ALEXANDER SCOBY STANDLEY
This sketch was written by his daughter, Lydia Standley Burnham in the year 1927.
Alexander Scoby Standley was born in New Jersey, 12 May 1800. He came to Ohio before he was twenty years old and bought a farm covered with timer. Each year he cleared a patch. What education he had he obtained by studying at home by firelight and on stormy days, but he persisted in learning until he became a school teacher and was well liked. March 19, 1829 he married Philinda Upson in Ohio. In March 1837 they were baptized in the L.D.S. Church by Elder James Emmit who organized a branch in that vicinity, and Alexander S. Standley was set apart to preside. Later, he converted and baptized his parents and most of their children. On Sept. 10, 1838 all but three members of the branch left Portage Co., Ohio for Far West, Missouri, having sent most of their belongings by steam-boat. They numbered thirty one souls and came with one wagon which held their bedding, cooking utensils, and provisions. They arrived where the Mormons were located soon after the Crooked River battle was fought, after which the men were forced to give up their arms and sign over their property to defray the expenses of the war and leave the State of Missouri that year.
It was a difficult task to find anyone who would let a Mormon family have a place to live in, but finally, a newly married couple let them occupy part of their house. The Saints settled in a place called Commerce in Illinois on the banks of the Mississippi River where they built a nice town which they called Nauvoo. Alexander S. Standley arrived there and built a log house which he made ready to occupy on May 1, 1840. The day after his seventh child was born, in 1842, he came very near losing his life when a limb struck him with great force in the breast while he was trimming a shade tree. He lived thirteen years after that but never saw a well day. After months of suffering, he did improve sufficiently to go with the boys and oversee their work they were obliged to do. His wife would go out and follow flocks of sheep and gather wool from the fences, card and spin it. Then she and the girls would knit socks which they sold to buy cotton yarn which they colored with bark and wove into cloth for their dresses. She was a member of the first Relief Society which was organized by the Prophet Joseph Smith in Nauvoo. She has often borne testimony of being at the meeting where the mantle of Joseph fell upon Brigham Young after Joseph was martyred in June 1884.
In Feb. 1846 they left Nauvoo with Captain George Miller’s Company to cross the plains, but after the Mormon Battalion was fitted out, the Saints were not able to make the trip. Brigham Young sent messengers to the head companies, instructing them to select a suitable place where they could make themselves comfortable for the winter. They followed the Platt River many miles and finally stopped at Punca on the banks of the Running Water River in Nebraska territory 13 Dec. 1840. Provisions were then very scarce, and quite a number had to cross the Missouri River to buy provisions with their watches or other jewelry which they possessed. Their bread was mostly made of cornmeal they ground on a hand mill and it was quite coarse. Soon after leaving Nauvoo they overtook a company under the leadership of James Emmett and decided to unite with them for greater safety from the Indians. On investigation, some families had very little provisions. Consequently, they put their provisions together and dealt out rations every week. For months at a time they were thus scrimped.
In 1847 Alexander S. Standley went to Pottawatomie Co., Iowa, and with the help of his boys put up a log house, plowed several acres of ground. Put in a garden and a field of corn. He let his only horse team go to help take Church records and Church property to the valleys. In 1848 there was a long dry spell, and their crops were drying up. In a conference at Kanesville they were promised if they would make a feast for the poor Saints the Lord would send rain. A committee was appointed and a time set for the feast. At the close of the conference rain fell which saved their corn from drying up. Soon after the conference, Ezra T. Benson and George A. Smith were making ready to come to Salt Lake, but they lacked one animal of having sufficient teams. Alexander S. Standley then owned two cows so he took one and gave it to them to hitch in their team. Apostle George Albert Smith said, “Brother Standley, I fear you are robbing your family, but the Lord will bless you ten fold.”
The next spring the gold fever was on, and many wealthy people went to California. There was a great demand for corn to feed their teams while traveling, and Brother Standley got a good price for his corn. He took his money and bought twenty cows and as many calves, so Apostle Smith’s promise was fulfilled in less than a year.
The family came to Salt Lake in 1852, having three wagons with three yoke of cattle to each wagon. They came to Utah in Joseph Howell’s company of fifty and Captain Whiteheads’ company of ten. Alexander S. Standley, his wife, and nine children arrived in Salt Lake City 1 Oct. 1852. From there they went to East Weber where the cattle could live by brousing on the cottonwood limbs, as they had no hay for them. The boys made a dugout in the side hill with willows, rushes, and dirt for the roof and dirt floor. In May 1853 they went from there to Bountiful where they built a log house near the Jordan Island. Several of the cows died because they were not able to get suitable food for them. They then owned twenty-five cows, some young stock, about fifty sheep, and two horses. The girls and their mother made cheese and butter to sell. Also, they spun, colored and wove many different kinds of cloth for dresses, shawls, bedspreads, blankets, and men’s wear.
Alexander Scoby Standley came to South Bountiful in 1853. He marked the beginning of commercial dairying.
In December 1854 Alexander Scoby Standley passed away, and his funeral was held in the school house then used for holding their meetings. His funeral was held New Year’s Day 1855 in Bountiful.
He was the first man buried in Bountiful Cemetery.
Headstone of Alexander Scoby Stanley
From Alexander Scoby Standley’s Journal
I, Alexander S. Standley, born in New Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey, being the eldest son of Richard and Elizabeth Standley.
My grandfather, Alexander Schoby Standley, whose name I bear, was slain in the war of the American Revolution in 1778. In 1818 I moved with my father’s family to Portage County, Ohio, where on the 19th day of March, 1829 I married Philinda Upson, daughter of Freeman and Sally Upson. I obtained a small farm in the same county on which I lived without any extraordinary occurrence, except the death of one of our children until February, 1837, when Brother James Emmett an Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, came to preach in the neighborhood and feeling but little interested in religious matters it was some time before it engaged my attention. I however discovered his propositions were well sustained by scripture evidence, while objections were generally unfounded, which had a tendency to enlighten my feelings in his behalf and engage my attention to the cause. At length becoming satisfied of the truth of the work, I, with my wife, was baptized on about the 19th of March. Several others soon followed our example, and in the beginning of April we were organized into a branch of the church. I was ordained an Elder and appointed to preside. Having received but little instructions I was very illy prepared to teach the principles of the Gospel. But being assisted by the Spirit of the Lord I was enabled to defend the cause and confound such as would oppose the truth.
Several additions were afterward made to our number, among whom were most of my father’s family. Becoming anxious to be located with the body of the church, in view of which, the entire branch, with but two or three exceptions, entered into an agreement to Combine our efforts and means for the purpose of removing to Far West, Mo., which was then the principle place of gathering for the saints.
On the 10th of September, 1838, we left Portage County, Ohio, for Colwell, Mo., and arrived at Far West on the 23d of October, where we found our brethren under arms, having been driven from Carrol County and collected from different parts of Colwell County for mutual defense and safety.
Every house was crowded to that extent that I was unable to find shelter for my family, and having spent nearly a week in fruitless search and energy, during which time the brethren having an affray with the mob at Crooked river, and being informed that they were still collecting in large bodies in the south part of the country, I determined to leave my family in the wagon and join my brethren in resisting the mob. I accordingly marched with a detachment of mounted troops, under command of Col. G.M. Hinkle, to Log Creek Timber, where, after remaining a short time, it was ascertained that a larger body of the mob had been discovered between us and Far West, whereupon it was determined to attempt a retreat in a circuitous route to town to join our brethren there. This was accomplished in time to be in readiness for the mob.
At their arrival, finding us prepared to receive them, they halted at a distance of about a half mile; a party was soon dispatched, bearing a white flag to ascertain who they were and to learn their intentions, and on their return we were told that they were troops sent by the Governor for the purpose of restoring peace, and that the officers desired an interview with the principal men of the church, and we were soon after informed that Brother Joseph, with some others, had been treacherously surrendered into their hands and that they were taken as prisoners by the troops who had orders from the Governor to exterminate the whole Mormon community, whereupon we determined to prepare ourselves in the best possible manner for their reception. We accordingly built a sort of a fortification or breastwork of house logs, wagons and other things such as we could most easily procure, and held ourselves in readiness for immediate action until the next day, which was October 31st, when terms of peace were agreed upon, by which we were required to sign a deed of trust of our property, real and personal, to a board of commissioners appointed for the purpose. We were also compelled, at the point of the bayonet, to make our acknowledgement to the proper officer that this was our free and voluntary act. We were then allowed the liberty of the town but were not suffered to disperse as they were determined to return as prisoners all who were known to have been engaged in any skirmish or in any way violated the laws of the state, whereby they had become liable to be held to a trial.
A blessing given April 8th by Joseph Smith, upon the head of Alexander S. Stanley, son of Richard, born May 12, 1800, Middlesex County, New Jersey.
Brother and son, we the servants of the living God lay our hands upon thy head, in the name of Jesus Christ, and seal upon thee blessings and standing as spokesman to thy father. I pronounce upon thy head blessings which thou shalt realize hereafter. Inasmuch as thou hast been baptized with water for a remission of thy sins, and been confirmed by the laying on of hands by those whom God has sent, thou shalt have the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. Thy name is written in Heaven. Angels hover over thee. Inasmuch as thou hast taken part of the minestry upon thee, the power of the Holy Priesthood shall rest upon thy head. Thou shalt have power to remove mountains if expedient, thou shalt raise the dead, prophesy, speak in tongues, and proclaim the gospel, and thousands and tens of thousands shall obey the mandate of Heaven through thy ministry and be starts of rejoicing in the days of the Lord Jesus. Thou shalt have power over the elements; water shall not stay thee, prisons shall not hold thee; and some will think thee to be God, and seek to worship thee, and no power shall be kept from thee. Thou shalt have power to heal the sick, to open the eyes of the blind, and to unstop the ears of the deaf, to cause the lame to walk, and the tongue of the dumb to sing. Thou shalt go forth among the nations, and upon the islands of the sea gather up great companies of orphan children and bring them to Zion; and thou shalt see visions and behold the glories of the other world. Thou shalt preach to the spirits in prison, and what shall I say more. Thy blessings are great, the hundredth part are not spoken neither can they be written. Thou shalt receive an inheritance in Zion, and stand with the hundred forty and four thousand servants of God sealed out of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. These blessings I seal upon thy head inasmuch as thou shalt be faithful, and I seal thee up unto eternal life in the name of Jesus Christ, and by the authority of my office according to the will of my Heavenly Father, even so, Amen.
Signed: Lorenzo Barnes, Scribe
Thoughts on Our Father’s Blessing
By: Lydia Standley Burnham, Daughter
Though our father now is sleeping,
Though he’s numbered with the dead;
Yet he will receive the blessings,
Which were promised on his head.
For twas told us by the Savior,
Not one word should go astray,
Which was spoken by His servants,
Though Heaven and earth should pass away.
Oh, how grand will be the meeting,
If we all shall faithful prove;
Far beyond this world of sorrow,
Yonder in the realms above.