Tuesday, January 15, 2008

James Bevan (1821-1894)

The following information was derived from a variety of different sources, none of them named. Where possible, I've included photographs to illustrate several aspects of his life.

Some basic information:

-- James Bevan emigrated to America in 1842 on the ship "Hope" arriving and settling in Nauvoo, Illinois,May 14 1846.
-- He was a member of the Mormon Battalion, enlisting at Council Bluffs, Iowa, in the Company A, under Captain Jefferson Hunt. Because he got sick, he was assigned to Lieutenant W.W. Willis' detachment, wintering in Pueblo, Colorado. He came to Utah on July 28, 1847 with Captain James Browns' Company, after passing through Pueblo, Colorado.
-- After 14 months in the Salt Lake Valley (at the time part of Mexico) he returned to what was then the United States and found his wife. He had eleven children with Mary Shields and also married Mary's friend Isabell McPherson.
-- He came to Tooele in 1852 and was a Captain of 10 in the Echo Canyon Campaign against General Johnston's army.

A personal history, unedited except to add paragraph breaks, follows herein:

James Bevan was the son of John and Ann Bairfoot Bevan of Herefordshire, England where he was born October 19, 1821. When he was twenty-six years of age he heard the Gospel as preached by the Mormon missionary Wilford Woodruff and was baptized. He left his native land with other converts, hoping to join the Saints in Zion.

[James travelled on the ship called "Hope" to New Orleans, Louisiana, arriving on 1 April 1842. The first two pages of the ship records are shown here, the second page of which illustrates his name on line 123 with his age of 22 being recorded with a profession of "Labourer".]

About this time the United States was having trouble with Mexico and James Bevan was among the volunteers to join the Mormon Battalion. When the sick detachment was sent to Pueblo, James Bevan was a member of the group. Although James was a strong, young man, he became ill, and was left by the side of the road. He often told his children how he lay alone until he saw a man on horseback approaching him. When the man saw him he dismounted, gave him some water and medicine, then disappeared as quickly as he had come. James began to feel better and started on his way again. He found the camp of the Battalion and was warmly greeted. Many believed that a messenger from God had saved his life.

[I visited the Mormon Battalion Museum in San Diego, CA, and took the following pictures. The statue is not James Bevan, but the plaques show his assignment to Company A.]

He arrived in Salt Lake Valley, July, 1847. In the year 1850, James returned to Council Bluffs where he married Mary Shields on the 9th of May. Upon his return to Salt Lake he acquired a tract of land and took up farming. During the period of the Johnston Army episode, James was Captain of ten men stationed in Echo Canyon. He was Senior President of the 43rd Quorum of Seventies for many years. Death came to James Bevan at the age of seventy-three on October 26, 1894.

The following image is of a newspaper article from the Tooele Transcript-Bulletin, which is a memorial to James Bevan. It is listed as being written by James Dunn and was published on 9 November 1894.

The previous section of the history was tagged with a name of "Alice Bates Herron", who may have been the original author. The following section of history is somewhat redundant, again with an unknown source, but contains a very interesting story about James and a local native when he resided in Tooele, Utah.

Bevan, James, a member of the Mormon Battalion, was born in Herefordshire, England, Oct. 18, 1821, baptized October, 1840, emigrated to America in 1842, crossing the Atlantic in the ship "Hope," and arrived at Nauvoo, Ill., May 14, 1846. He enlisted as a private in Company A of the Battalion, at Council Bluffs, and on account of sickness became a member of Lieutenant W. W. Willis' detachment, which wintered at Pueblo. He arrived in G.L.S. Valley the following summer under Capt. James Brown. After remaining in the Valley about fourteen months, Bevan returned to the States, in company with Howard Egan and others, but came back to the Valley in the spring of 1852 as a married man, and located in Tooele, Tooele county, Utah, where he resided the remainder of his life. He died Oct. 26, 1894 at Tooele.

James Bevan came to Utah, July 28th, 1847. He was in Captain James Brown's company, who was in charge of the sick detachment of Saints. As a member of the Mormon Battalion, James Bevan helped bring the sick Pioneers to Utah. Later he served as a Captain in the Echo Canyon Campaign when Sidney Johnston's Army made their hostile entrance into Utah in 1857. He suffered many hardships, through that winter; the snow was deep and the men had to wrap burlap sacks around their feet to keep them from being frozen.

As a settler in Tooele, Utah, he helped build the city. He hauled logs from the canyons to be used in the building of homes and schoolhouses for the people. One time while he was in the hills, loading logs in his wagon to help with the building in the village, he paused in his work to fry some pancakes for his lunch. It was customary in those days to carry some flour, a frying pan, and other provisions when in the hills.

This time he had his fire made and a pancake cooking when he was startled to hear a noise behind him. Turning quickly to see what caused the noise, he was face to face with Weiber Tom, a very large and fearsome Indian, whom all the settlers feared. The Indian looked very mean, raised his tomahawk and said, "I kill you!"

James Bevan wasn't a coward, but he feared the Indian because he was unarmed and no match for so large an Indian. He offered a silent prayer to God and then he reached over to the fire and handed the cooked pancake to the Indian, saying, "You eat." To his surprise Weiber Tom took the offered cake, said, "Me eat." More pancakes were baked and the Indian ate until he was well fed. To James Bevan's surprise, Weiber Tom walked to the wagon that was being loaded with logs and helped him load them. When the load was completed, he climbed on the wagon with him and rode out of the hills to the home of James Bevan, where he saw the family and was given more food.

From that time on he was a friend of the Bevan family. It was a common sight to see the Indian at their home. He would ask if Cap. Bevan was home. If he wasn't, he would wait out in the yard, and when he saw him coming with his team and wagon, he would run to meet him like a child.


joel swenson said...

Thank you for creating this blog/history of James Bevan... my 3rd great grand father. I'm Joel Swenson of Provo, Utah.


Anonymous said...

thank you for the wondeful story of my grandfather twice removed.

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