IIEMILY ABBOTT BUNKER 1827-1913
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Orson Pratt Brown's Aunt
Emily Abbott Bunker
Daughter of Stephen Joseph Abbott and Abigail Smith
Written by Shirley N. Maynes
"Five Hundred Wagons Stood Still - Mormon Battalion Wives" 1999
Pages 86 to 89
Emily Abbott was born on September 19, 1827 in Dansville, Livingston County, New York to Stephen Joseph Abbott and Abigail Smith Abbott. Emily's family was well to do and she had been educated in the finest schools. When Emily was ten, the family moved west to develop a forty-acre stretch of land in Illinois. While living in Nauvoo, the family was converted to Mormonism and soon moved to Nauvoo. In 1843, Emily's father died and to help provide for her mother and five brothers and sisters, teenage Emily found work as an apprentice to a tailor. After spending a considerable amount of time developing her skill, she became a fine seamstress. It was while working in Nauvoo that Edward Bunker met the beautiful Emily Abbott. After a brief courtship they were married on February 9, 1846 by Elder John Taylor.
Edward's family had settled in Massachusetts and was part of the group who was determined to defend their beliefs even if it meant fighting the British for their freedom. The famed "Bunker Hill Battle" during the Revolutionary War was named after the Bunker family. "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes!" This legendary order has come to symbolize the conviction and determination of the ill-equipped American colonists facing powerful British forces during the famous battle fought on this site on June 17, 1775.
When Edward was nineteen years old, he decided to move west. It was while passing through Kirtland, Ohio that he met Martin Harris and heard from him the story of Joseph Smith and the beginnings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He joined the Church and was baptized in April of 1845. Eventually, he followed the Saints to Nauvoo, Illinois.
Emily and Edward were married during the period of time when the Saints were leaving Nauvoo for Iowa. The young Bunker couple was without means for their trek west, so Edward went to Mississippi where he found work. After saving enough money he had the means to leave with the Saints in their western migration. At Garden Grove, he ran out of money and provisions. He built a one-room log house for Emily and her mother and family. Emily felt lucky to have this shelter for they had camped out in a tent during the winter months.
The family needed a wagon and team to complete their journey to the Council Bluffs. Edward and a friend decided to return to Missouri to find work. It was while he was traveling that he heard the United States government wanted five hundred volunteers to fight in the Mexican War. He rushed home to Garden Grove where he listened again to Church leaders asking for volunteers to go and fight in the war. He and Emily made the choice he should go. It would provide the means through which his army pay would eventually help the family move to the west. Reluctantly, and with thoughts centered upon the long separation from Emily, who was expecting their first child, Edward Bunker left with his company as a Private in Company "E" under the command of Captain Daniel Davis.
Emily, an expert with needle and cloth, sometimes felt superior to those not dressed as well as she. One day she saw a young baby dressed in some glazed curtain material. The material had bright shawl-type flower figures on a deep blue background. Curtain material for a baby dress she questioned? She criticized the mother for not being able to provide better and vowed out loud: "I would not clothe my child in a dress like that, even if I could have it for nothing. " Famous last words!
When on February 1, 1847, Emily gave birth to her baby boy, Edward Bunker, Jr., she had nothing to clothe him in. No one in camp had anything she could buy to sew into baby clothes. No one, that is, except the mother she had criticized for using curtain material. The mother kindly said to her: "I have yet a few yards of the same material from which I made my baby's dress. You are welcome to it." Emily, swallowing her pride, accepted the curtain material. "No, I don't want you to pay for it," the giver said. "I hope you need it so much that you'll not shed tears over it and blame the Lord because you have no better." Emily did not complain about the curtain cloth dress she made for her son. For a long time it was the only clothing the baby boy had.
When Edward was mustered out of the army on July 16, 1847, his thoughts immediately turned to returning to Iowa and his family. Edward left California in the Lytle-Pace Company with Levi W. Hancock as the leader. They passed through Sutter's Fort and continued on the emigrant trail east over the North Pass of the Sierra Nevada. His group entered the Great Salt Lake Valley on October 16, 1847.
After a brief stay he and his companions left for Iowa. The time was late fall and winter was fast approaching. The group suffered immensely on their journey back to the east, but they were accustomed to these hardships. They had just recently suffered from hunger and poor weather conditions while on the march with the Battalion.
A week before Christmas, trudging through the snow, they finally reached Winter Quarters. Edward, thinking that Emily was still at Garden Grove, stayed overnight with a friend fully expecting to push onward the next day. The next morning brought a pleasant surprise to him. Emily, her mother Abigail, and a fine son, nearly a year old, were living only a short distance away. Edward's autobiography he records: "This was good news, I assure you, and I lost no time seeking out Emily... " Their reunion was a happy and joyous one with his wife, her mother and the son he had not seen. History does not say what, the baby boy wore to meet his soldier-father. But it is recorded that years later, as the mother of eleven children, Emily often told the story of the curtain dress to her children to help them to peacefully accept situations when money and earthly goods were lacking.
Edward Bunker was without means to start west. His army pay provided for the care of Emily and for his trip back to Iowa, so he went to Missouri and found employment by splitting rails. Eventually, he had enough funds to obtain a hog and some corn for planting
The Bunkers moved across the river to Mosquito Creek. It was here that Emily gave to a girl born March 1, 1849. They farmed until the spring of 1850. With his money from his army back pay, the sale of his military land warrant, and cash from participants in the California gold rush who bought up Edward's corn for six times its value in the states, Emily, Edward and children left for the Great Salt Lake Valley.
The Bunkers joined the Aaron Johnson Company, with Edward serving as a captain of ten, and set out for the Rockies. They arrived in Salt Lake on September 1, 1850.
Emily and Edward moved to Ogden where Edward built a three-room log house for his family and he again took up farming. Not long after, Edward was called on a two-year mission to Scotland. When he returned home, he was called as Bishop of the Ogden Second Ward.
On July 24, 1857, in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Emily and Edward attended the anniversary celebration since Brigham Young and his company had entered the Salt Lake It was here that they, along with the other Saints, learned of the coming of the Johnston's Army. The people left from their joyous holiday and returned to their homes.
President Brigham Young and other Church leaders decided that the Saints should move their families to the southern part of the state. By this time, Emily had given birth to more children. The Bunkers moved their family to Payson, Utah and remained there until peace was established between the army and the church. In the fall, the Bunkers returned to their home in Ogden.
In 1861, the Bunker family was asked to give up their prosperous farm in Ogden, and settle in the southern part of the state in a place called Toquerville. On December 12, Emily gave birth to her seventh child, a baby girl named Cynthia Celestia Bunker. They stayed a year in Toquerville before moving to Clara in Washington County, Utah. It was there that Edward was called again to preside as bishop. Emily was busy attending to her children and household responsibilities. She gave birth to four more children in Santa Clara.
Emily moved to Panguitch, Utah where Edward had purchased land. She died there February 8, 1913 at the age of eighty-five years and is buried in the Panguitch Cemetery, Garfield County, Utah. She had experienced many trials and hardships mingled with happiness, and through it all, she persevered enduring to the end.
Edward Bunker settled by the left bank of the Virgin River known as "Mesquite Flats". When water became available, a town was established known as "Bunkerville." Myron Abbott, Emily's brother, was also one of the early settlers.
Edward died on November 17, 1901 in Mexico. A headstone was constructed for him and his family in the Bunkerville Cemetery, Clark County, Nevada. The U.S. Mormon Battalion and family members memorialized his grave on October 10, 1998, by placing a beautiful bronze plaque on his grave.
Edward Bunker and Emily Abbott Bunker's Children:
Edward Bunker, Jr. born February 1, 1847 in Garden Grove, Decatur County, Iowa; md. Arminta (Araminta) Zerada (Zereda) McClellan on Nov 28, 1870 in SLC
Emily Bunker (Jr.) born March 1, 1849 in Potowatamie, Potowatamie, Iowa; md. Mahonri Moriancumer Steele on April 19, 1869 at SLC; d. September 17, 1921 at Delta,Millard,Utah
Abigail Lucina Bunker born April 15, 1851 in Ogden, Weber County, Utah; md George Washington Lee on October 5, 1869 in the SLC Endowment House.
Hannah Adelia Bunker born April 25, 1853 in Ogden, Weber County, Utah; md. Samuel Obed Crosby (See more at http://www.angelfire.com/ut/jcrosby/history/bunker/adelia.html)
Stephen Albert Bunker born September 14, 1857 in Ogden, Weber County, Utah; md. Mary Josephine Knight on January 1, 1879.
Elethra Calista Bunker born November 9, 1859 in Ogden, Weber County, Utah; md. Edward Leavitt 1 January 1875 Washington County, Utah.
Cynthia Celestia Bunker born December 12, 1861 in Toquerville, Washington County, Utah; md. George Washington Lee on September 21, 1881 in St. George, Utah
Silas Benjamin Bunker born April 19, 1864 in Santa Clara, Washington County, Utah
Charilia Loella Bunker born May 22, 1867 in Santa Clara, Washington County, Utah; md. William Cameron 3 February 1895 in St. George, Washington County, Utah.
Horace Kendall Bunker born September 29, 1869 in Santa Clara, Washington County, Utah; d. August 30, 1877.
George Smith Bunker born March 31, 1873 in Santa Clara, Washington County, Utah; md. Isabelle McArthur on October 31, 1895 in St. George, Utah.
PAF - Archer files = Orson Pratt Brown < son of Phebe Abbott Brown Fife is the sister of Emily Abbott.
Information obtained from a history on Edward Bunker by Winona Wittwer - Compilers files.
Story on "Emily's Pride" written by William G. Hartley, Associate Professor of History at the Brigham Young University - Compiler's files.
The Concise History of the Mormon Battalion in the Mexican War 1846-48 by Sgt. Daniel Tyler Roster of Company E -pp. 124 and 125 - Edward Leaving Los Angeles with Lytle-Pace Company -pp. 305 - 320 - Eastward journey Resumed - pp. 320 - 325
Heart Throbs of the West - Daughters of Utah Pioneers Publication - Vol.11 -P. 402 - The Bunker's Crossing the Plains.
Family Group Sheet - L. D. S. Family History Library - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Headquarters - Salt Lake City, Utah
Additional names, information, bold, etc. added by Lucy Brown Archer
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