Sunday, December 7, 2008

Joseph Alva West

Joseph Alva West was born 12 September 1851 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Chauncey Walker West and Mary Hoagland. His parents moved to Bingham’s Fort, Weber County in 1855 and subsequently to Ogden, Utah, where Joseph went to grade school. He later became a student at Deseret University (now the University of Utah) in Salt Lake City.

During the winter of 1865, Joseph, along with a number of other young men in the territory, was called by President Brigham Young to learn telegraphy in anticipation of the proposed Deseret Telegraph Line that was to connect Paris, Idaho and St. George, Utah. Joseph served as operator in the Ogden office, beginning in 1866 and in the Provo Office.

In 1867, again at the request of President Brigham Young, Joseph was sent by his father to Salt Lake City to study surveying under Jesse Fox. By 1868, when just 18 years of age, Joseph had become so proficient that he was qualified to act as Deputy Territorial Surveyor. He was subsequently elected surveyor for the City of Ogden, and county surveyor for Weber County. He became a civil engineer during the building of several railroad lines, making extensive surveys from Salt Lake City through central Nevada to California, into Oregon and Idaho. He also surveyed prospective railroad lines south to Los Angeles including three lines through Death Valley. The Deseret Evening News of February 25, 1881 said of Mr. West, “Joseph A. West is said to be one of the best field engineers in the west.” He was the chief engineer for projected lines all over the west, many of which were built.

Joseph A. West was a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was ordained an Elder on 17 Feb 1865. He was ordained a Seventy on 20 Mar 1869 and a High Priest on 21 Oct 1877. He served as a High Councilor in the Weber Stake for five years and as Superintendent of the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association in Weber Stake. He was also the editor for several publications for youth in his community.

On 4 Mar 1873, Joseph married, Josephine Richards, daughter of Apostle Franklin D. Richards & Jane Snyder in Salt Lake City, Utah. Together they had eight children, the last of whom, Charles Henry, was born in 1890 in Ogden.

In 1882, Joseph was called to serve a mission to England and left home on the 22nd of April. In June of the following year, he was appointed President of the London Conference and traveled widely throughout the British Isles including portions of Europe during his tenure there. He is said to have ascended Mt. Vesuvius as part of his travels.

In 1885, he was nominated and elected to the legislature. During his tenure, he served as part of a contingent sent to Washington, DC to ameliorate the escalating tensions between the people of Utah, their appointed governor, and the United States Government. This was a difficult time for Utah as the notorious Edmunds Tucker bill directed at polygamous marriages in Utah was before Congress. During his time in Washington, DC, Mr. West appeared before the full judiciary committee of Congress and made a two-hour argument against this bill. An extensive report of this argument was carried in the Utah newspapers.

On 24 Feb 1888, Joseph West married Sylvia Ann Child, daughter of Warren Gould Child and Martha Jane Elmer. According to family records, they were married in Juarez, Mexico. Their first child was born in San Francisco, California in 1890. They had 10 children, seven of whom lived to be adults.

In 1889, Mr. West went to Oregon to work for the Sumpter Valley Railway as chief engineer. From 1889 until at least 1910, Mr. West lived in alternately in Baker City, Oregon and in Ogden, Utah.

In 1911, the year Joseph’s last child, Fred Lawrence Albert West, was born, he published a family genealogy and history entitled, “Francis West of Duxbury, Mass. And Some of his Ancestors and Descendants: Including the Descendants of Chauncey Walker West, late of Ogden, Utah, and Abraham H. Hoagland, late of Salt Lake City, Utah”. A link to a copy of this book is available in “Google Book Links”.

On 17 April 1926, Joseph A. West died. He is buried, along with other family members, in the Ogden City Cemetery in Utah.

Of Mr. West, it was said that, “Anyone meeting Joseph A. West face to face would know at once that he is an individual embodying the elements of what in this country we term a "square" man--one in whom to have confidence, a dependable man in any relation and any emergency. His quietude of deportment, his easy dignity, his frankness and cordiality of address, with a total absence of anything sinister or anything to conceal, foretoken a man who is ready to meet any obligation of life with the confidence and courage that come of conscious personal ability, right conception of things and an habitual regard for what is best in the exercise of human activities.” (Noble Warrum, ed, Utah Since Statehood, Volumes 1-4, Chicago, IL, USA and Salt Lake City, UT, USA: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1919.)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Place of burial for each wife

Where was each wife buried? A simple question. A question not easily answered, but here goes. Thanks to others who have researched this West family, we are almost done with finding the answer to the question about place of burial. Only TWO burial places remain unknown. With eight out of ten wives being buried in the Ogden City Cemetery, I thought it would be nice to add a link to the online search option for the cemetery. When you find the one you want, the map that's provided will show you exactly where the person was buried. Print out the map so you can see the place of burial when you join us at the West family reunion next May 2009 !

Mary Hoagland
  • Ogden City Cemetery, Plat A, Block 5, Lot 21
Mary Ann Covington Stratton
  • Ogden City Cemetery, Plat A, Block 7, Lot 12-5W
Sarah Elizabeth Covington
  • Ogden City Cemetery, Plat D, Block 7, Lot 12-4W
Martha Joiner
Jeanette Nicol Gibson
  • Ogden City Cemetery, Plat A, Block 5, Lot 21
Adaline Amanda Wright
Angeline Almeda Shurtliff
Mary Ann Covington (buried as Mary Ann Ross)
  • Ogden City Cemetery, Plat E, Block 1, Lot 3-2E
Susan Hannah Covington
  • unknown
Louise Mariah Musgrave
  • unknown

Mary Ann Covington 1815-1908

We have three separate manuscripts about Mary Ann Covington that document her life and her marriage to Chauncey Walker West:
  1. "Biography of Mary Ann Covington Stratton West" by Ruby Brown Clayson. This manuscript was found at the BYU Harold B. Lee Library in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections. Ruby was Mary Ann's grand-niece. We discovered this manuscript because of a comment added to an earlier blog entry about Mary Ann. This biographical sketch was originally submitted to the Daughters of Utah Pioneers by Ruby. The sketch is almost two pages long, typed, plus a title page.
  2. "Biographical information regarding the Brewer family ca. 1917-1972". The manuscript is located at the Church Archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, MS9352. The collection of papers includes an exact copy of the biography found at BYU, except the title page was missing. Even though the title page was missing, we assume the sketch was written by Ruby Brown Clayson. (Note that this manuscript collection also included a six page biography of Chauncey Walker West titled, "A Biographical Sketch of My Grandfather West.")
  3. A second biographical sketch about Mary Ann Covington was found in the same manuscript papers as listed in item two above. The second sketch was titled, "A History Written by Marie West Belnap in 1972." This was a one page history about the life of her great-aunt, Mary Ann Covington. I believe Marie West Belnap was the daughter of Charles Covington West, and Charles was the son of Chauncey Walker West and Sarah Elizabeth Covington. (Please add a comment if you have additional information about this assumption.) 
Mary Ann Covington was born 31 March 1815 in Bedford, Bedfordshire, England to Berrill Covington and Elizabeth Hodges. The Covington family was baptized into the Church in 1840 and in 1842 Mary Ann and her brother Berrill Jr. immigrated to the United States. Mary Ann stayed in St. Louis, Missouri for a year and then migrated to Nauvoo, Illinois.

While living in Nauvoo, Mary either worked in the home of the Prophet Joseph Smith, or both lived and worked in the Prophet's home. (See sketch 1, 2, and 3 which document both senerios. Mary was eventually married to the Prophet's brother William, assumably in Nauvoo. According to the sketch written by Ruby Brown Clayson, the Prophet counseled her not to live with William as his wife, so she never did.

Sometime before 1847, Mary Ann was married to Joseph Albert Stratton. A record of this marriage has not been located thus far. (If anyone has already searched for and found an original marriage record, please feel free to add a comment to this blog entry.)

Joseph and Mary Ann migrated to Utah in 1847 with the Daniel Spencer/Perrigrine Sessions Company. See the Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847-1868 website for more details about the company. (Note that some of the previous biographical sketches about Mary Ann and Joseph stated that they crossed the plains with the Joseph Horne company and that Joseph served as a clerk in the company. The records do not support this information.) Three years later, on 30 October 1850, Joseph Albert Stratton passed away.

Two years after Joseph's passing, Mary Ann Covington Stratton married Bishop Chauncey Walker West. Mary's grand-niece, Marie West Belnap, wrote that Mary was "sealed in the President's Office to Mr. Stratton, with Chauncy Walker West acting as proxey for him. Then Mary Ann married for time only to Chauncey Walker West so he could handle and manage her money and property, in building many businesses in Ogden." (Spelling was not changed, see sketch #3)

Three years after their marriage, she moved to Ogden, Utah and remained there the rest of her life. Mary Ann did not have any children. Mary had some "beautiful crystal and silver" that she brought to Utah. We assume these items were brought from England to the United States when the Covington family immigrated in 1842. (sketches 1-3)

Marie West Belnap wrote that Mary was "a staunch upholder of the faith, and had many positions of honor and trust in the Church Organizations. She was for a number of years President of the Relief Society in the second ward of Ogden [and] later was a councilor in the Relief Society in the Third Ward. At one time Mrs. West possessed a considerable amount of Ogden Property, largely in the business district, which gave her much prominence in civic affairs as well as in Church. She was widely known and beloved by all." Mary died 5 October 1908 in Ogden, Weber Co., Utah and was buried in the Ogden City Cemetery, plat A, block 7, lot 12 in the northeast corner of the lot. (click on links to Mary's death certificate online at FamilySearch Record Search and the cemetery link to a map that shows where she is buried.)

The Daughters of Utah Pioneers has a photograph of Mary Ann Covington in their collection.

Note: Ruby Brown Clayson's full name was Ruby Wray Thornton. She married (1) Marion Abram Brown, and (2) Eli James Clayson. Her parents were Simeon Covington Thornton and Elizabeth Robenia Steggell. Her grandparents were Thomas Ephraim Thornton and Priscilla Covington. Her great-grandparents were Berrill Covington and Elizabeth Hodges. Berrill and Elizabeth were the parents of Mary Ann Covington, the focus of this biography.