THE NAY FAMILY IN UTAH AND THE WEST
In the mid 1850s, a period of reformation swept through the Church wherein leaders preached reform and recommitment to gospel principles. Mass rebaptisms resulted in this renewed religious fervor. John and Thirza were rebaptized in the Cedar Fort Ward on July 27, 1855. Many members also consecrated their personal property to the Church as a sign of their recommitment. John’s consecration deed, recorded in Utah County land records, reads as follows:
Be it known by these presents that I John Nay, of Stone City in the county of Utah, and Territory of Utah, for and in consideration of the good will which I have to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, give and convey unto Brigham Young, Trustee in Trust for said Church his successors in office and assigns all my claim to and ownership of the following described property, to wit
Lot 3 in Block 20 containing 20 acres in the Cedar Valley or Stone City survey of farming land in Utah County Utah Territory value 200.00
Also Lot 8 in Block 2 containing 4 acres in Cedar Valley Survey of Garden
Lots value 40.00
One yoke of oxen and wagon value 125.00 5 cows at $30 dollars each & 5 calves at $5 each value 175.00
2 yearlings at $20 each value 40.00
two sheep at $5 each 10.00
two swine at $8 each 16.00
Household furniture, beds, bedding, etc 55.00
Two cabins in the picket fort and my interest therein 75.00
Also my interest in the Stone Fort amounting to Eighty days labor 160.00
Farming utensils, etc. 30.00 Three guns & one cooking stove 100.00
Total amount one thousand & twenty six dollars 1026.00
together with all the rights privileges, and appurtinences, thereunto belonging or appertuining. I also covenant and agree that I am the lawful claimant and owner of said property, and will warrant and forever defend the same unto the said Trustee in Trust his successors in office and assigns against the claims of my heirs, assigns, or any person whomsoever.
/s/ John Nay
Edward R. Walker
Territory of Utah
County of Utah I Lucius N. Scovil probate clerk
of the afore said county do hereby certify that the signor
of the above transfer, personally known to me appeared this 26th
day of July A. D. 1855, and acknowledged that he of his own
choice executed the foregoing transfer.
Lucius N. Scovil Probate Clerk
As problems with Indians subsided, life in Cedar Fort mirrored that of similar settlements in the Utah Territory. With the passage of time, settlers built more substantial homes, put in crops and gardens, and improved their circumstances. John’s deed showed that things had improved considerably from the time he left Harris Grove with one wagon, four oxen and two cows. Now three years later, he was relatively wealthy in terms of possessions and provisions for his family-owning 24 acres of land, eleven head of livestock, household items, two cabins in the picket fort, and an interest of eighty days labor in the stone fort, three guns and a cooking stove.
That recommitment to gospel principles may have been sorely tested two years later when Utah residents learned that President James Buchanan was sending a large contingency of soldiers to the territory to put down the so-called war against federal authority by the Latter-day Saints. In reality, the “war” was emotional rhetoric on both sides debating Utah Territory’s request for statehood. Among other things, the practice of polygamy was at the head of the list of the emotionally charged debates. Because the saints refused to relinquish the practice and wanted to govern themselves, federal officials, with the endorsement of President Buchanan, sent the U. S. Army to the Rocky Mountains to do battle with the resistant Latter-day Saints. Much has been written about this segment of Utah history. While the details of the “Utah War” are not within the scope of this work, we can only wonder what the impact this had on the lives of the saints in general, and on the John Nay family in Cedar Fort in particular.
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