John Henry Owen Wilcox and Mary Young Wilcox were original pioneers to Hambleton, the original settlement west of where Mt. Pleasant City is now located. They were driven out by Indians.
The excerpts below, taken from "History of Mt. Pleasant by Hilda Madsen Longsdorf, are shaded where Henry Wilcox is part of the text. In some later excerpts, John Henry may be the son and not the father.
During the winter of 1851 and 1852, Madison D. Hambleton and Gardner Potter, left Manti going to Pleasant Creek Canyon to get out lumber for the market. Some shingles were manufactured in 1851, and the lumber produced was used in 1852 to build the first house erected in Allred's Settlement on Canal Creek, later this settlement was known as Spring Town.
In the spring of 1852, under the direction of Madison D. Ham bleton and Gardner Potter, about half a dozen families proceeded to move northward from Manti, for the purpose of establishing a new colony. Among these settlers were Henry Wilcox, John Lowry Jr., William Davis, Seth Dodge, and John 'Bench. They located on both sides of the stream, just below where Mount Pleasant is now situated, and north of the main road running east and west. The stream, now Pleasant Creek, they named Ham bleton, and the settlement was given the same name in honor of the leader of the company. Early in March, at the mouth of Pleas ant Creek Canyon, just below where the Mount Pleasant City Power plant is now located, they erected a saw mill known as the Hambleton and Potter Mill. They commenced cutting timber and sawing lumber for the purpose of building their homes. They cleared the land and began farming about a mile slightly north west of where the D. & R. G. depot is now located; planting crops on the south side of the creek, near the place where they built their homes. They enclosed some of the land with substantial fences, and raised a fair crop of wheat that year, and at the same time, the Hambleton and Potter Mill was turning out lumber and shingles. (Mt. Pleasant History, Longsdorf p. 18)
On March 5th,(??) Henry Wilcox, with his wife, Mary, and family, who were among the pioneers driven from Hambleton in 1853, arrived in Mount Pleasant. This was the only family who pioneered Hambleton, to settle later in Mount Pleasant. (Mt. Pleasant History, Longsdorf p. 64)
On April 11, 1885, the stockholders of the Birch Creek Irrigation Company met at the home of P. M. Peel and formed them selves into an "incorporated body" as follows: P. M. Peel, Pres ident; Thomas C. Christensen, Vice-President; Thomas C. Christensen, Treasurer; H. M. Bohne, 1st Director; P. C. Meiling, 2nd Director; Peter M. Peel, Hans C. Davidson, James C. Meiling, Henry M. Bohne, Peter Neilsen, Thomas C. Christensen, Henry Wilcox, Lars Pearson, Jens Nielsen, James Staker, Mads Madsen, Christian P. Lawson, Martin Rasmussen, and Martin Bohne, stock holders. (Mt. Pleasant History, Longsdorf p.163)
PIONEER STORY OF MARY YOUNG WILCOX
1847 PIONEER TO UTAH - 1852 PIONEER TO HAMBLETON - 1860 PIONEER TO MT. PLEASANT By Annie Carlson Bills
Mary Young Wilcox was born June 6, 1831, in Upper Canada,
daughter of James and Elizabeth Seely Young.
In the spring of 1846 they started from Kainsville, Iowa, on
their westward journey across the plains to Utah.
After traveling about three hundred miles, the call carne from the government for five hundred of their young men to go to Mexico. This was the choosing of the "Mormon Battalion."
The Battalion was packed with their packs, which weighed
about thirty-five pounds.
The scene which followed, Mrs. Wilcox says, she can never forget. Widowed mothers parting with, sometimes, their only son, sweethearts, husbands and wives, a scene which only the ones who witnessed can realize the sadness of.
After the Battalion marched away, they resumed their journey, traveling as far as Winter Quarters, where they camped for the winter.
They built log cabins, with no windows, and taking their wagon boxes off the wagons, placed them inside of the houses, replacing the bows and covers. These they slept in. They had no stoves so a hole was dug in the center of the house and a fire was made in it. A hole in the center of the roof served as a place for the smoke to escape and light to enter. Thus they lived during the winter, suffering with cold and hunger. Many died from disease, through being so poorly nourished and clothed. Wher ever a grove of timber and trees could be found, as many as could made cabins and stayed there through the winter.
Mary left Winter Quarters in May 1847. Traveling on the plains from Winter Quarters to Salt Lake Valley, she yoked and unyoked her oxen and drove them every step of the way, and was only sixteen years old. Suffering with the rest on the journey, she reached the valley on September 29, 1847. After resting a couple of weeks, they began making preparations for winter. She went with her father to get logs for their cabin. She also made the adobes that made the chimney for their cabin. She says, "No kings could be happier than we, when we reached the valley and had built our first log cabin."
The houses were so built as to form a fort, it being two blocks long and one block wide when completed. Two gates, one at the north and one at the south, were made. It being located about where the Seventh ward is. About Christmas of 1847, their cabins were ready to move into.
On March 14, 1848, she was married to John Henry Wilcox. Spring came and they began to survey the land and let each couple have a chance to draw for the land. They drew the land where the Sugarhouse Ward is.
They made a brush "shanty" and began to work on their land. Her husband grubbed the brush and she piled and burned it, and prepared the land for plowing. They sowed a nice piece of the land and had a nice garden planted, having brought the seed across the plains with them. The seeds took root and grew and looked very prosperous. But by this time the crickets had hatched out and they soon consumed the whole crop. Then came the blessed "Sea Gulls." They came in great Hocks and devoured the crickets. They would stay a few hours at a time, then fly away with a squawk, and after a while return for more crickets. It was not too late to replant, but no more seed could be had.
After the crickets had destroyed their crops, the people went back to the fort for the rest of the summer.
After the people of the northern sections had harvested their crops, they allowed them to go and glean. Her husband grubbed oak brush for a peck of corn a day and boarded himself out of what little they had. In this way they saved a little for winter. Later her husband went to the canyon and got a big load of poles. A man offered him forty pounds of wheat and he sold the poles to him for the wheat. He sowed one and one-fourth acres of ground where the crickets had eaten his crop the spring before. The next summer they threshed seventy bushels of wheat from the forty pounds of seed.
The first potatoes were brought from California on pack animals and sold to the people for twenty five cents a piece and only four being allowed to each man.
In the spring of 1849 they planted a peck of potatoes; when they dug them they got thirty bushels.
In the fall of 1850 they were called to settle Manti. They stayed there three years. Built homes and raised a crop.
In the spring of 1853 her husband went to Hambleton. The Indians killed all his cattle and oxen and burned the wagons, saw. mill. and all the lumber, and they were left once more without anything. They moved to the fort at Manti.
In 1853 they gave all they had for one yoke of oxen and wagon, and moved to Pleasant Grove. In 1860 they moved to Mt. Pleasant. They lived in Mt. Pleasant ever after.
There are five living generations. Her mother also lived to see five generations. Mrs. Wilcox died May 16, 1929. (Mt. Pleasant History, Longsdorf pp 315-316)
The following is excerpts taken from Seely Family History p.146 by Montell Seely
John Henry Owen Wilcox joined the Mormon Church at nine years of age with his widowed mother, Sarah Seeley Wilcox and at least two sisters in Marion County, Missouri. They had been persecuted and driven into Iowa, Illinois and back into Missouri.
On 14 March, 1848, Mary Young was married to John Henry Owen Wilcox by William Stewart Seely who later became the first bishop of Mt. Pleasant Ward, Utah
MARY PRAYED, JOHN HENRY HEARD A VOICE
1978 Saga of the Sanpitch
Kathy B. Ockey Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas
Mary sat looking out of the window for a moment, got up and put the baby in her cradle and began to pace the floor in worry. Earlier, she had taken the cradle outside. Little Henry had played contentedly by his sister while Mary had done the washing. She had just finished the diapers and was starting on the white things when Paul Taylor came around. “Sister Mary, gather the children and get in the house, the Indians are on the warpath.” Mary had dumped Henry in the cradle next to the baby. Leaving the clean clothes and soap to a fate of their own, she had rushed to her cabin, which formed part of the outside wall of the fort. She had then fed Henry and changed and nursed the baby. Now that both were finally napping her thoughts turned to her husband.
Her frenzied pacing kept step with her worrying John Henry had left early in the week for the saw mill. The other men had come home last night, but John had spent the night, wanting to have an extra day to get some logs ready for a fence for their garden which was nearing maturity. It promised to help provide them with food during the long winter if it could be protected from rabbits, groundhogs and deer. So they needed the fence and Mary had been glad that the task was getting done, but now that word had come of the approaching hostile Indians, she was frightened. Finally, in desperation, Mary knelt and petitioned her God, the one who had brought her from Canada to Winter Quarters, from there to Salt Lake to Manti and from Manti to Ft. Hambleton. As she folded her arms, her hand brushed the lump on her chest. It had been caused by the stick she had used to dig sego lily roots that first fall when food was scarce. For some reason it had never gone away. Now it served to remind her of one of God’s miracles: His providing food when there seemed to be none. The thought of this brought to mind another miracle.
This time it occurred a few months after she and John Henry were married-the crickets and seagulls. Their crops were in the fields in the sugarhouse area and were thus completely destroyed before the seagulls could save them but the seagulls devoured the crickets quickly enough that many of the crops, especially on the northern side, were saved. So through bartering work for food and gleaning, they had survived that first winter as man and wife. Again God had helped them. Now Mary, her faith strengthened by her memories of God’s miracles, asked for one more. Everyone knew the fate of the lone settler confronted by warring Indians, so Mary asked that John Henry please be brought home in safety.
At the saw mill, John Henry had about two-third of the logs needed and was taking the bark from a particularly stubborn specimen. He stopped to wipe his forehead with his handkerchief. It was hot, one of the hottest days he could ever remember. As he stuffed his handkerchief back in his pocket, he seemed to hear a voice: “Go home.” He turned and looked around. Seeing no one, he decided it was the heat and picked up his axe and went back to work. Again he heard the same two words: “Go home.” This time, knowing that he was alone, he didn’t even pause. But a third time, it came again: “Go home!” This time it was so forceful, he could do nothing but obey. He saddled one horse and leaving the other horse and the partially loaded wagon started for home. He rode slowly at first, but a strange urgency pushed him to ride faster and faster, even his horse seemed to sense a need for hurry and needed no urging to hurry.
Mary had started some stew and biscuits in case John Henry did come home, and too, to keep busy. She had bathed both children, and trying to keep her thoughts from John Henry and his possible danger, had started worrying about the cow. She had been left in the clearing near the vegetable patch and was mooing unmercifully, her full udder giving her great pain. Mary went to the window to try to locate the poor animal, wishing she could do something. Brother Taylor had said no one should leave the fort and she couldn’t see the cow to try to call her. But something else caught her eye, there in the northeast, the sky held an ominous glow. Since it was a clear night, it could mean only one thing; the saw mill was on fire. Mary choked back a cry, said a silent prayer and checked the biscuits.
Darkness was falling as John Henry entered the home stretch. The horse was getting tired so of necessity he had slackened his pace. He glanced over his shoulder; maybe it hadn’t been wise to leave the saw mill with his work only half finished and without the wagon and other horse. He, too, saw the glow on the horizon and knew it could only be one thing; the saw mill on fire. There had been so much rain; it couldn’t have been an act of nature either. A cold feeling set in at the base of John Henry’s spine. There had been rumblings the last few weeks of the Indians, wanting to drive the settlers out. If that were the case, if the Indians were indeed on the warpath again, he had been very lucky, or more likely, very blessed in hearing the strange warning. One lone settler at the sawmill facing a band of resentful, hostile Indians would not fare well. The cold at the base of John Henry’s spine rose, until, in spite of the heat, he was shivering with delayed reaction. He quickened the tired horse’s pace. The night was cooler and the stars glistened brightly as John Henry came within sight of the fort. Mary must have been watching for him, for as the gates were opened, she came running toward him, tears streaming down her smiling face. “The Indians………..” “Yes, I know.” The rest was lost in an embrace that after almost five years of marriage said so much more that mere words could.
It was a good week before Mary and John Henry pieced together both sides of their story. Morning brought the Indians headed toward Ft. Hambleton. Because of their small numbers, the settlers decided it would be better to go to Allred’s settlement. On August 22nd, the Indians attacked Allred’s settlement and stole all of the livestock except for a few claves which had been in the corral. The men formed a posse and started after the band of Indians. As the neared the Indians, the Indians turned and headed toward the settlement so the men were forced to return and protect it. The people sent to Manti Fort for help, They were evacuated to Manti for the winter.
When Mary and John Henry finally found time to compare notes, the saw mill they had worked so hard to start was gone, as was their wagon. All of the lumber was burned, the livestock had been run off or killed by the Indians and most of their household items had also been stolen by the warring band. They were left with almost nothing, except each other and the children. But they felt blessed.
John Henry Owen Wilcox lived to be almost 86 years old, Mary Young Wilcox lived to be 98 years old. They were married 67 years and reared 11 children, four sons and seven daughters. Fifty-six of these years and nine of these children came after Mary prayed and John Henry heard a voice. Source: A sketch of the life of John Henry Owen Wilcox
The following comes from Family Search
History Of John Henry Owen Wilcox
On December 25, 1775, in a little town in Rhode Island, was born Hazard Wilcox. He met and wed Sarah Seeley. In 1824 the resided at Benton, Arkansas, where on 14 Feb. 1824, was born John Henry Owen Wilcox, the youngest and last of a larg family and the subject of this treatise. Little is known of his early life. Leaving Arkansas the family settled in Missouri, where in 1831 the father died. It was here in Marion County, Missouri that the boy accepted Mormonism. This new religion had aroused such bitter antagonism against its adherents that mob violence was prevalent throughout the Middle west. They lived in Jackson, Clay, and Caldwell counties in Missouri, being driven from place to place with less regard than for so many cattle. On one occasion, Grandfather escaped the wrath of the mob by hiding in a corn field, and another time he was clad in girls clothing to cover his idnentity lest he be taken away by a brother-in-law who was bitterly opposed to his affiliating with the Mormons. He witnessed the transfiguration of Brigham Young when he assumed the likeness of the Prophet Joseph Smith at the time a successor to lead the western trek was being discussed. When it was seen futile to further attempt to maintain the homesteads in the Mississippi valley, and hold their religious convictions, the Mormon converts, in accordance with the advice of the Prophet Joseph, prepared to head west into the unknown Rocky Mountain region. John Henry Owen, with his widowed mother and sister Jane, was among them and early in the summer of 1847, in a slowly moving ox drawn prairie schooner, set out in John Taylor's Company, bound for that unknown, unexplored western wilderness. Jane and Justus Azel Sealey were married 10 March 1842, and were in the same Company. Over the prairie lands, along the North Platte river, up the ridges and valleys, up of the Wasatch Mountains, and down through Emmigration Canyon continued that trek of more than 1000 miles, the like of which is recorded no where else in history. What were the emotions that surged through his being his being when , on September 30, 1847, from a vantage point on the Western Slope of Big Mountain, he gazed over Salt Lake Valley, a cheerless, desolate, uninviting desert wasteland? What did he behold in that panorama to bid him welcome, or to suggest that this is the long sought haven in which to build a home? Somber indeed, was the picture painted by Jim Bridger when he urged the original emigrants not to stop in Salt Lake Valley. Said he, "This is no place for civilized man. Nothing but wild beasts and savages could possibly survive the vigors of the elements and the destitution of this barren land. Nothing can grow and utter starvation will inevitably follow if settlement is attempted." Did Grandfather lament and want to turn back as did the children of Israel? Never. With a burning desire for a home in a land of religious freedom, as the obstacles that beset the way of the o conquer the obstacles that beset the way of the frontiersman, as in the woof there was woven into his being some of the most enduring fabric that ever formed a part of human character. He first settled in Salt Lake, where on the 14th of March, 1848, he was married to Mary Young, a convert from Ontario, Canada, who also came westward in John Taylor's Company. In 1850, they moved to Manti remaining there until 1853, when they settled at Fort Hamilton, a settlement located some distance west of the present site of Mt. Pleasant. That same year, they moved to Pleasant Grove, Then to North Ogden. In 1860, he came to Mt. Pleasant whare they resided the rest of their lives. He homesteaded 20 acres of land Three miles north of the town and tilled this land for nearly 40 years until he became so feeble he could plow but a quarter of an acre per day. Grandfather participated in the Walker and the Blackhawk Indian Wars. While residing at Fort Hamilton, he was employed at a sawmill in Pleasant Creek Canyon, where on one occasion he was left as a watchman while the other workmen went to town. In the early evening he heard the words, "go home." He paid no attention to this until the warning was repeated three times then he went home. On returning to camp the next day they found it a smoldering mass of ruin. The Indians had set fire to the lumber, the logs, the wagons and every combustible object, and driven off the cattle. This cost Grandfather his wagon and oxen, but did not deter him in his determination to strive on. He traded all his possessions, including a house and lot for another wagon and yoke of cattle. Though he went hunting occasionally to augment the family food supply, he had little recreation, his first concern was to supply provisions for a wife and eleven children. His life was filled with toil, trials, hardships, privations, sacrifices and heartaches incident to life in that time. He was ambitious and worked at any form of labor available, including farming, logging, mining, building log and adobe dwellings. At one time he worked at a mine near Austin, Nevada, where he was so severely injured that he was weak for years. He was an expert log hewer, even made lumber by this method. His ability in making ox yokes was widely known and many men came to him for his service. On one occasion he exchanged a large load of poles for 40 pounds of wheat, which he planted on an acre and a quarted of land, and with joyousness they gathered from the threshing floor seventy bushels of grain. He grubbed oak brush for a peck of corn per day and thanked God for the opportunity of earning that 14 pounds of corn to help feed his family. In our day, we hear much about the full dinner pail but Grandfather well remembers the days his dinner bucket contained only a pinch of salt, with which he hoped to season a kettle of segas, thistle stocks, pig weed or other edible plants he might find to cook for his noon day meal. Grandmother Wilcox oft repeated, "As I look back on these agonizing times, I wonder how in the world we ever managed to keep body and soul together. I know, However, that it was through the graciousness of the Good Lord on High, we were able to withstand those terrible ordeals." The Mormons made the desert blossom as the rose, but the first "roses to bloom for grandfather were a few potatoes broduced from seed brought from California on pack animals and sold pour to a customer at 25 cents each. Grandfather never learned to read or write, yet the feat of turning this sagebrush covered wasteland into fields of bounteous harvests, will be emblanzoned on the history of Utah by these early pioneers. It was not the call of wild, the desire for fame or fortune, or adventure that promted him to abondon his friends and posessions, but the hope of finding a place where he could dwell in peace and safety, unbomolested by a bloodthirsty mob determined to annihilate the converts to this newly-born religion. He had morality, truthfulness, and strict adherence to the golden rule worthy of emulation to the end of time. "Well done, thou good and faithful servant, ... ... ..." Written by J. O. (Owen) Meiling, Lehi, Utah. 4 Aug. 1939