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Obray, Thomas Lorenzo - Notes

                       Notes on Thomas Lorenzo Obray

                                                    [brother to Samuel William Obray]

 

Interview with Oral Birch, great-grandson of Thomas Lorenzo Obray, 3 Oct 1999, Sandy, Utah:  Thomas Lorenzo Obray, brother to Samuel William, served a mission in England for about 10 years. Lorenzo Snow was the apostle who opened the Malta Mission while he was in England. Elder Snow called Tom to come to Malta, where there were large numbers of English servicemen, to serve in the mission presidency with him. When Elder Snow was called to go to Spain, Tom became the mission president in Malta until the mission was closed after the servicemen returned home to England.  Thomas emigrated on the same ship as Samuel William. When they reached America, Thomas was not allowed to stay in the U.S. because of his connection with Malta during the war. He went first into Canada, and then came back to St. Louis where he met up with Samuel and his family once again.

About 25 years ago [1975?] the Deseret News [Church News?] had an article on Thomas Lorenzo and his mission to Malta.

 

Obray, Thomas Lorenzo

LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Andrew Jenson, Vol. 4, p.347 Obray, Thomas Lorenzo, president of the Malta Mission from 1852 [p.347] to 1853, was born July 23, 1824, in Pembrokeshire, South Wales, a son of John B. Obray and Elenor Allen. He was baptized in September, 1845, by William Henshaw, in Wales, labored as a missionary in England in the Kent Conference, presiding over that conference part of the time, and was called to fill a mission in Malta Nov. 1, 1851. After being ordained a High Priest, Elder Obray landed in Malta in May, 1852, having been sent by Apostle Lorenzo Snow to preside over the Malta Mission. He went back to England on account of his health, arriving there April 23, 1853, but returned to Malta June 19, 1853. While he was absent James F. Bell acted as president of the Malta Mission. Elder Obray raised up a branch of the Church in Malta, was released in November, 1853, and left Liverpool, England, March 22, 1854, bound for Utah. After his arrival in Utah he settled in Wellsville, Cache Co., in 1856, being one of the first settlers in that place. He filled a mission to England in

1881-1882.

 

B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol.3, Ch.88, p.388 - p.389

Elder Snow with the assistance of Elder Woodard and Thomas Obray, the latter as well as the former from England, introduced the New Dispensation of the gospel on the Island of Malta, south of Sicily, where a branch of the church was organized in June, 1852.  Elder Snow regarded Malta as "a most important field of labor, where a great work may be accomplished, extending to adjacent nations."  "The organization of a branch of the church here," he remarks, "would lessen the spiritual fetters of many nations, as the Maltese in their commercial relations are spread along the shores of Europe, Asia and Africa."  Indeed Elder Snow from this island raised his eyes to empire conquests in his missionary enterprises.  In the October conference of 1849, replying to the question "Can Lorenzo Snow dictate [i. e. the work] anywhere but in Italy?"  President Young answered: "Yes. The twelve dictate in all the world. We have appointed Lorenzo and Erastus Snow to certain missions, have they a right to go anywhere else? Yes; I wish they would open the door to every nation on earth."

It was the purpose of Elder Snow, as already stated, to visit these distant countries himself, and then accomplish the circumnavigation of the globe by returning to Salt Lake valley "by way of San Francisco, San Diego, and the newly established settlements in the valleys of California."

 

B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol.3, Ch.88, p.389  Such his plans for the extension of missionary work both for himself and others; but while waiting at Malta for a vessel in which to begin the journey to India he received his release from the church authorities at Salt Lake City, as his labors and influence were needed in Utah. Leaving Elder Stenhouse as president of the Swiss Mission; Elder Woodard, president of the mission in Italy; Elder Obray, president of the mission in Malta; and Elder Willis, president of the mission in India, Elder Snow returned, to Utah via England and the United States.

 

 

Malta Mission

LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Andrew Jenson, Vol. 4, p.346 Thomas L. Obray, 1852-1853;

 

Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 5, p.288

When we reached St. Louis, we bought our teams and wagons, cows and provisions, and all our outfit for traveling on the plains. Charles and his family occupied one wagon and we girls another, along with brother Albert. My sisters Martha, Louisa, Emily and I were baptized at Ft. Leavenworth by Brother Alonzo Buckland, on the 24th of June, 1854. Louisa was married to Thomas Obray the same day by the same man. Thomas was returning from a mission in Malta, and coming to Utah with his brother Sam Obray and family. We took the measles, all our family except Charles and Ann, who had already had them. We suffered very much. Rebecca, Charles' wife had the cholera and suffered dreadfully until death came to her relief. My sister Lousia, first had the measles, and was beginning to get better, when she had a setback, cholera set in and she died, a bride of three weeks.

 

The men, my brother Charles and brother-in-law Thomas Obray, took their losses very hard. Charles' six children one after another died, save the boy, Albert. He was worn out with waiting on the sick. We had lost seven of our company, and others died also. We girls continued very weak, not much appetite and poor digestion until we reached the Valley. The 29th of September, 1854 we arrived in Salt Lake. We drove through the city and down towards the Jordan on the camping grounds. The next day Jesse Crosby's wife came to our camp and invited us to come to their home to stay. Jesse was in the canyon at the time. In a few days, after we had washed our clothes and cleaned up as well as we could, we drove up there. Sister Crosby cleared out two of her best rooms for us, and we moved part of our belongings into them, and left the rest in the wagons. Thomas Obray came along with us, and in October married my sister Martha in the Endowment House, having his first wife Louisa sealed to him and then Martha. They took our little brother with them and went to Tooele to find a home.

 

The following Sunday after we arrived we all went to the Tabernacle to meeting. President Brigham Young preached, and I was interested and delighted; it seemed like I was in Heaven. I always loved to attend meetings in the Tabernacle as long as I lived in the city. Jesse Crosby and my sister Ann were not long in remembering their old courtship days from when he was in our country. He was about her age, but she would not leave with him then. In the meantime, he had married another and had three fine boys. Three weeks after our arrival, he and Ann were sealed. On the 12th of November we were all re-baptized and confirmed in the Ward schoolhouse. Charles took [p.289] his little son and went to Provo to get work and succeeded very well. After his trials coming across the plains, he was not very strong physically. He went to work for Brother Cameron, of Provo, his work was mostly canyon work.

 Emily and I lived with Sister Ann. Thomas Obray and Martha were in Tooele one year, and then moved to Ogden, taking Albert with them. It was lonesome for me here in my new home, after those I have mentioned moved away. I had plenty of work, but not being very well acquainted, I was bashful about going out, except to meetings. I thought much of my dear old father that I had left behind in such high glee to come to Utah. I thought little at the time about parting with him forever, and now that we were settled, I cried a great deal when I was alone for him and my sister Louisa whom I would never see again. I could hardly realize her death at the time, because I was so very ill myself with measles. Now, we were separated I took in the situation in full. I kept busy for I had all the work that I could handle and more than I should have done. [Written by a sister to Martha Shelton Obray, name unknown.]

 

B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol.3, Ch.88, p.388 - p.389  Elder Snow with the assistance of Elder Woodard and Thomas Obray, the latter as well as the former from England, introduced the New Dispensation of the gospel on the Island of Malta, south of Sicily, where a branch of the church was organized in June, 1852.  Elder Snow regarded Malta as "a most important field of labor, where a great work may be accomplished, extending to adjacent nations."  "The organization of a branch of the church here," he remarks, "would lessen the spiritual fetters of many nations, as the Maltese in their commercial relations are spread along the shores of Europe, Asia and Africa."  Indeed Elder Snow from this island raised his eyes to empire conquests in his missionary enterprises.  In the October conference of 1849, replying to the question "Can Lorenzo Snow dictate [i. e. the work] anywhere but in Italy?"  President Young answered: "Yes. The twelve dictate in all the world. We have appointed Lorenzo and Erastus Snow to certain missions, have they a right to go anywhere else? Yes; I wish they would open the door to every nation on earth."  Acting under this extended authorization Elder Snow conceived the idea of introducing the gospel into several countries bordering the Mediterranean sea, including Russia, Turkey, and Spain.  Meeting with a brother in England who had lived several years in India, he conceived the idea of opening the door of the gospel in that country by sending him and others with authority to preach the gospel, himself to follow later to give apostolic sanction to their work.  Conferring with his fellow apostles in England upon the subject, they sanctioned his suggestions and Elder William Willis was sent to Calcutta, where a few days after his arrival he baptized nine natives of the East Indies. Subsequently he baptized three hundred natives, and raised up a branch of the church among the Europeans of over forty members.  About the same time Elder Hugh Findlay, president of the Hull conference, England, was sent to Bombay, by Elder Snow; and a little later Elder Joseph Richards was sent to the assistance of Elder Willis at Calcutta.  It was the purpose of Elder Snow, as already stated, to visit these distant countries himself, and then accomplish the circumnavigation of the globe by returning to Salt Lake valley "by way of San Francisco, San Diego, and the newly established settlements in the valleys of California."

 

B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol.3, Ch.88, p.389  Such his plans for the extension of missionary work both for himself and others; but while waiting at Malta for a vessel in which to begin the journey to India he received his release from the church authorities at Salt Lake City, as his labors and influence were needed in Utah. Leaving Elder Stenhouse as president of the Swiss Mission; Elder Woodard, president of the mission in Italy; Elder Obray, president of the mission in Malta; and Elder Willis, president of the mission in India, Elder Snow returned, to Utah via England and the United States.

 

Orson F. Whitney, History of Utah, Vol. 3, p.114

Malta.—June 28th, 1852. Elder Thomas Obray wrote that a branch of the Church was organized at Malta, numbering twenty-six members.

 

Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church…, p. 283

On Oct. 28, 1853, Elder Thomas Obray called on Elder Stevenson, being on his way to Zion from the Malta Mission. Bro. Stevenson petitioned the governor for permission to deliver eight lectures on specified subjects, but the petition was denied.

 

Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church…, p.465

MALTA MISSION. Malta and two small adjacent islands rise amid the blue waters of the Mediterranean south of Sicily, further distant from the mainland than any other island upon the bosom of this inland sea. The British forces took Malta from the French in 1800 and great additions have since been made to their fortifications. The population of Malta numbered about 124,000 in 1852, embracing English, French, Italians, Greeks, Germans, Turks, Moors and Spaniards.

 

Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church…, p.465

While Apostle Lorenzo Snow was engaged in opening the gospel door to the inhabitants of Italy and Switzerland, he also desired to extend his missionary labors to the island of Malta, which according to ecclesiastical history is the island Melite where Paul the Apostle preached the gospel 1,800 years before. Accompanied by Jabez Woodard, Elder Snow arrived on Malta Feb. 26, 1852, as the first L. D. S. missionaries to that island. Almost immediately after their arrival they commenced to preach the gospel to the inhabitants.

 

Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church…, p.465

Elder Snow sent for Elder Thomas Obray to come to Malta immediately and bring with him a good supply of pamphlets and books. On Sept. 16, 1852, Elder Snow left Malta for Gibraltar, leaving Elder Jabez Woodard in charge until Thomas Obray should arrive from Sheerness, England. During the short sojourn of Elders Snow and Woodard on this mission, they published one edition of Elder Snow's "Voice of Joseph," revised from the Italian; also one edition of "The Only Way to be Saved" in French and Italian.

 

Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church…, p.465

Elder Snow and companion were frequently visited by people of different nationalities, of whom some had received the restored gospel in other lands. On one occasion, at his private lodging, Brother Snow was called upon by gentlemen of eight different nations, including some from Poland and Greece. The first fruits of the restored gospel by the Elders on the island of Malta were two young Italians, namely, Ferdiananda Sciapati and Jean Allais Frouche. These first converts on the island of Malta

were ordained Elders.

 

Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church…, p.465

Elder Thomas Obray, who had been ordained a High Priest by Lorenzo Snow in England in 1852, and had labored successfully in the London Conference for about eight years, arrived in Malta May 30, 1852. He immediately became associated with Jabez Woodard and commenced an active campaign on the island of Malta, preaching the gospel and visiting the people. On June 6, 1852, Elder Woodard baptized John King, a schoolmaster and a sergeant of the Bengals, at Malta. His wife was baptized June 13, 1852, by Thomas Obray. Opposition and some persecution followed in the wake of the Elders on Malta, and Brother King was threatened with his rank as sergeant being taken from him on account of his having embraced Mormonism. Subsequently others were baptized, while some of the first converts afterwards left the Church. On June 20, 1852, the newly converted saints of the Church in Malta were organized by Elders Thomas Obray and Jabez Woodard into a branch of the Church called the Valetta Branch. Samuel Walker of the Royal Bengal regiment was baptized by Elder Woodard June 23, 1852. The next day Frederick Collins, one of the converts, was ordained an Elder by Thomas Obray.

 

Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church…, p.465

In the meantime others were baptized and some of them ordained to the Priesthood. Elder Thomas Obray, under date of Oct. 5, 1852, writes that the branch at Malta consisted of 26 members, including three Elders, two Priests, two Teachers and one Deacon. There was considerable opposition on the part of priests and editors who lectured and published in the usual strain upon the supposed absurdities of the faith and doctrines of the Latter-day Saints. In the meantime Elder [p.466] Woodard returned to his former field of labor in Switzerland, and the Malta Mission was then conducted by Elder Thomas Obray, assisted by Elder James F. Bell, who landed in Malta Feb. 10, 1853. An important council meeting was held May 17, 1853, at which 21 members of the Church were represented in the Valetta Branch. At that time a war was carried on between the British and the Turks and some of the members of the Church who had been baptized in Malta and elsewhere were engaged in the British service in the fleet which sailed from Malta to the Dardenelles. The first conference of the saints in Malta was held Aug. 19, 1853, at 42 Strada Christofero, Valetta, under the presidency of Thomas Obray and his counselors, James F. Bell and George Burridge. On this occasion the branches of the Church, namely, Valetta in Malta and the Fleet Branch, were represented, Valetta with 21 members and the Fleet Branch with seven. In October, 1853, Thomas Obray left Malta for Zion, leaving James F. Bell in charge of the Malta Mission, with George Burridge and Frederick Collins as counselors. On Nov. 2, 1853, the second conference of the Malta Mission was held at 42 Strada Christofero, Valetta. On this occasion the Valetta and Fleet branches were represented. The Expeditionary Force Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints constituted in 1854 an important part of the Malta Mission. Under date of Aug. 20, 1854, Elder James F. Bell writes: "This mission has given rise to four branches, one here at Malta, a second consisting of seven members, from the 76th regiment, went to Nova Scotia, and is now broken up owing to some going to Zion, and others leaving the Church; a third, the Floating Branch in the Mediterranean, and a fourth, the Expeditionary Force Branch in Turkey. The mother branch, formerly in Valetta, but now in Floriania, numbers at the present very few members, owing to the detachment of the above three branches, and the removal of six members to England (some of them bound for Zion), and the excommunication of some others. Our total is 13." Alexander Downs acted as president of the Floating Branch in April, 1855.

 

Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church…, p.466

Elder James F. Bell, under date of Oct. 15, 1854, wrote that the two branches of the Church in the east, namely, the Floating Branch and the Expeditionary Force Branch, were still in existence; that some new members had been baptized; that some of the brethren had been engaged in battles between the British and the Turks, and that a frightful mortality from cholera, both in the army and navy, had raged. It is not stated that any of the members of the Church died from its effects.

 

Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church…, p.466

It seems that the Malta Mission ceased to function in 1856.

 

Andrew Jenson, Church Chronology, November 24, 1888 (Saturday)

 In the First District Court, at Ogden, Henry Stander, of Brigham City, was sentenced by Judge Henderson to six months' imprisonment for adultery; Samuel W. Obray to $200 fine, and Thomas Obray, of Paradise, to five months; all for u.c. [unlawful cohabitation, or polygamy]

 

Andrew Jenson, Church Chronology, April 1, 1889 (Monday)

 Thomas Obray, of Paradise, was discharged from the Penitentiary.

 

Andrew Jenson, Church Chronology, May 24, 1890 (Saturday)

 In the First District Court, at Ogden, Thomas L. Obray, of Paradise, Cache Co., was sentenced by Judge Henderson to three months' imprisonment, for u.c., and Jens C. Christensen, of Hyde Park, who promised to obey the law, to 15 days, for alleged adultery. [because of polygamy]

 

Andrew Jenson, Church Chronology, August 9, 1890 (Saturday)

 Thomas L. Obray, of Paradise, Cache Co., was discharged from the Penitentiary.

 

Andrew Jenson, Church Chronology, June 1, 1892 (Wednesday)

 In the Fourth District Court, at Ogden, Wm. H. Dopp and Thos. W. Obray were each sentenced by Judge James A. Miner to four months' imprisonment, and Nils C. Erickson to one year's imprisonment, all for "adultery."

 

Andrew Jenson, Church Chronology, September 10, 1892 (Saturday)

 Wm. H. Dopp and Thos. W. Obray were discharged from the Penitentiary.

 

Andrew Jenson, Church Chronology, January 31, 1893 (Tuesday)

 In the Fourth District Court, at Ogden, the cases against the following named individuals, for transgression of the Edmunds law, were dismissed on recommendation of U.S. Attorney Charles S. Varian, who gave as a reason that the evidence in these cases was insufficient to put the defendants on trial; Levi W. Smith, Thos. Magram, W.E. Richardson, Charles O'Connor.  Wm. O'Connor, Caroline Phillips, Frank J. Sadler, Frank Sadler, Joseph Porter, Frank E. McWilliams, Albert Murdock, James Taylor, Sarah Nelson, Henry Hughes, W.S. Popperton, Orson Smith, Thos. Obray, John Archibald, Wm. Willey, Andrew J. Kershaw, Moroni Marriott, Wilmer H. Branson, Peter C. Geertsen, Wm. R.R. Stowell, Joseph Parry, Daniel F. Thomas, John Stoddard, Soren L. Petersen, B.C. Critchlow, Mark Lindsey, Christopher O. Folkman, Louis Howells, Chas. O. Card, Arthur Farrell, Thos. Leavitt, Peter Hansen, F.W. Christensen, Samuel Watkins, Christina Nielson, S.H. Putnam, Elisha Campbell, John J. Johnson, Mary Williams, Christian Schneider, Elizabeth Manor, Wm. H. Dopp, Wm. J. Orchard, Mary A. Wheeler, Lars Johnson, Thos. Stirland, Wm. Blair, Peter Christensen, A.F. Randall.

 

 

 

Samuel and Eleanor joined a wagon train [along with his brother Thomas Lorenzo] and came to Utah in 1854. Eleanor’s father and the rest of the family members remained in St. Louis. It is not known what happened to Eleanor’s little son, Joseph, as no record has been found concerning him.

 

[From the biography of Martha Shelton Obray written in the book Three Pioneer Women Speak, 1962; Daughters of the Utah Pioneers; Deseret News Press, Salt Lake City, Utah; p.285-290:

  "When we reached St. Louis, we bought our teams and wagon, cows and provisions, and all our outfit for traveling on the plains... My sister Louisa was married to Thomas L. Obray on June 24, 1854.  Thomas was returning from a mission in Malta, and was on the way to Utah with his brother Sam and his family.  We took the measles... We suffered very much... My sister Louisa first had the measles and was beginning to get better when she had a setback, cholera set in and she died, a bride of three weeks.

  "The men, my brother Charles [who had lost his wife and children to measles and cholera] and brother-in-law Thomas Obray, took their losses very hard...  We had lost seven of our company, and others died also.  We girls continued very weak, not much appetite and poor digestion until we reached the Valley.  On September 19, 1854 we arrived in Salt Lake City.  We drove through the city and down toward the Jordan River to camp."

  She married Thomas Obray in October, they went to Tooele for one year, then moved to Ogden. This account is given here because it appears that Samuel traveled with Thomas from place to place and would have had the same experiences.]

 

Samuel and Eleanor first settled in Tooele where their second child, Louisa, was born 16 August 1855. Tooele was a dry country and at that time had suffered from droughts. This may be the reason that they left and moved to Ogden. While living in Ogden, Emma was born 5 December 1857.

 

Glowing reports of Cache Valley stimulated the people living in less favorable conditions to move north. Brigham Young said, “No other valley in the territory is equal to this” In an article in the Deseret News, Peter Maughan reported, “The length of the valley is forty miles north to south and the breadth about twelve miles east to west. Farm land is extensive, water for irrigation is abundant, in short it is the best watered valley I have ever seen in these mountains.” In the spring of 1860 the rush to Cache Valley began. This influx of new settlers resulted in the formation of many new towns. [The History of a Valley.]

 

These reports must have influenced the Obray family, because they left Ogden and moved to Cache Valley where they settled for a time in Wellsville. Hannah Marie was born here 21 November 1859.

Samuel took his family and with his brother, Thomas, they joined a small group from Wellsville and settled in the fields just west of the present town of Paradise [in the river bottoms between present-day Paradise and Wellsville]. They named their new little settlement Petersburg. Other families had started a settlement about three miles further south, which they had named Paradise. Because of problems and fear of the Indians, they remained in Petersburg only a few years and in 1868 the entire settlement moved north and incorporated Petersburg into the new settlement of Paradise. [An early History of Cache County, page 94-97]

 

[The following story was told by Thomas Lorenzo Obray Sr., to his granddaughter, Cora Obray Birch:

"Samuel William Obray and his brother Thomas Lorenzo Obray Sr., settled in Ogden after coming to Utah. [They first settled in Tooele.] It was farming time and the crops were ready for harvest when they arrived there in the summer of 1859. When Brigham Young called Peter Maughn to take a group of saints from Squaw Valley and re-establish their settlement in Cache Valley*, Samuel, Thomas, and Mr. Lofthouse were among the people who went with him. There were no roads into the valley, so they traveled over the old Indian trail through Mount Pisga [Sardine Canyon] and settled in the valley in the area that is now located between Wellsville and Hyrum. They called their settlement Petersburg.

"The small community of Saints hurriedly built dirt-roofed huts as shelter against the severe winter that followed. However, their preparations for the cold winter were not adequate; and soon after the first snowfall, many of them, especially children,  were stricken with  an epidemic of 'grip' (or flu). They had severe sore throats, and some of the children developed scarlet fever.

"Medical supplies were scarce, and food was in short supply. Peter Maughn, who was head of the community, called for volunteers to go back into Ogden Valley for medicine and food. Three men went -- Samuel Obray, his brother Thomas L. Obray Sr., and George Hill. They took oxen and wagons to make the trip, arriving in Ogden Valley with little trouble.

"After loading their wagons with the supplies they needed, they began their return trip. Their journey was made difficult because of heavy snow that had fallen in the mountains. Normally, the trip would have taken just three days, but it took much longer as they had to shovel roads so that the oxen could get through. On the second day of their journey, one of the oxen became ill and fell to the ground. The men knew they had to get through the mountain or they would freeze to death, but they couldn't get through without their oxen. After they tried in every way they knew how to help the sick ox, they grew desperate and afraid. Thomas, not knowing what other recourse to take, suggested that they administer to the sick ox.

"Thomas said, 'We are on a mission of mercy for our people. We have answered the call of those who are in authority, and we all know that by the laying on of hands and asking for the help of the Lord, he can heal us. With so many lives at stake and depending upon us, He surely can heal the ox.'

"So they all knelt and prayed, and Samuel asked God to heal the ox. They administered to it like they would a man. After resting for a few hours, they went back and removed blankets off the ox. 'The ox stood up and shook his body like he was trying to get his blood circulating again.' Soon they were on their way back into the valley with their precious load of food and medical supplies."

[The original settlement of Wellsville was made by Peter Maughn in 1856. The valley was vacated during the threat of the Utah War in 1858, and Peter Maughn re-established the Wellsville settlement in 1859 under the direction of Brigham Young.]

 

Excerpts from “Windows of Wellsville”

[Published in 1985]

In the course of history, the greatness of a people can always be traced to the hardship and deprivations they had to endure in order to mold character and provide the stamina to accomplish great things. The people who settled Wellsville, the first permanent settlement of Cache Valley, were of this kind.

The actual beginnings of Maughan’s Fort go back to the early days of Tooele. Tooele was more exposed to the ravages of the red man than any other part of the territory, and the settlers feared Indian trouble. Their crops failed because of drought, poor soil, and the grasshopper plague.

Peter Maughan called upon Brigham Young and was given permission to take a party of men to Cache Valley, also know as Willow Valley, for a northern settlement. The group from Tooele entered the Valley in 1856 and after making a thorough assessment, chose the site of Wellsville as their future home. The picturesque valley was surrounded by mountains, watered by beautiful streams and springs, and filled with rich soil. The returned to Tooele with glowing reports of their findings.

President Young gave permission to all those who wished to do so to accompany Peter Maughan to this new settlement. By late August, a group of approximately 25 men, women and children began their journey from Tooele to a new settlement, which they named Maughan’s Fort. They arrived 15 September 1856. The first winter for the new colony was a hard one.

As spring arrived many new families began arriving also. Among the new arrivals was Samuel W. Obray and his brother Thomas Obray. Peter Maughan assigned land to families as they arrived, ten acres of irrigated land to a married man and five to a single man, plus meadow land for the cattle he owned.

On May 7, 1857, the entire male population of Maughan’s Fort (33 in number) was enrolled into the Third Infantry Division of the Box Elder Brigade. Samuel W. Obray was named as Sgt of the First Platoon. The division was disorganized when Brigham Young advised the settlers to evacuate the valley and “move south” in the spring of 1858 to escape the threat of Johnson’s Army. When the valley was resettled in 1859, the militia was reactivated.

Robert Leatham recalls, “The early settlers of Wellsville built their log houses in a fort touching each other for protection against the Indians. Because of trouble with the Indians a committee of men were chosen to settle all difficulties. We would hold a peace council and usually pacify the Indians with food and other provisions.”

The pioneers who stayed at Maughan’s fort were mostly of English, Scottish, and Welsh descent. They possessed the sturdy endurance powers, tenacity, thrift, and high ideals of the frontier Mormon. The members of the little colony were forced to unite in self protection against Indians, starvation, and plagues of nature. However, the one big unifying influence came from their religion, the one thing for which they had come West. Cooperation was the watchword and the key to their success. Thus, the Cache Valley pioneers went about the job of settling their communities with foresight, devotion to work, faith in God, and unfaltering perseverance. 

 

                                                                       

Immigrants:

Obray, Thomas Lorenzo

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