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Price, John Evan - Journal


Born 3 March 1817, Llandilorfan, Brecknockshire, Wales



Missionary to Wales


Resident of Samaria, Idaho

Malad Valley

Typed from the Originals

under the supervision of

Esther J. Carpenter



(This diary was written in Welsh and was translated many years later by his wife, Mary Deer Davis, at Samaria, Idaho, where the pioneer home was located.)

A brief sketch of the life of John Evan Price from the time of his birth which was on March 3, 1817, in the parish of Llandilorfan in the Calvin Methodist Chapel, Brecknock Shire, South Wales. (This must have meant that he was christened in the Methodist Chapel.)

My father's name was Evan Price, mother's name was Esther. They were cousins. My grandfathers were Roger Price and Rees Price and my grandmothers were Elizabeth Powell and Margaret Davis. They were born in the same parish as myself. I was raised with the Methodists until I was 20 years old. I then left the religion of my fathers and joined the Calvin Baptists. I remained with them 10 years. I married Ruth, daughter of Daniel and Ruth Williams, who was born in the same parish as myself on the last Friday in May 1841.

We moved to Aberyscir parish. We lived there 5 years and there our first daughter, Esther, was born October 30, 1842. We moved from there to Llanfihangel-Nant-Bran parish and had Isaac born May 7, 1845. He died May 1846. We moved from there to Brecknock Town. (Now called Brecon Town.) I worked there with the farmers. We moved from there to Llanelly, Breconshire and had David, born March 4, 1847. He died the same year.

I heard the Latter Day Saints preach first in Brynmawr. The elders were William Hughes of Merthyr Tydfil and Thomas Pugh of Cwmavon. I was convinced of the truth they preached. At this time I moved to Cwmamman, Carmarthenshire. I worked sawing timber for the coal works. Here there were two elders, sent on a mission by Captain Dan Jones, named John Griffiths and James Phillips. I went to them and bought a book, the history of Joseph Smith and the church. I heard them preach and later was baptized by John Griffiths on September 26, 1847. This was at Cwmamman, Llandilorfawr, Carmarthenshire at 10 o'clock on a Sunday morning. There were hundreds of people present. I was the first in this place to obey the gospel. I was confirmed on the 27th of the same month by John Griffiths. My wife was baptized on the 17th of October of the same year. She was confirmed the same day by the same person.

January 1848, I went to the Merthyr Conference and was called to be a priest by Captain Dan Jones. I was ordained on February 3, 1848 by John Griffiths. I preached scores of times in Cwmamman and baptized 5 people. I preached in Gwider-Fawr many times where they were cursing and swearing at the Saints. We were persecuted very much. I preached many times in Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen. I preached in Cwm Twrch, Ystradgynlais, Cwmgors, Cross Hands, Llandibie, Gorslas, Litlr Town (?), Mynydd Pistill and Ponprenarth and other places. In come of these I preached many times. I preached in Llandilorfawr, a very bad place to persecute the Saints. They threw rocks, rotten potatoes and turnips after us. All manner of lies were told about us by the religious men of Llandilorfawr. I had to run on times with the mob after me. I preached in Llwynbrain many times. We had here many discussions and persecutions by the clergymen of the other religious sects. We baptized 9 of their members in spite of their persecutions. I preached in Bryn-y-caerau and Abergorlech and sold books.

David Williams and myself commenced our way to Breconshire to testify to the truth of the gospel to our relatives. After we crossed the Black Mountains we went to Pentre Bach where brother Griffiths Jones lived. There we hoped to rest and eat lunch which we had with us. David Williams was whipped and dragged and so much thrown on him with Griffith Jones's wife for our being Latter Day Saints that we went from here on Saturday night to my aunt's house. She was my father's sister and lived at Gellyrith. We preached here Sunday at 3 p.m. and there were hundreds of people hearing us. At 6 p.m. we preached in Gilligwecrith at the home of Thomas Davis. It was filled with people. On Monday we went to Llandeilorfan to my father-in-law's house. We were there all day trying to convince them the truth of Mormonism.

We preached Monday night in David P. Davis' house and there were a great many of the old Methodist brethern present listening attentively. On Tuesday morning we baptized my mother-in-law and her son Daniel. We had 35 miles to walk to this place. We have sold many books on our journey.

We returned from this place - didn't say the name - to Trecastle to see brother Jonathan J. Thomas and family. We went from this place over the country and mountains offering books in every home. We tried to visit every house we could see.

On the 16th of April, in 1848, Ruth was born at 2 p.m. in Cwmamman, Carmarthenshire. I preached in Maesquarre in a gentleman's house and we baptized his wife. I preached in Forge and in Rhosmaen in Benjamin Evans' house. He lived in the next house to the Reverend Davis and while we were preaching the Reverend Davis's daughter threw chamber lye over us and made all manner of game of us.

In the meantime the President of the Conference came here and gave me counsel to move with my family to Llangadock. There I was to preach and establish a branch. I went for 6 months every Sunday morning at 10 o'clock to preach at Llandilofawr and at 1 p.m. in Dyfryntawi and at 5 p.m. in Llangadock and return home the same night, which was 32 miles. I took my food with me every Sunday. People were afraid to let us come in to their houses to eat our vituals on account of our being Latter Day Saints.

I was ordained an elder May 19, 1849 by President Griffiths. On the 25 August I moved with my family to Dyfryntawi (This could mean Dyfryn, a village near Ammanford which is spelled with 2 f's, Tawe is a river so it could mean a village on that river.) There were no L.D.S. living nearer than 15 miles and all looking on us as black sheep in that place. We were there a long time and no one asked us into their house. The people here were afraid to speak to Latter Day Saints for fear they would charm them. The Baptists offered me work if I would leave my church and join them. I could have gone to Cwm Ifor with them as the preacher. I bore my testimony of them and told them I would not leave the Church of Jesus Christ even if they would give me the whole Kingdom of Great Britain. My wife and myself were praying daily. We asked for strength to withstand every opposition and asked the Lord to open people's hearts to give me employment that I may be enabled to get a little food for my wife and children. We wanted to keep body and soul or spirit together. My wife and I with our two children kept meeting twice a week with no one else present. The Lord was blessing us with gift of the Holy Ghost, my wife speaking in tongues, interpreting and prophesying. The Lord showed to us plainly that there were honest people in this place that would come into his kingdom.

I was preaching one Sunday on a cross road where the Baptists and the Independents met as they were coming out of their meetings. One of the Baptist deacons prophesied I would never baptize some that were in that assembly in less than 3 months. If I did not I would be willing to have the name of false prophet. If I did then he was to have the name of false prophet. In a few days two of the assembly were baptized by me, so I was the true prophet and he was the false as he often called thereafter. I baptized James Jones a blacksmith and a very learned man on the 26 January 1850. He was the first baptized in Dyffryntawi. On the 12th of March I baptized Isaac Evans of Llwinfasan (could be Llandyfelsant nr Llandilo) a freeholders son. On the 21st of March I baptized Rees Jones, tailor of Llangadock. On April 30th I baptized Joseph Jones and wife Ann. He was a miller of Felin-Tawi.

In all this time I had been idle. No work had made us very destitute for food and people had closed their hearts against us on account of our baptizing the people so fast. They kept us so poor we were nearly staraved for food. We lived on a small piece of barley bread a day without anything with it but water. We lived in this way for months and in this time my wife was with child.

I went to Llanelly to a counsel meeting. There I asked President Howell Williams permission to be released for about a month to work in the hay. I wanted to earn a little money to get food for myself and family. He promised to put my case before the counsel. He told a couple of the brethern to take their hats around the assembly and gather me a little means. In that way I could stay home and not go away to find work. The brethern gathered one shilling and sixpence for me. The President went out without giving anything at all. He had received pounds himself. There were about 60 of the brethern present and not one of them asked me to come with them to sleep or offered me food to eat. It was 11 o'clock when the meeting was over and I had 22 miles to walk home. I commenced the journey home. I met a sister in the church. She asked me if I were John E. Price from Llangadock. When I said I was she asked me into her home and gave me supper and bed. Next morning she gave me my breakfast and sixpence in my pocket to go home with. By dinner time I reached the home of brother Lewis at Garn Fach. Sister Lewis gave me sixpence. I got home by the evening. My wife was confined of a daughter and no person with her except two little girls without anything to eat but a little barley bread. Brother Isaac Evans came into the house and saw her and gave her two shillings and sixpence for pity sake so by this time we had 5 shillings in all.

This baby which was named Mary was born 19 June, 1850 at 4 a.m. I went to Felintawa mill to get flour and sister Jones gave me 17 pounds of flour without pay. I bought a little tea, sugar and butter and took it home with me and there was great rejoicing with my poor wife and little children and myself. On the 8th of July I baptized David and Margaret and Esther Jones of Tawa mill. On the 14th of July a branch of the Church was organized in Llangadock and I was in as President.

A few days after her confinement my wife did her washing. She caught cold and a blast fixed in her leg. She kept to her bed for many months. She felt the effects of this illness the rest of her life. I administered the ordinance day and night to her. I had to attend to the baby and everything else in the house including the baking and the washing. For months there was not a woman who would come near the place because we were Saints. I preached and kept Saints meeting every Sunday. I went to Llandovery for elder Benjamin Jones to administer to my wife. While we were blessing the oil we heard the house making a noise as if it was going to fall and while we were annointing her one half of the house came down with a crash. Brother Jones took my wife out in his arms and I took the little children. Brother Jones said the devil was trying to kill us in our house. So I was full of trouble without a house to move into. I went to Llangadock and got a house in Wainystandvos. I moved into it September 22, 1850. (That means the name of the street.)

I baptized Elizabeth Jones of Pontardawe. I preached by Aber Morlais Park gate, Gross Cilog, Llanwrda, Llansadwrn, Postgwin (may be Pentre-ty-gwyn), Pentracaus (may be Penrhiwgoch), Porth-y-rhyd, and a tavern named Feathers. On September 29th I baptized David Price, Llwinervanbethig, (may be Llwyn-y-piod or Llwynteg) on the 6th of October I baptized David Evans of the Tavern, an old Baptist minister. On the 3rd of November I baptized Esther Price, Llangadock and Catherine Evans the wife of the Tavern. (Welsh way of meaning the wife of the tavern keeper.) On the 24th of November, 1850 I baptized Mary Evans, daughter of the Tavern.

I preached in Myddfai, Llanddeusant, Gwynfe, Pontar-Uechau, Caragsawtha (may be Careg-lwyd or Cared-cegyn), Llandovery and by Parson Rogers' house. He believed in the LDS work but he died before he was baptized. He was very good to the Saints. His house was at all times open to them. I also preached by the meeeting house named Sardis.

On 22 February 1851, I baptized Ann Jones of Llanwrda. On March 1st, I baptized David Evans, blacksmith. I preached in Llangadock many times and sold books. The peoples attitude was very bad against the Saints.

One Sunday, Thomas Martell and brother Field preached in Llangadock. The minister's wife was making all kinds of game of them in order to draw the people's attention from them when brother Field raised his hand up and said that from that day forth that woman would have the judgments of the Lord on her. In a few days she was struck crazy. She never recovered.

We were here two years by the request of the President, Howell Williams. He promised me that I should go to Salt Lake City after I established a branch which promise he never fulfilled. Instead of going there I was counseled by brother Phillips, president of the Welsh Mission, to go to Trafynog (This may mean Devynock or its old spelling Devynog) Breconshire. So farewell to Carmarthenshire with all its poverty.

On the 25th of August 1851 I went to Trafynog to look for a house and work. I got a house in Trafynog and work in Cwm Camlais on the harvest at 1 shilling per day. On the 31 August I preached first in Trafynog and many were present. On the 21st of September I preached in Llandilorfan. On the 28th in Brecon Town conference. On 30 September 1851 we moved from Llangadock to Trafynog. I preached in Pentrefelin, Senny, Pont Senny (now called Senny Bridge) and Trecastle. I was through the country selling books and preaching. During this time my wife was taken ill. We did not expect her to live. All the neighborhood looked for her death. I bought some oil and administered the ordinance to her and she received the blessings and she was restored to health which made the people of the place astonished.

In 1852 I was in conference in Merthyr Tydfil, Rhymney, Tredegar and Beaufort many times. I lived with my family a year in this place and I earned in that time 16 pounds 3 shillings to support myself, a wife and 3 children. I gave out of that means towards every call of the Church. I was counseled by President Roberts to move from Trafynog (must be Devynog) Breconshire to Talgarth, Breconshire. On September 22, 1852 we moved to Talgarth. I preached in Tredomen, Llangorse, Glasbury and in Talgarth disbursing books in every house in the town. This was a poor place for a Latter Day Saint. People were so religious and proud and a member of the LDS Church was beneath their notice. November 17th Daniel was born. This was 1852. The birth was at 1 a.m.

I went to seek a house and work to the Bwlch. January 30, 1853 we moved. On the previous Sunday Mrs. Powell sent for me to make a settlement for the rent. I had no money. I offered her anything I had but she wanted moving or our pig. I offered her my coat which I had on and she took it so I went home without one.

I preached many times in the Bwlch, Crickhowell and Llangynidr. On April 6, 1853 we moved from the Bwlch to Talybont. In Rhaber I baptized John Jones, shoemaker. I went to Llanelly, Breckenshire many times to preach and to cousel meetings. I preached in Brynmawr, Tredegar, Sirhowy, Brecon Town Pencelly, Llanfrynach and Victoria. I baptized John Jones, Craig-las.

On January 9, 1854, I was ordained president of the branch at Talybont. I preached in Therwen Gross. On October 10th I went to John Price's house and brother Daniels preached from Salt Lake City. I preached in Wernmarchog. November 3rd brother Price and myself preached in Chapelycha and Cwm Nanty Gwym. I preached in Gilwern and Blackrock. I also worked in many other places preaching and disbursing books.

John was born January 18, 1855 at 4 p.m. in Llanfigan, Breconshire. I preached in Llanfigan in Thomas Havard's house, in Llanhamlach, in Llechfaen and Star. (This may be Penstar.) On October 20, 1855 I went to Llanelly, Breconshire to pay the Talybont Branch's debt. I sold a fat pig we had to pay an old debt that was on the Branch after David Arthur. The presidents promised me and my family permission to go to Zion so I paid 3 pounds, all that was owing. I was greatly deceived by the presidents. Myself and family had to be without meat all that winter. This is how hundred of the Welsh Saints have been deceived by the presidents taking their money from them, and many leaving the Church on account of the wickedness of the Elders and the Presidents.

I baptized Ruth Price on the 15th of June 1856 in Rebar. I preached in Aberdare, Heol-y-felin, Tairgwaith, Abernant, and Georgetown. (These are all in Glamorganshire around Aberdare and Merthy Tydfil districts.) The president of the Georgetown branch which is a suburb of Merthyr Tydfil, Henry Jones, put myself and his first counselor to rebaptize and great many of the Saints in the Reformation, 26 March 1856. On the 28th I rebaptized three. After this time brother Daniels, President of Wales, released me to go wherever I pleased to earn means to take me and family to Salt Lake City.

We moved to Cefn-Coed-Cymmer. (This is very close to Merthur Tydfil.) I got work with the farmers. In 1858 Mary was baptized by Thomas Powell in the Gafan. I was here preaching and baptizing for some time. We moved again to Pen-ri-heolgerrig. (This is also near Merthyr.) I was here for years preaching and disbursing books. We moved again to Cwmbach, Aberdare. I worked there sawing timber for Mr. Powell, coal agent. I worked there for years with my little boys to make money to leave for Salt Lake City. I attended meetings and baptized many and preached a great deal in Cwmbach, Mountain Ash, CapCoch, Aberdare and in Aberaman.

In 1864, I sent Ruth and Mary aged 16 and 14 to Salt Lake City. It cost 30 pounds. In this year Daniel had his leg broken in the coal pit. We saved money enough to come to America in May 1865 on the ship Bridge Water. We were 5 weeks and 2 days sailing from Liverpool to New York. We went from there to Pittsburgh, Pa., and by this time our money was all gone. We received great kindness in Pittsburgh from the Welsh. They found me work and we remained eleven months. I worked 7 months and 2 weeks in this time. I gathered together about fifty old Mormons and with the permission of President Miles of New York I established a branch in Sawmill Run. About the 1st of July I was counseled by president Miles with forty-five others to meet the migration to Detroit and go with them to Salt Lake City. This counsel we obeyed. (No more details were given at this point.)

On the 18th of July we left Wyoming for the prairies in Ox teams in Captain Halliday's company. On the 25th September 1866 we reached Salt Lake City. The next morning President Brigham young with several others visited us in the Tithing Office yard and shook hands with us. Bishop Hunter ordered food for us and the people were liberal towards us.

We left Salt Lake City in a few days and went to Brigham City. Myself and wife were taken ill with mountain fever and we were ill for two months. In February of 1867 we moved from Brigham City to Malad, Idaho and lived in the house with Ruth, my daughter, who was married to Frederick Thomas. Later brother Peck gave me two lots to guild a house on. Myself and family were baptized by brother Daniels. On January 30, 1868, I was ordained a high priest under the hands of President Daniels, John Wiliams and brother Peck.

February 10, 1868, I took a claim of 160 acres of land 8 miles west and south of Malad which place is now called Samaria. I went there with my son Daniel and built a dugout on the claim. I sold our place in Malad for a wagon and yoke of oxen. On April 16, 1868 I moved my family over and we were the only white residents there. Our neighbors were Indians.

November 26, 1869 my wife and I went to Salt Lake City and had our endowments. Her health for many years was very bad. Her long illness over the years came to an end with her death on September 22, 1873 in Samaria, Idaho, where she is buried.

John Evan Price died June 22, 1878 at Samaria, Idaho and is buried there. He remained a stalwart in his community both in religious affairs and in other activities which helped build the pioneer community. There are few people who have gone through so much for their religion as he and none in the village of Samaria could out match him in zeal and industry in temporal affairs. He left a large posterity in Malad Valley which was mainly settled by people from Wales.

His diary was written in Welsh but only the highlights were translated by Mary Deer Davis Price in May of 1878 a month before his death.

This typed copy was made September 2, 1959 by Esther J. Carpenter. Spelling of place names was corrected as far as possible by using Welsh maps and the British gazetteer with the assistance of Ruth Price Sorenson, a granddaughter who visited Wales with me in 1951. At that time we visited many of the areas in Wales mentioned in this diary. The new maps in a few cases have changed the spelling of some towns and villages, but in the main they remain the same.

The whereabouts of the original diary is unknown at the present time and his descendants think it will never by found after all these years. When the Price family arrived in Utah they went to Brigham City where Mrs. Price's parents had settled. Their names were Daniel and Ruth Jones Williams. They were emigrants of 1853. John Evan Price had converted his mother-in-law during the first years of his Welsh mission on a trip to Breconshire from his head-quarters in Carmarthenshire. They are buried in Brigham City.


Price, John Evan


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