Dominicus Carter, 1806

Dominicus Carter 1

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Birth: Jun. 21, 1806, Scarborough, Cumberland County, Maine, USA

Burial: Provo City Cemetery, Provo, Utah County, Utah, USA

Death:    Feb. 2, 1884, Provo, Utah County, Utah, USA

Created by: Teresa Sunday
Record added: Jun 08, 2002
Find A Grave Memorial# 6489097

Born in humble circumstances in Scarborough, Cumberland county, Maine, Dominicus Carter was the son of John and Hannah Knight Libby Carter. His father was a farmer, and Dominicus along with the rest of the family worked the farm. He had no formal schooling, but he did learn the trade of blacksmithing.He married Lydia Smith in 1828 and a few years later they joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Some records have 30 June 1832, others have 30 June 1834.) They moved to Kirtland (it appears they were in Kirtland by 1834) where he “had the privilege of hearing and listening to the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith.”In 1838 Dominicus and Lydia Smith Carter were a part of Kirtland Camp, the large wagon train that made the exodus from Kirtland to Missouri. While traveling, they lost their two-year-old daughter Sarah Emily. Then, twenty days after arriving in Far West, Lydia died, leaving Dominicus with four children. Together they endured the trials of expulsion from Missouri.In March 1839 Dominicus married Sylvia Ameret Meacham.

In January 1844 he took his first plural wife, Mary Durfee.

His next plural wife was Sophronia Babcock, probably marrying in January 1846 in Nauvoo. Some records indicate that he also married Sophronia’s younger sister Eliza Babcock. It appears that Dominicus and Eliza were married in 1846 during the Nauvoo period, but she was back with her mother soon after as evidenced by the Winter Quarters Wards Membership Lists. Eliza crossed the plains as Eliza Babcock, and in 1855 she married John Groves.

Dominicus was living near Nauvoo when the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were killed.

The trials of those days are well known and don’t need to be repeated. It is said that Dominicus intended to leave with the early emigrants for the West, but he was asked to stay in Nauvoo and build wagons. He also worked on the Nauvoo temple and was one of those who received the blessings of that temple in December of 1845. Eventually they joined the body of the saints in Winter Quarters, but Sophronia died in childbirth on the plains on 26 August 1847.

In 1851 Dominicus, his wives and his six living children finally arrived in Salt Lake City. They moved to Provo in October of that year. But Sylvia Meacham decided that she didn’t like the life of the polygamist wife and divorced him. It’s unclear exactly when she left, but they had to be together for the conception of their son Isaac Morley, who was born in June of 1851 and died while they were crossing the plains. They had no more children together (see her bio) and Sylvia married her 2nd husband on 3 Nov 1855, so she was divorced from Dominicus by then.

Once Dominicus was settled in Provo, he took four more wives:

Polly Miner 1851

Elizabeth Brown 1852

Caroline Maria Hubbard 1854 (divorced in 1861)

Frances Nash 1857

Among his descendants, much is made of Dominicus Carter’s nine wives, but before he ever came west he had already lost two of those wives, and three others chose to leave. During most of the Provo years he lived with four wives: Mary Durfee, Polly Miner, Elizabeth Brown and Fannie Nash. At his death all four of those women were at his bedside. By the count of his grand daughter Hannah Clark Pike, he had “46 children, 17 of whom preceded him in death, 87 grandchildren and 41 great grandchildren.” (The book “Carter Pioneers of Provo Utah” says he had 52 children, but there are several known mistakes in that list.)

Dominicus Carter was described as a high-spirited man and a respected citizen of Provo:
He was First Counselor to President George A. Smith of the Utah Stake.
He served on the Provo City Council.
He was a Probate Judge for four years.
He was a good singer and in the early days led the singing in Provo.
He helped organize a band which furnished music for the early militia and was their leader for twenty years.

During the 1880s, when polygamists were hunted and tried, many men went into hiding – but Dominicus Carter stood his ground. As a result, he served time in the state penitentiary. He was in his seventies.

In the history that Hannah Clark Pike wrote about her grandfather, she said this: “For years he ran a blacksmith shop in Provo. I remember as a girl seeing him put the oxen in an old wood frame to shoe them. He and his older sons also ran a hostelry. I remember seeing the stages drive in, they would run out and change the horses. Sometimes the stage would hurry away and at other times they would remain and go to my father’s large home and eat. He always lived in Provo, owning a great deal of property. His homes, blacksmith shop and hostelry were between 1st and 2nd North, 5th West and from 4th West to 5th West and 1st North, Provo. He died as he always lived, a true Latter-day Saint. While on his death bed he called his family around him and gave them many sacred charges for their guidance through life. He bore a strong testimony to the divine mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith and advised his posterity to abide in his faith.”

Donated by:Vauna Marie Kelly

Dominicus is buried at Block 4 Lot 10.

Family links:
John Carter (1782 – 1852)
Hannah Knight Libby Carter (1786 – 1867)

Lydia Smith Carter (1809 – 1838)*
Sophronia Babcock Carter (1822 – 1847)*
Sylvia Ameret Meacham Snider (1820 – 1894)*
Mary Ette Durfee Carter (1830 – 1885)*
Polly Miner Carter (1832 – 1896)*
Eliazbeth B Brown Carter (1833 – 1914)*
Caroline Maria Hubbard Fenstermaker (1831 – 1907)*
Frances Nash Carter–Davis (1836 – 1908)*

Arlytia Lydia Carter Peck (1829 – 1854)*
Lucinda Carter Curtis (1831 – 1904)*
Barrett Carter (1833 – ____)*
Sidney Rigdon Carter (1834 – 1912)*
Sarah Emily Carter (1836 – 1838)*
Lydia Ann Carter Peck (1838 – 1853)*
Erastus Francis Carter (1843 – 1912)*
Isaac Morley Carter (1845 – 1845)*
Infant Carter (1847 – 1847)*
Wilford W. Carter (1848 – 1849)*
Mary Jane Carter Stewart (1850 – 1938)*
George Dominicus Carter (1852 – 1922)*
Frances Clark Carter Knight (1853 – 1935)*
Edmund Durfee Carter (1854 – 1915)*
Polly Ann Carter Whipple (1854 – 1931)*
Enos Carter (1854 – 1938)*
Harriett Carter (1855 – 1856)*
Mariah Elizabeth Carter Whipple (1856 – 1907)*
Willard Richard Carter (1856 – 1941)*
James Chauncey Carter (1856 – 1921)*
Clara Melissa Carter Bate (1858 – 1948)*
Ezra Carter (1859 – 1902)*
Franklin Richard Carter (1859 – 1932)*
Heber Kimball Carter (1859 – 1926)*
Warren Carter (1860 – 1922)*
Frances E Carter (1861 – 1906)*
Hannah Libby Carter Jones (1861 – 1938)*
Albert Miner Carter (1861 – 1929)*
Phebe Carter Taylor (1862 – 1930)*
Tamma M. Carter (1862 – 1862)*
John F. Carter (1863 – 1953)*
Nellie Ann Carter (1863 – 1863)*
Louisa Carter Sorenson (1864 – 1939)*
Nellie Ann Carter (1865 – ____)*
Alma Miner Carter (1865 – 1939)*
Seth M. Carter (1867 – 1869)*
Alfred Carter (1867 – 1867)*
Ann Carter (1867 – 1867)*
Charles Henry Carter (1868 – 1928)*
Samuel Carter (1868 – ____)*
Ruth F. Carter (1869 – 1870)*
Joseph William Carter (1870 – 1941)*
Marion Carter (1870 – 1874)*
Ilus Carter (1871 – 1881)*
Parley Pratt Carter (1871 – 1944)*
Arthur Carter (1875 – 1937)*

*Calculated relationship

Donated by:Vauna Marie Kelly

Dominicus Carter’s blessings (given to him):

Dominicus Carter 1806-1884


Dominicus Carter was born on the 21st of June 1806 the son of John Carter and Hannah Knight Libby, in Scarborough, Cumberland county, Maine, at half past six on a Saturday evening. Dominicus was the 4th great grand son of Richard Carter who came to America in the mid 1600’s to Plymouth Mass. Dominicus was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on June 30, 1832 by Daniel Bean. Hence he is one of the early members of the (mormon) church having been baptized only 2 years after its organization. By 1834 Dominicus had moved to Kirtland, Lake County, Ohio. On the 19th day of December 1836 Dominicus received a Patriarchal Blessing given under the hand of Joseph Smith Senior, Patriarch of the Church, and father to the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr.. This was the first of three Patriarchal Blessings that Dominicus would receive. Family members may obtain copies of these blessings from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or E-mail me.

Dominicus is referred to various times in the Documented History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (DHC). In one instance he is shown as having subscribed to the constitution of the Kirtland Camp. When the Latter-day saints migrated as a group from Kirtland to Far West Missouri Dominicus was appointed commissary of the camp. While on the Kirtland camp several Church authorities were falsely arrested. Dominicus went to the prison and stayed with them (see DHC vol. 3). On the 12 th day of August 1838 while en route with the Kirtland camp, Sarah Emily Carter, a two year old daughter of Dominicus, passed away.

Dominicus and his family endured great persecution for their religious beliefs. Some had their homes burned to the ground. His sister surrounded by a mob that had terrorized Hauns mill, shortly after giving birth to a baby girl, escaped miraculously.

In 1844 Dominicus Carter served several missions for the church with his Brother in law James C. Snow and were in Yelrome Indiana when they received the news of the death of Joseph Smith the Prophet. Their reaction is recorded by brother Snow in vol. 7 DHC for those interested.

I have spoken with many who are aquainted with the life of Dominicus Carter, some are desendants, others are just familiar. I have heard some criticism about Uncle Dominicus Carter’s fervor for his beliefs. However, I am totally convinced of his righteousness before God, and being one who believed in living his religious beliefs to the fullness of which he had been taught, by those in pure authority and that he was not self serving in his motives, but dedicated and consecrated to the achievement of those worthy propositions.

Thomas Milner 4gg Nephew.


Documented History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Provo Carters

Valiant in the Faith




Dominicus CARTER was born on 21 JUN 1806 in Scarborough, Cumberland County, Maine. He was baptized on 30 JUN 1832. He was given a Patriartcal Blessing on 19 DEC 1836 in Kirtland, Lake County, Ohio. Officiator: Joseph Smith, Sr.

He was ordained LDS High Priest in MAY 1841. He died on 2 FEB 1884 at Provo, Utah County, Utah. He was buried on 6 FEB 1884 in Provo, Utah County, Utah. He served a mission in Lockport, Indiana. He has Ancestral File Number 1T44-98. Places of Residence: Missouri

Vocations: Blacksmith & Farmer

Parents: John CARTER and Hannah Knight LIBBY.

Spouse: Lydia SMITH. Dominicus CARTER and Lydia SMITH were married on 11 MAY 1828. Children were: Arlytia Long CARTER, Lucinda McKenney CARTER, Barrett CARTER, Sidney Rigdon CARTER, Sarah Emily CARTER, Lydia Ann CARTER.

Spouse: Sylvia Amaretta MECHAM. Dominicus CARTER and Sylvia Amaretta MECHAM were married on 28 MAR 1839 in Adams County, Illinois. They were divorced. Children were: Erastus Francis CARTER.

Spouse: Sophronia BABCOCK. Dominicus CARTER and Sophronia BABCOCK were married about 1842. Children were: Child CARTER.

Spouse: Mary DURFEE. Dominicus CARTER and Mary DURFEE were married on 2 JAN 1844 in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois. Children were: Mary Jane CARTER, George Dominicus CARTER, Edmund Durfee CARTER, James C. CARTER, Heber Kimball CARTER Twin, Ezra CARTER Twin, Warren CARTER, Phoebe CARTER, Charles CARTER, Marion CARTER, Ann CARTER.

Spouse: Eliza BABCOCK. Dominicus CARTER and Eliza BABCOCK were married about 1849.

Spouse: Polly MINER. Dominicus CARTER and Polly MINER were married on 9 OCT 1851 in Provo, Utah County, Utah. Children were: Frances CARTER, Harriet Miner CARTER, Polly Ann CARTER, Albeert Miner CARTER, Tamma Miner CARTER, Fanny E. CARTER, Alma Miner CARTER, Seth Miner CARTER, Joseph William CARTER.

Spouse: Elizabeth BROWN. Dominicus CARTER and Elizabeth BROWN were married on 20 JUN 1852 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah. Children were: Enos CARTER, Maria Elizabeth CARTER, Ezra CARTER, Hannah Libby CARTER, John F. CARTER, Ilas CARTER, Ann CARTER, Ruth CARTER, Ilas CARTER.

Spouse: Caroline Maria HUBBARD. Dominicus CARTER and Caroline Maria HUBBARD were married on 20 OCT 1854 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah. They were divorced. Children were: Willard CARTER, Clara Melissa CARTER.

Spouse: Frances (Fanny) NASH. Dominicus CARTER and Frances (Fanny) NASH were married on 6 JAN 1857 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah. Children were: Franklin Richard CARTER, Frances E. CARTER, Louisa CARTER, Alfred CARTER, Samuel CARTER, Parley CARTER, Arthur CARTER.


From an account of Dominicus’s Mission companion:

James Chaney Snow

Notes for James Chaney SNOW

Snow, James Chaney, president of the Utah (or Provo) Stake of Zion from 1853 to 1858, was born Jan. 11, 1817, in the town of Chesterfield, Cheshire [p.795] county, New Hampshire, son of Gardner Snow and Sarah Hasting. He was reared from a child, eighteen months old, to manhood in the State of Vermont. He was baptized into the Church Oct. 19, 1833, was ordained a Teacher June 23, 1834, and ordained a Priest Nov. 23, 1834. In the year 1836 he filled a mission to the New England States, where he baptized many, among whom Elizabeth Cluff and Lucy Smith. April 20, 1837, he received a patriarchal blessing in the Kirtland Temple under the hands of Patriarch Joseph Smith, sen. In 1838 he married Eliza Ann Carter at Kirtland, Ohio, and with his wife he traveled to Missouri in the Kirtland camp; thence went to Illinois and settled in Nauvoo, where he became a member of the Nauvoo Legion. May 17, 1844, he left his home in Illinois to go on a special mission, on which he was instructed also to electioneer for Joseph Smith, who was a candidate for the presidency of the United States. A response to this call required a great sacrifice on Elder Snow’s part as his family, consisting of a wife and four children, were in poor circumstances; they had not even flour in the house at the time, but his wife told him to go and do his duty, and God would provide; and so he did. Elder Snow arrived at Maddison, Ind., June 24, 1844, after walking 52 miles. At that place he was joined by Dominicus Carter; and the two Elders started out together without purse or scrip, and God blessed them. On the 27th of June, the very day on which Joseph and Hyrum Smith were martyred, Elder Snow was preaching at Milroy, Rush county, Ind. After the martyrdom the Elders went forth to comfort the Saints in the freshness of their grief over their martyred Prophets. Bro. Snow, together with other missionaries, was called home shortly after the martyrdom, and he was present at the meeting when the mantle of Joseph fell upon Brigham Young—an event of which he often testified afterwards. Together with his family he left Nauvoo in 1846, to go to the Valleys of the Mountains. They remained at Council Bluffs until 1852, when they started across the plains with Brother Snow as captain of the company. After enduring the hardships and privations of a long and toilsome journey they arrived in Salt Lake City Oct. 9, 1852. Later in the fall Brother Snow and family moved to Provo, Utah county, and in 1853 he was appointed president of the Utah Stake of Zion, which position he held until 1858, when he resigned. In the spring of 1857 he accompanied the First Presidency on a mountain trip through northern Utah and into Oregon. Elder Snow held many responsible civil positions in the community. Thus he served as a member of the Utah legislature in 1856, and was appointed United States deputy marshal in 1853. In 1858 he was elected surveyor of Utah county; and he was re-elected to that position in 1860. In the fall of 1868 he moved to southern Utah, where he remained till 1880, when he located at Pettyville, where he died April 30, 1884, aged 67 years, 3 months and 19 days. His body was taken to Manti for interment. Elder Snow was loved and respected by all who knew him and remained firm and faithful in the Church till the last. He was the father of twenty children.Source:Latter-day Saint Biographical EncyclopediaVolume 1BiographiesSnow, James Chaney

Posted by Arn and Jody at 10:43 AM 0 comments

Some baptisms Dominicus performed, according to

Name: James Pace

Date of Birth: June 15, 1811

Location of Birth: Rutherford TN

Parents: James Mary Ann Loven

Baptism: 1839 by Dominicus Carter

Name: Lucinda G. Pace

Date of birth: June16, 1805

Place of Birth: Abbeville SC

Parents: Warren Strickland Mary Anderson

Baptism: 1839 Domincus Carter

Dominicus Carter in the official History of the Church

Dominicus Carter in the History of the Church

Dominicus Carter is mentioned a few times in the documented History of the Church, the official history of the church. Here is a copy of the paragraphs mentioning him in those volumes.

Volume 3

History of the Church: Volume 3

Chapter 9: The [KIRTLAND CAMP] Constitution…

The council of the Seventies met this day in the attic story of the Lord’s House and took into consideration the propriety and necessity of the body of the Seventies going up to the land of Zion in a company together the present season, and adopted the following rules and laws, for the organization and government of the camp: … [The names of the persons and number in their respective families, who subscribed to the foregoing constitution]. … … …Dominicus Carter………………..6… …

Chapter 10

Journal of Kirtland Camp…

Saturday, August 11.–One or two showers of rain cooled the air and revived the languid and drooping spirits of those in the camp, and symptoms of better health were visible on the countenances of the afflicted. In the fore part of the night Sarah Emily, daughter of Dominicus Carter, aged about two years and three months, died, being the fourth one the destroyer took from our midst.

Volume 5

History of the Church: Volume 5

Chapter 18:


Monday, April 10, 1843.–At 10 a. m. a special conference of elders convened and continued by adjournment from time to time till the 12th. There were present of the quorum of the Twelve, Brigham Young, president; Heber C. Kimball, William Smith, Orson Hyde, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, George A. Smith, and Willard Richards.

The object of the conference was to ordain elders and send them forth into the vineyard to build up churches; and the following appointments were made, with united voices by the conference, agreeable to requests which were made by individuals who were acquainted with the several places which they represented:–

Names and Appointments of Elders.

James M. Munroe and Truman Gillet, Auburn, New York. Dominicus Carter, Lockport, Indiana. Joshua Holman and John Pierce

Tuesday, July 17.–Started at eight in the morning; passed through the village of Ontario in Springfield thence through the town of Sandusky into Jackson, in Crawford county, and encamped six miles east of Bucyrus, the county seat of Crawford county. Traveled sixteen miles.

The country we passed through between Mansfield and Bucyrus is the highest in the State of Ohio, being on the headwaters of the Sciota which falls into the Ohio, and of the Sandusky that falls into Erie, the country though high is generally level.

Just at dark the brethren who had been committed to prison came up. They were discharged by the court at 12 o’clock, noon, after which they traveled twenty-two miles.

The court for Richland county was in session and would have been adjourned the evening the brethren, Josiah, Butterfield Jonathan Dunham and Jonathan H. Hale, were arrested, had it not been for that occurrence. Their case was called on the same evening and adjourned till eight o’clock next morning. Dominicus Carter went back from our camp and staid with them till they were liberated. We were all glad and thanked the Lord for their deliverance out of the hands of our enemies.

Wednesday, July 18.–The Council met in the morning and called together the overseers of tents and gave them some instructions concerning their duty in presiding over their tents, and Dominicus Carter was appointed commissary of the camp, and Aaron M. York chosen overseer of tent No. 3, third division, in his place; and the tent removed to No. 5, first division. About eight the camp started, passed through Benjamin and took the road to upper Sandusky, and stopped at one p. m. on the edge of a prairie to rest. For the first time we had the privilege of encamping without pay. The road in the afternoon in some places was rather bad in the groves between the openings of the grand prairie, the edge of which bordered on the right of our road from our encampment east of Bucyrus till we encamped at night in the town of Grand Prairie, county of Marion, on the line between that county and Crawford, ten miles southwest from Bucyrus. Passed through the township of Antrim, in Crawford county, in the afternoon. Traveled this day sixteen miles. As we passed through Bucyrus the people seemed much agitated and made many remarks concerning us. One man said he had received a liberal education and had prepared himself for the ministry, but it now availed him nothing. The movements of the “Mormons” were actions and not words, and looked more like love and like the spirit of union than anything that had come under his observation.

Volume 6

History of the Church: Volume 6

Chapter 16

We also publish the names of the Elders who are appointed to the several states, together with their appointments. Those who are numbered with the figures 1 and 2 will take the presidency of the several states to which they are appointed. …


Erastus Snow, 1st, Warren Snow, William Hyde, Dominicus Carter, Denman Cornish, Levi W. Hancock, Jeremiah Hatch, Alfred Cordon, Martin Titus, Charles Snow, William Haight, James C. Snow, John D. Chase, A. M. Harding, Josiah H. Perry, Isaac Houston, Amos Hodges.

Volume 7

History of the Church: Volume 7

Chapter 11

The following are the names of the martial band:—-

NAMES OF THE NAUVOO LEGION BAND E. P. Duzette, major, L. W. Hancock, fife major, Dimick B. Huntington, drum major, Elisha Everett, leader, William Carter, ———— Lyon, Dominicus Carter, Aroet Hale, James W. Cummings, Abram Day, Joseph Richards, L. W. Hardy, Geo. W. Taggart, Willard Smith, Wm. D. Huntington, Stephen Wilber, Jesse Earl, Lewis Hardy, J. M. King, James Leithead, H. B. Jacobs, J. M, Frink, A. J. Clothier, Eleazer King, Sylvester Duzette, ———— Sprague.

See also for another listing of the members of the band.

According to

Dominicus Carter

Born: 21 Jun 1806, Scarborough, Cumberland, Maine

Parents: John and Hannah Knight Libby Carter

Died: 2 Feb 1884, Provo, Utah, Utah

Arrived in Valley: June 1851


Married lst: Lydia Smith, 6 children.

Date: 2 May 1829, Newry, Maine.


Married 2nd: Sophronia Babcock, 1 child.

Date: 1838.

Died: 26 Aug 1847. In child birth on plains coming west


Married 3rd: Sylvia Amaret Meacham, 2 children.

Date: 28 Mar l839. Sylvia left him after the the death of her second child. She took her other son with her


Married 4th: Mary Durfee, 13 children.

Date; 2 Jan 1844 (polygamy)


Married 5th: Polly Miner, 9 children.

Date: 9 Oct 1851 (polygamy)


Married 6th: Elizabeth Brown, 8 children.

Date: 20 Jun 1852 (polygamy)


Married 7th: Caroline Hubbard, 2 children.

Date: 27 Oct 1854 (polygamy)


Married 8th: Frances Nash, 8 children.

Date: 6 Jan 1857 (polygamy)

Dominicus was born in poor and humble circumstances. When he was four, his parents moved their fami]y to Newry, Oxford, Maine. He never had the chance for an education. He only knew hard work. He learned the blacksmith trade and between that and his farm, he did fairly well.

In June 1834, Dominicus joined the Mormon Church. His first wife died early so he remarried. She later died while giving birth. He married his first polygamous wife, Sylvia. Later, after Dominicus had taken five more wives, Sylvia took her two small children and left him, saying she could not live in polygamy.

In the spring of 1837, they left Maine and moved to Kirtland, Ohio. In 183 8 they moved to Far West and then to Nauvoo where they underwent the persecution that the saints were facing. Brigham asked him to help prepare for the trip by making and strengthening the wagons and other equipment.

After leaving Nauvoo, they settled for a time in Council Bluffs, helping to repair the wagons and equipment of the saints who were going west, and whose equipment had taken a beating. It was 1850 before Dominicus was able to bring his family to the Valley.

The following year he moved his family to Provo where he remained active in civic and church positions, serving in the Utah Stake presidency with George A. Smith. He served as Probate Judge for four years. He was asked to fill a position in the Provo City Council. He played in a Martial Band and helped furnish music for the early militia; he became their leader for 20 years. He had a fine voice and lead the singing in Provo.

For many years he and his sons ran a hostelry as well as his blacksmith shop. He owned a great deal of property in Provo. He was a kindly father and husband, a good neighbor and citizen, and a loyal and active member of the church all his life.

Dominicus Carter Grave


Domincus Carter Biography:











SAMSUNG DIGIMAX D530 Additional Material:

From the document, Western Maine Saints, from

The Courier

Volume 29, No. 1 (2005)
[Part 1]
Mormon Missionaries in the 1830s

by Mary E. Valentine


Umbagog Lake from the highlands of Letter B Township, now Upton, Maine

[Editor’s Note: The area discussed in this article, and subsequent installments, includes the present-day Maine towns of Andover, Bethel, Hanover, Newry, and Upton.  Before being incorporated as a town in 1796, Bethel was known as Sudbury Canada because land grants established along the Androscoggin intervales were given to descendants of soldiers from Sudbury, Massachusetts, who served in the invasion of Canada in 1690.  The southern portion of present-day Newry on the Sunday and Bear rivers was chartered as a town in 1805; the northern part of the town, along Bear River from the Branch Road at North Newry to the Grafton line, was part of Andover West Surplus, an unorganized territory, until 1836 when the settlers petitioned the Maine Legislature to allow them to join the town of Newry.  This upper part of the “Bear River settlement” was also called by some “Head O’ Tide” or “Head of the Tide”—hence the name that was long applied to the first school in the area, and to the cemetery nearest North Newry.  The town of Hanover was created in 1843 by taking that part of Bethel east of Newry Corner and north of the Androscoggin, and adding it to Howard’s Gore.  Dr. William B. Lapham explains in his History of Bethel that a “gore” in this part of Maine is a piece of land left over when the town lines around it are run out.   The town of Andover was named for Andover, Massachusetts, when settlers came to Maine looking for a place to expand from the Massachusetts town.  Col. John York of Bethel suggested they follow the Androscoggin River north from Bethel, past Sunday River and Bear River to the next river—the Ellis—and settle in the area several miles north of its outlet into the Androscoggin. North of Bethel and Newry were some tracts with letter names: Letter A, B, C, etc.  Letter B was the area east of Lake Umbagog.  It began as Letter B Township, then Letter B Plantation, then, in 1860, it was incorporated as the town of Upton.  Among the sources consulted by the author for this article are the following: the memories recorded by Peter Smith Bean regarding Upton in the 1830s which appeared in the Oxford County Advertiser on 19 March 1893; Rev. Nathaniel Purinton’s letter to the editor of The Christian Mirror, published on 19 December 1833; the published diaries of Patty Bartlett Sessions and Perrigrine Sessions; the journals of William E. McLellen; the autobiography of Lucy Meserve Smith; the genealogy of Aaron Merean York; and John Henry Evans’ biography of Joseph Smith.]

In June of 1832, two years after Joseph Smith published the Book of Mormon, there came a young man to the home of Daniel Bean, Jr., in Letter B (now Upton), an unorganized territory in the western mountains of Maine, just east of Lake Umbagog.  He introduced himself as Horace Cowan, and said another man would be coming from Colebrook, New Hampshire, the next day to join him.  Cowan was looking for a place where the two men could get room and board for a few days, and he also wanted a place where he and his companion could preach the Mormon doctrine.  Both Daniel Bean, Sr., and his son and namesake had, since coming to Letter B in the 1820s, welcomed clergymen representing various denominations—Baptist, Congregational, Methodist, Unitarian—and offered them a meeting room where they could preach.  In that remote pioneer settlement, visitors “from away” were usually welcomed for the news they brought from the “civilized” world, and for many the preaching provided a change from the daily round of farm work and homemaking chores.  So Daniel Bean, Jr., welcomed Horace Cowan and offered him the use of a space that had been used in the past for preaching and other meetings.  The next day Hazen Aldrich arrived and the two Latter-day Saints (Mormons) began telling their story to anyone who had the time or interest to listen.  One of Daniel Bean’s sons later reported that the preaching of Hazen Aldrich and Horace Cowan was so well received that the Mormons soon organized a church of a large number of members, entirely breaking up the Free Will Baptists and the Congregationalists.  As Peter Smith Bean later recalled, “They took whole families . . . . Half the settlers left and were believers in the Mormon doctrine.”

At Thanksgiving, the following November, there was a family reunion of the Beans in Letter B; many of Daniel Bean’s sons and daughters came to Letter B with their spouses and children for the holidays.  When they left, Daniel Bean, Sr., and Margaret Shaw Bean went home with their daughter, Dolly Bean Grover, to spend the winter in West Bethel; the next spring, on 16 March 1833, Daniel Bean, Sr., died at his daughter’s home in West Bethel.  About a week later, Horace Cowan returned to Letter B and Daniel Bean, Jr., was baptized 23 March 1833 into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He became active as an Elder, missionary and leader of the LDS branch in the western Maine mountains.

Some former parishioners of a Rev. Nathaniel Purinton of Bowdoin, Maine, wrote to him about the visits of the Mormon missionaries to Letter B, and Nathaniel Purinton decided to visit the area in the fall of 1833, to see for himself what was happening in the religious life of the community there. In December, he wrote a letter to the Christian Mirror, a weekly published in Portland by the Congregational Church, telling of his visit to Letter B.  He had attended a church service led by Daniel Bean, heard him preaching “in tongues,” and talked with him after the service, when Daniel Bean had told him that he expected to travel to Missouri, where Christ would soon make his second appearance.

Daniel Bean seems to have remained active as a leader of the local LDS branch for the next three years.  In the spring of 1834, Daniel Bean and John F. Boynton (one of the first quorum of the Twelve Apostles) visited the home of John and Hannah Knight Libby Carter in Newry.  Eliza Ann, one of Hannah’s daughters, later wrote of this visit, “. . . my mother lay very sick.  The doctors had given her up.  The Elders told her they were preaching a new doctrine and that she could be healed if she could have faith.”  They laid hands on her and prayed that she would be made whole; she arose and dressed and walked about half a mile to Bear River, where she was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  This healing led to six of the Carter’s nine children joining the LDS Church. Most of them were baptized in June 1834.  Hannah’s daughter, also named Hannah, who had married Aaron Merean York, was baptized with her husband by Daniel Bean.

On 2 July 1834, Daniel Bean baptized Patty Bartlett Sessions, the first of her family to join the LDS Church.  She had heard the preaching of Horace Cowan when he traveled south from Letter B to Andover West Surplus (now North Newry) in 1833 and had believed, but waited until her husband agreed to her being baptized the next summer.  In August 1835, Daniel Bean traveled for a period of time with the LDS missionary William McLellin, who had been appointed at one time to the quorum of Twelve Apostles.  Elders Bean and McLellin blessed children in Errol, New Hampshire; McLellin accompanied Daniel Bean back to Letter B, where McLellin preached and broke bread with the Letter B Saints.  Bean and McLellin also traveled together to Rumford Point, where they heard Elder David Patten preach; then back to Andover West Surplus, where McLellin visited the home of David and Patty Bartlett Sessions, and preached.  The next week Daniel Bean received word that William McLellin was expected to attend the conference in Farmington, Maine, the next weekend; Daniel escorted him to Farmington from whence he traveled back to the West.  The next summer (1836) at a conference in Maine, Daniel Bean was appointed clerk and represented the LDS branches in Errol, New Hampshire, and Newry, Maine.

Who was this Daniel Bean, who served as an Elder and missionary for the LDS Church from his baptism in the spring of 1833 through the summer of 1836, and then disappeared from the local scene?  Lucy Meserve Smith, a cousin of Daniel’s wife and daughter of Lucy Bean Smith, a cousin of Daniel, identifies him as Daniel Bean, Jr., son of Daniel Bean and Margaret Shaw Bean, and grandson of the Jonathan Bean who came to Sudbury Canada (later Bethel) from Standish in 1781 with three sons and settled beside the Androscoggin River in the Middle Intervale section of Bethel.  Daniel, Jr., was born in 1796 in Bethel and married, in 1821, Betsey Smith, daughter of Ithiel and Lucy Littlehale Smith of Newry.  After his marriage, he worked for a time as a cabinetmaker in East Bethel.  His father, Daniel Bean, Sr., at an age when most men would be thinking of retiring to a more leisurely life, sold his Bethel farm and moved to the unorganized territory of Letter B.  His grandson later wrote that he was attracted to this wilderness area by the tall pines waiting to be cut, the abundance of fish in Lake Umbagog, and by the multitude of ducks and fur-bearing animals that could provide food for a family.  After Daniel Bean, Jr.’s, third child was born, Daniel and Betsey and the children traveled to Letter B to visit Daniel’s parents, liked what they saw there and moved to Letter B, probably between 1826 and 1829.

Perhaps it was the hard frost in Letter B, early in August 1836, that finally persuaded Daniel Bean to leave that locality.  By the time of the 1840 census, the Bean family had left the area.  It is difficult to know precisely when they left or what route they followed, but in 1844 their daughter was married in Cold Springs, Wisconsin, and their oldest son married in the same location in 1849.  According to the Bean genealogy, the remaining members of the family were living in Iowa in 1850.  Betsey Smith Bean died in October 1868 in Iowa.  Daniel Bean went back to Wisconsin, where, in 1879, he married Elizabeth Johnson in Little Falls.  He died in Cataract, Wisconsin, in 1882.

Why Wisconsin?  Perhaps he had heard from Mormon friends on the frontier that when the Mormons were driven from Missouri, it was suggested that they settle in Wisconsin, which had just been made a new Territory in 1836.

In addition to the LDS missionaries previously mentioned who had contact with Bethel’s Daniel Bean, Brigham Young and Lyman Johnson held a conference at the Sessions family home in Andover West Surplus in August 1835, and crossed the Androscoggin to preach in the Middle Intervale Meetinghouse in Bethel, which was without a settled pastor at the time.  Brigham Young returned in 1836 and a number of Bethel and Newry families heeded his urging to sell their farms in Maine and travel to Ohio or Missouri to establish a home for the Saints where they could live together according to their religious beliefs without fear of persecution.  In future articles in this series, there will be stories of some of these families, their lives before leaving Maine, the hardships they endured crossing the plains, and their contributions to the settlement of Utah.

[end of Part 1]

The Courier
Volume 29, No. 2 (2005)

[Part 2]
A Newry Family Who Joined the Latter-Day
Saints in Seeking a Home in the West

by Mary E. Valentine

Martha Fifield Wilkins, author of Sunday River Sketches, at the
Sessions-Chapman-Bennett House near North Newry in 1931

Patty Bartlett Sessions was the first in her family to be baptized as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  She was born in Bethel 4 February 1796, the first child of Anna Hall Bartlett, second wife of Enoch Bartlett, who had come from Newton, Massachusetts, to Sudbury Canada (incorporated as “Bethel” in 1796) sometime after the War for American Independence.  He settled on a farm in the Middle Intervale section of Bethel.  A number of Newton residents had an interest in this area; W. B. Lapham, in his History of Bethel, records that the rights of nine proprietors had been bought in 1774 by Aaron Richardson and Jonathan Clark of Newton.  Nathaniel Segar, a resident of Newton and brother of Enoch Bartlett’s first wife, Eliza Segar, had come to Sudbury Canada in 1774, remained through the summer, then returned to Newton.  The American Revolution began in the spring of 1775, and Segar served first in the defense of Boston, then re-enlisted for a mission to Ticonderoga and Canada.  By the spring of 1779, the battlefront had moved to the southern states, and Nathaniel Segar again traveled to Sudbury Canada, this time accompanied by Jonathan Bartlett, a half-brother of Enoch.  They took kettles for boiling down maple sap to make sugar, and after the sap stopped running, spent their time clearing land and building shelters for the winter.  Segar’s land was on the north side of the river in what is now Hanover, and Jonathan Bartlett later settled on the south side of the river, below Bean’s Corner.  Four other brothers of Enoch also settled in Sudbury Canada.  Perrigrine Sessions, writing about his grandfather, recalls being told that Enoch, with one or two of his half brothers, brought their wives and possessions on hand sleds from Fryeburg fifty miles to Sudbury Canada, the youngest child not yet born.  Enoch’s first wife died about 1789.  In 1790, Enoch was listed as a resident of Sudbury Canada, and in 1794 he married Anna Hall of Standish and brought her to his home there.  On 7 April 1800 (according to his grandson Perrigrine), Enoch moved from Bethel to Sunday River Plantation (Bostwick), and he is listed there in the 1800 census.      His oldest daughter, Anna, born 4 November 1766 in Newton, married in 1790 Asa Foster, who was born around 1765.  Asa was a son of Abner Foster, one of the early pioneers in the Sunday River Valley.  Asa Foster owned land bordering Sunday River to the east, and in a deed dated 1812, he sold twenty nine acres bordering Sunday River to Enoch Bartlett, reserving twenty four acres to the north for himself and his wife Anna.  It is possible that Asa Foster had built the older part of the Bartlett house either before or after his marriage in 1790, and Enoch Bartlett added the newer portion of the house to accommodate his growing family.  After moving to Sunday River Plantation (which became part of the town of Newry in 1805) Enoch and Anna Hall Bartlett had six more children, in addition to Patty, Elisha, and Naomah who had been born in Bethel: Jonathan in 1800, Polly in 1802, Aphia in 1804, Lydia in 1806, Lorania in 1808 (d. 1811), and Enoch, Patty’s youngest brother, in 1811.

In 1812, at age 17, Patty Bartlett married David Sessions, whose family had come from Vermont and settled in Riley Plantation.  They lived for a few years in a log cabin on the Sessions farm.  David’s mother, Rachel Stevens Session, was obese and suffered from rheumatism.  She was a midwife, and Patty began learning this profession by helping her mother-in-law.  In December 1815 (after the birth of their first child, Perrigrine, on 15 June 1814) David and Patty bought a farm about nine miles to the northeast in an unorganized territory called Andover Gore (1820 census) or Andover West Surplus (1830 census). Their new farm bordered Bear River and was more fertile than David’s parents’ land in Riley Plantation.

After the move to Bear River, Patty, in reading her Bible, began to feel that baptism was necessary.  Most of her neighbors were Methodists, so she chose that church and was baptized 1 October 1816, becoming a member of the Methodist Church.  In 1820, her husband David also became a Methodist.  The first Methodist house of worship in the Bethel circuit was built in 1814 on the north bank of the Androscoggin River near Dustin’s Ferry, which connected Newry with East Bethel.  This church was twice struck by lightning; in July 1819, lightning killed Rebecca York McGill of East Bethel during a service in the church.

Additional children were born to David and Patty as the years went by; in 1816, a son, Sylvanus, was born, and in 1818, a daughter, Sylvia.  After the birth of Anna in 1820, a larger home was needed, and David built a fine new house into which the family moved in November of that year.  In the spring of 1821, David’s parents moved in with them.  By this time, Rachel Sessions was so crippled with rheumatism that she was unable to do anything for herself, so Patty now had her mother-in-law to care for as well as her husband and children.  At this time, David’s father was receiving a pension for his former military service of $96 per year.  This cash income must have been welcome in an era when most transactions were by barter.  In May 1823, another son, David, was born.  During September of that year, Anna, aged three and one half, died of cholera.  Two days later, Rachel, Patty’s mother-in-law, became ill from the same ailment and died on 1 October.  A year later, in the fall of 1824, Rachel’s husband went to visit a neighbor and died suddenly, probably from a stroke.  In the next ten years, three more of the Sessions children died as epidemics of typhus and whooping cough struck the area.  It is not known where David’s parents and the four children are buried.  As an unorganized territory, Andover West Surplus had no town burial ground, so it seems likely a family burial plot was set aside on the farm.  In March of 1837, a good portion of Andover West Surplus became part of Newry, and at a Newry town meeting in March 1854, the three town selectmen were authorized to choose land for a burying ground in the former Andover West Surplus.  One of the selectmen at that time was Moses Kilgore, a brother of Perrigrine Sessions’ wife, Julia Ann, and another selectman had recently married as his second wife a sister of Julia Ann.  It seems likely that these selectmen would have chosen the burial ground where there were already graves.  The present cemetery on Route 26 in North Newry, called “Head O’Tide Cemetery,” is probably on land that was part of the Sessions’ 400 acre farm in the 1820s and 1830s.  In the 1960s, when the gravestone inscriptions were recorded by a Bethel Historical Society volunteer, there were no grave markers bearing the Sessions name, but the recorder noted there were some unmarked graves.

How did an area seventy miles from the ocean and now containing part of the Appalachian Trail happen to have a school and cemetery named “Head O’Tide?”  N. S. Baker, Newry Superintendent of Schools in the 1890s, wrote a letter to The Bethel News that was published on 5 August 1896; in the letter, which spoke of Newry’s past, Baker commented that “Squire Paine began at the Tides.”  Daniel Paine’s house was a short distance north of the Sessions home.  Possibly one of the Paine family, looking at the water from the spring snow melt as it poured down Wight’s Brook into Bear River, might have been reminded of a tidal bore.  Wherever the name came from, it seems to have been in use as early as 1839; in his missionary diary of 1 October 1839, Perrigrine Sessions wrote “. . . thence to the head of the tide and I preached to Paine’s school house. . . .”

In August 1833, LDS missionaries Horace Cowan and Hazen Aldrich came south from Letter B through Grafton Notch and stopped at the Sessions home to preach the Mormon doctrine.  According to Perrigrine Sessions, his mother believed as soon as she heard the preaching of Cowan and Aldrich, but David thought it was best to consider the matter for a time, so she waited until July 1834 to be baptized.  In September of that year, at age twenty, Perrigrine Sessions married Julia Ann Kilgore, the youngest daughter of John and Anna York Kilgore.  On 15 August 1835, Brigham Young and Lyman Johnson visited Newry.  They held a conference at the home of David and Patty Sessions, and Brigham Young crossed the Androscoggin River to preach at the Middle Intervale Meetinghouse, which at the time was without a settled pastor.  At the meeting in the Sessions home, Young spoke of “establishing Zion” somewhere in the west, a place where Saints could live together and practice their religious beliefs without fear of persecution.  He encouraged the local Saints to sell their farms and travel to Missouri to join others in this endeavor.  On August 21 of the same year, the Sessions were visited by another Mormon elder and missionary, William McLellin, who recorded in his journal that he had preached about two hours at a “bro Cessions.”  By 16 September 1835, Perrigrine was convinced that he should be baptized, and he asked Edward Partridge to baptize him.  On September 22, Perrigrine’s and Julia Ann’s first child was born and named Martha Ann.

Brigham Young and other members of the Twelve Apostles visited Newry again in August 1836, and once more preached in at Middle Intervale.  He again urged the members of the Newry branch to sell their farms in Maine and travel to Missouri where the Saints were gathering.  Over the years, the Sessions family had acquired a farm of 400 contiguous acres along the Bear River.  They had a saw mill and a grist mill using water power from the Bear River, and their home was large enough to serve as a public house for the region.  Leaving all this seemed like a hard thing to do, but in May 1837, David and Perrigrine Sessions sold their farm to Almon and Eli Grover, who the next day sold it to Timothy Hilliard Chapman, a son of Timothy Chapman and grandson of Rev. Eliphaz Chapman, an early settler of Bethel.

T. H. Chapman was a young man, only nineteen years old at the time.  It is difficult to know whether he ever lived on the farm in North Newry; in the 1840 census, the only Chapman on Bear River was George Granville Chapman.  By the summer of 1848, Eliphaz Bradford Chapman was living there.  In her Sunday River Sketches, Martha Fifield Wilkins writes that her mother, Lucelia Elizabeth Chapman, was born on the farm 31 July 1848.  In 1857, Lucelia’s father sold the farm to Jonathan Bennett in exchange for a farm on the Magalloway River.  Lucelia’s mother did not want to move to Magalloway, and refused to sign the deed, but the exchange of farms happened anyway.  According to Paula Wight, in her Newry Profiles, Jonathan Bennett built the front part of the present house in 1860.  Whether the recently demolished kitchen ell went back to the time of the Sessions family, we don’t know.  The farm was passed from Jonathan Bennett to his son Frank, and then on to his son Roy.  In 2000, the property was sold by the heirs of Roy Bennett to Keith Durgin.

In May 1837, the Sessions family packed their possessions for the trip west, and on 5 June, they left their home in Newry, accompanied by Patty’s sister, Lucy Bartlett Powers, her husband Jonathan Powers, and their two sons.  The Sessions family at this time included David and Patty, their son Perrigrine and his wife and daughter, their daughter Sylvia and son David.  The Sessions family started with five two-horse teams and one single, and the Powers family had two horses.  They passed through Shelburne and Lancaster in New Hampshire, then south to Hanover, where they crossed the Connecticut River, then on to Rutland, Vermont, Glens Falls and Saratoga Springs, New York, and across New York State to Buffalo, where they boarded a steam boat to Fairport, Ohio, and thence to Kirtland, Ohio.  Here they met Joseph Smith and heard him preach, and suffered through an epidemic of measles for seven weeks.  Then they bid farewell to the Powers family who returned to Maine, and continued their journey to Far West, Missouri.  The Ohio settlers were becoming unhappy with the increasing numbers of Saints in Kirtland, and Joseph Smith had chosen Far West, on the west bank of the Mississippi River, as the next gathering place for the Saints.  The trip between Ohio and Missouri was made easier by the National Road, a project begun in 1811 that, when completed, led from Cumberland, Maryland, to Vandalia, Illinois, and was an important link to the West until railroads were developed.  The Sessions family arrived at Far West in November 1837.  Patty had been pregnant for the entire trip, and her last child, Amanda, was born after their arrival in Missouri on 14 November 1837.

[to be continued]

The Courier


Volume 29, No. 3 (2005)

[Part 2, continued]
A Newry Family Who Joined the Latter-Day
Saints in Seeking a Home in the West

by Mary E. Valentine

In Missouri, the Sessions family bought land, including two block houses, and after settling in their new homes, acquired additional land and plowed about forty acres for spring planting of corn, potatoes and grain.  After the arrival of Joseph Smith, work began on a new temple, and Perrigrine left to return to Maine to collect the additional money owed the family for sale of their property.  He became ill on the trip and after arriving at his father-in-law’s house, spent six or seven weeks recuperating before completing his business and returning to Missouri.

When Perrigrine joined his family in Missouri on 28 November 1838, he found a desperate situation.  Some of the Saints had been murdered by Missouri mobs.  Instead of protecting the new immigrants, the state government issued an extermination order authorizing the other settlers and state militia to kill any Mormons they found still in the area.  Again, the family packed what they could carry with them, abandoned the land and homes they had purchased, and fled north along the Mississippi River in mid-winter.  The river was full of ice and difficult to cross, but they finally made it to the other side in Quincy, Illinois, where the townspeople were at first sympathetic and helpful.  Joseph Smith had been arrested and imprisoned in Missouri, along with some of the other Mormon leaders, but after five months he and his companions escaped and joined the Saints in Illinois.

Again Joseph Smith looked for a new gathering place for the Saints, and chose a site north of Quincy, within a bend of the river.  The land was swampy, infested with malaria-bearing mosquitos, but the Saints bought land there, drained the wet land, and laid out a city which Joseph called Nauvoo.  As more and more new converts came from Europe, Canada and the eastern United States, Nauvoo grew to rival Chicago as the largest city in Illinois.  During the years they lived in Nauvoo, Patty’s youngest daughter, Amanda, died; her husband David was given permission to take a plural wife, Rosilla Cowan, and Perrigrine was sent on another mission to Maine.  Perrigrine traveled “without purse or script,” staying with Saints wherever he could, but often without adequate food, and, thus, the trip took a long time.  When he reached Newry, he found the branch there no longer thriving since most of its devoted members had left.  Perrigrine visited friends and relatives in Newry, but spent much of his time in the Rumford-Mexico-Dixfield area, where his missionary efforts seemed to be more appreciated.  When Perrigrine arrived back in Nauvoo about a year later, he found he had a second child, a son, but his wife was weak from tuberculosis, and Julie Ann died in January 1845.  The next June, Perrigrine married two sisters, Lucina and Mary Call.  Although Nauvoo had received a charter from the state, the neighbors were again becoming alarmed by its rapidly increasing population.  Joseph Smith and his brother were again arrested and imprisoned, but this time a mob attacked the prison and killed them.  Brigham Young was selected as the new leader of the Latter-day Saints, and as mob violence increased, he realized the Saints would have to move again, this time to a place not yet occupied and far enough away for the Saints to feel safe from persecution.  After studying maps and sending out an exploratory party, he decided on the valley of the Great Salt Lake as the Saints’ final destination.  On 10 February 1846, Patty assisted with a birth in the morning and another in the afternoon.  At this time, she began a diary which she continued writing almost every day during the journey to Utah.  After arrival there in September 1847, she chronicled the record of the Saints as they settled the land in the valley of the Great Salt Lake.

The crossing of Iowa, beginning in February 1846, occupied the next three and a half months. When they arrived in Council Bluffs, on the bank of the Missouri River, a representative of the U.S. Army came to ask the Saints to recruit 500 able bodied young men to march to California during the war with Mexico and take possession of that territory for the United States.  The general feeling was that the Saints did not owe anything to a federal government that had refused to protect them when they were driven from their homes in Missouri and Illinois, but Brigham Young took the longer view and saw this as an opportunity to prove the Mormon’s patriotism and perhaps secure more protection from the government in the future.  The loss of 500 young men would mean the Saints would have to spend the next year on the banks of the Missouri before going on to Utah, but the government assured them they would not be attacked while their men were gone.  So a settlement was established on the west bank called Winter Quarters, and others settled near Council Bluffs on the east bank.  After the discovery of gold in California, some of the Saints chose to remain here to help future travelers on their way.

On 5 June 1847, ten years to the day since leaving their home in Newry, the Sessions left the settlement on the Missouri River and followed Brigham Young’s company toward Utah.  David and Patty Sessions arrived in the valley of the Great Salt Lake in September.

[to be continued]

The Courier
Volume 29, No. 4 (2005)

[Part 2, continued]
A Newry Family Who Joined the Latter-Day
Saints in Seeking a Home in the West

by Mary E. Valentine

After the Sessions family arrived in the valley of the Great Salt Lake in September 1847, Patty Bartlett Sessions wrote in her diary that it was a beautiful place and she was thankful that she and her husband, as well as her son, Perrigrine, his two wives and two children, had arrived safely after their long journey, and with no serious accidents to themselves or their wagons.

After their arrival, David and Perrigrine took responsibility for finding grazing for the Saints’ cattle and guarding the herd.  When they were relieved of this duty, they cut logs for their new house, and hauled them to the site.  They moved into their new home on 18 November, none too soon, since a windstorm on 1 November destroyed the tent where they had lived since arriving.  Patty was continuing her work as a midwife and healer, and enjoying meeting with the other women in the colony.In the summer of 1849, Patty learned that her daughter Sylvia’s husband had died in January at age 39.  Sylvia had married Windsor P. Lyon during the family’s residence in Missouri.  When the Saints settled in Nauvoo, Windsor had opened a pharmacy there.  When the Saints were driven out of Illinois in the winter of 1846, Patty had hoped Sylvia and Windsor would join in the journey across the plains to Utah Territory, but Windsor had chosen to join his brother in Iowa City, where they became business partners in a pharmacy there.  Patty’s younger son David had also chosen to stay with his sister in Iowa City.  Patty and her daughter tried to keep in touch, but delivery of mail depended on finding someone traveling between Iowa City and Utah.  Sylvia had suffered much sorrow as one child after another had died before reaching age four.  When Windsor died, Sylvia’s only surviving child was Josephine, probably fathered by Joseph Smith.  When Patty learned of Windsor Lyon’s death, she hoped Sylvia and Josephine would leave Iowa City and join her in Utah.  In the middle of October 1849, Perrigrine started for Iowa City to bring his sister, Sylvia, and brother, David, home to Utah.  But when Perrigrine arrived in Iowa City on 1 January 1850, he learned that Sylvia was about to marry again, this time a banker and businessman, Ezekiel Clark, so she would not be going to Utah.  However, Perrigrine’s younger brother David agreed to join Perrigrine on the return to Salt Lake.  They left Iowa in April 1850, well equipped for the journey, thanks to Sylvia’s new husband.  They were accompanied on the return trip by a group of travelers on the way to California, attracted by the discovery of gold there.  Perrigrine, an experienced traveler by that time, led the group safely to the valley of the Great Salt Lake, where they thanked him for his guidance thus far, and went on their way.Meanwhile, in December 1849, Patty’s husband, David, told her that he had again received permission to take a plural wife, this time a nineteen year old woman, Harriet Teeples Wixom.  At the end of July 1850, David had a stroke and came to Patty to be cared for.  He died on 11 August and the next December Patty was called to assist in the birth of David and Harriet’s son.  Patty tried to help Harriet, but relations between the two wives were strained and the baby died in 1851.

After her first husband’s death in the summer of 1850, Patty Bartlett Sessions’ diary entries indicate that she still continued the work ethic learned growing up in the Sunday River valley in Maine.  Besides ministering to the sick and attending births as a midwife, Patty wrote of planting, weeding and harvesting her garden, tending her orchard, harvesting and drying the fruit in the fall, sewing and mending for herself and others, and knitting, spinning and weaving rag rugs.  Sometimes she provided room and board for transients; they sometimes helped with fencing and cutting firewood, but one boarder left no money, only two kinds of bed bugs!  In December 1851, Patty married again, and wrote in her diary that she was thankful to have a man to cut firewood for her.  John Parry had come to the valley of the Great Salt Lake with a group of eighty-five Welsh converts in the 1849 emigration with the George A. Smith Company.  John’s Welsh wife, Mary Williams, had died crossing the plains, but some of his children had come with him.  The Welsh converts, with their Welsh choral singing tradition, were a great asset to the choir that sang for the Saint’s conference in Salt Lake City, where the new Tabernacle was dedicated on 11 April 1852.  Brigham Young asked John Parry to direct the choir, and he continued in this work for some years.  In 1865, George Careless, a talented musician who had studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London, arrived in the Salt Lake settlement and was appointed “Chief Musician of the Church.”  After John Parry’s death in 1868, Careless became the next director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

In September 1852, Perrigrine Sessions was sent on a mission to England.  He arrived in Liverpool in January 1853.  The missionary work of the Saints in England had been very successful; between 1849 and 1852, about 14,000 inhabitants had been added to the Utah territory population, many of them poor people who hoped for more opportunity in America than they had in England.  Those who had no money were helped by the Perpetual Emigration Fund.  When it became too expensive to provide wagon trains, many of the poorer families walked from Iowa City, where handcarts were built for them, and food was provided for the trip.  Perrigrine’s health was poor during most of the time he spent in England, and he returned to the U.S. by steamboat instead of sailing vessel, leaving England on 2 March 1854, and arriving in Portland, Maine, on 17 March.  He spent the night in Portland with a former Bethel resident, Orange Frost, then took the train to Bethel, where he stayed with one of his mother’s relatives.  On Sunday morning, he went to a Methodist meeting at Middle Intervale, then visited Bartlett, Kilgore, and Sessions relatives in the area.  Early in April, Perrigrine took the train to Portland, a boat to Boston, then train, boat, and stagecoach to Iowa City.  This time his sister Sylvia was willing to go to Utah with Perrigrine.  Sylvia’s husband, Ezekiel Clark, apparently respected her desire to be with her mother in Utah, and provided the equipment and supplies they needed for the trip.  Sylvia’s daughter, Josephine, ten years old, and the three children she had with Ezekiel Clark, Perry, age 3, Phoebe, age 2, and Martha, less than a year old, went with her.  Ezekiel asked her to send the boy, Perry, back in a few years for his education.  This she did, but Perry returned to Utah in his adulthood and died there.

[to be continued]

The Courier
Volume 30, No. 1 (2006)

[Part 2, concluded]
A Newry Family Who Joined the Latter-Day
Saints in Seeking a Home in the West

by Mary E. Valentine


In March 1854, while Perrigrine was in Maine, John Perry told his wife Patty that he had Brigham Young’s permission to take a young, plural wife; although John had four sons and three daughters before leaving Wales, his marriage at age sixty-five to a thirty-two-year-old woman enabled him between 1855 and 1862 to father five more children, four boys and a girl.  John Perry died in 1868; like David, he came home to be cared for in his last illness.On 10 May 1869, the transcontinental railroad was completed when the Union Pacific and Central Pacific sections were joined with the driving of a golden spike at Promontory, Utah.  The next year, Perrigrine accompanied his mother on a trip to Maine which she had left thirty three years ago.  Her only living sibling by this time was her youngest brother, Enoch.  She had hoped to entice him and his wife to join the Saints in Utah, but although he visited Patty, he and his wife chose to stay in Maine.  However, in 1878, Patty sent $125 to pay for Enoch’s sons, Warinton and Herbert, to come to Utah, hoping their parents would follow.  The boys arrived in October, joined the Latter-day Saints, and found work.In December 1883, Patty dedicated the Patty Sessions Academy, a school she had commissioned and funded in Bountiful to provide educational opportunities for her grandchildren and others.  After John Parry’s death, Patty sold her property in Salt Lake and had built a home for herself in Bountiful, near her children.  Since Perrigrine Sessions had eight or nine wives, and fifty-four children, Patty had many grandchildren.

In March 1886, Perrigrine Sessions set out on his last trip to Maine, this time to obtain genealogical information.  He arrived in Bethel on 29 March and found two feet of snow.  He spent the night at Hiram Twitchell’s on lower Main Street and had dinner at noon with Charles Harris (father of Broad Street residents Hattie and John).  On 1 April, he continued on to Newry, where he stayed with Elisha Bartlett in the home where his mother had lived as a child.  In Newry, the snow was four feet deep in the woods.  He visited some of the local industries—a furniture factory in Walker’s Mills, and Bartlett’s spool factory.  On 23 May, he took the stage to Upton, and visited Levi Stone Heywood, who had expressed an interest in the Latter-day Saints.  In June, Perrigrine returned to Levi Heywood’s.  Levi had arranged for Perrigrine to talk with a Presbyterian minister about plural marriage.  After hearing the debate, Levi and his wife were baptized in Abbott’s Mill Pond in Upton.  In December 1889, Levi Stone Heywood and his wife arrived in Utah and were welcomed by Perrigrine’s wife Esther.

Patty’s last entry in her diary was in May 1888.  She died in December 1892, and Perrigrine died 3 June 1893.

[Editor’s note: The published version of Patty Bartlett Sessions’ diary and other historical resources relating to this article may be found in the Society’s Research Library.]

[end of part 2]

The Courier
Volume 30, No. 3 (2006)

[Part 3]
A Bethel Family (Frost)

by Jayne W. Fife, with Roselyn Kirk
Mary Ann Frost Stearns Pratt.  Photo courtesy of Jayne Fife

Mary Ann Frost Stearns was a small determined woman, a widow with one child, when she married LDS Apostle Parley Parker Pratt, a widower, in Kirtland, Ohio, in 1837.  That decision resulted in her bearing their first child, Nathan, in a one-room log cabin near Far West, Missouri, and being abandoned when Parley was arrested, charged with murder and sentenced to death.  When reprieved, he was held in the Richmond and Columbia, Missouri, jails for eight months.  During that period, Mary Ann spent time with him in jail from the beginning of December 1838 to March 17, 1839.  There she cared for Parley and her two children.  When she left, she carried Parley’s writings out in her clothing, thereby risking her life so they could be published.

With Parley still in jail, she was forced to leave Far West on penalty of death.  Having no means of transportation, a kind Church member took her to Quincy, Illinois.  When they reached a swollen creek that ran parallel to the Mississippi River, she got out of the carriage to lighten the load.  Crossing the narrow bridge, she looked back to see her daughter, Mary Ann’s, bonnet bobbing in the water.  By a miracle, the child’s life was saved.  Later, as one of the last to leave Nauvoo, Illinois, as the Saints were once again driven from their homes, farms and sacred temple, she endured abandoning the graves of two small children, Nathan and Susan.  Parley had already reached Council Bluffs, Iowa, with the main body of the Saints, including his now six other wives and several infant children.

Making the decision to leave Parley and relying on her own resources to support her own children, she remained true to the promises she made in the spring of 1835 when she joined the Church of Latter-day Saints in western Maine.  She wrote, “I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ, being converted to the truthfulness of its doctrines by the first sermon I heard.  And I said in my heart if there are only three who had to endure, I have everfelt the same, my heart has never swerved from that resolve.”

Mary Ann was born in Groton, Caledonia County, Vermont, to Aaron and Susan Gray (Bennett) Frost on 14 January 1809.  Her brother, Orange Clark, and sister, Naomi, were also born in Groton, respectively, on 23 February 1813 and 25 January 1814.  Aaron and Susan’s first child, Lidania, was born on 10 October 1802 at Berwick, Maine, where Aaron’s parents lived.  The next three children, Aaron (10 March 1804 – 15 October 1804), David Milton (b. 28 July 1805) and Lucretia Bucknam (b. 24 November 1806) were born in North Yarmouth, Maine, where Susan’s parents lived.  The last four children were born in Bethel: Olive Gray on 24 July 1816, Sophronia Gray on 3 October 1818, Nehemiah on 4 March 1821, and Huldah Alvina in 1825.

Aaron was a descendant of George Frost, originally from Binstead, Hampshire, England, who came to Winter Harbor/Biddeford Pool near the mouth of the Saco River between 1623 and 1629.  George’s son, John, was killed during the early stages of the Indian Wars and his other son, William, who owned land in Saco, fled with his family to Salem, Massachusetts, where he lived until 1679, when he purchased land in Wells and returned.  On 7 May 1690, William and his brother-in-law, James Littlefield, were killed by Indians, who carried away William’s son, Nathaniel.

Three succeeding generations of George Frost’s family lived in Berwick, Maine, including great, great, great grandsons, Moses and Eliot, who served in the Revolutionary War.  After the War, six of Moses’ children moved to Sudbury Canada (later known as Bethel): Moses, Thomas, Dominicus, Nathaniel, Lydia, and, eventually, Aaron.

Mary Ann often told her children about her early life.  One story they loved to hear was called, “Needles and Pins.”  When she was a child, she had to walk a mile and a half every day to an Androscoggin River crossing where workmen waited to row a group of children across the river to a little schoolhouse.  After school, the children waited until the men returned from work to row them back.  While waiting, they often played in the boat.  Sometimes, they let it out into the river as far as the rope would allow and then pulled it back to shore.  Once, when it struck the shore very hard, Mary Ann was knocked into the deep water.  The other children ran screaming for the workmen.  When they arrived, Mary Ann, who had struggled valiantly until overcome, was rescued and quickly rolled in the grass as water drained out of her ears, nose and mouth.  She was carried to a nearby house, wrapped in a warm blanket and put to bed.  When she finally opened her eyes, she said, “Oh, I feel so funny, just like needles and pins poking all over me.”

As Mary Ann grew older, she became an expert in spinning, dyeing and weaving fabric, and knitting and sewing clothing.  When she was twenty three, she married Nathan Stearns, son of Charles and Thankful Bartlett Stearns.  A descendant wrote that Mary Ann “fell in love with young Nathan Stearns who courted her for four years, beating a path through the woods to come every Sunday to see her.  She had knitted enough socks to last a lifetime by the time they were married,” which was on 1 April 1832, Nathan’s twenty-third birthday.

The Charles Stearns homestead in the Mayville section of Bethel.
The buildings were owned by Henry Enman when they
were destroyed by fire on 6 June 1936

In an autobiography written by Nathan and Mary Ann’s only child, in 1896, she related, “My father, a well-beloved son, was the chosen one to inherit the paternal homestead and to nurture and comfort the declining years of his aged parents.”  Accordingly, the newlyweds settled into the Mayville home and farm [above] where Charles and Thankful Stearns had raised their nine children, and that is where their only child was born on 6 April 1833.  Continuing her remembrances, daughter Mary Ann wrote, “My father and mother were lovers in the true sense of the meaning and she often said that she never received a cross word from him or saw a cross look on his face when turned to her, but always a smile of love and approbation.  But earthly happiness is fleeting and this happy couple knew not the change that was so soon to come and that their plans so well laid were never to be realized.”  Nathan died at age twenty-four, only one year and five months after they were married.  Their baby was only four and half months old.  Nathan had been working in the hay field on a sultry July day when he became ill with typhoid fever, then prevalent in the community.  After being “blistered, cupped and bled” for four weeks, he died.  Soon after the funeral, his wife and two sisters were stricken.  For three weeks, Mary Ann lay unconscious and tiny Mary Ann “was taken by a kind neighbor, Mrs. Thaddeus Twitchell, and her daughters, Roxanna and Mary Elizabeth, to be weaned.””After a few weeks, when I was taken to the bedside of my mother and she was asked if she knew whose baby it was, she shook her head and when asked to look again, she still could not think, but as her eye wandered down to the little dress she had fashioned in love and anticipation, the truth dawned upon her and she clasped me to her bosom with tears of motherly love and affection.”Continuing with the reminiscences, Mary Ann wrote, “With the return of memory came the great weight of sorrow that had come to my mother, and she mourned as one not to be comforted, but taking up the burden of life for my sake, she wandered wearily on—still clothed in garbs of deep mourning until two years had passed away, when the glorious fight of the Gospel burst forth to illumine the souls of all who would accept its glad message.”

On 4 May 1835, twelve newly ordained LDS Apostles left Kirtland, Ohio, on a mission to New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine as well as Ontario, Canada.  They spent the next five months traveling singly or in changing pairs instructing and bolstering existing branches and proselytizing.  They taught that Joseph Smith, Jr., through revelation, had restored the Church as it had been at the time of Jesus Christ.  A typical day consisted of walking, hitching a ride in a wagon or taking a canal boat to a new village where, if possible, they made contact with a known member who could help find a meeting place for an evening’s instruction.  They usually stayed overnight and in the morning moved on to another village.  According to Apostle Parley Pratt, they preached, exhorted, taught, organized, blessed the sick, baptized, confirmed and ordained.

In the early part of the summer, Apostles Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, David W. Patten and Thomas B. Marsh spoke to a small group at Rumford Point before moving to Bethel where they held a conference.  During this time, Mary Ann Frost Stearns and her mother, Susan Gray Frost, were baptized by Apostle Patten.  Four other members of the family eventually became members.  Mary Ann’s daughter said one of the most appealing facets of the Gospel for her mother was the redemption of the dead, for she deeply mourned the death of her beloved Nathan and the thought of being reunited with him was consoling.

There is also a reference to Mary Ann in a biography of David W. Patten based on his journals: “While a conference was being held at Bethel, Maine, a young woman, Mary Ann Stearns, who had been troubled for five years with an extremely aggravated case of heart disease, sent for the Elders, and upon investigation asked for baptism.  David, the mouth of the confirmation, as well as in administering to her afterward for her health, made her a promise that she would be entirely restored to perfect health and soundness.  She afterward became the wife of Apostle Parley P. Pratt and endured all the hardships through which the Saints were called to pass, but from that time till the time of her death in 1891, at the age of eighty-two years, she never again complained of heart trouble.”

In August 1836, six apostles, including Brigham Young, Lyman Johnson and William McClellin came through Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.  They held conferences in Andover West Surplus (now part of Newry) and Bethel.  They were in the area for more than a week and strongly encouraged members to gather with the main body of the Church in Kirtland, Ohio, and Far West, Missouri.  In response, on 16 August 1836, David Sessions took Mary Ann and her three year old daughter to Portland in the middle of the night in a carriage because she was fearful of being prevented from leaving with other local converts who were “gathering” in Kirtland.  She gave up the dowry left to her daughter by Nathan because the child’s guardian refused to let her “take it to the Mormons.”  The next day, she joined other Maine converts and missionaries on the boat to Boston, where more members had gathered to journey to Ohio.

Kirtland was very crowded with new members.  The growth was amazing and had started to cause problems with non-members as well as members.  During the next eight months, Mary Ann and her daughter boarded with five different families, including those of Brigham Young and Hyrum Smith.  Hyrum was Joseph Smith’s brother.  One woman, who lived with her husband temporarily in the same tiny home as Mary Ann, wrote in her diary the following about Mary Ann: “I admired her very much, thought her an amiable, interesting woman.”  That home, belonging to Sabre Granger, was one room with a dirt cellar, small pantry and closet, as well as an outdoor stove room.  Mary Ann later wrote, “During this time my mother, at one of the prayer meetings in the temple received her patriarchal blessing and I received my childhood blessing into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints.”

Finally, they moved into a portion of the home vacated by Hyrum and his family when their new home was built.  The Stearns then had their own private space.  Several stories about Mary Ann survive from this time as later recorded by her daughter.  Young Mary Ann was taught her ABC’s by her mother cutting out the letters and pasting them around the fireplace.  Her mother also taught her, at three, how to knit.  She later recorded, “I had a pair of stockings nearly done and mother wanted me to finish them by my fourth birthday.  I knit very tight and mother had knit around every other time to loosen up the stitches, but I had them done in time, and was very glad for a number [of] reasons—it is quite a task for a little active girl to sit down and knit very long at a time, and it was a great relief to have the job off my hands, as well as a pleasure to see what I had done.”

Nathan Stearns had been an Ensign in the Maine militia.  Mary Ann kept his blue broadcloth uniform with bright brass buttons.  She often showed it to her daughter while talking about him.  One day a friend told her that a Church member had been called on a mission, but was hindered by having no suitable clothing.  At first she refused even to consider parting with Nathan’s clothing, but her conscience would not allow her to withhold something she had that was needed by the Church.  She replaced the military buttons on the jacket with regular ones and in tears gave the uniform to the missionary.

Another story reflects her character.  Taking snuff was common in those days.  Mary Ann was in the habit of taking a pinch at dinner from a pretty snuff box given her by her husband, Nathan.  After being taught the Word of Wisdom and admonished in her Patriarchal Blessing to keep it, she placed the snuff box on the fireplace mantle and sat down to read the Book of Mormon until all desire had passed.

Young Mary Ann recorded other aspects of their live in Kirtland: “During this time we were constant attendants at meetings in the temple, and I can especially remember the fast-meetings, and can recall at this day the great power and good spirit that were experienced on those occasions—and it was generally known that Father Joseph Smith (Sr.), the Patriarch, would not break his fast and partake of food for that length of time, and that he must surely be like Abraham, the faithful that mother had told me so often about.”  She continued with her recollections: “I remember partaking of the Sacrament of bread and wine in the Kirtland Temple, and when I would have liked more of the wine, mother explained to me that it was in memory of the blood of our Savior when he was upon the cross.  After that I was always satisfied to partake of the proper quantity—and with reverence in my heart.”

Then Mary Ann’s life changed radically.  On 9 May 1837, six weeks after the death of his wife Thankful Halsey Pratt, Apostle Parley Parker Pratt, age 30, married Mary Ann Frost Stearns, age 28, in Hyrum Smith’s home.  They were married by Frederick G. Williams, first counselor to Joseph Smith.  Mary Ann was described as “very tiny and very pretty.”  Another description recorded at that time described her as an “affectionate, well-educated, refined and ambitious woman, equal to any and every occasion.”  Little Mary Ann, now 4, was dressed in her newly made French lawn dress with tiny, blue flowers that matched her mother’s dress.  They moved into Parley’s small home, a block from the new temple, for six weeks.

On 29 May, Parley and four other Church leaders were summoned to a Church Court to answer charges that they had made false accusations against Joseph Smith.  These charges revolved around the failure of a Church-organized bank, the Kirtland Safety Society, and inflated Kirtland property prices.  No judgements were made, and after reconsidering, Parley went to Joseph and begged for forgiveness, which was immediately granted.  A month later, Parley, his new wife and daughter, left Kirtland to introduce the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of New York City.

[to be continued]


The Courier
Volume 30, No. 4 (2006)

[Part 3, continued]
A Bethel Family (Frost): New York and Far West Years

by Jayne W. Fife, with Roselyn Kirk


Parley Parker Pratt.  Photo courtesy of Jayne Fife
[Author’s note: From this point, Mary Ann Frost Stearns Pratt will simply be identified as “Mary”; her daughter will remain “Mary Ann.”]

Parley and Mary Frost Stearns Pratt were newlyweds of six weeks embarking on a fresh mission for the Mormon Church when they traveled from the village of Kirtland, Ohio, to the teeming port of New York City.  In their two week journey, they moved through an eon of change from the recently settled countryside to cosmopolitan New York.  For one dollar a day each, they boarded with the sister-in-law of the only church member in the city, Elizah Fordham.  Parley immediately began writing the first missionary tract, “The Voice of Warning,” which outlined the history and doctrine of the Church.  In her autobiography, Mary Ann wrote, “Brother Pratt would write a few pages, read it aloud, then Brother Fordham would copy it and prepare it for the press.  During those times I would have to sit down and keep very still.  I must not make noise to disturb them, but I could walk around and mother would entertain me with patchwork, cutting paper, drawing thread in pieces of cloth.  Mother and I got along very well together.  We were used to each other [so] that a little quiet sign language answered in most cases.”

Boarding became too expensive, so they moved into one large room that became living and meeting space.  Mary Ann wrote that her mother, “being an orderly, natural housekeeper, and not afraid of work, that room was always neat and presentable at the proper hours, the large closet being a great help to that end.”  Of that time, Parley later wrote, “Of all the places in which the English language is spoken, I found the City of New York to be the most difficult as to assess the minds or attentions of the people.  From July to January (1838) we preached, advertised, printed, published, testified, visited, talked, prayed and wept in vain.  To all appearances there was no interest or impression on the minds of the people in regard to the fullness of the Gospel . . . .  We hired chapels and advertised, but the people would not hear, and the few who came went away without being interested.”  They had baptized about six members, and organized a small branch that met in their rented room.  Occasionally, two or three others met with them.

Near the end of November, Mary and her daughter traveled to Maine to visit family before they left New York.  At the end of December, Parley, filled with discouragement, met in their living quarters with a few members to hold a last prayer meeting in preparation for their leaving.  They had prayed all around when suddenly David Rogers, a chair maker, offered to spread out chairs in his warehouse and invite people to hear Parley preach.  It was an immediate success; the space was crowded with people.  Additional breakthroughs occurred.  Parley recorded in his diary, “A clergyman came to hear me.  He invited me to his house to preach, near [the] East River; he and household were obedient to the faith, with many of the members of his society.  While preaching a lady solicited me to preach in her house in Willett street; ‘for,’ she said, ‘I had a dream of you and of the new Church the other night.’  Another lady wished me to preach in her house, in Grant street.  In the meantime I was invited by the Free Thinkers to preach, or to give a course of lectures, in Tammany Hall. In short, it was not three weeks from the meeting in our upper room till we had fifteen preaching places in the city, all of which were filled to overflowing.  We preached about eleven times a week, besides visiting from house to house.  We soon commenced baptizing, and continued doing so almost during the winter and spring.”

Parley and his family left New York City for Far West, Caldwell County, Missouri, a new gathering place, in April 1838, taking a group of new converts.  His younger brother, Apostle Orson Pratt, was left in charge of the now rapidly growing branch.


Mary Ann Frost Stearns Pratt and her daughter, Mary Ann Stearns Winters
Photo courtesy of Jayne Fife

They arrived in Far West in May.  By this time about 10,000 church members were spread out in Caldwell, Davies and Ray counties.  Collectively, they were becoming a strong political force, even the determining factor in some elections.  Parley and his little family moved into an empty log cabin about nine miles out of Far West.  He immediately bought and began developing a farm on a piece of land about a mile west of the cabin.

In her 1898 autobiography, Mary Ann wrote that her mother would each morning cook a meal to take to Parley and then stay to help pull and pile the tall grasses and brush to be burned during the afternoon while Parley worked on the cabin or cleared the land.  In the early evening they all walked back to their temporary dwelling.

“Finally, the house of hewed logs was up to the square, a story and one half high, with a cellar beneath.  We had moved into it thinking the roof would soon go on, but brother Pratt was called on a mission to some distant settlement for a week or two so my mother and I were left alone.  The first night we were quite comfortable.  Our bed was made on boxes and a chest, with sheets tacked up slanting over head, a few boards laid down to walk on, but the second night there came a deluge.  The water came down in torrents and it thundered and lightened as though the Heavens and Earth were coming together.  Our nearest neighbor was over three miles away so there was no chance of getting shelter with them.  But we were alive in the morning, and the sun came out bright and shining and, hope of better times, mother put the bedding out to dry and made the best of the situation.”

“About 9 o’clock our good friend father Isaac Alfred, knowing that Bro. Pratt was away, came over to see how we had fared during the storm and when he saw the cellar half full of water and our situation he said you are not going to stay here another night like this—fix up your things—pack up what you need to take with you to my house to stay till Bro. Parley comes home.  I was a very timid child and the joy his words gave me it would be hard to describe even now.  Accordingly he came with a gentle horse (there were no wagon roads at that time to our place) and placing my mother on it—he walking by the side, they made a very fine representation of Joseph and Mary going to Bethlehem.” [Author’s note: Mary Pratt was about eight months pregnant.]

“Bro. Pratt returned in about ten days, but decided not to return to his house as the mob had threatened to burn all the houses of Far West.”  Already simmering political election issues had exploded when a fight broke out at a voting poll in Gallatin, Davies County, on August 6, as a group of Mormon men were prevented from voting by supporters of a particular candidate who was not favored by the Mormon settlers.  The extent of the fight was greatly exaggerated, giving disgruntled non-Mormons an excuse to begin persecuting indiscriminately.

Parley and Mary’s son, Nathan, was born 31 August in the Alfred family’s log smoke house.  When Nathan was only a few days old, they found out that their partially built cabin which had luckily been cleared of their possessions, had been destroyed by angry marauders.  As soon as Mary was able, the family moved into a ten foot square log cabin in Far West that had been intended to be a cow stable.

Having been forcibly removed from their homes in Independence, Missouri, in 1833, the Mormons were determined to fight for their rights as citizens of the United States.  Now, apart from the regular hit and run burning of homes, scattering of animals and destruction of Mormon crops, two Mormons, including Apostle David Patten, as well as one Missouri militiaman were killed during a skirmish at a Crooked River encampment in which Parley was involved.  Soon after, a vengeful mob attacked the tiny town of Haun’s Mill near Far West, killing seventeen Mormons, including men, women and children.

Missouri Governor Wilburn Boggs issued an extermination order on 28 October.  On the 31st, seven Mormon leaders, including Joseph and Hyrum Smith and Parley Pratt, who thought they were going to the state militia camp to discuss a peace settlement, were arrested and sentenced to be shot the next morning.  Refusing to carry out the order, General Alexander Doniphan took them to Independence instead.

Before leaving Far West, the captives were allowed to get clothing and bid farewell to their families.  Parley later wrote, “I went to my house being guarded by two or three soldiers, the cold rain was pouring without, and on entering my little cottage there lay my wife sick of a fever, with which she had been for some time confined.  At her breast was our son Nathan, an infant of three months and by her side a little girl of five years.  According to this account, Mary began to cry.  Parley tried to comfort her, “praying for her to live for his sake and that of the children.”  He “expressed hope they would meet again though years might separate us. She promised to try to live.  Then I embraced and kissed the little babes and departed.”

The prisoners were taken to Independence, Missouri, and then to Richmond Jail.  After a quick hearing, Joseph, Hyrum and four others were charged with treason for leading the defense of Far West.  Parley and four others were charged with murder of Moses Rowland during the Crooked River skirmish and remained in the Richmond Jail.

Mary had few resources for food and fuel.  She did have several cows and some stored corn, but had to depend on others, many of whom were preparing to flee.  She received a letter from Parley advising her to come and live in jail with him.  He wrote, “the Jail is somewhat open and cold, but the Sheriff has promised to furnish us with a good stove and plenty of wood, and we have plenty to eat—and drink.  It is now at your choice to come and spend the winter with me or live a lonely widow on a desolate prairie, where you are not sure of a living or protection.  If you choose to come and winter with me, you will please bring your bed and plenty of bedding so that we can hang a plenty of curtains around our bed.  Bring a chest of clothing such as you need.  Bring our table and 2 or 3 plates, a few basons [sic] and a wash bole [sic].  Bring all my interesting books and especially my big atlas.  Bring all the wrighting [sic] paper and my steel pens; in short bring everything you think you shall need.  I can pay your board and mine is found for me.  You will have nothing to do but to sit down and study with me and nerse [sic] your little one, and as oft as you want to wash our clothing, you can go out to some of the nebours [sic] here [to] do our washing.  I think it will be much cheeper [sic] and easyer [sic] and more comfortable for you to winter in jail with me than to live where you do. . . . you need not be a fraid [sic] of the old jail for it is better than the hut where you now live.”

Late in 1838, Mary traveled to Richmond and lived with Parley in jail.  In her autobiography, she described the prison as a “damp, dark, filthy place, without ventilation, merely having a small curtain on one side.”  In the prison, Mary wrote to her parents in Bethel, Maine, expressing her concerns that they would be worried about them: “do not give your selfs [sic] any trouble about us.  [We] are in the hands of an all wise God and he will do with us as he pleases. . . . he will do no injustes [sic].  I feel firm in the faith of the fullness of the Gospel, and I am determined by the help of God to endure to the end that I may have a share in the celestial kingdom of God.  I am glad that I am counted worthy to suffer afflictions for the Gospel sake. . . . my health is improving.  The children are well.  Mary Ann never so harty [sic] as she is now as lively as ever. . . . my little Nathan is a lovely child . . . he has blue eyes and looks like Mary Ann . . . dear Mother I am glad to hear that you are in good health and I trust you will be faithful and never give up the faith but endure to the end.  Oh how I long to hear that my father and the rest of the family have embraced the fullness of the Gospel.”

On 16 March 1839, Mary and her children left Richmond Prison to rejoin the remaining Saints.  She carried Parley’s manuscript on the Missouri persecutions, “Zion in Captivity, a Lamentation Written in Prison.”  It was in a pillowcase pinned between her petticoat and skirt.  When she went through the doorway, her wide skirt obscured little Mary Ann, who was just behind her mother.  As the child reached the opening, the guard accidentally let the heavy prison door fall on her, breaking her arm.  She said in later years that because of the distraction she caused, no one thought to search her mother.

Three days later, in a letter to Mary’s parents, Parley wrote, “Mary left the prison 3 days ago and is gone to Far West from thence she will go to Quincy. . . . Mary talks often of her family. . . . while the tear stole down her cheeks and her countenance kindled with tender affection and how oft have I prest [sic] her to my heart and comforted with the hope that one day we should see you all and live in the enjoyment of your society . . .”  He continued writing that Mary “is all kindness and goodness and is a pattern of patience enduring all her afflictions with a cheerful meekness and resignation and acting as an angel of mercy to her husband in bonds and imprisonment . . .”

After being threatened with death if they did not depart Far West at once, Mary and her children left with David Rogers.  Their destination was Quincy, Illinois, a small city of several thousand built on limestone bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River.  Upon reaching the Illinois side, they were faced with a swollen muddy stream with a firm bank on the other side.  To lighten the load, Mary used a nearby crude bridge, leaving the children in the wagon.  As she reached the other side, she turned and saw a little girl’s bonnet floating downstream.  At the same time, David Rogers, driving the horses up the bank, looked back and saw what he perceived to be a bundle of clothing that had just fallen off the wagon.  He called out, “There is something lost in the water.”  Mary Pratt screamed, “It is Mary Ann.”

David instantly dropped the reins and jumped into the swiftly moving water.  At that instant the horses, being high spirited and active, began to run.  As this incident was later recorded, “The wagon and its occupants would have dashed to pieces but for the timely interference of a large prong of a tree, which caught the carriage with such a strong hold all was brought to a stand [still].”

Tiny Mary Ann later wrote that as they moved through the deep stream, she “pitched head foremost out of the carriage and into the water.”  One of the wheels ran over her and crushed her fast into the mud at the bottom of the stream.  But as it moved over her, she caught the spokes with her hands. By this means the same wheels that crushed her down brought her to the surface and saved her life.  Upon examination, the marks of the wheel were distinctly seen on both her thighs, which “were seriously injured and nearly broken.”  Years later, she told her grandchildren that as she felt the crush of the wheel, she heard a voice say, “Hold onto the spoke, hold on to the spoke.”

Finally safe in Quincy, Mary and her children rented a small house, and by selling some books and using her cows that had been brought from Missouri for her, she was able to take care of her family.  She despaired of ever seeing Parley again.

On 30 May 1839, Parley wrote from the Columbia, Boone County, Missouri jail, where he had been transferred for trial.  The charge had been changed from murder to treason.  He wrote that the new jail was twice as large as that in Richmond.  He added that he prayed that she would “never part from me while I live.  I know not how to express my feelings concerning this lon[g] absence from you and our little ones.  I hardly dare to trust my fingers with a penn [sic] to write on the subject lest I should express feeling which would increase your sorrow—lest I should ask that of you which would be more than I have a right to ask of you, and more than you are bound to fulfill,—you have already had more trouble and affliction in your union with one whose life has been little else but a constant round of misfortune, grief and suffering.  [It is more] than most persons have to endure during a long life.  And I am far from wishing you to suffer more for my sake.  If I had forseen [sic] the troubles which you would be called to endure for my sake, I would niver [sic] have asked your hand nor clasped you to my fond bosom, as my lovely brode [sic].”

In a letter to Mary’s parents in Maine, Parley urged them to come west where the Mormons were building a town at Commerce, later to be known as Nauvoo.  He wrote that they should “come out and breathe the pure air of the prairies.  Therefore, you can come and live with us. . . . I hope yet to see good days with my family and friends, all settled in peace where we can visit each other and rejoice together.”

Parley escaped from the Columbus Jail on 4 July 1839, with the help of his brother Orson.  He had been incarcerated for eight months with no trial.

[to be continued]

The Courier
Volume 31, No. 1 (2007)

[Part 3, continued]
A Bethel Family (Frost): Nauvoo, England, and Back to Nauvoo

by Jayne W. Fife, with Roselyn Kirk
Parley P. Pratt home and store at Nauvoo, Illinois,
as it appeared in 1909. Courtesy of Jayne Fife

Dramatically escaping from the Columbia, Missouri, Jail on 4 July 1839 with his brother Orson’s help, Parley immediately headed for Mary in Quincy, Illinois.  Having been informed of his escape, she kept the table set for five days and nights, and a candle burning in the window.  She agonized that he had been recaptured, but on the fifth night she heard a sound at the door and there he stood.  She flew into his arms—both weeping tears of joy and relief.  At this point, they were devoted to each other, their love made bright by the agony of suffering and separation.  How then did they move through a slippery slope in their relationship so that a little more than six years later—after the birth of three more children—they became alienated from one another, with Mary refusing to accompany Parley on his westward trek?

In early July 1839, Parley wrote that he spent his first days of liberty in “the enjoyment of the society of family and friends….  After a few days spent in this way, we removed to Nauvoo, a new town about fifty miles above Quincy….  It had been appointed as a gathering place for the scattered Saints and many families were on the ground, living in the open air, or under the shade of trees, tents, wagons, etc., while others occupied a few old buildings, which had been purchased or rented.”  Additional members had settled in abandoned log buildings on the opposite side of the Mississippi, in a place called Montrose, that had formerly served as a barracks for soldiers.

Parley and Apostle Heber C. Kimball cut logs and each built a small cabin on five acres of wilderness purchased from a local landowner.  On 21 July, Mary wrote to her parents in Bethel, Maine: “Our healths are good, the children grow and are very play ful. I hope you will not give your selfs [sic] so much trouble about us as you have done.  I presume you have more trouble about us than we have for ourselves.  These light afflictions which are but for a moment will work out for us a far more exceeding [sic] and Eternal wait of glory.  I have our oxen and Cows, the Lord has blest us.”  She again suggests they come west and concludes with “it is towards eve and I must attend to my little babes.”

By August 29, there was a big change in plans.  Parley, along with brother Orson and Hiram Clark, left Nauvoo to join other apostles on a mission to England.  Mary, her two children, Mary Ann (age six) and Nathan (age one), as well as two and a half-year old Parley, Jr. (retrieved from a woman who had cared for him since the death of his mother), accompanied the three missionaries in a two-horse-drawn carriage.  They were headed for New York City, where other missionaries were gathering to sail for England.  After visiting Parley’s parents in Detroit, they sold the horses and carriage and steamed down Lake Erie to Buffalo, then the Erie Canal to Albany, and finally down the Hudson River to New York City—a journey of 1400 miles.  Mary Ann later remembered that they first traveled over “flower decked prairies.  Best of all we were free and happy—not afraid of mobs and violence—in a land of friendliness, meeting sympathy at every hand.

On 9 March 1840, Parley sailed for Liverpool, England, with Apostles Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and Orson Pratt, as well as two others.  Parley wrote in his journal, “We were accompanied to the water by my family, and by scores of the congregation….  We bade them farewell amid many tears, and taking a little boat were soon on board ship—which lay at anchor a short distance from the shore.”  Mary and children traveled on to Bethel to visit her parents, returning later to New York to conduct Parley’s book selling business, including the collection of money already owed.

On 6 April 1840, Parley penned a letter to Mary giving her advice about preparing to join him by June or July.  He wrote, “Here is a boundless harvest for the next 15 or 20 years…if the Lord will I expect to spend five or ten years at least.”  He continued, “I wish you as soon as you get this letter, to sell every thing except beding [sic] and wearing apparel and fill two chests and a trunk and get ready to come to England the first opportunity.”  He advised her to collect what was due on books and pay the printer.  “Do not let the Books go without pay in and, for they cost me much money and I owe for them; and I need the remainder after the debt is paid, to support my family.”  If this plan didn’t work out, he suggested she borrow money from “some good friend….  Courage Mrs. Pratt, you have performed more difficult journeys than this, and if you will take hold with Courage the Lord will bless and prosper you and our Little ones and Bring you over in Safety.”

In England, Parley’s major assignments were to edit and publish a monthly periodical, as well as a hymn book and the Book of Mormon.  Brigham Young had borrowed 350 British pounds from two converts to finance the printing of 2000 Millennial Star periodicals, 3000 hymn books and 5000 Books of Mormon.  While attending a general church conference in Manchester on 6 July 1840, Parley was given a letter from Mary informing him that the children were seriously ill with scarlet fever.  He wrote back to her, “Behold your Letter comes with the sad news of your Sickness; and that you are not coming.  This is more than I can bear.  Here I must live alone, my Chamber desolate.  And you still confined at home where I Could assist and comfort you and aid you continually in the care of the little ones, if I only had them here….  Why must we live separate?  Why must I forever be deprived of your Society and my dear little Children?  I cannot endure it.” He ended by writing that he had no prospect of coming to America for years.

Then conditions changed.  His colleagues, knowing that he was slated to remain in England for several years as editor and publisher, decided he should go back to the United States and return with his family.  Brigham Young gave Parley 60 British pounds to cover the cost.  By the time he arrived in New York, Mary and the children had recovered.  And before they set sail for England, they journeyed to Maine to visit Mary’s family.  An unusual experience occurred before the arrival of the Pratt family in Maine.  Mary’s sister, Lucretia Bean, told her family one day that Parley and his family would arrive at their home the next evening.  In response, the next day, she changed the bedding in the best room.  Her family laughed at her.  They reminded her that Parley was in England and Mary in New York, but just as they were preparing for bed, the Pratts knocked on their door.  As a gift, they presented a quilt that Parley had brought from England.  It is now at the Bethel Historical Society.

Handmade Adam and Eve Quilt given by Parley P. Pratt and Mary Ann (Frost) Pratt
to her sister, Lucretia (Frost) Bean, and husband Samuel R. Bean in 1840.
Presented to Bethel Historical Society by Polly Ann Johnston in 2002

When they left, they took Mary’s sister Olive, age 24, with them to help care for the children.  She had recently been baptized.  They arrived in Manchester, England, in October.  Their home at 47 Oxford Street became a meeting and lodging place for those coming and going to preach the Gospel.  Parley resumed his editorship and publishing duties, and also presided over the Church in Great Britain.  Mary and Olive helped in the office and assumed some missionary responsibilities.

In a letter to Church leaders in Nauvoo just after the first British edition of the Book of Mormon was published in 1841, Parley wrote, “The work is increasing in every step. I t is now prospering in Ireland and Wales, as well as in Scotland and England.”  Although he missed the Saints in Nauvoo, he wrote, “I can truly say that I was never more contented, or more happy than of late.”

On 2 April 1841, at a conference held in Manchester, it was reported that there were now 8,000 to 9,000 converts—5000 just in the last year.  A thousand new members had already immigrated to the United States.  Passage costs were from 3 pounds, 15 shillings to 4 pounds, including provisions.  Passengers were to take their own bedding and cooking utensils.  All their luggage was free.  On arrival in New Orleans, a passage up the Mississippi River—fifteen hundred miles by steamboat—cost 15 shillings, freight free.

In June 1841, Olivia Thankful Pratt was born and named after her aunt, Olive, and Parley’s first wife, Thankful.  In 1842, the Pratts moved to Liverpool to supervise the emigration process more closely.  Then, on 29 October 1842, they themselves left with 250 converts for Nauvoo.  It was a challenging journey with “difficulties, murmurings and rebellions.”  Parley wrote, “We then humbled ourselves and called the Lord, and he sent us a fair wind and brought us into port in time to save us from starvation.  Daughter Mary Ann reported that water was so scarce that she learned to “take a bath in a teacup.”

They arrived at the mouth of the Mississippi on 1 January 1843, where they transferred to a steam-powered tugboat for the 100 mile journey to New Orleans.  From there, a chartered steamboat carried immigrants to St. Louis, dropping off the Pratt family at Chester, Illinois, about 80 miles south of St. Louis, where they rented the bottom portion of an old warehouse as they waited for the river to open up to Nauvoo.  Parley had been threatened with arrest if he should be caught on Missouri soil.

Near the middle of March, they took a steamer to St. Louis, gathered their group of immigrants, and boarded a small steamboat for the final 300 miles to Nauvoo.  Unfortunately, they had to wait several more weeks before the ice on the river was sufficiently broken up to travel north.  Finally starting, it took them two more weeks.  Mary gave birth to a daughter, Susan, on the little steamboat full of converts on 5 April.  They arrived at Nauvoo at 5 p.m. on 12 April.  The Prophet met their boat and invited Parley, Mary and the baby to his home.  Olive and the older children went to Patty Bartlett Sessions’ home.

On 15 April, Parley wrote in an article for the local newspaper, “I had been absent about three years and half during which all the improvements had been made and that by a people almost without means.  Judge my feelings then, in riding through a regular town, for some three or four miles, with streets opened, lots fenced out and buildings almost innumerable, many of them were neatly built of frame or brick.  I gaze, I wondered, I admired.  I could hardly refrain from tears.”

In late June, Aaron and Susan Frost, Mary’s parents, arrived from Bethel, Maine, with their daughters, Sophronia and Huldah, all now members.  Aaron, a skilled carpenter, began work on the Pratt’s new home, eventually laying the floors, building the stairs and fashioning the woodwork with the assistance of an English builder and carpenter, Nicholas Silcock, who had recently arrived with the Pratts.  The large, two-story, nine-room home, which included a store, was built of red brick with stone window caps and sills which trimmed the 27 large windows [see photo, above].  Four-foot-square stone pillars supported a stone cornice at the entrance.  There was a deep cellar in the basement.  It was considered one of the finest homes in Nauvoo.  It still exists on the southeast corner of Young and Wells Street, with significant revisions implemented by the Catholic Church that bought the property after the Nauvoo exodus.  Mary Ann later wrote, “Before the roof was quite finished we commenced moving in and kept going from one part to the other until it was all completed.”  The now large family had been living in a one room cabin across the street.

Shortly after their arrival, Joseph Smith discussed the relatively new plural marriage principle with Parley, which included the concept of marriage for Time and All Eternity, not just Time.  Joseph’s restoration of ancient Church doctrine included the renewing of the traditions of Abraham and Solomon, who, he said, were commanded by God to marry plurally.  He had introduced, with varying degrees of acceptance, this principle to selected leaders during the Pratt’s absence.  Joseph had already chosen Elizabeth Brotherton, an English convert, to be Parley’s plural wife.  Before finalizing the arrangements, he had to leave Nauvoo to visit relatives, leaving Parley and Mary to struggle with this new concept.  According to Pratt family history, Parley begged Joseph before he left to not insist on his entering a polygamous marriage, but the Prophet was adamant, saying it was his duty to be an example to other leaders.  He was told to pray about it.  In a dream, his first wife, Thankful, came to hm and indicated that by having more wives, he would be adding to his stature in the next world, and she would be over the other wives, thus elevating her stature as well.

Mary “raged” about plural marriage, but not the sealing of couples for Time and All Eternity.  After praying, she reported that “the devil had been in me until within a few days past, the Lord had shown it (plural marriage) is all right.”  In the meantime, Joseph Smith had been arrested by two deputies from the Missouri governor for the reinstatement of the 1838/39 charges of treason.  He had previously escaped Liberty Jail with the seeming complicity of his guards “who felt him innocent…which he was…but the vengeful governor wanted him back.”

On 24 July 1843, Hyrum Smith, recently given authority by Joseph to perform celestial marriages, sealed Parley to his first wife, Thankful, with Mary as a proxy.  Then Mary was sealed and finally she “gave” (a term signifying a wife’s acceptance), to Parley, twenty-six-year-old Elizabeth Brotherton as his plural wife.  She had no idea of the impact of the new arrangement.

Little Nathan Pratt, age five years and four months, died 21 December 1843 of “fever on the brain.”  He was buried in the yard near the south fence of the Pratt home just seven months after the family returned to Nauvoo.  Parley wrote a very poignant elegy to his son.

In the spring, Parley and other church leaders left to proselyte and electioneer for Joseph’s candidacy for President of the United States.  Joseph’s decision to run was partly due to President Van Buren’s refusal to help Church members obtain compensation for the violation of their rights as American citizens and the seizure of their extensively developed land two times in Missouri.  He informed church representatives, “Your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you.”

On 27 June 1844, Joseph and Hyrum Smith were murdered in the Carthage Jail.  They, and the citizens of Nauvoo, had been promised protection by the governor of Illinois if they surrendered willingly, which they did.  The charges made against them were later proven illegal, as other charges against them over the years always had been.

The night of the June 29 funeral, the people of Nauvoo were horrified by the appearance of a mob gathering a short distance away with the intent of terrorizing them and destroying the city.  Parley and many of the leaders were away.  The available men had few weapons to protect the city because Governor Thomas Ford had forced the people to surrender their weapons to his army when Joseph and Hyrum surrendered in Carthage.  Now, the Governor and his army were nowhere in sight.  Mary and her children, plus other neighborhood women and their children, huddled together in her large cellar room.  They were certain that the horrific agony they had experienced five years previously in Missouri was about to be repeated.  Then, they had been driven into the freezing countryside in the middle of winter after having been robbed, beaten, women abused, crops and homes destroyed and some killed.  Young Mary Ann later recorded that her Mother softly said, “If we have to be killed, let us all die together.”

One woman later wrote about a drum beat that penetrated the night, “Every blow seemed to strike to my heart…the women…were weeping and praying.”  Near midnight, there was a sudden flash of lightening and a crash of thunder, followed by a violent storm.  Amazingly, the mob dispersed.

Amidst all the tumult of that time, little daughter Susan, aged one year five and one half months, died of disease of the bowels on 28 August and was buried next to her brother who had died just eight months before.  Mary’s sister Sophronia had died in May.  The murder of Joseph and Hyrum had also taken their toll on Mary.

On 9 September, twelve days after Susan’s death, Parley took his fourth wife (second plural wife), Mary Wood.  Mary Pratt did not participate in this marriage as before, so she may not have been aware of it.  For whatever reason, Mary was not present at any of Parley’s marriages other than that of Elizabeth Brotherton.  Could Parley have decided that Thankful Halsey Pratt held the position of “first wife” even though she was deceased and he therefore did not require Mary’s approval and participation?  Although the approval of the first wife was common in Nauvoo, it was not firmly established by Brigham Young until the arrival in the Salt Lake valley.

In November 1844, Parley married twice more and took his new wife, Belinda Marden, with him on a mission to New York.  Mary gave birth to her last child, Moroni, six days after he left.  About a week later, she received a letter from Parley.  He wrote, “I never left home with more intense feelings, nor under more trying circumstances than present, except the time I went to prison and to death leaving you sick of a fever with a babe three months old and to the mercy of savages and scarce shelter or food.  I was sorry to go and your tears quite overcame me.  But I tore myself away and here I am.  And where I hope to go I hope you will soon be also.  I shall then be happy; so cheer up.  The time will soon pass with you, surrounded as you are with Mother, children, and friends.  But with me it is far different.  I not only have to part with one but all.  Time drags slowly and solitude is sickening to me….”  Tellingly, there was no mention of Belinda—only solitude.

After eight and a half months, Parley and Belinda returned.  She later wrote, I “went to Mr. Bench’s tavern to board while Parley went home.  After a little time, it was arranged for his wife Mary (Wood) and me to commence keeping house in a room upstairs in Mr. Pratt’s house.”

This was a tumultuous time in Nauvoo.  As early as the winter of 1844, Joseph Smith had begun plans to search for an additional gathering place in the West.  In September 1845, church enemies set fires to settlements surrounding Nauvoo, causing refugees to stream into the city.  Parley was active in planning for the exodus.  At the General Council meeting he provided a list of necessary items for a family of five to cross the plains.  In early October, a formal government document called the Quincy Convention demanded that the Saints leave Nauvoo by May 1846.  Earlier, on 6 October 1845, at the first conference held in the Nauvoo Temple, those attending were given instructions for a spring departure.  Several companies were also organized.

[to be continued]

The Courier
Volume 31, No. 2 (2007)

[Part 3, continued]
A Bethel Family (Frost): Nauvoo, England, and Back to Nauvoo

by Jayne W. Fife, with Roselyn Kirk

During that harried time, Mary had other things on her mind.  Her sister, Olive Frost, who was only thirty, died.  She had never been strong and her health deteriorated in England.  On 25 September, she became ill with malaria and after two weeks of chills and fever, she died of pneumonia.On 10 December, leaders and their wives received the sacred ordinances given to worthy members.  Even though they would have to leave soon, receiving these blessings was of great importance.  Mary was one of about twenty women to supervise the preliminary ordinances in the women’s area.On 27 December, a Marshall appeared in Nauvoo with warrants for the arrest of the Twelve Apostles.

Word was received on 17 January that Governor Ford was intending to place Nauvoo under martial law, and on the 29th state troopers arrived in Nauvoo seeking to arrest church leaders.  Two days later, the leaders met and agreed that they had to start westward immediately.  Boats were made ready and all their families were told to be ready to leave within four hours of being notified.  The first exodus group with six wagons crossed the Mississippi on February 6.

Parley married his eighth wife, and sixth plural wife, on February 8.  He left Nauvoo on 14 February with his family of seven wives and six children: Nephi (six weeks), Alma (six months), Mary Ann (13), Parley, Jr. (9), Olivia (4 ½ ) and Moroni (fourteen months).  It is probable that Mary did not know of the existence of most of these wives.  The group also included teamsters for their three ox-driven wagons.  They also had a one-horse drawn carriage.  Crossing a river on ice, they slept for several nights in tents and wagons.  There were two to three inches of snow on the ground, and it was very cold.

They then moved a few miles to a log granary which had been a tithing collection building.  There was a bin full of corn at one end and a pile of potatoes in the basement that supplied needed food for them and their animals.  The main group was located more than a mile ahead of Sugar Creek where Brigham Young was waiting for more members in order to organize traveling companies.  Parley traveled back and forth for meetings.  It was bitter cold, alternatively raining and snowing.  Most people slept in tents and wagons, or under wagons.  Almost a week out, Parley decided to return to Nauvoo for some wagon fittings he would need for the long journey.  He took Mary and little Moroni, who had been suffering with a bad cough, to see her parents and sister who remained in the Pratt’s home.  Aaron was still laboring on the interior of the Temple.  When it was finished, they intended to return to Maine.

The blacksmith was too busy to fill Parley’s request that day, so he left Mary and returned to camp.  Two days later he returned for her, but the river was full of icy mush and impossible to cross by ferry.  As there were many people going to and from Nauvoo at that time, when the river conditions improved Mary was able to reach their camp on her own.  She had left Moroni with her parents.  Gathering her two daughters, Mary Ann and Olivia, she returned to Nauvoo, telling Parley that they would catch up when the frigid weather was over.  She had lost two children and two sisters to illness in the last two years.  She was taking no chances. Her surviving children were her main concern now.  One might also assume that living in such close quarters with six other wives proved a difficult, if not unbearable situation for her.

By the end of May, according to Mary Ann’s autobiography, “The main body of the Church had left Nauvoo and for a time, peace and quiet reigned in the city.  We individually were waiting for our house to be sold that we might pursue our journey….”

On 10 September 1846, a mob advanced on the city to drive out the last remnant of the Mormon population, which generally consisted of the poorest citizens.  The city was only lightly fortified.  There was a battle, during which three male residents were killed.  For safety, a large group of women and children had gathered at the Pratt home.  Anson Pratt, Parley’s brother, asked Mary to supervise the baking of bread for the defenders to last throughout the crisis.  Finally on 15 September, it was agreed that the remaining Mormons would leave the city in three days.  Only a few men, their clerks and their families were allowed to stay to continue to try to sell property, but, as in Missouri, most residents received nothing.  After they left, people came in and took what they wanted.

Three days later, Mary and children were picked up and deposited on the edge of the Mississippi River where they spent the night.  As they were preparing their camp, they heard a martial band and members of the mob marching their way.  Young Mary Ann later recorded, “Just as they were opposite our camp, they halted an instant, and the captain shouted, ‘You’re a d–d pretty looking set, ain’t you? . . . My Mother took a step forward and replied, ‘Gentlemen, it is your day now, but it will be ours by and by.’  He called back, ‘Shut up that, or we will have you under guard.’  She returned, ‘I do not fear you, Sir,’ just as they were passing.”

The next day they crossed the river to Iowa on a flat boat where they camped on the riverbank a mile above Montrose with Parley’s mother, Charity, his two brothers, Anson and William, their families, and about three hundred refugees.  Supplies were scant.  A flock of birds landing nearby provided immediate relief and then a boat with flour, sugar, coffee, rice, dried apples and bacon came up the river from St. Louis, kind people there having been alerted to their dilemma.  Word also had reached Brigham Young, and he dispatched teams, wagons, tents and provisions.

William Pratt’s little daughter, Martha, was ill and soon died.  It was decided to take her back to Nauvoo to be buried in Parley and Mary’s yard with the other children.  When they did this, the were amazed at how quiet Nauvoo was.  The mob, having accomplished their purpose, had disappeared, so Mary and her children returned.  This time they lived with one of the church agents left to arrange the sale of property.

[to be continued]

The Courier
Volume 31, No. 3 (2007)

[Part 3, concluded]
A Bethel Family (Frost): Nauvoo, Bethel and Across the Plains to Utah

by Jayne W. Fife, with Roselyn Kirk

On 7 October 1846, Brigham Young sent a letter from Winter Quarters, Nebraska, to Mary Pratt, who was living in a tent on the western shore of the Mississippi River.  Young wrote that he had authorized one of the Church’s agents left in Nauvoo to arrange for her to travel to Winter Quarters.  But Mary chose to cross the river back to Nauvoo and remain there all winter.  She moved, with others, into the former home of John D. Lee, who later wrote: “My large house, costing me $8000 . . . I was offered $800 for.  My fanaticism would not allow me to take that for it.  I locked it up, selling only one stove out of it, [for] which I received eighty yards of cloth.  The building with its twenty-seven rooms, I turned over to the committee, to be sold to help the poor away.  The committee informed afterwards that they sold the house for $12.50.”

In early June 1847, Mary and her children traveled to Winter Quarters, to tell Parley that they were returning to Maine.  Parley had just started the journey west as one of the leaders of the second company, but rode a horse back to meet with her.  He authorized his agent to provide her with some funds when their house sold, which he later accused her of taking and wasting.  Mary remained in Winter Quarters.

Ten months later (April 1848), Mary was given $200 by Church authorities.  This was half the money left from the sale of their home after Parley’s debts had been paid.  The other half was given to Parley’s brother, Anson, for the care of their mother, Charity, and his family.

On receipt of these funds, Mary and her three children, Mary Ann (age 15), Olivia (age 6) and Moroni (age 3 ½ ) left for Bethel, Maine, where they lived with her parents.  Daughter Mary Ann joined her cousins, Melvina and Nancy, daughters of Theodore Stearns, at the Gould Classical and English Academy.  Family tradition indicates that her grandparents, Charles and Thankful Bartlett Stearns, paid each term’s tuition of two dollars and fifty cents with the hope that she would not go back to the Mormons.

The Academy had been reopened in 1848 under the administration of its founder Dr. Nathaniel Tuckerman True (1812-1887).  The fall of 1849 catalogue listed 160 students from many towns in Maine, as well as New Hampshire and Massachusetts.  There were three departments: Classics, Common English and High English.  The Classics Department included the study of Greek and Latin literature and languages.  The Common English Department classes included Exercises in Reading and Declamation, Smith’s Geography, Smith’s and Weld’s Parsing (grammar) Book, arithmetic, bookkeeping and penmanship.  Finally, students in the High English Department had a variety of class choices, different each year.  Each term, one or more of the following lecture courses were taught.  In the natural science were offered courses in human and comparative physiology, mineralogy, geology, physical geography, botany, astronomy, and chemistry.  Mental and moral science courses included rhetoric, philosophy, and moral science, while mathematics courses alternated among algebra, geometry, trigonometry, surveying, navigation, analytic geometry, and mechanics.  French, Spanish, Italian and German were available to all.  The fall 1849 catalogue announced that during 1850, “Lectures, and such other exercises will be introduced, as shall best fit Teachers for the duties of the schoolroom.”  It made an additional assurance that “students have access to the most valuable works on teaching, which have been published in this country.”

There are no records of Mary Ann’s classes, but it is probable that she was in the Common English program and took advantage of the teaching course because she became a well-known central Utah teacher.

According to Mary’s son Moroni’s biography, their New England relatives were very kind to them and offered “land and money if they would give up the Mormon religion and remain with them.”  But, in 1851, she and her three children left Bethel, possibly on the newly established Atlantic and St. Lawrence Railroad, which had first arrived in Bethel from Portland on 10 March of that year.  The one way fare was $2.  Stopping with friends in St. Louis, Missouri, long enough for the children to attend school, they arrived in Kanesville, Iowa, in January of 1852, determined to cross the plains to the Utah Territory.

They had no idea how they could afford the wagon and supplies required for the three month journey.  In the meantime, they supported themselves by baking bread, and then slicing and drying it in an oven.  It was sold to California bound emigrants for food when it was not convenient to cook.  They also made cotton flour sacks for emigrants to store food supplies in, which they sold at 75 cents per hundred.  They made orange and blue calico shirts with ruffled necks and wrists for a group of Native Americans being taken by a church member to Washington, D.C., to meet the President.

At the beginning of May 1852, they were assigned to a wagon train, the 12th to be leaving that year.  Within days, two friends who were not yet traveling west appeared at her door to inform her that they had put enough money in the Emigration Fund to supply her with a wagon and necessary provisions.  A non-member grocery store owner sent word that if she would come personally to his business, he would give her $10 worth of food.  Despite the fact that she had never been in his store because he sold liquor, she did go this time and was given cornmeal, bacon, rice, dried codfish, dried fruit, soap, and a few other things.  Days later she was introduced to a Scottish emigrant, David Murie, and his twelve year old son, Jimmie, who managed to buy a yoke of untrained oxen, but had no wagon.

On 10 June, they started west with members of the Harmon Cutler Company, which eventually included 262 persons, 63 wagons, 17 horses, 231 oxen, 171 cows, 154 sheep, and 20 dogs.  Early on, they found that their load was too heavy. This presented the difficult task of choosing which items to leave behind.  They also were given a second yoke of oxen which turned out to be as untrained as their original team.  The four animals were soon out of control, alternately stopping still or running wildly in circles, while David hung on valiantly and Mary frantically ran alongside the wagon picking up supplies falling in all directions.  Once, the cattle turned quickly and sharply, nearly crushing her between their bodies and the wagon.  They had fallen behind the rest of the group.  Finally, a young teamster/scout, Oscar Winters, whom they had known in Nauvoo, found them stalled in the middle of the road.  He took over both of the teams and insisted on driving them to the river crossing.  By the time they arrived, David had a better understanding of how to control them.

Cholera struck the company one evening after a rope-ferry crossing.  Several men had been in the warm river all day steadying the raft and had liberally drunk the water.  Mary used her homemade concoction of “charcoal and molasses, landanum and paregoric, camphor and a little cayenne pepper with as much raw flour as charcoal, and it proved to be a good remedy, for all that took it recovered except one older man.”

A group, with about twenty wagons, including Mary and her family, decided to move ahead as more and more members of the larger group were suffering with cholera.  Despite occasional violent rain and wind storms, they “plodded on day after day, sometimes making a fifteen mile drive but oftener twenty—no hurry—you could not change the gait of the oxen, but had to wait patiently their motion.”  It was clear that there was “no danger of getting left [since] most anyone can walk as fast a yoke of oxen can travel.”  The others never caught up.  It was later reported that the group behind was attacked by Indians, and all their horses were stolen, leaving them frightened, but alive.

Oscar Winters and Mary Ann Stearns Winters
Courtesy of Jayne Fife

Mary Ann wrote in her autobiography that their team had settled down and finally made steady progress. The women could now knit and sew comfortably in the wagon, as the ground was quite level and the oxen were under control.  She acknowledged the change: “Our morning’s milk we put in our tea kettle, placed a cloth under the cover, put a cork in the spout, tied a cloth over that and tied it to the reach under the wagon; and no matter how hot the day was, the draft under the wagon made it very comfortable for our dinner, for there was a piece of butter the size of a teaspoon which was very fresh and sweet and the children took turns having it on bread.”

On 16 August 1852, just before reaching their destination, the group came to a beautiful grove of trees at Deer Creek, now in Wyoming, where they discovered a primitive wooden stand and benches.  The “sight of it was inspiring to the emigrants for it really looked like going to meeting again as they were used to doing in the groves and boweries before they started on their journey, and all moved around with cheerful quietness and reverence for it seemed a visible testimony that God was with us and leading us on.  There was a sacredness about it all that subdued all sounds and strengthened and encouraged to renew diligence.  All labors were hastened to prepare for the Sabbath; the tires were wedged and tightened, the repairs completed, washing and cooking done and all retired to rest, but with the early dawn all were stirring again for the birds were singing a Sabbath chorus of praise.

“In the grove every heart was light and joyous for we now had passed the sickly portion of the journey and were nearing the goal of our hopes and desires.  The sun arose on a scene of calmness and beauty.  After the quiet breakfast and at a given signal all repaired to the grove with happy hearts to listen to the words of inspiration. . . . That familiar hymn, ‘How Firm a Foundation’ was sung, and after prayer by one of the aged brethren, and another hymn, testimonies were borne and counsel and instruction given by the Captain. . . . After the close of the meeting and the noon luncheon had been partaken of they enjoyed a season of quiet rest until the lowering sun.

“Just as the evening meal was about ready, a carriage was espied coming from the east. . . . it was Apostle Lorenzo Snow just returning from his mission to Italy.  He was making a rapid journey across the plains with a carriage and horses, stopping with the camps overnight and traveling on to the next in the daytime.”

At that point, a romance which had budded during the last days in Nauvoo and blossomed during the journey west, culminated at Deer Creek.  That evening, Apostle Snow married scout and teamster Oscar Winters, age 27, to Mary Ann Stearns, age 19.  Mary Ann later wrote that she wore a green gingham dress and worried that she had no looking glass to make certain that her hair was arranged perfectly.  Their wedding meal was “bread baked on a bake skillet, a piece of meat, a little lump of fresh butter with a cup of cold water.”  Her wedding gift from her husband was a dollar to buy a few necessities when they arrived in Salt Lake.  Over the years, family members have celebrated this event by recalling, “a Snow married a Winters to a Frost ” (Mary Ann’s mother’s maiden name).

Arriving in Salt Lake in early September 1852, Oscar and Mary Ann Stearns Winters were immediately sent to Battle Creek, a new settlement forty miles south of Salt Lake City.  Mary, Olivia and Moroni remained with friends in Salt Lake.  After Brigham Young approved her divorce from Parley in March 1853, she and the children settled into a small log cabin at the southwest corner of the new fort in Battle Creek.

In 1854, Parley stopped in Battle Creek on his way to another mission in California.  Mary was present at the talk he gave to residents, but he recorded in his journal that they did not speak, although he did visit with his children and present them with gifts.  He further wrote that Mary was now his enemy.

Parley was murdered in Arkansas on 12 May 1857, as he returned from a mission in the northeastern part of the United States.  He was only fifty years old.  He left behind 9 wives and 30 children, including Olivia and Moroni, but not counting Mary and another wife who had left him before his divorce from Mary.

Olivia was almost sixteen when she married Benjamin Driggs on 16 February 1857.  They had twelve children.  Over the years, Benjamin worked with his wheelwright father, served in the militia that faced off Johnston’s Army near Fort Bridger and was a participant in the 1866 Black Hawk Indian War in central Utah.  He was also a blacksmith, a contractor for grading a portion of the Union Pacific Railroad, as well as a successful local merchant.  He had a second wife and served, under the Edmunds-Tucker Act, six months in the Territorial Penitentiary as a result.

Moroni married Caroline Beebe and raised ten children.  Most of his education was obtained from his mother and stepsister, Mary Ann.  He was an avid reader and had a natural talent for music, manifested by his conducting an orchestra for many years, as well as excelling on the violin.  At some point, he invested in ox teams and wagons, and was one of the drivers that moved back and forth across the Plains to the Missouri River, carrying supplies as well as emigrants.  As a member of the militia that fought the Black Hawk Indian War of 1866, he was later made an honorary Adjutant General for his efforts to obtain federal pensions for the participants.  Five years after his death, survivors finally received compensation.  He served Church missions to New England and England in between operating a saw mill in American Fork Canyon.

Except for four years when Mary traveled with Oscar, Mary Ann and their growing family as they served a mission to teach school in several newly formed central Utah town, they remained in Battle Creek, which eventually became Pleasant Grove.  Oscar and two sons developed a farm and a molasses mill using sap from maple trees growing abundantly in the nearby canyon.  Mary Ann taught school in their home.  Their five daughters received advanced education and later taught school.  Two of them married LDS apostles, one of whom, Heber J. Grant, became the seventh President of the Church.

Mary served for years as the only midwife in town.  According to a granddaughter, “out of the hundreds of births at which she assisted, she never lost a single case.”  She used medicinal herbs, roots, bark, leaves, and seeds from her own garden or those she gathered around the countryside.  Some of her choices were tansy, horehound, peppermint, rhubarb root, sage, catnip, kinnikinnick bark, Indian root, yarrow, and raspberry leaves which were dried and powdered.  Medicinal powers were lost unless each item was obtained at the correct time of the year and properly cured.  She had her own recipes for soothing teas, salves and lotions.

Her granddaughter, Augusta, once wrote that Mary was “by nature energetic, self-reliant, and blessed with enormous energy.  She took charge of everything and everybody, even my tiny mother who was little bigger than a child, and who always depended on her for aid and advice.”  In his biography, Moroni described his mother as “an affectionate, well educated, refined and ambitious woman, equal to any and every occasion.”  When she wasn’t tending to a birth, she often could be found carding, spinning, dyeing and weaving wool.  She also spun and wove flax from which she made yards and yards of fine lace “netting” for trimming undergarments or hand-woven linen squares.

Mary Ann Frost Stearns Pratt died on 24 August 1891.  Her tombstone reads: “Her dear weary head is at rest.  Its thinking and aching are ‘ore.  Her quiet immovable breast is heaved by afflictions no more.”

[end of part 3]

The Courier
Volume 31, No. 4 (2007)

[Part 4]
The York and Carter Families
Conversion to Mormonism and Western Migration

by Carole York

“I first embraced Mormonism in 1834 in the town of Newry, Oxford County, State of Maine.  The first elders I ever heard preach were John F. Boynton and Daniel Bean.  They came to my father’s house, and my mother lay very sick.  The doctors had given her up.  The elders told her they were preaching a new doctrine and they told her that she could be healed if she could have faith, that they would lay hands upon her.  They did lay hands upon her and said, ‘In the name of the Lord Jesus be thou made whole.’  And she was made whole and arose and called for her clothes and said I must go to the water.  She walked one half mile and was baptized in the river called the Bear River and confirmed.  And there was a large branch raised up in that place.”   John Carter did not join the Church.  When his wife was healed, he said, “That sure beats doctor bills,” but he never joined the Church.

The above account of the conversion of Hannah Knight Libby Carter to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church, was written by her daughter, Eliza Ann Carter Snow.  This essay will describe the conversion experiences and western journey of the closely related York and Carter families and their efforts to help settle Salt Lake and other Mormon towns in Utah and the southwest.  The David and Patty Bartlett Sessions family and Mary Ann Frost Stearns Pratt and her family have been featured in previous issues of The Courier.  By looking closely at the conversion and western migration of the Latter-day Saints from Bethel and Newry, the history of the early church is enhanced and enlarged.  Moreover, this analysis contributes to the history of backcountry Maine during the years following the Revolutionary War.  This was a period of religious unrest and revivalism—the Second Great Awakening that had started in New England during the 1790s.  Between 1825 and 1832, evangelist Charles Finney aroused great excitement as he preached across what has been called the “Burned Over District” of New York State, so named because it was a flashpoint of religious fervor.  By the 1830s the Second Great Awakening had begun to wane.

The York, Carter, Frost and Sessions families illustrate the dedication and devotion that inspired Mormons to persevere in the face of opposition, harassment, and even violence.  Mob attacks against the Mormons occurred in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois, and Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were murdered in Carthage, Illinois, in 1844.  Like thousands of other Saints, these early members of the church endured and transformed a harsh desert environment into fertile farmland and created a major American city.

Joseph Smith, Jr., was born in Vermont in 1805, and his hard working but poor family moved often during his childhood.  While living in Palmyra, New York, young Joseph was intensely influenced by this religious conflagration and confused by the sectarian controversies that surrounded him.  He stated that he asked God for wisdom and that his prayer was answered in a series of revelations.  The first one occurred when he was about fifteen years old, and he reported this to his family.  In 1823, by Smith’s account, he received a revelation from an angel, Moroni, who told Smith where to find a set of golden plates.  From these plates, engraved in ancient hieroglyphics and compiled by Moroni’s father, Mormon, Smith translated The Book of Mormon.  Published in 1830, this scripture told of an ancient history of the Hebrews who had settled in North America and an account of Jesus bringing the Christian message to the new world.  Soon after, missionaries spread out across what are now the eastern and mid-Atlantic States.

Missionaries first arrived in Maine in 1832, and in that year they baptized Timothy Smith in Saco, after which a branch of the church was formed.  Missionaries Wilford Woodruff and Jonathan Hale converted approximately one hundred persons from the Fox Islands—now Vinalhaven and North Haven—in 1837-1838.  Forty-six converted in Bethel/Newry, Maine, between 1833 and 1870 (mostly during the 1830s), among them Aaron and Hannah Carter York and William Furlsbury and Sarah York Carter.

Joseph Smith, in The History of the Church of Latter-day Saints, Period I, wrote that on 21 August 1835, “Seven of the Twelve [LDS apostles] met in conference at Saco, Maine.  The church in that place numbered fifty-seven; the Dover branch in New Hampshire, eight.”  On 28 August 1835, Smith continued, “This day I preached on the duty of wives.  The traveling High Council assembled in conference at Farmington, Maine, and resolved—that this be called ‘The Maine Conference.’  The Church at Farmington numbered thirty-two; in Sitter B., [Letter B] twnyty-two[sic]; in Akwry [although this town cannot be located on current maps, “Newry” may have been intended], twenty-five; in Errol, New Hampshire, twenty; all in good standing.”  It is not possible to give the exact number of converts, because members to a new faith come and go.  The best estimate is from the Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History that states approximately five-hundred Saints left for Utah from Maine between 1832 and 1847.  In 1850, Brigham Young ordered the Saints still remaining in Maine to migrate to the west.

Six of the nine children of Hannah Knight Libby and John Carter converted: Dominicus, the oldest; Hannah, who married Aaron Marean (often spelled Mereon) York; William Furlsbury, who married Sarah (Sally) York; John; Richard; and Eliza Ann Carter Snow.  John Carter and three children, Almira, Philip Libby and Mary Jane, traveled as far as Nauvoo, Illinois, but did not convert.  Dr. William B. Lapham, in the genealogical section of his History of Bethel, Maine, merely states that Aaron and his sister, Sarah, “went to Utah,” and another sister, Martha Eames York, who married Philip Libby Carter, “went to Tioga, Illinois.”

During its early years, the LDS Church was a lightening rod for controversy because of its heretical beliefs about the Bible and Christianity, communal economy, monolithic politics and, until 1890, the practice of polygamy or plural marriage.  A chapter in the town history of Saco, “The Mormon Invasion,” describes the reaction to the missionaries by many townspeople: “The Mormon elders were unwearied in their efforts to enlarge the circle of their influence and to drum up recruits for their semi-religious community.  Like flaming heralds, they traveled from town to town, and their evident sincerity and unbounded enthusiasm drew thousands to them.  But there was determined opposition.  The ministers of the gospel stood outside and openly warned their people to keep clear of these missionaries of a strange faith.  The culminating effect proved that the spirit of the Mormons was identical to Cochranism [one of the new sects that grew out of the Second Great Awakening].  Both systems produced the same ruinous upheaval in the domestic circle, and the wreckage of blasted homes was scattered all along the coast where the devastating storm held sway.”  The writer notes that, at this time, polygamy had not been mentioned and that some of the converts moved west, including James Townsend, who built the first hotel in Utah.  Others became preachers, traveling in North America and internationally to gain more converts to their faith.

Mormon Temple at Kirtland, Ohio

On 15 August 1835, Brigham Young came to the Sessions home and encouraged those who had been baptized the previous summer by Daniel Bean and John F. Boynton to move west.  In the summer of 1836, the Yorks and Carters, along with others from Bethel and Newry, traveled to Kirtland, Ohio, which was then the church headquarters.  In August, David Sessions drove Mary Ann Frost Stearns and her daughter, Mary Ann, to Portland.  Here the mother and her three year old met other converts with whom they traveled to Kirtland.  It took the Sessions family until June, 1837, to settle their affairs, at which time they left for Kirtland.  The Bethel/Newry converts attended the newly built Mormon Temple at Kirtland, Ohio, participated in church meetings and joyfully sang the songs of Zion.  Kirtland, between 1831 and 1837, was the home of the church’s first temple, and here is where it first established its organizational structure, leadership hierarchy, church doctrines and rituals, spiritual education programs, and strong missionary movement.  However, all was not well when Aaron and Hannah Carter York and their families arrived there.

In 1837, the Kirtland church underwent a turbulent period after incurring a large debt on the building of the temple, buying land, and assisting new members who had settled in Missouri and were in financial need.  The failure of the bank, the Kirtland Safety Society, aggravated what was already a desperate situation.  The bank had been established by the church after its application for a bank charter had been denied twice, in 1836 and 1837, by the Ohio legislature.  Internal opposition arose against Joseph Smith and other church leaders, and many Saints apostatized and left the church.  Opposition also arose from the non-Mormon or Gentile community, threatened by the church’s financial and banking practices, land speculation, and communitarian economic practices.  Persecution had begun in Ohio at least as early as 1832, where, on March 25, Joseph Smith had been beaten, then tarred and feathered.  The Mormon emigration began in January, 1838, and by July most of the Saints had left Kirtland for Far West, Missouri.

Eliza Ann Carter Snow wrote about the family’s experience after arriving in Kirtland: “The next year [1837] an apostate movement arose, and John F. Boynton, the missionary who had brought them the gospel in Maine and had since become one of the first quorum of apostles, became one of the bitterest and most violent leaders against the prophet.  So intense was the persecution, that those who remained staunch and faithful were forced to leave for Far West, Missouri.”  In February, 1838, William F. Carter and Eliza Ann, who had recently married James C. Snow, began their journey, driving a team of oxen.  It was bitter cold, and in Terre Haute, Indiana, one of the oxen died.  They had no money and no home, so they took shelter in a horse stable during the worst winter storms.  Eventually Hyrum Smith’s company came along, and Eliza and James traveled with them to Jacksonville, Illinois, where her brother, William, and the one ox, left behind, caught up with them.  “He had made a harness and tackled him up and the one ox carried his wife and three children to Missouri, and when I saw him, I rejoiced to see him have so much faith, but the Gentiles made all manner of fun of him.  They said, ‘there goes a d— Mormon with one ox,’ but he got out of there just the same; and Father Joseph Smith said it would be in the annals of history.  After that the Kirtland Camp [comprised of impoverished saints who could not afford, without church support, to go to Far West] came along and we went to Missouri with them.  We went into an old log house that we could poke a cat out between the logs and there my first child [Sarah Jane] was born; it was the 30 day of October in the year 1838.…  It was cold and snowed every day and the mob came into Far West the very day of her birth, and we were much excited.  I could not keep the midwife long enough to dress my child.…  The mob was blowing horns and firing guns all night long.  We were without bread or anything to make bread of, but by the help of the Lord we were preserved by the brethren giving up arms and promising to leave Far West.”

Mormons first arrived in Missouri in 1831, settling in Independence, Jackson County; by 1833 opposition against these pioneers drove them across the Missouri River into Clay and Ray Counties.  There, in 1836, facing ongoing enmity and in an attempt to avoid their hostile Gentile neighbors, the Saints agreed to move to Far West, an isolated undesirable area that no one else wanted.  The carefully designed city plan was the same model used in developing other cities of Zion, including Salt Lake City.  By the fall of 1838, Far West had grown into a thriving community of 5,000 citizens.  However, in that same year, the Saints were hounded from Missouri after Governor Lilburn W. Boggs, on 27 October 1838, ordered them out of the state.

In addition to its contentious financial and religious practices, political opposition arose against the church.  Missouri had been established as a slave state by the Missouri Compromise of 1820, and many Saints had come from the anti-slavery northeast.  Whether they were truly opposed to slavery is not entirely clear.  Joseph Smith was strongly opposed to slavery, but most Mormons refused to take an anti-slavery stance, believing it to be established legal precedent in Missouri.  However, the perception that the Mormons were against slavery persisted, which added to the opposition against them.  Moreover, the efforts of the Saints to convert the Indians aroused alarm among the non-Mormon residents.  Forced to abandon their homes and property, the Mormons moved to Commerce, Illinois, which they renamed Nauvoo.  This city became the new church headquarters.

In February, 1839, Eliza, her husband James, infant daughter, and two other families were on the move again.  They shared one wagon, drawn by several old horses, and took turns walking, this time to Illinois.  They had no tent, and slept near their campfire.  In this group were Dominicus Carter, and Aaron and Hannah Carter York with their families, and John and Hannah Knight Libby Carter.  On 11 August 1839, Sarah Emily, a daughter of Dominicus, age two years and three months, died.  In October, the group finally arrived at a location near Lima, Illinois, twenty-five miles south of Nauvoo.  It was named Morley’s Settlement for Mormon leader Isaac Morley, also known as Yelrome (Morley spelled backward).  In 1842, John and Hannah Knight Libby Carter purchased land there.

Nauvoo prospered initially and was allowed liberal powers of autonomous self-government by a charter from the Illinois legislature.  Here, between 1839 and 1844, the church built its second temple and established a militia.  Members contributed their efforts toward establishing a hotel, flour mill, foundry, chinaware and tool making factories.  Converts from England, who began arriving in 1840 contributed to its growth, and by 1844, the population of Nauvoo was 10,000, the second largest city after Chicago.  However, the Saints had settled in swamp land.  Mosquitoes caused malaria and unsanitary conditions and tainted water caused many to become ill with typhoid fever.  Poverty plagued the community, because the Saints had been forced to leave their previous settlements, including Kirtland and Far West, in haste and many English converts arrived without financial resources.

In June, 1844, Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, were murdered while imprisoned in the Carthage, Illinois, jail on flimsy charges of treason.  The accusations against them grew out of charges and counter charges that followed the cessation and destruction of The Expositor, shut down by the City Council because of its inflammatory anti-Mormon articles.  The fact that, early in 1844, Joseph Smith had declared himself a candidate for President of the United States no doubt contributed to what was a volatile atmosphere.  Elder Perrigrine Sessions, with his unique syntax and spelling, wrote the following about this event: “…Brother Joseph and Hyrum was taken and when in prison under the pretection of Goviner [Governor Thomas Ford] and the plited faith of the State they were Murdered in cold blood in Prison by a gang of black harted reches on the 27 of June 1844…”

In September, 1845, a mob burned one-hundred-twenty-five buildings in Morley’s settlement and Lima.  The residents fled to Nauvoo, and when they returned to harvest their crops, vigilantes, who were never put on trial, killed Edmund Durfee.  In February, 1846, the Yorks and Carters, along with many faithful compatriots, began to evacuate Nauvoo.  They crossed the Mississippi River into Iowa, first by boat and, after the river froze, on foot.  By summer only about six-hundred Mormons remained, mainly those too sick or too poor to move on.  From the tenth to the twelfth of September, 1846, skirmishes occurred between the Saints and an Illinois renegade militia.  On the thirteenth, the Battle of Nauvoo ensued, lasting only one and three-quarter hours.  Surrendering to their far stronger adversaries, the remnant Saints agreed to leave the city, and the Illinois troops agreed to protect the helpless residents who were unable to travel, some of whom were non-Mormon newcomers to the settlement.  Hubert H. Bancroft wrote in the History of Utah, 1540-1886, that the militia disregarded the treaty.  “The mob entered the temple, ordered an inquisition, and regardless of Mormons or new citizens went from house to house, plundering cow-yards, pig-pens, hen roosts and bee-stands indiscriminately; thus turning some of their best friends into enemies, bursting open trunks and chests, searching for arms, keys, etc….  In the temple ringing bells, shouting, and hallooing; they took several to the river and baptized them, swearing, throwing them backward, then on to their faces, saying: ‘The commandments must be fulfilled and God damn you.’”  By the end of September, all the Saints had departed, leaving behind their property and any hope of peaceful accommodation with the Gentiles.

In 1847, led by Joseph Smith’s successor, Brigham Young, companies of wagons began the 2,000 mile trek to the western territories, at that time still a part of Mexico.  As the day of departure from Nauvoo drew near, John Carter adamantly refused to join the church.  He died in 1852 in Illinois.  Dominicus, a skilled blacksmith, stayed in Kanesville, now Council Bluffs, Iowa, to help prepare the emigrant trains for the grueling trip ahead.  He and his mother crossed the plains in 1851 and arrived at Salt Lake City on the twentieth of June.  In 1852, he was elected counselor to George A. Smith, who had married another Bethel/Newry native, Lucy Meserve Smith [no relation], on 24 November 1844 in Nauvoo.  George Smith presided over the settlement, and James C. Snow became the first president of the Utah Stake.

The Saints had chosen, as their new home, the remote Great Basin in order to geographically separate themselves from hostile Gentiles.  However, the church recognized that it depended on the United States to provide protection, investment capital and consumer goods.  In 1849, the church instituted a formal governmental structure with a constitution and elected officers.  Brigham Young was elected governor of the proposed state of Deseret, a word from the Book of Mormon that means honey bee.  Deseret, as first envisioned by the church, covered approximately 490,000 square miles extending from the Sierra Nevada range on the west to the Rocky Mountains on the east and encompassed an area that included present day Utah, Nevada, parts of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado. The State of Deseret ended in 1851, when the United States Congress passed the Compromise of 1850, which made California a state and created the territories of Utah and Nevada.

Conflict continued, however, between the LDS Church and the United States Government, because the Saints continued to practice and strongly defend their unconventional religious and collective business practices that did not include non-Mormons.  The church’s involvement in politics and their practice of plural marriage aggravated the situation.  War broke out in 1857, when President James Buchanan sent in an army to “reestablish law and order” and replace Brigham Young with Alfred Cumming, from Georgia, as territorial governor.  The “Utah War,” later considered a gross overreaction by President Buchanan to political pressure and unreliable information, was brought to an end by a truce brokered by Thomas L. Kane.  Kane was a Pennsylvania judge, a prominent Democrat and reformer.  An advocate of abolition, education for women and prison reform, he became a strong friend and supporter of the Saints.  A close bond between Kane and the Mormons developed after he became ill at Winter Quarters, Nebraska, across the Mississippi River from Council Bluffs, Iowa.  Here he was nursed back to health by the Saints, and he never forgot their kind treatment.  The Saints, in gratitude to him for his efforts on their behalf, named their settlement at present day Council Bluffs, Iowa, Kanesville.

After renouncing polygamy in 1890, Utah entered the Union in 1896.  Clashes between the Saints and the United States ended, and greater cooperation between the Mormons and non-Mormons developed.  Here in a barren dessert, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints finally found a place where its members could practice their faith in peace.  From one of the most persecuted creeds at the beginning of the twentieth century, today the Mormon Church has become the most successful of the nineteenth century utopian groups.  In 2006, its membership was 5,599,177 in the United States and in Canada, and almost 13 million worldwide; in 2006, it grew by 1.74%—the second fastest growing denomination among the twenty-five largest churches in the United States.

Hannah Knight Libby Carter bronze marker at Provo, Utah
Courtesy of Gary and Marcia Braithwaite

Hannah Knight Libby Carter died shortly before or on 2 November 1867, age eighty-one, having lived with her son, Dominicus, who had helped settle Provo.  “Those who remember her describe her as short in stature, with a round face, impressive blue eyes and refined and dignified bearing.  She frequently wore a lace cap and was very prim and neat.  She was well educated and industrious, keeping her knitting close by and working even in her advanced years.”  Her funeral and burial were at the Grandview Hill Cemetery where three farms converged (this graveyard is no longer in existence), and the day, according to Eliza, was very cold.  On Memorial Day, 1941, a commemorative bronze plaque, with the motif of a covered wagon, was placed in the Provo Cemetery; it read, “HANNAH KNIGHT LIBBY CARTER, Oct. 9, 1786 – Nov. 1867, ‘faithful in the day of trial.’”

[to be continued]

The Courier
Volume 32, No. 1 (2008)

[Part 4]
The York and Carter Families
Western Migration

by Carole York

[Editor’s note: In the previously published article in this series (The Courier, Vol. 31, No. 4), on page 5, 3rd paragraph, regarding the conferences in Saco and Farmington, Maine, the year should read 1835, and not 1838.  The author of this essay is a 3rd great granddaughter of Aaron Marean and Hannah York Carter, and much of the material used in her research was originally compiled by her father, Donald J. York, between 1968 and 1992.  Sources for this article are listed at the end.]

“I would prefer to deal with the Mormon pioneers, if I can, as human beings of their time and place, the earlier ones westward moving Americans, the latter ones European converts gripped by the double promise of economic betterment and eternal life.  Suffering, endurance, discipline, faith, brotherly and sisterly charity—the qualities so celebrated by Mormon writers—were surely distributed among them, but there was also a normal amount of human cussedness, vengefulness, masochism, backbiting, violence, ignorance, selfishness and gullibility.  So far as possible I shall take from them their own journals and reminiscences and letters, and I shall try to follow George Bancroft’s rule for historians: I shall try to present them in their terms and judge them in mine.  That I do not share the faith that possessed them does not mean I doubt their frequent devotion and heroism in its service.  Especially their women.  Their women were incredible.”

The York and Carter families, in 1850 and 1851, traveled from Kanesville (present-day Council Bluffs, Iowa) to the Great Salt Lake Basin to gather with the Latter-day Saints in Zion, a sacred place, a holy community, a bulwark against evil.  The above quote by Wallace Stegner, from The Gathering of Zion: The Story of the Mormon Trail, describes the dedication of Mormon women and men who sacrificed greatly in devotion to their strong religious convictions.  Most sold their real property and left kith and kin, in many cases never to see them again.  (The concept of “Zion” is from theBook of Mormon.  “Gathering” also has special meaning to the Mormons and is related to the biblical reference to the Gathering of Israel.  In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it means to bring together its members in designated places where sacred ceremonies, endowments and ordinances are performed.)  This essay will discuss the Mormon migration to Salt Lake that included the Carters and the Yorks.  The two closely linked families had already traveled a circuitous route from Bethel/Newry to Kirtland, Ohio, in 1836-1837, to Far West, Missouri, in 1838 and, lastly, to Lima, Illinois (near Nauvoo), in 1839.  There they remained until, in February, 1846, hostile Gentiles (non-Mormons) drove them out, forcing the Saints to abandon their farms, homes, and businesses.  Aaron York, and Dominicus and William Furlsbury Carter were leaders and missionaries in the early church, and their mothers, wives and sisters unselfishly, heroically and prayerfully stood behind them all the way to God’s Kingdom on earth.

The Yorks and Carters remained strongly connected in later years, as their children and grandchildren intermarried and established joint business ventures in Utah.  All were devout members of the LDS Church and dedicated to building the New Jerusalem in the West.  William Furlsbury Carter, Dominicus Carter and Aaron Marean York were church leaders on the journey west and in Provo.  All served missions: Aaron, in Maine; William, in Maine and India; and Dominicus, in Indiana.  Mormon missionaries often proselytized in the regions where they lived before moving to Kirtland and Missouri.  This is illustrated by the missions of Perrigrine Sessions, Aaron York and William Furlsbury Carter to Bethel and Newry.  Soon after arriving at Salt Lake, many of the first pioneers were sent to colonize other towns in the region; William, Dominicus, and Aaron were prominent in the development of Provo, and the Sessions family helped settle Bountiful.

Between 1847 and 1868, an estimated sixty- to seventy-thousand Latter-day Saints trekked across the plains.  Companies left Winter Quarters (present-day Florence), near Omaha, Nebraska, for Salt Lake in 1848.  After 1848, Mormon trains left from Kanesville (Council Bluffs), Iowa, because Indian treaties in force at the time did not permit non-Native Americans to develop settlements west of the Missouri River.  On 10 May 1869, the Central Pacific Railroad, coming from California, met the Union Pacific at Promontory, Utah, and by 1880 the railroad system had tripled in size, covering more than ninety-thousand miles.  Migration by Mormon converts continued by railroad, but it is the saga of the first intrepid trail blazers and their undaunted leaders that so rivets our attention.  A few of the better known church leaders were Joseph Smith, Junior, the founder and first prophet; Hyrum Smith, who, in 1844, was murdered with his brother, Joseph, in Carthage, Illinois; William Clayton, musician and inventor; Parley Pratt, indefatigable missionary to the Native Americans and the British; Wilford Woodruff, one of the first missionaries to Maine (especially to the Fox Islands, now North Haven and Vinalhaven), and who, in 1890, wrote the Manifesto disavowing polygamy; and Brigham Young, who assumed the presidency of the church after Joseph Smith’s death, and led the Mormon emigration west to Salt Lake.

Brigham Young (1801-1877) was born in Whitingham, Vermont, on 1 June 1801, the ninth of John and Abigail (Nabby) Young’s eleven children.  In a sermon delivered at the Mormon Tabernacle on 8 August 1869, Young said, “In my youthful days, instead of going to school, I had to chop logs, to sow and plant, to plow in the midst of roots barefooted, and if I had a pair of pants to cover me I did pretty well.”  Like Joseph Smith’s family, Young’s moved frequently and lived a hardscrabble existence.  In 1830, after reading and contemplating the Book of Mormon, Young converted to The Church of Christ that, in 1838, Joseph Smith renamed The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Young assumed the presidency of the LDS Church after the murder of Joseph Smith in 1844 and served in that office until his death in Salt Lake City on 29 August 1877.


Brigham Young, as he appeared around 1850.
The Latter-day Saints leader visited Bethel and several neighboring
communities in 1835 and 1836, seeking converts for the Mormon church.

By all accounts a brilliant strategist and leader, Brigham Young was straightforward, without pretense, simply dressed, and self-confident.  Plain spoken, his language often salty, he alternately cajoled and scolded his sometimes unruly band all the way to Salt Lake.  Unlike the emigrants of the Oregon and California trails, who were comprised of single groups of individuals or families and restless, impetuous adventurers and gold seekers, the Mormons moved as a community, united by a common faith and a passion to reach Zion.  In large part, their success in this venture can be attributed to the strong leadership of Young.  Leonard J. Arrington, in Brigham Young: American Moses, has written that although Young lacked a formal education, he was skilled at a variety of trades including carpentry and boatbuilding, and had acquired “the necessity of being both practical and economical.”

On Monday 5 April 1847, Brigham Young led an advance party from Winter Quarters to territories outside of the United States that were uninhabited by whites; only Native Americans from diverse tribes, who competed and sometimes battled for land and resources, and Anglo and French trappers and explorers were familiar with the region.  Approximately one-hundred-forty-eight Saints were in the group, including three women: Clara Decker, the plural wife of Brigham Young; Harriet Decker, the wife of Lorenzo Young (Brigham’s brother); and Ellen Sanders, Heber Kimball’s plural wife.  Kimball’s wife had brought along two children.  The trip had been in the planning stages for several years.  In December 1845, when it became obvious that the Saints were no longer safe in Nauvoo, President Young and Apostle Heber Kimball pored over maps and trail guides in order to make a decision about where land existed that would be suitable for settlement and safe from the hostile Gentiles.  Several places were considered by the LDS leadership, including Vancouver in the Oregon Territory, before deciding upon the Salt Lake Valley.

John C. Frémont’s Report of the Exploring Expeditions of the Rocky Mountains was studied by Young and his colleagues.  Frémont was a cartographer and naturalist and member of the U.S. Army’s Corps of Topographical Engineers.  On his first expedition to the west in 1842, Frémont mapped the Platte River as far as South Pass and the Wind River Mountains; in 1842-1843 he discovered the valley of the Salt Lake and named it “The Great Basin.”  Frémont’s Report and maps were an invaluable contribution to the settlement of the West.  However, as Brigham Young was to discover on his trip to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, because Frémont’s survey was one of the first to plot the regions of the West, it was not always the most reliable guide.  The Emigrants’ Guide to Oregon and California, by Lansford Hastings, was also consulted, but it too had limitations.  Hastings is best remembered today for “Hastings’ Cutoff,” a shortcut that ultimately led to disaster for the Donner Party.

William Clayton, born in England in 1814, is known for writing the words to the well-known Mormon hymn, “Come Come ye Saints.”  He was a member of the 1847 vanguard party, and on this journey he made two significant contributions to western trail travel.  First, he was the inventor of the “roadometer,” an early type of odometer.  For three weeks he counted the revolutions of a wagon wheel and computed the day’s distance by multiplying the count by the wheel’s circumference.  Tiring of this monotonous and time consuming task, Clayton, assisted by Apostle Orson Pratt (Parley’s brother), came up with a design consisting of a set of wooden cog wheels attached to the hub of a wagon wheel.  This device permitted the advance party to keep track of its exact mileage.

Clayton’s second contribution was his trail guide based on observations made during the 1847 expedition to Salt Lake.  It was titled: The Latter-day Saints Guide, Being a Table of Distances, showing all the Springs, Creeks, Rivers, Hills, Mountains, Camping Places, and all Other Notable Places, From Council Bluffs to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, also the Latitudes, Longitudes and Altitudes Of the Prominent Points on the Route, Together with Remarks on the Nature of the Land, Timber, Grass &c.  The whole route having been carefully measured by a Roadometer, and the distance from point to point, in English Miles, accurately shown.  Clayton’s Guide, the title of which speaks for itself, provided detailed information about trail conditions and the weather in a way that Frémont’s and Hastings’ guides did not.  For example, 3 ¾ miles from the previous location and 306 ¼ miles from Winter Quarters and 724 ¾ miles from the Great Salt Lake the guide states: “Last timber on north side of the river.  You will find no more timber on the north side of the river for two hundred miles except one lone tree.  Your only dependence for fuel will be buffalo chips and drift wood”; and later on, “Many small Lizards [are found] on the sandy places but they appear to be perfectly harmless”; and finally, “Mouth of the Kanyon.  You now enter the Valley of the Salt Lake.  The road at the mouth of the kanyon bad, and rough with stumps.  Afterwards, descending and good.”  The distance to Salt Lake was five miles, and from Winter Quarters 1,026 miles, with the total number of miles from Winter Quarters being 1,031.

Edmund Carter ObituaryOne-hundred-eleven days later, on 21 July 1847, the vanguard group arrived at the Salt Lake Basin.  Brigham Young, bringing up the rear after contracting and nearly dying from Rocky Mountain [tick] Fever, arrived on the 23rd.  Young’s plan had been to seek out a location west of the Rocky Mountains and establish a camp for later emigrants.  Upon arriving, the company immediately set to work planting crops and building a stockade.  They prayed for rain, and in an environment where rain was sparse, the Mormons were among the first American groups to irrigate lands in Utah and other western states.  Within weeks, Young, with those members of the advance party, including Clayton, who did not remain at the camp, started back to Winter Quarters, passing ten companies from Winter Quarters who were headed west.

Perrigrine Sessions was Captain of the “First Fifty” of the wagons that Young passed.  In order to provide safety and improve efficiency on the trail, the Saints were organized into companies of tens, fifties and hundreds, based on the number of wagons in each group or division.  Patty (Bartlett) Sessions records in her diary that the group departed Winter Quarters on 5 June 1847, and included, in addition to Perrigrine and Patty, the following family members: David Sessions; sisters Lucina (Call) Sessions and Mary (Call) Sessions; Perrigrine’s plural wives whom he married after the death in January, 1845, in Nauvoo, of Julia Ann, his first wife; and twelve year-old Martha Ann Sessions, and five year-old Carlos Lyon Sessions, daughter and son of Perrigrine and Julia Ann.  Patty drove a team for almost the entire distance, and upon the family’s arrival at Salt Lake on the 24th of September, entered in her diary, “PG [Perrigrine] went back to help up his camp[.]  they have all got here safe some broken waggons but no broken bones[.]  I have drove my waggon all the way [but] part of the last two mts PG drove a little[.]  I broke nothing nor turned over had good luck[.]  I have cleaned my wagon and myself and visited some old friends.”  Perrigrine wrote in his diary, “organized in my company was eighty seven Wagons and over fifty men over fourteen and four hundred souls in all and four hundred head of stock[.]  here we had some thirty wagons without a man to drive them but the females volunteered to drive them[.]  my Mother was one of them[.]  they looked hard as we had no road.  there was six hundred and sixty wagons in all.”

Also in this company, the second ten, were Parley Pratt and thirteen in his family, some of whom were his plural wives and their children.  Mary Ann Frost Stearns Pratt, however, was not among them.  In June, 1847, Mary Ann came to Winter Quarters to tell her husband that she was returning to her parent’s home in Maine.  Nevertheless, in June, 1852, devoted to her faith, Mary Ann and her children journeyed to Utah with the Harmon Cutler Company; in March, 1853, Brigham Young approved Mary Ann’s divorce from Parley Pratt.  Mary Ann had married Pratt before plural marriage was announced as a sacred duty by Joseph Smith.  It would seem understandable that Mary Ann had grown weary of having to assist and support Pratt’s other wives and their children, in addition to caring for her own, while Pratt was away for long periods of time on missions.  At the age of fifty, Pratt was murdered in Arkansas on 12 May 1857 by the enraged husband of one of his plural wives.  Mary Ann died in Utah on 24 August 1891.

Aaron and Hannah Carter York and their children departed from Kanesville (Council Bluffs), Iowa, for Salt Lake in 1850.  Their children, born in Newry, were: Asa Bartlett York, 18; Julia Ann Kilgore York, 17; and James Chauncy Snow York, 11.  Children born after they left Maine were Aaron Marean York, Jr., 7, born in Lima, Illinois; Levi Sawyer York, 5, born in Nauvoo; and Martha Eliza York, nine months old, born in Mt. Pisgah, Iowa, while the family was enroute from Nauvoo to Winter Quarters.  The Yorks had previously lost Zenos Willie York (1835-1837) in Newry and John William York (1841-1842) in Lima.  Aaron York was a Captain of the Tens in a company led by Gardner Snow and Joseph Young, the elder brother of Brigham.  Undoubtedly in the same party were three orphans, Thatcher Hallett, about 12, Hirum Hallett, about 7, and Mary Hallett, about 4.  Their parents, Clark Hallett and Phebe Bray Hallett, died at Mt. Pisgah sometime between 1848 and 1849, as best can be determined from family records.  Aaron and Hannah York brought the Hallett children to Salt Lake and raised them as their own.  The 1860 Provo Census shows Hirum, then 17, and Mary, then 14, living with the Yorks.  Thatcher, who by then was 22, was most likely living on his own.  By 1880, Thatcher, then 42, was living in Provo with his wife, Ermina Hayden Hallett, and five children.  Clark and Phebe Bray Hallett are memorialized on a monument at Mt. Pisgah.  Ann Gould Hallett, Louese Hallett, and “two other children,” listed on the monument, have not been identified.


Monument at Mt. Pisgah, Iowa, memorializing Clark and Phebe Hallett,
whose orphaned children were carried west and raised by Aaron and Hannah Carter York.
The author’s father, Donald J. York, stands on the right.

On 28 August 1850, Gardner Snow and Joseph Young sent a letter from the North Platte Ferry to The First Presidency in the Valley [Brigham Young].  “We are the second fifty of Captain Snow’s hundred; Gardner Snow is captain; Joseph Young, president; Winslow Farr, counsellor, Lucius N. Scovil and Geo. W. Parish, marshals; Aaron York, John Carter [the son of Hannah Knight Libby and John Carter] and Thomas Rich, captains of the tens, and Samuel Pollack, clerk of the fifty.”  The letter was written 28 August 1850 from the Upper Platte Ferry and illustrates some of the challenges faced by the Mormon pioneers: “By council of our brethren from the Valley, we, by mutual consent have divided our company for the convenience of traveling . . . We were truly thankful to hear from you and have concluded to send a message forthwith (Brother David Lewis) . . . When we left the Missouri River as a camp, we were short of teams and had no extra ones.  We have 42 wagons in our company, besides those with Brothers Leonard and Pearsons [traveling in advance of the Snow Company].  About 20 head of our cattle are crippled, and if any more should give out, we shall be under the necessity of leaving some of our substance by the way-side.  But we feel that we need all we have, as we are among the poorest of our people, yet rich in faith.  If you could send to our assistance, as soon as possible, from 12 to 16 yokes of oxen and 2 wagons, you will confer on us a lasting favor that we will duly appreciate.  With such help we may extricate ourselves, our wives and our little ones from these mountains.”

William Furlsbury Carter and wife Sarah York Carter, and their children, departed with the 1851 migration from Kanesville.  Peter York Carter, 19; Abiah Russell Carter, 16; and Lyman Wilman Carter, 14, were born in Newry.  Their other children were Hannah Libby Carter, 10, and Martha Carter, 8, born in Lima, Illinois; Sarah Mellissa Carter, 6, born in Nauvoo; and William Aaron Carter, 4, born in Winter Quarters, Iowa.  Edward Lavan Carter was born in Provo in 1851, as was Charlotta York Carter in 1856.  William Furlsbury Carter served a mission to India in 1852.  He and Aaron York would later become partners in developing and managing a corn mill operation in Provo.

Dominicus Carter and his family departed Kanesville for Salt Lake in the same company.  Dominicus and his wife, Lydia Smith Carter, had lost their daughter, Sarah Emily, on 11 August 1838 while enroute from Kirtland to Far West with the Kirtland Camp; just two months later, on 23 October, Lydia died, leaving Dominicus with five children aged eighteen months to nine years.  It was on this trip that, on 18 July 1838, in Mansfield, Richmond County, Ohio, Dominicus stayed overnight with some members of the company who had been arrested and jailed.  The defendants allegedly had been participants in the development of the Kirtland Safety Society, a bank established by the LDS Church that failed in 1837.  They were released the following day.  (Were these men guilty of criminal conduct or was this an example of Gentile harassment?  It is difficult to say with certainty because the Mormons were vulnerable to discrimination and mistreatment by the Gentiles because of their religious beliefs and communitarian culture.)  In doing this, Dominicus demonstrated that he was courageous in the face of adversity and loyal to his Latter-day Saint brothers and sisters.  His sister, Eliza Ann Carter Snow, in the biography of her mother, wrote that Dominicus did not leave for the West sooner, because as a skilled blacksmith he was able to help prepare other emigrants for the trip west.  A grandson later wrote that Dominicus worked night and day getting the wagons ready.  Accompanying him to Salt Lake were his sixty-five year old mother, Hannah Knight Libby Carter, and plural wives Sylvia Ameretta Mecham, Mary Durfee, and Polly Miner.  His and Lydia’s children no doubt were on the trip (the records are incomplete): Arletia, 22; Lucinda, 19; Barrett, 17; Sidney, 16; and Lydia Ann, 13.  Dominicus served as a missionary to Indiana several times while living in Illinois.  In Provo, he had a blacksmith shop and ran a hostelry or hotel.  A community leader, Dominicus was a city councilor, a clerk of the court, and on a committee to locate a county road from Provo to Pleasant Grove.

The rigors and challenges of the large migration by Mormons and non-Mormon pioneers have been described many times.  Historian Wallace Stegner wrote that most of the hazards and accidents were almost routine: people run over by wagons, straying cattle, encounters with Indians who stole the cattle, stampeding oxen, poisoned water, and skunks hiding under the wagons that even the “chief of police,” Hosea Stout, had to “deal mildly with.”  Despite Brigham Young’s injunction to keep order during travel and in camp, given the diverse make-up of the Saints and the length of the journey, this was not always possible.  Grumblers and jokers existed in all the companies, a fact confirmed by Stegner, who wrote, “On a night after Brother Gates’ wagon tipped over, and he blamed his women, a horsey guard went around crying, ‘Eleven o’clock and all’s well and Gates is quarreling with his wife like hell.’”  It is amazing that, despite the dangers on the trail (some known and others unknown), at least ninety-four percent of the Mormon emigrants pulled through.  Most members of the York and Carter families survived the arduous journey with the following exceptions: Sarah Emily, the two-year-old daughter of Dominicus and his wife, Lydia, age twenty-nine, while enroute from Kirtland to Far West; and nine-month-old John William York, Aaron and Hannah’s son, in Lima, Illinois.  The contributions of these early Mormon settlers to Provo, Utah, will be described in the next article in the “Western Maine Saints” series.

[to be continued]

The Courier
Volume 32, No. 2 (2008)

[Part 4, continued]
The York and Carter Families in Utah

by Carole York

On 2 October 1846, Aaron York, from Mt. Pisgah, Iowa, wrote to Brigham Young at Council Bluffs, Iowa, “Sickness rather abating in this place but there are a great many sick now [and] there were two died last night.”  The lengthy and detailed letter, signed by his own hand, sought Young’s advice on the care of the Hallett orphans.  Aaron continued, “Pres’t Brigham Young, by request of Sister Phebe Hallett I now write a few lines to you which I should have done before but on account of my health I have omitted until the present morning, after the death of Brother Clark Hallet . . . and Sister Phebe was brought to my house for to be made comfortable . . . where she remained until her death.  I, on the afternoon before she died being out of the house she sent for me to come in I did so and she said . . . she had given up all hope of getting well and must die.  I asked if she was not willing to Die she said yes but should like to live on account of the children . . . she said she wanted the children all kept together.”  Aaron told Phebe that he would do the best he could for the children.  He also consulted with Brother C. C. Rich, who advised him to continue to care for the children, “which are at my house which are and have been sick but we are getting better.”

President Young responded on the 15th of October: “. . . Let a committee of three appointed by the council to appraise every article of property belonging to the heirs and see that it is properly [proved] & kept only such as is necessary for their support.  Let this committee be C. C. Rich, Aaron M. York with one of the councils nomination and let Pres. York take charge of the children till further instructions.”  Ermina Hallett Casto Carney, a daughter of Thatcher Hallett, later wrote, “Pa Hallett was born January [17th] 1837 in Missouri.  His folks had come from Cape Cod,Massachusetts. . . . After their death old Grandma [Hannah Carter York] and Grandpa [Aaron York] . . . took care of the three Hallett children, father, Aunt May [Mary Hallett] and Uncle Hyrum but did not adopt them.  However, we called her Grandma York and she came often and stayed for long visits.  Grandpa York had died earlier.”

Mt. Pisgah and Garden Grove, Iowa, were temporary settlements that were established as way-stations between Sugar Creek, Iowa, and Council Bluffs (Kanesville), Iowa, where the Mormon emigrants could rest and outfit themselves for the arduous journey ahead.  Sugar Creek was the staging area for the Saints who fled Nauvoo in February, 1846; Council Bluffs was the point of departure for the Mormon emigration to the Salt Lake Basin.  Apostle Parley Pratt wrote about the founding of Garden Grove:  “All things being harmonized and put in order, the camps moved on. Arriving at a place on a branch of the Grand River we encamped for a while having traveled much in the midst of great and continuing rains, mud and mire. . . . Here we enclosed and planted a public farm of many hundred acres and commenced settlement, for the good of some who were to tarry and of those who should follow us from Nauvoo.  We called the place ‘Garden Grove.’”

One month later, in May, 1846, Parley Pratt led an exploratory party west and came to a place that Pratt named Mt. Pisgah after the biblical Mt. Pisgah (Deuteronomy 3:27), where Moses viewed the Promised Land.  Despite the valiant efforts of the emigrants to set up safe havens along the trail, living conditions were crude; many were sick and some died.  This was a transient community comprised mostly of those who were traveling through to Utah.  Therefore, it is impossible to state with any certainty the number who died there.  The York family left Mt. Pisgah and arrived in Salt Lake City in 1850.

Previous articles in this series have described the conversion to Mormonism and emigration of the Carter and York families from Bethel/Newry to the Great Salt Lake Basin.  This essay will focus on the contributions of the two conjoined families in settling Salt Lake City after its founding in 1847, and Provo, Utah, in 1849; encounters with the Native Americans; colonization of Mormon settlements outside of Salt Lake City; Mormon missions; and the nationwide controversy over the LDS practice of plural marriage.

Aaron and Hannah Carter York,
Mary Trueworthy Carter York, and Asa Bartlett York

Mormon historian Wallace Stegner has written, “Attics and archives are crammed with its records, for in addition to church journals authorized by a history conscious church, it seems that every second Mormon kept a diary, and every Mormon family that has such a diary, cherishes it as part of the lares and penates [treasured household possessions].  Great-granddaughters edit the jottings of their pioneer ancestors as piously as they go to temple to be baptized for the dead, and if grandfather was too preoccupied to keep notes, his recollective yarns will be gathered up and published as reminiscences, with a genealogical chart to show all the branches and twigs that have sprung from the pioneer root.”

One such reminiscence was written by Almira T. (Tiffany) Bethers, a daughter of George Mason and Sarah Jane York Tiffany, and granddaughter of Aaron and Hannah Carter York.  After arriving in Utah in the fall of 1850, the Aaron and Hannah Carter York family lived in the First Ward of Salt Lake City.  (A “ward” is the local ecclesiastical unit of the church, similar to a Protestant congregation or Roman Catholic parish.)  “Aaron and his wife Hannah were very industrious people as well as educated, he a music teacher and Hannah a school teacher and both were very beautiful singers.  They always had as good a home as was available wherever they lived.  Their first home in Salt Lake was made of poles and skins of other animals.”  Upon arriving in the SaltLake Valley, Aaron, his son, Asa Bartlett York, and Dominicus Carter and his son, Sidney Carter, established a blacksmith shop.  “Aaron and Hannah were very hard working people and so good to the poor and to the orphans, in fact they raised several children who were left orphans, also my mother Sadie [Sarah Jane York Tiffany] after her mother and three brothers died.”

In 1852, Aaron and Asa and their families moved to Provo and subsequently to Santaquin, Utah, approximately thirty miles south of Provo.  Richard, a son and youngest child of Aaron and his plural wife Mary Trueworthy Carter York, later wrote, “After helping to settle Santaquin my father went out south about three miles and settled a place that bears his name, York.  He was a very good blacksmith and wheelright, helping to make the first plow made in Santaquin and Utah.”  Almira T. Bethers wrote, “Perry Green (Perrigrine) Sessions bought the first plows they made to break sod in Sessions Settlement [probably Bountiful, Utah].”

On 18 March 1856, in Provo, Aaron York married Mary Trueworthy Carter in a plural marriage.  Born on 23 September 1841, Mary was fifteen years old, while Aaron was forty-nine.  Mary was the daughter of Richard and Hannah Parker Carter.  Hannah was born in 1823, perhaps in England.  Richard, born in Newry, Maine, on 8 August 1820, was a brother of Hannah Carter York, and thus Mary was Hannah’s niece.  A son, Samuel Parker Carter, was born to Richard and Hannah in 1843, in Lima, Illinois.  After the exodus of the Saints from Nauvoo in 1846, and while living atCouncil Bluffs (Kanesville), Iowa, Richard volunteered to serve in the Mormon Battalion.  (The Mormon Battalion was recruited to fight the Mexican War, and on 21 July 1846, an estimated five-hundred men left Council Bluffs to fight on the side of the United States.)  While serving in the Mormon Battalion, Richard died of illness on 28 November 1846; he is buried near Santa Fe, New Mexico.  His widow, Hannah Parker, bore the couple’s last child, Franklin Fitzfield Carter, on 4 February 1847.  She died of smallpox on 12 April 1848.  Carter family members brought Richard and Hannah’s children—Mary, Sam and Franklin—with them to Utah; very possibly Mary traveled with Aaron and Hannah.

Between 1857 and 1862, Church leaders sent approximately five-hundred families to colonize “Utah’s Dixie,” in southern Utah.  This was known as the Southern Utah Mission or Cotton Mission. After the outbreak of the Civil War, cotton from the Confederacy was not available in Utah.  Leonard Arrington, in Great Basin Kingdom:  An Economic History of the Latter-day Saints, 1830-1900, has described this period of colonization during the 1860s: “Self-sufficiency for the Saints was the ultimate goal. . . . [the settlers] represented a variety of occupations and were instructed to go in an organized group and ‘cheerfully contribute their efforts to supply the Territory with cotton, sugar, grapes, tobacco, figs, almonds, olive oil, and such other useful items as the Lord has given us, the places for garden spots in the south to produce.’  Brigham Young specifically desired them to produce the territorial supply of tobacco so as to eliminate ‘paying to outsiders from sixty to eighty thousand dollars annually for that one article’—and also wine for the Holy Sacrament, for medicine and for sale to ‘outsiders.’”

Not all the ambitious plans formulated in Salt Lake came to fruition.  In 1865, after the end of the Civil War and the coming of the railroad, the Utah cotton industry floundered, and by 1910 it no longer existed.  Likewise, growing tobacco was not a successful endeavor, at least in part, because of the LDS prohibition against using it.  Grapes became an important crop, but like tobacco, did not succeed because of the Mormon dictate against drinking alcohol.  On 10 April 1876, Levi Mathers Savage, a school teacher, wrote in his diary, “A great deal of wine is manufactured here, and I am grieved to see some elders abuse this blessing, by becoming dissipated with the beverage.  Some of the youth in Zion are following diligently in the example of thoughtless and foolish fathers . . .”

The production of grain-sorghum molasses which was used locally and exported to Nevada, Idaho and Montana was successful.  Mining was another successful venture.  The Church also established an improvement program intended to construct canals in order to make maximum use of available water sources.  Mormons became well known for their skills in developing irrigation works and were among the first Euro-Americans to irrigate lands in Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, and Alberta, Canada.  Irrigation opened large areas to settlement in California, Arizona, New Mexico,Idaho and northern Mexico.

Aaron York and Mary Trueworthy Carter and their daughter, Mary Angelia, born 10 September 1860, in Provo, joined the mission to Dixie in 1862, settling in Grafton, Washington County—now a ghost town near Zion National Park.  Aaron and his family returned to Central Utah in 1867, and Aaron bought property in Juab County.  Sometime later, Aaron and his family moved to Santaquin, where, on 13 November 1881, Aaron died leaving Mary with eight children, ages three to twenty-one.  In 1886, Mary married George B. Higginson in the Logan Temple.  Not much is known about Mr. Higginson from family records, and the 1890 census that might have provided information is incomplete as the result of a fire at the Commerce Department in 1921.  The 1900 census indicates that Mary C. Higginson was living in Santaquin, age 58 and widowed.  Richard York wrote this about his mother: “After raising eight children my mother became an efficient midwife for Santaquin,York, and Warm Creek.  She was also an expert in making medicines from the herbs she gathered in fields and lots.  She made a liniment called York’s liniment and one called Old Bob of which she gave freely, always helping the sick and giving of her time and talents.”  Mary died in Santaquin on 1 August 1932, at the age of ninety-one.


Aaron York gravestone in Santaquin Cemetery, Santaquin, Utah
Courtesy of Gary and Marcia Braithwaite

Asa Bartlett York, the oldest child of Aaron and Hannah Carter York, was born 23 September 1832, in “Reedsville” (possibly a location in Grafton), Maine.  On 28 September 1853, he married Mary Jane Bethers who was born on 28 February 1835, in Quincy, Illinois.  The couple had four children who were born in Provo: John William, born in 1855; Sarah Jane (who later married George Tiffany) in 1859; James Jasper, in 1860, and Asa Uriah, in 1862.  Asa’s story illustrates the hardships and heartbreak that the earliest Mormon settlers who journeyed to Utah experienced.

Almira T. Bethers, a daughter of George and Sarah Jane York Tiffany, wrote about the family’s mission to Dixie.  When Asa’s family, along with Aaron’s, was called to Dixie, they settled inRockville, near Grafton, Utah.  Asa’s wife had consumption and because of her illness Asa was hesitant to go on the mission.  However, she insisted, saying, “Asa you have been called to fill this mission.  Go and I will go with you.  What difference does it make where I die?”  In Rockville, Asa built a dugout for his wife and children.  Mary Jane grew steadily worse, and after a dam broke, flooding the dugout, Aaron told Asa to come and stay with his family in Grafton.  Asa “. . . had to wade in knee deep [water] to get all their possessions out and dry them.  Asa loaded their belongings, his wife and family on his wagon and went to Grafton to live with his father and wife, Mary Trueworthy Carter York.  Aaron and Mary gave their bed to Asa and his wife Mary Jane, and they set a wagon box just outside by the front door and made their bed in it, and they slept in one end of the box and their children [Mary, 3 and William, 1] in the other end, and Asa’s children slept on the slate floor.”  One morning after the men had gone to work, Mary Carter York, who by herself was caring for Mary Jane, became alarmed as Asa’s wife slipped away.  Mary Jane was reassuring, saying, “‘Mary don’t be afraid, my brother Jabeys has come for me and I am going,’ He had been dead many years. . . . Mary [Carter York] sit [sic] her baby on the floor and ran for sister Woodbury, she came and turned her over but she was dead.  These were very sad and trying times those days.”  Asa was left with four children, and with them he moved to Provo to be near his mother.

In 1864, Asa married Ellen Arelia Williams, born in Whittinsville, Maine, on 16 June 1849.  He, along with Ellen and his four children, returned to Grafton.  Subsequently, Asa and Ellen had three sons of their own, all of whom lived to adulthood.  However, tragedy struck again in January 1866, when his three sons, children of Asa and Mary Jane Bethers York, became ill and died.  Their sister, Sarah Jane, age seven, went to Provo, where his mother took Sarah under her wings.  Then, on 30 January 1870, Asa’s second wife Ellen died suddenly and without warning.  Asa had lost Mary Jane and their three sons, with only daughter Sarah Jane surviving, and now he was left with his and Ellen’s sons, ages five, four and two.  Asa once again moved back to Provo, where in 1873 he married Emma Smith Haws.

Emma was born 6 August 1843 in Wayne County, Illinois, the eleventh child of Gilberth (1801-1877) and Hannah Whitcomb Haws (1806-1880), prominent early settlers of Provo.  In 1858, Emma married Lyman White Carter, a son of William Furlsbury and Sarah York Carter, and they had six children.  Lyman died on 16 February 1873, after he was injured in an explosion at the gold and silver mines in Eureka, southwest of Santaquin.  After Lyman died, Emma married Asa, and the couple lived in the Carterville section of Provo.  The couple had four children, two of whom died young.  Emma Haws Carter York died on 9 August 1917, and Asa died 12 March 1920, both in Provo.

William Furlsbury and Sarah York Carter, Dominicus Carter,
John “H” Carter, and Eliza Ann Carter

By now it should be obvious that the Carter and York families were intertwined in a tangle of twigs and branches.  They also stayed connected through their occupations.  On 14 September 1855, theDeseret News noted that “. . . Messrs. A. M. York and Wm. F. Carter are erecting a grist mill especially for the grinding of corn.”  On 24 October 1855, the Deseret News included the following notice: “Mssrs. Wm. F. Carter and Aaron M. York have their corn mill in successful operation, and judging from the splendid samples of New Hampshire bread and hasty pudding (mush) which I encountered on my table, I must give them the credit of doing ample justice to their customers.”

[to be continued]

The Courier
Volume 32, No. 3 (2008)

[Part 4, concluded]
The York and Carter Families in Utah

by Carole York

William Furlsbury Carter was born in Newry, Maine, on 1 May 1811, and on 28 February 1832, his “intention to marry” Sarah York of Bethel—Aaron’s younger sister—was filed in Newry.  Their marriage would have occurred sometime soon after that date.  Sarah was born on 25 August 1812.  William, an experienced blacksmith, and his family stayed in Council Bluffs to help outfit the emigrant trains, and he and Sarah arrived in the Great Salt Lake Basin in 1850.  Meanwhile, William had taken two plural wives.  In January, 1847, in Council Bluffs, he married Cordelia Hannah Mecham.  She died three months later, on 3 April 1847.  On 13 March 1847, William married Roxena Mecham, a cousin of Cordelia.  Roxena was born in Pennsylvania on 2 December 1830.  The couple had ten children.  William married two other wives in plural marriages:  Elizabeth Howard (1827-1903), on 9 October 1854, and Sally Ann Mecham (1842-1910), Roxena’s sister, on 2 December 1857.  According to family records, William had thirty-six children and two-hundred-sixty grandchildren.

On 28 August 1852, the Church called one-hundred-six missionaries to many parts of the globe.  William and five others were called to serve in India, and he left on 22 October of that year.  In January, 1853, William arrived in San Francisco.  On Sunday, 9 January 1853, William wrote in his journal, “San Francisco is literally alive with people.  They pay no regard to the Sabbath—trading, drinking, gambling and all manner of wickedness is carried on, that can be thought of or named.”  On 28 January 1853, William recorded that he boarded the ship Montsoon [Monsoon] bound for Calcutta, where it anchored on 25 April 1853, “six months and three days” after leaving home.

In India, William and his fellow missionaries met with resistance from the British who governed India and a culture so foreign to the Mormons that it was virtually impossible to gain any converts. Upon arriving in Calcutta, William wrote, “The most of the church have apostatized, especially the natives. . . . We find the church here in bad condition, but we hope the condition of things changes for the better.  The heat here is oppressive; the coldest place that I can find in the shade, I sweat like a man over a furnace.”  On 29 April 1853, William wrote, “Brother Fathringham [Fotheringham] and myself were appointed to go to Dinapore [probably Dinajpur], up the River Ganges, 600 miles from Calcutta.  Brothers Miek and Saxon made a report of situation in the country and church. There were only seven or eight in fellowship in Calcutta.”  William and his missionary companion sold their watches to get money to travel to Dinajpur.  Upon arriving there, he and Brother Fotheringham went to visit General Young [a British military officer], and William wrote, “He gave us little encouragement [and said he] believed in the tradition of his father and he presumed that he never would change his mind, and he presumed that the rest of the people were like him: did not want to change their religion.”  General Young refused to let the missionaries preach in any of the British meeting houses (churches) and discouraged them about success converting the soldiers, stating, “They are fond of their plays and recreation.”  William wrote, “The prejudices against us here are strongly fettered.”

Cultural differences between the Mormon missionaries and the Indians were profound.  “We passed one native town today where as many as 100 men and women and children that run after us as far as they have strength, holding out their hands and begging for something to eat.  The captain [of the steam ship that was taking William and a fellow missionary from Calcutta to Dinajpur] informed us that they had lost their caste and their friends would not give them work or anything to eat, and they have to live on grass or whatever they can get.”  William repeatedly described scenes of death and bodies floating in the river.  “It is ridiculous to see dead bodies floating on the water.  I counted 40 skulls with other bones in traveling five or six miles.  You can see them laying all over the sand bars.”  Deterred by the British, William and his missionary colleagues encountered suspicion and hostility from the Indian population.  While traveling from Calcutta to Dinajpur, William wrote about a side excursion to “Chunar” [the author could not locate Chunar on a current map] in an attempt to gain converts.  “We saw no possible chance of doing anything in this country at present; the prejudice is so great.  The officers and priests rule the people without one exception and the wicked rule, the people mourn.  We were obliged to turn back” [on the trip to Dinajpur].  Upon arriving in Dinajpur, the conditions for proselyting did not improve, and William’s health deteriorated.  On 26 June 1853, he wrote, “My health was tolerably good until I arrived in Chunar.  By being under a tree in the hot wind and sun for about four hours, where the thermometer stood between 110-120 degrees in the shade, which overheated my blood to such a degree I have not had good health since.”  In addition to the tropical heat, diseases were endemic, as illustrated by the number of dead and dying that William encountered.

In ill health, William boarded the John Gilpin on 9 July 1853, and one-hundred-twenty-six days later he arrived in Boston.  From Boston he traveled to Newry, Maine, to visit relatives.  After he left Newry, William traveled by train, steamboat, and stage coach, arriving at the home of Alvin Tripp (who was married to his sister, Almira) in Lima, Illinois, on 20 December 1853.  Here he learned that his father, John Carter, had died the year before.  He was overjoyed to hear that Roxena had borne their third child, Edward Mecham Carter (named for her father) on 5 July 1853.  William’s journal ends here.  The Deseret News of 9 November 1854 reported that he had been appointed leader of a large wagon train traveling to Utah.  William arrived home around September, 1854, two years after leaving Utah.

In 1882, when Sarah York Carter was seventy-one years old, she drove a wagon from Santaquin to Pima, Arizona, a trip that took about six weeks.  Sarah was traveling with her sons, William Aaron Carter and Edwin Levan Carter, and her son-in-law and daughter, Alexander Jr., and Charlotte York Carter Wilkins.  The family was traveling from Santaquin, Utah, to Pima to help settle a Mormon village, part of the colonization effort by the Church.  William Aaron, Edwin Levan and Charlotte were the three youngest children of William Furlsbury and Sarah York Carter.

Christa Lillis Wilkins, a daughter of Alexander and Charlotte York Wilkins wrote about this trip: “. . . Grandmother Sarah York Carter was driving the wagon all alone.  Grandmother had made the trip because it was time for mother’s fifth child to be born.  Grandmother had left her home in Utah to be with and help mother who was her youngest child.  The Indians came rifing [rifling] down on them. . . . at the time it was the custom for the Indians to hold out their hand and shake the white man’s hand saying, ‘Hello John” if they were friendly.  Mother was so frightened she did not know what to do, but Grandmother Carter held out her hand when they said ‘Hello John’ and shook hands and said right back, ‘Hello John.’  She seemed not frightened at all.  The Indians were friendly and did not molest the family.”  However, the travelers had reason to be wary.  Although it rarely occurred, Indians did kill some settlers, one of whom, in Pima, was Brother Thurston.  “His death surely cast a gloom over the community and all the valley as this good man was well and favorably known to all the pioneers.”

Initially, the settlers—thirty-three in all, including several other families—lived in their wagons, after which they began homesteading the land.  Pima had been settled for only three or four years, and living conditions were primitive, many of the houses being made of cottonwood logs with dirt floors and sod roofs.  Alexander, 38, died of typhoid fever on 8 September 1893, leaving Charlotte with seven children still at home (the youngest was 16 months old; Stella, the oldest, was married with one child).  All the children survived to adulthood.  According to Christa, her mother never got over the sorrow from the death of her husband; Charlotte died on 24 January 1943, age 87.  Sarah York Carter died in Pima, Arizona, on 8 September 1888, and William Furlsbury Carter in Santaquin a month later, on 11 October 1888.


Sarah York Carter
Courtesy of Robert E. Givens

Dominicus, the first child of John and Hannah Libby Knight, was born in Scarborough, Maine, on 21 June 1806.  He served three missions in 1843, 1844 and 1845, during the time the Saints were at Nauvoo.  The first two missions were to Indiana, and the third to Ohio.  In Provo, like his brothers (William and John “H”), Dominicus was a blacksmith.   Among his other accomplishments were the following: heran a hotel called the Lion House; he was a member of the Provo Manufacturing Company that was organized in 1853 to use the Provo River for operating machinery and irrigation; after 1851, he was a member of the city council, and an administrative assistant to the clerk of the Utah County Court; he was active in church business and served in different capacities, including counselor from 1852-1854 to stake president George A. Smith, counselor to James C. Snow (who married to Dominicus’ sister Eliza Ann), and president of the stake in 1860-1861.

During the time that Dominicus was a leader in Provo and his church stake, the Utah War took place.  The War grew out of national disapproval of the Latter-day Saints’ practice of polygamy.  In April, 1857, President Buchanan mobilized an army to force the Mormons to comply with United States law and replace Brigham Young with Alfred Cumming as governor.  In September, Brigham Young declared martial law and called up the militia to fend off the United States forces.  Thirty-thousand Mormons evacuated Salt Lake City, and when the United States army arrived there on 26 June 1858, the city was deserted, church records buried and the temple foundation covered over.  Thomas L. Kane, a non-Mormon friend of the Church who was prominent in United States political circles, negotiated a truce.  Cumming was accepted as governor and the Saints were given amnesty.  The United States army was allowed to camp forty miles south of Salt Lake City at Camp Floyd, where troops remained until the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861.

“Not to spite his accomplishments that were many and varied . . . Dominicus Carter’s greatest and longest lasting achievement was in the bearing and nurturing of his children and the befriending and cherishing of his wives,” Barton Carter, a descendant wrote.  Dominicus had eight wives in all.  In Newry on 28 April 1828, he married Lydia Smith, also of Newry.  She died near Far West,Missouri, on 23 October 1838, only two months after the couple lost their daughter, Sarah Emily, aged two, on 11 August 1838.  In November 1838, Dominicus married Sophronia Babcock, who was born on 14 July 1822.  Sophronia died during childbirth, as did her infant, on 26 August 1847 near Council Bluffs, Iowa.

In 1860, five of Dominicus’ wives remained.  Lydia and Sophronia had died, and a third “had separated herself from him and married a man she would not have to share with anyone.”  This was Sylvia Amaretta Mecham Carter who married John Snyder in 1867.  Thus it was that at least one of Dominicus’ wives, Sylvia Mecham, was not content with the polygamous arrangement.  Sylvia’s discontent was perhaps exacerbated by the fact that of her five children by Dominicus, only Erastus survived.  Moreover, like Mary Ann Frost Stearns Pratt, who divorced Parley Pratt, Sylvia was the only wife of Dominicus Carter until he married his other plural wives.  The title of Todd Compton’s book, In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith, reflects the cost of plural marriage to the couples who practiced it.  Patty Bartlett Sessions also struggled with the doctrine, but accepted it as a sacred duty.  After his marriage to Sylvia, Dominicus took the following five women as plural wives: Mary Durfee (1830-1885) in 1844; Polly Miner (1832-1896) in 1852; Elizabeth Brown (1833-1914) in 1852; Caroline Hubbard (1831-?) in 1854; and Frances “Fannie” Nash (1837-?) in 1857.  The LDS Church renounced polygamy in 1890, although a minority continued to practice it.  In 1904 a second manifesto threatened excommunication from the Church for any polygamists.  Gradually, except for a splinter group (The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) that still exists, plural marriage in the LDS Church died out.

Two laws were passed as a result of strong anti-polygamy sentiment in the United States: the Edmunds Act of 1882 and the Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887.  Sometime after 1882, Dominicus, now seventy-eight years old, was forced to choose one of his wives and one house.  Many Mormon men went into hiding, but Dominicus, now over eighty, stood his ground.  Along with Church leaders Lorenzo Snow, the fifth president of the Church, and George Q. Cannon, Dominicus went to prison for several months.  On 2 February 1884, Dominicus died, surrounded by four wives at his bedside.  There is some disagreement about how many children Dominicus had, but a close approximation (based on family records) would be forty-six children, seventeen of whom had predeceased him; he also had eighty-seven grandchildren and forty-one great-grandchildren.

Eliza Ann Carter Snow was born on 28 September 1818 in Newry, Maine, and, “like her sister, Hannah, and brothers Dominicus, William F., and John ‘H,’ accepted the gospel teachings of the Latter-day Saints in their entirety including the doctrine of plural marriage.  Enroute west with her family, Eliza married James C.[Chauncy] Snow in Kirtland, Ohio, 1838.  James was born inChesterfield, New Hampshire, on 11 January 1817, and the couple had ten children, nine of whom lived to adulthood.  Eliza Ann consented to her husband’s [plural] marriages to Lydia Chadwick on 20 February 1856; to Jane Cecelia Roberts on 2 Dec 1856, and Ann Clark on 13 March 1857.”

James Snow was a community and church leader and, like Dominicus Carter, he went to prison for practicing polygamy.  While he was there, Eliza wrote him a letter.  The letter is undated, but must have been written after the two anti-polygamy laws were passed in 1882 and 1887.  Excerpts from it illustrate the sacrifices that the Saints made for practicing their beliefs: “My dear companion . . . to think of your lonesome hours—your sorrow and sighing torn from friends and home—deprived of liberty—it destroys all my happiness. . . . If it was in my power I would decree all the [United States] soldiers so far back to hell that they would never find their way out. . . . I feel like standing up and defending Mormonism all the day long.”  Eliza Ann was the author of “A Heroine of the West,” a biography of her mother, Hannah Knight Libby Carter, that described the westward trek of the Carter and York families from Bethel/Newry to Salt Lake between 1836 and 1850-1851. James Snow died on 30 April 1884, age 67; Eliza died 9 March 1897, age 79.

John “H” Carter was born on 6 October 1816 in Newry, Maine.  (A brother, John Harrison Carter, had been born the year previous but died soon after, and the “H” was most likely a way to distinguish between him and his namesake.)  On 11 April 1838 John married Elizabeth Runnells Sweat, born 1 July 1818 in Andover, Maine, approximately thirty miles by road from the Carter home in Newry.  The couple had ten children, two of whom died in 1852.  In 1844, John took Sophia Eldora Sweat, Elizabeth’s younger sister, as a plural wife.  Sophia was born in Plantation B, near Andover and Newry, on 31 January 1828; she and John had nine children; two died in 1850 while the family was traveling to Utah.  Sophia, who had given birth on 30 October 1849, suffered from small pox on that journey.  Her infant, Amos Libby Carter, did not develop the dreaded disease.  Family records indicate that John “H” and his wives and children arrived in Provo on 3 October 1850.  Not long after that, John was called to help settle the Manti-Nephi area, and by 1852 his family were living in Nephi, where he was elected to the town council.  In 1856, John’s wives and children returned to Provo where John built an adobe house and blacksmith shop.  Initially, the two families lived together, Elizabeth doing the weaving and clothes-making and Sophia doing the housework and cooking.  In the early 1870s, John traded his house and shop and moved north to a location that came to be known as Carterville, located in a section of present-day Provo.  Here John set up a blacksmith shop, and he and his sons dug an irrigation canal.  By 1879, a flourishing small settlement stood where there had been nothing but wilderness only a few years earlier.  Elizabethdied on 17 September 1881; John “H” died on 21 April 1896; and Sophia on 5 September 1924, aged ninety-six.

Today there are untold thousands of descendants of Aaron and Hannah Carter York and the Carter siblings who, with their mother, Hannah Knight Libby Carter, converted to Mormonism in 1834 (these were Dominicus Carter; Hannah Carter York; William Furlsbury Carter, who married Sarah York; John “H” Carter;  Eliza Ann Carter Snow; and Richard Carter).  Their stories illustrate the devotion, discipline and dedication of the early converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  After being driven from place to place, the Mormons embarked upon a perilous journey to the barren desert lands of what was then an unorganized territory.  (Utah became a “territory” in 1850—after the Saints had begun settlement—and a state in 1896.)  There the Saints pioneered new communities, dug irrigation canals, and worked to establish sustainable, self-sufficient agricultural commodities that could be manufactured and sold.  Although most of the Indians they met along the way were friendly, friction between the Natives and the Mormon settlers inevitably arose over competition for land and scarce resources, resulting in conflict that affected the pioneers.  From its beginning in Palmyra, New York, in 1830, the LDS Church had sent missionaries to many places in the United States, and, as William Furlsbury Carter’s diary illustrates, around the globe.  The Church’s political and economic power threatened non-Mormons all the way from Kirtland to Far West to Nauvoo to Utah, and the practice of plural marriage, officially announced by Orson Pratt in 1852 in Salt Lake City, further antagonized non-Mormons.

The Carter and York families were pioneers in Utah.  In this way they were like their New England progenitors, who were some of the earliest settlers in parts of Maine: Colonel John and Abigail Bean York, and Abraham and Sarah Swan Russell (related to the Yorks) were among the first people of European descent to permanently inhabit Sudbury Canada, now Bethel, Maine.  On the Carter side were Richard and Jane McKenney Carter, and Captain Zebulon and Lydia Andrews Carter, colonists in Scarborough, Maine, in the early 1700s.  Across the miles and generations, these families, like many other early American pioneers, contributed to the growth and prosperity of the United States.


Born in humble circumstances in Scarborough, Cumberland county, Maine, Dominicus Carter was the son of John and Hannah Knight Libby Carter. His father was a farmer, and Dominicus along with the rest of the family worked the farm. He had no formal schooling, but he did learn the trade of blacksmithing.He married Lydia Smith in 1828 and a few years later they joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Some records have 30 June 1832, others have 30 June 1834.) They moved to Kirtland (it appears they were in Kirtland by 1834) where he “had the privilege of hearing and listening to the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith.”In 1838 Dominicus and Lydia Smith Carter were a part of Kirtland Camp, the large wagon train that made the exodus from Kirtland to Missouri. While traveling, they lost their two-year-old daughter Sarah Emily. Then, twenty days after arriving in Far West, Lydia died, leaving Dominicus with four children. Together they endured the trials of expulsion from Missouri.In March 1839 Dominicus married Sylvia Ameret Meacham.In January 1844 he took his first plural wife, Mary Durfee.His next plural wife was Sophronia Babcock, probably marrying in January 1846 in Nauvoo. Some records indicate that he also married Sophronia’s younger sister Eliza Babcock. It appears that Dominicus and Eliza were married in 1846 during the Nauvoo period, but she was back with her mother soon after as evidenced by the Winter Quarters Wards Membership Lists. Eliza crossed the plains as Eliza Babcock, and in 1855 she married John Groves.Dominicus was living near Nauvoo when the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were killed.The trials of those days are well known and don’t need to be repeated. It is said that Dominicus intended to leave with the early emigrants for the West, but he was asked to stay in Nauvoo and build wagons. He also worked on the Nauvoo temple and was one of those who received the blessings of that temple in December of 1845. Eventually they joined the body of the saints in Winter Quarters, but Sophronia died in childbirth on the plains on 26 August 1847.In 1851 Dominicus, his wives and his six living children finally arrived in Salt Lake City. They moved to Provo in October of that year. But Sylvia Meacham decided that she didn’t like the life of the polygamist wife and divorced him. It’s unclear exactly when she left, but they had to be together for the conception of their son Isaac Morley, who was born in June of 1851 and died while they were crossing the plains. They had no more children together (see her bio) and Sylvia married her 2nd husband on 3 Nov 1855, so she was divorced from Dominicus by then.Once Dominicus was settled in Provo, he took four more wives:

Polly Miner 1851

Elizabeth Brown 1852

Caroline Maria Hubbard 1854 (divorced in 1861)

Frances Nash 1857

Among his descendants, much is made of Dominicus Carter’s nine wives, but before he ever came west he had already lost two of those wives, and three others chose to leave. During most of the Provo years he lived with four wives: Mary Durfee, Polly Miner, Elizabeth Brown and Fannie Nash. At his death all four of those women were at his bedside. By the count of his grand daughter Hannah Clark Pike, he had “46 children, 17 of whom preceded him in death, 87 grandchildren and 41 great grandchildren.” (The book “Carter Pioneers of Provo Utah” says he had 52 children, but there are several known mistakes in that list.)

Dominicus Carter was described as a high-spirited man and a respected citizen of Provo:
He was First Counselor to President George A. Smith of the Utah Stake.
He served on the Provo City Council.
He was a Probate Judge for four years.
He was a good singer and in the early days led the singing in Provo.
He helped organize a band which furnished music for the early militia and was their leader for twenty years.

During the 1880s, when polygamists were hunted and tried, many men went into hiding – but Dominicus Carter stood his ground. As a result, he served time in the state penitentiary. He was in his seventies.

In the history that Hannah Clark Pike wrote about her grandfather, she said this: “For years he ran a blacksmith shop in Provo. I remember as a girl seeing him put the oxen in an old wood frame to shoe them. He and his older sons also ran a hostelry. I remember seeing the stages drive in, they would run out and change the horses. Sometimes the stage would hurry away and at other times they would remain and go to my father’s large home and eat. He always lived in Provo, owning a great deal of property. His homes, blacksmith shop and hostelry were between 1st and 2nd North, 5th West and from 4th West to 5th West and 1st North, Provo. He died as he always lived, a true Latter-day Saint. While on his death bed he called his family around him and gave them many sacred charges for their guidance through life. He bore a strong testimony to the divine mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith and advised his posterity to abide in his faith.”

Donated by:Vauna Marie Kelly

Dominicus is buried at Block 4 Lot 10.

Family links:
John Carter (1782 – 1852)
Hannah Knight Libby Carter (1786 – 1867)

Lydia Smith Carter (1809 – 1838)*
Sophronia Babcock Carter (1822 – 1847)*
Sylvia Ameret Meacham Snider (1820 – 1894)*
Mary Ette Durfee Carter (1830 – 1885)*
Polly Miner Carter (1832 – 1896)*
Eliazbeth B Brown Carter (1833 – 1914)*
Caroline Maria Hubbard Fenstermaker (1831 – 1907)*
Frances Nash Carter–Davis (1836 – 1908)*

Arlytia Lydia Carter Peck (1829 – 1854)*
Lucinda Carter Curtis (1831 – 1904)*
Barrett Carter (1833 – ____)*
Sidney Rigdon Carter (1834 – 1912)*
Sarah Emily Carter (1836 – 1838)*
Lydia Ann Carter Peck (1838 – 1853)*
Erastus Francis Carter (1843 – 1912)*
Isaac Morley Carter (1845 – 1845)*
Infant Carter (1847 – 1847)*
Wilford W. Carter (1848 – 1849)*
Mary Jane Carter Stewart (1850 – 1938)*
George Dominicus Carter (1852 – 1922)*
Frances Clark Carter Knight (1853 – 1935)*
Edmund Durfee Carter (1854 – 1915)*
Polly Ann Carter Whipple (1854 – 1931)*
Enos Carter (1854 – 1938)*
Harriett Carter (1855 – 1856)*
Mariah Elizabeth Carter Whipple (1856 – 1907)*
Willard Richard Carter (1856 – 1941)*
James Chauncey Carter (1856 – 1921)*
Clara Melissa Carter Bate (1858 – 1948)*
Ezra Carter (1859 – 1902)*
Franklin Richard Carter (1859 – 1932)*
Heber Kimball Carter (1859 – 1926)*
Warren Carter (1860 – 1922)*
Frances E Carter (1861 – 1906)*
Hannah Libby Carter Jones (1861 – 1938)*
Albert Miner Carter (1861 – 1929)*
Phebe Carter Taylor (1862 – 1930)*
Tamma M. Carter (1862 – 1862)*
John F. Carter (1863 – 1953)*
Nellie Ann Carter (1863 – 1863)*
Louisa Carter Sorenson (1864 – 1939)*
Nellie Ann Carter (1865 – ____)*
Alma Miner Carter (1865 – 1939)*
Seth M. Carter (1867 – 1869)*
Alfred Carter (1867 – 1867)*
Ann Carter (1867 – 1867)*
Charles Henry Carter (1868 – 1928)*
Samuel Carter (1868 – ____)*
Ruth F. Carter (1869 – 1870)*
Joseph William Carter (1870 – 1941)*
Marion Carter (1870 – 1874)*
Ilus Carter (1871 – 1881)*
Parley Pratt Carter (1871 – 1944)*
Arthur Carter (1875 – 1937)*

*Calculated relationship











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3 Responses to Dominicus Carter, 1806

  1. Jay R McClellan says:

    According to our family history records, my ancestors, James McClellan, and his son, William Carroll McClellan and their families were baptized by a missionary by the name of Dominicus Carter on May 12, 1839 (date is in question). If this is the same Dominicus Carter, and such is the case, there are now thousands of McClellans who are grateful to him for his service as a missionary.

  2. Linda says:

    Dominicus was either grandfather or father to my grandfather Marion Carter

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