Mother Hannah Knight Libby Carter

(A Memorial prepared in 1941 by a group of her descendants)

Hannah Knight Libby Carter was born October 9, 1786, at Scarborough on the coast of Maine. She was the daughter of Captain Zebulon Libby and Lydia Andrews. Her father, born about 1757, as a young man served three years in the Revolution and was afterwards a captain in the militia. He married Lydia Andrews, daughter of Deacon Amos and Ann (Seavey) Andrews on 19 October 1780. He died 6 December 1836, and his widow on 9 December 1838. They had 11 children, Hannah being the fourth child.
Her brother, Amos, married, but his wife died a few years later. He then enlisted in the American army for one year and lost his life at the battle of Plattsburgh in Canada, 26 October 1813 during the war then being waged between Canada and the United States.
Practically all the ancestors of Hannah Knight Libby Carter on both her father's and mother's lines have been traced back to the immigrant ancestor in America. The Libby genealogy was traced many years ago by a young man of 18, naturally inclined to genealogy who conceived the idea of tracing all his ancestors back to the immigrant to America. The first of the Libby family in Maine he found was John Libby, who came from Boradstairs, near Canterbury, Kent England. He, with others, settled at an early day in what later became known as Scarborough. There they suffered many attacks from the Indians, had many stirring adventures, and a number of their families were killed or carried into captivity.
Lydia Andrews, her mother, was a granddaughter of Hannah Knight and for her she named her daughter, the subject of this sketch. Another maternal ancestor was Mary Ingersol, who was also the progenitor of Laura (Ingersoll) Secord, the famous Canadian heroine of the war of 1812.
On March 2, 1805, Hannah Knight Libby was married to John Carter. He was born in Scarborough, Maine, the son of Richard Carter and Jane McKenney the 17th of May, 1782. To them 11 children were born, the first three in Scarborough, and the rest in Newry: Dominicus, born 21 June 1806; Almira, born 3 January 1808; Hannah, born 28 June 1809; William Furlsbury, born 1 May 1811; Philip Libby, born 17 January 1813; John Harrison, born 6 October 1816; Eliza Ann, born 28 September 1818; Richard, born 8 August 1820; Mary Jane, born 13 March 1823; Rufus, born 9 October 1825.
Nine of these children grew to maturity and had large families, whose descendants now are numbered by thousands and may be found throughout the West and in practically all parts of the nation.
Hannah Carter was a refined, cultured woman. The family belonged to the Methodist Church. In 1834 Mormon elders brought to them in their home in Maine the Gospel. The following account is written by Eliza Ann (Carter) Snow, daughter of Hannah:
"I first embraced Mormonism in 1834 in the town of Newty, Oxford County, State of Maine. The fast Mormon elders I ever heard preach were John F. Boynton and Daniel Bean. They came to my fathers house, and my mother lay very sick. The doctors had given her up. The elders told her they were preaching a new doctrine and they told her that she could be healed if she could have faith, that they would hold hands on her. They did lay hands on her and said, "In the name of the Lord Jesus be thou made whole."- And she was made whole and arose and called for her clothes and said I must go to the water. she walked one-half mile and was baptized in the river called Bear River and confirmed. And there was a Large branch raised up in that place."
John Carter did not join the Church. When his wife was healed, he said, "That beats doctor bills" But he never joined the Church.
Of the nine children, Dominicus, Hannah, who had married Aaron York, William F., John, Eliza Ann, and Richard, were all baptized most of them in June 1834. Two daughters and one son never became members.
Responding to the spirit of gathering which rested upon them, those who had embraced Mormonism left Maine in 1836 and traveled all the long way to Kirtland, Ohio, then the headquarters of the Church. They attended the temple, took part in the wonderful meetings, and joined the Saints in singing the songs of Zion.
The next year an apostate movement arose, and John F. Boynton, the missionary who had brought the Gospel to them in Maine and had since become one of the first quorum of apostles, became one of the bitterest and most violent leaders against the Prophet. So intense was the persecution that those who remained staunch and faithful were forced to leave for Far West, Missouri.
Early in 1838 William F. Carter and Eliza Ann, who had recently married James C. Snow, set out together for Missouri, driving an ox team. The graphic story of that trying journey is thus told by Eliza Ann.
"It was cold weather and we suffered much with the cold, but we traveled until we came to Terra Haute, Indiana, and one of our oxen died, leaving us with one ox, so we were obliged to stop. We had no money, no house to go in and we got the privilege of going into a horse stable and I cleaned it out and was glad to get into a place out of the storms. After stopping in Indiana a few weeks Hyrum Smith's company came along and he being acquainted with me said to me, "If you will ride in my baggage wagon I will take you along and you can drive the team and the men can walk." I said I will do so. We traveled until we came to Jacksonville, Illinois; there one of Hyrum Smith's horses died and he had to leave us. There was a branch of the church near by but he did not leave us penniless amongst strangers, without home or friends but he called for the President of the branch and told him to let Brother Snow preside over the branch as a missionary and to feed and cloth us until the Kirtland Camp Company came along in the fall, and he did so. The Presidents name was Merrick, the brother that was killed at the Haun's Mill massacre in Missouri. While we were there in the branch I looked out, and behold: there came my brother William with the one ox that we left behind. He had made a harness and tackled him up and the one ox carried his wife and three children to Missouri and when I saw him I rejoiced to see him have so much faith, but the Gentiles made all manner of fun of him. They said "There goes a D--- Mormon with one ox." But he got there just the same; and Father Joseph Smith said it should be in the annals of his history. After that the Kirtland Camp came along and we went to Missouri with them. We went into an old log house that we could poke a cat out between the logs and there my first child was born; it was the 6th day of October in the year 1838. Sarah Jane who became the wife of Marshall Kindsman and afterwards wife of President Joseph Young. It was cold and snowed everyday and the mob came into Far West the very day of her birth, and we were much excited. I could not keep the midwife long enough to dress my child, Sister Diantha Billings was her name, well known among our people. The mob was blowing horns and firing guns all night long. We were without bread or anything to make bread of, but by the help of the Lord we were preserved by the brethren giving up their arms and promising to leave Far West. We left for Illinois in the month of February of the following year. There were three families to one wagon and one span of old horses, we took turns in walking. There was Brother Winslow Farr and wife, Gardener Snow and wife and James Snow and wife. We traveled all day and at night lay down at a camp fire as we had no tent."
In the famous Kirtland camp which traveled from Kirtland to Far West were Dominicus Carter with six m his family, Aaron York with four in his family, and John Carter with two. Dominicus, on July 18 was appointed commissary of the camp. Once when three of the camp members were unjustly thrown into prison, Dominicus Carter voluntary returned and stayed with them in prison until their release was obtained.
On August 11 in the fore part of the night Sarah Emily, daughter of Dominicus Carter, aged about two years and three months, died. Hers was the fourth death of the journey. Her funeral was held at two o'clock the next day.
But still further sorrows awaited him as the camp neared Far West. Everyday they saw numerous men of the community take up arms and go to join the mob militia to drive the Mormons from the state of Missouri or exterminate them. Someone suggested that members of the camp turn back and not run into certain danger, but this proposal was unanimously rejected. The Camp arrived at their destination July 4. Persecution and massacres were a frequent occurrence, and mobs preyed upon the community.
During this time, Lydia, the wife of Dominicus Carter was confined. When the baby was but five days old she was ordered by a mob with blackened faces to vacate her home by midnight as they were going to burn it. She went into a nearby woods with her children and remained there throughout the night. There was a cold heavy rainfall and, as a result of this exposure so soon after the birth of her baby, she took cold and passed away shortly afterward, October 23. Her surviving children were scattered among the relatives.
In February 1839, the saints were driven from Missouri. The leader of one group was Isaac Morley. He found a suitable spot for settlement near Lima, Illinois, where four walls of a log cabin had been set up. He moved into it while it had neither roof, floor, nor windows. Other families joined him and soon a prosperous community had arisen known as Morley's Settlement. It was also called Yelrone.
In the space of five years fertile farms had been developed and the community was a veritable hive of industry. On June 15, 1844 a mob of two-thousand men headed by bitter anti- Mormon Col. Levi Williams, came upon the Saints at Morley's Settlement and ordered them to make a choice of one of three alternatives. First they were to take up arms, join the mob and go with them to Nauvoo and help them to arrest the Prophet Joseph Smith and 17 other leaders. They must abandon their homes and go to Nauvoo, or third gave up their arms and remain neutral. They were given until eight o'clock to decide and told that if they did not join the mob they would "smell thunder."
These brave and devoted Church members did not join the mob nor remain neutral, so they were compelled to leave their homes and flee to Nauvoo for safety. The Prophet heard their story and sent messengers to report this outrage to Governor Ford. Before any action was taken, however, the martyrdom of the Prophet and Hyrum occurred on June 27 at Carthage jail.
In the months that followed the situation became more peaceful and the group returned to their homes in Morley's Settlement, and peace reigned until September 10, 1845, when another mob bent on destruction came upon the settlement and for eight days and nights fired upon the settlers, burned between 70 and 80 homes, all their stacks of grain, shops, and other buildings. The inhabitants were forced out into the cold night during a drenching rain, and the aged, sick and little ones suffered intensely, and many deaths occurred.
Edmond Durfee, one of the leaders of the community was shot by the mob. Then Brigham Young and the leaders advised them to abandon their homes and possessions to the mob, but to save as many of their families as they could and come to Nauvoo. Teams were sent from Nauvoo to assist in bringing them in.
In February 1846 the exodus from Nauvoo began. Hannah Libby Carter and her husband John had moved to Nauvoo as early as 1842 when they signed a deed in Hancock County purchasing land at Morley's Settlement. She had received a patriarchal blessing from Isaac Morley in 1844.
At last the day of separation came. John Carter persistently refused to join the Church. Hannah, his wife, elected to come west with her people and her children who had embraced Mormonism. Before leaving Nauvoo she was sealed for time and eternity to Isaac Morley.
They traveled westward with the body of the Saints as far as Council Bluffs. When the call for the Mormon Battalion came, Richard Carter, her youngest son, enrolled and was mustered into service July 16, 1846 at Council Bluffs. He served as a private in company "'B" of the Mormon Battalion, commanded by Captain Higgins. On November 19, 1846 he died in service on the march to California, and was buried by his comrades at Pueblo, for miles south of Socow, New Mexico on the Rio Grande, leaving a wife and two children. On April 12, 1852 at Council Bluffs, Iowa, his wife died of smallpox, and the children were brought across the plains by their aunt Eliza Ann Carter Snow.
It is said that Dominicus Carter would have been one of the first company of 1847 pioneers, but being an expert blacksmith, he was requested by the leaders to remain at Council Bluffs and help prepare the emigrant trains for the long journey.
He crossed the plains in 1851, accompanied by his aged mother, and they arrived in Salt Lake City June 20, 1851. Shortly afterward he went to Provo, and in 1852 was selected as counselor to George A. Smith, who was called to preside over the settlement. This position he occupied for years. The first president of Utah Stake was James C. Snow, son-in-law of Hannah Carter. In 1852, William F. Carter, another son was appointed to a mission in India. He bore a letter of recommendation signed by the first presidency which read as follows:
"This, certifies that the bearer, William F. Carter is in full faith and fellowship with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and by the very authorities of said Church has been duty appointed a mission to Hindoostan to preach the Gospel and administer in all the ordinances thereof pertaining to his office. And we invite all men to give heed to his teachings and counselings as a man of God sent to open to them the door of life and salvation; and assist him in his travels in whatsoever things he may have need. And we pray God, the Eternal Father to Bless Elder W. F. Carter and all who receive him and administer to his comfort with the blessings of heaven and earth for time and all eternity, in the name of Jesus Christ Amen. (Signed) Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards."
He was given also the following letter of introduction:
"To whom it may concern, Know ye that I, Brigham Young, Governor of said territory in the United States of America, and I am personally acquainted with the bearer, William F. Carter, and know him to be a respectable high-minded and honorable man.
"And as Mr. Carter proposes visiting Asia on a mission I cheerfully recommend him to the protection and the respect of all sovereigns, ministers of State, magistrates, and police authorities, and to the esteem of all honorable men among whom he may sojourn.
"In token of which I have here unto subscribed my name and caused the seal of said territory to be affixed at Great Salt Lake City the first day of October A. D. 1852, and of the independence of the United States the twenty-seventh by the Governor, (Signed) Brigham Young, Willard Richards, Secretary Protem appointed by the Governor."
During this Mission he traveled completely, around the world. He returned in 1853, visiting on his way back relatives in Maine and Illinois.
In June 1852, Hannah Carter dictated the following message to her so@ Dominicus, showing her deep interest in temple work for her kindred dead:
"By request of your mother I am writing to you. She wishes to communicate to you some of her wishes with regard to her deceased relatives. She is well at present as common, but as life is uncertain if it is not her privilege to live in this world to do the work for her parents and relatives that have gone the way of all the earth, she wants to leave @ work so that it may be done and done right. She wishes to be ready to go when she is called. This is the way we all should leave. 77
Then followed a detailed list of relatives she remembered for whom temple work was to be done.
She remained at Provo during the time of the Echo Canyon War, and when the body of the saints moved south to Provo and adjoining towns. She lived in her later years at the home of Domnicus Carter. Those who remember her describe her as short in stature with a round face, impressive blue eyes, and refined and dignified bearing. She frequently wore a lace cap and was very prim and neat. She was well educated and always very industrious, keeping her knitting close by and working even in her advanced years.
Almost the last glimpse we have of her was obtained from a letter written on March 5, 1867, by her son, Dominicus, to his brother, Phillip Carter, living on the site of Morley's Settlement in Illinois. Said he,
"Mother is still alive but very feeble. I don't think she can live long. She is getting old-- rising eighty. If you should want to see her before she should die you better come this spring and not wait till the railroad is finished. Mother wants me to say to you that she does not expect to live long on this earth and she wants that you should prepare to meet her in the world to come. She says the path she has pursued for the last 30 years is the only path by which you can enjoy her society in the world to come and be accepted of the Lord.
"Myself, John, Hannah, and Eliza Ann live in Provo City. William and Aaron live 25 miles from here at a place called Santaquin. Aaron did live in the Cotton County but has moved back. It was too hot a country for him. Aaron's health is very poor, he is afflicted with rheumatism.
"I have quit smithing and gone to farming, my eyes are so weak. I have a large shop rented. Blacksmithing is a very good business here. Brother John works at the business about half the time.
"Now Phillip, the world is in a bad situation and they don't know what the matter is. Therefore, I will honestly wish to give a little advise to my blood kin, whether kindly received or not to come out of Babylon or confusion and be with us from the trash of the nations. Yours respectfully, Dominicus Carter."
Her death had occurred shortly before November 2, 1867, for on this day a letter written by Mary E. Whiting from Springville to a relative in Manti states "Mother Carter is dead." Her funeral was held at the grave side in the Provo Cemetery. The day was very cold. Dominicus Carter spoke at the funeral of his mother and told how faithful she had always been. And he said she should come forth in the first resurrection.
The true spirit of her life mission is summarized in the inspired words of the Patriarch who pronounced upon her and her posterity this marvelous blessing:
"The heavens and the earth are stored with blessings for thee and thy posterity after thee. Thou hast been faithful in the day of trial. The principles of virtue are planted within thy bosom. The last day shall be thy best days. As the desires of thy heart shall be. Thy day shall be lengthened even until thou are an lawful heir and by proxy thou shalt adimmster and be blessed in thy administration in behalf of thine progenitors."
By Patriarchal Blessing--May 5, 1844 Book 14.
On Memorial Day, May 30, 1941, 155 years after her birth, 90 years after she crossed the plains, and 74 years after her death 90 members of her posterity held a memorial service in her honor, sang again the songs that were sung at her funeral and listened to a sketch of her rich life story. Then once again they gathered at her grave side and dedicated a bronze marker as a Iasting memorial to her name and noble character. It bore this inscription beside the motif of a covered wagon.

OCTOBER 9,1786 - NOVEMBER 1867

(Copied from Carter Pioneers of Provo, Utah compiled by Arthur C. Coleman; pgs 137 - 145)