Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nicholas's Namesake

Nicholas Muhlestein was the first Muhlestein to join the LDS church and is our Nicholas's fourth great-grandpa. Joseph's Grandmother Muhlestein sent this history, which was dictated by Nicholas Muhlestein in1914.

In the year 1862 in Switzerland a Mormon elder came to my house. He talked about this awful Mormonism, so I began to study after the things he told me, but I came to think what all my folks would say if I should change my faith, but I could not help myself. I had heard the truth and I went to my bedroom ans knelt on my knees and asked my Heavenly Father to tell me if this was true and I heard a still voice whisper to me, “Everything this elder said was true.” I began to go to their meetings. I would walk 7 miles to the meeting and fast besides. My dear wife did not like it very well, but she could not change my course, so she began to investigate, but it came hard for her to make up her mind to change her faith. At last she went into the waters for baptism, and that in December when the ice was 2 to 4 inches thick. We had to go in the night down a steep bank, through brush and thorns and break the ice. She was in very delicate health. When she came home she said all her pains and ailings had left her. In three weeks a nice baby girl was born. Then their troubles began with their relatives. They all thought they had lost their senses to join such a church. The minister of that city spoke about it in the pulpit. He warned the people against these elders that had already led a nice young family astray. When the time came for the child to be christened, Brother Muhlestein went to the minister to ask if it was alright if they did not fetch the baby to have it christened, He said, “Mr. Muhlestein, I will write to the higher authorities, if they will allow it, it is alright with me.” So he got the answer that every man was free to do according to his Faith. So he had the baby blessed and named by the Mormon elders. But his wife’s mother had been a faithful midwife for 30 years and had carried many children to the church to be christened as that was their custom. When she heard about it, it pretty near broke her heart. It was not long after that she received a letter from her folks that if she wanted to see her mother alive, she would have to come very quick. So she had somebody come and tend the two children and the father, and she got ready for the journey. While she was on the train she kept praying to her Father in Heaven to strengthen her testimoney that she might be able to stand firm before so many of her folks. She felt very weak yet in the faith, but the Lord heard her prayers and helped her stand firm when they all bounced on her, she bore her testimony to them. When she got off the train she had to walk about a mile. When she came near where her mother lived, she wanted to go up the long stairs, there was an old man approached her and said, “There is nobody up there but a dead woman.” That was a blow like a thunderbolt for her, she knew it was her dear mother, but she was prepared for everything. The Lord had given her sufficient strength to stand all these trials, so she came out victoriously. And then she bore her testimony to all that would ask her about the Mormons.

They began to prepare to emigrate to Zion, but where to get enough money, for they had not enough. So I went to my father to see what he could do for me. My dear old father was not a Mormon, but I tell you what he did do about it, He went to work and had the whole estate valued and had my portion turned over to me. There were 4 boys and 1 girl, so I had plenty of money to emigrate and some left to help others. So we got everything ready to start in the Spring of 1863, me and my wife with two little children, one four years old and the other 10 months old. Everything went pretty well till we got on the ship to cross the waters. We couldn’t get any fresh milk for the children and they took sick and died, and we had to sink them down in the deep, that tested our faith pretty hard. But the Lord helped us to bear it, so we traveled on, till we got to where there were no more railroad, and there we waited till some more of the Saints arrived, then we started on our new journey across the plains. Well, we was beginning to see that we could not have saved our darlings through these hardships, for such poor food and no way to make our babies comfortable, we began to be reconciled to our lot. So we moved along as fast as our poor oxen could take us, but my wife and me had to walk all the long way for the team we had had too heavy a load. Sometimes I had to pack her on my back across the rivers. We made us a little tent out of some linen sheets. We was getting quite used to this camping and cooking over the fires on the ground. After many weeks we arrived in Salt Lake City. We pitched our little tent on the public square and waited. What should we do. We could not understand one word of English, so somebody came and told us that in Provo there was no watchmaker, I might get some work there, so we found our way to Provo and pitched our little tent again on the west public square till we could find some room. I run across some men that could talk French for I could speak French pretty good, and that was James Bonnet and he helped me get a room down on West Main Street. I tell you we felt like thanking the Lord to get under a roof once more. I unpacked my tools and the good people began to fetch me some work, but money was hard to get in them times, but we were glad to take whatever the people had, some potatoes, and flour, and so on. I soon bought me a home of my own and planted fruit trees on my two lots. And next year in 1864 my first son was born to me, for which I felt very thankful. I began to be a worker in the First Ward as Deacon and as I learned the language I was made a teacher and so on till I have been a High Priest for many years. Now my family numbers 14 children are living and 5 gone to the other side, and grandchildren I have 34. Thank the Lord they are all in this church.

Our little Nicholas has a lot to live up to. We also discovered that Nicholas Muhlestein was born on October 7, 1831 and ours was born October 8, 2009.


Kathryn said...

Wow, such cool stories. They had amazing faith. That's crazy about the birthdays thing!-who would have thought?

Jordan said...

Thank you for sharing. It's neat to know we have such faithful people to try to keep up with.

Megan said...

That is so neat. I have heard so much about the legacy of Nicholas Muhlestein, but it was so neat to read specific stories from his life...and what a life! 2 children dying - that would do me in, I think. Amazing faith.

David said...

Sorry to jump in on your blog like this, but thanks for sharing the story. Nicholas was my great great grandfather (though his daughter Ida). I also didn't know he lost two children in the crossing.

Myrna said...

Very cool. I am Nicholas's great-granddaughter. I thought there were only 18 children between the two wives--but he says 19--so I am going to have to look into that! (I am the mom of David who jumped in on your blog comments...)