Hole-in-the-Rock Landmarks and People

Hole-in-the-Rock Landmarks and People
Answers at bottom of the left column.

January 18, 2010

"Lost" Need To Be "Found"

If you are successful in finding new information or photos of "lost pioneers" from the Hole-in-the-Rock company, please e-mail it to either of the contacts below.  Please include documentation as to where you found the information. Addition history about those with no data would be especially valuable.
jwilcox42@gmail.com  or hnrtrek2010@gmail.com

Consider going onto Family Search to track down ancestors and other lost pioneers.

These are the ones on the roll who are still "MIA" missing in action:  1. Barnes, Noah   2. Christensen, Peter 3. Christensen, Lars  4. Dailey, Milton and  5. Mary Malinda Wilson, Children:  6. Marion and  7. Madalene  8. Echles, Andrew 9. Gurr, William Herber and 10 Anna  11. Hansen, Lars J. 12. Margaret and  13. Leonard  14. Johnson, James, 15. Lotte  16. James Marrion Jr. 17. John 18. Muny, Joseph  19. Nelson, Peter Albert  20. Pace, Wilford Woodruff 21. Perry, George E. 22. Robb, John Rowlandson 23. and Sarah Ann Edwards 24. Robb, William  25. and Ellen Stones,  26. son William 27. Roner, Jacob 428. Smith, John Aitkens  29. and Emily Jane Bennett  30. Smith, Samuel 31. Smith, Silas Jr. 32. and Betsy Williamson 33. Walden, George 34. Walker, Joseph 35. Webster, Francis 36. Westwood, George  37. Wilson, Henry 38. Woolsey, Joseph Smith
PLUS 60 or more children of record for whom we have little information!

January 17, 2010

Adams *, James J.

Born: October 2, 1848, in Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois
Died: March 2, 1922
Married: Caroline E. Redd on March 14, 1888 in the St. George Temple
Father: William Adams
Mother: Mary Ann Leech

James J. Adams was born on October 2, 1848 in Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois. His parents, William and Mary Ann Leech Adams, lived in Nauvoo for two years before they moved to Springfield and little James was born. One year later, the family decided to head west. They got to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1849. In January, 1851, James’ father William moved to Parowan with fellow pioneer Samuel Hamilton. James, his mother and his siblings moved down to join him in May of the same year (1).

James was a hard worker and loved to help. When he was seven or eight years old, he helped to build the Fort in Parowan. Boards were mounted on either side of a trench, and James’s job was to fill the space between the boards with mud, to create a wall (2). As a young boy, James also enjoyed helping herd the cattle. He would ride his little horse named Sam and herd the cattle with his friend Tom Richards. The two boys knew how to have fun, while still keeping an eye on the cattle. They loved to roll over and play in the tall weeds, until someone warned them that they might roll over a snake if they weren’t careful. That was the end to playing in the weeds! They would herd all over the area during the day, and at night would bring the cattle back to the corral that had been built in the Fort (3).

As a child, James did not know what sugar was. To sweeten their food, his family used molasses instead and a little honey whenever they had bees. James remembered the first cake his Mom ever made out of sugar; he didn’t even want to taste it because it looked so different from the molasses cakes he was used to (4). His Mother and his Aunt Anne would weave all the cloth for their clothes (5). James always ran around barefoot as a kid. When he got a little older he wore moccasins and when he was about sixteen, James got his first pair of buckskin pants and button shoes. Not knowing that the leather in his pants would stretch, James wore them up into the mountains the day he got them and it started to snow. His new pants got so wet that they stretched out and from then on, he always had to roll them up (6).

James loved to learn. When he was just a little fellow, he started attending school. Aunt Sara Ann sent him to the head of the class and said, “you work hard and you can stay.”(7)  And stay he did, for the next two years, until it was time for him to start working. James was a great reader. He got the measles and it affected his eyesight for a time, but when his eyes recovered, he was back reading anything he could. He was also a whiz at arithmetic; no one could beat him! (8) Several of his uncles and some of the neighborhood boys would stay at his parents’ home during the winter, and come to school with him. The family earned fifteen dollars for provided room and board for the boys.

Every spring and fall, James would accompany his father and brothers to Salt Lake City. James’ father would take barrels of tar to trade for whatever the family needed. They were a resourceful family, as were most. They got their salt from the Great Salt Lake, they gathered aluminum for aluminum coves, and copperus from under the yellow sandstone on the sides of the canyon, which they would also take with them to Salt Lake to trade (9).

Going Back Across the Plains
In 1864, when James was sixteen-years-old, he made his first trek back across the plains with his father. They drove four yoke of oxen and two steers to help them bring back two loads of stoves (10). They left in April and didn’t get back until the 10th of December. In 1868 they crossed the plains again to bring back a threshing machine.

James and his father lived on the basics-bacon and bread. They made bread out of flour, salt and baking powder, then fried it in a frying pan. James remembered his father being pretty hungry, but he did not seem to mind the simple, scant food. When they came across ripe grapes in their journey, they would mix them with molasses for a little treat. Once they bought fifty-cents worth of eggs and they had so many they could not all fit in their water bucket, the only thing they had to carry them in (11).

James enjoyed being out on the plains with his father. On their journey home, they came to the South Platte River and the water was rough. James’ father was nervous to cross the cold, raging water. He asked James if he thought his oxen would make it. James knew they would. His father trusted his judgment, and allowed James to drive them across the water first and he followed. They all arrived safely on the other side. In 1868, James and his father crossed the plains again. This time they went for a threshing machine for old man Webb. In the evenings, after a long day of walking, they would play music and dance by the campfire (12).

In 1865, James worked at his Uncle Nathan’s mill. To get the highest price he could on grain, James would ride across the desert from Deseret Springs (Modena) to White Pine, Nevada and sell it for 18 cents a pound. One night he was getting sleepy, and thought his team stay close by, so he fell asleep. The team strayed from the road and was at the edge of a deep ravine when James was awakened by his grandfather’s voice calling in his head, “James, James.” He never fell asleep on the job like that again! (13)

In 1868, when he was 18, James went to Beaver to help teach at the local school. The next year, he taught in Rose Creek, and never received any money for his teaching. He liked the experience it gave him and that was compensation enough. He would live with various families in the area, and even slept in a granary one winter with his friend Tom Butler. In the morning, James would have to break the ice on the tub to take a bath. In 1869, James and some of his friends, Will and Hugh L Thomas, formed a company and divided things equally. They all got along well until Will and Hugh got married. Then all kinds of trouble started brewing. James’ mother was the head of the company so when James was about to get married and it appeared the company was not going to work out, she divided everything and gave everyone what she thought they needed (14).

James went east during the Civil War to witness the action for himself and saw some of the soldiers. It was a tense, uncertain time in history. Every week they used to get a little paper called “The Dispatches About the War,” and everyone in town would meet to hear it read. They felt badly when they heard that Lincoln had been shot; they knew they had lost a friend. James couldn’t believe that some people sympathized with the murderer John Wilkes Booth (15).

James was “a self-made man.” (16) He worked hard every day of his life to provide the necessary comforts for himself and his family. Later in life, he served as sheriff and attorney of Iron County. He held many callings and was always active in church affairs.

Missionary work
In 1879 James was called to be part of the initial exploring party to the San Juan. On his return trip to Bluff, he did not travel with the main body of pioneers through Hole-in-the-Rock, but instead went southward again through Moencopi with those who drove the cattle. He only then remained in the area for about a year before returning to Iron County (17).

In the early eighties, he was called on his first mission to Tennessee (18). After he married and had five children, James was called to leave his work and family and serve the Lord yet again. This time he was called to the northern states and spent most of his time in Michigan. On January 11, 1900, his sixth child, a boy, was born, while James was still in Michigan preaching the gospel (19). He was a faithful missionary and answered the call to serve, even when it came with great personal sacrifice.

Marriage and family life

When James got back from his first mission to Tennessee, he met Caroline E. Redd, a daughter of Lemuel H. Redd from New Harmony. The two didn’t have much time together because Caroline was headed to Paragonah to teach school. The next winter, James took two of his nieces and went to spend Christmas with her. They got snowed in and no one seemed to mind spending the next three weeks together while they waited for the snow to melt! After that, James knew he never wanted Caroline to leave his side. When spring came, James and his niece Francella Adams again traveled to St. George. Brother McAllister married James and Caroline in the St. George Temple on March 14, 1888. When they returned to New Harmony, the whole town met to congratulate and show them a good time (20).

The newlyweds decided to set up a life for themselves in Parowan. They lived with James’s mother for a short time, then lived in the Old Wool house while James built a home of their own. Before a year had passed, James had completed their home, and they moved in just in time to welcome their precious first child. On March 13, 1889, their daughter Luella was born.

In time, James and Caroline would have eight children, five girls and three boys: Luella, Ancel James, Josephine, John, Pauline, Paul, Mary and Verene (21). When the boys got old enough, they would help on the family ranch by running the sheep (22). In the fall of 1905, James and Caroline went down the canyon from their ranch to harvest some fruit. On the way back they got caught in a rainstorm. Soaked to the bone, Caroline caught a fatal cold. She quickly developed pneumonia. James brought her into town to see the doctor, but nothing could be done. His beloved Caroline died September 3, 1903, leaving him to raise the eight children alone (23).

Memories From James’s Oldest Daughter
Luella Adams Dalton, wrote the following tribute to her father:

“Father was father and mother to us until we were all grown, when he finally went to meet his sweetheart on March 8th, 1922 after a few days illness of influenza. He was one of the stalwart pioneers of the south, an active church worker until his death. He was president of the 69 quorums of seventies for many years. He also held a number of civil offices-sheriff and county attorney. His schooling was very meager but he was a thorough student. James J. Adams was a self made lawyer and almost a walking history book. He stood shoulder to shoulder, with the men and women who helped to build this great common wealth, subdued the desert and conquered the Indians, leaving it all for us to enjoy. He was a self made man and a great reader. He had a rare knowledge of history and a wonderful memory. It was said of him at his funeral that few men had a greater knowledge of the gospel. He was a strict observer of the Word of Wisdom and full of faith till the last.” (24)

A Tribute to James J. Adams
By Elenor G. Bruhn

1.  James J. Adams autobiography as dictated to his daughter Luella Adams Dalton, “History of Grandpa’s Life,”. Special Collections, Merrill-Cazier Library, Utah State University, Logan, Utah. Mrs. Dalton submitted this autobiography to the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Cam p Elizabeth, under the title “A History of James J. Adams.” This version of her father’s autobiography is missing the poem written by Elenor G. Bruhn that is given at the end of the USU typescript, but is other wise identical.

2.James J. Adams autobiography,
3.Ibid,, 1.
4.Ibid., 2.
5.Ibid., 3-4.
6. Ibid., 4,
7. Ibid., 2.
8. Ibid., 3.
9. Ibid.,
10. Cornelia Adams Perkins, Marian Gardner Nielsen, and Lenora Butt Jones, Saga of San Juan (Monticello, Utah; San Juan County Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1957), 294 .
11. James Adams autobiography, 4.
12. Ibid., 5.
13. Ibid.,
14. Ibid.,
15. Ibid., 4.
16. Perkins, 294.
17. Ancil J. Adams letter to Amasa Jay Redd, 21 Dec. 1965, published in Amasa Jay Redd, ed., Lemuel Hardison Red, Jr., 1856-1923: Pioneer, Leader, Builder (Salt Lake City, Utah: privately printed, 1967), 145.
18. James J. Adams autobiography, 6.
19. Ibid.,
20. Ibid.
21. Perkins, 294.
22. James J. Adams autobiography, 6-7.
23. Ibid., 7.
24. Ibid.
25. Ibid., 8.
Article by C.S.M. Jones LLC, Family Heritage Consulting for Hole in the Rock Foundation.
James J. Adams, son of William and Mary Ann Leach Adams was born Oct. 2, 1848, at Springfield, Ill. His family came to Utah in 1849 and were sent to Parowan in 1851. James taught school in Beaver in 1868 and at Paragonah in 1869. In 1879 he was called with the first company of explorers to the San Juan Mission. He married Caroline E. Redd in the St. George Temple March 14, 1888. During 1899 he went on his second mission to Michigan. He and Caroline were parents of eight children: Luella, Ancel James, Josephine, John, Pauline, Paul, Mary, and Verene. Caroline died Sept. 3, 1903. James was a self-made man. He served as sheriff and attorney of Iron County and was active in church affairs. He died March 8 1922 of influenza (Saga of San Juan).

Allen * , Isaac

Isaac is mentioned once in the "Camp Records" of the southern exploring party going with the Harriman and Davis families.  May 15, 1879: Silas Smith found his horses gone..Isaac Allen and Bro. Smith's boys went out hunting the horses, but returned without them (Miller p. 23).    Probably not a relative to Peter Allan as this family spelled their name with an "a" .               More Information needed.

January 14, 2010

Balden *, Thomas

Information Needed

Barnes * , Noah

Information needed

Barney, Danielson Buren and Laura Matthews

Barney, Danielson Buren
Born: September 14, 1831, in Amherst, Ohio

Died: 12 January 1922 and was buried by the side of his wife in the Thatcher Cemetery.
Marriage: (1) Laura Matthews, on April 23, 1857
(2) Sophia Arkansas Hulsey, January 6, 1885
Father: Edson Ballou Barney, a member of Zion’s Camp
Mother: Lillis Ballou Barney
Children on the trek: Buren Onley (Birth 28 September 1860 29 20 -- Provo, Utah, Utah, USA--Death 30 January 1904 (Age 43) -- Thatcher, Graham, Arizona, USA), Alfred Alonzo (Birth 8 September 1865 3325 -- St. George, Washington County, Utah--Death 24 July 1942 (Age 76) -- Payson, Utah, Utah), Laura May (Birth 4 August 1868 3628 -- Pine Valley, Washington County, Utah--Death 17 March 1955 (Age 86) -- Thatcher, Graham County, Arizona) , Rachel Sophey (Birth 16 September 1870 3930 -- Pine Valley, Washington County, Utah--Death 23 April 1948 (Age 77) -- Alameda, Alameda, California), Edson Elroy, Eliza Melina, Betsey Maud, Ella Bird (Birth 24 April 1877 -- Pine Valley, Washington County, Utah--Death 11 February 1935 (Age 57)
(additional genenealogy information) (10 of their family) 
Thanks to the Barney family for their great site!

Childhood Spent Among the Early Saints

Danielson Buran Barney was born 14 September 1831 in Amherst, Ohio. His parents, Edson and Lillis Ballou Barney, had converted to the LDS faith in the spring of that same year. The family moved several times during Danielson’s childhood in company with the early Saints, the first move taking them to Kirtland, Ohio, following his father’s return from Zion’s Camp. While living in Kirtland, young Danielson attended school inside the Kirtland Temple for a time.

Danielson Buren Barney, a veteran elder in the St. Joseph Stake, Arizona. His father's family had joined the church in the spring of 1831. They moved to Kirtland, Ohio, after his father had returned from Missouri whence he had gone as a member of Zion's camp. Danielson learned to read in the school taught in the Kirtland temple. As a child he moved about with the saints until they reached Nauvoo, Illinois. Here he was baptized by the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Mississippi River. He experienced the mobbings incident to the saints being driven out of Illinois.

One time in Nauvoo, he was asked to be a guard. He sat on the gate and watched that the mob did not come to harm the Prophet, Joseph Smith. The mob did not come that day, but he was a boy at his post all day. He participated in the exodus from Nauvoo in 1846. He spent the following winter at Winter Quarters. He resided temporarily in Pottawatamie County, Iowa. In 1851 the family immigrated to Utah and located at Provo, where Danielson experienced hardships and danger during the wars with Indians and grasshoppers.
   In 1855 he was called on a mission to the States, where he met and married Laura Matthews. He also converted her to the Church. She was the only one of her family to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- Day Saints. They were married 23 April 1857, by Elder Barber. He returned home from this mission in 1857. When Danielson was ready to go home from his mission, he only had $2.50 in his pocket. He said he thought he might need it for emergency. He worked his way home and saved his $2.50.

    He was called from Provo to Dixie in 1861. He settled in St. George, Utah where he resided for many years. He helped build the St. George Temple. He moved to Pine Valley and bought a saw mill from William Gardner. He sawed lumber for the St. George Tabernacle and many residences in St. George. In 1879 he was called to Arizona. They temporarily went to San Juan first. On their way to San Juan, they were with the expedition that went through the Hole in The Rock. They had to chisel and dig out a roadway through solid rock. That 'is why it was called the hole in the rock. Some of the men were making the hole in the rock to get through, others were making a raft to ferry themselves across the Colorado River. In some Places they had to take their wagons to pieces and carry them down a piece at a time. They were pioneers and were making the best of what they had. On one ferry boat as they were crossing, the oxen began hooking and crowding the cows. They crowded the cows off into the river, and then jumped off themselves. Alfred the son of Danielson went off into the river with the cattle. He got out all right. The cattle went back to shore. They could not turn the ferry around, so they went on across and towed the boat up stream, then crossed back for the cattle. When they were going up a hill, one of the horses balked and backed them over the edge. The wagon tipped over about four times and landed right side up at the bottom of the hill. The horses were on top of it with the tongue broken. The horses were not hurt. Danielson's little daughter, Birdette, who was about five years old, was asleep in the wagon, but she was not hurt. They had two little pigs in a pen on the back of the wagon and they were both killed. They straightened up the wagon, fixed the wagon tongue and went on their way.

   The first year they were in San Juan, the Indians stole all their horses and drove them towards Blue Mountains. They were followed by a posse of men, they got most of them back. He helped build a canal from the San Juan River, but they could not keep the dam in the river, so he went to Durango, Colorado to work. While he was away his cattle died on the San Juan. While in Colorado he hauled lumber and timber from Barnes and Jones Saw Mill to Durango to help build the city. He moved from here to Luna Valley, New Mexico. He stayed there two years. It was here he met and married Sophia Hulsey as a second wife. They made a trip to St. George, Utah and were sealed for eternity in the St. George Temple. She was the widow of George Miner Dalis Underwood. She had one child named Sarah, by Mr. Underwood. She and Danielson had five children: George, Royal, William, Laura, and Myrtle.

   In 1886 he moved to Gila Valley and settled in Thatcher, Arizona. When they were coming from Luna Valley To Gila Valley, they followed the top of the mountain called Black Hills, north east of Gila Valley. They followed the top of the mountain, because there wasn't any road built down the canyon. They came to a place where they thought it was impossible to go down the hill. They plowed several furrows around the hills and kept the upper wheels in these furrows so the wagons would not tip over. They put a long pine log across the top of the wagon and several men were on the end of the log above the wagon. That kept the wagons from tipping over. They moved several wagons around these steep hills in this manner and never lost a wagon.

In 1890 he had to make an underground trip to Mexico because he had two living wives. The law was finding every man they could that lived in polygamy and was putting them in jail. They couldn't desert their families, so all they could do was hide from the officers. He lived the remainder of his life in Thatcher, Arizona. He was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He was ordained a Patriarch in the St. Joseph Stake in 1912. He was set apart with Patriarch Samuel Claridge, by President Andrew Kimball, the Stake President, and was to travel throughout the entire Stake to bless the people. These two Patriarchs traveled with a horse and buggy. They visited and blessed many people in the Gila Valley. He set apart a room at the home of his son, Alfred, in Thatcher to give his blessings. His granddaughters, Ada and Frances, were his scribes and took down the blessings he gave in short hand, then copied them in his book. He gave many blessings to his own family as well as others. He was a wonderful man and lived a goodly life.

He died 12 January 1922 and was buried by the side of his wife in the Thatcher Cemetery.


She was born February 9, 1840 in the state of Ohio and then her family moved to Illinois and then to Wisconsin. She was reared in a family of four - of which she was the third child. Her father was a wealthy man who gave his children a good education. She became a school teacher. Her family were Baptists. Laura had read the Bible many times, which showed she was naturally religious.
    She met a young Mormon missionary from Provo, Utah and accepted his invitation to attend their meetings. He afterwards gave her a Book of Mormon. She read it many times in her room and pondered over it. She asked him to let her father read it. The missionary told her she would have to be very careful with the book because they were very scarce at that time. The Book of Mormon converted Laura to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She later married the young missionary who was Danielson Buren Barney. She left her home and all her people for the church. He came home from his mission and then went back and brought her to Provo, Utah where they were married.

    They stayed there until they had three children and they were called by President Brigham Young to go to St. George, Utah where they went through many hardships. Her husband worked on the St. George Temple. Their principal diet was cornbread and molasses.
    They were then called to Pine Valley. Her husband worked at the saw mill helping to saw lumber to build up St. George and Pine Valley. She ran a boarding house and cooked for the men. While in Pine valley she had the rest of her children - seven more making a total of ten. They went through many hardships raising their family.

    President Erastus Snow called them to come to Arizona. There was such bad weather that they could not travel so stopped on the way to earn more money. They stopped at Panguitch, Utah and worked at what they could before continuing their mission. They again stopped in Luna, New Mexico. During the cold winter they lost many of their cattle but finally made it to Thatcher, Arizona.
     One of the hardest trials was when her husband married his second wife. Although she had given her consent because of the gospel teaching, it was not easy. He went back to St. George to bring his second wife, Sophia Hulsey, to Arizona. She drove one team and her son drove the other one, and the rest of her children drove the cattle to Thatcher, Arizona.

     In Thatcher Laura Matthews Barney was constantly on call to help the sick. She also served as a midwife - going night or day to deliver babies all over the valley. Her granddaughter, Mary Vane Barney Carpenter, often told her children this memory of her grandmother. She said one night her first baby, Buren, was very miserable with the earache. She had tried all she knew to relieve his pain but finally gave up and her husband went to waken Grandma Barney who came in the middle of the night to help. She asked for a good plump raisin. This was warmed thoroughly then was gently pressed into the crying baby's ear. In no time at all, he had quieted down and was asleep.
     She was one of the first counselors in the Thatcher Ward Relief Society under President Elizabeth Moody from 1890 until 1898. She was in the Stake Presidency of the Relief Society with Elizabeth Layton and Maggie Brinkerhoff. She was a faithful member of the church all of her life. She died December 27, 1917 in Thatcher, Arizona.

Their youngest daughter Ella Bird was a victim of one of the few rollover accidents on the trip. As their wagon climbed Cottonwood Hill, their wagon tipped over sideways. As everything they had on the wagon tipped out and broke, Bird Ella, rolled up in a feather bed, escaped harm. After a couple of such incidents, precautions were taken to prevent this happening. Two men followed beside each wagon holding the rear wheels onto the grade with ropes. However, it still remained a hazardous crossing (*Hole in the Rock Site).

Barton, Amasa Miles

Born: May 27, 1857, in Paragonah, Iron County, Utah
Died: June 16, 1887, in Rincon, San Juan County, Utah
Married: Harriet Parthenia “Feenie” Hyde (May 21, 1854)
Father: Joseph Penn Barton
Mother: Eliza Anderson

Parents and Childhood
Amasa’s mother, Eliza Anderson, was born into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her parents joined the Church in Tennessee in 1841, when Eliza was six years old. Shortly after becoming members, her parents decided to gather with fellow Saints, and moved to Nauvoo. As a young girl, Eliza was acquainted with the Prophet Joseph Smith and “vividly remembered the event of the martyrdom of the Prophet and his brother Hyrum, and saw their bodies after they were prepared for burial.” (1)

Amasa’s mother crossed the plains to Utah with her parents and arrived in Parowan in October 1851. It was there that Eliza met Amasa’s father, Joseph Penn Barton. They fell in love and were married in Parowan on May 24, 1854. After their marriage, they moved to Paragonah. Amasa, the second of their five children, was born on May 27, 1857. (2)
Mission and Marriage
Amasa Barton was called with numerous other saints to be part of the San Juan Mission. He accepted the call and set out to explore and colonize southern Utah and the Four Corners area. Eventually he settled in Bluff. It was there that he met his sweetheart, Harriett Parthenia Hyde, affectionately referred to as “Feenie.” Amasa and Feenie were married in Bluff in 1884.

Life and Tragic Death in Rincon
Below is an excerpt from “Fort on the Firing Line” by Albert R. Lyman, published in the Improvement Era between October 1948 and March 1950:
Excerpts from Chapters 13 and 14:  For full story go to Fort on the Firing Line site

“The store which William Hyde began at Rincone, ten miles down the river from Bluff, had been slowly growing in prosperity in spite of Erastus Snow's ban on isolated dwellings. Amasa Barton married William Hyde's daughter, Parthenia, and became interested in the store.

In 1885, Barton became the owner of the store; at least he became the manager and the clerk, and he moved there with his wife and child to attend to the business. In taking this dangerous step Barton was not acting in defiance of any standard set up for the safety of the colony. From becoming interested in a small way, he had assumed one obligation after another until it seemed only sane and sensible to go there and give his investment personal attention. Also he may have considered it no longer necessary for the people to huddle together, since they had seen fit to move out of the fort.

Barton was a man of unusual strength and energy, large and magnetic, a talented builder and mechanic, and just the kind of man to develop a new country. With untiring effort he built a neat, commodious home from the crooked logs he could find along the river, and he made an attractive store building, warehouse, blacksmith shop, and other substantial conveniences. He devised a treadmill in which he had a donkey lift water from the river for his well-kept garden. Rincon, in Spanish, means, "corner." This corner is formed by the right-angle junction of Comb Reef with the gorge of the San Juan River. It is the corner from which the travel-worn company from Hole-in-the-Rock had so much trouble getting out in the spring of 1880.

Barton's operations in this cliff-bound Rincone began to make the very name a suggestion of neatness and beauty, for at his artistic touch the junction presented a unique and pleasing contrast to the bald, gray cliffs all around. His store like others of its kind, ran a pawn business instead of a credit account. A Navajo could pawn a gun, saddle, or anything else at a stipulated value, and draw goods up to that limit. The pawn could be renewed with a stipulated deposit, but anything left after a given amount of time was forfeited. The system was rich with possibilities of unpleasant misunderstandings even with good Indians, but with bad Indians it was a handy leverage for all kinds of mischief.

A Navajo known as Old Eye, from having lost one eye when a flying gad struck him several years before, had worked often for Barton at Rincone, and had often looked longingly at the display of attractive goods in the store. When he went back to his little sheep herd in the reservation, he somehow evolved the wild notion of carrying the goods away from the store. This idea was no doubt inflamed, if not really suggested in the first place, by a certain young bully with a bad face, who was keen for the venture. Rincone was remote and unprotected, and they could get far away before anyone came after them. Better still, they could do it in such a way that they would seem to be justified. However, that robbery notion got such a hold on Old Eye, who had been a friend to Barton from the day of their first acquaintance, he planned with the young bully to rob the store, and their plan looked neater in anticipation than it ever looked as a fact. . . .
. . .The mischief was done! . . .She was young and fair, and she tried with terrified eyes to read their intentions. "What do you want?" she asked in their language, hiding her emotions as best she could. "The store," one of them demanded, with a gesture meaning the key. She gave them the key and left them to take what they pleased. The robbery Old Eye had planned went forward wholesale while he lay sprawling on the sand where the bully had dropped him. The six men in eager haste carried the goods from the store in backloads to the boat, rowed them across in load after load, and stopped only when one of their vigilant sentinels warned them in a loud call that horsemen were approaching from Bluff.

Cheepoots had honored his trust with all diligence. Platte Lyman and Kumen Jones came loping over the sand hills where the old man had disappeared; reaching the store before it was thought possible they could have received the word. When Cheepoots rode his lathering cayuse into Bluff with Mrs. Barton's note, he found but six men in town, and by three in the afternoon all but one of the six had gone to Rincone, figuring that was the place of greatest danger. Somehow they clung to the belief that the town was immune to attack. Immune or not, Bluff that afternoon became terrible with forebodings.

Next day men came in from the camps, from the freight roads and other places in answer to the call of nightriders who told them of the danger. Everyone felt grave concern for what might happen. Then onto that stage of dreadful things pending, came a well-meaning actor, who threw the builders of the fort completely off their guard.

Amasa Barton lingered a week before he died, and in the first half of that time the men from Bluff kept fearful watch over him, and all the time they kept a vigilant eye on a mob of Navajos peeping from the cliff beyond the river. In the broad light of one of those May days, instead of in the nighttime, as the watchers had feared, they saw a man come straight down from that mob to the river, to the boat. He made no effort to keep out of sight; he rowed with deliberate stroke to the north side, and climbed to the shelf to where the weary watchers sat by the dying man.

It was Tom Holiday, one of the important chiefs who had been twice to Salt Lake City at the invitation of Brigham Young and John Taylor to hear and subscribe to peace treaties between his people and the Mormons. Impressive in size, magnetic, and intelligent, he marched boldly up to the Barton home, gave them friendly greetings and asked what the trouble was all about. They told him what had happened, showed him the unconscious man, and assured him they had no desire for anything but peace, not the least preparation for anything but peace. "I have been telling my people you are our friends," he said. "I told them you have always been our friends. I told them to go home and let the matter pass. I shall go back and send them home." He returned to the boat and up to the hiding mob from which he came, and very soon it was apparent they had all gone away; none of them could be seen. The crisis seemed to be past.

When Barton died, his funeral was held in Bluff without fear of further trouble from the Navajos. Men returned to the freight road and the camps to take up their work where they had dropped it.”
Amasa Miles Barton was a noble, brave man who lost his life in the self-less service of his family, his friends and his God. 
1. Our Pioneer Heritage, Compiled by Kate B. Carter, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Volume 6, page 509.
2. History of the Iron County Mission, Parowan, Utah, Compiled by Mrs. Luella Adams Dalton, page 237.
3. “The Fort on the Firing Line,” The Improvement Era, October 1949, chapters 13 and 14.
4. Picture of Amasa Miles Barton, http://www.bartonancestry.com/gen/showmedia.php?mediaID=109&medialinkID=201 
Article by Article by C.S.M. Jones LLC, Family Heritage Consulting for Hole in the Rock Foundation.

Photo of Feenie's and Amasa's sons.  The one on the left, was named Amasa Hyde Barton. The second son was not named at the time Amasa was killed. LaRue and Karl Barton in Bluff have a letter he wrote to his mother about 1 week before being shot and he talks about the two boys: . . .I send you a lock of my boy's hair the lightest is Hyde's. We haven't found a name for baby yet he is such a fine fellow can't get a name nice enough." Written June 7th 1887.  Amasa died June 16.  He was eventually named William Penn Barton and is the child in wagon.

Kumen Jones recalls Murder of Amasa
Other observations about Amasa by Kumen Jones

January 13, 2010

Barton, Joseph Franklin and Harriet Ann Richards

Joseph F. Barton of Paragonah was married to Harriet Ann Richards, May 15, 1876 in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. Harriet Ann Richards Barton was born at Parowan, Utah, Sept. 14, 1855.  She was a school teacher.  Early in 1879 he, with his wife answered the call by President Erastus Snow to help establish a colony in the southeastern part of the state.  The couple, with their two little children came through the Hole-in-the-Rock into Bluff on April 6, 1880 (Saga of San Juan pp 299-300).
Children on the trek: Harriet, Eliza, Mary, Viola
Joseph Barton's journal describing the call and trail building.
Joseph described the descent down the hole this way:
Of course everybody was very anxious to try the new road down the celebrated hole in the rock which is a crack or gap thru the rim rock (barely wide enuf for the passage of a wagon) which led to a narrow ruff canyon that wound its way to the River. The first decent of the hole in the rock being 26 ft and which took sevrl days blasting to fill and even then was thot to be a very dangerous peice of wagon road. However by means of a long rope and 10 men the wagons were lowered thru the hole and set on their way for the River (3/4 of a mile distant) before any of the teams of Camp #2 put in an appearance. The writer happened to be some distance in advance of the balance of Company # 2 and reached the dreaded road just at Sundown and knowing that if he waited for the ten men and rope he would camp on the rim that night, but after taking a Survey of the cavity & putting on ruff lock and urging his team considerable finally got them to face what seemed almost next to death. However the next 1/2 minute landed team wagon and driver at first station about 300 ft down the hole in the rock right side up, where upon examination he found that the chain to ruff lock had broken but thru a providencial act the chain had flipped a lap around the feloe in Such a manner as to serve for a lock.

Barton had an especially dependable team of horses.  A gggrandson Tad Barton said: "my great great great grandfather Joseph Franklin Barton's team of horses pulled many wagon on the original trek...they were blind from an out break of pink eye that hit Iron county so they couldn't see how steep the road was...they just did what they were told to "(1/19/2010). They are also mentioned in Lund's book

Joseph took a leading part in the education, civil, religious and financial affairs of the community.  He was an exemplary neighbor, a good veterinarian.  He had all the attributes to make him the fine colonizer he was.  He eventually settled in Verdure, where he passed away.
Harriet  possessed an exceptionally fine voice and sang in Alfred Durham's choir. When she and her husband settled in Bluff, she ecame very active in Church activities, especially the Relief Society and the Ward Choir. The couple had eight children: Harriet, Mary, Joseph Franklin, Morgan, Josephine, Isabel, Karl, and Wesley.

May 29, 1896 Harriet Barton died at the age of 40, seventeen days after giving birth to their eighth child. Nine days later their newborns boy died. Two years following Harriet’s untimely death, Joseph was called to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the southernstates. After returning from his mission, Joseph married Eugenia Johnson in 1907 and moved to Verdure where they established a successful farm and ranch. Joseph died in Verdure, Utah on April 10, 1926 .
Kumen Jone's tribute to Joseph Barton:
Joseph F., one of the partners in the company that was located at Rincon, 10 miles west of Bluff, Utah. The company consisted of Amasa and Joseph F. Barton, Ernest and Frank H. Hyde. I think their company name or business was "Hyde and Barton."

Joseph F. took a leading place in education, civil and religious, and financial affairs, held official positions in all of above features of progress and civilization. Having him and family as my nearest neighbor for 24 years, I found them 100 percent fine. Brother Barton was an all around handy, helpful, exemplary neighbor; quite a veterinarian, understood many of the ailments of domestic animals, and for planning all corrals, outhouses, etc., his gift or ability along those lines was an asset to the community where he lived, and later in life he had the opportunity of "building a home by the side of the road and being a friend to man."--a home and surroundings that stood as a credit to southeastern Utah. This was at Verdure, Utah, where he and family resided for many years, and where he passed on from this mortal school. One of his sons, Karl S., lived with his family at Verdure for many years.
Today the Barton cabin represents the sole surviving feature of the earliest architecture of Bluff. It retains the integrity of its original location, design, setting, material, workmanship, feeling, and association.
Bartons featured in Hole in the Rock Newsletter
Brief history of the Barton Cabin

Bayles *, Hanson, Mary Ann Durham

 (Hanson Bayles story written by Jill Bayles, submitted March 29, 2010 --Thank you so much!)

Hanson Bayles was just twenty one when he was called to leave for the San Juan country in 1879.  He left his sweetheart in Parowan as he was one of twenty-two in the first exploring party on the southern route to San Juan.  In the fall the full expedition set out with Hanson herding some of his own cattle as he helped manage the large herd of livestock that accompanied the party.  In April, 1880, the weary pioneers finally pulled into Bluff after their grueling six month journey. Next to the San Juan River they built a fort, their cabins, and established the San Juan Mission.  The men drew lots for acreage to farm and for city lots to build their homes.

Later that year Hanson returned to Parowan to get his sweetheart, Mary Ann Durham; they were married in the St. George Temple and they were in Bluff to begin their married life by Christmas, 1880.  The family prospered in spite of the hardship and four children were born in Bluff - Annie, Hanson Durham, Emma, and Caroline.  Unfortunately, Mary Ann died in 1888 when their last child was born and Hanson was left a widower with four children under eight.  His sisters Juliette & Emma came to Bluff to help care for the motherless family.

As Bluff grew, Hanson prospered and was able to build his herds & grazing land.  He was a founding partner in the Bluff co-op.  Meanwhile, a young woman named Evelyn Lyman, a daughter of Platte Lyman, was growing up in Bluff.  She noticed Hanson & his little family and Hanson was aware of Evelyn as she played in the Bluff band and attended church activities.  Her father warned her that she could be a widow for many years if she married an older man; his words turned out to be quite true.

Hanson was forty and Evelyn twenty two in 1897 when they married in the Manti Temple.  Their first child, De Lyman Bayles, was born the next year and in 1900 Velyn was born.  By this time their new block home was under construction.  This home was located across the street west from Dorothea & Jens Neilsen's home and the growing family, now with six children, was anxious to move in.  Soon Clark, Grant, and Adelia arrived, joining the teenagers from Hanson's first family.

Outlaws and Indian trouble continued to plague the settlers.  During those early years, some of the men took turns being the sheriff.  It was while Hanson was sheriff that he had a unique experience.  Two outlaws were on their way through the San Juan country & he was notified to be on the lookout and try to apprehend them.  He & a deputy had captured them & were taking them to Thompson where they could catch the train to take them on to Colorado.  This was over a hundred miles so they spent a few nights on the trail with their horses and the prisoners.  Hanson and the deputy would take four hour shifts during the night to guard the outlaws.  One of those nights Hanson was on guard; he was sitting, leaning against a tree with his rifle across his knees.  Everyone seemed to be sleeping as Hanson rested.  Suddenly he awakened with a start grabbing his rifle.  One of the outlaws had managed to get out of his handcuffs & was standing in front of Hanson just reaching for his gun!  Quickly Hanson re cuffed him and tied him up tighter.  A few days later the outlaws were turned over to the authorities without further incident.  Back in Bluff, Hanson told his family of the close call.  The outlaw told Hanson that he had planned to get the gun & kill him and the deputy.  Why had Hanson awakened so suddenly when he was in danger?  Hanson said he heard his Mother calling him in her distinctive Danish accent, HAN-SON!  Anna Frederikka Oster Bayles, his Mother, had died years earlier, but he heard her that night.

By 1908, Grayson, 26 miles north of Bluff, was beginning to grow as more families settled there.  It was that year that Hanson was called as the first Bishop of Grayson Ward (later called Blanding).  Evelyn had a sad heart as they moved their growing family - now ten - from their nice home in Bluff to a tin granary in Grayson.  The twins were born in Grayson, at Hanson's Mothers', and Mary came along in 1911.  Mary may have been born in the new brick home Hanson had built on the corner of 200 South 100 East.  Scott, the last child, was born there in 1915.  This pioneer home is still occupied, now almost 100 years old.

Hanson was Bishop as the saints sacrificed and the South Chapel was built.  The first telephone in Grayson was placed in the Bayles home.  Around this time the Mormon Saints were run out of Mexico and many arrived in Grayson.  As Bishop, Hanson helped them with food & shelter; many arrived with nothing.  Many times he sent those in need to his own granary and fields for supplies.

Evelyn remembers tithing being paid in grain, vegetables, eggs, meat, fruit, and other items piled on their porch before it was distributed to the needy.

Hanson Bayles died in Blanding in 1922 and was buried in the Blanding Cemetary.  Evelyn was eighty seven when she died; she is buried in Blanding.  Mary Ann Durham Bayles is buried in the Bluff Cemetary.

(Saga of San Juan summary)
 Hanson Bayles was born to Herman D. Bayles and Anna Easter Bayles 1858 at Parowan, Utah
In 1879, he was called to help in the settlement of San Juan County. He was a member of the Mormon Exploring and Hole-in-the-Rock Parties. Later, he married Mary Ann Durham in the St. George Temple and they moved to Bluff. They had four children: Annie, Hanson Durham, Emma, and Caroline. When Caroline was born Jan. 31, 1888 her mother died.
Hanson served as county treasurer, also county commissioner and was bishop of the Bluff and later the Blanding ward. He was considered one of the leading business men of the county. His counsel was sought in financial and spiritual matters. He owned vast tracts of land, also cattle and sheep. He was a successful farmer and rancher. He was dependable and just in all of his dealings. He died Nov. 1922.

Poem about Mary Ann Durham Bayles

Bryson *, Samuel

Bryson was from Woodruff, Utah.  He was assigned as Captain of the sixth ten, as the pioneers were organized into working units (Miller 101).  He is also mentioned on pp 134, 162, 164, 168 of the Hole in the Rock book.
More information needed!

Bullock, Robert

Bullock was born Jan. 8 1838 at Glasgow, Scotland.  He was a member of the First Exploring Part to San Juan.  He was with the group that went south, trying to find a viable route through Indian territory to the San Juan.  That part of the trek was over 400 miles.  Under Silas Smith's leadership during the San Juan trip, he drove cattle and acted as an advance scout.  He was older than most of the men and his good judgement was highly regarded by the company, and Captain Smith who kept him in the lead.
While camping on the Sevier River below Panguitch, the company organized with Smith as Captain and Robert Bullock as sergeant of the guard.
He was among the first three to reach San Juan and return to lead the others to what later was called Fort Montezuma.  This trip began on April 13, 1879.  He returned to his home Cedar City (following the north route?) in September 18, 1879.
Me married Maria Fife Jan. 30 1867.  He was a livestock man during his entire life.  He died June 23, 1903 (Saga of San Juan p. 304)  He is mentioned in Silas S. Smith's joural several times.

Bullock is also noted in Miller's Hole in the Rock pp 18, 24, 25, 31, 148, 150, 151

Butler, John

John Lowe Butler (1808-1861).
Place names of Utah Butler Wash in San Juan County was named for one of the first White scouts in the area. It was John Butler who approached nearest to this rim, and the canyon.
He is mentioned on pp. 18, and 148 in Miller's book.
Account of persecutions of .... "Notes Regarding the Trip Through the Hole in the Rock." ...

Butt, Parley R.

Parley Butt was born 27 Jan 1862 Parowan  He died 20 Nov 1940 Dove Creek, Dolores, Colorado and is buried in Monticello. San Juan County Marriage records show that Parley married Bayles, Edith A. Verdure, UT, age 22 on 11/28/1898   They were then sealed in the temple 12/7/1898 Manti, UT by John D. T. McAllister (Elder of the LDS Church).
Parley Butt's saw mill
The cutting of ponderosa dates as far back as 1880, when the lumber for the first sluice gages on the San Juan River in Bluff were cut from trees on Blue Mountain.(4) This timber was taken using a combination of rip saw and sawpit by Parley R. Butt, Willard Butt, and George Ipson, in a region between Bulldog and Devil’s Canyon. (5) In 1891 Parley and Willard Butt set up the first sawmill on the Blue Mountain, halfway between Verdure and Monticello (9) (Blue Mountain Shadows Vol 3).

Story told by William Halls Jr (1863-1939)
After reaching Mancos, Colorado, all of the men folks took up desert entry claims. There had to be a six-mile ditch dug from the Mancos River to their claims. This was done mostly by hand work -- no bulldozers, no digging machines, and their horses were poor. Father worked in logging camps and coal mines, or wherever he could get work. He and the two Butt boys, Parley and Dick, were the first white men the Indians would allow on the Elk Mountain with cattle. This story was related to me by Parley Butt in 1915. He said the Indians rode into their camp and one of them was riding Dick’s horse. When he claimed the horse, the Indians laid back over their horses and pointed their rifles at the three of them. Parley said he and Dick were scared to death, but Dad was sitting on a log reading a yellow-back novel. He just looked up and grinned and went on reading. When I asked Dad about it later, he said, “Well, if you’re going to die, you might just as well grin.”

Parley called to Blue Mountain Mission
VERDURE The oldest Mormon settlement in the Blue Mountain Region was first known as South Montezuma. Later the name was changed to Verdure after the lush green growth along the stream bed. Verdure was settled by men of the Blue Mountain Mission March 11, 1887, under the direction of Pres. Francis A. Hammond of the San Juan Stake. He called George A. Adams, Frederick I. Jones, Parley R. Butt and Charles E. Walton to establish a new settlement at North Montezuma, later named Monticello. They first set up camp at Verdure to prepare for a permanent settlement at Monticello, six miles to the north. When company members moved on to Monticello in 1888 the Adams and Butt families remained at Verdure. By 1894 they were joined by the Alvin Decker, Willard Butt, Lingo Christensen, R.P. Hott and Francis Nielson families. Nielson operated a store and a school out of his log home, the first church met in the Decker home, and in 1893 a post office was installed in the Adams home. Verdure was a peaceful frontier village where cattle, farming and cheese-making were the main occupations. Gradually the settlers moved to Monticello.
Parley is mentioned on pp. 26-27, 150-151 in Miller's book.
Noelle Bronson recalls stories of her grandfather Parley Butt

Butt building in Dove Creek

Parley Butt (submitted by Lisa Rarick - his great, great granddaughter).
by Ernie Pyle
[Pyle was an American journalist who wrote as a roving correspondent for the Scripps Howard newspaper chain from 1935 until his death in combat during World War II. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1944. His articles, about the out-of-the-way places he visited and the people who lived there, were a folksy style much like a personal letter to a friend.]

"One of the settlers around Monticello was a Mormon named Parley Butt. He was one of the first in the town of Bluff to the South, and into Dove Creek, to the east. We met him yesterday in Dove Creek. He's a character if I've ever seen one.

He was in the Mormon scouting party that first penetrated southern utah. He was a member of the fated group that made Mormon history by their experiences at "Hole in the rock."

Parley Butt is a lovable rascal. Ugly as mud fence (aw, don't get nervous; he won't mind), with huge, queer gold teeth in his lower jaw. He's got an ornery grin on his face. I'd like to know him better.

He has been very rich in his day. Was a great Mormon cattle man, and owned thousands and thousands of acres of land. Probably the first citizen of southeastern Utah. He's lost a great deal of that, but he's doing all right, too. He has a good time.

He ran for the Utah Legislature once. Got elected by one vote. He said if that was the best they could do, nuts to "em. He refused to go to Salt Lake City.

He served three terms as sheriff of San Juan County. They tell how he tracked three desperadoes into the desert, found them all asleep, took their guns, and then just sat quietly until they woke up, and laughed at them.

Utah and Colorado will miss Parley Butt when he's gone. He's got a sense of ironic humor that you seldom see in this day and age. You find it mostly in Alaska among the old boys.

The friend who is traveling with me chatted with Parley Butt at a different time than I did. When my friend started to leave Parley Butt said to him, 'So long, kiddo.'

And when I said goodbye to him he said, 'Well give my regards to all the good looking people in the world.' I kinda doubt if a guy like that will ever die."

Butt, Willard

Willard and his brother Parley were both from Parowan.  Willard b.1858-d.1919 in Cortez.

Willard Butt, with his love for a practical joke, his easy wit and humor, coupled with his hospitality and intense interest in people, was one of the most colorful characters in the country. His doors were open to friends and to strangers, cowboys, and Indians. If danger was present, he was always in the front ranks. For many years he acted as county sheriff. In later life, when crippled with rheumatism, he continued to ride the range.

He married Julia Nielson, a girl with a heart, if that could be possible--bigger than his own. Their friends were legion. Far and near they came to bask in the sunshine and hospitality of the Butt home. To their marriage were born four children: Elsa, Harold, Rye, and Lila.
Willard came through the Hole-in-the-Rock to Bluff..remaining there for a few years until the Blue Mountain Mission materialized. He went to Verdure where he lived for a few years. Returning to Bluff he lived until his death, June 9, 1919 (Saga of San Juan 305).

Handwritten notes in book owned probably by Brigham Young Jr.:
 All of the handwritten notes contained within the book appear to be written in the same hand. In addition to the probable ownership of this book by Brigham Young Jr. this copy also has a Bluff Utah provenance. Brigham Young Jr. spent some time in Bluff in the years 1895 and 1896. A handwritten table of distances in the back of the book records the miles between Bluff Verdure Monticello and Moab Utah. #11;#11;Also on the facing pace is a handwritten list that reads as follows: Bluff City Nov. 25 1897 Nov. 25 97 #11;Names of those who desire to go away from Bluff: #11;Willard Butts Willard George William Butt #11;#11;Names of those who remain in Bluff: #11;1. Bishop J. Neilsen sic 2. Kumen Jones 3. Lemuel H. Redd 4. Jas. B. Decker #11;5. Hans Bayles 6. John Allen 7. Hirum Perkins Hyrum 8. H. Jas. Neilsen sic #11;9. John Rogers 10. William Adams 11. John Adams 12. J.M. Redd 13. Jens P. Neilsen sic 14. Francis Neilsen sic 15. Fred. Adams 16. Jas. Hammond 17. Albion Brown 18. Willis Rogers 19. Pres. F.A. Hammond 20. Platt D. Lyman 21. 22. Division of the stake. Many of the individuals listed above were original settlers of Bluff Utah and came to the region with the Hole-in-the-Rock Expedition of 1879-80. As mandated by the LDS Church a group of approximately 236 people traveled with the goal of settling the south eastern area of the Utah Territory. The specific route the settlers chose led them to a narrow opening in the west wall of Glen Canyon. The only way to continue their journey was to blast a larger passage through this narrow opening referred to as the "Hole-in-the-Rock." A total of forty wagons made their way safely to Bluff Utah. Bluff was originally intended to be a farming village but because of the harsh terrain livestock production was implemented under the direction of Francis A. Hammond 1822-1900. Hammond was appointed the LDS Stake President of the San Juan area in 1885. #11;#11;Individuals listed above include: Willard George William Butt 1858-1919 was an original member of the Hole-in-the Rock expedition and was San Juan County!s first sheriff. He also started the first steam powered sawmill in San Juan County. He died in Cortez Colorado and was buried in Bluff Utah

Willard and how Whisker's Draw got its name
Willard Butt home in Bluff

Christensen, Peter

No information found--much needed!

Christensen, Lars

David Miller adds Christensen, Lars to a group listed as: "Persons sometimes listed as among the Hole-in-the-Rock Company but without definite proof  (Miller, 147).

Cox, Samuel and Sarah Gane

Child on the trek: Sarah Marchant (Read her story)
Samuel was one of three violinists on the trek,  They furnished music for the dances whenever they could find a hard smooth surface.  Cox also had a trumpet as did Charles Walton. These were used not only for musical selections, but to call the camp together, and for morning and evening prayers (Miller, 46).

Samuel Cox we believe was born 7 February 1834 Westcranmond, Somerset, England.  His parents were Abraham Cock and Francis .  He died 17 May 1926 in Beazer, Alberta, Canada. This is where his daughter later died as well in 1906 after the birth of her 10th child.

Sarah Gane was born about 17 November 1833 Shepton Mallet, England.  She died 23 January 1915.  Her parents were George Gane and Jane Marchant Gane.

From Cox/Olson History:
Samuel Cox and his wife Sarah Gane arrived in Cardston May 21st 1898. They traveled from Price, Utah to Lethbridge by train and then to Cardston by wagon. They were accompanied by their only child, a daughter, Sarah Marchant and her husband Erastus Olsen and their four children, Clarence age 9, Clara age 5, Gane age 4, and Murrel age 2. They lived in a log house east of Biglow home. During the first summer in Carston another son was born to them, Charles who lived only a few weeks. Both families moved to Aetna , June 8th 1900.

Samuel Cox built a rock home across the street from his daughter. He was a talented carpenter by trade and had a great love for music and drama. He was called on to organize a ward choir, serve as ward chorister and drama director. His wife Sara Gane, although past 60, had a special talent as an administering angel. Prior to her coming to Canada she had been a midwife and home nurse, traveling by horse to far off areas day or night. It didn’t take long for the people of Aetna to realize they had a true friend. She was called as Relief society President. Everyone called her to deliver babies, nurse the sick, or treat the injured. She never expected or received pay but willing gave of her talents to anyone in need. She was devoted to her daughter and stayed close to her to help her as long as she lived.

After their daughter died following the birth of her 10th child, Sarah Gane took the baby Carl to her home to care for though at this time passed 70.  They moved from the ranch into a little comfortable home he built in Beazer across from the school. Grandma Cox, as she was lovingly called, continued her active life with her grandchildren, her church and the community. When friends admonished her to take it easy she would laugh and say “Well at least I won't rust out.” And she certainly didn’t. After she was passed 70 she served as Relief Society President, Sunday school teach, and cared for a baby until he was six years old, at which time his Father asked that he be returned to the family unit. She showed great love and concern for her grandchildren as long as she lived. To the younger children she became the only Mother they could remember.

She suffered a stroke in November 1914 and was bedfast until her death. Her granddaughter Myrtle, although only 15 years old moved into the Cox home to care for her. Friends came from as far away as Aetna to express love, to sit with her, to care for her during the long nights, that Myrtle might rest. On January 23, 1915 she suffered a second stroke and died. She was loved by all who ever knew her.

It was bitter cold and heavy snow. The ground had to be opened with a pick. Samuel built a cement vault large enough for both of them. In order to keep the cement from freezing lanterns were lit inside and it was covered until dry. Samuel built the casket for her himself, because he wanted it well built and beautiful. It was perhaps his finest work. He chose Maple wood. When completed the Sisters lined it with sating and padded the outside and covered it with velvet brocade. The handles and graven nameplate were silver. Indeed no finer casket could have been bought. She was laid to rest in the Beazer cemetery 26 January 1915.

Samuel took the wood that was left and fashioned a beautiful violin, which he often played. He was a very lonely man, living some at the Olsen ranch with his grandchildren, and some at his little home alone. Through a friend who knew her, he agreed to send to Sweden to have a sister come out to take care of him. Her name was Marta Ruda. She was a staunch member of the church and had been a cook in the mission home, and a mother to every missionary passing by. Upon her arrival they were married. She spoke no English, he no Swedish, but he set about to teach her. She learned remarkably well for a women her age. They got along well and she took good care of him until his death, May 18, 1926.

Marta Ruda was a very industrious woman, a fine cook and a friend to all. She greatly enjoyed temple work. She continued to live on in the little house Samuel Cox built in Beazer. She became “Aunt Marta” to most of the ward, although she had no direct family and no friend who spoke her native tongue. She died in Beazer of a heart condition February 25, 1935.

Dailey, Milton and Mary Malinda Wilson

Name: Milton Dailey
Birth: 14 Oct 1827--Fallstown, Luz, Pennsylvania
Death: 28 Oct 1913
Burial: Oct 1913--Paragonah, Iron, Utah

Name: Mary Malinda Wilson
Birth: 6 Feb1851--Little Pidgeon, Pottawattomie, Iowa

Death: 16 Feb 1904
Burial: Feb 1904--Paragonah, Iron, Utah

There are eight children listed, including Madeline (born in 1876) and Marion (born in 1877). It appears that this family went on to eventually settle in Alpine, Apache, Arizona.  Information from Caroline Nielson 2/5/2010

Children on trek: Marion and Madalene
           (Louvisa Buckley mother of Malinda ?)

More information needed

Dailey, Wilson and Lorana Tilton

Children on Trek: Bade, Belt
Dailey, Wilson  Born 1817, Died 1903 He Shared headstone with Wilson Orr and Lorana .  He was from Harrisburg, Utah.

Wilson Dailey, curiously enough, was one of the few pioneers who were not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or Mormons as more commonly known. Dailey considered this trek to be an opportunity to get to the mines in Colorado in company with a large emigrant train.

Dailey was one of two blacksmiths in the company. Blacksmiths were one of the most important figures in the company, as it was up to them to keep the roadworking tools sharpened and in good repair. They also created horseshoes, nails, wagon wheel bands and other needed pieces. They had several young men help them to build coke ovens at the top of the Hole, and then kept them busy pumping the bellows for the forges Hole in the Rock site.

Information needed

Dalley * , Nielson B.

Nielson was born Feb. 22, 1861 in Summit, Iron county, Utah. (He is usually referred to as Nels.) At the age of 18 he was called to accompany the group selected to explore the San Juan County with the idea of settling this section of the state. Being a good rider and very handy with cattle, he was assigned to help with the livestock that accompanied the explorers. (Kumen notes in his journal that Nielson Dalley was from Cedar City.)
He accompanied James B. Decker, Kumen Jones, Parley Butt, and Hamilton Wallace back to Moencopy for the Davis family, who had remained there because of the ill health of Mrs Davis. They also brought the cattle and some horses on to Fort Montezuma. (His journal of southern exploring party of 1879, included in Hole in the Rock by Miller pp 148-154)
He returned later to his home in Summit and later married Mary C. Jones, Feb. 21, 1883. They were the parents of nine children. Mr. Dalley was a farmer and sheepman all his life. He died Aug. 30, 1947 (Saga of San Juan 307)

Possible connection on Bailey site

Dalton *, John C.

Entry in Nielson Dalley's diary of the southern exploring company of 1879. John Dalton is listed as part of the company. On April 27 it says: "John Dalton and Nels Dalley chosen to hunt again for lost horse; tracked it 15-20 miles.... (Miller 148-149)

More information needed!

Ipson, George

Information on pp. 147, 189 Hole in the Rock by Miller

More information needed

Thornton* , Hammilton

Information needed
p. 30, Miller's book refers to Thornton
Kumen Jone's journal says in his entry dated Company start April 15, 1879 that the exploration party fouth started:  Thornton is listed as part of the Cedar City group. "Hamilton Thornton from Pinto Creek, joined the party on the San Juan River."

January 12, 2010

Davis *, James and Mary Elizabeth Fretwell

James Davis Family

Back Row, L to R: Cordelia (1881-1955), John Orson (1876-1952), Emily Ellen (1873-1947), James Henry (1870-1930), Ethel Olive (1879-1943).
Front Row: Stella (1883-1952), James l. (1840-1920), Mary Elizabeth (1843-1928), and Edward Fretwell (1865-1940). Taken c 1894
James and Mary were born in England; all the children were born in Utah. Four of the children died before this photograph was taken.

James Davis: His parents were George Davis (1806-1860) and Mary Antony Timson (1806-1866).  James was born 9 August 1840 London, Middlesex, England; Death: 7 February 1920 Paris, Bear Lake, Idaho. He married Mary Elizabeth Fretwell 23 April 1864 at the Endowment House, Salt Lake.  They eventually had 11 children, four of whom died before the 1879 San Juan Mission.  James loved music and was an organist and also loved to sing and dance.  He knew some fast and unusual dance steps which entertained their Navajo friends.  He lived to age 80 and they say he could still dance a fancy jig. James once testified: "All the promises that were made to me by the Elders of the Church in England have been fulfilled, and life has been worth living (McDonald, Blue Mountain Shadows Vol. 30 p. 46)."

Mary Elizabeth Fretwell: Her parents were William Kellingley Fretwell (1817-1872) and Mary Ann Raby (1821-1858).  Mary was the oldest of seven children.  She was born 14 April 1843 London, London, England and died 21 November 1923, Paris, Bear Lake, Idaho.  The blessing given to her prior to leaving to San Juan in 1879 was fulfilled and she never lost another child.  In addition her health was restored, despite the primitive and trying circumstances the family faced while at Fort Montezuma.  She survived to a ripe old age of 85.

Children on the trek: Edward Fretwell, James Henry Fretwell, Emily Ellen, John Orson.  Their daughter Ethel Olive was the first known white child born in San Juan (Aug. 2, 1880). James hired Clara Mitchell to act as a midwife.  The labor began Aug. 1 and was long and excruciating.  After the first day, Clara went out of the fort exhausted saying she didn't think Mary would live, and then she left the area for awhile.  While she was gone the baby was born at 2:30 AM Aug. 2.  Both the baby and Mary were well and healthy.
(McDonald, Blue Mt. Shadows Vol. 30 p. 19)

The Davis family was in the initial exploring expedition which settled at Montezuma Creek in July of 1879, nine months ahead of the arrival of the Hole in the Rock party at Bluff in April of 1880. The history of their experiences in San Juan is well documented in their histories below.  They are truly icons of faithfulness and courage.  It took so long for the main party to arrive and bring supplies that the Davises and Harriman's nearly starved.  In fact, at one time there were even rumors they had been killed and Thales Haskell was sent to bury their bodies.  Be sure to follow the links below to read their full story and understand the difficulties they faced so faithfully.
Hole in the Rock by David Miller also has references to Davis on pp. 12, 20, 27, 29, 90, 92,  149, 154-157

Five Years on the San Juan  Improvement Era Jan. 1941 is now on line!

The Davis family later moved to Paris, Idaho in 1884. The spring of that year brought a devastating flood to the area with the river running five feet higher than normal, and destroying everything in its path. It peaked on June 18. Much of what the Montezuma settlers had built was washed downstream, proving that the greatest threat at Montezuma was not the Indians, but the river (McDonald p. 42).

The Davis family began to gather up what they could carry in one wagon. They traded their one remaining cabin, barn, and belongings to a Colorado cattleman for one small Indian pony. They left Fort Montezuma in Aug. or Sept. of 1884 with a caravan of other pioneers, eight wagons in total.  They made their exodus through Recapture Canyon, the mouth of which is about 11 miles west of Fort Montezuma (McDonald p. 45.)

Issue #30 of Blue Mountain Shadows has great detail about this family and others who came to Montezuma Creek written by Ron McDonald as well as a poem about Mary Davis and her ordeal in crossing Arizona deserts while pregnant.
Poem about Mary Davis

Obtain Blue Mountain Shadows at Clarks Market, San Juan Pharmacy, EOC Museum, or Visitors Center in Blanding.  Full sets should also be available at libraries at middle and high schools, CEU/SJC, and the Blanding Library.
If anyone wants to do further research on this family you can contact Ron McDonald at fortmontezuma@yahoo.com. He will try to help you locate living descendants who could provide additional profile information.

Decker, Cornelius Isaac and Elizabeth Morris

Cornelius was born Feb. 11, 1855. Cornelius was the son of Zechariah Bruyn Decker, Sr. He married Elizabeth Morris of Parowan in 1875. Initially he went to Snowflake, AZ and established title to land where he built a house and prepared to make his home. However, upon returning to Parowan, he met Silas S. Smith's company of explorers headed to San Juan. Two of his brothers: James and Zechariah Jr., were members of that company; thus his attention turns towards San Juan. (See rest of his journal in Hole in the Rock p. 191-196.) Quotes from his journal

Children on the trek: Cornelius William and Eugene Morris

Cornelius is mentioned often in Miller's Hole in the Rock: pp. 59, 61, 68,73,74,101, 104, 127, 132, 162, 174, 191-196
Elizabeth is also mentioned on pp. 76, 79, 80, 116, 119, 128, 196-200 of Miller's book.

A letter to her parents: Dear Father and Mother, we received yours of the 23 of Jan. and Feb 2nd and was more than glad to hear from you. I got yours of the 23 about a week ago but did not have a chance to answer it. Some men start from here tomorrow for Escalante and we thought maybe it would be the last chance we would get to write. We crossed the river on the 1st of Feb. all safe; was not half as scared as we thought we'd be, it was the easiest part of our journey. Coming down the hole in the rock to get to the river was ten times as bad. If you ever come this way it will scare you to death to look down it. It is about a mile from the top down to the river and it is almost straight down, the cliffs on each side are five hundred ft. high and there is just room enough for a wagon to go down. It nearly scared me to death. The first wagon I saw go down the put the brake on and rough locked the hind wheels and had a big rope fastened to the wagon and about ten men holding back on it and then they went down like they would smash everything. I'll never forget that day. When we was walking down Willie looked back and cried and asked me how we would get back home. Willie wants me to tell George that him and his pa had a more than a good ride on the river, him and Genie got their valentines just two days too soon and was nearly tickled to death. They have got them yet and show them to everybody in camp. Cornelius has gone back after stock and will be gone for 10 days while the rest of the men work. We have go to another big rock, it will take about 10 days to fix it so we can go on. . . .(additional sections not included.) Letters are signed "Lizzie Decker")

Decker, James Bean and Anna Maria Mickelsen

James Bean Decker was born March 25, 1853 at Parowan, Utah and was one of the outstanding pillars amoung the Bluff pioneers. His parents were Zechariah DECKER Sr. and Nancy Bean. He was the first Superintendent of Sunday Schools, a member of the District School Board for many years, and was especially interested in music and teaching. The Sunday School was organized under the “Old Swing Tree”. Brother Decker lead the singing in Sunday School and the Choir for many years until his death.  He was cool, careful, resourceful. He worked at Verdure during the very early San Juan history. He died  the winter of 1901-02 (Dec. 15, 1901) along with four of his children when a diptheria epidemic struck the community.
Anna Marie Mickelsen Decker was born in Cedar City, April 7, 1855. She married James B. Decker July 13, 1874. She came with her husband with the first pioneers. She was also active in the choir and other ward activities. She was the mother of eleven children. Anna Marie died 18 May 1937 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Ut (Genealogy Source)

Children on the trek (all grew to adulthood):
Anna Lillian (Born 13 Nov 1875 in Parowan, Iron, Ut. Died: 17 Jul 1963 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Ut
Nancy Genevieve was born: 20 Oct 1877 in Parowan, Iron, Ut. Died: Oct 1964 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Ut
Lena Deseret Decker was born January 3, 1880 at Fifty-mile camp. They were fifty miles from the nearest settlement, one hundred miles from a doctor, and 150 miles from their anticipated home. The winter of 1880 was considered one of the worst in Utah history. Snow covered the camp, and cold permeated the living quarters of the camp. To make Anna Marie comfortable, a wagon box was lifted off of its wheels and placed on the ground. Snow was then banked around it two or three feet high to act as insulation and keep out wind drafts. Lena was one of two babies born on the trip. (Hole in the Rock site) She died Died: 19 Oct 1920.
(Lena is mentioned on pp. 48, 81, 176 Hole in the Rock by Miller)

The father and four children died during the epidemic and are buried in Bluff:
Horace (Born 14 Feb 1885 in Bluff, San Juan, Ut. Died: 24 Jan 1902 in Bluff, San Juan, Ut),
Gertrude (Born: 16 Aug 1887 in Bluff, San Juan, Ut. Died: 16 Dec 1901 in Bluff, San Juan, Ut),
Lynn (Born: 12 Dec 1896 in Bluff, San Juan, U. Died: 15 Dec 1901 in Bluff, San Juan, Ut)
Clair (Born: 30 Aug 1892 in Bluff, San Juan, Ut. Died: 25 Jan 1902 in Bluff, San Juan, Ut
Others growing to adulthood:
James (Born: 19 May 1883 in Bluff, San Juan, Ut. Died: 12 May 1964 in Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, Ca),
Elmer born: Jun 1889 in Bluff, San Juan, Ut. Died: 17 Feb 1978 (Saga of San Juan p 308)
Claude Born: 27 Oct 1894 in Bluff, San Juan, Ut. Died: Jul 1980 in Kirtland, San Juan, NM
Afton born 25 Feb 1899 in Bluff, San Juan, Ut. Died: Feb 1943
Seven of the children grew to maturity, filling important positions in San Juan County and the surrounding territory.

Decker home in Bluff
James Bean Decker
By C.S.M. Jones LLC, Family Heritage Consulting for Hole in the Rock Foundation
Born: 25 March, 1853: Parowan, Iron County, Utah
Died: 16 December, 1901
Married: Anna Marie Mickelsen
Father: Zachariah Bruyn Decker
Mother: Nancy Bean Williams Lee

Early Life
 James Bean Decker was born on March 25th, 1853 in Parowan, Utah. He was the second son and third child of Zechariah and Nancy Decker. Zechariah and Nancy were immigrants to Utah, with Zechariah serving in the Mormon Battalion en route. James’ descendants wrote little information down about his early life and experiences in Parowan. Like many children of his time, James’ education was infrequent at best, and ceased when he was old enough to help provide. In 1874 he was married to Anna Marie Mickelson in the Salt Lake Endowment House. It took the couple three weeks to make the trip from Parowan to Salt Lake City and back. Upon return, James and Anna built a “neat little brick home” on the west side of town. Until his marriage, James farmed with his father and made extra money hauling freight.
Hole-In-The-Rock Pioneer
In the spring of 1879 James and Anna were called to the San Juan Mission. By this time, they had two daughters and Anna was expecting a third child. After several months of preparation, they left in November. At Fifty Mile Spring, on January 3rd 1881, Anna gave birth to Lena Deseret, their third daughter. Being many miles from the nearest settlement, and without the aide of a doctor or midwife, Anna gave birth in the family wagon box.

Despite the families’ good health, the trek was arduous. The difficult terrain and long task of building roads slowed the expedition’s progress. Eventually, James and Anna arrived with the rest of the party in April. After arriving at the San Juan River, James, too exhausted to go any further, decided to make his home in Bluff, instead of going on to Fort Montezuma.
Challenges at Bluff
James was elected as the first sheriff of Bluff. This unpaid appointment kept James busy when he was not providing for his family. Periodically, hostility between Indians and whites in Colorado spilled over into the San Juan River area. On one occasion James led a posse of fourteen men who set out to recover stolen horses from a nearby war party of Utes. When confronted, the Indians refused to return the horses that belonged to the San Juan settlers. After several seconds with guns drawn, the Indians returned the settlers’ horses when they learned that the settlers were Mormons. Later, that same group of Utes ambushed and killed another posse of Colorado immigrants.

Hostile Indians were not the only threats that James dealt with. Rustlers and thieves also caused trouble and made life dangerous. One Sunday in 1886 James was interrupted during church by fellow settler and local cattle rancher, Bill Ball. Several cowboys who had been working on Bill’s ranch had stolen his horses and Bill needed help to track them down. James and some other men immediately left church and set out to catch the thieves. Bill rode at the head of the group, confident that his former hired hands would not shoot him. When James and the rest of the posse caught up with the rustlers in a nearby canyon, a gunfight ensued and the thieves shot Bill. James, who was standing right behind Bill, quickly came to his aid. But afraid that his white Sunday shirt would make him a conspicuous target, James took cover behind his horse. The battle continued, and although James’ horse was shot several times, the rustlers got away and James escaped unscathed. James spent the night with Bill, but by morning Bill had died. James made it safely back to Bluff, but the rustlers were never caught.

In Bluff, nature posed a more formidable challenge than even rustlers and Indians. James, along with other settlers, was involved in a project to dig a canal in Bluff to bring water to their crops. Several times a year, usually during the spring, the canal would flood and force the settlers to rebuild and replant. Also, as James’ son recorded, many of the Bluff settlers had to leave for several months each year to work in Colorado mines to supplement their income.

Community Involvement
James and Anna were among the few families who stayed in Bluff after Church authorities announced the release San Juan Mission participants. In time, James gave up his farm and took up ranching, an occupation that was much more suited to Bluff’s geography. As more and more settlers switched to ranching, Bluff thrived. This, along with abundant rainfall and good beef prices, allowed James and his family to prosper in Bluff. With economic stability, James became a prominent citizen in the San Juan area. He was called to be the first superintendent of the LDS Sunday School in Bluff, and soon after was called to hold the same position on a stake level as well. He did his best to magnify his position of teaching and leadership. Once he traveled all the way to Provo to enroll in a Sunday School teaching course offered by Brigham Young University. When he returned home to Bluff, he shared what he had learned with those who served under him in the Sunday School. In civic affairs, James served as county treasurer, county superintendent of schools, and county commissioner for several terms.

Family life was good for the Deckers in Bluff. They lived happily together, although in close quarters—their log home only consisting of two large rooms. James eventually began building “a white stucco house, two stories high, with bays and gables and arched windows to let in the light.” By this time, James and Anna had eleven children, and had enough money to send the oldest, James Jr., to Brigham Young Academy in Provo. After acquiring an organ for the family, James’ daughters played the music for the local congregation’s Sunday services. James himself directed the choir and two of his daughters, Lena and Jennie, played in the local string quartet. He loved to have his family gather around him in the evenings to sing, one of his favorites hymns being “Love at Home.”

Sadly, in December of 1901, several of the Decker children fell to diphtheria. On December 15 James Decker succumbed to the disease. In a little over a month, five of the 13 members of Decker family had died of diphtheria. James’ children and grandchildren recorded that the Decker tragedy “made a lasting impression on the community.” James Decker, the stalwart pioneer who arrived in Bluff and said he could go no further, filled his life with community service. He was remembered by fellow pioneer Kumen Jones as “even-tempered, cool, careful,” and possessed of “good judgment.” These qualities enhanced his business success and local leadership, and helped ensure the longevity of the Bluff settlement.

Reference List

Decker, Rod. “History of James Bean Decker” Rhea Decker Seaberg ed. Unpublished History from the Files of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Jones, Kumen. The Writings of Kumen Jones, ed. by Albert T. Lyman, 156-157; Cornelia Adams Perkins, Marian Gardner Nielsen, and Lenora Butt Jones, Saga of San Juan. Monticello, Utah; San Juan County Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1957.

Lillian Decker. “James Bean Decker”. Unpublished History from the Files of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Perkins, Cornelia, Marian Gardner Nielsen, and Lenora Butt Jones, Saga of San Juan. Monticello, Utah; San Juan County Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1957.
Anna Maria Mickelson Decker
By C.S.M. Jones LLC, Family Heritage Consulting for Hole in the Rock Foundation
Born: 7 April, 1855: Cedar City, Utah
Died: 18 May, 1937: Salt Lake City, Utah
Married: James B Decker: 13 July, 1874
Father: Rasmus Mickelsen
Mother: Ane Nielsen

Early Life and Marriage
Anna Maria Mickelson was born April 7th, 1855 to Rasmus and Ane Mickelsen. Rasmus and Ane were born and raised in Scandinavia and were converted to the Latter-day Saint movement by Erastus Snow. Rasmus quickly threw his energies into his new-found religion and preached extensively to his local community. By 1853 Rasmus and Ane had saved enough to immigrate to the United States. After sailing from Europe, Rasmus and Ane stopped in St. Louis to earn some money before joining a wagon train intended for the Great Basin. The couple arrived in Salt Lake City in 1854, and was immediately sent by Brigham Young to settle in Iron County.

Six months after their arrival, Anna was born. Rasmus and Ane were ill-prepared at first to care for a child in their new environment. According to family recollections, all the couple had to wrap the baby in was “a shawl made from what remained of a tent, after the main portion had been used to make shirts and pants.” The close-knit community in Iron County came together to assist the immigrants. Eventually, one woman gave Rasmus and Ane an old calico skirt, which was used to make several dresses for Anna. Other kind settlers donated milk, as all Ane could afford to feed Anna was water stiffened with a little flour.

After six years, the family moved from Cedar City to the little town of Parowan. Although money was scarce, young Anna was able to attend school periodically. Family members recalled that she excelled in her class. When Anna was no longer able to attend school, she continued to learn throughout her life. Anna’s daughter recalled, “She has always been a great reader, especially of current events, and even now will wait up till twelve reading.” Much of Anna’s young adulthood was spent spinning cloth. She spent long hours making fabric for family use, as well as for extra income. One of her favorite pastimes was attending spinning bees, where local women would come together and have spinning contests, followed by recreation.

As Anna grew to maturity, she was well liked in the local community. She loved to sing, and was always a popular choice in local dances. When Anna was 18, she was approached by a young man named James Decker, who had a quieter, more reserved disposition. Initially, Anna was not interested in James, but when she saw him playing the organ in church, Anna knew she should marry him. She was able to overcome James’ embarrassment by quickly going to fetch water at the town well whenever James approached. When Anna was 19, and James 21, they were married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. They made the long, 300-mile trip in an old freight wagon. When they returned to Parowan they moved into a two room brick house James had built and happily lived there for several years. Two children, Anna and Nancy, were born there.

Hole-In-The-Rock Pioneer and Life in Bluff
In 1879 Brigham Young called several families to settle San Juan County, and James and Anna Decker quickly responded to the assignment. As the expedition started in November, the pioneers were confident that the trek would only take about six weeks. Because of this, Anna and James were not afraid to leave while Anna was seven months pregnant. On January 3, 1880 Anna gave birth to a baby girl in the harsh frontier weather at Fifty Mile Spring. Since the expedition was over a hundred miles away from a doctor, they had to improvise. The couple’s wagon box was lifted off of the axel and placed on the ground, providing a crude shelter from the elements. James then packed snow around the outside of the wagon box to provide even more insulation. In this dismantled wagon, and without the aid of a midwife, Anna gave birth to their third child. They named her Lena Deseret to mark the fact that she had literally been born in the desert of Deseret.

A month after Anna gave birth, the company broke camp and continued on the trek. The passage down the Hole was steep and dangerous. Since the wagons were so prone to tipping, Anna was unable to ride in the wagon. Anna had to help her two oldest girls, while another settler, Jane Walton, carried baby Lena. Although the rest of the journey was trying, James, Anna and their children arrived at the San Juan River area in good health. After six months of travel, they reached Bluff on April 6, 1880.

Life in Bluff was initially difficult for James and Anna. The settlers had frequent problems with rustlers, harsh weather, and sometimes Indians. James built a two-room log home into which eight more children were born to the family in the coming years. James was an important community leader in these early days. He was selected to be the community’s sheriff, and was also called to be the superintendant of the Bluff Sunday School. Anna was also involved in the community. In addition to doing her own sewing, she made clothes for other settlers and sold her products to supplement James’ income. As part of her service to the community, Anna sewed burial clothes for funerals in Bluff. Anna also served in the local church Relief Society as a visiting teacher and later as a councilor to the stake Relief Society president.

For many years the Decker family prospered. James became a successful cattle rancher and began to build a nice frame home. It was not yet completed when, in December of 1901, tragedy struck the family. Many of the family members were taken with diphtheria, and eventually James and four of the children died of the disease. The community mourned for them, but was afraid to come too near to the home. Eventually, Anna and her neighbors decided to burn the house to stop the disease from spreading. Anna was able to move into the home James had been building, but the loss of her husband and four children was devastating to Anna.

Final Years
With her husband and oldest son gone, Anna had to go to work herself in order to provide for her large family. For a time she sold bread to the local market store. This worked well until the community store saw her success and opened up a bakery, which took business away from Anna. However, Bluff needed a new postmaster and Anna was given the job. Anna remained in Bluff until her children were grown and had moved away. Eventually she moved to nearby Monticello to live with some of her older children. When World War I broke out, one of Anna’s sons, Claude, volunteered to join the Marines. When Claude told Anna about his decision, she replied, “I don’t blame you, for if I were a young man I would go too.”

Several years later, Anna moved to Salt Lake City and rented an apartment on Main Street. She spent the last several years of her life volunteering in the temple. Often she would spend her entire day laboring there. On May 16, 1937 Anna passed away; she was 82 years old. She was buried “back home” in Bluff next to James and the children she had lost to diphtheria. Anna was a faithful pioneer and an example of the rugged qualities that made the Hole-in-the-Rock expedition, and communities like Bluff, prosper. Anna’s daughter, Lillian Wood, recorded that although Anna never claimed to have had any “faith-promoting incidents” in her life, “she [felt] ever like saying ‘Father, help me as ever to be brave, that I may face the petty cares of life with understanding and self-control, knowing full well that in this world of strife each has her burden, each her trial of the soul.’”

Reference List
Matis, Josephine W. “Anna Maria Mickelsen Decker.” Unpublished History from the Files of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Perkins, Cornelia, Marian Gardner Nielsen, and Lenora Butt Jones, Saga of San Juan. Monticello, Utah; San Juan County Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1957.

Wood, Lillian D. “Sketch of the Life of Anna M. Decker by Her Daughter.” Unpublished History from the Files of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, Salt Lake City, Utah.