WILLARD & GARDNER
OUR FAMILY TREE
Like branches on a tree we grow in different directions,
yet our roots remain as one.
Each of our lives will always be a special part of the other.
During this year of the Sesquicentennial Celebration of the first Mormon Pioneers entering the Great Salt Lake Valley in 1847, I have read with great interest, as I am sure you have, the news accounts of the commemoration trek and other related activities. I developed a great curiosity regarding our own pioneer ancestors. I wanted to know how they became converted, when they crossed the plains, how they traveled, how many came, what they did when they got to the Salt Lake Valley, and how they all ended up in the Ogden Valley. I knew that we had some family histories available to us to find these answers, but it took some searching. I decided I wanted my children to also know who their pioneers were—so why not the whole family. Blaine Gardner had sent out to each of us a compilation of some basic facts about our Gardner pioneers that stirred my interest even more. So I got started.
As I have found out, even though few of these stories would ever show up in a church history book or class curriculum, these people were nevertheless noble and faithful in their obedience to their Prophet. Most or them knew their Prophet and/or Apostles personally, and under very difficult circumstances did their individual best to follow them to Zion. Their stories deserve to be known and shared by their descendants. We can all learn and gain strength from their experiences. I am grateful that some of our ancestors took time to write their autobiographies, or that children and grandchildren left us a few written facts and stories about them, and let’s thank those who continue to collect and maintain these histories.
The result of my search is this booklet which is a compilation and somewhat abbreviated version of what I could find out about the westward trek of each of our pioneers. It is not complete; it is not perfect. I made it easy to add to, or edit and correct as we come up with more information. It is a starting place, and I welcome you to make additions to these pages and share them with the family. I hope you enjoy this first pass.
Church History & Family Time Line
1830—Book of Mormon published, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints organized in New York.
1831—Joseph Smith moves to Kirtland, Ohio and first Mormons move to Jackson Co., Missouri.
1833—Mar 18, First Presidency of the Church organized with Frederick G. Williams, 2ndCounc.
1836—March 27th, Kirtland Temple finished and dedicated.
1837—November 7th, Pres. Frederick G. Williams removed from First Presidency.
1838—October 27th, Missouri Governor Bogg’s “Extermination Order”.
1838—November to April 1839, Prophet Joseph Smith and others in Liberty Jail.
1838-39—Movement of members out of Missouri & founding of Nauvoo.
1839—March 17, Frederick G. Williams excommunicated.
1841—April 6th, Placement of the corner stone of the Nauvoo Temple.
1842—October 10th, Death of Frederick G. Williams in Quincy, Illinois.
1844—June 27th, Martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith in Carthage, IL.
1845—December, Commencement of ordinance work in Nauvoo Temple.
1846—Feb. 4th, Beginning of exodus of Mormons from Nauvoo across the Mississippi River into Iowa.
1846—May 1st, Completion and dedication of the Nauvoo Temple.
1846—Mustering of troops for the Mormon Battalion in Iowa.
1847—July 24th, First Mormon Pioneer wagon train arrived in the Great Salt Lake Valley.
1849—California Gold Rush.
1849—Oct 28th, Ezra and Henrietta Williams, and Rebecca Williams arrive in Salt Lake Valley.
1852—Sept 28th, Benjamin and Electa Gardner and their family arrived in the Salt Lake Valley.
1853—Charles Card and the Benjiah and Eunice Campbell family arrive in the Valley before this.
1855—Endowment House built and dedicated for the performance of ordinance work (torn down in 1889)
1855—Cricket plague of Salt Lake Valley
1856/57—Mormon Reformaton of 1856/57
1857—Echo Canyon War against Johnston’s Army.
1857—Sept. 7th, Mountain Meadows massacre.
1858—Johnston’s Army moved into Salt Lake City, Saints move south to Utah Valley.
1859—First permanent settlers of Eden in Ogden Valley.
1860—Capt. Jefferson Hunt and others become first permanent settlers of Huntsville.
1862(?)—First permanent settlers of Liberty, included Charles Card and his brothers-in-law.
1861—Sep 22nd, Lars Nielsen and Sara Marie Jespersen and little girls arrive in Salt Lake Valley.
1862—Oct 19th, James and Mary Burt and girls including Christina arrive in Salt Lake Valley.
1866—Sept, John Marshall, Jr. arrived in Salt lake Valley.
1868—Aug 20th, John Marshall, Sr. and Elizabeth Joyce Robson family arrive in Salt Lake Valley.
1869—Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads joined with the “Golden Spike” at Promontory, Utah.
1870—Lars Nielsen family moves to Huntsville.
1870-71—James Burt, Sr. and his son James settle in Liberty.
1875—Thomas George Willard of England arrived in the Salt Lake Valley by train.
1876-77— John Marshall, Jr. settled in Liberty.
1877—August 29th, Death of the President Brigham Young.
1882—Edmonds-Tucker Act disenfranchised the church and sent polygamist men to prison.
1883-1888—Charles Herman McLaughlin came to Utah, probably by train.
1889-1890—Joseph Smith Gardner and Chauncy Gardner moved to Liberty.
1890—October, Pres. Wilford Woodruff’s Manifesto suspending the practice of plural marriage.
1893—April 6, Dedication of the Salt Lake Temple.
Willard and Gardner Pioneer Pedigree
Thomas George WILLARD (T) Mary Ann FURNER
Lars NIELSEN (P)
Lucy Sophronia NIELSEN (P)
Sarah Marie JESPERSEN (P)
Earl Spencer WILLARD
Charles Herman MCLAUGHLIN (T)
Mary (Polly) JACOX
Edith Lenora MCLAUGHLIN Charles CARD (P) Nancy Viola CARD
Benajiah CAMPBELL (P)
Nancy CAMPBELL (P)
Eunice BUTTON (P)
Benjamin GARDNER (P)
Joseph Smith GARDNER (P)
Electa LAMPORT (P)
Hyrum Chauncey GARDNER
Frederick G. WILLIAMS
Ezra G. WILLIAMS (P)
Rebecca SWAIN (P)
Mary Elizabeth WILLIAMS
Henrietta Elizabeth CROMBIE (P) Elizabeth Pope PHILLIPS
John MARSHALL II
John MARSHALL SR.(P)
John MARSHALL JR. (P)
Margaret Alexander WOOD
Mary Ellen MARSHALL
James BURT SR. (P)
Cristina Burt (P)
Mary MCBRIDE (P)
(P) Denotes our ancestors that came across the plains between 1847 and 1869 before the railroad.
(T) Denotes our ancestors that came west after the railroad.
Our Ancestors That Crossed the Plains to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake
Thomas George Willard (1851-1932) and Lucy Sophronia Nielsen (1860-1896)
Thomas George Willard was born February 9, 1851 in Guestling, Sussex, England, the son of James Willard and Mary Ann Feurner. He left home when he was 17 years old. Thomas was converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was baptized on October 11, 1872 by Elder J. Parsons. He was a member of the Bredes Branch, but was the only member of the church in his family. His father banished him from the family when he became a Mormon. He left home and sailed for America in October 1875 at the age of 24. Thomas had an uncle who had come to New York and was doing well who wanted Thomas to come and work for him, but Thomas said no as it would mean giving up his religion. He came by train to the Salt Lake Valley and lived first in West Weber and then moved to Huntsville. In Huntsville he met Lucy Sophronia Nielsen, a Danish immigrant.
Lucy Sophronia Nielsen was born on March 27, 1860 in Hallen, Denmark. Her parents Lars Nielsen and Sarah Jesperson were members of the Mormon Church and emigrated to Utah with their three little girls between 1860 and 1862. Lucy was a one- to two-year old infant at the time. She was baptized at age 8 in Brigham City on June 24, 1868.
Thomas and Lucy were married on Friday, December 28, 1877. Thomas was 26 years old, Lucy was 17. They were married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City where Joseph F. Smith presided at the ceremony, and Daniel H. Wells performed the sealing. They began their life together in a little log house in the center of Huntsville. They had ten children, two of which died in the first year of their lives.
In 1896 at the age of 36, Lucy injured her intestine. The best doctors of the area could not diagnose nor treat the condition and she died within a week leaving eight children motherless. The ages of their children were from 18 years to 9 months. Thomas was left to raise the children alone and he never remarried. He lived in his little log home in Huntsville until he was 77, then he left his home and stayed with his children in Salt Lake City in the winter, and would come back to the Ogden Valley to stay with his sons Tom or Alfred in the summer. He died in 1932 after a short illness.
Lars Nielsen (1834-1920) and Sarah Marie Jesperson (1828-1904)
Lars Nielsen was born September 15, 1834 in Taars, Hjorring, Denmark, the son of Niels Larsen and Elsa Marie Abrahamsen. At the age of 18 he joined the King’s Service. It was while serving as a soldier that he was introduced to Mormonism. He was out walking with a buddy and their girl friends one evening when they heard singing. They investigated the singing—it was a street meeting conducted by L.D.S. missionaries. They heard Elder Erastus Snow sing “Oh My Father” and they at once were interested. He met his future wife Sara at this meeting. Lars was baptized on September 20, 1854 at the age of 22. He was called to be a local missionary in 1855, in which calling he serve until leaving Denmark. He had learned to speak English in the military, which was a great help to him in his missionary work.
Sara Marie Jesperson was born the daughter of Jesper Sorensen and Christina Poulsen on April 14, 1828 in Apholm, Farendlose, Denmark. She was baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on September 13, 1852. Lars and Sara were married on February 6, 1856. Their first child was born in 1857; they named her Josephine Brighamine Nielsen, however she died a few months later. The next child was Zappora Elizabeth born in 1858, and then Lucy Sophronia born in 1860. They tried with great difficulty to save money for the move to Zion. A relative of Sara’s who eventually joined the church loaned them the money to emigrate to the Utah.
Lars and Sarah, and the two little girls, Lars’ mother, and his sister Mettie, and Sara’s niece Ingor Marie Thompsen left Denmark for Liverpool, England in the spring of 1861. Apostles Lyman, Rich, and Cannon met with the Saints in Liverpool and organized the company. Saints from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden boarded the ship “Monarch of the Sea” for New York. This was the 111 company, with 950 Saints on board—the largest number that had ever crossed the Atlantic in one single ship. There were births, marriages, and deaths on board the ship. After 34 days they arrived in New York where Apostle Erastus Snow and others met them on June 19, 1861. From New York they traveled by rail and steamboat to Florence, Nebraska in two divisions; they arrived on July 1st and 2nd. Lars’ mother and sister stayed in Chicago and never joined the church. His sister married and died at childbirth; his mother later came to Huntsville and died there.
When they arrived in Florence, Lars secured a wagon and four oxen. They traveled across the plains in the Samuel A. Wooley company. Soon after leaving Florence, Sara’s niece, Ingor died from cholera. They arrived in Salt Lake City on September 22, 1861. The stayed a short time at the old fort—now Pioneer Park where they and another family lived in a three sided cabin with a dirt roof. The further wall was open with a fireplace where they did all their cooking.
Later that fall Lars went to Brigham City to build a store for his brother-in-law and for his work he received a lot and the lumber to build a three-room house. In the spring, he secured some land about three miles from the city by Bear River. He planted wheat, and it was coming up well. One morning he went to irrigate it and found grasshoppers busy. It looked as if they were clearing the ground. He was about to go back home when he remembered a blessing he had received which said that neither he nor his would ever want. He knelt by his horses and prayed, asking the Lord’s blessings and help. As he raised to his feet, a voice, as if coming from one of the horses said, “turn the water anyway”. He did this and the wheat came up again. He raised a better crop than he ever did before or after that. They lived in the Brigham City area for about ten years where their family grew with the addition of six more children. Lars and Sara were sealed in the Endowment House in 1867.
In July 1870 the family moved from Brigham City to Huntsville where they had traded for a lot and a one-room log cabin with dirt floor and roof, twenty acres of river bottom land, and money to pay off his emigration. They added on to the cabin and ended up with a house with four rooms downstairs and two rooms upstairs. They lived there until Sara’s death in 1904. In 1880 Lars married a plural wife Ane Kjerstine Danieline Rassmussen, in the Endowment House. They had a family of eight children; the youngest was born in 1899 when Lars was 65 years old.
Lars was given a patriarchal blessing in 1866 in which he was told, as with Jacob of old, he should never have a razor used on his head. When the plural marriage trouble came up he had to go to Salt Lake City with a number of men. The prisoners were lined up to have their heads shaved; he was third in line. A guard called Lars Nielsen out of line and said that a man had a toothache. Now when Lars had left Denmark the Elders told him to take his instruments with which he pulled teeth (there were very few families in Huntsville that had not have him pull their teeth). Lars pulled the other prisoner’s tooth and when he had finished the barber had finished also. So Lars came home six months later with curls down to his shoulders. Another blessing fulfilled.
He worked his farm until the age of 70 when he was stricken with rheumatism, he died at the age of 86 in Huntsville.
Charles Herman McLaughlin (1867-1947)
Charles Herman McLaughlin was born on January 31, 1867 in Clover Township, Jefferson Co., Pennsylvania, the oldest child of James McLaughlin and Mary (Polly) Jacox. In 1883 Charles ran away from home at the age of 16.
He came to Utah between 1883 and 1888; he probably came west on the railroad. He is listed as a schoolteacher in the early days of Liberty, sometime between 1883 and 1900. On July 1, 1888 he married Nancy Viola Card (age 16), daughter of Charles Card and Nancy Campbell in Promontory. Three children were born between 1890 and 1893 to Charles and Nancy including Edith Lenora McLaughlin (Earl Willard’s mother). On January 1, 1896 Nancy Viola died—probably in childbirth. Charles now a widower placed the three motherless children in three different LDS homes in the town of Liberty to be raised. He was remarried on October 2, 1897 to Christina Lindsay of Liberty; this marriage ended in divorce.
At some later date Charles married Beona Godfrey and spent most of the rest of his life in Ontario, Malhurn Co., Oregon where he worked on cattle ranches. He died on October 26, 1947. There is no evidence that Charles Herman McLaughlin was ever baptized in the Mormon Church.
Charles Card (1832-1890) and Nancy Campbell (1835-1890)
Charles Card was born at Port Allegheny, McKeon Co, Pennsylvania on August 25, 1832. Charles married Sarahetta Stone in about 1853; they had two children, and then were divorced.
Nancy Campbell was born at Wayland, Stuben Co, New York, on June 8, 1835. She was married George Pierce on October 31, 1856, and at least their first child was born in Pennsylvania; they had five children. They were divorced about 1861, probably after arriving in Utah.
Charles and Nancy were married after both had arrived in Utah, and both were divorced. They were married in Promontory, Box Elder Co, Utah, on January 1, 1862. They had six children including Nancy Viola Card. They lived in North Ogden, Liberty, and Promontory.
Benajiah Campbell (1793-1866) and Eunice Button Campbell (1797-1863)
Benajiah Campbell and Eunice Button Campbell were both born in Deer Park (on Long Island?), Orange Co., New York. He was born on March 23, 1793, and she was born on June 11, 1797. They were married in 1814 and raised their family of 15 children in the areas of Bradford County in Northwest Pennsylvania, and Stueben County, in western New York.
They and many of their children were converts of the Mormon Church and came to Utah prior to 1861, and possibly as early as 1853, since one of the children was married in Salt Lake City that year. Nancy Campbell, the youngest child was born in New York in 1835, and was married to George Pierce, an English immigrant in 1856, prior to traveling to Utah.
Two of their children, Daniel and Ammon Campbell were the first permanent settlers of Liberty in Ogden Valley in about 1862(?). Eunice died in North Ogden in 1863 at the age of 66, and Benajiah died in North Ogden in 1866 at the age of 73. They are both buried in North Ogden.
Note: The James S. Brown Company (1859) included:
Ammon Campbell (25) and wife Harriet (22)
Benajiah E. Campbell (9)
Daniel Campbell (31) and wife Maria Cady (29)
Isaiah Campbell (3)
Francis Eugene Campbell (10)
Eli Campbell (infant)
George Francis Pierce (30) and wife Nancy Campbell Pierce (24)
Francis Marion Pierce (2)
Keaton Pierce (infant)
Benjamin Gardner (1800-1875) and Electa Lamport (1800-1890)
Benjamin Gardner and Electa Lamport were married in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1822. They were to become the parents of 16 children. They joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 17 June 1840; Elder John H. Adams baptized them. In 1843, they with their entire family left Pennsylvania to gather with the Saints in Nauvoo, Illinois. The family of Benjamin’s youngest sister Margaret, and her husband Jonathan S. Wells accompanied them.
They arrived in Nauvoo in the early fall of 1843, and after visiting with the Prophet Joseph Smith, they went twenty miles south of Nauvoo and settled on Bear Creek at Green Plains, north of Morley settlement. Benjamin bought 160 acres of land and they lived there until 1845 when on September 10th a mob destroyed their crops and burned their house (part of the Morley Settlement persecution and burning) and they were compelled to leave. When the news of the mobbing and burning reached Nauvoo Jonathan S. Wells went after Benjamin and his family with his team and wagon. He took them to his home in Nauvoo, where they stayed for some time. During the early exodus of the Saints from Nauvoo in the spring of 1846, Benjamin Gardner took his team and wagon and went as far as Garden Grove with President BrighamYoung and others to help them over the bad roads. On September 9, 1846, Benjamin and Electa’s family left Nauvoo and crossed the Mississippi River on a skiff called the Broadhorn and went to Sand Prairie, west of Montrose, Iowa. In the area of Bentonsport, Iowa, on the Des Moines River, Benjamin found work in a gristmill, and his sons, Nathaniel and William worked in a sawmill. Here Benjamin and Electa’s youngest child Joseph Smith Gardner was born March 15, 1847.
In this same year they moved to Kanesville, Iowa, where they planted a garden and built a log home. In 1848 Benjamin farmed more land, and bought a house and two lots. He worked a gristmill and presided over the North Pigeon Branch of the church. His son Nathaniel (age 21) died at Kanesville on April 16, 1851. On May 15, 1852, their family started for the Great Salt Lake Valley with the entire North Pigeon Branch. They left their houses and land in Kanesville for the Saints coming after them. Benjamin was called to be a captain of ten wagons. At a meeting held by Brigham Young, Benjamin Gardner, gave the following report: “The North Pidgin Branch, with Benjamin Gardner as Captain, were all determined to go to the Valley this spring. (1852). Their group consisted of 241 souls, 45 wagons, 41 yoke of oxen, 32 horses, 1 mule, 96 cows, 117 young cattle, 91 sheep, 29 fire arms, and 184 dollars in cash”. They arrived in Salt Lake City on September 28, 1852.
When it became known that Benjamin had experience with gristmills he was soon at work installing and operating mills. He helped build and operate mills at Birch’s Mill (in Riverdale, south of Ogden) and also operated a farm in Riverdale. Later he helped build the Newman and Blodgett mill in North Ogden. He also farmed and served as Justice of the Peace at North Ogden for many years. They settled in Deweyville in 1869.
Joseph Smith Gardner (1847-1935)
Joseph Smith Gardner was born in Bentonsport, Van Buren Co., on the Des Moines River in southeast Iowa on 15 Mar 1847. This was a few months after the Benjamin Gardner family had been driven from Nauvoo by the mobs. His family moved to Kanesville, Iowa later that year, where his father built a log house and started a garden.
In 1852, his family left Kanesville and came across the plains with a wagon train in which his father was a captain over ten wagons. He was then five years old and says he remembered only a few incidents. Once while the company was camped, the young folks of adolescent age went along a river or stream to pick buffalo berries. He tried to go along too, but his mother told him to stay in camp. While she was not noticing, he started to follow them. She soon discovered he was gone and went after him. She brought him back and tied him to the wagon tongue by the wrist. He attempted to untie the rope, when his mother said; “Don’t you untie that rope!” He says he knew she meant it so he stayed tied to the wagon tongue. It seemed like a tragedy to a young child but never the less it meant safety for him.
Joseph grew up in the Ogden and North Ogden areas and worked with his father and brothers building gristmills. At one time he served as a drummer boy for the Utah Militia. He married Mary Elizabeth Williams in the Endowment House, Salt Lake City, in 1869. They lived in Deweyville, Pleasant View, and Liberty where he and his sons homesteaded 160 acres on the north end of the valley. They later moved to Grant, Idaho, where they ran a small grocery store in their house for some time. Later in life they moved back to Deweyville.
Rebecca Swain (Williams) (1798-1861)
Rebecca Swain was born the 10th child of Isaac and Elizabeth Swain. She was raised in the frontier of western New York near Youngstown, below Niagara Falls. In 1815, at age 17, while sailing on Lake Erie on a trip to Michigan to see her sister she met her future husband, the ship’s pilot—Frederick G. Williams. After their marriage they made their first home in Warrensville, in the Cleveland, Ohio area where their four children were born, then eventually they moved to Chardon. In 1828 or 1829 they moved to Kirtland where Frederick had traded for a large farm and he took up the practice of medicine.
In October 1830 Rebecca and Frederick were baptized members of the Mormon Church by the early missionaries: Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery, Ziba Peterson, and Peter Whitmer Jr. Frederick was ordained an Elder, then immediately made preparations to continue on the Lamanite mission to Missouri with the four Elders. He was gone for the next 10 months. Soon after his return to Kirtland he met the Prophet Joseph Smith for the first time. They became great friends and the William’s provided a home for Joseph and Emma’s family for the next several months. Frederick deeded his farm to Joseph Smith for a gathering place for the Saints, and for the future Kirtland Temple site. In 1833 Frederick was called to be the 2nd councilor to the Prophet Joseph in the first organization of the First Presidency of the church. In 1836, Frederick and Rebecca were in attendance and witnessed the glorious events surrounding the dedication of the Kirtland Temple. He was in Far West, Missouri, in 1837-38 to help relieve the suffering of the persecuted saints. In 1839, Frederick was excommunicated from the church, but was rebaptized 3 days later, and never denied his testimony nor his love and support for the Prophet Joseph. Frederick and Rebecca moved to the Quincy, Illinois, area for their safety and comfort in 1840, but also lived in the Nauvoo area in 1840 and 1841. In 1841 they moved back to Quincy, where Frederick died on Oct. 25, 1842.
Rebecca and her youngest son, Ezra Granger Williams, received their endowments at the completion of the Nauvoo Temple on January 27, 1846. Ezra then took his mother to Burlington, Iowa, for her safety during the exodus from Nauvoo. They ended up in St. Louis the next year where Ezra started a new medical practice. Brigham Young wished Ezra to accompany the first pioneer wagon train to the Salt Lake Valley, however, as there were so many Saints gathering in the St. Louis area; Ezra remained in the area to take care of the medical needs of the members gathering there. In April 1848, Heber C. Kimball asked Ezra and Rebecca to bring their families and join with the main body of the church at Council Bluffs or Winter Quarters. They did so and Rebecca helped gather medicines to meet the needs of the saints crossing the plains and in the new settlement. While in Winter Quarters, Rebecca was married to Heber C. Kimball—becoming one of the aged widows whom he merely supported in their plural marriage.
Rebecca left Winter Quarters with Ezra and his wife Henrietta in a wagon train of three companies of 50 wagons each, led by George Albert Smith and Ezra T. Benson. This group which left for the valley in July 1849 included Norwegian, Welch, English, and American Saints. In Ezra’s family were five people: Rebecca, Ezra and Henrietta, their 10 month old daughter Lucy Ellen, and James Giddred–the 10 year-old adopted son of Rebecca’s deceased daughter, Lovina. They had two wagons, four oxen, one steer, three cows, and one horse. Rebecca drove her own team of 3 cows and one steer. At milking time she would put all the surplus milk (cream) into her churn and the jolt of the wagon insured butter for the larder.
They arrived in Salt Lake Valley on October 27, 1849 and camped at the mouth of emigration canyon for the night. The next morning Brother Brigham, Newell K. Whitney, and their wives and others came out to meet them and welcome them to the valley. The family lived the first winter on North Temple St., Salt Lake City, in two wagon boxes laid end to end with a tarp over the middle for a living area. Rebecca spent the rest of her life with Ezra’s family. She moved with the family wherever Brother Brigham sent them. She died in Smithfield on September 25, 1861 and was the first white woman buried in the cemetery there.
Rebecca Swain Williams was the only member of the original body of leadership of the church going back to 1830, to wade through Missouri, Illinois, Iowa and on to the Salt Lake Valley. She was the only one of the wives of the original First Presidency to remain true to the end.
Dr. Ezra G. Williams (1823-1905) and Henrietta E. Crombie (1827-1922)
Ezra G. Williams was born in Warrensville, Cuyauga Co., Ohio, on November 17, 1823 the son of Frederick Granger Williams and Rebecca Swain. At a very young age his family moved to the Kirtland, Ohio area and his father practiced medicine and farmed. In the fall of 1830 the family was converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In February 1831, Joseph Smith Jr., came to Kirtland and lived with Newell K. Whitney and then with Fredrick G. Williams. Fredrick offered his land for a gathering place for the Saints—so the main body of the church moved to Kirtland in a few months. He deeded his land for the Temple site and also for the homes of the leaders of the church. On 14 April, 1832, Ezra with William Kimball, son of Heber C. Kimball were walking along the river bank in Kirtland when they met the Prophet Joseph Smith, who asked if they would like to be baptized. They consented and the Prophet baptized them. They went on home and Hyrum Smith confirmed the baptism.
Following his father’s death at Quincy, Illinois, on October 25, 1842, Ezra and his mother went to St. Louis where he practiced medicine. As this was one of the Saints’ gathering places before starting for the west, he was kept very busy prescribing and administering to the sick. He had hoped and partly prepared to join with the pioneer group to the Great Salt Lake Valley in 1847, but was given orders by Pres. Young to stay and care for the Saints in the area who were suffering from malaria and cholera.
Among the many Saints arriving to prepare for the journey was the Crombie family from Boston, Massachusetts—with two sons and a daughter Henrietta. Henrietta Elizabeth Crombie was born in Boston, Massachusetts, September 27, 1827. She was baptized in Boston Harbor by Apostle Ezra Taft Benson and confirmed the same day, May 1, 1845, at the age of 17. Two years later, Henrietta, her mother Elizabeth Crombie, and her brothers left Boston for the land of Zion. They traveled with a group of the Saints in the Alvin Farnham Company. They traveled by car (train?) to New Jersey, then boarded a steamer to New York, from New York they took a ferry to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They then took streetcars to Lancaster and canal boats and cars (train?) across Pennsylvania to Pittsburgh where they boarded the steamer Jewes. They took the steamer down the Ohio River, then up the Mississippi River arriving in St. Louis, Missouri after 12 days of travel.
When they arrived at St. Louis they met Dr. Ezra Williams. Sister Swain requested Dr. Ezra to treat Henrietta who was weak and sickly—he diagnosed her disease as “dumb ague”. Ezra treated her for two months as she regained her health, meanwhile developing a friendship that resulted in marriage on August 15, 1847. Apostle Orson Hyde performed the ceremony. After the wedding they began preparations for emigrating to the valley of the Great Salt Lake. They left St. Louis on April 1, 1848, and traveled to Winter Quarters on the Mandau steamboat. After two weeks they crossed the Missouri River to Kanesville, Iowa, where Ezra and Henrietta made a home for 16 months, during which time their daughter Lucy Ellen was born on September 30, 1848.
In the spring of 1849, Ezra was called to start for the valley in two months. He was needed as a physician in Salt Lake City where there was a shortage of doctors. He said, “I cannot go, I have nothing to go with at this time.” Brother Ezra T. Benson, who was to be the leader of the company, went to one of the Welsh companies and borrowed $300 for him to buy the necessary medicines and provisions. His mother went by steamer to St. Louis to buy the order of medicine while the Doctor was gathering his wagons and provisions. They had two wagons, four oxen, three cows, one horse, provisions for one year, a splendid stock of medicine, a nine months old baby, and were one hundred and thirty-five dollars in debt to the Welsh (this debt he paid back in 3 years). They left Kanesville for Salt Lake City on July 4, 1849. There were five in the family, Dr. Ezra G. Williams, Henrietta, ten-month old Lucy Ellen, Ezra’s mother—Rebecca Swain Williams, and 10 year-old James Giddred—adopted son of Ezra’s deceased sister—Lovina Riggs. Henrietta’s mother and brother stayed in Kanesville, Iowa, where she died the next year from cholera.
They traveled with a group of Saints that included Welch, Norwegians, English, and Yanks led by Bro. George Albert Smith. The baby, Lucy Ellen, had the whooping cough during most of the four-month journey. Henrietta was very sick with the flu when they were camped on Sweetwater Creek in a heavy snowstorm. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on October 27th; the next morning, Sunday October 28th, President Brigham Young, Newell K. Whitney, and their wives, and others came to meet them and welcome them into the valley. They hurried to get into the city and camped on what is now North Temple Street by the City Creek. Their wagon boxes were set on the ground facing west and posts were set at each end with the covers drawn up over the wagons and fastened to the posts. A canvas was fastened securely at the east and another hung at the West End to answer for a door. Here they lived comfortably through the winter. Some important events in Ezra’s life:
- 1851 built an adobe house in on North Temple St., Salt Lake City, which he used for a hospital, treated many gold rush travelers for mountain fever.
- 1852 called as an escort for Pres. Young to explore Iron County area.
- 1854 called by Bro. Orson Hyde to go on a mission to teach the gospel to the Indians in the White Mountains in SE Utah and N. Arizona.
- 1857, Feb. 19, sealed to Henrietta and married polygamist wife Electa Jane Barney in the new Endowment House.
- 1857, Oct. 6, made surgeon of the Utah Militia to serve during the Echo Canyon War against Johnston’s Army.
- 1860 called to help settle Smithfield in Cache Valley. His son and mother died there and were two of the first white people buried in Smithfield Cemetery.
- 1863 moved his families to Pleasant View,
- 1867 moved Electa Barney’s family to Ogden and proceeded to develop a successful medical practice in Ogden.
- 1905 died at the age of 82.
Elizabeth Pope Phillips (Crombie) (1804—1850)
Elizabeth Pope Phillips was born Aug 18, 1804, in Boston, Massachusetts. She married John Crombie and had a family but was widowed in 1841. In about 1845 she and her children joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Boston, and in 1847 she, her daughter Henrietta, and her sons John and William, left for the gathering of the Saints in the west with the Alvin Farnum Company. They traveled by steamboats, cars (train?), and canal boats from Boston to New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, then down the Ohio River and up the Mississippi on a steamboat to St. Louis. They made home there for about a year and made preparations for the trek west.
Elizabeth’s daughter, Henrietta, married Dr. Ezra G. Williams in St. Louis, and a short time later they moved north to join the Saints in Winter Quarters; Elizabeth and her son, John, joined them. Ezra and Henrietta and their family started west with a wagon train in July 1849. Elizabeth remained in Kanesville with her son, John, where she died the next year, on July 20, 1850, of the effects of cholera. She was preparing for a meeting on Sunday and while arranging her bonnet she took ill. John was alone with her when she died on Monday. He came west the next year in 1851, and joined Ezra and Henrietta in Salt Lake City. William never did leave St. Louis and died there in 1866.
John Marshall, Sr. (1821-1904)
John Marshall, Sr. was born December 10, 1821 in Glasgow, Lanark Co., Scotland. He was married to Margaret Alexander Wood on November 18, 1846. He was employed as an ironworker and refiner at the Mossend Iron Works near Holytown. John was baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 17, 1851. Margaret gave birth to six children, however four were stillborn, another died in the first year, so John Marshall Jr. was the only surviving child. Margaret died in 1854 just after childbirth. John married his second wife, Elizabeth Joyce Robson in Durham County, England in 1855. They had ten children.
On June 28, 1868 John and Elizabeth’s family left for Liverpool and the next day sailed for New York on the Minnesota Steamship. They arrived in New York City on July 12th. They traveled from New York to Laramie City, Wyoming on the railroad, then continued on to Salt Lake City by wagon with the John Party (or Roylance Company?) which included 534 people. They arrived in Salt Lake on August 20, 1868, having made the complete trip in 52 days.
After arriving in Salt Lake City they pushed on the same day to Bountiful. John’s oldest child from his first wife, John, Jr. had arrived in the valley in 1864 and built a log house for the family. They lived in Bountiful until 1875 after which time they were among the first settlers of Liberty.
John Marshall, Jr. (1847-1891)
John Marshall, Jr. was born at Mossend near Glasgow, Scotland, on August 20, 1847. He was the son of John Marshall, Sr. and Margaret Alexander Wood Rutledge. He was the oldest of six children, four brothers each of which were stillborn, and a sister Margaret who died at the age of one. His family moved to Durham Co., England—this is where his mother died when he was the age of seven. John Marshall, Sr., married John’s stepmother Elizabeth Joyce Robson in England. They were baptized into the Mormon Church by James Burt, Sr. When the Burt family left Scotland to emigrate to Utah, John made up his mind to follow as soon as possible. On April 29, 1866, when he was 18 years old, he sailed for Liverpool and from there embarked for America on the John Bright Steamship.
When he arrived in Utah in September 1866, he went to Bountiful and lived with some friends named Parkin. He bought a team and wagon and began to haul produce to Salt Lake City, and to the mines at Garfield. He obtained a farm and set about to construct a home for his father’s family who also wanted to emigrate to Utah. He built a large one-room log house, then broke ground for a garden spot and planted berries and fruit trees. On August 20, 1868, his birthday, the rest of the family arrived from Scotland and moved into the log house. He kept in touch with the Burt family and saw their daughter; Christina Burt grew up into a lovely lady. John courted Christina and they fell in love and were married in the Endowment House on June 5, 1874. They lived in Bountiful for a while then went to Ogden Valley and took up land on the north end of the valley that was to become Liberty.
John became a pillar of the young settlement and was instrumental in surveying and laying out the streets for the village. He organized the Liberty Irrigation Company that dug a canal and diverted water for the farmers from North Fork Creek. He campaigned to get a school for Liberty—when Eden built a new school building they moved the old Eden School to a piece of ground that John had donated for school property. He felt that the farmers in the valley needed a good breed of draft horses, so he purchased a fine Norman stallion and two brood mares and provided fine quality stock for draft animals. John persuaded the Stake authorities to organize a branch of the Eden Ward in Liberty, and he was called to be the Presiding Elder where he served until his death. He got sick with pneumonia and died in the winter of January 1891 at the age of 43
James Burt (1822-1904) and Mary McBride (1821-1897)
James Burt, Sr., was born in Blontyre, Lanark, Scotland on January 8, 1822. He went to work at age nine, and at 13 was a laborer with the engineers and blacksmiths. He had very early training in steelwork and blacksmithing. During his young teenage years he fell in love with his friend Mary McBride. They married when he was 17 and she was 18. He worked at various steelwork jobs in the Glasgow area as they started their young family.
They joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1850 in Greenock and started to plan and save to gather with the Saints in Zion. They moved to Holytown for nine years, during which time James was advanced in the priesthood and was called to be a local missionary. In 1856 he was called to serve as the Branch President. In 1857 he was also called to be the Branch President in the Airdrie Branch at the same time. In 1860 he took a high-paying job for the British Government on the construction of a railroad at Pernambucto, Brazil, up the Amazon Valley. Doing this time he was able to gather money for his family’s emigration to Utah. When his wages came to Mary, she saved a portion for immigration, and another portion was used to buy necessities to take to Utah—dozens of skeins of thread, woolens, linens, buttons, and yarn. Some yarns were knitted into petticoats, nightgowns, and various woolen articles.
James and Mary, and their six children left Scotland May 9, 1862. They sailed on the Sir William Tapscott Vessel. It took six weeks to cross the Atlantic Ocean. They came overland on the train from New York to Florence, Nebraska on the Missouri River. The water in the river was so muddy they could not use it, so they dipped water from the river and tried to settle it by putting oatmeal into it. They secured a tent at Florence for the family to live in. However, a severe storm came and blew down the tent, so they found shelter in a hotel. From Florence they went to Council Bluffs to rest, and to wait for the next company to start across the plains. During the three week stay there was a lot of sickness—mountain fever.
When they were finally ready to start they had to share a wagon with two other families in the Horton D. Haight Company (1862). Their daughters Mary and Christina Burt who were very young (ages 6 and 5) walked as far as they could each day, sometimes they walked all day. Their mother was not able to walk at all because she still had the fever when it was time to leave. James’ feet swelled so much that he had to cut slits in the leather of his boots, and then wrapped his feet to keep out the dirt and sand.
One day as they had stopped to rest, Captain Haight, the wagon train leader, caught the sound of a buffalo stampede coming toward the wagon train. He ordered the men to circle the wagons and get all the oxen into the center, and the women and children to go to the opposite side from the stampede. Then he rode out toward the herd and shot the lead buffalo. The shot and the huge beast falling caused the herd to divide. Part of the herd went to the right side of the circle of wagons, and the other part of the herd cut to the left side of the encampment. They all appreciated the bravery of Captain Haight.
The Burt family arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on October 19, 1862 after which, James moved his family to Goshen to be near one of their Scottish friends. However, needing blacksmith work he went back to Salt Lake City and went to work for Brigham Young. He was given a wagon to carry his possessions, and took his family to Logan to do the ironwork for a flourmill. When the mill was finished they moved back to Salt Lake. James and his two oldest sons then went to work for Union Pacific building the railroad down Weber Canyon. They stayed with the railroad to its completion at Promontory and earned good wages. They took their earnings and bought a farm in Cottonwood and built the nicest home since coming to Utah. He later went to Ogden Valley and settled in Eden, where Brigham called him to set up a blacksmith shop for the farmers.
Christina Burt (1857-1927)
Christina Burt was born on June 11, 1857, at Holytown, Lanark, Scotland. Her parents, James Burt, Sr. and Mary McBride were humble and devout members of the Mormon Church; James served as the Holytown Branch President.
Christina’s family left Scotland on May 9, 1862, and sailed on the Sir William Tapscott vessel for the United States. Their trip across the Atlantic Ocean took six weeks, then they traveled overland on the train to Florence, Nebraska. After three weeks they were able to join a wagon train headed for the Great Salt Lake Valley. They shared a wagon with two other families. Christina was the youngest child of the family at age five however she walked part of the way each day. Her mother and sister Mary had contracted Mountain Fever and were too weak to walk. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on October 29, 1862.
Christina grew up in various towns, as her father, James, was an ironworker and was given assignments to help with heavy building projects. Their homes included Goshen, Logan, Brigham City, and Cottonwood. While in the Salt Lake City area John Marshall, Jr. courted her, and they were married in the Endowment House on January 5, 1874—the ceremony was conducted by Heber C. Kimball.
John and Christina’s first child John was born in 1875 but did not live through the first year. They soon moved up to Ogden Valley near the Burt family in Liberty. They took up farming and Christina was John’s helpmate, chief advisor, and inspiration. They had seven more children and when John died in 1891 her children were from 14 years to 5 months old.
She was a very industrious widow and raised her children to adulthood without the many contributions offered her from generous friends. She died in Liberty of a severe stroke on October 30, 1927.