John Lambert

Born 31 Jan 1820, Gargrave, West Riding, Yorkshire, England
Died 25 Nov 1893, Kamas, Summit, Utah Territory, United States

John Lambert


John Lambert

Written by his daughter, Elena


I know nothing about his trip across the ocean or crossing the Plains.

He was born January 30, 1820, in Gargrave, Yorkshire, England. His father died when he was seven [actually 13] years old, and he had to get out and earn his own living. He never had a day of schooling, but you couldn't beat him in figures. He was seventeen [actually 20] years old when he came to America.

I think it was in Illinois where he first saw the Prophet Joseph Smith, going west on one side of the street, father going east on the other side of the street. They both stopped opposite each other, and looked at each other. Both belonged to the Nauvoo Legion. They were both Masons. Father was a bricklayer by trade.

The Prophet, when tired [from] working in his office, would run out in the street, grab father, also other boys, and wrestle with them. Father became very intimately acquainted with him. He was one of his bodyguards, and heard him say, "I go like a lamb to the slaughter, void of any offense." And, oh, what a gloom went over the whole valley when his [the Prophet's] death came. Father had one of the bullets he was shot with, also a handkerchief he had on his neck when he was killed. Many men came to our home to see them.

Father could never talk about the Prophet without shedding tears. He said he was next to the Savior. Whenever he was called on to talk in Sacrament meeting he would end with something about him [the Prophet] and break down and have to sit down.

Father spoke of a drought in Illinois one time, and the Prophet called the people together and prayed for rain. There wasn't a cloud to be seen anywhere, and before the meeting was out a genuine rain was just a-coming down.

One time when the Prophet was talking, father saw an old white-headed man standing by the Prophet with a halo round them both. He went to the door with him where the mob was waiting to nab him, but they stepped back and he went right through and wasn't touched.

Many times I heard father say [that] when he died he wanted the Prophet to accompany him to the spirit world, and as it happened our brother, Dan, was the only one in the room [when father died]. He saw the Prophet hovering over father. He took out his watch to see what time it was. It was twenty to six or twenty after six. He looked up and saw that father had passed away, so we know that father's heart's desire was granted.

The first time father saw his first wife she was sitting under a tree reading the Book of Mormon, and two weeks after that they were married. They came to Utah in 1850. They came in Lorenzo Young's company. I think they had three children.

Now a little about my mother, she being the first girl to accept the Gospel from Elders Erastus Snow and Forsgreen [in Denmark]. Her family, along with others, were baptized in the night on account of mobs. The Elders held meetings in her father's upstairs room. Three of my aunts were the first children to receive their baby blessings under the Priesthood [there]. They landed in Salt Lake City in 1853, crossed the water in a sailing ship. One of the little girls, my aunt, was sick and died on the ship and they had to bury her in the ocean* because the sharks would smell the corpse and be likely to tip the ship over. They were three weeks sailing, that being the shortest voyage made up to that time.

When they landed, they came [across the plains] by ox-team. They never traveled on Saturday or Sunday. Saturday was wash and scrub day. Everything was taken out of the wagon-box every Saturday and scrubbed, and everything put back clean. Mother said their yards were kept as clean as the inside in their homes in Denmark.

It seems like father wasn't satisfied until he got mother, for all he had a wife and five children. One day his first wife said, "John, come here quick. Look out of the window. There goes your wife." That was my mother.

She was married at seventeen. I don't know how long they courted, but I heard mother say if she had her life to live over she never would be married that young again.

Father worked on the [Salt Lake] Temple. I don't know how long. By this time mother had three boys. Father didn't like his boss, so Brigham Young gave him his choice of a certain piece of land [in Salt Lake City] or go and pioneer Kamas. He had always had a desire to go where he could raise stock, horses and sheep, so he took Kamas.

Neither one of his wives liked it. They had at that time quite good homes [in Salt Lake City] made of adobes [bricks], and had to leave them and live under a dirt roof. I wouldn't have blamed them if they both had rebelled.

Then the next thing on the program, there being no [midwife] help in Kamas, my mother had to ride on a load of wood from Kamas to Salt Lake City, by ox-team, fifteen miles a day being the limit for oxen. We landed the third day at 2 p.m. at my Grandmother Larsen's and I was born at 6 p.m. I cried all night. In the morning father called in the Elders. I was administered to and I was a normal child after that.

I have heard [my brother] Joe tell about he and [my half-brother] Richard driving pigs from Salt Lake to Kamas.

Father built the first house in Kamas. He was always the first one to get out and build bridges and break snow roads and roads for children to go to school. He had the largest team of horses I ever saw, and two strings of the largest and most musical sleigh bells I ever heard. We could hear them three miles away. I have wished a lot of times that I had them - wouldn't I get out and jingle them and let everybody hear them, especially on Christmas. I haven't seen or heard them since Father died.

If anyone had a sick horse, they would bring it to father to doctor. It was once said by a great professor that John Lambert had the best way of disciplining his children of anyone he knew.

He was a great friend of the Indians. Brigham [Young] said it was better to feed them than fight them. Many times we had two big tables full of Indians. They used to come by tribes to Kamas, and always called for, "Namba, oh Namba." Once father gave them a big fat beef, once a fat sheep.

I could tell you a thrilling story about the Indians. It was one bright sunny day. Father saw in the distance what he thought was Indians driving horses. He got his spyglass and looked and said, "Yes, it is Indians. They are driving horses from the field!"

So all got busy immediately. Our oldest brother, John, William Gibson and Oscar Clark got their horses, pack saddles, guns and ammunition and bedding ready, while mother, Aunt Delia [father's first wife] and the rest of the family prepared their grub. When they were all ready to go, father said, "Now boys, be very cautious what you do or say. Don't shoot unless you have to. Good-bye," and away they went.

They were gone two weeks. They followed the Indians' trail to what was called the Blue Mountains, the other side of Vernal. They saw a smoke at camping time, and just at break of day they sneaked up to them in bed, asleep, got their guns and then got the horses.

On their way back they ran out of grub. Finally they got some food--I don't know whether it was [from] a white man or an Indian. They had no money, so they had to leave one of the men for security [at the Indian Agency]. I don't remember how they redeemed him - Oscar Clark (they drew straws and it fell to him). On their way out they were without water, I don't know how long, and William Gibson killed a rabbit and drank its blood. The rest couldn't do it.

Father would get his glass every day and spy every dust he saw on the road and say, "No, it isn't them." And oh, what suspense we were in until the happy day came when father said, "Yes, it is them and they have got the horses." Oh what a load it took off of our shoulders. I don't remember how Oscar was redeemed, but they all came home together.

I remember when [I was] a child of moving in a covered wagon to Peoa and living in a tent while the people were building a fort to be protected from the Indians. And the old log school house was dirt-roofed, and if I remember correctly, our first benches were logs. And later on President John Taylor put up a sawmill in Beaver Creek Canyon. Then we first had slab benches, next homemade benches of lumber and then desk seats for two. I was nine years old when I started to school.

I remember quite a number of families that lived in the Fort, especially three: one lady named Davis, and Bub Parks, Howard Deluco, and Cal McCormick. They killed the old lady's [Davis'] cat and she skinned and cleaned it. She cooked it, made some nice dumplings and invited them to dinner. They all said they were good, then she told them it was the cat they killed. So they ran outside. Two of them threw up, but it didn't faze Bub. I thought it was a real good joke on them and served them just right!

It appears as though the older generation Lamberts were great land and cattle owners; they bought a certain kind called "Gallway Cattle." They were black. They would fatten them and ship them to market.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

* The child was buried at New Orleans. See Eline Hansine's history.

(Words in brackets were added where deemed necessary for clarification by Venita P. Roylance, granddaughter of Elena D.L. Michie, October 2003.)

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An addendum written by Elena's daughter, Genevieve Michie Allen:

My sister, Myrtle, has written the following:

"Mother tells of this incident. She often heard her father [John Lambert] say, "When I die I want the Prophet to come after me and accompany me to the spirit world." Her brother, Dan, told her he knew the Prophet did come after him.

"He, Dan, and his youngest sister, Emeline, were sitting up with him the night he passed away. He told mother he was sitting near the foot of the bed. He looked up and saw the Prophet standing close to the head of the bed, near to his father. Dan had heard his father express his wish, so he thought, "This is it. The Prophet has come for father." He pulled out his watch to see what time it was. When he looked up the prophet had disappeared. He walked to the head of the bed and looked at his father. He had passed away.

"About a year ago I was visiting with mother. Aunt Emeline had called to see her. We talked of this incident. Emeline said, "Yes, that really happened. I was there. I was just going through the door to the kitchen. Dan spoke to me. I went back. Father was dead. Dan told me he saw the Prophet." She said she knew this incident was true."

Mother tells this incident this way:

"My brother, Dan, happened be the only one in the room when father passed away. He said he saw the Prophet hovering over father. He pulled out his watch to see what time it was. It was 20 to 6 a.m. He looked up and the Prophet and father were gone."


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