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Albert Knapp (1825-1864) Rozina Shepard Knapp Francis Hyer (1829-1882)
Albert Knapp was born July 10, 1825 in Antworp, Jefferson, New York to Silas and Lydia Knapp. As a young man he joined the frontiersmen on the westward march. It was not long until he was baptized into the Latter Day Saints Church at age 20 (March 10, 1846). Albert experienced perils and persecutions in Illinois, Missouri and other newly settled states. While living in Council Bluffs, Iowa, he met and was strongly attracted by a young lady, Rozina Shepard, who later became his wife.
While preparing to move to Salt Lake City, Albert, upon the call of President Brigham Young shouldered his musket and joined the Mormon Battalion which served the U.S. in the Mexican War. He was patriotic and was willing to return good for evil. He was one of those valiant men who made his way over unmeasured wastes, unbridged rivers and desert lands, defending the flag of his country. Nor did he shrink from his tasks though weary many months. His named is engraved on a plaque by the Battalion Monument at the Utah State Capitol. The Battalion soldiers suffered many hardships before reaching San Diego, California late in January, 1847, traveling about 2000 miles.
When the Mexican War ended, he was mustered out in California. It was at the time of the California Gold Rush; he partook of the mining spirit and remained in California for a year or more. He did not forget his sweetheart whom he first met in Council Bluffs just before joining the Mormon Battalion. When he had earned enough money to go to Salt Lake City little time was lost in courting her. Albert Knapp and Rozina Shepard were married in Salt Lake City, January 7, 1849.
Shortly after their marriage they moved with the Shepards to Farmington, Davis, Utah, where Shepard Lane (I-15 freeway exit north of Lagoon) and Shepard Canyon were named for the family. They lived there for about 12 years and engaged in farming. They were thrifty and comparatively quite well to do. His standing among his associates was very good. He was kind, generous and always willing to pay his full share with those with whom he worked. He loved his wife and family and they loved him. Their children were Azilka Retina, Lydia Malinda, Sarah Armina, Silas Albert, Justin Abraham, and Morgan Alonzo. Willis Knapp was the only child of Judith Ovitt Knapp, the second wife of Albert Knapp. There was always a kindly affection between Willis Knapp and his half brothers and sisters.
Albert Knapp accepted many church callings. He was president of his Teacher's quorum. He left Farmington twice to fill two year missions among the Indians on the Colorado River at Las Vegas. At the time of the Echo Canyon War, he was a soldier in defense of their lives and property. Under the advice of the church leaders, he moved his family southward.
In Farmington he was awakened at night by a fire on his shed which was burned along with several cattle and sheep. Three times the house caught on fire, and three times it was put out. But sadly, as this story continues, in six weeks he saw his home for the last time. His thoughts of poverty and wealth led him again to be a miner. He resolved to work his way to California via Las Vegas.
He desired to take his family or at least part of the family with him but times were too hazardous. They loved him as a father and husband but decided to remain with the church and the religion for which the Shepard family had crossed the plains. The night of parting was very dark and sadly real. After tendering each member of the family a parting kiss, he rode away on horseback into night's darkness never to see any of them again.
Since the oldest child died at the age of three months, Malinda, as next oldest, seemed to be Albert’s favorite; he sent loving and enticing letters to her. He wanted her to live with him and promised her a first class education if she would. Perhaps the reason he did not write to his wife instead of to Malinda was because Malinda refused to go with him on his westward journey. She followed the advice of her church leaders and remained in Utah. Some time later a strange man came from the west, perhaps from California and offered the mother $500 if she would give up the daughter and let her be taken to her father. He said her father was wealthy and that more money would be given Malinda when she began to live with her father. She would have all the comforts of life and grow up in a land of plenty. These earthly offers were insufficient to procure the consent of mother and child. It was strongly believed that men were hired to lie in the neighborhood secretly to ****** the child away. For months the child was kept in the house and not allowed to go out to play with other children.
A long letter sent to his son Morgan told of the sorrows of his westward journey, of how he had almost perished before finding a mine which made him relatively wealthy. He and John Hess discovered the first gold and silver leads in Eldorado Canyon. They formed a mining company which was financially successful. After being in California for about two years, Albert was kicked by a mule and was unable to work until he died about a year later in 1864 at the home of his sister Amelia Knapp Elmore in Sinole, Alameda, California. He buried in the village church yard in Centerville, Alameda County.
Notes on Rozina Shepard Knapp Francis Hyer
Rozina was born January 21, 1829 in Denmark, Lewis, New York to Isaac and Sarah Shepard. She joined the church in 1843 and with the saints passed through consider¬able trouble in the eastern states. She left the East with her family who spent three or four years working their way out to Utah, arriving in the autumn of 1848. According to her father's statement they left Rodman, New York by team to Sackett's Harbor; took boat on Lake Ontario through Welling Canal, Lake Erie to Cleve¬land, Ohio; remained there about a year, left by team for Nauvoo, Illinois; remained there about one month, then left for Lee County, Iowa; remained there for about two and one-half years to get means to continue our journey to Salt Lake City; left by team Lee County for Council Bluffs where we wintered at Davis Camp. At this time the Saints were called on for the battalion. The following spring we went to Linden, Missouri, where mother died. The following spring we left by team for Winter Quarters, the same spring with Lorenzo Snow's Company for Salt Lake City; this was in the year 1848, arrived in Salt Lake City in the fall of 1848, remained over winter here and then moved to Farmington in the spring of 1849.
At Council Bluffs she bad farewell for a time to her sweetheart who enlisted with the Mormon Battalion to serve his country (probably July 22, 1846). She lived in hopes of meeting him again after the war was over. She proved to be sincerely converted to the faith of the Latter Day Saints and lived a life above reproach. Her faith, integrity and patience grew even stronger during her nine months journey across the plains from Council Bluffs to Salt Lake City.
She married Albert Knapp in Salt Lake City January 7, 1849 and moved to Farmington where she lived with him for 12 years and bore him six children. Rozina and Albert were divorced after he left the family for California. She married Frederick Nelson Francis by whom she bore Rozina Adelaide who died when ten months old. She finally married Christian Hyer by whom she bore Ezra Taft and Ester Jane. Rozina died in Richmond, Cache, Utah October 24, 1882.
Charles Henry Skidmore, grandson of Albert and Rozina paid the following tribute:
Rozina Shepard thus lived to be a great woman, which is evidenced by the success of her posterity. Her early experiences in working her way out to Utah, her faithfulness in following the counsel of the leaders of her church and her abiding love and care for her children and grandchildren were seldom, if ever, excelled by any mother. The spot where Rozina Shepard Hyer was buried in the Richmond cemetery is a sacred spot because of her outstanding life's work. It should be well marked and well kept and frequently visited by her kindred who come after her, who are in search of truth and righteousness.
Shortly before his death, Albert Knapp wrote the following letter to his favorite daughter, Malinda:
Dear daughter (Malinda): December 11, 1863
I received you kind letter last Saturday while on my way to the city on business. It found me in better health than I have been since last January, the cause I will tell you before I get through.
I saw Survina and John. She and little Johnny were well but his father had been very sick, but he was getting better. They have plenty to eat and wear.
You say you are all well and going to school and step-father is kind to you. I tell you I was truly glad to hear of that and to get those little tender lines written by my own daughter's hand. I want you to write as often as you can and I will answer.
You say I have forgotten the ear rings I promised you and Armina (mother-ask Rozina). Have you forgotten the coledonias I sent by Hiram Judd to make sets of to put in them? If you have kept them till I see you, I will perform my promise.
Bishop Hess and Lott Smith promised me before I left home that my family should not suffer while I was gone.
Your mother worked very hard and I will tell you a little of what I was doing. I was prospecting for money to send to you and to help myself with. I was traveling the first summer after I left home amongst the Indians (savage) where my life was in danger all the time and many days I had to go hungry and without water to drink and traveling over those hot deserts and sometimes I would get a rabbit and sometimes I wouldn't.
Thus I passed off the time when John Hess and I discovered the first gold and silver leads in Eldorado Canyon. We located leads for ourselves and others and formed a company so as to get enough means together to prospect and prove our leads so that men of money would buy our claims and give us money so we would have enough to help ourselves with and get machinery to get out the money with. Thus I worked the next summer from 14 to 16 hours a day and I wrote your mother every opportunity and told her if she could get along a couple of years longer we would have plenty.
And while I was riding to gather grass for the mules I received a private injury that will last me as long as I live, and I have not done a days work in the past year.
One year ago on the 8th of this month, I sold Levi Parsons $2500 worth of mining ground and started with him to San Francisco to get my money and to send for my family.
Kind Providence has seen fit to lead me to its treasury and I am now in possession of means to help myself and children. I have got it by hard licks the same as I have always got my living and I intend to enjoy some of it myself. When my children can see fit to come live with me they can help me enjoy it, while I live and after I am gone. Tell Silas I am glad he is mindful of his father. O I wish I could see you and talk with you.
If you were here I could give you a better education than it is possible to get there. There are many young ladies here of your age and older that have a good education in both reading, writing and music. They can sit down and take the accordion or the piano and entertain guests, and they can have an agreeable time together with everything else around them to make them happy. O, my children I can not explain to you the beauties of this country and climate. It is raining a slight mist and it is warm and the grain is just beginning to start and people are beginning to plow.
I do not know you will believe the half I have written so I will quit. So, goodbye, children. Write, I want to hear from you all. Malinda will write for you.
Signed, Albert Knapp
The above history was compiled by Lyman W. Condie, Jr., second great-grandson of Albert and Rozina Knapp. The information was taken from notes compiled by Charles Henry Skidmore who interviewed several of his aunts and uncles who were the children of Albert and Rozina. For more information, contact Lyman Condie, 198 Lakeview Drive, Stansbury Park, Utah 84074.