Friday, April 6, 2012

1940 Census - John William Mendenhall Family

Wilma Mendenhall in 6th Grade about 1940.

The 1940 census was made available on April 2nd at 12:01am.  The census is not indexed yet, so it takes a little bit of research to find the person that you are interested in locating.  My first search was for my mother, Wilma Mendenhall.  I knew that she lived in Cedar City in 1940.  I first looked at the 1930 census and found that she lived in ED 11-2.  ED stands for Enumeration District.  The US Census is split into enumeration districts - geographical areas designed to allow a census taker or enumerator to visit every house in the district within a two week period.  I browsed the 34 pages of  ED 11-2 without success.

Because I didn't know the house address where the Mendenhall family lived, I next tried Steve Morse's conversion tools and discovered that ED 11-2 in 1930 could be ED 11-4, 11-5A or 11-5B or 11-6 in the 1940 census. I worked through ED 11-4, ED 11-5A and 11-5B without any luck. My last hope was ED 11-6. I found what I was looking for on image 33 of 55. After reviewing 136 census pages, I found my Mother in the 1940 census. 

1940 Census Header

1940 Census Mendenhall Family

 My mother was 12 years old in the 1940 census.  My grandfather, John William Mendenhall was 58 and worked as a mail carrier.  He worked 52 weeks in 1939 and earned $900.  He worked 48 hours the week before the census was taken. My Grandmother, Elsa Mendenhall was 51 years old and was the person that spoke with the census enumerator.  She worked as a housemaid at a hotel.  She worked 32 weeks of 1939 and earned $600.  She also worked 48 hours the week before the census was taken.  They owned their home (as opposed to renting) and it was valued at $1500.  The house address was 1633 6 West.  There were 3 children living at home ages 12 to 19.

This is an amazing glimpse into the lives of my mother and grandparents in 1940.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Junius Crossland

Junius Crossland was born October 14, 1820 at London, Middlesex, England, the son of Nathaniel Valentine Crossland and Eleanor West.

Junius married Francis Ann Otten at the Parrish Church in London England on May 29, 1841.  This is the marriage certificate with what appears to be their actual signatures.

The family heard the gospel preached and was converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  They were baptized May 16, 1851.  Junius was baptized by Elder McCaughie at the Holbron London Conference in the British Mission.  Junius was ordained a Teacher in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints  December 19, 1851 at the Theobald’s Road, London Conference.  On March 22, 1852, Junius was ordained an Elder in the Church at Holborn.

In 1853, the Crosslands sold their possessions in London and left England against the wishes of her (Frances Ann Otton) parents and seven brothers, and came to America.

The passenger list of the ship International shows the family as passengers.  The ships arrived in New Orleans on April 25 1853.

Information regarding the ship International can be found at the BYU Library Mormon Migration website.  The Crossland family is listed as passengers, but Junius is listed as "James."

The Crosslands crossed the plains with the Jacob Gates company.  More information about the Jacob Gates company can be found here.  They traveled in what was known as a 10 Pound Company.  The plan allowed the pioneers to travel from England for only 10 British Pounds.

This was a very difficult journey for the Crossland family.  The company had little food and the food that Junius was alotted, he gave up for his children.  James Ririe's journal mentions the final acts of Junius Crossland:
The only man in the wagon with me, a Brother [Junius] Crossland from London, was took sick on Green River with Mountain Fever and died west of Bridger. He was buried at the crossing of Bear River and Evanston.

I had a rough time of it then, having to take care of the cattle, get wood and water for the wagon, stand guard half the night each fourth night. When Brother Crossland was unmanageable by his wife, he being light headed with the fever, I had to have the sent close to the wagon to be ready to help Mrs. Crossland to calm her husband.

He said to me one day, "If I die, I should like to write my own Epitaph."

"What would you write Brother Crossland?"

"I should writh [write] , I am murdered by the unwise prosedure of the Ten Pound Company." He had pinched himself to save it for his children.


The October 3, 1931 edition of the Deseret News tells of a grave found near Evanston, Wyoming that could be Junius Crossland.

Junius Crossland is my 3rd Great Grandfather on the Goodman side of my family.  It is unknown exactly where he is buried, but it is somewhere on the plains near Evanston Wyoming.  He is remembered on the headstone of his wife Francis in Pleasant Grove, Utah.  The coordinates of Francis Ann Otten's headstone is N 40 22.131 W 111 44.458 and marked with the green arrow on the map.

View Larger Map

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Francis Ann Otten Crossland

Francis Ann Otton was born in London, England on February 8, 1824.  This document shows her baptism in Middlesex County a few months after she was born.

Francis was the daughter of Ralph Churchill Otton and Elisabeth Kent Otton.  As a girl, her chief occupation was making umbrellas. She attended the English grammar school for a limited time and later worked in an umbrella factory. Her meager earnings contributed to the support of the Otton family.

Francis Ann married Junius Crossland on May 29, 1841 at a Parish Church in London. She was seventeen years of age at the time of her marriage. Three of their children were born in London; namely, Amelia, Francis and Eliza Luff.

Francis in the England 1851 Census with Junius and their oldest daughter Francis

Francis heard the gospel preached and was converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in her native land and the entire family was baptized.  In 1853, the Crosslands sold their possessions in London and left England against the wishes of her parents and seven brothers, and came to America. She emigrated to Utah with the Jacob Gates Company.  More information regarding the Jacob Gates Company can be found at the LDS Church History site.

The crossing of the plains was extremely difficult for Francis.  One month from the date the ship arrived in New Orleans, Louisiana,  a daughter Emma Elizabeth was born May 30, 1853 at Keokuk, Iowa to Frances and Junius Crossland.  Three days later, with Frances confined to her bed in the wagon, the family joined the Jacob Gates Company to emigrate to Utah.

At the Bear River, while Mrs. Crossland was still confined to her bed in their wagon, her husband died of Mountain Fever and was given a hasty burial in the wilderness of the plains. His grave is located near what is known today as Evanston, Wyoming.

The following excerpt from James Ririe's trail journal can be found at the
LDS Church History Site:

Francis settled in the Seventeenth Ward, in salt Lake City, where she continued her trade of making umbrellas. It was also necessary for her to take in washings in order to support her four children. Washings at that time were done by hand, as there were no washing machines. This was very hard on her, as she was frail and having come from a well to do family in England, was not used to such work.

It was during this time that the saints endured the “Grasshopper Famine”. She has often told the story of one dark rainy day when they found themselves hungry and without food, the famine having reached the stage where starvation seemed inevitable. That night the mother and children knelt down and prayed to the Lord for assistance. In the morning, the back yard was full of segos, which seemed to have sprung up over night. The family lived on these segos for several weeks and felt they had been greatly blessed.

In 1858, Francis Crossland married William Adams, abandoning her little Salt Lake home and moved to Utah County. She took her four daughters and went to the home of Mr. Adams to care for his three children, and his aged mother, who was blind and almost helpless.  William Adams died on October 6, 1898.

Francis in the US 1880 Census with William and her youngest son Joseph Hyrum

Francis Crossland Adams was always a good neighbor and a willing church worker. She aided a great deal in caring for the sick of the settlement. She rode for miles, as a Relief Society worker, to care for the helpless, the sick and the needy. She was always active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and she served as a Relief Society teacher in the Pleasant Grove Ward from the time of its organization until her death.

Francis Ann Otton died on January 23, 1903 and is buried in the Pleasant Grove, Utah Cemetery.   The coordinates of the headstone are  N 40° 22.131 W 111° 44.458, marked with a green arrow on the map below.  Francis Crossland is my 3rd Great Grandmother on the Goodman side of the family.  The last name on the headstone, "William H. Adams" is her step son.

View Larger Map

Monday, November 28, 2011

Seth Benjamin Tanner

Seth Benjamin Tanner was born March 6, 1828 at Bolton Landing, New York to John Tanner and Elizabeth Beswick.  Seth was four years old when his parents joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  In his seventh year, the family moved to Kirtland Ohio.  He was ten when they moved to Missouri and twelve when the family settled in Montrose, Iowa.  The family left Montrose in 1846 when Seth was 18 years old and headed west to Utah.

Soon after Seth's father John died in 1850, Seth and his brother Myron decided to go to the gold fields of California to seek their fortunes.  George A. Smith, a Mormon apostle and long-time friend of the family gave the boys a yoke of oxen and a wagon for the journey.  Seth and Myron were succesful in California and with their first earnings, they sent George A. Smith $400 in gold.  This was three or four times the value of the team and wagon he gave them.

Seth married Charlotte Levi in 1858 in Pine Valley, Washington County, Utah, and they settled in North Ogden, and had seven children. She died in 1872, and after this Seth moved his family to Payson to be near other family members.

1870 Federal Census lists the Tanner family with 6 children

In 1875, Seth he was chosen to go on an exploring mission with James S. Brown to Arizona, to search out a suitable place for settlement on the Little Colorado River. He later returned to Utah and married Anna Maria Jensen in 1876, then moved his family to Arizona, to an isolated cabin on the Little Colorado River near Tuba City, on the present-day Navajo reservation. Apparently his cabin was on the main travel route and visitors often stopped over there. Wilford Woodruff mentioned it when on the underground, hiding out from the federal marshalls. Seth's second wife had no children of her own, but raised the children of Seth's first wife, in this lonely cabin in the wilderness. Seth Tanner apparently also helped with the Hole-In-The-Rock expedition for a time; he joined the expedition as a guide for the initial exploring party, guiding them up to the Bluff area after they had reached Moencopi in the Navajo country. The whole expedition would have been much better off had they followed the route which Seth showed them, instead of taking the insane "short cut" down through the hole and across the redrock country. This "short cut" took them 6 months, instead of the 6 weeks it took to go the "long way" around.

Seth got along well with both the Navajo and Hopi Indians.  He and his children learned their languages, and they called him by a Navajo name which meant "the man who is strong as a bear," and his children were known as the young bears. He was often appointed to deal with the Indians, having the ability of making friends with them.

Seth Tanner founded trading posts on the Navajo Reservation beginning in 1875.  Some of his ancestors have followed in his footsteps today. The Fifth Generation Trading Company sells handmade Navajo rugs, potter and jewelry.

Seth Tanner was a gentle, solitary man of the desert, and he did a lot of traveling and exploring through northern Arizona. He engaged in prospecting and mining in the area, but does not seem to have had too much success in these ventures. It is said that his name is somewhat of a legend in northern Arizona. A Wikipedia entry  mentions several natural features that were named after him.

Seth Benjamin Tanner died on December 3, 1918 and is buried in Taylor Arizona.  The location of the cemetery is N 34° 27.880 W 110° 05.880  Seth Benjamin Tanner is my 2nd Great Grandfather on the Goodman side of the family.

View Larger Map

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Rebecca Bird Tew

Rebecca Bird was born in Yardly, near Birmingham, England on October 28, 1838.  She was the daughter of John and Ann Russen Bird.  Her family joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and shortly after began to make plans to immigrate to Utah.

Rebecca's brother Walter immigrated to Utah with his friend Thomas Tew Jr in 1851.  After arriving in Utah, Walter began securing funds to help bring his family to Utah.  Walter obtained permission from Brigham Young to use funds from the Perpetual Emmigraton Fund to bring his parents and siblings to Utah.   

The family left together for America when Elizabeth was 16 years old.  I cannot find any information (yet) about their trip across the ocean.

While in Mormon Grove, preparing for the journey across the plains, Rebecca's father John contracted cholera and died on May 10, 1855.  Ann Bird who was 47 years old, buried her husband in Mormon Grove and traveled to utah with 4 children, Rebecca (16), John (14), Ann (11) and William (9). Walter was the oldest of the children and was waiting in Utah for their arrival.  Rebecca and her family crossed the plains in the Richard Ballentyne Company with 402 pioneers in the company and 45 wagons.  They left Mormon Grove on July 1, 1855.    The following image is taken from list of pioneers that traveled in the Company.

The family arrived in Salt Lake City on September 25, 1955.  Once arriving in Utah, Rebecca and her family settled in Springville Utah.  She married Thomas Tew Jr. on January 22, 1856.  Thomas Tew Jr. was her brother Walter's traveling companion to Utah and life long friend.  They had nine children, 2 sons and 7 daughters.

Rebecca Bird Tew died March 10, 1922 at the age of 83 years and 5 months in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Her death certificate lists 862 E. 6th South as her residence in Springville.

She is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Springville, next to her husband Thomas Tew Jr.  The headstone is located at N 40° 08.412 W 111° 36.172 and is marked on the map with a green arrow.  Rebecca Bird Tew is my 2nd Great Grandmother on the Mendenhall side of the family.

View Larger Map

Saturday, October 29, 2011

John Tanner

Probable John Tanner in later years.

John Tanner was born on August 15, 1778 in Hopkinton, Washington, Rhode Island to Joshua and Thankful Tefft Tanner.

John Tanner Birth Record

John Tanner married Tabitha Bentley in January 1800 and she died on April 1, 1801.  He then  married Lydia Stewart in 1801 and she died in 1825.  He then married Elizabeth Beswick in 1825.  I descend from Elizabeth Beswick.

John Tanner was a Bible reading Baptist who heard that Mormons were in town.  He went to the meeting to protect his fellow Baptists.  For some months, John's leg had been afflicted with open sores, a condition apparently without remedy.  He drove to the meeting and listened to the two elders, Simeon and Jared Carter.  He brought a Book of Mormon home, telling his Baptist friends that, "they had better not fight against the truth."  A few days later, Jared Carter visited John at his home and administered to him.  He commanded John to rise and walk in the name of the Lord.  John never used crutches again.  John and Elizabeth were baptized on September 17, 1832.

 Probable John Tanner and Elizabeth Beswick

John was a wealthy man with a large family. In the fall of 1834 he had a dream that he was needed in Ohio. He left shortly thereafter, arriving in Kirtland in time to loan the Prophet Joseph $2000 dollars (John came to Kirtland with $10,000 in gold and silver), which was needed to stop the impending foreclosure on the farm upon which the temple was being built. He also loaned the temple committee $13,000 in merchandise (which was worth considerably more there on the frontier in Ohio); in addition, he later gave money directly for the building of the Kirtland Temple. Further, he signed a note with the Prophet Joseph for $30,000 in goods purchased in New York (meaning he was financially responsible, in part, for the loan). Just for the money he directly loaned (he forgave some of the loans and did not get any of the other money back), its estimated worth in 2009 U.S. dollars is anywhere from $500,000 to millions of dollars. The $2000 in cash he directly loaned Joseph for the mortgage of the temple lot is the equivalent of roughly $50,000 today.

Just before he left on a mission in 1844. John Tanner met Joseph Smith on the streets of Nauvoo. He gave the Prophet his note for $2,000, signed in Kirtland in 1835 to redeem the temple land. The Prophet asked what he wanted him to do with it, and Father Tanner said, “ ‘Brother Joseph, you are welcome to it.’ The Prophet then laid his right hand heavily upon Father Tanner’s shoulder and said: ‘God bless you, Father Tanner, your children shall never beg bread.’

John loved the Prophet Joseph and the church. John invested much of his money in the Kirtland Safety Society bank in order to support it and give it better financial grounding; the bank failed (along with a lot of other banks at the time) and John, who had gone to Kirtland with many thousands of dollars in cash and merchandise, left for Missouri with a “borrowed team and one old broken down stage horse, and an old turn pike cart, a cag of powder, and $7.50 in cash.” John remained faithful. Many left the church after the Kirtland bank failed but John did not. He had participated in the glorious events of the Kirtland Temple dedication and knew and loved the Prophet Joseph. He had a testimony of the gospel and made the sacrifices he was asked to make.

John Tanner Home before leaving for Ohio

An article about John Tanner was published in the March 1979 Ensign. It was written by Leonard J. Arrington and is titled "The John Tanner Family". I was able to get a copy of the Ensign magazine when I found out that my neighbor has been saving church magazines for many years. She was happy to give me her copy of the Ensign. You can also read the article on-line at here.  Photographs of the article are at the end of the blog.

A short movie was recently produced about John Tanner.  The movie is called "Treasure in Heaven, The John Tanner Story."  If you have not seen the movie, I would highly recommend purchasing the DVD. 

A book was also written in 1974 about John Tanner called “John Tanner and his Family".  This is a rare book and a few used copies are available at The cost of the book ranges from $100 to $300.  I haven't broken down and purchased a copy ... yet.
John Tanner died April 13, 1850 in South Cottonwood, Utah.  This obituary is a great source for information about his family.

He is buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery and the coordinates of his headstone are N 40° 46.547 W 111° 51.691 and is marked on the map with a green arrow.  When my family was visiting the SLC Cemetery, we were not looking for John Tanner's headstone, but we stumbled across it.  I was really excited to find it without having any information of its location.  It is interesting that he is not buried near any of his wifes.  Elizabeth Beswick is buried in Payson.  John Tanner is my Third Great Grandfather on the Goodman side of the family. 

View Larger Map

March 1979 Ensign, Published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Pages 46-51


Saturday, October 22, 2011

John Mendenhall

Photo courtesy of the Mendenhall Family Association (MFA)

 John Mendenhall was born on September 7, 1847 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  The family had been driven from Nauvoo Illinois in June of 1846.  The Mendenhall family crossed the plains in 1852 in a wagon drawn by ox teams and arrived in Salt Lake City September 18, 1852.  They settled in Springville, Utah arriving September 26, 1852.  In Springville the family acquired considerable property consisting of farm and pasture land north of Springville.

There was little recorded of the early life of John Mendenhall.  He most likely worked with his father at farming and raising cattle.  He was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 2, 1857 by William Huggins and confirmed on the same date by Wilbur J. Earl.  John served an honorable mission to England from 1872 to 1874. 

 He returned from England on July 17, 1874 and became aquainted with Eliza Tew, the daughter of Thomas and Rebecca Tew, who were converts to the church from England.  John and Eliza were married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City on April 24, 1879. The 1879 federal census shows John Mendenhall as a 22 year old living with his family in Springville.

1879 United States Federal Cenus

The 1910 United States Federal Census show John and Eliza and eight children in Mapleton.

John Mendenhall was very active in the community and church.  He served many years as a counselor in the Bishopric of the Mapleton Ward.  He was a good public speaker, being called the "silver tongued orator of Mapleton".  He served as a trustee of the School Board and was active in construction of church and civic buildings.

John and Eliza Mendenhall home in Mapleton.

John Mendenhall with his eight sons
Back Row: Joseph, Harvey, Jesse, Barney
Middle Row: Aaron, Byron, Thomas
Front Row: John, Will (Will is my Grandfather)

John and Eliza Mendenhall

John Mendenhall died on April 2, 1020 at the age of 72 years and 7 months.  He left his wife, eleven children and thirty two grandchildren.

He is buried at the Evergreen Cemetery in Springville, Utah.  The location of his headstone is at N 40° 08.447 W 111° 36.186.  It is marked with a green arrow on the map.  John Mendenhall is my Great Grandfather on the Mendenhall side of the family.