Thomas Rowell Leavitt

Spouse: Antoinette Davenport

  • Born June 30, 1834 at Compton, Quebec, Canada
  • Baptized on
  • Married on March 6, 1861
  • Died May 21, 1891 at Cardston, Alberta, Canada
  • Arrived in the Salt Lake Valley 1850 with Captain Milo Andrus in charge (age 16)

(Taken from The Life of Thomas Rowell Leavitt and His Descendants by Emma Leavitt Broadbent)

Thomas Rowell Leavitt

1834- 1891

Leavitt history dates back to William of Normandy who conquered the Saxons in 1066 bringing with him from France one Richard Lovett. Somewhere between this time (1066) and 1500 it is believed the name was changed to Levett. Sometime later, around 1600, records show it was changed to the present spelling of Leavitt.

After some five centuries of English history Richard Lovett's descendants numbered among them four brothers: John, Josiah, Thomas and William. They came to America in approximately 1628. One of the brothers, Thomas, along with his entire family was wiped out by Indians. The others prospered and spread over the land.

It is from John, known as Deacon John, that Thomas Rowell I (our grandfather) has his descent:

  1. John, born 1608, married Mary Lovit; 2, Sarah Gilman.
  2. Moses, his son, b. 1650, married Dorothy Dudley.
  3. Joseph. his son, b. 1699, married Mary Wadley.
  4. Nathaniel, his son, b. 1729, married Lydia Sanborn.
  5. Jeremiah, his son, b. 10 July, 1760, married Sarah Shannon.
  6. Jeremiah, his son, b. 30 May, 1797, married Sarah Sturdevant.
  7. Thomas Rowell, his son, b. 30 June, 1834, married 1. Ann Eliza Jenkins; 2 Antionette Davenport; 3. Harriet Martha Dowdle

Jeremiah, the son of Nathaniel, was born at Exeter, New Hampshire. He married Sarah Shannon, born about 1765 at Exeter, New Hampshire; she was of Irish descent. She was the first of the Leavitt family to be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as Mormons. They were the parents of ten children whose families have spread all over the west and into Canada. Most of them are active members of the church. We know very little about our Grandmother Sarah Shannon's people.

Jeremiah, son of Jeremiah I and Sarah Shannon, was born 30 May, 1797 at Grantham, New Hampshire. He married Sarah Sturdevant March, 1817. She was born at Caldonia Co., New Hampshire 3 Sept., 1798. Immediately after their marriage they moved to Hatley, Quebec, Canada, fifteen miles from the Vermont border, where the soil was rich and deep and timber plentiful. Here they would build a permanent home and rear their family. This was quite a challenge for the eighteen-year-old bride to leave her family and friends and make her

home among strange people. She had been brought up in a strict, Puritan home where family prayer and Bible reading were a daily custom and the Sabbath day observed to the very letter. Hatley was little more than a boisterous camp, drinking, swearing, with no regard for the Sabbath day or anything religious. The story of Hatley, Quebec, was written by Abe Paquin, who lived in 1791-1849. As far as is known the only inhabitants of this section were the Indians. Beginning in 1792 he tells of attacks and plundering of the blood-thirsty Iroquois around 1796. It is known that an Indian village composed of Sokokies, Mohican and Algonquin tribes once stood near the present site of Hatley, Quebec. Abe Paquin, writing of this massacre over one hundred years later, thinks of the location of this nameless village as on, or near, the present village of Hatley which was a thriving town at that time.

In 1795 this section was surveyed and divided into lots and ranges and the surveyors gave it the name of Hatley, after a town in England. All those who had squatted on the land were obliged to leave their homes or buy them. As late as 1863 land was advertized for 5s-6d which would be less than 60 cents per acre.

We can understand why this young couple came to Hatley, Canada: his parents were there, land was cheap and they could take up homesteads. Their first task was to clear the land and build a log house. There was no sale for lumber, everyone had more than they could use. After his firewood was piled, the hardwood trees he felled were cut into short lengths and burned. The ashes were saved, carefully processed and the finished product sold as pearl ash, shipped to Montreal, then on to London where it was useful in products such as soda, soap and potash. Other saleable products were corn and potatoes. These could be planted with a shovel between the tree stumps. Potatoes were grown in abundance, used for food and to make potato whiskey which was in great demand by the settlers.

Education was a big problem. The first real schoolhouse was built near a government road in 1804. Children walked four miles through the woods following a blazed trail. Their only books were a Bible, reader and speller. Their lives could not have been easy. Terrible forest fires caused a lot of damage. The route of one of these fires came very close to a Leavitt schoolhouse. We presume Jeremiah's and Sarah Shannon's ten children and the oldest children of Jeremiah and Sarah Sturdevant, received some education in this school.

The early settlers were hard-working people, the Leavitts among them. They had little time for pleasure. When a hard task confronted them, friends and relatives came, men came to work, women to feed them. In the evening there would be a party, games, singing and dancing with a mouth organ or a violin for music. They depended on wild game and fish for meat for their table. Both were plentiful in this area.

This was the birthplace of our Grandfather Thomas Rowell Leavitt I. He was sixteen months old when they left Hatley and moved to the United States with the Mormon colony of emigrants led by Franklin Chamberlain who married Lydia, the oldest child in the family. This wagon train consisted of Mother Sarah Shannon, now a widow, her children and grand children, twenty-three souls in all. Her husband, Jeremiah I had passed away in 1806 at the age of 46 and he is buried in the Leavitt Cemetery at Hatley, Quebec, Canada. Now you ask why did they leave Canada? They had worked hard and struggled so long to become established in homes of their own. The country was becoming more settled and surveyed roads were being built. Why did they leave? To find the answer we will go to Hatley. They were religious people, but their children were going to different denominations, all teaching the Bible, all having a different interpretation to the scriptures. Grandmother Sarah Shannon was confused. She felt there should be one true religion teaching all the same religious principles. About this time the Mormon missionaries were sent to Eastern Canada. Many listened to them and were impressed with the Joseph Smith story. Among them the Leavitt families. Mother Sarah Shannon felt this was the very thing she had been searching for. Her son Jeremiah and his wife Sarah Sturdevant accepted all of the Mormon literature that they could find. They compared it with the scriptures and were soon converted. Grandmother Sturdevant states in her journal it was the book Doctrine and Covenants that really converted them. They knew no man or set of men who could write such a book or even dare try to write such a book. It had to be revelation from God. Their next move was to prepare to leave Canada and join the Saints in Kirtland, Ohio. They left 20 July, 1835 and arrived at Kirtland in September. It was here they met the prophet Joseph Smith whom they had read so much about. The weather had been hot and the road rough all the way, with hills to climb and rivers to cross. They had to find work before they could go on. They could go no farther. The second journey was to take them five hundred miles to Twelve Mile Grove near Nauvoo where the rest of the company had settled. When they camped near Lake Michigan, they were forced to stop again. Grandfather Jeremiah II had to find work.

Here they found three orphan children left among strangers. They were children of Nathaniel, Jeremiah's brother. Nathaniel had died and was buried here. The children’s mother had died and Nathaniel had married a second wife. At the death of Nathaniel, she went back to Canada and left the children. Jeremiah took them along, making eleven children in his wagon. Again the road was bad. At one place they had to cross a five-mile bridge over a swamp. This was made of poles with no dirt covering. It nearly jostled them to pieces.

They arrived at the Twelve Mile Grove to find their friends and family sick and discouraged. Mother Shannon had passed away of hardship and exposure. Many of the company were ill. They had bought good farms, but there was so much malaria around that those who did not have it, moved around heartsick and discouraged. Some of them began to doubt the truth of the church which had cost them so much. Jeremiah and his wife brought new zeal, hope and courage to the group. The oldest sons went with their father to Joliette where he could get three dollars a day with his team working on a dam. The boys worked wherever they could get work. Mother Sarah took in washing. They went back in the spring and took a farm on shares where they raised a good crop. They had five milk cows so they could make butter and cheese. Then Jeremiah decided to use the labor of his sons on a farm of his own. He bought land out on the prairie and built a home there. There was every indication they would soon be well-to-do. Then misfortune came. Their mother had taken ill and they had lost their last cow. Jeremiah made enough rails to buy another cow, but there was so much malaria around that as soon as his wife was strong enough Jeremiah decided to sell out and move to Nauvoo. Most of their friends were going and they wanted to be with the main body of the Saints.

They started in November. When they arrived they bought a house three miles from the city and plowed and sowed the land into wheat. Before harvest they found irregularities had been found in the survey so they swapped again, bought a farm seven miles from the city by the big mound. This was in 1841. For six years the family had been on the move, living a few months or a year at a time wherever they could get work. Now at last they felt they would have a permanent home. They were seven miles from Nauvoo but they could drive to church and keep in touch with their people.

By now two more children were added to the family, Betsey Jane, born 12 May 1839 at Hancock, Illinois and Sarah Priscilla, the twelfth child born 8 May 1841 near Illinois. When we think of the pleasure a new baby brings into the home, we can remember Thomas, the baby, was the pride and joy in his father's family for five years. Now in 1841 he is seven years old with two baby sisters. Now he is old enough to wonder "Why can’t we have a home where we can stay all the time." It would be hard to explain to a seven-year-old "why" they were always moving from one place to another. Now he is old enough, to ask questions, feel the cold and sometimes the hunger, old enough to help gather wood, run errands, and help care for his little sisters. There was every promise that this would be a permanent home at the big mound. The farm was in a good location with a beautiful site for a fine home they planned to build on top of the mound. Sand and gravel were all hauled for the foundation. Things were going well until 1844 when mobbings began. Before this time the Leavitt families had always lived among people who were not of their faith and who had no sympathy for them, but never before had they witnessed such depredations as they watched from the big mound. Such fires and killings! They watched in horror and fear, for their own lives were in danger. Only once did the mobs threaten them. A group rode up to the fence and started toward the gate. Weir, a young giant of twenty-two faced them and said, "Tie up your horses and come on in fellers, come on in and have a drink." They were so surprised at this welcome that they followed him around the house to the cellar. He poured them a pitcher of wine, then lifting the barrel, drank from the bung hole. They saw his great strength, the cool fearlessness in his eyes; perhaps they noticed his brothers Lemuel, Dudley and Thomas, just boys, but boys with fight in them. They got on their horses and rode away.

In the spring of 1844 farm work went on just the same but they were always conscious of danger. When they drove into town they heard the mobs had taken the prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum, but they had been taken before. When word came of their martyrdom, they drove into town. They must find out. Crowds were gathered on the streets, gloom written on every face. With their prophet gone, what could they do? The next day their bodies lay in state. People thronged there for one last look at their beloved prophet, and his brother Hyrum. This experience was so indelibly stamped on their minds, it only helped to strengthen their testimony, increase their faith and give them courage to go on at any cost. The family were all present when a meeting was called, 8 Aug. 1844 when Brigham Young was chosen to take the prophet's place. The family started home downcast and troubled. The mobs were out to destroy and drive every Mormon out of the country. They drove to the home of their daughter Lydia They found other families already there. Armed and ready a rider called. One woman began to cry and begged her husband not to go. "If I had forty husband and that many sons, I would urge them all to go. I would go myself if I could," grandmother told her. It was evident they must leave the state if they wanted to live, either leave or renounce their religion. This they would never do. They would die first.

Now they were on the move again in search of a new home. Eighteen months after the martyrdom of the prophet the Mormons left Nauvoo. They had been ordered out of the state. President Young tried to get permission to stay until spring but was told to get out immediately. Some time in February the Leavitts left the farm and gathered with neighbors and friends in an old school house. The first night out their mother Sarah had a premonition that if they did not get out of there they would all be killed. It was the first time she had ever shown fear. Now when she suddenly became afraid, they listened to her and hurriedly piled all of their belongings into their covered wagons and set out for the Mississippi River, eight miles away. They arrived on the bank where many others had gathered and were crossing as fast as they could. Before morning this school house was burned to the ground. Not until they reached the other side could they feel safe. They arranged the wagons as close together as they could get them and built a fire in the center. During the night snow and high winds struck the camp. It was almost impossible to keep covers on wagons or beds. They had to stay here for two weeks until all the cattle and horses were across. The family had a trying time. They were not prepared with supplies or outfits to take them on a long journey. They had let the church use one wagon and team of oxen to haul church supplies. This meant they had one wagon and one team of oxen to pull it. It was loaded with their supplies and household necessities which meant the mother and her children must walk behind the wagon.

In April 1846 they reached Mt. Pisgah, one hundred and fifty miles west of Nauvoo. This was one of the stopping places or camps for the Saints. The father and the boys built a shelter for the family and planted some crops. They did not have provisions to last until harvest. Grandfather Jeremiah decided to take his oldest son Dudley, sixteen years old and go back to Bonepart. His son Jeremiah had married and was living at that place. They could live with them and work to get supplies then Jeremiah and his family would go back with them to Mt. Pisgah and they would go on and join the rest of the Saints. Weir and Lemuel had gone on ahead to Council Bluffs. This left Mother, Mary, Amelia. Betsey, Priscilla and Thomas, now twelve years old. Shortly after their father left. their mother became very sick with chills and fever. Their friends were good to them, bringing food and fuel, washing clothes, doing anything they could for she was a very sick woman, but soon the whole camp came down with this same sickness. Grandmother's journal states, "I was the first one to take sick, three hundred took sick and died after that and I was spared alive." The father back in Bonepart also took sick. They nursed him tenderly and did all that could be done for him but it soon became evident he could not get well. In his last hour and his last breath he sang, "Come let us anew our journey pursue, I have fought my way through, I have finished the work Thou dids't give me to do." He could not go on. To this day this has been the Leavitts' favorite hymn. The mother and her children waited for his return and were almost prostrate at the news of his death. Jeremiah and Dudley coming to bring the wagon, Weir and Lemuel coming from Council Bluffs with medicine and food, now for a short time she had all of her sons with her again. This was the last time they were all together. Their father, Jeremiah II, passed away 20 Aug. 1846. Lydia, who had married William Snow died in November 1847 three of her family to succumb from hardship and exposure in one year. As soon as the boys had all gathered together, they decided to take their mother and family and move to Council Bluffs where Weir and Lemuel had some crops planted. They arrived in November. They had no house so they had to camp out until they could build a house at Trade Point on the Missouri River. This was the place where the steamboats landed. Their mother took sick again. The boys made her a shelter of hay in which she lived until the house was ready. When she regained her health and strength she did fine sewing and took in boarders and washing. The boys found work, all bent their effort toward getting an outfit ready to cross the plains. The Chamberlain Company had split up, Lemuel and Jeremiah went ahead with an earlier company but still the mother carried on. This left Dudley and Thomas and four daughters, Mary, Amelia, Betsey and Priscilla.

They lived at Trade Point for three year. She states, "If I were to write all that went on in this wicked place, I could not write it." There was as bogus press found here, and a man drowned in the river while his companions stood on the bank and watched. Not one of them tried to save him. Thomas told them to give him a horse and he would go into the stream and save him, but they would not let one of their precious horses go into such a dangerous stream. Merchant Benday cursed them as they stood on the bank. "There was thirteen year-old Thomas Leavitt who would have gone, and he would have saved him too, but oh no! you would not let him, shame, shame." Mr. Benday was a great friend of Thomas. He gave him presents. His good character and bravery made him many friends.

By now they had secured two yoke of oxen, a large prairie schooner, four cows, a good supply of flour and provisions. Now they could go on to Zion.

It is the year 1850 and Thomas is sixteen years old. Here we will make a short sketch of his life thus far. Leaving Hatley, Quebec, as a baby; then at the age of seven years they had arrived at the big mound; at the age of ten he was old enough to know that they did not travel on the Sabbath day; old enough to take part in family prayer and to remember the sad parting of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hareem; he was old enough to know that children had difficulty at school because they were Mormons; he was old enough to understand and watch homes burning and hear the sound of horses' hooves as the mobs set fires in Nauvoo. He was just a boy but stood with his head held high. Then at the age of twelve years he is at Mt. Pisgah. We honor our Boy Scouts at the age of twelve years; they have their Scout uniforms, go to scout camps, scout hikes, scouting is organized in almost every country in the world, most activities well supervised. What about Thomas Rowell Leavitt, our Grandfather at the age of twelve years in 1846? Oh yes! He was a Boy Scout in every sense of the word; wading swamps and rivers, climbing hills, walking behind the wagon with his mother and her children, helping his two little sisters, not knowing how far or if they would ever find a place of peace and rest, his sorrow and heartache as he watched the wagon drawn up to the door bringing the body of his father from Bonepart. Where could our grandmother find the strength and courage to go on. Surely William Clayton was inspired to write, "Come, Come Ye Satins."

Come, Come ye saints,

No toil nor labor fear.

But with joy, wend your way.

Though hard to you, this journey may appear.

Grace shall be as your day.

‘Tis better far, for us to strive

Our useless cares from us to drive.

Do this and joy, your hearts will swell,

All is well, all is well.

Why should we mourn, or think our lot is hard.

‘Tis not so, all is right.

Why should we think to earn a great reward,

If we now, shun the fight.

Girt up your loins, fresh courage take,

Our God will never us forsake.

And soon we’ll have this truth to tell,

All is well, All is well.

And should we die, before our journey’s though,

Happy day, all is well.

We then are free, from toil and sorrow too.

With the just, we shall dwell.

But if your lives are spared again.

To see the Saints their rest obtain.

Oh! How we’ll make this chorus swell,

All is well, all is well.

They lived by this kind of faith, and taught their children to have courage through this kind of faith. Now the year 1850--the peak year for the California gold rush, also the Mormon exodus across the plains. The total emigration for the year was fifty-five thousand, five thousand of whom were Mormons en route to Utah. The Mormons crossed the Mississippi River 1 June 1850 with Captain Milo Andrus in charge. It made its real start across the plains 3 June 1850. It consisted of 51 wagons and 206 persons. From here on the Leavitt family had quite an uneventful trip. Dudley and Mary Amelia cared for the team and wagon, Mother looked after the cooking and camp arrangements. Thomas gathered wood, carried water and chored around generally looking after the little girls, Betsey, now eleven, Priscilla, nine. They played with other children at camp time, gathered pretty rocks and flowers along the way. On the whole they had a good trip. This was remarkable as cholera ranged along the way that season. 21st June reported, "Cholera still bad. Most wagons have lost some. One correspondent thinks over 250 died in the last fifteen days." But the remarkable thing is the Mormon Company should escape.

The sun was high when they pulled out of a canyon around a curve and out into the open. Captain Andrus directed the teams to stop so they could get a good view of their future home. They would rest here and feed their teams before going on. They could see the Great Salt Lake glistening in the sunshine, brown earth freshly plowed, green and yellow fields outlined with cottonwood trees for fencing. They watched their mother wipe tears from her eyes, her lips moved in silent prayer of thanksgiving. The little tomboys Betsey and Priscilla climbed on the wagon wheel and waved their sun bonnets, "Hurray for Zion! Hurray for Zion!" they shouted.

It was about five o’clock when they passed down the streets of Salt Lake City, then a town of about five thousand people. People came out to wave them greetings. The trees along the open ditches were large enough for some shade, flowers were in bloom in the yards, corn stood ready to tassel, beans were climbing along the poles in the gardens. Surely this was a Zion, indeed a haven for the weary travelers. They pulled into Union Square just before sunset.

Captain Andrus, now on horseback directed the last wagon in place, then lifted his hand for attention and said, "Brothers and sisters. We have been blessed. We have come to the end of our journey in safety. When we separate, it will be up to each one of you to locate according to your own judgment, Let us unite in thanksgiving to God who brought us here in safety." People gathered in the streets.

A tall, young man with a smile on his face worked his way through the crowd and came toward the wagon. No one noticed until Priscilla called, "Mother, there’s Lem. There’s Lem, Mother!" What a happy reunion. Lemuel had married Melvina Thompson and they had a place ready for them at Dual settlement. This was truly a homecoming, especially for the weary mother. Later that winter Mary Amelia married William Hamblin. This left Dudley, Thomas, Betsey and Priscilla. They stayed at the Dual settlement until spring and then moved to Tooele. The lived quite comfortably in a two room log house with home-made furniture. Although they worked hard they had their good times as well. Dudley and Thomas learned to dance. House parties and other church gatherings were great fun. They lived here for three years.

It looked as though they would become quite prosperous until the Indians became troublesome. They would sneak down at night and steal anything they could get their hands on or drive away. It became so annoying and dangerous the church authorities decided to withdraw the Saints from Tooele. About this time a call came to help settle the Dixie country as it was then called. In 1854 Jacob Hamblin was chosen President of the first Indian mission and to help colonize a Mormon settlement at Santa Clara, Utah. The following year those who were called moved their families to Santa Clara. Dudley had married and was called to take his family in 1857. He took his mother, Sarah Sturdevant Leavitt and Prisciila with him. Jeremiah and Lemuel also left with their families in 1857.

Now you will ask about Thomas. On the 30 June 1857 he was twenty-three years old, a young man of medium height, dark hair and eyes. He was a well-built man with a strong, healthy body and mind. Although he had a quiet disposition, he made friends easily as he had a wonderful sense of humor. He was a good clean sport and had courage to stand for what he knew was right. Having pioneered he became courageous and fearless. He worked with his brother-in-law William Hamblin. Much of his time was spent directing scouting parties or traveling back and forth, as he had a mother in the south. On several of these scouting trips he had many encounters with the Indians. His bravery won their admiration and he learned to speak their language well.

He had been in Utah seven years when he met the girl of his dreams, Ann Eliza Jenkins. She was born 23 April 1841 at Nauvoo, Hancock County, Il.. She was as beautiful young lady with a beautiful voice and a sharp sense of humor. They were married 1 March 1857. He built the first house in Wellsville, Cache Valley, Utah, for his young bride. The following year before their first child was born they had their first real encounter with the Indians. Betsey, Thomas' sister, tells her own story:

"The morning had been chilly and clear with a stiff breeze blowing off the snow-capped mountains. Gleaming in the distance seven new log cabins stood proudly in a clearing near the point of a hill. Around the hill a rough trail wound its way. which had its beginning at Salt Lake City. Seven pioneer families had come with all they possessed to spend the spring and summer making butter and cheese. This was a profitable business. Instead of hauling their products regularly into Salt Lake City, they were assured a steady market and a good price from emigrant trains en route to California gold fields which eagerly bought up all the dairy and farm products they could supply. This was the beginning of Wellsville, Cache Valley, Utah. Salt Lake City was fast becoming an oasis in a desert to these weary travelers.

The cabin farthest from the point of the hill belonged to Betsey and William Hamblin and the one beside it belonged to her brother Thomas Rowell Leavitt and his wife Ann Eliza Jenkins. Betsey had come to live here while her husband William Hamblin was on a business trip to California. She came alone with her two children Billy, two-an-a half years and Jane, only two months. She brought a few milk cows, also her two white oxen which had drawn her wagon from Salt Lake City.

"On the morning our story begins Betsey and Ann were washing in Betsey's cabin when Thomas, having nothing more to do, sat on the hearth making bullets for their guns. Beside him lay a powder horn and bullet mold. On the glowing coals he held a frying pan in which a large bar of lead was slowly melting. It was now near noon and Betsey decided to build up a fire in the huge fireplace and prepare dinner. Needing wood and not wanting to disturb Thomas she ran to the wood pile a short distance from the house. As she bent to pick up the wood her ear caught the sound of horses' hooves. Her heart pounding in sudden fear, she glanced toward the trail just as the first of a band of Indians appeared around the point of the hill. Filled with the pioneers' dread of the Redskins She snatched the two keen-bladed axes and raced for the house. "Indians" she screamed. "Lots of them," By this time the Indians had been seen by the settlers. Ann had been sitting on the bed resting and thinking as she held baby Jane. It would not be long, only a few short months before she would be holding her own child in her arms. A glow spread over her sweet face and she smiled to herself happy anticipation.

Startled, she looked- up. She caught that one word "Indians". All the color drained from her face and her dark eyes reflected the horror of this word as no other instilled in her. "Dear Lord have mercy upon us," she cried, and fell in a dead faint. the baby slipping from her arms to the bed. Thomas sprang to her side and took her gently in his arms. Meanwhile Betsey snatched BiIly off the floor and placed him beside the baby on the bed saying, "Thomas, put Ann beside the children. Then help me move the bed into the corner so that the foot will be behind the door. Now I am going to prop the door wide open and you talk to them. If they are the Ute tribe you can talk to them if they give you a chance and I'll keep running bullets. We might need all we can make. So saying, Betsey quickly busied herself at the fire. She took a long thin pole sharpened at one end and stirred the fire. Then picking up the pan which held the lead Thomas had started to melt, she sat down on the hearth and went to work.

At almost the same instant Betsey had sighted the Indians, others had also seen them. Amid cries from women and children and hoarse shouts from the men, all rushed to their cabins. Doors were shut and bolted and guns snatched from brackets over the beds. Now grim-faced men watched the approach of the band through the cabin portholes.

Strange to say the Indians did not stop when they reached the first cabins, but silent, grim and forbidding, as their chief who led them, they filed past, not stopping until they reached Betsey's cabin where they quickly formed a semicircle. They quickly dismounted, securely holding their horses by the lariats which were tied around the horses' necks. Their bows and arrows were held in the other hand. The chief took his place in the center facing the white man Thomas, standing in the door. The picture they formed as they crowded their horses together was one to chill the heart of a much older and harder man than Thomas who was only twenty-three. There must have been a hundred savages, their bodies, save for a loin cloth, were naked and painted, their hair had been plastered with mud and feathers were stuck in the back, but the most horrible picture of all was the scalps dangling from their waists. Beautiful brown tresses of some unfortunate girl and long, grey hair of some elderly lady, were reminders of recent savage brutality.

It seemed to Thomas he lived a lifetime when waited for silence among the Indians. When the last horse was quieted he stepped into the circle and called a greeting to the chief. A grunt was the only answer as the chief glowered at him, hate and lust to kill in his black eyes. Thomas went bravely on with his speech. Speaking slowly and weighing ever word carefully, "We are peaceful people. We have never harmed you or your people. We ask you not to harm us." "Ugh," grunted the chief. "White men liars. We kill all white men. My braves want blood revenge for brothers killed." In his hand he held a long thin pole sharpened to a point at one end, not unlike Betsey's poker. Now he raised his hand and threw it to the ground with such force it stood; upright, buried in the earth deep enough to hold the rest of its weight. Immediately scores of arrows from his warriors encircled it. His brain; working with lightning rapidity, Thomas slipped quickly back into the cabin. Going up to Betsey he said "Do you know what that means?" Betsey answered, "Yes, I know, but Thomas we will not give up here."

Laying his hand on her shoulder he said, "That kind of courage always wins the day." He seized the poker from beside the fireplace, then standing in the doorway he raised to his toes and threw it with all his strength close beside the chiefs spear. The makeshift spear stood just as proudly as the Indian chiefs in the circle of arrows. A surprised grunt came from the chief and he eyed Thomas with his hostile eyes. The white man walked boldly to where the chief stood beside his horse. Immediately the silence was broken as the savages, keeping time with their moccasined feet, started a low weird chanting of their war song. Thomas joined his voice with those of the warriors, singing as he had never sung before in his whole life. After the song ended each warrior, placing his hand over his mouth, gave I blood curdling war whoop. The chief, laying his hand over Thomas' heart said, "White man brave, white man not afraid."

Thomas spoke again, "My sister and I and the other people in their cabins do not want to die, we want to live and be friends to the red man. Do you want to die? Do you love your warriors?" At once the chief swept the circle with his hand and then placed his hand over his heart. "Yes, I love them very much. They are all brothers to me." Thomas took advantage of this. "We may die, but some of your warriors that you say you love will die also—maybe even you, their chief will die first, for inside every cabin are white men with guns watching you through little holes in the wall. lf you start to kill us they will kill many of you with the guns that are all loaded and pointed at you right now,."

At this point the Indians began their war chant again. To Thomas it seemed to hammer at his brain and the whole thing seemed like a horrible nightmare closing in on him. The stench from the Indians' bodies, the horses and scalps made him deathly sick. With an effort he pulled himself together. He stepped back into the house and went quickly to Betsey's side. "Betsey," he said in a steady voice, "the chief says we are brave people and because we are so brave he will be good to us and those in their cabins if we will give them all of our cattle, food and clothing, they will let us go peaceful over the mountain to Salt Lake City."

As the full import of the proposition struck home to her, she jumped to her feet. standing straight and bravely before him she said, with deep feelings, "No, Thomas, no. We will not do that. It would only mean death in the end, if not from cold then from starvation. We could not hope to get over the mountain. There is still snow in the pass. We will die fighting first."

"You are right." said Thomas. "I'll go and see what the others say. The chief has granted me permission to talk to them." He was back in a few minutes. "Most of them say accept the terms. They say maybe they will take everything."

"Thomas," said Betsey thoughtfully, "if the Lord has made these Indians merciful enough to suggest terms at all when they can take everything by killing us and the price would be just a few warriors, then I feel He is opening the way to spare our lives. Go tell them they can have the two white oxen and that is all. Tell the chief I have my gun aimed at his heart and he will be the first to die, but tell him this as a last resort."

Again Thomas stepped out into the semi-circle. He strode up to where the chief stood waiting, stopping only a few feet from him. He drew himself up and looking the chief full in the face he spoke swiftly in the Indian dialect. "My sister and I cannot accept your terms because we would all die anyway. We could not get through the deep snow in the mountain pass, with no covering for our bodies, for we are not tough like your warriors. My brave sister says for you to take the two white oxen because they are the best we have and are fit even for an Indian chief. Take these and go in peace."

Thomas held his breath while the chief gave him a grim solid look. Suddenly the chief seized Thomas in his strong, brawny arms. He hugged him as though he could not restrain his admiration for this white man's bravery. Betsey, watching from the cabin, almost fainted. She thought surely her brother was being killed. Then she breathed again as she saw the chief release Thomas. This broke the silence. "White man and squaw talk brave, very brave. We no kill. Take oxen and go."

Soon after this experience and still before their first child was born, Thomas and his brother-in-law, William Hamblin, who had returned from California, received a call to help colonize Santa Clara River settlement and do missionary work among the Indians. How hard it must have been to accept such a call right now and leave his young wife. What a terrifying experience this would be for her, knowing these same Indians were not far away. She was among friends and men holding the priesthood which helped to give her courage and strength to carry on until she could join Thomas at Santa Clara. William took his family, Betsey and their children and left for Santa Clara. Thomas left the first week in December 1857 and arrived in time to help build the first meeting house outside the fort, an adobe structure 16 by 24 feet. He and his brother-in-law William Hamblin were among the fifteen families who applied to President Young for permission to make this their permanent home. Ten families were living there permanently at this time. Thomas built a house intending to make this their home. He traveled back and forth to Wellsville until the baby, Ann Eliza was born 9 February 1858. When his wife was strong enough to travel they loaded all of their belongings into a covered wagon and again Thomas was the pioneer of Utah but now a young man with the responsibility of a wife and family of his own.

This pioneering experience was somewhat different as to climate. The portion of the desert they would have to travel can only be described in these words. Only the man on the ground traveling step by step fully knows the character of this county. If the trip was of a length he traveled in the winter months. If in the summer he traveled from mid-afternoon to mid-forenoon. Man can carry water but shelter from the blazing sun and sand he must have also. Even wildlife, by instinct have to learn self-preservation.

Before the Mormons arrived at St. George and Santa Clara in the late 1850's few white men had ever been there. It was suggested that the missionaries experiment with grapes and cotton. Jacob Hamblin planted the first cotton—both grapes and cotton as well as other fruit trees grew very successfully. After the cotton was picked and cleaned, it was spun and woven by the wives, most of them young girls in their teens. This work was supervised by Sarah Sturdevant as she was an experienced weaver. Samples of the woven cloth were sent to Salt Lake City.

Water was always the first consideration for new Mormon settlements. Two of the sites chosen were St, George near the Virgin River, and Santa Clara near the Santa Clara River. When Thomas and his wife, Ann Eliza and baby arrived at Santa Clara the Leavitt family was complete: Mother Sarah Sturdevant Leavitt, her sons Jerenmiah, Lemuel, Dudley and Thomas and families her sons-in-law William Hamblin who had married Besey and Mary Amelia, and Jacob Hamblin who had named Priscilla, the youngest member of the family. How happy she must have been to have all of her children and grandchildren with her once more and to know they held the priesthood and were called to carry the same message of truth the missionaries had brought to them twenty-two years before in Hatleg, Quebec, Canada.

The Indians at Muddy Valley and Las Vegas had progressed so well Jacob Hamblin decided to withdraw from them for the time being and work among the Mosquis and Navajo tribes. A conference was held at Santa Clara to decide on policies to pursue among these Indians. Twelve missionaries were chosen.- Among the twelve were William Hamblin, Jacob Hamblin's brother, Dudley and Thomas Leavitt and a Paiute guide, Naraguts.

It was the last of September when they set out on foot over rocky, unexplored territory. Most all of their missionary travels were on foot. The Indian mission was dangerous and full of hardships. The Indians as a whole hated the white man, but these missionaries could speak their language and their courage and bravery won their respect. They made many friends among them, but there was always the unfriendly ones who tried to harm them. It was no easy task to live among them and try to teach them a better way of life. They suffered from exposure, fear and near starvation. They knew their lives had been spared on many occasions. Their mission was not completed until they took the gospel message to these Lamanite people.

Along with the Indian mission, helping to build new Mormon settlements was their responsibility. There were homes, churches and schools to build; bridges and irrigation canals and ditches to dig; fruit trees, cotton, crops and gardens to plant. This took a lot of hard work. Thomas still owned his property in Wellsvllle, Cache Valley, Utah. They traveled to Wellsville occasionally.

Four years after he married Ann Eliza Jenkins, he married a second wife, Antionette Davenport. She was born 2 Sept. 1843 at Hancock, McDonnough County, Illinois. They were married at the endowment house at Salt Lake City by Pres. Brigham Young 9 March, 1861. She was as beautiful young lady, tall and graceful with dark hair and eyes that sparkled. She loved life and people and especially her religion. She understood the principles of plural marriage practiced in the church at that time. The first wife had to give her consent before this marriage could take place.

After four years in Santa Clara the climate did not agree with Ann Eliza's health. Two more children were born in Santa Clara, Utah. Martha Ellen, 30 Aug. 1860 and Thomas Rowell II, 10 Dec. 1862, Their life in Sant Clara had been hard. Housing and living conditions lacked much in the way of comfort. Carrying water and wood for fuel were no easy tasks. These wives worked hard and lived in constant fear when their husbands would be away among some Indians for months at a time. After Ann Eliza's previous experience with the Indians, one she could never forget when she was just a young bride, no wonder her health was failing, but no matter where they went, they observed the Sabbath day and were active church members, and lived the principles of the gospel.

Thomas was released from his mission when they could see Ann Elisa’s health failing. so they returned to Wellsville.

Thomas taught all of his children obedience and to honor their mother and church authorities no matter where they lived. They loved their religion and were guided by its teaching. But the mothers were the teachers of these principles in the home as their father was away most of the time. Grandfather Thomas R. Leavitt's life had been one adventure after another.

He was sheriff in Wellsville for a number of years. On one occasion while serving in this capacity, a celebration was being held in Wellsville. A man who had been in the Federal Army, put on his Confederate suit with his sword on his side, and proceeded to frighten many people at the celebration. Thomas was notified, he approached the man and said, "You'd better give me that sword, I’m going to have to arrest you and take you in for the trouble you've been causing." Whereupon the man drew his sword on Thomas, ready to fight. Thomas shot one of his fingers on the hand he was using to hold the sword. He dropped the sword. Thomas then took the subdued soldier to jail.

Now he had returned to Wellsville you might ask what was there about Wellsville that appealed to him? If you have ever been to Wellsville think what it would look like before it was settled. You would see a beautiful green valley with mountains and foothill in the background. No wonder he chose Wellsville to build his future home. For seven years after they arrived in Utah, he had worked, moved from one place to another, always with one thought in mind—some day he would build a home where he could make a living and live in peace and raise a happy family. This was the first important decision he had ever made. Wellsville became so much a part of him it was always calling him back. After his return from Santa Clara, Utah, he built a large one-room log house on his fifty-five acre irrigated farm five miles from Wellsville. In later years, the house was remodeled and the logs weather boarded. Two apartments were built exactly alike, a large living room, and one bedroom downstairs and bedrooms upstairs. Ann Elisa and her family lived in one apartment and Antoinette and her family lived in the other one. After this house was completed Antionette moved from her home in Wellsville. While Antionette lived in Wellsville, Thomas bought her a four-lidded cookstove. All the neighbors came to see it. She had plenty of work and hard times all of her life. Like most pioneer mothers life was hard, especially as her husband could not be at home while their children were young. Most of their children were born on the farm. About this time persecution was rife against all polygamist families In Utah.

Ann Eliza was the mother of twelve living children, all of them born at home.

  1. Ann Eliza—born 9 Feb 1858, Wellsville, married Samuel Baker--8 Sept 1876.
  2. Martha Ellen--born 1860, Santa Clara, Utah, married Andrew Archibald 27 Dec. 1877.
  3. Thomas Rowell--born 10 Dec. 1862, Santa Clara, Utah, married Mary Alice Shaw 17 Nov 1866 .
  4. Mary Emerine--born 21 May 1865, at Wellsville, Cache Valley, married John Thomas Wilson 23 Nov 1882
  5. William—born 13 Dec. 1867 at Wellsville, Cache Valley, married Elizabeth Hill 15 Dec. 1887.
  6. Franklin Dewey — born 6 Apr. 1870 at Wellsville, Cache Valley, married Eliza Ruth Dowdle 26 Feb 1890 (2) Jane Stuart Gleen 16 Sept. 1903.
  7. Louisa—born 4 Nov. 1872 at Wellsville, Cache Valley, married Andrew Gregson 4 Nov 1891.
  8. Edward-- born (twin) 25 Sept. 1875 at Wellsville, Cache Valley married Ellen Jane Leishman 24 Nov. 1898.
  9. Edwin--born (twin) 25 Sep 1875 at Wellsville, Cache Valley married Julia Rebecca Pitcher 10 April 1901, (2) Ann Nanette Nelson, Oct. 23, 1905.
  10. Joseph--born 1877 or 1878, died as a child.
  11. Esther--born 29 June, 1880, died as a child.
  12. Sarah--born 21 June 1883, married Samuel Webster 2 Oct. 1901.

Antoinette gave her life at the birth of her 10th child. Following are her nine children.

  1. James Rowell--born 22 Oct. 1862 Wellsville, married Francetta Cantwell 21 Jan 1884.
  2. Julia Ann--born 5 Dec 1863, married John Wyatt 23 Nov. 1882.
  3. Sarah Almira--born 24 May 1866, Wellsville married John Ephrim Redford 20 May 1886.
  4. Alfred--born 26 June 1868. Wellsville married Mary Ann Hutchinson 10 Jan 1894.
  5. Jeremiah--born 17 Mar. 1870 at Wellsville, married Rhonda Harrod 20 June 1890.
  6. Betsey--born 12 Nov. 1871 at Wellsville, married John Wyatt 7 June 1890.
  7. Margaret--born 29 Oct. 1873 at Wellsville, married Jacob Workman 29 May 1889.
  8. Thomas Dudley--born 9 May 1876 at Wellsville married Dorcas Emmeline Leavitt 21 Feb 1903.
  9. John--born 16 July 1878 at Wellsville, married Ann Eliza Marsden 16 July, 1890.

When her tenth child was due, Antionette's husband Thomas was in hiding in the canyons south of Wellsville. He felt impressed that he was needed at home. He traveled on foot in the dead of the night. When he arrived home he found his beloved wife, Antionette dead, not being able to deliver her child. Dr. Armsley at Logan had been sent for but declined to come. His own child had the croup. When he came the next morning Grandfather met him at the door and ordered him off the place. He said, "My wife is dead. You would not come when we needed you and we don’t need you now."

Antionette was strict with her children but a wonderful mother, a staunch Latter-day Saint, a loving wife and neighbor. She died at the age of 37 years and is buried in the Wellsville cemetery. What a comfort Ann Elisa and Antionette had been to each other. They shared their joys and sorrows and lived in constant fear for the safety of their husband. When he could not be at home with them, Grandmother Ann Eliza told her friends, "I’m glad there is someone else who can love him just as much as I do." They shared and shared alike in times of sickness and health. They went to church with their little children. They sang beautifully together. But now what could they do This was a very sad time for the family and the whole community as well. It was almost more than Ann Eliza could bear. She had buried her own little child a few weeks before. Now with her own sorrow, she had to comfort nine sorrowing children and her heart-broken husband, their father. James Rowell was the oldest child, eighteen and little John just two years old. Joseph, Ann Eliza's son, the same age as John was born and died the same day.

At this time words or pen could never express their heartfelt sorrow. Ann Elisa now had the responsibility of helping care for nineteen living children. Her daughters Ann Eliza and Martha Ellen were married and moved away from Wellsville where they lived in small settlements close by. It was Grandmother Ann Eliza who kept the home fires burning, kept the home together so the family would have a home to come back to whenever they desired. The older boys worked away from home to help support the large family, some of them at the tender age of thirteen years. With one wife and one home Thomas still could not spend much time with his family. If he was seen in town someone passed the word along, "Tom Leavitt is in town." He would slip away a few hours or just a few minutes ahead of the sheriff. Once a polygamist, always a polygamist, was the cry and hatred of their persecutors.

Grandfather Leavitt's mother, Sarah Sturdevant Leavitt, had remained in the Dixie country, Southern Utah, with the other members of her family, Thomas being the only one to leave. She had endured many hardships in her long life of service and dedication to her family and church. Her last twenty years were perhaps the easiest, as her children were close by to care for her. She passed away at 80 years of age, on 5 April 1878. She was buried at Gunlock, Utah.

In Wellsville life went on much the same for three years. Antionette passed away in 1880 and in 1883 again the pattern of home life was to change. Grandfather Leavitt decided to marry a third wife, Harriet Martha Dowdle, born 21 Jan. 1862, Willard, Box Elder County, Utah. Ann Eliza had given her consent. They went to Salt Lake City and were married 26 June 1883. Immediately after, they returned to Wellsville and she lived in the apartment beside Ann Elisa and her family. She was raised in a home where religion was lived every day of the week, not just on Sunday. She was a religious person, a beautiful singer, tall and graceful. She had a pleasant personality and with her wit and good humor people loved to be around her. She understood the principle of plural marriage. She had been married before with one son born of this union. She knew life would not be easy.

Thomas Rowell's parents, Sarah Sturdevant and Jeremiah Leavitt had never lived polygamy but spent their lives in sustaining and living their religion to the very letter. Through the divine revelation to the prophet Joseph, polygamy became a sacred principle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. No matter what the cost, Thomas as well as many others felt it was his duty to take another wife. This called for a lot of readjustment to accept this new plan of home life again knowing that their father could not be home with them. They knew they would be more anxious than ever to have him thrown in jail. Harriet Martha loved life, with her wonderful personality, her love and kindness, she needed Ann Eliza’s courage and strength of character. Ann Eliza with her new baby, needed her. They soon learned to love each other dearly.

Aunt Hattie, as she was called by the family, gave birth to three children in this home. Orphan, born 22 Mar. 1884, Lydia, 20 Mar. 1886 died the same day, George Clark, 11 Jan. 1887 It was rumored that a move to Canada was anticipated. Thomas and his two wives talked and planned ahead. If this was true, what should they do? After much thought and earnest prayer they decided if that time ever came, Ann Eliza should stay on the farm to keep the large family together. Harriet Martha was young and could stand pioneer life. We might say Ann Eliza had been a pioneer all her life. Along with all the hardships she had encountered she was not a young woman any more. She knew well what lay ahead—Canada was 800 miles away.

In the summer of 1886, John Taylor, British born, came to Canada and lived in Ontario, Canada. Now President of the Church and living In Salt Lake City, he instructed Charles Ora Card to prepare to lead a colony of Saints into Canada where a large tract of land was open for homestead. Although Brother Card was president of the Cache Valley Stake, he planned to leave and move to Mexico. President Taylor told him he was sure he would get more consideration and better justice on British soil.

In September, 1886 he led a scouting party into Canada to find a new home for himself and his friends. They traveled northwest into British Columbia and then via Calgary, then finally to the foothills of the Alberta Rockies. Here they found tall, waving grass, ideal grazing and farm land, clear streams of running water from brooks to creeks to rivers and the hills were covered with beautiful wild flowers. They were greatly impressed and soon decided on a location near the banks of Lees Creek. Their next move was to return and report to President Taylor and prepare for the exodus to Canada.

On the 6th of April 1887 twelve families left Wellsville for Alberta, Canada. Among the families who shared these hardships in pioneering this new land was our Grandfather Thomas Rowell Leavitt I and his third wife Harriet Martha Dowdle and two small children, Orpha and George Clark, the latter only a few months old and Jeremiah and Margaret, children of the second wife. He brought cattle from the farm in Wellsville. Jeremiah, along with other young men rode horseback, driving livestock, using a blanket for a saddle. This was a large company. Some could travel faster than others so the company was split with Joannas Andersen head of this company. They arrived at Lees Creek 25 May 1887, eight days ahead of the main company. After an eight hundred-mile trek they drove their covered wagons and precious livestock into the snow covered valley.

For weeks they lived in their covered wagons and tents. The first thing was to prepare the ground and plant some crop and gardens. Also to find the shortest route to the mountains to get logs to build homes and shelter for their animals. One mile up Lees Creek they discovered an English chap who had squatted on land and built a cottonwood shack in 1885, Edward Neil Barker. He raised the first grain and garden in this area and gave President Card valuable hints from his experiences. Thomas Rowell Leavitt was called to lead this company to the mountains. Mr. Barker offered to go along as guide. They traveled west from Cardston. to the top of the ring of hills looking down into Buffalo Flats as it was then known (later given the name of Leavitt Ward in his honor). He topped and raised his hand for his companions to stop. In visionary longing and with much feeling, he said, "I would like all of my sons and daughters to establish homes of their own in this beautiful valley." Could it be he was thinking of another beautiful valley in Wellsville where he had spent many happy hours with his family. Most of them were still there.

Thomas was a good clean sport and played on some of the best baseball teams. As a wrestler he was seldom thrown. He was a pal to his children. It was in the hills and mountains where be became better acquainted with his sons, working in the timbers getting logs to build homes and shelters for their animals and wood for fuel. He was an expert with the broad ax, hunting and fishing and had taught his sons these same skills which became useful when food was scarce. Fish and wild game were plentiful. He also taught them to love nature and how to enjoy some of the good things in life. They never did have many luxuries but they had something money could never buy, an undying love for each other.

In time twenty of the twenty-two living children did come to Canada and take up homesteads in this area. Julia never did come to Canada to live. Betsey came for a brief time, they both married and settled in homes of their own in Wellsville.

After plowing and preparing the soil, planting crops, building fences to secure their animals and bringing logs down from the timber, each family began the task of house building on their chosen sites. These men were handy with tools, if not naturally then from necessity. Grandpa Leavitt was an expert builder, his home was being built west of the Card home. At this time his wife became ill, so the men combined their efforts to complete the Leavitt home. Thomas and Hattie moved into their new home on 12 Aug. 1887, this being the first home in Cardston; the Card home was finished next.

This home was still in use until 1958 when it was torn down. When they had to take it apart there wasn't a nail or peg in any of the logs--the corners were dove-tailed and fitted so perfectly people who watched marveled at the workmanship in building this home.

The first public building built in Cardston was a bowery, church and school as these Mormon emigrants were a religious people. To them religion was the meaning of life. Next to religion, education was important. On 5 June, 1887 the first church services were held. For people listened to one of their members John Layne (Aunt Martha Ellen's son-in-law) prophesy that a temple would be built here. Thirty-six years later this prophecy was fulfilled. Pres. Joseph F. Smith dedicated the ground in 1913. Pres. Heber J. Grant dedicated the temple in August, 1923.

Now to go on with my story. The first meeting house was started in December 1887, a log structure 20 x 20 feet. It was completed in January, 1888. The first organization was known as the Card Ward, later given the name of Cardston. Still attached to the Cache Valley Stake in Utah over which Charles Ora Card was still Stake President. The first Bishop, John A. Woolf, 1st counselor, Johannas Anderson, 2nd counselor, Thomas Rowell Leavitt. This position he still held at the time of his death.

Pioneering in Canada was quite a challenge, especially for young mothers with small children. Winters were cold, often registering forty below. All supplies had to be hauled from Lethbridge by freight team. There were no surveyed or graded roads or bridges, not even a fence post as a guide.

Many days were spent on the road. Often blinding blizzards would strike unexpectedly, In one of these fierce storms neither man nor beast was safe from being lost and frozen to death on the trackless prairies. Some became discouraged and returned to Utah.

In the Leavitt home two more children were born, Clarissa, 18 Dec. 1888, passed away the same day and John Amos, 1 Dec. 1889. Grandfather built a large one-room log house on his homestead one mile east of Cardston.

Think of the homes he had built, the logs hauled from the mountains. hewn down and dovetailed by hand ready to go into these homes, two in Wellsville and one on the farm, one in Santa Clara, Utah, one in Cardston and one on his homestead.

Now, we remember Ann Eliza, still on tho farm in Wellsville. Their oldest son Thomas Rowell had married Mary Alice Shaw. They moved into the apartment with his mother. He came to Canada with his father in 1887 to help him get settled, then returned to Wellsville to be with his mother and his wife, when their first child was born 11 Aug. 1887. Another daughter, Ann Eliza was born 5 April 1889.

After living in Canada for three years the pattern of home life was to change again. Grandfather wanted his sons to come to Canada and take homesteads where land was had for the asking. Harriet Martha along with many other pioneer mothers went through many hardships. She was a loving wife and mother. Her father and mother were still in Utah. She needed a change. Grandfather told his family and his wife Ann Eliza to prepare to leave Wellsville and come to Canada They were soon ready to join the next caravan heading for Canada in the spring of 1890. Grandfather and Harriet Martha with their three small children Orpha, George Clark and John Amos just a few months old, left Lethbridge by train. This train passed the wagon caravan headed for Canada close enough that they waved from the train window.

He soon returned to Canada and joined his family. Travel was slow. some of the young men drove horses and cattle and they had to feed along the way. They were seven weeks on the road. What a happy reunion with their family and friends. Ann Eliza and the children were once more united and living at home. Nine of the family were not married. Those who were married built homes in Cardston until the long-term lease was broken in 1893, when they could take up homesteads in Buffalo Flats (Leavitt), west of Cardston. Only two homesteads were taken west, William Blackmore and Horace Williams. This land would have been taken had it not been for this lease. It was known that large herds of buffalo had roamed the hill and this beautiful little valley was their bedding ground. There were signs left of Indian buffalo hunters. Broken arrows and flint arrowheads. were found along coulee banks and ravines.

Grandfather was always true to his family and his religion. As to his occupation, he was a builder first, a farmer next. How proud and happy he was to have his family here with him. He was looking forward to a peaceful happy future here in Canada. There was ever prospect that they would prosper and be happy. But this was not to be for long. In the spring of 1891 an epidemic of influenza (La Grippe as it was then called) swept through the country. This Mormon settlement did not escape. There were many very sick people. Whole families were stricken. In the Leavitt home Grandfather lay fighting for his life. They called the Elders to administer to him. The family nursed him tenderly. Everything that could be done for him was to no avail. He passed away 21 May 1891 at his home in Cardston.

This was a very sad time for the family and the whole community. Many of the settlers were afraid of the Indians, but Grandfather could speak their language and had many friends among them. The Indians went up and down the road and came to the house moaning and lamenting his death.

Grandmother lay in shock, tears just would not come. Through administration of the Elders she became conscious of her sorrowing children around her and the fact that they needed her strength and courage and her advice to help keep the family united. She had to carry on. She shed many tears and in time became active in the ward organizations. Grandfather passed away at the age of 57 years. She lived thirteen years before she passed away 19 May 1904 at the age of sixty-three years. They are buried side by side in the Cardston Cemetery.

Ha’p’orth Martha moved back to Cardston to be with the rest of the family. She was left a widow with three small children. Canadian homestead laws allowed a widow homestead right so she took a homestead in the Leavitt area where she lived in a two-room log house. Her children, Orpha, George and Amos, received their education in the Leavitt church and school. Years later she married Jabez Williams and three children were born to this union, Vernon D.., Marva and Ira. They received their education in the new two-room school in Leavitt.

Vernon (Shorty as he is known by his family and friends) will long be remembered for his humorous stump speeches and parts taken in home dramatics. Much of the wit and humor of Shorty and his half brothers, George and Amos, was inherited from their mother Hattie. Much love and respect existed between these children.

Vernon married Vivian Olsen. Marva married Laurel Findlev. They have both lived and raised their families in Cardston. Ira married Vivian Wyman. He made his home in British Columbia, Canada.

Hattie was a good wife, mother and homemaker. She taught her children to be honest and obey those in authority over them.

She passed away 19 Oct. 1924 and is buried in the Williams plot in the Leavitt Cemetery.


We have been born of goodly parents, well loved and cared for, blessed with a heritage of spiritual and physical make-up. Talents, attitudes and ideals have been inherited through each of our particular family lines.

Our parents sacrificed and suffered and prayed for wisdom to guide us; for patience and understanding to let us go our way alone. We have had a heritage of examples set by proud ancestors; parents who came to this goodly land with the Pilgrim fathers; grandparents and parents who have been pioneers, history makers, town and city builders, molders of men, and servants of the Lord. They have traveled far; been forced to leave their homes. They suffered hard ships, sickness and death crossing the plains to the Salt Lake Valley. Our parents and grandparents have walked and lived by faith; they have honored their Priesthood. A heritage of Godliness is ours.

With all that we are heir to, we should hold our heads high and be glad we are who we are. Then add to this heritage some of ourselves, excel in something, accomplish and serve, appreciate the good things in life, keep the faith; through the Spirit of the Lord live that we may one day hand to our children, and our children's children, the blessing of a heritage even more worthy than our own.

Nothing would please our Grandfather more than for each and every one of his numerous posterity to live a life of service and follow the saintly example he set for them. He would desire that we keep a true and complete record of our families and unite our efforts in tracing further into the past lineage of our forefathers; that we may be linked together eternally in a perfect organization.

Written by his granddaughter, Emma Leavitt Broadbent, daughter of Thomas Leavitt Rowell II and Mary Alice Shaw, 10 May 1968.

This was the birthplace of our Grandfather Thomas Rowell Leavitt I. He was sixteen months old when they left Hatley and moved to the United States with the Mormon colony of emigrants led by Franklin Chamberlain who married Lydia, the oldest child in the family. This wagon train consisted of Mother Sarah Shannon, now a widow, her children, and grandchildren, twenty-three souls in all. Her husband Jeremiah I had passed away in 1806 at the age of 46 and he is buried in the Leavitt Cemetery at Hatley, Quebec, Canada.

Copyright Shirl R. Weight 06/03/09 09:27:42 AM

Copyright 1996 - 2019 Shirl R Weight Saturday, 23 February 2019 10:05:15 PM