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William Henry Deuel

Question: What happened to the first log cabin William and Osmyn Deuel lived in when they got to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847?

Answer: William Henry Deuel was born December 31, 1811, in the little village of Greenfield, Saratoga, New York, to Lewis Deuel and Mary Barton. William was especially close to his brother, Osmyn Merrit Deuel, who was ten years older.

William Henry Deuel was married to Eliza Avery Whiting in January 1837 in New York. William’s brother, Osmyn, had married Mary Whiting, Eliza’s sister, in 1828. These two brothers joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, along with their oldest brother Amos. The rest of their large family never joined.

William and Eliza then moved to Platte, Missouri, to be with the Saints there. On February 10, 1839, their son Joseph Merritt was born, who died as an infant. Then they moved to Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois. Here their son Alonzo was born October 26, 1840, who also died as an infant. The were at Montrose, Lee, Iowa (across the Mississippi River from Nauvoo) on March 3, 1843 when their daughter Menervia Adeline was born, and also their daughter Mercy Ann, on July 30, 1845.

All three brothers came with the pioneers to the Salt Lake Valley on October 2, 1847. (It appears that Amos never married) There were 1,500 souls in the company who were under the leadership of John Taylor, Parley P. Pratt, and Charles C. Rich. William Henry Deuel was in the Artillery Company, under Charles C. Rich. It was a cold October 2, 1847 when the Deuels landed in the Salt Lake Valley. Their first problem was to provide shelter before winter set in. Some records indicate that William and his brothers built their log cabin, and other records state they may have purchased the cabin from the builders. The cabin, built of Douglas fir from canyons east of the city, was first situated in the area at Third South and Second West.

The Deuels spent the winter of 1847-48 in the log cabin, then William moved out and moved to Centerville. The family consisted of Osmyn and his wife, Mary; his brother William and his wife, Eliza; and their daughters, Minerva and Mercy Ann. The Deuel brothers were blacksmiths. In 1850, the brothers are in Centerville, where they located on the stream named for them, Deuel Creek. During 1860-1870 Osmyn and Amos lived in Salt Lake. Amos died in 1874 in Salt Lake, and Osmyn died in 1889 in Centerville.

In their home in Centerville, William and Eliza’s other five children were born: William Henry Jr. on 3 August 1848, Lewis 16 July 1851, Eliza Frances 23 June 1854, George Amos 23 November 1857, and Nathaniel 14 June, 1862.

In 1865, President Brigham Young sent William Henry Deuel on a mission to the muddy, which is now St. George. When they stopped in Kanarrah, Iron County, Utah, on their way to the muddy, he was asked to stay there, as he was a good blacksmith, and they needed him. But, he said no, for he wanted to fill his mission. The residents wrote to Brigham Young and got him to release William, for they were in great need of a blacksmith, so he stayed in Kanarrah for some time.

Later, William moved back to his old home in Centerville. Eight years after he moved back, his wife died. Later he moved to Escalante, where his boys were. He brought his blacksmith tools and worked at black smithing and raising cattle. He died 1 May, 1891 at the age of 79 years. He is buried in Escalante, Utah.

Source: Excepts from “History of William Henry Deuel,’ Information gathered from The Daughters of the Utah Pioneers,; FindAGrave; “Mercy Ann Deuel Biography’ written by her daughter Liza R. Ingram.

Log Home Restored

Log Cabin between Family History Library and Church History Museum

“One of only two surviving 1847 vintage Utah Mormon pioneer log homes has been restored, placed in a permanent location and opened for public view. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Osmyn M. and William H. Deuel Pioneer Log Home was held November 19. 1985. Elder Dean L. Larsen of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy and executive director of the Historical Department wielded an authentic Bowie knife in slicing the ribbon.

“The log cabin, which has rested at several locations in its 138-year existence, is located on the plaza between the Museum of Church History and Art and the Genealogical Library, across the street west of Temple Square. The Deuel home, built in 1847, has been restored to its original appearance and furnished with period artifacts by the Church museum. The 15-by-20-foot cabin was dismantled and completely rebuilt in its new location.’

Whether the cabin was built by the Deuel brothers or not, “this cabin is symbolic of the primitive shelters built by the pioneers in the early days of settlement and stands as a silent monument to the faith and courage of the people who built this inland empire.’

Source: “Pioneer Log Home of the William and Osmyn Deuel families,’ Donald L. Enders, museum curator in charge of the restoration, Deseret News article, 19 November 1985.

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