History of James Lythgoe

James Lythgoe
James Lythgoe

DATE OF BIRTH – 15 March 1842 – Pendlebury, Lancashire, England

DATE OF DEATH – 17 March 1929 – Henefer, Utah

DATE OF ARRIVAL IN UTAH – 22 September 1864

COMPANY ARRIVED WITH – Capt. Joseph S. Rawlins’ Train of Immigrants. Arrival in GSL 20 Sep. 1864

Adapted by Vera L. Hart from a transcript of the Diary of James Lythgoe

I, James Lythgoe, was born in Pendlebury, Lancashire, England, on the 15th day of March, 1842. My father, Thomas Lythgoe, was the youngest of 14 children born to Joseph Lythgoe and his wife Betty.

My father and mother were of the first to embrace the Gospel in Pendlebury Branch in the year 1840 and were convinced of its truths by the preaching of Apostle Parley P. Pratt. They were acquainted with Apostles Brigham Young, John Taylor, Orson Hyde and many others in the early days, and often heard preaching in Carpenters Hall, Manchester, England. I have often heard in my boyhood, father and others tell incidents of Apostle Orson Hyde going and returning from his Mission to Jerusalem. I can remember in my youth when Peter Sharples [second husband of Rachel Kilner Harrop] was president of Pendlebury Branch. Aaron Smethurst and my father also became presidents in their time. Thomas Pitts was president when I was growing up into a young man. My father was very generous to the Elders on missions. At one time he hauled and donated to Parley P. Pratt a cart load of coal. When Brother Pratt was in very poor circumstances he lived in a cellar with his wife and one child in Oldham Road, Manchester. Brother was at that time first commencing the publication of the "Mill Star" and hymn book, and I can well remember when I was quite little and father continued to tell me as I grew up, how that Brother Pratt was in frightful circumstances for want of money to continue his publications, and that father encouraged him by loans and otherwise. At one time the wife of Parley P. Pratt and young Parley stayed at fathers’ while Brother Pratt went preaching to other places.

My parents always kept open house for the elders on missions and gave freely to the calls made upon them. I can well remember the meeting house in Pendlebury Branch being in mourning for the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum Smith. Their pictures were also upon the wall and under them was this inscription, "In memory of our departed but deeply lamented Brethren, who died martyrs for the cause of Christ on the 27th day of June, 1844."

My brother John was a very plain spoken and strictly virtuous young man. He was the first of our family to leave England for America and I was about 13 years of age. He lived for a while in Missouri and journeyed across the plains in company with Brother Reynolds family of Wanship, Utah. He came to Utah from thence to California and Nevada. He sent money from time to time to the family at home which was the means of helping the rest of the family (excepting Father) to immigrate to Utah, Zion. He left Virginia and met our family in Coalville, Utah, where he was married to Catherine Harrop, where he lived until killed in the coal mine on the 23rd of September, 1867, leaving his wife a widow with two children, John and Rachel.

My father was a green grocer. When I was quite young I went with him to market on purpose to see that everything was all right with the horse and cart and the purchases. A man came along and told me that father wanted me. I went, looked around and saw the man lift a basket of butter out of the cart and run away. I turned back but could not overtake him. It was a long time before I heard the last of that butter and it was the last thing that I ever missed from my care.

At last I became dissatisfied with any job of peddling so I was sent to work in the mine with John and Joseph. I worked there one day which taught me a lesson. I did not go to school after I was eleven years of age. I received a good many lessons in writing, reading, etc. from Thomas Rushton about this time. We were close and true until his departure for Africa when he grew to be a young man. He returned, went again and returned and died at the age of 27. He sent for the Elders to administer to him, and requested them to ask me to do for him what I could in the Temple. The Brethren were Job Openshaw, James Shape and John Ramsden. Each one told me his message in separate places and at different times. I was baptized for him in Salt Lake City and received endowments for him in the Logan Temple.

I was baptized by George Rushton on the 10th day of May 1852. He carried me into the river where it was deep enough, and would have carried me out but I said I would walk out.

On our way home I beat Thomas Rushton in a foot race which I never had done before but he could not overtake me at that time, although he was the best runner. I attended meeting and was confirmed by Samuel harmer. I acted as deacon as I got older, and was ordained a teacher when I WAS FIFTEEN. At twelve I was put an apprentice to James C. Barker to learn clog and shoe making. He joined the church in an early day but got weary and fell by the way. During my seven years with him and his family I heard him always defend "Mormonism." I have done his temple labor as my record shows. Pendlebury Branch fell in numbers through the emigration and other causes until only Thomas Pitts and I were left with a few others to carry on.

The branch about this time was composed mostly of sisters. The branch increased again in numbers. When I was about 18 years of age Brother Pitts who was now Branch President ordained me an elder. I stayed with James Barker until my time was up and about this time I commenced to court Martha Heelis. I had seen her when I was on a visit to Breghtmet some four years before. Her Aunt Martha who was present predicted after I left, "That boy will be Martha’s husband."

I said to Brother Pitts, ‘Let us go out and preach in the streets to the people." Very many times we did so. I preached in many of the streets in Pendlebury to very large congregations. When I had stayed my time for Brother Barker, Jacob Lindley of Newtown sent for me. I worked for him for more than a year. He had a large family. I saved up seven pounds in the P.E. Fund and three pounds in the penny savings bank kept at the Post Office. About this time I was called into the ministry. John McKay was district president and William H. Dame was conference president. On leaving my friend Jacob Lindly, [sic] who was a sincere Lwedenbourgen, [??] I presented him [my] Book of Mormon which he had been pursuing for a few months back. I gave my father the three pounds I had deposited in the savings bank. My letter of appointment reads –

42 Islington, Liverpool

March 26, 1862

Elder James Lythgoe

Letter of Appointment.

Beloved Brother, This certifies that you are appointed to labor in the Manchester Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, under the direction of Elder William H. Dame. It is your duty to preach the Gospel and Administer the ordinances thereof which pertains to the office of an Elder and assist your President in discharging any duties which he may require of you for the welfare of the cause where you are appointed to labor. Dear Brother, keep your covenants with God also his commandments and the council [sic] of those who are over you in the Lord. Be humble and prayerful and the Holy Spirit will accompany your administration. The power of the Priesthood will increase upon you, the hearts of the people be open to supply your wants and you will save many from their sins.

Amasa M. Lyman

Charles C. Rush

George Q. Cannon

Presidents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the British Isles & Adjacent Countrys [sic]

My first traveling was in company with John M. Kay. We walked to Oldham on the Sunday morning a distance of 8 miles. My journal tells of my labors in Manchester Conference. There were 32 branches and I was soon left to do most of the traveling alone as the Civil War was just commencing between the North and the South and many Elders were consequently called home to Utah, America.

I soon concluded that it would be to my advantage to have Martha’s picture. I had one taken and made it a point to let the young people generally see the likeness through the Branches of the conferences. Brother Dame was after a while released home and President McKay was removed to Birmingham. I was alone until Thomas Taylor came and presided in Brother Kay’s [sic] place. In about two years more elders were sent from Utah. I had them for my traveling companions alternately – George Brown from Provo, Ebathan Eldredge, Miles P. Romney, Joseph H. Telt, George D. Grant, Joseph Machin, William Crosby and Wilford Woodruff, Jr. These brethren had never traveled in the ministry until appointed to labor with me. I spent much time in visiting people who had left the Church. During the time I was laboring alone in the conference I took it upon myself and notified in a very kind way all of the branch presidents, 32 in all, to discontinue cutting members from the Church until cases first had been investigated by a conference president. All agreed with me and it saved a great many from being cut off. I will mention that one afternoon in Clayton I struck out to find a certain man. I knew only his name never having seen him, his having been cut off. I was led by the Spirit and I arrived at Newton-Heath. I saw a man standing by a gate. I stopped and inquired his name and he was the man I wanted. I had supper with him and invited him to meeting, introduced him to Brother Taylor and he joined the Church and soon became the President of the Manchester Branch. His name was Brother Scott.

July 15, 1894

I often visited Martha Heelis, 22 Darcy Lever, Bolton. Her father Thomas Heelis, and her mother, Elizabeth Heelis, never failed to make me welcome. Their family at this time consisted of father, mother, Jane and Joseph Warburton, Mary and James Warburton and Thomas B. and Martha. James Heelis and Edward were married and keeping house for themselves and Jane and family lived [at] home. Thomas B. emigrated and married May Benson on the plains on their way to Utah. It is now July 15, 1894. Father and mother Heelis, James, Joseph Warburton, Mary Warburton and Martha (my wife) are all dead. Mary died at 18 and Martha at 40 years of age. They were an excellent family. I have given to Thomas B. all I had of their genealogy as he was anxious and willing to do their Temple work.

About the latter part of my being in the ministry, Martha’s mother took it into her head to visit my parents one Sunday. The same day three of my uncles came to see my father and mother. The reason for their visit was they had seen published in a newspaper at Leigh my father’s name, he having been fined 3 pounds by the officers for having an old four pound weight in his shop that did not have the stamp properly on. These men had come and paid the fine for him.

John Moburn Kay was a very faithful and good District President. He was president of the Manchester, Preston and Liverpool Conferences. It came to pass that he was called upon to preside over the Birmingham District. He was born at Moorside, Bury, Lancashire, England, on October 6, 1817, baptized May 29, 1841, and he died on the plains September 26, 1864. His wife Ellen was present when he died, she having left Utah on a business trip while he was on his last Mission. He was a great man to bear testimony of the Divine Mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and not a bit less did he fail to emphasize that President Brigham Young was his legal successor. John Moburn Kay was a man that weighed nearly 300 pounds. He did all the walking he could on purpose to keep down his weight. He was a very good man.

William H. Dame was president of the Manchester Conference. He and Brother Kay was the means of my being called into the ministry. He was a very wise traveling companion and a good president. At length he was called to return home. He had a number of wives, but no children, and was Bishop of Parowan. The last time I saw him was near the Utah Penitentiary, he being a trusty prisoner. "Madam Rumor" said he was concerned in the Mountain Meadows Murders. He told me he was as innocent as a child and I believed him, for I had heard Apostle George A. Smith saw the massacre was committed by the Indians, because the passing emigrants had poisoned their spring of water. John D. Lee was convicted and executed for complicity in the crime with the Indians. Brother Dame’s innocence was vindicated and he died soon after his release from the troubles. One day before I was in the ministry and while I was working for Jacob Lindley, Brother Dame called and stayed a little while. After he left Mr. Lindley made the remark that if ever he saw a good man Mr. Dame was one. He felt such a good feeling during his stay.

Thomas Taylor was now appointed District President. He and I traveled together for about six months. The first thing he done [sic] was to get me a new suit of clothes. We had a very good time in our travels. He was good looking and all around a very nice man. I remember when we arrived at Leigh Mrs. Walsh said he had an honest face, and Brother Walsh offered him their adopted girl for a wife after a while, but it passed off as a joke.

About Christmas time President Cannon called a council of the ministry of the Mission. I attended a six-day meeting at Birmingham. I think it was the most enjoyable time. Brother Cannon’ first remark was if he might be permitted and it would be proper he felt he would like to go in a corner and sit down and cry like a little boy, not for any guilt but because of the humility of his feelings. During the ending of the six days council all were invited to bear testimony. I was about the last one who done so. I think it was the most enjoyable time. Before the meetings were ended I received word of Thomas Pitts’ son Joseph, about 14, being killed in the coal mine. I told Brother Taylor of the sad occurrence and interceded that Brother Pitts and family be helped to Utah which was listened to favorably for he and family journeyed across the sea in the same vessel as I. At Birmingham Brother Taylor told me I would be released in the spring to gather to Zion. I returned to my field of labor and my release was soon published in the "M" Star. (22 years old)

I now commenced to arrange for getting married as well as gathering to Utah. Brother G.D. Grant was now conference president. There being a conference to be held on the 17th of April in Grovenor Street, Temperance Hall, Manchester, and President Cannon was expected to be present. I asked Brother Grant when he wrote to Brother Taylor if he would ask him to ask Brother Cannon if he would marry me when he would be present to our conference. He said, "Yes, I will with the greatest of pleasure." The conference convened on the 17th of April 1864. I asked Brother Cannon if he would marry us and he said, "Yes, follow me wherever I go today," and he would get a chance to perform the ceremony. My three sisters, Betty, Ann and Rachel were with us. We all had dinner with Brother Armstrong. Brother Cannon could not marry us now as there was a stranger present. Well the stranger was present again at tea time so coming to the meeting for the evening we all slipped into the basement of the building and he (Brother Cannon) performed the ceremony. The stranger was still present. Also present besides Martha and myself were Brother Cannon, Thomas Taylor, John W. Young, Brigham Young, Jr., and my sisters. I attended to my labors in the ministry and Martha went to working in the factory until the time arrived to start to Zion.

Thomas Taylor himself collected for me I think about 19 shillings from Manchester Branch. The rest of our family sailed on the "Monarch of the Sea," a sailing vessel, about 3 weeks before we did, and me and my wife Martha set sail on "General McClellan" on the 2nd day of May, 1864, from Liverpool. Martha’s father and mother were very sorrowful at parting and so were the others. My father came to see me a few days before and I accompanied him to the Bolton Station and gave him half sovereign 10 shillings as I parted with him. My mother held means for his emigration until the last but he would not go.

Now on board ship I was sick all the way. Martha was well after only a day or two of seasickness. I was president of the District No. 3 on board but could not attend it on account of the seasickness.

We landed in New York July 3rd, 1864. Our Captain Trask sailed north some 300 miles off his course to avoid the southern warships, and he took in the sign from the vessel’s side while up north. We got among the great icebergs and ran against one in the night and we expected we were going down but we turned out all right. We were becalmed for about three days and did not move but a little flopping from side to side and at least we were met by a pilot (boat) about 300 miles from New York and he took us safely to port..

All passed the emigration and we traveled for 9 days on railway cars and 3 days up rivers until we arrived at Wyoming. On the Missouri River it was very dark and when we landed I could hardly walk on shore from being sick so long on the sea.

My mother and sisters had come down from their camp and I could hear mother in the darkness hollering at the top of her voice (JAMEOUS!). We were soon up the hill and campfires were burning brightly all around. The Church had sent ox and mule teams for the emigrants and we stayed and camped for nearly three weeks. We received supplies from the Commissary owned by the Church. It stormed and was very unpleasant some times but we got along very well and at last the teams were well rested. Joseph Young preached a sermon and we were soon ready to start on our journey to Salt Lake City, Utah.

I was hired by Levy Openshaw and started with four yoke of oxen hitched to a new wagon loaded with stoves. He would pay me a cow for the job. We gave our notes to the Church to pay for our passage across the plains. By hiring to Levy Openshaw left me only owing for my wife Martha for crossing the plains in the church wagons and if I don’t pay it I want my descendents to see that it is paid out of my property. Sixty dollars is the amount. Captain Joseph S. Rawlins of Draperville, Salt Lake County, was our Captain and a good man. Tuesday, Sept. 20th, 1864. Captain Joseph S. Rawlins train of immigrants arrived at Great Salt Lake.

We journeyed up the Platte River for hundreds of miles and in passing through the Indian country I first saw an Indian Chief and lots of naked Indians. It was a testimony to me of the truths of the "Book of Mormon." The Chief was copper-colored and seemed to me to be pocked marked. He was a very fine looking man. At last we had to ford the Platt River. I understood they were charging too much toll to cross the bridge. The river was low -–eight and ten oxen on a wagon with emigrants wading the stream. My wife Martha would neither ride nor walk through the river so when we got all the wagons over we took a good many yokes of oxen back for those who were left to hold to their tails and thus be pulled over. We all got over safely and camped. The river rose in one hour so that it would have been impossible to cross over again. It was nearly a mile wide and the water was very warm and shallow when we crossed. I will say here that Rachel Harrop Sharples died on Sunday morning August 28, 1864, and the following Sunday Peter Sharples, her husband, died, age 42. He used to be President of Pendlebury Branch. We were now coming into the Black Hills. One young man went to the top of the mountain. When he returned I asked him what he could see on the other side and he said, "Nothing but another big mountain." All went well and we were crossing Wyoming. Thomas Pitts took sick of mountain fever and it was all he could do to arise but he did so. He settled in Iron County where he died of old age in Paragonah.

We were soon coming through where Evanston now is and from there we traveled a new road down Chalk Creek and camped near Upton, Utah, getting into camp rather later than usual. The teamster just behind me coming down the dugway had his wagon tip over and Mrs. Daniels yelled out but no one was hurt. Next day there was lots of fun over Tommy’s wagon going over. It was the only tip-over on the road from Missouri to Salt Lake . Next day we came to Coalville, Utah, where my sister Ann met her husband John Booth. All my folks stayed there and me and Martha continued on to the City where we met Aunt Alice and Brother Shaw of the 19th Ward on September 22, 1864. We were soon on our way to Santaquin where we met Martha’s brother Thomas and his wife. After a while we obtained a lot upon which I built a dug-out in which we lived for several months. During the winter we moved to Salt Lake City and sold my lot to Brother John Greenhalgh. We stayed now with Brother Shaw. I paid a visit to Coalville to see my folks and my brother John who had arrived from Virginia. John and I concluded to visit Porterville and take up a farm each.

While I was in Salt Lake my wife Martha and I went to see Brother Heber C. Kimball as we wanted to get our endowments. Aunt Alice was with us. It was about the 24th of January 1865 and it was snowing. I knocked at Brother Heber C. Kimball’s door. He was alone at the time but gave me a good scolding for wanting my endowments having only lately arrived from England and my recommend was only a renewal. He said to me, "Where is your wife?" I said, "She is just outside the door." Brother Kimball said, "You are a fine man leaving your wife outside." He soon invited them in and told me to be at the Endowment House the next morning at 7 o’clock. He said, "How do you know but you will be an Apostle in less than five years?" We were there the next morning at the appointed time and received our endowments and were sealed husband and wife for time and all eternity by Apostle George Q. Cannon. I will state that the following Sunday after arriving in Santaquin I handed in our certificate of membership and we [were] baptized the same day by Brother William Greenhalgh.

In the beginning of 1865 my brother John and I started from Coalville, stayed at Brother Shaw’s in Salt Lake and then started for Porterville. We got to Farmington the same evening and stayed at Thorntons’. He wanted to hire John next morning as he made himself so useful. Next day we arrived at Richville and the next day at Brother Aaron Smethurset’s at Porterville, Utah. It was winter. Everybody soon knew my brother John and with his horse we dragged out of the bottoms enough green cottonwood logs to put up one room of a house. He left for Coalville and I stayed with Brother Smethurset until spring until Martha arrived from the City. She had walked most of the way. We stayed with Brother Smethurst during bad weather and then we moved into our new green cottonwood house. The chimney was made of new green sticks. There was no windows and no floor, and just sticks, straw and dirt for a roof. We lived in this until fall. Joseph, my first born was born here on September 22, 1865. Martha was three days before she could be confined and it was through the assistance of Warner Porter and his good wives that she was saved. We moved into our log house on the bench and moved across the creek and lived among the Porters for about three years. Our son Thomas was born there on the bench and Heelis was born in East Porterville. The Porters were good people to live amongst and we lived there until 1872. I turned my house and lot over to Sanford Porter for him to pay in for my tithing the sum of $50.00 and we moved to Henefer, Summit County, Utah.

We lived in the Fort by the meeting house in Henefer. We bought a lot from Bishop Richins and built the log house now owned by Nephi Bond. Mary Jane and Edward were born in Henefer. In 1876 we moved to Santaquin, Utah County for a couple of years. Our son John was born there July 13, 1877. I presided over District No. 1 while we were there and learned a great deal from the wise council of Bishop George Halliday. I made shoes for the store and cloggs for the people and had a very good time. At length we concluded to move back to Henefer in 1878. I built on my 5 acres the same fall and owned in all nearly 100 acres of grazing and farm lands. Soon after leaving Santaquin I homesteaded 160 acres of land near Park City, Utah. I obtained my patent for same during President Harrison’s administration. Our youngest child, a daughter named Elizabeth, was born January 14, 1880.

On the 14th of August, 1881, my wife Martha died. The way her death occurred I will now describe. My wheat was being harvested by John Paskett and seven of us was to bind after the drop machine. After breakfast Martha concluded to go to Stevens’ butcher and slaughter house and get some meat for dinner for all the hands. It had rained during the night. Her shoes were good but thin. When she arrived in the lane before Fifes’ place there was a pool of water so she thought she would get over the fence. In dropping on the other side from three poles from the ground she suffered internally and knew the circumstances would be fatal. She managed to get to Stevens’ meat shop and back to Sister Stevens’ house where she laid until Fowlers could come and she was conveyed home by George Fowler, laid on her back in the bottom of the wagon box. That happened on August 11th, and she expired on Sunday morning the 14th day of August 1881. Before she died she called the boys to her and encouraged them to attend Sunday School and meeting as she said she was going to leave them. She blessed her baby, Elizabeth. It was about 5 o’clock in the morning and she was buried the following Tuesday.

On August 16, 1892, I was married to Hannah Sophia Peterson Johnson in the Logan Temple at Logan, Utah.

Today, March 15, 1895, is my birthday and I am now 53 years of age. I lack 30 years of being as old as my father when he died. At home today is my wife Hannah, our first baby Martha, Hannah’s four children by her first husband and my Lizzie and John. John came up here from Kaysville, Utah. While there he lost the little finger on his left hand through trying to take out the cartridge from a gun. It is now getting nearly healed over. The Doctor charges him twenty dollars for tending it. Our family has lived on pies and cakes today by way of celebration of my birthday. All is well and the boys and girls are growing fine, fat and good-natured and are all doing well.

I see from this book I have not written any more since the 15th of March, 1895. Since then my wife Hannah has had two more children. Our first named Martha Heelis was born August 16, 1893, and blessed by myself. Our second named Neils Peterson [was] born July 2, 1895. Our third named Brigham born August 3, 1895, and blessed by myself October 3, 1897. This little boy lived one year, 7 months and 4 days. He was in every way bright and possessed all his faculties but was attacked by pneumonia. February and the beginning of March was very cold, stormy boisterous weather. He was sick about ten days and now is resting by the right side of my first wife Martha in the Henefer Graveyard. He died March 6, 1899, at 3:15 A.M.

I was ordained a Teacher in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when fifteen years of age. Thomas Pitts ordained me an Elder. I was ordained a seventy by Thomas Pitts at Coalville, Utah. I was ordained a High Priest by President Andrew Peterson on Sunday, August 26, 1884, at Coalville, Utah. President Cluff, Thomas Balls, Edmund Eldredge also officiated.


This Diary of James Lythgoe was copied from his original writings which have been in the possession of the family for the past thirty years.

Histories of James Lythgoe and Hannah S. Lythgoe have been filed in the Daughters of Utah Pioneers Building in Salt Lake City, Utah. They were written and filed by their youngest daughter Esther Lythgoe Robinson.

A picture of James Lythgoe and also his genealogy may be found in the large book entitled "Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah," published in 1913. This book is in most Utah libraries. Also pictures of James and Hannah S. Lythgoe and short histories of them may be found in the book, "Henefer, Our Valley Home," published in 1958.

Large photographs of them are hanging in the Daughters of Utah Pioneers Building in Salt Lake City, Utah. They are hung on the wall of the basement staircase. Small pictures of them are also hanging in the DUP Building in Henefer, Utah.

History of James Lythgoe

By Esther Lythgoe Robinson

James Lythgoe was born March 15, 1842, at Pendlebury, Lancashire, England. His father’s name was Thomas Lythgoe and his mother was Esther Wilcock Lythgoe. When a baby, he was blessed and named by the Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the blessing given to him at that time was made known to him later on in life. Following is a copy of that blessing given to him at the age of four weeks by Parley P. Pratt:

"We take this child in our arms and seal upon him the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and give him the name of James, and he shall grow to be a faithful representative of God upon the earth. He shall be multiplied in his day upon the earth, and we bless him to be a Saviour upon Mount Zion. Many shall rejoice in his preaching the Gospel. He shall live long and do much good. His posterity shall call him blessed which will be numerous. We pray, O Lord, that Thou wilt be mindful of this child that he will live to old age and be greatly blessed in his declining years and finally be gathered to receive his exaltation and Celestial resurrection. We bless him to this end by the authority of the Holy Priesthood in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

When James Lythgoe was ten years of age he was baptized by George Rushton of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on May 10, 1852, at Pendlebury, England. He was confirmed a member of the Church May 11, 1852, by Samuel Harmer. When he grew to young manhood he had learned the shoemakers’ trade and made wooden shoes. He also learned to play the violin and to write music, walking seven miles to take his lesson each week. He became a teacher of music and could teach almost any instrument.

On March 26, 1862, he was appointed a traveling missionary for the Church to teach and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In this he was very successful and had for his companions some of the Apostles of that day, three of which signed his appointment. On the 17th day of April, 1864, he was married to Martha Heelis by one of the Apostles. He and his wife set sail for America the 22nd day of May and landed in New York the 3rd day of July, 1864. He writes, "I was very sick all the way across the ocean and became very weak. At the first camp on the plains the people were very busy all around us. I drove four yoke of cattle across the plains and my wife, Martha, walked most of the way. We traveled up the Platte River for many miles. It was there I first saw the "Red Man of the Plains," which gave me a stronger testimony of the Book of Mormon. In fording the Platte River the water was low enough for us to wade across. It was about a mile wide and the water was very warm, but in about another hour it was so high it would have been impossible for us to cross. As I write this we are now traveling through Wyoming.

"After arriving in Utah we went to Santaquin on September 26, 1864. We lived there for a while then moved to Porterville, Utah, Morgan County. In the year 1872 we moved to Henefer, Utah. My wife and I were again married by Daniel H. Wells on June 24, 1865, in the Endowment House at Salt Lake City, Utah.

James Lythgoe also write, "My father and mother were of the first to embrace the Gospel in Pendlebury Branch in the year 1840 and were convinced of its truths by the preaching of Apostle Parley P. Pratt. They were acquainted with Apostles Brigham Young, John Taylor, Orson Hyde and many others in the early days, and often heard preaching in Carpenters Hall, Manchester, England. I have often heard in my boyhood, father and others tell incidents of Apostle Orson Hyde going and returning from his Mission to Jerusalem. I can remember in my youth when Peter Sharples [second husband of Rachel Kilner Harrop] was president of Pendlebury Branch. My father was very generous to the Elders on missions at that time. My parents kept open house for all the Elders of the Church. I remember our meeting house being in mourning at the deaths of the Prophets Joseph and Hyrum Smith. Their pictures were upon the wall with this inscription: "In memory of our departed but deeply lamented brothers who died martyrs for the cause of Christ on the 27th day of June, 1844." I also remember my trip to London to see Queen Victoria when she was the reigning monarch of England.

[The account here of James’ letter of appointment to the ministry is deleted because it is included in the above history.]

"My first traveling was in company with John M. Kay. We walked to Oldham on Sunday morning a distance of eight miles. This was in the Manchester Conference, and there were 32 branches. About this time the Civil War was on between the North and the South and many of the Elders were called home to Utah, America. I was alone in my work for nearly two years when more Elders were sent from Utah. I spent much time visiting people who had left the Church. I was now traveling with Thomas Taylor, the District President. We were together for six months. About Christmas time President Cannon called a council of the ministry of the Mission. It lasted for six days and we had a very good time together. Brother Taylor told me I would be released in the spring to go to Zion. I continued with my labours until my wife and I could sail for America.

James and Martha Heelis Lythgoe were the parents of seven children, all of whom grew to manhood and womanhood, married, had children and grandchildren while their father was still living. After the death of his wife, Martha Heelis, he was married to Hannah S. Peterson Johnson in the Logan Temple on August 16, 1892. She was a native of Norway, coming to America at the age of four years with her grandmother and also her mother and others in the family who were converted to the Church by LDS missionaries.

Hannah S. Peterson Johnson was a widow with four small children when she married James Lythgoe. She was living in Millcreek, (on 20th East Street) Salt Lake City, Utah, and after their marriage they settled down on the farm in Henefer, Utah, where James Lythgoe had homesteaded some years before. They also built and operated a store there for many years, called the "Hannah S. Lythgoe Confectionary." They were the parents of seven more children, all of which grew up excepting their third child, Brigham, who died when he was one year and seven months old.

James Lythgoe was the first chorister of the Henefer Ward and played his violin at their many dances and entertainments. He was also Justice of the Peace for two terms. Besides raising a large family, tending to his farm and business enterprises he still found time to care for the sick and needy. During the dreadful influenza epidemic after the First World War he traveled around nursing and administering to the sick and comforting the bereaved. During his lifetime he received blessings from three different Patriarchs. They all said: "Thy name shall be handed down generation to generation in Honorable Remembrance." He died at his home in Henefer, Utah, Summit County, on March 17, 1929, at the age of 87 years. He left a large posterity including 13 living children, 4 step children, 50 grandchildren, and ___ great-grandchildren.

History of James Lythgoe

[Note: some of the facts in this account are not congruent with those in the previous renditions]

Written by Mary P. Bingham

James Lythgoe was born March 15, 1842, at Pendleburg, England. His father’s name was Thomas Lythgoe, and his mother’s name was Esther Willcox Lythgoe. While in England he came in contact with some Latter-day Saint missionaries and joined the church before coming to America. He married Martha Heelis in England. Soon after arriving in America they went to the endowment house in Salt Lake City. They arrived in Henefer, Summit County, Utah, about the year of 1864. He built a home on the west side of Henefer by the foot of the hills. His mother and sister came over here also and lived with him because his father did not come.

James Lythgoe and his wife raised a family of seven children, five boys and two girls. He had a small farm, and they worked very hard getting the land cleared and irrigated. When my mother was eight years old, her mother died and left her father with seven children. He then married a lady by the name of Esther. Although they had no children themselves, she was a wonderful step-mother. About nine years later she died and he was left alone again. This time he married Hannah Johnson. She had four children, three boys and a girl. She was grand person, the only grandma I had known on my mother’s side. They had a family of nine children and lost one boy. They had a girl about my age, so we had wonderful times when we went up there. There was no work for young people up there, so my mother came down to Kaysville, Utah, where she met my father. After marrying him they settled down in Kaysville to live.

My grandfather was a great lover of music. He would take his violin and walk two or three miles to play for dances or programs. He taught himself to read music notes. He had an organ and later bought a piano. He was a very religious man who always tried to teach everyone who would listen to him about living a good life. On Sundays he would get in his buggy and gather up children along the road and take them to church. In the summer he would take a covered wagon and drive down to Kaysville where my folks lived tog et fruit. It would take two days to come down, a day to get his load of fruit, and two days to go back. They could not raise much fruit up there because of such early frosts. My mother would take us up there with one horse hitched to a buggy. The horse was so frightened of trains that mother would be compelled to get out and hold it by the bridle while the train was passing. We had an aunt that lived in Peterson, so we would stay there all night. It was a distance of forty miles. I remember my grandfather always having family prayers and calling on each one of us to take our turn.

While my grandfather was living by the hills, his mother who lived with him went to church one Sunday and stopped to see her daughter on the way home. When it became dark, and she had not returned home, they all began looking for her. It seems she had lost her directions and wandered off into the hills. When they found her a day or two later, she was dead from exposure. A few years later, he moved about half a mile east of town by the railroad. He delivered mail for the post office for some time. He was a very active man and always had the best of health. He always attributed his good health to the way he lived and the way he took care of himself. He was the father of nineteen children. He died March 17, 1929, in Henefer, Summit County, Utah, at the age of 87.


James Lythgoe

MORGAN—James Lythgoe, 87, active Church worker, died at his home in Henefer Sunday. He was born March 15, 1842, in England, and came to Utah, crossing the plains with ox teams in 1863 [sic, 1864].

Surviving are his widow, Hannah S. of Henefer, and the following sons and daughters: Mrs. Martha White, Joseph, John and Edward of Ogden; Thomas of Cowley, Wyo.; Mrs. R.J. Burton and James T. of Juti and Otto of Henefer, Mrs Ester Robison of Salt Lake.

Funeral services will be held at 1 o’clock on March 20 in Henefer with Bishop Parley Richins presiding..

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