Sunday, August 5, 2012


[Ancestral Link: Lura Minnie Parker (Stagge), daughter of Minnie May Elmer (Parker), daughter of Mark Alfred Elmer, son of William Elmer.]

Three scouts left Devil’s Gate to find the Martin Company, arriving at the Red Buttes camp on 28 October. (Painting by Robert T. Barrett.)

FEAR OF INDIAN ATTACKS prompted settlers on Bingham’s Lane (2nd Street, Ogden, Utah) to construct what came to be known as Bingham’s Fort. The fort was surrounded by a wall made of wooden posts, woven willows and mud as shown under construction in this painting by Farrell R. Collett.

Mary Ann Gheen (William's second wife)

William and Hannah Paulina Child and Mary Ann Gheen Elmer Tombstone

Ogden City Cemetery, Ogden, Weber County, Utah.
Burial: Ogden City Cemetery, Ogden, Weber County, Utah, USA - Plot: E-3-7-1E
Find A Grave Memorial# 26051554
found on


William Elmer, son of John Elmer and Sally Peaque, was born in Norwich, Orange County, Vermont on 16 September 1820.

In the spring of 1838 William was 18 years old. William, his parents and family, one wagon and one team of horses started west. Their goal was to move close to the church.

When they had come as far as Orsen, Ohio they stopped to rest. It was most unfortunate because here is where Mother and Father contacted typhoid fever and both of them passed away. It was hard indeed to leave them behind but after a short time they took courage and again started their journey. They traveled as far as Illinois where they stayed until the year 1846.

On March 26 1846 William married Hannah Polina Child in Lee County, Iowa. When these two young people decided to marry they found that by crossing a river into another state their marriage could be performed free of charge. Since they wished to hold on to their meager means, they crossed to the other side of the river and were married by a preacher as they stood in the back of their wagon. They settled for a time in Desmoine, Iowa. Three children were born in Iowa, they were: John Samuel, born October 13, 1847, Mark Alfred, born December 16, 1848, and William Warren, born November 23, 1850. These three children came with them into Utah on October 3, 1852.

After a short stay in Salt Lake City they came on into Ogden and settled at Binghams Fort in Weber County. Soon after their arrival a daughter Cynthia Trephenia was born. This was on December 16, 1852. Many hardships faced them at this time, food was scarce, their clothing they made from wool they combed, cleaned, and wove. They exchanged food with one another for variety with everyone, becoming well acquainted with “Flour lumpy dick”. They tried some farming but were bothered with soggy low lands which were not very productive.

Hostile Indians were a worry to them at this time. For protection a home guard was established. William was made Captain of cavalry Company A. When not on duty he often assisted others in building houses.

Another daughter was born to William and Hannah on February 13, 1854. She lived to be just three years old, dying in 1857. Another daughter Polly Ann was born December 16, 1856.

April 9, 1857, William married a second wife Mary Ann Gheen. About this time he was asked to go to Green River to help bring some of the Hand Cart Companys. He did this leaving his family to get along as best they could.

During the year of 1857 he was commissioned a Colonel by Brigham Young, who was then Governor of the State of Utah. At this time due to the trouble starting because of Johnsons Army protesting the Mormons, William was advised to take his family and move them south. He took them to Payson, Utah. They moved into a small log cabin, the only shelter available. The roof was not even completely closed in over their heads. While there Hannah gave birth to a daughter Phebe Oninda and Mary gave birth to a son, Levi James. Family history tells us that when the children were born kind neighbors placed their carpet pieces and blankets over the inadequate roof to make them more comfortable. During this same year William and Hannah's first son John Samuel passed away.

It had been said that William before leaving Ogden stored some flour away in the ground for later use. In the winter of 1859 it was considered safe for him to bring his family back to Ogden. They moved into a small adobe home east of Washington Avenue. The winter was bitter cold with five feet of snow. William located the spot where he had left the flour and dug it up. Once again they were glad for “Flour Lumpy Dick.” We are told they used this flour most sparingly making it last until spring.

Another daughter Sally Rosa Bell was born November 15, 1861 to Hannah. She died at the age of seventeen in the year 1878. At this time William was given badly needed employment on the railroad and daughter Polly Ann in her family narration wrote, “With the first money my Father earned on the railroad he bought me my first pair of real grown up shoes.” She was then 12 years old.

William was a hard worker being a man of great physical strength. He made shingles and is believed to be the first to make shingles in the Ogden area.

William’s farm land was in Marriott, Utah. Although he was always bothered by wet soggy lowlands, he did succeed in making his ground pay.

Two more children were born to William and his first wife Hannah. They were Charles Asa, born August 17, 1869, died 3 July 1870 and Hyrum Barney born Feb 11, 1871. Charles Asa lived to be 11 months old, Hyrum Barney lived to be one year old.

William Elmer was the Father of 16 children…twelve (12) of them with his first wife Hannah Palina and four (4) of them with Mary Ann Green.

For the benefit of future history let it be known and attested that these two women loved each other, they laughed together, suffered together, shared and grieved together when sorrow struck. They both loved their God and followed the principles of their gospel.

William Elmer was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Nauvoo Legion and a high priest in the church. He was loved and respected by all who knew him.

After the Manifesto it was necessary for him to be away from his family. This was hard on him. His health was failing and this proved to be one of his greatest trials. He was, however, able to spend his last years with his first wife Hannah in the small house east of Washington Avenue.

He died true to the gospel and to his maker on December 15, 1895.

Hannah was made the administrator of his property. She allocated his twenty (20) acre farm in Marriott to his two sons Levi and Heber. They and their Mother Mary Ann Gheen moved there to make their home. Hannah remained in Ogden until her death on December 22, 1897. Mary Ann passed away seven years later on April 18, 1903. It was recalled that at the death of Hannah, Mary Ann was inconsolable. She said, “She was the best friend I ever had”.

Presented by Great Granddaughter

Cynthia Grace Wilde

The above was submitted to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers by Cynthia Grace Wile in January 1968. It was noted under “Company Arrived With” Independent.

ELMER, WILLIAM (son of John Elmer and Sally Peaque). Born September 16, 1820, Norwich, Orange county, Vermont. Came to Utah October 3, 1852.

Married Hannah Plina Child March 26, 1846, in Lee county, Iowa (daughter of Alfred B. Child and Polly Barber), who was born January 24, 1828, and came to Utah with husband. Their children: John Samuel born October 13, 1847, died; Mark Alfred born December 16, 1848, married Minnie Jost; William Warren born November 23, 1850, married Adelaide Hall; Cynthia Tryphenia born December 16, 1852, married John Q. Leavitt August 16, 1869; Hannah Plina, born February 13, 1854, died 1857; Polly Ann born December 6, 1856, married Mark Hall December 7, 1874; Sally Rosa Bell born November 16, 1861, died 1876; Sarah Josephine born April 15, 1863, married W. W. Browning; Electa Ann born January 28, 1865, married Chris. J. Brown; Charles Asa born August 17, 1869, died July 3, 1870; Hiram Barney born February 11, 1871, died May 21, 1872. Family home Ogden, Utah.

Married Mary Ann Gean April 1857, Salt Lake City (daughter of William A. Gean and Esther Ann Pierce, pioneers 1850). She was born December 29, 1832. Their children: Levi James born October 1, 1858, married Treen Louise Peterson February 20, 1895; Esther Ann born December 27, 1861, married Francis Keyes October 27, 1878; Amanda Vilate born July 5, 1863, married James Green Browning April 26, 1883; William Heber born February 13, 1869, married Inga Peterson December 20, 1899.

Lieutenant-colonel Nauvoo Legion; captain cavalry Company A. Assisted in building first railroad in Ogden, and first road in Ogden Canyon. Assisted in bringing immigrants to Utah 1856. High Priest.

This was with information sent from the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. It appears to have come from a book.

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847-1868
This Church History site lists William Elmer as Male, 31, and coming to Utah in the Uriah Curtis Company (1852). It also states that he was Captain of First Ten.

Obituary of William Elmer
Deseret Weekly 19 January 1898

Utah Digital Newspapers Website

Ogden City, Utah, Jan 6, 1895,-Elder William Elmer, whose demise occurred December 15, 1894, joined the Church of Jesus Chrst of Latter-Day Saints in very early times. He was the son of John Elmer and Sally Peque. He ws born at Norwich, Chitiendeu County, Vermont, September 18, 1820. He with all his father's family were baptized into the Church on the 11th of July, 1835. In 1838 they removed from Vermont and settled about eight miles west of Navoo. Here they remained for eight years. when they traveled westward to Council Bluffs, where they remained four years.

On March 26, 1847 William Elmer married Miss Hannah Polina Child, daughter of Alfred B. Child and sister of Warren G. Child.

On July 8, 1852 they commenced their long overland march for Utah. They traveled in Company 16, Captain Curtis being in command. They arrived in Salt Lake City October 2nd that same year. Shortly after reaching Utah, William Elmer and his family came north and settled in Weber county, near where Bingham's Fort (now called Lynne) was built. during the fall and winter he hauled logs from the canyon and built a jog cabin, the roof of which was made of poles and dirt, and into this house he installed his family.

In the fall of 1853 the Indian troubles commenced in that part of the county, when the Saints were instructed to build a fort and gather into it for safety. This they did, and built a Spanish wall around it a good portion of which was done by William Elmer. This place was called Binghams Fort. In the winter of 1854 he suffered from a severe attack of Mountain fever, which nearly proved fatal to him. By the mercy of God he was spared, but from the effects of the sickenss he never fully recovered his normal physical strength.

During the summer of 1855 the grasshoppers raided the farms, fields and gardens. They came in countless millions--in clouds which at times darkened the upper deep. They destroyed nearly everything that was used for food for man or animals, fowl or creeping things. But by hard fighting he managed to save a little food from their ravages to feed his family. In the spring of 1856 he located in Ogden City. Late in the fall of 1856 he was called with a number of others to go back on the plains and help to bring in the hand cart companies of Saints who were blockaded by the deep snows. To this call he responded cheerfully and rendered efficient aid to the suffering emigrants.

In 1857 he was commissioned captain of calvary, company A, Nauvoo Legion, and with his men marched to Echo canyon to defend the people's rights-which were then invaded-in the "Mormon War."

In 1858 he participated in the move south. He stayed at Payson during the winter and returned to Ogden City in 1859 where he continued his residence for the remainder of his mortal career. He was subsequently commissioned major in the Nauvoo Legion, which office he held until the Legion was disorganzed by order of the Governor of Utah. The funeral, which was largely attended, was held in the Second ward meeting house. Addresses were delivered by Elders Charles F. Middleton, Bishop Robert McQuarrle, Joseph Hall and others who were intimately acquainted with him for a great number of years. All the speakers bore testimony of his great worth as a man, a citizen, a soldier, a husband and father, and a faithful Latter-day Saint. His posterity was large, seventy-eight in all to date. He had sixteen children, fifty-five grand children and seven great-grandchildren, most of whom survive him. He was of a peaceful disposition, a patient sufferer in affliction. He was upright and honest in all his dealings with his fellow men. He was formerly a Seventy, and at the time of his death was a member of the High Priest quorum.

Yours truly,

Joseph Hall

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Flour Lumpy Dick

A "dick" is simply a boiled pudding, and this dish is kin to the infamous "spotted dick." There is no doubt that, even with vigorous stirring of the flour during it addition and cooking, this dish indeed would be lumpy. While the dish is associated with Mormons in San Bernardino, it is a traditional English dish of the poor. To boiling water slowly add white flour until it reaches the consistency of mush; add a pinch of salt. Serve either hot or cold with milk and sugar.

Lumpy Dick3 qt. rich milk
6 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
3 cups cream
Heat milk to boiling - stir continuously
Mix flour, salt, and cream to pie dough consistency
add by handfuls to hot milk until it thickens.
Stir constantly.
Dish up in bowls, sprinkle with sugar,
serve with milk. Delicious!

All Sons of the Utah Pioneers-Utah, Pioneer Companies

Name: William Elmer
Age: 32
Captain: U. Curtis
Arrival: 01 October 1852
Comments: 1 wagon, 1 hors
Found on

William Elmer

William Elmer was a Lieutenant-Colonel Nauvoo Legion; Captain cavalry Company A. Assisted in bringing railroad in Ogden and first road in Ogden canyon. Assisted in bringing immigrants to Utah 1856. High Priest. Came to Utah 3 October 1852.

"Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah" by Frank Esshom

Known rescuers of the Willie, Martin, Hodgett, Hunt Pioneer Emigrating Companies of 1856

Elmer, William (36)

 Polly Ann Elmer was born December 6, 1856 in Ogden, Utah. Just before that time her father William Elmer was called by President Brigham Young to go back as far as the Sweet River (beyond Evanston) and meet the Handcart Company. Because of the deep snow and severe cold weather, they had been delayed and were suffering from hunger and cold. This made it necessary for provisions and clothing to be taken to them before they could continue their journey into Salt Lake City. Because he was called at this time, he (grandfather) had to leave his home that he was building before it was completed. It was in this home with no roof on the house that my grandmother was born. At the time there was three feet of snow on the ground and it was still snowing. Making it necessary to hold quilts over the bed to keep the snow off. In the spring of 1858 President Brigham Young ordered the Saints to move south for safety from Johnson’s Army. She (Polly Ann) lived in Payson, Utah with her parents until the fall of the same year when they moved back to Ogden. Here on the same acre of ground that he had build his home, William Elmer cleared away trees and brush, and planted vegetables such as potatoes, squash, etc. The wheat and other grains as a rule were raised on five acre farms at that time.  
It was impossible then for the children here to obtain much education, but Polly Ann attended school until she was forced to work at home on account of the continued illness of her mother. Her duties at home as well as that of her other sisters consisted of everything pertaining to home. She also carded wool, spun the yarn with the aid of the spinning wheel, and out of the material made her own clothes. In the year of 1868, her father worked on the railroad grade to bring the first railroad into Ogden. For this he received money for pay and was able to buy her for the first time a pair of shoes made out of leather. She was then twelve years old. Found on Written Polly Elizabeth Taylor (Roghaar).

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