Saturday, February 16, 2013

Our Brass Plates: Chapter 6

Newton Tuttle

                The Tuttles 

Another prominent family from Connecticut was brought in contact with the Church near the same time as the Stone family.  The Tuttles were some of the earliest settlers of New England as well.  William Tuttle sailed from England on the first ship to enter Boston Harbor in Massachusetts in 1635, just 15 years after the Pilgrims, who were also seeking freedom of religion.  Our first Tuttle ancestor donated the land that was used for Yale College.  Two of our ancestors were the first teachers at the College.  Education became an important family tradition. Our first Tuttle ancestor to become interested in the Church was Newton Tuttle.  His father, Zerah Pierpont Tuttle, was a teacher in Connecticut.  Newton attended school until he was seventeen after which he learned to become a blacksmith.  He was skilled enough to make things as fine as a small chain or as large as ship=s anchor.  

Richard Rummell's iconic landscape watercolor view of Yale University, 1906. Courtesy of Arader Galleries.
In 1844 Newton heard of a sect called the AMormons@.  He and some of his friends decided to attend the meeting and to break it up.  Newton was selected to go inside and then give a signal to the others outside to start yelling and make loud noises so that the meeting could not continue.  As he listened to the opening hymn, and prayer, he became interested.  He had never heard anything like that before.  It was not like the sectarian songs or prayers.  He listened intently to the sermon of Elisha H, Davis that was about the first principles of the gospel.  He remained to the close of the meeting and there was no disturbance.  He had no chance of hearing any more about the religion so he soon forgot about it.  

 His attention became focused on a young woman by the name of Lucinda S. Mix.  They were married on the 24th of November 1847.  He was twenty two and she was seventeen.  It is of interest to note that this was the same time as the saints were spending their first winter in the Salt Lake valley.  On the 13th of August, 1849, they had their first child, Clara.  Lucinda was also very educated.  

Sometime in 1848 or 1849, Newton came into possession of some Mormon literature.  Once again he was interested and started investigating the Church.  There was a small branch about five miles away.  Meetings were held in the home of Mr. Bassett, his former employer who was a member of the Church.  Newton was baptized a member of the Church on October 13, 1850 by Elder John Doolittle and confirmed at the water=s edge by Elder Chester Loveland.  Elder Loveland was the brother-in-law of Anson Call.  Loveland married Ansons=s sister, Fanny.  Lucinda did not join the Church at this time.  She did read some of the literature that Newton gave her to read.  Her parents were very much against the church.  Newton shared literature with some of his family and friends as well.  None seemed interested.  Missionaries traveled without money during the early days of the Church.  Newton and Lucinda were always giving the missionaries a place to sleep, food to eat, and money for their keep.  Lucinda did not have very good health but she did go to some of the meetings with Newton.

The missionary who was laboring in New Haven, Connecticut at this time was Aaron Farr.  His family are the ones that married into the Bingham line.  Elder Farr gave Lucinda a blessing on July3, 1853.  She was some what better. Then on the21st of July, 1853 Lucinda was baptized by Aaron Farr.  It was hard for Lucinda to go against the wishes of her parents.  She was their only daughter and Clara was the only grandchild on either side of the family.  But Lucinda loved Newton and she loved the gospel so she too joined the Church. 

 The Tuttles and some of the other families that were members of the Church began making preparations to make the journey to Utah.  They and the missionaries would all travel in a group to Utah.  Newton had become friends with other blacksmiths in Connecticut.  He became a friend of Amos P. Stone.  The two friends had exchanged letters.  Newton wrote to asked Amos what sort of things they should take with them to the west that would be most helpful.  Amos was living in Bountiful at the time.  He was told to bring things that could be used to cure illnesses, tools, seeds, fabric and several other items.  Of great importance to Newton was to take with him his genealogy.  This he did.  Although the parents of Newton and Lucinda did not want to see their children go, they helped them get some of the things that they needed to take with them.  They did not like their Church but they did not stop loving their children and their only granddaughter.  Lucinda=s mother told her that if she were to go west, that she would not live longer than three months.  All recognized just how weak and sick she was.  Still she was determined to go so she could learn more about the Church.

They were not driven out of their homes like the others of our ancestors.  They chose to go.  They left on Aril 3, 1854.  They went by ship to New York.  They traveled by steam ship to Amboy.  Then they took the railroad to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  They transferred to another train and traveled to Pittsburgh.  They traveled by steamboat until they got to St. Louis, Missouri.  Lucinda was sick most of the way.  In St. Louis, they purchased their wagon and the supplies that they would need to take with them.  The weather was very rainy and it hailed.  Their things were loaded on a ship and transported to Fort Leavenworth.

View in Salt Creek Valley near Leavenworth, Kansas
On Sunday. May 14th 1854, Lucinda Mix Tuttle passed away at 6:30 A.M.  She was buried that night on the left hand side of the Salt Creek.  AWe could not stop long,@ Newton wrote, Abecause the company wished us to arrange our affairs to move on as soon as we could in the morning of the 15th.@  Both he and his five year old daughter Clara were sick a great deal of the time for the next few weeks.  There was a lot of cholera in camp.  Several more people died for the next few weeks.  In spite of their illness, they had to keep on doing those things that had to be done.  He cooked, hunted, and made yokes for his oxen.  He gave some of Lucinda=s shoes and clothing to the needy. 

On June 24,1854, little Clara died.  Newton wrote, AWe drove on next morning leaving a little mound containing my only child and comfort.  But she was released of the earthly sorrows and suffering.  Gone back to her maker and her dear mother who no doubt wished to have her dear one with her.  God bless and protect their remains.  May I live worthy to meet them when my mission on earth is ended and I am permitted to return to my maker and loved ones who have preceded me to their Heavenly home.@

Lucinda and Clara were not the first of our ancestors to make the greatest of all sacrifices for the Lord.  They gave their lives.  Nor would they be the last.  Picture the heart ache of Newton.  Picture what he would say to their parents about the loss of their loved ones.  Picture how hard it would be to continue on.  But he knew if he did not, they could never be an eternal family.  He had to do it for them.  For some, the deaths and sacrifices came in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois.  For others, the sacrifice came on the trek west.  But all of us must pass though a trial of our faith before we return to our Father in Heaven.  This much I know.  The trials we face are indeed small in relationship to the trials of our Savior.  He suffered not just for our sins, but he suffered for all our infirmities and weaknesses and illnesses and he will not give us burdens that we can not bear.  He bore the burdens of not just those who lived on this earth but of all those of all the worlds that he created.
Newton's father, Zerah Pierpont Tuttle

Newton went on to marry the daughter of Amos P. Stone, Emily Amelia Stone.  Later in life, Newton went on a mission to Connecticut.  Although he did not covert his family, he was able to get over 6,000 family names for whom he could do their temple work.  He too returned for his Brass Plates.  

Notes: This article was originally printed by Leslie Tuttle Foy for his family. Thank you, Uncle Les, for creating our family version of the Brass Plates. The picture of Yale is in the public domain and found on Wikimedia. The photo of Salt Creek Valley was found on the Salt Creek Valley School online slideshow 2013.

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