I believe that stories of the past should be shared and treasured. I want to create a place that we can share such stories and work together to create a more complete picture of these ancestors, as well as document facts about their lives. Please join me.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Edwin Spencer by Marilla Lund Spencer, Fancy Spencer Searcy, Mary Spencer Tyson and Patricia J. Pennington

Edwin Spencer 1 Oct 1824 - 16 Apr 1886

Edwin Spencer was born on the 1st of October 1824 at Loughborough, Leistershire, England to John Spencer and Mary Jackson. He was the third child born in that home, the first surviving boy. He married Hannah Wardle on the 23rd of December 1844 at Arnold, Nottingham, England. He worked as a glove maker as shown in the 1851 England, Nottinghamshire, Arnold, District 6b census.

Hannah and Edwin must have heard the gospel preached in England, for Edwin gained a testimony and was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 7 Apr 1849, but Hannah did not accept baptism at this time. Their first three children were born in England.

They emigrated to American in 1855. Edwin came first and found work in Philadelphia. His wife and three children came over on the ship “Tuschurora”. They continued to Utah by ox team in 1861 in an unidentified company. Their first home in Salt Lake Valley was on the site where the City and County Building now stands. They also lived at Union Fort. They eventually had nine children. Hannah was baptized on the 28th of November 1861 and both Hannah and Edwin were endowed and sealed in the Endowment House on 7 December 1861.

Hannah and Edwin moved to Enterprise, Morgan, Utah before their son Jedediah was born there in June 1867. Edwin Spencer lived the law of Plural Marriage, marrying more than one wife. Harriet Eastham Rodgers and Edwin were married in October of 1867. We do not know what Hannah’s feelings were about Edwin taking a plural wife. Harriet Eastham Rodgers Spencer died in January 1870.

In 1871, Hannah and Edwin answered a call to move to Randolph, Rich, Utah, to help settle that new community. The first group of settlers, who had been called by church authorities, arrived to start a settlement in the Bear River Valley of Utah from St. Charles, Idaho in 1870. When the town of Randolph was first laid out, the sage was so tall that being able to see a horse and rider out in the sage was difficult. There was so much tall sage that the mothers feared their children would get lost. By the spring of 1871, when Hannah and Edwin and their family, along with their married son Orson John Spencer and his family, arrived in the new settlement, some of the sage had been cleared and Randolph was “a live town” with a post office, a cobbler, a blacksmith, and a shingle and saw mill. Sometime in the early season of 1871, a log meeting house was finished. The building had a shingled roof and was eighteen by twenty-four feet. This log building served as an amusement hall, a school house, and a place of worship.

By the end of 1871, ninety families resided in the rapidly growing community of Randolph, but by 1873 the LDS church historian recorded that “a great many of the settlers got discouraged because of the frosts and went away.” In 1877 the number of local families had dipped to a low of fifty-one. It was said by some “None but a Mormon could live in such a cold place.” J. Golden Kimball, an early settler in the northern part of Rich County, described the climate as one in which there were “nine months of winter and three months late fall.”

Weather conditions in the area were so severe that in August of 1883, when President John Taylor and his party were in Randolph for a conference visit, after the conference services were dismissed and many had left the building, President Taylor came to the door and called the people back. Raising his right hand he said, “In the name of Jesus Christ I not only bless you, but I bless this land for your sustenance.” Before this, crops had been killed by early or late frosts and sometimes both. For thirteen straight years, the settlers had been unable to have a fully developed wheat crop because of the frosts.

Despite the severe weather, Hannah and Edwin Spencer did not move from Randolph. They were among the settlers who came and stayed. They bravely faced the hardships of pioneer life in Randolph and because of faith and hard work, they became successful.

On April 11, 1882, Hannah’s husband Edwin accepted a call to serve a mission in his native land. When the mission call came, Hannah and Edwin still had three unmarried children to provide for, but they had the required faith that allowed Edwin to leave home and family and go back to England to fulfill the mission call. He was the first missionary to leave from the Randolph Ward. While Edwin was in England, their son William helped Hannah run the ranch.

Edwin was not well when he returned from his mission and only lived about three years after his return. In a will recorded six days before he died, Edwin left “all of his real and personal property with all its interests and rents pertaining thereto to his beloved wife Hannah for as long as she lived.” In the will Edwin stated that he was not well but that he was of sound mind. He died on the 16th of April 1886 in Randolph, Rich, Utah and was buried there. Edwin was sixty one at the time of his death. Hannah was fifty seven.

Sources: DUP Files – Orson John Spencer’s history, written by Marilla Lund Spencer, Fanny Spencer Searcy, and Mary Spencer Tyson.

DUP Files – Hannah Wadle Spencer’s history, written by Patricia J. Pennington.

Delilah Prudence Harris - just the facts

Delilah Prudence Harris 20 Sept 1818 – 10 Nov 1889

Delilah Prudence Harris was born on the 20th of September 1818 in Conquest, Cayuga, New York to Benoni Harris and Thankful Miles. She married Samuel Douglas McDowall on the 4 July 1836 at Paw Paw, Lee, Illinois. They had thirteen children. She died on the 10th of November 1889 at Beloit, Mitchell, Kansas.

Charles McDowall - just the facts

Charles McDowall Abt. 1786 –

Charles McDowall was born about 1786 to unknown parents probably in Newton-Stuart, Wigtown, Scotland. He married Mary Kennedy Douglas sometime before 1812 as they had a son that year. Further children are unknown. His death date and place is also unknown.

Betsey Jane Philbrick - just the facts

Betsey Jane Philbrick 14 Jan 1830 – 27 Dec 1914

Betsey Jane Philbrick was born on the 14th of January 1830 to Nathaniel Philbrick and Sarah (Sallie) Emerson at Parsonfield, Oxford, Maine. She married Daniel Greeley Morrell Twombly on the 15th of January 1850. They had five children. Daniel was killed in the Civil War 1863. Betsey remarried George Washington Eastman on 29 Oct 1865 at Rumford, Oxford, Maine. They also had five children. The family traveled west about 1867-1869, arriving in Woodruff, Rich, Utah. Betsey outlived George by fifteen years. She died on the 27th of Dec 1914 at Bountiful, Davis, Utah.

Benoni Harris - just the facts

Benoni Harris Abt 1792 -

Benoni Harris was born about 1792 probably in Conquest, Cayuga, New York. His parents are unknown. He married Thankful Miles about 1816. They had five children. Benoni’s death date is unknown.

Annie Margaret Harris - by Fanny Spencer Searcy

Annie Margaret Harris 4 Aug 1861 – 23 Apr 1931

My mother's father was George Harris of England. Her mother, Margaret Daily, was a working girl of Ireland. Mother was their oldest child. She was one of a family of ten children. Grandfather was one of the Royal Guards for Queen Victoria and occupied one of the cottages in the barracks of Buckingham Palace. He brought grandmother as a bride to the cottage in 1860, and my mother was born the following year, 1861, in the cottage, August 4, 1861 being her birthday. When grandfather was courting grandmother, I have heard him tell that one night he was going to see her, and a London fog came up, and it was so dense he ran into an iron lamp post and broke one of his front teeth. He always called it his “Sparking Tooth.”

Mother was blessed in 1863 by William Leek and baptized September 8, 1877 by William Rex of Randolph, Utah. My grandfather came over from England as a soldier of the Fifth Company and landed in Canada. He came to the United States the following year and settled in Pennsylvania, where he worked in the coal mines for five years. He came to Utah in 1868.

While coming to Utah my mother's little brother, Johnny got sick with Dysentery, and the night he died grandmother sat in the wagon with him, and had the last tallow candle to see with. Along in the night it had all burned up, and the only way she had to tell that he had died was when he was getting cold. She called my grandfather and told him that she believed he had gone. The next morning the Captain sent my grandfather and another man ahead to find a place and dig the grave along the way. When the wagons got to where they had dug, they handed out the Child, wrapped in grandmother's big brown shawl, and then traveled on. Grandfather and the other man had to catch up with them later. They did not let them stop because the Indians were so bad and the Captain was afraid to leave one wagon there. The place he was buried was near where Coalville now is.

When they came they went to Ogden, and as a child, mother went along the foot hills of Ogden and gathered the Sago roots for food. Then they went from there to Almy, Wyoming, where grandfather worked in the coal mines. Then they went from there to Randolph, Utah, where grandfather bought a small ranch and had some cattle. While living here, he was called to work on the Logan Temple to quarry the rock. While he was at work, my grandmother and the children had to take care of the ranch and cattle. That winter they had to draw water from a well to water the stock. Through exposure and cold, grandmother developed pneumonia and died. At this time my mother was working to help support the family.

While working for a Mrs. Spencer one day, cleaning cupboards, Mrs. Spencer asked my mother if she would not like to marry in polygamy with her husband, Orson John Spencer, as he was thinking of taking another wife, and she would rather it be her than anyone else. At first mother was surprised and didn't take it seriously. But after due consideration, and much against the wishes of her parents, she consented. They had to come to Salt Lake to the Endowment House to be married. They were accompanied by Mrs. Spencer, and it took three weeks to make the trip by wagon and team. They were married on October 12, 1878.

She lived with the family for a year or two; then she wanted a home of her own, and her first little home was two blocks from the other family. It was built on part of the farm where her first baby was born four years after she had married. Later on, mother moved to a ranch Dad had bought and with the help of one of the first wife’s boys, who was about sixteen, she would milk about thirty cows and live there in the summer-time. While she lived here, I was born, being her fifth child. About this time, they were waging war on the polygamists. My mother moved from Utah to Almy, Wyoming to be out of the state. Father evaded them as much as possible and after finishing his fall work, he gave himself up and was sentenced to six months in the State Penitentiary. While he was in there, mother gave birth to her sixth child, her first son.

Father was always proud of his having served time for my mother, and used to tell about it much to the embarrassment of the family. My mother was always tall and slender when she was young, and became real fleshy as she grew older. One day as father, mother and I were leaving the Tabernacle, a tall man leaned over and touched Dad on the shoulder and said, "Aren't you John Spencer?" Dad said, "That is my name." The man said, "Do you know me?” and Dad said, "No, I don't think I have ever seen you before." The man said, "I fed hogs and you fed horses up at the pen in ’89.” Then Dad remembered him, and they talked a little. Then Dad put his arm around mother and said "This is the little girl I served time for," and mother weighed at this time about 225 lbs. The crowd there had a good laugh, much to my embarrassment.

The first wife died when mother's baby boy was a year old and mother left her little home and took her six children and moved to the big new home which had just been built and cared for the six motherless children that were left. Mother felt this very keenly, as it had doubled her family. Her burdens were made much lighter by the help of father’s mother, who used to do almost all the sewing, and also when we had extra work, such as threshing and sickness. She was always there to help is she was needed for weeks at a time. My mother had sixteen children, ten girls and six boys. She had a very charitable nature, giving to the poor or anyone who needed help. I can always remember her going to take something to widows, orphans and the sick. She never liked anyone to know what she did. She was praised before and since her death, very highly for her charitable deeds and it has often been said, "She was an Angel in disguise." Her favorite song was. "Have I Done Any Good in the World Today?”

Mother had several great trials during her life; the death of her husband on November 28, 1916, leaving her financially well fixed, but with five children who were not yet married. Less than six months later she lost a son, Jeddiah, who had to come home from his mission because of ill health. He died at the age of twenty-two. Shortly after this a daughter, Hannah Miller, passed away. Mother felt this very keenly because she had depended on her for much needed help in caring for her family.

The last three years of mother's life were spent with a second husband, Hyrum J. Norris, Sr.

Mother died at Brigham City, Utah on April 23, 1931 at the age of seventy and was buried in the family plot at Randolph, Utah. She left a large posterity to mourn her loving memory.

Source: DUP record written by Fanny Spencer Searcy

Agnes Noble - by Sarah E. Hargraves Huber and Gladys Garr Merril

Agnes Noble 25 Dec 1822 – 17 Feb 1903

Agnes Noble was born December 25, 1822 in Carlisle, Cumberland Co., England. She was the daughter of Thomas Noble, a weaver and tailor, and Jane Bell. She had one brother, William, and a sister, Elsie. As far as we know, she was the only one who joined the L.D.S. Church. She was baptized April 1, 1840 in. Carlisle, England. She was living with her Grandmother when she married Samuel in 1837, her Mother having died and her father having remarried. She received her endowments and was sealed to her husband April 18, 1860 and they took the part of Adam and Eve in the Endowment House for a short time.

While her husband was on his mission to England she did weaving to keep her family, she dyed her own yarn in copper kettles outside on fires; she wove the grey lindsay and much of the bellmorrel material which was used for skirts and much woolen goods. She always sang as she worked, and one of her favorite songs was "The Little Drummer Boy.”

In 1858 when Grandfather was called to help defend the Saints against the incoming Johnstons’ Army the people were told to move south and Grandmother and the children were taken by Bishop Hess in his covered wagon. As night came on they moved Grandma into one of the log cabins that had been abandoned, and that night she gave birth to a son, her tenth child, Thomas. There was another son, Alexander, born while they were living in Farmington. After the family moved to Providence there were two more children born, a son, Samuel, and a daughter, Agnes.

After her husband died she lived with her family of four boys and one girl and helped by doing nursing in many families throughout the valley. She treated with herbs and nursed many severe cases of Scarlet Fever and Diphtheria. She made hair oil and bitters and put them in the store for sale. The boys worked hard on the farm and in the timber and the young daughter had a great deal of responsibility in the home. She often went with her mother to help with the nursing and care of children. She moved to Logan and lived there with her family for a number of years, continuing her nursing and making of remedies.

By 1885 her sons had married and some of them had moved to Idaho, so she and her daughter, Agnes, moved to Eagle Rock, Idaho. In March of that year her daughter married Thomas Fielding Garr and they all moved to Pocatello when the railroad shops were moved there. For a time she lived with her daughter but a little later she had a house built for herself on North Main Street. She continued nursing, sold her remedies and also retailed merchandise which she obtained from Butler Brothers of Chicago. A few years later she and her son and son-in-law started a small store. She helped in the store for a long time and always enjoyed being busy. She was always ambitious and willing to do her share. She had a very independent spirit and was never happy when she had to depend upon others for help. She always seemed to have a little money on hand and was able to help her children when they needed it.

Agnes Noble Hargraves died February 17, 1903 in Pocatello, Idaho and is buried in the Mountainview Cemetery there.

Sources: Sarah E. Hargraves Huber

Gladys Garr Merril – Bannock County