Eleanor Davidson Ellett and John James Ellott
Contributor: Tskjdb Created: 7 months ago Updated: 7 months ago
Compiled by Mildred Robison Stutz, great-granddaughter of Eleanor Davidson Ellett
(Written about 1997, Provo, Utah)
Eleanor Davidson Ellett Alexander was born in Middlesex, London, England on May 11, 1824. Her father was John Davidson and her mother was Sarah. They were workers in the textile mills of London. When Eleanor was sixteen years old she married John James Ellott on April 22, 1840. He was a "trimming maker" in the textile mills. John had been baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on March 4, 1840, just a few weeks before his marriage. Eleanor was not baptized until April 1850. Eleanor has been described as an unusually beautiful young woman with auburn hair and dark brown eyes.
On January 4, 1841, Eleanor gave birth to her first daughter. They named her Eleanor. She was to be their only child for fourteen years.
On January 4, 1851, the young family boarded the ship "Ellen" to go to America to join the Mormon saints who were gathering in the Salt Lake Valley. It was the tenth birthday of their daughter. They were able to pay for their passage. The captain of the ship was named Phillips. The address from which they left London was 41 Globe Rd., Green St., Bethnal Green, London.
After a stormy voyage of six weeks they landed in New Orleans. From there they went to St. Louis where a company of Saints were preparing for the trek west in the spring. Orson Pratt came along with a team and buggy and engaged John James to accompany him to Salt Lake as his driver. Since there would be a large number of Saints remaining in St. Louis, Eleanor and her daughter remained there for a year while John James went to the West. He borrowed from the Perpetual Immigration Fund to finance the last leg of the trip.
In Utah John James Ellett was assigned by President Young to go to Chalk Creek, which is the present site of Fillmore, Utah, to help Anson Call establish a gathering place for the Saints. While there, he obtained a mustang pony which he gentled until he could ride it with only a loop on its nose. As the time approached for his family to reach Utah, John decided he would ride out east of Salt Lake and meet his loved ones. When Eleanor and her daughter were approached by this stranger they could not believe it was the husband and father who had left them a year before. Because of the frontier life his hair was long and his clothing crude. He was riding this mustang with only a loop for a bridle, a folded quilt for a saddle and a rope for stirrups. He did not in the least look like the Englishman they had been expecting to see.
The family soon found themselves back in Fillmore where they lived in a community fort which had been built to protect the settlers from Indian attacks. Eleanor could not adapt to the life in this rugged, primitive area as well as John James did. She was used to living in the city where the streets were less muddy, homes more comfortable and friends and relatives nearby. Eleanor has been reported as being somewhat proud and vain, but if that were the case, she nevertheless did her best to adapt and she was true to the principles of her church. The greatest sorrow of her young life was that she did not have children as other women did.
When she learned of an Indian mother who had died leaving a little baby, she and John received permission from the Indian Chief to adopt the child. It was a little girl and considered of little worth to the Indians. In spite of the loving care they gave the child, she lived only a short time. It happened that Ezra T. Benson, an Apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was visiting in Fillmore and called on the sorrowing “mother.” He commended her for what she was doing and then gave her a blessing. He promised she would have other children to “comfort her in her old age.” This seemed like a strange promise since the only child Eleanor had ever had was now fourteen years old. This promise was fulfilled when sometime later Eleanor gave birth to a daughter and two years later to a son.
Sarah Ann Ellett was born October 29, 1855 and her brother John Davidson Ellett was born June 1, 1857. As they grew up they were almost inseparable. A few years later the oldest sister, Eleanor, married George Sweetser and moved to “the eastern plains.” She never forgot her little sister and brother and frequently send presents to them. One cherished gift was a beautiful accordion with ivory keys which became a rare addition to the music loving community. We have no more information concerning Eleanor Sweetser. She was obviously a warm, caring person and tradition speaks of her beauty.
Years of unhappiness took its toll in the marriage of John James and Eleanor. Near the time of young Eleanor’s marriage, John James and Eleanor were divorced. Both remarried within a short time. On October 15, 1861, Eleanor married John Alexander and was sealed to him on March 27, 1863. On November 11, 1861, John James married a young widow, Mary Turner Clarkston, who was already sealed to her first husband. They had ten children all of which were sealed to Mary’s first husband.
After a few years Eleanor and John Alexander were divorced and their sealing annulled. “Grandpa Alexander” married Mary Ann Basketville in 1881 and fathered one child.
Eleanor’s daughter, Sarah Ann Ellett married Willis Eugene Robison on July 8 1874; John Davidson Ellett married Jeanette Mcarthur. For a number of years Eleanor maintained a home of her own near the home of Sarah Ann and her family. As she grew older she moved into the Robison home where she lived out the rest of her life as an important and respected member of the family. Death came to Eleanor June 29, 1895. She was 76 years old. She was buried in the Loa, Utah Cemetery. Within six months she was joined in death by four of her young grandchildren.
John James Ellett died at age 76 and is buried in the Fremont Utah Cemetery.
An Incident in the Life of John James Ellett
Contributor: Tskjdb Created: 7 months ago Updated: 7 months ago
AN INCIDENT IN THE LIFE OF
JOHN JAMES ELLETT
PIONEER OF 1851
John James Ellett was born in England, December 29, 1820. He joined the church in 1840, and immigrated to Utah in 1851. He was a member of the Anson Call Company, who were the first settlers of Fillmore.
An incident in his life, during the early days of Fillmore, shows the true character of the man:
A prominent citizen of the community awoke one morning to find his milk cow lying dead in his yard. She had been killed by someone who, evidently, had used an ax to cut a deep gash in her side. The whole neighborhood became aroused and angered. Who could have done such a thing?
Soon it was discovered that the ax at Brother Ellett’s woodpile was covered with blood. He admitted ownership of the ax, but denied any knowledge of the killing of the cow. However, the circumstantial evidence was pretty strong and at a Bishop’s trial, he was convicted of the act, and instructed to pay for the cow, or be disfellowshipped from the Church. Still protesting his innocense and mindful of the great financial burden it would be for him, he agreed to pay.
His family argued that if he paid for the cow, he would be admitting guilt. But he said, “My Father in Heaven KNOWS I am not guilty, but if my brethren THINK I am, I must pay for the cow. I cannot let such a trivial thing stand between me and my membership in the Church.” So, he cleared up the obligation as fast as he could, and tried to forget it.
Sometime later, (about 1856) came what was known in the Church as the “Reformation”. President Brigham Young issued a call to all members to reform their lives, make right their wrongs, forgive each other, and in general try to do better. In response to this call, special meetings were held throughout the Church, for the purpose of giving people a chance to comply. Such a meeting was held in Fillmore, in which a man arose and said:
“I have been bearing a heavy load on my conscience for a long time, and now, in response to the call of President Brigham Young, I am going to relieve myself of this burden. It was I, not John Ellett who killed the cow which he had to pay for. She had been bothering me for some time, and this particular night I heard her at my swill barrel. I dressed hurriedly and went out to drive her away, just as she tipped the barrel over. This angered me still more, and as I chased her across Brother Ellett’s yard, I picked up his ax and hit her a real bow. Immediately I realized what I had done. And knew the cow would die. I returned quietly to my home, replacing the ax on Brother Ellett’s woodpile as I went. Until now, I have never had the courage to admit I was the guilty one. Now I want to ask his forgiveness and pay him for the cow.”
At this, Brother Ellett, who was in the audience, jumped to his feet and said, “I always knew I never killed that cow ” Testifying that his membership was worth more than the price of a cow.