Uncle Brother Joseph

The Luces have a connection to Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Or maybe I should say we have a connection to Uncle Joe and Uncle Brigham. The connection goes through Annie Quarmby (1842-1904), the wife of Wilford Woodruff Luce.

Annie was born in England and came to America as a baby. Her father died at Nauvoo in 1845, probably of swamp fever, and her mother died, they say, at Winter Quarters in 1846/47. Annie was about 5 years old when she became an orphan. She was adopted by her mother’s bishop, Joseph Bates Noble and his wife Mary Adeline Beman.

Annie was orphaned so young she didn’t know her birthday or even her parents’ names. Today we know more about her origin than she did, thanks to the research of her grandson James Luce Marker. (I never tire of pointing out that I learned genealogy from him. I grew up with the story of his search for the Luce family Bible, so when I got interested in genealogy I went straight to him.)

Our connection to Joseph Smith and Brigham Young runs through Annie’s adopted mother. Bates Noble performed the first record plural marriage when he married his wife’s sister Louisa Beaman to Joseph Smith on 5 April 1841 at Nauvoo. After Smith’s assassination in 1844, Louisa Beaman married Brigham Young. There seems to be some uncertainty about the date of her second marriage but FamilySearch.org says 14 January 1846 at Nauvoo.

How fun is that? Two prophets in the family.

Phil Marincic

The guy who bought Great Grandpa Will Luce’s ranch in Big Piney, Wyoming was Phil Marincic (1899-1969). I haven’t done any research on his family, although I’ve been intending to. It says he was born in Italy. I’m surprised. Somehow I had the idea he was from Croatia, like John Radosevich. I’m also surprised he belonged to Grandma’s generation. I just assumed he was a contemporary of her father.

Edit: But now I see some sources say he was born in 1889 instead of 1899, and some sources say he was born in Yugoslavia rather than Italy. So there is more work to do.

The 1956 Wyoming Brand Book shows Michael Marincic with the LU Quarter Circle (167-23) and Donald Paul Marincic with the Flying Heart (414-36), both of which were originally Will Luce’s brands.

Luce Brands

My great grandfather Wilford Luce was a rancher near Big Piney, Wyoming. I came across this little clipping I pulled from the local paper back in the days when brands were recorded at the county level and published periodically as an aid to identification and protection.

Wilford Luce Brands

Grandpa Luce worked for A. W. Smith on the Mule Shoe Ranch he “had a rope and a good horse.” He homesteaded near Big Piney, Wyoming in 1886. His ranch, the LU Quarter Circle, was the first ranch on the Green River in that area, north of the cutoff on the Green River. He lived first in a dugout or “soddie” but afterward built a cabin with buffalo hides over sod for the floor. This cabin and those he subsequently built were all in the shape of an “L” for Luce.

The picture of his brands above shows the LU Quarter Circle first, then two other brands, the Circle Dot (used for horses), and the Flying Heart.

Branding was a community event. The following interview is from the Early Sublette County Brands Project:

Jonita Sommers- So how did they know which calf went with what person?

Bud Sommers- Well, at that time old Rex Wardell was foreman and he’d ride in the heard and mother a calf up with the cow and when he saw what calf belonged with each cow he’d rope it and drag it in and tell who it belonged to and they’d put the brand on.

Jonita- And what would he say?

Bud- Well, he was kind of comical far as that goes. He’d bring it in if it was old Bill Luce’s brand he’d say, “Red Willie” and if it was Olson’s brand, old Charlie Olson, he’d say, “3 Bar Charlie” and he had, oh, a lot of different. . . oh, Nels Jorgesen, who was Diamond Bar — and he’d drag one in and he’d say Diamond Bar — always the point down,” and it was interesting to listen to him.

I just discovered today there is a “new” book on brands in this area of Wyoming: Branded: History of Green River Valley and Hoback Basin Brands. I need to order a copy for myself. See New brand history book available at Pinedale Online (Nov. 27, 2016).

Good-bye, Mormons

When my Mormon ancestors joined the church and moved west their neighbors weren’t sorry to see them go. It was even worth a poem to celebrate them leaving.

good bye to Mr. Hale, Good by to Mr. Ball,
good bye to Mr. Woodruff, the greatest one of all.
good bye to all the Deacons good bye to all their Church
they Can not get their money, they’ve left them in the lurch
good bye their Book of mormon, good bye their Revelation,
good [bye] to all their fools, and all their Botheration—
good bye to Elder Luce, good bye to Deacon Thomas,
Look not to right or left, till you see the land of promise
good bye to all the Ladies that like this thievish Band
goe taste their milk and honey in the promise land
weil Eat our fish and taters, and tell the same old story
While you travel on, to the great Missouria
Remember old lots wife, was turned into Salt
for looking found Behind her, Commanded not to halt
To now you are pondering right between two Schools
good Bye to all your nonsense, for listening unto fools
Iv’e Bid you all good Bye, for forming Such a lie
the time is soon a Coming we surely all must Die
suppose I should die here and you die in Missouria
which do you Suppose, would be the nearest [to] Glory

A poem found in a Bible owned by a family living on the South Island represents perhaps the only surviving contemporary account of the anti-Mormon sentiments on the Fox Islands. Source: Religious Studies Center, BYU

Jason E. Thompson. “‘The Lord Told Me to Go and I Went’: Wilford Woodruff’s Missions to the Fox Islands, 1837–38”.” Banner of the Gospel: Wilford Woodruff, ed. Alexander L. Baugh and Susan Easton Black (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2010), 97–148.

Diary of Wilford Woodruff

The diaries and other writings of Wilford Woodruff are now online. That might be exciting news for me but as a non-Mormon I’m not sure I’ll be allowed to access them.

I’m descended from the Luce family, who were converted by Woodruff on his mission to the Fox Islands. They named a baby for him. My 2nd great grandfather. And he continued to take an interest in their welfare for the rest of his life.

The announcment is online here:

Danielle Christensen, More Than 7,000 of Wilford Woodruff’s Records Now Available Online, at LDS.org (Aug. 22, 2018).

Extracts from the Diary of Wilford Woodruff

May 1859. May 27th   I went to the office early this morning whare I was informed that James Johnson son of Luke Johnson was shot last night by one Gibson. There were 4 of them together, Jason Luce, James Johnson, Gibson & another one. Some words passed between Gibson & Johnson when Gibson drew a pistol cocked it & drew it upon Johnson when Luce took the pistol from Gibson & uncooked it & gave it back to Gibson. He then again Cocked it & few words passed & he drew his pistol & shot James Johnson. The ball entered below the Choller bone on the left side. Just escaped the Left Lung broke the upper rib went downward through the body. Dr’s France & Anderson was sent For. They [p.339] Cut out the ball on the right side of the spine of the back. (Vol. 5, p. 338-39)

January 1860. 20 Vary Cold and Frosty. I went to the office in the morning. I there learned that Joseph Rhodes was killed byJason Luce last evening in Butchers House whare William Hickman lay. Rhodes Came to the House and said he wanted to see Hickman. Luce said [p.417] he could not. Rhodes swore he would or die on the spot and drew two pistols one Cocked in Each hand and presented them at Luce. Luce drew his knife and sprung at Rhodes and struck him in the Right Breast & the knife went through his body. Ormas Bates sprung at the same time and Caught hold of Each pistol and turned the muzzles up. Luce Continued to thrust the knife into Rhodes and he soon fell and as he began to Fall He snaped the both pistols but the hammer struck Bates Hand and did not go off. Luce Continued to stab him untill he had Eleven gashes through his body.

I went down to see the Corps. It had been washed and laid on a Board Naked. I never saw a Body so Cut up. The poliece took the body From Hickman to the City Hall whare I saw the Body. Luce gave himself up to the Poliece.

I spent the day in the office. Luce had his trial in the evening and was acquited upon the plea of self Defense. (Vol. 5, p. 416-17)

August 1860. Aug 5 Sunday I met with my Quorum in the morning. A. O. Smoot Prayed & L W Hardy was mouth. The subjet was spoken off about Jason Luce & Lot Huntington & their party overpowering the Poliece & Jeter Clintons Court one day during the past week. The Mayor will take the matter up to morrow. (Vol. 5, p. 480)

December 1863. Dec 7th 1863 I spent the fore part of the day in the office writing. Jason Luce killed a man in the street by the name of Samuel Burton from Origon. He cut his throat with a Bowe knife. He was immediately arested & imprisioned.

During the Evening G A Smith arived home bringing the Bodies of two dead men viz Ira Jones Willis & his son Cornelius John Willis. Both were turned over together on a load of wood in the Creek near Lehi. The waggon turned bottom side upwards & the men were rolled up in their blankets face downwards in the Creek with the wood on top of them. This was on Saturday night. Quite dark. The oxen Came unhitched & went h[ome. Were?] found at the door in the morning. The bodies were found sunday Morning.

Brother Willis was in the first Company of Saints that gathered at Jackson County. Helped build the [p.140] first building in Jackson County that the Saints put up. He was in the Mormon Battalion & helped find the first gold in Calafornia. He was whiped by Moses Wilson with Hickory gads & Carried the scars to the grave. He has been true & faithful unto death & will have a Crown of life.

8 The bodies of Brother Ira Willis & son were brought into the Historian office & Exibited to the Jackson County Saints & all others who Called in & were buried about 12 oclok Noon.

Jason Luce was Examined before Orrelius Miner Esqr & was Committed to be tried before the probate Court next Monday.

19 I preached the funeral sermon of Father Atwood at 10 oclok in the assembly rooms, then went to the Endowment House & sealed 21 Couple. We gave Endowments to 31 persons. I Attended the trial of Jason Luce.

22d I spent the fore part of the day in writing my report to the Legislature.

In the afternoon I attended the Court & heard the Judge Elias Smith Sentence Jason Luce, who had been tried for murder & rendered Guilty of Murder, in the first degree by a Jury of 12 men. The Judge Sentenced him to be shot on Tuesday the 12 of January. He made a few remarks & tryed to Justify himself


by saying that what he done He done in self defence &c. When he was taken down into his sell he wept like a child. He told his brother that if He was Executed he must remember that Wm Hickman was the Cause & that he was now deserting him. Hickman & party are holding out the hope to him that He will be reprieved. (Vol. 6, p.139-42)

January 1864. Jan 8 A Cold morning. I visited President Young and asked him if He had any Council to give R. Burton Concerning the Execution of Jason Luce Tuesday. He said no not one word. He knows what to do. It will want to be done in Private.

10 Sunday We Met at 10 oclok. Joseph W Young Joseph A Young, & Brother Ship spoke in the forenoon. In the Afternoon Wm. C Stanes /D. H. Wells/ H. C. Kimball spoke to the people & Presidet Brigham Young made the last speech & gave vary good Advise. He told us how to have peace in our families. We should never let our families see us mad. We should always be kind & mild with them & do what was right & not neglect our Prayers or to ask a Blessing at the Table, but set a good Example before our families. He said that the Sin of Omission would lead to the sin of commission. He Blessed the Assembly & we returned to G.S.L.C. 36 m.

Jan 11 1864  I Called upon Brother Burton & then I Called at the Court House and had another interview with Jason Luce who is sentenced to die tomorrow. He still feels sure that He will not die. He thinks that he has the testimony of the spirit of the Lord that He will live & not die. He said that he was innocent of many things that the people thought he was guilty off. He said that he had never killed any person or had any hand in the death of any person except Rhodes & Bunting & said that he Could not fell that he was guilty of murder in the death of Either of them. He had killed them in self defence. He said Wm. Hickman had advised him to do many things that made his flesh Crawl but he had not followed Hickmans advise in these things. He told the Jailors (which I did not Hear) that Hickman once asked him to go & knock an old man in the Head for no other purpose ownly to obtain an old mare that was not worth more than $30. And He feels that Wm. Hickman has betrayed him and done him much injury & he looks upon Hickman as a vary bad man. He said he would like to see me tomorrow. He thought to day [p.151] was the time appointed for his Execution untill I told him it was tomorrow.

I went to the Council & spent the afternoon & attended to the business of the day And in the Evening I again Called upon Jason Luce in Company with John Sharp, T. B. Stenhouse R. Burton & many others. G D. Watt being present acted as reporter in taking an account of what Jason Luce would reveal unto us in his last moments.

I Called upon Governor Reed & asked him if he would Commute Jason Luce sentence to the Penetentiary for life as Hickman had held out this promise to Luce. Soon Hickman & Wilford Luce Came in for their answer & Mr Reed told them He Could do nothing in the premises that He Considered that He would be Commiting Crime to Change the sentence of Luce unless he had better ground than any thing He had seen.

So when I arived at the prision in the Evening I told Jason Luce there was no chance for him to live & I wished him to prepare to die. He then spent more than an hour giving us an account of what He had done & what he knew. He said in the Case of Drown & Arnold that Hickman was responsible for their death. He killed them with the help of one or two others. He said Wm. A Hickman robed Carpenter’s store took the goods in his waggon & carried them to Huntingtons & from Huntingtons to his house over Jordon & then told Furguson if he would kill Carpenter He would Clear him that He Should not lie in Jail one day. Furguson killed Carpenter & was Hung for it & Hickman made him believe that he would be liberated up to the last minute. Luce said that Hickman Murdered [      ] for no other purpose ownly to obtain his gold watch & money & thinks he has the watch yet.

He said that Hickman was at the head of a Band of thieves. They have stolen as high as 100 Head of Cattle at a time from Camp Floyd & gone out onto the prairie & divided them & taken them to different parts of the Territory. Lute also said that Hickman had many men around him that Had to be fed & that men under him would go onto the range & drive up a Beef & kill & Eat it & sell the Hides or make them [p.152] into Larretts or throw them away as the Case might be without any regard to whom might be the owners. Luce said that Hickman had been his ruin and the ruin of others and in all these things He had Carried his point by declairing that President Brigham Young had given him Council to do all these things (which is a Cursed lie). Luce made many other remarks which was reported by G. D. Watt.

12  At Eleven oclok I Called at the prision & was with the prisioner untill a few moments before his Execution. His Mother Brothe[rs?] wife & 5 children visited him last night also this morning. He had gotton a woman with Child who was not his wife. He requested his Brothers to take care of this woman & if they were permitted to take more than one wife to take her to wife. He had a vary hard time to part with his wife Children & Friends. He felt to Confess all of his [crimes] and ask the forgiveness of God & all men for all his Crimes. He had worn his garments up to within an hour before his death. I advised him to take it off which He did. He Converse with me untill abut 12 oclok. He asked me to pray with him that he might have strength to go to his Execution & pay the penalty of his Crimes. I prayed with him according to his request & then bid him good by as did others who were with him.

He then walked to his place of Execution. There was a large number out side the wall & some one hundred in the Court House pl[aced?] at the windows to witness the Execution. Jason Luce sat in a Chair with his feet maniceled. He addressed the people a few moments Renounced Wm. A. Hickman as his betrayer bid the People good by. Sherif Burton drew the Black Cap over his face & at a given signal 5 Balls was shot through or near his heart & his spirit left his body without a groan or hardly a movemet of his body. His Corps was taken to the gate & Exhibited to the Croud. It was then taken to his Brothers House & laid out.

13 The body of Luce was buried to day in the [p.153] burying ground. A subscription was taken up to day for his Family & some $300 was obtained $175 in money. I spent the afternoon in the Council Chamber. (Vol. 6, p.150-53)

Grandpa Luce’s 3rd Marriage

I ‘ve always known Wilford Luce, Jr. married three times. He divorced his first wife Dorothy Sharp. His second wife Essie Wilson died. (She was my great grandmother.) And his third wife Amanda Sizemore survived him by many, many years.

What I didn’t know until the past few years was that he married his third wife right here in Denver. That was a surprise. They had a ranch at Big Piney (Wyoming). Why not get married there? Or in town?

Maybe they were here for the Stock Show? But no. That would be in January, and this was in March.

That got me wondering. What church were they married in? He was Episcopalian. She was Mormon. Maybe they were married in one of the churches I’ve attended over the years. Wouldn’t it be cool if they got married at St. John’s or St. Andrew’s? And even if they were married somewhere else, it would be fun to drive by and see .

So, I ordered their marriage record. (I love Colorado’s state archives. They made it very easy.)

No surprises. They weren’t married in a church after all. They were married by a justice of the peace. (And her son Russell Short was one of the witnesses. Somehow that makes it seem less like a romantic trip and more like something they did while they were in Denver on business anyway.)

I suppose if they were married by a justice of the peace probably they were married at our beautiful City and County Building. Not as much fun as a church, but it means I’ll think about them every time I’m there.

A Phantom Margaret Luce

I don’t know how to understand how these fables have developed.

The introductory problem is that some researchers attribute Abraham Luce and Cycely (Darke) Luce with a daughter Margaret.

Parish records for Horton, the home of this family, show Abraham and Cycely were married in 1604 and had children Abraham (1605), Israel (1605), and John (1608).

Many Luce researchers will recognize this Israel instantly. He’s often claimed as the father of Henry Luce, immigrant to colonial Massachusetts. There’s no direct evidence but some researchers believe the circumstantial evidence makes the relationship probable.

Anyway, no Margaret.

Yet a Margaret, supposed daughter of this couple, is claimed as an ancestor by two different families in conflicting scenarios. That in itself seems quite a feat for someone for whom there is no evidence anyway.

Margaret is claimed as:

  • Wife of Isaac Wells, the immigrant to Barnstable, Massachusetts
  • Wife of John Harris, of Sandon, Essex

She can’t be both. There’s no evidence she was either. But here she is spread across our Internet world:

Margaret and John Harris were (supposedly) married 15 February 1620 in Sandon, Essex. That’s 160 miles from Horton. If John Harris’ wife was really a Luce it is far more likely she belonged to a Luce family in or near Sandon.

Margaret and Isaac Wells were married, say about 1620, probably near his home at Welches Dam, Cambridgeshire. That’s 170 miles from Horton. Here again, if Isaac’s wife was really a Luce it is far more likely she belonged to a Luce family in or near Welches Dam.

And this doesn’t begin to deal the problems of estimated ages in these different versions.

Someone will have to get serious about this problem and do some comprehensive clean up across the Internet. In the meantime, these lines should be treated with extraordinary caution.

Historical Appellate Review

federal-circuitCraig Manson at GeneaBlogie has a new and interesting project, the Historical Appellate Review Project:

You’ve heard the story that Great-Uncle Festus was a no-good horse thief. But was he really? Did he get a fair trial? Did he have a good lawyer or even a lawyer at all? Can his name be cleared all these decades later? We might be able to help!

HARP, the Historical Appellate Review Project, is dedicated to setting the record straight. Using state-of-the-art genealogical and legal research procedures, HARP will investigate your family’s alleged black sheep and let you know if their names might be cleared! In certain cases, we even may be able to go to court and get the official record changed!

I think immediately of great great grandpa Wilford Luce, sentenced in 1862 to a year in prison for his part in an assault of Utah Territorial Governor John Dawson, and Wilford’s brother Jason Luce, executed in 1864 for killing a man in a knife fight. I’ve been told by various folks that both of them were eventually pardoned. I got a copy of the executive order releasing Wilford Luce from prison in December 1862, but I haven’t verified Uncle Jason’s pardon. Maybe it’s time to wrap up that detail.

Origin of Henry Luce

The English Origin of Henry Luce
by Justin Swanström
Copyright 1989, 2006

Henry (1) Luce was an early Massachusetts immigrant and progenitor of a large family on Martha’s Vineyard. His origin is unknown, but it has been suggested that he might have come from Horton in Gloucester. I believe there is some reason to believe he might have come from Chepstow in Monmouth.

He first appears indisputably on November 13, 1666 as a juror at Scituate. He married Remember (2) Litchfield circa 1666, probably at Scituate. In 1668 he owned land at Rehoboth. He moved to Martha’s Vineyard before February 1, 1671, where he and his wife raised a family of ten children[1].

There is no proof of Henry’s antecedents, but an early tradition points to a Welsh origin for the family[2]. A descendant born in 1800 wrote, “My great great great great grandfather Israel Luce lived and died in Wales. My great great great grandfather Henry Luce was born in about 1645 and brought up in Wales. He married Remember Munson. He sailed with his wife and three children to America in 1676, and landed and settled at Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. where he reared a family of seven children”[3]. This statement contains many inaccuracies, but is broadly consistent with the known facts.

There is no reason to doubt that Henry came from a Welsh family, although contrary traditions exist[4]. The surname Luce is found along the Welsh border, and Banks himself accepted the Welsh origin of the family. In 1990 I obtained a list of all telephone directory listings for the surname Luce in southwest England[5]. The name is not common; there were only 118 listings. I found that these listings fall naturally into two groups: one to the north and northwest of Bristol, and the other in the Channel Islands. There were 52 listings in the Bristol area, most of them concentrated in and near Amesbury, Bristol, Bath, Cirencester, and Plymouth. There were 66 listings in the Channel Islands, most of them in Jersey. This listing did not include Wales.

Banks argued that Henry (1) Luce was probably born in or near the parish of Horton[6] in Gloucester, 16 miles from the Welsh border. In reaching this conclusion, Banks looked for earlier evidences of the name Luce in New England. He found a Harke Luse named on a muster roll at Scituate in 1643. On finding a marriage October 8, 1604 between Abraham Luce and Cecily Darke at Horton, Banks came to the conclusion that “Harke” was probably a copyist’s error for “Darke.” He then used the hypothetical Darke Luse to suggest a link between Henry (1) Luce and the Luces of Horton[7].

In further support of this theory, Banks pointed to a contemporary of Henry (1) Luce, also resident at West Tisbury: Arthur (1) Bevan, who first appears on Martha’s Vineyard in 1677. Bevan’s antecedents are unknown, but his surname is Welsh. An Arthur Bevan is named in the parish registers of Yate in Gloucester[8]. Banks’ theory about Henry (1) Luce is considerably strengthened by this demonstration that two men, both apparently Welsh, and living in West Tisbury, might have come from villages only four miles apart in Gloucester.

However, Caroline Lewis Kardell, sometime Historian General of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, has since shown that Harke Luse is more probably an otherwise unknown Archelaus Lewis, brother to George (1) and John (1) Lewis of Scituate[9].

Without the existence of a hypothetical Darke Luse, the theory that Henry (1) Luce came from Horton is considerably weakened[10]. In the light of Ms. Kardell’s theory, the origins of Henry (1) Luce must be re-examined.

Peter Coldham Wilson’s book, The complete book of immigrants, has undoubtedly provided many exciting clues for those researching the origins of immigrants. In the case of the Luce family, there is one intriguing entry:

November 4, 1659, Henry Lewes, tanner, of Chepstow, Monmouth, bound to serve Thomas Bickford, planter, for three years.[11]

Savage does not show another Henry Lewis or Luce who could be this Henry Lewes[12], except Henry (1) Luce[13]. The dates are consistent with the known facts. Henry (1) Luce is thought to have been born about 1640[14]. If he was indentured to Thomas Bickford in 1659, he would have been about 19 years old. The date of immigration is no problem. Henry Lewes was bound in 1659, while Henry (1) Luce is known to have immigrated before 1666. Unfortunately, we have no evidence that Henry (1) Luce of Martha’s Vineyard was a tanner, or had any other skilled trade.

Assuming that the ship on which Henry Lewes departed Bristol landed at New England and not in some other area, such as Barbadoes[15] or Virginia, this begins to create a pattern which suggests that Henry Lewes, a tanner, of Chepstow might have been Henry (1) Luce.

The same document which records the indenture of Henry Lewes also names William Weekes of Salisbury, Wiltshire to serve Augustine Greenwood for four years. The names Weekes and Greenwood are also connected with Martha’s Vineyard. The Greenwood family even became connected with the Luces in the generation following Henry (1) Luce. Samuel (1) Allen of Braintree had a daughter Mary (2) Allen who married 1656 at Weymouth to Nathaniel (1) Greenwood, of Boston[16]. Samuel (1) Allen’s children later settled at Martha’s Vineyard. His granddaughter Sarah (3) Allen married a son of Henry (1) Luce[17].

There was also a William Weekes at Martha’s Vineyard[18]. His origin is unproved, but he seems to have been from a Middlesex family of that name and not from a Wiltshire family[19].

If the Henry Lewes of this indenture is to be identified with Henry (1) Luce of Martha’s Vineyard, the question becomes one of locating a Thomas Bickford in the New World and testing whether there is any reason for believing that Henry (1) Luce, later of Martha’s Vineyard, might have come to America as his indentured servant. The answer, intriguing as it is, is not conclusive.

A John(1) Bickford immigrated from Devon circa 1623 and settled at Dover, New Hampshire. He was married twice and had nine sons, among them the eighth Thomas (2), born at Dover in 1640[20], and the ninth Samuel, born [at Dover?] in 1642[21].

Thomas (2) Bickford would have been only 19 at the time of Henry Lewes’ indenture. At this age, it is unlikely that he was conducting business at Bristol on his father’s behalf or that he would be described as a “planter.” However, the siblings of John (1) are unknown. It is plausible to suggest a hypothetical brother Thomas [22], uncle and namesake of Thomas (2), and to suppose that the older Thomas might have been conducting business on behalf of his brother John (1) in North America.

Even more intriguing is the Bickford connection with Martha’s Vineyard. Samuel (2) Bickford was in Marblehead by 1666 when he married (1) Christian Rand[23]. He later married (2) Mary Cottle, and lived briefly at West Tisbury, Martha’s Vineyard. He was mentioned in a land transaction of 1678[24]. He was at Tisbury in 1680, as son-in-law of Vineyard resident Edward (1) Cottle.

We have, then, a document recorded at Bristol in 1659 which names a Henry Lewes, Thomas Bickford, William Weekes and Augustine Greenwood, among others. Then at Martha’s Vineyard we find a Henry (1) Luce whose origins are unknown but who might have been Welsh, a Samuel Bickford, a William Weekes, and a Nathaniel Greenwood. I suggest that the circumstantial evidence is strong enough to warrant a new hypothesis: that Henry (1) Luce of Martha’s Vineyard is identical with the Henry Lewes, a tanner from Chepstow, Monmouth, who was indentured at Bristol in 1659. This tentative identification has some interesting possibilities, opening new avenues of research for the Bevan, Bickford, Greenwood, and Weekes families, as well as for the Luce family.

I have not yet been able to identify the Henry Lewes of Chepstow in local records [25]. The same statement which gives Henry (1) Luce’s origin as Wales, says that Henry’s father was Israel Luce[26]. If Henry Lewes the tanner is found to have been son of an Israel Lewes, or to have been connected with a Munson family (tradition gives a connection with the Munson family: Henry’s wife was not Remember Munson as stated, but his mother might have been […] Munson), this identification would be much strengthened.

There was Lewes family at Llysnewydd, Cardigan. They adopted the surname Lewes as a contraction of ap Lewis, temp. James I[27].


[1]Charles Edward Banks, History of Martha’s Vineyard (Baltimore 1966), 2 (West Tisbury):55.

[2]The different Luce families discussed have often claimed descent from the famous Norman family de Lucy, although none of them has been able to show the intervening generations in the 400-500 years between their earliest known ancestor and the ancestor of the de Lucy family.

The de Lucy family originated with Richard de Lucy (d. 1179), Chief Justiciar of England, under Henry II, a hundred years after the Norman Conquest. He took his name from the commune of Lucé, outside Chartres in the French province of Maine. He was a self-made man and assembled a barony for himself, composed of primarily of fees in southeastern England (Kent, Norfolk, Suffolk, Devon, Essex), and to a lesser extent in southwestern England (Gloucester and Cornwall). See Douglas, The reign of King John, XX; and Complete peerage, 8:257n.

Leslie Pine considered it unlikely in the extreme that the surname Luce could be derived from Lucy, although Lucy is easily documented as a variant of Lucé [Private Communication, July 19, 1985].

Finally, it may be added that there is no connection between any branch of the Luce family on the one hand, and Luce Bay and Glenluce, Scotland on the other. Those places take their names from a Gaelic word meaning “light.”

[3]Banks, 3:246-247. Although Banks does not give the name of his informant, he adds that the descent was through Eleazar (2) Luce.

[4]In fact, there is a vigorous tradition of French descent, but this has become mixed with claims to a descent from the de Lucy family.

Wilmot (5) Luce, born 1788, a descendant of Robert (2), changed his name to d’Luce (Vineyard Gazette, June 26, 1959.

The descendants of Eleazar (2) have given us the tradition that their ancestor was a “Count Eleazar de Lucé”, a Huguenot.

It been suggested that the Luces came from the Channel Islands, where there is indeed a Luce family. Many of the settlers at Marblehead and Gloucester, Massachusetts came thence (see David Hackett Fischer, Albion’s seed (New York, 1989), pp. 152, 785), so this suggestion is not implausible.

In this connection, it is interesting to note that Benjamin Masury, of Salem, Massachusetts, married April 2, 1671 to Mary Luce, originally of Guernsey in the Channel Islands (Martha McCourt, The American Descendants of Henry Luce of Martha’s Vineyard 1640-1985 (Vancouver, Washington, 1985), 4th edition, p. 11.)

The family of Luce, settled in the parish of St. Lawrence [Jersey] prior to 1500, claims to have migrated from Wales, and to be a branch of the famous Norman house of Lucy, or Lucie, settled in England since the Conquest.” (see J. Bertrand Payne, An armorial of Jersey (London, 1862), pp. 259ff). This source traces the descent of this family from Perrin Luce, living 1510, and his wife Alice Gibault. The information given does not seem to be comprehensive, but it should be noted that it shows no “Henry” or “Israel”, names which we would expect to find if there were a close relationship with the Martha’s Vineyard family. Indeed, the only name this family has in common with the Martha’s Vineyard family is “John.” The names “Perrin”, “Martin”, “Raulin”, and “Helyer” which appear in the Channel Island family are not used by the Martha’s Vineyard family.

Despite the claim that the Jersey family descends from the de Lucys, this family does not use the de Lucy coat of arms (Gules three pikes or luces hauriant), but uses Azure a crescent Argent. This difference suggests a separate origin for the two families. The names in this family also differ significantly from those in the Vineyard family, however.

It may be noted that a number of Channel Island Luces settled in Canada in the 19th century.

[5]My thanks to Rodney Neep for downloading this information for me from a computerized database available in the United Kingdom.

[6]Since Banks wrote, it has come to the attention of Luce genealogists that the family of Admiral Sir John Luce (1870-1932) and of Admiral Sir John David Luce (b. 1906) originated in Pucklechurch, X miles distant from Horton. Leslie Pine, in a 1989 letter to the author, stated his opinion that the Luces of Horton and Pucklechurch probably have a common origin. The Pucklechurch family traces its ancestry to a John Lucie, a contemporary of the Abraham Luce who married Cicely Darke. John Lucie lived a Tytherington, Gloucester. His son, John Luce, removed to Pucklechurch.

The Luce family of Pucklechurch also claims a descent from the Norman family of de Lucy, but also uses the coat of arms Azure a crescent Argent.

[7]There is no way to positively prove or disprove this hypothesis as it stands. The baptismal records of Horton are missing for the years 1624-1653. Henry (1) Luce would have been born during this period, as probably would Harke Luce. If Harke was born at Horton, then he must have been 19 years or younger when he was named at Scituate. The register shows a 1605 baptism for an Israel Luce, son of Abraham Luce and Cicely Darke. Most Luce genealogists have assumed that this Israel was the father of Henry (1), in accordance with the family tradition given above, and have supposed that Harke (1) Luce was an uncle of Henry (1).

[8]Banks, 3:522.

[9]Caroline Lewis Kardell, Letter dated July 2, 1990 to Mrs. James E. McCourt.

[10]The reciprocal identification of Arthur (1) Bevan, of West Tisbury, with the Arthur Bevan who appears the parish registers of Yate, Gloucester, is also weakened, but not destroyed.

[11]Peter Coldham Wilson, Complete book of immigrants (Baltimore, 1987), p. 444, citing Bristol Records Office.

[12]The difference in spelling need not trouble us. Banks makes the point that the spelling of the name in America has been uniformly “Luce”, but he cites a contrary example from the Tisbury records where the name is spelled “Lewes” (see Banks, 2 (West Tisbury):55). This is precisely the spelling we see here. The records of Horton, Gloucester also show the name spelled “Lewes”, “Lewce” and “Lewis.”

[13]James Savage, A genealogical dictionary of first settlers of New England (Baltimore, 1965), 3:86, 127.

[14]Based on the birth of his wife Remember Litchfield circa 1644. Henry was probably a few years older. See Banks, 2 (West Tisbury), 55.

[15]Barbadoes would be an interesting alternative to New England. A Luke Luce, merchant, of London, is mentioned in 1668 as owning a plantation in Barbadoes (see Wilson, pp. 399, 475). Burke attributes the same arms used by the Jersey family to a Luce family “of London, formerly of Antwerp.” This cannot be taken as conclusive of a relationship, but suggests that some claim of relationship was made.

[16]Savage, 2:311. He was born at Norwich, son of Miles.

[17]Banks, 3:3.


[19]Banks identifies him as a son of William Wickes of Staines, Middlesex, and therefore a brother of John Weeks of New England.

[20]He deposed that he was age 36 in 1676.

[21]Mahlon C. Bickford, The Bickford Family Association, Letter dated May 14, 1991.

[22]Recent research by Mahlon Bickford suggests that John Bickford of Dover, originally from Devon, indeed had a brother Thomas. Mahlon C. Bickford, email dated Jan. 7, 2005.

[23]Bickford (1991).

[24]Banks, 2 (West Tisbury), 68n.

[25]Chepstow records are missing for the relevant period. There is a Welsh family with the surname Lewes, who took their name from a 17th century ancestor. They claimed descent from Ednowain ap Bradwen, and used his arms. However, this cannot have been the family of Henry Lewes of Monmouth.

[26]Henry Luce named one of his sons “Israel.” This might have been after his wife’s brother of that name (Israel Litchfield). If it was also the name of Henry’s father, then it might be significant that the given name Israel is also used by the Lewis family of Westerly, Rhode Island. That family and the Luces of Martha’s Vineyard share the given names Israel and David, but the names are common and nothing firm can be adduced from the fact. Henry Luce and John Lewis (1669, of Westerly) both had sons by these names (see Banks, p. * and Savage, p. 87). Perhaps coincidentally, Williams Weeks of Edgartown operated a ship between Rhode Island and Martha’s Vineyard (see Banks, 2 (Edgartown), 119, 120.)

[27]Burke’s genealogical and heraldic history of landed gentry, (London, 1937), H. Pirie-Gordon ed., pp. 1368-1369.

Brigham’s Destroying Angel

Excerpts from William Hickman, Brigham’s Destroying Angel (1904). 




In the spring of 48, Brigham’s company started for Salt Lake, with their families. I, in company with a number of others, crossed the Missouri River and went thirty miles to Elkhorn River, to bid Brigham and party a good-bye. Brigham told me he wanted me to stop that year with Orson Hyde, as there were those around who might kill him. He wanted me to look out for him, and see that nobody hurt him. This was very satisfactory to Hyde. In about a month, Amasa Lyman, one of the Twelve, followed Brigham Young with another large company for Salt Lake. I had in the winter just previous to leaving Nauvoo taken me a second wife, whose father was going with this company, and she wanted to go with them. I sent her along, and when I reached Salt Lake next year was not surprised to find she had helped herself to a youngster a few days old. Believing her virtue to be easy long before this let me off. I never had any children by her. When bidding Brigham Young good-bye, in the spring of 48, he said to Orson Hyde: “If Brother William wants to take him another wife, you attend to the marriage ceremonies.”


FROM 1858 TO 1865.


Winter came on, times were lively, and money plenty. One McNeal, who was arrested in the winter of ‘57, when he came from Bridger to Salt Lake City, for the purpose of making a living, and kept in custody some three or four months by order of Gov. Brigham Young, instituted a suit before the United States district court against Brigham to the amount of, I think, ten thousand dollars. McNeal came to the city from Camp Floyd during the winter, and word was sent to the boys, as the killers were called, to give him a using up. The word was sent around after dark, but McNeal could not be found that night, and the next morning he was off to camp again, and did not return until the next summer. I came to town one afternoon, and heard he was upstairs at Sterritt’s tavern, drunk. Darkness came on and we got the chamber-pot taken out of his room, so that he would in all probability come down when he awoke with whisky dead in him. Some five or six were on the look-out for him, and among the number was one Joe Rhodes, not a Mormon, but a cut-throat and a thief, who had had some serious difficulty with McNeal, and was sworn to shoot him, and I thought it best to let him do it. Some three or four were sitting alongside the tavern when he came down, it being dark and no lights in front. Rhodes followed him around the house and shot him in the alley. McNeal shot at Rhodes once, but missed him. McNeal lived until the next day, and died, not knowing who shot him; neither did any other person, except those who sat by the side of the tavern. It made considerable stir, but no detection could be made as to who did it. All passed off, and one day when at Brigham Young’s office, he asked me who killed McNeal. I told him, and he said that was a good thing; that dead men tell no tales. The law-suit was not prosecuted any further. At this time there was considerable stock-stealing from the Government, and, in fact, all over the country, from both Gentiles and Mormons. I did all I could to get those whom I knew of, or was acquainted with, to quit and behave themselves; but it seemed to have no effect. I threatened to get after them if they did not stop. Some then quit it, but others continued, and swore it was none of my business. A few of them took thirty head of mules from a Government freighter and started for southern California; got one hundred and fifty miles on their road, when they were overtaken and brought back by Porter Rockwell and others. As the freighter only wanted his mules, the thieves were turned loose. I was accused of finding this out and sending after them, and shortly afterward seven of them caught me in the edge of town and surrounded me, swearing they would shoot me for having them captured. Three pistols were cocked on me. I tried to argue the case with them, but the more I said the worse they raged, until I thought they would shoot me anyhow. The crowd consisted of about half Gentiles and half Mormons. Believing that shooting was about to commence, and seeing no other show but death or desperation, I jerked a revolver from each side of my belt, cocked them as they came out, and, with one in each hand, told them if fight was what they must have, to turn loose; that I was ready for them, and wanted just such a one as they were able to give. I cursed them for cowards and thieves: when they weakened and became quite reasonable. This all passed off, but I could hear of threats being made by them every few days; when one day I came to town and met Mr. Gerrish, of the well-known firm of Gilbert & Gerrish, who said: “I was just going to send for you; we had seventeen head of horses and mules taken out of our corral last night.”

I told him it had been done by some of the Johnson gang, and I would travel around, town and see them; that they were a set of rascals, and I would try bribery. I found this Joe Rhodes of whom I have spoken. He denied knowing anything about them. I told him I would give him fifty dollars if he would tell me where they were. He then asked if I would betray him to the others that were concerned in it. I told him I would not. He then told me if I would give him fifty dollars down, and fifty dollars more when the animals were recovered, he would tell me, and I would be sure to get them. I saw Gerrish, and he told me to go ahead and use my own judgment about them. I paid Rhodes the $50; he then told me they were about fifteen miles away on the river, hid in the bush, and would be there until after dark; then they intended running them south and keeping away from the settlements, and so get them through to California. He described the place so that there could be no trouble to find it. Knowing of the antipathy of the gang against me, I sent two men, who found the stock at the place described, and no one with them, and brought them to the owners. The gang was very angry at this, and swore they would kill the man that had betrayed them. Not many days after this, the traitor to his own party, Rhodes, said I had played him, and he unthoughtedly had told me something about the animals, but thought as they were Gentiles I would say nothing about it. This was enough – he never told them. that he had done it and got a $100 for doing so. They commenced watching for me, and I for them. One Christmas day following I went to the city, all the time watching this party. I stepped through an alley while waiting for our teams. This was their chance. Some half a dozen of them, well whiskied, met me; only one of my friends seeing them. The only brave man amongst them drew his revolver and attempted to shoot me. I caught his pistol, and would have killed him with my knife, but the scoundrels shouted, “Don’t kill him! don’t kill him!” and stepped up and took hold of him. I did not want to kill him. I had known him from a boy, and had previously liked him; but these scamps had roped him in, and were shoving him into places where they dare not go. I did not see who all the crowd were, but saw two other revolvers drawn on me. This friend of mine says to them: “Don’t shoot; if you do, I will kill you.” I let Huntington go, supposing his friends would take care of him, as he was the aggressor, and I had spared his life. I put my knife back in the scabbard, and turned to look for Huntington, when I saw him leveling his revolver on me, not more than ten feet off; I gave my body a swing as he fired, and the ball struck my watch, which was in my pants’ pocket, glanced, and struck me in the thigh, went to the bone, and passed around on the side of it. I then drew my pistol; but before I could fire he shot again, and started to run, I shot him as he ran, in the hip, and the ball passed into his thigh; but he kept running. I followed him up the street and shot at him four times more, but did not hit him. I was taken to a house, and Dr. * * * and another, the two best Mormon surgeons in the city, were sent for. They split the flesh on the inside and outside of my thigh to the bone. hunting the ball, and finally concluded they could not find it, then went away and reported I would die sure. I sent for other physicians, and the next morning when they came to see me, I told them I had no further use for them, as my thigh swelled and inflamed so that ice had to he kept on it most of the time for three weeks. Then Dr. Hobbs, of the U. S. Army, a cousin of my wife, came to see me, bringing with him a board of physicians from Camp Floyd. They examined my leg, and pronounced the surgery which had been performed on me a dirty piece of butchery, and said: “Were it not out of respect to the profession, we would say they had poisoned it.” But when it was finally opened, behold! out of it came a dirty green piece of cotton, saturated with something, I do not know what, which the butchers had left in it weeks before! No wonder they were sure I would die, after leaving that in my leg. While in this situation, these thieves continued their threats to make a break into the house where I laid helpless, and make a finish of me. This Rhodes was the one appointed to do that, as was told on the streets. Rhodes had become obnoxious to all but his party of thieves. He got drunk one day, and swore he would finish me before he slept. I had good and trusty men staying with me constantly. Rhodes came, as he had said, and wanted to go into the room where I was, but was told that he could not. He swore he would, drew two revolvers, and swore nobody could hinder him. He started for the door, and Jason Luce ran a bowie-knife through him, he fell on the floor, and never spoke. This was the end of Joe Rhodes. Luce was tried and acquitted.

I lay in the city three months and was given up to die. I finally was hauled home, but was not able to go on crutches for six months, and never expected to get over it, as I have twice come near dying with it since. I had the fall before bought a few hundred head of oxen which had hauled freight across the plains. My stock was neglected, and I lost a good number of them while I was lying wounded. There was little attention paid to any violation of law there, unless it was a case that was prosecuted by some of the principal men of the city. This ease of mine passed unnoticed by the law; and the general saving was: “It was a pity to have a difficulty amongst our own people.”

The summer following -‘59 – the troops were to move from Camp Floyd, and a sale was made of almost every thing except ammunition, which was destroyed. The property sold very low – flour, by the 100-pound sack, 50 cents; bacon, one-fourth of a cent per pound; whisky, 25 cents per gallon; and other things in proportion. I bought ten wagon-loads. The barracks were sold to those who pulled them down and hauled away the lumber; and there has not been a house in the old barracks for eight or nine years. The little settlement adjoining across the creek, known as the town of Fairfield, is a nice little village, but is called Camp Floyd, which is my present residence, and has been for the last four years, ever since I left my place ten miles south of Salt Lake City. There was rejoicing when the troops left the territory. They had come here, spent a great quantity of money, and went away without hurting anybody – a victory, of course.

Gov. Cumming left the next spring, ‘60. The next fall another was appointed – Gov. Dawson – who, after being here a few months, was said to have used some seductive language to a woman in the city, which raised great indignation against him. He became alarmed, and made preparations to leave, and a company of the young roughs were selected to follow him out and give him a beating. Five went ahead to the mail station and awaited his arrival, and when he came they gave him a tremendous beating; it is said he died from the effects. it was known the next day in town, and most of the people rejoiced over the beating the Governor had got.

This continued for several days, until the word had reached the States, which made a terrible stink on the Mormons, about the manner in which they had treated the Government official. The newspapers teemed with Mormon outrages. This changed things, and then Brigham Young on the stand gave the men who had beaten the Governor an awful raking down, and said that they ought to have their throats cut. Two of them were arrested and put in prison, and he forbid any person bailing them out. They went for two more, and they fled, taking with them another man, a friend of theirs. They were followed about seventy-five miles; one of them refused to be taken, and he was shot with a load of buckshot, and only lived a few minutes. The other two were captured and brought to the city, showing no resistance.

They reached the city in the night and were given to the police to put them in prison. While going to the prison they were both shot dead, and the cry was raised that they undertook to get away. That was nonsense. They were both powder-burnt, and one of them was shot in the face. How could that be, and they running? This went down well enough with some; but it was too plain a case with thinking men, and especially those who knew the manner in which those men did such things. A great blow was made as a set-off, how the people killed all who would treat Government officials as these had the Governor – Innocence was declared by everybody but the gang who had done it, and three of them were killed, and they said they wished the others to share the same fate. After the other two had been in prison about two months, I went and bailed Jason Luce out. The other got bail in a few days. I then learned all the particulars. Jason told me that he was called on by Bob Golden, who was captain of the police, constable, and deputy sheriff, to go in the country with the others and give the Governor a good beating. Golden said he had his instructions what to have done. Luce went to obey orders, expecting to be protected if any trouble should arise from it, he himself having nothing against the Governor, and did not so much as know him. Luce did not like his treatment, and made a business of telling how the affair was. This got Golden down on him, and from that time it seemed that his destruction was sought.*

(*See Appendix-I.)

These things caused a division in feeling among the people; not open, but there was much private talk about such a course of things, which exists until this day. Many of the thinking better class of the people are disgusted with the abominable course taken by the so-called officials, killing off far better boys than their own or many that roamed the country. But their idea was to kill those they did not like, whether guilty of anything or not, as has been done to hide their own crimes, as well as to vent their spite, regardless of right or wrong. This dirty gang of the so-called police commenced about this time, and have done so well they have been kept in office ever since. I will say more about them when I come to the year of their actions.

There was nothing uncommon transpired in ‘60-‘61 more than every once in a while, somebody being killed – some Mormons and some Gentiles – some, it was said, was for stealing and some for seduction, while some of the greatest scoundrels ran untouched. They were good fellows, counsel-obeying curses, and had their friends.



Jason Luce was shot in pursuance of the sentence of law, in Salt Lake City, for the murder of a desperado from Montana. The circumstances were such that many people in Montana petitioned for Luce’s pardon. The other had threatened to kill him on sight, and when Luce was in Montana the preceding year, he had narrowly escaped being killed. But just at that time the Priesthood needed a victim, over whom to make a parade of their zeal in defense of visitors, and as Hickman has stated, Lace’s “fate was already sealed.”

For the full text of this book, see Archive.org.