|The Enoch Train, Boston|
OK. Sure. I can walk over to my file cabinet and pull out my baptism certificate. And with a split second of cogitation I can remember that I'm 56 years old. But if I was about 70(!!), walking across the plains with a handcart, a long way from home - not to mention a long way from the strange, new home I was walking to, I think I might have a harder time remembering dates with exactness. Besides, my wife just quizzed me on the date of my youngest son's baptism and I hadn't a clue even if I could eventually approximate it.
And it doesn't help that so many people were named Elinor on the Welsh border country. Jenkins and Vaughan are pretty common too. But how can it be possible that my ancestress Elinor Jenkins Vaughan, baptized on 17 December 1841 according to Elder Needham's Missionary Journal, is not the same person as the Eleanor Jenkins Vaughan who went across the ocean in 1856 and was a member of the very first handcart company to cross the plains?
On the Mormon Pioneer Overland Trail database, we have seen the lonely name of Eleanor Vaughan, pioneer of 1856. But we certainly had no expectation of ever thinking she was connected to us. But don't forget the Mormon Migration database either!
OK. Her dates are off by as much as 12 years in some places. And there was another Elinor Jenkins christened in Whitney Parish, Herefordshire, in that time-frame. But while you could slip on dates, you don't forget who your parents were. In our research, we simply connected to the wrong ones in that very small parish. (And it was an understandable, good faith mistake as a "Catherine" Jenkins was present as a witness at the 1810 wedding to John Vaughan in Hay, Breconshire, and we figured that she was likely Elinor's mother married to a John Jenkins from the same parish - I guess she could have been an aunt.)
This has to be the Elinor Jenkins from Stowe Farm! Finding her baptism in Elder Needham's journal matches exactly with our ancestress, Eleanor Vaughan, in the same place in the same Census year (1841). on the Enoch Train's manifest, the Pioneer Eleanor Vaughan of 1856, widow, in the company of no apparent family members, has her address in "England" noted as "Abersychan." A grandson of hers, son of our ancestor and her son, John Vaughan (1825-1869), was born in Abersychan and the father worked in the nearby Blaenavon Ironworks!
The passenger list notes that she was traveling by means of the Perpetual Emigration Fund. And it also notes an advance payment of 10 shillings on her account.
The Edmund Ellsworth Handcart Company was the first of its kind. It left Iowa City on June 9, 1856 and arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on September 26. It was a few weeks ahead of Martin & Willie. The Ellsworth Company had snow in September, but was already over the Continental Divide.
So, how did the handcart companies come to be? Ellsworth claimed to have a vision:
Brother A. Galloway of St. Charles, Idaho, under date of June 7, 1897, wrote: "In the latter part of May, 1855, Edmund Ellsworth (who was on a mission) and I were laboring in the Herefordshire conference. At that time we stayed at the home of Brother Powell, near to Abergavenny, Monmouthshire. Early in the morning Brother Ellsworth said, 'Brother Galloway, are you awake?' I answered, 'Yes.' Brother Ellsworth said: 'I have had a peculiar dream during the night. It has been repeated to me three separate times. Would you like me to repeat it to you?' I answered 'Yes.' He said: 'I dreamed I was at home in Salt Lake City, Utah, and went to the president's, Brigham Young's, office. I saw President Young. He said. "Why Edmund, we have just been talking about you. We are thinking of having a company of saints cross the plains with handcarts next year. We would like you to take charge of the company. Will you do it?" I said, 'If you say so, I will.' He asked me: 'What do you think of the dream?' I answered, 'Well, I think it is more than a common dream. I would write it in your journal and see what comes of it.'
"When we got to the conference house he wrote it and read it to my wife and me. About six weeks after that we were again together at the conference house. A letter was there for Brother Ellsworth from President Young. When Brother Ellsworth had read the letter, he got his journal and handed me the letter. He read from his journal what he had written and then handed me his journal to compare with the letter; they were alike word for word.
" 'Well, Brother Galloway, what do you say about crossing the plains with a handcart?' he said. I replied: 'There is a motto of a highland clan which is my answer: "What other men dare, we can do, the Lord helping us." ' Then he turned to my wife, 'Well, Sister Galloway, what do you say?' 'I will follow my husband.' 'Then I will enter your names as the first volunteers.'This may very well have occured in neighborhood of the Vaughan home. At the conclusion of the story, it says it took place at "Aberoychan, Scotland, the last of June or early July 1855." There is no Aberoychan, Scotland. There is an Abersychan, Wales "near to Abergavenny." And that is Eleanor Vaughan's home address in the same town where her son, my ancestor lived. Also, just before the mention of Abersychan on the Enoch Train's manifest as part of Eleanor's address is "A. Galloway."
The Ellsworth Company had a great welcome into the Salt Lake Valley:
Having learned that Capt. Edmund Ellsworth's company camped at the Willow Springs on the evening of the 25th inst., on the 26th Presidents Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, Lieut. Genl. D. H. Wells, and many other citizens, in carriages, and several gentlemen and ladies on horseback, with a part of Capt. H. B. Clawson's company of lancers and the brass bands under Capt. William Pitt, left the Governor's Office at 9 a.m., with the view of meeting and escorting them into the city.
Within about a mile and a half of the foot of the Little Mountain, Prest. Young ordered the party to halt until the hand carts should arrive, and with Prest. Kimball drove on to meet them. Ere long the anxiously expected train came in sight, led by Capt. Ellsworth on foot, and with two aged veterans pulling the front cart, followed by a long line of carts attended by the old, middle aged and young of both sexes.
When opposite the escorting party, a halt was called and their Captain introduced the new comers to Prests. Young and Kimball, which was followed by the joyous greeting of relatives and friends, and an unexpected treat of melons. While thus regaling, Capt. Daniel D. McArthur came up with his hand-cart company, they having traveled from the east base of the Big Mountain.
From the halt to the Public Square on 2nd West Temple street, the following order was observed, under the supervision of Capt. Clawson:Lancers; Ladies on horseback: Prest. Young's, Prest. Kimball's and Lieut. Genl. Well's carriages; the Bands; Capt. Ellsworth's and McArthur's companies; Citizens in carriages and on horseback. The line of march was scarcely taken up, before it began to be met by men, women and children on foot, on horses, and in wagons, thronging out to see and welcome the first hand-cart companies and the numbers rapidly increased until the living tide lined and thronged South Temple street.We have just one, further record of our Eleanor Vaughan. We need more research and luck or guidance to find out where she lived and where she died here in Utah. With no journal of her own, I'll let Ann Ham Hickenlooper speak for her on the arrival:
after about an Hours rest we rolled on again[.] late in the afternoon we came out ofOh, Grandma Eleanor! We didn't know!
the mouthEmagraton [Emigration Canyon] onto the Bench in full view of the City[.] my Heart sank within me and I cryd out[,] O Lord where shall I find me a Home[,] for I felt that I was a stranger in a strange land.
On 15 November 1856, Eleanor Jenkins Vaughan received her own endowment of priesthood power from on high in the Endowment House.
Do you know what the best part is? She spelled our name V-a-u-g-h-a-n.