McCaslin Frost was the son of James and Isabella Van Dyke Frost.
He was born
on December 10, 1785 in Richland, Rockingham County, North Carolina. He was the
forth child in a family of nine children - seven boys and two girls. Jonas, John, Samuel,
James, Ezekiel, Nickles, McCaslin, Rachel and Sarah.
Little is know of the early life of McCaslin Frost. He was born just a few years
after the Revolutionary War and most of his life was spent under pioneer conditions in
five state of the union where he resided - North Carolina, Tennessee, Iowa, Illinois and
McCaslin was medium build, tall and slender, blue eyes and light complexion. He
was humorous, kind and sympathetic and of a jovial disposition. Judging from the
childhood experiences related to his grandchildren when they were small, McCaslin's
father must have owned some Black slaves. The Black slaves idealized McCaslin and
called him "Massa" and went to him with their troubles, sure of sympathy and
understanding. But he couldn't always resist the opportunity of playing some harmless
prank on them when the occasion presented itself and was amused at some of the
ridiculous situations he found them in.
The Frost belonged to the Methodist Church and according to tradition McCaslin's
father was of English descent and his wife was Dutch. The family was all musical and
sang many old folk songs, some of which are know to have been old English Folk songs.
McCaslin's father made a violin and promised it to the first one of his boys who learned to
play it. McCaslin won the violin and many years later he gave it to one of his grandsons,
who played it at many pioneer dances and entertainment's (after they came to Utah). All
the family could sing, dance and play. McCaslin's oldest son, Samuel B. Frost could
"fiddle", step dance and sing, all at the same time and still not be short of breath.
Pennina Smith was born on February 1, 1794, the daughter of John Smith and
Margaret Brown, in Wayne County, North Carolina. There were five children in the
Smith family, three girls and two boys. Pennina was the forth child. The other children
were: Nancy, Stephen, Jesse and Fereba.
After the death of her mother, Pennina lived with an aunt. When the aunt died, she
made her home with James and Isabel Frost, who were probably old friends of her parents.
She remained in the Frost home until she was almost sixteen years of age.
During this time she must of become fond of their son McCaslin because on
November 28, 1809, when McCaslin Frost was 23 years old he married Pennina Smith
who was not quite 16 years of age. They were married in Johnson County, North
Pennina and McCaslin Frost made their home in Knox County Tennessee near
Knoxville, the main city in the eastern part of the state. This is a mountainous region and
had been settled only a short time when they were married. They lived on a river or
possibly a creek at the foot of the hill below their house there was a wonderful cold spring.
They built a room over this spring and used it not only for drinking water and culinary
purposes but also for refrigeration of their dairy products. Their crocks of milk, butter
and cheese were kept in excellent condition.
Here in Knox County all of their eight children were born with the exception of the
first two, Samuel and Nancy, who were born in Wake County, North Carolina before they
moved from that state.
Times were hard in the1830s, so their oldest son Sam went north for a winter and
secured work. While he was away he met some L.D.S. missionaries who converted him
to Mormonism. When he returned home for a visit he explained the principles of the
gospel to his father's family and they were all converted as well as many of their neighbors.
This was probably about the winter of 1840-41. After becoming interested in the Mormon
church, McCaslin was eager to join the saints in Illinois. John Bright was one of the
neighbors that was converted to the church. He kept a diary of their journey up the
Mississippi River. It isn't known just when McCaslin and his family left their home in
Knox County and began their journey. They first went to Memphis where McCaslin
worked for a short time before beginning their journey to Iowa and Illinois. After their
arrival in Jefferson County, Iowa McCaslin and Pennina Frost were baptized by their son
Samuel B. Frost. They had waited to joint the church until their son could perform the
ceremony. They were baptized on August 31, 1941. Samuel had also baptized other
members of the family. He had gone to Bear Creek Branch, Illinois and baptized his sister
Martha and several others in February 1841 in the Bear Creek. The stream was frozen
over and they had to cut a hole in the ice before the baptisms could be performed.
To retrace some history of McCaslin and Pennina's children, on August 7, 1834
Samuel B. Frost was married to Rebecca Foreman in Hancock County, Illinois when 24
years of age. In 1842 he did missionary work in Jefferson County, Iowa and in May 1844
he was called on a mission to the state of Kentucky. He was ordained an Elder in Nauvoo
in November 1844. McCaslin and Pennina's other son, James William died in October
1834. Also five years before he died, his sister Mary Ann had died when she was ten years
old. Isabelle was married about 1834 to Wiley Jones, who was also a native of Tennessee.
Nancy was married to Archibald Kerr of Knoxville May 1833. Fereba was married in
Fairfield, Iowa to William Harrison Barger about 1837. He was a native of Indiana.
Martha was the sixth child and was married in Jefferson County, Iowa in 1840. Of the Six
of the McCaslin & Pennina children to grow to adulthood, all were married and five of
them came west and made their home sometime during the westward migration. Four
joined the Mormon Church.
At the time of the Martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum
Smith the Patriarch on June 27, 1844, the Frost family was living about five miles from
Cathage jail. When word reached the people of the ruthless murder of their beloved
Prophet and his brother, they could hardly believe it and sent messengers to investigate.
It was a crushing blow to the Saints and almost more than they could endure. But
they listened to those in authority, although they could have called out the Nauvoo Legion
to avenge the deaths of their leaders, they allowed their enemies to go in peace and waited
for the law to punish the assassins. The Frost family could see from the doorway of their
home the smoke from other Mormon villages which were being burned by mobs.
McCaslin and Peninna moved their family from this home soon after this time. Many of
the saints helped to complete the temple in Nauvoo. Peninna and her daughter are on the
rolls of the first Relief Society in Nauvoo. Finally on January 5, 1846, McCaslin and
Pennina were able to go the temple for their endowments and we assume to be sealed.
What an awesome occasion that must have been.
As mob violence increased and temple sealings done, it was time to move west, so
in May 1846 they left their homes and started west to Council Bluffs, Iowa. In the fall of
1846 they went down river about sixty miles to a place called Nishnabotna. His son
Samuel bought a place and everyone lived there.
In May 1848, they started their trek to Winter Quarters, Nebraska. They were
assigned to the third division. Willard Richard's was the leader. Their company was
organized with James Blake captain of 100, Barney Adams, captain of 50 and Andrew
Cunningham captain of 10. Within a few days there was so much dissatisfaction that the
company was divided into three companies. They were in the Andrew Cunningham
company. They traveled so much faster that in a few days they passed the other two.
They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on October 12, 1848. McCaslin was 63 years
old and Peninna was 54. They spent time living with their children. They spent time in
Spring City, Utah with their son Samuel. Also they lived with their youngest daughter
Margaret in Richmond, Utah.
In 1869, while living with their daughter Margaret in Richmond, Utah, Peninna
Smith Frost became very sick. She died on September 8, 1869. She was 75 years sold.
McCaslin lived with them also until he died on May 12, 1874. He was 89 years old when
he died. They were buried in the Richmond Cemetery.
What at great example. Thank you McCaslin and Peninna Frost.
Recreated by John Shaw - September 1998
Credit goes to those who have previously written these histories. One family that I know
deserves credit is Sylvia and Meshach Adams Terney. Also Julie Rawlins and the Rawlins
family organization has done and continues to do a lot...Thanks....
Also note: This history will be written again in the future, hopefully with more
Patriarchal Blessing for McCaslin Frost given March 16, 1857
Brother McCaslin I lay my hands upon your head in the name of Jesus of Nazareth and
place upon you a father's blessing. Thou art of the seed of Abraham and came down
through the lineage of Ephriam therefore thou art a legal heir to the priesthood which has
come down through the lineage of the fathers even unto thee. Thou art also entitled to the
good things of the earth and the fruits thereof. Thy posterity shall become numerous and
thou shall live to see thy children's children. Thou shalt have seen many days of toil and
affliction but thy evil days are drawing to a close and thy latter days shall be better than
thy former. Thy days shall be lengthened out until thou art satisfied with life. The power
of the highest shall rest upon you to comfort and console you in your declining years and
the desires of thy heart shall be given you. Rejoice therefore in your God for he is nigh
unto all who seek him diligently. Fear not, but keep the commandments of God and all
these blessings shall be made sure unto you together with all former blessings and by the
authority of the Holy Priesthood I seal this a father's blessings upon your head and in the
name of Jesus Christ. I seal you up unto eternal lives, even so, Amen.