Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Elizabeth Briggs

  • Name: Elizabeth Briggs
  • Born: December 22, 1799 Walton, Chersterfield, England
  • Died: January 7, 1867 Perry, Box Elder, Utah
  • Related through: Dan's grandfather Lynn Crookston

Elizabeth Briggs was born December 22, 1799 in Walton Parrish, near Chesterfield, England (Derbyshire). She was the daughter of John Briggs and Ann Bower.

After her marriage to Nicholas Welch, she worked as an agent for a Mr. Fisher of Nottingham, England, a manufacturer of fine lace. The lace was embroidered on fine bobbin net, in pieces about thirty yards in length and 3/4 of a yard wide. It was shipped to China and used for ladies dresses. She also made beautiful black veils. She continued with this work until machines for making lace were introduced and installed, which was about the time she left England with her family to make her home in America.

One day in the fall of 1841, as she was returning to her home after having delivered some work in the town of Chesterfield, she noticed a large group of people congregated on the street corner, and being curious to know what was going on she joined the crowd. A "little boy" she said was standing on a box, on the corner, preaching. She was not religiously inclined, and even though her husband was a preacher, she had never given previous thought to his work. On this occasion, however, she was interested, and stopped to hear what the young man was saying. He was a local Elder, representing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by the name of Alfred Cardon, of Stratfordshire, England who, in spite of the fact he looked very young, was about 21 years of age.

What she heard impressed her deeply, and after the meeting was over, she stepped up and shook hands with the boy, and asked him who he was and where he was from, and many questions regarding his teachings. She told him her name, and where she lived, and invited him to come as soon as possible, and tell her more about the gospel.

Elizabeth was a small woman, with black hair and snappy black eyes. It was evening when she reached home, and the family, with the exception of John, who was at work in Sheffield, was waiting for her to return from work. She entered the house, sat her basket on the table, and going up to her husband, said, "Nick, I've heard the true gospel." He looked at her, rather surprised and said, "Oh, have you? That's funny for you." She answered, emphasizing the fact by pointing her forefinger straight at him, "Say, I've heard the gospel, it's the only gospel, and it's true and I know it, and I have invited a young Elder to visit us and tell us about it."

Elder Cardon did come to their home, he explained the truth to them, and the next week they were baptized.

In the spring of 1842 her family left their comfortable home in England, arrived in America, and moved to Nauvoo, Illinois, the city of the Saints.

Her son, John, remained in England, as his apprenticeship was not completed, being bound to the firm of George Worstenholm & Sons, Sheffield, a cutlery firm, from the time he was 14 until he was 21 years of age.

Before the year was ended, this little mother, and her daughter Ann (Crookston) were all that remained of the family in America. The father and two young sons, William and George succumbed to the hardships and privations which they were forced to encounter and died in Nauvoo. Her older son John eventually joined them in America

In the company that came from the "Old Country" with the Welch family, was a family by the name of Miles. During the hardships and sickness that came to the Saints, the father and Mother Miles both died, leaving two small children, Jane four years old, and her two year old brother John. These children were taken into the Welch family and remained as members from that time on. Jane grew to womanhood, married Charles Thomas, and settled with him in Moroni, Utah, while John lived until May 1919, spending his entire life in the homes of various members of the Welch family, as he never married. He lived with Elizabeth Briggs Welch, then with her son, John Welch Sr., then John Welch Jr., and lastly with Martha Jane Welch Dunn, at whose home, in Logan, Utah he died on the above date.

While still in Nauvoo, after the death of her husband, Nicholas, Elizabeth married a man whose name was Robert Madison, who died a short time after the marriage.

During the winter of 1846, Elizabeth Briggs Welch, in company with her son John and his family, who had now joined them in Nauvoo, left for the West. Her daughter Ann and husband Robert Crookston, their three little boys and the two Miles children were with them. They spent some time at Winter Quarters, and in Missouri, and finally reached Salt Lake City in 1852.

After spending a couple of years in Salt Lake City, the Welch family moved to Centerville, and then north to Box Elder County. During the later years of her life, Elizabeth married an old gentleman by the name of Edmund Ellsworth, who also died soon after the marriage, and she was left for the third time a widow. The remainder of her life was spent in a little home near that of her son, John, in Three Mile Creek (now Perry) in Box Elder County, Utah.

She passed away January 7, 1867, at the age of 68 at the home of her son John where she lived. She is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery in Willard.

Written by Eva Dunn Snow, great granddaughter, from information obtained from John Welch Jr., Mary Crookston Farmer and mother Martha Jane Welch Dunn. Copied and added to our family history May 15, 1966 by Lora Lee Huff Blackburn. Thanks to Grandma Melva for sharing it with us.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Edmond Nelson and Jane Taylor

  • Edmond Nelson 1799-1850
  • Jane Taylor Nelson 1805-1870
  • Related through: Dan's grandmother Elvira Wilde Langford

Edmond Nelson was born to Thomas and Martha “Patsy” Nelson on December 12, 1799 in Orange County, North Carolina, just a few months before the death of his grandfather, Abraham. When he was three years of age he moved with his parents to Bedford County, Tennessee, and by the time he was eighteen years of age the family had moved to Monroe County, Illinois.

He married Jane Taylor October 3, 1820 in Monroe County. She was born January 1, 1805, the daughter of Billington and Mary Elizabeth Modglin Taylor. The Taylors had also moved from North Carolina to Tennessee, and then on to Illinois, first settling in St. Clair County, and later in Monroe County. At the time of their marriage Edmond was not quite twenty-one years of age, and Jane was not quite sixteen years of age. A record of their marriage license was found in Waterloo, Illinois which is where they were probably married.

Their first son, Price Williams, was born at Keokuk, Iowa. Edmond and Jane had probably gone north up the Mississippi river possibly to work in the timber at the ferryboat crossing. However, by the time Elizabeth was born in 1824 they had moved back south and settled in Jefferson County near Mt. Vernon, Illinois. A few years later his father moved into that vicinity.

Edmond Nelson and his brothers had heard a lot of talk about the Mormons. It seems that they were coming in from all over the world, and people were getting worried that they would soon be so numerous that they would take over the whole country. Some steps had been taken against them but Edmond did not like some of the stories and evil boasting he heard from men he met. He felt that no people should have been treated so cruelly just because of their belief in a strange prophet.

Then came the day when the first Mormon missionaries stopped at his home. He invited them in and treated them kindly. He was interested in hearing their side of the controversy. But they seemed to have no enmity toward their persecutors. They answered quietly and simply that if those who had been guilty of the many atrocities against their faith and people had known and understood the true principles of the Gospel as taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith, they would never have mistreated his people. Edmond wanted to know about these principles for which they were willing to suffer and die. He listened with sober interest to every word of their message. There was a ring of pure and undefiled truth in what they claimed. Edmond called in his brothers, and perhaps his parents, to hear this new message from God. He made the decision that would shape the rest of his life and his death and he was baptized in 1836.

(The following life of Edmond Nelson is recorded as told to Taylor Nelson by William Goforth Nelson, son of Edmond Nelson.)

My father was a farmer and a stock raiser by occupation. The family lived in Jefferson County about nineteen years. I can remember witnessing my father’s baptism about the year 1836. An Elder by the name of Burquett officiated. My mother was not baptized until the year 1838.

In the spring of 1836 my father sold his home in Illinois and his livestock, with the exception of five head of horses, and started, together with the church, to Missouri. My father and his three brothers: James, Abraham and Hyrum, and their families also went. The four brothers located within two miles of each other. James and Hyrum located on the west bank of the Grand River; Abraham bought a ferry right, and one flat boat and one canoe, on the Grand River one mile below. My father filed on a quarter of section of land one mile from the river. He then bought quite a number of stock and hogs. It was while we lived here that the Prophet Joseph Smith stayed overnight with us. That was the first time any of us had ever seen him.

We lived there on year and a half when in the fall of 1838 a general conference of the Church was held at Far West, Missouri. My father was one that attended. The Prophet counseled the Saints to gather there at Far West, forthwith. My father was the only one of the four brothers to immediately comply with the counsel of the Prophet. He started at sunrise the next morning after getting home; taking a wagon in which his family could ride comfortably. He took five horses, one yoke of oxen, three cows, and a small bunch of sheep. He left 34 head of cattle and fifty head of hogs in the woods. His brothers were so slow to comply with the word of the Prophet and the mob robbed them of nearly all their property. They took possession of Abraham’s ferry and charged them for crossing on it when they started to Far West.

Our first days travel was through thinly settled country — we often saw, in a distance, the smoke rising from burning houses and we frequently saw members of the mob riding through the fields on horseback, but we were not molested by any of them. At night we camped with a family whose house was then burning, having been set on fire by the mob. My father helped the man, whose name I do not remember, to build a rack to take to the place of his wagon box which also burned. The man traveled with us one day and then went on another road so as to travel with some of his relatives.

On the third day my father sold one horse for $30.00 and loaned the oxen to another man to drive. I do not remember how many days we were on the road to Far West, but it was not many. When we reached Grand River, my mother was baptized by Lyman Wight. Far West was soon packed with people, so that before we reached the town instructions had been given for the rest of the saints to camp at Shoal Creek, two miles from Far West, so we remained there for the winter. All who camped there lived in their own wagons and tents.

It was during this winter that the saints were called upon by the governor of Missouri to deliver up their arms which request was complied with. My father and oldest brother were among those who delivered their guns to members of the mob. The mob was on horseback — the men all had painted faces. The next coming there were three light wagons, each pulled by two large horses. Our brethren were commanded to follow in behind the wagons. The next company of the mob came in behind our wagons. They stopped in a little prairie about a mile below, and our brothers were ordered to lay their guns and ammunition in the wagons. Then the third party came up, half of the men dismounted, leaving two horses and two guns with one man and then the footmen started to plunder the wagons in the camp, claiming that they were hunting for ammunition. Our people had their horses and cattle all tied up because they had no other place for them and thus were our wagons searched and much property stolen by the mob.

It was while we camped on Shoal Creek that Joseph Smith Nelson (our ancestor) was born. My eldest brother Price was sick nearly all winter. My father could not find employment of any kind by which to help secure a living so that our food during the eventful winter consisted entirely of beef and boiled corn. In the early spring of 1839 we started for Quincy, the place which had been designated by the Prophet Joseph for the Saints to cross the Mississippi River. But before we reached there we were compelled to stop on account of the sickness of Price and myself. Father rented a house in which we lived until we had regained sufficient strength to continue on our journey. We crossed the river at Quincy and then started north. But we traveled very slowly, it being spring and the rainy season of the year. We rented a house about 30 miles east of Commerce, (afterwards called Nauvoo). Father helped a man fence a piece of land and then got the privilege of planting six acres of corn which yielded an abundant crop.

Late in the fall father and Price went to Nauvoo and built a two room log house but we did not move to Nauvoo until early the next spring (1840). Father bought a lot and a half in Nauvoo which ran east and west. The house referred to was built on the west end of the plot. We opened a rock quarry on the west end. Hyrum and I helped father quarry rock, most of which we sold in the city. Father paid his temple work and most of his tithing in rock from the quarry, all of which was used in the temple. We also rafted a great deal of wood and saw timber down the river. We at one time went eighteen miles up the river, after a raft of saw timber which we sold to a man by the name of Ellis for three dollars per thousand feet. He ran a sawmill on the bank of the river. Hyrum and I spent one summer in Nauvoo working the brick yard, making brick which was used in building the Nauvoo House. We remained in Nauvoo until the first day of May 1846, at which time we started west with the church.

We lived in Mt. Pisgah for about four years. As soon as we camped we plowed some ground and planted three and one half acres in corn, and one-half acre of buck wheat and a good garden. Shortly after arriving Father and most of the children took sick with the chills and fever, and did not recover until September. During the month of July, I was bitten by a rattlesnake on my heel, but was only laid up for about ten days. Late in the fall of the same year I was bit by a dog on my right leg just below where it had been cut with the foot-ads spoken of above. I got along pretty well for about two weeks at which time Father and Mr. Mansfield went hunting. While they were away the children were playing near the house when a small tree fell. A limb hit my brother, Mark who was then about two years old and broke his skull. Father was sent for and got home in about forty-eight hours after the accident. All was done for him that could be, but he was left cripple for the rest of his life, his right side being paralyzed. It was about one year before he could walk at all.

It was on the 8th day of May, 1850, that we started from Mt. Pisgah to Council Bluffs; thence across the plains to Salt Lake Valley. We started with two good wagons and good ox teams. We also had a number of cows. We traveled pretty much alone until we had come four miles west of Council Bluffs, where we found a camp of saints. On June 4th the camp was organized with Thomas Johnson as captain, ready to start on our journey west the next day. There were fifty wagons in the company. My brother, Price, met us at Council Bluffs and came to the valley with us while Hyrum came in another company the same year.

When we were at Sweet Water my father contracted the mountain fever and never fully recovered. We reached Salt Lake City on September 9, 1850. We camped on the public square for two days. My father wanted to live on a farm; accordingly, we went about 30 miles south to Mountainville (Alpine) which is about four miles northeast of American Fork. We built a long house and moved the family into it. Price, Thomas and myself then went to the Mill Creek Canyon and began getting out shingle timber. We cut and hauled two loads into the mill in a day. The miller sawed and packed the shingles and sold them at $__ per thousand, paying us half. We worked 18 days and cleared $300.

Father’s health was still failing him, so we stopped logging and went home. He died on December 13, 1850 and was buried on December 15th on a little knoll just north of Alpine City. Hundreds have been buried there since, but he was the first. Jane and some of the other members of the family ended up settling in Franklin in Cache Valley later.
This history was written by Mansel H. Nelson and the first person account was recorded by Taylor Nelson from William Goforth Nelson, son of Edmond Nelson. Thanks to Cindy for providing in on her family history website.

Monday, March 21, 2011

James Harvey Langford Jr.

  • Name: James Harvey Langford Jr.
  • Born: May 27, 1861 Willard, Utah
  • Died: April 14, 1922 American Fork, Utah
  • Related through: Dan's grandfather Heber Otto Langford
James Harvey Langford Jr. was born May 27, 1861 in Willard, Utah and grew up there and in Panaca, Nevada. He was the son of James Harvey Langford Sr. and Mary Caroline Turbaugh.

Rose Ellen Jackson, was born December 1,1865. Her parents moved from Lehi to Toquerville, Utah, after Brigham Young called them to settle there, in what came to be known as "the wine mission." Some legends suggest that our practical prophet thought profit made from wine should not go to the Gentiles.

James and Rose Ellen on their wedding day
James was 21 years old when he first met Rose Ellen Jackson. She had contracted erysipelas and her father brought her to Panaca on one of his freighting trips so she could stay with some of his friends for several months to convalesce. James met her at church, they fell in love and started a courtship the continued for two years. When they decided to get married, James Harvey went to Rose Ellen’s father, James Jackson Jr., to ask for her hand in marriage. He consented with the stipulation that he marry his oldest daughter, Mary Lydia at the same time. So with Rose’s consent, he married both sisters on March 27, 1884 in the St. George Temple.

The family moved around a lot. First they lived in Junction, Utah, then Toquerville, Utah and Panaca, Nevada and then back to Junction. One this last move it was so cold the family almost froze to death. While living in Junction, James Harvey was a counselor in the bishopric. He also conducted a choir and sang solos.

In 1888, James Harvey moved Mary Lydia into Grass Valley, Utah. The law was beginning to make angry noises again polygamists in the area. Shortly after the birth of Rose Ellen’s third child federal officers came to get Rose Ellen to get her to act as a witness against her husband as a polygamist. Her mid-wife mother-in-law, Mary C. Turnbaugh Langford, aimed a gun and dared the men to take her. They left but returned three weeks later and took her to court to testify against James Harvey. Rose Ellen only answered, “I don’t know.” To all the questions asked.

James Harvey Langford is second from left.

Nevertheless, James Harvey was taken to prison December 18, 1888, fined $300 and sentenced to six months in jail. He left his two wives and five small children and hoped they would be able to manage by themselves. While in prison he carved six baby rattles and a figure of a dog out of wood using only as case knife. He was released from prison June 17, 1889. Shortly after he wrote a letter to Elder George Q. Cannon asking what he should do. He did not want to give up either of his families. Elder Cannon advised him to take his families and move to Mexico.

They then made the long trek through Utah and New Mexico and settled in Oaxaca in northern Mexico. They had many adventures along the way. Life in Mexico was hard. Rose Ellen often said there were times they thought they would starve, but they always got by somehow. James Harvey built an adobe home with one bedroom for each wife and a kitchen between the bedrooms. While living there they had a flood that ruined everything and washed out the well.

James Harvey eventually built a newer brick home. He burned his own brick and slacked his lime. Then he built a store and several other houses for other people. He owned a city block of ground. He raised pears, apples and grapes. His father James Harvey Sr. came to Oaxaca in 1898 and farmed a piece of this ground. He raised watermelons, English walnuts and almonds. He lived in a one room house. The grandchildren took turns cleaning it and taking meals to him. He died there in 1908.

There was a cloud burst up the Bivespie River on November 5, 1905. The river started to rise that morning and by evening the town was destroyed and there were about 30 families left homeless. They moved into the schoolhouse and soon after most of the families moved out of town ruining James Harvey’s business in the store. Fortunately the flood did no damage to the Langford family home but they did lose some goods and furniture to water damage.

The family kept increasing and soon there were a total of 18 living children. James Harvey couldn’t make a living, so by 1908 he traded his home and store for a farm of 500 acres that was about 30 miles closer to the U.S. border in San Jose. The ground was very fertile there and the family lived there for almost four years. These turned out to be the four most prosperous years the family had in Mexico.

James Harvey Langford Jr. family in Mexico
In August of 1912, the family received word from the stake president in Chihuahua to pack all their belongings and go back to the United States. The Mexican Revolution was going on and the revolutionaries had given all the Saints two days to get out of Mexico. The family immediately obeyed the counsel because they had 60 miles to travel. There were trains going into some towns in Chihuahua and the Mexicans were forcing men on the trains. No women or children could go. One family in Diaz was killed. The Langford family left San Jose, Mexico on August 12 and went to Douglas, Arizona. The U.S. Government had tents and provisions for everyone but James Harvey wouldn’t accept the tents because his family was too large. His youngest brother lived in Douglas so they went there and secured another large tent. When he got the family settled he and four of his sons made several trips back into Mexico and got out nearly 2,000 bushels of wheat and other crops and livestock. It took them six months.

The U.S. Government offered to furnish free transportation to all refugees to any place in the United States. Some of the family went to Provo where their grandmother Mary Caroline Langford lived and some went to Toquerville, Utah. James Harvey and the younger children went to Tuscon, Arizona. They stayed there for two years but the crops were poor so they moved to Price, Utah. They lived there for two years where they rented a farm. After that they moved to a farm in Wellington, Utah where James Harvey got a job building roads near Schofield. He was made foreman and five of his boys drove teams. They lived in tents and Rose Ellen and Mary Lydia did the cooking and took in boarders.

On November 19, 1919 they moved to Caldwell, Idaho. A married son and an aunt lived there. They rented a nice home near Nampa, Idaho and it was the nicest place they had ever lived. While there he decided to buy a car. He went to town and bought a 1915 Ford. He decided he would drive it back home, but it wouldn’t guide like a horse so he had his son take it over and he didn’t try to drive it again.

After an unsuccessful venture into the dairy business he decided to move again. The family went to American Fork, Utah where one of his married sons was living. While there he got pneumonia and died on April 14, 1922. He was buried in the American Fork Cemetery.

It had been a hard life. If the Mexican Revolution hadn’t occurred their life in Mexico would have been far different. If they could have stayed in San Jose they might have become very prosperous, as it was just opening up as another Mormon settlement. James Harvey Langford Jr. was an honest, hard working man. His intelligence and deep religious faith is evidenced in his writings which have been kept by the family. Both families feel he gave them the finest heritage he could.

This article was written by Blenda Jackson Langford Bulter, daughter. It is included in the book “The Progenitors and Descendants of Fielding Langford.” By Ida-Rose Langford Hall. His history was rather long so for more information about his life find this book. There is a copy in the Family History Library.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Michel Sommer

  • Name: Michel Sommer
  • Born: February 3, 1803 Mussig, Bas Rhin, France
  • Died: 1868 Peoria, Illinois
  • Related through: Dan's grandmother Melva Castleton

Michel Sommer was born February 3, 1803 in Mussig, Bas Rhin, France to Ulrich Sommer and Maria Baechler. He married Anna Erb, daughter of Jean Erb and Madeliene Herby or Hertig.

Michel was a farmer and they were of the Anabaptist Faith. They had seven children, among them our great grandmother, Maria (Mary), who married Nicholas Isch.

Their little daughter, two year old Maria died July 8, 1831. On March 5, 1854, Michel died at the age of 16. In 1854 a terrible epidemic of cholera came to their land. He lost his wife Anna (age 50) and three children: Jean, 21, Jacque, 19 and Madeliene, 12.

His daughter, Maria (Mary, our ancestor) went to live with the oldest daughter Anne, who was married and had a large family. In 1857 Michel and Maria immigrated to America. Michel's brother sent him money to come and live with him in Peoria, Illinois. I have heard his name was Jacob but have not been able to find him in the records. We think he was remarried but we haven’t found a second wife or death date of Michel. He fell off a wagon, died and was buried in East Peoria in 1868. Grandma, (Berth Isch Getz) told how her Mother, Mary Sommer Isch related her sadness at not being able to go to his funeral in Peoria, as she was living too far away.

Thanks to Grandma Melva for writing and providing this article.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mads Jonathan Madson

  • Name: Mads Jonathan Madson
  • Born: September 20, 1875 Salem, Utah,
  • Died: July 18, 1930 Malad, Idaho
  • Related through: Erin's grandfather James Madson
As recalled by daughter Hattie M. Knight, March 1976
John (he always went by that name) was born to James Ephraim and Birgithe Jensen Madson on September 20, 1875 at Salem, Utah. He was the third son in a family of eight boys and one girl. They were James Ephraim Jr., Enoch Martines, Joseph Lorenzo, Ervin Erastus, Franklin Oliver, Bodilia Christine, William Hyrum and Elmer LeRoy. His parents were converts to the Mormon Church and came to Utah from Denmark. They met and married after coming to Utah.

John grew up in Salem and was active in the church until he and some of his brothers came to Idaho to find work. He always kept his strong testimony. The small farm in Salem was probably just not large enough to supply work and a living for the family. He freighted with a team and wagon for some time and often talked about the wheat he hauled to Corrine, Utah — the end of the road line. He would take such things as honey back to sell to the farmers on his way home and on north. In the spring of the year he would shear sheep and became quite an expert at this. After he was married he continued to shear sheep for awhile to get money to buy a farm and get established on it at Elkhorn (near Malad).

After coming to Idaho he married Ann Amelia Clark. They had eleven children. After about one year of marriage my parents moved with their baby son to the newly acquired dry farm near Malad, Idaho. With a great deal of hard work they cleared the land of sagebrush — not all that first year. It took years to get all the "grubbing sage" done. Wheat was to be the main crop. Planting was mostly in the fall in soil that had been plowed and harrowed in the spring and allowed to remain idle all summer. This was known as winter wheat. A little barley and spring wheat was planted in the spring. Some alfalfa was grown also, but it was difficult because of lack of water. The water right with the farm amounted mainly to the spring runoff from the canyon on the north.
We always had a few milk cows, a few pigs and chickens, sheep and range cattle. The sheep came from lambs left as "bums" (without mothers and unable to survive with the herd). Ours was the last farm where anyone lived all year on the way to the summer range. The sheep men would leave these lambs with us and we would bottle feed them until they could survive on grass and hay. Some years we tried to raise turkeys, but it was quite unsuccessful and Mother soon gave up on it.
Mads Jonathan Madson family around 1920. Grandpa James is the young boy sitting on the chair.
It was pretty much a case of all work and no play except for Sunday. My father did farm work on Sunday only in emergencies. The chores had to be done; cows milked, animals and chickens fed and eggs gathered, wood and coal carried in for the stoves every day. On Sunday we visited relatives or neighbors, read books (when they were available), played outside, went sleigh riding in winter and horseback riding in summer and when a branch of the Church was established on Elkhorn we went to Sunday School. That was about 1924 and only Sunday School was held there.
The outdoor work was naturally heaviest in summer. As soon as the snow was gone and the ground dried out a little (usually about April), the plowing began for fields harvested the fall before. After the plowing, the land was harrowed and allowed to rest until fall when it was planted into "winter wheat" to be harvested the next summer. Some days were spent in weeding this land with a garden hoe by us children. This was supposed to be boy's work, but sometimes the girls helped too. My strongest memories were of the days when my father decided to haul rocks. Anyone who could lift a five to thirty or so pound rock got in on the job. It was done with a team of horses and a wagon going back and forth over the plowed land. There seemed no end to the rocks every year turned up by the plow or washed down from the canyons north of the farm with the spring run off. We all helped load the wagon and then unload at the huge rock pile near the center of the field. I think that rock pile is still there in spite of efforts to give them away as building material. There just seems to be no end to them. We were super tired and dusty after a day of rock hauling.
The other job that took the girls out of the house was tromping hay as it was loaded onto the wagon and then leading the derrick horse as the hay was stacked or put into the barn loft. The hay was pulled up by means of a rope and pulley attached to a huge hay fork. A very steady and gentle horse was required for this work. Our job was to lead the horse out until the fork was tripped and then slowly back him up to get another forkful. Haying on the dry farm wasn't so bad. There was little water and little hay, often no second or third crop, but we had big hay crops after my parents bought the small farmed owned by my mother's parents. It was less than a mile west of our farm, but on lower ground and the St. John ditch with water rights ran through it. Grandpa Bake kept the home and garden spot. He was well known for his vegetables and especially for fine textured blue mechanock potatoes which he grew. The yield was small, but the potatoes were choice.
With this new farm we now had an orchard, mostly apples, and a garden space with water. It meant more work, but more good food too. We canned lots of string beans by a cold pack method. The filled jars were placed in the clothes boiler in water about an inch above the bottle tops and processed at least four hours. Beef and venison were done in the same manner. It took a lot of time and effort and kept the old stove going, but they kept well. Later the pressure cooker replaced the boiler, but not while I was living at home.
My other major outside chore was milking cows night and morning. During the summer the younger boys had the job of herding the cows. They were turned out to graze each morning on the rural roadside or nearby foothills. Thunder storms sometimes made this pretty scary business. They did ride a horse to do this work, but it was very boring and tiresome.
My father kept busy in winter repairing machinery or farm buildings and oiling and repairing harnesses for the horses. Besides this he read what books he could get hold of and spent endless hours reading the scriptures which he could explain with amazing clarity.
A once a year event was the chokecherry expedition of our family up John Evans Canyon in our white top buggy or wagon. The canyon was about five to eight miles west of our farm and it took all day. We all had to pick chokecherries from the tree like bushes as hard and fast as we could. Some of the smaller children would climb on the limbs and sit there to hold them down so we could reach the fruit. We were rewarded with a picnic lunch and several days of cooking and squeezing the juice out after we got home. The jelly tasted wonderful with hot bread and butter which we had at least every other day and with pancakes. We used no pectin or apple juice so the jelly was full flavor and pretty liquid. None of it ever went to waste.
The Fourth of July was a very special day. We would get up extra early to do chores and then head for town and the public square for the big celebration. Our allowance for that day went from ten cents to a quarter for candy and soda water. It was a rare treat to visit the refreshment stands, take part in the races and watch the ballgame. After Aunt Mabel moved to town her place was headquarters for a pot luck dinner and visiting. She lived just two blocks north of the square where the celebration took place.
Our Father died suddenly from a heart attack at home on July 18, 1930 at the age of 54. He had been suffering from chest pains for some time and over-exerted himself putting out a small fire in the motor of the combine-harvester he was running the day before his death.
This article is taken from information written and compiled by Hattie Madson Knight, 1976.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

John Lothropp

  • Name: John Lothropp
  • Born: 1584 Etton, Yorkshire, England
  • Died: 1653 Barnstable, Massachusetts
  • Related through: Dan's grandfather Lynn Crookston

Taken from the Wikipedia article about Rev. John Lothropp. Ancestor George White Pitkin’s mother, Abigail Lothropp, was a direct descendant of John Lothropp.

John Lothropp was an English Anglican clergyman, who became a Congregationalist minister and emigrant to New England. He was the founder of Barnstable, Massachusetts.

He was baptized December 20, 1584. He attended Queens' College, Cambridge, where he matriculated in 1601, graduated with a BA in 1605, and with an MA in 1609.

He was ordained in the Church of England and appointed curate of a local parish in Egerton, Kent. In 1623 he renounced his orders and joined the cause of the Independents. Lothropp gained prominence in 1624, when he was called to replace Reverend Henry Jacob as the pastor of the First Independent Church in London, a congregation of sixty members which met at Southwark. Church historians sometimes call this church the Jacob-Lathrop-Jessey Church, named for its first three pastors, Henry Jacob, John Lothropp and Henry Jessey.

His decision to leave the Church of England, at this time was considered a dangerous crime. The punishment for this crime was death; most often the method was burning at the stake or being drawn and quartered. John's position became even more perilous when he accepted an appointment to be a minister of an illegal independent church.

Members of his church were forced to meet in private to avoid the scrutiny of Bishop of London William Laud. Following the group's discovery on April 22, 1632 by officers of the king, forty two of Lothropp's Independents were arrested. Only eighteen escaped capture. They were prosecuted for failure to take the oath of loyalty to the established church. Many were jailed in The Clink prison. All were released on bail by the spring of 1634 except Lothropp, who was deemed too dangerous to be set at liberty. A plaque in the Lothrop Hill Cemetery in Barnstable, Massachusetts, the town which John Lothropp settled and where he died, states he was incarcerated in Newgate Prison, 1632-1634. While he was in prison, his wife Hannah House became ill and died. His six surviving children were according to tradition left to fend for themselves begging for bread on the streets of London. Friends being unable to care for his children brought them to the Bishop who had charge of Lothropp. The bishop ultimately released him on bond in May of 1634 with the understanding that he would immediately move to the New World.

Lothropp was told that he would be pardoned upon acceptance of terms to leave England permanently with his family along with as many of his congregation members as he could take who would not accept the authority of the Church of England.

The State Papers in the new Record Office, Fetter Lane, London, have preserved some of the Star Chamber records of John Lothropp's imprisoned days. The last record probably was the order of the court which opened the way for his escape to America. The record found on page 71 of Governor Winthrop's Journal, quotes John Lothropp, a freeman, rejoicing in finding a "church without a bishop," . . . "and a state without a king."

At that time the King, Charles I, was in a conflict with Parliament. Puritans, Presbyterians and Independents, all dissenters from the Church of England supported Parliament. This conflict led to an English Civil War. King Charles I was later beheaded in 1649 by forces led by Lord Cromwell.

Lathrop accepted the terms of the offer and left for Plymouth, Massachusetts. With his group, he sailed on the Griffin and arrived in Boston on September 18, 1634. He married Anna Hammond shortly after his arrival. Aboard ship, he was the only one who had a Bible. While he was reading the Bible, hot tallow from a dripping candle burned holes through several pages. He obtained paper and pasted it on the partially burned pages. He then printed from memory the passages of scripture which had been destroyed. This bible is now in a display case in his house that is now the city library.

Lothropp did not stay in Boston long. Within days, he and his group relocated to Scituate where they "joined in covenant together" along with nine others who preceded them to form the "church of Christ collected at Scituate.” The Congregation at Scituate was not a success. Dissent on the issue of baptism as well as other unspecified grievances and the lack of good grazing land and fodder for their cattle caused the church in Scituate to split in 1638.

Lothropp petitioned Governor Thomas Prence in Plymouth for a "place for the transplanting of us, to the end that God might have more glory and we more comfort.” Thus as Otis says "Mr. Lothropp and a large company arrived in Barnstable, October 11, 1639 O.S., bringing with them the crops which they had raised in Scituate.” There, within three years they had built homes for all the families and then Lothropp began construction on a larger sturdier meeting house by Coggin's (or Cooper's) Pond, which was completed in 1644. This building, now part of the Sturgis Library in Barnstable, Massachusetts is one of John Lothrop's original homes and meeting houses, and is now also the oldest building housing a public library in America.

"He was a man of humble and broken heart spirit, lively in dispensation of the Word of God, studious of peace, furnished with godly contentment, willing to spend and be spent for the cause of the church of Christ."

While Lathrop's fame may not have lasted much beyond his life, famous descendants continue to influence the world through this day. His direct descendants in America number more than 80,000, including Mormon prophet Joseph Smith, six U.S. presidents, and dozens of other influential citizens – politicians, writers, singers and actors etc. There is quite a long list on the Wikipedia page, read that here. I also found at least one book about him. I haven't read it but it looks interesting. Find that here.

Monday, March 7, 2011

George Washington Brandon

  • Name: George Washington Brandon
  • Born: 1809 Spartanburg, South Carolina 
  • Died: 1849 Council Bluffs, Iowa
  • Related through: Erin's grandmother Margaret Udy Hanni

His short autobiography:

The son of John Brandon who was born in the State of Virginia, Albemarle Co. immigrated from thence to North Carolina, married a wife named Carter, immigrated from thence to East Tennessee, Knox County. After burying his first wife he married my mother whose name was Dinah Scott, the daughter of a Mr. Scott whose wife’s name was Evans. Grandfather came from Ireland, emigrated from there to North Carolina, Spartansburg County from there to Greenville County where I, George Washington Brandon, was born in 1809.

My mother died in 1813 and my father being stricken in years I went to East Tennessee, Jefferson County to my uncle Patrick Scott a year or two after my mother’s death. From there I was taken to Blount County, Tennessee where I lived about nine months with my half-brother Lewis Brandon, from there to Rowan County where I lived with another half-brother, Pleasant Brandon. After this I went to live with my youngest half-brother George Brandon until I moved to Albino, Jackson County and then to Rowan County, Tennessee. Then I made my home at John M. for five years before moving to Henry Co. Tenn. in the spring of 1826 where I married Keziah Fowler in 1830, she was the daughter of of George H. Fowler.

I was baptized by Elder Wilford Woodruff on March 25, 1835. My wife was baptized by Wilford Woodfruff in September of 1835. I was ordained a teacher August 18 by Samuel M. Clantha, ordained an Elder by E. Wilson January 13, 1838, moved to Nauvoo, Illinois in 1842 and ordained a Seventy by Joseph Young April 12, 1843.

On July 6, 1842, George wrote the following letter in Nauvoo.

Dear Brother:
In as much as I have lately arrived at the place from Tennessee, I feel it a duty that I owe to God and myself and also my brethren to give you a short account of the state and condition of the Church and brethren in the counties of Henry, Stewart and Mongomery, Tennessee, as far as I have knowledge of their standing.

I will give a short account of the Charity Branch which branch was raised up by myself in 1839, and was organized with seven members, some of whom lived in Henry County and some in Benton County. Our most usual place of holding meetings was in a few hundred yards of the county line between the aforesaid counties and near to where they cornered.

My labors since I was ordained an Elder have been extended from Joseph Chunness on Blood River, Henry County, through the northeast corner of Benton County, thence across the Tennessee River in a southeasterly direction to Wills Creek, thence north across the Cumberland River at the Cumberland Iron Works. Thence a little east at north nine miles to Nathaniel Abners, in Montgomery County . . . My labors were extended, as before stated from Blood River, Henry County, to Montgomery County, Tennessee. Although Benton and Stewart Counties, making a circuit of 80 miles in length. Throughout this circuit I have preached all I could. My circumstances being very limited I suppose I have preached about 500 sermons in the last three years and baptized some 26 persons. My circumstances have been such that compelled me to labor all the while for the support of my family and not only this, I was near $200 in debt, which I had no way of paying only by my labors, which I have paid, excepting a few dollars that was given to me this last spring by my sister, Abigail Brandon. I suppose she gave me as much as $15 in money. A good many of the poor sisters and brothers have helped me to a little provision as they could spare. I have suffered some loss by the mobs of Brenton and Henry Counties, Tennessee. But out of all these troubles the Lord has delivered me, for which I thank and adore His name. . .

A short time before the martyrdom of Joseph Smith and Hyrum, George and his brother, Thomas Jefferson Brandon, were appointed to go to Alabama to preach the gospel and to teach the prophet’s viewpoint on politics. This mission was cut short and he returned home to Nauvoo.

Seven children were born in Tennessee and two more children were born in Nauvoo. He received his endowments on October 31, 1846 and on December 13, 1847 he got a patriarchal blessing.

When the exodus from Nauvoo began they were not prepared to make the long trip to Utah. They took up residence for a few years at Kanesville (Council Bluffs), Iowa, were two more children were born.

George Washington Brandon apparently died in 1849. While working in the timber on Cow Creek in 1849, George was stricken with cholera and died. Keziah was not allowed to see him or to bring his body home for burial. So the exact date of his death isn’t known by any of the family.

After George’s death, Keziah came to Utah in 1851 or 52 with seven or eight (available sources do not agree) of their eleven children.

This history was put together based on various books and notes I found in the Family History Library archives and the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Joseph Castleton

  • Name: Joseph Castleton
  • Born: May 23, 1804 Lowestoff, Suffolk, England
  • Died: March 26, 1860 Lowestoff, Suffolk, England
  • Related through: Dan's grandmother Melva Castleton

Joseph Castleton was born May 23, 1804 to James and Martha Powels Castleton. They lived in Lowestoft, Suffolk, England.

Joseph became a fisherman. Lowestoft ranks next to Yarmounth among the most important fishing stations on the Eastern coast. The city has lovely market places, a seaport and beaches for bathing, beautiful hanging gardens, richly planted with trees and scrubs, with alcoves and summer homes descending to the foot of the hills. The soil is not damp as in many places in England; the air of Lowestoft is clean and wholesome. There are many delightful walks and drives in the adjacent country. Pleasantly situated on the most easterly point of England, Lowestoft when viewed from the sea, has the most picturesque and beautiful appearance of any town on the eastern coast.

Joseph had two brothers James and John, and four sisters, Mary Ann, Hannah, Suanna and Elizabeth. Another little boy, Joseph died before our Joseph was born. They enjoyed music and reading poetry in their home. We have poetry written by their father, James, and know he wrote music and played a musical instrument.

As a boy Joseph probably spent many hours with his father James, who was a cabinetmaker and did fine woodwork on the interior of sailing ships. At that time they spent many hours carving beautiful intricate designs on their woodwork.

Joseph became a fisherman very young. They fished mostly for herring and mackerel, men and young boys were employed on their boats. If they didn't catch enough fish in one night they would continue on the fishing ground for two or three nights salting the fish as they were caught. They worked hard for their living. Worried wives and families were often waiting at home, praying for the safety of their men. Often lives were lost, in fact we know of their sadness when the news was received of a cousin, son of John Castleton, also a fisherman drowned while visiting family in East Lynn.

At 24 years old on February 21, 1828, Joseph, married Mary Smith, who was 21. She was a lovely young girl also of Lowestoft, daughter of Thomas amd Susanna Crane Smith. They worked hard together raising a large family of ten children: James Joseph, Charles, William Joseph, Martha Ann, Charles (who died when 1 year old), Charles, John Samuel, Mary Ann and John Charles. Five of their children were lost when very young.

Their oldest son, James Joseph was our ancestor. He joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and sailed to America, where he lived in Salt Lake City and became a gardener to Brigham Young.

Joseph died in Lowestoft, March 26, 1860 at the age of 56. After 25 years as a widow, and at the age of 77 his wife Mary joined him in death on, August 31, 1885 in their home in Lowestoft, England.

Thanks to Grandma Melva for providing this article.