Charles Merrell 1811-1852 / Sarah Finley 1819-1901
Charles William Merrell 1849-1900 / Mary Frances Adams 1863-1939
John Finley 1783 / Mary Bozorth 1790-1852
Jerome Jefferson Adams (1835/6-1902) / Mary Angeline Frost (1836-1919)
McCaslin Frost 1785-1874 / Peninnah Smith 1794-1869
Samuel Buchanan Frost 1810-1888 / Rebecca Foreman 1821-1857/9
Photograph of Peninnah Smith
McCaslin Frost Samuel Buchanan Frost
Sarah Finley Mary Bozorth (Sarah's mother)
Jerome Jefferson Adams and Mary Angeline Frost
Charles William Merrell 1849-1900 and Mary Frances Adams 1863-1939
Cora May Merrell 1881-1951
JEROME JEFFERSON ADAMS
Jerome Jefferson Adams, son of William J. and Jane Eastwood Adams, was born 7 February 1835 or 1836, in Columbus, Franklin, Ohio. He ran away from his relatives when he was between the ages of twelve and fourteen and started a life of autonomy. He always said his relatives were good to him, but he simply didn’t want to be dependent on them.
As a teenager he worked at various jobs to earn his living. In his later years he told his children that he had spent his boyhood in “the lake country.” At one time he kept company with a group of boys of dubious character. One night they decided to go into town for beer, and he suddenly realized that he had really been looking forward to that drink. Right then he decided not to go with that gang because he didn’t want to become a drunkard.
Jerome, sometimes referred to as J. J. on the records then kept, found work on the farm of Samuel Buchanan Frost in Fremont County, Iowa. The first time he went into the Frost home to eat, he saw sixteen-year-old Mary Angeline Frost and decided he would one day marry her. At that time he was only about eighteen years of age, and when he finally asked her to marry him the family had been snowed in for a week. Mary later said he just sat by the stove under her feet the whole week and hadn’t said a word. When he finally got up courage to propose, she decided she liked him well enough to marry him and was never sorry she told him “Yes.”
When they went to get married in January, 1854, the judge questioned his age, and Jerome was not sure of his birth year. His future father-in-law had gone with them to get married and pointed to Jerome’s full beard and told the judge that should be proof enough that he was an adult, so they were allowed to marry.
The first four of Jerome and Mary’s children were born in Fremont County, Iowa: Rebecca Jane, born on 2 October 1854 and died 1 May 1855; John Quincy, born 22 March 1856; Cora, born 27 December 1857 and died 27 August 1858; and William, born 6 September 1859 (LDS Archive Records).
In 1860 the family decided to go to California to get away from the Civil War that was fomenting. Jerome bought a new rope, intending to hang Brigham Young as they went through Utah. He told his family later that he had thought it would be a great service to mankind. When they reached Salt Lake City he heard Mormonism preached, was converted, and spent the rest of his life doing what President Young asked him to do.
Jerome and Mary lived for a while in Draper, where they were baptized. Their fifth child Martha was born in Cedar Valley, Utah, on 27 September 1861, and some months later Jerome was called to settle in Cache Valley in the northern part of Utah. Their sixth child Mary Frances was born in Richmond, Cache, Utah, on 27 August 1863, and the seventh child Jerome Jefferson, Jr., was born in Bear River, Box Elder, Utah, on 8 December 1865.
In 1867 they were called to go to the Muddy Mission in St. Thomas, Lincoln (now Clark), Nevada. There Jerome built a one-room adobe house and planted a grape vineyard. The St. Thomas LDS Branch records listed Jerome’s family in the 1868 Church Census, and gave their arrival date as November 1867. The census showed the family consisted of Jerome, his wife, and three sons and three daughters under the age of 14. The same record shows the 25 October 1868 blessing of a son Jerome, Jr. A fourth son, Foreman Eastwood Adams, was born in St. Thomas on 10 January 1870.
By that time they were practically starving due to poor soil, poor growing conditions, heat, dust, and insects. The settlers found life almost unbearable in that remote locality. Some of the land was so hard that their plows broke when they tried to till the ground. The soil in some areas contained so much alkali that nothing would grow. In other places they raised semi-tropical fruit and five crops of alfalfa per year; however, they soon discovered they had no market for the produce because of the distance from any other settlement. Some years the grasshoppers ate almost their entire crops. There were frequent sand storms which filled their irrigation ditches as fast as they could clean them out. The temperature during the summer of 1869 ranged from 115 to 125 degrees Fahrenheit; on the other hand, the temperature during the winter could fall as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
To give the family some financial relief Jerome loaded a small wagon with grapes and set out to sell them, saying he would not come back empty-handed. That left Mary and the children rather stranded when the settlement broke up later that year and the inhabitants moved away.
After 18 months of absence, Jerome found his family in Spring City, Sanpete, Utah, where they had been moved at the insistence of Jerome’s father-in-law. As he had promised, J. J. returned with clothes, furniture, and money which he had accumulated on his trip.
The family remained in Spring City for several years, during which time Hettie Millicent was born on 23 November 1872, and Georgiana “Georgia” was born on 19 March 1874. Jerome’s daughter Mary Frances told her children that her father had been called to go to Washington County, Utah, in 1874 to help with the construction of the St. George Temple (Merrell Family Papers).
Jerome engaged in freighting as well as other activities until 1876 when he was called to take his family to the Arizona Mission on the Little Colorado River. The journey to their new settlement was one of great hardships. They made the trip from Utah to Arizona between February and April during all kinds of weather. As they traveled through Circle Valley Canyon, Jerome walked each day carrying a shovel to dig the wagon wheels out of the mud and chuck holes. In other locations there was deep snow through which to travel.
The Adams family settled in Brigham City, Arizona, sometimes called Ballinger’s Camp after the leader of their company. Their last child Wilford Woodruff Adams was born there on 11 December 1879. They lived in a closely-knit society in Arizona for several years.
Before the United Order was organized and their Articles of Agreement drawn up (Lake), the colonists worked unitedly to conduct their farming, sheep raising, lumber mill, grist mill, etc., in a cooperative-type operation. During construction of the dining room and large kitchen for the Order, Sunday meetings were sometimes held at the Adams’ home, as he was a counselor in the bishopric, the governing body of the settlement.
For the next few years Jerome was engaged in raising sheep and cattle as well as his other work assignments in the pioneer settlement. Late in 1881 he cooperated with brothers Charles and Edwin Whiting along with Sullivan Richardson in the purchase of what was called Brigham Fort, for $800. That was the remaining structure of Brigham City, which by that time had been abandoned by virtually all of the inhabitants (Tanner and Richards). There a ranching enterprise was conducted for a few years before the Adams family moved to Wilford, Arizona, where Jerome was the presiding elder of the local church group. He continued to pursue his livestock enterprise until 1889, when the family moved to Colonia Diaz, Chihuahua, Mexico.
Jerome took an active part in the community and church in his new-found home. Nearly everyone in Colonia Diaz called him “Grandpa Adams,” as he was quite a bit older than most of the other residents. They sought him for advice and appreciated his wisdom. He was proud to receive his Mexican citizenship from Pres. Porfirio Diaz on 28 April 1893.
Jerome was fond of music and played the bass drum in a band which took part in the celebration of all Mexican holidays in Colonia Diaz. One author wrote that he never missed a band practice though he had to ride his iron-gray horse one and a half miles to attend. Even in his advanced years he continued this activity.
He cherished his horses and took extremely good care of them, especially while he was freighting. When John W. Young was awarded a contract to construct a railroad from Deming, New Mexico, to Chihuahua City, Mexico, which would run close to all the Mormon colonies in the State of Chihuahua, a procession took place to celebrate the beginning of the venture. J. J. Adams was one of the men who paraded through town driving all the horse-drawn and mule-drawn vehicles to be used in carrying out the many aspects of the ill-fated project.
In 1895 when some additional land became available for purchase, J. J. was one of a group of Diazites who went into the cattle raising business, a return to the occupation he had formerly engaged in while living in Wilford.
Jerome was very clean in his person and with his clothing. He took pride in being a gentleman and was devoted to his family. He died peacefully in his sleep on 5 May 1902 at the age of sixty-seven, in Colonia Diaz. In the 1970s one of his great-grandsons, Robert Adams of Las Cruces, New Mexico, went to the Mexican Colonies and searched the cemetery in the ruins of the colony of Diaz until he found Jerome Jefferson Adams’ tombstone. By that time the Mexican people had destroyed most of the markers, but in a corner hidden by grass was the stone engraved with his name, death year, and a chiseled hand holding a Book of Mormon, his final testimony of the creed that governed most of his life.
History of McCaslin Frost
McCaslin Frost was the son of James and Isabella Van Dyke Frost. He was born Dec. 10, 1785 in Richland, Rockingham County, North Carolina. He was the fifth child in a family of 9 children—7 boys and 2 girls. Ezekiel, Jonas, John, James, McCaslin, Nicholas, Samuel who married Nancy Childers, Sarah, and Rachel who married Reddin Britt.
Little is known of the early life of McCaslin Frost. He was born just a few years after the Revolutionary War, and most of his life was spent under pioneer conditions in the five states of the union where he resided—North Carolina, Tennessee, Iowa, Illinois, and Utah.
McCaslin was medium, tall, and slender, blue eyed and light complected. He was humorous, kind and sympathetic and of a jovial disposition. Judging from the childhood experiences related to his grandchildren when they were small, McCaslin’s father must have owned some Negro slaves. The Negro slaves idealized McCaslin and called him “Massa,” and went to him with their troubles, sure of sympathy and understanding. But he couldn’t always resist the opportunity of playing some harmless prank on them when the occasion presented itself and was amused at some of the ridiculous situations he found them in.
The Frosts belonged to the Methodist Church, and according to tradition McCaslin’s father was English and his wife was Dutch. The family was all musical and sang many old folk songs, some of which are known to have been old English folk songs. McCaslin’s father made a violin and presented it to the first one of his boys who learned to play it. McCaslin won the violin, and many years later he gave it to one of his grandsons, who played it at many pioneer dances and entertainments after he came to Utah. All the family could sing, dance, and play. McCaslin’s oldest son, Samuel B. Frost could “fiddle,” step dance, and sing, all at the same time and still not be short of breath.
In 1809, when 23 years old, McCaslin Frost was married to Penninah Smith. She was the daughter of John and Margaret Brown Smith and was born about Feb, 1st, 1794 in Wayne County, North Carolina. There were 6 children in the Smith family. Three girls and three boys. Penninah was the fourth child, the other children were Nancy, Stephen, Jesse, and Fereba who married Mr. Clapp, a baby who died at birth, the mother died also. After the death of her mother, Penninah made her home with an aunt. When the aunt died, Penninah made her home with James Frost and his wife Isabella, who were probably old friends of her parents. She remained with the Frost home until she was about 16 years old, when she was married to their son McCaslin.
Penninah and McCaslin Frost made their home in Knox County, Tennessee, near Knoxville, the main city in the eastern part of the state. This is a mountainous region, and had been settled only a short time when they were married. They lived on a river or possibly a creek at the foot of the hill below their house was a wonderful cold spring, they built a room over this spring and used it, not only for drinking water and culinary purposes but also for the refrigeration of their dairy products. Their crocks of milk and butter and cheese were kept in excellent condition.
Here in Knox County all of their eight children were born with the exception of Samuel Buchanan, and their second child, Nancy Illinwood who were born in Wake County, North Carolina before they moved from the state. The other children were Fereba, James Williams, Martha McKinney, Mary Ann, and Margaret Elzirah.
Times were hard during that period and when their son, Sam, was a young man he went North one winter and secured work. While he was away he met some Latter-day Saint missionaries or members of that Church who converted him to Mormonism. He liked the country and the opportunity it afforded and decided to remain in that vicinity.
He was very enthusiastic over his religion and returned to his old home in Tennessee for a visit and to explain the principles of the Gospel to his father’s family. Not only was the Frost family converted to his new belief but also a number of their neighbors as well. One of their neighbors, John Bright, was ordained a Deacon by Samuel B. Frost, according to an item recorded in Bright’s Diary which is now in the possession of a grandson. John Bright’s diary also gives the itinerary of his trip from Knoxville to join the Saints, his voyage up the Mississippi River in an old boat from Tennessee to Illinois.
In Hancock, Illinois on Aug. 7, 1834, when 24 years of age, Samuel B. Frost was married to Rebecca Foreman, and ten years later was called on a mission to the state of Kentucky, being appointed in May 1844. He also did missionary work in Jefferson County, Iowa, in 1842. He was ordained an Elder in Nauvoo, Illinois, Nov. 29, 1844.
McCaslin’s other son, James William died in October 1834, when he was a lad of fourteen and five years before his death, a baby sister Mary Ann had died when she was two years old. Isabelle was married about 1835 to Wiley Jones also a native of Tennessee. Nancy was married to Archibald Kerr of Knoxville May 1833. Fereba was married in Fairfield, Iowa about 1837 to William Harrison Barger, a native of Indiana, and after his death by drowning July 23, 1858, Fereba married Rev. John E. Beatty at Sidney, Iowa, in February 1862.
McCaslin being a strong Methodist hated to break the Sabbath but he shot and killed a big turkey and had it the next day for the wedding when Martha Mc Kinney, or Patsy as she was called, was married to Harmon Oakes in the spring of 1840.
After becoming interested in Mormonism, McCaslin was eager to join the people of his faith. But it isn’t known just when he and his family left their home in Knox county and began their journey to Iowa. They went first to Memphis where McCaslin worked for a short time before beginning their voyage to Iowa and Illinois. While in Jefferson County, Iowa, McCaslin and his wife Penninah Frost joined the L. D. S. Church and were baptized by their son Samuel B. Frost. They had waited to join the Church until their son could perform the ceremony in the winter of 1840 or 1841. He also baptized other members of his family. He went to Bear Creek Branch, Illinois, during the winter and baptized his sister Martha, and several others in February, 1841 in Bear Creek. The stream was frozen over and they had to cut a hole in the ice before the baptisms could be performed.
Martha was the sixth child of McCaslin and was married in Jefferson Co., Iowa, in 1840. She was living at the home of her sister Fereba F. Barger and her parents who were living in Indian Territory left their ten-year-old daughter Margaret at home with a big dog to protect her while they attended the wedding supper at Fereba’s.
McCaslin Frost was also a resident of Hancock Co., Illinois, and both he and his wife Penninah were endowed at the Nauvoo Temple on 5 January 1846. His wife Penninah and daughter Martha were members of the Relief Society when it was first organized in 1842.
At the time of the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph and Hyrum Smith, the Patriarch, on 27 June 1844, the Frost family was living about five miles from Carthage jail, and when the word reached the people of the ruthless murder of their beloved Prophet and his brother, they could hardly believe it and sent messengers to investigate.
It was a crushing blow to the Saints, and almost more than they could endure. But they listened to those in authority, although they could have called out the Nauvoo Legion to avenge the deaths of their leaders, they allowed their enemies to go in peace, and waited for the law to punish the assassins. The Frosts could see from the doorway of their home, the smoke from other Mormon villages which were being burned by mobs. McCaslin moved his family from this home soon after this time.
Of the six of McCaslin’s children who grew to adulthood all were married and five of them came west and made their homes sometime during the westward migration. Four joined the L.D.S. Church and came to Utah. Later during the 1860's Aunt Isabelle F. Jones came to Idaho and settled for a short time in Lost River but moved later to California and settled there. She died there.
Mother Frost was very sick for some time. She died September 8th, 1869 in Richmond, Cache Co., Utah. They were living with their youngest daughter Margaret E. Rawlins and family. Father Frost remained with the Rawlins family. They moved to Lewiston, Cache Co., Utah which became the permanent home. McCaslin made violins but lost his hearing before his death so someone else tuned them for him then he could play the old tunes he knew. After about a two week illness, father Frost died 12 May 1874 at Lewiston.
Both Grandfather and Grandmother had patriarchal blessings in Alpine, Utah, 16 March 1857 by Elmer Harris.
A blessing by Elmer Harris, Patriarch, upon the head of McCaslin Frost, son of James and Isabella Frost, born December 11th, 1786 at Rockingham County, North Carolina.
Brother McCaslin I lay my hands upon your head in the name of Jesus of Nazareth and place upon you a father’s blessing. Thou art of the seed of Abraham and came down through the lineage of Ephraim therefore thou art a legal heir to the priesthood which has came down through the lineage of the fathers even unto thee. Thou art also entitled to the good things of the Earth and the fruits thereof. Thy posterity shall become numerous and thou shalt live to see thy children’s children. Thou shalt have seen many days of toil and affliction but thy evil days are drawing to a close and thy latter days shall be better than thy former. Thy days shall be lengthened out until thou art satisfied with life. The power of the highest shall rest upon you to comfort and console you in your declining years and the desires of thy heart shall be given you. Rejoice therefore in your God for he is nigh unto all who seek him diligently. Fear not but keep the commandments of God and all those blessings shall be made sure unto you together with all former blessings and by the authority of the Holy Priesthood I seal this, a father’s blessing upon thy head in the name of Jesus Christ. I seal you up unto eternal lives, even so, Amen.
SAMUEL BUCHANAN FROST
On his endowment record Samuel said he was born January 2, 1810, in Wake, Co.,
North Carolina. His father had paid poll tax in Wake County after the birth of his first two children. Samuel was the first child of his parents McCaslin and Pennina Smith Frost. The others were Nancy Ilewood [or Illenwood], Isabelle Van Dyke, Fereba, James McCaslin, Martha McKinney, Mary Ann, and Margaret Elzirah.
Before Samuel was six his parents moved to Knox County, Tennessee, a new and pioneering country, and the boy grew up knowing the weariness of toil, the joy of honest labor, and the value of home grown entertainment. Times were hard during that period and when Samuel was a young man he went north to Illinois and secured work. He liked the country and the opportunity it afforded and decided to remain there.
On the 7th of August 1834, in Hancock County, Illinois, Samuel married Rebecca Foreman. She was the youngest daughter of ,John and Hettie Horn Foreman and was born in Whit County, Tennessee, 20 [or 21] November 1920. John was a drinking man and the family had trouble over it. Hettie took Rebecca and left home in the night after John had threatened her life. John wanted to get Rebecca back even by force. Samuel married her to keep him from taking her. She was about fourteen and he was twenty-four.
Ten children were born to them, MARY ANGELINE, SARAN GEORGIANA, NANCY, WILLIAM ANDERSON, HETTIE, SAMUEL BUCHANAN JR., JAMES McCASLIN, GEORGE WASHINGTON, JOHN WESLEY AND CLAY ANN. The last three died in infancy living only months, weeks, and days [or hours] respectively on earth. The children were born in Hancock, Co., Illinois; Fremont, Co., Iowa; and one in Lincoln, Nebraska.
In Hancock County Samuel met some Mormon Missionaries and members of the Church. He was converted and was very enthusiastic over his new found faith and spent the rest of his life an ardent Latter Day Saint [sic]. His friend and son-in-law, Abram Acord, said he was baptized in 1838 in Tennessee, another source says it was Nauvoo , 19 Jan 1840. Likely it was Nauvoo, but there are things that favor the earlier date.
He immediately went back to his old home in Tennessee to visit his family and tell them of the Gospel of Christ. He converted his people and a number of the neighbors. As a result quite a community of people moved in a body to Illinois to be with the Saints. Early in the spring of 1841 Samuel went from Bear Creek, Illinois to visit his family, they cut a hole in two-foot ice and baptized his parents and part of the rest of the family. Margaret was too young, Fereba was married and away, and Isabell never did join the church because of her husband.
Samuel was ordained an Elder in Nauvoo 20 November 1841. Some time soon after he was advanced to a Seventy and appointed Second President of the Eighth Quorum of Seventy, as the Journal History of the Church for March 10, 1852, mentions that his continued absence in the East made a vacancy in the President of that Quorum.
He was serving a mission in the east, but in 1842 was in Iowa apparently doing missionary work. Three of Samuel’s married sisters and some friends from Tennessee lived in Jefferson County, Iowa. On October 3rd, 1842, Samuel wrote the following letter from there to Rebecca and his daughters in Nauvoo:
October the 3rd Jefferson Co., Iowa
Dearly Beloved and Affectionate Companion.
It is with thanksgiving that I now embrace the opportunity of dropping a line of information and I hope, that of consolation. I am in the enjoyment of good health and spirit for which I feel to thank the Lord, hoping these few lines may find you and those darling little babes enjoying the same blessings with all the friends and connections and Brethren. I have but one thing to regret particularly. That is that I did not over rule Br. Gordon so much as to hear what Brother Joseph said the day we started. If you think it something that would be profitable to me, I want you to give it in your first letter to me. I can not tell you yet where to write it.
The connections are all well and express their desires to see all of you and Fereba says she thinks she and William will make you a visit this fall. As for the others, I heard nothing of any of them coming. The subject of Wiley’s would not be much in my estimation. Isabelle seems piously disposed as usual and altogether friendly and affectionate. Mother Kerr is dead and the balance of the family is kind.
We have only preached three times by appointment, but have been busily engaged by
the fireside in preaching to all who were and are willing to hear. We were friendly and kindly received and treated in general. One exception only where we stopped to get some dinner in the round prairie at Mr. Gillum’s.
We have preached at Mr. Bealer’s eight miles from Old Thomas Smith’s; the next time at William Barger’s. On yesterday, which was Sunday, we preached on Skunk River at George Langley’s; the particulars of which Harman will tell you when he delivers the letters. We think the prospect of doing good is very flowering not withstanding persecution rages in the hearts of the people, or some of them yet. We don’t care any thing about that. We know it will deep out such as won’t stand, if they were in, therefore it rids us of trouble that’s more lasting and more fatal than its self. Under this consideration we are able to rejoice amidst all, such as we have ever met with yet.
I want you to be faithfully engaged in the discharge of your duties and pray for me, always remembering my infirmities and my want of divine aid in order to the discharge of my duty in the ministry; having left you in the hand of God and feeling that He is ever merciful to those who are under the oppression of any bereavement whatever. I therefore pray God the Eternal Father in the name of Jesus Christ His Son to keep you and preserve you from all harm and supply your wants that you may be comfortably situated, counseled, and consoled in my absence. I wish to write a few lines to the little girls.
Mary: Father wants you to be obedient to your mother’s instructions and not forget your book. You know father wants that you should be as smart as any little girl in Nauvoo, and wants you to beat them all if you can. Mother must teach you to write so that when she writes me a letter you can write you name and age and send it to me. (Turn over and then comes instructions to Sarah).
Now Sarah I want to talk to you some. I want your curly head to be engaged in trying to beat all the little girls in Nauvoo. I want mother also to teach you to write that
you may write to Father your name and age in mother’s letter. Be a good little girl. Be kind to little sister that you may set her a good example. The same is intended for you, Mary.
Rebecca, I have good news for thee, and I want your prayers in behalf of the same.
Fereba this morning proffered to believe Mormonism, and William said as much as to say the same last night to me. I can and do and will rejoice because of the blessings of God being and having been extended to us. I am glad I turned my course on my mission from East to North. Yea, I have reasons to thank the Lord for my prosperity in the ministry amongst those of my beloved friends according to the flesh. For this let the name of God be praised.
S.B. Frost to Rebecca Frost and family. Write immediately to Fairfield and I think I shall be able to get it before we leave here.
That must have been his first mission for the Journal History records that he left for a Kentucky mission on the 15th of April 1844. His call was published in Nauvoo May 15 following. He was in Kentucky when the Prophet was martyred and for some time after for his father and brothers-in-law cared for his family for him. Family tradition says he presided over a mission but does not say where or when.
Abram Acord said, also, that Samuel was a Free mason before he became a member of the church, and that he was a local District Judge and held other positions of prominence where he lived in Iowa.
By trade he was a blacksmith but engaged is successful firming in Iowa and later in Utah. On his farms he owned “fine stock horses” and was well enough off that he hired other men to do his work for him which is how his daughter Mary met her husband, Jerome J. Adams, in Fremont Co., Iowa. In 1856 Samuel owned a farm in that county at Nis[h]nabotna, sixty miles south of Council Bluffs for about fifteen years, but lived in Lincoln County, Nebraska, part of that time. At various times in his life he owned and successfully ran taverns.
Tragedy came to Samuel in 1858 [or 1857] when Rebecca died October 9th after childbirth. The baby died the day it was born September 25th, but Rebecca lived about two weeks. While she lay ill the family dog seemed to sense that death was near and in spite of everything they could do, he howled mournfully. His noise worried Rebecca, so Samuel sad and worried determined to quiet the dog and beat him until he died. Mary Adams Acord told her daughter Sadie the story and at the end Sadie said, “Why, the old devil!” The next instant she was picking herself up off the floor where her mother had slapped her saying, “I’ll have you know you are speaking of my father.”
When the Civil War broke out Samuel brought his three married daughters, Mary, Sarah, and Nancy, their husbands and children, his three smaller children and his nephew Abram Barger with the William K. McKassock company from Fremont County, Iowa, to Draper, Utah, to the home of his sister Margaret Rawlins. They arrived in early 1861 and Samuel lived with the Rawlins until he could get a house built for himself. His daughters and their families soon found homes in other communities. The Journal History records that Samuel was a Justice of the Peace in Draperville Precinct during 1862, and that he was active in church work there.
In Draper lived a young English girl, Esther Davis, who had been married as a second wife to Henry Woollacott, but Henry’s wife was unhappy over his plural marriage so Esther took her young son Albert Henry and left to make her own way. She was a daughter of William Davis and Keziah Geers. She was born April 17, 1839 in Pauntley, Three Ash, Gloucestershire, England. She joined the church with her sister and came to the United States when she was nineteen. The girls worked in Boston about two years to earn the money to come to Utah. She worked in the home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and cared for his girls. They left Boston for Utah in 1861 with Captain Horner’s Company. Esther walked most of the way so that her sister who was not well and had two small children could take her turn riding. She learned to spin, weave, and sew beautifully. She made her own clothing and took in sewing for others end made silk dresses, wagon covers or horse blankets or whatever there was to sew.
Samuel first hired her to keep house for his family which she did with credit to herself. In those early days her son Albert and Samuel’s son James McCaslin, who was fifteen, both died. James had often been called Ned.
On April 17, 1861 in Draper, Samuel and Esther were married. His daughter Hettie married soon after and went to her own home. Samuel and Esther were endowed 23 May 1870 it the Endowment House in Salt Lake. They had seven children. STEPHEN, CHAUNCY, REBECCA PENNINA, ADOLPH LESSEAU, MARGARET ELZIRA, IVEN DANZOFF, and MARION. She was a wonderful wife, mother, and pioneer woman. She died December 26, 1910 at the home of her son Adolph in Marion, Cassia, Idaho. (She is buried in the Marion Cemetery).
Soon after his second marriage Samuel moved to Spring City, Sanpete County, Utah. There he farmed extensively, owned a fine home for the times, he did carpenter [cabinet] work, blacksmithing, and even shoe repair. He took an active part in Church affairs and in community life. He was a ward teacher for many years and held every political position in the county.
During the Black Hawk War he was Captain of the Militia and served his community fearlessly and well with advantage to them and credit to himself. People who knew him said he was without fear.
In September 1886 he met with a number of his sisters, children, grandchildren, and relatives in the Logan Temple for ordinance work. He was sealed to his parents and had his first four children sealed to him on the 15th of September. The work the Frost family did at that time and the information put on record has been of untold value in a genealogical way.
Samuel was an intellectual man, cheerful in disposition, thoroughly democratic, and was always a friend to young people. All his life he loved music and singing and took an active part at parties and entertainments, playing his “fiddle” and step dancing. He used the old violin made by his grandfather, James Frost, and won by his father McCaslin Frost, for learning to use it first among James’ seven sons. Samuel was a popular Fourth of July speaker and could deliver an inspiring ovation.
Having a touch of Puritan blood in him Samuel detested puffs and frills oz women’s clothing. He said they looked like “pigs guts.” He thought they called unnecessary attention to a woman’s figure and that the Lord meant women to be plain.
In his old age he became extremely hard of hearing and gave his family perverse answers to their questions, they thought intentionally. He hated the wind and would say: “Blow! dog gone you! Don’t I hate you! Blow in a man’s ear and drive him crazy!”
Like Daniel Boone, Samuel wanted “elbow room and lots of fresh air,” and disliked living in town. When a friend persuaded him to move south to Coyote (now Antimony), Garfield County, he planned to do so, though he was seventy-eight years old. Early in the spring of 1888 he fell from a hay stack and broke several ribs which never healed and made him ill most of the time. Never the less he moved to Coyote, pioneering again on the 12th of May. He lived little more than a month.
SAMUEL BUCHANAN FROST died June 27, 1888, at Coyote on the east fork of the Sevier River where he was buried in a most beautiful graveyard. There is a background of low hills covered with timber to the west; the hundred foot wide Sevier River lined with Cottonwoods curves through the hills at their feet.
An ever increasing posterity lives after him to keep his example of sturdy faithfulness to a righteous cause living in their memory so long as his blood remains in the earth.
“Every person should be diligently engaged in that which pertains to their occupation and in this way they will gain confidence and meet the approbation of their friends and surrounding acquaintances and obtain wealth and honor” (quote from Samuel B. Frost).
The following lines are still preserved in his own writing(1947).
A composition of words I send, the feeling of my heart
to children and that Bosom Friend with whom I had to part.
The above as an introduction. Below that which is introduced.
My Bosom Friend, and children too
I wish to write and say to you
Who on that lovely, happy land
I had to give the parting hand.
You know not what my feelings were
Neither can I them all declare.
To think upon that lovely band,
Who gave to me the parting hand.
Yet duty calls me to proclaim
The gospel of Messiah’s name
And this enables me to stand
And give my friends the parting hand.
May God draw near and cheer your hearts
Whilst we are all so far apart,
But still I think in distant lands of them
To whom I gave the parting hand.
These lines I write that you might see
And whilst you read them think of me
Till again in Nauvoo stand
And give you all the meeting hand.
(Written on the back of a letter to Rebecca.)
Song Ballad of the Great Liberty Tree, by Samuel B. Frost
In a chariot of light from the regions of day
The Goddess of Liberty came.
Ten thousand celestials directed her way.
And hither conducted the dame.
A fair budding branch from the Garden of love
Where millions with millions agree
She brought in her hand as a pledge of her love
And the branch she named Liberty Tree.
The celestial Exotic stuck it deep in the ground
Like a native it flourished and bore
The fame of its fruit drew the nations all around
To search out our peaceable shore.
Unmindful of names or distinctions they came
For free men like brothers agree.
One spirit endowed, one spirit pursued.
And their temple was Liberty Tree.
Beneath this fair tree like the Patriarchs of old
Our bread in contentment we did eat,
Ne’er vexed with the troubles of silver and gold,
The cares of the grand or the great
With timber and tar we old England supplied
Supported her power o’er the sea.
Their battles we fought without gaining a cent
To the honor of Liberty Tree.
Hark! Hark! Hear ye swains, tis a tale most profane
How all the tyrannical powers Kings, Commons and Lords
United in vain to cut down this garden of ours!
From the East to the West blow the trumpet to arms
Through the land let the sound of it flee.
Yea far–yea hear unite with the cheer
In defense of our Liberty Tree.
Ye American ladies excuse us awhile
From doting your lovely charms
The fatigues of the war and the soldier in toils
We soon shall forget in your arms.
Then let us arise, our foe to chastise
Who repines at our living so free,
The laurels we reap we lay at your feet
And the soil that grew the Liberty Tree.
Died June 27, 1888, Coyote, Utah.
Frost, Samuel Buchanan (Son of McCaslin Frost and Penina Smith of Carolinas, Tennessee and Illinois and Fremont Co. Iowa). Born 2 Jan 1810, in Knox County, Tenn. Came to Utah 1861, William K. McKessack Company. Married Rebecca Foreman in Illinois (daughter of John Foreman and Hettie Horne of Carolinas). Their children: Mary md Jerome Adams; Sarah, md Valentine Acord; Nancy, md Abram Acord; William Anderson, died; Hettie, md Stephen Allred; Samuel Buchanan Jr., md Mary Patty; James McCaslin died, George Washington, died,; John Wesley, died; Clay Ann, died.
Family resided in Fremont Co., Iowa, and Spring City, Utah, after 1861.
Married Esther Davis 1863 at Draper (daughter of William and Keziah Geers Davis of Gloucestershire, Eng. pioneer in 1861, Joseph Horne Company). She was born April 24, 1839. their children: Stephen md. Sena Jensen; Chauncy, md Loneva Warner; Adolph, md. Emma Clayton; Rebecca, md Peter Nielsen; Margaret md Mortimer W. Warner; Iven, md. Sarah Brown; Marion md Elizabeth Ott.
When the Mormon Battalion was sent to Mexico he spent the night mending the men’s shoes for them. He also mended the wagons for the Saints when they left Nauvoo. He was a staunch member of the church.
Samuel knew Prophet Joseph Smith and whenever they met they wrestled. Although Samuel was five years younger than Prophet Joseph, he or no one else ever threw Prophet Joseph.
[This history obtained through the L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 84602, MSS SC 192. There was a typed copy with many spelling errors, and a handwritten copy of almost the identical history, but with very few misspellings. This text follows more closely the handwritten copy. Any additional information has been added in italics.]
Additional references about Samuel B. Frost.
Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, p 880.
Samuel Buchannan Frost (son of McCaslin Frost and Penima [sic] Smith of Carolinas, Tennessee, and Illinois and Fremont Co., Iowa). Born Jan. 2, 1810, in Knox County, Tenn. Came to Utah 1861, William K. McKessack company. Married Rebecca Forman in Illinois (daughter of John Forman and Hetta Horre [sic] of Carolinas). She came to Utah 1861 with husband. Their children: Mary, m. Jerome Adams; Sarah, m. Valentine Acord; Nancy, m. Abram Acord; William Anderson, died; Hetta, m. Stephen Allred; Samuel Buchannan, Jr., m. Mary Patty; James McCasslin, died; George Washington, died; John Wesley, died; Clay, died. Family resided Fremont Co., Iowa and Spring City, Utah, after 1861. Married Esther Davis 1863 at Salt Lake City (daughter of William and Keziah Davis of Gloucestershire, Engl., pioneers 1861, Joseph Home company). She was born April 24, 1839. Their children: Stephen, m. Sena Jensen; Chauncey, m. Lorevia Warner; Adolph; Rebecca, m. Peter Nielsen; Margaret, m. Organe Warner; Iven; Marion. Missionary to Southern States, ward teacher. Judge. Farmer and blacksmith. Died June 27, 1888, Coyote, [Garfield County], Utah.
From LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Vol 2, p. 644, for Janette Acord Hyde, granddaughter of Samuel B. Frost says:
Her mother, Nancy Frost, was a daughter of a fine scholar, who was of Virginia birth and inheritance. Samuel Buchanan Frost, (the father of Nancy) was in many ways a remarkable student and pioneer, being one of the first judges in the State of Iowa. Joining the Church he removed his family to Utah and settled in Spring City, Sanpete Co., just in time to permit little Janette to be born in Utah. [The biography above does not say Samuel was from Virginia, so other information in this little bio may also be incorrect.]
From history of Mary Frost Adams in “Young Women’s Journal” 17 (1906) p. 538.
Mary Frost Adams was born in 1836 in Hancock County, Illinois, just a few miles from Carthage. When she was about 7 years old, she moved with her father, Samuel B. Frost, to Nauvoo, where they became intimately acquainted with Joseph Smith’s family.
Alfred Young, autobiography, typescript, BYU p 26
Apparently on a mission in Tennessee in 1842 with Alfred Young, John D. Lee, and Alfonso Young.
[From Veterans born in Utah; 004236472 (51); Capt in CMMDNG Co, Utah Territory Militia, Blackhawk War, born 2 Jan 1810, Knox Co., Tennessee; died 27 Jun 1888, Coyote Utah, buried Antimony, Garfield County. Enlisted 1 May 1867, Discharged 1 Nov 1867. Also Capt Bn Adjt Sanpete Mil Dist 1 May to 1 Nov 1866.]
MARY ANGELINE FROST
Mary Angeline Frost, oldest daughter and first child of Samuel Buchanan and Rebecca Foreman Frost, was the mother of Mary Frances Adams, second wife of Charles William Merrell. Mary, as Mary Angeline was called, was born 16 March 1836 in Hancock County, Illinois.
Mary told her children in later years her first recollections as a child. Her father’s family lived in or very near Nauvoo, Illinois, and she recalled sitting on Joseph Smith’s lap or walking around the yard holding onto his hand. She said the Prophet sometimes visited her parents and borrowed their baby to take home to his wife to comfort her after she had lost an infant. Mary remembered all her life the moans and cries of Joseph’s followers when his body and that of his brother Hyrum were brought from Carthage where they were killed in 1844.
Though Mary was raised in a household of plenty, she learned to be conservative with material possessions, a habit which was advantageous to her in later life. When she was very young she cooked for her father’s hired hands and cared for her mother during her confinement after giving birth to Mary’s siblings.
On 29 January 1854 Mary was married to Jerome Jefferson Adams in Fremont County, Iowa, where they remained until after their first four children were born. They were: Rebecca Jane, born 2 October 1854; John Quincy, born 22 March 1856 in Sidney, Fremont County; Cora, born 27 December 1857 in Sidney; and William, born 6 September 1859 in Sidney. It is believed that the Adams family went west in the same company of pioneers with whom Mary’s father and siblings traveled; but apparently her husband was not a member of the church in which her father was active. Mary and Jerome intended to go on to California.
During the winter spent in the Salt Lake Valley area while trying to recover the financial stability that would permit them to continue westward, Mary’s husband worked for the Mormons. He became converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and lost his desire to go to California. He later gave his baptism date as December 1861 (Colonia Diaz Ward Records). While living in Cedar Valley, Utah County, Utah, Mary gave birth to her fifth child Martha on 27 September 1861.
In late 1861 or early 1862, Brigham Young sent the Adams family to Cache Valley to help settle that area. This is the long, fertile valley running northward from Avon (several miles south of Hyrum) on the south, continuing into southern Idaho. It received its name from early trappers who would cache their furs in the area while they went on further trapping expeditions. Mary’s sixth child and fourth daughter Mary Frances was born on 27 August 1863 in Richmond, Cache, Utah.
The family endured many hardships in that location, partly due to their poverty, but also because of the cold climate. Bedding was scarce, so during the winter Mary put her children in the foot of her bed to keep them warm at night. At one time they had nothing to eat for six weeks except boiled potatoes, and during one winter a brood sow and her litter of pigs were kept in one corner of the house to keep them from freezing.
In December 1865 Mary and her husband started on a trip to Salt Lake City in answer to a call from their church leaders. When they reached Bear River on December 8, Mary gave birth to her seventh child, Jerome, Jr., so they turned around and returned home. When they arrived there, her bedding was frozen to the wagon.
In 1867 Jerome and Mary were called by Brigham Young to go to Nevada to help settle the place then called “Muddy Mission.” As they headed south in their wagons it must have been another very difficult trip for Mary. They went by way of Spring City, Sanpete County, where her parents lived, arriving there on the evening of 24 October 1867. At ten o’clock that night Mary gave birth to their eighth child, Sarah Louisa.
After ten days the Adams family continued their move to a place that was very different from lush, green Cache Valley in which they had lived for the previous few years. The Nevada settlement was dry and dusty, extremely hot in the summer, windy, isolated from surrounding settlements, and infested with insects, snakes, and other animal life that combined with other elements to make their life nearly unbearable. While living in St. Thomas, another son, Foreman Eastwood, was born on 10 January 1870.
Soon after Mary’s husband left in 1870 to sell grapes and find some means of earning money, the settlement was disbanded and Mary and the children were moved by kind neighbors to Washington City, Washington, Utah. In that location John Quincy, fourteen years of age, found work in the cotton factory and Mary worked at whatever she could do to earn food to sustain the family. She received half of the milk from a neighbor’s cow in exchange for doing the milking. Each day she would take a bottle of milk and a stack of hotcakes to the factory for John Quincy’s lunch.
After her father heard of Mary’s situation he sent Redick Allred and his son to move the Adams family to Spring City where the Frosts lived. Mary again worked to provide for her children until her husband returned from “seeking his fortune.”
The family remained in Spring City for four or five years, during which time two more children augmented their family Hettie Millicent was born on 23 November 1872, and Georgiana “Georgia” was born 19 March 1874.
In 1876 they were called to go to the settlements being established on the Little Colorado River in northern Arizona. During that trip, their wagons were loaded so heavily that the family members were obliged to walk. Mary’s daughters (Richardson & Tenney) wrote about the experience, “I remember my mother walking many miles day after day in the rain and shine. Once we traveled all day in the snow until after dark, though my father seldom traveled after sundown. We camped at one of Little’s ranches. When we awakened in the morning the snow was so deep it covered the hubs of our wagon wheels.
“It was quite a little way to the ranch house, but someone had broken a sort of trail with the horses. When we got to the house they had a fire and Mother was cooking breakfast. They had the horses in one side of the house. The smell of the horses and the warm fire caused my sister Fan to faint.
“[Later] Pa and John took one of the wagons and Mother and some of the children, leaving three of us at the ranch with the other wagon that was left. We were very hungry. My brother went to the wagon . . . and found a small head of cabbage and a handful of dried peaches. We traveled until late that night to get to the other wagon. Before we got there we could see a little flickering light and when we reached it our little mother was sitting over the fire in the snow frying hotcakes for her hungry children.”
On another day Mary walked in advance of the wagon and was two miles ahead of the vehicle. When night came, she knew her husband would have stopped to make camp, so she walked back to the wagon to feed her nursing baby with her clothes frozen to her knees. In the meantime Jerome had made camp, built a fire, and prepared supper for the children. Sadie told of him handing her a dish of “molasses and mush,” which was the only thing they had to feed the baby until Mary could get back and nurse her. During that long trip and other migrations by wagon, Mary made the best use of the time when they stopped at watering places. She washed their clothes, bathed the children, and braided the girls’ hair in what they called a “night cap,” later called a French Plait.
When the family arrived at Ballinger’s Camp (later named Brigham City) on the Little Colorado River, Mary was “set apart” as a nurse and midwife. When she cared for a woman who had given birth, her duties included not only delivering the baby but taking the patient’s laundry home to wash and iron, cooking for the family (if she had other children) and caring for the mother during the confinement, a duration of several days.
Her early training in frugal living paid off when flour was rationed until the colony could finish constructing a grist mill. While her neighbors spent much of the night grinding wheat with a small mill or substituted boiled wheat in their diet in place of bread, Mary never ran short of flour, due to her conservative practices of long standing.
For the first two or three years in Brigham City, Mary made cheese for the neighbors as well as for her family. They brought small amounts of milk and she kept a record of the quantity brought by each one, then apportioned the finished cheese according to the amount of milk contributed.
Mary went with her husband to spend the summer of 1879 in the mountains taking charge of the dairy run by the members of the United Order (Lake) in which they participated. A daughter later told about their trip to the dairy, which necessitated camping overnight on the way. One of their daughters, Mary Frances Merrell, was living at the sawmill in the same location as the dairy, and the Adamses were going to stay with her for the summer. When it got dark and they had to make camp, they had not caught up with the mother, who had taken the baby and walked ahead of the wagon. Jerome cleared a circle of brush, built a fire to warm the ground, and made beds for the children in the soft warm dirt. The children were very much afraid of what might have happened to their mother and begged their father to drive on until they found her. He said nothing, but kept working to get their beds ready, and they stayed there overnight. The following morning the children watched on each side of the road for signs of their mother and baby brother having been eaten by some wild animal. They reached the mill and learned that she had kept walking until she reached their daughter’s place at midnight. The children were overjoyed, but hid their feelings, as it was the practice of the family to make no outward expression of their deepest emotions.
After spending the summer at the dairy, the Adams family returned to their home at Brigham City, where Mary was energetically involved in community and church activities. She taught Sunday School, and when that organization wanted to give special cards of merit, she sketched pictures on the cards, colored them with different shades of dye, and made patterns from cloth to make borders on the cards.
There were other examples of Mary’s ingenuity. During their first year in the Arizona colony, the family members were short of clothing. Mary used a tent and a wagon cover to make clothes for her husband and sons. She washed them until the fabric was beautifully white and kept them that way. From the same material she also made shoes for her children, though they lasted for only a week. When the soles wore out, she replaced that part of the shoes with more of the same fabric.
The same qualities of resourcefulness that Mary exhibited in the Arizona Mission were valuable to the Adams family after their move to Mexico. Mary practiced as a midwife in Colonia Diaz, and continued to raise her large family without complaint. Her husband passed away in 1902, leaving her alone to endure the troubled years preceding and during the Exodus.
When in late July 1912 the revolutionary army carried out a savage raid on the colony she had called home for 23 years, Mary was left homeless. She probably made the trek from Diaz, along with the other expatriates, to live in the tent city established in Hachita, New Mexico.
In early 1913 she was staying at Corner Ranch, home of her son-in-law Charles Edmund Richardson and one of his wives, Rebecca. Later on Mary stayed with others of her children, including Fannie Merrell, with whom she was living in 1915. Mary died on 18 March 1919 at age 83 at the home of her daughter Sadie (Sarah) Richardson in Thatcher, Arizona.
Mary’s daughters later recalled some of her character traits. She was fastidious in her dress and personal cleanliness throughout her life. Her daughter Sarah wrote that when she, the eighth child, was fifteen years of age her mother was often thought to be her sister. Mary had good health and enjoyed life to its fullest regardless of their economic circumstances. She was a strict disciplinarian regarding her children, but she was fair in her dealings with them whenever there was a misunderstanding or an infraction of the rules that prevailed in their family life.
If Mary could have been considered overzealous in doing her household tasks, it might have been in the laundry area that she went to the extreme. Her children wrote that on wash day she felt ashamed to hang out a small washing, so she searched through the house and got items that really did not need washing in order to have her clotheslines full. If there was mud underneath her lines, she hung out the clothes in her bare feet to avoid getting her shoes muddy. Her attitude toward hard work was that there was a certain amount of work to do and she proceeded to do it in the most rapid and painstaking manner with no complaints. Considering the disparity between the circumstances of her early years and the many hardships she endured during the extended migrations with her husband and large family, it is no wonder that Mary Angeline Frost Adams is revered by a large progeny who benefit from her legacy of stamina and sacrifice.
CHARLES MERRELL and SARAH FINLEY MERRELL
Charles Merrell was born October 13, 1811 at Cane Creek, Buncombe, North Carolina to Eli and Nancy McCrary Merrell. He would have been a boy of about eleven when he moved with his father, mother, his brothers and sisters and some of his uncles and aunts to Missouri and settled Merrellsville, Marion County, Missouri, before January 28, 1823. Little is known of his early life, for the only record found is a record of his marriage to Sarah Finley on October 12, 1834, n Marion County, Missouri, while living in Merrellsville. Charles was twenty-three and Sarah was fifteen at the time of their marriage. Therefore, Sarah needed the consent of her parents so that she could be married. Sarah’s family is listed in the 1830 Marion County, Missouri, U. S. Census under the name of her father, John Finley - on the same page is Charles’ family under the name of Eli Merrell. Thus it appears that Charles and Sarah were neighbors.
It is not known when Charles and Sarah moved to Iowa but Charles is not mentioned in records available in any land purchases or sales in Marion or Lewis counties. Their move to Iowa must have come within two years after their October 12, 1834 marriage in Marion County, Missouri, since their first child, Francis Marion, was born in Augusta, Des Moines County, Iowa on February 18, 1837. Child number two Nancy was born there on November 8, 1838 and the third Sophia on December 11, 1839.
While living in Iowa, Sarah and Charles joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and in 1839 they moved opposite Nauvoo, Illinois to Montrose, Lee County, Iowa. While living in Montrose, the following children were born: Orson, February 1, 1841; John Finley, October 21, 1843; and Sarah, November 5, 1845. Nauvoo was the gathering place of the Mormons and Orson reported that Charles “worked some” to build the Nauvoo Temple. We know that Charles and Sarah had a strong conviction of the importance of the ordinances performed in the temple and that these ordinances are necessary in order to gain exaltation. “One of the ordinances performed in the temple is called the endowment. Through the endowment, special, spiritual blessings are promised to worthy members. The blessings are contingent upon faithful observance of personal purity, devotion to the right in present life, and strict compliance with gospel requirements.” (1)
During 1845 there was much persecution of the Mormons in Nauvoo and in the Fall of 1845 there were intense preparations being made for their departure to the West. They had planned to leave in the Spring of 1846, but Brigham Young feared that if they waited until Spring they would be prevented from going.
In December 1845 and January 1846 the brethren spent a great deal of time in the Nauvoo Temple giving endowments to the faithful Saints; while continuing to prepare for the exodus from Nauvoo. The leaders of the Church were continually annoyed and harassed by both state and federal officials and during the last week of January, 1846, word came to President Brigham Young, almost daily, that some action would be taken, by state or government officials, to prevent the departure of the Mormons from Nauvoo. On February 2, 1846, Brigham Young met with the Twelve Apostles, trustees, and a few others and they agreed that they should not wait for Spring but should start West as soon as possible.
Although President Brigham Young had given word that the time had come for the endowment work in the Temple to cease, those who had failed to receive the ordinances were willing to depart for the western wilderness without their blessings. In President Young’s history under date of Tuesday, February 3, 1846, is the following:
Notwithstanding that I have announced that we would not attend to the administration the ordinances, the House of the Lord was thronged all day, the anxiety being so great receive, as if the brethren would have to stay here and continue the endowments until f way was hedged up, and our enemies intercept us. But I informed the brethren that this was not wise, and that we should build more Temples and have further opportunities to receive the blessings of the Lord, as soon as the Saints were prepared to receive them. this temple we have been abundantly rewarded, if we receive no more. I also informed the brethren that I was going to get my wagons started, and be off. I walked some distance from the Temple, supposing the crowd would disperse, but on returning I found the House filled to overflowing. Looking upon the multitude, and knowing their anxiety as they were thirsting and hungering for the word, we continued at work diligently in the House of the Lord. Two hundred and ninety-five persons received the ordinances. (2)
Charles and Sarah Finley Merrell were among those who “were thirsting and hungering for the word” and are listed in the Nauvoo Temple Record as having received their Endowment on February 3, 1846. Others received their endowment throughout the week and following the ordinances on Saturday, February 7th, the Temple was closed. During that same year, this family moved west with the main body of the church and settled in Council Bluffs, Pottawattomie, Iowa. Their daughter, Sarah, died in Council Bluffs on October 8, 1847. Three more children were born while they lived there: Joseph, September 22, 1847; Charles William, November 27, 1849; and Mary Jane, January 29, 1852.
A history written by Charles and Sarah’s son, Orson, has the following regarding the family during this move, “My father worked some on that (Nauvoo) Temple and was driven with the Saints. When the Mormon Battalion was made up Father was sick and that is all that kept him from being one of that number. My Father’s family stopped on the East of the Missouri river at a place called Council Point near the Bluffs. (This area was Council Bluff, Pottawattomie, Iowa, which is sometimes referred to as Kanesville.)
“It was a hard job to get enough to eat of corn bread. Meetings was held regular. Their was considerable sickness of chills and fever. I was baptized when eight years old by my Father We was taut to Pray. At one time their was a few children out in the woods and one of them lost a knife and commenst to constitutional remedy and said he would get a whipping. I told them if we would pray the Lord would show us so we could find the knife so we all knelt down and I prade. Shure enough we soon found the knife.”
On July 4, 1852, they started for the Salt Lake Valley. Their oldest son, Francis Marion, had started for Salt Lake earlier that same spring to work his passage with another family who needed assistance. The family started out with one wagon, two yoke of oxen and a yoke of cows. They were several days crossing the Missouri River. Crossing the river was very strenuous work. They would pull the flat boat close to the shore up stream by hand. Then they would load up the boat and paddle across by letting the current carry then down stream to the other side.
Charles worked very hard wading in the water in the hot sun. They started on and on the 13th of July, Charles Merrell was taken sick with cholera and died at five p.m. that same, day after traveling about 14 miles. His body was rolled in quilts and was buried the same evening near the Elkhorn River (Douglas, Nebraska.) Apostle John Taylor took charge of the burial. This left Sarah with eight children, the oldest 14 years and the youngest 6 months, with the two oldest being girls. The next day July 14th, they crossed the Elk Horn River and organized - with a captain for each ten wagons. Allen Weeks was chosen captain of the company which consisted of about 53 wagons.
Sarah’s team was not gentle, so Apostle John Taylor sent her a gentle pair of oxen. This was a great help to the family as Sarah was sick a great portion of the journey and Orson, 10 years, and John, 8 years, had to manage the two pair of oxen and one pair of cows.
After many hardships on the plains, they arrived in the Salt Lake Valley October 12, 1852, and were met there by her son Francis Marion and a Mr. Chaffan who took the family to his home, a house of two small rooms. The family moved to the north part of the city soon thereafter, where they resided until spring, when friends arranged for them to move to South Farmington. There Sarah met Samuel Brocklebank Hardy whom she married June 29, 1852. Soon after their marriage they moved to Bountiful where they resided until 1860. They had three girls born to them; Caroline Matilda Hardy born April 14, 1855, Bountiful, Davis, Utah; Martha Ellen Hardy born May 14, 1857, Bountiful, Davis, Utah; and Sarah Hannah Hardy born November 27, 1860, in Willard, Box Elder, Utah. Mr. Hardy was called to colonize southern Utah and took one of his other wives with him. He moved Sarah and her children to Willard where three of her children then resided, and they provided a home for their mother and the other children.
To help provide for herself and her family, Sarah took up nursing soon after moving to Bountiful. In a booklet published for a lesson for the camps of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers we gain the following understanding of the training and function of a pioneer midwife. “Those women who chose this profession were resourceful, patient, and compassionate, which attributes fitted them for the needed service to both mother and child.
“Most of the midwives were called and set apart by the presiding authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Thus, armed with this authority and the blessings of the Lord, they went forth and performed a marvelous work in the settlements. The women had access to the finest medical books published at that time, and from the early 1850's special training was given them in Salt Lake City. Later schools were established in the outlying settlements by the LDS Relief Society.” (3)
Sarah’s first case as a midwife was at the birth of Jane Pettingill, November 1854. By giving much study and having been set apart by the Priesthood, Sarah became quite successful in her practice as an all purpose nurse of the sick. She would be called out all hours of the day and night to administer to the needs of the sick. Some of her grandchildren later, recalled that they were told that whenever she was needed she would take her black bag, climb on her horse, which she rode sidesaddle, and ride wherever she was needed. At Willard she continued as a nurse until 1886 when she went to live among her children. She had officiated at the birth of nearly nine hundred children, besides nursing at the bedside of many sick.
Sarah Finley Merrell Hardy died February 2, 1901, at Elba, Cassia, Idaho, where she resided with her daughters Martha Hardy (Mrs. Robert) Parish and Sarah Hardy (Mrs. Charles) Brewerton. She was buried at Willard, Box Elder, Utah on February 5, 1901.
The following poem is a tribute to pioneer midwives and is a fitting tribute to the life of this great woman, Sarah Finley Merrell Hardy in that she carried the burden of getting her family across the plains to Salt Lake City and caring for them after the death of her husband, Charles Merrell. The poem was written by Dr. D.C. Budge of Logan:
She calls no hour of the night or day her own
Through heat and cold she goes her way alone,
Here to bring some mortal into being,
There to ease some soul that must be fleeing.
She listens earnestly to tales of grief,
Forgets herself that she may give relief
To bodies suffering or tortured minds,
In service to all - her pleasure finds.
May God forever bless her with His grace,
For now she’s gone--- oh, who will take her place?
(1) McConkie, Bruce R., Mormon Doctrine, Bookcraft, SALT LAKE CITY, Ut, 1966. pp. 226-7.
(2) Nibley, Preston, Exodus to Greatness, Deseret News Press, SALT LAKE CITY, 1947, pp. 105-107.
(3) Carter, Kate B., Pioneer Midwives, Lesson for April 1963, pp.1-4.
This information was taken from OUR MERRELL ANCESTORS and OUR FINLEY ANCESTORS by Phyllis Merrell Miller. These are books that I purchased from the MERRELL/FINLEY FAMILY ORGANIZATION; Marsha G. Hatch Coleman.
CHARLES WILLIAM MERRELL
[From The Charles William Merrell Family; compiled by Velma Merrell Grimshaw and Marie Stevens Facer; 1994, see for further details.]
Charles William Merrell, his given name arrived at apparently after some modifications, was known throughout his life as Will. When he was two and a half years old, his parents, Charles and Sarah Merrell, left Iowa for Utah in July of 1852 with the wagon train of Captain Allen Weeks. After a few days Will’s father contracted cholera and died; he was wrapped in quilts and buried near the Elk Horn River in Nebraska. That hardship seemed to portend the entire life of Will Merrell.
His mother became the plural wife of Samuel B. Hardy after two years in Farmington. He build a large home in Bountiful for his wives, but because of his occupation wasn’t able to support them well. The children worked very hard at many things just to keep from starving.
In 1860, Will’s family moved to Willard, near Brigham City; it was there that he met and married Melinda Mary Hubbard, known as “Din” in December 1875. Six weeks after their marriage, Brigham Young called them with others to go to Arizona and help establish settlements within the United Order along the Little Colorado River. They left in February and arrived in Obed (between Winslow and Holbrook on the banks of the Little Colorado), Arizona late in March. Along the way, the Merrells met the Jerome J. Adams family who were going to the same area. A daughter Mary Frances, or Fannie, Adams, then 13 years old, often rode in the Merrell wagon.
Life was very difficult in the Arizona Colonies. Because of the swamp-like conditions, mosquitos were abundant and Will contracted malaria, referred to locally as the “dumb chills.” He was very ill for several weeks. His mother, who still lived in Utah, upon learning of Will’s illness, went to the Church authorities and obtained a release for him from his mission. Will reminded his mother that his father had lost his life while crossing the plains and asked her, “Do you think my father would have turned back if he had known the outcome?” His mother was cross and replied, “No! Go on, you are truly your father’s son!” He accepted this as a compliment and continued in his determination to carry out his commitment.
Some time during the first 2 years, he courted Mary Frances Adams, after discussion with Din who up to that point had been unable to have children. The three of them went to the St. George Temple and Will and Fannie were sealed 24 April 1878. They returned to the colonies in Arizona; Fannie lived with her parents in Brigham City while Will and Din lived at the colony’s sawmill in the mountains. On a trip to Logan, Utah, in 1885 with Din, Will married an older woman, Anna Marie Nielsen; an acquaintance of Din’s.
Because of various reasons the United Order was discontinued in the colonies and many families began moving away. Also United States marshals were making raids against polygamists in Arizona which prompted church authorities to suggest moving to Mexico for safety, which Will along with other families did in early February 1885. Will went by wagon with the company of saints, but Din took her daughter Rhoda and Fanny’s daughter May by train, meeting with Will somewhere (probably Deming, New Mexico) on the way south. After a month of traveling over mountains and deserts, the company of saints arrived in Mexico only to find that they still were without a home. There were problems obtaining a tract of land by the colonization company formed by the Church.
Health problems continued to cause Will problems. Malaria attacks reoccurred throughout his life. In a smallpox epidemic in 1889, Will came down with them and was put in quarantine very ill. He was attended by a Mexican woman and Elijah Pomeroy who were both immune to smallpox. Later on in 1899 Will’s eye problem became acute, went to El Paso for help, had it diagnosed as glaucoma, and had his left eye removed. The final tragedy for Will happened in March 1900. He was “topping” some young cottonwood trees to replant around his home when a freak whirlwind flipped a limb end over end striking him in the shin. He lost his balance, possibly due to the recent loss of his eye, and fell to the ground in such a way that he was paralyzed from his shoulders down. He died the next day, 14 March 1900, in Colonia Diaz.
An account that illustrates the integrity and honesty of Will happened while he was hauling freight between Deming, New Mexico, and two towns in Mexico; Las Anscensión and Sabinál. The gendarmes stopped him at some point after he had passed through customs and some contraband was discovered in his wagon. Will knew that he was not aware of how it had been placed there because he had passed customs at the border. Nevertheless, he was arrested, his wagon and horses confiscated along with the freight load. He was taken back to La Anscensión and put in jail.
At a preliminary hearing, the judge and lawyers advised him to pay a fine so that he would be set free. Will knew that he had been unaware of the contraband therefore he was morally innocent. He didn’t want the Mexico nationals to think the “gringos” were easy prey for a lucrative extortion racket. He told his lawyers that Americans could be jailed on the slightest pretext if it was known they would buy their way out.
He was transferred to El Paso del Norte (now Ciudad Juarez) for trial. He refused to let a real estate man from El Paso buy his way out of jail and all attempts by Church leaders to plead his case were unsuccessful. In jail, Will was trusted enough to go into town and buy bread for the other prisoners. Also, he was assigned to oversee two Mexican fellow inmates who were sent to get water from the Rio Grande River. The two bolted and crossed the river to freedom, while Will returned to jail even though the Mexicans told him he was a fool for not escaping.
At the end of his long-awaited trial, the judge told Will, “We know you are morally innocent, but technically you are guilty. Confess and we will let you off with a fine and will not be accused of being too lenient with American citizens.”
Will, according to his daughters, Olive and May, said, “Sir, I came in here innocent and I will leave my bones to rot in this place rather than walk out in dishonor!” That reply was related in a meeting of Mexican President Porfírio Díaz’s cabinet and Benito Juárez, a cabinet member, said, “Mr. President, if that’s the kind of people the Mormons are, we want all of them who will come to our country. They are the kind of people we need.” Needless to say, Will remained to finish serving his sentence.
At his funeral, he was extolled for his virtues and the great missionary he was with his actions towards all he knew. The Mexican people had a great love and trust in him that they affectionately referred to him as “Guillermo” (the Spanish word for William).
CORA MAY MERRELL HATCH
Cora May Merrell was born in Brigham City, Arizona, on 8 February 1881, at two o’clock in the morning. She was the second child of Mary Frances (Fannie) Adams Merrell, second wife of Charles William Merrell, and had an older sister Olive who was 23 months old.
Her father’s first wife, whom Fannie’s children called “Aunt Din,” had lost her only child, a son, in August before Cora May was born. Din’s grief was made even more poignant because she had been told earlier that she probably wouldn’t have any children. To show her love and respect for the older wife, and because of her generous nature, Fannie took Cora May and presented her to Din as a Christmas gift when the baby was just over ten months of age.
Though her foster mother was happy to have her, May remembered with sadness for the rest of her life the feeling that her mother didn’t want her. Ironically, Aunt Din had a second child, Rhoda Ann, soon after May reached her second birthday, and the two little girls grew up to be great comrades. May remained with her foster mother for several years until she chose to return to her mother’s household.
In the fall of 1884, May went with her father and foster mother to Willard, Utah, to visit Aunt Din’s parents. They spent Christmas there and May recalled having eaten too many peanuts, which made her sick. It was many years before she could eat peanuts again.
She told about having her picture taken with Rhoda. May had to stand with a brace at her back, with a half circle holding her head up, because photography at that time required a long exposure and she couldn’t hold still long enough without the help of the brace.
While they were in Utah, the settlements in Arizona were abandoned. May recorded that she went with Aunt Din and Rhoda by train to Arizona to meet her father, who went in a wagon train; the three of them continued traveling to Mexico with the group.
May later recalled living in a large tent with a brush shed in front of it, their first living quarters in Mexico. Its open condition was noted in her narrative of an incident when a cow walked into their tent while the family was at a meeting. May said the cow “helped herself to their flour and left her change on the floor.”
May remembered with sadness having gone to the jail in La Ascension to tell her father goodbye before he was taken to El Paso del Norte (Ciudad Juarez) to prison.
May’s schooling began in a little mud room with about a dozen children. Her teacher was “a little queer Englishman, Brother Squires.” She had a slate and pencil, and the teacher taught her to make what he called “pot ‘ooks and ‘angers.”
Just before May was six years old she startled her family by telling them that she was going back to her own mother. She wrote, “I don’t know just how I knew it [who her real mother was], someone must have told me, but I couldn’t be talked out of it, nor persuaded by not being allowed to take some of my things with me such as a muff and fur coat and a quilt with my name on it.”
May grew to womanhood in Colonia Diaz. She acquired a twelfth grade education and spent several years teaching school in Diaz. She moved to Colonia Dublan with the family in early 1900, just before her father died.
In the new town May met a young man, John Alma Hatch, who was from Colonia Juarez. He was doing carpenter work and boarding with her Aunt Hettie Tenney (sister of May’s mother).
John and May were married and sealed on 2 January 1901 in Colonia Juarez by Anthony W. Ivins. In his autobiography her husband wrote that they had set their wedding date for January 1, but she couldn’t get her dress finished for that date, so they postponed the marriage for a day. About fourteen months later, 27 February 1902, their first child Thelma was born in the small lumber house in which John and May made their home. They were very happy there, though life was hard. About two years later, on 22 December 1903, their first son John Merrell Hatch was born in Colonia Juarez—a real Christmas present.
Adequate work was not available in the Colonia Juarez area for John to support his increasing family. Within weeks after Merrell’s birth the family moved to El Paso, Texas, where John could make a better living at carpentry. They remained in El Paso for about four years, during which time they had a third child, Charles Jenner, born 29 November 1905.
In 1907 the family moved back to Colonia Juarez. The move was exciting to the children because they were back among relatives, and there were many cousins with whom they could play. Many times they went off to play without asking their mother, and their punishment was to cut a willow with which May switched their legs. May would often become cross with them for not completing tasks properly, yet she was loving in her punishment. She talked to them about what was right and wrong, and told them stories about herself when she was a girl.
The children were all told about how babies come from Heavenly Father. The preparation for each new baby in the family was a special time. May made new clothes for the baby and though the subject was discussed in the family, it was a special secret that they never talked about elsewhere.
John took the other children to stay with their Grandma and Grandpa Hatch overnight when Virginia May was born on 20 March 1908. The next morning the children were delighted to see their new baby sister, and were happy that the family was now even–two girls and two boys. Two years later in Colonia Juarez, Ernest Kay was born on 15 August 1910.
During the sojourn in Colonia Juarez, one of the activities that fascinated May’s daughter Thelma was cheese making. A large vat was located at the home of her Uncle Ernest Hatch; the townspeople brought their milk, weighed it, and poured it into the vat. The entire operation was under the direction of Grandpa Hatch (John Alma’s father), but May helped make the molds for the cheese and put it in cheesecloth after it was cooked. When the process was completed, the community members were given their share of the cheese according to the amount of milk contributed.
In April 1912, May’s husband was called to serve a mission in Southern California for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Before he reported to begin his assignment John and May went to Salt Lake City, Utah-over 1,000 miles-to attend the Salt Lake Temple, where they received their endowments and were resealed over a temple altar. The children stayed with their various aunts and uncles while John and May were away. After that experience May returned home to Mexico and John went to California.
During the early summer of that year May and the children harvested blackberries from their large patch and sold them, sending the money to John to help with his mission expenses. In mid-summer the colonists were advised to leave their homes in Colonia Juarez because of the Mexican Revolution. On July 26 and 27, 1912, the women and children were taken by wagon to Pearson to the railroad station to make the train ride to El Paso, Texas.
Getting ready for that trip was no easy task for May with her five youngsters. Some of the young men in Juarez gave her a little help with lifting and carrying heavy items, but it was most difficult to make some of the decisions involved without the help of her husband.
When they arrived in El Paso, May and her family lived in an empty lumber yard which had been converted into a refugee camp. John was released from his mission and joined his family a short time after they were settled there.
Because of the influx of population, El Paso schools were filled to overflowing. This caused the Hatch children, as well as most of the children from the Colonies, to miss a year of schooling. There was no Mormon Church organization there, so the Hatch children attended the First Baptist Sunday School. They enjoyed some very good lessons presented by the kind teachers of that organization.
In the spring of 1913, the war in Mexico seemed tranquil enough that some of the families moved back to their homes, including John and May. During that stay in Colonia Juarez, another daughter Mary was born on 8 April 1914. They lived quite peacefully until the war flared up again, at which time the family went back to El Paso for a few months of safety. During that stay they lived at Government Hills, an Army base.
The family moved again to Colonia Juarez, and a few months later decided to move to Colonia Dublan, about 18 miles away, where they could acquire a farm. They made that move during the Christmas holidays. The family was getting along very well on the new farm, raising all kinds of vegetables, fruit, corn, beans and alfalfa for the cows. They had several dairy cows and had all the fresh milk, butter, and cottage cheese the family needed. One of the favorite dishes May prepared that all the children loved was “lumpy dick.” This was a type of pudding made of milk and flour, which each family made according to their chosen variations. Some pioneer cooks added sugar, eggs, or cream, or all of those, depending upon what was available to them at the time.
As the family grew, they took part in the social activities of Dublan; most of their entertainment consisted of dances, plays, and parties. The family transportation was a wagon pulled by two horses, and in it they traveled to Colonia Juarez to visit relatives as well as to other localities. The family observed Christmas with each child receiving one main present and a number of small items, usually something homemade, from relatives.
It wasn’t long before Pancho Villa was again making trouble throughout the countryside. During the time his men were carrying out raids in the colonies, another son, Ivan Eugene, was born to May on 19 April 1916 in Dublan.
After General Pershing’s army was unsuccessful in the attempt to apprehend Villa, his troops were withdrawn. By that time the Hatch family had had enough of Mexican problems, so they packed up and left the country in a wagon train with some of Pershing’s returning men. At Columbus, New Mexico, John and May put some of their belongings on a train and sent them on ahead, then continued their trip by wagon.
The family stopped in Virden, New Mexico, where May’s mother and some of her brothers lived, as well as John’s brother Lynn. After a visit there they continued on and camped next in a barnyard in the Thatcher-Pima area in Arizona. They were there to celebrate Thelma’s birthday. Another camp remembered by the family was near a stream bed in Globe.
The tired group finally arrived in the Salt River Valley on March 7, 1917, where they stayed in Mesa, Arizona, with John’s brother Ernie until they were able to buy a little place of their own in Gilbert, Arizona. They lived in a tent which John had boarded up to make it habitable. While the family was located in Gilbert, two daughters were born: Ione Louise, born on 5 November 1919; and Frances Irene, born on 7 February 1922.
During their stay in Gilbert the income from the farm was not enough to adequately keep the large family, so May willingly took in laundry to supplement their income. Their last child, Amy Jean, was born in Chandler, Arizona, on 26 June 1924.
In 1928 the family moved to Chino Valley, Arizona, and bought a small farm. They established a truck garden, planted an orchard and berry patch, and raised chickens for both meat and eggs. On the small acreage they raised most of the food consumed by their own family, as well as selling enough produce and meat to get money for clothing and other necessities. May preserved fruits and vegetables by canning and freezing to sustain the maturing family during the winter months.
During the years while the family lived in Chino Valley, May went to Virden, New Mexico; and worked in her brother Orson’s store to earn the money to support two of their children, Mary and Ivan, on missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
May and John were living in Chino Valley when they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on 2 January 1951. Their children arranged a lovely reception for them at the Mezona auditorium in Mesa, Arizona, since the majority of their married children lived in that area. Some 200 guests came to help commemorate their marriage, along with ten children, thirty-one grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
At the time of the celebration May was looking tired, and soon a doctor diagnosed cancer as the cause of her illness. Surgery was performed, but, the disease was far advanced. Her death certificate lists the cause of death as cancer of the pancreas which had spread to her liver and kidneys. Cora May passed away on 26 October 1951, and was interred in the Chino Valley Cemetery.