Jane Johnston Black (1801-1890) Nauvoo, Illinois


Nauvoo Recollections:

Then in the year of 1840, we (mother and children) moved to Nauvoo and heard the Prophet Joseph Smith preach and I can testify that he was a prophet of God.

We came to Nauvoo under the Council of the Authorities and left my husband on a two-year mission.

We moved to Augusta Iowa and remained there until my husband came home.

I, being a doctor and also a nurse, President Joseph Smith set me apart to deliver all expecting mothers and care for the sick and I fully did my duty.

In 1844, following the martyrdom at Carthage, President Taylor, who had been seriously wounded, would not permit a doctor to see him until Jane Black arrived after the bullets were removed from his body. Mrs. Black asked him later why he had sent for her. He said, Because I knew there was none better at such a job, and wanted you to stand at the morning of the resurrection and testify to the Lord against the assassins who murdered the Prophet and his brother Hyrum. [See Note 1 below.]

We then moved to Nauvoo again and remained there until the Saints were driven from there. My husband being in Canada at the time.

I went with the Saints to Montrose Iowa across the Mississippi from Nauvoo.

Before crossing the Mississippi River. A posse of the mob rode up and surrounded our wagons and demanded we give up our fire arms. I had a pistol in my bosom and I drew it out and told them here is my pistol, but I will use it before I give it up. They did not take it from me but threatened to throw me in the river that night. Then we were ferried across the Mississippi River into Iowa and remained there a short time. I buried what arms I had in a quilt in a hole under the wagon wheel.

I borrowed a tent from Brother Johnston and had women that were being delivered at childbirth put in it. . I was the mid-wife, and delivered nine babies that night. [See Note 2.]

We had nothing to eat but a half bushel of corn meal and a half-dozen cucumbers that were given to me by Martin Littlewood.

There were a great many sick among us and nothing to comfort and nourish them but corn meal, until the Lord sent quails among us which supplied our wants. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

We had nothing to sweeten anything with until the Lord sent honey dew, which we gathered from the bushes until we had all the sweets we wanted. I also boiled maple juice and got cakes of maple sugar.

While preparing to leave Montrose, I was engaged in taking up the firearms I had buried under the wagon, when the mob came and asked me what I was doing. I told them the Saints were to have power to resurrect and that was what I was doing. Oh, said one, she is crazy, so I saved our arms.

We then moved about eight miles up the river and pitched our tents and there my husband joined us. Then the Saints moved into Winters Quarters.

About a year later we settled in Silver Creek Branch, Pottawattamie, Iowa where we stayed about a year.