Hay view from Castle

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

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Probable (and Positive) Elinor Sighting

First, I need to lay out why I am convinced that Elinor Jenkins Vaughan, Jane Vaughan Lewis, and her son John Samuel Lewis ended up in Jacks Valley, Nevada. It was by following at least three of the "Five Jolly Welshman" to the gold and silver fields of the Sierras. John James, appearing to be one of the five, ended up in Genoa near modern-day Carson City, Nevada (back then it was still Utah).

So, naturally I looked at the 1860 Census for the area:

Please note that this is still Utah Territory, but more importantly, the date of the census was supposed to be "as of June 1" (see column no. 3), but this census was not taken until September 28th. This evidences the general governmental disarray in the area as we have previously discussed.

Now, look at the entries for the "Johns" Family:

"Bendigo" is a match for Abednego Jones converted in South Wales and very likely known to the Vaughans and the Lewises back in Wales. The change of spelling from "Jones" to "Johns" appears to have happened upon his move to Jacks Valley. "Abednego" nobody ever seems to get right. He emigrated from Wales in 1853.

Jane is a match in age and close enough to England to be Jane Vaughan Lewis, now inexplicably in the household of Abednego. But this couple follows through the censuses of 1862, 1870, 1875, 1880, and their recorded deaths in 1890 with three children along the way. For some reason, Jane changed her name to "Jeanette" by 1880. The RLDS records have the same person under both names with birth 1827 in Breconshire (we have a match!)

And the case gets stronger. John Lewis, age 15, appears to be John Samuel Lewis, son of John and Jane Vaughan Lewis, born July 1847 in Llanfoist, with his age two years off. So, forget that possible "John Hulet" age 12 on the Springville census. This is a better fit. He is still in the Johns household in 1880, single, as a son - but only to "Jeanette" as our story matches up.

John Evans appears to be a brother or some other relative of Abednego's first wife, Mary Evans, who died in 1860 in Jacks Valley. I haven't tracked all the Evanses down yet but check out the John Evans on the S. Curling in 1856 (John and Jane Lewis's voyage) and Evans Family with the Hunt Wagon Company, 1856.

Harriett Maria is a daughter of Abednego and Mary.

Which brings us to "Ellen" age 74. Age 74? That's pretty old for the east slope of the Sierras in those early pioneer days. In fact, she is the oldest woman in Jacks Valley, Carson Valley, Eagle Valley, and Genoa in the 1860 census. There are two females aged 48 in Jacks Valley and two in Carson Valley at 56 and 59 (which I don't think are old at all). With all the other connections, even with the misspellings that sort of help in their own way, I believe this is our Elinor Jenkins Vaughan. Whatever happened between John and Jane Lewis (and both divorce and marriage were done informally in the Carson Valley at that time with no clear government or church authority), Jane would not likely have left her mother.

With all that background, let's get to our clue.

On my numerous internet searches, I was seeing references to autobiographies of early Nevada Pioneers collected by the historian, Hubert Howe Bancroft in 1883 and 1884. Fearing I would have to run away for another adventure to the library in Berkeley, I lucked out finding the biographies online from the Nevada State Historical Papers compiled for the Silver State's Golden Anniversary. I guess we just had the Nevada Sesquicentennial missing such festivities as this from the 1914 celebration:

We're pretty sure that Elinor does not appear in these photos.
I should apologize for that serious digression, but the Eulalie Mackechnie Shinn in me just couldn't resist.

Back to business. There are two of these histories that directly reference the "Mormons" in Jacks Valley in the 1860s. The first is from Judge William M. Cradlebaugh, brother to John Cradlebaugh who was on the other side of the Great Basin holding court (look him up in Utah History!). William's statement is:
When I first came to the State [1861] there was some mining Gold Canyon now Gold Hill and Silver City. There was but little land under fence. The mormons were the early settlers of this whole region and were recalled by Brigham Young in 1857 or 8. They were so anxious to obey the call that they sold their property very cheap and in some instances where they could not sell gave it away. Of course some Mormons known as Josephites remained in the vallies and their descendants are now here. They are chiefly confined to Jacks Valley but some are in pleasant. . . . I never came much in contact with the Mormons. What little I had to do with them I found them very fair people quite clanish of course. They were anxious to trade with us at the time. State of society in Salt Lake in 1852 [sic] crude. Tea coffee and all kinds of provisions not raised in Utah were scarce. And while the mormons were not very ready to pay in coin, as that was scarce with them, they were very anxious to trade us anything they had for these articles. Everything such as tea coffee sugar etc was very high.
There's the tea and sugar scarcity again! But that's not the statement that got me. This is from H. Van Sickles who in the statement entitled "Utah Desperadoes" has this positive note with regard to the Mormons:
In 1854 or 5 the Mormons came in goodly numbers and settled, up Jacks Carson Eagle and Washoe Valleys, and remained until 1857 or 8 when they were called back by Brigham Young, and in their haste to respond to this call, they sacrificed their property. Of course there were many who did not respond to the call, and are still here in the vallies, but they are still striving to get to Salt Lake looking upon that place as the promised land where they seem to desire to lay their bones. Once an old lady said to me that should she be able to have her bones laid in Utah she would be happy. While here in the vallies they were a hard working and prosperous people. They never litigate on any subject but settle all matters in an amicable manner and to this one idea can be attributed much of their success in life, so far as my observation goes.
My reasons for making these statements are that when I first settled here I settled as a general trader and was for some time brought in close contact with them and I learned much of their general character and habits. I always found their word to be as good as their bond.
The emphasized line, in consideration of the ages of the other few women in the area, makes it highly probable that the "old lady" is Elinor. She is, again, the oldest. She is likely to be the only one even considered as old at that time.

Because no one matching Elinor (or "Ellen") shows up on the 1862 Nevada Territorial Census, she must have died by then. Her bones most likely lie in an unmarked grave in Jacks Valley. If her burial was before March 2, 1861 when Nevada Territory was established, then it was still in Utah. If not, she was at least still among her people.

And she was faithful to the end.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments welcome, but are screened for propriety and relevance.