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Thomas Jefferson Thurston and Rosetta Bull

Thomas Jefferson THURSTON. [Familytree].
Thomas, a twin of George Washington THURSTON, was born 12 February 1805 at Fletcher, Franklin County, Vermont {S5}; sons of (Deacon) Peter THURSTON and Hannah BUTLER.

When he was still a child, he went with his parents to a section of Ohio, which was then called the Western Reserve, that was heavily timbered and had plentiful wild game, such as moose, deer, and wild turkey. The streams were well stocked with fish and there were many fur-bearing animals, which he became expert in trapping. He was an excellent hunter, and in later years he used to amuse his children with his tales of hunting and trapping.

At the age of 23 he married (1) Rosetta BULL, on 28 March 1828 at Granville, Licking County, Ohio. He bought a large farm in New Haven, Huron County, Ohio from the government, which he paid for with money he made from hunting and trapping. [source 5 says they moved to Seneca County. See if New Haven was at that time in Seneca County].

At that time cash was hard to get, since they were so far from a market for their produce from the farm. He sold eggs for one dollar per bushel. He worked very hard to make a start. They had to cut down the thick timber, drag it into piles and burn it before they could erect a cabin. Every foot of ground had to be cleared to make land which they could cultivate, and even then they had to cultivate around the stumps. It was many years before the stumps decayed enough to be removed. The grain they raised was harvested with a sickle and threshed with a flail. Together, he and his wife made a nice home and a productive farm.

Their attention was first attracted to the Mormon Church in the year 1844, when they read in the newspaper of the assassination of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum in the jail in Carthage, Missouri by an armed and blackened mob, without trial or due process of law. He was astounded to think that such a thing should happen in this "land of boasted liberty." What seemed worst of all was that it was because of their religious beliefs. The press made unfavorable comments, saying they were dangerous men and were leading the people astray, teaching false and blasphemous doctrine; and asserting that it was a good thing, as "It was better that they should die than that a whole nation should dwindle in disbelief." They had previously heard some rumors of Joseph Smith and his golden bible, but had taken no particular interest until then.

Upon hearing of the martyrdom of Joseph Smith they were shocked to think that such a thing could occur in America, and over religion at that, as the Constitution was supposed to safeguard the free enjoyment of religion. He said to his wife, "There must be something in it. I will improve the first opportunity to investigate the matter." Soon after this two Mormon Elders came to the town and engaged the district schoolhouse for a meeting, so he went to hear them. He soon became much interested in their doctrines and said they were very plain, conclusive and reasonable to him, and best of all, they were supported by the bible, in which he was well versed, and a firm believer. After their services, he invited them home for the night, where they sat up nearly all night asking and answering questions and explaining the gospel. Even his wife and older children were delighted with the teachings. Their souls were filled with joy and unspeakable satisfaction. They were already religiously inclined, were great bible students, and had a custom of daily family worship; which consisted of singing a hymn of praise, the reading of a chapter from the bible, and prayers. They often had wished to belong to a church and felt that they should, but were not entirely satisfied with any of them. This gospel, taught by the Mormon Elders, seemed to satisfy that longing in their souls as the true Gospel. He and his wife and all the children who were old enough were soon baptized.

Family genealogy records say that Rosetta was baptized first, in January of 1844; and Thomas next, in July 1845. If they indeed were first attracted to the Mormon Faith after the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith, their baptism had to have occurred after June of 1844. The history written by their daughter indicates that they both were baptized at the same time, and so I believe they were both baptized either in January or July of 1845.

With their baptism came the spirit of gathering. They immediately advertised their farm for sale and soon sold for a good price ($7,0005), getting one half of the purchase price down and the balance to be paid in one year. They then traveled, in 1845, to Nauvoo, Illinois, taking many scattered saints from the region who had been unable to go before. Among them was Phineas Young and his family, the brother of Brigham Young, and also a sister of Phineas and Brigham and her husband, named Kent.

In Nauvoo, the people were very poor and many were sick. There was much distress and want among them. Corn was only 25 cents a bushel, yet many people could not buy it. He and his brother went down to the river, cut and hauled logs back and made a corn crib. They then filled it with corn and gave word publicly in meeting that all in need of bread could come and help themselves; and as it became necessary, he replenished the supply, thus feeding many people. He also gave freely of his means to finish the Temple3,5. During December the Temple in Nauvoo, though still not completed or dedicated, was readied for endowment work. On Christmas day of 1845, Thomas and Rosetta received their endowments. Also during December of 1845, Rosetta received her patriarchal blessing from Patriarch John Smith.

Thomas also gave freely of his means to out-fit the company of pioneers who started out in the early spring of 1846 with President Young. In fact, he gave until President Young would take no more, and told him, "Brother Thurston, you have given more than enough, and you will need all that you have to get away from Nauvoo with your family. I fear that the mob may come upon you before you can get away." He replied, "I will get away from here alright, and not very far behind you either."

He then took his oldest son, George Washington Thurston, and started for Missouri with a good horse and buggy and said that he traded with every man he met. He first met a man with a team and wagon, rather heavy, who was toiling along over a muddy road. He accosted him in a neighborly sort of way, chatted for a few minutes, and then bantered him for a trade. The man looked at his outfit and finally decided it might be a good thing to do, as he was a traveling salesman, and Thomas's light rig would be better for him than this heavy one. In a short time the deal was made and Thomas pursued his way with the good wagon and team. Thus he continued to trade with every man he met. He traded for anything and everything; cows, oxen, horses, mules, clothing, provisions, bedding, wagons, harnesses, ox-yokes, wagon bows and covers. He was buying and selling all the time, and always to his advantage. He said it was perfectly marvelous to him how everything turned to his advantage, and surely the Lord blessed them, and in a short time they returned to Nauvoo with an astonishing outfit, consisting of five good wagons with three good yoke of oxen and cows for each.

When they were about to leave Nauvoo, a man came to them and bought their place and paid $15 more for it that Thomas had paid for it. This seemed wonderful, for almost everyone else left their homes unsold. When they left Nauvoo, in February of 1846, they took with them two other families besides themselves. They had provisions and food-stuff to last all for one year. They traveled with the main body of the Saints in their exodus across the frozen Mississippi River to Council Bluffs, or Winter Quarters, Iowa, where they stayed for the rest of the winter. While crossing the plains of Iowa, their daughter, Hulda Cordelia was born.

During the summer of 1847 they left Winters Quarters. Thomas was a captain of the second ten in Willard Show's Company, under the leadership of Jedediah M. Grant. (S7). Rosetta drove a team all the way across the plains. They often went only ten or fifteen miles a day. They had a little pig in a box strapped under the wagon, and a cow on a leash behind. One time Rosetta barely snatched her babies from death when a buffalo stampede crashed through the camp, turning hearts cold with fear and breaking the tongue of the wagon. The trip ended on 6 October 1847, when they drove their teams inside the fort at Salt Lake City. They lived in their covered wagons through the winter. The bowery was their first place of worship and their civic center also. Thomas served as a counselor to Bishop Hickenlooper of the Salt Lake City Sixth Ward. He was slso sent out by Brigham Young on several exploration parties. One of these was in 1848 to help explore Cache Valley in Northern Utah.

During the spring of 1848, Thomas took a farm eighty miles north of Salt Lake City, in Centerville, Davis County, Utah. They built a log cabin there and moved into it in 1849. They lived there for the next few years and farmed on eighty acres of land.

Thomas and Rosetta were sealed in the Endowment House in Salt Lake on 4 SEP 1853. Thomas was then serving as a member of the 5th Quorum of Seventies in Salt Lake City, representing Davis County.

During the next several years he was busily engaged in farming, road building, and was even granted a herd ground near Fillmore, Utah.

In 1852 he apparently glimpsed the Morgan Valley, then called Weber Valley, from today's Davis-Morgan County's mountaintop border while he and his two sons were gathering timber in the mountains east of Centerville above his home. Upon reaching the summit they looked down upon the beautiful valley to the east. He fell in love with the valley because it reminded him of his former home, a green valley in Ohio, and probably also of Vermont. It was well-watered and well-wooded, in shapr contrast to the Salt Lake Valley. It was an isolated valley with narrow gorges at either end. In fact, the Mormon pioneers had entered Salt Lake Valley by way of Emigration Canyon because of those gorges, particularly Devil's Gorge or Devil=s Gate as it was called. This narrow gorge with its towering walls deterred the pioneers from attempting this route for several years.

Thomas felt that he must explore the valley, and he finally persuaded two of his friends, William Porter and J.B.Nobel, to go with him. They camped in the valley for three days. It looked like paradise to them, with plenty of fish and game.

The greatest obstacle to settle the valley was to gain access to it. It was entirely surrounded by mountains and had only one narrow canyon entrance to it through which the Weber River flowed. The river had cut a gorge at each end of the canyon, forming natural barriers to the valley. But Thomas would not give up his dream to settle the valley. He talked of it constantly with his friends. Finally, three years after he first sighted the valley from the summit east of Centerville, in 1855, he persuaded Charles S. Peterson, two of his sons, George and Andrew, and a son-in-law, Roswell Stevens to help him in attempting to make an entry route into the valley through the Weber Canyon. This small group was soon strengthened by the help of several others. Jedediah Morgan Grant, a counselor to Brigham Young, provided three men with teams to assist in the difficult project. Using the most primitive tools, consisting of shovels, picks, crowbars, and small plows they found the going exceedingly difficult. These stalwart pioneers persevered, and were finally successful in completing a crude, but passable road into the valley.

The valley was renamed Morgan Valley in honor of Jedediah Morgan Grant, who took a special interest in the valley's development. They welcomed other settlers into the area. Thomas chose a site at the present town of Milton, and at first planted grain there. They built cabins close together for protection against the Indians. For a short time it was known as Thurston’s Fort, then Thurstonville, then Morganville, and finally, Milton. Here he built one of the finest farms in the valley. Part of it is still farmed by his descendants.

On 18 NOV 1855, Thomas entered into plural marriage by taking as his second wife Elizabeth SMITH, who was then also living in Centerville. They were married at Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah. Together they had thirteen children.

In 1857 Thomas moved Rosetta and her children to the Morgan area. They lived at Littleton, in Morgan County. In 1858, Thomas and Rosetta lost a son, Reuben Johnson Thurston, then 19.

In 1859, Thomas moved the rest of his family to Morgan County. He was the first Bishop to preside over the new ward established in Morgan area. He was called to this office by Brigham Young in 1860.

He took as his third wife, on 3 MAY 1862, Helen (Ellen) Maria DAVIS. She was thirty-five years younger than Rosetta.

In 1868, Rosetta THURSTON, the granddaughter of Thomas and Rosetta (her namesake), and the daughter of their son George, who was just two years old, was carried off by Indians. She was never heard from again. In 1870 their 10th child, Thomas Jefferson (his namesake), aged 22 years, was shot without provocation by John Olsen in Morgan.

Thomas died 4 MAY 1885 at St. George, Washington County, Utah. He was buried 6 MAY 1885.

In 1993 the highest peak on the Morgan-Davis border, somewhere near where he first glimpsed the Morgan Valley, was named Thurston Peak, in his honor. This peak, which to that time had remained unnamed, is 9,706 feet above sea level, is directly east of Layton's Cherry Lane and Snow Canyon. On the Morgan side, it is almost directly west of Stoddard.

WIFE (1):
[F125]. Rosetta (Rozetta) BULL. [PC W3].
Born 25 APR 1809 at Manchester, Bennington County, Vermont {S3}; daughter of Smith BULL [F250] and Sarah BURR [F251]. She moved with her family to Ohio {S3} in 1813. When she was 19 years old, she married, on 28 MAR 1828 at Granville, Licking County, Ohio to Thomas Jefferson THURSTON [F124] {S3}. She joined with him in sharing many of the trying experiences of pioneering in the wilderness of the Western Reserve of Ohio.
She was baptized 6 January 1844 and endowed 25 December 1845. She was sealed to Thomas on 4 September 1853 in the Endowment House. She moved about 1879 with her son Peter to Arizona. Even though she was willing to make the move, it was hard on her and she died less than a year later, on 29 July 1880 at Pima, Graham County, Arizona. She was buried in the Pima Cemetery.
She was called a beautiful woman. He daughter Hulda said, “I can well remember when as a child of looking at her, and thinking she was the most beautiful woman in the world.” Her son George Washington Thurston wrote the verse: {S3}.

An Acrostic On the Name of Rozetta Bull Thurston
To My Beloved Mother
(One of the best women that ever lived)

Round the strongtress, the Ivy twines,
O’r chambers o’er the rocky wall
Zealous some firm support to find
E’re its frail helpless form shall fall.
Thus fondly through my helpless years
To thee, dear mother, did I cling
And found a firm support in thee.

True shelter ‘neath thy dove like wing
How beamed thine eye, undimmed by years
Unseamed by age, how bloomed thy cheek
Rows of rich pearls thy lips disclosed
Soft smiling or when moved to speak.
Truth, love and virtue, polished gems
Of priceless worth adorn thy mind,
Not truest gold can match its strands.

No mortal e’re was more refined.
Years have sped by on times fleet wing
Yet years have left no trace behind
Or aught diminished from the light
Unsullied beaming from thy mind.

Round thee the leaves of autumn fall
Softly the frost of age descends,
Ah, glad would I sustain thee now,
Now, gladly truest succor lend.

Gladly each tender thought and word
Each gentle kindly act return
Or twine my arms in final love
Round thee, whose love doth quenchless burn.
Gentle as infant should’st thou rest
Enfolded fondly to my breast.

CHILDREN of Thomas Jefferson THURSTON [F124] and Rosetta BULL [F125]:
  1. Harriet Elizabeth THURSTON. Born 7 JAN 1829 at New Haven, Huron County, Ohio. She married 1 JUL 1851 William Washington POTTER. He was killed by Indians near Gunnison, Utah in OCT 1853 while acting as guide and Indian interpreter for the U.S. exploring expedition of Lt. Gunnison. All the party were ambushed and killed.
  2. George Washington THURSTON. Born 1 NOV 1830 at New Haven, Huron County, Ohio. He married 28 MAR 1858 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Sarah Lucinda SNOW, daughter of the Apostle, Erastus SNOW and Artemesia BEMEN. They were the parents of 15 children, one of which, Rosa, was stolen by the Indians in Cache Valley, Utah in 1868.
  3. Smith Butler THURSTON. Born 4 JAN 1833 in New Haven, Huron County, Ohio. He married 9 NOV 1861 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Mary Isom of Sullie Hill, Warwickshire, England.
  4. Sarah Ann THURSTON. Born 20 MAY 1835 at New Haven, Huron County, Ohio. She married 15 DEC 1853 Jedediah Morgan GRANT, councilor to President Brigham Young..
  5. Reuben Johnson THURSTON. Born 9 OCT 1839. He died 22 SEP 1858.
  6. Julia Rosetta THURSTON. Born 21 NOV 1841. She married (1) 15 JAN 1858 Joseph Bates NOBLE. She married (2) on 1 FEB 1865. She died 3 DEC 1916.
  7. Caroline Rosalie THURSTON. Born 3 JAN 1843. She married 15 OCT 1864 in Salt Lake City, Utah to John James FRY. She died 3 DEC 1912.
  8. Hulda Cordelia THURSTON. Born 1 JUN 1846 on the plains crossing Iowa, in Van Buren County. She married Willard Gilbert SMITH on 15 APR 1865. His father Warren SMITH was killed at the Hauns Mill massacre 30 OCT 1838.
  9. Thomas Jefferson THURSTON. He was born 23 DEC 1848 in the back of a wagon in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was shot, without provocation, by John Olsen on 20 AUG 1870 in Morgan, Utah.
  10. Peter Franklin THURSTON. [Ancestors]. Born 24 June 1851 at Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah. He was said to be, truly one of the best brothers one ever had. He was always smiling and pleasant, and delighted in making others happy. Everyone loved him. He was truly a good, kind and affectionate son. He married Mary Ann SPENDLOVE on 3 October 1871. He moved to Arizona about 1879, taking his mother with him. The climate, water and country did not agree with him, however, and his health was not good. He was killed by Indians on 23 May 1886.

WIFE (2):
Elizabeth SMITH.
She married Thomas Jefferson THURSTON in 1855.

CHILDREN of Thomas Jefferson THURSTON and Elizabeth SMITH:
  1. They had thirteen children.

WIFE (3):
Helen (Ellen) Maria DAVIS.
She married Thomas Jefferson THURSTON on 3 May 1862.

  1. ?


Thomas Jefferson Thurston (1805-1885) and Rosetta Bull (1809-1880) 
Peter Franklin Thurston (1851-1886) and Mary Ann Spendlove
Harriet Thurston (1872-1945) and George William Williams 
Minnie Williams (1896-1981) and Clive Vernon Tenney
Mildred Ella Tenney and Glenn Russell Handy 
Deborah Lee Handy and Rodney Allen Morris