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James Fackrell, Sr.

Question: Where did the James Fackrell, Sr. family settle after emigrating to Utah in 1848?

Answer: James Fackrell, son of John and Joanna Bradford Fackrell, was born at North Petherton, Somersetshire, England, February 2, 1787, and was the third child in his parents’ family of six children. All that is known about his young manhood is that he was a sailor, and that he and his younger brother, Richard, were the only members of his family who emigrated to America. Their first residence was in the state of New York.

When James was about thirty-two years of age, he married Amy Crumb, the twenty-year old daughter of Joseph and Prudence Lamphear Crumb. Amy, born 14 September 1799, was the seventh child in the family of nine children. James and Amy Crumb Fackrell were the parents of five children, three boys and two girls.

In 1837 James Fackrell moved his family to the state of Michigan and settled in Bertrand, Barren County, and there lived and prospered until the year 1845.

About 1838 their son David, then eighteen years old, ran away from home and went to Wisconsin to live. On 28 August 1845, their son Joseph married Clarissa Dempsey leaving the family with but one son, James, Jr. This son was now about sixteen years old and had become interested in religious affairs. At this time, two Mormon missionaries from Nauvoo came to their community and held meetings. James, Jr. attended these meetings and became convinced that their doctrine was scriptural. His parents were very much opposed to the Mormons and refused to attend the meetings.

The son James, Jr, attended, and “the more he heard, the better he liked their teachings,” and he was desirous that his parents should hear them. He invited the two missionaries, Elder Richard Sprague and an Elder Phelps, to go home with him. After services, he took the elders home with him and introduced them to his parents. Before the missionaries left the home, they convinced the parents of the truthfulness of their doctrines. In a short time James Sr., and his wife Amy, and their daughter Lucy, were baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints.

Shortly after this time, news of the martyrdom of the Prophet, Joseph Smith, and his brother Hyrum, the Patriarch, reached the Saints of this place. Also, the message was received from the Twelve Apostles, who had taken command of the affairs of the Church, for all Saints scattered abroad, to gather to Nauvoo and prepare to move west.

Following this advice, James Sr. sold his farm at a sacrifice of about one-half its value and started to Nauvoo. They left their son, Joseph, and his wife, who at the time did not wish to be associated with the Mormons, in Michigan. James, Sr., and Amy arrived in Nauvoo the last of March 1846. Their stay at Nauvoo was very short, because of the persecution and hardships inflicted upon the Saints. They stayed in Nauvoo just three weeks and then started for the West. They knew not where they were going, but they cast their lot with the Saints. When they reached Council Bluffs, their daughter, Lucy, passed away on 20 June 1846. This was a severe trial for her family. She was a lovely girl of twenty years of age.

James and his son, James, Jr., built a log cabin in which to move his family. They also went out onto the prairie and cut wild hay for their cattle. The son took a team and went down to Missouri and secured work. For this work he was paid in provisions which amount was enough to last them through winter. He returned to Council Bluffs in the spring of 1847 and found the Saints prepared to go west. The Fackrells were not prepared to take this long journey. They planted a small crop, and again James, Jr. with his sister, Betsy Jane, went to Savannah, Missouri by team where they both secured work. Betsy found work spinning and James, Jr. secured employment with his team. They were gone about six weeks and returned to their parents loaded with provisions.

Late in the fall of 1847, the presiding Twelve Apostles then made a call for all Saints to prepare to go to the Salt Lake Valley with them the following spring. Hay was scarce, and that fall, James, Jr. took three yoke of oxen to Missouri, partly to provide feed for them, but mostly to get ready to go west in the spring. He secured work hauling logs to a saw mill and bought corn for ten cents a bushel and fed it to his cattle.

In January of 1848 many of the Mormon Battalion soldiers returned. Among them was George W. Hancock. On 14 May 1848, George W. Hancock and Betsy Jane Fackrell were married. The next day, 15 May 1848, James, Sr. with his wife Amy and their son James, Jr. started upon their journey across the plains in Brigham Young’s Company. Upon their arrival, they set about at once to prepare for winter. They located a desirable place ten miles north of Salt Lake City, now called West Bountiful, and took up 92 acres of land, which was the first land taken up in Bountiful. According to the historian, Bancroft, James Fackrell, Sr., became the first settler in this place, along with his nineteen-year-old son, James, Jr..

      West Bountiful Home

The family moved their wagon onto the place selected. James, Jr. was taken ill with mountain fever, and was ill about two months. As soon as he was well enough to get about, the father and son, James, Sr. and James, Jr., started to build a house to shelter the family from the winter storms. They moved into their new home the middle of January. In the spring they plowed their farm and planted crops, but between crickets and cattle, nothing was harvested. In October 1849, James and Amy’s daughter, Betsy Jane, with her husband and small son, Charles, then a few months old, arrived in the valley and located at Bountiful.

On the 13th of January 1850, James Jr. married Martha Ann Chapman. During the summer of 1850 the oldest son, David Fackrell, came into the valley. He was on his way to California and stopped off for a visit. They had not seen each other for twelve years and indeed it was a happy reunion. Their hearts, however, were soon in sorrow, for on 22 February 1851, Betsy Jane, gave birth to a baby girl. She suffered three weeks and then died. She was 27 years of age. About this time, their son Joseph and his wife and family came into the valley. They had recently been converted and joined the Church. Their son, David Fackrell became converted to the Church also, and was married on 6 July 1852, to Susannah Sumner. David Fackrell did not go to California as he had intended, but took up land in Bountiful.

From these three sons, David, Joseph, and James, Jr., a large posterity of Fackrells was produced, which have inhabited the land of Bountiful for the past six generations. James Fackrell, Sr., died on 21 December 1867, aged 80 years. He was buried in the East Bountiful Cemetery. On his tombstone is written “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth, yea, saith the spirit, that they may rest from their labors and work also.”

His wife, Amy, survived him by 18 years. She died on 8 September 1885, aged 85 years. She was buried by the side of her husband in the East Bountiful Cemetery. Her tombstone says, “Her part well done, she goes to rest, in joys of home among the best; a crown of endless life to wear.”

Source: Excerpts from “Biography of James Sr Fackrell & Amy Crumb, Pioneers of 1848,’ written by Myrtle Ballard Shurtliff, published by the Fackrell Family Assn., July 1964;

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