Joseph Alva Rooker

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Question: Where did Joseph A. Rooker finally settle after he served in Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company in 1847?

Answer: Joseph Alva Rooker was born on January 22, 1818 in Ohio, to John and Dolly Torbet Rooker.

Joseph married Emeline Samantha Jordan on November 1, 1840 in Pleasant Township, Brown, Ohio. Emeline was the oldest child of Nathaniel and Barbara Curtis Jordan. Joseph was twenty-two, and Emeline was just fifteen years of age at the time of their marriage. Joseph and Emeline had thirteen children together–four boys and nine girls, from the years 1842-1871. All but their oldest child, Barbara, lived to maturity.

After their marriage, Joseph and Emeline moved to Indiana. It was here that they were taught the Gospel by some Mormon missionaries, and they became members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 1845, they moved to Nauvoo, Illinois. By October 1846, they had left Nauvoo and were in Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, Iowa, with the other Saints. Here their first son, William, was born.

In the spring of 1847 Joseph was asked to be in Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company. He was in the 11th Ten led by John S. Higbee. After the trek west, Joseph was appointed to be one of a committee to take teams to meet the oncoming companies, relieve them of their burdens and assist them to reach their destinations. Joseph then returned to Council Bluffs to get his wife and children. Emeline’s mother, Barbara, died at Council Bluffs in 1847, leaving a large number of children.

In December 1848, Joseph and Emeline’s second son, Joseph Jr., was born at Council Bluffs. A daughter, Lucy, was born in July 1851. In June of 1852, Joseph and Emeline crossed the plains with the Uriah Curtis Company, in which Joseph served as captain of the Third Ten. Roughly 260 individuals with 50 wagons when it began the journey from Kanesville, Iowa (present day Council Bluffs). Members of the company arrived in the Salt Lake Valley between 29 September and 1 October 1852.

Joseph settled his family in various places in Utah until 1860. He was a member of the 9th Quorum of Seventy. By 1860 Joseph decided to move his family to California. In the 1860 census the family is in Washington Township, Alameda, California. Their last five children were born in California. In the 1880 census the family is in Linkville, Lake County, Oregon.

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In the 1900 census the family is in Mt. Fairview and San Luis Rey Townships, Oceanside City, San Diego, California.

Joseph died on November 12, 1901, and was buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Fallbrook, San Diego, California. Emeline died on May 2, 1906, in Oceanside, San Diego, California, and was buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery by her husband.

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Source: “Biographies of the Original 1847 Pioneer Company,” Church News, Updated, 14 October 2009; FamilySearch.org, Sources; FindAGrave.com