Friday, March 14, 2008

4th Great Grandfather WMB "I found the gold I was looking for"

(4th great grandfather William Morley Black, baptized in 1849 in Salt Lake Utah USA)

William Morley Black, at age 22, caught gold fever to the degree that he resigned from being sheriff of Cuba, Illinois, and in the spring of 1849 and went west to get rich. He traveled with a joint stock company, meaning that each man signed over all his things to the company--if a man left the group, he would forfeit (lose) everything he had put in--money, animals, or goods.
William entered the Salt Lake Valley on 24 July, 1849, two years to the day after the first group of Saints had entered the Valley. There to his surprise he found a well organized city, and the people gathered for a Pioneer Day celebration.

From his journal:

"At first I thought we had lost our reckoning and that this was the Sabbath day, but this could not be as the Mormons were an unchristian lawless sect and doubtless paid no heed to the Sabbath."
He further notes that he ate dinner with a friendly Mormon family and was influenced by the blessing on the food.
"This was the first time in my life that I had heard a blessing asked on our daily food and this prayer fell from the lips of an uncultured Mormon.
"Toward evening I met another Mormon, a Mr. William Wordsworth . . . To my surprise Mr. Wordsworth invited us to attend their church services the next day. I accepted the invitation and he promised to call for me. Sunday, July 25, 1849 is the day ever to be remembered by me. Mr. Wordsworth called early and after chatting ten or fifteen minutes with members of our company and again extending an invitation to us all to attend their church, he and I walked to the bowery. We secured seats near the front of the congregation. On the west was a raised platform of lumber on which were seated some twenty of their leading Elders, including Brigham Young. Under the shade of the bowery seated on neatly made slab benches were the choir and congregation. Services opened with singing and prayer, and the sacrament (bread and water) of the Lord's supper was blessed and passed to all the people. Then a man of noble, princely bearing addressed the meeting. As he arose Mr. Wordsworth said, 'That is Apostle John Taylor, one of the two men who were with our Prophet and Patriarch when they were martyred in Carthage jail.' The word 'Apostle' thrilled me, and the sermon, powerful, and testimony that followed filled my soul with a joy and satisfaction that I never felt before, and I said to Mr. W., "'If that is Mormonism then I am a Mormon. How can I become a member of your church?'
"'By baptism,' he answered.
"'I am ready for the ordinance.'
"He replied 'Do not be in a hurry. Stay here and get acquainted with our people. Study more fully the principles of the gospel. Then if you wish to cast your lot with us it will be a pleasure to me to baptize you.' That night I slept but little, I was too happy to sleep. A revelation had come to me and its light filled my soul. My desire for gold was swept away. I had found the Pearl of Great Price, and I resolved to purchase it, let it cost what it would.
"After a few days rest the company pushed on for California, but another man drove my team. I gave them my all, and in exchange received Baptism at the hands of Levi Jackman. I had lost the world and become a Mormon. 'He that putteth his hand to the plow and turneth back, is not worthy of me.'"

William had a wife and two children back home in Illinois. Eventually they came out to Utah with him, but did not join the church. Over time, William was plurally married to a total of 5 wives, of which we are decended from the second. He moved a dozen times over the subsequent years, building gristmills in many developing towns and helping them get up and running before moving to the next place. He is buried in Blanding, Utah.

Years later, William would record in his journal
"I found the gold I was looking for"
That phrase is carved on his tombstone.