Hole-in-the-Rock Landmarks and People

Hole-in-the-Rock Landmarks and People
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January 7, 2010

Lyman, Platte DeAlton and Adelia Robison

Platte DeAlton Lyman
Born: August 20, 1848 Platte River, Goshen, Wyoming
Died: November 13, 1901 in Bluff, San Juan, Utah and is buried there.
Parents: Amasa Mason Lyman and Eliza Partridge
Married: (1) Adelia Robison on May 18, 1867  (2) Annie Maud Clark in 1879
Children on the trek: Evelyn and Albert Robison came through the Hole in the Rock with them

Platte De Alton Lyman was born in a wagon box on the east bank of the Platte River (Nebraska) on the morning of August 20, 1848. He was not the first child to have been born to Eliza Partridge Lyman in a wagon box. Little Don Carlos, Eliza’s first child, had been born in a wagon as she crossed Iowa with the Mormon Saints following their exodus from Nauvoo. Sadly, Don Carlos’s life was short, and Eliza buried him in the sandy banks of the Missouri River. The next summer, when the Saints began their westward trek to the Salt Lake Valley, Eliza was well into her second pregnancy, and soon little Platte was born, restoring gladness to her heart (1).

Platte’s childhood years were marked by poverty and want. His father, Amasa M. Lyman, was an Apostle of the Church at the time, and his church duties, as well as his responsibilities to his other wives and children, kept him away from Platte’s family much of the time. Eliza provided the best she could for her children’s temporal needs by spinning wool and making clothes. Spiritually, however, she nourished them with her unwavering faith in the truth of the gospel. Platte was deeply influenced by her example and testimony, and especially her love for the prophet Joseph Smith, whom she had known well. He was known to frequently say, both in public and in private, “I thank the Lord for such a mother.” (2) And In his later years, under adverse circumstances that might have destroyed the faith of others, Platte remained true to the Church thanks to the foundations of belief that had been laid within him by his mother.

Platte received less than three weeks of formal education his entire life (3). His mother taught him rudimentary skills, but was left to his own to study and become widely read. But most of his experience was gained and his character developed in the great outdoors, for he loved to be outside in the fresh air under a boundless sky. He loved dogs, and always seemed to have one at his heels. One dog of his had a peculiar interest in hunting skunks, a fetish which brought with it the obvious consequences. Yet Platte’s family tolerated the dog and the smelly skunks simply because they loved Platte so much (4).

For the first nine years of his life, Platte lived in Salt Lake City. His family moved briefly to Payson at that time, and then northward again to Farmington. As the years progressed, his family circle grew to include the families of two of his mother’s sisters, who had also become wives of Amasa M. Lyman. Thus the three sisters, and their children, lived together pretty much as one family, and as the oldest son among them, Platte felt the growing responsibilities of helping to provide for them all. He did so through hunting for food and plowing the fields. In fact, the only thing he remembered ever asking his father for was a yoke of oxen to help him with his work in the fields (5).

In 1863, Platte’s family moved to Fillmore, Utah. It was about this time that his father was excommunicated from the Church for preaching false doctrine. It was a bitter experience for Platte’s family, but his mother and her two sisters, also wives of the fallen Apostle, remained faithful to the Church and endured the humiliation brought on them with patience (6).

Marriage, Family and Missions
At the age of eighteen, Platte became engaged to Adelia Robison. At about the same time, he also received a mission call to Great Britain. He and Adelia were married by Brigham Young in Brigham Young’s office on May 18, 1867, and two days later Platte started eastward by wagon to begin his missionary labors. He became President of the London Conference, and served faithfully in his mission until his release on August 25, 1868. Upon returning home he was called to be a High Councilman in the Millard Stake. In 1874 he joined in the “United Order” with the church members of Oak City, but was called to serve a second mission in Great Britain the next year. This time he was assigned to the area of Nottingham, and became President of the Nottingham Conference until his release on October 25, 1876.

His return home was a joyful one. His children, Alton, Eliza and Evelyn, were more precious to him than gold, and eager to open the presents he had brought them. Sickness soon over took poor Alton, however, and within a month of Platte’s return home, the little boy died. Tragically, two more of Platte’s children passed away within the next three years, which brought great sorrow to the Lyman home and enticed Platte to consider relocating what was left of his family to Southern Utah. He was serving as the bishop of Oak City at the time he was called to be part of the San Juan Mission. He had also recently married a second wife, Annie Maud Clark, with whom he had become acquainted with in England. Unfortunately, Annie was never able to bear children, a sorrow to her all her life (7).

Platte De Alton Lyman set out for the San Juan on October 21, 1878. He was formally called as a Counselor to Silas Sanford Smith, the President of the San Juan Mission, on August 13, 1879, and received word of his appointment by letter a week later (8). When it became apparent to President Smith that the settlers would need additional supplies and funding in order to travel through the Hole-in-the-Rock, he set out for Salt Lake City to do the lobbying himself, as he had many ties to the legislature from twenty years of experience as a member of it. This left Platte, the “Assistant Captain” of the expedition, in charge of the wagon train for the majority of the arduous journey (9).

The journal that Platte kept during the trek is the most reliable, complete and informative source about the Hole-in-the-Rock expedition that exists today. In fact, it is the only record of the expedition written at the time, as all other accounts of Hole-in-the-Rock were put on paper years later (10). . . .

1. Albert R. Lyman, “Platte De Alton Lyman, Born on Platte River 20 Aug. 1848. Written by his son Albert Robison Lyman, Typed by Alice K. Hatch, Historian D.U.P. Manti Camp, Sanpete Co., (nd),” Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 2. Albert was Platte’s oldest living son, who greatly revered him, and also became a prolific historian and writer about the Hole-in-the-Rock expedition.

2. Ibid., 4. Albert noted, “The faith and hope and love of Eliza Partridge Lyman lived in her son Platte, not only in his heartfelt declarations that he thanked the Lord for such a mother, but he cherished her standards and held proudly to them wherever he went.” 5.
3. Ibid., 5.
4. Ibid., 7.
5. Ibid.,10.

6. Ibid.,11.
7. Ibid.,16-17.
8. David E. Miller, Hole-in-the-Rock; An Epic in the Colonization of the Great American West (Salt Lake  City: University of Utah Press, 1966), 14.
9. Ibid., 109

10. Ibid., 60.

Article by C.S.M. Jones LLC, Family Heritage Consulting for Hole in the Rock Foundation

A complete copy of the journal is in Miller's Hole in the Rock. It has also been printed in
Blue Mountain Shadows: Volume 19 / Fall 1997 / pages 1-13 - Journal of Platte D. Lyman

Platte D. Lyman was called by the LDS Church to settle in San Juan County in 1879. He served as a leader in the expedition. Although called as an assistant to President Silas S. Smith, Lyman was often the active leader of the group, as Smith was often taking care of administrative duties in Salt Lake and other places. More...
After arriving in San Juan, he played an important role in the little community, serving as San Juan Stake President twice. He also presided over the LDS European Mission and was considered one of the Church's most eloquent speakers. He returned to Bluff in 1884 after being away for a time, and is buried in the Bluff Cemetery. He and his wife "Delia" reared a large family. Evelyn and Albert Robison came through the Hole in the Rock with them, and Mary, Lucretia, Edward , Caroline "Dollie" were born later (Saga of San Juan p 317)Albert R. Profile from San Juan Record.

Three other children: Platte DeAlton Lyman Jr, Eliza Adelia Lyman, and Lydia, died before they left Oak City.  Lyman's second wife, Annie Maude Clark Lyman, was born April 11, 1861, at Standwich, Northamptenshire, England. She is the daughter of Jonah Wilson Clark and Mary Smith Clark. She became a plural wife to Platte DeAlton Lyman October 24 or 25, 1880, in Logan, Utah. She had no children, but she and Platte had a five-year-old Swiss girl named Emma Lyman sealed to them in 1900. Annie died August 5, 1908 at Smithfield, Utah.

Lyman genealogy
Family Group sheet
Kumen's bio on Platte Lyman
Adelia Robison Lyman bio
Adelia Lyman home
Kumen Jones' tribute to Adelia Lyman
Early days in Blanding, Lymans help refugees
Kumen's writings about Albert R. Lyman

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