THE NAY FAMILY IN UTAH AND THE WEST

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Exactly what happened to their family in those important developmental years of Joseph Brigham’s childhood has not been recorded in detail. The trials that his mother and father were undergoing during this time are explored more fully in the chapter concerning their lives. We do know that in 1860, he was motherless, being enumerated in Springville, Utah County as Joseph B., along with his father, older brothers William E. and John H. and his little brother, Ormas [sic]. Joseph Brigham was 13 at this time and listed as still attending school.[8]

In Springville Joseph Brigham must have crossed paths with another young Mormon pioneer, the girl he was to marry, Amanda Ellen Earl.[9] His family may have known her father, James Calvin Earl in Nauvoo since he, like John and Angelina Nay, was endowed in the last days of the Nauvoo Temple.[10] He also “passed through the persecutions of the Saints in Illinois and went into exile with his co-religionists in 1846.”[11] His path took a different turn however, when after “stopping temporarily at Mount Pisgah, Iowa, he enlisted in the Mormon Battalion July 10, 1847, and marched as far as Santa Fe, New Mexico, with the main body of the battalion; thence he was assigned to the sick detachment under Captain James Brown and spent the winter of 1846-1847 on the Arkansas river and arrived in the Great Salt Lake Valley on July 29, 1847, a few days after the arrival of the pioneers under President Brigham Young.”[12] After arriving in Salt Lake, James C. Earl married Mary Elizabeth Parsons, an early pioneer saint who had been orphaned while crossing the plains.[13] Their first daughter, Amanda Ellen, or “Manda” (named for her maternal grandmother), was born on the 15th of August in 1850 in Great Salt Lake City.[14]

Amanda E. was “blest” by Bishop Aaron Johnson on the 13 of September 1851 in Springville.[15] Just before her tenth birthday, she was baptized there (22 July 1860).[16] The Earl family with ten-year-old Manda E. was listed in the 1860 census of Springville.[17] We have no record of Manda and Joseph Brigham’s association at this time in their young lives, but it is likely that they knew each other. Before their marriage, however, they went separate ways for a time. Looking back, Amanda’s obituary reported that she was a member of an early colonization party into southern Utah and Nevada as a child.[18] This may have referred to the family’s move to Pine Valley, Utah sometime before 1869.

Amanda Ellen was endowed in the Endowment House and sealed there to Ezra Strong on the 12th of October in 1867.[19] She was 17 and if Ezra Strong was the same Ezra Strong later found in the 1870 Santaquin, Utah census, he was 47. He may have been already married, adding Manda to a polygamous family.[20] What happened to this first sealing of Amanda’s is unknown, but the family records[21] as well as early marriage records of Washington County[22]list the marriage of Joseph Brigham Nay and Amanda Ellen Earl on the 3rd of January 1869 in Pine Valley, Washington County, Utah. (Both the John Nay and the James Earl families had emigrated to Pine Valley, and Joseph Brigham had been re-baptized there on the 30th of August in 1868 at age 21.[23]) A record of sealings reveals the eternal solemnizing of Joseph Brigham Nay and Amanda Ellen Earl’s marriage on the11th of July 1870 at the Endowment House in Salt Lake City.[24]Joseph Brigham was also endowed at this time.[25] In 1871, three years later, Brigham’s younger brother, Ormus, and Manda’s younger sister, Louisa, were also married in Pine Valley. Joseph Brigham and Amanda Ellen acted as witnesses for this event that must have been very exciting to them.[26]

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