Jennie Bird Hill
Ruby Snow Jensen
his Great Granddaughter
About the year 1800 in a little town of Lee, Berkshire County, Massachusetts, near the border of New York, lived the family of Elisha and Sally Hulett Whiting. Elisha Whiting's father was a sea captain and lived in Connecticut. He died when Elisha was very young. His mother not knowing what else to do, bound him to an old Quaker who was very cruel and after a few years Elisha ran away to Massachusetts and worked on a farm with a wheel wright. Here he was married to Sally Hulett. They were highly honored and respected, honest, generous and firm in their convictions.
Elisha Whiting followed the trade of wagon and chair maker and did his work well.
His wife was very gifted in making prose and poetry, a characteristic that has been bequeathed to many Whiting descendents [sic].
To Elisha and Sally Whiting were born twelve children, eight sons and four daughters as follows: (1) Charles, born September 18, 1806 - he died the same day, (2) William, born 19 September 1807, (3) Edwin, born 9 September 1809, (4) Charles, born 24 March 1811, (5) Catherine Louisa, born October 3, 1813 - died 27 May, 1900, (6) Harriet, born 16 August 1815, (7) Sally Emeline, born July, 1817, (8) Chauncey, born 19 August, 1819 - died June 7, 1902, (9) Almond, born November, 1821, (10) Jane, born 1824, (11) Sylvester, born 29 July 1829 - died 19 June 1915, (12) Lewis, born 22 September, 1831.
Edwin was born 9 September, 1809, the third child in this family. When he was six years old, his parents moved to Nelson, Portage County, Ohio. At that time, it was the western frontier of the U.S.A. but probably the very place his father wished to be to get suitable timber for his trade, for the support of his large family.
Edwin Whiting's chance for education was very limited, but they all were taught the "3 R's", Readin', Riting', and Rithmetic, and he wrote a legible hand, and extraordinary feat for his time. At an early age, he wrote credible verse.
His early life in the forest, no doubt, accounts for his love of the out-of-doors, the beauties of nature, the trees, the flowers, the mountains and the desire to hunt.
One Sunday morning, when but a small boy, he decided to go hunting. He knew this was contrary to his parent's teachings, so he tried to draw his gun through the cracks between the logs of his bedroom and go unmolested. His gun caught and was discharged, inflicting a serious wound in his left arm. This, he said, was a lesson to observe the Sabbath Day and to obey his parents.
He learned the chair making trade from his father and his workmanship was considered very good.
In 1833, when Edwin was twenty-four years old, he married Elizabeth Partridge Tillotson, an Ohio girl of French descent. She was a highly educated school teacher, quite an accomplishment for those days.
In 1837, the Gospel was brought to the Whiting family. Edwin and his wife, his father and mother and some of his brothers and sisters joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They were baptized by Thomas Marsh in 1838. Here, as in the time of Christ and His Apostles, the humble, hard working class of people were the ones to listen and accept the gospel of truth.
They were among the early members of our church and soon joined the Saints in Kirtland, Ohio. It was here that their trials, hardships and persecutions began and it took true manhood, womanhood, and faith in God to endure. They were forced to leave their new comfortable home, complete with furniture, orchards and land in Kirtland, Ohio and took only their clothing and a few valued relics and went to Far West, Missouri. By this time, Edwin and Elizabeth had four children: William, Helen Amelia, Sarah Elizabeth and Emily Jane. They were only in Far West a short time and had just built a new home, when a mob, several thousand strong, ordered them out. Every house in the village was burned except father Elisha Whitings [sic], which was spared because he was so sick they could not move him.
We remember of hearing Aunt Elizabeth tell how she sat on the pile of bedding far into the night with her little daughter Jane in her arms. Little Jane died soon after from exposure and lack of proper food. Sarah clapped her hands at the big bonfire the mob had made with their fences and the select wood from her father's chair shop. They were compelled to flee again so they joined the Saints at Lima in Father Morley's branch, where Edwin Whiting acted as counselor to Brother Morley.
For several years, the Saints were happily building up the city of Nauvoo, and their Temple. Here they worshipped God without so much persecution as they had experienced in Lima. Edwin was appointed colonel in the Nauvoo Legion and was an active worker at all times for the upbuilding of his church.
Through the advice of those in authority, and for a righteous purpose, he entered the law of plural marriage. In the year 1845, he married Almira Meacham. The following year, January 27, 1846, he married Mary Elizabeth Cox. That same year, he was called on a mission to Pennsylvania and was there at the time of the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph and Hyrum Smith. He soon returned home and took up arms with his brothers to protect his property and the lives of his family.
During the battle of the Crooked River, his brother Charles was killed. Still a greater test awaited him. His brothers Almond, Sylvester, Chauncey and Lewis and his sister Louisa, did not feel that Brigham Young should be the leader of the church so they followed a Mr. Cutler and called themselves "Cutlerites" and moved up into Cletheral, Minnesota. To this day, they hold tenaciously to the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. They still correspond with the children of Edwin Whiting, and have given us, for temple work, an extensive genealogy of the Whiting family. (Based on the Wikipedia article, it looks like the Whiting family has been very influential in the Cutlerite Church of Jesus Christ since then.)
Edwin Whiting, his families, his father and mother, stayed with the Saints, who were compelled to move west as far as Mt. Pisgah, (now known as Talmadge) Iowa. There they stayed to prepare for the journey across the plains.
The dreaded disease, cholera, took the father and mother of Edwin, his little brother and little daughter, Emily Jane. Their names are on the monument lately erected at that place in memory of those who died there. So many of his family were sick at one time, that there was no one well enough to get the sick ones a drink, but even in those trying times, they still had faith and rejoiced in the Gospel, for the Lord was with them. Emeline, a sister of Edwin, married Fredrick Walter Cox and the two families were as one big family for years. They established a chair factory and hauled the chairs to Quincey, Illinois, where they were sold. From this and their crops, they prepared to come west. Aunt Mary taught school two terms and helped the family some. While at Mt. Pisgah, three children were born. Albert Milton was born to Mary; Oscar Newell was born to Elizabeth; and Catherine Emeline was born to Almira.
In April, 1849, Edwin and Emeline, the only children of Elisha and Sally Whiting who stayed true to the church, started westward in Brother Morley's company.
Volumes have been written of the westward journey of the Saints, and as Congressman Leatherstood has said, "It is the greatest emigration trail that was ever blazed, and our pioneers will, some day, stand out in history as the greatest pioneers in the world."
They fought Indians, had their cattle stampeded, suffered for lack of proper food, and even though tired from that long and tedious trek, still went on. After reaching the Black Hills, a heavy snow storm came and for three days they were shut in. Many of their cattle died and perhaps they would have died had not the teams and provisions, sent by President Brigham Young, come to their aid. On October 28, 1849, they reached Salt Lake City, which looked like a heaven of rest to that travel worn company. Aunt Mary said, "I have never beheld a sight so good and so beautiful as Salt Lake City. We were so thankful our journey was at an end." But their rest was of short duration, for in a few days, Edwin Whiting, the Morleys and the Coxes were called to settle the San Pitch River, now known as Manti. Again they journeyed on. It took three weeks to go from Salt Lake City, because they had to build their own roads.
Provo was then a village of about six homes. As they passed Hobble Creek, afterwards known as Springville, Edwin Whiting remarked, "This is a fertile spot. I would like to stop here."
They arrived in Sanpete County on December 1, 1849, with almost nothing to eat, no food for their cattle, no shelter to keep them warm, and cold weather upon them. They made "dug-outs" on the south side of the hill where the Manti Temple now stands. It was a severe winter, with snow so deep the cattle could scarcely get grass and most of them died. Food had to be divided with the Indians to keep peace. President Young had promised them provisions and help, but none came; so Edwin and Orville Cox put on snow shoes and with a little parched corn in their pockets for food, placed their bedding on a sleigh, and started to Salt lake City for help. When they reached Nephi Canyon, they met their help, brother Dace Henry, his wife, her brother, Mr. Doge and an Indian, snow bound. Their cattle had died and their wagons were all but covered with snow. The young wife was very sick, so Edwin gave them the sleigh to pull her to Manti. They put their quilts on their backs and walked on to Salt Lake City and reported conditions to President Young. Aid was immediately sent, but some of that company went back to Salt Lake City.
Edwin's family now numbered fourteen. They lived in a large room in the wall of the hill, with their chair factory in one end. The men and boys hauled wood from the hills on the hand-sleighs.
The following spring (1850) there were three girls born. Harriet Lucinda was born to Mary Elizabeth in April, Louisa Melitia was born to Elizabeth in May, and Cornelia Dolly was born to Almira in June.
For several seasons, very little was raised. It became necessary to build a fort to protect themselves from the Indians, for they felt that the white man had stolen their land. The gates of the fort were locked while the men went to the fields with their guns. From this developed the Walker War. Edwin was appointed Captain of the Militia. Twice the Indians drove his cattle off and stole whatever they could.
Edwin often told us of one big ox that he owned. The ox would rebel whenever an Indian tried to drive him away. He would turn on his captors and break their defense and come home. He hated Indians and would always lower his head and challenge them if they came near.
Edwin tried planting fruit trees, shrubs and flowers, but could not survive the very cold winter. Their crops were poor, but they managed to exist and were a happy family in spite of their hardships.
In 1854, Edwin was called to Ohio on a mission and was gone for two years. While he was away, the grasshoppers came and took everything they raised. They faced starvation, but miraculously, where the crops had been, a patch of pigweeds grew, and they lived on them until the corn ripened in Utah County. A strange thing it was, for the Indians said those pigweeds had never grown there before, nor have they grown since. Walter Cox divided with his brother's (brother-in-law) family while Edwin was away.
Edwin, on his return, brought may kinds of fruit trees, (some from his father's farm that he helped to plant when a boy) shrubs, and flowers and again tried to grow them, but the climate was too cold.
On the 8th of October, 1856, Edwin married Hannah Haines Brown. Abby Ann Whiting was born to this couple at Manti in 1858 and Lorenzo Snow Whiting was born at Manti in 1860. On the 14th of April, 1857, he married Mary Ann Washburn. Two children were born to the family while they resided in Manti. Daniel Abraham was born in May, 1858, and Monroe Frank Whiting was born in November, 1862.
While he lived at Manti, Edwin was among the foremost men in religious and civic affairs of the community. He was counselor to the Stake President. He was mayor of the city from 1857 to 1861. He was a member of the legislature for two terms, and, as stated before, he was Captain of the Militia in the Walker War.
After finding the climate of Manti unfavorable for raising fruit, his special work, he was advised by President Young to try out his nursery at Springville. He moved to Springville in 1861 and was able to plant and grow all kinds and varieties of fruit trees, vegetables and flowers.
He built a home on the lot just a little east of where the Second Ward Chapel now stands. The old two-story adobe home will stand in the memory of the members of the Whiting Family as a place of many happy evenings of fun and amusements. It has a wide hall with a wide stairway to the upper floors.
Edwin transplanted many evergreen trees from the mountains--the ones standing around the old Court House in Provo, those standing on the Springville City Park, and one large evergreen stands southwest of the Manti Temple which can be seen for many miles. He said, "I brought it in my dinner bucket from the mountains." He thought it was the first tree transplanted in Utah. His life was typical of this great tree. A poem written by Emma Whiting, wife of Daniel Whiting, describes his life and the tree as being similar. (There's a tree stands in Manti, that's a type of his manhood. It is straight and erect with its head lifted high.)
Edwin had one of the largest families in Utah. Many of his descendents [sic] stand at the head of stake and ward organizations in our church. These descendents [sic] are in many states. Among his descendents we found seven bishops. Mapleton Ward, Kolob Stake, has had four bishops among his descendents: Lucious Whiting, a son of Edwin Whiting, was the first bishop. Oscar Whiting, a grandson, was the sixth bishop. He was the son of Albert and Harriet Perry Whiting. Welby Snow Warren was the seventh bishop, a great great grandson. He was the son of Jesse Benoni and Ruby Snow Warren, grandson of Edwin Marion Snow and Frances E. Perry Snow, and great grandson of Warren S. and Sarah Elizabeth Whiting Snow, a great great grandson of Edwin Ehiting and Elizabeth P. Tillotson. Stewart Whiting, the eighth bishop is a great grandson of Edwin Whiting. He is the son of Howard and Martha Cook Whiting, a grandson of Albert and Harriet Perry Whiting. (1963)
In Edwin's later life, he did much temple work for his dead relatives in Salt Lake, Logan and St. George, going to St. George in December, 1881. He went by team and took his wife Elizabeth and a granddaughter, Clara, oldest girl of his daughter Sarah with them. Stephen and his wife, Ann Marie Hulet, and Stephen's daughter Frances Evaline, who was a dear friend of Clara Snow. These two girls did hundreds of baptisms. Charles Perry, a son, was with them to do the names for the men. They also did many endowments and sealings of husbands and wives and families. They left home in December and started to work in the temple 28 December 1881. They stayed there until the middle of January. It was nice weather in St. George, but very cold traveling.
Edwin Whiting and his family lived the principles of his religion. He was honest, charitable, and loved his wives and children. He never accumulated great riches, but was thrifty and the families had the comforts of life. Edwin Whiting's two wives Elizabeth and Elmira, were sealed to him in the Nauvoo Temple and had their endowments there. The same day he married in the temple Mary Elizabeth Cox January 27, 1846. She was his third wife.
Nearly every home owned by the Whiting descendents in Mapleton have planted pine trees brought from the mountains in their yards and gardens.
Edwin Whiting died at Mapleton December 9, 1890, age 81 years, firm in his belief and testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.