Friday, August 27, 2010

Amanda Eggleston

  • Name: Amanda Eggleston
  • Born: February 11,1805 Torrington, Connecticut
  • Died: January 5, 1847 Fox River, Iowa
  • Related through: Dan's grandfather Lynn Crookston

Amanda Eggleston was born February 11, 1805 in Torrington, Litchfield, Connecticut. She was the third of six children born to Curtis Eggleston and Amanda Fowler. When she was fourteen, her parents moved to Hiram, Ohio to take up land in the Western Reserve. Ten years later, at the age of twenty-four, Amanda married George White Pitkin. The marriage took place before a justice of the peace on February 8, 1829 in Hiram. Prior to the marriage, Amanda's parents had died and she had taken on the responsibility of raising her sister, Esther, who was fourteen years younger.

Amanda's firstborn child, a son named Lathrop, was born in Hiram on March 5, 1831. He died a week later. That same year, George and Amanda were converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Mormons, as they were called, were gathering in Missouri and the Pitkins decided to go. In the spring of 1832, George, Amanda, and Esther started the journey from Ohio to Missouri. Also accompanying them were two of George's unmarried sisters, Laura (age 42) and Abigail (age 35).

Upon their arrival in Jackson County, the Pitkins settled in the Whitmer Settlement in Kaw Township. George built a log house near about ten other families, mostly Whitmers. There Amanda gave birth to a daughter, Martha, on October 27, 1832. Some of the Missouri citizens felt threatened by the arrival of the Mormons and trouble began. On October 31, 1833, around 10 p.m., a mob attacked the Whitmer village and began beating some of the men and tearing down houses. Amanda, with a one year old baby, was surely petrified. Several families gathered at the Peter Whitmer, Sr. house near the Pitkins. Lydia Whiting recalled some of the events of that frightful night.

"Their first attack was to the door and window while some mounted the house and began to throw off the roof while they were throwing stones and clubs in at every chance they could get. The women who had crawled into the chamber with their children began to scream and beg for mercy while these barbarous ruffians in the shape of human beings were whipping and hounding their husbands and fathers with clubs and stones. All got from the house and made for the woods as fast as possible, and frightened nearly out of their senses." [Mormon Redress Petitions #447]

Trouble continued and by the middle of November everyone from the settlement had fled. The Pitkins crossed the Missouri River into the western part of Clay County and struggled to survive the winter in hastily built shelters. During the short stay in Clay County, Amanda gave birth to a son, Ammon Paul, on April 26, 1835. In the beginning, the people of Clay County were friendly and helpful. However, when the Mormons failed to regain lands in Jackson County, they were asked to move on.

When the Church purchased land in the new county of Caldwell, the Pitkins moved again with their little family, hoping to find peace. Far West, Caldwell County, Missouri was home to George and Amana from 1836 to 1839. There Amanda gave birth to a son, George Orrin, on August 19, 1837. Amanda was a frontier wife with three small children. While George was gone fulfilling church assignments and working as the sheriff of the county, Amanda was faced with the challenge of surviving with little means. It was peaceful for a time, but the extermination order issued by Governor Boggs changed everything. It forced them to abandon their homes and farms and to seek exile in the state of Illinois.

In the spring of 1839, the Pitkins set up temporary residence in Pike County, which at that time encompassed most of western Illinois. That same year, Amanda's sister, Esther, married Martin Wood in Quincy. Soon George and Amanda moved further north where the majority of church members were gathering. They spent the years 1840-1846 in Lee County, Iowa, and across the Mississippi in nearby Nauvoo, Illinois. Amanda gave birth to two children during that time. Mariah Laura was born November 13, 1841. Pamelia was born February 27, 1844, but she lived less than two years.

Hoping to find lasting peace, the Mormons planned a move west to the Rocky Mountains. Amanda and George joined the exodus in 1846, crossing the Mississippi with their four children and camping on the Iowa side of the river. Somewhere in Iowa Territory, a son, John, was born on October 20, 1846. By winter, the Pitkins had set up camp along the Fox River. Amanda had been through a great deal. In the seventeen years of her marriage, she had born seven children, buried two babies, and raised a sister. She had been persecuted and driven from place to place because of her chosen faith. On January 5, 1847, in the cold of winter, she died along the Fox River. She was forty-two years old. Her two-month-old baby died a few days later.

Thank you to Colleen Helquist who had this history on her RootsWeb page.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

James Joseph Castleton

  • Name: James Joseph Castleton
  • Born: January, 25, 1829 Lowestoft, Suffolk, England
  • Died: November 26, 1882 Salt Lake City, Utah 
  • Related through: Dan's grandmother Melva Castleton

James Joseph Castleton was born January 25, 1829 in Lowestoft, Suffolk, England to Joseph Castleton and Mary Smith. He was the oldest of ten children.

His father was a fisherman. As a young man he served an apprenticeship as twine and rope maker for a Mr. John Gall, a ship owner. This was a good trade at that time, but rope making by machinery became general, he then became a fisherman.
He was 24 years old when he was approached by the Mormon missionaries. He became very interested and after much study and prayer he knew the gospel to be true. He was baptized on January 18, 1853 by Elder John Gibb, in Lowestoft, Suffolk, England.

On January 2, 1854 he married Frances Sarah Brown who had been converted and baptized into the church October 12, 1853. Together they fully embraced the teachings of the Gospel, they took an active part in the local church affairs in England. But the spirit of emigration or gathering took hold of them and they wanted to join the body of the church in Zion.

On June 4, 1863 they started for Zion with their four sons, Charlie, Will, George, and Frank. The family sailed on the ship Amazon with 882 or 895 other Saints under the direction of William Bramall. After six weeks and three days at sea they landed at New York Harbor. From there they traveled by train as far as Florence, Nebraska. They then took up the laborious journey to cross the plains. Thomas E. Ricks met them and directed the Company from Florence. Although they traveled with the ox-teams it can be truthfully said that they traveled almost the entire distance on foot.

They arrived in Salt Lake City on Sunday, October 4, 1863. The first cold winter was spent in a tent on Second and "D" Street. Despite the hardships incident to such a labor at that period of the settlement of these valleys, a murmur of complaint or regret was never heard. They had left all for their religious cause they had known to be true and truly endorsed that scriptural utterance, "No man having put his hand to the plow and looketh back is fit to go to the Kingdom of God."

Soon they moved into a small house with a mud roof, located on the same lot. A son, Jim, was born in this house while neighbors held umbrellas over the bed because rain washed the mud through the dirt roof above the bed.

As soon as he was able to do so, James bought the corner of Second Ave. and "L" Street, ten rods square, and constructed a two room adobe house. Later it became the store warehouse for some time.

After coming to this country James was a gardener for Brigham Young for many years. He also had a fine home garden, from which the family was supplied with abundant vegetables and fruits, especially grapes.

When his health started to fail, the family decided to build a small store onto the house, which was to be handled by his wife Frances and son Arthur. They became so busy, another son Will left his position with S.P. Teasdale to help out.

For many years James Joseph was sick and unable to work. On the evening of November 26, 1882 he passed peacefully away, leaving Frances and six sons. It was said by one of their son Frank, "Father and Mother were stalwart Latter-day Saints, were good citizens, were true and honest and left us a priceless heritage, a good name, sterling characters. May we always honor and revere their memories."

Taken from sketches written by his sons Wallace C. and Frank M. Castleton. Also from "Church Chronology" By Andrew Jenson. Thanks to Grandma Melva for sharing this history with us.

Friday, August 20, 2010

William Howell Thomas

  • Name: William Howell Thomas
  • Born:  November 2, 1790 Winvoe, Glamorganshire, South Wales
  • Died: August 21, 1887 Malad, Idaho
  • Related through: Erin's grandfather James Madson

William Howell Thomas was born on November 2, 1790 near Winvoe Parish, Glamorganshire, South Wales. He was the son of Robert Thomas and Janet James. He was a cobbler. He married Ann Williams. She was born February 28, 1797 in Winvoe Parish, Glamorganshire, South Wales.

They were converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and were baptized in 1847. Some of the children may have been baptized also. William Howell Thomas and his wife were endowed and sealed as husband and wife on October 19, 1861 in Salt Lake City, Utah. They had 14 children. Robert an infant and the eldest, died in Wales as did Harriet, who was 24, and unmarried. All the rest, except Llewellyn and William, came to the United States.

They left their home and pleasant surroundings to join the Saints in the Land of Zion. The parents and seven of the children set sail on the ship "Jersey" on the February 5, 1853. This was the 63rd company of Saints to embark from Britain for Zion.

There were 314 passengers in the company, 300 of whom were steerage and 14 were second class. The company was half English half Welsh, hence there was a confusion of tongues assembled on the deck of the "Jersey". With glistening eye and moistened cheeks they sang "Yes My Native Land I Love Thee", as they were towed down the Jersey River into the open sea, in a rather frail craft for the tempestuous winds and waves of the expansive ocean.

The married folks were located in the center of the ship, the boys near the bow and the girls at the stern. Passengers, as well as the ship itself were divided into districts for the better observance of order, discipline, and work. Each of the divisions already mentioned had a supervising council of three brethren and the whole company was under the direction of a president who in this case was Elder George Halliday. At eight o-clock p.m. evening prayers were held in each section after which lights were out and everyone went to bed. On warm days everyone was brought on deck for airing and sunshine whether they liked it or not, and indeed it was quite necessary.

As they coasted south, winter seemed to be left behind. The weather became warmer and the air more balmy. The joy of sighting land as they neared the West Indies was very great. All of the passengers were continuously on deck. The watery voyage had been long and tedious. A little later they entered murky water and a pilot came aboard which did much to create a feeling of security as they wended their now devious way through the Southwest channel, passing the Belize Pilot Station into the sagging current of the Great Father of Waters. The distance from the bar to the city of New Orleans is 90 miles. Four days were consumed in towing the "Jersey" to the city, where they docked March 21, 1853 having covered the 5000 mile voyage in seven weeks. During the journey there were two deaths and six marriages.

At the docks they were met by the forwarding agent of the church, Elder John Brown, whose promptness and energy soon had them aboard the "John Simonds" chugging up the great river to St. Louis and then to Keokuk, Iowa. The fare was $2.25 for the adults all over 14 years of age, half fare for those between three and 14 and all under three were free.

While preparations were being made for the overland journey from Keokuk to the valley of the Great Salt Lake, they were camped by Montrose, Iowa which was a few miles from Keokuk. This camp was heavily infested with snakes, so that at times they were fearful to walk about, yet none of the party were ever molested.

On June 3, 1853, they were reported ready or the move from Keokuk to the Westward trail. The company, under the direction of Elder Joseph W. Young, was made up of 42 wagons. Thirty-two of the wagons were in the "Ten Pound Group" and ten were in the "Immigration Fund". They crossed the Missouri River on July 11 at Council Bluffs.

Occasionally some of the children would mount one of the friendly oxen and ride for a spell, but for the most part the entire journey was made on foot, for both children and adults. They arrived in Salt Lake City on October 10, 1853, having been under way more or less since February 5, 1853. It was just a little more than eight months since they had embarked at Liverpool, England.

The stay in Salt Lake City was of rather short duration, for soon they, with others were called by Brigham Young to go to Box Elder, later Brigham City, and help colonize that region. They soon found themselves in a dugout home with dirt floor and dirt roof in the Old Fort-Box Elder.

The William H. Thomas family was among the very early settlers of Box Elder and therefore suffered the hardships and privations of those early days, including the terrible famine of the winter of 1855 which was caused in part through a wide spread grasshopper plague of the previous season. Their diet consisted largely of roots, wild onions and segos, together with a little wheat ground in the coffee mill. It was then added sparingly to the mixture and the whole of it cooked. The wheat must be conserved for spring planting. Sister Thomas was a very good practical nurse and rendered invaluable and unstinted service to the whole community as well as her own family in their affliction and distress.

Out of the Old Fort they moved into a rather artistic Willow Place with a dirt floor and dirt roof just South of the opening at the southwest corner of Old Fort. This unique abode brought them the name of the Willow Thomas Family. A delight of the home was its beautiful flower garden. They continued living in Brigham City until 1863 when again, upon the recommendation of President Brigham Young, that as fast as possible the stakes of Zion extend their bounds. The parents and most of the children of the Thomas family moved to the Malad Valley where the resided the rest of their days.

Source: This history was written in October 1953 by great-granddaughter, Ella Colton Palmer. It can also be found at and is included in the book Early Settlers of Malad Valley Volume I - Pre 1870.

Monday, August 16, 2010

James Cowley and family

  • Name: James Cowley
  • Born: April 29, 1804 Kirkbradden, Isle Of Man
  • Died: February 10, 1860 Farmington, Utah
  • Related through: Erin's grandmother Margaret Udy Hanni
    Note: I found this story about Matthias Cowley who was the brother of Isabelle Ann Cowley who married James Udy. It looks like most of the information came from Matthias' journal. I thought most of the story applied to the parents so I am making this a post about the father but I am sure Isabelle was there for all of these events too. I found the story on a website about Mormon converts from the Isle of Man. It included this excerpt from the book, Matthew Cowley - Man of Faith by Henry A. Smith which was published in 1954 by Bookcraft. I edited the excerpt for length but you can read the whole thing here. Matthias’ son Matthias Cowley and grandson Matthew Cowley both became apostles in the LDS Church.

    Matthias was born December 2, 1829 in Kirkbradden on the Isle of Man. His father was James Cowley and his mother, Isabella Cain Cowley. Father James Cowley was a miller by trade. Both father and mother were humble, moral, honest, industrious people.

    It was here that the family heard about the church and was baptized. However religious bigotry in the community made it difficult for the Cowley family. It was not long after the family joined the Church that another member, John Kelly, gave the family a considerable blessing. He offered to finance the Cowley’s journey from their Isle of Man home to the United States to join the Saints in Nauvoo. The offer was made to repay an account Mr. Kelly owed Grandfather Cain.

    Needless to say the offer was thankfully accepted. It came as a direct answer to the prayers of James Cowley and his wife. Like most other converts to Mormonism in foreign lands their desire was to gather with the Saints in Zion. There they could unite with the Prophet Joseph Smith and his loyal followers. Preparations were quickly made for the journey and a steamer taken from Liverpool. There the family stayed two or three nights with Matthias’ uncle, Charles Cowley, while waiting to embark on the ship City of Boston.

    The journey was not an unpleasant one. A friendly captain was solicitous of his passengers’ welfare and made every effort to provide for their comfort. New Orleans was reached in five weeks and three days of ocean travel. Here the family boarded the river steamer Congress for the journey north to St. Louis. Soon after his arrival James Cowley was offered the tempting wage of ten dollars a day if he would stay there to engage in his trade as a miller. He was skilled in the milling of oatmeal, and men of such ability were scarce in St. Louis.

    "No!" was the father’s emphatic reply. "I left my home and native land to join myself with the Prophet of the Lord, Joseph Smith, and the Saints in Nauvoo. I am going on. Bless your souls; I would not stop here for all of St. Louis".

    The Cowley family’s next move was up the river 500 miles by steamer to Nauvoo. In a day or two of arriving James Cowley and family had their fondest hope realized. They were privileged to meet Joseph Smith. Some time was spent in conversation with the Prophet.

    "We found Joseph Smith the Prophet to be just what a man bearing that title ought to be," the son later wrote for the benefit of his posterity. "He was loved by every good man, woman, and child who knew him. We then felt very well satisfied after seeing this man of God, the Prophet Joseph Smith."

    After this memorable interview James Cowley went about seeking employment of any kind. None was to be had in Nauvoo, and he was directed to Warsaw, a Mississippi River town about twenty-two miles away. Here the father and son found work at a brickyard.

    For six months both father and son worked hard at their jobs. By this time the people of Illinois were fully aroused against the Mormons. The little town of Warsaw saw its share of persecution. As the excitement against the Latter-day Saints reached a higher pitch, the inhabitants of Warsaw were ordered by mobocrats to take up the fight against the Saints. Father Cowley was ordered to take up arms with others to fight against his own people. Two armed men came to his house and took him by force to an office. Here they thrust a musket at him. He defied them, saying:

    "Gentlemen! I shall never fight against my brethren, the Saints of Almighty God, no, never!"

    The defiant father was ordered to remove his family out of town within twenty hours. He was desperate. He had no possible conveyance. So the mob made up his mind for him. He must leave immediately, and the family could follow later. They escorted him several miles out of town at the point of a bayonet. As they gave him his last prodding onward, they warned him that if he ever returned they would shoot him down in cold blood. A night guard was placed near the home to make sure he did not violate the order.

    In the darkness, the weary, distraught father trudged on toward Nauvoo to find help from the Prophet and other Mormons for his stranded family. It was a long difficult walk back to Nauvoo. The next morning, just after daybreak, Father Cowley reached Nauvoo in a highly exhausted condition. After first getting some much-needed food and a little rest, he went on in search of the Prophet. To his beloved leader James Cowley told of his experiences and the plight of his family in Warsaw even then at the mercy of an enraged mob. As the tired father expressed the fear that tugged at his heart, Joseph Smith calmly raised his hands, and said reassuringly:

    "Brother Cowley, they shall not harm a hair of their heads—Brother Cowley, God bless you!"

    Father Cowley joined with the Nauvoo Legion, the militia of the Saints. The guns were all in use so he secured a pitchfork and marched with the brethren. For a short time thereafter the lot of James Cowley was cast close to that of the Prophet and his associates. He was present with others of the Nauvoo Legion to hear Joseph Smith make his historic statement:

    "I am going like a lamb to the slaughter. I have a conscience void of offense toward God and man. I shall die innocent, and it shall yet be said of me ‘he was murdered in cold blood.’"

    James Cowley saw the Prophet climb to the roof of an unfinished house in Nauvoo to make this heart-rending statement before going on to Carthage Jail. A few days later, on June 27, 1844, Joseph and Hyrum Smith were killed.

    That same night in Warsaw the villagers were much alarmed, fearing the Saints would come upon them in vengeance. James Cowley was still in Nauvoo. His worried wife and family heard the tumult in Warsaw’s streets, with men cheering and throwing their hats in the air. Matthias slipped away and ran into the midst of the crowd. He made his way through the noisy mob to where one of the men was making a speech. He heard the boastful speaker tell the crowd that the mob had succeeded in killing the Mormon "Joe" Smith and his brother, Hyrum.

    Soon the speaker spied the startled boy among his listeners. With an oath he ordered Matthias to get out of his sight and to go home to his mother where he belonged. As the Mormon youth slipped away from the crowd, the mobbers set a group of schoolboys after him to pelt him all the way home with sticks, stones, and such rubbish as they could find along the way.

    That same night mobbers attempted to burn the Cowley home three times with a torch. But it would not burn. It was about one o’clock in the morning when the mob desisted and went on to another Mormon home. After a few more days and nights of excitement and anxiety, welcome relief came. Father Cowley had sent a team and driver to remove his family and belongings to Nauvoo. The rest of the family were not long packing and left Warsaw behind, grateful for their deliverance from the mob.

    Farmington Rock Mill

    I don’t know why I had never seen this story before but I am glad I found it. There were quite a few more bits to the story that were really good but also made it really long, so if you want to read the whole thing click here. The part of the story where the mob tries to torch their house is also included in the book, Our Heritage: A Brief History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1996 published by the Church.

    Later James and his family came to Utah and settled in Farmington. Willard Richards, an early LDS apostle, decided to build a small mill in the Farmington area in 1852, but after he passed away in 1854, his nephew, Franklin D. Richards, decided to build another larger mill. James Cowley was brought here by Willard Richards to teach the Saints how to make oatmeal. He worked at the mill until his death in 1860.

    A little bit more about the mill - In the 1890s, steam-powered mills made their way to Utah, and the Rock Grist Mill closed down. In 1906 it was converted into one of Farmington and Davis County's first electric generating stations. The mill remained vacant from the 1920s to 1950s except for occasional families of the owners who would live off and on in the lower floor. From 1960-90 a German-style restaurant, the Heidelberg, found a home in the mill. It is now a pretty fancy private home. Last week when we found where this mill was we discovered that Dan goes running past it at least once a week and never knew it was there or what it was. I think it is cool that we ended up moving to Farmington where it turns out the Udy family has so much history. We even go to the Old Rock Church where a lot of ancestors must have attended.

    Saturday, August 14, 2010

    Olive Chase

    • Name: Olive Chase
    • Born: July 18,1846 Council Bluffs, Iowa
    • Died: August 26, 1913 Logan, Utah
    • Related through: Dan's grandfather Lynn Crookston

    Olive Chase was the third child born to Eli Chase and Olive Hills. She was born July 18, 1846 at Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, Iowa, just one month after her parents and grandparents arrived there from the Nauvoo exodus. Two weeks later, the family moved south to what is now Fremont county where they spent the winter. After two more winters spent closer to Council Bluffs, the Chase family began the long trek west.

    Olive arrived in Great Salt Lake August 25, 1849 at the age of three. The family bought a little adobe house in Salt Lake, but her father died 18 months later leaving four young children. Her mother remarried the next year and they moved to Ogden.

    At the age of fifteen, Olive married Ammon Pitkin on January 19, 1861 and they settled in Millville, Utah. Olive and Ammon had twelve children, three of whom died as infants. Olive filed for a divorce in 1887. On April 26, 1892, she married Joseph Henrie and moved to Rockland, Idaho. When Henrie died, she moved to Preston, Idaho where she lived with her son, Eli Henrie.

    Olive died August 26, 1913 in Logan, Utah. She is buried in the Millville Cemetery.

    Thank you to Colleen Helquist who posted this history on her RootsWeb page.

    Thursday, August 12, 2010

    Eliza Jane Thomas Clark

    • Name: Eliza Jane Thomas
    • Born: June 6, 1828 Michelstone, Glamorganshire, South Wales
    • Died: March 4, 1899 Malad, Idaho
    • Related through: Erin's grandfather James Madson

    Eliza Jane Thomas Clark, was born June 6, 1828 at Michelstone, Glamorganshire, South Wales, the sixth child of a family of 14. Most of her family joined the church and eventually came to America.

    Eliza, was the first of the family to emigrate. She came as a servant girl to the family of Thomas Jeremy, who was the father of Ella Jeremy (Richards), thereby earning her passage and being in their care for the trip.

    They left Waterloo Dock, England Monday, Feb. 26, 1849 about 2 p.m. As the ship pulled out those on deck sang, “The Saints Farewell,” wondering when they should meet and see their families and loved ones again.

    On board the “Buena Vista,” on which they sailed, there were 249 Welsh Saints under the direction of Dan O. Jones. Many of the Saints were very seasick and Captain Dan O. Jones, David Daniels of Brechfa and William Jenkins of Cardiff administered to their wants by making gruel, etc. for them. The sickness lasted only a few days.

    They had fine weather and fair wind nearly every day. They reported that the middle of March was like June. After being on board seven weeks and day, they landed in New Orleans April 18, 1849. They traveled up the Mississippi River to St. Louis where in 48 hours, 62 of their company died of cholera. They went from there to Council Bluffs, Iowa where they stayed six weeks to prepare for the trip across the plains to Utah by ox teams.

    They had considerable trouble with the Indians on the Platte River. While on the wagon train, Eliza met William Clark, who was also from Wales, and they were married on September 14, 1849 Near Deer Creek by the Platte River. They arrived in Utah in October, 1849. Eliza and William had nine children.

    William Clark
    Her parents, William Howell Thomas and Ann Williams Thomas and seven more of their children came to Utah in the fall of 1853. Before the Thomas and Clark families came to Idaho they lived in Brigham City, Utah, being among the very early settlers in Box Elder County. They lived for a time in the Old Fort. From there they moved to a rather artistic “Willow Palace,” which had a dirt roof and dirt floor just south of the opening at the southwest corner of the Old Fort. This unique home brought them the name of “The Willow Thomas Family,” even in Malad, they were called the “Tee Willow” people.

    While in Brigham City William Clark, who was a tinsmith by trade, established a tin shop on North Main Street and mended his neighbors’ meager supply of tin ware. The pewter which was used in mending was purchased in the form of spoons, plates, cups, etc. They moved to Malad about 1863, where Eliza acted as more than an ordinary mid-wife for many years until her health failed. She ushered into the world hundreds of babies. She also vaccinated her own family and perhaps others for smallpox. Her daughters later attended to people with that disease and never contracted it, having had only the one vaccination if it was crudely done compared to now.

    Eliza was a widow for nine or ten years and died in Malad on March 4, 1899. At that time seven of her nine children survived her. Eliza and William area buried in the Malad City Cemetary.

    Source: This history was written in October 1953 by her granddaughter, Ella Colton Palmer. It can also be found at and is included in the book Early Settlers of Malad Valley Volume I - Pre 1870. The photos came from and

    Sunday, August 8, 2010

    Ammon Paul Pitkin

    • Name: Ammon Paul Pitkin
    • Born: April 26, 1835 Clay County, MO
    • Died: After 1900 Challis, ID
    • Related through: Dan's grandfather Lynn Crookston
    Ammon had to have been a very strong boy. He was born right in the midst of great turmoil in Clay County, Missouri. His family had already joined the church with his father, George White, being baptized by Joseph Smith just four years prior. 

    The persecution was so bad that when he was two or three years old the family relocated to Far West, then on to Pike County, Illinois and eventually Nauvoo. Ammon was in Nauvoo from age five to ten. With the initial peace that existed I would bet that it was a pretty fun time in Ammon's life. 

    However it may not have lasted long. In 1846 the Pitkins joined the exodus out of Nauvoo and across the Mississippi river. Ammons mother, Amanda Eggleston, died a short time later at Fox Creek. Out of the seven Pitkin children four of them where younger than Ammon, and as the second oldest son he must have been relied upon heavily to help the family continue their journey to Winter Quarters. 

    The family joined the Heber C. Kimball pioneer company. Although two younger siblings died along the way, Ammon and the rest of his family made it to Utah. They lived in Weber County, Utah and California before settling in Millville, Utah. Ammon and his father built the very first cabin of Millville in 1859. 

    In 1861 Ammon married Olive Chandler Chase in the Endowment House. Times where hard and work was difficult to find. Of their 12 children three died in infancy. The children often worked outside of the home to help support the family. 

    Ammon may have been somewhat of a ruffian as on occasion he found himself in trouble with the law and the church.  The marriage must have struggled also. Olive Chase divorced Ammon in 1887. He found work on the Miller Dam in Idaho. Sometime after 1900 there was a work accident, Ammon drowned and his body was never recovered. There is no grave or memorial for Ammon that I am aware of. Much of his family was buried in Millville/Nibley Cemetery, maybe someday we will get up there to see if he has a headstone. 

    Its easy to read about Ammon and think his life was pretty sad. From the very moment he was born life was difficult. I hope he found happiness and peace at times. Maybe as we continue researching our family history we will find more on Ammon. 

    Thank you to Colleen Helquist who compiled much of the information of Ammon Pitkin on her RootsWeb page

    Sunday, August 1, 2010

    Why we do family history

    I saw this message today and I really liked it so I thought I would share. It was the speech given last week at the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Broadcast.

    Delivered On: July 25th 2010
    Delivered By: Lloyd D. Newell

    To Know Our Heritage

    It’s a hobby focused on obscure dates and places from hundreds of years ago. Yet it is so popular today it has eclipsed stamp collecting, coin collecting, and even gardening as one of the world’s favorite pastimes. Whether you call it family history or genealogy, the pursuit of finding one’s ancestry has filled libraries with earnest seekers willing to roll through miles of microfilm to find just one name. It has inspired Web sites, television programs, how-to books, classes, and conferences.

    What is it that we find so captivating about reaching back to find people who have long since gone on? Famed author and genealogist Alex Haley has observed: “In all of us there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage – to know who we are and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life, there is still a vacuum, an emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness."

    So we search and ponder about our ancestry. There’s little bit of detective in most of us, and family history builds on that tendency. Birth and death dates are just a beginning. In the search, we may find that our lineage reaches back to royalty. More likely, we learn that our folk were a lot like us – the modest type who did their best to earn a living and loved their families.

    They may have fought in wars, and perhaps they crossed the ocean by steamer or clipper with practically nothing in hand, hoping their children would someday have more. They may have joined the great westward migration and buried children along the way. Our ancestry may include preachers, cooks, farmers, gold miners, or mothers of 10. Regardless of their background and circumstances, we lay claim to some of their best characteristics – things like persistence, grit, goodwill, generosity, humor, loyalty, and faith. 

    All history is really family history, one generation after another. With each find comes a sense of belonging to something much bigger than this day, this time, this place. Indeed, with family history we find ourselves in what might just be called good company.