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