John Nuffer

John and Louisa Nuffer Family

John and Louisa Nuffer Family

Here is a copy of the autobiography of John Nuffer, brother to siblings Regina Wanner (my great great Grandmother) and Charles August Nuffer.

I was born December 4, 1862 at Neuffen, Wuerttemberg, Germany, the eldest son of [John] Christopher and Agnes Barbara Spring Nuffer. After attending the common grade schools for eight years I was confirmed in the Lutheran Church, at age of thirteen years.

I was apprenticed to an architect builder in the building trade in the city of Stuttgart where I labored with the stone cutters and masons six months in the summer time, and attended the Architectural college the six remaining months alternately for three years, when I received my diploma as a journeyman in the building trade. The following spring I emigrated with my father’s family to America the first week in May 1880.

My mother died when I was four years old. There was another boy, Fred, of the same mother, a year and a half old when she died. Father married another woman, Eva Katrina Greiner. Through her influence the family joined the Church.

This is how the Nuffer family joined the Mormon Church:

In the year 1879 the missionary, Henry Flam, a distant relative of the Nuffer family came to the city of Neuffen, the State of Wuerttemberg, Germany, preaching his religion to the family of John Christopher Nuffer in a cottage meeting. The following families attended the meeting: Jacob Schweitzer, Anton Lalatin, Abraham Kneiting. They all joined the Church and in 1880, immigrated to Utah, with the exception of the Kneiting family who emigrated in 1881. Now Eva Katrina Nuffer, wife of John Christopher Nuffer, being a very religious woman accepted the doctrine first, being somewhat out of harmony in her belief with the States’ Kirche, (State Church), the Lutheran Church, especially on the doctrine of child baptism, vicarious atonement and the punishment for Adam’s transgression. It was she who kept the doctrines before the others, so when Elder John Theurer followed Elder Henry Flam, the following year to visit them, the four families Nuffer, Schweitzer, Lalatin and Kneiting were ready to be baptized by Elder Theurer, which took place at the house of Christopher Nuffer. There was a running millrace at the rear of the house which they dammed off with planks. The baptism took place at night to keep them from disturbance, for there was much hostility in the town. The town parson especially made a tirade against it in his Sunday sermon. To avoid persecution, they decided to emigrate as soon as possible.

They sold their holdings at once at auction sale, at a great loss to the real value. In the first days of May 1880 the three families Nuffer, Schweitzer and Lalatin left Neuffen by team to the capitol of the state, Stuttgart, from where they took the train to Mannheim (Home of Men) on the Rhine River. Here they joined a party of about thirty from Switzerland under the leadership of Elder John Theurer. From Mannheim they took two boats down the River Rhine to the North Sea. Here they took the steamer to Hull, England and then crossed England on the railroad to Liverpool. Here more Saints joined them. They left Liverpool in the company of about two hundred. After three weeks on the Atlantic Ocean they arrived in New York. From here the leaders chartered a special train which in about a weeks time went directly to Ogden, Utah, where they were royally received by some of the Saints.

The Nuffer family then went to Logan (1880). I was baptized on the first Tuesday in August in the Blacksmith Fork River by Nicholas Summers, confirmed by John Lederman. I got a job working on the Logan Temple the first winter as a stonecutter. Father’s family bought a home in Providence and settled there. The second year I worked in Salt Lake on the Deseret University building for contractor Elias Morris as a stonecutter and mason.

In 1882 I went with Tom Ricks to Montana to do some mason work on the Great Northern Railroad. I stayed there about six months. I came back to Logan and worked on the Logan Temple helping to finish the baptismal font and helped to point (to point is to fill and finish carefully the joints with mortar) the Temple until it was finished on the outside. In the fall of 1883 I persuaded father’s family to sell their home and we moved into Idaho and took up a homestead in Worm Creek, Oneida County, then called Preston, now called Glendale.

On September 18, 1884, I married Louisa Zollinger and was sealed in the Logan Temple in 1891. She was the daughter of Ferdinand and Louisa Meier Zollinger. We lived at Glendale until the fall of 1890 when we moved to Preston, having been called by the Church to take charge and superintend the building of the Oneida Stake Academy.

In the spring of 1895, I was called on a mission to Germany. I worked in the city of Stuttgart eleven months, presiding over that branch and baptized five persons. From there I went to Nuremberg where I labored six months. From there I was called to Mission headquarters in Bern, Switzerland, to edit the “Stern”, the German edition of the Millennial Star. While there I translated B.H. Roberts’ “The Gospel”, and Wilford Woodruff’s “Experiences”, and “The Key to Theology” into the German language, which were published as serials in the “Stern”.

In the summer of 1897 I received my release and taking charge of a company of Saints, I arrived in Salt Lake the third of July and arrived at my home in Preston on the 4th of July 1897.

After coming home I was contracting building in partnership with Joseph S. Geddes, building several residences, the Weston Tabernacle, The First Ward chapel, and several school houses and other buildings. After that I opened an architect office and planned most of the older business blocks, the Opera House, State Bank building, the Oneida Stake Science building and several other school buildings outside of Preston at McCammon and Grace.

When Preston was organized into a village I served four years as a village trustee, and two years as village clerk until Preston was organized into a city.

Eleven children were born to us: Luther Jacob, John Willard, Louis Ferdinand, Herman Christopher, Austin Ekert, Karl Aaron, Agnes Louise, Myron David, Florence Myrtle, Edwin Joseph and Athene Barbara.

The foregoing was told to Jennie Smart Nuffer

September 1938

John Nuffer raised apples for many years. His orchard was located at the family home East on Fourth South Street. When he retired from public office, he continued to look after his fruit raising as well as dairy cattle. He was very proud of the fine fruit he raised and never over-charged for his produce. His health failed very fast following the death of his wife on October 1945 and he followed her in death on June 4, 1946. He was buried in the Preston Cemetery. He was a High Priest.

Samuel Deer Davis

Another family history story.  This one is interesting in that his Idaho case went before the United States Supreme Court in Davis v. Beason.  This is the biography of Samuel Deer Davis (1859-1923) written by Dean G Grow, his great-grandson.  Samuel Deer Davis married Mary Jane Williams, daughter of Sarah Jane Davis and John Haines Williams.  Mary is the sister to David Davis Williams who I also previously shared his biography.

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“This is the history of my great-grandfather, who was instrumental in the legal attempts that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints undertook to counter the continuing political and legal assault against the Church due to the practice of polygamy in the late 1880’s not only in Utah but in Idaho where he lived.

“Samuel D. Davis was born in Salt Lake City on 22 July 1859 to David Woodwell Davies and Mary Deer.  Samuel’s father had been a missionary in his native Wales for seven years before coming to America.  Aboard ship, David met his bride-to-be, Mary Deer, also a native of Wales.  When they arrived in Kansas City, Missouri, it was too late in the year, creating a delay in getting to the Salt Lake Valley.  So they decided to marry.  This occurred on 25 November 1852, in Kansas City.  They most likely traveled across the plains with a group of Welsh immigrants in the summer of 1853.

Samuel Deer Davis

Samuel Deer Davis

“After arriving in Salt Lake Valley, David being a painter and a glazier, set up his home and they began their life there.  David and Mary’s first son, David Thomas was born on 4 March 1854 in Salt Lake City.  Their second son, Woodwell was born in 1856 in Salt Lake City.  David was sealed to Mary on 2 March 1856 in the Presidents office in Salt Lake City.  At the same time and place, he was sealed to Elizabeth Berry, thus becoming a polygamist.  Elizabeth being a native of Bath, Summerset, England.  Their third son, Samuel Deer as indicated earlier was born in 1859.  They were all shown on the 1860 U. S. Census, living in the 8th Ward in Salt Lake City.  It was soon after that, Woodwell died, date unknown.  Their fourth and fifth sons, twins, Hyrum Eynon and Joseph were born on 15 August 1862.  Joseph died as an infant, but Hyrum lived to adulthood.  Their last son, Septimus was born and died soon after in 1864, probably about the time that his father David Woodwell, died of consumption (Tuberculosis) on 20 March 1864.  Thus Mary was left with three boys ages 10, 5, and 2.  I was unable to determine what happened to Elizabeth Berry.

“In November of 1864, Mary married a man named George R. McLaughlin of whom we can find no record of birth, death or census information.  They had a son George R. Jr. who was born 27 August 1865.  Their second child, Mary Ellen was born about 1866 and died soon after.   Mary’s second husband, George treated her harshly and abandoned her many times.  One time for almost a year.  The last time, she heard he was living in Cheyenne, Wyoming and had no plans to return.  She divorced him on the 20th of January 1868.  Thus Mary was continuously left with four boys to feed and care for.  It was soon after this that she became seriously ill and the doctor told her she would soon die.  Her last son, George was a toddler at the time.  A neighbor, Charles and Jemima Walker offered to adopt George and Mary regretfully consented as she didn’t want to leave such a young child.  Not long after, Mary recovered and went back to the Walkers pleading with them to return her son, but they refused.  They were still neighbors in the 1870 Census with the Walkers showing George as their son at age 5.  George died 29 January 1889 at the age of 24 in a train accident returning to Sugar House, Utah from an outing with friends to Red Bluff Quarry.

“Toward the end of the year, Mary met John Evan Price, another Welshman and became a polygamous wife of his on 26 December 1870.  Mary was 39 years of age and 14 years his junior.  He was in good financial circumstances at this time according to their granddaughter.  He had settled in Samaria, Oneida, Idaho on April 16, 1868 with one other family, being one of the first.  He is also credited with giving Samaria it’s name.  Several others settled there the next month.  A branch of the Church was organized there in November of 1868.  Elder Lorenzo Snow, then of the Twelve Apostles, visited in July of 1869 and approved of the city plot, encouraging the settlers to continue to build and plant there.

“John brought Mary and her children to Samaria after their marriage.  Two additional children were born to this union, Margaret Ann Price on 10 January 1872 and Elizabeth Jane Price on 17 March 1875, both in Samaria.  Unfortunately, John died within a few years on 22 June 1878 in Samaria leaving Mary a widow again.  But this time she was left in good circumstances where she was able to sell off property to new immigrants to Samaria.  She reverted back to her Davis name after 1880.  Her sons were now getting older.  Her oldest, David Thomas was married in Samaria to Amy Ann Sawyer on 7 January 1879 just 6 months after John Evan Price died.  Mary was the postmistress of Samaria for many years and the Relief Society President for 17 years in Samaria.  Eliza R. Snow stayed in her home during a conference in Samaria.

“Her second son, the subject of this manuscript, Samuel D., had no formal education but only that which was from his mother, Mary.  He married Mary Jane Williams on 11 Oct 1882 in the Endowment House in Salt lake City.  Their first child, Sarah Jane, was born in August of 1883 and died the same month.  Their second child, Woodwell Williams was born 17 November 1884.  It was during this time that his wife encouraged him to get some formal education.  He started by attending the district school in Samaria.  Afterward he attended the James Chandler school in Washakie, Utah.  It was a great sacrifice and struggle as he continued to farm and support his family during that time.  He had so much success as a scholar in Washakie, that in 1886 he attended the Brigham Young College in Logan, Utah.  He also studied law during his evenings.  His third child, Edgar Williams was born on 1 March 1887.  He soon became a partner in a law firm in Malad, Idaho of Evans, Gibbs and Davis.

Mary Jane Williams Davis

Mary Jane Williams Davis

“At this time there was much pressure on the local LDS communities by the Idaho politicians who were strongly anti-Mormon, about the Church practice of polygamy.  75% of the population lived in the eastern half of the state and about 20% of those were L. D. S. which meant that they represented a large voting block.

“These following steps were in relation to the 1884-1885 law, not the 1889 one which was taken to the Supreme Court.

“From E. Leo Lyman’s “Political Background of the Woodruff Manifesto”:  “William Budge, the leading spokesman for the Church in Idaho, tried to bring as much pressure as he could on the outcome of the case.  Budge used Utah Congressional delegate John T. Caine to generate pressures on the Judge Berry through political friends back home.  He also traveled to the Blackfoot judicial headquarters to confer with Berry before he rendered his decision.  The judge, who recorded the conversation as accurately as he could recall, claimed the Church leader first quoted U.S. Solicitor General Jenks as saying that if the test oath law was taken before the United States Supreme Court, “it would not stand for a moment.” Budge also stressed the crucial nature of the pending decision on the continued allegiance of the Idaho Mormons to the Democratic party (Berry 1888).

“Berry’s reply demonstrated considerable admiration for Mormon industry and economic accomplishments but firmly stated his intent to “administer the laws as they were.” He made it clear he could not allow political considerations to affect his decision and expressed regret that the Mormons could not bring their marriage relations into “regulation step” with the rest of American society (Berry 1888). The published decision {Idaho Daily Statesman, 17, 20 Oct. 1888; Wood River Times, 16, 17, 24 Oct. 1888) not only upheld the test oath but ruled the Mormon arguments that they no longer taught or practiced plural marriage were merely a temporary posture of no importance so long as the general Church had made no changes on the question. The kind of concession necessary to relieve the disfranchisement onslaught, Judge Berry stressed, was a formal renunciation of the doctrine at a Church general conference, not unlike what actually occurred several years later.”

“From the Encyclopedia Britannica: “They enacted a law in 1884-1885 that all county and precinct officers were required to take a test oath abjuring bigamy, polygamy, or celestial marriage; and under this law in 1888 three members of the territorial legislature were deprived of their seats as ineligible.  An act of 1889, forbade in the case of any who had since the 1st of January 1888 practiced, taught, aided or encouraged polygamy or bigamy, their registration or voting until two years after they had taken a test oath renouncing such practices, and until they had satisfied the District Court that in the two years after they had been guilty of no such practices.

“The earlier law had been tested by the Church in the territorial federal courts, but was unsuccessful.  This 1889 law, regarding voting, was commonly called “The Idaho Test Oath” which meant essentially that if you were a member of the Church, whether practicing polygamy or not, you could not vote and was retroactive to January 1 the year before.  It appears that the Church decided to test this law all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

“In Samaria on Oct 27, 1888, 26 men including Samuel D. Davis asked to have their names removed from the records of the Church with apparent approval of the Church leaders so that they could vote in the November 1888 election but primarily to provide a test case.  There were about 30 in Malad City who did the same thing.  The new law having been enacted after the men had voted, they were indicted almost a year later for conspiracy to break a law that wasn’t created until the following year.  The case became known as “Davis vs. Beason” and can still be found today by searching the internet.

“From the Deseret News on September 21, 1889:  “The perjury case against Mr. Evans of Malad having been disposed of in the District Court of that place, the next matters of importance tackled were the conspiracy cases. Indeed there was practically but one case, fifty six persons having been included in one indictment.

“The matter came up for trial before Judge Berry on Tuesday, Sept. 10th [1889]. There was much disappointment among the virulent anti-“Mormon” element over the result of the case of perjury against Mr. Evans and the officers said that in the conspiracy matter they would get a jury together that would convict this time.  For this purpose they scoured the country and imagined they had got what they wanted when the panel was completed.

“The charge preferred in the indictment against the fifty-six defendants was substantially that they had conspired together to break the laws of Idaho Territory, notably the Idaho test oath law, by agreeing to vote at an election when they knew that they had no right to do so.

“The case was tried and at 6 p.m. on Wednesday was given to the jury.  On Thursday the 12th at 2 p.m. the jury came into the court with a verdict, in which they found fifty-five of the defendants not guilty and one guilty.  The latter was Samuel D. Davis of Samaria.

“A new trial was asked for Mr. Davis by counsel for the defense and denied, and the  court sentenced him to pay a fine of $500.  The fine was not paid and Mr. Davis placed in jail for a maximum of 250 days [$2 a day].  Judge Berry was applied to for a writ of habeas corpus which was also denied, and an appeal from his action was taken to the Supreme Court of the United States.

“The matter is in the best possible shape it could possibly assume for final adjudication. None of the acquitted fifty-five defendants can be again placed in jeopardy on the same subject, either under the title of conspiracy or any other.  The appeal to the Supreme Court involves the validity of the infamous test oath law, which will therefore be decided one way or the other.

“The defense was conducted with marked ability, the attorneys being Mr. J. S. Rawlins of Salt Lake, and Mr. J. N. Kimball of Ogden.   Mr. Standrod and “Kentucky Smith” appeared on the part of the prosecution.”

“From the above article it is clear that it was “arranged” in advance that one person would be the focal point for the test case.  That person, having probably volunteered due to his legal schooling, was none other than Samuel D. Davis.  He obviously knew that he would spend some time behind bars, but was willing to do that for the Church.

“To give a better idea of the named individuals in this case, they are as follows:  Charles H. Berry, a former attorney general of Minnesota, later on, an associate justice of the Idaho Supreme Court who would have jurisdiction as the Judge in this case in Malad City.  Joseph S. Rawlins was a city attorney in Salt Lake City and worked with Brigham Young and following Church leaders on matters of law.  He later served in the Congress of the U. S. and assisted in gaining statehood for Utah.  He was also known as the “Red-headed Reactor of the Rockies” because he made such a fight about the confiscation of the Church property.  It was through his efforts that the property was eventually restored.  J. N. Kimball also served as a defense attorney for the Church in Ogden.  Drew W. Standrod came to Malad City, Idaho from Kentucky with his parents and took up the practice of law there.  He was elected as the prosecuting attorney there twice and later became a judge moving to Pocatello.  “Kentucky” Smith is actually H. W. Smith who was an anti-Mormon lawyer of prominence in Ogden, Utah and the author of the “Idaho Test Oath” law.  He also later became a judge in Idaho.  Sheriff Harvey G. Beason was an appointed sheriff who was just 29 years old at this time.  His was the other name in the test case.  He soon after moved to Montana and then to Gillette, Wyoming where he lived until his death in 1939.

“From another article in the Deseret News written in Samaria on September 30, 1889.

“”A very strange scene was witnessed here on the 25th inst. (Sept 1889)  It will be remembered that Mr. Samuel D. Davis of this place was found guilty not long since at the District Court held at Malad City, of voting at the election held here last fall contrary to the provision of the anti-Mormon Test Oath law, and that he was sentenced to pay a fine of $500 and costs, pending payment of which he was sent to the county jail.  He applied for a writ of habeas corpus which was denied by Judge Berry.  Application was then made direct to  Washington for a similar writ.  Here it was thought the matter would rest for the present. But not so; on Sept. 13, Sheriff Beason came to Samaria and levied an attachment on Mr. Davis’ property having an order from the court to sell at public auction enough to cover fine and costs.  On the  25th inst. said order was carried into effect.  Sheriff Beason, Attorney Standrod, Treasurer D. Tovey,  Commissioner P. Fredrickson and a few others came over.  The sale began at 2 o’clock.  Mr. Davis’ only horse was sold to Meyer Kohn of Malad, for $21.00. (Mr. Kohn has since offered to return the animal for the same price), which was about one-fifth his real value.  Mr. Davis interest in the firm of Evans, Gibbs, & Davis was knocked off to Standrod for $190.00.

“It was the Intention to sell the little home where Mrs. Davis and her two little children reside, but the title being defective it was abandoned. This was all that could be found to sell and the sale came to a close.

“The sheriff seemed very dry after his labors for he and his companions indulged quite freely.  They had apparently come over well prepared.”

“This article indicates that Samuel’s family also suffered because of the case.  The article was incorrect in that there were “two little children” in the home.  My grandfather, John Vincent “Vin” Davis was born on 6 July 1889 and was just a few months old when this took place, which means that there were two little children and one infant.  It also indicates that his fine was reduced almost 40% by the $211.00 amount recovered in the sale.  Therefore his sentence would be reduced by about 100 days, leaving 150 days remaining to be served.  From the Deseret News on 11 January 1890, it indicates that the hearing was held in the U. S. Supreme Court, probably a day or two earlier.  The hearing is several pages of arguments both for and against which I will not be discussing here.  It can also be found on the internet by searching “Davis vs. Beason”.  The ruling was handed down on 2 February 1890, upholding the Idaho law.  At this time Samuel had been in jail for 113 days.  I was unable to determine whether he remained the last 30 some days in jail or whether the Church paid the balance of the fine to release him or whether he was reimbursed for his personal losses.  During this era many members sacrificed much for their belief.

“President Wilford Woodruff issued the “Manifesto” a few months later on 24 September 1890, ending plural marriage in the Church.  The Idaho law was changed in 1893, the disqualification was made no longer retroactive, the two-year clause was omitted, and the test oath covered only present renunciation of polygamy, thus allowing members to vote once again.  It took until the 1980’s to get similar wording in the Idaho State Constitution removed.

“Samuel D. Davis continued in his practice of law and in 1899 he was appointed Probate Judge of Oneida County, Idaho.  He was twice elected to this office.  In 1901, after the formation of the Idaho State Bar, he took the examination for the bar and was admitted to practice in all the courts of the state.

“His wife of 21 years, Mary Jane Williams Davis died on 19 March 1903 in Samaria.  Later that year he moved his family of boys to Malad City to continue his practice and opened a new law office there.  His brother-in-law,  Isaac B. Evans, who had been on a mission in the south, introduced him to a woman in Salt lake City, whom he had known while on his mission.  She was Alice Godwin, daughter of Handy Haywood Godwin and Elizabeth Ann Naylor Godwin.  They were natives of Clinton, Sampson, North Carolina.  She was a true daughter of the old south.  Samuel was very interested and she was interested also, but I’m sure was concerned by the thought of finishing the raising of 7 boys.  But apparently she was up to the task as they were married in the Salt Lake Temple on 13 November 1905.  She bore him 3 more children.  First, Mary Naylor Davis, 13 September 1906, second, Alice Deer Davis, 18 January 1908 and Samuel Godwin Davis on 6 March 1911, all in Malad City, Idaho.

“He continued in Malad City until moving to Salt Lake City about 1918.  He was there in the January 1920 U. S. Census.  He probably moved to Twin Falls, Idaho in the summer of 1920 to accept employment as the City Attorney.  Two of his boys followed him there.  One, Eugene, who was still living with him and the other, John Vincent and his family, who was still living in Samaria.  In June of 1923, he was made the Twin Falls Police magistrate, but unfortunately, he died within 6 months on 13 December 1923.  After the funeral, his body was shipped back to Samaria to be buried.  His second wife, Alice moved to Salt Lake City, where she died 13 January 1945.  Her body was also returned to Samaria to be buried.

“From the Twin Falls Times News:  “Judge Davis was early admitted to the bar in Idaho, and served as county attorney and probate judge in Oneida county.  He attracted wide attention in the early days by his success as an irrigation and criminal lawyer.  It was his boast that some of Idaho’s best known attorneys had begun their legal training in his office.  He was an active and prominent member of the L. D. S. Church serving as member of the High Council in Malad and Twin Falls.”

“Thus ended a long legal career in the State of Idaho and the life of a man who was willing to stand for  his principles, even risking all his possessions at one time.  He died at the age of 64, which would be considered still young by today’s standards.  His part in the legal battle was apparently unknown to his children, grandchildren and their descendants.  My mother did mention many years ago that she had heard about the voting issue.  Those of his children as indicated earlier were very young and would not have known about the landmark legal case, unless he had related it to them.  He was a good man and his story needed to be told, so that all would be aware of his sacrifice during another time of great difficulty in the history of the Church.

Williams-Davis Wedding

Here is another life sketch I want to share.  This time of John Haines Williams and Sarah Jane Davis.  John is the father of David Davis Williams and Mary Jane Williams Davis.  He is the brother to my David D Williams.  At some point I hope I have more history to write of David D and John Haines’ parents, but at this point there are far too many questions.  In all honesty, it seems that their parents John Williams and Frances Henneys have had their history confused, merged, and corrupted by some other Williams lines.  Until we can sort the real information on our line from the rest, I have delayed writing to keep from perpetuating mistakes and confusion.  For example, it appears John Williams died in Ogden, Weber, Utah in 1867.  But some have him merged and combined with John Williams who died in 1876, 1870, and 1867.  On with the already written history.

I will offer more family information after the life sketch.  I do not know who wrote this history.

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“John Haines Williams was born February 1, 1829, at Pembrey, Carmarthenshire, Wales, a son of John Williams and Frances Hennys.  He was the fourth child of ten children: Frances, Elizabeth, Catherine, John, Mary, David, Sarah, Richard and Joseph.  His father was a collier by trade and worked hard to sustain a large family.

“Sarah Jane Davis was born 5 July 1830 at Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, Wales, the daughter of William and Margaret Davis of Kidwelly.  She was the youngest of the nine children born in this family: Margaret, Mary, Ann, William, Eliza, John, David, Lewis, and Sarah Jane.

“After their marriage, John and Sarah Jane made their home in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales, where he worked in the coal mines.  Here two sons were born, William and David.  Upon hearing the gospel and the advantages of life in America, they worked, saved, and made plans for a new home there.  Those who emigrated in their party were: John, Sarah Jane, their sons, William and David, his father, John Williams, then a widower, and his two brothers,  David and wife and Richard.  They took passage from Liverpool, England with a group of Saints in the year 1855, spending eight weeks on the water.

“Landing in New York, they went to Scranton, Pennsylvania to make their home.  While living there, the men worked in the coal mines.  At Scranton, two more children were born, Thomas John and Ann.  The family lived in Scranton until 1859 and then came west, making their home in Ogden, Utah for several years.  There Eliza Bell, Sarah, John, and Mary were born.

“When a group of Saints were leaving for southeastern Idaho, John and Sarah Jane and their eight children went with them and settled in Malad Valley.  At first, they lived in Woodruff where George and Frances were born.  Later they moved to Malad and took up a homestead of three hundred twenty acres at Gwenford.  There they worked hard clearing the land of sage by hand to prepare it for planting.

“John Haines was a lover of fine horses and cattle.  Many people of the valley bought animals from him.  They built a three-room log house and were happy in their new home.  Here Joseph, the eleventh child, was born.

“Desiring the best in education for their children and having a desire to share their happiness in the truths of the gospel, Thomas was sent to Europe and labored as an L.D.S. missionary in England and Wales.  After his return home he attended school and taught school for many years.  This privilege could not be afforded the others after the death of their father.

“Sarah Jane was a very proud, cultured and refined woman, a wonderful homemaker, seamstress and cook.  Many enjoyed her delicious home-cooked meals.  She had to make bread nearly every day.  The Indians were prowlers at that time.  They came to her home often, but she believed in the admonition of President Brigham Young; It is better to feed them than fight them.  This she did.

“John Haines died on January 20, 1882 at the age of fifty-three.  Sarah Jane worked very hard caring for her family.  Her daughter, Frances, lived with her until her mother=s death on August 4, 1892.  They were both buried in the Malad City Cemetery.”

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Some more family history information.

John Haines Williams born 1 February 1829 in Pembrey, Carmarthenshire, Wales and died 20 January 1882 in Gwenford, Oneida, Idaho.  He was buried 23 January 1882 in Malad, Oneida, Idaho.

Sarah Jane Davis born 5 July 1830 in Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, Wales and died 4 August 1892 in Samaria, Oneida, Idaho.  She was buried 7 August 1892 in Malad.

John and Sarah were married in 1849 in Kidwelly.

Their children are:

William Davis Williams born 20 June 1850 in Burry Port, Carmarthenshire, Wales and died 10 May 1916 in Malad.  Buried 13 May 1916 in Malad.  Married Hannah Maria Thomas (1849-1900) 10 April 1871 in Samaria, Oneida, Idaho.

David Davis Williams born 19 June 1852 in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales and died 27 June 1927 in Samaria.  Buried 30 June 1927 in Samaria.  Married Rebecca Price Williams (1857-1936) 31 December 1877 in St. Johns, Oneida, Idaho.

Catherine Williams born 4 April 1854 in Llanelli and died 27 March 1856 in Pennsylvania.

Thomas Davis Williams born 3 August 1856 in Hyde Park, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania and died 24 January 1900 in Woodruff, Oneida, Idaho.  Buried 27 January 1900 in Samaria.  Married Mary Ann Davis (1860-1895) 20 January 1881 in Samaria.  He married Agnes Ellen Bowen (1868-1943) 18 May 1897 in Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah (married by Rudger Clawson, later LDS Apostle and member of the First Presidency).

Ann Ellen Williams born 11 April 1861 in Scranton, Lackawanna, Pennsylvania and died 26 August 1936 in Malad.  Buried 28 August 1936 in Malad.  Married Joshua “Jessie” Lewis Thomas (1857-1928) 26 March 1888 in Malad.

Sarah Williams born 3 May 1862 in Ogden, Weber, Utah.  We don’t know anything more about her.

Eliza Bell Williams born 4 June 1963 in Ogden and died 15 September 1941 in Samaria.  Buried 19 September 1941 in Samaria.  Married William Lewis Jones (1857-1889) 19 January 1887 in Logan, Cache, Utah.

Mary Jane Williams born 8 April 1864 in Ogden and died 20 March 1903 in Samaria.  Buried 24 March 1903 in Samaria.  Married Samuel Deer Davis (1859-1923) 10 October 1882 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.

John Haines Williams born 18 February 1866 in Ogden and died 9 August 1956 in Malad.  Buried 11 August 1956 in Samaria.  Married Rebecca Morse (1869-1938) 14 February 1886 in Malad.

George Haines Williams born 15 October 1867 in Woodruff and died 26 December 1950 in Woodruff.  Buried 29 December 1950 in Samaria.  Married Sarah Elizabeth Morse (1872-1908) 20 September 1890 in Samaria.

Frances Williams born 10 April 1870 in Woodruff and died 18 July 1948 in Woodruff.  Buried 20 July 1948 in Samaria.  Married Samuel John Williams (1865-1943) 14 December 1898 in Samaria.

Joseph Davis Williams born 15 January 1872 in Malad and died 5 November 1943 in Samaria.  Buried 9 November 1943 in Samaria.  Married Rachel Morse (1872-1937) 18 August 1896 in Samaria.

The Last Wagon

"To Them of the Last Wagon" by Lynn Fausett

In honor of Pioneer Day, here is a talk given in 1947 by J. Reuben Clark that has always touched me.  I think of it fairly regularly, especially when I find myself in a position of following others whose opinions or ideas just do not seem to make much sense to me.  I am reminded of my duty not to murmur and to do what I can and have the faith that the rest will just work out.  I just need to do the very best I can in the realm I life.  The caravan/wagon train moves on.

“At the near close of this one hundredth year of the entering into these valleys of your fathers and your mothers, some of yours and mine, I wish to speak a few further words of humble tribute and thanksgiving to them, and especially to the meekest and lowliest of them, those great souls, majestic in the simplicity of their faith and in their living testimony of the truth of the restored gospel, to those souls in name unknown, unremembered, unhonored in the pages of history, but lovingly revered round the hearthstones of their children and their children’s children who pass down from generation to generation the story of their faith and their mighty works, and the righteousness of their lives and living, those souls who worked and worked, and prayed and followed, and wrought so gloriously.

“I would not take away one word of praise or gratitude, honor or reverence from the great men who led these humble ones of ours. They were mighty men in brain and brawn, in courage and valor, in honesty and in love of truth, living near the Lord—Brothers Brigham and Heber and Wilford and Willard and Charles, the two Orsons and Parley, and John and George and Erastus and Lorenzo and Daniel and Joseph and Jedediah, and a host of other giants, each and all richly blessed with the Lord’s divine love and with that gift of the Holy Ghost that made them leaders truly like unto Moses of old. I yield, we yield, to no one in our gratitude for them and for their work of directing the conquest of the wilderness and of saving men’s souls. Their names shine lustrously on those pages of history which record only the doings of the makers of epochs—those choice spirits, chosen before the foundation of the world, to be the leaders and builders of dispensations of God’s dealings with men; and these leaders of ours to be the builders of that dispensation which of old was named the Dispensation of the Fulness of Time. Unnumbered eternities will remember and honor them.

“But I should like now and here to say a few words about those who trod after where those giants led, some in the same companies that the Brethren piloted, some in later companies following that year and the years after, some in the fateful handcarts with their unexcelled devotion, heroism, and faith, all trickling forward in a never-failing, tiny stream, till they filled the valley they entered and then flowed out at the sides and ends, peopling this whole wilderness-waste which they fructified, making it to fulfil the ancient prophecy that the desert should blossom as the rose.

I would like to say something about the last wagon in each of the long wagon trains that toiled slowly over the plains, up mountain defiles, down steep, narrow canyons, and out into the valley floor that was to be home—this last wagon: last, because the ox team that pulled it was the smallest and leanest and weakest, and had the tenderest feet of any in the train; it was slow starting, and slow moving; last, because worn and creaking, it took more time to fix and to grease, for young Jimmy generally had trouble in getting the wagon jack under the “ex”; last, because its wind-rent cover was old and patched and took hours to mend and tie up to keep out the storm; last, because the wife, heavy with child, must rest till the very moment of starting; last, because sickly little Bill, the last born, poorly nourished, must be washed and coaxed to eat the rough food, all they had; last, because with all his tasks—helping little Bill, cooking and cleaning up the breaksfast,—Mother was not able to help much—Father took a little longer to yoke his cattle and to gird himself for the day’s labor; last, because his morning prayers took a few more minutes than the others spent—he had so many blessings to thank the Lord for and some special blessings to ask the Lord to grant, blessings of health and strength, especially for his wife, and for little Bill, and for the rest, and then the blessings for himself that his own courage would not fail, but most of all for the blessing of faith, faith in God and in the Brethren who sometimes seemed so far away. For they were out in front where the air was clear and clean and where they had unbroken vision of the blue vault of heaven. The Brethren had really visioned the glory of the Lord, who walked near them, put his thoughts into their minds; his spirit guided and directed them, petitioned thereto by the thousands of Saints who were back in Winter Quarters, back in Iowa, back in the States, and beyond, even across the waters, for the faithful poured out their souls in fervent prayer to Almighty God that the Brethren should be inspired. The Saints buoyed up the Brethren out in front with encouragement, with praise, and sometimes even with adulation. Knowing the Brethren were prophets of God, the Saints gave them full confidence, daily, almost hourly, expressed. The Brethren lived in a world of commendation from friends and the tried and true Saints. Rarely was their word or their act questioned by the faithful Saints. This was as it should be and had to be to carry out the Lord’s purposes.

“But back in the last wagon, not always could they see the Brethren way out in front, and the blue heaven was often shut out from their sight by heavy, dense clouds of the dust of the earth. Yet day after day, they of the last wagon pressed forward, worn and tired, footsore, sometimes almost disheartened, borne up by their faith that God loved them, that the restored gospel was true, and that the Lord led and directed the Brethren out in front. Sometimes, they in the last wagon glimpsed, for an instant, when faith surged strongest, the glories of a celestial world, but it seemed so far away, and the vision so quickly vanished, because want and weariness and heartache and sometimes discouragement were always pressing so near. When the vision faded, their hearts sank. But they prayed again and pushed on, with little praise, with not too much encouragement, and never with adulation. For there was nearly always something wrong with the last wagon or with its team—the off ox was a little lame in the right front shoulder; the hub of the left front wheel was often hot; the tire of the hind wheel on the same side was loose. So corrective counsel, sometimes strong reproof, was the rule, because the wagon must not delay the whole train.

“But yet in the last wagon there was devotion and loyalty and integrity, and above and beyond everything else, faith in the Brethren and in God’s power and goodness. For had not the Lord said that “not even a sparrow falleth unnoticed by the Father, and were they not of more value than sparrows?” And then they had their testimony burning always like an eternal fire on a holy altar, that the restored gospel was true, and that Joseph was a prophet of God, and that Brigham was Joseph’s chosen successor.

“When the train moved forward in the early morning sun and the oxen with a swinging pull that almost broke the tongue got that last wagon on the move, the dust in the still morning air hung heavy over the road. Each wagon from the first stirred up its own cloud, till when the last wagon swung into line, that dust was dense and suffocating. It covered the last wagon and all that was in it; it clung to clothes; it blackened faces; it filled eyes already sore, and ears. The wife, soon to be a mother, could hardly catch her breath in the heavy, choking dust, for even in the pure air she breathed hard from her burden. Each jolt of the wagon, for those ahead had made wagon ruts almost “ex” deep, wrung from her clenched lips a half-groan she did her best to keep from the ears of the anxious, solicitous husband plodding slowly along, guiding and goading the poor dumb cattle, themselves weary from the long trek. So through the long day of jolting and discomfort and sometimes pain, sometimes panting for breath, the mother, anxious only that the unborn babe should not be injured, rode, for she could not walk; and the children walked, for the load was too heavy and big for them to ride; and the father walked sturdily alongside and prayed.

“When in the evening the last wagon creaked slowly into its place in the circle corral, and the Brethren came to inquire how the day had gone with the mother, then joy leaped in their hearts, for had not the Brethren remembered them? New hope was born, weariness fled, fresh will to do was enkindled; gratitude to God was poured out for their knowledge of the truth, for their testimony that God lived, that Jesus was the Christ, that Joseph was a prophet, that Brigham was his ordained successor, and that for the righteous a crown of glory awaited that should be theirs during the eternities of the life to come. Then they would join in the songs and dancing in the camp, making the camp’s gaiety their own, as much as Mother’s condition would permit.

“Then the morning came when from out that last wagon floated the la-la of the newborn babe, and mother love made a shrine, and Father bowed in reverence before it. But the train must move on. So out into the dust and dirt the last wagon moved again, swaying and jolting, while Mother eased as best she could each pain-giving jolt so no harm might be done her, that she might be strong to feed the little one, bone of her bone, flesh of her flesh. Who will dare to say that angels did not cluster round and guard her and ease her rude bed, for she had given another choice spirit its mortal body that it might work out its God-given destiny?

“My mother was one of those babes so born in 1848, ninety-nine years ago.

Another morning came, when courageous little Bill, who, with a hero’s heart, had trudged through long days of hot sun and through miles of soggy mud in the rain, his little body drenched, little Bill, weak and wan, must be crowded in to ride with Mother, for he was sick from a heavy cold. Months before, on that cold winter’s night when they had fled Nauvoo for their lives to escape the fiendish wrath of a wild mob, Bill became dangerously ill with pneumonia, which left him with weak lungs. This old illness now returned. He grew worse and worse. The elders came and prayed he might get well. But the Lord wanted little Bill with him. So a few mornings later a weeping mother and a grief-stricken father and that last wagon swung into place in the line, leaving beside the road, under some scrub brush a little mound, unmarked save for heaped-up rocks to keep out the wolves, a mound that covered another martyr to the cause of truth.

“So through dust and dirt, dirt and dust, during the long hours, the longer days—that grew into weeks and then into months, they crept along till, passing down through its portals, the valley welcomed them to rest and home. The cattle dropped to their sides, wearied almost to death; nor moved they without goading, for they too sensed they had come to the journey’s end.

“That evening was the last of the great trek, the mightiest trek that history records since Israel’s flight from Egypt, and as the sun sank below the mountain peaks of the west and the eastern crags were bathed in an amethyst glow that was a living light, while the western mountainsides were clothed in shadows of the rich blue of the deep sea, they of the last wagon, and of the wagon before them, and of the one before that, and so to the very front wagon of the train, these all sank to their knees in the joy of their souls, thanking God that at last they were in Zion. “Zion, Zion, lovely Zion, beautiful Zion, Zion, City of our God.” They knew there was a God, for only he could have brought them triumphant, militant, through all the scorn, the ridicule, the slander, the tarrings and featherings, the whippings, the burnings, the plunderings, the murderings, the ravishings of wives and daughters, that had been their lot, the lot of their people since Joseph visioned the Father and the Son.

“But hundreds of these stalwart souls of undoubting faith and great prowess, were not yet at their journey’s end.

“Brother Brigham again called them to the colors of the kingdom of God, and sent them to settle the valleys, near and remote, in these vast mountains of refuge. So again they yoked their oxen and hitched up their teams, and putting their all in the covered wagon, this time willingly, unwhipped by the threat of mob cruelty and outrage, they wended their slow way to new valleys, again trusting with implicit faith in the wisdom and divine guidance of their Moses. The very elements obeyed their faith, faith close kin to that which made the world.

“These tens of thousands who so moved and so built were the warp and the woof of Brother Brigham’s great commonwealth. Without them Brother Brigham had failed his mission. These were the instruments—the shovelers, the plowers, and sowers and reapers, the machinists, the architects, the masons, the wood-workers, the organ builders, the artisans, the mathematicians, the men of letters, all gathered from the four corners of the earth, furnished by the Lord to Brother Brigham and the prophet leaders who came after, that he and they might direct the working out of His purposes. These wrought as God inspired Brother Brigham and the other prophets to plan, all to the glory of God and the upbuilding of his kingdom.

“Upright men they were, and fearless, unmindful of what men thought or said of them, if they were in their line of duty. Calumny, slander, derision, scorn left them unmoved, if they were treading the straight and narrow way. Uncaring they were of men’s blame and censure, if the Lord approved them. Unswayed they were by the praise of men, to wander from the path of truth. Endowed by the spirit of discernment, they knew when kind words were mere courtesy, and when they betokened honest interest. They moved neither to the right nor to the left from the path of truth to court the good favor of men.

“So for a full hundred years, urged by the spirit of gathering and led by a burning testimony of the truth of the restored gospel, thousands upon tens of thousands of these humble souls, one from a city, two from a family, have bidden farewell to friends and homes and loved ones, and with sundered heartstrings, companioned with privation and with sacrifice even to life itself, these multitudes have made their way to Zion, to join those who were privileged to come earlier, that all might build up the kingdom of God on earth—all welded together by common hardship and suffering, neverending work and deep privation, tragic woes and heart-eating griefs, abiding faith and exalting joy, firm testimony and living spiritual knowledge—a mighty people, missioned with the salvation, not only of the living, but of the dead also, saviors not worshipers of their ancestors, their hearts aglow with the divine fire of the spirit of Elijah, who turns the hearts of the fathers to the children and of the children to the fathers.

“And thousands upon thousands of these tens of thousands, from the first till now, all the elect of God, measured to their humble calling and to their destiny as fully as Brother Brigham and the others measured to theirs, and God will so reward them. They were pioneers in word and thought and act and faith, even as were they of more exalted station. The building of this intermountain empire was not done in a corner by a select few but by this vast multitude flowing in from many nations, who came and labored and wrought, faithfully following their divinely called leaders.

“In living our lives let us never forget that the deeds of our fathers and mothers are theirs, not ours; that their works cannot be counted to our glory; that we can claim no excellence and no place, because of what they did, that we must rise by our own labor, and that labor failing we shall fail. We may claim no honor, no reward, no respect, nor special position or recognition, no credit because of what our fathers were or what they wrought. We stand upon our own feet in our own shoes. There is no aristocracy of birth in this Church; it belongs equally to the highest and the lowliest; for as Peter said to Cornelius, the Roman centurion, seeking him:

“… Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” (Acts 10:34-35)

“So to these humble but great souls, our fathers and mothers, the tools of the Lord, who have, for this great people, hewed the stones and laid the foundations of God’s kingdom, solid as the granite mountains from which they carved the rocks for their temple, to these humble souls, great in faith, great in work, great in righteous living, great in fashioning our priceless heritage, I humbly render my love, my respect, my reverent homage. God keep their memories ever fresh among us, their children, to help us meet our duties even as they met theirs, that God’s work may grow and prosper till the restored gospel of Jesus Christ rules all nations and all peoples, till peace, Christ’s peace, shall fill the whole earth, till “righteousness shall cover the earth even as the waters cover the mighty deep.” Let us here and now dedicate all that we have and all that we are to this divine work.

Wilford Woodruff parable

I was sent this little excerpt from a family member.  She said she wanted to point out the redeeming the dead part.  I thought it was very interesting in that light.

“The parable of the ten virgins is intended to represent the second coming of the Son of man, the coming of the Bridegroom to meet the bride, the church, the Lamb’s wife, in the last days; and I expect that the Saviour was about right when he said, in reference to the members of the church, that five of them were wise and five were foolish; for when the Lord of heaven comes in power and great glory to reward every man according to the deeds done in the body, if he finds one-half of those professing to be members of his church prepared for salvation, it will be as many as can be expected judging by the course that many are pursuing…

“. . . Now the question is, how can we keep oil in our lamps? By keeping the commandments of God, remembering our prayers, do[ing] as we are told by the revelations of Jesus Christ, and otherwise assisting in building up Zion. When we are laboring for the kingdom of God, we will have oil in our lamps, our light will shine and we will feel the testimony of the Spirit of God. On the other hand, if we set our hearts upon the things of the world and seek for the honors of men, we shall walk in the dark and not in the light. If we do not value our priesthood, and the work of this priesthood, the building up of the kingdom of God, the rearing of temples, the redeeming of our dead, and the carrying out of the great work unto which we have been ordained by the God of Israel–if we do not feel that these things are more valuable to us than the things of the world, we will have no oil in our lamps, no light, and we shall fail to be present at the marriage supper of the Lamb.”

Wilford Woodruff, in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff [2004], 256-57