Seneca Lake, New York
Question: How old was Solomon Chamberlain when he went in Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company to the Salt Lake Valley?
Answer: Solomon Chamberlain was born July 30, 1788, in Old Canaan, Connecticut to Joel Chamberlain and Sarah Dean. When he was about twenty years old, he married Hope Haskins. They had one son and two daughters.
Solomon wrote: “My father was an honest, hard-working man, a farmer by trade, and earned his bread by the sweat of his brow, and accumulated considerable property, and died when I was about 8 years old, and my mother died about 10 years after. I began the world like my father, earned my bread by the sweat of my face. I soon learned the cooper’s trade and worked the most of my days at that.’
About 1820: “About this time the Lord showed me in a vision, that there were no people on the earth that were right, and that faith was gone from the earth, excepting a few and that all churches were corrupt. I further saw in vision, that he would soon raise up a church, that would be after the Apostolic Order, that there would be in it the same powers, and gifts that were in the days of Christ, and that I should live to see the day, and that there would a book come forth, like unto the Bible and the people would [be] guided by it, as well as the Bible…This vision I received from an angel or spirit from the eternal world that told me these things…
About 1829: “After I had been here two days, I went with Hyrum and some others to Palmyra printing office where they began to print the Book of Mormon, and as soon as they had printed 64 pages, I took them with their leave and pursued my journey to Canada, and I preached all that I knew concerning Mormonism…
“The Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) was not yet organized, but was soon after, on April 6th, 1830. A few days after, I was baptized in the waters of Seneca Lake, by Joseph Smith, (and) emigrated the same spring to Kirtland, Ohio, and in the fall of 1831, emigrated to Jackson County, Missouri. In the beginning of the winter of 1833, was broken up by mobs, and driven out of the county and suffered the loss of all things, with hundreds of my brethren and sisters. Settled again in Clay County and was there broke up and suffered the loss of three houses and my plantation. Again settled in Caldwell County and was broke up and also in Daviess County, and was driven out of the counties in the coldest part of the winter and suffered the loss of all things. And great was the suffering of the Saints while in Missouri, that I was a witness to and many times had my life threatened, and sometimes been knocked down, and some of my blood spilled by mobs. We were driven from the state of Missouri, and settled in Illinois, at Nauvoo, where we remained in peace for several years, and built a temple. On June 27, 1844, our Prophet and Patriarch was murdered, and about the year 1846 we were broken up and had to flee to the Rocky Mountains…
“The wife of my youth died (Hope died in January 1847) at Winter Quarters just before I started to the valley with the Pioneers. ‘
Solomon, age 58, went with Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company: “April 2, 1847–this day the Pioneers began to leave the Council Bluffs or Winter Quarters for the valley of the Great Salt Lake to make the road and hunt a place for the saints. I, being one of them and was unwell when I started, I suffered much of cold and hunger. When we got to Green River, I was taken sick with the mountain fever, the second time, and got a little better, and was taken down with the cholera, and was brought to the point of death, and for 6 days and nights I took nothing into my stomach but cold water…The road was new and rough, and we continued to travel, and it seemed I must die, and I longed for death…When we got to the valley, many of us were out of provisions. We arrived on July 24th and stayed about one month.
“August 26 we started for Council Bluffs. For my outfit to go back with, I had but 2 quarts of parch corn and 3 quarts of coarse cornmeal. I was sick all the way back, and suffered everything but death. Many times I had nothing to eat, and sometimes I had a little poor buffalo bull meat. We returned back to the Bluffs about the last of October.’ (Written in July 1858)
Solomon married Teressa Morse in 1848 in Salt Lake, and they had one daughter, Sariah. About 1850 Solomon went for a time to California in search of gold, but returned soon after, having realized he could not make it there. He returned to Utah and then moved to Washington County, Utah, where he spent his remaining years.
Solomon died on March 20, 1862 in Washington, Washington County, Utah, at age 73, and is believed to have been buried in the Washington or New Harmony Cemetery, Washington County, Utah.