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History of Henry Eastman Day –
His Autobiography (1824-1898)
Contributed By Glenn Hill · 2013-06-12
Henry E. Day, was born 6 February, 1824 in Limerick, York Co.,
Maine. The son of Henry Day and Nancy Eastman; the fourth child
of a family of five boys and three girls.
When I was five years old my parents moved to Bridgeton,
Maine to settle a new country, but I remained with my
Grandparents at Limerick until I was ten years old. I then went to
Bridgeton where I stayed with my parents until I was seventeen.
At this time, 3 September 1841, I left the State of Maine and
started west. I was hired along with nine other men to go to
Mississippi and clear a spot for a plantation and prepare the land
for cultivation. I went from Bridgeton to Portland, Me. by
stagecoach; from there to Easton, Massachusetts on a steamboat and from Boston to New
Orleans on a sailing vessel. After a journey of twenty-eight days, I landed at Natchez,
(Mississippi) on the Mississippi River. Here I worked for eight months at $24.00 per month and
sent all but $15.00 of it home to help pay for my father's farm in Bridgeton.
After completing our contract I went to Cincinnati, Ohio where I worked for a man named
Elisha Turner. It was at a meeting in Turner's home that I first heard Lumeraux preach
Mormonism. I, in company with Turner, started for Nauvoo on the 3rd of September, 1842 and
arrived there 1 October, 1842.
While at Nauvoo I worked for Charles Warren at a livery stable. I often groomed the horse
that the Prophet Joseph Smith rode. "The prophet certainly made a noble figure mounted on
a horse, and he had some kind of majesty and imposing grandeur about him that seems to
inspire those who saw him."
Nauvoo about 17 miles North of Warsaw
Carthage about 17 miles East of Warsaw
In the spring, I took up forty-eight acres of land,
and built a house on it. During the winter a
County Commissioner gave me a contract to
grade five miles of turnpike between his farm
and Warsaw, Illinois and to keep the bridges in
repair. At this time, there was great excitement
throughout the country pertaining to the
Mormons. A mob gathered on the prairie about
one mile from where I lived for the purpose of
capturing Joseph Smith and also in destroying the property of the Mormons. Out of this mob
which had gathered, Tom Sharp, a mobcrat and editor of the Warsaw Signal, asked for
volunteers to go to Carthage to kill Joseph and Hyrum Smith and any other Mormons who
were in jail. The mob consisted of about 300 people. I was on the road repairing a bridge
which had been washed out by a flood, when a mob of about 60 people came along this
bridge. However, this bridge was not completed so that they couldn't cross to go to
Carthage. Such a low disregarding set as they were, I have never seen before or since. They
were on foot following a low, broken wagon drawn by the poorest horses imaginable. In the
end of the wagon was a barrel of whiskey, and hanging to the side was a tin cup, so the mob
could have whiskey at their pleasure. The mob seeing that they could not cross over the
bridge cursed and swore at me and called me everything, but a gentleman. So they went a
long way out of the way to get back on the road again, and passed on to Carthage.
About two hours later, while I was eating supper, the mob passed on the way coming back. I
was at Carthage the next morning of the 28th of June about sun up and examined the jail.
The Mormons had come from Nauvoo and took Joseph's and Hyrum's bodies and started
back to Nauvoo just as we arrived.
During the winter of 1844-45, I chopped wood on the Mississippi bottoms for steamboats. The
summer of 1845 I took the fever and ague, and soon after left Illinois and went to Wisconsin
where I stayed with my old friend Turner, during my illness, which lasted until the middle of
Warsaw to St Louis about 170 Miles
St Louis to St Joseph about 175 Miles
From that time on until I left for Utah, I
spent my time mining and prospecting.
On the 8th of April, 1850 I started for Utah.
I went by steamboat down the Mississippi
River to St. Louis, then to Missouri as far as
St. Joseph, where I bought a span of
horses and a wagon, fitted out for the
valley in company with two men named
Cook from Cook co., Illinois.
We left St. Joseph on 8 May, 1850. At the
same time there was a great emigration going to California for gold. A portion of the
emigrants centered at St. Joseph, one of the places where they fitted out and crossed the
Missouri River. There were so many wagons there that you could not get to the crossing within
1850 - St. Joseph resembled in some respects a vast besieged city
- Along the bluffs to the west, were some springs, long rows of
tents were pitched closely under the bluff rocks. All the principle
roads leading to the town were thickly beset with white tents on
either side - while the height immediately to the south of the
town were also covered with tents wagons, & horses, and
thronged with men.
I never joined any company, but had company all the way, all the time the road being lined
with wagons. One day there were 2700 wagons counted which passed New Fort Kearney.
There were several other roads besides this one, each one with as many wagons going west.
As the California emigrants journeyed westward, they became desperate and disagreeable
with one another. When they got to Devils Gate on the Sweet Water, a company of one
hundred wagons disagreed and could not make things suitable for each other. So they
agreed to divide their outfit between them. They made pack saddles out of the wagons and
used their harnesses for straps and packing. They agreed between themselves to burn and
destroy all their wagons and supplies which they could not take along. They bent the barrels
of their guns so that the Mormons would not use them.
The two men I was traveling with took the spirit of the California emigrants, so we had to
divide our supplies. I had only one horse left having lost one on the road. I was compelled to
leave my wagon and all I had with the exception of one change of clothing on the road. I
then came across an Englishman that was on his way to California. I agreed to go with him
as far as Salt Lake City to guard his horses and assist him on his journey. He had a wife and a
child; also a carriage and five good horses.
We arrived in Salt Lake City on 2 July, 1850. I camped on the Jordan River, west of the old Fort
on the 3rd of July. The same day I walked to Cottonwood to James Rawlins, father of Bishop
Joseph S. Rawlins. I went back to Salt Lake for the celebration of the 4th of July. After that I
made my home with Mr. Rawlins until March, 1852. In September, 1850 I went to Draper and
took up land for a farm. The next year I built a house, the second house built in Draper and
cultivated a portion of my land and put in grain and potatoes. On the 13th day of July 1851, I
joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and was baptized in the Big
Cottonwood Creek. I was married to Leah Rawlins, daughter of James and Jane Sharp
Rawlins January, 1852 and we moved to Draper on the 26 day of March, 1852. I helped build
a Fort in Draper that was built to protect the people from the Indians. I took part in all the
Indian trouble at that time. I joined the Nauvoo Legion. We were not molested and
everything went fine until 1857, when word came that Johnson's Army was coming to destroy
In September, 1856-7, I was called under Samuel Bennion to go to Fort Bridger with 50 men.
When we arrived there, 50 men were selected of all the Mormon soldiers by General Daniel
R. Wells. I was again appointed Captain of 10 men. We were sent east under sealed orders
and camped at Black's Fork, where the orders were opened. We found that we were to go
east and burn all trains of supplies that belonged to Johnson's Army. We heard of two trains
of 26 wagons each which were up the Green River. I was sent with Henry Jackson to see
how the wagons were situated. We reported to Lott Smith. We had prayers and marched to
burn the wagons. When we told the master what we had come for he said he didn't think that
there were enough of us there being only twenty-five. Lott replied that if he didn't have
enough there, then all he had to do was to whistle, although there was not another Mormon
within 40 miles. Lott Smith asked for the Bill of Lading, which he read. We took all the firearms
and burned the wagons. Each wagon carried 65,000 to 75,000 pounds of supplies and were
drawn by eight yolk of oxen.
At Hat Rock, six miles up Weber Canyon, Henry Day sat on a horse all night and kept
Johnson's Army back single-handed. He told them that the orders were for the Army not go
to any further. There were several scarecrows scattered around and hats placed on rocks.
The Army leader thought there were a lot of men, so they retreated. When peace was
negotiated, Mr. Day returned home.
He moved his family along with the other Draper families to Mountainville, now Alpine, while
Johnson's Army passed through the valley and located at Camp Floyd. While the Day family
was at this place, their third child Leah Jane was born. Mr. Day and his wife, Leah were the
parents of seven children; James Henry, Joseph Elisha, Leah Jane, Eleanora Angaline,
Charles Eastman, Derias Rawlins, and Harriet Lucinan. The last three children died while small.
Mr. Day was ordained as a counselor to Bishop Isaac M. Stewart of Draper and served in the
capacity for twenty-eight years. He married Elizabeth Cottrell 1 November 1862. Nine
children were born to them; Samuel C., Nancy Catherine, George Addison, Elias John,
Andrew Jackson, Mary Elizabeth, David William, Ellen Lucretia, Rachael Ann, and David
William, who died in infancy.
He married Caroline Eugenia Augusta Mylander, 21 September, 1867. Two children were
born to them; Metilda Caroline and Eugenia Augusta, the latter died in infancy.
Mr. Day worked on all the railroad grades built in Utah in the early days. Henry Day, Joseph
Rawlins, and MIlo Andrus took the contract and built the Sandcut; the fill and cut beyond the
Point of the Mountain, and the strip just this side of the Point, when the railroad was being built
through Draper. Mr. Day and Joseph Rawlins also did the surveying for the East Jordan Canal.
Mr. Day died 17 October 1898 and was buried in the Draper Cemetery.
Find A Grave
Henry Eastman Day
Draper City Cemetery
Draper, Salt Lake County, Utah
Prepared by J.E. Anderson for Aunt Jane Matilda Allen (1903-1974)
Grand Daughter of: Henry Eastman Day 1824-1898 AND
Caroline Eugenia Augusta Nylander 1847-1871