Great Grandpa Josiah, Did You Know?

The official holiday is called Juneteenth in the United States. The people of Galveston did not know they were free and found out two years after the original date of proclamation, on January 1, 1863, in the midst of the Civil War. Emancipation Day is a holiday celebrated to remember the end of slavery. Three million slaves living in the Confederate states were freed by Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation, however, two more years would pass, before the news reached African Americans living in Texas. It was only as Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, the state’s residents learned that slavery had been abolished.

Confederate citizens no longer recognized Lincoln’s authority. Southern slaveholders, felt no obligation to follow Lincoln’s orders. The war was fought until force and the intervention from Union forces, brought about the Civil War’s conclusion.

Josiah C. Miller had fought for the Union during the Civil War, enlisting on April 23, 1861 in Wisconsin. Fevers, bad water, freezing ground to sleep on, led to many hospitalizations as he fought off disability. This country boy, sailed on the Steamer Great Republic and joined the Army of the Gulf and arrived in Mississippi. Josiah’s twin brother, Joseph, gave his life on February 27, 1863. On August 22, 1863, the War Department equipped his unit as a cavalry regiment. No more marching! At the age of 23, Josiah, received his honorary discharge, having served his time.

At Baton Rouge, Josiah enlisted again! Know ye, that Josiah C. Miller, Sergeant of Captain J.B. Farnsworth, Company “A” Fourth Regiment of Wisconsin, Veteran Calvary Volunteers who was enrolled in the First day of January, one thousand eight hundred and sixty four to serve three years or during the war. Remember when all these “boys” thought they were joining up for 3 months and the war wouldn’t last? On April 17, 1865 his Commanding Officer, W.B. Moore, Colonel, at Blakely, Alabama, wrote Josiah with reposing special trust and confidence in the patriotism, valor, fidelity and abilities of Josiah C. Miller, appointed him 1st Corporal in Company “I” of the Fourth Regiment of Wisconsin Cav’ly Vols,

The war ended with Robert E. Lee’s surrender, on April 9, 1865. President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865. 620,000 Americans had died in the war, with disease killing twice as many as those lost in battle. 50,000 survivors returned home as amputees. Josiah saw such brutality but once again honorably discharged on July 8, 1865, instead of heading home, he volunteered to remain in the employ of the 4th Cavalry, promoted to the rank of Sergeant on July 10th, 1865. Josiah was going to Texas, detached to guard different points along the Rio Grande River. He arrived in San Antonio on July 2, 1965.

I can only imagine, the former slaves he met were still celebrating with prayer, feasting, song and dance! It was only two weeks after these Texans started celebrating Juneteenth! Great Grampa Josiah, it took another 156 years, for Juneteenth to be recognized as a federal holiday, 2021. Happy June 19th today, as I remember my Great Grandfather’s contribution and his part in history, to make this holiday possible.

Josiah Miller Hoyt

Josiah Miller Hoyt, my 3nd cousin 2x removed, was born in Nephi in 1863, into a large polygamist family. As a child he moved to the Muddy River, Nevada and when that mission failed, the family moved to Orderville, Utah.

colorized using

The family lived the communal lifestyle amongst the many descendants of his grandfather, Josiah H. Miller. His father Isaiah Hoyt married to his mother Clarissa Amanda Miller died when Josiah was 20. Isiaiah Hoyt, when summoned had a horse accident, when his infant daughter, child of 3rd wife, Bertha Fracrell, Amy, died of measles. Isaiah Hoyt called the family to his side, told them he was dying and to look after each other. This story repeats when Josiah Miller Hoyt called his children when he knew he was dying from consumption, aged 40.

  • Marriage Josiah Miller Hoyt married Ellen Alice Spencer 1866-1957, in St George, Washington County, Utah Territory, USA, on March 10, 1882, when he was 18 years old.
  • 10 MAR 1882AGE 18 Marriage Josiah Miller Hoyt married Mary Ellen Meeks 1867-1947, in St George, Utah, USA, on March 10, 1882, when he was 18 years old.

Family of Josiah Miller Hoyt


Spouse and children

Spouse and children

Josiah Miller Hoyt
Birth:  Apr. 26, 1863
Juab County
Utah, USA
Death:  Feb. 21, 1904
Kane County
Utah, USA

Written by Frederick Cross Hoyt

My Father was Josiah Miller Hoyt. He was born April 26, 1863 at Nephi, Utah.

My mother was Ellen Alice Spencer. They were married in the St. George Temple March 10, 1882.
Father married Mary Ellen Meeks the same day. My father died February 21, 1904. [According to his death certificate, he died of Consumption] He was buried at Orderville, Utah.

Consumption or tuberculosis was a horrible disease, killing about half of those infected, with symptoms of chronic cough with bloody mucous, fever, sweats and weight loss. It was thus referred to as consumption due to the weight loss. It was highly contagious.

Josiah Miller Hoyt was the father of 22 children. My mother’s family was seven sons and four daughters. As I remember Aunt Ellen was the same.

He was active in church work.

He helped to keep my grandmother Clarissa and grandmother Hannah Hoyt.

During my life father worked in the Blacksmiths shop. He was a good mechanic and a hard worker.

All of his children were born in Orderville, Utah. At the time of his death mother’s family was eight children. Two died before father. My oldest brother Orson died with Whooping Cough. The other, Vincent, he died of Scarlet Fever. That left seven of us in the family. Nellie was married. Harriet was born March 16, 1904 after Father’s death.

Just before father died he called Israel, my older brother, who was 15 years old and I was 13 to his bed and talked to us. He knew he was going to die and he told us that he was and we would have to help raise the families. At that time it seemed like a great big job for us, for we didn’t have much to make the living on. His estate was appraised at $1500.00. It consisted of Castle Ranch 320 acres-two homesteads. He had four acres of alfalfa land just above Orderville. Just a little above the old Esplin Farm; 25 head of cattle, 30 head of horses and two wagons; four sets of harnesses; four work horses.

We had made our living on the ranch by raising doggie lambs and making cheese and butter. We raised our feed to feed the horses and cows on the ranch. Father worked in the saw mills. He worked on the old “up and down” mill in Main Canyon. He also worked the mill on Harris Claim. We used to raise lots of doggie lambs at Castle. One year we had 75 head to sell. We got $1.50 each for the lambs after raising them. It was lots of fun and kept us busy during the summer. Father had a lot of people to take care of and we lived the old saying “from hand to mouth.” Which meant we ate it up as fast as it comes in.

Father used to make a trip down the River, that was down the Sevier River with a load of cheese and butter and trade it for flour, sugar and some money if per chance someone had the money. In those days our money was gold and silver. Once in a while green backs, but later people gave checks instead of gold and silver or green backs. But we could not keep it for we needed it to buy clothes, etc.

We used to go up to Castle the first of April and stay there until the snow drove us out, about November, some times later. It was a hard life and we learned to trust in the Lord for all we had. We believed it was all the Lord’s and that he would supply our needs if we worked for the things we wanted. We were taught to pray and pay our tithing. Father and Mother lived in the United Order and believed in that principle. That all of God’s children should be equal and if they needed help it was our duty to help those who were poor and had less than we had. They learned to love all people for we were all the Lord’s. They knew that the Gospel was true and father often neglected his own family to help others. He believed in prayer and being honest and fair in dealing with his fellow men. He did not like people who lied, stole or was immoral. He and mother tried to teach us these principles. The only spanking father ever gave me was (when) I lied to him. He taught us to be dependable. When we promised to do something we was (were supposed) to do it. 
Orderville Cemetery
Kane County
Utah, USA 
Created by: Sandra Gwilliam
Record added: Feb 07, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 33606527

Orderville Cemetery, Utah

But the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ did not yield, and the Edmunds-Tucker Act was enforced to the fullest extent. Through this legislation and its application, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was stripped of more than $1 million worth of property, and more than 13,000 Latter-day Saints were disfranchised—meaning they lost their right to vote and serve on a jury. In addition, the election machinery was effectively taken out of the hands of the people. More than 1,200 men who practiced polygamy were either fined or imprisoned for six months. The Perpetual Emigration Fund Company with its assets were confiscated and to be used for public schools. The children of plural wives could not inherit property. Marriage required a civil license. And the right to vote by woman granted in the territorial legislation in 1870 was revoked. The leaders fought and appealed the law but the supreme court denied their petitions.

The leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints endured financial and political persecution. Mismanagement by U.S. Marshall Frank H. Dyer—the appointed receiver of the Church’s property— as well as other factors left the Church of Jesus Christ deeply in debt. But the pursuit did not end there. By 1890, the Church learned that despite an 1888 agreement promising otherwise, the government was pursuing the confiscation of their temples. Persecution, the Latter-day Saints could endure. But they could not abide the confiscation of their sacred temples—houses of worship where faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ make covenants with God and perform sacred, saving ordinances for themselves and their dead.

The Manifesto of 1890, issued by the Church, abolishing polygamy was the first step toward reconciliation with the U.S. government and statehood for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In the next fourteen years, and leading up to the church’s 1904 Second Manifesto, the practice was not taught, but plural marriages were maintained. A new era of understanding was beginning. Chief Justice Charles Zane of the Territorial Supreme Court of Utah—heretofore a harsh opponent of polygamy—adopted a more lenient attitude toward those brought before his court. After much petitioning, U.S. President Benjamin Harrison granted a limited pardon to all Latter-day Saint men who had lived in compliance with the anti-polygamy laws since the 1890 Manifesto. In 1894, President Grover Cleveland issued a more general amnesty. In 1893, Congress passed a law allowing the escheated property to be returned to the Church of Jesus Christ.

The quest for Utah statehood was also renewed. But before this could occur, Congress insisted that the Church of Jesus Christ relinquish its participation in politics. Utah Territory was governed like a theocracy, a form of government in which a deity type of supreme ruling authority, gave divine guidance to followers who managed the day to day affairs of the government. The Church’s political party—the People’s Party—had to be disbanded, and Utah’s citizens would have to align themselves with national political parties. The First Presidency of the Church publicly supported all of these actions. In June 1891, the People’s Party was formally disbanded. Once Utah’s election returns showed a strong two-party system and after further negotiations, Congress finally approved the Utah Enabling Act in July 1894. This allowed Utah citizens to create a state constitution, which prohibited the practice of plural marriage and ensured the complete separation of church and state. Congress approved the constitution and on January 4, 1896, Utah officially achieved statehood. Church and civic leaders called for unity as the new state celebrated its independence.

The Edmunds-Tucker Act was repealed in 1978, that established limits on the amount of land religious corporations may hold.

When the initial command to practice plural marriage came through Joseph Smith, it took years to accept and implement it. Likewise, when the practice was ceased, all plural marriages were not dissolved, wives and children were not abandoned, and many people continued to live it. However, on their own initiative, some couples separated or divorced as a result of the Manifesto; other husbands stopped cohabiting with all but one of their wives but continued to provide financial and emotional support to all dependents.  Members of the Church who lived in plural marriages and were settled in Canada and Mexico in 1885 and 1886 continued the practice, as those governments allowed them.

Josiah Miller Hoyt had another 16 children after the 1890 Manifesto of the church was proclaimed.

Harriet Amanda Hoyt and Philinda Amanda Sperry wife’s of Isaiah Bowers

Isaiah Bowers was a Mormon Convert from England. He emigrated to America at age ten, with his family, and in 1856 was a member of the first Handcart Company that walked all the way to Utah, pulling this wagon. Edmund Ellsworth Handcart Co.

Both pictures from added by Sandra Smith Barton Gwilliam

Isaiah Bower’s first wife was Harriet Amanda Hoyt, daughter of Israel Hoyt and Clarissa Amanda Miller., daughter of Josiah H. and Amanda Miller. They married on June 6, 1868. They had 8 children: Israel Hoyt Mar 10, 1869, Clarissa Amanda Oct 8, 1871, Isaiah Lay Hoyt Mar 25, 1874, Maria Hoyt Oct 5, 1876, Ella Hoyt Sept 8, 1879, Jonathan Hoyt Oct 26, 1882, Lillian Hoyt June 5, 1886, Harriet Hoyt May 20, 1889. The second wife, married Isaiah Bowers in 1884, Philinda Amanda Sperry. was the daughter of Charles Sperry and Emily Louisa Miller, daughter of Josiah H. and Amada Miller and had 5 children: William S Aug 13, 1886, Sarah E June 13, 1890, Joy S Oct 10, 1893. (info from LaRae McManama.) Clarissa Amanda and Philinda Amanda were cousins and my 2nd cousins 3x removed, confirmed with a DNA match. In the 1880 census Isaiah is listed as working in the cabinet shop. Harriet was a weaver.

Philinda Amanda Sperry photo from by Dale Michael Barnhurst

Philinda Sperry was raised in Nephi, Utah and married February 1, 1868, at age, 20, Alphies Clemments Sapp 1829-1898 and Emily Jane was born that July, 1868, at Fillmore, Utah. Mary Amanda was born Aug 20 1870 in Nephi. Philinda next married Robert Rollins on November 9, 1874. Gertrude was born in 1875 in Utah Territory. Philinda (Felandi) was on the 1880 census at Nephi with these 3 children and husband Robert, cattle dealer. Researching Robert Rollins on findagrave gives this information: Falling rock killed fractured skull, spine and crushed right side of chest, an accident at Bristol Silver Mines, Lincoln, Nevada wife’s name Amanda F. Sperry born at Nephi, Utah married to Robert Rollins miner age 56 also listed wife Clara Whitaker Rollins informant James H. Rollins of Bristol Silver, Nevada. Philinda next married as a second wife to Isaiah Bowers 1846-1926. Living as a polygamist wife with her cousin, Harriet Amanda Hoyt, this couple had Lillian Hoyt Bowers June 5, 1886, William Sperry Bowers August 13, 1886, Sarah Elizabeth Sperry Bowers June 13, 1890, Jay Sperry Bowers, Oct 10, 1893 died Nov 28, 1894. Philinda died four years later on April 1, 1898 at Nephi, Juab County, Utah.

At Orderville, Utah they lived the polygamist life. When he was called to Orderville, he gladly took his family there to help with the settlement, sharing in a communal lifestyle.

The Utah Historical Quarterly Vol. 47, 1979, No. 1 tells of life behind bars for the cohabs of the 1880’s, written by Melvin I. Bashore. In 1882 the Edmunds Act was passed. Mormon polygamy was outlawed with a $500 fine and a prison sentence of up to five years. Nominal polygamists, convicted of unlawful cohabitation could be jailed for six month and fined $300. 1300 men and some women were jailed. There was a penitentiary at Salt Lake City. This adobe prison was very dilapidated. The accounts within the guarded compound of bed bugs and poor food were only compounded by the overpopulation in 1888, when the Mormons were put here amongst the hardened criminals. The prison added 2×6′ three tier bunk beds that slept two with a small heating stove. A wooden water barrel was cut in two where the men could relieve themselves at night. During the hot summers with little ventilation but a few barred windows, the air was stuffy. Only 15 minutes were allowed for eating, one hundred at a time. At first, stigma was attached when the raids on polygamy were initiated, but a sentence in the pen conferred status and honor. With so many of the church community and business leaders behind bars they formed a social club. The men believed their constitutional rights were being infringed upon, as they thought they were looking after their wives and children. By renouncing plural wives and families, and taking the Edmunds oath, there was a difference between a Mormon and a Saint. The Saints went to the penitentiary and minded what the prophets said.

Family life was interrupted, church business and occupations suffered. Many went underground as the effort to ferret out the polygamists intensified. The Mormons became embittered as Judges gave light sentences for murderers but the axe fell heavily on polygamists. They paid their time in Uncle Sam’s Hotel, after a court case which told them how many years they’d have to do. Shackled and handcuffed upon arrival, they were locked up in a dark, unfamiliar place amongst the toughs. I can only imagine the snoring keeping them awake!

The Supreme Court ruled in 1885, that the statute was lawful as those charged were for their continued cohabitation not for the prior illegal marriage. Enforcement started in July of 1887. Again a Supreme Court case upheld the Edmunds-Tucker law on May 19, 1890. The act disincorporated the LDS Church. and within five months the church officially discontinued the practice of plural marriage with the 1890 Manifesto it recorded.

Did all abide by the law? Isaiah Bowers was still having children with his second wife, Philinda. When she died in 1898, at age 50, Lillian was 12, Harriet 9, Sarah Elizabeth 8 and baby Jay had died. On the 1900 census Isaiah is a farmer and Harriet a mid-wife.

Date 1908

Location Orderville, Utah

Back: Lillian Bowers, John Covington, Ella Covington, Oswald Covington, Sarah Bowers, William Bowers, Harriet Sorensen, Maria Carrol, Edward Carrol Middle: Maria Bowers, Isaiah “Rouse” Bowers Jr., Ruel Covington, Harriet Bowers, Isaiah Bowers, Giles Carrol, Clara Meeks, Wilford Meeks, Heber Meeks Sr., Isaiah Meeks Front: Leigh Bowers, Mern Bowers, Alice H Bowers, Reah Covington, Vilate Covington.

The family of Isaiah Bowers continued to live at Orderville, Utah. They had lived communal living defined by Joseph Smith under the direction of Church president Brigham Young in 1875. Orderville was settled by destitute refugees from the failed settlements on the Muddy River in Nevada. Orderville had 335 acres and 18 houses, 19 oxen, 103 cows, 43 horses, 500 sheep, 30 hogs, and 400 chickens. The settlement was debt free.

The dining hall fed 80 families; men ate first, followed by the women and children. No person could have private property. This system worked as monetary values were assigned to all labor and goods. With each new year, debts were forgiven and those who earned any surplus gave it back to the Order. Orderville grew into a thriving, self-sufficient community, and it grew to about 700. New members had to follow the strict conditions of the settlement, no swearing, tobacco, tea and coffee. They were cautioned not to except, “parasites”. The communal dining ended in 1880. In 1883, the value system assigned to labor was changed and some felt a level of inequality. The Edmunds Anti-Polygamy Act of 1882 was passed and being enforced by 1885.

In southern Utah, economics improved. Silver was discovered, the railroad was built and an influx of people came. Neighboring towns could now bring in goods and didn’t need “old-fashioned” from Orderville. Youth wanted what they saw in other communities and frictions within the community developed. National legislation ended the Order by jailing many of the Order’s leaders and driving many others underground. Members of the community held an auction using their credits as payment. Orderville continued its tannery, wool factory and sheep farm and the Bowers family, minus second wife Philanda who died in 1898. was a large family there. Harriet Amanda would raise her cousins children along with her own. Harriet Amanda Hoyt Bowers died on April 16, 1920, in Orderville, Utah, USA, at the age of 69, and was buried there.

Joseph F. Smith in 1906, the LDS Church president was brought to trial on a charge of unlawful cohabitation with four women in addition to his lawful wife, he pled and guilty and was fined $300, the maximum penalty then permitted under the law.

Miles Samuel Miller 1849-1928

Art Rock drawing by Wendy Harry, May 2022

Miles Samuel is my DNA confirmed 3rd cousin 2x removed son of Miles Miller son of Josiah H. Miller

His father was also named Miles Miller. Miles the father marched from Council Bluff, Iowa to California during the Mexico War, 2000 miles. After he rejoined his exiled family of Josiah and Amanda Miller, at Salt Lake City, Miles Sr. married Rachel Beth Ewing and all of Miles Jr. siblings were born at Nephi. Only the boys survived, 2 sisters died as infants, Sarah and Orey Ann. His brothers Daniel Porter Ewing, 1853-1902, Charles Anderson 1855-1917, John Edwards 1858-1922, Franklin Anderson 1861-1932, Joseph Henry 1867, Hyrum Emmer 1870. Miles Sr fought during the Utah War 1852, and raised all these boys to young men at Nephi, Utah.

Miles Samuel Miller Jr. the oldest son, born in 1849 at Salt Lake lived at Nephi during the Blackhawk Wars. He and Margaret Chapius were married in the temple at Salt Lake on July 17, 1876. Back at Nephi, Mary Estella was born in 1877, Miles Louis was born at Rabbit Valley, Utah. Born in 1880, the family moved back to Emery, Utah to where his father and mother Miles and Rachel Miller were up the canyon that would be named Miller Canyon on the Muddy River at Emery, Utah. The settlers got logs from Miller’s Canyon. They built a log school house 16×18’ with dirt floor, backless plank benches and used as their church meeting house. More children born Rachel Jane 1883, Elizabeth Maus 1886, Mae 1889-89 died, and Samuel 1891, at Emery. By this time, Emery had a doctor, who had been Joseph Smiths body guard. Dr. Payne set bones, pulled teeth and used herbal remedies. Another unnamed was born 1893, at Centerfield, Sanpete Co. , Utah and in 1896 Margaret was born at Nephi. By 1910 census Miles Samuel Miller was at Myton, Utah. The newspaper article gives more clues to the families movements.

The places Miles Samuel Miller lived during his 78 years.
Rabbit Valley on the Colorado River, where the 3rd child, Miles Louis Miller was born in 1880.
Rock formations at Rabbit Valley
Petroglyphs at Rabbit Valley, Utah

With its open views and rugged rocks, did Miles Samuel Miller hike The Trail Through Time at Rabbit Valley? Along the Colorado River, in this region was found a 70 foot, 30 ton Apatosaurus. Would Miles recognize the specimens of dinosaurs 140 million years old. Perhaps he studied the petroglyphs and wondered about the ancient peoples who drew the rock art. For sure he feasted on the rabbits that populated the area that gave Rabbit Valley it’s name! Miles Samuel didn’t stay long, just enough to register his fathers grandson also named Miles Lewis Miller the 3rd, born at Rabbit Valley, Utah.

The census lists Miles Samuel Miller and Margaret living at Myron, Utah. Do you believe in Mormon curses? Myton was a non Latter Day settlement in 1905. It’s citizens refused to let the church buy into the town or it’s bank. The Mormon official stormed out of the meeting. “You’ll see the day when jack rabbits and tumble weeds will be the only thing rolling down Myton’s streets”!

The town was hurt by war, fire, drought and depression and The Mormon Curse.

Why did Miles Samuel Miller go here? President Theodore Roosevelt approved the townsites of Myton and Duchesne, in the Uintah Basin in 1905 and then threw it open to homesteaders!

Miles Samuel Miller
Miles Samuel Miller

Miles Samuel lived through the First Great War. These were good farming years as prices rose but the hard years of the 1920’s will find his 9 children in the Depression Years and the drought of 1931-1934.

Miles Samuel Miller wife, Margaret died in Altonah, Duchesne 1926 and Miles died in 1928. The members of the church lifted the curse on July 19, 1997 and repainted the historic buildings.

Harriet Miller Burns Woodbury

Harriet’s death notice was in the Deseret News Paper on May 20, 1893, burial Salt Lake City Cemetery, Salt Lake, Utah Plot C_8_4. It lists her as the wife of Thomas H. Woodbury, Sen., (1822-1899) daughter of Josiah and Amanda Morgan Miller, born January 19, 1823 in Clarington, Genesee County, New York. Harriet died May 10th at 9:25 a.m. 1893.

Sealed to spouse Date August 4, 1851 Temple Endowment House at Salt Lake City and Sealed to parents Date November 25, 1880 Temple at St. George, Utah.

President Joseph Smith taught that a righteous man could help numerous women and children go to heaven by being “sealed” in plural marriage. Large families multiplied a man’s glory to the afterlife. This teaching was established as doctrine in 1843. Rumors that polygamy was practiced spurred mob violence against Mormon settlements. After the murder of Joseph Smith in 1845, the Josiah H. Miller family migrated to Utah. Under the leadership of Brigham Young, the practice of polygamy was announced as official Mormon Church practice in 1852. None of Josiah’s sons practiced polygamy but the three girls, Harriet, Clarissa and Emily, who trekked to Utah became polygamist wives. This is the story of Harriet Miller Burns Woodbury, 3rd child of Josiah H. and Amanda Miller, my 2nd cousin 3x removed. Note the date of her sealing was before the 1852 announcement.

Orton Warfield Burns lived in Illinois for over eighty years. A school teacher from a well educated family, Orton married Harriet in 1845. Miles Lamoni Burns was born at Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, Iowa on December 21, 1846. He wouldn’t know his father or ten other half siblings. What split the family up? Family loyalty and church membership! Harriet Miller was baptized into the Church of Christ of Latter-Day Saints at Kirtland, Ohio. When the bank failed there, everyone was in extreme poverty. With her parents and siblings they departed with the Kirtland Camp., as the quorum felt it should travel in a company together. Hyrum Smith, Joseph Smith’s brother was the second counselor in the church presidency. Her father Josiah was asked to leave this company of believers when son-in-law Aaron Dolph, not a member of the church, did not agree to communal living and sharing all. Josiah took his family and departed with the best feelings existing between him and the Council of the camp so as not to set at naught the Constitution by which the camp was bound by agreement to put their strength, properties and monies together to move the camp to the land of Zion. Thus the Josiah and Amanda Miller family travelled through Ohio to Decatur, Illinois. Here in Decatur, Orton, a school teacher, married Harriet on June 7, 1845. He was not of the faith, and did his best to protect them but was told if he did any more he would lose his job. Harriet, pregnant with their first child, could stay with her husband and be cut off from the church or leave with her parents and continue what she believed in but lose her husband. Harriet made the decision to go west with the Mormon pioneers and her family. As they travelled towards Nauvoo, the mobs were there and so they headed further west towards Council Bluff, on the east bank of the Missouri River. Here they met the new leader of the church, Brigham Young. Her brothers, Miles and Daniel, were baptized and soon were marching away with the Mormon Battalion to fight the Mexico War. Miles Lamoni Burns was born in a sod banked tent over a covered wagon in Council Bluffs. This left Josiah with his wife Amanda, both 51, a new born grandson, Miles Lamoni, named for his Uncle Miles and a Lamanite king named Lamoni, in the Book of Mormon, his mother Harriet 23, and her younger sisters, Emily 20 and Clarissa, 17 to make the trek.

The family spent the cold, brutal winter at Winter Quarters. They were assigned to the Jedediah M Grant, Joseph B. Noble Company and departed on June 19, 1847 and arrived at Deseret on October 2, 1847. Thus Harriet and Miles are listed in the Fifth Ten of the First Fifty of the Third Hundred that her father, Josiah, was the Captain of.

In 1851, President Brigham Young called Josiah to help settle Salt Creek, later called Nephi. Their daughters and their husbands went too. Harriet became a polygamist second wife to Thomas Hobart Woodbury on August 4, 1851 at Salt Lake City. Harriet Elizabeth was born the next May 30th, 1852, then William Josiah on November 25, 1857. Harriet and Thomas were called to Grafton. The zealous farmers, that first year planted cotton but not enough gardens to feed their families. Then in January 1862, a raging flood destroyed the town. In 1862-1866 settlers flooded out of the original site settled one mile upstream. Little Harriet passed away in 1866 at the age of 13, at Grafton, Utah. says she was thrown from a swing. A contributor researcher, Jim Jones, says a beam collapsed in Grafton, Utah on an old Cotton Gin.

After the mill had been removed, the young folks of town made a swing at
the sight of the mill. Two young girls (Loretta Russell and Elizabeth Woodbury)
were killed while swinging.
This is probably one of the two most famous tragedies in the history of Grafton. The first was a young boy aged 9, dragged to death by a horse.
Loretta was 14, and Elizabeth was 13 at the time of their death. Sarah Jane York
describes the incident in these words:
In the center of town was an old cotton gin that was used for a swing. My
grandfather was afraid someone would get hurt swinging on it. He even went to
the Bishop and told him that it was dangerous and someone was going to get hurt
if it was not removed. No one took notice however, and no one seemed to be
afraid. One night just before dark, a crowd of young people gathered to. ..swing. I
was also there with Lizzie and Letty. They called for me to have a swing too. She
picked me up on her lap and swung back and forth several times. All at once she
put me down and told me to run home as fast as I could as my father would not
like to have me there.
I went on my way and was nearly home when there was an awful crash
and all of the men ran for the swing. I saw my father running but he did not see
me. I went home. The swing had broken when Lizzie and Letty were swinging in
it. Letty was killed instantly. Lizzie was hit across the chest, but she lived a short
while and then she too died. I went to see them and also went to their funeral. I
cannot explain how I felt for I surely loved these girls.
There is a single red sandstone marker that marks the graves of these two young
women. The smallness of the town must have compounded the tragedy. One would be my 3rd cousin 2x removed, Elizabeth or Lizzie Woodbury.

Grafton, which was the largest settlement with 160 people living there, along the Rio Virgin River, became a ghost town in 1866. Even in their new location, irrigation dams were repeatedly washed out, sometimes two or three times a year. And then sand filled up the ditches. Despite “Dixie’s” scant rainfall and problematic irrigation, Grafton’s settlers were optimistic, as evidenced by Thomas’s letter below. Mormon settlers were killed near Colorado City by Navajo raiders. Brigham Young ordered them to move, to defendable towns. The Woodbury’s went back to Salt Lake City.

Another daughter, Theodosia was born in 1871. Harriet’s brother, Daniel Morgan was killed by the natives, 1872.

William Josiah Woodbury, her son, preceded Harriet in death in the seventh ward at Salt Lake City September 30, 1891 of typhoid pneumonia.

The polygamist Thomas Hobart Woodbury was the founder of the Pioneer Nursery at Salt Lake City, a horticulturist. He’d come to the valley with his first wife, Catherine Haskell, (of Puritan descent) in the original migration. He was a Baptist and joined the Latter-day Saints in 1841 and was ordained an elder that same year. The newly married couple moved to Nauvoo. Catherine was a straw braider and dressmaker. Described as liberal minded, largehearted, a faithful companion to her husband of choice, the couple rented a farm of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Thomas was ordained a Seventy with the eighteenth quorum. The troubles and mobs came to Nauvoo and Thomas built his own wagon, with a team, some seed grain and eighteen months provisions. Upon arriving in Salt Lake Thomas was stricken with mountain fever, brought on by exposure and hardship; fevers, ague and poverty. He built his first house of adobe at the fort. “It never quit raining inside quite as soon as outside!” Leaving the Fort he made a home in the Seventh Ward, Salt Lake City. His land was on the south end of the Big Field. Thousands of crickets hatched, early, ready to devour the first blades of corn. He was able to herd them away but the land below his was eaten bare of everything. He worried the winter about the eggs they had lain. The sea gulls came and the crickets disappeared. Wheat and corn grew and the family appreciated plenty to eat after rations were so short for two years; without bread they’d eaten roots to survive. Thomas married Harriet his second wife. In 1861, the entire family moved to Grafton, in Kane County, in southern Utah for six years. Thomas was second counselor to Bishop William Perkins, but was called to Dixie on a mission, to start a nursery and supply people with fruit trees. He pitted his young trees on the bank of Rio Virgen River. A freshet came and the river kept rising. All night, the water close on his heels, Thomas moved his saplings. Then insects attacked but finally the venture proved successful. In Grafton, when the town was organized, he was made post master, and justice of the peace until the place was abandoned on account of heavy flooding and the outbreak of the Blackhawk War.

There were many that truly tried to make a go of it in Grafton, and among those
was Thomas H. Woodbury. Woodbury was a farmer and a nurseryman. In a letter to the
“Domestic Gardener’s Club,” published in the Deseret News, and written under the date,
February 2, 1863, he tells readers about the crops that he and other were able to grow. He writes:
Corn and cane grow well. Cotton promises well. From last year’s
experience I judge six hundred pounds of Green Seed Cotton, ginned, to be a
fine crop.
Cucumbers early are of little or no benefit to the planter; late they do
better. Carrots are a good crop, though many of them die during the summer.
The largest orange carrot which I have raised here weighed four pounds six
ounces. Cabbages are about as lousy as they can be. There are no good
cabbage raised in this part of the country. Beets are a middling crop. Squashes
are eat up by the bugs during the summer. Sweet pumpkins do well. Onions
promise well: the largest onion I raised this year weighing one pound seven
ounces. Tobacco does well. My Sesame, on a small piece of ground, produced at
the rate of twenty bushels to the acre. Peas, a very poor crop, though one small
piece has done very well, lettuce does better than in Salt Lake Valley.
In his letter, he writes about his experience with one patch of cotton, and confirms
the claims of those who felt that cotton could indeed be raised successfully on the upper
Virgin River:
Last year I planted fifty rods of ground to cotton. The amount of cotton
from said piece was one hundred and four and one half pounds of good cotton,
ginned. This piece was planted May 15th or twenty days too late and on the
poorest piece of ground I have. It was well cared for till it was in bloom; then it
was suffered to get to dry, the water being wanted elsewhere. The next thing, it
was well wet, — the result of which improper treatment was the dropping of the
squares, after blooming.
The amount of floor or frosted cotton is so small I had not counted it.
He continues in his letter to talk about his experience in the nursery business at
Grafton. He writes:
The Nursery business has been an up hill business. Before I landed in
“Dixie” I was told that I was not wanted on the Santa Clara, because there was a
nurseryman there. I looked around for a good place and found myself , hard to please. I finally drew a city lot in Grafton,’ mostly in the river. I set my trees and grafts on a bank
descending to the north, not far from the river, where they remained until the night
of the flood.
On this night I watched the river until it was nearly up to the fence on the
lower row and losing no time until the last bunch in the upper row was moved. At
this time the water had overtaken me and the lower side was nearly two feet deep
in the water. The retreat was made in good order and without confusion –saving
all except the peach pips, which were carried away in the flood. I then had to take
peach pips on shares. The amount of ground which my small trees, apple seeds and peach seeds required to plant them out in good order was a little more than one half of
an acre. The apple seeds were coming good when the worms commenced
cutting them down –a kind of cut worm that travels all over the ground nights.
These worms were very destructive –eating all the dormant buds of peach,
apricot, &c. , and gnawing the bark off the stumps, as well as by night eating up
the seedling trees that came up by day.
I applied tar around the trees which were set for orchard and dug a ditch
around the small trees and seedlings, which was straight up and down on the
inside. Then I commenced battle against all the worms that were on the inside of
this enclosure. When they were conquered the red ants came up out of the ground
by millions, or in numbers too numerous to count and were very destructive. I was
fighting these ants and gophers not a little all summer.
The amount of seedling apple trees which I have produced is only about
three thousand. The Cherry looks well. The Peach and Pear promise well. The
English red current which I brought here with roots on, all died during the
summer. The cuttings which I set are many of them alive.
The wild currant thrives excellent. The wild bush cherry does splendid.
The land seems to be in a wild state, but rich in mineral properties. It needs
cultivation and vegetable manure for gardening; then it will give satisfaction.
Grape vines, cut from Pres. B. Young’s garden, Oct 20th, were brought here in
excellent condition. Others a little later, are reported good.
I am satisfied that two year old, or fruit bearing vines. with proper
management, can be moved or cut for cuttings early in October and brought from
Great Salt Lake City to this place with safety –frost or no frost.
I have written a little of my experience in this place. That which I have not
written has also been somewhat of an up hill character.
I have one acre ready to put out to grape vines as soon as I shall be able
to obtain the cuttings. I think this place can be made a very fruitful place. I would
be pleased to receive a few lines from the Clerk if you can afford it. I am ignorant
of what you call the American Golden Russet.
Thomas H. Woodbury
By July 1864, there were 28 families at Grafton, a total of 168 people. There were
150 acres of land under cultivation, including, “16 acres with wheat, 70 acres with corn,
25 acres with cane, 28 acres with cotton, and 10 1/2 acres with vegetables and tobacco.

Catherine the first wife, stayed in Grafton two years then returned north on account of her daughter’s delicate health. It wasn’t until 1866, that Thomas returned to Salt Lake City. In 1873, he was again second counselor to Bishop Thorn and earliest member of the Horticultural Society. He was chief proprietor, for forty years, of the Pioneer Nursery with members of his family. He was a High Priest from February 25, 1852. Thomas, a zealous worker for the church died June 6, 1899 proceeded by both wives and five of his children. Thomas Woodbury is recognized in the horticulture world as having developed a prize winning pear tree, known as Rosnyn.!

Thomas Woodbury

The Woodbury family would know that the Untied States Congress passed the Edmunds-Tucker Act 1887 authorizing the seizure of LDS Church assets and making polygamy a federal offense. Many went underground to avoid imprisonment. In 1890, under pressure the church announced in 1890 that plural marriages would no longer be sanctioned. What the family did during these times your writer could not ascertain.

Miles Lamoni Burns, Harriets first born, grew up and married Julia Ann Blackburn.

The family of Miles Burns, were found on a census beside Harriet’s brothers in the Miller Canyon at Embury, Utah. At some time they moved to Loa, Utah and were living on a 160 acres ranch. Winters were cold and the seasons to short to mature grain. Miles health failed and the family moved to Glenwood, Utah, a milder climate. The children could attend school and church organizations. Harriet encouraged her grandchild, William Josiah Burns, son of Miles, to come attend school and live with her. He graduated from Normal Department the year Gramma Harriet died in 1893 and was teaching, became a principle, became Bishop in the church, director of a bank, and the Burns and Bird Company. His wife was an ardent genealogical worker and located the Burns family in Illinois, and visited them in 1950.

William Josiah Burns and wife Lucy Walker

Full circle wouldn’t you say, Josiah H. Miller, for your namesake, your great grandson, William Josiah, father Miles Lamoni Burns, grandmother Harriet Miller Burns Woodbury. with the help of internet resources, newspaper clippings, and DNA I can trace and tell your stories back to my 4th grandparents: Samuel Barnett and Ame Rogers with connections to Ame Sarah Barnett married to Robert Miller and Hugh Miller married to Mary Ann Rogers, with 9 researched cousin relationships.

Clarissa Amanda

Part 3

“Mating ritual” by Wendy Harty acrylics May 2022 Sharp tail grouse are a precocial species, meaning they hatch with their eyes open, are self reliant and don’t need the mother to feed them.
Hannah Elizabeth Cook and Clarissa Amanda Miller Hoyt
Bertha Fackeral, Israel Hoyt’s 3rd wife
The Hoyt children and the three wives Clarissa Amanda, Hannah Elizabeth,and Bertha (in dotted dress)

4 Generations at Orderville, Utah

Clarissa Amanda Miller Hoyt

The grandchildren called Clarisa “Big Grandma” and Hannah was “Little Grandma”.

With the death of Israel Hoyt, his third wife, Bertha Fackeral was grief stricken and went back to live with her parents.

In 1856 and 57 Latter-Day Saints in Utah Territory had a season of spiritual revival, The Reformation of 1856, where leaders preached strongly worded sermons against apostasy and outside influence. Brigham Young peacefully surrendered his gubernatorial title and established a comfortable working relationship with his successor. Life for the Utah citizen’s resumed mostly as it had before. Polygamy continued, as evidenced by Israel Hoyt’s marriage to his third wife, Bertha Fackrell in 1880, and with it the American public’s fear of Mormon teachings and practices. Bertha was 19, Israel was 52. After the “Utah War” new federal officials and thousands of new inhabitants altered the local economy and brought with them unwanted social, cultural and political elements. Camp Floyd, where the army stayed ended forever the Mormon dream of a Zion geographically separate from the world. Utah was still not recognized as a state.

With a utopian community ideal President Brigham Young attempted reform of the church as an economic and moral project. The railroad had come to Salt Lake, 1869 and with it the end of the pioneer era, and commercial goods and moral influences undermined Mormon communal values. Young reinstated Joseph Smith’s “Law of Consecration” and created the “United Order of Enoch”. Orderville, Utah, where the Hoyt families lived was the most successful. An elected board supervised all social and economic activities. Residents were assigned to work as blacksmiths, midwifery or farming. Clarissa became the post mistress with help from Hannah who also taught school. Clarissa was Ward Relief Society President, and Hannah was a Counselor in the Stake Relief Society. They had a small store in one room of the house. There was no private property. At the end of the year, accounts were balanced and any who had excess, donated it back to the Order, while all debts were cancelled. Ten years the community was very successful and lasted twenty-five. When the Order broke up, Clarissa and Hannah were given a little home on the SW corner of the fort block. Here they continued to live congenially together until Clarissa died. Hannah taught many of their grandchildren.

The US government made polygamy illegal in 1862. The church outlawed the practice of plural marriage in 1890, mainly so it could achieve statehood. Polygamy was declared a felony in 1882, by the government. Orderville, with its largely polygamist leadership was forced into hiding and the town was weakened. Israel died in 1883. Clarissa died September 29, 1904 at Orderville. Hannah moved to Provo so youngest children, Tim and Nella, could attend the Brigham Young Academy and took in boarders, many from Kane County, so they could further their education. One was Edward Lamb Jr. her “adopted” son’s child. When Tim became a teacher, she went with him to various locations where he taught. Hannah died back in Orderville in the home of Clarissa’s oldest Harriet who was a nurse on February 7, 1911.

Hannah Elizabeth Cooke Hoyt 1838-1911

Bertha Fackeral Hoyt died 1861- 1940 in Idaho living with her sister.

Enforcement of the Edmunds-Tucker Act started in July 1887. The act disincorporated the LDS Church and seized it’s assets. The Church officially discontinued the practice of plural marriage with the 1890 Manifesto. It soon became clear that many church members, including the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, were continuing to enter into and solemnize plural marriages. A second Manifesto was announced at the general conference of the church, 1904, where it was deemed a transgression against the church and anyone practicing would be excommunicated. More than 1300 men were imprisoned. The women were not prosecuted, and although a number refused to testify against their husbands, they were seen as victims and not willing participants. Into the 1940s and 50s many prominent church leaders maintained plural marriages. The Mormon fundamentalist movement formed from dissidents who said the manifesto wasn’t an eternal commandment or revelation from God, as previous statements of church doctrine said. They weren’t prosecuted until the late 1990’s. In 2006 Warren Jeffs was placed on the FBI Ten Most Wanted List and convicted in 2011 of two counts of child sexual abuse and life in prison. Our two Canadian polygamist cases of Blackmore and Olar saw them convicted and Blackmore given six months community service! Olar had three months house arrest in 2018!

Polygamy is illegal and criminalized in North and South America, including all 50 US states. However, the Utah House and Senate reduced the punishment for consensual polygamy, to roughly equivalent to a traffic ticket February, 2020.

Some of the information was obtained from writings by their granddaughter Elsie C. Carroll, by Amy Hoyt Porter Hansen and by Harriett B. Sorensen

Miles Miller – Muddy Creek Canyon years

Part 3

Emery Church meetinghouse 1898, 36′ x 84″ capacity of 500 people, built on alkali soil made of local lumber (possibly from Miller Canyon) had an adobe wall. The cost $7000. pencil drawing by Wendy Harty 2022

By following the deer trails, by way of Salina Canyon and Spring Canyon, the three Miller men came on horseback, team and wagon or on snowshoes in winter. The road such as it was, was mostly impassable. Miles had marched the 2000 miles to California during the Mexican War, walked back to Utah, taken up arms during the Utah War and surprisingly during both of these wars, no one was killed. Now he’s settling down, with a family of his own; and where they stayed for his remaining years was named Miller’s Canyon. Hike the canyons in this part of Utah and one will find petroglyphs of the Freemont Culture from 2000 years ago. Found in this area are rock art, pottery for storage and cooking and traces of potato flour that dated to be about 10,000 years old!

Miller Canyon is beautiful and rugged. There are mine shafts, and gold is found in the spring run-off. The gold weed plant or common mullein grows here. The 49ers knew where the plant grew one might find copper and ore, maybe Miles found gold also. Rachel probably used its use as medicine, for cough, bronchitis, pneumonia, fevers and sore throat.

The first settlers in Emery came from Sanpete County, Utah. The first attempt at settlement was made at Muddy Creek, a stream in a wide canyon, that emptied into Dirty Devil River. Amongst tall grasses, sage, greasewood, prickly pear cacti, and yucca, with a few cottonwoods along the banks, patches of thorny bull berry bushes, a few families built their cabins and planted crops.

Sanpete County 1854, the news of some unfortunate freighters, mutilated and mangled bodies, picked up by the rear of the US army company and removed to Salt Creek for interment after the massacre, was reported The natives watched from the cedars on the mountain slope and followed down the canyon. These were arrested or shot. Learning this the remaining warriors, beginning to fear their new neighbors, ceased hostilities for a few months. The United States Topographical Engineer and a corps of seven men were killed by Indians while camping on the Sevier River. Raids on the settlers cattle and horses continued until January 1855 when Walker died and the war ended. Arropine, who had tried to exterminate the white men, became chief of Walker’s band and made a peace treaty. He professed love for the Mormon people and deeded the entire county to Brigham Young, trustee for the church.

These early settlers were strong men and woman, having indomitable courage and a drive to make a home, under such discouraging times. To keep the peace, Arropine made demands on the colonists who donated beef, flour and clothing to the Utes. Periodic attacks continued, James Miller was killed and five others wounded the spring of 1858. In Salt Creek Canyon, three were killed by a band of fourteen Sanpitch Indians. At Chicken Creek another massacre occurred. No man was safe outside the settlements. The work of secret murderers continued, while the Indians kept driving away horses and cattle and retreating into the mountains, where they were safe. The winter of 1865 was a severe one, with little food for man or beast on account of the grasshoppers destroying the crops. Military duties still had to be performed to guard stock and houses. The militia was called out to further hostilities in the spring at Nephi, which had formerly been called Salt Creek. On March 12th, five renegades were arrested and charged with the raids. Included were Chief Sanpitch and Ankawakets, who were held with the hope of capturing the notorious leader Black Hawk. Four more were arrested and shot. The Indians were excited and threatened to slaughter everyone. An attack was made on Salina with 3 killed and all the livestock driven away. The chiefs escaped jail, and some shot, or fleeing fugitives tracked far up into the snow banks and shot. Three days later Salina was abandoned. June 10th near the Sevier River, near Salina a battle of several hours duration was fought between the militia and the Indians. A boy killed a friendly Indian in retaliation of the death of his father. This act incensed them more and gave them an excuse for entering into more massacres.

1870 Census

Rachel Beth Ewing and Miles Miller had eleven children. four died as infants or youth: James Josiah 1851-52, Sarah Frances 1863-1863, Hyrum Emmer only 9, and Orey Ann 1875-1875. All the other were boys: Miles Samuel 1849-1928, Daniel Porter 1853-1902, Charles Andrew 1855-1917, John Edwards 1858-1922, Franklin Anderson 1861-1932, William Ashmer 1864-1937 and Joseph Henry 1867-1914. I found a letter written in 1870 from a cousin, Mary Isabella who wrote to Rachel Beth for 50 years. “You say you have so mutch to doe that you don’t know what to doe first, I don’t know how doe for so many boys having no one to help you.” Then Dear Cousin, this lock of hair I wonce did wair but now I bind it in your care. Rachel Miller by Harriet Shaffer. (An actual design, 2 inches in diameter, created by using human hair, is attached to the letter.) When this letter was written the family was still in Nephi, Rachael was 41 with 7 boys to feed. Miles and Rachel are found on the 1880 census at Fremont, Piute, Utah, where the Canyon would be named for them.

Miles Miller

The Emery Church was the first ecclesiastical building erected, after Emery was settled in the 1880’s. Finished at the turn of the century, its wood frame construction, covered with novelty siding and lined with a wall of adobe was very unusual for a Mormon Church at this time, at the corner of Block 23, at Emery, Utah. Rachel Beth, his wife was buried in Emery on August 1, 1898 and Miles Miller Sr. died back in Nephi, Utah on February 28 1900 and buried in the Vine Bluff Cemetery where someone in 1962 applied for his headstone since Miles had served in the US army during the Mexican War.

Clarissa Amanda

Part 1

Adult male sharp tailed grouse drawing by Wendy Harty 2022, This grouse has a distinctive yellow comb over its eyes and a violet display patch on the neck. It is a leking species, stamping 20 times per second and rattle their tail feathers while turning in circles dancing, as they coo to attract and compete for females..

Clarissa Amanda Miller Hoyt

Clarissa Amanda Miller, named after her mother, Amanda Morgan Miller was seventeen when she made the trek. The winter of 46-47 had been long and cold, sometimes hungry while living in the box wagon. Her father Josiah had covered it with boughs but the wind blew. Her family followed the teachings of Joseph Smith. As a young man Joseph Smith, about Clarissa’s age had been visited by an angel named Moroni and told of buried golden plates on which were inscribed the true words of God. Joseph transcribed a story of the religious history of a civilization that once existed in Central America. An exodus parallels Moses’ Egypt to the Promised Land and twelve families are in a boat, wind swept across the ocean. The leaders of the two bands, Nephi and Lemuel become warring factions, whose descendants fight until the Lamanites win. The last of the Nephites, Moroni, buried the golden plates.

Eleven witnesses and their families and a few others met on April 6, 1830 and accepted Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery as leaders. These two ordained each other as elders and launched a new church. Four missionaries travelling into the American West presented the newly published Book of Mormon. They stopped at Kirtland, Ohio. Clarissa was nine when her parents, Josiah H. and Amanda Miller, followed her sister Harriet and were converted, 1838. A new revelation at Kirtland outlined a new social and economic order, the law of the church. Titles of officers were elder, priest, teacher and deacon. The revelation said to construct a New Jerusalem on earth, a godly society, “Zion”. Most of the men were bestowed the priesthood. These priesthood members were divided into quorums with a First Presidency, of Joseph Smith and two councilors and Twelve Apostles. At each place the Mormons settled Kirtland Ohio, Independence Kansas, Far West Missouri, and Nauvoo, Illinois the Gentiles feared their political domination and caused great persecutions. The collective society, was an economic threat to other communities and the differences of religion profound.

Back in Kirtland, the Miller family helped build the first temple and witnessed an outpouring of the spirit at its completion similar to the Day of Pentecost. Clarissa’s baby sister, Abigail, would be buried at Kirtland, only eighteen months old. The temple was built with borrowed money and Joseph Smith organized a bank. The government wouldn’t charter it and the paper money issued was of little value. Doomed, the local economy collapsed; the whole nation was in a depression. Many followers left the church and Joseph’s close friends defected. Soon after, the Kirtland Saints, abandoned the temple and followed Smith to Missouri. The plan was to deed everything, land, cattle, tools and wagons, holding all things in common and receive back what they needed for support.

Amanda’s oldest sister, Evaline had married Aaron Dolph. Aaron would not conform to Kirtland camp order and by August 17, 1838, Josiah Miller was approached to leave, take his family and go on alone. They were counted in the 1840 census in Indiana. By 1845, the Miller family were at Dacatur, Illinois where the second oldest daughter, Harriet married Orton Burns, a non-Mormon school teacher.

During these years the Latter Day Saints were persecuted, had many enemies but thousands remained loyal to their prophet, Joseph Smith and settled at Far West, Missouri. Within the year, conflicts again erupted. Smith was jailed and a mob supported by the government forced them to flee again. Smith languished in jail, then escaped. In 1839, on the bank of the Mississippi River at Nauvoo, Illinois the people rebuilt. Smith sent missionaries to England who converted thousands. Nauvoo grew and grew into a city as the converts poured in. The city of 15,000 practitioners was again seen by others as an economic and religious problem. Joseph Smith was mayor, and formed a local government with a local militia called the Nauvoo Legion. This gave them safety from the mobs and judges and juries were appointed from Nauvoo residents. There was no separation of church and state. One of the most controversial revelations at Nauvoo involved a temple ritual of sealing a man and woman for eternity. Polygamy or plural wives, a practice of the Old testament Patriarchs was against most of the moral principles of the times. News of the practice was whispered. Dissenters, some high ranking church officials rejected the new teachings, wanting a reformed church. After publishing in the Nauvoo Exposition their dissent, Joseph Smith ordered the paper closed down, the press destroyed and the papers burned. A warrant for his arrest was issued and Smith gave himself up. The governor of Illinois left for Nauvoo to quell the fighting and confiscate guns. He didn’t arrive in time. A mob fired into the jail cell on June 27, 1844, killing Smith’s brother, Hiram and then Joseph Smith. The spring of 1846, Clarissa Amanda found her family moving again towards Nauvoo. They found the city in turmoil, surrounded by mobs. Mobs forced the Mormons to leave in mid winter. The Miller’s left the area with thousands of others facing harassment. The church splintered again as the Council of Apostles, appointed Brigham Young as the new president. This riled some believing only the son of the prophet could lead them. Young had death threats made on him and decided that the faithful had to move on to a promised land he would find them.

Clarissa Amanda Miller would call home, “Deseret”. Little did she know wintering over in Mt. Pisgah that home would be another 800 miles away on a salty lake. The winter proved to be one of the coldest on record. To reach here she’d travelled 300 miles. Sister Harriet had left her husband, deciding to stay with the Church. Harriet gave birth to Miles Lanomi Burns on December 21, 1846. Christmas was celebrated as an Artic blast froze the community. It was the deadliest in terms of weather as 700 suffered and died from exposure, most laid in unmarked graves.

Beside Clarissa walked her sister Emily and a boy named Israel. Israel had converted to the Latter-Day Saint gospel as a young boy. His family of 15 had migrated west with other saints. He worked to build the Nauvoo temple. Israel attended the meeting where the mantel of the Prophet fell upon Brigham Young A successor crisis had ensued after the community was shocked with the martyrdom of Joseph Smith and his family with the majority accepted Brigham Young. The murderers were never brought to justice. The Saint’s enemies remained very opposed. Utter lawlessness saw both sides retaliate. At Nauvoo, Israel Hoyt was ordained and put into the 22nd Quorum of Seventies, 1845. The governor asked them to leave or be expelled again. No one would buy the land, knowing that the Mormons would soon leave it. An estimated $2 million of homes, buildings and land were left behind. Israel Hoyt left Nauvoo. On flatboats he crossed the Mississippi. Others followed. A mob laid siege to the city giving 2 hours for those too feeble or poor to leave that hadn’t, on September 17, 1846. Amongst 19000 refugees, Clarissa Amanda and Israel were homeless teenagers on the road west. At Garden Grove where Israel wintered and Mt. Pisgah where the Miller’s wintered permanent settlements were planted and houses built to shelter later migrants. These way stations were for very grateful and weary travelers who had trudged for miles before heading west towards the Rocky Mountains. An arsonist burnt the Nauvoo temple November 1848. Israel’s parents James and Beulah Hoyt, became good friends with the Miller family, traveling in the same train as Jedediah M. Grant.

For 16 years, thousands of converts had built two temples, built the city of Nauvoo which was to be a haven of religious and political freedom, the United States failed to regard the rights or consider the sufferings. Having failed to find a Zion in the United States, Clarissa’s family sought a refuge in the west, out of control of the government and the nation’s boundaries, in the Utah Territory held by Mexico.

How did they cross the plains and mountains bringing this many people the long distances. Eventually, 300 wagon trains with 10,000 wagons passed over the Mormon Trail in the next 22 years, a journey of over 1000 miles. Overloaded, bumpy wagons, slowly going usually 10 – 15 miles a day, many chose to walk. Brigham Young had taken a census; 3,285 families, 2508 wagons and 1892 being constructed that first year. At Council Bluffs, they built a grand encampment, nine miles east from the river. It is here Clarissa Amanda said goodbye to brothers, Daniel and Miles. After the US declared war on Mexico and to raise cash, Brigham Young had mobilized the Mormon Battalion. Israel also said goodbye to a married brother, Henry Hoyt, who never made it home or saw Zion, after falling ill 4 days before reaching Salt Lake, after marching the 2000 miles to California through deserts and wilderness. Israel never joined the Battalion because he was away driving a team to help someone.

Brigham Young organized them into tens, fifties and hundreds, each under its own captain. Josiah Miller was captain of the fifth ten of the first fifty of the first three hundred. The wagons of Brigham Young arrived first. No one should bother them here. Here, was a bare, treeless, salty lake, sagebrush, crickets and rattlesnakes. The first day 3 plows broke while plowing three acres of ground. The next day they dammed up the creek flowing from the mountains. Great Salt Lake City was planned with streets 88′ wide, sidewalks 20’feet wide and in the center, 40 acres for a temple. On each block 8 lots were set back 20 feet for front yards. Daniel Miller, recovered and back from the Mormon Battalion with teams hauled poles and green boughs from a canyon. They built a bowery to shield them from the scorching sun. Here they gathered Sundays to sing and pray.

The Miller’s and Hoyt’s arrived October 2, 1847. They settlers planted wheat the next spring, determined to rely on their own resources. Most of the flour they’d obtained was gone, used in the trip. Disaster and dismay as crawling out of the mountains came wingless insects, big black loathsome hordes of crickets. Devouring anything green in their path, they were beaten with sticks and brooms. A thousand miles from supplies, facing starvation a miracle happened. Seagulls swooped in and devoured the crickets and some grain was saved to harvest.

Clarissa Amanda Miller married Israel Hoyt November 25, 1848. in the President’s Office, Salt Lake City, Utah Territory. They were 19 and 18. Harriet Amanda was born Oct 16, 1850 at Salt Lake. Brigham Young planned expansion and settled the valley where mountain water could be used for irrigation. Along transportation routes he set up remote colonies from 1845-1855 a thousand miles south to north and eight hundred miles east to west. To populate these settlements Brigham called out who would go by reading their names out loud from the pulpit. Thus Josiah Miller and the Hoyt families found out where they were being sent. Salt Creek which would be renamed Nephi! In the Juab Valley, the pioneer families came, 1851, the men cut grass for winter feed in a beautiful valley. Salt Creek was a camping spot for travelers, on the Old Mormon Road. It was on the way to California which soon the gold rush seekers or 49er’s would travel. Josiah Miller was elected the mayor. It was a largely uninhabited and unarable area, designated the county seat in 1852. Israel’s father and mother came here too, but both died at Nephi. Israel Hoyt, when it was safe to leave the fort built a home and planted an orchard. The next three babies, a girl named Clarissa and two boys, Israel and James Hyrum each lived only a short time and were buried beside their grandfather, Hoyt. The census of 1860 lists 672 persons. One of those listed was Hannah Elizabeth Cook, the second wife of Israel Hoyt, married on November 25, 1855 in Nephi, Juab, Utah. Did Clarissa Amanda rant, and stomp and weep? Some did.

Though polygamy was practiced by his predecessor, Brigham Young in 1853 made the church’s first official statement on the subject. He acknowledged that the doctrine was challenging for many women, but stated its necessity. Men in leadership were encouraged to take more than one wife and felt it was a religious duty. First wives, felt loss of the husbands affection and loyalty. Though unhappy they had to consent, had to cast out all selfishness. Any woman could be a one and only. Could Clarissa Amanda learn to be a polygamist wife? (to be cont’d in part 2 Clarissa Amanda)

Miles Miller Utah War

Part 2

Miles Miller

A third of the US Amy, occupied Utah in 1857-58. The Mormons just wanted peace! Some of them had been forced from their homes four times. With its turbulent 27 year history, this young church that taught continuing revelation, would exactly 10 years to the day they set foot in the spacious valley, receive word that an American army was on its way. Utah had been refused statehood because of its polygamy and theocratic tendencies.

President James Buchanan pitted the US army against Brigham Young’s, Nauvoo Legion. It was mostly a bloodless affair that Miles Miller participated in, but expensive and would be called Buchanan’s Blunder. If war is ever good, this was a good one. None killed, none wounded. Buchanan’s government was faced with insubordination in Kansas and the southern states. He decided he needed to flex some muscle with the territory of Utah wanting self determination and ignited a full rebellion.

Brigham Young had been appointed territorial governor. Three judges tried to bring federal jurisdiction to the territory which the Mormons wanted no part of. The relationship was stormy and when the law offices were broken into, records burned, the judges packed their bags and headed back east to complain. Mail carriers brought news of large government contracts to supply the approaching army. The Mormons assumed the worst. Was a good solution to appoint a new governor, send new federal judges and 2500 troops? Somehow the message to the troops to attack no citizens except in self defense, never reached Governor Brigham Young. He held councils with the native tribesmen aiming to keep them friendly or neutral.

Miles Miller and his brother in law, Isaac Sperry, married to Miles’ sister, Emily were mustered in August 1, 1857 to a territorial militia. With memories of mob violence and broken government promises they gathered guns and ammunition. Their wives, considered oppressed victims of polygamy, poured hot lead into molds and made their blankets into overcoats. Grain was stockpiled and food supplies cached.

A reconnaissance unit of 125 men were sent east. Two men posing as California travelers went into the army camp. They mingled with the uninformed and boastful officers and fueled the fears that the Mormon leaders were to be hung and their women abused. All the passes were guarded and viewed as a way of escape for the Mormon people. Would there be a mass migration into far mountain valleys where there could be guerrilla style war? Brigham Young declared martial law on September 14. The Church cancelled all meetings and prohibited sacrament services.

During October and November, Miles and Aaron Sperry with up to 2000 others were stationed in Echo Canyon, a narrow, high walled defensible position on the way into Salt Lake. Here they built breastworks, dug rifle pits and watched the snow get deeper. Then the cavalry were sent east wards on the high plains of Wyoming. Their orders: stampede the armies cattle, burn the grass in front of them, stage nightly noisy raids to keep the army from sleeping, fell trees to block their wagons, destroy the river fords; in other words annoy the US army in every way.

The army got a late start, only 1250 cocky soldiers crossed the plains and mountains before winter set in. Delayed in Kansas, finally four months later a new commander Colonel Johnston with the new territorial appointees caught up. The young soldiers wanted to earn their war medals but… they nicknamed their commander, “The Old Woman” who wanted no hostilities, gave them orders not to shoot until fired upon. By the time the bugle sounded a warning and they stumbled out of their tents, the enemy had fled. On September 25th, the first militia troops tried to drive all the mules away. They bolted but didn’t hobble far. The bell mule got caught in some sage brush. Utah militia also had orders not to take life, just to hinder the army. There was a practical reason for this. Only two thirds of the Nauvoo Legion were armed with 6100 troops. An inventory of weaponry counted 2364 rifles, 1159 muskets, 99 pistols and 295 revolvers. The harassments continued; grass was burned a mile on either side of where the army approached leaving no forage for the armies stock and draft animals. They serenaded them nightly with tin pans, made dried raw hides into drums and had a musical cacophony going that led to no rest and stampeded animals. On windy wintery nights their tactics worked well. They again sent in spies who spread circulars into the camp saying safe passage to California offered and $50 if the soldiers didn’t wish to fight. The Utah paper, “Contributor” may have exaggerated the 400 desertions. Utah legends were made with the efficient spy system and audacious raids. One boasted borrowing 50 pounds of bacon and a shotgun from an army supply wagon; three army wagon trains with government supplies were burnt after orders to turn them around along the emigrant trail back east or destroy them, were issued. The teamsters were civilians and refused a shoot out, protesting they were hired to whack bulls, not fight. These Mormon men who had suffered privation on the frontier, left them 2 wagons of supplies and after carrying what they could use, burnt the rest. The leader of this particular operation had a $1000 reward on his head for deliberate destruction of government property. The wife of the new governor thought she might have to dine on mule meat before new supplies would come in the spring. The band of “merry makers’ grew bolder, and followed so close behind the army column they’d ask for a chew of tobacco from the stragglers. Faring far better than the army were the run off 1500 mules, horses and cattle wintering in the Salt Lake Valley. After 10 weeks of this guerilla type warfare, the Mormon raiders were sick on half cooked government beef and beans and half frozen and exhausted they headed back through Echo Canyon and home.

Mother nature then intervened. Snow squalls left the high mountain plains covered and it took the 15 mile long army column 15 days to travel 35 miles. Soldiers were left to pull their own wagons as so many oxen and mules died along the trail. Johnston’s Army found Fort Bridger empty and charred but camped for winter quarters. Satisfied that the army wouldn’t be advancing, except for a few guards, the Mormon men were sent home.

The newly appointed territorial governor, Alfred Cummings was invited to come alone to have discussions about the situation. He was escorted at night through Echo Canyon. One hundred militia were called back and set 350 campfires along the hillside. They’d line up along the roadside, then through the sagebrush and darkness presented themselves repeatedly giving the perception the canyon was a death trap.

President Buchanan had to reconsider; he needed more reinforcements and unanticipated expenses requested were ignored by Congress. Congress had more pressing issues over slavery debates, not Utah’s defiance. Days before spring thaw could have permitted Johnston’s resupply, Buchanan sent a Peace Commission, bearing a pardon for the Mormon people. Brigham Young accepted on June 12, 1858.

Miles Miller did you recount to your children’s children how you fought in a bloodless Mexican War and then again the winter of 1846/47, with the Nauvoo Legion, with a ragged and poorly armed militia that outsmarted the US Army?

Information from Donna Ramos article in Wild West magazine, The Mormon Conflict 1850-1859 by Norman Fumiss and the Utah Expedition 1857-1858, A Documentary Account, edited by Leroy Hafen and Ann Hafen.

Miles Miller
Information for Application for a Headstone for Armed Forces of the United States, Private in Co.E. Mormon Battalion, Mexican War

Miles Miller died February 28, 1900 at Nephi, Juab, Utah, having lived a long life of 81 years.

Miles Miller Mexican War

Part 1

Miles Miller as a seventy, having lived through the Mexican War and the Utah War

1846, the longest march in infantry history took place. The orders were to march to California through New Mexico and Arizona, ostensibly to bolster the U.S. military presence in what would become the southwestern United States—California in particular—during the war against Mexico. Daniel, 25 and Miles Miller, 27, brothers and the sons of Josiah H and Amanda Miller, bid their sisters, Harriet, Emily and Clarissa, farewell. Did they knew what was being asked of them? Probably not; it was through a waterless desert they would travel with not many living creatures. There was no guide over trackless prairies where they found no water for several of the marches. Their feet became raw and many were weak.

Church History – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Two days before the brother’s left Council Bluff and family they met with President Brigham Young. He promised that the battalion would have no fighting to do! The battalion never did fight in the Mexican War. However, fatigue, hunger and sickness were challenges faced in the harshest of conditions. The cholera was in their company. They buried three men, within the first four days of the march. It rained preventing them from moving fast over a horrid road and then spent two nights in heavy rain. August 23, 1846 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, their trusted leader was taken ill, Captain James Allan. Burning thirst over road other sufferings. Many of the days marches were made without water. Desperation called for them to strain the water when reached though their teeth to keep from swallowing the dead and live insects in the contaminated water. They would fill canteens out of the tracks of the oxen and mules. They learned to walk with stones in their mouths to generate saliva.

Daniel Morgan Miles thought he might die. Captain Cook ordered all the women and children and the men who were unable to travel, back to Pueblo to spend the winter. With 150 physically unfit men, he trailed towards Santa Fe. With 84 women and children these men were sent to the trapper/trader compound at Pueblo, Colorado on the Arkansas River. Later another fifty four sick men were sent back, who told of the hardships of this journey and the the heartlessness of the Lieutenant. The government surgeon prescribed Calomel, which is now a known poison. This whole group, including Daniel arrived in Salt Lake Valley on July 29, 1847, just five days behind the original Brigham Young Group. Entering the valley they turned north at the canyon’s mouth, heading west, crossed Red Butte Creek, and came to the camp on City Creek. Josiah and Amanda and his three sisters hadn’t made it yet.

His brother Miles would not know if Daniel was dead or alive but Miles marched on. South of Socorro, in New Mexico, on a cold and snowy day, his friend Richard Carter died of a fever brought on by hunger and weakness. His comrades buried him between the bluff and the Rio Grande. He left behind a wife and 3 children, who would soon be orphaned as his wife died of smallpox.

The Battle of the Bulls was the only battle the Mormon Battalion fought. It was against wild cattle on December 11, 1846. Wild bulls charged the army and a dusty, chaotic melee resulted in three men injured, three mules gored to death and wagons overturned. The battalion opened firing on this wild scene and feasted on bull meat as they camped along the San Pedro River. (blog called: The Battle of the Bulls)

“The Bull”

The capture of Tucson was uncontested as Miles and the Mormon Battalion entered the Mexican city of Tucson, Sonora now the present day Tucson, Arizona. With a head ups warning ,the Mexican Army troops evacuated the city. No shots were fired. Two days later, with the Mormon Battalion moving on that December in , 1846, Tucson was immediately reoccupied.

Then when they reached the mountains, with pick and axe, up with the wild goats, they hewed a road through a chasm of rock for the wagons and thus brought the first wagons to the Pacific. This was a lasting contribution from the Mormon Battalion. Arriving half-naked, half-fed, living upon wild game, this road would soon open the Californian Gold Rush. On January 29, 1847, they finally reached their destination of San Diego. San Diego was a small town. Miles dressed in ragged clothes had arrived almost 2000 miles. Miles was the first of the Miller family to see the Pacific Ocean. His great great great grandfather, John Barnett, had been the first of the family to leave Ireland and come to American shores on the Atlantic coast in 1719. Through the Barnett’s: John Sr, John Jr, Samuel, Ame Sarah Barnett, Josiah H. Miller, Miles Miller., making Miles Miller my 2nd cousin 3x removed or through the Rogers family James Jacob Rogers, Mary Ann Rogers, Robert Miller, Josiah H. Miller, Miles Miller my 4th cousin 2x removed.

Armed conflict in the Mexican-American War had ceased, but the battalion still owed six months of military service. The battalion was honorably discharged in July 1847 in Los Angeles and most including Miles made their way back to their families, now in Utah territories. Some found the Donner Party and buried their bones, some helped build courthouses and forts, and some that stayed in California found gold which prompted the goldrush in 1849. Others blazed trails over California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains to provide much needed routes for travel to the Salt Lake Valley.

By the time the battalion was discharged, its members had marched from what is now the Midwest to Southern California and had established a wagon road between the Gila and Rio Grande Rivers in modern-day New Mexico and Arizona, which ultimately contributed to the U.S. making the Gadsden Purchase. To this day, the battalion has been the only religion-based military unit in U.S. military history; all in the battalion (except its commanders) were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Miles Miller married Rachel Beth Ewing on January 27, 1849, He was 31 she was 20. Along with his father and mother, Josiah and Amanda, brother Daniel and wife Elizabeth, sisters Emily Louisa married to Charles Sperry and Clarissa Amanda married to Israel Hoyt, they all lived at Nephi, Juab, Utah Territory with Miles and Rachel. Here the children of Miles and Rachel were born: Miles Samuel, 1849, James Josiah, 1851-52, Daniel Porter Ewing, 1853, Charles Andrew 1855, John Edwards 1858, Franklin Anderson 1861, Sarah Frances 1863, William Ashmer 1864, Joseph Henry 1867, Hyrum Emmer 1870, Orey Ann 1875 and Edward Miller at Nephi. (I have DNA matches with Miles Samuel Miller and John Edwards Miller).

In the spring of 1853 trouble began to brew between the natives and the settlers. Chief Walker and his braves began to attack the settlements. They killed a man in Payson and then went up Spanish Fork and passed over to Mt. Pleasant. They were in a state of siege from that time on. They tore down their houses and made a fort of them, putting the doors inside. They lived inside this stockade for two years and then President Young told them to build a Spanish wall around nine blocks. When they got that completed they had three days of feasting and dancing. Miles was a first lieutenant of Company A of Battalion of Infantry of Joab Military District.

Miles Miller was issued an Ordination Certificate to the Seventies, one of the seventy elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints by President Joseph Young. Joseph Smith the prophet of the Latter-Day Saints, on a Sunday afternoon said to Brigham Young to call a meeting of the church, at Kirtland, Ohio, where the Josiah H. Miller family was living. On February 28, 1835, Brigham was to be one of Twelve Apostles in the Quorum and Joseph Young a president of seventy. They organized into seven presidents who would preside over the quorum. “It is the duty of the Twelve Apostles to call upon the Seventy, when they need assistance, to fill the several calls for preaching and administering the gospel.” More than 1/3 of the Mormon Battalion consisted of seventies drawn from more than thirty separate quorums, when they were ordained in 1845.

The background for the history of the church: In early 1838, the Church leaders had left Kirtland, their lives threatened by a wave of apostate brethren. Josiah and Amanda Miller and family of Loyal Saints organized to follow them, however, son-in-law Aaron Dolph married to Evaline Miller, the eldest daughter, did not conform to share everything; therefore they were asked to leave. The seventy organized a company to journey by wagon to Far West, Missouri. They formed up the Kirtland Camp to make the journey. A portion of the company stopped at Haun’s Mill, just outside Far West, Missouri. A mob of about 200 men descended upon them, indiscriminately killing all they could find. President Joseph Young, (who above appointed Miles to the seventy), ran through the hazel bushes and over a hill, surviving. In 1839, the Saints, driven from Far West, reassembled at Commerce, later called Nauvoo. Josiah and Amanda and some of the family, including the boys, Daniel and Miles Miller, escaped all the mobs as they wandered up to Council Bluffs, Iowa, just in time for the two boys to Join the Mormon Battalion and be baptized and for Miles to be one of the seventy, 1846, the story above.

Next came the Utah War! (to be continued in part 2)

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