Monday, September 7, 2015

The Life History of my 4th Great Grandmother, Elinor Jenkins Vaughan

Elinor's possible birthplace, Stowe, Whitney-on-Wye, Herefordshire, England - just a stone's throw from Wales.
Elinor Jenkins Vaughan
Mormon Handcart Pioneer of 1856
 Born 25 December 1789, Died about 1861
©by Grant L. Vaughn, 4th Great Grandson, based on Collaborative
Research with Judy Vaughn Atwood, 3rd Great Granddaughter

December 25th is Christmas. No one ever forgets their birthday if it falls on that sacred celebration. Elinor[1] was a Christmas baby. The problem is that the year is not completely certain. At various times in her life, Elinor gave her age indicating birth as early as 1777. However, we have the record of her Christening as 7 February 1790[2] and it is most likely that she was born in 1789.

Her parents were William Jenkins and Jane Apperley. The place was Stowe [also “Stow”], Whitney, Herefordshire just across the border from Radnorshire, Wales, on the north side of the Wye River as it flows from the green Welsh hills onto the rich, broad, and green farmlands of Herefordshire.

Jenkins is a solid Welsh name while Apperley is not. Her mother Jane’s family name originated in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire and is of Anglo-Saxon origin.[3] The Jenkins name is very common on the Welsh border. We do not have much information on Elinor’s parents. However, she gave their names and her birthplace herself when she received her own LDS Temple Endowment in 1856 in Salt Lake City, Utah.[4]

 Elinor’s father, William Jenkins, was likely employed on the Stowe Farm, a part of the Whitney-Clifford Estate. Clifford is the village on the south side of the River Wye. Both estates were consolidated in ownership by the Dew Family at the time of Elinor’s birth. “Stowe Farm” is a specific structure of the tenancy of the farm and located just north of the Village of Stowe on the road to Millhalf. Stowe Village is on the main Hay to Hereford Highway, the A438, between Whitney and Winforton.[5] Stowe Farm is one of the principal places where the Hereford breed of cattle was developed in the early 19th Century by Mr. John Monkhouse.[6]

There is a building still standing in Stowe Village that is a possible site for Elinor’s birth. It is a typical farm tenant’s home of the 18th and 19th Centuries made of stone. Such buildings were known as “Two-up, Two-down” as they had two floors with two rooms on each. The ground floor had a kitchen/general living area with a room on the opposite side that could have been a parlor or more likely a bedroom. There were two bedrooms on the upper floor. This is a stand-alone structure not connected to a row of houses which was often the case in the industrial areas of Wales.[7]

Elinor had a younger sister, Catherine, christened 18 March, 1791, also in Whitney. Catherine married William Brace of nearby Clyro, across the Welsh border. They had a son, also named William, christened 28 July 1822, in Clyro.[8] Clyro is directly across the Wye from Hay-on-Wye, formerly Breconshire, now both in Powys, Wales. No other siblings are known of either family, William and Jane Jenkins’s or Catherine and William Brace’s.

Elinor’s father, William, died in July 1791 the same year her sister Catherine was born.[9] There is a blank in recorded history until Elinor’s marriage in 1810. As a widow with two young daughters, Elinor’s mother, Jane, may have done domestic work at Stowe Farm or elsewhere on the Whitney-Clifford estates. She also may have received charitable assistance from the parishes or the Dew Family, Lords of the Manors. The fact of her marriage to the illegitimate John Vaughan, an intermittent laborer and butcher of poultry, may indicate that Elinor was of low station in life. Fatherless, Elinor may also have entered domestic service or worked in the woolen or linen manufacturing of the nearby market town of Hay.[10]

Elinor married John Vaughan, christened 3 March, 1789, the illegitimate son of Hannah Vaughan[11] who also appears in the records as Joanna[12] and Johanna.[13] Hannah’s family was from Glasbury that straddles both sides of the River Wye, and both counties, Brecon and Radnor, just to the West of Hay. The Vaughans may also have had origins in Clifford, Herefordshire.[14] The wedding date was 10 December 1810, in St. Mary’s Parish, Hay.[15] The marriage was by banns meaning that it was announced in the church three successive weeks before the wedding. Both Elinor and John signed their own names indicating at least some minimal education. Witnesses to the marriage were Charles Walker and Catherine Jenkins, likely Elinor’s sister.

Elinor and John had nine known children[16]:

William was christened in Hay on December 20, 1812, and died in 1823 at age 10. He was buried at St. Mary’s, Hay.
Samuel was christened in Cusop, Herefordshire, next to Hay across the English border on 28 January 1814. His father John’s profession is indicated as butcher living at Cusop Green. Samuel married Anne Pritchard of Abergavenny. They had four children. Samuel died in approximately 1860. Two of his sons went to America in the 1860s.
Daughter Eleanor was christened in Cusop on July 5, 1816. John’s profession is listed as labourer. Daughter Eleanor married William Watkins. They had two children christened in Hay and lived in Glasbury.
Thomas was born about 1819. He married Amelia Frances Watkins in the Parish Church of Llanfoist, Monmouthshire in 1845 listing his father, John, as a butcher. Thomas and Amelia had three children. Thomas died 5 April 1850 in Llanfoist.
Catherine was christened in Hay on January 31, 1822. Her father’s profession is indicated as butcher. Catherine married John Delahay and was with her parents in Llanfoist, Monmouthshire in 1851 listed as a widow.
Son John was christened 25 February 1825 in Hay, his father listed as a butcher. He moved with his family to Llanfoist, Monmouthshire in the 1830s. He married Maranah Watkins of Penrhos, Monmouthshire in 1846 and moved with the family to Durham, England in the 1860s. He was a puddler[17] in the iron mills. John and Maranah had 11 children. In the 1870s, John left England for Pennsylvania in the United States. He married Margaret Duncan in about 1877 and had two sons. He died in 1897 and is buried in O’Hara Township, Alleghany Co., Pennsylvania. Maranah joined the LDS Church in Durham, England with two of her and John’s sons.
Jane was born 14 July and christened 22 July 1827 in Hay. Her father, John, was listed as a butcher. She married John Lewis and they had three children. Jane was baptized into the LDS Church in Llanfoist before 1849 when she and John were both received into the Tredegar LDS Branch as members. They traveled to the US on the S. Curling in 1856 and were with Jane’s mother Eleanor in the Ellsworth Handcart Co. arriving in the Salt Lake Valley September 1856. They lived temporarily in Springville, Utah where John expressed interest in mining. By September 1860, Jane married Abednego Johns/Jones in Jacks Valley, Nevada. They had two sons together. John and Jane may have separated upon arriving in Nevada with John going to the Sierras to mine. Jane died in March, 1890 and is buried in an unknown grave in Jacks Valley, Douglas Co., Nevada.
William was christened 1 October 1830 in Hay with his father listed as a butcher. He married Elizabeth Blackburn from Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire in 1848. They had seven children all born in Llanfoist, the last in 1873. William died between 1873 and 1881.
Mary Ann was born in Llanfoist, Monmouthshire in 1837. She may have died before 1851 as she does not appear with the family on that census nor did she go to America with Elinor in 1856. By Elinor’s higher age estimates, it would be unlikely that this is her child. She may have been a grandchild or a niece. However, a 1789 birth for Elinor would not be impossible for her to be a mother at age 48.
John Vaughan, Elinor’s husband, is listed in Pigot’s 1835 Directory for South Wales as a butcher at the Poultry Market in Hay.[18] The Poultry Market was not an established place but held as scheduled in Broad Street at the market town.[19] It may have been his lower status in society because of his illegitimate birth that kept him in the itinerant agricultural markets. As the market was in town, he may have lived out of the town with his family, perhaps with some farm land. There were new toll-gates and roads that charged by use. And the Market itself charged fees to vendors. The Tithe Commutation Act of 1836[20] placed a serious burden on the poor on the land because tithes, actually taxes, were no longer allowed in kind but only in cash. There was a desperate need for cash income.

Broad Street in Hay, where the Poultry Market was held. The clock tower was built after John and Elinor's time.
Also, consolidation of agricultural trusts and estates forced many poor off the land. Poor harvests, changing economies leading to a world-wide economic depression of the late 1830s added to the despair of the poor in agricultural areas. The Poor Laws placed people in Dickensian workhouses. “[T]he years 1834-45 were among the most troubled in the history of Wales.”[21] As Mary Ann Vaughan was born in 1837 in Llanfoist, Monmouthshire, that is an indication that Elinor and John moved their family south to the edge of the industrial areas for economic reasons. The Brecon Canal ran through Llanfoist along the Blorenge Mountain. On the other side to the west was Blaenavon, one of the major iron mills.

The 1841 Census shows the family in Llanfoist with children John, Jane, William, and Mary Ann still at home. Young John at age 16 is listed as an agricultural labourer. The father, John, was listed as a butcher. In 1843, a Rent Charge in lieu of Tithes was assessed along with a survey of all land in Llanfoist Parish. The Vaughans are found to be living on a small parcel in the village numbered 44 on the street called “the Cutting.” The house that appears there now is named “Chapel House” and likely dates back to the time of the Vaughans.[22]

In 1841, John Needham, a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had established branches of the church in Herefordshire and a few across the border into Monmouthshire, Wales[23]. Elder Needham did not speak Welsh and found that the Welsh in Monmouthshire were generally bilingual. One of the towns he visited was Llanfoist. On 17 December 1841 he was in Llanfoist and wrote in his journal:  “after preaching I baptized Elinor Vaun.”[24] This is our Elinor. Needham, as a native English speaker, would not necessarily know the proper spelling of Vaughan.[25] The 1841 and 1851 Censuses and the 1843 Tithing Map identify only one Vaughan Family with no other name that could be confused for them.

There is no evidence that Elinor’s Husband John was baptized into the LDS Church. The 1851 Census shows him as a drover without any clarification as to whether that was as a drover of sheep, cattle, or fowl to markets, or a drover of donkeys or ponies in the coal mines or iron mills. He died 22 May 1851 and was buried in the Llanfoist churchyard.

Other members of Elinor’s family were baptized. Needham records a “Sister Vaun” receiving baptism on 2 February 1842.[26] This is likely Jane as she would have been a teen by then and known in her own right as “Sister” rather than just as Elinor’s daughter. We know Jane was baptized at some point in Llanfoist before she and her husband, John Lewis, were received into the Tredegar Branch in 1849.[27]

Elinor appears to have been a faithful member. Elder Needham, whose feet began to suffer from the miles and miles he walked over the mountains and valleys of Monmouthshire, had those feet administered to by an another Elder and a few days later on 16 August 1842[28]  Sister “Vaun” washed those feet as one would who considered those feet “beautiful upon the mountains.”[29] This was a tender mercy reminiscent of the service of the Savior to His apostles yet was not considered any part of any sacred ordinance at that time and place.

There is no indication that any of Elinor’s sons were baptized in the LDS Church. Some of them had trouble with the law. In Hay, Samuel Vaughan was involved in a pugilistic incident in 1833 in which the other man died. Samuel was tried for manslaughter but the local jury refused to convict contrary to the Judge’s instructions.[30] In 1853 in Llanfoist, the papers report an incident of John and William Vaughan guilty of assault while drunk and disorderly. They made the mistake of knocking off a constable’s hat which landed them before the Magistrates for a ten pound fine and costs.[31]

There were other individuals and families in Llanfoist and neighboring Abergavenny that joined the LDS Church. Most left to join with the church in the United States. It is understandable that Elinor may have stayed with John until his death. And then she stayed for a few more years as a widow. It was when the handcart proposal came forward for the emigration in 1856 that Elinor readied herself to go. The Monmouthshire Conference assisted and she owed a debt to the Perpetual Emigration Fund that was never repaid. John and Jane Vaughan Lewis also prepared to go with their boy John Samuel and new baby, Parley P. It appears that John Lewis also used the PEF but paid his debt as his name does not appear in PEF debt records.

It is odd that in sailing for America, Elinor and daughter Jane’s family left on different ships. It may have been because son-in-law John Lewis was a Presiding Elder in the Branches in Wales and had church assignments with his voyage. Jane and John Lewis and two sons left 19 April 1856 on the Samuel Curling.[32] Elinor, her name spelled “Eleanor” on the ship’s manifest, left March 23, 1856, on the Enoch Train. They met up again in Iowa City where Eleanor would have learned that her grandson Parley had died aboard the Samuel Curling and was buried at sea in the North Atlantic.

There was some excitement as the Enoch Train attempted to sail from Liverpool down the Mercy River. A man named Hodgett was aboard a fast, steam-powered tugboat that caught the ship with the claim that his wife had left with all his money. She returned on the tugboat with him and some of their younger children. However, two teenage daughters refused to go back with the family and sailed on to America.[33]

The Enoch Train
The Enoch Train sailed with:
[F]ive hundred and thirty-four Saints on board, under the presidency of Elders James Ferguson, Edmund Ellsworth and Daniel D. McArthur. Of the emigrating Saints nineteen were from the Swiss Mission, four from the Cape of Good Hope, two from Denmark and two from the East India Mission. The company also included the first emigrants for Utah by the P. [Perpetual] E. [Emigration] Fund in 1856 -- who were to cross the plains with handcarts. There were four hundred and thirty-one of these emigrants, and one hundred and three called 'ordinary' passengers.[34]
That passage indicates another reason that Eleanor may have waited for the Enoch Train in that it was the ship contracted for the PEF passengers and destined for handcarts:

The emigration agents found it advantageous, in 1856, to send most of the P. E. Fund Passengers via Boston, as those who passed directly through, without settling in the State of Massachusetts, were not charged the usual amount of one dollar for head money, which was required to be paid for all persons who stopped to reside in that State.

The P. E. Fund emigrants who crossed the Atlantic in the Enoch Train, were forwarded from Boston to Iowa City, via New York, for eleven dollars and fifty cents per head for adults -- those over fourteen years old; and five dollars and seventy-five cents were paid for children between the ages of four and fourteen; those under four years went free. One hundred pounds of luggage was allowed for each adult, and fifty pounds for each child over three years old. Owing to competition between the railway companies, the price for adult passengers from Boston to Iowa City was subsequently reduced to ten dollars, and children in proportion.[35]

Arriving at the port of Boston, the Immigrants were met by Elder John Taylor with refreshments, placed aboard “omnibuses” and transported to the train that took them to New York. From New York, they travelled by rail to Iowa City, Iowa.[36]

At Iowa City, handcarts were ready for only a few of the hundreds that arrived that summer which is the main reason the later companies were delayed so long. Eleanor and extended family went with the first company under Edmund Ellsworth, one of the missionaries in Wales who claimed contemporaneous inspiration with Brigham Young in Utah for the handcart venture to transport the poorer Saints of Europe.[37] Eleanor is listed on the Enoch Train passenger list with address in care of Andrew Galloway[38] who had been a missionary companion with Ellsworth when the handcart inspiration came. Galloway was the Secretary of the Ellsworth Company and kept a brief journal entry of every day’s activity.[39] As primary motivators for the handcart companies, Ellsworth and Galloway were interested in proving the feasibility of the venture and likely had some pick over the travelers who went with them.

The odd thing is Eleanor’s age is consistently listed at 78 on both the ship manifest and in the Ellsworth Handcart Company. Even with a more accurate age of 66 to 68, she would still be one of the oldest if not the oldest in the company. Thomas Ivins is listed at age 71 with birth unknown. Eleanor may have believed she was older, perhaps looked older, but was healthy enough that Ellsworth would take her and she did make it to Salt Lake City.

The first leg of the journey was from Iowa City leaving 9 June 1856 to Council Bluffs, the crossing of the Missouri and the start of the trail at Florence, Nebraska where they arrived on 8 July[40]. The company was divided into family groups or a group of individuals of usually five assigned to one handcart. The weight limit was 17 pounds per person to place in the handcart. Mary Ann Jones who later married Edmund Ellsworth as a plural wife reported in her contemporaneous journal that some wore extra clothing but the leaders were rather strict on checking for extra weight. The company was divided into shared tents, 20 to a tent. They set out from Florence on the 17th of July.

Mary Ann Jones specifically noted that:    
"One old Sister carried a teapot & calendar [colander] on her apron strings all the way to Salt Lake. Another Sister carried a hat box full of things but she died on the way."[41]
The Sister with the hatbox was Mary Mayo, age 66, who died of dysentery and was buried at the top of South Pass on 13 September 1856.[42] Not a lot is known about Mary Mayo. Even less is known about an “old Sister” who tied a colander and teapot to her apron strings. This is very likely Eleanor as even we in her own family did not discover that she was in this handcart company until just a few years ago. No one else has claimed the “old Sister” with the teapot. By whatever calculation in the confusing record left us, Eleanor was the oldest woman in that company. And she was believed to be 78 at the time![43]

The Company faced the usual challenges and adventures of a pioneer journey. On July 26th, a terrible thunderstorm struck at the crossing of the Loup Fork. Brother Henry Walker was killed by lightning. The Company successfully hunted buffalo and used buffalo chips for fuel when wood was not available. A few places even buffalo chips were in short supply. On August 25th they passed Fort Laramie. On September 3rd, they crossed the Platte for the last time to head up the Sweetwater. And on the 5th, they remained in camp due to some missing cattle and a terrible day of rain mixed with snow. On the 8th, they were at Devils Gate and on September 13, they crossed South Pass and camped at Pacific Springs. They forded the Green on the 17th, and made it to Fort Bridger on the 20th.[44]

Devils Gate on the high plains of Wyoming.
There was excitement when the Company met a group of missionaries heading to the East just past the Green River Crossing. As reported by Elder Thomas Bullock:
September 18th, while we were descending the hill to Green River, we very suddenly met Elder Edmond Ellsworth with the advance company of English Saints, over 309, with their hand-carts, trudging cheerfully up the hill; as we neared each other, the heavens and the hills resounded with the loud Hosannahs of the Saints, while the waving of hats, bonnets and handkerchiefs was a lively scene that a daguerrian artist might covet. On our asking why we had not heard from them until we saw them, we were answered, "We have out travelled every other company, not one has passed us, not a horse company, or even a solitary horseman, so we have to carry our own report; and we should have been here sooner, if our ox teams which carry the heavy dunnage, could have travelled any faster." They were very cheerful and happy.[45]
There is indication there how Ellsworth was pushing the group. There were some complaints about Ellsworth from the Piedmontese Saints in the Company, as their French and Italian language seemed to add to misunderstandings as to the availability of food, speed of travel, and who was allowed to ride in the “dunnage” wagons (that was, only the truly ill).[46]

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. [Sept.], 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.
Fom 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.[47]

Ellsworth Co. Escort into Salt Lake Valley, 26 September 1856. By Clark Kelley Price. LDS Media Library.
We don’t know what Eleanor’s reaction was at arrival. It could have been less joyous and more like that of Ann Ham Hickenlooper in the same company:
after about an Hours rest we rolled on again[.] late in the afternoon we came out of the mouth Emagraton [Emigration Canyon] on to 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.[48]
The next Sunday, President Brigham Young and others spoke of the handcart companies at the Bowery near the Temple site. Many of the recent arrivals, likely Eleanor and family as well, were present. Pres. Young said:
I think it is now proven to a certainty that men, women and children can cross the plains, from the settlements on the Missouri river to this place, on foot and draw hand-carts, loaded with a good portion of the articles needed to sustain them on the way. . . .[49]
Captain Ellsworth spoke in the same meeting, recounting a dream he had about the handcarts before instructions arrived by letter from Pres. Young. He went on to extoll the feasibility of the handcart system by the very weakness of many of the Saints who were journeying that season:
Concerning the prosperity of the first hand-cart expedition, I would like to have it understood what kind of people have been called for this season to embark in this great undertaking. A single explanation will show the difference between the people that this season came forth, and those that may emigrate another season in the same way.
Br. Franklin [Richards] was instructed to call upon the old soldiers, the halt, maimed, weak, and infirm, and not upon those who were particularly young and strong, but upon the old soldiers. [Voice. "those of 19 years standing in the church."]
This counsel called forth all the old men and women, the cripples and infirm, those that had borne the burden of sustaining the church from the first, in the old country.
With this kind of a company we came from England to Iowa city, probably a distance from this place of 1300 miles, or upwards. There was our first place of out-fit for the plains; and there I again received my appointment to lead the first company of hand-carts across the plains.[50]
Eleanor had been a member of the church for almost 15 years at this time. The first missionaries to the British Isles arrived in July 1837 which was 19 years previous matching the shout-out from the crowd.

There was much excitement about the success of these first two companies even acknowledging the challenges of handcarts made from unseasoned wood and the age and poor health of many in the companies. They must have expected the remaining handcart pioneers that season within days. The Bunker Company did soon enter the Valley on October 2nd. Only on October 4th did messengers arrive to inform that there were two more companies, Martin and Willie, still far out and likely in danger. Pres. Young began organizing rescuers. The first group left on October 7.[51]

We do not know where Eleanor went immediately upon arrival in the Valley. We do know that one of her first actions of faith and commitment was to go to the Endowment House that stood on the northwest corner of Temple Square[52] to receive her own Temple ordinances on November 15, 1856. At the Endowment House, she gave her birth as “Dec 25, 1780, Whitney, Hereford, England.” She gave her baptism date as “Dec 16, 1839” [actually 17 Dec 1841], and gave her parents’ names, “William and Jane Jenkins.” There was a D. McArthur serving in the Endowment House that day who may be Captain Daniel McArthur of the Handcart Company that caught up with Ellsworth. Sisters Elizabeth Ann Whitney and Eliza R. Snow were performing ordinances for the women.[53]

Just one week later in Great Salt Lake City on the 22nd, Eleanor received a Patriarchal Blessing from John Young. She gave the same information about her birth and parentage. The blessing has an interesting passage relating to Eleanor’s family:
Fr as much as thou art one of a family and hast listened to the voice of the spirit and of the gospel, thou shalt do much for thy progenitors, be an honor to thy kindred because thou shalt bring many of them upon mount zion for thou shalt come up there.[54]
Representing those who have researched and prepared this history, we have felt that somehow Eleanor has been involved in our discoveries and successes, particularly in the Temple ordinances that have been done among and on behalf of her descendants. She is a Matriarch in Israel according to LDS belief and practice.

The next we learn of Eleanor is on 23 March 1857 when she appeared in the President’s Office in Salt Lake City with Charles Hulet of Springville, Utah, along with another widow, Mary Lawson Kirkman, one of the survivors of the Martin Handcart Company. They appear on a list of Sealings:

No. 13       Hulet, Charles, birth: 3 Mar 1790, Lee, Berkshire Co., Mass. Sealed 23 Mar
            1857, 3 p.m. by H.C. Kimball, President's Office, Witnesses: SC Perry, DA Calder
Noah, Margaret 1, deceased, birth: 19 Apr 1791, Chester Co., Del. Died: Apr 1851, Springville, Utah Co., UT
      Jenkins, Elenor 2, birth: 25 Dec. 1789, Herefordshire, Eng.
Kirkman, Robert, deceased, birth: 1821 Breakment [Breightmet], Lancashire, Eng. Died: 11 Nov 1856 on the Plains near Devils Gate.
       Lawson, Mary, birth: 23 Feby 1822, Harwood, Lancashire, Eng.[55]

The first thing to note is that the record has 1789 as the year of Elinor’s birth. This is the best match for the contemporaneous records from Britain. Beyond this, it appears that Charles Hulet was sealed to his deceased wife, Margaret Noah, who traveled with him to Utah in 1850 and is buried in the Hulet Family plot in the Springville City Cemetery. Eleanor was likely proxy for this sealing. It also appears that Eleanor was sealed to Charles Hulet as Wife No. 2. Mary Lawson was sealed to her deceased husband Robert Kirkman and there must have been some form of a recognized marriage of Charles Hulet and Mary Kirkman as they returned to Springville and had two daughters together before Charles died in 1863. Mary raised the children of her extended families and lived until 1899. She is buried in the Hulet Family plot in Springville.[56]

Springville Histories record that local Bishop Aaron Johnson was very involved in taking in many of the poor Saints arriving from the handcart companies. This occurred with the initial three companies in the early fall of 1856 and again, when the survivors of Willie and Martin came in late November and December. Bishop Johnson’s rescue teams were slow in organizing but arrived in Salt Lake City just as the late immigrants came in with many debilitating physical conditions.[57] Many were taken to Springville for care and treatment including Mary Lawson Kirkman and her surviving children. Both of Mary’s feet were amputated due to frostbite. A cobbler fitted shoes for her with wooden peg-feet so that she could stand and walk.[58] Mary’s son recorded that whenever the handcarts appeared on Pioneer Day celebrations, she would not participate as there was “one thing she could never endure and that was the sight of a hand-cart.”[59]

Eleanor must have lived in Springville for some period of time. Her son-in-law, John Lewis, wrote a letter to Brigham Young on December 15, 1856 on behalf of himself and four other Welshmen enquiring about mining opportunities.[60] Pres. Young replied back addressing the letter to the same Welshman in Springville on 20 January 1857 encouraging them to stay in Springville as “a good place” until such opportunities for mining arose.[61]

1851 Map of Springville, Utah by Luke Gallup
Note Chas. Hulet Northwest Corner of Block 3, bottom, and A. Johnson (Bishop) Northwest Corner of Block 13.
John Lewis also was rebaptized in the Springville LDS Ward on 2 March 1857. His son John Samuel Lewis was rebaptized on 29 March 1857.[62] This was a common practice for pioneer Mormons upon arrival in a new settlement. It symbolized a new start, a new covenant, and helped to establish records that someone had a recorded baptism. There does not appear to be any rebaptism of Jane Vaughan Lewis in the Springville Ward records. And the pages for surnames beginning with T through V are missing which would likely have shown a baptism for Eleanor still under the name of Vaughan.[63]

The rebaptisms were also a part of the “Mormon Reformation” of 1856-57. President Young and other leaders believed the church members were easing off on their religious duties as they became busy in establishing their own homes and economic enterprises. A list of questions called a catechism was sent around by Ward Teachers to encourage the Saints in their faithfulness and many secular or practical instructions as well pertaining to personal health, cleanliness, and the management of cattle, etc.[64]

Mormon Leaders traveled throughout the Territory preaching fiery sermons on Reformation with a strong dose of imminent preparation for the Lord’s Second Coming and a Millennial Society. There was also a reflection of the rising tensions between Governor Brigham Young and the U.S. Government coming to a culmination in late summer, 1857, when the local militias were called out to defend the settlements against the approach of a contingent of the U.S. Army in the false starts of what became known as the Utah War.[65]

One of the Church Leaders who gave a very fiery sermon in Springville on 11 February 1857 was Orson Hyde. He preached plural marriage as a way of showing faithfulness. He reported on and encouraged men to go to Salt Lake with women to be sealed, even with multiple women at the same time.[66] This helps explain why Charles Hulet would have gone to Salt Lake with two living widows to engage in multiple marriages or sealings on March 23.

A tragic event known as the “Parrish Potter Murders” occurred in Springville within days of Eleanor’s sealing to Charles Hulet. Bishop Aaron Johnson was implicated in a plot to prevent men who had left the church from leaving Springville based on allegations of debts unpaid and a dispute over horses. One of the “apostates” and the alleged informant to the Bishop’s committee were brutally killed just outside the Springville City wall on March 15, 1857.[67] As a result, John M. Stewart, one of the Bishop’s counselors attempted to leave Springville but was not successful until 1858 taking the southern route to San Bernardino.[68] This may also have been the motivation for John Lewis and family including mother-in-law Eleanor to leave Springville and head for the mining opportunities in the Sierras on the far West side of the Great Basin.

We don’t know exactly when they left. Eleanor may have been one of the two Welsh ladies who visited with Captain Albert Tracy of Camp Floyd on 14 October 1858. If so, she would be the one described by him as somewhat portly and very interested in real tea and sugar.[69]

There were departures of Mormon dissidents all throughout the pioneer years. However, departures were very rare in 1857 as martial law became the norm as federal troops drew closer. Even in 1858 as peace was established and the Army contingent settled in at Camp Floyd across Utah Lake from Springville, Provo and the other settlements, there were few who left the Territory that year.[70]

In 1859, there was a group of Mormon dissidents who left the Mormon settlements accompanied by a military contingent from Camp Floyd. Their route was north around the Great Salt Lake all the way to the Raft River then down the Humboldt through Nevada where the Army left them at the Humboldt Sinks as the Army assignment was to proceed north to Oregon. The Nevada pioneers would cross the 40-mile stretch of desert between the Humboldt sinks the Carson sinks and follow the fresh Carson River up to the Sierras passing through Genoa and Jacks Valley which was the main route of the California Trail in that year. The Pony Express Route in 1860 also went through Genoa where it had a station then on up Jacks Valley Road and over the ridge to Carson City.

In the obituary of Jane Vaughan Lewis Johns found in the Saint’s Herald of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jane’s itinerary is given as:
Immigrated to US in 1854 [should be 1856] went to California 1856 [more likely 1857, ‘58 or even ‘59]. Lived in Jacks Valley since 1860.[71]
We know her date for immigration is off because of the contemporaneous records of the passenger list of the Samuel Curling and the journal of the Ellsworth Handcart Company placing her in Utah by 1856.[72] Something happened between her and John Lewis, and we don’t know what, but we find a John Lewis who seems to match who mined in the Sierras of California, was drafted into the Union Army in 1863, and died in a saloon house brawl in 1868[73] And on the 1860 US Federal Census for Jacks Valley, Carson County, Utah (soon to be Douglas County, Nevada Territory). We find Jane listed in the home of Abednego Johns. The clincher is her son John Samuel Lewis also appears at the right age (and carries through later censuses apparently never marrying). And the woman named “Ellen.” Is most likely our Eleanor. The Federal Census Death Schedule also lists Abednego’s first wife, Mary, having died of a “brain hemorrhage” in that year of 1860.[74] This “Ellen,” age 74, was the oldest woman in Carson Valley, Genoa, or Jacks Valley in the 1860 US Census.

The Carson Valley was a settlement of principally Mormons until silver was discovered nearby in the Comstock Lode that laid the base for Virginia City riches by 1859. With the fears of the Utah War in 1857, Brigham Young called back all the Saints in Carson Valley who left in the late summer and fall of 1857. But not all the Mormons left. Some stayed behind because of their economic interests. Some stayed because of their conflicts with Pres. Young over polygamy and other matters.[75]

In the 1862 Nevada Territory Census for Jacks Valley, Abednego, Jane, and son John all appear in Abednego’s household. There is no Ellen or Eleanor. We can only assume that she died and was buried in Jacks Valley sometime between 28 September 1860 and 30 January 1862, the dates of the two censuses.[76]

From information that has trickled down through the Johns Family, it is believed that there was a family burial plot on the Johns Ranch that became part of the Stewart Indian School Ranch lands and then was returned in trust to the Washoe Tribe. Our inquiries have been unsuccessful to date with regard to any precise grave site. It is also likely that Eleanor could have been buried at the private Winters Family cemetery in Jacks Valley, Nevada.[77]

As the Abednego Johns family, including Jane and her son John Samuel Lewis, did not join the RLDS Church until a few years after 1862, it is very likely that Eleanor died with every reason to believe that she was in good standing with the Utah Church.

There is a very tenuous hint of that in the memory of H. Van Sickles, an old settler of Carson Valley, who gave a statement to the Bancroft researchers on the settlement of the West:

In 1854 or 5 the Mormons came in goodly numbers and settled, up Jacks Carson Eagle and Washoe Valleys, and remained until 1857 or 8 when they were called back by Brigham Young, and in their haste to respond to this call, they sacrificed their property. Of course there were many who did not respond to the call, and are still here in the vallies, but they are still striving to get to Salt Lake looking upon that place as the promised land where they seem to desire to lay their bones. Once an old lady said to me that should she be able to have her bones laid in Utah she would be happy. While here in the vallies they were a hard working and prosperous people. They never litigate on any subject but settle all matters in an amicable manner and to this one idea can be attributed much of their success in life, so far as my observation goes.[78]

This is where we would like to leave Eleanor; faithful to the end with her eyes facing the gathering of her fellow Saints to the East. Her numerous descendants numbering in the hundreds to eventual thousands thank her.

Jacks Valley or Winters Family Cemetery, Jacks Valley, Douglas County, Nevada.
Courtesy of Jim Herman at Find-a-Grave.

[1] “Elinor” is the Welsh spelling of the name and what appears on the christening record. The name is also spelled “Elenor” and “Eleanor,” the spelling used in the United States. Throughout this history, the name is spelled as it appeared in the contemporaneous records.
[2] "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," FamilySearch ( : accessed 9 August 2015), Elinor Jenkins, 07 Feb 1790; citing WHITNEY,HEREFORD,ENGLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 1,040,032.
[3] (accessed, 9 August 2015)
[4] Special Collections, LDS Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah. Endowments for 15 November 1856. The endowment has the birth year of 1780. The 1857 sealing to Charles Hulet (see below) has the birth year of 1789.
[5] See brief history of Whitney-Clifford Estates and possible sources for research, Bangor University, Bangor, Wales. (accessed, 9 August 2015).
[7] (accessed, 9 August 2015) account of a visit to Stowe by the author of this history.
[8] See LDS Family Search—Family Tree, Catherine Jenkins, ID No. LDLD-871.
[9] Whitney Parish Register, LDS FHL Br. Film No. 1040032, Item 8. Also in Powys Records Office, Llandrindod Wells, Powys, Wales.
[10] See discussion of possible employment of her mother-in-law, Hannah Vaughan, at: (accessed, 9 August 2015) by this author.
[11] "Wales, Brecknockshire, Parish Registers, 1538-1912," FamilySearch ( accessed 16 August 2015), John Vaughan, 06 Mar 1789, Baptism; from "Parish Records Collection 1538-2005," database and images, findmypast ( : 2012); citing Hay, Brecknockshire, Wales, The National Archives, Kew, Surrey; LDS FHL Br Film No. 106,467
[12] Cusop Parish Register, Herefordshire. Hereford Archives, 21 March 1787; LDS FHL Br Film No. 1656407.
[13] The registers of Glasbury, Breconshire, 1660-1836 ; Transcribed by Thomas Wood, Pub. 1904 by Priv. print. for the Parish register society in London Series The Parish register society. Publications -- v. 52, p. 152.
[14] See Family of William Vaughan, Family Search ID LSSS-JDX. Son John was butcher in Clifford 1718.
[15] Parish Register, St. Mary’s, Hay, Breconshire Marriages for 1810, p. 43 (copy in FamilySearch FamilyTree)
[16] See FamilySearch and for sources on John and Elinor’s children.
[17] A puddler stirred the molten ore aiding the chemical reactions to make the iron.
[18] J. Pigot & Co., National Commercial Directory – South Wales, 1835 (London) p. 761.
[19] Information from Butcher Tom Bounds of Hay-on-Wye, Wales, in conversation with the author, 21 August 2010.
[21][21] Davies, John, A History of Wales (Allen Lane, The Penguin Press, London, 1993), p. 369.
[24] Journal of John Needham, LDS CHL Call Number: MS 25895_b0000_f0001_00164.jpg, p. 152.
[25] The Welsh form of the name was anciently spelled “Fychan” and pronounced roughly as “Vaughan” with two, distinct syllables. British English speakers today pronounce “Vaughn” with a strong diphthong, something like, “VAHoohn.” In American English, it’s more like, “Vahn.”
[26] Needham Journal, p. 164.
[27]LDS Tredegar Branch Records, British Mission, LDS CHL, LR 164 7_00042 and 7_00043.
[28] Id., p. 196.
[29] Isaiah 5:7.
[30] Glamorgan and Brecon Gazette and Merthyr Guardian (March 29, 1834); Monmouthshire Merlin, (November 9, 1833). See,
[32] Mormon Migration database, BYU,
[33] Parshall, The Sailing of the Enoch Train (2015) (accessed, 23 August 2015)
[34] Mormon Migration, A Compilation of General Voyage Notes, Liverpool to Boston, 23 March 1856 to 1 May 1856 (BYU), (accessed 23 August 2015).
[35] Id.
[36] Id.
[40] Id.
[42] Ellsworth Co. Journal
[43] Id.
[44] Id.
[45] Bullock, Thomas, "Interesting from our Missionaries on the Plains," The Mormon (15 Nov. 1856), 2.,
[46]Barker, Margaret Stalle, Reminiscences, 8, in Rebecca Cardin Hickman, "History of Susanna Goudin Cardon," item 2, in [Biographical sketches of the Cardon family, 1934-1960]; For a more measured report of Ellsworth and the Piedmontese, See Stokoe, Diane, The Mormon Waldensians (BYU Masters Thesis, 1985) Chap. 3,  p. 48, (accessed 5 September 2013).
[47]"The First Hand-Cart Companies," Deseret News [Weekly], 1 Oct. 1856, 236. (accessed 30 August 2015).
[48] Ham, Ann, Diary of Ann Ham Hickenlooper. (accessed 30 August 2015).
[49] Young, Brigham, "Remarks," Deseret News [Weekly] (8 Oct. 1856), 242-43. (accessed 31 August 2015).
[50] Ellsworth, Edmund, "Account of His Mission," Deseret News [Weekly] (8 Oct. 1856), 243. (accessed 31 August 2015).
[51] Ludlow, Daniel H., Encyclopedia of Mormonism (Macmillan Publishing Co., 1992, now BYU) p. 571. (accessed 31 August 2015)
[52] For an excellent article on the Endowment House, See, Brown, Lisle G., “’Temple Pro Tempore’: The Salt Lake City Endowment House,” Journal of Mormon History, 34/4 (Fall 2008): 1-68.
[53] Special Collections, LDS Family History Library, Endowments for 15 November 1856, Endowment House Book B, Film No. 0183404,
[54] LDS FHL, Patriarchal Blessing of Elinor Jenkins (22 November 1856).
[55] Salt Lake Temple and Endowment House Records - Sealings - Records - Living. 19 Jan 1856 - 22 Nov 1861, Vol. C, LDS FHL Special Collections Film No. 1149514, pp. 128-29.
[56] Mormon Historian Ardis E. Parshall is my source for information about sealing and marriage practices in the 1850s. There was no concept of “marriage for time” in those days and a woman would not have been sealed to more than one husband even if one was deceased. See for additional information on Charles Hulet, No. KWJ5-GG, Mary Lawson, No. KWJ4-HQ4, Robert Kirkman, No. KWJ4-HQH, and Margaret Noah, No. KWJ5-GGJ.
[57] Johnson, Don Carlos, A Brief History of Springville, Utah: From its First Settlement September 18, 1850, to the 18th Day of September, 1900, Fifty Years (Springville, Utah, 1900) p. 39.
[58]Hanks, Emma Hulet, History of the Hulets (1958) (accessed 5 September 2015).
[59] Sketch of the Life of Mary Lawson Kirkman by Her Son – John Kirkman, (Aaron Johnson Camp No. 2, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, March 13, 1930) (accessed 5 September 2015).
[60] Letter from John Lewis and four others of Springville to Brigham Young (15 December 1856),
[61] Letter from Brigham Young to John Lewis and four others of Springville (20 January 1857), LDS CHL CR1234 1_3_356. For copies of both letters, see our Family History Blog at: (accessed 5 September 2015).
[62] Springville, Utah, Ward Membership Records, LDS FHL Film No. 0,026,459, p. 189.
[63] Id.(pp. 205-206 missing).
[64] A copy of the “Reformation Catechism” specific to Springville is found in Luke W. Gallup reminiscences and diary, 1842 May-1891 March LDS CHL MS 8402 (entry for 17 December 1856). A copy of the catechism is on our Family History Blog at:
[65] See Gospel Topics, The ‘Reformation’ and Utah War in Peace and Violence among 19th-Century Latter-day Saints (accessed 5 September 2015).
[66] Luke W. Gallup reminiscences and diary, 1842 May-1891 March, LDS CHL MS 8402 (entry for 11 February 1857) p. 183. Gallup included a transcription of Elder Hyde address. (accessed 5 September 2015).
[67]The best explanations of Parrish/Potter and related events are: Parshall, Ardis E., ‘‘Pursue, Retake & Punish’: The 1857 Santa Clara Ambush, Utah Historical Quarterly 73, no. 1 (Winter 2005): 64–86.); and Aird, Polly, ‘You Nasty Apostates, Clear Out’: Reasons for Disaffection
in the Late 1850s, Journal of Mormon History: Vol. 30: Iss. 2 (Utah State University, 2004):129-208.
[68]Johnson, Don Carlos, A Brief History of Springville, Utah: From its First Settlement September 18, 1850, to the 18th Day of September, 1900, Fifty Years (Springville, Utah, 1900) p. 49
[69]Journal of Capt. Albert Tracy, Utah Historical Quarterly (Volume 13, 1945) entry for 14 October 1858 (accessed 5 September 2015).
[70] Mormon Historian Ardis E. Parshall is my source for this information.
[71] Saints Herald, Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 5 April 1890, LDS FHL Film No. 1994832
[72] See, fn. 31, 37.
[74], U.S., Federal Census Mortality Schedules Index, 1850-1880, 1860 for Jacks Valley, Carson County, Utah, Mary Evans Johns, age 40, month of death, Sep., ID# 197_16756, cause of death – brain hemorrhage.
[75]See, e.g., A Brief History of Benjamin T. Jones and Jane Williams Jones: Pioneers, 49ers, and Early Settlers of Nevada (1806-1878, 1806-1872), Welsh Mormon History, BYU, (accessed 5 September 2015).
[76] See background on censuses on
[77] Find-a-Grave, Jacks Valley Cemetery, (accessed 5 September 2015).
[78] Sickles, H. Vann, Utah Desperadoes, Appendix to Journals of Senate and Assembly, 28th Sess., Leg. State of Nevada (Carson City, 1917) Vol. III,  p. 190.'s%20Utah%20desperadoes&f=false (accessed 5 September 2015).


  1. Hi there. I stumbled across your post while looking up my own family tree and Elinor is also a 4x great grandmother of me! I'd love to get in touch and discuss further.

  2. Sorry, realised my last comment was anonymous and not on my account!

    1. Thanks, Megan! and good to hear from another distant cousin!

    2. You might want to try this other blog of mine on the Vaughans and others: Also, we have a Facebook group you might like to try:

      Sorry, links don't work in comments here. Hopefully, you can cut and paste.


Comments are welcome. Feel free to disagree as many do. You can even be passionate (in moderation). Comments that contain offensive language, too many caps, conspiracy theories, gratuitous Mormon bashing, personal attacks on others who comment, or commercial solicitations- I send to spam. This is a troll-free zone. Charity always!