Josiah and Sarah Barr Tuttle each joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 2 April 1891 in Stokes County, North Carolina. They were baptized by Wilford Woodruff Clark in the Yadkin River near their home.
As a young child, Sarah had heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached by Mormon missionaries in 1869 to her family inside the walls of her own home. She related this childhood experience to her children many years later and even remembered the names of the missionaries. I believe Sarah recalled this experience so vividly because her family spoke of it often. I will post more of this story in the future.
Josiah and Sarah's daughter Hattie wrote,
" I remember so well one day he [Josiah] came home and he and mother had a long talk. They sent us out. I remember so well. And all the next day I could see mother go around crying and we just could not figure it out just what had come over her.
Well, it wasn’t long till we found out what was the matter with her. Father had decided to join the Mormon church and come to Utah. What a shock to all of us. And it happened that Mother’s brother had come back there to see us all, so he wanted us to go to Utah when he went and that was real soon so she did not have long to worry about it.
Course they all felt very bad; Mother was their baby, and they were getting old. But they got everything ready and then one day Father hitched up the old horse and we went to visit all our folks. They had big parties and as I remember, people from all around came in to see us. Yes, they fixed up big lots of eats and they danced all night.
Mother cried a lot about coming way out here and leaving all her folks, but Uncle Bob Barr. And he sure did treat us nice. We were visiting two weeks and then we went back home. Father seemed happy about it all.
Well, one weekend soon the Mormon elders came to our place to stay. So of course they had to baptize Mother and Father in the big creek. It was Sunday and there was quite a party that came to see it done. I remember we kiddies crying so hard, we thought they would drown them for sure. Well, I can’t remember just the day we left, but it was that same week."
Their daughter Georgia wrote,
"Mother and Father were interested in the Mormon faith. They kept investigating and praying about it and finally one day they applied for baptism. They were baptized in the Yadkin River on 3 April 1891 by Elder Clark of Idaho. They were very happy being members of the Mormon Church, but most of their people were bitter against them, for they felt what they had done was wrong. So they decided to come to Utah, where they could worship God as they wished to. They were sorry to leave their home and loved ones to journey to the Rocky Mountains to dwell among strangers. Yet they felt that God had guided them in their actions and if they were faithful, he would bless them and raise friends in time of need.
Most of the Elders didn't say anything about the hardships in Utah. Mother said they used to sing a song something like this, "Think not when you gather to Utah, all will be faithful and true, and nothing but comfort and pleasure are waiting in Zion for you."
Sarah and Josiah's son Leland remembered being told,
"They were happy in becoming members of the Mormon faith and desired to come to Utah. Their hearts were heavy in leaving their loved ones. But having a desire to come to Zion, they left Stokes County, April 6, 1891 going by team five miles to Tobaccoville, North Carolina. There they boarded the train for the West. They arrived in Nephi, Utah April 13, 1891."
Hattie remembered of the trip,
"Well, there she comes chuggin’ along. The trains did not go so fast them days. Well, we said good-bye to everyone. Father had many good friends there and did Mother. Poor old dear Grandmother and Grandpa, we left them crying their eyes out, because they knew that would be the last time they would ever see us again. Well, we all got off about 3 o’clock and of course we thought it was just fine, but oh, we sure did get tired. So many days on that old train then at last we got to Nephi, Utah after seeing so much country. We got there about 12 o’clock at night."
The following is a short video with some old pictures and drawings of what the Tuttles would have seen through the train windows as they left Stokes County, North Carolina and traveled on through western North Carolina--probably saying good-bye for many miles.