Hole-in-the-Rock Landmarks and People

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

January 11, 2010

Harriman* , Henry Harrison and Sarah Elizabeth Hobbs

The Harriman family were the first LDS family to settle in San Juan. They traveled with the southern Exploration /Expedition party through northern Arizona and after travelling 400 miles finally settled at Montezuma with their four children in June of 1979.

The Harriman family came from Parowan, Utah. Henry was the son of Henry Harriman Sr., a General Authority of the Church who is mentioned in this journal. Henry was born in the USA.  Sarah Elizabeth was an English convert and moved from England with her family. She was born in 1853 and was the sister to George Hobbs, one of the main Hole in the Rock scouts. She married Henry Sept. 23, 1871 in the St. George Temple. She died in 1925.

Children coming to San Juan: Henry George (photo on left), Mary Clarissa (photo on right), John Alma, Lizzie Constance. Lizzie Constance died at Montezuma at about age 3, possibly of snake bite in 1881, and John Alma died at about age 6 in 1883 of measles. They are buried at Montezuma, and no photographs exist of either of them. We have record that Lizzie Constance was blonde with blue eyes.
Other children were born to the family after they left Montezuma, they are also listed below. William was born to the family at Montezuma in 1881.

Ron McDonald of Blanding has done extensive research on the Harriman family (Vol. 30 of Blue Mountain Shadows) and  provides the following information: "The Harriman family left Montezuma with the Davis family during September of 1884. They settled in Huntington, Utah. Elizabeth eventually gave birth to a total of nine children. The last four were born at Huntington, after leaving Montezuma: Alice, Franklin, Cornelia, and Zuma Elizabeth. It’s interesting to note the name of their last child. Zuma was born eight years after they left Montezuma. This gives us some sense as to their feelings about the mission they had served at Montezuma.

The Montezuma Mission was a huge sacrifice for them, and though they were not successful at coexisting with the troublesome river, they were successful at filling their mission. As instructed, they made friends with the Indians and helped establish the Church in this new frontier. They filled their mission exactly as directed. The Harriman family stayed at their post longer than any other Montezuma settler, remaining there for an uninterrupted five years and three months." Two of their children are buried there: John Alma (1876-1883) and Lizzie Constance (1879-1881).

In 1885, they left Huntington because of poor soil, and headed to Idaho, experiencing even more hardships.  Eventually they settled "on an unimproved farm, three and a half miles from Idaho Falls, cleared sagebrush, built a home, and began farming. While living there, Sarah took a nursing course from Dr. Ellis Shipp, from Salt Lake City. She already had some nursing and midwife experience prior to the schooling. In 1902, the family moved again, this time to a smaller but better quality farm north of Rigby, Idaho.

Sarah worked as a nurse and midwife, while Henry farmed in earnest. Life was better than it had been for a long time. In 1906, they filed for a homestead at beautiful Canyon Creek, in timber country north of Rigby Idaho. Henry built a one-room cabin at the homestead. Not long following the completion of the cabin, Henry was hauling a load of timber when a large log fell and threw him against a steel tire of the wagon. He sustained a serious brain concussion, and his suffering became intense. A doctor bled him in an effort to reduce the pain, which failed to give the relief the family had hoped for. Henry died two weeks following the accident, on June 14, 1908 at age 59.

"Sarah sold the farm at Rigby and lived in the cabin Henry had built at Canyon Creek. A few years later her sons built a house for her. Sarah was living there when she died on August 5, 1925, making her life’s journey 72 years. They were honorable pioneers, and their posterity has good reason to be proud."
( Ron McDonald, 3rd edition Fort Montezuma,  2010)

One interesting story that McDonald found concerns this rifle:
Harriman descendants still have the Winchester model 1876 .45/60 caliber rifle that Henry Harriman had at Fort Montezuma. There are a
number of stories about this rifle. At Montezuma Sarah was traveling in the wagon when she saw a band of Ute Indians coming her way. She knew they would ransack the wagon for things they might want, so she wrapped the Winchester rifle in some of her spare underwear, hoping the Indians would respect her privacy and not search through her underwear.
Sure enough, they surrounded her wagon and began looking for things they might want, but respected her underwear, and didn’t find the rifle. The rifle is now in the possession of a great-granddaughter of Henry and Sarah Harriman.
If you need more information about this family contact Ron McDonald at fortmontezuma@yahoo.com

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