(Adelia Estella's story follows)
Born: October 1, 1849 in Rodby, Denmark
Died: March 22, 1889
Parents: Peder Mathiasen Mackelprang and Sofie Margarethe Sorenson
Married: Adelia Estella Terry on October 5, 1869
Residence: 1880 - Bluff City, San Juan, Utah
He was 31 when the pioneers reached Bluff and was a Blacksmith.
Children on the trek: Samuel William (1871), Adelia Estella, Margaret Ann, Lydia Cornelia, Minerva, Thomas Peter
Samuel's story from Denmark to Cedar City
Samuel William Mackelprang, (who went by William), was christened Soren Vilhelm Mackelprang in his native land of Denmark. He was one of seven children born to Peder Mathiason Mackelprang and Sofie Margarethe Sorenson. In 1854, the family joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At the time, William’s father, Peder, owned a successful shoe shop in Rodby, and the family was well-off enough to employ servants in their home (1). They lived in a nice house on a large farm until 1855, when they sold their home and possessions and emigrated to the United States so as to be with others of their faith. First they traveled to Copenhagen, where Sofie gave birth to their seventh child. From there they went to Liverpool, England and on Dec. 12, 1855, set sail aboard the John J. Boyd in company with Franklin D. Richards and other Mormon converts (2). After reaching the States, the family crossed the plains in the Canute Petersen Ox Train, and reached the Salt Lake Valley September 20, 1856. From there, they journeyed southward to settle in Cedar City, Utah.
Beginning Family Life
As a young man, William decided upon the carpenter trade, and apprenticed himself to Charles Pulsipher, a master carpenter who lived in Hebron (now Enterprise), Utah. Pulsipher’s niece, Adelia Estella Terry, caught the eye of young William Mackelprang, and the two were sealed in the Salt Lake Endowment House on October 5, 1869. She was sixteen years old, with naturally curly blond hair and blue eyes (3); he was nineteen, tall, with brown hair and blue eyes. After their marriage they moved back to Cedar City and set up house in an adobe home on the property of William’s parents. It was there that their first child, Samuel William, was born. During the next nine years, four more Mackelprang children were born. Two were born in Hebron, near to Adelia’s family, and two back in Cedar City, where William and Adelia had finally acquired their own home (4). About this time, the religious leaders in Iron County decided that the region would begin to practice a communal-type living standard called the United Order. Though somewhat disheartened by the idea, William and Adelia decided they would accept and obey the counsel of their priesthood leaders, no matter the personal cost to them. Shortly thereafter, however, they were called to be part of the San Juan Mission, so they never actually participated in the United Order.
When the Mackelprangs were called to be members of the San Juan Mission, they accepted the assignment without question. William’s daughter, Mary Ann Cook, wrote that her father “never disobeyed counsel” from his religious leaders. “At great sacrifice,” he traded the family’s home for items needed on the journey – wagons, wheat, corn, and some cash (5). He loaded the family’s possessions into two wagons, and he and Adelia each drove one all the way to Bluff. Thankfully, William had the foresight to also nail an old wheat grinder to the side of one wagon box. This proved to be an invaluable asset to the Mackelprangs and others along the journey when their supplies of ground flour and corn gave out (6).
William’s skill as a carpenter was another unique way he contributed to the Hole-in-the-Rock expedition. While most of the men worked at building and blasting out a road down the “hole,” a few men, including William, were lowered by rope down the cliff edge to the riverbed below. There they cut timber and assembled a large raft that would ferry the wagons across the roaring Colorado River once they had made their descent down through the Hole-in-the-Rock. The raft had been pre-built, to some extent, by Charles Hall and his sons back in Escalante, and upon being fully assembled on the banks of the Colorado, could fit two wagons at a time (7). According to Mackelprang family tradition, Adelia Mackelprang and Sarah Cox boiled the hooves of dead cows in order to make the glue that held the raft together (8).
The Mackelprangs endured much hardship and trial, as did the other Hole-in-the-Rock pioneers, as they navigated their way to what became the settlement of Bluff. William’s wife, Adelia, was expecting their sixth child and also suffering from neuralgia throughout the journey. One night she even had William pull several of her teeth in order to alleviate some of her pain (9).
After their arrival in Bluff, William began building a small shelter for his family on the lot he had drawn. In one corner, under a greasewood bush, he placed a wagon box where Adelia gave birth to little Thomas Peter eight weeks later. Two other children also joined the family during the family’s few years in Bluff.
Farming was difficult in the Bluff soil, so William worked hauling freight between Bluff and Durango, Colorado. One time his foot was severely broken by his team as the animals started to run away, and he was laid up in bed for several weeks until it healed sufficiently. In 1884 William accepted the release given the San Juan settlers by Church leaders, and decided to move his family to Huntington, Utah.
A Premature Passing
The Mackelprang family arrived in Huntington in October, 1885. William purchased a lot on Main Street and began building a small two-room home with a dirt roof on one corner of the lot near some willow trees. In the spring, sego lillies and dandelions bloomed from the soil roof. The northern room was used as the kitchen, and the southern room as a bedroom for the younger children. The older children slept either in the kitchen on a cot, or outdoors in a wagon box when the weather was warm.
Adequately sheltered for the time being, William then built a furniture and cabinet shop and began again to work as a carpenter. His oldest son Sam helped him haul wood from the mountains, and Adelia and the other children aided in sanding and polishing the wood. William was a kind and loving father and husband. In the evenings he took pleasure in teaching his children to count in Danish as they carded and spun wool, and also taught them to dance in the front room by firelight (10).
Eventually, he also began to building a much larger, and fancier two-story home for his family on the east side of his lot. The children aided him in making adobe bricks for the house. There were six rooms – three upstairs and three down – and two closets in the home, making it quite a change from the tight quarters in which the family had been living for many years. But unfortunately it remained unfinished at the time of William’s death. He passed away on March 22, 1889, just six months shy of his fortieth birthday. Adelia was left to care and provide for their ten children, (two more had been born to them in Huntington, bringing the total to ten). Though not an easy task, Adelia was occasionally comforted by her dreams, in which William appeared to her. Once she woke her daughter, Minerva, in the middle of the night and told her to write down the loving words William had spoken to her as she slept. Thus even in death, William continued to watch over his family (11).
1. Maurine G. Nielson, “Samuel William Mackeprang,” in Generations of Montell and Minerva Guymon (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press), 53.
2. Marilyn Halverson, “Samuel William Mackelprang,” 1.
4. Maurine G. Nielson, 53.
5. Mary Ann Cook, “Biography of William and Adelia Terry Mackelprang,” Daughters of Utah Pioneers files, 1.
6. Maurine G. Nielson, 54; Mary Ann Cook, “Biography of William and Adelia Terry Mackelprang,” 1.
7. Mary Ann Cook, “The Move South,” Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1.
8. Mary Ann Cook, “Biograhpy of William and Adelia Terry Mackelprang,” 3; Cook, “The Move South,” 1. (Mary Ann Cook is the author of two very similar accounts of her parents, William and Adelia, that are housed in the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers files. The sources are separately noted here for information about the Mackelprangs that is not noted elsewhere).
9. Mary Ann Cook, “The Move South,” 1; Mary Ann Cook, “Biography of William and Adelia Terry Mackelprang,”1.
10. Mary Ann Cook, “Biography of William and Adelia Terry Mackelprang,” 4; Maurine G. Nielson, 55.
11. Minerva M. Guymon, “Adelia Estella Terry Mackelprang,” written April 20, 1932, in Generations of Montell and Minerva Guymon (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press), 62.
The Mackelprangs are also mentioned in Blue Mt. Shadows, issue VI, p. 54
Born: February 16, 1853
Died: January 7, 1930
Parents: Thomas Sirls and Mary Ann Pulsipher Terry
Married: Samuel William Mackelprang on October 5, 1869
Adelia Estella Terry Mackelprang was the second of twelve children born to Thomas Sirls Terry and Mary Ann Pulsipher. At the time of her birth, Adelia’s family resided in the Little Cottonwood area of Salt Lake City, but when Adelia was nine years old they moved to Southern Utah. They built a ranch six miles outside the settlement of Hebron, Utah and for eighteen years her father served as a bishop there (1).
Adelia enjoyed working outside with her family taking care of the family’s farm and animals. She was robust and beautiful, with curly blond hair and blue eyes. Her mother taught her how to card wool, spin yarn and weave cloth, skills that became particularly useful to her later in life when she was left widowed with ten children to care for (2).
Beginning Family Life
In Hebron, Adelia met and fell in love with young Samuel William Mackelprang, who was learning the carpenter’s trade from her uncle, Charles Pulsipher. Adelia and William, as he was called, were sealed in the Salt Lake Endowment house October 5, 1869.
Adelia and William first set up house in an adobe home near to William’s parents in Cedar City. Over the next few years, they moved between Cedar City and Hebron several times as their family expanded. Five children were born to them in the first eight years of their marriage, during which time they were also asked to participate in the United Order. Later in life, Adelia recalled feeling a little disheartened at the call, but she and William obediently agreed to “give everything along with their talents to their beloved church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” (3)
Shortly after the move to establish the United Order in Iron County had been made, however, Adelia and William were called to help colonize the Utah/Arizona border as part of the San Juan Mission. This call led them to dispose of their home in exchange for wagons and food needed for the journey to the San Juan. Adelia and William each drove a wagon – hers loaded with the children and household goods, and his full of wheat, corn, and other provisions. Thankfully, William attached an old wheat grinder to the side of one of their wagons, which literally saved the lives of many fellow pioneers and their animals. As their flour and corn supplies were exhausted, members of the wagon train ground wheat from the Mackelprang’s portable mill to fill their stomachs, and corn to feed their horses. The journey through Hole-in-the-Rock was arduous and all involved did what they could to help the wagon train succeed. Adelia reportedly boiled the hooves of dead cows to make glue needed by her husband and others who constructed a raft to ferry the wagons across the Colorado River (4).
Throughout the six-month-long trek, Adelia suffered from neuralgia, a very painful condition in which the sensitivity of the sufferer’s nerves is intensified and irritated. One night, she had her husband William pull several of her teeth with pliers in order to lessen the pain she felt (5). She was also pregnant at the time with her sixth child. Needless to say, it was not an easy journey for her. She gave birth to little Thomas Peter eight weeks after arriving in Bluff. William, wanting to make her as comfortable as possible, had placed a wagon box under the shade of a greasewood bush for her, and in later years they joked about the circumstances of Peter’s arrival in the world (6). Two other children also joined the family during the years the Mackelprang’s spent in Bluff, though by then William had constructed a small home for the family to live in.
Adelia possessed a strong character that not only gave her strength to endure hardship, but also drew people to her. She made friends with some of the Indians who visited Bluff, particularly an Indian-raised white man known as Old Charley. Using her weaving and sewing skills, Adelia made three hundred suits of velvet brought to her by Old Charley that the Indians wore while performing their war dances. As payment she was given beef and mutton (7).
One day when Adelia was away from home, a more troublesome Indian called Sleepy Jack tried to enter the family’s house by taking out the back window. Six members of the family were lying ill inside with the measles at the time. Adelia happened to look up from where she was at work sewing down the street and saw Sleepy Jack attempting to climb inside her house. She rushed home as fast as she could and scared him off, though the fright of the experience never left some of her children’s memories (8).
Move to Huntington
After giving their all to the settlement of Bluff, Adelia and William accepted the release extended to them in 1884 by Church leaders. They moved to Huntington, Utah, where William established himself again as a carpenter, and Adelia did what she could to help support the family. They lived in a two-room adobe home on Main Street with wildflowers adorning its mud roof during the spring. During their second winter there, Adelia’s brother-in-law, Oliver Harman had become ill with rheumatism, so Adelia and William brought the entire Harman household (which consisted of six people) to Huntington to live with them until Oliver recovered. Though this was many ways a test of patience for Adelia (who gave birth to a daughter in January, shortly after the Harman’s arrived), it also exemplifies the greatness of her character. She would reportedly say that “where there is heart room, there is house room.”(9)
Perhaps in response to the exaggerated tightness of their living quarters during that second winter, William eventually began construction on a large, two-story home on the other end of their family’s lot. Unfortunately, it remained unfinished at the time of William’s premature death in 1889. He was only thirty-nine years old.
Adelia was thus left with ten children to provide for and an unfinished house to live in. The fruit trees the family had planted were not yet bearing fruit, though the bees they kept were providing good honey that they harvested with the honey extractor William had invented. Adelia cared for the bees in the summer, brought in laundry to wash at a rate between thirty-five and fifty-cents a day, and relied heavily on her skills of carding wool, spinning thread and weaving cloth in order to provide for her family. As the children grew, they contributed what they could to the family’s welfare. But it was not easy, and for many years they faced hard times. One daughter recalled having to do eighty large loads of laundry for J. B. Meeks, whose cow the family was milking. When the cow died of bloat, the family had to pay Brother Meeks for the loss by washing clothes (10).
Throughout her life Adelia remained active in the Church and faithful to its teachings. She was the Huntington Primary President for nearly a dozen years, and also served as a Relief Society teacher for several decades (11). She participated on the Relief Society committee that helped to fund and support the building of the Relief Society Hall in Huntington, and also assisted with the burial needs and arrangements of those who had died. One year, when diphtheria swept through the region like wildfire, she helped to sew thirteen burial suits within a single week (12).
Her own loneliness during the decades after William’s death was occasionally comforted by dreams she had of him visiting her from beyond the grave. One night, she woke her daughter Minerva, who had been sleeping next to her, at two o’clock in the morning and told her to quickly write down the words William had spoken to her in her dream. They were as follows:
Adelia Estella Terry Mackelprang passed away January 7, 1940, after patiently suffering from a broken femur for two months. Though she was in great pain and discomfort during the final weeks of her life, Adelia “was ever patient and never complained.”(14) She had endured much in her life that might have merited complaint, but she characteristically chose not to, even at the end.
1. Minerva M. Guymon, “Adelia Estalla Terry Mackelprang,” in Generations of Montell and Minerva Guymon (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press), 57.
2. Maurine G. Nielson, editor, “Samuel William Mackelprang,” Generations of Montell and Minerva Mackelprang (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press), 53; Mary Ann Cook, “Biography of William and Adelia Mackelprang, Pioneers of 1855,” Daughters of Utah Pioneers files, 1.
3. Minerva M. Guymon, 58.
4. Mary Ann Cook, “Biography of William and Adelia Mackelprang, Pioneers of 1855,” 2; Minerva M. Guymon, “Adelia Estalla Terry Mackelprang,” 59.
5. Mary Ann Cook, 1-2.
6. Minerva M. Guymon, 60; Mary Ann Cook, 2.
7. Minerva M. Guymon, 60.
8. Mary Ann Cook, 3.
9. Ibid., 4.
10. Minerva M. Guymon, 62.
11. Mary Ann Cook, 6.
12. Minerva M. Guymon, 63
13. Mary Ann Cook, 5-6.
14. Ibid., 7