Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Not So Jolly Ending . . . But

The good news is that California, along with Utah, has a great digital newspaper archive. You can find Utah's at and California's at the less obvious url: They are a wonderful resource even when they bring bad news.

So, here it is:
BY STATE TELEGRAPH. Murder In Sierra County: Forrest City, Sierra County, October 15th.— A saloon-keeper, named John Lewis, at Alleghany, was stabbed in the right side, on the 13th inst. by a man named Frank Taylor, and died immediately. The assassin was arrested this morning, and after an examination was committed for trial.
That's from the Daily Alta California, 16 October 1867.

Checking also for burial, Find-A-Grave has a death date of 13 October, birthplace Wales, and is a few years off on his age, birth-date unknown. I couldn't find anything more on the alleged murderer - nothing on a trial or conviction. But he does show in the 1860 Census for Alleghany, Sierra Co., CA as having been born in New York in 1830. Perhaps, frontier justice of the gold country either strung him up or allowed him to disappear.

And our John with a finality to his story does not disappear. This death matches with several other records in Sierra Co., California where he appears as a miner, taxed for distilled spirits, and drafted into the Union Army to tramp around the rain forests of northern California and Oregon looking for troublesome Native Americans. Few were found.

This is going on Family Search for some finality unless someone can correct the record now or in the future. I'm very happy to be corrected.

Now the interpretive part. We're still trying to follow up on possible leads for Jane Vaughan Lewis and their son John Samuel. There's even a chance we may yet find his mother-in-law Elinor Vaughan. The leads indicate that they may have left troubled Springville, Utah due to concerns arising from frontier violence and religious disappointment.What a tragedy if John went through that after a pioneer journey and then with Civil War service, only to die on a barroom floor in a gold miner's saloon.

And that's why we do this. We want to know and we want to provide saving ordinances on behalf of the dead in sacred Temples. While the straight and narrow is valid, the Atonement of Christ is expansive to allow those who died without hope to repent, exercise faith, and receive saving ordinances by proxy to get them back on that straight and narrow. For we without them . . . .

Sacramento, California Temple - closest to the gold fields.

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