Gilbard Summe

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Question: What challenges did Gilbard Summe encounter later in his life after traveling in Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company in 1847?

Answer: Gilbard Summe was born on August 22, 1802, in Randolph County, North Carolina, to John and Caroline Summe. (His name is also found as Gilburd, Gilbroid or Gilbert.)

Gilbard became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on June 20, 1845. On July 17, 1845, Gilbard married Sarah Jackson (Hyde), the widow of William Wood Hyde, in Illinois. William Wood Hyde and his wife, Sarah, had four children: Martha Jane Hyde (1823-1838), Joseph Lorenzo Hyde (1825-1902), Edith Hyde (1826-1846), and William Hyde (1832-1894). Their daughter Edith died at Winter Quarters a few weeks after giving birth to a little daughter, who died ten days after her birth.

In 1847, Gilbard was asked to be in Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company. He was in the 14th Ten with Joseph Mathews as the captain. Once organized, this vanguard pioneer company consisted of 142 men, 3 women, 2 children, and 72 wagons. They traveled 1031 miles before reaching their destination. Gilbard joined the advance company who entered the Salt Lake Valley on July 22, 1847.

Sarah emigrated to Utah in the Jedediah M. Grant Company in June 1847, with her fourteen-year-old son, William. They arrived in Utah on October 4, 1847. Her son, Joseph, was in Utah by 1850. Both of Sarah’s sons married, and had large families.

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On April 6, 1850, Gilbard was sustained a counselor in the general presidency of the Deacons. He was active in preserving the safety of the settlers during the Walker War. Chief Walkara (also known as Chief Walker) was a Shoshone leader of the Utah Indians known as the Timpanogo and Sanpete Band. Growing tension between the Mormon settlers and the Ute Indians resulted in the Walker War. The war was sparked on July 17, 1853 by a confrontation with James Alexander Ivie in Springville in Utah Valley. It resulted in the death of a band member, a relative of Walkara. A settlement was eventually made between Chief Walker and Brigham Young.

For a short time, Gilbard traveled to San Bernardino, California, and then later worked in the lead mines in the Mountain Spring, Nevada area. He returned to Utah with the others when recalled in 1857, due to the Johnston army threat.

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In 1860 Gilbard was living in Beaver, Utah, with his wife Sarah. They lived next door to Sarah’s two sons, Joseph and William Hyde, and their families. Gilbard and Sarah never had any children together.

In 1865, Gilbard was called to the “Muddy Mission” in Nevada's Moapa Valley. He settled in St. Joseph, a settlement that no longer exists. When this mission ended, he returned to southern Utah.

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Note on the Muddy Mission: Leaders of the Church of Latter Day Saints hoped to accomplish three purposes by settling in southern Nevada: establish the cultivation of cotton, develop a support system for navigation on the Colorado River, and keep non-Mormons from settling the area. The settlement of the Muddy River began on January 8, 1865, with the establishment of St. Thomas at the confluence of the Muddy and Virgin Rivers. Erastus Snow, president of the Southern Utah Mission, visited the Muddy on April 26, 1865, to survey the valley for future towns. Later he chose two locations, one of which became St. Joseph.. On May 28 the Saints arrived at the St. Joseph site, nine miles north of St. Thomas, and organized a branch of the Church there. This site was abandoned in June 1866. Most of the settlers returned to Utah

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Gilbard’s wife, Sarah, died in 1862 in Minersville, Beaver, Utah. Gilbard died in Harrisburg, Washington County, Utah, on June 13, 1867, at age 64. Gilbard’s burial place is not know.

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Note: Harrisburg is a ghost town in Washington County, Utah, United States. Established as Harrisville in 1859, the town was flooded by the Virgin River in 1862, causing the residents to move farther up Quail Creek. Soon after, the town's name was changed to Harrisburg. By 1868, 200 people lived in Harrisburg; however, over the course of the next few years, floods, Native American raids, and a grasshopper plague caused people to relocate to the nearby towns of Leeds and Silver Reef. By 1895, Harrisburg was abandoned.

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Source: “Biographies of the Original 1847 Pioneer Company,” Church News, Updated, 14 October 2009; FamilySearch.org; Wikipedia, “Harrisburg, Utah;” “A matter of faith: A study of the Muddy Mission,” by Monique Elaine Kimball, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.