From story found in home of Maxine McRae Layton
Nehemiah Wood Beirdneau grew to manhood in Ohio, was converted and baptized into the Mormon Church. He met America Ann Steel. They were married and emigrated to Illinois. He belonged to the Nauvoo Legion, which was trained by Prophet Joseph Smith. He was a body guard to the Prophet, and he, together with Tom and Price Nelson stood guard over the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum Smith while they were lying in state.
While in Nauvoo, he and several others went to volunteer for service in the Mormon Battalion, but found the quota had already been reached.President Brigham Young made this statement to the Battalion: “They have taken the flower of the Mormon Church, but if you men live your religion, and say your prayers morning and night, you will never have to fire a gun.” When they were coming to the place where Tucson Arizona now stands, they could see the smoke of the battle, but upon reaching there, they found the battle was over.They never did fire at the enemy.
He was with the Saints during their persecutions and sufferings in Illinois and Missouri, and emigrated to Winter Quarters. There he rigged up two yokes of oxen and a wagon, and emigrated to Utah with the James S Brown Company. At that time they had four children. They were: Clara, Sally, Etta, and Will.
They reached Salt Lake in 1848. While there, he met Mary Bird Ferrell and they were married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake. He then moved to Logan and helped settle the country. To this union came six sons,namely: Charles Nehemiah, George Hyrum, John Joseph, David Wm. Enoch Louise and Lionel Ferrel.
He was a blacksmith by trade and was the foreman foe tempering and sharpening the tools that were used for cutting the blue lime rock used in building the Logan Temple. When the polygamy question came up, he was called on a mission to Saint Johns, Arizona to help colonize and settle the country. He and his wife Mary and family left Logan June 4, 1884. His first wife America Ann and family remained in Logan. They left Logan traveling the main highway through Brigham City, Salt Lake, Provo and Panguich, and then to Little’s Ranch. There they learned the Big Colorado was so high it was impossible to ferry across and as there was plenty of Prairie grass and feed for the oxen, they remained for six weeks. Sometime in July, they left Little’s Ranch and started on. Upon reaching the river, they found it still so swollen the operators of the Ferry wouldn’t attempt to take the ferry across. Finally it was decided to swim the cattle and by tying two boats together, the wagons could be loaded on them. After taking the boats and wagons up stream about a half mile, they started across, but a hard wind struck the cover of the wagon and turned the boats back to the shore they had started from. They then took the boats and wagons back up stream about three-quarters of a mile. This time they removed the covers from the wagons and made it all right. They journeyed on to Winslow, Woodruff, and Snowflake. When they left Salt Lake they turned in the grain they had, received an order for it, and they were able to receive grain and flour along the way as they needed it.
On November 29, 1884, they reached Pima Arizona. They lived in Pima and did Blacksmith work for a while. A little later, they bought a small mill and ground flour. About this time President Christopher Layton moved from Saint David and settled in the upper part of the valley about where Thatcher Arizona is now located. The Birdno family sold their business and bought from President Layton about 160 acres of farm land about half way between where Thatcher and Safford Arizona are now located. Here the family settled until after the children were grown and married.
David, the fourth son, worked on the farm part time, and together with Charles and George hauled lumber from the Graham Mountains. In 1890 he started driving stage for President Christopher Layton between Bowie and Fort Thomas taking two days to make the trip. He made this run for two years, then took the run from Bowie to Globe for another year. During the three years he drove stage, he never failed to make the run, was never held up, and never more than one hour late on any run. He then quit driving stage and hauled the freight between Wilcox and Globe for several years. During this time, he met Millie May Haws and they were married in Pima, August 29, 1894, with Bishop John Taylor performing the ceremony.
Nehemiah Wood Birdno, father of David William Birdno, was a personal body guard of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Finally when the Prophet was arrested and taken to jail, all his body guards, and friends offered to go to jail in his place, but the Prophet said, No, he would go.
After the mob murdered the Prophet, Nehemiah W. Birdno helped others bury the Prophet in a secret place so the mob would not find his body and take his head.
David William Birdno
David William Birdno was born 17 June 1870, in Logan, Utah, to Nehemiah Wood Birdno and Mary Bird Farrell Birdno. To this union six sons were born. David was the fourth.
His father,Nehemiah, was an excellent blacksmith, and received a call from the L.D.S.Church to fill a mission in Arizona as a colonizer and blacksmith in the Joseph City area. The family started for Arizona 4 June 1884. The waters of the Colorado River were so high it took several attempts to get their wagons and cattle across.
By the time they reached Joseph City, the services of a blacksmith had already been acquired. A blacksmith was needed also in the Gila Valley, so they journeyed on, arriving in Pima, 29 November 1884.
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