The Aldrich Family of Utah,
Where They Came From
Why They Came
A True Story
Submitted by Jerry Shepherd
This is a true story about a family who came to the far west, Utah to be exact, in the year 1854. They had started their western move from Worcester, Mass, in the year 1846 A.D.
With others they braved the hazards of wild unsettled country, over plains, and through the wilderness, lurking with savage Indians and wild beasts. Traveling by Ox team and covered wagon, over what was more like trails than roads? Faced exposure and death, but with the Lords help and guidance they all lived through it. The book tells the interesting story. Also a short but true story of my mother’s family, and Aldrich relatives through marriage.
Written by, Joseph Myron Aldrich, the youngest child of the family.
The Aldrich Family was New Englanders, who made their home in the thriving city of Worcester, Mass. They were a typical American family, proud of their heritage and standing in the community, reasonably well to do. Levi Aldrich the father was a carpenter by trade.
|Louisa Wing Aldrich, |
mother of the Aldrich's, Dalleys, and Allred families of
He married Miss Louisa Wing, at North Bridge, Mass, November 17, 1826. She was a handsome girl, well educated, and came from a highly respected good old New England family, Jabez and Patience Mowery Wing, who were married at Smithfield R.I. December 4th, 1785.
There was born to Levi and Louisa five children, three boys and two girls, Lyman born 26th December 1827, Amasa born 18th of March 1829, Elsie Ann, born 27th of June 1831, Almira Wing, born 3rd October 1833, Martin (My father) born 3rd December 1835.
They were a lovely happy family while all living together, in their Worcester, Mass, home, until one day in 1845, when what would seem to be a tragic thing happened that caused a separation, and a division, of this once happy family.
The father and the two older boys on one side, the mother, most, and the three younger children on the other. It all started, when missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints visited their home. The mother was so impressed that she decided to become a member of their church, and wanted to move to one of their settlements in the Middle West. The Missionaries and the mother labored diligently to convert Levi the father, and the two older sons to the Mormon faith, without success. As a consequence the family was broken up, the mother and the three younger children leaving their home and all, to join and be the Mormons, which eventually was to take them to a new home in the far west, Utah.
Why would a mother do such a thing? What great influence would persuade a mother, to take what would seem to be, such a drastic course as this?
Only the love of God, and being certain that she was right in her believe, could do it.
She had no doubt prayed mightily to her Father in Heaven for guidance, and had received a testimony of the truthfulness of this work before making such an important decision.
She is only one of thousands of Mormon Missionaries have visited and have been given a testimony of the truthfulness of this great later day work. And through obedience to the teachings of the gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, (called Mormons) and by seeking the truth of it through earnest prayer to their Father in Heaven, and right living, as is recorded in the book of Mormon (which is a record of Gods people in the Western Continent, the same as the Bible is a history of his people on the Eastern continent. It contains a fullness of the Gospel, same as the Primitive Church as God gave to his people in the beginning.)
Moroni tenth chapter page 520 third and fourth verses, have received unmistakable testimony as to it truthfulness. Quote Behold I would exhort you, that when ye shall read these things, if it is wisdom in God that ye shall read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord has been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam, ever down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts. And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you, that ye ask God the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true, and it ye shall ask God the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true, and it ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, He will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” Grandmother Aldrich followed this admonition and knew if she and her family embraced it, and lived it, they would have gained the richest and most important thing possible to obtain, “Eternal Life” in the Celestial Kingdom of God.
After the tragic family disagreement and separation, getting the property and financial affairs satisfactorily adjusted, the mother Louisa Wing Aldrich, (My Grandmother), Elsie Ann, Emira and Martin, (My father) started their trip west, to join and be with other members of the church, whose largest and finest city was Nauvoo, Ill, in the year 1846. This was the later part or period the mobacrats in the states of Missouri and Illinois were mobbing the Mormons, confiscating their property and driving them from their homes. They had already martyred the Proper Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum, the later part of June 1844, in Carthage, MO, where they had them in jail on a trumped up false charge. The innocent people were the victims of mean, jealous persons, liars, (Some of the biggest under the canopy of Heaven) in Missouri and Illinois, never stopping at anything low and disgraceful, to prove their false acquisitions against the leadership and members of the church., which was organized under the leadership of Joseph Smith, (The Lords Latter-day prophet) on April 6th, 1830, with only six members.
The Church had grown rapidly, despite the opposition of other denominations, organized mobs, and wicked persons seeking to destroy it.
With their prayers answered, and the constant help of their Father in Heaven, their resourcefulness, the Mormons had made Nauvoo, which was a swamp and a wilderness when they went there in 1839, into a beautiful thriving city. At the time the Mormons were driven out, it had a population of some twenty thousand persons, which I understand at that time, was the largest city in the state of Illinois. It was the envy of the surrounding territory, the Latter Day Saints had made it that way, because they were a thrifty industrious law abiding people.
They had build a beautiful temple, fine homes, and factories, they were intelligent, had the leadership, the knowhow, the ability and faith, they were God fearing people and the Lord blessed them and prospered them.
The Family reached Nauvoo, Ill, in or about 1846. My father Martin Aldrich, was baptized into the Church shortly after their arrival, in the Mississippi River, he was ten years old. They were there only a short time moving to Florence, Ill, where they spent the winter. By this time most of the people belonging to the Church throughout this territory, had by this time been driven from their homes, and were either in Utah, or on their way.
During the winter they studied, improving their education, and knowledge concerning their newly embraced religion, giving the children all the advantages their new temporary home provided, and planning, what was to be their next move? So when spring came Brigham Young (The new leader and President of the Church) came back from Utah, then called Deseret, and all the Mormons having teams and wagons, and able to make the trip accompanied him back to Salt Lake City.
The Aldrich’s not having this kind of equipment could not accompany him, so they decided to remain in Florence for a while longer, all the time working and planning for the long trip across the plains to Utah. In the spring of 1848 they moved to a place known as Allred’s Camp in Iowa.
The people here were friendlier and they had a better opportunity to prepare for the journey west. So here they purchased twelve acres of land, farmed a little and raised eight head of cattle, six steers and two cows, also provided themselves with a covered wagon, all necessary tools, provisions and firearms to last them on the long trip.
It was now the spring of 1854, it had taken them a long time to get themselves prepared and ready for the move. They were joined by other converts and started out; they used the six head of steers as oxen, and the cows to provide milk for the family.
They followed the Mormon trail that I understand was first used by the Mormons in the year 1847, from Nauvoo, Ill to Salt Lake City. It was the same trail followed by the Mormon Pioneer Vanguard, to their new homeland to the valley of the Great Salt Lake. Trails first used by wild animals, Indians, hunters, and trappers. This route through the Rocky Mountains was also used by the famous Donner party, who perished enroute attempting to reach California. Later used by the Pony Express riders, the Overland stages famous for their double teams, expert drivers, relay stations, and many hold ups.
It was also the route of the first transcontinental telegraph line. The Trail passed through Montrose, Ia, garden grove, Ia, Mt. Pisgah, Ia, Creston, Kanesville, (Council Bluffs) Fremont Nebr, and Northport, Ft. Laramie, Wyo, Ft Casper, Independence Rock, Ft. Bridger and on to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake.
The journey was over and through wild country all the way, beset by wild animals, large herds of Buffaloes, howling wolves and hostile Indians, keeping them always on the alert, and always looking for a possible safe place to camp toward the end of the day, where good water and fire wood were both available.
Traveling by Ox team at the rate of about 15 miles a day, would require some three months completing the journey. Regardless of this long time enroute, with no medical assistance available, and very little medicine of any kind, they made the trip without illness arriving safely in the summer of 1856.
Martin now a husky young man of about eighteen was looked to by his mother and his two sisters as their bread winner, and main support of the family. By this time he was well trained for the kind of life he would have to follow in helping to develop this new land.
President Brigham Young had developed a plan for the colonization of the State, and progress of the people. Within a year after the arrival of the Mormons in the Great Salt Lake Valley, exploring and location parties were sent out, mostly to the North and South, to start new settlements, and before two years had gone by, towns had been established even to the extreme sections of the state.
This was done by first selecting a suitable spot to build a town or city, and then select a company of volunteers to make permanent settlement, these would be composed of craftsmen capable of accomplishing the desired results, such as carpenters, farmers and livestock men, when available, men capable of developing the unbroken waste lands, and making them blossom by their initiative and industry.
Each family would take up their own specific kind of work or duty, they would provide the seeds, tools, live stock, and any other things necessary to accomplish the task, whenever it was possible to obtain, they were hard working people, working together, helping one another to accomplish the mission they had been sent to perform, they were much like one big family, happy in their work and the recreation they were able to provide, their duties to their God and Church taking preference. All this notwithstanding the strenuous toil and labor that was necessary to subdue and develop this virgin land, forests, streams for irrigation, surveys, plan their new town for streets, lots, homes and dozens of other things that went with establishing a desirable place to live in these desert like places.
These wonderful folks were all very much alike, including the Aldrichs, One of the first things they did when they stopped to camp, or on arriving at what was to be their new home, was to kneel down under the open sky and thank God. That was why they had come here; to meet God in the way they thought was right. It was the Mormon way they had with him, each man and his family seeking his presence, reading his words as he had revealed them to his prophets, and especially his last one, whom he had raised up here in America, trying to understand Gods way and to live it., each of them free men, responsible to their God. They thought of him every day of the week, in their work, their play, and where ever they went.
They knew that God created the heavens and the earth, and that this was God’s house, and they thought and walked reverently before him, always trying to remember to serve him and keep his commandments. And thus with God on their side, they made unparalleled progress, and suffered less privation than one would think possible in reclaiming this desert country. Thus working under Gods plan, through his servants, there was complete cooperation and unity of purpose. These people wanted permanent homes, religious freedom, and the right to serve God according to the dictates of their hearts. They were not interested in world aggrandizement. They were mindful and were always thankful people for the great courage and daring and resourcefulness they possessed in their endeavor to conquer the desert and wilderness, and try to make this nation one of the greatest, the world had ever known.
In this great wild and unsettled country, where one might travel for miles and miles without seeing any one, meeting up only with wild like, common to the desert or mountains of this great wide open space empire. Here was an abundance of game such as deer, rabbits, sage hens, ducks, geese, doves, Mountain Lion, Bear, timber wolves, coyotes, Badgers, Beavers, and many others.
This was indeed a change for the Aldrichs, who had spent their lives in a thriving manufacturing city in New England, Worcester, Mass, among educated people, and enjoying the modern conveniences of that day and age. They had been impressed and surprised at the beautiful city of Nauvoo, which originally had been named Commerce, probably due to it being located where the Mississippi River makes a half circle around the place, giving it the advantage of three fronts on the river. Later changed to Nauvoo, because of its beautiful setting.
The word Nauvoo meaning beautiful place. It phenomenal growth in so short a time was amazing, from a few to twenty thousand, beautifully planned, glistening with new a new temple, new homes, and many other new structures, it was something they didn’t forget. This all seemed to strengthen their minds and faith, that God and his Son Jesus Christ had appeared to the great Mormon Prophet, that the true and everlasting gospel had again been restored to the earth, that the Angel Moroni had appeared to the prophet, and delivered him the golden plates, from which the book of Mormon had been translated, by means of the Urim and Thummin. They knew it contained a fullness of the gospel from the beginning. That John the Baptist had appeared to him and Oliver Cowdery, and conferred upon them the Priesthood of Aaron or the Aaronic Priesthood. This was on May 15th, 1829, as is recorded in Church History.
They also knew that three of the Lords Apostles, Peter, James and John, had a little later appeared and conferred upon them the Melchizedek Priesthood, that Moses had visited them in the Kirkland Temple, committing to them the keys of the gathering of Israel. Elias, who lived in the days of Abraham, came and committed to them the keys of the dispensation of the Gospel of Abraham, that Elijah came giving unto them the keys of the fulfillment of the predictions of Malachi, of the turning of the hearts of the children to the fathers. (Temple work)
Now the time had come for the Aldrichs to check with the Church Authorities to ascertain whether they should remain in Salt Lake City, where a new temple was being built, or seek residence in some of the other newly settle places in the state. They had decided there were several kinds of business they could enter into and make a living.
Such as farming, ranching, live stock cattle or sheep or both, with all the range land they wanted free. They had done some investigating and exploring of the Great Salt Lake Valley, with its miles of farm and fine pasture lands, towering mountains, picturesque canyons, clear sparkling streams stocked with fish. Great Salt Lake was interesting because it is the biggest and most famous lake west of the Mississippi River.
It appeared to them as a strange lake, being some five hundred miles or more inland, it was saltier than the Ocean, approximately seventy miles long and fifty miles wide, with an average depth of 30 feet, and a maximum of fifty feet, with no outlet. Account of its heavy salt content, the only thing that live in its waters, was a tiny brine shrimp, about three eights of an inch long. There was no trees growing around its shores, and hence no inducement to settle very close to it. A remarkable thing they noticed about this lake and vicinity was the resemblance it had to the Holy Land.
The Jordan River flowing into it from the North, flowing from Utah Lake a fresh water lake, into this dead salt sea.
Account of what they had seen, by this time knowing what fine people the Mormons were, it is needless to say that the family still remained shocked, at what they knew had happened to the Mormon in Illinois and Missouri. Why the States or Nation would or could ever allow such unheard of crimes to be perpetrated against law abiding innocent men women and children, without them taking action to protect them and their property, whose rights were supposed to be protected under the constitution and bill of rights of the United States, and by state laws. It appeared to them that authorities in charge of enforcing the laws, had utterly failed to do their duty, thus resulting in the martyrdom of the prophet and his brother Hyrum, at Carthage, Mo, June 27, 1844, and the expelling of these good people from their homes in the dead of winter, causing untold suffering and death to many of them. It was cruel and inhuman, nevertheless it did happen. In the later part of 1854, church authorities ask this family to take up residence at Pleasant Grove, a small place about forty miles south of Salt Lake City, desiring to perform any duties the church might ask, they moved to this place. While residing at this place Martin was called to help fight down an Indian outbreak, known as the Walker Indian War, so named after the great Indian Chief Walker, head of the Ute Nation. This narrative is recorded by Peter Gottfredsen, who states that Chief Walker planned as early as 1850, to massacre the people at Fort Utah, in revenge for a slight; he imagined that he received from President and Governor Brigham Young. A man by the name of James Ivie, was one of the principal actors in the drama that started this war.
Mr. Ivie had built himself a cabin about a mile north of Springville, Utah, and only about a half mile from where the Indians were camped, he lived there with his wife and one child. One day an Indian Squaw came to his place and had with her three large trout, she ask to trade these fish from some flour, flour was not very plentiful, and Mrs. Ivie called her husband, who was out in the yard digging a well, he told his wife he thought the fish were very nice, and so they gave the Indian woman three pints of flour for them, one pint for each fish, as she was ready to leave, her husband came, and when he saw the small amount of flour his wife had been given for the fish, became much enraged and began beating his squaw, knocking her down and stomping on her in a shameful manner. Mr. Ivie hearing the fighting came to the rescue of the woman.
A fight ensued between Mr. Ivie and the Indian, during the tussle the Indian grabbed a gun standing against the wall, they fought for possession of it, the gun was broken in two, the Indian getting the stock part, and Ivie the barrel, with which he hit the Indian over the head, resulting in his death a little later. This caused great excitement in the Indian Camp, causing open warfare to break out in the territory, it spread to Payson, Summit Creek, now named Santaquin, Spanish Fork and south to Juab, Millard, San Pete, and Iron Counties. Fighting would break out first one place and then another. The Indians stealing cattle and horses, keeping the settlers jittery and constantly on the alert. It was a great relief, when a peace treaty was finally made with Chief Walker, who died shortly after, in the year 1855.
Soon after this they moved from Pleasant Grove to Kaysville, Utah, they were there but a short time, moving from that place to Ogden, Utah, and from here they were called to Ft Hamilton, later named Mt. Pleasant, Utah, located about one hundred and ten miles to the south of Salt Lake City. It would appear that they were considered desirable people to help promote the advancement of new settlements. All this moving about was no doubt a disadvantage to them. In those days the old proved “That a rolling stone gathers no Moss” I believe was probably truer than it is today.
Regardless of the past, Martin along with some other men was called on to try and settle Circleville, located on the Sevier River, in the Southern part of the state. The effort resulted in a complete failure, due to the large population of Indians in that locality, and their warring attitude toward the whites. The men were forced to evacuate the place and move back to Ft Hamilton, about one hundred miles to the North. As stated about this place was now changed to Mt Pleasant, and they decided to make it their home, however; Martin who was not married, did move to Chester Utah, located a few miles south and west of Mt Pleasant for a short time, and from there to Indianola, Utah, some eighteen miles north of Mt Pleasant, where they farmed and had a small herd of sheep. Again they moved back to Mt Pleasant, this time to make that place their permanent home. When they first lived at this place it was inside a high rock wall fort, built to protect them from hostile Indian attacks. At that time Martin served in the Military, they called them Minute Men, account of their being subject to service twenty four a day to repulse Indians attacking settlers or stealing their live stock. Here Martin discontinued farming and gave all his attention to the sheep business, at which he was very successful. I want to digress here a little to say that they, Martin and his wife were not at all happy with their Chester residence, I want to tell you all about his wife, and who she was, after I finish with the Chester, Indianola, and Black Hawk was episodes. At this time the church sanctioned plural marriages, Martin was young, and while living in Chester, was somewhat interested in taking a second wife, a woman who lived in Mt Pleasant, so when he went there on business or to see this gal, he naturally would be a little late getting home, his poor wife frightened of the Indians, would use part of the furniture to brace the door just in case of an unwelcome caller, but don’t think he didn’t get a much deserved scotch blessing when this happened. On one of his trips, one of the children was with him, and before starting for home, made a call on his young lady friend, a prospective second wife, and gave her a good-by kiss before leaving, the youngster happened to see this through the window, and reported it to his mother, that capped the climax, and she really told him off. She was against polygamy in their family, because she knew that her husband as in no position to support another family. After a big quarrel during which she made it plain and certain, if he married another woman, she would leave him, so Martin listened and yielded to her demand, and never did engage in polygamy.
At Indianola they farmed and raised a herd of sheep, There were a great many Indians in this little valley, they lived in what was called wickeyups, they were small straight poled some twelve feet in height, set in a small circle and covered with skins or other material, quite large with skins or other material, quite large at the bottom, coming to a gradual peak at the top, with a flap door of the same material, their fire in cold weather would be in the center, they kept out the sun and storm, but of course were very uncomfortable, especially during winter. This tribe was not very hostile, they were good beggars, they made regular calls on the whites, asking them for almost everything visible, or that they wanted to eat, if they didn’t get it, if the husband was away, would try frightening the wife and children. These Indians liked to get drunk on Jamaican Ginger, when they could get it at the town store, they would ride around the house of settlers, acting smart and yelling, frightening women and children. It didn’t take the towns people long to ban the sale of this commodity to the Red Skins. My mother was always worried about any of the boys who happened to be herding the sheep in the mountains east of the town, she did not trust Indians, and always realizing their savage nature might tempt them to do something desperate. The boys watching the sheep had made a beautiful camp high up in the Aspen groves, setting up forked posts, they had taken the bark from some of these trees and thus piped water from a cold water spring, right down to the tent. There was plenty of fish in the streams, and even the irrigating streams seemed to be loaEdit Postsded with small ones.
Now the Family again moved back to Mt Pleasant, their favorite town sometimes called the Queen City of Sanpete County. This place was growing quite rapidly; there were better schools and more advantages for the children, improved social and entertainment conditions for all. Martin’s aged mother also had a home here, and his two sisters were married, one lived at Indianola and the other on a farm between Mt Pleasant and Fairview.
Here I would like to give you a little more detailed statement about this place they had picked for their future home, and raised their family.
The place was first settled by the Mormons in about 1852, it was named Ft. Hamilton, in honor of the commander of the colonists, Mr. Madison D. Hamilton. Not long after their arrival, the Indians attacked, drove the population away, and burned up what they had started, and also confiscated part of their live stock. A short time after this defeat, another company was called to try and effect settlement. It was a perfect sight for a city, the geographical location was ideal; adding to this was amply supply of water for culinary, irrigation, and power, coming from snow and springs in the high Mountains east of the city. The main canyon directly east they named after the town, Pleasant Creek, it had five large feeder forks, which made a very large creek of pure clean sparkling water. In addition to this there were three other canyons, all of which had good sized streams flowing into this location, these they named Twin Creek, North Creek and Cedar Creek. Then as now, water is one of the cities greatest assets.
The elevation here is about six thousand feet; hence the winters were quite cold and severe, snow sometimes falling to a depth of two or more feet in the city. At first they suffered from a shortage of food, supplemented by continues Indian uprisings, was naturally somewhat discouraging. However the brave men and noble women were not entirely unaccustomed to such conditions, therefore they entered upon their duties with a determination to succeed and they did, even though the Red Skins continued to question their rights to the settlement, streams and farms, making the place a sort of battle ground for several years.
The Indian Chiefs name was Black Hawk therefore this was has always been known as the Black Hawk Indian War. The Saints organized a militia and called it “Minute Men” because they were subject to military duty twenty for hours a day to defend the inhabitants and their belongings from their enemies.
Martin belonged to this company, taking part taking his part in all of those battles. I will write a little about some of these engagements that my father told me about. One of these occurred when the Utes, (That was the name of the Indian tribe) attempted to steal the Ephraim cow herd, (Ephraim being about fifteen miles south, had sent them an urgent call for help). The Utes had been successful in repulsing the Ephraim guard, and was making off with the cattle, it having taken them sometime to round them up from the various fields and pastures, when the Mt Pleasant Minute men arrived. They forced the Indians to abandon the herd, chasing them eastward toward the mountains, they had killed one man and two women, who were near where the roundup was going on, in their retreat they encountered a man and his wife in their wagon, who seeing their danger got out of the wagon seat just as a Red Skin sent a bullet through it, where the woman had been sitting. Further up the canyon the Indians met another man, who they shot to death, cut off his beard and shoved it into his mouth, also killed four others men they found working in the canyon, and shot a young lady nearer the town, filling her body with spiked arrows, further up on the mountain they shot a man through the breast, took his ax and cut off his head. In a battle on the west side of the valley, the Minute Men surrounded one of their camps during the night, in the morning when they seen what had happened, surrendered all except one who tried to escape, but was shot through the head. One of the men said he never seen blood as black as run out of this Indian.
There were many of such narratives, the Indians making sneak attacks, stealing cattle, horses and other things, keeping the men on guard around the clock, it finally came to an end in 1873, when General Morrow made a treaty with the Utes, and peace was restored. It was a day of celebrating for this patient long suffering people
While Martin’s mother, my Grandmother was a divorcee, she never had remarried. Her oldest girl Elsie Ann married Edward Dally, they lived in Indianola, and raised a big family of boys and girls, and I remember Patience, Mary, Delilah, Uriah, and Levi. The father had palsy, and the family on account of his disability to work, had a hard time of it. The Younger girl Elmira, married Alma Allred
|William Alma Allred|
they lived on a small farm between Fairview and Mt. Pleasant, She always had the most beautiful flowers, they too had a nice family of boys, but I cannot recall any girls. I recall one named William, John, and the youngest Lafayette.
Here I should like to tell about the beautiful, young woman, my father married, and who I think, was one of the most wonderful mothers that ever lived. She was Miss Johanna Madsen, daughter of Ole and Anna Nielsen Madsen, of Sjaelland, Denmark, who were converts to the Mormon religion in their native country, and emigrated to Utah.
Martin and Johanna were married December 1860, on the sixteenth day of the month, by Bishop W.S. Seeley, who was the first Bishop of the LDS Church in Mt Pleasant. Miss Johanna with her parents and three other children, Metta Kristine, Anna Maria, and Anders, left their home in Denmark the later part of April 1856, arriving in Liverpool, England, May first, same year, and together with 761 other passengers, boarded the sail ship “Thornton” whose skipper or Captain was a man named Collins, at the Brammerley Moore Dock, Liverpool, and at 3 AM on May 4th, this ship was tugged out of the River by pilot, for the long voyage to New York City, NY, USA.
This ocean trip proved to be a long and strenuous one, as you know these old wind jammers, was slow transportation, some days putting a few miles behind you, and the next day you might drift back a little.
Before leaving England they had received a splendid blessing from the LDS Mission President, Brother F.D. Richards, which comforted them, and they said helped them to withstand the terrible sea sickness, that was especially bad when to sea was rough throughout their forty days on the ocean. Sailing from England on May 4th, arriving in New York City, June 14th, 1856. A month and ten days, what a fast liner this must have been? They said that Captain Collins was very courteous and kind to all aboard during the voyage, he told them that he wouldn’t wish for a finer lot of passengers.
President John Taylor welcomed them at Caste Gardens, New York, and the New York papers praised them for their good appearance and the demeanor of the entire group. It was Tuesday June 17th, 1856, when they departed from New York City, for the long dangerous trip with their kind of preparation and equipment, across the great barren wastes, through and over the top of the high Rocky Mountains. They went via train to Chicago, via Toledo, Ohio. They said that the railroad people as far as Toledo and at Toledo were not what you would call friendly, and at Chicago, where they arrived June 23rd, they unloaded them in the street, some of them sensing their unbecoming mistake, offered them an empty warehouse for their accommodation, until they could get ready to leave Chicago, Ill. Here they encountered some difficulty in being able to get the necessary equipment and provision for the western trip. This band of Mormon Emigrants from foreign lands was a part of many, who comprised what is known as “The Mormon Hand Cart Company.”
I am certain that none of them realized to any extent, the suffering in store for them in attempting this journey across the Great Plains to Salt Lake City.
The Captain of this group was Mr. James G. Willie.
They were determined in their purpose, they had a testimony and knew that their religion was true, and they knew the value of sincerity, that I think was best expressed by Joyce Mathew. “Sincerity, she says, is the highest form of persuasion, since it does not seek to influence, except by honest conviction openly express in example. A man who is sincere will go far, even if he is convinced of an evil thing, and proceeds in the wrong direction, and such a one should he change his course, will be as open in admitting his former mistake, as zealous in the pursuit of better objectives. Saul of Tarsus, persecutor of Christians, who become the great Apostle of Christianity, is the classic example. No man’s life can fail of effect if he believes in himself, and in the worth of his cause, but he must qualify both counts, to be held sincere. One who thinks well of himself, but seeks to mislead his neighbor, is not laying a foundation of friendship. His duplicity will reveal itself at some point, and destroy the possibility of future trust, but the humblest human being, if he is sincere, will win others to his cause, and so to support himself. The sincerity of Missionaries is seldom doubted, since they endure without complaining exile and hardship, and serve others with no discernible prospects of personal gain. We are all missionaries, whether we proselyte for art, for government, for learning, or simply for humanity. The artist in the field is among the first to learn the value of sincerity, the laws which govern painting, music, literature, and absolute, even imagination must serve them, for unless the basic structure is sound, all that gives it color and grace will go down with the faulty armature. When Thornton Wyler said, “Beauty is the highest persuasion: He was in no way denying the basic tenet of sincerity. They are sincere who examine their thoughts, and cast out what does not subscribe to purity of motive, such an attitude, cultivated, will soon become habitual. It will grow strong, not to a point of rigidity, but to a sweet persuasiveness. It is to be held aloft like a light, and reveal the true way, open to all. And so this was their way of thinking, they were sincere in their way of thinking, their purpose, the religion that they had embraced in their native lands. They knew that if they died in an attempt to accomplish their purpose, they would be rewarded with Eternal Life, which is the richest blessing the Lord can bestow upon you; all the riches of this world cannot equal such an endowment.
They were soon on their way from Chicago, hurrying all possible, to avoid being caught in the Rocky Mountains before cold weather set in, not ever dreaming then, that they were to be disappointed.
These people were unaccustomed to hardships such as they had to stand on this trek across the barren waste lands of this new unsettled country, harassed by hostile Indians, herds of wild buffalo, poor roads, faulty unsatisfactory man powered equipment. They ran out of provisions, and there was great distress and suffering. Their Hand Carts were strung out along the trail for three or four miles, old men tugging and pulling their carts, over terrible slick muddy roads. You could see some of them pulling a sick wife or children, or a wife pulling her sick husband. Little children struggling through the mud and snow, when night came, mud would freeze on their clothing and shoes, which they kept on to protect them from the cold. There was two or three hundred of them that all needed help at about the same time. What were they to do? There was only one answer, keep going. The wood or brush that grew along the route, didn’t have much heat in it, certainly no lasting heat, they were face to face with malnutrition, and I have been told that in some cases they were forced to make soup from the hides of cattle or buffaloes, adding what flour they could spare to thicken a little and improve the taste, one teaspoonful to the person was about the size of it. Some died; when they did they were buried as they were dressed, by the side of the trail. As the weather her grew colder and the snow deeper, they waded through it, making but a few miles each day. At night they scraped the snow off the ground, and made their beds under the stars or the snow flakes. Finally they become so week and exhausted, they had to leave some of their bedding or other belongings, not having the strength to pull it, so now they were forced to continue the journey facing the cold cutting winds with less of their much needed belongings.
Most of this Hand Cart outfit was composed principally of people from Great Britain and Scandinavia, their actual starting point with the Hand Carts was Iowa City, Ia, the delay getting carts and other equipment until sometime in July, certainly did prove disastrous to them on the last leg of the trip. They passed through Florence, Nebraska, August 19th, Fort Laramie, Wyoming, September 30th, still about five hundred miles from their destination. From this point west is where they encountered the roughest part of the journey, heavy mountain grades, more snow, colder piercing winds, improperly clad, scanty rations, brought no end of suffering, evidenced by the fact that the company consisted of some four to five hundred souls, seventy seven of them perished enroute, included in these was my mother’s father whom they buried in a shallow grave at the side of the road.
President Brigham Young, hearing of the plight of this and the Martin Hand Cart Company which was following them, from returning missionaries who had passed them on the road, sent out a rescue party, Joseph Young and Stephen Taylor was sent ahead of the party to inform these weary stricken that relief was on the way. As they approached the Hand Cart train there was great rejoicing, they hailed these men as angels of mercy. One member of the company John Chislett said “More welcome messengers never came from the courts of glory than these young men were to us!” They reached Devils Gate, a little east of Ogden, about November first, where the rescue party met them and escorted the company to Salt Lake City, arriving at that place, their destination on November 9th, 1856.
Now that my mother’s family minus their loving husband and father Old Madsen had arrived at their destination, they were both happy and sad, happy that they had escaped with their own lives, but very, very sad because of the loss of their father. Grief stricken because of this and the terrible ordeal they had gone through, remembering having seen their exhausted and sick father pushing a Hand Cart with his young son Anders strapped on top of the loaded Hand Cart, and remembering how he wrapped a blanket around himself the last night of his life, and lay down to try and get some much needed rest and sleep, so that he might continue the trip the next day, but he was dead when they tried to awaken him the next morning. With the help of some of their friends, a shallow grave was scraped out in a wash to the side of the road, and his dead body covered with as much dirt as they were able to scrap up off the frozen ground. The mother Anna was 46. Johann 16. Metta Kristine 13. Anna Marie 10 and Anders 6. Now they had landed here with practically nothing except what they had on. None of them could speak the English Language, which way should they turn? What were they to do? Some of the Mormons must have come to their rescue, maybe the Relief Society but there is no record of this. After resting the Mother and her two younger children decided they would go to a small town in the central part of the state called Ephraim, where a considerable number of the population were Danish, here she managed with the assistance of these good people, careful planning and work, to take care of herself and children, Johanna and Kirstine remained in Salt Lake City for a short time, where they had found temporary employment, but soon departing for Ephraim to join the rest of the family.
This was quite a risky and exciting trip for these two young ladies, account of no transportation facilities, their only recourse was to walk some hundred and twenty-five miles.
They made the trip going via Provo, Payson, Mona, Nephi up Salt Creek Canyon, through Fountain Green, Moroni, Chester, on to Ephraim, it was a rough unimproved road, through thinly populated territory, the Indians were hostile, and they certainly took a big chance of being captured, especially in the territory between Payson and Ephraim. Their prayers must have been answered as they made the trip without incident, except when they came to the ford of the San Pitch River, that was a good sized stream in those days, again they were fortunate in finding a man at the Ford, who very kindly helped them across by allowing them to ride on his cows back, how they managed to stay on I’ll never know, however they arrived Ok, and found their mother feeling somewhat better, but still having a struggle to take care of her family. Later they moved to Mt Pleasant, about fifteen miles north of Ephraim, where they seemed to get along better, financially and otherwise. They were intelligent nice looking people, and in due course were all married except the mother who died without remarrying, Johanna my mother as well as the others learned to speak the English Language in a very short time. As stated my Mother Johanna, married Martin Aldrich, and to them was born eight children, Mary who died while a baby. Amasa, born March 16th, 1863. He was educated in the public schools, attended and graduated from the University of Utah. He full filled an honorable mission for the LDS church in New Zealand. He taught school in the public school at Mt Pleasant, later entered the general merchandise business at the same place, with another man named Erastus Kofford; he also served sometime as postmaster there, and filled a term as County Recorder of Sanpete County at Manti, Utah. He married Mary Jolly, of Moroni, they built a very beautiful home at Mt Pleasant, Mary had beautiful black hair and eyes, and I thought she was one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen. To Amasa and Mary were born two lovely daughters, Rowenna and Liberty Virginia, who passed away while a baby. While Amasa was Postmaster, a large new flour mill was constructed a half block from their new home, it was steam operated, the engineer was Bruce Dallin, he was good looking, but did not compare in any other way with Amasa, Mary fell for him, and so a divorce was given her, thus breaking up this once happy home. Rowena was married to some California man and moved to Los Angeles, that’s the last I ever heard of her. Amasa remarried to Vilate Maxfield of Spring City, they had a nice home in Mt Pleasant, and also lived at Gunnison for a short time where he was in the General Merchandise business, which he loved and was successful, he was also joint owner of the Progress Merc Co, in Mt Pleasant, later moving to Salt Lake City, where he and Vilate lived until they died, He worked for the telephone company and others while they lived in Salt Lake. To him and Vilate were born two children, Melba married a man named Shafer, as nearly as I can recall his name, he passed away soon after, she later married and moved to Oklahoma, that was the last I heard of her. Amasa Maxfield Aldrich the boy, did not follow very closely to his fine parents good home training, drank some, got married once didn’t know it, that was dissolved, later he married a fine young widow from Vernal or some other eastern Utah town. They still live here at this writing, but I am not familiar with their family, he is stone deaf, don’t seem to care to exchange visits and of course hard to talk to.
Alanson the second son of Martin and Johanna was born to the best of my knowledge in Mt Pleasant, December 18th, 1866. He received only a public school education was interested and successful at farming and live stock grower. He owned three good farms, and had a herd of cattle and sheep.
I believe that if the woman he married had of given him the encouragement and cooperation she should have done, they would have been a very wealthy family, to me, and she always seemed a little too interested in the opposite sex. They got rid of what they had and moved to Sunnyside where he worked in the mine and done other jobs connected with this industry.
He was married to Miss Elizabeth Barton of Mt Pleasant, a daughter of Oscar and Emeline Barton. To them was born two very fine daughters, Arba and Zada, they both were married, but I don’t know their husbands names. Elizabeth died quite young, I think from an operation at the LDS Hospital here. Alanson did not remarry, lived the later part of his life with his mother in Mt Pleasant, I don’t know how to get in contact with his daughters, I think he died from diabetes, but do not know the date of his demise.
Leonora the first girl was born in Mt Pleasant on December 18th, 1869. She also received a common education in the schools at Mt Pleasant, she wanted to be a house wife and mother, was always interested in domestic work. She worked in Salt Lake City as a domestic during her teen age. She had a lot of admirers, on December 17th ______, married a carpenter named Albert Rosenlof, they had a wonderful home wedding, receiving dozens of beautiful presents, some of them she has in her home today. They had a lovely home in Mt Pleasant, where they made their home in Mt Pleasant, where they made their home for a number of years, later moving to Salt Lake City, and about retirement age moved to Bountiful, entering into the poultry business, this did not prove to be satisfactory, so they changed their poultry houses into hot houses and have been successful in growing flowers and various kinds of plants for commercial use. Albert passed away but Nora as we always call her still lives there. They had two fine children, Vivian who married Rulon Hill, but did live long to enjoy her married life. The other Arvin, married Margaret Pierson of Salt Lake City, they have 2 fine children- a girl Gale and a boy Richard, they all live with Nora who has a large house, Arvin and Margret has a nice floral business and are well thought of in Bountiful.
Victoria who was born in Mt Pleasant in about 1871 or 72, she was a handsome girl, received only a public school education, worked in the town store until her marriage to Mr. Elisha Brandon of Mt Pleasant, to this couple three children were born, Vienna, LeGrande and Jessie, Vienna married Eugene Rolph, but passed away in middle age, either three or four children was born to this union. LeGrande passed away while a small boy, Jessie married Swen Nielson, who was killed in a mine accident about 1951.
Lyman Wing Aldrich, the next child, like most of the other received a public school education, he started in the sheep business, but later sold out and purchased a part interest in the Mt Pleasant Pharmacy, and his partner Ike Maiben educated him in the drug business.
A disastrous fire that burned out several business blocks including the drug store, dissolved this merge, and Lyman entered the saloon business, in Mt Pleasant and Spring City, later he sold the saloons, and put in a line of furniture, switching later to ice cream and confectionary, he married Miss Carrie Beck, a daughter of Hans Beck, an early settler of Mt Pleasant. Several years ago he retired and built him a nice home in Mt Pleasant where he and his wife live at this writing, December 15th, 1954.
Orange M. after his grade school education, attended the Brigham Young University in Provo. He engaged in the sheep business for a while, sold out later and purchased a part interest in a general merchandise store with his brother Amasa, they dissolved, he purchased a newer and better building previously known as the San Pete Coop, now owned by himself at this writing he has been very successful, is well liked by the people, also served a term as Bishop of the North-ward for the LDS Church. He married Sena Monsen, they had a family of six children, Muerel, Ray, Edith, Clair, Mary and Marian, all living at this writing except Mary who died a few years ago, her grave is in the Mt Pleasant Cemetery, where all the rest of the family are buried that have passed away so far, to date. Orange and Sena had the great pleasure of celebrating their Golden Wedding Day, Feb. 15th, 1953. Sena was taken ill and passed away in the summer of 1953. The family all being married, left Orange a lonesome man in his big home. This is December 15th, 1954 and I am informed that he has married again, I never have heard from him, so do not know who it is he married. He and Sena raised a fine family both boys and girls, giving all that would take it, a good Education, and so far as I know he can have few if any regrets.
Here I would like to digress a little, to say that the boys of the Aldrich family were a peculiar lot. None of them were ever interested in each other’s welfare, there was a lack of brotherly love, such as exists in many families, they never visited at each other’s homes, never expressed sympathy or offered help, if one of them needed it. Father Aldrich was a very generous man, and I don’t believe ever refused to help anyone in need, Mother was generous with her own family, but of course left other financial matter to Dad. He helped all the boys to get a start, except the youngest, and would have helped him also had it not been for reverses that came to him in the later part of his life.
Joseph Myron (that’s me) was the baby of the family, he was born February 19th, 1882 in Mt Pleasant, and like the others attended the public schools there, and financed himself to attend the LDS University in Salt Lake City. Took a commercial course including telegraphy.
As a boy he worked on his brother Alanson’s farm, earning $15 a month, then at the Queen City Bottling Company, where he learned to operate the machinery and make all the various kinds of drinks, he clerked in a general Merchandise store, also worked Saturday nights in a gents furnishing store while going to school in Salt Lake City.
He finished learning telegraphy and other railroad station work from Mr. Web Greene, at the Denver & Rio Grande Western R.R. station, in Mt Pleasant. He followed the railroad business for the rest of his life, starting as relief agent at Fairview, Utah, during the winter of 1902, worked at Mounds Utah, Park City, Midvale (at that time known as Bingham Junction) Ephraim, Mt Pleasant, Cuprum in Bingham Canyon, I opened this station, the first man ever to work there, it was at the mouth of the Utah Copper mine, and in the Auxiliary Yards, built to serve the big steam shovel operation, then being installed by the Utah Copper Co, one of the largest copper producing mines in the world.
Bingham, in 1906, this was the biggest station I ever worked at, it was a twelve hour day job, there was nine of us and busy every minute, the station would take in from twenty five to thirty five thousand dollars per day, and this was only a part of the revenue, as so much of our business went forward billed collect and came in prepaid. I have telegraphed at this station all day and then dispatched train on the copper belt line all night, thus making it around the clock, the Copper belt also belonged to the Rio Grande, but was a Shay Engine operation working on the steep mountain in grades serving the mines up the canyon, there was some thirty five saloons (some with moving pictures in, new at that time) with every gambling devise then in use, the population was around ten thousand, I done all the commercial and railroad telegraphing, including other clerical work. There were two ariel tramways, and we lived right in front of one of them, Nelson was a tiny baby, how he ever got any sleep I don’t know.
After a few months in Bingham, the Railroad offered me the Agency at Spring City, this was a pension compared with the strenuous job at Bingham, and it paid more. I was also agent in Salina, and the US Yards at North Salt Lake. While here I was offered the City Freight Agent position, in the Traffic Department, Judge Building, third South and Main Street in Salt Lake City. This was the top RR Office of the Rio Grande and was just what I had been waiting for. Here I worked with the finest men on the Railroad, and met all the big and little shippers in Salt Lake and surrounding towns, I remained in the traffic department until my retirement from Commercial Agent on July 1st, 1953. My office was then at 24 South Main Street.
Joseph M. was married to Mabel Nielsen of Spring City, Utah, on July 25th, 1905, in Salt Lake City, Utah. She was the youngest daughter of Mads and Ellen A. Nielson, born in Spring City April 23rd, 1894, her father was born in Denmark May 23rd, 1842.
He came to Utah with his parents, who were converts of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, arriving at Ephraim in the year 1854, where he did his part in helping to build the settlement. He crossed the plains with an ox cart company known as Captain Olsen’s Ox Train Company. He married Ellen Allred a daughter of J. T. S. Allred and Eliza B. born in Manti January 13th 1850, in a wagon box, with icicles frozen on the ceiling of the cover, she was the first white child to be born in Manti. Mads Nielsen was a Danish farmer and didn’t know much about fighting Indians, but took an active part in the Black Hawk Indian War. Like many other men, he was called upon, he and his wife Ellen, to help in the settlement of Circleville, a place in the southern part of the State. The Indians there were still very hostile, it was a tough assignment.
In the fall of 1866 they came to Salt Lake City to obtain things they needed to set up housekeeping, and farming in Circleville.
The trip was a pleasant one until they came to about three miles of their destination, where they were attacked by Indians, Mr. Nielsen had inadvertently left his rifle at Ephraim, where they visited with friends, and now had only a broken pistol for their protection, and his wife’s young brother who was making the trip with them. About ten miles this side of Circleville they had met Ellen’s sister and her husband, James Monsen, who encouraged them and gave them the impression that there was nothing to worry about, so they were proceeding with renewed hope that they would be able to reach the village without being the victims of marauding Indians. Their hopes were premature, however, for upon driving around a small hill about three miles from the town, they saw a herd of cattle being driven away by a band of Indians. Ellen was terrified and begged her husband to turn back, but he said he thought the Indians had already seen them and that by driving fast they might reach a company of men, they could see in pursuit of the Indians.
Within a few minutes however, the Indians deserted the cattle and charged toward these young people. Mads continues to urge his team at a faster pace, hoping now to reach a swamp about three quarters of a mile distant before being overtaken by the Indians. The pursuers gained rapidly and were soon upon them. One Indian leveled his rifle at Mads, who averted being shot by flourishing the broken revolver. The Indians then shot their best horse, which brought their flight to a sudden stop. Mads called to Ellen to jump from the wagon and run for the swamp, while the Indian was reloading his gun. After reloading the weapon, the Indian again pursued Mads around the wagon, who continued to flourish the broken pistol. Finally, the Indian who was afraid of being shot departed. Mads hunted for Ellen and found her submerged in water up to her neck, holding her brother in her arms so that he would not drown.