Laura Anderson: How Accurate is Milo’s Autobiography?
Family Researcher Laura Anderson: I feel it important to put Milo’s autobiography into historical context, as there are numerous points that are likely the way he remembered them, but not historically verifiable. He would have been about 60 at the writing, with no records to go from.
Milo Andrus, the author of this biography, is the son of Ruluf Andrus and Azuba Smith. My father is a native of Hartford, Connecticut, and my mother of Rutland, Vermont. [LA: Milo’s older brother and sister, Almon and Harriett, in an 1880 census say Ruluf was born in Vermont.] They shortly after marriage [LA: Ruluf and Azuba were married in about 1795.] moved to Essex County, [LA: In 1800 Ruluf is listed in Poultney, Vermont as "Rufus."] state of New York, where they resided until their ninth child was born–seven boys and three girls, namely: Oran, Almon, Carlo, Erasmus, Harwin, Milo and Milo 2nd. Erasmus, Harwin, and Milo 1st died in childhood, the dates of their deaths I cannot give in consequence of a fire that burnt up the records of my father’s family. The names of sisters were Sybil, Sarah, and Emily. My eldest brother, Oran, was born in 1797 [LA:10 Apr 1798]; Sybil was born in 1799 [LA: 23 Apr 1796]; Almon was born in 1801 [LA: 10 Apr 1800 in Poultney, Vermont.]; the dates of the others I cannot give.
The writer of the above, Milo 2nd, was born March 6th, 1814. When five years old, my parents moved to Dunkirk, state of New York, where they resided one and a half years. During that time there was a circumstance occurred, that seems to me to show the protecting hand of the Lord over me. I went to the shore of Lake Erie and got into a skiff on the shore and went to sleep, when the wind arose and took the skiff on the lake, and it was not seen until nearly out of sight. I was then picked up still sound asleep. I have always thought that the Angel of Peace then watched over me. [LA:The timing of this story is off, as the family moves to Brownhelm, Huron, Ohio (later called Henrietta) in the fall of 1817, which puts the 18 month time frame back to about April of 1816. This would make Milo just barely 2 when he moved to Dunkirk and 3-1/2 when he left. Perhaps the family visited Dunkirk when Milo was 5 years old.]
My parents then moved up the lake into the state of Ohio, in Huron County, township of Henrietta, [LA: Henrietta is not formed until 1827-8] where they had three daughters born, namely: Eveline Charlotte, born October 7th, 1817; Lucina, born 1819 [LA: According to the census and her family records she is born March 11, 1816, which would have been in the Dunkirk, New York era. If Milo’s date for her birth was correct she would be married and having children by age 14.]; Harriet, born 1821. At the writing of this the two eldest of my brothers are still alive and three of my youngest sisters. [LA: This puts the writing of the biography between Carlo’s death in 1870 and Oran’s death in 1874.] They have all rejected the gospel. [LA: I believe that others in the family may have joined the church and then rejected it.]
My mother died January 1st, 1832. My father died in the winter of 1848 [LA: 1849]. I shall now drop the history of the balance of the family, and give a few incidents of my own history.
After the death of my mother, I bought the balance of my time until I was twenty-one of my father, for which I paid him one hundred and fifty dollars. In the spring of 1832, I met an elder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, though I should say, previous to this, that I had my mind much exercised about a future state, and had read the views of Alexander Campbell, and that being the nearest to the truths of the New Testament, I had been baptized by Elder Orson Hyde, [LA: We have records that the Baptist church of Henrietta with Squire Abbott at the head had united with the Campbellites in 1828.] then a minister of that section; but when I compared the scriptures with the teachings of the elder of The Church of Christ, I found that he had the truth; after trying for nearly one year, I yielded to baptism.
One month and nine days previous to my baptism, I was united in marriage to Abigail Jane Daley, whose father had been baptized into The Church of Christ about one year before. We were married February 21st, 1833, baptized April 12th, 1833. [LA: In fact according to county recrods the marriage was recorded on the 14 of Feb.] I was ordained an elder May 5th, 1833, under the hands of Joseph Wood. Started on my first mission in June, 1833, in company with Joseph Wood, traveled a distance of seventy miles preaching every day and baptized three. [LA: Joseph Wood was a church leader who later united with the RLDS Church.] We came to Kirtland where the Prophet Joseph Smith resided with his family. The quarterly conference that came off in a few days after our arrival, changed my traveling companion, and I was coupled with Ova Truman. Joseph Wood and his fellow laborer went to Philadelphia, and I with my new companion was sent to the southern part of the state of Ohio, to return in three months to the next quarterly conference. We were not very successful and baptized only two persons. After this conference, I was permitted to return home and preach among the branches until winter, when we had a call from the Prophet Joseph by his brother Hyrum to get ready and go with the company of elders to the state of Missouri, known as "Zion’s Camp." Our first daughter and first child was born November 15th, 1833. During the winter of 1833 and spring of 1834, we were instructed to labor and get all the money that we could, and to get good rifles, and make ready to start by the first of May, 1834. We accordingly started from Florence, Huron County, Ohio, on the 7th of May, 1834. These were from the Florence branch; Nelson Higgins, Hyrum Blackman, Asey Fields, and Milo Andrus. My brother-in-law, James Daley, went with us [Zion’s Camp] as far as Mansfield, Richland County, Ohio, where we met with the Prophet Joseph, his brother Hyrum and the rest of the camp from the East. Our leader was Elder Orson Hyde [LA: Orson Hyde’s cousin Rebbecca Hyde married an Ebenezer Andrews/Andrus of Milan about a mile from Ruluf’s hotel. I do not know of a connection yet, but it is interesting.].
There was one circumstance that occurred before we joined the main camp worthy of notice. As stated before, I had bought my time from my father, and had paid him the amount agreed upon, but still I was not twenty-one by ten months. On this account, and as he was so opposed to my going with the "Mormons," as he called them, he made an effort to stop me. As we had to pass his house on our way, [LA: The hotel (that we have a picture of on this site) is near Norwalk on the way from Florence. I believe this is the area that Milo is talking about.] we learned his intention to stop me at the county seat, Norwalk; and Brother Hyde had learned his plan, he went in and made inquiry about a road that we did not intend to travel, and then Brother Nelson Higgins and myself were directed to go around the city and take the road to Mansfield, [LA: Nelson Higgins is later in the First Quorum of the Seventy with Milo, and is tied into the Henrietta settlers by a tie to the Durands. Ruluf would have recognized him and gone looking for Milo.] and he and the sheriff thinking that we would move slow, did not want to overtake us until we had camped, accordingly father, sheriff and driver drank freely, [LA: Where were they drinking? Ruluf had a liquor license for his hotel in 1834. I believe the hotel in East Norwalk is where Orson Hyde found them and asked after the wrong road.] and when they started they took the road to Tiffin, that had been inquired after to mislead them, and they drove until long after dark, the team becoming tired they gave up the chase and heard of us the next morning forty miles on the road to Mansfield, and they felt as though they had been badly sold, and gave up and went home.
On the 11th of May, we joined the main [Zion’s] camp west of Mansfield, and on the 12th the camp was organized, and the law of consecration was for the first time presented and we shelled out to the last cent, and our money went into a commissary’s hands and our supplies were bought by him. I shall not try to name the particulars of this journey. We journeyed on causing considerable excitement, and receiving much good instructions from the Prophet Joseph.
After we got into the state of Missouri, or rather, before our company had crossed the Mississippi River, we went into the dense forest as a company, and there offered up to the Lord our fervent prayers, that He would spare our lives, and permit us to return to our families, and we felt that it would be so, and thanks be to the Lord not one of us were taken by the cholera that visited the camp that afternoon.
Two weeks after we landed on Fishing River, in Clay County, Missouri, where the revelation was given June 22, 1834 [D&C 105], that is recorded on page 345 in Book of Doctrine and Covenants [D&C 105]–New Edition of 1876. About this time the cholera made its appearance among us, as it had been predicted by the prophet. Thirteen of our good brethren were taken away by the dread monster. The camp broke up partly, and the Saints scattered around and the Lord turned away the scourge. After staying there three weeks, the Lord permitted us to return. We got back to our families the last of September, 1834, care-worn and much fatigued. I had the cholera on the way home, but the Lord healed me, and then we went on our way rejoicing.
The summer of 1835, I traveled in the state of New York with Nathan Baldwin, baptized several, and the following winter went to school in Kirtland, and in the spring of 1836, I was in Kirtland at the dedication of the temple and the endowment of the elders that the Lord had promised as a reward for their offerings. The blessings of the Lord were poured out abundantly. There is one thing that I would here relate, that was a great joy to me, and that was when the Holy Ghost was poured out on the elders, I saw fire descend and rest on the heads of the elders, and they spoke with tongues, and prophesied.
On our return to Kirtland from the mission in the East, I went to school in Kirtland, studied grammar, and then studied Hebrew under Professor [Joshua Seixas] of New York.
On going back to Florence, Ohio, I was chosen president of the Florence Branch, with instructions to move them to Missouri in the fall of 1836. We went as far as Terre Haute, Indiana, when being late and c
old, we put up for winter. Our eldest son, James, was a babe three months old, and we came near losing him to human appearance, but the hand of the Lord was in it. We raised up a branch of the Church in that place.
Early in the spring of 1837, we started for Missouri, and arrived in Caldwell County in time to put in a crop. In 1838, we were mobbed out of the county. We had one child born in Missouri, a girl, namely: Sarah Ann. We went to Illinois in the winter of 1838 and the next summer we lost our little girl born in Missouri.
In the fall, after I had the chills and fever for two months and not able to scarcely walk, I was sent on a mission to Canada, but owing to the Patriot War, we were not permitted to go to Canada, and I spent the winter preaching in the state of Ohio–returned home in the spring of 1840, and spent my time in laboring and preaching in the counties around Nauvoo until the spring of 1844. I was then sent to the state of Ohio with Elder John Loveless. We traveled in the south part of Ohio for two months, when we heard of the assassination of the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum. We went home as quick as steam would take us, arrived in time to see their mortal remains, before they were interred. I then went to Carthage Jail, where they were murdered, and saw the floor stained with the best blood of the present generation. The people were all fleeing for fear of justice overtaking them. I called at Hamilton’s Hotel to see Elder John Taylor, who was wounded in the jail. Then went to Adams County, where my family had fled for safety. Found them well but much alarmed. [LA: We have always assumed that he meant his immediate family of Abigail and the children, but we now know that his uncle-in-law Uriah Hancock, and wife Polly (or Mary) Smith die in Adams County in 1850 and 1855 respectively. Many of the Hancock cousins live in Adams County for some years. See Hancock genealogy.]
After we had mourned the loss of our prophet and patriarch a few weeks, during which time I was chosen one of the Nauvoo police, I helped to watch the city by night and worked on the [Nauvoo] temple by day–got it so that the work of the endowments commenced in the fall of 1845 and winter of 1846. I spent six weeks of the time in the temple and was much blessed.
During the past four years, we had two more children born, namely: John D. Andrus and Millennium. After the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith, I was ordained one of the presidents of the 10th quorum of seventies. In the winter of 1846, my house, in the basement, was made into a wagon shop, and in the spring I started on our journey to the west. We overtook the main camp at Pisga, and from there went to Council Bluffs, where the government called on us for a battalion of 500 men to go to Mexico. After the battalion was started, I was sent forward with others to the number of one hundred and fifty wagons; went as far as the Pawnee Indian village, then went 150 miles to the northwest among the Ponca Indians. After staying there two months, we went back to Winter Quarters, stayed and farmed in that county in the year 1847, and in the spring of 1848, I was sent on a mission to England. Shortly before I left, Sarah Ann Miles was sealed to me, and she accompanied me to England.
We arrived in Liverpool the first of August, and on the 13th of August  at a general conference, I was appointed president of the Liverpool Conference, which place I filled to the best of my ability until January, 1850, when I was released to come home. During my stay in that conference there were three new branches added and between two and three hundred added to the Church by baptism. I baptized thirty in one evening. The Lord made manifest His power in healing the sick and in blessing the Church with signs following the believers. Milo, Junior, was born in Liverpool, September 30th, 1848.
We left Liverpool in January, 1850, on board of the ship, Argo. Jeter Clinton presided over the company, we were eight weeks and three days on the ship from Liverpool to New Orleans; some sickness and two deaths on the passage. I was sick with the cholera, my wife had poor health all the way, Milo, Jr. was sick; we thought that he would die, but the blessings of the Lord brought us through. We came up the Mississippi River on board the steamer "Uncle Sam", Captain Van Dosen, master. We landed at Kanesville early in May; was organized in the first company of Saints early in June. I was chosen captain over 55 wagons. We had a good time on the plains, arrived in Salt Lake City on last day of August, having but one death on the journey, that of a stranger going to California. I baptized 15 persons on the journey. James Leithhead and Richard Hopkins were clerks of the company. A more full account of the mission to England is recorded in the 10th quorum of seventies record.
After one week’s rest, I went to work in the 19th ward and built me a house; and about the 1st of January, 1851, my wife, Jane, and I parted. In June, 1851, I married the Widow Tuttle, and the November following my wife, Sarah Ann Miles died. I married Adaline Alexander in March, 1852. In December, 1852, I married Mary Ann Webster.
In the spring of 1854, I was sent to Saint Louis to preside over the stake there. Stayed there one year, rebaptized and confirmed about 800 saints. Was sent up the river to buy cattle for the emigration of 1855, and in the fall was appointed by E. Snow and D. Spencer to bring the last company of 63 wagons home; arrived in Salt Lake City in October, and in December same year, married Elizabeth and Ann Brooks and Jane Munday. In February, 1857, married Margaret Boyce and in February, 1858, was married to Emma Covert. Was acting bishop of Big Cottonwood ward in 1858, and in the fall of 1859 was appointed to another mission to England. The first six months I was appointed to travel in the conferences; the last nine months I presided over the Birmingham District, embracing Birmingham, Warwickshire, and Staffordshire Conferences.
In the summer of 1861, I started for home with 700 saints on board the ship "Underwriter." I was appointed president of the company, had a good passage to New York; no deaths. I was then appointed to take charge of 900 to Florence, Nebraska, on the cars. Stayed at Florence five weeks, and was then appointed captain to take a company of 66 wagons across the plains, and arrived in Salt Lake City in September, 1861. In the fall of 1870, I married Francena Tuttle. In the fall of 1870, I was again sent to the states on a mission. Came back in the spring of 1871. Since that time I have been in Utah on the home missionary list, and to work with my hands for a living. At this date, January 9th, 1875, I am living in St. George, Utah.