Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Martha Elmina Norton

  • Martha Elmina Norton
  • Born: September 12, 1846 Keosaugua, Iowa
  • Died: June 15, 1885 Mink Creek, Idaho
  • Related through: Dan's grandmother Elvira Wilde Langford

Martha Elmina Norton was born September 12, 1846 in Keosaugua, Iowa which is a small community in Van Buren County, located about 40 miles west of Nauvoo, Illinois on the banks of the Des Moines River.

Her parents Alanson Norton and Sally Freeman had left Nauvoo with others of the Saints to escape severe persecution. One can only imagine how Martha’s parents must have felt having to leave Nauvoo, knowing that they were soon to have a child born in the wilderness.

They continued on west across Iowa and Alanson established a temporary community called Little Pigeon about 130 miles east of Council Bluffs. Church leaders thought it necessary to create these communities between Nauvoo and Council Bluffs to raise crops and provide resting areas for other Saints that would follow. Thus, baby Martha Elmina remained there for a time with her parents before they headed on west, departing from Kanesville (present day Council Bluffs) in the spring of 1851. After spending the entire summer on the trail they arrived in the Salt Lake Valley September 17, 1851 with the John G. Smith Company.

Alanson Norton initially settled his family in Provo. It was here that Martha lost her mother January 22, 1852 at the age of 34 of childbed fever. Martha was only five years old at this time. Her father did not remarry until almost four years later on November 3, 1855. Her step-mother’s name was Julia Ann Williams. Martha would have then been nine years old. In 1856 Alanson moved his family to Sugar House just south of Salt Lake City, Utah. Martha Elmina Norton was baptized there in 1857.

Martha met Thomas Hewlett Wilde and they were married June 15, 1862 in Coalville, Summit, Utah. At the time of their marriage Martha was almost 16 years old and Thomas was 21.

Martha Elmina and Thomas Hewlett Wilde made their home in Coalville and were blessed with their first child June 4, 1863 whom they named Thomas Henry Wilde, Martha being 16 at the time. Two years later they had another son Albert Alanson Wilde. A third son Jacob Henry Wilde was also born in Coalville. Unfortunately, however, he died as an infant.

During that period of history in the church there were select members of the church who were called upon to take part in plural marriage. Thomas Hewlett Wilde was one of these men who was asked to do this, which he did. Thus, on July 5, 1870 in the Salt Lake Endowment House he married Louisa Jane Carter (age 17). On this day Martha also received her endowments in the Endowment House and she and Thomas were sealed for eternity, they previously being married civilly for eight years.

Martha was 23 at this time and Thomas was 29. On September 1, 1873, Thomas married his third wife Sarah Jensen (age 17) in the Endowment House. Martha was almost 28 years old when Sarah came into the family. Thomas held the family together well and they lived in great harmony.

Sometime between 1867 and 1874 the family moved to Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah. It was here that Martha’s other children were born: Lawrence Brown Wilde, Milton Leonard Wilde, Louise Elmina Wilde, Emma Marie Wilde, and Joseph Henry Wilde.

Martha and her family re-located to Mink Creek, Franklin, Idaho around 1883 and her husband helped set up a sawmill in the mountains. It was here at Mink Creek that Martha Elmina Norton Wilde passed away June 15, 1885 at the age of 38. We don’t know the reason for her passing at such a young age.

This story was compiled by Mary A., direct descendant of Thomas Hewlett Wilde’s uncle William Wilde. Thanks Mary for making this history available on her family history website.

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