PDF version with original letter


October 20, 1950

Mr. George L Higginson
Santaquin, Utah

Dear Brother Higginson:

Thank for your note, which came some time ago.

I am enclosing herewith some excerpts from an article or history written by George B. Higginson back in 1892, which I am sure you will find of interest.

I have the original written by George B. Higginson’s handwriting which I had hoped to turn over to the Historians Office, and some time when you are in Salt Lake you will probably be interested in looking it through and reading it in full.

When you advised that you can find no records or papers I remember now that in this statement he said he had to destroy his records in order to protect Brother Parley P. Pratt.

We hope this statement will be of interest to you.

With kind wishes.

Signed by Spencer W. Kimball

Last page of a letter written to Andrew Kimball by George B. Higginson –

In the early part of March, I in connection with some native Elders and sisters, started up the Verdigree one Saturday. I was going to preach a funeral sermon on the death of a brother named Prince Perryman. They went with me to hear and for company. About noon or after we came to a pretty little spring creek, with plenty of pretty shade trees and an abundance of fine green grass, so we concluded to stop and turn our horses to feed and take a lunch of jerked beef and venison and biscuits, and after resting for an hour and a half, we concluded to travel on. We saddled up and mounted when suddenly a white man on horseback was seen coming towards us quite lively. The native brethren said he looked like a U. S. Marshall, and the supposition was that he was after myself to take me and turn me out of the nations for preaching the gospel, as some Methodist ministers had threatened to have me turn out. We rode right along, the brethren declaring if he proved to be a Marshall he should not take me unless I said so. By this time he was up with us, and steered his course for me. I then began to think he was a Marshall. He very politely said “How do you do,” asked me if my name was Higginson. I replied in the affirmative. He then asked me to ride with him a short distance ahead of the company as he had some business with me. Then I, feeling certain that he was a marshal, refused to go unless he told me who he was. He rode near to me and whispered to me “Parley P. Pratt.” He was in disguise and I almost doubted his statement. He then produced a letter that I had written to Elder J. H. Hart in St. Louis, and asked me if I recognized that handwriting. I answered in the affirmative, and asked him from whom he got possession of it. He said, “From Bro. Hart and Bro. Erastus Snow in St. Louis.” We rode ahead and he informed me he was flying from death and was seeking shelter in these nations and requested me to assist him. I told him he only had to command me, I would do anything I possibly could for him.

We preached the funeral sermon in the morning of Bro. Perryman, and after dinner, myself and Parley took a walk and he informed me of the circumstances that had caused his flight, and of the other things that had transpired in connection with it, that I was not to make know until such time as he saw fit to reveal it. I, of course, so promised and kept my vow. The next day I took Bro. Pratt about 12 miles higher up the River Verdigree to Bro. Joseph Burgess’s who had a nice home on the edge of a large prairie, and was quite secluded (as Bro. Pratt so desired.) He was kindly received and welcomed by both Bro. Burgess and wife. I according to his instruction introduced him as Elder Parker from New York. He stayed there until the 6h of April when he came down to our conference, which we held at the house of Sister Randall in Sand Town. Her husband, Jack Randall, was now dead, and in losing Jack the Elders and mission lost their best friend. He died strong in the faith of the gospel, and bore faithful testimony before dying. Brother Pratt was introduced as Elder Parker to the native. O course the other Elder nearly all of them were acquainted with him. During our conference he requested me to go down to the frontiers of Texas and look for Mrs. McLean and convey some letter to her, and some to Homer Duncan, John Moddy and others who were Texas missionaries and were expected soon to arrive with the emigrant saints from Texas. I accordingly went as directed, but after traveling in that direction for 200 miles south I found through inquiring, that the Mormon Emigration from Texas was yet 300 miles south of my place of staying (on the North fork of the Canadian River.) I therefore, hastened back on the Arkansas River to see Parley and report my success and receive fresh instructions.

The morning after my arrival at Fort Gibson, May 4, 1857, as near a I can remember from circumstances (for I was obliged to destroy my journal and all my papers to try to keep Parley out of trouble) I overtook Parley going out on the Texas Highway to try and hunt me up. Suffice to say that day both Parley and myself were arrested by a company of U. S. Calvary. After this I was imprisoned with him, ate with and drank with him, slept with him, talked with him, was handcuffed with and to him and in like manner was dragged across the country from Fort Gibson to Van Buren, Arkansas, where I was mobbed with him, and where he was martyred for the Gospel’s sake, and after his martyrdom I rode through the homes of the mobocrats and obtained possession of his corpse and buried it with a mob all around me at 10 o’clock of the night of the 14 of May, AD 1857, without the presence of a brother or sister. In this matter I presume I ran as much, if not more, risk than did B.H. Roberts the matter of the Tennessee martyrs, but I never received a kind word or any recognition for my service in that direction and it has been remarked “Died Parley as a fool dieth.”

Trusting this short synopsis will be acceptable, and if anything more is requisite in the premises and I am able to convey it, command me, and I will try and respond. And as ever I remain, Your Brother in the Gospel. George B. Higginson.

P.S. After the death of Bro. Washington N. Cook, Bro. Henry Eyring was the Pres. of the mission until the spring of AD 1858. He was at that date called home [Last sentence illegible.]


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