BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF ALEXANDER WILKINS
Contributor: kclose14 Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
This story comes from a book, PORTRAIT, GENEALOGICAL and BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD of the STATE OF UTAH pg 285-287 found online at ********************
ALEXANDER WILKINS belonged to one of the old families of Provo, who came here October 16, 1851. He was born in the district of Bath, in Upper Canada, July 9, 1835, and was the son of John G. and Nancy (Kennedy) Wilkins. John G. Wilkins was a native of Saratoga county, New York, where he was born July 22, 1800, and was a descendant of a Puritan family who came to Massachusetts in the days of Plymouth colony; some of his ancestors being massacred by the Indians before the Revolutionary War. The Wilkins' were military men, and many of them became officers in the War of the Revolution and their descendants took part in the War of 1812 and also in the War with Mexico. The father of our subject, as a boy of twelve, went through the war with his father, Edward Wilkins, who was wagon master. John G. married in Saratoga county, and later moved to Bath district in Upper Canada, where he lived seven years, and when the war came on between the Protestants and Catholics he left the country rather than remain and take sides with either party. he became a member of the Mormon Church in 1837 and soon after went with the Saints to Far West, Missouri, and from there to Nauvoo, finally settling at Green Plains, in Hancock county, Illinois, where he was living at the time of the Prophets death. In 1844 a mob attacked his place, burning and destroying everything he had, and he was compelled to flee with his family. They went to Nauvoo where they spent the winter, and in the spring of 1846 went to Winter Quarters, where they remained until the spring of 1848, when they moved onto the Little Pigeon Creek, in Iowa, where the father engaged in farming, and leaving his family on the farm, worked for the government for two years, putting up a saw mill at Fort Karney on the Platte river, the power of which was furnished by mules, and there sawed the material used in building the fort and was overseer of the mill. During this time our subject and his mother conducted the farm. In 1850 the father went to Missouri where he purchased cattle and engaged in freighting goods across the plains to Utah for Kinkaid and Livingston of salt Lake City. He brought his family out in 1851, reaching Salt Lake City October 16th, and came onto Provo with the stock--thirty head of oxen and the wagons. he located on what is now Third South street, and when the city was surveyed, which was soon after his arrival, he took the block on which he had located, which he improved, and made his home there for seven years. He engaged in farming and stock raising and did considerable trading with the Indians and emigrants, acquiring considerable property. He built a number of houses in Provo and became one of the prominent men of the place. In politics he was a Republican and one of the first to advocate the principles of that party. he took an active part in all public matters, giving considerable attention to irrigation, and was very liberal with his money, making large donations to worthy causes, both in and out of the Church. during the Indian wars he helped outfit men for service and rendered the State much valuable service. He died in 1890 at the age of ninety, mourned by a large circle of friends. His wife survived him three years and died at the age of eighty-three, leaving a family of five children--Alexander, our subject; Jane, widow of Charles Shelton; Oscar, John A.; and Nancy, wife of Stanley Colton.
Our subject was but a child during the early scenes at Nauvoo, which, however, he remembered quite distinctly. He assisted in driving the teams across the plains and after coming to Provo assisted in hauling wood from the canyons, herding cattle and doing general farm work. he remained at home until 1867, when the Indians stole the most of their cattle during the Black Hawk War. After hostilities had ceased, he took what stock there was left and went to Mona, in Juab county, where he started in life for himself, taking up a ranch and engaging in the cattle business for the next seven years. He was also employed as a scout during the Walker War of 1853. After some years of litigation over water rights, he came back to Provo, bought out the interests of the other heirs in the old homestead and has since made that his home, engaging in farming and stock raising, principally. He later bought a farm west of Provo on which he made considerable improvements.
Mr. Wilkins was married in 1853 to Alice Malina Barney, daughter of Edison Barney, a brother of Royal Barney, of Salt Lake City. His second wife was Eliza A. Barney, a sister to the first wife. Seventeen children were born of these marriages, of whom fifteen are now living--Alexander, died; Alice M., died; Buriah A., veteran of the Philippine war; Laura, wife of Granville Demming; Royal, Edward, Eunice M., wife of Frank Demming; Lillis wife of William Wilson; Hattie D., wife of William Dunn; Rachel wife of Nels Markham; Susan wife of Ralph Poulton; John, Joseph, Mary Jane, wife of Orson Bird; Ormal A., Elroy, Lorenzo, and Nancy, wife of Edward Young.
Our subject took a deep interest in politics and held a number of important offices in both the city and county. At the division on National party lines he gave his allegiance to the Republicans, but later became and ardent Democrat. He served four years under John W. Turner as policeman of Provo, and then became city jailor, holding that position eight years; was also Deputy Sheriff of Utah County. He was at the time of his death, serving his second term as Councilman. He served on a number of important committees and was a delegate to most of the city, county and state conventions of his party, doing efficient work, and was recognized as one of the leaders of Democracy in Utah County.
Aside from his farming interests Mr. Wilkins paid some attention to coal mining, dealing in coal, and was the owner of the Central Coal Company of Provo. He made seven trips across the plains with government mail in the early days and had many exciting experiences, one time killing a buffalo with a common butcher knife.
He was active in all departments of the Church and was Counselor to the Bishop of the second Ward of Provo for thirteen years. His death occurred in Provo on May 23, 1902, in his sixty-seventh year.
Biography of Alice Malena Barney
Contributor: kclose14 Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Life Story of Alice Malena Barney Wilkins
(25 May 1835 – 13 Nov 1916)
By Robert E. Givens
Alice Malena Barney was born to Lillis Ballou Comstock and Edson Barney. Alice Malena Barney’s mother, Lillis Ballou was first married to Fitch Comstock, on May 1, 1823 in Ruthland, Ohio. They became parents to two daughters, Minerva Ann, who was born February 19, 1824 and Harriet, born November 10, 1826. While living in Independence, Cuyahoga, Ohio, Lillis lost her her baby, Harriet, on October 24, 1827. Then her husband died on November 4, 1827 - both deaths occurring within a month of each other. Lillis was left widowed and grieving to give comfort and care for three and a half year old Minerva Ann. During this time she was befriended by Edson Barney. A courtship ensued and within a short time, Lillis married Edson Barney on New Year’s Day, January 1, 1831, in Amherst, Lorain, Ohio.
The Barney family had previously heard the gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) preached in New York, and desired to join. Alice’s father, Edson Barney, joined the Church on 10 of May 1831. His mother, Rachel Marsh Barney, a first cousin of his father – Royal Barney, had joined the Church 3 days earlier. During this same week Edson’s sister, Philania (Philena) Barney, and brothers, Royal Barney and Oremel (Oremall) Barney, also joined the Church. The missionary that brought the gospel to this family was Simeon Carter. Alice’s mother, Lillis Ballou Comstock Barney, joined the Church a few months later on 14 Sept 1831. Thus Alice would be born to parents that had embraced the Gospel and were faithful members raising their children to love and serve the Lord.
Life in Ohio
While living in Amherst, Lorain, Ohio, Edson and Lillis Barney welcomed their first two children into the world: Danielson Buren Barney (born 14 Sep 1832) and Olney Ammon Barney (born 10 May 1833.) Prior to Alice’s birth Edson participated in the Zion’s Camp march to Missouri in 1834; and, after moving into Kirtland that year, he served a mission, with John D Parker, to Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. It was during this time in Amhurst that little Olney died on 12 Aug 1834 of cholera shortly after his father returned from the “Zion’s Camp” march. Alice made her first appearance on May 25, 1835, in Ruthland (near Kirtland), Geauga, Ohio.
As a baby and toddler, Alice’s family, now living in Kirtland proper, helped with the building of the Kirtland Temple. No sacrifice was too great to finish this “House of the Lord.” When the Kirtland Temple was dedicated in April of 1836, the Church had about 2,000 members. One of the few events of Alice’s life that was recorded by her occurred during this time. In her testimony to her children in 1892 she wrote: “. I was blessed under the hands of Joseph Smith when I was a baby. He said I should be a Mother in Israel. Have seen that fulfilled. I have nine children. Have always lived with the Church, don’t know anything else. It is the power of God unto Salvation.” One other child was born into the Barney family while in Kirtland, when Eliza Arabella Barney was born on 10 Dec 1837.
Move to Michigan
The persecutions, that had and would follow the Saints where ever they gathered, began to grow. The persecutions came from both inside and outside the Church, until it was necessary for the Saints that remained loyal to the Church and the Prophet Joseph Smith, to leave Kirtland for Missouri. Alice, who was not yet 3 years old and her family left for Far West Missouri in the dead of winter on 1 February 1838. Circumstances would render it impossible to reach Far West before the brethren who were already there were driven out. The Barney family instead chose to tarry in Michigan where they could be safe for a period of time. It was there in St. Joseph, Berrien, Michigan right on the shores of Lake Michigan, that Alcina Celinda (Sarah) Barney was born. Alice was just 5 years old and must have enjoyed having a little baby in the family.
Edson found work there as a carpenter. He suffered much from chills and fever (malaria) while living there. (The Saints would call this malady “ague” and many would suffer from it.) The Barneys remained there during this time because they were not sure where the Saints would re-gather. They finally heard of the settling of Nauvoo, Illinois. Edson wrote about this: “After that time I made the necessary preparations to go to Nauvoo. During my pilgrimage in that place I embraced every opportunity to preach by concept and example the unreachable riches of the gospel of Jesus Christ as held forth by the Latter-day Saints. I at first received much persecution in that place in consequence of the priestly (anti-Mormon) reports in circulation. I soon became acquainted and investigated the matter with them and most of them became my best friends until about two days before I was ready to start for Nauvoo. I went to camp meeting calculating to give my last testimony in public and private. But to my astonishment I was seized by the sheriff and his deputies and put into a wagon and taken off about six miles and put into jail and kept twenty-four hours for the pretended crime of being accessory in carrying off a girl to take her to Nauvoo to make her a common stock for the Mormons. I was published on the stand at the camp meeting. Measures were taken to search the country through, but alas! She was found ten miles from home to work at a tavern. They were little ashamed when she testified that she never received any inducement from any Mormon to leave her home, but it was for the inhuman beating she had received from her father from time to time. During my time in jail I was visited by a great many people and I preached the gospel to them. Many of them would swear I should come out by a writ of habeas corpus. Others would say that if I was not out of the jail by the next day the jail would be tom down. I was taken out by the sheriff, discharged by their great authority, and started for Nauvoo the very day that I intended.” Little Alice, just six years old must have been terrified by these events.
The family took their journey by covered wagon and ox team, arriving safely at Nauvoo, Illinois arriving in July of 1841. This must have been a great adventure for the small Alice. Edson was happy to resume his carpenter trade, this time on the Nauvoo Temple construction. The Barney family obtained four pieces of property in and around Nauvoo. One property was on the block bounded by Kimball and Parley Streets on the north and south, and Partridge and Durphy Streets on the west and east. (Durphy St. is today Route 96 through town.) This property was just two blocks north and one block east of the
Joseph Smith home that fronted the Mississippi River. The other three properties were to the east of town proper in a community that no longer exists but in those days was a bustling settlement. On property was a farm at the north-east corner of Mulholland and Warrington. This farm property was immediately to the east of the Joseph Smith farm that was also on Mulholland. The last two adjacent properties were on the south side of Young St. just east of Mulholland. Mulholland no longer exists today. In fact, it is the driveway on the west side of a resident’s property along Highway 96 today. The owner of the property remembered a brick home on the Barney property that dated from the Mormon days that was just like the one in his current back yard. The Barney home was totally removed by the current owner so the property could be farmed without interruption. This farm land is immediately to the east of the current Saints Peter and Paul Cemetery which bounds the south side of Highway 96.
It was in Nauvoo that Alice grew up from age 6 until she was about 10 ½. She would have attended school and learned homemaking skills from her mother. Her father resumed his carpenter trade, this time on the Nauvoo Temple construction. Another child, Edson Alroy Barney, was born in Nauvoo on 14 April 1843. The official records of the Church fail to have a baptism date for Alice but in a letter to her children dated March 21, 1892 from Provo, Utah she stated, “I was baptized at 8 years by Simeon Carter, and confirmed by Franklin D Richards.” That would place her baptism most likely in 1843 in Nauvoo.
At the April Conference of the year 1844, Edson was called from the pulpit to campaign for Joseph Smith’s bid for the Presidency of the United States. He lectured on politics, debated with ministers and felt he had labored successfully; that was, until he received the shocking message of the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph and Hyrum Smith, in June of 1844. He received word that he was immediately released from his obligation of missionary service and he started home by way of Columbus, Ohio, and Quincy, Illinois.
Alice must have been a big help to her mother, in her father’s absence, as she was the oldest female child and probably had added responsibilities helping with the younger children as her mother ran the household without her husband there. After her father’s return to Nauvoo, her little brother Edson Alroy Barney died in July 1845. Just a month later her mother gave birth to the last child in the family, Joseph Seth Barney on 17 Aug 1845. This last baby was named for the Prophet Joseph Smith.
At this point in her life, Alice, aged 10 and a few months, lived in a comfortable brick home with her parents and 4 remaining siblings aged 13 to a newborn baby. But with the death of the Prophet Joseph and his brother, Hyrum, persecutions grew and the residents of Nauvoo knew that their time in Nauvoo was rapidly running out. It must have been difficult for young children like Alice to experience man’s inhumanity to man at this level.
On to Iowa
Edson and Lillis entered the partially completed Nauvoo Temple on December 17, 1845 to receive their own endowments. They were part of a group of 12 who received these ordinances that day. They worked in the temple for the next twelve days to assist others desiring the same blessings.
Forced to flee by order of the mob and militia, in early January, 1846, their family crossed the icy Mississippi River to Iowa, locating at Farmington in Van Buren County. (Farmington is approximately 20 miles northwest of Montrose, Iowa). It must have been devastating for Alice to have to experience these persecutions and then pick up and leave everything they owned as they fled in a wagon to the west in the dead of winter.
They remained in the Farmington area for about a year. By this time Alice was twelve and probably had major responsibilities in the home assisting her mother. Edson again worked his trade as a carpenter but again persecutions and vandalism impacted their community. Edson wrote: “Once, a shower of rocks rained upon our house, broke all our windows and frightened us. As soon as we could, we began the journey to Winter Quarters in October of 1846.”
Along the way to Winter Quarters, the children gathered dried dead wood and buffalo-chips to cook food for their evening meal and helped with the animals. Although tired and nearly exhausted when the days travel was over, they would gather round the campfire, sing, tell stories and dance in the dirt. As difficult as this trip must have been, their faith keep them focused on the task at hand – to complete the trip west so they could join the leaders of the Church once again.
While encamped at Council Bluffs, Edson traveled to Missouri to work for provisions. After he earned the needed funds and securing supplies and better transportation, he returned to his family. In the spring, they moved to Little Pigeon, where he worked on a farm throughout the summer. There he was called by the Prophet Brigham Young to enter into plural marriage. He met and married his second wife, Louisa Walker Butterfield on 10 May 1847 at that place. They would be sealed later by Brigham Young on 16 Jan 1848 in Winters Quarters. Louisa was just 13 years older than Alice, and would bear 10 children to Edson over the next 14 years. Conditions must have been extremely difficult during this time as half of them would die before the age of 12. Sometime in late 1847 the Barneys finally made it to Winter Quarters.
Finally to Utah (Salt Lake and Provo)
The Barney’s wanted to leave for Utah in 1848 but Edson was asked to remain at Winter Quarters where he built wagons for the other travelers. The Barney families remained in Kanesville, Iowa, until they left for Salt Lake on May 1, 1851. They left in the John G Smith Company and Edson was appointed a Captain of 10, in the 5th Wagon Company. Alice would turn 16 during this trip, as she walked across the plains heading for the Rocky Mountains. During their journey they had encountered Indians which frightened them greatly. Once Indians surrounded them, declaring that the Saints had killed some of their tribe. The wagon train’s interpreter tried to convince them that another tribe had passed them carrying scalps upon their spears, but this did not satisfy the Indians. But, looking in the
direction the other tribe had gone, they could see at a great distance the other tribe disappearing over a hill, this was proof enough. The Indians started off in that direction, leaving the Saints scared, but very grateful. They traveled in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, on October 13, 1851 after 5 months and 12 days of travel.
The Barney’s suffered many hardships and privations during their stay in Salt Lake. After a couple of months they were assigned to settle in Provo River Valley, arriving Christmas Eve Day in 1851. During the Christmas festivities they found themselves renewing acquaintances they had made in Kirtland, Nauvoo, and Winter Quarters. Upon arrival, Edson recorded a journal entry, “Unhitched our animals and began to settle in.”
Marriage to Alexander Wilkins
Not long after arriving in Provo, Alice met Alexander Wilkins. He had recently returned to Provo from Sanpete County, where he had been fighting in the Walker War. Upon his return he met Alice and they began a two year courtship, culminating on December 11, 1853, when Alice Malena wed the handsome Alexander. Edson Barney, who had been appointed Provo’s Justice of the Peace, performed the nuptials for his daughter. The newlyweds set up housekeeping in their wagon box on the Barney property in Provo.
Alice and Alexander lived on the Barney property along 500 West between 200 and 300 South in Provo after their marriage. They helped clear the land of sagebrush. On September 27, 1854, Alice gave birth to their first child, Alexander Jr.
Alex and Eliza had been married two and a half years, when they made a journey to Salt Lake in June of 1856 to make their union an eternal one. On 17 June 1856 Alexander and Alice were both endowed and then sealed for time and all eternity in the Endowment House. The trip home to Provo must have been sweet as they knew that their union was now an eternal one if they would hold to the faith. On 28 Feb 1857 in Provo, Alice gave birth to her second child, Alice Malena Wilkins.
Just days earlier, on 7 February 1857, Alexander had entered into polygamy and took for his second wife Alice’s younger sister, Eliza Arabella Barney. Since her parents practiced polygamy, this probably didn’t disturb Alice as much as would have been expected and with her little sister now her sister-wife. Thus the two sisters were now bonded for life.
Provo City hired Alexander, as Deputy Sheriff, and he also did part-time work for the railroad when it came to Provo. Alexander served in three Indian Wars: the Walker War, the Tintic War and the Blackhawk War. He spoke of being in many heated battles, but was never injured. In the journal of John Crook it reads, “In the summer of 1858, Charles Shelton and Alexander Wilkins are said to have had a
ranch house up in North Field (Heber Valley) were they ran a summer herd ground. The cost of the surveying was the only expense for the land at that time.
Reminisces on Life in Provo
Life in Provo was far from easy. Each able bodied man in Provo was assigned to work one day each month assisting with the building of roads, digging of irrigation ditches, and with the construction of the mud wall fortification being built to protect the settlement from Indians. Provo began to experience many Indian troubles. In addition, the settlers contended with the invasion of grasshoppers, drought and one of the deadliest winters ever recorded in Utah’s history. Alexander’s journal recorded, “We lost some of our animals because they froze to death.”
Alexander built both wives homes next to each other, originally connected by a grape arbor. They dug an artisan well and built a cistern to hold water with a windlass to draw the water. They planted fruit trees, lilac bushes, flowers and hollyhocks, because they were handy. The sisters shared plant starts, until each home in the neighborhood had some cherry blooms. Together, with their husband, they nurtured and fed their families with produce from a large vegetable garden, eggs from their chickens and milk from their cows.
Alice Malena’s home (at 237 South 5th West, in Provo) stood in the middle of the block, facing west but has since been torn down. Eliza’s home (at 491 West 2nd South, in Provo) faced north. In 2010 it was remodeled and siding covers the original adobe and later additions of pressed brick. In the rear Alexander built a “two-seater” outhouse, granary, stockyard, sheds and a corral. The irrigation ditch ran behind the houses, because lateral ditches could not be dug across Main Street because it would hinder wagon traffic.
Each morning, fathers and sons would go down Center Street to farm “Old Fort” field, taking cows to pasture, tending to their corps; carrying loaded guns, ever ready for Indian troubles. Each evening they would return to their families.
Work on the mud walls of Fort Utah as it was called was progressing. Alexander’s specific assignment was on the west wall. The system of living inside the mud walls served a two-fold purpose: First this system gave better protection from the Indians; and, second, it provided opportunity for a social and religious life.
In the evenings, neighbors would all get together for social and religious purposes; sometimes if Hendricksen’s Pottery on 300 South were firing up their kiln, They would take their chairs to watch the glow light up the night sky. While they would visit and sing, the children would play.
The wives had a vegetable pit to store potatoes, cabbage, and squash. Sometimes they’d cut and dry squash to last through the winter. They gathered berries and made preserves. At first, they couldn’t get nails, so they used rawhide to make their furniture.”
After the United States Army received orders to return and fight in the Civil War, the smithy, Bro. William Furlsbury Carter, hauled metal from Camp Floyd to fashion tools, horseshoes, hinges and nails. They made candies in molds from beef tallow, and fashioned wicks by carding and spinning cotton when they could get it. They made the brooms out of broom corn or wild grasses and made their own lye soap by leaching ashes and coals from the fires. On washdays, the women would serve up big pots of soup.
They made molasses out of red beets, boiling them down, training the liquid, then boiling again, until it thickened into syrup. Later, some sugarcane was grown out on the Provo Bench, and the Patten’s would process it at their molasses mill. They’d make winter shoes by sewing thick soles of hard wood, splitting the sides, and using a knife to stick a piece of leather in to form the top of the shoe. The women all kept busy; if you didn’t work, you didn’t eat. Alexander would stack the haystack in preparation for winter so the animals would have food to eat.
When the lake was frozen over, the men would cross the ice to West Mountain to get logs. They’d sled them back to Provo, and stack them to dry before they could be planed at the saw mill. In the canyon there were plenty of cottonwoods, quaking aspen and pine, for fuel. Back in 1855 everyone was excited when Shadrach Holdaway and James Simpkins began the manufacture of a threshing machine for then the harvesting of the wheat would be much easier.
Each ward had a school to teach the three R’s – reading’, ritin’, and ‘rithmetic: pens were made from quills, books were scarce: slates to write on came from up Slate Canyon, and charcoal from the fire was used to write and figure sums. However, not all eligible children of Provo availed themselves of school learnin’. Many used their chores, or tending siblings as an excuse. When Provo was “forted up” children were a captive audience. After moving out of the fort, enduring droughts and grasshoppers so thick you’d crush ten or more with your every step and bad winters, many parents couldn’t afford to pay the teacher with produce or with wheat. Everything they produced they needed, just to survive, in those early days of hunger and privation.
In the evenings Alice wrote – “We knitted, or braided straw for hats, made our clothes, and sometimes played the organ and sang.” The sister-wives made gloves, and tanned their own leather. They’d been called to assist in the making of burial clothes; they were called the “dressers.” They also did dressmaking and all kinds of fancywork. They helped one another whenever possible to clothe and feed their large families.
Life After 1857
By 1857, the Mormon way of life was threatened by fear of an impending “Utah War.” In 1858, troops of the U. S. Army did indeed arrive to quell what was called the “Mormon Rebellion.” The persecutions and mobbing of the Mormon people in Missouri had not been forgotten. Johnston’s Army’s march upon the territory was a continuation of the outrages. It was decided by President Brigham Young, in 1858, as a precautionary measure, that the people of Great Salt Lake County and the northern part of the Territory, should move south. The exodus included some thirty thousand people. A few were left behind to set fire to the houses, in the event of the Army encamping in Great Salt Lake, or vicinity.
Governor Cummings, in his report of May 1858, wrote, “The roads are everywhere filled with wagons loaded with provisions and household furniture, the women and children, often without shoes or hats driving their flocks they know not where.” Most of the “wanderers” found temporary homes in Utah County, and hundreds were housed or made welcome in Provo. They were clothed, fed and housed.
On June 10 & 11th, Brigham Young and others met with the United States Peace Commissioners, and agreed that the army should enter the territory, pass through Great Salt Lake City, but not quarter within 40 miles of the capital. On June 26, 27, 28th, troops camped on the Jordan, then proceeded to Cedar Valley (36 miles southward), to establish Camp Floyd. (Later to be identified as Camp Williams.)
On the morning of July 5, 1858, President Young announced he was going to start home for the Great Salt Lake City, and in a few hours, he and nearly all who had moved south were packing for the journey homeward.
Judge Cradlebaugh, the Territorial Judge of the Second Judicial District, (comprising the southern part of the territory) came to Provo; he should have gone to Fillmore, but stayed in Provo, that as to have access to the Federal troops from Camp Floyd. He convened court in the Provo Seminary Building. He had already called for the Federal troops, who entered Provo without permission. This unprecedented act was an indignity and an effort at intimidation. It was resented by the citizens of Provo. Mayor Bullock asked to have the soldiers removed. They judge’s response was, “Their presence is a matter of necessity.” Cradlebaugh brought in 8 companies of Infantry, one of Calvary, and one of Artillery. Governor Cummings did not agree with what was going on; he requested General Sidney Albert Johnston remove the troops. Johnston didn’t agree, he contended that the troops were but performing their duties as ordered. Finally, the court closed, the troops were removed from the public square (Pioneer Park), and then returned to Camp Floyd. General Johnston’s troops were withdrawn from Camp Floyd to fight in the Civil War.
In the next few years Alexander and Alice Wilkins became the parents of three more children all born in Provo: Laura Minerva Wilkins, born 26 Feb 1857; Edson Buriah Wilkins, born 17 Nov 1861; and Harriet Emily Wilkins, born 8 Jun 1864. The 1860 territorial census actually showed both households in one dwelling in Provo. No effort was taken to hide the polygamous marriage relationship and the two wives were being treated equally.
Life in Mona Then Back to Provo
By 1870 Alice Malena had accompanied Alexander south to Juab County, they were assigned to settle Mona. On the 1870 census Alexander and Alice are living in Mona along with Alice’s sister, Alcina, who was listed without a husband, and would die in just 4 years. Eliza’s family was still in Provo living with her in laws. In Mona, Alice’s last three children were born: Lorenzo Ballou Barney on 18 Nov 1868; Susan Ann Wilkins on 29 Dec 1873 and lastly, John Gandsworth Wilkins on 5 Jan 1876. Apparently during this time in Mona, Alexander was traveling back and forth between Mona and Provo as Eliza gave birth to children in Provo in 1869, 1872 and 1875. Then she must have moved to Mona as her last child, Mary Jane was born in Mona on 10 Aug 1877. Sometime after the birth of Mary Jane Wilkins they returned to Provo to their homes, families and friends.
In the 1890’s Alice Malena and Eliza’s parents moved into Malena’s home to be cared for in their old age. Alice Malena was their principal caregiver. Lillis Ballou Barney died in Provo on 22 Dec 1897 and Edson Barney died there on 2 Feb 1905. By this time Alice was 70 years of age herself and had lost her husband on 23 May 1902 to a heart attack and two children (Alexander Jr. to typhoid in 1893 and Alice Malena Wilkins Johnson in 1885.)
What we know of her later years comes from a record of her service in the Church. For many years, from 1882 - 1889 Alice Malena had served as the President of the Young Ladies Association in the Provo Second Ward. When she was released in May of 1889, (she was 54 years old) the officers and members of the Young Ladies Association tendered her a pleasant surprise at the Second Ward Meeting house. She was presented with a rocking chair and a beautiful dress, accompanied with the following testimonial:
“Sister Malena Wilkins, we herewith present you on this the anniversary of your birthday, as a token of respect, this small present for your faithful service and good counsel as President of our Association for the past eight years. We hope that you may always remember your integrity in the faithful discharge of that important position which you have so faithfully fulfilled. We regret that you had to resign because of other duties which were upon you, but, hope that you will still aid us with your presence and good instructions as often as you can make it convenient, which will be appreciated by us. Wishing you many Happy Birthdays, we remain the Y.L.M.I.A. of the Second Ward.”
Signed Ruth Bailey, President
Emily Brown, Secretary
Alice Malena remained very active in the Relief Society, and with her friends and sisters in the Relief Society fought for the franchise in the Suffrage Movement and later for Statehood, temperance and women having the vote in Utah. She was 2nd Counselor to Sarah Ann Scott in the 2nd Ward Relief Society from 2 June until 13 Aug 1898. Then was 1st Counselor to Sarah Ann Goodwin in the Primary from 6 Sep 1895 until 13 Aug 1898. She was a Relief Society teacher about 10 years and was also a Sunday School teacher. Finally she was chosen 1st Counselor to Electa Bullock in the Sixth Ward Relief Society in 1902.
On March 14, 1914, Alice Malena Barney Wilkins joined her faithful friends and “Sisters” in signing and solemnly swearing she knew Joseph Smith personally and declared him to be a Prophet of God. She stood proudly for the photograph dressed in her best, leaving her testimony as a legacy to her posterity. This was a bold move for a brave lady in that day and age. She signed the document in a clear signature declaring herself as Alice Malena Barney Wilkins, 79 years old, Kirtland, Ohio.
She was tried and found true to the faith, enduring to the end. Alice Malena Barney Wilkins died in the city of Provo on a beautiful fall day, November 13, 1916, at the age of 81, surrounded by her children and the children of her sister, of organic heart disease. She was buried beside her eternal sweetheart and her sister in the Provo Cemetery on November 16, 1916.
It is fitting to quote from her letter of 21 Mar 1892 as a close to her life story: “Mother and father are still living, although they are 86 years old (Edson Barney and Lillis Ballou.) (They have) been in the Church since before I was born. I am 57 years old. I was blessed under the hands of Joseph Smith when I was a baby. He said I should be a Mother in Israel. (I) have seen that fulfilled. I have nine children. Have always lived with the Church, don’t know anything else. It is the power of God unto Salvation.
I was baptized at 8 years by Simeon Carter, and confirmed by Franklin D. Richards.My parents were in all the persecutions of the saints, they were mobbed and driven from their homes many times. They are still strong in the faith.
I can bear testimony of the truth of the gospel, it is a pleasure to work in the church. I was president of the M. I. A. for seven years. A teacher in the Sunday School, and a teacher in the Relief Society.
The Lord has blessed me in every time of need. I feel to acknowledge his hand in all things and put my trust in him.
May the Lord bless you all – both great and small. May you all remain in the Church of Jesus Christ is my prayer of your Mother, and grandmother in the name of Jesus Christ – Amen.”
1. Brimhall, Katherine Thatcher, “The Testifiers of the Prophet Joseph Smith (Tough Ole’ Birds In Their Twilight Years…”, pub. DUP, pp. 118 – 137.
2. Wilson, Ellen Thurston, “Autobiography of Edson Barney.”
3. Wilkins, Alexander, “Life of Alexander Wilkins,” 1892.
4. Letter written by Alice Malena Barney Wilkins to her children, dated 21 Mar 1892, original in possession of DeVere R Christenson of Salt Lake City, UT 1 Dec 1935.
5. Assorted documents – U. S. Census 1850 – 1900, Death Certificates, newspaper articles, etc. in possession of Robert E. Givens, Clovis, CA.
NOTE: This biography draws heavily from Brimhall’s article in “The Testifiers of the Prophet Joseph Smith (Tough Ole’ Birds In Their Twilight Years…” where Alice Malena Barney’s life story is recorded. It appears that this was transcription from Alice herself. The problem with that story was that there were factual errors in it – dates were incorrect and there were other factual inconsistencies in the story. The biography adds to the original Brimhall article and hopefully corrects the facts that were initially presented inaccurately. The Brimhall article though needs to be recognized as the basis for most of this life story as it contains the wonderful first-hand detail that would be lost except for its printing.