26 July 2009

Alonzo Pearis Raymond by William Goodwin Raymond

Alonzo Pearis Raymond, younger Alonzo Pearis Raymond, older

Alonzo Pearis Raymond, son of Pearis Raymond and Rebecca Pierce, was born in Addison County, Vermont, on 14 February 1814. He was the first of his family to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Shortly after his baptism he was determined to join the Saints in Illinois. His family tried to persuade him not to do so, but he left his home while yet a young man and was in Nauvoo at the time of the martyrdom of Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum. He was one of the grief-stricken body of Saints who on June 28 witnessed the never-to-be-forgotten scene when the bodies of the murdered brothers were brought from Carthage to Nauvoo for burial. He knew the Prophet well and heard him preach on many occasions.

His father and the rest of the family soon joined him and were among those who were driven from Nauvoo by the mob. They suffered greatly but still remained faithful to the teachings of the church.

While yet a young man and before coming west he married Clarinda Cutler. His first child was born at Council Bluffs, Iowa. While at Council Bluffs Alonzo Pearis became afflicted with what doctors said was an incurable disease and told him he had not long to live. He was, of course, very despondent about this and one day while sitting down to rest after walking a short distance--for the least exertion seemed to cause him great fatigue --he was approached by Heber C. Kimball who, putting his hand on Alonzo's head, inquired what was troubling him. He told Heber of his affliction. Brother Kimball then asked him why he didn't enlist with the battalion of five hundred men who had been called for a march to Mexico in defense of the flag of his country. This question seemed to him to be foolish on account of his physical condition. He expressed himself to Brother Kimball, who now told him to go and promised he should recover and be able to make that eventful march. He enlisted in Company D with Nelson Higgins, Captain, After a few days during which he rode in a wagon he was able to take his place in the ranks of the infantry and the promise of the Prophet of God was literally fulfilled. He recovered fully and upon reaching California he was a strong and vigorous man.

While on this march of the Mormon Battalion, Alonzo Pearis, with his comrades, suffered greatly for food and water. Many died and were buried on the lonely trackless wastes over which they traveled. To deceive the wild animals, fires were built over the graves, yet some of the bodies were dug up and devoured by the wild beasts.

On one eventful day as he dragged his weary body along, he noticed a comrade who had crawled under a scrub bush apparently to die. Unable to render any help he left him there, but on reaching camp a short distance ahead he filled his canteen with water and returned to save his fallen comrade. He was in time to save him and bring him back to the camp. This man remained in California and years later related this incident to a nephew of Alonzo Pearis Raymond.

After a short stay in California he received his discharge from the army and with others made preparations to join their families in the Valley of Great Salt Lake. This journey was not made without subjecting him to great dangers and hardships. Upon arriving in Salt Lake he found that his family had not yet come with the company. He therefore set out at once to join them at Council Bluffs. He found them all well but anxious to be on the way across the plains.

The next year he brought his family over the memorable route and arrived in Salt Lake City in 1848. Here another child was born, He now moved to West Jordan for a time where another child was born. From here he moved to Lehi where he lived for some time. The rest of the family of seven children were born in Lehi. He was among the first to settle in Cache Valley where he was active in building the town of Smithfield. He helped to build the first saw mill and grist mill at this place.

Here in the old fort which he helped build for protection against the Indians, his wife, Clarinda Cutler, died bringing to him great sorrow. She was a very estimable woman and had endeared herself to all who knew her, especially the Indians whose sick children she would nurse and doctor until they recovered. It is said that at her funeral the Indians gathered and chanted mournful cry expressing their grief at the loss of their friend.

The name of Alonzo Pearis Raymond stands out prominently as a man of faith and integrity and industry in the early history of Smithfield, Utah.

Shortly after the death of his first wife he married Zylpha Noble. Twelve children were born to this worthy couple. Alonzo Pearis Raymond died on 14 August 1904, as a consequence of great exposure, hard work and hardships. He contracted rhematism [sic] which caused him great suffering and finally his death. Before he died he became helpless. His wife, Zylpha Noble, died on 16, January 1923. They made Smithfield their home until their deaths. During his later years and until he became disabled he labored in the Logan Temple for many of his kindred dead--a work which he deemed very important. He is buried in Smithfield cemetery at Smithfield, Cache county, Utah.

Given above briefly are just a few events in the life of Alonzo Pearis Raymond who has left to his posterity an example of faith, integrity and industry unexcelled by few.

--Written and prepared by William Goodwin Raymond, oldest son of Alonzo Pearis Raymond and Zylpha Noble Raymond. Portions of this history were published in Kate B. Carter’s Treasures of Pioneer History Vol. 4 (Salt Lake City : Utah Printing Co., 1955).

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