David Lewis History
Early Church Membership Records
"I was born in the state of Kentucky on Easter. I lived in the same state and county until I was 22 years of age. I was married in my twentieth year...She was born January the 5th, 1813. She being one year, three months and five days the oldest. We were both baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints by James Emmitt who was accompanied by Peter Dustin....In August 1834 I was ordained an Elder under the hands of Benjamin Lewis, my brother.
I was the sixth son and the ninth child of my parents, they having twelve children in all, eight boys and four girls. My father was a large man. He weighed about three hundred and thirty pounds....He left Kentucky with his family and went to Illinois State, Macoupin County and there died in about his sixty-third year. My mother was also a large woman who weighed about two hundred and forty pounds....Her father was named Samuel Morse. Her mother was Rachel, and lived in South Carolina, Pickins County or District. My father's father lived in South Carolina. His name was David. I think his wife was Roasannah.
"My father emigrated from South Carolina to Kentucky amongst the first settlers or emigrants to that country. My mother died in that state of Illinois, when she was about sixty-five years old. My father and mother were not professors of religion, nor none of my connections with whom I was acquainted. My father's mother was turned out of the Quaker Church for marrying my grandfather, who was not a member of the Church. I believe they were both honest, and I know they taught their children to be honest. My father was a farmer and possessed a sufficient substance to make his family comfortable.
"At my first recollection I was a very fleshy boy with very black hair and blue eyes which both was often spoke of by the neighbors. I was not grossly mischievous, only to plague and tease the other children which often cost me stripes. Sometimes when I was innocent, because I was so often guilty, no excuse would redeem me. My oldest sister Ann often screened me from the lash by telling my mother that all that had happened accidental and not by design. I was kept closely at home and took most all the lessons of a labor that was common for boys of six of age to know. I was not allowed to go off the place without the consent of one or both of my parents. I was not allowed to have no little boys notions without giving a strict account of how I got it. I was seldom allowed to go in company and learn the ways of the world so that I thought myself green or less experienced than others of my size. I often felt embarrassed on this account and did not enjoy myself on this account when in company. I was not quarrelsome with other boys and never had but three fights in all my life, I come off conqueror each time, the last time I had my oldest brother consent under whose charge I was at the time. I was about ten or eleven years old but very well grown when a very bad and saucy boy came to my fathers orchard and after pulling and thrashing down fruit of many descriptions and was about to leave (and I having had a fight with his brother for abusing my youngest brother who was very small) I told him to tell his brother if he did not pay me for the marbles I sold him I intended to whip him, he replied what did you say, my brother sais to tell him again. I done so, he then commenced to curse me and said if I would come over the fence he would whip me. My brother said to me go and whip him well, this was an unexpected privilege as I had never before been allowed to fight under any circumstances whatever. I went and done what I was told and rejoiced at the chance to. When my brother thought the boy had enough he said to let him up he is whipped enough. I immediately obeyed him the boy started home. Why I mention this circumstances was because it was connected with a cruel act that the same boy committed the next day. Next morning a border in the presence of the boys father whetted a sharp pointed knife and told the boy to take it and stick it in me, yes he said the father I am determined that my boys shall defend themselves, George and Turner Miller was the boys names and James Miller the father name. Go now my sons said James Miller to his two boys and defend yourselves, they had scarcely got out of sight of this dwelling when the screams was heard to the alarming of the whole present they immediately ran, the two boys had fell out by the way about which one should kill a bumble bee, the youngest having the knife he plunged it its length in his brothers breast. Fighting with knives, dirks stones and clubs was common in my country but I never had taken part in so such wickedness, I have often seen several in number on each side fight with these weapons with intent to kill until the whole would be so tired that none was able to do each other harm, some black eyes and other bloody noses to others in gores of blood which was frightful to see.
"My father had four hundred acres of beautiful land about one hundred acres in farm the remainder of land was timber land a large two story cobble house on a public road three miles east of the town of Franklin, a beautiful yard surrounded the house about one acre square, neatly covered with blue grass, two beautiful mulberry trees and one beautiful Seeder tree growing in the south yard. Beautiful cheery trees grew on the out edge of the yard one rod distance from each other. These Mulberry an Cherry trees bore a splendid fruit. A beautiful orchard on the west which joined to the yard in it was most all the varieties of fruits that was common for the country there was apples both early and late, sweet and sour pares, peaches, plums, persimmons, cherries and on the farm was the wild cherry, black haws, mulberry and walnuts and plums and persimmons, these fruit was all very good. We chiefly raised corn in our country, wheat, oats, and tobacco, sweet Irish potatoes, beans and peas, cabbage and onions, melons and pumpkins, cotton, flax, rye, but wheat was the most uncertain crop we tried to raise. It was a very mild and pleasant climate the land was not very rich, it taken a great deal of work to cultivate the land, timber was plenty and good range for stock is poor, wild game scarce, the people is generally very kind to each other except when angry at each other, then they are cruel. When I was twelve year old I was taken from the farm to aid my mother an my oldest sisters Ann and Martha had married and left home. I was put to cording and spinning cotton and wool as it was common for women to make there own wearing apparel in that country. I soon came skillful in this business so that I could even beet my sisters that was grown at carding and spinning. I was also trained at the wash tub and cooking and all the common house work and spent three years of my time in helping my mother in this way. This was not employment for boys or men folks in this country so I often felt ashamed when the neighbors came in, but at about fifteen I again went to the field. I well recollect the first time I ever heard my mother talk about God and the devil. She said that they was a good man and a bad man lives above in the clouds and if I done bad the bad man would get me when I died, but I was a good boy and would mind her and father and wouldn't tel lies nor swear nor steal that when I dyed the good man would take me to live again with him up in the clouds, and told me the many good things that would be entitled to be being good, this had a deep impression my mind, I told my older brother the story when they came in from the field, thinking it would be news to them, I then firmly thought I would be good. I remember at another time when very young my mother was combing my hare she said to me there is a mole on your neck and that is a sign if ever you steal anything you will be hung, this alarmed me very much, and often I have thrown down apples after I commenced to eat them because I remember the mole on my neck and knowing that father had told me not to pull the apples I have thrown them down. I have thrown down flints and little rocks that I thought was pretty after picking them up for fear it was settling and the mole on my neck would cause me to be hung. My parents not being religious folks they very seldom told me anything about God or heaven, and I seldom went to meeting and when I did I got no understanding of the plan of salvation, and as there was Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians or Dunkards and they disagreed about the scriptures I asked father which one of these was right he said he not know and I thought it strange that father did not know about these things, so I always wanted to know that thing and thought if I could find a little Book like I had heard of John the Revelator having one give him by an angel I should be better pleased them with any other present, provided it would desire that point or tech to me the true plan of salvation for this was a subject that I greatly desired to know all though I was young and to all appearance thoughtless of any such matters, I was often vexed at preachers exhorting the people telling to come to Christ and never telling them how to come, I never got no understanding from none of the preachers how the plan was but I always thought if I could find out to my satisfaction I would obey it and I promised to myself when I got to be a man I would then find out to my satisfaction and do right and be honest and try to get to Heaven where the good man lived. I do not intend to give a full history of my childhood for it would be tedious but merely touch on a few things and then pass onto the things that I have passed through, and witnessed myself, the persecutions, trials and hardships of the account of believing and obeying the gospel of Christ which I know to be true and of God. I commenced to wright in this book January the 18th, 1854, in two months and six days I will have been in the Church . . . I am now in my thirty ninth year of my age, and on the 10 day of next April I will be 40 years of age, and as my portrait or likeness is in the first part of this book I will also give a description of my size that in after years the rising generation may know what my size and looks was. I am six feet one inch high my weight two hundred pounds and I am proportionably built with black hair and blue eyes. I am fare skinned and in the full vigor of life and health....
David labored in Tennessee. He was accompanied by John L. Butler on a short mission to Kentucky. He was in the Haun's Mill Massacre with his brothers, Benjamin and Tarlton. He came to the Salt Lake Valley in 1851.
David went to Missouri, 1837. He built a house in Caldwell County near Haun's Mill. He experienced the Mormon troubles in Missouri. He was an eyewitness of the massacre at Haun's Mill. After residing in Missouri, he journeyed To Illinois on business. In December 1838 he came back to Missouri. He took his family to Quincy, Illinois in 1839. Then, he took them to Kentucky while he went on mission. He liked to write poetry. He rejoined his family in 1839. He lived in Macoupin County, Illinois from 1840 to 1841. He lived at Nauvoo until 1846.