Friday, July 26, 2013

Pioneer Ancestors - Neeser

Jacob Neeser is my mother-in-law's great-great grandfather, and he crossed the plains as part of the William H. Dame Company of 1862. However, my mother-in-law was not born into the church; she found it and was baptized as a teenager.  Imagine her surprise when she started doing her genealogy and discovered that she really did have pioneer ancestors! Jacob's wife, Regula Laubi Neeser, was also in the Dame Company, yet she didn't complete the trip, dying the summer of 1862 near Winter Quarters, Nebraska.

The company started west in mid-August and arrived in Salt Lake at the end of October. Here's the recollection of one of the teenagers in that company:

Our company consisted of sixty teams and wagons. We were among the six outfits independently owned and we traveled together. We were the last company to go west. At first all went well, then the roads became dusty with eight to ten inches of dust in some places. Progress became slow, feed scarce and the cattle began to lose flesh. Some of the people became sick and had to remain in their wagons. A wagon following our wagon was driven by and Englishman and his wife. She fell asleep and fell under the wheels of the heavy wagon killing her instantly. They stopped and buried her and then went on.

On the 7th of September, Sister [Anna Willemann] Wintch [Wintsch] died. A few days later a child of Michlaus [Niklaus] Jakobs died, and a son of Jacob Neaser, and October 1st, a man from England passed away.


While passing through a grove of cottonwood trees along the Platte River, Ferdie [Ferdinand Johannes Zollinger] and his chum, Henry Mathes, noticed something tied in a buffalo robe hanging in a tree. Out of curiosity, Ferdie climbed up to investigate. To his astonishment he found a dead Indian. The stench made him sick.

Following the incident of the dead Indian, my brother Ferdie joined the rest of the family my mother, my two sisters and his wife, Louisa [Meyer Zollinger], with what was then called the Mountain Fever. He never walked another step until we arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. My father, sixty three, drove the two cows and gathered wood for the fires each morning and evening as he walked along, so you may guess that most of the work was left to me. I hired a German woman to cook for us and care for the sick. I got a youngster about my age, 17, to help me with the oxen each morning and evening. Each evening a circle was made with the wagons, the oxen unyoked and kept confined to the inside perimeter, giving better protection against the Indians. I had to put up the tent, set up the stove and make the fire in addition to milking the cows and go after the water which was usually some distance away. With the assistance of a neighbor, the sick had to be carried back into the wagon and so it was day after day.

Approaching the mountain terrain and on to the south pass, having an elevation of 7550 feet, we moved through snow and experienced very cold temperatures. Many froze their feet. One man, upon reaching the Salt Lake Valley, had to have his toes amputated and on the 5th of October a man named [Jakob] Looser [Losser] died. A day or so later, the Bachofen baby died at birth.

Our travels took us across the Sweet[water] River several times. We had to carry some of the people across this river on our backs.. There was five inches of snow on the ground so you might guess the water was very cold. When we reached the Green River the snow was gone. We came down Echo Canyon and camped a number of miles south of what is now Coalville, on October 27th. I forgot to unyoke one pair of oxen and the next morning they were gone. Someone had stolen them, but we managed to keep going and on the 30th of October we arrived at the mouth of Emigration Canyon. Many people came to see if any of their relations were in our company. One man came all the way from St. George, Utah.

On the 31st, we drove into the city and we camped in Emigration Square. The cattle were turned out to graze in the church pasture but being so late in the year the feed was about gone. Thirty five people had lost their lives in our company.

by Jacob Zollinger

So, the big question in our family is, "Why didn't Jacob's daughter Rachel (my mother-in-law's great-grandmother) go west?"  Was she even a member of the church when she immigrated to the United States? Does she realize the effort it took for her descendants to find the church again? I don't know if we'll ever know the answers, but it sure will be interesting trying to find them.

For example, in trying to find information, I discovered that in 1862, Jacob Neeser and his wife Regula traveled on the ship Windemere from Le Havre, France to New York City with six of their children: Emilie, Sigmund, Esther, Johannes (or John), Hardmann and Jacob. Their son Arnold sailed in 1860 on the William Tapscott.

I found a little blurb about her older sister Amelia:

Grandfather John Enz was called with several others to go back to Omaha, Nebraska, to bring Saints to the west.  It was on this trip that he met a girl by the name of Amollie Nazer (Amalie Anatzer), whom he married in the Endowment House at Salt Lake City.  They settled in Santa Clara.  One child, a girl, was born to them, but they weren’t to stay long.  They both died leaving him alone. [source]

So, apparently, Amelia traveled with her father west, but she didn't live very long once she arrived in Utah. (I also couldn't find either her name or this John Enz when searching the Pioneer Overland Travel website, which is a bit confusing.  However, our family records do state that Amelia Neeser married a John Enz, settled in Santa Clara, and died in 1863, so I'm going on the assumption that our John Enz and the John Enz mentioned in the Santa Clara Historical Society report are the same.)

Jacob Neeser married again a few years after arriving in Utah, to Elisabetha Zollinger, whose family also traveled with them on the ship Windemere and in the Dame pioneer company.  Her younger brother (Jacob Zollinger, the teenager in the first account) wrote quite a detailed life story, and I found someone who posted it on her blog.  I'll add one story below, but you can find the whole thing here.  It's pretty amazing, and really helps you get a feel for our ancestors' daily life.


One of the things I liked to do was to go swimming on Sundays with my chums.  [This was before they were baptized!]  On one particular Sunday, as soon as the preacher said amen, out the door we went to the river nearby to swim. This was of course against the wishes of my mother. She was always quite strict with me and had told me to stay home that Sunday. When we boys were prepar­ing to leave the swimming hole a group of younger boys came to swim. One of these boys, a cousin of mine then eleven years old, also had the name of Jacob Zollinger. He got too far down in a whirlpool and was drowned. When the news of his death reached the near­by town of Dietikon by the river, my parents who happened to be there on business, think­ing it was I, became very much alarmed. As you may guess they thought it was I who was drowned. However, they were very much re-leaved upon returning home to find me safe and sound. 

This is fascinating stuff, yet I should probably wrap up this post.  I don't know that I'm any closer to answering the question of why Elizabeth didn't make it to Utah, but I've found a lot of clues that are worth investigating further.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pioneer Ancestors - Fotheringham/Hales

Here's some information on Clara Fotheringham's parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.

John and Charlotte Fotheringham joined the church in 1848 in Scotland.  Since their son, William, joined the church in 1847, I'm going to make the assumption that he was instrumental in their conversion; however, it will take more research time to verify that. I did find a mini-biography for William, which you can read here. The Fotheringham family traveled in the Warren Foote Company of 1850. (Just like George Hickerson, William also served a mission or two, and traveled in the Amasa Lyman Company of 1855 after his mission to the East Indies. This was a very small company of returning missionaries that traveled from San Bernardino, California to Salt Lake City.  William then served a mission to South Africa and returned with an unknown company in 1864.)

George Hales
Sarah Ann Hales

George Hales and his wife Sarah Ann with their four little girls, were members of the Harry Walton/Garden Grove Company, which left Iowa on May 17, 1851 and arrived in Salt Lake that September. George's father, Stephan, died in Nauvoo, so he never made the pioneer trek.  His mother, Mary Ann, started but didn't finish.  Here's what George's brother, Henry William, had to say:

In the spring of 1851 we started for Salt Lake. My mother died on the plains and was buried at the Ancient Bluff ruins. We arrived in Salt Lake City about September 21.

That's pretty succinct.

George's older brother, Stephen, was also in the same company with his young family. You can find a short summary of their journey on his page on Family Tree.

Well, that's another family line documented.  I should have started this at 5 in the morning, and not 5 in the afternoon, because there are still more to do, but that's okay. The information isn't necessarily going to change, and this way we'll be all prepared for Pioneer Day 2014!

Edited: I found a couple more things about the Fotheringhams once they arrived in Utah.
First, a story about their first spring in Utah:

In the spring of 1851, the first crops, consisting of wheat, corn, potatoes, squash, and a few vegetables were planted. The farm implements were both crude and scarce. William Fotheringham relates that he had the point, share, and land side of a plow, and being a ship carpenter by trade, and hence expert in the use of the foot adze, he made a mold board from a 
gnarled piece of cottonwood, and with a log from the same kind of wood for a beam, managed to do fairly good plowing. When the wheat was about six inches high, the first trouble with the Indians occurred. The redmen insisted on turning their ponies loose in the growing fields, maintaining that the grass and water were theirs, while only the land and wood belonged to the whites. About this time three Indians came up the creek one day where the Karren, Fotheringham, Royle, and Peterson families were living. They appeared to be in an ugly mood and, emboldened by the fact that all the men were away at work, they took great delight in frightening the women and children. Finally Charlotte Fotheringham, an old Scotch lady, seized a hatchet and, shaking it threateningly in the face of one of the braves, she berated him right soundly in her good old mother tongue. This so surprised and amused the Indians that they withdrew, after entering a rebuttal in the Ute language.

Second, here's a picture of their house in Beaver, Utah.

Pioneer Ancestors - Whitaker/Hickerson

Happy Pioneer Day!  

Several years ago I did a post on some of our ancestors who crossed the plains between 1847 and 1868 - see it here - and this year I thought I'd see if I could add to it. It turns out I can, and there's too much information for just one post.  So, here are the pioneers from the Whitaker side (Orson Adelbert Whitaker's grandparents and great-grandparents).

George Whitaker and his wife Eveline traveled with the Edward Hunter-Joseph Horne Company.  You can find information about that company here.  197 individuals and 72 wagons were in the company when it began its journey from the outfitting post on the Elkhorn River about 27 miles west of Winter Quarters, Nebraska.  They left June 17, 1847, and arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on September 29, 1847.  Along the way, George and Eveline's first child was born, on August 27th near Independence Rock in Wyoming.  They named him George William Robinson Whitaker.

Also in the Hunter Company were Eveline's parents, John and Abigail Parsons, and her younger siblings, John Jr., Sarah, Isaac and Lawrence.  Lawrence was 9 years old and later here's what he had to say about their journey:

Through that winter we had a great deal of sickness in our family by scurvy, but no deaths; and in the spring of 1847 President Young counseled all who wished to cross the plains that year for the West to be sure and take provisions enough to last them eighteen months, and seed to sow and plant to raise a crop the next year.

My father acted according to that counsel, loaded his wagons and started and was among the first to land on the west bank of the Elk Horn river, which was about twenty-five miles from Winter Quarters. There we waited for further orders. As we were in a wild Indian country we had to move with some considerable caution[.] When the Saints had nearly all arrived, we were organized into companies of hundreds, fifties and tens. We were in Elder Taylor's company, and Bishop Hoagland's ten. Not being large enough to drive a team, and as father had some loose stock, I had to drive them. Bishop Hunter and myself drove the loose stock for the company most of the way, the Bishop riding a mare twenty-two years old.

I was baptized into the Church of Christ by Elder Taylor in the Platte river. We had some ups and downs crossing the plains but they did not try the people as they were tried in Illinois. Brother Joseph Horne was in our company, and also Brother Geo[rge]. Q. Cannon. I think the latter will remember a little pair of cows he drove in his team, which he called Jack and Gill.

We landed in Salt Lake Valley with that company in good order the first part of October, 1847, and we all went to work preparing for the winter.

LAWRENCE ROBINSON.  (Here's the source.)

George Washington Hickerson was in the Willard Richards Company of 1848 with his wife, Sarah, and their oldest children. You can find the link to that company here and here. Once wasn't enough for Grandpa Hickerson! He served a mission and then traveled home again with the Benjamin L. Clapp Company of 1856. On that trip he helped his widowed sister, Catherine, make the trek as well.  Here's what his 14-year-old niece, Elnora, had to say about their journey:

. . . . my father died May 15, 1855, leaving my mother with five children, my brother Lee being the oldest and I came second. We had to go into the fields and care for the crops my father had planted. That fall Uncle [George] Wash[ington Hickerson] came back from his mission, and my mother decided to come to Utah. On June 15, 1856 we left to make the trip to Utah. I was sick at the time with chills and fever, and had to be carried from the house to the wagon. My father's brother told mother she would have to bury me before long, however my uncle Wash promised mother that I would never have another chill, and I didn't. I drove a team across the plains.

We crossed the Missouri River the last time on Sunday, June 27, and there were 15 armed men who searched our wagon for arms and ammunition but we had none. We camped out along until we caught up with the train of wagons. After four days my uncle went over to the camp to see if it were a camp of Saints and found that the Captain of the train, Ben Clap[p] was his former missionary companion. Now we were all together with the Saints. I was fourteen years old and had never been well all of my life before I left home.

We enjoyed our trip across the plains, we never had any deaths but we had two births, Sister Eastmo gave birth to a girl, and Sister Corlile had a boy. My mother was very sick for a long time. We traveled with her for several weeks until she became so ill, that the Captain of the train said we would have to lay over for her. That being a Friday, the Captain asked the grown-ups to fast and pray for mother. Brother Billy Godby unloaded his wagon to find a bottle of oil to consecrate and annoint my mother. They promised her she would be well and reach Utah where she would have the privilege of embracing the gospel along with her children. This she did and this was my first testimony. She told him she was ready to travel again.

We traveled on all right until we reached Ash Hollow. There we had a big hill to drive down. Lee, my oldest brother was driving the buggy mother was riding in and it tipped over. Mother walked to the bottom of the hill with some of the women helping her. From then on she seemed to improve and was soon well and strong again.

We always laid over on Saturday so the women could wash and prepare for Sunday, which was a day for worship. On Monday we went on our journey. As we traveled along the Platte River we traveled four days through buffalo herds so thick that men were sent on horses ahead to part the herds so the train of wagons could pass through them, but our cattle never got scared of them even though, as far as you could see, there were buffalo. After we had gone through the herds there was hardly one spear of grass, our teams nearly starved to death. We saw many graves along the way, with no markers, just dead ashes of the camp fires.

On June 23, we formed a nice camp ground and our captain said, "We will spend the 24th of June here." The men and boys got busy clearing the ground and stretching wagon covers to make shade for the women, and they began to cook, and we had a good time. This was the first time since I left that I had tried to dance and I danced with Bill Godby, and the next day we finished our journey, rejoicing that our Heavenly Father had blessed us with the riches of good health and a safe journey to Utah.

(Here's the source.)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Summer Project Fun

"Craft week is fun. Why haven't we been doing this all summer?" - Michelle

On errand day this week, we stopped at the fabric store and Michelle had fun.
Then we came home and she had even more fun!
She wanted to make some fabric button earrings that she'd seen on Pinterest, so that was the first project. Don't believe them when they say, "Just twist to remove the shank." After mangling a couple of button forms, we raided the dad's tool chest for his wire cutters.  Even those needed great exertion, but we finally had success.  So, just for your reference, the hardest part of this little project is removing the "button" part of the button form. Michelle's excited to stock up on some more little buttons so she can make more earrings. She might even be open to taking orders!
Then it was time to sew a couple of skirts. The original plan was for Michelle to actually do the sewing on this first one. In theory it should have been quite simple - just gather the fabric to the elastic waistband. However, she chose slinky material that needed to be lined.  Gathering two pieces of slippery fabric to the elastic wasn't quite so simple, but it turned out beautifully.
While staring at the rows and rows of quilting fabric, Michelle wondered why they didn't have any "modern" designs, particularly chevrons. So, she picked something else she liked. Then as we made our way to the cutting counter, we found the display of chevron fabric! It was hard narrowing down her choice to just one. However, now that we know how cute the skirt turned out, maybe we should go back and make one in every color of the rainbow!

Stay tuned to see what her plans for the "bird" fabric are.  In the meantime, here are some of the other things she's done after being inspired by Pinterest and/or our craft cupboard.

Fourth of July treats:
Simple laminated family pictures to send to Wyatt to use as a matching game:
She completed a few "after Christmas clearance" kits, made a couple of beaded necklaces, prepared candy scripture treats for her Primary class, and designed a small backpack/bag to take to the gym:
A few months ago we had a Relief Society meeting where we learned how to make knitted helmet liners to send to our military. First I had to be reminded how to knit. (I still prefer crocheting.) Then I had to buy the proper-sized knitting needles and acceptable yarn. Then I needed to remember to actually sit down and knit. However, the stars aligned, and on our drive to Orlando last Saturday I made great progress. A couple of movies on the television later, and the "hat" is complete. Michelle wanted to model it for you all, and it was very difficult taking a picture because she was doubled over in laughter and tears, but we succeeded. And now I know how to use circular and double-pointed knitting needles!
Finally, this isn't really a project, but this series of pictures was taken just before Wayne and Michelle started sanding the boards for our closet shelves. As he was changing into work clothes, he noticed the turtle in our backyard, and decided it would be fun to go say hi.
So, after playing with the turtle for a few minutes, they were off to the garage/workshop to make progress on what definitely could be considered a project. We hope you're all having fun with your projects!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!

Apparently my sister was waiting patiently for a birthday post on my birthday, and I never wrote one.  Sorry to disappoint you, but I want to make it up, so here are the pictures from our fun Fourth of July holiday.  We hope your Independence Day was just as much fun!
The day started with a yummy breakfast fritatta. Michelle's turning out to be a great cook!
Then off we went to the next county park on the list.
It was an absolutely gorgeous day, and the park itself was pretty nice, too.
We gave the "heart" trail a try, some more diligently than others.
We never could figure out the point of this apparatus; it said something about jumping over and climbing under.  Anyone know what it's supposed to be used for?
We learned Michelle needed to be taught how to do a proper push-up.
And we were serenaded by this random saxaphone player while she learned.
Doesn't it just look serene?
We decided to just look at the roller hockey rink and racquetball courts, but after lunch we got out the tennis equipment and taught Fay how to play.
In the afternoon we talked with all of the kids, and even got to Skype with a couple of them.  Here's two-week old Dallin showing how strong his legs are. (He was pushing against David's hand.)
Michelle and Fay made a gorgeous birthday cake.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Revolutionary War Soldier - Reuben Warriner

One of the speakers in our sacrament meeting last Sunday mentioned how growing up he always loved hearing the stories of pioneer ancestors, and felt a bit sad that there weren't any in his family history, because his parents didn't join the church until the 20th century.  Then he started doing some research and discovered that he had an 11th-great-grandfather that signed the Mayflower Compact, and another great-great-something grandfather who fought in the Revolutionary War.  He shared how that made him feel a lot better about not having pioneer ancestry.

So, I thought it would be interesting to see if I could find some stories about our ancestors who were part of early U.S. history.  Since most of my grandparents and great-grandparents were immigrants themselves, there's really only one line that goes back to the Mayflower, but that works.

Here's one little mini-biography, for Reuben Warriner, Jr.:

Reuben Warriner Jr. was born on Nov. 7, 1756 at Springfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts to Reuben Warriner Sr. and Sarah Willard. He married Sarah Colton on February 15, 1783. Reuben Warriner Jr. served in the Revolutionary War as a private in Captain James Shaw and Col. Pyncheon's Regiments and as a Corporal in Capt. Abel King's regiment from Springfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts. When the war was over he settled in Vershire, Vermont. He died on Dec. 29, 1836 at Vershire, Orange, Vermont.

After doing some research, I found that Col. Pyncheon's regiment participated in the Bennington Alarm and also the Battle of Saratoga, and according to "Participants in the Battles of Saratoga," that included Reuben Warriner.  This was a pivotal battle in the war; isn't it nice to know you have an ancestor who helped?
Battle of Saratoga

In late September and during the first week of October 1777, Gate's American army was positioned between Burgoyne's army and Albany. On October 7, Burgoyne took the offensive. The troops crashed together south of the town of Saratoga, and Burgoyne's army was broken. In mop-up operations 86 percent of Burgoyne's command was captured.

The victory gave new life to the American cause at a critical time. Americans had just suffered a major setback the Battle of the Brandywine along with news of the fall of Philadelphia to the British.

One American soldier declared, "It was a glorious sight to see the haughty Brittons march out & surrender their arms to an army which but a little before they despised and called paltroons."

A stupendous American victory in October 1777, the success at Saratoga gave France the confidence in the American cause to enter the war as an American ally. Later American successes owed a great deal to French aid in the form of financial and military assistance.
I found this picture of Reuben Warriner on the Warriner Family website.  I don't know which Reuben it is (there are at least three in my PAF file), because there weren't any dates associated with it, but I think it's fascinating anyway.  If you want to read more about the Warriner Family of New England, go to this link to Open Library.  You can either read the book - written in 1898 - online or download it as a PDF file.  


Another fifth-great grandfather, Aaron Palmer, also participated in the Revolutionary War, although I couldn't find much more information than that he was included in this list of men "that marched to West Chester under the command of Capt. Ephraim Warren, it being the Fifth Company in the Eleventh Regiment of Militia in the colony of Connecticut" and that someone filed a pension application on his behalf.

Another grandfather, Nathaniel Graves, lived in Athol, Massachusetts, during this time period. There's an interesting history of that town which can be found online - here - and it mentions a couple of Graves that participated in the battle at Bennington, Reuben and Abner.  Maybe they were Nathaniel's brothers or cousins.

Anyway, I hope you've found this interesting.  I could keep looking for more fun tidbits, but I guess I should go fix dinner now.  Have a Happy Fourth of July!!