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Livingston, James Campbell - Autobiography

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Autobiography of James Campbell Livingston

About the time he was ordained Patriarch of the North Sanpete Stake, about the year 1902

My grandfather's name was James Livingston, born 23 March 1783. My grandmother's name was Christina Campbell, born 14 February 1789. They were married 9 October 1807, and were both born near Dunfermline, Fifeshire, Scotland. Archibald Livingston, my father, was born 25 July 1808. Helen Conner, my mother, was born 26 October 1811, and was born, as near as we can learn, in Midlothian, near Edinburgh, Scotland, and were married at Shotts Iron Works. Their oldest born is the subject of this sketch.

James Campbell Livingston was born 2 December 1833 at Shotts Iron Works, Lanarkshire, Scotland. My mother died when I was five years old, and I was cared for by my stepmother, Jean Bain, until I was fifteen years old, at which time, namely February 1849, my stepmother died, and in April 1849, my father died. They died of cholera during the epidemic of that dread disease in Scotland at this time. I was the oldest of six children, the youngest, William, being then only nine months old. My brother, Charles, and myself, worked and supported the other children. My grandmother acting the part of a kind and affectionate mother to us all.

On May 7th, 1849 I was baptized by Elder Paul Gourlay and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I was ordained a teacher by Elder Robert Baird in the year 1850, and I was also ordained a Priest by Elder James Letham in the year 1851.

In the spring of 1853 it was considered wise for me to emigrate to Zion. My brother Charles assumed the care of the family and on March 15th I sailed from Glasgow, and on the 28th left Liverpool on the good ship Falcon, via New Orleans. We were nine weeks and two days on the sea.[1]

We went up the Mississippi River to Keokuk a few miles below Nauvoo, the outfitting place for the emigration across the plains that year. We stopped at this place several weeks, breaking cattle and organizing companies for the great journey to the Rocky Mountains. At this place I was detailed to guard and herd the cattle as they were brought for the outfitting of the trains. While herding stock nearly opposite Nauvoo, on the Iowa side of the river, in company with B. W. Attwood, I had the pleasure of visiting Nauvoo and stopped overnight at the Mansion House. I was introduced to Emma Smith and her children by major Biddamon, a gentleman she married after the Prophet Joseph's death. Our trip was made very pleasant and instructive through the kindness of Mr. Biddamon, who took us in his carriage and showed us the residences of Brigham Young and several of the Twelve Apostles and also Joseph's farm. The temple was burned, but part of the walls were standing and we were much interested even in the ruins.

I arrived in Salt Lake City, 16 October 1853, in Appleton Harmon's ox-train, a green boy. I was seven months on my journey and traveled from the Mississippi River and drove an ox team the entire distance, walking and fording rivers and streams. The Lord blessed me with good health by land and by sea, for which I was thankful.

On my arrival I went to work making a road in City Creek Canyon for President Brigham Young. I worked for them about three weeks and then went to work in the quarry at the mouth of Red Butte Canyon. We were getting rock for the wall around the Temple Block. I worked all winter and in summer following 1854 I had saved $200 which I turned to the emigration fund, and through the kindness of President Young sent for my brothers and sisters, my grandmother and uncle and aunt and gave my note for the balance of their emigration indebtedness, myself and brother Charles and Archibald settling the indebtedness sometime after their arrival.

On June 7, 1854, I was married to Miss Agnes Widdison by Bishop John Lythle of the Seventh Ward. I built my first home, an adobe room with a dirt roof, in the summer of 1855, and lived in it in an unfinished condition the following winter. In the year 1857, my wife, Agnes and myself received our endowments and were married for time and eternity in the New Endowment House.

On the 24th of July we were up at the Head of Big cottonwood Canyon when A. C. Smoot, Judson Stoddard and O. P. Rockwell arrived with the tidings of the start of Johnston's Army. President Young called the people together and told them not to be alarmed, that God was our Friend. In the summer of this year the Militia was called out. I was among the number and stayed in the mountains until winter set in, about December 2nd. In the spring following my time was occupied in moving the Church Property south to Provo with a crowd of men under the direction of Bishop Sharp. I helped make a road in Provo Canyon. There was some heavy rock work on the job. After the troops had arrived and were located at Camp Floyd, my brother Charles and myself took a contract to get out and pile cord wood for the troops.

Later in the fall and winter I took a contract from Woodmansee Brothers to build a wagon road in American Fork Canyon, where they build a sawmill. From that time until 1860 I was called to take a few men and start getting granite for the Temple from the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon. We worked a few months every fall until 1865, when work was commenced to build a canal to ship the granite for the Temple. In that summer I made two trips to Montana, then known as Bannock Country. I had charge of 24 wagons loaded with flour and butter and made two successful trips, in the latter part of October 1863. After the arrival of General Connor's Troops and their location at Camp Douglas, it was deemed advisable to have a man that could go into their quarters at any time night or day and become acquainted with the officers and men, that we might know of their plans, etc., for at that time there was bitter feeling manifested by both officers and privates against Brigham Young and our leaders, and a great many threats were made against them. A number of the Bishops and leading number of the city were invited to select a man they thought suitable for such a mission. Bishop Sharp invited Captain Burt and myself to attend, also conferred with us in regard to the object of the meeting, and agreed to present the name of Jason Lucre, which he did. There were quite a number of names presented. President Young listened attentively and asked a great many questions. After hearing all the brethren had to say, remarked in substance as follows: "Brethren, I do not think you have mentioned the right man," and described the kind of man wanted. He then walked over to where I was sitting between Bishop Sharp and Captain Burt, and placed his hand on my shoulders, saying, "Here is a man to perform that mission." I was then set apart by President Young, and Wells, and Bishop Sharp, and was blessed of the Lord and performed all the duties that were required of me to the entire satisfaction of my brethren over me in the Priesthood.

In the year 1862 I entered into the Holy Order of Plural Marriage by marrying Miss Hannah Widdison, sister of my wife Agnes. In the year 1867, my two wives, Hannah and Agnes, with me, received our Second Endowments in the Endowment House, president Wells and Joseph F. Smith officiating.

In the year 1868, I went with about one hundred men and started grading for the Union Pacific Railroad at Devil's Gate in Weber Canyon. Under the direction of Bishop Sharp I organized four camps between Strawberry ford and the mouth of Weber Canyon. After getting them started I was again called to go to Lost Creek and start work on the two tunnels near that point. We finished up the work to the mouth of Weber Canyon in February 1869. I again took about three hundred men to the Promontory on a heavy rock contract for Bishop Sharp, and was very successful at that place in our labors. I used about eight tons of nitroglycerin, handled and exploded it myself, individually. Also at this place I had the misfortune to have my right hand and arm badly shattered by a blast, and one year later had it amputated. In the year 1870 I was again called by President Young to take a few men and start getting rock for the Temple, and from that time until the capstone was quarried I was in full control of the Salt Lake Temple Quarry. While quarrying rock for the Temple we had a beautiful camp, made so by the workmen at the quarry. A great many of the leading brethren of the Church had summer quarters built and their families occupied them in the hot season. Thus I had the privilege of becoming intimately acquainted with these brethren and their families, and enjoying their society, which I appreciated very much.

I may also state that I was sworn in as a special policeman, along with one hundred more in the fall of 1858, and covenanted to serve as long as I was needed. I served for thirty-five years without any remuneration, or until the death of Captain Burt. I also served as Deputy Sheriff of Salt Lake County under Robert J. Burton, R. J. Golding, Stephen Taylor, Theodore McKean, and A. J. Burt, and also served in a number of cases as Deputy Territorial Marshall under John D. J. McCallester and also on three different occasions as Deputy U.S. Marshall in assisting to arrest desperadoes and escaped convicts. I also served in the Nauvoo Legion from my arrival in the country until it was disorganized, and had the rank of Sergeant, First Lieutenant, and at the time it was disbanded, I was Captain of Company A, third Regiment, Nauvoo Legion.

I was ordained an Elder by J. N. Long in 1856. I was ordained a Seventy by J. W. Hinteman in the year 1857. I was also ordained a High Priest by A. H. Lund in 1901. I was ordained a Patriarch by George Teasdale in 1902. I married Miss Ann Muir in the Holy Order of Plural Marriage, 6 January 1873. I was clerk of the 18th Quorum of Seventies for twelve years and one of the presidents of the Quorum for 10 years. I was always on hand night and day to defend the interests of Zion, and at this late day when life's battles are nearly over, I am pleased to know that I still retain the confidence of the Leaders of Israel.

Notes and References

  1. On the S. S. "Falcon", that sailed March 28.1853, A. T. Wade, Captain, James Livingston, 19 years of age, was one of the passengers. Emigration Record #1044. page 154. S. S. "Falcon"

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This page has been accessed 4,089 times. This page was last modified on 12 June 2012, at 00:52.


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