Hay view from Castle

Hay view from Castle
Hay-on-Wye, Powys (formerly Breconshire), Wales. The "Town of Books" (and Vaughans!)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Eleanor Jenkins Vaughan Hulet - Matriarch in Zion

This is a series of posts from my other blog now consolidated to tell the story of our recent discoveries about Grandma Elinor. by Grant L. Vaughn

[from July 19, 2013]


My Welsh DNA is fairly sparse - but then, there is the issue of my surname. My Vaughns came to Zion in 1887 - on the train. Of course they married into some prominent pioneer families, myself inadvertently going perhaps the farthest with that by marrying a Kimball. At the time, her family name was the least thing on my mind. And I'm trying really hard not to be boastful or proud. But there seems to have been just something, maybe part of it self-imposed, that treated the Vaughns like second-class citizens in Zion.

The first Vaughn over, my 2nd Great Grandfather, Thomas Vaughan (1850-1894) died young and left a family in poverty. His son married and there were some troubles in the family. His wife divorced him after the children were pretty well grown. Their oldest son, my grandfather, was never active in the church as an adult. It's a miracle my dad & siblings were. Grandma was somewhat active and taught Primary for a period. And she always made sure the children went. My dad and mom were married in the Temple and here I am.

There is a theme running here of faithful women propping up the Vaughns which brings me to . . .

Checking my blog for what my readers were searching, I noticed an interesting one looking for "Mormons in Llanfoist." Well, naturally they hit my blog. But I went to their search and saw something else - a link on BoAP to History of the Church, Vol. VI, and an 1844 conference in England with representatives from the Garway Conference including branches in Llanthony, Abergavenny, and Llanfoist! How could that be? Abergavenny is a substantial market town, but Llanfoist had 400 people in the 1840s and not much more than that today. Llanthony is that place up in the top of the mountains with the ruined abbey - less than a village.

Turns out that John Needham, an 1838 British convert baptized in the River Ribble, was the first missionary in South Wales. And Needham's missionary journal is digitized and on-line at the LDS Church History Library site. I went through all 258 pages that night.

This is December 17, 1841(!). Right there in the middle is:
"after preaching I baptized Elinor Vaun"
Besides our known Elinor Jenkins Vaughan, the one born 1789 on Stowe Farm where I herded cattle on our visit to the Marches in 2010, there is only one other Elenor on the 1841 Census for Llanfoist Village - Elenor Meredith. Elinor "Vaun" is a match. Later, Elder Needham refers to another baptism of a "Sister Vaun" - no first name, likely the daughter, Catherine [or Jane]. And there are a couple more reports of "Sister Vaun" including that she washed the missionary's feet (just the dusty part of the "beautiful upon the mountains" bit).

This Elinor is the grandmother of our Vaughans who joined the church 40 years later in Durham, England, and came to Utah.

Dan Jones didn't even go to Wales until 1844 (oops. pride again).

It can't be a coincidence that Pres. Garff of the Bountiful Temple set me apart that same day of the research as a veil worker. He specifically referenced D&C 84:20 about the power of the priesthood being manifest in the ordinances - and blessed me with the Spirit of Elijah to turn my heart to the fathers (and mothers) and they to me to help me from across the veil - "the most sacred place in the temple" - (his words).

Finding "Peace" in Llanfoist, Wales, August 19, 2010. "Llanfoist" can be interpreted from the Welsh as "enclosure of Faith"

[from August 4, 2013)

Winter Quarters just got a bit more real for me.

Winter Quarters, Nebraska Territory. Winter of 1846-47.
The LDS Branch established by Elder John Needham in Llanfoist, Monmouthshire, just couldn't have ended in failure! Well, my ancestors joined the church forty years later up in Durham after the example of their grandmother, Elinor Jenkins Vaughan, baptized in Llanfoist in 1841.

Checking the 1851 Census against the 1841, most of the names of those baptized had disappeared from Llanfoist. Of course, my Vaughans are still there. John Vaughan was to die a few months later and be buried in the location we found on our trip. Some of those had to have gone to gather with the Saints in Zion. Working with some difficulty through Family Search and the Mormon Overland Trail database, I found them.

James and Elizabeth Davies were baptized in Llanfoist in 1842 and 1841, respectively. This appears to be the James Davis (1794-1847) who died at Winter Quarters on an unrecorded date, buried in an unmarked grave. His wife was Elizabeth Sykes Davis (1797-1855). They were apparently re-baptized in Nauvoo, 21 October 1842, indicating that they must have left Britain and immigrated to Nauvoo on the Mississippi in the Summer/Fall of 1842. James and Elizabeth received endowments and sealing in the Nauvoo Temple, January 1846. Elizabeth came to Utah in 1847 with the Smoot/Wallace Company arriving by Sept. 29, and died in 1855. Two of their daughters married Peter Nebeker. We have some good friends who are Nebekers. Looks like their ancestors were friends with ours in Llanfoist.

And one more coincidence in Zion. In the same 1847 wagon train as Elizabeth Davies/Davis was my wife's ancestress, Mary Smithies, who became a wife to Heber C. Kimball, counselor in the First Presidency to Brigham Young.

James found Zion. The hearts are turned again.

[from August 8, 2013]

You can't make this stuff up! The name of the ship was the Enoch Train!

The Enoch Train, Boston
And I can't remember the date I was baptized. Sometimes I have to think real hard to remember how old I am.

OK. Sure. I can walk over to my file cabinet and pull out my baptism certificate. And with a split second of cogitation I can remember that I'm 56 years old. But if I was about 70(!!), walking across the plains with a handcart, a long way from home - not to mention a long way from the strange, new home I was walking to, I think I might have a harder time remembering dates with exactness. Besides, my wife just quizzed me on the date of my youngest son's baptism and I hadn't a clue even if I could eventually approximate it.*

And it doesn't help that so many people were named Elinor on the Welsh border country. Jenkins and Vaughan are pretty common too. But how can it be possible that my ancestress Elinor Jenkins Vaughan, baptized on 17 December 1841 according to Elder Needham's Missionary Journal, is not the same person as the Eleanor Jenkins Vaughan who went across the ocean in 1856 and was a member of the very first handcart company to cross the plains?

On the Mormon Pioneer Overland Trail database, we have seen the lonely name of Eleanor Vaughan, pioneer of 1856. But we certainly had no expectation of ever thinking she was connected to us. But don't forget the Mormon Migration database either!

OK. Her dates are off by as much as 12 years in some places. And there was another Elinor Jenkins christened in Whitney Parish, Herefordshire, in that time-frame. But while you could slip on dates, you don't forget who your parents were. In our research, we simply connected to the wrong ones in that very small parish. (And it was an understandable, good faith mistake as a "Catherine" Jenkins was present as a witness at the 1810 wedding to John Vaughan in Hay, Breconshire, and we figured that she was likely Elinor's mother married to a John Jenkins from the same parish - I guess she could have been an aunt [actually, it looks like it was her sister].)

This has to be the Elinor Jenkins from Stowe Farm! Finding her baptism in Elder Needham's journal matches exactly with our ancestress, Eleanor Vaughan, in the same place in the same Census year (1841). on the Enoch Train's manifest, the Pioneer Eleanor Vaughan of 1856, widow, in the company of no apparent family members, has her address in "England" noted as "Abersychan." A grandson of hers, son of our ancestor and her son, John Vaughan (1825-1869), was born in Abersychan and the father worked in the nearby iron furnaces like the one at Blaenavon Ironworks!

The passenger list notes that she was traveling by means of the Perpetual Emigration Fund. And it also notes an advance payment of 10 shillings on her account.

The Edmund Ellsworth Handcart Company was the first of its kind. It left Iowa City on June 9, 1856 and arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on September 26. It was a few weeks ahead of Martin & Willie. The Ellsworth Company had snow in September, but was already over the Continental Divide.
Edmund Ellsworth

So, how did the handcart companies come to be? Ellsworth claimed to have a vision:
Brother A. Galloway of St. Charles, Idaho, under date of June 7, 1897, wrote: "In the latter part of May, 1855, Edmund Ellsworth (who was on a mission) and I were laboring in the Herefordshire conference. At that time we stayed at the home of Brother Powell, near to Abergavenny, Monmouthshire. Early in the morning Brother Ellsworth said, 'Brother Galloway, are you awake?' I answered, 'Yes.' Brother Ellsworth said: 'I have had a peculiar dream during the night. It has been repeated to me three separate times. Would you like me to repeat it to you?' I answered 'Yes.' He said: 'I dreamed I was at home in Salt Lake City, Utah, and went to the president's, Brigham Young's, office. I saw President Young. He said. "Why Edmund, we have just been talking about you. We are thinking of having a company of saints cross the plains with handcarts next year. We would like you to take charge of the company. Will you do it?" I said, 'If you say so, I will.' He asked me: 'What do you think of the dream?' I answered, 'Well, I think it is more than a common dream. I would write it in your journal and see what comes of it.'
"When we got to the conference house he wrote it and read it to my wife and me. About six weeks after that we were again together at the conference house. A letter was there for Brother Ellsworth from President Young. When Brother Ellsworth had read the letter, he got his journal and handed me the letter. He read from his journal what he had written and then handed me his journal to compare with the letter; they were alike word for word.
" 'Well, Brother Galloway, what do you say about crossing the plains with a handcart?' he said. I replied: 'There is a motto of a highland clan which is my answer: "What other men dare, we can do, the Lord helping us." ' Then he turned to my wife, 'Well, Sister Galloway, what do you say?' 'I will follow my husband.' 'Then I will enter your names as the first volunteers.'
This may very well have occured in neighborhood of the Vaughan home. At the conclusion of the story, it says it took place at "Aberoychan, Scotland, the last of June or early July 1855." There is no Aberoychan, Scotland. There is an Abersychan, Wales "near to Abergavenny." And that is Eleanor Vaughan's home address in the same town where her son, my ancestor lived. Also, just before the mention of Abersychan on the Enoch Train's manifest as part of Eleanor's address is "A. Galloway."

The Ellsworth Company had a great welcome into the Salt Lake Valley:
Having learned that Capt. Edmund Ellsworth's company camped at the Willow Springs on the evening of the 25th inst., on the 26th Presidents Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, Lieut. Genl. D. H. Wells, and many other citizens, in carriages, and several gentlemen and ladies on horseback, with a part of Capt. H. B. Clawson's company of lancers and the brass bands under Capt. William Pitt, left the Governor's Office at 9 a.m., with the view of meeting and escorting them into the city.
Within about a mile and a half of the foot of the Little Mountain, Prest. Young ordered the party to halt until the hand carts should arrive, and with Prest. Kimball drove on to meet them. Ere long the anxiously expected train came in sight, led by Capt. Ellsworth on foot, and with two aged veterans pulling the front cart, followed by a long line of carts attended by the old, middle aged and young of both sexes.
When opposite the escorting party, a halt was called and their Captain introduced the new comers to Prests. Young and Kimball, which was followed by the joyous greeting of relatives and friends, and an unexpected treat of melons. While thus regaling, Capt. Daniel D. McArthur came up with his hand-cart company, they having traveled from the east base of the Big Mountain.
From the halt to the Public Square on 2nd West Temple street, the following order was observed, under the supervision of Capt. Clawson:Lancers; Ladies on horseback: Prest. Young's, Prest. Kimball's and Lieut. Genl. Well's carriages; the Bands; Capt. Ellsworth's and McArthur's companies; Citizens in carriages and on horseback. The line of march was scarcely taken up, before it began to be met by men, women and children on foot, on horses, and in wagons, thronging out to see and welcome the first hand-cart companies and the numbers rapidly increased until the living tide lined and thronged South Temple street.
We have just one, further record of our Eleanor Vaughan. We need more research and luck or guidance to find out where she lived and where she died here in Utah. With no journal of her own, I'll let Ann Ham Hickenlooper speak for her on the arrival:
after about an Hours rest we rolled on again[.] late in the afternoon we came out of the mouth Emagraton [Emigration Canyon] on to the Bench in full view of the City[.] my Heart sank within me and I cryd out[,] O Lord where shall I find me a Home[,] for I felt that I was a stranger in a strange land.
Oh, Grandma Eleanor! We didn't know!

On 15 November 1856, Eleanor Jenkins Vaughan received her own endowment of priesthood power from on high in the Endowment House.

Do you know what the best part is? She spelled our name V-a-u-g-h-a-n.
*It was not unusual for the early Welsh converts not to remember their baptismal dates. In an 1849 Welsh Mormon Periodical, it states, "there is not one Saint in ten who knows when he was baptized, and when confirmed, and there are many who do not know who performed these ordinances for them." Zion's Trumpet, translated and edited by Ronald D. Dennis (Religious Studies Center, BYU, Provo, Utah, 2001) at 176. It went on to provide a system for better record-keeping.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments welcome, but are screened for propriety and relevance.