Sunday, June 26, 2011

Price and Lydia Ann Lake Nelson Biography

by Lydia Ann Lake
written about 1904
Pioneers of 1850 with the Thomas Johnson Company
Price Nelson and Lydia Ann Lake are the parents of Samantha Nelson, wife of Warren Marshall Johnson

Price Nelson was born November 17, 1832 in Monroe, Jefferson County, Illinois. He came to Utah in 1850 with his parents.

Following is a sketch of my life, I am compelled to depend largely on my memory, as I have kept no records; still, I think that what follows is quite accurate, owing to the fact that my life has been cast with the Latter-Day Saints, and in their early movements I took part, but only as a child.

My father joined the Mormon church in 1832, while living in Canada. He was among the first to accept the doctrine under the teachings of Brigham Young and was the first fruits of this man’s labors.

I was born May 13, 1832, at Camden, Upper Canada, and was six months old when my parents joined the church, and our family remained there about one and one-half years after that event, and then moving to Kirtland, Ohio. My father worked on the temple, being employed as a brick-maker. Owing to the persecution, we were compelled to leave our home in Kirtland, and move west-ward. We intended to go to Missouri, but the trouble rising among our people and the Missourians, caused us to stop in Illinois. My father rented a large farm near Springfield, and remained there until the Saints assembled at Nauvoo. Wishing to get closer to the main body of the Saints, we rented another farm within fifteen miles of Carthage, and were living there when Joseph Smith and Hyrum were killed, and well do I remember the event.

That afternoon, my father sat reading his Bible; and read aloud the passage “The wicked flee when no man persueth.” That instant a man rode up to the fence and called out, “Joe Smith is killed.” We looked out and saw men, women and children coming with all their might, some in wagons and some on horses and all were fleeing from the awful scene at Carthage.

My father gathered a few household goods into his wagon and moved to Nauvoo, leaving a farm and a beautiful crop for which he never received a cent. We passed through the trials, common to the Saints at Nauvoo, and moved with them to Council Bluffs. Here my father built a log cabin and we occupied it for about two years. My brother Barney Lake, went with the Mormon Batallian to fight.

Owing to the lack of teams to cross the plains with, we were compelled to go down into Missouri and work for them. My brother, sister, brother-in-law and myself went down in the fall. I got a position as dishwasher and baby tender in a tavern. About Christmas while browning coffee in a large bake oven over the coals in the fireplace, my clothes blazed suddenly and I very narrowly escaped being burned to death. I attribute my almost miraculous recovery to the administration of Elder Phineas and Lorenzo Young who chanced to stop that night at the tavern. As soon as I recovered, we went north to the “Bluffs”. A few months after our return, father with all the family moved down into Missouri. He was fortunate in finding work, and we were soon equipped with teams and wagons. The people were very kind to us. In the summer of 1850, we went north again in time to join a company of Saints moving to the “Valley”. My father was chosen as captain of fifty. Our company was well equipped with ox teams and wagons and we were well supplied with provisions and clothing. Father had one large wagon with three yoke of oxen and a smaller with two. Our family then consisted of father and mother, my brothers, Bailey and George, and my sister, Samantha and Clair Taylor, and Jane Ardway, and my married brother, Barney, who had returned from the Mexican war. While on our way, Barney’s wife died and was buried on the plains. The most vivid events of the journey occurred at Green River, Wyoming. In crossing the river the wagon box floated off the wagon and began drifting down stream. In the box were a young woman named Snyder and a girl about nine years old.

All was excitement for a few minutes. The only man of the company who dared to swim the stream and effect a rescue, was a youth named Price W. Nelson, a young man, who up to that time, I had paid no particular attention to. He was of a quiet nature and I knew nothing of him except that he drove his aunt’s team. After this event, we two became better acquainted, which resulted in our marriage after arriving in Salt Lake Valley. We were married on the last day of the year of 1850 in the Old Fort at Ogden.

The ceremony was performed by Elder Lorin Farr. (Of the many things said at this time, the prophetic utterance of my father was proved the most true. He said, “Price is a good man, but he will never be contented anywhere.”) Our first child was born the thirteenth day of October, 1851, while living on my father’s ranch, five miles north of Ogden. We named him Edmond.

The next year, about the first of June, we started by team to California and while en route we fell into the company of an apostate man named Chapman and five other men who were driving stock. The journey throughout was quite pleasant. We stopped in San Bernadino, and liking the place decided to make it our home. My husband went into the saw mill business with Amesa Lyman and Charles Rich.

The mill ran during the winter but closed in the summer on account of the lack of water. During this time, for seven years, we moved each fall from the valley to the mountains and returned to the valley in the spring. Three children were born there. They were, Samanthe, Price William, and Lydia Ann. Heeding the call of the First Presidency, we, with other California Saints, came back to Utah.

We stopped at Payson and began to build up another home. Here my daughter Lorania, was born. About this time we heard that my brother had been killed by the Indians. Not being satisfied at Payson, we remained there only about eighteen months and then went up to Franklin, Idaho. Again Brother Nelson took up the mill work, laboring as a sawer in the mill of Thatcher and Benson then operating a sawmill at Logan, Utah.

The following summer I joined my husband at Logan, Utah. there Hyrum was born and James Mark. In that village, we lived comfortably for six years. (Jane must have been born between Lorania and Hyrum.)

Brother Nelson was called to assist in settling the “Muddy Mission”. We found there an ideal climate and very productive soil and followed farming for a livelihood. there my sons Alvin and Thomas George were born. There in Nevada we lived for six years and had an abundance of such things as could be produced from the soil, but had difficulty in obtain clothing. Conditions were favorable for building comfortable homes, when trouble arose between the settlers and the state authorities. Heavy taxes were imposed and the people were forced to withstand considerable abuse. President Young visited us and seeing the condition, advised us to move. We acted immediately on the advise and left homes and fertile land with luxuriant crops almost ready to harvest and went to Glendale, in southern Utah, arriving there with our large family with only what provisions we could carry in one wagon. Our livestock consisted of a team of horses and two cows. We fount it somewhat difficult to live, but was not long in finding work and again supplying ourselves with the necessities of life.

During the seven years we lived there, three children were born to us. They were Levi, Wilford Bailey, and our last child, who lived only three weeks, Philamelia.

Brother Nelson and the boys constructed a shingle mill which they operated about four years and did fairly well financially. My son, Thomas, died while there and four of the other children were married. They were Edmond to Mary Caroline Brinkerhoff, Samantha to Warren M. Johnson, Price W. to Louisa Elder and Lydia Ann to David Brinkerhoff.

During our residence in Long Valley, a general move of settlers to Arizona was in progress, and people were being called to assist in building the county south of us, also to help in the Indian Mission work then being conducted in Northern Arizona.

Edmond was called to assist Warren Johnson at Lee’s Ferry. We went on to the Joen Copi and were among the first settlers of that place. During one and a half years sojourn there, we lived with the missionaries at the old fort. My daughter Lorania was married to Joseph Foutz, the morning we left Moen Co. They started to St. George and we, to Pine Creek. At Pine Creek, we went into the ranching and stock business and soon had a good home.

We made a trip back to St. George in company with our daughter Jane and son-in-law, John Allen, who were going to the temple. The purpose was to be sealed to each other and have our children sealed to us. Not long after our return, Hyrum was married to Martha Sanders. The Saints were making settlements in Mexico and my husband, desirous to assist in opening new country was induced to break up our new home and move south choosing Cave Valley as our destination. Brother Nelson and the boys, Bailey and lEe, put up a grist mill. They also made chairs.

After being in Mexico three years, my brother, George Lake, and I went to the Logan Temple to be sealed to our parents. I spent the following winter with my sister, Eliza Smith, at Logan, and returned the next summer to Mexico.

After remaining about five years in Cave Valley, we moved to Oaxaca in Sonora and made a home about five miles up the river from the town. While there Alvin Nelson married Tennie Johnson and Bailey Edith Nichels. We built another comfortable ranch home.
Brother Nelson’s health began to fail in the fall of 1902. His ailments were dropsy and heart failure, which terminated in his death on 27 October 1902 of the same year. Two years after my husband’s death a flood swept everything from the ranch and I went to live with Alvin. Since then I have spent a short time with each of my children at the following places: Lee at Tombstone, Arizona; Jane at Hubbard, Arizona; Bailey at Morales, Sonora, Mexico; and Lorana at Colonia Juarez, Mexico.
When the Mormons were driven from that country, I came out with the body and went to Hubbard, arriving August 5, 1912. Edmond came after me the following October. I am now at his home in Eager, Arizona.
I am proud to remark that of my thirteen children, eleven raised large families. My grandchildren number 112 at present and great grandchildren about 184 making a total posterity of about 296.

Lydia Ann Lake Nelson died 14 January 1924 in Eager, Apache County, Arizona.

Samantha Nelson Johnson Biography

Excerpts from the Biography of Samantha Nelson Johnson- wife of Warren M. Johnson.
Written by Polly A. Johnson Judd for Daughters of the Utah Pioneers – October 28, 1932
Samantha Nelson, daughter of Price William Nelson and Lydia Ann Lake was born October 28, 1853 at San Bernardino, California. Her grandmother, Philomelia Smith Lake, was an own cousin to the prophet Joseph Smith. Her parents went by team from their home near Ogden to California, where Samantha was born. They lived there until 1850, when, heeding the call from the first presidency, they came back to Utah, settling in Payson. In 1865 they were called to assist in settling the Muddy Mission. Samantha’s first school teacher here was Worthington P. Wilson. The schoolhouse was a very rough building, made of adobe with no floor but the dry, loose sand. The school teacher took great pleasure in sitting in his rawhide-bottom chair, leaning against the wall an putting his feet on the rough table, would indulge in a good sound sleep for about an hour. he would appoint one of the older students to take his place as teacher. Samantha took her turn while he took his daily nap. The children, taking advantage of their young teacher, at the first snore would be down playing mumble peg in the loose sand, but at the first sign of life from the school master, the studious pupils would all be back in their places. This went on for about two years. Samantha’s next teacher was Warren M. Johnson.
The family lived here for about six years, when trouble arose between the settlers and the state authorities. Heavy taxes were imposed and the people were forced to withstand considerable abuse, until President Young advised the people to move away. The Nelson family, with others, moved to Berry Valley, now Long Valley. They settled in Glendale, where they began to build another home. Here Samantha again went to school taught by Warren M. Johnson. Her father made an old fashioned loom, and Samantha did her part in weaving cloth and making their clothes. The family passed through many trials and hardships, but they never complained.
Samantha married Warren M. Johnson October 28, 1872, in the endowment house at Salt Lake City. While living in Glendale three children were born to Permelia, and two children were born to Samantha.
In the spring of 1876, Warren received a call from President Brigham Young to go to Lee’s Ferry on the Colorado River to perform the duties of ferryman. … Their lives here in the early days were marked with many hardships and privations. The nearest settlements being about ninety five miles and at times the roads – especially over the Buckskin Mountains – were almost impassable, making it hard to get provisions and the necessities of life. They had to get along as best they could. … Sometimes they would be entirely out of flour and had to live on corn meal, which was ground on a small hand mill.
Indelible impressions were made on my mind while a very small child of watching Mother and Aunt Samantha braid straw and make our hats and in carding and spinning wool into yarn, and in knitting stockings for the family. They carded bats for quilts; their hands were never idle. While living here seven more children were born to Permelia and seven to Samantha. They were both good nurses and acted as midwives. In 1899, Samantha and her family moved to Kanab, where the children could take advantage of public schools and mingle in society. Here another child was born to her.
In 1900, part of the family went to Wyoming, the rest following a year later. They settled in Byron, on the Shoshone River. Father bought a ranch in Coburn, on the Big Horn River. He moved Samantha and her family here.
They were well pleased with their homes in both these places as there was plenty of land and water and the prospects of raising crops were bright. They were pioneers to these two settlements, as they were among the first Mormon settlers there. After living here for about two years, Father’s health began to fail. They did all they could for him, but gangrene set in and he passed away March 10, 1908, at Coburn.”
After Warren’s death both Permelia and Samantha moved back to Southern Utah. Permelia first and then a year later, Samantha. Most of their children returned as well. Samantha lived with her daughter in Pipe Springs for a while and then moved to Hurricane where she lived alone.
While visiting one of her daughters in Moccasin she had a paralytic stroke on died on the 7th of October, 1923.

Lucy Johnson Robison Biography

Life History of Lucy Johnson Robison
Written by Sister Nellie Vail
Daughter of Warren M. Johnson
Lucy Alice Neves’ Aunt

Lucy Johnson Robison was born at Lee’s Ferry, Coconino, Arizona, March 30, 1884. She was the daughter of Warren M. Johnson and Samantha Nelson Johnson. She was baptized by Asa W Judd and confirmed by Joel H Johnson.

Lucy was one of a family of ten children, four boys and six girls. Her childhood was a busy one, as in those days everything had to be done by hand. Soap was made by putting wood ashes with the fat of animals. Adding water this caused the formation of lye. This kind of soap was used for all things including toilet use.

Their mother made their clothing by hand, even boy’s suits, shirts, and underwear. Their father was a bee keeper. He often pacified hostile Indians by giving them honey. He would put comb honey in a large tub out in the yard by his home. The Indians would gather around it and eat it with their hands until it was all gone. A chief once wanted one of Lucy’s sisters and refused to leave without her until. Their father offered them honey and flour to take home.

Their father and mother taught them the gospel and also their school lessons. It was many miles to the nearest settlement and they never went to town more than once or twice a year.

They cultivated a large orchard and dried much fruit for their winter food. The children always helped to do this work. In this manner Lucy grew to young womanhood.

In 1900 Lucy came to the Big Horn Basin, Wyoming with her father, his first wife and several of the brothers and sisters. On April the 7, 1902 she was married to Joseph Rae Robison in Byron, Wyoming. It was always her desire to go to the temple but the opportunity was denied her. She was a deeply religious person. She had a deep desire to study the scriptures and the gift to interpret them. She enjoyed working in the church but her love was the “primary”.

Lucy was the mother of nine children. She and her husband bought a small farm north of Byron where the family lived. They raised Shetland Ponies and broke them to pull small carts. Lucy always had transportation with the pony and cart. It furnished a great deal of entertainment for the children including the cousins and neighborhood.

In 1919 Lucy was called to be president of the primary of the Byron Ward. In spite of her busy life with such a large family, she accepted the appointment and every week she loaded her brood of youngsters into the small cart and drove to town to primary. She was a faithful and able president. Her councilors were Grace Stevens, Automeila Wirth with Fredora Jensen as secretary.

Lucy was an outstanding example of fine motherhood and gloried in teaching the gospel both in her home and in the auxiliaries of the church.

Lucy passed away April 4, 1924 leaving her husband and children, on an infant son of a few days.

Note: Sister Charlotte L Pride and her councilors who succeeded Lucy and her co-workers remember that she handed them $500.00 to give to the bishop for the remodeling of the church.

Warren M Johnson Biography

By Lucy ??

Warren Marshall Johnson was born in Bridgewater, Grafton, New Hampshire on 9 July, 1838. He graduated from Cartmouth College, Bridgewater, New Hampshire. In 1864 doctors told him that his health was so poor the only hope of prolonging his life was to move to a warmer climate. He started the trek westward with some friends who were headed to the goldmines of California.

As the trip went on Warren’s health became worse and his friends left him in a doctor’s care in Utah. Since the weather was warm he slept outside in the good doctor’s yard. One morning the doctor’s daughter went outside and found Warren on the ground. She thought he was dead. The family took him inside and nursed him back to health. While he was recovering he read the Book of Mormon and the truthfulness of the book could not be denied. He was baptized on September 30, 1866.

Warren helped to settle the Muddy Mission in Nevada and then moved back to Farmington, Utah. Upon his return he married the doctor’s daughter, who had thought he was dead in the yard, Permilia Jane Smith. Together they had eight children. Three years after their marriage Warren married Samantha Nelson. They also had eight children together.

Then in 1875, the Prophet Brigham Young called Warren and his two wives on a mission to Lee’s Ferry. The ferry had been built in 1871 and 1872 by John D. Lee. The ferry was the only way to cross the Colorado River, at the time and became the route settlers took to travel between Utah and Arizona. Lee’s wife Emma was the one who managed the ferry most of the time as Lee traveled quite frequently.

Lee eventually left the ferry after the Mountain Meadow Massacre in an attempt to evade law enforcement for his involvement. It was at that point that Warren, Permilia and Samantha took over the ferry and operated it until 1895.

Warren’s daughter, Elizabeth Carling records his reaction to the Manifesto in her autobiography, “In the year 1890, Father received word about the manifesto being issued by President Wilford Woodruff. Word came to him that the people that were living the law of Plural Marriage would have to put away their plural wives, and he prayed and studied about it a great deal. It was a sore trial to him. He read the manifesto over and over again and again. It said: “To Whom It May Concern.” I heard him say to Mother one day, “It does not concern me any.”

The next year he was advised to move one of his families to Kanab and so Samantha went with her children. Just before the move and during Warren, Permilia and Samantha had a feeling that a huge trial was on it’s way. They fasted and prayed to be able to endure it.

Elder Faust continues their story, in his article entitled “Spiritual Healing,” in the Ensign, May 1992.

In 1891 the Warren Johnson family suffered a great tragedy. Within a period of a short time, they lost four children to diphtheria. All four were buried in a row next to each other. In a letter to President Wilford Woodruff, dated July 29, 1891, Warren told the story:

“Dear Brother …
“In May 1891 a family residing in Tuba City, came here from Richfield Utah, where they … spent the winter visiting friends. At Panguitch they buried a child, … without disinfecting the wagon or themselves, and not even stopping to wash the dead child’s clothes, they came to our house, and remained overnight, mingling with my little children. …

“We knew nothing of the nature of the disease, but had faith in God, as we were here on a very hard mission, and had tried as hard as we knew how to obey the word of Wisdom, [to] attend to the other duties of our religion, such as paying [our] tithing, family prayers, etc. etc. that our children would be spared. But alas, in four and a half days [the oldest boy] choked to death in my arms. Two more were taken down with the disease and we fasted and prayed as much as we thought it wisdom as we had many duties to perform here. We fasted [for] twenty-four hours and once I fasted [for] forty hours, but to no avail for both my little girls died also. About a week after their death my fifteen year old daughter Melinda was [also] stricken down and we did all we could for her but she [soon] followed the others. … Three of my dear girls and one boy [have] been taken from us, and the end is not yet. My oldest girl nineteen years old is now prostrate [from] the disease, and we are fasting and praying in her behalf today. … I would ask for your faith and prayers in our behalf however. What have we done that the Lord has left us, and what can we do to gain his favor again[?]

“Yours in the gospel
“Warren M. Johnson.” (P. T. Riely, “Warren Marshall Johnson, Forgotten Saint,” Utah Historical Quarterly, Winter 1971, p. 19; spelling modernized.)

In a subsequent letter dated August 16, 1891, to his friend Warren Foote, Brother Johnson testified that he had found a spiritual peace:

“I can assure you, however, that it is the hardest trial of my life, but I set out for salvation and am determined that … through the help of Heavenly Father that I [would] hold fast to the iron rod no matter what troubles [came] upon me. I have not slackened in the performance of my duties, and hope and trust that I shall have the faith and prayers of my brethren, that I can live so as to receive the blessings you having authority … placed on my head.” (Warren Foote Autobiography, LDS Church Archives.)

Warren’s example of faith and dedication to the Lord stands as his legacy. He continued to serve as ferryman after the tragedy for another four years.

Right around the time of Warren’s release from the ferry he was involved in a wagon accident that paralyzed him from the waist down. He spent the rest of his life in a wheel chair.

Five years after the accident Warren Marshall Johnson and his family accepted a call to the Big Horn Basin. They bought 40 acres for $100.00. Permilia settled in Byron and Samantha in Coburn (Greybull).

Warren spent two years in the Basin. During the winter of 1902 he became sick while staying with Samantha. Permilia was called for. He died on March 10, 1902 in Samantha’s home.

After his death the entire family moved to Byron. Warren had been buried in Greybull but the survey lines for the oil fields went directly over his grave. The family moved his body to the Byron cemetery.

William W. Slaughter wrote of Warren Marshall Johnson in the April 1997 Ensign. His words offer a fitting description of Warren’s life and legacy.

“The blessings to Warren Johnson and others who are willing to offer their all are clear: “I would that ye should come unto Christ … and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and prayer, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved” (Omni 1:26). … Everywhere, examples of sacrifice teach us that blessings follow those who give. Indeed, as we give to others we follow the spirit of sacrifice voiced in a hymn: “I shall divide my gifts from thee with ev’ry brother that I see who has the need of help from me.” In so doing, we learn humility, patience, and charity, thereby realizing the secret to a truly joyful, satisfying, and Christlike life.”

Warren M Johnson Article,4293782&dq=lee's-ferry&hl=en

Good Words

OGDEN, Utah, January 22, 1890

[Correspondence of the DESERET NEWS.] –En route to Ogden this morning the following clipping was read with interest, and as newspaper correspondents have seldom a good word for the Latter-day Saints, this may be worth reproducing for the benefit of your many readers. “Alpha,” a correspondent of the Denver Republican, accompanying Engineer Stanton’s exploring expedition through the Grand Canyon in Arizona writes as follows from Lee’s Ferry, Arizona, December 25, 1890:

“We were nine days on the road, and with heavy wheeling, poor teams and lazy teamsters, and a drizzling rain nearly all the time, it was anything but an enjoyable part of our journey. The only bright spot in it was the little Mormon settlement of Grave’s Valley on the Dirty Devil River, about thirty-five miles above its mouth, where there are some twelve or fifteen Mormon families, seemingly prosperous and happy, upon 1000 to 1500 acres of rich tillable land. Here we replenished our supplies with beef, mutton, onions, etc., and were treated most kindly by the settlers.

“Just here let me say that nowhere can you find a more kindly and perfect gentleman than Mr. Warren M. Johnson, the postmaster at Lee’s Ferry, a devout Mormon, and a man who is honestly sincere and sincerely honest, and Mrs. Johnson a most kindly and courteous lady. It has been my fortune to meet some of the most perfect gentlemen and kind-hearted men and women among the Mormons of northern Arizona and southern Utah, and especially is our whole party indebted to the many kindnesses of Bishop L. C. Mariger of Kanab.”

Yours truly,


Warren M Johnson Photographs

W.M. Johnson family at Lees Ferry Nov. 1892] Permelia holding Jody, Polly A., WMJ, LeRoy S., Warren Owen, Frank T. [Back row:] Jeremiah, Lovina Lee Brinkerhoff holding Wilford B., Mary Lovina B. Taken on steps of Johnson House, Lee's Ferry Ranch

Warren M Johnson-Faithful through Extreme Adversity

From "The Strength of Sacrifice," William W. Slaughter, April 1997, LDS Ensign

Faithful through Extreme Adversity

Many early Saints sacrificed nearly all they had for the gospel. Their lives stand as an offering to the Lord for the gospel’s sake (see D&C 97:8). Warren Marshall Johnson lived such a life. In 1875, 36-year-old Warren was called to a remote section of the Colorado River, where he and his family ran Lee’s Ferry for 21 years. His life was one of giving and obedience, but perhaps his most poignant sacrifice came between May and July 1891.

Warren tells of the experience in a July 1891 letter to President Wilford Woodruff: “A family residing in Tuba City [Arizona], came here from Richfield, Utah where they spent the winter visiting friends. At Panguitch, they buried a child, and without disinfecting the wagon or themselves, not even stopping to wash the dead child’s clothes, they came to our house, and remained overnight, mingling with my little children, and the consequence was [diphtheria], in four days my oldest boy … was taken violently ill with fever and sore throat.

“We knew nothing of the nature of the disease, but had faith in God, as we are here on a very hard mission, and had tried as hard as we knew how to obey the [commandments]. … But alas in 4 1/2 days he choked to death in my arms. Two more were taken down with the disease. … We fasted sometimes 24 hours and once I fasted 40 hours, but … both my little girls died also. About a week after their death my fifteen year old daughter Melinda was stricken down and we did all we could for her, but she followed the others … and the end is not yet. My oldest girl 19 years old is now prostrate with the disease and we are fasting and praying in her behalf today.” 7

Warren’s oldest daughter survived, but the loss of four of his children devastated him. He wrote to a friend in August 1891:

“There are unseen influences around us that are trying to cause me to lose faith in God and to make me feel that there is no use to continue to pray. … You can imagine how I feel, as you know how I have tried to live, and the implicit faith I had in the gospel and the promises of God.

“However … there are other spirits or influences around us that say to me, that God is the Father of the spirits of my children, and that He loves them as well as I do, and that he knows definitely better than I do what is best for them and us. God has said that ‘He would have a tried people in the last days,’ and those who desire to do right will have to pass through greater trials than those who are not trying to reach the highest glory. … I feel well when I look at it in the above light and especially when I think of the influences we have felt when my children died. It did not seem like death, and even when they were breathing their last, we could not feel bad, there was such a heavenly influence in the room. And also the looks of the children after death, almost a smile on their lips. … I know they are happy now, and I hope I shall not give way to the spirits of evil, but that I might live so that bye and bye I can go and dwell with [my children]. I can assure you, however, that it is the hardest trial of my life, but I set out for salvation and am determined that it is through the help of my Heavenly Father that I hold fast to the iron rod, no matter what troubles come upon me I have not yet slackened in the performance of any of my duties.” 8

The blessings to Warren Johnson and others who are willing to offer their all are clear: “I would that ye should come unto Christ … and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and prayer, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved” (Omni 1:26).

Warren M Johnson-Spiritual Healing

From "He Healeth the Broken Heart," President James E. Faust, July 2005 LDS Ensign

Somehow, some way, we must find the healing influence that brings solace to the soul. Where is this balm? Where is the compensating relief so desperately needed to help us survive the world’s pressures? The offsetting comfort in large measure can come through increased communion with the Spirit of God. This can bring spiritual healing.

Spiritual healing is illustrated in the story of Warren M. Johnson, pioneer ferryman at Lee’s Ferry, Arizona. As a young man, Warren Johnson came west seeking his fortune in gold in the summer of 1866. He became very ill, and his companions left him under a tree in the yard of a family in Bountiful, Utah. One of the daughters found him and reported there was a dead man out in the yard. Although he was a complete stranger, this kind family took him in and nursed him back to health. They taught him the gospel and he was baptized. He eventually ended up as the ferryman at Lee’s Ferry.

In 1891 the Warren Johnson family suffered a great tragedy. Within a period of a short time, they lost four children to diphtheria. All four were buried in a row next to each other. In a letter to President Wilford Woodruff, dated July 29, 1891, Warren told the story:

“Dear Brother,

“In May 1891 a family residing in Tuba City, came here from Richfield Utah, where they had spent the winter visiting friends. At Panguitch they buried a child, and without disinfecting the wagon or themselves, not even stopping to wash the dead child’s clothes, they came to our house, and remained overnight, mingling with my little children. …

“We knew nothing of the nature of the disease, but had faith in God, as we were here on a very hard mission, and had tried as hard as we knew how to obey the Word of Wisdom, and attend to the other duties of our religion, such as paying tithing, family prayers etc. etc., that our children would be spared. But alas, in 4 1/2 days [the oldest boy] choked to death in my arms. Two more were taken down with the disease and we fasted and prayed as much as we thought it wisdom, as we had many duties to perform here. We fasted some 24 hours and once I fasted 40 hours, but all of no avail for both my little girls died also. About a week after their death my fifteen year old daughter Melinda was stricken down and we did all we could for her but she followed the others, and three of my dear girls and one boy [have] been taken from us, and the end is not yet. My oldest girl 19 years old is now prostrate with the disease, and we are fasting and praying in her behalf. … What have we done that the Lord has left us, and what can we do to gain his favor again[?]

“Yours in the gospel

“Warren M. Johnson” 4

In a subsequent letter to his friend Warren Foote, Brother Johnson testified that he had found a spiritual peace:

“I can assure you however, that it is the hardest [trial] of my life, but I set out for salvation, and am determined through the help of my Heavenly Father to hold fast to the iron rod, no matter what trials may come upon me. I have not yet slackened in the performance of my duties, and hope and trust that I shall have the faith and prayers of my brethren that I may live so as to receive the blessings, you having authority, have placed on my head.”

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Harriet Hales Ellis Biography

Biography of Harriet Hales

[Sylvia Barlow, granddaughter of Harriet Hales, tells this story about her grandmother:]

Harriet Hales was born in Kent, England, on June 10, 1824, the daughter of Stephen and Mary Ann Hales. In June of 1832 the family, then consisting of the parents; five boys, Charles, George, Stephen, Henry William and Elias, and two girls, Isabella and Harriet; emigrated to Canada. They sailed on a ship and the voyage took them eleven weeks. The subject of this sketch spent her eighth birthday anniversary on the ocean had the sad experience of seeing one of her brothers, Elias, buried at sea.

They settled in Toronto Canada. Here the family joined the Mormon Church. When they were first invited to attend a Mormon meeting the father agreed to go to the service but he said he would soon knock that into a cocked hat. However, before the service was over he knew that he had found the truth. Soon after this the whole family was baptized.

In the spring of 1838 they started by team to join the body of the saints at Far West, Missouri, arriving in the fall of the same year. While at Far West they endured the persecutions by the mobs with the rest of the Saints. It was here they met the prophet Joseph Smith. After their expulsion from Missouri they moved to Quincy, Illinois. There on October 31, 1839, Harriet married John Ellis, a native of Canada, who had joined the church and emigrated to Quincy.

Four child were born to Harriet and John Ellis while they lived in Quincy; namely, Mary Ann, Hanna Isabella, Stephen Hales and John Henry. In 1842 they moved to Nauvoo where they lived until the expulsion of the Saints by the mob.

Harriet’s father and mother joined them in commencing the journey across the plains. One day the oxen strayed away, and Harriet’s father went in search of them. He became fatigued and reaching a spring of water, drank from it. It was later learned that the water was poisoned, and it caused his death. His wife, Mary Ann, started the journey, but she also died while crossing the plains. They started for the Rocky Mountains in the spring of 1851, and it is believed that they were in John Taylor’s company. Harriet’s younger brother, Henry, and his family were also in the same company. They arrived in Salt Lake Valley in September of 1851. Harriet’s sister Isabella’s two sons, Joseph and Henry Horne, met them in Parley’s Canyon and took them to the Horne Home. Isabella and her family had come west with the second company of pioneers in 1847.

After resting a few days they went on to Bountiful where they proceeded to make a home. Four months after their arrival a babe girl was born to the family, and she was named Harriet Louisa. They built a one room log house in which they lived for a number of years. Later, in about 1867, they built a four room adobe house. It was located a quarter of a mile south of the Wood’s Cross depot. It was quite a roomy house with a large attic, and was built on their homestead. Six more children were born to the family; Joseph Ezra, Sarah Ann, Elizabeth Jane, Laura Victoria, Charles William, George Franklin (who only lived one year), and James (who died at ten months).

The family engaged in stock raising. They kept a little flock of sheep to supply wool for clothing. The wool was prepared for use by the industrious mother. She sewed for her family by hand, even making trousers for her husband and sons. She also made them straw hats by braiding the straw and sewing the braids together. They made their own soap and candles. When the grain was ready for harvest it was cut and cradled by hand. During the harvest when the men worked hard Harriet prepared lunches and a cool drink and sent them to the fields during the morning and afternoon. They raised sugar cane and had a molasses mill on the bench land farm. This mill was one of the first in Bountiful. Youngsters came from miles around with their pails to get the skimmings to make candy.

The Ellis home was a hospitable one. The mother, and subject of this sketch, was a capable, refined woman, and her husband was a happy, jovial man who loved young people. Naturally their fireside was often the scene of social gatherings. These two often sang together for the entertainment of their family and friends. Singing school was often held in their home.

Tragedy struck the family when the father died, after a severe illness of several months duration. He left his widow and ten surviving children. Some of the cattle and property were sold to pay the doctor bills. The mother kept her family together, and in spite of her strenuous household duties, she always found time to take an active part in church affairs. She was a Sunday School teacher for twenty-five years, and when the Relief Society was organized she served as treasurer of the ward organization. She pieced several quilt tops for the Relief Society; she was a very fine needle woman.

She was matron at the Deseret Hospital for about two years. In 1897 she went to live with her youngest daughter, Laura, and she made her home there until her death on May 24, 1910, after having been a widow for thirty-nine years.

Meltiar Hatch Biography

Meltiar Hatch, Sr.



Meltiar Hatch was born in Farmerville, New York, July 15, 1825, a son of Ira S. Hatch and Wealtha Bradford. He became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1842 and was ordained an Elder by President Brigham Young about 1852. Later he was ordained a High Priest. His baptism took place at Job’s Creek, Hancock, Illinois, where a branch of the Church had been organized. His family had moved to this place in 1842. The following year, 1843, an epidemic of fever broke out. Many saints died: among them was his mother, Wealtha Bradford Hatch. This brought deep grief to the family.

Elder Hatch was intimately acquainted with the Prophet Joseph Smith and heard him deliver his last speech before going to Carthage where his life ended. Brother Hatch carried messages to and from Carthage Jail while the Prophet and his brethren were confined there. During these trying times, Meltiar served as a Lieutenant in the Nauvoo Legion. He attended the funeral of the martyrs and was present at the notable gathering in Nauvoo when Brigham Young was acknowledged to be the right man to stand at the head of the Church.

In January, 1846, he married Permelia Snyder. In the early spring they started for the Rocky Mountains in the company of President Brigham Young. They traveled quite peacefully until they reached Council Bluffs, Iowa. While preparing to continue their journey to the West, Captain J. Allen of the U.S. Army came with orders to recruit 500 young, able-bodied men to form a battalion to cross the continent to California to take part in the war raging between the United States and Mexico. Although the Saints had been cruelly persecuted before leaving for the west and had been refused government aid, President Young told Mr. Allen he should have his men.

Within three days, the army of men was organized. They started on their march on July 20, 1846. Meltiar, belonging to Company C, was one of them. He was advised to take Orrin, his youngest brother, with him. His wife remained at Winter Quarters with her parents.

The winter was one of much sickness. Many of the Saints died. When Meltiar and Orrin were discharged after the long and perilous march to San Diego, California, without engaging in any military encounters, they returned to Winter Quarters. Meltiar found a son had been born to him during his absence.

On July 4, 1849, the company crossed the Missouri River and once again journeyed toward the valley of the mountains. For three months they traveled, meeting with many hardships and trials, yet all remained true and faithful, ever trusting in the goodness and blessings of the Lord. Just before October Conference, 1849, they arrived in Salt Lake Valley.

Meltiar took up a farm in the settlement of Bountiful, Utah, where he made his home for a few years until a call was made for him to go to Carson Valley in 1856. He was then called to Lehi, Utah, at the time of Johnson’s Army. Here he spent the winter with his family. He then moved to Snyderville, the ranch of Grandfather Snyder near Parley’s Park, where he lived a few years. Then came the call in 1862 to go to the Dixie Mission to help settle that country. He moved from place to place there, finally settling in Santa Clara for three years. By this time, he had married his second wife, Mary Ann Ellis, which gave him two families.

The call to go to the Western Valley came at the semi-annual Conference of the Church, Monday, October 7, 1867.

In Western Valley, or Eagle Valley, which was in Nevada, they opened settlements until 1872. They were advised, when released from this mission by President Brigham Young, to move to an area on the Sevier River near the forks of Mammoth and Asay Creeks, as there would be good range for their sheep, cattle, and horses which they had acquired while living in Dixie.

He located his ranch at a site which later became Hatch Town, about one mile south of the present town of Hatch, Garfield, Utah. He also had a home in Panguitch where the first wife, Permelia, lived. However, he spent most of his time at first--and later all of his time--at the ranch where he had comfortable homes for both of his families. He died at his ranch July 8, 1895, following a series of strokes which finally proved fatal.

At the time of his death, he was a member of the High Council of the Panguitch Stake, active in the performance of his every duty, faithful always in teaching the gospel to his family. Having had two wives, he left a large posterity: nineteen children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. As promised in his Patriarchal Blessing, all are inclined to believe in the principles of the gospel.

The following inscriptions are found on the stones marking the graves of this noble pioneer and his two noble wives:

Meltiar Hatch.............Permelia Hatch...............Mary Ann Hatch
Born July 15, 1825.......Born Oct. 7, 1827...........Born Dec. 30, 1840
Died July 8, 1895.......Died Sept. 21, 1917.........Died Aug. 26, 1914

They are laid to rest in the little cemetery that bears his name. It is south and west of the town of Hatch, Garfield, Utah. ©© 2001 Vickie L Nielsen and family

Mary Ann Ellis Hatch Biography

Mary Ann Ellis


Excerpts from story by Abram Workman

Mary Ann Ellis was born December 30, 1840, at Quincy, Illinois. She was a daughter of John Ellis and Harriet Hales. They came to Utah in September, 1851, when Mary was eleven years of age. She married Meltiar Hatch, May 6, 1856, in the old Endowment House in Salt Lake City.

I would like to relate a little experience that was told me by Meltiar himself. I always understood this was his first acquaintance with Mary Ann Ellis. The two families were neighbors there in Bountiful. I think the story is too clever not to be retold.

Meltiar had bought a little pig; it kept getting out of the pen. One day little Mary saw him trying to catch it and she ran and caught it for him.

A few years later, President Brigham Young advised several men to take another wife;


Meltiar was one of them. By now, Mary had grown to be a beautiful young lady. He thought,

‘Why not her?’ So it happened.

They were called to go to Parley’s Park, where they lived for a few years. While there, Mary’s first three children were born: John H., Elias, and Julia.

Mary had the experience of the Eagle Valley Mission - which ended with the exodus and sacrifice of property when it was learned they were in Nevada instead of Utah. The state of Nevada started a suit against them for back taxes. This would have taken about all they had. They moved in a body from both the Muddy Valley and the West Valleys back to Utah. Mary had three more children while at Eagle Valley.

As there had been a number of towns in Utah abandoned on account of Indian troubles, they were advised to occupy those abandoned towns. The Muddy Valley people were to settle in Long Valley and the Eagle Valley people were to settle in Panguitch and Kanab.

Those who had gone to Panguitch had quite a lot of cattle, so they formed a co-op herd and located them 15 miles south of Panguitch at the Mammoth Fork of the Sevier River. Here Meltiar built a log house on the ranch and Mary moved here where she did the cooking for the ranch hands. She made much butter and cheese and extended a hearty welcome to all newcomers. Everyone who came there praised her for her delicious well-prepared meals.

It was in the fall of 1878 when I first met Mary Ellis Hatch. It seemed to me a most ideal home. Her children were well-behaved, the house was clean and home-like. Her husband was with her a good deal of the time, but he was quite feeble and the way she cared for him made me love her.

She was one of the most pure and faithful of wives and mothers I ever met. She had 10 children. In her declining years, the government of the United States passed a law legalizing her children, but making her marriage to Meltiar Hatch unlawful. Although she had been a faithful wife to him through the years, he was forbidden to live with her, under threat of being put in jail. This, of course, was a great sorrow to both of them in their declining years. He dared not even visit her lest some spy make trouble.

She died at the home of her son, John H. Hatch, in Tropic, Utah, on August 26, 1914, after a long illness of Bright’s disease. Mary, too, was laid beside her husband in the local cemetery that bears his name.

© 2001 Vickie L Nielsen and family

John Ellis Biography

John Ellis


John Ellis, the first child of John Ellis and Hannah Stone, was born in Scarborough, York, Ontario, Canada on Jan 4, 1814. Very little is known about his parents or his boyhood days, but we know that this area of Canada had only recently opened to settlers. Many of these settlers came directly from England, but many others were United Empire Loyalist who fled into Canada from the United States rather than fight against England at the time of the Revolutionary War. This new country was covered with great forest of maple, beech, elm, ash, oak, birch, spruce and cedar trees. There were also many lakes and streams which supplied these pioneers with fish, some of which they salted for winter use. They may have caught fresh fish through the ice during the cold winter months when the streams were frozen. It is likely that these frozen streams and lakes also provided the settlers with winter sport in the form of skating.

As was the case in all pioneer communities, the young boys assumed the responsibilities of men. They became carpenters, masons, harness makers, shoe makers, blacksmiths, and millers, as the occasion demanded. John Ellis undoubtedly had experience in all these trades during his boyhood. A history of Scarborough states that early meetings were held whenever a congregation could be gathered in a barn, a wagon, shop or school house. The circumstances under which John Ellis first heard the Gospel are unknown, but he did hear it and became a member of the church in 1836, when he was about 22 years old. After he joined the church, he was not welcome in his father’s home. Our records show his baptism in 1838.

The story passed down through the family is that he left Canada during the winter, taking with him only his skates. He probably skated on the frozen streams, skirting the edges of lake Ontario and lake Erie, and finally arriving at Kirtland, Ohio where he joined the body of Saints. Our family stories say he worked in a large burner as a cooper or barrel maker. Barrel making may not seem too important to us in this day, but in the pioneer days there were no cardboard boxes or plastic bags, and most everything had to be packed or stored in barrels.

John Ellis was with the Saints at the time of their expulsion from Kirkland and moved to Far West in 1838. From there he went to Quincy, where the Saints were given refuge. It was in Quincy, Adams County, Illinois that he met and subsequently married Harriet Hales on Oct 31, 1839. Harriet was the daughter of Stephen and Mary Ann Hales. (They were first cousins.) This young couple consisted of blue-eyed Harriet, who was of medium height and had dark brown hair, and John, who was a large man at six feet with very dark hair and blue eyes. They lived in Quincy, Illinois for a time. In the minutes of the Quincy Branch the members of the church were recorded June 21, 1840. Among the names listed were John Ellis and Harriet Ellis, also listed were Stephen and Mary Ann Hales (Harriet’s parents) and three of her brothers: Charles Henry and wife Julie Ann, Stephens Hales Jr. and George Hales. On Dec 30, 1840, while in Quincy, the first Ellis child was born - a little girl named Mary Ann. Some time after this, possibly in the Spring of 1841, the John Ellis and Stephen Hales Sr. families moved to Nauvoo, Illinois. John and Harriet’s second daughter, Hannah Isabella, is recorded as being born there December of 1843.

The first son born to John and Harriet was born at Fort Madison, Iowa about three miles from Nauvoo, Illinois. It was a mystery to the family why John and Harriet were in Fort Madison until further research and information gathered from Brother Pettit’s journals were obtained. The land near Fort Madison had dips and swells in the topography. In the low place, a sort of scrub oak grew in abundance. While Brother Pettit was serving on a mission, he visited Nauvoo and the surrounding area. While he was there he saw slats which he was told had been cut from this scrub oak. These were wet and curved to form the rounded boards for making barrels, buckets, and wash tubs. It is possible that while John was pursuing his trade as a carpenter and cooper, moved there where he could obtain materials for his trade. John Henry Ellis, a second son of John and Harriet, was born at Appanoose, Illinois on March 18, 1849. Now John and his wife had four children to provide and protect against those perilous times.

A check of LDS records reveals there is not a card file for John and Harriet having made the trek across the plains into the Salt Lake Valley. However, Harriet’s mother remarried after the death of her father Stephen Hales to William Thompson. William and Mrs. Thompson are listed in the Garden Grove Company arriving in Salt Lake Sept 24, 1851. The roster of persons in this Garden Grove Company included the following: Brother William Thompson and Sister Thompson. His children Marie and Orville and her children who were Hales. Charles and Julia Hales are listed with small children, Stephen Hales and wife Eveline with small children, and Henry Hales and wife Eliza Ewings Hales. No mention of John and Harriet Hales Ellis. In the biography of Harriet Hales, it states that her younger brother Henry, and his family traveled in the same company with John and Harriet Ellis. The family also related that Harriet said her mother (Mary Ann Hales Thompson) died on the plains. Further statements were made that the family took a wagon box to make a coffin for her and Harriet expressed extreme sorrow in leaving her mother buried on the plains. Harriet was disturbed by the evidence of wild animals desecrating the graves of the fallen Saints who had traveled in the previous companies. From these evidences, along with the fact that a child was born to John and Harriet on Dec 21, 1851 in Bountiful, Utah is that John and Harriet Ellis along with the Thompson and Hales families traveled together in the Garden Grove Company, reaching Salt Lake on Sept 24, 1851.

When the Ellis family reached Utah the covered wagon was used for sleeping quarters for some of the family members until a one room log cabin could be built. The log cabin served as the main residence of the family until 1869 when a four room adobe house was constructed. While living in the log cabin seven more children were born to John and Harriet. These children were: Jose Ezra, Sarah Ann, Elizabeth Jane, Laura Victoria, Charles William, George Franklin and James. George Franklin died of scarlet fever when he was fourteen months old and James died from measles when he was nine months old. The first four years in Utah were not easy, but they experienced the joy of building for the future.

In 1857 this future was threatened by the advent of Johnston’s Army. While the family moved south to Cove Fort, John was stationed in Echo Canyon. The muster roll of Company D, 2nd Battalion, 4th Regiment Infantry, Nauvoo Legion shows John Ellis was the captain from November 9 through November 28, 1857. Upon returning to their home, the Ellis family did some farming and stock raising. A small flock of sheep furnished wool, which Harriet
prepared for clothing. John Ellis was a miller for John Taylor in Farmington.

The following is copied from the book East of Antelope Island, page 153, “John Ellis, a millwright and cooper who had brought his tools to the valley with him, made furniture for his home. One rocking chair is still is use in the home of his daughter-in-law, Robenia M. Ellis.” John also made wooden tubs, barrels, buckets, churns and washboards, all very important items in those days. The first molasses mill in the community was owned by John Ellis. It was located near the site of the present Bountiful City Cemetery. The family referred to this piece of land as the mill ground. Stephen Ellis had charge of the mill ground while Charles Ellis was responsible for the meadow ground.

John Ellis was a happy, fun-loving person. He enjoyed having young people come to his home and they came often. Harriet was a refined and very capable person. The couple enjoyed singing and often held “singing school” in their home. This love of singing has been handed down through the generations to their descendants. John was not well during the last years of his life. He had what was probably cancer of the face and suffered very much from it. It became necessary to feed him with a cup having a spout. One time when he was returning home after having treatments in Salt lake City, the freight train stopped at the land where his boys met him and carried him home in a rocking chair. John died on April 3, 1871. He was 57 years and nearly three months old at the time of his death. He was patient in his suffering and was always a true and faithful Latter-day Saint. He was survived by Harriet, ten of his twelve children and nine
grandchildren. Harriet lived 39 years as a widow, and she too was a faithful Latter-day Saint. She raised her family under trying conditions, teaching school to support them. She taught Sunday School in South Bountiful for 25 years and must have been a living example of an ideal Latter-day Saint woman. The last thirteen years of her life were spent in the home of her youngest daughter, Laura Victoria Ellis Hatch, who made her comfortable and happy. At her death on May 24, 1910, she had 101 grandchildren, 205 great-grandchildren and 38 great-great-grandchildren.

June Jansson Ellis, History of John Ellis, edited by Veoma M. Stahle.
International Society: Daughters Of The Utah Pioneers
East of Antelope Island P. 153

Obituary of John Ellis:
At Bountiful, April 3, 1871, of cancer, John Ellis, aged 57 years and three months. Deceased was born near the city of Toronto, Upper Canada, where he embraced the gospel in the year 1836. In 1837 he moved to Kirkland, Ohio and in 1838, he moved with the saints from there to Far West, Missouri. He then went to Quincy, Illinois, where he married the daughter of Stephen and Mary Ann Hales. He went to Nauvoo, where he resided until the expulsion of the Saints from the state. He then, with his family, started for the Rocky Mountains, stopping by the way to recruit, at Garden Grove. He reached the Salt Lake Valley in the year 1851, since which time he has been a resident of Bountiful until his decease. He has ever been true and faithful in the church and was patient during his afflictions. He leaves a wife, twelve children, twelve grand children,
and many relatives and friends to mourn his loss. John Ellis was laid to rest in Bountiful City Cemetery.

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