As you can see, I’ve been on a Levi Jackman kick lately. While I was at the Church History Library, I discovered a journal under the call# MS6807 which contained some notes from his time working as treasurer for the Salt Lake School District No. 16. After the school notes, however, was another few pages that were written as part of his life sketch, but were not found by whoever transcribed the original document. The life sketch is posted hosted many places online, including The Book of Abraham Project, a BYU site. The sketch is the first document on that page, followed by an incomplete attempt to pen an autobiogrpahy. The sketch ends in March of 1848 when they were in the middle of their first winter in Utah. Here are the last few entries:

On the 12th of March, a company of seven men started for Winter Quarters with the mail. Ammi was one of them. It was a hard and hazardous undertaking. Over one thousand miles to go at this season of the year, without an inhabitant only at Bridger and Laramie, liable to lose their way in the mountains or on the plains or to be killed by the Indians. But the mail must go. I felt bad for him under such circumstances but I believed the Lord would preserve them although they might have to suffer much.

Both did take place. They narrowly escaped death by the Indians, by freezing, and by starvation; yet they got through alive and were joyfully received by the Presidency and all the saints; I felt rather lonely for a while not having any connections within 1000 miles. Yet in the main I enjoyed myself well.

The sketch abruptly ends here, though the document I found continues the story for a few months.  I will post the pertinent part of the document here, and exclude the school notes. The images will be available for download soon.

Lost Pages of Levi Jackman’s Life Sketch

I have heard of men in the Revolutionary war who were so reduced by hunger that they often thought of the swill pail they left at home and wished that they would have the privilege of taking the crusts of bread and potato skins then it contained and with it fill their empty stomach. I remember having feeling of pity for them, but I can say that many a times I should have been glad of that chance but could not have it, and so it was with many others. The entrails of the cattle that were killed were eagerly sought for to eat, I have taken cattle feet and after burning off the hair I would boil them with the skins on as well as I could and was glad to get such to eat. Others would kill wolves and eat them. Some became so weak they could hardly walk. On March 14th Brother Robert Pierce invited me to board with him for a while, which offer I gladly embraced, and may God bless them for their kindness to me. Plowing had been done every month this winter.

March 24th This morning a snow storm commenced from the north, it was not cold and melted considerably yet it lay 6 or 8 inches deep.

March 25th The council repealed the Price Law finding that some were not willing to be restrained while others would do any thing that became duty for them

April 2nd A skeptical council was called to take in to consideration the situation of the destitute for many had nothing to eat. The calls on the council and Bishops were many and pressing. Some that could part with a little was unwilling to because of the imprudence of some that were destitute. For some it was said did not take enough when they started, as much as they were required to. Some traded their flour to the Indians for robes, deer skins, etc. Some, as long as they had any thing, would make feasts, have parties, etc. and others were very wasteful. Those that acted wisely and prudently did not feel hardly willing to divide their living with those that had acted so unwisely, yet there were those of the Battalion and a part of the pioneers that were destitute and were not to blame. Yet it would not do to let any starve while anything remained to eat.

It was finally decided that Bishop Hunter and Lewis receive all the property that those that made application had that was not strictly necessary for their immediate use and furnish provision with it for them, and if that plan should prove insufficient then another means must be resorted to, and by this means some provisions were obtained.

The storm above alluded to continued some 6 ody (?) days either in snow or rain. Our roofs being flat and covered with poles and dirt, it was but a poor shelter in a long storm, they soon began to leak badly. On the 2nd night of the storm the most of the people had to sit up the most of the night and shelter themselves and children the best way they could. The next morning the beds and other things perfectly wet and the ground floors were a bed of mud, a number of the houses on the low land gave way and fell, yet little complaining was heard from anyone. The weather soon became and the mud dried up and we began to feel as though we should live again.

April 8th In the morning a heavy snow commenced from the North, it snowed nearly all day though not cold and soon cleaned off storm.

April 19th Brother Pierce and I started to go to Provo, a distance of some fifty miles south, to get some fish. We passed through some fine country, and some that did not appear to be worth much. We did not succeed in getting any fish. Our carriage turned over twice. The first time was in going up and I lamed my foot. The next time was in a creek on our return. I got thoroughly wet and took a bad cold. We got back the third day.

On the day that we started Brother Grant and Carrington and four others took a small boat made for that purpose and went down Jordan River to the Salt Lake on an exploring campaign. They returned after an absence of six and reported that there was no timber on the Island, and no fish in the lake. The deepest water they found was 13 feet, but mostly very shoal, they had to drag the boat in many places on sand for lack of water.

The Indians brought in some roots called segoes, and exchanged for some things they wanted. The roots were about as large as the end of the finger and are good eating and healthy.

Up to Apr 20th we have had sufficient rain to keep the ground moist and crops took well. Much anxiety was felt for the return of the company that went to Call, they having been expelled six weeks ago and no word from them.

May 8th Snow storm today, frosty morning from the first to the tenth.

On the 10th, a part of the Call [California] company arrived, the remainder came in about ten days after. They had had a hard time, they had killed and eat some of their horses before they got through to Call [California]. They had brought two hundred cows on the credit of the Church and gave their obligation for 930, so payable in one year from date. They lost more than half of them before they got back here. Many of their horses were killed by the Indians which prevented getting many of the packs through, consequently the most of the of the seeds were lost.

May 18th. The teams commenced to start back to meet the emigration. They started at different times as they could get ready. Our crops now looked fine and we looked forward to a day not far distant when we could gather and eat our fill, but oh how uncertain all things in this life. While we were full of hope and expectation, the crickets like a mighty hoard (?) came down from the mountains and spread themselves over all the land and commenced a work of general destruction. We strove to drive or kill them but all in vain. But like a powerful army they went from conquering unto conquer. They would cut the corn as a very small thing, and while we’re struggling for life another calamity if passable came upon us.

May 21 and 22 we had a little frost, in the morning of the 28th we found the frost this morning had killed nearly all the beans and vines and most of the corn that the crickets had not yet destroyed. This was a time to try men’s faith. The prospect of raising a crop was now very small. To think of returning to the states was out of the question, for we had not one quarter of teams enough left to go with and not one quarter enough provisions to last through and in fact we had “No skill to fly, no power to save.” God only could protect us and we put our trust in Him, and we felt safe. About one week after the crickets commenced their work of destruction, the Lord sent, as it were, clouds of seagulls from the Lake and they went direct to the place where the crickets were and [commenced] a war of extermination. They would fill their [throats] and then heave them up, then fill and empty again and would continue till a little before sunset. They then went to the Lake. In the morning they would return again, and so they continued until the crickets were destroyed.

Some corn and beans being left of our seed, it was put in, and with what there was left of the first crop we began to hope it was enough to sustain life to another harvest.

Although hundreds of acres of grain was destroyed, yet some remained. I had six acres put in but all was lost. Brother Pierce’s provisions began to get scarce and I concluded not to burden him any longer, so I went by myself again. I got some beef and lived on that for a while. Soon after this, Brother Love let me have the use of a cow that gave about three quarts of milk per day which was of great use to me. I have worked many days having only three drinks of porridge per day. The (?) having dried up considerably. Bread was almost out of the question with many of us. About the eighth of June, Capt. D. D. Davis [D. C. Davis} arrived from Call [California] with twenty two of the battalion men.

We had some frosts at different times until the middle of June. July 1st we began to have some green peas and to cut some wheat which was much needed. Brother Love, Chery, Roundy, and some five others had all the time dealt out to the destitute as long as they had any, on the principle of saints, while some few others were of a little different turn. These were days well calculated to draw out men’s disposition. By the middle of July we began to have considerable bread which gave all much joy who had been without for some months, as well as others in this place.

August 6th. About 10am, messengers arrived from the east bringing letters and documents from the camp on the road. This gave joy to us all. They informed us that the camp will arrive about the middle of September and that the saints in them had been highly blessed.

I got no letters which was quite a disappointment to be but I consoled myself by thinking that my letters would come with the camp.

August 10th. This day was set apart to have a harvest feast. A large commodious bowery was erected for that and other meetings. Everyone brought something of such as they had to make the dinner which was accomplished in good style, much of which was of the first fruits of the valley. It exceeded anything could have been thought passable in this desert and far-off land.

We had a fine liberty pole raised with a flag at the top, next below was a bundle of wheat, next a bundle of barley, then a bundle of oats, all of which was raised amid the roar of Canaan and the shouts of the people with vocal and instrumental music.

Our flag was not stained with any national device, but it was pure and white, and proudly floated in the pure, clean, healthy northern breeze, while tears of joy filled the eyes of the beholder. The people then assembled in the bowery and the following song was sung which was composed by P. P. Pratt for the occasion.

 Called the Harvest Song

1. Let us join in the dance, let us join in the song

To the Jehovah the praises belong.

All honor all glory we render to thee

Thy cause in triumphant, thy people are free

2. The Gentiles oppressed us the heathens with rage

Combined all their forces our hosts to engage

They plundered and scattered and drove us away

They killed their chief shepherd, the sheep went astray

3. Full long in the desert and mountains to roam

Without any harvest without any home

They’re hungry and thirsty and wary and worn

They seemed quite forsaken and left for to roam.

4. But lo in the mountains new sheep folds appear

And a harvest of plenty our spirits to cheer

This beautiful valley is a refuge from woe

A retreat for the saints when the scourges o’erflow.

5. The States of Columbia to atoms may rend

And mobs all triumphant bring peace to an end

The star spangled banner forever be furled

And the chains of a tyrant encircle the world

6. The storms of commotion distress every realm

And dear revolution the nations o’erwhelm

Though Babylon trembles and thrones cast down be

Yet here in the mountains the righteous are free.

 After singing and prayer and appropriate speeches were made and dinner over the tables cleared off and benches removed, dancing commenced. About fifty couples could got on at a time, and this continued the remainder of the day. They gray-headed, the middle aged, and the youth all in one common course of rejoicing and pleasure. This day will never be forgotten by those that were there while life remains with them.

About the first of September a few of the saints arrived and much anxiety was felt for the safe arrival of the remainder.

As provisions were sure to be scarce for the next season, and as I had nothing, nothing but corn to depend on for food, I thought I would go on to the Indian camp some 25 miles distance and swap some green corn for some sarvis berries. Brother Huntington and his son and I took pack horses and loaded them with green corn and started on. Went about ten miles and camped. A negro man who had been living a long time in the mountains, and who had been in this place a few weeks, had agreed to go with us, but he not being quite ready, we started on. Next morning we found that he had gone by us [at] night. We concluded that he intended to slip in ahead of us and get the trade. We went on and when we came to the Indian camp we found that they had gone. We found the negro’s horse standing in the tall grass and we supposed that he was sleeping near them, he having traveled all night. We saw that he had failed in his plan, and being willing that he should sleep on, we went ahead and left him sleeping. Feeling a little poetical, I composed the following lines.

 1. O Niggi are you sleeping yet

Tis time to be awakening

Or we will all slip by you quick

The plums we will be taking

2. O Niggi did you drive all night

The hours were long and dreary

Sleep on and take your needed rest

While we go on so cheerily

3. O Niggi we are wide awake

We took out time for snoozing

We do not wish for you to wake

We have no time for loosing

4. When we get to the Indian camp

and buy them out all empty

We’ll tell them Nigg is on his way

With good green corn a plenty

 About dark we came to the Indian Camp. They were very friendly. The chief took us into lodge and treated us kindly. The next morning we traded our corn for dried sarvis berries. Perfect order prevailed while trading. No one crowded one another till he was through his trade. When all was done the Indians started on and we started for home. Our berries turned to good account to us for food.

And here once again the sketch ends abruptly. I still have about 15 documents in the Church History Library’s archives to review. Keep your fingers crossed that we find even more of Levi’s life story!

One Response so far.

  1. Casey Waite says:

    Thank you for posting this. I just found this page and was very much pleased. Levi it’s my 3rd great-grandfather. Looking forward to searching further. Casey

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