James Isaac Case

Question: Which company did James Case immigrate to the Salt Lake Valley with?

Answer: James Isaac Case was born May 4, 1794, in Norfolk, Litchfield County, Connecticut. He was the youngest of ten children born to Joseph Case and Lydia Mills. He married Hannah Wiard on December 12, 1815. Hannah Wiard was born January 14, 1796, in Harpersfield, Ohio to Lemuel and Olive Wiard. They made their home in Austinburg, Ashtabula County, Ohio, where James farmed. Their first child, Olive, was born in 1820 and died soon after birth. Their second child, Aaron Levi Parsons, was born April 18, 1822. He also died in infancy. Their next, and only surviving child, was born on September 13, 1825. They named him Solomon Cowles Case.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was active in their area, and Hannah and James were baptized members. In 1846, they moved to Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois. Persecution continued to follow the Saints, and in February 1846, they were again forced to leave their homes. The Case family left Nauvoo with the other members of the Church, and went to Winter Quarters, Nebraska. Here James left Hannah to find work at a government station on the Lower Platte River. He farmed for the government, but when they learned he was a Mormon, they dismissed him, and he returned to Winter Quarters.

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James left Winter Quarters with President Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company, and Hannah remained with her son, Solomon. Brigham Young’s company arrived in the Salt Lake Valley July 21-24, 1847. James stayed in the Valley helping to build the fort, plant crops, and build roads.

Just seven days before the Jedediah M. Grant-Willard Snow Company wagon train was to leave Winter Quarters, James’ son, Solomon, married Emily Richey. The three of them: James’ wife, Hannah; son, Solomon and his wife Emily; left Winter Quarters on June 17, 1847. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on October 4, 1847, where James was waiting for them. James’ son, Solomon, and Emily had one daughter, born in 1848 in Salt Lake, but they were later divorced. Solomon, later married Elisabeth Pectol, with whom he had nine children. He also married Sarah Sampson, with whom he had eight children.

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James spent that first hard winter at the Fort in the area now known as “Pioneer Park,” remaining in the Salt Lake Valley until the spring of 1850, when he moved south to Manti, Sanpete County. Hannah’s time in Sanpete was short-lived. She died of consumption (tuberculosis) on October 15, 1850, at age fifty-four. Hannah had lived her life as a faithful church member and pioneer. After Hannah’s death, James married Alice Buckley (Kershaw) on January 13, 1851.

In 1855, James, age 61, served as a missionary in the Indian Territory of Oklahoma. He arrived for service in St. Louis on November 10, 1855, and "all [missionaries] suffered from want of clothing and proper food, as the Indians among whom they labored were very poor." Elder Case was called to preside over the Creek Nation Mission, and organized the Princess Branch. This branch struggled from lack of local leadership. The handful of missionaries in this mission were ill, and a few died while serving in this mission. Perhaps the effects of this illness claimed Case, as he died a few years after returning from his mission.

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James married Thankful Stearns (Bessey), an older widow, on January 31, 1858. James passed away on July 2, 1860, in Manti, and is buried in the pioneer section of the Manti City Cemetery.

Source: Pioneer Women of Faith and Fortitude, Vol. I, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, 1998, pp. 521-522, FamilySearch.org; FindAGrave.com.