Hay view from Castle

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

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

True & Faithful? - More Springville Evidence

This is the sort of evidence that we've had for a while, but it takes a bit of sorting to figure out. We have also been checking against LDS Ward records in Salt Lake City as well as in Springville.

First of all, I haven't continued with the "Springville in Context" series because 1857 gets so depressing! Mountain Meadows wasn't the only horrible tragedy of that year (and I encourage everyone to read the book by LDS Church Historians, Massacre at Mountain Meadows.) Springville itself was home to the Parrish-Potter murders, another terrible story. There are some very good and reliable sources about that. I refer you to published articles by Polly Aird on Mormon apostasy and the murders in Springville and Ardis Parshall on another incident involving a letter of President Brigham Young and the general state of things that year. Ardis is a friend of mine and I trust her work. And she refers to Polly Aird favorably.

Then, because of the Utah War and the relocation of thousands of Mormons from Salt Lake County to Utah County in 1858, ward records are very confused for a few years. The Springville records seem to have gaps from 1857-1860. So there is a lack of church records in the very period in which Elinor Vaughan and Jane and John Lewis and son seem to disappear.

As part of the Mormon Reformation of 1856-1857, members were rebaptized. In those days, rebaptism was a more common occurrence as opposed to modern times when members are baptized only once (or maybe again after excommunication and repentance). Back then, there were rebaptisms upon entry into the Salt Lake Valley, reformations, health reasons, entering into the United Order, or establishing a new settlement. It also helped provide new records because many baptismal records were not well kept in the very early days of the restored church. The only evidence we have for Elinor Vaughan's 1841 baptism in Llanfoist is the missionary journal of John Needham.

Springville Ward records show Reformation baptisms in 1857. They are organized by the first letter of each surname, each letter beginning a new page (although they are not always in alphabetical order on any particular page). We find several Hulets including Charles. And under "L" we find rebaptisms for a John Lewis on 2 March 1857 and for a John S. Lewis on 29 March 1857. These dates are interestingly on either side of the 23 March 1857 sealing of Elinor to Charles Hulet of Springville. We have ruled out any other John Lewises or John S. Lewises who were in Utah at the time (John S. Lewis of Spanish Fork was too young. John R. Hulet, grandson of Charles and whose father was Sylvanus, was also too young having been born in 1851). Unfortunately, the March baptisms for these two Johns we found do not have any other information such as birth date, birth place, or parents as do most of the other baptisms.*

And then we realized that we had this:

1860 US Census for Springville, Utah
The names on top follow Charles Hulet from the preceding page. It appears that Mary Lawson Kirkman Hulet and children are listed as "Hulets." And there's a "Jno Hulet!" We think this is actually John Samuel Lewis, born 1848 in Wales ("England?" close enough). There are no other "John Hulets" in that family who could be a match. We still have not found any 1860 census reference to Elinor or her daughter Jane. There is a tantalizing "John Lewis" in a Mormon mining camp in 1860 California that we are checking to see if that is Jane's husband, the father of John Samuel Lewis 1848.

Our tentative conclusions are that if John Samuel Lewis was in the Hulet household in 1860 using the Hulet name at least for federal census purposes, then he was left there because of his grandmother's sealing connection to Charles Hulet. His grandmother Elinor and mother Jane simply don't appear anywhere and if he was motherless and grandmotherless, it is very likely he would be cared for by a good man like Charles Hulet who had a solid history of caring for widows and orphans. If his father had left for the gold fields, or anywhere else, he was not in a sufficient state of apostasy to be unwilling to leave his son in a polygamous Mormon household. The boy was twelve. Elinor and Jane are likely deceased by this time. John Samuel Lewis in the Hulet household is evidence that our people were faithful enough through even the trials of Springville in the late 1850s. And Elinor is likely buried there. Maybe Jane.

I am getting tired of doing the sky pieces in this jigsaw puzzle. I wish somebody would give me some colored edge pieces.

*There are no pages for T-V in the 1857 Springville Baptisms when there were clearly people whose names began with those letters living there at that time. So if Elinor was rebaptized as "Elinor Vaughan," that page is missing.
And this Correction: This is likely not our John Samuel Lewis. See the additional work on him found in Jacks Valley near Genoa now Nevada in the 1860 Census and the life story of Elinor Jenkins Vaughan where we put this all together.

1 comment:

  1. Another bottom line conclusion, if there had been any concern about the troubles in Utah and serious problems with the church, wouldn't Elinor or Jane or even John tried somehow to warn family members? Elinor's grandsons and families came to Utah 30 years later. There was continuing, undisturbed, opportunities for Faith somewhere. I don't believe family history is a series of accidents.


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