The Very Brief Life of Samuel Eggleston IV

January 16th marks the anniversary of the birth of Samuel Eggleston, son of Samuel and Lurania Powers Burgess Eggleston. His birth, life and death occurred during a very dark time and place in the lives of his family and the larger community of Latter-day Saints. Early in 1846, the Saints were forced to leave their homes in Nauvoo, Illinois. The Eggleston family were not among the first to leave. They stayed until sometime in the spring of 1846 according to Samuel’s account. They may have stayed longer than others for financial reasons, or to help with the completion of the Temple which was dedicated May 1, 1846.

The Egglestons traveled to Winter Quarters in Nebraska, where the Saints had gathered to prepare to go further west. Small cabins were built where they spent a miserable winter. There was inadequate food for the many refugees camped there. There was also much disease which was easily spread. Many people died during that year, especially the very young and very old.

Birth of baby Samuel to Lurania and Samuel Eggleston

Lurania Powers Burgess Eggleston

Lurania Powers Burgess Eggleston

Lurania Powers Burgess Eggleston, who was 38 years old at that time, gave birth to a son on the bleak winter day of January 16th. Patty Sessions was a prominent midwife during that time. Fortunately for us, she kept records in her diary and an account book. Her notation under the date of 16 January was “Put sister Eggleston to bed with a son Samuel E.” “Putting to bed” was her way of noting the confinement and delivery of a baby. Patty’s account book showed that Samuel Eggleston paid $2.00 for her services January 16.

The birth of this child must have brought great joy to the family at a time of great suffering. He was given the name of his father – Samuel. He may have also been named after Samuel H. Smith who along with Orson Hyde had introduced the family to the Restored Gospel. (They had named their last born son Orson Hyde Eggleston)

 

Death of baby Samuel at 7 Months

Any joy brought to this family by this baby was turned to sorrow seven months later. We do not know the exact circumstances. Whether he was sickly his entire life, or whether struck with a sudden illness, we can’t be sure. We do know that a shortage of food probably meant inadequate nutrition for his mother Lurania. Also we know that in the close quarters of this makeshift community, diseases spread easily. Whatever the cause, this little baby of seven months departed this life on August 2, 1847. This was not the first baby this family lost. Their first child Dwight died at about one year old, and their second son Benjamin lived only a few weeks.

Little Samuel was buried in the Mormon Pioneer Cemetery in Winter Quarters. Most graves there are unmarked; however, records were kept. His grave has a number #208. There is now a marker in the cemetery with names inscribed for all of those who died during the time that the Saints lived in Winter Quarters.

Samuel Eggleston 7 Mos 6th from the bottom

Samuel Eggleston 7 Mos 6th from the bottom

The location of Samuel’s grave is under a stone walkway near the sculpture of a father and mother standing above the grave of their child. I find the location and that sculpture rather fitting. It helps form a picture of the grieving parents, Samuel and Lurania, saying goodbye to the child they had for such a short time.

Location of Samuel Eggleston's grave

Samuel Eggleston is buried beneath these stones, below the flowerpot and to the left of the shadows.

Monument in Winter Quarters Cemetery

Monument in Winter Quarters Cemetery

 

Notes & References:

Mormon Pioneer Cemetery, OmahaDouglas CountyNebraskaUSA Grave #208  35007063

Diary of Patty Bartlett Sessions (page 29 of microfilm) indicates birth January 16, 1846. This has been published as the Book, Mormon Midwife 1846-1888 Diaries of Patty Sessions, by Donna Toland Smith, Ed., University of Utah Press 1977, Library, Page number: 33, 70: birth: 16 January 1847; Winter Quarters, Douglas, Nebraska, United States under date of 16 January (1847) “Put sister Eggleston to bed with a son Samuel E” Patty Sessions Diary was also published in Utah Historical Quarterly Vol X 1942, p. 94.

Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah has the wrong birth date for Samuel of 16 August, 1846, which has been used in other databases.

Eggleston Family bible

Samuel Eggleston Jr near top of 2nd page

Orson Hyde Eggleston’s Family Bible lists: Samuel Eggleston Jr. born Jan 16th 1847 at Winter Quarters Omaha Nation Nebraska. died in same place Aug 23rd 1847.

The First Christmas in Jackson Hole

The First Christmas in Jackson Hole was celebrated with elk steaks, doughnuts fried in bear grease, music and dancing.

The Wilson & Cheney Families

Sylvester Wilson had settled in Emery County, Utah in 1877 at a place that became known as Wilsonville. After almost 12 years in this drought stricken area, Sylvester Wilson decided to move and start again somewhere else.

Sylvester Wilson

Sylvester Wilson

Mary Wood Wilson

Mary Wood Wilson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sylvester and his family left Wilsonville at the end of May 1889. The group included Sylvester and his wife Mary, 9 unmarried children (the youngest being three) and two married children and their families. Mary Alice had married Selar Cheney August 10, 1879. They had four children, but one died before they left. Ervin had married Mary Jane Davis June 26, 1888 and she was expecting their first child as they left. Their son James was born September 12 in St. Anthony, Idaho.

The family left Wilsonville with 5 sturdy wagons and about 80 head of cattle. They also had at least 20 race horses, which Sylvester had taken as partial payment on their Wilsonville property. The trip to St. Anthony, Idaho was over 400 miles. They averaged about 10 miles per day, trailing their livestock.

Stopping in Idaho

On July 23, 1889 they stopped at Salem, now Sugar City, Idaho, where Sylvester’s brothers, Elijah Nicholas and Henry were living. Nick had gone to Jackson Hole to help some bachelors put up hay.

After visiting a day or two, they moved on to what is now called St. Anthony, Idaho. There were not many settlers there at that time and only one building. They got logs for a house and had it up to the square. They had been looking around but could find no hay for their cattle that winter.

The Wilson boys went for a load of logs, which took two days. They made their camp that night and were getting supper over the camp fire when a man came along and asked if he could camp with them. They made him welcome and after they talked for a while, he asked them their names. He happened to be their Uncle Nick Wilson.

Elijah Nicholas Wilson "Uncle Nick"

Elijah Nicholas Wilson “Uncle Nick”

Nick had just came back from Jackson Hole, and not having seen them for several years did not know who they were until they told them. He stayed in camp and visited a day or so with them. He told them there was plenty of native hay in Jackson Hole and that they could go over and put it up, and then the boys could drive the cattle over and feed them that winter, and take them back out in the spring.

The Journey to Jackson Hole

Mary, Sylvester’s wife, had heard erroneous tales about outlaws coming to Jackson Hole to hide out. She was concerned about her boys being left to the mercy of the bad men. Therefore a few days later, Nick with Sylvester and his boys, John, George and Charlie started with the running gears of a wagon and their pack horses and saddle horses toward Jackson Hole. Sylvester’s daughter, Rebecca, and Uncle Nick’s daughter, Kate, went along to cook for the men.

They left their cattle grazing at a place near St. Anthony, then called Hog Hollow. Ervin, Elias and Selar Cheney stayed to tend the cattle until they were ready to be driven over.

When they brought the wagon as far as the mountain, they had to take it apart. They took two wheels over at a time and cut trees out of the way as they went.

Bringing all the Familes Over Teton Pass

In October, when the hay crop was up in Jackson Hole, the men, Rebecca and Kate all returned to Idaho to move their families to Jackson Hole Country.

Uncle Nick and family decided to move to Jackson Hole with Sylvester’s family. They came to St. Anthony, and with them they had their married daughter, Louise, and her two little boys. They had two covered wagons while Ervin had one and Selar Cheney one.

When they arrived near the mountain, they stacked their flour, grain and such things as would be excess weight, near the trail and built a crib around it and covered it to protect it from animals and the weather until they could return for them with pack horses.

They started their journey over the pass on October 18, 1889. They had to chop trees down along the trail until it was wide enough for the wagons to pass through. The western slope over these mountains was so steep that it required six horses to pull a wagon to the top of the pass. Blazing the road as they went along was very hard work and they did not get very far in one day. When they got to the top of the mountain, they cut large trees and tied one to the back of each wagon and put a roughlock on and let them down as carefully as possible. Theirs were the first covered wagons to come over the Teton Pass.

It took two weeks to make the journey over Teton Pass and they arrived in Jackson Hole on November 11, 1889. They returned to bring their food supply over the pass later on horseback.

The Jackson Hole Community in 1889

Jackson Hole was then a unsettled region to which they were almost the first comers. Billy Green owned the Slough Grass Ranch at that time and Martin Nelson helped him put his hay up. Martin Nelson and his wife, Betty, and four year old daughter, Cora, had come to the country in July.

Mrs. Nelson was the first white woman to come to that country to settle. Rebecca and Kate Wilson were the next white women in the country.

The Nelson family and the friendly bachelor population of 40 graciously welcomed the Wilson and Cheney families. Being so late in the season, there was no time before winter set in to cut logs and build homes. Mr. Karns, who had just completed his new house and moved in, offered Sylvester and his family his old two room cabin to live in. Will Crawford shared his home with Uncle Nick’s family and Louise and children. John Cherry graciously opened his home to Ervin Wilson and his family.

The following is a list of the people that were there in 1889 to 1900: John Holland, Joe Enfinger, Billy Green, Dick Turpin, Robert Miller, Jack Hicks, Adolph Miller, John Cherry, Mike Detwiler, Andy Madson, Mose Giltner, Brig and Hyrum Adams, Bill Crawford, Pierce and Fred Cunningham, Ed Hunter, Mr. Lefler Scotty, John Karns, and Indian wife, Martin Nelson and wife Betty and children Cora and William, Nick Wilson and wife, Matilda, and children Louise and two boys, Joseph and Earl, Nick Jr., Kate, Etta, Olive, Fanny, Henry, Nellie, and Ray. Sylvester Wilson and wife, Mary, and children John, George, Charles, Elias, Ella, Joseph and Melvina. Selar Cheney and wife, Alice, and children Sylvester, Ralph, and David. Ervin Wilson and wife Mary Jane and baby James. (Account in First Families Into Jackson Hole has typed in these additional names: Emil and Marie Wolff, Judge Falkner, Robert Tobe, Tom Deer, Hamilton Wort, Swede Jackson, John Scott, and Stephen N. Leek)

The First Christmas in Jackson Hole

The first winter was a pleasant one and yet a hard one. Their milk cows perished and they lived the most part on Elk meat and water gravy. During the long winter nights they burned a piece of twisted cloth soaked in Elk tallow. This light was called a “bitch” light.

On Christmas all the residents gathered at Will Crawford’s home for a feast and celebration. Each household contributed their share of the victuals of elk steaks, roast wild geese and ducks, vegetables, plum pudding, mince pies and delicious doughnuts fried in bear grease, which also makes delicious pie crust.

After a wonderful dinner, the dishes were washed and the floors cleared for dancing. The orchestra was composed of violins, a banjo and one guitar. The violins were played by Selar Cheney, Sylvester Wilson, Nick Wilson, John Karns, and John Holland. Brig Adams played his banjo and Andy played his guitar. They took their places in one corner of the room, partners were chosen and the dance was on. Since there was a scarcity of lady partners, the men would choose partners from their own sex and then everybody would dance.

Supper was served during a brief intermission at midnight, and in the morning they ate breakfast before departing for their homes. They never traveled after night in those days as the roads were not good. Everyone enjoyed themselves and had a wonderful time.

cabin similar to where the first Christmas in Jackson Hole was celebrated

Selar and Mary Alice Wilson Cheney by their home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The cabin where the first Christmas was celebrated would have been similar

Sources:

I combined several accounts which are all in my book: Cheney Wilson Family History Book. Those accounts and sources for them include:

“First Settlers of Jackson Hole” by Melvina Edna Wilson Robertson 1946

The First Families into Jackson Hole (compilation)

“The Early History of the Sylvester Wilson Family and the History of Wilsonville” by Byron J. Wilson, 1989.

Legacy of the Tetons: Homesteading in Jackson Hole by Candy Vyvey Moulton, Boise, Idaho: Tamarac Books 1994.

“Sylvester Wilson’s Life” by Melvina Edna Wilson Robertson & Brothers & Sisters “History of Sylvester Wilson-First Settler of Jackson Hole” (DUP)

“A Sketch of Sylvester Wilson’s Life” compiled by Melvina Edna Wilson Robertson (DUP)

“The Sylvester Wilson Family Roots in Jackson’s Hole”, by Joyce Imeson Lewis, Presented at “Researcher’s Rendezvous” sponsored by Teton County Library, August 15, 1990 by Judity Rosbrook Anderson.

Vedia Eggleston’s Postcards from Far Away Places

Vedia Eggleston’s postcards, like many of the time, were the way to keep in touch with family and friends who had moved away or were traveling. They were kind of an early 20th Century Social Media – only much slower than today. They also were a good way to let you know of places where friends were and you were not. From the commercial side, postcards were good marketing tools. Cards with photos of exciting or historic places were used to encourage tourism and pride in local sites.

Vedia Eggleston’s Postcard book contained a number of cards from various places in the United States. Sometimes the places that the cards were sent from was not the place indicated by the photograph on the card. Cards may have been purchased at one place and sent from another. Or possibly cards from some places could even be purchased at home. More postcards from places closer to home are shared in another post.

Friend Kathryn in Madison

Let’s start with Madison, Nebraska, since Vedia received several cards from there in 1912. Apparently Vedia had a friend Kathryn who had moved to Madison. Vedia was not as good at keeping in touch as this Kathryn was. She repeatedly asked why she had not heard from Vedia.

Madison

 

Postcards City Hall, Madison, NE

Madison Kathryn to Vedia

 

Madison auto Kathryn to Vedia

 

Kathryn sent this card showing a scene of Ogden Canyon in Utah from Madison, Nebraska to Vedia in Afton. Apparently Kathryn finally received a card from Vedia.

Kathryn from Madison

Ogden Canyon

Brother Asa Eggleston’s Travels

In 1916, Vedia’s brother Asa was traveling, probably on business. This card sent from Montana to Vedia in Malad, Idaho has a photograph of Idaho Falls. Asa mentions that he will be going to Belgrade this afternoon and later to Bozeman.

Asa from Manhattan, Montana

 

Idaho Falls Power Station

Asa sent this card from Helena, Montana to Vedia in Malad, Idaho. This was was sent after Vedia’s marriage and is addressed to Mrs. John Jones, Jr. Asa indicated that he would be leaving there soon, but did not know his next destination.

 

This other card was sent from Billings, Montana earlier in the year. Asa mentioned that he had just left Park City and did not know how long he would be in Billings or where he would be next. He instructed her to write to him in Great Falls, Montana.

Billings, Montana library

Asa from Billings, Montana

Asa sent this card from Spokane, Washington in June 1916. Apparently he was in Spokane in between trips to Montana.

Monroe Street Bridge Spokane, Washington

Asa from Spokane, Washinton

From Missouri

This card was sent from Macon, Missouri to Vedia in Afton, Wyoming

Cards from New York

J. C. Dewey sent this embossed postcard of the Hudson River Steamboat to Vedia. It was actually postmarked from Deweyville, Utah

Hudson River Steamboat postcard

 

This embossed card of Grant’s Tomb is addressed to Vedia in Afton, Wyoming, but there is no postmark or message.

Grant's Tomb postcard

 

This card was sent from Fulton, New York

Postcards Fulton, NY postcard from Fulton, NY

Vedia Eggleston’s Postcards from Nearby Places

Postcards were an easy and inexpensive way to keep in touch with family and friends in a time when there were few telephones and no internet. In the early 20th Century they were like Social Media, sharing bits of news and often short messages in between longer letters. They were written on postcards showing familiar scenes or with simple greetings. Vedia Eggleston’s Postcard Book contained postcards from nearby places where friends and family lived. Other postcards from places further away are shared in another post.

Some from Home in Afton, Wyoming:

Taqbernacle, Afton, Wyoming

This is the Tabernacle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Afton, Wyoming, Vedia’s home town.

Postcards Afton, Wyoming

Vedia to sister Connie Dewey

Vedia sent this card to her sister Connie Dewey who was living in Tremonton, Utah. On the front of the card, which appears to be the same photograph as the card above, Vedia indicated that this “bird’s eye view of Afton” did not show their house. The message (above) includes news from home and her hopes that her sister would come home for the holidays.

Afton, Wyoming

Postcards to and from places in Utah:

Connie sent this card from Tremonton to Vedia when she was in Salt Lake City in April 1909.

Connie to Vedia in SLC

 

Tremonton

This card showing a photograph of the Wandemere Resort in Salt Lake City. It was mailed from Metropolis, Nevada to Vedia who was in Deweyville, Utah.

Wandemere Resort SLC

to Vedia in Deweyville from Nev

This card was sent to Vedia from a friend who had moved to Hooper, Utah. Hooper was and still is a rather small town. It appears from what is printed on the back that they had postcards printed by a company that did international cards.

Postcard greetings from Hooper

Greetings from Hooper

These cards show scenes from Ogden, Utah.

Vedia from Ogden

Postcards Washington Ave Ogden, Utah

 

Postcards Weber Academy Ogden, Utah

 

 Postcards from Idaho

This card was postmarked from Malad, Idaho and sent to Afton, Wyoming. It has a photograph of the Post Office in Ogden, Utah.

Ogden card from Malad

Ogden Post Office

These cards were sent to Vedia who was in Deweyville, Utah by her sister Rae who was in Malad, Idaho. It is interesting that one has a photograph from San Francisco.

Rae to Vedia

 

Rae to Vedia 2

 

Hotel Sutter, San Francisco

 

Joseph Eggleston’s Postcards from Jackson Hole

A handful of postcards from Jackson Hole give us a glimpse into life on Mormon Row a century ago.

Joseph S. Eggleston grew up in Afton, Wyoming. In about 1910 he went to Jackson Hole where he homesteaded in a place known as Mormon Row. He sent these postcards from Jackson Hole during that time. There are no addresses, stamps or postmarks indicating when and to whom or where they were sent. They may have been inserted into packages sent back home to his family in Afton. Or possibly, since Joe carried the mail on a postal route in Wyoming at that time, he did not need to address them. He could have carried them himself to Afton or included them with other mail.

Cousin Don shared these postcards with me. They had been with boxes of photographs he inherited from his mother, Evelyn Barbara Stock Lee. She got these from her mother Mattie Mae Eggleston Stock, who was Joseph Egglestons’s sister.

These cards were produced showing scenes from the area. Joe may have purchased a number of these. We had another one of this family skiing, but there was nothing written on it. The view from Joe’s homestead would have been very similar. He apparently knew this Sheffield family.

Sheffield family Moran, Wyoming

 

skiing Jackson Lake

Weather in Jackson Hole ranged from harsh and cold but beautiful winters to hot and dry summers. From this postcard we gain some idea of what Joe’s daily life was like on isolated Mormon Row.

J E postcard

 

Jackson Hole

 

Tetons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

J E postcard Tetons

Apparently by the time this postcard was sent, Joe was settled on Mormon Row. Jacob and Bell would have been his Uncle Jacob Johnson and his wife. Jacob homesteaded on Mormon Row next to Joe. Bro & sister Eccles would have been Bell’s parents who had come from Jackson to visit them.

J Eggleston postcard

Yours with wild geese

J. Eggleston

 

Early Eggleston Genealogical Research

When I began serious Eggleston genealogical research, I learned to look to earlier research first. It is always a good idea to check what has been done, so as to not waste time and effort. Unfortunately, I found that some earlier work was not correct. Errors and false assumptions had been perpetuated by those who accepted earlier works without necessarily thinking things through or further checking.

Early Correspondence

My Great-grandfather Orson H. Eggleston gathered genealogical information while serving a Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Michigan in 1876-77. Apparently while there he corresponded with someone in New York City about the Eggleston family. He included this copy of a response with a letter to his father, seeking his father’s advice on how to respond. He seemed hopeful that this Nicholas would have helpful information. I am not sure what happened with this, but it does indicate how early Orson tried to learn more about the larger Eggleston family.

1876 Melville Eggleston genealogical research

In an earlier family letter Eliza Barron told her brother Samuel Eggleston about a letter she had received from Rev. A. Eggleston of Broome County, New York. He was requesting information about family members, including birth, death and marriage dates. Eliza seemed skeptical of his intentions and unsure of his address. It is not known what response Samuel gave her or if she ever sent any information to this person. This would have been the Ambrose mentioned in this letter from Melville, who apparently had been researching and collecting information on the Eggleston family.

Correspondence with Wilber E. Hagans

Later, Orson corresponded with Wilbur E. Hagans to try to take the Eggleston line back further. These letters were dated 1910 and 1911, which was late in Orson’s life. We do not have copies of the letters Orson sent. We can only assume from these replies what questions he had asked and what information he had given.

1910 W E Hagens Eggleston genealogical research

It appears that Orson must have given Mr. Hagens his genealogy as he knew it: His parents Samuel and Lurania Powers Burgess; Samuel’s parents Samuel and Elizabeth Hill; and that Samuel’s parents Samuel and Rebecca. Because of the multiple Samuels, Hagens seemed inclined to place them in the family of Bygod’s son Samuel. There were a number of early Samuels, but as Hagens noted himself, there were missing generations.

Orson may have also mentioned his father’s brother Ambrose, as it appears he assumed that might be the Ambrose Eggleston whom he knew had collected genealogical information. Samuel’s brother Ambrose had lived in Parkersburg, Iowa. He was some kind of minister, but he was not the Rev. Ambrose Eggleston that Hagens mentioned.

1911 W E Hagens Eggleston genealogical research p1

 

1911 W E Hagens Eggleston genealogical research p2

Hagens was probably not much help to Orson, especially since he had not had any success in the area of New York where Orson’s family had lived. He suggests that our line might go through Bygod’s son Joseph – which it does – but he seems only familiar with the family of Joseph’s son Ichabod.

Carrying On Eggleston Genealogical Research

These letters were included on the type-written sheets which I found at the home of cousin Ruth. These sheets included family genealogies and letters sent from Orson to his father and letters from other family members to Samuel. I assume that Theron Eggleston or his wife typed them up. There may have been further correspondence, but this is all we have. These letters did not provide any real answers or information to trace our Eggleston line back further. They did give me some insight into the desires and early efforts of Samuel and Orson to search out our ancestors. I also gained a greater appreciation for the availability of good information which make our searches today easier and more fruitful.

News and Insights from Old Family Letters

Old family letters give some great information and wonderful insights into the lives and relationships of our ancestors.

Some family letters written to Samuel Eggleston were included on typed sheets I found with records of Theron Eggleston at the home of his daughter Ruth. With these letters were others with genealogical information that Orson Hyde Eggleston gathered while on his mission and genealogical correspondence. These had all apparently been transcribed by Theron or his wife. I don’t know what happened to the original letters.

I found this correspondence to be quite interesting. The family letters give some insights into personalities and family relationships as well as provided some genealogical clues which were helpful in my research.

The Family Letters – First from Eliza Barron

This earliest letter, dated 1862, was to Samuel Eggleston from his sister Eliza Barron. Samuel had recently migrated from Iowa to Utah. Eliza passed away in 1869. Eliza mentioned their brother Ansel, who was somewhat of a mystery – to us, and possibly to them. This letter provided clues to help me find him in records in Michigan, where he died in 1871. We also get a glimpse of personalities from the things Eliza said about her brother as well as the colorful way she expressed herself. I would like to have known Aunt Eliza.

Eliza also mentioned a letter from Rev. A. Eggleston, who would be the Ambrose Eggleston mentioned in later genealogical correspondence. This letter to Eliza may have begun that correspondence.

1862 family letters from Eliza Barron to Samuel Eggleston

Family Letters from brother Ambrose and his Daughter

These letters from Ambrose H. Eggleston and Elvira E. Towsley were probably sent together. Samuel left Iowa in 1862 and migrated to Utah. Samuel might have written to inform his brother of this move and this may be why Ambrose thought it interesting that he had moved to Iowa after Samuel left that state (though they lived on opposite sides of the state).

I recently took another look at this letter from Ambrose’s daughter Elvira. She mentioned the loss of her children. I was able to find her oldest son Chester on the 1860 Census, but the little two-year old girl is not on any records. The 1870 Census includes Gertrude who would be the five year old she mentioned as well as 2 other children born after this letter was written. The five month old daughter she mentioned was not with them in 1870, so she may have died young also. I wish she had mentioned their names.

This letter was written in the midst of the Civil War, which apparently influenced her sentiments. Sadly Elvira passed away in 1872.

1863 family letters from Ambrose Eggleston & Elvira Towsley to Samuel Eggleston

Letter Home from Orson

Orson sent this letter to his father while serving his Mission in Michigan. He mentioned that his brother Edwin had a visit from Ansel’s son. More clues but unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any more about these sons of Ansel.

1876 family letters Orson to Samuel

News From the Townsend Family

Olive Stewart, who was a daughter of Samuel’s sister Electa Townsend, sent this letter to her uncle. (My note questions the date of the letter. According to dates in the letter it should be 1873. It may be a typo) Olive’s youngest sister Mary, with whom she was living at the time she wrote, died in January 1874. Olive later married Mary’s widowed husband, Charles Jeffers. The (Jeffers) at the end was probably added by the transcriber.

1873 family letters Olive Stewart to Samuel Eggleston

Orson Eggleston visited many family members while serving his Mission in Michigan. Apparently he corresponded with some of them after his return home. This post card from cousin Sarah Townsend Cole was in response to one he sent.

1879 family letters S E Cole to Orson Eggleston

Sarah shared information about the Skeels family. Anna Eggleston Skeels died in October 1874 and her husband Isaac died in October 1877. James Skeels’ son with consumption was probably Dorr who died May 15, 1879.

More News and genealogy from Ambrose H. Eggleston

Ambrose sent this letter to his brother Samuel. He mentioned the death of his daughter Elvira Towsley, who wrote the letter above. The birth and death dates were probably in response to a request by Samuel who was gathering genealogical information.

In the middle of this letter is a mention of uncle Benjamin Eggleston. Interestingly Benjamin was not included in other records of Orson H. Eggleston, including records of Temple work he did in 1914. I first found Benjamin through Onondaga County Land Records and determined that he was a son of Samuel Eggleston Sr. He was a brother of Samuel Jr. who was the father of Samuel and Ambrose. They obviously knew Uncle Benjamin well, but somehow this information was not well known to later generations.

I find it interesting that Ambrose tells his brother that he and his sons were preachers of the Gospel. He even takes the opportunity to preach to Samuel. Samuel had joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1841. In 1877, he was called to be First Counselor in the Bishopric of the Ogden 2nd Ward.

1873 family letters from Ambrose Eggleston to Samuel Eggleston

I have to wonder if there were more of these letters that have been lost. I also wonder if these particular letters might have been sent and kept in response to requests from Samuel for genealogical information, since they include many reports of deaths. We are fortunate that these family members made an effort to keep in touch as they moved away from each other and that someone made the effort to keep these letters.

Note: Highlights and pencil notes were made by me on my photocopy of these letters.

Family Genealogies Gathered by Orson Hyde Eggleston

Early members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were encouraged to search out their family genealogies in order to provide baptisms for their dead family members. Samuel and Lurania Eggleston were the first of our family to join the LDS Church. I am not sure if Samuel did any active genealogy, but it does appear that he encouraged his son Orson in efforts to gather information. While on his Mission in Michigan during 1876-1877, Orson visited family members and obtained names and dates. He wrote to his father several letters with such information.

I don’t know what happened to the original letters. It appears that at some point Orson’s son Theron, or his wife, transcribed these letters. I found several typed pages of letters when I visited Theron’s daughter Ruth. I made copies of them. They were all typed on numbered legal size sheets and include some notes made by whoever transcribed them. Included with these letter were correspondence with W. E. Hagens and other letters from Orson to his father and from family members to Samuel.

There is also some question about whether Orson kept this information himself or simply sent it on to his father in these letters. Orson went to the Logan Temple in 1914 to do proxy baptisms. The records of the work done then do not fit exactly the information in these letters. There is a possibility that some of the handwritten information was misread or typos made when typing them up.

Family of Electa Eggleston and Robert Townsend

Electa Eggleston Townsend was a sister of Orson’s father Samuel. They moved to Litchfield, Hillsdale, Michigan where Robert died in 1860. Electa’s children and their families lived near her in MIchigan.

Townsend Family Genealogies

 

Cole & Richardson Family Genealogies

Family of Ambrose and Abigail Bryant Eggleston

Ambrose H. Eggleston was a brother of Orson’s father Samuel. They lived in Allegany County, New York and then were in Iowa during the time Orson served his mission. They later moved to Dakota Territory. Some family genealogical information was included in a 1873 letter from Ambrose to Samuel. Orson’s Missionary journal mentions that he visited his Uncle Ambrose in Parksersburg, Iown November 23, 1876. He probably gathered this information from him then.

Notes on Charles Davis Family

These “pencil notations” assumed to have been written by Orson were included at this point in the transcription. These people were not relatives. The mention of the marriage of Alice Davis and Moses Nixon in 1860 in Crescent City, Iowa would indicate that these were people that the Eggleston family knew while living there. Orson may have visited them when he stopped in Iowa on his way to Michigan.

Family of Anna Eggleston and Isaac Skeels

Anna Eggleston Skeels was Samuel Eggleston’s sister. Isaac and Anna remained in Springwater, Livingston, New York where they both died. Many of their children migrated to Michigan.

Eggleston, Skeels & Burgess Family Genealogies

Burgess Family Genealogies

Harvey and Polly Burgess were the parents of Orson’s mother, Lurania Powers Burgess. They moved to Shelby, Macomb, Michigan where Harvey and Polly both died. Many of their children and families were in Michigan when Orson was there. For some reason Orsen sent information on the Burgess family in two different letters, with more detail in the second.

Burgess Family Genealogies

Family of Eliza Eggleston and Carr Barron

Eliza Eggleston Barron was Samuel Eggleston’s youngest sister. Eliza died in 1869 in Michigan. Carr and their children and families were living in Michigan during the time of his mission.

Barron Family Genealogies

I found the information in these letters extremely valuable. Though much information was in FamilySearch because of Temple work that was done, some family members were not in the system. I realized that at the time Orson went to the Temple in 1914, many of these people were still living. Some may have died but he might not have known that.

So with the information in these letters, I was able to add people to the family tree. I also searched additional records and have added others based on what I found.

Note: I made some pencil notes and highlights on these sheets before scanning my copies of the copies that Ruth had. The darker notes on the last two pages were made by someone else earlier.

Orson Hyde Eggleston’s Journal of the Settling of Afton Wyoming Part 3

Orson Hyde Eggleston journaled his experience of the settling of Afton Wyoming. Part three covers March to May 1886.

Orson Hyde Eggleston journal P. 18

Sunday March 21st 86

Attended meeting after the usual opening exercises and the Sacrament being past I occupied a portion of the time and spoke of the necessity of keeping the commandments of the Lord and the benefits derived therefrom. The snow is now about 2 feet deep.

Sunday 28th 1886

The past week has been more or less stormy. The fore part was nice and warm. Today we had a good meeting most of the time occupied by the young men bearing testimony. Weather warm.

Monday March 29th

Today Bro. Cazier and me went over to Grant Campbells on a visit and stayed over night we stopped on the road over and took dinner with Fred Brown and Jas Dinsdale we enjoyed ourselves first-rate and returned home next day. Weather warm and clear snow about 22 inches deep.

Orson Hyde Eggleston journal P. 19

Monday March 1st 86

This morning the sky was cloudy and continued so during the day. We spent the day reading the news from home and the papers.

Tuesday 2nd 1886

This morning there was a light fall of snow on the ground.

Wednesday 3rd 86

This morning we hitched up and drove over to John Phillip and made a visit till most evening when we drove back [?] miles to Hans Nelsons and stayed over night.

Thursday March 4th 86

This morning we hitched up and drove over to James Jensens and visited him. Stayed with him over night and next day came home.

Sunday 7th 86

Today attended meeting, time mostly occupied by the young brethren bearing testimony followed by Prest. Cazier.

Saturday March 13th 86

Today was windy and blustery but not cold. In the afternoon I hitched up my team and took Chas Cazier, Sant Cazier, Isaac Bigler and Ted Oa over to Bro Grant Campbells on their way to Bennington to take the mail. I stayed overnight with Merrick Welk. Returned home Sunday evening.

 

Orson Hyde Eggleston journal P. 20

Wednesday Mar 31st 86

Sky clear and weather warm. Today I sent my horses over to Moroni Hunts today for a week to be fed.

Tuesday April 6th 86

This morning about 8 o’clock Bro. Wm Treasure, Arthur B. Clark Joe Hurd & myself started for the north end of the valled on snow shoes distance 9 miles to visit Ben Welch. We arrived about noon at Welches and took dinner having a splended appetite after dinner Bro. Clark came back to Money Welches about 3 miles, Bro Hurd left us on the way down and went to Money Welches, Bro. Treasure and me stayed with Ben till Friday morning. We had considerable sport in hunting and trapping geese. We killed 2 and catched 2 in traps on Thursday morning I killed a goose the first one I ever shot at. Friday morning we went to Money Welches where we stopped till Saturday afternoon when Bro. Treasure and me came on up to Bro. Semburgs where we stopped over night.

Sunday April 11th 86

This morning we come back home feeling well and attended meeting. I ocupied a portion of the time. The rest was occupied by Bro. J. C. Stephens, Treasure and Prest. Cazier. I wrote a letter home and in the afternoon Bro. Stephens started for Ogden going to Montpielier on snow shoes in company with Wm Cazier and John Hurd.

Orson Hyde Eggleston journal P. 21Tuesday April 13th 86

Today was the birthday of Lizzie Hurd and Hattie Cazier the former being 17 the other 16 years old. I invited them to come to the tent and cook a birthday dinner which they done and we invited in Bro. and Sister Cazier, Bro. Dixon, Wm Treasure Mary Clark and Ellen Cazier and we had a pleasant time and a good dinner.

Saturday April 17th 86

This afternoon Bro Hurd returned from Montpielier bring letters and a few papers for the people here. I received letters from home which informed me that my wife’s mother Elizabeth Stephens was dead. This evening we had quite a snow storm.

Sunday April 18th 86

This morning the storm came there being about 1 1/2 inches new snow.

Orson Hyde Eggleston journal P.22

April 27th 86

Today I moved my tent over on to the town site on my lot and spent the rest of the week in fixing up and hauling over the wood and done some plowing.

Saturday May 1st 86

Plowed some for A. B. Clark and he sowed some wheat the first sowed in the valley.

Sunday 2nd

Attended meeting and had a good time occupied a portion of the time myself.

Thursday May 6th 86

Today I commenced to build me a house. Bro. Henry Harmon having charge of the job. Chas Semberg assisting.

This week I done some plowing for myself about 2 1/4 acres.

Sunday May 9th 86

Attended meeting time occupied by Sincus Hale and his father and Prest. Cazier.

Tuesday May 11th

Today I planted some peas and next day some potatoes in a snow storm.

The journal ends at this point. Later Orson returned to Utah and brought his family to Star Valley. A summary of this journal account is included in The Joseph Eggleston Family: Seven Generations from Joseph (d.1767) of Stonington, Connecticut to Joseph (1885-1965) of Utah and Wyoming, pp. 416-417.

Orson Hyde Eggleston’s Journal of the Settling of Afton Wyoming Part 2

Orson Hyde Eggleston journaled his experience of the settling of Afton Wyoming. Part two covers January and February of 1886.

Orson Hyde Eggleston journal p. 10

 Friday January 1st 1886

Spent the day at Bro.’s Fred Brown and James Dinsdale in company with Bro. Cazier and family. In the evening we attended a dance at Bro. Campbells which kept up till day light. Weather very cold.

Sunday Jan 3rd 86

Attended meeting spoke at some length on the gathering of Israel, was followed by Bro. Cazier.

Thursday Jan 7th 86

Attended Fast Meeting and testimony in connection with others had a very good meeting. Weather cold and clear about 8 inches of snow on the ground clouded up in the evening.

Orson Hyde Eggleston journal P. 11

Saturday Jan 9th 1886

Cloudy thermometer 6 o above zero. Cleared off during the day. Hauled two loads of wood.

Sunday 10th 86

Attended meeting time was ocupied by Bishop H. Dixon, Arthur Clark and Pres. Cazier. A good spirit preveiled. Prest. Cazier desired the young people to come round dancing to.

Monday Jan 11th 86

Weather quite frosty in the shade all day but pleasant in the sun. Abt 10:30 we started after wood and by 4 o’clock hauled 3 large loads of dry cottonwood from Swift Creek.

Tuesday 12th 86

Quite cold all day spent most of the day around home chopping wood.

Wednesday 13th 86

Not quite so cold 16 o above zero. weather fair.

Orson Hyde Eggleston journal p. 12

 Sunday Jan 11th 86

Weather nice. Attended meeting. Wrote a letter home. Expecting it would go out in a day or 2.

Sunday Jan 22 86

Last Monday commenced snowing a little and continued to snow and rain alternately all the week. Snow about 9 inches deep on the 17th but increased to about 15 inches on Wednesday. The 20 it commenced blowing and we had a severe wind storm till about 2 o’clock next morning and on Friday evening the wind commenced blowing again and continued till about midnight in fact we had more or less wind all the week. In consequence of the storm and bad roads there was no meeting held today.

Tuesday 26th 86

Yesterday was a little stormy all day by spells. We hitched the team onto the sled and drove over to Bro. Dicksons. We saw about 50 deer on the side of the mountain north of Swift Creek. Spent most of the day cutting stove wood.

Orson Hyde Eggleston journal P. 13

Wednesday Jan 27th 1886

This forenoon was a little stormy till about noon then it cleared off. In the afternoon Bro. Arthur Clark came to our tent with his Dental instruments and took out [2 5?] roots and teeth from my mouth which took him about 45 minutes and charged me one dollar for it.

Thursday 28th 86

This morning the sky was nice and clear and quite warm the thermometer running up as high as [104?] in the sun.

Friday Jan 29th 1886

This morning the weather was warmer the sky cloudy. During the day it sprinkled snow a little till about dark, when it commenced snowing in good earnest and continued to snow and rain during the night.

Saturday 30th 86

This morning there was about an inch of new snow. The snow is now about 15 inches deep. Weather quite warm snow melting a bit cloudy. Commenced snowing a little about night, fell about one inch and quit.

Sunday Jan 31st 1886

Thermometer 28 o above zero clouds broken. Weather pleasant. Attended meeting which was addressed by A. B. Clark, Wm Treasure, Fred Brown, Prest. C. D. Cazier and myself. A good spirit prevailed.

Orson Hyde Eggleston journal p. 14

Monday February 1st 1886

This morning there was about 2 1/2 inches of new snow and still snowing a little. About 10 a.m. it cleared off nice and warm the thermometer rose to [112?] in the sun. In the evening it clouded up and a little snow fell.

Tuesday Feb 2nd 1886

This morning the sky was cloudy and sprinkled most of the day. did not see the sun all day.

Wednesday Feb 3rd 86

Weather quite warm. Did not freeze any last night. Cloudy all day. Rained a little in the afternoon. In the evening it cleared off so much so the stars shone. We spent most of the day in cutting wood and baking bread.

Thursday 4th 86

This morning it cleared off the the sun shone out clear and bright a cool breeze from the north. Attended Fast meeting at 11:30 had a good meeting.

Saturday 6th 86

Weather has been pleasant for several days. Friday I wrote a letter home and one to Peter Johnson. Bro. Cazier started to the Lower Valley to administer to Sister Francis. Requested me to take charge of the meeting on Sunday.

Orson Hyde Eggleston journal p. 15

Sunday Feb 7th 86

Weather rather pleasant. Had a good meeting time occupied by Elders Sant, Phillip, Nilson and Hurd. I spoke about 30 minutes in the class on our duties as Saints a good spirit prevailed.

Tuesday Feb 9th 86

Yesterday and today the weather was clear and nice. Today Corniel & me went over to his house & sawed out the windows and doors. Snow about 18 inches deep. Wednesday was mostly spent cutting wood at home. Sky cloudy but warm.

Thursday Feb 11th 86

Sky cloudy in the morning cleared off during the day and was very warm. Went over to Corniel’s house and brought over the logs we had sawed out and commenced to rip them out with a hand saw to make some window and door frames.

Orson Hyde Eggleston journal P. 16

Friday Feb 12th 86

Today was quite warm and rained a little and sun shone by spells all day. Snow settled about four inches. At night the wind raised and blowed quite hard during the night.

Saturday 13th 86

Weather colder a flurry of snow all day drifting winds quite cold at night.

Sunday Feb 14th 86

The weather quite cold in the morning got warmer during the day. Had a very interesting meeting. Time occupied by Bro’s. Clark and Stephens and Prest. Cazier.

Sunday Feb 21st 86

We spent the past week in getting out material and making window and door frames. Put the frames in Corniel house. Today we had a very interesting meeting. Bro. Cazier read a discourse by Prest. Taylor and I occupied the rest of the time in speaking upon the duties and responsibilities of the Saints.

Orson Hyde Eggleston journal P. 17

Monday Feb 22nd 1886

Today we went over to Moroni Hunts and bought 1 1/2 tons of hay and hauled two loads home. The Weather warm and pleasant.

Tuesday 23 86

Today we went after the remainder of the hay and spent the day visiting with Bro. Hunt and family and Fred Brown.

Wednesday 24th 86

Today went over to visit Fred Brown and Jas Dinsdale and had a very pleasant time till late in the evening.

Thursday 25th 86

This morning thermometer was quite cold the thermometer being at zero. Sky clear & warm during the day. Went to clear the snow off the ground to build the school house on.

Sunday 28th 86

Weather clear and warm in the day time and cold at night. Today we had a very interesting meeting. At the close of which we received mail and papers from home, one letter from Lizzie, 1 from Mariett and 1 from Peter Johnson.

Continued in Part 3. A summary of this journal account is included in The Joseph Eggleston Family: Seven Generations from Joseph (d.1767) of Stonington, Connecticut to Joseph (1885-1965) of Utah and Wyoming, pp. 416-417.