THE NAY FAMILY IN UTAH AND THE WEST
The large army unit totaling over 5000 people and 3000 head of livestock entered the Salt Lake Valley June 27, 1857. The city was virtually vacant. In planning for the arrival of the troops, President Brigham Young and other Church leaders conceived a plan to vacate the cities north of Lehi, Utah, and move everyone to the south. A few men stationed in the cities and towns had orders to set the town afire if the army stopped. When the Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston’s army marched out of Emigration Canyon and down South Temple, they were greeted by a deserted ghost town. All the rhetoric and posturing by the government, the army and the Church seemed to have worked. The army marched through Salt Lake City with strict orders to not fire a shot. The army settled the first night on the banks of the Jordan River, and within days moved south to Cedar Valley where they began setting up Camp Floyd near Fairfield, Utah-just 4 miles from John & Thirza’s Cedar Fort home. The history of this “military city” is replete with numerous incidents occurring between the local citizen-saints and the U. S. Army. Two such incidents seem to have greatly impacted the lives of the Nay family.
In the fall of 1858, a manuscript account at the LDS Church Archives indicates Thirza left John and was married to James Haven. Haven was a soldier with “I” Company, 10th Infantry Regiment of Johnston’s Army stationed at nearby Camp Floyd. The manuscript, copied verbatim from the original and dated November 23, 1858, reads as follows:
A barefaced case of Abduction has been perpetrated in Cedar
Valley in this Territory, a few weeks ago. We have seldom heard
of such impudent Proceedings, and never had to record anything
so daring or having occurred since our settlement.
A corporal in the Army 10th Regt. of Infantry, named
James Haven, stationed at Camp Floyd, got introduced to
the family of Mr. John Nay, North Cedar Fort, and a too
familiar intimacy grew between the corporal and Nay’s wife.
n one occasion Mr. Nay seeing them walking out together,
in a mild manner forbade the soldier [rest of line blank]
his house, and told his wife to refrain from such improper
conduct. She left his home and family in company with her
paramour and on the 23rd or 24th ult they presented themselves
to be married at the office of Porter, Esq. a justice of the Peace at
Cedar Fort, within six miles of her place of residence,
She was represented to be a widow and the Justice not knowing her,
and the soldier showing, it is said, that he obtained leave from his superior officers, they went accordingly through the form of marriage.
The corporal, we understand, is about 26 years old, and the woman
45 years. What is singular in the affair is, that she has been married
to Mr. Nay 26 years, and has borne to him 10 children, 8 of
whom are living. They have always lived in the greatest harmony,
never having had any domestic quarrels to mar their joys during
the long period they were associated together. Mr. Nay seems to
take the matter like a Philosopher, not even attempting to punish
the offender, but letting the sure accuser of conscience gnaw their hearts.
In some states it is said to be dangerous to fall in love with
another man’s wife, for it is certain death the first year.
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