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.

Orson Hyde Eggleston’s Journal of the Settling of Afton Wyoming Part 1

Orson Hyde Eggleston wrote a journal account of his journey in the fall of 1885 to Star Valley and recorded the early settling of Afton Wyoming. Part 1 covers November and December of 1885.

Some years ago Virgie Eggleston Stoffers gave a photocopy of Orson Hyde Eggleston’s journal to my father. I think it was some time after that, but in the late 1990’s, that I found this at my father’s home. A typed note indicated that Virgie had made a photocopy in 1982 from the original which was then in the possession of Theron Eggleston.

Orson Hyde Eggleston journal page 1 with note

When I visited Theron’s daughter Ruth, I did not find the original notebook there. It may have been, but it was not something that I saw. It does appear that Virgie might have written over the writing on her copy in places to try to make it darker. It is not an easy read, and some places numbers don’t make sense as written. At some point I painstakingly transcribed the whole thing. Much of it consists of weather reports, but there are accounts of interesting events during this six month period from November 1885 to May 1886. Because of the length I have broken it into three parts. Part 1 covers November and December of 1885.

THE JOURNAL

Tuesday, November 3rd 1885

Started from Eden in company with J. C. Stephens for Salt River Valley for the purpose of finding a home. We stopped for noon near the mouth of Beaver and camped at night near the head of Beaver.

Nov 4th 85

Started on our journey went about 20 rods and got stuck in a mud hole. Elijah Allen, Chic Grow & Isaac McKay came along and helped us but we drove to Blacksmith Fork and stopped for noon. We drove on about 15 miles and made a dry camp with no wood, in a snow storm. One of my horses took very sick we administered to him and he got well.

Orson Hyde Eggleston journal p. 2

Thursday Nov 5th 1885

Hitched up and pressed our journey and drove to Lake Town in Bear Lake Valley and stopped for dinner at Bro. Weston. After dinner we drove on to Swan Creek and stopped for night with Bro. Cook.

Friday Nov 6th

Continued our journey to Paris and stopped for noon. Fed our train and went on to Montpelier and stopped at Jeff Stephens.

Saturday Nov 7th 85

Wrote letters home, went to town, got a [fro] made and the lantern mended.

Sunday Nov 8th 85

Spent a part of today getting ready to proceed on our journey.

Monday 9th

Started about 8 o’clock a.m. for Salt River Valley. Jeff going with us to take part of our load. Traveled about 18 miles and camped for the night.

Tuesday 10th 85

Proceeded on our journey. Passed Salt Spring about 10 a.m. and got into Salt River Valley about 3:30 p.m. and camped on Crow Creek about the middle of the Valley on the [west] side. Commenced snowing about 10 o’clock at night.

Orson Hyde Eggleston journal p. 3

Wednesday 11th 85

After breakfast we hitched up and went about 7 miles to Swift Creek and stopped at Bro. Cazier and took dinner with him about 3 o’clock p.m. We hitched up and drove about 8 miles south and camped for the night.

Thursday Nov 12th 85

After breakfast Corneil and Jeff started out to hunt for some deer, leaving me at camp to look after things.

Saturday Nov 21st 85

For the first ten days we have been busy getting ready for winter by putting up our tent, getting some hay for the horses, & staking out some land claims. Yesterday afternoon I went fishing with some young men. I got [102 ?] quite large fish. The weather for the past week has been more like spring than fall, some nights not freezing any. Last night we had a nice rain.

Sunday Nov 22, 85

About 1/2 an inch of snow fell last night and by noon it was all gone. I attended meeting at Bro. Cazier’s house about 65 persons present. I occupied most of the time upon the first principles of the Gospel and was followed by Bro. Chas D. Cazier who bore testimony to my remarks and took up a few items of business. Spoke of the necesity of building a meeting house. The people voted to build a meeting house & go next Wednesday to go & haul the timber. Spoke of petitioning for a post office and voted for M Cazier to be Postmaster. We partook of the Sacrament & the spirit of the Lord seemed to be with us.

Orson Hyde Eggleston journal P. 4

Monday Nov 23rd 85

This morning it was snowing and continued till about 10 a.m. fell about 2 inches deep. Chas Cazier started for Bennington. A number of us went to continue surveying out the town of Afton.

Tuesday 24th

Went & finished surveying out the town and surveyed out a county road two miles south. Weather pleasant snow all melted off.

Wednesday 25th

Finished hauling hay. Stormed in the afternoon weather quite warm.

Orson Hyde Eggleston journal p. 5

Thursday 26th 1885

In the afternoon went with Arthur Clark. Took canyon north for logs, but found no dry timber and returned without any load. Corniel went hunting.

Friday 27th

Went with Bro. Clark to the canyon south and each got a load of logs. Snowed a little Weather nice and pleasant no frost in the ground.

Saturday 28th 85

Got another load of logs for stable.

Sunday Nov 29th 85

This morning there was about 2 inches of new snow but during the day almost all of it melted off. Went to meeting at 11:30. I made the opening prayer, Remarks were made by Elders Philips, Treasure, Nelson, Clark & Cazier & Hurd. Weather nice and warm, no frost in the ground.

Thursday Dec 3 85

Weather pleasant, little cloudy. Yesterday we went to the south end of the valley to see what the chance of was to get some nice house logs but did not succeed in getting any & brought home a nice load of quaking asp wood. Today we went to Fast Meeting. the house was full. Some being present who did not belong to the church. I was called upon to speak occupied about 20 minutes on the first principles and was followed by Br. Arthur Clark who bore a strong testimony. also President Cazier offered a few remarks for the encouragement of the Saints. In the evening we went to a social party and danced till about 12 o’clock and enjoyed ourselves very much 15 couples present. 2 baptized this morning August & Chas Semburg.

Orson Hyde Eggleston journal P. 6

Tuesday Dec 8th 1885

On Sunday last we had a good meeting. I assisted Bro. Cazier in administering the Sacrament after which I was called on the read a discourse delivered by Apostle F. D. Richards at the last Semi-Annual conference held at Logan. The last few days we spent in hauling wood for winter use. Yesterday it commenced snowing and this morning there was about 3 inches of loose snow on the ground. The weather is nice and mild no frost in the ground.

Orson Hyde Eggleston journal p. 7

 Dec 9th & 10th 85

Yesterday and today weather quite pleasant, snowing most of the time on the 9th. Today the 10th weather clear at night quite cold 2 o above zero. Yesterday I received a letter from home written by Lizzie.

Friday Dec 11th 85

This morning weather clear and cold 2 o above zero. Spent most of the day cutting wood.

Saturday 12 85

Today we made some benches and [chored] around. Weather stormy in the evening about [?] inches snow fell.

Sunday Dec 13th 85

Attended meeting at Bro. Cazier’s house. Read a piece in the Deseret News entitled “Let us be Thankful”.

Sunday Dec 20th 85

Attended meeting and read a Discourse written by Pres. Geo. Q. Cannon.

Friday Dec 25th 85

I spent most of the time for the past week moving Corniel’s house on to his lot and laying it up. load of wood.

Today being Christmas we had a fine time. Most of the people of the valley met at Bro. Cazier’s house and had a picnic dinner, about 95 persons being present. Had a joyful time and lots of food left. In the afternoon the children had a dance and enjoyed themselves first-rate. In the evening the older folks indulged themselves in the dance till midnight. Had supper about 10 o’clock in the evening.

Orson Hyde Eggleston journal P. 8

Saturday Dec 26th

A light snow fell most of the day weather warm. Thermometer above freezing point all day and evening.

Sunday Dec 27th 1885

This morning [opened] for nice and warm, about 12 or 1 o’clock the thermometer stood at [?5o] above zero. We attended meeting at 11:30 a.m. at Bro. Cazier’s home. Remarks were made by Elder J. C. Stephens, George Sant, Prest. Cazier and myself. The spirit of the Lord was enjoyed by all the Saints present. We received an invitation with Bro. Cazier’s family to spend New Years Day at Bro. Jas Dinsdale and Fred Brown’s house.

Tuesday 29th 85

Sunday evening and yesterday there was a heavy fog lay over the valley. Today clear and warm.

Wednesday Dec 30th 85

This morning and last night a light snow fell. Weather moderate 31 o above zero. About the middle of the afternoon there was quite a wind blew from the west which drifted the snow a little. The snow being about 6 inches deep. The wind blew of spells all night.

Thursday Dec 31st 85

The wind continued blowing most of the day. Some of the time from the south, not very cold some of the time 21 o above zero. meat of chopping stove wood.

Orson’s experiences of 1886 are continued in Part 2 and 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.

Family Reunion 1952

I inherited photographs of an Eggleston Family Reunion which I did not attend. These are dated 1952 and are of a gathering of the family of Joseph S. Eggleston.  I assumed the occasion was Grandpa Joe’s Birthday and/or the Fourth of July – they were celebrated together. We have come a long way with photo-documenting such events, both with the number of pictures we take as well as the quality. These photos are poor quality and identifying people has not been easy. I have not been able to identify everyone and may not have the ones I have identified right. It does look like they all enjoyed a good meal.

Wesley and Margaret are sitting on the left then Lola. Grandpa Joe is sitting on the right back. It might be Phil standing with the child. Joan and DeLoss are standing in the back. Stella is standing on the right side of the table.

 

Another shot with Stella busy preparing things on the table and others moved around.

 

These three are harder to identify individuals.

 

 

This photo is much better quality than the others, but appears to have been taken that same day. DeLoss and Joan

 

DeLoss, Grandpa Joseph S. Eggleston, Melvin and Wesley

 

 

The Missionary Journal of Orson Hyde Eggleston

Discovery of the Journal

Orson Hyde Eggleston served a Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1876-1877. He was called at the General Conference of the Church on October 7, 1876. Years ago, after learning that Orson Hyde Eggleston had kept a journal of his Mission to Michigan, I went to the Church History Library to see this Journal. This was when the Church History Library was located in the Church Office Building, before the beautiful new building was built. The procedure to view items in the Archives required checking in with ID, leaving everything I had brought with me in a locker, except a pencil and paper. No electronic devices allowed, though a cell phone with a camera was not something I even had then. Items were requested and then brought to a viewing room. I painstakingly transcribed – by hand – the entire journal. It is not a very long journal, and in a very small notebook. I then went home and typed from my notes a two page transcription of the journal.

 

 

 

Early Mormon Missionaries Database

Then surprisingly the other day I received an email from FamilySearch:

“We’ve identified early missionaries in your family tree. Learn where and when they served and read their mission stories. Elder Orson Hyde Eggleston  Mission: Wisconsin Dis US” – with a link to a wonderful new Database on Early Mormon Missionaries through lds.org. This page includes links to the Missionary Registers and also a link to Orson’s Journal, which I saw years ago in the Church History Library. Now with a few clicks you can all see this journal.

The page of this Early Mormon Missionaries database includes some basic information about Orson and his mission, which apparently was taken from the Missionary Registers.

Orson was 35 years old when he was called to this mission. His call was to the Wisconsin District, though most of his service was in the State of Michigan. He was set apart on October 21, 1876 by Orson Pratt. He was a member of the 53rd Quorum of the 70 in Ogden, Utah at the time of the call. He served from October 1876 to July 1, 1877. Also included is information about his birth date, place and parents – though someone transcribed his mother’s name as Serana P Burgess. (It looks like an L to someone like me who has read the name many times)

I seem to have lost the computer file of my transcription, so I have posted images, which might be slightly less readable than the document copied and pasted here would be, but probably more easily readable than the handwritten journal. And since future generations might not even learn to read cursive script, this transcription will remain available here. For further discussion about this Mission and information about people mentioned in the journal, see The Joseph Eggleston Family: Seven Generations from Joseph (d.1767) of Stonington, Connecticut to Joseph (1885-1965) of Utah and Wyoming (Including Maternal Lines: Hill, Burgess, Titus, Sammis & Johnson) by Karen Eggleston Stark., pp. 412-414.

The Family Bible of Orson Hyde Eggleston

Family Bibles are wonderful sources of information. I found this Bible when I visited Cousin Ruth several years ago. She indicated that it had belonged to Orson Hyde Eggleston and had been given to her father Theron Eggleston, probably by his father Orson. It appears that it may have been in the possession of Joseph S. Eggleston at some point and he may have entered at least some of this information himself. Ruth let me take this Bible to make photocopies of the Family Record entries.

These pages lists births, beginning with Samuel Eggleston, Orson’s father:

Samuel Eggleston, son of Samuel and Elizabeth Hill Eggleston was born March 30th 1804 in the town of Marcellus Onondago State of New York

Lurania Powers Burgess ^Eggleston was born August 15th 1808 in the town of Sempronius Cayuga County State of New York

Dwight Eggleston son of Samuel and Lurania Eggleston was Born August 9 1828 in town of Se,[rpmois Co of Cayauga State of NY

Benjamin Born was Born April 6th 1830 in Sempronius Cayuga Co NY

Reuben Birgess Eggleston Born July 24th 1831 in Sempronius Cayuga Co NY

Edwin Eggleston Born Oct 25 1833 in town of Sempronius NY

Harvey B Eggleston Born Feb 8th 1836 in Sempronius County of Cayuga State of N York

Orson Hyde Eggleston Born Oct 3rd 1841 in Niles Cayuga Co NY

Samuel Eggleston Jr Born Jan 16th 1847 at winter quarters Omahaw Nation Nebraska. Died in same place Aug 23rd 1847

Mary E Eggleston Born Sept 22nd 1849 at Traders Point Pottawattamie County Iowa

David Orson Eggleston Born June 15th 1883 in Eden Weber Co Utah. Blest Aug 2nd 1883 in Eden by Armstead Moffatt. Died Nov 3rd 1884 in Eden.

Joseph Smith Eggleston Born July 5th 1885 in Eden Weber Co Utah. Blest Set 3rd 1885 by Henry J Fuller in Eden. Baptized in Afton Unitah Co Wyo July 5th 1893 by Barnard Parry. Confirmed by C. D. Cazier.

Mattie May Eggleston Born July 30th 1887 in Afton Unitah Co Wyo. Blest Nov 1st 1888 by O H Eggleston in Afton. Baptized July 30th 1895 by Clarance C Gardner in Afton. Confirmed Aug 1st 1895 by Clarance Gardner in Afton.

The births of this generation are only the children of Orson Hyde Eggleston and Annie Christine Johnson. Children of his other wives are not included.

 

Ordination information for Joseph S. Eggleston. These entries may have been added by Joseph – or all of the information may have been written by Joseph.

Joseph S. Eggleston ordained a deacon by Byron H. Allred Oct 1st 1900

Joseph S. Eggleston ordained a teacher Nov 2nd 1901 by Bishop Osborne Law

Joseph S. Eggleston ordained a priest Feb 28th 1903 by Elder Charles C. Leavitt

MARRIAGES

Samuel Eggleston son of Samuel and Elizabeth Eggleston was Born in the Town of Marcellus Onondaga County State of New York on the 30th day of March 1804

Lurania P Eggleston Daughter of Harvey and Polly Burgess was Born August 15th 1808 in the Town of Sempronius County of Cayuga State of New York

Samuel and Lurania was Married August 23rd 1827 in the town of Sempronius Cayuga County State of New York

Mary E Mountford was Born May 14th 1854 in Burstown Staffordshire England. Samuel and Elizabeth was married Oct 24th 1870 at Salt Lake City Utah

Catherine Kat was Born was Born April 5th 1836. Samuel and Catherine was married the 6th day of March 1871 in Salt Lake City Utah by Daniel H Wells

 

DEATHS

Dwight Eggleston died in Springwater Livingston Co NY Aug 2nd 1829

Benjamin Eggleston Died April 27 1830

These next are births of Orson and Annie Christine’s other children:

Florence Eggleston Born May 10th 1893 in Afton Unitah Co Wyoming. Blest July 6th by C D Cazier in Afton. Married to Norman D Moffatt June 3/13. Baptized May 10th 1901 by O H Eggleston. Confirmed same day by Edward Davis.

Theron Johnson son of Orson Hyde Eggleston and Annie Christine Johnson Born June 12th 1905. Blessed June 20th 1905 by O H Eggleston in Afton Unitah Co Wyoming. Baptized June 12th 1913 by O H Eggleston at Afton Wyo. Confirmed July 6th 1913 by Osborne Law.

Anna Christine Eggleston daughter of Peter Johnson and Anne Mariah Mattson Christensen and wife of Orson H. Eggleston. Born in Salt Lake City Utah November 7th 1864. Died at Afton Wyoming August 13th 1909 aged 44 years 11 months 6 days.

 

Times and Seasons Journal of Samuel Eggleston

Finding the Treasure of an Old Book

Sometimes a old book is more than just an old book – it is a tangible trace of someone’s life – a treasure worth much more than the value of the volume.

At one point in my genealogy journey, I made contact with a second cousin named Ruth. She was the daughter of my father’s Uncle Theron Eggleston. Somehow, Theron had assumed the role of family genealogist in his time – I can relate to that. He apparently had been given his father Orson Hyde Eggleston’s records. Theron also lived in Salt Lake City near the Utah Genealogical Society and he and his wife Emily spent much time there researching during the early to mid-1900’s.

I made a visit to Ruth’s home in West Valley City, Utah and found there a genealogical gold mine. Her basement was filled with boxes and file cabinets full of records. This was before I had a cell phone which could take pictures, so we filled a box with selected documents which she let me take to make photocopies.

Journal entries of Samuel Eggleston in Times & Seasons

Times & Seasons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruth also showed me two books that day. One was the family bible kept by Great grandfather Orson H. Eggleston with records in it. The other she casually handed me saying “This book has some stuff written in the front.” I was impressed first because this was a bound volume of The Times and Seasons. This was a newspaper which had been printed in Nauvoo, Illinois. Papers from 1842 and 1843 were bound in this Volume IV, which he owned. The publication date is identified by Roman Numerals MDCCCXLIII, which would be 1843. I was more impressed by what Samuel had written in it.

Samuel’s Journal

On the front blank pages in the book, Samuel had made some journal entries. The initial entry appears to be only “Ogden City S. E.” probably written to identify the book as his. Some additional entries followed: “Ogden City Dec 30/66, Ogden City Dec 29/72, Ogden City July 16/75 S. E., Ogden City Jan 23/78 S. E. , Ogden City Jan 12/79.” It is interesting that he made successive entries apparently still with only the place, date, and his initials. From this we can assume that he possessed the book as early as 1866 and possibly earlier.

The first entry with any additional information was dated March 7/79 and stated only “Stayed at home on account of bad cold.” The next, Dec 3, 1879 Wednesday, was also very newsy “Rained all last night it had been raining all day now ½ past 3 S. E.” Christmas Day 1879, Samuel must have picked up this book as he spent a lonely day home alone. He wrote: “Ogden Dec 25 all day at home alone wife away taking care of the sick been away all day”.

An entry dated June 27, 1880 is historically significant: “36 years ago today Joseph & Hyrum were killed by a mob in Carthage Illinois attended meeting in the Tabernacle heard C. W. Penrose. ”

Documenting his Last Years

The next entries involved events he participated in.“August 28, 1880 This day attended the High Priest quorum had a first rate time Bro Moffett Presiding.” “January 15th 1881 this day I attended a funeral at Bro. Robert Wilsons son in law of Thos . Emmett in Ogden City Utah on the death of his Infant Daughter.”

The next gave a very brief account of a rather significant occasion: “Ogden City Jun 22nd 1881 at Farr’s grove at the old folks excursion Bishop [ Newton ] Birth day 88 years old S. E.” Farr’s grove was a large Orchard owned by the Farr family. Samuel’s son-in-law Enoch Farr owned part of this land. This “grove” was used as a park or gathering place. Later part of it became what is now “Lorin Farr Park”. “Old Folks Day” celebrations began in 1875 in Salt Lake City. In June 1881, Ogden was host of the “Old Folks Day” Celebration. For this event, 650 people from Salt Lake and Davis Counties joined the Weber County old folks at Lorin Farr’s grove, being conveyed from the Depot in 285 wagons. President John Taylor, George Q. Cannon, and Wilford Woodruff were in attendance along with prominent citizens of Weber County.

Samuel’s journal entries also indicated that he enjoyed remarkably good health even as he became rather old. January 5th 1883, he wrote: “in the morning with wife feeling well attended fast meeting yesterday at 10 o’clock also the Relief Society at 2 PM enjoyed my self first rate never felt better in my life S. E.”

The first indication of any health problems was February 28th 1883. He wrote “it is a very pleasant day so warm that the flies are about my health is very good except I am quite lame and have been for some weeks past I first fell and hurt my left hip that was bad about 2 weeks then there was a sore come on my right foot that has been bad for about 2 weeks but is getting better I feel well in body and mind if I live till the 30th day of next month I shall be 79 years old but I feel well as ever I did.” So in spite of some health problems, he still felt very blessed by good health.

An entry August 7th [1883] showed Samuel’s continuing interest in politics, though he didn’t mention whether he was on the ticket for this election. He wrote: “clear and pleasant yesterday was Election all voted the Peoples ticket no opposition my health is very good I enjoy my self first rate. Samuel Eggleston” This was the only notation with his complete signature. The signature is very similar to the one on probate records of his father Samuel in Springwater, New York.

It appears that Samuel’s health began to decline during the last months of his life. The last notation in this book was dated Ogden December 19th 1883, and stated: “my health has been very poor for the last 2 weeks have had a pain in my left side the most of the time I have been free from Pain for 2 days past but I am not very [stout]” There was nothing more written after this. Samuel died May 26, 1884.

Returning the Book

Along with the box of papers, Ruth let me take these two books that day to photocopy the inscriptions. I must admit that I was seriously tempted to keep this book. But I did return it. A few years after that Ruth passed away. I have no idea who currently has possession of this book, but I hope that they appreciate the treasure that it is and take good care of it. It is so much more than just a rare old book – it is a small window into the life of our ancestor.

Note: Text for this post has been taken from my book The Joseph Eggleston Family: Seven Generations from Joseph (d.1767) of Stonington, Connecticut to Joseph (1885-1965) of Utah and Wyoming (Including Maternal Lines: Hill, Burgess, Titus, Sammis & Johnson) pp. 391-392.

Making Sense of My DNA

DNA is the new wonderful tool for genealogy. It has great possibilities, especially if used along with traditional genealogy. It also has limitations at this stage and results can be misleading or even disappointing.

Family Finder Puzzles

I decided to take advantage of a sale with FamilyTree DNA during December 2016. I went with FamilyTree because this was where our Eggleston Y-DNA project was done. This project has shown similar Y-DNA between descendants of Joseph Eggleston of Stonington and Bygod Eggleston and was undertaken because of a lack of paper documentation of that link.

My FamilyFinder results had me a little puzzled at first. My results showed seven matches with Egglestons, none of them being ones that were close matches with my father’s Y-DNA in that project. I realize that some of the Y-DNA participants have not taken FamilyFinder tests, but there are some who have who do not show up as matches to me. Three of my Eggleston matches connected back to Bygod Eggleston through his daughter Sarah who married John Pettibone, which would make us about 9th cousins rather than the 2nd – 5th that it showed for 4 of them. This seems to confirm the Y-DNA indications that we are all descendants of Bygod Eggleston, but is confusing that I seem to be more closely related to these very distant cousins than to closer known cousins.

Then a first cousin on my Eggleston side had his AncestryDNA results transferred to FamilyTreeDNA, which gave me more perspective. We definitely match as first cousins. We had considerably more DNA in common than any of the other matches to me. I am beginning to get some understanding of how they determine relationships based on shared amounts of DNA.

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