Joseph T. Egbert

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Question: Whose wagon did Joseph T. Egbert drive to the Utah Valley in July 1847?

Answer: Joseph T. Egbert, son of John (Nick) and Susanna Hahn Egbert, was born in Carlisle, Sullivan County, Indiana, on March 10, 1818. He was the sixth of thirteen children. Joseph was taught how to live a hardy frontier life and became a good marksman with the gun.

Joseph married Mary Allred, daughter of Isaac and Mary Calvert Allred, on December 6, 1840. They both joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and in due time went to Nauvoo to be with the members of the Church. They had their first two children in Nauvoo. Then, due to the persecution of the church, it became evident that they would have to leave Nauvoo.

At Council Bluffs, Mary gave birth to a set of twins, Elvia and Eliza in August 1846. Then Joseph was chosen as one of the men to go with Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company in the summer of 1847. Orson Pratt was captain of the first company of ten, and Joseph was one of the first ten. He was appointed driver of Orson Pratt’s wagon, as well as cook, leaving his wife, Mary, and their five little children in Winter Quarters. Orson Pratt, being an astronomer for the company, figured the distance traveled each day, and the altitude of the country they had to travel. When the ground was level, Orson would drive while Joseph would hunt.

There were days at a time when the company had no meat. At one such time, the regularly appointed huntsman again had no success. Joseph suggested that Orson drive, and he would see if he could help get some meat. Orson accepted the suggestion, and Joseph left the wagon, his gun loaded. Following an old buffalo trail for a long distance, he finally sensed that he was about to come upon a herd. He concealed himself, aimed and shot a cow, then a calf. Instead of the herd running off, they circled around the dead animals. It seemed the animals had no thought of leaving, so of necessity, he aimed at and killed one of the leaders of the herd. After circling two or three times more, they let out a terrifying bellow and loped off in the opposite direction.

Joseph started back to camp for help. As he moved cautiously along, he saw a deer and killed it, thinking he could carry a hind quarter of it, but soon found he was too exhausted even for that added burden. He hung the meat in a tree, marking the place so the brethren from camp would have no difficulty in finding it. All this meat was more than needed for immediate use so Brigham Young ordered a half day stop in order to care for the meat.

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Joseph was one of the party, under Orson Pratt, which went down Echo Canyon in advance to find a way into the valley other than the one first contemplated. Here at Emigration Canyon they camped, while Orson Pratt and Erastus Snow, on July 21, 1847, went ahead on a scouting trip, taking one horse between them.

The first wagon was driven into the valley by Joseph Egbert, which was owned by Orson Pratt, on July 22, 1847. It is believed that they camped to the south of Emigration Canyon, and that later upon the arrival of President Young, they moved to the South Fork of City Creek. They went to plowing and planting at once and also building a fort. Joseph, like others of those pioneers having left his family at Winter Quarters, joined the company for a return journey in August 1947. Joseph was anxious to see his family again.

In 1849, Joseph outfitted for a second journey across the plains to the Rockies. He profited by his former experiences and was therefore able to afford his family greater comfort than would have otherwise been the case. With him was his wife Mary and five children, John Calvert, Robert Newton, Elvira A, Eliza A. (twins), and Joseph Orson. Joseph Orson died enroute, July 29, 1849, only seven months old. He was buried near the Platt River. Joseph was able to make a little casket for his infant son’s burial, which gave Joseph and his wife Mary some comfort.

After arriving in the valley, the family lived in a wagon fixed like a sheep wagon for about a year while Joseph worked in Millcreek Canyon getting out logs which he used to build a one-room house in which they lived for about a year. This was the first house built in Millcreek. Then they moved to South Cottonwood where he began cutting and hewing the logs for another home. He was a carpenter by trade and made many pieces of furniture that were to go into their new home.

Joseph and Mary met the Warricks soon after their arrival in Cottonwood. Mary and Louisa Warrick, being about the same age, had much in common, and the two families frequently visited. Thomas Warrick, early in the Spring of 1850 went to California hoping to find a fortune in gold. He took sick and died before his dreams were realized, leaving the young widow to fare the best she could. During the months that followed, Joseph visited Louisa from time to time. On June 17, 1852, they were married in the Endowment House.

As both families grew, they all worked together. In 1854 Joseph moved his families to Kaysville, where Joseph built a two-story brick house, the first one in Kaysville. He made a large table that would accommodate his entire family. Mary and Louisa worked with raising silk worms and spinning the silk and weaving wool and silk into material for clothes. They had the only place where people could stay who came to Kaysville. Church authorities and travelers would stay there. Joseph also owned 200 acres of choice land and planted the first orchard of various kinds of fruit. He also planted the mulberry trees which were very beautiful as well as useful.

In 1853, Joseph and Mary lost two of their children: Elvia, and Isaac. In 1861, Eliza died, age 15. In 1864, they lost two more of their children, Samuel and Sarah. In 1870, they lost their son, Hyrum, age 10. Joseph and Mary had a total of thirteen children, with only five living to adulthood to marry.

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Mary and Louisa Egbert worked and lived in harmony during their married life, helping Joseph in all his undertakings They died a little over a year apart: Mary Caroline on April 29, 1880 and Louisa, November 4, 1881. Three years later, Joseph married his third wife, Anna Marie Iverson. Louisa had 5 children by Joseph Egbert and two by Thomas Warrick. Joseph’s third wife, Anna, had three children, all born in Kaysville, then they moved to a small home in Ogden. It was there that Joseph died on May 24, 1898 and was buried in the Kaysville City Cemetery.

Source: Excerpts from “A sketch of the Life of Joseph Egbert,” FamilySearch.org; FindAGrave.com