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William Ivers Appleby & family in Mormon wagon train headed for Utah Territory in 1849




William Ivers Appleby



The Mormon Pioneer Trail


                                        The dotted red lines on some of today' road maps still indicate the historic

                                routes of the Oregon Trail and the Mormon Pioneer Trail.  No such detailed

                                map assisted the travelers in the mid-1800's, but they knew the route to their

                                destinations and the miles traveled each day by using a trail-map, referred to

                                by the Pioneers as "Clayton's Guide".  Their way was guided by spectacular

                                mountain landmarks and the life-giving rivers.

                                        In Southwestern Wyoming the Trails parted company.  The Oregon Trail

                                turning toward the Northwest territory, while the Mormon Trail veered to the

                                South to the developing city beside the Great Salt Lake.

                                        From a Journal well-kept by William Ivers Appleby, a Counselor, General

                                Clerk and Journalist, for a Mormon wagon train, it is learned he, his wife and

                                their children were at Council Bluffs, Iowa in 1849, as they prepared to join the

                                wagon train destined for their "City of the Saints" in Utah Territory.

                                        William, the fourth son of Jacob and May (Lukers) Appleby, was born the

                                thirteenth of August 1811, near the village of New Egypt, Monmouth County,

                                New Jersey.  His Methodist parents and paternal grandparents, Thomas and

                                Hannah Appleby, were of English descent.

                                        William's father, Jacob, served several years in the elected office as the

                                Supervisor of the Public Highway.  Along with a thriving Oyster vending

                                business, Jacob raised his nine children on a small farm.  Mrs. Appleby's first

                                husband was John Hopkins, by whom she had several children.  Jacob Appleby

                                died in 1829.

                                        Self-taught, with only three years of formal schooling, William Ivers

                                Appleby taught school for several years, served as a Justice of the Peace and

                                Judge and Town Clerk in Burlington County, New Jersey.

                                        On October 24, 1830, William married Sarah B. Price* and a son, Augustin,

                                was born to them before they moved to Recklesstown**, New Jersey in 1832.

                                Their second son was born 29th of September 1833***.  He was named Charles

                                Shem  Appleby***.  Following children were: Martha Ann, born 1835; William

                                Price, born April 8th 1838; Mary Elizabeth, born the summer of 1839, living

                                only one month; Sarah A., born 1841; Joseph Smith Appleby, born 1846.  The

                                youngest daughter, Marinda, was born "on the Missouri River" in May 1849.

                                        William Appleby and his wife, Sarah, became members of the Church of

                                Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1840.  William became active within the Church,

                                taking frequent trips to New York, Philadelphia and Boston.  His activities in

                                the years following, indicate a complete dedication to the work of the church.

                                This total involvement had brought William and Sarah and their children to the

                                Winter Quarters at Council Bluff to begin their journey on the Mormon Trail.

                                        The wagon train crossed the Missouri River in the Spring of 1849 and

                                reached the Great Salt Lake on the 27th of October in that same year.  A few

                                passages from the Journal, as written,  almost one hundred and forty years ago,



                                July 23, 1849:  "Camp moved early, traveled about twelve miles through a wet muddy 

                                miry and slimey road, and we arrived on the banks of the Platte.  The Plains 

                                here are hundreds of miles in length, and from three to twelve wide, from the

                                Platte River South to the Bluffs North, covered with rich luxuriant pasture, and 

                                beautiful flowers of different odors, colors, and variegated hues.  The lands thus 

                                far traveled from the Missouri River belong to the Omaha and Pawnee Tribes

                                of Indians, but we have not seen any since we left Winter Quarters.  We found 

                                an Indian skull along the road a few days ago."

                                        "It is quite interesting in the evening when the Camp stops to witness the 

                                activity of all that are able: from watering cattle, some driving others to herd,

                                others carrying wood and water, others making fires, and carrying wood for

                                evening and morning, while others are preparing their meals.  After supper the

                                driving up of the herd, chaining and tieing up cattle.  The Captain of the guard

                                blows his horn, and summons the guards to duty.  The camp after prayers retires

                                to rest, with their camp fires burning and their lamps lighted up in their waggons,

                                with the lowing of the oxen, the bleating of the sheep, and neighing of the horses

                                in the koral, the howling of the wolves on the distant hills and praries with the 

                                half hourly cry of the guards as they cry the hour of the night, with "all is right".

                                September 10:  "Twelve miles completed our Journey for this day, some part

                                sandy roads, a heavy shower coming on, we encamped early near low sandy bluffs.

                                From about five o'clock p.m. until midnight there was one constant and incessant 

                                torrent almost.  The lightning flashed in vivid glare, the thunder rolled in rumbling

                                and terrific peals.  The winds howled through our camp of canvass, stretched to

                                that enraged elements.  Many were the Mother and infant that received the cold

                                through their frail covering and reposed in their saturated beds, without murmuring,

                                as it was Heaven's will.  The cattle bent to the storm.  The guards wet and dripping

                                paced the camp in their several rounds, crying the hour exposed to the furious and 

                                pitiless storm.  However after about seven hours the elements having spent their

                                fury, a calm subsided, and in the morning the camps arose to behold a beautiful

                                clear sky, a shining sun, cattle all safe, and cheerful and smiling countenances in 

                                the camps and plenty of water around the same."

                                October 27:  Continued our journey over the mountains and deep ravines, through a 

                                Kanyon, dangerous and bad roads, upsetting one waggon, breaking one axle we

                                arrived at the Mouth of Emigration Kanyon.  From here we had a sight of the Salt

                                Lake, and Great Salt Lake City.  Thus at last the Lord has granted me the desires 

                                of my heart."


                                Ed. notes:  This Journal of William I. Appleby (1811-1870) includes an autobiography

                                along with the daily log kept of the months on the Mormon Trail.  It includes many of

                                his poems relating to his life, his religion and family and friends.  He died on May 20,

                                1870.  A typescript of the journal contains 407 pages.  The original Journal is in the

                                LDS Archives, and was available (1985) by request only.  

                                    *William Ivins Appleby and Sarah Brown Price remarried on 6 September 1852, in

                                Salt Lake City.  Their first marriage was prior to their becoming Mormon converts.

                                     According to some random records:  Treeklestone or Trubless, New Jersey was

                                the birthplace of Curles Shem Appleby.  William I. Appleby, his father, records the 

                                birthplace as Recklesstown.  In another entry it was called Ricklestown.

                                    In records, ie. census, death, etc. the given name was CURLES SHIM Appleby. 

                                In his father's Journal, the son was named CHARLES SHEM at birth.  Other places 

                                in the father's Journal, Charles Shem is referred to as Carles and Charley.  The 

                                Journal gives the birthdate of this son as 1833.  Some of Curles Shim's own records

                                indicate he was born in 1836.  Father and son did agree upon the date, 1849, as the

                                year they crossed the Plains.




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revised:  25 August 2000