Question: How many children and wives did Stillman Pond bury between 1833-1847?
Answer: Stillman Pond was born on October 26, 1803, at Hubbardston, Worcester, Massachusetts, to Preston Pond and Hannah Rice. His paternal grandfather was a Revolutionary War soldier. On his maternal side, his grandfather was David Rice, who was a grandson of Lt. Paul Moore, one of the Commanders of the American Army in the battle of Bunkerhill.
Stillman Pond lived with his parents until he was twenty years of age, during which time he received a common school education. He worked on his Father’s farm and being the oldest, most of the responsibility fell on him. At that time he learned the trade of harness making. On December 22, 1825, he married Almyra Whittemore, after which his father gave him a tract of land. He lived there but a few years, when he sold his property and removed to Westminster. He remained there until 1832, when he moved to Templeton. His wife, Almyra, bore him five children, four girls and a boy, but she died on July 25, 1833. The baby boy died six weeks later.
On July 4, 1834, Stillman married Maria Louisa Davis at Hubbardston. He settled in this community until 1837 when he moved his family to New Salem, Franklin County. In 1841, missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints came to New Salem. The message of the Restored Gospel gave peace and comfort to the troubled soul of Stillman. He and his family accepted the Gospel and were baptized on December 28, 1841 by Elder Elias Harris. On July 7, 1843, he sold his land and prepared to settle with the Saints in Nauvoo, Illinois.
Before leaving for Nauvoo, Stillman visited his father, with the hope of converting him and his family to the Restored Church, but was unsuccessful. In the fall of 1843 the Pond family reached Nauvoo. Stillman purchased a tract of land about three-fourths of a mile east of the temple. On this land he built a red-brick house, two stories high, in which he established a store in the front part. He worked on the Nauvoo Temple and sorrowed at the loss of the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum in June 1844.
Stillman was ordained an Elder in July 1844. Maria gave birth to a baby boy, Charles Stillman Pond, in October 1844, but he died January 5, 1845 in Nauvoo. Stillman received his Patriarchal Blessing under the hands of John Smith on January 1, 1845, and on May 17, of the same year was ordained a Seventy, becoming a member of the Second Quorum. On the 30th of December 1845, Stillman and his wife were endowed in the Temple at Nauvoo. On February 4, 1846, he was sealed to his first two wives. Maria stood as proxy for his first wife.
They did not live long in peace at Nauvoo, as persecution continually harassed the Saints. On February 2, 1846, the migration began, but Stillman and Maria didn’t leave until September. While traveling in the Iowa Territory, in September 1846, Stillman and Maria’s nine-year-old son, Lowell, died. Maria, became sick with consumption, and was confined to her bed. In this condition, she gave birth to twins born in October 1846, both of whom died a few days later. They were named Joseph and Hyrum Pond.
On October 16, 1846, the family arrived at Winter Quarters. Members of the Pond family were all sick with Malaria. Stillman, unable to sit up, lay upon his stomach in the wagon, bracing himself with one arm, and extending the other over the dash board, drove the last 150 miles. At Winter Quarters, Stillman and his family were forced to live in a tent, existing this way until after the New Year, when they occupied a log cabin.
From a pioneer journal, we read these heart rendering items:
“On Wednesday, the 2nd of December 1846, Laura Jane pond, age 14 years, daughter of Stillman and Almyra Pond, died of chills and fever.”
“Friday, the 4th of December 1846, Harriet M. Pond, Age 11 years, daughter of Stillman and Maria Pond died with chills.”
“Monday, the 7th of December, 1846, Abigail A. Pond, age 18 years, daughter of Stillman and Almyra Pond, died with chills.”
“Friday, the 15 of January, 1847, Lyman Pond, age 6 years, son of Stillman and Maria Pond, died with chills and fever.’
The tribulations of that winter, coupled with the ravages of disease, proved too much for Maria. All six of her children had died. Maria was called to her rest on May 17, 1847. Stillman was now alone with his two remaining daughters from his first wife: Elizabeth Almyra and Loenza Alcena. Stillman had lost nine of his eleven children, plus his two wives, between 1833-1847.
In June 1847 Stillman joined the Abraham O. Smoot Company to head to the Salt Lake Valley. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in September 1847. His daughter, Elizabeth, lived to marry and had one daughter, Almira, who bore eleven children. Loenza married and bore three children, but died nine months after her last child was born. Stillman Pond established his home in Salt Lake City, and engaged in farming.
In the spring of 1848, Major Samuel Russell deserted his wife and baby for the gold fields of California. Stillman Pond and Abigail Thorne Russell (third wife), were married in the Endowment House on February 8, 1849. Stillmlan legally adopted her child Frances, and he and Abigail had eight children. Stillman married a fourth time on September 26, 1852, Elizabeth Bessac, the widow of Joseph Mount. She bore him one child, a daughter, Martha Ann. In 1855, they were divorced.
Stillman was an officiator in the Endowment House under the supervision of Heber C. Kimball through 1852. He studied Astronomy and Mathematics during the evenings of 1852, under Orson Pratt. He was set apart as Senior President of the 35th quorum of Seventy, the 16th of February, 1853. This office he faithfully fulfilled during the remainder of his life.
In 1855 he moved to the point of the mountain south of Salt Lake. In 1857, Stillman moved to Spanish Fork at the time of Johnston’s army, and then in 1860, he was called by Brigham Young to settle in Cache Valley. Accordingly, that spring the family joined the pioneer group at Richmond, Cache County, Utah. A five-acre city lot was allowed the family near the fort and a nice home was erected. This new home was the first frame house to be built in Richmond.
On June 20, 1868, Stillman’s father, Preston Pond, died at Hubbardston, Massachusetts. Stillman returned to that state to settle the estate. His father died intestate, and Stillman received the oldest son’s portion. This changed the fortunes of the family. He returned to Utah, and in October 1868, invested in a business enterprise called the Richmond Coop, a branch of the Z.C.M.I.
He married for the fifth time on March 28, 1870, Anna Regina Swenson (Jacobsen) the widow of Peter Valentine Christiansen at Salt Lake City. She bore him four sons. Stillman was then called to do work on the St. George Temple. He drove a span of horses to Southern Utah. While there he hauled rock, making his home with the family of David Cannon.
After a lingering illness of two years, he passed to his rest on September 30, 1878, at the age of 74 years, 11 months and 4 days. He was buried in the Richmond City Cemetery. There is a cenotaph (a tomblike monument for someone buried elsewhere) for Stillman in the Lewiston City Cemetery. He was survived by his two wives, Abigail Thorne Pond and Anna Regina Swensen Pond, and twelve children, seven sons and five daughters. At the reunion held in his honor, in 1962, it was announced that his descendants had grown to between 1400 and 1500 souls in the 84 years since his death.