About George Warren Sirrine
George Warren Sirrine was born at Cold Springs, Putnam county, New York December 6, 1818, the son of Isaac and Sarah Garrison Sirrine. Showing an unusual aptitude for machinery, he was put into a shop for further training, where he learned the trade well and this experience prepared him for later opportunities needing his mechanical skill. When he was sixteen years of age his father built two mills, one of which George was given the full responsibility of running.
On February 4, 1846, the good ship Brooklyn sailed out of New York Harbor bound for California. It was loaded with Mormon emigrants and George Warren Sirrine was among them; he having but recently joined the Latter-day Saint Church, much to the displeasure of other members of his family. On the long voyage George became acquainted with a young lady, Emmaline Lane, sister of Octavia Austin, also a passenger on the Brooklyn and they found opportunity to develop a heart interest in each other. Immediately upon arriving at Yerba Buena, where Mormon pioneering in California began, they decided to get married, it is said, this being the first marriage ceremony performed on the Pacific Coast in the English language. Samuel Brannan united the young people in the holy bonds of matrimony.
Being without funds George and his new bride bargained with a merchant for needed household supplies on credit. Furniture, cooking utensils and provisions, totaling ten dollars put their house in order. A year later Emmaline gave birth to a daughter, but before the child (Sarah Ann) was a year old the young mother died.
Not long after George married Esther Ann Crismon and the child was reared with the children of his second marriage.
Samuel Brannan appointed George as a special police officer in the Vigilance Committee when it was found necessary to establish law and order in young San Francisco. On one occasion when ruffians were taking over a store and disposing of its merchandise, Samuel Brannan spoke to Mr. Sirrine saying, "We have got to find out who is the strongest part, the cut-throats or the good citizens." George answered, "I am of the same opinion." A plan was then made to round up all the rough element. It was announced that Samuel Brannan would talk to the people about the general principles of right living and it was pretty certain that the ruffians would be there and assert their power if possible. Under the plan a special assignment was given selected men to stand close to each of the "Ruffs" and at a given signal each deputy was to take his man. George was assigned to watch Jack Powers, one of the leaders of the gang. Soon after the talk began Powers reached for his gun intending to shoot Brannan, but George knocked the gun with his left hand and the bullet went wild in the air. With his own gun poked into Power's ribs, George said in a cold, clear voice, "Drop that gun, put up your hands, Powers; submit quietly or you are a dead man." When Power's hand went up, it is said that nine other pairs of hands were also extended heavenward and the toughs marched off to jail and put under double guard. Later they were sentenced to "enlist on a Man 'O War or walk the gangplank." One of them walked the gang-plank to a watery grave the rest enlisted.
When colonization of the now San Bernardino area was favored by the General Church Authorities, George Warren Sirrine not only helped to raise the money to buy the land, but he was given the responsibility of taking the San Francisco subscription to San Diego. On his journey by boat he outwitted two would-be thieves. Having placed the money in a pair of old boots which he placed in his tool chest, he deliberately made it opportune for the suspected thieves to see him remove everything from the tool chest and also clean and polish the boots. The questionable character left the ship at the next stop, apparently convinced they had followed the wrong man.
Mr. Sirrine came to Utah with his family in 1858. They brought with them the first load of honey which he sold at a very good price.
In 1864 colonization of the Bear Lake area in Idaho was initiated, and George Warren moved his family to Paris, Idaho where he immediately took active part in the economic development of that part of the country. He took charge of the construction of one of the first grist mills and the first sawmills and became a partner in their operation and ownership. He also opened a mercantile store in Paris.
Here he remained until 1877, when he responded to a call from Brigham Young to help colonize Arizona. On September 10, 1877 George Warren Sirrine with his family of nine began their southward journey. At "Doc" Dunyan's Meadow some twenty miles south of Salt Lake City, the Sirrines joined an Arizona company consisting of ten families numbering seventy-two people. The group was well outfitted with twenty-five wagons drawn by sixteen span of horses and mules and twenty-nine yoke of oxen. They drove ahead of them two hundred cows and calves and sixty more horses. At Richfield, they found good camping and grazing grounds so they laid over two days. Here, on the 23rd day of October, 1877, Serretta Melissa Sirrine, wife of Warren LeRoy Sirrine, gave birth to a baby girl who was christened Addie. Upon reaching the Colorado River at Lee's Ferry, George Warren demonstrated his pioneering ability and leadership in helping direct the company safely across the treacherous river. After nearly two days of continuous effort the task was achieved without unfavorable incident.
The journey onward was filled with difficulties. The going was rough over roads that could hardly be called such. In places the wagons were steadied by ropes and by dragging trees to slow their course down the steep sides of the mountains. Water was scarce and forced marches were made to bridge gaps between suitable camp sites. On Christmas Eve the company was still in the highlands of Arizona and that very night a storm arose depositing thirty inches of snow. When morning came the weary travelers pressed onward, and on December 29, 1877 they were at last at the camp overlooking the valley of the Verde. At this camp George Warren's wife gave birth to a baby girl who was given the name of Florence. When the company reached the Salt River Valley, they immediately selected the site upon which to lay out their farms.
They learned from settlers who had arrived the previous year that an ancient canal had once threaded the mesa. Mr. Sirrine, with other men in the company, made a survey of the land and determined the old canal could be utilized if it were cleaned. By faith and works they were able to bring water from the river to the mesa. When the town of Mesa, Arizona was laid out George was among those who planted the first orchards, assisted in organizing a Zion's Co-operative and Manufacturing institution, and organized and built the first flour mill in the area. To the day of his death he was an influence for good in the community, continually being of service and exemplifying the virtues that characterize a community builder. Today, Sirrine Street in Mesa, Arizona, is a land mark honoring one of the West's real builders. George Warren Sirrine was truly a pioneer.
SOURCE: Utah, Our Pioneer Heritage; Patricia A. Pyper. Retrieved from http://www.ancestry.com/search/srrd.asp?rd=db&dbid=3239>
Florence C. Youngberg, editor, Conquerors of the West: Stalwart Mormon Pioneers (N.p.: Agreka Books, 1998), 2349.
Spouse: Emeline Amanda LANE Marriage: 30 Aug 1846 Ca San Francisco, San Francisco, Ca
Spouse: Esther Ann CRISMON Marriage: 4 Jul 1850 San Bernardino, S-Brn, Ca.
Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, "Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868," database, Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868 (http://www.lds.org/churchhistory/library/pioneercompanysearch : accessed 15 Sep 2009), entry for James W. Cummings Company (1851); Evidence from genealogical and census records proves the Sirrine family came to Utah in 1858. They had a child born in 1855 in California and they are not on the 1856 Utah census. They have a child (Emiline) born in April 1858 in Utah (according to information given in the 1900 Arizona census). They likely came to Utah from San Bernardino after the Saints received counsel to travel to Utah during the Utah War.
"findagrave," database, findagrave (findagrave.com : accessed 17 Sep 2009), memorial for George Warren Sirrine; Find A Grave Memorial# 24230842.