History of Elizabeth Jane Davis Stewart
Elizabeth Davis Stewart, was the daughter of Henry and Rachal Hunter Davis whom resided in Monroe, Oberland County, Tenn. Her parents had twelve children, Elizabeth being the fourth child, was born 17 September, 1831. Her father and mother heard the gospel and joined the Mormon Church in 1838, when Elizabeth was 7 years old. The spirit of the gospel took possession of them and they decided to leave there home and join a branch of the church in Illinois. In the month of May, 1840, they left Tennessee for Nauvoo, a distance of 600 miles. The only means of travel they had was a black mare that was blind, one old horse, four cows, and a cart. They hitched the blind mare to the cart, which had no tires except hickory wood. The cart was loaded with what clothing and provisions they had and one small child whom was Robert, a younger brother. The other horse was packed with bedding leaving room for two more of the smaller children to ride. Henry Davis, her father, walked and led the blind mare that was pulling the cart. Rachel, her mother walked and carried the nine month old baby. Elizabeth, now nine years old, and her brothers Larkin, George, and Jordan walked and drove the cows. They had traveled nine miles when the cart broke down. They fixed it and started the next day in good shape. They traveled some odd miles when the cart broke down again. They packed there things on the horses and went to a place nearby where a man called DoHarte resided of whom they were acquainted with. They all helped to get the cart fixed once again and loaded ready for travel again. They started out again and crossed the Cumberland River on a ferry boat which put them in the state of Kentucky with very little trouble. They then crossed the Ohio river in a large house boat, which put them into the state of Illinois. Just before crossing the river one of the tires wore out so they traded one of the cows for a set of steel wheels for the cart. They also traded the old horse for a mare with harness and the three cows they had left for a wagon with a cover. So they started out again with plenty of room for everyone to ride this time. They stopped in Morgan County, Ill. to visit Elizabeth's mothers sister Mrs Lucinde Demiss. Her husband was very bitter against the Mormons. They stayed there four or five days and then moved on as Mr. Demiss would not even stay home as long as they were there. They traveled eight more miles and stopped at a place where father Davis had a sister living. They stayed there three or four days of which they were treated very good although they weren't members of the church. They traveled on without any trouble till they reached Hancock County, Ill. They passed Carthage Jail and stopped with a family of Mormons who lived about a mile past the jail. They were persuaded to go on to Baymos as there was more work there. They arrived there on the 24 of July 1840 in Baymos Ill., where there was a colony of Saints. Father Davis and his sons worked for a Mr. Eaton and other farmers till fall at which time he went into the timber country and cut logs of which he built a house for them to live in that winter. In the spring Mr. Eaton bought the young mare and said he would pay for it as soon as he could. The next news they had was that Mr. Eaton had left for Michigan without paying for the mare. Mr. Davis took sick and was bedfast for a month and soon after Elizabeth's mother took sick for a little over a month. They were sick, poor, and almost destitute. However there faith in the gospel never failed and they were willing to sacrifice all for the gospel. It wasn't long till father Davis found work again. He traded for a team of young oxen in the spring of 1841. All the children that were old enough were baptized afterwhich they traveled to a place about 4 miles from Nauvoo and stayed there till fall. In July the oldest brother, Larkin, went back to Baymos after some things that they had left. While there he got into a mill race and was drowned. Wm Young, a nephew of Brigham Young, found the body and prepared it for burial after which he brought it to Nauvoo for burial. Sept 18, 1841 they moved to the city of Nauvoo. They traded there oxen for a house and lot of which they moved into in November. They lived there for about 4 years. George, the second oldest son, cut stone for the Nauvoo temple until it was completed. Jordan worked as a chore boy for Parley P. Pratt. He also helped him in the tithing office. They were always ready and willing to do whatever they could. Mr. Davis was a man who took his part in guarding and defending the town. They were progressing and doing what ever they could for the church until 1844. Now came the awful martyrdom of their beloved prophet and patriarch, Joseph and Hyrum Smith, on June 27, 1844. There heads were bowed and their hearts were filled with grief for the greatest sorrow in all their history had come. They silently wept and prayed for their beloved leaders. Elizabeth attended the special meeting called to decide upon the new leadership of the church, along with her family and friends, which was held Aug 8, 1844 at 2 p.m.. There had been several other speakers, but when apostle Brigham Young arose to speak the people were greatly astonished everyone arising and saying brother Joseph is here, our Joseph has come back. She testified that he looked and spoke like Joseph, his voice sounded just like the prophets. Elizabeth was personally acquainted with the prophet and had heard him speak many times so was well qualified to make this statement. She attended the funeral of the prophet and patriarch. She received her endowments in the Nauvoo temple when she was 14 years of age. She was in the persecution of the saints when they were driven from Nauvoo. Elizabeth and her family along with the rest of the homeless saints started westward. They stopped at the place called Garden Grove, 145 miles from Nauvoo, where the saints stopped for a while. Then they traveled on to Mt Pisgah, another stopping place for the saints. While here her father died. Soon after they traveled on and landed in Salt Lake City on her eighteenth birthday. She married Benjamin Franklin Stewart when she was 19. They ware married by President Brigham Young in Salt Lake City. While in Salt Lake City she had a blessing under the hand of patriarch John Smith, April 6, 1852. In that blessing she received some wonderful promises which were fulfilled to the very letter. One was that she would never taste death and would be changed in the twinkling of an eye. This was true as she died without any sickness or suffering. After she was married they lived in Mill Creek for a while then they moved to Payson, being among the first settlers there. She was the mother of 10 children all of them born in Payson. She was in many of the uprisings of the Indians. They were living at a sandmill in Payson canyon when chief Walker was camped on what is know as Walkers Flat with 500 of his warriors. There was one man killed in Payson by the name of Keele. There were 3 families living in the canyon. They listened to the Indians singing and dancing their war dances all night and in the morning they went up to another sawmill thinking they would stand a better chance of defending their selves. The Indians went up over the hills to the right of the sawmill firing down at the houses as they went by killing a mule that was tied to the corner of one of the houses. They had to shut down the work at the sawmill and move to Payson till the trouble with the Indians was over. At various times while living in Payson she entertained at her home Brigham Young, George Albert Smith and other leaders of the church. She came to Benjamin in about the year 1871 among the first settlers there, the town getting its name from her husband Benjamin Franklin Stewart. At that time she with her husband and family settled in a house just west of what is now the Benjamin cemetery. They lived there 4 or 5 years. During this time her husband built a one room house of which was used as a school house for a while. Later they moved down to what was known as the lower ranch and stayed there for about a year. Then they moved into the house that had been used for a school. Later he built on to this house and as there was no building of any kind to hold church in, she offered her home for the members of the church to hold their meetings in. For some time they held Priesthood, Sunday School, and Sacrament and other meetings in their home. She lived in this house until three years before she died. As her health was failing she moved to the house of her daughter. There she spent the remaining part of her life. She died February 10, 1920, at the age of 88 years.