My Grandfathers Samuel Hoyt and Wm. Henry Stevens
By Alta E. Stevens,
Edited and photos added by Lin Floyd, 2003

Early Settlement of Utah

The "Mormons" may have been the first permanent settlers in what became the state of Utah, but they were by no means the first people to visit this area. The Indians, several tribes were here because it belonged to them, had occupied this area for thousands of years. They knew the area intimately, the nature of its land, its animals, what plants and trees could give them food. They took what they needed of plant and animal life to sustain them, so did not destroy any of them to extinction. It is not surprising that after they realized these people coming in were not just visitors, but intended to stay and take their land, claiming it and fencing them out of their inheritance, killing their meat animals, almost to extinction, cutting their trees, and digging up their plants which they depended on for food and medicine, that they became less friendly. The wise ones realized what was happening and soon became not only less friendly, but tried fruitlessly to drive the "white man" from their possessions. These were labeled "savage attacks" by the white settlers. But, so it has been since man inhabited this Earth, and it was fertile enough for one group to desire or need a better place to live than they had. The stronger group would drive out and possess the others' land, as the Huns, Romans, and back in B. C., archeologists have found destroyed cities under a layer of another different culture.

Many fur trappers, explorers, and Catholic missionaries traversed most of what is now Utah, long before 1847. Most of these maps and trails which helped future travelers to this area. Also there were Indian trails, and trails where great herds of buffalo trailed to the lake for salt licks. Some of these were Hernando Alarcon (Spanish) who traveled down most of the Colorado River, in 1540; Father Escalante in 1776 on his way to Monterey mission came up through Utah area as far as Utah Lake and knew about the Great Salt Lake. He wrote profusely and in great detail about this area and made some excellent maps. In the spring of 1824, Ashley, Henry, and their trappers were camped at Henry's Fork on the Utah-Wyoming line on the Green River. Another of these groups was under Etienne Provost (how Provo received its name). He and his companions trapped on the headwaters of the Green River, there exploring the headwaters of the Provo, Weber, and Bear Rivers in the Grand daddy Lakes Country.

When winter froze the streams, Provost and his party descended the Weber River to the Great Salt Lake, making their camp where Ogden is now. Ashley and his comrades ascended the Duchesne River, then went westward and met the Utah Valley trappers on Kamas Prairie, Summit County (now). In March 1826, Ashley left Lt. Louis with 100 horses and mules and 50 men accompanied by Jedediah Smith, Moses Harris, and William Sublette. His route went down the Green River, then crossed the divide of "Bald Peak", to a tributary of the Weber River. From descriptions he must have been near what is now Park City. The Weber must have been named for Pauling Weber, one of the group.

Jedediah Smith left their rendezvous, headed southeast to the upper Bear River, then crossed the headwaters of Weber, and then by way of Salt Lake Valley to Utah Lake. Jim Bridger was an early trapper, trader, and scout, and worked for Jedediah Smith. They covered all the area mentioned and visited Salt Lake Valley and to Utah Lake. (When he told Brigham Young he would give him $1,000 for an ear of corn raised here, he spoke from a trapper's knowledge, and as no irrigation was needed then in the east, perhaps knew little about it, although irrigation had been used since ancient times in the desert areas of the world.)

John C Fremont, explorer since 1843, traveled completely through Utah from the north to the south and east to west. All made and had printed good maps of this area. These trappers were after beaver mainly, because beaver hats were the rage of the men of Europe. Their trapping almost annihilated this wild animal.

Miles Goodyear was in the Utah area before 1847, and with Porter Rockwell, went ahead of the pioneers to find the best road for the first Mormon pioneers. So. although the crossing to Utah was rigorous and dangerous, they did have many helps in maps and advice. Then the tragic ending of the Donner Party in 1846, warned them to find a better way to get through the Rocky Mountains. and to start earlier. The utterance of Brigham Young and "This is the place", was more of a conformation than an inspiration.

My Grandparents Came to Utah

It is interesting to note that our grandparents' lives were so similar in many respects. Both Grandfather Samuel Hoyt and Grandfather Wm. Henry Stevens settled in Summit County, Utah. Both were among the first to settle in what became the towns of Hoytsville and Oakley. They also started most the businesses of these towns. They each started a flour mill to save the farmers from hauling their grain long distances. They each started creameries to utilize the extra cream and milk, and made butter and cheese for the townspeople. They also started stores to bring in goods which could not be raised, and for a time had a post office in the stores. All this, besides they had large farms--raising hay, grain, beef cattle, and dairy cattle. Grandfather Stevens added a saw mill, because the pond was high enough to run both the flour mill and saw mill, and our father added a dynamo when he took over the mills, to furnish electricity for Oakley.

Grandfather Hoyt found it too difficult to run the flour mill and a wool-carding mill in Hoytsville, because the Weber River did not have enough drop. So he sold the flour mill burrs and the other machinery, and dedicated himself to his two ranches in Hoytsville, and an even larger one on the east bench between Marion and Kamas (called Rhode's Valley).

Grandfather Hoyt was of English ancestry, as was Grandmother C. Emma Burbidge Hoyt. But the Hoyts had lived in America in what is now New Hampshire and Massachusetts since early 1600's. He came to Utah in 1850, a well-fixed businessman of 43. He lived in Fillmore, having a farm and tannery, but moved to what is now Hoytsville in 1860. Grandfather William Henry Stevens came to Utah, and settled in Wanship with his parents, also in 1860. He was then just 10 years old.

Both sides of our grandparents had eleven children. All of Wm Henry Stevens and Eliza Hortin's children grew to adulthood, but Samuel Pierce Hoyt and Catherine Emma Burbidge Hoyt lost five of their children before they were in their teens. On both sides, they or their parents were the only ones of the family to come west. Each of our grandfathers left successful businesses to help their sons and some sons-in-law to get a start. From these four (Stevens-Hortin) and (Hoyt-Burbidge) came the two which brought our families together. Horace Henry Stevens, eldest son of William Henry and Eliza Hortin Stevens, and Emma Hoyt, youngest daughter of Samuel Pierce and Emma Burbidge Hoyt, were married on June 2, 1902. As I have already written the Hoyt and Burbidge history (from our Mother's side), I will write what I have found on the Stevens side.

Simon Stevens and Mary Kidner

Simon Stevens, born May 7, 1748, in Enmore, Sommersetshire, England, married Mary Kidner on November 15, 1770 (both were 22 years old). No occupation is recorded. They had ten children, The next to the youngest, Thomas Stevens was our great-great-grandfather. His father and mother died in Enmore and were buried there--he in 1821, and she at the age of 81, which would be a very great age for those times.

Thomas Stevens and Ann Locke

Thomas Stevens , born on January 4, 1789 in Enmore, married Ann Locke, who was born 1798, at Cannington in Sommersetshire, March 3, 1819. He was 30 years old, and she was 21. They had nine children, all christened in the Protestant church at Bridgewater, where they then lived. Their oldest son, William, was our great grandfather.

William Stevens and Emma Crowden

Wm Stevens and Emma Crowden were married on June 17, 1845 when he was 26 and she was 22. (See their photos below.) He was born on December 23, 1819, and she on June 17, 1823-both in Bridgewater. They lived in Enmore and Durleigh, Sommersetshire, England. He was a blacksmith by trade and also did some farming. Emma Crowden was first married to William's older brother, Joseph (as he is not listed in the family, he could have been a cousin), in 1842. I have a copy of their marriage; she was listed as a minor, being 19, and he as a bachelor. She signed her name with an "X". He died three years later of pneumonia, leaving her a rather large house in Broomfield. I also have copies of Joseph's death, and a drawing of the house which she rented and sold after she came to Utah.

Emma Crowden Stevens (listed on the copy of marriage license as a widow) married our great grandfather, William, in 1845, at Trinity Church in Bridgewater. Her parents were Isaac and Charlotte Crowden. He was a tailor. William and Emma lived for a while in Durleigh, where their first two children were born. Sarah Anne was born in 1847 and William Henry in 1849. They then moved to Enmore, where three more children were born. Ellen Christina was born in 1851, Simon Percival in 1854, and Emaline Agusta in 1856. They left England with their five children sometime between 1857 and 1859. They landed on the East coast, perhaps either Boston or New York. In the spring of 1860 they started west with an independent company, headed by a Captain Brown. Independent company meant that they were not sponsored by the Mormon Church. There were professional men who know the west and how to organize wagons, supplies, etc. These men were hired by a group to take them west.

Emma was pregnant with her sixth child, and just before they crossed the Platte River, she delivered her child, a son named Theophalus Franklin. The group stopped for half a day, then loaded the mother and child in a wagon. As they crossed the river, the wagon they were in tipped over and the stove fell over them. They were rescued unharmed, and proceeded on their way.


 William Stevens  Emma Crowden

Patriarchal Blessing-William Stevens

Great Salt Lake City Mar 8th 1869
A Blessing given by C W Hyde Patriarch upon the head of William Stevens son of Thomas and Ann Stevens Born Dec 23rd 1819 Bridgewater Somersetshire England.

William I place my hands upon your head and I seal upon you a Patriarchal blessing which shall be sealed in heaven for your good for the eye of the Lord has been upon you from Everlasting had his eye upon you for good and there was joy in heaven when you received this gospel for thou shall become a great counselor in Zion for thou shall have great faith which shall come to you to teach them the way of life and salvation and you shall have visions and dreams to comfort thee while you sojourn in this life.

Thou art of the house of Jacob and a right to the fulness of the Priesthood and a lawful heir to the fulness of the covenant which God made to Abraham and a lawful heir to the Priesthood and gospel with wives and a great kingdom upon the Earth and to bless your posterity after you forever and ever, for thou art a lawful heir as a Patriarch, therefore thou shall have an inheritance in Zion and your table shall be spread with all the bounties of the Earth and you shall feed the three Nephites and you shall converse with them face to face and many of the Holy Prophets since the world began. These blessing I seal upon your head with all your father's household and with Eternal life forever and ever. Amen

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