Friday, December 31, 2010

Alanson Norton

  • Name: Alanson Norton
  • Born: March 26, 1813 Granville, New York  
  • Died: August 22, 1904  McCammon, Idaho
  • Related through: Dan's grandmother Elvira Wilde Langford

Alanson Norton was born in Granville, New York on March 26, 1813, the son of Allen Norton and Lucy Wilkinson. Alanson had very limited educational opportunities but made the best of what he had. Like all children of his time in a frontier home, his studies consisted of reading, spelling, writing and arithmetic. Common textbooks in these subjects along with the Bible and Poor Richard's Almanac were the extent of his library facilities. He was eager to learn and an excellent student. As he grew older he took up other studies including French and German.

Sometime before 1836, Alanson had moved to Clymer, Chautauqua County, New York. Here at the age of 22 he married Sally Maria Freeman, who was born in Clymer April 24, 1817. They were the parents of seven daughters. In 1841 his father, Allen Norton died. This event left Alanson largely responsible for his mother, brother and sisters. His mother lived with him until her death twenty-five years later. Alanson was a wool carder and clothier, in which occupations he was apprenticed at the age of 14. In his day the wool manufacturing industry was carried on in nearly every settlement to meet ordinary local needs. Alanson’s work was to make the wool into broadcloth, fullcloth and varieties of flannels and dress goods. In this occupation he spent his summers, and, having had a good education for his time, he taught school in the winter.

In February 1843 he and his wife together with his mother, brother and two sisters were baptized and confirmed members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Alanson became the Branch President of the branch in Steuben County, New York. Like all converts in those days, Alanson and his family and the members of his branch were dominated with the desire to move to the headquarters of the Church. In the early fall of 1845 Alanson organized his branch for the journey, and in October set out with them for Nauvoo. They traveled overland until they reached the high-waters of Allegheny River where Alanson hired a flat boat, on which they floated four hundred miles to Pittsburgh. There they secured passage on a steamboat and arrived at Nauvoo on November 18, 1845.

Their time in Nauvoo did not last long and Alanson and his family left Nauvoo behind and headed west in 1846. Realizing the vast number of Saints still on trail, the Church leaders established settlements at several points between Nauvoo and Council Bluffs, the main ones being Garden Grove and Mount Pisgah. Many families were called by Church leaders to remain at each if these sites, establishing temporary communities and farms to provide a resting place and provisions for those yet to come. Alanson Norton was called to head a similar community at Little Pigeon, Iowa (a sister community to Mount Pisgah about 138 miles east of Council Bluffs) and thus he and his family remained there for a time.

In the spring of 1851 the family left Kanesville (present day Council Bluffs), Iowa as a part of the John G. Smith Company, and reached Great Salt Lake City on September 17, 1851.

Alanson went to work operating a carding machine, but soon decided to move to Provo, at which place he arrived with his family in November 1851. Here Alanson took advantage of the opportunity to go into partnership with Shadrach Holdaway in setting up a wool carding mill on the north bank of the Provo River. This was the beginning of the textile industry for which Provo became famous. From the beginning of its operation the mill proved to be a useful asset of the new community. The mill cleaned and carded the wool and made it into rolls, then the housewives continued the manufacturing process with their spinning wheels and looms. In 1853 the carding machine was moved to the city and installed in a two-room adobe building on what is now 5th West Street. In its new location the mill increased its output, and supplied rolls and batting to the homes where weaving became an important industry.

After three or four years in the woolen manufacturing business in Provo, Alanson accepted an appointment by President Brigham Young to operate a carding mill in Sugar House, south of Salt Lake City.

In the spring of 1856 he moved his family to Sugar House to be near his employment, but returned to Provo in April 1858, two months before the arrival of Johnston's Army. Alanson continued in the woolen manufacturing business and re-established himself in the life of the community.

In 1862 the family left Provo for Salt Lake City in response to a request from President Young for Alanson to take charge of his carding mill in City Creek Canyon. This location did not prove satisfactory because of the difficulty of controlling the stream in the high water season. On this account the machinery was moved back to Sugar House.

The next move was to the mouth of Parley's Canyon in 1863 where the new carding machinery was set up on the stream. The Norton family lived nearby in a Fort, built in the early days by Feramorz Little as a protection against the Indians. Early in 1865 Alanson decided to try farming. He took his family to Coalville where he had procured some land two or three years before.

In 1867 Apostle Lorenzo Snow invited Alanson to come to Brigham City and take charge of the woolen factory being constructed at that place. Alanson accepted the position and moved his family to Brigham City. His first important assignment was to go East and purchase machinery for the factory. With some thousands of dollars in a concealed belt he went to New York and other eastern points and made purchases. He supervised the installation of the machinery and then had charge of the factory for a few years. Heretofore the mills operated by Alanson in Utah were limited to wool cleaning and carding. The factory in Brigham City was equipped for the complete process of cleaning and scouring the wool, carding, spinning and weaving. This factory therefore gave Alanson the first opportunity since leaving New York in 1845, for carrying the wool manufacturing work through the complete process from raw material to finished product.

In 1872 Alanson resigned his position with the woolen factory in Brigham City and was employed to run a small plant of wool working machinery in Logan. He moved both of his families to Logan in the fall of 1872. (His first wife Sarah Maria Freeman Norton had passed away back in 1852. He now had two wives Julia Ann Williams Norton and Maren Jensen Norton and children.) At Logan, Alanson met with a serious accident and suffered a broken leg. As a result of this setback and other difficulties, he gave up his work in Logan and returned to Brigham City in 1873.

For the next few years he also engaged in farming. Early in 1877 Alanson moved his families, this time to West Jordan, south of Salt Lake City, where he operated another plant of wool working machinery. Here he renewed acquaintances of earlier days and enjoyed again for a brief time the association and counsel of President Brigham Young. He and Brigham had been good friends for many years.

In the fall of 1878 Alanson returned with his family to Brigham City. He was now over sixty years of age. Nearly all his life he had worked in the wool manufacturing business. Farming had been a secondary occupation for him. But now with the completion of the transcontinental railroad, goods were shipped in from the east in abundance, and local manufacturing declined. In spite of his age he was obliged to enter upon another occupation to support his numerous family.

The federal government was beginning to prosecute the men who had taken plural wives; many of them served time in the penitentiary. Alanson Norton's history indicates that he moved from Brigham City to Bear Lake in order to keep his families together and avoid imprisonment.

His daughter Martha Elmina Norton Wilde and her husband Thomas Hewlett Wilde and Thomas' other two wives Louisa Jane Carter Wilde and Sarah Jensen Wilde and their children followed in about 1883. An interesting little side note is that about seven months after Alanson married his third wife Maren Jensen, this son-in-law Thomas Hewlett Wilde married her sister Sarah Jensen. This made Alanson’s daughter Martha Elmina a sister-wife to her father’s sister-in-law Sarah Jensen Wilde. In other words, Alanson Norton and his son-in-law married sisters.

Alanson Norton lived out the remainder of his years in Idaho. One would have to wonder if he helped his son in law Thomas Hewlett Wilde with his sawmill ventures while there. Alanson passed away in McCammon, Bannock, Idaho on August 22, 1904 and he was buried in the Norton Cemetery there.

This story was compiled by Mary A. Thanks Mary for making this history available on her family history website. Photo shared by Lee Potter.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Elizabeth Bowden

  • Name: Elizabeth Bowden Nuttall
  • Born: March 5, 1860 Swansea, Wales
  • Died: January 30, 1922 Brigham City, Utah
  • Related through: Erin's grandmother Idonna Nuttall Madson
Elizabeth Bowden Nuttall was the fourth daughter of Ann Grinny and William Bowden. She was born March 5, 1860 in Swansea, Wales.

At the age of three she immigrated to the United States with her parents. They landed in New York in the spring of 1863. They traveled by train as far as Council Bluffs. Here they were assigned to an immigrant company that was starting west. The wagons were loaded very heavy and all that were able to walk were obliged to do so. Elizabeth although very small walked most of the way from the Missouri River to the Salt Lake Valley.

A young man by the name of Charles Ballintyne was the teamster of the wagon to which the Bowden family was assigned. As the wagon was heavily loaded, when approaching hills, Charles would say “You little girls (meaning her mother and two sisters) will have to get out and walk.” He would often allow two other young ladies assigned to the same wagon to ride, while Elizabeth and her sisters walked. The little girls would scold him quite a bit about this seeming favoritism. Later on when they settled in Brigham City this same young man was their neighbor.

Elizabeth’s early years in Brigham were typical of real pioneer life. Her father had a small farm east of town and supported the family as best he could by raising fruit and hiring out as a butcher.

While still a young girl, Elizabeth, with a number of other girls from Brigham City, hired out to work at the Hansen Dairy and Cheese Factory, located at a place then know as Cottonwood Hollow about 20 miles north of Brigham on the divide between Box Elder County and Cache County. The factory, a two story rock building built in the spring of 1871 is still standing.

She later worked at the home of one of President Lorenzo Snow’s wives. Here she was treated as one of the family. She would often refer to Sister Snow as Aunt Adeline.

At the age of 16, she married James Dennis Nuttall, a young man who had emigrated about five years previous. They were married in the old Endowment House in Salt Lake City in October of 1876 by Apostle John Taylor. They often said that when they left the Endowment House all James had was 10 cents in his pocket and with that he bought two rolls for their lunch.

They made their home in Brigham City for the next two years where James was employed as a weaver in the Woolen Mills. Here their first child, a son, was born to them. They then moved to Cache Valley and settled on a farm two miles west of Millville. Living with James’ father and taking care of him until he died six years later.

They belonged to the Millville Ward until the College Ward was organized and they belonged to this new ward for the rest of their lives. They took an active part in all the affairs of this new community. Elizabeth was always active in the church and walked many miles to attend to her duties. She was an officer in the Primary for many years, first as a counselor and then as president. She was also a member of the choir and a Relief Society teacher for years.

James was the first and only mail carrier to carry the mail from Logan to College Ward. Elizabeth was his substitute. This trip was made twice a week, Wednesdays and Saturdays for several years. As James was a farmer and often had other work to do Elizabeth carried the mail a great deal of the time. For the first few years the trip was made with a horse and cart, later with a surrey or buggy. Elizabeth loved horses and was very proud to drive a spirited animal. The work ended December 1, 1904 when Rural Free Delivery was put into effect.

She loved music and was a good singer. She was blessed with a happy, cheerful disposition, a wonderful characteristic she carried into the homes where she was called to nurse the sick. A talent she was richly endowed with and one duty she dearly loved to perform. She was the mother of seven children, four boys and three girls. Two of her sons fulfilled missions.

After their children were all married they moved away from the farm and settled in a cozy home near the meeting house. Here she spent the remaining years in active service in the church and nursing the sick. She passed away January 30, 1922 in Brigham City from an appendicitis. She was stricken with it while she was helping her daughter who had just had a new baby. She is buried in Millville, Cache County.

This article was written by Media Nuttall Dunn, daughter, for the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. I found it in their archives.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Mads Jensen and Bodil Jacobsdatter

  • Name: Mads Jensen 1808-1886 Denmark
  • Name: Bodil Marie Jacobsdatter 1806-1890 Denmark
  • Related through: Erin's grandfather James Madson

Mads Jensen, was born November 29, 1808 at Bjerrede, Tersleve, Soro, Denmark, a twin (his brother was Soren) to Jens Mogensen and Ane Jensdatter. His wife, Bodil Marie Jacobsdatter, was born/christened on November 15, 1806 in Vollerslev, Praesto, Denmark, to Jacob Olsen and Anne Thomasdatter. They were married June 17, 1837 in Vollerslev. Bodil brought one son, Christen Christensen, from a previous relationship to the marriage. It is said that Bodil met Mads when he was the forman on her father's farm.

Bjerrede is found in the Parrish of Terslev and in some records we find the name Rodemose (which means swamp) – probably the name of their farm. All the family records are in the church near Copenhaugen where the onriginal "Christus" statue resides. So this must have been where the family attended.

The family in the 1840 census showed the family in Terslev, Ringsted Herred, Soro, Denmark as follows:
Mads Jensen family 1845

Anne Jensdatter 65 widow
Mads Jensen 32 married
Bodil Jacobsdatter 34 married, wife
Christen Christensen 7 (Bodil’s son from a previous marriage)
Jens Madsen 2 their child (older brother)
Hans Jensen 2 foster child
Maren Jensen 37 welfare person

This record revealed that Jens (James Ephraim) had had an older brother who was never on any of James’ records and we wonder if James Ephraim even knew he had an older brother. Very often, when a child died, they would name the next child by the same name, which happened in this instance. This Jens died May 25, 1842 in Terslev. Our Jens (James Ephraim) was born January 21, 1844.

On November 19, 1840 twin daughters were born in Bjerrede, Terslev, Soro, Denmark and baptized in the Terslev Parish January 3, 1841. Their names were Kirstine and Ane. We have one picture of Jens in his youth which shows him to be about a year old with his twin sisters and parents. Another daughter, Sidse Marie, was born October 7, 1848 and baptized December 26, 1848 in Terslev. On August 4, 1857 Jens’ grandmother, Ane Jensdatter, died. The 1850 census had shown her still living with the family.

Family members had always given the impression that when Jens was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints he was disowned and sent from home. However research has shown that his mother, Bodil Marie Jacobsdatter, was baptized into the church in the Lydsjolland Gren (Branch) July 14, 1864.

Melba Madson Nelson recounts the following story:

“At this point I must enter my feelings and the spiritual experience which was my privilege in finding the record of Jens' baptism. In working on the Four Generation Program I was really desirous of finding the actual record of his baptism (even though he had written the record and it was clear) in order to have better documentation. I had searched and searched for a record in the Danish LDS records but to no avail. One day, after a frustrating search, I dropped my head on the screen of the microfilm reader and cried. It seemed so futile — the records, being in Danish, were hard to make out and I wondered if I was overlooking it but never a name that was familiar (or else so many, but never the right one!) Needing to take care of the tears, I left the machine and went into the rest room for tissue. While there I cried out to the Lord to help me — that if He wanted us to keep a perfect record, and to document the information we had, someone was going to have to help me because I had done all I knew to do — and had been unsuccessful. Drying my eyes, I walked back out to the reading machine, and almost in a "give up'' mood, flipping the crank indicating finality to that search. As I proceeded to begin to remove the film I was impressed to flip on the light and look down at the screen. There, before me, in darker writing than the other, was the name of Bodil Marie Jacobsdatter of Vollerslev! And in the LDS records! We had been led to believe that Jens had been disowned by his family when he accepted Mormonism and was forced to come to America. And here was the record of his mother's baptism into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – on 14 July 1864. She was confirmed on the same day by L. Olsen. This was two years before the date we had of Jens' baptism. After I was able to contain myself, I turned the page carefully and there was what I had been looking for, for so long – the baptism of Jens Madsen on 28 March 1866 by Svend S. Sindhalsen in the Kjobenhavn Conference (Vordingborg Gren, or Branch). I sat and pondered the situation and felt as though his Mother had personally guided me to the record of her baptism so that it could be found first (otherwise I would never have found it for I was certain his was the only one). I actually felt that she was standing by my side and a great surge of love swept through me towards this good woman and I wanted to reach out and touch her and thank her for her help. One can only imagine what the real history of all this was; but it seems that she did accept the Gospel and must have encouraged Jens (even though she may not have been allowed to continue in it). One cousin said she remembered Grandfather Madson saying that when he left home he could not look back at his mother or he would not have been able to go. We should be so very grateful for the courage it must have taken for him to accept the Gospel and leave his home; and the courage of his mother to let him go.

This article is based on information from “A Good Man and a Good Woman – Paul Martinus Jensen and Mette Kristine Olsen” compiled by Rae Madsen Kern and family, 2004. I found this book in the Family History Library catalog. Thanks Kerns for doing so much research about the Madsons.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

David Norton Jr.

  • Name: David Norton Jr.
  • Born: October 23, 1796 Pendleton, Kentucky
  • Died: After September 28, 1860 Lehi, Utah
  • Related through: Dan's grandfather Heber Langford 

David Jr. was born 1796 in Pendleton, Kentucky near Falmouth. This was during his father's (David Sr.) first move into upper Kentucky. The family was hardly in Pendleton County long enough for David Jr. to be born before they moved on to Ohio and Indiana. Then in 1810 David Sr. acquired 3,000 acres in the western part of Pendleton County, Kentucky. They developed this land until this father’s death in 1814.

David Jr. and his brother, Henry Norton along with their cousin William Norton, signed on in the Kentucky Mounted Volunteer Militia commanded by Col. William Mountjoy to fight in the War of 1812. David was 16, Henry 22, William 20.

The Volunteers left Kentucky Aug 31, 1813 and rode to Canada for the Battle of the Thames where Chief Tecumseh was killed and the British were defeated. David's group was in the thickest part of the battle and it appears David lost his horse in the hand to hand conflict. On October 5 The British commander formed the British regulars in line of battle at Moraviantown and planned to trap Harrison on the banks of the Thames, driving the Americans off the road with his cannons. Tecumseh's warriors took up positions in a swamp on the British right to catch the American's in the flank. Despite the Indians' flanking fire James Johnson broke through; the British cannon having failed to fire. Immediately the British turned and fled the field, many of them surrendering.

Chief Tecumseh remained and kept up the fighting. Colonel Richard Johnson who commanded the Kentucky cavalry charged into Chief Tecumseh's position to draw attention away from the main American force. David must have been in the thick of the fighting and David lost his horse in the battle.

Tecumseh and his warriors answered with a volley of musket fire that stopped the cavalry charge in its tracks. Fifteen of the men were killed or wounded and Johnson himself was hit five times. Johnson's main force became bogged down in the mud of the swamp. Tecumseh was killed in this fighting; The main force finally made its way through the swamp and James Johnson's troops were freed from their attack on the British. With the American reinforcements converging and news of the death of Tecumseh spreading quickly the Indian resistance dissolved.

On November 5, 1813, they mustered out of the Mounted Volunteers. They had traveled all the way to Canada and back. He was later reimbursed $50 for a horse he had lost while in this militia. Six months after David was mustered out of the Kentucky Mounted Militia David's father died. David was only 18 and most of the family was still very young. With the death of David Sr. the family must have gone in separate directions. Samuel Norton the oldest brother was married and living in Bourbon, KY. Henry Norton only recently married was in Grant, KY.

David married Elizabeth Benefield February 10, 1820 in Fayette, Indiana and their first child (John Wesly) was born just nine months later on 6th of November 1820 near New Lisbon, Henry County, Indiana. The family moved to northern Indiana soon thereafter and the next two children (twins James Wiley and Melissa Isabell) were born in Stuben, Indiana which is in the North East section of the state.

March 10, 1825 David Norton Jr. purchased land in the town of Dudley, Henry County, Indiana. This is very close to the National Road pushing west from Pennsylvania. There is a John Norton who also bought land in Dudley about a mile from David in July of 1823. Perhaps this is David's younger brother. Three children were born to David and Elizabeth in Henry County. Henry b. 1826, Hyram Fletcher b. 1829 (Hyram Fletcher our ancestor is possibly named after Capt William Norton's brother Fletcher Norton.) and Isabelle b. 1836.

David is listed in the 1830 census in Henry County, Indiana with his wife and 5 children. Also listed is John Norton, with a wife and three children.

In 1830 a new religion was organized in upstate New York called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and commonly referred to as Mormons. On October 1, 1831 David Norton records that he joined this church. If so he was a very early convert indeed. The Mormon Church had barely established a center at Kirtland, Ohio in the spring of 1831.

In the Church Conference of April 1831 Joseph Smith announced that the elders of the church would travel to Independence, Missouri to organize the church there. But he instructed the elders to travel to Missouri by different routes preaching and baptizing as they went. Since David Norton's home was very close to the National Road which was a main conduit to the West, it's likely that the Mormon Elders stopped by on their way to Missouri and their return. It is certainly during this period that David Norton was introduced to the Mormon Church. He records being baptized Oct 1, 1831 which coincided nicely with the return of the Elders from Missouri. The Norton home on the National Road was certainly a rest stop for the Mormon travelers going between Kirtland, Ohio and Missouri.

In August of 1838 David moved his family to Missouri. He bought 160 acres of land just three miles from Haun's Mill, near present day Catabwa in Caldwell County. Just three months after David bought land in Caldwell County one of the most horrific incidents of the Missouri persecution of the Latter-day Saints took place.

As tensions grew in northwest Missouri following the Battle of Crooked River in October 1838, the Prophet Joseph Smith asked Jacob Haun, leader of the Haun’s Mill residents, to remove his people from the remote site to the relative safety in numbers at Far West. Jacob Haun returned to his mill and his small community, feeling safe in spite of the Prophet's warning.

Late in the afternoon of October 30, 1838, a band of approximately 240 armed Missourians under the command of Colonel Thomas Jennings rode into town, slashing and destroying all in their path. The sisters took the children and ran for the woods, many of the men and boys sought shelter from the hail of gunfire in an unfinished blacksmith shop. It was butchery as the renegade militiamen fired through the unchinked logs into the shop, killing or wounding all present, including ten-year-old Sardius Smith, who was murdered by a point-blank musket shot.

Eighteen of Jacob Haun's people were killed, and another fifteen were wounded that afternoon. The survivors hid in the woods through the night, fearing further action by the marauding militia. The bodies of those who died that day were gathered and buried in a mass grave that had started out as a well that was unfinished when the mob came into town. The survivors fled to Far West, telling the Saints there of what became known as the Haun's Mill Massacre.

From the obituary of David’s daughter Melissa Norton Allred we get a picture of how the Norton family fared in the massacre.

"Melissa with her parents joined the church in an early day and moved from Indiana when twelve years old to the state of Missouri in President A.0. Smoot's company; settled near Haun's Mill; shared in the persecutions of the Saints and came near being in the Haun's Mill Massacre. Her father and family gathered to the mill for protection on the night before the massacre.

Father Norton had a premonition that trouble would occur and that if he remained he would be slain. His home being in a rather secluded place he returned with his family and consequently they escaped injury. The day after the massacre, David Evans and others of the survivors took refuge in a thicket on Brother Norton’s farm. To them in the company of her mother, Melissa carried provisions until peace was restored."

The Norton family fled the persecution in Missouri and went to Iowa (perhaps Pikes Co.) where they purchased a farm in the spring of 1839. In 1841 David Norton moved the family to Nauvoo, Illinois and purchased a farm four miles east and two miles south of Nauvoo. The City of Nauvoo became the largest settlement in the West and anyone who has been to Nauvoo, knows how the Mormon's built a great and prosperous city. The Norton's also participated and helped build the temple there. David, Elisabeth and their oldest son John Westly received their endowments in the Nauvoo Temple on February 3, 1846 and the temple was closed four days later.

David Norton was also indicted as one of those involved with the burning of the Expositor. This is same event that sent Joseph Smith to the Carthage Jail.

By May of 1846 the Norton family had moved to Winter Quarters in Iowa. In the spring of 1847 it was time for the Mormons to begin the trek west. The two eldest sons of David Norton Jr, John Westly and James Wiley, were appointed by Brigham Young to come with the original group. But when Brigham Young found that the wife of James Wiley was expecting a child he released him to stay with her. John Westly was among the first group to leave. He was a member of the 12th Company of ten and was assigned to gather wild game for the party. This 1st group entered the valley of the Great Salt Lake on July 24th, 1847. Within a few weeks of reaching Salt Lake Valley, John Westly started back to Council Bluffs, Iowa for his wife and family. Because of insufficient funds he had to find work in Missouri during the winter of 1847 and spring of 1848 to earn enough for the family to travel west.

When John Westly and the first group left for Salt Lake Valley in 1847, David Jr. was 51. He was ordained a High Priest by Heber C. Kimball in December of 1847. He and Elisabeth remained in Winter Quarters till John Westly returned and traveled to the Great Salt Lake with John Westly and his wife. The Nortons came to Utah with the Heber C. Kimball Company in 1848. They left Iowa in June and arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in September.

That same year Sam Brannan began the Gold Rush in California. By the summer of 1848, Brannon’s camp had over a hundred men. Samuel Brannan, the "Spiritual Guide and director for the Mormon population of New Helvetia and other districts of California" opened a store there. The camp was called Mormon Island because the early miners cut a channel across one edge of the gravel bar there, forming a small island. The town quickly outgrew the small gravel bar.

David and Elisabeth Norton and family went to the gold fields of California in 1849. One of the most unusual developments involving Mormons and California gold took place in the fall of 1849, Brigham Young, going against his better judgment, permitted a few older leaders to "call" young men of their choice on a "mission" to California to mine for gold. Prominent among these men was Henry Bigler, whose diary set the accepted date of the original discovery of gold at Coloma, and George Q. Cannon, who later became an influential counselor in the church's First Presidency.

Bigler joined a company of about twenty gold missionaries, with James M. Flake as captain. They left Salt Lake Valley on October 11, 1849 and arrived at Colonel Williams's Ranch (near present-day Chino) on December 11, after a difficult journey during which they temporarily became part of the "Death Valley" group that attempted to take a short cut to the California mines. This train of gold missionaries traveled with the train that gave Death Valley its name. They turned off north of Moutain Meadows and traveled through Panaca, Nevada.

Captain Jefferson Hunt who was the leader of the Mormon Battalion, settled in Salt Lake City in 1847. Soon thereafter, Hunt proposed traveling back to California to bring food and supplies for other recent Utah arrivals. Mormon authorities approved this proposal, and Hunt undertook this journey with Porter Rockwell, several former Mormon Battalion members, and two of his own sons. Later he guided several parties of gold prospectors from Utah to California. One of the groups he led to California became impatient at his slow progress, and many of the party members elected to abandon Hunt's group, and follow their own route to California. They became the infamous Death Valley '49ers. Those staying with Hunt made the journey without serious incident.

I am not sure which group the Norton family traveled with into California or if it both of these accounts were all about same group. But the family is listed in the 1850 census in El Dorado, California. David listed his occupation as a hotel keeper. There is one interesting family legend about their trip to California about David's youngest daughter. Allegedly on the way to Sacramento the wagon train was attacked by Indians. David's youngest daughter held a Book of Mormon in front of her chest for protection and a bullet pierced the book in her hands. Her family is supposed to still have the book.

The Norton Family returned to Utah in 1851. We get this account from someone in their party. "In September 1851, we sold out our store and freighting teams. Buying an outfit of saddle horses and pack mules, we joined a party of Mormons and headed for home. Our company consisted of thirty-four men with pack outfits and three light wagons belonging to the Norton family. They were the only women and children in the outfit. We were delayed some time by the reports that the Indians were on the warpath and very bad. We finally got started and everything went along all right until one morning when we were camped on the inside of a horseshoe bend of the Humboldt River. I didn't like the place because the willows lining the opposite bank surrounded us on three sides. The others preferred it because of the good pasture and the ease with which the horses could be herded inside the bend. Having seen no sign of Indians up to that time, we were getting careless. There was one man who was very anxious to get back to his girl in Salt Lake City "Before the bishop ran off with her," he said. He always got up just before daylight, lighted the fire and put on the coffee pot. For a week we traveled only at night, lying by in the daytime to let our animals feed and rest. We could see by their signal fires along the mountain sides that the Indians, no doubt hoping for a favorable chance to attack, were watching us. But we had grown cautious. As it was late in the fall the grass was dry and scarce. Our animals got very poor and some fell out every few miles. This made traveling so slow that our grub gave out while we were still two hundred miles from the settlements. Leaving five of us boys to stay with the poorest horses and get them along as best we could, the rest took the more able animals and pushed on ahead. I thought John had outgrown his fear of Indians but the first night of this separation while he and I were getting into our bed he said, "Tommy, I thought the Indians would get me back on the Humboldt. Did I look scared?" I had no time to answer for just then an Indian dog came trotting up to the fire. We took this as a warning that the Indians were still on our trail and very close. So, leaving a large fire burning, we very quietly saddled up and traveled all night. This practice we kept up for the rest of our journey to Box Elder, the first Mormon settlement. There we left all but our saddle horses and rode on to Salt Lake City."

After returning to Salt Lake where they purchased lots where the Denver and Rio Grande depot now stands. In 1855, they moved to Lehi and were active in building that town.

David is described as a small, blond, quiet and kind man. Elizabeth, his wife, is mentioned as large, brunette, and ambitious. Many of her family were in the South during the Civil War and she was constantly inquiring after news of the war and her family. In fact it is mentioned that the last thing she requested before she died was news of the South. Both are buried in the old Lehi Cemetery.

Thanks to Scott Norton for doing so much research and placing this history and maps on his webstie. His info on David Norton Jr. can be found here

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Judah Griffeth

  • Name: Juah Griffeth
  • Born: May 23, 1795 Barre, New York
  • Died: June 30, 1879 Thurman, Iowa
  • Related through: Dan's grandmother Elvira Wilde Langford

Judah Griffeth was born May 23, 1795 in Barre, Orleans, New York. He married Mariah Rockwell October 10th, 1822. They had ten children. One year after the organization of the church, Judah heard the gospel and accepted it. He moved his family with the body of the saints and followed the Prophet. He was ordained a high Priest by Joseph Smith Sr. in Kirtland, Ohio. He died June 30, 1879 at Thurman Fremont, Iowa. He did not go west with Brigham Young but remained with the Josephite Church, known today as the RLDS or Community of Christ Church.

Thanks to John Pratt for providing this history on his family history website.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ann Grinny

  • Name: Ann Grinny Bowden
  • Born: October 16, 1832 Georgemympton, Devonshire, England
  • Died: April 8, 1917 Brigham City, Utah
  • Related through: Erin's grandmother Idonna Nuttall Madson

Ann Grinny was born October 16, 1832 in Georgemympton, Devonshire, England. Her mother died when she was still a baby. In fact her mother was found dead in bed with her baby daughter laying beside her trying to nurse. The little girl was shifted from one place to another until she was able to care for herself.

While she was still a young girl the Mormon missionaries came to the home where she was staying and she was converted. She was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1850.

She married William Bowden in 1852. Though small in stature and young in years she met life vigorously and with her husband was soon planning to come to America and Utah.

Three girls were born to them in England: Emma, Mary Ann and Mariah. They moved from England to Swansea, Wales where her husband could get better work in order to raise money for their trip to America. Here two more girls were born, Elizabeth and Sarah Jane.

Shortly before they left for America a sad accident occurred when their little daughter Marie, who was nine years old, was burned to death. Because they were Mormons they were refused a burial plot in the church yard. A kind neighbor let them bury her in the top of one of his graves. This had to be done at night.

They sailed from Liverpool, England early in the spring of 1863 on the ship S. S. Synsoure. They were six weeks on the ocean, some days going back as far as they had advanced the previous day, as the weather was so bad. She was pregnant and the food was different than what she was used to so the trip proved very hard. During the sea voyage, little Sarah Jane contracted the measles and died. She was buried at sea. They landed in New York City on July 19, 1863.

They came as far as Council Bluffs by train, a long trip in those days. Here the immigrants were divided into companies and so many wagons, horses, mules, cattle, etc. were assigned to each company. As the wagons were heavily loaded, all those who were strong and well were obligated to walk. It was a long tiresome journey in the heat of the summer months.

They arrived in the Great Salt Lake Valley in October. A few days later they traveled north to Brigham City where they made their home. They settled on a small farm just east of town where they planted an orchard. Their peach trees were some of the first one planted in that locality. Their first son, William was born shortly after they arrived in Brigham City.

Ann Grinny Bowden was the mother of 15 children, five boys and ten girls. She was small in stature, active and ambitious with a keen sense of humor. She was kind and generous. Never did she fail anyone in need. She met the problems of the day with energy and with a willing heart. She was skilled with the needle and did all the sewing for the family, besides lots of fancy work. She also took an active part in the organizations in the ward and had a firm testimony of the gospel.

She was blessed with a beautiful head of dark brown hair. She always parted it in the middle and braided it in two large braids. She would wind each large braid around the top of her head and finish with a bun on the back of her neck. She was a proud English lady with a distinctive mind of her own. In matters of importance you always knew where Grandma stood.

She was active and able to take care of herself until a few weeks before she died. She passed away in Brigham City, Utah on April 8, 1917 at the age of 82. She is buried in Brigham City.

This article was written by Media Nuttall Dunn, granddaughter, for the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. I found it in their archives.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

James Ephraim Madson

  • Name: James Ephraim Madson
  • Born: January 21, 1844 Bjerrede, Terslev, Denmark
  • Died: March 23, 1914 Salem, Utah
  • Related through: Erin's grandfather James William Madson

James Ephraim Madson was born January 21, 1844 in Bjerrede, Terslev, Denmank. The first record we find of him is his baptism in the Terslev, Soro, Denmark Parish Register on April 8, 1844. His name was listed as Jens, son of Mads Jensen and Bodil Marie Jacobsdatter. Bjerrede is found in the Parrish of Terslev and in some records we find the name Rodemose (which means swamp) – probably the name of their farm. He had twin older sisters and one younger sister. He also had an older half-brother from his mother’s first marriage.

James as a young child with his parents
Mads and Bodil and twin sisters
Kirstine and Ane.
He was baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints March 28, 1866. Family tradition says that he was disowned by his family in Denmark. However records show that his mother was baptized in Denmark. At any rate he was the only one in his family to come to America. One cousin said she remembered Grandfather Madson saying that when he left home he could not look back at his mother or he would not have been able to go. At that time he said, “I have a choice, I can be better or I can be worse and I’m going to be better.”

The emigration record of 1866 gives Jens Madsen, age 21, of Sealand, a laborer deposited an amount of money and he sailed on the ship "Kenilworth" with the same company of Saints that included his future wife (but they were not to meet until they arrived in Spanish Fork, Utah later. He sailed May 25, 1866 with only a small wooden box, made with wooden nails to hold his belongings.

Jens landed in New York, July 17, 1866 and arrived (in the Joseph Rawlin's Company) in Salt Lake Valley, Utah on August 1, 1866. He worked for a family in Ogden the Christmas of this same year, and not being able to speak any English it must have been a lonely one. He spent Christmas day as a woodcutter in Ogden canyon with a lunch of bread and water. At a later date his daughter-in-law, Emma Tanner Madson, asked him if he, at that time, regretted having joined the Church and leaving Denmark. She remembered him abruptly replying, "Don't ever even think such a thing Emmy. The gospel of Jesus Christ is worth any sacrifice.'" We can be grateful for his dedicated faith, integrity and perseverance.

When Jens came to America he changed his name to James Ephraim Madson/Madsen. Two of his sons used the spelling Madson but all the others took the accepted spelling of Madsen. Mads Jonathan and William Hyrum’s families use the son spelling.
He was ordained to the office of Elder after receiving the Melchizedek priesthood on July 6, 1869. This same day he and Birgithe Jensen were married and sealed in the Salt Lake Endowment House. They also received their endowments this same date. Daniel H. Wells performed the marriage ceremony. Birgithe's parents, Poul Martines and Mette Kjerstine Olsen Jensen were also endowed and sealed this same date. James and Birgithe had nine children – eight sons and one daughter.

James Madsen family 1893

He worked on the railroad in Spanish Fork, Utah, for a time and was working there according to a record of March 31, 1869. In later years he had a farm and home in Salem, Utah. He apparently was very exacting and meticulous about work on his farm. He was always cut a stick to measure the onions; those of proper height were pulled and sold.

When work was to be done, church or community, James and his boys were there. The Church was everything. He said he would do it all again. It was probably impossible to find a discrepancy between the way this man lived and the way he believed.

James’ finances are not completely known to us but we do know some things. When he came to the United States one wooden box contained all the belongings he brought from Denmark. However after his death when his farm and home were sold sometime in 1915 each child inherited enough to make a real change in their way of living. Two of the boys built nice homes in 1916. And in 1919 each child received about $50 for a relative in Denmark.

He passed away at his home in Salem, Utah on March 23, 1914, or carcinoma of the stomach. He was 70 years old.

Some quotes attributed to him follow:

“If that’s the way the Lord wants it that is the way it’s going to be.”

“The secrets of life are secret because so few people ever really find them out.”

“Some very special people will come from the shadows of these mountains” (the mountains around Salem).

“If this counsel or work be of men, it will come to naught. But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it, lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.”

This article is based on information written and compiled by Hattie Madson Knight, 1976, and from information from “A Good Man and a Good Woman – Paul Martinus Jensen and Mette Kristine Olsen” compiled by Rae Madsen Kern and family, 2004.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

David Norton Sr.

  • Name: David Norton Sr.
  • Born: 1763 Fluvanna, Virginia
  • Died: 1814 Lexington, Kentucky
  • Related through: Dan's grandfather Heber Langford

David Norton was born in 1763 in Fluvanna, VA according to his Revolutionary War record. The Norton family seems to have been living in Fluvanna since 1763. We have numerous records of their activity in this area. His parents were Christopher and Mary Norton.

From his Revolutionary War enlistment papers: David Norton aged 17 was 5 foot 4 and 1/2 inches tall. He had dark hair, blue eyes and a fair completion. He had a scar on the left side of his jaw. His occupation was given as a "planter" from Virginia, Fluvana County. He was born in Virginia, Fluvana County and was a substitute for a man in Amherst County. He entered the service on the 18th of May 1780 and served 1 Year and 6 months.

David's brothers all served in the Revolution. The older Norton brothers joined the Virginia Line from the start of the Revolution. However James and David both joined when they turned 17. It is known that James and John Norton were at the battle of Yorktown. David might have spent time as a POW on a prison ship. He had a brother and a brother-in-law who died on the prison ship.

David Norton is on the tax rolls of Washington, VA for 1782 with just himself, 5 horses and 4 cattle. (he would be 19) This land is situated at the opening of the Cumberland Gap, the only route into Kentucky. David has a lot of horses and it suggests that he was engaged in transporting emigrants into Kentucky since the trail would not allow wagons. This same year James (brother of David) is at the Battle of Blue Licks in Kentucky which indicates the Norton family was involved with Kentucky from an early time. Given James’ close relationship with Daniel Boone and that Boonseville is situated two miles from Nortonsville in Virginia, we might surmise that the Nortons were instrumental to development of Kentucky. Another brother, Thomas also had land in this area before he died and it was sold.

David Norton married Sophia Fancher in 1783. He was 21 years old. They had 12 children. After their marriage David moved with his wife’s family to Fancher, Sevier, Tennessee. Fancher was later renamed Pigeon Forge in Sevier County, Tennessee. There is a Norton Branch of the river in this valley that connects where the Fanchers lived. David's surviving brothers emigrated to Bourbon, Kentucky at this time. Later John Fancher moved to Bourbon, Kentucky with David and Sophia in 1791.

Directly after the 1790 census, David Norton moved to be with the Norton family in Kentucky. By March of 1791 he is on the tax rolls of Bourbon County and in July he signs a bond for his brother John to buy land southeast of Paris, Kentucky and this becomes the family homestead. The old home still stands, on Levy Pike, between North Middleton and the levy. It is a two-story house with weatherboarding whether it is of logs underneath we do not know; but good frame architecture was becoming common in the country around Lexington before 1800. George T. Hart, the chimney builder, built the good stone chimney. At the close of 1791 brothers John, David and James Norton are living with their mother Mary Norton just east of North Middleton in Bourbon County Kentucky.

The Licking River flows North from the Norton farms in Bourbon to Falmouth in Pendleton county and continues to the Ohio River and Cincinnati. This river connected all the points that the family moved between 1795 and 1810. He only stayed in Falmouth for about 18 months before moving north into the Cincinnati area of Ohio. It appears that David Sr. received a land grant there for his service in the Revolution and it corresponds with the area that the Benefiel family was living in. The Benefiel's and Norton's are very close. David Sr.'s sister Elizabeth married William Benefiel in Bourbon. Sons, David Jr. and John will marry Benefiel sisters from the family that settled near Cincinatti, Ohio. We don't know much of how the family fared in Ohio from 1797 to 1810.

 In 1810 David Norton shows up in Pendleton County, Kentucky paying taxes on 3,000 acres of land. This land is situated just southeast of present day Williamstown in Grant County. David began improving the land, pushing through a road to Paris and selling off pieces. It looks like he was developing this land with his brother John. David probably bought the land late in 1809, but he certainly was in Pendleton by February.

August 29, 1812 David Norton Jr., Henry Norton son of David Norton, and William Norton, son of John Norton, sign on in the Kentucky Mounted Volunteer Militia commanded by Col. William Mountjoy in the War of 1812. David is 16, Henry 22, William 20. They served until November 5, when they mustered out of the Mounted Volunteers. They traveled all the way to Canada and back.

David died sometime in 1814. In March of 1814 there was a spotted fever epidemic in Lexington that probably killed David's brother, John in April of 1814. Possibly the same plague killed David. There is no estate sale and no record of David's death. One ancestor suggested in the Barton papers that he is buried near Lexington, Kentucky.

Thanks to Scott Norton for doing so much research and placing this history on his webstie. His info on David Norton Sr. can be found here.