Condensed Journal of Alfred Cordon
Among those who were active in the church of Jesus Christ of the latter day saints, shortly after its introduction into England and from then to the close of his life the late Alfred Cordon who at the time of his demise, was bishop of Willard City, Utah. This sketch is mostly an abridgment of his journal small books of which are in the possession of his children.
His fathers name was Sampson cordon, who lived at Roxteth Park, about a mile from Liverpool, England. He in turn was the son of Ralph Cordon, a potter by trade. Sampson cordon served as apprenticeship at the trade of painting on chinaware, but owing to an accident which affected his eyes, he quit painting and took up the labor of painting earthen pots.
He married Myrah Hampson and, on feb.28, 1817, their son, Alfred, was born. Ralph cordon, for a number of years, was clerk of St. Michaels church, Liverpool, and was succeeded in this office by his son Sampson. This situation brought about 30 pounds ($150.00) per year.
Alfred being fond of reading, read in the bible very much while a child. At the age of 12 he was apprenticed to the pottery business. In a few months he met with a sever accident, falling into a caldron of boiling oil or grease, which scalded him very badly. From this, however, he soon recovered but, in some way, a change had come over his moral nature, for he began to swear, mingled with bad company, and soon become a heavy drinker. His early training caused him to make many resolutions to do better, but these were broken as often as made.
When about 18 years of age, he moved into Staffordshire and obtained a situation in the pottery at Burslem. Here he formed the acquaintance of Emma Parker but, in October, 1836, both had severe attack of small pox. He returned to his father and soon became better, but the disease left him bilious and that affection clung to him, more or less throughout his life.
On the 19th day of December 1839, he married Emma Parker. She was born on the same days queen Victoria, may 24,1819. According to his journal he continued to lead a dissolute life for some time but, on the death of their first child, a little girl about 8 months old, he began to earnestly seek the lord in prayer, he joined with some other men in attending the church of the reverend Robert Aiken and soon was very happy, serving the lord to the best of his understanding and winning over his wife to the same belief. After a few months, he became a class leader and the visions of his mind were opened concerning the second coming of Christ, etc.
About this time, a woman, named Mary Powell, informed him that the latter-day saints had a branch of their church at Manchester, and referred him to the 11 chapter of Isaiah, revelation 14th chapter 6th verse, and other passages in the bible, and convinced him that baptism by immersion was necessary. Through prayer and the study of the scripture to go to Manchester to learn more about it. He was opposed in this by his former classmates, who obtained some stories ridiculing the saints. His wife also opposed him, but to no purpose.
On June 29, 1839, he and William Bradbury walked to Manchester a distance of over 30 miles, and the next day, after attending two meetings presented themselves for baptism. They were baptized by elder David Wilding, and confirmed on July 1st. And returned greatly rejoicing in the blessing of the gospel. Stephen Lancaster, who had accompanied them from Burslem, was not converted; and, returning by coach, informed the Aitkenites that the saints in Manchester were bad people and thus created considerable prejudice which led to persecution. The brethren, however, rejoiced in their testimony and continued seeking the lord for his guidance.
On July 25, elder William Clayton came to Burslem and the following day baptized four persons on of whom was Alfred Cordon's wife. On the 28th Elder Clayton ordained Alfred Cordon a priest and after baptizing three more, he returned to Manchester on July 30th.
Brother cordon now commenced preaching the gospel on the 5th. Day of august he baptized Jermima Mellon, who had been ill with consumption for 16 months but she returned from the water leaping with joy and praising the lord.
He continued holding meetings baptizing believers and defending the doctrines of the saints. As an illustration, I quote from the journal: "on oct.20th. I baptized James Spencer walker: on the 24th I baptized brother George lee on the 25th. I baptized Richard Cooper and Mary Mellon on the 19th. I set out for Liverpool in the company with George Simpson and Edward Parker. We went to Delamere forest to a relation of brother George Simpson. I preached to a good number of them and they received the word. We went to Liverpool to my parents. We stayed there until Saturday: we then came back to Burslem and brother David Wilding baptized 11 while I was away. My heart rejoiced in the lord our god. Brother David Wilding stayed with us until about the December the 12th and he baptized 26 from Nov. 11th. When he left, brother Wm. Clayton came over and he baptized two. He left us on the 23rd. I was now left by myself to attend and watch over the flock of Christ."
On the 22nd of Dec. It was manifested to him by the spirit that he must be ordained an elder. While he was trembling and sweating over the thought, Elder Clayton arose and said that the spirit required him to ordain Alfred Cordon and elder; henry glover a priest: and some other teachers.
Alfred now continued to hold meetings with the saints: preaching, baptizing, administering the sacrament, and etc. And he wound up the year by breaking the ice and baptizing Charles Stevenson.
About this time, he was sorely tried, his wife being dangerously ill and in labor. He was tempted to become an infidel, but after reflection, he humbled himself, went to his wife, rebuked the devil in the name of Jesus Christ, and his wife became calm and was delivered of a male child. The child however, was dead, but the mother was saved.
On Jan.7, 1840, while preaching at Burslem, he and companions were mobbed and treated pretty roughly. But, like the saints of old, they rejoiced in enduring persecution for the gospels sake. Up to Jan. 21st. He reports 19 meetings 12 baptisms. That evening elder Wilford Woodruff, of the 12 apostles called on them accompanied by Elder Turley. They stayed a few days and held meetings, and quite a large number more joined the church. Many who were sick, were held by the administration of the elders for weeks they continued their labors; preaching , baptizing, confirming, and blessing the people, enjoying the spirit of revelation and prophecy. Brother Woodruff left them, and went to Herefordshire, as noted in his journal, but elder Turley remained for a time. One evening while attending to baptisms, a white pillar was plainly seen by several persons. It was standing on the water, here Elder Turley was arrested and thrown into prison, on account of alleged debts, but he rejoiced in the privilege of preaching to his fellow prisoners and the saints raised money for him and administered to his needs.
On Thursday, Mar. 26, he received a letter from Elder Woodruff, who had baptized 80 persons, and among them a minister named Thomas Kingston who threw open to the elders 45 meeting houses.
On Mar. 30th. While walking along with brother Wm. Bradbury, the latter asked Alfred to compose a piece of poetry. He immediately presented the following:
My dear brother William, the time is at hand, when we shall not be walking along in this land, but we shall be removed to a land prized of god, and there be preserved from all that is bad."
Although he had done a great deal of preaching he had not obtained a license, but on Friday, April 10, he appeared before a magistrate and obtained a license, and thus became a recognized preacher.
On Thursday, April 16th. Daniel bowers sent for him. Bowers had inflammation all down one side of his body. The doctor, sent for by the bowers wife took 1 and 1/2 pints of blood from him. But he grew worse. Elder cordon anointed him with oil and rebuked the disease in the name of the lord and bowers was instantly healed.
About the middle of April, Elder Woodruff called on them, reported 100 baptisms and 200 more ready for baptism in Herfordshire. Elder Woodruff went to Preston and met other apostles. Who had arrived from America on the 19th. President Brigham young visited Elder Cordon, and then went on with Elder Woodruff. A few days later, Elders Geo. A Smith and Willard Richards came to see him.
The work of preaching evenings and Sundays, baptizing people frequently, and receiving sneers, ridicule and ill treatment from unbelievers continued; but the saints rejoiced and the lord confirmed the word by signs following.
About May 10, Elder Turley was released from prison, Elder Brigham young returned from Herfordshire, May 21st. The saints there now numbered about 400.
He recorded a remarkable incident on June 8, 1840. In passing through the churchyard at leek, he saw a gravestone on which was engraved" Thomas Robinson, died a.d.17__ aged 438 years." most likely an error through figures being indistinct or partly effaced.
On June 29, a conference was held at Hanley, Geo. A Smith presided. Alfred Cordon was clerk. A number of men were ordained to different offices in the priesthood by Elders W. Woodruff and Geo. A. Smith. Six branches were represented and the Staffordshire conference was organized; Alfred Cordon appointed presiding elder.
On Friday. July 3rd. He writes: " sister Ann Simpson sent for me. She was taken very ill with a violent inflammation. In company with Elder Simpson, I anointed her, rebuked the disease, and in a moment she was healed."
0n Saturday, July 4, 1849, he went to Manchester, where Parley P. Pratt was presiding, and joined with the saints in worship the following day. On Monday, July 6, a conference was held in Carpenters Hall. Manchester P.P. Pratt presided, Wm. Clayton clerk; 85 branches were represented; 2513 members; 59 elders; 122 priests; 61 teachers and 13 deacons. Seven of the apostles were there and five high priests. Alfred Cordon, J. Kingstron, and Thomas Smith were ordained high priests. July 7th, he returned home and continues his labors, holding meetings almost every evening and all day Sunday. July 14, he assisted elder Geo. A Smith in ordaining William J. Barrett an elder and setting him apart for a mission to Australia. On aug.4, Elder Heber C. Kimball visited him and prophesied that he would hereafter visit him at his home in America and partake of a feast with him. On the 5th., He conducted Elder Kim ball through the potteries. The latter advised him to quit his work and devote himself wholly to the ministry. In reading the journal up to this time the wonder grows how he could devote so much time to the ecclesiastical labor and be able to attend his physical work also he now traveled with Elder Kimball, greatly widening the field of his labors. On Aug 10, elder Kimball gave elder cordon a blessing predicting that he should preach the gospel from nation to nation. That his ability to preach should be 50 great that no man should be able to confound him; that he should go to the land of Zion and take his wife with him, receive his anointing in the house of the Lord, and have a numerous posterity. That he should have the gift of tongues, the interpretation there of, heal the sick and perform many mighty miracles in the name of Christ.
Elder cordon now continued his missionary labors from day to day. On august 13, Elder Turley, who was leaving for America with a company of Saints bade him goodbye, leaving his blessing with him. On Aug. 20th, he must have felt a little homesick, for he wrote:
My brethren are scarce and my sisters are few, and as for my wife, I have bade he adieu: I once could behold her and sit by her side, and with her in council could always confide.
He here makes an entry referring to the Methodist religion as a great delusion, it's adherent to worshiping god without a body, parts, or passions, and that it was one of the offspring of the mother of harlots.
He also speaks of a visit to a Sister Taylor's who related a vision in which she saw a personage dressed in white, who said unto to her "arise for thou must be baptized again." Sister Taylor's mother was present and related a vision she had in 1837, in which among other things, she saw five men, who told her to believe in the lord Jesus Christ. They sang a hymn commencing "the spirit of god like a fire is burning" in March 1840, elder Wilford Woodruff called at her house and she instantly recognized him as one of the five men. She also recognized Brigham Young and Willard Richards as men who were among the five seen in the vision. Note that at the time of the vision, these men were not in England and the hymn of which the lady remembered the first line, had not been published.
He also related a visit to and conversation with the Rev. J, Marsland, a Methodist priest, who treated them scornfully.
On Aug. 31st. He returned to his home on account of some financial difficulty, then continued his labors there, preaching, baptizing, ordaining, and setting in order the branches. On Sept. 15, he returned to Gretna Green, and from there continued his journey towards Birmingham. Preaching by the way in several instances, healing the sick.
He here inserts a blessing received from Elder Wilfred Woodruff, in which he was told that he was of the blood of Ephraim, that the lord had a great work for him to do, that he should suffer much for the gospel's sake, that his face should shine with the glory of god and angles should minister unto him. Still he should suffer much for the gospel's sake, that his face should "shine with the glory" god and angles should minister unto him. Still he should be greatly tempted but not overcome.
After holding a number of meetings and baptizing a number of persons near Birmingham, he returned to the potteries, Sept. 28th. a conference was being held there at which Elder Woodruff presided. Quite a number of brethren were ordained to the priesthood and the report showed 222 members, 9 elders, 32 priests, 9 teachers 9 deacons, in the six branches. Another branch was organized. At several meetings he speaks of the saints enjoying the gift of tongues and the interpretation there of.
About this time he visited his father and relatives at Liverpool, but he says he found them very bigoted and full unbelief.
On Tuesday, Oct. 6th. Conference was held at the carpenters hall at Manchester, and about 4000 persons represented. Here he was appointed to preside over the Staffordshire potteries conference, Mr. john berry, having urged president young and others to join in a public discussion, they appointed elder a. Cordon to discuss with him. He, berry, was to prove the book of Mormon false and that baptism by water is not essential to salvation. On Oct. 7th. This discussion was held. Rev. Berry contended that the book of Mormon, in teaching that Adam fell that men might be, makes the almighty the author of sin. To this elder cordon replied that eve being tempted, fell and through the fall become separated from Adam unless he fell also. Adam realized this, hence he partook of the forbidden fruit and thus "Adam fell that man might be."
Rev. Berry refereed to the saying of the savior to the woman who washed his feet, "thy faith hath made thee whole", to the thief on the cross, to Cornelius and others, as evidence that baptism is not essential to salvation. He, himself, and many of his Methodist brethren had been saved without baptism. "glory be to god!" All the gentleman's assertions were answered and, elder cordon says, "the assembly laughed and scorned at him."
On his return to the potteries, he says, he exhorted the saints to leave off all tobacco, snuff, tea, and all intoxicating drinks. On oct.14, he again started for Birmingham, called at lane end the evening, preached there baptized and confirmed three persons. There he met Elder Wilford Woodruff, who predicted persecution and told them to prepare for trials. They journeyed 0n to Birmingham where elder cordon continued his labors.
Speaking of a man named Barratt, he writes "the first time I went to see him, the spirit of the lord made it manifest unto me that he was a gentile, and that is ever he joined the church, he would turn around, deny the faith and persecute us." He continued laboring there for some time; baptizing believers, healing the sick, blessing the saints, and etc. But meeting with a good deal of opposition.
One report said the saints proposed building a wall across the Atlantic Ocean, 2000 miles long and four miles high, and they requested the saints to give up all their money to aid the enterprise. The lord, however, blessed the saints with faith, with dreams and visions, so that they rejoiced exceedingly.
On Nov. 7th. His wife came to him in Birmingham. The next day in meeting his wife had the gift of tongues, and he had the interpretation. He mentions a number of the saints who were blessed with the gift of tongues during that month. On dec.14th, a man requested elder cordon to take a draught of poison. The elder said he would not tempt his god to satisfy curiosity, and denounced the tempter as a wicked man and an adulterer.
On dec. 25th., He attended conference at Hanley, near his home. Elders Brigham Young and Geo. A. Smith were present. On Jan. 2nd. 1841, he returned to his field of labor, encountered a very severe and violent storm of hail. Several houses were blown down and much damage done. He caught cold and suffered somewhat. Still on the 6th, be broke some very thick ice and baptized three persons. One of whom had a very bad cold but was healed through baptism.
On the 11th. He was called on by sister Whotton to go heal her mother. He went, found the woman very ill. But through the administration she was healed, returned with him to meeting and bore hr testimony. On the 12th. Sister riley was healed instantly through his administration. He received a letter from his wife informing him that it had been in tongues that she would soon die. He replied that tongues did not govern the church but the priesthood did and advised her to depend on the promises made to her by the servants of god. On jan.18th., A brother, ray came to him stating that his wife was possessed of the devil. Elder cordon arose at midnight, went with brother ray, found the woman unconscious and writhing and twisting fearfully. He rebuked the devil and the woman instantly became calm. In Feb. He assisted in sending about 50 saints to Liverpool, who were emigrating to Nauvoo.
On Feb. 18th., He had a severe attack of fever, but was healed through the faith and prayers of his brethren. The saints treated him very kindly. On Feb 28th. A conference was held in Birmingham. Elder H. C. Kimball was in attendance. About 100 members represented. On mar 9th. He visited his home, found his wife in good spirits, he writes" and the work of the lord our god is rolling on in power; sixteen baptized this week." He remained in the neighborhood of his home for several days preaching, baptizing, confirming, and visiting among the saints. Held conference at Macclesfield, Mar 16th. Elder geo. A smith of the twelve apostles being present. A priesthood meeting at leek followed on the 18th. Elder W. Woodruff having arrived on Sunday, Mar. 28th. The Stafforshire conference was held; there being 2 apostles, 1 high priest, 18 elders, 52 priests, 23 teachers, and 14 deacons, and 625 members represented.
A number more brethren were ordained. Some of the saints believing in magic, a vote was taken that such things as magic should not be countenanced in the church. He remained among the branches around there until April 6th. When conference was held in Manchester. Elders Willard Richards, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, and Geo. A. Smith of the apostles being present. On the 7th. He returned home labored among the saints a few days then went on a mission to chesterfield.
He passed through the park of the duke of Devonshire at Chatworth; he describes the place of the duke as something exceedingly grand adorned with sculpture, paintings, a very large library, elegant furniture, and etc. On table he mentioned contained 10,000 different pieces and was valued at 3,500 pounds ($175,000.00). He ably describes the grounds, the water system and adornments; all of which were exceedingly choice, rare, beautiful and costly. Among other things described in an artificial tree, representing a weeping willow made of 8,000 different pieces and arranged so that one under it would receive a shower-bath very speedily from its leaves.
After a lengthy description of the splendor, he concludes: "alas! All these things cannot make a man happy, for they all fade away as doth a flower. O, my god, humble the rich, bestow upon then charity, and make them partakers of thy great salvation, and bring them into the kingdom for thy son's sake. Amen and Amen.
He continued his missionary labors in the usual was in and around chesterfield, a city of about 15,000 inhabitants, until may 11th. When he returned to Birmingham. He found there much confusion in the branch. He appointed a fast day, tried to bring about harmony but met with much opposition. He however continued his labors there. Some receiving the word gladly others opposing. On may 30, his wife met him at Birmingham. Conference was held there on 30, and 31. Sister cordon was taken very ill and remained so for about ten days.
Monday, June 7th. He started for the potteries, met with a great deal of opposition from the primitive Methodists. He had to stop at Gretna green on account of his wife's illness on the 11th; he proceeded on his journey, leaving his wife who was still ill, at Gretna green, in care of Jane wood. On the 14th. She followed him, although she was still very weak.
I quote from the journal of June 16th. "in the evening, I preached at Burslem as a vision had been published in the star, showing the final destiny of man.... It seemed a little to strong for many in the church, for they had the idea that every one that did not obtain celestial glory was to boil and fry and fizzle in lakes of eternal fire and everlasting flames of damnation for ever and ever."
On the 18th. He administered to Elder Simpson who was very ill. Immediately the latter arose, ate and drank and went to his work. On the 25th. He records the casting out of the devil from Sister Harrison and several other manifestations of the power of god.
On June 27th. Conference was held at Burslem, nearly 600 members represented. Elder cordon, now, continued his labors near his home for some time. On July 11th. He writes, "at nine in the morning, we assembled in the room. We had done singing, the holy ghost descended like unto fire and sat upon one of the brethren and he arose and sang delightfully in tongues. Brother Joseph smith interpreted. Such a joyful day I never had seen before. Many had visions, many spoke in tongues, and many prophesied. It was a day edifying to us all." On July 20th. Being challenged, he held a discussion with Wesleyan Minster, Mr. Jebb, and was greatly blessed in defending the faith.
On Monday, July 26th. He writes that while preaching upon the proper subject for baptism, a Wesleyan cried out. " you are a liar. You are a scamp, you are a vagabond, and etc." Elder cordon told the man that for his unrighteous conduct the almighty would visit him speedily with great judgment. Thursday, Aug. 5th. He relates an incident of a woman who claimed to receive visions, revelations, etc. She declared that the church was full of iniquity. None were true to the faith but herself and Joseph smith. She had been ordained by Jesus Christ, and etc. She was disfellowshipped and sent to the insane asylum.
On Saturday Aug. 7th. The elders were instructed to observe the word of wisdom. A number confessed their sins and agreed to quit using tobacco, and such evils. It is worthy of note that while elder cordon was thus laboring in the ministry, his wife was without a home and had to depend upon friends for her support. This caused her to be very uneasy in her mind and sometimes to lack comforts but her husband was absorbed in his missionary work, and left all to his god; never faltering in his work 0f holding meetings, discussions, encouraging the saints, and baptizing and confirming believers.
One of the elder cordon's manuscript books closes with Aug. 1841, and the next opens with 1844 when on his way from Nauvoo to Vermont. I appealed to his eldest son, Edwin to supply what he could from memory, and from his reply I gleaned the following:
We left England in sept.1841, had a very rough voyage and were 11 weeks crossing the ocean, landing at New Orleans, thence proceeding up the river to Nauvoo, Ill. Here he worked at such work as he could obtain and attended to such ministerial labor as was assigned him. He became acquainted with the prophet Joseph Smith, and became more thoroughly convinced that he was indeed the great prophet of the latter day dispensation.
In 1843, he obtained a small piece of land and commenced to build a one roomed house, at intervals when he was not working for wages or down with chills and fever. He had almost completed it by April conference, 1844. Finding that he had not been called on a mission as he had expected to be, he told his wife that he hoped by another conference, to be able to leave under more favorable conditions. In a few days he met Elder Heber C. Kimball, who, after inquiring how he was getting along, placed his hands upon Alfred's shoulder and said, "Alfred, we want you to go upon a mission, will you go?" Alfred answered, "yea if you say s0." Pres. Kimball replied I say so. Alfred asked what part of the world he was to go to and when they wished him to start. He was informed that he was to go to the state of Vermont with elder James burgess, to leave in ten days. They were to leave Nauvoo on foot, without purse or script and preach by the way.
When he told his wife about the call and asked her what she thought about it, she answered, "Alfred, go and god will provide." He accordingly prepared to leave his little home, which contained his wife and two children, Edwin p. 2 years and 6 months old, and Rachel 4 months. The night previous to his departure, he sat with his wife until a late hour. Early the next morning, without waking his wife, he arose, took his grip and departed. The thought of leaving his family without food or money, among poor people and in sickly country, almost over powered him.
He traveled about half a mile, then turned into a small grove of timber and, falling upon his knees, told the lord that he had been called by his servants to go and proclaim the gospel to those that sat in darkness. Said he, thou knowest the condition in which I have left my wife and children; and I commend them to thy care, to look after them and see that they are taken care of. "he continued, "when I arose to my feet, I stood and cried like a child, the tears rolling down my cheeks. I repeated this prayer three times then rose and started on my journey to the home of my companion, arriving there at daybreak."
After partaking of breakfast, they started on their journey, traveling that day 25 miles. His companion having four dollars, they put up at a hotel for two nights, which cost them all the money they had. After they got on the road, Alfred told his companion they were now on equal footing, having been sent from home to preach the gospel without purse or script.
They traveled through a farming community, preaching wherever they could get an opportunity, most likely traveling through Northern Indiana and Michigan.
During the summer, owing to the sickness in Navuoo, the heads of the church appointed men to go around the outskirts of the town and see if there were any in need. John Burbanks, late of Brigham city, Utah was on such an errand with a companion. They come to a small house and knocked at the door. Meeting no
Response, he looked through the keyhole and saw what appeared to be a black face. They burst the lock and, entering found a woman in bed, her face covered with large blowflies. At her breast was a babe in a similar condition and by her side lay another child. Neither of them had life enough to brush the flies off. He washed their faces, asked the woman her name but she was unable to answer him.
Leaving his companion, he hastened home, shot a quail by the way, which his wife cooked and he returned to his patient with food. After she had partaken a little, he again asked her name. She replied that it was Emma Cordon and that her husband was 0n a mission.
Elder Burbanks reported to the authorities and the family was taken to the home of elder geo. A. Smith and cared for. How long they had been in that condition in which Elder Burbanks found them no one knows, their nearest neighbor being about half a mile away.
The next book opens with June 11,1844. When elder cordon and companion were traveling through Michigan, as on the 13th they arrived at Detroit. Traveling on foot, on the 14th. They met with a small branch of six members in Canada, where they stayed and visited and preached until Monday, June 17th. They continued traveling on foot, making from 15 to 10 miles per day, reaching Niagara falls June 17th. 0n the 29th. And 30th, they attended conference at Lockport, N.Y. And on July 15th. Continued their journey passing through Palmyra, where Joseph found the plates. On July 9th. They first heard of the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum smith, which occurred at Carthage Jail, ill. June 27th. On the 11th. They reached German flats, where they found a small branch of the church and stayed until the 15th. They crossed the Hudson on the 18th and into Vermont on the 19th.
On the 23rd, they arrived at Westminster, and were treated kindly by a Mr. Parkhurst, who was quite favorable to the doctrines of the church. It was not until July 26, that they obtained anything definite about the murder of the prophet and his brother.
He remained in this neighborhood, assisted Mr. Parkhurst with his hay and preached whenever and wherever he could get an opportunity. His companion, Elder Bursess went on to New Hampshire, aug.16th. On the 28 elder cordon baptized Mr. Parkhurst and Miss Howe. On Sept 2 he stayed at Captain Mack's a brother of Lucy Smith, the prophet's mother.
Although just as diligent in preaching in Vermont as he had been in England, it was only once in a while that he succeeded baptizing any, and often the elders were ill treated.
On oct.22, he again met elder Wilford Woodruff, who was on his way to England. On the 24th. Elder Woodruff continued his journey, carrying with him letters to friends in England. He also writes here with pride of being able to send $10.00 to his wife. He also mentions exercising the gift of tongues on that day. 0n Nov. 1st. He names five who were baptized into the church, and speaks of the time of rejoicing they all had.
On Sunday, Nov. 24th. He received a letter from his wife, dated Oct. 22nd. Telling of the suffering of herself and children from fever and ague. On dec.16, he tells of meeting with Hanah Bruckland, who had been afflicted for fourteen years and confined to her bed for ten of them; suffering from spinal afflicted, torturing bowel complaint, rheumatism, nervous debility, chills extreme pain, convulsions, etc. She was given up by the doctors and anxiously awaited death. Meeting with latter-day saints she was taught the gospel and exhorted to exercise faith. Was administered to by the elders, and 0n partial recovery. Baptized and made whole.
Commenting on this, Elder Cordon says: when I look at this sister and what she has had to pass through, and behold her going about the house and performing her duty, full of activity and spirit, my heart rejoices before god and I say "thy name be praised for ever and ever. Amen."
0n the 22nd. He speaks of exercising the gift of tongues in connection with confirming some members of the church on the 24th. While preaching on the Book of Mormon, it being a word of modern origin? Elder Cordon replied that it is the business of the translator to use words that people can understand.
On dec. 28th, he composed the following (let the reader compare it with addison's poetry) I select the first of two stanzas:
"how amiable are thy ways, thou everlasting king!
Thy piercing eye surveys through every living thing.
Upheld by thy almighty hand, thy noble works around thee
Stand thou framest the heavens above and set the stars 0n high.
Around thy throne they move and shine most gloriously.
Thy nobel works around thee stand, upheld by thy almighty hand.
He often inserted specimens of his poetry in his journal. On dec. 31st. He wrote:
"my brethren are scarce and my sisters are few,
As for my wife, I have bid her adieu;
I once could behold her and sit by her side
And with her in council could always confide.
Such wisdom was blended with all her advice,
It seemed like a bulwark to keep me from vice.
In keen tribulation she bade me not fear,
And stood like an angel to soothe and cheer,
And tell me look forward, be true to the test,
And overcome all, then sit down with the blest."
On Jan. 1st. 1845, he wrote:
"eighteen hundred forty-four has gone
And with it all its cares and toils and troubles;
Our public acts and secret deeds are done
And cannot be recalled by aught that's human.
They stand as monuments and say "beware,
And for that future day (state) yourselves prepared
Hail happy year, we greet thee with delight;
Let peace and love abound in every heart."
Here it breaks off abruptly, part of the page left blank.
Monday, Jan. 6th. He left Pomfret, some of his friends giving him money and receiving his prayers. On the 7th, elder burgess met him and they rejoiced together. They waded through the snow to mr. Parkhurst's and on the 9th. Assisted him in killing and cleaning hogs.
Tuesday, jan.7th. He received a letter from home. Mailed dec.8th 44. It was the first he had received since leaving home may 4,1844. In it his wife tells of the sickness of herself and children with fever and ague. Edwin having it for 14 weeks and she so sick that the children had to be taken away from her to be taken care of again she says "I have had to part from some of my things in order to live. We have not suffered much want of food, but we have from want of care. All that I got my garden was three pecks of corn and three bushels of potatoes; the hogs destroyed the remainder. In conclusion she says, my faith in the work is stronger than ever."
In the midst of heavy snows and storms, during the month of January, elder cordon continued his labors. On the 22nd. He wrote
"let wolf and lamb together lie, the leopard and kid too.
The bear lose its ferocity, the evil powers subdue.
Let Israel from their hiding place, come forth in mighty band
And Enoch's god with shining face, shall in their presence stand
Let Judah's tribe be sanctified. The covenant enter in,
And thus their god be glorified, and pardon all
Let all eternity rejoice, the day of peace has come,
Let every soul lift up his voice. And praise the holy lamb,"
On Thursday feb.13th. He tells of attending a wedding feast at brother styles whose sister was being married to a Mr. Bent. On the 15th. He assisted in organizing a branch of the church at Athens, Vermont. On the following day, they passed resolutions expressing indignation over the murder of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, vowing to defend the innocent, uphold religious liberty sustain Brigham Young as president of the church, assist in building the temple and support the church periodicals.
On the 28th. His birthday, he wrote:
This is the day that gave me birth, in eighteen hundred ten and seven;
My spirit then strayed to this earth far from its native heaven
Twas then I clothed myself with clay, to pass through earth's commotion,
To fit myself against the day, the day of high promotion
Eight and twenty years I've toiled, and passed through many dangers,
In eastern lands and western wild, I've wandered as a stranger.
What dangers now before me lie, is not revealed to me;
One thing I know the spirit cries, there's bonds and poverty.
But what of this I can gain, a seat among the gods above.
That through much tribulation came, but were redeemed by Jesus' blood.
Let me perform those glorious things, the gods in council did decree,
Then take my seat among the kings, and dwell in full felicity."
Mar. 5th. While confirming sister Lydia W. Stiles, he said: "we also confirm upon you the holy spirit, even that spirit which has illuminated your heart and enlightened your understanding that you might understand the doctrines of Christ and believe in the work of the latter days. Yea you shall be blessed with the blessings of heaven above and of the earth beneath; with the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the blessing of Joseph through whose loins you have descended, even through the lineage of Joseph -- and the spirit of intelligence and wisdom shall rest upon you and every other blessing that will be calculated to make you wise, intelligent, amiable and good. The past the present and the future shall be opened unto you. You shall rejoice upon the heights of Zion, and possess it again in eternity. Your mother and sister shall embrace the gospel and you shall rejoice together in the kingdom of god. Even so, amen."
On march 8th. In a meeting at Drewsville, he told the saints that the gift of tongues and interpretation did not govern the church, but government belongs to the priesthood. Things spoken in tongues are not always to be depended upon, for often people through this gift speak from imagination, or of things that are influencing their minds.
On April 13th, he records the marriage of Miss Lydia w. Stiles, whose blessing is recorded above, to Elder James Burgess.
Elder cordon now began to prepare for his return homeward. After holding some farewell meetings with the saints, on Tuesday April 29th. He started on his return. In steakins of the events of the year that he had been absent from home, he refers to the laws, fosters. Higbees, and others whose conduct led to the murder of the prophet and patriarch, and brought much anxiety and suffering upon their followers. At troy, he took the canal for buffalo, where he baptized Asa Waldo, who was accompanying him to Nauvoo. He then traveled by steamboat by lake canal, and river to St. Louis, there he heard that his wife and child were dead, their deaths having been advertized in the Nauvoo neighbor. He says the effects of a rifle discharged into my breast could not have made me feel worse. It was like an electric shock. I knew not how to speak, think, or act. My feelings ebbed and flowed and at times I would sink into despair.
He continued his journey, reaching Nauvoo the day the capstone was placed upon the temple, with shouts of hosanna, etc. He soon met a sister, who informed him that his wife and children were well, and now he writes, "as the joy of a prisoner, released from a long captivity even so was my joy. My heart was filled with gratitude and thanksgiving to almighty god for his goodness toward me.
During the summer, he worked at potting and did very well. The saints around were constantly being annoyed by mobs. He says the mob knew better than to come to Nauvoo; if they had, hundreds of them would have made their bed in hell. (they received their endowments 0n Jan. 10th. In the Nauvoo temple)
That winter he assisted in preparing for the exodus, and 0n Feb. 5th. 1846, started with Charles Shumway and others, crossing the Mississippi on the ice. They camped at sugar creek three weeks, then pushed on over bad roads and in stormy weather to the Chariton River. There they waited until many others joined them. Alfred returned to his family reaching home April 15th.
He went to Burlington where he obtained work. Brother James Bursess returned to Nauvoo to fetch families, but sister cordon having given birth to a child could not be removed. 0n the 5th day of her confinement, she came to Burlington by steamboat. She however took cold and suffered a great deal for three months. A sister Filcher being very kind to her, nursing her during her afflictions. They named the child Emma, (now, Mrs. William low of Willard Utah).
Prior to leaving Nauvoo, he and his wife received their endowments, sealings, etc. In the temple over which they greatly rejoiced at Burlington. They organized a branch and elder cordon was selected to preside. Here they held their meetings and enjoyed themselves after the manner of saints.
In December 1847, elder Zebedee Coltrin visited them, told 0f the journey of the pioneers, over the rocky mountains to great salt lake valley. Described the country, the lake, the climate, and etc. Creating a longing in their hearts to be with the brethren.
Here he names 8 or 10 people whom he baptized during the winter of 1847-48.
In Aug. 1847, he was taken very sick with bilious fever. After it abated he had fever and ague for a long time. Dec. 19 1847 Emma gave birth to a boy whom they named Alfred, but he was very sickly and, when five months old, he passed away.
0n July 6, 1848, Elder Orson Hyde visited the branch and appointed Alfred on a mission to England. In setting him apart, Elder Hyde said of elder cordon," blessed is that person who receives him kindly, blessed is that house that entertains him, and blessed is that person who helps him on the way.
Consulting with his wife, she urged him to obey counsel, leave his family, and go in the name of the lord and do his duty. Elder Hyde instructed the saints of the eternal laws of procreation, the resurrection, redemption of the dead, and other things which they had very imperfectly understood.
Brother Leonard, one whom elder cordon had baptized, loaned him $85.00 to pay his passage to great. Britain. July 18, he reluctantly left his family. He would fain have remained but he writes: "O, my god, thy purpose must roll forth, and i will rejoice that thou hast called me to s0 high and holy a calling and committed unto me a dispensation of the gospel of Jesus Christ and through friends and family are dear, yet, first in my affection is the kingdom of god.
He continues, "I hurried down to the boat, and bade my brethren and sisters, my affectionate wife and three small children farewell, while my habitation was insight, I stood on the hurricane deck, straining my eyes to take a last fond look. And then retired to my berth and gave vent to my feelings in a flood of tears." He called at Nauvoo visited the temple, observed how the mob had defaced it, noted the ruins of homes, and thought sadly of the fate of those who had erected them.
0n the 20th. He took steamboat for St. Louis, stayed a few days, then traveled up the Ohio and on Lake Erie to New York, landing at buffalo. He crossed New York, by way of Albany, Schenectady, and Rochester.
He visited his former field of labor in Vermont, had a pleasant time with his brethren there, and then went 0n to Boston. Here he met Elder Wilford Woodruff, who was presiding in the eastern states, after a few days visiting, he sailed on the Anglo-American for England, leaving Boston Sept. 5th.
His fellow passengers were Irish, of a very low class, and the cursing, drinking, smoking, dancing, and etc. Were very annoying to the brethren on the voyage, a strong wind arose and elder cordon was very sick for complaining to the mate of debauchery of his shipmates, a sailor struck him and threatened to throw him overboard. After a very stormy voyage, they arrived in Liverpool, Oct 1st. Where he visited his parents and their family spending a week with them in a very enjoyable manner.
On Oct. 6th. He was appointed by Elder Orson Pratt to preside over the Warwickshire conference, and on the 9th. He visited his old home and friends at the Staffordshire Potteries. He remained there a week visiting and preaching and then went on to Birmingham. Here he again met with some old acquaintances and made new ones. He then went on to Leamington and stopped at Brother Chivarell's.
On Sunday, Oct. 2nd. He assisted to organize a branch of the church at Ashborne, baptizing and confirming Lucy Pickering. Describing a meeting at Coventry, Oct. 24th. He writes. "a sister desired me to lay hands upon her for she was very sick. I found in a moment that she was possessed of the devil. I commanded him to depart in the name of Jesus Christ and he came out of her. In a moment, he entered into another; we laid hands upon her and commanded the unclean spirit to come out of her. He said he would not; we told him that he should. We asked his name and he said it was Cain. He gnashed upon us with teeth, and made all manner of awful faces at us.
We held 0n until we overcame him and cast him out. He then entered into another and again he was rebuked in the name of the lord Jesus Christ.
Elder Cordow was assisted in the Warwickshire conference by Elder William Bramall (afterwards noted as a traveling agent for the Deseret News) As an illustration of the manner in which new traveled then, he tells of obtaining the Millenial Star of dec.15th which gave an account of the celebration in the great salt lake valley, of the 24th day of July. He relates here some of his reflections 0f the sufferings of the saints, and rejoices that they had organized a state government for this state of Deseret and were now free from the grasp oppression.
Dec.16, 1849, conference was held at Branbury, six branches represented, 168 members, 7 elders,12 priests,6 teachers, and two deacons. The Kroley branch was organized, several ordained to the priesthood & etc. On dec.25, a conference and a social gathering called a tea meeting was held a; Leamington. 150 sat down to tea and enjoyed themselves exceedingly.
In may they impressed upon the saints the propriety 0f contributing to the p.m.(perpetual emigration) fund, also getting up a conference fund to assist the elders in carrying on their work. 0n Sunday, may 12, a conference was held at Branbury, and near 200 members represented. Resolutions were passed supporting the P.E. Fund and on the 19th. A similar conference was held at Leamington.
He here relates an instance of a lady. Mrs. Prestige, desiring to be baptized, but on getting to the water, refusing to do so. Elder cordon, who had not previously been present went to see them and the lady again desired to be baptized. The elders baptized a man first, but the woman again refused. Satisfied that an evil spirit was tormenting her, he carried her into the water, baptized her and brought her out: when she exclaimed;" cordon I like you, he has come out of me. I wanted to be baptized all along, but something told me I must not."
June 16, 1850, he records a severe frost which did much damage. On the 3rd. He records an instance of a sister not more than 15 years of age, speaking in tongues, on June 29th. He went 0n a visit to the potteries, was met by his wife's mother and sister. On June 30th. He reviewed the events of the last 11 years since, on that day, he had gone to Manchester to hear the latter saints.
On July 1st. He mentions the receipt of a letter from his wife who had bought a farm and was now full of business. Everything bringing big prices, on account of the rush to California gold fields. He remained visiting with saints and old friends for a week and, on July 6th returned to Birmingham.
0n July 11th. He met Elder John Jaques, of Stratford on Avon, and after consulting with the elders Lebaron and Toone, Elder Jaques was called to be a traveling elder in the conference. He here records delivering a series of lectures at the temperance hall, Bedworth: I the second coming of Christ his personal reign upon the earth, and etc. Ii the church of Christ as it was, the apostasy, and the necessity for a new dispensation. Iii the reorganization of the church, qualifications of members, etc.
July l7th. He describes a balloon ascension with five men, the illumination of the city, Leamington, with colored lamps, a grand display of fireworks and etc. July 30th. Accompanied by elder Johh Jaques, he went to Liverpool to attend a party, welcoming Elder Orson Pratt who had traveled from salt lake valley in 29 days, spoke of the trip as a fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy concerning the swift messengers. (Isaiah 18).
Here elder cordon was informed that he might return home in September. Aug. 3rd, he returned by way of Burslem, and tried to interest some of the brethren (potters) to gather with the saints, and start a pottery in Utah.
On the 5th. He visited Warwick castle. On Sunday aug.11th. Meetings with the saints at coventry, the thought of leaving them overcame him, causing him to shed many tears.
He spent the 14th. Trying to settle a difficulty between two brethren at Barton. He spent several days traveling through the conference, visiting the different branches and all the saints he could. On Aug. 22nd. He met Elder Eli b. Kelsey, who had come to labor in the conference.
A letter received from his wife at this time contained the following: "I have all the confidence in you; I know you will do right. Whoever enters this church has got to live a holy and virtuous life. Moses martin is cut off from the church for his wickedness while on his mission to England. President young asked him when he got to the valley if he had kept himself a virtuous man while in England? He said "yes". President young told him that he lied, and proved it, and cut him off from the church.
Speaking of some of the English saints, he says, "they have demonstrated in every sense of the word, that hey are the disciples of the lord Jesus Christ. They fed, clothed and entertained the servants of god, and have made a him fir them at all times, and I pray that they may be blessed with all the blessings of life and salvation.
The saints of the conference collected means to help the elder to defray his expenses home. He mentions ten pounds received at received, three pounds, 15 shillings and ten pence at other contributions. He went to Leicester on the 11th. Where after council meeting and social party, he bade them farewell.
From the article presented him by Elder John Jaques, I quote "I pray for my brother Alfred cordon. O lord, thou knowest his faithfulness and strong desire to fulfill all righteousness; his sterling virtue, firm integrity and constant watchfulness. How cheerfully his ready mind follows the counsel of the holy priesthood and obeys its call! My father, he has right nobly fulfilled his mission and sheered the hearts of thine afflicted saints. Many through all ages. They will call him blessed. Oh let the choicest blessings of high heaven descend upon his head. Stretch out thy hand over him for good bless him out of Zion, thy holy habitation prosper him in all things he shall set his hand unto. Establish him in the high mountains of Ephraim, may his inheritance become very fruitful and his prosperity be multiplied. May his name never be blotted from heaven's archives, but, throughout all eternity, may it be had in honorable remembrance. In thy kingdom, crown him with a royal diadem of undafing glory and celestial worth."
Elder John Toone, representing the conference, wrote: "when we reflect upon the lonely situation in which you found us and the wonderful things that have transpired in this so short a time, we, with reluctance say, go home dear Alfred, to the bosom of thy family, but this event will cause the breaking forth of many a tear. When we reflect on your past labors, your diligence and watchfulness to build up Zion by aiding her with converts from the land of our nativity, we will unite to bless you in the name off Israel's god, and pray for your speedy journey to the happy land where dwells the Zion of our god. We testify to all around that we have the church and kingdom of the living god."
Presented to Alfred cordon by the saints of Warwickshire conference Sept 1st 1850.
On Sept. 12th. He returned to Leamington and commenced arranging to return home. Here he received a letter from an old friend, Elder Filcher of Burlington, telling of the gathering of the saints to the salt lake valley, their progress there, and etc.
Here the journal ends...
At a family reunion held at Rigby Idaho, Aug 1919 it was ascertained that Alfred cordon's children numbered 22, 12 of whom were living, while of his 133 grand children numbered 110, 86 of whom were living. While of his 133 great grand children 118 were alive and 9 of his great great grand children were also in evidence. Thus making a total of 276 descendants, of who 225 were living.
This was copied by Irleen Ward Eddington a great grand daughter, from a copy that was given to Alfred S. Cordon a great grand son June 14,1970. This being 1991.
By myrtle winger: she was the secretary of R.R. Cordon when he was a patriarch in the Teton Stake. Ralph Rolland Cordon died 1936.
February 28, 1991
This addition was made by Alfred S. Cordon, the son of Ralph Purl Cordon, who was the oldest of the eleven children of Ralph and Annie Shumway Cordon.
Ralph Roland Cordon was born the 23rd. Of Feb. 1866, he was the first child of the 4th wife of Alfred Cordon. He was just 5 years old when his father died, on the 13th of march 1871! His mother, Mary Ann Voss cordon, after one year married John Cole and she had 4 children by her 2nd husband. She died on the 8th of march 1884, at the age of 42! This is a life sketch of Ralph Rolland Cordon, which was copied from the book, "Driggs Idaho stake diamond - jubilee "1901-1981*"
Ralph r. Cordon was born February 23, 1866, at Willard Utah, the son of Alfred Cordon and Mary Ann Voss Cordon. He married Annie Shumway in Logan, Utah, December 17, 1884, and they had eleven children. He moved to Treasureton, Idaho in 1890, and in 1893 become a counselor in the Bishopbric there, in which position he served for ten years. He also held the position of Sunday School superintendent and served many years as a teacher and in missionary service. He has held the positions of road overseer, school trustee, registration clerk and other positions of trust. In 1904, he moved to Preston, Idaho and served there as Sunday School; superintendent until 1909, when he was called 0n a mission to the northern states mission. He returned from this mission in 1911 and became a home missionary.
In 1912 he moved with his family to Driggs Idaho. He was chosen to be on the high council in the Teton Stake, and became the first counselor to president don c. Driggs may 17 1917. In February 1921 he was chosen a county commissioner in 1921-22. He engaged in farming in the valley and later as an international harvester dealer, had an automobile dealership and was in the furniture business. He became the stake patriarch on October 1, 1927 and served in this position until the time of his death July 28,1936.
Children of Ralph and Annie Shumway cordon
Ralph Purl Cordon 27 Sep 1889
Mary Ann Cordon 13 Jul 1888
Charles Alfred 09 Oct 1890
Hazel Savina 09 Aug 1892
Voss Christian 09 Apr 1894
Edgar Cordon 13 Apr 1896
Lucy Cordon 18 Jan 1896
Hattie Cordon 18 Oct 1900
Delbert Cordon 26 Sep 1902
Thora Ada Cordon 17 Dec 1904
Nuel Cordon 17 Dec 1907
Ten of the children married and they all raised large families! At this writing, the posterity of Ralph Rolland and Annie Shumway cordon number over 700!
The following is a quote from the book, "Wilford Woodruff" by Matthias Cowley - page 148:
Whenever he made the acquaintance of men or women integrity to the gospel and generosity to the saints were notable, their names have an honored place in his journal.
In this connection, for the comfort and encouragement of their immediate friends and descendants, it may be said that the names of William Clayton, John Benbow, William Pitt, Howard Ockey, Alfred Cordon, with others whom he met first in England, and some of whom he baptized are mentioned many times by him, with feelings of admiration and love. These all died in the faith; may their descendants follow in their foot steps and the prayers of Wilford Woodruff in their behalf not go unanswered.