Constant Ann Stephens Eggleston McBride

Constant Ann Stephens Eggleston McBride

Constant Ann Stephens Eggleston

Early Life

Constant Ann Stephens was born February 17, 1849 at Council Bluffs, Potawattamie Co. Iowa, the daughter of John Stephens and Elizabeth Briggs. She was the ninth of twelve children.

Constant’s father had a farm at Council Bluffs. She crossed the plains at the age of two, arriving in Utah October 14, 1851. Her father was a Captain of ten in the Orson Pratt Company. The family resided in Weber County. Her father built the first reservoir in Weber County in 1856.

Marriage to Orson Hyde Eggleston

On December 4, 1864, in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the age of 15 years 9 months, 17 days, Constant married Orson Hyde Eggleston, son of Samuel Eggleston and Lurania Powers Burgess. They were sealed in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah on May 18, 1867. After her marriage, she and her husband resided in Ogden, Utah. She was the mother of eleven children, only five of the children were alive at the time of her death.

Constant Stephens Eggleston and children

Mary Lurania, Constand holding John Stephens, Orson Burgess, Elizabeth Jane and Samuel Lee in front

In 1876-1877 her husband was a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Michigan. In the fall of 1877 they moved to Eden, Utah, where her husband was postmaster for three years. He also served as Counselor in the Bishopric and Clerk of the Eden Ward. He also held the ranks of Sergeant, Lieutenant and Captain in the Utah Militia.

The family moved to Star Valley, Wyoming about 1886. They settled at a small town called Afton. Here her husband earned his living by practicing dentistry. Constant Ann soon endeared herself to all the people there by caring for the sick. While the family lived in Afton she delivered over 500 babies to the women of the community. Horse and buggy was her transportation as she spent her time among the sick. I remember my father (William Jesse Eggleston) telling of his mother, her horse and buggy, her coming and going at all hours of the day or night. Always the welfare of others was her first concern.

A note of interest from A History of Star Valley 1800-1900:

“Medical doctors were few and far between. The settlers had to be resourceful and depended heavily upon the skills of mid-wives and home nurses. Cynthia Hunt Miller, Constance Ann Stephens Eggleston, and Elsie Fluckiger Roberts are names which frequently surface in the early accounts as such women. The risks of long distance emergencies are illustrated in the story of little Alfred Kennington: ‘Alfred was a little boy running barefooted up and down the garden irrigation ditches when something stung him on the instep. Father at once sent for Connie Eggleston, who said she had to have some medicine from the drug store in Montpelier. Frank Bracken, half-brother to Alfred borrowed a little wild black mare from Egglestons and rode to Montpelier in five hours (45 miles), got the medicine and rode back in seven hours on the same mare. Alfred died before Frank was out of sight, but there was no way of stopping him. They never did find out what bit or stung him. He was the first person buried in Afton.”

She was the first of her husband’s three polygamous wives, the other two were Mariett Orantha Forley, married July 11,1879, and Anna Christine Johnson, married February 10, 1881.

My Personal Thoughts about Constant

The family story I knew and what is indicated in the following account is that Constant married Ether McBride after Orson died. It was some time later before I realized that she married Ether McBride in 1904, when Orson was still alive. (Orson died in 1917 in Afton, Wyoming) An obituary and a life sketch given at her funeral also said that she married McBride after Orson’s death. Other relatives told me that she divorced Orson in 1902.

I have not seen documentation for the divorce, though I was told it was for reasons of abandonment or non-support. Descendants of Orson and Constant don’t seem to have the best of feelings about him. Possibly they need to feel justification for her leaving him. The non-support allegation may have been simply legal grounds. Polygamy was illegal long before 1902, but in Wyoming polygamist families were somewhat left alone.

Orson had separate homes for each of his wives. Even if living with one of the other wives, Orson would have been next door and in frequent contact with Constant and her children. It must have been a financial burden to support three families. I have also noticed a pattern of sons of polygamist wives taking care of their mothers, so I wonder if Orson expected his adult sons to care for wives he was not living with. Maybe the fact that Orson did not physically live with Constant and left much of the physical and financial support to her sons was the basis of the non-support claim. Or possibly Constant was just tired of being a polygamist wife. She had known Ether McBride earlier, so I wonder if some contact with him occurred before and encouraged the divorce.

Marriage to Ether McBride

Constant married Ether McBride on September 22, 1904 in the Logan, Utah L. D. S. Temple and resided at American Fork, Utah. There she continued caring for the sick and won the love and respect of all who knew her.

Thaya Eggleston Gilmore included some information in her book, which she indicated was told to Virgie Stoffers by Mary Jane McBride Cunningham, daughter of Ether McBride, on September 7, 1958 at her home in American Fork, Utah:

“After grandmother Eggleston’s marriage, the family lived at Eden, Utah. They lived about a block from the Ether McBride family. The two families were very good friends and a great bond was formed between them. When grandfather took his third wife, Anne Christine Johnson, a young Norwegian [she was Danish] girl of 17, grandmother took her into her own home and shared all she had with her. Teaching her how to cook, sew, and care for a family. Sharing with her when her own belongings were very scant and small.

“Later after the family moved to Star Valley a man hurt his leg very bad while working in the logs. Grandmother realized the need for something to be done right away, and amputated the man’s leg and dressed it very carefully and continued caring for it, thus saving the man’s life. Later when a doctor finally saw the leg, he was amazed at the care that had been given it and declared that it had received professional care. Grandmother was a registered nurse. She continued her practice long after she left the valley and resided at American Fork.

“After her husband’s death and the death of Mrs. McBride, she married their neighbor of years gone by, 22 Sept. 1904, a respected citizen, Ether McBride of American Fork, Utah, and spent many happy years with him. His family received her as one of their own and she was loved dearly by all of them. She won the love of all who knew her.

“Grandmother treated a lot with different herbs and other natural means. Seeming to have an uncanny knowledge in the care of the sick. When she attended at the birth of a child, she not only took care of the mother but also took care of the family and seen that everything was taken care of, very often for very small wages, if any. She was very apt in the capacity of a nurse and was the means of bringing into this life some 500 babies.

“Regardless of what grandmother was doing or how old her dress, it was always spotless. She was very neat and clean and always loved order in everything she did. She was a good neighbor and a faithful Latter-day Saint all her life and remained so to the end.”

Death of Constant

Constant McBride died July 16, 1926 at American Fork, Utah.

Constant Ann Stephens Eggleston McBride Obituary

Constant Ann Stephens Eggleston McBride Obituary

Funeral summary Constant Stephens McBride

Newspaper article summarizing the funeral of Constant Stephens McBride. Text transcribed at left.


“Tributes Paid Pioneer at Final Rites”

Last respects were paid to Mrs. Constant Ann Stephens Eggleston McBride, Pioneer of this city, Sunday July 18, at the funeral services held in the First Ward Chapel. Bishop James T. Gardner was in charge. The opening song “When First the Glorious Light of Faith,” was rendered by the Chorus. Maurice Madsen pronounced the invocation, followed by a song “I Need Thee Every Hour”. The Biographical sketch of Mrs McBride was given by E. J. Seastrand who also told of the high esteem in which she was held by all who know her and or her untiring service for the sick and afflicted, her unselfish labors in his immediate family during their sickness. H.S. Rasmussen spoke telling of her worth as a true neighbor and friend. A vocal duet was sung by James Martin of Salt Lake, and Mary Hansen of Payson, entitled “Sometime, Somewhere.” William S. Robinson, the next speaker consoled the family and explained the resurrection and his assurance of Mrs. McBride’s salvation through her faithful life of unselfish service to her family and to all mankind. Bishop James T. Gardner in closing thanked all who had assisted during the death and at the funeral services in any way and confirmed the remarks of the former speaker and added his knowledge of Mrs. McBride’s worth in the Ward and in his immediate family. The benediction was pronounced by D. W. Jones.

Interment was made in the city cemetery where the grave was dedicated by Dan Stephens of Ogden. The profuse floral offerings and large attendance bespoke the sympathy of the townspeople and the high esteem in which Mrs. McBride and the McBride family is held.







This biography was originally written by Virgie Eggleston Stoffers; edited in 2003 by other descendants, with minor editing by the author of this blog. It is included in the book The Joseph Eggleston Family, by Karen Eggleston Stark, p. 418-420.

Vedia Eggleston’s Postcard Book – Early 20th Century Valentines

In the early 20th Century Valentines were sent thought postcards to special people who were far away. Vedia Eggleston’s Postcard Book contained several Valentine postcards.

To My Valentine


to my Valentine


Vedia’s sister Lottie was good to remember her on Valentines Day. The written messages were not very newsworthy. They were probably continuations of other conversations sent through postcards and letters. The intent was to keep in touch. A a colorful card with a message was a special remembrance.

Veda from Lottie Valentine greeting








My poor heart To Veda from Lottie

The Life and Untimely Death of Harvey Burgess Eggleston

Little is known of the details of the life of Harvey Burgess Eggleston. He was just becoming an adult when his life was cut short. We can only imagine what his life would have been like if he had lived, and wonder about the circumstances of his death.

Birth of Harvey Burgess Eggleston

Harvey Burgess Eggleston, the 5th child of Samuel and Lurania Powers Burgess Eggleston, was born February 8, 1836, In Sempronius, Cayuga County, New York. He was named for his grandfather Harvey Burgess. His parents lost their first 2 sons as infants, so when Harvey was born he had two older brothers.


Family Bible birth of Harvey Burgess Eggleston

The birth date of Harvey Burgess Eggleston was recorded in the Eggleston Family Bible – bottom on the left

When Harvey was six years old, his family left their home in Sempronius and traveled overland to Nauvoo, Illinois. I  imagine it would have been hard for Harvey and his brothers to leave their friends and extended family. His parents had joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1841. Maybe by the time they left relations had become strained because of the feelings of their Baptist family and friends toward the Mormons. The family traveled with Isaac Haight from nearby Moravia. This journey may have been an adventure for young Harvey, traveling by wagon through unfamiliar countryside and towns and camping at night.

In Nauvoo, Samuel eventually built a home on the bluff near where the Temple was being built. This was a growing community, with new families arriving and much building going on. We don’t have any specific information, but I would think that Harvey and his brothers would have received some schooling there.

Moving Again

In early 1846, when Harvey was just 10 years old, the Saints began leaving Nauvoo. The Eggleston family would have again said goodbye to many friends and neighbors as they left. The Egglestons remained in Nauvoo until later in the spring. Some stayed to complete the Temple. Many who remained were poor and lacking means to supply themselves for the trip. Things became very tense with others in the area. It appears that the Eggleston family left Nauvoo before things deteriorated toward the “battle of Nauvoo” and the last remaining Saints were removed by force.

For the second time in Harvey’s young life the family traveled an extended distance by wagon. They traveled during the summer, so didn’t have the winter weather that earlier groups had, but still it was not an easy journey. They spent the winter in Winter Quarters, Nebraska. It was here that Harvey’s brother Samuel was born January 16, and passed away August 23rd. This was probably the first death of a close family member that Harvey experienced. There was much disease in the community during that time. We do not know if Harvey or other members of his family became ill, but conditions would not have been good for their health.

Harvey’s Final Home

Later the Winter Quarters settlement was abandoned as many of the Saints left for the Salt Lake Valley. Harvey’s family did not leave then, but crossed back over the Missouri River and settled in Council Bluffs, Iowa. This was a temporary situation for most of the Saints as they were encouraged to go west as soon as they were able. The Egglestons however, stayed for many years and Harvey grew up there.

A sister finally joined the family on September 22, 1849 while they were living at Trader’s Point in Pottawattamie County. She was named Mary Elizabeth after both of her grandmothers. Harvey’s father Samuel had a Boot and Shoe Shop in the middle of Council Bluffs. In November 1853, there was a terrible fire that destroyed much of the business district in Council Bluffs.

Harvey passed away February 12, 1854, just days after his 18th birthday. We do not have any information about the circumstances of his death. We do not have a record of his burial place. But he is worth remembering.

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.

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.



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



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











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.