THE FAMILIES OF JOSEPH TAYLOR AND HIS WIVES
MARY MOORE, JANE LAKE, HANNAH MARIAH HARRIS AND CAROLINE MATTSON
In their pioneer home in Warren County, Kentucky, William Taylor and his wife Elizabeth Patrick became the parents of their eighth child, Joseph, on 4 June 1825. Although several records indicate Joseph’s place of birth was Bowling Green, the Taylors actually lived approximately 12 miles north of that town and just west of Richardsville near the Barren River.
Joining in the westward migration that was characteristic of those times, the William Taylor family, including their eleven children, moved in 1831 to Monroe County, Missouri, along with other relatives. The family obtained an 80-acre land grant on 3 Nov 1831 in Jefferson Township along the Ivy Branch of the South Fork of Salt River. William said that Missouri was the mot beautiful and fertile land he had ever seen when his family moved there.
Apparently the early missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints met the Taylor family in 1832. Joseph’s father, a man who was very conversant with the Bible, believed himself to be the first person baptized into the Church in the state of Missouri. The Taylors lived in an area called the Salt River Branch.
Ever loyal to the Gospel from the time of their baptism, the Taylors moved successively to Ray County, Missouri, then to Long Creek in Clay County eight miles south of Far West, then lived briefly in Far West.
The Taylor children early learned to revere the authorities of the Church. Their mother Elizabeth often sent the children to take food to the Prophet Joseph Smith while he and some associates were incarcerated in the Liberty Jail.
When Governor Boggs issued the infamous “Order of Extermination,” the Taylors loaded what belongings they could take with them and moved to Illinois. William Warren Taylor, weakened by persecution and exposure, became ill during the journey and died 9 Sep. 1839 (In 2006 the Taylor Family Organization, in conjunction with the Illinois Historical Society, erected a monument on Illinois State Road 26 by an old pioneer cemetery on Col. Levi Williams’ land, which was determined by Kenneth Crossley’s research to be the place of William’s burial.)
Although four of the older Taylor children were married prior to their father’s death, ten children remained with their mother in Nauvoo and worked to provide the material necessities of life. While in Nauvoo, Joseph and his younger brother Green worked for John Gilmore for 25 cents per day. They took their pay in corn to help their family.
In Feb. 1841 while living in Nauvoo, Joseph one day found his mother crying. Asking her what was wrong, he learned that she feared for the life of his brother John, who had been captured by the Missourians about 200 miles away, and she wondered if they would ever see him alive again Young Joseph asked his mother if she would like him to go ask the Prophet Joseph if they would ever see John alive again. She responded positively to his suggestion, so he mounted a horse and rode off to see the Prophet.
When Joseph asked the pointed question as to whether they would ever see John Taylor alive again, he reported that the Prophet “rested on his gun and bent his head for a moment as if in prayer or deep reflection. Then, with a beautiful beaming countenance, full of smiles, he looked up and told me to go and tell Mother that her son would return in safety inside of a week. True to the word of the Prophet, he got home in six days after this occurrence.”
Joseph Taylor later became a member of the Nauvoo Legion and often served as a bodyguard to the Prophet Joseph. He no doubt saw first-hand the hatred, prejudice and violence that characterized the Nauvoo period before and after the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.
Joseph Taylor met young Mary Moore in Nauvoo and married her there 24 March 1844. Their first child, Clarissa Jane, was born there 4 July 1845.
After violence increased and the Saints were forced to leave Nauvoo, the Taylors crossed the frozen Mississippi River and made their way across the harsh lands of Iowa until they reached Council Bluffs in June 1846. On June 26th Captain James Allen of the United States Army arrived at Mount Pisgah with three dragoons. The camp was momentarily in turmoil as the first cry went out, “The United States troops are upon us!” The excitement stemmed from Governor Ford’s false report before the saints left Nauvoo, in which he stated that the federal government intended to prevent their move west, using U. S. troops if necessary.
In January 1856 Brigham Young had sent Elder Jesse C. Little on a special mission to Washington, D. C., to confer with President Polk about the possibility of helping the saints in their migration to the West. During a three-hour conference in June the president mentioned the possibility of assisting them by enlisting a thousand men, arming and equipping them and sending them to California to defend the country (the war with Mexico had already begun). While further development of the plans had taken place, Brigham Young had received no communication indicating that the plan was being considered. When Captain James Allen of the U. S. Army arrived at Mount Pisgah with three dragoons, he announced that he had come to enlist 500 able-bodied men to assist in the war with Mexico, Brigham’s first thoughts dwelt on the difficulty of giving up 500 young men when they were needed so badly in the pioneers’ migration. However, he was quick to comprehend the positive benefits of responding to the call. He took Heber C. Kimball, Parley C. Pratt, Orson Pratt and others with him from camp t camp to persuade the saints to respond to the call.
Joseph Taylor and his brother Pleasant Green both enlisted in the Battalion on a Sunday morning. Next day P. G. was stricken with a fever, so he was unable to depart with the other soldiers.
Captain Allen’s recruiting of the men to serve in the war with Mexico proved to be a blessing to the saints despite the fact that it temporarily delayed their departure for the West. The financial support provided from the soldiers’ pay enabled the saints to purchase supplies that were sorely needed.
On 20 July 1946 the Battalion, under Captain Allen’s command, started its march southward to Fort Leavenworth, Joseph Taylor having been assigned as a private in Company A. The story of that march across the southwest, said to be the longest march of infantry on record, was a continuous experience of trial and hardship. Trudging through blistering sands, often wanting for food, water and clothing; attacked by wild bulls; suffering from both cold and heat along the way; and cutting through solid rock in places all added to the misery of the experience.
Joseph served as a teamster from October 1846 through March 1847. Arriving at the end of their journey in San Diego on 29 January 1847, the Battalion received congratulations from Col. P. St. George Cook for their splendid achievement in the face of such difficulties, and they were commended for the fine caliber of men in the group.
Upon arriving in San Diego, the members of the Mormon Battalion found themselves in the midst of a political dilemma. Lt. Col. John C. Fremont, who had been acting as temporary governor of California, refused to accept Brigadier General Stephen W. Kearney as the new Washington-appointed governor and continued to subvert the efforts of this governor. Finally, Gen. Kearney decided to initiate court-martial proceedings against Fremont. To do so, he would have to bring Fremont to Missouri for trial. He ordered fifteen men of the Mormon Battalion to escort him and his detachment as far as Fort Leavenworth (in present-day Kansas). Joseph Taylor was reassigned by the 10th Military Department Order No. 12 to be a bodyguard for General Kearney (according to his pension file).
Riding horses and mules, General Kearney’s detachment traveled north from Monterey to Sutter’s Fort, then proceeded to Truckee Lake (later named Donner Lake) near the Nevada border. There they found the site where the George and Jacob Donner Company had been trapped by the winter snows a few months earlier. Although survivors had spread news about the disaster, no one had been able to reach at the site to bury the dead until this military detachment arrived about June 1847.
Clearing out an old cellar, Joseph and the other men buried the bones of 36 people who had perished from starvation and exposure. One of the escorts, Matthew Caldwell, described awful sight as follows: “There was not a whole person that we could find.” Because of the threat of starvation, members of the Donner party had resorted to cannibalism.
The detachment traveled to Fort Hall, then Fort Bridger and Fort Laramie, where they joyfully met an LDS pioneer company on its way to the Salt Lake Valley. Later Joseph was discharged when they reached Fort Leavenworth (according to his journal). Along with some of the other men, Joseph continued eastward to Iowa to rejoin loved ones who awaited their return.
Joseph learned that their second daughter Mary Melvina had been born 22 Feb 1847 in Council Bluffs. A son, Joseph Allen, was born there 3 August 1848, and another son, William Andrew, was born 15 May 1850 at Kanesville, where emigrants had been advised earlier by their leaders to gather in preparation for their westward journey.
The Taylors, Lakes and Marlers started for the West in the latter part of May 1850 with James Lake as their captain and Joseph Taylor as a lieutenant. Their journey was a difficult one, filled with privation and even frightening encounters with unfriendly Indians. How grateful they must have been when they passed through Parley’s Canyon and entered the Salt Lake Valley on 5 September 1850!
A short time later Joseph and his brother Pleasant Green moved their families north to East Kaysville, where they took up some land just south of the present intersection of Mountain Road and Green Road in Fruit Heights. There the family was enumerated in the 1850 U. S. Federal Census (actually taken in April 1851) in Kay’s Ward.
Joseph later moved his family to the central part of Kaysville near the present main square. He began building an adobe house for his family; his wife Mary carried the mortar for him. While working one day, she became very ill, went into convulsions and died 4 April 1852 at the birth of their fifth child, a stillborn son. Joseph constructed a crude coffin from his wagon box, placed the mother and babe in it and buried them in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.
Needing someone to help care for his four small children, Joseph married three months later (12 July 1852) Jane Lake Ordway, a young widow with one son, Stephen. They resided in Kaysville until after the birth of their son Moroni on 1 May 1853. Then, because Jane wanted to be closer to her parents, who lived in Harrisville, she and Joseph moved their family to Ogden.
Joseph Taylor’s journal (p.4) indicates that they moved to Weber County in 1854. His father-in-law, James Lake, and other settlers from that area had moved their homes into Bingham’s Fort in 1853 for protection from the Indians. Joseph and his family resided in the fort, where their second child was born 3 April 1855. The family remained at the fort until 1856, the same year that Joseph was elected constable at the fort.
Early land records in Ogden show that Joseph and his family lived on Lot 4 in Block 30, Plat A in Ogden City (located on 24th Street on property now used for the rectory of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Because the Taylors had a log cabin and farm animals there, it likely was used as their residence, for their next two children were born in Ogden. Emma Jane arrived 26 January 1857 and Lydia Ann on 22 October 1868.
In a conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints 28-29 August 1852 the doctrine of plural marriage was first publicly announced. Sometime near the end of 1854 Joseph married another wife, Hannah Mariah Harris, by whom nine children were born. Joseph was sealed to Jane Lake and Hannah Mariah Harris in the Endowment House on 7 January 1865. He later married a fourth wife, Caroline Mattson or Madson (date unknown). This last wife, a Swedish convert, had been sealed previously to Arne Christiansen Grue; she had no children by Joseph Taylor.
In 1857 Joseph Taylor and 1250 members of the Nauvoo Legion were called into service in the Utah War. When Brigham Young first heard of U. S. troops’ being ordered to Utah while he and a group of saints were celebrating the 24thof July in Big Cottonwood Canyon, he took immediate action. Utah forces were on the move toward the east, some toward Fort Hall and others to Bear River to watch for possible troop movements toward the Salt Lake Valley. Tragically, the Utah officials had not been informed that the army was being sent as an occupation force, and when an advance party arrive in Salt Lake City, the officer in charge was not well enough informed to explain the real intent, so the movement of U. S. Troops toward Utah was interpreted to be hostile. Other informal information received from a government supply train intercepted by the troops who had been sent east also indicated that the army being sent under the command of Col. Albert Sidney Johnston indicated Utahns were in for more frightful experiences.
Major Joseph Taylor was placed in command of 50 men and ordered to do everything possible to delay the troops, burn supply trains, keep them from sleeping at night, but keep concealed. Traveling eastward to Fort Bridger, then continuing onward, they soon came to an area known to have been occupied by army scouts. Leaving most of his men behind, Joseph took a few men with him to do some scouting. Suddenly they were rushed by some army men on horseback and captured.
These prisoners were isolated from their comrades, interrogated, then later attempts were made to poison them and to smother them by building a smoking fire by their tent opening. Joseph helped save their lives by directing that they hollow out a hole in the ground and breathe into it, holding their hands in a protective ring around their faces at the same time.
One night Joseph acted as if he were cold and got the guards to build up a big fire, then as some cattle passed near the camp and distracted the guards, Joseph darted into the midst of the cattle and made his escape. He had no shoes and only light clothing, but next day he found a coat in a bundle that also contained some socks, which saved the day for him. Later he found six of his comrades about four miles from Fort Bridger. When he was later given a horse, he was able to contact General Wells and provide valuable information to him.
Still very weak from his ordeal in captivity, Joseph traveled on to Salt Lake City, where he met with President Young. Following their conference, Joseph was instructed to get a gun and return to the canyons for duty. By the time he had reached the canyons, the immediate danger of a winter invasion by the U. S. Army was gone, so Joseph was released and allowed to return to his family.
Weber County residents who had been ordered to the Provo Bottoms during the threat of invasion by Johnston’s Army were allowed to return to their homes about three months later. It was probably toward the end of 1868 that Joseph Taylor moved his families from Ogden out to the area that later became Farr West. After the Johnston’s Army episode had quieted down, a charter was granted to the Western Irrigation Company to build a canal. Joseph Taylor and two other men built a ditch to bring irrigation water to their farms. He served as water master for many years on that canal (which was obviously enlarged with the passing of time.)
Joseph and his family milked as many as forty head of cows and sold the milk, cream, butter and cheese to help provide for their sustenance.
Joseph was active in church and community affairs. In December 1866 he became 1st Counselor to President Daniel B. Rawson in the Eighth District (a school precinct). He later succeeded Daniel B. Rawson, (then referred to as a “trustee.”) In 1883 he was ordained a Patriarch for Weber Stake, a position he held until his death (no blessings were recorded for this period of time).
The Utah State Archives contains a copy of Joseph’s resignation as Major of the lst Battalion of the lst Regiment of the Weber Military District. The letter, written by Gen. Chauncey W. West, indicates that Joseph felt he was unable to perform the duties of the office longer because of weak eyes. He attributed his condition to the attempt by Sergeant Newman of Johnston’s Army to smoke him and William Stowell to death while they were prisoners of war.
After an illness of three weeks, Joseph passed away in Farr West 11 August 1900. Jane Lake Taylor died 10 Feb 1914 in Fairview, Lincoln Wyoming and Hannah Mariah Harris died 28 May 1881in Harrisville (Farr West). Caroline Mattson (or Madson) died 23 Feb 1899 in Farr West.
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Prepared in May 2006 by Brian L. Taylor, a great-grandson, from the following sources:
CHILDREN OF JOSEPH TAYLOR AND MARY MOORE:
CHILDREN OF JOSEPH TAYLOR AND JANE LAKE:
THE CHILDREN OF JOSEPH TAYLOR AND HANNAH MARIAH HARRIS
JOSEPH TAYLOR AND CAROLINE MATTSON HAD NO CHILDREN