Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Temperance Westwood

  • Name: Temperance Westwood Moon
  • Born: August 19, 1839 Bromsgrove, England
  • Died: September 21, 1922 Farmington, Utah
  • Related through: Erin's grandmother Margaret Udy Hanni
 Temperance Westwood, daughter of Joseph Westwood and Ann Webley, was born August 19, 1839 at Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, England. At an early date, the family heard the gospel and joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1840. The grandmother was the first to leave England, and she came to Nauvoo alone. The family never heard from her again.

Early in the year of 1849, Joseph and Ann Westwood with some brothers and their eight children walked from Bromsgrove to Liverpool to board a sailing vessel for America. Some of the family got employment on the ship. The family started out with high hopes. One of the brothers composed a song on the ship called “The Tea,” and they all enjoyed singing it. But the journey proved to be a very trying one. They were fourteen weeks on the water, and the food supply ran low. One of the brothers died and was buried at sea. The mother was ill most of the time and had to remain on deck. She was carrying her ninth child.

One day on the ship as little ten-year-old Temperance was going down the steep stairs from the deck to get a fork for her mother to whom she had taken a plate of hot food, she was knocked to the bottom of the stairs by two men with a trunk who had failed to see her. She was hurt and compelled to remain in bed for several days. The trip was unpleasant in many ways. The ship encountered storms and was driven off its course. Many weeks were required to get back on its way again. The crew said they would rather take Mormon passengers than anyone else because they never had any accidents with Saints aboard. The ship sank on its way back to Liverpool.

At the mouth of the Mississippi River, the passengers were transferred to a steamer for the trip up the river to St. Louis. There was much rejoicing and thanksgiving for their safe arrival in the new land. Little did the Westwood family know the trials that awaited them.

It was the spring of the year, and the journey up the river on the steamer was a very pleasant one. The banks of the Mississippi were covered with green grass and flowers and looked very inviting to the weary passengers who had spent fourteen weeks on the water. Every day the steamer stopped for freight. One day Joseph Westwood, after helping put the freight aboard, lingered awhile on shore and the steamer started on without him. Seeing the steamer pull away from the shore, he ran along the shore behind, tried to get the captain to stop the boat but he would not. Temperance was afraid she would never see him again. But he came up river on the next steamer and joined his family.

When they reached St. Louis, they found that an epidemic of cholera was raging. On the first day of May 1849 a little daughter, Betsy Ann, was born to the new immigrants. The next day the father, Joseph Westwood, who had contracted cholera, died. On the fourth of May, the little infant daughter died also, and two days later the mother passed away. The cholera also took another little daughter, Patience.

Seven little children were left alone in the strange country, The children were taken into different homes in St. Louis. Some were adopted and some found employment. Temperance lived with a kind woman who gave her a foster home. As a little girl in St. Louis, which, at that time, was a small frontier town, Temperance had several experiences with the Indians. At this time there was a wall around the town and the people lived inside the wall and raised their crops on the outside. Among the chores that were assigned to Temperance was the task of bringing the vegetables from the field outside the wall to the house. These trips were very unpleasant for her as she lived in mortal fear of the Indians. One day the Indians held a sham battle outside the city. To Temperance, who thought it was a real battle, it was a very harrowing experience. On another occasion a blind Indian, who had been brought to the town many times to be killed because of his blindness but had always been taken back alive, came to the house where Temperance was living with a woman and demanded bread. Being alone and frightened, she told him that she did not have any. Guided by his sense of smell, he came into the house and picked up a loaf of bread which had just been baked. With the loaf in his hand, he chased the little girl around the house in one door and out the other. He was angry because she had told him an untruth. Luckily he finally stubbed his toe and Temperance ran to the neighbors. Later several Indians came back and entered the house. The woman with whom Temperance lived hid in a closet and Temperance also attempted to hide but they were both found. With a tomahawk, one of the Indians inflicted a severe gash on the little girl’s cheek and one above her eye. She always had these scars. The woman was also injured.

Field House in St. Louis

Temperance’s older sister, Mercy Westwood, who was 16 years old, obtained employment as cook in the home of Roswell Martin Field, father of Eugene Field, the famous poet. The Field family was in good circumstances and kept a considerable establishment, living in a three-story house in one of the best residential suburbs of the city. Roswell M. Field was a lawyer of considerable local note. He became famous for his representation of Dred Scott, the slave who sued for his freedom. One day when Temperance was visiting her sister, Mrs. Field came into the kitchen and Mercy explained to her that the eleven-year-old girl must find a place to stay. “I want you to stay here, “she said to Temperance, “and take care of Eugene who is getting to be a big boy.” Little Eugene was then nine or ten months old. Later when another child, Roswell M., was born into the Field family, Temperance had the entire charge of Eugene, sleeping with him in the nursery and looking after him all day long. (The Field House in St. Louis is now a museum.)

Temperance remembered many things about her famous charge. At one time she took the child, dressed in his first little suit of clothes, to have his picture taken. The new suit was of black velvet, with a circular cloak that fell to his heels. He also had a black velvet hat with a feather to wear with it. The child was very large for his age, fair, with dark blue eyes and soft pliable light hair that was quite long for a baby. This fairness, Eugene Field kept up in later life. A newspaper story described him as “tall, slender, boyish, blonde and aggressive.”

Later, Temperance was to say of Eugene, “He seemed in spirit older than his body.” She also said that he clung to her, and that she could do anything with him. He was a good baby, large and healthy, and of a very inquiring disposition. One of his favorite tales was “Puss in Boots.” Temperance recalls particularly that in the last months of her care for him, when the child was in his fourth year, how he loved stories. Mrs. Field often gave her money to buy fairy tales to read to Eugene. These she loved as well as the little boy.

Mrs. Field was a very particular woman, insisting that the best of care must be given her children. She did not like nicknames, so the boys were called by their full names: Eugene and Roswell. Mr. Field, a lawyer, was very fond of his children and used to come to the nursery to play with his boys oftener than the nurse liked. He was a great smoker and Temperance remembers seeing him striding up and down the parlors declaiming some speech he was about to make.

In 1853, when Temperance was nearly fourteen years old, she left the Field home in St. Louis to cross the plains with her brother in the William Atkinson Company. It was with great regret that she parted with the little boy she had so learned to love. The many experiences of the strange and full life in the West caused her to lose sight of her charge, whose mother soon after died and the family was broken up. But she was to hear from him again.

The trip across the plains was a weary one for the young girl. The oxen pulled the wagon and Temperance and her brother walked until a painful stone bruise on her heel made it necessary for her to ride part of the time until it broke and healed up. The pioneer train was met by a company of soldiers who had been sent from Salt Lake. The arrival of the soldiers was a happy experience to the weary travelers. The men were so light-hearted and full of fun that they danced and showed the travelers the time of their lives. Temperance never forgot this happy experience or one of the soldiers.

Temperance Moon house in Farmington
 Upon reaching the valley, the Westwoods first went to Springville. Very soon, at the age of sixteen, Temperance was married to Henry Moon on March 18, 1856 in Salt Lake City. He was Bishop of the First Ward in Salt Lake from 1856 to 1870 and later was Bishop of the Woodland Ward. He had joined the church in 1838 and had left Liverpool June 6, 1840 with the first company of Saints to leave England and sail for America. He had married Lydia Moon, daughter of Matthias Moon, in Pennsylvania. He had gone to Nauvoo and crossed the plains in 1850. He was 20 years older than Temperance, but she was an orphan in a strange country and though young had had a great deal of experience. Henry’s first wife, Lydia, was like a mother to Temperance and, as she grew older, they were like sisters. Lydia was to die a young woman and Temperance nursed her in her illness with loving care. They lived together in Salt Lake for a time and then a farm was purchased in North Farmington and a log house was built just north of the present day meeting house. Here in one large room with a shed on the north with one enclosed bedroom for the boys, Temperance was to raise 13 children.

Shortly before Lydia’s death, Henry married Mary Ann Thayne and moved her to Woodland where he had a farm. At one time Henry wanted to move Temperance and her family to Woodland so he could have his two families together but, now comfortable in a four-room adobe home with her beloved roses and trees and garden, she felt it too much to leave. She had moved enough. In 1888 Henry suffered a stroke which rendered him an invalid for the last six years of his life. Temperance nursed him until his death on November 14, 1894.

Temperance had little opportunity for a formal education. She went to school in England until she was ten when her family left for America. There was no school for her after that but she was not uneducated. She loved to read and did a great deal of it. Her book case was full of encyclopedias, classics, fiction, periodicals, letters and clippings. She raised fruit, flowers, chickens and a garden. There was always milk, butter, cream, eggs, fruit and vegetables. She was a sweet-faced, gentle-voiced little stooped lady with snowy white hair parted in the center and combed back into a bob on the back of her head. She had a ready smile and went about her work always humming a tune and knew and sang many little English songs she had learned as a child. Most every morning she could be seen with a hoe bending over a row of lettuce or a bed of pansies. Her window sills were lined with pink geraniums and wandering Jew.

When the first Primary organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized, many of her children were enrolled. The records of that first Primary showed that Rowane, Henry Moroni, Edmund and Phillip were members. The records also show that Orson, son of Mary Ann and an Armond (perhaps Amanda) were also members.
Temperance and some of her daughters and daughters-in-law.
Newspaper article about Temperance and Eugene 1910
In 1891, having read and learned to love the poems of Eugene Field, Temperance wrote to him and asked him if he were the little Eugene she had cared for and if he remembered her. He responded with warmth to her letter saying he remembered his nurse very well and inquired about her family and mutual friends. Many letters passed between them and the correspondence only terminated at his death. The following is a copy of a letter Mr. Field wrote:

Dear Mrs. Moon:
Your letter pleased me very much indeed. I send you a copy of a picture of my mother and myself—a copy of one made when I was a little baby. Please tell me whether it looks natural to you. The Pomeroy girls, Mary and Stella, are both married. Mary lives here in Chicago, and has no children. Stella lives in St. Louis and has a large family. My Aunt Belle is now a widow, living in Swanzey, N.H. She married a farmer named Angier. I married in 1875, and we have three children living, a girl of 15 and boys aged 12 and 9. We have lost two boys and one girl. My brother is married but has no children. He is one of the editors of the Kansas City Star. I shall try to send you a picture of my father if I can get a copy made of one we have. Do let me hear from you often. Your letter interested me very much. God bless you.
Ever sincerely yours,

Eugene Field
420 Fullerton Avenue, Chicago
May 13, 1891

 She said, “if he had lived, I believe he would have come to see me.” He sent her a picture with the inscription “Francis Field and her baby Eugene Field taken in 1851” and asked her to write him if she remembered it. She did and many interesting letters followed.

Temperance's youngest child, Franklin, died at the age of three, but the other twelve grew up and married and had families. She lived to see her great-great grandchild. She died September 21, 1922 at the age of 83 years.

This article was written by Helen Potter Severson, a granddaughter. It can be found in the book The Family of Henry Moon: Mormon Pioneer 1819-1894.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Eli Chase

  • Name: Eli Chase
  • Born: November 9, 1808 Ellisburg, New York
  • Died: February 20, 1851 Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Related through: Dan's grandfather Lynn Crookston

Eli Chase was born November 9, 1808 at Ellisburg, Jefferson, New York. He was the fifth of twelve children born to Stephen Chase and Orryanna Rowe. Eli's father fought in the War of 1812 and was rewarded with land in the Military Tract of Illinois. When Eli was twelve years old, the Chase family began the long journey to the frontier. They traveled by boat down the Allegheny and Ohio and up the Mississippi, Illinois and Spoon Rivers. Arriving in 1821, they were among the first settlers of Lewistown, Fulton, Illinois.

Ten years later, Eli and most of his family members joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 1832, the Chase family moved to Jackson County, Missouri to join other church members who were gathering there. Eli was twenty-three. The family built a home in the Whitmer Settlement, but twenty months later, a mob attacked their home and forced the family to flee. Taking the shortest route out of the county, Eli went down to the South Grand River, in what is now Cass County, and built a cabin. It was not long before he was forced to leave. He went to Clay County, but persecution continued.

The Church was able to obtain land in the newly formed county of Caldwell. There the Mormons established the city of Far West and other communities. Eli arrived at Far West in the fall of 1836 and was soon appointed as a sergeant in the Caldwell County Militia. Trouble between the Mormons and antagonistic Missourians escalated until the Battle of Crooked River occurred in October of 1838. A few men were killed and Eli was shot in the leg. A few months later, the people were forced to abandon their homes and flee into Illinois.

In the town of Quincy in 1839, Eli joined many others in petitioning the government to compensate them for loss of property and for the religious persecution they suffered while being driven from place to place for seven years. Those losses were never recovered.

Eli was ordained a Seventy on April 6, 1839 and soon left on a two-year mission for the Church. He traveled up into Canada and back down to New York. While in Madison County, New York, the thirty-two-year-old bachelor met and fell in love with Olive Hills, who was seven years younger. They were married July 25, 1840 in East Hamilton where they resided until after the birth of their first child.

In July of 1841, Eli took his wife and child to Nauvoo, Illinois where he served as one of the presidents of the 27th Quorum of Seventies. During the Nauvoo period, the Mormons drained the wetlands and created an impressive city with a beautiful temple. Converts flocked there from the East and from Europe until it was one of the largest cities in Illinois. Perhaps due to the influx, persecution and mob violence escalated until leader Joseph Smith was murdered. Under the leadership of Brigham Young, the people prepared to go west.

The exodus from Nauvoo took place in stages. In February of 1846, people began crossing the Mississippi River and established a camp on the Iowa side at Sugar Creek. An advance company was sent ahead to improve roads and bridges and locate campsites. Apparently, Eli had a teamster assignment with this advance group. Leaving his wife and child in Nauvoo, he set out on a 45 day journey to help get the exodus started. He was released at the Chariton River and returned to get his family.

After more than two months of travel across Iowa, the family arrived at Council Bluffs on June 17, 1846. A few weeks later, a second daughter, Olive, was born there. Because the land around Winter Quarters (Omaha) would not support all the people arriving, they were encouraged to spread out. It appears from the writings of Eli that the Chase families spent the winter in what became Fremont County, Iowa. Hundreds of the pioneers died that winter, including Eli's father. In the spring, Eli moved his widowed mother and other family members closer to Council Bluffs where they stayed two more winters in a cabin that was given to them.

After much preparation, the Chase family made the trip across the plains, arriving at the Great Salt Lake on August 25, 1849. In the group were Eli, his wife Olive, daughters Harriet and Olive, a baby girl, Helen (born along the way), his mother, a brother and a sister. Eli moved his family into a little adobe house on Block 17 that he purchased for $60.00. Life in Utah Territory was short for Eli. He died of consumption February 20, 1851 at the age of forty-two. He was buried in Bishop Edward Hunter's family plot in the Salt Lake City Cemetery, but there is no marker for him.

Autobiography of Eli Chase

In the year 1820 I accompanied my father, mother and family when they emigrated from the state of New York to Fulton County, Illinois, about 2000 miles journey and formed the town of Lewistown where we resided till the year 1831. In February 1831 I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints by Elder Sumner. In April 1831, we started for Jackson Co., Missouri, and settled 12 miles northwest of Independence, where we lived until the hand of persecution drove the Saints out of Jackson County in November 1833. We then settled in the County of Clay until the same restless and remorseless spirit of persecution drove us into the county of Caldwell in the fall of 1836. And we stayed there until 18 January 1839 being banished by the State, through the extermination order of Governor Lilburn W. Boggs, having with the rest of my family undergone the horrors of the persecution of the Saints in that state.

In the morning of November 1838 I received a rifle ball in the lower part of my left thigh which entirely disabled me from doing any kind of work thru that winter. I was in company when David W. Patten, Patterson O. Banion and Jared Carter were killed. I caught D.W. Patten in my arms when he was shot, and he said "let me down for I am shot all to pieces". I replied "I have just received a flesh wound in my thigh". I was placed upon a horse, my brother Darwin held my leg from the saddle to prevent its rubbing the saddle. We travelled to Log Creek where all the wounded were left. A wagon was sent to my assistance and I was taken to Far West. On 18 January 1839 we started for Quincey, Illinois.

On 12 January 1839 I was ordained an Elder in Caldwell, under the hands of Joseph Smith, Sen. and Brigham Young, and on April 6, 1839 I was ordained one of the Seventies by the direction of President Joseph Young in the 1st Quorum of the Seventies and on May 27, 1839 I took my first mission, preaching by the way into Canada, from thence into the State of New York and returned to Nauvoo July 3, 1841 being absent more than two years, having traveled upward of 3000 miles. Preached sermons and baptized eight persons. On the 15 June 1845 I was called from the 3rd Quorum and ordained one of Presidents of 27th Quorum under the hands of Pres. Joseph Young and J.D. Lee.

I married Olive Hill July 25, 1840 in East Hamilton, New York and by her have one child named Harriet L. Chase.

[Source: Seventies Record, 27th Quorum, p. 11 (Nauvoo, Illinois 1845), LDS Church Archives, FHL Film 25,555; Transcribed from microfilmed original 27 February 2006 by Colleen Helquist. Paragraphs added for clarity. No other changes.] Thank you to Colleen Helquist who provided this history on her RootsWeb page.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Patison Griffeth

  • Name: Patison Griffeth
  • Born: January 3, 1824 Bury, New York
  • Died: May 11, 1901 Star Valley, Wyoming
  • Related through: Dan's grandmother Elvira Wilde Langford
Patison Griffeth was the son of Judah and Mariah Rockwell Griffeth. He was born January 3,1824 at Bury township (Berritown), Orleans, New York. After his parents accepted the gospel, he was baptized on April 7, 1841 in Amherst, Ohio at the age of seventeen.

When he was twenty, he walked a great distance to attend the funeral of the Prophet Joseph Smith. He also attended the meeting where Brigham Young received the mantel of Joseph Smith. He was the only one of his family who followed Brigham Young and later went west. Patison married Elizabeth Carson in Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois on April 26, 1846. In 1850 mobs attacked a town where they were living. Patison hid his family in a corn patch praying that their lives would be spared. Due to persecutions they made plans to go West. They crossed the plains with the Garden Grove Company/Walton Company in 1851. After crossing the plains they began to settle Fairfield, Utah. He and Elizabeth had eight children.

In 1860 they were called on a "settling mission" by Brigham Young to settle Hyde Park, Cache County. He married a second wife Sarah Roberts on Feb. 7, 1863 at Hyde Park and they had nine children. Patison was the first councilor to Bishop Hyde. He was a great pioneer, a builder, carpenter, a talented musician and violin teacher. His carpentry skills were appreciated by his family and community. He was also known for his great dancing. He was 5 ft. 11 inches tall, with blue eyes and dark brown hair. He was stately, neat and kind. He taught the principles of the gospel without scolding, yet he was firm. He had a great sense of humor and enjoyed a good joke. He died May 11, 1901 at the home of his wife Sarah, in Star Valley, Wyoming and was buried at Grover, Lincoln, Wyoming.
Back: L.-R: Urmina Griffeth (Hyde), Louisa Griffeth (Seamon), Marinda Griffeth (McOmber, Clark), Lovina Griffeth (Thurman), our ancestor Mary Griffeth (Hyde). Front: L-R: Patison D. Griffeth (Father) with his wife Elizabeth C. Griffeth, Pheobe Griffeth Hyde, and George Andrew Griffeth.
Thanks to John Pratt for providing this history and photos on his family website.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hans Nadrian Chlarson

  • Name: Hans Nadrian Chlarson
  • Borm: January 17, 1834 Södraville, Sweden
  • Died: November 10, 1910 Thatcher, Arizona
  • Related through: Dan's grandfather Heber Otto Langford
Hans was born on a cold January 17, 1834, in a little cottage named Föglahusset (meaning "the birdhouse"), during the day there were approximately six and one-half hours of daylight. The sun probably came up about 10:00 a.m. in the morning and went down about 4:30 in the afternoon. Hans’ father, Nils Claesson, was a farm worker on the large estate of Rydsgärd, located in Södraville (now Ville) in the Lan (county) of Malmöhus, Province of Skane. His mother’s name was Anna Persdotter. His parents were married in Krykluddinge in 1824.

Hans was the fourth son of Nils and Anna Claesson. In the early nineteenth century the infant mortality rate was very high in Sweden. If a family had ten children, they would be very fortunate if six lived to reach the age of fifteen. This high mortality rate for infants may have contributed to the custom of christening babies as soon after birth as possible. Most children were christened on the same day they were born. Usually close relatives would participate as witnesses, and often the one carrying the child to the altar would be the grandmother. Two of the participants would be godparents who would take the place of the parents if the parent’s should die. The Lutheran Church was the State Church of Sweden, and all births, marriages, and deaths were required to be recorded in that church. Indeed, in 1834 it was illegal in Sweden for anyone to belong to any church but the Lutheran Church.

Hans’ christening may not have been one of those normal, family-centered christenings. There was no one at the christening close to the family. The parish minister entered Han’s parentage as Nils Claesson and Anna Pehrsdotter. However, one of the most persistent of our family traditions is that Hans was the adopted child of Anna and Nils Claesson and that his real parents were of the nobility of Sweden.

While Hans was still alive he wrote a short history of his life that covered the years from his birth to the time the family left Utah to go to Arizona. His opening paragraph to this history would indicate that the adoption tradition might be true:

I, Hans Nadrian R. (Chlarson) was born in Sodra-Villea, Malmolan, Sweden of G. R. and H. H. on the 17th of January, 1834. 1 moved with my father and mother, Nils Chlarson and Anna Chlarson from place to place for seventeen years. I worked for my living in different kinds of trades. My schooling was very limited. Most of my teaching came from my mother.

This paragraph reveals that he was born of a G. R. and H. H. on the 17th of January. Latter-day -Saint ward records consistently give his birthday as the 17th of January, but his christening record says he was born and christened on the 19th of January in Foglehuset, a house under the estate Rysgard.

The clerical records of the family which were taken in the Malmöhus Lan (county) parishes of Södraville (now Ville), Oja and Oja Garden all give his birth date as the 19th. However, the Lund, Sweden, Branch records, in which his baptism into the LDS Church is recorded, gives his birthday as the 17th of January. Notice, too, that he puts his name "Chlarson" in parenthesis, as if it were an alias. The name of the owners of the estate where he was born was Hallenborg. Was there a daughter of the Hallenborg’s who might have been his real mother?

The story of Hans’ so called "real" parentage as circulated among descendants of Hans is that his mother and father were secretly married, and when the parents of the girl discovered that she was married, they locked her up until Hans was born. When the baby was born, the family wanted to hide the birth, so they sought a "wet nurse" to care for the child until they could decide how to handle the problem. Anna Claesson, who lived in the cottage "Folgahuset", had just had a child who apparently died either at or soon after birth. She became the "wet nurse". Details are blurred, but sometime between his birth on the 17th of January and the 19th of January the decision was made that the child would be adopted into the family of cottager Nils Claesson and his wife, Anna Persdotter. There is quite a bit of evidence to support the theory that Hans was adopted.

Albert Chlarson, one of Hans’ sons said, “I was going to tell you about his (Hans’) mother that raised him. The only mother that he ever knew but it was not his real mother. But he was her favorite son. She stayed with him, and she died at his place (in Granite, Utah) and when she was very sick, he said, "Mother, who was my real mother?" and she looked up all him and kind of grinned and he said, "Was it where we used to go and get the food?" But she just kind smiled and closed her eyes and that was that.

Albert related that Nils Claesson would go away from home for a few days, and when he would return, he would be drunk and loaded with money. The family thought that Hans’ real father was paying for the boy’s support and education. The money apparently went other places. Albert seemed to think Nils Claesson was something of a scoundrel. Albert also said that in later years, after coming to Utah, Hans returned to Sweden to pick up an inheritance.

Charlotte Langford said that her grandmother, Johanna Charlotte Scherlin, told her that when Hans was a young boy, his mother would take him to a park where a well-dressed man and woman would play with him.

Class structure is still very tight in Sweden, but it was even tighter when Hans lived there. This "categorizing" of people into classes extends in Sweden even to the giving of names. A Swedish researcher helping the author with her research said that only the middle class and upper class give their children more than one name and suggested that Hans might have been an illegitimate child. She thought is likely that the adoptive parents were paid to take the child as their own and then leave the parish, and that the parish minister was paid to record him as their child in the parish record. This was often done when people wanted to get rid of an illegitimate child.

After much research there is no conclusive evidence on who Hans biological mother was but Hans seemed to be quite sure his real father was the Grefve (Baron) Gustav Hans Ruht, the G. R. of his brief history. Later on in Hans’ life, Baron Ruht helped him to get some schooling.

As for the baby boy being christened on that cold winter day — his station in life was, within two days, reduced from riches to rags if indeed he was adopted. His christening was unusual, too, in that as far as can be ascertained, the usual "family" was missing. Nils Claesson’s mother was dead, but Anna’s mother was still living in 1834. The witnesses and the one who carried the child had apparently all been pulled in from neighboring farmhouses to act as witnesses. But from that day on, as far as church records were concerned, Hans' mother was Anna Pehrsdotter, and his father was Nils Claesson. He came equipped with three older brothers, and from all indications, Hans was very close to his brothers and to his mother.

Anna Claesson was the one who raised him. It was her line, and that of his father Nils Claesson, which Hans followed when he did genealogy work. While the story of his blood lineage is probably true, any woman can give birth. Nurturing is true mothering, and that is what Anna Claesson gave to Hans.

In Sweden if one is born into a certain class, it is difficult to rise above that class. There was only one group of people poorer than the husman (or cottager), which was his father’s vocation, and that was the skögstörpare who farmed the forest (woodcutter, lumbermen). Husman is the term for a farm worker. A husman sometimes owned his own home but no ground. He was a laborer. There is no indication that Nils and Anna Claesson ever owned a home. More likely they belonged to that huge class of workers who wandered from farm to farm seeking work.

The same year that Hans was born (1834) his family moved from the parish of Villie to the parish of Oja, where two more children were born into the family. They then moved to the city of Ystad to find work in the city.

Workers moving into the city from the country usually found life even grimmer than it was in the country. Sweden’s cities and towns were very small during the nineteenth century, and life there was not too different from the farm village, expect for the density of the population, which led to increased problems. The crowded conditions in the cities often forced large families to live in a room no larger than 10’ by 10’, which had to act as the kitchen and eating area as well as the place where the mother and the daughters would do sewing on commission. Also fathers and young boys often worked long hours, leading to child labor laws in 1852.

This change was too late to help Hans and his older brothers who, by that time, had moved with the family to Copenhagen, an even larger city, where conditions could not have been better and were probably much worse. That he worked hard while a youth might be reflected in Hans’ short statement from his history: "I worked for my living in many trades. My schooling was very limited."

Hans may have gone to Denmark around the time he met Grafve Hans Ruht. He writes: In 1851, I went to a foreign land. [Denmark?] On my journey, I met for the first time Grafve Hans Ruht, who gave me means to travel in the foreign lands, where I obtained some schooling. I studied dentistry and after my schooling I returned to the land of my forefathers.

If this G. R. was the one who Hans indicates "he was born of," Grafve Ruht may have at this time made it possible for Hans to improve his lot by obtaining a way to earn a living. Why did this schooling involve "means to travel in the foreign lands"? It looks like Grafve Hans Ruht may have arranged for Hans to become apprenticed to a dentist.

After Hans returned to Sweden, he practiced dentistry. I tried to find out what dentistry was like in the 1850’s but I was unable to find any descriptions of this field. But if it was similar to dentistry in the U.S. it largely consisted of extraction of teeth. If dentistry was as lucrative an occupation as it is today, it may have been during the next three years while practicing his profession in Lund that he acquired a knowledge of photography and was able to purchase the equipment to pursue that hobby, which must have been expensive as the science of photography was in its infancy. Hans later earned his living as a photographer. He says of his activities since his return from Denmark to Sweden:

Three years later I met two Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who explained the scriptures to me. The Lord, God of Israel, acted on my soul so that I decided to lead a better life, and in the month of April, 1857, I was baptized for the forgiveness of my sins and received the gift of the Holy Ghost under the hands of the Elders. This was in a place called Lund, Sweden, and soon after that I was sent out to preach the gospel as an Elder.

His brothers, Nils and Pehr were baptized on the same day as Hans- April 18, 1857. His mother was baptized in Copenhagen by Elder Bergenstule on September 21 of the same year.

The church emigration system had been set up and in order to make the adjustment to living in a foreign land, the missionaries had started English classes throughout the Scandinavian mission because the Saints had been instructed to gather to Utah as rapidly as they possibly could. This may have been where Hans learned to speak English.

When he was called on a mission, Hans gave up his work as a dentist, packed his bag, and departed for his field of labor. In 1861 he was laboring in the Karlskrona, Bleking Lan area.

Meanwhile, Hans’ brother Pehr had moved to Vestervik, Kalmar Lan, Sweden, where he worked as a cooper or barrel maker. He apparently was successful as he hired several men to work for him. He did missionary work as a member in the surrounding countryside teaching the gospel. He was of great help to the missionaries who were called to labor in his area. He emigrated to Utah in 1879, which was 15 years after his brother Hans and his mother Anna had emigrated.

It was when he was on his mission in Karlskrona that Hans met his future wife, Johanna Charlotta Scherlin. Johanna and her mother were receptive to the message of the restored Gospel. However, the "Mormons" were not looked upon with any more favor in Karlskrona than other places where the missionaries served. When the Schelin brothers found that their mother and their sister wanted to join the Church, they absolutely forbade it. They threatened to send the women to an insane asylum if they persisted with their foolishness. Nevertheless, Johanna was baptized February 1, 1861 and her mother, Ulrika Lovisa Scherlin, was baptized January 22, 1862.

Johanna was 29 years of age; Hans was two years her junior. The young couple must have fallen in love while Hans was teaching the gospel to Johanna and her mother, because they were married on September 20, 1861.

The young couple and Johanna’s mother left Karlskrona and moved to Rbnneby, Blekinge. It was there that their first child was born, Heber Otto. (Our ancestor.) Soon after Hans sent is family to Utah and he stayed to earn more money for the trip.

According to Hans’ sons Albert and Hyrum Rudolph, after Hans sent his mother-in-law and his wife and son to America, he went to Germany where war had begun with Denmark over the possession of Schleswig-Holstein. His purpose was to earn enough money to go to Utah by taking pictures of the war and selling them to newspapers. The war between Denmark and Germany did not end until 1866 when the province of Schleswig-Holstein was given back to Germany in the Treaty of Vienna. But Hans had apparently accomplished his purpose by July 1864, for soon after he left for America.

Hans had also sent his mother, Anna Claesson, to America. She sailed on the ship "Monarch of the Sea" May 16, 1861. Ulrika Scherlin (mother-in-law) left the Skane Conference in the spring of 1862 and sailed on the "Athena" from Hamburg on April 21 the same year.

Hans’ personal history says of his trip across the Atlantic: In Feb. 1864 I went to Germany and back again in July the same year. Soon after I left for America . . . We had a shipwreck and were put ashore in Ireland. I started traveling again and finally in October, 1864, I arrived in New York after many harrowing difficulties.

What Hans did not realize at that time was that his "harrowing difficulties" were not over. We do not know what hotel he went to in New York City, but hotel room was broken into, his valise cut open, and his hard-earned savings of $2,000 were stolen. He was stranded in a large metropolitan city without any money.

Hans had a friend who had immigrated to New York City. Somehow he found his way to this friend, who assured him that he could get him a job with the Union Army as the Civil War was being fought at this time in America. This "friend" felt that since Hans spoke so many different languages, he would be useful as an interpreter to the Union Army. Hans was put on a troop train and told that the Army would tell him what to do when the train got to its destination.

When the train arrived (probably in Virginia), in October 1864, the men, including Hans, were told to line up and names were called out. Hans’ name was not called. He was left standing alone. When they found his name on the rolls, he discovered that his "friend" had sold him as a "substitute" for a rich man’s son for $2,000 or so dollars. You can imagine his fury. The officer in charge was sympathetic. He told Hans he could do one of two things: he could serve his time or he could desert. If he went out West, they might never catch up with him. Hans did not want to start his American experience as a deserter, so he went into the Union Army.

Congress had passed the first conscription law for the United State on March 3, 1863. "It was a most imperfect law." A draftee could commute service in any particular call for $300. Or he could evade service during the entire war by procuring a substitute to enlist for three years no matter whether the substitute died or was killed or deserted the next day. The system was inequitable for the poor. Riots occurred in New York City. Before they were quelled, hundreds of lives had been lost. An already busy army restored order. "Substitute" brokers came into existence. The brokers would line up poor men to act as substitutes and then encourage them to desert as soon as possible and start the process again. These were called "Bounty Jumpers" and sometimes were enlisted thirty times or more before being caught. Sometimes the brokers would go to Europe and line up poor men who were willing to serve in the Army as a means of emigrating to America. It the South the situation was as bad or worse. The brokers even kidnapped men off the street. By 1863 the Confederate Government outlawed substitution. The Union Army, however, continued the practice until the end of the war.

Hans’ personal history described his experiences in the Civil War as follows: In New York I was put into military service to fight in the Civil War between the North and South. I stood in many bloody fights, thousands and thousands fell on both sides in battle. I was promoted from Private to Lieutenant. As Lieutenant I was in command of the 8th Co. 7th Reg. 3rd Brigade, lst Divn. I was wounded in my left leg and left shoulder and in April 1865 I was taken to a Washington Hospital where I stayed until August; leaving there on crutches I went to New York in Sept. where I worked as a dentist.

He was enrolled in October 1864, in Company H, 7th Regiment, N. Y. Vols. This was an infantry regiment. He was discharged honorably at Washington, D.C. in December 1865. He further states that he was "unable to earn a support by reason of an injury of the left leg or thigh supposed to have been caused by a fragment of a shell which struck me in battle at Southside Rail Road rendering me insensible." Hans limped as a result of his wounds the rest of his life.

After getting out of the service Hans went back to New York, and found his Swedish "friend" and beat him soundly. For this satisfaction, he was jailed for several days.

Hans’ life story says that he worked as a dentist in New York after his army service. He may have realized that it was too late in the year to catch a Church emigration oxen train for Salt Lake City. The last train would have left by the time he was released from the hospital. He records in his personal history:

In December I went to St. Joseph, MO., and then from place to place all over America. I went to Jackson, Co., Missouri, and to Nauvoo, Illinois, where I met Joseph Smith’s wife, who had fallen from the church. Finally I came to Salt Lake City, Utah on the 6th of October, 1866, and embraced my wife and son for whom my heart had longed.

The next year the Union Pacific Railroad pushed farther west, and 1866 was the last year that the Saints had to walk across the plains from St. Joseph to Salt Lake City.

Within ten years after arriving in the Salt Valley Hans had made and lost a fortune. He entered into polygamy which both he and Johanna looked upon as a commandment of the Lord. When persecution against the practice of polygamy became acute in Utah, he moved his families to Thatcher, Arizona, where he owned a sawmill business and also built homes throughout the area. The high point in his life was being called to be Stake Patriarch in 1900. He died November 10, 1910, and Johanna Charlotta died August 15, 1915. They are buried in the Thatcher, Arizona cemetery.

This history was researched and written by Ida-Rose Langford Hall. Taken from her paper, THE VIKING IN US From Sweden to America (1832-1866): The Life Story of Hans Nadrian Chlason and Johanna Charlotta Scherlin. It was rather long so I abridged it, but you can read the whole thing here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Thomas Hewlett Wilde

  • Name: Thomas Hewlett Wilde
  • Born: January 20, 1841 Bishopstoke, England  
  • Died: December 13, 1920 Blackfoot, Idaho
  • Related through: Dan's grandmother Elivra Wilde Langford
Thomas Hewlett Wilde was born January 20, 1841 in Bishopstoke, Hampshire, England, the eldest son of Henry Brown Wilde and Sarah Hewlett, and was christened July 18, 1841 there in Bishopstoke.

Thomas accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ as taught by Elder Thomas B. H. Stenhouse of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He was baptized 30 July 1849 at the age of 8 while living in England.

Thomas Hewlett Wilde’s family accepted the call to gather with the other saints in Salt Lake City, Utah. On January 6, 1851 Thomas, his grandmother Jane Brown Wilde, his parents Henry and Sarah, and brothers and sisters set sail for America on the “Ellen Marie” bound for New Orleans. Another sister was born on the ship.

After arriving in New Orleans, the family remained there for a time to work and save money to buy the supplies they required to continue their journey west. In the summer of 1852, they started the next leg of their journey to Utah. They bought passage on a steamship that took them up the Missouri River. At that time, Thomas’ grandmother caught malarial fever and passed away. They had to bury her in Jackson County, Missouri and continue on.

They traveled north to Council Bluffs and from there crossed the plains with their wagon, team of oxen, and one cow. Along the way, while camped near the Platte River, Thomas’ brother Henry climbed up a tree near the camp. Tragically, he fell out of the tree and died of his injuries. They buried him the next morning and had to continue on again. Losing his grandmother and his little brother must have been a great trial for Thomas.

They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in September of 1852. They moved around some for a few years after that, finally settled in Chalk Creek which later became known as Coalville, Utah located in Summit County in 1859.

Thomas met and married his first wife Martha Elmina Norton June 15, 1862 in Coalville, Utah. Martha was born September 12, 1846 in Keosaugua, Van Buren, Iowa and died June 15, 1885 at the age of 38 in Mink Creek, Idaho. She was the daughter of Alanson Norton and Sarah Maria Sally Freeman. Alonson was a close friend of Brigham Young. Thomas and Martha had seven children: Thomas Henry, Albert Alonson, Jacob Henry, Lawrence Brown, Milton Leonard, Louise Elmina, and Emma Marie.

At that period of time in the church, there were select members of the church who were asked to take part in plural marriage. Thomas was one of these men asked to take marry more than one wife. He also married Louisa Jane Carter and Sarah Jensen.

The early years of Thomas Hewlett Wilde’s married life were spent in Brigham City, Utah which is the birthplace of some of his children but they later moved to Mink Creek, Idaho where he helped set up a sawmill up in the mountains. While there, the remainder of his children were born.

Thomas later moved his family to the Grays Lake valley to the small settlement of Wayan in Bannock County, Idaho. Thomas’ youngest child Evelyn recalled the following about this area: “In this very beautiful valley, in the shadow of the great Caribou Mountain, with its rolling, green hills, blue lakes, and meadows covered with wild flowers, its bright glowing autumns and its immense quantities of snow covering everything with glistening whiteness in winter, he made for us a wonderful home. The valley was noted for its wild-hay ranches, and his was one of the largest. The rich soil produced fine vegetables in the gardens, and the mountains not far away afforded many kinds of berries. I remember, especially, the huckleberries which we, as a family, would gather. Yes, this was free and happy living.”

There in Wayan, Thomas was called as the superintendent of the Sunday School , a position he held for 35 years until moving away from Wayan. He was also the superintendent of the school and the postman there. He was the first to get a telephone in his home in that area, though many others soon followed and thus the community was then linked closer together.

Thomas later moved his family to Blackfoot, Idaho and in January 1914, they moved to Salt Lake City, Utah. In the last years of his life, he returned to Blackfoot where he passed away December 13, 1920 at the age of 79 and was buried there December 18.

Evelyn recalls the following of life with her father and their large family: “What does one remember most about a great man - his success, his many accomplishments? What really goes into the making of a great man? Through the eyes of his fellow - men it is often the mark he makes in life, but through the eyes of a daughter, it is much more. It is his kindness, his consideration, his love and tenderness. It is the twinkle in his eyes, his pleasant smile, the memory of a song, heartfelt and loving, which he sang. It is the touch of his hand, the memory of his advice, his voice gentle and blended with love and compassion. It is his unfailing wisdom, the comfort which he provided. It is, also pride in his success and accomplishments. All of these wonderful, glorious things I remember about a great man, for he was, also, my father.

“Thomas Hewlett Wilde, my father, was a man of culture, of intellectual refinement. His was the ability to win the admiration of all with whom he dealt, as well as the admiration and the love of his loved ones and friends, and to hold that love and admiration. His was the greatness that is recognized by our Heavenly Father. To obey His command, and to love Him more each day of his life, constantly serving Him, was my Father’s greatest joy. Because he was so close to our Heavenly Father, he was a man of great wisdom and abiding faith. Being and educated man, he was a school teacher in the early days, and had the privilege of being the first school teacher for a number of his children.”

Of growing up in a family with plural marriage, Evelyn wrote, “I have always greatly admired and loved my father for his constant loyalty, and for having the faculty and wisdom of holding us in oneness, and not as separate families, and of impressing us with the glorious purity of purpose. Joined by my mother, they taught us love, respect, and honor for each, and thus we grew up knowing and remembering the place of each one of our great family circle and, for, the most part their children. Distance was a barrier in those days, but this did not separate us in love and principle. In this great family circle were 20 children and 104 grandchildren. Each brother and sister, Aunt Sarah and Aunt Martha, I have loved and remembered.”

Living a life with plural marriage was not without trials and persecution. Another of Thomas’ children, Thomas Henry Wilde, recalls an incident that occurred soon after he got married, “There was a rap at our door one morning before daylight. I asked who was there, and the answer was, ‘United States Deputy Marshalls. Get up and let us in.’ When I opened the door they looked at me and said, ‘I think you are too young for the man we want.’ I saw that I didn’t have any chance at all to notify father, so I told them where one of his homes was, as I knew he wasn’t there. But somehow, they found out where he was and he and two others of the brethren were arrested that day. Their court was held at Blackfoot, Idaho, and they were convicted of having too many wives. When they went up later to receive their sentence, I took them up. One man who was called up just ahead of my father agreed to turn away one of his wives and be a free man. When father was called up, the judge said, ‘Mr. Wilde, you are quite an intelligent looking man; you heard what the man just before you is going to do. I think he is very wise and I hope you are of the same mind.’ Father said, ‘Mr. Judge, I don’t know as I have broken the law. I didn’t mean to, but I have two wives. I think just as much of one as I do of the other. If I should turn one away, the other would leave and I am too old to get any more, so I think I will keep them both.’ This caused a big laugh in the court, and father was sentenced to one year in Detroit, Michigan. He got two months off for good behavior, so he was gone ten months. We will just say that my mother died just before this, so there were just the two at this time.”

Thomas Hewlett Wilde had a great sense of humor. Evelyn wrote, “He had pet-names for each of his daughters. These he formed into a song, and arising early in the morning he sang this song to awaken us. It was so musical, however, that it often put us to sleep instead. I can still hear his chuckle as he went by the bedrooms, singing his happy song. One special song I remember which he so often sang, or hummed, was the dearly beloved church hymn, ‘Oh My Father.’ I remember this hymn was sung at his funeral, and I feel he was so pleased.

This story was compiled by Mary A., great great great grand-daughter of Thomas Hewlett Wilde’s uncle William Wilde. Thanks to Mary for making it available on her family history website.

Friday, September 10, 2010

John Andrew Turnbough

  • John Andrew Turnbough
  • Born: About 1740 in Alsace-Lorraine, France
  • Died: About 1846 in Fork Deer, Tennessee
  • Related through: Dan’s grandfather Heber Langford

John A. Turnbough originally immigrated to this country from Alsace-Lorraine, a small area now situated between Germany and France on the Rhine River. Alsace-Lorraine, is now part of France, but over the centuries it has been alternately part of Germany and France. I am not familiar enough with the history of the 18th century in Europe to know if Alsace was more French or German in the time of John Andrew Turnbough's birth. He was born there approximately 1740, but it is not known when he immigrated to Colonial America. He married a woman named Margaret around 1767 and lived in Chester, South Carolina. Margaret was born around 1740 in South Carolina. There they had a 150 acre farm on the Enora River. He later served in the Chester District Militia during the Revolutionary War, horseman duty under Colonel Edward Lacey in Captain Samuel Adams Company.

Some things we know about him:

1774 Received Royal Land Grant - 96th District - A John Turnbough purchased 150 acres from the Crown on Sept. 13, 1774 on the waters of the Renkey Creek, in South Carolina.

1781 Fought in the American Revolution from South Carolina.

1786 Lived in Greenville County, South Carolina. A John Turnbough was found purchasing a 323 acre tract of land on the Enorci River in district 96 in the state of South Carolina.

1790's Family traveled westward into the French Broad Valley of East Tennessee and Knoxville.

1795 Moved to Washington County, Kentucky

1796 Moved to Green County, Kentucky

1802 Moved to Adair County, Kentucky
He died about 1846 in Fork Deer, Tennessee and was buried in Fork Deer, Tennessee.
This information on John Andrew Turnbough and his wife Margaret (Marget) has been found from many sources on the Internet and the book, "The Texas Turnbo's" by Charles A. Turnbo. I found most of the information here.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

George White Pitkin

  • Name: George White Pitkin
  • Born: May 17, 1801 Hartford, Vermont
  • Died: November 26, 1873 Millville, Utah
  • Related through: Dan's grandfather Lynn Crookston

George Pitkin was born May 17, 1801 in Hartford, Windsor, Vermont, the youngest of ten children born to Paul Pitkin and Abigail Lathrop. His middle name, White, was the maiden name of his paternal grandmother. In 1819, the Paul Pitkin family moved to Hiram, Ohio to take up new land in the Western Reserve. There George met Amanda Eggleston, whose family arrived about the same time. They were married on February 8, 1829. During the early years of their marriage, George was appointed as sheriff of Portage County and when his father died in 1823, he was appointed as the administrator of the estate. While living in Hiram, the Pitkins were introduced to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as it grew in nearby Kirtland. On May 17, 1831, George was baptized by the Prophet Joseph Smith. His wife, Amanda, and his sisters, Laura and Abigail, also joined.

In 1832, the Pitkin family joined other church members in a move to Jackson County, Missouri, a designated gathering place. Having lost their first child, the family at that time consisted of George and Amanda, the two Pitkin sisters and Amanda's sister, Esther Eggleston. In Jackson County, George built a log house next to Peter Whitmer, Sr. in the Whitmer Settlement. Violence against the Mormons in Jackson County began with an attack on the Whitmer Settlement on October 31, 1833. A mob of fifty men tore off roofs and partially demolished ten houses. Researchers believe the Pitkin house was one of them. The mob beat some of the men and threw stones at women and children. The men fled for their lives and the women and children escaped into the woods. By mid-November, the Pitkins and many others had been driven from the county.

The Mormons crossed the river and spread out in a dozen different settlements in Clay County. It is not clear exactly where the Pitkins stayed that winter, but it was in the western part of the county.

The citizens of Clay County had been friendly and helpful, but eventually they asked the Mormons to leave so the area could avoid conflict. The Church had been able to purchase government land in the new county of Caldwell. The Pitkins traveled there and took up residence in the developing city of Far West for a three-year stay. A surviving record of Latter-day Saints living in the southwest quarter of Far West on March 25, 1838 includes George, Amanda and their children Martha, Ammon, and George. Also listed are sisters Laura and Abigail Pitkin and Esther Eggleston. In the summer of 1838, George Pitkin was elected sheriff of Caldwell County which had a population of 10,000. That position placed him in the middle of conflicts between the local mobs and the county militia, such as the Battle of Crooked River. Not long after, the extermination order of Governor Boggs forced the Mormons to abandon their settlements and move to Illinois.

In the spring of 1839, the Pitkins resided about 80 miles south of Nauvoo, but relocated shortly after. Records show that George had land holdings in Nauvoo, Illinois and in Lee County, Iowa, across the river. The 1840 census places them in Lee County, where they were listed as members of the Zarahemla Branch of the Church. In 1844, they were part of the Nauvoo 9th Ward, where George was ordained a high priest by Phineas Richards in December. Nauvoo grew into one of the largest communities in Illinois and a beautiful temple was completed, but anti-Mormon persecution continued. As conflict mounted, the Pitkins joined in the 1846 exodus. George took his young family across the Mississippi River where they managed to survive the winter. The winter of 1846-47 was spent along the Fox River in present-day Davis County, Iowa. It was there that Amanda and their youngest child died just days apart. George took his other children and moved on across Iowa where they spent the winter of 1847-48 near Kanesville. While there, George married Sarah Ann Huffman on November 14, 1847.

Sarah Ann Huffman was born July 5, 1827 to Hannah Johnson and George Huffman at Bertie, Ontario, Canada.  The Huffmans, originally spelled Hoffman, were of German descent. Sarah's mother and siblings learned of the Gospel and were later baptized. Geroge Huffman had died before this happened.  Later Sarah's family decided to join the main body of the church. Sarah Ann, at the age of nineteen, married a man twenty-six years her senior, and became a good mother to her husband's children. When Sarah Ann and George had been married about a year, preparations were made for the long and arduous trip across the plains to the valley of the Great Salt Lake Valley. They started out on the journey West with all their earthly possessions.  These were a span of oxen, one wagon, two cows, their food and seed, and the four children.

Sarah Ann was twenty years old and seven months pregnant with her first child.  Her baby was born in the "Black Hills" of Nebraska on July 30, 1848, two months after they set out on their journey. The tiny infant weighed four pounds and was named Harriet Vilate for a wife of Heber C. Kimball, in whose company they traveled.  (Heber C. Kimball was also a brother in-law to George, having married his sisters, Laura and Abigail.) Harriet Vilate was born in hostile Indian country on sacks of wheat laid crosswise for a mattress. The Pitkin family had to hide out and rest for three days, while the pioneer train moved on. When they started out again, they hid by day and traveled as fast as they could by night, until they rejoined the wagon train.

The travel-weary Pitkin family arrived in Utah in the fall of 1848. They located on Cottonwood creek, south of the fort.  During that winter many of the families were without food, shelter or fuel. For most, a wagon served as a dwelling during the coldest months and later an adobe hut, roofed with unseasoned lumber and thatched with hay or frozen mud. Food was scarce among the settlers. Sarah Ann used to take the children into the field s to gather sego bulbs, roots, or anything edible to balance out their slim diet.  The pioneers had to share scanty rations, so that no one would starve.  Before the next summer, all were housed in log or adobe dwellings.  The fort was broken up and the people moved onto their city lots. Sara Ann's mother, Hannah Johnson, eventually trekked across the plains with her children and other pioneers and arrived in Utah in 1852.  She lived out the remainder of her days in Coalville and died at the age of 82.

Eventually the Pitkin family moved to Ogden, Utah.  Brigham Young urged people to move and settle different areas of the state. The Pitkin family lived there for two years.  Their first son, Jay Leonard, was born in Ogden in 1850.  In 1852 George and his family decided to see what opportunities lay further west. The family traveled to Oregon, where a second son, Jacob, was born, but died soon thereafter. The family then went on into California for a time, but eventually returned to live in Ogden for another two years. Later the Pitkin family was called to settle in Cache Valley, Utah, to help manage the grazing lands for the church herds.

That first winter was very severe and many of the cattle froze to death.  The cabins were poor protection again the cold winter, and they had to keep the seed potatoes in bed with them in order to keep them from freezing. In the spring of 1860, they and two other families were called to locate on the present site of Millville, which was chosen since it provided better protection from marauding Indians. The Pitkins lived in Millville for the rest of their lives.  George mainly taught school, basically the three R's - "readin', 'ritin', and 'rithmetic".  He also did his church duties and farmed on a small scale.

George White Pitkin died thirteen years later on Nov. 26, 1873 at age 72.

George Pitkin's wife, Sarah Ann, lived on for another thirty years. After her husband's death, Sarah Ann boarded unmarried schoolteachers to help with her income. She worked in the first Relief Society and was set apart by her church to lay out the dead and prepare them for burial. She organized and ran the kitchen in the Logan Temple, which she did for seven years.  She served as a midwife all of her adult life, and was nurse or doctor whenever her services were needed. Sarah Ann knew every birth and death in the community, and in a day when public records were not kept, people would verify dates from her memory.  Sarah Ann eventually died at the age of 77, on Jan. 30, 1904 of sepsis from a rose thorn that had accidentally lodged in her finger.  She was buried next to her husband in the Millville cemetery.

Eliza R. Snow could pay no finer tribute on Dec. 7, 1858 in honor of George White Pitkin: "These lines, dear Brother George, I write to you, Seasoned with kindness, fresh with friendship's dew. Prompted by motives based on true respect, I beg you'll pardon what has seemed neglect. The self-same motives prompt me now to write, What friendship's impulse freely may indite. Your parentage, your kindred I have known, And your acquaintance I am proud to own. My earliest recollection wreaths entwine, When youth's associations I review, In retrospective I remember you. But change has wrought, since then, with mighty hand, And we are here far from our native land. We heard the gospel of eternal truth, And left the homes most dearly prized in youth. We've suffered toils and hardships to secure, A rich inheritance that will endure, Pure light and glory shining on our way, Which upward points to everlasting day. What is this life?  It is a transient thing, A bird of passage over on the wing, A running stream, a moment flitting by, A conduit opening to the worlds on high. What is this state compared with that to come? Here is our pilgrimage, and they're our homes, This is our school wherein the lessons given, If well applied will qualify for Heaven. The pruning time has come and we are here, On Zion's ship with God at helm to steer. How blessed are those who are privileged to dwell, Here with the chosen ones of Israel, To know the times and seasons as they fly, And understand events while passing by. Fear not the future or regret the past, Maintain the faith, which holds your courage fast. It matters not while here, if rich or poor, If we at last eternal life secure. A king in cog, a God in embryo, Must feel what suffering is, must taste the woe, Must treasure knowledge through experience here, For usefulness in an exalted sphere, For even Gods through suffering learn to feel To sympathize in fallen mortal's weal, Thus oft through human erring good proceeds, 'Tis wisdom's earnings, gained for future needs. Thus God to you the past will sanctify, And in your storehouse, wisdom multiply, That from your lips its volumes yet  may flow, And to your kindred words of life bestow. And your experience will prove richer far, Than golden mines and ocean's pearl beds are. God deals our various lessons, which are given To qualify on earth, for courts in Heaven."

Thank you to Colleen Helquist who provided this history on her RootsWeb page and to the person who wrote a very long note in Family Search.

Friday, September 3, 2010

David Morgan Williams and Elizabeth Richards

  • Name: David Morgan Williams
  • Born: May 18, 1832 Llansbdid, Breconshire, Wales
  • Died: October 23, 1924 Malad, Idaho
  • Related through: Erin's grandfather James Madson
David Morgan Williams was born at Llansbdid, Breconshire, Wales, on the 18th of May in the year of 1832. He was the son of Morgan and Ann Williams. His father died at the age of thirty-eight of scarlet fever, leaving his mother a widow with two sons, David and Edward. David's only sister, Ann, drowned when she was a small child. His mother came to this country and lived to be 81 years old. She died at Council Bluffs, Iowa, December 29, 1891.

David heard of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints when he was 16 years of age. He writes in his Journal --"I was 16 years of age, in my native land; one Sunday morning a woman came with a pamphlet in her hand and gave it to me. Its name was 'Yu hen grefydd', which means 'The Old New Religion.' I believed it for I wanted the religion that Christ taught. But I waited about two years before I was baptized. After my baptism, I had to wait a few weeks before I got a testimony from heaven that I had done the will of God." He was the first of his family to join the church as far as he knew, converted and baptized at the age of 18 in Wales.

He came to this country in February 1854, and continued on to Utah. He was one year making the trip. He camped at St. Louis, Missouri, for a while to get ready and crossed the plains with a company of pioneers.

Soon after reaching Salt Lake City, he met Elizabeth Richards, a daughter of William and Harriet Jones Richards. She was born February 25, 1837, at Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorganshire,Wales. Elizabeth came to American on the ship, "Chimborazo", arriving at Philadelphia May 22, 1855. She later came across the plains with a company of Saints under the presidency of Elder Francis St. George. David and Elizabeth were married in Salt Lake City on July 3, 1856. Elizabeth was a very industrious, little woman and worked hard all her life. She stood 4 feet 6 inches tall and wore a size 13 (child's) shoe.

After living in Salt Lake City for a short time, they moved to California. David chose farming as his profession and they first settled in the Sacramento Valley. Over the years they moved around to various places in Northern California and Nevada.

In the 1870 they decided to go back to Iowa. David's mother, Ann Williams, lived in Council Bluffs, Iowa -- so this could have been a reason for the return to the area. The family lived there for about two years, then moved back to Salt Lake City.

David writes in his Journal: "We were in Iowa in 1871 and came back to Utah the latter part of July, 1873. After failing to have work in Salt Lake City, I went to Bingham Canyon and started to work for Eli B. Kelsey making a new road. I continued working there until the road was done. After that I worked with Peter Reynolds for Morris and Evans for 57 days on their Clay Bed in Bingham Canyon and again worked for them at West Jordan until the work was done -- or the grading part of it. After that I came home to my family in the city for the winter."

They lived here for about three years. Life was hard during their stay in Salt Lake City. Jobs were hard to find and with such a large family they had to ask for assistance from the Church to feed and clothe them for one whole winter. Elizabeth took in washing to help keep food on the table during the lean years.

Family group of David Morgan and Elizabeth Williams taken approximately 1892. Front Row seated: David M. Williams and wife Elizabeth. Second Row L. to R. Ann Amelia, David Moroni, and Elizabeth. Back Row L. to R. Candace, Emma, Harriet Matilda (our ancestor), Mary, and Martha Alice. Two other children died, Delilah in 1892 and Margaret in 1881.
Their next move was to the north -- and this time they settled in Malad Valley -- about 16 miles north of the Utah-Idaho border. This was a beautiful little farming community and they first made their home in St. John, which was about three miles northwest of Malad proper. Having traveled from one state to another in hopes of finding a location to suit them, they decided to spend the rest of their days in Malad valley. However, they did move one more time to a 160-acre farm in what is known as Elkhorn, about four miles to the northwest of St. John. It was on this farm that most of the family grew to maturity.

Elizabeth Richards Williams died November 21, 1911, and David Morgan Williams died October 23, 1924. They are buried in the St. John Cemetery, Oneida County, Idaho. David and Elizabeth had ten children and 72 grandchildren.

Source: This article was written by Artella Williams Larsen (granddaughter) and can be found in the book St. John, Oneida County, Idaho: A collection of personal histories from the time of the first settlers to the present day, p. 263-264. The photos came from Welsh Mormon History.com. and Findagrave.com.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Heman Hyde and Polly Wyman Tilton

  • Heman Hyde 1788-1869
  • Polly Wyman Tilton 1786-1862
  • Related through: Dan's grandmother Elvira Wilde Langford

Heman Hyde was born on June 30, 1788, while his parents, James and Betty (Pennock) Hyde, were living in Manchester, southern Vermont, but while he was still a baby they moved to Strafford, in the northern part of the state. Heman was raised there, being the oldest of a large family of brothers and sisters. Indications are that Heman received a fair amount of schooling as he grew up.

On the December 5, 1810, Heman married Polly Wyman Tilton, a girl he had known ever since he could remember. Polly was the daughter of Phillip Tilton and Tabitha Prescott, an Indian woman. She was born January 20, 1786, in Moultonborough, New Hampshire. Polly was proud of her part Indian heritage. While Polly was still a small child her mother moved to Strafford, Vermont, and there married a widower, John Bullock. To this union were born seven children, half brothers and sisters of Polly.

The first child of this marriage, Heman Tilton Hyde, was born in Strafford in June 1812. Sometime during the next two and a half years the young father departed to serve in the war of 1812, and also moved his family to York, Livingston Co., New York. Records show Heman was in the New York State Militia as a Lieutenant in the Genesee Co. 164th Regiment of Infantry and a Captain in the Genesee Co. 77th Regiment of Infantry. In York, four more children were born including our ancestor Rosel (named by his uncle, Roswell Hyde, who purposely abbreviated the name.)

In the year 1825, Heman and Polly, with their children, left York and settled in Freedom, Cattaraugus Co., New York. Since that was wilderness, Heman cleared the timber from the land and developed a large farm. He also carried on a heavy business in wool carding and cloth dressing. He was well situated and much respected by all.

Adjoining the family farm was the farm of Warren A. Cowdery, an early convert to "Mormonism," and it was from him, during the early 1830's that the Hyde family first heard of the restored Gospel and learned of the Book of Mormon. Warren obtained from his brother Oliver, some of the proof sheets to the Book of Mormon, some of which the Hyde family "had the privilege of perusing, and we did not peruse any faster than we believed." Heman's son William records in his journal that "early in the year 1834 Joseph Smith and Parley P. Pratt came to my father's house. They preached in the neighborhood two or three times, and conversed much in private. Before they left, my oldest brother was baptized."

Of this incident Elder Parley P. Pratt, who was the Prophet's traveling companion on this mission, says, “We visited Freedom, Cattaraugus County, New York; tarried over Sunday and preached several discourses, to which the people listened with great interest; we were kindly and hospitably entertained among them. We baptized a young man named Heman T. Hyde (son of Heman and Polly); his parents were Presbyterians, and his mother, on account of the strength of her traditions, thought that we were wrong, and told me afterwards that she would much rather have followed him to an earthly grave than to have seen him baptized. Soon afterwards, however, herself, her husband, and the rest of the family, with some thirty or forty others, were all baptized and organized into a branch of the Church -- called the Freedom Branch -- from which nucleus the light spread and souls were gathered into the fold in all regions round. Thus mightily grew the word of God, or the seed sown by that extraordinary personage, the Prophet and Seer of the nineteenth century”.

The following is the story of Polly's conversion, as related by George Tilton Hyde, who said that his father, Rosel told it to him more than once. Rosel said that the Prophet Joseph Smith was visiting at their home in Freedom, New York, and told them the thrilling story of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. “Mother said to him, ‘Mr. Smith, if what you say is not true, hell is too good a place for you.’ The Prophet replied, ‘I know it, Mrs. Hyde, I know it; but the testimony I have borne to you is true; I know it is true and you may know it.’ The words of the Prophet cut her to the heart, and before retiring that night she sought the Lord in humble prayer — her petition was answered -- the next morning she applied for baptism."

The journal of Orson Pratt states that he and Brother John Murdock were at Mr. Hyde's home on March 30, 1834. On April 7, Heman Hyde and William Hyde, among others, were baptized and confirmed. On April 11, Polly Hyde was baptized and confirmed. Other members of the family soon followed their example, except for Rosel ("because of a sort of shyness on my part, being at that time but a young man and never having joined myself to any religious body.")

In February of the year 1836 the family (including young Heman Tilton Hyde with his bride, Eunice Sawyer, whom he had married in October 1835) moved from Freedom, New York, to Kirtland, Ohio, at that time one of the gathering places of the Church, and the site of the first temple being built by the saints. Construction was nearly complete on the temple by the time the Hyde family made residence in Kirtland, and it was dedicated a month later. The family attended the dedication of the temple, except for the Rosel, who still had not been baptized. William Hyde, in his journal, says of the dedication meeting: "This was, by far, the best meeting I had ever attended. The gifts of the gospel were enjoyed in a marvelous manner and Angels administered unto many."

The people outside the temple heard a strange noise like the rushing of a strong wind and they beheld a bright light resting above the sacred building." In later years when George Hyde asked his father Rosel why he delayed asking for baptism, Rosel said that his father told him not to be in a hurry, but to wait until he was sure it was the right thing to do. Rosel told George further, that the evening of the dedication of the temple at Kirtland, Ohio, from his father's home on the farm near Kirtland, that he saw a bright light like a pillar of fire resting above the temple. After what he saw and also heard at that time he needed nothing more to convince him and soon after, he was baptized.

The Saints were commanded to gather in Missouri, but they were meeting with opposition from the other settlers. Heman and Polly and family left Kirtland in September of 1838, intending to go to Far West and settle. When they had traveled as far as Huntsville, Missouri, about one hundred miles into the state and almost to their destination, they remained a few days in the woods where they were discovered by a mob, and for no other reason than that they were "Mormons,” were compelled by the armed mob to leave the state. They retreated to Quincy, Illinois.

Three more of their children married while Heman and Polly lived in the vicinity of Quincy -- Rosel in December 1839 to Mary Ann Cowles; Mary Ann in March 1841 to Isaac Bullard; and William in February 1842 to Elizabeth Howe Bullard, sister of Isaac. Charles undoubtedly desired also to marry, but was crippled and probably felt that he would never enjoy the companionship of a wife. But his parents were happy to have him, with his kind disposition, remain at home with them.

Heman Tilton Hyde died in May of 1842, not quite thirty years of age, leaving a widow and two small children, with another child born seven months after his decease. His death can be partly attributed to the persecutions and hardships which he had endured along with the rest of the Saints. His parents and family were greatly saddened by his death.

Heman and Polly, during the summer of 1842, moved into Nauvoo, Illinois. Here they, along with their son William, built a comfortable brick home for themselves. In October of 1842 Mary Ann's husband died, a mournful occasion for this bride of eighteen months. She later married David Grant in September 1843.

The family was part of the dramatic events at Nauvoo. They enjoyed its growth and prosperity under the direction of the Prophet Joseph Smith, whom they knew well. (Their son Rosel commented many times about their friendship with the Prophet, and he made special mention of the Prophet's unusual eyes -- that to look into them was to know that he was not an ordinary man.) They grieved at the tragic martyrdom of their beloved Prophet. They were there when the mantle of Joseph fell upon Brigham Young. They worked diligently to help complete the temple at Nauvoo so that they and the other Saints could receive their temple ordinances. It was a time of rejoicing when these temple blessings were finally realized.

But the "anti-Mormon" presence was becoming more pronounced and more vicious. As Rosel told it, he and his family and friends "passed through those bitter scenes of persecution so well understood by those acquainted with the history of the Church. We suffered the most heart-rendering persecution that a cruel mob, actuated by the spirit of devils, could inflict upon us in the shape of burning houses, burning standing grain, etc." On May 18, 1846, Heman and Polly, with their children and their families, and what earthly possessions they could haul in their wagons crossed the Mississippi River, and started their long journey in search of peace in an unknown and desolate wilderness. The Hyde families reached Council Bluffs on July 12. The two months had been hard and long, but others shared their plight and all buoyed each other’s spirits.

Only four days after arriving at Council Bluffs, William Hyde was mustered into the Mormon Battalion, leaving his wife and two children in the care of his parents in "this unsettled camp in the midst of an uncultivated, wild Indian country." Heman settled at what was called Council Point and he was appointed to the High Council to help govern the camps of the Saints at this temporary place of gathering. Heman and Rosel built crude homes for themselves, for Eunice (widow of Heman Tilton Hyde) and her three children, and for William's family. They also cultivated land during the summer.

Fall came and Eunice's baby died. Rather than suffer further, she returned to her family home in Freedom, New York, taking her two remaining children with her. In February 1847, Mary Ann Hyde Grant died after a lingering sickness caused by exposure, as had many of the Saints in their inadequate circumstances. She left a husband and two children without their dear wife and mother. Heman and Polly then cared for their motherless grandchildren. The next summer Heman and Rosel toiled to raise all the crops they could, for the benefit of themselves and for all those that might have need of food as the winter season advanced.

In December 1847, William returned from his march with the Mormon Battalion, amid much rejoicing by all. He had been absent seventeen months. Spring arrived at last and preparations were made for Heman and household to travel on. William and Rosel assisted their father and mother, so that they, with their son Charles and also Mary Ann's children, were able to leave Council Bluffs with the Saints that spring for the Rocky Mountains. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in September 1848, and settled there. It had been an arduous and seemingly endless trek across the plains, during which journey Heman acted in the capacity of a Captain of Fifty. William worked the farm at Council Point that Heman and Rosel had opened, and Rosel hired to drive a team for the government. William, Rosel, and their families made the journey to "Zion" in 1849. Heman was able to secure land and build an adequate home. He felt grateful to the Lord for the blessings his household now enjoyed, after the diverse hardships they had undergone.

In 1851, Heman and Polly, after due consideration and prayer, decided to invite a friend to join them in the bonds of plural marriage. Consequently, a widow woman by the name of Prudence Bump, became Heman's second wife. He later married two more wives, Elizabeth Lane and Catherine May Griffiths, both immigrants from Wales.

In February 1852, their son Charles married Sarah Taylor, and remained in Salt Lake City. Charles was the last child to leave the family home. Rosel was called to settle Kaysville. William lived in Lehi, then Cache Valley, where Hyde Park was named after him. These sons were all a wonderful credit to their parents through their example and teachings. All three of them became Patriarchs of the Church and as they lived their religion to the fullest, they were known for their spirituality and faith.

Heman and Polly were ever considerate of others' needs, serving their Church, family and fellow-men in every way that they could. Heman was a member of the High Council for several years after his arrival in Salt Lake Valley. He and Polly, in addition to Heman's plural wives, made a home for their granddaughter, Mary Ann Grant, until her untimely death at the age of seventeen, after she caught cold while attending a party.

Polly Wyman Tilton Hyde died September 13, 1862. She was a woman of strong will, but gentle and kind, proud of her part-Indian ancestry, admired and loved by her family. Heman died on June 11, 1869. He died in Salt Lake City, Utah, his home of twenty-one years. His strong, fervent testimony which carried him through his years of trials is a permanent legacy for those of us who are his descendants.

This history was written by Myrtle S. Hyde in 1964. The original can be found here.