Sunday, August 16, 2009

Erastus Snow Wakefield

Erastus Snow Wakefield was the first child of John Fleming Wakefield and Susannah Garlick. He was born in Providence, Bedford, Pennsylvania, on 29 June 1839. He was named after his parents' good friend and John's former missionary companion, Erastus Snow. Erastus was only four months old when his parents left Providence and joined the Saints in Nauvoo.

Erastus lived in Nauvoo, with his parents, until the exodus of 1846. Though he was only 7 years old at the time of the exodus, he knew and remembered the Prophet, and his brother, Hyrum, who were murdered two years earlier. Erastus accompanied his parents into Iowa where he grew to manhood - reached at an early age due to the rigors of the times. He was a great help to his father, who had acquired a farm near Council Bluffs. Due to illness, his fatgher was not able to do the many tasks required, particularly in later years.

Upon the death of his father, many of the responsibilities of the family fell upon the shoulders of young Erastus, who was only a little over 14 years old at the time. He was no doubt of much comfort and assistance to his widowed mother. As the family crossed the prairie to Utah, Erastus took charge of one team of oxen and his mother the other. In adition, he gave considerable assistance to other emigrants who, according to Erastus in later years, "didn't know which end of the oxen to put the yoke on."

Upon arriving in Utah, Erastus provided much help to the family, working whenever he cold to help suppport them.

During the winter of 1857, when the U.S. Army tried to enter the valley, Erast was with the company from Sprigville in defense of its new homeland.

Following the Johnson Army's "Invasion," Erastus probably returned to the Springville vicinity and pursued various types of employment. Some time prior to 1865, he had taken up the logging business near Fountain Green. He was joined at that time by his brother, Thomas. Together, they bought a shingle mill and hauled logs to the Jewkes' mllls to be made into lumber . Both mills were located on the stream coming from Big Spring which furnished water for the community of Fountain Green. During the summer months they would cut logs and in the winter slide them in the snow to the mill.

Erastus married Mariah Lewis (Louise) Potter, 11 October 1868, in the Salt Lake Endowment House. At the same time his mohter, Susanna, was sealed to his father, John Fleming Wakefield and Erastus served as proxy for his father.

Erastus and Mariah did not have any children

Erastus Died 27 November 1923, in Taylor, Arizona, where he was also buried.