To my husband's family: The following is an abridgment of a history of Joseph H. James, father of Nellie Mariah James Nelson and grandfather of Ada Helen Nelson Alldredge. I got this from Grandma Nelson a long time ago. This was a very long history but a lot of it had nothing to do with the James family and was hard to understand. I also left out parts that were controversial about the two families. Grandma Nelson said that her mother, Eliza, and Joseph's first wife (Eliza's sister), Elizabeth, didn't get along and that Elizabeth treated Eliza badly. The story says just the opposite because it was written by descendants of Elizabeth. I'm sure it was very hard (especially for two sisters) to be married to the same man--so I just left out the backbiting. I've tried to make it easy to read but a lot of it was out of chronological order and I may not have got it all straightened out.     --Cindy Alldredge


Joseph Henry James is the son of Joseph James and Sarah Holyoak:
His father, Joseph James was born in Halse, Somerset, England to Joseph Jury and Mary James. Joseph James was baptized in Cardiff, South Wales on the 13 February 1852 by Elder William Jenkins. He came to America on the 29 September 1854 on the ship, Gauleondar. He met Sarah Holyoak and her parents while crossing the plains on the way to Utah. Sarah was born on the 4 August 1835 at Kings Norton, Worcester, England to George and Sarah Green Holyoak. Joseph and Sarah were married in Salt Lake City on 3 October 1854 by Elder Phillip Sykes. They were sealed in the Endowment House on the 10 June 1856 by Daniel H. Wells. They went to Ogden to live, settling close to the Weber River on Wall Avenue and 27th Street.
Joseph Henry James growing up:
A son was born to this couple on the 22 October 1855, whom they named, Joseph Henry James. Joseph had two sisters and nine brothers. Joseph grew up in a pioneer home and a pioneer city in the early days of the Church. He knew hard work, being an ambitious boy and the Spirit of Pioneering was in his blood. He had a faith in God and a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Church of Latter-day Saints.
When he was just 18 years of age, Joseph joined the first volunteer fire brigade in Ogden City. Fires were fought by passing buckets of water from one man to another until it reached the last one in the line, who threw it on the fire. Joshua Williams was the first fire chief. On the morning of the August 9, 1873 a big fire broke out in Ogden on Washington Blvd. and ZCMI lost heavily. This aroused the citizens to the necessity of better organizing the fire brigade and supplying it with equipment. A hand pump and water hose were purchased. The pump was mounted on a platform on wheels and the volunteer firemen stood on each side of it. By hand they worked the mechanism up and down after the manner of men operating a railroad handcar, the hose attached to the pump was placed in the water ditch, canal, well, or tank.
In the winter of 1873, while yet a youth, Joseph was called by President Brigham Young to go to St. George to work on the temple, then under construction. He later came back to Ogden.
Joseph H. James and William F. James, sons of Joseph James, and Robert B. Paine and Hyrum Watkins and others started school with Washington Jenkins as a teacher. On January 3, 1876 they were called from the Ogden Second Ward to go to Arizona on a work mission. A ward dance was given in their honor and they left on the 26th of February 1876 as called by the Church.
They traveled slowly with a few horses and mules; through deep snow and cold weather. When they reached the Colorado River, they had to pay $2.00 per person and animal to cross the Colorado River. They traveled for twenty miles further without any water, until they reached the Little Colorado River. It was so thick with mud that even the animals wouldn't drink it. After many hardships they finally reached their destination in Arizona on the 30 March 1876.
Soon after arriving they were put to work to clear the ground for plowing and the land looked very desolate. The first plowing was on the 25 March 1876, the second on the 26 March 1876 was when the first meeting was held. They also helped to put a cover on a store in which to put their supplies for living the United Order. All they had to eat for the most part was beans and apples.
The weather was so cold on the 17th of May 1876 that one-half inch of ice froze, killing all the crops that had been planted and were just coming up. They also spent some time digging ditches for irrigation and building a small shanty to keep warm in.
On the 3rd of July 1876 they were released to return home, as the venture had proven a failure. Some of the missionaries stayed behind, Joseph James being one of these. (From diary of Robert B. Paine.)
A larger and somewhat sturdier expedition headed by Lot Smith, O. Ballenger, George Lake, and William C. Allen started from Utah early in 1876. Joseph James joined up with the Lot Smith group as a cook. The first party reaching Sunset on the Little Colorado on the 23rd of March 1876. There they established four settlements, better know as Brigham City, Obed, and St. Joseph, but only the last, at present has existence.
Joseph Henry James wives' ancestry:
In January 1876 a mission call came from the President of the church to all parts of Utah for 200 families to go to settle in Arizona. The call came to Hyde Park in Northern Utah where John Bloomfield was a pioneer of 1856.
John Bloomfield came from Bungay, Suffolk, England leaving from the Liverpool, England port on 30 November 1855 on the ship, Emerald Isle. He arrived in New York on the 29th of December 1855. Not having enough money to buy a team and supplies to go to Salt Lake, they were advised by President Brigham Young to settle in Chanceville, Mammouth, New Jersey with thirty other families. Here he found employment.
Also with the group was Nathaniel Wilkinson and his wife Lydia Daines Wilkinson and their family. John met their daughter, Harriet Wilkinson, and they were married on 11 November 1857. On 7 October 1858 a daughter, Ellen Maria, was born to them. In the spring of 1859 word came to this branch to move to Salt Lake. They traveled as far as Omaha, Nebraska where Harriet lost her father and also their baby daughter. They stayed in Omaha until spring of 1860. They arrived in Salt Lake in November 1860 bringing with them Harriet's mother. They inquired at the church office in Salt Lake to find where Harriet's brother, Robert Daines, had settled as he had come to Utah a year before they came. They found he had moved to Hyde Park in Cache Valley. So they left Salt Lake and went to Hyde Park and made their home there. On 17 September 1862 a baby girl, Elizabeth Salomia, was born to them and on the 21 January 1864 their daughter, Mary Eliza, was born. Harriet Wilkinson Bloomfield died on 6 January 1868 when the girls were very young. She was buried in Hyde Park. John Bloomfield, their father, married a widow, Elizabeth Ann Barton Ashcroft.
John with his wife, Elizabeth, and their family of nine children heeded the call to go to Arizona so they, along with 200 families, left to go to Arizona. The travelers had been called in January 1876 to sell their homes in various parts of Utah and go on a mission to Arizona. They were to settle on the Little Colorado River and build homes and establish a community. This call came from Brigham Young. They went with the George Lake company to Obed, Arizona (Joseph City). The George Lake group arrived on 24 March 1876. The party of emigrants traveled for weeks over long miles of country, without roads, except those they built as they traveled. They reached a point not far east of the community now known as Joseph City. That 24th day of March brought a temporary end to their travels which had been through snow of various depths, across Horse Rock Valley, to Lee's Ferry (on the Colorado River above Grand Canyon) and thence Lee's Backbone, a rugged mountain. Then southward and eastward to Moencopi, a Hopi village that previous Mormon explorers had found a friendly stopping place. Their travel then led them southeastward to the Little Colorado River.
After consultation of the camp the William C. Allen and company decided to settle east of the present Joseph City location. George Lake and company preferred to cross the Little Colorado and settle about four miles away. The settlement of Obed, as they called the place was three miles southwest of Joseph, directly off the old Allen's Camp and across the river bears dates of June 1876 having been moved a short distance from the first campground. They built a fort there of remarkable strength, twelve rods square, the walls were ten feet high. There was bastions, with portholes for defense at two corners and port holes were in the walls all around. The camp at the start had 123 souls, which included John Bloomfield and his wife and nine children.
Cottonwood was sawed for lumber. The community had a school house in January 1877 and a denominational school was started the next month, with Phoebe McNeal as teacher.
The settlement was not a happy one. The site was malarial, selected against Church instruction and there was the usual trouble in washing away of brush and log dams, the population took chills and fever and finally moved in March of the year to Sunset. Eliza says the people of Joseph City, Brigham City, and Sunset came and moved the site and divided them among each one. Everybody was down with chills and fever except one man and his wife, (George Lake and wife). They never went back to Obed. They moved to Sunset and there built and lived the United Order.
Joseph Henry James meets the Bloomfields:
Lot Smith and camp retraced his steps to a point just below the mouth of Cottonwood Wash where he settled Sunset. Joseph was with this camp and the river crossing nearby was know as the Sunset Crossing of the Little Colorado River.
Allen's camp became Allen's City and then St. Joseph according to a report by Erastus Snow in September 1878. The people were living in the United Order with Joseph James as one of the cooks.
They built a fort 200 feet square with rocky walls 7 feet high, inside were 36 dwelling houses each 15 X 13 feet. On the north side was the dining room 80 X 20 feet with two rows of tables to seat more than 150 persons. Adjoining was a kitchen 25 X 20 feet with an annexed bake house. Water was secured within the enclosure from two good wells. South of the fort were corrals and stock yards. The main industry was the farming of 274 acres, more than half in wheat. They had milk from 142 cows. One family was in charge of the saw mill, a man was in charge of pottery, men were assigned to teach school, etc. Jesse O. Ballenger the first leader was succeeded by George Lake in 1878, who reported the people were living together in the United Order. It was here that Joseph Henry James met his future wives, Elizabeth Salomia and Mary Eliza Bloomfield. He first courted and married Elizabeth in June 1877 then Mary Eliza on 10 January 1879. Both times he made the long journey to St. George, Utah to marry in the LDS Temple there. The journey was long and hard and he had to make a dangerous swim across the Colorado River at Lee's Ferry to get the ferry on both wedding trips.
The members were as a rule very earnest in their endeavors to carry out the principles of the United Order, but some were dissatisfied and moved away. It eventually divided and dissolved with the consent of all. In 1881 all were released from the mission and the settlement practically broke up. Some went to Wilford, others to Forest.
Joseph was ordained a High Priest by Brigham Young, Jr. on the 27th of February 1881 and set apart as a second counselor to Bishop L.M. Savage. In 1882 Joseph married Orpha Rodgers.
Twenty of the families from the three settlements moved fifty miles southwest of St. Joseph and founded a little settlement in the Little Colorado Stake at a place called Wilford in honor of Wilford Woodruff. Wilford was settled with a view of making it a center for stock raising and dry farming, founded in the midst of pine timber high up near the mountain tops close by was the city of Heber. Joseph James was called by Lot Smith to go to Wilford where he was set apart as Bishop on 25 July 1883 until the time this settlement broke up. Some farming was done in 1883 and 1884 and stock raising was quite successful from the beginning. It happened, however, that a number of those that settled in the timber of Wilford and Heber were polygamists and when the anti-polygamy act was instituted in 1885 the brethren who were in danger of arrest moved to Mexico.
John Taylor and George Q. Cannon of the first presidency addressed a letter to President Layton of an Arizona stake suggesting that an effort be made to obtain "A place of refuge under a foreign government to which our people can flee." The letter dated 16 December 1884 further stated "A general attack is being made upon our Liberties throughout all the territories where our people reside. It is said that prosecuting officers in making this raid are acting under instructions from the Department of Washington, D.C."
Several groups left Arizona for Mexico. On March 6, 1885 a group arrived in Mexico headed by Joseph H. James, his three wives and seven children. His father-in-law, John Bloomfield and his sons and Joseph Hancock and families arrived in Juarez on 16 December 1885.
Colonia Diaz and the Mormon Colonies in Mexico
Mormon Colonization in Mexico resulted in the establishment of eight permanent settlements, six in Chihuahua and two in Sonora.
Colonia Diaz, Juarez Stake, state of Chihuahua, Mexico was situated near the Spanish town of La Asuncion. It was near the center of a large valley extending north and south about 70 miles with an average width of 25 miles. The River Casa Grandes flowed from the southwest to the northeast through the valley. The town (Diaz) was built on a mesquite flat about two miles north of the river, about 40 miles south of the U.S.A. border. Diaz was about 60 miles north of Colonia Juarez, the headquarters of the Juarez Stake. It is about 60 miles east of the base of the Sierra Madre Mountains. Mormon settlers first arrived at the townsite in 1885. The settlement was founded under the direction of Apostle Francis M Lyman and George Teasdale. Farming was commenced at once and the saints agreed upon a common herd ground and went into stock raising to a considerable extent. A townsite was surveyed in 1886. At a meeting held on 5 November 1886 where the town was named Diaz in honor of the president of the republic, Porferio Diaz. About 45,000 acres of land at Diaz and vicinity had been secured by the LDS Mexican Colonization Company for the benefit of the Mormon exiles. The townsite of Colonia Diaz consisted of a square containing 144 blocks, each block being 27 rods square, separated by streets six rods wide following the cardinal points of the compass. The land surrounding Colonia Diaz is quite fertile and productive, but the place is very windy, annoying dust storms being quite frequent. The saints at Colonia Diaz were organized into a regular ward on 24 October 1886, with William Derby Johnson, Jr. as Bishop, Martin P. Mortensen as first counselor, and Joseph H. James as second counselor. They were set apart on 9 November 1886 by Apostles George Teasdale and Moses Thatcher.
Joseph James and family in Mexico
The first grist mill in Colonia Diaz was built by John Rowley in 1891. In 1893 Joseph H. James and William D. Hendricks constructed a burr mill having a turbine wheel. (Joseph H. James and his daughter, Harriet--13 years old, had gone to the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple. While in Utah Joseph obtained the turbine from Cache Valley and freighted it back to Colonia Diaz.)
The Mexicans resented the Mormons coming in at first. They stole them blind. They would come in and steal the bedding off the children's beds, while they were asleep and also take their clothing. One morning Joseph got up and had no shirt or shoes. He went outside and found a Mexican wearing them.
Joseph and his family hardly knew where the next meal was coming from but still he would divide what he had with others. The family would divide the last of their dough and share with others even though they were out of flour. Before the day was over Joseph would obtain some flour from somewhere else. They never went hungry at Colonia Diaz. The first home Joseph made for his family was four posts driven down in the ground with planks laid across them and the wagon box set on this. The wagon bed had bows with a cover to deep the sun and rain out. It was set up on these planks so the snakes and lizards couldn't crawl in. This was their sleeping quarters. There was plenty of skunks and coyotes in this wild country which was untamed and full of wildlife.
Later Joseph dug a room in the ground and put willows over it and covered it with dirt. When it rained they would go inside to keep out of the rain, when it was quite raining they would go outside, so it could rain inside, as it leaked like a sieve. They would put pans on the bed to catch the water so the beds wouldn't get wet.
After they had been there and had time to make adobes Joseph built as nice a home there as anybody had those days. While this house was under construction they had several earthquakes. It rocked the adobes back and forth like a rocking chair. A ladder was leaning against the house and it would shake it so hard. It would nearly stand straight up. It made the sewing machine dance like it was possessed. They had several of these earthquakes that summer. His daughter, Harriet, said she was at a neighbor's house when one of these earthquakes came and she ran home and told her mother that the world was coming to an end. She said the ground would shake so hard that she had to cling to a tree so she wouldn't be thrown to the ground when she was outside playing. These earthquakes really shook up the saints, but none of the families received any serious damage from them.
Joseph's family lived in this house for several years. Then he sold it and bought a farm where he could have work for his growing family. He lived and loved his family very much. he raised corn and molasses in the fall. When the crops were gathered he would press out the molasses by using a mule going around the press to press the cane to get the syrup. Then they would boil it and there you have molasses. Then all of the town was invited in to make molasses candy and popcorn balls and have a good time. At one of the parties a woman fell in the well. It wasn't deep so she didn't hurt herself, just scared her a bit.
Joseph didn't want his children to go away from home, but they would have the whole town to his house thus their home was the gathering place for all. He also raised melons which the young men and their sweeties use to come to pick at night. As they went about the patch one night one of them said this one is ripe, that one is ripe and so on. As they got all they could carry and started to leave they looked and behold there stood Brother James. They started to run but he told them to take the melons. Another time as the young men were picking melons Joseph got in their surrey and took off with the girls. He gave the boys a merry chase. He was humorous and full of lots of fun and action. As he played in plays he used no script, he just filled in words of his own. One lady said that it was always much better than what was already in the play and made everybody laugh.
Joseph didn't want his children to go away from home to work, so he always provided something for them to do, as he had cows, geese, pigs, chickens, ducks, mules, horses and plenty of wild deer. Turkeys and all kinds of wild game to hunt and eat. They killed them only as they needed them and there was plenty.
In 1893 Joseph moved his family to Colonia Dublan. Here he operated the St. James Hotel and Store for several years. His children worked in the dining room and sometimes the store. Joseph's homes and hotel were a place of refuge to the polygamist fleeing from the colonies in Utah, Idaho, Nevada, and Arizona. Many stayed until they could get a home to live in.
Joseph moved back to Colonia Diaz in 1894 and was set apart as first counselor to Bishop W.D. Johnson on 18 March 1894 by Jesse N. Smith.
In 1897 a railroad was built from Ciudad Juarez (near El Paso, Texas) to a point 12 miles beyond Colonia Dublan. While building this railroad Joseph H. James was the contractor. The men building the railroad decided to stop the venture without saying a word to Joseph. The workers complained about their pay. Joseph told them to work until September and if they didn't receive any pay he would pay them himself, he had so much faith in people. Payday came and no checks, so Joseph sold all he owned and paid the men their wages, which amounted to $5,000.00.
In 1900 Joseph built three homes in the mountains for his three wives and families at a place called Hop Valley. Later on it was called Hermandez. Here Joseph again accumulated the wealth of the world: land, timber, saw mill, cattle, horses, pigs, sheep, goats, ducks, geese, chickens, and jerkin meat.
Joseph was always interested in the welfare of his family and wanted them to learn. His daughter, Harriet, taught the younger children--her younger brothers and sisters and another family's children. She earned a milk cow for her pay. Joseph put a dam in one of the ditches and made his family a swimming pool. A cave close by was the dressing room. They all lived as one big family, no quarrelling or fighting. There was some jealousy between the first two wives (who were sisters) but when they felt things were not fair and just they kept it to themselves so there was love and harmony in the home.
Joseph H. James' Early Death
On 25 April 1908 Joseph H. James was called home to his Heavenly Father. Joseph was on a horse on his way to Juarez to do some business and stopped by the site of the logging camp. The first log went down the shoot okay. The second log started on when all of a sudden it jumped the shoot twenty feet hitting Joseph and bounced back into the shoot also killing a Mexican standing by. His son, Joe, ran down the mountainside to his father and said, "Oh, Pa!" His father just stretched and gave a sigh and was dead. He had a scratch on the back of his ear and a broken leg. It had hit his watch as it stopped. He was buried on 26 April 1908 at Colonia Juarez. Joseph left a family of 20 children under 20 years of age. Shortly after Joseph was killed his third wife, Orpha, died and was laid to rest by her husband at Juarez. She had lost four of her eight children.
Elizabeth and Eliza stayed in Colonia Hermandez with their families until the Mexican War of 1912. Pancho Villa, the rebel, and his followers drove off their cattle, sheep, horses and killed the cattle and drank the blood and left the meat laying there to rot. He robbed them of everything they had including guns and ammunition. They even put out the eyes of some of the Saints. Finally on 28 July 1912 the word came from the president of the stake to abandon their homes and move to El Paso. The families living in the mountains didn't get to the railroad in time so had to go out of Mexico by wagon and teams. They went by Diaz with 86 wagons. The men came out a week later on horses. They had been staying to protect their homes and farms but had to leave at night to save their lives. They had hardly a change of clothing with them. When they arrived in El Paso they were put in an abandoned lumber yard. The shed at the lumber yard was just a big open space. It was filled to capacity with human beings destitute of practically everything but a hope that such conditions would soon end and they could go back to their comfortable homes. Each family was appointed a few square feet of space on which to eat and sleep. When beds were laid there was literally not one foot of space between them. But the most distressing of all was the humiliation of the mothers and wives being subject to the gaze of the curious as they stood or reclined gowned in calico, the balance of their wardrobe having been left behind. In February 1913 the principle houses of Diaz were burned by the revolutionists and not attempt was made to resettle the place until 1928 when Flay Peterson obtained permission from a member of LDS owners to reclaim the property and hold it for his own until they should need it.
Joseph's two widows were left with nothing and to care for their children. Elizabeth took her five children and went to Spring City, Sanpete, Utah where her daughter Harriet lived. Eliza took her family to Ramah, New Mexico where her father lived. He had come out of Mexico before the exodus to spend his last days in the place he loved.
Joseph H. James worked hard, he didn't just exist and wonder where the next meal was coming from, he was a full tithe payer. Besides giving his all to the Church, he spent his life to help build it up and was the happiest man on earth surrounded by his wives and children. Whenever his daughter, Harriet, met people from Mexico of the older generation, they knew Joseph James and told how much they loved and respected him and what a humorist he was--even better than the beloved Will Rogers. His mother disowned him because he married in polygamy, but he grew in the Church and his country to be a great man.

This is a condensed version of "The Life History of Mr. Joseph Henry James" by Harriet Ethel Jensen Woolsey- (Joseph James' Granddaughter)

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