Elizabeth Kartchner

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Elizabeth Kartchner (Gale)

Birthplace: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Death: Died in Mesa, Maricopa, Arizona, USA
Place of Burial: Snowflake, Navajo, Arizona, USA
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Henry Gale and Sarah Gale
Wife of William Decatur Kartchner
Mother of Aaron Kartchner; Culver Kartchner; Minnie Kartchner; Byrtleson Kartchner; Darien Kartchner and 4 others
Sister of James Gale, Sr.; George Gale; Wandell Pacific Gale; Henry Charles Gale; Sarah Ann Thompson and 4 others
Half sister of Sarah Amelia Roberts; irene shipp and alice limb

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About Elizabeth Kartchner

Sydney to San Francisco Ship: Envelope, Departure: 6 Apr 1853, Arrival: 8 Jul 1853

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868 Unidentified Companies (1858) Age 18

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Birth: Jan. 20, 1845, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Death: Mar. 9, 1928, Navajo County, Arizona, USA

Elizabeth was the second wife of William Decatur Kartchner.

The Gale family was in the first group of Australian LDS Converts to immigrate to the US. It was one of only three identifiable groups to come to the US through the Port of San Pedro - which was to had been intended to be the west coast terminus for LDS converts from the Pacific and Australian Missions and one of the primary motivations for the establishing a colony in Southern California.

On Wednesday, April 7,1853 they started for America with a small company of saints in charge of Elder Wandell. This was the first company of saints to leave Australia to come to America. They left Sydney in the ship "Envelope" with their four children; namely: Elizabeth, James, George, and Rebecca. While on the Pacific Ocean on May 12th, 1853, another son was born and named Wandell Pacific after Elder Wandell and the Ocean they were on.

The ship's first US ports of call were San Francisco, Santa Barbara, then to San Pedro for offloading. The Gale family moved on to the San Bernardino Mormon colony and first met the Kartchner family.

The Gale family continued on to Utah in 1857 with the Church leadership call for all Mormons to return closer to the center of the church at Salt Lake City due to the "Utah War".

William's first wife Margaret acted as midwife to Elizabeth during her pregnancies and in the family, the children of Margaret would refer to Elizabeth as "Aunt Lizzie" It could be that the same "Aunt" reference was used by Elizabeth's children in addressing or referring to Margaret


Newspaper Article: WOMAN, 83, IS DROWNED IN OLD WELL AT MESA: MESA, March 10 - Mrs. Elizabeth Kartchner, 83, of Snowflake, Arizona, was drowned here last night when the bank of an old well, caved under her weight and she fell into the water, approximately 30 feet deep. The accident occurred shortly after dark at the home of R. J. Perkins, just south of the Arizona Temple, where Mrs. Kartchner had spent a greater part of the winter with her daughter. It was an hour later that the mishap was discovered. According to members of the family, Mrs. Kartchner had gone out of the house to secure some kindling for a fire.

Irrigation water seepage had loosened the dirt around the top of the old well, it is believed, and the earthen bank gave way under Mrs. Kartchner's weight, dropping her to the bottom. Alarmed at the continued absence of the woman, members of the family instituted a search and eventually discovered the caved-in well. The body was recovered with grappling hooks.

Mrs. Kartchner and a sister, Mrs Rebekah C. Thompson, also far advanced in years, have been here a major part of the winter, doing religious work in the Arizona Temple. They have made their home with the former's daughter, Mrs. Perkins.

The body was sent tonight to Snowflake, where burial will be made. Mrs. Kartchner resided for years in Navajo county and has many relatives in that locality. ["Arizona Republican", Sunday March 11,1928. Page 1, Column 7, Section 1.]


The Life Sketch of Elizabeth Gale Kartchner [by her own hand 1920]

Henry Gale was the son of George and Rebecca Gale born Oct 18,1818 (sic) in the town of Box Willshire England. In 1837,when gold was discovered in Australia, my father Henry Gale was then a boy in England & thought he would leave home and go to the gold mines and make a fortune.

Not liking mining, altho he got a nuget of gold, he went to herding sheep. About the time, a young lady Sarah Willis and her brother from Ireland went there also. They thought they would make money and send for their mother [and the rest of the family] who was then a widow, But their mother died before they could send for Her. My mother worked out for a living when she met this young man, my father, they became acquainted and was married April 8, 1844. Jan 20,1845 - a baby girl came to their home now the writer of this sketch.

May 8,1852, two morman elders came as missionarys. My parents were converted and joined the church in 1852, In the fall of 1853 emigrated with the elders for Zion in a sail ship we was 3 months on the ocean, a baby brother was born on the ship we arrived in San Bemadino Cal June 1853. We lived there 4 years. In the winter of '57, left for Utah, a baby sister was born at Las Vegas in the wagon.

One night our team was missing the company all hunted for them and could not find them they was going to go on the next morning My mother had a dream and saw them. She told father he went and found them right at the spot where she saw them.

In Feb 1858, we landed in Beaver Utah there was only 2 or 3 log houses we lived in a cellar the first winter with no roof except a wagon cover or Quilts. We would have to shake off the snow before we could get up. My Father was a farmer, me being the oldest would help him. In the field in the Summer we cut all our grain with a cicle I would cut and bind my bundles. In the winter, my brother and I would braid straw for hats. Mother would sew them.

The next summer father hired a man to cradle his grain. I would follow the cradle and rake it in bundles for father to bind. I also helped to haul and stack.

Nov 8th 1859, my father was ordained an Elder and July 16,1871 - Was ordained a High Priest. Dec 30,1876 was called as a member of the High Council of Beaver Stake. He has done work in the temple at St George and Manti.

He was a hard working man and a true Latter-day Saint he endured all the hardships of a new country he died Dec 26,1891.

Dec 5th 1862, I (Elizabeth Gale) was married to William Decator Kartchner. We traveled to Salt Lake by team and was married in the Endowment House. We lived in Beaver untill we was called by the Presidency and Twelve Apostles to go to the Muddy. We had one little boy we arrived at the Muddy Oct 9, 1865- We lived There four years, while there we had three other children, it was a lovely country. As we traveled down we camped at a place called Beaver Dam.

There was quite a grove of Cottonwood trees where the seed fell the young trees came up. They were about 2 feet long and about as large as a pencil. I pulled up a bunch by the roots wrapped them in a wet gunny sack and tied them on the back of the wagon. When we got located I set them out. On the dichbank, they grew so fast when we left there my husband cut one down and made an oxyoke. We Raised cotton and corn. Grain and all kinds of vegetables.

Our fruit trees were just beginning to bear and our grain was about six Inches high and Nice and green when we was to come back. We then settled In Panqultch Utah Mar 20 1871. Two boys were added to our family there.

In the spring conference of 1877 was called to go to Arizona we started Nov 15,1877. Arrived at a place below St Joseph Jan 22,1878. We called it Taylor. While there a daughter was born. We tried to make a town but the river would rise and washed out our dam twice. We became discouraged and moved from there Aug 6,1878 and arrived at Stinson Aug 9 now called Snowflake Nov 17,1878.

I moved into my little log house, one of the first built here. In due time, Three little dauther to our family. Dec 5,1880, we pattioned for a Post Office which was granted and my husband was post master the first Post Office in Snowflake. He continued in the office until he went blind.

He had poor health for several years. May 14, 1892, he died leaving me with a large family. I am the mother of 10 children buried two have 8 Living. They are all married and have families They have all been to the Temple and are all members of the church of Latterday Saints in good Standing.

The lord has blessed me with good health. I am now 75 years old and am well and strong for which I feel thankful My desire is to do good While I live and that I may Be faithful and true to the end.

[Elizabeth Gale Kartchner]

Elizabeth was buried at the foot of the grave of William and his first wife, Margaret.

Children :

Aaron 1863-1922 [m. Margaret Blythe]

Henry 1866-1868

Culver 1868-1949

Minnie [Stratton] 1870-1969

Byrtle 1873-1949

Darien 1875-1964

Elsie [Gale] 1878-1945

Etta [McCleve] 1881-1926

Zina [Perkins] 1883-1977

Melva 1886-1903


Henry Gale (1818 - 1891)

Sarah Wills Gale (1825 - 1905)


William Decatur Kartchner (1820 - 1892)


  • Aaron Kartchner (1863 - 1922)*
  • Henry Kartchner (1866 - 1868)*
  • Henry Culver Kartchner (1868 - 1949)*
  • Minnie Kartchner Stratton (1870 - 1969)*
  • Byrtle Kartchner (1873 - 1949)*
  • Darien Kartchner (1875 - 1964)*
  • Elsie Kartchner Gale (1878 - 1945)*
  • Etta Kartchner McCleve (1881 - 1926)*
  • Zina Kartchner Perkins (1883 - 1977)*

Burial: R V Mike Ramsay Memorial Cemetery, Snowflake, Navajo County, Arizona, USA, Plot: 53/Q/35/3

The following is a newspaper article from The Sun, Flagstaff, Arizona, dated July 24, 1961, which talks about a family reunion of the Kartchner family during the Snowflake Pioneers Day. It reads as follows:

Many Descendants at Event, Pioneer Settler William Decatur Kartchner, Family Honored at Snowflake Pioneers Day, by Dorila Marting: WINSLOW (Special)--A group of relatives from Winslow attended the 83rd Annual Snowflake Pioneer Day, July 22, which honored the William Decatur Kartchner family. They were Mrs. Mildren K. Rhoton, Mrs. Ann K. Kelly, and Mrs. Ruth K. Thompson, granddaughters of the honored, and his great-granddaughter, Miss Deserie Diane DeValeria. Occupying special places were three children of the pioneer, Orin Kartchner, 97, and his half-sister, Mrs. Minnie K. Stratton, 90, both original settlers of Snowflake, and Zina K. Perkins of Mesa.

Kartchner was born May 4, 1820, in Pennsylvania to German and Irish parents. Orphaned at the age of six, he learned to endure life. He had 20 children from two marriages; first to Margaret Jane Casteel, and then to Elizabeth Gale. Among the children is Mrs. Rhoton's father, Byrtle, formerly of Taylor, who died in 1949. In his early youth he was converted to Mormonism, a religion which he devoted his life's work obeying orders, settling new frontiers, leaving green fields and new cabins for his followers, and always moving forward in spite of his delicate health and countless hardships with Indians, weather, and discrimination.

He was aging and very ill, when orders came to him to move to Arizona Territory. "On the day that they start, I shall rise from my bed. I may fall, but I shal fall with my face toward Arizona!" he said. Now his 3,000 descendants are happy that he came to Arizona. According to Mrs. Rhoton, three or four hundred relatives from Utah, Nevada California, and all parts of Arizona were present for the event. a telegram from Governor Paul Fannin was read at the program, in which he congratulated the Kartchners and their descendants for being one of the first and largest families of Arizona. Main speakers were: Mrs. Merle Kartchner Shumway, granddaughter, and Lorum Stratton, postmaster of Snowflake and grandson of the settler.

Special selections were played on violins and guitars by Kartchner descendants, including Mrs. Leone K. Fulton, Lafe S. and Kenner Kartchner, and an organ solo by Nicholas Shumway. The ladies chorus sang, "Our Heritage," composed by one of the descendants, Mrs. Annella M. Hall. Ushers included the relatives of the pioneers. The event ended with a barbeque and rodeo at the old Flake Ranch, with dancing in the evening.

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Elizabeth Kartchner's Timeline

January 20, 1845
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
December 5, 1862
Age 17
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
December 24, 1863
Age 18
Beaver, Beaver County, Idaho, USA
Age 23
December 25, 1870
Age 25
Oveton, Clark, Nevada, USA
Age 27
November 19, 1875
Age 30
Panguitch, Iron, Utah, USA
Age 32
Age 36
Age 37