Volume 3 Chapter 4

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Chapter 4

Selection Of Lands In Caldwell And Daviess Counties For Settlement—Adam-Ondi-Ahman.

The Prophet Leaves Far West to Locate Settlements.

Friday, May 18.—I left Far West, in company with Sidney Rigdon, Thomas B. Marsh, David W. Patten, Bishop Partridge, Elias Higbee, Simeon Carter, Alanson Ripley, and many others, for the purpose of visiting the north country, and laying off a stake of Zion; making locations, and laying claim to lands to facilitate the gathering of the Saints, and for the benefit of the poor, in upholding the Church of God. We traveled to the mouth of Honey Creek, which is a tributary of Grand river, where we camped for the night. We passed through a beautiful country the greater part of which is prairie, and thickly covered with grass and weeds, among which is plenty of game, such as deer, turkey, and prairie hen. We discovered a large, black wolf, and my dog gave him chase, but he outran us. We have nothing to fear in camping out, except the rattlesnake, which is native to this country, though not very numerous. We turned our horses loose, and let them feed on the prairie.

The Prophet and Party Reach Tower Hill.

Saturday, 19.—This morning we struck our tents and formed a line of march, crossing Grand River at the mouth of Honey Creek and Nelson’s Ferry. Grand River is a large, beautiful, deep and rapid stream, during the high waters of Spring, and will undoubtedly admit of navigation by steamboat and other water craft. At the mouth of Honey Creek is a good landing. We pursued our course up the river, mostly through timber, for about eighteen miles, when we arrived at Colonel Lyman Wight’s home. He lives at the foot of Tower Hill (a name I gave the place in consequence of the remains of an old Nephite altar or tower that stood there), where we camped for the Sabbath.

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In the afternoon I went up the river about half a mile to Wight’s Ferry, accompanied by President Rigdon, and my clerk, George W. Robinson, for the purpose of selecting and laying claim to a city plat near said ferry in Daviess County, township 60, ranges 27 and 28, and sections 25, 36, 31, and 30, which the brethren called “Spring Hill,” but by the mouth of the Lord it was named Adam-ondi-Ahman, 1 because, said He, it is the place where Adam shall come to visit his people, or the Ancient of Days shall sit, as spoken of by Daniel the Prophet. 2

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Sunday, 20.—This day was spent by our company principally at Adam-ondi-Ahman; but near the close of the day, we struck our tents, and traveled about six miles north and encamped for the night with Judge Morin and company, who were also traveling north.

Monday, 21.—This morning, after making some locations in this place, which is in township 61, ranges 27 and 28, we returned to Robinson’s Grove, about two miles, to secure some land near Grand River, which we passed the day previous; and finding a mistake in the former survey, I sent the surveyor south five or six miles to obtain a correct line, while some of us tarried to obtain water for the camp.

Council called to determine Location of Settlements.

In the evening, I called a council of the brethren, to know whether it was wisdom to go immediately into the north country, or tarry here and here abouts, to secure land on Grand River, etc. The brethren spoke their minds freely on the subject, when I stated to the council that I felt impressed to tarry and secure all the land near by, that is not secured between this and Far West, especially on Grand River. President Rigdon concurred, and the council voted unanimously to secure the land on Grand River, and between this and Far West.

Elders Kimball and Hyde this day (21st May) arrived at Kirtland from England.

American Antiquities Discovered.

Tuesday, 22.—President Rigdon went east with a company, and selected some of the best locations in the county, 3 and returned with a good report of that vicinity, and with information of valuable locations which might be secured. Following awhile the course of the company, I returned to camp in Robinson’s Grove, and thence went west to obtain some game to supply our necessities. We discovered some antiquities about one mile west of the camp, consisting of stone mounds, apparently erected in square piles, though somewhat decayed and obliterated by the weather of many years. These mounds were probably erected by the aborigines of the land, to secrete treasures. We returned without game.

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Varied Movements of the Prophet’s Company.

Wednesday, 23.—We all traveled east, locating lands, to secure a claim, on Grove Creek, and near the City of Adam-ondi-Ahman. Towards evening I accompanied Elder Rigdon to Colonel Wight’s, and the remainder of the company returned to their tents.

Thursday, 24.—This morning the company returned to Grove Creek to finish the survey, accompanied by President Rigdon and Colonel Wight, and I returned to Far West.

Friday, 25.—The company went up Grand River and made some locations. In the afternoon they struck their tents and removed to Colonel Wight’s.

Saturday, 26.—The company surveyed lands on the other side of the river opposite Adam-ondi-Ahman.

Sunday, 27.—The company locating lands spent the day at Colonel Wight’s.

Monday, 28.—The company started for home (Far West), and I left Far West the same day in company with Brother Hyrum Smith and fifteen or twenty others, to seek locations in the north, and about noon we met President Rigdon and his company going into the city, where they arrived the same evening.

Birth of Alexander Hale Smith.

President Hyrum Smith returned to Far West on the 30th, and I returned on the 1st of June, on account of my family, for I had a son born unto me. 4

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The Prophet’s Return to Adam-ondi-Ahman.

Monday, June 4.—I left Far West with President Rigdon, my brother Hyrum and others for Adam-ondi-Ahman, and stayed at Brother Moses Dailey’s over night; and on the morning of the 5th, went to Colonel Lyman Wight’s in the rain. We continued surveying, building houses, day after day, for many days, until the surveyor had completed the city plat.

Monday, June 11.—President Joseph Fielding was married to Hannah Greenwood, Preston, England.

June 16.—My uncle, John Smith, and family, with six other families, arrived in Far West, all in good health and spirits. I counseled them to settle at Adam-ondi-Ahman.

Minutes of the Meeting which Organized the Stake of Zion called Adam-ondi-Ahman.

Adam-ondi-Ahman, Missouri, Daviess county, June 28, 1838. A conference of Elders and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was held in this place this day, for the purpose of organizing this Stake of Zion, called Adam-ondi-Ahman.

The meeting convened at 10 o’clock a. m., in the grove near the house of Elder Lyman Wight.

President Joseph Smith, Jun., was called to the chair. He explained the object of the meeting, which was to organize a Presidency and High Council to preside over this Stake of Zion, and attend to the affairs of the Church in Daviess county.

It was then moved, seconded and carried by the unanimous voice of the assembly, that John Smith 5 should act as President of the Stake of Adam-ondi-Ahman.

Reynolds Cahoon was unanimously chosen first counselor, and Lyman Wight second counselor.

After prayer the presidents ordained Elder Wight as second counselor.

Vinson Knight was chosen acting Bishop pro tempore by the unanimous voice of the assembly.

President John Smith then proceeded to organize the High Council. The councilors were chosen according to the following order, by a unanimous vote: John Lemon, first; Daniel Stanton, second; Mayhew Hillman, third; Daniel Carter, fourth; Isaac Perry, fifth; Harrison Sagers, sixth; Alanson Brown, seventh; Thomas Gordon, eighth; Lorenzo D. Barnes, ninth; George A. Smith, tenth; Harvey Olmstead, eleventh; Ezra Thayer, twelfth.

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After the ordination of the councilors who had not previously been ordained to the High Priesthood, President Joseph Smith, Jun., made remarks by way of charge to the presidents and counselors, instructing them in the duties of their callings, and the responsibility of their stations, exhorting them to be cautious and deliberate in all their councils, and be careful and act in righteousness in all things.

President John Smith, Reynolds Cahoon, and Lyman Wight then made some remarks.

Lorenzo D. Barnes was unanimously chosen clerk of this Council and Stake. After singing the well known hymn, Adam-ondi-Ahman, the meeting closed by prayer by President Cahoon, and a benediction by President Joseph Smith, Jun.

Lorenzo D. Barnes,

Isaac Perry, Clerks.

Description of Adam-ondi-Ahman.

Adam-ondi-Ahman is located immediately on the north side of Grand River, in Daviess county, Missouri, about twenty-five miles north of Far West. It is situated on an elevated spot of ground, which renders the place as healthful as any part of the United States, and overlooking the river and the country round about, it is certainly a beautiful location. 6

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June 28.—This day Victoria was crowned queen of England.

Chapter 4 Notes

1. See D&C 116. This is not the first time that the name or phrase “Adam-ondi-Aham” is used in the revelations of the Lord. Some six years before this, viz., in the year 1832, it is used incidentally in one of the revelations where the Lord in addressing a number of the brethren who had been ordained to the High Priesthood, said that notwithstanding the tribulations through which they should pass, He had so ordered events that they might come unto the crown prepared for them, “and be made rulers over many kingdoms, saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Zion, who hath established the foundations of Adam-ondi-Ahman” (D&C 78:15). Some years afterwards, viz., in 1835, W. W. Phelps composed his beautiful hymn bearing the name of Adam-ondi-Ahman, which was first published in the Messenger and Advocate (No. 9, vol. I); see also History of the Church, Vol. 2, p 365.

This hymn was a great favorite among the early Saints, although they, perhaps, did not understand at that time the significance of the name, nor even now do they understand its full significance. All that is known of its meaning is what the Lord revealed to the Prophet, viz., that it is significant of the fact that it designates the place where the Lord will come and meet with His people as described by Daniel the Prophet.

2. Daniel’s description of the events here referred to is found in the 7th chapter of his prophecies. The description is very imposing, hence I quote it: “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of Days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. * * * * * * I saw in the might visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him near before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”

The prophet Daniel also saw in this connection that earthly powers would make war upon thy Saints and prevail against them—until the Ancient of Days should come. “And (then) the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the Saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.”

3. This most likely was Livingstone county, which borders both Daviess and Caldwell counties on the east.

4. The birth of the son took place on the 2nd of June. It was Alexander Hale Smith.

5. The Prophet’s uncle, who had but recently arrived at “Diahman.’

6. Perhaps the following more detailed description of Adam-ondi-Ahman, as also the allusion to at least one stirring event which occurred there in the past, may not be without interest: Adam-ondi-Ahman, or “Diahman,” as it is familiarly known to the Saints, is located on the north bank of Grand River. It is situated, in fact, in a sharp bend of that stream. The river comes sweeping down from the northwest and here makes a sudden turn and runs in a meandering course to the northeast for some two or three miles, when it as suddenly makes another bend and flows again to the southeast. Grand River is a stream that has worn a deep channel for itself, and left its banks precipitous; but at “Diahman” that is only true of the south bank. The stream as it rushes from the northwest, strikes the high prairie land which at this point contains beds of limestone, and not being able to cut its way through, it veered off to the northeast, and left that height of land standing like palisades which rise very abruptly from the stream to a height of from fifty to seventy-five feet. The summit of these bluffs is the common level of the high rolling prairie, extending off in the direction of Far West. The bluffs on the north bank recede some distance from the stream, so that the river bottom at this point widens out to a small valley. The bluffs on the north bank of the river are by no means as steep as those on the south, and are covered with a light growth of timber. A ridge runs out from the main line of the bluffs into the river bottom some two or three hundred yards, approaching the stream at the point where the bend of the river is made. The termination of the bluff is quite abrupt, and overlooks a considerable portion of the river bottom. On the brow of the bluff stood the old stone altar, and near the foot of it was built the house of Lyman Wight. When the altar was first discovered, according to those who visited it frequently, it was about sixteen feet long, by nine or ten feet wide, having its greatest extent north and south. The height of the altar at each end was some two and a half feet, gradually rising higher to the center, which was between four and five feet high—the whole surface being crowning. Such was the altar at “Diahman” when the Prophet’s party visited it. Now, however, it is thrown down, and nothing but a mound of crumbling stones mixed with soil, and a few reddish boulders mark the spot which is doubtless rich in historic events. It was at this altar, according to the testimony of Joseph Smith, that the patriarchs associated with Adam and his company, assembled to worship their God. Here their evening and morning prayer ascended to heaven with the smoke of the burning sacrifice, prophetic and symbolic of the greater sacrifice then yet to be, and here angels instructed them in heavenly truths.

North of the ridge on which the ruins of the altar were found, and running parallel with it, is another ridge, separated from the first by a depression varying in width from fifty to a hundred yards. This small valley with the larger one through which flows Grand River, is the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman. Three years previous to the death of Adam, declares one of the Prophet Joseph’s revelations, the Patriarchs Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, and Methuselah, together with all their righteous posterity, were assembled in this valley we have described, and their common father, Adam, gave them his last blessing. And even as he blessed them, the heavens were opened, and the Lord appeared, and in the presence of God, the children or Adam arose and blessed him, and called him Michael, the Prince, the Archangel. The Lord also blessed Adam, saying: “I have set thee to be the head—a multitude of nations shall come of thee, and thou art a prince over them for ever.” So great was the influence of this double blessing upon Adam, that, though bowed down with age, under the outpouring of the Spirit of God, he predicted what should befall his posterity to their latest generation (D&C 107). Such is one of the great events which occurred on this old historic land of Adam-ondi-Ahman.