Monday, January 21, 2013

Eleanor Turner and Charles William Willden


{My Great-Great-grand Parents}
By Shirley Willden Olsen
Charles William Willden was born to Jeremiah and Betty Reville Willden on July 27, 1806 in Anston, Yorkshire, England. Charles married Elenor Turner on January 21, 1833 in Laughton, Yorkshire, England. Eleanor was born to Thomas and Ann Whitman Turner on April 9, 1810 in Laughton, Yorkshire, England.

Charles and Eleanor Willden lived in Laughton, Yorkshire, England where Ellott and Eleanor were born. In 1836 they moved to Sheffield, Yorkshire, England where two year old Eleanor died and five other children were born, Charles Turner, John, (my great-grandfather), Feargus O'Connor, Ann and Maria.

Charles worked as a laborer and also in the steel mills where he discovered a way to refine steel. He was active in politics at the time of Ireland's fight for freedom. On August 27, 1839 Charles joined the LDS Church, four years later Eleanor joined the Church.

On October 25, 1849 Charles Willden and his family left Sheffield bound for Liverpool where they were to sail by ship for America. Charles and his family slept on the docks five days before boarding the ship. On November 10, 1849 the Ship "Zetland" sailed. They landed in New Orleans two months to the day from the day they left their home in England, December 24, 1849, with only one farthing (about half a cent) and a few hundred lb. of oatmeal which they sold for one cent a pound. Which was a little help toward paying for their passage up the river to St. Louis, Missouri. (When) Charles went to pay for their passage up the river they did not have enough money. Charles and his sons carried wood and odd jobs in order to earn the fare. A week later on December 29, 1849 they left New Orleans on the steamboat "Ben West" and arrived at St. Louis January 11, 1850. During the journey Maria Willden age 2 died January 4, 1850 and was buried at "Council Bain", Arkansas.

They stayed three months in St. Louis where, no doubt Charles and his older sons worked to get funds to continue their Journey to Utah. The Willdens left St. Louis April 12, 1850 on the steamer, "Correy", and arrived in Council Bluffs, Iowa, a new settlement, May 4, 1850. Charles bought a farm from a man named Solomon Walker, a farm consisting of 50 to 60 acres and two houses for the sum of $20, as Walker was going west. It left the family with $2 to buy necessities but they were able and willing to work. The family worked the farm for two years, planting corn and wheat. Most of the work was done by hand as they had no team or machinery. Feargus and Ann went to school for about 6 weeks while the family lived in Council Bluffs. Mary Ellen Elizabeth was born there on November 5, 1850.

In the spring of 1852, the Willden family along with others gathered wagon timber to have a wagon made. They left their homestead and some corn in the cribs for Utah, on June 2, 1852. While traveling, the weaker members of the family rode in the wagon while the others walked. They walked over half the way. The driving of the animals, gathering of firewood, taking care of the oxen, and carrying water was the job of Feargus and John. Charles Jr. drove the wagon and helped his father. Ann helped her mother with her little sister and other chores. During the trip one time Charles went hunting with the other men, he didn't return with them. The train couldn't wait for him. That night a lantern was hung on a tall tree and guns were fired in intervals at about 3 in the morning an answer shot was heard. Charles had found the train. Charles Jr. was lost for 4 days. He had gone to help another family that had taken the wrong road. On one day ann was in the wagon when John asked her to drive the sheep, while she was getting out of the wagon on the wrong side the oxen kicked her under the wagon, a wheel struck her back, she was badly hurt. While passing through Echo Canyon the children found it to be a very wonderful place, for the great rocks and high cliffs were the first we had ever seen. They shouted and there came back the mysterious voices echoing from the rocky cliffs.

They arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah on September 13, 1852 and stayed there for four weeks. Charles was dealing with Lorenzo D. Young, a farmer, but as soon as he heard the name Willden he told Charles his brother Brigham Young wished to speak to him. Charles went to Brigham Young, who wanted them to go to Cedar City, known as Coal Creek, to work in his trade as a steel refiner.

The Willden family left for Cedar City in the late fall, en route they camped one night at Cove Creek and as Charles looked over the valley he remarked what a lovely place it would be to settle. They arrived on Friday October 29, 1852 in Cedar City. They took with them a herd of cattle and ten sheep. It was a hard winter for them they lived in the wagon box and camped under the stars until they could build a dugout where the family slept, ate and cooked in one room. There was little food and they existed on bread, roots, and grass roots until spring of 1853. "After the second harvest" they built a grist mill. Everybody helped to build the mill before the cold weather came.

On December 15, 1853 Louise Willden was born. Shortly after her birth Eleanor was taken very ill. Ann at the age of 8 took over her mothers duties.

In the spring of 1853 an additional 100 families were sent to Cedar City the people decided to build a much larger and better fort, which was to be 100 rods square. The work on the 10 feet high walls and 3 feet thick was very slow. When the Walker Indian War broke out, work on the fort was pushed. In the spring of 1854, every one moved into the new Fort Cedar which was a mile northwest of Cedar City. In 1856, the town was laid out in blocks and lots, the men drew lots. Charles Sr. drew lot 7, block 39. Charles Jr. and Ellott drew lots 3 and 4 in block 22, these two lots totaled 9-3/8 acres. Charles Sr. built a four room house and in each room was a fireplace. In the back yard was an adobe granary, with a cellar underneath. Charles planted two apple trees south of the house. Ellott sold his lot to Charles Jr., where he built his home. In 1856 the Indians took so many of the settlers cattle that the losses were very heavy. After these losses the authorities in Salt Lake sent men down to gather up the cattle left by the Indians. They were taken to Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake for safety. This was to be voluntary but some of the men sent from Salt Lake forced the settlers to send their cattle north. Charles Willden's losses were $190 worth of Cattle.

By 1859 the iron works had become a failure thus the Willden family moved to the badlands or sinks southeast of Beaver, then called lower Beaver. They arrived there Sunday, March 4, 1859. Here Charles Willden and his sons Ellott, Charles, John and Feargus each took up 20 acres of land. Many times Charles had thought of making a home on Cove Creek and as their land in Beaver proved to be poor, Charles bought 160 acres of land there.

In 1860 on July 19th Charles and his family moved to Cove Creek, where they buita adoby house on the south bank and enclosed it with a corral and cedar post stockade. The posts were 8 to 10 feet high and placed so close together that they formed a solid wall. This stockade was called "Fort Willden", in the vicinity of "Old Cove Fort" which still stands today. "In march 1861 the family moved in to the fort. During this time weary travelers would receive food, rest, and protection from the indians. Seven years later Charles and his sons and son inlaw, helped laying the rock fort which stands on the site known as "Cove Fort". On april 24, 1861 Ann Willden Johnson's first child, Hanna Jane Johnson, was the first child born there. In 1862 John married Margaret McEwen of Beaver, and brought her to live at Fort Willden.

Indian depredations were becoming more prevalent the serious by 1865. The Willden moved back to Beaver, where they made there home again. On March 19, 1864 Charles Willden took another wife, Sarah Smith, later she divorced Charles and remarried.

At this time Charles still claimed the land at Fort Willden.

In 1867 Brigham Young asked Ira N. Hinckley to head the building of a rock fort on the land at Cove Creek, Charles and his sons worked hard and diligently on the rock fort, living in their old home while doing so. Eleanor cooked for the men working on the fort. From a search through the records Charles Willden was never paid for this land. The last remains of Willdens Fort were leveled of in 1948 or 49 by the Kessler family, who owned the land and fort since 1904. Information From Ellott Willden showes the location of Fort Willden to be some 500 feet east and 300 feet north of the southeast corner of the present of Cove Fort. At this time a cottonwood tree still marked the site.

In 1869 Charles Willden was called on a mission for the Church back to his native land, England.

At one time, according to the Indogents Records of Beaver County, Charles Willden kept a poor man for the county "quote from the County Court Minutes Register A. Page24 By order of the court and the choice of Charles Willden, that he agrees to wash and mend the clothes, lodge and board mr. Fisher for 6 months at the rate of one dollar and twelve and a half cents per week." Page 65. "Charles Willden, Sr., bill for stationary for the county amounting to $1.50 was presented and the court ordered a warrent be issued in favor of that amount. Also Charles Willden's bill for boarding Joseph Fisher 7-4/7 weeks at $1.12 1/2 per week amounting to 3- 45/60 bushels of wheat."

On the 22nd day of August, 1883, Charles and his son Feargus were hauling hay. Eleanor at the house upon hearing a commotion looked out and saw the team and wagon coming from the field toward the house as fast as the team could go. Eleanor told Louisa to run down the lane and open the gate. They soon learned that while Charles and Feargus had been loading the wagon in the field that Charles han had a stroke, causing him to fall from the top of the load. He was dead when they reached the house so he had apparently died instantly. he must have been active until the time of his death at the age of 77 years. He was laid to rest in the Mountain View Cemetery in Beaver.
At beaver, Utah, 30 April 1893, Eleanor Turner Willden, wife of the late Charles Willden. Deceased joined the LDs Church in Sheffield, England, in the year 1843, emigrated in 1849, has lived in Utah nearly 40 years. She leaves 4 sons and 2 daughters living, 52 grand-children and 66 Great-grandchildren. She lived and died faithful.
Sources:  (The warning about Mormons here quite amuses me.  :) )
There is much more to be had on Eleanor and Charles Willden, but only so much time to be spent on this.  More to come later. 

A Note

I have decided to add information on my husband's family here, as well.  I want my children to know their heritage and that includes this whole other branch of the family.  Besides, even if they aren't my blood, they are my family by marriage and that is still family. 

Again, I do not have the time at this stage of life (still raising my little ones..) to be doing a lot of writing on my own about these forefathers, but will use this as a place to store the information I find online.  It also makes it easy to share with family. 

And, I must say, a fantastic benefit to this blog that I didn't foresee at the beginning are the connections I make with distant (and not so distant) relatives as we both research our family lines.  I've greatly enjoyed hearing from all of you!