Alfred Boaz Lambson


Sunday, Aug 27, 1820
Royalton, New York


Before 21 Jan 1846
Mississippi River, Nauvoo, Illinois
Baptized by: Truman Gillet


Sunday, Feb 26, 1905
Salt Lake City, Utah
Burial: Salt Lake City, Utah

Lived in Nauvoo Baptism: 10 Oct 1866, but Endowed 21 Jan 1846 in Nauvoo temple     Alfred Boaz Lambson (1820-1905) - 1847 red headed pioneer, machinest & blacksmith, forged the dies, punches, tools & collars for the first minted coins in 1848 that replaced paper currency money - Salt Lake City, Utah   I crossed the plains, from the Missouri River to this Valley in 1847. My family, who accompanied me, consisted of my wife, Melissa J. Lambson, daughter of Mark and Susannah Bigler, and our infant daughter Melissa J., who is now the wife of Bishop Albert W. Davis, of the firm of Davis, Howe & Co. of this City. We left the camp, at Winter Quarters, on the Missouri River June 4th, and arrived in Salt Lake Valley Sept. 25th 1847. We traveled in Capt. E.K. Fuller’s ten, Perigrine Sessions being the Captain of Fifty, and Daniel Spencer the Captain of Hundred. I was the blacksmith of Peregrine Sessions’ Company of “Fifty,” which really consisted of about sixty wagons. I think I passed through most, if not all of the perplexing experiences, and trying circumstances incident to my occupation, throughout all that long, dreary and toilsome journey of three months and 21 days. I had provided myself with a bellows of my own make, improvised for the occasion, which I carried on a platform attached to the end-gate of my wagon. It was constructed out of a headless barrel, or bottomless tub, tapering from bottom to top, so that the hoops could be driven down from time to time to keep it air tight, with a wooden diaphragm and valve in the middle. To the top and bottom were attached leather or cow-hide expansions, with the necessary air valve, and bellow’s, handle, and leather hose to be joined to the tuyere and furnace for the blast. It was a complete success in every particular.. Altho’ in comparison with the improvements of these days, it might present a somewhat ungainly appearance. For small, incidental repairs, I would set my anvil on the ground, dig a pit by the side of it to a convenient depth, to stand in, put up my bellows and go to work in almost less time than it takes to tell it. But, for heavy work, tire setting and the like, we would make an anvil block out of a tree stump, or the body of it prepared and set in the ground for the purpose. On one occasion with the organized help of the camp, and one or two skilled assistants, under my direction, we measured, cut, welded and set eighty-five tires in one day. This occurred a short distance west of old Fort Laramie, before entering the Black hills. Soon after our arrival in the Valley, a company of Spaniards came in with a large band of wild horses. I bought seven head of them, and with a half-broke span of these I hauled logs from Red Butte Canyon to Isaac Cash’s saw mill, built on the Spring Creek running through what is now Liberty Park. From these logs I obtained lumber for the building of my house, as it now stands on the corner of 1st West and North Temple streets. Every nail used in its construction I made on my anvil from old wagon tire iron. It is the first house built in this Valley with a plastered ceiling. I employed Benjamin W. Rolff to do the carpenter work, and his brother, Gilbert Rolff, did the plastering, with clay and sand mortar, there being no lime at that time. These were both workmen on the Temple at Nauvoo. The adobes are of the old Spanish style, 18 inches long, 9 inches wide and 4 inches thick, and were made by Jesse B. Martin and Israel Evans, two of the “Battalion boys,” and they were laid into the walls by Jacob Hofline [sic], also a member of the Mormon Battalion. The old house still stands as when it was built, except that it has had its third covering of shingles, the first covering being of boards. My house was completed and I moved into it with my family in the fall of 1848. I forged out of wagon tires the Mill irons for the first seven Mills built in Utah, with the exception of Isaac Chase’s Mill, the irons of which he brought with him across the plains. I also forged the Punches, the Dies and the other Apparatus, and Machinery and with the assistance of James Lawson the Hammers used for coining the gold pieces which were made at the “Deseret Mint.” John Kay cut the dies, and coined the money, William Clayton and Thomas Bullock being associated with him in this work, as accountant and weigher. Before this was done, Dr. Richardson weighed the gold dust brought from California by the Battalion boys and others, into small packages done up in paper, each package representing from one dollar up to twenty, which passed current for money. I mention these facts for the reason that I understand the credit of doing some of these things has been erroneously given to other parties. There is one incident which occurred near the Elk Horn River, that would make a thrilling, though very brief chapter in the history of my life, and pioneer journey, to which I will only briefly allude, as I do not know that any record was ever made of it. I was in company with Jacob Weatherby travelling with an ox team and wagon from the Elk Horn toward Winter Quarters. When near the Papao we were attacked by Indians stripped to the bare skin, but armed with guns, while we were unarmed. Before they could shoot we each grappled with an antagonist and a death struggle ensued. My companion was shot and killed by the savages, while I was miraculously delivered. His body was taken back to the Elk Horne and buried near its banks. I reached the camp in safety tho’ exhausted by excitement, fatigue and hunger, just before the report came to my wife tht I had been slain by Indians. At the moment, however, this word came to her, I was asleep in the wagon under her care. I have been on two missions. My first was to the State of Virginia in 1844, but at the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum, I was called home to Nauvoo. My second was to the West Indies in company with Aaron Farr, Dr. Richardson and Jesse Turpin, but not succeeding there to affect an opening, we returned to the United States, and I filled my mission laboring in Michigan, where I baptized a number of people and organized three branches of the Church. In 1856 I left Utah and went to Nebraska. I located at Florence and carried on the business of black-smithing there on a somewhat extensive scale for about ten years. I was engaged in the fitting up of wagons, and in the work of general blacksmithing and out-fitting for the numerous emigrant trains, from year to year. This being the general out-fitting and starting point for the extensive travel of those times across the plains for Utah and the Great West. In 1866 I returned to my home family in Utah where I have been continuously since. I am now in my 77th year. My wife was 72 the 24th of March last. We have three daughters and one son, all of whom are married and have families. Our grand-children number thirty-six, and our great grand-children six with excellent prospects for numerous additions in the future.   The following items were related by him in a conversation at his home shortly before his death February 26 1905 When I five of father home shortly before his death February 26 1905 When I was five years of age my father went on the Fulton the first boat propelled by steam It took the Lambson family up Lake Erie to Detroit where father bought a team and wagon and moved into the interior of Michigan to the forest We settled where the city of Saline now stands moving again father went west in 1842 and settled in the town of Kinderhook Branch County Michigan I had bought the land the old log schoolhouse was on and while framnig a blacksmith shop in which to ply my trade for I was a blacksmith as my father was before me who should appear but two Mormon Elders Joseph Kind and Elder Pendleton They first told me who they were and then asked to be directed to some family that would take them in I referred them to my mother They wanted a place to preach in I said I happened to own that school house and they could preach there My mother took care of them and I got them an audience All my neighbors came The Baptist Deacon carried his rocking chair as he always did I thought I was a bigger infidel than Robert Ingersoll and read the Bible for spite the better to find fault with it But I had taken a heap of notice of what was said at that meeting and I knew it was Bible gospel all straight Something kept drawing me west farther and farther west With St Louis as my objective point I went to Nauvoo to visit my uncle I put up at the Mansion House curious to see the Prophet and was sitting watching for him to enter Presently he came in and sat down Lorin Walker put a towel about the Prophet’s shoulders and dressed his hair for him after which he got up and came over to me lifting me bodily out of the chair and asked Young man where are you from and where are you going I told him where I hailed from and that I was bound for St Louis to join a fur company going to Oregon to which he said When you join a fur company at St Louis to go to Oregon I will take Nauvoo on my back and carry it across the Mississippi and set it down in Iowa adding T have use for you The Prophet made a deep impression upon me I felt that he was superior to any man I had ever seen In fact if any other man had asked me those questions I should have very soon told him it was none of his business but what use the Prophet could have for me I could not see I fell sick with the ague and did not recover in time to go with the fur company but continued in Nauvoo with an increasing interest in Joseph Smith and what he had to say I heard him preach many times and I have not forgotten today Nov 28 1904 the things he preached He went further in explaining matters and made them clearer to me than any other man He spoke with thrilling and marvelous power for good which I shall never forgot to my dying day The Prophet was a large man broad shouldered and heavy set There are no pictures that do justice to him I was slow to acknowledge my conversion to Mormonism but I finally felt to accept baptism and received that ordinance in the Mississippi river under the hands of Elder Truman Gillet In May following I was sent on a mission to Virginia We were only there a month when we got news of the Prophet’s martyrdom and were ordered home On my return I was with my old uncle who lived diagonally across from old Father John Smith George A and Bathsheba I was looking toward the house of the latter couple when I saw a lovely young lady come out of the door and walk down the street I said There goes my wife My cousin said I guess not some one else has his eye on her I remarked that we would see about that very soon and I sought an introduction on the spot and began thereupon a vigorous suit for Melissa Bigler’s hand I cut out her many admirers and I lost no opportunity of showing my devotion She attended singing school I too became interested in music and begged the privilege of attending her to the music class I visited her very often at Sister Bathsheba’s home One evening is especially impressed upon me I had taken off my belt containing a knife and a brace of pistols when George A came in and asked me to lend it to him a few moments He was worried about the mob for it was the fall of 1844 when opposition raged and not hearing the usual cry of the police telling the hour of the night he had become anxious as he was always alert to the dangers threatening Nauvoo I of course lent him the belt and he went out to ascertain conditions Meanwhile the lovers forgot that there was such a thing as a mob in Christendom and an occasional yell from vicious men or a shot now and then was not enough to disturb our happiness It was not until the following year Oct 25 1845 that Melissa and I were married She had been very sick with the ague and arose from her bed to be married to me There was much joy for us in life and work too which I never evaded In February the exodus began for which I had ironed thirty three wagons for the march westward for that was as much as we then knew of what our final destination would be It was not until June after the battle began that my wife and I left Nauvoo After crossing the Mississippi I set my tools up under an oak tree on the bluff and ironed three more wagons Then we took our course over the road used by the Saints who preceded us When we reached Winter Quarters the first thing to do was to put up hay Most of the men went to work at that immediately I would not strike a lick at haying until I had built a shelter for Melissa for she was in a delicate condition I dug a cave in the side of a hill and pegged down a large ox hide to answer on the floor as a carpet The hair on the hide was long and warm and soft to the foot A bedstead I made from bass wood poles with cane brake slats upon this a hay bed then a feather bed poles over the top with sod to keep out the wet and cold in one end a fireplace and a door at the other and I had the cosiest place you ever saw In this nest of a home on the 13th of November our first child Melissa Jane was born and she was but ten months old when we finally landed in Salt Lake Valley in Daniel Spencer’s company But to go back to the haying at Winter Quarters I attended to the tools sharpening the scythes and doing the blacksmith work I had a good set of blacksmith tools garden tools and pitchfork pick ax etc There was a great deal of suffering in Winter Quarters due largely to the lack of flour in our camp Many of the young men had been enlisted in the Mormon Battalion under the United States government to march to Mexico They had been gathering volunteers all the way from the Missouri river to Winter Quarters taking away our teamsters house builders and hunters and leaving mostly the old men and helpless except in a few cases Through this many were forced to live in their wagon beds and through the winter the exposure resulted disastrously There were many graves made in Winter Quarters My wife was ill and I had to lift her as if she were a babe Her sister Bathsheba was distressingly sick and my wife’s mother Susanna Ogden Bigler who lived with us and was afflicted with consumption died Neither Melissa nor Bathsheba were able to attend the funeral I kept a hired girl and part of the time had two to help I was well fixed better than most of them at that time At one time I was able to give Parley P Pratt’s family two barrels of biscuits to keep them from starving There was great preparation for the Pioneer trip which was to locate the spot for the remaining Saints to follow and settle and they were determined to take me with them and leave my wife helpless in bed I would not consider it and got excused but Melissa being improved I made ready and started with the first company which followed I however helped to fit out President Brigham Young’s company which set out and we then fell to preparing those to follow There were a number of blacksmiths and all were busy After completing or fitting 665 wagons all were ready and we moved out as far as the Elk Horn which was a deep ugly river and dangerous to ferry Here Elder Weath erby and I were detailed to go back with a demented woman and leave her at Winter Quarters She was determined however to go on west and declared she would do so which truly she did later on for I saw her in the valley several years after But to my story Elder Weatherby and I were furnished with a wagon and a span of wild steers with which to conduct our sick woman back to Winter Quarters But first after crossing the river I called for them on the opposite side to bring my belt being impressed that I would need it The reply was that there were no Indians and the road was full of immigrants so that I need fear no trouble which I found did not coincide with my subsequent experiences A freighter by the name of Singley had a train of wagons which he was taking west and one wagon in which was his wife and two children and they were ferrying the Elk Horn Elder Wetherby and I were on opposite sides of the river and we simultaneously saw that one corner of the wagon in which sat the wife and children was sliding off the raft and both knew the danger I had not much on my back but what I did have on I soon shed and was in the water By the time I reached them the woman was sinking but holding up the two children Elder Weatherby had leaped down the bank from the other side I seized the children one in each arm and throwing myself on my back held them up swimming with my feet and soon reached a sand bar Elder Wetherby saved the woman They all came afterwards to the valley and I saw them there This experience over and all safe except the camp wagon which went under we began our journey and had traveled half way when suddenly there stepped before us three Indians armed with rifles and directly in our path I immediately would have made friendly signs and reasoned with them but Elder Wetherby lost his head and jumping out of the wagon grappled with an Indian I of course followed on the other side grappling with the second and taking his gun away The third fired at my companion and he fell mortally wounded I grappled the slayer of Wetherby taking hold of his side and taking a piece out with my hand for he was naked He yelled with pain and the sick woman seeing her chance waved her shawl to frighten the wild steers and away they dashed wagon steers woman and all I was left with Elder Weatherby and the Indians took to their heels I lifted the wounded man to a near by thicket and turned to pursue the runaways By good luck I overtook Bishop Whitney who returned to the spot and lifted Elder Weatherby into his carriage and then struck out rapidly in search of the woman I looked in all directions and finally found the wagon run into a willow thicket but the woman was not to be seen I searched in every direction and listened but could not find the cause of all our troubles I was pretty angry you may be sure Finally I saw the top of her bonnet peeping in the tall grass and then it vanished I came to where she was but she stubbornly refused to get in the wagon My patience was now on the ragged edge so I picked her up and sat her a little ungentjy perhaps in the wagon Finding travelers going toward Winter Quarters T relinquished the woman steers and wagon to them with my commission to deliver her safely if possible at Winter Quarters I then turned single handed and alone to retrace my steps toward my family in the camp on the Elk Horn I had not broken fast since leaving them and unrested by sleep and distressed with my friend’s desperate condition I was mindful of my own path of danger but I hurried on nor rested until I set foot in the camping place I know you can never imagine my feelings to discover no camp in that spot They had moved or were gone every part and parcel my family friends and all except four men in a double carriage They said they had buried Elder Weatherby and were now ready to follow the company which they did It was midnight but being denied a seat to ride I was forced to push on afoot or lie there alone until daybreak not a moment did I lose and it must have been soon after the carriage load reached its destination that I found my family safe and rejoicing at my escape from the dangers I had faced I had no sooner laid my weary body down to rest than a quick step came toward our wagon and a voice cried out in the night Lamb son has been killed by Indians Melissa replied T guess not Lambson’s in this wagon I have been grateful for nigh sixty years that I got there to my wife before that message was delivered We now took up our journey to the Valley receiving a message or two from the pioneers before we reached our destination I was the only blacksmith in our company which had sixty five wagons and I kept them in repair the entire trip and never received nor charged a cent for the work Besides repairing the wagons etc I had the lame cows and oxen to look after and they gave me but little time to sleep I think I set the tires of every wagon in camp When we rested in the evening my work began I would go around and tap the wheels and put chalk marks on the wagons which would not go on without fixing A hole would be dug in which I would stand and have my forge At one stopping place I found so many needing setting that I could not see how it all could be done by one man but I blazed away hard as I could when to add to the burden a few of the men were taking unmarked wheels off This was entirely against my orders which had been given repeatedly and were understood So as night fell I had finished all the wheels that I had marked then I put up my tools and quit leaving the wheels off the four wagons tireless and on the ground The men to whom they belonged were great and big the most important in our hundred and they hurried to the captain to have me forced to do it I was asked to state my side of the question which I did as follows T have told this company time and time again not to take off tires which I have not marked Consider where we would be if every man had acted in the way these men who would compel me to tire their wheels have done The thing that amazes me is that these men would dare take off those tires without my orders And Captain Perrigrine Sessions said to those who had entered the complaint against me You are the transgressors and we can do nothing for you So it is Lambson and you for it Having seen justice done and seeing my offenders so repentant my anger subsided and with the help of many volunteer assistants I attended to the work with the understanding that it would never happen again but this time it was their treat Though I spent so much time and energy in repairing the wagons in our train that did not constitute all my work for the company by any means Sick animals were not rare and I was often called upon to act as ox or cow doctor I recollect one case A woman came crying to me saying My cow has a lame foot and they say she must be left I felt sorry for the poor woman as well as for the cow so I put some tar over the fire cleaned the hoof and then covered it with the tar On the other hoof opposite I put a thick pad Why don t you put the bandage on the lame foot they all asked I said nothing but helped the cow up and those around me soon saw that the arrangement I had made brought the weight on the well foot and she soon hobbled along It seems to me that I took care of hundreds of such cases between Nauvoo and Salt Lake City for which as with my black smithing I neither received nor asked for any recompense but I often say that if I did not do enough to save a man in that march westward I must be awfully wicked. Through this journey he was the chief mechanic and being an artificer of superior ability his service to the company was invaluable One of the members of that company said recently that without his assistance the company would not have succeeded in crossing the plains Many a night on the journey he was called on for repairs that required all his attention until early in the morning of the following day He made a bellows for the journey which he carried on a rack attached to the endgate of his wagon It was constructed out of a headless barrel or sort of tub tapering from the bottom to the top so that the hoops could be tightened from time to time A wooden diaphram and valve were attached also leather or cowhide expansion with necessary air valve handle and leather hose to be joined to the tuyere and furnace for blast It proved to be a complete success For ordinary light work he would place his anvil on the ground but for heavy work and tire setting a stump had to be firmly set in the ground to which the anvil was attached On one occasion near old Fort Laramie he assisted by two blacksmiths who were under his direction measured out welded and set eighty five tires in one day.

    Name: Alfred Boaz Lambson Gender: Male Relationship to Primary Person: Self (Head) Father: Boaz Lambert Mother: Polly Walworth Birth Date: 27 Aug 1819 Alternate Birth Dates: Aug 27, 1820 or Aug 27, 1824 Birth Place: Royalton, Niagara, New York, USA Death Date: 26 Feb 1905 Death Place: Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, USA Burial Place: Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, USA LDS Church Ordinance Data: Baptism Date: 1843 Baptism Date: April 4, 1844 Baptism Date: April 15, 1844 Officiator: Truman Gillett Confirmation Date: April 15, 1844 Officiator: Willard Richards Baptism Date: 1845 while traveling to Oregon Ordained Seventy Date: April 15, 1844 Officiator: Joseph Young LDS Temple Ordinance Data: Baptism Date: November 3, 1964 Temple: Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, UT, USA Endowment Date: January 21, 1846 Temple: Nauvoo, Hancock, IL, USA Sealed to Spouse Number 1 Date: April 18, 1852 Sealed to Parents Date: April 13, 1920 Temple: St. George, Washington, UT, USA Vocations: Blacksmith; 1850 Comments: In 1850, Alfred had a household of 5, a real wealth of $3000, and no personal wealth. Comments: #21. Brother-in-law to George A. Smith and father-in-law to Joseph F. Smith. Family settled at Saline, Michigan, c. 1825. Moved to Kinderhook, Michigan, 1842. Visited by Mormon missionaries. Visited uncle at Nauvoo. Impressed by Joseph Smith. Baptized, 1843. Mission to Virginia, 1844. To Iowa, June 1846. Four children, born 1846-1855. To Utah, 1847. Comments: #31. Alfred attended the Salt Lake 16th Ward, Salt Lake Stake, Utah.   From   Name: Alfred Boaz Lambson Sources: Page 104; Author: Andrus, Hyrum; Title: Mormon Manuscripts to 1846. A Guide to the Holdings of the Harold B. Lee Library, 96(293)   From   Name: Alfred B. Lambson Sources: DHC 6:337; p175; Author: Stevenson, Joseph G. ; Title: The Stevenson Family History, 116 - mail carrier between advanced Mormon Caravan and Winter Quarters June 1847; mem, 8 (4th Ward)   From    


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