Sunday, June 28, 2015

Joseph Guernsey Brown and Esther Brown




 Joseph Guernsey Brown


Joseph Guernsey Brown was the eldest son of Ebenezer and Ann Weaver Brown. His father's family became members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints soon after it was organized. While in Illinois in June 1842  Ebenezer's wife died leaving three sons and one daughter. A new baby sister, Ann, also died at this time in Quincy, Illinois. Later Joseph Gurnsey's father Ebenezer, married a widow, Phebe Draper Palmer, who had a large family. They were forced to endure the persecutions of the early saints and were driven from Nauvoo. Ebenezer and his second wife, Phoebe Draper Palmer joined the Mormon Battalion on June 26, 1846.

Joseph Guernsey at age 22, together with his 19 year old sister, Harriet, and her husband Oliver Stratton, brought the family (Guernsey's brothers, Norman 15, John Weaver 9, and Phebe's children) across the plains to Salt Lake City as Ebenezer, Phoebe, and her son, Zermia marched across the southern part of what would become part of the United States with the Battalion.

They met their father in Salt Lake in 1849. The cattle herd they had brought across the plains were taken south of Salt Lake for feed. Ebenezer and his family took up land south of Salt Lake City on what was called Willow Creek. They built the first house in Draper in 1850.

On December 31. 1851, Guernsey married 16 year old Harriet Maria Young, the daughter of Lorenzo Dow Young (youngest brother of Brigham Young) and Persis Goodall.

About five years later, in 1856, Guernsey along with others was asked to take provisions and meet the belated handcart companies of English saints who were struggling to reach the Valley before winter. These rescuers themselves had a hard time as well with a forced drive of 300 to 400 miles across wintry mountains. They crowded their teams day after day looking ahead for the vanguard of walkers but the mountain valleys reached on, snowy and empty, past Echo Canyon on until they saw the shining Uintah Mountains, and then the Wyoming plains. At Fort Bridger a new storm stopped them.

That night of October 20th, Captain Willie and one companion, frostbitten, exhausted and riding two worn out animals, appeared out of the blizzard at Fort Bridger. They told the men from Utah, storm or not, if they did not come at once there was no use to come at all. They broke camp at once and started again. They did not stop again until they reached the Willie Company. The night before the rescuers reached them, nine more had died. The rest had not eaten for 48 hours. 

Among those Guernsey brought back to the Valley were two young ladies, Esther Brown and Elizabeth White. Brigham Young had asked the settlers to open their homes and care for these Saints, so to his home he brought Esther. On January 18, 1857, Guernsey married Esther Brown. On March 22, 1857 Guernsey took his third wife, Lovina Manhard.

Guernsey was called on a mission to England in 1864 where he served for nearly three years without purse or script, leaving three wives with children. Soon after his return, President Brigham Young called Guernsey and his family to assist with the colonization of  what became the Moapa Valley in Nevada, known as the "Muddy Mission." In the fall of 1867, Guernsey and Harriet and their eight children ranging in age from 14 years to 8 months, made the journey to help settle the town of St. Joseph. Here they lost their baby daughter, Julliet, May 20, 1868.

This area was at that time a part of the territory of Deseret as mapped out by the early church leaders and was a part of Kane County. A warehouse had been built on the Colorado River at a point known as Call's Landing. It was intended that the church would bring converts from Europe by steamships through the Gulf of Mexico and up the Colorado River and unload them at this point to continue the journey overland. The towns on the Muddy would serve as way stations where emigrants could rest and procure provisions for the rest of the journey.

The Muddy Mission proved to be unsuccessful, so far as colonization of that area at that time was concerned, and due to excessive taxes, extreme heat, shortage of water and other problems, the saints were released from the mission and were free to return to their former homes if they wished to. However, President Young strongly urged them to remain in the southern Utah area and help resettle the town sites that had been abandoned during the Indian troubles in the 1860's. Guernsey had also  brought Lovina and her children, John, Delia and Will, to St. Joseph in the fall of 1870 while Esther and her children remained in Draper.

Lovina's son John gives an interesting account of their experiences while in St. Joseph. He said when they arrived Aunt Harriet and her seven children were living in a two-room adobe house with a dirt floor and a flag roof. The roof was made from cattails, ten to twelve feet tall, cut down in the swamps, tied in bundles about six inches in diameter and tied to the stringers and weighted down, making a water-tight roof. They had a chicken coop made of mesquite roots dug from the farm land. They used these roots for fuel also, as there was no timber closer than seventy miles and no willows for thirty miles. Flour was hauled from Draper; but the "muddy" soil was rich and the climate so mild that good gardens could be grown; sweet potatoes as large as small pumpkins and his father said in jest that the watermelons grew so fast they wore the vines out dragging them along.

When the settlers were released from their missions, the Browns along with other Muddyites, started for Long Valley. Guernsey left Lovina in the town of Washington, Washington County, and he and Harriet and their family moved on. Along the way they met Harriet's brother, John R. Young. He persuaded Guernsey to go to Kanab, and they arrived there in 1871 and lived in a tent bought from Johnson's Army. Lovina and family were brought out later in the spring.

In Kanab the Browns secured two lots by squatting on them and they cultivated another 30 acres of land and built a two-room house with a room for each wife. Getting goods into the Kanab area was very difficult because of geographical difficulties and consequently most of the food and dry goods had to be produced by themselves. Sugar was almost unknown to them for several years; but good molasses was made from sugar cane that grew well here. Guernsey set up the first sorghum mill in the northeast part of town. He planted orchards with all kinds of fruit trees, vines, berries, and shrubbery. The first year he lived in Kanab he planted one acre of alfalfa and it made pig and chicken feed. He also raised garden vegetables of all kinds and raised potatoes in the Kanab Canyon and at what he called Cottonwood Canyon, a nice little tract of land about twelve miles west of Kanab. He had a few acres of meadow land in the Kanab Canyon he could mow several tons of wild hay and the country was just a mat of all kinds of wild grasses and herbs, so much so it was not necessary to have but a few-tons of hay.

It was necessary to built not only dams and canals, but roads and trails in order to get in and out of the country. The people would arrange what they called road gangs and ditch gangs and go out and build roads leading to Long Valley where hundreds of people who left the Muddy Mission had settled. The only grist mill was at Glendale (Warren Foote helped to run this mill), some twenty-seven miles over a set of rolling hills and washes, with sand so deep for a distance of thirteen miles that it would take four horses of good quality to move one ton of anything as the wagon wheels would sink into the sand from four to eight inches.

He managed to get along well for several years. President Brigham Young paid them a visit and he told the people to come out of the Kanab Canyon and farm the Valley just south of the town. It was a large fertile valley of very choice land. He told them to open the canyon and turn out cattle in it and let them tramp the water out of the meadows and swamps. He predicted that in a short time they would have a flood that would come down the canyon and wash it down to bedrock. They could then build a canal around the town and have water to irrigate the town and to reservoir the water. They would be able to irrigate all the land in the valley and raise plenty of everything we would need in the shape of vegetables and cereals and hay.

It was a fact, for the flood came and washed out the sand and swamps and cleaned the canyon out so that the water increased in quantity sufficient to successfully irrigate some 1600 acres of land. Afterwards there was another large flood which tore out sand and rocks and mud down to a lower bedrock and increased the water still more. They were able to use all the land available and have plenty of spring water to irrigate all the land. It  produced good crops of hay and some hardy vegetables such as corn and potatoes. The people of Kanab felt that Brigham was a true prophet and saved them from having to move away from the place.

The Browns belonged to the United Order in Kanab as long as it lasted. While in Kanab each of the two wives added three more children to the family. Esther passed away April 21, 1881 in Draper.

In the 1880's during the raid in which the government officials were confiscating church cattle and other property, Guernsey was appointed to take over the church cattle and sheep at Pipe Springs and run them as his own. So Harriet and the children lived at Pipe Springs for several years and Lovina remained in Kanab. The Indians were hostile at this time and even though they lived in the fort, at Pipe Springs, they were in constant danger.

 Extended Joseph Guernsey Brown family in Kanab, Utah.  Joseph Guernsey with white bread on top row.

In 1894 Guernsey bought a large red brick home in the northeast part of town (we were told at our stop at the Kanab Museum that this home was on the corner of 200 West and 300 North). It had been built by Frank Rider and owned for a few years by Henry Bowman. The Brown's ran a hotel in the home with Harriet and the girls providing meals and taking care of the rooms and the men folk taking care of the teams in the large barn and corral on the lot.

During all the years from 1870, Joseph Guernsey Brown was a strong factor in leading out with the people and assisting in the general development of the whole country. He held responsible positions, being rather a religious man, not too much so as to hamper or hinder him from leading out in any honorable thing to be done. He was one of the very hardy, and what is called the rough-and-ready but not the boisterous type. He was a level-headed, good, honest man; a man who did everything possible to assist his neighbor, either in or out of trouble, and to pay his honest obligations. He was an American and believed in giving his undivided support to his country and the President of the United States, whether or not he belonged to his party.

Guernsey served in the Bishopric of the ward for several years and was always found willing to serve when the call came from the authorities. He also served well in civic positions as well, and in matters pertaining to colonization.


Joseph Guernsey Brown died of pneumonia at the age of 83 on    1907.


He is buried in the Kanab Cemetery.



Esther Brown

Esther Brown was born November 1, 1831 in Jerby, Isle of Man, England, the daughter of James Brown and Esther Moore.  They were of Patrick, Isle of Man. Her family was not well to do so she was apprenticed as a dressmaker and milliner in her teens.  Esther Brown heard the Mormon missionaries and joined the LDS Church in London, England in May of 1853. Esther loved her English home but she thought life could be better for her in America, with the Saints, so she left her home and came to America.

Packing her few belongings it is believed she came with her two sisters, Elizabeth and Jane and Jane's husband, and her brother John Moore to America. We find all these names on the list of saints that sailed on the ship Horizon. From Church Chronology by Andrew Jensen we find this entry; Sunday, 25 May 1856, the ship Horizon sailed from Liverpool with 856 Saints under the direction of Edward Martin. The company arrived safely at Boston, and reached Iowa City by rail July 8, 1856.


 Esther's sister Jane Brown Hunter

There just outside of the city, in the LDS Church outfitting station, Esther joined with the Hunt Wagon Train Company, to cross the plains to the Salt Lake Valley, on foot. It was not an easy trip, as we know from our LDS Church history but she was strong and young, 24 years and a good walker, as some accounts of the Brown girls have related and was able to endure the hardships of the trek west. The company was late leaving Iowa and plagued by troubles from bad handcarts, terrain and weather. Esther traveled with the Hunt wagon train, which was behind the Willie Handcart Company. After their long walk they were met by rescue wagons a days travel out of Fort Bridger, in a blowing snow storm. She and her family were able to endure the long walk and arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in the rescue wagons in November of 1856.

From Elizabeth White's History,  "When we got to the foot of the big mountain, the snow was so deep I had to put men's boots on. The teamsters were tall and so was Esther Brown and she could step in their tracks, but I could not in hers. The snow was so deep and drifted but they told us when we got to the top we would see Salt Lake City. We were so thankful and delighted that it seemed to renew our strength and energy."

In Harriet Y. Brown's history it states; "Joseph Guernsey Brown found Esther Brown and Elizabeth White walking ahead of the company. He put them in his wagon and took them back to camp. Later bringing them on to Draper, as Elizabeth had a brother living in Draper. Brigham Young had asked the settlers to open their homes and care for these Saints, so to Joseph Guernsey Brown's home he brought Esther." His wife, Harriet, took her in with her warm friendly way, caring for her until she again blossomed out in all her loveliness. There was no employment for girls except to work in homes. Esther must have reached Draper with some of her belongings from England for she had a little copper of brass sign she had made for herself in England when her apprenticeship was over in dressmaking and millinery. She placed it in a window and it was displayed this way the rest of her life, 

Esther became Joseph Brown's second wife  January 18, 1857 and was sealed to him in the Endowment House in April of 1865. Eight children were born to them; Martha Salina Brown born in 1857, died in 1858; Celestia Ann Brown born in 1859 (my husbands great, great grandmother); Esther Ellenor Brown born in 1861, died in 1866; Issac Osborn Brown born in1863; Rose Anna Jane Brown born in 1865; Elleymore Brown born in 1868, died in1881; James Arthur Brown born in 1871; and Harriet Luetta Brown born in 1874.

 
 Hand drawn map of old Draper marking the location of the "Hat Shop"

As she lived in Draper she pursued employment in her home as a dressmaker and milliner to supplement the family income of Joseph's farming and when he traveled on an LDS mission to England and to the Muddy Mission in southern Utah.

Esther spent the winter of 1875 in Kanab, living in a wagon box with the wheels of the wagon sunk in the ground making it easier for her to get in or out. She lived here with five children. Esther had her heart in Draper, she still had her little house and could get more work at her trade. So by the next fall she said goodbye to Kanab and went home to Draper. As the children became older, they tended her farm. Some of the land each year was planted to a special grain which she grew to make hats of the straw. Her son Isaac said his Mother had wooden molds the shape of heads in different sizes. She would gather the straw, tie them in bundles and hang to dry. When she was ready to make a hat the straw was soaked in water, then braided, the braids wound around this head mold of wood and sewed together. A brim was added by sewing the braid flat on a table. When the hat was completed it was trimmed with bits of satin, silk or feathers. On February 16, 1881 her invalid daughter Elleymore, age 12 passed away. On April 21, 1881, Esther Brown Brown died, not quite 25 years after her trek across the plains, leaving five children to mourn her passing. Esther's eldest daughter, Celestia Ann (called Lettie), was married and she cared for the younger children after they buried their Mother at the side of her three young daughters in the Draper Pioneer Cemetery. Some of the children eventually joined with the Brown family in Kanab.

No comments: