Biography of Daniel Collett
Contributor: BarbaraLeishman Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Daniel Collett, only son of William and Elizabeth Bromage Collett, was born 12 December 1808, in Corse, Glouchestershire, England, the second of four children. His three sisters were: Elizabeth, born 10 December 1806, in Tirley, Gloucestershire, married Robert Ruck, died 10 October 1864; Ann, born 12 January 1812, in Pendock, Worcestershire, married Thomas Oakey, died 14 April 1892; and Amy, born in 1815, at Pendock, died as an infant. Pendock is a small village ten miles northwest of the city of Gloucester, on the road from Tewkesbury to Ledbury. The Malvern Hills form a grand object in the scenery. Population was 177 in 1950.
Tirley, Eldersfield, Pendock and Corse are located within a radius of five miles, so there was definitely much communication between these towns.
Father of Daniel, William Collett, born 30 January 1780, at Charlton Abbota, Gloucestershire, England, died in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, at the home of a daughter, Elizabeth Collett Ruck 7 May 1864. Little is known of his wife Elizabeth Bromage, daughter of John and Elizabeth Bromage, except that she was of Tirley, Gloucestershire, born 1782 and died 24 May 1841 at Frogmarsh, Gloucestershire. They were married at Tirley, 7 October 1805, where their first child, Elizabeth, was born.
The marriage of William’s parents, Thomas and Mary Vellander Collett, took place 3 November 1778, in the parish church at Charlton Abbotts, where they both were born. Thomas, October 1752 and Mary about 1756. Much research has been done but there is no proof of their parentage.
Charlton Abbotts is a tiny hamlet situated amid the lush green, rolling Cotswold Hills, five miles east of the city of Cheltenhma. Most of the scattered homes and the quaint 14th century church are built of beautiful Cotswold limestone. When freshly cut it is a tawny golden hue, but weathers to a soft, silvery gray – a lively contrast to the intense green of the surrounding landscape.
Daniels’ childhood must have been spent in and around Pendock, where as a young man he was trained to be a wheelwright and blacksmith. He grew to be tall and straight, with a fine physique, which he developed by athletic activities. He was especially adept in the art of boxing to the extent that he was frequently asked to participate for the entertainment of his friends and neighbors. Later he made use of his prowess in protecting his religious friends and himself against certain enemies of the newly formed ‘United Brethren’ near his home.
At one of the ‘United Brethren’ meetings, Daniel met Esther Jones who was attending with her intended husband, Charles Capper. Apparently Daniel won out for later their plans of marriage were published, as required by English law, for three consecutive weeks in Corse Church. Esther’s birth was on 10 October 1814 in Bullingham, Herefordshire.
Their first child, Sylvester, born in Pendock 31 December 1833, died in infancy. The family undoubtedly moved around somewhat as Sylvanus was born 13 May 1835 in Wellington, Herefordshire and Rhoda Sylvia in Beckerton, Herefordshire on 20 April 1837. They were back in Pendock for the birth of Reuben on 19 July 1839.
Shortly after this, event were taking place which would change the lives of the Collett family. In company with Elder John Taylor and Theodore Turley, Wilford Woodruff arrived in Liverpool, England 11 January 1840. They were missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elder Woodruff was assigned to labor in Staffordshire Potteries, where he was successful. In March, the spirit of the Lord prompted him to go south. He had plenty to do where he was, but he heard the voice of the spirit, obeyed, and went south to Worcestershire where he met with the ‘United Brethren’.
Through eight months of labor, chiefly by Elder Woodruff in Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, eighteen hundred people were brought into the Church. In this number were Elizabeth Bromage Collett (Daniel’s mother) baptized 9 Marcy 1840, Ann (Daniel’s sister) 5 April 1840. She left England for America with her husband Thomas Oakey, and family, crossed the plains in Willie Handcart Company and arrived in Salt Lake City 9 November 1856. Elizabeth (Daniel’s sister) was baptized 9 April 1840; and William, his father, 25 November 1840. Daniel’s baptism date, in Eldersfield, was 6 April 1840 and although Esther Jones Collett was baptized this same year there is no definite date given. All but one of the ‘United Brethren’ were baptized.
Thirteen months after his baptism, 10 May 1841, the Collett family of five, Daniel, his wife Esther and children Syvanus, Rhoda Sylvia and Reuben, set sail from Bristol, Gloucestershire, on the ship “Harmony” bound for Quebec, Canada. The company of fifty saints was under the direction of Elder Kingston.
From Quebec, they journeyed on to Nauvoo, Illinois, where they made their home for the next five years. Here two children were born: Fannie Marie, 22 November 1841 and Daniel 22 October 1843 – both of whom died in infancy.
Daniel know the Prophet Joseph Smith and with numerous others guarded him on many occasions. At one time there was an apostate who frequently tried to induce the Prophet to wrestle or fight with him. That was not Joseph’s way, but the man became so abusive that Daniel asked the Prophet to let him take up the challenger. After much hesitation, an affirmative answer was given. In relating this incident, Daniel said, “I never had such power and strength and endurance in my life. In a short time I had the man crying ’quits’. Daniel and Esther received their Patriarchal Blessings from Hyrum Smith, 3 December 1841 and their endowments in the Nauvoo Temple 2 February 1846, just a few days before the first party left Nauvoo.
When the saints were driven from Nauvoo, the Collett family went to Winter Quarters, Nebraska, where Daniel, being a first-class wheelwright, was asked by Church authorities, to stay and build wagons, carts and other conveyances for the saints crossing the plains. Esther also did her share in this preparation by quilting many quilts. Reuben aided her by threading needles, so she wouldn’t have to stop to perform this tedious task.
On the way to Winter Quarters, Mary Ann was born in a wagon box at the camp on Sugar Creek, Lee County, Iowa, 3 September 1846. She later married William Wamsley, 1 May 1864 and died 27 November 1929. Another child, Elizabeth Matilda, was born 27 February 1849 at Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie County, Iowa – married Ralph Teancum Merrill, 24 May 1869 and died May 1944.
It wasn’t until 1849 that the Colletts began their journey across the plains to Zion. They traveled in the Ezra Taft Benson Company, arriving in Salt Lake City on the Twenty-seventh of October. In the 1850 Census of Utah, Great Salt Lake County, Daniel’s (listed as David) occupation is given as carpenter, his age as forty-two, Esther thirty-six, Sylvanus as sixteen, Rhoda fourteen, Reuben eleven, Mary A. four and Elizabeth two.
Their first home in the valley was at Mill Creek, southeast of Salt Lake City, where Julia Ann was born 27 September 1851. It must have been during this time that Daniel was commissioned to build a carriage for Brigham Young’s personal use.
In 1851, there came a move to Lehi, Utah County, then known as Evansville for the first Bishop David Evans, located near a spring on Dry Creek, in the bottom of the valley.
At first the families were scattered but Indian troubles brought them together and a fort was started on higher ground. The houses were built side by side in a square around a court. Bishop Evans and other, including Daniel Collett lived on the north side of the enclosure. A survey of the town was directed by Bishop Evans, with Daniel assisting.
A schoolhouse was constructed. The slab benches had no backs and warmth came from a fireplace in one end of the room. The first group of pupils included Sylvanus Collett. Not many were in the same stage of learning which must have provided a real challenge to Preston Thomas, the first teacher.
Later a second fort was begun and the schoolhouse we torn down and moved to the northeast corner. In May, 1854, Brigham Young, accompanied by Heber C. Kimball, stopped at the fort and called a meeting, at which he advised the building of a wall around the fort. Work was begun the following day.
The farm implements were both crude and scarce. A plow, which did fairly good work, was fashioned from gnarled pieces of wood. Planting consisted of wheat, corn, potatoes, and squash. As the creek could not be relied upon for irrigation, a ditch was dug from the mouth of American Fork canyon, a distance of seven miles. This proved to be a tremendous undertaking for the poorly fed and scantily clothed men, but it was accomplished and in August the water reached the crops and helped to save the town.
In 1852, John Taylor imported a few sugar beet seed from France and some were raised the next year. The juice was extracted, boiled down and used as molasses. The first alfalfa seed was brought to Lehi by Mr. Goodwin, who came around Cape Horn with the Samuel Brannon Company on the ship “Brooklyn”” which landed at San Francisco. After the gold rush in 1849, he came to Utah bringing some of the precious seed, which he planted and cared for each year until he was able to share with his neighbors.
While in Lehi, the Collett family was completed with the births of Charles Albert Capper, named after Esther’s former sweetheart, 28 December 1853 and James Jones, 24 April 1856. Charles married Hannah Ann Merrill, 28 October 1876, died 2 October 1922. James Jones married Marietta Tidwell, 24 December 1877, and after her death in 1884 took as his second wife, Jane Wardrup, 25 July 1896. James Jones passed away 1 May 1924.
The Salmon River Mission was organized at the April 1855 General Conference. Twenty-seven men were chosen to go in the first group and they established a fort named ‘Limhi’. This was the first white settlement in Idaho. Sylvanus was called in March of 1856 and returned eighteen months later in October 1857. Reuben, eighteen years old, left with a group for the mission this same month and met the returning party along the way. Fort Limhi was formally abandoned, 28 March 1858, due to excessive Indian troubles, and the missionaries and their families returned to Utah.
In 1853, Sylvannus had married Lydia Karren, daughter of Thomas and Ann Radcliffe Karren. His other wives were: Sarah Jane Lawrence, Phoebe Lodema Merrill, Sarah Ellen Gee and Elizabeth Praetor. Rhoda Sylvia married John Sunderland Eldredge, 7 March 1857. Later she became the wife of Philemon Christopher Merrill, 9 October 1873.
Esther Jones Collett died 4 June 1857 and was buried in Lehi, thirteen months after the birth of her last child, James Jones. She was a natural nurse, sympathetic and intelligent. These characteristics enabled her to care for sick mothers and new babies during the days in Nauvoo and the westward movement. She was also a singer of some note. Mary Ann, who was eleven years old at the time of her death, remembered that her mother was especially skilled in preparing from herbs, roots and barks, medicines used in treating various diseases. Even at this early age, Mary Ann learned the mixing processes, how to administer the medicine and later used this knowledge in a life of service.
Left with five small children, Daniel married Mary Foulk Empey, a widow with three little ones, Later in 1857. She was a daughter of William and Elizabeth Turner Foulk, born 9 July 1826 at Tottersol, Bedfordshire, England, and widow of Jesse Empey. One child, Eliza, was born to this union on 3 September 1858.
In the fall of 1858, an exploring party, which included Daniel Collett, left Lehi in search of a new home. When they arrived Ogden, they consulted with President Lorin Farr, who said “Iknow the xact spot which would be ideal for a new settlement. It lies approximately ten miles northwest of Ogden on a rich plain. The soil is fertile and deep. This place is situated slightly over a mile from Weber River. Canals could be dug every easily. I’ll go with you and show you the place.”
The exploring party rode out and looked the region over carefully. Being impressed with the appearance of the country, and its possibilities for a new home, they selected the site for their proposed settlement. Careful investigation proved that because of the lay of the land, their canal would have to be several miles in length. Besides making this preliminary survey of the canal, the little group of men selected their farms and lots. They then returned to Lehi and spent the winter months making preparations to move to Weber County the following spring.
On March 10, 1859, a company of about one hundred people, among them Daniel and family, left Lehi and traveled northward with teams of oxen, horses and mules. Because the roads were muddy and travel slow, it took seven days to make the journey. The colonists set to work planning and surveying their townsite and farming lands. Each family was given a city lot and twenty acres in the “Big Field”. Daniel drove the oxen and his son Reuben, held the plow when the first irrigation ditch was made in this vicinity.
The first houses were dugouts, but soon the settlers began to construct log cabins with timbers. The infant settlement was two months old when it was organized into a branch of the Church, with William Raymond as president, Daniel Collett and Jeppe Folkman, Counselors. At this meeting the “City of the Plains” was chosen as the name of the town. It was later changed to Plain City.
After the death of his wife, Mary, 31 August 1859, in Plain City, Daniel married , 23 October 1859, Elizabeth Gordon, daughter of Joseph and Jane Stewart Gordon, born 3 May 1823 Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire, Scotland. One son, William, was born 11 November 1860, in Smithfield, Cache County, Utah. Elizabeth died, 17 October 1869, in the same place.
The move to Smithfield came in 1860. Contrary to the advice of Brigham Young, the first settlers in 1859 had not built their homes in a “fort line”. When Indian troubles began and several men were killed, they were compelled to build a fort for protection. Daniel and his son Sylvanus and their families occupied houses on the south side of the fort. Even after the battle at Bear River, north of Preston Idaho, and the signing of a treaty in October of 1863, Indians still roved the country threatening the settlers. Finally sometime in 1864, it was considered safe to leave the fort and live on city lots of their own.
An event took place on 27 January 1861 which was long to be remembered by the people of Smithfield, particularly Reuben Collett and Elthura Roseltha Merrill. It was the day of their marriage, the first performed in the town.
On 6 February 1864, Daniel married Elizabeth Ward Miles, widow of Thomas Miles. She was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Powell Ward, born 15 November 1828, Walton-le-Dale, Lancashire, England, died 25 December 1910, Raymond, Alberta, Canada. Their two sons Thomas Ward and Daniel Ward were born in Smithfield, 8 May 1865 and 4 July 1866. Thomas Ward married Ida Amelia Anderson, 11 November 1886, died 18 May 1922. Daniel Ward married, 7 March 1891, Sara Lottie Phillips, died 28 September 1932.
Martha Noble (Drury) became the wife of Daniel Collett on 4 October 1880. She was the daughter of John and Ann Wilson Noble, born 233 September 1811, Wyberton, Lincolnshire, England, died 30 June 1888. There were no children. Daniel spent the rest of his life in the home of his daughter Julia Ann Cantwell.
Daniel was very active in civic and religious affairs of the community. In a meeting held 1 March 1866, Daniel Collett was appointed water master of the district. He held this position for many years, during which time a canal was built to bring water from nearby canyons.
Daniel and Esther Collett were re-baptized on 4 July 1875. He was a High Priest, endowed with great faith and healing power, being called all hours of the day and night to administer to the sick in the community. It was said that just his presence in a sick room brought a calm and healing influence. At one time he was asked to administer to his great grandchild, Lydia Rae Nelson, who was gravely ill. He then returned home but almost immediately took his hat again and started to leave. Daughter Julia inquired as to where he was going and he replied, “I have a feeling that the child is worse and I must go back.” He exclaimed, “In the name of the Lord, she must not die.” He administered again to her and she lived to testify of his great faith.
Daniel was very fond of horses and always kept good ones. He had an excellent saddle and single driving horse up to the last years of his life. He traveled alone a great deal by horse and buggy. On the occasion of his grand-daughter Julia Cantwell’s baptism and confirmation, Daniel bore his testimony and said he had been promised he would live as long as he had any desire to live, then he added, “I am ready to go any time the Lord wants me.”
Death came the next day, with a heart attack, 8 June 1894, in his eighty-sixth year. He was buried in the Smithfield Cemetery. Daniel Collett was a humble man, subservient to authority, kindly and honest with his neighbors and friends and possessing great faith. He was a man of strong will and determination, carrying to successful completion any enterprise he started, especially if he felt that it was for the common good of his family or community. His large posterity honor him for his life of service and devotion to his church and to his fellowmen, a heritage for which they can be forever grateful