History of John H. L. Clegg & Martha Ellen Smith

Contributed by Chris Christiansen

Written by Ruth Clegg Wimer (daughter) for Daughters of the Utah Pioneers in 1959.

I have gathered information from relatives and data found in records. I, with my brother and sisters are proud to be a descendant of such noble ancestors.

I will begin on my paternal side. Henry Clegg, my grandfather was born June 7, 1825 in Bamberbridge, Lancashire, England.

His parents were Henry Clegg, born August 4, 1788, in Walton Le Dale, England and his wife was also born there April 15, 1788. Her name was Ellen Cardwell for whom my brother Cardwell Clegg was named.

Henry and his brother Johnathan immigrated to America in 1855. They crossed the Plains with the Richard Ballantyne Company. They had heard the Missionaries preach the gospel and believed in it. It is thought that Heber C. Kimball was the Elder who baptised these two young men. The story has been told that, after a meeting which the Elders were holding, some people expressed the desire to be baptised. The officiating Elder remarked he would baptise the first one to reach the river's edge. A young man by the name of Watt and my grandfather raced to see who would reach the spot first. The distance was not far, but the Watt boy won the race. So my grandfather was the second person to be baptised in England. By the time he was 23 years old he had joined the church (March 5, 1840) and had married Hannah Eastman and was waiting for the day when they could come to America.

But grandfather (Henry) and his brother Johnathan (see note 1), who had married Ellen Wamsley, left Liverpool, England on March 31, 1855. They booked passage on the ship Juventa. It was a long voyage - taking 6 weeks to reach Philadelphia. From here they went to Pittsburg, then by steamer to St. Louis where they joined the Richard Ballantyne Company. With 45 wagons, 402 Saints, and oxen to help pull they began their Treak across the plains.

Grandfather Clegg was a well-to-do merchant of shoes and a clog manufacturer. His father had been in the same business before him. Before their departure for America, grandfather and wife Hannah had been blessed with three sons - Thomas, Israel, and Henry James. Thomas had lost his life in an accidental fire in 1846, so they started out with their two sons. The travel was too hard for Hannah and she died while crossing the plains in Kansas May 20, 1855 due to the hardships she had suffered and was burried at Mormon Grove, near Atchison (Iowa). The Company went on but that night their young son, Henry James, died also. Grandfather wrapped the boy in a blanket and carried him back to where his wife had been burried and with the wolves howling and following him he was able to place him in his mother's arms. Grandfather caught up with the company and he and his young son Israel who was 6 years old continued on. How sad they must have been!

A big party was given the entire party when they arrived in Salt Lake. It was at this gathering of the Saints that grandfather first met his new wife to be, Ann Lewis. 19 years of age and who had helped with the celebration.

Ann Lewis was born June 25, 1836 in Cardiff, Wales. Her parents John A. Lewis and Ann John, were well-to-do people. Ann perhaps had many luxuries in her home in Wales. Her mother died at the age of 33 and later her father married Apricilla Philpips (widow with 1 daughter). John A. Lewis had been a Methodist Minister but when he heard of the Gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that the elders preached, he became converted to the faith. He sold everything he had so he could come to America. He not only had sufficient means to emigrate his own family but he made it possible for 25 families to come to America. The Lewis family arrived in 1854. They came a south route, having had to sail up the Mississippi via steamer. They joined the Darwin Richards Company and arrived in Utah Sept. 30, 1854. The money given the other families was never paid back.

There he met and fell in love with Ann Lewis whom he married in Dec. 31, 1855. The marriage was performed by John Nebeker. They were a very happy couple but they missed their homeland of course. Later grandfather was asked to take another wife because they were practising polygamy. So he married Margaret Ann Griffiths. She was born April 15, 1840 in Liverpool England. Because she was very dear to me in life I would like to tell you a little about her. Her own mother died and her father married again. They came to Utah with his second wife and 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls including Margaret Ann. June 25, 1856 they sailed on the ship Harizon (Horizon?) to Boston. From there the went to Iowa where they waited a month for handcarts to be made. They left there on Sept. 1, 1856 pulling the handcarts [they were a part of the Martin Handcart Company]. John (12 years old) the oldest boy died of starvation soon after. About 2 weeks later Herbert Lorenso (7 years old) died near Sweet Water River, Independance Rock. The others arrived in Utah Territory on Nov. 30, 1856 after suffering terribly while crossing the plains. The night they arrived John Griffiths died leaving the mother and 2 girls.

Grandfather Clegg took Margaret Ann into his home and later was married at the request of Brigham who also married them.

There was much harmony in the homes. Grandfather built them each a nice home. They were about 3 blocks apart. I was in both of them many times. We all loved our Grandma Maggie as we all called her just as much as our own grandma and sometimes even more she was so good to us. By this time my grandparents had one child, a boy named John Henry Lewis Clegg - my father.

About this time many farmers and others were asked to move at the request of Brigham Young because Johnson's army was on its way to Utah to crush the Mormons. My grandfather and his two wives and two sons John and Israel moved to Springville - it was in 1858.

Here they suffered many hardships, especially in food.

Grandma tells the story of her standing in the doorway one day and a hawk came down from the sky and lighted on her shoulder. She caught it and seeing it was not injured she cooked it for dinner that night. They were very gratefull for that was all they had to eat that night. They needed more land to grow their grains and vegetables so they moved to Levan, Utah. But his brother Johnathan had moved to Heber City and pleaded with Henry to come there so they did and settled permanetely in Heber.

Grandpa became very active in the church in the community. He was choir leader of 60 voices, Stake clerk, Superintendant of Heber Sunday School, Bishop of West Ward in Heber for many years. He taught school and was paid $2.00 per term. At different times he served as High Councilman, also Justice of the Peace. He also had a store to run and was very careful that each wife got the same amount of goods from there. He obtained 360 acres of land east of Heber. He also built a shingle mill in Daniels canyon [the side canyon is now named Clegg canyon] about 5 miles from Heber. He loved music and they played for dances - square dances and quadrilles, after he organized an orchestra, the first one in Heber.

In England he had studied Phronology (reading bumps on the heads of people). This was a very popular science in England at that time. He made some money doing this. I have his books and they are very interesting. Their homes were open to everyone. Grandpa Clegg died August 30, 1894, age 69. His funeral procession was the longest ever seen in Wasatch County. There were 120 teams and wagons besides many walking. When grandma Clegg died we (the grandchildren) were all dressed in white and walked.

My father, John Henry Clegg, was born in a two room dirt floor log house. When he was 2 years old his parents, under the advice of Brigham Young, moved to Springville, Utah. While in this town my father when 10 years of age took part in the Black Hawk War. This was a fight between the Indians and the Whites. He would take his father's drum and beat it while running from one house to another warning the families of the approaching Indians. He would tell them to go to a certain place where they would get protection. In 1871 my father helped haul wood to Fort Douglas [in Salt Lake] by ox team. He also helped his father haul freight into the Uinta Basin for the Indians. He was the oldest child of Henry and Ann Clegg and he assumed responsibility in helping the family financially. He was a little bashfull, slow to join in the fun with others. But it is said of him that much of this reserved attitude was because he felt so deeply his desire and need to help his father support other members of his family, that he spent his time and thoughts on work. The two younger brothers and a sister were married before he was. For years he hauled wood into Salt Lake by wagon and ox team. He also hauled wood to Park City, to the Ontario mines there.

He worked at his father's shingle mill and delivered the pine shingles from there. The cost of the shingles was $1.74 a bundle.

Father's schooling consisted of three years training - mostly by his father who taught school for seven years. He was never idle and while resting he would have a dictionary right handy to read and study. He was well read and could stump us children on many problems.

On Jan. 1, 1889, two exciting events took place in Heber. First it was the wedding day of John and Martha, my parents and second there was a total eclipse of the sun - mother often remarked of hearing the roosters crow during the ceremony. The marriage was performed by Abrum Hatch in the Clegg home on Main St. and 2nd South. The courtship of mother and father extended over a period of 10 years. Marriage was considered but father felt the need of helping his father and then too, he had hoped he could have a home built for his bride. Mother was 23 years old and father was 33. Two rooms of the house were completed enough for the two to begin life together. The barn was completed which meant a lot then. Sage brush surrounded their home which served as a fine hideout for the Indians. Their presence frightened mother. They would come begging for food. They would pound on the door and say "Kim me biscut". She was always kind to them.

Father had acquired land just one mile east of the home. His father had homesteaded 160 acres there which was divided among the brothers but he never got his. He bought land from a Mr. Clothworty because he didn't want to take from the others. Later he bought a 10 acre plot for himself also. He helped his father in the shingle mill and this brought in a little extra money.

He was a good farmer and took pride in his crops. He raised everything that was needed for the family, that could be grown in Heber such as raddish, onions, parsnips, turnips, plums, pears, cucumbers, gooseberries, wheat, potatoes, etc. It was our job as young children to cut the potatoes up for the spring planting. We had to make sure that each piece had an eye in it. He aquired a lot of cattle which were put out on the range in summer then a big round up was held in the fall and they were sold or butchered for our use.

It was the same year of his marriage, 1889, that Dad with others discovered the lakes at the head of the Provo River. In 1901 he built the road on the west fork of the Duchesne with but little funds with which to pay for the work. In 1889 the 2 dams had begun on Trial and Washington. For some reason Salt Lake protested the work and it had to be done over. In 1906 the plans were approved and work was started again. Dad supervised all the work on Washington, Trial, and Wall Lakes. The main work was completed by 1913 but dad worked on until 1919 and after that he spent time each summer at the head of the Provo River. My brother Cardie was interested at an early age in this work so he took over the care of the waters that had been the love of my father for so many years. He was offered a job at B.Y.U. after attending school there but he liked the wide open spaces and did not want to coach basketball.

Dad was road supervisor of Wasatch County for a long time and was always watching over that. He served as water master and was President of the ...???[missing line of text]

Dad was very intellectual. He hadn't had much schooling, he read and studied each night and carried a book with him often. He was also very emotional and tears would roll down his face very easily when the occasion was the least bit sad - even when he heard the singing of the hymns.

Mother and father were truly pioneers in the Heber Valley and did much to improve the condition of the valley. They were good neighbors and friends to everyone. We children have been greatly blessed by their counsel and direction. We each have been trained to assume responsibility in our own homes. Our parents were known for their honesty, loyalty, kindness, generosity and hard work.

Father passed away at the age of 74 (1856 - 1930 in the LDS Hospital in Salt Lake. Mother passed away at the age of 64 (1866 - 1930) in Ventura California while visiting her daughter Ruth. Anna lived near in Brea, California and Bernice was with mother also. Her death occurred the same day as that of her mother's just 36 years later. It was truly a great loss to have both parents called home within six months, but I think that was the way they wanted it. They were so close in this life and dad could do little without the help of mother, he wanted here with him on earth, so in death they wanted to be near each other.


Note 1: Jonathan actually travelled to America a year later and crossed the plains with the Martin Handcart Company


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