe and North Africa. He returned to the American West in 1829 and spent the next seventeen years ranging with Jim Bridger and other mountain men. Edward was a recipient of the vast experience of Pomp Charbonneau and the military training of Colonel Cooke.
Lieutenant Colonel P. St. George Cooke, was born in Virginia in 1809. He gradutated from West Point in 1827 and served continuously in campaigns in Illinois and Kansas before taking command of the Battalion in Santa Fe. Colonel Cooke was a strict and impartial "letter of the law" disciplinarian. Where Lieutenant Smith, who led the march to Santa Fe, was sometimes perceived by the troops as weak, Colonel Cooke was definitely not. The contrast in leadership styles and effectiveness must have proved educational for Edward.
As the battalion proceeded south it suffered a great deal from excessive marches, fatigue and short rations. A few fat cattle were taken along, which the company thought were to be used for food. But the Colonel informed the troops that the animals were intended to work and were only to be slaughtered after they failed from sheer weakness and exhaustion.
From that point forward, the work animals were killed as they gave out and the carcasses issued as rations. No portion of the animal was thrown away that could possibly be utilized for food. "Hides, tripe and entrails" were eagerly and completely devoured, often without water to wash them down. The bone marrow was considered a luxury, and issued in turns to the various camps.
On November 10th, a detachment of 55 sick men under the command of Lieutenant W. W. Willis was separated from the main body and started back to Pueblo.
On approaching the Mexican border Colonel Cooke was, to quote David Crockett, "dumbfounded". There appeared to be some confusion about the direction to pursue. The current course appeared to be taking the battalion toward Mexico and not California. Gloom fell over the entire group. All their hopes, conversation and songs, since leaving Nauvoo, had been centered on California and the expected reunion with families and friends. That night Edward and over three hundred others offered fervent prayers to have the direction changed.
The next day, after traveling a short distance, the Colonel ordered a halt. "This is not my course--I was ordered to California," He said with firmness. Turning to the bugler, he said, "Blow the right."
"God bless the Colonel!" James P. Pettegrew burst forth.
The Colonel turned and with a penetrating glance surveyed the troop for the source of the comment. For once, his stern face softened and showed signs of satisfaction.
Late in November, the main body reached the summit of the Rocky Mountains. Edward was familiar with the mountains in the east, but this must have been a thrilling experience to be standing on top of the world. From this point forward the waters all ran to the west instead of the east. Edward had reached the gateway to the Pacific.
In early December, as they continued down the San Pedro River, the advance soldiers came upon hundreds of wild cattle. They were directly ahead in the line of march. The rumblings of the approaching battalion wagons startled the cattle, dispersing them in various directions. Some, to gratify their curiosity, moved towards the battalion.
They were terribly beautiful and majestic which prompted the soldiers to ready their muskets in case the animals turned on them. Cattle that were clearly visible from some distance ran away, but those which came upon the battalion suddenly wheeled and charged. From one end of the line to the other the roar of firing muskets was almost deafening. Some estimated that over eighty bulls were killed on the spot.
Corporal Frost was on foot near Colonel Cooke who was on horseback, when an immense coal-black bull came charging from some hundred yards away. Cooke ordered Frost to run for safety, but instead Frost, in a protective effort, very deliberately aimed his flintlock and fired when the beast was "within six paces." The bull fell headlong almost at his feet. Cooke said of Frost that he was "one of the bravest men he ever saw."
Contrast this with the tale of another man who "shot six balls into one bull, and was pursued by him, rising and falling at intervals, until the last and fatal shot, which took effect near the curl of the pate." As these stories were retold around the campfire, Edward surely reflected at the contrast in method and outcome. One obviously inexperienced man repeatedly attacked the problem until it was resolved, the other, with ability and knowledge, calmly and quickly executed the task. The difference seemed striking.
The Battalion anticipated some rest and relief at Tucson, but the town of four or five hundred was protected by a force of two hundred Mexican soldiers. They were under order not to allow a U.S. armed force to pass through without resistance. Before a battle could be waged, the soldiers and citizens fled the town and the Battalion passed through without confronta-tion or a chance for relief.
The Battalion left Tucson in mid-December and the remainder of the month it suffered almost beyond human endurance. Lack of food and water, in addition to overmarching, caused substantial hardship. The education Edward received from this experience was purchased with pangs of hunger and the struggle to continue.
Toward the end of December the group arrived at a Pima Indian village and camped the following day by a village of Maricopa Indians. Generally, Indians were a scourge and not well regarded by many, but these were hard working and generous. Great praise was heaped on them by the men.
January of 1847 saw the Battalion reach the Colorado River and arrive near San Diego, California. At least 14 of the Battalion had died along the way. Having enlisted in July of 1846 for a twelve-month period, they had marched over two thousand miles, but their term of enlistment would not be complete for another six months.
Tyler reported the following statement made by Colonel Cook on January 30th:
"History may be searched in vain for an equal march of infantry. Half of it has been through a wilderness where nothing but savages and wild beasts are found, or deserts where, for want of water, there is no living creature. There, with almost hopeless labor we have dug wells, which the future travelers will enjoy. Without a guide who had traversed them, we have ventured into trackless tablelands where water was not found for several marches."
"With crowbar and pick and axe in hand, we have worked our way over mountains, which seemed to defy the wild goat, and hewed a passage through a chasm of living rock more narrow than our wagons. To bring those first wagons to the Pacific, we have preserved the strength of our mules by herding them over large tracts, which you have laboriously guarded without loss. The garrison of four presidios of Sonora concentrated within the walls of Tucson, gave us no pause. We drove them out, with their artillery, but our intercourse with the citizens was unmarked by a single act of injustice. Thus, marching half naked and half fed, and living upon wild animals, we have discovered and made a road of great value to our country."
EB: On the 27th of January we reached San Luis Mission where we remained a short time. Then we moved up to Los Angeles [Mar. 19] at which place we remained until we were discharged on the 16th day of July.
The dragoons accompanied the Battalion to Los Angeles. On arrival the dragoons camped in town and the Battalion on the eastern edge. The Battalion was ordered to finish erecting Fort Moore, an earthen barricade, on a hill above the plaza of Pueblo de Los Angeles. The Fort stood eighty feet above the old Plaza Park and Olvera Street, the old Mexican business district.
When members of the battalion would venture into the wild and rough town among the native Mexican population, bullies would begin to "impose on the Mormon boys." The dragoons would intercede and say: "Stand back; you are religious men, and we are not; we will take all of your fights into our hands," then with an oath would say: "You shall not be imposed upon by them."
Company B, which had been stationed at San Diego, arrived on July 15th, 1847. The next day at three o'clock, p.m., the Battalion came to formation, with A company in front and E in the rear. Lieutenant, A. J. Smith, inspected the troops and then in a low tone of voice said: "You are discharged." That was all, and the ceremony that closed their days of military service was over.
Following discharge, eighty-one members of the Battalion re-enlisted for six months at Los Angeles and were ordered to San Diego, to act as a provost guard to protect the citizens from Indian raids. The rest of the Battalion organized into companies in preparation for a march towards the East.
Edward had served his country, he had served his God and he had been spared. This one year's experience had taken him through the refiner's fire. He had seen the wonders of the west and experienced a lifetime of adventure. He had established friendships that would last the rest of his days. The term "greenhorn", which meant "farmer who had no idea how to live off wild country", no longer appled to him. But with all the knowledge and wisdom he had gained, he was half-a-continent away from the person he loved and longed for.
CHAPTER 4 To Find Emily Abbott Bunker
The Donner Party left Springfield, Illinois about the same time Edward left Nauvoo Illinois in March/April of 1846. The Donner Party left Independence, Missouri in May; Edward and the Battalion departed from nearby Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas in mid-August.
At Fort Bridger the Donner Party made an ill-fated decision to take "Hastings Cut-off" to the Salt Lake valley and across the Great Salt Desert, a shortcut no one had ever traversed before. The more typical California trail would have taken them to Fort Hall in Idaho and then down into Nevada and the Humbolt River.
They passed through the Salt Lake Valley in late summer of 1846, but in so doing lost precious time. It took them 28 days to travel the last 50 miles into the Salt Lake valley.
The "Cut-off" took them across the great salt desert where they lost 100 oxen and had to abandon several wagons and much-needed supplies. They were a divided, "quarrelsome" group.
Before they reached Truckee Pass, the last major barrier before the Sacramento valley, they were caught in a terrible snow storm. They were helplessly short of supplies and imprisoned in snowy mountain country.
Many of their number perished in the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Lake Tahoe that winter. Some of the survivors subsisted for some time on the bodies of the dead. Forty-two of the original ninety in the Donner Party finally reached Sutter's Fort in the Spring of 1847.
About that same time at Los Angeles, prior to being mustered out of the army, the Battalion men received six months pay. Most used this money to purchase animals, clothing and an outfit for the return trip. Horses and mules were cheap and each member of the returning party purchased adequate provisions for the trip.
In late June Edward first heard of terrible suffering of the Donner Party. There must have been some anticipation of what the returning Battalion soldiers would find when they reached what is now known as Donner Summit.
EB: Having drawn our pay and procured an outfit, we prepared to return to our homes by way of Sutter's Fort and across the North Pass of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Old Emigrant Trail. The returning men of the Battalion divided into three squads on their return trip, and I was in company with Brothers Tyler, Hancock and others.
In the latter part of August, 1847, the returning company stopped at Sutter's Fort, about one-and-a-half miles from the present city of Sacramento, California. Captain John A. Sutter was desirous of building a flour mill some six miles from the fort and a saw mill about forty-five miles away. He offered jobs to the Battalion men who would stay and work. They also met with some of the survivors of the Donnor Party and heard the horrible account of the suffering. The company rejected Sutter's offer and pressed on for Salt Lake City.
A few months prior to Edward's arrival at the sight of the Donner Party encampment, General Kearney and his troops had stopped at the cabins at Donner Lake in order to collect and inter any remains they found. Near the principal cabins they found two bodies that were nearly intact except the abdomens had been cut open and the entrails extracted. The flesh had decomposed and so the bodies appeared as mummies. One author wrote: "Strewn around the cabins were dislocated and broken skulls (in some instances sawed asunder with care, for the purpose of extracting the brains), human skeletons, in short, in every variety of mutilation. A more revolting and appalling spectacle I never witnessed."
The soldiers dug a large pit in the center of one of the cabins where the remains were collected and interred. The cabins and everything connected to the horrid tragedy was then set on fire. A party of men were detailed for the purpose of finding the body of George Donner at his camp, about eight or ten miles distant. There they found the body, which had been wrapped in a sheet, and they buried it.
Edward and company were next on the site of the tragedy. On September 3rd, 1847 they passed the location where General Kearney's party had burned the remains of the famished emigrants. That evening they reached the place where the rear wagons of the unfortunate Donner Party were trapped by the snow. General Kearney's party had not completely burned or buried every evidence of the incident.
Edward saw for himself the horror of the event. Human body parts were scattered around in different directions: a mangled arm or leg, a skull covered with hair, and even a whole body covered in a blanket. Bones were broken "as one would break a beef shank to obtain the marrow from it." It was a sobering sight. The intense human suffering that occurred was overshadowed by the thought of the desperate acts perpetrated by man against man as a result of hunger. The lessons of the Donner party were graphic and powerful: they lacked leader-ship with experience and resourcefulness, they lacked unity and organization, and they lacked respect for nature's elements and human life itself.
The morning of September 6th Edward and company resumed their journey, and after traveling a short distance met Samuel Brannan. He had journeyed from California to meet the main body of the saints in the Salt Lake Valley and was now returning to meet the Saints arriving by ship in California. That night as they camped together, Brannan told how the pioneers had reached the Salt Lake Valley in safety, but that it was not a place the saints would desire to stay. He was confident the Saints would ultimately travel on to California, probably in the coming Spring.
The following morning, shortly after Brannan left, Captain James Brown and a small party arrived. This was the same James Brown that had married as a second polygamous wife [but fifth wife] in Nauvoo after the death of her husband Stephen Joseph Abbott. He had been a member of the Battalion, but left with the Pueblo detachment, which arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on July 27th. He brought the mail. This must have been an enjoyable reunion for Edward to visit with Brown about news of the Abbott family. Edward probably already knew that Emily Abbott was not in the Salt Lake Valley and this meeting with Captain Brown undoubtedly confirmed that.
EB: Brown brought word from Brigham Young that those of the Battalion who had not provisions to last them into Salt Lake Valley had better remain in California during the winter. Some of the brethren [about half] turned back and a few others continued eastward. I was in the latter number.
The eastward-bound battalion members traveled up the Humbolt River, turned north to bypass the great salt desert and pressed on to Fort Hall (near the present city of Pocatello, Idaho). Fort Hall consisted of a stockade of cottonwood logs about fifteen feet high reinforced with clay and enclosed a space about eighty feet square. At opposing corners were two eight feet square bastions provided with portholes for rifles. Inside the stockade were log huts for the accommodation of the men. The Hudson Bay Company occupied the fort at the time of Edward's arrival. From Fort Hall they proceeded south to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake.
EB: We arrived in Salt Lake Valley on the 16th of October, 1847. After resting awhile, we [thirty-two] proceeded on our journey towards the Missouri [with eagerness to meet wives and children]. When I left the valley, I had sixteen pounds of flour to take me a thousand miles and three mules which I took from California to Council Bluffs. The articles I had for a winter campaign [were]: One pair of white cotton pants, a white cotton jacket, and old vest, a military overcoat, which I bought from one of the dragoons, a pair of garments, and a shirt; the latter articles were made from an old wagon cover by Sedric Judd, the tailor of our mess.
The battalion members expected to obtain provisions in the valley, but found the people were struggling for their own subsistence and could spare little. They were informed that Fort Bridger, some 115 miles away, had provisions. They left the valley in good spirits on October 18th, 1847. After witnessing the fate of those who were caught in the Sierra Nevada mountains in winter, it is curious that these thirty-two would embark on a thousand-mile trek with winter coming on. The prospect of once again being with wife and family and caring for their needs was worth risking life itself. Provisions were in short supply at Fort Bridger as well, and so they pressed on with what they had.
EB: On our journey we bought some buffalo meat from the Indians and killed a few of these animals ourselves. On arriving at Loop Fork on the Platt River, we camped for the night and tried to ford the river, but the ice was running so thick that our mules would not try to cross, so we put up for the night. The next morning found us in as cold a northeastern snowstorm as I had ever experienced in the state of Maine.
We stayed in camp all day and ate the last bit of provision we had, even a pair of raw hide saddle bags which I had brought from California on a wild mule. The next morning there was about ten inches of snow on the ground and we started down the river hoping to find missionaries at the Pawnee Mission. That day we killed some prairie chickens which was all we had. Next day we came opposite the mission houses which were across the river from us. Some of the boys commenced to build a raft when, on looking down the river, we saw Robert Harris crossing the ice by means of a long pole. We abandoned our raft and followed his example and crossed the river on the ice. We found the mission deserted and the corn all gathered, but we went into the fields and with our feet gathered a few ears of frost-bitten corn which the Indians had left, and which we ate raw. We went into the houses and stayed all night without bedding. One of the boys brought a frying pan and the corn we didn't eat raw, we parched and ate all we wanted and took the rest to camp with us.
On reaching camp the next morning, we found that one of our mules had got into the water and was so badly chilled that he had to be killed, and we ate all the meat except the lights. Those I tried eating, but they were so much like Indian rubber that I gave up the attempt.
After getting all the company across the ice, we went to the Mission homes and stayed all day. Having obtained a little good corn from the Indians, we took up our line of march for Council Bluffs, 140 miles distant, with the snow from 8 to 10 inches deep. We arrived in Winter Quarters on the 18th of December, 1847, having been gone 18 months.
Three days later the Missouri River froze over sufficiently hard to be crossed by teams and wagons. On reaching Winter Quarters I spent the night with one of my companions thinking my wife was still in Garden Grove where I had left her.
Next morning I went to find Bro. Brown's family and they told me my wife was living a short distance from them. This was good news, I assure you, and I lost no time in seeking out Emily and her mother, Abigail Smith Abbott, who was a widow with eight children. Emily, being the eldest, had been able to move to Winter Quarters with the assistance of William Robinson.
I found my wife, Emily Abbott Bunker, in quite poor circumstances, but with a fine boy eleven months old, my eldest son, Edward Bunker, Jr., born February 1, 1847.
Edward refers to his mother-in-law Abigail Smith Abbott as a widow. At the time Edward wrote the previous quote it was nearly 50 years after the incident. Perhaps his recollection of the fact she was a widow of Stephen Joseph Abbott but re-married in 1846 to Captain James Brown did not occur to him. Abigail lived most of the time as though she were a widow, she received financial support but little companionship from Captain Brown since her separation from Brown when she protested his marriage in 1850 to her daughter Phebe Abigail Abbott. Captain Brown died on September 1, 1863.
CHAPTER 5 Home in Ogden:
"I settled in Ogden City, took
up a farm...built a house of three log
rooms and fenced my farm the first year."
Edward BunkerEB: After resting a few weeks [until January 1848], I got wagons and a harness, hitched up my mules and went to Missouri to work for provisions. I found employment splitting rails for fencing. I earned a fat hog and some corn and returned home. We moved across the river to Mesquito Creek. Sister Abbott moved with us. She had two small boys and we put in crops of corn together. The next spring Mother Abbott emigrated to Salt Lake City. I assisted her to a yoke of oxen.
In the fall of 1848, Abigail and her children arrived in Salt Lake City and moved immediately to Ogden. Captain James Brown, who was Abigail's husband through a polygamous marriage, provided her with a ten-acre site on what was later called Washington Avenue. There he built for her a three-room log house with a dirt roof.
EB: The following year  received from Captain James Brown, the money for the same [yoke of oxen]. With this I bought cattle to assist me to emigrate next season.
My wife Emily Abbott Bunker gave birth on March 1, 1849 at Mesquito Creek, Iowa
to our daughter and second child, Emily Abbott.
EB: I also received three months extra pay from the government and a land warrant which I sold for $150. The emigration to California began next year and corn brought from $.25 to $1.50 per bushel. I had raised a good crop and this assisted me very much to obtain my outfit.
In the spring of 1850, I started to Salt Lake Valley in Captain Johnson's hundred and Matthew Caldwell's fifty, and I was captain of a ten. We followed up the route of the California emigrants on the south side of the Platt River. Nothing of importance happened until we came in the cholera district where the emigrants had died in great numbers and were buried by the roadside.
We found one man unburied lying in the brush. He was given a burial by our company. Our camp was stricken and 18 out of the hundred died from the effects of the cholera. My wife, Emily, and daughter, Emily, who had been born to us the first of March, 1849, on Mesquite Creek, Iowa, were taken very sick, but through the powers of faith and good nursing they soon recovered. At the end of three months we reached Salt Lake Valley, our haven of rest, September 1, 1850.
With a well-provisioned outfit, his wife and children around him, and a journey that had to seem mild in comparison to the Battalion march, Edward must have been very positive about the prospects ahead. As the Bunkers traveled in the wagon train to Salt Lake, they met and became fast friends with William Thomas and Sarah Ann Browning Lang. Both couples had two children and a lot in common.
EB: I settled in Ogden City, took up a farm about a mile from the city on what was then known as Canfield Creek. I built a house of three log rooms and fenced my farm the first year. William Lang owned a farm adjoining mine, also James Brown.
It may be of interest to know a little about the place they selected as their home. Ogden was named in behalf of Peter Skene Ogden, a leader in the trapping and fur trading business with the Hudson's Bay Company. He first visited the area in June of 1826. Trapping continued heavily until about 1840 when the bottom fell out of the beaver market and most of the mountain men withdrew into the hills. In 1843, John Charles Freemont encamped on the Weber River and rowed down it in a rubber boat to the Great Salt Lake, accompained by the famous Kit Carson and three others.
In late 1844 or 1845, Miles Goodyear established on the site of Ogden the only year-long adobe of a white man in the entire territory. Goodyear's fort consisted of a stockade of pickets that surrounded some log buildings and corrals close to the Weber River. It was 35 miles north of the Salt Lake valley on a direct line to Fort Hall, where the Emigrant Trail to California passed.
Shortly after the Mormons emigrated to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, Mormon scouts traveling north became aware of the Goodyear fort and reported to Brigham Young. The fort was a threat to Young, who wanted a Mormon empire without "Gentile" or Non-Mormon strongholds within close proximity. He immediately was interested in buying the fort.
Captain James Brown arrived in the Salt Lake Valley with the Pueblo detachment of the Mormon Battalion a short time after Brigham Young in 1847. On August 9th, 1847, he and a few others were sent to California to collect some backpay. On their way, they visited the Goodyear fort and inquired about the proprietor's interest in selling. The offer was favorably received. In November Captain Brown returned from California with $3,000 in Spanish and Mexican gold coins from the battalion payroll. Brown struck an agreement with Goodyear on November 25 where $1,950 in gold coin was exchanged for "a deed to the land, all his improvements, seventy-five goats, twelve sheep, and six horses."
Brown moved his family to the little fort Buenaventura on March 6, 1848. Many immigrants that had been associated with the "Mississippi Saints" and wintered with Brown at Pueblo moved to the settlement with him. They settled in a scattered fashion along the Weber River, near the mouth of Weber Canyon, and along the Ogden River in what became known as Brownsville.
In February, 1849 a congregation of Mormons in the region was organized as a Latter-day Saint ward with James Brown as Bishop. Large numbers of emigrants were directed by Brigham Young to settle in the Ogden area, and by 1850 there were over 1,000 people living there. In January of 1850, Lorin Farr, a 27-year-old native of Vermont, was sent by church authorities to live at Brownsville. He immediately became the most influential person in what was designated later that year as Weber County. Brown died from an accident in 1863. The settlement was re-named Ogden City and established as the county seat.
The immigration of 1850-51 was so significant that in 1851 it became necessary to survey the townsite. A city council was organized which consisted of a mayor, four aldermen, and nine councilors, all appointed by the governor and legislature of the State of Deseret, and later confirmed by the people in an election on April 7, 1851.
EB: President Young and Heber C. Kimball came to Ogden in 1851 and organized the stake with Lorin Farr as president and James Brown and William Palmer as councilors. I [Edward Bunker] was chosen a member of the High Council and ordained [a High Priest] by Brigham Young, and Heber C. Kimball set me apart for that calling. I was also a member of the first council of Ogden City.
The organization of the church in a local area consisted of a congregation or "Ward" presided over by a Bishop and two councilors. A group of several wards formed a "Stake" and was presided over by a Stake Presidency consisting of a president and two councilors. Within a stake, twelve men from the various wards were called to act as a "High Council" and administer the affairs of integration and coordination of the various wards. Each of these positions were filled by members of the various congregations and they served without pay until such time as they moved away, became ill or could otherwise no longer serve.
With his call to the High Council, Edward immediately gained community status. The call may have been the result of his commitment as expressed by his willingness to sacrifice and serve faithfully in whatever capacity required. It may have been the result of his growing leadership ability as witnessed by those he had served with. It may also have been the result of his affiliation with James Brown, already an established leader in the community.
Edward wrote that he lived on Canfield Creek between William Lang and James Brown. Emily's mother was given a lot by her husband, James Brown, on Washington Avenue. Canfield Creek crosses Washington Avenue at 34th Street. This is about a mile from 28th Street and the edge of the grid initially laid out for the city. Therefore, we might conclude that Edward lived at about 34th street and Washington Avenue. His next door neighbor on one side was his mother-in-law, Abigail Smith Abbott, and on the other side William and Sarah Ann Browning Lang.
3nd Child: Abigail Lucinda Bunker.
Born: April 15th, 1851, Ogden, Utah
Mother: Emily Abbott Bunker [3nd child]
EB: William Lang died soon after I came there [to Ogden] and I married his widow, whose maiden name was Sarah Ann Browning, June, 1852. She had two girls by her first husband.
Polygamy had been practiced in the church for several years. To enter into this practice several things had to occur. First, the man had to be in good standing in the church and generally in a hierarchical position. The added responsibility of multiple wives was given to those who had demonstrated the ability to handle such a calling. Second, the first wife had to give her consent for the husband to marry another wife. The ideal situation was for the first wife to "give" the husband another wife.
Emily was a very proud person. She undoubtedly loved her husband, but she also probably realized that as her husband gained prominence in the church and community he would be asked to participate in polygamy. She had seen her mother marry Captain James Brown as a polygamist wife, which must have softened her view of the situation.
Now that Edward was on the High Council, there must have been some pressure to find another wife. Sarah Browning Lang had been a friend to both Edward and Emily since their trek across the plains. She already had two children and was now a widowed neighbor in need of the support a plural marriage arrangement could offer. Perhaps some of these facts made her an acceptable selection to both Emily and Edward.
Sarah Ann Browning Lang was born October 10th, 1830 in Sumner County, Tennessee. She was the second of eight children born to James Green Browning and Mary Ann Neal. Her father's older brother was , famous for his work as a gunsmith. The two brothers had joined the Mormon church in Illinois and lived in Nauvoo. When Sarah was 17 years of age she met and married William Thomas Lang. The Langs and Bunkers had traveled together as young couples across the plains and had settled on adjoining lots in Ogden. Sarah's two children by her first husband were:
Mary Ann Lang, born January 22nd, 1848, and
Eliza Jane Lang, born September 19th, 1851.
Sarah was a young attractive widow that several men took interest in and offered marriage, but Sarah's father said:
"Sarah, I'd rather you'd marry Edward Bunker. He is a good man--long time friend--he is going on a mission and on William Lang's death bed, Edward promised he would have his [William Lang's] temple work done for him."
Sarah and Edward were married in Salt Lake and President Brigham Young said, "Of course, you know all of Sarah's children will belong to William Thomas Lang." Edward Bunker replied, "I couldn't do any greater work than to raise up a good posterity for my friend William Thomas Lang." In later years, Jim Bunker would comment about the situation, "Yes, but there is a damn lot of Bunker in us."
Sarah Browning Bunkersurrounded by her children
"I think it would be difficult to find
a company of men...who journeyed together
with a better spirit [and] determination,
...to gain intelligence, to treasure up
doctrine, to learn truth, and be
prepared to do good."
EB: In the fall of 1852, I was called to go on a mission to England. There were some seventy Elders called at that time. We started on our mission immediately after the October semi-annual conference and took us to the nations of the earth.
At a special conference held August 28th, 1852 in Salt Lake City, one hundred and six men were called to go forward from Utah to sustain and replace returning missionaries from around the world. Edward Bunker and thirty-three others were assigned to go to England.
With little over two weeks to prepare, a wagon train of seventy three people left Salt Lake on September 15th bound for the east. Included in this number were missionaries and various others going east on business. Generally, there were three men assigned to each wagon: Edward Bunker was assigned to wagon number 20 along with Samuel Glasgow, also bound for England, and Washington L. Jolley, going on business.
It certainly must have been an emotional moment when Edward bid his wives and family farewell for what would be a four year separation. The train moved slowly along the well- traveled Mormon Trail. The first part of the trip passed through the western frontier of Utah, Wyoming and Nebraska. They mostly stayed together, encountering cool weather, trains of emigrants and soldiers, Indians and buffalo in great numbers, and the traditional geological landmarks. Provisions were procured at forts along the way.
Orson Pratt, heading east to Washington D.C. on assignment from President Brigham Young, accompanied the group and gave them almost daily instruction concerning the doctrine of the Church. William Clayton, clerk of the company, recorded: "Brother Pratt has given some very interesting discourses...and both by precept and example, has shed a salutary influence on the minds of the brethren. His course is steady, mild, and evidently full of sympathy."
Clayton wrote that they traveled "full of the spirit of their missions. ....I think it would be difficult to find a company of men....who ever journeyed together with a better spirit; or a set of missionaries who ever went with a more seated determina-tion, and firm ambition to do good...to gain intelligence--to treasure up doctrine--to learn truth, and be prepared to do good." On several occasions Apostle Pratt instructed the missionaries concerning the pre-existence of man, a topic for which he was preparing a text to be published. Besides the great instruction they were receiving, their faith was strength-ened by several incidents that seemed to miraculously save them from disaster.
On October 16th, a few days into Nebraska, they camped for the night leaving their horses guarded by six men. At midnight, a lone horse came galloping into camp with blankets flapping and a large tin cup banging from the saddle horn. Perrigrine Sessions wrote: "The horses took affright and away they went. The sound of their feet was like the roar of distant thunder. This left us with feelings that would be hard to describe, left without teams to pursue our journey. But as the providence of God would direct it, one of our company caught a horse as they passed him, mounted in a moment and went with the band, but could not stop them as the tin cup was rattling all the time. The company supposed that the Indians had got the horses and killed the man."
Edward and his brethren no doubt offered up sincere prayers of deliverance regarding the catastrophe that had just befallen them. Sessions summarized the events of the night: "About four o'clock in the morning he [the lone man] came into camp with all safe and the horse that caused the fright. The horses being in a state of excitement so that it was with much trouble that they could be left in camp until morning."
A second event of deliverance occurred about a week later, on October 24th. Sessions wrote in his diary: "Camped on the bank of the Platt. About dark there was a big fire discovered at a short distance, burning the grass down. With a fierce wind the fire came from five to six miles on down and before we had time hardly to do anything the fire came, the flames at least ten feet high and seemed as though nothing could save our horses and wagons. But as the Lord did direct it--we succeeded and got the horses into the river and as the fire came up when within a few feet the wind changed and blew directly from the wagons and caused it to check its speed and by the greatest exertion we kept it from our wagons and it forged on and left the plains black, yet the heavens lighted by the fire as it was dark and gloomy. Before morning it began to rain hard."
The next day darkness hung heavy in the heavens and the prairie was black as far as the eye could see. The company moved on but was low on provisions and the livestock began to suffer from lack of natural feed. Two days later they came upon almost two thousand Indians in what was called the Pawnee Nation. They passed without incident and the next day it began to snow and was cold. They were within a few days of the Missouri River, but were cold, weak, and hungry. Sessions wrote: "Left the river and camped in the bluffs. Here the camp thought best to divide and those that had good teams to get through as soon as possible as horses feed was scarce and provisions too. Here the teams of many became weak and the men were obliged to walk with poor shoes and blistered feet and not enough to eat. This was taken without a murmur. Here we had to divide the provisions in camp and make our best way to the Missouri River according as the teams could stand it. Left one wagon." Edward was in the slower group which arrived two days later at the Missouri and joined those who'd gone before.
The group had passed through the more treacherous western frontier, but still had Iowa and states east to traverse. How-ever, conditions were different from this point on. For some reason the group divided into smaller groups for traveling. Some hired stages and teamsters to take them across Iowa and others walked or continued with their outfits. From Sessions' diary it appears most of them were to rendezvous at St. Louis, Missouri a month later, by the first of December.
When they met in St. Louis, many listened with interest to the tales and experiences encountered during the prior month. No doubt Edward was curious to hear of Perrigrine Sessions' visit to Nauvoo along the way. Sessions recounted: "Took the stage to Burlington from thence to Montrose, crossed the river to Nauvoo and stayed at the Mansion with the Mother of the Prophet Joseph [Smith, Lucy Mack Smith]."
"She was quite feeble but recollected me and seemed quite glad to see me, Emma Smith, the Prophet's wife, though so well acquainted in days gone by, seemed to be a stranger to me. Everything looked gloomy about the mansion. The spirit of God had departed from Nauvoo and the home of the Prophet."
The next day Sessions wrote: "After breakfast I inspected the place where I had lived and hardly one thing to mark the place. The house moved away and the orchard destroyed. From thence to the temple of God. Found the west end of it standing some fifty feet high. The main body thrown down level with the ground. Now it is a heap of ruins crumbling to ruin and decay. Nothing but ruin and desolation attracts the eye in the city of the Prophet, where the Angels of God had visited the Saints and now the forces of evil haunt and have control over the inheritance of the city. Visited some old friends, found them cool and indifferent in the things of the kingdom of God." Perhaps this encounter gave Edward cause for concern about visiting his family in Maine. Would they be cool to him? From St. Louis most of the missionaries proceeded down the Mississippi in a boat to the tip of Illinois where the Ohio River empties into the Mississippi. Here the boat turned up the Ohio and proceeded to Louisville. Sessions' journal recorded on December 8th: "Fine weather, passed many fine and flourishing towns. Landed at Louisville. In the evening went and saw William Porter, the Giant, his height seven feet and eight inches."
The next day they continued up the river to Cincinnati. They could have stayed on the boat all the way up the Ohio to Pittsburgh, but instead disembarked at Cincinnati and took the rail "cars" from there eastward. All of the missionaries did not travel the entire distance together. Some took a little different route and arrived in New York earlier. Edward probably accompanied Sessions, for they were on the same ship to England. The Sessions' group arrived in New York City on December 12th.
They booked their passage on the American Union sailing ship and prepared for departure on December 16th. In the intervening days purchases were made and letters written home. On one day Sessions wrote: "Traveled through the city, went to the museum and theater. This was a day of amusement to see naked women or nearly so and to see the activity of the actors."
Finally, the ship was loaded and a steamer ferried the ship out of the harbor on December 16th for the trip across the ocean. Sessions recorded in his journal entries such as: "Big wind and made the sea roll. This made me so sick that I hardly went on deck for the day." Another time he wrote: "A gale blowing and the sea rolling mountains high and some times it would roll over our ship, the gale seemed as though we were in the bowels of hell. We called upon the Lord and he heard us."
Sessions recorded how Christmas eve and night were spent aboard the vessel: "The sea looking like mountains covered with snow. The wind blowing the snow. We spent the day with some Catholics and all kinds of men and women. Lord and Master [of the ship] cursing and swearing. The men drinking. The night was spent in this way with the men drinking beer. Some sick and groaning. The vomiting so thick that the room smelt like a pig pen more than the home of human beings. I cannot describe my feelings, but suffice it to say that if Jonah was in the belly of hell, so am I with my brethren here. I am holding myself in my berth or else I should have been thrown out by the rolling of the vessel."
On the 28th a man died aboard ship. Sessions wrote: "Cool weather and a man died and in a few minutes was sewn up in a blanket and thrown over board by the sailors with no other ceremony. Then God knows he had gone to the sharks. It seems strange to me to see the spirit of mankind when out to sea.
Finally, on January 3rd the mountains of Ireland were sighted. At this time most of the men were in poor health. As the Irish Channel was approached many other vessels were seen along with five or six lighthouses. On the 4th a pilot came on board and directed the ship into Liverpool. On the 5th the missionaries went to the office of the Millennial Star. Edward had arrived in England and was ready for his missionary labors.
The history of the Mormon missionaries in England dates back to 1837 when the first missionaries landed in Liverpool, the same year Victoria became Queen. It was a time of great change in England and opportune for the introduction of Mormonism.
The Industrial Revolution was at its peak and great numbers of rural English subjects were moving to the cities. Many were poor and illiterate and unable to find employment. Charles Dickens' books, David Copperfield (1850) and Bleak House (1852), depict the conditions of the times. The working environment of the poor in the factories and mines was hard, dreary, and often unhealthy. Living conditions in the city slums were not much better. Many were searching for relief in a new and better life.
Old and new churches of the time saw a marked increase in attendance. It became fashionable for the wealthy to indulge in religion, but few religions appealed to the poor working class. In this context came the Mormon missionaries from America, preaching of a church with a lay ministry and a doctrinal approach to salvation for all irrespective of socio-economic class.
Europeans generally looked to the United States where abundant land and opportunity seemed to exist. Many were excited about the prospect of emigrating there. The Mormon Church not only preached a gathering to the American West and the building of a "godly and egalitarian" community, but was also active in facilitating members' emigration. Immediately Mormon missionaries found ready converts for their message, and large numbers of the working class were baptized.
On January 5th, 1853 the following missionaries arrived from New York on the ship American Union:
CHAPTER 7 British Mission:
"I never saw men labour more faithfully
to convince the people of the truth than
my brethren do in this land."
EB: After landing in Liverpool we reported ourselves to the presidency of the mission in Liverpool at the office of the Millennial Star. I was appointed to preside over the Bristol [South] conference in the place of George Halliday who was released to emigrate.
Bristol was a ship building port on the River Avon in southwestern England. It was a city filled with numerous old cathedrals, monasteries and edifices. Besides an ancient Norman castle the city hosted the oldest Methodist chapel in the world, built by John Wesley in 1739. Close to Bristol is the city of Bath where the ancient Romans built an elegant resort to take advantage of the warm natural mineral waters.
Shortly before Edward's arrival in England, the mission publication, "The Latter-Day Saints Millennial Star", issued an official announcement of the Church's practice of plural marriage. The mood and sentiment toward Mormons changed dramatically from positive to negative. But even with this untimely announcement, Edward found success. No doubt his experience and stories of the wild west and California attracted interested listeners. The South Conference had 650 members and during the six month reporting period ending June, 1853, there were 50 baptisms, 18 excommunications, 14 deaths, and 33 emigrated to America.
EB: I presided there [Bristol] about three months, then I was called to care for Mr. Clayton's field of labor, he being sent home. That field included Sheffield, Bradford, and Lincolnshire conferences.
Mormon missionaries generally went without "purse or script", which meant they took no money and had to find financial support from whoever would offer it. The missionaries would preach to new investigators and to those who had joined but not yet emigrated. New members were generally economically and spiritually poor, longing to be gathered to Zion. Generally, the missionaries would travel from city to city and when evening came, search for a night's lodging with any who would accept them. The days included studying the scriptures and church publications, writing letters or reports, performing ordinances and teaching investigators.
Occasionally the missionaries would attend meetings of other churches and enter into religious discussions with their clergy. Often the missionaries would hand out "tracts" or pamphlets that expounded gospel principles. Edward was no doubt involved in all of these activities.
William Clayton, famous for his text to the Mormon hymn, "Come, Come, Ye Saints," had arrived at Liverpool on the 3rd of January, just two days before Edward. He was excited to be returning to his homeland on a mission. He was assigned to labor in the Sheffield and Lincolnshire conferences, but shortly after his arrival unfortunate circumstances befell him. He had traveled to Sheffield by way of Manchester with Elder William Glover. Wanting to visit people he knew in Manchester, he separated from Glover promising to meet later at the train station.
He missed the train, became overheated in the damp weather, and was forced to stay with a one-time member of the Church in Manchester. He became ill and was confined to bed for several days in which time the Mormons' involvement with plural marriage created an excitement. His host accused him of immorality and demanded he leave their home.
On arriving at Sheffield he was weak and emaciated. Before meeting the members, he stopped for a glass of gin believing its medicinal purposes would give him strength. Because of his condition and the smell of gin, the saints believed him to be intoxicated and sent a very negative report to Mission President Samuel Richards. His rumored immorality in Manchester and drunkenness in Sheffield could not be put to rest and in time he found himself on a ship bound for home.
Since transfers usually occurred at the end of each calendar year, Edward probably planned to spend his first year in the Bristol conference. Suddenly he was called to Liverpool and assigned to replace Elder Clayton. The mission president placed great confidence in Edward and asked that he take charge of a very difficult situation.
As a district president or pastor, Edward was responsible for administering the affairs of three conferences and almost 60 branches or congregations and numerous missionaries. There were financial matters to attend to in addition to baptisms, deaths, excommunications and preparing the saints to migrate. Sheffield was the capital of the steel industry and famous for cutlery dating back to Norman times. Bradford was the center of the wool and worsted industry, close to the moors and the setting for the fictional novel, Wuthering Heights, written by Emily Bronte in 1847. Lincoln was a smaller town of medieval architecture and historic churches. The presidents of the conferences who reported to Edward were: William Glover in Sheffield, John Albiston in Bradford, and Charles Derry in Lincoln.
Polygamy immediately became a source of agitation and contention. For several months the "Millennial Star" continually published articles defending and explaining the plural marriage position. In some parts of England people reacted more aggressively. The "Millennial Star" reported that in Soham, Cambridgeshire a "gang of disorderly persons" delighted in "flying birds in meetingrooms, shouting, putting out the lights, breaking forms and candlesticks and pelting the brothers and sisters with stones and dirt."
In April of 1853 one Elder reported:
"The spirit of opposition is still controlling the minds of the people in Soham. It is so rife among them that we have been obliged to discontinue all public meetings, at least we deemed it wise for the present."
"I cannot pretend to tell you a thousandth part of what has gone off there. A few days ago bills were posted notifying the public that a Mormon wedding would take place on the first of April (all fools day) and also giving general invitation to all the inhabitants."
"A company of 1,200 people assembled yesterday morning in the main street. They then walked in procession, until they arrived opposite Sister H. Peek's, the house where the Elders sleep. Then the performance commenced. Seven young women, dressed in wedding style, and sitting on donkeys covered in white calico appeared.
"The bridegroom came forward dressed in very gaudy style. The females all stood on one side. The man who acted as priest had on yellow trousers, peculiar hat, &c. They proceeded to go through the ceremony but were all in confusion."
"Elders Brown and Fowler stood looking complacently through the window, which seemed to disappoint the mob. The company then went through the remaining part of the town, calling or standing at the house of each of the Saints, and going through the same ridiculous nonsense."
Periodically the "Millennial Star" would publish addresses of the selected missionaries. On April 30th, 1853 shortly after Edward had been transferred, his address was printed as:
Elder Edward Bunker
41 Chester Street,
Edward's first three months as District President were no doubt difficult ones. The statistical report for the six months ending June 1853 shows that of 2,139 members, 149 had been baptized, but 204 had also been excommunicated. Never again during his mission would Edward witness such a staggering number of members leave the Church. During the second half of 1853, the excommunications were cut in half, but the baptisms also fell.
As letters were exchanged with family back home, Edward must have become concerned about the difficulties his family was experiencing in his absence. On one occasion a severe wind caused Sarah's father and brothers to come and rescue her little family before the roof blew off their house. The winters were harsh and resulted in the loss of many cattle and the summers brought crickets that devoured the crops. Emily and Sarah had each other to rely upon and other local relatives offered what assistance they could. Six months after Edward's departure, Emily gave birth to their fourth child:
4th Child: Hannah Adelia Bunker,
Born: April 25th, 1853, Ogden Utah
Mother: Emily Abbott [4th child]
While Edward labored in Sheffield, Bradford and Lincolnshire he probably kept up with the events of the time by reading the "Millennial Star" and the local papers. In 1852 England had joined with France, Turkey and Italy in a war against Russia. This was the Crimean War that Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote about in his celebrated poem, "The Charge of The Light Brigade", published in 1854 while Edward was in Sheffield. Tennyson was born at Somersby, a town near Lincoln in 1809. With the Crimean War, Florence Nightingale initiated her efforts to eliminate primitive sanitation methods and grossly inadequate nursing facilities.
The Millennial Star published a statistical report at the end of each six-month period. The following table shows the reported numbers for each six month periods from January 1853 to December 1854.
CHART GOES HERE
EB: I labored there [Sheffield, Bradford, and Lincolnshire] two years, then was released to preside in Scotland which included the conferences of Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The Dundee, Glasgow, and Edinburgh district had 2,534 members when Edward went there. Sixty percent of the mem-bers lived in Glasgow, and the rest were in 41 branches across all of Scotland. Statistical numbers were not reported in the Millennial Star for 1855, perhaps due to a change in policy by the new mission president. In January of 1855 when Edward was assigned to Scotland, Samuel Richards was released as president of the mission and his brother, Franklin D. Richards, appointed to succeed him.
The March 17th, 1855 issue of the "Millennial Star" reported Edward's address as:
Elder Edward Bunker
41 Charlotte Street,
Edward reported on the progress of his district in a letter dated July 10th, 1855 from Kilmarnock, Scotland, which was printed in the "Millennial Star". The following excerpts were taken from that letter:
President F. D. Richards:
"This morning I sit down to give you a plain and correct account of our labours throughout Scotland, and I do it with great cheerfulness, knowing that you ought to hear of the success of those that labour under your watchcare."
"We held our quarterly Conference in Dundee, the 17th June and I am happy to say, that there was a first-rate spirit with the Saints, and all who assembled with us. The reports from the various Branches were good, with few exceptions. The most of the Priesthood are doing their utmost to extend the work, and gather in the honest in heart, and I can happily say, that their worthy President, Elder Daniel McArthur, is a whole-souled "Mormon," and that the most of his flock partake of his spirit, which makes them also whole-souled in the work of the Lord."
"Edinburgh conference came off on the 24th, when we were favoured with the society of Elder James Ferguson and J. D. T. McAllister, from Ireland, and Elder Walter Grainger, President of the Glasgow conference, who contributed much to our happiness on that occasion, for our Heavenly Father gave us much of His good Spirit, which is life, light, and salvation to those who enjoy it. The reports from the Branches of this conference were also very favourable. The saints there feel well, and realize more the necessity of keeping the commandments of God, than ever they did in their lives. They also have a good man to preside over them, whose heart is devoted to the cause of truth, and the saints love and respect him very much."
"I will say, to the praise of some of our faithful brethren in that conference, that they voluntarily live up to the law of tithing, and testify to the rest of the Saints that they are better off now than they were before they paid their tithing. I know this rule to be a correct one, that those who love the Lord will love all of His laws, and keep them, and upon such He will pour out His blessings till their hearts are satisfied. I have proved the law of tithing to be a law of God and a source of blessing to me from the day on which I entered into the waters of baptism. As for the present, I feel as though I am all tithing, and may it ever be so."
"Now, as for the Glasgow conference, I will begin with the President, Elder Grainger, first. I love to testify of the virtues of good men, and as it may be somewhat in his favour, I will say, he is a true-hearted Saint. This is the first conference, as you well know, that he has had the honour to preside over, but for my part, I cannot see but that he is fully up to any of the old hands at the business."
"The conference was held on the 1st of July, and the Reports brought in by the Branch Presidents were cheering, and we can feel that there is quite an increase of faith and union with the Saints and the Priesthood. We had a grand day on the Sunday, and also a fine soiree on the Monday following, and I can say that the Conference is in a prosperous condition."
"A number of our best paying members have emigrated this year. The Conference numbers actually, that we can find, 1161; the remainder are scattered and lost, which make up our total in the Half-yearly Report to 1455"
"We find, in searching the records of the Glasgow Branch, that there are 220 members whom we can learn nothing of, although there have often been Councils called, and their names read out, and enquiries made after them severally. However, we intend to continue our search for the lost sheep of our Father's flock, that none may be lost through our negligence. May the Lord help us to do our duty all the time."
"Kilmarnock Conference was held on Sunday last. We are still favoured with the society of our brethren from Ireland."
"The good spirit of our Heavenly Father has been abundantly poured out upon us in our assemblies in this Conference. The Saints feel well and are much united. The Reports from the Branches were good, though the Saints have been somewhat oppressed for want of work, which has been rather against the financial report. But I am happy to say, that it is better now, and, judging from the good spirit manifested by the Saints, I think they will bring up all arrears this quarter."
"The Saints here are few, but I must say, they have done nobly, taking into consideration that they have helped off to the Valley brothers Booth and Glasgow lately. They are a noble people, and determined to be behind none, and that is the spirit of their worthy President, Elder J. D. Ross, an old, and steady hand at the Gospel plough, but his worth need not be extolled by me, as he is well known. He is in first-rate spirits, and we labour in union in all things."
"You will see, by the above details of the various Conferences throughout this Pastorate, that we are in a prosperous condition. Though we have not baptized so many as other Conferences, our prospects are good, and I can truly say, I never saw men labour more faithfully to convince the people of the truth than my brethren do in this land. Well! the seed is sown, the Lord hasten the day when we shall see the increase."
"I must say, that I never laboured in the ministry with more satisfaction, than I have done since I came to Scotland, though I found a kind and noble hearted people in England wheresoever my lot was cast. But I suppose that my experience serves to make my labours more agreeable."
"There is a perfect union existing between the Presidents of the Conferences and myself, and also, as a general thing, amongst all the Saints. And I could not ask anything more at the hands of the brethren, than what they wish to be done. Therefore I feel to pour out my soul continually to the Lord for them, and the continuation of our union, and may it increase for ever."
"Having already much extended my representation, I shall close now by saying, we shall be happy to see brother Franklin as soon as his business will permit."
Your brother in the Gospel Covenant,
EB: I labored there [in Scotland] one year, then was released to come home.
Missionaries released on Dec. 8th, 1855 were:
Henry E. Bowring
Spicer W. Crandall
Charles A. Foster
George D. Grant
John A. Hunt
William H. Kimball
J. D. T. McAllister
Daniel D. McArthur+
Philemon C. Merrill*
Nathan T. Porter
Henry A. Squires
John Van Cott
Chauncey G. Webb
James G. Willie+
Joseph A. Young
+ Arrived at the same time as Edward.
* Also served in the Mormon Battalion.
President Franklin D. Richards told the newly released missionaries to go to Utah this season and get as far as St. Louis where they would find people to help them across the plains. The object was to get the greatest possible number of the faithful to Utah.
CHAPTER 8 Welsh Handcart Company:
"Elder Bunker has proved himself
a father to his people...the
Holy Spirit has been with and
aided him in leading all the time."
CHART GOES HERE
Edward was aboard the "Caravan," with 456 other Mormons. The passengers were quartered below deck, side by side, in crowded bunks. Anyone with known exposure to a contagious disease was excluded from travel and yet measles, chicken pox and other ailments afflicted many. Often children suffered and died enroute from such diseases.
The price was between 4 to 5 pounds for adults ($25 U.S.) and less than a pound for infants. This covered transportation and food. Each ship provided beef, pork, beans, potatoes, 3 quarts of water per adult per day and 10 gallons of water per 100 people for cooking per day. Seventy days provisions were stored for January to October travel, and 80 days from October to January. "Medical Comforts" included: Arrowroot, Sago, Pearl Barley, Marine Soap, Lime Juice, Brandy, Beef Soup, Preserved Mutton and a few pints of milk.
Each passenger furnished their own straw or feather mattress and a box or barrel to hold their personal belongings and tin cooking utensils. During storms the quarters were closed tightly so no water would enter. A bucket or chamber pot provided sanitary facilities. At such times claustrophobic conditions of overcrowded quarters compounded the misery of the stench, seasickness and various diseases.
EB: There were about five hundred emigrants, all Saints, and some returning elders on board ship and presided over by Daniel Tyler. The voyage was pleasant with the exception of one storm during which one sailor was drowned. We landed in New York, at Castle Garden, thence by rail to St. Louis, then by steamboat up the Mississippi River to Iowa City, which place we reached in the month of June, 1856.
Here the company was fitted out with handcarts. I was given charge of a Welch company and left Iowa City, June 28, 1856. We procured our provisions and teams to haul our supplies at Council Bluffs.
CHART GOES HERE
Of the five handcart companies that left Iowa City that year, the third was almost entirely Welsh emigrants. The "S. Curling" had brought them cross the Atlantic and railroad travel had delivered them to Iowa City. Part of the trip from the east had been in cattle cars. Some delay was required in Iowa City because the handcarts were not completed.
The Welsh saints pitched right in and assisted in the construction of the carts. In outfitting their carts they were required to discard many precious possessions that just wouldn't fit. Romance was no stranger to these people preparing for the hard trek ahead. Ellenor Roberts, one of the Welsh girls, fell in love with Elias Lewis. They were married at Iowa City and prepared their own handcart.
How fortunate the company was to have Edward Bunker as their leader. Edward's depth of experience in the Mormon Battalion and in the British Mission was surely an important factor in the company's success. In addition, the Welsh company traveled along with Captain John Banks' wagon train of immigrant saints. Martin and Willie, two other returning missionaries, were assigned to lead the fourth and fifth handcart companies. These two ran into difficulty and many people perished on the trip in the snows.
EB: After leaving Iowa City, we encountered some heavy rain and windstorms which blew down our tents and washed away our handcarts. I got a heavy drenching which brought on a spell of rheumatism that confined me to my bed a portion of the journey.
Priscilla Evans wrote:
"People made fun of us as we walked, pulling our carts, but the weather was fine and the roads were excellent, and although I was sick and we were very tired at night, still we thought it was a glorious way to go to Zion."
"We began our journey with a handcart for each family, some families consisting of just a man and wife, and some had quite large families. Each handcart had one hundred pounds of flour, that to be divided up and we were to get more from the wagons as required. At first we had a little coffee and bacon, but that was soon gone and we had no use for any cooking utensils but a frying pan."
EB: I had for my councilors Brothers [David] Grant , a Scotchman, and tailor by trade, and [John] MacDonald , a cabinet maker, neither of whom had much experience in handling teams. Both were returned missionaries. The Welsh people had no experience and very few of them could speak English. This made my burden very heavy. I had the mule team to drive and had to instruct the teamsters about yoking the oxen.
Arriving in Florence, Nebraska on July 19th, 1856, the company was detained while repairs were made to the handcarts. They left Florence on July 30th and on August 30th David Grant, the assistant captain wrote back to England:
"It is one month today since we left Florence, formerly called Winter Quarters, and we are almost five hundred miles from it. I have traveled the same road three times with horse and ox team, but never made the trip in so short a time before. We have averaged twenty miles a day for the past week, and are determined to average that or more every day until we reach Great Salt Lake City."
"The Saints are getting more and more of the spirit of Zion upon them as they approach nearer to it. I will give it as my opinion that the Saints will cross the Plains with handcarts for years to come, because of the utility of the plan, considering the circumstances by which the Saints are surrounded. There are twenty persons and four handcarts to each tent. Each adult person has seventeen and each child ten pounds of luggage, which consists of bedding and wearing apparel; extra of this they haul their cooking utensils."
"The provisions are hauled in a wagon, and rationed out to the company every other day, as follows - to each adult or child per day, one pound of flour, with tea or coffee, sugar, and rice. We have for the use of the company, eighteen cows that give milk, and have killed three fine buffaloes, and eaten as we had need. Besides that which I have enumerated, we have with us beef cattle enough to last through to Utah, using one of them a week."
"This is so healthy a country, that our appetites are very good, and we send our allowances home without much trouble. There are some very old brethren and sisters that walk every day. One sister, that has walked all the way from Iowa City, is seventy-three years old. There are in the company those still more advanced in years, who ride in the wagons."
"If there were settlements every hundred and fifty or two hundred miles on the road, from which companies could get supplies, they could carry their provisions on their handcarts, and dispense with the provision wagons, which greatly retard our progress."
"We travel together in peace and harmony, and when we camp, are not molested by wolves in sheep's clothing. Elder Bunker has proved himself a father to his people, and I know that the Holy Spirit has been with and aided him in leading them all the time. I am happy to say that we have been united in all things since we left Iowa City, and am glad in having such a man to lead us as our Captain."
EB: The journey from the Missouri River the Salt Lake City was accomplished in 65 days. We were short of provisions all the way and would have suffered for food had not supplies reached us from the valley.
Ellenor Roberts Lewis, who was married in Iowa City, was walking without shoes. She had left her shoes on the other side of the Missouri River in crossing, did not go back for them, and walked the rest of the way to the Salt Lake Valley barefoot.
Pricilla Evans later wrote in her journal:
"The flour was self-rising and we took water and baked a little cake. After the first few weeks of traveling this little cake was all we had to eat and after months of traveling we were put on half rations and at one time, before help came, we were out of flour for two days. During this hard journey I was expecting my first baby and it was very hard to be contented on so little food."
"My husband had lost a leg in his early childhood and walked on a wooden stump, which caused him a great deal of pain and discomfort. When his knee, which rested on a pad, became very sore, my husband was not able to walk any farther and I could not pull him in the little cart, being so sick myself, so one late afternoon he felt he could not go on so he stopped to rest beside some tall sagebrush. I pleaded with him to try to walk farther, that if he stayed there he would die, and I could not go on without him."
"The company did not miss us until they rested for the night and when the names were checked we were not among the company and a rider on a horse came back looking for us. When they saw the pitiful condition of my husband's knee he was assigned to the commissary wagon and helped dispense the food for the rest of the journey. I hated to see him suffer so but it was with relish that I ate his little cake when he was too miserable to care for food."
"There were about a dozen in our tent. There were only about six who could not speak the Welsh language, myself among that number. There were in our tent a man with one leg (my husband); two blind, Thomas Giles being one of them; a man with an arm gone; and a widow with five children."
"The man with the one arm went back to Wales in the spring as he had left his family there. There were five mule teams and wagons to haul the tents and flour. We were allowed to bring but 17 pounds of clothing."
"We had no grease for the wheels on the handcarts and one day they killed an old buffalo and my husband and John Thain, a butcher, sat up all night to boil some to get some grease to grease the handcarts, but it was so old and tough there was not a speck of grease in it."
Thomas D. Giles, the blind man mentioned above, had a wife, baby girl and two boys. A remarkable incident occurred to Brother Giles during the trek. Not long after starting the trek the baby became ill. After a short time she died and was buried beside the trail. It wasn't long until his wife became ill, passed away, and was also buried beside the trail. Fearing the same for his two boys, when an east bound group passed, he sent the two boys, ages seven and nine back to join a later company that included a group of Welsh saints.
Not far from Fort Bridger, Giles himself became seriously ill. The company was held up for two days waiting for either improvement in his condition or further deterioration. Finally, Captain Bunker determined the end was within hours, ordered the group to move on, and left two men to bury Brother Giles when the end came.
The two men who stayed continued to offer prayers of faith and priesthood administration. Brother Giles remained alive until evening when Apostle Parley P. Pratt reached the site. He had known Brother Giles in Wales and was distressed to hear of all that had happened and to see Giles' condition. Elder Pratt pronounced a blessing on Brother Giles, promising that he would instantly be healed and made well, rejoin his company and arrive safely in the Salt Lake Valley, and there rear a family. He further promised that because of Brother Giles faithfulness he would be permitted to live as long as he wanted. Every promise made was fulfilled entirely.
B. H. Roberts wrote that "Bunker's company arrived six days later, 2nd of October, also without serious adventure or loss. They had traveled with Captain John Banks' wagon company of immigrating saints." Because the handcarts were able to travel much quicker than wagon trains, and no other mention of the accompanying Banks' train is made in handcart diaries, it is questionable that they travelled together very far. They did arrive in the valley the same day, but that may have been coincidence.
It is curious to note that one member of the Banks train was named John Bunker. Most decendants of Edward have assumed there were no other Bunkers that were a part of early Church history. Who this individual was is a mystery to the author.
EB: We arrived safely in Salt Lake City, October 2, 1856. Other companies that started in the later part of the season were caught in the snow storms and suffered severely from cold and hunger and many of them perished. When I arrived home my health was very poor, having suffered a great deal while in England from the cold damp climate.
CHAPTER 9 The Utah War
"It seems incredible that such
an expedition,...should have been taken
...without one step being taken to
verify the truth or untruth of
the representations made."
B. H. Roberts
EB: I found my family in poor circumstances, having lost about forty head of cattle during the winter. The winter before I arrived they had also passed through what was called the "Grasshopper War." Soon after my arrival I was made Bishop of the Second Ward in Ogden and labored in that capacity until I moved to Dixie.
Soon after arriving from England, Edward returned to Ogden. There he found his wives, Emily and Sarah, each with their own bedroom, living in one house. It must have seemed strange to see the changes in all the children and see Hannah for the first time. She was born after Edward had left for his mission. Emily and Sarah had arranged their affairs as best they could with Sarah doing most of the cooking and Emily teaching the children in school.
Edward's reunion with his family must have been a most glorious occasion. Struggles they had experienced while he was gone were very evident. He was no doubt tired from his long trip, but he realized the necessity of utilizing every bit of time available in preparation for the coming winter.
As he visited with the town fathers during the month of October he may not have been aware of the new challenges that were shortly to come his way. On October 25th the city of Ogden held a special election, and Edward was elected a member of the City Council. At that time the election was almost a formality or public endorsement of those that were chosen to run for the office by the presiding church authorities. They must have found favor with Edward's dedication and continued devotion to the cause. At that time he was also called to preside as Bishop over the Ogden 2nd Ward.
On November 4th, 1856 he was duly sworn in as a Council member and issued a certificate by A. D. Wm. Critchlow, the city clerk. He swore that he would "support the constitution of the United States, the laws of this Territory and of Ogden City, and discharge the duties of Councillor in Ogden City Council according to the best of his knowledge and ability." He had little time to rest and reflect on the great experiences of the past several years.
One of Edward's first acts as a City Councilman was at the December 13th, 1856 meeting. The city had what was called "The Dog Law" which affected the control of stray dogs in the city. Edward moved that it be repealed. Councilman Sprague seconded the motion, but when a vote was called for, the motion failed. He may have been an experienced frontiersman and missionary, but he was not yet an effective diplomat and as such did not either: understand the mood of his counter-parts or have enough political clout to carry the issue.
Late in December the Council met to discuss the business of the design and construction of a road from the northeast corner of the city wall to where Ferron's Sawmill stood. Edward and Armsted Moffett were appointed as a committee to lay out the road. He was now increasing his understanding of the process of engineering and road building.
On Christmas Eve President Brigham Young sponsored what was called "An Entertainment" at his home, The Lion House, for those who had recently returned from foreign missions. No doubt Edward was invited and possibly attended, renewing his association with his beloved brethren from his mission.
On December 28th, 1856, Luman Shurtliff undertook the local initiation of the church wide "Reformation". He was assigned by the Weber Stake to be a missionary, circulate among the members in Ogden, and have each recite a lengthy twenty-seven question catechism. Every person was "allowed to confess to the proper authorities so that the adversary [devil] would not have an opportunity to take advantage of their human weakness and thereby destroy their soul."
As a part of the reformation many were rebaptized and the devout Saints consecrated their property to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Church members deeded to Brigham Young, as trustee-in-trust, "all their real or personal property". Edward was a local leader, a councilman, and Bishop, and as such probably led out in compliance with the effort.
As City Council meetings continued into the spring of 1857, Edward became a more active participant. He raised three motions, which all carried. He was taking a more active role in his position as a councilman, just in time for the normal elections on March 30th, 1857. As a result of the elections the following were elected to the Ogden City Council,
Mayor: Lorin Farr
Erastus Bingham Jr
Chauncy W. West
M. D. Merrick
The elections were probably in compliance with national laws. Utah was making every attempt to prepare itself for admission as a state to the Union, but its 1857 application for statehood was rejected in Washington.
The mood in Washington D.C. was not favorable toward the Mormons. There were some questions about jurisdiction in the Utah territory, a possession of the United States. Judges had been appointed from Washington to preside in the ter-ritory, but some who had prior experience with the Mormons were not acceptable to the saints. Judge Stiles and Judge Drummond were both associate judges that held court in Utah prior to 1857.
Judge Stiles had been a Mormon, was excommunicated on grounds of adultery, but continued to preside and decide local legal questions. This was a strained relationship. When he turned to Brigham Young for support, he was told, "if he could not sustain and enforce the laws, the sooner he adjourned his court the better."
Judge William W. Drummond was a Federal judge from Illinois. Upon his appointment, he abandoned his wife and children, and relocated to Utah with his mistress. French travelers passing through Utah said the judge was "not a very estimable character, being notorious for the immorality of his private life." His judicial practice was to have his mistress sit beside him on the bench and assist him in handing out justice.
While in Fillmore, Utah he instructed his servant to "horse whip" a local merchant, which his servant did. When he and his servant were arrested for assault and battery with intent to murder, he fled to California. (http://www.millardcounty.com/massacre.html)
Judge Drummond wrote publicly of tales of corruption and subversive acts against the United States by the Mormons. His comments were editorialized in the California press and found their way to Washington.
At this same time mail service to Utah was poorly adminis-tered by those who held the private contract. Utah was isolated from the rest of the country and heavily depended on the mail. Only twenty percent of the mail was arriving on time, so the Mormons decided to establish their own mail service from Missouri to California. The Mormons submitted a bid to Washington that was one-half the amount paid to the firm that previously held the contract. When the contract was awarded to the Mormons, the president of the competing firm met with President Buchanan to offer some personal advice on how to handle the Mormons. He said, "There is no vestige of law and order, no protection for life and property, the civil laws of the territory are over shadowed and neutralized by so-styled ecclesiastical organization, as despotic, dangerous and damnable, as has ever been known to exist in any country."
These tales of horror and the issue of polygamy prompted President Buchanan to proceed with a plan to send an expeditionary force of 2,500 solders to stabilize and control the territory. The plan was dependent on a sudden forced march that would quickly move from east to west and seize the government of Utah. In preparation for the march, provisions and supplies were sent in advance along the trail.
These events all preceded the summer of 1857. On July 24th of that year Brigham Young staged a ten year anniversary celebration of the saints' entering the valley of the Great Salt Lake. All were invited to Big Cottonwood canyon southeast of Salt Lake City. Edward and his family made preparations for the grand event and were in attendance.
Orin Porter Rockwell did not attend because of his duty to carry the mail. When Rockwell encountered Salt Lake Mayor Smoot returning from the east with word of the advancing army, he quickly returned to Utah and the 24th celebration with the news.
EB: Some time later I was in Big Cottonwood Canyon celebrating the 24th of July, 1857, when word came that Johnston's army was coming to exterminate the Mormons. We all returned to our homes and prepared for the worst. The militia was called out and sent into Echo Canyon and Johnston's Army was obligated to winter on Ham's Fork.
The "Utah War" was a critical time for the Mormons. Any attempts the Mormons made to assure that they were in complete support of the constitution and government were not enough. B. H. Roberts writes:
"It seems incredible that such an expedition, involving the movements of so large a body of troops and at the expenditure of millions of the nation's treasure, should have been taken upon the representations of a dissolute judge, and the spite of a disgruntled mail contractor; and this, too, without one step being taken to verify the truth or untruth of the representations made."
Brigham Young sensed that the intent of the Army was to bring the Mormons under control. He determined that this may well be a war. He therefore vowed that if the Army were to come to Utah they would find a barren waste, burned to the ground, both house and field. He would turn the Indians loose and 50,000 men would not be enough to cope with the terrain and what they may find.
As the Army arrived, they found Fort Bridger (owned by the Mormons) had been burned to the ground. A group of Mormons burned the fields along the route, harassed the troops, scattered the livestock, and burned the supply trains. Johnston's army stopped short of the valley, returned to the ashes of Fort Bridger, and made camp for the winter at nearby Fort Scott.
The excitement that summer of the impending military action must have been enhanced by the anticipated birth of Edward's fifth and sixth children. Sarah was expecting her third child and first with Edward. Emily was expecting her fifth.
5th Child: Elethier Bunker,
Born: August 17th, 1857, Ogden, Utah,
Mother: Sarah Browning Lang [1st Child].
6th Child: Stephen Albert Bunker,
Born: September 24th, 1857, Ogden, Utah,
Mother: Emily Abbott [5th Child].
One Bunker family member wrote:
"Sarah's baby, Elethier, was born one month before Emily's Stephen, over which she could chuckle a bit. But Stephen being a boy, Emily could really crow. Just why they crowed more over a boy than a girl, I can't figure--the very same process producing both--but they all crowed more over boy babies. Elethier and Stephen had an unusual love for each other all their lives."
Colonel Cooke, who had led the Mormon Battalion from Santa Fe to California, brought six companies to support Colonel Johnston and arrived at Camp Scott near Fort Bridger in November of 1857. His march had been as disastrous as that of Johnston's in the loss of animals by freezing and starvation. He had lost 134 horses and had just 144 remaining.
All these incidents did not go without some discussion in the United States Congress. General Sam Houston of Texas addressed the Senate and said the following:
"The more men you send to the `Mormon War' the more you increase the difficulty. For some sixteen hundred miles you have to transport provisions. They will find Salt Lake, if they ever reach it, a heap of ashes. Whoever goes there will meet the fate of Napoleon's army when he went to Moscow. These people, if they fight at all, will fight desperately. They are defending their homes. They are fighting to prevent the execution of threats that have been made, which touch their hearths and their families; and depend upon it they will fight until every man perishes before he surrenders. They will fight a guerrilla warfare which will be most terrible to the troops you send there. I know not what course will be taken on this subject. I hope it will be one of conciliation."
Once the "Expedition" was safe-locked in the winter snow near Fort Bridger, the Mormons withdrew their forces from the mountains. With the immediate threat passed, the winter of 1857-8 became "one of the gayest winters ever known in Utah." No drunkenness or assaults, but parties, plays, and dances were abundant. The 1857 campaign of the "Utah War" ended without the Utah forces firing a single shot.
In February of 1858, Colonel Thomas L. Kane arrived in Utah at his own expense to try and mederate. He was an old friend of the Mormons and met with Brigham Young and other church leaders. He then went to the army camp and arranged for food supplies to be offered by the Mormons.
In March the Mormons held a "Council of War" and decided on a policy of "flight now, rather than fight." Shortly thereafter Colonel Kane brought the appointed Governor of the Territory, Alfred Cumming, to Salt Lake from Camp Scott where he had spent the winter. Kane persuaded him to come alone.
EB: In the spring of '58 we moved as far south as Payson where we remained all summer. During this time Governor Cumming and Col. Kane came directly from Washington D.C.
As Governor Cumming traveled to Salt Lake City, he passed through Davis County. What he saw must have filled him with wonder. The road was filled with "throngs" of Mormons from the northern settlements. They were in wagons loaded with provisions and household effects. Loose cattle, horses, sheep, and pigs were driven in droves before them. It must have seemed reminiscent of the exodus from Egypt. They were moving:
"But they were moving confidently, even cheerfully, leaving men in charge of their deserted homes with orders to lay them waste by applying the torch to everything that would burn, and the ax to every shrub and tree that had been planted, in order to leave the settled valleys of Utah a blackened, treeless waste, giving them back, to desolation -- a protest against the injustice of forcing upon an American community officers whom they had no voice in selecting."
Stake President and Mayor Lorin Farr led the Ogden migration early in May 1857 to the "Provo bottoms" in Utah Valley. They built homes in wagons, tents and wickiups, built of long canes and flags. Most of the Weber County saints located in what appeared a transient village. Edward was no doubt very instrumental in coordinating the move of the members of his ward. His family continued the self-reliance they had cultivated while he was on his mission, even though he was how home.
During the next few months conciliation and agreements were reached whereby the United State Army was allowed to pass through Salt Lake City in good order, the appointed territorial authorities were accepted by the people, and pardons were issued for all Mormons who may have performed contrary to the rule of the United States government. When Colonel Cooke passed through Salt Lake City, he removed his hat to honor the Mormon Battalion that had served under him.
EB: Everything was peaceable and in the fall [of 1858] we returned to our home.
The Ogden settlers began returning to the north in the first part of July. This was a little ahead of some the other groups. Lorin Farr had become worried about inadequate living facilities and the prevalence of disease. He inquired of President Young and gained permission to return. The stress of the experience must have been particularly difficult for Sarah who was pregnant when they moved to Utah County. She had to suffer her first trimester and the requisite morning sickness in the temporary quarters. Her eldest daughter, Mary Ann Lang, was ten years old and undoubtedly carried the burden of aide and helper.
7th Child: William Edward Bunker
Born: January 11th, 1859, Ogden, Utah,
Mother: Sarah Browning Lang [2nd Child].
CHAPTER 10 Bishop Bunker
"...a man as upright and noble as
Bishop Bunker had to plead
with the Lord for wisdom."
David O. McKay
Late in January, 1859 the City Council recorded the following:
"The petition for road across Weber River from south west corner of city plot was again read and on motion was referred to a committee of 2 with instructions to ascertain the practicability of having such a road located. Alderman Bunker and Councillor Farley were appointed by the Mayor as said committee."
This entry reaffirms once again the expertise that Edward possessed for road building. Whether or not he had developed this ability or skill prior to living in Ogden is not known, but he apparently exhibited some talent and ability in the area.
In mid February, Alderman Bunker made a strange motion. He presented a bill to the Council for a "balance due him on Weber Canal for labor done in 1852." No action was taken at that time. Six years after the event, Edward is asking for payment. From a review of the record, this does not seem to have been a common practice of council members. This action seems to be a turning point in his political career, for at the next election on February 14th, 1859, he was removed as an Alderman and restored to the Council in general. It does not appear that the position of Aldermen was rotated on a routine basis.
In late February, the City Council met and Edward's claim of $19.35 for "labor on Weber Canal in 1852" was read and approved. At the March 12th meeting Edward was appointed to the Improvements, Claims, and Public Works committees. Edward retained his seat on the Council and continued to serve as the Bishop of the Ogden 2nd Ward (congregation).
About this time Sir Richard Burton visited Salt Lake City on his worldwide visit to interesting religious capitals. He commented on the office of Bishop as follows:
"The episcopate is a local authority in stakes, settlements, and wards, with the directorship of affairs temporal as well as spiritual. This `overseer' receives the tithes on the commutation-labor, which he forwards to the public store-house; superintends the registration of births, marriages and deaths, makes domiciliary visits, and hears and determines complaints either laical or ecclesiastic."
In addition to managing the affairs of the local congregation without monetary compensation, Edward had to coordinate his time to provide for his families' emotional and temporal needs and still conduct his responsibilities as City Councilman. In 1859 his oldest child, Edward, Jr., was 13 years old. David McKay was a member of Edward's congregation and father of one of the future presidents of the Church, David O. McKay. Years later President McKay wrote:
"When my father, David McKay, was a young man he was employed for a time by Bishop Edward Bunker. Just where I do not know. One morning father arose before daylight to attend to his chores. Approaching the barn or stable he was greatly surprised to hear a voice. Pausing, he recognized Bishop Bunker who evidently had preceded him to the barn and was praying out loud. Father was near enough to him to hear him distinctly. In Bishop Bunker's supplication he pleaded with the Lord to give him wisdom that he might deal with his loved ones fairly and justly, showing no favoritism and keeping peace, harmony, and love in his family circle.
"That prayer made a deep impression upon my father who added, when he related the incident, the following: `I thought if a man as upright and noble as Bishop Bunker had to plead with the Lord for wisdom to deal justly with his wives and his children, I did not feel that I was worthy or capable of assuming the responsibility that plural marriage seemed to entail.'"
Toward the end of 1859 Emily was expecting another baby. This would be Edward's 8th child and Emily's 6th. In Novem-ber a baby girl was born.
8th Child: Elethra Calista Bunker
Born: November 9th, 1859, Ogden, Utah,
Mother: Emily Abbott [6th Child].
EB: In the fall of '59, our daughter Emily, then ten years old, was sick with bilious fever and tape worm and near unto death. She lost her speech and memory and was as helpless as an infant. Her mother weaned the baby and gave Emily the breast and that was all the nourishment she took for two months. She was healed through the ordinances of the church by the power of God, as one raised from the dead. All her faculties returned and she is now living and the mother of four boys.
As 1860 came along, events were taking place that would have a profound effect on Edward and his family. President Brigham Young had become very interested in the Virgin River Basin, situated in present-day southwestern Utah and southeastern Nevada. Several reasons seem to have prompted President Young's interest.
First, the Church might very well have settled in California, as Sam Brannon wanted, except President Young wanted a place that was somewhat isolated where the church could gain an initial foothold before Gentiles (Non-Mormons) came in sufficient numbers to cause a disruption. As a part of this isolation he wanted to protect access routes and in particular control the southern approach from the west coast. The Virgin River Basin was a key to this route.
Second, with the impending war between the southern and northern states, prophesied by Joseph Smith, the migration of saints across the eastern United States would certainly become a problem. An alternative would be to travel south to the Isthmus of Panama and then to California and over the Old Spanish Trail to the Great Basin. The Virgin River Basin would be a way station on the new route.
Third, many Non-Mormons had interest in accessing the interior of the United States by way of the Colorado River. The lower Virgin was directly in line with the proposed new trade route.
Fourth, there were numerous Indians in that region and the Mormons had an interest in converting them and reducing potential hostilities and depredations.
Fifth, the climate of that region was the key to the production of important goods that would sustain the saints in their self-sufficient isolationism. In addition President Young had promoted a policy of locating communities throughout the territory surrounding the Salt Lake Valley for future growth and expansion.
With all these concerns in mind, President Young was not pleased to hear in 1860 that the few settlers and missionaries that had been sent to that region were not prospering as he had hoped. Many wanted to return to the more populous regions near Salt Lake City. In the Spring of 1861, President Young visited the Virgin River Basin. He stood at the confluence of the Virgin River and the Santa Clara in the valley that is now St. George. He looked in silence as his entourage gathered around. He surveyed the mountains and hills all around and then transfixed his gaze on the valley before him. He said:
"There will yet be built, between those volcanic ridges, a city, with spires, towers and steeples, with homes containing many inhabitants."
Not only did President Young prophesy of a city that would come, but he determined to do everything he could to cause it to literally come about.
In November of 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected Presi-dent of the United States. In December word came that South Carolina had seceeded from the United States. Shortly thereafter, six other southern states followed, forming the Confederate States of America. In March of 1861, Lincoln was inaugurated followed by four more states defecting and joining the confederacy. Civil War diverted national attention away from Utah and many of the solders stationed in Utah were called to the east.
In Ogden, Edward was contemplating his family and the principle that the more children a man had the more blessings would be poured out upon him. He began to look for another wife and his eyes fell upon a young Scottish girl living in his ward. Her name was Mary McQuarrie.
The last year of Edward's mission to the British Isles, 1855, was spent in Scotland. Just outside of Glasgow was the town of Renfrew and a convert family by the name of McQuarrie. During the emigration of 1855, the McQuarrie family sent one of their sons, Hector, to America. He settled in Ogden and awaited the rest of the family. Whether Edward was acquainted with the family in Scotland we do not know, but he may well have seen them in meetings and even visited their farm. Perhaps it was Edward who recommend they settle in Ogden.
Edward emigrated in 1856. In 1857, the McQuarrie family followed Hector to Ogden and settled in Edward's ward.
ED: In April of 1861, I married Mary McQuarrie.
Mary Mathieson McQuarrie was born August 28th, 1846, at Climbreahead, Scotland to Allan McQuarrie and Agnes Mathieson. She was the youngest of seven children. The family had a meager farm life, and when they heard the message of the missionaries they joined the Church. They left Scotland in March of 1857, arriving in Utah later that year. They purchased a 40-acre farm in Ogden.
Larry Bunker's account of Mary's life states:
"Mary was a very pretty girl. She had black hair and her eyes sparked with laughter. Her charming disposition gained for her the love of many dear friends. She lived in a good home for pioneer days. He parents, brothers and sisters were kind, true and devoted to each other. Her mother was a very capable homemaker. She taught Mary while young in all the ways of good housekeeping. Here she learned the art of sewing, for she was an expert seamstress. Her needle work was finer than a machine could do. She was trained in all the arts of weaving, suit making, and cooking. Her children would say that she had the art of making plain, simple food taste delicious. None excelled her in the art of thrift. She was truly a Scotch lady in every way."
"When Edward asked Mary's father if he would consent to this marriage to his daughter, Allan McQuarrie answered in his Scottish brogue, `Mon, do they marry the bairns [children], in this country?'"
Mary became Edward's third plural wife on April 20th, 1861. Mary was not yet 15 years-old and just 6 months older than Edward's oldest son. Edward was a few months short of being 39 years old. Emily must have felt some challenge of faith when Edward first proposed the idea of marrying Mary to her. Emily and Sarah may have wondered why Edward didn't choose a woman with no apparent opportunity for marriage, or another widow who may need the support that such a group could offer.
Edward, like others in his position, decided to choose a woman who was young enough to provide an abundance of children. He firmly believed the children were the greatest gift that life could bring to any man. His was not a selection based on carnal desires or a yearning for lost youth. His was a selection based on duty to a principle that "children are a gift from God and blessed is he whose quiver is full of them." John McQuarrie, Emily's nephew later wrote:
"Edward believed thoroughly in Eternalism. That life is eternal, that progress is eternal. That God, angels, and men belong to the same race. That the gulf which now separates them differs only in degree. He believed that we may become Gods or creators, not equal in office with God, but like him in person. He believed that as we are able to use the materials at hand to build a temporal home here for our family, that eventually as they multiply, through an increase of knowledge, he would be permitted and able to draw the elements together and create a world for his own posterity. To him the glory, honor, majesty, and power to which he attained would be determined by the greatness in number and the character of his children. He wanted a wife with all her potential powers, that she might have, not one or two which would have been the limit if he married a woman near his own age, but many children."
"If Emily was rewarded for her sacrifice at Council Bluffs, she was blessed far more by accepting Mary McQuarrie into the family. She with her youth, vigor and good judgment became at once a companion, a partner, a helpmate, a Godsend to Emily. She became a blessing to her husband, not only in doing her share of the work in the home, but in being a Clara Barton or Florence Nightingale to the sick and needy in the wards over which he presided as a father."
"[Mary] never was to regret this marriage. She had a deep and abiding faith in the Gospel and believed in the principal of plural marriage. She came to know by experience that if this law were lived as God intended it should be, in honor and true live, it would refine and purify the soul as nothing else would. She loved her husband dearly. Edward was a noble man, one of the stalwarts of this Church in its very beginning. Mary always taught her children to love and obey their Father and to love Aunt Emily and Aunt Sarah and their children."
Edward Bunker Sr. with his sons Martin Allen Bunker, John Mathieson Bunker, Francis Neil Bunker, and daughter Agnes Viola Bunker, with their mother Mary Ann Mathieson McQuarrie c. 1878
Every six months, in April and October, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held a general conference in Salt Lake City. At conference held in October of 1861 President Brigham Young announced that 309 missionaries had been called to relocate their families to the "Cotton Mission" in the Virgin River Basin. Edward Bunker was one called.
Emily and Sarah were both expecting babies. Mary was young and would be leaving most of her family behind. Edward had been a willing servant, but this meant the sacrifice of a stable home and society to venture out into the Indian- infested desert to break new trails.
CHAPTER 11 The Big Move
"It was as if we were going
into a wilderness..."
one of Edward Bunker's children
Prior to their move south, those called at the previous conference met in October with President Brigham Young at his "School House" in the 18th Ward in Salt Lake. He instructed them on the practical nature of their mission and the importance of the colonization effort in that country.
For many days prior to their November departure, the family was united in making preparations. Emily and her children made crackers, mixing them and pounding them with a wooden mallet. Many other foods were dried including: corn, squash berries, and tomatoes. One of the children said: "It was as if we were going into a wilderness expecting to starve."
Many possessions had to be disposed of in order to make the long trip. It was decided that Sarah would remain in Ogden until her baby was born. Emily, though also expecting, would make the trip accompanied by her mother, Abigail Abbott. With Hector McQuarrie and family going along, it may not have seemed quite so overwhelming for Mary.
EB: [In] November  with my wives, Emily and Mary, [I] moved to Dixie and spent the first year in Toquerville. My wife Sarah remained in Ogden.
During the summer of 1861 Johnston's army stationed at Camp Floyd was recalled to the east with the impending civil war. On the abandonment of the camp, $4,000,000 worth of property was sold to the church for $100,000. This included buildings, food-stuffs, harnesses, tents, mules, wagons, and all kinds of tools.
Perhaps the big double-bedded government wagon with three yoke of oxen that Edward utilized for the trip had been part of the military goods purchased. At each end of the big wagon was a bed and in the middle a stove and chair for Emily. In addition to the ox drawn wagon was one pulled by horses driven by "girls and the hired boy". Fifteen-year-old Edward, Jr. was assigned to drive the cattle and sheep. The relatives and friends gathered to see Edward and family off, all the time mourning and expressing concern at their traveling into the wilderness and perhaps never seeing many of them again.
Not since the Utah War fiasco of 1857 had Edward driven to Salt Lake with his entire world packed into a couple of wagons and headed for the unknown. He passed out of Weber County, through Davis County, through the Salt Lake valley, through Provo and Payson and on south.
When the company arrived at the town of Fillmore, Utah, they stopped to visit the King and Warner families. Edward and Emily had lived with them a short time when they were first married. The visit lasted three days and the hospitality was welcome. Then the troop pressed forward toward the south. It was late November and typically cold for late autumn in Utah.
They passed through Dog Valley and, when approaching the little town of Beaver, stopped to camp one night at Wild Oat Canyon. In the morning Agnes, the infant daughter of Hector McQuarrie, was found to have died in the night. A runner was dispatched to Beaver to make preparations, and when the wagons arrived there a funeral service was held. Little Agnes' body was then buried. A gloom fell upon the whole company as they moved slowly out of Beaver.
After passing through Ceder City the elevation began to drop very dramatically. With each mile the temperature seemed to rise a bit. About 40 miles from Cedar City they came to Toquerville where they found the climate almost like summer. There were still crops of corn and cotton in the fields and the Indians were gathering their beans and seeds in very scanty clothing.
Toquerville was a small community on Ash Creek at the base of a volcanic mountain. The mountain was of a black color and the Indian word for black was "toquer". The little band that lived in that vicinity used this area designation in referring to themselves as the Toquer Indians. They were typical of the other Indians of the Virgin River Basin and survived on a crude agricultural existence. They ate corn, grass-meal, seeds, mesquite beans, melons, and pumpkins. They gathered wild berries and pine nuts and supplemented their diet with rabbits, birds, rodents, lizards, snakes, grasshoppers, crickets, locusts, and ants.
The typical clothing for these Indians included rabbit-skin breech-clout for men, short skirt for women, and buckskin moccasins. Occasionally they wrapped themselves up in rabbit-skin robes for warmth. Their means of hunting was with bow and arrow. Their villages consisted of a series of primitive wickiups made of long sticks or poles covered with juniper bark or rabbit skins. A hole was left in the top for smoke to escape from their indoor fires.
As the flood of new settlers came south they were dispersed into various communities. Edward and family were assigned to settle that first year in Toquerville. With the help of his son, Edward, Jr., he immediately began digging a large cellar and built a one-room adobe. When Emily finally delivered a baby girl on December 12th, 1861, Edward procured the use of a small log room for her.
It wasn't long before Edward learned that Sarah had delivered a baby boy earlier on December 1st. If Emily's delivery was in rough circumstances, Sarah's wasn't much better. She was confined in a small cabin on North Main in Ogden. The roof of the cabin was so porous the rain fell into pans placed around the new mother and baby.
9th Child: James Lang Bunker
Born: December 1st, 1861, Ogden Utah,
Mother: Sarah Browning Lang [3rd Child]
10th Child: Cynthia Celestia
Born: December 12th, 1861, Toquerville, Utah,
Mother: Emily Abbott [7th Child]
The winter passed, and in the spring Edward and his children planted crops of corn, cotton and sugar cane in a field about three miles away. That summer they nurtured their little farm. In the fall Edward hitched a yoke of oxen to the tongue of a box and two wheels and Edward, Jr. took the girls out into the fields to harvest. As the girls wandered the fields they also picked wild berries which were made into preserves with some of the cane juice.
EB: The next fall  I went [to Ogden] for [Sarah].
Edward hitched up a team and made the long trip to Ogden. It is difficult to know what conversations passed between Edward and Sarah prior to the "Big Move" or when Edward met her on his return to Ogden. We can only guess what this polygamist experience was like. At about this time Sir Richard Burton, an independent observer, gave an account of polygamy in Utah in the 1860s:
"The marriage ceremony is performed in the temple, or, that being impossible, in Mr. Brigham Young's office. When mutual consent is given, the parties are pronounced man and wife in the name of Jesus Christ, prayers follow, and there is a patriarchal feast of joy in the evening."
"The first wife, as among polygamists generally, is the wife, and assumes the husband's name and title. Her `plurality' partners are called sisters--such as Sister Anne or Sister Blanche--and are the aunts of her children. Girls rarely remain single past sixteen--in England the average marrying age is thirty--and they would be the pity of the community if they were doomed to a waste of youth so unnatural."
"Divorce is rarely obtained by the man who is ashamed to own that he can not keep his house in order; some, such as the President, would grant it only in case of adultery; wives, however, are allowed to claim it for cruelty, desertion, or neglect."
"The literalism with which the Mormons have interpreted Scripture has led them directly to polygamy. The texts promising to Abraham a progeny numerous as the stars above or the sands below, and that `in this seed [a polygamist] all the families of the earth shall be blessed,' induce them, his descendants, to seek a similar blessing. The theory announcing that `the man is not without the woman, nor the woman without the man,' is by them interpreted into an absolute command that both sexes should marry, and that a woman can not enter the heavenly kingdom without a husband to introduce her."
"The `chaste and plural marriage,' being once legalized, finds a multitude of supporters. The anti-Mormons declare that it is at once fornication and adul-tery--a sin which absorbs all others. The Mormons point triumphantly to the austere morals of their community, their superior freedom from maldive influences, and the absence of that uncleanness and licentiousness which dis-tinguish the cities of the civilized world. They boast that, if it be an evil, they have at least chosen the lesser evil; that they practice openly as a virtue what others do secretly as a sin--how full is society of these latent Mormons!--that their plurality has abolished the necessity of concubinage, cryptogamy, contugernium, celibacy, infanticide, and so forth; that they have removed their ways from those "whose end is bitter as wormwood, and warp as a two-edged sword.'"
"There are rules and regulations of Mormonism--which disprove the popular statement that such marriages are made to gratify licentiousness, and which render poly-gamy a positive necessity. All sensuality in the married state is strictly forbidden beyond the requisite for insuring progeny--the practice, in fact, of Adam and Abraham. During the gestation and nursing of children, the strictest continence on the part of the mother is required--rather for a hygienic than for a religious reason. Spartan-like, the Faith wants a race of warriors, and it adopts the best means to obtain them."
"Besides religious and physiological, there are social motives for the plurality. As the days of Abraham, the lands about New Jordan are broad and the people few. Of the three forms that unite the sexes, polygamy increases, while monogamy balances, and polyandry diminishes progeny. The anti-Mormons are fond of quoting Paley: `It is not the question of whether one man will have more children by five wives, but whether these five women would not have had more children if they had each a husband.' The Mormons reply that--setting aside the altered rule of production--their colony, unlike all others, number more female than male immigrants; consequently that, without polygamy, part of the social field would remain untilled."
"The other motive for polygamy in Utah is economy. Servants are rare and costly; it is cheaper and more comfortable to marry them. Many converts are attracted by the prospect of becoming wives, especially from places where there are sixty-four females to thirty-six males. The old maid is, as she ought to be, an unknown entity. Life in the wilds of Western America is a course of severe toil: a single woman can not perform the manifold duties of housekeeping, cooking, scrubbing, washing, darning, child-bearing, and nursing a family. A division of labor is necessary, and she finds it by acquiring a sisterhood."
"At Great Salt Lake City there is a gloom. The choice egotism of the heart called Love--that is to say, the propensity elevated by sentiment, and not undirected by reason, subsides into a calm and unimpassioned domestic attachment: romance and reverence are transferred, with the true Mormon concentration, from love and liberty to religion and the Church. The consent of the first wife to a rival is seldom refused, and a `household of three,' in the Mormon sense of the phrase, is fatal to the development of the tender tie which must be confined to two. In its stead there is household comfort, affection, circumspect friendship, and domestic discipline."
EB: In the fall of '62 I was called to preside at Santa Clara.
Sarah was left in Toquerville with her children, Edward, Emily and Mary moved on to their new home a few miles down the road to Santa Clara.
CHAPTER 12 Santa Clara, Utah
"He became as much a father to the
people as though it was one big
family of inexperienced children."
Santa Clara was a town situated in a little valley dissected by the Santa Clara River that ran from northwest to southeast and emptied into the Virgin River some four miles away. It had originally been filled with Shivwitts Indians of the Piute tribe. In 1854 the Mormon Church sent a small group of "missionaries" to convert the Indians to Mormonism. They were lead by Jacob Hamblin.
When these missionaries arrived they found what appeared to them a people living in filth and squalor. These Indians had seldom seen white men, and because of frequent raids from the south by Utes and Mexicans from Mexico and California, they were afraid of strangers. There was hunger everywhere, but few children, for the raiders from the south had taken them to be sold into slavery.
The missionaries immediately began to improve the area and demonstrate to the Indians friendship by offering better ways to secure food from the ground. Large log timbers were cut and a cabin constructed at the upper end of the present town of Santa Clara. A dam was built on the river for the purpose of providing controlled irrigation water for the fields. Many of the 800 or so Indians in the Santa Clara Valley assisted in the labor with the promise of a better food supply.
By the winter of 1855-56, the mood of the Indians had changed. Chief Tut-se-gab-its and the local tribe were responsive and friendly to the missionaries. But another band, under the leadership of "Old Agarapoots", had moved into the valley by that time and were more defiant. So the ten missionaries, with the assistance of four stone masons from Cedar City, constructed a fort for their protection.
When the Utah War broke out, a group of Mormon Saints living in San Bernadino, California were called back to Utah by Brigham Young for their protection. Some of these saints got as far as Santa Clara and continued no further. The small group of saints were finally organized as an official congregation in June of 1859 with Zadoc K. Judd as Bishop.
Along with the "Big Move" of 1861 came a group of eighty-five Swiss converts recently arrived in Salt Lake by handcart. They had very few belongings or tools and were assisted from Salt Lake to the Virgin River Basin by members of various settlements along the way. They arrived about the same time as Edward Bunker; but whereas Edward was instructed to remain in Toquerville, the Swiss were directed to Santa Clara. They arrived on November 28, 1861, drove to the fort, and camped. They had few tools or implements for building or farming, no money, and spoke no English.
Most of the productive farm land was already under cultivation by the existing residents, but since the Church leadership had sent these Swiss, they had to be settled. A permanent townsite was laid out "below the point of the hill on the bend of the creek" on the alkali flat. Here the homes would be safe from potential flood waters. In early December Israel Ivins made a survey, and on the twenty-second the whole community assembled on the site for a dedication by Elder Daniel Bonneli, a friend of the Swiss, who spoke both English and German.
No sooner was a dam and ditch carrying water to the new townsite finished than the infamous "Forty Days Rain" came.
As the rain continued, the "Big Flood" came. The people were awakened by a great roaring. The tributaries higher up had been accumulating the flood waters and turned them loose on the little valley by way of the Santa Clara Creek. The fort was located adjacent to the creek and was in great danger. As the torrent of water expanded, great chunks of the fort began to splash into the creek and be carried away. The banks gave way and soon all the buildings were laid waste and the valley was redesigned. The settlers stood on a hill with very few household items piled around them.
The flood may have been a blessing in disguise as it forced a redivision of resources. This brought greater equality and unity to the settlement. After the rains and floods subsided, the community began in earnest to rebuild and renew. The Indians survived the flood and continued to live on the south side of the creek, adjacent to the little town.
It wasn't long until trouble arose between the Swiss and the earlier settlers. The Swiss didn't own any livestock and so commenced immediately to plant their fields with the hope of sustaining themselves through agriculture. The early settlers saw no reason to constrain their livestock and allowed them to roam freely. This further divided the community.
Realizing the need to bring in someone independent who would have the ability to arbitrate the difficulty and fairly reconcile the issue, the church leaders in St. George looked to Edward Bunker. Zadoc Judd, one of the early settlers, was released and Edward called as Bishop. Once again he was cast into the whirlwind.
He moved to the little valley in the fall of 1862, unsuspecting of the problems that faced him. Quickly he endeavored to get the early settlers to take their livestock out of the fields, and he counseled the Swiss to fence their lands. This was done and at least one concern was soon remedied.
Edward then turned his attention to the issue of building a meeting house where all could come together on neutral ground. The reputation of Jacob Hamblin loomed large over the Virgin River Basin. His was a calling to the Indians in general and as such did not fall under the authority of the local bishop, Edward Bunker. This "fly in the ointment" could potentially cause disruption of the order and unity that Edward strove for.
Edward's nephew John McQuarrie wrote:
"A call to be a Bishop is regarded as an honor. There is usually joy in the service he gives. He is usually able, with the help of two able counselors and an efficient ward clerk, to keep records and make reports, to operate without much loss to his business interests. He has little to do with the routine business affairs of the members of his ward. But when Edward Bunker was called to be Bishop of the Santa Clara ward, it meant more than presiding at ward meetings, attending funerals, administering to the sick, and collecting tithing. He became as much a father to the people as though it was one big family of inexperienced children. There were probably about 60 families, fifty of them direct from the peasant or industrial class in Switzerland. They had no experience in the American way of farming and handling livestock. Of course, there were two or three exceptions, like John Hafen. I remember about four English families, hence there were little social contact for the Bunker family."
Not only were the people divided by cultural background, language, and ecclesiastical jurisdiction, but a larger problem arose. Water was the single most important element governing success in the little community. Soon it became obvious that the group of saints located downstream, at St. George, held claim to part of the water the little community so desperately needed. Since Santa Clara was upstream it stated first claim to the water that passed through its valley. But the stake leadership to which Edward reported was located in St. George and this proved to be a delicate political problem for Edward. He felt strongly that obedience and unity were critical, yet survival depended on the precious water of the Santa Clara River.
EB: At this time we endured many privations and hardships on account of dry seasons and loss of crops.
James Bleak wrote in the St. George record:
"It is found that a spirit of uneasiness prevails with many people in the settlements. This manner is found to be less propitious for the raising of crops. Particularly is this the case on the Santa Clara, where the water has failed and the greater portion of the field crops have dried up, as well as thousands of vines and trees. The citizens of St George having opened up a large field below the fields of Santa Clara Settlement, held an equal right with the Santa Clara citizens to use the water, and the supply proving in-sufficient for both is a great loss to all."
EB: I was obliged to haul my breadstuffs from the north for several years. At one time grain was so scarce that flour was worth $10 per cwt. and had it not been for the liberality of our brethren in the north, our southern settlement would have suffered severely. Before flour reached us, my family was reduced to bran bread and glad to get that.
The Indians who had been so numerous on the south side of the Santa Clara valley suddenly began to literally die out. John S. Stucki of the Swiss company writes:
"When we first came to Santa Clara there were a great many Indians there. ...some of the Indians were quite thievish. ...Jacob Hamblin told the Indians that if they did not quit stealing the time would come when God would punish them with a bad disease and they would die off like diseased sheep. ..in a few years after our arrival the disease did come upon them. They had their Wigwams along the sides of the South hill and the edge of the Santa Clara bench close to our town. They had the habit of burning their wigwams whenever anyone died. I remember that we could see wickiups burning every day for a while. They died off so fast that there were hardly any left in a short time. Although Santa Clara Valley seemed to be almost alive with Indians, afterward there were hardly any to be seen."
The language barrier required more time to resolve. Bishop Bunker allowed the church meetings to proceed sometimes in English and sometimes in German. The children were the first to begin learning English and adults slowly followed. Edward demonstrated his leadership by trying to accommodate the Swiss and patiently, over a period of years, bring the com-munity together.
The winter of 1862 passed. In the spring of 1863 the com-munity launched an earnest effort to raise the crops that Brigham Young had sent them there to grow. They raised cotton. A cotton gin was improvised that resembled a clothes wringer with rollers powered by a horse. The cotton was then put up in 100 pound bales and the seed given to the cows.
Late in September of 1863, word came that Captain James Brown of the Mormon Battalion, City Councilman in Ogden, and stepfather of Emily Abbott had his sleeve caught in a roller cog of his molasses mill. He lost his life in the accident.
It was at this time that Myron Abbott, Emily's younger brother who had moved to a farm on LaVerkin Creek, a little east of Toquerville in the "Big Move", decided to return to Ogden. He was doing well when some of his cows strayed into a field belonging to an Indian chief. The Indians drove the cows into a box canyon and Myron went and retrieved them. An argument followed and when the chief drew his bow, Myron struck him with a spade and broke the chief's arm. This incident stirred up the Indians and the local authorities advised Myron to move back to Ogden, which he did in the fall of 1863.
At the conference held in St. George that fall, each of the Bishops gave a report on the condition of things under their charge. The conference was held on October 31st and November 1st, 1863, at which Bishop Edward Bunker reported on the status of the Santa Clara Ward:
At the same time in Toquerville, Sarah was having her own challenges sustaining herself and four children. Her oldest daughter, 16 year old Mary Ann Lang, met a man by the name of Henry Clark, fell in love and announced that they planned to get married. With all that Edward was doing at Santa Clara he spent little time that first year visiting Sarah. When he learned of the impending marriage, he was not pleased. Per-haps his pride was damaged a bit and felt that he should have been included in the decision. Edward's anger was probably the result of frustration, and after the initial incident, he came to like Mary's husband. Henry Clark proved to be a good man and a good husband to Mary.
Regardless of the personal challenges Edward faced, he had to find a way to help his little congregation survive and prosper in the face of the elements and the local authorities.
CHAPTER 13 Clover Valley, Nevada
"...pretty little valley of
meadow land, containing 200
to 250 acres."
During the Fall and Winter of 1863-4, Edward became determined to find a way to help his little congregation. Water was so scarce that the people of Santa Clara could not subsist on what could be grown there. Since he was the Bishop in charge of all the area northwest of St. George, he felt that if there was any way to relocate a portion of the Santa Clara saints in more fertile valleys, all would benefit. He began exploring and found a "pretty little valley of meadow land, containing 200 to 250 acres." It was just over the Nevada border about 75 miles northwest of Santa Clara. He named it Clover Valley.
EB: I also assisted to establish a settlement in Clover Valley and moved part of my family there.
In the spring of 1864 Edward went to Toquerville and got Sarah. He packed her belongings and children and moved her to the new settlement. One report suggested that almost half of the population of Santa Clara moved to Clover Valley and Panaca, a nearby town. Several of the early settlers of Santa Clara including Dudley Leavitt, Brown Crow, Hamilton Crow, Samuel Knight, William Hamblin and others moved all or a part of their families there.
The houses were built side by side in two opposing rows. At one end they built a school house, and at the other end, a large corral. Such a configuration acted as a protective fort from the Indians in that region, which though friendly at first soon became antagonistic. At night the livestock was put into the corral.
The Indians soon found that the abundance of livestock in the valley was tempting and began to help themselves. Edward reported to the authorities in St. George that during the winter and spring of 1864, seventy-five head of cattle had been stolen. A policy was put into place that a guard was to watch over the cattle at all hours, day and night. But the cattle were still taken. Bleak's Journal reports:
"On one occasion, on a stormy night, Bradford Huntsman was on guard when a flash of lightning revealed an Indian crouching in a corner of the corral with an arrow fitted to his bow prepared to shoot. Huntsman fired instinctively, and with daylight the settlers found the Indian dead with a bullet through his heart. [The next morning the children all gathered around to see the dead Indian.] Fearing revenge from the Indians, Huntsman left the valley and moved back to Utah."
"Subsequently, a posse of Pahranagat Valley miners came to Clover Valley in connection with the murder of one of their number in Meadow Valley by the Indian Okus. In his confession Okus had implicated Bushhead, a Clover Valley Indian. The miners killed three other Indians incidental to the capture of Bushhead, then hanged him. Bunker and the other settlers, however, refused to join the miners in a proposed raid on an Indian encampment in the mountains to the southeast of Pahranagat Valley."
On August 27th, 1864, President Erastus Snow of the St. George Stake sent a letter to three men involved in Indian affairs as reported in Bleak's Journal:
"At 8 o'clock last night I received Bishop Bunker's letter from Panaca bearing date of 24th. I deeply regret the necessity for killing your Indian prisoners. I fear it will render conciliation more difficult. I recommended to Brother Bunker the policy of taking no prisoners, but of killing thieves when taken in the act. I hope, however, that God will over rule if for the best."
"Your letters are silent in relation to the progress made in building your stockade. If there is indeed a combined movement of a large number of warriors to attack Panaca, as these letters represent, I would advise that your women and children be at once sent to Pinto Creek, or elsewhere, beyond danger, under sufficient escort."
Meanwhile back in Santa Clara, Emily had delivered a baby boy named Silas Benjamin Bunker.
11th Child: Silas Benjamin Bunker
Born: April 19th, 1864, Santa Clara
Mother: Emily Abbott [8th Child]
Regarding family life in Santa Clara, the children continued to grow, play, work, and learn like children anywhere. Hannah Adelia Bunker wrote of life in Santa Clara during 1864 in Bunker Family History:
"When I was eleven years old, Mother boiled over 600 gallons of molasses. While she was doing that, I had to take charge of my baby brother, Silas, taking him to her only for his meals. While tending him, I carded and spun cotton and crocheted tidies out of yarn, also knitted stocking. We would play "Button, Button", "Paint the Plow", "Blind Man's Bluff", "Steel Sticks", etc. We would serve molasses candy and popcorn we raised ourselves."
One of the Swiss saints in Santa Clara, John Staheli, had a great love for music, but there were no musical instruments with which to perform. One day another man in town, John Eaton, received word that he was to inherit "a portion of an estate in the old country." The communication also requested that he accept in lieu of the money a group of second-hand band instruments. He agreed, and when they arrived presented the instruments to the town. John Staheli was overjoyed and immediately commenced to give music lessons and organize a band. It was a spiritual and cultural blessing for the community.
As 1864 came to a close, Edward's youngest wife Mary was now 18 and probably still living with Edward and Emily when she announced that she was expecting her first child. When her time came, Mary went to St. George where she probably stayed with her brother, Hector, and his family. On January 5th, 1865 Mary delivered a boy named Martin Allen Bunker.
12th Child: Martin Allen Bunker
Born: January 5th, 1865, St. George
Mother: Mary McQuarrie [1st Child]
St. George was becoming a sizable community and a favorite place for Brigham Young to spend the winter. He had a home built there and would visit the various communities on his way to and from St. George. Edward would often attend meetings in St. George for either civic or church purposes and encounter Brother Brigham.
In anticipation of the fall arrival of Brigham Young in 1865, the various communities organized military units. Edward was elected to be a Captain in the 2nd Battalion of the 2nd Regiment of the Iron Military District. In September just as President Young and his party were to arrive a military muster assembled the troops for a parade and inspection. This may well have been an annual function.
At Clover Valley the men were also organized into a military unit. Dudley Leavitt and Samuel Knight were captains of tens, with a total of eleven rifles, one pistol and 540 rounds of ammunition.
At years end, as usual, the various communities reported on their progress at conference in St. George. The harvest of 1865 was reported to be one of the most abundant Santa Clara had experienced. Things were generally improving. At Clover Valley the organization of the log houses was arranged so they made a well-ordered fort. The meeting house was particularly impressive; well built with squared logs on a 30 by 20 plot. The Indians had settled into a peaceful mood and the crops were doing well in spite of an infestation of grasshoppers. Twenty-five lots had been surveyed and the 20 families in Clover Valley were doing well. The visiting authorities were very impressed with progress there when compared to similar outposts.
But with every success, new challenges arose. Edward had been the overseer of the establishment of a fine growing community of saints at Clover Valley. It was so successful that in the High Council meeting in St. George that fall it was decided to organize a Panaca Ward, to include Panaca, Clover Valley, Shoal Creek, Eagle Valley and other settlements in the vicinity. John Nebeker was appointed as Bishop, so Edward was required to relinquish his interests in the area.
Edward returned his family members to Santa Clara within his jurisdictional area. Soon after Sarah left Clover Valley, Indian problems increased dramatically. The settlement was abandoned in the summer of 1866 and most of the people moved to Panaca, the nearest town.
CHAPTER 14 Family Life
"The grasshoppers came again
and ate our corn and everybody's
crops in about three days..."
John S. Stucki
All indications were that the harvest of 1866 would be good to the town. The record of the St. George State stated that as of 1866 Santa Clara had a total population of 247, of which 44 were men. There were 234 acres under cultivation divided into:
82 acres of wheat
74 acres of corn
32 acres of cotton
15 acres of cane
26 acres orchard
5 acres vineyard
Sarah moved back to Santa Clara from Clover Valley and kept herself busy "taking in sewing, waited upon the sick, carding and spinning, and weaving cloth for her own use and others." In April of 1866 Sarah gave birth to her 6th child and 4th with Edward.
13th Child: Clifton Thomas Bunker
Born: April 19th, 1866, Santa Clara, Utah
Mother: Sarah Browning Lang [4th Child]
A map of Santa Clara by Nellie Gubler indicated that Bishop Bunker had two residences. The home where Emily and Mary lived was on the south side of Main Street, midway in the block west of the chapel. Sarah's home was a log cabin on the north side of Main Street, two blocks east of the chapel.
The economy of the small town was fragile. The lack of sufficient water was still a problem, but added to that was the periodic struggle against sickness and insect infestation. John S. Stucki wrote in Family History of John S. Stucki:
"One day my father sent me into the field to hoe out weeds. All at once the ground was shaded. I wondered if it was getting cloudy so I looked up and instead of clouds it was grasshoppers that darkened the sun. They were so thick and so many that in two days they ate the crops all up. There was nothing green left in the valley after the grasshoppers left."
Once again, the crops were gone and Edward undoubtedly made plans to travel to the north for provisions to assist the small town. Sarah's health was not good and so requested that Edward let her go north with him. She had not seen her family in four years, since 1862, and yearned to see them. This would suggest that Sarah may have had some difficulty with the plural marriage relationship. Once in Ogden, Sarah prevailed upon Edward to let her remain there when he made his return trip to Santa Clara. He agreed, and Sarah stayed in Ogden for the next two years.
Since Edward's arrival at Santa Clara, economic survival had been difficult. As early as 1862 President Brigham Young visited St. George and felt the need to instill a feeling of permanence in the settlers. To accomplish this, he initiated a building program of major community structures. In a letter in 1862 to Apostle Erastus Snow, who was the resident church leader in St. George, President Young stated:
"As I have already informed you, I wish you and the brethren to build, as speedily as possible a good, substantial, commodious well-furnished meeting house, one large enough to comfortably seat at least 2,000 persons, and that will not only be useful, but also an ornament to your city, and credit to your energy and enterprise."
"I hereby place at your disposal, expressly to aid in the building of aforesaid meeting house, the labor, molasses, vegetable and grain tithing of Cedar City and all other places south of that city. I hope you will begin the building at the earliest practicable date; and be able, with the aid thereby given, to speedily prosecute the work to completion."
The years from 1862 to 1866 were years of scarcity. The people were not only asked to support themselves and build roads and common buildings, but to contribute teams, drivers, and outfits to assist in the transport of emigrants to Utah. In 1865 they were asked to contribute money, commodities, and labor to bring the telegraph to the Virgin River Basin.
Because of all the other demands, the St. George Tabernacle project did not gain momentum until November of 1866. At the stake conference that month, President Erastus Snow called upon the workers and those living outside of St. George to be "energetic to the call" in support of building the Tabernacle. The saints responded.
Not only were the saints asked to support the building of the Tabernacle, but in November of 1866 the decision was reached to build a Court House in St. George. In early 1867 the County Clerk sent out to the various precincts of the county a proposal to raise $10,000 to build the courthouse and jail cells for the use of the county. The struggles in Santa Clara continued into 1867, but Edward pushed his people to support the projects underway in St. George.
Edward was now 45 years old. In May, Emily gave birth to Edward's 14th child. Emily was almost 40 years of age and this was her ninth child. The family was increasing in size and the town continued to live on the fragile edge of poverty.
14th Child: Charilla Louella Bunker
Born: May 22nd, 1867, Santa Clara, Utah
Mother: Emily Abbott [9th Child]
As the summer growing season came, the entire community prayed for an abundant crop. Once again John S. Stucki wrote of the success of their nest year's planting in Santa Clara:
"The next year my father planted corn again. The grasshoppers came again and ate our corn and everybody's crops in about three days, so there was nothing green to be seen."
Again Edward was called upon to find a way for the town to support itself and survive. These years must have been very taxing for Edward. As autumn came and the mild winter approached, the threat of starvation was compounded by the ever-increasing size of the family. In February, Mary gave birth to a baby girl. Even though it was very difficult in the short run, the long-term blessing of a large family and the faith that things would work out brought hope to the community.
15th Child: Agnes Viola Bunker
Born: February 2nd, 1868, Santa Clara, Utah
Mother: Mary McQuarrie [2nd Child]
To strengthen the support structure of the community, the first organization of the Female Relief Society of Santa Clara Ward was effected. This took place on May 16th, 1868 and Emily Bunker was called to be President. Lydia Goldwaite Knight McClellan was selected 1st Counselor, Eliza Ann McNee Ensign selected 2nd Counselor, Miss Emily Bunker, Secretary, and Mary Ann Liston, Treasurer.
In 1868, Edward again travelled to Ogden on what was an annual trek for supplies, to visit family and friends, and attend to business. At this time he brought Sarah back to Santa Clara.
In the winter of 1868-69, Edward's 19-year-old daughter, Emily, became acquainted with Mohonri Steele of Toquerville. Their romance grew and they made plans to be married in March of 1869. This was the first of Edward's own children to be married.
They made preparations for the long trip to Salt Lake for the wedding. It must have been an exciting time for the wedding party to climb into wagons and travel all the way to Salt Lake. The bride and groom were accompanied by chaperons on such a trip. Emily, the mother of the bride, was forty-two years old and two months pregnant with her tenth child, but may very well have travelled with the couple. p>The Mormon philosophy of marriage required faithful members to be married in a special ceremony only performed in a temple. They believed that temple marriage bonds would carry on beyond the grave into the afterlife. Since there was no temple yet constructed in the west, such marriages were performed only in Salt Lake City by someone having the proper authority in a special building called "The Endowment House". This was a two-story adobe building located on the temple block and completed in 1855.
Sarah's seventh [3rd]child and Edward's sixteenth was born in March.
16th Child: Sarah Selena Bunker
Born: March 23rd, 1869, Santa Clara, Utah
Mother: Sarah Browning Lang.
In the autumn of 1869, Edward and Emily's third child, Abigail, was married. Abigail had become acquainted with George Washington Lee of Tooele, Utah, near Salt Lake City. How Abigail and George met and romanced from such distant places we do not know. They were married in Salt Lake City in the early part of October about a week after Mother Emily gave birth to her tenth child. Because of her confinement, it is doubtful she accompanied Abigail to her wedding.
17th Child: Horace Kendal Bunker
Born: September 29th, 1869, Santa Clara, Utah
Mother: Emily Abbott [10th Child]
Edward's household was in transition. His children were beginning to marry and establish their own homes, yet he was still fathering children of his own. With 1870 came the national census. It listed "Claratown" or Santa Clara with the following (it was hand written and difficult to decipher):
There were 233 people listed in "Claratown". The letter and number in parenthesis following the name of each member of the Edward Bunker family is to indicate their mother and which child of that mother. It is interesting that the second and third wives, Sarah and Mary, are not listed in the census. In the fall of 1870, Mary gave birth to her third child.
18th Child: John Mathison Bunker
Born: September 12th, 1870, Santa Clara, Utah
Mother: Mary McQuarrie [3rd Child]
On November 28th, 1870 Edward Jr., the oldest child of Edward and Emily, was married to Araminta Zarada McClellan in the Salt Lake Endowment House. He was 23 and she was 18 years old. The couple was accompanied to Salt Lake by Hannah, the groom's sister. They finally arrived back in Santa Clara, and no sooner were they settled than Edward, Jr. came down with measles and he nearly lost his life.
As 1870 continued, the Court House in St. George was completed and stood as a monument to the efforts of the entire Virgin River Basin. Brigham Young arrived in early December of 1870. He had not been in good health and hoped the mild Dixie climate would aid in his recovery. He remained in St. George for nearly two months. In late January of 1871, he called together the Stake Presidency, High Council and local area Bishops in a meeting referred to as the "School of the Prophets" in St. George. After observing the people for two months he felt it was appropriate to ask "what they thought of building a Temple in St. George." The issue was put to a vote, and the assembly unanimously approved the matter. A local temple would mean the people wouldn't have to make the long trip to Salt Lake City for marriages and other temple blessings. It would also continue to add stability to the region.
President Young left St. George in February. Not long after his departure, Sarah gave birth to a baby boy.
19th Child: David Alfred Bunker
Born: February 28th, 1871, Santa Clara, Utah,
Mother: Sarah Browning Lang [6th [4th] Child]
In April the official announcement came of the construction of the Temple. Charles L. Walker, who was at the official reading of the letter, reported in his diary:
"A thrill of joy seemed to pass over the assembly of Elders present...Brother Brigham and Geo. A. Smith will be down next October to commence the work and give directions concerning its erection. Br. Edward Bunker [and others] spoke on great blessings the Saints would receive in the Temple in administering for their dead and attending to other ordinances pertaining to the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
During the summer of 1871, the Santa Clara Creek almost dried up. Edward and the Saints in Santa Clara claimed their full share of water "as an already acquired right", while those in St. George claimed their share based on the legislative assembly of 1862 when St. George was chartered. The water was not sufficient to provide for both communities' needs and a dispute arose.
Two representatives were appointed to come before the county court and address the issue. Richard Bentley and John M. Macfarlane came representing St. George, and Edward Bunker and Samuel Knight came representing Santa Clara. They met on December 9th, 1871 before Judge William Snow who instructed them to "meet with a view of making an amicable compromise of the question before the court."
The four met together and after some discussion resolved to form a water district along with other recommendations which the Judge accepted. From all indications the resolution was uniformly agreed upon, but in so doing Edward must have given up a portion of the town's claim to the precious water they needed. Surely he felt some internal frustration.
In December of 1871 the last stone of the tower was laid on the Tabernacle in St. George. Still to be completed were the interior structure, doors, windows, etc.
These years of Edward's life were filled with the struggle of raising his family and administering the affairs of Santa Clara. Children were born and married. It is appropriate to bring these years to a close with two more events that were typical.
In the spring of 1872, Emily Bunker gave birth again.
20th Child: George Smith Bunker
Born: March 31, 1872 , Santa Clara, Utah
Mother: Emily Abbott [11th Child]
Then on June 10th, Emily's daughter, Hannah Adelia, was married. Hannah relates in her autobiography:
"I spent my girlhood days at Santa Clara, three miles from St. George, Utah, going to conference, shopping, etc., in St. George. This is where I met my husband. When nineteen years of age, I was married to Samuel Obed Crosby."
"We made the trip from Santa Clara to Salt Lake (350 miles) by team; taking one week and was married in the Endowment House June 10th, 1872, by Daniel H. Wells. My husband's mother chaperoned us. My husband and his brother, Jesse, had been at Panguitch and put up a log house on my husband's lot. We went by way of Panguitch and left the things we later expected to use in our housekeeping."
It must have been very difficult for Emily to see her daughter leave and not be able to accompany her to the place of the marriage. Panguitch was northeast of Santa Clara on the other side of a beautiful mountain range where Zions Canyon and Cedar Breaks were found. It was a time when Panguitch was opening up as a place for new settlement and Hannah was not the only Bunker who would end up there.
CHAPTER 15 Panguitch, Utah
"Panguitch was a new country,
the seasons were short...it was
a good sheep and cattle country."
Adelia Bunker Crosby
About 120 miles northeast of Santa Clara, across a high mountain range and the present day Zions National Park, is the town of Panguitch, Utah. A few miles to the southeast of Panguitch is Bryce Canyon National Park. Unlike the Virgin River Basin where the seasons are mild, Panguitch experiences the full range of seasons with substantial snow in the winter. It was here that a few hardy pioneers first attempted to make a settlement in about 1870. A few homesites were established, but due to hostile Indians the little community was abandoned. Edward's eldest daughter Emily and her husband Mahonri Moriancumer Steele were some of the first to move there in February of 1870. While there they had a baby boy who they named Mahonri Moriancumer Steele, Jr. Not long after, the Indians who lived there became so bad that Emily Bunker Steele and family moved to Parowan where they resided for awhile. Then in 1872 the Indians were pacified, and the Steele's returned to Panguitch along with several other families. Emily bore her second son, John Edward Steele, on September 24, 1872.
The town was reestablished and Edward's third child, Hannah Adelia Bunker Crosby, moved there after her marriage in 1872. She relates in Bunker Family History:
"Panguitch was a new country, the seasons were short, our crops frosted year after year. The Indians had once broken the town up, but gave us very little trouble. It was a good sheep and cattle country, and through experience we learned better how to handle the climate, and we, with others, succeeded very well financially."
Edward Bunker Jr. moved to Panquitch in the spring of 1872 and bought a "two room lumber house". He leased a dairy near Bryce Canyon and during the first summer fenced 1,000 acres and milked forty cows. He purchased a small herd of sheep and acquired stock in the co-op store. Edward, Jr. began to prosper and was called to be a counselor to the Panguitch Bishop and a member of the city council.
EB: Salter and I bought a place in Panguitch and were among the first settlers after the town was established. Moved part of my family and two of my sons also settled there.
During 1872 Edward, Sr. moved Mary McQuarrie and her children to Panguitch. At first they lived with Edward, Jr.. That fall Edward, Sr. made a trip north, and came by way of Panguitch and took Mary and her children to visit her family at Ogden. Edward, Sr. returned to the south with his wagon loaded full of supplies for the stores in "Dixie". Mary returned with him to Panguitch.
At the same time Edward returned to Panguitch and then Santa Clara, Brigham Young come to St. George. President Young made a report on the conditions at Santa Clara in a letter he wrote on January 11th, 1873 which was recorded in the Manuscript History of Santa Clara:
"The Clara settlement consisting of 20 families, 12 of whom are Swiss and were sent there by the P. E. [Perpetual Emigration] fund without a dollar have all got houses, land, vineyards, horses, wagons and cattle and are sending 100 children to school, besides having a number too small to go. The donations they handed in to Bishop Bunker he sent to the poor of St. George, they [Santa Clara] having no poor. I learn that they all paid their tithing and feel united and blessed of the Lord."
The above account is somewhat inconsistent with the census taken in 1870 where 43 families were identified in Santa Clara. It appears that Santa Clara was becoming an economically stable and almost prosperous community. Perhaps Edward was finally seeing the fruits of his labors over the years. The hallmark of his leadership was unity, cooperation, stability and success.
While on his mission, he stabilized the Sheffield conference, after the difficult experience with William Clayton and the announcement of plural marriage. The handcart company that he led travelled faster and with fewer misfortunes than almost any other company crossing the plains. Now he had brought Santa Clara from contention and starvation to a point where no poverty existed and they were supporting others. No one sang his praise from the roof-tops, but his quiet management style transformed adversity to prosperity.
Besides management ability, Edward was gifted as an engineer of roads. He had been involved in the building of roads as far back as his Mormon Battalion days. He had also directed the building of roads in Ogden as a City Councilman. It is probably because of his experience and ability that he was called upon to assist in establishing a wagon road to and from Lee's Ferry across the Colorado River.
On April 3rd, 1873 a company of 28 men, under the leadership of President Joseph W. Young, Bishop Edward Bunker and I. C. Haight arrived at Lee's Ferry, in Lonely Dell, Arizona. Here they met John D. Lee, who was in hiding at Lonely Dell and later convicted for the Mountain Meadow Massacre of 1857. The men had been assigned by President Brigham Young via telegraph to examine the two separate crossings on the Colorado River and decide the best place for a company of 250 families to cross on their way to building a settlement on the Little Colorado River. John D. Lee writes in his diary:
"Everything considered we went and examined the present crossing, the one that I located and was much pleased with. They had also examined the lower place (from this side) that was selected by Jacob Hamblin and reported [it] could be made with $100 expense; & that it would cost $3,000 to make a road at the upper crossing and the lower crossing was just as good."
"Lonely Dell, Arizona, Friday, Apr. 4th, 1873: I showed them the route that I had selected and they was much pleased with it. Bishop Bunker thought that it was a heavy job while at the same time he admitted that a good road could be made with a fair grade, but it would require more time and labor than we can spare at this time. He feared and was of the opinion that if a road can be made at Jacob Hamblin's rout for $100 as he reported, it would be better to cross there at present."
This experience demonstrates that Edward was regarded by those around him as an experienced road builder. They listened to him and followed his advice. This experience also suggests that Edward was well-travelled throughout southern Utah.
Another experience that took Edward away from home may have been the annual hunt for wild beef cattle. Each fall the men would go to Bull Valley or the Beaver Dam Wash with teams and wagons to procure loads of meat for the following winter. It is suggested that these cattle may have been a result of the Mountain Meadow Massacre of September 1857, "when the cattle owned by that company were left to run wild." Perhaps the event that was responsible for the cattle should be explained.
The Mountain Meadow Massacre
The following are excerpts from Larsen's I Was Called To Dixie where he explores the massacre:
"The Francher party from Arkansas arrived in Salt Lake City early in August. There seems to have been one party with the Francher train, described as the "Missouri Wildcats." They travelled leisurely through the chain of Utah settlements on the road to California."
"On July 24th, 1857, the news came that an army was on its way to Utah to put down a rebellion alleged to be existing in the territory. This threat, coming as it did on top of the chain of persecution that had already driven them from their homes in Missouri and Illinois, brought their emotions to the boiling point. They [the Mormons] were resolved to resist this injustice with every resource at their command. Everywhere they preached resistance, and in fiery speeches stirred their respective people to fight and no longer submit to what they considered a military mob bent on their destruction. Coupled with this came the news of the assassination of their beloved apostle, Parley P. Pratt, at the hands of an Arkansan."
"In view of the precarious outlook, the people of the settlements had been told to store their grain for future contingency. Brooks says, `That this group [The Francher [party] began to have trouble soon after they left Salt Lake City there can be no doubt. Much of this grew out of the belligerent attitude of the Mormons and their steady refusal to sell supplies, but some of it must be attributed to the conduct of the travelers themselves. Reports of their boastful and hateful remarks come to us from many sources; little things like naming their oxen Brigham Young or Heber C. Kimball and then cursing them roundly as they passed through the Mormon villages, or trying to buy provisions and being refused, popping the head off a chicken with a long bull whip, or turning their cattle into the Mormon fields'".
"`As tensions grew, there were those who boasted of having participated in the Missouri outrages and the Haun's Mill massacre [of Mormons]. One man even claimed to be carrying the gun which shot Old Joe Smith. Wait until they reached California and told the people there what was going on in Utah! They'd come back with an army from that direction, too, and then these traitorous Mormons would literally be between the hammer and the anvil. They would learn what it meant to defy the United States of America.'"
"Reports of the alleged misdeeds lost nothing in the telling as news of their coming preceded the Francher company. These reports, together with [their] behavior gathered strength and potency as the company moved toward Parowan and Cedar City."
"The High Council [at Cedar City on September 6th] was divided between proponents of those who wanted to take direct action against the company and those more level-headed individuals who were in favor of letting them continue unmolested. Two resolutions emerged from the meeting: one was to send a messenger to Salt Lake City to get Brigham Young's instructions; the other was to dispatch a messenger to John D. Lee at Harmony and ask him to come and manage the Indians who were following the Francher caravan."
"Some of the redmen from as far north as Fillmore were hanging on the flanks of the company, encouraged in their belligerence, no doubt, by the obviously hostile attitude of the Mormons, and sending out runners to urge the other bands along the route to join them in plundering the well-equipped travelers. [The Francher] body now camped at Mountain Meadow to recuperate their animals before attempting the long stretch of desert ahead of them."
In the 1850's the Mountain Meadow was a favorite spot where those traveling to California would camp. John D. Lee became an integral part of the effort encouraging the Indians to attack the train. The Indians did in fact, attack, but were not of sufficient strength to gain victory. Lee and other "hotheads" joined in and all in the train were killed, except the children that were too young to comprehend the event. Secrecy was pledged among the white participants and the blame was placed on the Indians. In spite of the secrecy, those involved went into hiding and were excommunicated from the church.
Edward Bunker was in Ogden at the time and did not even come to Dixie until four years later. But he did know John D. Lee. Larsen writes: "Lee was finally taken by U.S. Marshall William Stokes at Panguitch in 1874 when Lee had come in from his place of exile at Lonely Dell, near the mouth of the Paria River, to visit his family." This was just one year after Edward worked with him in Arizona. Lee was convicted and put to death at the Mountain Meadow in 1876.
Mountain Meadow was a spot not too distant from Santa Clara, and at one time part of the area that Edward was responsible for as Bishop. While in Santa Clara Edward probably learned a great deal about the massacre.
In the autumn and winter of 1873-4 two more children were born to Edward's wives.
21st child - Francis Neal Bunker:
Born: 20 Sep. 1873, Santa Clara, Utah
Mother: Mary McQuarrie [4th child]
22nd child - Edith Delilah Bunker:
Born: 19 Jan. 1874, Santa Clara, Utah
Mother: Sarah Ann Browning [9th [5th]child]
CHAPTER 16 The United Order
"At Santa Clara there was
grumbling from those who were
partly in and partly out."
EB: During my later administration as Bishop, President Brigham Young introduced the United Order in the Dixie Mission.
The United Order traces its modern origins to Joseph Smith and an announcement he made in 1831, just one year after the Mormon Church was formed. It was known as "the Lord's Law", "Order of Enoch", "Order of Stewardship", or "United Order." Arrington, in his book Building the City of God, writes:
"[It] was intended to be a major instrument in reorganizing the social and economic patterns of life. It was to provide the model upon which all human society would be organized when the Savior returned to the latter-day Zion. It would build unity among a people fragmented by their individualistic search for economic well-being. It would impose order upon the chaos of a society suffering from an excess of liberty. An ideal community of the Saints should be prepared to administer Christ's millennial reign--a people divested of selfishness and greed, living in square-surveyed towns and villages, surrounded by productive farmlands. Order, unity, and community were the supreme values of the Prophet's ideal society--values strikingly at odds with those characteristic of antebellum America."
"Brigham Young, who succeeded Joseph Smith in 1844, was consistently faithful to the memory of his predecessor. His attempts to invoke the Law of Consecration in Utah in the 1850s, his launching of the cooperative movement in the late 1860s, and his final institution of what he called the United Order in 1874 can all be seen as deliberate progressive steps toward the realization of Joseph's dream."
Brigham Young spent the winter of 1873-4 in St. George. It was here that he finally decided the saints were ready to enact the order. He sent a telegram from St. George to Salt Lake on February 28th, 1874 reported in I Was Called To Dixie as:
"We have organized six companies after the order of Enoch. The brethren and sisters all seem ready to go into this order of oneness, heart and hand.... Thank the Lord the people are so prepared for it. With the fire of the Gospel burning thus brightly, we need not fear the efforts of our enemies."
EB: This we all joined, I put in all I possessed, the labor of myself, two teams, and two boys. I had a nice crop of grain growing, said by the appraisers to be the best in the field.
His journal written many years later does not suggest the emotion he may have felt at the inception of the order. Edward was committed to the church. He was a leader and supported his leaders with enthusiasm and diligence. We can only suppose that he entered into this endeavor with the same fervor than he had in the past.
The United Order of St. George Stake, which included the Santa Clara ward, was one of the first such experiments in the Church. All who belonged to local branches of the church were subject to the program. When it was fully implemented, the controlling board of the United Order of St. George Stake had twenty-seven members.
The stake organization was mostly administrative, supervising and coordinating the work of the local units. Specific guidelines were not offered from the leadership in Salt Lake, so the Stake authorities sent a list of questions delving into the more "thorny administrative problems threatening to stop the experiment at its inception". Church authorities did not respond with satisfaction to the various questions. They gave evasive answers, straddled the issue or referred the matter back to the local leaders.
Arrington writes in Building the City of God:
"Each settlement was to be free to conduct its own business independent of interference from the stake board, the general leaders decided, except in cases `where there is business of a general nature in which the stake is interested'. Accounts were not systematically kept, however, and a good deal of confusion resulted. Both leaders and people were at fault.
"At Santa Clara there was grumbling from those who were partly in and partly out. There were in fact two classes of people among the adherents of the United Order; the idealists, who believed the system could be made to work, and the realists, who, if they hoped it might, were reluctant to risk the loss of any substantial portion of their possessions without setting up safeguards to protect them. The idealistic attitude is apparent in the articles of agreement adopted in March [of 1874], and the realistic in the October articles of incorporation. The former, in the words of Erastus Snow, set up the gospel plan; the latter, the legal plan. The first was communal and recognized the equity of individuals; the second was capitalistic and recognized wealth as the measure of importance."
EB: I worked until the Order broke up, which it did just one year from the date of commencement, January 1, . At the division in our town, my teams and wagons were returned to me, but I wasn't given a pound of hay, grain, or cotton, with twenty in the family. Be assured this was a dark day for myself and family, but we said in our hearts, "The Lord knows we obeyed that principle with a pure motive and He will not let us suffer."
No doubt Edward was one of the idealists in his efforts to make the order succeed. He probably lacked an understanding of accounting and sufficient detailed guidance from his leaders to make the system successful. Edward's own ability to lead was placed in a difficult situation. He had managed the poverty and diversity in his congregation, he had been aggressive in finding Clover Valley and solving the problem of a community too large for the available resources, he had travelled continually to bring goods from the north, he managed a growing family of three wives and numerous children, and he had supported local leaders with funds for the major buildings in St. George. The prophet had commanded the United Order and Edward willingly followed, but now the Order had failed. Edward may well have taken this failure very personally. Not only had he failed to administer the command from the Prophet, but the people of Santa Clara had not fully supported it and now his family was in a critical economic crisis.
EB: I took my boys and teams and went into the mountains and cut and hauled wood to St. George for the temple and for individuals, and in this way obtained flour and factory pay to sustain my family until another harvest.
I presided at the Santa Clara for about twelve years, then resigned on account of poor health, not having sufficient resources to keep my family together. Marius Ensign, my first councilor, was appointed my successor.
Many suggest that Edward remained Bishop in Santa Clara until 1877 when he moved to Bunkerville, but if we are to take his own words literally then he was released in 1875. This would be about twelve years from the time of his arrival in 1862 and may have coincided with the breakup of the United Order and the desperate conditions of his family.
The second son of Sarah, James Lang Bunker, along with his half-brother Stephen went to work hauling adobes to build the Brigham Young home. He states in Bunker Family History:
"I had gone to Panguitch when about nine years old with my father. He let me drive one day, and he got back in the wagon to sleep. We met President Brigham Young and all his escort. We had a small team and a heavy load. President Young stopped and said, `Bud, are you loaded?' I said, `Yes, sir' and he said `Drive on.' This woke my father up and he said, `Jimmy, that was Brother Brigham; drive out.' I should have been more courteous, but his big fat horses looked to me as though they could do it, but I got out. All the older people loved Brother Brigham, as they called him. I helped my half-brother Stephen, haul adobes to build the home of Brigham Young."
"My Father [Edward Bunker] and mother [Sarah] divided their property when I [James Lang Bunker] was 14, as my mother was sealed to her first husband, by whom she had two girls, Mary Clark and Eliza Jenkins."
This last comment is very curious. It may suggest that some form of property distribution took place as a general result of the break-up of the order. Nevertheless, Sarah remained in Santa Clara.
EB: The next year  I raised enough to support my family and pay off a $150 cash debt. So you see the Lord abundantly blessed us for our integrity.
The year 1876 was probably a very difficult one for Edward. There were those in St. George that continued with some form of a United Order. In was practiced throughout 1875 and 1876 as a corporation, but the number of people who continued to put their efforts into some form of a united economic effort continued to diminish. Edward, who had always followed a principle of unity and fellowship, must have continued with a hope in his heart to make the word of the prophet succeed.
The next two years, 1875 and 1876, passed as Edward contemplated a new experiment. He no doubt looked for a place and way begin again. There may also have been some bitterness in his heart at the lack of support by some of the faithful in Santa Clara that began to separate Edward from the community. Amidst this turmoil, Mary give birth to her fifth child.
23rd child - Mary Emily Bunker:
Born: 27 Nov. 1876, Panguitch, Utah
Mother: Mary McQuarrie [5th child]
CHAPTER 17 Bunkerville
"They lived, at first, like one big
family, having one large dining room
and kitchen and individual bedroom."
EB: Having seen by the spirit of the Lord the necessity and blessing of the United Order, I labored for two or three years with my family and neighbors and friends, and counselled with President Brigham Young previous to making a settlement on the Rio Virgin, fifty miles south of St. George. President Young told me I could go any place in the south, but said repeatedly not to go north. So, having gathered a sufficient number, including Dudley and Lemuel Leavitt and families, J. W. Lee, S. C. Crosby, E. Bunker, Jr., and families, others joined us later on, we were organized as a company the first of January, 1877, at Santa Clara.
We left there soon after and reached what was then known as Mesquite, but that was afterwards named Bunkerville.
The Virgin River flowed southwest from St. George for about 50 miles, finally breaking out of the mountain "narrows" onto a large desert valley. From there the river rolled on again for another 30 miles before emptying into what was then the Colorado River (now Lake Mead). A short distance from the narrows, the trail to California passed through a little mesquite flat where a strip of farm land was "as rich as the Delta of the Nile." The little valley was surrounded by cactus-covered desert and chaparral on all sides.
There were low rolling hills on the south that reach out to a range of mountains 12 miles distant. On the north were sand hills that bordered a broad flat desert land. At 1000 feet elevation, the valley was dry and arid with little relief provided by rain and extremely infrequent snows. The tropical climate provided long growing seasons. The summer temperature commonly reached 110 degrees or higher.
Edward wanted a place where he and a few close friends could see their families gather and grow. This mesquite flat appeared to be ideal. It was close enough St. George and Santa Clara to visit without undo hardship, yet far enough away to provide some isolation.
There appeared to be an abundance of water for all seasons provided by the Rio Virgin, unrestricted by prior claims. Large springs renewed the Virgin at the emergence from the narrows, and Beaver Dam Creek replenished the Virgin as it wound its way for 25 miles on almost level land.
At the mesquite flat the banks of the Virgin were protected by a few native cottonwoods, water willows, arrow willows, deep-rooted canes, mesquite, and wild rose. The water appeared easy to control with a few logs and willows that would soon catch the sand and silt into a natural dam directing the course of the river.
EB: On Jan. 1, 1877, twenty-three persons met at my house in Santa Clara and we effectuated a temporary organization. Edward Bunker, Sr. was chosen president, Lemuel S. Leavitt and Dudley Leavitt, Sr. as councilors, [Mahonri Steele, Edward's son-in-law, as secretary, and Edward Bunker, Jr. as treasurer].
On January 2nd, the company of six wagons and 70 head of cattle slowly pulled away from the home that Edward had known for the last 15 years. Three days later they arrived at the mesquite flat. After surveying the lay of the land they mutually decided to locate on the south side of the river. They set up camp about two and one-half miles northeast of where the town of Bunkerville currently stands.
The day they arrived they erected a small lumber building on the top of a hill, and called their location Bunkerville, after Edward Bunker, Sr., the leader of the company. Edward dedicated the land to the Lord, and during the prayer "let wheat fall through the fingers of one hand and soil from the land through the other". That hill was afterwards called Calista's Lookout" for one of Edward's daughters.
On Sunday, January 7th, the first church service was held at Bunkerville, and the next day they commenced building a canal to bring water from the Virgin to the land which was selected as farm land. The work continued vigorously through the week.
The work of building a town was under way and Edward wanted all his family to join him. He sent word that all were to sell out where they were and come as soon as they could. He was finally going to bring all of his family together into one place of unity and cooperation. This was to be the perfect place where the United Order would work to bring all to a communal unity of purpose, prosperity and harmony. His family began making preparations to sell their property in Panquitch and Santa Clara.
The work on the canal continued, and by the 18th of January some of the settlers were directed to begin clearing and "grubbing" the land. By the 22nd the two and one-half mile, 4-foot wide canal was completed at an estimated cost of 180 days of labor. It was remarkable that so much was accomplished by so few.
James Bleak reports in his Journal:
"They lived, at first, like one big family, having one large dining room and kitchen and individual bedrooms. It was customary for all to gather for morning and evening prayer. The meals were served first to the men and boys who were old enough to work in the fields, the women and children eating later. Everything was done under the direction of the president, after frequent council meetings with the brethren. The women divided their work, a part of them taking charge of the cooking for a week, others caring for the butter, while still others took charge of the clothing, including washing, ironing and mending. Each week the women changed tasks, rotating in regular order."
EB: Our land was covered with a heavy growth of mesquite trees that had to be grubbed off. Then every acre had to be leveled with a scraper before it was to be irrigated. This made our work very laborious for ourselves and teams. But when the land was brought under cultivation, it was very productive.
Besides the establishment of Bunkerville, there were other significant events in 1877. Brigham Young announced in Salt Lake City that the General Conference of the church in April of 1877 was to be held in St. George and the sacred Temple would be completed and dedicated. The small group of saints at Bunkerville undoubtedly travelled to St. George to be part of the great event.
In addition to dedicating the Temple for the sacred work of marriages, baptisms, and other ordinances of the church, Brigham dictated what was called the "Lecture at the Veil", a doctrinal sermon presented in the temple. President Young said he wanted to deliver the lecture and four separate men were to act as scribes and write down exactly what he said. At the conclusion, President Young took all four copies and revised them into the final version. That lecture contained some doctrinal issues that were to become significant in Edward's life.
At the conclusion of April Conference, Brigham announced that the twelve apostles who had been serving as Stake Presidents in the various settlements were to be released from that assignment and continue their ministry over larger geographic areas. Apostle Erastus Snow who had been serving at St. George was released and John D. T. McAllister called to be the new St. George President. McAllister had served with Edward in the British Mission.
From April to August, President Brigham Young traveled throughout the various settlements reorganizing Stakes and dedicating sites for other Temples. This was to mark the close of his public ministry. He returned to his home in Salt Lake City, and on the 23rd of August was seized with an illness which six days later proved fatal. He died on August 29th, 1877 at the age of 80.
News of President Young's passing may well have saddened Edward Bunker. They were fellow New Englanders, Brigham being raised in Vermont and Edward in Maine. President Young had spent many a winter in St. George, where he personally instructed the leadership training sessions with the small group of local authorities, which included Edward. Edward's sons hauled materials for the construction of Brigham's home in St. George and President Young personally instructed Edward to go south in his search for a new place to settle. Edward had expressed his great love and respect for the Prophet; it must have been a day of sadness when the word came.
The first year in Bunkerville was conducted under the United Order with phenomenal success. During the summer the crops had been nurtured and the wives of most of men arrived. The summer heat was almost unbearable, the water was bad at times and the river bottom brought sickness. They had to bring all provisions from Santa Clara and St. George until the first harvest was in. But when it came, what a great relief it was.
In November of 1877 Emily's younger brother, Myron Abbott, and six of his children arrived at Bunkerville to take up residence. He had been living in Ogden where he married Laura Allen in 1861. Later he took a second wife, a young Italian convert, who had recently divorced her first husband.
Unhappiness, quarrels and disagreements followed the plural arrangement and it ended in May of 1877 with Laura divorcing Myron. Accordance to the law and by the choice of the children, Myron was given custody of the six older children. Laura took custody of the youngest two girls who were babies. A granddaughter summed up the reason for this tragic divorce, as "Pride, Poverty and Polygamy."
Shortly thereafter Myron's second wife divorced him and remarried her first husband. After this divorce, Myron and his children moved to Bunkerville arriving at Mesquite Flat in November of 1877. Myron plunged into the work of the United Order determined to put unhappiness behind him. He met and married Lemuel Leavitt's sixteen-year-old daughter, Lovisa, in January of 1878.
EB: We began work the eighth of January, myself presiding over the company, and later was ordained Bishop with E. Bunker, Jr. as my first and Myron Abbott as my second councilor.
That first year the United Order was an apparent great success. The community harvested "400 bushels of wheat, 700 gallons of molasses, 9,000 pounds of cotton, and a large variety of garden vegetables". The little colony was greatly blessed, there was order and benevolent leadership from their head, who many called Grandpa Edward Bunker.
While the work of the community was bringing blessings, Sarah, Edward's second wife, was suffering. She lost weight and became very thin. She had apparent heart trouble and looked like she would never get well. Edward went to her and gave her a blessing. He promised that "she should live and enjoy her life---that she should not want for anything---things would come for her comfort---that she would not know from whence they came." She began to recover.
During the first year most of the residents of Bunkerville were adults and no school was required. But as families arrived, a school was created in the "shanty on the hill" and Charlie Heath was assigned to teach. Most of the people had moved off the hill, down to the flat land between one and two miles from the shanty. The school was somewhat primitive, but continued for the benefit of the children. To provide some degree of education for the older boys and men, Myron Abbott was asked to teach at night.
By January 1878, Dudley Leavitt, one of the original missionaries to the Virgin River Basin, began to move most of his family to Bunkerville. He had five wives and numerous children and many of his older children had already moved there. He put everything he had into the United Order, including all of his cattle, horses, and wagons. He had his big waterwheel hauled down from his old residence at Gunlock and installed for the benefit of the community to drive a cotton gin.
The second year, 1878, brought a molasses mill, flour mill, and cotton gin. A dozen families had worked together to make a viable town out of a small patch of barren earth.
More of Edward's older children were now marrying. It must have been a real pleasure for Edward to travel the short distance to St. George to witness the weddings of his children, instead of almost 350 miles to Salt Lake.
Sarah was improving in health and determined to visit her oldest daughter who was living in Richfield, Utah. After visiting for awhile, her health improved dramatically. She decided to sell her home at Bunkerville and stay near her daughter. She bought a place in Annabelle, Utah and settled close by her brother Will. She was finally close to her own people. She must have suffered living in the shadow of Emily and her immediate family. Her life was filled with sacrifice, but finally she was gaining better health and closeness to children and grandchildren.
The summer of 1879 saw additional changes to the small town. The population was increasing and becoming more scattered, thus making it more difficult to live as one family. A mail line and a Post Office came to town in June, and then in August some of the members of the order became dissatisfied with the practice of "central management and cooperative labor on non-household tasks." A stewardship plan was introduced and every man was to became responsible for his own labor.
Under the stewardship plan, each man would be responsible for a certain portion of the work. For example, a man might be assigned as steward of the vegetable gardens. He would "raise all the vegetables needed by the entire community" and then distribute them as they were needed. Others were charged with certain tracts of land, and the produce raised put into a common storehouse. Even as the method of management was changing the harvest of 1879 was abundant: 1600 bushels of wheat, 30,000 of cotton, and 1500 to 1600 gallons of molasses were produced. A thresher was brought in from California to thresh the wheat and barley. Edward's dream of a utopia was beginning to fade. Even as the harvest proceeded, the practicality of social existence and personal determination were tearing at the fabric of unity and community.
In October Mary gave birth to her sixth child.
24th child - Ezra Bunker:
Born: 3 Oct. 1879, Bunkerville, Utah
Mother: Mary McQuarrie [6th child]
In November of 1879 the first house on the Bunkerville townsite was erected. Then early in 1880 the town was laid out in blocks with four lots to each block, each lot ten rods square. Though several families had moved to the townsite as early as 1878, the new survey was followed by leveling the ground and restructuring the permanent settlement. A number of adobe dwellings were built. As of 1880 there were fifteen families on the Bunkerville townsite.
Once again there was trouble with the economic basis of cooperation through stewardship. Some were accused of carelessness and bad management while others worked hard to gather and provide in abundance. The company as a whole was increasingly acquiring larger amounts of debt. Dissention created the need for another alteration in the plan.
In September of 1880 Edward called a council meeting one evening and vented his frustrations. His anger was evident and some interpreted it as an attack on all but his own family. The next morning, though expressing a similar sentiment, he was more in control and talked about the value of the Word of Wisdom. Between this initial meeting and one held in early October, Edward worked over and over in his mind a way to salvage the Order and perpetuate unity. He made a proposal at an October 2nd meeting that was received with "much confusion and a division of opinion, without leading to any definite conclusions."
Edward proposed that each steward draw 80 percent of the proceeds of his labor and leave 20 percent in the treasury "as a fund to keep the capital stock good." The consumption of each family was to be reduced to a level below its production. Many felt this unacceptable and resulted in the complete collapse of the Bunkerville United Order. Each contributor was to receive back the possessions they had originally contributed to the Order plus payment of goods and services equal to 18 percent of the book value of the labor performed since the beginning. When compared with the distributions at the breakup of other United Order experiences, this was very favorable.
EB: We labored there in the order three years. At the end of that time, we attempted to organize into stewardship, and the result was that we broke up. The brethren did not understand the principle sufficient to accept of it. Previous to this, we had labored in one company. Our labors, however, were very highly crowned with success. In settling up we paid off the capital stock dollar for dollar, fed and clothed the company and paid 18 per cent on every man's labor. We made a valuation of our improvements, divided them up and they went to pay our indebtedness.
This was an extremely difficult time for Edward. The process of settlement was complicated and was not carried out quickly. Many were very dissatisfied with what they received. Dudley Leavitt, a particularly important individual in the community, felt that his cattle were divided among others and he came out of the experiment poorer than he went in. Whether it was the method of distribution or his desire for more land, Dudley moved across the river and set up his family at what would become a separate town: Mesquite, Nevada. The year 1880 ended the remarkable experiment that had proved to be such a phenomenal success in its earliest days.
Through these early years, life in Bunkerville wasn't all hard work. Dances and parties were periodically held to provide entertainment for the community. In 1880, the first adobe public building was erected on the public square. It seems that New Years marked a particularly significant time for dancing and celebration. The public building was not quite finished before the New Years party of 1880. The men went to work on the building and the women stood around with great apprehension. Finally, it was complete and a great feast and party was held. The "flag schoolhouse," as they called it was so large that five quadrille formations could just about crowd into it. This building served as a church meetinghouse, school building, and community center until 1900.
The settlement of property continued throughout the winter, and by April the committee was still at it. There were hard feelings, but once the final distributions were made the village determined to put it behind them and not mention it again. Even though the United Order was eliminated the community still carried over a cooperative spirit. Projects such as dams, irrigation ditches, new homes, community buildings, and even harvesting were often carried out by group effort. The theory had been to establish an independent and self-supporting community. Eventually, this was achieved. Almost everything they needed was produced at home, but surplus was not truly available until an interface with outside communities was fully integrated.
The Silver Reef Mine, in Washington County, Utah suddenly opened up a demand for salt and the people began to market and freight the readily available supply from nearby St. Thomas. Money was never needed before, but now became important for trade.
A couple of men could hitch up a four-horse team and haul one and one-half tons of salt a distance of 110 miles. The trip took ten days and would result in twenty-five dollars profit. Usually, several outfits would travel together. One hazard was that the salt had to be mined by blasting.
Some time later the Delamare mines opened up and a market was available for other products. Loads of chickens, fruit, and other produce were sold there and from this time on, money was used as the medium of exchange.
CHAPTER 18 End of Polygamy
"I find myself in Bunkerville,
Lincoln County, Nevada. I have been
driven from my wives and children
thence for the gospel's sake."
EB: My health was very poor so I thought a trip to Arizona would be beneficial, and with the consent of the President of the Stake and President John Taylor, I started south on April 4, 1882. I took my wife Emily with me and sons Silas and George, and daughter Louella. Our outfit consisted of two teams, two wagons and a tent.
They hadn't travelled very far when they stopped one evening for supper. After supper they made preparations to continue their journey for another two hours in the cool of the evening. Everyone was ready, and Emily was sitting on the "high spring seat" of one of the wagons when Edward suddenly announced, "We will not go any further tonight."
"We're all ready. Of course we'll go," said Emily.
"Oh, gosh!" said George, "All this work to get hitched up and then not go."
The others all complained, but Edward said simply, "Emily, we are not going on tonight."
The decision had been made, so the group climbed off the wagons and made preparations for the night's camp. All but Edward questioned the sudden change of plan.
The next morning the camp was cleared and the group proceeded down the trail. After about a two hour ride they approached the site where they would have spent the previous night. They saw smoke rising from burning wagons and when closer, found the body of a freighter who'd been killed by the Indians. Had Edward not listened to the prompting of the "still, small voice", his little group would have suffered the same fate. He knew it was wisest to follow the premonition, even though he knew not why.
EB: We reached Mesa City the 25th of [April] the same month at which place we spent the summer. The Apache Indians were on the war path and it was unsafe to travel further south. After spending a pleasant summer, in the fall I went to San Pedro and stayed a few months, then pushed on to Sulphur Spring Valley where I had relatives.
In Washington D.C. in 1882, Senator George F. Edmunds of Vermont introduced a bill which was passed and became the Edmonds Law. It defined polygamy or "unlawful cohabitation" as a crime with the penalty a $500 fine or five years imprisonment, or both, at the discretion of the court. It also specifically "excluded from jury service those who had been living in the practice...or who believed it right."
Federal marshals were to be sent into the territory to search out all those in violation of the law. Perhaps this was one reason that Edward decided to make his trip.
Edward and Emily were on the road, Sarah was living near Richfield, Utah and Mary was at Bunkerville, expecting another baby. In October of 1882 she gave birth to her seventh child.
25th child - Robert Esdras Bunker:
Born: 7 Oct. 1882, Bunkerville, Utah
Mother: Mary McQuarrie [7th child]
It is interesting that Edward would leave Mary, in her condition, as well as the town of Bunkerville without a Bishop. Evidently, there was need for a leader in the community. Upon communication with Edward the St. George stake record indicates that he requested a release as bishop in May of 1883. At that time the ward was reorganized with his son Edward Bunker, Jr. as Bishop.
EB: We remained in Sulphur Springs several months and regained our health and visited friends. While at Mesa in company with a few of the brethren, I went into Old Mexico as far as the San Bernardino ranch. Having been gone nearly two years, we decided to return home, which we did, arriving here December 26, 1883.
While I was absent, the settlement of Bunkerville experienced a very heavy flood which nearly broke up the town, but through perseverance and integrity of the people, they were able to repair the damages and save the place from abandonment. From that time on the town has grown and flourished. The Lord has blessed the people and now they are beginning to reap the reward of their labors.
From the time that Edward returned to Bunkerville, after his two year trip until his death, he was no longer in a position of official leadership. This must have been a time of adjustment where he settled into being "Father Bunker", an advisor to any who sought his council.
In 1884 the machinery of enforcement of the Edmonds Act began to swing into motion and by 1885 was in high gear. For the next five years the drive to crush plural marriage was intense. The reaction among the towns of the Virgin River Basin was stubborn defiance, protestations against persecution, and dodging the law.
United States Marshals were sent to the various settlements to hunt and find the violators of the law and bring them to justice. Charles L. Walker wrote:
"This month and part of April I have been obliged to hide from U. S. Deputies who are seeking me night and day to arrest and drag me to prison for obeying the commandments of God, my Eternal Father. They came to my house and threatened to break down the doors if the folks did not open them immediately. They then ransacked the entire house, kicking the carpets and rugs about, trying to discover, as they imagined, some secret passage to a cellar or hiding place. Twice they came and found me not. They summoned my wife and four daughters to Beaver, 120 miles distant, to testify against me, and this in a Christian country where everyone has the right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience. Several of the brethren have been arrested and their families subpoenaed as witness against them."
Feeling the weight of the persecution, many of the highest church officials from Salt Lake sought protection by hiding in remote locations. Wilford Woodruff, the highest ranking Apostle and next in line of succession to the presidency of the Church, spent most of 1885 and from August 7, 1886, to July 16, 1887 at or near St. George.
In February of 1885, Wilford Woodruff stayed for about three weeks at the home of Bishop Edward Bunker Jr. in Bunkerville. This was his hideout as he was "underground evading the U.S. officials". He stayed in the bedroom next to the kitchen and had a body guard and sometimes one or two apostles with him. The window shades were drawn and "he settled into the monotonous routine he had followed in exile--reading, writing, and counseling."
One day, to break the monotony, he prevailed on Myron Abbott to take him down to the banks of the Virgin River. There he spent the day, shot two ducks, and read the Deseret News. A scare came as six strange men were spotted, but they passed through the town without stopping on their way to California.
"[Edward Jr.] hired Indians to help on the farm, one of these was 'old Steve', a fine fellow in whom father placed great trust. He noticed Brother Woodruff was hiding and he said to Mother, 'What's matter all a time white man hide? Three moons all a time dark, burn light?' Mother felt she had to explain to him and cautioned him to say nothing, but that evening, 10 or 12 stalwart bucks and their squaws came to see the 'White Chief'. Each Indian carried a gun under his blanket. When father asked them what they were going to do with their guns, they answered 'Kill Mericats', a name they used for the U.S. officers. They said, 'We see White Chi.
Chapter 19 Contention in Bunkerville
"After my return from Arizona,
a controversy arose in the settlement,
on points of doctrine principally
between myself and Brother Myron Abbott."
The discussion resulted in "The Bunkers" (Edward, Sr. and Edward, Jr.) taking a position critical of the lecture, while Myron Abbott supported it. The conflict focused on two issues, "Adam" and "adoption", and began to divide Bunkerville into two camps.
Edward Bunker, Sr. may have first heard the issues surrounding a discussion of Adam as early as 1852. In the fall of that year, Orson Pratt and William Clayton had discussed the matter while traveling east with Edward. William Clayton was clerk of the company of missionaries traveling east and recorded that he and Apostle Pratt spent some time trying to settle a controversy which had grown out of a statement President Young had made at the previous conference:
"our Father Adam came into the garden of Eden with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him....He is our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do."
Clayton, at that time, recorded in his diary:
"Another subject which has occupied much of the time, and in which the difference in opinion seems to be wider...is in regard to Adam's coming on this earth. On this subject brother Pratt and myself have rather locked horns...it will be wise to let such subjects alone when we get amongst the benighted nations."
Later, as Edward was completing the first year of his mission, an article appeared in the December 10th, 1853 issue of the Millennial Star titled: "Adam, The Father and God of the Human Family." It discussed the eternal nature of the family and government and how Adam is like unto a God being the father of all the children that he had created and was responsible for. No doubt Edward read the article with interest and pondered the issue at some length.
Over the years Orson Pratt, one of the Apostles, and others had taken exception to some points concerning Adam as presented by Brigham Young. From the time Edward first came in contact with the Mormon church, he had been impressed with the words of Parley P. Pratt when he wrote in A Voice of Warning that the scriptures were to be interpreted literally. Perhaps Edward leaned toward dissent because Orson Pratt shared similar views and the doctrine appeared to deviate from a literal interpretation of scripture.
At the time of the dedication of the St. George Temple in 1877 President Brigham Young dictated a lecture that was to be recited word for word at a certain place in the temple. The lecture contained statements about the nature of Adam and his relationship to Jesus Christ. Not only did the lecture reiterate President Young's previous position, but it provided additional statements that expanded on the topic.
Edward's position was undoubtedly nurtured over a period of thirty-plus years of study and thought. Since 1884 Edward, Sr. and particularly Myron Abbott, his brother-in-law, had numerous confrontations at Bunkerville. The dialogue became more polarized and vocal as time passed. Finally, in 1890, Edward, Jr., then Bishop of Bunkerville, made a written request to the St. George leadership that Myron Abbott be released as his counselor in the Bishopric.
In November of 1890 an apparent climax was reached as Myron Abbott and Edward Bunker, Sr. had an exchange that drove Myron Abbott to seek guidance from the stake presidency. Abbott accused "The Bunkers" of advancing incorrect doctrine. The Stake Presidency had been aware of the continuing debate through the years and had made several attempts to ease the controversy through "gentle persuasion". But now the issue had become too intense.
Many authors have attempted to use "the Bunker Case" to assess the doctrinal nature of Mormon theology. No attempt will be made here to do that. Edward's motivations and consequences are more pertinent to a discussion of his life.
In 1890, a High Council Court was called to openly discuss the matter in St. George. While many in the church had felt uneasy about the origins of Adam, it had never been challenged in a church court before. Edward Bunker, Sr. and the Bishopric of Bunkerville were requested to meet at the St. George Tabernacle. Edward, Sr. was ill and did not attend. The Stake Presidency and the twelve members of the Stake High Council met with Edward Bunker, Jr., Myron Abbott, and Joseph I. Earl. Each member of the Bishopric was asked to express his views on the issues.
Myron Abbott began by saying that for a number of years, questions on church teachings had been "agitated in Bunkerville Ward". He stated that Bishop Bunker had openly expressed his opinion that some teachings in the temple were wrong. Bishop Edward Bunker, Jr. responded that he felt certain things taught in the lecture regarding Adam were "certainly wrong". The court proceeded for some time with two successive sessions. The issue of the correctness of Church doctrine was set aside and the focus placed on leadership and unity. By the end of the second session, everyone involved expressed regret and "felt they had done wrong in contending on the subjects referred to".
Even as those involved in the Court appeared to reconcile and agreed not to contend on issues they did not fully understand, the question was not resolved for Father Edward Bunker. He asked that he be allowed to submit his views in writing to the stake presidency, which was allowed and which he did in a ten-page letter. The letter was dated April 25th, 1891 and read in High Council meeting on May 15th. After reading the letter, the stake presidency decided the issues were beyond their authority. They forwarded the letter to President Wilford Woodruff in Salt Lake seeking to know what course they should pursue.
Edward must have felt very strongly about his position. But the question remains: Did he anticipate the consequences of pressing the issue to the highest levels of the Church? Almost every participant in any organization comes to a point where they question key philosophical teachings or practices of that organization. Certainly the individual must determine for himself the extent to which he will go to challenge those in authority on the issues.
The situation regarding Edward offered three possible outcomes: 1) The Church would alter its position, 2) Edward would change his position, or 3) Edward would be asked to leave the Church. It seems highly unlikely that the Church (or any large organization) would suddenly acquiesce on doctrinal or policy positions when challenged by a singular complaint. Therefore, the consequences of pursuing his challenge would result in Edward either dropping his claim or leaving the Church.
The following excerpts from Edward's letter are not intended as a review of doctrine, but to provide insight into Edward's logic, his commitment to the Church, and his basic communication skills. Edward presented a copy of the letter with his autobiography, excerpts of which are included as follows:
"After my return from Arizona, a controversy arose in the settlement, on points of doctrine principally between myself and Brother Myron Abbott. We mutually agreed to submit our views to the High Council. I was permitted by the Council to submit mine in writing."
"Having been represented before you as not believing certain doctrines as held to be correct by Myron Abbott and others; and not being present at the Council when represented because of sickness, and having heard the minutes read since and with your permission to answer the charges in writing, I herewith submit to you my belief and unbelief."
"First I do not believe that Adam [the angel Michael?] is the father of Jesus Christ, and the God we worship, and the God of this earth. Now, I wish to present to the Council my views fully on this subject, that those who read may not misjudge my views."
"First, I will take the word of the Lord to Abraham [Abraham 1:16]. Now, who is this God that ministered unto Abraham? The same that ministered unto Moses [Exodus 6:3]. The same God that appeared unto Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple [D&C 110:2-4]."
"Now we will let the Book of Mormon make plain who this God Jehovah is [3 Nephi 15:5]. [He is Jesus Christ] When did Jesus Christ covenant with [Israel]? Hundreds of years before he took a tabernacle of flesh [3 Nephi 11:14,17]. I will give you a few more references and show that he is the God of Enoch [Moses 6:43]."
"Why counsel we ourselves and seek to supplant the God of heaven with some other God [such as Adam]? [Moses 7:69 and D&C 38:1-4] This ought to settle the question on this item of doctrine to those who believe in revelation."
"Now in regard to the law of adoption: I believe it is a correct principle and when it runs in the lineage it looks consistent, but the adoption of one man to another out of the lineage, I do not understand and for that reason I would not enter into it. And adopting the dead to the living is as adopting the father to the son. I don't believe there is a man on earth that thoroughly understands the principle. If there is, I have never heard it taught so I could understand it. I believe it is permitted more to satisfy the minds of the people for the present until the Lord reveals more fully on the principle."
"In regard to Adam coming to this earth in the creation...a resurrected Celestial being and a God; having had a second probation on another planet, and that his body was of the dust of another planet. I do not believe this item of doctrine, and I will give you the scriptural references as I believe them."
"First, the sacred record as given to us is for the earth and the heavens belonging to this earth. Here is what the Lord said to Moses [Moses 2:1]. Now this record has come to us direct from the heavens through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Shall we receive it in whole or in part? If it is not all correct, what confidence can we have in any other communication which has come from the same source?"
"We will now take the record of the creation [Abraham 5:7]. This is plain to me that Adam came to this earth a personage of Spirit. He might have been a Celestial spirit, because he kept a Celestial law in his first estate. What ground was Adam's body taken from? That which he was sent forth from the garden of Eden to till [Moses 4:29, Gen. 3:23, and Alma 42:2]."
"Now, in regard to Adam being a God here is what the Lord said concerning Abraham [D&C 132:37]. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are Gods. Surely Noah and Adam are Gods. Do the children of Abraham worship and pray to him? I think not. Noah was the father of all living in his day. Neither do the children of Noah worship him, or Adam's children worship him. To me there is great difference between those Gods and the God Jesus Christ who created the earth and redeemed it."
"Every God in his own order: Honor to whom honor is due; a place for everything and everything in its place."
"With due respect the Council and to all my brethren, I cannot, I dare not ignore the written word of God. I subscribe myself your friend and brother in the Gospel of Christ."
The letter was well prepared by a faithful and respected member of the Church. After reading Edward's letter, the Stake Presidency in St George determined that the issue was beyond their authority and required the attention of the President of the Church.
On July 11th, 1892 a High Council Court was convened to deal with the case of Edward Bunker. In addition to the Stake Leadership, Wilford Woodruff, President of the Church and his first counselor George Q. Cannon, had traveled from Salt Lake to St. George specifically for the court and were in attendance.
Edward had challenged the Church on three issues: 1) Was Adam the Father of Christ and God of this earth, 2) Was Adam a resurrected being when he was brought to this earth, and 3) Was adoption currently practiced correctly in the Church. During the court the authorities systematically refuted Edward's letter, point by point.
The first challenge to Edward's position was that he had in error tried "to scripturally disprove a doctrine that had little scriptural basis". Edward was instructed that things would be continuously revealed to the church that had been "kept hide from the foundations of the world."
The second challenge was that Edward had misinterpreted the scriptures. The pivotal point was that Edward's confusion was the result of misunderstanding. He was warned that his course was dangerous, could lead to darkness, and possibly loss of church membership.
President Wilford Woodruff then said: "We should not spend time over these mysteries. Let them alone. All beings were created as we are created. Let them alone and don't quarrel over them."
Edward was called to repentance. At the same time, the authorities counselled Myron Abbott to not become "puffed up on pride" over the victory. Edward was not told to abandon or change his belief but to leave those things alone which he did not understand. He was counselled to eliminate contention and bring about unity. How ironic that he had worked all his life in various leadership capacities to foster unity and cooperation, and now he was accused of sowing seeds of discontent and disruption. Edward did not lose his membership in the Church over this issue. He was instructed and apparently accepted the censure imposed.
Edward's letter demonstrates a diligence in the study and understanding of the scriptures. He was a logical thinker and good communicator. But his reasoning was faulty, not only in his exploration of scripture, but in his anticipation of the outcome of his challenge. The verdict that was offered was the only one possible: Cease challenging authority or leave the Church. Edward believed in the Church so deeply that he used its own teachings to support his position. He believed so deeply that he was willing and submissive in accepting the verdict of the court.
So why all the fuss? Perhaps it was Edward's pride as a past leader in the community being challenged by Myron Abbott, whom he had mentored and taught. Perhaps it was that "familiarity breeds contempt", and he knew Brigham Young and Wilford Woodruff on a very personal basis. But perhaps he felt so strongly the doctrine was wrong that he was willing to push it to a point near excommunication, in order to bring attention to the issue.
Three years later, on April 18, 1894, President Wilford Woodruff offered a public discourse titled "The Law of Adoption." He is quoted in Messages of the First Presidency:
"Joseph Smith...did a great deal of...work. Who could expect him, during the short time he lived in the flesh, to do more than he did? In fact it is a marvel and a wonder that he performed as much as he did."
"I want to say, as the President of the Church...that we should now go on and progress. President Young... accomplished all that God required at his hands. But he did not receive all the revelations that belong to this work; neither did President Taylor, nor has Wilford Woodruff. There will be no end to this work until it is perfected."
"I have not felt satisfied, neither did President Taylor, neither has any man since the Prophet Joseph who has attended to the ordinance of adoption in the temples of God. We have felt that there was more to be revealed upon the subject than we had received. I have prayed over this matter, and my brethren have. We have felt as President Taylor said, that we have got to have more revelation concerning sealing under the law of adoption."
"I went before the Lord to know who I should be adopted to (we were then being adopted to prophets and apostles), the Spirit of God said to me...let every man be adopted to his father. When a man receives the endowment, adopt him to his father; not to Wilford Woodruff, not to any other man outside the lineage of his fathers. That is the will of God to this people."
One point raised by Edward was heard by the prophet, who in turn went to the Lord and received an answer. This must have quietly given Edward comfort and reassurance that answers to prayers do in fact come, but it may be with some work on our part and in a fashion unexpected.
The writing of Isaiah, in the Bible state:
"Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little."
Just as individuals are taught one step at a time, from principle to principle, the community of the Church can only receive what it is prepared to receive. Foundations must be laid before a full understanding can be achieved. Perhaps regarding the issue of "adoption", Edward was forward thinking and looked to the complete fulfillment of the promise. When the members were prepared, it was given.
In 1901, ten years after Edward's church court, the origin of Adam discussion was removed from the lecture in the temple and official discussion within the Church. Was Edward vindicated at last? There was general confusion and misunderstanding about the doctrine. It was a very advanced topic the Church membership was not prepared to receive.
Most accepted the doctrine, not totally understanding it. Others such as Edward Bunker attempted to fully explore and place it within the logical context of their understanding. The bridge was evidently not sufficient to bring the general Church community to full understanding. Therefore, the doctrine was withdrawn and "line upon line" preparation commenced until the fullness could be revealed.
EB: In conclusion I would say that, now at the age of 72 I am resting from my labors and am associated with a goodly portion of my family, having in all three wives, 28 children, seventeen boys and eleven girls. Three girls and two boys have died. I also have seventy grandchildren, sixty-one of whom are living and two great grandchildren.
CHAPTER 20 Mexico
Edward Bunker, Sr. was ordained a patriarch on September 10, 1900, by Apostle Marion Lyman. But he wasn't to officiate in that calling very long.
Whenever Edward went to Stake Conference in St. George he would stay at the home of his brother-in-law, Hector McQuarrie. Edward and Hector's family would sit up late talking about the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Edward increasingly began to talk about Mexico as the final home of the Church. Perhaps in the back of his mind was the thought of bringing his family all together once more in an unrestricted plural marriage family. Mexico became an objective for him.
Edward recounted stories of the Prophet Joseph Smith and how the Prophet talked of the future of the Church. Edward had never met the Prophet Joseph but the accounts he had heard must have made a definite impression. He had been told that at one specific meeting Joseph Smith drew a long line reaching from Nauvoo to the valleys in the Rocky Mountains. Then the Prophet was quoted as saying: "You and many others of the church will go, and there you will become a great and mighty people." After drawing other lines indicating a spreading out, he drew a long line stretching to the southwest into Old Mexico. He then said, "Here is some of the richest country on earth." The Prophet concluded and no questions were asked. Edward Bunker interpreted this long line as indicating a move of the Church in a circle from Nauvoo to Salt Lake, to Mexico, and finally back to Jackson County, the center of Zion. He had an urge to be among the first to blaze the trail he thought the church would follow.
With the passage of the Edmunds Law in March 1882 many in the church became increasingly more interested in the possibility of movement to Mexico. In November 1882 the First Presidency of the Church sent a call to Apostle Erastus Snow, former President of the St. George Stake to: "proceed to Chihuahua, and Sonora with a view to selecting suitable location or locations on the borders of the two nations as a gathering place for the Saints." This call officially marked the Churches colonization effort in Mexico.
Though Mexico had granted permission in 1880 for the church to establish colonies in the state of Chihuahua the first was not begun until 1885 at Colonia Diaz, just across the Rio Grande river. In 1888 Colonia Dublan was settled and later in the Sierra Madre mountains; Colonia Garcia, Colonia Chuichupa and Colonia Pacheco. The last of the Mormon colonies was Colonia Morelos in about 1898. It was west of the other colonies in Sonora and offered a wide valley of fertile land.
Hearing about the successes in Mexico, Edward began to prepare to go there. We can only assume he longed for that final utopia where he could bring all his family together again. The desire to go to the next frontier was finally realized in 1901, when Edward was 79 years of age and Emily 73. They left for Mexico, along with George Bunker, Francis Bunker, George W. Lee, Sr., George W. Lee, Jr., and family members for each. A special meeting and program was held at Bunkerville to bid farewell to those leaving. For those who stayed behind, particularly Mary McQuarrie, it was like a funeral. Everyone was saddened to have so many loved ones leave the little town all at once.
Mary McQuarrie's son, Robert Bunker, wrote in his autobiography in Bunker Family History:
"The only time I remember Mother ever speaking a cross word to Aunt Emily (the first wife), was when she came to Mother and asked if she would let me go with them to Old Mexico as Father, Aunt Emily, George and family, had sold out in Bunkerville and were going to make their home in Old Mexico. The excuse was to help take care of father. I remember Mother saying in no uncertain tone of voice, 'Emily, if you folks will stay here where you belong, my children will be more than glad to help all they can. You have taken my husband away from me, and its a sure thing you will never take Robert with you. Besides, Francis is down there, and I am sure he will be willing to help.'"
The teams and wagons slowly pulled away from Bunkerville and headed toward Mexico. Edward's granddaughter, Vilate L. Romney, wrote in Bunker Family History:
"On arriving at Bonnelli's Ferry on the Colorado River, it was necessary to remain several days for weather conditions to become favorable for crossing on the ferry boat with the large company. There were seven or eight wagons and more than 20 head of horses. It became necessary to stop occasionally to repair wagons, shoe horses, wash clothing and replenish the supply of food.
"Because of long stretches of desert, it was necessary to haul water for drinking as well as for the livestock. This was done by fastening large 40 and 50 gallon barrels to the sides of the wagons, and often carrying huge bales of hay. They enjoyed a very happy surprise one hot day. As they camped for lunch in Black Rock Canyon, Arizona, Vernon Bunker, grandson of Grandfather, rode up on his horse. He had been away from home for years and had made his home in Arizona not too far from there. A few hours visit was enjoyed by everyone."
"After several weeks, they arrived at Mesa, Arizona. It was like an oasis in a desert to arrive at the beautiful green cities of Phoenix and Mesa. Grandfather and a party remained here several weeks resting and enjoyed the hospitality of some dear friends, the McDonald family. The trip covered about six weeks, on arriving at Naco, Arizona, on the Mexican border, they all pitched their tents near each other like a little community. They remained here for several weeks, then after going thru the long procedure of custom house inspection, moved over to the Mexican side of the town where they remained until October. Uncle George and the other able-bodied men hauled freight to a mining camp, Cananea, about 100 miles into Mexico to secure some cash to help with establishing themselves in the colony."
"Grandfather's health was very poor while they lived at Naco. Health conditions were not good. A great deal of typhoid was prevalent and he suffered with intestinal flu a great deal. Grandfather and his company moved on ahead of the rest of the folks to the colony, arriving the first week of November, 1901. Colonia Morelos was a new colony with a new bishop, Orson Pratt Brown, and everyone lived in tents and adobe rooms and worshipped in a Bowery."
"The first Sunday, Grandfather gave a powerful sermon, and on the 17th of November, 1901, he passed away. His son, George, and grandson, Hugh, were on a ten-day trip to Chihuahua for a load of lumber to make them more comfortable quarters. Grandfather took suddenly ill and passed away and was buried before they returned. There was no way of sending messages, so they knew nothing of his death until they returned. Grandfather was buried in the little town cemetery. Only a board marker was put up temporarily, but a permanent one was never placed. In 1954 the entire cemetery was nicely fenced with a wire fence and the Mexicans had piled rocks neatly around each grave, but there was no marker to be found on his grave."
John G. McQuarrie is quoted in Bunker Family History:
"Edward Bunker was a true type of the ancient Patriarchs. He had, like Abraham, a childlike faith which knew no doubting. His prayers were not formal cere-monies, but actual, earnest conversations. When he made requests he also made covenants which were faithfully kept, and thus the blessings followed. When he administered to the sick it was an official act which he exercised by virtue of the Holy Priesthood. When he rebuked the forces of evil, they stood rebuked. The Destroyer had no power to with-stand him. When he delivered doctrinal sermons to Wards where he presided or at Stake Conferences, his words were accepted as scripture. His associates did not argue with him. They asked his opinion and quoted him as authority."
"The life and experiences of Bishop Edward Bunker were varied and important. His knowledge, judgement, and native ability--not only to know all the right, but to do it--were so pronounced that it would require a biography [on a level with the] most outstanding founders of the Church."
"Edward Bunker was always building and guarding the outposts of Zion. He was always out on the last frontier. Movements are sometimes started by the tragic or heroic, but it is the commonplace which keep them moving and growing. Edward Bunker never tried to play in the center of the stage. He never thought of, or received, any newspaper or book notoriety. But he played the title role in many backstage struggles which were necessary to sustain the main campaign."
"In my opinion [all the experiences he had] were not great trials to Edward Bunker. He loved nature as God made it, mountains, deserts, forests, fields, rivers, hidden springs. There was a lure in him for the great unknown. He did not seek the security of populous cities nor did he fear the danger and vicissitudes of the wide open spaces. He was what might be called a "happy warrior" when he was conquering the West. He never thought of pleasure and recreation as they pertained to physical or carnal desires. He thought of duty and service. He was happy in obeying God's first command, `Multiply and replenish, and subdue the earth.' He seemed to lose interest when the homes were built, the streams controlled, the fields responding to seed, time, and harvest. He felt no call of duty where men were plentiful and where the battle against want, mobocrats and Indians had been won. He was engaged in helping to build a Zion. He could always hear the voice of duty calling him to the outpost, to the last frontier."
Six of eight of Mary Ann Mathieson McQuarrie Bunker's adult children
Within a year or two after the death of Edward Bunker the origin of Adam discussion was removed from the lecture in the temple and general discussion within the church. Mary McQuarrie Bunker died on the 2nd of November, 1906, at age 60, in Bunkerville, Nevada and was buried there. Emily Abbott Bunker died on the 8th of February, 1913, at age 85, in Panguitch, Utah and was buried there. Sarah Browning Lang Bunker died on the 16th of May, 1916, at age 85, in Delta, Utah and was buried there.
The magnificent life of Edward Bunker stands as his testimony to his belief in the teachings and principles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He was one of the truly great Latter-Day Saints of the early days of the church. Sacrificing everything he had for the cause of the Gospel. He was placed in leadership positions where the whirlwind whistled and he calmed the storm. He struggled on the wild western frontier, and learned the ways of survival and became a skilled road builder and organizer. He demonstrated faith, intellect, and a profound understanding of God and his holy scriptures.
He demonstrated exemplary commitment and leadership. President Ezra Taft Benson stated in the Improvement Era:
"What are qualifications of leadership in the Church? First of all--and I think most important of all--is the matter of personal testimony. How can you build faith in the lives of others unless you have faith yourselves? The second qualification is humility. One of the marks of great leadership always has been and ever will be the humble spirit. Third, a love of people is essential to effective leadership. Do you realize the worth of souls is great in the sight of God? And the fourth qualification is the force of example. The proper example is all-important. Let us be what we profess to be. There is no satisfactory substitute."
Edward was husband and father with literally thousands of noble descendants blessed by the great example he left. If he could hope for one legacy to be his everlasting monument; it would be that his descendants follow his example of service to others and love one another in a great and glorious family.
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Found at http://www.bunker.org/book/index.html Written by Gaylen K. Bunker, 1992
PAF - Archer files = Orson Pratt Brown < mother is Phebe Abbott Brown Fife ; sister is Emily Abbott + Edward Bunker Sr.
http://www.bunker.org/book/index.html Written by Gaylen K. Bunker, 1992
Additional names, bold, and other information added by Lucy Brown Archer
Copyright 2004 www.OrsonPrattBrown.org