Luther Reed

Written in 1953 by his granddaughters, Elizabeth P. Astle and Mary P. Stucki.

In the little town of Lexington, Massachusetts lived four brothers who answered the call, the call to arms and participated under the orders of Captain Parker in that famous "Lexington Fight". They were William, Nathaniel, Thaddeus and Josiah Reed, sons of William Reed, a Harvard graduate, and Abigail Stone, who were descendants of a long line of early Colonial ancestors. Records state that these brave men participated in battles and skirmishes of the Revolutionary War.

At the close of this struggle many of the participants sought to forget the unpleasantness by moving away to new locations where forests and virgin soil offered unlimited opportunities. Nathaniel Reed moved to Jaffery, New Hampshire where we find him owning two cows, two acres of moxing, three acres of pasture, and twenty-vie acres of woodland. Here he raised a large family of thirteen children by his wife, Hepsibah Bateman, whom he married 25 July 1771, in Bedford, Massachusetts. The names of their children were: Nathaniel, Hepsibah, John, Beulah, Jonas, Abigail, Asa, Polly, Josiah, Anna, Esther, Amasa, and Luter, the youngest born 11 August 1797, who was our grandfather.

Little is known of Luther's childhood days, but we do know that he became a cabinet maker, a cooper and a millwright by trade. He married Charity Buell, a daughter of Aaron Buell and Mabel Nettleton, from the nearby town of New Port, New Hampshire, 20 November 1825, where their three baby daughters were born. Charity in 1827; Elizabeth in 1830; and Lucy in 1831, who all died in infancy.

New Port is located about thirty-five miles from Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont, where the Prophet Joseph Smith was born in 1805. There must have been excitement in that locality when soon after the organization of the Church in 1830 the missionaries came preaching the restored Gospel brought forth by a humble youth born almost at their door. The Smith family lived for a short time at Lebanon, New Hampshire, only ten miles from New Port.

We have no record of Luther's activities between 1831 and November 7, 1841, when he was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Eli Magim. After joining the Church he gathered with the Saints at Nauvoo; they labored with might and main to build that beautiful city. Being so skilled in the art of woodwork, his services proved invaluable in the building of the Temple.

Charity was an expert needlewoman and used her skill to fashion all kinds of clothing, many articles of handwork and quilts worked in intricate designs. These articles sold at a good price and helped with the living expenses while Luther gave his time in laboring to complete the Temple. She also contributed generously to the Temple fund and assisted the other women in sewing for the poor and making warm clothing for the brethren who worked on the Temple. Her services were much in demand in the making of temple clothing. As children we remember a beautiful temple apron she had made, displaying perfect workmanship.

Luther did baptismal work for dead relatives at Nauvoo [as found in the Nauvoo Temple records]. He and his wife received Patriarchal Blessings at the hands of Patriarch Hyrum Smith, 30 January 1844 in Nauvoo, a few months before the martyrdom of Hyrum and the Prophet.

Luther was ordained a Seventy about 31 August 1845 in Nauvoo, at age forty-seven and belonged to the Thirtieth Quorum of Seventy. His residence as given as New Hampshire and Iowa [p. 119 Book B, General Record of Seventies]. Joseph Young was Senior resident of the First Quorum of Seventy 31 August 1845.

Luther and Charity were sealed in the Nauvoo Temple 31 January 1846, a few weeks before the exodus of the Saints from their beloved city. With the thousands of other Saints they were forced to leave their homes and everything they could not take with them and flee for their lives.

The next recording is of Charity's death, which occurred 3 December 1849 in new Port, New Hampshire, her home town. Luther was ordained a High Priest at Kanesville, Illinois 1851/52 by J.C. Little and E. M. Green [R. p. 28 also 186]. We have little personal information as to their activities during this trying period.

Among his treasures we found a small daily diary of John Grover, [who was a traveling companion of Luther Reed and who was born 2 May 1805]. He left Farming, Fulton County, Illinois 2 May 1852 for California in company with James Blood. From this diary we have taken the following items of interest: It took twenty-six days to travel by ox team from Farmington, Illinois to Kanesville (Council Bluffs) Iowa. They camped the first night at Woodville, and proceeded on their way crossing the Mississippi River at Fort Madison and thence to Centerville, Iowa. On the 12th they camped at Farmington on the Des Moines River. On the 16th they camped on Soap Creek, Appanoose County; then to Serhidan Point, and on near Mt. Pisgah on the Grand River. The next point of interest was an Indian town and they crossed the Nodaway River. From there they soon reached Kanesville, probably the next day, and camped on the Missouri River bottoms May 28th.

At this point they merged with the 20th Company of Latter-day Saint Emigration Train, Henry W. Miller, Captain and Daniel McIntosh, Secretary. They traveled in companies of ten family groups, with under captains at the head of each. Luther traveled in the second ten with Jonathan Browning as under captain. His family was listed as having two men, one woman; and his property as one wagon and five head of cattle. This was a very large company, comprised of sixty-three men, fifty-eight women, one hundred eight children, sixty-three wagons, twenty-seven horses and 390 head of cattle, oxen and cows.

From the Journal of History we learn that "the emigration of Latter-day Saints that year [1852] across the plains was larger than any preceding year owing to the fact that those saints who had made for themselves temporary homes in Pottawattamie County, Iowa had been counseled by President Brigham Young to emigrate to the valley of the mountains. As the majority of the Saints complied with the council given, all the branches of the Pottawattamie County (between 30 and 40 in number) were discontinued and the membership of these branches constituted an important part of the emigration that year. The emigration from Great Britain was also a large one that season and even a number of Saints who had spent a year or more in St. Louis, Missouri crossed the plains in 1852, making their way to the valley. Some of the Saints, who for various reasons could not get ready for crossing in 1852, went to the valley in following years, but a few who refused to comply with the counsel of the authorities of the Church made themselves permanent homes in Pottawattamie County and some of them subsequently identified themselves with apostate organizations or side tracked Mormonism altogether."

Sometime previous to the beginning of the trek westward, Luther married his second wife, Clarissa Caulkins, daughter of William Caulkins and Catherine, who was born 16 July 1806 at Lampster, Cheshire County, New Hampshire. She was very loyal to the Church and prove to be a helpful companion and a true pioneer.

They had various experiences along the way. Some were new and thrilling while others were very hard and trying. At Council Bluffs they seemed to feel they were witnessing some kind of ancient ruins. At one place in Nebraska they heard the guns at Camp Kearney in the distance in the early morning. After following the Platt River to a place opposite Laramie Point, while trying to ford the stream to camp at night, a friend Alexander Nicholson was drowned. The body was recovered by another company several miles down stream and buried there.

They were often forced to camp without either grass or water for their animals, or drive several miles off the road into the mountains to obtain these necessities. They were thrilled with the grandeur of the scenery. When they reached Independence Rock they ascended it and found hundred of names carved and painted on it. They added their own. When Devil's Gate was reached they were amazed at the sight. They had passed two hundred and seventy-one graves from Council Bluffs to Devil's Gate; twenty in a distance of forty-five miles. They often saw the grave of some dear friend or neighbor who had gone ahead in a previous company.

How thrilled they were when they realized they were nearing Great Salt Lake Valley, and were traveling down Emigration Canyon with walls on either side 1000 feet high! They drove down within six miles of the city and camped, 1031 miles from Council Bluffs. They next day they went into town and ate the first meal of vegetables since leaving Illinois four months before, 2 May 1852. The date of their arrival, as stated in the John Grover diary, was 14 August 1852. The arrival of Henry W. Miller Company was published in the Deseret News, 18 September 1852. They were very favorably impressed with the beauty of the valley, the abundance of sparkling water, and the activities of the city.

Grandfather Reed settled in Mill Creek where the procured work from Mr. John Neff and Mr. Archibald Gardner at their flour and lumber mills. The first winter they built a mill and did logging in Millcreek Canyon. The snow was so deep in the canyon Grandfather was obliged to move his wife Clarissa down to town on the 15th of December. Snow slides became frequent and extremely dangerous.

They lived in Millcreek five years or more and were members of that ward. Clarissa was a true Latter-day Saint and an ardent Church worker. Her Patriarchal blessing dated 20 August 1855 at Great Salt Lake City was given by Isaac Morley. Members of the family treasure a book of LDS Hymns printed in 1844 and an 1831 of a Howard Malcolm, A.M. Bible

Dictionary, which was owned by her father and given to her by him 18 May 1834. Family tradition tells us she was an accomplished seamstress and homemaker. Judging from the items included in the "store lists" her husband was to buy when going to town, she possessed a good education for the times. She died 4 February 1857 in Millcreek and was buried there.

Figuring prominently among their friends in Millcreek, was the George B. Bailey family. Being very lonely after Clarissa's death, Luther was frequently invited to their home where he met Mr. Bailey's mother, Ann Smith Bailey, and his sister, Elizabeth Sophia, who had emigrated from England and crossed the plains in 1855. A natural feeling of sympathy and later a mutual attraction brought about the marriage of Luther and Elizabeth Sophia on 23 April 1857. Bishop Reuben Miller performed the ceremony at Millcreek Ward.

Very soon after their marriage they moved to Tooele, which promised to be a good place to build for the future. Luther built a mill, planted a crop and they were happy to begin planning anew. The next year, 10 February 1858 a son was born to them. They named him Luther Bailey Reed. A branch of the Church had been previously organized with John Roberry as presiding elder. Things were beginning to look encouraging, but on March 1, 1958 they received word that Johnston's Army was forcing its way into Utah and President Brigham Young called all the older men to take the women and children and move southward for protection, as all the young men had been organized into an army and sent to Echo and points eastward ready to resist expected hostilities. Obeying counsel, the Reeds moved as far south as Goshen, where they joined the ward and set about helping in every way possible to care for those in need.

Buy July 1858 the expected trouble had been cleared away. Johnston's Army had marched through the city but on friendly terms and become quite amicable, thereby eliminating serious trouble and President Young advised the people to return to their homes.

The Reeds were satisfied with the south climate, and so moved to Spanish Fork and settled there, erected a cabin and obtained land, planning to work out a livelihood. Ann Smith Bailey, Elizabeth's mother had also moved to Spanish Fork during the Johnston's Army episode, so they were able to work together for advancement in establishing their homes. On March 28, 1806 a daughter, Ann Maria, was born and life seemed very pleasant and satisfying. During the five years that elapsed with the Reeds were in Spanish Fork they accumulated a goodly amount of land and livestock.

In the early spring of 1863 President Brigham Young called Luther to a company to colonize the Bear Lake Valley. Although this was recognized as a splendid opportunity, to Luther it was a real test of character and a challenge to his faith and integrity; for he was now sixty-six years of age. The strenuous pioneer activities were exacting their toll, and he had a wife and two small children to provide for. But with his usual trust in God and obedience to authority, he responded and plans were made for his departure. He could not take his family, but would return for them later after establishing a home for them. For safety it was decided that Elizabeth and her mother would live together, sharing labor and expense of the home.

Luther sold his farm to Stephen Markham and rigged up three wagons loaded with grain and supplies, three ox teams, and a goodly number of loose animals which were driven before him. Thus equipped he formed part of the Charles C. Rich Company which built the roads and paved the way for the main body to follow later. In this vanguard section, and closely associated with Luther, were Peter Greenhalgh, N.C. Nelson, Samuel Payne, Warren Campbell, and a Mr. Chidester, along with others. They camped at Liberty 12 May 1863. (The above names and date of arrival were given to Mary P. Stucki by James Nelson of Bloomington, Idaho, son of N.D. Nelson.)

The following description of James Nicholson, written six years later to the Deseret News, helps us to understand some of the hardships encountered by this company.

Monday, 6 December 1869.

"On the journey by what is called the Northern or Cache Valley Road, there is much in the scenery to gratify the admirer of the grand and sublime in nature. Shortly after leaving Franklin the traveler enters a country of undulating slopes and rolling hills that stretch away all around as far as the rising ground will permit the eye to reach. On the way meandering mountain rivulets, fringed with fresh verdure and clumps of willows and brush, help to relieve the monotony of the scene which appears as if a turbulent sea of huge waves had been transfixed by some great unseen power.

"About twenty-five miles north of Franklin the traveler has to climb the side of a high mountain; as the mountain is approached and the road is seen winding up to its summit, it appears it would be next to impossible for a team, even with an empty vehicle, to make the assent; but like the hills and difficulties of life, the obstacle appears of the greatest magnitude when viewed from a distance. As the top of the assent is neared the surrounding scenery becomes more grand and wild. But who can gaze unmoved on such sublime pictures is to be pitied. Mountains around, above, and below, covered here and there with tall pines, gnarled without, and fallen trees, and away beneath the deep dark ravine and the little mountain stream winding its way like a little tiny thread. At last the summit is gained and the traveler enters North Creek Canyon, the sloping sides of which are covered with excellent timber.

"On emerging from the canyon the first glimpse is caught of Bear Lake Valley. On proceeding southward the scene widens and expands until the traveler finds himself in one of the most beautiful and picturesque valleys in Idaho Territory. The first settlement approached is Liberty. This is a small but thrifty places and possesses inducements for new comers in the shape of some available and yet unclaimed farm lands. About seven miles farther on Paris is entered. This is the headquarters of Rich County. It is the largest settlement in Bear Lake Valley, and is situated on the northwest side. Were it not for the rolling and uneven nature of the ground upon which it is built the situation might be considered exceptionally pleasant."

The main body of the Charles C. Rich Company arrived in Paris 18 September 1863. In the meantime Luther and his group arrived four months earlier, proceeded to what is now Paris, Idaho and on the south along the west shore of Bear Lake, marking out camp sites, places suitable for towns, etc. They found several groups of Indians, some of whom were friendly. The streams and lake abounded with fish. Deer, elk and all kinds of game were plentiful at that time. Brown bears were frequently seen feasting on berries growing along the way.

Luther was looking for a suitable place where he could operate a sawmill and also have a farm and animals. At Big Spring, in Round Valley he found what he thought to be the ideal setting. His son, Luther Bailey Reed described it in these words:

"Father and his companions arrived in Round Valley, that same summer of 1863. They succeeded in getting out timber and building a dam at Big Spring of poles, brush and dirt. The next spring they made a canal on the Meadowville side, down about one hundred yards, and during the summer they built a sawmill. A.O. Williams was a millwright and so was hired to run the mill while Luther brought out timber from the mountains. Other who helped were George Carr from Ogden and Robert Price of Paris. The next year the home was built.

"The Indians became so menacing the settlers were advised to move into Laketown, then called 'Last Chance.' A year later it was called 'Ethica,' by which it was known for about two years, and then the name was changed to Laketown. A log fort was erected on the public square for protection against the Indians. At first the homes were built along the creek so as to be near the water.

"The Reed home was a rather trim log cabin located on the lot south of the public square on what was known later as the Thompson place. It was supplied with real glass windows, a smoothly planed wood floor, and the window and door frames were painted bright green, as well as the door. It presented quite an appearance, being very unusual for those times and caused much comment. Robert Price (later a bishop in Paris) did the painting. This building was made possible by the use of the money Luther had brought with him from Spanish Fork, from the sale of his property there. It was in sharp contrast to the ordinary log cabin in those days which often had a dirt floor, or at best, one made of rough lumber, and makeshift windows. About half way along the block to the east was located the Reed granary. Outside on the south side of this building was a stairway to the upper room, which was used for all ward gatherings until the old log meeting house was built on the sight which is now occupied by the Laketown Chapel."

The following is quoted from Church Historian Andrew Jansen's writing on Round Valley.

"The history of Laketown commenced in reality with the settling of Round Valley, which took place in 1864, in a locality subsequently known as Chimneytown, a short distance north of where Meadowville now stands. The first location bing deemed unsuitable, the settlers changed their location to the south end of Round Valley. One of their locations became known as Sly Go, another as Pottawattamie, and a third known as Mudtown. The first location, Chimneytown, was abandoned in the summer of 1865, after which most of the settlers moved to what became known as Mudtown between the spring and where Meadowville now stands. At this place Joseph W. Moore was appointed presiding elder. A townsite was surveyed at Mudtown where about a dozen log cabins were built. Amoung the settlers were Ephriam Watson, Joseph Moore, Robert Beers, William Busby, John Oldfield, George W. Braffit, George W. Rusesell, Zacharias Anderson, John C. Morley, William Morley, and others.

"There were no changes during the year of 1865, but in 1866 the families of the settlers of Round Valley moved to St. Charles on account of Indian troubles, but the men returned and attended to their crops. Some of the families returned in the fall of 1866 and spent the following winter by the spring at Sly Go and Chimneytown. Among these familes were Luther Reed, George W. Russell, George W. Braffit, John C. Morley, who spent the winter at Sly Go. William Busby, Ephriam Watson and others wintered at Chimneytown.

"In the spring of 1867 Laketown was settled principally by former inhabitants of Round Valley. A fort was surveyed and commenced that spring to prevent attacks by the Indians. As the Indians did not like to see a fort built, they sent a deputation to President Brigham Young in Salt Lake City which resulted in a treaty being made permitting the settlers to return. A few houses were built in the fort but no families were located there. In the fall of 1867 Ephriam Watson, George Braffit, George Bartlett, James Allen, and one or two other men with their families moved to the present location of Laketown and spent the following winter, 1867-68. A townsite had been surveyed that year by Joseph C. Rich. Among the first settlers who moved onto the townsite were Luther Reed, George Edwin Lamborn, and others. The first house on the townsite was moved from Mudtown in Round Valley. During the first winter of 1867-68 there was no Church organization, but at Sly Go by the spring in Round Valley a kind of ecclesiastical organization existed and meeting were held under the direction of John Oldfield.

"In the spring of 1868 and number of the new settlers arrived in Laketown and that spring also Sly Go was vacated and the people moved to Laketown. For a year at least after that Round Valley was entirely vacated by white settlers. John Oldfield who had already taken charge at Sly Go was appointed as presiding officer at Laketown."

Answering a call from Church authorities in 1868 Luther removed to Bloomington, Idaho where he built a sawmill at the mouth of the canyon, erected a modest home near town, and was active in Church and civic affairs. He became a director and shareholder in the Bloomington branch of Z. C. M. I., commonly known as the Bloomington Co-op. with the help of his family he successfully managed his small farm, a few animals and the mill which returned a modest living. In the winter the children attended the town school. They all enjoyed their friends and neighbors as well as Church activities and were comfortable in their new location.

Spring was late in 1871. Luther found it difficult to keep the mill operating because of cold weather and late snow storms. About the middle of April while clearing the ice away from the drive-wheel he accidentally fell into the mill race. He was obliged to walk some distance to his home in his wet clothing in a cold wind. This extreme exposure resulted in a case of pneumonia from which he never recovered. He passed away 23 April 1871, on his fourteenth wedding anniversary.

His death was a severe shock to his family and friends. It seemed to Elizabeth that he was called away just when they needed him most.

As no personal description of Luther as been given in this writing we add the following: at maturity Luther was tall, six feet two in his stocking feet, of sturdy, athletic physique, with black hair and flashing blue-gray eyes which revealed his alertness of mind and strength of character. He was blessed with unusually good health and ability to adapt to new conditions and to carry forward under stress and strain. He had a common school education supplemented by study and by faith. He loved people and believed in them. He was an excellent penman.

He was buried in Bloomington cemetery. For the want of a better marker Elizabeth placed a large white flat rock at the head of his grave, which remained there for 78 years, when his grand children replaced it with a personalized marker of gray granite, with dedicatory services held 21 June 1947. The dedicatory prayer was offered by J. Wendell Stucki.