James Vernon and His Wives

Much lumber was needed at Park City and other places, so James, now a young man went into the saw mill business in Weber Canyon with Will Young, son of Hans Young. They did very well financially, but after about four years Mr. Young left with the profits. James then returned home to his family in Rockport. He married Emma Maria Staker, second daughter of William Henry and Sarah Merchant Staker on January 1, 1886. This happy couple made their home in Rockport in a little cottage they called the pink house - perhaps one of the first painted homes. Here in a year and sixteen days, their first child, a son, James Alvin, was born. A year or two later they moved to Oakley, Utah, where James secured work on ranch owned by Robert Young, Their second child, Frances, died at six months of age. Sarah Edna and Earl were also born while the were living in Oakley.

When James father Francis passed away in 1891, James moved his family to Rockport where they lived in the two south rooms of the rock house his father had built. His mother Elizabeth and her two younger daughters, Ellen and Anice, lived in the north rooms. James took over the farm, and while living there, Anice Laprelle, their fifth child was born. James wanted to be near to his mother after his father's passing so he built a new home on a lot just south of the rock house. Here, five more sons joined this family group, Edward, Nathaniel Lloyd, Richard Lynn, Ray Staker, and Lionel Joseph.


 James Vernon-child # 6 1st wife-Emma Maria Staker 2nd wife-Mary Jane Hodgson

On 18 August, 1907, James' wife, Emma Maria, passed away. Three years later he married Mary Jane Hodgson Sept 15 1910. She at age 36 became a mother to his motherless children and also bore him five more children, Agnes Annie, who died as an infant, Dorothy, Evelyn Mary, a son, Rex Hodgson, and another son who didn't live to receive a name. James and Mary Jane (Aunt Polly to the first family) continued to live in Rockport. James was made bishop of Rockport June 5, 1901, and held this position for thirteen years. When his family had married, James sold his farm to son Earl and built a comfortable home for Aunt Polly-his sister Mary's daughter, his sister Ellen who never married and himself in Coalville. He served as a Bishop of the Rockport Ward, a school trustee and director of the Wanship, Rockport and Hoytsville Live Stock Co and also was a lumberman, sheep and cattle raiser. He passed away May 25, 1947, at age 85,

Francis Vernon Jr. and His Wives

 Francis Vernon Jr. child #5,  1st wife-Parkarette Harper 2nd wife-Penninah Stewart

Francis Jr the oldest son (see his photo and his wives above) lived with his parents until his first marriage to Parkaretta Harper on Feb 12, 1880 in the Endowment House in SLC. His occupation was a farmers and he also hauled coal from Coalville to the Park City mines and did a lot of logging. They had 3 children born to them: Nathan, Sarah Jane and Ethel who died when a child. After Francis Jr and Parkaretta divorced, he married Pininah Stewart on Jan 9, 1889 in the Logan temple. They had 6 children: Francis O- born 15 Nov 1889 in Rockport, Willard- born 8 Sep 1891 in Rockport, Thressia Matilda- born at Hoytsville, Bryan Vernon- born in Weber Canyon and Harvey Theadore- born 9 Jan 1910 in Rockport. Francis Jr and Pininah homesteaded 160 acres of land up Weber Canyon. They moved up the canyon each summer to harvest their crops and then would move back to Rockport during the winter months. They milked cows and churned butter to exchange at the store for groceries. Later they purchased the Dave Eskleson farm in Rockport. This farm was located on the East side of Rockport which made it necessary for the children to cross the river in order to get to school. This was especially difficult in time of high water. So they moved to the Reynolds ranch.

Joseph Vernon and Sarah Elizabeth Malin

 Joseph Vernon, child # 7 His wife-Sarah Elizabeth Malin Joseph & Sarah in later years

Joseph Vernon, Child # 7 and the youngest son of Francis and Elizabeth Vernon, married Sarah Elizabeth Malin, daughter of John and Alice Melissa McGuickin Malin , June 4, 1890 in the Logan Temple. Before their marriage, Joseph had built a two room house between the Malin and Vernon homes. He had it all furnished and ready to move into after their marriage. They went to the Logan Temple which took four days for the journey.

After their trip to Logan and back, the newlyweds took a day to go grocery shopping after which they had seventy cents left.With the help of their parents, they were able to get along until Joseph secured employment. He helped the neighbors in the hayfields or doing whatever kind of work he could find. That following winter, Joseph went to Park City to secure work there. He stayed there but a short time then came back to their small home in Rockport.

After the death of Sarah's father,they bought the Malin farm and home. Here their children were born: Joseph Harold, Francis Eugene who died in infancy; John Malin, Lionel Vernon who also died in infancy, Charles Malvern, died in the year 1926 leaving a wife and child, Alice Elizabeth and Grant DeVar. They all grew up in the little town of Rockport. After the older boys grew up and got married, Joseph sold the farm and moved to Wanship and they lived there until a few years before their deaths.

Francis and Elizabeth Pass Away

Francis Vernon was a good farmer, a loving husband and father, and a stalwart member of the church. He passed away October 26, 1891 at the age of seventy-eight. The rock house which he had started was still unfinished. The unfinished kitchen and stairway were finally torn away, but the cellar and four rooms were used for many years. It had been a very comfortable home,cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and had stood as a monument to a very good stone mason. Lloyd Vernon, son of James, owned the home and farm at the time the Rockport Reservoir was constructed. He had to give up the place at this time and the home was torn down,

Four years after the death of Francis, Anice the youngest daughter who was a beautiful golden haired maiden of twenty-three became ill with Typhoid Fever in Park City. After a long sickness, she passed away January 9, 1895. Anice was buried in the family plot in Rockport with her father.
 Ellen Vernon, child # 9 Anice Eliza Vernon, child # 10

In her remaining years, Elizabeth sorrowed greatly for Anice. Now just she and Ellen were living in the rock house. Elizabeth was ever a true and devoted wife, a kind and loving mother and friend. She passed through some of the trying ordeals that the saints endured in early days and was firm and faithful to the work she believed to be the work of the Lord. Never once did she falter or shirk a duty but was always found at her post. She was for many years president of the Rockport Relief Society. Her counsel and advice to her children and friends has been of great value, for she was very much interested in the welfare of neighbors and friends. She bore a faithful testimony to the truthfulness of the gospel.

One Sunday in 1903 while Ellen was at the home of James, Elizabeth fell. She was lying on the floor unable to tell anyone what had happened. She had a cut on her hand. This was a day or two before her 76th birthday which was September 22. She could not speak, but she seemed to know the family. She
passed away the day after her birthday, September 23, 1903, and was laid to rest at the side of her husband Francis who had died. They are buried in a small private cemetery off the highway by Rockport Reservoir. Francis, having forethought had built his family plot up on the hill in back of the old home. Buried in that Vernon cemetery are Francis and Elizabeth Vernon, their daughter Anice and grandsons Francis E. and Lionel Vernon (sons of Joseph and Sarah Malin Vernon)and baby Birch (their grand daughter Mary Elizabeth Birch daughter of Sarah Jane Vernon and her husband Thomas Birch). Another small graveyard that belongs to a family named Green is along side of their graves and it is fenced off from theirs. This graveyard holds the graves of Sarah Malin Vernon's grandmother Mary DeForest Smith Green and her second husband Ephraim Green.

A Tribute

A headstone was erected at the graves of Francis and Elizabeth and the inscription on it reads as follows:

"There is a bright region above
We long to reach its shore
To join with the dear ones we love
Not lost, but gone before."

To us, their descendants, even though they are gone, they will always live in the inheritance they left for us. For that great heritage you left us, we, your many descendants offer our heart felt appreciation and say thank you, Francis and Elizabeth Cottrill Vernon-early Mormon pioneers.(Photo at left shows Bonnie Vernon Williams and Weston Vernon-great grandchildren of Francis & Elizabeth Vernon at their graveside near the Rockport Reservoir in 1998.)


Biographical Sketch of Elizabeth Cotrill

(News clipping from 1903 probably from a Utah newspaper sent to Katherine Vernon of SLC from Mr. George Cottrell, 142 Holmefield, Dove Holes, Buxton, Derbyshire, England. He is a nephew of Elizabeth Cottrell and this clipping was found in a family bible belonging to a Mrs. Sanders friend of the Cottrills. Postcard photos of Doveholes also from Katherine Vernon.)

Miss. Elizabeth Cottrill was born in Doveholes, Derbyshire, England Sept 22, 1827. On Jan 8, 1848, she was married to Francis Vernon. After a thorough investigation of the principles of the gospel as taught by the Latter-day Saints she became a member of the Mormon church, being baptized and confirmed by Elder H. Pickop. With her husband and five children she gathered with the saints to the valleys of the mountains, leaving her parents and two daughters behind. They arrived in Coalville in the year 1868 where they made their home for a short time; from there they came to Rockport and lived for a few years when they left to seek a new home in the southern part of Utah, but soon returned to Rockport where they lived up to the time of their death.

Francis Vernon died on Sept 12, 1891. Mrs. Vernon was ever a true and devoted wife, a kind and loving mother and friend. She passed through some of the trying ordeals that the saints endure in early days, and was firm and faithful to the work she believed to be the work of the Lord. Never once did she falter or shrink a duty but was always found at her post. She was for many years president of the Relief Society of this place. Her counsel and advice to her children and friends has been of great value, for she was very much interested in the welfare of neighbors and friends. She bore a faithful testimony to the truthfulness of the gospel and died as she had lived, a faithful Latter-day Saint.

Just as the morning sun brightened the eastern heavens on Sept 23, 1903, she saw the bow of promise and obeyed its summons, being just seventy-six years and one day old. No somber shadows broke upon her soul, no earth-born care-clouds crossed the red horizon to make the morning sad with its dark forebodings, as her life had been such that to her all things were bright and every slow progressive step was but the approach toward a morning which would be brighter still. She has passed to the great beyond to receive her reward-the reward which is a mother's due. Peaceful now she rests, and there is rest for the weary heart that ached with a mother's anxious care. Too much cannot be said of her worth as a wife, mother and friend to all.

Three sons and three daughters survive her-Francis, James, Joseph and Ellen of this place (Rockport), Mrs. George Robinson of Toronto, Canada and Mrs. John Johnson of Oakley (Utah).

Patriarchal Blessing of Francis Vernon

No 242, Rockport, Summit Co, UT June 1st 1871. A blessing given by John Smith patriarch upon the head of Francis Vernon, son of Dronmfield (editor's note: from later research his father's name was Amores Dronfield) and Ann Vernon in Chapel-en-le-frith Derbyshire England July about the 10th 1816 (editor's note: this may be the date of Francis' christening, his birthdate was July 12 1813).

Brother Francis Vernon according to thy desire I place my hands upon thy head to pronounce and seal a blessing upon thee and I ask God the Eternal Father and His spirit to invite they blessing and to fill thee with its influence thereof to open the eyes of thine understanding and to strengthen thy memory that you may cerupe (cherish?) the blessings promised with the faithful for thou art numbered among the fathers in Israel. Who fought thus far the good fight and kept the faith and are worthy of the prize.

Therefore be of good cheer and let thy heart be comforted for although thy life ...thy youth at times has been checkered often times thy pathway has been fraught with difficulties, the hand of the Lord has been over thee for good and when thou hast asked in faith thy petitions have been heard and thy
life has been preserved for a wise purpose.

Therefore give praise into Him whose promise is sure and all shall be well with thee both here and hereafter for the Lord is pleased with thine integrity. He has witnessed thy trials and accepted thine offerings and thou shall verily reap thy reward and thy faithfulness thy name is written in the Lamb's book of life and registered in the chronicles of thy fathers and shall live in the memory of the saints.

Therefore be of good cheer. Ask the Father in faith and thou shalt recieve. Listen to the whisperings of the spirit and thou shalt be warned of events to come and thy ....are known unto thee from time to time as thou shalt need. thou...grand mind to complete thy mission....

Therefore be diligent and live up to thy privileges and thy days and years shall be prolonged according to thy faith and desires of thy heart. Thou art of Ephraim and entitled to the blessings of Abraham, Issac and Jacob.

Therefore be at rest in thy mind and let thy heart be comforted. This with the former blessing I seal upon thee in the name of Jesus Christ and I seal you up unto eternal life to come forth in the morning of the first resurrection, a savior among thy kindred. Even so amen.

Francis and Elizabeth Cottrill Vernon story in PDF format-8 1/2 X 11 pages-coming soon.

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