Mormon Missionary Diaries
About the Collection
by Brian A. Warburton
Ephraim Green was born 5 March 1807 in Rodman, Jefferson County, New York, to Abraham Green and Anna Ross. He was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in October 1841 and on 8 November 1843 he received a blessing from the patriarch Hyrum Smith. On 12 January 1846 he received further sacred ordinances in the LDS temple in Nauvoo.
He enlisted in the Mormon Battalion in July 1846 and became a 4th sergeant in Company B, and after reaching Southern California in January 1847 many of the men, including Ephraim Green, went north and spent the winter working at the flour mill owned by Johann Sutter. Green was one of the first to know about the discovery of gold near the flour mill and has been credited as one of the men that discovered gold at Mormon Island on the American River.1 After the discovery of gold, Green and most other Mormons left California to join the main body of Latter-day saints in the Salt Lake Valley, with Green joining a company led by Samuel Thompson leaving for Salt Lake on 26 June 1848. Instead of following Donner’s Pass the company decided to look for a pass used by Kit Carson and John C. Fremont in 1844. The company blazed a wagon road through the Sierra Nevada that proved to be extremely important for the huge influx of gold prospectors in 1849.2 After a rigorous journey the company arrived in Salt Lake in September 1848.
In December 1849 Green was named Captain of the 4th group of ten and chief gunner, in charge of a brass cannon in an important exploration party led by Parley P. Pratt to Southern Utah.3 This exploration party provided important information for the future settlement of Southern Utah. Green was part of a forward company that explored the Virgin River and the St. George Loop.4 Green returned to Salt Lake in the spring of 1850 and in 1852 he was called to serve a mission to the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii). He left for his mission 20 October 1852 with three other men and traveled by land to San Bernadino, California where they stayed for a few weeks with members of the LDS church who had settled there. After resting, Ephraim and the group continued their journey to San Francisco and On 2 February 1853 Green boarded the ship Huntress and left for the Sandwich Islands. He arrived in the Sandwich Islands 15 days later on 17 February 1853. Green described his first impression of the natives as “very soshable but I couldent understand a single word thay said”.5
By March Green had been assigned to labor in Molokai where he began to learn the language. A native man named Napala took the new missionaries into his house to teach them, and after the first day with the new tutor Green remarked on the difficulty of the language, “we ware diligent and studed hard but you would a laft to heard us read in native we made all kinds of sounds but the right ones”.6 Green often commented in his journal that learning the language was the hardest work he had ever done. Much of his time was spent traveling with other missionaries to preach to groups of natives as well as attending missionary conferences. Green slowly learned the language and witnessed rapid growth of the LDS church in the islands. He left Hawaii 30 August 1855 and arrived in San Francisco 16 September 1855, from there he traveled back to San Bernadino and then on to San Diego in search of a coal mine he had discovered while a member of the Mormon Battalion. He spent the next several months mining and working as a carpenter in San Diego, but he desired to go back to Salt Lake and once he had raised enough money he began that journey on 12 October 1856.
Ephraim Green was ordained a Seventy and made president of the sixteenth Quorum of Seventies on 16 February 1861.7 He married Mary DeForrest on 12 December 1863 in Salt Lake City and not long after the couple was called to serve a mission together to the Sandwich Islands,8 but there is no available record of this mission. They left on their mission 7 July 1865 and returned 9 May 1868. After their return to Utah, Ephraim and Mary lived in the small town of Rockport, Summit County. After an extremely eventful life, Ephraim died on 6 October 1874 at the age of 67.
1 Will Bagley, ed., A Road From El Dorado: The 1848 Trail Journal of Ephraim Green (Salt Lake City: Prairie Dog Press, 1991) , 7.
3 William B. Smart, Over the Rim: the Parley P. Pratt Exploring Expedition to Southern Utah, 1849-50 (Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press, 1999) , 11.
4 Rick J. Fish, “The Southern Utah Expedition of Parley P. Pratt: 1849-1850” (M.A. thesis, Brigham Young University, 1992) , 126.
5 Ephraim Green, “Diary, 1852-1855.” MSS 227, L. Tom Perry Special Collection, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham young University.
6 Ibid., 16 April 1853.
7 Ephraim Green, “Certificates, 1852.” MSS 180, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
8 R. Lanier Britsch, Unto the Islands of the Sea: A History of the Latter-day Saints in the Pacific (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1986) , 128.
Bagley, Will, ed. A Road from El Dorado: The 1848 Trail Journal of Ephraim Green. Salt Lake City: Prairie Dog Press, 1991.
Britsch, R. Lanier. Unto the Islands of the Sea: A History of the Latter-day Saints in the Pacific. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1986.
Fish, Rick J. “The Southern Utah Expedition of Parley P. Pratt: 1849-1850.” M.A. thesis, Brigham Young University, 1992.
Green, Ephraim. “Diary, 1852-1856.” MSS 227, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
________. “Certificates, 1852.” L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
Smart, William B. Over the Rim: The Parley P. Pratt Exploring Expedition to Southern Utah, 1849-50. Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press, 1999.