Addison Everett - The Everett Who Accompanied Brigham Young Westward
AddisonEverett was born October 10, 1805 in Wallkill, Orange County, New York. His parents were Ephraim Everett, Jr. and Deborah Corwin Everett, and they had 12 children (9 sons and 3 daughters). The family was Presbyterian. Addison worked as a ship’s carpenter on the docks of New York City.2
He was married three times. First, to Eliza Ann Elting on January 21, 1831. They had two children, Ann Eliza Adeliaide Everett (born August 30, 1832) and Schuyler Everett (born April 4, 1835). His wife, Eliza Ann, died of unidentified causes on November 17, 1835. Following her death, Addison took his two young children to be cared for by his mother in Orange county, New York, about 100 miles up the Hudson River. On February 18, 1838 Addison remarried to Orpha Maria Redford. They also had two children, Mary Everett born May 10,1843) and Orpha Marie Everett who died at birth (September 22, 1845). They raised their daughter along with Addison’s other children, Ann Eliza and Schuyler. Orpha was a teacher who taught throughout her life as they migrated from New York to Illinois to Utah.3
Addison had been baptized into the LDS Church on September 1, 1837. He was identified as one of the earliest members of the New York branch of the church. He is mentioned as a leader of the church as early as 1839, and by 1842 he was selected to be the president of the churches in Little Falls and Mead’s Basin, New Jersey. In late 1843 the family made a decision to move to the Morman community at Nauvoo, Illinois. After their arrival in the spring, 1845, Addison, with his extensive carpentry skills, was selected to work on the construction of the Nauvoo Temple.4 It was reported that while he worked on the Temple there were times that he had only “frozen potatoes to eat. When some of the brethren asked him how he managed to live he said, ‘If he did not have enough to eat, he just tightened his belt a little more.’” 5
Addison told of playing drums in the Nauvoo “Legion Band.” He recalled the band playing when the bodies of Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum Smith, were brought from the Carthage jail where they had been killed: “…the bodies were wrapped in flags and the band played, with muffled drums, a martial air called ‘Liberty.” He also remembered, “with sadness the funeral and the burial at night so that the mobs would not steal the bodies.” 6
In 1846, as the Morman community began to make plans to move westward, Addison, then serving as the bishop of the 21st Ward, encouraged his members to make baskets, wool stockings, and leggings out of deer and elk skins to sell for income to support their trip. As they planned for the winter, a company of guards was appointed to protect the community’s people and property. Addison was appointed as one of two lieutenants, serving under Captain Tarlton Lewis. Brigham Young organized the first “pioneer companies” to leave Nauvoo in the following Spring of 1847. These companies were composed of the “strongest men” who would travel quickly, without their families, to make the trail and arrive in the Salt Lake valley in time for spring planting. The families would be organized as “emigration companies” and make the trip later in the year. The first wagons began leaving their “winter quarters” on April 5, 1847 with the rest of the camp leaving on April 16, 1847. Addison was apparently held in high esteem by Brigham Young. He was appointed as a “captain of fifty” with the wagon train and he was assigned to the group of ten wagons that included Young and his two brothers. 7 The established wagon train route westward for most pioneers followed the south bank of the Platte River. However, Brigham Young planned a route north of the Platte River for his wagon trains due to overgrazing on the southern route and concern for hostile Indians (mostly Pawnees and Sioux). The group continued their concern about encounters with the Indians and worried that their wagon trains would be seen as threats to the Indians’ hunting grounds. (However, as we saw in Addison’s Journal, there were few significant encounters with the Indians on the trip.)
The overall wagon train was composed of 72 wagons, 143 men, 3 women, 2 children, 93 horses, 52 mules, 66 oxen, and 19 cows. Their total journey took 111 days. However, after the trail was improved, subsequent wagon trains made the journey in as little as 55 days. The first group from the wagon train entered the Salt Lake Valley on July 22, 1847. 8
The party spent their first month completing a fort and planting crops. It was understood that after this beginning, many of the men who had left their families back at the winter quarters would return to escort them to Salt Lake. Addison’s wife Orpha had remained behind with their three children (their fourth child had died in 1845). Soon Addison and the men began their return trip to bring their families to Salt Lake. However, upon entering Sweetwater, Wyoming, about 300 miles east of Salt Lake, Addison was surprised to find that Orpha and his children where already there. They had left with the “second emigration company.” With the Everett family reunited, they continued their journey westward and arrived in Salt Lake on September 29, 1847. 9 10
All of the families spent the first winter in the newly constructed Salt Lake Fort. The following spring, Addison and his family moved into a “roughly constructed home on the east side of the city.” All reports were that the first years were difficult, often with little food to eat. Some remembered their hunger and Addison’s daughter, Ann Eliza, reported that she made “almost daily trips to the Jordan River prairies in search of segos (lilies) to be made into soup.” 11
On February 22, 1849, a year and one-half after the arrival of the families, President Brigham Young and the other leaders divided their Salt Lake community into 17 wards. Addison was ordained and defined as the first “Bishop of the Salt Lake City Eighth Ward. The bishops were instructed to “take care of the poor of their individual wards.” While his own family struggled to survive, Addison was known as a bishop who “…gave of his means to those less fortunate than he. He devoted himself to helping newly arrived saints to become established and self-supporting.” 12
As the community evolved, Brigham Young was elected governor of the provisional state government in 1849. At the same time Addison was elected to be the magistrate of the eighth ward. The Everett family helped in the “settling of the Salmon River area” of Idaho in 1853 and Addison helped to build the supply fort on the pioneer trail at the Green River in Wyoming in 1856. In 1862, he and Orpha, and his son Schuyler and his wife, were sent to “reinforce the struggling settlers in St. George,” in southern Utah. Apparently conditions there were quite desperate with many of the community’s settlers already having left due to the harsh environment. Many had contracted malaria.
Because this “mission required great sacrifice,” the church leaders selected those who were of “sturdy character, courageous, thrifty, obedient, faithful and honest.” The community’s primary role was to raise cotton, since the civil war, now underway in the eastern half of the country, limited the community’s ability to import cotton. Orpha taught school in a “large prairie schooner covered wagon on her lot” in the city. In 1865, Addison participated in the building of the first dam on the Virgin River, which lasted until a flood in 1912. He also participated in the building of the St. George Temple.13
Ground breaking for the Temple was held November 9, 1871. Tons of volcanic rock were brought from the ridges above the town to fill the bog which would be the foundation of the Temple. With a system of pulleys rigged to teams of horses and fastened to an old cannon that members of the Mormon Battalion obtained during their historic March of 1846, now filled with lead, the pioneer workmen crafted their only “power tool”. Over and over they hoisted, then dropped the heavy hammer, until solid foundation footings were formed. Great slabs of sandstone were laid up by masons and the Temple was completed in an amazing period of five and a half years. Today the old cannon is mounted on the Temple grounds.
Only one source14 mentioned that Addison was married a third time, on December 19, 1852, to Hannah Gregory. It was reported that two sons were born to the couple, Addison Everett, Jr. and William Everett. Since his second wife, Orpha, was reported living with him in St. George at the time, it is likely that this was a polygamous relationship which, of course, was a practice common to many early Mormans. After Addison retired, it was reported that he and Orpha spent their “entire time doing work for the dead,” and that during his last eight years they had “endowed upwards to 2,000 of their kindred.” 15
Addison died on January 12, 1885 and was buried in St. George City Cemetery. His obituary stated:
“Brother Everett has been, during his 47 years’ association with the church, an earnest, devoted and zealous servant of God; and has crowned his former labors by his untiring energy in administering for his dead in the St. George Temple during his last eight years…. He has kept the faith, endured to the end and will rise with just to inherit glory and eternal life, for which God be praised!” 16
Addison’s story and the Everett family’s pioneering role with the LDS church continues with the experiences of his first daughter, Ann Eliza Adelaide Everett White. She recalled that her family were neighbors in Nauvoo with the “Prophet” Joseph Smith. She reported that he visited their home often, and that as a “little hazel-eyed girl” she sat on his lap and “dangled from the knee of the Prophet Joseph.” Ann Eliza recalled the grief in the community when Joseph Smith and his brother were killed in Missouri: “I felt as though my heart would burst.” She recalled the gloom in the community and their inability to provide them a “proper burial” because someone in Missouri “had offered a large reward for the head of Joseph Smith.” 17
Ann Eliza’s reflections provide more to the story of Addison’s family’s migration. She recalled how her stepmother, Orpha, had borrowed an ox and along with their milk cow, walked with the children at her side, “a bull whip in hand,” to reach the winter quarters while Addison continued the work on the Nauvoo Temple. Ann Eliza, just 13 years old at the time, recalled having “walked almost the entire distance from Nauvoo to Salt Lake City,” often having to “lift at the wheel to help (it) over a difficult place on the road.” 18
Ann Eliza was married on April 5, 1849 to “the gallant ex-soldier John S. White.” After his arrival in Salt Lake, he had developed a business as a boot and shoe maker, preparing his own tanned hides, waxed cotton thread, wooden pegs and wooden lasts. The story was told that when he first measured Ann Eliza fora pair of shoes that they “fell in love immediately.” Before the marriage there was concern in preparing Ann Eliza’s trousseau, since no suitable supplies were available. It was reported that her stepmother, Orpha, took the old wagon cover used on their journey to Utah and cut it into strips. Ann Eliza washed these strips every morning for three months, “spreading them in the sun after each washing. This process made the fabric as white as snow.” Orpha used this to make Ann Eliza’s “underclothing” for her wedding dress.19
After the marriage the couple lived for a few years in Salt Lake City before moving to a small farm south of Farmington, Utah. Her husband developed a serious condition of “inflamed eyes through Calomel poisoning,” which left him partially disabled. Ann Eliza was left with the “double task of raising the family, and making a livelihood.” (Our sources did not identify her children, except to mention that the family was large and many duties were turned over to her eldest daughter Mary Jane White.) Despite her struggles, it was said that she wrote poetry and was “in every sense possessed with the spirit of mutuality and friendship, and never failed to see the practical side of a joke….She was hopeful, optimistic and prepossessing, but retiring. She did not engage in public activities of any kind, but in private life she displayed great strength of character….” 20
Ann Eliza died April 19, 1904 and was buried in the Farmington, Utah Cemetery.
1 The Everett Who Accompanied Brigham Young Westward, Everett Generations, Vol. 12, #2, 2001, pp.24-25.
2 Watson, Thora (Bergeson) and Arnold Bergeson (1999). Histories of John Stout White & Ann Eliza Adelaide Everett White. Self published.
3 Watson/Bergeson, 1999.
4 Watson/Bergeson, 1999.
5 Watson/Bergeson, 1999.
6 Watson/Bergeson, 1999.
7 Oaks, Dallin H. (undated) 50 pioneers: The pioneer ancestors of Dallin Harris Oaks and June Dixon Oaks. Self published
8 Oaks (undated)
9 Oaks (undated)
10 Watson/Bergeson, 1999.
11 Oaks (undated)
12 Watson/Bergeson, 1999.
13 Watson/Bergeson, 1999.
14 Watson/Bergeson, 1999.
15 Oaks (undated)
16 Watson/Bergeson, 1999.
17 Hess, Charles P. (undated), The John Stout White and Ann Eliza Adelaide Everett White Family. Self published, Jordan, UT.
18 Hess (undated).
19 Hess (undated).
20 Hess (undated).