The history of Utah and the West was made not only by the heroes and heroines whom the historians have identified and about whom they have written, but also by an almost endless number of other pioneers who may be remembered only by a few of their descendents; but who, nevertheless, through their courage, their sacrifices, and their commitment to a cause, demonstrated a love for truth and righteousness that is unique in the history of the world. Young and old alike separated themselves willingly and eagerly from home, family, and country of birth, to become a part of a new country and a new religion.
It is a source of great satisfaction and pride for the
descendents of Archibald Anderson to realize that their own Great Grandparents
and their Grandparents were a part of this movement, and that the life and
liberty which we enjoy in America today—in spite of all the unrest and disorder
that is rampant in the land—is ours, in part, because some Scottish coal-miners
heard the Mormon missionaries and recognized the Word of God and responded to
the call to gather in Zion. That this is
the heart and soul of the
The migration of the
Agnes Baird Adamson was in her 68th year, well beyond the
average life of people of that day, when she, Alexander and Dougal,
ages 26 and 24 respectively, left their native
It was on February 12, 1848 that this family sailed from
“President Franklin D. Richards…accompanied us to a very
respectable lodging house and we received good treatment by paying ninepence each, each night we remained till the nineteenth
when we went on board of the “Carnatic” Ship for
“But on Wednesday the 16th we had our berth marked and our luggage in the Eliza 3 at the side of her. When some means or other occurred that prevented us from going on board of her, I cannot give no account of.” (1)
In spite of the lack of any wind the Carnatic
was drawn out into the
“Still head winds. Our Captain told us he was afraid the Ship Eliza was lost last night. Her lights were seen about 8 o’clock in the evening and in a sudden disappeared.”
The head winds continued and eventually developed into a
fierce storm that tossed the ship about in the channel for several days. It was nearly two weeks before they rounded
the Cape and entered the
There are no entries in the Journal of Alexander Adamson
after Saturday April 15. (This is just
four days before the arrival at
The entire company left
A contract was finally made with Captain Patterson of the steamboat
“Mustang” to take the Carnatic Company (as well as
other saints who had arrived from different parts of the
It is difficult, if not impossible, to identify the Adamson
family with a particular company.
President Brigham Young and members of the council, who had spent the
winter of 1847-48 at Winter Quarters, in may and early June of 1848, organized
the saints who were arriving at Winter Quarters into companies of hundreds,
fifties and tens, preparatory to moving toward the
“June—In the commencement of this month President young broke camp at the Elkhorn and started for Great Salt Lake Valley with a company consisting of 1,229 souls and 397 wagons. He was followed by Heber C. Kimball’s company of 662 souls and 226 wagons, and Willard Richards’ company of 526 souls and 169 wagons. The last wagons left Winter Quarters July 3rd, leaving that place almost destitute of inhabitants.” (3)
President Young’s company arrived in the
And so, within a little over a year after the original settlement of the Great Salt lake Valley and approximately seven months after their departure from Scotland, Great Great Grandmother Agnes Baird Adamson and her two sons, Alexander and Dougal had arrived among the saints in Zion, and the great pilgrimage about which they dreamed had been completed.
The task of building a home still remained ahead, however. Orson F. Whitney’s History of Utah describes some of the initial steps that were taken by the saints in settling the Valley:
“During the autumn the city lots were given out to the settlers, and when all had been distributed, others were laid out in extensions to the original plot, and allotted in like manner. A vast field of eight thousand acres was surveyed south of and bordering upon the city, plotted in five and ten-acre fields and distributed by lot to the people. Each man was to help build a fence around the “Big Field”, and construct a canal along the east side for irrigating purposes. These lands were not sold, but given, as in the first instance when the apostles selected their “inheritances”. But a small fee was required from each holder to pay the surveyor.
“Before winter set in, some of the people began leaving the fort and moving out upon their city lots. Most of them, however, remained in the stockade until spring. They then took their houses with them—such of the domiciles as were portable—and set them down, according to the rule, in or near the center of their lots. Thus as the city grew the fort began to disappear, and soon there was little left of it but a few adobe walls to show where it stood.
“The winter of 1848-49, unlike its predecessor, was uncommonly severe. Heavy snows and violent winds prevailed, and the weather, from the 1st of December until late February, was extremely cold. The coldest day was the 5th of February, when the mercury fell to 33 degrees F. below zero. An inventor of breadstuffs taken early that month showed about three-fourths of a pound per day for each soul in the Valley, until the beginning of July. The pressure of the famine was severely felt, but the community generally shared alike and extreme suffering was thus prevented. The earth that season yielded abundantly, and the famine was again staid.”
Alexander and Dougal later took up
land in the Old Union Fort area near the present site of the city of
This mother and her two sons were pioneers in every sense of the word! They were among the first to enter the new land and to literally conquer the wilderness. How deeply they affected the determination of the Anderson in their resolution to also come to America can only be left to the thoughtful appraisal of the descendents of both families.
ARCHIBALD ANDERSON AND AGNES ADAMSON
For generations the city of
Archibald Anderson, by whose name the family has become
identified, was born September 24, 1805, in Eastwood, Wheel Renfrew,
When Archibald was about twenty-one years of age (1826) he courted and then married Agnes Adamson, who was born May 5, 1804 in Lightburn, Lanark, Scotland, the second daughter and third child of William Adamson and Agnes Baird. Among the other twelve children born to the Adamsons were the two youngest, Alexander and Dougal, who were identified earlier in this story.
The information regarding the life of Archibald Anderson and
Agnes Adamson while they were still in
Archibald was a miner by trade. His earnings, at least for a while, were supplemented by the income received from a little notions store which his good wife operated. (7) Even with this additional income it is not difficult to imagine the struggle this couple had in providing food, clothing, and shelter for themselves and family of children.
From among the stories and experiences which have been
written regarding Archibald Anderson it is possible to get the impression that
he was a deeply religious man and that he studied the Bible at great
length. From an earlier
“He married Agnes Adamson, and as they started to raise their children it became necessary, according to their minister, for them to have their babies sprinkled. For some time Great Grandfather complied with this doctrine, and then, finally, he rebelled against it. He told the Minister that nowhere in the scripture could he find where it was necessary for young children to be sprinkled, and that he would let the dews of Heaven baptize his children before he would let the Minister sprinkle any more of his children.” (8)
A growing dissatisfaction with this doctrine on baptism as
well as with other concepts held by the Presbyterian Church to which they
belonged, created in the
Apparently the three boys were the only children in the
family who became members of the Church.
It is known that Agnes (born 24 July 1834) married a Presbyterian by the
name of James Whitelaw and remained in that faith throughout her life. She remained in
Very little is known of Margaret A. Anderson, a daughter
born to Archibald and Agnes August 31, 1829.
If the death date of 1865 given on the Family Group Sheet is correct, it
means that she, too, was living when her family moved to
Five other children of this family, as will be seen from the
Family Group Sheet, died in childhood and were buried in
At about the time the
“To all Saints in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and the adjacent islands and countries, we say emigrate as speedily as possible to this vicinity…bringing with you all kinds of choice seeds, or grain, vegetables, fruit, shrubbery, trees and vines, everything that will please the eye, gladden the heart, or cheer the soul of man, that grown upon the face of the whole earth; also the best tools of every description, and machinery for spinning, or weaving, and dressing cotton, wool, flax, and silk, etc…So far as it can be consistently done, bring models and drafts, and let the machinery be built where it is used, which will save great expense in transportation, particularly in heavy machinery, and tools and implements generally.” (12)
Missionaries in all of these countries were instructed to
“Tell them to flee to Zion”, and through the Millennial Star, the first foreign
publication of the Church, the same urgent message on the “gathering” went to
all the European Saints, President Orson Spencer proclaimed on February 1,
1848: “The channel of Saints Emmigration to the land
of Zion is now opened. The long wished
for time of gathering has come, Good tidings from
The money for the trip was just not available to Archibald Anderson and his family, and the prospects of the future were extremely dim. A miner’s wages, even supplemented by the little income from the notions store, barely provided the necessities of life without thinking of saving money for such a venture, but this was a determined family, and the decision was made that they would achieve this goal by carefully saving what they could over the next year or so.
“Three years of saving were not enough to carry them on the journey they wanted to take…”, is the expression used in some writings about the family. At this point a major change in plans was made by Archibald, his wife and children. What the precise factors were in this decision are not known, but it is safe to generalize that they simply felt that their ultimate good might be more quickly achieved if the father were to go to America where he might somehow prepare the way for his family.
Perhaps enough money had been saved to pay the passage for
one person, and if the father could get to
It is known that Archibald Anderson was a passenger on the
sailing vessel “Samuel Curling” which left Liverpool April 22, 1855 bound for
After a short delay in Mormon Grove, the Company of which
Archibald Anderson was a part, began the final overland trek that was to carry
these Saints into the great
The arrival of Archibald in the Valley meant, of course, the
reunion with his mother-in-law and brothers-in-law, the Adamsons,
who had by this time been in
It is quite likely that Archibald lived with the Adamsons during that first year in
AGNES AND THE BOYS COME TO THE VALLEY
With the save arrival of Archibald in
Money accumulated slowly, however, both in
This meant a new flurry of activity on the part of Agnes and her children. In spite of their earlier preparations there was still so much to be done and so many arrangements to be made. Her three stalwart sons now ages 19, 15, and 13 were of untold assistance and comfort to her in these preparations as was her daughter Agnes, now Mrs. James Whitelaw, and Margaret A. (if she were still alive at this time).
At the same time that the joy and excitement of the
forthcoming journey filled her heart, Agnes was also sorrowed at the thought of
leaving her daughter or daughters behind. Having already lost at least two little girls
through death, how does a mother tear herself away from her only other
daughters knowing full well that she will probably never see them again? Contemplation of the parting must surely have
warmed and intensified the relationship of Agnes and her girls in those days
and weeks that followed the message from
At about the time Agnes and family were making preparation
to depart from
“I have been thinking how we should operate another year. We cannot afford to purchase wagons and teams as in times past. I am consequently thrown back upon my old plan—to make hand-carts, and let the emigration foot it, and draw upon them [the carts] the necessary supplies, having a cow or two for every ten. They can come just as quick, if not quicker and much cheaper—can start earlier and escape the prevailing sickness which annually lays so many of our brethren in the dust. A great many of them walk now, even with the teams which are provided, and have a great deal more care and perplexity than they would have if they come without them.
“They will need only 90 days rations from the time of their leaving the Missouri River, and as the settlements extend up the Platte, not that much. The carts can be made without a particle of iron, with wheels hoped, made strong and light, and one, or if the family is large, two of them will bring all that they will need upon the plains…” (16)
“Let the Saints, therefore, who intend to immigrate the ensuing year, understand that they are expected to walk and draw their luggage across the plains, and that they will be assisted by the Fund in no other way...If this project is once fairly tested, and proves as successful as we have no doubts it will, the main expense of the immigration will be avoided, consequently thousands more than heretofore can receive assistance.” (17)
The plans for the Saints wishing to travel to
This was the swirl of activity and excitement in which Agnes
and her family were caught up as they completed preparations for their
departure from their homeland. They were
to be in the first company to leave
It was on March 10, 1856 when the Andersons—Agnes, Archibald Adamson, John, and James, said farewell and goodbye to loved ones and friends and began the long and tedious trip to join their husband and father. The agony of parting, so long anticipated and dreaded was upon them. In spite of all their prayers and the faith they had in the Gospel and in their Heavenly Father, saying goodbye under these circumstances was one of the most difficult experiences of all. One of James’ daughters, at a much later time, write: “Many times I heard my father say, ‘It’s hard to erase the vision before my eyes, when our sailing vessel pulled out of the docks and left Agnes with a baby in her arms sobbing her heart out, knowing that she may never see her loved ones again, and she never did’.” (19)
This group of Scottish Saints traveled down the
On Saturday, March 23, 1856, the sailing vessel “Enoch
Train”, a ship of 1755 tons under Captain henry P.
Rich, cleared for
The “Enoch Train” arrived at
Daniel M. McArthur describes one of the first actions
effecting the company after the arrival at
“On the 19th of May, 1856, our company, which had crossed the sea with us, were divided, by President Daniel Spencer, into two handcart companies, Brother Edmond Ellsworth to take charge of the second company. Then every move was made to get our carts ready, which job was a tedious one, but using all of our efforts, the first company was able to start on the 9th of June, and the second on the 11th about 11 o’clock.” (22)
Within some of the many brief histories and incidents and have been written about the Andersons it is reported that they had their own handcart and that the chief responsibility for pulling it was assumed by Agnes and the oldest son Archibald, while the two younger boys helped with driving the stock. It is quite likely that there was plenty of pulling and pushing for each of the family members as they made their way toward the West.
Captain McArthur’s own report gives a picture of some of the problems the company faced:
“We had the very best of good luck all the way, although the weather was very hot and sweltering, but let me tell you, the Saints were not to be overcome. Our carts, when we started were in an awful fix. They moaned and growled, screeched and squealed, so that a person could hear them for miles. You may think this is stretching things a little too much, but it is a fact, and we had them to eternally patch, mornings, noons, and nights. But by our industry we got them all along to Florence, and being obliged to stop at Florence some two weeks to get our outfit for the plains, I and my council, namely Truman Leonard and Spencer Crandall, went to work and gave our carts a thorough repair throughout, and on the 24th of July, at 12 o’clock, we struck our tents and started for the plains, all in the best of spirits.” (24)
One hundred and ten years after this event, on can only
imagine the hardships that were endured by Agnes and her sons on the long
journey of a thousand miles from
“3d August. Sunday. Started at 5 o’clock without any breakfast and had to pull the cart through 6 miles of heavy sand. Some places the wheels were up to the boxes and I was so weak from thirst and hunger and being exhausted with the pain of the boils that I was obliged to lie down several times, and many others had to do the same. Some fell down. I was very much grieved today, so much that I thought my heart would burst—sick—and poor Kate—at the same time—crawling on her hands and knees, and the children crying with hunger and fatigue. I was obliged to take the children and put them on the hand cart and urge them along the road in order to make them keep up. About 12 o’clock a thunder storm came on, and the rain fell in torrents. In our tent we were standing up to our knees in water and every stitch we had was the same as if it were dragged through the river. Rain continued until 8 o’clock the following morning.” (25)
The faith of the Saints remained firm, however, and in spite
of the hardships they plodded on. Mile
after wearisome mile moved behind them and eventually they approached the
Valley, and finally the first two companies arrived in
The reunion was a joyous one! Agnes Adamson Anderson and her sons Archibald
A., John, and James, were reunited with their beloved husband and father, as
well as with Agnes’ mother and brothers, and Adamsons. The long weeks and months of anxious waiting
were over, and the dream into which so much sacrifice and patience had gone,
was not a reality. The opportunity for a
new life in the far west of
Agnes Baird Adamson was now in her 75th year. The hope of once again seeing her daughter
had sustained her over the months of waiting for the arrival of this handcart
company. She lived only a few weeks
after these events. Death came to this
gracious lady on November 12, 1856, and she was buried in
Records indicate that the new arrivals in the Valley lived
with the Adamsons for
awhile and then later moved to Union Fort, about ten miles south of Salt
Lake City. Probably the best account of
the activities of the
“Archie and John went to work for a man names ‘Griffit’ and James worked for a man whom he called Father Farbush.
“The family remained in
“The family broke up 20 acres of land at
“In order to keep alive the following winter, the boys went
It was while at Spanish Fork that one of the interesting experiences of the family is recalled:
“At the time that Johnsons Army came into
Continuing with the Loren Anderson history:
“After three years of crop failures and charcoal burning,
they moved to
There seems to be some uncertainty as to whether the family
first built a home and lived on Birch Creek or whether they first built the
home right in
The boys all took up land south of town and began their lives as farmers although they too had their homes in town. Archibald A. and John farmed on Birch Creek while James’ land was on Spring Creek.
Archibald Anderson and his wife, Agnes, and their sons, each
by this time starting to be identified with their own families, soon found
their places in social and religious life in this infant community of
Archibald’s involvement in the naming of
“One day—between sessions of conference in 1864—Archibald
Anderson was with a group of people talking to Apostle Orson Hyde (then
president of Sanpete Stake). Someone
Other incidents and experiences that have been recorded attest to the deeply religious and spiritual nature of Archibald Anderson. One of these recorded by his son James is as follows:
“Father was a very spiritual-minded man. While traveling by team, in company with
several other men with teams, hauling freight to
“He continued on until he was just out of sight of the others in the canyon, and then he stopped, unhitched and fed his horses. He told me that he did this because he wanted to be alone. There may have been some of the men in the company that would not have had any faith and may even have made light of what he intended to do. He then knelt down, and took the lame foot in his hands and asked the Lord to heal the animal, and that he might continue on with the company.
“When the company came along a short time after, father had the horses hitched, and was ready to go. They were all surprised that the animal was not lame any more, and father made no comment but continued on with the company.” (30)
There are two or three versions of the story regarding the
prediction of the coming of the railroad into
Archibald did not himself live to see this come true, but all of the boys did see the railroad come into Sanpete.
It must have been a source of great joy and satisfaction to
Archibald and Agnes to contemplate the results of their efforts to bring the
For a man and woman to carve out this kind of heritage for their descendents is the greatest gift of which mere humans are capable. Time and circumstances provide only a few with such an opportunity, and the select of our Father’s Kingdom are sensitive to the whisperings that lead them to lives that less the generations which follow.
Archibald’s life came to a close in March of 1869 and it was with sorrow that Agnes and her sons laid their husband father to rest. Their family head had left them and now each must assume a new role in the life ahead.
In 1876 the boys worked together to build a new adobe one-room home for their mother. This was just a few feet to the east of the older home she and Archibald had occupied. Today this adobe room is still in use as part of Hugh Anderson’s home. The front door, with its stone lintel carved out by Archibald A. and bearing his name and the date, along with the rest of the room, have been plastered over to make them a part of the present home.
Agnes lived in this little home, watching the growth of
(1) This quotation is from a journal kept by Alexander
Adamson. The original document is in the
possession of Mrs. Reed Prince of
(2) From a letter written from
(3) Church Chronology, p. 35.
(4) Orson F. Whitney, History of
(5) See the sets of Family group Sheets accumulated by the Family through research.
(6) See the Family Group Sheet for this couple.
(7) This story of the notions store is found in several
versions of the
(8) From "A Brief History of Archibald Anderson,
Sr." by A. J. Anderson of
(9) Two dates are given for this baptism: 27 March 1848 is shown on the Family Group Sheet where he appears as a son. In the "Brief History" written by A. H. Anderson and Matilda Peterson for the 1947 publication the statement is made: "He was baptized into the Church November 8, 1848 by J. Jordon."
(10) See the Family Group Sheets.
(11) Agnes and James Whitelaw raised a familyi
of at least four children. One of them
was known to have been in
(12) From the Millenial Star (
(13) Millennial Star. Vol IX, p. 41.
(14) Jensen, Andrew, Church Chronology, A Record of
Important Events, Second Edition, Revised and Enlarged.
(15) "Journal History", Entry for October 24,
1855. Film No. 143 in the Church Historian's Office,
(16) Published in the Millenial Star of December 22, 1855. (XVII, pp. 813-14).
(17) Millenial Star. January 26, 1856. (XVIII, pp. 52, 54).
(18) See issues of the Millenial
Star for the winter of 1855-56. See also Handcarts to
(19) From an incident recorded by Sylvia Anderson Miner of Fairview, Utah, and in possession of this writer.
(20) Recorded on page 75 of Emigration Records from
Liverpool Office of the British Mission, 185-56. Microfilm No. 6184 Part 2,
(21) Handcarts to
(22) A report made by Daniel D. McArthur to Wilford Woodruff on January 5, 1857, and recorded in Journal History under the date of September 26, 1856.
(23) Millenial Star, August 2, 1856, XVIII, p. 489.
(24) Journal History, September 26, 1856.
(25) Taken from Handcarts to
(26) Taken from a history written by Loren many years ago and upon which many other pieces of writing are based.
(27) This experience also from Loren A. Anderson and a
William P. Bowen who knew the
(28) These . . . Our Fathers, published by Daughters of the Utah Pioneers of Sanpete County, 1947, pp. 125-126.
(29) From narration written for the family reunion program
(30) From copy provided the writer from Elam H. Anderson, son of James.
Anderson, H. Reese. These We Honor: Archibald Anderson Family. Archibald Anderson Family Association, p. A-1.
Excerpts copied 17 Jul 2006 by J.F.