Hole-in-the-Rock Landmarks and People

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

January 8, 2010

Lewis, James Harding and George Frederick Lewis (son)

James Lewis Harding was born Jan 12, 1814 in Gorham, Cumberland, Maine.  He lived with his parents, Rev. James Lewis and Hannah Harding Lewis, in Gorham, Maine until he was about 20. He then tried “following the sea”, as some of his relatives had, out of Portland, Maine; but it was not to his liking, and “being of a roving disposition”, he went west, stopping in St. Louis, Missouri in 1840. He worked as a clerk in St. Louis and was sympathtic to the suffering of the Mormons.  He was baptized in the LDS church in 1842.  He served a mission in the Eastern states with George Adams (Maine) 1843-44. He owned property in Nauvoo. 

His father was a Methodist minister and greatly opposed to the Mormons. In June of 1843 James wrote his father giving several reasons for his belief in the Church. But he also stated in the letter, “I have fancied you will rather consider I am, as it were buried to all my friends.” He was correct in his fears. During James’ trip to the east he visited his parents and later told his children and grandchildren of his last visit with his parents with his father shaking his fist and telling him “to never darken their door again. His mother, with her apron to her eyes in an effort to staunch the flow of tears.”

Family researcher, Shauna Dalton Hart, his gggranddaughter, confirms that James’ father disowned him when he joined the LDS religion. James Lewis was baptized in 1842 and knew the Prophet Joseph and other early Church leaders in Nauvoo. He came across the plains with the pioneers, and was one of the original settlers called by Brigham Young to settle Parowan, Iron, Utah in 1851. One time he and his family were almost dead due to starvation, but through prayer and faith a stranger (unseen) came to their door and left a sack of flour.

He married Emily Jennison Holman on May 9, 1847 in St. Louis, SLC, Missouri. After leaving Nauvoo in 1849.  Called to settle in southern Utah in 1950 then in 1852 he served a mission to China which proved to be very difficult and hostile to missionaries. Shauna Hart explained, "James Lewis along with Hosea Stout and Chapman Duncan, were the first missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be sent to China. They went to Hong Kong, but due to persecution and no knowledge of the Chinese language, they returned to the USA after a few months.  James and Emily had fourteen children – two of which died at an early age. the family resided in Parowan, Utah for eleven years.

He was a respected and active citizen, entered politics as a State Legislator in 1854-55, acted as Probate Judge for 10 years and helped in many ways to settle Parowan. On 5 April 1857, while still living in Parowan, he was sealed by Brigham Young to a second wife, Emma Bateman April 5, 1857. He settled in Panacha, Nevada and was a teacher. He later moved to Iron County, Utah where he became a probate judge for 10 years. Moved to Kanab in 1871.

One source says James Lewis served as the first Judge of the new San Juan County. [Did he do this from Iron County?]

“I moved to Kanab, Kane County Utah in 1871, and was elected commissioner
for a number of years. Court was held in St. George.  I labored in the temple at St. George the winter of 79-80 and 81 and 82. In 1872 I was elected county commissioner of Kane County. Court was held at Toquerville.
Article from Shauna Hart 3/7/2010: From James Lewis' autobiography. [It says he was called in 1882, but it is likely this should be 1880]
"In 1882 I was called on a mission to San Juan with my family. I was appointed Judge of that country. My son George was the blacksmith for that company which consisted of twenty-five families. The road was made through Potato Valley by way of Escalante and "HOLE IN THE ROCK" which was a jump off of 40 feet of solid rock, which required much blasting before wagons could be let down through the pass. The walls of the Hole were more than a hundred feet high on each side above the roadway. One mile from the top of the hill brought us to the Colorado River."

We crossed on the ferryboat provided for that purpose, above the mouth of the San Juan River. The road had been made by the company with great labor and toil of months and was the most rugged I ever traveled. Water was only found in the holes in the rocks deposited in the rainy season and the melting of snow in the spring. Grass was only found in the washes, which were often narrow and the sides steep and rocky. We followed the San Juan River to Bluff City where we stopped for the season."

“Here I found Elder Silas S. Smith, president of the Stake and Mission which
included the San Louis Valley, the gathering place of the Southern Saints. Bluff City was selected as the County seat of the county. I returned to Kanab by way of Potato Valley, expecting to return with my family. Part of which had moved to Arizona. The road by Potato Valley was for single teams. I could not return by that route. I took the route to Arizona by way of St. Johns, expecting to cross the Navajo reservation to Bluff City. Upon arriving at St. Johns I found the Indians hostile by the killing of two Indians. The Indian Missionaries informed me I could not cross the reservation. I reported my situation and was released from my mission [to San Juan] by Apostle Erastus Snow. I settled at Taylor, Apache County, Arizona and remained in that county with my children until 1891. George married in 1882 after they arrived at their destination in Arizona.”  The "Hole In the Rock" trek took place from Oct 1879 to April 1880. James was 65 years old, George was 23."
 James died 29 May 1898 in Kanab, Kane County, Utah.

Places lived: (Chronologized, earliest to latest, incl. age)

1814 - 1834 (Age 0 - 20) Gorham, Maine
1834 - 1838? (Age 20 - 24) At sea (Portland, Maine)
1838 - 1840 (Age 25 - 26) Traveled West
1840 - 1842 (Age 26 - 28) St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri (Baptized at Keokuk, Iowa Feb.1842)
1842 - 1843 (Age 28 - 29) Nauvoo, Illinois (met Prophet Joseph Smith and other leaders)
1843 - 1844 (Age 29 - 30) Mission to Eastern States
1844 - 1849 (Age 30 - 35) St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri (Married Emily Holman 9 May 1847, age 33)
1849 - 1850 (Age 35 - 36) Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
1850 - 1852 (Age 36 - 38) Parowan (Center Creek), Iron, Utah (arrived Jan 1851)
1852 - 1853 (Age 38 - 39) Mission to China (Hong Kong) One of first 3 missionaries to China
1853 - 1864 (Age 39 - 50) Parowan, Iron, Utah
1865 - 1871 (Age 50 - 57) Harrisburg, Washington, Utah
1871 - 1882 (Age 57 - 68) Kanab, Kane, Utah
1882 [1880] - 1882 (Age 68 - 68) San Juan Co. Mission, Arizona
1882 - 1891 (Age 68 - 77) Taylor, Apache, Arizona
1891 - 1898 (Age 77 - 84) Kanab, Kane, Utah (Died 29 May 1898)
(More information given here:  http://www.beckfamily.org/nauvooLandAndRecords/15925.pdf)   The file also lists his children's name.  Emily had 14 children, and Emma had 1.

Additional information and his autobiography  A wonderful source!  His autobiography says he came to San Juan in 1882, [but it was probably 1880, however, doesn't appear he ever really lived there.]

George Frederick Lewis was the 6th child of James Lewis and Emily Jennison Holman. He was born July 8, 1856 in Parowan, Utah.  George Frederick married HUFF, Mary Adalaide 9 Dec 1890.  He was 34.

He died 9 Feb 1909 in Colonial Garcia, Chihuahua, Mexico.  He was 52 and died of a heart attack. “He loved the Lord and family and taught his children to do the same.” George Fredrick Lewis was the blacksmith for the “Hole in the Rock” company, building a pass and roadway through rock descending one mile from the top to the San Juan River below. He helped colonize Colonial Garcia, Mexico. George died there leaving his wife, Mary Adalaide, to take care of seven children at a difficult time in Mexican history.

Places George lived: (Chronologized, earliest to latest, incl. age)

1856 - 1864 (Age 0-8) Parowan, Iron, Utah
1865 - 1871 (Age 9-15) Harrisburg, Washington, Utah (US Census 1870)
1871 - 1879 (Age 15-23) Kanab, Kane, Utah
1880 - ? (Age 24-?) Bluff, San Juan, Utah (US Census 1880)
188? - 1888 (Age 23-32) Taylor, Apache, Arizona
1888 - 1895 (Age 32-39) Pinedale, Gila, Arizona (married Adalaide Huff 7 Dec 1890)
1895 - 1896 (Age 39-40) Taylor, Navajo, Arizona
1896 - 1909 (Age 39-52) Colonial Garcia, Chihuahua, Mexico

His uncle, Philip B. Lewis, gave George a patriarchal blessing when he was age 19. One promise of note follows, “Thy body shall not be weary, but thou shall leap like a halk (hawk) upon the mountains. Thou shall be preserved from the [hands] of thy [enemies] and every weapon formed against thee shall fall harmless at thy feet . . .”

The family moved to Arizona in 1882 where George eventually met his bride to be, Mary Adalaide Huff. They were married in the St. George, Utah Temple in 9 Dec 1890. They lived in Taylor, Arizona where their two oldest children were born – George William and Adolphia James. Of this marriage eventually came seven children; two born in Arizona, the other five while living in Colonial Guarcia, Mexico, including Zilpha, our line [Shauna Dalton Hart, source].

While living in Arizona, George and others established and purchased the first sawmill built in the vicinity. Blacksmithing, building and farming were the sources of income during his lifetime. He also taught his children these trades and taught them “not to be idle”.

George moved his family over 500 miles to Old Mexico about 1896 after a call to “go to Mexico and take up land from the Mexican government.” Mary’s mother and father (James Henry and Sophia Huff) and their family also moved to Mexico. Father Huff died in 1903, and Mary’s mother returned to the States. George’s father, James Lewis, died in 1898 in Kanab, Utah – George may not have seen him after moving to Mexico in 1897. George’s mother, Emily, out-lived George (her son) by two years – Emily later dying in Kanab, Utah in 1911.

George worked hard all his life. As his boys were able, they helped him. He died of a heart attack in 1909 at the age of 52, leaving his wife, Mary, and children - Zilpha, [the Dalton line] was only eight years old. The oldest boy, George William, was sixteen and the youngest child, Emily, was only seven months old. George Fredrick Lewis was buried in Colonial Garcia, Mexico. His grave has not been located in the present “colonies”. His wife and children were driven out of Mexico in 1912, three years after George died. 
Thanks to Shauna Dalton Hart for supplying many details of the life of these two families, as well as photographs.

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