Edson Barney Lillis Ballou
I was born on June 30, 1806 in Jefferson County, Ellisburg Township, State of New York. I was the son of Royal Barney and
Rachel Barney. My parents were first cousins; their fathers were brothers. My father was the son of John and Ruth Shephardson Barney.
My mother was the daughter of Thankful Marsh and James Barney.
From boyhood I lived with my father and worked at farming.
In February of 1825, just before I turned 19, my family moved from New York to Ohio. We lived in Amherst Township of
Lorain County. I farmed and cleared land during the summer and taught school in the winter.
When I was 25 years old, I married a 26 year old widow named Lillis Ballou Comstock, daughter of Seth and Sophia Anderson Ballou.
We were married on January 1, 1831. At that time I was working at a sawmill and cutting stone. That same year, on May 10th, 1831,
I embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints and was baptized by Simeon D. Carter. Also baptized was my wife,
mother, sister Philanea, brother Orimel and brother Royal and his wife Sarah. In the fall of 1832, I was ordained a teacher
and magnified my calling as such for about a year. I was then ordained a priest and was present at the 1832 conference held
in the town of Amherst where I lived. On December 27th 1832, I saw the prophet receive the revelation which is the 88th section
of the Doctrine and Covenants. In the fall of 1833 I was sick with bilious fever
which continued most of the time until May 1834 when we moved to Kirtland.
On May 10th 1834, my brother Royal and I and about 200 others, went with Joseph Smith to travel to Missouri. This journey was
called Zions Camp.
After Zion's Camp reached Missouri, and after extensive negotiations with Gov. Daniel Dunklin failed to produce results, the Prophet
disbanded Zion's Camp. Zion would be redeemed at some future time. According to order I tarried in this region a short time and then received orders to return home. I arrived home in August to my wife
and two sons who were two year old Buren and one year old Olney. Olney was very sick when I arrived. He died a few hours later.
On February 28th, 1835 a meeting was called and selection was made from those who went to Missouri in Zion's Camp to create the first
Quorum of Seventy. The men were ordained under the hands of the First Presidency. I was one of them. I was ordained by the Prophet
Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer. I received my prophetic promises which I have fulfilled. My brother Royal was also
ordained. On June 10, 1835, in company with John D. Packer, I was called on a mission and traveled on foot through Pennsylvania to
New York State.
I returned home to Kirtland in the fall and did carpenter work on the temple. I built a large carpenter shop for the Church and studied
the Hebrew language through the winter and spring. I received an endowment in the temple equal to the one received at Jerusalem on
the day of Pentecost. I also saw the breakup of Kirtland.
We decided to move to Nauvoo, so with my wife and four small children we traveled as far as St. Joseph County, Michigan and stayed
there for two years. Our fifth child was born there. I suffered much from chills and fever at this time.
Eventually we began getting ready to move on to Nauvoo. As we were finishing loading up, the Sheriff arrested me and put me in jail
for safe keeping. I was charged with being an accomplice in kidnapping a girl and taking her to the Mormons for common stock.
I was in jail for 24 hours and while there a priest and some infidels came to visit me. I preached Mormonism to them and bore my
testimony. This caused tears to run from their eyes. They said that if I was not released they would bring a writ of habeus corpus.
I was soon released and taken to a tavern where I was informed that the girl had been found. She had run away to work. I was discharged
and we went on our way to Nauvoo. Soon after we arrived in Nauvoo I joined the Nauvoo Legion, received a Captains Commission and exercised
At April conference in 1844, Lorin Babbit and I were called on a mission to Ohio. We traveled on foot from Nauvoo to Chicago preaching
the gospel along the way. We took the steamboat across Lake Michigan to Cold Water and then to Hillsdale. We preached and bore testimony
of Mormonism along the way.
We took the cars to Monroe on Lake Erie, then the steamboat to Black River, Ohio, and thence to my father's place in Amherst where I
once lived. While there I preached several times and held a debate with a Presbyterian from Oberlin. The majority decided in my favor.
I attended a conference at Kirtland and there received an appointment to "Trail" in Lorain and Huron Counties and lecture on politics and
Joseph Smith's views on government. I went to my field of labor and did so successfully.
I received information of the death of Joseph and Hyrum, received a discharge of President Brookes and traveled home to Nauvoo and my
When I arrived home I found a different aspect of things from when I left. The Prophet and Patriarch were dead!
At the organization of Seventies Quorums I was appointed Senior President of the Second Quorum. I worked hard to help finish the temple.
My wife and I were called in to receive our endowments and first and second annointings. We were endowed on December 17th 1845 and sealed
on January 28, 1846. I worked in the endowment house for about 10 or 12 days. By the end of February 1846, 5,600 people had received
their endowments and 2000 were sealed to their spouses. Then there were drums for war and extermination. With the rest I prepared to
Lillis and I were now ready to leave. We had 5 children, the oldest was 14 and the youngest a baby. Our son Olney Ammon had died earlier
in Ohio and our 2 year old Edson Alroy had died in Nauvoo.
We left Nauvoo, crossed the river and went to Farmington, Iowa. We lived in Farmington for about a year. While there I received many
threats. One time a shower of rocks hit the house and broke all the windows. As soon as we could, we left for Winter Quarters.
I was finally able to make my outfit to go to Salt Lake Valley - Apostle Orson Pratt put me in as a captain over 10 men in the Stevens
Company of fifty men. I took my two wives and 6 children and began the journey west (probably the spring of 1851). Nothing occurred on
the way except a small Indian fight close to our wagons. Two Indians were killed.
We arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in August and I soon found work. I built a woolen factory about 15 miles west of Salt Lake and alongside
the Jordan River. I also worked on a sawmill in Provo and worked on a bridge across the Provo River being built by the U.S. Government.
In the spring of 1856 I was appointed to go on a mission to Las Vegas, New Mexico. My 13 year old son went with me. We opened up a farm
and planted seed but the crops were destroyed by the alkaline soil. We then received orders to travel about thirty miles and open up a
lead mine. I helped prepare a furnace smelter but ran out of bullion. By order of the President I returned home in October.
After this mission I farmed in Provo, served as Justice of the Peace, was a member of the City Council, and was chosen as Captain of the
On March 10, 1858 I left on another mission. Several other men and I were sent out into southwest Utah to explore the white mountain
region. I took my son Alroy with me. I was chosen president or captain of the company; George W. Bean and Brother Frieze from Salt Lake
were my Counselors. We traveled to Chicken Creek, crossed the Sevier River, then on to Antelope Springs, Meadow Creek, and Snake Creek
at the foot of the White Mountains. On the way we were hit by a twenty four hour snowstorm that killed one cow and six horses.
We then went back to Meadow Creek. We set up a farm on Snake Creek, went to the Sink of Beaver, and then traveled the eighty miles home.
I reported to Brigham Young and received an honorable discharge from the mission.
I worked in a woolen mill in Ogden for awhile and then in 1862 was "called" to go to Southern Utah. I was 56 years old, Lillis was 57,
and Louisa was 40.
I lived the rest of my life in the St. George area. The winters were spent in St. George and the summers in Pine Valley. I did downstream
ditch work for $200.00. When I was 70 years old, I built a fence around the tabernacle, donated $40.00 to the temple and paid $20.00
tithing. I helped build the temple and the next year I built a fence around the temple block and paid $20 tithing.
I attended the dedication of the St. George temple when I was 71 years old and then went into the temple and did considerable work for
my friends that were dead.
On September 20th, 1883 when I was 77 years old, I received a letter from my brother Royal, his daughter Harriet B. Young, (wife of Brigham
Young) and her son Howe Young. It contained a free pass and money to pay fare to travel to Provo and Salt Lake City. This caused me to rejoice
with unspeakable joy to think I had a friend. Because of this I was able to go to Provo and see Lillis where she had been visiting for a year
and a half. I got to see all my children and grandchildren. I also saw many old friends and neighbors. I had a good time in Provo.
I then went to Salt Lake City. I saw my brother who was very sick, and many old friends. I attended conference and a Seventy's meeting. My
friends donated a suit of apparel to me. They gave Lillis and I a free pass back to the Milford terminus and money to pay our land fare.
We arrived back home in St. George about the 15th of October. We found our house swept and garnished by two young lady friends and our
neighbors were there to greet us.
I stayed in Potatoe Valley (Escalante) for a short time. One time I got fruit trees and grape vine cuttings and went with my son Buren
to Bluff City in San Juan County and spent the winter of 1883.
In the spring of 1890, when Lillis and I were 84 years old, we received the means to go up north. My brother Royal, his wife Sarah, Harriet
B. Young, and the Alice Wilkins family furnished the means to pay our fare. So we have friends indeed in time of need.
We went to Provo where my wife stayed while I went on to Salt Lake City to attend Conference. I went back to St. George and she stayed in
Provo until fall, then came home by way of Escalante.
They all sent us the means in 1893 to go to the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple. We were 87 years old and were not well so we thought it
would not be safe to start. We have both been unwell and sometimes sick since going the rounds. We are both here yet, trying to do our work which is May 1893."
Copyright ©2003 Barney Family
#10 and #11 on Chart 50