Question: How old was Levi Newell Kendall when he went with Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847?
Answer: Levi Newell Kendall was born on April 19, 1822, to Levi and Lorena Lyman Kendall, in Lockport, Niagra County, New York. His father died the same day he was born. His mother later married a man named Howe. Levi lived with his uncle and grand parents for a number of years.
When nearing manhood, he returned to his mother’s home. Soon afterward he heard a “Mormon” Elder proclaim that God had restored the everlasting Gospel, and he was convinced of its truth. During his investigating he was so bitterly opposed and oppressed by his step-father that he had to leave his home or renounce it.
He was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Michigan by Elder D. H. Hulbert in October of 1842. He at once went to Nauvoo, Illinois, where he worked on the Nauvoo Temple. He was ordained a Seventy in April 1844 under the hands of President Joseph Young Sr. He was set apart to fill a mission to Michigan the same year, where he was meeting with fair success when he, in connection with all the other missionaries, were called home at the time of the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum Smith. In 1846 Levi moved out of Nauvoo to Winter Quarters along with the other Saints.
At Winter Quarters Levi, now 24 years old, joined with Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company and headed to the Salt Lake Valley. On the night of June 5, 1847, on the way there, he with John Eldredge and Stephen Kelsey were on guard the night a band of 15 Pawnee Indians entered the enclosure on the bank of the South Fork River. He was first to discover the Indians and together with Stephen Kelsey, fired over their heads, frightening them away. Levi, John Eldredge, and two or three others prevented what might have been a perilous and dangerous stampede in the Black Hills. Plying vigorously their whips over the heads of the terrified oxen, they soon compelled them to stop, thus preventing a serious catastrophe.
On that memorable day, July 24, 1847, most of the Company entered the great Salt Lake Valley. It was decided to plant wheat at once. A rush was made for the teams and plows. Levi, John Eldredge and William Carter were the first to try and turn the sod. Levi was able to plow only a few rods when the beam of his plow broke. William Carter was able to plow about half an acre so was credited with having laid the first furrow in the Valley. Water had to be put on the land before they had much success.
At the age of 26, Levi married Eliza Clements on June 17, 1848, in the Salt Lake Valley. Her mother had sent her on ahead with another family. Levi and Eliza’s first home was a wagon bed where they lived for a number of years. Eliza Clements was born March 14, 1834 at Florence, Huron Co., Ohio. Eliza was the sixth child born to Albert and Ada Clements. The Clements family lived near Joseph Smith’s parents in New York, where they joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. In 1832, they moved to Ohio to be with the Saints there. They were driven from their homes in Ohio and Missouri. In 1840, they moved to Nauvoo where Eliza’s father worked on the building of the Nauvoo House. The family came at different times to the Salt Lake Valley. Eliza, age 13, came in the Daniel Spencer/Ira Eldredge Company, arriving in Salt Lake on September 19, 1847. Between 1849 and 1873, Eliza and Levi had eleven children. Four died as infants, and one died in her early twenties.
Levi married again to Eliza’s sister, Elizabeth Clements on November 29, 1852, in the Endowment House. Elizabeth was 16 years old. Elizabeth’s mother apparently encouraged this marriage. Elizabeth and Levi had twelve children together. About 1880 Levi and Elizabeth separated. Elizabeth died at the home of one of her children in Oxford, Idaho in 1924.
In 1856 Levi moved to Mapleton, near Springville, Utah County, Utah, where he assisted in the construction of canyon roads and irrigation canals. During the time of the Indian troubles he freely contributed of his means and time in defense of the lives and homes of the settlers.
In 1873, due to conflicts with her sister, Elizabeth, Eliza decided to leave Levi, and they were divorced. She then met and married John Crossley and had two more children, but this marriage then ended. In 1897 Eliza and Levi were reunited, and lived together in Mapleton.
On March 10, 1903, Levi Newel Kendall died at Mapleton, Utah, and is buried in the Mapleton City Cemetery. Eliza died on January 2, 1915 and was buried in Mapleton.
Source: Excerpts taken from “Levi Newell Kendall,” contributed by Brenda Shipley, FamilySearch.org; “Levi Newell Kendall, Life Sketch,” FamilySearch.org; Eliza Clements Kendall Crossley, FamilySearch.org; FindaGrave.com