Jennette Johnston Fletcher 1849-1906 & Elizabeth Shaw Fletcher 1842-1881

Wives of Samuel Fletcher of Coalville, Summit, Utah


Jennette was the first child of Andrew and Margaret Bennie Johnston born 4 Jun 1849 in Cadder, Lanarkshire, Scotland.   According to a history of her mother the family joined the church in Scotland.  The Bennie relatives pretty much disowned them.


The 1851 census documents the family as follows:

1851 Bishopbriggs Lanarkshire at Craig's Land

Andrew Johnstone  26 head ironstone miner Kilsyth, Stirling

Margaret Johnstone 25 wife Denny Stirling

Janet Johnstone 2 dau Cadder, Lanark both kids

James Johnstone 1 Mo son


Johnstons left Scotland in 1857 for America aboard the Emerald Isle.  They arrived in New York on 6 Oct 1857

Andrew Johnson 32 L.Lab Scotland

Margt " 29 wife

Janet " 7 child

James " 5 child

John  " 11 mo child 


From the journal of Ella L. Wright a niece of Jennette’s we learn that the family moved to Williamsburg, Virginia where Andrew picked cotton earning 8 cents a day and he also cut up wood. They had another son who they named Thomas Kirkwood.   It was in this place that the family took ill with ague and had to be isolated at Ward’s Island Hospital.  Seven-month-old Thomas took a turn for the worse and died.  Fortunately the other family members recovered and returned to Williamsburg.  They moved a short time later to Pennsylvania where Andrew worked as a miner and by 1860 they had moved to Illinois where Andrew must have been mining coal.


1860 Jul 21 Township 10 Range 9 E, Gallatin, Illinois

Andrew Johnston 34 abt 1826 colier Scotland all except baby

Margaret Johnston  30

Jennette Johnston 11

James Johnston 9

John Johnston   5

Robert Johnston 3 months  Illinois


Two stories confirm that the family came to Utah with the Joseph Young Company of 1861 but I am unable to verify that with a source other than the history whose authorship I don’t know.  We can document that they were sent as miners to the Coalville area.  They first lived in a dugout home near present day Hoytsville.


Jennette lived the life common to most pioneers of her day.  Being the eldest she helped her mother with the younger children and daily routines.  One tragic experience that she probably never forgot was the loss of her little brother Robert who unbeknownst to her attempted to follow her to the stream where she was getting water for washday.  He took a wrong turn and got lost.  How much time passed before he was missed is unknown but a search for him continued for 5 days with no success until a family friend discovered his body about 1 and one half miles from home.  According to the Coalville museum, Robert Johnston was the first death in Summit County.


Jennette married Samuel Fletcher on 27 Apr 1867 in Coalville.  I can find none of the family in Coalville in 1870 but I know they were there.  Most of their 10 children were born in Coalville as follows:  Adam 7 Mar 1868, Margaret Ann 23 Oct 1869, Samuel 19 Oct 1872, Jennett 9 Jan 1875, Andrew Johnston 7 Nov 1877, John 21 Aug 1880, Joseph Smith 23 Oct 1882, Hyrum Smith 12 Jan 1885, Thomas William 15 Sep 1887, and David Smith 5 Nov 1890.  Only Adam, Samuel, Andrew, Joseph, Hyrum and David grew to maturity.


It was the last day of October 1870 when Jennette and Samuel were sealed in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City.  On the same day Samuel married a second wife, Elizabeth Shaw.  She was a cousin Jennette.  Both families were living together in Coalville with 7 sons.  Those starred were Elizabeth’s children.


1880  Coalville, Summit, Utah; Roll: T9_1338; FH Film: 1255338; Page: 10.4000; ED: 72;

Saml. Fletcher  41 coal miner eng eng eng

Jeannette Fletcher 30 wife eng sct sct

Elizabeth Fletcher 33 wife sct sct sct

Adam Fletcher   12 son all kids Ut Eng sct

Isaac Fletcher    8 son *

Samuel Fletcher 7 son

Alexander Fletcher 6 son *

James Fletcher 4 son *

Andrew Fletcher 2 son

Robert Fletcher 2 son *


Later that year Jennette gave birth to another son and she went on to have 4 more boys.  When Elizabeth and her infant son died the following year it was Jennette who mothered all the boys as her own.


During all these years Sam helped open several mines that he owned with different partners.  It was 5 May 1887 when he moved Jennette and his sons to Rock Springs, Wyoming.  He entered into a partnership with 2 other men to make bricks for the UP Railroad Company but about 6 months later he left the partnership and kept on alone.  He also tried his hand in the construction business and in 1896 he built the railroad spur that went from Kemmer to Frontier, Wyoming.  Samuel served as a Sweetwater County commissioner from 1894 to 1900.


1900 Census; Southside of Bitter Creek, Sweetwater, Wyoming; Roll: T623 1827; Page: 13A; ED: 55

Samuel Fletcher  61 head May 1839 eng eng sct immi 1854 brick maker

Jennette Fletcher 50 wife jun 1849 mom 11-6 living all sct ;immi 1857

Samuel Fletcher 27 son oct 1872 un Ut day lab

Joseph Fletcher 17 son Oct 1882 Ut day lab

Hyram Fletcher 15 son Jan 1885 Ut

David Fletcher    9 son Nov 1890

Robert Fletcher* 22 son Mar 1878 un ut


In 1901 the family decided to move to Kanesville, Utah to take up farming.  Samuel and Jennette were feeling their age.  Jennette had a great deal of pain from rheumatoid arthritis.  Her heart gave out just after Christmas on 29 Dec 1906.  She was 57 years old.  She was laid to rest in Coalville in the family plot near some of her children.



Elizabeth was born 29 Sep 1842 in Cadder, Lanarkshire, Scotland the daughter of Alexander and Elizabeth Ferguson Shaw.  She immigrated with her widowed mother and siblings to Utah in 1868.  After residing in Coalville, Utah for about 2 years Elizabeth married Samuel Fletcher on 31 Oct 1870 at the Endowment house as a plural wife.  He was also sealed to his first wife Jennet Johnson [Jennette Johnston] on that same day.  Jennette and Elizabeth were 3 cousins once removed.  Jennette’s grandmother was Margaret Shaw of Kilsyth, Scotland.  Unfortunately we have no photo of Elzabeth at this time but Samuel is at left.

From the 1900 census it says that Samuel immigrated in 1854.  From a journal that he kept he wrote that his father Adam Fletcher wanted his family to stay together so he decided to leave their home, Harker Lodge, located in Cumberlandshire, England and bring his family to America.  Samuel said they left from Liverpool on 31 May 1854 and sailed to Quebec landing on 7 July.  They continued on and were just getting settled in Mt.Nebo, Mohouring, Ohio when sadly his father died from heat stroke brought on by hauling and stacking hay in the humid July heat that he was unaccustomed to.  That left his mother, Anne Clarke Fletcher a widow in an unfamiliar country.  The family moved to W. Virginia where the boys found work in the coalmines and his mother did laundry. 


It was 1858 when Samuel first heard the missionaries preach from the Mormon faith. He was the only one of his family at that time to join the church on 15 Jan 1859 in Mason City, W. Virginia.  He took leave of the family and headed west on a church train headed up by Captain H. D. Haight and Bishop Kesler.  They were hauling a lot of freight and 20-year-old Samuel drove one of the freight teams.  They arrived in Salt Lake City on 1 Sep 1859 where Samuel met and stayed with President Young for a day or two until Brother Brigham sent him on assignment to check out a coal discovery as follows: 


"Thomas Rhodes, pioneer hunter and explorer, discovered coal in the Coalville district by accident. Rhodes was searching for game on a high promontory, known as Skunk's Point, when he came upon a small vein of coal. Using his hunting knife, he cut out samples which he took to President Young. In 1860, two men, Samuel Fletcher and John Muir, were sent to investigate the possibility of working Rhode's discovery. Mr. Muir shot and wounded a deer and while the two men were trailing the animal, they came upon a ten foot outcropping of coal. They immediately reported their findings to the Church leaders, under whose direction the Church Coal Mines were developed in the district. From this time on, hundreds of tons of coal were hauled from Coalville into Salt Lake City by ox-teams. Later other mines were developed in the same locality."

(Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 7, p. 74)


Samuel worked to earn money to send for his mother and sisters Jane, 16 and Margaret, 14 who came in 1863.  He got a place for them in Salt Lake City.  Samuel was a miner by occupation and he moved to Coalville permanently in the fall of 1863.  He married Jenette Johnston on 27 Apr 1867 in coalville.


Both of Samuel’s families were living in Coalville in 1880 and Samuel was listed as a miner but just the next year on 25 Oct 1881 Elizabeth and her newborn son William, died and were buried in Coalville.   Her other sons were Isaac 1871, Alexander 1873, James 1876 and Robert 1878.  All of these sons grew to manhood except James who died in 1885 in Coalville.  After Elizabeth’s death Jenette raised all the Fletcher children.

Samuel died in Ogden 16 Feb 1910 from both heart and kidney problems both worsened because of water retention (dropsy was the term in that time)  He was 70 years of age and was buried in Coalville in the family plot.  The following photo was thought to be taken of his sons still living at that time.





1 Sep 1859 Samuel, age 20 arrived in Salt Lake City with the Church train of Captain H.D. Haight and Bishop Kesler


Burial Information: Fletcher, Eliza    online at

Birth:    0/0/1846

Burial:   10/28/1881       

Grave Location:  Coalville City Cemetery, E_33_ 4_8a

Source: Sexton Records / Grant


Burial Information: Fletcher, Baby William   online at

Birth:    0/0/1881

Burial:   10/28/1881       

Grave Location:  Coalville City Cemetery, E_33_ 4_8b

Source: Sexton Records / Grant


Burial Information: Fletcher, James   online at

Birth:    0/0/1876

Burial:   12/22/1885

Place of Birth:    Coalville, Utah

Grave Location:  Coalville City Cemetery, E_33_ 4_6

Source: Sexton Records / Grant


burial Information: Fletcher, Janette   online at

Birth:    0/0/1849

Burial:   12/31/1906

Place of Birth:    Bishopbrig, Scottland

Grave Location:  Coalville City Cemetery, E_25_ 4_6

Source: Sexton Records / Grant


Burial Information: Fletcher, Samuel   online at

Birth:    0/0/1839

Burial:   2/19/1910

Place of Birth:    Cumerland, England

Grave Location:  Coalville City Cemetery, E_25_ 4_8

Source: Sexton Records / Grant