William Edward Partington

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About William Edward Partington

William Edward Partington was born 24 May 1836 at Preston, Lancashire, England, the son of Ralph Partington (1806 - 1873) and Ann Taylor (1810 - 1860). The family came to America in 1843, when William was 7 years old, aboard the ship Swanton and spent time in Nauvoo, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri before migrating to Utah. On 29 May 1852, William and his family joined the James Jepson Company traveling to Utah; although just 16 years old, William served as a captain (leader of a subgroup of the larger wagon train). The group arrived in the Great Salt Lake Valley on 10 September 1852. At the age of twenty in 1856, William participated in the now-famous rescue of the Willie and Martin handcart companies in Wyoming.

On 14 February 1857, William married Annie Elizabeth Cowley. After her death in 1872, William married Enga Anderson on 29 March 1875. She was a recent Swedish immigrant. He had ten children with each wife and supported his family by farming in Peterboro, Cache County, Utah. Eighteen of his children lived to adulthood. William served a mission in England for the LDS church in 1900.

William E. Partington died 21 February 1903 at Logan, Cache County, Utah, and was buried at the Logan City Cemetery.

Marriages and Children

  • Annie Elizabeth Cowley (1840 - 1872)
    • Annie Maria Partington Evans (1858 - 1935)
    • Sarah Ellen Partington Ash (1859 - 1881)
    • Elizabeth Ann Partington Smith (1860 - 1936)
    • Mary Emily Partington Edwards (1862 - 1941)
    • Catherine Amelia Partington Woodruff (1863 - 1937)
    • Alice Louisa Partington Evans (1867 - 1926)
    • Laura Partington Lund (1869 - 1958)
    • Edward James Partington (1870 - 1951)
  • Enga Anderson (1856 - 1923)
    • Joseph Alma Partington (1876 - 1947)
    • Martha Jane Partington Jacobsen (1879 - 1926)
    • Ida Partington Bailey (1881 - 1958)
    • Heber Ralph Partington (1883 - 1966)
    • Rebecca May Partington Kloepfer (1886 - 1945)
    • Rachel Partington Fuhriman (1888 - 1966)
    • Josephine Partington Aikele (1890 - 1946)
    • Agnes Partington (1893 - 1972)
    • Leah Partington Naef (1895 - 1966)
    • Maud Alice Partington (1897 - 1898)


view all 29

William Edward Partington's Timeline

May 24, 1836
Preston, Lancashire, England
Age 6

Sailed on the Swanton

June 1, 1844
Age 8
Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois, USA
May 29, 1852
Age 16

William and his family joined the James Jepson Company traveling to Utah; although just 16 years old, William served as a captain (leader of a subgroup of the larger wagon train).

October 1856
Age 20
Wyoming, United States

The last two handcart companies of 1856 departed late from England. The ship Thornton, carrying the emigrants who became the Willie Company, did not leave England until May 4. Three more weeks passed before the Horizon, carrying the emigrants who formed the Martin Company, departed. The result of these late departures was tragic.

Communications at that time were slow, and Church officials were unprepared for immigrants so late in the season. Precious time was lost in hurriedly building handcarts and outfitting the companies and the work was shoddy. The Willie Company left Florence on 17 August and the Martin Company on 27 August. Two wagon trains followed the Martin Company.

The Willlie Company lost livestock early on to a stampede and was forced to proceed with their carts dangerously overloaded. In early October the two companies reached Fort Laramie, Wyoming, where they expected to be restocked with provisions, but no provisions were there for them. To lighten their loads, the Martin Company cut the luggage allowance to 10 pounds per person, discarding clothing and blankets that soon would be desperately needed.

Church officials in Salt Lake heard of the struggling emmigrants and called for assistance. On 7 October the first rescue party left Salt Lake City with 16 wagonloads of food and supplies, pulled by four-mule teams with 27 young men serving as teamsters and rescuers. Throughout October more wagon trains were assembled, and by the end of the month 250 relief wagons were on the road.

Although eventually met by rescuers and escorted to Utah, many members of both parties had to have fingers, toes, or limbs amputated due to severe frostbite. Plagued by accidents, blizzards, starvation and disease, 213 of the 980 pioneers who left Florence died before reaching Utah.

February 14, 1857
Age 20
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, USA
February 19, 1858
Age 21
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah Territory
December 27, 1859
Age 23
Logan, Cache, Utah Territory
November 4, 1860
Age 24
Logan, Cache, Utah Territory
April 4, 1862
Age 25
Logan, Cache, Utah Territory