Sunday, June 29, 2014

Ellott Willden-2nd Great-Grandfather

Ellott Willden
2nd Great-Grandfather

Birth Date: 28 Sep 1833
 Birth Place: Laughton, Yorkshire, England 
Parents: Charles William Willden and Eleanor Turner
 Death Date: 1 Oct 1920
 Death Place:  Beaver, Beaver, Utah

Spouse: Emma Jane Clews
Married:  15 Mar 1856
Place: Cedar City, Iron, Utah

Spouse: Christiana Brown (My 2nd Great-grandmother)
Married: 1892
Place: Beaver, Utah

As I researched my 2nd Great-Grandfather, Ellott Willden, I found information that was very disturbing to me.  It appears that Ellott Willden was a participant in the tragic murders that are known today as The Mountain Meadow Massacres.  I have read many articles, and exerpts from books and read a most recent published book about the Mountain Meadow Massacres. Although it is known that he was there that day, and a probable participant, not much is really known about what his participation was. He was indicted for murder at one point, but charges were later dismissed. What I have read about his life, indicates he was a very good man before this massacre and afterwards lived a good life.  I wish I knew more about what made these men,and particularly my 2nd great-grandfather, do what they did at Mountain Meadows.  What I do know is that there was a lot of events surrounding this massacre that had and were occurring in Utah and with the LDS church at this time that created fear and hysteria among many of the people.  I also know that there was no excuse for these murders to occur. I like to think that Ellott Willden was a good man who made a very grave mistake that day and spent his life trying to make up for this terrible tragedy.

I recently visited the Mountain Meadow Massacre memorial sites and felt profound sadness at these events. As I read the names of entire families that were killed, I couldn't help but wonder why this had to happen. Maybe one day I will be able to ask him why he would participate in something so terrible and wrong. 

Taken from

Early Life in the English West Midlands

Ellott Willden/Wilden descended from northern British borderers. Born in 1833 to Charles and Eleanor Turner Willden, Elliott Willden and other family members were baptized in the Mormon Church in 1845 and attended the Mormons' Derbyshire conference.

Immigration to America and onto Utah

His family immigrated to the United States in 1849 and passed several years in the Mormon settlements in western Iowa. In 1852, they joined the Thomas C.D. Howell Company, which departed in June for Utah Territory. As they started their journey, the family consisted of Charles, 45, Eleanor, 42, Ellott, 18, Charles, 15, John, 13, Feargus O'Connor, 11, Ann Jane, 7, and Mary Ellen, 1.

They passed the usual milestones on the trail: Fort Kearney, the South Fork of the Platte River, Chimney Rock, Fort Laramie, the Sweetwater River, Independence Rock, Devil's Gate, Green River, Fort Bridger, Bear River, and Weber River. After suffering the usual hardships of overland trail they arrived in the valley of the Great Salt Lake in September.
Charles Willden, Ellott's father, had worked in the iron mills in Sheffield, England and as soon as his ironwork experience was recognized, it was determined to send him and his family to the "Iron Mission" in southern Utah with headquarters in Cedar City. There the founding of the Deseret Iron Company was underway.

Moving to Cedar City and the Ironworks

Early Years in Cedar City

In late October 1852, these working class immigrants from the West Midlands of England had joined other Englishmen as well as Scots, Welsh, Irish and others in the Iron Mission in southern Utah. On arrival, they lived in their wagons and a dugout. Ellott and his brothers tended the community livestock herd. They also tended ten head of sheep that they had brought with them. However, they passed a miserable winter, being short on both food and clothing. They subsisted largely on bran bread. By early spring 1853, they were digging roots and eating grass to survive. Ellott Willden's experience was probably similar to that of his brother Feargus O'Conner Willden (named after the Irish radical Feargus O'Connor) who feed sheep, milked cows, cut wood, and carried water. 
However, things improved somewhat in the next few years. By 1854, the inhabitants of Cedar City had left the confines of the original fort for Plat A, a new larger fort. Charles Willden had a lot and abobe-walled home next door to the ironworks chief engineer, Thomas Bladen, and two lots away from Cedar City bishop, Philip Klingensmith. He also had an allotment in the community garden plot. In 1855, when it was determined to relocate the settlement again, Charles Willden had a lot in Plat B, which was located nearer to the foothills and southeast of Plat A. It occupied the area where the modern town of Cedar City now stands. By 1856, Charles had purchased a second lot and 22-year-old Ellott Willden had purchased a lot of his own.

The Deseret Iron Company

In moving to Cedar City, the Willdens settled in an area dominated by the Deseret Iron Company, known more familiarly as the Ironworks. See Summary of Deseret Iron Company for a brief summary of its early development.

The Early Ironworks in Cedar City

The Ironworks in 1857

In April 1857, the delivery of a new steam engine from Great Salt Lake City seemed to breathe new life into the ironworks. Working from April to June they installed the steam engine and completed the new engine house. In the first week of July, they were ready to begin smelting. They “put on the blast” and had a modicum of success. But they continued to be plagued with problems ranging from poor quality raw materials to smelting equipment that lacked technical sophistication. When in late July the steam engine seized with sand from the dirty creek water, they speedily dug a reservoir to store a supply of clean water for the boiler. They continued making smelting runs through August. All the while crews at the ironworks manned all the necessary functions there, while other crews, mainly miners and teamsters, gathered the raw materials – iron ore, coal, limestone, and wood – necessary to sustain smelting.
The smelting continued until September 13. In other words, around September 3, when a dispute arose between some settlers and several men in the passing Arkansas company, the blast furnace was running nonstop. And when Cedar City militiamen, many of them ironworkers, mustered to Mountain Meadows where they were involved in the massacre on September 11, other ironworkers in Cedar City continued the smelting runs night and day. For additional details, see Smelting at the Ironworks in 1857.
From late April to September, those working up the canyon in mining or hauling wood, coal, limestone, rock, sand or “adobies” to the ironworks were Isaac C. HaightJames WilliamsonGeorge HunterJoseph H. SmithIra AllenEllott WildenSwen JacobsAlex LoveridgeJoel WhiteEzra CurtisSamuel McMurdieSamuel PollockJohn JacobsJohn M. HigbeeJohn M. MacfarlaneSamuel JewkesNephi JohnsonThomas CartwrightWilliam Bateman, Elias Morris,Benjamin ArthurJoseph H. SmithRobert Wiley, and Philip Klingensmith. Those working at the ironworks on the furnace, engine, coke ovens or blacksmith shop included Elias Morris, John HumphriesIra AllenJohn UrieBenjamin Arthur,James WilliamsonJoseph H. SmithSamuel JewkesJoseph ClewsRichard HarrisonWilliam C. StewartWilliam BatemanJohn M MacfarlaneJohn M. HigbeeJohn JacobsGeorge HunterSamuel PollockWilliam S. RiggsAlex LoveridgeEllott WildenEzra CurtisEliezar EdwardsSwen JacobsJoel White, and Thomas Cartwright. (The two lists overlap because some worked both in the canyon and at the Ironworks.) Other prominent figures at the ironworks who were not later involved at Mountain Meadows were Samuel Leigh, George Horton, James H. Haslem, Laban Morrell, John Chatterley, Thomas Gower, Thomas Crowther and others.

Willden's Role with the Ironworks in 1857

During this period in mid-1857, Ellott Willden had a variety of specific roles including working on the canyon road to the coal mines, making "adobies" for the furnace and other structures, hauling wood to be made into charcoal, and helping make the reservoir to supply water to the steam engine.
The majority of the southern Utah militiamen at Mountain Meadows were from Cedar City. Of these, nearly all of them had worked at the Ironworks or supplied raw materials to it. Indeed, in the weeks before the Mountain Meadows Massacre, they had worked intensely together, hauling materials, building a new water reservoir, and making the latest run of the blast furnace. One perennial mystery of the massacre has been why the militiamen mustered to Mountain Meadows in “broken” militia units; that is, from different platoons and companies, none of which had a full compliment of its members. Perhaps the reason lies in the Ironworks. Those in the Ironworks knew each other and had worked alongside one another. Not only was Ellott Willden acquainted with those who mustered from Cedar City to Mountain Meadows, he had worked with them at the Ironworks. The answer may be that the men of the Ironworks were on hand and available and Isaac Haight, who himself had worked closely with them, assigned them to muster to Mountain Meadows.

In the Iron Military District: Private Ellott Willden, Company F, John M. Higbee's 3rd Battalion

In 1857, the Iron Military District consisted of four battalions led by regimental commander Col. William H. Dame. The platoons and companies in the first battalion drew on men in and around Parowan. (It had no involvement at Mountain Meadows.) Major Isaac Haight commanded the 2nd Battalion whose personnel in its many platoons and two companies came from Cedar City and outer-lying communities to the north such as Fort Johnson. Major John Higbee headed the 3rd Battalion whose many platoons and two companies were drawn from Cedar City and outer-lying communities to the southwest such as Fort Hamilton. Major John D. Lee of Fort Harmony headed the 4th Battalion whose platoons and companies drew on its militia personnel from Fort Harmony, the Southerners at the newly-founded settlement in Washington, the Indian interpreters at Fort Clara, and the new settlers at Pinto.
In September 1857, 23-year-old Ellott Willden was a private in a platoon in Company F of Major John M. Higbee's 3rd Battalion in Cedar City. See A Basic Account for a full description of the massacre.
Probably on Saturday, September 5, he and Josiah Reeves entered the Arkansas emigrants' camp at Mountain Meadows to ascertain their plans. On Monday the 7th at the time of the first attack, Willden may have be present or in the vicinity but there is no corroborated report of Willden's whereabouts or role that day. Nor is there for Willden's actions at the massacre on Friday the 11th, other than that he was present at the Meadows.
In the 1859 arrest warrant, Willden was listed as "E. Welean."
For years, little was known of Willden's role. However, as discussed below, in the early 1890s, Ellott Willden made some particularly revealing statements about many aspects of the massacre. The publication of his statements in Turley and Walker's Mountain Meadows Massacre: The Jenson and Morris Collections makes available some of the most important new source material from a primary witness to the massacre.

Married Life

In his family life, Willden married serially two English immigrants to Utah, both from Staffordshire near his own homeland. In 1856, he married Joseph Clews's sister, Emma Jane Clews (1839-1890) and she bore him nine children. After Emma died in 1890, he remarried.
Map southern utah 1.jpg

Leaving Cedar City and Establishing Willden's Fort on Cove Creek

In 1860, Ellott Willden and his father, Charles, visited Cove Creek, near the boundary line between Millard and Beaver counties and midway between Fillmore and Beaver. They made plans to establish a fort there. In 1861, the Willden family moved to Cove Creek and soon had built two houses, a dugout and a corral and had planted grain. Over time, they established Willden's Fort, a log-pole fort that became a convenient resting place for travelers journeying between Salt Lake City and southern Utah.

For several years, Willden and his wife along with his parents and other family members lived at the fort. In 1862, following cultural patterns familiar to them in northern England, the Willden family brought sheep to the area after which sheep raising expanded rapidly in the region.

A reconstruction of Willden Fort

Resettling in Beaver, Utah

In 1865, however, the outbreak of the Black Hawk War forced the Willdens to abandon their fort and retreat to the relative safety of the settlement at Beaver. Two years later, others returned to Fort Willden and built a larger fort nearby, Cove Fort, that still stands today, an artifact from pioneer-era Utah.
In 1866, during the Black Hawk War, John Percival Lee and his family occupied a diary farm some miles outside of Beaver. One evening that fall, hostile Indians besieged their isolated ranch house and they narrowly escaped tragedy. Ellott Willden had been present at the Lee homestead shortly before the attack and noted the wolf calls which he suspected were being made by hostile Indians.
Add caption
Willden established his home in Beaver where he lived for more than fifty years. He raised livestock and pursued farming. He also had some renown in his community as a fiddler. For years he played fiddle for the Beaver choir, brass band, and dance orchestra.
Elliott and Emma Jane Clews Willden. Emma was the sister of militiaman Joseph Clews.

Indictment for Murder

In 1874, Willden was among nine militiamen indicted for their involvement in the 1857 massacre. Besides such principal figures as Col. William H. Dame, Major Isaac C. Haight, Major John M. Higbee, Major John D. Lee, Cedar City bishopPhillip Klingensmith, and William C. Stewart, all of whom played prominent and well-attested roles, the indictment also included three militia privates, George Washington AdairSamuel Jewkes, and Ellott Willden. It has never been entirely clear why these three militiamen from the lowest echelon of the Iron Military District were included in the indictment. At any rate, Willden was arrested but eventually released on bail. He did not testify in the Lee trials and the charges against him were ultimately dismissed.

His Later Statements Relative to the Massacre

In the 1890s, when Andrew Jenson of the LDS Church's historical office travelled to southern Utah to gather information and interview aging Iron County militiamen with knowledge of the massacre, Ellott Willden played an important role. Based on personal knowledge of the massacre, Willden made corrections to Hubert Howe Bancroft's massacre account in his History of Utah: 1540-1886. He helped Jenson gain access to men who had participated in the massacre. He provided his own personal account with many details not contained elsewhere. In 2009, Turley and Walker published Ellott Willden's statements for the first time in their documentary collection, Mountain Meadows Massacre: The Jenson and Morris Collections. Willden's statements can now be evaluated along with other sources known since the 19th century.
According to Ellott Willden, Major Isaac Haight ordered Major John M. Higbee to have Willden and Josiah Reeves shadow the Arkansas company to ascertain their intentions. It was probably Saturday, September 5, when Willden and Reeves entered the emigrant camp at Mountain Meadows. Significantly, Willden noted that the emigrants treated them civilly. Willden also credibly shows that the original plan to attack the emigrants was not at Mountain Meadows but in a narrow canyon on the Santa Clara River some miles to the south.
Willden described a key event that occurred either in the afternoon or evening of Monday, the 7th or, more probably, Tuesday, the 8th: the killing of William Aden. Willden identified William Stewart and Joel White as the Mormon sentries who killed Aden and fired on his Arkansas Company companion. But Aden's companion successfully retreated to the safety of the emigrant camp. Willden also described howJoseph Clews and he raced past the emigrant camp in mid-week, dressed in Indian garb.

The Importance of the New Source Material from Ellott Willden

There are limitations in the new materials from Ellott Willden. He does not describe his own role in the massacre and his various accounts probably contain some errors in chronology, but he does provide many significant and unique details. His account may be the most important new source material on the massacre since the mid-20th century when Juanita Brooks's published her groundbreaking history of the massacre and included several key militia accounts and government documents in the appendix to the volume. In Turley and Walker's new documentary volume,Mountain Meadows Massacre: Jenson and Morris Collections, Willden is the largest contributor of new source material -- 90 pages -- which constitutes more than one-quarter of the total.

Final Years

After the death of his first wife Emma in 1890, Willden married Christiana Brown (1859-1936) in 1892 and she bore him three more children, the last when he was sixty-four years old. Around 1910, Willden applied for Indian Wars veterans benefits for his service in 1866 during Utah's Black Hawk War. 
In 1920, Willden died at the age of eighty-seven and was buried in Beaver. He was survived by his second wife, Christiana, and numerous children. By then, he was one of the oldest surviving militiamen of the catastrophe at Mountain Meadows.

Our special thanks to Gary D. Young for generously sharing his research on Ellott Willden.


Bagley, Blood of the Prophets, 128; Bigler and Bagley, Innocent Blood: Essential Narratives, 344, 393; Brooks, ed., Journal of the Southern Indian Mission, 120; Bradley, A History of Beaver County, 71; Carter, ed., Heart Throbs of the West,4:135; Gottfredson, Indian Depredations in Utah, 231; Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church, 162; Lee, Mormonism Unveiled, 293, 380; Lee Trial transcripts; Lyman and Newell, A History of Millard County, 105-106; Merkley, ed.,Monuments to Courage, 33, 37, 52, 134-35; Olsen, "The History of Charles and Eleanor Turner Willden" (accessed at; Palmer, “The Early Sheep Industry in Southern Utah, Utah Historical Quarterly, 42/2 (Spring 1974), 179; Seegmiller, A History of Iron County, 374, fn. 7; Shirts and Shirts, A Trial Furnace, 62 fn. 69, 175, 288, 293, 297-98, 329, 331, 474, 484, 487, 496; Turley and Walker, Mountain Meadows Massacre: The Jenson and Morris Collections; 133-223; Utah State Archive and Records and Service, Commissioner of Indian War Records, Indian War Service Affidavits, affidavit of Ellott Willden, accessed at; Walker, et al, Massacre at Mountain Meadows, 140-41, 149, 151-52, 157, 159, 163, 171-72, 179, 230, Appendix C, 264; Charles Willden, Biography of Charles Willden, 1806-188 (accessed at; and Gary Young, family history records of Ellott Willden.
For full bibliographic information see Bibliography.
(Special thanks to Gary Young for providing his family histories of Ellott Willden.)

External Links

For further information on Ellott/Elliot Wilden/Willden see:
For further information of the family of Charles and Eleanor Turner Willden, see:
Further information and confirmation needed. Please contact

This is an excerpt from The Andrew Jenson Collection
by Ronald W. Walker and Richard E. Turley Jr.

Andrew Jenson, who later became an Assistant Church Historian,collected material on Mountain Meadows for the immediate need of helping Orson F. Whitney write his History of Utah and the longer-rangepurpose of one day bringing to light all of “the true facts” of the massacre.
Nearly from its inception, the Jenson material has been housed at the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah—a portion of it in the First Presidency’s Office and the rest in the Church Historian’s Office (now the Church History Library).
 The Jenson material includes statements made not only by massacre perpetrators but also by contemporaries with less self-interested concerns.
Jenson’s notes and reports, considered alongside statements of massacre participants and other sources, give us a much clearer picture of what happened and when—from the day the Arkansas company passed through Cedar City until most of its members lay dead at Mountain Meadows just over a week later. The documents shed important light on subjects such as Cedar City leaders’ efforts to spy on the Arkansas emigrants and to incite Paiutes against them, killings of emigrants who were away from the main encampment at the Meadows, and the “tan bark council” in Parowan, at which William Dame, Parowan stake president and colonel of the Iron Military District, reportedly authorized the destruction of the emigrant company.

Ellott Willden, Statements and Corrections,
January 29–30, 1892
Ellott Willden (1833–1920) was born on September 28, 1833, in Laughton-en-le-Morthen, Yorkshire, England, to Charles and Eleanor Turner Willden. His parents embraced the Latter-day Saint faith in England, and the family immigrated to the United States in 1849. They lived in Iowa before traveling to Utah in 1852, where they settled in Cedar City.
Ellott married Emma Jane Clewes in Cedar City in 1856. She was the younger sister of Joseph Clewes, who carried messages between Cedar City and Mountain Meadows during the week of the massacre.79 As a private in the Cedar City militia, Ellott was present during the massacre on Friday, September 11, 1857.
Willden moved to Beaver around 1859, and he and other family members established Willden’s Fort on Cove Creek, twenty-five miles north of Beaver, in 1860–61. The family returned to Beaver in 1865. They sold the fort to the Church in 1867, and shortly thereafter it was rebuilt and renamed Cove Fort.
For the rest of Willden’s life, he resided in Beaver, where he organized the town’s first band—he played the organ and violin—and worked in various capacities, including as justice of the peace, Indian interpreter for the district court, and state inspector of weights and measures.
A grand jury indicted him in September 1874 for complicity in the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and authorities arrested him in August 1876. His case was postponed for more than two and a half years but was finally dismissed in March 1879, never coming to trial.
Willden’s wife Emma Clewes died in 1890. He married Christiana Brown in February 1892, shortly after his interviews with Jenson. Willden died in Beaver in 1920.
Willden provided key testimony on such things as the changing plans of attack, Lee’s role, the first assault at the Meadows, the killing of three emigrants on the road outside Cedar City, the conduct of Indians during the siege, Willden and Clewes’s desperate run through gunfire in Indian dress, the number of militia and where they came from, the location of militia camps, the councils and plans before the killing, the rationale for the slaughter, the events of the massacre, the burying of the bodies, and the disposition of the emigrants’ property. Along the way, Willden corrected more than a dozen small errors that had crept into previous narratives.
Willden also admitted to having been at the Meadows before the first shot was fired. Haight had sent him west, along with Josiah Reeves and perhaps Benjamin Arthur, to learn of the intention of the Arkansas company and to build a case against them. Accordingly, they visited the Arkansans’ encampment and witnessed key events during the week that followed. 
Like the statements of most of the Mormon witnesses, Willden’s revelations must have had an element of restraint. There was little self-incrimination as he insisted that he had no role in the initial attack or in the final killings. The rest of his information was more convincing. The details he provided fit a general mosaic of events and testimony offered by others.

 Volume 4
by Kate B. Carter

In the early seventies the first brass band of Beaver, Utah, was organized under the direction of William Robinson. On the Fourth of July each year the band was at the sunrise flag-raising ceremony to play "The Star Spangled Banner." A few hours later it led the parade with patriotic marches and the beat of the drums through the business section of the town to the Latter-Day-Saints Church, where the celebration was held. Then at the beginning of the program, several lively selection were played by the band. It was always a part of the Pioneer Day celebrations.

 When the Mormon Church leaders made tours of the state, the people of Beaver met them several miles out and escorted them into the city. At such times all band members, with shining instruments and well-practiced pieces, were there to add to the gaiety of the occasion. Political leaders were greeted in much the same way, and for many years the Brass Band was in great demand by both political parties to lead clubs in processions and spirited demonstrations just prior to election day.

 Occasionally, on a summer evening, this group of musicians went in a farm wagon to serenade their families, or church and civic leaders of the community. But wherever they played, crowds of small boys gathered and followed along, enjoying the rhythm and melody.

 A few times the band went to other settlements of the county to participate in festivities. July 1890, they attended a special Twenty-fourth of July celebration at Panguitch Lake for several days. In 1897 the Beaver Band purchased new instruments and uniforms to go to Salt Lake City to the Jubilee on the fiftieth anniversary of the settlement of Utah. Here they marched and played in the famous parade on July 24th.


At the time of the 1897 Jubilee the group was known as the "Star Band." GEORGE W. WOODHOUSE was the leader. He was assisted by JAMES WHEELER and the following men were members: HEBER C. DEAN, JEDEDIAH DEAN, THOMAS SCHOFIELD,  WILFORD SCHOFIELD, JAMES HOOPES, JOSEPH BAKES, JAMES E. ROBINSON, WALTER S. TOLTON, WILFORD ROBINSON, MILTON ROGERSON, JAMES E. COWDELL, and LEWIS W. HARRIS. Other men belonged to both groups for short periods, but it is impossible to recall a complete list.

 This information was obtained from HEBER C. DEAN, who is eighty-eight years of age. He was a band member from 1875 to 1920, and is the only man still living who served under the first leader, WILLIAM ROBINSON.
 -- Amelia Dean

Written by Manilla May Willden Hardy

Ellott Willden was born September 28, 1833 in Laughton, Yorkshire, England, the son of Charles and Eleanor Turner Willden.

In 1845 at the age of 12 he, Ellott, was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Prior to that he had accompanied two ministers from town to town for the purpose of leading the singing.

This was a dark time in England. Trade was bad, and the Saints were being persecuted. So on November 10, 1849, the Willden family including seven children, bid farewell to their native land, and set sail on the Ship Zetland, for the Unites States. After six weeks of hardship and sufferings they landed in New Orleans, on Christmas Eve, 1849. They left New Orleans on the 29th of December 1849 on the "Steam Boat Ben West". During the journey Ellott lost a little sister, maria age 2 years, on 4 January 1850, who was buried in Council Bain (or Bend), County Crittendon, Arkansas on the Mississippi River. They arrived in St. Louis January 11, 1850.

From St. Louis the family moved to Council Bluff, where they began faring. But because of the persecutions of the Saints it was necessary for them to again move westward, leaving their grain in the bin, and their farm unsold, they began their long journey to Utah.

It was at this time that Ellott left his family, who would come later, and joined a company of the Saints, in which were Lorenzo Snow and John T. Taylor. Ellott was one of the few of this company who could swim, and because of this he was able to give valuable service in finding camping places stream crossings, and feed for the cattle and horses. Ellott arrived in Salt lake Valley in September 1852 (19 years old). The rest of the Willden family arrived December 31, 1852, they came with the 3rd company, Captain Thomas D. Howell. The Willden family was sent out to help build what is now know as Cedar City, they arrived there in October 1853.

On March 15, 1856, Ellott married Emma Jane Clews in Cedar City, and they built a house and barn. In Cedar City there was born to them two sons, Ellott, born January 7, 1858, and Charles Andrew, born March 17, 1860. During this time Ellott worked three years on Mount Trumbo, getting out lumber for the Temple at St. George.

In the fall of 1860, Ellott and his father were called to make improvements on Cove Creek, the purpose was to make a Way Station for travellers. But their families did not arrive there until March 1861. In April 1862 a third son Clarence was born to Emma Jane and Ellott Willden. At this time the buildings on Cove Creek were know as For Willden.

In May 1861 President Brigham Young and party visited Cove Creek, and Willden Fort. The scribe of the party described it as, two houses, and a dugout, surrounded by a picket stockade, built of cedar posts. Three families living there, including five men who had sown nine acres of grain.

On July 27th 1864, George, my father was born at Willden Fort to Emma Jane and Ellott. At that time the Indians were hostile, and the night George was born, about 2000 Indians were camped in the valley, west of the Fort. There were only five men and a large boy at the Fort at this time, Great Grandfather Charles, Grandfather Ellott, three great uncles Charles, John and Feargus, (Feargus was the large boy), three women and several children. Ellott mindful of the instructions given by Brigham Young, "better to feed the Indians than to fight them", went to the Indian encampment and told them to kill the beef in the pasture, which they did, and after a day or two they disbanded and went on their way. Emma Jane told my father George that all the time she was in labor with him she could hear these Indians, beating their drums, singing yelling and that she expected them at any time to attack the fort.

In 1865 the Willdens moved to Beaver. In 1867 the Church took over the property at Willdens Fort, and a rock Fort was built. It is now known as Cave Fort. In Beaver seven more children were born to them.

In Beaver, Ellott engaged in farming and freighting, between Beaver and Salt lake City. He was a peace-maker with the Indians. He had very little trouble with them. He learned their language very fluently and rendered valuable service as an interpreter for them.

Ellott was a great musician, he had an exceptionally good ear for music. He was very appreciative of good music, and the finer things of life. He bought the first organ and violin ever owned in Beaver. His violin went with him on his long freighting trips, and he entertained with it wherever he stayed. He bought the instruments and was a member of the first Brass Band, was also a member of the choir and orchestra for many years. He had a great sense of humor, and was the life of all the organizations to which he belonged. He had a remarkable personality and made friends wherever he went, but he never gave up an old friend for a new one.

Ellott together with William Holt built and owned the first theatre and furniture store in Beaver, these buildings were on Main Street. Ellott had a small general store at the side of the theatre. William Holt a carpenter shop in the rear of the furniture store. Ellott was a repairer of musical instruments and spent many hours doing this work in the back of his store. One night all of these buildings caught fire and burned to the ground. This was a great loss to both Ellott and William for their savings and their businesses were ashes.

In 1888 Ellott was appointed a member of the "Deep harbor convention". This convention was called for the purposes of finding a suitable place to build a harbor on the Texas coast. Ellott was honored by this convention by being elected a vice president of the organization. He made personal friends of many Senators and Congressmen, also with Governor Adams, of Colorado. This convention recommended to Congress that a harbor be built at Galveston, Texas. This was done and was found to be a great commercial benefit to the South-west.

Ellott always looked upon this as his greatest Civic achievement.

In 1855 Ellott helped blaze a trail to San Pedro harbor. I have a copy of a letter addressed to Ellott, it reads:

San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt lake R.R Co.

Office of President
49 Wall St. New York City, N.Y
William A. Clark, President

Mr. Ellott Willden
Dear Sir:

As one of the survivors of that brave and hardy band of men who fifty years ago blazed a trail from Salt Lake City to San Bernardino, Los Angeles and San Pedro Harbor, and in recognition of our energy, fortitude and bravery displayed at that time, it is my pleasure to extend to you an invitation to join with the other survivors of that historic and far reaching event, in an excursion over the line of railroad of this company, so closely following the trail over which you and your associates struggled and endured the hardships and privations incident to that perilous undertaking and which marked the dawn of progress for the great empire of Southern California.

This excursion will leave Salt Lake City on October ninth 1905.

With assurance of highest respect and esteem

I am
Yours very Respectfully

W.A. Clark

On the 25th of May his Beloved wife Emma jane died, she was 51. The funeral services, by her request, were held in their home. One of the speakers being Elder W.J. Cox, one of the men with whom she crossed the Plains.

In 1892 Ellott married again, a Miss Christinanna Brown. To this union a son and two daughters were born. William, Nellie and Violet.

Ellott lived to be 87 years old. The last time I saw him he had walked from Beaver to Salt Lake City, stopping on the way to attend a Black Hawk Indian War encampment. He did not have to walk, but in his later life that is the way he liked best to travel. He was then 85 years old, hale and hearty, his hair and beard were white as snow, still jovial. We asked hi, "Grandfather, when you can't make a town at night, when you are hiking around the country, what do you do?" "oh" he said laughingly, "I just pick out a likely farm house, knock on the door and when the lady comes, I say, lady, will you please give me a drink of water, I am so hungry, I can't find a place to sleep tonight, and they most always invite me in."

Ellott Willden died in his sleep at 1:30 A.M. October 1, 1920. It was said of him, those that knew him best loved him most.

At the time of his death he was survived by 9 of his 12 children, 43 grandchildren and 25 great grandchildren. He was buried in the Beaver Cemetery. His second wife also survived him.

  • All pagesThey passed the usual milestones on the trail: Fort Kearney, the South Fork of the Platte River, Chimney Rock, Fort Laramie, the Sweetwater River, Independence Rock, Devil's Gate, Green River, Fort Bridger, Bear River, and Weber River. After suffering the usual hardships of overland trail they arrived in the valley of the Great Salt Lake in September.
    Charles Willden, Ellott's father, had worked in the iron mills in Sheffield, England and as soon as his ironwork experience was recognized, it was determined to send him and his family to the "Iron Mission" in southern Utah with headquarters in Cedar City. There the founding of the Deseret Iron Company was underway.

    Moving to Cedar City and the Ironworks

Ellott Willden/Wilden descended from northern British borderers. Born in 1833 to Charles and Eleanor Turner Willden,