JAMES HUNTSMAN, JR.
AND HIS SON
ISAIAH HUNTSMAN, SR.
Among those whose names should be written and recorded with the long list of pioneers, is James Huntsman Jr. and wife Mary Johnson Huntsman and their son, Isaiah Huntsman Sr. and wife Rebecca Ames Huntsman. This is their story.
James (James1) Huntsman was born around 1740 (some records show in England) and Married Debra Massey in 1770 in Northumberland, Pennsylvania. Debra was born 1750 in LaGrange, Indiana. James (James1 James2) Huntsman Sr. was born sometime around 1772-1780 and the second child to James and Debra Huntsman. James Huntsman Sr. Married Maria Catherina Wirick (Weyrick), who was born August 15, 1775 in Lebanon, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. James (James 1 James 2 James3) Huntsman Jr was born, June 6th, 1801, in Washington County, Pennsylvania and was the 5th child of 14. He married Mary Johnson Huntsman. Mary was born May 6th, 1801 in Washington, Pennsylvania. Isaiah (Isaiah4,James3, James2, James1) born, 14th September, 1829, at Perry Township, Richland County, Ohio.
James Jr. spent his childhood in Washington County, Pennsylvania. While in his early teens his Father, James Sr., grandfather, James, and most of his adult children moved to Ohio. Some of the family stopped in Belmont County and then later in 1816 moved to Richland County. His uncles Jonathan, Jesse, John' and William, and aunt Deborah and her husband Peter Weyrick, moved their families to Richland County, Ohio and settled in Perry Township.
Perry Township is one of the original surveyed of the Congressional townships and contains 36 sections. Originally a large part of the township was covered with forest, and the decayed accumulation of many years formed a soil which could be easily plowed with a boot-heel. This land was inviting to the Pennsylvania farmers that made up the first settlers. Here the land was plentiful and cheap. Many of the settlers had served in the war of 1812 and arrived soon after their service."
The first election held 3 September 1816, brought the organization of the township. John Cook and James Huntsman Sr. were elected as trustees while his brother Jonathan was the first town clerk. Most of the family settled on sections 21 and 22. Peter Weyrick settled his family on section 12. In 1848 Morrow County was formed and the dividing line cut across Perry township north and south between sections 21 and 22. This put the Huntsman family in two separate counties.
James Huntsman Jr. was successfully engaged in agriculture and at the time of Isaiah's birth in 1826, there was nothing to indicate the hardships and suffering that were to come into their lives and disrupt the peace and tranquility of the farm life they loved so much. Yet, there would be a new sense of security and peace in the midst of the confusion.
In October of 1830 Parley P. Pratt, Ziba Peterson, Oliver Cowdery. and Peter Whitmer were given the assignment by Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the Restored Church of the Latter Days, to preach the gospel to the Lamanites. Since Parley had previously lived in the area of Cleveland and Kirtland, Ohio they went through that area on their way west. The missionaries spent some time proselyting among the old acquaintances of Mr. Pratt. The result was that within two or three weeks, 127 were converted and baptized. This number soon increased to one thousand. Among these converts was Sidney Rigdon the pastor of a small congregation at Mentor, Ohio. Rigdon became a strong missionary to the cause.
Soon after the conversion of Sidney Rigdon, the headquarters of the Church was located in Kirtand, Ohio. Missionaries were sent out from there to preach the Gospel. In 1830 Rigdon traveled over much of Eastern Ohio and especially in the area of Richland County. He was an eloquent speaker and knowledgeable on religious matters. As a result of his work ten or twelve families joined the Mormon Church, among them the James Huntsman family.
Isaiah was not yet four years of age, when the new and sweeping religious movement came into existence. The Huntsman's had always affiliated with the religions of their choice and were active members, but something was different and more fulfilling in this new movement. Shortly after James Huntsman came in contact with the new doctrine, he and his wife, Mary, accepted and were baptized, the year being 1830. Family records claim James was number 30 and Mary, his wife, number 31 as members of the Church. It is more likely that they were the 30th and 31st in their neighborhood as a church was later established at Perry and by 1836 there were 37 members of the Perry Church still in good standing.
From that day forward, their course of life was changed and along with the spiritual gratification they found in this new religion, came persecution and heartache that is impossible to describe. James, Mary and family, moved back to Lake County, Ohio, to be near the body of the church, but they seemed to have traveled and lived a great deal, during their early period in the Church, in both Lake and Richland Counties, Ohio. In Richland County, their first five Children were born, Lavina, April 1st, 1823, -- Catherine, September 27th, 1825,--Isaiah, September 14th, 1826,--Isaac, August 19th, 1828,--and Gabriel, October 5th, 1830. In Lake County, Iowa, three more were born to them. William, 28th of July, 1832,--Jacob, 5th of July, 1834,--and Jesse, 19th of September, 1836.
Joseph Smith organized an army of men to march from Kirtland, Ohio to Jackson County, Missouri a journey of 900 miles. The mission of Zion's Camp was to render aid to the Saints in Jackson County. Men left on missions to recruit other men and money for the journey.
Saturday May 10, 1834, Joseph Smith's group traveled a westerly course, passing through the town of Mansfield, in Richland County, Ohio. A small group led by Elias Benner sought men and money from the branches there. James Huntsman did not join the camp as his wife was soon to give birth to their seventh child but it is likely that he contributed funds.
September 3 and 4. 1836, a conference was held in the Perry Church. The minutes, recorded in the Journal History of the Church, are as follows: Sunday September 4, 1836. On this and the preceding day September 3rd and 4th a conference was held in Perry Church, Richland County, Ohio. In organizing to transact business Elder Henry Sherwood was duly called to the chair and George C. Wilson chosen clerk.
Meeting opened by prayer and remarks from the chair on the nature and design of the meeting. The business was then called for when Daniel Cam a priest, represented Perry Church as having 37 members nearly all in good standing. Lewis Wilson represented Perrysville, Ashland County, Ohio, Church with 29 members all in good standing. Jacob Myers. presiding Elder in Worthington, Richland County, Ohio, branch represented that with 24 members nearly all in good standing. Cephus McVay presiding Elder of Wayne Church, Knox County, represented that a church with 24 members in good standing. Elder Sherwood represented 7 members in Licking County near Granville, Licking, all in good standing, making 121 in all. Several persons were presented for ordination. After being addressed from the chair upon the subject of being ordained to the Holy Priesthood of God, the following persons came forward, and Daniel Cam, William Rood, Lewis J. Wilson and George L Wilson were ordained to the office of Elders. It was voted that James Huntsman, a priest, in the Perry Church, then off on a mission, be ordained an Elder, William Werick, John McVay, and John Jenkins were ordained priests. Nathan Packer a teacher and Jacob Werick a deacon. After much instruction to priests and people present, the meeting of the first day closed with much love to God and man.
Sabbath at ten O' Clock the meeting opened by Elder Myers who addressed us on the subject of the depravity of man and followed by Elder George G. Smith on the gospel and closed with an address appropriate to the situation of the members their privileges, duties etc., after which two came forward for baptism. After the administration, we convened for a sacramental confirmation meeting, when two others came forward for baptism, who after the administration were confirmed at the water's edge and the meeting closed, when many were greatly encouraged to strive for the crown.
As a result of much dissension from neighbors and members in Kirtland, the decision was made to move the body of the people to Missouri, in obedience to revelation. The move, started in 1837, and brought several thousand people into Missouri.
The same year members of the Perry Church sold their homes and land and traveled west to join the body of the church in Missouri. The Huntsman's arrived in Jackson County amidst the turmoil and strife going on then. In Jackson County, Missouri they felt they would be able to build a new home and worship God, according to the dictates of their heart and in the way outlined by their leaders. There was no doubt in their minds as to the truthfulness of the Gospel and their desire was to teach their children to be faithful members of the church and receive the joy from the service of their God.
The journey to Missouri was hard and for a family of considerable means, it took a great deal of courage and faith to travel the road of the Mormon pioneer, but their faith never wavered. Jackson and Clay Counties, Missouri, seemed to be a far distant home place, but the leaders thought they had established a "home in the west" for the weary traveler, where they could establish a church and build homes for their families. On 18th of February 1838 Marry gave birth to her 9th child, Peter, while living in Jackson County. In April, 1839, Isaiah was baptized in the Church, at age 13. The inhabitants had no intentions of allowing the Mormons to live among their midst and once again, the Huntsmans, along with their friends and relatives, felt the sting of persecution, as the mobs took to violence to run the Mormons out of the territory. Early in Isaiah's life, he learned to use the rifle and defend his people and property. His childhood was not that of the average child today, because the people were in constant fear of their lives and were trained at an early age to defend life and property. James and family, planted roots in Missouri, only a short time.
Joseph Smith, Parley P. Pratt and other Church leaders were taken prisoner. (In his life story years latter, Peter Huntsman, son of James, stated that his father was taken prisoner with the Prophet. James was badly abused and persecuted but was later released). When they were forced by the mobs to leave their home, James and his Family had very little of their personal belongings that could be taken with them and this journey to Illinois was far harder on the family than the one from Ohio to Missouri.
On May 1st 1839 the Prophet and others purchased 138 acres of swamp land on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River for $5,000.00 Later others purchases were made and the Saint began to settle Nauvoo. There, in Commerce, (now Nauvoo), on the banks of the disease infested Mississippi River, they once more set about building a home and settling to family life. By this time, the Huntsman's were stripped of all their wealth and belongings and they had to begin anew. James and Mary were a proud and industrious couple and together, they set about the task at hand. Here, their last two children were born. Sarah, June 3rd, 1841 and the last born, Keziah, September 2nd, 1843. The Saints were able to practice their religion in Nauvoo without much interference. They began to baptize for the dead. James did baptisms, in 1841, for his grandfather James Huntsman and his sister Nancy Huntsman. In 1842 we find James Huntsman paying taxes on property in Nauvoo, located on lots 6N8W and 6N6W, and a member of the Nauvoo 2nd Ward. He was also a member of the Nauvoo Legion.
Mob violence, once again, rose it's head and poured persecution down upon them. Trouble began again for the Mormon people. Others seeing their prosperity, along with dissatisfied members began to make charges against Joseph and Hyrum Smith. Soon enemies caused the assassination of both men on 27 July 1844. It was here in Nauvoo that some of the Huntsman families faith began to waiver. Some of their loved ones and friends were unable to muster the courage to go on to conquer a new frontier and among those that remained behind, was James' oldest daughter, Lavina, who had married Nelson Lofton and resided in Quincy, Illinois.
The Church continued to receive harassment from within and without until, under the leadership of Brigham Young, they made plans to go west. The public decision to leave was made on February 2. The first group of church authorities and their families, crossed the Mississippi on 4 February 1846. In succeeding days several hundred left and assembled in temporary camps in Iowa. On February 24 the temperature dropped to twelve degrees below zero, freezing over the river and permitting great caravans to cross on the ice. By mid-May more than ten thousand Saints had crossed the Mississippi. By mid June Brigham had reached the Missouri River and established temporary headquarters on the lands of the Pottawatomie Indians. The east bank camps were at the present location of Council Bluffs, Iowa, at what the Mormons came to call Kanesville. The west bank camps, at present day Florence, near Omaha, Nebraska, at what was called Winter Quarters. The James Huntsman family camped at Council Bluffs, Pottawatomie County. They were living there when the 1850 census was taken. Here, for the first time in years, James and his family found peace and for a short period of time, they prospered. Here also, Branches of the church were organized and they were able to worship God according to their faith.
In 1846, a call was made by the United States Government to Brigham Young for 500 healthy young men, to join the Mormon Battalion, to march to Mexico to defend the United States, The United States Government had failed to lift a hand to assist the Mormons, during the persecutions in Missouri and Illinois and now they were asking the Church to furnish 500 of their fine young men to go into battle. Isaiah was 20 years of age and was one of the volunteers. He was assigned to Company"B" and soon, they were on their way. The only thing good about this, was that their military pay was to be given to the Church to sustain their families and the needy members of the Church, of which their were many. (The Mormon Battalion is well known by the students of history, but the sufferings and the inconvenience of the soldiers, is known only to those who marched. Although no shots were fired, they felt the weight of the undertaking. No lives were lost, but many became violently ill from spoiled food and exhaustion and later, it was learned that their "Mormon hating" officer was putting arsenic, in small amounts, in their food.)
James was ordained a Bishop 24 July 1846, and was assigned to care for some of the families of the men that marched with the Mormon Battalion. James and Mary remained in Iowa to fill his duties as Bishop until 1851. During the spring of 1851 the Huntsman family made preparations to make the westward journey. James was busy seeing to the needs of the battalion families in his care as well as his own large family.
While there their son Isaac died of cholera in 1850. Some family records show that he married Mary Shepherd, but this has not been verified. While on his second mission Gabriel Huntsman visited the place where the grave of Isaac was located. Following is an entry from his journal: (Friday 12, I concluded to visit my Brothers Isaac's grave that I buried on the Bluffs in July 1850. I ascended the high Bluff & soon reached the grave yard. I found the ticketing that I had placed around brothers grave but it had been moved from the grave of my brother. Here I offered up a prayer to the Lord & dedicated the lost grave of my brother to him & asked him to accept of my labor in search of the lost grave & then asked him to reveal the grave of my brother if it was his pleasure & I was answered in this way. The dead will be cared for. Go & preach my gospel. This answer made me happy. I traveled to fathers old place one mile north then returned to the city feeling well & happy. Stayed all night with Huntington in good health.)
In 1847, Isaiah was released from his military duties and he, along with others of his buddies, wended their way from California to the Great Salt Lake City, Utah. They wandered off the trail and found themselves in what is now, Millard Valley. Isaiah was so impressed with the beauty and possibilities of this valley, that he vowed he would build a home there, for his family to be, someday. When he reached Salt Lake Valley, he found that his family had not yet arrived. He and other members of the Battalion, organized a wagon train and made several trips to and from Council Bluffs, Iowa, where his parents, James and Mary, resided and were doing quite well, financially. (This is the only record that we have of Isaiah's experience of his more than one year plus that he spent in the Morman Battalion. Fortunately there is a lot of records that have been recorded of the Battalions daily journeys and official Mormon Battalion Records.)
Just when and where Isaiah and Rebecca Carter Ames met, is not known, but Rebecca's father, Ira Ames, was also an early convert to the Mormon faith and was driven by mobs, with the body of the Church. According to Ira Ames history, Rebecca's mother, Charity Carter Ames died June, 1839, because of the hardships and severe trials of mind and the scenes she had passed through in the mobbing at Far West. They had five children at this time. The Marriage of Isaiah Huntsman and Rebecca Carter Ames, is recorded in the Pottawatomie County records, on 16th of January, 1849, listing Isaiah, from Council Bluffs, and Rebecca, from Springtown, Pottawatomie County, Iowa. There, in Council Bluffs they resided and Ezra Huntsman, their first child, and son, was born, 12th of November, 1849. They made their home there until 1851, when Brigham Young sent a letter to the "Saints in Iowa" saying, if they wanted to be numbered among the Saints in Zion, they were to sell their homes and property and move to the Rocky Mountains.
True to their belief in following the council of their leaders, James Huntsman and his wife Mary and family, which included Isaiah, wife Rebecca, their son Ezra, prepared for their journey West. This time, not in persecution, but by their will to serve their God, and to be among His people, they headed westward. They arrived in Salt Lake Valley, in the fall of 1851, and settled in Millcreek, South Salt Lake. Here, they apparently bought a farm took up farming, plus, Isaiah began working with the blacksmith trade, which he mastered with the army. In Mill Creek, a daughter, Harriet, was born to Isaiah and Rebecca, on 25th December, 1852. (There is question as to when James and Mary crossed the plains among family history. In the Pioneer Prominent Men of Utah the records stated that James came with Brigham Young, however he is not on the list. The same record shows his wife and family came in 1851 as the history of Isaiah shows. There are records that show that Christopher Abel Arthur bought the James Huntsman farm in the mouth of Big Cotton Wood sometime after he came to Utah, August 17, 1851 and sold it for gold after he was called to move to Cedar City in 1854. If this is verified, James at least would of had to come to Utah in 1851, as Isaiah's history shows. In the HUNTSMAN HERITAGE it states: it appears that they came in 1852, possibly in the Thomas D. Howell Company that left Kanesville on 7 June and arrived in the valley 27 September 1852.The 1850 census shows that he was still in Iowa. The 1850 census shows that he was still in Iowa. He had been appointed as Bishop in Iowa to watch over and see to the families of the Battalion.)
Late in October of 1851, two companies set out for Fillmore. One, under the direction of Brigham Young, came to choose a building site for the new State Capitol, and to survey the city. The other company, under the direction of Anson Call, came to make a settlement. At the suggestion of Brigham Young the site is called Fillmore.
The following October, 1852 many more families arrived in the little year-old settlement. The next year, 1853, more people were sent, among them were James Huntsman, his wife Mary, and their children Cathy, Gabriel, William, Jacob, Hesse, Peter, Sarah and Kesiah. Isaiah could not forget the beautiful valley of Millard County, Utah and in the spring of 1854, he moved his family to Fillmore. Here, he took up agriculture, on a small scale and followed the trade of blacksmith.
James and his family lived in the old fort for several years. Fillmore had been chosen as the Capitol of the Territory and work had begun on the Capitol building. James had a number of grown sons who worked on it. James received his patriarchal blessing 7 January 1856, from Isaac Morley and was ordained a High Priest.
The settlers decided they needed a big ditch to carry water to the fields west of town called "The Sinks. Isaiah Huntsman and Wesley Dame invented a two-way plow that was used to dig the ditch, it threw the dirt both ways and was a real help. Also James Huntsman was a mechanic, he invented a gadget called the milo-meter, with which to measure the daily mileage the Saints traveled. Appleton Harmon takes the credit for the making of it, but James Huntsman invented it.
James Huntsman had always been a full tithe payer and had donated liberally to the church. The story is told about Brigham Young visiting James when he stopped in Fillmore over night on his way to his St. George winter home. James was out chopping wood when Brigham Young arrived. Brigham and James talked for a while then Brigham said "What I really came to ask you is why don't you take another wife; you are financially able to care for several wives." Brigham went in the house and after greeting Mary, asked her consent for James to take a second wife. Mary was drinking a cup of coffee, she threw the cup of coffee in Brigham's face and said, "This is my answer." Brigham went back out and said to James' "James you have all the wives you can handled." Mary was quick tempered although she was a real kind mother.
In later years James and Mary built a large brick home and lived very comfortably. They owned a large farm and had cattle, horses, and sheep, which were cared for by their large family. They were used to hard work. Many of James and Mary children became very successful in that aria.
While in Fillmore, five more children were born to Isaiah and Rebecca; Ira Huntsman, October 6th, 1854; Isaiah Huntsman Jr., September 10th, 1856; Clarissa Huntsman, December 11th, 1858; Isabella Huntsman, November 21st, 1860; and Estella Huntsman, January 24th, 1863.
Isaiah was called to Cache Valley, in 1864/65 and lived there six years. There, he and Rebecca were blessed with four more children: James Ames Huntsman, April 13th, 1865; William Huntsman, December 17th, 1867; and their last two children, Twins, Emer and Elmer, April 9th, 1870, Emer dying in May 1870.
Isaiah entered the Order of Plural Marriage in 1856, taking as his second wife, Emma Melissa King, daughter of John Morris King and Sarah Ann Jewell. To this union were born seven children. Rebecca and Emma were step-sisters and worked very well together. A great love and devotion developed. Emma had a special talent for homemaking and Rebecca was an excellent seamstress, weaver and knitter. Because of the great love for one another, they were able to work out a harmonious life between the two families. Through the lifetime of the children of those two wives, close contact was kept and a great love for one another, maintained.
Isaiah and a Mormon battalion friend, Robert Cowden Egbert, made an agreement with each other, that if one or the other were to die, the other would care for the orphaned family. A few years following the death of Robert C. Egbert, Isaiah in 1868, married his widow, Seviah Cunningham Egbert, and took her as a plural wife. She had six children from Robert Egbert. Sometime after Robertís Egbert death Seviah let some of Robertís relatives living in Kaysville, Davis Co., and also in Salt Lake Co., take in some of her sons to work for them in exchange for schooling with room and board. She worried about their welfare, but was unable to provide for them on her own. Seviah and some of her children moved to Wellsville, Cache Co., Utah where Isaiah and his two other wives and families were living. Isaiah and Seviah had one child, Louisa Huntsman, born in Wellsville, Cache, Utah, July 22, 1869. Due to the problems of adjusting to the other plural wives and families, Seviah and Isaiah divorced. She moved to Kaysville, Utah. Sometime before 1873, Isaiah and his two wives and families moved to Annabella, Sevier County, Utah, where Isaiah continued his blacksmith trade and farmed a small acreage on the "outskirts" of Annabella.
In Isaiah's 27 years in Utah, he built fourteen homes for his families. He did much to build up the communities he called home. He fought in the Indian wars in Utah, helped conquer the wilderness and left an honorable heritage. He remained true to the faith of the Mormon Doctrine and took an active part in church activities. On the 3rd of June 1878, at the age of 52, following a brief illness, Isaiah passed away at his home in Annabella, Utah. Due to a former request and his heart's desire, his body was taken to Fillmore, where he was laid to rest in the "land beautiful" next to his father, James' grave. James had died in Fillmore, Millard County, Utah November 10th, 1871, at the age of 70.
Isaiah's widow, Rebecca Carter Ames Huntsman, eventually moved, after Isaiah's death, to Cainsville, Utah. After her son Elmer, wife Augusta, and family moved back to Annabelle, Utah, Rebecca moved to Moab, Grand County, Utah to live with one of her son's and died there, January 15th, 1915 at the age of 89.
When gold was discovered in California, three of James and Catherine's sons, William, Jesse and Jacob, and daughter Catherine, married to Gilbert Bickmore, left Utah for California, to dig for gold. Sometime after the death of James in 1871 Mary Johnson Huntsman ended up moving to California, to be with some of her family and she died August 15th, 1895 in San Bernardineo, Los Angeles County, California, at the age of 94 and is buried in Arroyo Grand, California where many of her Grandchildren are buried. All the sons returned to Fillmore for at least part of their Lives.
We cannot forget the roles the wives and children played in this journey: So to James Huntsman Jr., wife Mary Johnson Huntsman and Isaiah Huntsman Sr. and wife Rebecca Carter Ames Huntsman, we, their descendants, pay tribute. "for no greater love hath a man" than he carve a home of peace and love in a wilderness and a firm faith in God.