Thursday, February 6, 2014

What my Texas Ancestors must have thought of my Polygamous Ancestors

I apologize to all my blog readers for diverting to the subject of polygamy so often these past few posts. It has been on my mind. Today I finished reading "Saints" by Orson Scott Card and decided I wanted to discover just exactly how many of my ancestors were polygamists. To do this, I went to familysearch.org and explored the family tree portion of it.

Well, in any competition about LDS-ness of ancestors, my husband wins! I mean, all of his lines converted to the LDS church. So, it's not surprising that I had far fewer instances of polygamy in my own direct lines.

I tried hard to not count the instances of posthumous sealings. After all, if we are counting numbers of ancestors who were ever married to more than one person, the number would be astronomical. There would be instances in almost every family line, especially the farther back in time, with increased rates of mortality. No, here I tried to list the names of the people in my family and my husband's family who were married to more than one woman at the same time. I listed the husband at the top and his wives below. Because I am relying on others' research, I can't assure that this is error-free. It might be. 


Kate's ancestors:


Joseph Moroni Wight
Mary Hurren
Cynthia Elnora Nielsen (Nora)


Lewis Wight
Nancy Urania Elliott
Mary Street


Jeppa Hans Jeppson
Gunnel Marie Hansen
Christina Pehrsson
------------------------------



Danny's ancestors:


Thomas Sloan Mackay
Ann Rodgers
Charlotte James
Sarah Franks


John Parker Jr.
Ellen Briggs
Maria Jackson


John Rex Winder
Eleanor Walters
Hannah Ballantyne Thompson
Elizabeth Parker
Maria (Ria) Burnham


Robert Taylor Burton
Sarah Anna Garr
Maria Susan Haven
Susan Ellen McBride


Jacob Peart (Sr.)
Phebe Robson
Fylinda Angela Loss
[posthumous sealings?]
Anne Wilkins
Betsey Candas Brooks
Fanny Maria Loss


Jacob Peart (Jr.)
Margaret Gray
Phoebe Amalia Richards


John Watkins
Margaret Ackhurst
Mary Ann Sawyer
Harriet Steel


Simon Cooker Dalton
Anna Wakeman
Laura Ann Warner
Mary Elizabeth Veach
Elnora Lucretia Warner
Charlotte Louisa Durham
Anna Annable


George Simon Dalton
Martha Fenwick Blair
Mary Jane Stoddard
Christine Muir
Elizabeth Rean


Lyman Stoddard
Ruth Wright
Mary or Polly Meacham
Anna Maria Truman
Abigail Brandon
Cynthia Dorcas Hurd
Mary Powers
Margaret Snyder (?)


Jens Jacobsen
Elsie Nielsen
Maren Madsen


Christian Peter Nielsen
Trine Jensen
Dorothea Jacobsen
Anne Sophia Hansen
Eliza Maria Mortensen
Larsine Simonsen
Marin Jensen


William Barton
Sarah Esther West
Mary Williamson


James Williamson
Ann Aldred
Jane Grundy
Mary Johnson
Isabella Banks
Phebe Banks


Frederick Shewell
Sarah Elizabeth Jones
Mary Ann Jones

So yeah, as you can see, my husband wins by a lot.
Kate: 3
Danny: 15

The other interesting thing is that of my ancestors that practiced polygamy, none of them had more than 2 wives. Of Danny's family, 10 had more than 2 wives, with a maximum of 7.

My Texas Czech (and very Catholic) ancestors read the newspaper. They heard of polygamy. They probably thought it was a scandal, an outrage, a confusing and odd practice akin to adultery. Just see for yourself! Search (no fee!) for "polygamy" or "Mormon" on the Nesbitt Memorial Library Newspaper Archive site!

For example, a quote from the Colorado Citizen, October 4, 1877: 

"The Mormon Church cultivates a feeling of hostility to our Government and its institutions, which is instilled in the rising generation. Polygamy has such a deep-seated hold upon its people that its suppression in which its advocates will fight to the last extremity. Clearly, it ought to be abolished, and that Territory placed subject to the laws of the United States."

I think one reason this topic has become so fascinating to me just now is because of the current hot political and legal debate over Gay Marriage in this country. It would be so interesting to hear what my ancestors think of this! Both the Texas Czech Catholics and the Mormon Polygamists!

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