William Nicol Fife


Sunday, Oct 16, 1831
Kincardine-on-Forth, Scotland


Friday, Oct 1, 1852
Manchester, England
Baptized by: Alfred Lamb, Manchester Branch, others Mr. Davis, A.F. McDonald, Peregrine Sessions, John L. Fulmer, Orson Spencer


Wednesday, Oct 21, 1914
Ogden, Utah
Burial: Ogden, Utah Baptized 1 Oct 1852     Colonel William Nicol Fife Born: October 16, 1831 in Kincardine, Perthshire, Scotland Died: October 21, 1915 in Ogden, Weber. Utah Compiled and Submitted by Lucy Brown Archer Autobiography of Colonel William Nicol Fife I am William N. Fife. I was born in Kincardine-on-the-forth, Perthshire, Scotland, on October 16, 1831, the son of John Fife and Mary Meek Nicol Fife. I was the first born in the family of seven children. The names of the others are as follows: Mary N. Fife, John A. Fife, Jane N. Fife, Thomas N. Fife, Robert A. Fife, Christine W. Fife.   John Fife (1807-1874) and Mary Meek Nicol Fife (1809-1850) I was sent to school at the age of six years. We had a free school system in Scotland. Remained in school until I was 15 years old. October 1846, I went to learn the art of builder and architect with a large firm Wilson and Sons, Edinburgh. I was bound out for five years. My father had to give bonds with two others, a minister and a doctor, for the faithful performance of my duties. I boarded and roomed in the Wilson home. The conditions were I had to be in bed every night except Sunday at nine o’clock p.m. and out of bed at five at the ring of the bell except on Sunday. Every Saturday night we had a ticket to go to the leading theatre in Edinburgh which was a treat as the finest performers were engaged to play in that fine city. We always took the play book with us and followed the performance in the text. I took great pride in it every Saturday night. I received an education in relation to building and architectural work in five years to fit me for any country. Four and half I received my papers in consideration I had made six months working overtime. The firm did well towards me. I filled my contract with them and in three months after left with a very fine record. I was then twenty years old. I was offered a position in the city of Glasgow with the firm of Nairn and Sons. I did nothing but put in fine finishing in the finest of buildings for nine months. They paid me the highest wages every Saturday at two o’clock p.m. The balance of the afternoon you had to yourself. They were the only firm in the city that showed that good feeling to their men. All of their men were first class and had a good record. They had over three hundred men. They wanted men that had served a time and had received their papers from the firm with a record he could do all kinds of work and filled their contracts with them. Young as I was, they were about to put me in as foreman over the finishers with a raise on my wages. My family were anxious for me to go to Australia; my uncle Thomas Fife had written for me to go into the building business with him in Melborne. He went there in 1844. I had another call from a firm in Manchester, England, (Keay) Kay, Nish and McKean, Builders and Architects. They worked where I served my apprenticeship in Edinburgh and made me a fine offer to come to them. The most of my family were for me to go to Manchester. My grandmother said, “You go there, my boy, and you will prosper and the Almighty will bless you for He is your friend and I know it.” I paid strict attention to what my grandmother said for I knew she was a good woman. I was her oldest grandson and she respected me. So on June 15, 1852, I started for Manchester, England, arrived there in good shape. The firm I had come to work for was pleased to see me. I soon got to work. They paid every week. My wages were double what they were in Scotland. My people were all pleased to know I had done so well. The boarding house I got into was nothing like what I had been used to at home. I put in a month. On Saturday after I got my pay I dressed up and started to find a better place. I did not know the city much. I went just as the spirit moved me. I saw a row of fine brick buildings. I went up to them. I could see a notice in the window “Board and Rooms.” I pulled the bell. A young lady opened the door. I went in, took a seat, told her what I wanted. I asked her if she ran the house. She told me it was the Mormon Conference house where the Mormon Elders put up. I told her I never heard of such a people before. I told her I was from Scotland, was sent for to work with a build firm. She said I am also from Scotland. She stated my husband is here on a mission at Liverpool. He will be here tonight. She showed me the rooms etc. Very fine well furnished. I felt at home. She told me the family owning the house were out, would soon be at home. There were pictures on the wall of Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, John Taylor, Heber C. Kimball, Brigham Young and others. I told them these men look well but I never heard of them before. The man and women arrived–Mr. and Mrs. Davis. They took me over the house. I selected my bedroom etc. with board–in advance per week 12 shillings and six pence. I paid them and sent an express man for my trunk. In a short time the trunk was there, was put in my room, had a chat with Mrs. McDonald. I found she was from the same shire as I was–Perthshire. She thought it strange I had never heard of the Mormon people before. In the evening A. F. McDonald arrived and was pleased to meet one of his own countrymen. He told me his experiences and how he joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which he intended to go to Utah as soon as his time was up and live amongst the people and build up a home. I told him that was a good idea. I was very much at home and enjoyed his conversation. He gave me some books to read amongst them The Book of Mormon. Next day being Sunday I went with them to meeting. I rather liked the doctrine that was preached. This was July 1852. Living at the conference house and meeting so many Elders I soon got the spirit of it and could see great order in the Church and a very great union amongst the people. In August a few Elders arrived from Utah to preach to the people. I enjoyed their preaching and the history they gave of the people in Utah, crossing the plains etc. The first I met was Peregrine Sessions and John L. Fulmer. P.G. Sessions was made president of the Manchester Conference. Was at the conference very often. I received a great amount of information from him. His home was 10 miles north of Salt Lake City. I made up my mind to join the Church. On the sixth day of October 1852, I was baptized by Alfred Lamb, Manchester branch. The next man of importance from Utah was Orson Spencer. He was a great preacher. He put up at the conference house and knowing I had just joined the church made himself very much at home with me. He found out I had never heard of the Church until I come to the conference house. He said, “Brother Fife, you are a fortunate young man. The Almighty through his influence has brought you here and forthwith through the same influence you will go to Zion and do a great work and have sons and daughters too. I say unto you, you get ready and go this coming season. Take a fine gun with you–the best there is in this country, any amount of game on the way. You will have many friends on the way through your kindness.” Very soon after he had told me this two Elders arrived. He asked me to come into a room and stated, “I wish to ordain you to the office of priest.” After he got through he said, “When you get to Salt Lake City you will be ordained a seventy.” I arrived in Salt Lake City on the 18th October 1853 and on the 15th of December I was ordained a Seventy, as he said, and the 37 Quorum was organized at that time. I was a member of the Quorum as the books will show. Orson Spencer was a great and good man. It did me good to meet such, for such I thank the Almighty. I commenced paying my tithing, temple money and donations to the Elders sent on missions from Utah. Very soon after I was baptized I was getting big wages for a young man twenty-one years old. When the firm I was working for found out I was making a move to go to Utah, they felt very sore and told me if I would give up the idea, they would raise my wages and put me in a foreman’s place. I thanked them for their kindness to me. So when the time arrived I took passage on the last ship of the season, April 6, to New Orleans from Liverpool. I bought me a fine gun with a large amount of ammunition for the trip. It cost me $50.00. I had that gun for many years after. Orson Spencer told me to be sure to take a fine gun along. We arrived in New Orleans June 1st, 1853. From there to St. Louis by steamboat. One thousand miles to our camp ground to fit out with cattle and wagons for the plains to Salt Lake City. Fifty-six wagons, over 500 people from this camp to Council Bluffs 400 miles then to Salt Lake City 1,000 miles. I carried my Mini rifle on my shoulder from the camp ground to Salt Lake City, 1,400 miles. John Brown, one of the first pioneers was our captain, one of the finest of men. I was appointed carpenter for the company and captain of ten. That was my first office. I killed any amount of yearling buffaloes, deer, antelope, etc. Our company had very little sickness. One half was sent by the emigration fund; the others paid their passage at Liverpool. I paid for myself, and also for Alfred Lamb. He was a poor man and had been a traveling elder for years. He baptized me into the Church. After that most of his family got to Utah and proved to be a good thing for them. Our trip across the plains to me was a walk over. We had a fine Captain. After I got located in Ogden he often visited me. We arrived in Salt Lake City October 18th 1853, the largest company of the season. Many people visited our camp amongst them President Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, all in a fine rig. The Captain James Brown, introduced me to them stating I had brought into the country a very fine gun. I had made a good use of it, etc. They were pleased with it and to know I joined the Church in Manchester as they had done a big work there while on their mission to England. President Kimball invited me to his house and to have dinner. I paid him a visit. He engaged me at once to take charge of his building business. In the evening he took me in his carriage to a family to room and board–the Winchester family. I boarded with them until I was married July 9th, 1854. Diana Davis Fife I was married by Heber C. Kimball in his own house to Miss Diana Davis [daughter of Daniel Davis and Sarah Thomas Davis of south Wales], Box Elder County. The Winchester family got up a very fine wedding dinner. The Kimball and Nebeker family and others were invited. I found my wife in Peter Nebeker’s house. We at once went to keeping house in the 19th Ward. Next year I moved into our own house in the 16th Ward. Our first child was born July 10th, 1955, in the 19th Ward, Sarah Jane Fife. We moved into a nice comfortable house of our own October, 1855. Planted an orchard, shade trees, etc. in the 16th Ward. Next spring we were called to go through the Endowment House and get our endowments and be sealed for time and eternity. After that I was called to go to Ogden to build the Tabernacle July, 1856. That fall I built a house in Ogden. In 1857 the Reformation, all of the people renewed their covenants and were rebaptized. This was a great year among the people of Utah. Some very vile corrupt men had been sent as Judges. 1836-1884 President Young was governor of Utah and could not put up with their bad habits etc. Owing to this the whole people got down on them. They could see their only safety was to get away from Utah. They misrepresented their case to President Buchanan. He received their report and acted very unwise and foolish. He gave orders an army should be sent with a new governor, named Cummings.   From   Encyclopedic History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints S Summerville Ward SULPHUR VALLEY, St. Joseph Stake, Cochise Co., Arizona, is a small valley situated about eight miles north of the home ranch of the Cherry Cow Cattle Company, which is situated south of Fort Bowie, about 60 miles east of St. David. This is a fine open valley but poorly watered; hence the valley is better suited for stock-raising than for farming. Wm. Nicholas Fife was the first L. D. S. settler in Sulphur Valley in 1881. He used his influence to have a few more L. D. S. families settle with him and in December, 1883, it was reported that the saints in Sulphur Valley had increased in number, and that a few more families of saints were expected from the north. Some of the leading brethren being impressed that the saints in Sulphur Valley were not safe against Indian attacks, they were advised, in 1884, to leave the place and locate where life and property were more secure. Most of them obeyed counsel, but Elder Fife persisted in remaining, and two weeks later his wife was killed in her own house by a Mexican. In 1894 there were still a few saints in Sulphur Springs Valley, but no Church organization, as only two families of saints remained there.   From    


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