Joseph Argyle Jr. and Rebecca Jane Finch Argyle
Contributor: Melany Created: 3 years ago Updated: 3 years ago
Joseph Argyle Jr. was the son of Joseph Argyle and Frances Smith and grandson of Samuel Argyle and Mary Smith of Market Bosworth, Leicestershire, England. He was born in Market Bosworth, September 12, 1818. When 12 years of age he went to work and lived with a man by the name of Lawrence Wright. At 14 years of age he bound as an apprentice until he was 21 to Thomas Dudley of Market Bosworth, where he learned the trade of a tin plate worker.
After learning the trade he went to Lemington in search of work but was not successful. He went to Birmingham, Warwickshire, where a Mr. Grey on Bradford Street gave him employment. However, business became slack and at the end of five months he was forced to seek work elsewhere. For two weeks he worked for Joseph Sanders on Leivery Street where he heard of an advertisement for a tin plate worker. The advertisement was by a Mr. Bent, who gave him work as a maker of gas meters. It was in the fall of 1840 that he started this work.
For lodging he was directed to an Inn owned by William and Rebecca Finch. On Halloween night he went to bed little dreaming what the superstitions and pranks of the night would mean to him. On this night, Jane Finch, daughter of the Innkeeper, and her girlfriend came home from a Halloween party and decided to find out who their future husbands would be. The superstition was that a young lady could blindfold herself, walk backwards to her bed, and the first man she saw afterwards was her future husband. Entering her room, Jane put on the blindfold and carefully walked backwards to her bed. Reaching it, she stretched out her hand toward the pillow and felt a mass of curly hair, which startled her so she screamed, arousing Joseph Argyle from a peaceful sleep in her room where he had gone by mistake. For once the superstition came true.
The following December on Christmas Eve, just two months from that eventful Halloween, Jane Finch married this tall lodger with the black curly hair, who had so innocently gone to sleep in her room.
Jane (Rebecca Jane) was born (christened) in Dudley, Staffordshire, England, February 29, 1824. Thus, she had an actual birthday only every four years. (Correction: She was born March 1, 1822 at Birmingham, Warwickshire, England. ) Through the marriage of Jane Finch and Joseph Argyle, twelve children were born: six boys and six girls.
It was through the death of William, their son, born February 21, 1849 and buried at the "New Church" in Birmingham, that they began to think seriously about religion. At this time of great sorrow, Joseph heard some Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints explain some of the principles of the gospel. They explained the hope one has for their dead which immediately interested him and his wife, and investigation followed which eventually led to his being baptized May 21, 1851 by Brother Baleston, and his wife on March 16, 1852 by Elder John Hayes, and started them on their journey to Zion.
After 16 years of working for Mr. Bent, they decided to go to America. On the 19th of March, 1856, they left their comfortable home in Birmingham, auctioning what things they could at a sacrifice. Jane stayed a while after the others had gone to the boat to collect some money and a few things that were left, and she nearly missed they boat. They set sail on Easter Sunday, March 23th, 1856, from Liverpool on the sailing vessel "Enoch Trane". This journey lasted for six weeks as the vessel depended on the ocean gales. At times the gales were so strong that the emigrants had many experiences. They thought many times they were lost and would be thrown overboard to be eaten by the whales which they saw swimming around their boat.
On April 30, 1856 the boat arrived at Boston. The Argyle family then traveled by way of New York to Tour City and on to Iowa City, the old camping ground for the Saints and emigrants going west. The family planned to travel with the first handcart company to Utah. All the pioneers became interested and wanted to do their bit making the necessary preparations. Most of them were poor and had no money with which to buy the lumber for their handcarts, so they had to gather and cut their own. As there was not time to wait for the wood to dry out and be well seasoned timber, they were compelled to use it green.
These carts consisted of two wheels with a framework covered with boards for a bottom. The framework extended in front with a crossbar, which was grasped by the one who pulled. The clothing and food were strapped onto the frame. Only 17 pounds of luggage were allowed each person. This was disappointing, for many had brought many personal belongings over the sea, which had to be discarded and left behind.
Joseph Argyle and family sold or gave away most of their belongings, such as clothing, feather beds, bedding and utensils. At the end of six weeks and three days, all were ready for the anticipated journey. It was the afternoon at 5 p.m. on June 9, 1856, that this happy group with Captain Edmund Ellsworth as their leader, started on their journey across the plains. This was the first handcart company to leave Iowa City for Zion.
This company consisted of 20 tents with four carts to the tent, one heavy cart and three lighter carts. There were 273 souls, of whom 33 gave up the trip and 12 died, leaving 228 of these sturdy pioneers who arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. Mr Argyle and his son Benjamin took the heavy cart, and his daughter Mary and son Joseph took one of the lighter carts for the tent. A captain was chosen over each tent. The rations were received and divided each night among the people. One pint of flour was given to each person every 24 hours. Mr. Argyle was chosen as the captain of his tent and acted as the father over his family.
The green wood used in making the carts could not bear the strain of the long journey over the heated plains. After the second day the axle or the thimble in the wheels of the carts were so thin that it gave them some trouble. As Mr. Argyle was a tinner by trade and had a box of heavy block tin along with him, Captain Ellsworth asked him to use up the tin and wrap the axle of each cart, which he did, each morning, noon and night, until the job was completed. From time to time the carts had to be repaired while making the trip.
There was a number of Scotch girls in the company who were merrymakers. These girls were always singing, laughing, telling jokes or doing something to make the journey seem more pleasant. The rest of the company were made happy and sang as they traveled. At night they would dance and sing.
Their favorite song was the "Hand Cart Song":
For some must push and some must pull Tune:
so mi re do ti do
As we go marching up the hill
mi fa fa mi re mi fa so
As merrily on the way we go
so la la do do do
Until we reach the Valley, Oh.
do re re so la ti do do do
The people traveled from fifteen to twenty- five miles a day. After traveling about four hundred miles, they came to the Missouri River which they crossed in steam ferry boats. They stayed in Florence on the west side of the river for eight or ten days. While they were there, the women and children gathered blackberries and sold them in Omaha.
Before starting on their journey again the people were compelled to go through their luggage and leave everything behind that they could possibly do without to lighten their load.
After they left Florence they came along very well. Joseph Sr. and Ben, who had permission from Mr. Ellsworth, did some hunting but weren't allowed to kill anything that was branded nor had a ribbon around its neck. A few days later three officers came into camp to find the man who had killed the elk which was tame. They remained in the camp for three days. During that time Mr. Argyle was forced to hide on the opposite side of the river. Members of the company smuggled food to him. The officers wanted fifty dollars for the elk but accepted twelve and went back.
They traveled on about three hundred miles farther when the four mule team wagon which had been hauling the provisions up to this time was sold or sent back and the flour was divided, putting 200 pounds on each heavy cart. The carts were already loaded, the heavy one with flour, tent, bedding and clothing, and the smaller one with some bedding, clothing and cooking utensils.
They continued on their journey. All that were able to push or pull did so and all that were not able to started on their way early in the morning with the company overtaking them on the way. They traveled on in this way wading streams, creeks, or rivers, whichever they happened to come to. Women and children who were not able to wade were carried across by their husbands or someone who would volunteer to take them over.
They finally came to a very deep river, the Loop Ferry Fork, which they ferried across. It was just 5 o'clock when they had all got over, but the captain would not let them camp. He insisted upon going twelve miles farther to the next stream of water. They had gone about three miles when it began to thunder and lightning and the rain came down in torrents. They were on the prairie without tents. One old gentleman and his wife were struck and killed by the lightning and another old gentleman wandered away from the company in the dark and perished. It was between 12 and 1 o'clock that night before they pulled into camp. They were all worn out and soaking wet. They stayed there to dry their clothes the next day, also to dry their bedding and to bury the dead.
Their two-year old baby girl was very sick and Mrs. Argyle carried her on a pillow in her apron for six or eight weeks expecting her to die at any time. But through the faith and prayers of the Saints she was made well and her life was spared. Mrs. Argyle walked the entire distance of 1400 miles except for one half of a day. It was after she had suffered from lack of food and exhaustion that she decided she could go no farther. Toward evening she fell behind the travelers, feeling she must lie down to die. She noticed a large hole in some rocks by the side of the road and crawled into it with her baby. When darkness appeared the wolves began howling, she became frightened and decided to continue her almost helpless struggle for life. Crawling out of the hole, she was making an attempt to catch the rest of the party when she was met by her husband who had gone back to find her.
They journeyed on. The women and children gathered buffalo chips all along the way to make fires with when they were camped.
The next river they came to was quite deep and one young dudish fellow of the company said he would give anyone a quarter who would carry him across. One big Scotch girl volunteered. He gave her the money and they started. When she got him into the center of the stream she sat him down in the water. He cried out: "You said you would carry me across". She replied, "And so I will. But I never said how many times I would rest before I got across."
Some days the traveling was very tiresome as there were strong hot winds as it was very dry and dusty. The road was very heavy for pushing and pulling caused through the deep sand; and they were sometimes very rough and hilly. Some days after traveling twenty-five miles through the hot, dry sand and wind with no water to quench their dry, parched throats, they would come to a camping ground where water was very scarce, only being able to get what they could by digging for it.
As they traveled everyone in the company was beginning to get tired, weary and foot-sore and hungry. The rations had been cut down to one half pint to each person, every twenty-four hours. Their clothing was beginning to look the worse for wear. They were getting thin and ragged, but still felt to trust in the Lord and trudged along their way, trying to be merry and singing the songs of Zion.
At night the company formed a circled with their carts and pitched their tents in the center.
Guards were placed on duty to guard the camp and animals. As they traveled along, it was heart-aching to see men, women and children so hungry that they would chew the flour sacks up like gum.
In spite of the novelty of the trip, they looked for pleasures and songs. They became very tired and missed good things, especially after rations became so low that they were always hungry, weary, and foot-sore, but still through their faith in this wonderful gospel, they were able to trudge along.
On September 4th when they were about three hundred miles from the Salt Lake Valley, it was very heavy pulling, owing to the dust and heavy wind. The weather changed and it became very cold and began to rain. It continued for several hours and they were unable to even light a fire. Finally, the rain turned to snow. With their wet clothing, no fire and very little food, it made it very disagreeable and uncomfortable for these poor people.
On the twenty-fifth of September they traveled twenty-five miles crossing the canyon eleven times. The road was rough. They crossed the Big Mountain in two hours and fifty minutes. Then at the foot of Little Mountain they were met by a wagon of provisions which were thankfully received as their' s were rather short.
The next day while they were still in what is now known as Emigration Canyon and about eight miles from Salt Lake, they were met by President Brigham Young, his counselor, the Nauvoo brass band and a great many others. When Brigham Young saw the destitute condition of the people, who were so tired, hungry and almost without clothing, he felt very bad and shed tears of sorrow.
They journeyed on and arrived in Salt Lake the afternoon of September 26, 1856 and camped on the ground where the beautiful West Side High School now stands. They were gladly received in the city with plenty of provisions and welcoming hands.
Mr. Argyle and his wife, Jane, and children, Joseph, Benjamin, Mary Ann, Fanny, Lorenzo, and Priscilla, were met here by Brother Israel Barlow Sr. He was the man who persuaded them to take the journey across the plains with the Hand Cart Company, promising them in the name of the Lord that if they would, their family would all reach Zion in safety, which was literally fulfilled. For this blessing the family felt to thank their Father in Heaven many times.
The family, with the exception of Joseph Jr. (who went to work for Mr. Barlow of Bountiful),stayed with Mrs. Argyle's parents, William and Rebecca Woodall Finch, who had preceded them to Zion. About six weeks after their arrival a son, Hyrum, was born to the Argyle family.
On February 11, 1857 they went to Bountiful City, Davis County, and rented an old log house from Bishop Stoker (which rent he would not accept). He proved to be a very dear friend. Later, Mr. Argyle owned the property where this house stood. Joseph Jr. went to live with his parents because Brother Barlow was unable to pay him for his work.
They were all destitute for clothes. Both Mr. and Mrs. Argyle made several trips to Salt Lake walking there and back, trying to get them something to wear, but were unsuccessful and downhearted. But one day as they were returning home they found an extra large new wagon cover which pleased them very much. Thinking at first it was sent to them by providence, they gathered it up and started on their way rejoicing. He had only gone a short distance when he turned to his wife and said, "Jane, I believe this was sent to try me; I shall carry it to the Bishop in the morning," and she replied, "I'll 'bishop' it when I get home and take the scissors into it". She made Ben and Joseph each a pair of pants, Mary and Fanny each a dress and two bed ticks. There seemed to be no end to this cover.
Mr. and Mrs. Argyle were always charitable and kind to those less fortunate. Many times Mrs. Argyle was seen carrying food and clothing to the neighbors and strangers who came among them. At one time when a destitute family came to Bountiful, Jane and her husband took a wagon and went around to the neighbors to see what they could donate to help make this family more comfortable.
Not only did she provide for their needs this way, but wherever there was sickness she was ever willing and ready to serve. As a girl in England, Jane had learned the nurses profession which proved to be of much value to her during her life. She served as one of the first midwives of Bountiful. While she did not make a practice of going out as a nurse, she often served where other help could not be obtained. Many a home was made happy through her untiring efforts during some severe illness. Mothers and babies lives have
been saved through her administering and care. One instance is told of her saving the lives of a Farmington woman and her baby. The woman was unable to get the anticipated help that was needed and the folks were desperate. It was on a cold, blizzardy, dark night that a man on horseback awakened Mrs. Argyle and plead with her to come help his dying wife. She made the necessary preparations and the next moment she and the man were riding the horse at a breakneck speed going through a blinding storm.
They arrived cold and wet and were met at the door with the words, "You're too late". All hope for recovery had fled, but through prayer and her faithful and untiring work their lives were spared. Whenever she was called on in cases of sickness, she responded cheerfully. She was always happiest doing others a kindness.
Many people spoke of her as an angel of mercy because of the service rendered. All the children loved her. The young folk made her home a gathering place and many a happy hour was spent there. Among the poor and her associates, her acts of kindness and charity will ever be a living monument to her loving and noble character.
The first spring and summer, Mr. Argyle and his son spent a great deal of time grubbing out a willow patch for J. B. Noble for which they were to have the use of the land for three years. At odd times, Mr. Argyle went from house to house tinkering (that is soldering and mending utensils), and as pay, received food, clothing, and other necessary articles which he took home in a push cart. Through this they managed to get enough to make a living.
On November 2, 1857 he was called to attend military duty and started with the Brethren to go to Echo Canyon. They expected to meet the U. S. Army which was sent by President James Buchanan to appoint a new governor of the state and also to suppress the saints.
The saints refused to let the army enter the territory and they took up their winter quarters at Fort Bridger. He was released to return home and arrived there December 3rd.
In the spring of 1858, Johnston's Army came to Salt Lake. To prevent any trouble, President Young sent all the people from the north of Salt Lake country to the south, not knowing exactly where they were going or when they should return. They took as many provisions as possible with them and stacked straw around their houses so that if trouble should come or if the army tried to take the provisions that were left, the houses could be set afire. Joseph Jr. was one of the young men who was left in the city to start the fires, but no trouble came. They were permitted to return back to their homes on July 17th.
During the summer of 1859, Mr. Argyle and his son Joseph started making adobes at the old public adobe yard at the west side of Bountiful, making adobes for quite a number of houses built at that time. They also made some of the adobes for the Bountiful Tabernacle. They continued on at this work during the summer of 1860 and 1861.
Located near the old Willy corner about 1858, he had a small tin shop where he made and sold different utensils such as cups, etc. For three or four years, he kept his shop. As soon as he was able, Mr. Argyle bought a farm, 121 acres, in West Bountiful where he raised cattle and farm products. He also raised sugar cane. He was one of the first pioneers of this vicinity to make molasses. He bought a mill and the neighbors used to bring their cans of grain to his mill to be ground. Mrs. Argyle took care of the milk and chickens and sold her butter and eggs to the neighbors.
They did not rear their family without some severe sicknesses, and their Heavenly Father blessed them to the extent that they were permitted to bring up to maturity their children with the exception of William. Those born to them after coming to Utah were Hyrum, Eliza Jane, Ann Finch, Frank Alma, and Mariah.
About ten years after their arrival in Utah, an incident occurred which is recorded by Mr. Argyle as follows: "I left my home in West Bountiful to go with my sons from Spanish Fork to their cattle ranch which lay in the direction of Green River. I went in my buggy. When I got to Spanish Fork, there was an Old Welch Brother who asked if I would let him ride with me as far as P.V. Junction and I told him "yes", our way being through Spanish Fork Canyon. I believe about 25 miles after we had passed the summit and going down on to the other side there were several springs. I think the first we came to, was a bad mud hole and I saw that people had turned out of the road and gone below to miss the mud hole. I turned out also, and in going down a little hill the tongue of my buggy came down and my son Ben was near by and he came and he fixed it. Then I turned to go across the creek and just as I got to the narrow ditch my son said to me, "You had better come and cross here," which was a little higher up but I was so near the ditch at the time that I could not stop my team. They went in and it was very deep and narrow. When the front wheels went in, the springs threw me up in the air and I fell on my neck and shoulders. The Brother who was with me held to the spring seat but I had the lines in one hand and a stick in the other. My son ran and picked me up and he knelt down and got me on his knee for a while. I said to him, I thought my neck was broken but I did manage to move my neck. Then I said, "Well then my back must be broken," for I could not stir.
After a while he asked me if I thought he could get me in the buggy. He said in about a half-mile we would meet up with the boys. Well, they got me in the buggy and we started on the way. I asked the Brother that was with me if he could see the boys anywhere. As I could not stir and suffering with pain, he said he could not see them. Anyway, we reached the place and met with the boys and I had made up my mind to be administered to and thought they should get me out of the buggy. They did so and set me on a sack of flour which they had with them. I told my two oldest boys which held the priesthood that I wanted them in connection with the Welch Brother to administer to me and I wanted the Welch Brother to be the mouth. "Well," said he, "we have not oil." I told him I did not care, I wanted to be healed. Then he said he could not speak in English. I told him I did not care what language he spoke in. I wanted to be healed. I then could not stir, neither my arms nor my neck. They laid their hands on my head and the Brother spoke in Welch and all I knew he said was 'Amen' but while their hands were on my head, I felt a power go through me like electricity and I knew that I was healed. I jumped up and threw up my arms and threw my neck around and said, "Thank God, I am healed." I was restored right there feeling the pain and stiffness leaving me. I then said, "I thank God that I had come," and said, "This is a testimony to you of the power of God which you have seen made manifest, and another to the many which I have." We had dinner and I went on my way rejoicing.
He fulfilled three missions, one to England, (in which it took 16 days to cross the ocean, quite different from his first voyage here of 39 days), from May 13, 1870 to the fall of 1871, and two to the Southern States, laboring in Tennessee from November 19, 1876 to October 1877, and from November 19, 1878 to December 23, 1879. He received his calls to go on his missions while at the General Conference at Salt Lake City, Utah. While in his service, he and his companion saw the work of the Lord progress, baptizing 43 saints, 12 in England and 31 in Tennessee. He saw the power of God in healing the sick. Again from his diary we quote an instance which occurred in Tennessee: "Sister Sally Moore was so very sick that they did not expect her to live until morning. A young man named Thomas Coleman was sent after the Elders. He was on one side of the river and we Elders on the other. When we received the message we were unable to go as we had an appointment to hold a meeting that evening. We said we would go the next morning. Thomas Coleman assured us that she would be dead by that time. But we told him to tell her that everything would be all right with her. After leaving him, we went to a lonely place in a bunch of red cedars and then knelt down and prayed to the Lord in her behalf and asked Him to stay the disease that was then preying upon her system. I prayed first and then Brother Sharp. When we arose from our knees, I told Brother Sharp to look at his watch and see the time and I would look at mine and we will see what transpires for I knew that she would be restored, yet neither of us had seen her. The next morning we went over to see Sister Sally Moore. We found on inquiry that she was much better and the change had taken place when we had prayed for her. When we left her the next day, she was apparently well."
Mr. Argyle also said concerning his wife: "Sometime in the year of 1882, my wife Jane Argyle was taken sick with a disease which took away her appetite and she continued all the time to get worse. She was administered to every opportunity by the servants of God and was baptized by them for the restoration of her health, but all seemed to fail although with very few exceptions they predicted that she should recover and again become healthy and strong, still she continued to grow worse. She went with me to the Logan Temple and was again baptized for her health and was anointed with oil and the prediction was that she should become healthy and strong, but still continued to get worse. No one could tell her suffering but herself. She became a poor creature, a complete skeleton, and it seemed as if she could not live to satisfy the feelings of some people and also some of my own family. I knew I had to get medical advice and all together I had fourteen different doctors and the most skillful doctors said that it was impossible for her to live and there was not one of them that knew anything about the nature of the disease. I got her to Salt Lake City to be examined by supposed-to-be very skillful doctors and they said she could not live."
"At the same time one Brother Patison and Sister Piper came to my house and said they had heard that Sister Argyle was very sick and they had come to administer to her. I told them that I was very sorry but Sister Argyle was in Salt Lake City. But I told them that I would make arrangements with them, when it would be convenient for her to go to be administered to. I did this October 2", Tuesday, and on Wednesday, October 3, 1888. She went and was anointed all over by Sister Piper with holy oil and then Brother Patison with Sister Piper laid their hands upon her and confirmed the holy anointing and the Lord heard their prayers and had respect unto the same and she was healed by the power of God right there and she came away from Sister Piper rejoicing and giving God the glory for His blessings bestowed upon her. She was quite perfectly well for sometime after. But she exposed herself too much and brought the disease back with the greatest of suffering and she continued to weaken down till she passed away on Saturday morning at a quarter to eight o'clock on February 22, and was buried February 27, 1890 in East Bountiful Cemetery. After her death I had a physician, for satisfaction to myself, have her opened and found the coating was all gone from her stomach."
After Mrs. Argyle's death, Mr. Argyle married her sister Ann Finch (Wessen) who had come from England.
On July 30, 1894, he was set apart to return to England to do research work in genealogy. After a twelve day journey across the water on the steamship Ethiopia, a vessel 600 feet long, he arrived in London. After traveling around obtaining all the records possible, he met his wife who had previously gone to England to visit relatives and they prepared to return home.
They had a very stormy voyage, and Mr. Argyle had the misfortune of being thrown against the side of the vessel which resulted in a fractured rib. On Thursday, October 1, they arrived in Salt Lake. From the time he left home until his return, he traveled 13,000 miles. This stormy voyage brought to his mind a promise that was made to him if he was faithful. When on February 14, 1857, Elder McBride ordained him into the 26' Quorum of Seventies, he promised him that he should go to the earth and should have power over the winds and waves and cause them to stand still when on the seas.
Many times while bearing his testimony he told of its fulfillment. He told of the goodness of his Heavenly Father to him and of the many times his prayers had been answered. He also testified that he knew Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.
Mr. Argyle had been a successful farmer, a good citizen and businessman. So at the age of 78, he decided to sell his farm. He bought 1/2 acre on the north side of the Harvey Perkins property in West Bountiful. Here he built a nice modern home and spent the remaining years of his life there.
At Quarterly Conference held in Centerville, June 23, 1901, he was ordained Patriarch of the Davis Stake by President Joseph F. Smith. After an illness of pneumonia of about ten days, Mr. Argyle passed away on September 26, 1905, and was buried in the Bountiful Cemetery.
The older residents of Bountiful who were acquainted with Mr. Joseph Argyle and Jane Finch Argyle bear testimony of their loyalty to their gospel and as a citizen, their love for their children, their charity and kindness to all associates and their untiring efforts to serve and help others.
#298431 Crossing the Plans Index, and Crossing the Ocean Index
Argyle, Joseph 37
Jane 33 Wife
Joseph Jr. 14 Son
Benajmin 12 Son
Mary 10 Daughter
Frances 5 Daughter
Lorenzo 3 Son
Priscilla 1 Daughter
1856, sailed on ship "Enoch Train". Brit. Miss., Mar 22,p.16
1856(June 9) crossed plains in Capt. Edmund Ellsworth's Handcart Company,
J.H. Sept.26 1856,p.27