Friday, October 30, 2009

Lydia and Porter Merrell

Willis died of leukemia August 24, 1983. Willis's boss, Lee Barton, was Lydia's bishop. He suggested that Lydia go on a mission. It was great therapy for her because she had something to look forward to instead of just looking back and focusing on her loneliness. She served in the Tampa Florida mission.

After Lydia returned, Lydia was living in Manti, Utah where she and Willis had moved in 1963. Her youngest sister Linnie was living in Ephraim, Utah. Ross and Linne had moved to Ephraim sometime in the early 50's. Ross and Linnie were taking a trip out to the Uintah basin to see Emily, Lydia and Linnie's sister. They invited Lydia to go along.

While there, they stopped in Duchesne to visit Porter Merrell who had recently lost his wife. Lydia wrote about Porter, "Once before when I was with them (Ross and Linnie), they had stopped to see him. When our parents had lived in Bluebell, they had been friends with his parents. Porter had been a pupil of Papa's in school. As an adult, he had been our ditch rider. I must have seen him occasionally then, as I knew he had red hair, but I cannot recall a single incident concerning him."

Not long after, Porter called Lydia up and asked to come and visit her. He was 87 years old and she was 76. It was fall and, when Porter went to church in Manti, he was asked if he were in town because he was deer hunting. He said, "Yes, I'm dear hunting."

They were married Nov 27, 1987. Porter was very good to us as a step-father. His children, though, had a hard time accepting that their Dad had remarried. Mostly this was pretty underground but occasionally it would surface. Porter had a daughter who was a widow at the time of Porter and Lydia's marriage. She told Lydia that she would never remarry, intimating that it would be a betrayal to the memory of her first spouse. The irony of it was that she did remarry later.

Lydia's sister Ruth was also widowed by this time. I think Ruth was a little envious that Lydia had gotten to Porter before she did. Ruth was more of a flirt than Lydia and I suspect she thought that maybe she could have turned Porter's head. Sometime after Porter and Lydia got married, Ruth asked me if it bothered me to think of my mother having sex with a man who was not my father. As the mother of five children and totally straight faced, I answered, "I don't think my mother's ever had sex with any man." A child of any age just has a hard time envisioning that of one's parent.

Porter and Lydia were called to be ordinance workers in the Provo Temple. At 92 years of age Porter was driving two hours from Duchesne to Provo to fulfill this call. They would stay over-night and drive home the next day. One day when Porter was 96, he had a stroke and heart attack while in the temple. He surprisingly recovered very well from both. The only impairment he suffered was the inability to close his thumb and index finger on one hand.

Porter always planted a bounteous garden which he mostly gave away during the years I knew him.

In 1999, I learned that Porter was ill. I called my mother to see what was up with him. She said that they had taken him to a funeral and now he wanted one. At another time she said, "He's had too many birthdays." Porter died on Christmas day 1999. We said he had gone home for Christmas and didn't find it upsetting to associate his death with the holiday. He was three weeks shy of his 100 birthday. Lydia died the following fall at 89 years of age.

We were grateful for the companionship they shared late in their lives for twelve years. Although Lydia had found her marriage to Willis rewarding, Willis had never shared her interest in the gospel but she was able to share that with Porter. They were both active and relatively independent up to the end.

Lydia and Willis 1977

The occasion is Barbara's wedding, October 7, 1977.

Four Sisters 1990

Here are the four sisters in 1990 in age order, Lydia, Emily, Ruth, and Emily. The picture was taken after the funeral of David Morrillen Wilkerson, Emily's husband May 2, 1990.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Agnes Taylor

Agnes Taylor is John Taylor's younger sister by eleven years. She was married four times. It appears she divorced her first husband, John Rich, as his death date is recorded as being after she had remarried. She bore four children to him. She married her second husband John Benbow in Nauvoo. It appears they were also divorced as he didn't die until 1874 and there is only a year between the time she married him and the time she married her third husband, Abraham Hoagland, our ancestor. Agnes was 23 years younger than Abraham. I don't know if it was the age difference, polygamy, or personality problems which led to the divorce. Divorce seemed to be what she did. She bore five children to Abraham., the youngest of which is our ancestor Sarah Hoagland born in 1855. The fourth child, a boy, died in infancy. In 1862 Agnes married her fourth husband, Wilhelm Schwartz. She bore two children by him one of whom died as an infant and the other is the Mary Schwartz who married Joseph F. Smith who later became the prophet of the church. According to the censuses, Agnes lived with her daughter Mary until her death in 1911. The censuses say that Agnes was widowed but our data shows that her husband did not die until after she did and he was in Arizona. However, I have not found him the census records of 1900 or 1911 nor have I found a death record of him in Arizona so I don't know what is correct. The census record also says she was the mother of eleven children. We have them all accounted for. Sarah Hoagland's children, Agnes and John, after they were orphaned show up on the census in 1900 at the home of Mary and Joseph F. Smith. Agnes Taylor Schwartz was still alive when my mother was born in 1911 but she died six months later. My mother used to say that Agnes Taylor didn't want to be sealed to any of her husbands.

John Taylor

Our perhaps most illustrious ancestor was John Taylor who became the third prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints.

Harriet Whitaker Taylor

The story of how John Taylor came to marry Harriet Whitaker is as follows: John Taylor had married Harriet's sister Sophia in April of 1847. Harriet became ill and Sophia asked John to give her a blessing. When he did, he asked her why she wasn't married. She said that nobody would want her. I don't know why she had such abysmal self-esteem. John Taylor told her that if she got well, he would marry her. She did and he did.

Harriet Matilda Casper Marchant

Albert George Henry Marchant

William Whittaker Taylor Brief Biography

I was happy to see Julianne had posted a picture of William Whittaker. I hope there will yet be many authors on this blog site.

To go with the picture posted, here is a brief biography of William Whittaker Taylor--mostly by the numbers.

William Whittaker Taylor is the son of John Taylor. He married his first cousin, Sarah Hoagland (her mother is John Taylor's sister). William and Sarah are the parents of six children: Harriet, Abram, William, Agnes, Sarah, and John. William Whittaker Taylor was in the first quorum of the seventies when he died at the tender age of 31. Abram had died four years earlier just prior to his second birthday and the son William died a couple of months later as a nine month old. At the time of their deaths, William and Sarah had only one other child, Harriet although Sarah was pregnant with our grandmother (great grandmother) Agnes. At the time of William Whittaker's death, Harriet was eight, Agnes three, Sarah two, and Sarah the mother was just one month pregnant with John. Twelve years later, Sarah the mother died leaving the four remaining children as orphans. Harriet, the eldest of the four was twenty when her mother died. She married less than a year after her mother's death. The other children went from one relative to another. Aunt Mary Schwartz who was one of the wives of the prophet Joseph F. Smith and a half-sister of their mother, Sarah Taylor was one person who took them. Their grandmother. Agnes Taylor Schwartz, also lived with Aunt Mary Schwartz Smith. According to Robert Henry Casper Marchant's history, William Whitaker Taylor was a vegetarian.

Aunt Linnie Findlay compiled a history of many of William Whitaker Taylor's papers and other items of interest. I have a copy of this history. I suspect that many of the parent generation (the children of the four Marchant daughters) do have copies of the history. Aunt Linnie did work on the computer so maybe a Findlay can make the history available in a digital format.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

William Whitaker Taylor

This is Agnes Taylor's father. I just found this picture today on

Abraham Hoagland Picture

Abraham Hoagland is Grandma Marchant's grandfather. The Hoagland family had been in New York since the 1600's but were originally from Holland. Abraham was an early member of the church. He married John Taylor's sister Sarah but they were later divorced. He was a polygamist. He was a bishop in Salt Lake.

Agenes Taylor Marchant

Robert Henry Casper Marchant Picture

Friday, October 23, 2009

States where we had ancestors prior to the revolutionary war

On Grandpa Marchant's line through his mother, Harriet Matilda Casper, we have the family names shown in the chart which shows where we had ancestors in the United States before the Revolutionary War and the earliest date we have record of them there. Always be suspicious of the dates. It is virtually impossible to verify very much that far back. There are a few parrish records and some wills giving names and dates but the bulk of it is family records which can be notoriously inaccurate. Through Grandma Marchant's line, we also have the Hoaglands in New York as early as 1681. The earliest record I have of a birth place of a Hoagland wife was Van Gelder in 1734 in New York and Bunn in 1755 also in New York.

We had ancestors in six (maybe seven) of the thirteen original colonies

Because the Marchants came to the US in the 1850's and the Taylors in the 1830's, I always considered us as new from the old country. I have been interested to learn that we have ancestors who lived in six (possibly seven) of the original thirteen colonies at the time of the Revolutionary War. The colonies and the family names at the time of the revolution are as follows. I have put the wives with their maiden names since their fathers/brothers were usually there also. 1) Connecticut—Justice Minor and Mabel Plumb 2) Maryland—Samuel Litton and Ann Crawford and Thomas Durbin and Clemency Litten 3) Virginia—Peter Casper and Mary Huckleberry 4) Massachusetts--Aaron Aspinwall and Sarah Collins 5) Pennsylvania—David Allison and Matilda Minor and 6) New York--Lucas Hoagland and Mary Bunn. Lucas and Mary Hoagland were not married until about 1796 and their son was born in New Jersey in 1797 but I don't know when they went to New Jersey. Even if they were in New Jersey, they still had family in New York. Knowing this made me feel like our ancestors had settled America and not come so recently from the old country.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Marchant Sisters October 7, 1977

The occasion of this picture was Barbara Sorensen's wedding October 7, 1977. From left to right: Ross and Linnie Findlay, Willis and Lydia Sorensen, Ruth and Willis Lowry.

Four Sisters

The sisters are 1.Lydia 2. Emily 3. Linnie and 4.Ruth. Does anyone know the year this picture was taken?

Willis and Lydia December 1981

Marchant family reunion, July 3, 1950

This reunion was held, I believe, in Ioka. Please help identify the people in the picture.