Cyrena Dustin Merrill – Part IV

continued from – Part III

Cyrena’s New Family

Again joining Brother Stanley’s company in the spring of 1839 I traveled to Quincy, Illinois. My health was very good and I walked every step of the way; sometimes with my skirts wet to my knees and at night we slept only the canopy of the heavens for a roof and it rained every night thus soaking our bedding through before morning. We often cheered ourselves on our march by singing the songs of Zion and we kept our health.

Brother Stanley had managed to procure some flour before leaving Far West, and we had plenty of squash pies — not made with eggs and sugar and milk as it is generally made — but just squash boiled and put in between two crusts, and oh, how good it tasted. Anything eaten with God’s blessing on it and with thankful hearts is sweet and good.

At Quincy was residing a brother of my father’s who had joined the Church, and there I lived for a few weeks but his wife persecuted him and made it so unpleasant for me that I could not stand it but went out to work; while here oue goods and clothing came which we had sent by water from New Portage — coming back from St. Louis where they had been stopped — nothing traveled fast in those days.

I now wrote to the home folks and they were glad to hear from me, particularly about my good health, but they wanted me to come home and not have to endure any more of such privations; they would send me the money and if I did not want to return alone, one of my brothers would gladly come for me — but I answered “I would live and die with the Latter Day Saints.”

I worked out all summer for two dollars a week and was always treated well and my health was good.

In December or late in the fall of this year I went to Nauvoo with Brother Tarletan Lewis and family. They were such good people and so very kind to me.

At Nauvoo we found nearly everyone sick with chills and fever so I went to nursing sick folks. I went to nurse at Stephen Markham’s, for they were all down sick and while there — their daughter — a lovely girl about my age — and her parents would not hear of me leaving them, so I made my home with them from that time.

Sometime in February 1840, Philemon C. Merrill was passing through Nauvoo from Fort Madison to Carthage and had stopped to see his friend, Brother Markham, who brought him home to dinner and I waited on the table. After dinner he asked Brother Markham “Who that young lady was” and when told, he remarked, “I’ll be back here someday, where she will be my wife.” Brother Markham laugh at him and also some at me, but so it proved, or on September 30 we were married, and went to housekeeping in Nauvoo.

Nauvoo Temple in the 1840s

Nauvoo Temple in the 1840s

On August 21, 1841, a daughter, Sabrina Lodena, came to gladden our home. While my husband worked on the Temple which the Saints had begun to build in our beautiful city on the Mississippi River — a son, Philemon Alisandre, was born to us to cheer us and bind our hearts together. His birthday was November 18, 1843, and oh, how happy and contented I was with my loving husband and little daughter and son — the clouds were gathering around our beloved Prophet, and everyone knows the terrible times of the next year — the assassination of Joseph and Hyrum and how we obeyed the voice of the twelve when they told us to be peaceable, quiet citizens and blessed would be those who held out faithful to the end.