HENRY DILL GIFFORD
GEORGE WASHINGTON GIFFORD
MEN & WOMEN OF COURAGE
Henry Dill Gifford was born 28th of April, 1827, Reading, Wayne County, New York, the son of Alpheus Gifford and Anna Nash. Alpheus was born to Noah Gifford and Mary Boweman Gifford 28th of August, 1793. Anna Nash was born to Azor Nash and Lucy Shaw Nash 17th of February,1800. Alpheus and Anna were married 27th of April, 1817. Henery Dill was the 5th child in the family and the 4th son. During his early childhood, he with his family, traveled a great deal. His father Alpheus, was a "free lance" minister and went wherever he felt he was needed. Alpheus was a deeply religious man and taught his children the will of the Lord as he interpreted the Bible.
When Henry Dill was a young boy of 5, in 1830, his father met some men who had claimed they had the everlasting Gospel. Alpheus read the book of Mormon and the spirit of the Lord revealed to him the truthfulness of the Gospel therein contained. He was baptized, ordained a Priest, and returned home, with 5 books of Mormon, to Taigo County, Pennsylvania, where his family and fiends lived and distributed the Books of Mormon amongst them. Soon after, Alpheus, along with his brother Levi and several friends, went to Kirtland, Ohio, where the Church was now located and there, Levi and friends were baptized and Alpheus was ordained an Elder. They returned home, rejoicing in their new found religion. There, and in the regions round about, they baptized many. The gifts of the Gospel were made manifested amongst the Saints in that place, signs followed those who believed, the sick were healed, devils were cast out, some prophesied, some spoke with new tongues and some interpreted. In fact, the gifts were enjoyed to a great extent. (Two years later, in April, 1832, Alpheus, accompanied by 4 other Missionaries, were in the Mendon, New York area and there, Alpheus baptized Heber C. Kimball, and one of his companions, Eleazure Miller, baptized Brigham Young. Heber and Brigham, having two years earlier, been introduced to the Book of Mormon, which had first been bought by Phineas Young, from Joseph Smith's brother Samuel, and Phineas gave it to Brigham Young and through Brigham it eventually got to Heber C. Kimball.)
History of the Church, Vol.4, Pg.109, Footnotes
[Alpheus Gifford was born in Adams township, Berkshire county, Massachusetts, August 28, 1793. At the age of eighteen, having scarcely sufficient learning to enable him to read the Bible, he commenced preaching the Gospel, not for hire, but for the salvation of souls. In 1817, he married Anna Nash, who bore him seven sons and three daughters. In the spring of 1831, hearing of the doctrines taught by Joseph Smith be made diligent inquiry and found they were scriptural and was baptized and ordained a priest; he brought home five books of Mormon which he distributed among his friends; he was then living in Tioga County, Pennsylvania. Soon after he went to Kirtland, Ohio, to see the Prophet Joseph Smith and the brethren, when he was ordained an elder; he was accompanied by his brother Levi, Elial Strong, Eleazer Miller, Enos Curtis, and Abraham Brown, who were baptized. On returning to Pennsylvania he preached and baptized many, among whom was Heber C. Kimball. The gifts of the Gospel were enjoyed by many, signs followed those who believed; devils were cast out; the sick were healed; many prophesied; some spake with new tongues; while others interpreted the same. Mr. Calvin Gilmour, with whom Brother Gifford had previously been associated in preaching, heard him speak in tongues and interpret. Gilmour declared he understood the languages and that they were interpreted correctly, and that he knew Gifford had no classical learning; but that he would rather be damned than believe in Mormonism.
HEBER C. KIMBAL JOURNAL, MILLENNIUM STAR 26, PG 504
April 14th, 1832, Brigham Young went forward and was baptized by Eleazer Miller, and the next day, or the day following, Alpheus Gifford came into my shop while I was forming a vessel upon the wheel, and while conversing with me upon the subject of this work, I said, "Brother Alpheus, I am ready to go forward and be baptized." I jumped up, pulled off my apron, washed my hands and started with him with my sleeves rolled up to my shoulders, and went the distance of one mile where he baptized me in a small stream in the woods. After I was baptized I kneeled down and he laid his hands upon my head and confirmed me member of the Church of Jesus Christ, and said unto me, "In the name of Jesus Christ and by the authority of the holy priesthood receive ye the Holy Ghost," and before I got up off my knees, he wanted to ordain me an elder but I plead with him not to do it, as I felt myself unworthy of such a calling, and such an office.]
Alpheus and family started for Jackson County, Missouri sometime in June, 1831. His wife Anna Nash, had been given earlier a promise of seeing her children all safely in Zion. They traveled 100 miles by land, stopped at Olean Point, where a boat was built, in which Alpheus, his brother Judiah, Isaac Flumapol and Abraham Brown, with their families, Floated down the Algana River. At many places, they pried their boat over the gravel and sandbars, till they got to Old Franklin, where they stayed about two weeks. Alpheus made baskets, all the way down the river to produce something to eat and wear. There, his brother Judiah stopped, apostatized and joined the Methodists. The River, having raised till it was very high, they lashed their boat to a larger raft, by which means they went to Pittsburg, where he stayed about two weeks. There, they found William Harris and wife and her mother, wife of Peter Dustin, who was then presiding over the Branch at the Batson Settlement, in Jackson County, Missouri. ( We will mention here, before they started on their journey, some of the children had the mumps and while at Warren, most got the measles and before they got to Pittsburgh, most came down with the whooping cough, which made the journey quite unpleasant. Abraham Brown's child died at William Harris's.
They continued their journey to Maryette, Ohio, where they stayed some time. Alpheus made baskets and the older two boys picked up gravel for the cider makers. They went from there to Guyandot, where Abraham Brown stopped. They continued down the Ohio River till they came to Cincinnati, where they met Elija Newman, who had been informed by Lyman Leonard, that an Elder, by the name of Alpheus Gifford, would come on such a boat. Elija Newman followed the boat five miles down the river till Alpheus landed. Lyman Leonard had passed them while they were at Old Franklin. Lymond Leonard left five dollars at Cincinnati for Alpheus. It was said by his son Samuel Kendall, "May the Lord bless him for so doing and reward him a hundred fold." There was a large branch of the Church in Cincinnati. Their boat was towed back up the river to Elija Newman's place. The town was called Columbia. They stayed with Elija Newman through the winter, and was assisted by Brother Elias and a John Higbee, with whom they journeyed to Independence, Missouri, where they landed in the spring of 1833. They soon moved a short distance and stopped on the banks of a small stream called the Round Grove, which emptied into the Big Blue. The Big Blue emptied into the Missouri River. While there, Alpheus and Anna's children, Icabod Bowerman, Samuel Kendall, William Pitts, Henry Dill and their sister Rhoda, were baptized by Solomon Hancock, about the Month of April. Mary, the oldest sister was baptized while in Cincinnati, Ohio. They had now seen the fulfillment of the promise made to their mother, that she would see her children all safe in Zion. Here Moses was born on the banks of the Round Grove, May 16, 1833, in a small, one-sided cabin, built by the side of a large oak log that formed the back of the cabin.
Samuel Kendall states that "The spirit of persecution soon became the order of the times amongst those who were not of us, for they that were not for us, were against us." About mid summer, Alpheus moved to the Batson Settlement where Peter Dustin Presided. The Spirit of persecution continued to prevail until sometime in November, when they determined to drive the Saints out or put them to death. Some of the saints were shot down, some were beaten with clubs, guns, etc., and some were tarred and feathered. In fact, they were told that they must leave or die. A mob gathered around the printing office in Independence, Missouri and it was said that one man got upon the top of the house and prayed that if he was not right, his hand might wither. But the Lord did not see fit to hear the prayers of the wicked, they tore down the building and then destruction by fire spread throughout the land, until many of the Saints had to leave on foot. Only think; children barefooted, crossing burnt prairies, with bleeding feet, in the cold month of November. The Saints were driven en-mass, across the Missouri River, into Clay County. Alpheus and family were amongst this group and they camped on the banks of the Missouri River on the night of the 13th of November, 1833. Samuel Kendall Gifford states that " there we beheld a strange and beautiful scene. To all appearance, brilliant stars, or balls of fire, falling like rain upon the earth and upon the water."
On the 19th, they crossed the river into Clay County, where they had a short rest from persecution, but not long, for those Demons in human form, led by Gills, Owens and others, were not content with what they had done, but soon made their way into Clay County. They canvassed the country to see how much of the spirit of persecution they could arouse amongst the old settlers, for their whole aim was to destroy the Saints. They went to Liberty, the chief town of the country, to make arrangements to carry out their plans. On their return, they passed a cow-yard, where Samuel Kendall Gifford said it was getting dark and he and a lot of others, boys and girls were at and unseen by them. They were telling what they were going to do to the Mormons. Samuel said it made a curious expression for a boy that had been raised to believe as he did. To wish harm to anyone and especially, that the cruel hand of death should be laid upon them, was unthinkable. But never-the-less, I said, " I hope they will get drowned before they get across the river." The first news I heard in the morning, was that the ferry boat, while in the middle of the river, sprung a leak and some of them were drowned. The notorious Owens, one of the main leaders, stripped himself of his boots and clothes and landing safe on the Jackson side of the river, some miles below the landing. He, however, was naked and far from home and had to pass through a large bottom of nettles that was densely thick. Imagine a naked man in a thick patch of nettles! Very good pay for his mobbing expedition. While a big bellied young man, by the name of Campbell, was not so lucky ( or rather was more lucky than Owens.) He took hold of a horse's tail and hung on till very near the shore, when fearing the horses heels, he let go of all holds, thinking he could safely make the shore, but the treacherous current beat him back into the middle of the stream and the next day, he was found eight miles below, lodged in a mess of flood-wood, with his eyes picked out by the ravens. And, thus ended his mobocratic career, while Owens was humiliated to hide himself behind a log and when the Belle of the country passed by, he received her petticoat to hide his nakedness, till he could get to some house where he could get something more to put on. So we can see that a portion of my strange wish was fulfilled. A woman was drowned with her little son. Those that remained alive, did not feel much like mobbing for some time, so we had a little time to labor unmolested.
Sometime in 1835, a large body of Missourians got together and formed three resolutions as follows:
1. The Mormons must leave the county forthwith.
2. The Mormons must scatter like other people and say nothing about their religion.
3. That if they didn't comply with either of the above resolutions, the cold hand of death would be laid upon all, without reservation.
The Saints, of course, were not long in making up their minds which course to pursue. Most of them settled near a small stream called Log Creek, in Caldwell County, six miles east of Farwest, the county Seat. Here, Alpheus and Anna's son, Enos Curtis was born February 4, 1837 and died when he was about eight months old. Samuel Kendall states that he joined the military company , had a pistol about a foot long and a spear in the end of a pole, with which he trained, stood guard, etc. He said he was ready to fight in the defense of Zion, although he was young in age (14) and small for his age.
Just previous to the marching great army against the Saints, (that is the Mobillitia), Alpheus and most of the Saints, had moved into Farwest, to be more secure from the mob. The day that the army came, Samuel K. states that he, his Uncle Levi Gifford and his sons Ichabod and Danial, went to Log Creek to get a small load of corn for bread. ( Also, Colonel Hinkle led a great portion of the small band of brethren of Farwest, to meet the mob. He led them in sight and quite close to the great army (who were well armed) and pulled off his coat in a cold day and would have marched the small handful of almost unarmed men, right into the midst, had it not been for Captain Whitmore, who took the command instantly from him and said, "Brethren, follow me." He led them out of danger and landed them safe, in Farwest.) Levi Gifford and group, got their corn and were about one mile on their way to Farwest, they were going on a middle road that led through a large, coop field. Turning their eyes to the right, they saw a company of horsemen, just emerging from the woods. They supposed, at first, it was Col. Hinkle and his company, but soon discovered that there was too many. For there was only about 150 in Hinkle's Company and they saw more than 1,000 coming out into the prairie, with a large number of baggage wagons. They marched around and through the big field. The Gifford's were surrounded by their enemies, so they stopped in the midst of the field of corn, unhitched their horses from the wagon, and rode to a house that was not far from the edge of the field. They found Sister Brunel and three small girls in the house, alone. Sister Brunel's husband and only son, who was about 10 years of age, were in Farwest preparing a place for the family.
Levi Gifford had come across Old Father Tanner and they were walking together, when a company of the mob espied them and rushed to where they were. Levi ran and hid under the bank of the creek, so they did not get him, at that time. But Father Tanner was more unfortunate and received a heavy blow from the breach of a gun, that broke his skull. Levi was afterwards, taken prisoner, while feeding the horses in the field. Samuel K. states that the first day that they were surrounded by the army, a lane that lead to Sister Brunel's house was filled, at three different times, by the horsemen that behaved themselves quite unbecomingly. They received frequent visits from the mob, until the third day, when Sister Brunel's boy returned home from Farwest. He brought word that they had got the Prophet, Joseph Smith and others and that they had let quite a few prisoners go free. He also reported that Levi Gifford had been taken prisoner by them and marched into Farwest and set at liberty. Samuel K. states that, that was the first time they had heard from any of their people, except only what the mob told them, when they would come and try to flatter them to go with them and leave the Mormons. He says that "anyone can imagine their feelings while in that situation. Uncle Levi was gone, we knew not where, there was no one to be seen but the mob, except us boys and Sister Brunel and her little girls. And the hideous yells that were uttered by the mob, had been almost enough to raise the hair on one's head. The cattle of the Saints that were running in the woods and upon the prairie, were shot down like wild beasts upon the plains, the sound of musketry added horror to the scene. But, when we had learned that a boy had passed the camps of their enemies, unmolested, we felt encouraged, so early the next morning, my cousins and myself, accompanied the little boy back to Farwest. You can easily imagine our feelings of joy, when we found ourselves in the midst of our friends, once more." Although the Saints were but a small company, in the midst of a large army of demons, who were threatening them with speedy destruction under the extermination orders of Governor L. W. Boggs. Finally, the Saints were told that if they would leave the state, forthwith, that their lives would be spared, but they need never think of seeing their leaders again. Said General Lucas, "Their doom is fixed, their die is cast. You have seen them for the last time."
Thus the Saints were again driven from their comfortable homes, in the cold of winter. A great portion of them had to travel without tent or wagon cover and wade through mud and snow, with none to take them in, till they reached the State of Illinois. When Alpheus came to the Mississippi River, he and others cut down two large cottonwood trees and dug them out in the shape of canoes and lashed them together, a sufficient distance apart, to admit the wheels of the wagons, in which many of the Saints crossed the river. They steered their craft between the large cakes of ice that were floating in the river, while the smaller cakes would pass between the two canoes. They landed in Quincy, Illinois, where they were received with much kindness by the citizens of that place. Some of the merchants who were leading men of Quincy, donated quite freely to help the most destitute of the Saints. Such will be remembered when it is said, "In as much as you have done it unto the least of these, my servants, you have done it unto me."
Alpheus and family stayed a short time in Quincy and then they moved about 22 miles up the river, about two miles above Seyma and fourteen miles below Warsaw, in Hancock County. A committee was appointed by the Saints, to find a location for the Saints headquarters. They found a place above Warsaw, about 8 miles, that was called Commerce. It consisted of three stations or dwellings. This was a very sickly place and none but the Saints could live there and many died before they could subdue the destructive elements that filled the air, in consequence of the low marshy land that lays right in the middle of town. But, through the perseverance of the Saints, coupled with the blessings of God, the swamps were drained and the land and elements were dedicated, and sickness and death became less frequent. Comfortable dwellings, fruit fields, orchards, gardens, mills and other improvements and comforts sprung into existence, to the astonishment of all around. Alpheus lived in the Morley Settlement, two miles above Limy, about one year. Here, Heber Chase Kimball Gifford was born to Alpheus and Anna Gifford July 16th, 1839. Alpheus and family, then moved to Nauvoo (Commerce). In 1841, they moved five miles above Nauvoo, where Alpheus died of quick consumption, December 25th, 1841, at the age of 49. It was said by Samuel K. "that father spent most of his time preaching the Gospel." Alpheus's widow, Anna and family, moved back to their place in Nauvoo, after his death. Henry Dill was now 16 years old. Their son, William Pitts Gifford, died July 9th, 1843, at the age of 20. Then Heber Chase Kimball Gifford died in Nauvoo, August 31, 1845, at the young age of Five. On the 14th of February 1846, their daughter Rachel, died at age 17. The hardships and persecution took its toll on the Alpheus and Anna Gifford Family, but their faith never wavered, nor were they ever in sympathy with the Apostates. The year of 1846 was the beginning of the exodus of the larger part of the Mormons out of Nauvoo.
The Missourians were not content with driving the Saints from their State, but followed them to Illinois and tried at different times to capture and drag the Prophet Joseph back to Missouri and stirred up the spirit of persecution among the citizens of Illinois. And finally, the Spirit of persecution raged throughout Adams and Hancock Counties, until the Prophet and his Patriarch brother were murdered in cold blood, and houses and grains stacks were burned to the ground. Other property, by the thousands, that belonged to the Saints, were destroyed and the Saints had to flee for their live.
Samuel K. and Henry Dill left Nauvoo, the tenth of February. Some time after they left, they got word that their younger sister, Rachel, died February 14, 1846, which would have been only 4 days after they had left and how long it took to get word, it is not known. Samuel states that deaths seemed quite frequent in Nauvoo, at that time and they wished their friends to return. He said, though, that Brigham Young said "Let the dead bury the dead" that our course was onward. Samuel K. would have been around 22 and Henry Dill around 20 and neither were married, yet. Later that February, 1846, Anna's son Moses, at the tender age of 12, left Nauvoo with "his father's trusted friend", Bishop Nobel, who had been Bishop of the Nauvoo 5th Ward and was chosen by Brigham Young to be in charge of one of the Companies moving West. Why Moses was chosen to go, it is not sure, but it is speculated that as Bishop and Sister Nobel had buried six of their seven children, from Kirtland to Winter Quarters, that Moses filled some of the vacancy that was in the family, and was not Bishop Nobel a "trusted friend" of his father, Alpheus. (It is noted here: before Bishop Nobel left Nauvoo, he called on the Prophet's mother, Lucy Mack Smith and gave her the deed to his nice home and lot he had in Nauvoo, as a parting gift).
It is not known when Anna Nash Gifford left Nauvoo, Probably sometime that year (1846). Her sons returned to escort their widowed mother and those children left home, to their new settlement in Iowa.
As stated before, Samuel K. and Henry Dill crossed the Mississippi River the day of the 10th, with the first company of Saints that started for the Rocky Mountains. They were then in Iowa Territory, near Montrose. ( Church History said that as the ill-prepaired Saints followed, and it was not long before those who had prepaired well, were sharing with those less fortunate. Of this Brigham Young stated" Unless this people are more united in spirit and cease to pray against council, it will bring me down to my grave. I am reduced to in flesh so that my coat that would scarcely meet around me last Winter now laps over twelve inches. It is with much adue that I can keep from lying down and sleep to wait the resurrection.") In a few days, the camp moved to Sugar Creek, a few miles distance , and waited for others to come up and better fix for the journey. The camp stayed at Sugar Creek about three weeks and then went about three days journey and stopped about three weeks, again. They built a barn, husked a large field of corn, for which they got corn and bacon. The Camp moved about three days journey and crossed the Shariton River and camped about three weeks, again. They were in the company that was known as the guard and stood guard, with others, until they left Shariton. Here, the main guard was broken up and they went into the George Miller Company. They were camped at Shoal Creek. The next day, they traveled nearly all day and the wagons cut through the prairie sod, till many of them sank to the hubs and some had to be got out the next morning. They camped by a little grove and made large fires, spread out umbrellas over their heads, while they dried their clothes. The storm held up for some time. That night, they went to bed in their wagons and tents and some woke up in the morning and found themselves so fully soaked that their was not a dry thread amongst them. Two of brother Bostick's children died on the prairie, died with the measles and were buried in a Locust Grove. They continued, till they came to a place they called Garden Grove, a nice grove of timber. Here, they found plenty of wild onions and leeks. It should be mentioned here, that they had cut down grasswood trees for the browse, to keep the cattle from starving. But here, there was plenty of grass, and rattlesnakes and copperheads-always as plentiful as grass. Scarcely a day passed, without some cattle being snake bitten. Horses that were bit, generally died, but the cattle were mostly cured by a weed called Rattlesnake Master, boiled in milk. The juice was given internally and the weed bound on the wound. Here the Saints, a portion of them, stopped to recruit. Some followed President Brigham Young to Mt. Pisgah, on the west fork of the Grand River, where they made another settlement for a resting place for the saints to recruit up, for the journey to the Mountains. Here, as in Garden Grove, they fenced in large farms and raised all kinds of grain and vegetables and built mills to grind their grain. They used wild grass for hay. Here, they manufactured wagons, chairs and other articles, which they sold in Iowa, Missouri and Illinois. They made these to get a living and a scanty outfit to cross the plains.
Samuel K. states that while they camped at Sugar Creek, President Brigham Young, after quoting the prophecy that the Prophet Joseph Smith put forth in the Zion's Camp, previous to the Cholera's raging in the camp, that said if the brethren did not do as they were told with regards to shooting squirrels, sickness and death would visit the camp and the guilty ones would not suffer alone, but it would take some of the best men, and the Prophecy having been fulfilled by that awful dreaded disease, the Cholera, And, said Brigham Young, "that will be the fate of this camp, if they do not listen to the council, and wait until they are sent to hunt game." Samuel K. says, many thought they knew more than President Young did and went their own way." Let the graves of Mt. Pisgah speak for themselves." A portion of the Saints, with President Brigham Young at their head, traveled on and halted on the banks of the Missouri River, and called it Winter Quarters and there they built log and sod cabins to shelter them from the storm of the approaching winter. They also built a mill and prepared and cultivated the soil. They also built a Council House, for public meetings and for the Priesthood. Here, also, death made a terrible havoc through a disease called Scurvy, or Blackleg. Hundreds were laid under the sod. Here, President Young received the revelation, which is in the Doctrine and Covenants, on the duties of the Saints and the organizing of the companies to cross the plains. Wagons, baskets, etc., were manufactured and sent down to Missouri to get bread stuffs. (Brigham Young later said " I did not think that there has ever been a body of people since the days of Enoch, placed under the same circumstances that these people have been, where there was so little grumbling, and I was satisfied that the Lord was pleased with the majority of the Camp of Israel" That next Spring, 1847 President Brigham Young started with a company of Pioneers for the Rocky Mountains. They landed in Salt Lake Valley on the memorable day, the 24th of July, 1847.)
It is not known much about Henry Dill Gifford's activities the next few years. He and Samuel K., apparently, stopped off at Mt. Pisgah to regroup their necessities and make ready for their exodus to the Rocky Mountains. Samuel K. married Lira Anna Miller, October 1st, 1848, at Mt Pisgah and Henry Dill married Almira Anna Braffett, the 4th of November, 1848, at Mt. Pisgah. After Samuel K.'s first son, Alpheus was born in 1849, they began to make preparations to go to the Rocky Mountains. In the Spring of 1850, they started their journey, found their mother, Anna Nash Gifford, in Council Bluff, at Plumb Hollow, on the east side of the Missouri River and she packed up and went with them. They then, went on to Council Point, and there found his Uncle Levi Gifford and family, who were getting ready for the journey. A few days later, his Uncle Levi was ready and they started their journey west.
Henry Dill and his wife Almira Ann Brafett Gifford and others of their family, had been among those who had remained in Pottowattomie County, Iowa, to plant crops and better prepare themselves for a more comfortable journey to Utah. Two children had been born to them in Iowa--Anna Amanda, 11 March, 1850, at what was called Plum Hollow. Pottowattomie County is a hilly place, with many streams flowing in the bottom lands. Wild plum trees grew along the streams and in a small, rough built cabin, with a willow thatched roof, Almira gave birth to her first child. Soon after, they moved to a more fertile place, between two streams that came together "at the head" in a V shape, that wound their separate ways northward. Henry Dill constructed another crude cottage and here Almira gave birth to their first son, Henry Alpheus, 26 April, 1852, in what is called Pigion Hollow, on the banks of Pigion Creek.
When Brigham Young sent word to the Saints in Iowa to come to Utah and be counted among the Saints of Zion, Henry Dill answered the call, with other members of his mother's family and they made the tiresome journey to Utah. When they arrived, they inquired about their friends and found that they had gone to Sanpitch Valley, which is now known as Sanpete County. Soon, they were on their way south to join their friends. When the Gifford family arrived in Manti, they found the settlement taking on a homelike atmosphere with 1 and 2 room cabins scattered here and there, with many like cabins in the fort, built there for the protection from the Indians.
Henry Dill and his family were assigned as to what was to be their new home, or parcel of land, and Almira set about housekeeping in the best way she could, under the circumstances. The covered wagon was still their home, but hadn't she been keeping house there, across the plains. This time, she had a place to call home and dream of the future. Here in Manti, another daughter was born to them, Almira Jane, 15 February, 1854. By this time, she was settled in a small cabin. How many times had this mother prayed that this would be "home", only to move on to another strange country, and things would get better. This new way of life wasn't easy for her, but she carried on in the true fashion of a pioneer mother. She lovingly cared for her children and husband. She took her children to church, whenever possible and supported her husband in his calling as a Seventy in the Church. She taught her children the ways of the Lord from their cradle on. Her husband had fields to till, plant and harvest, but was always a "minute man" on guard duty. His gun was his constant companion, whether he was in his field, or at home. The fear of troublesome Indians was always present.
The year 1858, in the Territory of Utah, was one that will long be remembered. In 1857 was inaugurated what was known among the people in Utah as "Reformation". It was a great spiritual movement, similar in some respect, to a religious revival, though not designed to make new converts, but to call the Saints to repentance and a renewal of the Covenants they had made with their God, as many of them had fallen away from the teachings of the Gospel.
Ten years had passed since the first group of Mormons had come into Salt Lake Valley. Many were beginning to prosper and with more of the comforts of life, the need to be close to the Lord seemed to draw the less spiritual away, into the worldly ways. Pride, covetousness, contention, physical and moral uncleanliness, were the sins the people were exhorted to put away and turn back to God. Many heeded the pleas of the Church Authorities and repented of their wrong doings and prayed for the forgiveness and blessings of the Lord.
In 1857, the United States Army came to Utah, in response to misinformation sent to the Government Officials in Washington D.C. They were coming to subdue the "Rebellious" Mormons, as much was said against them, concerning the Order of Plural Marriage and some claimed the Mormons had plans to overthrow the Government. Running them clear out of the "then" United States, had not satisfied the agitators and falsehood after falsehood was told to stir up those in authority. Johnson's army was sent to settle the trouble that was reported to be brewing.
It was during the religious revival, the coming of the Johnson Army and the see-saw stormy existence of the Indian troubles, that George Washington Gifford was born, 10 January, 1857, in Manti. Church records show he was blessed as a child of record, 4 February, 1857. The winter of 1857-59 was a hard one. The cold wind whistled through the poorly chinked logs, that made up the home, the floor was barren dirt, packed hard from walking, the furniture was home made, rugs made from rags, were used more for undercover of a bed for children, than for the usual uses. Henry Dill worked hard to supply the barest of necessities. The growing family and newborn babe, kept Almira working until late hours, but those who knew her write that she rarely complained. Just as the family began to "settle in" men were called to open up new colonies and Henry Dill, with his brother Moses, gathered up their belongings and answered the call. They set up their tents and wagons in the vicinity of what is now known as Spring City, formerly known as Spring Town. Once more, they broke new ground, dug new ditches for irrigation, hauling logs from the mountain, to build dwellings for their families. Henry Dill was assigned a building lot in the townsite and a few acres with which to sustain his family. Each man was to till his own soil. No man was allotted more than he could handle, but each man was to take care of that which he had been given. It was enough for the needs of the family. Care had to be taken to protect the colony from the Indians. They were ever present to steal and run off the cattle. Moses Gifford was born to Henry Dill and Almira Anna, 11 February, 1863 at Manti. He was baptized 18 June, 1871, at Cove, Sevier County, Utah, although George W. Gifford's records state he died young and gave no birth or death date. Three other children were born to the family, during the Indian uprising. All records found so far, is given by George W. in his personal records, viz: Lucretia or Lorritia, Minerva, and Horace Woodrow, all dying as infants. Because of the Indian problems and the necessity of moving from one town to another, in both Sanpete and Sevier Counties, it is almost impossible to pin-point the dates and places of these children's birth and death. It was the practice at the time, that members of families were buried on the "homeplace" and this could be the case with these children.
In 1865, the Black Hawk War made its advent to cause much concern to the people. One can imagine the anxiety of the parent for the safety of the children. No child or woman was safe any distance from the home, men were shot in fields, cattle stolen and run off. On 9th April,1865, a group of men and boys were assembled in the city square in Manti, when a large band of Indians rode up. Even the smallest boys were trained to be alert in time of emergency. The Indians had recently raided the settlement and killed many cattle. By this time Henry Dill had moved his family back to Manti, for safety. The Indians had boasted that" in the spring they would eat Mormon beef" The Indians believed that the Mormons brought with them bad medicine. There was much sickness in the Indian camps that encircled Manti and the Mormons were blamed for the death of the Indians. Raids on the settlement became more intense and the young men and boys were called upon to stand guard. The Indian squaws and their children were not afraid of the white settlers, because they knew that the great white leader, Brigham Young, had given instructions not to harm the Indians, unless to save the lives of their families and themselves. Some of the children from the Indian encampment, made their way to the white's homes. They were treated kindly, but with caution. Some of the squaws came to beg for food, during the day. With the men of the house away, it was always a time of fear, to see these Indian women and children in their very front yards. The Indian children could be seen playing near their tepees, free from fear of harm coming from the white man. If a white child was missing for even a split second, the mother's heart would do a flip-flop, until the child was found.
1866 ushered in a gloomy outlook--vigilance everywhere was the watchword. Raiding and killing became the pastime. All this time, Almira was attempting to raise her children to believe in the Lord and He would take care of them. George Washington Gifford was nine years old at this time and should have been baptized by then, but no records have been found. With the trouble facing them, a severe shortage of paper, and the time it took to record these events, it is no wonder that the records are hard to find. We do find records showing where this or that brother donated 2 sheets of paper to the church. We do know that George W. was baptized, because later records show he was disfellowshipped, for falling away.
IN 1865 the Silver Grays, were formed, and Henry Dill, Moses and Samuel K. served under Captain Danial Henry, Captain of Company B. This military group was for home protection. Henry Dill was called to Richfield to help fight Indians, but in the spring of l867, about the 21st of March, Black Hawk and his warriors raided the pastures of Richfield and Glenwood and a family was caught along the foothills on their way to Glenwood and the family was killed, could always speed it up. Their wagon load of grain overturned and burned and a young girl traveling with them, was tortured to death. The Sevier County settlements were abandoned and the settlers moved to the larger Sanpete settlements. The grasshoppers continued to plague the settlers. One wonders how anyone could find time and energy to enjoy life, but many times George W. spoke of his happy childhood. How he loved to play with his cousins and friends. His family had come close to the family of his Uncle Moses. In latter years, he went, many times, to Boise Valley in Idaho and Oregon, to visit with the children of Moses and Sarah Price Gifford.
In 1870, the population of Sanpete County was 6,786 inhabitants Because of the increase, new homes had to be built, fields and orchards planted, new fences built. It was a cooperative effort and everyone helped his neighbor. By age 13, George W. was old enough to stand guard and take responsibility in protecting the settlers against the troublesome Indians. He had been taught, at a very early age, to handle a gun and walk behind a hand plow. At a very early tender age, he was given the responsibility to herd sheep on "Temple Hill" where the majestic Manti temple now stands as a monument to God and the people who conquered the desert. How it must have given enjoyment, standing on top of that mountain and looking for miles across the valley. He had an imaginative mind, which later developed into, an inventive mind. He loved the outdoors and exploring the countryside. He had little time for schooling, but attended at every opportunity. At first, school was held in different homes, because Brigham Young insisted that the education of the children should not be neglected. Later, a log building was erected and the saying goes " an old log shanty, with slab seats and counters scanty". The school was erected in the early 1850's, with Jesse W. Fox as the first official teacher. There were others, including Samuel K. Gifford, an uncle to George W., who taught in Manti, but it is not known who was teaching when George W. went to school. Regardless of his little time spent in actual schooling, he was a good penman, speller, mathematician, reader, so what he didn't learn from formal schooling, he learned from practical experience. In later years it, was said that he was a "learned man".
The last child to be born to Henry Dill and Almira, was Levi Samuel, born on the 3rd of July, 1870, at Manti. By now, the Indians had been more or less subdued, the farms producing more abundantly, the cabins from the fort were moved onto the private farms, or new ones constructed. Each farm consisted of about 10 acres at first, growing in acreage, as individuals purchased land from their neighbors.
How George W. loved to dance! He could do the "two step" with the best of them. If there wasn't a dance at the town bowery, the young would gather at the individual homes and move the furniture, it was piled in a corner, or out in the yard and music and laughter could be heard until late hours, but fun they did have. If one could play the "juice harp" or harmonica, fiddle, banjo--what have you--the feet of the young began to tingle and the crowd would gather for the Virginia Real, Two Step, and all the dances of the period. They worked hard by day, but never were too tired to dance in the evenings if the opportunity presented itself and if the opportunity were slow in coming, the young towns we find George W. lived in, during his youth were Manti, Spring City, Joseph City, Cove, Marysvale, Monroe, Sevier, and Richfield. There were no doubt others, but for only short periods of time, because these were the only places records were found. During the Indian skirmishes, they moved to any settlement that offered them more security. The Gifford family was poor in worldly goods, but rich in family love. They worked together, played together, cried together and laughed together. About the age of 21 years, George W. was chopping wood and a chip flew into his right eye and he was blinded in that eye, the rest of his life.
As a young man, George W. and his brother, would go to the surrounding towns and visit with relatives. It was on one of these trips, that he met the girl that would become his wife. According to letters found in Aida Clements Lowe's treasures, George W. and his brother, Henry Alpheus, went to Springville, Utah County, to visit friends and relatives. At the dance they spotted two lovely girls and asked them to dance. These girls were half-sisters, who were visiting the Richard Lowe family in Springville. They were from Hooper, Davis County, Utah, the daughters of James Hale. Louisa Hale was from his wife, Lucy Clements; Mary Ellen, the daughter from his wife, Sarah Elizabeth Barkdall. Both of these friendships ripened into love. Henry Alpheus married Marry Ellen Hale, in Joseph City, Sevier County, Utah 30 October, 1876. Louisa, according to the letters, written to her mother in Hooper, telling her of this fine, tall, straight young man she'd met and he had asked her to marry him. Lucy wrote to her daughter and invited her to bring him to Hooper, to meet the family. This they did and they were married, George W. and Louisa, in Hooper, 9th of January, 1879. ( Thus far nothin has been found of the history of George Washington's grandmother, Anna Nash Gifford, from the time her family picked her up in Council Bluff, Iowa in 1850, for their journey across the plains for Utah, to her death, which records show she died in Sprindale, Washington County, Utah, 5th of September, 1879, the same year George Washington Gifford, her grandson, and Louisa Hale were married.)
George W. took his young bride to Marysvale, Piute County, Utah, where they set up housekeeping. Their home was humble, indeed, but Louisa was an industrious and creative young girl and made their humble dwelling a home of love and comfort. George labored for other people, in the early days of their marriage, but they did have enough land to raise a fine garden and have their own animals. Land records do not show that he owned land in Marysvale, but tax records shows him to be the owner of animals. He went into the fields as a "cropper" and into the hills to fell trees and haul them to the various communities for fuel and the building of homes. He often used his team and wagon for "freighting" whenever the opportunity arose. It was here, in Marysvale, that their first child was born, Lucy Anna Gifford, 20th of December, 1879. She was a delightful child, extremely responsible for one so young. Her time upon the earth was short-lived. (After the family had moved to Hooper, she met a tragic death. She had been to school, according to family records, and had returned home to find her parents away. The house was cold and she decided to build a fire in the stove. She was so tiny and as she started the fire, it is believed that the long sleeves on her dress caught fire. When her parents returned home, they found their daughter in the front yard, dead from the burns. Lucy Anna had run from the home, with her clothes ablaze, thus, saving the home from burning at the same time. This happened the 4th of January, 1886,)
The family moved from Marysvale to Joseph City, Sevier County, where they purchased a small lot with a one room cabin on it. George found work wherever it was available and furnished his family with the necessities for a livelihood. Here, George Alvin was born, 24th of November, 1882. One year later, they moved to Hooper, Davis County, Utah. It will be well to note here, that the south end of Hooper is in Davis County, the rest is in Weber County. On the Davis side of the county line, is where the Gifford family settled, in the area, near what is now Westpoint. They rented a small farm and began to "settle in" in the community. George W. is said to have been active in civic affairs. He had a natural gift of surveying and he assisted in this field, as the various needs arose. He, with his new friends and relatives, built a flat raft and crossed the Salt Lake to the Antelope Island and cut down trees and brought them back to Hooper, for fuel. In these ways, he supported his family. Henry Elmer was the first of their children to be born in Hooper, the 6th of January, 1884.
Louisa's father migrated to Arizona, with his other wife, Sarah Elizabeth, and family. Lucy chose to remain in Hooper, with her family. George was very attentive to his Mother-in-Law, kind, gentle and aware of her needs, he became a pillar of strength to her. Three more children were born to George and Louisa, in Hooper, Effie Louisa, who died a few months later and buried beside her sister Lucy Anna. Helena was born in Hooper, 7th of August, 1887, followed by James Alma, on the 10th of September, 1889. It was here in Hooper, that George W. listened to the voices of the apostates of the Mormon Church and fell into disbelief and later was disfellowshipped. He committed no earthly sin, but chose no longer to be a follower, although the teachings of the Church were deeply imbedded into his being. He was honest with his fellowmen, clean in body and spirit, he neither drank or smoked. He objected to vulgar language and refused to have it uttered in his presence. His children were taught those principles. His wife was not forbidden to continue in her church affiliations and their children were allowed to attend the religious meetings, with their mother.
In 1888, George W. was overcome with the spirit of migration and heard of the great lands in the Snake River Valley, in Idaho. He went to look over the locations and found a friend of his, living on the banks of the Snake River, about two miles north of what is now known as Shelley, Idaho. His friend Mr. James Mitchell, wanted him to homestead near him on the land that was open for settlement. As George stood by his friend, he gazed across the river to the northwest and marveled at the beauty of the land yet unsettled and a strong feeling came over him to go a little further, before deciding where to homestead. The Snake River, in this particular spot, could be treacherous at times and many deep crevices beneath the foaming water, awaited the unsuspecting swimmer or adventurer. Their bodies could be quickly sucked into the whirlpools and not found for weeks. This, they learned when the animals ventured into the waters. There were sudden "drop-offs" where the uninformed person could loose his footing and all his strength would have to be used to get back to the shore, to be kept from being sucked into the swirling waters. Neither could they use rafts, because of the unpredictable river, as the rocks protruded out above the surface of the water. The nearest bridge was at Eagle Rock (now Idaho Falls) nine miles to the north. Another bridge crossed the river at Blackfoot, approximately 20 miles to the south. George decided to cross at Blackfoot to better explore the land on the west side of the river. He found vast masses of lava beds, covered worth cedar trees. As he followed the river, he found the further he went northward, the more fertile the land appeared and the lava beds began to fall into the distance. The Snake River is true to its name, not only treacherous, but in very formation. It wound through the valley as a snake winds its slithering body through the grass. Rattlesnakes were in abundance, much to his dismay, but the closer he got to the open lands, the less were the snakes.
George found what he felt would be an ideal farming area, a place almost directly across the river from Mr. Mitchell's homestead. The river had flowed far enough east, before turning north, that there were approximately 4 miles of virgin land between the river and the edge of the lava beds and stretched northward, as far as the eye could see. But to his amazement, there were a few families in the area and he approached them in friendliness. They had settled near the river and were living in their wagon boxes and tents, already constructing crude cabins, in which to house their families. As George approached these humble dwellings, to his great joy, he found them to be his friends from Hooper, who had gone north a few weeks previous. Among them were the families of William and Heber Mathews, Jasper Hammer, William Hammer and George Munsey. George looked over the land north of his friends and chose a choice section of land, one mile north of the small colony of settlers. According to land records in Bingham County, the homestead he filed on, was 160 acres. Louisa had remained in Hooper, as she was with child. George W. and his friends erected a small cabin on his homestead. He then returned to Hooper, for his family, animals, household items and farm implements. Martha Elnora, one of their daughters, mentions in her writings, that she was told that this move was prior to the birth of their son, James Alma and that Louisa had returned to Hooper for the birth of James, who was born September 10, 1889. Four other children were born to them in Woodville, Lester, 28th of August 1891, Martha Elnora on the 5th of November 1893, Moses, 27th of September 1895 and Milo, 20th of October, 1899.
It would have been a busy time and a lot of hard work, during the years of 1888 through 1893, This, 1893, being the year the irrigation water finally flowed into the Woodville Canal. Most of the land prior to this time, that George W. farmed, was of small acreage. His land ownership now was 160 acres. (It is interesting to note, that also, prior to George Washington's move to Idaho, he was often found going into the mountains and cutting and selling the wood for firewood and even while living in Hooper, building rafts and going across Salt Lake to Antelope Island, cut down trees and float them back, to be used for fuel, for their own use and to sell. You can imagine what he was thinking as he approached the west side of the Snake River and could see all that Cedar Wood on the lava beds. It became an engineering feat in itself, just to get the wood off the lava beds. George W. said many times, that this is what sustained them during the 5 years of building their canal and developing their land, so it could be irrigated). His talents formed in the past, including his surveying ability, inventive mind and being Civic Minded and not afraid of hard work, played a big part in the development of Woodville.
About the turn of the century, George's brother, Alma, rented the place across the street and a little south of George's farm. Soon after, his mother and father, Almira Anna and Henry Dill moved to Idaho and lived in a small home behind the home of Alma's. (Part of this farm was later bought by Elmer Huntsman,(1904), whose's son Evon, later married George's daughter, Martha Elnora). Henry Dill died May 5th, 1901 and Almira Anna died the 6th of January, 1902, both in Woodville, Idaho and as the Woodville Cemetery had not yet been formed, they were buried in the Idaho Falls Cemetery. When Alma and Alice Shelton Gifford's son, Charles Alma died November 14, 1903, he was buried on a knoll, on George W's. farm. on May 16th, 1904, when George's beloved wife Louisa, died, she was buried on the same knoll. George then sold this ground to the Community of Woodville for a Community Cemetery, according to the records, for $25.00.
(The History written by Martha Elnora Gifford Huntsman about her parents, can best describe the life of George Washington Gifford and Louisa Hale Gifford, from this point on. A lot of the research done on this history was done by Martha Elnora's daughter, Alta LaReah Huntsman Toronto. Most of the history of Alpheus Gifford and Anna Nash Gifford and the history of Henry Dill Gifford, before he left for Utah, was obtained from the first hand accounts from the personal Journal of Samuel Kendall Gifford, son of Alpheus and Anna Nash Gifford and older brother of Henry Dill Gifford).