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Charles Davids Barnum

Question: What challenge did Charles D. Barnum face as he returned to Winter Quarters after going West with Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company in July 1847?

Answer: Charles Davids Barnum, one of the original pioneers of Utah, was born May 9, 1800 near Brockville, Leeds County, Canada, to Jabez Barnum and Esther Davids. Charles married Polly Beach on October 13, 1831 in Leeds, Ontario, Canada. They had five children, but two died as babies.

Charles was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by John E Page in July 1836. His wife, Polly, was born in Indiana, and she and her family didn’t seem to share in Charles’ testimony of the Gospel. Charles moved to Nauvoo about 1839, where he quarried rock for the Temple. He was also an excellent carpenter. Charles was a member of the 6th Quorum of the Seventies. He lived in Nauvoo until they were forced out in 1846.

Charles married Nancy Kittle on December 1, 1846 at Winter Quarters in polygamy. In the spring of 1847 Charles, at age 46, was asked to be part of Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company. He was part of the 50 men selected to be part of the night guard for the company. He was one of the “older’ men in the Company.

After arriving at the Great Salt Lake Valley, the men started plowing and planting seeds they had brought with them. As provisions for the group were scarce, it was decided to send some of the advance party back for their families. Charles was one of the men assigned to return to Winter Quarters. When he got to Winter Quarters to prepare his family to move west to the Salt Lake Valley, his first wife, Polly, refused to go west and returned to her family in Porter, Indiana with their two living children. Their fourteen-year-old daughter, Mary, died February 22, 1849.

Charles and his second wife, Nancy, immigrated to Utah in the summer of 1850, with their two little ones, in the William Snow/Joseph Young Company. Their little baby daughter, Fanny, died six days after they started west. After arriving in Salt Lake, Charles served as a counselor in the bishopric of the Salt Lake City 15th Ward. Nancy died in July 1858, at the age of 36, about nine months after giving birth to their sixth child, Enoch, who died in April 1858.

In 1880, Charles was living with his daughter, Cora, and her family in Salt Lake City. He died September 9, 1894 at age 94. He was the father of eleven children, only four of whom survived him. He was buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.

Source: : LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Vol 4, p 694,;

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