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William Gribble

Question: Did William Gribble go on to California after he was discharged from the Mormon Battalion in Salt Lake City in July 1847?

Answer: William Gribble was born at Kingston or Perth, Lanark, Ontario, Canada, 15 August 1817, to John and Ann Barnes Gribble. They had come to Canada from England. William’s mother died in 1834, before the family came to the United States. William had four brothers and three sisters. The family was converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints by early missionaries, including Parley P. Pratt, sent to Canada by the Prophet Joseph Smith. William’s father, John Gribble was baptized 6 October 1836, in Upper Canada.

William married Adelia Marie Clements 4 March 1837 in New York. According to the Journal History of the Church, on 13 March 1838, William was at a meeting of the Quorum of Seventies at Kirtland, Ohio, to consider the subject of moving to the land of Missouri, and to draw a constitution. “On the 29th of July 1838, William Gribble, whose wife accompanied us from Kirtland, also joined the camp this day; this was called the ‘Kirtland Camp.’ William Gribble left the camp 15 September 1838, to stop at Springfield during the winter.’ After Missouri, they moved on to Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois.

William and Adelia had a son born to them at Nauvoo in September 1845, who they named Joseph Smith Gribble. We cannot doubt the love and respect they had for the Prophet Joseph who had been martyred in June 1844. On 7 February 1846, William took a second wife, a young girl by the name of Hulda Sophia Smith. After being persecuted out of Nauvoo, William moved on to Council Bluffs, Iowa. William and Adelia had a son born named James, but were then separated.

At Council Bluffs, in July 1846, at the request of Brigham Young, William enlisted in the Mormon Battalion, in the war against Mexico. He was 28 years of age at the time he was called. He served as a private in Company D with Nelson Higgins as captain. His young wife, Hulda, accompanied him in the Battalion. He left Adelia and the children at Council Bluffs. The Battalion left Council Bluffs, Iowa, marching to Fort Leavenworth and then on to Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Soon after leaving Santa Fe, New Mexico, several of the Battalion members became ill, William being one of them. He and Hulda were assigned to the Sick Detachment, and spent the winter at Pueblo, Colorado. In the spring of 1847 they headed to the Salt Lake Valley where William Gribble was honorably discharged from duty. Hulda and William were divorced soon after arriving in the Salt Lake Valley. In August 1847 Hulda married another member of the Battalion.

William went on to California with Captain James Brown and Samuel Brennen and a small party to take a message to the Battalion members who had made it to California, that they were to stay in California and work until they had means to go on to Utah. William stayed in California for a few years and was there when gold was discovered at Sutter’s Fort. When William returned to Utah, he presented a gold ring to President Brigham Young.

On May 1, 1850, William married Elizabeth Brunell (Whiting) in Salt Lake City, Utah. She had come across the plains to Utah with her son Sylvester. William and Elizabeth had seven children together.

In the meantime, Adelia had arrived in Utah with her two children, Lydia and Joseph. The baby James had died on the plains. Adelia had remarried and had more children, but was now once again alone. William and Adelia renewed their marriage and were sealed in the Endowment House 25 August 1866. William was also sealed to Elizabeth at that time.

During the next few years, Brigham Young sent William to Ogden, Payson, Nephi, Ephraim, Gunnison, and Glenwood to use his skills in helping to settle each of these places. In Gunnison, William was a farmer and stock raiser. He owned a tannery in Ephraim.

In 1866 while working in Nephi, Juab, Utah, William suddenly died of appendicitis on 14 October 1866, at the age of 49. His death was a great shock to his wives and their children. Elizabeth gave birth to a son, three and one-half months after William’s death.

William Gribble was buried in an unmarked grave in Nephi, Juab, Utah. The Indians were still fighting all through these southern settlements, so it is thought that the grave was not marked to insure its being unmolested. Adelia Marie died in 1903. She is buried in Iona, Idaho. Elizabeth Brunell died in 1910. She is buried in the Gunnison Cemetery.

Source: Excerpts from “William Gribble, 1817-1866″ By Eva Erickson Chatalain, great granddaughter of William and Adelia Marie, ‘

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