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Louisa Minnerly descended from a long line of leaders. Louisa’s Indian Grandfather, Wyandance, was Chief of the Montauk tribe which owned Long Island, New York. The Montauk tribe was a branch of the Mohicans. The Dutch settlers who came to New York purchased Long Island from the Montauks and the family has copies of Chief Wyandance’s mark on the deeds issued to him by the settlers. The Dutch were very friendly with the Indians in New York and Indians were often invited to attend church meetings with them. A family by the name of Von Thessel who came to New York from the Netherlands were especially friendly to Chief Wyandance. The Chief took a special liking to one of the Von Thessel boys whose name was Jan Cornelius. One day he told the boy he could have his daughter for his wife. Thus Jan Cornelius Von Thessel and Princess Catarona were married. Louisa Minnerly descended from that marriage.

In due time most of Louisa’s progenitors came together and lived in Tarrytown, New York. They were the Minnerlys, the Martelings, the Devouws, the Storms, the Eckers, the Ackermans, the Taylors, Jones, Sharpenets and others. Most of these people were members of the Dutch Reformed Church, and most were christened, married, and buried in the Old Dutch Church building that centered the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Washington Irving lived in Tarrytown, not far from many of Louisa’s ancestors. In fact in his book Legend of Sleepy Hollow he mentions some of Louisa’s ancestors. The town and customs there reflect the activities of Louisa’s grandparents. In fact Louisa herself was born in Tarrytown, Westchester, New York, on January 8, 1824. She had eight brothers and sisters, namely, Susan, Wilson, Charles, Levi, Rebecca, Mary Elizabeth, Sarah and Albert.

Her parents were John Minnerly and Catherine Taylor Minnerly. They lived in Tarrytown until 1830 when in the midst of a depression they moved to Thompson, Sullivan, New York. While living in Thompson the family joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Thompson is not far from Colesville, Broom, New York where one of the first branches of the Church was located. It is perhaps interesting to note that on one occasion Joseph Smith sealed the entire Colesville branch up to “Eternal Life”. It would be nice if Louisa and her family attended meeting that day.

From the census and land records of Thompson, we find that Catherine Taylor Minnerly’s parents, Thomas Taylor and Charity Sharpnet went with the Minnerly family to Thompson. Just how long they stayed in Thompson is not known but we do know that John Minnerly died there in 1837. Catherine, John’s wife, sold some land there in 1848. From other records we know that Catherine and her family left Thompson long before 1848. It is believed that Louisa and tier family came to Nauvoo directly from Thompson.

In August of 1845 Louisa was married by Brigham Young to Charles Shumway. On January 10, 1846 she had her endowment in the Nauvoo temple and on January 21, 1846 she was sealed to Charles for time and all eternity. Louisa was Charles’ second wife, his first being Julia Ann Hooker. They were married at a very trying time. Louisa and her parents went through the persecutions and trials that all the saints suffered in Nauvoo. J. D. Miller describes some of there suffering as follows:

bq. It was a sorry sight that met our youthful gaze the evening following the visit to the abandoned and dismantled Mormon temple in September, 1846. Between two hundred and three hundred Mormons, men, women and children, driven out of Nauvoo the day before, were encamped in an open space a little above Montrose, unquestioned we wandered among the tents and witnessed the sorrow that brooded over the households there assembled. Scattered about were numerous adjuncts of refined and comfortable living, elegant furniture, paintings, here and there a piano or a harp, finally upholstered sofas and chairs and many tasteful and convenient things which well-to-do persons would surround themselves with in a well ordered home. There was a mingling of all ages, from the gray haired sire and matron to the babe in arms. And there were some sick; and an air of desolation and bereavement overshadowed all, that left its impression upon our minds as one of the most pitiful sights, short of the carnage of a battlefield, that one ever beheld. When we left the scene near midnight repose was gathering over the weird scene, broken only by prayers that were being offered in the tents – prayers for safety and deliverance – prayers for their persecutors.

On February 4, 1846 Charles, Louisa, Julia Ann and Julia Ann’s son Andrew, and daughter Mary Eliza left Nauvoo and crossed the Mississippi River. Theirs was the first wagon to cross. Thus they led the Western migration of the Saints. Louisa’s mother, Catherine, died at St. Louis in 1849 and she never saw the land of Zion. Her father, Thomas Taylor, probably died in 1847 at Montrose, Lee, Iowa and her Grandmother, Charity Sharpnet, is supposed to have died in 1848 at Nauvoo, Illinois.

In the late summer and Autumn of 1846 a strange disease which the Saints called “Black canker” broke out in some of the camps along the lowlands of the Mississippi River. It swept like the black plague that devastated Europe. At one time more than one third of the camp occupants lay stricken. In some companies no one escaped.

After arriving in Winter Quarters Charles was called by Brigham Young to captain one of the companies of ten and be a part of the Pioneer Company, the first group to migrate to Utah. Before he left his first wife Julia Ann passed away leaving three children. One of the children soon died, the oldest boy accompanied his. father across the plains and Louisa took care of the third child.

While at Winter Quarters Louisa gave birth to a baby but it did not live. She was very ill and near death for some time. She was taken in by a kind neighbor and nursed back to health. While she was bedfast she happened to be left alone one day for a short time. The broom, which had been used to sweep up the hearthstone caught fire. Louisa forgot she was sick, got up and put the fire out.

Charles, returned to Winter Quarters and helped Louisa and the children come to Salt Lake City. She traveled to the valley in the 100 captained by Jedidiah M. Grant, in the fifty of Willard Snow and the ten of John Vance. She arrived in the valley October 4, 1847. She was 23 years old at the time of arrival. On August 10, 1848 she gave birth to a son, later named Charles.

In 1849 she left the Salt Lake Valley with her husband and went to Sanpete County, Utah as one of its first settlers. The journey there was hard but not harder than the first winter in that region. Yet they were happy and worked hard, believing they were helping to build up the Kingdom of God. By the time the Walker War broke out the family had just moved into a new adobe house. Brigham Young sent word that settlers were to move into the larger centers. In accordance with the President’s orders they pulled down everything in one night and moved to a place of safety.

In 1854, the family consisting by this time of three living children plus the daughter of Julia Ann moved to South Cottonwood. Here, Charles was, called on his third mission and Louisa was again left alone. While he was gone Johnson’s army came to Utah. In accordance with Brigham Young’s scorched earth policy the saints, including, Louisa, left Salt Lake and moved south to Provo leaving their homes filled with straw, so that they could be burned should the Army and the Saints be unable to reach a suitable solution to their problems.

Upon returning from the mission field, Charles and his family were called to assist in pioneering Cache Valley. They settled at Wellsville and later Mendon. By this time Charles had married his third wife, Henrietta Bird. The date was January 31, 1851. She had four children, one born in Payson, the others in South Cottonwood. Charles had been called to Payson to build a sawmill in 1851.

Louisa, Henrietta, and Charles lived in Wellsville and Mendon for a longer period of time than any place since Nauvoo. It must have seemed good to be able to settle down. It was while they lived at Wellsville that Charles, the eldest son of Louisa, grew into manhood and when they left the valley he remained. He, Charles Jr., married his first wife, Sarah Jardine, a member of the Wellsville Ward in 1873, lived in Franklin, Idaho for a short time then settled in Clarkston, Cache, Utah were he married a sister of Sarah’s, Agnes, as his second wife. Charles was always a good faithful member of the Church.

While they lived in Wellsville Louisa gave birth to her last child, a boy, and soon this son was given the name Levi. In Wellsville Henrietta Bird had five children, and Charles married his fourth wife, Elizabeth Jardine. Elizabeth was a young lady at this time being just a few months older than his son Charles. They were married in October 1861. Charles and Elizabeth had 12 children.

“Amid all the moves and frontier hardships Louisa was always the soul of patience and kindness,” says Elizabeth, she further states that Louisa was always industrious and thrifty. She spun wool into yarn and wove the yarn into cloth and was always an immaculate housekeeper. Louisa and Elizabeth were dear friends and lived together a good deal of the time, sharing the joys and sorrows of pioneer life.

In 1874 Charles was called by President Brigham Young to help settle in Arizona. They soon moved as far as Kanab which place was called home for one year; then they moved to Johnson, Kane, Utah. In 1879 Wilson and the other boys left for Arizona with the cattle and other stock. The stock was driven across the Colorado River on the ice. They went to Concho and in the spring of 1880 the rest of the family joined them. They had only lived there for a short time when they moved to Taylor, Arizona. Shumway, Arizona proved to be the ultimate place of residence, and the family was soon industriously working, building homes and a flour mill there.

If Louisa ever faltered in following Charles wherever and whenever he went we are not told. We do know however, that she did go, she was at Charles side in all his travels except his three. missions and when he was called to help lead the saints to Zion. Louisa perhaps, was prepared for the rugged pioneer life by her forbearers. One woman described tier as black eyed, small and full of fire and determination. She had no formal education but spelled her way twice through the Book of Mormon, and was known to be a great reader of that Book. She always lived on the frontier just ahead of the development of Schools and Church houses. Because of the frontier life she was forced to lead, she saw little or no formal church activity, but was always faithful to the teachings of the prophets.

She went to Linden, Arizona to visit some of her family living there in 1890. She was taken suddenly very ill and soon died. She had been visiting Henrietta Bird and Charles’ son Spencer. The date was February 28, 1890. She was 67 years old and was buried in Taylor, Arizona.

Lucetta A. Gibson, a descendent of Louisa, once asked a close relative about whether or not Louisa was bitter because Charles lived with Elizabeth his fourth wife more than he did with Louisa the last part of her life. She was told, “My goodness no. she always recognized the fact that Elizabeth had a family of small children, and that Charles was needed there”.

Her children can look back at her life with pride. She was always true to the Gospel she had embraced at Thompson, New York. The promises given to her in her patriarchal blessing February 2, 1842 by Hyrum Smith based on her righteousness did and will surely come to pass.

Additional things about Charles Shumway as given to by research done by Kenneth Godfrey. “I found that he once loaned Brigham Young some money to help tide him over. He was paid back by Brigham Young Jr. in the form of some lumber in Cache Valley.”