Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
sponsored by the Utah State Board of Education, the BYU-Public School Partnership and the Utah Education Network

Pioneer 1848-1868 Companies

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1851 (age 35), Goddard, George

In England
George Goddard, son of Cornelius and Mary Grace Goddard, was born in Leicester, England, on the 5th of December 1815. Beceived a common school education until 13 1/2 years of age, at which time was bound as an apprentice for seven years to a Baptist deacon to learn the grocery and tallow chandlering business. My parents and all my relatives were strict adherents to the Established Church of England, and until I arrived at the above age, it affected me much pleasure in being regular in my attendance at St. Margarets Church in Leicester. It seemed perfectly natural for us to be morally and religiously inclined. After leaving home and fairly commenced my apprenticeship career under the roof of a Baptist deacon, who had a son about my own age, an attachment soon formed between us, and I felt loth to leave him on Sunday after laboring together six days in the week, so I concluded to accompany him to a Baptist Sunday School and attended a Baptist Ministry. This change soon gained a preference in my feelings and understanding, partly on account of baptism by immersion being more in accordance with the New Testament doctrine, than the mode practiced in the Church of England. Also their mode of worship and simplicity of dress and sociability was more in keeping with Christian life, according to my understanding of the scriptures in that early day.

My apprenticeship terminated when I was 20 1/2 years old, and like most other young men, I had a desire to finish off my business education in the great metropolis of England, London. I therefore left my native town for the first time, and by coach travel started for that wonderful city, where I soon obtained a situation in the world renowned Tea Establishment of Ridgeway, Bakin & Co., on King William Street leading to London Bridge. During my stay there I attended the Ministry of the Rev. Howard Sutton, under whose hand I was baptized by immersion, and thus became a member of that particular Baptist Church. I remained in London nearly 3 years, then returned to my native town of Leicester, where by the assistance of my father I commenced business for myself. On the 10th of September 1839, I was married to Elizabeth Harrison, daughter of John and Elizabeth Harrison of Leicester. During a checquered experience of about 12 years, having had heavy losses in business to cope with, our family of children increased to 7. My religious convictions and sentiments also underwent a wonderful change. For some time past the more I read the New Testament the more I was convinced there was something radically wrong with the doctrines of the religious world. I could not conscientiously continue my membership in the Baptist Church, therefore sent in my resignation.

Some little time after, being invited by Claudis V. Spencer who called in my store as a customer and who was there on a mission, to go and hear his friend Jacob Gates preach, he also being a missionary, I promised to go, though I had entertained a very poor opinion of the Mormon people as a religious body. The first discourse I ever heard fully convinced me ...and I promised to go again.

Early in the spring the elders [said] that I should preach in the marketplace every Wednesday evening. This may be regarded as the grand epoch or turning point of my experience from a Mormon standpoint; hitherto my embracing the Mormon faith was known but to comparatively few. To stand in so public a place and advocate much unpopular docrine and announce myself a follower of the Modern Prophet, known only to the world as Old Joe Smith, the Imposter, it can easily be seen how the news would spread. And as a natural consequence, my customers ceased to patronize one who had identified himself with a people who were everywhere spoken against. The result of this public duty soon made havoc with my business and out of sympathy for my situation, two of my princlpal creditors and particular friends of mine since boyhood, called and suggested that if I did not give up public speaking, my business would dwindle to nothing. This I could sensibly realize, and rather than shirk an important duty, I would risk the abandonment of my business. While this was pending, word had reached a brother of mine in Lincoln that I had embraced the Mormon faith, and he wrote immediately and said that instead of bringing such disgrace upon my family connections, it would be far better for us to emigrate to America. To this letter I replied that his proposition involved the following difficulty, viz that to leave honorably with my creditors, I could not possibly raise means to pay transportation of myself, wife and 7 children to America, and feared it would be a burden that he would not like to undertake. He answered by return mail, saying that he would pay 50 pounds to get us out of the country, provided we started by the 10th of October 1851. This unexpected offer led to a final settlement with my creditors and made secure our passage to America.

To America
We took passage on the sailing vessel Essex and on the 9th of October we went aboard, the only Mormon family on the boat. Most of the passengers were Catholics, presided over by a priest. I preached three times by request and permission of the captain. We were nine weeks crossing the ocean, reaching New Orleans early in December. Here we took passage on the steamer Timour and in coming up the Mississippi we ran against a snag which tore away our provision house and otherwise disabled her, which required the aid of another steamer to tow us to Memphis. Here we were detained several days for repairs, and while here our second child died, one having died and was buried in the ocean, having only lived a half hour after birth. We reached St. Louis, Mo. January 1, 1852, with six children, as strangers in a strange country and not means enough to pay the rent. I sustained my family through the winter by peddling a few articles that I had brought from England. There was a branch of the Church in St. Louis and I attended the meetings regularly. The Lord blessed me in my labors, and on one occasion, calling at a large establishment to try and dispose of some small articles to them, the proprietor who had once been an agent for an English Needle Manufacturer, pressed me to purchase his stock on hand which consisted of a great many thousand needles, for which I paid him in Damask bed curtains.

To the Valley
Early in May we left St. Louis for Kanesville, the great outfitting place for the California emigration. At this place I was able to sell enough needles, goggles and other articles needed by the emigrants to purchase an outfit for our own emigration across the plains to Utah. It consisted of 2 yoke of oxen, 2 yoke of cows, one wagon and provisions. We crossed the Missouri River on the 9th of June 1852 in the 5th Company of Latter-day Saints under Captain Tidwell. Before reaching the buffalo country, two more of our children died from cholera, making five having died since we left our native country in nine months time.

We arrived in Salt Lake on the 15th of September 1852 minus our wagon which broke down and necessitated our provisions being hauled in by others who sympathized with us in our misfortune. On arriving in the city we borrowed a tent from a widowed sister and lived under it on Emigration Street until I traded off a yoke of cattle and one cow for a house and lot in the 2nd Ward. Houses were like angel's visits, few and far between. One yoke of cows I paid to our teamster for driving and looking after the stock on the plains. Shortly after our arrival I learned the principle of tithing enjoined upon the Latter-day Saints for their observance, viz one tenth of their property on entering the Church and one tenth of their increase thereafter. To meet this requirement I drove my last cow to the Tithing office which was valued at $25.00 and paid $15.00 in other articles, making $40.00 which I regarded as an honest tithing of my entire property.

My family consisted of a wife and three children. Winter was coming on and I needed work. There were no public works of any kind going on. I still had a quantity of needles on hand, though somewhat rusty, getting wet while crossing the plains, so I decided to go from house to house and offer for sale my rusty needles. Here again the hand of providence smiled upon me for there was a dearth of needles in the city, and almost every family was pleased to purchase or exchange butter, bacon, molasses, etc., thus I was able to sustain my family during the winter of 1852 and early spring of 1853.

My next venture was a stall on the Godbe corner upon which my variety of notions were spread. This was the first time goods were ever exposed for sale in Salt Lake. The novelty caused many to stop and examine; some made purchases. There was one serious draw back, however, to this mode of keeping store, viz the heat of the sun caused the horn combs to twist, and an occasional shower necessitated a hasty gathering up of my stock. In this dilemma someone suggested an awning of sheeting to take off the glare of the sun, but the marshall of the city deeming it an obstruction of foot passengers ordered me to take it down.

A Brother McKenzie who occupied a store, and who was ill in bed, upon hearing of my situation sent for me and offered to vacate his store in my behalf as he wished to live in the country. This I gladly accepted. Among the merchants in the city at that early day of 1855 were Livingston and Kinkead and Cogswell. Some few months after, I purchased the entire stock of merchandise of my neighbor Cogswell and moved into his store. About this time I purchased a building spot on Main Street, 21 1/2 feet front and 165 feet deep, for which I gave a yoke of steers valued at $125.00 and afterwards built a store 60 feet deep and two stories high, being then the largest store on Main Street and which I rented for one year to a Mr. Mack.

Source: Our Pioneer Heritage © Carter, Kate B., ed. 20 vols. Salt Lake City: International Society, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1958-1977. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the publisher. Documents and images are exerpted by permission from the LDS Family History Suite CDROM from Ancestry.