Thursday, April 28, 2011


I am always thrilled when I get anything from one of you to put on this blog.  Yesterday I received the following from Kirkham Smith, son of Adah Kirkham Smith, grandson of Lott & Sarah Wrigley Kirkham, and great grandson of George and Sara Kirkham and Edward and Sarah Wrigley.

I thought it was interesting how Aunt Bessie's (daughter of George and Sarah Kirkham) personality was highlighted in her letter.  Also, the important historical information is in the third paragraph, as Kirk tells. I included a typed copy of that paragraph so it would be easier to read.

The sketch is one that George drew of  his wife and son.  I think it is Sara and her firstborn, but if someone knows different, please let me know. 

Bessie mentions the B.Y.U. Library.  Kathy Reed introduced me to the fact that there is a file there for George Kirkham in what I think is special selections area.  I have looked through it and looked at the materials Bessie donated.  Anyone can go to that library and see and copy the materials. 

Kirk's Letter
Bessie's Letter to Adah

Typed copy of part of a letter written by Bessie LaVerne Kirkham Fillerup, daughter of George and Sarah Kirkham. It was written to Adah Kirkham Smith, her niece, on 26 March 1977.
Was thrilled to hear you talk of the S. L. Temple and you folks going thru and remembering your Grandpa’s work there.  Must tell you this, it was there in the Temple he was working when his last work was completed he got so interested in what he was doing that he was locked in for the night and he told us how “grand and wonderful” he felt to be there for a whole night, so calm and peaceful he said.  When you go thru remember he helped to build it all, especially the carvings, etc.  When I go, and we always go thru when we go to Utah, I try to touch the woodwork especially the Celestial room and the room before that, the beautiful white woodwork, the doorways, steps, etc. etc.  Uncle Leonard and I was married in the little room (wedding room) just up the stairs at the end of the Celestial room, and I have often heard him say that was his special job.  Not long ago I sent them, in his honor, a beautiful knit lace doilie for that room and when I go now, I see it under one of those beautiful vases.  It is so thrilling to remember my beloved Father and his life and work and so happy I assembled his Book of Remembrance and placed it in the B.Y.U. Library for all to read and remember him, along with his precious wives and children.  He helped to build the St. George, Manti, Logan, Salt Lake Temples, and it was 100 years ago that he was at the Dedication of the St. George Temple and at that Dedication that he received his call for a Mission to England.  We attended the St. George Temple re-opening and Dedication and was so sorry to see all the beautiful old things and decorations gone that Father knew and loved, and I am glad we went thru it before it changed.
Sketch by George Kirkham

Kathy Kirkham Reed, daughter of William G. Kirkham and grand daughter of Lott and Sarah Kirkham wrote to tell me the picture George drew of Sarah is with her son Joseph, who died when he was three years old. The following are partial entries (only the material pertaining to Joseph) from the journal of George Kirkham which explain his son’s illness and death. And added note is that George’s mother, Mary Ann Astington Kirkham died on October 23, 1881.

Sunday Oct 30, 1881: I went to the Sunday School Anniversary in the morning. I stayed at home in the afternoon with my little Joseph, who was not well, while his mother Sarah and her mother (Note CJC – Eliza Russon) went to the afternoon meeting.

Monday, Oct 31, 1881: I went to work all day for Sister Willes, and continued so all the week, sitting up at night with our little Joseph who was getting worse. We had Brother Hart to come and see him, who was a doctor of herbs. He said our little boy had got the Typhoid Fever, and was a very sick child.

Sunday, Nov 6, 1881: We all stayed at home on account of our little son who was very sick. It stormed most of the day, snowing and blowing. It was a very dismal day, for our little boy was very sick. We sat up all night with him, my wife with him the first part and me from 12 until morning.

Monday, Nov 7, 1881: Our boy was getting worse. We had a Bro. Hart tending him. We had to tend him very close.

Tuesday, Nov 8, 1881: I worked all day in the shop. We had to sit up all night and watch all day. At night we thought we would have to part with him, but the Lord answered our prayers and we still were able to keep him. He was now down to the lowest notch. His mouth and lips were black, and his looks would give us the horrors.

Wednesday, Nov 9, 1881: I stayed home all day. My little boy Joseph was very bad. We were doing all we could to get him better, and called on the Lord to help him. He was a bright little tot.

Thursday, Nov 10, 1881: I returned home and found my wives feeling very bad about my little boy. He was not very much better. We sat up all night, about 12 o’clock he took worse and never slept a wink hardly the rest of the night. I went in search of beef. I went to 3 places before I could get it, to make some beef tea to take. He was now very low and would take all the attention we can give, with the blessings of the All Mighty to save him.

Friday, Nov 11, 1881: During the day he looked very bad, but he took another change for the better. ….. At midnight my wives called me up, and I sat up the rest of the night. We had to feed him with a spoon, and only a little at a time, either toast, water, egg and brandy pearl barley, water rice, water beef tea, besides his medicine.

Saturday, Nov 12, 1881: I stayed up all night. I stayed home all day until night.

Sunday Nov 13, 1881: My little Sarah’s birthday, my little daughter whom we buried during the past summer, who was only 9 months and some weeks when we buried her.

Monday Nov 14, 1881: H seemed to be better. …….so, I returned home and was glad I did in one sense of the word, for my boy took worse and was bad all day. I ran in every few minutes to see him. How we did pray to the Lord to spare his life, and had others do the same. He was most all skin and bones. We believed the Lord would yet preserve his life. Most all others thought he would die. But we wanted his life spared so bad. He was such a smart child

Friday Nov 18, 1881: Our little boy would be better of all his trouble if not for a gathering in his head, which gave him great pain.

Saturday Nov 19, 1881: …..I found my folks sitting up taking care of our little boy.

Tuesday, Nov 22, 1881: Our little boy still laid in bed.

Friday, Nov 25, 1881: …..At midnight I was up as usual to watch over my little boy who was very sick, that is weakly sick. Nothing but skin and bones, as you might say.

Sunday, Nov 27, 1881:….We sat up every night with my little boy, for he was a poor little sufferer.

Saturday, Dec 3,, 1881: …..We did not know whether our little boy would get through or not, he was so low. I laid down and my Sarah came and called me up at 10 o’clock. I got up and administered to little Joseph and they laid him down again. I went and laid down again and slept until 7 o’clock. Then I arose and my wife went to bed, but our little boy was suffering very bad with the gathering in the head. He could not sleep for it.

Sunday, Dec 4, 1881: I stayed at home all day keeping my boy company, together with his mother and Mary. It had been a weary time for us, and he was now going thinner and thinner.

Monday, Dec 5 1881: …..I sat up with our boy as usual and waited on him, and did all I could to comfort him.

Wednesday, Dec 7, 1881: (Complete entry) I went to work all day. The weather was very cold and windy, but about 10 o’clock it cleared off and was warm all the day. When I got home, I was compelled to hear the sad news. Sad in one sense, not in another, that my poor little boy Joseph was dead. He was but a skeleton and was a sorrowful sight to look at. Bro. Loutensock made his coffin. Our neighbor Sister Austin made his clothes, also. But he was now out of his pain, having suffered for over 5 weeks. We all were almost worn out, but did not shrink from doing all we could to comfort him while he lived.

Thursday, Dec 8, 1881 (Complete entry) The weather was fine and clear. My father-in-law (Note CJC – Lott Russon) dug his grave. The day was a dreary one for us. At 3 o’clock a number of our friends, besides our relations, came to bury our dear little Joseph, who was born while I was working out his mother’s and his aunt’s (Note CJC- both being married to him ) emigration in Salt Lake City on the tabernacle. (Note CJC- Was he paying back to the PEF?) He was now 3 years and 3 months old, and he was a star of our family, and the Lord saw fit to take him and we have to submit to it, for the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, and blessed be the name of the Lord. It seemed as though we had suffered great during the past summer, having lost 3 children and a mother (Note CJC- see above), but all we could do now was to try and get over it, and acknowledge the hand of the Lord in it. He told his mother just before he took sick, he was going on a mission up to the graveyard, and many other things he said, which were or did not seem natural for a little boy like him to say. We could remember so many things he said, and how good and bright he was, and willing to do anything he was told to do, but when I think how he suffered and fell away to nothing, as you might say. When I came home in the evening and saw him being washed by his grandmother, about 10 minutes after his death, I thought I would have sunk. It was a dreadful sight to see. His bones could have been counted almost. As I write about him my heart is sad, but I said the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, and blessed by the name of the Lord.

Friday, Dec 9, 1881: I went to work as usual, feeling bad about my little boy, now and then during the day bursting in tears for the loss of Joseph. At night I returned to home and still felt very bad, knowing we had two sick, Rachel and Eliza. Eliza Russon (Note CJC- his mother-in-law probably) stayed with them while we went and buried little Joseph. Rachel was the worst. She had got the same complaint as Joseph.

Note-cjc- Over time, Rachel and Eliza improved and were healed. These children were daughters of Mary and George.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011


It has been some time since I posted to this blog spot, but will try to be more faithful.  I am hoping someone out there can provide more information concerning any members of the Kirkham or Wrigley Families.  Thanks.  Carolyn J. Christensen


(Married to Hannah Hardy Eckersley Crompton- see her history on this site.)

Arrived in Utah: 1853
Independent Company
Hannah H. E. Crompton, his wife
Margaret Emma (Rushton) infant daughter
Four Stepchildren named Eckersley.
Information obtained from Elvira C. Steel, daughter.
Written by Edith Lovell, county historian.
Bonneville County Company Daughters of Utah Pioneers

(All material in ( parenthesis) added by Carolyn J. Christensen from family records.

(Carolyn Johnson Christensen > Doris Kirkham Johnson > Sarah Adelaide Wrigley Kirkham > Sarah Ann Robinson > Sarah Eckersley Robinson > Hannah Hardy Eckersley Crompton, sealed to John Crompton)

John Crompton was born in 1829 (6 July) in Bolton England. He was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth or Betty or Betsey {listed as Betsey in Patriarchal Blessing. Though Margaret is listed as John’s mother in one or two sources, she is listed as Betsey in many, and Margaret is listed as her mother.) Greenhalgh Crompton (who were married in about 1828). Thomas’ father, Samuel Crompton, (or possibly a relative since Thomas’ birth entry hasn’t been located) was the inventor of a Spinning Jenny or Spinning Mule. When the baby John was six months old (end of 1829 or beginning of 1830), his parents came to America where his father (Thomas) was engaged to teach the operation of the Spinning Jenny. They lived in the South, traveling from place to place. The American cotton textile industry was being started at this time; heretofore, the raw cotton had been shipped to England and then returned when it had been made into cloth. Thomas Crompton played an important part in establishing the cotton industry in the south. He worked very hard at his job, though for small pay. (As far as can be established, Thomas and Betty had two other children, Robert born on 11 August 1834 in New Jersey, and Margaret born in about 1836.)

The young couple (Thomas and Betty) heard L. D. S. Missionaries and joined the church. Resuming his work in the South, Thomas Crompton found himself an outcast and was driven out by the very ones he had worked so hard to help. (Early Church Membership files indicate they were baptized in Nauvoo in 1842.)**

(In January of 1845, Thomas (age about 41) received a Patriarchal Blessing from John Smith, recorded by Samuel L. Smith, in Nauvoo. At this time, his son John (age 16) also received a blessing. In July of 1845, Thomas again received a Patriarchal Blessing, as did his wife, at the hands of Samuel L. Smith with Arthur Milliken as recorder. On 7 February of 1846, Thomas and Betsey were two of the saints to receive their washing and anointing and endowments in the Nauvoo Temple. By this time, both John and Thomas were in a Quorum of the Seventys in Nauvoo. )

( John was baptized in 1844 and received his Patriarchal Blessing while in Nauvoo by John Smith.)

They were in Pottawattamie Co. Iowa, during the cholera epidemic, and both Thomas and his wife died of it. (Early Church membership files list them as being buried in Pottawattamie, Iowa in 1850. They probably died in Council Bluffs or nearby before the census was taken that year.)

John Crompton (age 21) met and married Hannah Hardy Eckersley (age 35) married, on 1 March 1850). She was a young widow ( her husband was murdered in St. Louis) with four daughters. (She had come from St. Louis and was living in Pottowattamie, Iowa at the time the Census was taken in 1850. It can be assumed that Thomas and Betsey were living with them or close by, until their death. John’s younger brother (Robert) and sister (Margaret) were part of his household. Hannah had worked at a prominent hotel in St. Louis to support her four daughters as her husband with whom she had left England and come to America was murdered in St. Louis.)

John and Hannah had one child in St. Louis, which died. (This was Hannah Elizabeth born in 1851. She was probably born in Council Bluffs. She died in 1852.) (It seems as though John lost his parents, got married, gained four step-daughters, lost a baby daughter, left for Salt Lake and gained another baby daughter within 3 ½ years.)

They moved west with the Saints, traveling across the plains in an independent company. A daughter, Margaret (Rushton) was born at Platt River during a storm so severe that the wagon had to be tied down (21 July 1853, Platte River, Saunders, Nebraska). (In 1853, the household of John and Hannah included John’s brother Robert,, Hannah’s four daughters by her first marriage, and John and Hannah’s infant daughter, and John’s sister, Margaret traveled to Salt Lake City in the Henry Ettleman Wagon Train Company. This group was probably a small part of the Edward Pugh Company who arrived in the valley in September. Hannah gave birth to another daughter during the trip, and one later in Salt Lake. John’s sister, Margaret did not travel to Salt Lake with them and it is not known what happened to her.

They arrived in Big Cottonwood in 1853. A daughter, Elvira (Steele) was born in Big Cottonwood November 15, 1856. When she was six months old, they moved to American Fork. A son John was born in 1860, who died at six weeks. (There is a note of another son being born in 1861 who died as a child.)

(John and Hannah were sealed on 3 August 1861 in the Endowment House. John died on 2 March 1913 in American Fork. He lived 12 years past the death of his wife.)


After the Saints had been driven from Nauvoo, a brother by the name of Crompton went to St. Louis to secure an outfit to go to the land of Zion to be with the Saints of God. The arduous journey across the plains was at length begun with one yoke of oxen and one of cows hitched to a covered wagon containing their few necessary valuables and provisions for the journey. Their captain was Edward Pugh. When they reached the North Platte River in the state of Nebraska, a baby girl was born. They forded the Platte River the next morning. The new baby was called Margaret Emma*. The mother was too sick to nurse her baby. She was fed on milk from the cows that had to help pull the load. This milk did not agree with the baby and she was not well until their arrival in Utah. They arrived in Utah in September. They picked up potatoes on shares and had enough to do them all winter. (See, In Covered Wagon Days.)(For further details, see the history of Hannah Crompton)

John and Hannah moved to Little Cottonwood, where they resided two years. A baby girl which they named Elvira was born to them in 1855 (Hannah age 40). This family then moved to Camp Floyd (Cedar Valley) where the resided until after the arrival of Johnston’s Army. On account of the Indians being on the war path, they moved to American Fork that same year.

They went through all the hardships of pioneer life. Many times they were without bread and gathered weeds, berries, and thistle roots, until they could raise something.

Their first crop was barley, which matured a little earlier than the wheat. This barley was ground in a coffee mill to make bread. Their only sweets were beet and carrot molasses, which they made themselves.

Hannah (age 65) and her husband John, (age 51) left American Fork in 1890 and went to Sanpete County to live with her eldest daughter in part of her home; she (Annetta Eckersley Draper) being left a widow, and they were getting too old to care for themselves. However, John returned to American Fork sometime later and died there.

** Other research indicates in 1842, they joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and in March of 1844, they moved from Shrewsville, Pennsylvania to Nauvoo.

* John’s daughter Margaret and a younger sister Elvira eventually married and moved to the Idaho Falls area where Margaret was a “regional” stake RS President and Elvira was a counselor.