Stephen Fairchild Wilson (1837 - 1927)

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Birthplace: near Charleston, Cole, Illinois, United States
Death: Died in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States
Managed by: Richard Aaron Wilson
Last Updated:

About Stephen Fairchild Wilson

Stephen Fairchild Wilson, was born September 27, 1837, near Charleston, Cole County. Illinois, the son of Wellington Paul and Elizabeth B. Smith Wilson. When I was about six years old I crossed the Illinois River on a ferry boat moved by a large white horse on a tread wheel. We left Nauvoo and traveled about 20 miles east to a grove of timber on Rock Creek in the spring of 1844. Before we left, there was sad news of the Martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum.

My father made and repaired wagons for Saints who were compelled to leave Nauvoo early in the spring of 1846 to the Rocky Mountains. In the beginning of the exodus from Nauvoo, thousands of the saints crossed on the ice while the Mississippi River was frozen over. We did not cross the river until the latter part of June 1846. From the time of our exodus from Nauvoo until we reached the Salt Lake Valley it took eighteen years.

I learned to use tools while assisting in my father's shop by making different parts of a wagon after father's pattern while on our last farm in Monroe County, Iowa, from the year 1855 til we left for Utah in 1864.

After leaving the Mississippi River my father got a job plowing a ten-acre plot of land for which he was to receive provisions to enable us to continue our journey westward. I rode the horse in the lead of the steers on the plow until the ten acres were finished. Because of my lameness it was difficult for me to guide the horse right and stay on his back. I was nine years old at this time. I caught fish by the dozen from Fishing Creek where we lived on the banks. We next moved about 50 miles west and found a house near the Mormon Trail. I walked I 1/2 miles to school on crutches for a year.

Early in the spring of 1864, my father said we must start for Salt Lake City because of the persecutions from our neighbors which grew more and more unbearable day by day. One morning about three o'clock, early in April, 1864, we were ready to leave.

It was eighteen years from the time we crossed the Mississippi River until we crossed the Missouri River. In a few days we were all baptized except Mother and Father, who were baptized in Illinois prior to 1846. We were baptized in Weeping Willow Creek by Elder George Bywater. That baptism was one of the happiest experiences of my life. On coming up out of the water, the spirit of testimony rested upon me in a manner that I shall never forget as long as a memory lasts.

About two weeks after we left the Missouri River and somewhere in Nebraska Territory the ponies stampeded, leaving their harness strung along the road for about two miles before they were overtaken by the horsemen belonging to the two church trains of ox teams which both also stampeded before you could say scat, and leaving broken wagon wheels, crippled oxen, wagons tipped over and provisions of all kinds scattered along the road on the plains for about a mile or two. My mother was in one of the wagons which tipped over and a heavy box fell on her side and broke two ribs, the effects of which made it uncomfortable for her to ride in the jolting wagons for a long time, but the Lord had a work for her to do in the temple for the living and for the dead and He spared her life till it, was done. We started on and soon passed some of our men repairing a wagon wheel which had been broken in the stampede. A few days after this incident, our train passed by a small train of gentile freighters whose wagons were burning to ashes and all the provisions, beddings and clothing had been taken, as well as their animals. Nine dead bodies were stretched out side by side, near the ruins; all of this was the work of Indians a few short hours before. I do not know whether our men buried the dead bodies or not. Our trains did not stop, but I was among a number of the brethren who were walking and we saw the sight! Nothing more of importance transpired till nearly all of our family was ill with the mountain fever a little before we reached the summit of South Pass, where my sister Elizabeth died and was buried by the road side. The trains cannot stop for funerals; two or three persons have to stop long enough to bury the dead, hastily. Two or three days after that my teamster called me out of my mountain fever stupor saying, "Stephen, look! there goes your father with your last sister in his light wagon to the Echo grave yard." With great difficulty I looked over the side of the wagon box in which I was riding and saw the light wagon go by at the forks of the road just behind my wagon. In a day or two we arrived in Salt Lake City about the 4th of October, 1864, near fall conference.

I taught school that winter and I was married the following February. I married Hester Ann Eliza Brown in 1865. We prospered until our first and last child was born on the 25th of March 1866. After my wife died I settled up my affairs in Grantsville and took my baby boy to Harrisville, Utah, for my mother to care for. She was teaching school, but I finished her school term during which time I boarded with Martin Harris.

I lived with my second wife, Sarah Jane, for seven years when she died with the smallpox, leaving me with three . small children.

On the 18th of September, 1871, my appointment as first postmaster of Harrisville arrived from Washington, D.C., which office I held until April 6, 1878, or a little over six years, when I resigned to go on a mission to the United Order in Lot Smith's Stake on the Little Colorado River in Arizona Territory. My stay in Arizona territory lasted only a short time as the order broke up not long after our arrival. I then took my family and moved to the Mormon colony in Chihuahua, Mexico. During this time, I acted as school teacher, postmaster, also choir leader and was both mother and father to my three small children. We stayed in Mexico several years before returning to Utah.

Note: Stephen Fairchild Wilson died April 1925 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868

Wilson, Stephen Fairchild

Birth Date: 27 Sep. 1837 Death Date: 8 Feb. 1927 Gender: Male Age: 27 Company: William S. Warren Company (1864)

SOURCE: http://www.lds.org/churchhistory/library/pioneerdetails/1,15791,4018-1-32515,00.html

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Stephen Fairchild Wilson's Timeline

1837
September 27, 1837
near Charleston, Cole, Illinois, United States
1864
July 1864
Age 26
1865
February 8, 1865
Age 27
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States
1866
March 1866
Age 28
1870
December 12, 1870
Age 33
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States
1871
November 8, 1871
Age 34
Harrisville, Weber, UT, USA
1874
March 13, 1874
Age 36
Harrisville, Weber, Utah, United States
1876
February 19, 1876
Age 38
Harrisville, Weber, Utah, United States
1890
December 15, 1890
Age 53
Colonia Diaz, Ascension, Chihuahua, Mexico
1894
December 16, 1894
Age 57
Colonia Diaz, Chihuahua, Mexico