Moved by religion

When I’ve given lectures and consultations on migrations into and out of New England, a frequent matter of dialogue regards the query of whether or not the migration was religiously or economically motivated. For the interval of The Great Migration into New England from 1620-1640, the settlements by the English Separatists and Puritans had been overwhelmingly non secular (not for non secular freedom, however to observe their faith the way in which as they needed). A number of “second-generation” settlements like Hartford and New Haven, Connecticut, and even migrations out of New England to Dorchester, South Carolina, had been additionally religiously motivated, following a minister to a brand new city. By the mid-eighteenth and early nineteenth century, migrations out of New England had been largely economically motivated for cheaper land and different components. Nonetheless, often a religiously motivated migration happens, and generally they’re at first tough to identify.

Within the case of my mom’s ancestors making their strategy to Kansas from states from Maine to Virginia, it seems the migrations to the Midwest had been likewise financial. I’ve traced the ancestry of the spouses of my mom’s siblings, who’re additionally largely from the Midwest, and have discovered comparable patterns of their ancestry. This put up regards a bit of the ancestry of my uncle’s former spouse (and mom of three of my first cousins), who’s from Iowa. A lot of her ancestry is in the end from New England, migrating alongside the northern states, together with some German and Ulster Scot ancestors that made their strategy to Iowa within the mid-nineteenth century.

One among my aunt’s New England strains went again to the Towne household of Topsfield, Massachusetts, descending from William and Joanna (Blessing) Towne, who arrived in New England in 1639. Three of their daughters – Mary (Towne) Easty, Rebecca (Towne) Nurse, and Sarah (Towne) Cloyce – could be accused of witchcraft at Salem in 1692, and Mary and Rebecca had been hanged. My father additionally descends from William and Joanna by way of their son Jacob, whereas my aunt descends from their sons Edmund and Joseph, in addition to their executed daughter Mary. This kinship makes my three first cousins additionally my eleventh cousins, thrice over.

For my aunt, her Towne descents undergo her great-great-great-grandfather Stephen Richardson (1799-1888). Stephen was born in Massachusetts, married Erepta Wilder in Vermont in 1825, and died in Waterloo, Iowa. Whereas I had all of the “genealogical information” about Stephen and Erepta, I didn’t know something specifically about their lives (they don’t seem to be my ancestors), solely that they left New England for the Midwest, for what my aunt had assumed (like a lot of the remainder of her ancestry) had been financial causes. Not so quick.

Whereas I had all of the “genealogical information” about Stephen and Erepta, I didn’t know something specific about their lives…

In a dialog with certainly one of my cousins concerning our shared Civil Warfare ancestors by way of my mom and their father, my cousin was about Civil Warfare ancestors on her mom’s facet. In looking out what I had, I researched her ancestor John Hetzler (1819-1901), who was Stephen Richardson’s son-in-law, as John would have been the suitable age to have served within the Civil Warfare, if additionally barely older than many. Whereas John didn’t serve within the Civil Warfare, in looking out information on him and his spouse, I seen two “leaf hints” on, however to 2 databases I used to be not anticipating: “Membership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-1848” and “Early Members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.”

John Hetzler’s obituary had mentioned he was a Baptist, however after perusing these databases, I discovered his spouse Harriet Parmenter Richardson (1825-1889), her dad and mom Stephen and Erepta, and their eight youthful kids had been all early members of the Latter-day Saints. This was the explanation Stephen and Erepta left New England for the Midwest! The Richardson household joined the church at Orleans, Vermont in 1832. Stephen was baptized by Lyman Johnson and was quickly ordained a excessive priest. By this level, Stephen and Erepta had 4 kids, all born in New Hampshire between 1825 and 1831. That they had two extra kids in New Hampshire in 1833 and 1836, however by 1838 (when their seventh little one was born) they had been in Ohio close to the early Latter-day Saint settlement of Kirtland. The Richardson household moved to La Moille, Illinois in 1839 (the place that they had their final two kids), whereas the bigger group of Latter-day Saints went to Commerce, Illinois the identical yr, and renamed the city Nauvoo in 1840.

After Joseph and Hyrum Smith’s homicide in 1844, the Latter-day Saint motion went right into a succession crisis over who would lead the church. The main contenders had been Sidney Rigdon, James Strang, and Brigham Younger. The Nauvoo temple, nonetheless not accomplished on the time of Joseph Smith’s loss of life, was solely in use for about three months within the winter of 1845-46, earlier than the Latter-day Saints had been pressured out of Nauvoo as a consequence of rising mob violence. Stephen Richardson obtained his endowment on the Nauvoo temple on 9 January 1846.

The Richardson household joined this group, apart from the second little one Elizabeth…

The vast majority of Latter-day Saints adopted Brigham Younger to Utah, whereas smaller teams went with Sidney Rigdon to Pittsburgh and James Strang to Wisconsin. The Richardson household remained in Illinois. Members of the church who didn’t observe any of those leaders out of Illinois started to return collectively within the 1850s, and in 1860 had coalesced underneath the management of Joseph Smith’s son Joseph Smith III (who was solely eleven on the time of his father’s homicide) because the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now generally known as the Community of Christ). The Richardson household joined this group, apart from the second little one Elizabeth, who alongside together with her husband Simpson David Huffaker, had adopted the bigger group of Latter-day Saints to Utah. Whereas the reorganized church rejected plural marriage, the church underneath the management of Brigham Younger would proceed this observe for an additional forty-plus years. Elizabeth Melvina Richardson was the second of Simpson’s 4 wives. One wonders how the household communicated with one little one going to Utah and the others remaining in Illinois, in addition to following totally different types of the identical new faith that they had all joined.

Stephen and Erepta moved to Waterloo, Iowa, and a gaggle from the Reorganized Church based the city of Lamonia, Iowa, the place they printed their newspaper The Saints’ Herald. Each Stephen and Erepta, in addition to their daughter Harriet, had first rate obituaries on this paper, with Harriet’s noting she had later joined the Baptist Church. Of Stephen and Erepta’s eight kids who remained within the Midwest, none of them continued as members of the Reorganized Latter Day Saints, and most of them additionally turned Baptists. Their solely little one who remained in a Latter-day Saint religion was their daughter Elizabeth who moved to Utah and left quite a few descendants.  Elizabeth had fifteen kids (her husband had fifteen extra kids by his different three wives). One among Elizabeth’s granddaughters married a great-nephew of Brigham Younger, who was in flip a great-great-uncle of NFL quarterback Steve Young (additionally a great-great-great grandson of Brigham Younger, see chart).[1]

Click on on picture to develop it.

Since my aunt’s direct line again to Stephen and Erepta was not by way of any of the “tell-tale” Latter-day Saint settlements, it was simple to overlook this non secular purpose for his or her migration out of New England. I’m glad the leaf hints led me on an fulfilling tangent into a few of my cousins’ ancestors.


[1] Many of those Younger households are handled in a bit I had submitted for Rhonda R. McClure’s The History of the Brigham Family – Descendants of Thomas Brigham. Brigham Younger was named after his uncle by marriage, Phineas Brigham, however was additionally a Brigham descendant by way of his great-grandmother. The creator of the 1907 Brigham Genealogy didn’t see this different descent and was “grateful” to consider Younger was not a Brigham descendant.