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James William Huntsman       Hannah Davis      

Church histories are replete with Missouri persecutions by mobs. All of this came to the Huntsman's with their baptism. Hardly had they settled in Caldwell County when they were ejected from their house and home with all other Mormons. With them, they moved to the City of Nauvoo, Illinois, Lot 3, Block 64, where their Nauvoo home was built.

On January 1, 1846, James William and his wife, Hannah, were admitted into the new Temple where they received all the blessings of the endowment and were sealed as man and wife for time and all eternity.

James William Huntsman labored as a carpenter on the Nauvoo Temple and was also called to guard this building from the destroying hands of the vandals and riffraff surrounding the City of Nauvoo. Fortunately, the Church and the members had supplied themselves with the best hand tools and implements.

About this time or before, the Illinois State Officials backed and aided the mobbers to plunder, rob, and drive out the Mormons. Wagons and teams were the prime booty to be taken, so as to leave as many on foot as possible. There were also many converts coming from Europe who had never had any means of transportation. The great need was to make wagons.

Such skilled workers as Brother Huntsman were all to work in relays around the clock, either in wagon shops; improvised shops, or with some in former stores.

Much valuable and indispensable machinery and other Church property, such as a printing press, had to be guarded while being moved. Brother Huntsman helped to stand off the rabble mob while all this property and the weak, poor, and infirm Saints could be evacuated.

Now so much time had been used in shop and guard duty that James William hired out to one of those Gentile newcomers, who had bought, at great bargains, farms and crops. He and others first shelled a great amount of corn. Then they went to the wheat field, 12 miles east of the city, harvest the wheat. While going to the wheat field, one day, seven Mormons and a Gentile fellow worker were soon surrounded by a mob of about seventy men who forced them to lean over a rail across a ditch where they proceeded to give them 20 lashes with a hickory whip. Because he was found in such bad company, the non-Mormon received the same punishment.

The three Church leaders left in charge at Nauvoo signed a treaty with mob leaders and State-Aids-in-Charge, but the mob, disregarding the treaty, walked in and took over. Those who were too feeble and weak to resist they abused as well as robbed. The Huntsman family was allowed to load into a two-wheel cart drawn by an old horse what they could get away with. His good team, wagon, and all valuables were stolen.

They crossed to Montrose, Iowa, where they remained over the winter. The whipping occurred July 11, 1846, and the move was in late September. With them were the six children, but somehow they all survived to reach Council Bluffs on the Potawatomi Indian lands in October, 1847. Here they had to start from scratch not only to survive, but also to gain a new outfit and provisions for the journey west.

Mention has been made of the salvaging of tools and other things necessary for making equipment. Diligently, patiently, and steadily, the father and family all labored without stopping to complain about their losses. Two good wagons were built by James William by hand labor and some good work cattle and cows were acquired.

Regardless of the hardships, robbing and expulsions, not even childbearing was postponed. While living among these Potawatomi Indians, two more sons were born to Hannah and James William. The last one was David Orrin who arrived July 24, 1851, while Hannah's husband was away across the plains. He and their daughter, Sarah, then 17, had left May 10, 1851, to go ahead to find and locate a new home base beyond the Rockies

James William Huntsman decided to locate near a spring at the southern point of the Great Salt Lake where there were ranching possibilities.

Reports say that the father worked around the city that winter of 1851-52, then he climbed over the mountains and met the family at Fort Bridger, where he saw for the first time his littlest Potawatomi boy. To this new ranch to be made, the family came, soon after their arrival in the City of Salt Lake on September 1, 1852.

Now while the father of this family was on this preliminary trip, we can be sure that Hannah and the girls were not just sitting idle. Mother and the girls were busily carding wool, spinning, weaving, and sewing by hand a goodly supply of clothing. The lads were helping out the Elders on the Church farms on land borrowed from Indians, so they earned their supplies to take themselves over the plains. They were prepared on June 2, 1852, to enter the caravan of 100 wagons in the company of fifty wagons.

Source: all information is from Huntsman Annals by Lamond Huntsman 1971. Page 109 of the Huntsman Annals states that a complete genealogy record was microfilmed by Lamond Huntsman in 1966 and put in the Salt Lake Genealogy Library.

James William and Hannah: #10 and #11 on Chart 3

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