Jesse Fox {Early Water Pioneer}

Jesse Fox left his mark on early water development in Utah. His engineering endeavors during the pioneer period would develop water to irrigate thousands of acres of land in Salt Lake County.
He was born on his father's farm near Adams Centre, New York on March 31, 1819. He joined the Mormon Church and moved to Nauvoo in 1844, joining the pioneer migration in 1849 to Utah. Learning surveying as an assistant to the County Surveyor, he was employed by the church in 1850 to survey city lots and farm allotments. Later he would survey for a railroad to Red Butte Canyon to bring foundation stone to construct the Temple. In 1852, the railroad idea was abandoned. Jesse Fox became County Surveyor on August 2, 1852 followed by being appointed Territorial Surveyor, which he vacated in 1876.

He was chief engineer over the construction of the five major canals diverting water out of Utah Lake and the Jordan River within the Salt Lake valley.

When Salt Lake City decided on August 17, 1879 to find a new source of water from Utah Lake and the Jordan River, Jesse Fox was asked to survey the alignment and to estimate the cost to construct the canal. The proposed 28 mile canal was estimated to cost $280,000. A bond election was held to finance the canal in 1880. During the debate over the bond, the engineering ability of Jesse Fox became an issue. Opponents of the bond attacked him for his involvement in the failed canal from Little Cottonwood Canyon that was intended to carry the granite slabs to the temple. Some members of the City Council opposed the canal, believing that if the canal was constructed, water would never flow through segments about 5 miles southeast of the city. Ultimately, a bond election was held and approved on April 5, 1880, with five to one in favor. With the bond approved, the City Council hired Jesse Fox to construct the canal.

The canal was completed and water flowed from the diversion at the Jordan Narrows to the confluence of City Creek at Eagle Gate on July 12, 1882. Despite his critics, he must have been pleased to read the words of the Salt Lake Herald,"... We commend Mr. Jesse W. Fox Engineer, his skill, having the manhood to acknowledge his business...and the Herald regards this as one of the greatest days in the history of Salt Lake City." Later the canal would be used to exchange Utah Lake water for the high quality Wasatch Canyon waters. These exchanges would provide the city enough water to grow for the next 50 years.

Other work to his credit included the early survey work on the present Weber/Provo Canal through the Kamas Bench that would later become a key feature of the Provo River Project.

He also surveyed the early waterworks system in City Creek Canyon in 1872, establishing the diversion, settling tanks and 4 miles of cast iron pipe serving the city's downtown business district.

Jesse Fox left his mark on early water development in Utah. His engineering skills changed the history of the Salt Lake valley.

Brief History of Ezekiel Johnson (edited from an account written by Joseph Elbert Johnson)

If you belong to the Ezekiel Johnson family, no matter what your surname is, you are believed to belong to the largest family in the L.D.S. Church, with perhaps, more large men and women in it also. Some of the following information is culled from "Trail to Sundown" by R. D. Johnson. The most posterity belongs to five brothers, Joel Hills, Joseph Ellis, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and William Derby Johnson. The women are Julia Ann Babbitt, Delcena Diadamia Sherman, Esther Melita LeBaron, Mary Ellen Wilson, and Almera Smith Barton.
Our Johnson history in the United States begins, so far as this tale is concerned, with Joseph Guernsey, who was living in New Haven, Conn. in 1647. He traces on down to Seth who had a son also named Seth. This Seth, born November 20, 1732, married Bethial Lee or Lea and became the parents of a daughter Sethiah (some have her Bethiah) Guernsey. Sethiah gave birth to a son named Ezekiel Johnson. The date on the flyleaf of his old family bible, gives his birthdate as January 12, 1776. He gave this date also when he was married but it seems to be very certain that he was born in January or February of 1773. At present it is pretty well conceded that he was an illegitimate child. His father is supposed to be some Ezekiel Johnson but not proven. As a baby, he lived with his mother and his grandmother Sethiah Guernsey Smith. When he was about three, his mother married Jonathan King. They were living in Ashford, Conn. in 1779. Family tradition has it that Ezekiel ran away from home when he was 14. He felt that Jonathan was unkind to him, not being his own son.

He was given a rawhide wallet with the name of James King on it. He was to go collect a small amount of money owed King. He never came back for a good many years. When he did, the Kings had moved to Canada. He never met his mother again. What little we have of his life shows that he was a very energetic and business like person. Some old notes found in his wallet prove that he was traveling and selling cow bells when he was sixteen or seventeen in Albany, New York. He never collected on the notes. Probably got too far away to go back. Old deeds, etc. show also that he was a real estate salesman of sorts. He bought raw land, cleaned it and built a cabin on it and then would sell it and start another one. He did this a lot after he was married, also.

His son, Benjamin, had this to say of him. "As a husband and parent he was tender and affectionate. As a neighbor, obliging and true. His integrity was never questioned. His word was his bond. He was a gentleman in all things except his intemperance (he was an alcoholic), at times this seemed to change his whole nature. He was about 5 feet 10 inches tall, light brown hair, piercing blue eyes, solid build, nice looking, sought after by friends. He was feared only for his words. He never struck any living thing except with his words." I take it that he could be fierce with his poise and eyes and language. He never joined the Church but he used these tactics on mobs at times to protect the Saints as all of his family belonged. One of his daughters married Joseph Smith and two others were sealed to him. Joseph was known to tap Ezekiel for a loan or donation on occasions and always got them.

By 1801, he had met, courted and married an 18 year old girl, ten years younger than himself. He married Julia Hills, who was living with her mother, Esther Ellis Hills, in Grafton, Mass. The wedding took place January 12, 1801. They built and sold houses and added children to their family. Going west through Vermont past Buffalo, New York and on. At Fredonia, along Lake Erie, they settled awhile and Ezekiel decided to go to Cincinnati, Ohio to look around and see if he would like to settle there. The following is the reason in short:

Joe Hills, Julia’s loved brother and his wife, a cousin Rhoda Partridge, moved from Massachusetts to Canada. When war broke out with England in 1812, they were enemies so moved back. He expected to settle near his sister, Nancy Hills Taft, who was living in Cincinnati, Ohio. On his way down he stopped with Ezekiel and Julia in Vermont. He then talked the Johnsons into letting their little boy, the oldest in the family, go with them. Joe Hills liked him because he was his name sake, Joel Hills Johnson. Ezekiel wanted to go down anyway sometime, and when he did, he would bring the boy back.

It was a nice trip down for Joel. By horses and wagon through beautiful nearly unsettled country of lakes and rivers. Through Vermont, New York and Pennsylvania to Pittsburgh. There with others, they bought a flat boat, loaded their things, and slowly drifted down the Ohio River, along the State of Kentucky, to Newport, opposite Cincinnati, Ohio. Here they located in Kentucky and Ezekiel found them there in the Spring of 1815. Ezekiel had walked down there, about 500 miles. Ezekiel didn’t want to settle there so he took his 13 year old boy and walked back. They walked through areas where people had been killed and their homes burned by Indians. They got home in early June of 1815. The Johnsons lived in this neighborhood until the Spring of 1833.

His son Joel married Anna Pixby Johnson, daughter of Timothy Johnson, November 2, 1826. He sold his home and mill in Fredonia and moved to Amherst. David (another son who later died) went to help him with his mill and stayed until Spring. While there, some of the first Mormon Elders came along on their mission to Missouri. They converted enough to form a little branch and Joel and David were among them. One story says that Joel walked to Fredonia carrying the Book of Mormon in his pack. The other says the book soon followed their conversion. R. D. Johnson still has the book.

In the Fall of 1831, Joel, David, and 17 year old Almon Babbitt (he later married daughter Julia) came home and bore their testimonies to the family. A few weeks later two missionaries came along and through the forceful preaching and reasoning of James Brockenbury the family was converted, including son-in-law Lyman R. Sherman, excepting Ezekiel. He refused to let the younger children be baptized until they were of age.

Here is where the course of the Johnson family changed. It led them all over the West, some into Mexico and some to the Isles of the Sea and so on. It was bad for Ezekiel. I believe his excess drinking started here. Ezekiel took some of the family and went to Kirtland to see the Mormons. He met Joseph Smith and was quite enthused. He went to Amhurst where Joel was Branch President of 100 people but when he got back home, he lost interest and could feel himself squeezed out of the family.

Likely to break his family away, he sold his holdings to be turned over the next June and went to Chicago. He bought a tract of land and the family was to follow by June. He was to send a letter just when to come. Julia stayed until April and then moved to Kirtland. If the letter came she wasn’t there to get it. Ezekiel waited a long time, and when no family arrived, he sold the land, and went back to see what happened.

He was in a bad fix in Kirtland. He was about 60 years old. No pleasure in going back to Chicago alone. He hated the Mormons for taking his family. He did carpenter work there and tried to get along. Julia had traded some teams and wagons for some property there. Things got worse and Ezekiel drank more. The more he drank the worse they got. Eventually, he and Julia separated. He bought a place nearby at Mentor. There his daughters took turns staying with him and his small children visited him often. He was the father of 16 children.

The Johnsons lived in Kirtland five years, helped build the Temple and buried two boys and two girls there who died of quick consumption. In 1835, Julia and all her children received a Patriarchal blessing from Joseph Smith Sr., beginning with the eldest, when he got to Joseph Ellis, the ninth he jumped over to Benjamin Franklin the tenth. Julia called it to his attention, but he said that to Benjamin was to come the first blessing because it was spiritual, Joseph Ellis’ blessing was to come largely from work in mundane affairs, and so it proved to be.

Julia Hills Johnson and part of the family seem to have been moving to Missouri. The Saints were driven out from there and she settled in Springfield, Illinois. Samuel Hale and wife and daughter, Mary Ann, who was ten years old, were close friends of the Johnsons and traveled with them. Samuel died and soon his wife passed away. Julia adopted Mary Ann.

Julia and Joel and Benjamin went to Cincinnati to visit and teach the Gospel to Julia’s sister, Nancy Taft and Brother Joel Hills. They had a nice visit, but no luck in religion.

Joel owned a farm at Carthage and is believed to have influenced the Brethren to purchase and settle Nauvoo. After Nauvoo was chosen and the Saints began settling there, Julia and her family decided to go there. It was a 100 mile trip, and on the way, seeing so much vacant country, Julia decided she would like to choose a place where all her family could settle and make a little town. Joel probably helped her and they chose Perkins Settlement, 20 miles from Nauvoo. They bought land and cut it up in town lots and named it Ramus. Later her son, Joseph Ellis, named it Macedonia. In June, 1842, Almon Babbitt and family, Ezekiel, his daughter Ester, probably caring for him, and Benjamin F. Johnson, just married to Melissa LeBaron, left Kirtland and headed for Ramus. It took them about a month to cross Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.

Twice they had runaways with teams that broke up wagons and harness. They had to repair it with nothing to do it with. Both accidents happened while trying to make a move on Sunday. They concluded that Sunday travel didn’t pay. When they arrived, Ezekiel found that his 14 year old son, Amos Partridge, had died a week or so before from rheumatic fever. He also found that Joseph Ellis had married. Ezekiel stayed here for awhile but soon turned up in Nauvoo.

President Snow says the Prophet sent him to Ezekiel to get a donation. Ezekiel gave him $50 and said, "Give that to your _____ Prophet, that’s the last he’ll get." Brother Snow chuckled because Ezekiel helped fight the mobs many times. This story is told of him:

Ezekiel got word that the militia were going to sneak into Nauvoo and hurry the people out before the time they had agreed to leave. Ezekiel took his old double barrel shotgun and went out to the edge of town in a wooded spot. When the company came up, he stepped out with his gun cocked and ordered them to halt. He yelled so all could hear that they would enter the City over his dead body. He gave them a sizzling cursing, told them he had no home and few friends and didn’t care what became of him. He began calling orders to people pretending he had a group with him. The militia turned around and left. Later in the day, they tried to slip in on another road and here was the old man again. They camped for the night and came in the next day. The Saints were ready for them then, so they had a long talk and agreed to withdraw.

Ezekiel went to live for a short time with Joel, but when he left for the West, Ezekiel came back to Nauvoo where part of the family hadn’t gotten out as yet. He was recognized by some of the militia mob and beaten and abused terribly. Sometime later he died from the effects of the beatings. He died January 13, 1848 and was buried in the Nauvoo Cemetery. He is regarded as a martyr for the Church. Ezekiel and Julia had 16 children, six of whom died before marriage. Julia, by advice from the Prophet was sealed to John Smith, uncle of Joseph. Later, her children had this annulled and sealed her to Ezekiel.

There were five boys left. Joel Hills married five wives, not all living at the same time. He had thirty children. Benjamin F. married seven times with forty nine children. Joseph Ellis, three wives and twenty-nine children, George W. two wives and twenty children, William Derby, one wife and twelve children. The five girls that married brought two Shermans, five Babbitts, five Bartons, seven Wilsons, five LeBarons, a total of 164 grand children.

Julia Hills Johnson had a home in Council Bluffs; Kanesville it was called. She had several married children there who hadn’t moved to Utah as yet. She lived at home and with them, maybe as children were born. She died May 30, 1853. (I have always admired her for the way she kept her family together and in the Church. She must have had a strong will. J.E.J. 1962) Julia was a poet and wrote "The Joy and the Song". It was chosen by Emma Smith as one of the first L.D.S. songs. Many of her children had a talent for writing and at least three of her sons were poets, Joel Hills, Joseph Ellis, and George Washington. Joel Hills Johnson wrote on Gospel themes, Joseph Ellis wrote on the beauties of nature, George Washington (?).

Lester Dreher

Birth: Dec. 5, 1917
Grace City
Foster County
North Dakota, USA
Death: Dec. 31, 2009
Cass County
North Dakota, USA
The Jamestown Sun
Jamestown, North Dakota
January 02 2010
Lester Dreher, 92, Carrington, N.D., formerly McHenry, N.D., died Thursday, Dec. 31, 2009, at MeritCare Hospital, Fargo, N.D.
Mr. Dreher was born Dec. 5, 1917, at Grace City, N.D., the son of Fred and Millie (Mitchel) Dreher. He attended school through the ninth grade in Juanita, N.D. He then worked on the family farm and for neighboring farmers. He married Margaret Gluesing on Feb. 14, 1941, in McHenry. He entered the U.S. Army in October 1942 and served in the European Theatre during World War II. He served in Africa, Tunisia, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany. He was honorably discharged in October 1945. He returned to McHenry and farmed until he retired in 1997. They moved to Poplar Court in Carrington, N.D. in 2008. He was a member of the Carl Bostrom American Legion Post #160, McHenry, for more than 50 years. He enjoyed gardening, fishing, hunting and staying at his cabin in Waterhen, Canada.
He is survived by his wife; a daughter, Carolyn Bakke, Binford, N.D.; a son, Doug (Anne), Devils Lake, N.D.; two sisters, Bernadine LaMert, California, and Elda (LaVern) Ehnes, Colorado; three grandsons; and two great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; three brothers, Raymond, Glenn, and Walter; a sister, Mae Merrick; and a son-in-law, Jim Bakke.

Juan Manuel Elias draft card

292 Name: Juan Manuel Elias
Place of Residence: 2476 E. Weber Ave. Stockton San Joaquin Calif.
Phone: none
Age in Years: 53 July 3, 1888
Place of Birth: San Pedro Piedra, Gorda, Zacatecas (Mexico)
Name and Address of Person Who Will Always Know Your Address: Serafina Elias (wife) address same as above
Employers Name and Address: M. Giannine. Dell Aringa. comp V.
Place of Employment or Business: Stockton - Calif.

Race: White
Height: 5"6'
Eyes: Brown
Weight: 145lb 
Hair: Black
Complexion: Ruddy
Other Obvious Physical Characteristics that will Aid in Identification: none
Date of Registration: April 26, 1942


Jesse W. Fox, one of the Territory's pioneer citizens, passed peacefully from mortality at Bountiful Sunday morning, April 1st at 7:15, while on a brief visit to that place. Elder Fox was 75 years of age on Saturday last and in the afternoon of that day be went to Bountiful, and was at the house of his wife Sarah Elizabeth Foss, and their daughter Charlotte J. Fox. They did all In their power to relieve him of his sufferings, and realizing that he was in a very dangerous condition Sister Fox obtained his consent to send for his daughter Mrs. Georgiana and her husband Hyrum S. Young, and his son, Jesse W. Fox, Jr., who arrived in time for him to recognize and talk with them each. He passed away as if going to sleep, giving his son a farewell clasp of the hand as his spirit took its departure. His illness was very brief and the immediate cause of death was neuralgia of the heart. His body was brought to Salt Lake Sunday.

Jesse Williams Fox, son of Samuel and Lucy Williams Fox, was born on March 31st, 1819, near Adams Centre. Jefferson County, Now York. He was a tenth child of a family of ten sons and three daughters. He had an academic education and taught school in Jefferson County, New York, and at other places. He was the companion of James Keep in their boyhood. The latter being bound out, was oppressed, when young Fox's sympathies led him to aid him to go to Canada, which was the stepping stone to the renowned Keep's financial power.

He embraced the Gospel early In the forties and reached Nauvoo, Illinois, only in time to see the remains of the martyred Prophet and Patriarch, Joseph and Hyrum Smith, they having previously closed their eyes in death. From this time on he followed his favorite occupation, school teaching, with his co-religionist of the Church, be left Nauvoo and came to Winter Quarters, remaining there until the spring of 1847, when be was sent by President Young to his old home in New York on a mission in hope that the change of climate and scenes would recruit his health. It is not to be wondered that Brother Fox's health had failed, when we realize the scenes of want and suffering through which the people of the Church passed from the hour of the martyrdom to the spring of '47—when we realize the strong sympathies of Brother Fox. The facts are, although possessed of ample means for his own comfort and support, he shared with the afflicted people every thing he possessed and would have died had not the Lord prompted his servant to send him on a mission to New York. As it was, he did a good work, and baptized a number of his kindred and other prominent people into the Church.

In the spring of 1849 he again joined the Saints, journeying westward, at Council Bluffs, where on the 2nd of June of that year be was married to Eliza J. Gibbs by the late Apostle Geo. A. Smith. He was organized in the company of Captain Gully's hundred and William Miller's fifty. When the train reached the Loup Fork they were attacked by the terrible scourge of cholera, which followed in the wake of the California gold seekers, many of whom died on the boats on the Missouri river and on the plains. A number of the Saints became victims of the scourge, among the rest Captain Gully, and were buried on the east side of the river. The company was delayed several days at this point on account of high water, and was only delivered from their peril by the hand of a kind Providence. They had no means of ferrying, while the dread disease was decimating their ranks; they accordingly gave themselves to fasting and prayer, when, to use Brother Fox's own language, the power of God was as manifest in their deliverance as was that wherein ancient Israel was led with safety through their perils in the Red Sea, for a roadway was thrown up during the night, formed of the shifting sands, which gave them safe passage on their way. It was remarkable how the cholera was stayed in its ravages in answer to their prayers.

On reaching the valley Brother Fox aided in the surveys of the city and surrounding settlements, and located for one year at Manti, Sanpete county, where he taught school. Returning to this city he resumed his occupation of surveyor and it was he who surveyed the site and set the stakes for the Salt Lake Temple, as well as for others, afterwards built. He enrolled in the Utah militia and became captain of a company of infantry, minute men; being promoted, obtained several commissions, the last being a position on the staff of the late Lieutenant General D. H. Wells. He was elected by the Legislative Assembly Territorial surveyor general of Utah, which office he held for many years until it was discontinued and he distributed the papers to the several counties. He located and surveyed the principal canals of this county and Territory and was appointed chief engineer of the Utah Central and Southern railroads.

He has been an active member in the Church and of late years filled the station of High Councilor of the Salt Lake Stake and possessed the love of his acquaintances. The unfortunate who knew him always found sympathy, and the distressed obtained relief if it was in his power to relieve them. Among those whom he taught in the school room he was looked upon with the most sincere affection. As an illustration, the terrible Black Hawk chief who made war upon our settlements in the southeast part of our Territory in the sixties—Brother Fox, in his travels, had occupation to pass through his camp and was recognized by the chief, who had been a pupil of his when a lad in Manti. Instead of destroying him, (as he was in the habit of killing every white man that ventured within his lines), he ordered that his old teacher be not only permitted to continue his journey unharmed, but gave him escort to a point of safety.

In the death of Elder Jesse Williams Fox our people have sustained a serious loss, and the poor and the afflicted of our community or of any other class will feel the loss in his absence as keenly as his nearest kindred. He is to be congratulated upon his release from a life of continued toil amid scenes, of want and suffering—he having been accustomed to searching out and relieving the needy and afflicted—in that he has now been permitted to enter into the paradise of God and rejoin his loved wife Eliza and their children and friends who have gone before, assured, if any one is to be favored on account of a well-spent life, he will be one that will partake of God's eternal favor.
The Deseret weekly, Volume 48

Teacher and Surveyor

{Second Place Historical Essay Professional by Marilyn Fox Alexander}
There's a thread which binds me to the historic tapestry of Manti. I am part of that tapestry which begins with a scene in the life of my gr-great-grandfather Jesse Williams Fox, Sr., born the son of a “respectable farmer" in Jefferson County, New York. As a boy, he worked on his father's farm until 1837. When he was eighteen years old, he was sent to a “literary institution" [seminary) to acquire an education. From then until 1844- these six years he attended school and then taught school. Except in the name, there was little difference in early 19th-century seminaries and academics. Students learned grammar and literature, oratory, arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, surveying, geography, history, astronomy, elementary physics and chemistry. Many young men went directly from an academy to the study of law, medicine, and divinity.

In 1844 after he heard about he Mormon Church, a new picture begins to emerge. Jesse emigrated to Nauvoo with his two brothers, their wives, five children and an unmarried sister; it took them two months. They arrived the day before the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were assassinated in Carthage Jail. Jesse was baptized days after viewing the bodies, which were brought back to Nauvoo on June 28th. Jesse lived and taught school in Nauvoo until the general exodus of the Latter-day Saints in the early months of 1846. One of his pupils was a thirteen-year-old, Eliza Jerusha Gibbs, whose mother and sister had joined the church after her father died. During this time of persecution of the church members, many people died of cholera, exposure and lack of nourishment. All but four of the twelve Foxes who lived in Nauvoo with Jesse died. He took responsibility, along with a brother and sister, for his brother's orphaned children. He also helped many members of the church who were in need. Jesse gave of himself and means to such an extent that he became ill and Brigham Young sent him home on a mission to New York and to regain his health. Therefore, he was unable to accompany the first group of Saints across the plains.

He returned to New York where he converted and baptized a number of his family, including his father, Samuel. With him in New York was his nephew Edward W. Fox, who attended school and learned surveying from Jesse. They returned to Council Bluffs together in 1849. then crossed the plains the same year, although in separate wagon trains. In later years Edward became a resident of Manti and continued the surveying work Jesse had been doing.

The Gibbs family had stayed in Nauvoo and were now preparing to cross the plains. We may imagine the reunion of Jesse and Eliza on the banks of the Missouri early in the summer of 1849 after their years of separation, and their getting reacquainted with each other—now, not as teacher and pupil, but as two people who had admired each other in earlier years. She had become a lovely young woman and their fondness for each other grew stronger until on June 2nd they were married by Apostle George A. Smith. Their wedding supper was served in the open with an ox-yoke for a table. She was now eighteen years old and he was thirty. The long trek of crossing the plains was perhaps considerably lighter because it was their honeymoon.

The tapestry continues to grow when Jesse and Eliza arrive in Salt Lake Valley where they soon selected a lot on which to build. According to tithing records, he started farming and was hired as assistant to William Lemmon the Territorial Surveyor. President Brigham Young sent Jesse to Manti with others to strengthen that colony in 1850: Jesse left his wife and infant daughter in Salt Lake. He took his nephew Edward with him and expected to become a permanent resident after establishing himself in Manti. He was going to serve the community as a teacher and surveyor. The value of such a man was no doubt appreciated by Father Morley, whose group of colonists had been exposed for years to hardships of life on the frontier. Brother Morley had come to General Conference in the fall of 1850 to ask President Brigham Young to send more settlers to help the struggling colony. It seems that the County Surveyor, William Lemmon, had run some of the lines of the townsite while visiting Mann with President Young and his party in August 1850. Jesse fox and nephew Edward completed the survey.

Another scene in the tapestry is Jesse as school teacher. The first regular term began in September 1850. A log house had been built for meeting purposes and school was taught there. Jesse fox's son, Jesse W. Fox, Jr., years later wrote the following: "Father taught school in Manti and Black Hawk was one of his pupils. Later Black Hawk became chief of his tribe and Father drove into his camp on Silver Creek when on his way to Coalville to do some surveying. The Indians surrounded the buggy. Chief Black Hawk recognized Father and waved his hand and the Indians stood aside and let them pass on. Abe Doremus, who was with Father, said he was so frightened that his hair stood on end." This was during the time of the Black Hawk Wars. 1865 to 1867.

The Black Hawk incident is evidence of the respect and esteem the Jesse fox inspired in his pupils. That he had in the few months of his residence in Manti won the confidence and respect of the adult colonists is obvious from the fact of his being elected, in the month of April 1851, to the office of Collector and County Clerk. The election is also evidence that he expected to remain in Manti and that the voters has assurance that he had no plans of a contrary nature. In the very same month President Young visited the colony for the second time and released Jesse to return permanently to Salt Lake City. William M. Lemmon, the principal surveyor in Salt Lake City and County, had died on March 10, 1851, and President Young was satisfied that Jesse fox was the man best qualified to succeed him. Here then is the piece of the tapestry depicting Jesse fox, Sr., as a professional man.

We tend today to think of pioneer times as ancient history. To show how untrue this is let me create another picture. Jesse William Fox, Sr.'s son, Jesse Williams Fox, Jr.. took as his first wife Ruth May Fox (my gr-grandfather and gr-grandmother) and as his second wife Rosemary Johnson Fox. Rosemary's son Ellis Mathias* Fox lives today in Orem, Utah, at age eighty-eight "Mathias" was named for Matthias Cowley because Jesse fox, Sr.'s. plural wife was Sarah Foss Cowley, widowed mother of the apostle to be. My father, George Merrill Fox, is still living {1996) at age ninety-four. His grandmother, Ruth May Fox lived until she was almost 105 years old and died in 1958; Rosemary Johnson Fox lived to be 92 and died the same year. They had twenty children.

The thread continues to weave pictures. The tapestry grows through their posterity and the stories continue.

"Rosemary changed the spelling of her son's name using only one "t".


The Life of Jesse W. Fox. Sr.. Preface by James J. Fox. son of Feramorz Young Fox. who did the research.

History of Utah. Jesse Williams Fox. Sr.. Vol. IV. Orson F. Whitney. High. Dry and Offside. Manti. Utah 1849. Albert C. Antrei. Song of a Century. 1849-1949. Centennial Committee, Manti, Utah.

source Saga of the Sanpitch Vol 28


{Non-professional Division First Place Short Story by Linnie M. Findlay}
The kindly young teacher stood by the door of the one-room log school house and looked out into the spring morning. Long shadows streaked across the valley, and patches of snow still showed on the north side of the willows and sagebrush. It would soon be time for his pupils to arrive and he wondered what this day would bring. The pupils ranged from small children of six or seven to boys sixteen or seventeen years old. The teacher knew that he did not have much time left before the children would be taken from the school to assist their parents with spring planting and other farm work.

Jesse W. Fox had been trained as a teacher in New York State, and had been baptized a member of the L.D.S. Church in 1844 by Elijah Williams. Following his baptism, he arrived in Nauvoo, Illinois, at the time the Mormon people were mourning the martyrdom of their Prophet leader, Joseph Smith, and his brother Hyrum. When the Saints began their journey across the plains Jesse fox had been sent on a mission by President Brigham Young back to his home state of New York. He had not been in Salt Lake City long after his mission, until he was sent to Manti to lay out the city according to the plan for the "City of Zion," which Joseph Smith had used for the Mormon communities in Missouri and Illinois, and which President Young had followed in the settlement in the valley of the Great Salt Lake.

When the school house in Manti had been completed in November 1850, the settlers had called on the young surveyor to stay and teach their children. It hadn't been easy to teach these frontier children. Oh, they were progressing well with their reading and writing and arithmetic, but it was hard to make them understand that when the Lord had said that the second great commandment was to love your neighbor, that "neighbors” also included the Indians they had come to live among. He found the settlers had brought with them a deep distrust of the Indians, and President Young's admonition to build a fort as quickly as possible sustained that distrust.

Although a number of the Indians had been baptized members of the L.D.S. Church and some had been ordained to the office of Elder in the Church, grim stories of plunder and thievery continued to filter into the settlement. It was known that these mounted Utah Indians would attack the weaker Indian tribes who subsisted on berries and roots and did not have horses, and stole children for the flourishing slave trade with Mexico.

President Brigham Young had advised against too much familiarity with the Indians, and the settlers were glad to follow that counsel. They worked hard and tried to set a good example, but from the first the cattle and horses had to be carefully guarded and any feelings of friendship were overshadowed by fear and a loathing for the primitive ways of the natives.

The teacher thought of the Indian boy who had started coming to his school soon after he had begun to teach. Long dark braids hung over his shoulders, accenting the dark color of his skin and his black eyes. The boy had stayed apart from the other children for most of the winter, but as the snow had begun to melt, the children had let him join in their games. They had played ball with home-made rag balls and bats made from the sticks left when the logs had been sawed for the school house. The Indian boy could run very fast and had been chosen, sometimes, to play in their games of tag and hide-and-seek, and the teacher had been pleased when he had heard them laughing together. He felt good when the boy had come back into the school room smiling and happy.

The young teacher prayed for wisdom to meet the challenges of this day, as he thought about the report that had reached the settlement the day before of a man by the name of Baker, who had been killed by Indians between Utah and Sanpete Valleys. The news had spread quickly through the settlement, and Jesse fox knew that it would bring problems to his school.

He was still pondering what course he should take when the students began arriving. They came quietly into the room and quickly took their seats, glancing at the empty place where the Indian boy usually sat.

It was more than a week before the Indian boy ventured timidly back into the schoolroom, and the teacher knew that he, too, had heard of the murder of the white man named Baker, and he wondered if it might have been better if the boy had not come. None of the children spoke to him, and the atmosphere was strained. Each day went by sheer force of discipline, and it was several days before the Indian boy went with the others onto the playground. He was gone only a few seconds when he slipped quietly back into the room and into his seat. Taunting cries from his school-mates followed him into the room.

He was a picture of complete dejection as he sat huddled in his place, looking down at the dirt floor of the building. Filled with compassion the teacher walked to where the boy was sitting and laid a gentle hand on his shoulder. As he sat down on the other end of the split log bench, the boy raised his head for an instant and looked into the friendly eyes of his teacher. No tears fell, but the boy's visage was dark and full of sorrow.

His head, dropped again as the chant from the white students came through the open door. "Injun, wicked Injun."

"They call me Fox." The teacher smiled, then almost chuckled, as the boy brightened for a brief moment, and sank again into despondency.

As classes went forward in the afternoon the boy did not participate, but sat quietly drawing on his slate. When school was over, he came and handed the slate, face down, to the teacher. He hurried from the room and disappeared into the nearby willows. As the teacher turned the slate to look at it, he saw the outline of a beautiful fox, and by it a huge bird. It might be an eagle or a hawk, he mused.

Years passed, and Jesse W. Fox had been appointed territorial surveyor and had traveled much about the territory, surveying many of the cities and towns between Logan and St. George. It was on one of those surveying trips during the Black Hawk War that Jesse fox and his surveying party were captured as they traveled between Heber City and Summit County. Some of the Indian braves who captured them wanted to massacre the entire party, but others urged that they be taken to their chief. The surveyors were surrounded by painted Indians, whooping and yelling, and dashing back and forth recklessly on their stolen horses.

The chief came out of the lodge as he heard them coming, and the surveyors were placed in a line before him. No expression of any kind crossed his dark face as he gave a quick command to the eager warriors, and the surveyors were pushed into the big tepee. Another command sent the warriors from the lodge, and Jesse W. Fox and his men faced the chief. Silently, their prayers for forgiveness of earthly sins ascended as they prepared to die.

Picking a long spear from the wall of the tepee, the chief advanced toward the men. They began to understand that for this prize the chief would do his own slaughter.

The tall chief stepped first to Jesse W. Fox. Placing the tip of his spear in the soft earth he drew the outline of a fox, and by it, just above the head of the fox, he placed the outline of a great black hawk. The two men looked into each other's eyes for several seconds. Neither spoke.

Chief Black Hawk stepped back, replaced the spear against the wall and gave more commands to the waiting warriors.

This time their attitude was respectful as they came into the big tepee. The leading warriors formed an honor guard, walking on each side of the surveyors. They proceeded in this way until they reached the top of the hill that stretched north, toward the settlements in the south end of Summit County.

Pointing to the little village of Kamas, the warrior in charge spoke.

"Go!" was all he said, as the Indians turned, and started trotting back down the trail to the spot where stood the lodge of their chief.


Account of Jesse W. Fox being captured and taken to safety by warriors of Chief Black Hawk told to author by S. Ross Fox. Sr., grandson of Jesse W. Fox.

Jensen, Andrew, L. D. S. Biographical Encyclopedia. Volume I, pub. Andrew Jensen History Company, Printed, Deseret Hews, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1901. pp. 774, 775.

Larson, Gustive 0., Outline History of Utah and the Mormons. Deseret Book Company, 1958, pp. 30, 63, 64, 143-161.

Gottfredson, Peter, Indian Depredations in Utah, Second Edition, 1969, Private Printing by Merlin G. Christensen, Salt Lake City, Utah. pp. 36, 15, 16, etc.

Roberts, B. H., Comprehensive History of the Church Volume III, Published by The Church, Brigham Young Univereity Press, 1965 pp. 460-465, 481.

"THEY CALL ME FOX" by Linnie M. Findlay, Saga of the Sanpitch Vol 15, 255 East 1st South, Ephraim, Utah