Addison Everett

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Question: What was Addison’s reply when he was asked how he lived without much money after moving to Nauvoo?

Answer: Addison Everett was born October 10, 1805, in Wallkill, Orange County, New York. His parents were Ephraim Everett, Jr., and Deborah Corwin. He was one of twelve children. He was skilled with wood and carpentry, and worked as a ship’s carpenter on the docks of New York City.

On January 21, 183l, he married Eliza Ann Eating. Eliza Ann was born Mar. 1, 1805, to John Elting and Ann Schuyler. Addison and Eliza became proud parents of a daughter on Aug 30, 1832. They named her Ann Eliza Adelaide Everett. A son, Schuyler Everett, was born on April 4, 1835. It was a short time of happiness, however, for Eliza Ann died of unidentified causes on November 17, l835. After just four years of marriage, Addison was left without his sweet wife, and had two children dependent on him. He made good wages, but his employment was on the docks of New York City. He stayed at his employment in New York City, and the two children were taken 100 miles north to be with his parents.

It was in this dark period that the gospel came into his life. He was converted to the Mormon faith, being one of the first converts in New York, and was baptized by Elijah Fordham on Sept 1, 1837, and confirmed by Parley P. Pratt. In Feb of 1838, he was at a religious meeting at the home of “Brother Rogers,” and there was a little time for visiting afterwards. Orpha Marie Redfield, a very cultured school teacher, was at the meeting and “some one suggested a wedding before they separated, so they stood up and were married by Lucien R. Foster.”

Orpha Marie was from a family of eleven children, and was born March 25, 1814. Her mother was Sarah Gould, and her father (a Congregationalist minister) was Samuel Russell Redfield. She had been teaching school since she was 14 years old. She was well educated and knew Latin and Hebrew, and was also talented as a singer. So Addison had a lovely new wife, his children were returned to him, and the gospel was a part of their lives. He was steadfast in serving in the church, and in 1842 became president of the branch of the church at Little Falls and Meads Basin in New Jersey.

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On May 10, 1843 they were blessed with a daughter, and named her Mary Davis Everett. In 1843 the family made the decision to move to Nauvoo, Illinois, to join the Mormon “saints” there. Orpha and the three children went ahead, and Addison stayed in New York to earn money to support the family. Addison made it to Nauvoo in the spring of 1844. When he arrived, he was put to work using his carpentry skills on the Nauvoo Temple. He worked as a policeman also. He played the drums in the Nauvoo Legion. When asked how they managed to live, without much money, Addison simply said that “if he did not have enough to eat, he just tightened his belt a little more.”

Nauvoo Expositor building

Nauvoo Expositor building

These were difficult times in Nauvoo, with persecution from outside areas becoming more pronounced. Addison was part of the group who carried out the orders to destroy the Nauvoo Expositor press for printing slander. It was just a few days later when Joseph and Hyrum Smith were put in the Carthage Jail, where they were martyred by a mob on June 27, 1844. All of Nauvoo was shocked and saddened. Addison was one of the men who stood guard over the bodies after their martyrdom, and he and Orpha both grieved deeply for the loss of the Prophet Joseph and Hyrum. When the two caskets proceeded down the streets of Nauvoo, Addison was part of the Nauvoo Legion Band which played “Liberty.”

On March 7, 1845, another daughter was born, named Orpha Marie Everett, but soon died. In 1846 the Mormon community began to make plans to move westward, but Addison had been asked to stay until the last nail in the temple was in. Addison had made a wagon box for his family, but they had not enough money for a team and other equipment. They were given two oxen, making their move possible.

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Orpha and her three children crossed the frozen Mississippi in February of 1846 and awaited for Addison to come, after the temple was finished. Then they went on to Winter Quarters. In Winter Quarters, Orpha and the children were living in a sod hut with a blanket for a door. Addison was bishop (the 21st ward camp of Israel) and was very busy trying to help the poor.

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In the spring there was a need for the strongest, most able men to be part of the first pioneer company, the Vanguard Company for Brigham Young, and Addison was asked to go. Addison was a captain of 50 wagons in the Jedediah Grant Company. They left Winter Quarters on April 5, 1847. The next company (including women and children) left on April 16, 1847. Orpha and her children were in this second group. She had to manage with her three children as well as two orphan boys that she cared for.

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Addison entered the Salt Lake Valley on July 22, 1847. He helped build a rough fort in Salt Lake and planted some crops, and then went back to get Orpha and his family that he had left in Winter Quarters. Upon entering Sweetwater, Wyoming, about 300 miles east of the Salt Lake Valley, he was surprised to the find the next company, with his wife and family among them.

They proceeded on to the Salt Lake Valley, arriving Sept 29, 1847, and managed to survive the first winter (living in the newly constructed Salt Lake Fort), by digging up sego lilies and making soup. Later they would move to a roughly constructed home on the east side of the city, and Addison was called to be the first Bishop of the 8th ward.

With the amount of destitute families coming in to the valley, the bishops and other saints sacrificed to help them get a start, so Addison was never well off himself. It is related that he made his livelihood in Salt Lake by stocking plows and farming. He also helped with some special missions to fortify some outposts against the Indians, in Salmon Creek, Idaho, in 1853, and also building up the supply fort at the Green River in Wyoming in 1856.

On Dec. 19, 1852, Addison took a plural wife, Hannah Gregory. They had two sons: Addison Everett, Jr., and William Everett. When Addison moved to St. George in 1861, she remained in Salt Lake City. In the fall of 1861, the saints went to conference to hear President Young. On the second day of the conference he asked for volunteers to go to the south of the territory (St. George region) to establish a “Cotton Mission.” No one volunteered that evening. So the next day in conference, people’s names were read who were called by Brigham Young to go to St. George and build up the city. He was very interested in Orpha being able to teach school. And Addison, of course, had proved to have good leadership, compassion, and be very hard working. The family accepted the call.

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Addison, Orpha, and their daughter Marie went south. When they got to St. George, Orpha taught school from her wagon box, and later in a tent. She continued to teach school until she was 70 years old. Addison farmed, and was also called to build the first community center, the St. George Hall. In 1870 he was asked to work on a dam on the Virgin River, and this was completed in 1875. At the time of this calling, he would have been almost 65 years old. He was also put to work on the building of the St. George temple, which started in 1871 and was completed in 5 ½ years.

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In the latter years of his life, Addison and his wife Orpha spent all their time working in the temple, doing more than 2000 endowments for kindred dead. Addison died on January 2, 1885, and was buried in the St. George City Cemetery. Orpha died six years later.

Sources for History of Addison Everett

1. The Everett who Accompanied Brigham Young Westward, Everett Generations, vol 12, #2, 2001. p 24-25.

2. Watson, Thora (Bergeson) and Bergeson, Arnold, 1999, Histories of John Stout White and Ann Eliza Adelaide Everett White. Self published.

3. Biography of Addison Everett, handwritten account, author unknown. DUP museum in St. George (McQuarry Museum)

4. Barnum, Roberta Blake and Peine, Paul, St. George Utah Original Pioneers, Dec 1 1861-May 10, 1869, Histories and Pictures. P. 206-207

5. Under Dixie Sun, A History of Washington County by those who loved their forebears, Washington County Chapter DUP, copyright 1950, p. 44

6. Miller, Albert, The Immortal Pioneers Founders of City of St. George, Utah, copyright 1946, self published.

Source: Excerpts from “Addison Everett, Pioneer,” Synopsis of his life by Mary Lou Hoffman Staten, 3rd great granddaughter, FamilySearch.org; FindAGrave.com