Is your surname Staker?

Research the Staker family

Nathan Staker's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Related Projects

Nathan Staker

Birthplace: Kingston, Frontenac, Ontario
Death: Died in Mt Pleasant, Sanpete, Ut
Place of Burial: Mount Pleasant, Snpt. Co, Ut
Immediate Family:

Son of Conrad Staker and Cornelia Rachel Staker
Husband of Eliza Cusworth; Jane Staker and Eliza Burton Staker
Father of Eliza Staker; John Staker; William Henry Staker; Sarah Jane Sheffer; Alma Staker and 10 others
Brother of Martinus Staker; Elizabeth Draper; Conrad R. Staker, Jr; Cornelia Staker; Mary Cornelia Porter and 5 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Nathan Staker

History of Nathan Staker

             by William Marchant Staker, a grandson

Born: 28 November 1801 Midland District Upper Canada (Kingston, Ontario, Canada)

Father's name: Conrad Staker

Mother's name: Cornelia Snook

Baptized: 11 June ,1835 -- Ontario, Canada by Brigham Young

Priesthood: High Priest, ordained by Noah Packard 1845

Married: (1) Jane Richmond in Canada 1827 (Endowed in Illinois)

    (2) Eliza Cusworth Burton 1857 Endowment House, S.LC.

Where sealed: Endowment House, Salt Lake City 15 October 1873

Patriarchal Blessing by: John Smith in Nauvoo 15 December 1845

Departed for mission to Ontario, Canada in 1842 -- returned in 1844

Special appointments: He was in the Presidency of the High Priests Quorum

in Mount Pleasant for a number of years, and its President at the time of his death.

Where died: Mt. Pleasant, Sanpete, Utah 29 May 1384

Where buried: Mt. Pleasant, Sanpete, Utah 2 June 1884

The following is a history of Nathan Staker written by a grandson, William Marchant Staker,

which he finished writing on 3 November 1955, stating that it is true to the best of his knowledge

and belief.

On the 6th of November, 1883 I was privileged to attend a very memorable occasion in the

Staker family. The celebration of Grandmother Cornelia Snook's one-hundredth birthday. On

this occasion I saw my great Grandmother Cornelia Snook and her oldest son, Nathan Staker, my

Grandfather, whose personal record I will attempt to write. It is needless to say that I don't

remember much about how he looked as I was not quite three years old and Great Grandmother

Snook was the main attraction, so whatever I write will come from what research I have been

able to do and from the sketches of his life that I have been able to obtain.

He was born on a farm in Cataquera, Upper Canada, the first child of this German farmer and his

16 year old dark-haired and very beautiful wife; who seems to have been a mixture of English,

French and Dutch ancestry. According to the records of Kingston, Ontario, Canada as chronicled

by two different writers, he was christened 24 January or 28 February 1802 in Kingston, Ontario,

Canada. To my best knowledge the settlement had not yet acquired the name of Kingston, but

Cataquera finally became Kingston as it is the same difference. It was a wild country, heavily

wooded with a lot of lakes and streams where fishing was good in the summer and skating was

the principal means of transportation in the winter.

Nathan was a very religious young man and studied hard for, and finally became, a Methodist

Minister but it seems was never quite too satisfied and when he heard Mormonism from such

master missionaries as the Pratts and Brigham Young, he, with the majority of the family,

embraced it and like most of the converts of this time, wanted to be in Zion. So accordingly the

family all moved to the United States--that is, all but the father, Conrad, who had died. By--this

time Nathan and his beautiful wife, Jane, had three children: John William, Henry and Sarah

Jane. This beautiful Grandmother of mine was Jane Richmond, born 25 August 1810 at

Pickering, Ontario, Canada. Her father was a Loyalist, David Richmond, and her mother was

Marca Ray, also of Loyalist parentage.

They made their home in Kirtland, Ohio, which was the headquarters of the Church at this time,

and as the Saints were very busily engaged in building the Kirtland Temple. he undoubtedly

worked on it. Their fourth child, Alma, was born 15 June 1837 at Kirtland, Ohio. It had been

arranged. after a series of meetings of the Council of Seventy from 6 March 1838 to the 5 July

1838 at Kirtland, that the Saints should move in a body from there to Jackson County, Missouri.

These meetings having been attended by the Spirit of the Lord in rich abundance with many

manifestations of the Spirit such as visions, Revelations and Inspirations.

This movement was one of the greatest of its kind ever attempted in the history of the world and

is known as Kirtland Camp. After the tents were pitched and all things arranged, an enumeration

of the camp was taken, when it was ascertained that there were in the camp 529 souls present (a

few were necessarily absent) of which 256 were males and 273 females. There were 106 families

all "on the ground". Of the men who on Tuesday 13 March 1838 signed the constitution and

laws governing the Camp, I find listed Nathan Staker whose family consisted of 6; William

Draper whose family consisted of2, Jared Porter whose family consisted of 3. This meeting took

place in the attic chamber of the Kirtland Temple on Thursday July 5, 1833.

The camp commenced organizing on a piece of land in the rear of the house formerly occupied

by Matthew Hillman, about 100 rods south of the House of the Lord in Kirtland. Between four

and five hundred of the camp tented on the ground during the night. The spectators retired at a

late hour and left the camp in quietude. The night was clear and the encampment and all around

was solemn as eternity; which scene, together with the remembrance of those other scenes

through which the Saints in Kirtland had passed during the last two years all presented

themselves to the thinking mind, and together, with the greatness of the undertaking, and the

length of the journey, and many other things combined, could not fail to awaken sensations that

could be better felt than described. "

On March 20, 1838 the seven counselors met and agreed that two good teams and one tent would

suffice for 13 persons. Men were selected as overseers of tents and wagon bosses. The man

selected as Tent and Wagon Boss for the tent to which Nathan Staker and his wife and four

children were in was Andrew Lamereaux who also had a wife and four children. I have been

unable to learn who the other six were who made up the tent division. Jane Richmond Staker

never got along with this Lamereaux family and a lot of ill feeling always existed, which was

always frowned upon by Nathan. The Staker tradition has it that on one occasion when a slough

about 15 feet wide was being forded, all the teamsters would start their teams into the slough,

then grab the back end of the wagon and wade through. When Grandpa's turn came, he got the

team and wagon in the slough, then taking a little run, he jumped over dry shod. Mr. Lamereaux

spurred his horse across the slough and, striking Nathan with the whip, ordered him to wade

back into the slough. At this time, wife Jane takes over wrenches the whip out of the wagon-

boss's hand and hits him in the face with it.

Whether this is the correct version of the fray or not, I do not know, but here is what happened

according to Church History Vol3, Page 128. "Friday 17 July, 1838, Nathan Staker was

requested to leave the Camp in consequence of the determination of his wife, to all appearances,

not to observe the rules and regulations of the camp. There had been contentions in the tent

between herself and Andrew Lamereaux, overseer of the tent, and also contentions with his

family several times on the road and after the camp stopped in this place. The council had -

become weary of trying to settle these contentions between them. Andrew Lamereaux having

gone to Dayton to labor, taking his family with him, was not present at the Council, neither was

there any new complaint made, but the impossibility of brother Staker to keep his family in order

was apparent to all and it was thought to be the best thing for him to take his family and leave

the camp".

So this was the end of the trail as far as the Nathan Staker family was concerned. This was not an

uncommon occurrence, one other family having been asked to leave the camp the same day, and

one the next day. The camp was beginning to break up. They were camped now about 20 miles

beyond Springfield, and this being the County Seat and one of the largest towns they had passed

through, Nathan and his family went back there. The camp stayed at this place where they took a

contract to work on the turnpike and other work, such as raising levies, making ditches and other

farm work. They did not leave this camp until 29 August 1838. On Tuesday, September 2, 1838

they arrived in Far West and at their destination on 4 October 1838.

Nathan Staker made his home in Springfield from this time until he started for Zion beyond the

Rocky Mountains, with the exception of the two years he spent on a mission to his old home in

Ontario, Canada; where he went to try to convert the rest of his people and where on 1

November 1843, Aaron, their seventh child was born. While he was on this mission, the Prophet

and his brother Hyrum were martyred at Carthage jail and the Nauvoo Temple was completed.

When he returned he brought his mother and most of the family with them to Quincy, Illinois or


He and his wife both had Patriarchal Blessings 15 December 1845 in Nauvoo by John Smith and

they received their Endowments 6 February 1846 in the Nauvoo Temple. His mother, Cornelia

Snook, however, went to live with her son Conrad R. Staker at Clayton, Illinois. This son was

not converted and Cornelia, although I think was converted, never was baptized until she later

came to Utah.

It seems they must have been living in Springfield when they had their endowments as their

eighth child, Lydia Margaret was born there 12 February 1846 just six days after they went to the

temple. Their ninth child, Mary Ann, was born there 21 January 1848. It was during this time

that his two oldest sons, John William and Henry, met their wives, who were young converts to

the church. In the biography of Elizabeth Staker (Draper) it states that on the 6 October 1845 she

was made comfortable at her brother's place in Pike County, so he must have been living there at

this time. Further research may show just where Pike County is, and just where in Pike County

he lived. I have always had a question in my mind as to just where they went to live when they

came from Canada. They undoubtedly lived at Berry as the Stakers were established there.

In the early Spring of 1846, the Saints were driven from Illinois and made their headquarters in

Far West and Nathan and his family went to Pigeon Grove, Potowatomie Co., Iowa; why they

chose this town I have never found anyone who seemed to know, but I have a theory. Cornelia

Staker (Hart) buried her husband Elias Hart in March 1346 at Berry, Pike County. Jared Porter a

member of Kirtland Camp, took pity on her and her fatherless children, and as there was only

three in his wagon, brought her home with him in Pigeon Grove, where it seems he had a good

home. He married her in polygamy and had one son by her. They left for Utah in about 1847

and she died of smallpox at Ft. Kearney, Nebraska. Now would it not be natural for Mr. Porter to

offer his brother-in-law, Nathan Staker, his home to live in while they were preparing to cross

the plains, and would it not be probable that Cornelia Staker and Jane Richmond Staker were

both infected with the smallpox in the same house? Well, anyway that is what I believe


At any rate, the Nathan Staker family were living in Pigeon Grove 1 January 1850, for on that

date his two oldest children were married --- John to Mary Ann Wiggins and Henry to Catherine

Maria Parsons and where, while they were quarantined with small-pox, they built the wagons

that brought them to Utah. This was where Grandmother Jane Staker gave birth to her last child,

Joseph Smith Staker on 7 October 1850 and where she died of small-pox 11 February 1852. John

and Henry both became fathers in 1851. When they finally all got over the small-pox, they left

Pigeon Grove and crossed the plains in the Henry Miller Co., arriving in Salt Lake City in

September 1852.

John and Henry and their families stopped in Salt Lake City, but Nathan and his motherless

family went on south to Pleasant Grove. Here he helped pioneer that town and held offices of

both Church and State. When he first went to Pleasant Grove, the Bishop introduced him to a

widow of genteel bearing, and told him she was the woman that he should marry. That is just

what he did sometime later. She was Eliza Cusworth Burton, widow of Joseph Burton and

daughter of John Cusworth and Martha Brook. They were married in 1857 in the Endowment

House in Salt Lake City, and in 1858 moved to Mt. Pleasant, Sanpete County, where he took

active part in pioneering that city. While living there, he and his wife, in the fall of the year,

would go back to Pleasant Grove for a time. He to work in the molasses mill and she would cut

and dry fruit by spreading it upon the roofs.

Nathan got his portion of land in Sanpete County in the North Field near North Creek. (Later he

preempted it, paying the Government $1.25 an acre to receive his deeds.) A little later he

acquired a large farm East and North of Round Hills which he and his sons developed and

improved and which he later divided with his sons, Jim and Joseph, and his stepson, Joseph

Burton, who always shared equally with his own sons. He taught school for many years,

receiving pay for only two of them and what little, he received was in produce. He with the other

Pioneers suffered a lot of hardships and privations, helped fight the Black Hawk and other

Indians. For more than two years he herded the town sheep-herd in what was then Thistle Valley,

and is now Indianola, where he was in constant danger of being killed by Indians. He was always

kind and honest in his dealings with his red brothers, following the council and advice of

Brigham Young "that it was better to feed them than to fight them". Many times he gave his pot

of mutton and dumplings to them and went hungry himself, thus winning their friendship and


Nathan was a good farmer and gardener and had the first and finest orchard in Mt. Pleasant. He

exchanged cheese and meat for fruit and shade trees with his son, William, in Sugar house Ward

in Salt Lake City. He was a God-fearing, honest, and hard-working man-raised a large family

who loved and trusted him. He lived and taught "Do to others as you would they should do unto

you". He never went in debt and taught by precept and example the regular attendance at

Church. He and Eliza and family never missed Sunday School or Sacrament meeting unless they

were ill. He was blessed with all the spiritual gifts that were promised the believers by Jesus


He was visited by Angels even before he heard the true Gospel. While he was living in Canada

and was a Methodist Minister, he and his young wife Jane had prayed to the Lord to spare their

baby daughter who was so ill they both thought she was surely going to die. Nathan went out in

the woods and knelt down by a log and asked his Heavenly Father spare their baby. A bright

light appeared and in it an Angel who promised him that his baby would live and that he should

live to preach the gospel to many people. He did not know then that the gospel he would preach

was not Methodism, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He said that while he

was in the presence of the Angel, he not only could see the Angel but could see himself kneeling

by the log. It had such an effect upon him that his strength was all gone and when he went to his

wife she thought he had sacrificed his life for that of the child and cried "Oh, Nathan, I should

not have been so selfish and hung onto the child". When he told her that everything was all right

and that the child would live, he also told her of the Angel and the promise that he would be a

preacher in many lands. This so affected Grandfather that he never could tell about it without


Grandfather was privileged to raise the dead. When Eliza Jane, his oldest daughter by his second

wife, was about 18 months old, she followed him from the Day home where her Mother was

visiting with Charlotte Mellon Day, and where they all had eaten dinner together, and from

where Nathan had taken his small son, James, to help him with the work at home. When the

baby got home she attempted to cross the creek on a narrow foot-bridge between the two lots,

and fell into the stream which was swift and deep and carried her small body rapidly down

stream. When her Mother found she was not playing with the Day children, as she had expected,

she hurried home to see if the baby was with her Father.

Everybody immediately began to search for her. Martin Allred (later of Fairview) soon found her

some distance down stream, pulled her out and, thinking, as all the rest did, that she was dead,

held her up and then laid her on the grass. Her Mother fainted, but Grandfather began at once to

work with her saying she was not and could not be dead. Elder Orson Hyde, who had been in a

Conference in Spring City was just passing by and was called in to administer to her.

He did not think the baby was alive but Grandfather said "I blessed this baby to live and be a

Mother in Israel and she will". They administered to her and she immediately began to breath.

Within two hours she was playing around the yard as though nothing had happened. She lived to

be the Mother of thirteen children.

Nathan Staker was a real self-made man. When he came to Mt. Pleasant he had an ox team and

wagon with which he farmed for years. He cut his grain with a cradle and bound it by hand with

its own straw, threshing it with a flail and cleaning it with the wind. Nothing was wasted. He

would mix buckets of a layer of chaff then a layer of bran and, dampened with water, it became

an economical and at the same time nutritious and fattening meal for the animals. The family

made their own butter and cheese and cured their meat in the old Smoke-House. They raised

their own cows, sheep and other animals and hay and grain to feed them in winter. They always

had a good garden and raised all their green vegetables, always had enough and then some to

share with others not so fortunate.

The sheep were the most useful and highly prized animals. Eliza was recognized as the best

knitter in the town. She would card the wool and spin the yam from which she and the girls

knitted all their warm stockings and mittens. They would spin the wool into fine thread and send

it to the weavers to be woven into cloth, which although corse, was warm and very serviceable.

Their first home in Mt, Pleasant was made of logs which Nathan cut in the mountains and hauled

with his ox team. It consisted of one large room. The logs were chinked and the roof was made

of dirt piled on top of willows. The floor was of hard-packed earth. The second year it was

floored with rough lumber and furnished, for the most par,t with home-made furniture with

woven rawhide for seats of chairs and bed-springs. Straw ticks were made for mattresses and

home-made quilts were made for bedding. A fireplace was at one end of the room which served

for both cooking and heating the house. The cupboard was made by putting shelves across one


Later another small room was added. But the next summer it had to be taken to the farm to live

in while the land was being Pre-empted. (Homesteaded).

As time went on, Grandfather built and furnished a large adobe house which, as far as I know, is

still standing in Mt. Pleasant. Here the family, consisting of three of Nathan Staker's children by

his first wife, namely Aaron, Mary Ann and Joseph Smith and the two Burton children, Joseph F.

and Martha Ann, lived, loved and were happy. Also there were the four children he and Eliza

had: James, Eliza Jane, Josephine and Elizabeth Ellis. Nathan and his oldest son, James, built up

a large planing and grist mill business and prospered financially. They were very interested in

their ancestors and did a lot of temple work. They also paid the secretary of the Manti Temple to

do research work for them.

This man in turn hired a lady (a Mrs. Beard) who was German to do research work for them in

Germany. How she did it I do not know, but from a letter I received from Uncle Jim (now on file

in the Salt Lake City library as a manuscript), I know that it was she who started the story that

the original Nathan Staker was one of the Hessian Soldiers that were brought over here to fight

for the British in the Revolution. How I was able to find this error and correct it, is the theme of

the manuscript before mentioned. They obtained a lot of names from Germany and had the

Temple work done for them, all kinds of names--if they just sounded like Staker or Rapp they

were accepted without question of relationship. These names are in the files of the Index Bureau

in the Salt Lake City Genealogical Library.

Nathan Staker was a very charitable man, he ranked a lot above the average intellectually and

taught school, a lot of the time without pay. His store-house of food was always open to those

less fortunate than he and he gave generously to the Church for the building of Temples and

Ward Houses, but I think the crowning charitable act was to give up his own children whom he

loved very dearly, to another man. It came about this way. Eliza Cusworth Burton had promised

her husband on his death-bed that she would bring their children to Zion, raise them in God's

own Church, and have their sealing work done and have their children sealed to them. She

informed Nathan of this before they were married and he, knowing that by this act he would

forfeit the right of Fatherhood, not only to his foster Burton children, whom he loved like they

were his own, but also his own Staker children that he and Eliza might have, throughout all the

endless ages of eternity. Yet he helped her, acting as proxy for Joseph Burton and had them

married for all eternity and their children sealed to them just as she had promised. I think that we

may well paraphrase and say "Greater charity hath no man than that he give up his Children to

his Friend". When asked about this later, he remarked that he just could not rob the Dead.

Grandfather Staker had some cattle, which ranged on the mountains. One day he found one of

them dead. It being a fine fat steer, he opened it and took out the tallow to use for candle making,

which they did by running the melted tallow into tin molds, into which a wick had been stretched

and cooling the molds until the tallow hardened and then extracting the candles. (This candle-

making was one of my jobs when I was a small boy, and I still remember it with a lot of joy and

satisfaction.) He had a small pimple on his hand, into which he got some of the tallow. The steer

must have been poisoned, for blood-poisoning set in and they feared he would lose his arm. Dr.

Wing treated it by burning with caustic, a ring around the arm above the elbow. This treatment

possibly saved his life, but he suffered dreadfully for months.

And speaking about suffering brings to mind another instance. He was always a little lame due to

an accident he had when a young man. While working in the timber, a tree he felled had lodged

in another tree. When he cut this tree, the first one slid down and hit him. He said it was a

glancing blow on the shoulder, but it caught and mashed his heel. From this accident he suffered

his whole life with an arm that he could not raise without a lot of pain and a heel that was partly

cut off. No doubt it would have killed him but for the protection of God who spared him for the

great mission which he performed in life.

His youngest daughter, Ellis, was subject to croup, having it so severely that at times they feared

she would die. The nearest Doctor at that time lived in Nephi and was not to be had most of the

time. One night she was exceptionally bad and seemed to be choking to death. Grandfather

administered to her and immediately after taking his hands off her head, she opened her eyes and

said "Don't cry, I'm better".

My Grandfather, Nathan Staker, lived to be 82 years of age. He died 29 May 1884. He was

buried 2 June 1884 in the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery after one of the largest funerals ever held in Mt.

Pleasant. He rests by the side of his wife, Eliza, and his Mother, who had come from St. Louis

and spent her last years with him. May I and my posterity so live that we will all meet this good

man in Paradise is my fervent prayer.

By William Marchant Staker

                      My Father's Birthday
   by Mary Ann Staker Farnsworth   daughter of Nathan Staker

To thee, my aged father dear, a lasting tribute I would pay

Of gratitude, respect and love, on this thy natal day.

Thine honored head is bended low, and silvered o'er with age.

Thy furrowed brow and cheek present a closely written page.

Thy step which was once firm and light is feeble now and slow,

Thine eyes are dim that once were bright, thy voice is soft and low.

But dearer still thou art to me, with every passing day

That lengthened out thy life may be I daily hope and. pray.

My memory dimly doth recall as t'were a half forgotten dream

A wayside cabin rude and small within a grove, beside a stream

Where weary pilgrims, driven forth, had stopped to rest their weary feet

And draw the means from mother earth a toilsome journey to complete.

Twas there I opened first my eyes (Pigeon Grove, Iowa) to life within this mortal sphere

Sent by Heavenly Parents wise, to dwell with earthly ones so dear.

Within that humble wayside home, events came thronging thick and fast.

The day we should have journeyed on lay buried in the troubled past.

For we, by accident and death, were pinioned in that rude abode

While friends, to gain sweet freedom's breath, were traveling on the toilsome road.

Two births, two deaths, one cruel hurt, was witnessed in those few short years.

As 'neath that roof of brush and dirt, we lingered still in grief and tears.

A beauteous son obeyed the call, another came our hearts to cheer,

And soon, oh keenest blow of all, we lost our angel mother dear.

For fell disease with sable wing, had spread a cloud of darkest hue,

By striking with a fatal sting the dearest friend we ever knew.

And when the dread contagion came, the air was rife with grief and fear,

Our cabin door was closed again against our friends and neighbors dear.

A small rude hovel just beyond the purling streams where oft we played

To save dear mother's shattered nerves, a table there for us was laid.

One evening, Sol was hanging low, and we were gathered round the board,

When from the cabin just below, a sound of piteous grief was heard

And on the plank that spanned the stream, a sturdy lad was crossing o'er.

I see him now as in a dream, coming toward the open door.

My memory still this scene can trace,

Likewise the wailing words, ha said

While tears were streaming down his face.

"Oh! children dear, our mother's dead."

Myself, too young to sense our loss, my sister Lydia, I recall,

Her childish arms in grief she tossed, and hurled her spoon against the wall.

Sending a shriek of anguish forth that made my infant blood run chill,

And while I dwell on fallen earth, that cry of grief will haunt me still.

My elder sister, pure and fair, with few short summers on her head,

Her hands alone must now prepare for burial the sainted dead.

For weeks, the dreadful strain was borne by you, my father true and brave.

While six dear ones of health were shorn. But Jesus spared them from the grave.

And when the cold, relentless tomb closed o'er the partner of your life,

The mother of your helpless babes, a dear and cherished wife,

You clasped them closely to your breast again life's tide to stem.

A father and a mother too, for years you were to them.

With cows and oxen in the yoke,

You crossed the mighty desert plain,

Struggling neath a dreadful stroke

A home on freedom's soil to gain.

(Just when this poem was written is not known. Nathan Staker died 30 May 1884, so it was

written before that.)

Nathan Staker


As told to his granddaughter Dora Day Sanderson by his daughter Eliza Jane Staker Day.

He was born 28 November 1801 in Pickering, Canada. His father was Conrad Staker, and his mother was Cornelia Snook.

He lived in Canada first, moved to the United States, and then back to Canada. He was a Methodist Minister when he heard the Gospel and moved his family to Springfield, Illinois. His wife Jane Richmond contacted small pox at Pigeon Grove, Iowa and died, leaving nine children. They were John, William, Sarah, Alma, Nathaniel, Nathan, Richmond, Lydia, Aaron, Mary and Joe. Nathaniel and Nathan died in infancy.

He came to Utah in Henry Miller's Company, arriving in September 1852. He settled in Pleasant

Grove where he helped pioneer that city and held offices of responsibility in Church and state. Here he met and married Eliza Cusworth Burton in 1857. In 1858 they moved to Mt. Pleasant, Sanpete County, where he took an active part in pioneering that city. He got his portion of land in the North Field near North Creek (later it was taken up by the preemption Act and he paid the government $1.25 per acre to receive deeds). Later he took a large farm and developed it east and north of the round hills. This was later divided with his three sons: Joseph, Jim and Joe Burton (son of his wife) who always shared equally with his own sons. He taught school for two years, receiving very little pay. That pay was in produce. He taught many years for nothing.

He suffered the hardships of pioneer life and was active in the Black Hawk War and other Indian troubles. For more than two years he herded the town sheep herd in what was then called Thistle Valley, now Indianola. Here he was continually in grave danger of being killed by Indians, but he was always kind and honest with the red-man, feeding them instead of fighting them. Many times he gave his dinner pot of mutton and dumplings to them, winning their respect and friendship. He was a good farmer and gardener. He planted fruit trees and had one of the first and finest orchards in Mt. Pleasant. He exchanged cheese and meat for fruit trees with his son William who lived in the Sugar House Ward in Salt Lake City. In the fall he and his wife would go to Pleasant Grove where he worked in the molasses mill or potato fields. His wife Eliza, would dry fruit by spreading it upon the roof of the houses.

He was an honest, hard working, industrious man and raised a large family. He truly believed in the old maxim, "Do to others as you would that they should do to you". He was a good Latter Day Saint. His children all loved him for he was always tender, loving and kind to them. He believed in keeping out of debt, and never ran one. He taught his children and his wife to attend Church and Sunday School. They never missed a meeting in their lives unless they were ill. He was President of the High Priests Quorum for many years.

When he came to Mt. Pleasant, he had an ox team and wagon. With these he farmed many years. One day after plowing till noon he turned his oxen out to graze on weeds called "Blackseed” while he ate his lunch. One ox, being tired and hungry, ate so much that he bloated and died. That night Nathan walked home leading one ox. He soon traded for another though, as he could not farm with one ox. He raised grain, wild hay, potatoes, and all kinds of green vegetables—enough to keep his large family and also help a lot of others not so fortunate. He paid his tithing always. He cut grain with a cradle, which left it in swaths. Then he bound it into bundles with its own straw. He dexterously twisted the headstand after pulling the band tight, twisting and

folding the butts so the band would not slip while it was being shocked, hauled and stacked. After threshing the grain, the chaff was used for feed for the cattle and the straw was used to roof the sheds and stables to keep the cattle warm and dry.

He had cows, pigs, sheep and other animals to help make a living. The sheep were the most useful as grandmother spun the wool into yarn from which she knitted all their stockings. She also sent wool to the mills to be carded and spun and woven into home spun cloth from which she made their clothing. She was the best and fastest knitter in town. Besides knitting for her own family she often knitted for others. She taught all her girls to be good knitters.

Grandfather took great care of everything. He would mix buckets of feed in layers of chaff and grain, moistened with water. This was most economical and at the same time nutritious and fattening. The family made their own butter and cheese, and cured their meat in the old smokehouse.

During the grasshopper plague they all went out to the field to dig trenches, brush the hoppers into the trenches, cover them with straw and burn them. In spite of all this hard work, fields were very bare and crops were very sparse.

Their first home in Mt. Pleasant was one large room built of logs which grandfather cut and hauled from the mountains. The logs were chinked. The roof was made of willows and dirt. The house had a wood floor and was furnished with crude furniture which they made of rawhide woven crosswise from beef hides for chairs, stools, tables and bedsteads. They had a fireplace too. The cupboard was made by placing shelves across one corner of the room. Later another room was added to the one large room. The house had to be moved onto the farm and lived in while the paid and preemptioned their land. Later Grandfather Staker built and furnished an adobe home which still stands in Mt. Pleasant.

Nathan Staker and Elizabeth Burton were married in the Endowment House in the spring of 1857. On 7 February 1858 their first child was born in Pleasant Grove. In 1859 they moved to Mt. Pleasant and were among the first settlers here. Eliza Jane Staker (my mother) was born 17 November 1860 in the old house. Her father was delighted with this little new girl and loved and tended her a lot.

Grandfather Staker had some cattle which he summered in the mountains. One of these, a nice fat steer died. Upon finding it, grandfather opened it up and took out the tallow to make winter candles. They made the candles by melting the tallow and running it into molds and cooling it. Grandfather had a small sore pimple on his hand. Some of the tallow got into this sore. The doctor said the steer had possibly died from some poison. The poison got into grandfather's blood through the sore. This blood poisoning caused his hand and arm to swell badly and he was a very sick man for some time. Dr. Wing treated this by burning a ring around the arm above the elbow with caustic acid. This treatment possibly saved grandfather's life but he suffered dreadfully for months. However he finally recovered.

Nathan Staker was a very religious man and believed in and did a lot of Temple Work. He helped to build both the St. George and Manti Temples by sending men to work winters on them. He also sent food to board them while they worked. Joseph Burton was one of these men. (This would be Joseph Burton Jr.)

He was always slightly lame on one leg resulting from an accident in the states when a tree he was cutting fell on him and no doubt would have killed him but for the protection of God, who spared him for a great mission. The tree grazed his head but caught and smashed his heel.

Nathan Staker lived to be eighty two years old, dying 19 May 1884 in Mt. Pleasant where he was buried 2 June 1884.

view all 41

Nathan Staker's Timeline

November 28, 1801
Kingston, Frontenac, Ontario
January 24, 1802
Kingston, Frontenac, Ontario, Canada
January 24, 1802
Kingston, Frontenac, Ontario, Canada
January 24, 1802
November 5, 1830
Age 28
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
February 20, 1832
Age 30
Pickering, Ontario, Canada
June 11, 1835
Age 33
June 11, 1835
Age 33