Life Story of Edwin Rushton

Edwin Rushton was born June 1, 1824 in Leek, Staffordshire, England into the family of a silk manufacturer named Richard Rushton.  His family consisted of his wife, Lettice Johnson Rushton, three sons, and four daughters. This was a united, happy family and much of their leisure time was spent singing together.

 One day this father said to his youngest son,  Edwin, “A new religious sect is holding a meeting tonight. I  wish you would go and hear what they have to say.” Edwin answered, “Why don’t you go yourself? “ His father said, “Because, son, they are a very unpopular people and it might hurt my business.” “Then why not send one of the older boys, “ Edwin continued. His father came back with the answer, “I want you to go because I can depend on your judgment.” Later during a report of this meeting, Edwin stated, “These men have the truth.”

 The result was that this family joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1840. Edwin was the last to be baptized, saying he wished to be sure of what he was doing.

 Less than two years later, Richard and Lettice, Edwin, and one of his sisters and her husband set forth on the long journey to America; other members of the family had already gathered with the Saints in Nauvoo. They went by railroad to Liverpool. The fare to America was 10 lbs ($50. 00) each, second class, and charges for all luggage over a hundred weight, per passenger. While in Liverpool Edwin, not yet 18 years of age, married a young Mormon girl, Mary Anne Fowell, the only one of her family who belonged to the Church. Thus the Rushton party was increased by one before embarking on the ocean voyage, the young couple making this their honeymoon trip.

 The group along with other Saints took passage for New Orleans on the sailing vessel, Hope of Duxbury. The ship sailed out of dock Friday, February 3, 1842. Nothing unusual is recorded in Richard’s diary of this voyage. Two children of Saints died and were buried at sea. One babe was born. On March 19, the vessel entered the Florida stream. March 30th the steamboat “Star” reached her and took her in tow; also another sailing vessel, “The Moscow” which was a little ahead. Towing each in turn over the bar and both ships up the Mississippi River, March 31, quoting from the diary, Richard writes, “We came in sight of a most beautiful country diversified with plantations, farm houses, sugar manufacturers, beautiful cottages, and wooded on each side of the river.”

 They reached New Orleans April 1, and immediately chartered a steamboat “The Louisa” for St. Louis. Before leaving New Orleans, they were examined by the custom-house officials and obliged to enter all baggage and merchandise. Richard entered a quantity of silk twist, and as the boat set out immediately, he had no time to redeem the goods. They arrived in St. Louis April 10, and here exchanged their English money for American money, getting a little more than $5. 00 for an English sovereign. They continued on in the same boat, passed the beautiful city of Quincy, arriving at Nauvoo the evening of April 13, after being ferried across the river.

 Edwin was naturally very anxious to find the members of his family already established there, and hurried towards the town in search of them. He had gone only a short distance when he met a man riding a beautiful black horse. The man accosted him, saying, “Hey, Bub, is that a company of Mor mons just landed?”

“In much surprise Edwin answered, “Yes, sir.”

“Are you a Mormon?” the stranger continued.

“Yes, sir,” Edwin again answered.

“What do you know about old Joe Smith?” the mounted stranger asked.

“I know that Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God,” said Edwin.

“I suppose you are looking for an old man with a long, gray beard. What would you think if I told you I was Joseph Smith? “ the man continued.

“If you,”said Edwin, “are Joseph Smith, I know you are a Prophet of God.”

In a gentle voice the man explained, “I am Joseph Smith. I came to meet these people, dressed as I am in rough clothes and speaking in this manner, to see if their faith is strong enough to stand the things they must meet. If not, they should turn back right now.”

 This was Edwin’s introduction to the Prophet. He then inquired of and was directed by the Prophet how to find his people. As he hurried along, a woman came out of a house and called to him. As he approached, she said, “Oh, excuse me, I thought you were my brother-in-law.   Edwin replied, “And I thought you were my sister-in-law.   They both laughed, and he explained whom he was trying to find. The woman then sent her little girl, Sarah, to take him by a path through the woods to the place where his family lived. This same Sarah, years later in Salt Lake City, became his wife.

 Edwin her was at once initiated into the hardships and trials of life in Nauvoo. His acquaintance with and admiration for the Prophet grew rapidly, and there developed an intimate friendship between them. Edwin spent many hours later in life recounting his conversations with this great man, and describing his physique and personality. The Historical Record of the Church mentions that the Rushton family often serenaded the Prophet.

In July 1845, while Edwin was resting in the middle of the day, he received a vision, or quoting from his record, “I was caught away by the spirit and taken on a frequented footpath across lots to a ravine a few blocks south of Nauvoo Temple. As I stood in contemplation, the earth on the right side of me opened to the depth of about five feet, and I beheld a pot of treasure on top of which was a beautiful Seer Stone, clear as crystal, which I was told belonged to me. At the time I received the vision, I did not know anything about a Seer Stone and had never sought for a vision. This same vision was repeated to me three times about two weeks apart. With this vision ever in mind, the following day I proceeded to hunt for the Stone, taking three of my relatives with me.

 After digging for a short time, the Stone was thrown out with a shovel of dirt. It is my firm conviction that this stone is one of the Stones spoken of by John the Revelator (2:17).”

(See History of the Seer Stone.)

This Stone is clear and beautiful. It is about the size of an egg and shaped somewhat like a kidney. It is treasured by the family and has been shown to hundreds of people.

 When Joseph Smith organized the Nauvoo Legion, Edwin was commissioned a lieutenant in that immortal regiment. After the martyrdom, Edwin was one of four who took part in the second burial of the Prophet to preserve the body from the hands of ruthless, designing men. Prior to this, Joseph Smith had prepared a burial vault for the Smith family, and when persecution became alarming he came to Edwin and requested him, in the event the Prophet was killed, to see that the remains of the Smith family were disinterred and put into this vault. This trust he fulfilled. When Joseph Smith was leaving the Mansion House, on his way to Carthage for

the last time, Edwin was standing near the gate when Joseph said to his wife, “Emma, can you train my sons to walk in their father’s footsteps?”

She answered, “Oh, Brother Joseph, you are coming back.”

Joseph asked the same question three times and that Emma gave the same answer

each time. The Prophet then rode away to Carthage and his death.

 The desire for a patriarchal blessing was felt ny Edwin and Mary Ann. January 24th 1844 was a memorable day in the life of Edwin and his wife, Mary Ann. This was the day they received their patriarchal blessing from Hyrum Smith, Patriarch of the Church and brother of Joseph Smith the Prophet. These blessings were received just five months before the martyrdom of these prophets on June 27th 844. Even though the blessings are short, each contains beautiful, worthwhile promises that were or will yet be fully fulfilled. Prosperity would come but “bye and bye”. There would be “trials and sorrows . Both were promised “your name shall be perpetuated in the lineage of your posterity unto the latest generation.” This inheritance was to be received “upon Mount Zion, the city of the New Jerusalem.” Surely these blessings proved comforting as well as a light and a guide as they faced many sorrows, trials, and uncertainties in the days that followed.

 The blessings are reproduced as recorded in the patriarchal blessing records of the Church as follows:

 “January 24, 1844 - A patriarchal blessing of Edwin Rushton son of Richard and Lettice Rushton born in Leek, Stafford shire Old England June 1st 1824.

 Brother Edwin, I lay my hands upon your head in the name of Jesus of Nazareth to place and seal a blessing upon you touching lineage, priesthood and your rights according to the law of God and the promised blessings unto the seed of Israel for you shall be blessed in your day and generation both spiritually and temporary which are the desires of your heart and in due time you shall realize and enter into a knowledge of all things pertaining to the priesthood and to an inheritance in the lineage of Jacob both you and your children after you from generation to generation and again you shall be blessed in your house and in your habitation and in your situations of life and in the ministry unto many people, if your faith shall continue, and you shall go out and come in and have prosperity bye. and bye and have power to officiate in a sacred calling wherewith you shall be called to officiate and administer according to the dispensation that shall be given you and your name shall be perpetuated and have honor from generation to generation and be written in the chronicles of your brethren and be commemorated by your posterity unto the latest generation of man and your inheritance shall be in Ephraim to be received upon Mount Zion the city of the New Jerusalem and your days and years are numbered and shall be many. These blessings I seal upon your head even so amen. Given by Hyrum Smith, Patriarch of the Church of Jesus Christ.”

 “January 24th 1844 - Patriarchal Blessing of Mary Ann Rushton, Daughter of John and Elizabeth Fowell, born in the Town of Leek, Staffordshire, England, April 23, 1823.

 “Sister Mary Ann, I lay my hands upon your head in the name of Jesus of Nazareth and bless and seal you up unto eternal life for what I seal on Earth shall be sealed in Heaven; the same shall be your blessing and comforter to comfort your heart in the hour of trial and sorrow. By this you shall know that your name is written in heaven and that there is a Crown laid up for you in the Mansion of your Father as a reward for your faith and obedience and for your pilgrimage in a Land of Strangers far from your native home and you shall be blessed spiritually and temporally in your house and habitation in the priesthood and your inheritance in the lineage of your posterity as also in the New and Everlasting Covenant all to be received in common with your husband as also you shall be blessed with the spirit and power of God and shall receive strength in this time of need and be comforted in the hour of trial. Therefore fear not henceforth but be steadfast and immoveable and you shall abound in grace and your days be many and your name shall be perpetuated in the lineage of your posterity unto the latest generation and shall have a name and a place in the Mansion of your Father as Sarah and Rachels. These blessings I seal upon your head, even so, Amen.

 “Given by Hyrum Smith, Patriarch of the Church of Jesus Christ, January 24th 1844 in Nauvoo.

 Edwin was a close friend  of the Prophet Joseph Smith and was a member of the Nauvoo legion. When the Prophet and Hyrum Smith were killed 27 June 1844, it changed his life and that of many others. Edwin records this event as follows:

 “About this time (1843) our enemies commenced persecuting and mobbing the saints and on the 27th of June 1844 our beloved Prophet and Patriarch was murdered in Carthage Jail. Our enemies did not stop at this but continued until the fall of 1845 burning the houses of the Saints, destroying their grain and driving the sick and afflicted from their homes.” 

 Tragedy struck on the 29th of October 1845.  Pamela, Edwin’s young 2½ -year old daughter died. It was during these troublesome times that Edwin had another unusual experience. He relates he found a “seer stone.”  Edith Rushton Christensen has recorded some details of this experience in her history.

 It is difficult today to fully appreciate the joy that came to the Saints at Nauvoo when they were told the temple was ready for them to receive their endowments. Undoubtedly the Rushton family looked forward to the completion of the Nauvoo temple as did other faithful saints of that era. The first ordinances received in the Nauvoo temple were performed on 10 December 1845. Living endowments were given only from 10 December 1845 until 7 February 1846. There were no endowments for the dead given in the Nauvoo Temple. Living sealings were performed at the Nauvoo Temple from 9 January 1846 to 22 February 1846. Sealing to couples living/dead were performed from 9 January 1846 to 22 February 1846. No sealing for couples who were both dead was done, but children were sealed living/dead from 11 January 1846 to 6 February 1846. (Reference: Fundamentals of Genealogical Research, by Jaussi and Chaston.)

 Heber C. Kimball gives us some insight when he wrote in his journal that, during the last days of February 1846, groups were going through the temple night and day, “way into the night and way into the day.” He indicated that Brother Brigham took a group through, Brother Willard took a group through, and he took a group through, and so on. They were so anxious to receive the ordinances and blessings, they virtually lived in the temple those last few hours before they

left Nauvoo.

 Temple records indicate most of the Rushton family obtained their temple endowments. Richard Senior’s work could not be done by proxy since there were no endowments for the dead performed in the Nauvoo Temple. Other sealings that could be done apparently were not done.

The Rushton’s, Bullock’s and Wardle’s received their endowments as follows:

Thomas Bullock                            20  Dec 1845

Henrietta Bullock                         20  Dec 1845

Edwin Rushton                             23  Jan 1846

Mary Ann Rushton                          23  Jan 1846

Lettice Rushton                           23  Jan 1846

Frederick Jams Rushton                7 Feb 1846

Sarah Rushton                               7 Feb 1846

George Wardle                                 7 Feb 1846

Fanny Wardle                                7 Feb 1846

 As quickly as the Saints received their endowments and other temple ordinances, they started preparations to move west because of continued persecution. On February 4, 1846 the first 20,000 Saints started the gradual migration from Nauvoo by crossing the Mississippi river from Illinois to Iowa. On February 15th Brigham Young arrived and they organized into groups and started westward on March 1st. They traveled about 144 miles from Nauvoo by April 24, 1846 and arrived at Garden Grove, Decataur County, Iowa. Mount Pisgah, 30 miles west of Garden Grove, became a second settlement.

 The first pioneer company reached Council Bluffs, Iowa on June 14, 1846. They named the settlement Millers Hollow; later it was named Kanesville; and after the LDS pioneers left, it was given its present name of Council Bluffs. In September 1846 more Saints began to locate at Winter Quarters at what is now Florence, Nebraska. There were 15, 000 Saints gathered in the Council Bluffs-Winter Quarters area in the fall of 1846.

Keeping the above history in mind, let’s see what the Rushton family did. Both Richard Rushton Jr. and Frederick Rushton and their families decided to go to St. Louis rather than to Winter Quarters.

 Thomas Bullock, George Wardle, Edwin Rushton and their families remained in Nauvoo and were among the last Saints to leave. Thomas Bullock was an accurate and meticulous record keeper. His letters and journals portray a descriptive account of this period in Church history.

 Letter from Thomas Bullock to Elder Franklin Richards published in Millennial Star, Volume X, includes information of importance in this history. It states in part:

 “In the month of August 1846 I was taken very sick with fever and ague, followed by my wife and four little children; in this condition we continued until the 16th of September, on which day George Wardle packed up my goods on two wagons, and removed us to his home to be out of all danger from the cannon balls, which were flying about in too thick a manner to be in any way comfortable. He removed us behind his house out of all danger... On the 17th, 2000 men with 500 wagons marched into the city; but such yelling, hooting, howling, I never heard from men, or even the wild savages of the forest (and I have heard and seen them), terror and dismay surely for once overcame the sick, the poor women and children. ...  such an awful and infuriated noise I never again heard, though I was in Warsaw Street more than a quarter of a mile off. I, with others who were sick, was carried into the tall weeds and woods, while all who could, hid themselves; many crossed the river, leaving everything behind. As night approached we returned to our shelter, but, oh God, what a night to remember.

 “The next morning at 9 o’clock saw me, my wife, my four children, my sister-in-law, Fanny (Wardle), my blind mother-in-law, all shaking with the ague in one house; only George Wardle able to do anything for us, when a band of about 30 men, armed with guns and bayonets fixed, pistols in belt, the captain with a sword in his hand, and the stripes and stars flying about, marched opposite my sheltering roof; the captain called a halt, and demanded the owners of the two wagons to be brought out. I was raised from my bed, led out of doors, supported by my sister-in-law and the rail fence. ...The captain then stepped out to within four feet of me, pointing his sword at my throat, while four others presented their guns with their bayonets within two feet of my breast, when the captain told me, ‘If you are not off from here in twenty minutes, my orders are to shoot you. ‘ ...’Then said the captain, ‘I am sorry to see you and your sick family, but if you are not gone when I return in half an hour, my orders are to kill you and every Mormon in the place. ‘

 “George (Wardle) and Edwin (Rushton) drove my wagons down to the ferry, and we were searched five times for firearms; ...while on the banks of the river, I crawled to the margin to bid a sister, who was going to St. Louis, ‘Good Bye’ while a mobber shouted out, ‘Look, there’s a skeleton bidding Death good bye!’ So you can imagine the poor sickly condition we were in.

 Edith Rushton Christensen in her biography states the following:

“At the time of the great exodus from Nauvoo, Brigham Young, before leaving the city, asked my Father if he would see that all the sick and poor got across the river. This, of course, made it necessary for Father to be one of the last to leave this ill-fated city. As he was leaving Nauvoo, he had a feather bed tied on his back, and his wife, Mary Anne, who was with him, was carrying some personal belongings in an apron. One of the mob following them threatened to shoot. Father, thinking of the feather bed he was carrying, turned his back and said, “Shoot!” Evidently this display of courage cowed the mobster, as they were allowed to proceed unmolested.”

 Edwin Rushton in a partial biography written 6th May 1855, stated he spent about one-third of his time watching and guarding the City of Nauvoo. Then he recorded his expulsion from

Nauvoo by mobsters as follows:

 “In the year 1846 the heads of the church moved away to the west. I strove all in my Power to go with them but I was Sorely afflicted with the ague and fever. In the fall of 1846 the Mobbers assembled to give us battle with the Determination of Driving and Distroying (sic) the Saints. On Sept. 16, 1846 we commenced fighting with the Mob they haveing (sic) 15 Hundred and twenty five against 85 of us. The first (battle) lasted one hour and twenty Minutes and we drove them from the field. On the   (illegible)   a treaty was entered into by Both Parties. We was to let them Enter the City lay down our Arms and we could have three days to get away. Instead of that we where ordered out on twenty Minutes Notice. I was ordered out on twenty Minutes Notice by thirty five Men with fix Bayonets under the Protecting flag of the United States. With nothing but what I stood up in with my wife and a Blind Mother I took up my bed and went. They said they would shoot me if I did not put it down. I told them to shoot and be damned. “

 At this point, George Wardle and Thomas Bullock and their families crossed the river on the ferry in Thomas Bullock’s two wagons to start for Winter Quarters where the main body of Saints were gathering. Edwin, Mary Ann, and Lettice Rushton chose to go down river to St. Louis. Why did they separate at this time? Why didn’t they stay together? Perhaps Edwin felt the two wagons were not enough for all and rather than be the cause of added hardships with his two sisters and their families, he would gallantly refuse to go with them. Perhaps they did not understand the importance and necessity for the Saints of the Church to be united together at this time. Many other Saints went to St. Louis at the same time. Maybe it was Lettice who thought it best to go to St. Louis where Richard and Frederick had established a residence. There is no written explanation that has been found. All we can do is speculate. Lettice was very ill with the ague at the time and undoubtedly her health was a factor in his decision.

 The illness “ague’‘ is defined in a medical book as follows: “AGUE A chill. Ague (pronounced Ay’gyoo) is also the fever associated with Malaria.” It would be most debilitating and we can understand why Edwin felt he could not take his mother to Winter Quarters at that time. Undoubtedly her age and physical condition was a worry to him. He reasoned the expedient thing to do was to go to St. Louis and prepare to join the Saints at the earliest possible time.

 Edwin then states in his history “My mother died one month afterwards. “ The diary indicates Lettice Rushton died September 20, 1846 aged 64 years. St. Louis, North America.” So it is assumed that her age, her illness, her terror of being driven from her home, her exposure to the weather and possibly great discouragement at the turn of events caused her to give up the will to live and hastened her death so soon after arriving in St. Louis.

 The winter of 1846 must have been a very trying one for Edwin and his wife. Where he lived in St. Louis, how he obtained food and clothing we do not know. He says he was very sick during the winter. If there ever was a time when a man could get discouraged and begin to waver in his belief in the Church and wonder why he was in such miserable circumstances in spite of his good works it was now. Edwin did not waver, neither did his good wife Mary Ann. Their testimony that Joseph Smith was truly a prophet of God remained strong. They accepted their circumstances and prepared for the time they could leave and join the Saints once again. It would be a struggle judging from the entries in his journal.

 Edwin’s journal notes he worked for Mssrs. Coate and Cozens, land surveyors beginning July 19, 1847. Pay was meager and work in the hot sun must have been most unpleasant. His wages were one dollar per day when he worked. Between July 19th and December 30th he earned a total of $104.45. Most of the time he did surveying work, probably as a chain man, but the diary notes some time was spent “digin coal”, and working in the “grave yard”. Some graveyard work consisted of setting headstones, but some work may have included digging graves. Whatever, it was hard miserable work at coolie wages. Edwin had another reason to work. He had another mouth to feed. His diary states: “Francis Elizabeth Rushton born half past 10 o’clock 18th of November in the morning 1847 St. Louis, Mo.”

 The year 1848 was also a difficult one for Edwin and family. The diary indicates he worked all year for Messr. Coate and Cozens, but not every day. Some months he worked 7 to 9 days, others 16 to 26 days. His salary did not change- one dollar per day, 50 cents for a half-day’s work. There were many half days. Mary Ann had a new baby to care for, but in spite of this, they found it necessary to take in boarders beginning in April 1848. She also did washing for her boarders. Notations indicate this continued until April 1849. They received $2.00 per week plus small amounts for washing and presumably ironing.

 In 1849 Edwin worked from January 15th to March 2lst. Then on May 24, 1849 we read in the diary: “Francis Elizabeth Rushton died at 5 o’clock in the morning in St. Louis, Missouri.”

 Also noted in his journal is the following: “Jane Rushton, the wife of Frederick James Rushton departed this life May 5th 1849. “ Also letter to Thomas Bullock in June 1849 states:

“Death has assailed the inhabitants on every side in the world and especially in St. Louis with the Colorea (sic). My brother Fredrick wife took it on the Friday night and on the Saturday night at sun set she died.” The cholera epidemic in St. Louis in 1849 took the lives of many people and filled the cemeteries with the dead.”

 We can imagine Edwin and Mary Ann’s remorse at losing this sweet 1½-year old child and a sister-in-law. Perhaps these deaths and the struggle they were having just to keep themselves alive prompted the decision to “start west” as fast as possible. Edwin states in his partial autobiography: “This day (the day his baby Francis Elizabeth died) I started to Counsel Bluffs and at Ferryville (Nebraska) bought a farm.

 It was not uncommon during this time period for the Saints to farm long enough to raise money for their own journey west by providing food for the migrating Saints. Apparently this is what Edwin had decided to do. He paid 165 hard-earned dollars to a Mr. Pickett for a farm. Unfortunately, Mr. Pickett turned out to be dishonest and he lost his money. (Mr. Picket sold the farm twice and the other buyer had already sold it again.) Edwin apparently bought another farm in the vicinity of Ferryville, facing Winter Quarters. Mary Ann stayed in Ferryville and Edwin planned to go to St. Louis to raise money to get off in the spring of 1850, if possible. Mary Ann was expecting another baby at this time and, in spite of this, Edwin went back to St. Louis.  In his absence, the baby was born.

 His autobiography states: “That winter (1849) 1 went to St Louis to work and obtain more means. While I was away my wife had another daughter born Oct 18th 1849. Named her Martha Celesty.”

 Edwin worked again for Mssrs Cozens doing survey work beginning some time in September 1849 and continuing until December. “In the spring,” he states in his autobiography, “I returned, found my family well but my farm was all burnt out by Emigrants setting fire to grass. I then returned to St Louis with my family.”

 Then another sorrowful notation in Edwin’s diary, “Martha Celesty Rushton departed this life October 11th 1850 in Saint Louis, Mo.” Since Edwin and Mary Ann had married, they had four children born, including one stillborn, between 1842 and 1849. Each had died in infancy. What a tragic experience this had been. Yet their faith in God and their testimony of the gospel remained strong. They remained in St. Louis until the spring of 1851.

 Edwin’s letter to Thomas Bullock in June 1849 was partially an appeal for financial help to go west. His plans to earn money from his farm did not materialize and he was anxious to leave this section of the country and re-establish a home for his wife. It would almost seem that the Lord didn’t want him to stay in this section of the country.  By trials, death of his loved ones, sickness and other worries difficult to solve, Edwin knew he needed to be with the main body of Saints out west and they needed his strength and testimony to forge a new life together. Undoubtedly he would have left earlier if circumstances had permitted.

 His appeal for financial help did not go unanswered. We know he received assistance from the Perpetual Emigration Fund. This fund was set up in 1850 and continued until 1877. The fund made it possible for many Saints to borrow money to emigrate from Europe to Great Salt Lake City. Edwin’s company was the 2nd company to use P. E. funds. The first departed 4 July 1850 under the leadership of Edward Hunter. The second departed 7 July 1851 under John Brown. Edwin noted his departure west as follows:

 “On the 15th of April 1851 I started with a company of 35 waggons as their Captain. They were chiefly from England. We started from Churchville and arrived at counsel Bluffs on the 3rd of July. On the fifth crossed the Missouri River at sun down traveled to a camp that night. John Brown being captain of the same.”

 Being captain of ten green Englishmen who had never seen oxen or a yoke would have been quite a job. It must have kept Edwin and his young wife busy showing them how to yoke up their oxen.  They arrived in Salt Lake Valley September 28, 1851.

 One of the first jobs Edwin had after arriving in the valley was in the saw-pit at the Public Works. He and Isaac Hunter sawed by hand the lumber for public buildings with a large crosscut saw. He was road supervisor and Poll Tax collector for Salt Lake County for many years. Also at one time with another man had the contract to drive the mail coach from Salt Lake City to Wanship.

 Edwin indicates in his autobiography that he “reached the Valley Sept. 31st 1851. “ His diary indicates that beginning in October 1851, he and his brother-in-law, George Wardle, started sawing wood for the “Public Works” at three dollars per hundred feet. His diary would suggest he received most of his pay in kind rather than cash. It is interesting to note what food cost in 1851 as recorded in his diary.

 2 chickens                  $0. 40

pound of butter                .25

beef per pound                .08

flour per pound                .06

potatoes /bushel            1. 00

cabbage     lb.                              .03

tallow      lb                                 .03

corn      bushel              1. 25

broom                                                     .40

pork        lb                                 .20

eggs        doz.                              .25

molasses qt.                                  .50

shoes       pair                5.00

 He apparently did many kinds of work, including horse shoeing and blacksmithing.

 On February 14, 1849, Great Salt Lake City had been divided into nineteen wards of nine blocks each. On February 22, 1849 Bishop William H. Hickenlooper was ordained Bishop of the Sixth Ward. Those Latter-day Saints residing in the city bounded on the north by Third South Street, on the east by Second West Street, on the south by Sixth South Street and on the west by the Jordan River were members of the Sixth Ward. In 1852, an adobe meeting and school house 38 x 32 feet was erected on Third West between Fourth and Fifth South on the west side of the street. It was in this ward that Edwin and his family resided and were active members of the Church during their lifetime.

 The records of the Sixth Ward, Salt Lake City (microfilm 02658) have been reviewed and there are many references to Edwin Rushton and family that give us a better understanding of pioneer life and the part Edwin played.  Three months after his arrival, he was actively participating in major pioneer decisions.

 During the formative years of settling Utah, many problems had to be solved. One important action was the establishment of a sound currency system. Without the support of the loyal priesthood, the following system proposed by Brigham Young might not have succeeded:

 “Jan 22, 1852 This is to certify that we the undersigned do hereby sign our names and pledge ourselves to receive the Deseret paper currency as proposed by President Young at its full value according to the amount specified on the face thereof and to sustain such measures as may be adopted by himself and council on the Deseret Banking System”. Edwin Rushton was number seven on a list of signatures of Sixth Ward members willing to sign.

 On September 18, 1852, Mary Ann gave birth to a son named Edwin John Richard. This was their fifth child and the first one to live beyond childhood.

 Edwin was determined to improve his economic situation as rapidly as possible.  His journal records that he rented out his horses, with the understanding that every third day’s work was to be his.  He records payments in kind, cords of lumber.

 In October 1853, Edwin recorded “Purchase of Property located at 349 West 5th South” (between 2nd and 3rd West). By the sweat of his brow he built a log house on this property for Mary Ann. It was here Mary Ann Agnes was born 18 November 1854, then Henrietta 26 January 1857), followed by three stillborn children: Lenora 7 March 1859, Fortune 7 August 1860 and Fortunate date not recorded, sex unknown.

 Edwin held the office of Seventy in the Sixth Ward. He was clerk of the 14th Quorum of Seventy.  In 1854 a survey was taken and a record made of property owned by Sixth Ward members and its value. Edwin Rushton’s assets were recorded as follows:

 No. of Wives                            1      

No. of Sons                              1 

No. of Daughters            0

Horses                         200      

Cows                                                   50

Pigs                                                      20

Houses and lots             $150        

Household property            $50

Total Amount of Property $470.00

 The purpose of the 1854 survey was not stated in the records, but it is not difficult to imagine that, with a swelling number of emigrants arriving that fall, with the imminence of winter, the bishopric needed to know who might need assistance before another crop could be harvested and who might have a surplus that could be requested if needed by less fortunate saints.

 The winter of 1855-56 was a trying and difficult time for the pioneers. First of all, there were more mouths to feed. Edwin’s food storage was not large but apparently adequate. However, his two children, Edwin then three and Mary Ann Agnes, one, needed milk in addition to other food and a warm home to survive the bitter winter ahead.

 Church History shows: “The winter of 1856 proved to be a very trying time for the Saints. Not only was it one of the severest winters on record, the deep snows killing thousands of cattle, but crops of the previous two seasons had failed because of grasshoppers and drought. Severe famine faced the Saints.

 “By the early months of 1856 the sufferings were widespread. Fewer than half of the people had any bread, and those who did had but one half or one quarter pound per day per person. Some people dug roots for food. Others fished. Farmers, their oxen killed by famine or cold, had to pull their own plows in the fields as soon as snow cleared off.

 “But not all the barns and bins were empty. Some Saints, following Church leaders’ counsel during the previous three years, had stockpiled food in case just such a famine came.

 There is evidence Edwin lost some cattle that winter as the milk cow reported in the 1854 survey was not reported in the Dec. 6, 1856 survey. Surely he wouldn’t sell his milk cow. His stores for the 1856 winter were recorded as follows:

 Edwin Rushton   A seventy

A Lance Corporal

Value of Property $450

25 bu potatoes

6 bu corn

1- ½ cord wood

Occupation - Sawyer

Mary Ann Rushton occupation - dressmaker

 Since he was able to receive commodities in return for work performed at the Public Works, there is no indication he and his family suffered too much during this famine and hard winter. Mary Ann apparently helped provide some cash or commodities for the family as a “dressmaker”. She reportedly made clothing for her sister Henrietta Bullock who was much better off financially at this time than Edwin and Mary Ann.

 Years later, Henrietta Rushton Evans stated her mother “worked in the family of Brigham Young.” It is possible she was a dressmaker for some of the wives and children of Brigham Young, though we do not have documentary proof at this time.

 The most dramatic religious event of the 1850s was the reformation of 1856-57. While new communities were being settled, many members of the Church had drifted into spiritual lethargy as they struggled to survive on the frontier. During their first decade in the West, most Saints had concentrated on temporal affairs and had often neglected individual spiritual matters. The need for a reformation became especially apparent in 1856 when the effects of rapid immigration into Utah and the severe drought and grasshopper plague of 1855 combined to threaten the economic stability of Utah. Many Saints wore threadbare clothing and were on the verge of starvation. Church leaders taught that these conditions had come about partly because of the Saints' laxity in keeping the commandments.

 The December 6, 1856 Census indicated Edwin Rushton held the office of a Seventy. On September 17, 1857 the Bishopric of the Sixth Ward were called upon to render a decision in a property settlement. The record listed Edwin Rushton as one of the counselors.

 This would indicate that he was ordained a High Priest some time in late 1856 or 1857 as he should have been ordained a High Priest at the time he was called into the Bishopric.

 In spite of family needs and time required to make a living, there were many “projects” that required community assistance. Men tithed their time and assisted in building the temple, built canals for more efficient irrigation, built schools, furnished wood, tallow, wicks, etc. for the school- houses and were assessed for supplies that had to be purchased. As in all church projects, there were some who accepted their responsibility to the church and community and some who did not. The Sixth Ward records show numerous entries where Edwin Rushton contributed time, goods and money.

 The doctrine of polygamy must have been an important decision in Edwin’s life. He had always accepted the teachings of the living prophets, yet he, like all others, needed the approval of his first wife, Mary Ann. She gave her approval for his marriage to Sarah Robinson whom they had known in Nauvoo.

 In his diary the following is recorded: “Sarah Robinson married to Edwin Rushton on the 18th of January 1857. She was the daughter of John Robinson, gunsmith, from England. She was born at Hill Top in Staffordshire.  Second wife to Edwin Rushton. “ Between 1860 and 1879 there were ten children born to this couple.

 Edwin was anxious that his marriages be for eternity as well as for time. He had not had the opportunity as yet of having Mary Ann sealed to him. During the construction of the Salt Lake Temple, a temporary building known as the Endowment House was constructed on the north west corner of the Temple Block in Salt Lake. It was dedicated on May 5, 1855. On the 27th of February 1857 Edwin took his wife Mary Ann to the Endowment House and was sealed to her for eternity. Sarah Robinson received her endowments the same day and was also sealed to Edwin for eternity.

 It will be a surprise to many descendants to know that, on the same day, 27 February 1857, Edwin was also married for time only in the Endowment House to Ann Charlton who was born 10 December 1781 in Yorkshire, England. Ann was sealed the same day to her deceased husband, Benjamin Robinson, for eternity and to Edwin Rushton for time. (See Endowment House record No. 475, Book C - Slg. page 78. )

 It is difficult to know why this marriage took place. Ann was old enough to be Edwin’s mother. There were no children born to Edwin and Ann. The 1860 Census shows an Ann Robinson 78, born in England living at the home of Bishop Hickenlooper. This is undoubtedly the same person Edwin married for time, yet she was not using her married name of “Rushton” in the Census. She apparently made her home with Bishop Hickenlooper of the Sixth Ward though Edwin may have contributed to her support.

 On the 24th of July 1857 a large number of people gathered in Salt Lake for the festivities of this occasion when word was brought that an army of the United States was on its way to make war on the Mormon people. The president of the United States had been erroneously informed that Utah was in a state of rebellion and had ordered an army to quell the rebellion. Without any confusion, the festivities continued.  Camp was broken up the next day and the people returned home. The report stirred the hearts of brave men and women. However, during the Echo Canyon War, as it was called, the Sixth Ward responded to the call for volunteers to such an extent that on one occasion, September 19, 1857, every able bodied man in the Ward, excepting one, left the city for Echo Canyon to assist in the defense. (History of the Sixth- Seventh Ward, Throughout the Years 1849-1955)  Knowing Edwin as we have learned of him, he would not have been the one to stay home.  At the same time Governor Brigham Young issued a proclamation of martial law.

 This condition remained until March 21, 1858, when the leaders of the community were called together to discuss the matter and plans for moving south were outlined. Within a week, the move began at the rate of about 40 families per day. The move occupied a period of about two months, being virtually completed by the middle of May. About 30, 000 people moved southward with their horses, oxen, cows, wagons and carts. Salt Lake Stake was empty and deserted except for the “home guard”. This crisis brought out the following policy; to remove the grain and the women and children from the city; then, if necessary, to burn the city and lay it waste. Shavings, kindling, and dried grass were left in the entrances to homes to make the scorched-earth policy more effective.

 The church public works prepared for the transportation of church properties southward. The initial destination was Parowan, later changed to Fillmore, finally changed to Provo. One group cached all the stone which had been cut for the Salt Lake Temple and leveled and covered over the foundations of this sacred edifice so that it would resemble a plowed field and remain unmolested by “desecrating marauders”.

 The Johnston’s army episode was another trial to the Saints and a test of faith. It was tragic in that it separated families, caused anxieties, disrupted their way of life, caused hardships and added to sorrows they had previously endured. Once again Edwin and others placed their trust in the Lord and His chosen leaders and once again, time indicated they had made the correct decision.

 On June 14, 1858, U. S. President Buchanan gave “free and full pardon” to the Saints. Members of Salt Lake Stake and other citizens of the territory began to return home in July 1858. At the outset, President Brigham Young had urged members to be prayerful and obey counsel and they would whip that army without firing a gun! This they did and without shedding a drop of blood. The story of the Mormon resistance, the burning of U. S. supply wagons and forcing the U. S. Army to go into a winter camp short of their objective in Salt Lake City is a story itself worth reading and repeating.  (The Story of Salt Lake Stake by Lynn M. Hilton, 1972)

 It would appear that Edwin needed a home for Sarah and, in anticipation of more children, would need to provide for them. He therefore purchased Lot 8 Block 2, Jordan Plat B, Great Salt Lake County containing 9 and 66/100 acres. This purchase was recorded July 10, 1857. He, with others, had settled on a tract of land running along the east bank of the Jordan River. President Young requested Edwin to enter title to this tract as none of the others could qualify. Later the President asked him to return the land to the original owners, which he did. This left him a forty acre farm, part of which was in a pretty bend of the river. Here he built a rather commodious log house where Edwin and Sarah’s children were born. This home was located between what is now 7th and 8th South and west of 9th West street, about where the 26th Ward Chapel stands.

 Edwin and Sarah’s daughter, Edith Rushton Christensen writes: “My earliest recollection of Father is a picture in my mind of him and us children gathered around a lighted lamp at home in the evening. He would read out loud to us regularly. His selections were not particularly appropriate for someone as young as I was then, nevertheless we were expected to stay quiet and listen. He had a full beard, and to me seemed quite stern and austere.”

 Edith Rushton Christensen writes, “When the silk industry was being instituted here, President Young asked Father to sell mulberry trees up through the northern counties, and at about this time a grove of those trees was planted on the farm. Among these friendly trees and in the willows along the river bank, my sisters and I spent a happy childhood, and whenever I see mulberry trees or sweet clover, to this day I am seized with nostalgia. “

 “Father built swings and teeters and a sturdy whirligig for the enjoyment of us children. The popularity of this crude playground, one of the first in Salt Lake I believe, spread and families and ward groups came to enjoy it. In the river Father constructed two great water wheels. These wheels had some eight wings or paddles with a wooden bucket or trough fastened to each paddle. As the force of the water turned this wheel, these buckets filled and as they went down again, emptied the water on the land for irrigation. This also carried water to a cistern to be used for culinary purposes. Years later, splendid artesian wells were found on this land, and what a thrill for all of us when that clear beautiful water poured from the pipe.”

 On the 7th of June 1862, Edwin took Maria Henrietta Allen to the Endowment House and they were married. She became his fourth wife. She was affectionately called  “Aunt Maria” by all of the children. She received her endowments the same day she was married for eternity. One child, Maria, was born 15 October 1869 in Salt Lake.

 Edwin was respected in the community and took part in politics. On 8 August 1864, he was selected to be a delegate to a convention. A newspaper article indicated the convention convened in Great Salt Lake City at the tabernacle. Representatives were in attendance from all counties of the state. Edwin Rushton was one of the 24 delegates from G. S. L. County. The purpose of the convention seems to be to make recommendations regarding the price of grain, flour, etc.

 Edwin’s early experience and that of his family in the silk industry could not be forgotten. Ideas began to take shape after settling in Salt Lake and a silk industry was seriously considered for Utah. There are a number of published articles indicating his interests and that of others in establishing such an industry. Excerpts are as follows:

 Journal History, 7 Nov. 1868

 “The school of the prophets met at 1 P.M. in the old Tabernacle. Elder Rushton spoke on the manufacture of silk. He and all of his fathers family had been raised in the manufacture of sewing silk and he desired to go into the movement with his whole heart.”  A Mr. G. D. Watt gave a lecture in the 6th Ward meeting house extolling the advantages of producing silk over wool.  “One hundred pounds of silk worms will give 20,000, which in 42 days with proper attendance will give 7-½ pounds of reeled silk.  Wool is worth 50 cents per pound and the silk from $5 to $10.  It does not require a shrewd calculation to see where the advantage in profit lies.”  After the lecture, speeches were made by Edwin Rushton and others.  It was unanimously agreed to organize in the 5th and 6th Wards a co-operative silk producing society..

 The 1870 census for the 6th Ward shows Edwin at 46 was a farmer.  Edwin, Jr. at 17 is listed as a laborer. (G. S. Film 553110) 

 During the 1870's and early 80's, Edwin was engaged in the contracting business. He equipped himself with machinery for driving piles and constructing bridges, becoming the builder of many of the early day bridges. He used to take large crews of men out on these projects, and was considered a generous employer. Many of these men affectionately called him “Boss” ever after. Some of these contracts were the Union Pacific Railroad bridges over the Bear and Snake Rivers when the railroad was rerouted. He drove the piles for bridges in Rush Valley, and for the Denver & Rio Grand Railroad from here to Green River. Edwin built the Jordan River Bridge west of Lehi, which is still in use. (The pioneer engineer, Cox, collaborated with Edwin in this bridge, and it was considered at that time quite an engineering feat.) He drove the piles for one of the old resorts on the Lake, and for six railroad bridges on the Sanpete Valley branch line, contracting under Simon Bamberger.  The 1880 Census (G. S. Film 38083 - Pt. 3) shows that Edwin at 56 listed his occupation as a “Bridge Builder.”

 Shortly after Edwin married his wife Maria, laws began to be considered forbidding polygamy. Finally, a law was passed in Congress making plural marriage subject to penitentiary imprisonment.  It is reported that if a man would desert his plural wives and disown his children, they need not go to prison and a $100 fine would suffice.  Edwin went to jail.

 During the period when the Federal Government, through the United States Marshall and his host of deputies, was persecuting the leaders and members of the Church who were practicing polygamy, Edwin was subjected to considerable humiliation because, having at the time three wives, he was being constantly watched and investigated by these lascivious minions of the law. The Federal Government expected and demanded that the brethren who were practicing polygamy renounce and abandon their plural wives and children, or suffer the consequences, the consequences being a term in the State penitentiary. Naturally, Edwin had no intention of forsaking either his wives or children, and eventually the deputy marshals obtained the evidence they had been seeking, and he was brought before the court for a hearing. In order to spare his family the pain and embarrassment of a trial, he pled guilty and was sentenced to serve four months in the State prison. Many of the brethren received much longer terms, but because of Edwin’s age, the court shortened his sentence. He served his sentence in the year 1887.

 Church Chronology reported as follows:

“Oct. 3, 1887. In the 3rd Dist Court (Judge Zane) Edwin Rushton of the 5th Ward, Salt Lake City was sentenced to 4 months imprisonment and $50 fine and Hyrum Henry Evans of the 6th Ward Salt Lake City to 6 months imprisonment and $50 fine, both for u. c. (unlawful cohabitation).

“Jan. 12, 1888. Edwin Rushton discharged from the penitentiary.

 Edith, his daughter writes, “I shall never forget as long as I live the day that my sister took me to visit Father in prison. Although I was only ten years old, the gruesomeness of all those fine men huddled together under those unsanitary conditions, with very little room to move around, is indelibly printed on my mind.”

 During all this time Edwin was an active, energetic Church worker, holding many responsible positions. Especially was he a forceful, intelligent expounder, teacher and defender of

the LDS doctrine. The most potent force in Edwin’s life was his conviction of the divine mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith. He never tired of extolling the virtues of this great leader. It was said of him that he never left the pulpit without mentioning his acquaintance with Joseph Smith, and the fact that Joseph was a Prophet of God. Edwin bore testimony to his children that he was in the meeting when the mantle of Joseph descended on Brigham Young, and that it was a tense, dramatic experience. It was following the meeting when this momentous event occurred, according to Edwin, that he and his wife called at the home of Emma Smith, entreating her, after such a miraculous testimony of the divine leadership of Brigham Young, to join the Saints in the western migration.

 Frequently during Edwin’s life he spoke of a Revelation given to the Prophet, Joseph Smith, in the presence of him and Theodore Turley at the Prophet’s home, May 6, 1843. This Revelation is known as the “White Horse Prophecy”. Some years before Edwin passed away, two prominent Church officials questioned Edwin at great length concerning this Prophecy, and recorded the statement he made at that time.

 Edwin was well schooled in England, a critical reader of everything available, and a splendid correspondent. He was spiritual and generous, independent, honest and frank to the extreme, an enthusiastic citizen and a patron of civic affairs and the drama, often taking all his daughters to the old Salt Lake Theater. One of the things said at his funeral was that he was a man of decided views and opinions, and the courage to fight for those convictions.

 During the big real estate boom of the 1890's, Edwin sold his farms and built Sarah a new home on his city property in the old Sixth Ward, where he lived the remainder of his life.

 In a personal history highlighting Edwin’s life (written 6 May 1855 while an active Seventy), he closed his history with this testimony:  “I have rejoiced with the Saints to say I have been here and I feel to realise the blessings of God upon me.”

 Edwin died in Salt Lake City the 28th of December 1904, age 80. He was faithful to the teachings of the Church to the end and left a large posterity who honor and revere him. His family, parents, brothers and sisters were faithful members during the great trials and tribulations at Nauvoo and the settling of Utah.

 His wife Maria Henrietta Allen, died 25 October 1911, age 83. His wife Mary Ann died July 25, 1915 at the home of her daughter, Henrietta Evans, who resided at 1006 So. Lake St. Salt Lake City, Utah. She was 92. His wife Sarah Robinson died 1 April 1930 in Salt Lake City, age 94. It would appear that hard pioneer life, clean living and large families didn’t shorten the life of these pioneers.

 As we review the record of Edwin’s life, it is evident he proved himself worthy. He was a man of God who loved the Lord and kept His commandments. He met many trials in his life and overcame them. He magnified his priesthood, accepted the family responsibilities for four wives and all his children honored his parents, accepted church and civic responsibilities. He endured to the end in righteousness. Surely he will be one of those the Lord will accept as having “kept his second estate, “ and will be entitled to have glory added upon his head for ever and ever. He is a pioneer ancestor that all of his descendants can be proud of and should look forward to meeting at a future time.

 Can anyone doubt the Lord chastened, tested, and prepared the early saints of this the last dispensation, so he could find a people who would live by every word that proceeded from the mouth of God and the living prophets; to help establish Zion, a pure and dedicated people. The Rushton family was no exception. We descendants are the benefactors of their dedication.