THE NAY FAMILY IN UTAH AND THE WEST
Corporal Haven was from Newport, New Hampshire, a town considerably west and north of Peterborough. He was enlisted in the U. S. Army May 9, 1855 in Concord, New Hampshire by Captain Jesse Gove for a term of five years, and was attached to the 10th Infantry, Company “I”. Haven re-enlisted for another five years with the army on March 9, 1860 at Camp Floyd, Utah. He was assigned to the same unit, but records show he deserted May 16, 1860, and was apprehended July 1860. He deserted again April 19, 1861, and research has failed to provide any additional information on him.  In spite of the title given to the above document, we can conclude that Thirza left on her own volition and was not really ‘abducted.’ Research has verified only 9 children born to Thirza-not 10 as stated above.
We can only speculate what prompted this turn of events in John and Thirza’s life. The patriarchal blessing given to Thirza on August 12, 1857 in Cedar Fort hints she would be called to live in polygamy, and there is some speculation this may have been her reason for leaving her family. In the Cedar Fort Ward records we read that Thirza was subsequently excommunicated from the LDS Church on December 21, 1858. Following this incident, it appears that little Angelina Relief went to live with her older sister, Matilda who was married to Lysander Dayton by then.
Things appeared to get worse for a time for John and his children. Life in Cedar Fort was affected by the large U. S. Army unit stationed nearby, and disputes over grazing rights between the Army and local citizens caused considerable problems. One such dispute occurred in March 1859. A young man named Howard Spencer was tending his uncle Daniel Spencer’s large herds in Utah’s west desert near Rush Valley. Sergeant Ralph Pike, leading a group of soldiers in the area, encountered young Spencer. An altercation erupted in which Pike and Spencer each served several blows. The Valley Tan newspaper reported that Spencer rushed the soldiers with a pitchfork, and in self-defense, Sgt. Pike struck Spencer in the head with the butt of his rifle, rendering him unconscious. Spencer recovered, and charges of attempted murder were filed against Pike.
Five months later in August 1859, the trial charging Sgt. Pike convened in Salt Lake City. During a break in the session, Pike and his associates were returning to their rooms nearby when young Spencer broke through the crowd and shot Pike. In the ensuing confusion, Spencer was surrounded by a group of people who allowed him to escape. Pike was taken to a nearby clinic where he was able to verify that it was indeed Howard Spencer who had shot him. Pike died soon thereafter. The next day when word reached Camp Floyd of Pike’s death, a group of soldiers vented their rage on the citizens of nearby Cedar Fort by setting hay stacks afire, and damaging property. The Mountaineer reported two young boys, “Alonzo Ney [sic] and John Cook, sounded the alarm of warning” and alerted residents of the fire. Fires were extinguished but considerable property was damaged.
Pursuant to this incident, thirteen residents of Cedar Fort filed a petition on November 23, 1859 with Utah Governor Alfred Cumming requesting reimbursement for damages to their property. John Nay, Jr., his son-in-law Lysander Dayton and Bishop Allen Weeks were among the thirteen signing the complaint. Property damage to the citizens totaled $5188, but research has been unable to determine if the claims of the Cedar Fort citizens were ever settled. It appears to be just another incident-among many-between local citizenry and the U. S. Army during the years of occupation in Utah.
Sometime in 1859 or 1860, John married Thankful Lucy Pine Packard. (See Chapter 10 on Thankful Lucy Pine.) However, the 1860 U. S. Federal census for Springville, Utah shows John living as a widower with four of his sons: John H[yrum], Jos[eph] B[righam], Ormus, and Wm E[dwin], with his daughter and son-in-law, Laura Ann and Charles Wesley Warren living next door. No date has been found for John’s marriage to Thankful, but her descendants agree it was some time in late 1859, even though the census was taken on September 4, 1860. A son, Myron Windslo Nay, was born to John and Thankful in Springville, Utah on August 22, 1860. (See Chapter 11 on Myron Windslo Nay.) Soon after the birth of this son, John and Thankful and their combined families moved to southern Utah. While no exact date is available for this move, they probably accompanied John’s daughter and son-in-law-Lysander and Matilda Dayton-who were called to the Southern Mission.
At the LDS General Conference in October 1861, Apostle George A. Smith read from the pulpit the names of over 300 heads of households called to the “Southern Mission.” In the decade prior to this call, a handful of Latter-day Saints had been called to the “Cotton Mission,” and to help settle the Virgin River basin of southwestern Utah. Cotton, grapes, and a wide variety of fruit and nut trees were suitable crops in the warm, mild climate, and the Virgin and Santa Clara Rivers provided water. As enticing as the area seemed, the settlers there were worn out from struggles with unrelenting heat, and the fickle Virgin River that either dried up or overflowed its banks and washed out the dams with some regularity. The struggling Cotton Mission was in need of reinforcements, and 300 families were called to help. One of the names read at conference was Lysander Dayton, then of American Fork, Utah. John’s name was not among those called, but circumstantial evidence indicates he and Thankful joined Lysander and Matilda in the move to the Southern Mission, or followed soon thereafter.
Within weeks of the surprise announcement, most of the families were prepared for the trek south. History tells us the majority of the group left the Salt Lake area the first week in November, and they began arriving at what is now the town of Washington, Utah the first few days of December.
A meeting of the camp was convened on Thursday, December 5, 1861 near the Virgin River and a Camp Council was formed to help govern the group. Lysander Dayton was one of the 12 men called to the Council. On Christmas Day, the new settlement was preparing to celebrate with a dance when it began to rain. And for the next 40 days, it rained the better part of every day. Surveying of the town, by now named St. George in honor of Apostle George A. Smith, was halted until the mud began to dry. In March 1862 with the surveying complete, lots were numbered and each family drew a number to receive their property. Lysander Dayton received the corner property at what is today on the southwest corner of the intersection of St. George Boulevard and 2nd West. The following summer, John’s youngest child, little Angeline Relief Nay-about eight years old–died of “fever”on June 16, 1862. Lysander & Matilda’s daughter, Permelia, was born April 11, 1863 and died on April 23, 1863. Two years later, the Dayton’s son, Arthur Eugene Dayton, died on January 26, 1865. All three children are buried next to each other in the St. George cemetery.
Apparently Lysander and Matilda stayed on in St. George for a time, but John and Thankful relocated with other families to Pine Valley, a small community 34 miles northwest of St George. (See Chapter 4 on Lysander and Matilda Dayton.)
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