Taken from “Legacy”, a Brimhall family history by David Jex Brimhall
George Mayer was the son of Abraham and Elizabeth Louck Mayer. Abraham was the son of Samuel and Elizabeth Lane Mayer. George Mayer’s maternal grandparents were George Louck and Elizabeth Cline.
I was born in York County, State of Pennsylvania, March 2, 1805. My parents moved to Carlisle, Pennsylvania and kept a tavern when I was two years old. They were well off. My father got from his father $6,000 but father had a large family and mother was sickly for many years with the disease the doctors called scrofula (tuberculosis). She died in Ohio age 55 years, 10 months, 24 days, afflicted four years. She was the mother of 13 children. I am the third child. My parents were Christian people, members of the Lutheran Church and had their children learn catechisms and become members of the Lutheran church according to the church government.
I lived with my parents until I was 18, then f teamed the wagon-maker trade and plough-maker trade with Samuel Spangler at Mount Rock, seven miles west of Carlisle, Pennsylvania. I served two years and earned my own clothing.
When I was 21 I went to Ohio with Andrew Failer, my brother-in-law, married to my older sister Elizabeth. ( followed my trade in Mansfield Creek at a wagon and plough shop for Hooper and Evans for one year and a half. My oldest brother and then my father, moved to Bucyrus, I then went to Bucyrus and commenced trade for myself. \ held several military offices; first, elected lieutenant then promoted to Captain of one company of Crawford County. After I served four years as Captain, I received an appointment from the Council to the office of paymaster and I held the office of County Seller of machines. My brother first came on a visit to Bucyrus and returned and brought his wife there.
I commenced wagon-making and plough and grain cradle making, Before I married I worked one year in Mansfield, Ohio for Hooper, Stanley and Evans, stocking ploughs and making patterns for their foundry there.
I got acquainted with a young lady by the name of Ann Yost and took her to wife on March 4,1828.
I became a member of the Freemasons, then returned to Bucyrus and commenced business for myself. I was always called odd from the rest of the family because I did not believe in their religion. My wife bore me three daughters in Bucyrus and my mother wanted me to have them baptized. I told her if she would show me scriptures to baptize children then I would. I told her that there wasn’1 scripture to baptize children. She said, “Christ said, ‘Suffer little children to come unto rne, and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of I Heaven.'” I said, “Yes, mother and He laid His hands on them and blessed them.” Then father said that I was right. I had six children and had none of them baptized in the Lutheran Church.
I felt that I would like to see Logansport, Indiana. Therefore, I sold my house and lot for $400 and went with one of my neighbors to Logansport and to see a brother-in-law, William Lemon. I liked the country and moved my family to Logansport and bought a bare lot near the center of the city for $200 from General John Tiphton (?), built a house and shop and commenced my trade there.
Logansport is a beautiful city lying in the fork of the Eel Rivers. There is the greatest location for a mill that I had ever seen in any country, and a great fish country, plenty of lumber and stone; as good a land as I have seen. I acquired property very fast. I owned three city lots, 80 acres of land within three miles of Logansport and 40 acres at a small lake (Kevon ?) and 53 acres on the Tippecanoe River near Winamac, a fraction of land of 16 acres and I was getting rich in the things of this world.
Being a Freemason; I ranked in the first class of society. I therefore became a Royal Arch Mason and had many friends. But I had not found any religion that suited me, or that I thought was the religion of Christ until November 11,1843 when I heard a Latter-Day Saint by the name of Jerry Dunham, who I sent for to come to my house that I may converse with him. When he came, I found that the Latter-Day Saints had the genuine Bible and New Testament Doctrine. I told him to send a Mormon Elder to me as he could preach in Logansport. He sent Abe Tipets and he made an appointment in the courthouse to preach. But few came to hear. I invited him to come to my house and conversed with him in the evening. There came two more Elders, one by the name of Strong and the other James McGraw and I went to the appointed meeting at candlelight in the evening in the courthouse and there came many listeners. But some made fun of the idea of a new revelation, others believed, but through fear of persecution hardened their hearts against what they heard.
I was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints by Charles William, Elder, November 11,1843, and soon after ordained an Elder under the hands of Elder James McGraw. I have been preaching the Doctrine of Jesus Christ ever since where I thought it needful.
The next summer, 1844, after Joseph and Hyrum were murdered in Carthage Jail, I moved to Nauvoo with my family. All of my children that were over eight years old had been baptized. The younger children were blessed and their names recorded in the church books When I came to Nauvoo, I bought a half-acre from Brother Kimball, one of the Twelve Apostles, and built a small house on the lot. It lay right opposite Brother Kimball’s.
Later Brother Kimball counseled me to become a Seventy and wrote me a recommendation to Joseph Young, President of the Seventies, to ordain me a Seventy. He recommended me as a good man. I was ordained a Seventy in the 16th Quorum of Seventies. I was chosen Senior President in the 32nd Quorum of Seventies. I also was chosen a police in Nauvoo and guarded the first presidency of the Church: Brigham Young, Brother Kimball, Brother Richards and also the Temple. I stood guard every other night in Nauvoo while I was there.
In the Fall, before we were driven from Nauvoo, I returned to Logansport, sold my property and found the people down in their spirits. The erysipelas was there the Fall after I left and nearly one hundred of the people died. James McGraw had prophesied that there was a severe scourge coming over that town, and that ere long, there would come a disease among the people that the doctors could not cure. They acknowledged it was true, they appeared sorrowful, but afraid to care about God and religion. The different churches lost the spirit of their prayer meetings; the baptized members left the church and all became cold and dead because they had rejected the gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, they lost the spirit of God and their faith became dead.
I sold my house and lots and returned to Nauvoo. Before I returned the difficulty commenced with the old sectarians, as they called themselves, and the Mormons had to leave and were not allowed to raise grain in that country another year. Then I commenced a wagon shop, and commenced to build twenty-two wagons and finished several. Then I returned back to Logansport and sold the note which I held there and returned with a two-horse wagon and two horses. Before I returned, the pioneers had left Nauvoo and were in Iowa on Sugar Creek. I went over to see them and to see my daughter Elizabeth. She was married to James H. Glines, a tailor, made a Mormon Elder a short time before. He was Junior President with me in the 32nd Quorum of Seventies and also a policeman with me.
I was not ready yet to start the journey to Utah and my horses had the distemper very bad. I traded one of my horses for a yoke of two year old oxen. They were strong and good for the trip; and I bought another horse from Brother Haywood for $50. Then on April 22 I left Nauvoo for the Great Salt Lake and crossed over the Mississippi. My son-in-law had come back to help me along to the camp. They had
stopped at Garden Grove and made a development there, for those that were not able to cross the Decimal at the time I did. (Decimal could be the Des Moines River).
I traded my best horse for a first rate yoke of oxen then traded my harness, double tree, and neck yoke for the cows. Then before I left the settlement, I traded the other horse for a yoke of oxen. Then I had three yoke of oxen, three cows, and when I came to Garden Grove I went to work making ploughs.
Then President Young told the people to send a company to Salt Lake, and those that wanted could stay to help those that went. I told Brother Kimball to take what he wanted. I had three wagons and I gave him one light two-horse wagon and one young cow. He then told me that I must go with him. The camp that was not to remain at Garden Grove moved on to the Missouri River, at Council Bluffs.
After the Saints left Nauvoo, it rained nearly every day and often before I came to the main camp in the evening it rained so hard that we were compelled to do without our supper. It rained so hard and everything including our clothing got wet. But even with all the rain, we still moved on our journey.
When we came to Council Bluffs, we went to work and built a boat and crossed over the river. Then the camp stopped. But Brother George Miller went to Pine Village and Brother Brigham Young sent after him and stopped him there. Miller was determined to go ahead, right or wrong. The Council thought it best to send 100 wagons, 50 out of Brigham’s Company and 50 out of Kimball’s Company. George Miller and Emmett had joined the company and were determined to rush ahead of the President. (Brigham, therefore, had sent the 100 wagons chasing the man to stop his progress.)
At the same time, the government of the United States sent an officer to enlist 500 young men of the Mormons to go to California. My son-in-law, Glines, was told to go as Sergeant Major. And I had to take his wife, Elizabeth, and we went with Captain Clark’s fifty sent out of Kimball’s Company. We joined Miller and moved on to the Pawnee Village and The Twelve organized 12 councils and George Miller was President. They counseled the camp to stop there for the winter with the company and park where they could find good grass to winter their teams.
Three Ponca Indian Chiefs came and spoke with Emmett and told him that if we would go with them to their land, there was plenty of rushes and buffalo grass and plenty of game, and we were welcome to remain there as long as we wanted to stay. About twenty wagons remained at Pine Village, and the rest moved on with a Ponca Chief who was our guide. We had crossed over the South Fork of the Platte River and Miller gave orders for the camp to move. I had lost one of my oxen. I hunted all day but I could not find him. The camp left me on foot and went ahead four miles. I was to follow the best way I could. The next day I got a horse and rode back and hunted but could not find him. Then Emmett went with me and told me to go to the other camp and look among their cattle. I went, and there I found him in the yard. I drove him to our camp with much joy.
Then we moved on through the Indian country where we had to bridge the small streams, double teams up the high hills and there an accident happened to me. One of my young steers got unyoked and ran off. While I followed him, my daughter that drove the other team tried to pass my wagon and caught the hind wheel with her wagon and broke the wheel clean from the hub. I took the load out and put it in the other wagon and we then drove till noon when I put a slider under the axle-tree and we drove until night. In the evening I went to a small ash tree from which I split out fourteen spokes. I then asked Miller whether he could stop until the next morning so I could put the spokes in my wheel. He said, “We must move on.”
In the morning it began to rain. I commenced working at my wheel and prayed to God that it would rain till I got the wheel done. When I drove the tire on the fellow (part of the wagon) it stopped raining. When the camp moved on, my wheel was done. Miller was astonished when he saw that I had made it in so short a time. It was then 9 o’clock. I told him that I thanked God that sent the rain and stopped the camp from leaving.
We then came in a few days to the Indians’ home, where they said we could camp. The Indians were friendly and wanted to trade with us for clothing. There were some Indians that were tricky and stole some of the brethren’s cattle. We commenced hunting timber to build houses when our Council changed the location to another place about four miles further on the Runningwater, near its mouth, where it empties into the Missouri River. There we began building houses fourteen feet, four square in the frame of a fort, taking in about an acre and a half.
The Indians shot one of my cows and several others with an arrow. The herd man drove mine home and I butchered her and divided the meat in the camp. By this time, we had our houses finished.
After I moved into my house, I met with a great loss. My only son, Benjamin F. Mayer, took sick with inflammation of the brain and bowels and after an illness of six or seven days he died, age four years, six months and fourteen days, September 29, 1846. I buried him in the burial plot, about a mile from the fort where there were twenty-two buried before we left the country where the camp was.
Brother Brigham had heard where we were and he sent for George Mliller to come and see him. There were about twenty wagons that went back to Winter Quarters to get grain and I went back and got corn and a barrel of flour and returned. We spent the winter getting wood and herding the cattle, hunting buffalo, deer and turkeys. The President received a revelation concerning the organizing of a company to go west to the Great Salt Lake. Brothers Benson and Snow were to come to Ponca and organize a company to go west. They organized a company of Captains of hundreds, Captains of fifties, and Captains of tens. I was chosen Captain of the third ten. Afterward we found that we hadn’t provisions sufficient to go to the valley without first going to Missouri and buying there. We were ordered back to Winter Quarters and were to remain there until the next summer, which we did. I had sent a yoke of oxen with Brother Mixel to bring more provisions and my wagon. He drove them so badly that he had to leave them on the road. I brought my wagon back and I never got one of the oxen. The brethren told me that Mixel worked my oxen on the side and sat in the front of the wagon and had a long whip and made my oxen pull the whole load. I had sent a bushel of corn meal and 700 pounds of hay to feed the oxen, but the brethren told me that he would drive my oxen off and make them hunt their feed and he would feed the hay to his oxen till mine got so weak that they could not work. Then when he came to Winter Quarters the brethren told him to leave my oxen there, also my wagon, but he would not. He bought $2.50 worth of cornmeal and fed my oxen and started back with them, but only drove 20 miles till he had to leave them in the road, unyoked. He laid the yoke in the road and drove on. He met Brother Holbrook and told him to take them back to Winter Quarters, but he could only drive one of them back. The other was too weak and had to be left for the wolves to eat, and I never got him back.
The brethren wanted me to make Brother Mixel pay for the oxen, but I thought I would leave it with him and his God. If he did the dumb brute and me wrong, his conscience will condemn him. If God will forgive him, I am willing to leave it in the hands of a just God, who is a righteous judge of all things.
I had three oxen and four cows left when we left Ponca Country. The Indians said that we might go if we would give them some presents of clothing and seed of all kinds, which we did in place of ploughing acres of land. Our cattle were poor and it was needful to return, so that we could raise a crop at Winter Quarters. We got our wagons and cattle together and made the move. But some of the brethren had to leave some of their cattle, they being too poor and weak. Two of my cows had calves, but I had to kill the calves to save the cows. There was no feed but dry old grass and when the cows laid down they had to be helped up, and we had to rub their legs before they could walk.
I got a remedy for weak cattle: Take red pepper, four or five pods, and make a strong tea of it, and rub their backs with it and their legs, and give them a little in their feed and rub their legs, horns and the top of their head, and put a teaspoon full in each ear. Turn their head to one side so that it can run in, and it will make them snort and blow water out or their nose. I found that it helped my cattle and gave them strength.
We traveled from five to ten miles a day, and then went back and helped the weak teams. We left the first of April and got in Winter Quarters the 10th of May. And there I, with David Lewis and sixteen other families, commenced ploughing and planting corn and potatoes, and building small houses for our families. I built a small house fourteen by sixteen feet, and raised three acres of first rate corn, two acres of buckwheat, and ten bushels of potatoes, not being able to get more than a gallon of seed potatoes. I raised a fine crop of turnips, then made a fine lot of hay and made a good warm stable to winter my cattle. Then I repaired my wagons and filled several of the brethren’s wagons.
In the Fall some of the pioneers returned from the Salt Lake, and told us that they had “found the place” for the Saints. They gave orders to organize companies to start the next Spring with provisions enough to last for one year. My son-in-law Glines returned from the army and took charge of his wife. She had a fine son nearly a year old, and while her husband went to meet the pioneers, the baby died before his father had returned. I buried him in the burying ground at Winter Quarters. I then went to Brother Kimball and told him my circumstances and that I was not able to carry so much provisions with me, since I had eight in the family and only two yoke of oxen and three cows and that he could have one yoke of my oxen and could return them to me in the Fall. He said that he did not want my oxen, but that he wanted me to go to the valley, and when he counseled anybody he was then responsible for them and that I should go and get ready. I told him there was enough said, and I went. God blessed me in everything and I got a good outfit. I had a thousand weight of superfine flour, fifty pounds of good side of bacon, twenty pounds of coffee, twenty of sugar and other necessaries. I went in Brother Bishop Winter’s ten.
I got to Salt Lake without any loss of cattle or any other, so God’s blessing was with me. I then got counsel from Brother Kimball to go with Brother Gilene (?) to the mouth of the North Canyon to winter our cattle and get timber for a house. In our wagon I had a daughter born on October 9, 1848. I named her Diantha after Sister Biliane (?), sister of Father Isaac Morley.
In the month of October we moved down in the bottom land. The cattle appeared to like the bottom and there were ten or twelve families living there. I remained there through the winter and built a small hut. I traded a cow to Peregrine Sessions for sixteen bushels of corn which was a great help to me. I got logs for a house and built the house in the city on lot No. 5, Block 37, 9th Ward. On the first day of April 1849, I moved into the city and lived in my wagon until I had a house ready to move into.
I drew a five-acre lot in the big field, a first-rate piece of ground, but hard to break. Therefore, I rented ground and planted corn (about three acres), and I had a poor crop of corn there. There was not water sufficient to water that part of the field. I broke my five-acre lot, and the next year I had plenty of wheat. My clothing was nearly all worn out and I didn’t know where more would come from. But the gold mines being open in California brought a large emigration through our town. They sold their wagons and their things that they could not pack, to our people very cheap and gave many things away. They filled our town with wagons, horse harnesses, and clothing of all kinds and store goods of all kinds.
I went to work and made one hundred and ten pack saddles and sold them for $2 to $5 a piece, and I was able to buy a fine horse team and another yoke of oxen.
In the fall of 1850 I was called to go on a mission to Germany with Brothers Cam, Houte, Riser, Hofine, and Evy. But the President had a revelation that we need not go, that our offering was accepted, that the Lord was working among the nations and that we should always be ready to go when called. I went to work and raised all the grain I could.
In the winter of 1850 the Ute Indians commenced stealing the brethren’s cattle in Utah Valley and fortified themselves. I was called as an artillery fireman and gave battle. We chased them down to Spanish Fork, the other side of Utah Lake and up the canyon. Many were killed. When we returned to Salt Lake, the Indians sent a man and begged for peace. The Indians said they will never fight or make war with the Mormons any more because they can’t shoot a Mormon, that when they had good aim and with a good rifle the bullets would go mostly there, then would turn short off. They could not shoot our people and that they would be our friends. I belonged to William Kimball’s horse-company of minute men and I was out on several trips , one out North near Goose Creek to make a treaty with the Snake Indians and to Utah Valley.
In the winter of 1852 in February I was taken with erysipelas in my head. My head was so swollen that I could scarcely see out of my eyes. And two of my daughters were also ill, one was taken in her bowels. The people said that we could not live, but God blessed us and we recovered without taking any doctor’s medicine. But we were healed by faith by having the elders lay their hands on us and administer to us in much faith. Everybody that saw my daughter Maria said that she would not live. She was drawn quite crooked and had much pain in her bowels. I told them that there was a swelling in her insides and it was so, for in a few days there was more than a pint of matter came from her in making water several times.
In the Spring of 1852, March 7, my wife bore a fine son and I called his name George. He is a fine healthy child. I blessed him when he was eight days old. My oldest daughter, Rachel Ann married George Washington Brimhall He was a member of the Legislature from Iron County. He was a good man, and enjoyed much of the spirit of God.
In the Fall Of 1852. At the August 6 Conference, one-hundred and twenty Elders were called and sent to different parts of the world to preach the gospel. I was chosen to take a mission to Europe and set apart to go to Germany along with three others. I was blessed and was set apart for the Mission under the hands of Joseph Young and Jedediah Grant, and Bro. Rockwood, first Presidents of the Seventies. On September 15,1852, we left Great Salt Lake City.
Here we leave the autobiography of George Mayer. We have some of his notes and additional thoughts of his mission to Germany and Switzerland and they are on file for all interested to read.
We do know he was gone three years. He arrived home September 13,1855.
The following Spring he and a number of other brethren were called to a mission to settle Las Vegas. Before leaving he married Maria W. Cable, a 16 year old girl and took her with him. Because of Indian trouble the mission was abandoned the following Spring. On his return he mentioned that his wife, Ann, was cool towards him. George and his second wife went to Spanish Fork where he remained the rest of his life.
George had eight children by Ann Yost and eight children by Mariah Wyatt Cable. He passed away July 24, 1896 at Spanish Fork, Utah.