George White Pitkin
Contributor: Kemckee Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
This is the story of George White Pitkin and Amanda Eggleston. You might ask how you are related to George and Amanda. Edward Carl Henderson's mother, Elease, maiden name was Pitkin. Her father was Ammon Paul Pitkin. George White Pitkin was Ammon's father. So depending on what generation you are from George W. and Amanda Pitkin were either your third or fourth great grandparents.
George White Piktin, was born 17 May 1801, in Harfortford, Windsor County, Vermont. He was the youngest in a family of ten children. His father, Paul Pitkin, came from a family whose ancestors settled in Hartford Connecticut, in 1659, while it was a new colony. They were a very prominent family in the early days of our country. George White Pitkin's mother was Abigail Lathrop, she was a descendant of the Reverend John Lathrop, who was persecuted and jailed in England for his religious beliefs, and who brought a group of believers to American with him in 1639, to settle in Massachusetts.
This line of the Pitkin family left the east and traveled to Hiram, Portage County, Ohio. Both the Pitkin and the Eggleston came to take up land in the Western Reserve. When George's father died in 1823 he was appointed administrator his estate. He was also the sheriff of the County at the time. It seems that both George White and Amanda had been in the area about ten years when they met and were married 8 February 1829.
While living in Hiram, Ohio the Pitkins were introduced to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as it grew in nearby Kirtland. The Mormon Church was a co-operative society and much of its organization was taken from the experimental co-operative societies of the time. George and Amanda heard the gospel and George had the honor of being baptized on his birthday, 17 of May 1831, by the Prophet Joseph Smith. (Joseph Smith was also a descendant of John Lathrop). Amanda and George's two sisters, Laura and Abigail, also joined. The Mormon Church was just a year old. His sister's Laura and Abigail would later become the wives of Heber C. Kimball.
The rest of the Pitkin family was anti-Mormon, specially George W.'s brother-in-law, Silas Raymond, who had married his sister Rebecca. The membership of the Church continued to grow, but the Mormons were unpopular with the townspeople and were often treated badly. According to Church history some of the towns people dragged Joseph Smith out in the night and tarred his mouth and body. Silas Raymond was among these townspeople and it was his tar bucket and paddle that were used.
George White Pitkin was Sheriff of Portage County and was one of those who helped to clean the tar from the Prophet's body and to clean and dress his wounds. A few days later, George hauled the Prophet and his party in his wagon a distance of seventy-five miles over a few days where they would be safer. George White Pitkin was with the Prophet Joseph Smith during many of his trials. It was always a great comfort to him, years after, to think of the contacts he had made with Joseph Smith.
As you follow this family's journeys from hardship, harm and persecution that many early converts of the Church experienced this early relationship with the Prophet Joseph Smith and others must have given them great comfort and the will to perserve.
In 1932, the Pitkin family joined other church members and move to Jackson County, Missouri. Having lost their first son Lathrop, the family consisted of George and Amanda, the two Pitkin sisters, Laura and Abigail and Amanda's young sister, Esther Eggleston around age 14 at the time. In Jackson County, George built a log house next to Peter Whitmer, Sr. in the Whitmer Settlement. David Whitmer was the presiding officer of the settlement and ordained George as a deacon. Amanda gave birth to a daughter, Martha, on 27 October 1832
Violence against the Mormons in Jackson County began with attacks on the Whitmer Settlement on 31 of October 1833. A mob of about ten men attacked the Whitmer village late at night and began beating the men and tearing the houses down. The Pitkin home was next door to the Peter Whitmer, Sr. home was one of those destroyed. Lydia Whiting recalled some of the events.
"Their first attack was to the door and window while some mounted the house and began to throw off the roof while they were throwing stones and clubs in at every chance they could get. The women who crawled into the chamber with their children began to scream and beg for mercy while these barbarous ruffians in the shape of human beings were whipping and hounding their husbands and fathers with clubs and stones. All got from the house and made for the woods as fast as possible, and frightened nearly all out of their senses." [Mormon Redress Petitions #447]
It is interesting to note, that the Chase family was also a part of the Whitmer settlement. I believe this was Eli Chase who would marry Olive Hills. They were the parent's of Olive Chase who would marry Ammon Paul Pitkin years later. Ammon and Olive were the parent's of Rosabell (Pitkin) Crookston, who was the mother of Elease Crookston Henderson, the mother of Edward Carl Henderson
Trouble continued and by the middle of November everyone from the settlement had fled. The Pitkins crossed the Missouri River into the western part of Clay County and struggled to survive the winter with little shelter and food. During the short stay in Clay County, Amanda gave birth to a son, Ammon Paul, on 26 April 1835.
The Pitkins moved again when the Church purchased land in Caldwell County. Far West, Missouri was home to George and Amanda from 1836 to 1839. There Amanda gave birth to a son, George Orrin, on 19 August 1837. Amanda was a frontier wife with three small children, Martha, Ammon and George. In the summer of 1838 George was elected sheriff of Caldwell County which had a population of 10,000. That position placed him in the middle of conflicts between local mobs and the county militia, such as the Battle of Crooked River. While George was gone fulfilling church assignments and working as the sheriff of the county, Amanda was faced with the challenge of surviving with little means. George often left her for days or weeks at a time and she was left to feed and care for the needs of her family. At first their stay was a peaceful time, but as had happened so many times before, they abandon their home and farm. They fled when Governor Boggs issued the extermination order. They would seek exile in the state of Illinois and Iowa Territory.
In the spring of 1839, the Pitkins set up temporary residence in Pike County, which at that time included most of western Illinois. The same year, Amanda's sister Esther, married Martin Wood in Qunicy. They spent the years 1840-1846 in Lee County, Iowa, (the 1840 census places them in Lee County, Iowa) across the Mississippi from nearby Nauvoo, Illinois. While living in Lee County, Iowa they attended the Zarahemla Branch. Mariah Laura was born 13 November 1841.
By 1844 it is recorded that the Pitkin family was living in Nauvoo, they attended the 3rd and 9th Wards and lived on lot 29 of the Kimball I plat. Laura Pitkin, George's sister also lived on lot 29 with the Pitkin family. Pamelia was born 27 of February 1844, but she lived less than two years. George White Pitkin was active in the construction of the Nauvoo House, Nauvoo Temple, and the Seventies Hall. George and Amanda were of the first to receive their endowment and be sealed in the Nauvoo Temple 15 January 1846.
The Pitkin family was again driven from their home in Nauvoo in the dead of winter, January 16, 1846. Somewhere in Iowa territory, a son, John, was born 20 October 1846. By winter, the Pitkins had set up camp along the Fox River. The Mormon Trail crossed the Fox River near present-day Drakesville in Davis County. The winter was harsh and food was scarce.
Amanda struggled to provide enough nutrition for herself and her newborn and had little milk. She had been through a great deal. In the seventeen years of her marriage to George, she had born seven children, buried two babies, Lathrop in Ohio and Pamelia in Nauvoo and raised her young sister Esther. She had been persecuted and driven from place to place because of her chosen faith. On the 5 January 1847, in the cold of winter, she died from exposure and lack of food. She was fourty-two. Her two month old baby son, John, died a few days later. Those left to morn her loss were her husband, George, fourty-five, and living children, Martha Abigail 14, Ammon Paul 11, George Orrin 9 and Mariah Laura 6. George gathered his family together and traveled to Winter Quarters where he felt conditions might be better.
It was while the Saints were living at Winter Quarters that widower, George White Pitkin, would marry Sarah Ann Huffman, age nineteen on 14 February 1847 (WHAT???) The family would remain behind when the first group of Saints left the area to travel to the Rocky Mountains. They prepared themselves for departure the following year in 1848. The family spent the winter on the Mosquito Creek, near Kanesville, Iowa, and traveled to the Elkhorn River in Nebraska, just west of the present city of Omaha, to join the exodus of the Saints.
The wagons were organized into three divisions, under the First Presidency of the Church. The Pitkin family was in the second division and had as its leader, Heber C. Kimball. By this time George's sisters Laura and Abigail were wives of Heber Chase Kimball. Abigail was married to him 7 January 1846, and Laura on 3 February 1846.
Statement by George White Pitkin:
I George W. Pitkin, son of Paul Pitkin, son of Thomas Pitkin, my mother's name was Abigail Lathrop, daughter of Elijah Lathrop, was born in Hartford, Windsor County, Vermont, May 17, 1801, and baptized by President Joseph Smith in Hiram, Portage County, Ohio, May 17, 1831. In 1832, in company with 100 Saints, I move with my family to Jackson County, Missouri, at which place I was ordained a deacon under the hands of David Whitmer in September of 1832. In 1833, I was driven with the Saints from Clay County and ordained a teacher under the hands of Zebedee Coltrin, August of 1834. I was driven from Clay County and settled in Caldwell County, Missouri. I was ordained a seventy in January 1841; I removed to Nauvoo and was ordained a high priest under the hands of Phineas Richards December 1844.
[This statement was part of a report of the Nauvoo 9th Ward High Priests Quorum as recorded by clerk Joseph Holbrook.]
Other interesting Nauvoo Connections:
•John Welch married Eliza Billington in Nauvoo 18 May 1945
•William and George Welch died in Nauvoo a few months apart in 1842 (they were both children)
•Nicholas Welch died in Nauvoo in 1842
•Robert Crookston received his Endowment in the Nauvoo Temple 3 Feb 1846
• Robert Crookston married Ann Welch at Winter Quarters 20 June 1847
•(Eli Chase and family were likely residents of Nauvoo but I haven't been able to research this
• (Grant Campbell and family might have been residents of Nauvoo) Grant Campbell is Elyse Johnsen Henderson's great-grandfather)