Sunday, February 16, 2014

Elizabeth P. Tillotson Whiting (1814-1892)

History of
Elizabeth P. Tillotson Whiting

from a history
compiled by her granddaughter

Isabell Whiting Manwaring

copied by

Ruby Snow Jensen
great granddaughter

Biography of
Elizabeth Partridge Tillotson Whiting

Elizabeth Partridge Tillotson Whiting was born in Ohio April 15, 1814. She was a descendant of French parents and the youngest in a family of fourteen children. She lived near Cleveland, Ohio, and received a good education for those frontier days, and taught school in her girlhood. After settling in Springville, she was one of the first school teachers there.

A few years after her marriage to Edwin Whiting, they became members of the Latter-day Saints Church and moved to Kirtland. All her people turned against her and felt that they would rather see he dead than be a follower of that deluded Joseph Smith. Some of her people, however, joined the church a few years later. One of her nieces, a beautiful, refined girl, married Lorenzo Snow, one of the Twelve Apostles and later President of the Church, and lived in Brigham City.

[The niece was Sarah Ann Prichard, daughter of Polly Tillotson, who was Elizabeth's sister, and John Pritchard.]

Grandmother, along with Grandfather, passed through the mobbings and drivings of the Saints. They were driven from their comfortable home near Kirtland, leaving all their find furniture, homes and lands, taking only their clothes and bedding. Later, in Missouri, in the Morley settlement, while Grandfather and all the able bodied men were away guarding Joseph Smith, an angry and profane mob came, burning their homes and also grandfather's chair factory, including much seasoned wood ready for chairs. Every home in the village was burned except that of Great Grandfather Elisha Whiting, and he was too ill to be moved out.

However, the mob carried all the furniture and things that were in the houses before burning the homes. Then the mob emptied the straw from a bad tick in one room and set it afire. Soon the whole place was lit up by a great bonfire. The chair factory made the highest fire of all and little Sarah, who was about four years old, danced and clapped her hands over the big fire, while Grandmother sat in the long hours of the night on her bedding, holding her little baby girl, Emily Jane, who was very sick. This sister did not live to come to Utah, but died and was buried at Mt. Pisgah, this side of the Mississippi River during the exodus of the Saints from Illinois.

Along with all the Saints whose homes were burned, my grandparents traveled on to Nauvoo where they again built comfortable homes and enjoyed the privileges of that lovely city and the Temple. They had their Temple work done and were sealed in the Nauvoo Temple. Grandfather was a member of the Nauvoo Legion. They were there at the time of Joseph's martyrdom and when all were exiled, they lost their homes once more, living for a few years at Mt. Pisgah, then crossing the plains in 1849 in Ezra T. Benson's company. They traveled with ox team--grandmother with her five small children, walking most of the way.

Early in November they reached Salt Lake City, where they were asked to go on South to the present site of Manti by Brigham Young to live by Chief Walker and his band of 500 Indians. They were to help these Indians to learn the work of farming and raising crops. There was only one settlement at that time south of Salt Lake City. It was Provo and consisted of a dozen log houses. From there they had to make their roads, crossing over Hobble Creek, where Grandfather remarked that he would like to stop there.

On, on they went, crossing the Spanish fork River, through the tall sage beyond the summit where Santaquin now stands, cutting trees and making roads in Salt Creek Canyon. Through the Sanpete Valley, over the sluggish San Pitch River. Three long weeks it took to reach the stone quarry where Manti now stands and where they dug dug-outs in the south side of the hill where the Manti Temple now stands. This hill was near the Indian camp which swarmed with savages.

The snow fell three feet deep, covering the abundant wild hay on the banks of the San Pitch River. It was so deep that the oxen and cows could not get it for food. Most of the oxen and cows died and the continuous begging for food of the hungry Indians reduced their scanty supplies to just a meager amount of corn, which they ground in hand mills for flour or parched it to eat.

Brigham Young had promised to send them supplies--two loads of corn meal, which did not come; therefore, Grandfather and Uncle Orville Cox, with a hand sled with their bedding on and some parched corn on, started, on snow shoes, in February, over the deep crusted snow for Salt Lake City for help and to inform President Young of the lack of food in the camp. In Salt Creek Canyon, east of what is now known as Nephi, they found Dan or Dace Henry and his young wife, also her brother, a Mr. Dodge, and an Indian, where they had been snowbound all winter with the two loads of corn meal that Brigham Young had sent. Their oxen had all died and Mrs. Henry was very ill, so Grandfather gave them the little sled, which her husband and brother placed her on and pulled her to Manti. Grandfather and Uncle Orville proceeded on to Salt Lake carrying their bedding on their backs, but there was scant snow from there on to Salt Lake City. As soon as possible, teams were sent and the belated corn meal reached the destitute people.

In May, rattlesnakes came out of the rocks, invading their humble dug-outs, coiling on their beds, in their cupboards, by the fireplace--yet no one was harmed. Then on the 17th of May, 1850, a daughter, Louisa, was born, (She married Aaron Johnson) in a dug-out just beneath where the beautiful Temple now stands, while the Indians were howling day and night over their dead, many of them dying of hunger. When any of their aged became too old for further use, or to follow in the hunt or go on the warpath, their feet were tied together and a young buck on a pony would tie a rope to their feet and go galloping over the sage and rocks behind the hill until they were dead. Then they would be left for the wolves to finish.

During the Walker War, all the settlers lived in a fort built of rocks with high bastians at each corner with loopholes in to fire on the Indians if there should be an attack. A high, strong gate on the east was kept locked and the men working in the fields carried their guns. A few years later after the death of the powerful Chief Walker, who was called "The Napoleon of the Desert", his brother, Arapeen, was chief of all the utes and peace was declared. The Walker War had lasted about three years.

Grandfather now moved to the outskirts of the town across from the field. One morning they found all of their oxen and cows being driven across the San Pitch River, two miles distant, by the Indians, and rushed into the cedars of the low mountains. It was useless to follow or try to recover them, for it meant sure death to anyone entering that dense cedar forest. No other stock of the town was molested. One fat wild steer, named "Star" broke away and came bellowing home. As long as old Star lived, he would run away, dragging the load of hay or grain and the other ox every time he saw an Indian. With lowered head, he would chase any Indian he saw on the street or in the field.

While Grandfather was on a mission for two years to his native state, Ohio, they had the grasshopper war. They came by thousands, obscuring the sun and eating every green leaf. Then there was a miracle. After the hoppers left, a long and wide patch of pigweeds grew at the foot of the stone quarry and the settlers lived on them until they could get ripe corn from Springville and Provo. The Indians said the pigweeds never grew there before and they never have since.

Finding Sanpete unfavorable for fruit culture, Grandfather moved his three families to Springville in 1862, where from his nursery that he started with plants brought back with him from his mission to Ohio, many thousand fruit trees, small fruit, roses, lilacs, and other choice plants were sold and grew in the orchards of nearby towns, making the desert to bloom with beautiful blossoms, both useful and ornamental. The first transplanted pine in the state he brought from the hills in his dinner bucket and planted on his lot southwest of the Manti Temple. You can trace the Whiting homes on the Mapleton bench by the native pine trees that were brought from the mountains east of Mapleton. One large tree stands in front of the Second Ward Church in Springville. This was near the Whiting home where some of Edwin's nursery was. One also stands north of the Seminary building on the corner of Second East and Fourth South. This one was planted by Edwin Snow of Mapleton, a grandson of Edwin Whiting. It was on the land owned by Sarah Elizabeth Whiting Snow.

Both Grandmother and Grandfather were earnest workers in the Church, with a firm belief and testimony to the divinity of Joseph Smith. They ever lived in unison with his teachings. They were moral, upright members of the Church.

Grandmother was first counselor in the Primary Association in Springville, with the other counselor being Sabina Alleman, with Mary Crandall as President.

Grandmother died February 4, 1892, age seventy-eight years.

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