THE NAY FAMILY IN UTAH AND THE WEST
Often these women were left alone from short to much longer periods of time while their husbands were abroad at work, on missions or other church and community assignments. Such was the life of Matilda Ellen, first at Cedar Fort following her marriage, and then to other areas.
Lysander Dayton’s history will provide some insight as to Matilda Ellen’s life following her marriage. The Hiram Dayton Family was converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Parkman, Ohio. Immediate persecution from the citizens of that area drove them to Kirtland. From there they went to Davies County Missouri, and from there they were driven by mob action to Far West Missouri, to Nauvoo, Illinois and from there to Utah.
Hiram Dayton and his family were always hard working and enterprising, obtaining properties and prospering wherever they were. While in Far West Hiram was hauling wood. Through heavy exertion he fell with intense pain. This pain he endured for eleven weeks. A doctor was finally obtained who diagnosed the ailment as “theatic rheumatism.” Until it finally broke and discharged, Lysander provided for the family as a teamster and freighter.
In early April 1839 all had to leave Missouri or to be exterminated. Hiram was still ill and very weak. Much of the responsibility then fell to Lysander for both the movement and providing for the family which was destitute. One night Lysander, with great danger, returned to their corn fields. Two bushels were ground out in the Far West Mill late at night to provide food for the family.
With the other penniless and destitute families, they moved to Quincy, Illinois and two weeks later to Nauvoo where Hiram was able to recover. Lysander and his father, with their innate enterprise, began to acquire lots within the city and farm land in several areas of Hancock County. Here they helped build up the city and worked on the construction of the temple until threatening mobs again gathered, forcing the Dayton family together with the other Nauvoo inhabitants to flee across the Mississippi River to Iowa, again to suffer on the journey through Iowa, and again at Winter Quarters.
While the family was at Winter Quarters, Lysander was employed by the U.S. Government to furnish mules and horses to the Army. He was well-prepared for this duty through working with his father, a successful past dealer in horses.
Hiram was assigned to remain in Winter Quarters to assist in the building of the mill and mill race in what is now Florence, Nebraska, where its reconstruction still stands. Lysander went to Utah prior to his family’s trek.
In the spring of 1848 Lysander served with General Wilson to Fort Hall, Idaho transporting settler’s supplies. He was later placed in charge of the Army Quartermaster mail.
After the Florence Mill was completed, the Dayton family went to Utah in the summer of l849 and was assigned to settle in Cedar Fort, Utah. When Johnston’s army marched through Northern Utah and moved a short distance south of Cedar Fort to establish Camp Floyd, Lysander contracted with the army to furnish coal, timber and hay. It is ironic that when the army was recalled to the east, Lysander and others profited by buying the surplus goods at pennies on the dollar.
During the early years of their marriage, Lysander and Matilda lived at Cedar Fort, and then for a period at American Fork, Utah. It was while living there that Lysander was called to a four-year mission to St. George to help settle the Dixie area in Southern Utah.
During this period Lysander was called to serve a mission to the Moqui Indians in Arizona with the legendary Jacob Hamblin, leaving Matilda Ellen to the total care of her family. A daughter, Permelia, and a son, Arthur Eugene were born in St. George and died there in infancy, bringing great sorrow to the parents. At the conclusion of their mission they moved back to Cedar Fort where four more surviving children were born.
In 1885 they decided to move to lands opening up for homestead in the Upper Snake River Valley at Wilford near present-day St. Anthony, Idaho. Some other family members also established homes and properties in the area, engaging in stock raising and farming.
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