This is in response to Jack's inquiry seeking more information about James Brinkerhoff:
A STORY OF THE LIFE OF JAMES BRINKERHOFF SR.
Written Sept. 25, 1952 by his Granddaughter Mattie B. Fish
Our Grandfather, James Brinkerhoff, Sr. was born May 22, 1816 at Sempronious, Cayuga County, New York.
His parents were George Brinkerhoff and Hannah DeGraff, who must have been farmers, for their son James was a farmer, beekeeper, maple sugar maker and also a fish peddler while a young man in New York. He also made barrels.
He married January 24, 1836, Sally Ann Snyder, Born October 1851, at Sempronious County, New York also. They were evidently married in Cayuga County, New York, as their oldest daughter, Jeanette Brinkerhoff Leavitt, was born at Moravia, Cayuga County, New York, October 30, 1836.
Aunt Sally Ann gave birth to 8 children whose names are: Jeanette, Hannah, who died in infancy, Mary Ann, James Jr., who died on the plains crossing the Mississippi at the age of 2 years 3 months, Levi, Hyrum, George, and Willard.
Grandpa accepted the gospel and was among the first converts to the church. He was baptized in 1841, and one year later moved to Nauvoo where he helped build the Nauvoo Temple. He was on a
mission for the church in 1842, in the state of Ohio and was called home to Nauvoo at the time of the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum Smith.
He was at the meeting and saw the transfiguration of Brigham Young to the form and voice of Joseph Smith.
His home was near that of the prophet and his oldest daughter, Jeanette, tells of picking peaches in the orchard at the Smith farm.
Grandpa had a box the size of a cigar box full of $20.00 gold pieces. He gave it to the church. We have no record of credit for it. It may have been used for finishing the temple.
James Brinkerhoff, with his wife, Sally Ann Snyder and three small children, started West with the Saints in the first company of ox-teams. When they reached Winter Quarters, he was obliged to leave his wife and babies while he went to Missouri to work for money to buy provisions so they could continue on their journey. It was during this hard winter that their 4th child, little James Jr., age 2 years 3 months died and was buried in the " Camp of Israel" burial ground at Winter Quarters. He died while crossing the Mississippi River.
They started for the Rocky Mountains again in the Spring of 1847 with the Perigrime Sessions Company. Their 11 year old daughter, Jeannette, helped drive the ox team the last 600 miles.
He being a good provider, was able to provide buffalo meat and plenty of wild fruit for his family. There was plenty of feed for the animals; they milked their cows and the jolting of the wagons churned the cream into butter.
We know of one incident that happened during that journey. While they were crossing a creek, their wagon tipped over, their chicken coop smashed and the chickens were all turned loose, but soon the wagon was set up, chickens caught and in the coop and all went safely on their way, arriving in Salt Lake City September 25, 1847, where men folks set right to work building a fort to make themselves comfortable and to protect their families from the Indians, and it was very necessary that it be done in a hurry for the stork was on its way as Aunt Sally gave birth to another son, Levi, November 3, 1847, just 3 months after they arrived in the new place.
They lived in Salt Lake about 4 years when James was called to move to Centerville, Davis County, Utah, about 20 miles north of Salt Lake, where his special calling was to teach the people how to farm. We can see the wisdom of that movement now, as that little settlement is one of the most fertile, productivespots in the valley.
At this time, James Brinkerhoff took a second wife. He married Rebecca Hawk who was born August 12, 1835, at Park County, Indiana. They were married September 28, 1852 in the Endowment House at Salt Lake. Rebecca was not quite 17 years old. Aunt Rebecca gave birth to 9 children whose names are Clark, Mary Caroline, Margaret, Samuel, William, Alonzo, Jesse, Ira, Sally Edith and Loretta, who was born 3 months after the death of her father.
Aunt Rebecca married again after the death of James Brinkerhoff. She married a man named Gardner and lived in Emery County, Utah, but at the time of her death, December 22, 1905, she was with
her youngest daughter, Loretta Young at Price, Carbon County, Utah. She was taken to Huntington, Emery County, Utah for burial.
Two years after his marriage to Rebecca Hawk, James Brinkerhoff took a third wife. This time it was Eliza Henderson, born April 29, 1831, at Jacksonville, Morgan County, Illinois. They were married June 11, 1854, in the Endowment House. She was 23 years old. Grandma Eliza Jane was only 5 years older than his oldest daughter Jeanette. She gave birth to 8 children also. Their names are David, John, Silas, Eliza Ann, Lucinda, Joseph, Marette and Wilford. She died in 1905 at the age of 74 at Glendale, Utah, where she is buried beside her husband.
In all, 25 children were born to this good old man and at the time of this writing, they were all dead but Aunt Rebecca's youngest daughter, Loretta B. Young, who lives with her niece, Lucinda Snell, in a little home owned jointly by the two of them. Their home is at 6803 Orchard Drive, Val Verda, Utah, a few miles north of Salt Lake City and joins Bountiful.
After living 15 years in Centerville with his three wives, James Brinkerhoff was called by Brigham Young in 1863 to go to Southern Utah where again he helped start the farming work. This time in St. George, Washington County, Utah and again in 1870 nine years later, he was called to help settle the "Muddy" in Nevada.
He was there at the time Brigham Young released them because of hard times and Indian troubles and told the people to go elsewhere if they wanted to. This was early in the summer time, they had lovely crops almost ready to harvest. Many people just went away and left the crops for some wise person to harvest and use they went away to face the winter without food for their families or feed for their animals.
Shortly after 1867, Father went to the "Muddy" and stayed until early summer of 1871. They stayed in Orderville until the crops were gathered then went to Glendale.
Grandfather James Brinkerhoff moved to Glendale, Kane County, Utah, and was living there at the time of his death due to sunstroke March 4, 1875. He was only 59 years old.
This left the three wives with large families but they helped each other and all have raised honorable families and having had good teachings from their father, it was much easier.
Aunt Sally Ann was a twin and was never very strong but everyone loved her and helped her all they could. She died February 8, 1895 at Thurber, Utah.
Aunt Rebecca was a good seamstress and she helped manage the sewing for the family while Aunt Eliza Jane was a weaver and helped make the cloth, so, each one, by doing her part, helped to make it more pleasant for all. Aunt Rebecca lived in Salt Lake City.
James Brinkerhoff was a good husband to his wives and a good father to his children. He treated his women alike, as much as possible and was very attentive and considerate of his children. He wanted them to learn to work and to be honest and honorable in their dealings with others and evidently he has succeeded well as he has left a family of honorable, fine people, whose families and posterity will reach near to the 1000 mark. A credit to a grand old man, who, no doubt, is equally proud of his family as they are proud of him.
May we all live so that we can do as well with our families as our Grandfather, James Brinkerhoff Sr., has done with his family and have as much to our credit as he has.
(Levi Brinkerhoff, son of James Sr., is said to have been the first boy baby born after the Saints arrived in Utah.)