Jane Parish Lindsay

Biography of Jane Parish Lindsay

Written about 1919

By: Lois Lindsay Anderson
Edited By: David J. Wardell (1996)

Testimony of Jane Parish Lindsay

 I, the granddaughter of this noble woman, hereby this evening endeavor to write her life story as she tells me. Grandmother Jane Parish Lindsay is located in a little old log cabin, a few rods from father's home. I was staying with her at this time (1).

In a little cottage of Samuel and Fannie Dack Parish, which was located in the county Leeds, Kittley, Canada, there was born in the year of 1825, October 18, a baby girl to gladden their home, and also to please her three older sisters: Sarah, Mary, and Lydia. They named her Jane.

(2) We were very happy under the circumstances. We had a large farm, but father did not like farming so he rented the farm and worked at his trade, cabinet making.

My sisters and I used to go down to the shop and watch him work and make the furniture. He made better wages there than farming.

When I was about five years old my parents sent me to school. I went for about three weeks and then I was accompanied by my older sister Lydia. I will try to describe the school house as it was to me. The school house was not built and furnished like they are nowadays. It wa a log or a little old frame house built in 1820 or earlier, with a few benches for seats, and we wrote on our laps. That is if we wrote. We had no pencils or books. The teacher would call up to his desk the students and have us read and recite our lesson out of a book she had there. There was only one book for each grade and only one teacher for all grades. They had not blackboards, they had a small board the teacher wrote on with charcoal. Now this was a very cross and cranky teacher and would ship us if we did not got our lessons. The parent would have to pay him so much or board him so long according to the people.

When I was 15 years old my parents went to Lizepell. There I was sent to school. The school was better and much more pleasing. Sometimes coming home ln tho Spring we would pick wild flowers often time coming home through the timber we would run across wild animals which would frighten us and themselves. In the fall came the job. We would go after our winter nuts. Father would yoke up oxen on a light spring wagon which we would put sacks and sticks and canvases.

There would be father and brother Joel and we sisters. We would spend 2 or 3 days getting nuts before the squirrels got them all. While grandma was telling this you could see her eyes sparkle and face beam. They would take long sticks and knock off the nut to the ground, Joel and father would climb trees. We girls would gather them and sack them. Nuts came in pretty handy in winter time. Often in the winter we would sit by the fire place and roast them and listen to stories father and mother told of their days. Also at times Grandma and Grandfather Dack and DeWolfe were there. Good stories of the olden days.

I went to school there three years then home duties called me. Mother was old, and as I have said, Grandfather and mother Dack and family took some care. It took a good deal of our time cording wool and spinning wool and flax for the cloth to make wearing apparel. And we were preparing for a long trip to Illinois. Father was lucky enough to have some sheep, and we girls had raised some flax. Therefore I went to work making broadcloth for father's clothes and clothes for others. This would take some time.

Lizepell was a very pretty place, but not a pretty as Brockville. We lived in Lizepell six years. My grandparents were Joel Parish and Sarah DeWolfe and William Dack and Jane Code Dack. As you see our Grandparents being with us or near us all the time, we learned of their ways and were taught many good things by them. They were all very kind and good. Many times the spoke of the Revolutionary War and many other interesting things and of James Wold and his brave deeds at Quebec. He was a relative. My father and mother were Quakers. So were my grandparents. The Quakers were good people, very thoughtful and considerate. They dressed very plain and you very seldom see them laugh, sing or dance. They went about their work with a willing heart and a smile.Very sturdy, broad minded men and women very set in their belief .When the morning meal was being prepared, Father or Grandfather would read from the Bible a chapter. When seated at the table they sat and bowed their heads a few minutes in reverence to the Heavenly Father. Then rather would serve the meal. Their belief in God and Bible were very strong on brotherly love. I cannot express the words our grandparents paid in reverence to their Maker.

As I stated before, we were preparing for the long journey to llinois. Our trip to Illinois we traveled by wagon. Grandfather brought some corn with him. We and others ground it up in a coffee mill which worked by hand. These coffee mills were very scarce. Grandfather had one and several people used it. It sure was a slow progress. It was all on the account of a large flour mill being frozen up. The people had to work hard and very little to eat and wear.

Father being a cabinet maker soon made a spinning wheel and loom which set us girls to work spinning flax. Now Grandma brought some flax with her and mother had some yarn, and there came a man to our house and said to mother, "I will give you so many pounds of flax if you will spin and knit me a pair of socks." Now mother gladly done this for we were very lad to et the flax to finish our dresses for spring was coming on. Shearing time was a little ways off. Father had brought some sheep so we may raise our own wool and meat. Father gave each of us girls a sheep. We got our brother Joel to tend them. When shearing time came father would shear them, then bring us the wool.We would wash it and dry it and pick it, cord it in rolls. Then spin it and dye and weave it in cloth. Then we made our dresses. What would you think of a father who brought you a sack of wool and say, "Here girls is your spring dress." We were very proud of our dear father. I was very young when I learned to spin and knit.

Spring was here and we planted our flax and cared for it. Now the sun being quite hot we searched for some straw. You would say why? To make our bonnets (hats) for we were mothers of invention. We soon made our hats. I can remember mine. I took the best straw and weaving it the same ag cloth and dying, cutting, binding the raw edges. This is just a few things we had to do. Just think, we had no sewing machine, all sewing was done by hand, and we had to invent our needles and scissors. How would you invent a needle in those days? Grandma and father taught us to use fish bones. Father or grandfather would drill a little hole in them and sharpen the end for us. We took all the large fish bones and cured them and lay them away for use. One day grandfather made a needle out of a piece of steel, which we all used.

In this place there was a Baptist Church, also a Methodist. Now all the ministers were dressed in broadcloth. We only saw them in church. Never on the street, only going and coming from church. One day there came some Mormon Elders to our place to see if they could get the schoolhouse to hold meeting in. They came to our place because father was trustee. There was no one home but me, Jane. I told them lf they were Mormon Elders going to talk, he could have the school house to hold his meeting in. Now father had heard some of the Mormon Church and was anxious to hear more.

Those people were dressed in home made jeans and did not look like ministers, and spoke like he was going to speak, so I quickly asked him where the minister was that was going to talk. He replied he was not a minister but that he was a Mormon Elder that was going to talk. He quickly invited us to come to the meeting. When father came home I told him and we all went to the meeting. The Elder being filled with the spirit of their calling sure ave us a good sermon which filled us with the spirit of the Lord.

When services were over the people wanted the Elders to stop to their homes so they could hear more of the Church, for they were the first in that part of the country. One of the Elders name was Jackie Savage. The Mormon Elders kept their word for in the spring more came.

Father Samuel Parish and Fannie Dack Parish were baptized in Stark County, Illinois,in the month of June 1840, by William Barton. I was baptized in summer of 1840, and two of my aunts, Sarah, Letura, and my grandmother Sarah DeWolfe Parish in the winter. They had to cut the ice, also my elder sister Sarah and her husband Elgerith.

In about the year 1841 we moved to the beautiful city of Nauvoo. There we made our home not far from the Temple for father and my brother Joel worked on the Temple,and Joseph Smith and Joel being together so much. Oh, how happy we were for the church and the Gospel, and to have a Temple of the Lord. I can remember how it filled our hearts with joy. The wonderful spirit that dwelt there in that city and with the people, words cannot express it. Those that associated with the Prophet Joseph Smith. The heavenly feeling pure and holy was the spirit that dwelt with him.

While in that city I was chosen for a wife by a young man named Ephraim Lindsay. He was 23 years old, and I was 19. We were married 22 January 1843 in Nauvoo, Illinois. He was born 4 May 1820 at Johnstown, Ontario, Canada.

One day in summer, it being Friday, and Joseph Smith just returned from a long trip, we were all very anxious to hear him talk, so he arranged for a big bowery to be erected for that purpose to hold the meting in. There was a very large crowd gathered together. While Joseph was talking it began to rain and thunder and lightning. There came a cloud burst. The people became frightened. But Joseph feared not. He stated to the people, "If you people can sit here and listen to me talk, the storm will not hurt you." Soon the storm was forgotten, all but Joseph and his wonderful sermon. When the people arose to go, water was running in a stream down the road, but the rain never came near the bowery. The people were astonished.

I have seen Joseph and Joel play ball together. Saw them go out back of the barn and throw the ball against the wall and catch it for practice.

One day Joel came in and told us Joseph had just came from Illinois. He told us of the persecutions the Saints went through how they were driven and to see our beautiful city and how the Lord has blessed us. He spoke of the suffering in Kirtland, Ohio and Jackson, Missouri. Grandma said, "Oh! how Joel and Joseph's face beamed when he spoke of the faith those people had." I said, "So does yours, Grandma." She smiled and went on.

In one meeting I went to I heard Joseph say, "My life is hard and death will taste sweet to me. "But I go like a lamb to the slaughter". Then turning to Willard Richards, that the balls would fly all around him and not kill him. Then turning to the twelve who were setting near and said, "I have rolled this work upon the twelve. Round up your shoulders, boys, and bare it".

Could we have known then that he had such a short time or sensed the full meaning of those words, but no, our beloved Prophet, seer, and revelator was taken. There is not words to express the grandness of the meeting or the reverence we held in our hearts for him and God, or to express the honor due them.

Joseph was taken by the mob to Carthage jail. He was accompanied by Brother Taylor, being a wonderful singer. It was at Joseph's request that when alone for him to sing for him. Brother Willard Richards was with them. Soon after this song was sung the mob surrounded the jail and fired shots from all sides. Joseph went to the window to look out and was shot falling from the window, and was soon in the mob's hands, and was put up for target. One of the mob grabbed him and was going to strike off his head when a light descended from heaven and put a stop to that (3). The mob began to fight among the themselves.

Brother Taylor was shot four times but did not die. The men and Joseph was taken back to Nauvoo where Joseph and Hyrum was dressed for burial. I saw them when they were in their coffins. Thousands went through that day to see the remains of Joseph and Hyrum. They looked as if they were asleep. Joseph also carried that sweet smile on his face.

Oh the Gloom that hung over that city. It was as though the Heaven and Earth both wept.

Soon after Joseph's death, Taylor spoke in a meeting. He wore a loose robe for he could not bear his clothes to touch him. He said: "here I stand what is left of me and not shot away". His sermon was a splendid one. John Taylor being given the spirit of his calling. This was in the year of 1844. By the leadership of Brigham Young they held a meeting for the Saints to see who would be the next leader.

This was the time the mantle fell upon Brigham Young. I was to the meeting. There were a good many that can bear the same testimony as I can. It happened that I set close to the stand where I could see. Such a spirit of Brotherly love that dwelt in that meeting. When Brother Brigham Young arose to address the people all eyes were turned upon him. For all thought it was Joseph that had came back to life. He looked like him, spoke like him. The sermon was splendid. A Testimony was given to me there which will stay with me till I die.

Now the mob became so great that the Saints could not endure their treatment, so they all left Nauvoo. Left their homes, friends, some fathers and mothers, some daughters. They, the band of Saints, gathered up what they could hurriedly, and needed. With the leadership of Brigham Young they crossed the river to Council Bluff in 1846.

Here we camped and made homes. It was hard times for some did not have enough to eat. Wagons were sent back for more food, some was captured by the mob, some was sick, some died. But God was with his people. He sent quails for them to eat. I left Nauvoo in 1847 and went to Pisgah. Here our little company raised a crop to eat. So we and the others could have food.

While here William Lindsay arrived from Council Bluff and told us about the war, and that Brother Brigham Young had gathered a little band of Saints together and selected 500 men to help fight for our country. Now William was one of Brigham's body guards. He stated that other bands of Saints were also camped along the river and raising crops before going on. Some were stationed here and there in the valley, and leaders were appointed for those whose husbands and sons had to go. So their families were provided for.

William had come here to see his wife and children, which we had brought with us. We left and went to Wisconsin. We only had one wagon and a yoke of oxen. This wa the wagon Father gave me before we left Nauvoo. We came here to make a trade and get some folks. We traded the wagon for corn and sold the corn for a larger wagon and more oxen.

We went in 1849 to Council Bluff. We stayed there and raised a crop and prepared for our journey. Mother and father and brother Joel Parish had gone before us in 1847.

I had three children, David Ephraim (4), who was born 20 November 1845, in Nauvoo . Then came Thomas Warren who was born in Des Moines in 1849, died, buried Council Bluff. John born 1851, and died just before we left. David being seven years old. There was quite a company left when we did.

Here is Captains notes of the travels.

We traveled many a day. It was very tiresome and lots of dust from the long caravan. Trials and troubles coming up at times and the great fear of the Indian bands, which we had heard so much about to our sorrow. We held services Sunday and meeting in the evening and prayer circle every evening.

Some times we would meet big herds of buffalo. Then Ephraim would provide the company with meat, for he was the best gun man in the company. Grandfather William B. Lindsay and wife and two children was in the company. And Uncle William B. Lindsay and wife and five children. Ephraim Lindsay, wife and son David. Ed. R. Lindsay, wife and child. George Lindsay and Uncle John Myres and many others.

We met some Indians. They gave the peace sign and Ephraim went out and met them. The wanted food and Ephraim went out with them and got meat for them. We arrived in Salt Lake City Valley in 1852. We were very tired, but happy to get there. After resting and looking over the valley we wanted to go to Centerville where my father and folks were located . We stayed here one year and a half. A son was born to us to take the place of the ones that died. Then we went to Kays Ward. Grandfather Parrish built a flour mill. The people came from all over to the mill. While grandfather was doing this Joel my brother was trapping wolves in what would be Main Street now in Salt Lake City. They sold hides to help out in the living. There were traveling men went through that bought them.

Ephraim and I remained in Kays Ward three years then went to Brigham City. A beautiful baby girl was born to us in Kaysville. She was the joy of our heart and her brothers pure delight. We bought a farm and father Ephraim built a nice house. The ground was soon plowed and planted in grain. Ephraim made cradles to cradle the grain in. Then it was taken, put in bundles to ripen. When ripe they would take it to the threshing floor and flail the grain out.

A son was born to us here in Brigham who we named James Harvey Lindsay. Later Charley Parish joined. We lived in Brigham 18 years then we went with others to Bennington, Idaho. Here we made a home and our sons married and settled down around us. In homes of their own. We were very happy with our sons and daughter all around us.David and family on one side, Joel and family the other. Harvey and family the other Charley and Rachel home. Rachel had a little store which was her nieces and nephews delight to go there and do their mother's trading often time Rachel would have her brother Joel's dog come to the store to do the trading. He was just as welcome as the others for he was a fine fellow and loved us all.

Several times I went to Salt Lake and did Temple work. You see I had my Endowments 7 February, 1846. There was quite a few went through the Nauvoo Temple and had their Endowments. Joel my brother and did quite a lot of Temple work in Salt Lake Temple. We all had worked so hard for a Temple to do this work in. Now the joy of doing it and returning home to my family.

Often times the boys would gather and talk over with their father Ephraim of their ancestors and names. David and Joel being older saw their Grandfather Samuel Parish and Grandmother. Also Grandfather William Buckminster Lindsay, Sarah Myres, and heard them speak of Revolutionary War, an his father Ephraim and brother who fought in the war. Also of Captain David Lindsay who fought for Washington. Grandfather William B. Lindsay death, the sword of David, and things was given to Uncle Ephraim Lindsay and record that was kept. Grandfather William B. Lindsay stated that the old records that was brought in the early days was burned when his father house burned down in Canada in Johnstown. Many things was discussed then and many things later.

When Harvey was older, Harvey and my sons saw a clock their Grandfather Samuel Parish made for us. He also was told of socks that was knit by him, some of the boys knit socks as well as the girl. They also spoke of a Lake named after Nathuel Parish in Canada. My brother Joel Parish went back to Illinois, Stark County, Illinois, and drank out of the spring we used to own.

A sorrow soon came to me when my two sons David and family, Harvey and family left for Wyoming in year of 1900. I was so happy with them all around me, my Grandchildren so nice coming popping in to cheer and gladden the home. I lived in Bennington 21 years. Here my husband died in 1901, 4th of May.

After a while I left Bennington, Idaho, and went to Byron to my two sons David and Harvey, leaving Joel my son and family here and Rachel in Salt Lake. Harvey made me a nice little home close to his. I had a log cabin beautiful orchard of fruit trees and berries. My other son David lived down by the River Bluff at far end of town often David's children Lottie Catherine would come up and visit and stay a few nights. But Lois, Harvey's daughter, was the main stand by. Later in years, Harvey moved my cabin over on his lot just a few rods from his. How I loved it there I could always see the children then from the open door or window.

Lois always stayed with me nights. She would read to me and I her. We would read from the Bible, Book of Mormon. We often did mending at night together. Here I taught her to sew and knit, cord wool, and many useful things.

Lois always took me to church and saw I got a seat. The Bishop, Ted Kohler, saw I always had a chair up to the front where I could hear the speaker. If I could not go, Lois would go and then come home and gave me the account of the meeting. And I believe she gave every word that was spoken.

My daughter Rachel came in the year of 1909-8, I sure was glad to see her. David had a family of eleven children. Joel one, Marion Lindsay Parker. Joel and family lived in Bennington, Idaho.

Rachel, my daughter took up her work here nursing. She went a the Basin. Dr. Edward Croft and her went hand in hand with their in Big Horn Basin. I have spent many happy hours with my friends in my little cabin. Sister Sarah Jane Cozzens, Patty S. Hatch, Marion Pryde, Annie L. Neville, and Millie B. Egan, and others. I made some of my Grandchildren a quilt and some of my Grandchildren I pieced them by hand.

I knit a good many sweaters and socks for the soldiers in the World War. I lived to see one of Harvey's boys go and come back. I lived to see one of my sons sons Bishop of the Byron Ward (5), and Fannie Wolz as a worker in Primary. I have lived to see the Church of Jesus Christ prosper in this land of Zion, and the people here partake of the Spirit and spread it over the land. I have tried to live a righteous life and do what is right and help others. I have tried to be charitable to every body and love my neighbors.

I love my Bishop, he is my Grandson.

Joel paid me a visit in 1915. We sure was pleased to see him.

I have two children living, Rachel and Harvey. I have eleven grandsons living, Joel one Harvey eleven. I have 23 grandchildren, one great grandchild by Harvey's girl Lois, Irene LaRon Benema (6).

Grandma died 26 November 1919. She spoke to Aunt Ray and said, "Rachel I do love you", then she went to sleep and never woke up. Aunt Ray and I washed and laid her out. Nobody knows how I missed her. There is not words I can find to express the love and honor I bear for my beloved grandmother Jane Parish Lindsay.


(1)  The date of this interview has not been recorded, but must have taken place sometime between the ordination of John Dunn Lindsay as Bishop of the Byron Ward, Big Horn Stake, Wyoming, May 18, 1919, and the death of Jane Parish Lindsay, November 26, 1919.

(2)  The following is first-person, as dictated by Jane Parrish Lindsay.

(3)  "William T. Head, an officer in Captain Lawn's company, and tarrying in Carthage, testified that he saw a certain man raise a large knife to strike off the head of Joseph, when, all at once, and in the midst of a clear day, with no cloud in sight, 'a terrible clap of thunder rolled heavily, and forked lightnings flashed in the face of the murderers, and perfectly paralyzed a number of them.

'The ruffian, who had raised his knife and had sworn with a dreadful oath to take the head off Joseph, stood perfectly paralyzed, his arm uplifted with the knife suspended in air, and could not move a limb. His comrades carried him off, and all fled in terror from the scene.'

'These particulars, and many others, were related to me by brother Beckwith previous to his death, and afterwards by his widow and father-in-law, and others who were conversant with them, and are believed to be correct.'"

- Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt
Deseret Book Company, 1938; pages 425,426

(4)  "David Ephraim Lindsay, a member of Big Horn Stake High Council, is a son of Ephraim Lindsay and Jane Parish and was born November 20, 1845 , at Nauvoo, Hancock county, Illinois. He became a member of the Church in May, 1853, being baptized by William Meirs. In March, 1886, he was ordained an Elder by Oliver Nichols. In 1881 he was ordained a High Priest and set apart as second counselor in the Bennington Ward Bishopric, Bear Lake Stake.

"He went east in 1886* and brought a company of emigrants, being captain of the company. Elder Lindsay married Charlotte Ann Dunn, September 7, 1874, who has borne him eleven children, nine of whom are now living.

"His chief work has been lumbering and mining. He came to Utah in 1852 and has successfully lived in Box Elder and davis counties, Utah, Bear Lake county, Idaho, and in 1900 he went to the Big Horn valley, Wyoming, being among those who pioneered that section of the country."

- Andrew Jenson, Latter-Day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia,
Andrew Jenson History Company, 1914, Volume II, page 45

(*) - The original text records 1885, which is obviously incorrect.

(5)  John Dunn Lindsay, Bishop of the Byron Ward, Big Horn Stake, Wyoming, from 1919 to 1924, was born February 18, 1885, in Bennington, Bear Lake county, Idaho, the son of David Lindsay and Charlotte A. Dunn. He was baptized June 1, 1893, and ordained a High Priest and Bishop May 18, 1919, by Orson F. Whitney.- Andrew Jenson, Latter-Day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia,
Andrew Jenson Memorial Association, 1936, Volume IV, page 416

(6)  End of first-person material.