Question: What hardships did Perrigrine Sessions and his family endure afer becoming members of the Church in 1835?
Answer: Perrigrine Sessions was born on June 15, 1814 in Newry, Oxford County, Maine, the first born child of nine children to David Sessions III and Patty Bartlett. His name meant traveler or wanderer.
From Perrigrine’s journal we read: “In August 1833, Mormonism was introduced into this part of the country by Hason Aldrich and Horace Cousin. As soon as my mother heard them preach, she believed…In July 1834, she was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Daniel Bean. She stood firm for one year before any of us joined.
“Two months later (September 1834), I was married to Julia Kilgore…On September 17, 1835, I embraced the gospel and was baptized by Edward Partridge and Isaac Morley, two good and holy men. On September 22nd, our first child, a girl, was born, and we called her Martha Ann. About a year later my wife joined the church, being baptized August 1, 1836, by Lyman Johnson….
“At this time we were often visited by members of the twelve and by many elders. The twelve held conferences at my father’s house on August 12, 1835. Brigham Young and Lyman Johnson, two of the twelve, were there and talked of the necessity of gather with the Saints in Zion. This seemed a great sacrifice to make, but my father and I began immediately to sell our property, of which we had considerable, as we were well fixed. We finally disposed of it, and we all started for Zion—-my father, my Mother, one brother, one sister, and I and my family with Uncle Jonathan Powers and his family.
“We took leave of our neighbors and friends on June 5, 1837. Many tears were shed by our friends and my wife’s aged mother and father…We traveled by land and water until we arrived in Kirtland, Ohio, where we met the Prophet Joseph Smith and heard him preach in the temple of God which the Saints had built at this place…Then traveled on to Missouri. This was a long and hard journey…We finally arrived at Far West, Missouri…
“In the fall of 1837 the Prophet and his family, together with his brother, Hyrum, arrived at Far West with many of the Saints… Father and I bought some land, five acres of which we cultivated, and built two block houses upon it. We soon enclosed 100 acres more, broke forty of this, and planted crops. The crops soon looked fine, so I returned to our old home to settle some property we had left unsettled…’
When Perrigrine returned back to Missouri, he found the Saints were being forced out of Missouri, and they had to travel to Quincy, Illinois. It was at this time that Perrigrine was ordained one of the Seventies by Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball. He then moved with his family to a place near Nauvoo, Illinois. On June 27, 1839, Perrigrine was called on his first mission to preach the gospel in his native state of Maine. He returned home in June 1840 to find his family living in poverty.
The Saints were then asked to build a temple in Nauvoo. “With scarcely any tools, spades shovels or wagons to haul the stone, we began. We laid the cornerstone and the work started to roll on.’ Perrigrine moved his family to a farm twenty miles away and worked through the summer, so he could build a home in Nauvoo. They moved into their new home in December 1840. In March 1841 Perrigrine’s father was called on a mission to Maine, and Perrigrine worked on the temple. In April, Perrigrine was called on a mission again to Maine…
“The Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum were murdered in cold blood by a mob of black-hearted wretches on June 27, 1844, a day to be remembered, while eternities roll on . . . The Saints who were left in Nauvoo clung together, obeying the commands that the prophet had left, and finished the temple…
“On January 25, 1845, my beloved wife left me after a long and lingering illness, and I laid her to rest in Nauvoo, Illinois, by the side of my sister, Amanda. Here I am, left with two little children to mourn the loss of my dear companion, who served God with all her heart, might, mind and strength…
“On January 20th I received my endowments in the House of the Lord with my second wife, Lucina Call…After much hardship I finally got mother and father ready to start with me. On February 10th I started and followed the road made by saints that left earlier. Our group was detailed to Brother John Taylor. We had a single wagon and team with all the earthly possessions which we could carry with us. We continued our journey through unsettled country, through the state of Iowa, to Council Bluffs, on the Missouri River.’
Perrigrine crossed the plains with his parents and wife and children in the Daniel Spencer/ Perrigrine Sessions Company in June 1847 and arrived in Utah in September. Four days after his arrival in the Salt Lake Valley, Perrigrine moved his wagons northward about ten miles, and camped upon the spot where sprang up Sessions’ Settlement, since called Bountiful. There he located permanently, and was the first settler of that section now comprised in Davis County.
Perrigrine continued in farming and stock raising, and also engaged in the milling business with President Heber C. Kimball. Later he took stock in the Bountiful and Brigham City Co-operative institutions, and was also interested in Z. C. M. I. at Salt Lake City. From 1871 to 1877 he was the postmaster at Bountiful.
Perrigrine Sessions was counselor to the first Bishop of North Canyon Ward, the first Ward organization in his neighborhood, and held that position until the Ward was re-organized under its new name Bountiful. Subsequently he was President of the High Priests’ Quorum of Davis Stake for a number of years. From September, 1852, until August, 1854, he was on a mission to England, and in 1856–7 was colonizing with a portion of his family in Carson valley, then in Utah, but now in Nevada.
Perrigrine Sessions was the husband of eight wives and the father of fifty-five children. He lived to be almost 79 years of age and died on June 3, 1893, in Bountiful, Davis County, Utah. He was buried in the Bountiful Memorial Park Cemetery. Two wives and fourteen children preceded him in death.