Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Autobiography of Ann Prior Jarvis

In 1890 Ann Prior Jarvis sat down with a new blank book and wrote out a clean copy of her autobiography. She got 33 pages in and then never finished, so years later her daughter Josephine copied the rest of her mother's history from another book, added some biographical information, added a history of her father, and donated the book to the Washington County DUP.

DUP President Jeanine Vander Bruggen kindly sent a copy of the book along with biographies for the other women in the Eminent Women of the St. George Temple project, a project I'm planning to resume once I finish my book on the slaves in Utah Territory.

There is a copy in the Church History Library in Salt Lake City, and several years ago I added a link to the catalog entry. The link became broken over time and a Jarvis cousin wrote to ask about the document, so I added the entire autobiography to Ann's FamilySearch Family Tree Memories section, split into three parts since it's so large. (Look in the "Documents" section and click "More..." The three files are near the end.)
Ann Prior Jarvis: Memories
Here are images of the first few pages.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Finding John Tanner among the Country Roads and Farms of Greenwich, New York

From Flickr, used as is.
Sometime in 1810, perhaps in the later half of the year after the harvest was over, a census taker followed the winding country roads of Greenwich, New York, to provide an accurate list of all the inhabitants of the town, black or white, free or slave.

The census taker recorded two John Tanners in Greenwich, both men with families of about the same age.

Unfortunately neither entry matches our Tanner family genealogy. The most likely scenario is that the second John Tanner is ours, since he is listed close to his mother Thankful, but neither entry is a perfect match.

Here are the numbers. The first group is how the Tanner family should have looked in the census, based on the genealogy. The next group is a John Tanner family living with two free blacks. The third group is the John Tanner family living close to the widowed Thankful Tanner. Neither family has slaves; by 1810 there were only eight left in Greenwich.

Note that extra individuals in the family do not matter one way or the other since families were often more fluid than today due to early deaths. The more concerning data points would be the lack of small children who should have been at home with their mother.


Under 10  2-3 William (age 7-8), Sidney (age 1), possibly Elisha (age 9-10) unless he was living with the Bentlys
Under 16  0-1 possibly Elisha (age 9-10)
Under 26  0
Under 45  1   John Tanner (age 31-32)

Under 10  1  Matilda (age 5-6)
Under 16  0
Under 26 0
Under 45  1  Lydia Tanner (age 26-27)

OPTION 1 (Page 4, bottom half, line 6)

Under 10  2
Under 16  1
Under 26 0
Under 45  1

Under 10  0
Under 16   0
Under 26   1
Under 45   1

Free blacks 2
Slaves  0

OPTION 2 (Page 5, top half, line 14)

Under 10  1
Under 16  1
Under 26 0
Under 45  1

Under 10  2
Under 16  0
Under 26 0
Under 45  1

Free blacks 0
Slaves  0

The first entry works if Elisha was counted as 10, Matilda was put in the wrong age group, and the Tanners had two free blacks living with them. The second entry works if Elisha was counted as 10 years old and the census taker accidentally recorded one of the little boys as a girl.

Note that Thankful's entry is strange: she is listed in the under-45 category, but she was actually in her 50s. She also has four boys ages 10-26 living with her (Pardon, Francis, Joshua, and William) and one girl under 10 (perhaps a granddaughter; could this be Matilda?).

Another option is that John Tanner was living elsewhere, but this is not supported by the family history or by any online indexed copy of the US Census. If anyone wanted to read through the entire Washington County Census to check for a wrongly-indexed entry, the easiest way would be to read the copy at archive.org:
Washington County Census
Washington County starts on page 291 and goes through 379. Greenwich is at the very end, and the concluding page of the census (381) notes that it was filed on February 7, 1811.

Another avenue of investigation would be to figure out the identity of the other John Tanner and decide out if he is an obvious match for one of the census records.

This is a case where we do not have enough data to make a final decision, but since John was shown farming his father's land in the tax records, it's likely that he was located close to his mother, if we can assume that the census was geographical in nature.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Freighting the Tabernacle Organ ... or Whoops, Did I Repeat an Urban Legend?

From Wikipedia.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir was broadcasting from the Salt Lake Tabernacle instead of the Conference Center this morning, so I told my son the story that I saw in the family history and wrote into a biography of Sidney Tanner:
The Tanners lived in San Bernardino until 1857, when Brigham Young called the settlers back to Utah Territory at the time Johnston’s Army was threatening the Saints. Sidney and his family settled in the beautiful valley of Beaver, Utah, after Sidney delivered the new Tabernacle pipe organ to Salt Lake City.
Sidney Tanner
I pointed to the great bank of organ pipes and said that it had some of the original pipes that Sidney would have helped transport. Then my History Hogwash Meter™ kicked in and I remembered that the Tabernacle was built in the 1860s, several years after the Saints left San Bernardino.

An official History of the Tabernacle notes that Joseph Ridges constructed the organ for the new Tabernacle out of ponderosa pine from Pine Valley, Utah, a logging settlement in the mountains above St. George. Like our Bryant-Parkinson-Stapley family, Joseph Ridges was an English emigrant from Australia. His family settled first in San Bernardino, then moved to Salt Lake City during the Utah War

But it would be a mistake to abandon the family story even though it doesn't fit into this timeline: the Tabernacle shown above was the second Tabernacle the Church built. The first one was an adobe building situated where the Assembly Hall is now, and it did, in fact, have an organ built by Joseph Ridges in Australia and transported across the Pacific Ocean and then across the Mojave Desert and through old Utah Territory to Great Salt Lake City.

1855 Carl Flemming map of the Southwest, David Rumsey maps

Here is the story of the first organ from a Church News article provided by Joseph Ridge's family.
[Around 1853] Joseph became convinced of the truth of the gospel. He and his wife were later baptized. 
In his spare time he began to build a small, seven-stop pipe organ. Fascinated with the instrument, Mission President Augustus Farnham asked Ridges to donate it to the Church in Salt Lake City. Ridges agreed, and when Pres. Farnham sailed for Utah, he was accompanied by the Ridges—and the organ—who were among a company of 120 aboard the Jenny Ford. When the ship landed in California, they accompanied the members to San Bernardino.... 
Joseph H. Ridges
The following spring Brigham Young sent teams and wagons to haul the organ to Salt Lake City, where it arrived in June 1857. The small organ was installed in the small adobe tabernacle that was built on Temple Square where the Assembly Hall now stands. But with Johnston's Army approaching Utah, the organ was dismantled and packed, and was evacuated to the south along with the population of Salt Lake City. When the fear of war was over, the organ was returned to the old tabernacle, and when the Assembly Hall was built, many of its pipes and better parts were incorporated into the Assembly Hall organ. 
In the 1860's, construction on the present Tabernacle began. Brigham Young asked Ridges, who was then farming in Provo, if he could build a grand organ for the new building. Although Ridges' only previous organ-building experience was on the small organ, he had no doubt that he could build a large organ.... (Source.)
Stuart Grow's thesis "A Historical Study of the Construction of the Salt Lake Tabernacle" specifies that the organ was transported by teams sent from San Bernardino by Charles C. Rich and Amasa M. Lyman (Sidney's brother-in-law). The organ was played for the first time in the Old Tabernacle on October 11, 1857. (Link.)

The Old Tabernacle to the left of the New Tabernacle.

Since the family preserved this memory and Sidney was one of a small group of Mormon freighters running the dangerous trade route between Salt Lake City and San Bernardino, the biographical note about transporting the Tabernacle organ is undoubtedly true, and I will leave his biography mostly as is, but add a note about it being the Old Tabernacle organ.

According to the Church News article, part of the Australian organ was used for the Assembly Hall organ after the Assembly Hall was built on the site of the Old Tabernacle. Here is a picture.

Creative Commons, used as is, Aaron Goodwin, Flickr. 

Note: There's a new well-reviewed history, Michael Hicks, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir: A Biography (2015). I haven't read it yet, but the reviews are positive.