Monday, September 7, 2015

{History of Mapleton} Leonard Jotham Whitney (1842-1921) and Tryphena Roseltha Perry Whitney (1847-1924)

This is from The History of Mapleton, by Ralph K. Harmer and Wendell B. Johnson, on page 180-181.

Leonard Jotham Whitney

Leonard Jotham Whitney came west with a wave of “gold seekers” during the gold rush of ’59. He was born in Hinesburg, Vermont, on July 9, 1842. His parents were Jotham and Sarah Lucy Smith Whitney. His mother died when he was four years old, and a neighbor couple charitably raised him as their own. The family moved to Wisconsin and then Iowa. At 17, Leonard headed for “gold country” in search of his fortune. He crossed the plains with the U. S. Army, and reached his destination—Eldorado country—in July, 1859. In California, he worked at various jobs, but left for Virginia City, Nevada, when he realized there was no fortune in prospecting. Drawn to the military, he joined the Nevada volunteers and became a commissioned First Lieutenant. Three years later he was ordered to Camp Douglas, Utah. On June 6, 1865, he was sent in command to Duchesne County to move the Ute Indians to the Uintah Reservation. At the close of the Civil War he left the Army and joined the Jesse P. Steel Company in the Black Hawk War.

He met Tryphena Perry in Springville, courted her, fell in love, and proposed marriage. After their marriage they went to the Strawberry Valley where Leonard ran a saw-mill for the government. Returning to Springville, the Whitneys commenced a family which eventually grew to six children. Still interested in prospecting, Leonard went to Tintic where he helped discover and develop a claim which yielded a small fortune. An investment in a merchandise business failed. In 1877 the Whitneys sold their home in Springville and bought a farm in Mapleton. There the family struggled along in a partially finished adobe home. The ceilings were covered with a carpet and the adobes were wrapped in newspaper to protect them against the weather.

Forced to work away from home, Leonard went to St. George to work on the Temple. Next he went to Alta where he worked on a saw-mill, and then he traveled to Park City where he hired on as a carpenter. The family always accompanied him in his travels.

Finally, he returned to Mapleton. Tradition declares that he suggested the name “Maple Town or Mapleton” when a citizens committee petitioned the state to incorporate the Union Bench into a town. He was very active in its development. He helped survey and lay out the town platt, assisted in the building of schools, constructed numerous homes, and was active in the survey and promotion of the Strawberry Canal across the east bench. He was a tireless worker and held many positions in the church and community. His natural leadership qualities aided tremendously in establishing Mapleton as a permanent town.

A skilled carpenter, he was often called upon to make caskets for the dead. Tryphena made the linings. At the close of his active, full life, he returned to Springville where he died November 13, 1922.

Tryphena Roseltha Perry Whitney

Tryphena Roseltha Perry Whitney was born at Mt. Pisgah, Iowa, on June 19, 1847. She was the second child of Stephen Chadwick Perry and Anna Marie Hulett. When she was two, the family began the arduous journey across the Midwest with the Captain Bennett Company. On reaching the Salt Lake Valley, the Perrys were sent to settle in Springville.

As a young girl, Tryphena experienced all of the tasks as well as joys of pioneer life. There were babies to help care for, clothes, to wash and mend, and countless chores around the house which needed to be done. At 14, she began working for other people and was seldom home after taking her first job. She later worked for Lyman S. Wood, a Springville merchant, and was in his employ when she met Leonard J. Whitney. A romance developed and they were married on Christmas day in 1866. Her husband traveled much in his search for employment and she faithfully followed.

The Whitney family consisted of six children. Leonard Nelson Whitney died in childhood; Lilly Semyra Whitney, Harvey Alonza Whitney; Lewis Jotham Whitney; Anna Tracy Whitney; and Jessie Colista Whitney.

Dangerously ill at the birth of her last child, Tryphena was struck with spinal meningitis. Death seemed inevitable. She fought back, however, and after a determined, sustained effort she regained her health. A short time afterward, she applied with the State of Utah and successfully acquired her license in “Mid-wifery.” Her records show more than 500 deliveries, most of them without the aid of a doctor. She was also a skilled nurse and assisted many families during severe illness. When she died December 18, 1924, she was honored as a faithful wife and mother, a talented nurse, a spirit motivated by the principle of love, and one of the most venerated women in town.

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