Wednesday, April 16, 2014

David Nathan Thomas (Part 14)

David Nathan Thomas
Part 1 (Introduction and Index)

Eventually, the power of those who opposed the colonizing missionaries/settlers was broken and peace was established. But the trials of wind, floods, harsh farming conditions and lawlessness had taken their toll and by 1894 only 20 of those colonization missionaries were left at St. Johns. [75] The mission calls to northern Arizona were of an undetermined length and many of the missionaries called to settle this hostile environment became discouraged, decided their missions were over and gradually moved away. 

Despite all the trials and tribulations, David and Adeline and their children, and Isaac and his family and others of that wagon train of November 1881 came to St. Johns and stayed. There they built homes and businesses, and there the children matured and married. [76] (Frances and Helen Gibbons have written a biography of Adeline Christensen Gibbons, Adeline Springthorpe Thomas’ granddaughter, which details some events and stories of St, Johns in the 1890s.)

 David established a blacksmith shop and when his daughter Frances Ann married in 1883, his son-in-law, Marinus Christensen, began to work in the blacksmith shop with David. After David died, Marinus continued to be the community’s blacksmith for more than twenty-five years. Frances or Aunt Fannie as most called her was known as an excellent cook and housekeeper and a good Latter-Day Saint. [77]

Marinus and Frances Thomas Christensen family

Isaac did not go into the blacksmith trade with his father. For a few years he lived in Egypt, a farming area about three miles north of St. Johns where he farmed and raised sheep and cattle. Later he became a mail carrier, hauling the mail from Holbrook to St. Johns. He sold the sheep and cattle, but continued to farm providing work for his family. [78]

David John Thomas

On December 31, 1887 David (Nathan) Thomas was ordained a High Priest. [79] That next year on August 14, 1888, David (Nathan) Thomas passed away and was buried in the St. Johns cemetery. Just seventeen months later his son, David John, died January 28, 1890 at the age of 25; family histories suggest he died of complications of pneumonia. 

Adeline Springthorpe Thomas

Sometime after March 12, 1890, when she signed the legal papers appointing her as administrix of her husband David’s estate, Adeline left St. Johns. [80] Perhaps Adeline had had enough and feeling her mission call was over, she moved back to the friends she had in Utah. There are no accounts of that journey to tell us if Manti was Adeline’s final destination. At that time she had two step-daughters, Margaret and Sarah Ann, who lived in Wales, which is about twenty miles from Manti. Did she journey to Manti to be near the Manti Temple which had just been dedicated May 17, 1888? Adeline had many in her family and David’s family for whom she would have wanted to do the temple work. Unfortunately, she died and was buried in Manti, April 16, 1891, with her dream unrealized. She is buried under the brow of the hill in the cemetery near the Manti Temple.  [81]

[75] Edward Jack Ewing, Mormon Colonization of St.Johns, Arizona, [pamphlet], 1927. LDS Church History Library M277.9137E94.

[76] Francis Marion Gibbons and Helen Bay Gibbons, “Nana” and The Judge”, Intimate Biographies of Adeline Christensen Gibbons & Andrew Smith Gibbons, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1978.

[77] DUP, David Nathan Thomas.

[78] Ester Martha Waite, “Isaac Thomas Biography.” Picture of Isaac as mailman in Appendix 2.

[79] Certificate of Ordination from James L. Tanner, Picasa Online Album. See Appendix 2.

[80] Court documents from James L. Tanner, Picasa Online Album. See Appendix 2.

[81] No headstone. On the plot map of the Manti cemetery she is listed as buried in the old pioneer part of the cemetery. My sister, Katie Jean Price Larsen, and I visited Manti City Offices and the cemetery in 2010, but did not find any more information than that. Most of the headstones in the old pioneer part of the cemetery are no longer there due to the erosion of the soft stone used for headstones. A new headstone was installed August 2011.

Rigby, Helen. “A History of David Nathan Thomas and his wives, Mary, Adeline & Frances.” Utah: n.p., 2011.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Amy for posting this bio on line. I still have a few paper copies if any family members are interested.