- Name: William Cornwell Patten
- Born: March 24, 1799 West Pikeland, Chester, Pennsylvania
- Died: March 9, 1883 Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho
- Related through: Dan's granmother Elvira Wilde Langford
William Cornwell Patten was born March 24, 1799 in West Pikeland, Chester, Pennsylvania, to John Patten and Ann Cornwell.
On December 21, 1821 he married Elizabeth Harriet Cooper in Philadelphia. One daughter was born to this union, Mary Ann Patten. William and Elizabeth were only married for a short time before she passed away. On December 28, 1826, William married Julianna Bench. Three children were born to William and Juliana: George, Ann and Julia.
William was a plasterer and weaver which didn’t always make a very profitable living for the family. They were very poor and the older children received little education.
His wife Julianna passed away on January 1, 1835, when her oldest son was six. William moved his motherless children from Chester County, Pennsylvania to his mother’s home in Philadelphia where she took charge of the family.
William joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1841 and in the fall of 1842 he moved his family to Nauvoo. The older children attended school there that winter.
On January 18, 1844 William married Mary Jane Crouse. They became the parents of five children: Thomas, Joseph, Hannah Jane (our ancestor), Matilda and William. Thomas and Joseph were not on the wagon train roster when they came to Utah so they must have died before then.
William and his oldest son George helped build the Nauvoo Temple. The family was well acquainted with the Prophet Joseph Smith and they often heard him preach. They suffered the persecutions of the mobs and experienced many trials and tribulations along with the other Saints. They were devastated at the news that Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, had been martyred. It was a sad time for the Saints and there was a gloom over the whole city of Nauvoo.
William’s oldest daughter, Mary Ann, married Charles Shreeve Peterson on March 22, 1845 in Nauvoo. On January 21, 1849, William’s other daughter, Ann, also married Charles as a second wife.
In 1846, William received his temple endowments and was sealed to his wife Mary Jane. He had his first two wives sealed to him on the same day.
George Patten left in February of 1846 to help some of the Saints cross the Mississippi River and into Sugar Creek, Iowa. He returned to Nauvoo two times and stayed the last time to remain with his family. They stayed in Nauvoo until the last of the Saints were driven out.
George Patten gives the following account of his family’s exodus from Nauvoo. “We disposed of our house and lot in Nauvoo, worth about $500, for a cow valued at $15. Remaining in Iowa during the winter of 1847 and 1848, we hurried on to Winter Quarters early in the spring of 1848 and put in a crop. Being ordered to vacate Winter Quarters as the land on which it stood belonged to the Indians, my father moved his family over the river and made a temporary home on the Big Pigeon, nine miles north of Kanesville, Iowa. In the fall of 1849 I went back to St. Joseph. My father was living near there trying to get an outfit to go to Utah, so I helped him. We struggled hard to get an outfit with which to cross the plains and the mountains to the Great Salt Lake Valley. We started for the valley in the spring of 1850 with two old wagons, three yoke of cows, one yoke of three-year-old steers, one yoke of three-year-old heifers, and a yoke of two-year-old heifers. So we had plenty of milk. We left Florence [on the Missouri River] June 21, 1850 in Wilford Woodruff’s hundred and Edson Whipple’s fifty, arriving in Salt Lake City, October 3, in the fall of that same year (1850). It was eight years to the day from the time we arrived in Nauvoo, and in the same man’s company, that of Edson Whipple.”
One day as the company was traveling they were surrounded by about 500 Indians, all mounted and armed. It was a scary situation for the company until they saw the Piute Chief reach out to shake hands.
The company endured “cholera, stampedes, thunder and lightning storms, rain and tempests of winds and false brethren.” While entering Utah the company had to travel through a snow storm and had no food when they arrived in the Salt Lake Valley.
William moved his family and young daughters to Payson, Utah in the fall of 1850, where they were some of the first settlers. His oldest daughters, Mary Ann and Ann were living in Alpine, Utah with their husband and when George married in 1851 he also lived in Alpine before making his home near his father in Payson.
One account says that William and Mary Jane welcomed a son to their family on June 8, 1851, named William Patten. He was born in Payson, Utah. He must have not lived long as he is not listed with his family in the 1860 census. Also in June of 1851 his wife, Mary Jane, passed away.
Some family histories tell of a marriage between William and Elizabeth Anderson, from Sweden, on September 7, 1851. In February of 1857, William married Wealthy Eddy. They had a daughter named Sarah.
William, Wealthy, Hannah, Matilda, and Sarah are all listed as living in Cache County, Utah in the 1860 Utah Census, where William was a farmer. They moved to Cache Valley after Brigham Young called William to help settle the area. They were advised to settle “on the muddy,” now known as the Cub River. They later moved to Franklin, Idaho where they camped in the fort for protection from Indians.
In 1864 William moved to Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho which at that time was thought to be in Cache County, Utah. William and Wealthy separated about this time.
William is listed on the 1870 Bloomington, Rich County, Utah census as living alone. At the age of 81 he is also listed on the 1880 Bloomington, Bear Lake County, Idaho Census as living alone and divorced.
From the time William moved to Bloomington he bought a small farm where he lived. He also continued to weave and helped plaster and build many of the buildings in that area. One such building was the Tabernacle at nearby Paris, Idaho. He lived his last years quietly, but he was strong in his testimony right to the end of his life.
He passed away on March 9, 1883 and is buried in the Bloomington, Idaho Cemetery.
This article was written by Anjanette Lofgren for the daughters of the Utah Pioneers in 2007. Her information came from published sources and another biography by Mary Crook Bursik, 1984.