DAVID LEONARD SAVAGE

By Mary Theodocia Savage

David Leonard Savage was born July 25, 1810, in Johnstown, Leeds County, Upper Canada. (Johnstown is located in the eastern part of the Province of Ontario where Kings Highway No. 2 turns to go to Ottawa the Capital of Canada. It is not far from Quebec). He was the son of Rogers Savage and Phoebe Stephens. Rogers Savage was born about 1780. He was the son of Thomas Savage, the birth of whom we have no record.

David Savage was married February 1834 to Theodocia Finch. Her parents were from Nova Scotia. The only child born to this couple was Polly Amanda in 1836, at Leads, Upper Canada, the mother died two months later. When Amanda was five years old her father took her to Knox County, Illinois, U.S.A. He was met by his brother Jehial Savage who preached the restored gospel to him. He was baptized in 1840. Soon after he was ordained an Elder and performed a short mission.

On October 14, 1841 he married Mary Abigail White at Walnut Grove, Illinois. Where had been baptized in 1838 by Moses Smith at Santon, Illinois.

In the summer of 1842 they moved to Laharp, 25 miles from Nauvoo, where their first child was born, John Rogers, December 3, 1842 and died October 17, 1843. In the summer of 1843 he went on a mission to Michigan returning the next spring to attend conference. In 1844 he was called to go and electioneer for the Prophet Joseph Smith who was running for the office of President of the United States, which mission he filled with great zeal. His wife accompanied him on this mission. It was while on this mission the Prophet and his brother Hyrum were assassinated in Carthage Jail.

After the Elders were called home in the summer of 1844 David Savage worked on the Nauvoo Temple, and various other occupations. On January 1, 1945, their second child, Margaret Elizabeth, was born. In the fall of 1845 he was ordained a Seventy in the Second Quorum, and was much pleased in January 1846 when he was chosen to have his endowments in the Nauvoo Temple.

When the great western move was started he was called to help one of the leader's families 200 miles on their journey. This journey was one of extreme hardship, the snow being so deep it took six weeks to make the trip. To add to his discouragements one of his horses died and riding the other back he knew not how the way would be opened to move his own family from the terrors of the mob. Those were dark days but there was a way provided. Brother Cook has lost one of his horses but having an ox team kindly let Brother Savage take his horse. By trading his last cow for an old wagon with no box he was ready to leave Nauvoo. He did not feel to complain, nor did his wife for they felt that no sacrifice was too great to make for the Gospel's sake. They went to a place on the Des Moines River where he worked until fall and then started for the Great West. While winding their weary way amid poverty and trials their second child Margaret Elizabeth died on October 25, 1846. Being late and cold they stopped for the winter and while there, Mary Theodocia was born February 28, 1847. This child, born in an old log cabin by the wayside with neither doors or floors or windows, was destined to be one of the honored Pioneers of 1847. [She now lives at Sunnydell, Idaho, enjoying fairly good health and is dictating this biography.) In May they started on again arriving at Winter Quarters. Brigham Young and the first Company had already left for the Rocky Mountains and the Second Company was making preparations to leave soon. With such a dilapidated outfit it would be impossible to make such a perilous journey. He found a man who had a big outfit. Savage was to drive one outfit and do his share of the night guarding while Sister Savage was to do the cooking. For these services the mother and children were to ride but they were soon forced to walk.

The mother carrying her baby while little ten year old Amanda trudged by her side. This man later apostatized and went to California. They were three months on the way arriving in Salt Lake City on September 24th, 1847. The old unfinished adobe fort did not look much like Salt Lake City today but to them it was heaven of rest. With the rest of the Saints they planted their crops and reaped but a small harvest. They went through all the hardships of pioneer life and did it willingly for the Gospel's sake.

In 1850 Brother Savage was called to take his family and go to Lehi. He was chosen counselor to Bishop David Evans, the first Bishop in Lehi. In 1853 he was called to go to Cedar City, Iron County to strengthen up the settlement there on account of the Indians. In 1854 he began carrying the mail from Salt Lake City to San Bernardino, California on pack mules, a very dangerous occupation as he had to cross a big desert without water and among hostile Indians. He talked their language and they all felt that he was their friend.

In 1856 he was called to go to the rescue of the Handcart Company. He took two mule teams, Brother Gilden driving one of them. He arrived home December 14, stayed two weeks and then started for San Bernardino, California to help bring saints who had been called home with Apostles Rich and Lyman with their sons Joseph E. Rich and Francis M. Lyman who had been called to go to England on Missions. He brought back three poor families and a threshing machine.

In 1863 he was called by Apostle Charles C. Rich to go with him to Bear Lake Valley to form new settlements. That first winter was very severe freezing most of his cattle and sheep and some of his mules. Here his health began to fail the strain was so great. From here he went back to Holden and in 1875 went on a mission to the New England States and Canada. While on this Mission he gathered from relatives in Canada all he could about his genealogy. In 1881 he moved his family to Snow Flake, Arizona. He was always a pioneer, faithful and true to the end of his days. He died at Snowflake, Arizona, April 26, 1886, his wife dying at the same place on November 23, 1904. She was the mother of nine children, two sons and seven daughters. A noble mother who taught her children the principals of the gospel and they are all following the example of their saintly parents.

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Grandfather David Leonard Savage and wife Mary Abigail White, daughter of John Griggs White and Lucy Bailey, were married October 17, 1841, at Nauvoo, Illinois.

David Savage was a great friend to the Indians. He learned to speak their language fluently, which came in handy many times. The following narrative is related by John Jacking who was on the party.

"While the U.S. Army was encamped at Camp Floyd, just for pastime they fired on some Indians which caused the Indians to go on the warpath. Three miles from this place was the little town of Cedar Fort. The Indians gathered in the mountains above the town and prepared to fight. Their war cries were terrifying to the little handful of people in the Fort. The Indians, having just previously waylaid the stage from Salt Lake City between Lehi and Cedar Fort and massacred the passengers, aroused even more fear in the hearts of the people. The men were gathered together for defense, and the frightened women and children huddled together in the little rock fort. Finally a band of Indians were seen advancing to attack. Hoping to avoid war the men, including granddaughter Savage and John Jacking went out to meet them with a flag of truce but the Indians paid no attention, but came right on. It was then that grandfather's coolness and bravery and knowledge of the Indians and their language served a wonderful purpose. Despite the protest of his companions, who told him he would surely be killed, he insisted on going alone to meet the foe. He handed his arms to his companions in full view of the Indians and went forth alone and unarmed to meet them. At first the Indians were very hostile and raised their spears and filled their bows ready to fill him with arrows, but he steadily advanced motioning them to put down their weapons and listen to him. He then told them that the men who had fired on them were not Mormons, but were enemies to the Mormons who had come out to kill the Mormons, but the Great Spirit would not let them, that the Mormon People were friends of the Indians and would always treat them kindly.

He told them the Great Spirit would be displeased with them if they fought and killed each other. Finally the little group of men saw by the expression on the Indians faces that they were being impressed and after parleying a short time the Indians rode peacefully away. Thus a cruel war and much bloodshed was avoided.

Grandfather's daughter, Amanda Polly, also knew the Ute and Piute languages. When the Indians would come and they would have trouble making them understand they would ask for Savage's Papoose, meaning Amanda, who had no trouble conversing with them.

A Few Incidents of Early History:

The Mormons had become such dear friends of the Indians that they did not want to kill any of them and would often look to see if garments (knowing them to belong to Mormons) were there before they would harm white people. If they were not the Indians would kill.

There were many trains fired on as they journeyed to California by the Indians. Grandfather Savage's services were in great demand as a protection to them. A company would often wait weeks to get him to go with them.

On one occasion a rich company came through going to California about the year 1851 or 1852. They stopped and asked Brigham Young what they could do to be safe from the Indians. He told them he could fix it so they would be perfectly safe until they got to Cedar City. He said he would send a letter to David Savage at the above place who was a great Indian Scout and much loved by them and that David Savage would see them safely through. The country they were passing through was hostile. They arrived in Cedar City safely and delivered the letter from Pres. Young. David Savage went with them through the Indian country, riding a mule along by the side of the wagons so the Indians could see him. The first night they camped in Indian territory, the people with him were very much frightened to see such numbers of Indians coming toward them. They had recognized their friend, Savage, and had come to greet him. The word would be sent along the line by Indian runners to tell the Indians their friend was coming. He was met at every stop by bands of Indians who came to see him. The captain of the train asked grandfather what they would do with the horses to keep the Indians from stealing them. Grandfather told him, "We will just let the Indians take them and herd them and they will bring them back all right."

The Captain said, "Oh, if we do that we will never see them again." But Grandfather said that an Indian never breaks his word. The Indians took the horses all away. Grandfather told them to bring them back just at sunrise, which they did to the surprise of the Captain and all the company.

Grandmother Savage's Parent's Record:

John Griggs White born October 28, 1776, in Vermont, Lucy Bailey White, Born February 6, 1790 in Connecticut. They were married in 1808.

Their Children:

Dennis White           Born 1810
John White                Born 1812
Samuel White                Born 1814
Miranda White        Born 1816
Samuel D. White        Born 1818
George Parish White        Born 1820
Mary Abigail White        Born 1823
Lucinda White                Born 1825
Joel William White        Born 1831

Lucy Bailey White's parents are Samuel Bailey and Mary Carter. Grandparents are: Joseph Carter and Abigail Nettleton Carter.


History of David Leonard Savage

Recorded by his wife, Mary

David Leonard Savage, son of Roger Savage and Phoebe Stephens was born in Johnston County of Leeds, Upper Canada, 25th of July 1810 (1812). He lived there until he was a grown young man and was married to Theo (Theodocia) Finch, an orphan girl. Her parents were from Nova Scotia. They were married in February 1834. In August 1834, Amanda Polly was born and in two months afterwards she (Theo Finch) died, having not recovered after the birth of her child. Five years later he came to Knox County, Illinois where I was living with my parents. He had a brother Jehial Savage living there and he was soon after baptized in the church by this brother and was ordained an elder and performed a short mission before we were married, 14th of October 1841. In 1842 we move to LeHarpe (La Harp) 25 Miles north from Nauvoo, a settlement of the church on a farm that father and my husband had bought.

On the fifth of December 1842 our first child was born. We called him John Roger after his two grandfathers. In the summer of 1843, David went on a mission to the state of Michigan. While he was gone, our baby died the 17th of October 1843, thus leaving me alone in sorrow and loneliness. He returned the next spring to conference and was called again to electioneer for the Prophet Joseph Smith to become president of the United States. Which mission was filled with great zeal. I being alone he took me with him and we were away when the prophet and patriarch were killed. On the first of January 1845 our second child was born, Margaret Elizabeth. When the elders were called home in the spring of 1845, we also came and my husband worked on the temple and various other occupations. In the fall of 1845 he was ordained a seventy and joined the second quorum to fill a vacancy. In January 1846, he had his endowments in the Nauvoo temple.

When the great move was started, my husband was called to go and help one of the polygamist families 200 miles on their journey. He took his team and went taking six weeks to make the trip, the snow was deep and the trip so hard, he lost one of his horses. I was left alone with two small children and was very poorly provided for. We were left without a team. Those were dark days but there was a way provided.

Brother Clark had lost one of his horses so we got along by trading our last cow for an old wagon that had no box. That was the way we left Nauvoo and was glad to get away. We were in very poor circumstances, he having performed two missions and helped the company that had to go, but we did not feel to complain for it was for the gospel's sake and we were willing to endure for that.

We went to a place on the De Moines River and worked for an outfit until fall. After leaving Nauvoo while working our weary way amid poverty and trials our second child died, 25th October 1846.

It being late and cold we stopped for the winter in Davis County, Iowa and there Mary J. was born 28th of October 1847 in a little log hut with no windows, doors, or floors but by hanging things up we were kept quite warm.

In May, we started again and arrived in Winter Quarters in time to go with the first company that followed Brigham Young. Here he found a man that lacked a teamster so we got the chance to go with him. My husband was doing the night herding, yoke up the cattle, and hook up the teams and I was to do the cooking and washing dishes, washing, unpacking and packing up again. We were to bring our bedding and I and the two little ones were to ride. But instead, after we got some distance out I was compelled to walk and carry my baby and the little girl ten years old had to trudge along by my side. This man apostatized and later went to California.

We traveled in Parley P. Pratt's company and were three months on the way arriving in Salt Lake valley 24th of Sept 1848. The old adobe fort was commenced but no houses finished but to us it looked good as we felt we had gained a resting place where we would be free from mobs and persecutions for awhile at least.

Our provisions were scarce and like many other people, we had planted a crop the next spring and hoped to have a good crop and during the winter we had to subsist on anything we could find.

We planted crops and hoped to have plenty but our hopes were soon vanished for with sand hearts we saw the great army of crickets swarming down to destroy our much needed crops. We turned out men, women, and children to fight the crickets but all in vain. But the Lord was on our side. He had not brought us her to starve. We dug segos and picked thistle stems, greens and cooked them without meat or vinegar, and in all this we were happy because we had gained our freedom and was never sorry we had left our homes for the gospel/s sake.

We remained in the city about two years then our fourth child was born in Salt lake City, 11th of July 1849. We called him David William. My husband was called in the fall of 1850 to move to Lehi. We were one of the first families there. My husband was chosen second counselor to the first bishop of Lehi, Bishop David Evans.

We remained there three years and on the 24th of April 1853 Sarah Miranda was born.

In 1853, my husband and brother and my brothers, Samuel D and Joel White and several others were called to go to Cedar City, Iron County to strengthen up the settlement on accounts of Indians.

We remained there three years and then moved to Cedar Springs, later called Holden, a new settlement in Millard County. There were but ten families there. They built a fort to protect themselves from the Indians.

Before leaving Cedar City in 1853, my husband commenced driving the mail from Salt Lake City to San Bernardino, California on pack mules, a very dangerous occupation as he had to cross a long desert without water and among hostile Indians. Yet he was always preserved from danger and death.

After carrying the mail for about a year, he left off and began freighting with mule teams from California to the Southern states and brought back a load of grape cuttings. In 1859 he was called to go and bring in some of the handcart company who were nearly frozen to death being stranded in Wyoming. He went with two mule teams and got Brother Gildon to drive one team. They had a very cold and tedious trip, the snow being very deep. He arrived home and the 14th of December and on the 17th Ann Eliza was born at Cedar City, Utah our seventh child.

My husband stayed two weeks and rested up and filled himself to go to San Bernardino to help bring a few saints who were called in with Brother C. C. Rich and Amassa Lyman on account of Johnson's Army coming in. In 1860 he was called by C. C. Rich to go across the plains with his team and help Brother Rich and Lyman and their sons Joseph and Francis M. as they had been called on a mission to England. He went with two or three mule teams and took the brethren safely across and brought three families back, also bringing one of the first thrashing machines ever brought to Utah.

We were now living in Cedar Springs or Holden when in 1861 Agnes Belzora was born, our eighth child.

In 1863 he was called by apostle C. C. Rich to go to Bear Lake to form a new settlement. It was a very cold hard country and was fought with hard ships and trials. There was a very high mountain to climb and the provisions had to be hauled over by team. We had twenty in our family, as in 1859 he married Mary Ward Heeps and in 1860 married Margaret Jones Evans and we took an old man and his wife by name of Miles also a nephew named Sidney Savage.

This was a very hard move on us as we lost nearly all of our stock, sheep and mules in the hard winter and deep snows and some that did not die had to be traded for foodstuff. Here my husband's health began to fail him the strain was so great both on body and mind. It was so cold and frosty our crops did not mature and it was hard indeed to get along with such a large family.

Here in Paris, Bear Lake, Idaho, our last child was born the 8th of December 1865. While living in Paris, Bear Lake, Idaho, two of our girls were married: Mary T. Savage to John D. Wilcox, the 23rd of August 1865 by C. C. Rich in the Endowment House in Slat Lake City, and Sarah Miranda to Amasa C. Linford June 29th, 1867 at the same place.

After staying in Bear Lake three years, we moved back to Holden as the times were so hard and my husband's health so poor and our old friends wanted us to come back. In 1873 my husband was called on a mission to the United States and Canada. He gathered some of his genealogy while in Canada. He was gone thirteen months.

In 1874 he went back to Salt Lake City and did some of our work for the dead in the Endowment House for the Savages and Whites. My mother went also to help do work for the Whites and Baileys.

In 1874 our son, David took a team and went to St. George to work on the temple. He made up the amount of $88.69 as a donation for he and his father. He had his patriarchal blessing while there from William G. Perkins.

Ann Eliza married Henry Teeples in January 19th, 1874. They went to the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. The same winter in February, my mother, Lucy Baily White died. She was 84 years old. She had lived a useful life and died strong in the faith as did my father who died in 1851 at the age of 75 years. He was one of the first persons buried in Lehi.

I have omitted the birth of one of the children in 1854, Ellen Marie. She died Dec 22nd, 1860. She swallowed a bead which lodged in her wind pipe and caused her death.

In the fall of 1877, we moved to a place on the Sevier River called Kingston where the King family had started a United Order. It went quite well for a time or until Thomas R. King died, and after that things seemed to go wrong and it soon broke up.

David W. Savage married Julia Merritt January 20th, 1878 in the Endowment House in Salt lake City.

Also, Zora married John T. Whetten on the 10th of Dec. 1878 in the St. George Temple. In Dec. 1880, we started for Arizona. David and wife, also Belzora and husband, also came along. They settled in the forest at Snow Low but we stayed at Snowflake and remained there until his death in 1886.

Lucy E. Savage married John Lundquist Oct. 24th 1883 in the St. George temple.

My husband died after an illness of two months of asthma living nearly 76 years. He died firmly in the faith of the gospel. He was always kind and liberal. He left three wives and was the father of 19 children and 16 of them are living and all are married and have children.

David lived in the Snow Low until he was murdered by a Mexican sheepherder in 1890.

The following instance took place while the family lived at Cedar fort.

One evening while Johnson's Army was a Camp Floyd a small company of soldiers were riding in the foot hills of Cedar Fort when they came suddenly upon a few Indians while they were eating their even meal. Unwisely they fired into their midst killing one Indian. An Indian witnessed the act, he shot an arrow at the soldiers and ran for a horse. In twenty minutes, he was decked out in war paint and feathers and riding through Cedar Fort giving his terrifying war cries and soon the mountains rang with the death call of these desperate people. They were on the war path for sure, assembling their forces they hid in a ravine near Lehi. When the stage coach passed the driver and all the passengers were massacred. At Cedar Fort anxious moments followed the men keeping close watch for the Indians.

Finally, they were seen advancing to the attack. Wishing to avoid blood shed, some men went to see them under a flag of truce but were rebuked by the redskins.

Then my grandfather who had heard of the trouble while in route with his freight had gone to see if he could help his friends and he said, "I am sure if I go out alone I can make peace." Against protest, he gave his gun to his companions in sight the Indians and holding his arms high as the friendship signal went calmly forth to meet them.

There seemed to be no relenting on the part of the Indians. They met my grandfather with spears raised and arrows drawn. He spoke to them in their own language with coolness and great dignity. He told them the Mormons were their friends and had nothing to do with the ones who had offended them and that the great spirits would be displeased with them if they killed their white brothers. Finally spears were lowered and arrows sheathed and the Indians dispersed.


Thanks to Brent W. Hale for submitting this history.