Original 1913 Introduction¶
Born July 4, 1865, at Lovilia, Monroe County, Iowa, the son of Clay Esshom, born October 29, 1844 in Park County, Indiana, near Portland Mill, and Joanna Victorine Rilea, born January 27, 1848, Mount Liberty, Knox County, Ohio, they were married February 10, 1864.
- Their children were:
- Frank (Ellwood), married Jessie Williams;
- Merton Wright, married Josephine Ferris;
- Harlan, died, child;
- Gracie Caroline, married Bertrand Pollock Castner;
- Cass Clay;
- Blanche, married Scott Collins.
Frank Esshom married Jessie Williams February 9, 1894; she was born December 8, 1876, daughter of William H. Williams and Martha Ann Moore of Galesburg, Illionois, and St. Joseph, Mosouri.
Clay Esshom was the son of William Esshom of Maysville, Kentucky, who was the son of William Esshom of Virginia, who was of Scotch and English ancestry, and Selinda (Chaney) Spurgeon, born at Snow Hill, Maryland, of English ancestry.
Joanna Victorine Rilea (the wife of Clay Esshom) was the daughter of Wesley Rilea and Caroline Wright; he was born July 4, 1824, Putman, Muskingum Coounty, Ohio (the son of William Rilea, who was the fifth generation of Rileas in America living at Culpepper Court House, Virginia, and Lucy Arnold).
Caroline Wright, the daughter of Charles Wright, of Frederickstown, Ohio, born at Princeton, New Jersey, who was the son of Ebenezer Wright, whose mother was a Stuart. Ebenezer Wright came from England as the King’s surveyor to America. His wife, Joanna Johnson, was the daughter of John and Rebecca Johnson, who came from Holland.
Frank Esshom graduated from the high school at the age of eighteen, with preparation for a university course. His early life was spent on his father’s farm, which was devoted largely to the breeding of high grade horses, cattle and swine, as well as the production of large quantities of grain and grasses, so that his early environment and education was on the line of producing. It was a family maxim of the Esshoms to make two blades of grass grow where one previously grew. In his nineteenth year, he accepted a position in the passenger department of the Burlington Railroad, where he became an expert ticket man, at the end of two years, on account of his splendid knowledge of geography. The following four years were spent in travel. He visited more than two-thirds of the states, and nearly all of the principal cities in the United States, in the capacity of an expert special salesman. During this tour, he prepared special articles on social, commercial and industrial life, which were his introduction into the literary field.
At the age of twenty-five he began devoting his time entirely to newspaper work, as a newspaper reporter; an advertising solicitor; newspaper advertising and business manager; editor and manager of newspapers, and was a general publisher for twelve years at Denver, Colorado, prior to coming to Salt Lake City.
Most of his life has been devoted to the production of literature, with the exception of a few years, when he was lured into the field of mining.
His father was a member of the 14th Indiana Volunteers, during the Civil War. His ancestors fought in all of the wars of the United States, beginning with the Revolution. They were also pioneers of Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Indiana, and Iowa. This spirit to fight and pioneer, inherited, which together with his life’s labor, seemed to especially equip him for the undertaking he has carried on a campaign of seven years in the field and at the desk to prepare and present this volume, Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah.
Francis Marion Lyman¶
In nineteen hundred and eight, after a year’s labor gathering data for the Pioneers’ history, the vastness of the undertaking dawned upon its promoters and depressed them to almost stupidness.
They then realized that the work could be accomplished only by the most systematic and painstaking research, that they must have the sentiment of the whole people with them, that some great spirit must be in touch with them, that was thoroughly in accord with the people.
During this first year’s work Francis Marion Lyman had been seen, he had subscribed to the work, promptly furnished his data and had done his part toward its production, and in words had encouraged us to press forward in our work.
The fire of love for parent and posterity and his people, flashed from his eyes when he saw there was an opportunity for their records to be made and preserved. In fact, he glowed with joy at the thought.
So, when the time came to select a man to head this undertaking, Francis Marion Lyman seemed to be the “Moses” to lead the “children out of Israel.” When he was requested to take this leadership he faltered, he knew the great responsibility, but his broad manliness, which fears no burden in the cause of right, nor in behalf of his people, was thrown in the balance in our favor. He took the leadership [and] became the president. That we chose wisely the result speaks for itself. [Note punction has been altered from the published original to make it more readable]
President Lyman added strength to our zest, he inspired us to greater efforts, and others to our assistance, and with ever-gathering momentum we labored on until the work was done.
Through his assistance there has been built a monument to that “Noble Band of Heroes,” as he expresses it, that will live on through centuries.
No man loves that “Noble Band” more, or could feel a greater responsibility for their descendants than does Francis Marion Lyman.
His associates in this work revere him for his wise counsel as their president, adore his great mentality, love him for his love of humanity as well as his personality.
They cherish for him the highest regard and extend to him their sincerest thanks for his never ceasing labor and great assistance in behalf of this publication.
When he was five years old, with his mother and her family of seven children, he arrived in Utah, a settlement three years old, one thousand miles from the nearest town. His father died a few days journey westward from the Missouri River.
The homes in Utah at that time were improvised shelters, there were no public and few private schools, and the needs of home were never satisfied. With these surroundings he grew to manhood and fatherhood. He tasted life from every angle that could fall to a boy and a man, under such surroundings.
He had not been an ardent Church member; while he was recognized as a Mormon, he had not been classed as a Latter-day Saint, he had not “had a testimony”; in other words, he had not been convinced as to the truth of the religion of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the truth that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.
In a dream, or vision, there was revealed to him that Utah was for the Mormons; that the doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was true; that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God; also, that if he went to a certain place (indelibly imprinted on his mind), that he would find a great vein of rich mineral, a mine. He followed the instructions given him in his dream, which took him to the now well known Eureka mining district. There, away up on the mountain, he found the spot he had seen in his dream, and he uncovered the vein which led to a vast mineral body, which was opened up, only by much hard labor and many vicissitudes. Many times, for the lack of provisions, he would have to stop his work, but he never lost faith in his dream, and would return and continue his labor. At last the mine yielded the long sought precious mineral that made him a large fortune, which has multiplied and been added to.
Before his dream came true, and while he was laboring (as only one can who has faith) to take from “Mother Earth” her treasure, he met Wilford Woodruff, then president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who prophesied that “he (Jesse Knight) would save the Church’s credit.” Not long afterward, the mine began to yield. The Church had outstanding notes upon which the interest was nearly due, the country was in a panic and money almost impossible to get. The first car of ore came from the mine and gave much greater value than was expected. When the miners and debts incidental to the production of ore had been paid, there was ten thousand dollars remaining, which amount, Mr. Knight gave to President Woodruff, who paid the interest on the Church’s notes, and its credit was saved.
From thence on, he knew the truth of dreams, visions and prophecies, that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the restoration of God’s Church on the earth.
There are many pages in the history of Mr. Knight’s life that forces one to believe that the hand of providence guides our way.
He has a Christian, upright family, is in possession of great wealth, and is honored by his fellowman. Thusly endowed, many a man is raised above the multitude. It causes him to forget the griefs and hardships that the less fortunate bear. Not so with Jesse Knight, he has not changed, he hears the cry of the needy, has sympathy for those in sorrow, his heart throbs with sentiment and love for human kind, which gives him a mannerism, a receptiveness and a simplicity that makes one know that the Spirit of Jesus Christ is reflected in man on earth.
He is a beloved father, an honored citizen, a kind, assisting friend, a public benefactor, a Christian.
The author here presents the volume, Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah. This work has engaged his entire attention uninterruptedly since September, 1907. As will be seen, it is the portraits, genealogies and biographies of Pioneers and their male descendants and Prominent Men of Utah and a brief chronological history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Those men and women who came to Utah by wagon, hand cart or afoot, between July 24, 1847, the date of the arrival of the Brigham Young Company, and December 30, 1868, before the railroad, are designated as Pioneers.
To the author’s mind they are all entitled to that distinction, because they came in the same general manner. Some had wagons, others with handcarts, and some afoot, but whatever was their mode of migration, they all came for the one and same purpose, that was to build an empire and a church and homes of their own, where they could worship God according to the dictates of their conscience, and rear their families without the contamination of outside influence, and be free from the strife and turmoil they had passed through at Kirtland, Independence and Nauvoo.
The men coming to Utah after the railroad are designated as Prominent Men.
The portraits in this history are arranged, as nearly as possible, as follows: First, that of President Brigham Young, followed by his representative male descendants. These are followed by the portraits of men who came with him in the first company, July 24, 1847, with the exception of the first twelve pioneers’ names, in alphabetical order, with their representative male descendants who are subscribers to this history. After the Brigham Young company are the portraits of men of the Mormon Battalion in alphabetical order, with their representative male descendants. These are followed by the portraits of men who came later in 1847, in the order that they came to Utah, namely: Daniel Spencer’s 100, with Perrigri’ne Sessions and Ira Eldridge as captains of 50’s, arriving September, 23d; Abraham O. Smoot’s 100, with Geoorge B. Wallace and Samuel Russell as captains of 50’s, arriving late in September; Edward Hunter’s 100, with Jacob Foutz and Joseph Home as captains of 50’s, arriving September 29th; Jedediah M. Grant’s 100, with Willard Snow and Joseph B. Noble as captains of 50’s, arriving October 2d; The “Artillery Company,” captained by Charles C. Rich, arriving October 3d; Parley Pratt and John Taylor, two of the Apostles also came with companies, exercising general supervision John Taylor arrived at Salt Lake City, with a company, October 5th; beside these pioneers are their representative male descendants who are subscribers to this history. Then follows the portraits of men who came in 1848, ‘49, ‘50, ‘51, etc., in consecutive yearly order up to and including 1868, when the last wagon train came all the way across the plains from the Missouri River to the Salt Lake Valley. Following these come the stake presidents and bishops, arranged alphabetically, then governors, and prominent men who came to Utah after 1868, arranged alphabetically.
This portrait arrangement will show each person followed by his representative male descendants in his respective place, according to the dav and year of his arrival in Utah as near as it was possible to arrange them if he, or his descendants are subscribers to this history.
Following the portraits are the genealogies, arranged alphabetically, after which comes the history of the Church, chronologically arranged, from the birth of the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1805, to 1863, also the portraits of the Prophet Joseph Smith and Patriarch Hyrum Smith, the genealogies of their families and their lineal ancestry.
Utah (Yuta) at the time the pioneers settled in the Great Salt Lake Valley, comprised the territory now occupied by Utah, Idaho, Montana, Eastern Washington, Eastern Oregon, Nevada, Northern Arizona, Northern New Mexico, Western Colorado and Western Wyoming.
It was the intention of the author in the beginning of the preparation for this volume to publish the portrait of the Pioneer and his representative male descendant, and prominent men with four lines of reading matter underneath the portrait. After a year’s labor, it was discovered that the genealogies of the Pioneers of Utah were so closely and intricately interwoven, that an accessible record was very much in need of by them, and it was decided to print the genealogies of these Pioneer families in connection with the portraits; this more than doubled the labor and expense of production. He now presents to the subscriber for this volume, nearly six thousand portraits and many more genealogies.
At the conclusion of this labor, the author is justly proud of the achievement, as in presenting it, he offers to the world a book unique and incomparable to any that has heretofore been issued. This is because a similar opportunity for such a volume has not heretofore been offered an author, as no other people but those of the faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have ever gone forth into a wilderness in the mountains and created an empire, and there remained generation after generation and enjoyed the fruits of their labor. On account of their belief in plural marriage, they have left a posterity large enough, at a date sixty-five years subsequent to the first settlement, that nearly all the leading men of that early pioneering has a male descendant. Again, their posterity has been held within the confines of the empire they built, because they did not care to wander from their homes and religious ties. These conditions made the gathering of this data possible, as in no other place to our knowledge has the pioneer remained as the permanent settler.
The author is also proud of this volume because it will live as a memorial to those men whose deeds were rapidly being forgotten. The story of the leaders has been told repeatedly, but that of the rank and file, the ones who did the actual pioneering and building has not been told before. This will cause them to live on perpetually, and each succeeding generation will know their labors; their deeds will increase in miraculousness; their valor will be more greatly appreciated; their heroisms stand out unprecedented, showing the quality of the men who dared to turn their faces toward an unknown desert and to build homes, and an empire.
Having stated what the History contains and why it was possible for it to be produced, the query which arises in one’s mind is: “How could such a gigantic undertaking be completed?” The author was fully inspired with the belief that he was producing what a great people wanted and needed, his absolute confidence in, and his knowledge of, these people, their great love for their ancestors and their posterity, and their church, ever impelled him onward to a successful conclusion of his self-assumed labor. After a year of gathering material and data in Salt Lake City, a year was spent in Weber and Utah Counties in the same quest. Then a thorough search was started, as a beginning to the end; the Bishop of every ward from Yellowstone National Park and Upper Oregon on the north and northwest to Vernal. Emery and St. George on the south and southeast in Utah, was visited. In almost every instance an application for a volume was given by the Bishop of the ward and he gratuitously furnished the author with the names of the Pioneers who had died in his ward, and the names of their representative male descendants, also the names of the Pioneers who were living in his ward and the names of their representative male descendants. Nearly a year was required in making these visits. After this organization was perfected, the author, assisted by a corps of solicitors visited each house in every ward in all of the stakes in the territory above mentioned, where a Pioneer or the descendant of a Pioneer lived as given him by the Bishop of the ward, or could be secured from inquiry, and gathered the portraits and genealogies as complete as it was possible to so do, and arranged for the information unobtainable at that time to be sent to him. The gathering of this data, which could be acquired in no other manner, probably required more than fifty thousand calls, the assistance of every photographer in the territory, the traveling of thousands of miles, which was made over every kind of roads in all kinds of weather, and by every mode of conveyance. He made one continuous trip by team in Southern Utah of 1,385 miles, without being in touch with a railroad. This was from October to the last of January. After this data had been gathered it was necessary to rewrite it in duplicate and submit a copy to the one who furnished the geneaolgy and biography, and the correspondence in connection with that and other phases of the publication required more than fifty thousand letters.
There are some of the old families who are not represented in this Histoiy. We are very proud to say that they are few. While the rule laid down for the production of this History was that every family who was represented in it must make a subscription to it to help defray the expenses of producing it, yet hundreds of photographs have been entered, and genealogies published of those Pioneer men who have left no male descendants to represent them. In fact, no one has been left out of it because they were unable financially to make a subscription. In every case where the Bishop advised us that the family was not able to make a subscription the Pioneer has been put in this history by us with as much care as though he were a subscriber.
The author is thankful to many for assistance rendered him. He is thankful to James G. McAllister, who rendered him the first assistance in the initiative of the work and continuously to its completion; to the Board of Directors of the Utah Pioneers Book Publishing Company, namely: Francis M. Lyman, James G. McAllister, Geo. T. Odell, C. B. Stewart, Governor William Spry, O. C. Beebe, W. Lester Mangum and Jesse Knight for their wisdom and guidance, and for the last named gentleman, words cannot express his gratitude and thankfulness for an aid and an assistance given him, when all other channels seemed closed, that furnished the finance necessary for the completion of this volume. The author sincerelv believes that this aid was rendered him wholly because Mr. Knight believes this volume will live as a memorial to the Pioneer; as an aid to the living by giving their relationship one to another, and a blessing to those unborn by placing a record before them showing they descended from the founders of Utah, and the builders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that he does not feel that his possessions are given him especially to have and to hold, but that he may do great good with them while they are entrusted to his keeping.
The author is thankful for assistance received from Ernest H. Rich, Oscar B. Madson, John Q. Critchlow, W. W. Browning. He is indebted to the Presidents of stakes and almost every Bishop under the dominion of the Church, for information given and kindnesses extended to him while in their wards. He is also indebted to, and thankful for, the assistance rendered by each subscriber to this volume, as only for their kindnesses, interest and painstaking assistance in compiling these genealogies and biographies could this data have been obtained, as more than fifty per cent of it came from the memory of some one in or who was familiar with the family, and which information has never heretofore been indited or made accessible to those to whom it pertains.
The author has had for his constant companions in this labor during the last seven years, those people who are most frequently spoken of as the “Mormons.” They among themselves have two definitions for the word “Mormon” first, it is applied to all of the people who have embraced the religion, or have been born into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; second, the more religious ones who bear this name are known as “Latter-day Saints,” and while the former part of the expression “Latter-day Saints” may be an assumed name, the word “Saints” they are wholly entitled to, because of the life they live. No one who knows these people, as it has been the author’s good fortune to know them, can have but the highest regard for them as a people, he cannot help but believe in their sincerity in their religion, and he absolutely knows that they are trying to live a righteous life and that the teachings of Jesus Christ are constantly before them, as their example to live by.
That these Pioneers have established a state and a religion is sufficient commendation of their worth. Any man might spend even more years than the author has, in making their deeds and actions a matter of record, to live as an unparalleled example of pioneering and successful endeavor in church building.
November 3, 1913. Frank Esshom.
To the great pioneer, Brigham Young, and his co-laborers in leadership and in pioneering, and in the colonization of Utah and the west, this book is affectionately dedicated.