Price Nelson was born November 17, 1832 in Monroe, Jefferson County, Illinois. He came to Utah in 1850 with his parents.
Following is a sketch of my life, I am compelled to depend largely on my memory, as I have kept no records; still, I think that what follows is quite accurate, owing to the fact that my life has been cast with the Latter-Day Saints, and in their early movements I took part, but only as a child.
My father joined the Mormon church in 1832, while living in Canada. He was among the first to accept the doctrine under the teachings of Brigham Young and was the first fruits of this man’s labors.
I was born May 13, 1832, at Camden, Upper Canada, and was six months old when my parents joined the church, and our family remained there about one and one-half years after that event, and then moving to Kirtland, Ohio. My father worked on the temple, being employed as a brick-maker. Owing to the persecution, we were compelled to leave our home in Kirtland, and move west-ward. We intended to go to Missouri, but the trouble rising among our people and the Missourians, caused us to stop in Illinois. My father rented a large farm near Springfield, and remained there until the Saints assembled at Nauvoo. Wishing to get closer to the main body of the Saints, we rented another farm within fifteen miles of Carthage, and were living there when Joseph Smith and Hyrum were killed, and well do I remember the event.
That afternoon, my father sat reading his Bible; and read aloud the passage “The wicked flee when no man persueth.” That instant a man rode up to the fence and called out, “Joe Smith is killed.” We looked out and saw men, women and children coming with all their might, some in wagons and some on horses and all were fleeing from the awful scene at Carthage.
My father gathered a few household goods into his wagon and moved to Nauvoo, leaving a farm and a beautiful crop for which he never received a cent. We passed through the trials, common to the Saints at Nauvoo, and moved with them to Council Bluffs. Here my father built a log cabin and we occupied it for about two years. My brother Barney Lake, went with the Mormon Batallian to fight.
Owing to the lack of teams to cross the plains with, we were compelled to go down into Missouri and work for them. My brother, sister, brother-in-law and myself went down in the fall. I got a position as dishwasher and baby tender in a tavern. About Christmas while browning coffee in a large bake oven over the coals in the fireplace, my clothes blazed suddenly and I very narrowly escaped being burned to death. I attribute my almost miraculous recovery to the administration of Elder Phineas and Lorenzo Young who chanced to stop that night at the tavern. As soon as I recovered, we went north to the “Bluffs”. A few months after our return, father with all the family moved down into Missouri. He was fortunate in finding work, and we were soon equipped with teams and wagons. The people were very kind to us. In the summer of 1850, we went north again in time to join a company of Saints moving to the “Valley”. My father was chosen as captain of fifty. Our company was well equipped with ox teams and wagons and we were well supplied with provisions and clothing. Father had one large wagon with three yoke of oxen and a smaller with two. Our family then consisted of father and mother, my brothers, Bailey and George, and my sister, Samantha and Clair Taylor, and Jane Ardway, and my married brother, Barney, who had returned from the Mexican war. While on our way, Barney’s wife died and was buried on the plains. The most vivid events of the journey occurred at Green River, Wyoming. In crossing the river the wagon box floated off the wagon and began drifting down stream. In the box were a young woman named Snyder and a girl about nine years old.
All was excitement for a few minutes. The only man of the company who dared to swim the stream and effect a rescue, was a youth named Price W. Nelson, a young man, who up to that time, I had paid no particular attention to. He was of a quiet nature and I knew nothing of him except that he drove his aunt’s team. After this event, we two became better acquainted, which resulted in our marriage after arriving in Salt Lake Valley. We were married on the last day of the year of 1850 in the Old Fort at Ogden.
The ceremony was performed by Elder Lorin Farr. (Of the many things said at this time, the prophetic utterance of my father was proved the most true. He said, “Price is a good man, but he will never be contented anywhere.”) Our first child was born the thirteenth day of October, 1851, while living on my father’s ranch, five miles north of Ogden. We named him Edmond.
The next year, about the first of June, we started by team to California and while en route we fell into the company of an apostate man named Chapman and five other men who were driving stock. The journey throughout was quite pleasant. We stopped in San Bernadino, and liking the place decided to make it our home. My husband went into the saw mill business with Amesa Lyman and Charles Rich.
The mill ran during the winter but closed in the summer on account of the lack of water. During this time, for seven years, we moved each fall from the valley to the mountains and returned to the valley in the spring. Three children were born there. They were, Samanthe, Price William, and Lydia Ann. Heeding the call of the First Presidency, we, with other California Saints, came back to Utah.
We stopped at Payson and began to build up another home. Here my daughter Lorania, was born. About this time we heard that my brother had been killed by the Indians. Not being satisfied at Payson, we remained there only about eighteen months and then went up to Franklin, Idaho. Again Brother Nelson took up the mill work, laboring as a sawer in the mill of Thatcher and Benson then operating a sawmill at Logan, Utah.
The following summer I joined my husband at Logan, Utah. there Hyrum was born and James Mark. In that village, we lived comfortably for six years. (Jane must have been born between Lorania and Hyrum.)
Brother Nelson was called to assist in settling the “Muddy Mission”. We found there an ideal climate and very productive soil and followed farming for a livelihood. there my sons Alvin and Thomas George were born. There in Nevada we lived for six years and had an abundance of such things as could be produced from the soil, but had difficulty in obtain clothing. Conditions were favorable for building comfortable homes, when trouble arose between the settlers and the state authorities. Heavy taxes were imposed and the people were forced to withstand considerable abuse. President Young visited us and seeing the condition, advised us to move. We acted immediately on the advise and left homes and fertile land with luxuriant crops almost ready to harvest and went to Glendale, in southern Utah, arriving there with our large family with only what provisions we could carry in one wagon. Our livestock consisted of a team of horses and two cows. We fount it somewhat difficult to live, but was not long in finding work and again supplying ourselves with the necessities of life.
During the seven years we lived there, three children were born to us. They were Levi, Wilford Bailey, and our last child, who lived only three weeks, Philamelia.
Brother Nelson and the boys constructed a shingle mill which they operated about four years and did fairly well financially. My son, Thomas, died while there and four of the other children were married. They were Edmond to Mary Caroline Brinkerhoff, Samantha to Warren M. Johnson, Price W. to Louisa Elder and Lydia Ann to David Brinkerhoff.
During our residence in Long Valley, a general move of settlers to Arizona was in progress, and people were being called to assist in building the county south of us, also to help in the Indian Mission work then being conducted in Northern Arizona.
Edmond was called to assist Warren Johnson at Lee’s Ferry. We went on to the Joen Copi and were among the first settlers of that place. During one and a half years sojourn there, we lived with the missionaries at the old fort. My daughter Lorania was married to Joseph Foutz, the morning we left Moen Co. They started to St. George and we, to Pine Creek. At Pine Creek, we went into the ranching and stock business and soon had a good home.
We made a trip back to St. George in company with our daughter Jane and son-in-law, John Allen, who were going to the temple. The purpose was to be sealed to each other and have our children sealed to us. Not long after our return, Hyrum was married to Martha Sanders. The Saints were making settlements in Mexico and my husband, desirous to assist in opening new country was induced to break up our new home and move south choosing Cave Valley as our destination. Brother Nelson and the boys, Bailey and lEe, put up a grist mill. They also made chairs.
After being in Mexico three years, my brother, George Lake, and I went to the Logan Temple to be sealed to our parents. I spent the following winter with my sister, Eliza Smith, at Logan, and returned the next summer to Mexico.
After remaining about five years in Cave Valley, we moved to Oaxaca in Sonora and made a home about five miles up the river from the town. While there Alvin Nelson married Tennie Johnson and Bailey Edith Nichels. We built another comfortable ranch home.
Brother Nelson’s health began to fail in the fall of 1902. His ailments were dropsy and heart failure, which terminated in his death on 27 October 1902 of the same year. Two years after my husband’s death a flood swept everything from the ranch and I went to live with Alvin. Since then I have spent a short time with each of my children at the following places: Lee at Tombstone, Arizona; Jane at Hubbard, Arizona; Bailey at Morales, Sonora, Mexico; and Lorana at Colonia Juarez, Mexico.
When the Mormons were driven from that country, I came out with the body and went to Hubbard, arriving August 5, 1912. Edmond came after me the following October. I am now at his home in Eager, Arizona.
I am proud to remark that of my thirteen children, eleven raised large families. My grandchildren number 112 at present and great grandchildren about 184 making a total posterity of about 296.
Lydia Ann Lake Nelson died 14 January 1924 in Eager, Apache County, Arizona.