Sunday, May 31, 2020

Keturah Horton Haight  1777-1843
Mildred Harris Bradley's Great Great Grandmother

            Keturah Horton was born 28 May 1777 in Amenia, Dutchess, New York to David Horton and Temperance Owens. She was the third child and had five siblings.

          It can be presumed that Keturah spent her childhood in Dutchess County which is one of the oldest Counties of New York State.  It was organized 1 November 1683 by a Colony Law.  It was only a County in name with boundaries upon paper supposed to be uninhabited by white men.  On 18 October 1701 “having a very few inhabitants” it was provisionally annexed to Ulster County where its free holders were entitled to vote.

          In 1737, it was divided into seven precincts designated: Beekman, Crum Elbow, Northeast, Poughkeepsie, Rynebeck, Rumbout, and South.  By the time America voted for its Independence in 1776, Dutchess County was one of the most fervent counties in backing the Continental Congress.  Most of its inhabitants wanted freedom from England.  Dutchess County furnished a high percentage of soldiers for the Continental Army as well as furnishing food and provisions for the soldiers.

          According to the Nauvoo Temple Records, Caleb Haight married Keturah Horton, on 11 February 1799.  They were married either in a Civil Ceremony or by a traveling Minister.  When a new Presbyterian Church was completed at Greenville, Greene County, New York, only a short distance from where they were living they must have decided that it would be more satisfying to them to have a Church Ceremony. They chose their second wedding anniversary, 11 February 1801, to be remarried in the new church.

          Caleb and Keturah made their first home in Dutchess County, New York and it was there that their first two children were born; Oscar, born 14 November 1800 and Harriet Helen, born 9 April 1802. However, they must have soon afterwards moved as we find that their third child, a daughter, Julia Ann, was born in Windham, Greene County, New York in 6 November 1805.  The Haights made their home in Windham for many years and it was here that the rest of their children were born; David Bateman born 18 October 1808, Hector Caleb born 17 January 1810, Isaac Chauncy born 27 May 1813, Eliza Caroline born 2 February 1816. Maria Antoinette born 25 July  1818, and Catherine Adelia born 28 November 1820.

          In 1833, according to their son, Isaac Chauncy, the Haights moved once again and this time made their home in Moravia, Cayunga County, New York.  In the Land Deed Records for Greene County, New York, it shows that on 22 June 1833, Caleb Haight and his wife, Keturah, sold property in the Town of Windham, Greene County to John Adams of Catskill, New York for the consideration of $ 2,500.  Seven years later the U. S. census of 1840 of Moravia Town Cayuga County shows Caleb Haight living there with his wife and one female child, 15-19 years of age.  This no doubt was Catherine Adelia, their youngest child as all the other children were married by that time with the exception of Oscar who died at an early age.
          Keturah seemed to have been very successful as her children were well educated.  They were blessed with worldly goods and held good positions in the business world.  They were a religious family and Keturah’s son Isaac Chauncy would have become a Baptist Minister if his health had been better.

          In 1839, Elder Petiah Brown, a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, came to the home of Isaac Chauncy.  He and his wife Eliza Ann Snyder, were converted to the gospel and were baptized into the Church 3 March 1839.  They had to break the ice in the river before they could be baptized and then walk one-fourth mile with their clothing frozen stiff, to be confirmed.  At this time Isaac Chauncy was ordained an Elder to preach the Gospel.

          By the spring of 1841, Elder Haight and Elder Brown had converted enough people to the Gospel to build up a branch of the church to about 40 members. Isaac Chauncy had the happiness to see his father, Caleb Haight, his mother, Keturah, his brother, David Bateman, and two sisters baptized into the Church.  At this time Caleb Haight was made branch President but the members were persecuted so badly that the Branch had a difficult time to exist.

          On 7 June 1842 Isaac Chauncey, in company with his wife and family, left his parents and brothers and sisters and in the company of other converts for Zion.  However, the following year, 18 June 1843, he was called back to New York State on a short mission and it was at this time, according to the Land Deed Records of Cayuga County that Caleb Haight and his wife, Keturah, sold their property in Moravia, 22 June 1843 to Caleb Palmer of Sempronius, New York for the consideration of $5,520.  It is evident from this that Caleb and Keturah had been making plans to leave for Nauvoo also.

          Three months later, 13 September 1843, Isaac Chauncey started back to Nauvoo, Illinois and accompanying him were his father and mother, his brother David Bateman and family, his sister Julie Ann and her husband, Edmund Carbine, and their family.  Adelia Rider was a niece of Keturah’s sister, Julie Ann Horton and her husband Nathaniel Rider.  She was left an orphan when just five years of age and went to live with Aunt Keturah.

          Keturah was 66.  She was in very poor health at this time and the family was fearful that she could not stand the hard journey ahead of them but she was so anxious to see Nauvoo and the Temple that they attempted the journey.  She stood it very well for the first week but then she started to fail. After traveling for only ten days, they had to sop and rest for two days because of Keturah’s condition.  On September 25th, they started out once again with Keturah lying on a bed in one of the wagons and they arrived in Kirtland, Ohio two days later on September 27, 1843.  Keturah was so happy to see the Lord’s House and gazed upon it with delight and admiration. They were all kindly received by the brethren in Kirtland and they remained there until the next day.
          It was decided at that time, because of Keturah’s health, that it would be better for here to make the remainder of the trip by boat.  Isaac Chauncy and Adelia Rider Carbine were to accompany Keturah and they parted company here from the rest of the family.  On the morning of 28 September 1843 Caleb his son, David and his family and the Van Ordens and Carbine families and friends continued on in the wagons. They traveled with heavy hearts, not knowing if they would ever see their wife and mother again as, by this time, she was so ill that she was sometimes delirious.

          The same day that Caleb and company started out, Isaac Chauncy Haight and Adelia Rider Carbine, who helped take care of Keturah, and Keturah left for Ravenna where they could board a steamer.  On 3 October 1843, they took passage on the steamer, “Minstrel”, which was leaving Cincinnati, Ohio. They arrived in Cincinnati three days later on the 6th day of October and rested there for two days. Keturah’s health was so delicate now that they feared she would never live to get to Nauvoo. They boarded the steamer once again on October 8th and left for St. Louis, Mo.  They arrived there October 14th and changed boats and proceeded on the steamer “Iowa” for Nauvoo, arriving there the next day 15 October 1843.

          It wasn’t until twelve days later, on October 27th, that Keturah was re-united with her husband, Caleb, and family. They were all in good health and happy to be with their wife and mother once again.  The following week Caleb and Isaac Chauncy went to Knox County to see the farm that Caleb had purchased.  He was quite disappointed with it. They remained there working for ten days.  When they returned to Nauvoo, they found that Keturah had failed very much which she continued to do until the 18th November 1843 when she died very peacefully, just one month and three days after arriving in Nauvoo. In the paper “The Nauvoo Neighbor” it stated that Keturah Haight died of consumption. She was buried in Nauvoo.

          Issac Chauncy recorded in his journal:

18th November. (Mother) died without a struggle or a groan and has gone to rest in the Paradise of God with the Saints that have gone before, there to remain until the morning of the resurrection of the just when we shall again behold her clothed with bright immortality and eternal life.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Martin Harris 1783-1875

(A witness of the Book of Mormon) Mildred Harris Bradley's Great Great Uncle
 It was in Clarkston, Utah in 1875. Early in the morning, a thought came to my mind that I would go and see how Brother Harris was. It was only three blocks from my home. I heard he was not feeling well and people came from other towns to see Brother Harris and hear his testimony on the Book of Mormon. But when I arrived, there were two men present. Brother Harris lay on his bed leaning on his elbow. I said, "How are you, Brother Harris?" He answered slowly, "Pretty well."
 "We came to hear your testimony on the Book of Mormon" I said to him.  "Yes", he said in a loud voice, as he sat up in bed. "I wish that I could speak loud enough that the whole world could hear my testimony. Brother, stand over so I can see you;" and then he stretched out his hand and said, "Brother, I believe there is an angel here to hear what I shall tell you, and you shall never forget what I shall say. The Prophet and Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and myself went into a little grove to obtain a promise that we should behold it with our own eyes. That we could testify of it to the world. We prayed two or three times but met with no success, and feeling my presence being the cause of our not obtaining what we asked for, I at length went into the woods by myself to pray, where upon the angel immediately appeared and stood before Oliver and David and showed them the plates.   
Upon my long absence, the Prophet came in search of me and in my desperation, I asked him to kneel down with me and pray for me that I may also see the plates, and we did so and immediately the angel stood before me and said, "Look," and when I glanced at him I fell; but I stood on my feet and saw the angel turn the golden leaves over, and I said, "It is enough, my Lord and my God!" Then I heard the voice of God say, "the book is true, and translated correctly."
 Brother Harris then turned himself as if he had no more to say and we made ready to go. But he spoke again and said, "I will tell you a wonderful thing that happened after Joseph had found the plates. Three of us took some tools to go to the hill and hunt for some more boxes, or gold or something, and indeed we found a stone box; we got quite excited about it and dug quite carefully around it, and we were ready to take it up but behold, by some unseen power, it slipped back into the hill. We stood there and looked at it and one of us took a crow bar and tried to drive it though the lid to hold it, but it glanced and broke one corner off the box. Sometime that box will be found and you will see the corner off and you will know I have told the truth again brother, as sure as you are standing here and see me. Just so sure did I see the angel with the golden plates, in his hand and he showed them to me. I have promised that I will bear witness of this truth both here and hereafter."
His lips trembled and tears came into my eyes. I should like to have asked a question but I failed to do so, but I refreshed myself and shook hands and thanked him and left.
When I think of the day I stood before Martin Harris and saw him stretch forth his hand and raise his voice and bear his testimony, the feeling that thrilled my whole being I can never forget, nor can I express the joy that filled my soul. This is a true statement. Signed, Ole A. Jensen (The other two brethren present were John Godfrey and James Hup.)

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Fannie Smith Spilsbury

Fanny Smith Spilsbury (1823-1903)
Frankie Estella Spilsbury Harris' Grandmother

Fanny Smith Spilsbury was full of faith and had a deep abiding love for the gospel. She was born Christmas Day in 1823, in Herefordshire, England. Twenty miles away and nine months prior to her birth her future husband George Spilsbury was born in Worcestershire, England. Fannie was one of the five children of Richard and Tabithia Bridges Smith, who were members of the Church of England. They had enough of this world’s goods that Fanny received a good education. She was also well trained in other arts and skills, such as dressmaking, millinery, needle work and cooking; she was also an excellent business woman.

In her late teens she met George Spilsbury who had accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and filled a mission to Wales. He invited her to go with him to some of their meetings. She was so impressed with the beauties of the gospel that she wanted to learn more. Fanny’s mother had recently passed away and her father was bitterly opposed to her having anything to do with terrible, new fangled religion. However, she knew this was the truth, and she continued to study and learn. Her boyfriend, George Spilsbury, was an excellent teacher and she was finally baptized. This greatly angered her father and he practically disowned her.

She was baptized at night and the ice had to be broken to have this done and she walked home in these wet clothes and got into bed with out her Father knowing it.  

  Plans were being made for a group of newly converted saints to sail for America to be with the body of the saints there. Shortly before they left, George and Fanny were married and they booked a passage on the ship. Fanny was barely nineteen years old and George not quite twenty. The ship left England, home, family and all that life held dear to this young couple—except each other, and the gospel.

Fanny’s father had tried everything possible to get her to give up the wild idea, he even threatened to cut her off from any inheritance. After all of his attempts to get her to change her mind, just as they were about to leave, he made one more attempt, for all other had failed. In March of 1843 Fanny’s father came to the wharf and gave Fanny a little gold locket. He told her to keep it until she was sorry for her wild adventure and was ready to come home, then, she was simply to send him the locket and he would send for her. She embraced him warmly and then said bravely, “Thank you dear father, but I will never be sorry.” And of course she never was, even though she was called to endure extreme sufferings, persecutions, and dire want.

By the time they landed in New Orleans, after six weeks of stormy sailing, all of their money was gone. Fanny had to sell some of her lovely clothing to get money to buy food and passage on the steamboat up the Mississippi River. They then had to stop off in St. Louis to get work so they could earn enough money to finish the trip. After they joined with the Saints in Nauvoo, George being an excellent bricklayer and mason went to work on the Nauvoo temple. Fanny did her part at home helping with the work along the other sisters.

They loved to tell their family of their great joy and happiness, when they attended their fist meeting in the half finished Nauvoo where they sat on planks laid on blocks of wood. All of their sorrows and sufferings of leaving home were forgotten the first time they saw the Prophet Joseph Smith, a man who had seen and talked with God and his son Jesus Christ. Fanny and George felt tremendously honored and their hearts were filled with joy and gratitude.

During the next few years, Fanny lost their first four little girls who were buried along the way—in Nauvoo and Winter Quarters.   She was one who never murmured at the hardships and trials she passed through.   They were there when Joseph Smith was killed.   They were driven with the saints from Nauvoo.   They were at the dedication of the Nauvoo Temple and her husband helped quarry stone and build the Nauvoo house.

She was expecting her fifth baby when they were finally ready to start across the plains in ox-drawn wagons. One hot day on August 5, 1850 the wagons were stopped long enough for this little stranger to arrive and then they were on their way again. The company had been without water for several days and as they approached the Platte River the oxen were so lean that their side almost touched for want of a drink. They seemed to smell the water and picked up the pace until George was hardly able to keep up with them. The oxen then left the road and made for the river, leaping down the bank and into the river to quench their maddening thirst. As the wagon went over the bank it turned over and the mother and babe were thrown into the water! By this time, George and some other men of the company had rushed to the rescue and helped them out of the water. Bishop Edward Hunter was the one that snatched the baby from the muddy river. Holding it up by its feet, so the water could run out of its mouth, he gave it a smart slap on the seat then shouted for men to come and bless the baby. “Give it the name of Alma, for the Prophet in the Book of Mormon,” Fanny called out weakly. “And to that we will add Platte, for this river,” announced Bishop Hunter, and so the baby was blessed Alma Platte Spilsbury.

The little family arrived in Salt Lake in September of 1850, and lived there for nine years. Then they moved south to Draper. They were among those called to help settle Utah’s Dixie. There they had a constant warfare with floods, droughts, and Native Americans. They lived in several little towns but finally settled in Toquerville where they spent the remainder of their days. Fanny and George had seven more children, five of which they raised, three sons and two daughters. They also raised a Native American orphan child whose tribe had abandoned him. He lived with then all his life.

In addition to making dresses hats, and other articles for her family and others, Fanny kept the Telegraph and Post Offices, as well as an open house for weary travelers. She was an ardent church worker who was connected with the Relief Society almost from its beginning. Everyone knew and loved her. She and George received their endowments in the Nauvoo temple on January 12, 1846 and were sealed in the Endowment House in Salt Lake in July of 1853, where all of their children were sealed to them.

She was always ready and willing to give a helping hand to others not so fortunate.   She was a friend to young people and many went to her for advice about their love affairs for she seemed to understand.

She always told the story of the first meeting held to decide who was to lead the Church.   She said everyone knew it was to be Brigham Young for his voice sounded as the Prophet Joseph Smith’s and really she said he seemed to look like him.

Fanny was ill with cholera, they thought she was dead and were preparing to bury her when her child was born and this saved her life.   She had been in a coma.

She passed on to her daughters the fine qualities of beauty, art, love and romance.   She left a monument of a successful life well spent.   She stood the test of being drive from her home for religion.

Fanny died at the age of 80 in her beloved Utah’s Dixie. Shortly before she passed away one of her granddaughters, knowing the story of the gold locket, asked her if she had ever been sorry. Proudly showing this to her granddaughter, she said “No, no, my dear, I have never been sorry. I have had a good life and have never regretted the step I took so long ago.” 

From her own story:

I was raised in England, my father was a well to do squire.  The household was taken care of by a housekeeper, who trained me in the gentle art of beauty, culture and romance.  I was taught serving and fine embroidery work.  I was baptized 23 January 1842 and confirmed by my future husband George Spilsbury.  I left England under protest by my father, who gave me a locket and ask me to send it to him, if I ever wanted to return.

We suffered persecution and tragedy.  I lived in the back of a wagon and made a home out of a crude log cabin.  I gave my dishes for the Nauvoo Temple and traded my fine clothes for pots and pans.  We had $5.00, that I had earned on ship serving to buy provisions.

The first time I saw Joseph Smith I knew him, although I had never seen a picture of him.  I picked him out of a crowd.  He spent many hours in our home.  Hyrum Smith gave me a blessing.

We had 13 children and only raised five of them.  I had to learn to make quilts of which I made many.  I spent much time with the young people of Toquerville.  I was never sorry.  And I never wanted to return the locket my father gave me.

From a form filled out at Toquerville, December 18, 1915 by David Spilsbury:

Height:  5 ft. 4 in.  Weight: 140 lbs.  Complexion: Brunette  Color of Hair:  dark brown
First Counselor in the Relief Society of Toquerville Ward
Baptized 23 Jan 1842 by George Spilsbury

Mother was a Milliner and Dress maker by occupation.  She was prominent in all female and Relief Society work but did not let the left hand know what the right hand was giving.  She was kind, generous and noble spirited.  Her motto was "Waste not want not."  She often told me "If you have a surplus give to the poor but don't waste."  She was often seen by night distributing her gifts to the needy.  The first book she taught me to read was the Bible then the faith promoting Series, The Lives of our Leaders etc.  I thank her for those early impressions which made a lasting impression upon my heart. She was a very industrious woman never idle.  In the days of Silver Reef she took Boarders and sent me to the U of U in Salt Lake and later (1880-2) upon my mission to England. By overwork and worry her nervous system gave way she had a paraletic stroke and was an invalid for 10 years before her death.  To be thus helpful was a great trail to Mother for she was high spirited and independent woman.  She entertained Pres. Young and party in her little Dug out at Grafton (near Rockville).  She obeyed every principle of the gospel and was true to the end.  The statements I made in regard to father would also apply to mother from the time they were married Sept 5, 1842.  The both left all for the gospel's sake.

Patriarchal Blessing of Fanny Spilsbury

Sister Fanny I lay my hands upon thy head, & bless thee in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, inasmuch as thou hast obeyed the gospel, & left thy native land, in obedience to the commandments of the Lord to gain an inheritance among the saints, thou shalt have one & possess it again in eternity,   for thou art of the house of Joseph, & a lawful heir to the priesthood with all the blessings & benefits, which are sealed upon thy companion, for thou shalt partake with him in all his blessings and in his endowment, his honors, powers, &privileges, even to be able to do miracles, to heal the sick in thy house, and to keep the destroyer from thy dwelling; thou shalt be blest with health, peace & plenty, thy children shall grow up about thee like olive plants, no good thing shall be withheld from thee; shall be able to accomplish every purpose of thy heart; live to see the closing scene of this generation & enjoy all the blessings of the Redeemer’s kingdom to all eternity in common with thy companion & children; inasmuch as thou art patient & abide in the truth these words shall not fail, evenso, Amen.

A Blessing by John Smith, Patriarch, upon the head of Fanny Spilsbury, daughter of Richard & Elizabeth Smith, born December 1825.   Herefordshire, England

(L.D.S. Church Historian’s Office, Patriarchal Blessings, Volume 9, Page 386)

Patriarchal Blessing of Fanny Smith Spilsbury

Sister Fanny, I lay my hands upon your head, in the name of Jesus and seal upon you a blessing, and bless you according to the mind of the spirit, as it shall indite the matter.   Behold, I say unto you Fanny, thou shalt be blessed even as thy husband, as touching the blessings of the priesthood and promised possessions, as also the key of knowledge, wherein you shall be made wise, and be prepared to understand the times and seasons, of times of refreshments, and the coming of the Son of Man.   Nevertheless your lineage is not the same lineage with your husband, but your inheritance shall be with his inheritance, that all things may be had in common with him, even in him whose inheritance is in the lineage of Levi.   And unto the blessings of that inheritance, which shall be in the Mount called Zion, for in Zion, shall the sons of Moses and Aaron be purified, and enter in through the gate unto the city and that is the reward, and your inheritance laid up for you, in the city of Jerusalem and a reward and blessing for you to receive for your pilgrimage and leaving your native country, the domicile of your fathers, in obedience to the commandments God had given to His people and to those who are wanderers and pilgrims in a strange land, in the midst of strangers, seeking a house and habitation, whose builder and maker, is God.   Therefore, be steadfast and you shall be blessed spiritually and temporally, even in all things in common with your husband, and your name shall be perpetuated and had in honor unto the latest generation and these blessings I seal upon your head, even so Amen.  

Nauvoo, 19 November 1843

A Patriarchal blessing of Fanny Smith Spilsbury, daughter of Richard and Elizabeth (Tabitha Bridges) Smith born in Parish of Cradley, Herefordshire, England, born 1 November 1823 (25 December 1823).

(copied from typed copy included in biography of George Spilsbury in possession of Frankie Estella Spilsbury Harris)

(L.D. S. Church Historian’s Office, Patriarchal Blessings, Volume 41)

Friday, September 29, 2017

George and Fannie Spilsbury Family Photo

Top Row:  George Moroni Spilsbury, Alma Platte Spilsbury, David Spilsbury
Bottom Row: Susan Vilate Spilsbury, George Spilsbury, Fannie Smith Spilsbury, Martha Elizabeth (Katie) Spilsbury

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Franklin S. Harris and the Fine Arts

Franklin S. Harris and the Fine Arts

I think I speak for all my cousins in saying that we are honored to be here to 
help celebrate the fine arts at BYU and the contribution of Franklin S. Harris 
to the fine arts.  The BYU legacy is alive in the Harris family.  All of his 
children and many grandchildren and great grandchildren have graduated from BYU.  
There are currently at least five great grandchildren who are students at BYU 
and numerous great great grandchildren. Three great grandsons are currently 
working or teaching on campus.

Prior to becoming president of BYU in 1921 Harris was an agronomist and 
scientist at Utah State Agricultural College in Logan.  More than one person has 
asked why the Harris Fine Arts Center was named for this scientist.  I think 
there are two main reasons.

Harris was a personal patron of the arts.  Shortly after Harris's death B.F. 
Larsen sent some notes to Herald R. Clark in which he quoted Harris as saying, 
"I use my knowledge of science to make a living, but through my interest in art 
I live."  In an abridged version, this saying has been used a number of times. 
Whether he actually said it or not, it certainly characterizes his philosophy. 
As BYU president he attended more arts events than athletic events, which 
probably could not be said of any president since. While traveling, which was 
frequently, he always visited museums and art galleries and attended the theater 
and concert halls.  The amazing thing was that many years later he would 
remember a specific work of art that he had seen. Harris liked to listen to the 
Texaco Metropolitan Opera on the radio on Saturday mornings.  He would be 
disappointed to know that KBYU-FM no longer carries the Metropolitan Opera in 
its programming.  At one point he
 even wrote a letter to the Texaco Company in which he said that whenever he 
listed to the opera it made him want to rush out and buy Texaco gasoline.  His 
children, however, did not remember that he ever bought Texaco gasoline.

In addition to his personal support of the arts, Harris was a great supporter of 
the arts at BYU.  In the 1920s it was very unusual for a university to have a 
curriculum in the fine arts.  Within a few years after his arrival at BYU he 
established the College of Fine Arts with Gerrit deJong as dean.  It was the 
first such college in the western U.S.  With the help of Herald R. Clark he 
brought numerous performers to this small backwater college.  A niece who was 
raised by the Harrises said, "I can remember the many artists of every kind that 
Uncle Frank lured to the Y.  He was very persuasive." In addition to supporting 
the performing arts he acquired about seven hundred art works and had them hung 
in the offices, halls, and classrooms.  In that day the entire campus was Lower 
Campus (where the Provo City Library now is) and a couple of buildings on the 
point of the hill. Finances were tight, but he had a clever way of acquiring 
art.  He gave tuition
 credit to family and friends of artists in exchange for paintings.  Several of 
Minerva Teichert's paintings were acquired in this way.

I sent a copy of this year's fine arts brochure to a cousin on the east coast 
who has had little contact with BYU.  She was thoroughly impressed with the 
quality of the brochure itself and with the quality of the performance offerings 
at BYU.  I think Harris himself would be pleased and impressed with what has 
been built on the foundation he laid for the fine arts at BYU. The entire 
community has been blessed by this growth. At the close of his administration 
Harris is reported to have said, "After all, I think my greatest accomplishment 
is what we have done with the fine arts."  

Janet Jenson
Founder's Luncheon , BYU, 14 Oct. 2014