Ephraim Johnson

Early Years in Eden

Ephraim Johnson and his twin brother Jacob were born March 20, 1876 in Eden, Weber, Utah to Peter Johnson (Jorgensen) and Ane Marie Madsen. Their father, Peter Johnson, an immigrant from Denmark, had a farm there. Peter died in December 1878 after he was caught in a snow storm and became ill. Thee twin boys were just over two years old when their father died. Their younger sister Agnes was just a baby.

Ane Marie Madsen Johnson, Agnes, Jacob, & Ephraim Johnson

Ane Marie Madsen Johnson with her younger children, twins Jacob and Ephraim and daughter Agnes

Ephraim and Jacob were involved in the Young Men Mutual Improvement Association in the Eden Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ephraim served as Secretary and Jacob as Counselor. Ephraim also served as Sunday School Chorister. Eden Ward records noted that on June 8, 1902, Brother Ephraim Johnson was given a temporary release as chorister of the Sunday School as his irrigation turn came on Sunday.

Education was important to this family. Older brother David related that all eight of the children were sent to school whenever it was in session. A great amount of learning was impossible but they had the opportunity to take advantage of whatever was available. I have inherited a number of text books that belonged to the Johnson siblings. This U. S. History book has Ephraim’s name written in very faded ink.

Textbook inscribed by Ephraim Johnson

Textbook inscribed by Ephraim Johnson

Ephraim Johnson textbook

Ephraim Johnson’s History textbook

Ephraim Johnson textbook
















Life in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Ephraim went to Jackson Hole, Wyoming with his brother Jacob, where they ran a sawmill. After some time there, Jacob then left to farm on Mormon Row with their nephew, Joseph S. Eggleston. Joseph also worked at the mill with them for a time. Ephraim was listed in 1912-1913, 1914, 1922, Wyoming State Directories as having a sawmill. This sawmill was located somewhere near Wilson, Wyoming. A 1931 report mentioned “lots of timber harvesting. Eph Johnson’s outfit has 50,000 board feet in their mill yard and were working getting out 900,000 more.”

Ephraim apparently became a Bishop in Wilson, Wyoming. “Another Mormon Church built in Wilson by Eph Johnson who was Bishop. The building still stands (1988) and is a private home. It is on the west side of Fish Creek & just south of the intersection where Fish Creek Road starts out toward the north.”

First Marriage

Ephraim married Ruby Clarissa Green on February 11, 1911 in Jackson, Wyoming. She was born January 1, 1892 in Vernal, Utah, a daughter of Benoni Green and Julia Ann Lark. Records on FamilySearch indicate she died May 23, 1931 in Jackson, Wyoming. Ruby Johnson, age 37, was listed as a patient in the Wyoming State Hospital for the Insane in the 1930 Census. Find a Grave shows a burial for a Ruby Johnson, age 39, in the Evanston City Cemetery May 25, 1932. This may be Ephraim’s wife with an error with the death date. Cause of death listed on Find a Grave is general paralysis.

On the 1930 Census, Ephraim was farming in Teton County, Wyoming. This census listed him as widowed. He was also living near Howard Cheney, the brother of Joseph Eggleston’s wife Talitha Cuma.

An Accident

Ephraim was seriously injured in an accident in 1933. An article in the Jackson Hole Courier, August 24, 1933 related:

“EPHRAIM JOHNSON SEVERELY HURT WHEN HORSE BOLTS. Brought to Local Hospital–Pneumonia Develops in Injured Lung–Condition Regarded Critical.

“Injuries sustained last Friday afternoon when thrown from a horse have developed to make the condition of Ephraim Johnson, prominent rancher of Wilson, be regarded as critical and at present he is in the local hospital suffering with a fractured shoulder, six broken ribs, and an injured lung. Pneumonia has developed in the lung and though he is improving as well as can be expected his condition remains very grave, physicians said tonight.

“Elder Johnson, well known worker in the local L.D.S. Church, was thrown from the horse as he rode into the pasture at his ranch about 2 miles below Wilson. The horse, which had a sorely wounded neck, bolted under the pain of his injury.

“Johnson later said he had forgotten the animal was injured and jumped on him to drive the other horses to the pasture. He was brought to the hospital Saturday afternoon.”

Second Marriage

Ephraim apparently recovered quickly enough to be married just weeks later. He married Effie Jean Curtis DeLoney Woods September 26, 1933. She had been married previously to Hyrum Wilford DeLoney, who died in 1918. They had two children. She apparently married someone named Wood or Woods after his death. In the 1930 Census she was living in Jackson as Jean D. Wood with her children Wilma and Hyrum DeLoney.

An announcement was made in the Jackson Hole Courier, October 19, 1933. It read:

“Mrs. Jean DeLoney Woods surprised her many friends by announcing her marriage to Eph Johnson of Jackson. They were married in Salt Lake Sept. 26th. Mrs. Johnson is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Curtis. After completing business transactions in Jackson the past week the bride and groom returned to Provo to spend the winter. Mrs. Johnson has two children who are attending school there, Miss Wilma DeLoney, who is majoring in music and Hyrum DeLoney, who is attending high school. Their many friends extend sincere congratulations to them.”

Ephraim died July 13, 1950 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was buried in the Eden Meadow View Cemetery in Eden, Utah by his parents.

Headstone of Ephraim Johnson

Note regarding sources:

This was adapted from the account in my book, The Joseph Eggleston Family, pages 532-533. Sources used there include Eden Ward Records; History of the Eden Ward, Ogden, Utah Stake 1877-1977, by Melba and Ren Colvin; The Pass: Historic Teton Pass & Wilson Wyoming by Doris B. Platts, 1988, which includes newspaper articles in the Jackson Hole Courier. I also gathered additional information from Census and other records and found interesting details attached as “memories” on FamilySearch.

Jacob Johnson

Early Years in Eden

Jacob Johnson and his twin brother Ephraim were born March 20, 1876 in Eden, Weber, Utah to Peter Johnson (Jorgensen and Ane Marie Madsen. Their father, Peter Johnson, an immigrant from Denmark, had a farm there. Peter died in December 1878 after he was caught in a snow storm and became ill. These twin boys were just over two years old when their father died. Their younger sister Agnes was just a baby.

Ane Marie Madsen Johnson with her younger children, twins Jacob and Ephraim and daughter Agnes

Jacob and his brother Ephraim were involved in the Young Men Mutual Improvement Association of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Eden Ward. Jacob served as Counselor and Ephraim as Secretary.

Education was important to this family. Older brother David related that all eight of the children were sent to school whenever it was in session. A great amount of learning was impossible but they had the opportunity to take advantage of whatever was available. I have inherited a number of text books that belonged to the Johnson siblings. This one has Jacob’s name inside.

Text book "Our Government" inscribed by Jacob Johnson

Text book “Our Government” book inscribed by Jacob Johnson

textbook owned by Jacob Johnson

Cover of the textbook “Our Government’










Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Jacob went with his brother Ephraim to Jackson Hole, Wyoming where they ran a sawmill. This sawmill was located somewhere near Wilson, Wyoming.

After working at the sawmill with Ephraim for a time, Jacob left to homesteaded on Mormon Row or Grovont, Wyoming with his nephew Joseph S. Eggleston. Joseph had worked at the sawmill with his uncles for a time. Jacob and Joseph dug a rather large ditch known as the Johnson/Eggleston ditch. Joseph left Mormon Row and returned to Eden, Utah, selling his land to Jacob.

Map of Mormon Row

Map of Mormon Row, showing Jacob’s property and the Johnson Eggleston Ditch in the center between their homesteads

Marriage and Family

Jacob Johnson & Christabelle Eccles

Jacob married Christabelle Eccles January 13, 1898 in Salt Lake City. She was born March 8, 1879 in Huntsville, Weber, Utah. She was a daughter of Stewart Eccles and Marintha Eltharia Bingham.

They had seven children: Jacob Lloyd born February 4, 1899 in Eden, Utah who went on an LDS Mission to Samoa in 1917; Steward Eccles who was born July 22, 1901 and died at 7 months old, February 28, 1902; Marintha Ortell who was born October 16, 1903 and died at 8 years old January 6, 1912; Susan Marie born June 22, 1907, who later married Lyman Holt Richmond; David Eccles born January 7, 1912, just a day after his sister Marintha died. He was born in Eden, though his birth certificate gives his parents residence as Jackson, Wyoming; a stillborn boy March 4, 1915 in the Dee Hospital in Ogden, Utah; and Karl Marvin who was born June 26, 1918 in Grovont, Wyoming (Mormon Row).

Jacob had some financial difficulties, possibly in conjunction with his divorce from Christabelle, which apparently occurred between 1920 and 1924. A Notice of Foreclosure Sale was printed in the Jackson Hole Courier, November 20, 1924. It listed Jacob Johnson and Belle Johnson as Mortgagers and J. I. Case Threshing Machine Company as the mortgagee. The Mortgage was for $200.00 principal and $39.55 interest with $23.95 attorney’s fees. A sale of mortgaged farm equipment was to be made at the Jacob Johnson Ranch in Teton County December 6, 1924 to satisfy the costs. He apparently lost a Threshing Machine, Case Separator with trucks, a Stacker, Self Feed and Band Cutter and Fordson Traction Engine, Wither and Endless Canvas Belt.

Christabelle married Karl Matthews Kent in 1924. He died in 1945 in Los Angeles. Christabelle died April 15, 1965 in Idaho Falls, Idaho and was buried in the Jackson City Cemetery, Jackson, Wyoming.

L. D. S. Missions

Jacob served two missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after his divorce from Christabelle. On November 17, 1925 he was set apart to serve in the Northern States Mission. He departed November 18th and returned March 26, 1926. He was 49 years old and living in Wilson, Teton, Wyoming when he was called. Jacob served again at age 58 in California. He Served from November 15, 1934 to April 25, 1935. Theses were brief missions served during the winter months when there was not as much farm work to do.

Death of Jacob

Jacob apparently returned to California after serving a mission there and remained there for the rest of his life. In the 1940 Census he was living with his daughter Marie and her husband Lyman Richmond in Los Angeles. Jacob died March 7, 1944 in California. He was buried in Rose Hills Cemetery, Whittier, California.

Notes regarding Sources:

This was adapted from the account in my book, The Joseph Eggleston Family, page 533. Sources used there include Eden Ward Records; History of the Eden Ward, Ogden, Utah Stake 1877-1977, by Melba and Ren Colvin; The Pass: Historic Teton Pass & Wilson Wyoming by Doris B. Platts, 1988, which includes newspaper articles in the Jackson Hole Courier. I also gathered additional information from Census and other records and found interesting details attached as “memories” on FamilySearch.

David Henry Johnson

The Childhood of David Henry Johnson

David Henry Johnson was born March 6, 1874 in Eden, Weber County, Utah, the son of Peter Johnson and Ane Marie Madsen. His parents were both immigrants from Denmark, who met and married after coming to Utah. David’s father died in December 1878, probably from pneumonia after being caught in a terrible snow storm. David related: “I was only four and a half years old at the time of my father’s death so do not remember much about him. My mother and I were very close and companionable. She taught me all that she knew about horticulture and animal husbandry. She inspired me with ambition and the practice of thrift and industry.”

Education was important to this family. David related that all eight of the children were sent to school whenever it was in session. A great amount of learning was impossible but they had the opportunity to take advantage of whatever was available. I have inherited a number of text books that belonged to David and his siblings.

David Johnson signed inside this book Steeles Hygenic Physiology

David remembered that one time Brigham Young sent Eliza R. Snow and Susan R. Young up to Eden to visit the Primary Association. He related, “Eliza wore a black satin dress, all in one piece. I was seated on the front row with about four or five others, in Primary that day. She showed the children a gold watch which had belonged to the Prophet Joseph Smith. Susan talked in tongues. Such a beautiful, beautiful woman—her face looked like ivory. Eliza said, ‘Someone here will give the interpretation to what Sister Susan has just said.’ A highly educated English woman did arise and give the interpretation. She said, ‘Your sons will build a Church.’ Nine years later they did build the Church. I think that it is still standing.”

Adventures with a Bear

In October 1893, David and some neighbors had an adventure with a bear in the area, as reported in a local newspaper.


Brief marriage of David Henry Johnson and Hannah Elizabeth Langlois

David married Hannah Elizabeth Langlois on May 30, 1900. The Marriage license, dated May 29, gives her name as Lizzie, though the marriage record, dated May 30, has her name Hannah E. Langlois.

Marriage License of David Johnson and Lizzie Langlois

Marriage License of David Johnson and Lizzie Langlois. The License is dated May 29 and the Marriage was May 30.

Hannah Elizabeth was born February 10, 1876, the daughter of George Langlois and Mary Ohlsson. Her father was born on the Isle of Jersey and her mother in Sweden.

David and Lizzie lived in Eden for most of their marriage. They were on the 1900 Census of Eden with her brother David Langlois and his wife and baby daughter living with them. David was listed as a farmer with no occupation listed for Elizabeth. Her brother David was listed as being a school teacher. According to her death certificate, Lizzie worked as a school teacher.

David sold his property in Eden in 1904 and they moved to Ogden. Elizabeth and David were living at 2116 Jefferson Ave. in Ogden when she died. She passed away April 8, 1906 from tuberculosis. I have found no record that they had any children.

Death Certificate of Hannah Elizabeth Johnson

Death Certificate of Hannah Elizabeth Johnson

David Alone

David was left a young widower. The 1908 Polk Directory of Ogden, Utah showed that he was still living at 2116 Jefferson, though he worked at a Meat Market at 1802 Washington Ave.

By 1917, David was living in West Ogden at 2372 E. Ave. This is the address listed on his World War I Draft Registration card. He was then 43 years old and gave his occupation as carpenter. This document also indicated that he had “disabled legs”. In the 1920 Polk Directory he was still listed at that address on E. Ave. with occupation carpenter.

I have found no indication that David married again. His death certificate lists Hannah Elizabeth Langlois as wife. (It is interesting though, that in the 1930 Census it has in the column “age at first marriage” 39, when he was 25 at the time he married Lizzie.)

Land and Water Disputes

David moved to Kanesville, in western Weber County, where he had a farm. He had disputes with neighbors over water rights. On May 19, 1936, there was a shooting incident. David was shot in the head and he shot John Kap in the chest. Both were taken to the hospital.

David quoted a hospital record in a later petition, which described his wound: “a small wound in frontal hair line about two and one half inches above the superorbital notch; the bullet of a short .22 caliber bullet was found two and one half inches back of entrance.”

David explained that he was held in the hospital with his head packed in ice until the morning of May 20th, when the County Physician, Dr. Feller, examined him. He reported ” death is imminent unless this missle is removed.” David described the procedure: “So he [Dr. Feller] had the hospital X-ray his head and found a .22 bullet and cut open the scalp and spread it open and shaved the .22 bullet down to the small part and removed the remainder and re-aid the scalp and sewed 12 stitches to hold all and gave notice if this bullet has not split the brain lining you may live. Otherwise do not speak or talk until this shall have knitted together as the blue puss is still oozing from it.”

Kap passed away a few days later and David was charged with murder. His trial took place over a few days in July of 1936. David asserted that he acted in self defense and took the stand to testify. A jury found him guilty of second degree murder. He received a life sentence.

David’s Life in Prison

David was sent to the Utah State Penitentiary where he remained for the rest of his life. He was first sent to the prison in Sugar House. Later a new prison was built at Point of the Mountain in Draper. In 1951 prisoners, including David were moved to the new facility.

Utah State Penitentiary in Sugar House, 4 March 1936.

Utah State Penitentiary in Sugar House. This photo was taken 4 March 1936, just months before David was sent there.

In a newspaper article relating his death, the Warden, John Turner, indicated that Dave was a model prisoner. He said, “He went about his own business and never caused a bit of trouble here.” The Warden also said that David was sent to the American Fork Training School and later to the Utah State Hospital for some time. He said, “He came back both times because he liked it better here.” The Warden also said that to his knowledge David had never been up for parole, however I have found newspaper articles that indicate that he was. Parole was denied each time.

Blanket made by David Henry Johnson

Blanket made by David from Bull Durham sacks

Blanket made by David Henry Johnson

Detail of blanket








While in prison David made a blanket from Bull Durham tobacco pouch sacks. The inmates apparently got tobacco and papers in these pouches and rolled their own cigarettes.



David wrote many petitions and appeals. He apparently knew enough to create documents which appeared to be official, however the content is rather confusing. He directed these to a variety of places – the State of Utah, The United States Supreme Court, Congress, and leaders of the L. D. S. Church. He seemed intent on telling his side of the story. He felt that he had acted in self-defense and his rights were violated. There is one letter indicating that the Supreme Court refused to address his petition, but I don’t know if all of these petitions were actually sent or what happened with them. They obviously did not change his life sentence.

David’s Death

A few months before his death, David became ill and was sent to Salt Lake General Hospital. He was admitted to the hospital on December 6, 1960. According to a family letter, by January 10 he had been on the critical list for several days and was not responding to any medication. He died in the hospital on January 23, 1961. Causes of death listed on his Death Certificate were Congestive heart failure, due to subacute bacterial endocarditis due to lymphosarcoma.

A letter from the hospital to David’s nephew, Joseph Eggleston, reported the findings of a postmortem examination. This indicated that his death was “due to a tumor of his lymph nodes which had involved organs in his abdomen. In addition, there was evidence of involvement of the heart with an infection which had been partially cured.”

Death Certificate of David H. Johnson

Death Certificate of David H. Johnson

The State of Utah would have sent David’s remains to the University Medical School, had not the family made other arrangements. His nephew, Joseph Eggleston, made funeral arrangements and a service was held. David was buried in the Eden Meadow View Cemetery next to his parents. He left a very small insurance policy. Joseph Eggleston was the beneficiary.



This account was adapted from what is in my book, The Joseph Eggleston Family, p. 531-532. As I was writing this post and studying more about the murder charges and appeals, I decided that I would relate that in more detail at a later time in another blog post – so watch for it.

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


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.

Ambrose Hill, Revolutionary War Soldier and Patriot

Ambrose Hill was born March 21, 1744 in Goshen, Litchfield, Connecticut. He died February 26, 1816 in Cornwall, Addison, Vermont. He was buried in Cornwall. He was on a list of Revolutionary War Soldiers buried in Cornwall, Vermont. Ambrose married Lucy Beach October 10, 1764 in Goshen, Litchfield, Connecticut. Lucy Beach was born January 27, 1746 in Goshen, Litchfield, Connecticut. She died March 18, 1838, in Cornwall, Addison, Vermont.

Ambrose Hill served in the Revolutionary War. His widow Lucy received a Pension for his service. According to information in his Pension file ( Pension File No. W21338 ) Ambrose Hill was a resident of Richmond, Berkshire County, Massachusetts, when he enlisted in April 1775. He served 15 days as a Corporal under Colonel Patterson; six months as Orderly Sargent under Aaron Rowley, Colonel Jonathan Smith; one month and four days as Captain under Colonel Powell, and was in the battles of Bunker Hill, Benington, Stillwater, and at the surrender of Burgoyne and evacuation of Ticonderoga.

The Colonists in Berkshire County were very involved in the beginning events of the Revolution. When news from Lexington and Concord came in April 1775, two Berkshire regiments immediately started marching to Boston. One unit under Col. Patterson of Lenox was stationed at Cambridge, but did not get to Bunker Hill for that battle. Both regiments were involved in repelling a landing party at East Cambridge and many soldiers stayed at Boston until it was evacuated March 16, 1776. Under the leadership of Joseph Raymond and Aaron Rowley most of the volunteers continued to serve as a unit throughout the early part of the war.

Ambrose Hill would have been among those early Berkshire Volunteers under Col. Patterson. Ambrose was a Corporal with Capt. David Rosseter’s Company in Col. John Patterson’s regiment which marched on the alarm of April 19, 1775. This was the same day that the first shots were fired at Lexington, Massachusetts. His service was from April 23, 1775 to May 8, 1775. He was listed as Sergeant with Capt. David Noble’s Company, Col. John Paterson’s Regiment, serving 7 days from April 22, 1775, which company marched in response to the alarm of April 19, 1775. The Battle of Bunker Hill was fought on June 17, 1775. These dates would indicate that Ambrose did not serve then, however the next entry showed that later that year Ambrose was again with John Paterson’s Regiment, muster roll dated Aug 1, 1775. This indicates that he enlisted April 19, 1775 and served 3 months 9 days with company return date October 6, 1775. He apparently served during that entire first summer. There was mention of an order for a bounty coat or its equivalent in money dated Fort No. 3, Charlestown, October 26, 1775.

Ambrose served as Sergeant in a company of Massachusetts militia in the vicinity of Boston until the British troops left Boston in the spring of the year 1776. Later, he served as Captain of a company of Massachusetts militia and he commanded a company that marched from Richmond to New Haven, Connecticut where he served as Captain sometime over two months. He received a Captains commission.

Later service in 1777 would have been in the battles in the Ticonderoga and Saratoga area. Ambrose was a Sergeant in Capt. Amos Rathbun’s Company, Maj. Caleb Hyde’s detachment of militia from July 8, 1777 to July 26, 1777 (19 days). His company marched to reinforce the northern army and was discharged 97 miles from home. At this point in the war, General Burgoyne had advanced down the Richeleau River to Lake Champlain with a massive army. Fort Ticonderoga was at that time badly in disrepair and the soldiers were lacking adequate supplies. When General St. Clair learned that the British had cannon on Mt. Defiance, it was felt that they would not be able to hold the fort and therefore he ordered an evacuation of Fort Ticonderoga. Many felt this was a cowardly act and he later faced a Court Martial, however his intent appeared to be to save his troops, rather than have them killed in a battle that could not have been won. The Evacuation of Ticonderoga took place July 5-6, 1777. Ambrose Hill probably was not at the fort, but was with troops sent there to assist them. After taking Fort Ticonderoga, the British advanced overland southward. This was a difficult march because of the tremendous amount of supplies they were carrying and the rugged nature of this wilderness they traveled through. The Colonial troops were able to slow their march even further by creating diversions and destroying the roads in their path.

Part of the Colonial Troops went east into Vermont, and Ambrose was probably with these. The next term of service listed for him was as Captain in Aaron Rowley’s Company, Col. David Rosseter’s detachment of Berkshire Co. militia, serving from August 13, 1777 to August 20, 1777, 7 days at Bennington. They would have joined troops from Ticonderoga and fought in the Battle of Bennington, Vermont August 16, 1777, where they defeated the Hessian forces. David Rossiter, Aaron Rowley and other officers of the Berkshire militia became quite famous.

The battles at Stillwater, where Burgoyne eventually surrendered, took place in late September and into October of 1777. A “Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution” reference would indicate Ambrose did not serve long enough to be involved at Stillwater, however a DAR letter indicated he served 6 months as orderly Sargent under Aaron Rowley, which would have extended through the entire time of the events at Stillwater. After the Surrender of Burgoine at Saratoga, the Berkshire units broke up and the soldiers joined various other regiments.

At some period during the War, Ambrose served in the army in the State of New Jersey and Lucy thought that was as Captain and that he was there in a battle.

As Captain 11th Co. 3d Berkshire Co. Regt. Of Mass. Militia, Ambrose was on a list of officers commissioned March 1778. Then as Captain in Lieut Col Miles Powell’s (Berkshire Co) Regit, he was engaged July 18, 1779 and discharged Aug 22, 1779, serving 1 month 10 days at New Haven, Connecticut, including 5 days (110 miles) travel home.

The Pension File indicated that Ambrose Hill was married at Goshen, Connecticut, October 10, 1764 to Lucia Beach. He died at Cornwall, Vermont in February 1816, and she was allowed a pension for his services on her application executed October 31, 1836, at which time she was a resident of Shoreham, Addison County, Vermont, aged “ninety years and upwards.”

While Ambrose was away serving in the war Lucy was at home with several small children. She stated in her deposition that “she was left at home in charge of her family consisting of six small children and that she underwent much fear and alarm in consequence of the Torris which were numerous in that part of Massachusetts where she resided.”

At the time of the Pension application, which was shortly after the Pension Act of July 4, 1836 was passed, Lucy was quite old and not able to remember the specific times of service. Apparently because of this, the application was delayed and other depositions taken to try to confirm the places and times of service. This all took considerable time and must have been quite an ordeal. A letter in the file dated January 26, 1837 stated, “I have made an unsuccessful search for the alleged service of Ambrose Hill as a sergeant in 1775, and as an adjutant in 1777. The name of his Captain in 1775 is not given, one thinks it was Porter.” They requested names of officers. He did serve 1 month 10 days as Captain in 1779 in Connecticut, July 1777 as sergeant in A. Rathbun’s Company 13 days and held a commission as Captain in March 1778. In June 1837, Lucy consented to receive a certificate for the amount which they said was allowed: 1 month 4 days as Captain, 15 days as Corporal, 6 months as sergeant. Apparently since no more specifics could be documented, she settled for a pension based on this time of service. It does appear from recollections of the family and others who made depositions that he would have served for much longer. The official certificate indicated service at Bunker Hill, Bennington and Saratoga.

(This information was taken from The Joseph Eggleston Family: Seven Generations from Joseph (d. 1767) of Stonington, Connecticut to Joseph (1885-1965) of Utah & Wyoming, Including Maternal Lines: Hill, Burgess, Titus, Sammis & Johnson, by Karen Eggleston Stark)

Sources of information:

History of Berkshire County, Massachusetts: with biographical sketches of its prominent men, Vol. 2 (Photo reproduction of original published: New York: J. B. Beers, 1885) (974.41 H 2hb) Rev. A. B. Whipple, Chapter XXV Town of Richmond, p. 481.

Katharine Huntington Annin, Richmond, Masachusetts: The story of a Berkshire town and its people, 1765-1965. (Richmond, Massachusetts: distributed by Richmond Civic Association, 1964) (974.411 RI H2a); History of Berkshire County

“Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution” Vol. 7, p. 865

Smith, H. P., History of Addison County, Vermont: with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers. Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Company, 1886, p. 416-417. (974.35 H2s )

The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution Vol. 70 p. 54. Vol. 113 p. 134.

This was also published on the Golden Spike Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution website.

Seth Burgess, Revolutionary War Soldier & Patriot

Seth Burgess was born May 31, 1745 in Canterbury, Windham, Connecticut.  He died January 24, 1814 in Sempronius, Cayuga, New York. He was buried in the Kellogsville Cemetery in Sempronius in February 1814. He married Selinda Olive Cady about 1767. She was born November 16, 1748 in Windham County, Connecticut. She died August 20, 1837 in Sempronius, Cayuga, New York.

Seth Burgess served in the Revolutionary War from Berkshire County, Massachusetts. The early history of Berkshire County parallels the history of the Revolution. In its earliest days there were stirrings of rebellion and the residents of Berkshire were very involved. In 1777 it was voted that in order to encourage enlistment in the Continental Army, a bounty of $10 would be assessed to anyone refusing to serve. Later, in August 1777, it was voted that if any one drafted to serve should refuse to march or to get a substitute, he would be fined $40. This money was to help pay the soldiers. Seth Burgess apparently took the option to serve in the Army.

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Harvey Burgess – Disabled War of 1812 Veteran

What an unexpected surprise to learn that Harvey Burgess, father of Lurania Powers Burgess Eggleston, not only served in the War of 1812, but was injured and left somewhat disabled for the rest of his life.

I recently joined the Daughters of the American Revolution, using Seth Burgess as my Patriot ancestor. His service in the Revolution was documented in the Joseph Eggleston book. In the process of documenting family relationships and birth and death places, the DAR registrar found in the newly digitized War of 1812 Pension Files this new information.

Harvey Burgess, the son of Seth Burgess, was living in Sempronius, New York at the time of the War of 1812. He apparently enlisted with some other men from Sempronius, including his brother-in-law Stephen Carroll. He served from August to October 1812. Continue reading