Almira Iona Burgess (Pulsipher) (1817 - 1868)

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Place of Burial: Hebron, Washington, Utah, United States
Birthplace: Choconut, Broome, Pennsylvania, United States
Death: Died in Hebron, Washington, Utah, United States
Managed by: Jewel Walters
Last Updated:

About Almira Iona Burgess (Pulsipher)

2nd marriage shown as 3/6/1836

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868 Unidentified Companies (1850)

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Birth: Sep. 8, 1817 Choconut Susquehanna County Pennsylvania, USA

Death: Mar. 8, 1868 Hebron Washington County Utah, USA

1. Hebron Marker Record; 2. Hebron Marker Record. This is a newer marker than the original found in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.

3. Salt Lake City Cemetery Marker Record. It is said Almira Pettit died in the 17th ward of Salt Lake City, as noted in her obituary.

Daughter of Zerah Pulsipher and Mary Ann Brown

Married Horace Burgess, 6 Mar 1836, Kirtland, Lake, Ohio. Family legend says she divorced Horace because she could not accept polygamy, however her headstone still reads Burgess as surname.

Children - Hyrum Burgess, George Martin Burgess, Sarah Jane Burgess, Susan Burgess, Lucinda Burgess, William Burgess

Married James Pettit, 17 Oct 1852, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah

History - Almira was about five or six years old when her folks moved to New York state. It was here that her brother, Nelson, just younger, was killed in May of 1824 by the fall of a tree.

It was the year 1831, when Almira was 14 years old, that she with her family first heard the gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She was baptized the next year, in 1832, by Jared Carter. Her father was appointed Presiding Elder and did what he could to preach the gospel to others, but he had a desire to gather with the Saints in Kirtland, Ohio, and arrived there in l835.

It was in Ohio that Almira became acquainted with young Horace Burgess, son of William and Vilate Stockwell Burgess. He was born January 23, l816. They were married in 1836 when Almira was 19 and he was 20 years old. Their first child, a boy, whom they called Hyrum, was born May 25, 1837.

These years were troubled ones for the Mormon people and Horace and Almira did not escape. We know how they were implicated because of the reference to them made in the personal histories of Almira's sister, Mariah, who later married William Burgess, a brother to Horace; also, from her brother, John Pulsipher.

In the early summer of 1838 the Saints were forced to leave Kirtland. The Burgess family, being faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, went along with the rest to Missouri. They thought they would be safe there but met with the same opposition as in Ohio.

When Almira and Horace were living in Far West, Missouri, she wanted to have a little visit with her folks who lived about 30 miles away at Di-amond (Adam-ondi-Ahman). After her visit she returned to her home. She was heart sick and discouraged when she found the mobs had entered her house and plundered and stolen her few belongings.

It seemed the devil was really turned loose in the hearts of evil men. Even the Governor of the state of Missouri was one of the Mormon's worst enemies. He issued an order to the Saints which read as follows: "The Mormons must leave Davis County, Missouri within ten days and leave the state before seed time. If one of them is found there after that time his life will be considered no more than that of a wolf." The mobs stayed to see that the orders were executed and while they remained they lived off the Mormon's grain, pork and beef. They would burn up the fences and do all the damage they could. On one occasion they wanted a rope to tie a horse up so they shot a poor widow's cow right beside her door and cut a rope out of the hide before the cow was even dead.

This country was supposed to be a land of liberty there everyone could worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience and have equal rights. But with such an order hanging over them there was no time to waste. Almira and Horace moved to Caldwell County and established themselves for the winter. They were forced to leave their land that they had bought. It was with curious feelings that they left this valley of Adam-on-Diamon (Adam-ondi-Ahman) where in the days of old, Father Adam had stood at the alter and given his last blessing to his children as they were assembled.

There weren't teams available to draw the goods and the people too, so the women and children were obliged to walk along with the men. It was a terrible thing to be driven from their homes to travel over the cold prairies covered with snows camping at night in wet clothing with very little food.

Almira was with her parents and brothers and sisters in this camp in Caldwell County. She was glad her mother was there when on April 3, l839, she gave birth to her second child, another boy, whom they named George Martin Burgess. Soon after this, the Burgess and the Pulsipher families, along with their neighbors started across the state of Missouri to Illinois. After traveling about 200 miles, they reached the Mississippi River. Just prior to this, one of the horse in Horace's team fell dead in the road. This was a great handicap to their progress but members of his family came to his assistance and they traveled on.

The people residing in Illinois seemed to be more tolerant toward them, for the time beings at least. They looked around for homes but all the houses were full. They heard of a large tract of vacant land in the north part of Adams County so they went to it. Besides Horace and AImira, there were William Jr., and Mariah, father William Burgess, father Pulsipher and their wives and children. it was quite a little colony who made a road into the woods called the Bear Creek timber. They stopped three miles east of Lima and 20 miles north of Quincy, Illinois.

They all worked together and seemed like one large family. When one killed a deer it was divided among the group. In about one month they had three good log houses built, 12 acres of land fenced and most of it planted into corn. They caught fish, killed game, picked greens, etc. They worked and bought some corn of the old farmers who lived at a distance around them. They made roads into the woods. Some other Mormon people came and settled about two miles from them making a larger settlement, with Isaac Morley as Presiding Elder. They enjoyed their meeting with this group and the Spirit of the Lord was with them. He blessed the land for them and blessed their labors. Their crops yielded in abundance and their flocks and herds increased. Farming and shingle making was their principle employment.

The Lord soon made known to this people that they were to build a Temple to His name. We know that Horace would do his part in laboring on this sacred building, and that Almira would be right there to give him what assistance and encouragement she could.

Like the people of other states the Mormons had been in, the inhabitants of Illinois felt that this industrious people were getting too much of a hold on their fertile lands so they commenced persecuting them too. Mob violence became very pronounced. The Church leaders were imprisoned or persecuted. The Temple was completed and dedicated under these trying circumstances. Finally the Prophet Joseph and Hyrum Smith were killed in cold blood and Brigham Young, a stalwart character, held the main body of the Church together.

The only thing left for President Young to do to save his people ‘was to move still farther west beyond the confines of the United States where they could live in peace and safety. The news was welcomed by Almira and Horace and the other Saints, even though they had no idea what tribulations lay ahead of them. Spare time was spent in building wagons, buying teams and securing provisions to make the journey when the notice was given.

Almira's father, Zerah Pulsipher, her brother, Charles and Horace's father, William Burgess, were in the company with Brigham Young and members of the "Twelve" who crossed the Mississippi with the first pioneer company on February of 1846, and worked their way westward over the territory of Iowa. The weather was cold and stormy. When their provisions gave out they went down to the nearest settlement in Missouri and worked for more, and then proceeded on with their road building.

On May 20, 1846, Almira, Horace and two children, her sister Mariah and William Burgess Jr., and their two children, the family of father William Burgess, the family of father Zerah Pulsipher, also Elias Pulsipher and his family made ready to start to find the camp of Israel on ahead.

This company had been traveling for nearly a week, making what headway they could with light teams and heavy loads when they were pleasantly surprised to meet father Pulsipher and father Burgess coming back for them, fearful that their families had not yet started and that enemies would be upon them. So, they had come back to assist.

They traveled on until they came to a settlement on the Des Moines River and then stopped and worked about two months for more provisions. They also traded horses for oxen and on August 10, started again on their journey. After traveling 21 days, they passed by Garden Grove and Mt. Pisgah, resting places where the poor Saints had stopped to raise crops so they could pursue their journey. They arrived at the headquarters of the Camp of Israel on the west side of the Missouri Rivers, September 1. Horace worked hard along with the other men to cut the abundant native grass for hay to feed their animals during the winter. They built 800 log houses in a few weeks to house the people before winter. Almira was very thankful to have this shelter from the fall weather because on October 5, l846, her third child, little Susan, was born.

As soon as spring broke, Brigham Young and quite a company again set out westward to find the place for the Saints to make permanent homes.

The Pulsiphers and Burgesses stayed on at Winter Quarters with the remainder of the Saints to leave the next spring. Until it was time to plow the fields and plant crops they spent their time in fishing. They made a sieve net, four yards wide and forty long which served very well for bringing in the fish. They would go to a little lake about 20 miles up the Missouri River.

They hauled in many loads of choice fish, fresh from the water, which was a great blessing to the suffering poor and the best medicine to cure the scurvy that they could get. They were very thankful to the Lord that he had made fish available.

There was much sickness and suffering in the camp that winter and spring. The number that died exceeded anything that had happened before. They started to recover somewhat when they could get some vegetables which consisted of pig weeds for greens and some wild roots, like small potatoes.

Almira did not escape these tribulations and another cross she had to bare was to share her husband with another woman. The Church leaders were advocating to a few stalwarts the practice of plural marriage. Horace was one of the men who married another woman. Perhaps Almira was just a bit jealous because he chose Bolania Pulsipher, who was 13 years his junior. She was the daughter of Almira's cousin, Elias Pulsipher. Family stories have it that this marriage caused a separation between Almira and Horace. Bolania had one child, Lucinda Burgess, who died at the age of 3.

Horace died June l7, 1849 at Winter Quarters, probably a victim of the terrible diseases that were taking so many lives at that place. None of us can say what the feelings of Almira were. She may have become somewhat bitter with her lot because her sons, Hyrum and George, never discussed their mother with their families.

Upon my inquiry to Ruth Burgess Gardner, a daughter of George who lives at Lund, Nevada, she writes, May 24, 1953:

"As to the life and history of my grandparents, Horace and Almira Pulsipher Burgess, I know very little. Father never said much about his mother. It seems she was very headstrong and she and grandfather separated over polygamy and she married a man by the name of Petit.

"I don't know if she ever came to Utah. There was one child by her second marriage. Horace Burgess, my grandfather, died in Winter Quarters when he was getting ready to cross the plains."

Mrs. Dora Burgess Shepherd of Alpine, Utah, writes, July 5, 1953:

"I know nothing about my great grandmother Almira P. Burgess after Horace Burgess died. My grandfather, George Martin was hurt at his mother because he figured she gave him and his brother away to their Uncle and married again. "She had a daughter, Susan, who stayed with the mother and I have been trying to locate some of her descendants. They may know more about her than I do. All of George Martin's children are dead except Ruth Gardner in Lund, Nevada, and Willard Burgess of Ogden, Utah."

We know that Almira came to Utah and on to Hebron with her people because her mother, Mary B. Pulsipher, states in her history that her daughter, Almira, died March 8, 1868, at the age of 51 years.

Rose Burgess of Sparks, Nevada, whose husband is a great grandson of Hyrum, contributes the records that Hyrum Burgess married first: Eliza Jane Dykes, second: Mary Ann Hales, and third Agnes Smith. George Martin Burgess married Rhoda Ann Dykes. Susan Burgess married, first, Jacob Crandall and second, Smith Tanner. Hyrum died September 24, 1924, and George died March 18, 1923.


Family links:

Parents:
  • Zerah Pulsipher (1789 - 1872)
  • Mary Ann Brown Pulsipher (1798 - 1886)
Spouses:
  • James Pettit (1793 - 1862)
  • Horace Burgess (1816 - 1849)*
Children:
  • Hyrum Burgess (1837 - 1924)*
  • George Martin Burgess (1839 - 1923)*
  • Sarah Jane Burgess (1841 - 1843)*
  • Susan Burgess Tanner (1846 - 1922)*


Burial: Hebron Cemetery Enterprise (Washington County) Washington County Utah, USA Plot: Section 2, Block 24



      
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Almira Burgess's Timeline

1817
September 8, 1817
Choconut, Broome, Pennsylvania, United States
1836
October 17, 1836
Age 19
Kirtland, Lake, Ohio, United States
1837
May 25, 1837
Age 19
Cincinnatti, Ohio, United States
1839
April 2, 1839
Age 21
Caldwell, Missouri, USA
1841
April 9, 1841
Age 23
Caldwell, Clay, Illinois, United States
1852
October 17, 1852
Age 35
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, USA
1868
March 8, 1868
Age 50
Hebron, Washington, Utah, United States
????
Hebron, Washington, Utah, USA