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.

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