History of James Brinkerhoff  and his three wives

Sally Ann Snyder, Rebecca Hawk and Eliza Jane Henderson

 

 

Written by John Shaw, March 1999

James and Rebecca Brinkerhoff

 

 

James Brinkerhoff

                James Brinkerhoff was born  on May 22, 1816 to George and Hannah DeGraff Brinkerhoff[1] in Semprenius, Cayuga, New York.[2]  Cayuga County is just East of Seneca County in central New York, Finger Lakes region (just Southeast of Syracuse).  He was raised here and in Niles, Cayuga, New York.  He had lots of relatives in this area, both of his father's family and his mother's family.  He grew up learning several occupations:  farming, raising and making maple syrup, bee keeping and peddling fish.[3] 

Sally Ann Snyder

                Sally Ann Snyder was a twin.  Her twin sister's name was Eliza Ann.[4]  They were born on October 22, 1815 in Semprenius, Cayuga, New York to William and Mary Clark Snyder.  Sally was part of a large family of fifteen children.[5] 

Rebecca Hannah Hawk

                Rebecca Hannah Hawk was born on August 12, 1835 in Parke County, Indiana.[6]  Her parents, William Hawk and Margaret Harris had recently joined the Mormon Church (December 1833).  When she was very young their family moved to be with the Saints in Missouri.  They lived near DeWitt, Missouri until they were compelled to sign away their property and were driven to Caldwell County.  While in Missouri, Rebecca had two younger sisters born.  Then they were forced to leave Missouri and go to Iowa.[7]

James Brinkerhoff and Sally Ann Snyder

                By January 24, 1830 or more likely 1836.[8] & [9] James Brinkerhoff and Sally Ann Snyder had fallen in love and were married.  Nine months later Sally Ann gave birth to a daughter.  They named her Janett.[10]  What a great blessing to this young couple.  Then two years later, some real excitement came into their home.  They came into contact with the Mormon Church.  At least Sally Ann's sister Eliza Ann and brother Clark joined the Mormon Church at that time.[11]  Then on August 9, 1840 Sally Ann gave birth to another daughter, but this was to be a trial in their life because the baby died 4 days later.[12] 

                Two years later, James Brinkerhoff accept the restored gospel, he was baptised on March 1, 1842.[13] (We don't have an exact date when Sally Ann joined the church, but was either about the time her sister and brother were baptised or when her husband was baptised.   Then on July 24, 1842[14], Sally Ann gave birth to a healthy baby boy.  They named him James after his father.  It must have been later this same year that they decided to join the saints in Nauvoo.  This they did and they became neighbours to the Prophet Joseph Smith.  Their daughter Janett even picked peaches in the orchard at the Smith Farm. They helped with the building of the Nauvoo Temple.[15]  Their daughter Janett also remembers walking on top of the temple before it was complete.[16] 

                While they lived in Nauvoo, James was called on a mission to Ohio.  He was on his mission when the Prophet Joseph Smith was Martyred.  Then in August 1844, the meeting was held, James and Sally Ann were there and witnessed the transfiguration of Joseph on the countenance and in the voice of Brigham Young.[17] 

                Persecutions had now become so great, that the saints at once prepared to go to Winter Quarters.  The Brinkerhoff's were in the first company and they travelled by way of ox team.  When they reached Winter Quarters, he was obliged to leave his wife and little ones and travel to Missouri to work for money to buy provisions.  It was during this hard winter that their forth child , little James Jr. (two years old) died and was buried in the "Camp of Israel" burial ground at Winter Quarters.  He died while crossing the Missouri River (November 16, 1846).[18]  

                Also a part of this exodus was the Hawk family.  Before departing Nauvoo however, Rebecca's parents were able to receive their endowments in the Nauvoo Temple. This occurred on January 28, 1846[19].   Also Rebecca Hawk was baptised during this time of persecution.  Her baptism date was April 12, 1846.[20]  Then, a new challenge came to them, her father was asked to be a part in the Mormon Battalion.  He became a Private in Company "B".[21]                

                The Brinkerhoffs started to the Rocky Mountains in the Spring of 1847.  They were with the Third Ten, First Fifty of the First Hundred Pioneers.  Peregreime Sessions was their Captain of Fifty.[22]  The buffaloes that roamed the plains furnished their meat and the wild fruits were plentiful enough that they were able to obtain some to eat and some to dry for future use.[23]

                Sundays were always observed as days of rest and worship, while every evening, everyone met together for prayer, singing, and occasionally for amusement. 

                The journey was not without its trials and hardships.  John Smith's wagon of flour tipped over in the creek but all was soon put to right. The Brinkerhoff's wagon also tipped over, mashing the chicken coop and releasing the chickens, but they were recaptured without loss.  There was plenty of good feed for their cows, and the jolting of the wagons over rough ground, soon turned their milk and cream into butter.[24] 

                Although their daughter Janett was only eleven years old she was a great help to her parents.  She even drove a team the last 500 miles of the long journey across the plains.[25]  They finally arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on September 25, 1847[26].  As winter was close at hand, all set to work building a fort to make themselves comfortable for the winter and as a protection against the Indians.  Also that winter, they were blessed with another son.  They named him Levi.[27] 

                In 1849, Rebecca's mother, Margaret Harris Hawk and her children began there journey west. However her mother did not make it to the Great Salt Lake.  She was killed by an oxen stampede near Ash Hollow, Nebraska, September 3, 1849.[28] The children were able to continue their journey and become reunited with their father in the Salt Lake Valley.            

                James Brinkerhoff was soon called to move to Centerville.  His calling was to teach people how to farm.  They lived there for a number of years.  While they lived in Centerville, their daughter Janett Married George Leavitt.  They had three more sons born to them in Centerville, Hyrum, George and Willard.[29]

                Also at this time, James took a second wife, Rebecca Hawk. They were married September 28, 1852 in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City[30].  She was not quite 17 years old.  Two years later he took a third wife, Eliza Jane Henderson.  She had been born April 29, 1831 at Jacksonville, Morgan County, Illinois.  They were married June 11, 1854 in the Endowment House.[31]  She was 23 years old.  She was only five years older than his oldest daughter, Janett. 

                After living 15 years in Centerville, James Brinkerhoff was called by Brigham Young in 1863 to go to Southern Utah where again he helped start the farming work.  This time in St. George, Washington County, Utah and again in 1870, nine years later, he was called to help settle the "muddy" in Nevada.  He was there at the time Brigham Young released them because of hard times and Indians troubles and told the people to go elsewhere if they wanted.  They stayed in Orderville until the crops were gathered, then went to Glendale.[32]  He and was living there at the time of this death due to sunstroke[33] March 4, 1875.  He was only 59 years old. 

                This left the three wives with large families.  Sally Ann , his first wife, had given birth to eight children.  Their names were Janette, Hannah, Mary Ann, James, Levi, Hyrum, George and Willard.  She died February 8, 1895 at Thurber, Utah.[34]

                Rebecca was a good seamstress and she helped manage the sewing for the family.    She had given birth to nine children.  Their names were Clark, Mary Caroline, Margaret, Samuel, William, Alonza, Jesse, Ira, Sally Edith and Loretta who was born 3 months after her father died.   Rebecca married again.  She married a man gamed Gardner and lived in Emery County, Utah.  She died on December 22, 1905.   She was with her youngest daughter, Loretta Young in Price, Carbon County, Utah.  She was taken to Huntington, Emery County, Utah for burial. 

                Eliza Jane was a weaver and helped make cloth.  She had given birth to eight children.  Their names were David, John, Silas, Eliza Ann, Lucinda, Joseph, Maryette and Wilford.  She died in 1905 at the age of 74 in Glendale where she is buried beside her husband.[35]  There are other documentation's.[36]

                (This has been written as a service to family, extended family, cousins and distant cousins.  I have tried to give credit where it should be given.  If anyone finds errors or would like to improve on or has more information, it would be most welcome.)  Thanks.

Also special thanks to Vicki Tovey and Myrna Kemp for their willingness to share. 

John Shaw, 2969 N.3300 West, Plain City, Utah 84404.



[1] Easton, Susan W., Pioneers of 1847.

[2] Esshom, Frank, Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah (1913) Page 770.

[3] Carrol, Elsie, History of Kane County (1960) Page 498.

[4] LDS Church, "Family Group Record," Ancestral File, (1998)

[5]Ibid

[6] .LDS Collectors Library, Early LDS Membership Records (Utah: Infobases, 1997) Compact Disc

[7]Ibid

[8] Esshom, Frank, Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah (1913).

[9]LDS Collectors Library, Early LDS Membership Records (Utah: Infobases, 1997) Compact Disc

[10]Ibid, (also in the other sources previously mentioned.)

[11]LDS Church, "Family Group Record," Ancestral File, (1998)

[12]Ibid

[13]LDS Collectors Library, Early LDS Membership Records (Utah: Infobases, 1997)

[14]LDS Church, "Family Group Record," Ancestral File, (1998)

[15] Mattie B. Fish,granddaughter,A Story of the Life of James Brinkerhoff Sr. (1952)

[16] Elzira Janett Rawlins Kemp, Short History of Janett Brinkerhoff Leavitt (Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers)

[17]Mattie B. Fish,granddaughter,A Story of the Life of James Brinkerhoff Sr. (1952)

[18]Ibid

[19]LDS Collectors Library, Early LDS Membership Records (Utah: Infobases, 1997)

[20]Ibid

[21]Ibid

[22]Easton, Susan W., Pioneers of 1847.

[23]Mattie B. Fish,granddaughter,A Story of the Life of James Brinkerhoff Sr. (1952)

[24]Ibid

[25]Elzira Janett Rawlins Kemp, Short History of Janett Brinkerhoff Leavitt (Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers)

[26]Easton, Susan W., Pioneers of 1847.

[27]LDS Church, "Family Group Record," Ancestral File, (1998)

[28]LDS Collectors Library, Early LDS Membership Records (Utah: Infobases, 1997)

[29]LDS Church, "Family Group Record," Ancestral File, (1998)

[30]LDS Collectors Library, Early LDS Membership Records (Utah: Infobases, 1997)

[31]Ibid

[32]Mattie B. Fish,granddaughter,A Story of the Life of James Brinkerhoff Sr. (1952)

[33]Ibid

[34]Esshom, Frank, Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah (1913).

[35]Mattie B. Fish,granddaughter,A Story of the Life of James Brinkerhoff Sr. (1952)

[36]Nauvoo Temple Endowment Register, Nauvoo Land and Records Research Center, Illinois, Nauvoo Property Transactons, 70's Records, City in between:  History of Centerville, Utah, Utah Federal Census and the LDS IGI file.