THE NAY FAMILY IN UTAH AND THE WEST
WILLIAM EDWIN NAY
by Grace T. Utley
illiam Edwin Nay was born August 31, 1838 in Antrim, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire to goodly parents, John Nay, Jr. and Thirza Angelina Hale.
He inherited a lineage of ancestors with sterling qualities. From the book, “The Genealogy of the Nay Family,” we find that his ancestors were noted for being patriotic, actively religious, faithful husbands, loving fathers, advocates for education, and public spirited. This is quite a lineage!
The book, “History of Peterborough,” states that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was well organized in the Hillsborough County area in April 1832. Two notable missionaries, Orson Pratt and Lyman Johnson, were having great success converting people to the gospel during that period of time.
The John Nay Jr. family readily accepted the gospel, an indication of their faithfulness in the pre-existence and their harmony with the Master’s plan. How their hearts and spirits must have leaped for joy as the Holy Ghost manifested the truthfulness of the gospel to them.
When the call came to go west, John, Thirza, and their children responded. With unwavering faith, stamina, courage, willingness to sacrifice, and with an undying love of the gospel, they prepared to go.
William Edwin crossed the plains with his parents in the Captain Allen Weeks Company. The journey must have been an arduous one with unusual discomforts, hardships and sacrifices. How proudly William Edwin, a lad of about 14, must have assumed some of the responsibilities for tending cattle, driving oxen, watching over the younger ones, gathering firewood, carrying water and taking his place among the men of the company.
They arrived in Great Salt Lake Valley on October 12, 1852, and eventually settled in Dixie, in Southern Utah. In a land of awesome red cliffs pointing fingers to the blue, blue skies, and a lazy Virgin River meandering through verdant valleys, we find William Edwin. Now, William is an almond eyed handsome young 21_year_old with plenty of charisma. Living in the same area were two petite, slightly flirtatious, lovely sisters named Nancy and Mary. The sisters were about 12 and 18 years old respectively, but standing tippy toe and wide-eyed on the threshold of life. Something was bound to happen, and it did. The charismatic personality of William must have been persuasive because both young girls seemed to adore him and he probably enchanted both of them.
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