Thursday, September 8, 2016

52 Ancestors: #16: George Holyoak Sr. (1799-1881)

Our family has a rich heritage of pioneer ancestors who were willing to give up all – homes, family and at times even their lives for the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is a history of George Holyoak Sr. who willingly came to Utah from England in 1854 losing his dear wife and two daughters on the journey.

George Leo Holyoak 

George Eli Holyoak was born January 17, 1799 at Yardley, Worcestershire, England, the son of Isaac and Ann Bird Holyoak. He was the youngest of 8 children.
Several of his children’s histories tell of growing up in “Rose Cottage” in Yardley Wood, a suburb south of Birmingham, England. Climbing roses almost covered the house, the yard was full of beautiful flowers, and the grass was green almost all year. From this lovely home and beautiful surroundings the children say that they inherited a love for flowers and beauty. They were also taught to be industrious and religious.
The Holyoak family listened to the Mormon missionaries but it was rather hard at first for George, the father to see the Gospel light. He was perfectly willing for his good wife, Sarah Green, and other members of his family to attend missionary meetings and other gatherings but felt that the Church of England had always been good enough for his family and therefore it was good enough for him.
One day something happened that changed all this. His baby, which he dearly loved became quite ill. It was so sick they were afraid it might die any minute. His wife, Sarah, asked if he would run through the fields and get the Elders. He went, thinking it would be of no use, sure they could do no good. The Elders came gladly, laid their hands upon the child and blessed it. Through the powers of the priesthood, it was healed. He was sure then the Spirit of the Lord was with the Elders and that they had something very precious and dear. His church seemed to lack something. He started to investigate and it was not very long before he was converted. George was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Birmingham, England on December 3, 1841.
George was ordained an elder in England, where he served as a faithful teacher for many years. The President of the Conference at that time was Brother Crook. The held their meetings in a carriage house in Peck Lane and also in the home of George Holyoak. They had been holding them at his home for three months before he joined the Church. He remained in England for about eleven years after joining the L.D.S. Church. During this time, he saw the power of God made manifest many times.
George and Sarah’s oldest son, William’s first wife died just days after the birth of their son, Nehemiah. The grandparents – George and Sarah brought the baby into their home to raise. William married again and he and his second wife were also members of the LDS Church emigrated to America in 1850. They stayed in Missouri, where he found work. Their son, George Jr. emigrated in 1851 and joined his brother and sister-in-law in Missouri. George Jr. married while living there.
In January of 1854, George Holyoak Sr. and his family started to emigrate to Utah. They sailed on the ship Windemere with over 400 other Saints. The Holyoak group included, George and his wife, Sarah; their daughters, Sarah and Ann; son, Henry; and grandson, Nehemiah; plus their married daughter, Mary Knowles with her husband and two children. (note: Joseph James who later married Sarah was on this same voyage) The journey was difficult. It was not long until some of the people were sea sick. Then small pox started to break out with some deaths and burials at sea. This outbreak was stopped by a priesthood blessing.This means of travel was very new to most of them being the first time they had been at sea. The stove broke loose and caught fire and the ship started to leak. Men, women and children worked with buckets and pans dipping the water out so they wouldn't sink. For some time the weather was so calm that they basically drifted until there was enough breeze for the sails. They had to go on half-rations at the end of the journey. Finally, after nine long weeks on a stormy sea they arrived in New Orleans. Those who’d had small pox were taken to a hospital and they rest were sent up-river to Quarantine Island near St. Louis, Missouri. Here they camped at the Missouri River where George's oldest daughter, Mary Holyoak Knowles, died of cholera, leaving her husband with two small children.
When they were able to leave the island the Holyoak met up with their sons, George and William and their families. George Jr. and his family traveled on with the family and William followed a few years later.
The family traveled in the Darwin Richardson Company (1854) departing on 17 June 1854 and arriving in the Salt Lake Valley on 30 September 1854. We don’t have a personal account of the journey from the Holyoak family but I have included personal experiences from others in the company at the end of this narrative. It was a hard journey. There were about 40 wagons with two or three families per wagon. Most walked all of the way. Cholera struck the company several times and there were many deaths.
The Holyoak family lost two more family members on the journey: George’s dear wife, Sarah died of mountain fever (some records say cholera) and ten days later a second daughter, Ann, died of the same complaint. They were buried sewed into blankets and buried on the plains of Nebraska. You can imagine how it must have been for George to leave his faithful wife and two lovely daughters behind as he journeyed to the Salt Lake Valley.
It took a great deal of courage and faith to continue onward to the land of promise walking all the way. The arrived in Salt Lake City, weary and footsore, but they were very happy saints, sure it was worth every effort and very pleased as all pioneers were at what they had accomplished. They arrived in Salt Lake City on the 30th of September 1854. At that time, there was little there but sage brush. George remained there a short time before moving with the rest of his family to Parowan, Iron County, Utah where he was called to settle.
While he was in Salt Lake City, his daughter, Sarah, was married to a very fine young man--Joseph James. Joseph had traveled most of the way west with their company. They were married in a covered wagon. The bride wore a calico dress.
George received his endowments on the 14th of October in 1859 at the Salt Lake Endowment House. George settled in Parowan in company with George A. Smith and other good brothers. His two teenage children and grandson went to Parowan with him. Nehemiah was with him until his father, William came to Utah two years later and also settled in Parowan. George married again about 1862 to a widow named Ann Brazier Gunn. There may have been another wife also named Ann Wactin.
George Holyoak Sr. remained in Parowan for the remainder of his life, a faithful pioneer, a good father and a true Latter-day Saint. He was the father of 8 children who were all faithful members of the Church and very proud to be the sons and daughters of such wonderful parents as George and Sarah Green Holyoak. They always remembered with true love and devotion the wonderful inheritance they received from these wonderful pioneers who were so willing to sacrifice for a just cause and a Gospel which meant more than life itself to them. George died the 27th of October 1881, in his beloved country. He is buried in Parowan.
George Eli Holyoak birth: 17 January 1799 in Yardley Wood, Worcestershire, England death: 27 October 1881 in Parowan, Iron, Utah,s married: 17 January 1825 in Yardley Worcestershire, England
Sarah Green birth: 2 July 1797 in Kings Norton, Worcestershire, England death: 26 July 1854 Near Big Blue, Hamilton, Nebraska
William Holyoak birth: 12 April 1825 in Yardley, Worcestershire, England death: 28 March 1914 in Parowan, Iron, Utah
Mary Holyoak Knowles birth: 10 March 1827 at Solihull, Warwickshire, England death: May 1854 near Kansas City, Clay, Missouri
George Holyoak Jr. birth: 1 Sep 1829 at Solihull, Warwickshire, England death: 15 March 1921 in Parowan, Iron, Utah, United States
Ann Holyoak birth: 6 January 1832 at Yardley, Worcestershire, England death: August 1854 in Wyoming, United States Eli Daniel Holyoak birth: 1833 at Solihull, Warwickshire, England death: 20 January 1838 in England
*Sarah Holyoak James birth: 4 August 1835 at Yardley, Worcestershire, England death: 25 October 1916 in Ogden Weber, Utah
Henry Holyoak birth: 5 March 1839 at Moseley Wake Gre, Yardley, Worcestershire, England death: 23 January 1926 in Ogden, Weber, Utah, United States
Hannah Holyoak Lefevre birth: 25 March 1841 at Birmingham, Warwickshire, England death: 2 August 1920 in Panguitch, Garfield, Utah
(those in Red died coming to Utah)
*our ancestor

Family Records in possession of D. Larsen
Pioneer Overland Travel database
Mormon Migration - BYU
old website now found in the internet archive:


Verl I Alldredge 1918-2008: How Verl got to his beloved Arizona Strip

How Verl got to his beloved Arizona Strip
-September 6, 2016 – his birthday anniversary
From excerpts from “Verl I and Ada Helen Nelson Alldredge – This is our Story” by Darlene Larsen and “Life Sketch of Maria Delila Van Leuven Alldredge” (Written by Delila in January 1952)
This is the telling of how Verl got to the Arizona Strip.  Verl’s mother, Delila was the second wife of Isaac (Ike) Alldredge in a polygamist family. His first wife was Annie. The family/families were living in the Mexican colonies and were forced from their homes during the Mexican Revolution in 1912. They had to leave their home, land and everything they owned in Mexico. It was very difficult for the refugees to start over with nothing. They lived many places before Delila and her family were able to settle in Mt. Trumbull.

                In 1912, the Alldredge family was driven out of Mexico by the Mexican Revolution. Over the next nine years Delila and her children made their home in several places in Utah and Nevada including Eureka, Aurora, Hinckley, Delta, Abraham, St. Thomas, Kaolin, Mesquite and St. George. In 1913 a son, Lelan Dee was born to the family while in Aurora, Utah.
                Isaac took Delila and her children to Eureka to stay with her mother and brother Lafe while he and his first wife, Annie and their children went looking for a farm. Ike was able to lease a grape vineyard in Mesquite, Nevada. Lafe and Ed, Delila’s brothers, drove Delila and her four children to St. George. Her husband, Ike met them there and took them on to Mesquite. The family lived there for a couple of years.
                Verl was born to Isaac and Delila while they were living in Mesquite, Nevada on 6 September 1918. He was born in a tent on the west side of the town. Delila was attended by a midwife. Verl’s older sister, Lurie said that her mother was in labor all day and was happy that their father was with them at that time. Delila had a hard time and so did the baby but they both survived the ordeal. Isaac wanted to name the baby, Verl Isaac but Delila wouldn’t agree. So he was named Verl I Alldredge. With just an initial for a middle name.
Dee and Verl in wagon - Hinckley area

                Ike was discouraged in Mesquite and moved Annie and her family back to Hinckley, Utah hoping to farm there. Delila stayed in Mesquite until February 1919. Verl was five months old when Delila and her family moved to Hinckley by train. They didn’t have a permanent home while there but stayed in the Delta/Hinckley area for two years even living in the blacksmith shop at one point. The family was blessed to survive the worldwide flu epidemic during this time. Verl contracted whooping cough which developed into pneumonia. It was only through a priesthood blessing that his life was spared.
                Annie and her children finally moved to St. George while Delila stayed in Delta to cook and do the laundry for Ike and the men who were working at the sugar factory there.
                On January 1, 1921 Ike loaded two wagons and headed to St. George with Delila and family. It snowed a foot the night before they started. They were on the road 13 long, hard days. Fifteen-year-old Irvin drove one team and Delila, two-year-old Verl and Lurie rode with him. Nora and Dee rode with their dad. It snowed most of the way and was so cold. When they stopped to cook, Isaac would scrape the snow away and make a circle for a fire and a place for the children to sit. At night he heated rocks, wrapped them in blankets and put them in the wagons where they slept to help keep them warm.
Verl - Mt. Trumbull
                One of the horses pulling Irvin’s wagon slipped on ice going down dugway on the Black Ridge above Bellevue (now Pintura). It scared them all but the horse managed to get its footing and didn’t go over the edge of the ridge. Further down the dugway they arrived in Bellevue (Pintura) and saw the sun shining after all the snowy, icy days. What a happy bunch! The kids got out of the wagons and played in the sand. The family arrived in St. George about the 15th of January.
                The older children started school in St. George where they got the measles – except Irvin, who’d had them as a baby in Mexico.  Delila contacted her family who were living 60 miles south of St. George in Mt. Trumbull Arizona. Her parents and brothers moved there while Delila was living in Hinckley. Her sister, Chloe and her family were already living there. Delila’s father, Newman Van Leuven had died there on 14 October 1919. He was the first person buried in the little Mt. Trumbull cemetery. The land for the cemetery was donated by the Van Leuven family.
                Delila let her family know that she was in St. George and in March two of her brothers, Lafe and Cornelius came to St. George to see her. They told her about the land in Mt Trumbull and all of the crops they were growing. They had a piece of land picked out for her to homestead if Isaac would let her use his name. Irvin went back to Mt. Trumbull with her brothers at that time. The next month Delila’s brother, Cornelius, came back to St. George and took Delila and her children to Mt. Trumbull on 17 April 1921. She liked it so well that they decided to stay. She did take a homestead and they lived in a little log house made out of posts until they were able to get some lumber and built a 4-room house. Then they made a 2-room cellar and lived in that while the boys made a 5-room and a bath adobe house. Delila and her family lived there until 17 May 1936 and then moved back to St. George because of the water situation. They could not dry farm when the rains stopped during the 1930s.
                Mt. Trumbull or “The Strip” was a great place for a boy to grow up and Verl lived there from age two to 17 – his formative years. He loved the Arizona Strip* all of his life. The country was harsh and times were hard, but everyone who lived there was in the same situation and didn’t know anything different. Verl’s sister, Lurie said, “We were all poorer than church mice, but we didn’t know it because everybody was the same.”
Verl and Dee and goats on the mountain.
Dee and Verl under same tree 65 years later.

*The area was cut off by the Grand Canyon from the rest of Arizona and that is why it is called the Arizona Strip or just “The Strip”.