Thursday, October 2, 2008

Faith In Every Footstep - John Davis PARKER and Alemda Sophia ROUNDY

Faith In Every Footstep
John Davis PARKER and Almeda Sophia Roundy
with two small children and other wife Samantha Roundy
28 Aug 1852 Mormon Pioneers from Nauvoo
By Jordan Reasor - gr. gr. gr. grand daughter - seventh grade family history project 1999

*John Davis PARKER

Born: 22 Nov 1799
Place: Saratoga, Saratoga, NY

Pioneer: 28 Aug 1852 Abraham D. Smoot Wagon Company

Died: 27 Feb 1891
Place: Kanarraville, Iron, UT

Spouse #1: Harriet Sherwood -divorced
1. Dorcus -infant
2. Moroni -infant
3. Nephi -infant
4. Samuel -infant

Spouse #2
*Almeda Sophia PARKER
Born: 7 Mar 1829
Place: Spafford, Onondaga, NY
Married: 3 Feb 1846
Place: LDS temple, Nauvoo, Hancock, IL
Died: 25 sep 1912
Place: Alton, Kane, UT
1.[*]Jared R., 29 Dec 1847 Kanesville, IA-infant
2.{*}John Davis, 12 Apr 1849 Kanesville, IA
3.*Malinda, 4 Apr 1851 Kanesville, IA
4. Charles, 30 Dec 1853 Centerville, UT
5. Mary Ellen, 27 Feb 1857 Centerville, UT
6. Betsey Jane, 20 Mar 1859 Centerville, UT
7. Otho, 20 Nov 1862 Morgan, UT -child
8. Lauretta, 26 Feb 1865 Chicken Creek, UT
9. Almeda Sophia, 5 Mar 1868 Kanarraville, UT
10. Samantha, 27 May 1872 Kanarraville, UT

Spouse #3:*Samantha ROUNDY
Born: 2 Jun 1824
Place: Spafford, Ononagad, New York
Married: 3 Feb 1847
Place: LDS temple, Nauvoo, Hancock, IL
Died: 12 Jul 1906
Place: UT
No Children

[*]Born and died en route
{*}Born en route

Sophia Parker Stapley, a granddaughter, stated that Almeda Sophia Roundy and John Davis Parker were both “fascinating persons.”

My third great grandfather John was a well-educated, responsible, and active man. He was born in Saratoga, New York the 22 of November 1799. He was the first of Able and Mary Davis Parker’s fifteen children. Since the family was so large John was raised by a German Aunt. It was while he was living with this aunt that he became well educated, learning to speak seven languages. Of the seven he “mastered” four.

John needed to do new things. At the young age of 13 he joined the army and served a full term as a soldier in the war of 1812.

Though his aunt offered to give him her property and a Library full of valuable books if he would stay , he left his home at age 17 and worked in a lumber business near Montreal. He became skilled at building wagons.

Missionaries from the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Steven Burnett and Shadrack Roundy taught and baptized John May 1, 1832.


The Church was just two years old at the time. Shadrach Roundy would become Johns father-in-law. (My fourth great grandfather.)

In 1834 John was one of the more than 100 men that had been gathered by the Prophet Joseph Smith from among the Saints in the Eastern States. These men formed an army known as Zion’s Camp. They where divided into groups of ten and five groups of ten were lead by a Captain. Joseph Smith lead this army on a 1,000 mile march from Ohio to Missouri. The purpose of Zion’s Camp was to help the Saints in Missouri who were being robbed and having there crops and homes burned by anti-mormon mobs.

By the time they reached Missouri there numbers had increased to 207. The journey was hard with very little to eat or drink. Often the food was rotten some times the water was from swamps and had to be strained to get out the “wiggles” Mosquito larvae. Some days they marched 35 miles. In Missouri the Governor was asked to help the Mormon citizens regain their homes and farms but he refused so they went to court. The rights for Mormon were denied.

When Zion’s camp passed through Richmond a black slave women told them there was a company of men there ready to kill them. They set up camp on a hill between two branches of the Fishing River. Five men road into camp cursing and swore that the Mormons would “see Hell before morning.” They said that 400 men were ready to destroy the Mormons. Gun fire was heard and some of the Mormon men wanted to fight but the Prophet Joseph told them the Lord would be with them. He said “stand still and see the salvation of God.” A dark cloud in the western sky seemed to roll out over the whole area. A great storm drove the Mormons from their tents into a nearby church. Outside the storm made the water rise so high the mob couldn’t cross the river. The mobs guns got too wet to use and their horses were driven off. Tree branches broke, crops were destroyed and the sky was full of thunder. The next day Colonel John Sconce of the Ray County militia came asking what the Mormons intentions were. He said “ I see that there is an Almighty power that protects this people.”

John had marched 1,000 miles to help members of his church. He didn’t have to fight but he learned and became stronger in his faith. In 1835 he become a member of the first Quorum of Seventies (a missionary Priesthood calling). He received his Patriarchal Blessing in 1836 from Joseph Smith Sr. the Prophets father. He was ordained an Elder in 1841 and went on a Mission. Later he was ordained a High Priest.

Late in the winter of 1838 Governor Lilburn Boggs of Missouri ordered all Mormons to be driven from the State or exterminated. So the Saints created a new home on the Mississippi River. They called it Nauvoo, Illinois.

At Nauvoo John met Harriet Sherwood and married her. She was deaf and dump. They had four children who all died as infants. They later divorced.

John was a captain of the Militia of the state of Illinois, Nauvoo Legion, in 1842. In 1843 he was elected a constable for Nauvoo. During the same time he started his job of being a body guard for the Prophet Joseph Smith.

One story told about him guarding the Prophet is this. John gained the confidence and trust of Sheriff John Williams. (Williams is also one of my fourth great grandfathers. In 1880 his granddaughter Elizabeth Ann Davis married John D. Parker’s son Charles.) It was under this trust that John obtained secret information of when mobs had planned to attack or threaten to hurt the Saints. He used this valuable knowledge to know when to move the Prophet from one safe place to the next. In one particular event John borrowed a neighbors horse moved silently across the river, and delivered Joseph and his brother Hyrum to a safer place. The mob didn’t find or harm Joseph or Hyrum in their raid that night and the neighbors never even knew their horse was missing, and had taken part in a life saving adventure.

Brigham Young asked John to watch the mob movements. Both John D. Parker and Shadrach Roundy were selected to helping move those living outside of Nauvoo. These families and their goods would be safer in Nauvoo. A temple was being built and Nauvoo had become the largest city in Illinois. Saints from all parts of “American and Europe were gathering there.

The anti-Mormon sentiment was growing in Illinois. In 1844 the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum came out of hiding to help the people. They, along with John Taylor and Willard Richards were jailed in Carthage, Illinois. The Governor of Illinois promised them safety their. While they where in the jailers bedroom a mob of hundreds rushed the jail. Some ran up the stairs and shot through the door killing Hyrum and wounding John Taylor and Joseph who was near the window. Joseph was also shot by bullets coming through the window. He fell out the second story window to his death. Brigham Young then became the leader of the Church.

John married two of Shadrach’s daughters in the Nauvoo temple on February 3, 1846. [Polygamy has not been part of the church since the Manifesto of 1890.]

Almeda Sophia Roundy was born in Spafford, Onondago, New York. She had lived in Ohio and Missouri with her parents Bestey Quimby and Shadrach Roundy as they followed the Prophet Joseph Smith. She and Samantha were two of the Roundy’s six daughters and four sons.

Sophia was 17 when John D. Parker asked for her hand in marriage. The proposal was excepted with the understanding that he would mary both she and her well loved sister, Samantha. Their Mother Bestey always said that if anyone would marry one of them he would have to marry them both, because Samantha was not a strong child and needed Sophia.

It was in February of 1846 that the first wagons left Nauvoo for a safe and peacful place in the west. They crossed the Mississippi and started across Iowa. When the ground thawed the wagons got stuck in the mud and it took months to cross Iowa. It was decided that a settlement would be built on the western boarder of Iowa. It was called Winter Quarters near Kanesville.

Two of Sophia and Smantha’s sisters in-law had been kill by mob violence in Nauvoo. They helped care for the four motherless children. Until one died and was taken back to be buried next to its Mother.

The next spring 1847 Brigham Young took the first group to find a place in the west. John and his wives were ready to leave with the first group.

Since John was a great wagon maker. Brigham asked him to stay at Winter Quarter and build wagons for others to use in crossing the plains. To be safe they moved to Kanesville, Pottowami , Iowa. They ended up staying there five years. John was the County Sheriff during that time. Also three of their children were born at Kanesville. They were Jared, John , and Malinda. Jared died, this brought much grief to the family. John’s wagon making ended when his shop caught fire making him lose two wagons, hundreds of dollars worth of wood in seasoning, oils, paints, and all of his tools. He had provided 13 wagons for crossing the plains. This event made the family feel it was time for them to make their own journey across the plains.

They joined up with the Abraham D. Smoot company. The journey was harsh, because the weather was hot and the company was stricken with cholera. Those who didn’t suffer the illness tried to care for the sick. One method used was to dip the sick into cool water. Then they concocted a paste of whiskey and flour , which the sick drank. Of the 68 who got sick 14 died. The dead were wrapped in blankets and buried. Sophia was caring for the a sick father of ten when he died. The widow and Sophia became close friends.

They met with buffalo stampedes that scared them but did little harm. In the after noon hours the women walking along next to the wagons would gather dried buffalo chips so they could build fires to cook their dinner.

They arrived in Utah August 28, 1852. They settled in Centerville, Davis, Utah, with their five member family, a wagon, four oxen, and two cows. They settled there because Lorenzo W. one of Sophia’s brothers was living in Centerville. One year after they got to Utah, John and Sophia’s son Charles was born.

All John’s education paid off. It helped him to be elected to serve two terms in the Legislature, and one as a Probate Judge. He was a assessor and a collector.

Mary Ellen was born in Centerville in 1857 and Betsey Jane followed in 1859. Otho was born in Weber Valley, Morgan county in 1862.

Serving in the Army at age 13 wasn’t the end of him participating in that sort of thing. When he was in his 60’s his granddaughter claims John fought with a sword in the Civil War some time between 1861 and 1865. Some of the soldiers of the US Army occupying Utah at that time were called to fight in the Civil War. John could have joined them.

John owned a Revolutionary War sword that he loved. He might have used it in the Civil War. After the Civil War he must of been involved in the Indian Wars of the 1860’s in Southern Utah.
In 1864 John’s family, was called to settle Kanab in Kane County. In 1865 at Chicken Creek in Juab County Lauretta was born. [Kanab was disbanded in 1866 because of the Indian wars. Then resettled in 1870 by others.] It was in 1866 John and Sophia lost their son Otho and daughter Mary Ellen both died of Scarlet Fever.

From Kanab the family moved to Kanarraville (north) in Iron county. Then to the rebuilt location. The Parkers built a log cabin on the N. E. corner lot, on the block that is N. E. from the church square. The family was raised in that cabin. Later they bought a house from Doc. Brown. (In 1866 Lorenzo W. Roundy was Bishop at Kanarraville. In 1876 he was accidentally drowned in the Colorado River and never found.)

When the US Marshals came in search of polygamists John talked to them but wasn’t taken away. The federal government had passed a law outlawing polygamy. The Marshals were sent to Utah Territory to enforce the law. How could the polygamist husbands and fathers leave their families? Many men were put in prison, and many others went into hiding.

In the History of The Church there is a story of Brigham Young’s trip from St. George back to Salt Lake City when he was to be put on trial for polygamy. Brigham stopped at Kanarraville and John D. Parker asked him not to return to Salt Lake City. When Brigham left John “wept like a child” he was so worried about the Prophet Brigham.

John was very kind to both his wives, his daughters and his daughter in-law Elizabeth. (Charles and Elizabeth are my great great grandparents.)

Most of the responsibility of caring for the family was placed on Charles’ shoulders. John was 48 when he started raising this family and 52 when Charles was born. Their son John died at nineteen. Eight days later their youngest child Samantha was born, John was 72. Loretta died in 1880 at fifteen.

John did all he could to care for the family like shucking corn, chopping wood, and feeding the stock. Sophia did the gardening and milking. Samantha did the housework. Hauling the wood and the farming was left to Charles.

John didn’t save a lot of money, but he paid a full and honest tithe and helped the needy, especially the widowed families.

John, in his later years, was seen cracking and eating Pottowami Plum pits in substute for his broken tabacco habit.

John died at age 92. He loved sitting by the warm crackling fire, with his cat on a little stool next to him. That last cold winter John caught pneumonia. He went outside to chop wood and brought in a load of wood, sat down next to ”Kitty” and took his last nap. He left his two wives, one son and four daughters.

The grandchildren and great grandchildren called Sophia “Big Grandma” and Samantha was “Little Grandma.” When Samantha was nine years old she fell from a load of hay. This caused her to never grew any taller than she was at age nine. Samantha never had children, but Sophia’s children loved her as much as Sophia. The two were almost never apart.

Younger women loved to call on the two sisters to listen to their many interesting experiences.

They attended quilting parties and weddings. They loved to sew, in fact it was all done by hand, because they had no machine. They also enjoyed spinning and weaving. Much of their time was spent caring for the sick. Because of the good example of the two sisters a neighbor was converted to the church. She knew the gospel was true because of the goodness of their lives and examples.

Both Grandmas lived their last years on the ranch in Kanab with Malinda Sophia’s daughter. Little Grandma died in 1906 after a stroke. Big Grandma died in 1912 at age 83.

1. Together Again - An Autobiographical History, (about 1975) by granddaughter Sophia Parker Stapley, with Histories by Malinda Parker Roundy daughter (1930) and granddaughter Ester Parker Robb
2. Laura E. Parker Wood photos in the possession of Lark Wood Reasor
3. Church History in the Fullness of Times, published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
4.The Pioneer Heritage CD-ROM
5.LDS Collectors Library 1997

1 comment:

kevin said...

Thank you for this entry! I just found out that I'm a descendant of John Davis Parker and I was thrilled to find this information about him and his family.

-kevin roundy