History of John Gull, by Daughter Harriet Elizabeth Gull Stewart
My father, John Gull, was born in Capel, Saint Mary, England, November 20, 1832. He was the son of William and Sarah Bryant Gull. His early life offered few opportunities for education and pleasures. His family had very little of the material things of life, making it necessary for the children to start work at a very early age to help out the family income.
Father's first job was going into the fields at the age of six scaring Rooks for which he received twenty-five cents per week. His early life was a hard one having to work so hard to supply the meager things of life.
Having rather an adventurous nature he joined the British Army at the age of eighteen. He loved his military life very much and was loved by all who knew him. While in the army his regiment was called out to march against the Russians in the Crimean War. It was while in the army that his first great sorrow came, his beloved mother, his only sister, and fourteen other close relatives, died during a raging epidemic. After the war he turned home and back to the farm. It was rather a sad homecoming with so many of his loved ones gone especially his mother and sister whom he loved very much.
After the war he withdrew from the army and resumed his farm duties. A year later on April 6, 1857, he married Elizabeth J. Skeets. His son John P. was born July 27, 1858. Life seemed more congenial, with joys multiplied, but trouble was on his trail again. This time his wife died on May 13, 1859, leaving a baby nine months old. Father's home was broken up for two years. In 1861 he met Harriet Pennell and on November 8, 1861 Father and Harriet were married at Holbrook, England. Soon after his marriage, the Mormon Missionaries came to Holbrook and his wife was among the first converts to join this new religion. Father opposed this act very much, confident that the Church of England filled their needs. His conversion soon followed in a miraculous way. On one occasion his wife persuaded him to attend a baptismal service, and while standing apart from the others a voice spoke to him and said, "Join the true faith and you will never regret it." This set him to thinking. He began to study their literature and not too long after, he asked for baptism. It was on February 16, 1863 that he became a member of the Church.
In 1864 he left Liverpool, England on the ship New York Hudson for Utah. After six weeks on the ocean he arrived in Florance, Missouri. There he joined the freight caravan of William Darling loaded with merchandise for Utah. Alex Southerland was Captain of the company. Those who crossed the plains in those days knew what hardships they endured. Slowly the train meandered along the beaten trail, barely crawling westward. He walked the entire distance. Tired and ragged but full of good cheer, he arrived in Salt Lake City on December 5th, where he was reunited with his son. He was 105 days making the trip. His son was now eight years old.
He first settled in Cottonwood, where he started life all over again and began a new home. He hauled timber by day and fenced his farm by night. While he was in the process of building his house, he was called by President Young to take relief trains to Nebraska to help out the incoming Saints who were on their way to Salt Lake City. He crossed the plains many times with these relief trains walking all the way. Many and varied were his experiences while performing this assignment. One occasion some of the cattle strayed away during the night and it fell Father's lot to go and look for them. The loss of any cattle may mean going hungry by a lot of people. He started back on foot, as they could not spare any of the cattle for him to ride. It was late in the afternoon before he caught up with the straying cattle. He turned the cattle around and started back to the wagon train. He could not stop to rest for very long as he had to catch up with the wagon train while they were camped for the night. He had to keep going. It was impossible for him or the cattle to stop as there were prairie wolves snapping at their heels. He caught up with the wagon train toward the evening of the next day exhausted and hungry but happy that he had succeeded in accomplishing this assignment.
One night while enroute to the valley he had a dream. In this dream he saw a young girl riding in a wagon with her parents. So vivid was this dream that he was sure that if he ever met her he would know her. A few days letter as he was passing a wagon he saw the girl of his dream. On arriving in the valley he met her again. She was Charlotte Criddle and on January 12, 1867 they were married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City.
That fall he was released from his relief mission and with his wife and son moved to Meadow, a new town in the central part of Utah. They were among the first settlers in this town. Here he built his first permanent home, a small adobe house, but it had the traditional fireplace where as a girl I spent many happy hours enjoying the warmth of a big blaze fed by huge logs. It was also here that my mother showed her skill as a cook in the old dutch oven. My father helped to build the roads and ditches and all the work that goes in building a new place. They built a log house for church and school on a block west of the main road on Center Street. Later he assisted in erecting a brick church on a block east of main on Center Street.
The old creek ran through the center of town just north of Center Street. Father lived on the Collisted place for over a year then he built a house two blocks east on the north street in 1869. He served as water master for twelve years, also ran a molasses mill several years. He was always ready to help in any capacity.
Father was always active in civil as well as church activities. In 1896 he was called on a mission to England, back in his old home town where he had a brother who was a Minister in the Church of England. Father had many interesting conversations with his brother who told him that he was sure that my father would accept and join the church, but he felt that he was too old to stand the hardships of such a new country and a new religion. This grieved my father very much for it would have made him very happy to have brought his brother to America and to Utah with him.
On the return home to took up his rural life again, active as ever in church and civic affairs. Besides running his farm he owned a molasses mill, raised a large truck garden, and freighted his produce to the mining camps. From his hard work he was able to have plenty of the material things of life. He was able to build a brick house large enough to accommodate his family of eleven boys and two girls.
Father had great faith in the Priesthood, where he exhorted all to live a pure life. Step by step he was advanced until he reached the highest priesthood. Father fasted and prayed for the blessings to be received in the Church, such as blessing the sick, casting out the evil spirits, also the gift of discernment, which he received fully. One year he was assigned to attend to the sacrament. All through his life he served as a ward teacher.
He was never happier than when he was working for the advancement of the principles of the gospel and encouraged all to keep the laws of the land. One of his sons he sent on a mission. He also did quite a lot of temple work.
Father was a very spiritual man, always trying to teach not only by precept but by example as well to his growing family. He fasted and prayed for the gift of healing which he received in its fullness, for he always knew whether they would get well or whether he was dedicating them to the Lord. On one occasion a young man was very ill. The elders administered to him at which time they dedicated him to the Lord. After that time Father came to see the young man and told the elders that he was not going to die. In fact the young man recovered.
We often wonder why good people have to suffer so much, and yet my father did, he had cancer of the throat. For three months before his death he never spoke a word and yet on the day he died he called all his children together and in a clear voice gave all of them a blessing. He passed away May 24, 1813 mourned and missed by all who knew him.