William Wilkes Enlarges His Family
Without question, one of the most difficult principles given to Joseph Smith by the Lord was that of plural marriage. As early as 1831, Joseph claimed a revelation upon the subject and spoke of it to a few close associates. Due to his reluctance upon the subject, it was not placed in writing, nor practiced until 1840, when the Lord criticized his hesitancy. In confidence, he discussed the matter with his counselors and other associates among the Twelve. In like manner, these men felt as Joseph felt, but all knew the principle was of god. They were receiving all the persecution they felt they could bear, and knew that practicing the principle of polygamy would bring more criticism, not only from without the Church, but from within, which was exactly what happened.
The teachings of the Prophet proclaimed the importance of marriage, and that it was only through the family that eternal progression could be had. Marriages, if properly subscribed to, were to be eternal and not till death only. In the early period of the church, an unusual condition prevailed. More women than men joined the Church. So long as converts made up the mass of the Church, men were in the minority. Inasmuch as the Church was isolated, and members were encouraged not to marry outside its membership, there simply were not enough women to go around. Many women would have had to have lived and died singly, and would have been deprived of the opportunity for development which marriage and a home brings. The only alternative was plural marriage. The practice of plurality was never a case of immorality, for the Mormon Church has always been recognized for its moral standards.
It has been reported that during the days of polygamy, not over three percent of the male membership practiced it, and that the husbands who practiced it had to obtain the consent of the first and/or other wives.
William Wilkes became a polygamist. The date not circumstances of this marriage to this plural wife is not known, but seemingly it occurred during the period of the Utah War, which was described in the last chapter - 1885.
The lady of this marriage has always been known on the records of the family, as Elizabeth Crook. Her genealogical record, to the extent this branch of the family has it, indicates her parents were William Crook and Margaret Lend. However, she is known to have been previously married, and had two children by Frederick Panting, namely Christopher and Jane Panting, who stayed with their mother following her marriage to William Wilkes.
A son, Charles, was born to William Wilkes and Elizabeth Crook, April 20, 1859, in Salt Lake City, according to that couple's family group sheet.
Aunt Mabel's brief history to which reference has already been made, reads, "In 1859 they came clear back to Logan Utah", which follows the previously quoted account of the family having gone south with others at the time of the war scare. Aunt Mabel mentions nothing of the second wife, Elizabeth Crook.
Interestingly, for many years the family has had the Temple Index card for William Wilkes and his first wife, Elizabeth Haines, which record says she was sealed to him on the 22nd of September 1859 in the President's Office (or in the PO). This indicates the sealing was not done in Salt Lake City, or else it would have been done in the Endowment House, which had been built and opened for temple ordinance work (awaiting the completion of a temple) as early as the 5th of May 1855. It was not unusual for President Young to seal couples who lived away from Salt Lake, when he was in other areas to conferences and for other purposes.
Putting these bits of information together, we come up with the fact that a baby boy was born to William Wilkes and Elizabeth Crook in Salt Lake City on the 20th of April 1859. Aunt Mabel's statement of the family "In 1859 they came clear back to Logan" and that William and his first wife, Elizabeth Haines were sealed on 22nd of September, 1859 in the President's Office, led us to suspect the sealing was done in Logan.
The next logical record to check was the 1860 census record for Cache County, Utah. That record revealed the following:
|Name||Age||Sex||Occupation||Place of Birth|
The census was taken on the July 30, 1860, and states that Brigham was the official post office.
The census record did not reveal where in Cache County the family had residence. Family history says Logan, which could mean in the surroundings of Logan. The record also reveals that William's occupation was a laborer; that both wives were in the same residence and both sets of children were with them. Why baby Charles was called "Panting" by the census taker is not known. Also, this record tells us the second wife, Elizabeth Crook, was from England, for her ten and four old children were both born in England. Interesting!
Aunt Mabel's history gives another statement or two which is of interest. "They (speaking of William and family) were among the many people who went to the big gold rush in California in 1861. They witnessed the flood of 1862 while there. Then they came back and moved to St. Charles, Idaho.
In 1930, shortly after this writer returned from my mission to England, my mother's oldest sister, Martha Elizabeth Wilkes Walker, eldest daughter of John Wilkes, visited in my parent's home, at which time I had the privilege of interviewing her relative to family history. With her grandfather, William Wilkes' family group sheet before me of his second wife, Elizabeth Crook, she, Aunt Matt said that at the time her grandfather left for California seeking for gold, Elizabeth Crook refused to follow him.
This proved to have been a final separation of this marriage for Elizabeth Crook eventually married and was sealed to a Dr. Hiram Cranney of Logan. Her sealing with William Wilkes was never officially broken, so far as can be determined from Church records. The sealing to Mr. Cranney is dated December 26, 1864 and was performed in the Endowment House, which of course is in Salt Lake City.
The fact that William's plural wife, Elizabeth Crook, refused to go with her husband to California neither confirms nor refutes his first wife, Elizabeth Haines and children Sarah and John, as having been willing to have gone with him. Perhaps they were wiser than he and remained at home. Regardless of their decision, it seems the trip profited him but little other than experience, for when he returned a year or two later, it seems questionable that he had any more of this world's goods than when he left. It is to be hoped that William never heard the counsel of President Brigham Young, that the Saints be content with what they could find within the valleys of the mountains, rather than succumb to the gold fever of California and lose all they had. The Lord had destined that His people would survive in the places where he had brought them.
Aunt Mabel's brief story, following her statement that "They witnessed the flood (California) of 1862 while there" and then she continues, "Then they came back and moved to St. Charles, Idaho." It appears her understanding was that the family was together.
She continues, "That same fall, as a barefoot boy, he herded sheep to assist his father's family", this referring to son, John, then about ten years of age, who, years later was to become her father.
Briefly she tells the story of the first winter in Bear Lake following their return, "During that winter, they lived with grandfather's family and Josh Crooks father's family, in a one room log cabin. They had just two or three head of sheep, which they wanted to save. They would put them in one corner of the house during the cold nights. Then one of Josh's sisters became very ill. All the light they had to care for her was dried bark peeled from a certain kind of willow. This was burned to make a light. Later, she died and they buried her out in back of the house. From this you can tell the hardships and troubles they had, and Father experienced them all."
Do we gather from this that the Wilkes family was in California in 1862, returned the same year and moved into Bear Lake the fall of the same year? Such seems just a little premature for the conditions that were actually existing in Bear Lake. Such is possible, however the following year or two may prove the more plausible.
In the book, "A History of Southeastern Idaho", M.D. Beal, this writer's professor of history at Rick's College fifty years ago, subsequently wrote,
"In the early autumn of 1863, Brigham Young called Charles C. Rich (an apostle) to his office. The subject of conversation == was colonization of the Bear Lake Valley.
"Charles Rich's report was evidently satisfactory, and by September 26, 1863, a pioneer company of nine wagons reached the valley. -- A little later in the fall about thirty families arrived, and a colony of thirty-four huts was built. -- Forty-eight adult males wintered in Bear Lake during 1863-64. There were forty women and about that many children. (Pgs. 176-178)
Could this year have been more likely the same fall that the William Wilkes and the Crook families moved into the St. Charles area? The above historical account states "about 30 families arrived, and a colony of 34 huts was built" in the area where Paris now is located.
Please note that two children were born to William Wilkes and Elizabeth Crook, as shown here.
As early as probably the early 1960s, Mrs. Charles W. (Verla) Wilkes, then of El Segundo, Calif., inquired of the Genealogical Library in Salt Lake, for the name of anyone doing Wilkes' research. This writer's name was given her and by letter and one visit by her and family to the John Wilkes Family reunion in Lava Hot Springs many years ago, we have shared genealogy. They now live in Idaho Falls. Her husband is a descendant of William Wilkes and Elizabeth Crook, as the chart shows. Their son, Wynn, served as a high school seminary teacher for a few years in the Rupert area. He is now teaching in the Idaho Falls area.
It would seem the more likely that the Wilkes-Crook cabins was one of this group of "huts" described in the account, rather than a single cabin four miles away from the group. Safety had to be very much a factor. IN fact, the previously mentioned history reads, "Robert K. William was appointed ....to take charge of the little colony. All went to work gathering wild hay and building cabins. As was the custom, the settlers built a fort as a 'nucleus around which might father the future settlements of the valley'." (pp. 178) This leads us to suspect the dual family log cabin, to which has been referred, was not at St. Charles during the fall of 1863 and through the winter season of '63 and '64, but could there have been a possibility it may have been in Paris?
On page 179 of Beal's history, he dates the original settling of nearby settlements such as Ovid, as being "founded in March, 1864, as Bennington "was settled in 1864", as Liberty "was founded in 1864", and "the city of Montpelier also had its origin in the spring of 1864". In instance, he names a few of the leading families "and others". His brief comments on the settlements of Bloomington, fish Haven and St. Charles, names a few of the founding families "and others", but does not state the exact year. However, from the fact that these settlements stem from the original colony at Paris, in the fall of 1863, we are lead to assume what was true of the settlements with dates, can logically be assumed to apply to the others.
Quoting, "St. Charles was founded by William G. Young, John A. Hunt, Elijah Keetch, George M. Pugmire, Robert Pope, Swan Arnell, John Windley, Mosiah Booth, Lansing Bates, Randolph H. Stewart, and others. The village was named in honor of Apostle Charles C. Rich." (page 179)
To confirm the supposition that St, Charles was first settled in 1864, and the fact that it, like the other settlements in the Bear Lake valley, we refer to "The Encyclopedic History of the Church". This was written by the then Church Historian, Andrew Jensen, that the original St. Charles branch of the Church was organized "about 1864 with William G. Young as the first branch president, who served from 1864 to 1867, who was followed by John A. Hunt who served from 1867 to 1877 as branch president at which time the branch was changed to a ward and he continued to serve as bishop until 1895."
It is interesting to take note of the earliest known St. Charles branch record of members. Record keeping in the early history of the wards and branches of the Church was a developing process and did not become the exacting system it is today. This can be readily understood. At first, there was no Church-wide system of record keeping. While the branches were advised to keep records, each had its own system. Normally, it was done by the branch president himself, and usually, in a regular notebook of the time, it was kept in his home, subject to the hazards of safekeeping in such places as a "log hut" as Mr. Beal indicated. Subsequently, the Church initiated uniform record books and called for previous records to be turned to its central office. In many cases, the original records were considered as family property, and if they had not already been destroyed, were considered heirlooms. The problems can be readily observed.
It appears the earliest St. Charles branch record now available was not the first record, providing one was kept at the time William G. Young was branch president. The existing earliest copy is but a list of members of the branch with brief supporting information following the name, such as the parents of the member listed, the birth date, place and, often the baptismal date. Regrettably, the date of the member moving into the branch, and later the ward, was not given.
In other words, the record is but a list of members, usually by families, and in this instance, the name, John A. Hunt, branch president, leads with his wife and children following in order of age. This record seems to indicate that it was not commenced until, at least three years following the original organizing of the branch. In fact, there is almost undisputed evidence that the list of members as we now see it, was formed much later than the commencement of John A. Hunt's administration.
As indicated, the branch president and family are numbered from one through six. Number seven of the list is Daniel D. Hunt, and number eight, his wife Martha Eynon Hunt. They are the father and step mother of the branch president, and they are followed by the brothers and/or half-brothers and sisters of the branch president, and thence to other families of the branch. By the time the list of names reaches number one hundred eight, our John Wilkes shows up as being the son of William and Elizabeth Haines, born October 3, 1852 in Tewkesbury, and his baptismal date as July 1867.
Now as evidence that this list of names cannot have been an original record at the time of the organizing of the branch, six of John Wilkes' children are shown in the order of their birth. They are, John Daniel Wilkes, Martha Elizabeth Wilkes, William Edmond Wilkes, Charlotte Ann Wilkes, Hettie May Wilkes and Benoni Gashum Wilkes. These children were numbered on the list from # 109 through # 114 inclusive, clearly out of context to a system of numbering ward members as they entered the branch and/or ward. The last born of this family, Uncle Noen, # 224, was not born until July 24, 1887. Therefore, the makeup of the list, not at all alphabetical, was long subsequent to what it would have been in chronological order of each member's joining the branch or ward. The list's makeup seems to have been at random.
At the danger of this explanation becoming boring to the reader, mention will be made of Grandpa John Wilkes' sister, Sarah, showing up under her married name, Sarah Ann Allred, as # 290 on the list with the names of five of her children following.
The two main subjects of this chapter, William Wilkes and Elizabeth Haines, who brought their children John and Sarah into the Bear Lake valley in probably 1863, are numbered on the membership list as # 676 and # 677 respectively.
The final conclusion to the purpose of the list of members of the St. Charles branch and ward, is that it shows names of people who have had membership from near the commencement of the branch. There is no guarantee that it contains all, especially of the earliest, down to well within the 1900s, for it shows some with baptisms as late as 1905.
Two items of interest may be the baptism of Sarah Wilkes, daughter of William and Elizabeth, according to the branch record, was in 1860. This was three years prior to their move into Bear Lake. This would have been in the Logan area, and prior to William's, and probably the family's, going to California. According to the same source, John was baptized in July of 1867, which would have made him between fourteen and fifteen years of age. This would most likely have been in St. Charles.
With out confirming the fact that our William Wilkes and Elizabeth Haines family was in St. Charles during the middle of the 1860s, even a little earlier, we can visualize a little of their home life. During the winter of 1863, the family shared a one-room log cabin with another family, and into which Aunt Mabel mentions in her story, that they made room for two or three sheep for their survival. During the same fall of the year, her father, John, "was a barefoot boy and herded sheep to assist his father's family" we can see whose sheep he may have been herding. From all indications, it had to have been sheep belonging to others than his family. We now have a vision of the first settlement of over thirty families at Paris in September and October, having to build housing for the winter and a fort for their protection, plus gathering wild hay for the animals through the winter, there was a "bee-hive" of activity. Time was of the essence during the few remaining weeks prior to winter setting in.
Perhaps John's wages were in sheep for his family's beginning flock. Cash was hard to come by and bartering was a common means of exchange. Undoubtedly, herding during the years became an important occupation for some of the children of many families. Community herds were often made up when the family had sheep or cattle, but no one to take care of the herding. As soon as children grew to be able to handle manual labor, they were to help with such jobs such as going into the hills for timber to build houses, barns and fencing. There were a dozen or more of other tasks on the farm including the tilling of the soil, planting and harvesting. Young people's services were in demand elsewhere than looking after the herds and flocks.
As mentioned earlier, our John was a cripple. Aunt Mabel says, speaking of her father to become, the herds-boy, "started to walk when he was seven months old, and when he was stricken with a paralytic stroke (infantile paralysis) which left him crippled in the right leg and left arm, he was unable to take another step until he was twenty-one months old."
Due to John's physical handicaps, he found it difficult to do heavy physical work, which required two strong arms, as an example. His left arm from the hand to the shoulder remained small and quite inoperative. His right leg failed to fully develop and he required a built-up shoe, particularly the heel. His mind was very much alert, and made up in part for his physical problems, but as a boy, his lot remained as a herds-boy, during the summer months.
This writer has not seen the need to go to the land records of Bear Lake County to determine the land holdings of the Wilkes family. Under the circumstances of early settlement in St. Charles, it seems it would go without saying that William and Elizabeth would have filed on some land. His employment in England included being a "stocking weaver" according to the 1851 census, which was taken a few years following their marriage. Son, John's birthday certificate of Oct 3, 1852, lists his father's occupation as "stocking weaver". Three years later, the passenger roster of the boat on which he crossed the Atlantic, shows him as having registered as a "brick maker". Whether or not he ever had occasion to follow that trade after coming to America, is not known, however the 1860 census of Utah indicates he listed himself as a "laborer", which occupation wears many hats. Bricks were manufactured in Utah and brick houses were being erected. Whether his brick making ever got him into the construction business, we don't know, but it seems questionable. Interestingly, both the later 1870 and 1880 census records lists his giving very interesting occupations in each, but not related to his former stocking weaving nor brick making.
There seems no evidence in family tradition that William was challenged with an over-abundance of property, including land acreage. Undoubtedly, he would have had a few acres with a home, and perhaps sufficient for a diversity of livestock. Certainly, he made a living for his family, and what more was needed? The next event of importance, which occurred in the William Wilkes family, was the marriage of their daughter, Sarah. Actually, we know of no record of the event as such, excepting family records, which state that on the 23rd of January 1867 (another record shows 1866 - but the former is believed o be correct) Sarah Wilkes married William Lansing Allred of St. Charles. An item of interest: William Lansing Allred's family group sheet shows that he was born Oct 18, 1849 in Nauvoo, Illinois. No intent to question the date is being made, but only to draw attention to the fact that it was in February of 1846, that the first Nauvoo expulsion, which included the leadership of the Church, took place. Apparently, there were still Mormon families left in Nauvoo in October of 1849, as is indicated by the birth of William L. Allred.)
The next possibility to learn of the William Wilkes family, following Sarah's marriage, appeared to be with the next census record, which occurs as the reader is aware, every ten years - the nest to be 1870. This step proved to become an interesting challenge. It was soon learned that 1870 was too early to find any county in Idaho by the name of Bear Lake, which simply meant locating the parent-county, which was discovered to have been Oneida County. The county seat, having been at Soda Springs until February of 1868, at which time it was changed to Malad. The Bear Lake area was not organized as a county until 1875.
A search for St. Charles on the Oneida County census was commenced. After a long search, it was concluded that little town and other towns along the western shore of the lake were not included in that county's census. Montpelier, several miles to the north of the lake, was included. The search through the county census list was repeated, but to no avail.
Southwestern Idaho history was reviewed. It has been a well-known fact among the Mormon people of today, that at one time, state officials, including the legislature, felt a very strong resentment against the Mormon people. In fact, so strong, that during the 1860s, 1870s and 80s, the Mormons, with polygamy as an excuse, literally were not welcome in the state. Elected Mormon representatives were denied their constitutional rights to be seated in the state house of representatives and senate, as well as all Mormon citizens being denied the right to vote. Such a law was subsequently passed. This law was strictly enforced during these decades, and probably as late as the turn of the century. However, as the Mormon population was increased, its position was strengthened. Following the signing of the Manifesto by President Wilford Woodruff, the polygamy question became less and less a political question. As the years passed, and with new and broader-minded politicians, the restrictions against the Mormon voters were "winked at", until such a time that few Mormons, as well as non-Mormons were aware that such a law was on the law books of Idaho. Actually, it was not until about 1980, just a couple of years ago, that the legislature of Idaho repealed the law, which made it unlawful for Mormons to vote, despite the fact that they had been doing so for a goodly number of decades.
Ironically, despite the opposition from the Anti-Mormon politicians, during the 1800s and early 1890s, when the US government became so intent to destroy the Church in Utah by confiscating its properties, and imprisoning its leaders, many such leaders, who were practicing polygamy, for personal safety, went into what was called "Underground" or "in hiding". This often meant they crossed the border of the state of Utah and went into Idaho or Arizona or other neighboring states. Bear Lake became such a hiding place, due to its close proximity to Utah.
Because of the Idaho hotbed against the Mormons, the Bear Lakers preferred politically to remain with Utah, in as much as all, or at least most, who had moved to Bear Lake were former Utahns, and held a loyalty to Utah.
Literally, locating the Wilkes family on the 1870 census proved of real concern. Bear Lake was in Idaho, but the area did not appear in the Idaho census. The history book, written by my former college professor, never mentioned the census debacle. Perhaps he was not aware of it. The writer had over the years, become reasonably well acquainted with the area, and its closeness to Utah. Since Lake Town, a village at the southern point of the lake, is within the bounds of Utah, in Rich County, that knowledge prompted a search of that census.
It was not a total surprise to find Rich County 1870 census did include several communities in the Bear Lake valley, including St. Charles. With Sarah having married after the 1860 census, there were but three now in the Wilkes' household, the parents and son, John. The following information was copied:
|Name||Age||Occupation||Value of Real Estate||Personal Property||Birthplace|
Did the census taker hear correctly when William announced himself as a brewer? John's employment indicates he was working for others.
Three years following the above census, October 20, 1873, John, then twenty-one years of age, married a young daughter of another resident of St. Charles, Martha Elizabeth Hunt. She was the daughter of Daniel D. Hunt and Martha Eynon, and a half-sister of the president of the St. Charles branch. The young bride had advanced past her fifteenth birthday by five months. They were married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, over a hundred miles as the "crow flies". The mountainous road did not follow the crows, particularly from St. Charles to Brigham, which town they would have traveled through on their way.
These were horse and buggy days, whether a wagon, surrey or, perhaps just a single seated one-horse carriage would have made little difference so far as the road was concerned. Leaving the water-level of the western shore or the lake, to climb to the top of the mountain, was immediate and steep. It is supposed ten years later than the arrival of the first colony of 1863, there would be nothing more than a dirt road over the top of the ridge, and down the long winding way of the Logan canyon, into the Cache Valley, which had previously been John's home. Indeed there is a likely possibility that the first settlers of a decade earlier, did not attempt to travel up the Logan Canyon to the mountain summit and thence quickly descend to the shore of the Bear Lake. A lot of roadwork would have been required before the thirty wagons of the families of the first colony could possibly have made the trip. Could it have been that the first colony took the less picturesque and far less dangerous, but longer route out the north end of Cache Valley, into the north end of the Bear Lake Valley, and thence turn southward to the lake when they first ventured to colonize? This is very possible.
It is not beyond reason, that as late as 1873, their wedding year, that John and Martha Hunt went this route out the north end of the valley into the north end of Cache Valley, and out its south end toward Salt Lake. While we are speculating, could they have buggied out the south end of the Bear Lake Valley through Lake Town in Rich County, Utah, thence over the lower-lying hills, through Randolph and Woodruff, Utah toward Salt Lake City? This way, they would have reached Evanston, Wyoming, and from there, there are two possibilities. They could have taken the train to Odgen and thence to Salt Lake City, since the railroad reached Evanston from the east four years previously. Or the young couple could have gotten on the old Mormon Trail at Evanston, and followed the pioneer wagon trail directly into Salt Lake City.
How easy to speculate! In short, the young couple's trip to be married in the Endowment House was made, and they returned to Bear Lake.
The growth of the Bear Lake area was quite rapid as colonization goes. The first group settled there in the late fall of 1863. M.D. Beal's "A History of Southeastern Idaho" includes the following paragraph:
"Seven hundred settlers arrived in the spring of 1864. Among them were emigrants from many lands, but all were recruits to a common cause. Each was inclined to conform to a common standard of living. Here was a new region in which they might build up the kingdom, and the challenge was answered from a dozen villages which sprang up along the several slopes of the valley. Although they were practically isolated from the outside world, they got along remarkably well. Each man was his own banker, lawyer, and doctor. There were no saloons or jails. All disputes were settled through the arbitration of religious leadership with the full consent of the membership. As one of the settlers soliloquized: 'We were all happy in those days, coming from different parts, we were comparative strangers. We did not know each other's failings, as do people who are reared together, and were then too honest and poor to lie about and slander one another. There was no distinction of class; hickory shirts and homemade pants reminded us that we were all of the earth, earthy. While frost-bitten bread, with an occasional sucker from the lake, was not calculated to make us very proud.'" (Page 178)
Montpelier soon became the apparent business hub of the valley despite the fact that Paris was slightly earlier and throughout the years retained the title of being the county seat. Such businesses as sawmills, grist mills and other enterprises sprang up early to supply the growing populous the essentials for living. Farming and dairying became the common pursuit for most of the communities, which resulted in the early establishment of creameries for the making of butter and cheese, much of it to be freighted away.
St. Charles and the other small settlements along the western shore of the lake, actually proved to have sleight climatic advantages, which together the lake and the hillside provided. Berries and the hardier fruits were grown in these protected areas. This writer remembers well the first cobs of corn he ever encountered which were raised in Aunt Sarah's garden on the lower slopes of the hillside, just above her house and the barnyard. These were the first ears of corn I remember ever seeing and eating, this back about 1912 or 13. My family's white-top buggy trip from Afton in Star Valley to St. Charles, remains one of my clearest and dearest memories. St. Charles was a paradise with, in addition to the corn, its raspberries and gooseberries, plus the beautiful relatives.
Back to the period of which we are writing, the mid-1870s, the parents, William and Elizabeth Haines Wilkes, found themselves with both children married. They were not old by any means, for when John married, they were only about forty-six or forty-seven years of age. Our picture of them and their home life can be but imaginative. Undoubtedly, they were still in their log homes, perhaps of two or three rooms. We are only suspecting that John and Martha, when they returned from their wedding, had a small house into which to move, but of this we are not sure. They could have joined his parents, which is not at all improbably.
We haven't had word left to us as to the general health condition of either William or Elizabeth, but judging from what was yet ahead of them, it seems William's health was good. Of his wife, Elizabeth, we are not so sure, for from the family records, we learn that she passed away on the 7th of August of 1878, just before she reached her fifty-second birthday. She left her sorrowing husband and two married children, with four living grandchildren under the age of ten. Sarah had two living, with one deceased, and John had two, Johnnie and Martha E. (Mattie).
The years since Elizabeth Haines Wilkes to America had been hard years. There surely must have been times when she had reason, and good reason, to feel the Zion she came to, did not prove to be the Zion she had hoped for while yet in England. The wanderlust spirit of her husband seems to have prevented them from permanently establishing themselves into stability. Their life in Utah, not in Idaho, never brought them the security which many of their neighbors enjoyed. Seemingly, they were never able to reach out and take hold of the Utopia, which continually seemed just beyond their grasp.
So far as we are aware from our disadvantage point (the scarcity of their personal history) she remained loyal to her husband. We are not sure that she and children followed him to the empty gold fields of California, but we suspect she did. Whether or not, she was sufficiently faithful as to join him in the hardships of pioneer living in Bear Lake, where certainly, the first few years were very primitive. Her hardships extracted their toll, and as before stated, prior to her reaching her fifty-second birthday, her eyes were closed in their final sleep.
The next we hear anything of William, is from a few simple statements of the 1880 census, which was taken on the fourth and fifth of June in St. Charles, a couple months short of two years following the passing of his wife, Elizabeth. That record is as follows:
|Martha Elizabeth "||23||Wife||Salt Lake City|
|John D " (Uncle Johnnie)||6||School||St. Charles|
|Martha E " (Aunt Matt)||4||dau||"|
|Willian E " (Uncle Ed)||1||son||"|
Here we have two or three interesting items: The fact that William leads the list of occupants probably means they were living in his home.
Note his declared occupation. The Mormon Church has no such title as "minister". Ten years earlier, in the 1870 census, we remember he declared himself a "brewer". Could William have gone awry during the meantime? Until further research proves otherwise, it may be well for us to assume all was well with him, and that he remained 'true to the faith'. Perhaps he was but extending his imagination in an effort to find a title which would bring comment from his posterity. Who knows, but what the census taker was a "joker"?
Note John's declared age. He was born in 1852. An 1880 census should show him as having been twenty-seven or twenty-eight on his next birthday. His occupation is designated as being a farmer. With his physical handicaps, could he have been solidly entrenched in a successful farming operation? A later chapter will become enlightening relative to this question.
Returning to father, William. He was, indeed, a remarkable man, which statement can be substantiated by the fact that well within one year of the 1880 census, he had married a widow of St. Charles. Whether she had children by either Christian Hansen or Oscar Osterholdt, former husbands, our records do not show. Her record shows she was "sealed" to the latter. The family group sheets handed down from the previous generation shows her only by her maiden name, Jacobine (Bena) Hemmert. The date of marriage of Bena and William is not known, however, their first son, James Wilkes, was born October 13, 1881. Their last son, Chauncy, was born February 27, 1895. Between the eldest and youngest, seven additional children were born, all living to maturity excepting little Henry Wilkes, who passed away April 29, 1888, less than one month following his birth.
This branch of the Wilkes family mainly remained in the Bear Lake area and became prominent citizens of that community.
William lived to the age of seventy-seven years, when he passed away leaving a large posterity counting his two children by his first marriage, two children by his second and polygamist wife, and nine children by his third wife. Jacobine Hansen Osterholdt Wilkes, William's third wife passed away March 7, 1919.
This writer received an interesting bit of St. Charles' historical information from his second cousin, Erma Allred Pugmire, on the 4th of August 1938 in answer to a query as to whether she could give historical family data. Erma is the daughter of Ernest and Orissa Allred, a son of Sarah Ann Wilkes Allred, the only sister of our John Wilkes. A portion of Erma's letter is quoted:
"In September 1875 the first mutual organization (Mutual Improvement Association) in the Bear Lake stake was organized in St. Charles. Sarah Ann Wilkes Allred (my grandmother) was the second counselor. At this time, the Bear Lake stake covered the area from Randolph and Evanston, Wyoming on the south; all what is now the Paris stake; the Montpelier stake and all the soda Springs area and the Star Valley area when it was first settled was part of this stake.
"It was called 'The Organization of the Young Ladies Retrenchment Society'. At one of their meetings it was suggested that a paper be written each month. An editor and assistant editor were appointed - different ones would write on different subjects - quite often original poems were written. Births, deaths and anything newsworthy were written in this paper then read at conjoint meetings. These meetings were held the first Sunday evening of each month. The paper was called 'The Intellectual Gem'. This paper was written for thirty some odd years. The young men also had such an organization.
"The following article I am sending was the original copy taken from 'The Intellectual Gem' at the death of our grandfather, William Wilkes."
AT REST Feb. 1904
"The worn and weary body of Brother Wilkes has found the rest it watched and waited for so long.
"His sufferings for about five months were very intense, and his passing was welcomed in view of the fact that he could not get about again.
"Notwithstanding all this it is a mournful duty to lay away our dear ones; to know that we have done the last kind act for them that we can ever do; that the last kiss has been pressed upon the cold lips that we can ever give.
"That he had many warm friends was shown by the large number that were at the funeral, notwithstanding the bad condition of the roads. His generous nature and rigid honesty stand out prominent in his character and are worthy the emulation of us all.
"Let us not forget that his wife and children have many hard struggles ahead of them, and will oftimes feel the need of our kind encouragements which we should not withhold.
The following poem was written on the death of Brother William Wilkes by Nancy Hunt Allred and was included in the same paper following the above.
"There is no Death.
What seems so is transition.
This life of mortal breath
Is but a suburb of the life Elysian
Whose portal we call death.
Another friend has left us,
His pains and sufferings o'er;
He now can join the loved ones,
Who are on the other shore.
The body worn and weary,
Is laid beneath the sod.
The spirit still is living;
It has returned to God.
We fain would call him back
From a home of holy bliss;
To roam life's thorny pathway
In a world of care like this.
There's comfort for the aching heart;
Ah! Yes how truly blest,
To know for all God's children
There is a place of rest.
The frame where dwelt the spirit
In the silent tomb will lay
Until the trumpet of God shall sound
On the resurrection day.
May trees wave o'er his resting place
And flowers bloom o'er his head
Hallowed by the turf where he sleeps;
He is not dead.
In Erma's letter she included, among other things, a few brief statements of herself:
"I have lived in St. Charles all my life. I married Curtis Pugmire and in 1956, while our oldest son Roger was on his mission, Curtis and our youngest son, Richard, were struck and killed with lightning. After 16 years I married Lamont Pugmire, my cousin. His mother, Annie was my father's sister. We were married eleven months and he had a heart attack and died.
"My brother, Evan and I, are the only two left of father's children. He lives in St. Paul, Minn. He and his wife spent a week with me the latter part of July."
Thanks, Erma, for your contribution. May the Lord bless and keep you and yours.
Standing: Sarah Ann (Allred) and John, only daughter and son of William Wilkes and Elizabeth Haines. Seated: Jacobine (Bena) Hemmert and William Wilkes. They married following the death of his first wife. Children left to right: James born 13 Oct. 1881, Samuel born 12 Apr 1885, Mary Ann born 13 Jan 1883, Elizabeth born 11 Mar 1884.
It may be here mentioned that no attempt has been made to extend the family charts of the other branches of the William Wilkes' families, other than of his son, John's descendants, other than the ones shown which information had been gathered through the years. The project would have become overwhelming had an attempt been made to bring the charts completely up to date.
As previously noted, William's descendants through his polygamous wife, Elizabeth Crook -- only partially complete -was shown on chart ?. His descendants through William's third wife, Jacobine Hemmert (Bena) are partially shown on chart. They were married following the death of his first wife, Elizabeth Haines.
This brings us to William's descendants through his first wife, Elizabeth Haines. The purpose of this history is to relate with the descendants of their son, John, as will be seen later.
Of William's and Elizabeth's daughter, Sarah Ann Wilkes Allred, there are three branches or families through the three of their five children who had issue. The granddaughter of Sarah Ann Allred Pugmire, (see chart on page 72 ) Leah Pugmire Kunz, of Montpelier, corresponded with this writer. Also Erma Allred Pugmire, daughter of Ernest Wilkes Allred corresponded with this writer, and both graciously shared the names of the early members of their families. They sent historical data, including pictures of the William Wilkes' families, which are included in this history. For their help, this writer is most grateful. Appreciation is likewise extended to cousin Rhena Wilkes Nield, of Montpelier, for putting me in touch with these two lovely ladies. The third branch, the descendants of Aunt Sarah Allred's, who had children was Elizabeth Allred Michaelson, while existing, were not contacted by this writer.
The following material was sent to this writer by Erma Pugmire and Leah Kunz.
The Life Story of Sarah Ann Wilkes Allred
In the small town of Gloucester. Birmingham, England, William Wilkes and his wife Elizabeth Haines lived. In the year of 1850 on Aug. 4th their first child was born to them, Sarah Ann. Later they had a son born in 1852.
There like many other places the gospel was brought, some believing and some not. We find Brother and Sister Wilkes among those who believed and had faith in what the missionaries were preaching. They left their home and friends to come to America to find more about the wonderful message they had heard.
At the time they left England, Sarah was eight years of age and John was four (notice the discrepancy) They left their home and sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in a small sailing vessel. His was indeed a long tiresome journey compared with the way we cross the ocean at the present time.
When land was reached they had another long hard journey before them. This time they traveled with ox teams. Although they had to endure many hardships never did they waver in their faith for the Gospel.
At night they would bring their wagons into a circle forming a coral for the oxen. Sometimes they spent their evenings in singing and dancing. All their time was not spent in amusement for they had to make their own clothing, which certainly was no easy task.
They settled first in Cache Valley, her they had many hardships awaiting them. Sister Wilkes went to do washings. Sarah and her brother John went to a small school. They did not come home at noon hours for they knew there would be no food for them. Many was the time, when a crust of bread tasted as good to them as a piece of cake does to us now.
Her parents went to California during the gold rush in 1861 where they remained for three years then they came to Bear Lake in 1864.
Brother and Sister Wilkes left Sarah in Logan for a visit and they came on to Bear Lake. While she was there a heavy snowstorm came. There was no way of correspondence with her folks so she did not know whether they were dead or alive, until Niels Wilhelmsen went on his first mission on snowshoes over the mountains.
In the spring of 1865 she joined her parents. In 1866 she married William Lansing Allred who was the eldest son of William Moore Allred and Orissa Angelia Bates. He was born at Nauvoo, Ill. 18 Oct 1842. He crossed the plains with his parents and came to Salt Lake in 1851. In 1864 the family moved to Bear Lake settling in St. Charles. This is where Sarah met him.
To them were born five children. Even after her marriage her hardships did not cease. During her girlhood and early married life she had an invalid mother, but no daughter could have been kinder or more thoughtful of a mother than she was. After she became a mother herself she would take her babe in her arms and go to her mothers home, where she kept everything in perfect order, often having to leave her own work undone, but no one ever saw her neglect her duty to her mother, as long as she lived. No one ever heard her complain, or leave anything undone that would add to her mothers comfort or happiness. When the angel of death took her mother it was her first great sorrow. Sarah was never a very strong girl or woman, but through her energy and perseverance she accomplished more along various lines than some who were endowed with better health and greater strength. They lived in a little log cabin and cooked over a fireplace a number of years.
To them were born five children, Sarah Ann (Annie) Pugmire, William Lansing (Willie), John Wilkes, Uzella (Zellie) and Ernest W. Allred. John died at age nine months, 14 Mar. 1874. Their eldest son Willie died 22 Dec 1893 at age twenty-two. Zellie married William Henry Michaelson and died at the age of twenty-one, May 21, 1896 in childbirth.
Sarah was a very fine needle woman and dressmaker, in fact there was not much along the line of work she could not do. She was an excellent cook. She would take in boarders (as there were no hotels or restaurants around here in those days) and furnish beds and meals for them. When traveling troupes came around putting on theatres for a night or two they stayed at her home. Her dining room table would be extended full length to accommodate all. The Walter Stock & E. Forrest Taylor dramatic companies were some Erma Pugmire (granddaughter) can remember.
Her hands were never idle. She would knit, crochet, sew and makeover clothes etc. When going to see her she would say, "Let Grandma get her work then she'll visit with you." She was very generous, always handing out to someone. I recall a time when two old bachelors lived just across the street from her. They had five dollars to her one, but it seemed as though she could not bake a pie or make a kettle of soup but what she would send them a part of it. Her nature was such that she could not enjoy anything good unless she could share it with someone else. After the death of the two old bachelors their nephews presented her with the "slop jar" for being so good and helping them out. Perhaps in those days that was a 'valuable item'. At least they must have thought so.
Grandma's half sister, Mary Ann lived with Grandma and Grandpa from the time she was very young and was treated as one of her children. After the death of grandma's daughter Uzella, Aunt Mary married Uzella's husband, William H. Michaelson. They always lived in grandma's home. After Grandma's death, Aunt Mary got the old home and her daughter Audrey lives in it today.
Christmas Day into grandmas was an event looked forward to year after year. Her excellent dinners. Then after the children's dance in the afternoon, to return to grandmas for super. The older folks would leave for the dance in the evenings and the younger ones remained there until after the dance. What good times we had. The grandchildren and great grandchildren still talk about those good times. After Grandma left us Christmas was never the same again.
In 1875 she was second counselor to Amy E. Laker Cook of the first organization of the YWMIA in Bear Lake until 1880 when the Bear Lake Stake was organized. A few years later, she became President of the organization in St. Charles. She served there for eighteen years. At the end of this time she was released and then was appointed second Counselor to Nancy E. Pugmire President of the Stake.
Later on she was appointed treasure of the Stake Relief Society. This position she held for a number of years. In all her work she was a real laborer putting her heart in all she did and those she labored with or among. She was very happy if she could be working or doing something for someone else. Her whole life became one of sacrifice for others. When she was released from her work in her advanced years she was never idle, even in her own home. She helped in sickness, made burial clothes, trimmed caskets and performed the last sad work for the dead. Although she was feeble in her last years it did not stop her from attending her public duties until the very last year.
In the year 1915 on 28 Jan sorrow filled the humble home at the passing away of her devoted husband. Sorrow prevailed again in many a heart in the year of 1929 on Aug 5, when she died at the age of 79. To the last day she did not lose her kind, loving and generous disposition.
This material was gathered and written by Connie Webb, Erma Pugmire (granddaughters) and La Priel Kirkham and Leah Kunz. (great granddaughters). Our grandmother, Sarah Anna Pugmire told this to La Priel while she was still alive and my sister wrote as she told it
We are most appreciative of our Allred cousins from Montpelier and St. Charles for the above life sketch of Aunt Sarah Allred, only full sister of our John Wilkes. From this account dictated by her daughter. Sarah Ann Pugmire, and compiled by two granddaughters , we have no reason to question that Aunt Sarah's birthplace was in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England. Most of John's branch of the family records, have shown it to have been in Tewkesbury, which, according to her brother John's birth certificate, was his place of birth. Added to that, the fact that their parents were married in Tewkesbury on the 15th of March 1846, which was also the place of their respective births, it was easy to suspect Tewkesbury would have been the place of Sarah Ann's birth. The 1851 census, reported it to have been Tewkesbury.
It is, however, ironic that on John Wilkes' endowment card from the Endowment House records, he gave his birthplace also, as Birmingham. Since receiving a copy of his birth certificate in 1967 showing his birth reported by his mother as being in Tewkesbury, we conclude to use the latter place of birth as the more logical one.
The fact that the Cheltenham (near Tewkesbury) branch records of which the Wilkes were members, reports wife Elizabeth Haines Wilkes as having been baptized on the 12th of April 1848 at West Bromwich, which is interesting. This indicates that William and Elizabeth could well have been residing in Birmingham at the time where two years later, their daughter, Sarah Ann was born.
This writer spent well over a year in Birmingham in 1929-30, and was in West Bromwich many, many times. I am acquainted with their close proximity. However, at the time, I had no knowledge whatever of aunt Sarah Ann having been born in Birmingham, nor my great-grandmother, having been baptized in West Bromwich. Actually, the two cities are in separate counties despite their joining each other.
We cannot, however, dismiss the fact that John's birth in Tewkesbury was reported three weeks later by his mother to the superintendent registrar, whose office was in that city. We conclude there to be less possibility of error in that report, than John's own statement in Salt Lake City twenty-one years later. One thing we can be quite assured of is that he was not born in both places. This is most interesting, and we again thank Aunt Sarah Ann's descendants for their contribution. (L.B.)