• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Joseph Arnold Ames
Jenette Amelia Austin

1 May 1882
Trenton, Cache, Utah, USA

Sealed: 9 November 1882
Endowment House, Salt Lake City, Utah

Joseph Arnold Ames family with all 9 living children. 
Circa 1904, William Henry Ames (Papa's grandfather)
 is on the back row at the far right.
Picture from Baron Family Web page - contacts not functioning

Papa's paternal great grandparents were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - Mormons [referred to herein as 'the church'] . They believed that life began before their existence on earth and will continue after their existence here.

Their parents, (Clark and Frances Ames, and William and Agnes Austin) and some of their grandparents, experienced the rigors of pioneer travel and settlement as they moved west and established homes and communities.

These people also believed that God, as a loving father, provided a way for all of his children to obtain and have genuine happiness as part of everlasting existence and that every person may have all the joy/happiness that they sincerely desire. Their core beliefs helped them accept and endure many privations and sacrifices as they were asked to help colonize new areas several times.

Assignments often included moving their families and beginning to build again in another frontier area. They were also expected to be at peace and work with the people that might already be in those areas, including the nomadic Indians that might be friendly or hostile.

The 1860 Utah US census, page 222, shows several Ames families (including Joseph's father and grandfather) living in Brigham, Cache, Utah. A few pages later on page 245 we see William Austin and his family in the same place.

The 1870 Utah US census shows both families have moved but are in the same general area. Joseph is with his parent's and 7 siblings at Portage, Utah as described in a short biographical sketch below, and Jeannett Amelia with her parent's, 4 siblings and a house keeper with the same surname, is at Bloomington, Rich, Utah Territory (now partly Bear Lake County, Idaho). See map below.

Some descendants from the Baron family share a short history online that tells us a bit more about the family, [From the Salt Lake area the Clark Carter Ames family moved into the southern Utah 'Blue Grass Country', and from there to Portage, which was in northern Utah.] "He lived there for nine years. Each year they planted crops but were unable to harvest them, except for two years, because the grasshoppers and crickets were so thick. They dug trenches and filled them up with dry straw or weeds to make a sleeping place for the insects, then got up real early and burned them and killed many of the insects.

"[Joseph Arnold Ames] met his future wife, Jennet Amelia Austin while living there as her parents lived at Trenton just a few miles away [about 20 miles southeast] ." 

In 1880 Joseph, age 22, lived with his parent's and siblings at Trenton,Cache, Utah. Note that the father's profession is a farmer and all the boys in the family have 'laborer' listed as their profession. Pioneer children shared the heavy labor of establishing homes and obtaining the necessities of life from the prairies and mountains of western America with their parents.

1880 Trenton, Cache, Utah US Federal Census

The Austin family are also at Trenton in 1880. The census taker recorded Jennett Amelia's name as Janet. Her age is given as 14 on the June Census. Her birthday later that year in October would make her 15.

1880 Trenton, Cache, Utah US Federal Census

The couple were married 2 years later. The biographical sketch mentioned above tells us, "They were married 1 May 1882, and went to the Salt Lake Endowment House and were sealed to each other 9 November 1882, traveling there by covered wagon, together with another young married couple, bent on the same mission. It took them several days to make the journey. They had two sons born to them while living at Trenton." [Joseph Austin Ames,18 April 1883 and Hyrum Clark Ames, 29 May 1885]

Latter Day Saints [LDS] believe that for their family relationships to continue after this life that their marriages and families must begin with a covenant and promises not only between the couple but also between the couple and God. Such marriages are called 'Eternal Marriages'.

Adherents of the LDS faith believe authorized representatives of God, who have proper authority, must preform these covenant marriage ordinances. This is referred to as being 'sealed' together. Usually the sacred covenants of Eternal Marriage may only be made in a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Sometimes when a temple was not available some (but not all) sacred ordinances could occur in another temporarily designated place.

When Joseph Arnold Ames and Jenette Amelia Austin began their family the nearest place an Eternal Marriage could be performed was in such a temporary structure, located in Salt Lake City 100 miles from the area where they lived. It was completed in 1855 and became known as the 'Endowment House'.

Salt Lake City Endowment House circa 1880

The nearest and only temple of the church was approximately 400 miles away at St. George, Utah. It was completed in April 1877. A temple in Logan, Utah ,only about 20 miles or a days journey, was under construction but it would not be complete until May 1884 - 2 years after they married. Another temple was being built in Salt Lake City, Utah, but would not be completed for another 10 1/2 years.

Temples were built with volunteer labor and donated materials for the most part. Men were assigned shifts to work. Women and children also helped in every way possible. On 18 May 1877 as work commenced on the Logan Temple, Church President Brigham Young is reported to have told the people at the dedication of the site"We require the brethren to go with their might and erect a temple and from the architect to the boy who carries the drinking water and the men who work on the building, we wish them to understand that wages are entirely out of the question. We are going to build a house for ourselves and we shall expect the brethren and sisters, neighborhood after neighborhood, ward after ward, to turn out their proportion of men to come here and labor as they shall be notified . . ."

Another report states, "Roughly 25,000 people worked on the Logan Temple. Rocks and timber used for the temple were hauled from the Temple Fork area of Logan Canyon. As completion of the temple neared, women in the area were asked to make carpets for the temple, since commercially made carpet could not be bought in Utah at that time. The women spent two months working to hand make two thousand square yards of carpet."

Joseph Arnold Ames, Jennett Amelia Austin and their parents and siblings lived, worked, attended (and served in) the congregations of this place and era. We can be assured that they assisted in the work of these building programs. The names of Jospeh's father and mother, Clark Carter Ames and Frances Jane Beavans are inscribed on a memorial plaque to the pioneers of Bear Lake Valley inside the tabernacle at Paris Idaho.

A Cache County history tells us, "The construction of the [Logan] temple cost approximately $608,000.00. Of this amount the Church appropriated $37,000.00 and the people in Cache Valley and northern Utah donated the remainder in cash, labor and supplies. This was a great undertaking at that time and shows what can be done by strong determination and united effort. To construct the temple it took 1,000,000 feet of lumber, 256,000 cubic feet of rock, which weighed nearly 20,000 tons; 18,000 bushels of lime for mortar for the walls, 96,000 bushels of sand and 40,000 pounds of plaster of paris. 24,000 pounds of white lead for paint, 5000 pounds of rope to build and bind scaffolding, 24,000 pounds of nails, 13,000 pounds of metal for roofing and large quantities of glass for the windows were also used.

The Logan Temple will always stand as a monument of hard labor, sacrifice and sincere devotion to a cause of the early settlers of Logan and Cache Valley. Upon entering the Valley from any point it is the first object to greet the eye. It stands out in bold relief and at certain hours of the day when the sun’s rays strike it, it has a beautiful luster about it. Hundreds of tourists and strangers have praised its location and the style of architecture. It will always be … evidence of how well the early settlers in this section builded."

Frontier travel, whether 100 miles or 400 miles, was difficult and expensive, at best, and potentially fraught with many perils and hazards. A team of horses pulling a buggy or wagon usually traveled 15-20 miles per day. Note that this young couple made the arduous 100 mile trip to Salt Lake to solommize their marriage and be sealed together for time and all eternity 6 months after they were first married. Note also that November is after seasonal work such as planting and harvest, that families absolutely must attend to for survival, is complete.

In 1995 the Presidency of the church issued a proclamation to the world regarding doctrines about marriage and family. It states succinctly beliefs taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints throughout its history.

The proclamation says, in part:

"THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities."

A historical event this couple may have experienced soon after forming their family was reported thus in a special to the 10 November 1884 Deseret Evening News in Paris, Idaho:"Six distinct earthquake shocks were felt here this morning. The first, at seven minutes before two, was terrific and lasted over half a minute. Five other shocks, comparatively slight, occurred at brief intervals afterwards; the last at twenty minutes after four. The shocks were felt through the valley as far as heard from. Considerable damage to houses is reported, and some moveable articles were broken, although nothing serious occurred. People were affected as if by sea sickness. The movements of the first were severe shocks from northeast to southwest, and then a swaying motion from north to south. The others were from east to west.

The Salt Lake Tribune 13 November 1884 gave a much more flamboyant account: "This small berg and surrounding country was thrown into a fever heat of excitement by a terrible shock of earthquake. It began at 1:56 a.m. by a low, rumbling noise, accompanied by a slight trembling, sufficient to cause a rattling of windows, stoves, etc., and was followed in about 10 or 15 seconds by a most terrific shock, throwing books, dishes, etc., from their shelves and rocking houses to and fro almost akin to a vessel at sea. This was followed at exactly 2 a.m. or about four minutes after the first shock, by another shock much lighter than the first, and again at 2:53 another shock was felt, but was so slight as to be hardly noticeable.

"As the election of our President has been the all absorbing event of the world for the past week, it is quite safe to attribute this subterranean disturbance to the glaring error of the American people, but if the mere possibility of Cleveland's election should cause such a revulsion on the part of Mother Earth, what must we expect on the 4th of next March?" [The day he would take office].

Grover Cleveland's predecessor was Chester A Arthur. He took office when James A. Garfield was assassinated in the fall of 1881. A journalist Alexander McClure would later write, "No man ever entered the Presidency so profoundly and widely distrusted as Chester Alan Arthur, and no one ever retired ... more generally respected, alike by political friend and foe." He declined to serve a second term. One of the central issues in 1884 appears to have been corruption in politics.

In 1884 women had the right to vote but Jennett Amelia Ames was only 19. Utah Territory granted women that right in 1870. It was the second territory to do so (Wyoming also) and no state allowed women this right. The right was revoked by antipolyamy forces in 1887 and not won again until 1895, after much campaigning.

The new law was adopted with a constitution that would see Utah become the 45th state in the union on 5 November 1895 with a provision that "the rights of citizens of the State of Utah to vote and hold office shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex. Both male and female citizens of this state shall enjoy equally all civil, political and religious rights and privileges." They won a right granted at that time only in two states, Wyoming and Colorado. Idaho granted women this right in 1896.

Map of Pioneer Communities in Utah and Idaho 

The third child to join this young family was born in Mound Valley, Idaho. The Baron family sketch again enlightens us about the Ames family and their move to Idaho,"They then went up into Idaho where land was open to homestead. [Joseph Arnold Ames] homesteaded 160 acres in a valley which was called Mound Valley because of the many mounds made by Indian graves. He gave his father 40 acres of this land and a part of it for a school house and a church house. He also sold part of it to two brothers by the name of Bennet and retained only 40 acres of this land for his own use. He built a log house on it and there his oldest daughter [ Marcia Frances Ames] was born 2 February 1888. Seven more children were born to them while living there.

William Henry Ames, Papa's grandfather, was born in Weston, Oneida, Idaho (later Franklin County) 4 June 1890. He is the 4th child and 3rd son in his family. Our records say all of his younger siblings are born in Mound Valley: Amy Amelia Ames 17 July 1892, Leroy Ames 14 September 1894, Elmer Azel Ames 24 October 1896, Althea May Ames 27 March 1899, Ida Ione Ames 11 August 1902. Ella Lorene Ames, the youngest daughter, was born 8 October 1905 and died one year and one month later on 4 November 1906. She is buried in Mound Valley.

Draft cards for both WWI and WWII for Elmer and Leroy both state they were born in Cleveland, Idaho now a ghost town.

1 Joseph Austin Ames, 3 we think  is William Henry Ames,
6 a descendant thinks this is Marcia Ames,  
9 Joseph Arnold Ames,
10 Jennett Amelia Ames nee Austin, circa 1942

"[Joseph Arnold Ames] was active in civic matters. Being clerk of the Board of trustees for the school for many years he had the responsibility of getting the school district free of debt, hiring teachers and all things connected with the school. He was Superintendent of Sunday School for many years and always active in church duties. He had many talents superior to most.

"He was able to take a forked stick, hold it tight in his hand and locate wells for everyone in the valley. He located wells for nearly everyone for 50 miles around. By grasping the stick tightly he would walk over the land and the stick would turn toward the ground. He could tell them how deep they needed to go to find water. He was much in demand for measuring hay as he could always tell within a few pounds just where to cut for a ton of hay.

"He had a severe case of small pox and nearly lost his life at one time. He was always friendly and well liked by everyone. A traveler always could find food and a bed when they came to his door. He could talk to the Indians in their own language and they were all his friends.

Joseph Arnold Ames, left, with his son Hyrum Ames and his son 

"He was a ward teacher to the end of his days, never too busy to stop whatever he was doing to go teaching whenever he could get his companion to go. In the spring of 1919 he sold his farm and moved to Ucon, Idaho and bought 40 acres of land there. This he farmed until his health was so impaired that he couldn’t go on. He died there 6 March 1933 and was buried in Ucon, Bonneville County, Idaho, on 9 March 1933.