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A Young Wife's Terror

Following is part of a series produced by the Church Historical Department entitled "Profiles From The Past" printed in the Church News section of the Deseret News on Saturday, 6 September 1980. A YOUNG WIFE'S TERROR Tamma Durfee Miner's persecution complex was no trick of her imagination. As a young wife and mother she depended heavily upon two men --husband Albert Miner and father Edmund Durfee. Together the families witnessed the Missouri mobbings. "Enemies came along, 1 to 500, right to our homes and nobody around but women and little children," she recalled. "No one can tell, no one can describe the feelings, only those that experienced it." They lived peacefully for a time in Illinois until mobs killed Joseph Smith and then, a year later, turned against the Mormon people. In late 1845 enemies attacked Morley's Settlement. They burned down her father's house- -"went to the oat stack and got two bundles, put a brand of fire in them, throwed them on top of the house." Nightriders " shot off their guns and plundered and burned houses, furniture, the clothing looms, yard cloth, and carpenter tools." Tamma said they "rolled my brother Nephi up in a bed and threw it outdoors when he was sick." A month later, in November, father Edmund and others returned to harvest crops. One midnight they rushed to put out a straw stack fire. Suddenly two whistles were heard and six shots wee fired from the darkness. Edmund died from a rifle ball just above the heart. The next fall, after most other Mormons fled Illinois, Tamma witnessed the final "Battle of Nauvoo." During a cannon fire exchange between what she thought were 50 Mormon men, including her husband Albert, and 2000 mobbers, three Mormons died and three were wounded. Her brother was "shot between the cords of his heel. The Mormon women rolled the cannon balls up in their aprons, took them to our boys and they put them in the Tamma Durfee Miner - 12 cannon and would shoot them back again still hot." It was a fearful time, she said. Albert ferried his family across the Mississippi River, but they did not catch up with the main body of Saints before he died of illness. Tamma became a widow at age 35 with seven children under age 14. By 1850 she managed to reach Utah without husband or father, "without any home or anyone to hunt us one. We were very lonesome indeed." She later remarried, bringing the family peace and prosperity at last. -William G. Hartley LDS Church News, September 6, 1980

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