Henry Holyoak was born March 5, 1839, in Yardley, Worcestershire, England, the seventh child of George and Sarah Green Holyoak of that place. His brothers and sisters are: William, Mary, George, Anne, Sarah, Henry and Hannah.
Children on the trek: Alice Jane, Henry, John, Mary Luella, Eliza Hellen, Albert Daniel
The Holyoak family had joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints June 24, 1841 and like all the saints, lived for the day they could accumulate enough money to come to America, sailing in February 1854, and landing April 1854. They came immediately on to Utah, arriving in October 1854. The trek across the plains was hard and also saddened by the loss of Mother Sarah and sisters Mary and Anne. Henry settled in Parowan, Utah, with his father and sisters. In 1863 and later he made three trips back East with ox-team for freight and immigrants.
In 1865 on January 29, he married Sarah Ann Robinson, daughter of English Immigrants. She was born in Nauvoo, Illinois December 22, 1842, and came to Utah with her parents settling in Paragonah. [Sarah Ann Robinson Holyoak, who was JR Robinson’s half sister. His son JR Robinson Jr. was also called to San Juan. Her mother & father were married on the ship to America in 1842, Alice Coupe Robinson died in Pottatattamie County, Iowa May 30, 1847, and left Sarah and her brother Richard. J R Robinson Sr married her sister Jane, at his first wife’s request, who was traveling with them, on August 24, 1847, They had 15 children, including the two from her sister. ]
They later went to the temple when it was ready for sealings and had their work done. It is interesting to note that all their children have been married in the temples; also the big majority, if not all of their grandchildren.
Children of this union are Alice Jane (Thomson), Henry John, Mary Luella (Young), Eliza Ellen (McConkie), Albert Daniel, Richard James, and Sarah Ann. (died at 13 years of age). James died at 8 years of age. The other five have contributed to the 29 grandchildren and over 200 great and great, great grandchildren.
(First five children were on the Hole in the Rock trail.)
When the church called colonizers for San Juan, the Henry Holyoak family were among those who were called from Parowan, 1879-80, (probably the 69th quorum of seventies) [According to J R Robinson's story, at the quarterly conference of the Parowan Stake, held Dec. 28 and 29, 1878 Holyoak was one of the names called to serve as a missionary "to settle where directed." Others who went from Paragonah were William Robb, James R. Robinson Jr, James Dunton.]
Sarah Ann drove her own wagon most of the way. She had a bed in it as well as a stove to keep her young children comfortable, the baby being very young. Henry John and Alice Jane drove the livestock, (which consisted of about 100 head of cattle, a yoke of oxen and some horses, at the time they moved on to Moab). The calves were tied up at night and in the morning the dairy cows were milked. The milk put in the barrel churn on back of the wagon would, by night, supply the family with fresh butter as well as milk. Many others shared in these dairy products (Carlile History).
The four years spent on the San Juan were wasted so far as crops were concerned because the rising river ruined the farming land, also took out the water wheel and washed it to the other side of the river. This left them with no way to get water onto crops not washed away.
Researcher Ron McDonald then continues the pioneer story:
"The Holyoak family moved to Bluff for a short time, but much of the land at Bluff had been washed away also, and it seemed there was no place for them. They decided to accept the mission release, and search for a more hospitable location. This would be their seventh move in just over four years. The wagon they brought through the Hole-in-the-Rock had been their home, much of the past four years.
During October of 1884, the Holyoak family followed the tracks left by the eight wagons, which, just a few weeks earlier, had carried the Harriman and Davis refugees north. They camped for a few days east of Blue Mountain near where the town of Monticello is now located. They then continued their journey past the spot where the Old Spanish trail intercepted Coyote Wash and finally to the location now called Kane Springs. The old wagon broke a wheel, and they were stranded. This was probably the low point for the Holyoak family. They were out of food; the wagon had serious damage; and they really didn’t even know where they were going. Fortunately, they still had a few cattle left from the fine herd they had brought from Parowan.
Henry left his family at Kane Springs, and rode all the way to Castle Dale in search of food. This trip took two weeks and the family hunted and ate rabbits until his return. He had procured some pig feed, with the chaff, bran and all, mixed together, which was the only thing he was able to buy. Henry went to work repairing their wagon. Near the end of February, they arrived and pitched a tent at a place a little east of the present town of Moab.
Henry traded nine cows and ten steer to Lester Taylor for eighty acres of land in an area, which appropriately became known as Poverty Flats, and still carries the name to this day. They had found their permanent location and there would be no more moves other than local ones. Things gradually began to improve. The Holyoaks were among the first settlers in the area. Someone said they were the seventh family to settle in the area. They helped build the town of Moab.
Henry Holyoak was a counselor to Bishop Stewart, first Bishop of Moab Ward. Sarah Ann was counselor in the Relief Society and later became President. Sarah Ann died on November 20, 1921 at Moab. Henry died on January 23, 1926 at Ogden, Utah and was buried at Moab. They were wonderful pioneers, who lived valiant lives, facing all their tribulations and adversity with faith and patience. They left a very impressive posterity. More information
This link shares his memories. He was a young man at the time of the expedition. .
Desert Magazine 1961 August also has Holyoak information in it.