Monday, September 28, 2009

Stephen Vestal and Elizabeth Walton Frazier, 1 of 2 parts

Stephen Vestal Frazier
18 Feb 1839, Salem, Henry County, Iowa.
p. Thomas Frazier, Ruth McCraken
m. 1 Mar 1860,
wife: Elizabeth Walton
d. 12 Aug 1923, Evanston Wyoming
b. Woodruff Cemetery, Woodruff, Utah

Elizabeth Walton
14 Jun 1840, Mexico City, Strafford County, Maine
p. Samuel Walton, Susan Walton (cousins)
d. 6 Aug 1918, Evanston Wyoming
b. Woodruff Cemetery, Woodruff, Utah

Stephen Vestal was born in Salem, Henry County, Iowa in 1839. His father, Thomas Frazier, was a devout Quaker. Stephen said his father spent too much time working for the Church and neglecting his family. That drove Stephen to leave home when he was young. He learned to care for himself and became a proficient mason, laying brick and rock, and he was a lather.

He and Elizabeth Walton were married March 1, 1860. Some records say Lawrence, Kansas, another Salem, Henry County, Iowa. Eight of their fourteen children were born in Kansas and Nebraska.

Elizabeth Walton was born in Mexico City, Oxford County, Maine. Her Father and Mother and two of her mother’s sisters; Martha and Ruth, accepted Mormonism in Maine in 1840. They were part of a caravan of 14 families; totaling 60 persons in all who left Mexico, Maine in July, 1845. At some point Samuel Walton left his wife Susan and their children with his brother-in-law, Arthur, while he went on ahead to Chicago, Illinois to see if he could find work. About a year later, when Susan went to that place to find him, Samuel could not be found. One of her children later said, “we never saw father again.” Elizabeth and her family were en route to the West for many years.

Elizabeth was stricken with hop disease. She was bed fast for eleven years. She heard of the Mormon missionaries and requested that they come and administer to her. She had faith that she would get well, and said, “I know I will get well if they pray for me.” Perry Green Session was one of the Elders.

A grandson wrote that “soon after Elizabeth and Stephen married the Civil War began. The slaves from the South were fleeing north for protection and to help the North win the war, for they wanted to be free. One day, one of those fugitive slaves ran into their home. Grandmother [Elizabeth] knew that the officers would be after him soon. She told him to sit on a chair in the corner of the room. She took the bedding off the bed and covered him with it. Then she went on working cleaning the house. Soon the officers came in and asked if a slave had come in her house. She said, ‘I haven’t seen any.’ They searched the house, but didn’t find him. That night after it was dark she gave him something to eat, and he went on his way. "
The family moved from Iowa, to Nebraska, then into Kansas, arriving in Bountiful, Utah in 1873. Stephen Vestal told his son Albert Orlando Frazier that he came out to Utah in a cattle car on the railroad, looking for work.

He first worked at Evanston Wyoming for a man by the name of Jessie Atkinson at a lumber yard. He was there during a very hard winter. The following spring he moved to the Woodruff settlement, homesteading a tract of land on Wood Creek about 1-1/2 miles from the settlement There were originally160 Acres of land in his homestead, the fields contained principally fox lilies and greasewood. Elizabeth said they came on the claim with only one cow.

They built a house near a spring where Stephen built a wooden curb for their culinary water. Ultimately he and his sons built the three-story rock house that still stands on the property. They had many trials and hard times to make a livelihood. There was plenty of game and Stephen was a good hunter and fisherman, and kept meat on hand, and they were known to have eaten squirrel.

The disease, that the Elders had caused to be healed, left Elizabeth with one leg shorter than the other. She was about 5 feet 3 inches tall and wore her hair in curls that hung down over her shoulders. Her hair was combed and curled every morning. She was very neat and proud of those curls. She loved her children and devoted her life for them. Elizabeth was a Josephite. She was true to her husband and loved to tell fortunes with cards and tea leaves.

(To be continued.)
Elder Perry Green Sessions: In an 1870 on-line Anti-Mormon Book I don't want to link to, Elder Perry Green Sessions is mentioned, "Ten miles out brought me to Sessions Settlement, sometimes called Bountiful, where I spent the night at the home of Perry Green Sessions, a Mormon Elder and return missionary, who entertained me with some account of his experience in England and the Eastern States, "while laboring to build up Zion among those who are still in darkness."
From a brief historical and genealogical account of the Frazier Family by Isabelle Frazier Sugden, a copy in my possession. Links of Walton History by Hattie Walton Heninger, Compiler, Genealogist, 1981, pgs. 45, 49.
The First 100 Years in Woodruff, printed by Art City Publishing Co., 1972, pgs. 271-275. Pictures from the Glenn & Helen Rex Frazier collection.


  1. "Perry Green" is a great misspelling of "Peregrine"! You can probably find better sources under that name. :-) (Although I do like that quote.)

    I enjoy these biographies and stories and particularly the lovely pictures. Thanks for the email you sent the other day. I'll be able to spend more time looking at the info after my out-of-town company has departed.

    Oh, and when you say "Josephite," do you mean a follower of the Smith descendants and the RLDS church (now Community of Christ)? If that's what you mean, Susan Easton Black put together a multi-volume book with information on early members of the RLDS church. I'm sure you could find it at the Church History Library or other libraries in the SLC area. I have an ancestor who joined that movement near the end of his life, and the books have some interesting information.

  2. "Peregrine!" What an excellent lead, Amy! I'd have never guessed.

    "Josephite" was mentioned only once in a history of Elizabeth. It's not included in either printed family history book. I know other Waltons joined the RLDS church. The cousin who gave a copy of her family history notes to my Mother and father was a fine geneologist in her day, and knew these folks well.

    I can hardly wait to get to the Church History Library. Thank you for your kind help and encouragement.