Question: How old was James Calvin Earl when he enlisted in the Mormon Battalion in 1846?
Answer: James Calvin Earl was born March 27, 1822, in Logan county, Ohio, the son of Joseph and Dorcas Tabitha Earl. James was the youngest of nine children. James’ father died when James was just a few months old, and his mother died in September 1838 when James was sixteen years of age. His older brothers, Sylvester and Wilbur Joseph, became an important part of James’ life.
James was baptized Oct. 24, 1838, in Schuyler County, Illinois, by his older brother Sylvester H. Earl. They moved to Far West, Missouri but were soon forced out of that area and moved to Nauvoo, Illinois. Here the family endured more persecution, and in 1846 moved on to Iowa.
While stopping temporarily at Mount Pisgah, Iowa, James, age 25, enlisted in the Mormon Battalion on July 10, 1847, and marched as far as Santa Fe, New Mexico, with the main body of the Battalion. He became ill and was assigned to the Sick Detachment under Captain James Brown and spent the winter of 1846-1847 in Pueblo, Colorado. The Sick Detachment arrived in the Great Salt Lake Valley on July 29, 1847, a few days after the arrival of Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company.
On 26 April 1849 James married Mary Elizabeth Parsons in Salt Lake City. Mary had crossed the plains in 1848, driving two yoke of oxen. She was born May 12, 1829, and baptized by Isaac Clark in Macedonia, Hancock county, Illinois. Her father and mother, Isaac and Amanda, both died in Nauvoo in 1842, and Mary, the oldest in the family, was left to care for her younger brothers and sisters.
James and his family lived in the Salt Lake Valley for a few years and then moved to Ogden, Weber County, Utah. In 1853, they were asked to move south to the Springville, Utah County, Utah area. In 1863 they were asked to move to St. George, Washington, Utah. They then moved on to Rockville, Springdale, and then Pine Valley.
James and Mary were blessed with nine children, namely, Amanda Ellen, James Calvin Jr, Tabitha Jane, Louise Ann, Mary Elizabeth, Cyrus, Sylvester Henry, Minerva and Rosetta. They were born in the different areas the family moved to and helped settle. James Calvin Jr. died at nine months, and Betsy Minera died shortly after birth. The other seven lived to maturity.
James Earl died in Pine Valley, Washington County, Utah, February 27, 1871 at age 48 and was buried in the Pine Valley Cemetery. Mary was left with seven children to raise, her youngest being only two years of age. Mary lived to be 87 years of age and died February 23, 1917, in Virgin, Washington, Utah, and was buried in the Virgin Cemetery.