On September 10, 1821 Elvira Egbert was born in Carlisle, Sullivan County, Indiana. She was the daughter of John Egbert (born on Staten Island, New York) and Susannah Hahn. The couple met in 1802 in Kentucky along the Ohio River, settled in Breckenridge, then moved to Carlisle, Indiana in 1816 and lived there for the next 16 years. It was in Carlisle that Elvira was born into the family that would eventually consist of 13 children. In the early 1830's, Elvira's father, John, heard about the Book of Mormon, and soon the family was taught the gospel and baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. In 1833 they set out, like most Saints, to Jackson County, Missouri. Forced to move due to persecution, they stayed for a brief time in Clay County where Elvira was baptized. Persecution was fierce, and the Egbert family moved again to Far East, Missouri in 1838 and then to Quincy, Illinois. Some of the family then moved to Hancock County. It was here that Elvira married John Carson on January 31, 1841. They lived in Adams County for the next two years and then moved to LaHarpe, which is 20 miles east of Nauvoo. Life continued to be full of persecution for Elvira and her husband. The Prophet Joseph Smith was martyred while they were living near Nauvoo. However, blessings seemed to come as well, and Elvira and John had a daughter, Elizabeth, on October 24, 1845. In 1846 the small family moved to Garden Grove. Five years later they left for Salt Lake City, Utah in the Wagon Company of Captain Walton. John and Elvira, along with their three young children, arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on September 25, 1851 and settled in Little Cottonwood, where two daughters were born. On December 15, 1855 they moved to Fairfield where they remained for the rest of their lives together. John Carson passed away August 21, 1895. Then, at her daughter's home in Provo Bench (Orem) Elvira died on February 12, 1908.
This collection contains Elvira's memoirs, recorded by her grandson, H. Carson Healy. The eight page memoir not only gives an account of Elvira, but it also gives the background of her father. While there are several interesting stories that Elvira tells, one of them shows of the great love her father and mother had for one another. After becoming engaged to Susannah, John Egbert returned to Buffalo, New York to retrieve his harness-making tools. For the return trip, John built a raft to hold himself and his tools and travel by river. However, the raft sunk under the weight of the tools; the tools were gone forever, and John almost lost his life. Upon arriving in Kentucky, he released Susannah from the engagement. But Susannah told him that she had 'fallen in love with him and not what he had accumulated.' John would later play the key role in the family's conversion by walking several hundred miles to obtain a copy of the Book of Mormon. The collection gives an account of the family's hardships as they make several moves in attempt to escape persecution. The family was affected by mobs, Haun's Mill, Governor Boggs, the martyrdom of Joseph Smith (Elvira and john seemed deeply depressed, even their farm animals were crying out, and they soon found out that Joseph had been killed), pestilence, the trek west, Johnston's Army, and Indians. Elvira's convictions of life and the church seem to run as a theme throughout her memoir. One story is told about the time after the death of Joseph Smith, and Brigham Young addressed members of the church in Nauvoo. Elvira recalls 'that he spoke in the voice and authority of Joseph.' After settling in Utah, the family ran a gristmill that was powered by water, which was unusual for at that time. According to the memoir, people came many miles to this mill. Many more remarkable stories and historical insights are contained in Elvira's memoirs.