Thursday, August 9, 2012


[Ancestral Link: Lura Minnie Parker (Stagge), daughter of Minnie May Elmer (Parker), daughter of Mary Ann Jost (Elmer).]

Burial: Ogden City Cemetery, Ogden, Weber County, Utah, USA - Plot: B-2-3-5E

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Parker family picture from  Mary Ann is the second from the left in the back row.

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Mary Ann Jost Elmer or “Minnie”, as she was called, daughter of John A. and Mary Ann Zwicker Jost, was born December 29, 1847, at Halifax, Nova Scotia.

In the spring of 1855 when she was seven years old, she, with her parents and eight brothers and sisters, left Halifax, going by boat to Boston. From that point they went by rail to St. Louis and thence by steamboat up the Missouri River to Atchison, Kansas.

Because of insufficient accommodations and funds for traveling across the plains to Salt Lake City, the family was obliged to remain in Atchison for one year.

They lived in a tent until Mr. Jost obtained work as a carpenter and earned enough money to rent a small house or shanty. It leaked so badly during a severe rainstorm that their bedding and clothing got wet and mildewed. Finally they managed to get the house repaired and the cracks stopped up before winter set in. Mary Ann’s father worked as a carpenter most of the year and two of her brother’s had work part of the time though they all received low wages. Her sister Kate did housework for one dollar fifty cents a week. By careful management they saved enough to begin the long journey across the plains to Salt Lake.

With a good outfit and plenty of supplies they crossed the Missouri River on a ferry boat and came to Florence or Winter-Quarters to wait for the wagon company. Her father sold his oxen and bought more when the company came.

They had left Atchison with ten other families, but soon joined and traveled with one of the hand cart companies bound for Utah and shared with them all the hardships of the long journey, allowing those unable to walk to ride on the wagons. This forced them to travel slowly, but even then they got some distance ahead of the hand carts so they had to wait at Laramie nine days for Captain Hodges’s company, when they again started west.

At South Pass they were caught in a snow storm and waited seven days, but it did not quit so they went on, traveling in snow the remainder of the journey. There was no feed for the oxen, and they got so poor and weak they had to double team.

They ran out of bread so Mr. Jost killed one of his cows and they lived on meat until they arrived at Fort Bridger. Just before they arrived at Fort Bridger one of their oxen ran away with a buffalo stampede. They tried to bring their one remaining cow with them, but had to leave her along the way.

Captain Workman came with ox teams from Salt Lake to meet the Saints, but the men gave out so they had to wait for mule teams which were sent out from Salt Lake to meet them and the hand cart company and bring them the rest of the way. The mule teams went back and forth over the mountain to keep the road open. The snow was like a high wall on each side of the road.

They arrived in Salt Lake on December 15, 1856, where the Jost family remained until the spring of 1857 when they moved to Ogden. When Johnston’s Army came they moved south and then returned back to Ogden. A few years later they were living in a two story adobe house which wasn’t quite completed. There was no stairway so they had to climb a rope to get to the top floor. A severe east wind came up which threatened to blow the house over. Mr. Jost tried to brace it, but without success and when he saw it was going over he called to them to get out. Mary Ann was on the top floor so she slid down the rope and ran out just in time to escape being crushed.

Mary Ann was a member of the first Ogden tabernacle choir. She went through the Salt Lake endowment house about two years before her marriage in answer to a call by President Brigham Young. This practice was afterward discontinued by the church.

She married Mark Alfred Elmer in 1869, the year the railroad was built. They were parents of six children, Mark, Abner, Minnie May, John, Ella, Ida and Rose. Mr. Elmer died May 31, 1895, while the family was living in Slaterville, Utah. Mrs. Elmer spent the last years of her life in Ogden, living with her youngest daughter Mrs. Rose Phillips. She died on April 4, 1925.

The above was submitted to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers by Irene D. Parker, 1879 South 1900 West, West Haven, Utah 84401, in May 1994.

Mark Alfred Elmer was the son of William Elmer - one of the rescuers of the handcart companies and the Hodgett wagon company of which Mary Ann Jost was a part.

Utah Death Certificates, 1904-1956 for Mary Ann Elmer

Name:Mary Ann Elmer
Titles and Terms:
Death Date:04 Apr 1925
Death Place:Ogden, Weber, Utah
Estimated Birth Year:1848
Death Age:77 years 3 months 6 days
Marital Status:Married
Race or Color:
Spouse's Name:Mark A. Elmer
Father's Name:John Jost
Father's Titles and Terms:
Mother's Name:Mary Ann Zwicker
Mother's Titles and; Terms:
Film Number:2259478
Digital GS Number:4121295
Image Number:601
Certificate Number:
cause of death: lobar pneumonia
street address: 2325 Jackson Avenue, Ogden, Utah
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Ogden City Directories
Mary Ann Jost Elmer lived (b) (rms) 2325 Jackson Avenue, Ogden, Utah 1916, 1917, 1919, 1925
Lived (b) 2188 Monroe Avenue, Ogden, Utah 1911 and 1912.

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