About Electa Westover (Beal)
Electa Beal Westover - 1802-1889
Obadiah Beal enlisted in the army when he was nineteen years old and served in the Massachusetts Continental Army. He married Rebecca Moody 25 February 1787 and soon after moved to Vermont. They lived in Addison, Windsor, and Franklin counties there. Their seventh child, Electa, was born in Bristol, Addison County 1 January 1802. Although they were enticed to move to the fertile hills of Vermont, heavy frosts and drought drove people by the thousands from that state. Sometime between 1807 and 1814, the family found a new home in Champaign County, Ohio. Obadiah bought 35 acres of land for $80 on Treacle Creek in Goshen Township.
Electa married Alexander Westover 13 February 1823. They had four sons. Edwin Ruthven was born 27 August 1824; Albert was born about 1826 and died in infancy; Charles was born 25 November 1827; and Oscar Fitzland was born 27 November 1829.
Alexander had cleared some land and built a cabin in Rush Township, Champaign County. He was ill a long time and died 12 March 1834, leaving Electa with their boys age nine, seven, and five years old. She tried to keep them with her, but finally had to find homes in which to place them. Edwin went first to live with a family near Springfield, Clark County. Charles lived for a while with Electa’’s mother. Oscar was with Electa’’s sister Hannah Brown. They all worked to pay their way with various families, some of which were quite unsatisfactory. A Mr. Lapham was especially a good one to work for and Charles was with him much of the time before he went west.
Besides Hannah, Electa’’s sisters Polly (Mary) Griswold, Sally Perry, and Ann Baker, as well as her brother Daniel lived near her. Her brother David was married there but evidently moved away. Her sister who was blinded when a small girl was with her mother until her mother died, and then was in a school for the blind.
Hannah and her daughter Adeline, living at that time above Columbus, had heard the missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and were baptized into that church in 1844. Some of the Elders of the church came into Champaign County upon the urging of Hannah. Electa was converted and joined 19 August 1845; Edwin joined about three weeks later. Charles felt the need to join but hoped to find Elder Goodale again to do it. After being disappointed in not finding him in Winter Quarters, he was baptized there anyway. Charles said in his story that Oscar was convinced of the truth but when he went back to work his companions there persuaded him against the Saints, although he had promised to go with them when they went west.
Edwin married in Champaign County, Sarah Sophia Darrow, who gave birth to a son, Lycurgus. Three months later she died. Electa cared for the baby until Edwin married again. This time it was to Sarah Jane Burwell, 10 February 1848.
Electa, with her sons Charles and Edwin and hiss wife, left about the first of April 1848 to go to Winter Quarters and then on to the Great Salt Lake Valley. Hannah had married John Kempton. They and Adeline were also among the group. They boarded the railroad cars at Urbana not far from their home, then took a steamboat for St. Louis. There they took another boat, the Mandon, bound for Council Bluff. There were friends in the group: Sarah Jane’’s mother and stepfather, Sarah and William A. Morse; James Willard Bay, a cousin of Edwin’’s first wife Sophia; and others. The boat ran onto a sandbar and sprung a leak and had to go back to be repaired. For twelve days the company camped on the shore and waited for the return of the boat. They finally arrived in Council Bluff 9 May about sundown. They crossed the Missouri River to Winter Quarters where they spent the next ten days preparing for the long journey across the plains.
Some of them went to Elkhorn where they waited a few days for the others of the company and Brigham Young who was to lead them. This was his second and last trip to the Rocky Mountains. After a tiresome journey they arrived in the Great Valley 20 September 1848, more than four months after they left Winter Quarters.
The Fort in Great Salt Lake had been built the year before. In his story Charles says that he managed to get logs and put up a room to the square and put a flat roof on it. Here he and his mother lived, although he was off to work most of the time. When the wards were first organized in 1849, the Westovers were listed in the 9th Ward. Their meeting house was built on the corner of Fourth South and Fifth East, and they lived in that area. At the Elkhorn, Charles, the year after their arrival, married Eliza Ann Haven.
The Saints were trying to live the doctrine of Sealing but, not fully understanding it were sometimes mistaken as to its real meaning and function. It seemed important for the women to be sealed to someone and Electa was sealed 18 December 1849 to Eleazer Miller who was a Captain of Fifty in their company as they came west. Already he had some other wives. It appears that she was also sealed to Chauncy Loveland, who was in the first company of Saints, 18 August 1837. This man lived in Bountiful and had two other wives. It is doubtful that she lived with either of these men, at least for long. She was listed in ward records with her sons, and always as Electa Westover. She was in Grantsville in 1860 and went to St. George when Edwin and Charles were called there. Some time after Oscar’’s wife died in California, Electa was with him and his children. Oscar had married a Mrs. Esther Cooley Nickols, a native of Ohio who had four children. Oscar and Esther had two children and Electa cared for them for some time. There is no record of how long she stayed there, but definitely was there in 1870.
While at Cottonwood, south of Salt Lake City, Edwin obtained consent to marry as a plural wife Agnes Ann Findley, a convert from Scotland. Charles married Mary Eliza Shumway as a plural wife. When Electa came back to Utah from California, she lived with her sons in Pinto and later in Washington. In a few years the beautiful valley of the Hamblin and Pinto area became eroded; great floods washed their homes and crops away. Then droughts came and the people were forced to move elsewhere. At this time Charles and his wife Mary Eliza moved to Huntington. Edwin’s wife Agnes Ann had gone to Mendon where her parents lived.
Electa’s family was at least friendly to the church. Sally’s husband, Alanson Perry, even helped arrange for Laura’’s trip west and acted as power-of-attorney for Edwin and Sarah when they left their land in Franklin County to be sold. Electa’s sister Laura joined the church in 1852 when James Bay went back to Ohio on a mission for the church and taught her the gospel. When he and his wife returned to Utah, they brought Laura and others with them. Laura spent most of her life in Utah in Washington County with her sister and family there. While living in Washington, Electa and Laura did considerable ordinance work in the St. George Temple when it opened in 1877. At this time Electa had herself sealed to Alexander, the father of her children.
When Edwin left Hamblin, he started for Arizona on a mission to settle on the Little Colorado River, but died at Johnson, Utah. His wife Sarah and children went on to the town of Taylor, Arizona. Charles lived in Washington where Electa lived the rest of her life. Here she died 1 August 1889 and was buried there.