|Photo taken about 1896 of Wm. Henry and Eliza Horten Stevens family. 1st row: (l-r) Leland, Eliza Horten Stevens, Wm. Henry Stevens and Reed, 2nd row :Leone, Laura, Edith and Nettie, 3rd row: Clarice, Marie, George, Horace and Ward.|
Eliza Maria Alice Hortin was
born in Leamington, Warwickshire, England, on July 9, 1848. Her
parents were Edmond and Maria Mead Hortin,. The family joined the
Mormon Church in England in 1857, and came to America soon after.
She was eight years old when they boarded a sailing vessel and
after six weeks of perils on the ocean, landed in New York. They
had left all their personal goods in their native country, but
did have a moderate amount of money.
After spending a few weeks in New York, they moved to New Port, Kentucky, where some of the family worked to get things ready for the trip west. They stayed in New Port, Kentucky two years and then went to Florence, Missouri, and spent the next year finally getting enough provisions to start west. They came with an independent company, headed by C. R. Savage, bringing their household goods in wagons drawn by oxen, and driving their cattle. They left Florence in June and arrived in Utah in September 1860. On that same company was the William and Emma Crowden Stevens family. [Eliza would later marry their son William Henry Stevens.]The Stevens' family stayed in Wanship and the Hortin family went on to Rockport, but later moved to Wanship.
The journey across the plains of Nebraska, through Wyoming, and into Utah was no easy journey. Most crossed in wagons drawn by oxen. It was difficult to determine what was needed in supplies (or what would be needed), because of delays, weather, and raids by Indians who were still determined to keep this land as their own. Many pioneer travelers became sick from cholera or Rocky Mountain fever (the last most likely malaria caused by mosquitoes--the former and many other diseases were caused by someone being infected and the disease speading on their journey). Many of these early pioneers were not strong enough to take the rigors of such a long rough journey. Most tried to bring the basics for starting life in their new homes. Bedding was perhaps next to food and some shelter outside the wagon. Thus, most of the strong and strongest young ones had to walk what was well over 1,000 miles, crossing streams, rivers, and rough ground.
Young Eliza remembered one exciting and frightening happening. The story as told by John, the oldest son, was slightly different. Some Indians tried to steal her sister, Jane, 13 years old. The family guarded her closely for several days, and finally by trading some ponies with the Indians and getting on friendly terms with them, the Indians left. Another incident she related was a happening as they neared the Platte River. A baby was born to one of the mothers. They stopped the company for half a day for the child to be born and to take care of the mother. The next day while they were crossing the river, the wagon with the mother and baby tipped over with the stove on top of them. They were rescued and neither were the worse for the experience. The wagon was righted. That mother later became Eliza's mother-in-lawEmma Crowden Stevens, wife of William Stevens. The son who was born on the way was Theophilus Franklin Stevens born near the Platte River, but his birth is registered in Wanship where they settled. He was their 6th child, and died in 1879, at age 19.
Being of moderate means, all the Hortin children had shoes and adequate clothing when they started the trip. But, young Eliza, being of an age when children do not want to be different, wanted to go barefoot as most of the other children did. She took off her shoes and put them on the wagon. Several days later she wanted to put them back on, but her feet were so swollen and sore, she couldn't; so she walked the rest of the way (remember, it was 1,000 miles at an oxen-slow pace) in her bare feet. She did not know it at the time, but was glad after they settled in Rockport, that she had shoes for the winter, as it was impossible because of road conditions and heavy snows to get to Salt Lake City, perhaps the only place where shoes were obtainable.
The leader of the Mormons, Brigham Young, had sent scouts out along the route telling the independent companies, if they had their own oxen to start settling outside the Salt Lake Valley, as it was being crowded. So both Eliza's family, the Edmond Hortins, and William Stevens' (William Henry Stevens) family stopped on the Weber River at Wanship, but the Hortins went further south to what is now Rockport. Both families found plenty of water to irrigate the land they were homesteading, and would plant crops the next summer. As they had arrived in September, it was too late for a crop in 1860. Both built shelters for themselves and their animals--a sort of log cabin and sheds.
Mr. and Mrs. Hortin decided to go to Salt Lake City for winter provisions and to take their three older daughters, Emma, Jane, and Esther, to work there for awhile in the homes of some of the established residents to help them get the family's finances improved after their long and arduous journey. When they returned later in the week, their mother found young Eliza and Elijah about to pass the time by making a little candy. Mother soon stopped that, as sugar was so scarce and they might want to share some of it with those families who might run out before the next summer.
Grandma, in her story, also told of the unfriendly Indians. So the few settlers in Rockport went to Wanship where there were more settlers and they built a fort. She did not say whether this was the first year or not. Although she did not mention in this report the bad crippling of her father, she did say she milked cows, sheared the sheep, washed the wool before carding it. She also gathered willows, stripped them, and made baskets for various uses on the farm. With her younger brother, they helped their mother to carry on as their father became more and more crippled.
John, the oldest son, helped some, but as he was in his late twenties, he was ready to start his own farm. He married Maria Wilkensen in 1864. The farm consisted of a large vegetable garden, chickens, cows, sheep, and they raised hay, wheat, and other grains. The father took over the business part of the farm, as they had extra eggs to sell, as well as milk, butter, and vegetables. So much of the produce was for exchange for things needed, instead of cash, so it was difficult figuring. They kept their life simple and economical. The evening meal was usually bread and milk. Maria, the mother, did make a little wine and beer and she made her own malt. They sold some, but had a little beer in the morning with a little ginger added.
Edmond was a short, thin man, and even before they arrived here he had to use a cane. Marie, the mother, had a large frame and "thank goodness", was very strong. She must have been built like our own grandmother, Eliza. From 1863 to 1871-2, the family who came west married. Emma married Henry Seamons in 1863. John married Maria Wilkensen in 1864. Jane had married George Bench in 1863. Esther married John Morehouse in 1863 or 1864. Eliza married William Henry Stevens on January 1, 1870, and thus joined our two families. Elijah married Rachel Frazier in 1871-2.
Our grandmother (Eliza Hortin) and grandfather (Wm. Henry Stevens) were married on New Year's Day by William Reynolds, and when the weather was better for traveling, were remarried in Salt Lake City at the Endowment House, and on November 26, 1870, our father, Horace Henry Stevens, was born. Grandpa was so thrilled with his new son that he bought Grandma a beautiful clock, and left a note in it stating his appreciation. This is in the possession of Beth Hall Wilde, Nettie Stevens Hall's daughter.
Maria Meads Hortin, the mother of Eliza Hortin Stevens, died on March 24, 1886 at age 72,and Edmond Hortin, father of Eliza went to live with his daughter but later died that same year on September 2, 1886. They were both buried in Wanship.
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