History of William Buckminster Lindsay
Compiled by Rex B. Lindsay, 2 GGson, Family Representative
The rest of the story is being written by his numerous posterity.
William Buckminster Lindsay, Sr. - - pioneer and family patriarch - - lived a span of 76 years. He moved to the expanding frontier of the west five times - - in as many states, building anew each time. His living posterity in the fourth, fifth, and sixth generations number several thousand. He embraced the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and endured many hardships during the latter part of his life in helping to establish the newly organized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His life is characterized by these three things - - his religious faith and devotions, his pioneering spirit which led the building of new homes and communities, and for the achievement and accomplishment of his large posterity to whom he gave a noble birth.
The details of his accomplishment and his later life can best be learned by reading the histories of the various branches of the family. These branches number fifty-four grandchildren who grew up to maturity of whom over forty married and left posterity of their own. Various members of the family have settled over a wide geographical area.They have rooted primarily in Wisconsin, Canada, Idaho, Wyoming, Arizona, and Utah and have spread far and wide from these places.
William Buckminster Lindsay, Sr. was born 30 March 1797 in Peacham, Caledonia, Vermont, the son of Ephriam Lindsay and Mercy Willey. His father moved to Canada about 1806 or 1807 with his family of ten children, two sons and eight daughters. They settled in Bastard Township, Johnstown District, Leeds County, Ontario, Canada. The United Empire Loyalists settled Ontario, upper Canada beginning in 1793. Although Canada was still offering inducement to settlers after 1800, it seems doubtful that Ephriam Lindsay was of loyalist sympathy. His ancestry had had a long of history of struggles with the English and he, himself was a Revolutionary War veteran. It seems likely that Ephriam Lindsay was attracted to Canada because of supposed economic opportunity.
"Old Father Lindsay", as Ephriam was called, lived at one time with his son-in-law, Reuben Sherwood, who married Percis Lindsay. William Buckminster Lindsay, Sr. and his brother Thomas, grew to manhood there on the shores of Rideau Lake. William B. Lindsay, Sr. bought fifty (50) acres of land located about one half mile from the western shore of the lake. (Lot 27 of the first concession of Burgess Township) He purchased this land on the 27th of June 1816 at the age of nineteen years from his brother-in- law, Reuben Sherwood. He purchased another twenty seven acres of adjoining land on 29 December 1832 from his brother, Thomas. (This was the upper part of lot 26 of the first concession of Bastard Township. His land crossed the boundary of the two townships after this purchase.) Rideau Lake is located about thirty to forty miles north and east of Brockville and the St. Lawrence River which separates Canada and New York State. The Rideau River and canal form a series of small lakes all along the northern boundary of Leeds and Granville counties. The main body of Rideau Lake near which William Buckminster, Sr. bought his land is about four miles across from north to south and about three miles across from east to west. It is spotted with small islands. There are numerous lakes all through out the province of Ontario.
About 1819, thirteen years after William B. Lindsay, Jr. moved to Canada with his father, he married Sarah Myers who was from Yorkshire, England. Family records show eight children born to this couple, five boys and three girls. The Wisconsin Census of 1840 shows another male child living with the family at that time. The identity of this child has not been established. William B. and Sarah spent the first twenty years of their married life in the Rideau Lake area. Their oldest child, Ephriam Myers Lindsay, was nineteen (19) years of age when the family moved to Wisconsin. The youngest child, George Richard Lindsay, was three years old.
The soil and climate in Canada were not favorable for the growth of crops. Jane Parrish states in her history that snow lay on the ground for six months out of the year and that the land was quite rocky. It was also typical of farmers during this period to till the soil until the fertility was depleted and then to move on to virgin soil. Another factor probably contributing to the move was the need for economic opportunity for five sons. Opportunity in the great plains was two fold: a rich fertile soil in the farming regions and a large lead mining operation in Southern Wisconsin which started to produce commercially about 1825.
In 1839, William B. sold his farm in Canada and took his family from Brockville down the length of Lake Ontario by steamer to Niagara Falls; from here to Lake Erie by wagon; across Lake Erie by boat; across the state of Michigan and around the southern tip of Lake Michigan by wagon to Illinois. One history places the family in Galena, Joe Davis county, Illinois in 1839 which is just across the border from Wisconsin. The 1840 territorial census of Wisconsin places the family in Easter Iowa county, Wisconsin. In this census one member of the family is shown as employed in agriculture and another adult male is shown employed in mining.
The following description from a social economic history of the United Stated describes the circumstances of the Wisconsin area in which William Buckminster Lindsay and his family settled in 1839.
"While farmers spread over this timbered lands of the southern Lake Plains other pioneers from the south moved northward in search of a new source of wealth. Their goal was the driftless area of northwestern Illinois and southwestern Wisconsin, a region of rugged hills and deeply eroded streams by the glaciers which smoothed the surrounding country. That rough area offered few agricultural possibilities, but lying beneath thin layers of eroded shale were outcroppings of rock containing rich veins of lead and other minerals. Both Indians and French traders had tapped this mineral wealth, but systematic exploitation did not begin until 1822 when a Kentucky promoter, Colonel James A. Johnson, arrived with supplies, miners and 150 slaves. His success inspired a mining rush; by 1830 ten thousand frontiersmen had staked out claims, built the bustling town of Galena at the head of navigation of the Fever River, and were shipping 15,000,000 pounds of lead yearly to New Orleans." (Billingrton, Ray Allen, Westward Expansion, The MacMillian Company, New York 1960 page 297.)
It was in Wisconsin in 1841 that William Buckminster Lindsay, Sr. was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The baptism was said to be performed in or at Fox Lake as supposedly told in the Deseret News about 1870 - 1873. This has not been verified. A brief search did not locate the specific reverence. Sarah, his wife; William B. Lindsay Jr., his son and Edwin Reuben Lindsay, Sr. his son were baptized the following year.
During the eight years, from 1845 to 1853, that William Buckminster Lindsay's household was reduced from ten persons to two, he and his son George Richard. In 1845, Ephriam Myers Lindsay married Jane Parrish and William Buckminster Lindsay, Jr. married Julia Parks. The eldest daughter, Mary died in Wisconsin. In 1850, Thomas Myers Lindsay married Sarah Jane Dobbs and Edwin Reuben Lindsay married Tabitha Cragun. Thomas and Mercy, in the meantime, stayed behind in Argyle, LaFayette, Wisconsin when the rest of the family left to gather with the Saints who were on their way westward. Mercy married George Richard Davy in 1854. William Buckminster Lindsay's wife, Sarah, died from cancer 24 October, 1852 within three weeks after the group arrived in the Salt Lake Valley from Iowa. She was ill before the family left Iowa but had urged them on so that she could be with the body of the Saints before her death. The next year his daughter, Sarah, died in Kaysville or Centerville.
This is getting a little ahead of the story. In early 1846, the Mormons were forced by mob action to move from Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois. Of the two children who were married in Nauvoo and who were with the Saints at the time of their exodus William Buckminster Lindsay, Jr. left his wife under the care of his brother, Ephriam Myers Lindsay and went with the first group of Saints to cross Iowa as a body guard to Brigham Young. He returned from the advanced camp to join his brother and their wives and then left for Wisconsin to persuade his parents and brothers and sisters to join them in the trek west. It is not certain whether Ephriam and his wife went with William B. to Wisconsin or not. They stayed in Wisconsin for a while because Julia's first child was born there. Ephriam Myers and Jane had a child born in Des Moines, Iowa which means that they either waited there or the child was born on the trip to join with the Saints.
William Buckminster Lindsay, Sr., his wife Sarah Myers, and five of his children assembled in Kanesville, Pottawattomie, Iowa in 1848. Here they settled for a period of four years to grow food and assemble resources to sustain them during the trip west. With them also was John Myers, brother to Sarah. It was in John Myers' home in Kanesville, that Edwin Reuben Lindsay married Tabitha Cragun in 1850. There were over forty branches of the Saints gathered at Kanesville during these years.
William Buckminster Lindsay, Sr. was ordained a High Priest in the McAlney Branch, located three miles north of Kanesville, on 6 October 1849 by L. Stoddard. The family members joined with the Captain John B. Walker Company for the trip across the plains. This company left Kanesville, 5 July 1852 and arrived in the Salt Lake Valley 3 October 1852. They travelled a distance of approximately 1,000 miles in three months. There were two hundred fifty people in the company.
The Lindsays settled temporarily in Centerville, Davis, Utah where the parents of Jane Parrish, wife of Ephriam Myers Lindsay, had settled. Here within three weeks, Sarah Myers Lindsay died at the age of fifty-two from cancer which she suffered during the trip across the plains. It was at her instance that the family made the trek west during her illness because she wanted to join with the Saints and to have her family with them before she died.
William B. and his sons and their families settled in the Kaysville area for about ten years where they tried their hand at farming. The following extract from a short history of Kaysville is quoted to show how the outermost settlements were practically without boundaries:
"Kaysville was named after William Kay. He had been a great leader of the Mormons. In 1851 he was appointed Bishop of the first ward in this area. It was called Kays Ward, and included all of the area north and west of the present town of Kaysville. As more settlers moved in gradually more towns and wards were organized until now more that one hundred and ten years later the area included in the original Kays Ward has become the towns of Kaysville, Layton, Clearfield, Syracuse, West Point, Clinton and Sunset.."---
Living in our Communities -- Davis County School District Pamphlet,
Very little is known about the activities of William B. Lindsay, Sr. during the time of ten years that he lived in the Davis County Utah area. He made a trip to Salt Lake City in 1861 where he received his Endowments in the Endowment House. The lack of reservoirs and canals and water made farming in this area a most difficult task. He and his sons, George Richard, William Buckminster, Jr. moved to Bear Lake Valley about 1864 where Charles C. Rich had been sent by Brigham Young to establish a new settlement. Edwin Reuben and Ephriam Myers had settled at Brigham City and did not follow until later.
Two personal incidents are recorded which help to portray the character of our forefather. While he lived with his son at South Eden, Idaho he would go by boat with his dog Trouser across Bear Lake to Paris, Idaho on the other end of the lake for supplies (15 miles or so). People would try to get him not to start back to Eden in storms when the lake was rough. He said Bear Lake was easy to ride; he learned to ride the waves in severe storms and was not afraid to venture on Bear Lake. Another incident happened in the autumn before he died. He left Bennington, Idaho on foot to walk to Utah to do Temple work (This would have been done in the Endowment House in Salt Lake). His son, George learned of his plans and overtook him with a team and persuaded him to come back and wait until the next summer when George Richard promised to accompany him. He died that winter on December 25, 1873.
It has been recorded that he and his sons were violinists. Many of his grandchildren were taught to play the violin and to entertain with other forms of music. The last few years of his life were spent in Bear Lake Valley among the children and many grandchildren. He and his son George Richard shared a log cabin which they had built. He was buried in Montpelier. An unsuccessful effort was made in 1960 - 1961 to locate his grave so that a suitable marker could be placed on it.