George Henry Mecham Pays a “Debt”

By now you’re probably familiar with the story of Joseph Millett, which has been told several times in church settings (although I find that oddly it is always divorced from its setting in time and place – to present the story as a timeless example, perhaps? because knowing that adequate food supplies were available in Mormon settlements only two or three days ride away removes part of the pathos? because everybody quotes everybody else without ever going back to the source?). The story is also the centerpiece of the introductory film shown to visitors to the Church History Library:

In 1871, in the tiny Mormon farming settlement in Spring Valley, White Pine, Nevada (about 60 miles from Ely), Latter-day Saint Newman Hall found himself entirely out of flour and unable to feed his family. He asked some of his neighbors for help, but no one had a surplus. Finally he approached neighbor Joseph Millett who divided his supplies with the Halls. When Hall told him that he had been directed there following prayer, Millett told him there was no need to repay the loan. Millett recorded in his diary, “You can’t tell how good it made me feel to know that the Lord knew that there was such a person as Joseph Millett.”

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