My father is dead. My mother is dead. I will die being the end of this family line. It is here that I leave a final warning for any who wish to heed it.
To both friend and foe:
Stay away from the river.
-Nephi Graves, 1910
I remember my mother's passing. She shed her life quietly in the night witnessed by only God. Father woke me that morning with shouts of my mother's name. When I came to investigate she was clothed and laying in repose on their bed as my father held her hand kneeling on the floor by her side.
He grieved in private, his countenance betraying none of his sorrow to the rest of our village. He spoke with heightened concern of the condition of her eternal spirit. Her spontaneous passing seemed to give him no pause, yet murmuring of plague haunted our neighbors. After a day of mourning and praying, father wandered into the woods the following morning and returned with branches of the Sycamore tree. He sequestered himself in our barn and by that evening emerged covered in sweat and dirt. He ate no food and slept. The morning of the third day he gathered his quorum and announced that he was given instruction by God to baptize mother. He revealed his labors of the previous night: a chair crudely made of the Sycamore branches. Her body was to be carried to the river lashed to her "Throne" and baptized in the Missouri River. The baptism proceeded shortly thereafter.
Her death became the birth of a new faith for my father.
That faith would drive my father to his untimely grave, but not before many more would fall under the weight of his convictions.
(text transcribed by Judith Green in 1930 from the handwritten memoir of Nephi Graves)