William Wilde (1807 - 1885)

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Clausentum Rd, Owslebury, Hampshire, England, Britain
Death: Died in Coalville, Summit, UT, USA
Managed by: Carson Wheeler
Last Updated:

About William Wilde

William Wild was the son of John Wild and Jane Brown. He married Eliza Phillips. After she died he married Cecelia Pehrson Rabeck, widow of Mr. Rabeck. William's son John had, prior to this, married Cecelia's daughter Else Maria Rabeck. (Coalville City Cemetery in Coalville, Summit, Utah, USA) This photo was shared by Doran Wilde.

William Wilde, son of John Wilde, was born in a part of England which has traces of human existence reaching back into pre-historic times. "Clausentum", as it was called by the Roman conquerors, is a beautiful area of the Southern coastal region of England, and is composed of wooded hills, luxurious vegetation, and several large streams which flow into the English Channel. Hampshire is a county which is mostly an agricultural district. In addition, within its bounds are numerous woolen manufacturers. The county's principal cities are Southampton and Winchester. These two cities are eight miles apart. Situated between these two cities are five small villages: Bishopstoke, Fair Oak, Otterbourne, Owslebury, and Twyford. These villages are the ancestral home of the Wild family.

It was in 1849 that the Mormon missionaries were proselyting in southern England where the Wild family was living. The first to join the church were William's mother Jane Brown Wilde [William's father had already passed away back in 1840], William's daughter Eliza Wilde and his youngest brother Henry Brown Wilde. On 7 Nov 1849, William's wife Eliza Phillips Wild and his sister Mary Wilde Snelgrove were baptized and on 15 Nov 1849 William and his son John Wild were baptized. On 18 Nov 1849 William's son Henry Wild was baptized. The last family member to be baptized prior to the family's departure from England was [William's son] Frederick, who was baptized 11 Dec 1849. William's other brothers and sisters did not come to America. All the younger children of William Wild were baptized after arriving in America...

William Wilde, while still in England, lost his wife Eliza Phillips 24 Feb 1854. Contemporary records state that "he was very lonely". He no doubt was ready for a new start. [Some of his family (his mother Jane Brown Wilde who died while crossing the plains, his brother Henry Brown Wild and his family) had already emigrated to America in response to a call from Brigham Young for the Saints of England to gather there. They landed in America in 1851. William Wilde had stayed behind with his wife for several years in England and she passed away there. I don't know if William and Eliza stayed behind at that time because she was ill, or if they lacked sufficient funds to go in 1851 with the others of his family. Poverty definitely was a problem at the time so this could have been the primary reason.] In 1857 mass emigration to America ceased due to the organization by United States President Buchanan of a 5000 man expeditionary force to crush a farcical "Mormon rebellion". With this armed camp on the American plains area, no emigration was planned at that time. However, after "Buchanan's Blunder", as it is called by the contemporary national news media, and the scandal surrounding the wind-fall profits enjoyed by the freighting companies who held government contracts was exposed, an official "pardon" was given unconditionally to Brigham Young and other church leaders, and emigration from England and Scandinavia resumed.

On 1 Jan 1859, the following epistle appeared in the Millennial Star:

In the year 1807, Owslebury boasted a population of 882 people. It was on the 1st day of March of that year the William Wild was born - the fifth child of John Wild and his wife of twelve years, Jane Brown. Ultimately, his parents' children numbered seven, three of whom were, the mid-1840s, baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and emigrated to Utah Territory in the United States. The other four children died in England and did not join the Church in mortality.

At the age of 23, William married Eliza Phillips, daughter of John Phillips and Mary Blundell. This marriage occurred on 6 December 1830 in the year of the restoration of the Gospel and the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints upon the earth in far off United States. Subsequent to this marriage, the church registers reveal the christening of his children: John 1831, Henry 1832, [William 1833 and deceased 1833], Frederick 1834, [Eliza 1839], Thomas 1842, Mary 1844, and Elizabeth Sarah 1851. [Some records show that they also had a son Harry born about 1853. Eliza Phillips died early in 1854 so it is possibly that she died from complications after the birth. But that is totally speculation on my part.]

On the 1st of January1859, the following epistle appeared in the Millennial Star:

"We are pleased to be able at length to say to the Saints, that emigration is again open for all those who have means at their command, to gather to Zion. As we have before said, no one will receive any help from the Perpetual Emigration Fund. The deliverance of the Saints depends entirely upon themselves; and we hope that those who have the means will go, and that those who can assist their brethren will stretch forth a helping hand.


"There will be an opportunity for all to go with handcarts this season, as usual, who cannot raise the amount necessary to procure a team. Those who have the means, and prefer it, can go by wagons. We, therefore, wish all who design to emigrate this season and go through to the Valley by the handcart arrangement to send up their names, ages and occupations with at least four pounds to procure the handcart and outfit.

"In total, ten pounds were required before final preparation could be made. Five pounds were to be paid in Liverpool as a deposit, one pound to assure berth aboard ship, the other four pounds was to be forwarded via church agents to America to procure handcarts and other necessary outfit for the plains. Two to three pounds was then required at Liverpool to pay for passage to New York, and finally "two pounds will take them, it's supposed, from the place they land in America to where the handcarts are to be found." However, "this will consume the entire ten pounds. But you will understand that the President at Liverpool isn't responsible at all for their passage from New York , or Philadelphia, or any other place where they may land. The people will have to find their own passage. We make the calculation that, with management, ten pound will do it."

With ten pounds, William Wilde could make it to Salt Lake City, walking, pushing a handcart, or for forty five pounds he could ride on a wagon pulled by a team the 2000 plus miles to the Valley. William and his children walked the distance. This indicated his condition as far as worldly position was concerned. As far as can be determined he was, as were his father and grandfather, a humble farmer - probably a tenant farmer - as were most of the English commoners of his time. Private ownership of land, industry and commerce was held by only a few. The promise of his own house and vineyard, where each man who would, could enjoy the fruits of his own labor in the Great Basin, upon the thousands of free acres which the church distributed to the land-bereft poor converts, somewhat, though but in part explains the great additional appeal which Mormonism held for those who recognized the truth of its restored principles and embraced it. Many converts came from affluent backgrounds, but the majority came from humble circumstances and from employment in Britain's coal mines, tenant farms, and textile factories.

Indeed, one plausible reason why William Wilde didn't emigrate sooner was the general widespread poverty of the Saints in the Southampton "Pastorage" (conference) as is pointed out in the following letter of Elders Job Wellings and James Willis, who were the Presiding Elders of the "Pastorage". The letter was address to President Franklin D. Richards, British mission President during 1855:

"There are none present in the conference who have means enough to take them to the State, but they are good people, and being of the best kind, mainly poor."

But, by 1859, William Wild obviously had the means to emigrate, not by wagon, but by foot and handcart. This he [at the age of 51] and his seven children did.

In 1859, the year William Wilde came to America, there were three hundred members living in the Southampton Conference. Manifest among these members there was a spirit of apostasy. Elder Keaton, then President of the conference, reported in an area conference of the British Isles on Saturday, 12 Feb 1859 held in Birmingham, that during the prior year more member were excommunicated within his conference than were baptized within its confines. William Wilde, no doubt, was subjected to this same spirit and associated with those ex-members who possessed this negative feeling. Yet, he stood firm in his determination to gather to Deseret in obedience to God's command as it applied to all who believed that the following vision actually came upon the Prophet Joseph Smith..."after this visit closed, the heavens were again opened unto us: and Moses appeared before us and committed unto us the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth...:

The process of emigration was physically exhausting, hazardous, and a most dangerous experience. The sea voyage lasted an average of one month, during which time many privations, especially the lack of regular food, crowded sleeping quarters, and disease of all description were faced by passengers and crew alike. Upon disembarkation, so great was the desire for plain "wheated" bread, that men called " 'part runners', a set of the roughest scoundrels and most heartless wretches who were perfectly impervious in their souls to anything by gold" would scurry aboard ship, selling bread, taking advantage of the freshly arrived foreigners' ignorance concerning rate differences between the British shilling and the American cent. Emigrants were advised to keep a blanket out of their trunks as a wrap, for the one night had to be spent in customs on the floor. Disembarkation and "passing through quarantine" at the customs office, took two or three days total. After this process was completed, the Mormon emigrant was free either to continue his journey, if circumstances permitted, or to find whatever employment was available (as was the case in many instances), until sufficient means were obtained to continue the journey west.

William Wilde and his children left their native England from the River Mersey (Liverpool) on 11 Apr 1859 at 4 a.m. aboard the sailing ship "William Tapscott" - never to return again to England. The voyage lasted 31 days.

Information and Photo of the William Tapscott

The circumstances of the trans-Atlantic sailing are described in a letter written by the President of the company of emigrants, Elder Robert F. Nelson, to President Asa Calkin, the President of the British Mission, upon the arrival of the William Tapscott in the New York harbor:

"Dear Brother: After a very pleasant and prosperous voyage of 31 days, we are happy to take the earliest opportunity, according to promise, of reporting ourselves as having arrived safe, sound and right-side-up, 'with care'. As brevity has ever been a motto with me, and realizing that 'words written are written', I will now proceed to give you an outline of our progress since parting with you in the River Mersey.

"After we had gone through the process of government inspection, clearing, &c., I proceeded, in conversation with my counselors, to organize the company into ten wards, five English and five Scandinavian, appointing a president over each to see the faithful observance of cleanliness, good order, &c. This being done, and all ready for sea, we found ourselves necessarily detained, in consequence of head wind, until Monday, the 11th., when anchor was weighed at 4 a.m., and every heart rejoiced in bidding adieu to Babylon and setting forth for the land of Zion. The joyous songs of Zion echoed through the ship; and as we got into the channel, the chorus followed, of course, in good sea-sick style, in which nearly all joined in to their hearts' content.

"The voyage throughout was by far the most pleasant and agreeable one that I have ever realized during the whole of the many times I have crossed these waters, owing to the very pleasant weather and the exceeding good order, general good feeling, and harmony which prevailed throughout the entire voyage.

"The health of the passengers was excellent. This can be realized for the fact that out of the 726 passengers, we had but one death - an old sister from Sweden, named Inger Oleson Hagg, aged 61, and who had been afflicted for upwards of five years previous to her embarkation. This was counter-balanced by two births - namely Sister Higson, from Leigh, of a son; and Sister France, from Hindley, of a daughter: mothers and children doing well.

"In the matrimonial department we did exceedingly well, as we had nineteen marriages, five couples of which were English, one Swiss, and thirteen Scandinavians, all of which were solemnized by myself.

"During the whole of the voyage, from the day of our organization, we had the people called together for prayer every morning and evening at eight o'clock, which was faithfully attended to by the people. On Sundays, three meetings were held on deck, and fellowship meeting in each was two nights a week, which was a good preventive against grumbling, as it kept the minds of the people actively engaged in the better things of the kingdom.

"The monotony of the voyage was enlivened with singing, instrumental music, dancing and games, &c; in which, as a matter of course, the junior portion played a prominent part, while the more sedate enjoyed themselves in seeing and hearing the happifying recreations.

"I certainly felt it quite a task in being appointed to take charge of a company composed of people from so many countries, speaking nine different languages, and having different manners, customs, and peculiarities, and thrown together under such close circumstances, and on our arrival here, we were pronounced by doctors and government officers to be the best disciplined and most agreeable company that ever arrived at this port.

Of the captain it is not necessary to say anything further than that, just before our arrival we presented him with the following testimonial, which he is in every respect worthy of:

'Testimonial to Captain James B. Bell Commander of the ship William Tapscott:

Sir - As we are drawing to the conclusion of our voyage, we should not be doing justice to our feelings, were we not to embrace this opportunity, before we separate, of expressing, though briefly, those sentiments of sincere regard and esteem which have been engendered within us towards yourself, during our short intercourse while on our passage across the Atlantic, and throughout which we have all been so happily blessed and prospered.

We would humbly assure you that the pleasant and interesting time which we have spent aboard the :William Tapscott: will be long-remembered by us all, and mostly on account of the many kindnesses and favors which we have received from her worthy captain. The assiduous care and kindly interest which you have universally displayed for our comfort and welfare, your courteous urbanity, and gentlemanly bearing have all combined to win our hearts and call forth the warmest feelings of a grateful people.

And, wherever our respective lots may be cast in the future, our minds will often revert to the present voyage and its happy associations; and our heartfelt prayers shall ascend to heaven for the richest blessings of our Father to be bestowed upon you, that you life may be long, prosperous, and happy, and your future, joy and peace.

Signed, in behalf of the seven-hundred and twenty-six passengers, and with their unanimous approval, Robert F. Nelsen president of the Company of Emigrants, Henry H. Harris counselor, George Rowley counselor, and James Bond secretary. St. George Banks, May 7, 1859.

Attention of their arrival was printed favorably in the New York Herald, and awaiting the emigrants in New York was a Church emigration agent, Thomas B. H. Stenhouse. Stenhouse, anticipating the Saints' arrival, had already mad arrangements for the company to proceed West via the Central Railroad, which all of the company did excepting about fifty persons. Children under five were not charged passage. Stenhouse records this portion of the emigrating company's journey as follows: "...instead of sending them to Iowa City, as at first contemplated, they have gone by rail all the way to St. Joseph, Missouri, an arrangement which is a great blessing and advantage to the Saints. On this matter, Brother George (George Q. Cannon) and myself have been particularly grateful to the Lord and have frequently been led to exclaim that the Lord has been over this company."

Saturday evening, May 14, within 32 hours after their arrival in America, the emigrants left New York for Albany where, by special arrangement, a train of 31 cars was waiting. Sunday at noon, the Saints, under the direction of Elder George Q. Cannon, left Albany for St. Joseph, Missouri, The speed and efficiency of this part of the trip was unusual and caused the company great joy and satisfaction. Elder Cannon and the other Church agents were responsible for the smooth transition of the company from New York to Florence, Nebraska. Stenhouse writes: "The dispatch with which business was attended, to save time and expense in getting them to the frontiers was very fatiguing to Brother Cannon and the Elders in charge of the company, but everything was done in cheerfulness. Nobody was left behind, and no baggage strayed that I have yet learned of."

Florence, Nebraska, the site of Winter Quarters, was chosen as the out-fitting place of the season and it was from this place that the emigrants of 1859 commenced the journey across the plains. The area newspaper, the "Council Bluffs Press", mentioned that on the last day of May, there were about 1300 Mormon emigrants at Florence enroute to Utah from many different parts of the world. These were divided into various groups, each with a captain. The first group to leave was a handcart company led by Brother Rowley - on June 9th.

William Wilde and family were member of the first segment of Brother George Rowley's company. Four wagon trains followed the more swiftly moving handcart company. This 8th handcart company, was the 3rd from the last handcart company ever to cross the plains.

The church leaders later decided against the handcart system in favor of dispatching companies of teams from Utah to bring back immigrants and merchandise from the East. The men and materials were” inherited" by the emigration arm of the church when the defunct Brigham Young Express and Carrying Company gave sufficient wagons and teams to aid the emigration effort. Thus, the handcart emigration system became obsolete.

On 9 Jun 1859, 235 people, pulling 60 handcarts started the last leg of their emigration; spirits were high and everyone sang,

"Some must push and some must pull, As we go rolling up the hill; Thus, merrily on the way we go, Until we reach the Valley, O"

Twenty pounds of baggage and half the provisions for 4 - 6 people needed for the journey were loaded on the carts, and eight oxen-drawn wagons followed with the other half of the provisions, which left a little room for some of the tired and sick travelers to ride on the cart.

One such "outfit" was manned by the William Wild family. Seventeen year old Thomas Wild grabbed the handle of the cart to pull and the other children and father, William Wild, shouldered the wheels, and the great trek began. [According to a history written of William’s son Henry, the family members accompanying William in his journey across the plains at this time were: his son Henry Wild age 27 and Henry’s wife Jane Batchelor Wild age 25 and their two children, John Fredrick Wild age 6 and Mary Elizabeth Wilde age 4, probably William’s future second wife Cecelia Pehrson Rabeck age 47 (mother of his son John‘s wife), daughter Eliza Jane Wild age 19, son Thomas George Wild age 17, daughter Mary Wild age 15, and daughter Sarah Elizabeth Wild age 8. His other two sons, John and Fredrick had come at an earlier time.]

On the 30th of August, Apostles John Taylor and Franklin D. Richard met the Wild family and other emigrants at Yellow Springs (Evanston, Wyoming). This was the report of their meeting the West-bound company of Captain George Rowley:

"The company were generally healthy and some to the young people were very joyous and jubilant. There were among them, many beautiful singers who entertained us in the evening around their campfires with some of the latest popular airs and among the rest, several amusing handcart songs...

"And, as they started the next morning, they, in their prompt, energetic action and uniform movements, manifested a vivacity and life which comported (agreed) very much with the spirit of their song. They were met by five four-mule teams with provisions on Ham's Fork (just east of Evanston). With the aid of the mule-teams and a horse-team that went with us, and two yoke of cattle which we furnished, they were enabled to carry the aged and the weary, and proceeded comfortable . A Brother Shanks from Liverpool, who was very sick at our arrival, died the next morning, and was buried at Yellow Creek, (Aug 26th).

"Captain Rowley informed us that he had considerable trouble in consequence of persons straying off from the camp during their travel, whom he had frequently had to send after, and that one aged lady, after having been diligently searched for near the Green River, had not been found."

An interesting account of the actual arrival of the Rowley Company was found in the "Deseret News" (reprinted "Millennial Star" XXI 727-29, 719):

"On Friday evening (2 Aug 1859), Mr. J. Harvey arrived from the Bridger with the intelligence that Captain Rowley, with the handcart company would arrive near the city Saturday evening, but would not come in 'til Monday morning. About two P.M. on Sunday, a messenger arrived from Elder Benson, who went out to their camp in the morning, announcing that the company were so anxious to come in that Captain Rowley had resolved to accede to their wishes, and they would arrive at five P.M.

"Immediately, every horse and vehicle in the city was seemingly in motion, conveying those who were anxious to witness the egress of the company from the canyon in that direction.

"Within a few minutes of the designated time, the company arrived, escorted by two or three bands of music and a vast concourse of citizens of all grades and professions, and passing through the streets lined with anxious spectators, went to Union Square, accompanied by the thousands that joined the escort as they passed along. It was certainly a stirring scene and such a one as had not been witnessed for some time by this community, calling forth many expressions from the beholders, mostly of joy, but some of detestation that human beings would endure so much, leave their houses in foreign lands, traverse the seas and cross the desert plains in handcarts, all for their religion (most likely the non-Mormon element by then residing the Valley).

"The liberality of the saints was abundantly manifested on the occasion by the amount and variety of the provisions that were provided through the Bishops of the several wards for the wayworn immigrants composing the company, who were thus made welcome to these once - and will be again, 'ere long, peaceful vales - for, surely "Mormonism" so called, is not dead, as some supposed, and truth seemingly crushed to earth, will rise again, although it has not in these days yet overcome."

William Wilde and his children herewith arrived in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, Utah Territory [on 4 Aug 1859 after journeying with this company for about 2 months]."

---

This story was written by Barton A. Wilde and Elaine P. Wilde in December of 1978, and was published by the John Wilde Research Foundation, July 1979. A few minor changes and additions were made by Mary A., a great great granddaughter of William Wilde and Eliza Phillips. The photos are courtesy of the John Wilde Research Foundation.

[On 29 July 1865, William Wilde married Cecelia (Pehrson) Rabeck , daughter of Pehr Bengtsen and Else Johansen, of Sweden in the Salt Lake Temple, almost six years after he had arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. Cecelia was the mother of William's son John's wife. Cecelia was married previously in Sweden in about 1834 to a Mr. Rabeck, but nothing is known of him that I've found. The first of the Rabeck children born to that marriage was Else Maria born 13 Nov 1836 in Sweden. Else was the daughter that married John Wild, William's son. The other three children Johanna Fredericka, Johan, and Frederick all died in infancy.

           
                                          Cecelia Pehrson Rabeck Wild and Else Maria Rabeck Wilde 

William Wilde died 13 Dec 1886 in Coalville, Summit, Utah at the age of 79, 21 years after marrying Cecelia and 27 years after arriving in the Utah Territory. Cecelia Pehrson Rabeck Wilde died about 13 years later in September of 1899 at the age of 87.]

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William Wilde's Timeline

1807
May 1, 1807
Owslebury, Hampshire, England, Britain
1830
December 6, 1830
Age 23
1831
April 12, 1831
Age 23
Fair Oak, Bishopstoke, Hampshire, England
1832
May 16, 1832
Age 25
Bishopstoke, Eastleigh, England, Britain
1834
October 8, 1834
Age 27
Eastleigh, UK
1836
November 13, 1836
Age 29
Malmö Municipality, Sweden
1839
July 10, 1839
Age 32
Southampton, Hampshire, England
1842
January 12, 1842
Age 34
1844
June 28, 1844
Age 37
1849
November 15, 1849
Age 42