Thursday, February 17, 2011

James Harvey Langford Sr.

  • Name: James Harvey Langford Sr.
  • Born: April 30, 1831 Kentucky
  • Died: May 29, 1908 Oaxaca, Sonora, Mexico
  • Related through: Dan's grandfather Heber Langford

James Harvey Langford Sr. was under five years old when his father moved the family from Pulaski County, Kentucky to Clay County, Indiana. His father joined the LDS Church in Indiana in 1843 when James was 12. It is not known if the rest of the family was baptized at the same time but they probably were.

The Langford family crossed the plains in 1852 in the James Bay Company and arrived in the Salt Lake Valley August 13, 1852. There were about 190 souls in this company including a contingent under the direction of John S. Higbee with a number of British converts. Also in this same company traveled the Isacc Turnbaugh family whose father's people, like the Langfords, had come from Kentucky, before moving to Illinois. James Harvey Sr. was 21 years old on the trip and probably a great deal of help to his parents. Mary Caroline Turnbaugh, Isaac's daughter was then only 10, but must have attracted the eye of James, as he married her four years later when she was barely 15.

Although the Turnbaughs were part of this company crossing the plains, it is interesting to note that Isaac Turnbaugh was NOT a member of the church. Isaac and Parthena and their three children Mary Caroline, Isaac Newton Jr. and Thomas Jefferson Jones (a son through Parthena's former marriage) were on their way to Oregon or California. We believe Parthena might have been a member and persuaded her husband that it would be safer to travel west with a Mormon company than a California or Oregon wagon train. After arriving in Utah they headed on their way — but only made it as far as Centerville, Utah where their team was stolen by Indians. The Mormons in the area befriended them and so they decided to stay on and Isaac was baptized in 1854. In 1866 they were called on a mission to Panaca, Nevada where Isaac is given credit for founding the town. Parthena died in 1869 in Bountiful and is buried in Willard. Isaac died in 1892.

Mary Caroline Turnbaugh
James Harvey was 21 when they reached the valley. He waited until he was 25 before marrying Mary Caroline Turnbaugh (perhaps giving her time to grow up a little.) For nine years after Mary Caroline and James Harvey were married they lived in Willard. Then around 1865, after the birth of their fifth child, they moved to Panaca, Nevada. During the next 15 years Mary Caroline was a Relief Society President and also a pioneer midwife delivering many babies including many of her grandchildren. Many of the men and boys in the town took on work at the mines that were discovered near Panaca. Some became inactive in the church during these years, but records show that James, although he did work in the mines, continued to be active and hold leadership responsibilities in the church.

During these years James and Mary Caroline had six more children but then, sadly, in 1880 she and James Harvey divorced. By 1887 Mary Caroline had married, as a polygamous wife, her second husband, Isaac Riddle, whom she later divorced. During these years she did a lot of temple work. She died in Provo at age 72 and is buried in Manti.

After the divorce, James Harvey, Sr. went on a mission to his father's people in Indiana and then in 1900 at the age of 70 he moved to the colonies in Old Mexico to live near his son James Harvey Jr. Here he farmed, raising watermelons, walnuts, almonds, pecans and apples. He died and was buried in 1908 in Oaxaca, Sonora, Mexico, at the age of 77. He was a Seventy at the time of his death and was in good standing in the Church.

This article was written and compiled by Norene Green and Sharlene Gardner, July 1997. Of note is that James is wearing a Masonic pin in his photograph.

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