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Above: Great Salt Lake

James William Huntsman

James William Huntsman was making lumber in Michigan when he met Hannah Davis, then about 15 years old. They married 28 Jan 1831 in White Pigeon, Mich. where there was a clergyman who could give them a proper marriage.

About this time James William aquired a Book of Mormon. They left LaGrange County Indiana in 1834. He was baptised April 15, 1838 and she was baptised on July 15, 1838. See Hannah Davis' record of births of their children to see where they were living at different times. In Nauvoo they had lot 3, block 64. They received their endowments in the new temple January 1, 1846, but were not sealed until 18 July 1853. He had labored as a carpenter on the temple and was also a guard there. He also worked to build wagons when the people were so desperate to leave Nauvoo.

After many of the church members were forced to sell their property in Nauvoo for very little, James William hired out to one of the newcomers. This was in order to earn money to outfit his family and leave Nauvoo. First he shelled a great amount of corn, then he and other hired hands went to the fields 12 miles east of the city to cut wheat. On their way to the field one day, seven Mormons and a Gentile fellow worker were surrounded by a mob of about seventy men who gave each one twenty lashes with a hickory whip. For more details see "Harvest Party" Comprehensive History of the Church Vol.3 page 6. Also "Battle of Nauvoo" pages 14-15 same volume.

The Huntsman family had only a two-wheel cart and an old horse to move their things from Nauvoo. The good team, wagon and other possessions had been stolen. The whipping occurred July 11, 1846 and they left in late September to spend the winter in Montrose, Iowa. They reached Council Bluffs in October, 1847 and spent some time building two good wagons and gathering provisions.

David Orin was born here while James William and Sarah (at 17) were in Salt Lake Valley looking for a place to settle. James William decided to settle on ranch land in Tooele County. He worked around the city the winter of 1851-52, then he traveled east to meet his family at Fort Bridger. They arrived in Salt Lake City on September 11, 1852.

The older boys, 13 and 8, helped the Elders on the church farms on land borrowed from Indians, to earn supplies to journey west. Their ox drawn wagon left June 2, 1852 with 100 others. On reaching Tooele County they leased some cattle, sheep and horses to raise on shares. After about seven years these were returned as they had enough of their own.

There was great demand for produce and dairy from their ranch from travelers to California. Hannah made pie from prickly pear cactus. "Many a character came by on the way to California. A lone man on foot claiming to be an evangelist stopped by for several days. He prayed on his knees for hours, all for the redemption of this poor sinner Huntsman and family. This finally got beyond Huntsman's endurance. One morning after being delayed for breakfast,the father opened the back door, picked this "religionist" up by the pants and collar and slammed him 20 feet into the dooryard. When Hannah remonstated, "James William, you could have let him finish praying," James William replied, "He can do that as he goes down the road." Quote from "Huntsman Annals"

In the summer of 1853 the Huntsman family was called to head a colony in Beaver Valley, but when the Indians began hostilities, the project was canceled.

They boiled lake water to extract salt to sell. When Jacob Bastian, a shipbuilder from Denmark, was rescued from the ??? handcart company he stayed with the Huntsman family. He spoke only Danish and James William only English but they became fast friends. Soon they had a big sailboat on the lake.

The family was called to settle in southern Utah, at Shoal Creek with their sawmill. This they did although the trees were hard to get to and not good quality. James William was called upon to divide the land in the little valley into one and one-quarter acre plots. In doing this wintery project he soaked his feet in the marshy land and stayed up late at night until he caught pneumonia. After about twenty-five days he died on February 26, 1867.

Later the Huntsman boys all spent much time and labor on the St. George Temple.

Quoting Huntsman Annals: "Brother Huntsman, as he (Jacob Bastian) referred to James William, was by nature the most tolerant, affable, good-natured, most thoughtful and considerate, kind gentleman he had ever known. He was intellectually quick to perceive, completely reliable, without guile, frank and fearless. He had a complete faith in God and his authorized servants."

Sources: 'Huntsman Annals' by Lamond Welcome Huntsman 1971 who uses information from the diary of Orson Huntsman, son of James William.

Hebron, where James Willam died, is now Enterprise, UT, near St. George, UT.

James William is #10 on Chart 3

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