Wednesday, January 12, 2011

James Dennis Nuttall

  • Name: James Dennis Nuttall
  • Born: October 14, 1856 Tottington, Lancashire, England
  • Died: October 24, 1931 College Ward, Cache, Utah
  • Related through: Erin's grandmother Idonna Nuttall

James Dennis Nuttall, son of William Nuttall and Alice Hopkinson Nuttall was born October 14, 1856 at Tottington, Lancashire, England and was the youngest of 10 children.

His autobiography:
About the year 1860 I went with my parents to Edenfield and I well remember the cotton panic caused by the Civil War in the United States and celebrating the marriage of the Prince of Wales in 1863.

The next two or three years I attended school at Edenfield and in about 1867 we moved to Twine Terrace and I commenced to work in the cotton mills. I also attended school at Bank Lane or Suttleworth, here is where I first saw the Mormon Elders who came occasionally and had meetings in our house. My parents joined the church several years before I was born. We belonged to the Tottington Branch of the Manchester Conference. I was baptized, along with others, on February 8, 1868 by Nephi Hawerth and confirmed by Thomas Schfield.

On June 20, 1868 my sister Alice and her husband, William Horworth, emigrated on the packet ship Emerald Isle from Liverpool and landed in New York on August 14. Thirty-seven deaths occurred on the voyage of over eight weeks. From that time on I continued to attend church and work in the cotton mills at Twine Terraces until I came to America in 1873.

Father was a farmer. My sister Mary worked in the cotton mills and my oldest sister Ann was a widow with three children. Her husband, John Robinson, was killed in the cotton mill on October 26, 1867 and her youngest child died soon after. She also worked in the cotton mills until she emigrated with our parents in 1872. Father and mother and my sister Ann and her two little girls, Mary and Esther, set sail on the steamship Wisconsin on July 31, 1872. My other sister Mary and I went to Liverpool to see them off, and then we returned to work and saved enough in eleven months to immigrate ourselves. On July 10, 1873, we sailed on the steamship Nevada and landed in New York on July 23. We arrived in Ogden on August 1, 1873. Father, who had settled in Millville, Cache County, the year before, came to Ogden to meet us with a team and wagon. Father and I slept out of doors which was the first time I had ever slept outside, and I got acquainted with the mosquitoes. I also had a meal with the first brown bread I had ever tasted. We came to Brigham City the first night and Millville the next. Indians were plentiful and we saw them every day.

Father was farming some land on shares so I helped him cultivate corn and we hauled some hay from the muddy river and when the grain was ready to harvest Father cut it was a scythe and together we raked it with hand rakes and tied it into bundles by hand and when it was ready we hauled it and stacked it. Later it had to be thrashed with a thrashing machine.

Sometime this month a two day meeting or conference took place in a bowery in Logan at which Brigham Young was present, this was the first time I had seen him.

Sometime during the latter part of October 1873, I went to Brigham City to work in the woolen mills to take the place of my sister Alice whose was sent home to Millville to her sick husband who died in November. I got board and lodging at the home of Levi Bradshaw and I was put to work weaving blankets and other cloth. (He goes on to list many of his co-workers at the mill. Of note he mentions that James Pett was the manager and that Elizabeth Pett worked as a weaver. An interesting connection.)

The United Order was the rule we were working under and we were supposed to be on hand a few minutes before 7 a.m. at the mill so we could kneel down together and have prayers before starting the wheel and everything worked alright. When Christmas came I went home to Cache Valley for a few days. We also got time off in March when we ran out of wool. I got to stay for two or three weeks until more wool came in.

On the 5th of February 1874 I went with the Brigham City Brass Band in a boxcar to witness the driving of the last spike in the Utah Northern Railroad between Willard and Ogden. The following summer and winter passed without anything of note happening. All that I earned at the mill except for paying my board and clothes I sent home to father and mother and sister, Mary, except for an occasional show ticket. I slept in the mill for eight months as a watchman and got 50 cents a night.

The summer of 1875 passed pretty much the same as the past year, working steady except two or three weeks in the spring waiting for new work. I attended Sunday School and Meetings pretty regular. Our Sunday School went on an excursion to Logan. We rode flat cards with seats fixed on and covered with brush for shade. We surely enjoyed the trip. The winter of 1875 and 1876 was quite severe with lots of snow.

Mother died on January 28th but they did not let me know for I could not have been to the funeral as the railroad was blocked with snow over the divide. Sometime that winter or spring I became a member of the YMMIA when it was first organized in Brigham City. The Sunday Schools, meetings, dances and theaters were all held in the Court House buildings and Brigham City was all in one ward, Calvin Nicholas was bishop.

The mill closed down as usual in the spring for want of wool and to put in some new machinery and I came home again for two or three weeks sometime in January or February. This being leap year I got an invitation to attend a leap year ball with a partner and I took Elizabeth Bowden, it was sure a swell affair. We had supper at intermission at James Barrons and from this time on we went together steady.

When I came back to work she had to go to work at Hansen Dairy at Collingston, but she came back home after about a month. On the 2nd of July she went to the valley of her uncle Bill in Box Elder canyon to milk her father’s cows and then coming home they ran a race to see who could get home first and the saddle synch broke and she was thrown to the ground and broke her arm. On the 4th of July Jim Baron, Bill Chatterton and I went to Ogden to celebrate, it being the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of the United States. On the 24th of July, James Barron and his wife, my girlfriend and I came over to Cache Valley on the train to celebrate. Father fetched us home in a day or two to Brigham City in a wagon.

On the 1st of October I went to go see President Snow of the Box Elder Stake to get a recommend to go and get married. I was then ordained an Elder by President Snow and got my recommend. In a few days we went to the Salt Lake Endowment House and were married by John Taylor on October 10. We came home the next day and stayed at Bowden’s for a few days. Then we rented a room and went to keeping house and I kept on working at the mill. Two or three weeks later there were several young couples married by civil ceremony, the Endowment House being closed. The Brass Band came one night and serenaded each of us and on New Year’s Day we had our wedding supper.

In 1877 I worked steadily at the mill and we had to move two or three times. On the 29th of August word came that President Young had died and the mill stopped until he was buried on Sunday, September 2. Our first child was born on October 9 and we named him William LeRoy. The woolen mills burned down on December 21st and I was out of work. They started to rebuild the mill and I got a job until spring with the masons. In the latter part of March father came by team and wagon to move us to Cache Valley. On April 1 we arrived in West Millville and that summer and fall we planted and harvested crops like other people.

1879 The past years passed as usual on the farm except occasionally a visit to Brigham City to visit our relatives and they came and visited us. Our second child was born on July 25 in Brigham City, we named him James Dennis. My wife went to stay at the home of her parents while she was confined and I fetched them home two weeks later.

1880 This year passed as usual putting in crops and harvesting them. Making visits to Brigham City and Deweyville.

1881 This year passed not keeping any record. Farming and doing other odd jobs. Our third child was born October 22. We name him Thomas Edward.

1882 Another year passed like the previous one.

1883 Still farming and doing other odd jobs. Benjamin Reuben was born November 22.

1884 Father Nuttall died June 28. Farming and labor as usual.

1885 Going to the canyon for wood. Working on the farm as usual. Alice Ann was born December 22.

1886 The years have passed with no record. I have been busy in religious and temporal way doing what I thought to be right and in the future I intend to keep a better record.

1888 On February 14 another little girl was born to us and we named her Media Elizabeth. I was a school trustee for the first seven years after College Ward was made and on November 8, Election Day, I was elected Justice of the Peace and was allowed $20 for my labors.

1889 This year was much the same as the previous years. I took care of my farm and family and attended our civil and religious duties.

1890 On January 26 another little girl was born to us and we called her Mary Arletta. During the years that followed I took care of my farm and was also the first and only Mail Carrier to carry mail from Logan to College Ward. My wife was a substitute. We made two trips a week, Wednesday and Saturday until November 20, 1904. On December 1, 1904 rural free delivery was started.

1899 On July 4, I was elected trustee for two more years. In November I went to Salt Lake City with some produce and bought and organ for the family. In November I was also re-elected as Justice of the Peace. On March 5, 1899 I was sustained as ward clerk of the College Ward, a position I held for 30 years. I was set apart as President of the First Elders Quorum to be organized in the College Ward on January 31, 1904.

My wife and I were fortunate in raising all our children and they were all married in the temple to good companions. Two of our sons were called to fulfill missions for the church. I have always tried to do my duty and be useful in the ward where we lived and have always had a testimony of the gospel.

On January 30, 1922, I lost my faithful wife and companion. My sister Alice Taggert of Salt Lake City came to spend the rest of the winter and summer with me and made frequent visits to see me for the next years. On August 14, 1925 I lost my youngest son Benjamin Reuben, he was killed in an accident. Our oldest son, William LeRoy, had died some years previous on June 22, 1910.

James was ordained a High Priest February, 1, 1908 in a Hyrum Stake Priesthood meeting. The last three years of his life he spent with his daughters. He died of pneumonia October 24, 1931 at the age of 76.

This history was given to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers by Alverta Nuttall Bowler, granddaughter, in 1967.

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