Wednesday, January 23, 2013

History of William Morrison II ~ written by Lula Morrison Barr

History of William Morrison II , Written by Lula Morrison Barr

History of William Morrison II

Pioneer of 1856

Written by Lula Morrison Barr

Camp Kimberly, County Sevier

[Daughter of William and Caroline Christina Iverson]

Retyped and edited by Trena Horne Dodge, 20 September 2008

Copy obtained from the International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers in June 2008

Note: there are discrepancies in this history from other histories and his diary


William Morrison II was born in Inveruery, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, September 7, 1820. He is the son of George Charles Morrison and Mary Ann Bruce Morrison. George Charles Morrison is the son of William Morrison I (Old Billie), a sea captain. His grandmother was a Forbes, a descendant of Lord Forbes. Mary Ann Bruce was of royal descent, tracing to Robert Bruce, King of Scotland.

William Morrison II had two sisters, Mary and Elsie, and four brothers, James, Charles II, George and Anthony. All of his brothers emigrated to Australia. Elsie married and went to New Zealand. Her husband was a McKenzie. Mary never married.

William Morrison II joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in August 1848 with his wife, Margrette Farguer Cruckshank [Margaret Farquhar Cruickshank] Morrison, whom he had married on December 22, 1843. He was baptized by Elder Thomas Bradshaw, at Woolwich. He presided over the Welling and Bromley branches of the church. He had the privilege of baptizing his brother, James, a member of the church. He had received a fine education, which enabled him to be of great service as a Latter-day Saint. He wrote some of the Millennial Star while in England.

William Morrison II and family left England for Utah in 1854. They were detained in St. Louis, Missouri until 1856. He was ordained a High Priest under the hands of Apostle Erastus Snow and was appointed a member of the Church High Council while in St. Louis. William and Margrette [Margaret] lost their two oldest children before leaving Scotland, and then endured the added sorrow of the death of their little girl, Mary, while on ship board. She was buried at sea. [Note this is a discrepancy. Another history said they were blessed, because of their faithfulness, that there were no deaths at sea.] While they were in St. Louis, they lost their two remaining sons in a cholera epidemic, also Margrette’s sister and her little son. During their stay in St. Louis, William earned a living as a ship carpenter, having had some training along that line.

The voyage to America required seven weeks. They sailed from Liverpool down the coast of Africa to strike the trade winds. While at sea, they had the misfortune of being grounded on a small island, one of the Bahamas. Here they found a friend from Scotland, who, in company with his wife, was serving as a Protestant missionary to the natives. The wife of the missionary had lived next door to William in Scotland. On arriving in America, they landed at New Orleans, and then proceeded up the Mississippi River to St. Louis.

William and Margrette left St. Louis in 1856 alone, none of their children having survived, and traveled by boat up the Mississippi to Alton, where they joined the Knute [Canute] Peterson Company and a group of L.D.S. immigrants, who had come from Denmark. They proceeded up the Missouri River to Florence and then continued their journey from there to Utah by ox team.

In the company there was a fourteen year old girl named Carolina Christina Iverson who assisted Margrette, during the journey.

William and his wife, Margrette, sometimes called Maggie, arrived in Salt Lake City on September 23, 1856, and settled in Sugar House. They left Sugar House for the south when the people abandoned their homes because of the Johnston’s Army panic. Maggie and her little son, William III, born at Sugar House, left with a man who took refugees south, and they were taken care of by the Madsen family in Fort Ephraim until William II arrived. He had been with the men who had organized to defend the people against Johnston’s Army. He had assisted in some very interesting and humorous strategy employed at this time. At Fort Ephraim, after joining Maggie once more, since both William and Maggie wished to obey the law of plural marriage, he took as his second wife, Carolina Christina [Iverson] Morrison, to whom reference was made above. He later also married Annie Maria [Anna Marie] Hansen, and became the father of twenty-seven children. Later, William moved to Mt. Pleasant when that town was settled.

In the winter of 1864, William was called by Brigham Young, through Apostle Orson Hyde, to head a party of thirty men and their families who were to organize settlements in Sevier County. He had charge of that mission for some time. Maggie and her family remained in Mt. Pleasant. Carolina Christina, the mother of the writer, together with her two oldest children, James and Amanda, located in Richfield. Maria settled at Clear Creek Canyon.

William II had some knowledge of surveying and he assisted with the survey of the City of Richfield. He named the towns of Aurora and Inverury. He was appointed President of the High Priests. He was ordained as a Patriarch under the hands of Apostle Lorenzo Snow. He served two terms as a representative in the Utah Legislature and was a member of the Constitutional Convention, held in 1872. He was the first Probate Judge in Sevier County and was elected for a second term. He filled many other positions of trust such as school teacher, postmaster, telegraph operator, and stake clerk, in a manner which commanded the confidence and blessing of his brethren and fellow citizens. He performed a good work in the St. George Temple for the living and the dead and was also permitted to receive great blessings in the Manti Temple. He was a full tithe payer and donated liberally to the building of both temples. He lived and died a Patriarch in the fullest sense of the word.

A record kept by James, one of William’s sons, says he was the first man to be menaced by the Indians at the beginning of the Black Hawk War. In the summer of 1865, he was traveling north from Richfield when he reached Christian burg, or Twelve Mile, turning off the road to camp, he saw two Indians up by the bluffs among the cedars whose actions were strange. He decided therefore to go on three miles further to a place called Nine Mile. There he saw two armed Indians. He reached back in his wagon and got his own gun, stared the Indians down, and drove on to Manti, where he stopped with Harrison Edward. He told Mr. Edward of his experiences with the Indians that night and they agreed it looked bad. The next day work came that the Indians had killed Pete Ludwickson at Twelve Mile the same day William had escaped.

Later in 1866, during another trip, William passed a wagon with one ox lying down and one standing, but no one was in sight. About a mile from the wagon, he saw a pile of loose flour and again, further on, another pile of flour, and a little further on was a man’s black hat. He thought some one had been drunk and went on his way, since he had travelled a lot on business and had seen many strange things. He later found that the Indians had attacked, killed and robbed Anthony Robinson. The man was found dead and also one ox was dead. It was the wagon which William had passed and he realized he had had another narrow escape.

I remember stories my mother told me of my father’s very generous nature in regard to material things. There was a court room episode when he gave to a visiting attorney the Navajo rug from the floor because he admired it. Court was held in mother’s bed chamber because of its comfort and beauty, created by her own hands. I am sure you will enjoy my mental picture of that room as I see it from mother’s descriptions.

The walls of the room were snow white. A beautiful Navajo rug covered the white floor, the design of the rug being gray and black, worked with Indian designs. The washed white wool in the rug matched the walls and the design stood out in beautiful relief against the white wool which had been combed smooth with wool combs until it looked like angora satin. The bed had black turned posters and the blankets on it were of white wool which had been washed, corded, spun and woven with her own hands. I have watched her do this work. The curtains were white. A mellow light from the fire place shed a brightness over the room. The beauty of the room, could it be seen now, would be a fitting tribute to a wonderful, pioneer mother!

I remember another interesting story, that of the grave yard. There my father and a friend spent a night on the underground, as it was called, to hide from the officer spies who were making life miserable for the polygamists. My father and the other gentleman took their beds to spend the night in the Richfield Cemetery, hoping for a peaceful night’s rest. All went well until shortly after midnight, when they were awakened by a terrifying thumping sound coming from the confines of a newly dug grave where something white was bobbing up and down. Of course, my father and his companion left that peaceful place without investigating. Next day, father’s old white horse was missing and it proved to have been the guilty disturber of the night before. This cured father of the underground. He left for his Clear Creek ranch and sent word to the officers that they could find him there whenever they wanted him. The officers failed to go near the ranch and mother supposed they feared fortified defense. At any rate, father was never disturbed and he lived in peace until he died.

William and Maggie were happy to have the privilege of practicing the law of plural marriage, it being a religious principle to which both were converted. It was Maggie who picked my mother as second wife and told father to get her if he could, knowing her sterling qualities. Father’s diary contains the following comment: “I deplore the practice of forcing our gentle women to go to Washington to undergo the indignities forced upon them there. I pray that my dear wives will be spared. I honor my plural wives among all my honored ladies, and I number the mothers of kings among them.”

My father was very kind to children. My one personal memory of him was his taking me in his arms and keeping mother away from me when she had gone for a switch intended for some necessary chastisement.

Mother was the first woman in Richfield after the abandonment during the Black Hawk War. The city was abandoned in the first part of April, 1867. Mother had three children at that time; James, Amanda and Alex. Mother and children went with the settlers. Father had two teams, one drawn by horses and one by oxen. They camped the first night at Gravelly Ford, on the east side of the Sevier River, fourteen miles from Richfield. Father was detailed to stand guard the first night. My brother, Jim, remembers the boys of the camp forcing the animals to swim the river, and remembers that one fat hog sank and was drowned. He was six years old at the time and saw the things he remembered from his seat in the wagon. Mother has told me that she walked, carrying Alex, and helped to drive the hogs. Jim remembers that on the third day, the party separated, and he remembers seeing the men driving pigs and also remembers the men shooing at the wild geese which circled the camp.

At the resettlement, mother told me of the Indians frightening her when she was alone. Father had gone to Sanpete for food. Mother kept the children still, four of them by this time, the youngest being Annie who was born at Mt. Pleasant. She put a stick across the door, to fool the Indians, who would not go near an empty house. One day, the baby cried when the Indians were near and they stormed in demanding food. Mother was scrubbing the floor and had no food to give them. They gave her several lashes with a whip and because she made no protest, but went on scrubbing the floor, they left, calling her a “heap brave squaw.”

Father was very fair and generous with all new settlers who came to the Sevier Valley. All of the Richfield city property was deeded to my father from the government as judge of the district and he always permitted newcomers to take their pick, when he could easily have kept the best for himself. Mother, being a thrifty Dane, remonstrated, saying they could be rich if he would only use a little wisdom, but my father replied, “We did not come here to get rich, but to serve the Lord.” This he did faithfully until the day of his dearth which occurred August 26, 1889, at Clear Creek Canyon ranch. He was buried in the Richfield Cemetery on August 28th at eleven o’clock A.M. Suitable funeral services were held. Eight high priests acted as pall bearers. The speakers were President Seegmiller, Counselors Bean and Clark, and Elders Outzen, Westman and Peterson. All spoke of the many virtues of the deceased and of his unfeigned fidelity to the cause of truth and of his having given up everything for the gospel’s sake. Elder Keeler offered the benediction.

In closing, I shall give two sentiments from William Morrison’s own hand book, written November 14, 1868, as follows - “The counties of Sanpete and Sevier, their development, may they ever excel, like their streams, let their course be onward forever,” and on November 18, 1868, as follows - “The counties of Sanpete and Sevier, like their streams, may their course be onward forever, with peace aplenty.”

Lula Morrison Barr,

Richfield, Utah

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