Monday, May 24, 2010

John Sylvester Smith's WWI Draft Card

I found John Sylvester Smith's WWI draft card today. I love these draft cards, because they sometimes give information you can't find anywhere else.

John filled out his card when he was 34 years old, in September 1918.

At the time, he was living at 221 North 8th Street, Fredonia, Kansas. He was working as a foreman for a Mr. E.D. Russell, whom John listed as his emergency contact. When asked for "nearest relative," John, being an orphan, listed "no near relatives."

He had blue eyes, light colored hair, a medium build and medium height.

A year or two after completing this draft card, John married Floy.

Click to see more closely:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Aunt Sarah Maxfield Lemon Reminices

This is by Maida ~ Ira Arthur Maxfield's Wife

"On of the most interesting events she had treasured in her mind was the rescue and bringing in of the belated Martin Handcart co. and her family's part in it. This is the way she told it to me.

The Maxfield family, Aunt Sarah with her brothers and their parents, John Ellison and Sarah Elizabeth (Baker) Maxfield, had settled and were living on a farm in or near the Jordan area and had horses and vehicles there. When the word reach the Valley that a company of pioneers, pulling handcarts, were stranded and in dire circumstances, back on the Sweetwater and much help needed to rescue them, the Maxfield men began to get ready to go to their aid.
While they were preparing, the women were not idle. The mother hurriedly mixed up great batches of sweet cookie dough, then placed each on a table, or as Aunt Sarah described it, this could have been a sturdy meat cutting block, and gave each of the children a wood flat paddle. Then their job was to go round and round and paddle the dough out flat. They made a real game of it, dancing and singing as round the job they went. When the dough was made thin all over, Mother would fold it over and over, then they would repeat the paddling. This was the 'leavening' to make them light. Finally, the thin dough was pricked and baked, after being marked into squares. (I can remember eating these 'sweetcrackers' during my chldhood and they were so light and delicious. I was glad to know how they were made.)MBM
When supplies and warm quilts, etc. were all packed in, (it was November), the older brothers left the farm and drove to the City to join many others, who had likewise prepared to go to the rescue and aid the Saints who were suffering so, to the Valley.
Then were the days of waiting while the horses of the rescue teams were making their way through the deep snow over the mountains; hard on horses and men. Of course, Aunt Sarah then knew nothing of how terrible was the suffering and anxiety of those Saints on the Sweetwater until those willing and brave men arrived in that camp of sickness, cold, hunger and death. How much those people paid to gather to Zion!
Then Aunt Sarah related how they waited, watched and prayed to see their brothers returning, until one day word came the rescue party and those that survived of that ill-fated handcart company were nearing the Valley. After watching so long, with their noses pressed against the windows, there they were! A dark line in the snow, like a long snake, became visible making its way down the hill from Emigration Canyon. (They arrived 30 November, 1856.)
This brought great joy to those in the Valley. Again everyone was busy getting the big sleighs ready with straw and warm rocks and quilts. Then away went Father John Maxfield and a young son James, just nineteen years old, to see what they could do to help some of those grateful people.
When they returned, in the welcomed warmth and comfort of the family sleigh was a mother, widowed by her husband dying from that awful ordeal at that last campsite, and her two daughters. There were: Mary Matilda (Blanchard) Clifton, widow of Robert Clifton, and their two daughters; Sophia, age 12, and Ann, age 7. (Their eldest daughter Rebecca, age 20, remained in Council Bluffs because her shoes were worn out. She was to come later, but remained there and married.)
Aunt Sarah's brother James carried little Ann into the house in his arms, then stood her on a table and had her sing for them. He, at that time, made the remark that she was the girl and he would marry her one day.
The Cliftons were cared for for a time at the Maxfield home until they could settle somewhere. Mary M. Clifton later married a Mr. Thompson. The daughter Sophia married a Godfrey.
James Appleton Maxfield married first Sophia Johnson and had four children. After Sophia's death he did marry Ann Clifton, the little girl he had carried into the Maxfield home many years ago."

John Ellison Maxfield and Sarah Elizabeth Baker were my great, great, great grandparents. ~ Carla

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Almira Emily Hill Harris

The following is a brief biological sketch of Almira Emily Hill Harris, who is my great-great-great-great grandma. She is the mother of Artemissa Ann Harris, who is the wife of Richard Dunwell Maxfield. We have records of the Maxfields going pretty far back, but up to this point (at least in my PAF), we didn't have Artemissa's parents, so this was a great find.

I copy and pasted so the article will be here, but it is taken from this website:

The history of this woman and her children can be a little confusing depending on what source you are looking at. After her husband died she remarried Abraham O. Smoot, and he was quite the poligamist. Therefore, some her first husband's (and our ancestor) children are attributed to Smoot, but if you click over to the link, you can see who her children are with Zachariah Harris. 


By Carole Call King, great-great granddaughter

Emily Hill was born in Pendleton District, South Carolina, on 25 November, 1816 (some accounts list 1815 as the year of her birth). She was the second of seven children of Jehu Hill and Martha (Patsy) Carlin Hill. Emily had four sisters: Mary, the eldest, twins, Elizabeth and Jane, and Adeline. Her two younger brothers were Franklin and John.

When Emily was four years old, her parents moved to Tennessee. The family traveled on horseback and packed everything that was needed for food, clothing, bedding, and shelter for Mother and Father and four little girls ages 6, 4, and two year old twins. They settled on Duck River, White County, and lived there about eight years.

Jehu and Patsy decided to move the family again about 1828. Their destination was Illinois. They spent the summer en route in Kentucky, Christian County, then continued the journey. They reached their distination in the fall, entered land and made a home in Macoupin County, Illinois. Emily had two brothers and a sister born in Carlinville, Macoupin, Illinois.

On 6 Mar 1834 when Emily was 18 years old, she married Zachariah Harris in Carrollton, Illinois. They later moved to Hillsboro, Montgomery County.

Emily and Zachariah had lived in Hillsboro only a few months when her father sent word that her invalid mother was dying and he needed her help. Emily left as soon as possible but her mother died before she was able to get back to her parents' home. Patsy Hill was about 43 years old when she died in 1838. She left seven children.

Emily's older sister, Mary Hill Crismon, was married and lived in a distant county, so Emily was obliged to remain to keep house for her father and care for her younger brothers and sisters. The twins, Elizabeth and Jane, were now about 18 years old, and Franklin was 15, so they must have been a lot of help with her sister, Adeline, six; and brother, John, who was four or five years old. Certainly Emily needed their help, with her own small children, Artimissa Ann, three years old; William Jasper, two; and a new baby, Martha Jane, who was born 1 Jan 1838.

Emily encountered other problems as well. After her mother's death, her father began drinking to excess. But with kindness and patience she helped him get the problem under control.

Soon after this her father's family broke up and scattered among relatives. Emily went with her husband, Zachariah, to reside in Morgan County where he went into the harness and grocery business. He became successful and prosperous in that endeavor.

The next few years were very eventful for Emily Harris. Her little two year old daughter, Martha Jane, died on 16 Jan 1840. Another baby girl, Mary Elizabeth, was born to her on 3 Mar 1841. Her husband died suddenly of consumption, having eaten his breakfast with the family only a few hours earlier. At his death in September 1841, Zachariah was 37 years old. The very next month Emily's seven month old baby died.

With her life so drastically changed, Emily had to consider what was best for herself and her two surviving children, Artimissa Ann and William Jasper. She was left without a home, but was well provided with clothing and household goods. She decided to go to Macedonia, just thirty miles from Nauvoo, Illinois, to live with her oldest sister, Mrs. Charles (Mary) Crismon. Mary allowed Emily to set up a loom in her kitchen in order to help support her children by weaving.

While living with her sister's family, Emily first heard the gospel preached. Two of her siters had joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day (sic) Saints--the Mormons. Emily was most bitterly opposed to the Mormons, and she felt disgraced because her sisters joined them. In her early life she had joined the Campbellites and was a strong believer in that faith. However, as she lived with a family of Mormons and was continually visited by Mormons, she soon overcame some of her prejudice. Charley Crismon finally persuaded her to attend a church conference in Nauvoo. More from curiosity than any interest, she decided to go.

At the first sight of the Prophet Joseph Smith, her feelings softened. Emily listened to him preach a powerful sermon at the conference, after which she never doubted for one moment that the church was true. In the winter of 1842, at her own request, she was baptized by Andrew Perkins in water reached through two feet of ice.

About 1843, Emily and her two children moved up the Mississippi River to Nauvoo, Illinois. Her son, William, was fascinated by that beautiful city, and was excited to be able to get a job as a stable boy to take care of horses even though he was only seven years old.

The last week of June 1844, Emily was stopping with Brother Perkins family, who lived on the main road to Nauvoo. They heard the tragic news of the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph and his brother, Patriarch Hyrum Smith, in Carthage Jail. With other Saints in Nauvoo, they mourned the loss of these great men who had meant so much to them.

After the martyrdom Emily and her two children went to live with her husband's family. She remained with them for one year and fervently talked to them about the truthfulness of the gospel she had grown to love. She wanted them to believe as she did and go with them to the Rocky Mountains. The Harrises were all strong Campbellites and opposed her so bitterly that she met with no success. So Emily returned to the home of her sister, Mary Crismon, to make preparation to move with the Saints wherever they might go.

Emily Harris was married and sealed to Abraham Owen Smoot in the Nauvoo Temple on 18 Jan 1846 as a plural wife. (One account gives the date as 9 Jan 1846.) The very same day, Owen was sealed to 46 year old Sarah Gibbons, from Cumberland County, Kentucky. She was 15 years his senior, but Emily was close to his same age, 31 years old.

Margaret McMean Thompson Smoot, his first wife, was also a widow when she married Owen eight years earlier. Margaret had one son by a previous marriage, but A. O. Smoot had no children of his own at that time. Margaret's son, William Cochrane Adkinson, was adopted by A. O. Smoot and bore his name, William C. A. Smoot.

How did Margaret feel about these new wives? Here are her remarks: "Myself and husband being thoroughly convinced of the divinity of the Revelation of Plural Marriage given through Joseph Smith, my husband, with my fullest consent here took his first plural wife." Margaret remained faithful to the principal (sic) of plural marriage throughout her life.

When the first wagons pulled away from Nauvoo to begin their journey west, A. O. Smoot stayed behind with chills and fever. He finally left in May 1846, taking Margaret, Emily, and Emily's son, William Jasper, now almost 10 years old, with him. They arrived in Council Bluffs, Iowa on 17 July 1846.

Emily's other child, Artimissa Ann, 11 years old, is never mentioned on any of the lists of pioneers as going with A. O. Smoot's group. Emily's sister, Mary Crismon, her husband, Charles, and seven children ranging in ages from 16 years to 5 months are listed as traveling west with the Third Hundred, Jedediah M. Grant, Captain, First Fifty, Third Ten, Jacob Gates as captain. Artimissa Ann is not listed with them, either. Perhaps she stayed behind for a time with relatives, but she did come to Utah later. She married Richard Dunwell Maxfield in 1854 and lived in the South Cottonwood area south of Salt Lake City.

William C. A. Smoot, Margaret's son, was 19 years old at this time. He went ahead of his mother's group with the very first company, known as the Pioneer Company, under the leadership of Brigham Young. They left Winter Quarters 5 April 1847 and arrived in Great Salt (sic) Valley 24 July 1847.

And what about A. O. Smoot's wife, Sarah Gibbons? She never did go to the West. One can only speculate at the reasons. A note in Smoot's biography on 20 Jan 1852 states that she "filed her account against Abraham O. Smoot, who had left a divorce for her."

The Smoot family spent the winter on the west side of the Missouri River at a place called "Cutler's Park." It was a time of great suffering and sacrifice for all the pioneers in Winter Quarters.

In January of 1847, Owen was ordained Bishop by Wilford Woodruff and they joined together organizing companies for the westward journey. Their company set out for Salt Lake on 26 June 1847.

Journal History, 21 Jun 1847, listed the Smoot family along with others as follows:

"Fourth Hundred with A. O. Smoot, captain.

First Fifty, George B. Wallace, captain

Fifth Ten, Samuel Turnbow, captain

A. O. Smoot age 32

Margaret T. Smoot 37

Emily Harris 32

William Harris age 10"

It is interesting that Emily was listed as Harris rather than Smoot even though she had been married to Owen for more than a year and was expecting his first child.

Nearly 120 wagons were included in Owen's company. Each company of 100 was divided into groups of fifty, and the fifty into groups of ten with a leader for each. They proceeded with no serious difficlulty until the latter part of August when great numbers of their cattle died, some from lack of food and some from poisoning. An urgent appeal was dispatched to Salt Lake Valley for help and additional cattle. A week later Brigham Young and the Twelve, on their way back East again, met them at Pacific Springs with help and encouragement.

As the company left Brigham Young and the Twelve on 7 September, it snowed part of the day and the wind was cold. It must have been difficult for Emily to walk or even to ride in the wagon as she was almost eight months pregnant. The company arrived in Salt Lake Valley on 24 September 1847 and Emily gave birth to her son, Albert on 7 November 1847.

One year after arriving in the valley, Owen, with Margaret and Emily, William Jasper,and the baby, Albert, moved ten miles south of Salt Lake,east of the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon where Owen built a home and began to farm.

In 1854 A. O. Smoot was called by Brigham Young to what later became known as Sugarhouse to supervise the construction of a sugar company and manage the Forest Farm for Brigham Young, so the family moved to that area. On 23 September 1854 the Sugar House Ward, Great Salt Lake County, Utah, was organized with A. O. Smoot as Bishop. Bishop Smoot was involved in so many different ventures of church and community service that much of the work of the farm and family undoubtedly fell to Emily and Margaret.

In Sugarhouse, Owen met and married his fourth wife, Diana Tanner Eldredge. At the time of their marriage on 5 May 1855, she was 18 and he was 40, a difference of 22 years. By this time Emily had two more daughters, Emily Ann and Margaret Thompson Smoot, who was loving called "Maggie T."

Nine months after Owen's marriage to Diane, in February 1856, he married his fifth and last wife, 23 year old Anna Kirstina Morrison, a convert from Norway.

The next year A. O. Smoot was appointed mayor of Salt Lake to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Jedediah Grant. He served without pay for nine years by virtue of re-election, then declined a further nomination.

Emily's son, William, was called to serve a mission in Great Britain when he was 20 years old. When he went to the Endowment House to be set apart for his mission, President Brigham Young asked several of the young men in the group if they had sweethearts they would like to marry. William said he did. Brigham Young told him to bring her and be married before he left on his mission.

Willaim's sweetheart was Martha Ann Smith, daughter of Patriarch Hyrum Smith and Mary Fielding Smith. She happened to be at the Smoot home right then, helping Emily prepare clothing and bedding for William's journey to his mission. Martha Ann was very surprised when William came rushing in the house and said, "Get your sunbonnet, Martha, and come with me. We are going to get married!"

Martha turned to William's mother and said almost breathlessly, "What shall I do?"

"Law me, honey," said Emily, "put on the calico dress and go with him."

So Martha climbed into the wagon and they went to the Endowment House to be married by Heber C. Kimball. (Some sources say they were married by President Brigham Young.)

William went on his mission and left his young orphaned wife in the care of his mother while he was gone. Martha Ann turned 16 just three weeks after their marriage.

Martha Ann was already very good at spinning, knitting, weaving and many other skills, and she worked hard to earn her keep. By this time in the Smoot household there were four wives. Diana and Anna Kirstina had little children, and Emily had three young children, sixteen people altogether in the family. There was always work to do--especially when A. O. smoot was gone so much with other responsibilities as mayor of Salt Lake and Bishop of Sugarhouse Ward. With William gone as well there was probably a lot of farm work for the women to do in addition to the house work.

Because of Johnston's army (sic) invading the valley, William and other missionaries in England were called home after serving about sixteen months. During that time the Saints in Northern Utah were asked to leave their homes and move south because of the threat of Johnston's army (sic). A. O. Smoot moved his family to Salem Pond where his wives Diana and Anna,in the privacy of their covered wagons, gave birth to baby girls on the same day, 7 June 1858.

When the Smoot family traveled back home from Salem they were astonished to see William Jasper Harris riding toward them on a white mule. They didn't expect him at all, but were very excited to see him. He went back with them. When the family arrived at their Sugarhouse home they found the house just as they had left it. William and Martha Ann continued to live with the Smoot family and help them for two more years.

William was plowing a field and planting corn with a man named Joseph Abbot on 18 May 1859 when they were struck by lightening. Abbot was killed instantly and William was knocked unconscious, badly burned, and dragged around the field by a frightened team of horses. With faith and prayers Martha Ann and Emily nursed him back to life, though he was never very strong after that.

Owen's first wife, "Ma Smoot," as Margaret was affectionately called by family and friends, never had another child after William C. Adkinson, but she loved Emily's children dearly and the children of the other wives. She treated them as her own. Margaret had a lot of health problems. She wrote in her journal: 16 Nov 1859: "...My sufferings have been very severe. I have had to be waited on in everything I have needed, even to a drink of water, [which] has been brought to me by Emily Smoot or her daughter, Maggie T., for which kindness I hope to ever feel grateful. Emily has waited on me with all diligence and patience for which I feel thankful. All of Mr. Smoot's wives have been very kind to me...."

The four wives were very close, so all of them mourned with Emily and Owen when another tragedy struck on 17 June 1862. Albert had been given permission by his father to go for a bath with some of his companions to a pond near by. But finding the water rather shallow in the pond, they decided to go to the Jordan River--which was a very treacherous stream. The boys could not swim but they waded out into the water as far as they dared, holding hands, until they were out in water quite deep. Some of the boys turned to go back to shore. Albert put out his hand to the boy nearest him, hoping to get him to keep wading into the stream. But the boy stepped back and Albert went out of sight into a deep hole and was drowned. He was 14 years old.

In 1868 Brigham Young called A. O. Smoot to move to Provo where there were many problems. Brigham Young nominated Owen to serve as Stake President, Bishop, and Mayor of the town. Margaret stayed in Salt Lake City for a few years, and Emily and her family went with Owen to Provo.

When Margaret later moved to Provo, each of the wives had her own home. Ma Smoot's home, the largest and most pretentious of the four, became the center of hospitality for hundreds of visitors coming through Provo. It was located at 192 South 1st East. Emily's home was immediately west of Ma's home, at 65 East 2nd South. Anna's was west of that, and Diana's home was across the city at 136 West Fifth North.

Emily had a very busy life as wife of A. O. Smoot, a dominant figure in the history of Provo and the state of Utah, who was described by his son-in-law, Orson F. Whitney, as "colonizer, financier, civic officer, legislator, missionary, Bishop and Stake President, who frequently sat with the leaders of the Latter Day (sic) Saint Church."

Emily raised her children well and they married prominent spouses. her son William Jasper Harris married the daughter of Patriarch Hyrum Smith and Mary Fielding Smith, Martha Ann. They were the parents of 11 children.

Her daughter, Artimissa Ann Harris, married Richard Dunwell Maxfield in Salt Lake City 31 Oct 1854. They lived in South Cottonwood area in Salt Lake and had 8 children, 2 girls and 6 boys.

Margaret Thompson, "Maggie T.," Smoot married Wilson Howard Dusenberry on 25 Nov 1874. They had 6 children. He was very active in religious, government, and educational affairs in the state. He was mayor of Provo; a member of the state legislature; Utah County Superintendent of Schools; secretary-treasurer of Brigham Young Academy, and later, on the Board of Trustees of Brigham Young Academy; county clerk; cashier of First National Bank of Provo, with A. O. Smoot as President, and later cashier of Utah County Savings Bank; secretary-treasurer of Provo Theatre Company; on the Executive Board of Brigham Young University; and he served as assistant postmaster of Provo until he was 72 years of age.

Zina Beal Smoot married Orson F. Whitney on 18 Dec 1879. Nine children were born to them. Mr. Whitney made major contributions to the church and to the state. he wrote the four volume work, History of the Church ; he was well known as an historian; a powerful poet; a public speaker; a member of the Constitutional Convention; and college professor at Brigham Young College in Logan, Utah. He later became a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day (sic) Saints.

Emily Ann must have died as a child. No death date or marriage is on the record.

Elmira Emily Hill Harris Smoot died in Provo on 20 March 1882, at age 66. She is buried beside her husband and his wives in the Provo City Cemetery.


[This article was prepared by Carole Call King for inclusion in a work entitled Pioneer Women of Faith and Fortitude, published by the International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Publisher's Press, 1998. All the articles submitted for this publication were edited down to very short entries. None of the contributors to the book received a byline, and in many cases, the articles combined input from more than one source. We are using this complete version with the permission of the author. The book has a very comprehensive collection of brief biographical notes on women who were Utah Pioneers.]

Monday, May 17, 2010

John Ellison Maxfield (1801-1875)

John Ellison Maxfield was born at Youton, Yorkshire, England, in the Parish of Alne, March 21, 1801. He was the sixth of eleven children born to John Maxfield and Hannah Appleton. His middle name, Ellison, was a namesake of one of his uncles.
About 1818 John, together with his parents and several siblings, set sail from Hull, Yorkshire, England, bound for Australia. The ship in which they were sailing wrecked at sea. A passing freighter rescued the passengers and brought them to Canada. The Maxfields settled in Prince Edward Island, Canada.
John Ellison married Sarah Elizabeth Baker on March 26, 1827. They were the parents of eleven children, including my great, great grandfather, Richard Dunwell Maxfield. Sarah was born in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada in May 10, 1811, to Jesse Baker and Sarah Shureman.
John and Sarah had ten children born to them in Canada. Their names are Robert Quorton, Richard Dunwell, Elijah Hiett, Jesse, James Appleton, William Wellener, John Ellis, Sarah Elizaeth, Joseph Smith and Quincy Benjamin.
About the year 1844, two Mormon Elders from Nova Scotia came to PEI where they baptized fifteen people. John Ellison and probably other members of the families attended a meeting at which these two Elders spoke. The tradition is that upon his return home, John called his family around him and said "I have just heard what I have been looking for all my life," and expressed a desire to join the church and go to Salt Lake Valley. They were baptized, along with some members of Richard's and Williams' families.
John and Elizabeth owned a sawmill, engaged in ship building, owned a six hundred acre farm, and also raised thoroughbred horses.
The families had planned to build a ship in which to sail to Chicago (Fort Deerborn at that time), but instead chartered a ship and left Prince Edward Island in June, 1850. John and Elizabeth left their large farm unsold with instructions to their attorney to sell it and forward them the money. They never heard from their attorney again. The rest of the property was disposed of with the exception of a horse. The morning they were to sail, the horse was brought around to the front of the Inn and John asked for a bid. He got the highest bid from a minister who bought it.
They arrived in Chicago by sailing up the St. Lawrence River as far as they could go, then up one of the smaller rivers to the Great Lakes. They then sailed across Lake Michigan to Chicago. They would have had to travel overland from Chicago to Council Bluffs, being ferried across the Mississippi River on their way. The family reached Council Bluffs on July 9, 1850 and must have decided to cross the Missouri River and go over to Winter Quarters that same day. Jesse, their fifteen year old son, was drowned in the river as they were being ferried across. He had been sent to get something for his baby brother who was sick; he slipped off a plank into the swift running water and was never seen again.
Jesse's year-old baby brother, Benjamin, died a few days later on July 15. Sarah was heartsick.
The family arrived in Winter Quarters three weeks after the last company of Saints had left for the valley and were advised to stay there until spring. In the meantime, they prepared for the rest of their journey by purchasing food, oxen, cows, wagons and horses.
One month after their arrival in Council Bluffs they were saddened by the death of their uncle and brother, William Maxfield, who left a widow and five small children.
According to family tradition, John and Elizabeth brought with them a can of gold pieces; this they used in outfitting their family for the journey and were able to assist some of the less fortunate Saints. Sarah had brought with her exquisite laces, dimities, etc. that she had purchased in Canada to be made into baby clothing and other items when they reached their destination.
John and Sara left council Bluffs with their eight children and a nephew, John Ellis Maxfield, a 15 year old son of Richard Maxfield and Eliza J. Parrot, on May 1, 1851.
Sara Ann Picket, widow of William, and her five children remained in Council Bluffs, as did Richard and Eliza and the rest of their family. There was sickness in the family at the time and Richard and his thirteen year old son died in October of that year.
John Ellison and his family and nephew were part of the Abraham Day Company.
On the Journey to Salt Lake at Hams Fork near Sweetwater, Wyoming, on September 1, 1851, Elizabeth gave birth to her eleventh child whom she christened Henry Adheimer Maxfield.
The Maxfield's home in the Salt Lake Valley was near the Jordon River in what was then known as "Cottonwood" and was located on 150 acres.
John and Sara were sealed in the Temple, November 1855 by President Brigham Young. Although he lived some miles from it, John labored on the Temple until the time of his death. John was reserved in disposition and independent by nature, preferring to give assistance rather than to receive it. His grandson, Hiett, recalled that "Grandfather" was a kindly, dignified "English Gentleman". He died February 1, 1875. Elizabeth lived until March 3, 1894.

James Appleton Maxfield (1837-1903)

James Appleton Maxfield, great grandson of Richard Maxfield and Ann, grandson of John Maxfield and Hannah Appleton, and son of John Ellison Maxfield and Sarah Elizabeth Baker, was born on January 14, 1837 in Bedeque, Prince Edward Island, Canada. He was named after his great grandfather, James Appleton, of Yorkshire, England. 


James was one of eleven children. He crossed the plains to Utah with his family as a teenager. The eleventh child in the family, James' younger brother Henry, was actually born during the trek, in Wyoming! That means James' mother, Sarah Elizabeth Baker, went most of the way while pregnant.

James' first wife was Sophie Johnson (Dorthe Sophie Marcussen Jensen), daughter of Marcus Jensen and Ane Margrethe Lendhardsen. She was born in Skorringe, Maribo, Denmark on the 9th of November, 1841. To them were born four children: James, Emma, William, Chancey. They married in 1861, and she died sometime around 1870.

After Sophie's death, James married Ann Clifton in 1872. Ann was born on October 9, 1849 in London England, and was the daughter of Robert Clifton and Mary Blanchard.. Together, James and Ann had nine children: Hannah, Esther, Mary, Sophia (Pearl), Sarah, Robert, Enos Clifton, Ira, and Henry.

According to one of James' sons, "James and his brothers took part in the building of the west but, because no one took the time to write it down and have it recorded in the history of Utah there is very little to be found concerning them."

James owned the first meat market in Murray, Utah. He was Deputy Sheriff of Salt Lake County. He, along with his father and some of his brothers, worked for Brigham Young. Brigham Young sold them sawmills, and they paid for the mills by furnishing Brigham Young with lumber to build his homes. Two of the homes still stand on South Temple Street in Salt Lake City: the Lion House and the Beehive House. The Maxfields also selected the lumber for the Tabernacle, the Salt Lake Theater, and many other buildings in Salt Lake City and the surrounding area.

James' brother Rich Maxfield owned two sawmills, and his brother Robert owned one. James owned one in Tooele. Later, James bought one in Big Cottonwood Canyon. James and his brothers were all great horsemen. John and Elijah Maxfield were "the wild horse breakers." According to one of James' sons, James and his brothers "were all brave, fearless men."
James' brother Elijah Maxfield drove a stage coach between Salt Lake City and Council Bluffs. James made several trips with him. They could both speak "the Indian Language." Years later, James used to "trot" his children on his knee and sing them Indian chants.

When the Salt Lake City temple was being built, James and his brothers hauled granite from the quarry in Little Cottonwood Canyon to the temple block. It took four or six oxen to pull the heavy load. Sometimes the huge rock was loaded on timbers placed on the running gears of the wagons, but generally it was on a specially provided bed swing about a foot below the axles, and fastened to the wagon with iron rods. The teamsters liked to have James along because he was a blacksmith and could shoe the horses and oxen, if need be. He could also repair the wagons when the rims came off from the wheels or the axles broke. He made his own forge, anvil and bellows. Oxen were a little different to shoe than horses, because they have a cloven foot and each toe has to have a shoe. Eight shoes per ox make for a lot of work!

James and Ann's daughter, Edith, was friends with George Baxter, whose family moved to Indian Valley, Idaho in October, 1889. A year later, James and Ann decided to move their young and growing family to Idaho. 

As the Baxters were headed home from Sunday meetings one rainy afternoon, they neared a grove of trees by a bridge, where they saw a group of people trying to make camp--men, women and children. The Baxters felt sorry for the people and approached the group to see if they could help. To the Baxters' surprise, it was James Maxfield and his family, twelve people in all.
James' wife, Ann, was ill with a very bad cold, so the Baxters had the Maxfields hitch up their teams to the wagons and drive to the Baxters' home, a log house with two "nice sized" rooms and a lean-to kitchen, with two more rooms upstairs. Although eight Baxters were already living in the home, they made room for the Maxfields. As soon as the Maxfields arrived, Mrs. Baxter had Ann in a comfortable bed and was giving her the best of care. The Maxfields set up their tents in the Baxters' yard.
James' oldest daughter Emma had passed away in 1896, so James and Ann were caring for her three little boys. Pearl, the oldest daughter of James and Ann, had married and she, with her husband and baby, were also in the group of twelve. Most of the Maxfields suffered from smallpox on the journey from Utah to Idaho, so they had "many worries."
In spite of all the care given her, Ann developed pneumonia and passed away a week later in the Baxters' home. The saddened family decided to return to Utah to bury her, and stayed there for three more years until James passed away in October 1903.
Mary Baxter remembered how tiny and ill Ann seemed in the big bed in the Baxter home, and how tall and large James seemed standing next to her. (Mary eventually married James' and Ann's son Ira on October 7, 1909. George Baxter returned with the Maxfields to Utah and married Edith Maxfield on June 26, 1901.)
James' older brother, Richard "Rich" Maxfield, is the great-great-great-great-great grandfather of my children.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Gerda Charlotta Hoglund

Gerda arrived in the United States on August 31, 1886. She traveled aboard a ship called the Wyoming, which originated in Denmark, and traveled to Liverpool, England, and Queenstown, Ireland, before ultimately arriving in New York City. There may have been several Mormon converts on the ship.

According to the passenger list, she traveled with Sofia Hoglund, who was 21 (probably her sister). She also traveled with someone named Johanna Hoglund, who was 55. This is the age of her mother at the time. Is it possible the name was recorded incorrectly? Gerda is listed as her child. Family records show Gerda's mother was named Sophia. Johanna was listed as "wife" so it's possible her husband may have also been on board, but listed elsewhere.

Or is this the wrong Gerda?

Here's the passenger list:

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Ruby May Maxfield

Here are some photos of Ruby May Maxfield and her relatives. I assume this is a photo of her and her siblings, but I'm not sure. Ruby is in the back on the left:

This is a photo of Charles Henry Montag, Elsie Ann Maxfield (Ruby's sister), Ruby May Maxfield and her husband Loma Keene:

Cleo Bernice Keene

Genealogy, I am doing it.

I found some high school photos of Cleo Bernice Keene that I thought you'd all be interested in seeing. It's the 1938 yearbook of Huntington Park (?) High School.

Here she is with the "Hospitality Committee", in the top row, ninth from the left:

My high school probably could have used a "hospitality committee." Here she is with the Spartan choir, third row down, all the way on the right. She was the accompanist for the choir, according to the yearbook:

(Click on any of the photos to see a larger version.)

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

John Howland

One of our direct ancestors is also a direct ancestor of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., albeit through a different child.

John Howland was a young man (believed to have been born between 1592 and 1599) when he came to America aboard the Mayflower. He almost didn't make it to America... he went up on the deck during a storm one day and was thrown overboard. Luckily, he was rescued, and went on to have 10 children with his wife Elizabeth Tilley (also a passenger on the Mayflower). He died in 1672, the last remaining man from the Mayflower.

You can see how he is related to Joseph Smith here, through his mother.

John Howland is also an ancestor of George and Barbara Bush... I wonder which of the Howland children they come from?!

This is a link to the John Howland Society... shall we join?

I recently found out that one of Elliott's parent's friends is a descendant of some passengers on the Mayflower. I am hoping to find out if we are some how related to her also.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Harriet Sylvania Beal and Brigham Young

Sunday was our ward conference. I spoke with President Lee. He had me speak on family history. I got to looking through some of our progenitors' family history materials and found some interesting things, including this one I included in my talk. When she was seven years old, Harriet Sylvania Beal was one of those present when a meeting of the Church decided that Brigham Young should be the successor to Joseph Smith after Joseph’s death. Here’s that part of her story:

I was also present when the mantel of the Prophet Joseph Smith fell on Brigham Young and his voice for a time sounded like the Prophet Joseph, and it was a testimony to the thirty thousand and more Saints gathered there that Brigham Young should lead the Saints since the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith who was murdered in cold blood. The great audience of more than thirty thousand rose to their feet, thinking the Prophet Joseph had returned, and then learning that it was Brigham Young, they knew Brigham Young was chosen of God to lead the Church.


Before Brigham Young began to speak, Sidney Rigdon had talked for two hours, telling the people why he, Sidney Rigdon should lead the Church. And then seeing the manifestation we saw, it was a testimony we never forgot and never will as long as we live. I was seven years old at the time. Some things children never forget and I will never forget that grand occasion. And the wonderful Spirit of the Lord that was there made it all the more unforgettable.

At the age of 15, Harriet later crossed the plains with her father and members of her family. Her mother had died in 1851 after giving birth to twins who also died, the year before a wagon train made the trip with the remaining members of the family. In Utah, she married Alma, the son of Artemis Millett who had supervised the construction of the Kirtland Temple, and they settled in the St. George area. The daughter of Alma and Harriet married William Thomas Riggs, who was the father of my grandfather Henry Sears Riggs.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Allertons

I recently finished reading the book, "Mayflower" by Nathaniel Philbrick (thanks Dad!) It talks about the people who cam to America aboard the Mayflower ship. I knew I have ancestors who were born in England, and died in Plymouth, Mass, so I decided to look through my personal ancestral file and see if any of the names matched people in the book. Wouldn't you know, there are quite a few!

Mary and Isaac Allerton are 14 generations removed from me. They were both born in England, and due to religious differences with the main church of England, they separated with a group of other Puritans and moved to Leiden, Holland. After living in Holland for several years, the congregation they were associated with decided to move to New England and start over there.

The original plan wasn't to end up in what we now call Plymouth... They had received a "patent" to start a colony at the mouth of the Hudson River. Because navigation of the time was so imprecise, they ended up far north of their intended destination, and because so many were sick on board, they settled in at the location of Plymouth Bay.

Mary Allerton started her journey to America quite far along in a pregnancy. She and Isaac already had 3 children that made the journey with them; one, a daughter also named Mary, who is our 13 generation ancestor. Unfortunately, after what must have been an arduous journey across the Atlantic ocean, Mary (the mother) delivered a stillborn child while the Pilgrims were anchored in Plymouth Bay. She followed the baby to the grave not too many months later.

Her husband, Isaac Allerton, was now in this new colony with three children, the oldest being 8 years old. In the beginning of the colony, he served as the assistant to the governor of the colony, William Bradford. In the 1630's, it became apparent that Allerton was a bit of a rascal, as he committed some fraud and deception in order to increase his wealth in the community.

Sometime before 1634, Allerton had married a woman named Love (other sources cite her name as Fear) Brewster, but she died of smallpox.

He later appeared in Boston about the age of 53, and our PAF shows that he died in Connecticut in 1659.

For more information about the Allerton family, you can google his name, or Mayflower.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

How the Parkers and Riggses got together again

Here's a modern family history story by Lauren Parker from the January 1999 Ensign magazine.

Friday, August 18, 2006

A Parker who is a Riggs ancestor

As I commented yesterday on the previous post before Ginger invited me to join the blog, at the stake family history center, we discovered that Submit Parker was one of Ginger's great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great (that's eight great's) grandmothers. Submit was born in 1715 in Groton, Massachusetts. Her ancestors are on the FamilySearch Web site back to James Parker who was born in 1591 in Marlborough, England. James died in Massachusetts, so he was the first of that line in the Colonies.

Submit married Reuben Wood, and their daughter Anna married William Beal.  William and Anna's son Abel married Anna Franklin, and Abel and Anna's son William married Clarissa Allen.  Their daughter Harriet Sylvania Beal married Alma, the son of Artemas Millett and Susanna Peters.  Artemas was the subject of Ginger's previous post, for supervising construction of the Kirtland Temple.  We show him with two t's in Millett.

It will be interesting to see if Elliott's line goes into Submit's line.  Then at some point Andrew, Ethan and Emma would go back through more than one line to the same Parker ancestor.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

A Fish in the Family

This link is to a gentleman named Charles Fish, who married a Barbara Maxfield. Barbara Maxfield is in our line, and Fish is a name on Elliott's side, so it will be interesting to see if these two make us "kissing cousins"!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Melissa Ermizade Averitt

This woman is not actually directly in our family line. She was married to William Thomas Riggs, but his lineage to us is through a different wife, Clarissa Ann Millett. Still, I thought her life sounded interesting... she had so many children. I decided to include her story here.

MARRIAGE: She was married at the age of 13 to William Riggs. She later married William Turnbeaugh. CHILDREN: She had two children by William Riggs. She had 19 living children, and two sets of twins who were premature and died at birth, making a total of twenty-five children born to her. One of the children weighed fifteen (15) lbs. at birth. Source: Mrs. Minnie Paxman BIOGRAPHY: She was the first white child born in Manti, Utah. She came to Dixie (Washington, Washington, Utah) in 1862. Her parents were the first to be baptized after the organization of the Church. They came across the plains in 1848. Her father helped work on the foundations of all four temples in Utah. As a girl Sarah would help pick cotton and shear sheep. Sarah was a queen and a loving wife and mother. It gave her joy to have her friends come in and talk of the gospel for she was a devout Latter-Day Saint. DEATH: April 13, 1927 at Cedar City. Funeral services were held in Washington, Washington, Utah. She was laid to rest by the side of her husband in the Washington Cem., Washington, Washington, Utah.

Artemus Millet

This is one of our more famous (by Mormon standards anyway) relatives.

Artemus Millet was born in 1790 in New Hampshire. He was a builder, farmer and a stonemason. He was converted to the gospel by Brigham Young in 1833. He became the chief superintendent of the building of the Kirtland Temple, and also helped in the construction of the Nauvoo temple. He moved to Utah in 1850, and died there in 1874.

Apparently, he kept a good personal history, but his housekeeper burned it after he died. For more information about him, see this article.

In the book, "Remembering Joseph", a story is recounted how Artemus had become afflicted with cholera. Joseph Smith Sr, and his brother John came and administered to Artemus, but the blessing did not heal him. He said the pain was so excruciating that his pain was heard by the prophet Joseph who was approximately 250 yds. away. Artemus was told that he called out "Let Joseph Smith Jun. come and lay his hands on me and I shall be healed and know it." but he does not recall saying it. The prophet came to the home, which was crowded with people, and laying his hands on Artemus' head "asked God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ to heal" Artemus. The sickness he was experiencing stopped immediately, and Artemus says he began to get better at that very moment.

By the way Dad--- The PAF file you sent me has his name spelled Artemas, rather than Artemus, as all the other histories of him are spelled.

John Riggs

The name John Riggs is very common in our family history. the 6th, 7th, and 8th generation males on my paternal side all have this name.
The 6th generation man bears the middle name Lyle. He was born in 1824, in Greencastle, Putnam, Indiana. How funny that I have ended up in Indiana too.
The 7th generation John Riggs was born in the 1790's, in either Indiana, Kentucky, or Connecticut. He died in Indiana
The 8th generation John Riggs was born in 1772 in Oxford, New Haven, Connecticut. I don't have too much other information about him yet.

Interestingly enough, Elliott is reading a book called, "Remembering Joseph", in which the saints who interacted with the prophet Joseph Smith , Jr. recount their memories of him. The book has 2 different stories from a John Riggs who was born in Oxford, New Haven, Connecticut in 1812, and later ended up moving to Utah.

Elliott's sister Leslie has also given me information about some Riggs in their family line. These Riggs hailed from Connecticut (albiet a different part) in the late 1700's also. As soon as I get the Primary Program written, I plan to look into the connection.


This blog will be reserved for interesting stories in my family history, plus some mysteries in history that maybe others can help me solve.