A Brief History of Daneil Bigelow


[Scanned from a typed copy by Stephen Rawlins, February, 1997.]

Written by Celestia B. Rasmussen

Daniel Bigelow born at Camp Creek, Mercer County Illinois 18 Mar.1842. The ninth child of Nahum Bigelow and Mary Gibbs. Their tenth child was born just one week after the prophet Joseph Smith was murdered; They named him Joseph Smith Bigelow. He died at the age o nine months, leaving Daniel the youngest of the family.

The Nahum Bigelow family came to Utah with the William Snow Ox Team Company in the year 1850. Their children learned the principles of the Gospel along with their convert parents as they traveled that dangerous trail of hardship and deprivation. The following experiences illustrates te powerful faith of even a little child:

A Mormon scout rode back to the emigrant wagons and told the young folks where they could find ripe choke cherries up a deep ravine. Little curly headed Daniel Bigelow, only eight years old went running along after the group, as he trudged up the steep incline he heard the terrifying warning of a rattle snake; ere he could jump to safety the snake struck him just below the knee. The older brother answering the frightened call hastily carried the little one back to camp. All ready the poison had entered the blood stream, a drop of dark blood oozed out, the fangs had pierced the flesh. Swelling and discoloration set in rapidly. All that could be done seemed to be of no avail. All present, including the injured lad realized that this could mean certain death. Daniel seeing his grieving mother brush away the tears as she worked trying to relieve the pain of his weakening body, had a thought of comfort. He asked that he might be baptized before death came to claim him. The Elders were called and told of his request, which they complied with by carrying him to the river and baptizing him according to the law of the Church.

From this time forward the swelling and pain subsided and the child commenced to get better until he became well and strong again. Daniel's parents related this faith promoting experience to their grandchildren many times, always testifying that all in the camp knew that a miracle had bee performed, right in their midst; and in thankfulness acknowledged the answer to their prayers.

Daniel grew to young manhood in these Utah Valleys. In his late teens in seems that the wished to go away for a time, back to the East to the scenes of former refinement and culture to gain a better perspective and proof of the truthfulness of the gospel. His searching must have been sincere and honest for he returned firm and true to his convictions and testimony of the truth. Upon his return home he was taken to the home of Ephraim and Polly Meacham by one of their sons, here he met and admired their daughter Permelia. She had refused many opportunities of marriage. But this acquaintance soon developed into a mutual understanding and love, resulting in their marriage 24 July 1865. They made their home at Round Valley, later called Wallsburg. This was a happy union. I have often heard my mother tell of with what pride and joy her mother kept the home for their father, and of how immaculate she kept his clothes ready for the many church and public duties he was called to perform.

Business prospered under the able direction of this good man. The Lord blessed them with many comforts of life for pioneer days. They lived and worked joyfully together, sometimes on the ranch, sometimes at the sawmill up the North Fork in Provo Canyon. As the family grew the proud father added more room space to their humble log cabin home. His flocks and cattle herds grew in size and value. Obeying the gospel had brought rich blessings and joy into their lives.

In the year 1871 President Young called several faithful men to take their families and move to southern Utah to help establish a new Church settlement at Saint George in the Dixie country. Daniel responded to this call without question, he regarded it as a mission. The season was late for such a move, already early autumn. But the authorities felt that getting settled in the new location then would be a great advantage in being prepared for Spring work.

Hasty, but careful preparations were made for this difficult journey. Many cases of provisions were purchased; they had to eat from this store along the way. Their daughter, Emily, always spoke with vivid memory of the experiences of those days. Of the cases of food, canned salmon, and the delicious cluster raisins, cured and packed in long wooden boxes on their long natural stems just as they grew on the vines. The household goods were packed into two covered wagons, these with the many head of loose stock made quite a caravan, with some members of Daniel's family as traveling companions so they would have help with driving the wagons and cattle.

Winter came early that year. The little family were unable to make the entire journey as planned, because of the heavy snow they got no farther than near Kanosh, they made camp for the winter at what was known as the Black Rocks. Every day Daniel had to drive his cattle some distance to water. His wife was ill all winter. In the Spring President Young counseled them to return to Wallsburg and take care of their interests there, where the family could be cared for under more favorable conditions.

One year in Wallsburg feed was scarce and the snow so deep that many cattle starved to death. The resourceful Daniel chopped tree limbs and brush for his cattle to browse on with the rationing of his small supply of hay, and in that way saved many of his cattle.

He was a faithful worker in the Church. A respected leader in religious and civic affairs. He had the special gift of healing. He was known to be an eloquent speaker, had a beautiful singing voice, which he used for the benefit of the public as well as the delight and entertainment of his family in the home. He helped officer the ward in various organizations, was a Sunday School superintendent, a High Councilman at Heber. He was a High priest who upheld the dignity of his calling. He served as a missionary in St George and worked on the St. George Temple. He was an Indian scout. At one time family history speaks of an Indian Fort at Wallsburg. He also served as Justice of the Peace. Daniel Bigelow was a good provider, an excellent business man and financier. Honorable in his dealings, and respected by his fellow men. He sought to imbue into his life and that of his family the highest values in refinement and culture. He was an honest man. These expressions are of some of his dear ones who knew him best. The words of his daughters, Emily and Polly, of his daughter Mary, and his granddaughter Emily who learned to know him through the understanding faculties of a child.

As the children became old enough for more advanced schooling then the little settlement of Wallsburg could offer, the family moved to Provo for the winter months, after the sawmill was closed for the season. Here the children attended the B.Y.U Academy with Carl G. Maeser as president. The only children of their town who had this privilege at that time. This shows Daniel's seeking for the finer things of life. Little nine year-old Polly gave an oral rending in the school devotional one morning and she told me that her father's eyes filled with tears of joy and pride as he answered some one that she was his little girl.

In the Spring of 1882 Daniel met Augusta Stevens who was visiting in Wallsburg. A 27 year divorcee with three little daughters. His sister Lucy B. Young, one of Brigham's wives influenced him to accept the law of Polygamy and take this woman as a second wife, that she may have a home and sustenance for the little ones. Perhaps he needed little persuading: she seemed to have been a lovely lady, with tastes in culture similar to his own, and he could have reasoned the need of a housekeeper at the big ranch while the family was away for school. He married Augusta 9 Apr. of that same year. His daughter Mary speaks of it as a most desirable alliance for her mother to make, to marry this 39-year old Daniel, a well to do cattle rancher with a home on a big ranch of rich acres of meadow grass, with rippling streams of clear cold water, besides a prosperous sawmill business.

Permelia always spoke highly of Augusta, Aunt Augusta. Mary's history speaks of her being in the home at the time of Mary's birth, of her making the fire in the big fireplace for the now baby to be warmed by. Daniel had to work harder now to provide for two families, but he was capable and willing.

In the year 1887 Lucy sent for her brother to come to her home in Salt Lake City. There she introduced him to a 23 year-old girl, she had working for he, and proceeded to advise Daniel of his obligation to the Church law of Polygamy. So they were married, this 44-year old man and the young girl; "without the knowledge or consent of either of the other two wives. It was not a happy marriage. The serenity of family life was gone. Daniel commenced to lose interest in the Church work as persecution of those practicing polygamy became more acute. Rather than go to prison in the year 1888 he mortgages his fine big ranch and fled to old Mexico, where he remained in seclusion for more than a year. When he returned there were many debts to pay and three families to keep. With his usual ability and hard work he soon accumulated more cattle and land and worldly possessions. His mind now was on worldly possessions, he had little time for Church activity.

He was a loving kind father, one instance of his devotion was when his little son Don was ill he took him to Salt Lake City for medical help and advice. By chance rides both ways. On the return trip there was no means of transportation through the heavy snow from Provo to Wallsburg. He took the boy in his arms and broke trail through Provo Canyon, walking all the way, he covered the boy's face with his own hat to help protect him from the falling snow. Daniel became very ill over this exertion and exposure, but that was of small note to him; he had saved the life of his son.

During the late years of his life he lived alone at the ranch. Clara was established in a little home in town; the other two wives had long since passed away. Years earlier he had lost the sight of one eye. Now the vision of the other one had become very dim; he was unable to properly handle the details of his business affairs. Unscrupulous people took advantage of him in many ways, his worldly possessions now rapidly diminished.

In the Autumn of 1921 he was counseled by his children to go to Vernal, Utah to visit at the home of his daughter, Emily through the cold winter months. The next morning after arriving there he kneeled beside a chair in the attitude of prayer. His tired old head bent lower until it rested on the chair with a faint little noise, his daughter and son-in-law hearing this, were at his side almost instantly, but he was gone, quietly, without warning, without a farewell breath he had been called home. His life here had been joy and sorrow, often a rough road, and sometimes lonely, who can say but the Great Judge will record "Well and faithfully done." He died at Vernal, Utah 22 Oct. 1921 and was buried at Wallsburg, Utah.

Daniel Bigelow and Permelia Meacham, Married 23 July 1865. Their children:

Daniel Don Louis born 22 May 1866

Permelia Emily born 25 Sept. 1867

William Cecil born 27 Aug. 1869

Polly Adora born 18 Feb. 1871

Emme May born 30 July 1873

Barney Boberg

Daniel Bigelow and Augusta Stevens married 9 Apr. 1882. Their children:
Moroni born 1 Aug. 1883
Mary Maria born 1 Feb. 1884
Rhoda Rhoana born 19 Nov. 1885
Percival Parley born 26 Feb. 1888
Ellen Charlotte born 15 Dec. 1890

Daniel Bigelow and Augusta Stevens married 9 Apr. 1887. Their children:

  • Lafey Largy born 27 May 1888
  • Lucy Louna born 27 Jan. 1890
  • Hyram Harold born 19 July 1893
  • Clara Caroline born 16 Dec. 1895
  • Daniel Dewey born 17 July 1898
  • Philip Eddie born 26 Feb. 1901
  • Ada Morjorie born 11 Jan. 1903
  • Elsie Einer born 27 Aug. 1905

Material gathered from personal histories of the families of Emily B. Batty, Mary B. Edwards, Emily Stoker, and from word of mouth or personal experiences of these people and of Aunt Polly.

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