Hole-in-the-Rock Landmarks and People

Hole-in-the-Rock Landmarks and People
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January 5, 2010

Sevey, George Washington and Margaret Nebraska Imlay

George Washington Sevy, Jr. (1832-1902)
Children on the Trek: Ruben Warren (son by his first wife, Phoebe Butler), George Francis who was a year old when they left for San Juan, son of Margaret.  He was married three times, and was the father of 30 children.  He was bishop of the Panguitch 2nd ward at the time of the trek.

By FHS Editor Published 12/13/2001Sevey Family Settling Southern Utah
  Among the Mormon young people with whom he associated, was the lovely brown-eyed Phoebe Melinda Butler, whom George courted. They were married on December 5, 1854, and began their life together in the frontier settlement of Spanish Fork, Utah. It was the beginning of a fruitful life for this young pioneer couple. For a time they lived on the river, south of Spanish Fork. They built a footbridge across the river, and nailed standards to the bridge, then wove willows, to keep the children from falling in the river.

In 1861, he was called on a mission to southern Utah and was among the first settlers of New Harmony. The town was built about four miles west of old Fort Harmony in Washington County. Their outfit was a large schooner wagon, the same as those used in crossing the plains. At New Harmony, they lived in a tent for some time, then they built a log cabin and moved into it. Soon, however, they made adobes and built a three-room house. It was not long before they had a few sheep and cows. Feed was plentiful and livestock did well. The following year, 1862, he cleared the land and planted a garden, producing most of what they had to eat.

Before leaving Spanish Fork, they had four children, one girl and three boys, one of whom died young. These were Hannah Caroline, George W. (deceased), John Lowe, and James William. While in New Harmony they added six more to the family: Joseph and Hyrum (twins who both died as babies), Ruben Warren, Georgiana, Thomas, Phoebe Melinda.
Margaret Nebraska Imlay
George entered into his first plural marriage by taking as his second wife, Margaret Nebraska Imlay, a daughter of James Havens Imlay and Anna Eliza Coward.
Margaret was born 5 June 1853, on the plains of Nebraska, while her parents were crossing with other LDS pioneers. Her father along with Anthony W. Ivins and Israel Ivins, was baptized into the Church of Latter Day Saints after just one meeting by Elder Erastus Snow. They journeyed together to Salt Lake City, instead of going to California and the gold fields as they had intended. A little more than two weeks afater Margaret was born her sister age 1 ½ years died on the plains. Her parents had two more children born in Salt Lake City. Early in 1864 they were living in New Harmony, Utah where her sister Keziah was born.

On August 29, 1868, shortly after her 15th birthday, Margaret was married to George. In 1871 he took his two wives and his family, and went to resettle Panguitch in answer to a call from President Brigham Young. He served as bishop there for 8 years, They lived in Panguitch were her first four children were born, the first 3 dying very young. Her fourth child George F was spoiled for 10 years before another child was born. She was a lively and vivacious woman, and skilled at taking care of dairy herds. In Panguitch, he had several more children. Phoebe gave him Sarah Adeline (died in her 18th year), Martha Jane, Mary May (died in her 3rd year), and Pearl. Margaret, his second wife, gave him Maggie Mariah, Abraham, Isaac (all three died as infants), and George Francis.

His third wife, Martha Ann, gave him Hannah Mahala, George Thomas, and Lemuel Hardeson. Within two years the community had grown until nearly 200 families had established homes there. George presided as Bishop for nine years, and when the Panguitch Stake was organized in April 1877, he was chosen first counselor to the Stake President, James Henrie, while at the same time he continued in his position as bishop. A meetinghouse was erected of brick. Many industries were started and the community boasted of many tradesmen. In 1875, he went with others to Potato Valley and assisted in settling what is now the flourishing town of Escalante.

On December 18, 1877, he married a second plural wife, Martha Ann Thomas of Pine Valley, Utah, a daughter of John Pledger Thomas and Mahala Matthews. Then in the next year he participated in the expedition to San Juan County, in southeastern Utah, and helped open that country for settlement, building a raft to cross the Colorado River on the celebrated "Hole-in-the-Rock" Expedition. He was one of four men who in December of 1878 explored that country for a wagon road from the crossing of the Colorado to the side of the city of Bluff on the San Juan River.

(MARKER at HOBBS WASH READS . . .:Four men were sent out as an advanced scouting party to locate a route across this impossible terrain to Montezuma Creek. George Hobbs, George Sevey, George Morrel, Lemuel H. Redd, Sr., were camped on this spot the night of Dec. 27, 1879. Having been lost in the snow storm and without food for 4 days, George Hobbs carved his name and the date on the sheltered canyon walls, thinking they would never get out alive. They were successful, however, and the main company of pioneers settled Bluff April 6, 1880. )

It is probable that the Sevys were looking for a "safe" place to live, as they was much persecution of Polygamists during their married life, and they eventually moved to Mexico.  See more details in The Genealogy of the Descendants of GEORGE WASHINGTON SEVEY listed below.
More stories:

Kumen Jones had this to say about him: "George Sevy was a man of sterling qualities about 40 years of age at this time of indomitable courage. Sturdy, honest, fair, in all his dealings, with men accustomed to hard work together with about all the qualities for an ideal pioneer. Upon the organization of the Bluff Ward, he was chosen as first counselor to Bishop Jens Nielson, but conditions not known at the time came up later making it necessary for him to change his program, and we next hear from him in Old Mexico where his ability was soon discovered and he was made a bishop.
[Lund indicates that Sevy returned to Panguitch before June 1880 p. 799]
He raised a large family. Several of his sons became later prominent in busines and other ways in our state. Brother Sevy was all man and will enter Celestial
Glory" (http://kumenjones.org/HTML/NotesOnSJMission.htm#pg9).

Freighting experiences of George Washington Sevy
More information included in Hole in the Rock by Miller, see index
The Genealogy of the Descendants of GEORGE WASHINGTON SEVY
Yet more information:
For Genealogy and additional history:
In all likelihood the Goddards, Sevys and Paces were traveling together because of their family connections. They were also from Utah County, rather than Iron or Millard counties like most of the other pioneers.


Heidi said...

Thank you for posting this information. It is inspiring for me to learn more about my ancestors. I'd like to put this on familysearch in the stories section (unless you plan to). Is that okay? I would include a reference to this blog if that is allowed on newfamilysearch.
Heidi Neal

Ganado Granny said...

That would be great to include the blog reference. Please let others in your family know of this resource.

sheila said...

This is great. George Washington sevey is my great grandfather. I believe I come from the third wife. My grandmother is una sevey (Anderson), my father is her youngest child. Very cool.

sheila said...

Ok I am wrong Martha Ann Thomas is my great grandmother.