Friday, January 7, 2011

James Pett

  • Name: James Pett
  • Born: March 31, 1827 Eatington, Warwick, England
  • Died: April 12, 1908 Brigham City, Utah
  • Related through: Erin's grandmother Margaret Udy Hanni

James Pett was born March 31, 1827, in Ettington, Warwichshire, England. Only five years of his childhood was spent in school, as his father died while he was young and he left school to help support the rest of the family. As was customary at that time for all men to go out as an apprentice for some future trade, he entered the carpenter and architecture trade as an apprentice which line of occupation he followed most of his life.

May 12, 1851, he was baptized and confirmed a member of the LDS Church doing much local missionary work before he left for the United States in 1853. Just before he left for America, Queen Victoria asked him to be one of her guards, quite an honor in those days, but his religion meant more to him so he declined in favor of coming to America.

During the voyage small pox broke out and many people died and were buried at sea. After six weeks of troublesome journeying their ship finally arrived in New Orleans. From there he and his wife, Mary, migrated to Iowa where they spent three years working to get enough money to buy a team of oxen to come to Utah. Most of his earnings came from chopping wood.

They came across the plains with a company of Danish saints. Due to his marksmanship with a gun, he was appointed with one other man to furnish the company with meat. Elder Canute Peterson was captain of the company, which arrived in Salt Lake City Sept. 20, 1856. They settled in Cottonwood Creek for one year. The following year he bought a farm and moved to Three Mile Creek, now Perry, Utah.

The next year his wife died and in 1860 he married Jane Brandon in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. Around this time the Courthouse in Brigham City was under construction and much trouble had arisen because the roof had blown off. President Lorenzo Snow asked him to put on a roof that would stay, which he did without nails — using wooden pegs and horse hide.

While he was working on the roof, President Snow had a crowd of men go to Perry to move him to Brigham without asking him about it. It was a surprise to James and he objected. The men tied him hand and foot, loaded up the furniture and him on top and moved him to Brigham.

After he completed the work on the Courthouse he designed and built many structures in Brigham City. The old stone bridge on north Main Street was his creation – he designed it and over saw its construction. In addition he designed the Tabernacle, the First National Bank building, the original Baron Woolen Mills and the early suspension bridges over the Bear River.

He was ordained a Seventy by Pres. J. D. Reese in 1865, and became a member of the 58th quorum of Seventy; remained a member of that quorum until the organization of the Box Elder Stake of Zion, August 19, 1877, when he was ordained a High Priest and set apart to be a member of the High Council by Pres. Lorenzo Snow. During his residence in Brigham City he assisted in building up that place in particular and Box Elder county in general, being a builder by trade. He has been connected with the erection of public as well as a great many private buildings, roads and bridges, which are seen in Box Elder county on every hand. He was superintendent of the Woolen Mill for seven years, served as a member of the city council for one term, and was county commissioner for twenty-two years. He worked in these various offices and callings under the direction, counsel and advice of President Lorenzo Snow, whom he calls "a brother and a friend indeed."

This history was written and compiled by Jane E. Compton in 1931 for the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. Some additional information was taken from Andrew Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia: A Compilation of Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4 vols. Salt Lake City 1:390 I found the excerpt at this site.

1 comment:

  1. My son had to do a report on an ancestor and he choose James Pett to report on. He said that we should see if there was anything on the internet about him and I didn't really think there was. I entered his information anyway and found this blog post.

    My maiden name was Pett. Interesting thing is that we live in Perry Utah probably not too far from where he owned his land while living there. I knew he lived in Brigham City, but didn't realize before the report that he also lived in Perry.

    I'm not sure how far down the line our ancestors split, but it was fun to find someone related to an ancestor. :)