Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thomas Box - Early Mormon Convert from Texas

(Thomas is the brother to our direct ancestor, Grief Johnson Box and the great-uncle to our grandmother, Mabel Edna Leffel Baldwin)

Thomas Box & Clarkey Carpenter Box Family
Early Mormon Converts from Texas

As far as I can tell, Thomas Box and his wife, Clarkey Carpenter Box, are our only ancestors to join the Mormon Church. This is their story.

Thomas Box was born in Knoxville, Knox, Tennessee on 8 Aug 1804, the third son of ,Michael and Mary (Fulcher) Box. Sometime around 1830 Thomas married Clarkey Carpenter, daughter of Richard & Nancy Holiday Carpenter. No marriage license has been found. Thomas & Clarkey Box were living in Giles, Tennessee when their son, Rufus, was born on 19 Mar 1831. Clarkey's Carpenter family also lived in Giles County at this time.

By 1835, Thomas and Clarkey had moved to Tippah County, Mississippi. Their daughter, Samantha was born 22 Jun 1835. Two years later the Thomas Box family was in Chulerhomer, Marshall, Mississippi when son, Thomas Michael Box, was born 26 Oct 1837. They may have been visiting Marshall County because they are soon back in Tippah County. Thomas shows up in the 1840 census and in land records of Tippah County until 1842. Eleven year old son, Rufus, died in 1842. Thomas’s parents, Michael and Mary Box,  both die just a month a part in early 1841 in Tippah county and daughter, Samantha, died at the age of 9 years old in October of 1844. Thomas and his family probably moved to Texas sometime after the death of his daughter in 1844.

In 1846, the Thomas Box Family was in Texas.  Thomas showed up on the 1846 Henderson County, Texas Poll list. The older brother to Thomas, James Francis Box, had previously moved to Texas. Some of the Box relatives (uncles and cousins) had lived in Texas since the Texas Revolution from Mexico.  His sister, Mary and her husband, Hugh G. Henderson, migrated to Texas about the same time as Thomas and Clarkey. Perhaps they traveled together in a wagon train from Tennessee to Texas.  Families and friends often moved together to new locations.

Thomas received a land grant for 320 acres in Henderson County in 1849.


In 1850, Thomas, Clarkey and their three living children are enumerated in the Henderson County, Texas 1850 Federal Census.
1850 Federal Census, Henderson County, Texas
Sometime around 1850, Lydia Box McCollum, sister to Thomas, moved to Henderson County with her husband, George, and their children.

In 1851, Thomas Box was appointed administrator for James Duncan Estate in Henderson County, Texas. (Thomas Box is next door to James Duncan in the 1850 Henderson Census). According to the Duncan probate records of August 1854, Thomas Box was said to be living in Trinity City, Ellis County, Texas. It is not known if James Duncan was more than just a friend and neighbor?

Box Family Joins Mormon Church
Sometime in the early part of 1856, Thomas and Clarkey became acquainted with missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. On 10 April 1856, Thomas and Clarkey were baptized members of the LDS Church in Ellis County, Texas. At that time, Elders Morris Snedaker, Homer Duncan, John Ostler & Benjamin L. Clapp were serving as missionaries in Ellis County. The next month, on Sunday, 25 May 1856, Thomas was ordained an Elder in the LDS Church. Thomas and Clarkey were listed as members of the newly organized Ellis County Branch on the first of June 1856. James Box and wife and Thomas Box, Jr. were also listed as members. This James Box and wife, who are listed as members, would probably be the brother and sister-in-law to Thomas Box.  Apparently, they did not remain active or committed to their new religion because they did not move to Utah with the other members in 1857. 

  Members of the Ellis County, Texas Branch of the LDS Church, June 1856
Diary of Morris J. Snedaker, 1855-1856; Southwestern Historical Quarterly, April 1963

Thomas probably traveled to Utah with the Homer Duncan Company in 1857. The Box family arrived in Salt Lake Valley in September 1857.  Thomas brought with him a large herd of cattle.  The following was reported in the Los Angeles Star newspaper (Vol VIII, Saturday, 7 Nov 1857): "John Aiken...says: ...returned to Texas, and thence to Kansas, where I took charge of a drove of cattle, of 973, for Thomas Box, a Mormon, to deliver them at Salt Lake city. We started from Leavenworth city on the 22d of June last. We proceeded quietly and uninterruptedly on our journey as far as Sweet Water."

Several months after arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, Thomas received his Patriarchal Blessing (5 Dec 1857) from Patriarch Isaac Morley.
Patriarchal Blessing Index, 1833-1963

In a letter dated 13 Apr 1858, to the Secretary of War concerning the Indian difficulties in Utah Territory, the following was reported: "About the 1st of March a descent was made upon the herds of the settlers in Rush valley and a considerable number of cattle and horses were driven off; among them quite a number belonging to Mr. Thos. Box, late of Texas." (Executive Documents of the House of Representatives, 35th Congress, Washington, 1859, page 74)

On 10 Jul 1858, Thomas was sealed to his wife, Clarkey in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. Also, on that same day Thomas married a polygamist wife, Belinda Marden Pratt, the widow of Parley P. Pratt who had died in May of 1857. (Yes, we have a polygamist in the family.)

 Endowment House, Salt Lake City

In 1859, several members of the Box family are listed in the SLC 17th Ward Records. In January of 1859, Thomas, Clarkey & Belinda travel to Nephi, Utah to receive Patriarchal Blessings from Patriarch William Cazier. In September of 1859, Thomas and Clarkey received their Endowments in the Endowment House and were sealed as husband and wife a second time.  During 1859, Thomas served as a juror for the 3rd Judicial Court in Salt Lake City.

Also, in 1859, Thomas Box is referred to in the Journal History of the Church.  During the time of the Utah War, Brigham Young joined in a meeting of the Twelve held on 23 Feb 1859.  This meeting is reported in the Journal History of the Church:  "President Brigham Young came in at a quarter past one o'clock.  Wilford Woodruff read the minutes.  President Young said Bro. Box said the army was wanting to get up a vigilant committee, and wanted to get my head, but they will not do it..." .

On 23 Apr 1860, Thomas Box purchased land in Plat A Great Salt Lake City from Charles Gray. The land was on the corner of 1st North and 1st West in Salt Lake City.
1860 Federal Census, Salt Lake City, Utah
In the 1860 Census for Salt Lake City, Thomas was listed in the 13th Ward and his occupation was listed as a merchant. In addition to his wife Clarkey and their three children (Thomas, William Jeff., and Josephine), Belinda (Marden Pratt) Box and her children by her marriage to Parley P. Pratt were living with them. Belinda had five children, including a teenage son.

As noted, Thomas listed his occupation as merchant.  Thomas placed the following advertisement in the Deseret Newspaper in 1860 and refers to "my store in this city." 

28 Feb 1860, Deseret Newspaper, Salt Lake City, Utah

The Millennial Star reported the following in 1861,  "The Jordan dam, which has been under way for several years, is now being put in principally by brother Thomas Box, who has taken up a large tract of land about three miles northwest of the bridge, where he has found a good well of water, and sowed twenty or thirty acres of wheat for an experiment."

In the October Conference of 1861, Thomas Box and Thomas M. Box (son) of the SLC 17th Ward were called to settle in Southern Utah.  The Box family does not appear to have stayed in Southern Utah.  During 1861 to 1870 time period, there were Salt Lake County court records which listed Thomas Box as both plaintiff and defendant in debt cases. 

On 26, May 1862, Thomas Box of the Salt Lake City, 17th Ward recorded his brand, "+|" (right hip & right jaw)

In March 1864, Thomas Box traveled to Clover Valley (Nevada) when he heard of a mine discovery. His party did not discover a mine at Clover Valley so they headed to Panaca.  During this time, Thomas staked claims for himself, his two sons, and wife.  He then traveled back home to Salt Lake for provisions and tools, then headed back to the Panaca mine and then to Pioche in June of 1864. Thomas eventually sold his interest in the mine, some say at the request of Brigham Young.

On 20 Feb 1868, Clarkey was listed as a member of the newly organized SLC Seventeenth Ward Relief Society Organization. She donated 2 ½ yards of Jeans fabric worth $7.50, which was the largest donation given that day.  During 1868, Clarkey is mentioned several more times in the 17th Ward Relief Society minutes.  During one of the meetings, she was on a list of those who donated fabric and made a quilt.  Clarkey is not mentioned during 1869, but on 25 May 1870 in a Relief Society meeting at Union Hall, she made a donation of 5 cents, one of the smaller donations.

The 1869 Salt Lake City Directory listed Thomas as living in the 17th Ward on the corner of 1st North and 1st West. His occupation was listed as Freighter. 



In the 1870 Salt Lake City, Utah CENSUS, Thomas was living in the 17th Ward with wife, Clarkey and children: Thomas, William, Josephine and a 2 year old, Emily. Belinda Marden Pratt Box and family were no longer living with Thomas and Clarkey. (What happened to Belinda??? Why did she leave?)
1870 Federal Census, Salt Lake City, Utah

Two year old, Emily (Emma Josephine Box), listed in the above 1870 Census, was Josephine’s illegitimate daughter. Emma died of scarlet fever when she was eight years old and was buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery next to her half-brother, Thomas J. Cunningham. Josephine had married Dennis Cunningham in about 1871. Josephine and Dennis Cunningham had a four year old son, Thomas J. Cunningham, who also died of scarlet fever just a week earlier than young Emma had died. See post on the Josephine Box & Dennis Cunningham family.

The Thomas Box family financial circumstances seem to have changed during the 1860’s.  In 1860, Thomas listed the value of his real estate as $800 and value of personal estate as $10,000 -- a lot of money in those days.  By 1870, Thomas listed the value of his real estate as $1,000 and the value of his personal estate as $1,000.  What caused the decline in his personal estate?

In 1873, Thomas Box and son, Thomas Box, Jr. traveled to Pioche, Nevada to testify in what was known as "The Great Mining Suit."   The San Francisco Bulletin (newspaper) of 31 March 1873 reports: "Thomas Box and Thomas M. Box, father and son, were examined for the plaintiffs. The elder Box is a venerable-looking Mormon Bishop, seventy-five years of age. He testified that in March 1864, induced by reports of a mine discovery in Clover Valley, he came from Salt Lake City down the country with Sherwood, Vandermark and Shirts. At Clover Valley the reported mine was not discovered, but the party heard of the Panaca claim from the discoverers Ham, Bliss and Stil. From this point Box repeated substantially the history of the expedition to the Panaca location..."
(Note: No record has been found thus far of Thomas Box being called as a Bishop, as he is referred to in the above statement.)

In the 1874 SLC Directory, Thomas listed his occupation as a miner. He resided at the corner of 1 North & 1 West, southside, and son, T.M. Box, also a miner, resided on the northside of 1 North & 1 West.
Salt Lake City Directory, 1874


Box Family and Temple Work
Thomas and Clarkey were probably the first family members in our family to be interested in Family History. This interest developed because of the Mormon doctrines of Eternal Families and Temple Work.
In 1874, Thomas and Clarkey started performing proxy temple work their deceased family members. In the Salt Lake City Endowment House and later in the St. George Temple, Thomas performed temple work for his father, Michael Box, his brothers William and John, and many of his other deceased male relatives.  Clarkey performed the temple work for the deceased females of the Box and Carpenter families. From the early LDS church temple records of Thomas Box and Clarkey Carpenter Box, we learn the relationships for many of the Box and Carpenter families

In the 1875 October Conference, William Jefferson Box, son of Thomas, was called on a mission to the Southern States Mission.  He would be serving as a missionary in Texas. William had previously  married Alice Odd (a Mormon convert from England) on the 26 April 1875 in Endowment House. They were married by President D. H. Wells.  When William Jefferson Box did not return to Salt Lake City from his mission, Alice filed papers and received a  divorce in 1877.  Alice claimed that her husband left for Texas to visit relatives and never came home. It is not know if William J. Box ever returned to Utah, although his card in the old Missionary File Index in the Church History Library has "returned" written on it.  See post on William Jefferson Box.

Thomas and Clarkey remained faithful to their religion and continued to be involved in Temple Work for their deceased family members. First, they performed temple work for deceased family members during June 1876 in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City.  Then the year after the St. George Temple was completed in 1877, Thomas and Clarkey were in St. George performing Temple Work in the fall of 1878.  It is not known if they were living in St. George at the time or just visiting.

Exactly where the Box family lived after 1878 is a mystery.  Alfred Alonzo Barney writes in his history that in about 1879-1880, he hired out to Tom Box. The Box cattle were in Potato Valley Desert, Escalante Valley, Utah and were to be moved to the Lake. Box Creek just south of Koosharem, Utah was named after Thomas Box and his family. It appears that Thomas Box was in Southern Utah moving his cattle around from place to place. 

The Thomas Box family cannot be found in the 1880 census. From the 1880 journal entries of Platte Lyman, who was part of the Hole-in-the-Rock group, Lyman writes about an 1880 trip from Bluff, Utah, along the San Juan River and then into southwestern Colorado. Along the way Lyman stopped and traded his lame horse to Tom Box. After plotting Lyman's trip on a map, it is estimated that the Tom Box place was a few miles west of Battle Rock in McElmo Canyon, Montezuma County, Colorado.

"A Kindhearted Man"
Sometime before the spring of 1881, Thomas and Clarkey moved to San Juan County, New Mexico.  This would be just about 75 miles southeast of McElmo Canyon.  The following death notice for Thomas was found in the Deseret Newspaper of Salt Lake City:
Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 20 Apr 1881.
DIED. "In Farmington, New Mexico, March 17, 1881, Thomas Box. He was born August 8, 1804 near Knoxville, Knox Co., Tenn. He was a kindhearted man, and died a true Latter-day Saint; he was well known in Utah. –COM."



Grandma Box
A reference to a "Grandma Box" and her son, Tom, was found in 1881 Fruitland, San Juan, NM which is right next to Farmington, NM.  "Grandma Box" was listed as the first person buried in the Fruitland Cemetery, San Juan County, New Mexico.
In a short biography for Luther C. Burnham by his daughter, Camera Burnham Palmer (Treasures of Pioneer History, Vol. 5, pg 195), the following is recorded;
"There were several families already located at what is now known as Fruitland (San Juan County, New Mexico), most of them being Mormon families who had come from Utah. Now that father (Luther Burnham) had chosen the San Juan Valley in which to locate, he was called to preside over this small group of members. This move was made in the spring of 1881... These first settlers had built a fort or stockade to protect themselves from the Indians, but they did not have any trouble with them as they were very friendly. The Old Fort was made of large Mexican adobes and was built in the shape of an L, facing the east and north with no windows or doors on the south or west. It had two or three large rooms facing north the rest east. It contained about nine or ten rooms. Sometime late in the summer my mother moved down in one room of a two-room adobe house on the San Juan river where father was farming. An OLD LADY WITH HER SON TOM BOX lived in the other room. GRANDMA BOX we called her. She was I think the first adult to die and be buried in the Fruitland Cemetery. While we lived in the house, my mother had another child born..."

Clarkey continued to live in the Fruitland, New Mexico area.   "Clarkie Box," widowed, is recorded in the 1885 New Mexico Territorial Census for Rio Arriba County (San Juan County formed in 1887).   She was living in the Walter Joshua Stevens household.  Her son, Thomas Box, Jr., was NOT listed in the census.

Schedules of the New Mexico Territory Census of 1885; Olio and Aztec, Rio Arriba, ED 17, page 11, hh 43/43
In the above census, Clarkie is 74 years old, widowed, and mistakenly listed as a "male" born in Texas.
Thomas and Clarkey's daughter, Josephine and her husband, Dennis Cunningham, also moved to San Juan County, New Mexico.  They lived in La Plata, which is just a few miles from Farmington and Fruitland.  The Dennis and Josephine Box family was, also,  enumerated in the 1885 New Mexico Territorial Census in La Plata, Rio Arriba County (San Juan County formed in 1887).  Why wasn't Clarkey living with her daughter and son-in-law??
The following children were listed in the Dennis Cunningham family: Maggie, a daughter aged 10 born in Utah; Willie, a son aged 7 born in Utah; Katie, a daughter aged 3 born in New Mexico; and, Josephine, a daughter aged 6 months born November in New Mexico.  This is the only record that son, Willie, shows up.

Josephine Box Cunningham, died of a ruptured appendix on 9 Jun 1888.  After Josephine's death, her husband, Dennis Cunningham, took their daughters back to Dubuque, Iowa and placed them in the care of a Catholic Convent.
No actual grave markers have been found for any of the family who died in San Juan County, New Mexico.  Although, the Fruitland Cemetery has a "Grandma Box" listed as being buried in an unmarked grave (no headstone) next to an unknown grave.  Could the unknown grave next to Clarkie be that of Thomas Box or Josephine Cunningham??



There is no information on what became of son, Thomas Michael Box, who was still single and lived with his mother after his father's death in 1881.  In 1882, Thomas is mentioned in the General Minutes of the Burnham Ward, San Juan Stake of the LDS Church when on the 4th of February 1882, Thomas was rebaptised and confirmed a member of the Church.  Thomas is not found living in the Fruitland area in the 1885 Territorial census.  He seems to have completely disappeared (maybe abducted by aliens -- just kidding!:)  Perhaps he moved back and lived like a hermit in McElmo Canyon in southwestern Colorado, or perhaps he moved to Texas to live with relatives, or perhaps he went to find his brother, William, or perhaps he died, or who knows.

Conclusion
My story of Thomas Box and his family is far from over.  Too bad Thomas did not write his history or keep a journal  - it would have been very interesting, like reading an Old West novel. Thomas Box was a farmer, cowboy, cattle rancher, horse trader, miner, freighter, merchant, Mormon convert, polygamist, and all around interesting guy.
Any additional information on the Thomas & Clarkey Box family would be greatly appreciated!  Some insignificant bit of information might be just the clue that would help.  Thanks.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Maymie's Picture Show!

Baby Maymie

Maymie & Vern - New Mexico


Maymie in knickers -- Too cute!



Maymie, Wilber, Leroy


Maymie at Leroy's Baptism




Maymie with horse - Cortez
Maymie at an Indian Ceremony

Maymie & Elmer
Maymie, Elmer and Baby Cathy

Monday, July 14, 2008

Maymie Wilson Martin

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAYMIE


Today, July 14th, was Maymie's Birthday, so I thought I would share a few pictures of Maymie and a brief history she wrote about her childhood.

This first picture is of Baby Maymie


Maymie & Vern in 1911
Maymie said she was wearing a bright blue dress.
The dog's name was Spot.

I love this picture of Maymie in Knickbockers


Here is a short biography written by Maymie of her childhood



My Life
by
Maymie Pearl Wilson Martin
I, Maymie Pearl Wilson were borned in Wood County, Oklahoma in 1905 long before it became a State. I were borned in a big log house on my Grandpa Hatfield's old homestead. I had one brother Vern. He was 2 years old when I were borned.
My folk left and came west when I were 2 weeks old. We came all the way in a covered wagon to Albuquerque, New Mexico. We stayed there 2 1/2 years. My father B. Wilson worked for a big sawmill outfit. He took care of all the horses when they would bring them in at night. He would feed and water them.
I were very sick all the time we were in New Mexico. The Doctor told my folks if they didn't leave with me that I wouldn't live long there. So we went back again to Oklahoma in our covered wagon. This time we went to a Cherokee camp of about 800 Indians. My father worked for the chief for about a year. Him being some Indian himself he understood them real good. We lived in a tent like all the Indians did. I were still real sick - so one day the chief's wife and one other squaw came to visit my mother Pearl They said they had come to make me well. The old squaw told my father to ketch a rabbit and while it was still alive to split it's head open and while it was still kicken they took it's brain and rubbed all inside of my mouth and all the time they were doing this to me they were singing. Mother said she certainly couldn't see how this would help. But it did. I got better right away.
My family traveled alot. We never stayed in one place very long. But while we were in Oklahoma this time my sister Lillie Alma was borned. When she was about 3 years old we went on to Dequeen, Arkansas, where my Dad worked in a big peach orchard. We always traveled in a big covered wagon and our house were most always were a tent or a log house. Sometimes we just lived in our big wagon. Mother would do the cooking on a campfire by the side of the wagon. Us older kids would gether wood for the fire and carrie water as we would always camp clost to water. Bother John were borned while we were in Arkansas. I remember Vern started to school somewhere in Arkansas and mother let me go with him the first day. Dad took us on a horse as the timber was real thick and full of wild hogs so mother didn't want us to walk. I only stayed about 2 hours then ran off and went home which was about 2 1/2 miles. This really scared mother. Vern only went about a week then we all went back up into Oklahoma for a while.
From there we came on to Dolores, Colorado. Vern and I each had our own little saddle horses so we rode them and followed the wagon. We crossed the San Juan River some where clost to Farmington, New Mexico. I was afraid to ride my horse into the river so my Dad let me get into the wagon with mother and the 2 younger children. The water was real swift and deep. When we got down into the river it soon filled our wagon bed full of water and a lot of our stuff floated out and on down the river. The horses had a hard time pulling the wagon out on the other side. We were all wet but happy to still be alive. Vern's horse was a good swimmer so he made it fine. When we were once more on dry ground my father made me get back on my horse which I didn't want to so I cryed as loud as I could all the way through Farmington. Vern was so ashamed of me he rode on to ketch up with the wagon and let me to come on alone.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Cortez Cemetery

We spent the 4th of July visiting family in "Colorful Colorado." Before leaving, we were able to visit the Cortez cemetery where some of our Wilson and Martin family are buried.

This first headstone is for Grandpa Charles B. Wilson. Most people called him "Dad Wilson". Someone added the Wilson Brand to the headstone -- "/H" slash H
Right next to Charles B. Wilson is his wife, Minnie Pearl Hatfield Wilson.

Vern and Laura Wilson are also buried in the Cortez Cemetery. Vern's headstone has the "/H" Brand and a horse head carved into the top corners. Laura died in California and her ashes were sent back to Cortez to be buried next to Vern. We left a flag on Vern's headstone since he was in the Navy.




Below is the picture of the headstone for Elmer M. Martin and wife, Maymie Pearl Wilson Martin.
Here are two cousins looking at the headstones.
Below, we are standing in front of Vern Wilson's headstone.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Was our Great-Grandma a Choctaw Indian???

Stories have circulated for years that there was Indian blood on the Wilson line. Some say that there was a picture hanging in Grandma Pearl Wilson's house in Cortez of the Indian Grandma on the Wilson side. If anyone has that picture, please make a copy(scan) and send us -- especially of any notations on the back of the picture. Or if anyone has a picture of any of the James Wilson family, please contact us.  NO records have been found to prove (or disprove) American Indian heritage in our Wilson family. 

In about 1949, Vern (William Martin) Wilson was trying to get a roofing contract on the Navajo Reservation. He had to prove that he was part Indian, so he had his wife, Laura, type up a pedigree showing his Indian heritage (shown below). The document stated that he was 1/8 Choctaw Indian. He stated that his father's grandmother was a full blood Choctaw Indian. This great-grandmother, named Martha Ann, was the wife of James Wilson.  Her maiden name is unknown. The only information I have been able to find on this great-grandmother is a 1850 census record, land records in Texas and a cemetery headstone in Collin County, Texas. From those records I know that her name was Martha Ann (last name unknown) and that she was born about 1815 in South Carolina and died 16 Aug 1873 in Collin County, Texas.  She was buried in the Chambersville Cemetery in Collin County, Texas.   NONE of the records indicate that she was Native American.

I have found NO record or proof that she was or was not a Native American Indian.

Any additional information on Martha Ann Wilson, wife of James Wilson, would be appreciated!

Note: Most of the information in the record given by Vern & Laura has been verified and seems correct, BUT there are several known errors in this document that are listed below the document.



Known errors in the above document:
Line 9 -- Fathers Father should be William B. Wilson NOT William David Wilson (marriage record, Civil War Pension record, Pardon, land and court records all state his name as William B. Wilson)
Line 11 -- Fathers Mother, Mary Polly Huff was born in Grayson County, Virginia NOT West Virginia (Grayson County is in the western part of Virginia.)
Line 22 -- Mothers grandmother was Sarah M. Cole NOT Sarah M. Ball

Jess and Mabel Baldwin Family 1928

Jess & Mabel Baldwin Family
1928
left to right
Weldon, Joe, Jess, Esther (cute hat), Mabel, Sue, Ethel
(Grandma is pregnant with Juanita)