Contributed By cyndiajohnson · 2013-06-24
Started writing in 1850 by herself
I was born in the State of Ohio, Washington County, on the 14th of February 1811. The daughter of Thaddeus Pond and Lovisa Miner Pond. They had eleven children, I being the eighth. Father did not belong to any church, my mother was a Methodist, also my two sisters and one brother. I was religiously inclined, in my young days I read the New Testament often, and many times wished that I had lived in the days of Christ and his Apostles, and often wondered why the same gifts and blessings were not in any of the churches. We were told that they were no longer needed, and that seemed a mystery to me. My desire was so great to prepare for a future state that I made up my mind to unite with the Methodist church. That was in the year 1827. In 1829 we moved to Adams County, Ill. From that time I was not a member of the Methodist church. I found that I could not believe as they did. I did not believe in shouting or in calling out amen before a prayer was finished. I believed that God was a person as I had read in the New Testament, that Christ was in the exact image of the Father. I had a great anxiety to find something that would satisfy my mind. I was sometimes impressed with the hope that greater light would come, and it was my sincere prayer that I would be prepared to believe it.
On the 19th of June 1831, I was married to Henry William Miller. He was not religiously inclined, but I believed that he was the one for me for I loved him the first time that I met him. I began housekeeping at Quincy. We had one child born there. We then moved on a farm about 18 miles from Quincy where two more children were born. We then moved to Steam Flour Mills, about 10 miles from Columbus. Our eldest son was born here on the 22nd of December 1838.
In 1839 I heard the first true Gospel sermon I had ever heard in my life. I could not help but express my gratitude to my Heavenly Father for sparing my life, and giving me the opportunity of hearing the same Gospel taught by Christ and his Apostles. Some of the families of the Latter Day Saints settled near us after they were driven from Missouri. Brother Lamb held meetings at our house. After having a few meetings he gave an invitation for baptism. I was one of the first to accept. He said he did not like to baptize me, as my husband was not then at home. He wanted me to wait until the next meeting which would be held in two weeks, and he promised me that my husband would be ready to be baptized at that time. I did not like to wait, but did as he desired, and the promise that he made me was fulfilled, as we were both baptized at the next meeting. This was about the middle of Sept. 1839. The Gospel was so plain that I could not believe that my relatives would reject it, but only three of my sisters believed, and one of them did not join the church because her husband refused to let her be baptized.
Soon after I became a member of the church the Advisary tried to make me believe that I had not received the Holy Ghost. I was tried and troubled in my feelings for several days. I finally sought the Lord for a witness, and prayed for the Gift of Tongues. When I arose from prayer, I commenced speaking in Tongues. I felt thankful to my Heavenly Father for so precious a gift. Soon after I was tempted to believe that it was not a language because there were so few words in it. I then asked for another language and notwithstanding my unbelief, the Lord gave me another. This thru His help I have been able to keep until the present.
I feel to bear my testimony to this work. I know it to be the true church, the only one the Lord has on earth, and whatever I may have to pass through I never can doubt it. This knowledge I received not only by those appointed to lead, but by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, which is a sure guide. I have many testimonies to bear. I have seen the sick healed by the laying on of hands and the prayer of faith. I have been healed myself and so have my children. One of my sisters was healed by shaking hands with Hyrum Smith. She had a burning fever and the minute that she took hold of his hand it left her entirely. That was before she was baptized, although she was thoroughly converted. She was baptized soon after and was a faithful member until her death.
In the spring of 41 we moved to Nauvoo. Some of the brethren were receiving the word of the Lord concerning their property. I was very anxious to know what the Lord wished my husband to do with him. Brother Joseph inquired concerning him and several others and was told to take shares in the Nauvoo House. He then gave the committee $4,000.00. I was willing as he to have him do so. We had been prospered ever since our marriage and this was a call for some of the means the Lord had given us. In the fall of 41, one the 22nd of Sept. my husband was called to take a company of men and go up the Black River to get out lumber for the temple. He took his family with him. The company went up the river in a boat. The river froze over and they were obliged to leave most of their provisions until spring. We went the rest of the way with ox teams, as the snow was about two feet deep. The men had to walk ahead to break the road. At night they had to shovel off the snow to make the beds. There were fifteen of us in the sled. We had five children at this time, the youngest being a little over a year old. Before spring opened our provisions gave out and we had only potatoes and salt for several weeks. It would have been a great trial for me to hear my children cry for bread and have none to give them, but I was spared that. The Lord over-ruled their minds in so much that when we told them we had no bread and no flour to make any, they did not even ask for it. The baby was only 14 months old, but when the flour came he could not wait for it to be baked but wanted a piece of dough. One of our daughters never ate a potato before in her life. When she came to the table she would look so sorrowful but never uttered a word of complaint. I cooked and washed for part of the men. We were there ten months and then moved back to Nauvoo. We did not stay in Nauvoo very long, but moved to Daniel Miller’s place four miles from Carthage. We were there when Joseph and Hyrum were shot. But did not hear of it until the next morning. I could not describe my feelings at that time. It had not entered into my mind that our enemies would be suffered to take the life of our Prophet. It seemed a dark day for us to be left without a leader, but when Brother Brigham spoke to the saints it was plainly manifested that the same spirit rested on him that was on Brother Joseph. While living here, four miles from Carthage, our daughter, Freelove, was born on July 24, 1845.
When the saints houses were being burned we could see the light from several of them while they were burning. We heard that they had a night set to come and burn Daniel’s home. The men thought it best to make some preparations in case they came. They filled two large chests with clothing and took them out of the house, then sent word to them that they were ready for them. They did not come. That fall we moved again to Nauvoo. In 1846 we left with a company to come to this valley. Before we came we had the pleasure of going into the temple and receiving our endowments. When we came away we left a two story brick house all ready furnished. There was no chance to sell anything. We were three months on the way to Council Bluffs. In the spring of 1847 another son was born at Council Bluffs. We named him Hyrum S. The next season Daniel and his family continued their journey toward the valley.
Brother Brigham counciled my husband to stay at the Bluffs and raise corn to help supply the brothers, who were coming into the valley, with bread stuff. It was good country for corn and seemed a great help to others as well as ourselves. When Brother Hyrum’s wife came through Bro. Miller told her to come and get what corn she needed to take her through, and she came and stayed all night and helped to shell the corn. In the morning when she went to take her departure she said, “Well, Bro. Miller, I haven’t anything to pay you with except Hyrum’s blessing and that you shall have.”
Four children were born while we lived at Council Bluffs and one died there. In the summer of 1852 we crossed the plains. We had a hard time making a new home but was prospered and was soon in the way to be comfortable again. We were glad to think that we had gone so far from our enemies and thought we would be unmolested here. In 1855 my husband was called to take a mission to the Cherikee nation. I found it quite a task to have the care of a large family alone but I did not complain, he was only doing his duty and it was my wish that he should do so. He was gone two years and a half. In 1857 the army was sent from the states to drive the Mormons out of the valley. We were tried to see if we would obey council. In 1858 we were told to leave our home and move south, we knew not where, but we cheerfully obeyed our leader and went until told to camp. We stayed about six weeks until peace was restored and when the word came, “Return to your homes”, we all rejoiced to hear the good news and I felt to thank the Lord for his kindness to us.
In 1862 my husband married another wife, this was not according to my natural feeling, but I was willing for the gospels sake to make the sacrifice and gave my consent. She had five children, four sons and one daughter. In 1864 my husband was called to go south and settle. He took his other wife with him. In 1866 myself and family went. We then settled in St. George, as the first place he settled in was washed out with high water.
In 1869 we commenced doing work in the endowment house at Salt Lake City for our dead. This I consider one of our greatest privileges, to go and do work for our dead that they did not have the privilege of doing for themselves while in the flesh. In 1866 the temple was completed at St. George, and we again commenced the work for the dead. From that time until 85 we did what work we could. My husbands health had been poor for two years past and we thought it best to go north on a visit to our children, hoping a change of climate would do him good, but in this we were disappointed. We left St. George toward the last of May, he lived until the 9th of Oct. 1885, when he died and was buried at Farmington. Since that time I have lived with my children and grandchildren and have received the kindest of treatment. My posterity is as follows: 11 children, 99 grandchildren, 183 great-grand children, and one great-great- grandchild.
Elmira Pond Miller
Grandmother is now nearly 89 years old, enjoys good health, her eyesight is remarkably good. She can read for hours without the aid of glasses, also knits thread lace without her glasses on. She has enjoyed many manifestations of a spiritual nature and it is a pleasure to be in her society, she is so gentle and patient, and never complains at anything. She has accomplished a great work and now as the eve of her life approaches, she waits the call to the spirit world and looks forward to it as a tired child to her homecoming.
Elmira Pond Miller died at Syracuse, Sept. 3, 1904, and was buried at Farmington, Utah.
This biography was given to me by my grandfather, Seth Chamberlin, years ago. Her life has inspired me and I remain in awe of her strength, character and most of all, her faith.
Cyndia Sandberg Johnson
CYNDIAJOHNSON • 2013-06-24
Daniel’s father, James Gardner Miller had been born in Cornwall, CN. His father, Henry, and Daniel’s Grandpa Miller had been born in Quincy, MA, but married Elizabeth Gardner who had been born in Lexington, NY, which accounts for Lexington becoming Daniel’s birthplace.
If you have not yet read Daniel Miller’s stories, you can find them in the previous volume. What follows is what is available on FSFT for other offspring of the Miller and Pond lines. To be added….
Much of the following comes from the writing of Sarah, daughter of Daniel and second wife, Hannah.