Nielsen and McEntire Family Histories
These histories were compiled by my mother, Shauna Nielsen Gibby, for her parents. They were completed in 1997 to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Mormon pioneers arriving in the Salt Lake Valley. She has since shared this information with other relatives and the LDS Church Family History Library.
Andrew Nielsen was born on January 1, 1827 in Gentrup, Denmark. He was the son of Niels Pedersen Nielsen and Karen Johansen. His family moved to Bogedalsiig when he was about one year old. When Andrew was sixteen years old he went to Arhus to learn the mason trade. He lived and worked there for nineteen years. He married Sarah Rasmussen on September 5, 1851 and they had three children born to them while living in Arhus.
In 1860 Andrew and Sarah began to “lesson to Mormonism” and on March 2, 1861 they were baptized by Elder Andrew Frandson. Six weeks later, Andrew was ordained a Teacher. About six months later he was ordained an Elder and set apart to preside over the Arhus Branch.
Andrew had two brothers and a sister that lived in Arhus and Sarah’s family lived a few miles from the city. When their relatives found out that they had been baptized and were planning on going to America, they became very angry. The relatives tried everything possible to get Andrew and Sarah to quit the Church. They coaxed and scolded, as well as sent priests and apostates over to talk to them. They were always ready to fight the missionaries, if they happened to meet them. After they realized that they could not change Andrew and Sarah’s beliefs, Andrew’s father disinherited them.
They also sought to keep Andrew and Sarah from taking their children with them to America. It was decided by the relatives that Sarah’s brother, who lived about two “English miles” from Arhus would take one of the children, and Andrew’s two brothers would take the other two. They said that it would be a sin to take these bright children away from salvation. But Andrew said “we did not have any children to spare,” and he let the relatives know that they were taking their children with them to “Zion where they could learn more fully of the way that Jesus and his Apostles preached in former days.” He tried to make their relatives see that the religion that they had been raised in did not correspond to the New Testament.
Andrew testified, “We did not come here because I was poor and could not make a living for my family, but we had got a testimony from our Heavenly Father that we had the true gospel and we wish[ed] to go where the Lord gathered his Saints in the valleys of the mountains. We know that Joseph Smith was a true Prophet just as we know that Christ was the Son of God.”
They sold their home and furniture during the winter of 1861. Much of the money he received for his home and possessions was given to other Danish friends, so they too could come to America. They left the city of Arhus on April 7, 1862 on a steamboat headed to Kiel, Germany. They traveled by railroad from there to Altona, then took a boat to the harbor of Hamburg.
They took passage from Hamburg to New York on a German sailship named the Humbolt There were 450 Latter-day Saints aboard the ship as well as about 100 non-members. The Atlantic Ocean crossing took seven weeks. Food and water were not very desirable, but all were blessed with good health. They encountered all kinds of weather, from heavy wind to such stillness that the sails would hardly straighten out. The captain especially liked their youngest son, Peter, and often showered him with favors or food.
After landing in New York on May 20, 1862, they were thrilled to be on dry land and get something good to eat. They laid over a few days there to prepare to cross the continent to Utah. From New York they went by rail from one city to another. Since they did not speak English, they often did not know where they were. They also took steamboats for part of the journey, on the big rivers such as the Mississippi and the Missouri. They finally arrived in Florence, Nebraska where they waited for an ox team from Utah to take them across the plains to Salt Lake City.
They waited for seven weeks before the ox teams arrived. The rivers had been so swollen that the teams had to go back and wait several weeks before they could cross. When the wagons finally came for them, they found a Danish teamster that they could talk to and understand what was required of them. Their wagon was assigned a number of people, they were teamed up with a Brother Skousen and his family, a Brother Mikleson and his wife, and two widows, each with a twelve-year old child.
Each wagon had four yoke of oxen, and was “pretty well filled up” with personal belongings, a tent to sleep in, cooking utensils, etc. so they were required to walk all the way. Sister Skousen was allowed to ride as she had “an increase in their family with a new baby” about halfway across the plains.
About this same time Sarah came down with mountain fever and was out of her senses. It became difficult for Andrew to get her to eat anything, and she became very weak. Sarah was still in this condition when they arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on September 25, 1862. She improved a little, but it took nearly to Christmas before she completely regained her senses.
They were taken in by Brother Frandson, who had baptized them the year before, and his young wife. They had been married for just one year and it was a hardship on them, but when Brother Frandson saw their condition he felt great sympathy for them. Sarah was so weak, she could not stand alone. They stayed with the Frandsons for about two weeks, until they found a room to rent. Andrew obtained a few days’ work with a Danish plasterer. He also took trips into the canyons to get wood and oak bark, and learned to make bushel baskets out of green willows. He would sell the baskets for a little molasses or flour. At one time he made wooden spoons, ladles, flour scoops, and dustpans out of quaking aspen poles. He took these to town to trade. He could hardly speak English, and had to try to make others understand he wanted something for his family to eat. Their first winter was very difficult.
When spring came, Andrew was able to take on some masonry work, as well as any kind of work he could find. He corresponded with their Danish teamster, who lived in Fairview (then known as North Bend), and decided to move his family there. Since they needed money to outfit themselves, they decided to sell a big looking glass of Sarah’s that had a gilded frame. Andrew asked $20.00 for the mirror, but finally sold it for $10.00 in money, and a number of tools.
The first night in North Bend, another family let them sleep in their cellar. There was a fort with rooms along the north and south sides. They obtained one of these ten by twelve foot rooms to stay in. It had no windows or floor. With the help and friendship of many people in the town, they soon had a cellar dug for a new house and had some cows and sheep. Most of the early homes were dug-outs with stones on top (basement houses). Initially Andrew built rock chimneys, and learned how to farm, which was new to him.
For most of his life, Andrew built brick and rock homes. He also worked on the meetinghouse in Fairview. He was the only stone mason in the area. Andrew and Sarah had three more children while living in Fairview, a girl and twins (a boy and a girl). This made six children in all, three girls and three boys. In 1894 they moved to Fountain Green, where they lived for eight years. They then moved back to the Fairview area, just south of town on the road to Mt. Pleasant.
His grand daughter, Hazel McCook said he never missed an appointment and was always on time. She described him as a quiet man with a heart of gold. She also remembered his smoke house, where every fall he would smoke pork for his married children and neighbors. In his later life he worked in the Manti Temple.
After his wife, Sarah, passed away, he went and spent one summer in Colorado with his sons Andrew and Peter. Andrew lived to the age of ninety. He died on September 12, 1917 and was buried in the Fairview cemetery.
The Danish spelling of Nielsen (sen) is how Andrew spells his, and his children’s names, in his family bible. However, a typed version of his handwritten life history spells his name Nielson (the Americanized version of Nielsen). Some of the family kept the original Nielsen spelling, while some of the family adopted the Nielson version.
The town Arhus (in Denmark) is often found spelled Aarhus or Aarhuus in family histories and genealogy sheets. The atlases consulted (Funk and Wagnall/Hammond, National Geographic, and Microsoft Bookshelf) show Arhus to be the correct spelling. Arhus is both a town and a county. Also, many of the genealogies list “Jutland” as a birth place; this is Danish for Denmark.
The Story of My Life, by Andrew Nielson; History of My Grandparents Lives, by Hazel D. McCook; Taped interview with Alvin Clifton Nielsen by Larry Hancock, 1978; Family Group records.
Sarah Rasmussen was born on September 6, 1827 in Lystrup, Denmark. She was the daughter of Rasmus Poulsen and Anne Jorgensen. Her father died when she was one year old, leaving the family very poor. She began working at a very young age. When she was fourteen years old her mother also passed away. About this time she went to Gentrup to find work. She was employed by a number of families, one of which was Andrew Nielsen’s mother. This is where they met and fell in love. She married Andrew on September 5, 1851. They lived in Arhus, Denmark, and had three children born to them while living there: Caroline, Rasmus, and Peter.
On March 2, 1861, Sarah and Andrew were baptized by Elder Andrew Frandson. Sarah’s relatives lived a few miles from the city of Arhus, they were very displeased when they found out that Sarah and Andrew had been baptized and were planning on going to America. They tried everything possible to get them to quit the Church. They coaxed and scolded, as well as sent priests and apostates over to talk to them. But Sarah and Andrew had a testimony of the gospel and could not be dissuaded.
Andrew and Sarah sold their home and furniture during the winter of 1861, and left the city of Arhus on April 7, 1862 on a steamboat headed to Kiel, Germany. They traveled by railroad from there to Altona, then took a boat to the harbor of Hamburg. They took passage from Hamburg to New York on a German sailship named the Humbolt. There were 450 Latter-day Saints aboard the ship as well as about 100 non-members.
They were on the Atlantic Ocean for seven weeks. The food and water were not very desirable, but they were all blessed with good health. After landing in New York, they were thrilled to be on dry land and get something good to eat. They laid over a couple of days here to prepare to cross the continent to Utah. Then they went by rail from one city to another. Since they did not speak English, they often did not know where they were. They also took steamboats for part of the journey, on the big rivers such as the Mississippi and the Missouri. They finally arrived in Florence, Nebraska where they waited for an ox team from Utah to take them across the plains to Salt Lake City.
They were assigned to a wagon with a Brother Skousen and his family, a Brother Mikleson and his wife, and two widows, each with a twelve-year old child. They found a Danish teamster that they could talk to and understand what was required of them. Sarah offered to cook, wash, and mend for him, and he agreed to put his share of the commissary in with them. They were asked to take a heifer to Salt Lake City by a man who was also from Arhus, and they were able to use the milk on the trip. Any milk left after breakfast was put in a three quart bucket that hung from the back of the wagon, and by noon they would have a little butter for their dinner.
Each wagon had four yoke of oxen. There was only room in the wagon for the group’s belongings, so they were required to walk all the way. Sarah’s son Peter, who was five years old, remembers his mother carrying him on her back much of the time. Sister Skousen was allowed to ride in the wagon, as she had a new baby about halfway across the plains.
About this same time Sarah came down with mountain fever and became (as Andrew described) “plumb out of her head, and just as crazy and unreasonable as a person could be.” It became difficult for Andrew to get her to eat anything, as she only wanted some hard brown sugar that she remembered a boy had given them previously. Since they no longer had any of the brown sugar, they tried to make the sugar hard by boiling it and adding blackberry juice to make it brown. Unfortunately, she realized it was not like the sugar the boy had given them and she refused to taste it. She also insisted that Andrew take her to “that pretty glass house that President Brigham Young had given to her.” She thought he was being stubborn for not letting her see it. Sarah was still in this condition when they arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on September 25, 1862. She improved a little, but it took nearly until Christmas before she completely regained her senses.
When they arrived in Salt Lake, she was so weak she could not stand alone. When Brother Frandson, the missionary who had baptized them the year before, saw their condition, he came with a buggy and took them to his home. Though they had never met Sister Frandson before, the Frandsons did all they could to help them, until they found a room to rent about two weeks later. Andrew obtained a few days work here and there, and would often make baskets or ladles, or do odd jobs in trade for food for his family. This first winter was very trying.
When spring came they decided to move to Fairview, where the Danish teamster they had crossed the plains with lived. Unfortunately, they did not have the money needed to outfit themselves to go. Andrew and Sarah counseled with each other about it and decided to sell a big looking glass of Sarah’s that had a gilded frame. Andrew went to the largest homes in Salt Lake, asking $20.00 for the mirror. Many people admired it, but he did not find a buyer. At last he showed it to a woman that ran a hotel, whose husband had died a few years before. She gave them $10.00 in money, and let Andrew pick out what he wanted of her husband’s carpentry tools.
After moving to Fairview, Andrew built brick and rock homes as well as farmed. He was the only stone mason in the area. Andrew and Sarah had three more children while living in Fairview: Sarah, and twins, Andrew and Annie. This made six children in all, three girls and three boys. In 1894 they moved to Fountain Green, where they lived for eight years. They then moved back to the Fairview area, south of town on the road to Mt. Pleasant.
In her later years, Sarah’s health was poor. As a result she didn’t leave home very often, but her grand children loved to go and hear her tell stories of long ago.
Sarah lived to age eighty-eight. She died on March 22, 1915, two years before Andrew. She was buried in the Fairview cemetery.
The Story of My Life, by Andrew Nielson; History of My Grandparents Lives, by Hazel D. McCook; Family Group records.
William Augustian King was born on a large plantation in Pilot Mountain, North Carolina on December 19, 1827. He was the first child of Thomas Benjamin King and Elizabeth King (her maiden name was King as well). His father, Thomas, owned two plantations, a mercantile business, and many slaves. William had one sister, Jane Elizabeth, and one brother, John Quincy, and possibly one other sibling who probably died as a child. They lived very comfortably and were well educated as they grew up.
William married Barzilla Mardella Stone on August 28, 1855. She too was from Pilot Mountain. William’s sister, Jane, also married a Stone, Barzilla’s brother, Calvin Gorden Stone. The year after William and Barzilla were married, William’s father passed away at age fifty-three. He was buried on his farm (now known as “Billy White’s Place”).
William and Barzilla had five children, 2 boys and 3 girls. They were all born while they were living in Danbury, North Carolina.
In 1851, William’s sister Jane joined the church. We can assume that William and Barzilla became aquainted with the gospel through Jane, as the missionaries were always welcome in her home. They were baptized in 1869 and came to Utah that year. Other family members joined the Church as well. William’s mother, Elizabeth, came to Utah with them, as did two of Jane’s older children. Jane and most of her other children came a number of years later, as her husband was in poor health. William’s younger brother, John Quincy, did not come to Utah, but some of his wife’s family did.
It is interesting to note that John stayed in North Carolina (he died there in 1882), but some of his children eventually moved to Colorado and California to mine. John and his family, except his youngest son, did not join the church, but many of his descendants are now members.
The results of the Civil War may have had some bearing on the decision to move to Utah. After the war, which lasted from 1861 to 1865, their confederate currency was of no value, and all the slaves had been released. Life in North Carolina was undoubtedly different than it had been when they were growing up.
Since the transcontinental railroad was completed in Promontory, Utah on May 10, 1869 it can be assumed that they traveled to Utah by train. William and Barzilla’s last child, Florence, was born in April of 1869 in North Carolina. In July of 1869 they were baptized, although it is unclear whether this ordinance was done in North Carolina or Utah. By August 1869 they were in Utah.
The family settled in central Utah. Shortly after their arrival, Barzilla and baby Florence both died. No death date is given for the baby but Barzilla died August 10, 1869 in Salem, Utah.
William married a second wife, Temperance Eaton, about 1870. Temperance’s sister, Charity Eaton, was married to William’s brother John Quincy. In addition to being a mother for William’s four children, who were then ages eleven, nine, six, and four, Temperance and William had three more children.
William died on May 22, 1892 in Fountain Green, Utah. He was sixty-four years old at the time of his death. Temperance lived for an additional eleven years.
Thomas Benjamin King: His Ancestry and His Descendants, by Clefaine Elizabeth Reed King, 1993; Stones of Surry, by Charles Stone, 1955; Family Group Sheets.
Barzilla Mardella Stone was born on December 17, 1824 in Pilot Mountain, North Carolina. She was the daughter of Enoch Stone, Jr. and Elizabeth Gorden. She was one of twelve children. Two of her brothers were killed during the Civil War in 1863.
On August 28, 1855 Barzilla married William Augustian King, who was also from Pilot Mountain. Her brother, Calvin Gorden Stone married William’s sister Jane. William and Barzilla had five children: two sons, Thomas Benjamin and William Rufus; and three daughters, Laura Jane, Stacy Lavina, and Florence Belle.
In 1851 Barzilla’s sister-in-law, Jane, met the Mormon missionaries and welcomed them into her home. Her husband, Calvin (Barzilla’s brother), was bitterly opposed to them, so at first Jane read their messages when he was not at home. After being converted, she told her husband of her intent to join the church. Although he initially was strongly against her doing so, after investigating he gave her permission to join, and was also baptized. We can assume William and Barzella became acquainted with the church through Jane. They joined in 1869 and decided to come to Utah. At that time Calvin was in poor health, having had a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. As a result he and Jane did not come to Utah with them, although they sent two of their children to Utah with William. After Calvin passed away in North Carolina, Jane moved to Utah.
Although the exact dates in 1869 that William and Barzilla came to Utah are not recorded, it can be narrowed down to a fairly specific window of time. Their last child, Florence, was born on April 16th in North Carolina. It can be assumed that they traveled to Utah by train, since on May 10th the transcontinental railroad was completed in Promontory, Utah. On July 10th they were baptized, although there is no indication as to whether this ordinance was performed in Utah or North Carolina. By August 10th they were living in central Utah, in the Salem area.
Histories show that it was “shortly after their arrival” that Barzilla and baby Florence both died. No death date is given for the baby, but Barzilla died August 10, 1869, one month to the day after her baptism. Barzilla was forty-four years old when she died in Salem, Utah. She left behind her four living children who were ages ten, eight, five, and three at the time. She is buried in Payson, Utah.
Thomas Benjamin King: His Ancestry and His Descendants, by Clefaine Elizabeth Reed King, 1993; Stones of Surry, by Charles Stone, 1955; Family Group records.
Niels Peter Nielsen, known as Peter, was born August 28, 1857 in Arhus, Denmark to Andrew Nielsen and Sarah Rasmussen. In 1860 his parents began learning of the Mormon religion and were baptized on March 2, 1861. The family was anxious to gather with the saints in Zion, so in 1862 they left Denmark to come to Utah. Peter was four years old when they left.
The family took a steamship to Kiel, Germany, traveled by rail to Altona, and then boarded a smaller boat to Hamburg. From Hamburg they sailed to New York. Peter tells of the journey:
“We were seven weeks on the Atlantic Ocean. The craft we crossed in was a small sailboat and we had to depend on the wind. I fared pretty well, however, as I was the captain’s pet. We traveled by water and rail as far as Omaha, then crossed the plains with ox teams. The trek was a long, hard one with many obstacles to overcome. I can remember my mother carrying me on her back as she plodded along beside the wagon.”
Peter often told his children about a new red cap he had received before setting sail. While on the deck of the ship the wind blew it overboard. He was devastated and “bawled and bawled” over the loss of it.
Peter turned five during the trip to Utah. His father tells of the relationship between Peter and the ship’s captain: “the Captain took a fancy to our youngest boy, Peter, who was five year old on the Atlantic. The Captain was a nice young man, [who] could speak a little Danish. He had his wife on board and [they] had lots of fun with Peter. It was not many days without he took Peter down to his room, and he’d come up with a hat full of plums. Sometimes he was not allowed to give any to the other boys, and sometimes he could divide with who he liked best. Other times he’d tell him ‘Now, Pete, I guess you have had enough, give the hat to that boy.’ The next day he might come up with a chicken leg and few potatoes with the Captain coming up behind him telling him to sit there and don’t give it to any body.”
Another memory Peter had of crossing the great plains was the herds of wild buffalo. They impressed him the most. He recalled that they occasionally butchered one for food.
After reaching Utah, the family settled in Fairview. As Peter grew older, he worked in farming and freighting. He would freight merchandise from the end of the railroad tracks in York to Nevada. Though he was never bothered by Indians on his trips, there were many hold-ups. He did remember problems with the Indians at other times though. He told this story, “I remember when all the settlers had to group together and post guards to watch for Indian attacks. There was one little event during the Black Hawk War which I will never forget. The Redmen swooped down upon a family which was living quite a distance from the rest of the residents and butchered all seven members, the mother and father and five children.”
He also recalled other hardships: “After we had tamed the Redmen, we had to start fighting grasshoppers. I remember we could scarcely raise enough wheat for bread. Father owned a portion of ground surrounded by water and one season we were able to keep the pests off that [section] long enough for the crop to mature. We raised forty-two bushels of wheat, the only wheat crop grown in the county that season. Father kept two bushels for his family and divided the rest among his neighbors. It was worth $5 a bushel then, but of course we didn’t expect or receive any pay.”
Peter married Laura Jane King on December 23, 1880. They lived in Huntington, Utah where their first four children were born. They then moved to Sanford, Colorado, (a Mormon colony started by Brigham Young in 1885) where Peter farmed along with his brother Andrew. Here the remaining six of their children were born. They had six boys and four girls.
While in Colorado they lived in Sanford, then Lajara, and later back in Sanford. In Lajara they had a large ranch (over 100 acres) with two homes on it. Peter and Laura lived in one home and their son Hyrum (known as “Hy”) lived in the other. In Sanford they had 40 acres, with Hy nearby with an additional 60 acres. At this time they had hay bailing equipment and would contract out to go into the meadows and “put up” the hay for others. They also rented another 160 acres near Romeo, Colorado, where they would raise feed. With this they would fatten sheep or pigs to sell to market. Peter was also the Road Supervisor for the county. He built the roads and bridges in the area. His sons all grew up knowing how to drive a team and work farming as well as construction machinery.
Laura died in 1915 when their youngest son, Alvin Clifton, was only nine years old. A few years later, in 1920, Peter returned to Utah, settling in the Ogden area.
Late in his life, at age 83, he married again. His second wife was Martha Garrard. Peter lived to the ripe old age of 93, just a month and a half short of his 94th birthday. He had been honored at an “old-timer” ball given by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers when he was 92 years old. He died in Ogden on July 5, 1951. He is buried in Sanford, Colorado next to his wife Laura.
The Danish spelling of Nielsen (sen) is how Peter’s father, Andrew, spells his as well as his children’s names, in the family bible. When Peter took over the bible and added his own children’s names, half of them were written the original (sen) way and half were written Nielson (son) which was the Americanized version. Peter’s son Alvin Clifton kept the Nielsen spelling, but most of the family adopted the son version. Peter’s name can be found spelled either way, it is spelled Nielson on his gravestone.
The Story of My Life, by Andrew Nielson; Family Group Records; “Weber Pioneer Trio Awaits Honor at DUP Ball,” Salt Lake Tribune, February 19, 1950; “Dorothy Porter’s True Pioneer Stories,” unknown newspaper, unknown date (copy in possession of Shauna Gibby); Taped interview of Alvin Clifton Nielsen by Larry Hancock, 1978.
Laura Jane King was the third child of William Augustian King and Barzilla Stone. She was born on October 31, 1863, in Danbury, North Carolina. Laura was one of five children, having two brothers and two sisters.
When Laura was five years old her family joined the Church and moved to Utah. Her parents were baptized on July 10, 1869. They would have been one of the first groups to come to Utah by train rather than by wagon or handcart. The transcontinental railroad was finished on May 10, 1869, in Promontory, Utah. In 1847, the typical wagon crossing took about four months, in 1869 a transcontinental railway trip took only eight days.
Despite the relative “ease” of their journey, shortly after the Kings arrived in Utah, Laura’s mother and youngest sister died. The next year Laura’s father married Temperance Eaton, who was also from North Carolina.
Laura married Niels Peter Nielsen on December 23, 1880 in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. She was sealed to her parents on the same day. Peter and Laura lived in Huntington, Utah where their first four children, Peter Augustin, Laura Maude, Andrew Clarence, and Hyrum Milton, were born.
They then moved to Sanford, Colorado, where Peter farmed with Andrew, his brother. Here the remaining six of their children, Vernon Eugene, Ellis Ralph, Hazel Lavina, Barzilla, Maggie Delora, and Alvin Clifton, were born. Of these children, Barzilla was stillborn, but the rest lived to adulthood and married.
Laura always claimed to be a “southerner” even though she left the south at the age of five. She raised geese and used their feathers to make soft beds for her family. One son remembers how one large, mean gander would chase him when he was young.
Laura passed away on May 4, 1915. She is buried in Sanford, Colorado. At the time of her death, her youngest son, Alvin Clifton, was nine years old.
An interesting experience happened to Alvin Clifton when he was twelve. Peter and “Cliff” had agreed to help a widow in the ward plant her field. This field was near the graveyard, so while Cliff began plowing the field Peter went to the clean up the family grave site. The graves of Laura and Cliff’s older sister, Hazel Lavina, who had died the year after her mother, were located there. The graves were within sight of the field that Cliff was plowing. As he would plow down the field he would be facing the graves, and as he plowed up the field he had his back to them. As he started back down the rows he could see his father kneeling and working on the graves. Along with him were two women whom he supposed to be some of the Relief Society sisters that had come to assist his father.
Later Cliff saw the women walking down the road toward town. When his father was finished, and came to get him, Cliff casually asked which two sisters from the ward had come to assist with the work. Peter was perplexed, and explained that he had worked alone the whole time. Cliff had a strong assurance that the women he saw were Laura, his mother, and Lavina, his sister, and stated in his simple style: “I guess there’s life after this one.”
The Story of My Life, by Andrew Nielson; Thomas Benjamin King: His Ancestry and His Descendants, by Clefaine Elizabeth Reed King, 1993; Stones of Surry, by Charles Stone, 1955; Taped interview with Alvin Clifton Nielsen by Larry Hancock, 1978; Trail of Hope by William W. Slaughter and Michael Landon, 1997; Family Group Records.
Jeppa was the first child of Hans Jeppsson and Matta Hansson. He was born on the 13th of November, 1832 in Trelleborg, Sweden. During the 17th and 18th centuries the Scandinavian countries practiced the system of patronymics in the naming of their children. This is an arrangement whereby the son takes his father’s first name for his last name. Jeppa was the son of Hans Jeppson, so according to the tradition, he was christened Jeppe Hansson (or Jeppe, Hans’ son). When Jeppa became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and came to Utah, he embraced the traditions of a new church and a new land. The spelling Jeppe was pronounced Jeppa in Swedish, and the double s normally used to show parental relationship, was not used, so he became known in Brigham City and on the records of the church as Jeppa Hans Jeppson, with some records showing him as Jeppa Hanson Jeppson.
In 1845, when Jeppa was thirteen years of age, both his parents died. Jeppa along with his brothers and sisters were orphaned. It was the custom in that northern country for children to support themselves early in life. Jeppa found work in a tavern, and for a time, he enjoyed meeting people and learning new things.
One day two Mormon Elders stopped at the tavern and asked to stay the night. The next morning they left early, but many people in the area expressed a hatred for them. The next spring, the same two elders returned. One of the elders was an older man with a beard and the other was younger, about twenty-two. Jeppa wondered why they were hated so much by the people. He decided to question them, and they talked far into the night. Jeppa felt they were good Christian gentlemen. They told him about the Bible and the Book of Mormon. All of it was good doctrine, like Jesus taught. These men refused to drink strong wine, saying that it was not good for man. Jeppa was so happy with the new truths, he wanted to teach the gospel to a girl in whom he was interested. She would not listen, and turned her back on him. He was broken-hearted, but the gospel had entered his heart — this was his new way of life.
There was a compulsory draft law in effect in Sweden and Jeppa was appointed to be one of the King’s Guard. He did not want to take this assignment, so he decided to leave. He went to Norway, Germany, and Denmark, learning the trade of a cabinetmaker. He earned a good living.
In the city of Copenhagen, Denmark, Jeppa saw two Mormon Elders preaching on a sidewalk. Some rough men were making trouble for them. Jeppa felt the injustice of this and drove the ruffians off. He then talked to the elders through the night. He knew their message to be true. On April 21, 1853 he was baptized by O.C. Olsen, and confirmed the following day by Christian J. Larsen. He was ordained a teacher and appointed to labor among the Saints in Copenhagen.
On October 6, 1853, he was ordained a Priest and called on a mission to Sweden. He was sent to labor in the vicinity of Goteborg. He traveled alone to Goteborg, doing missionary work along the road. He returned to Copenhagen towards the end of 1853 and was released from his missionary labors so he could immigrate to Zion. There was a need for expert tradesmen, and his services were also needed as an interpreter, since he had learned to speak Norwegian as well as some German and Danish in addition to his native Swedish.
On Monday, December 26, 1853, Jeppa sailed with a company of more than 200 Scandinavian Saints. They left Copenhagen on the steamship Eideren under the leadership of Hans Peder Olsen. They traveled by way of Kiel, Germany, Glückstand, Germany, and Hull, England to Liverpool, England. They arrived there on January 9, 1854, where they waited for the ship to sail to America. During the two-week wait, the greater portion of the children in the company were attacked by a fever: twenty-two of them died.
On the 28th of January, they sailed from Liverpool on board the Benjamin Adams. There were 384 Saints in the company. Eight died and were buried at sea during the voyage. A young woman named Gunniel Marie Hanson (sometimes spelled Gunnell or Guniel), from Ostfold, Norway, was in the company. She and Jeppa became close friends. They landed in New Orleans on March 22, 1854.
On March 25, 1854 they continued their journey by steamboat aboard the L.M. Kennet, arriving in St. Louis on April 3rd. During the passage up the river there was considerable sickness, and fourteen of the emigrants died. They continued up the river to Kansas City, arriving on April 10th. Here they joined up with another company which had crossed the Atlantic in the ship Jesse Munn.
The two companies camped at Westport, a short distance south of the Missouri River near Kansas City, while they outfitted themselves to cross the plains. Hans Peder Olsen was made wagon master. Four oxen, two cows, and ten to twelve people were assigned to each wagon. Just before the company left, Orson Pratt of the Council of the Twelve advanced them enough money to purchase fifty more oxen, which greatly helped them safely through to the Salt Lake Valley. They experienced much hardship and a number of deaths on their journey.
In Wyoming, one of the rivers was flooding its banks, and the ox team on one of the wagons was floundering in the muddy water. Jeppa went to the rescue. An ox threw its head and caught him in the chest, knocking the breath out of him. The current carried him down to a bend in the river where Gunniel succeeded in getting a rope to him and saving his life.
The company also had an experience with a group of Indians who shot two of their cows. It was feared an uprising may occur when a group of soldiers demanded the cows back. Extra guards were posted, but luckily no attack happened. They sent to the Valley for provisions when they were running dangerously low, and wagons loaded with flour came to their rescue.
They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on October 5, 1854. Of the 680 souls from the two companies who left Copenhagen nearly one year before, only 500 arrived in Salt Lake City. Six days after their arrival, Jeppa and Gunniel were married. (They were sealed the next year on October 29, 1855 in the Endowment House.) The following spring they were one of fifty families called by President Brigham Young to go with Lorenzo Snow to the mouth of Box Elder Canyon. They were to establish a new settlement, which would come to be called Brigham City. As a vital and vigorous young man, Jeppa became prominently identified with the growth and development of the community.
On January 27, 1865 he married Christina Peterson, a young girl from Sweden who had been living and working in his home. They were married in the Endowment House. Jeppa maintained two homes, a farm where Christina lived, and a home on Main Street where Gunniel lived. The two women helped each other through illness and difficulties, and they were friends. Gunniel was the mother of ten children, Christina the mother of fourteen. There were sixteen sons and eight daughters; six of the children died during childhood.
When wards were formed, Jeppa became the presiding Elder of the Brigham City Second Ward. He continued in that position until the Box Elder Stake was organized in 1877. During his lifetime he also held the positions of First Counselor in the Scandinavian Organization, Box Elder Stake High Councilman, Counselor in the Stake High Priest Quorum, and a Counselor to Lewis Wight to visit all Priests in the settlements of church north of Salt Lake City. He was called and filled a mission to Scandinavia from 1884 to 1886, and also filled a home mission.
The period of time from 1880 to 1890 was a time of bitter persecution for those who lived in polygamy. Jeppa said of that period, “I was hounded and driven from pillar to post by U.S. Deputy Marshals for about three years and finally lodged in prison. I served a term in the Utah State Penitentiary from the 13th of October, 1888 to 26 of February, 1889.”
In addition to his farm, he worked for the city and county in a variety of positions. These positions included Water Master, Water Master Supervisor, Janitor and Police of Public Buildings, and County Road Supervisor. For the work as Janitor and Police of Public Buildings he received $1.00 per month which he gave to a widow for giving special attention to the Judge’s office. As the Road Supervisor it was his duty to build and maintain public roads. He, with the help of his boys, worked on the Canyon road and made it passable. He planned and graded Forest Street, planting trees on both sides of the street, and built a bridge over the North Pond. This work was all done without the aid of machinery, as he had only a team of horses, a scraper, and a wagon. He was honored by the governor for his work.
He owned shares in the first woolen mills and the first flour mill in Brigham City. He planned and helped build the first Brigham City Tabernacle (it later burned down, but some of the rock walls were preserved and used in the new building).
On a summer day in August of 1916, Jeppa ate his breakfast and went for a walk. Somehow he fell, striking his head on the pavement. He never regained consciousness. A few days later, on the 12th of August, 1916 he passed peacefully away at his home on Main Street. He was eighty four years old. He is buried in the Brigham City cemetery. Jeppa Hans Jeppson was a true Latter-day Saint, true to God and to his convictions. He devoted his live to the service of the Church, the community he helped build, and the family which he loved.
“History: Jeppa Hans Jeppson, Latter-day Saint” by Thora Jeppson Spilker, found in The Family of Jeppa Hanson Jeppson, published in 1968 by the Jeppa Jeppson Family Organization; Journal History, 1854, LDS Historical Department; Family Group records.
Christina was born to Nils Pehrsson and his wife Karna Jonsson Lundberg in Uddarp, Skepparslov, Kristianstad, Sweden. Born on December 24, 1848, she was the fifth of six children. She was christened as Christina Nilsson. Rather than using his last name, or his father’s name, her father chose to take the name of his grandfather, and called himself Nils Torkelsen. His daughters were obliged to do the same, so when Christina was endowed she gave her name as Christina Torkelsen. Later her father returned to Scandinavia, then Christina and her sisters were both known as Peterson, which is a form of Pehrsson. This is the name she was known in life and on the church records in Brigham City.
Uddarp was a small town and Nils earned his living there as a mason. Not far from their home was a large mill where Nils purchased grist for his family. When Christina was ten years old the woman at the mill approached her father about hiring her. She wanted Christina to come and stay with her and tend her baby. Even at this tender age, Christina was a very good with babies. And, as Christina said, “This lady took a fancy to me.” Christina took the position, which involved living with this family. The mill was close to her home and she could visit her family often.
Christina stayed at the mill three years. During this time her family became interested in the Mormon Church. The Mormons had a bad reputation in the neighborhood, and were condemned and hated by some. Christina became prejudiced against them. At this time the lady at the mill and her husband decided to move to a larger town. They wanted Christina to come with them, but her family wanted her to come home. She did not want to go back and live with her family because of their interest in the Mormons, but neither did she want to go too far away from them. She decided to work for another lady in the neighborhood, whose husband was a blacksmith. However after seven months she returned to her family, with the promise that she could go to school. It was her desire to learn to read and write well.
After Christina returned home, the Mormon missionaries continued their visits. They came often because her family made them welcome, but she remained suspicious and haughty. She did not wish to sing and pray and bow her head as the Mormons did. Her family was anxious for her to see and understand this wonderful new religion, but the elders advised them to let her decide for herself. They considered her old enough to make this important decision, and recognized that acceptance was a personal thing.
One day Christina picked up the Book of Mormon and began thumbing through the pages. Her sister said, “Be careful, it might burn you.” Christina didn’t pay much attention, as she began to realize that this new religion held truths and wisdom. She felt increasingly interested in the church.
On the 24 of December 1862, Christina turned fourteen years old. On the 26th, Brother Josephson, one of the elders, came to their home. He said to Christina, “I dreamed last night that I’d caught a fish,” and he joshed her about it saying, “It couldn’t possibly be this little girl.” Christina remained very serious. While her family talked with the elders, Christina went into another room and knelt down and prayed. She says she felt “lifted up.” She hurried back to her mother and whispered that she wanted to be baptized. The next day they walked a “Swedish mile” out to sea, broke a hole in the ice, and baptized her. Christina felt very happy.
Christina’s family began to plan and look forward to immigrating to Utah. One of her uncles, a member of the Reorganized Lutheran Church, predicted that they would go straight to hell. He said, “You are all crazy and I cannot wish you well.” Previous plans for Christina to go to school were pushed into the background, and instead she and her sisters were put to work weaving cloth that would be needed for the family. While they sat by the window weaving, the children would pass by on their way to school. Christina longed to join them and she felt as if her heart would break. But plans to emigrate were foremost in their minds, and Christina joined in the excitement of the new venture.
In the spring of 1863 the family (all except Lars the oldest living son) left their home and native land. They traveled by wagon team to Trelleborg, then to Malmo, Sweden. They stopped to say goodbye to the lady from the mill. She cried and begged Christina not to go, but important plans cannot be changed so easily. They went by steamer to Copenhagen, arriving there on April 20, 1863. Many people were standing around to laugh and sneer at them, the young boys coaxing the girls to stay. They offered to take care of them if they would not go with the Mormons.
At night they traveled by steamer from Copenhagen to Kiel, Germany, with Christina experiencing her first sea sickness. From Kiel they went by rail to Hamburg, and from there by steamer across the North Sea to England. While on this leg of the journey a large wave went over the ship and Christina was drenched from head to foot. Before she could get her clothes dried, she was thoroughly chilled and became ill. It took three days and three nights to arrive at Hull, England.
In England, they traveled on railroad cars, sometimes through dark tunnels, from Hull to Liverpool. In Liverpool, some of the travelers rode in hacks from the railroad cars to the ship but Christina’s family walked. Some of their possessions, such as sheets and bedding, were stolen.
From Liverpool they set sail across the Atlantic. They were five weeks at sea, and both Christina and her mother were ill. Others seemed to feel fine and were having a good time, even dancing. By the time they could see land, Christina and her mother felt much better. They landed in New York City.
From New York, they traveled ten days on railroad cars across the United States to Omaha, Nebraska. This journey was at the time of the Civil War. The hardest part of the trip was up the Missouri River from Omaha to Florence, Nebraska. For three days they were on this thick muddy river. It contained the bodies of animals and men killed in the war. They had nothing else to drink, and the air was damp and moist. Christina and her mother became very ill with chills and fever.
After arriving at Florence, they camped for two weeks before beginning their journey across the plains by ox team. They had traveled only a short time on the plains when Christina’s mother died leaving her father and children to travel alone. Christina was still so ill at the time that her brother had to help her over to see her mother where she lay. The teamster told Christina if she could live until they reached the Rocky Mountains, she would get well.
The company endured many hardships on the way, but the closer they came to Zion the better Christina felt. In October of 1863 they arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. Christina felt much better, but she was still very weak from her illness. She had been too sick to walk, and had rode most of the way. When they came through the canyon and could see Salt Lake City, their hearts felt lifted and thankful. Everyone put on their very best clothes.
Once in the valley they camped in tents until they found a place to live. There were groups of men hanging around this tent city. One man had written a letter ordering a wife for himself. When their company arrived he was there waiting to pick his companion. He chose Christina’s sister Josie, who was then nineteen, but she would have nothing to do with him. He was very disappointed. A Swedish boy came looking for a Swedish girl to work for the lady that employed him. Christina went to help her, but she had to work very hard and received no pay, so she decided not to stay. The lady then offered her fifty cents a week to stay, but Christina decided to go with her family, who was leaving for Hyrum, Utah to live.
The road into Hyrum was so narrow that teams could not pass each other. There was a deep gully below that made it very dangerous. Christina’s father and brother walked, but she and her sister rode. They felt the Lord protected them on this journey.
Christina and her family stayed in Hyrum for nine months and then moved to Brigham City. Christina found employment in the home of Jeppa Jeppson and his wife Gunniel. When she was sixteen years old, on the last day of January, 1865, Christina married Jeppa Jeppson in the Endowment House and became his second wife. Together they were the parents of fourteen children, ten boys and four girls.
Christina had the responsibility of her family while her husband was on a mission to Scandinavia. It was not an easy task to care for this large family, but she did her work well. In addition to her responsibilities at home she was a member of the Relief Society when it was first organized in Brigham City. She helped and gave assistance at times of sickness and hardship in her community as well as being a Relief Society teacher for twenty-six years.
The two families of Jeppa Jeppson enjoyed a good relationship. Christina and Gunniel helped and assisted each other in times of sickness and trouble. They shared in material gains. Christina had a great deal of faith and courage. She gave up her dream of going to school and became a humble servant of the Lord in rearing her children. She had a remarkable memory and enjoyed telling stories and relating incidents to her family.
Christina was a widow for nineteen years. She died on November 7, 1935 at the age of 84. She was buried in the Brigham City Cemetery with her husband Jeppa and his first wife Gunniel.
“History: Christina Peterson Jeppson, Wife of Jeppa Hanson Jeppson,” found in The Family of Jeppa Hanson Jeppson, published in 1968 by the Jeppa Jeppson Family Organization.
Lorenzo Perry was born on May 8, 1824 on a farm in Lewis, New York. He was the son of Gustavus Adolphus Perry and Eunice Wing. When Lorenzo was six years old his family was introduced to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The story of the family’s conversion is told as follows:
“One dark stormy evening close to the year 1830 the Gustavus Perry family were all gathered in the kitchen, the latch strings drawn in for the night. The front door opened and they heard someone coming through the house toward the kitchen where the family was assembled. When he entered the kitchen they saw that it was an old man with a white flowing beard. Although it was a stormy night there were no signs of raindrops on his clothes. He said “God bless you,” and asked for food. He also asked if he could spend the night with them. Although they were poor and had little bread they gave him food and shelter. When he came in he had a knapsack on this back with a little pup, which he gave to the children to play with. During the evening he took from his pocket a book from which he read, telling them that it was soon to come forth, and telling them to get one at their first opportunity. As he was leaving the next morning he promised them that they would never want for bread, which promise was literally fulfilled. That very next day a man who owed them money asked if they would take wheat for the debt. Although it was broad daylight when the stranger left, none of the neighbors saw him leave.”
Sometime after the visit of the old gentleman, two Mormon Elders with a Book of Mormon came to their door. The family obtained one and in reading the book, they recognized passages of scripture the stranger had read to them on the night of his visit. The family joined the Church in 1832.
At the time the Perrys joined the Church there were also some Tippets families living in the town of Lewis, New York. These were relatives of Gustavus (his mother’s maiden name being Tippets). Several members of these families also joined the Church in the early 1830s. One of the first to read the Book of Mormon was Caroline Tippets, who then had a positive influence on her brothers and cousins.
Some publications show that members of the Perry family lived in Kirtland, Ohio although this is not verified. Family tradition and some family histories show that the Gustavus Perry family lived in Farr West, Missouri for a short time. They also lived in Quincy, Illinois for a time, and their youngest daughter Lucy Ann was born there in 1839.
Gustavus and Lorenzo are listed in the record of those who donated time or money for carpentry work on the Nauvoo Temple.
When the saints were driven from Nauvoo in 1846 the Perrys went with them across the state of Iowa to the Council Bluffs area where Gustavus and Eunice stayed until 1852. Lorenzo’s brothers Henry and Orrin traveled down to Platte County, Missouri and obtained work. By 1850 Lorenzo had left Iowa. He was the first Perry to cross the plains to Utah.
Lorenzo settled in Farmington, Utah where he worked for and lived with the Thomas Harris and Huldah Curtis Park family. It was here that Lorenzo, met and married May Wray Walker in 1853. Lorenzo was twenty-nine, and May was just approaching age fifteen. (May Wray was the daughter of Elizabeth Wray Walker whom Lorenzo’s father Gustavus had married as a third wife the month previous).
Lorenzo and May left after their marriage for Box Elder County, where they became one of the first families to settle at Three Mile Creek (approximately three miles south of Brigham City), the other family being one of his father’s cousins William Plummer Tippets. Lorenzo and May lived here the rest of their lives, and were the parents of eleven children, four boys and seven girls.
In 1898 the name of Three Mile Creek was changed to Perry when a post office opened there. It is possible that the town was named after Lorenzo, or his father, Gustavus, who had also moved there. (Gustavus was called as the Presiding Elder at Three Mile Creek from 1854 to 1855). There was also an Alexander Perry (no relation to Lorenzo) who settled there as well, but the Brigham City Bugler (newspaper) credits Lorenzo’s brother Orrin Alonzo Perry, who was the first actual Bishop of Three Mile Creek as the town’s namesake. Orrin served in the position of Bishop for nineteen years.
Lorenzo passed away in Three-Mile Creek on April 9, 1886 at the age of fifty-one. He was buried in the Brigham City cemetery.
“Gustavus Adolphus Perry,” written by Karen Young Christensen, modified by Ted Perry as found in Gustavus Adolphus Perry: The First Ten Generations, compiled and published by Ted Perry, 1997; Family Group records.
May Wray Walker was the daughter of William and Elizabeth Walker. She was born on May 7, 1838 in Lapeer, Michigan. Her parents were from Little Auseburn, England, and her two oldest siblings were born in England. The family left England and came to America, sometime between 1830 and 1832. May and three other children were born in Michigan, and her youngest brother was born in McComb, Illinois in 1843. It seems that it was while they were living in Illinois that they became acquainted with the Church. May’s parents were baptized sometime before 1850. May was baptized on Jan 31, 1850 at age eleven.
May appears on the family group sheet as Mary (May) Wray Walker, apparently she was named Mary but called May, as her oldest sister was also named Mary Wray Walker. The older Mary died in 1851.
By 1852 her family was living in the Farmington, Utah area. There was a William Walker listed in the Henry Bryant Manning Jolly Company of 1852. This is probably when they came to Utah. This company started on June 7th and arrived on September 3rd. Soon after coming to Utah, May’s father, William and her oldest brother, Thomas, went to California because of the discovery of gold there. Shortly after arriving in California, William died in a snowslide while freighting by mule team over the Sierra Nevada mountains.
The next year May’s mother, Elizabeth, married Gustavus Adolphus Perry on April 10 1853. Elizabeth was his third wife. On May 1, 1853, May married Gustavus’ son Lorenzo. May was six days shy of her fifteenth birthday, while Lorenzo was nearly twenty-nine.
Lorenzo and May left after their marriage for Box Elder County, where they became one of the first families to settle at Three Mile Creek (approximately three miles south of Brigham City, later changed to Perry, Utah). Three Mile Creek was located in a fertile valley at the foot of the mountains and near a fresh water spring, but it was fairly isolated. May set up lonely housekeeping in her covered wagon until a log cabin could be built. One day while alone, May was badly frightened by a large band of Indians. They meant her no harm, and she soon became a friend to the Indian people. Lorenzo and May lived here the rest of their lives, and were the parents of eleven children, four boys and seven girls.
Lorenzo passed away in Three-Mile Creek on April 9, 1886 at the age of fifty-one, leaving May a widow for twenty-seven years. May died on June 7, 1913, at the age of seventy-five in Perry, Utah, and is buried in the Brigham City cemetery.
“Gustavus Adolphus Perry,” written by Karen Young Christensen, modified by Ted Perry as found in Gustavus Adolphus Perry: The First Ten Generations, compiled and published by Ted Perry, 1997; information on Family Group records submitted by Mrs. Edna Perry Lewis.
William Frederick McEntire was born in Halifax County, Virginia on October 31, 1833, the son of John Alexander McEntire and Elizabeth Morning Dean. He was one of eleven children. He married Sarah Bryant Pritchett in Smyth County, Virginia the day before his twenty-first birthday, on October 30, 1855.
While living in Chatham Hill, Smyth County, Virginia, William and Sarah had five children, four boys and one girl. During this time, they became familiar with the church since William’s mother, Elizabeth, was baptized in 1840 and Sarah’s brother, William, was baptized in 1864. Many of their close friends, relatives, and neighbors in Smyth County also joined the church.
This was the time of the Civil War. William was impressed into the Confederate Army, where he served for the entire war. After the war ended in 1865, many of those that had been baptized left for Utah. On May 20, 1868, William and Sarah were baptized, their youngest son was one year old at the time. After being baptized, they travelled to Utah, first by water, then by train, and finally wagon. After leaving Virginia, they made their way to Omaha, Nebraska by barges and river steamboats. They then travelled to Laramie, Wyoming by Union Pacific Railroad. From Laramie they traveled by covered wagon to Ogden, Utah. William’s brother-in-law, William Dekalb Pritchett, met them with a wagon. (One source claims they left Virginia in 1867, making it as far as Omaha where William obtained work until the following spring. Then in 1868 they proceeded on to Utah. This would mean they were not in Virginia when they were baptized. Another source claims that Brother Henry G. Boyle baptized them in Virginia.)
Of William’s nine brothers and sisters, six were no longer living by the time the family joined the church (one brother had been killed during the Civil War), but the remaining three were all baptized. One died in 1876 in Utah, one died in Missouri in 1894, and the other died in Conejos, Colorado (a Mormon colony) in 1906. His parents, John Alexander and Elizabeth, came to Utah in 1869. (It is interesting to note that John Alexander was not baptized, although he did come to Utah. This ordinance was performed for him after his death.)
They settled in the Ogden area, where he built a home for his family. The home was not completed, but they hung a carpet over the unfinished side and moved in. They woke up Christmas morning with four inches of snow on the floor. Many of the neighbors came and helped them finish, and by noon on Christmas day they were under cover. They later moved to Farr West, where they lived for the rest of their lives.
They had two additional children born to them after coming to Utah, one daughter and one son. They received their endowments on April 11, 1878 in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, and were sealed to each other the same day.
William was a shipping clerk and supervisor at ZCMI department store most of his life, he also did some farming and had a homestead. He became active in civil and church affairs. William was a justice of the peace and performed a number of marriages. He was in the Stake Sunday School Superintendency and ordained a bishop by Apostle Franklin D. Richards, on July 3, 1892. He held this position until his death.
William died at age sixty-three on November 30, 1897. William’s grandson, James McEntire, remembers being in the two room school house when someone came for him (and his younger sister Athalia), telling them that their grandfather had died. It was the custom to take the children out of school when a member of the family had passed away. James also vividly remembers the black crepe hat bands that all the men wore. The first speaker at the funeral was D. H. Perry, a member of the Stake Presidency. He said, “William F. McEntire does not have an enemy in the world — well, if he has — it is the other man’s fault.” He was buried in the Ogden City Cemetery.
Four generations of descendants of Samuel Pritchett and Rebecca Anderson, compiled by Chester A. Chambers, 1977; Life Story of James Arthur McEntire by James Arthur McEntire; Horace A. McEntire History, by Horace A. McEntire, 1975; The McEntire History; Family Group Sheets; Ancestral File information.
Sarah Bryant Pritchett (often called Sally) was born in Smyth County, Virginia on March 21, 1829, the daughter of John Anderson Pritchett and Nancy Hilton Albert Johnston. Her childhood was spent in a large comfortable home, surrounded by flowering bushes and huge ancient trees. The children would spend their evenings doing their studies and they were all well educated. They always had lots of music and dancing in their home. There was plenty to eat, her grandmother Rebecca, who lived with them, often said, “you can save on anything but food.”
Sarah married William Frederick McEntire, who was also from Smyth County, on October 30, 1855. She was twenty-six years old at the time of her marriage. Everyone loved her and was sure of a good time when around her.
While living in Chatham Hill, Smyth County, Virginia, William and Sarah had five children, four boys and one girl. Sarah’s brother, Samuel Napoleon Bonepart Pritchett, had married William’s sister Mary Elizabeth McEntire. These two families were very close, and Sarah named her second son, William Napoleon, after her brother. They called Samuel Napoleon “Polie” and William Napoleon “Pole.”
Many of their family members had become acquainted with the Church, with William’s mother and some of Sarah’s brothers and sisters joining. By 1864 many of Sarah’s family members had left for Utah, although some stayed in Virginia to help with the Civil War until 1865. During the war there were no men to do the work outside or in the home. Sally often had one child on her back and another clinging to her skirt while she hoed the fields, sheered the sheep, split the wood, and hauled the water. In addition, she made a living spinning cloth for some of the men (as well as for her children’s clothes).
In May of 1868, Sarah and William were baptized members of the Mormon Church. After being baptized they travelled to Utah to gather with the Saints and their family members who had proceeded them. They travelled by steam boat, and train to reach Laramie, Wyoming. Sarah’s bother William Dekalb (often called Caleb) met them in Laramie with a covered wagon and mule team. The following incident was recorded by Sarah’s niece, Beatrice Pritchett: “We always looked forward to [occasional] two day stops. We got extra rest and had a general clean up time. Everyone was looking better than they had for days, clean clothes, hair shining clean. Sally had very pretty dark brown hair and the sun brought out the red in it and it just sparkled. She was a small woman of about thirty-six and looked young to have several children. A group of Indians rode into camp looking for something to eat and after being fed were expected to leave. They wanted to take Sally with them and wouldn’t leave without her. They offered horses, blankets, and said they would bring more to pay for her. It took a lot of explaining to make them understand she had a brave and many papooses. Sally got her Irish up and was telling them a thing or two in her own southern way when Uncle James said, ‘Now Sally calm down, you look so pretty to them and they aren’t used to seeing such bellows of beautiful tresses.’ Her children, nieces and nephews became very frightened for fear the Indians would take her. The Indians finally left but after that, if an Indian was reported near camp, we hurried to hide our girls in the wagon and hoped they would soon go away.” At the time they crossed the plains Sarah’s children were ages eleven, nine, six, four, and one.
They moved to the Ogden, Utah area, where they had two more children, one daughter, born in Harrisville, and one son, born in Ogden. They then moved to a homestead in Farr West, Utah, where they lived the rest of their lives. Sarah and William received their endowments on April 11, 1878 in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, and were sealed to each other the same day. Most of Sarah’s brothers settled in the Fairview area. Occasionally her nieces would come and stay with them. “Polie’s” daughter stayed with them in Ogden for a year, and as a result met her husband.
Although Sarah’s father and step-mother (her mother had passed away) did not move to Utah from Virginia, once travel was made easier by the transcontinental railroad they came to Utah to visit their children on two occasions.
William died at age sixty-three on November 30, 1897, leaving Sarah a widow for nine years. She was also the last of her brothers and sisters to die. During this time, her grandson James McEntire, lived with her for one year to help her with the chores. She died of pneumonia on January 8, 1906, at age seventy-six, in Farr West, Utah. She was buried in the Ogden City Cemetery.
Four generations of descendants of Samuel Pritchett and Rebecca Anderson, compiled by Chester A. Chambers, 1977; Life Story of James Arthur McEntire by James Arthur McEntire; Horace A. McEntire History, by Horace A. McEntire, 1975; McEntire History; Family Group Sheets; Ancestral File information.
William Napoleon McEntire was born in Chatham Hill, Smyth County, Virginia on May 4, 1859. He was the son of William Frederick McEntire and Sarah Bryant Pritchett. William was the second of seven children, having four brothers and two sisters.
His family had learned of the gospel when many of his uncles, as well as his grandmother had joined the Church. He was nine years old when his parents were baptized members of the Church and migrated to Utah, in 1868. Life must have been exciting for a boy as they travelled on the Monogahelia, Ohio, Mississippi, and Missouri Rivers by barge and steamboat, then by railroad to Laramie, Wyoming and by wagon to Utah. Although crossing the dust-covered plains of Wyoming was described as going through a “forsaken country of nothingness.” After arriving in Utah, his family settled in the Ogden area, living in Farr West, Utah.
William was baptized at age 12 in 1871. He was named after his uncle, Samuel Napoleon Pritchett, but nicknamed “Pole.” This nickname apparently described him fairly well, as he grew into a tall man of six foot, three or four inches. When he was nineteen years old, he began driving a freight wagon from Ogden to Montana. It took six weeks to make a round trip.
He married Olive Ann Rawson on January 21, 1884 in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. She was the daughter of William Coffin Rawson and Eliza Jane Cheney. They were the parents of nine children: twins William and Frederick, Cora, James, Olive Athalia (known as Thail), Sarah (known as Sadie), Horace, Frank, and Ethel.
William built a two room frame home on his father’s homestead soon after his son, James, was born in December of 1888. This home was next to his father’s home. James remembered the well they dug near this home. William was about eighteen feet down when he struck water in pea gravel. The water came in so fast they could only dig about two more feet. He then rigged up a windlass with buckets, but he soon replaced it with a pump. This well supplied the family with plenty of water for their home and their stock.
William was a construction contractor, and the owner or supervisor in a number of various construction companies. He was a road construction superintendent and built roads in Farr West. He built the road from Five Points to North Ogden, and from there through Farr West and Plain City to Utah Hot Springs. He helped build the road up Ogden Canyon as well as the rock wall along side it. He worked as a supervisor for the Utah Construction Company that built a Union Pacific Railroad facility in Evanston, Wyoming, for icing the fruit cars that came in from California. He was a partner in the McEntire and Hammon Construction Company that built a section of the Western Pacific Railroad line in Nevada and California. He also spent ten years as the State Roads Supervisor in Weber County. As a result of his road and railroad construction jobs, he was away from home much of the time. His children were always very glad when he came home. Because he was gone a lot, the children were expected to tend the farm in his absence.
In 1909 William became quite ill. He had extreme stomach trouble and the doctors were summoned. They pumped his stomach and decided that he had stomach cancer. The doctors informed the family that he only had about six months to live. He proved the diagnosis false when he lived for twenty more years. It was later determined that he had severe stomach ulcers, and soon regained his health. In 1919 he was seriously injured by a blast when they were crushing rock used to surface various roads. It took months to fully recover from this experience.
In 1913 he bought a model “T” Ford, the first car in town. He often acted as the caller for square dances in the town and ward.
He died in Ogden on January 5, 1929, a few months short of his seventieth birthday. He was a well-loved and influential man in the community and his funeral was filled to overflowing. It was a cold day when he was buried in the Ogden City Cemetery. His son, Horace, reported: “The flowers froze at the cemetery and looked transparent for two weeks after.”
Four generations of descendants of Samuel Pritchett and Rebecca Anderson, compiled by Chester A. Chambers, 1977; Life Story of James Arthur McEntire by James Arthur McEntire; Horace A. McEntire History, by Horace A McEntire, 1975; James Arthur and Sarah Orton McEntire History, by Marie Sill, 1997; Family Group Sheets; Ancestral File information.
William Coffin Rawson was born on January 13, 1832, in Randolph, Indiana. He was the son of Horace Strong Rawson and Elizabeth Coffin. The year before his birth, his parents joined the church, just one year after it was organized. The family was present during many of the major events in Church History. In 1832, shortly after William’s birth they moved to Jackson County, Missouri. They had peace there for a short time until the mobs came and drove them out.
His father recorded: “They (the mob) then commenced their depredation by whipping some; tarring and feathering others; and un-roofing and tearing down houses in the night; driving women and children into the woods; destroying property; until we could stand it no longer — therefore, we cried out in self-defense. Some skirmishes took place — some killed and some wounded on both sides. We kept the ground until they gathered their forces, three to one of us, and they were well armed while we were not. We met them on the temple lot and compromised just on their terms, which was to give up our arms and forthwith leave the county.
“I saw Lyman Wight, who was our Captain, deliver his sword to Lieutenant Governor Boggs exclaiming, ‘Take my sword or my head, I do not care a damn which,’ and we were ordered to set our guns down on the temple lot against the fence.”
In late 1833, they moved with several other families to Lafayette County in the dead of winter. William was only two at the time. His older brother and sister were required to walk barefoot on the frozen ground, as they had no shoes for the trip. His mother was pregnant with twins at the time; the babies (a boy and a girl) were born in March but only the girl survived.
Later that spring (1834) they heeded the call of their leaders to gather in Clay County. Again they were persecuted, and soon moved to Caldwell County hoping to enjoy peace. Horace’s account states: “But in 1838, the war commenced again. A jealousy arose to the degree that all western hell boiled over. Old Beelzebub (Satan) and old Boggs, his right hand man, also old George M. Hinckle, the old apostate, all equipped the hellish clan for to destroy their fellow man. They called out eight thousand men against Farr West and Diamon. The noted Hinckle betrayed Joseph and Hyrum . . . into the hands of the enemy, and also the rest of us, all who stood in their path or served in some way.
“The next morning, General Donaphin of Liberty, Clay County, one of the court martial, arose and said, ‘Gentlemen, this is a damned blood thirsty inquisition and I will have nothing to do with it.’ Next morning he started back to Liberty with his regiment, which frustrated their calculations.”
William’s father had been taken prisoner and the family did not know if he would ever return alive. General Donaphin apparently saved his, and many others, lives that day. During the course of this persecution, William’s mother often had to hide him and the other children in cornfields. The night of the Haun’s Mill Massacre they spent the night in a bear cave. The family often suffered from extreme cold and lack of food.
In the winter of 1837, when William was nearly six years old, they moved with the members of the church to Illinois, where they helped build the city of Nauvoo. Here they enjoyed peace for some time and feasted on the teachings of the servants of God, living some of the time in Lima (also known as Yelrome) and some of the time in Nauvoo. It was while the family lived in Nauvoo that William was baptized, on August 9, 1841.
In the fall of 1845, William, now thirteen years old, was driven out of Nauvoo with his family. In the spring of 1846 they left the state, stopping in Council Bluffs, Iowa. At this time his older brother, Daniel, went with the Mormon Battalion to help in the war with Mexico. The family stayed in Iowa for four years, migrating to Utah in 1850 in the Wilford Woodruff Company. They left Florence, Nebraska, on June 21st and arrived in Salt Lake City on October 3rd.
During the crossing of the plains they saw many, many Indians and experienced occasional Indian raids. There was an incident with stampeding cattle that was very frightening. The ox teams got spooked and began running at lightning speed in all directions. They smashed into other wagons, spilling women and children out. After the teams were stopped, everyone was astonished to find no one was killed and only one was badly wounded. There was little damage to the wagons although Brother Woodruff had to shoot his horse, as it had broken its leg.
Other experiences on the trail included a violent thunderstorm that killed one man and three oxen, an outbreak of cholera that took the lives of approximately sixteen people, and fishing in a hole near Fort Bridger that netted twenty-two trout in thirty minutes. In the evenings and on Sundays they often enjoyed music, as there were two violins in camp.
While on the trail, eighteen year-old William met Eliza Jane Cheney, who was a member of another company that was travelling to Utah at the same time. He did not give her much thought at the time, as she was only thirteen years old. Six years later, William and Eliza were married in Farmington, Utah on October 12, 1856 by Bishop John Hess. They were later sealed in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City on March 22, 1862.
William was described as being six feet tall, of slender build, and “with considerable breadth through his shoulders.” He had a receding hairline.
Soon after their marriage they moved to Payson, Utah, where their first child was born. In the fall of 1857 William was called to Echo Canyon to help hold Johnston’s Army back. He came home from this experience very sick with “rheumatics.”
In 1860 they moved to Ogden, Utah, in the area now known as 22nd Street and Adams Avenue. William and Eliza were the parents of seven children: five girls and two boys.
William helped build the Ogden Tabernacle and the Ogden Canyon Road. He was a good carpenter and also worked for a number of years selling wagons and farm implements. He was very fond of books and writing, especially preferring old books and antiquarian subjects.
During the winter of 1874–75 William served a Genealogical Mission to the North Eastern States. He and his companion, Noah L. Shurtliff, were able to do a considerable amount of work on ancestry lines.
In the late fall of 1876 there was a small pox outbreak in Ogden. William moved his family out of town to the small town of Harrisville. He intended to move back to Ogden as soon as the situation there improved, but during this time he was chosen as the first counselor to Bishop Taylor of the Harrisville Ward and they never moved back to Ogden. He held the position of counselor for thirteen and one-half years, until the ward was divided. At that time he was made councilor in the new ward, holding that position until his death. While living in Harrisville, William set up a small store and ran a farm. He was also a member of the School Board and secretary of the Western Irrigation Company.
In the 1880s, polygamy charges often put the brethren in the State Penitentiary. Since the bishop was in jail, William took charge of many of the ward affairs. He also visited the brethren who were in the prison regularly.
William’s son-in-law, William N. McEntire, was a road construction supervisor who took most of the material for building the Farr West road out of William Rawson’s farm land.
William performed many priesthood ordinances including the infant blessing of his grandson, James Arthur McEntire. During the winter of 1890–91 his health began to fail. He passed away in Farr West, Utah on April 26, 1891 at the age of fifty-nine. He was buried in the Ogden City Cemetery.
Rawson-Coffin Family Histories and Record, by Lois Owen Chapman, 1964; Rawson Diary, from James Arthur McEntire Collection; Histories of Child, Rawson, Coffin, and Holtzclaw Families, by Fern Roberts Morgan, 1983; Life Story of James Arthur McEntire by James Arthur McEntire; Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, by Frank Esshom, 1913; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 3, by Willford Woodruff, 1846-1850. Family Group Sheets; Ancestral File information.
Eliza Jane Cheney was born in Kirtland, Ohio on August, 29, 1837, a daughter of Nathan Calhoun Cheney and Eliza Ann Beebe. Her family had joined the church before her birth, and had moved to Kirtland to be with the Saints.
By 1840 the family was living in Nauvoo, Illinois. Her father, Nathan, tells of life in the city of Joseph: “There is more inhabitants in the City of Nauvoo than there ever has been before since the people called Mormons began to gather. The people are very busy in building them houses to live in. The newcomers are building very good houses, they are building mostly with brick and frame houses, also the house of the Lord is building. The city is divided into ten wards so we work every tenth laboring day on the temple, there is probably from fifty to seventy people to work every day on the house. In the basement story, one room is 40 feet square, . . . [this] room has got a baptismal font in it, the font stands on twelve oxen, the oxen are made with wood, the oxen look as natural as though they were alive except the horns . . . [which are] overlaid with gold plate. There is a company of men gone up into the north country for pine lumber. Our people are . . . engaged in . . . building up a City, [and] have opened some very large farms on the prairie.”
In January of 1848, when Eliza was ten years old, her family was living in Winter Quarters, Nebraska, having fled Nauvoo. Her father arranged for his family to stay in a little cabin, and then went to St. Joseph, Missouri to find work. Their plan was “to earn money to prepare us to go on in the spring, or as soon as may be convenient.”
The family finally did migrate to Utah two years later, in 1850, Eliza then being thirteen years of age. They were members of the William Snow/Joseph Young Company. During their trek across the plains, they experienced the full gamut of weather. At times it rained so hard they could not travel. Later, it was so dry and windy that the dust blew until the nearest wagon could not be seen. In one section of the the journey the ground was white with alkali. Toward the end of the trip, the nights got cold enough that there was ice in the water pails in the morning.
One day her little brother was driving the team when he fell from the wagon. He was run over by the wagon and thought to be dead. He was anointed and administered to, and was up playing by the next day. At one time, the buffalo on the prairie were so numerous that someone had to ride ahead of the wagon train to move the herds out of the way so the wagons could pass. Eliza enjoyed good health throughout the entire journey.
While on the trail, she met William Rawson who was a member of another company. She was very impressed with him, and felt within herself that they would someday marry. He, however, took little notice of her since she seemed so young to him at the time.
Her parents both died within eighteen months of their arrival in Utah, leaving Eliza and her brothers and sisters orphans. At the time of their mother’s death, Helen was fifteen, Eliza thirteen, Nathan seven, Franklin two, and Emily was less than three months old.
Eliza did marry William Coffin Rawson six years after arriving in the Valley, on October 12, 1856, in Farmington, Utah. They were later sealed in the Endowment House. Eliza was described as the personification of a great lady. She was lovely to look at with beautiful brown eyes and dark brown hair. She was about 5’10” tall and had a graceful quality about her.
After their marriage, they lived first in Payson, Utah, and later in Ogden and Harrisville. They were the parents of seven children. The first two, Eliza and William, were born while they were living in Payson. The remaining five, Olive, Zenia, Sarah, Nathan, and Elizabeth, were all born in Ogden.
She kept and operated a store in her home for many years. A large room had been added on for this purpose. She had a large group of customers from the surrounding communities.
Olive’s son, James McEntire, remembers his grandmother’s great faith. He told this story: “My mother was so seriously ill after my sister was born, everyone thought she was going to pass away. I remember the room full of people, as was the custom in those days, and when they thought Mother was passing, Father kissed her good-bye and left the room crying. My Grandmother Rawson kneeled by her bed and prayed aloud so all in the room could hear. She asked our Father in Heaven to spare the life of her daughter, that she might live to take care of her family.” After the prayer, Olive recovered and went on to have three more children. She had very good health until she died at age seventy-four.
Olive and her family lived next door to Eliza and William for many years. In 1891 William passed away, leaving Eliza a widow for over thirty years. Her children and grandchildren often helped with chores. Her grandson, James, lived with her for two years while attending school in Farr West. He would feed the pigs, cows, and horse, as well as clean the stables and milk the cows. He loved his grandmother dearly.
When Eliza was nearly eighty years old, her home burned down. This was a great sadness to her since she had lived in it for nearly all her married life. She also lost nearly all of her furnishings, including many old items that were of sentimental value. At this point she moved to Ogden and lived in an apartment.
Eliza passed away in Ogden, Utah on November 22, 1922, at the age of eighty-five, about two months after falling and breaking her hip. The theme of her funeral was “This great and good lady.” She was buried in the Ogden City Cemetery.
Historical Letters and Sketches, in Eliza Jane Rawson Collection, LDS Church Archives; Histories of Child, Rawson, Coffin, and Holtzclaw Families, by Fern Roberts Morgan, 1983; Life Story of James Arthur McEntire by James Arthur McEntire; Diary of Angelina Farley, 1850; Utah Pioneer Biographies, by James McBride, 1850; Family Group Sheets; Ancestral File information.
John Orton, Jr. was born in Blaby, England on April 12, 1815. He was the fifth of ten children born to John Orton and Esther West. He married Mary Ann Ward from nearby Leicester, England on December 24, 1840. They lived in Leicester, having three children born to them while living there. John was employed as a pattern maker in a factory.
John and Mary Ann were baptized into the Church on April 14, 1844. (There is some evidence to indicate John’s father, John Orton, Sr., was also baptized. This is difficult to substantiate, since he was baptized by proxy in 1944. It was not unusual for baptisms to be re-done when the records were lost, so it is unclear if this was a rebaptism or not.) Mary’s family was very much against the church.
In 1851, they decided to emigrate to Utah to be with the majority of the Saints, although this meant leaving their parents and brothers and sisters behind. They departed from Liverpool, England with their three small children on the ship Ellen. The ship set sail on January 6, 1851. There were 466 Saints in the group under the direction of James Cummings. After only twelve hours of sailing, the ship ran into a schooner, braking the jib-boon and main and fore yards. The next day they put into Cardigan Bay, North Wales for repairs. It was felt by the Saints on board that this was a blessing in disguise, since a terrible storm raged while they were in port. Many ships wrecked, and many lives were lost during this storm. They stayed in port for three weeks waiting for the storm to subside, finally setting sail again on January 23, 1851. They made no headway for several days, but on February 1st the wind changed in their favor and they had pleasant weather for the remainder of the voyage. The journey across the Atlantic (after leaving for the second time) took seven weeks. During that time there were ten deaths (eight children died from a measles outbreak and two adults died from consumption and fever), one birth, and six marriages. They arrived in New Orleans, and there transferred to the steamer Alex Scott, which took them up the Mississippi River to St. Louis. This portion of the trip only took from March 19th to the 26th, but two children of the company died while on the steamer.
After arriving in St. Louis, the company was outfitted to cross the plains. They were in the James Cummings/Orson Pratt Company. They started out June 10th, but had to camp for about 10 days because of heavy run-off in the rivers. Once they did finally get started, they took a new route 150 miles further north because the North Platte River was flooded. In July, their youngest son, one-year-old Alma Thomas, died of inflammation of the chest. A number of others in the company also died during the journey.
In August, many of the cattle in the company were getting sores on their necks which made them unable to pull the wagons. They came up with an interesting treatment made of lead, linseed oil, and turpentine. This seemed to help the situation.
After arriving in Utah, they made their home in Salt Lake City for a time. They had one son while living there. They then moved to E.T. City in Tooele County (later changed to Lakepoint), and had a son while living there as well. They moved south for a while, when Johnston’s Army invaded Utah. During these first few years in Utah food, was very scarce. There were no vegetables to eat through the winter and many of their chickens, pigs, and cattle died. They were asked to help make a new settlement, but gave it up because of Indian trouble and returned to Tooele County. The grasshoppers took their crops one year and the beetle larva the next. The land there was condemned (apparently from the insect infestation and because of a high salt content) and they were advised to move to Cache Valley. They started, but one of their oxen died and they stayed for a while longer.
In 1857, they moved to North Ogden, and lived there for the rest of their lives. John made his living as a farmer. He also knew how to mend shoes and made all of their furniture.
On November 12, 1864, John and Mary Ann received their endowments in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, and were sealed to each other on the same day.
John died on June 9, 1873 in North Ogden, Utah at the age of fifty-eight. He was buried in the North Ogden Cemetery.
Joseph and Clara Barnett Orton Family History, by Nona Jean Orton Searle, 1990; The Joseph Orton Family Newsletter, Joseph Orton Family Organization, 1971–1983; Alfred Cordon Emigrating Company Journal, by John D. T. McAllister, 1851; Family Group Sheets; Ancestral File information.
Mary Ann Ward was the oldest of twelve children born to Bryan Ward and Jane Rice. She was born on October 10, 1814 in Burton-Overy, England. She married John Orton, Jr. in Leicester, England on December 24, 1840. They made their home in Leicester, and had three children born to them while living there.
John and Mary Ann were baptized into the Church on April 14, 1844. In 1851 they decided to immigrate to Utah to be with the majority of the Saints. Mary Ann’s family was quite well off financially and offered her everything they could think of, if she would stay in England. However, their minds were made up. Leaving all her family behind, they departed England with their three children, ages eight years, six years, and five months. They set sail from Liverpool in January of 1851. After a three week layover for ship repairs in Wales, the journey across the Atlantic took seven weeks. They then went by steamer up the Mississippi River to St. Louis. This was followed by a trying journey across the plains.
During the journey they often experienced cold weather as well as rain, snow, thunder, lightning, fog, wind, and heat. The trail conditions were very bad in places since they took an alternate to the main route, which was flooded by heavy spring rains. They went through mud, sand, swamps, and mosquitoes.
The most heartbreaking experience was when their youngest son died. The company clerk, John McAllister, recorded in his journal:
“July 10: Brother Orton’s child is sick. . . .
“July 11: Morning is cool and nice breeze is blowing from the North West. The sky is somewhat clouded but it has the appearance of a good day. Brother Orton’s child is dead. It died with inflamation of the chest its name is Alma Thomas Orton aged 1 year and 2 months. Son of John and Mary Ann Orton it died at 11 o’clock pm July 10th 1851. We rolled out at 8 o’clock and went through two swamps . . .”
Evidently the grieving parents did not have much time to prepare a grave for their young son. It must have been very difficult for them to proceed on with the group that next morning.
After arriving in Utah, they made their home in Salt Lake City for a time. They had one son while living there. They moved south for a while to avoid Johnson’s Army, and then moved to Tooele County to E.T. City (later changed to Lakepoint). Mary Ann had a son while living there as well. In a letter written to her cousin in England, Mary Ann Rice, she tells about this time: “We have had trials and a famine with grasshoppers, and troubles with America [referring to Johnston’s Army] of which you no doubt have heard much. . . . Leaving our homes and having no vegetables to eat. Through the winter . . . property [was] destroyed and pigs, chickens and cattle dying. But I am thankful to God that things are better and we have returned in peace. The soldiers are in our midst and have brought plenty of money and the merchants have followed with clothing and merchandise.”
In 1856 her husband received a letter from his sister Sarah, in it Mary learned of her father’s death. It pained Mary knowing that her parents were hurt so much by her coming to America. She apparently never received any correspondence from them, but occasionally heard through other parties news of her family.
In 1857 they moved to North Ogden, and lived there for the rest of their lives. On November 12, 1864 John and Mary Ann received their endowments in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, and were sealed to each other on the same date.
John died on June 9, 1873, leaving Mary grief stricken. The bishop of the ward came to her home to comfort her, and told her she would live ten more years, which she did. She lived these last ten years with her son, Hyrum, and his wife, Esther. She passed away on December 14, 1884 in North Ogden, Utah, at the age of sixty-nine. She was buried in the North Ogden Cemetery.
Joseph and Clara Barnett Orton Family History, by Nona Jean Orton Searle, 1990; The Joseph Orton Family Newsletter, Joseph Orton Family Organization, 1971–1983; Alfred Cordon Emigrating Company Journal, by John D. T. McAllister, 1851; Family Group Sheets; Ancestral File information.
Esther Bartlett was born in Lymm, England on December 26th, 1857, the fourth of ten children to Frederick Bartlett and Jane Bowden Bartlett. Her father was the groom to the Marquis of Westminster, and a farmer. Esther’s mother, Jane, had worked in a velvet factory making velvet and corduroy from the time she was eleven years old, until she was twenty-three. She also worked for the Marquis for a time as a chamber maid.
Jane died in 1880, and Frederick had died in 1881, leaving the children with a strong desire to come to Utah. The Mormon missionaries in the area at that time were dearly loved by the family. The eight children (two of them had died in childhood) could not afford to all come together, so they sent members of the family over as they could.
One of the missionaries, an Elder Willie from Mendon, Utah, sent William to Utah to take care of his farm until he could go home.
When Elder Dixon, of Salt Lake City, was released from his mission, they sent Margaret (the youngest) with him while she could go half-fare. Elder Dixon brought her to Ogden, where William was to meet her. But William, who was now working as a section hand for the railroad in Idaho, could not leave his work. He sent word to a Mr. and Mrs. Prichard, friends from England, and they met Margaret and took her to their home in North Ogden. Margaret was to stay with them until William could come and get her.
One day Sister Prichard went to visit Esther Barker, wife of Newman Barker, and she took Margaret with her. The Barkers had two small children, Mary and Charles. Margaret was always fond of children and she became so enthralled with them, that she did not want to leave. When Sister Prichard was ready to go home, Margaret would not go with her. Mrs. Barker told her to leave Margaret and perhaps the next time she came, Margaret would go with her. But Margaret never did leave, staying with the Barkers until she married in 1891.
Elder Isaac Wardle, of South Jordan, Utah, sent Edward to take care of his sheep until he could return home.
Next Thomas, Esther, and Annie all came together. They sailed from Liverpool, in the ship the Nevada, on April 9, 1883. They sailed to New Orlean, then came by steamboat up the Mississippi River (probably to St. Louis). They then caught a train that brought them to Utah, arriving in North Ogden on April 28th, 1883. A man by the name of Newman Barker needed a farm hand, so he paid Thomas’ fare. Thomas worked for him until he had paid his debt. They had saved up enough for Annie’s fare, and Esther’s “future husband” paid her fare. Often in those days, a man would pay for a woman’s passage if she would marry him when she arrived. After Esther met the man who paid for her passage, she determined that she could not marry him. She worked until she saved up enough money to repay him the price of her fare.
Elizabeth had married by this time and she and her husband, Henry Gill, along with their two children, came next. That left only Frederick in England. His brothers and sisters, except Esther, sent the money for him to come. Esther offered to provide him a place to live when he arrived, until he was able to find another place. He never married, and so he lived with her until he died in 1937.
Esther was living in North Ogden and there met Hyrum James Orton, a farmer who had been born in Tooele County. On October 4, 1883 they were married in North Ogden where they lived their entire married life. They were the parents of ten children, one of which was stillborn and two who died in childhood. They had seven sons and three daughters.
Hyrum built a home for them, one that was always surrounded with beautiful flowers. There was a natural free-flowing well behind the house. Inside the home, there was a large staircase with a banister that went to the second floor. This banister became a favorite of the grandchildren, who liked to slide down it (much to Esther’s disapproval). They had a pump organ downstairs in the parlor and one upstairs in the bedroom. The kitchen had a large coal stove that produced lots of cakes and cookies. Christmas dinner for the entire family traditionally was held in her home.
Esther’s mother-in-law, Mary Ann Orton, lived with them, after her husband, John Orton, passed away. She lived there from 1873 to 1884, when she died. Esther had rheumatism and her daughter, Sarah, recalls helping care for her as well as doing housework, picking berries, etc. as she grew up. She was quite short and grew plump in her later years.
Esther’s husband, Hyrum, passed away in 1921. She lived as a widow for eighteen years until she died in 1939 at age eighty-one. She was buried in the North Ogden Cemetery.
How the Frederick Bartlett and Jane Bowden Family Came to Zion, by Esther Orton; Life Story of Sarah Orton, by Sarah Orton McEntire; information from Family Group record, researched by Ray Orton McEntire; personal remembrances of Larene McEntire Nielsen and Mauna McEntire Morgan.
Beyond the four generations shown on the family tree at the first of this book, there are other ancestors who are pioneers as well.
For the ancestors on Sarah Orton’s line, finding the “pioneers” was simple. The same three people were the first to join the church, immigrate to America, and come to Utah (these three are all dealt with in the preceding chapters).
However, the James McEntire line is not so easy. Finding information on those that were first to join the church and come to Utah was daunting, but possible. Identifying those that were the first to come to America proved to be a larger task. Most of these families have been here since well before the Revolutionary War. With each generation back we double the number of families in the line, so there are many, many family names involved. Information on numerous lines currently dead-end in early 1700s or late 1600s. Some of these lines identify the first to come to America, but many families were already in this country as far back as the lines have been traced (mostly in Virginia and Massachusetts).
A brief outline follows of those pioneers for whom information could be located.
John Alexander McEntire and Elizabeth Morning Dean
Parents of William Frederick McEntire and grandparents of William Napoleon McEntire, they were the first in their line to join the church and come to Utah. See the chapter on William F. McEntire for more of their information.
John was born July 26, 1792 in Halifax County, Virginia, the son of John Henry McEntire and Mary Salmond. His mother died when he was a baby and he was raised by his uncles on his mother’s side of the family. Apparently these relatives were not on speaking terms with John’s father’s side of the family, so he had little knowledge about the McEntires. What little he learned of them was acquired after he was grown and married. Tax records show that he had at least one slave before he was married.
Elizabeth was born January 23, 1810 in Smyth County, Virginia, the daughter of Joseph Dean and Martha Lester. She grew up living in Halifax and Smyth Counties in Virginia as well as Person County, North Carolina. She married John Alexander McEntire in 1831, and they had ten children.
Elizabeth was baptized a member of the Mormon Church in 1840, but John was never baptized (this ordinance was performed for him after his death). It is possible that his baptism record had been lost, and so the proxy baptism was done “for the record,” but there no evidence to indicate that this was the case. In 1869 they travelled to Utah. At that time only four of their ten children were still living. These four were all baptized and at least some, if not all, came to Utah.
John was dissatisfied with Utah after living all his life in green, fertile Virginia. In the summer of 1870, grasshoppers ate most of his garden and crops and that fall he seemed to pine away. John and Elizabeth died in Ogden, Utah within two years of arriving there. They passed away a few months of each other, although John was eighteen years Elizabeth’s senior. John died November 7, 1870 and Elizabeth died February 4, 1871. They are buried in the old Ogden cemetery, just west of the School for the Blind and Deaf, in a lot close to the south-west corner.
Horace Strong Rawson and Elizabeth Coffin
The parents of William Coffin Rawson, they were the first members of the Church in their line, as well as the first to come to Utah. Their early associations with the Church are included in William’s chapter.
Horace was born July 15, 1799 in Scipio, New York. He was the son of Reverend Daniel Rawson and Polly Strong. His father died in 1824 when Horace was twenty-five years old. He did the best he could to help his mother with her five other children. She died the following year, leaving his siblings in his hands to provide for. Elizabeth was born October 18, 1807 in Montgomery, Virginia. Her parents were William Coffin and Mary Duncan. They married shortly after Horace’s mother’s death, and Elizabeth “kindly assisted [him] in providing for [his] brothers and sisters, til they could take care of themselves.”
Horace and Elizabeth had thirteen children. They were living in Randolph County, Indiana, when they joined the church in 1831. They moved with their family to Missouri, and later migrated to Nauvoo, Illinois.
After life was again disrupted by the mobs, Horace recorded: “In the fall of 1845 we were driven from Nauvoo, and houses were burned by the ‘Christians’ of Illinois. Then in the spring of 1846, we were obliged to leave the state and go into the wilderness and seek a house among the red men of the desert. We stopped at Council Bluffs. We now had become so notable that Uncle Sam stretched out his hand in our direction, and made a requisition upon us for 500 men to help fight the Mexicans. It was an unheard of thing, we were free born American citizens, driven from our native land as exiles, but the call was accepted and performed to the letter. Daniel, my oldest son was one of the boys, and we by so doing, proved our loyalty to the government.
“In 1850, we moved to the valley of the mountains and settled in Ogden City, in the company of Wilford Woodruff.”
After fleeing Nauvoo, they lived in Mt. Pisgah for almost four years before proceeding to Utah. While there Elizabeth gave birth to two of her children. While in the wagon train, Elizabeth contracted cholera and was gravely ill. When the family arrived in Salt Lake City, their son Daniel met them and took them to Ogden where he had a home ready for them. (Daniel had been honorably discharged from the Army in 1848.) They lived in Ogden, Utah, where Horace was on the High Council and a city councilman, and in Farmington, Utah, where he presided over the High Priests. In 1856, they returned to Ogden where they lived for the rest of their lives.
In her later years, Elizabeth kept busy helping her married children with their families. She did their spinning and weaving as well as knitting their socks, caps, mittens, etc. Her grandchildren loved to hear her tell stories of the “pioneer days.” She would tell both sad and funny stories, but if they ever complained about something she would remind them of Uncle Daniel and Aunt Samantha walking many miles without shoes on frozen ground and not having enough to eat.
Horace and Elizabeth made several trips to the Endowment House in Salt Lake City and the St. George Temple to do ordinance and sealing work for their relatives and friends.
Horace was ordained a Patriarch by President George Q. Cannon in 1880. Although he was quite vocal in declaring his opinions about the injustices that the Saints received from the U.S. Government and the state of Missouri, he was always loyal and willing to serve his community, and uphold the constitution. His last words to his family were “Hold fast to these glorious principles of truth.” Horace died in Ogden, Utah in 1882, and Elizabeth died in Harrisville, Utah in 1890.
Nathan Calhoun Cheney and Eliza Ann Beebe
The parents of Eliza Jane Cheney, Nathan and Eliza were the first members of the church in their family. Much of their story is contained in the chapter on Eliza Jane Cheney Rawson.
Nathan was born February 11, 1811, in Chesterfield, New Hampshire, the son of Ebenezer Cheney and Lydia Calhoun. Eliza was born January 11, 1815 in Bethany, New York, the daughter of Charles Beebe and Elizabeth Train. They were married April 22, 1834 in New York. There are records of at least five Beebes who married Cheneys.
Nathan and Eliza were the parents of seven children and by their birth places one can follow the history of the Church. They were born in New York; Kirtland, Ohio; Nauvoo, Illinois; St. Joseph, Missouri; and Centerville, Utah.
Eliza and Nathan had two of their children die in infancy while living in Nauvoo. Charles died at age one in 1842, and Ann Louisa died at age one in 1846.
Eliza’s parents were not members of the church, and in her correspondence to them she often tried to explain their commitment to the church, and encouraged them to join them. One letter, dated January 18, 1848, from Winter Quarters, says “If I were to return to you I should never be contented, though I might swim in wealth, and though not one spark of affection has diminished for you — yet I know I could not be happy there. My faith is to gather with the people of God . . . We are not afraid of hardships or fatigue, we have peace in view and the idea of getting beyond the reach of mobs keeps up our spirit.”
Later that year, in June, Eliza had her sixth child in St. Joseph, Missouri. In 1850, they travelled to Utah and their youngest child, Emily Maria, was born the next summer. Eliza died two months later, on October 6, 1851, in Centerville, Utah, leaving her seven children, from fifteen-year-old Helen to two-month-old Emily, motherless. Horace died the following winter on February 10, 1852, also in Centerville.
Rebecca was Sarah Bryant Pritchett’s grandmother, and the first of her line to come to America. She was born about 1776 in Scotland. By 1793 she was living in Virginia, where she married Samuel Pritchett. She lived with her son and his family, so Sarah knew her grandmother well.
Rebecca loved the beautiful southern valley where they lived in Virginia, calling it “such a sea of beauty.” She was the epitome of southern hospitality, loving to set the table with plenty of good food, and receiving visitors in the evenings sitting on the lawn under the big shade trees. During the Christmas season of 1858, she took sick and died at the age of 82.
Gerry (or Jeremiah) McEntire
Gerry was John Alexander McEntire’s grandfather, and believed to be the first in his line to come to America. He was born in 1735 in Scotland. By 1759 he was living in Virginia where his marriage is recorded, but his wife’s name is unknown. It is assumed he died in Virginia, although the exact place and date is also unknown.
Edward Rawson and Rachel Perne
The sixth great-grandfather of Horace Strong Rawson, Edward was the first in his line to come to America. He was born near London, England on April 16, 1615. His family had a considerable amount of property about 17 miles west of London. Edward’s father died when he was two years old, so he often spent time with his grandparents in Windsor. He had many opportunities in his youth, and had a good education. His mother died when he was thirteen years old. By that time he had seen many of his uncles leave for America, and the idea highly appealed to him.
Rachel was born in 1619, the daughter of Richard Perne and Rachel Greene. They lived in Gillingham, England where Edward and Rachel lived after they were first married. Not long after their marriage, Rachel’s father died leaving Edward to execute the estate. When this task was finished, they came to America in 1636 or 1637.
Edward and Rachel were the parents of ten children, two of whom returned to England. Edward was elected to the office of Public Notary and Register, in which capacity he was a representative of the local people. He was the youngest member of that body. In 1650, Edward was named the Secretary of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He served in this capacity for thirty-six years, earning twenty pounds per year for his service. He was a prominent citizen of New England, and devoted much time and energy to furthering the best interests of the Colony. He was granted tracts of land on various occasions, the total of which added up to over 6,000 acres in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Edward died in Massachusetts in 1693, Rachel’s death date is unknown.
John Glover and Ann Glover
The seventh great-grandfather of Horace Strong Rawson, he was the first in his line to come to America. He was born in England in 1600, where he also married in 1625 (His wife is identified only as Mrs. Ann Glover). They both came to America and settled in the Massachusetts colony. John died in 1652 and Ann died in 1670, both in Massachusetts.
Johann Holtzclau (Holtzclaw)
The great, great-grandfather of William Coffin Rawson. He was the first in his line to come to America. Johann was born in Oberfishbach, Prussia in 1707. He came to America and settled in Virginia, where he married Catharine Russell in 1729 or 1730. They were the parents of six children. The genealogical records show his name spelled Holtzclau, but his children are all spelled Holzclaw. He died in Prince William County, Virginia about 1750.
The great, great-grandfather of Eliza Jane Cheney, he was the first in his line to come to America. He was born about 1708 in Tyrone County, Northern Ireland. It is not known when he came to America. He died in Shrewsbury County, Massachusetts.
Tristram Coffin and Dionis Stevens, James Coffin, Mary Coffin
Tristram Coffin, along with his wife, Dionis, were the first in their line to come to America. His son James was one of five children to leave England and come to America with them. His daughter Mary was born after their arrival.
Tristram was William Coffin Rawson’s fifth great-grandfather. James was William Coffin Rawson’s fourth great-grandfather through his grandfather William Coffin. Mary was William Coffin Rawson’s fourth great-grandmother through his grandmother Hepsibah Starbuck. (In other words, James’ great-grandson married Mary’s great-granddaughter.)
Tristram was born in Brixton, Devon, England in 1609, the son of Peter and Jan Kimber Coffin. Dionis Stevens (or Stephens) was born in Plymouth, England also in 1609, the daughter of Robert Stevens and his wife Dionis. Tristram and Dionis were married about 1629. Tristram was a land owner in England, but as taxes grew heavier and heavier he longed to go where they could have more freedom. He always liked adventure and challenge, and after his brother’s death and civil disruptions, he was convinced to come to America. They had five children (one of whom was James, mentioned above, who was two years old at the time), and left while Dionis was pregnant with her sixth. They sailed to America on a ship owned by Robert Clement, a friend of the family.
They settled in a new section of Massachusetts, first known as Pentucket and later changed to Haverhill. Shortly after their arrival, their five-year-old son John died. Two weeks later Dionis delivered a baby girl, who only lived for three weeks. They had three more children while living in Massachusetts (one of whom was Mary, mentioned above). In addition to farming, they ran a tavern and a ferry on the Merrimac River.
Dionis died in 1676 in Nantucket, Massachusetts, and Tristram died in 1681.
John Beebe, Sr. and John Beebe, Jr.
The sixth and seventh great-grandfathers of Eliza Jane Cheney. John Beebe, Sr. was born in England, his birth date is unknown. His son John Jr. was born about 1628.
John Beebe, Sr. and five of his children sailed for America in the spring of 1650 to join two of his sons, John Jr. and Samuel, who had preceded them by two months. John Sr. died at sea, probably on May 18, 1650, never reaching America. The rest of the family settled in Connecticut.
John Jr. married Abigail Yorke, of Stonnington, Connecticut, in 1660. They had three children. In 1675 John was appointed Ensign over the 68 men from his county, which was part of a company of 350 men from Connecticut Colony. In 1676, they went on several military expeditions against the Indians, during King Phillip’s War.
John passed away on April 14, 1714.
William Cheney was Eliza Jane Cheney’s fourth great-grandfather. He was born in 1603 in England, and was the first of his line to come to America. He immigrated sometime before 1625 or 1626 when he married Margaret Cule (or Mason) in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He died on June 30, 1667 in Roxbury.
Joseph Clark and Alice A. Pepper
Eliza Jane Cheney’s fifth great-grandparents, Joseph Clark and Alice Pepper Clark were the first in their line to come to America. Joseph was born in 1621 in England, Alice was born in 1623. They were married in 1640 while still living in England. At some point they immigrated to the Massachusetts Colony were Joseph died in 1684 and Alice died in 1710.
John Alexander and Elizabeth Morning Dean: The McEntire Family in America, by G. Oscar Russell, 1960; Four generations of descendants of Samuel Pritchett and Rebecca Anderson, compiled by Chester A. Chambers, 1977; Ancestral File information.
Horace Strong Rawson and Elizabeth Coffin: Histories of Child, Rawson, Coffin, and Holtzclaw Families, by Fern Roberts Morgan, 1983; Through the Generations: A Genealogy of the Coffin Family, by Judith Stoleson, 1989; Ancestral File information.
Nathan Calhoun Cheney and Eliza Ann Beebe: The Beebe Family, 1650–1950, by David Chapin Beebe, 1950; Historical Letters and Sketches, in Eliza Jane Rawson Collection, LDS Church Archives; Ancestral File information.
Rebecca Anderson: Four generations of descendants of Samuel Pritchett and Rebecca Anderson, compiled by Chester A. Chambers, 1977.
Edward Rawson and Rachel Perne: Histories of Child, Rawson, Coffin, and Holtzclaw Families, by Fern Roberts Morgan, 1983; Rawson Diary, J.A. McEntire Collection; Ancestral File information.
Tristram Coffin and Dionis Stevens, James Coffin, Mary Coffin: Histories of Child, Rawson, Coffin, and Holtzclaw Families, by Fern Roberts Morgan, 1983; Through the Generations: A Genealogy of the Coffin Family, by Judith Stoleson, 1989; Ancestral File information.
John Beebe, Sr. and John Beebe, Jr.: The Beebe Family, 1650–1950, by David Chapin Beebe, 1950; Ancestral File information.
Gerry McEntire, John and Ann Glover, Johann Holtzclaw, Samuel Calhoone, William Cheney, Joseph Clark and Alice Pepper: Ancestral File information.