Nelle Spilsbury Hatch is the daughter of Alma Platte Spilsbury and his plural wife, Mary Jane Redd. Nelle was the fourth of thirteen children; or the ninth of all twenty-eight children .
Alma had been indicted on April 10, 1885 in the District Court at Phoenix, Arizona for unlawful cohabitation. The next day A.P. Spilsbury and George T. Wilson were each sentenced to six months imprisonment. The following day (April 12, 1885) they were taken to Yuma prison. Alma had returned from his term in the Arizona territorial prison only a year and a half before Nelle's birth. By 1891 this family was residing in Mexico on the Strawberry Ranch near Colonia Pacheco from 1891-1899, and the winters in Colonia Juárez.
Alma married Sarah Ann Higbee on June 22, 1869 possibly near Montpelier, Bear Lake, Idaho. They had five children. Sarah died on the 11 of December 1879 in Colonia Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico.
Alma married Mary Jane Redd on 6 October 1880 at St. George, Utah. She is the daughter of Lemuel Hardison Redd (1836-1910) and Keziah Jane Butler (1836-1895). Mary Jane was born on April 27 1858 at Spanish Fork Utah, Utah; she died on July 7, 1945 at Colonia Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. Mary Jane had thirteen chldren. In 1964 Mary Jane's daughter Nelle Spilsbury Hatch published Mother Jane's Story, a moving history of her mother's life.
Alma married Margaret Jane Klingensmith on March 2, 1883 at St. George, St. George, Utah. They had ten children. Janey died December 26, 1936 in Inglewood, Los Angeles, California. .
ALMA PLATTE SPILSBURY
"Alma Platte Spilsbury's parents, George and Fanny Smith Spilsbury, accepted the Gospel in England in 1842.
As soon as they were married they migrated to Nauvoo in order to see and, if possible, talk to the man who had seen God, who had talked with Jesus Christ, and who was visited by angels and ancient prophets. Seated in the unfinished temple in Nauvoo, they recognized the Prophet at once, thought they had never seen him or even a picture of him. "He was bold as a lon, yet meekas a lamb, and his eyes pierced to my very soul," wrote George later in his journal. They mourned with the Saints when the Prophet and his brother, Hyrum Smith, were martyred and were present in the grove when "the mantle of the Prophet" fell upon Brigham Young.
They evacuated Nauvoo at the time of the exodus, and moved to St. Louis, then to St. Joseph, Missouri, in order to earn money to buy wagons, teams, seed, and other necessities for settling in a faraway land. During that time, four little girls were born to them, each in turn dying. Alma, their fifth child and first son, was born August 4, 1850, on the banks of the Platte River somewhere in Nebraska. When he was eight days old the wagon in which he was born and was riding overturned in the Platte River when the oxen in their haste to slaken their burning thirst rushed into the river. The mother was rescured at once, but by the time Edward Hunter, in whose company they were traveleing, had found the babe lodged against a stump, he seemed lifeless. Detecting a flicker of life, Hunter asked for the privilege of blessing and giving him a name, "Name him Alms," his father said anxiously, "for the book of Mormon Prophet." "And I'll add Platte to it," said Bishop Hunter, "to commemorate his ducking."
The family arrived in Salt Lake City on October 3, 1850, where the first eight years of Alma's childhood were spent. His father plied the trade of mason to keep his ever-growing family supplied with necessities. Alma was eighteen years of age when his father settled in Toquerville, in southern Utah, having spent one summer in Springville when Johnston's Army entered Salt Lake City, three years in Draper, four years in Grafton and four years in Rockville. Being the oldest son, Alma stood guard when Indians menaced, went with parties in search of stolen property, and helped build new homes and provide for the family. Schooling during that time was incidental and possible only when other matters were not pressing.
On June 22, 1869, he married Sarah Ann Higbee, when he was but nineteen years of age. His first daughter, Fannie Ann Spilsbury, was born September 1, 1870. On December 11, 1879, Sarah Ann died at the birth of her fifth chld. She was survived by three children: Fannie Ann Spilsbury, David Moroni Spilsbury, and John Somers Spilsbury. (Alma Platte Spilsbury Jr, and Ella Spilsbury having previously passed away).
Immediately following this bereavement, Alma accepted a call to the Northern States Mission, leaving the care of his children [Fannie, David and Johnny]) to his mother. He left in April 1880, but in the cold, damp climate of the Great Lakes area he developed a cough that soon turned serious, and in July he was released.
On October 6, 1880, he married Mary Jane Redd of New Harmony, Utah, a girl he met when he stayed overnight with the Redd family on his way home from his mission. With her he began a new life for himself and his motherless children in the old Spilsbury home in Toquerville. Mary Jane's Katie Pearl Spilsbury was born and Sarah Ann's Johnny died while they lived there.
March 2, 1883, Alma married Margaret Jane Smith of Cedar City, Utah, who had been pre-conditioned for his proposal by seeing him in a dream and being told distinctly, "This is the man you are going to marry." Because of persecutions assailing those who ented plural marriage, he was advised by Apostle Erastus Snow to marry her in the St. George Temple and move his family at once to Arizona. In preparation for the move he fitted himself with four wagons, five teams, some loose horses, a race horse and a cow and left for Arizona, arriving the first of May 1883.
They settled in Mesa, then a struggling hamlet of a dozen families. With his extra horses he bought forty acres of land from Fred Mullins, and moved his two wives into the one-room adobe house already built, and set about imporving the property.
Mary Jane's second baby girl, Sarah Ann Spilsbury, was born June 2, 1883, and nine month later, March 3, 1884, Janey's first girls Estella May Spilsbury, born before another room was added to the one-room adobe abode.
Eluding U.S. Marshals, who were soon on the trail, was the beginning of dangerous times for this family. Although Alma believed in "facing the music." going underground was so distasteful to him, he accepted a call to explore northern Sonora in company with Heber J. Grant and party, headed by Brigham Young Jr. They spent four months hunting lands suitable for colonization.
On his return he was arrested and stood trial in a federal court in Phoenix in the spring of 1885, and was among the first to plead guilty as a test case. Others before him had pled "not guilty" and had been sentenced to three months in eastern penitentiaries plus a fine. The "guilty" plea was made in hopes it would lessen the penalty. Pleading guilty also seemed more honest to Alma, so he disregared the advice of his lawyer. The result was a six-month sentence in the state penitentiary at Yuma, Arizona
His prison term began in April 1885, and lasted until October of the same year. Mary Jane's third child and first son, Lemuel Hardison Spilsbury, was but a month old. Making friends with his jailers and gaining special privileges that mitigated the daily rituals and scorching heat was characteristic of Alma's tactics in a hostile situarion.
Serving his penitentiary term gave no relief to the perseicution and when the chance came to choose between giving up part of his family or going into exile, he chose the latter. Leaving Mary Jane to liquidate his business, he took Janey with Estella May and Earnest Moroni Spilsbury (George Phillip Spilsbury having died at age two) went with a company of Saints to Mexico. Janey's fourth child, Carmelita Spilsbury, was born in Colonia Dublán shortly after they arrived. They settled in Colonia Juarez, and there Mary Jane followed in November 1891, with her six children: Katie, Sarah, Lemuel, Nelle Keziah Spilsbury, Della Redd Spilsbury, and Ruby Vilate Spilsbury. His oldest daughter, Fannie, had married Isaac Dana [on March 28, 1889 later they moved to Montpelier, Idaho].and remained in Mesa. He gave up valuable property for the sake of living peacefully with his family.
Life in Mexico was a series of living on ranches in the summertime and in Colonia Juarez for school in the winter. Eight years were spent in the Strawberry Valley twenty-five miles southwest of Colonia Juarez, where he raised corn and potatoes, made cheese for sale and cared for the T-five (Church) cattle on a profit-sharing basis. Four years were spent on the Palo Quemado Ranch eight miles south of Colonia Juarez which he used as a base for his lumber hauling. Loads of lumber were delivered each week, and still he spent the nights at home.
In 1905, he moved his families to Chuhuichupa for three years to farm, dairy, and raise cattle. The highlight of living in this secluded hamlet ninety miles from Colonia Juarez was the visit of his aged and revered father, George Spilsbury, who weathered the hard trip in order to give his each of his grandchildren a Patriarchal Blessing.
Inaccessibility to high school privileges for his growing family induced a move to the valleys and he settled his families on fruit farms four miles up the river from Colonia Juarez. From here he moved them into town and the first comfortable homes either had enjoyed. Hardly were they settled when the political upheaval scattered the Mormon colonists to all parts of the southwestern United States, and forced temporary abandonment of these newly-acquired homes. When the general Exodus  came, Alma, by permission, remained in town alone, thinking he could save property and be instrumental in easing strained relations by so doing. By using tactics learned in the Yuma penitentiary, he made friends by being friendly. As a consequence, he never was harned. Within a month Mary Jane's family joined him. Janey and her children stayed in the United States.
He was as honest with the Lord as with his fellowman. He had little to tithe, but such as there was, was carefully calculated and scrupulously paid. Every tenth load of hay, wood, or lumber was piled into the tithing yard. Attendance at Sacrament Meeting and the Sabbath Day was strictly observed. Saturday evening his teams were turned out. Sunday morning his livliest team of mules was hitched to the light wagon, and into it was loaded all the family. The mules then rested until time to return from Sacrament Meeting. He was opposed to buggy rides, often indulged in on Sunday afternoons, because horses needed their rest, too.
Alma loved horses. Had lift dealt him what he caved, he would have been a horse fancier. When he moved to Mexico, he was wealthy with blooded horses which were taken from him. They were the first to succumb to the rigors of a hard country. As one by one they died, he sought something as hardy as himself to take their place, and found it in mules. It mattered not whether he drove one span or two or three, or had them hitched to one wagon or two; his teams had his living. No tool of a crraftsman could have had better care. Teams tthat stayed with him until the day's work was done often spent sixteen hours in the harness. Yet he never had one refuse to do his bidding. He had no patience with one who abused a balky horse, maintaining that if a driver knew as much as the hrse, no mistreatment would be necessary.
Special favorites among his horses were legion, and would be hard to name. Any animal once broken to his ritual was a favorite. Sometimes it was hard to tell whose love was deepest, the horse's or its master's. More than one of them saved his life at various times by split-second timing in response to his jerk on the lne or his sudden command. His pride in his team extended to the roads over which they took him. He took many a kink out of a crokked bit of road by plowing a more direct route from one point to another. He never failed to leave a road better than he found it. His pick and shovel were ever handy to remove an embedded boulder, dig down a wash, or fill in a chuckhole, and his children were always handy to throw out loose rocks.
In spite of his love of horses, his children by no means took second place in favoritism. Though every dollar was made the hardest way, no child was unwelcome. The last of his twenty-eight caused as much rejoicing as the first. This rejoicing was doubled when his wife, Mary Jane, gave birth to a pair of twin girls, Blanche and Bernice born December 11, 1893. His struttings then looked as if he claimed all the credit. When his cuatas were still mere babes he took them to Mesa to show what his move to Mexico had netted him. Yet even that was not allowed to eclipse any other member of the familyn or allow any child to wish he had been born a twin. "This is the best child I've got," he's say as he patted the head of the child nearest him.
He wanted the best for his children. But more than clothes or fine things, he wanted them to be honest, diligent, and trustworthy, and to learn the dignity of work. "What you are, you can take with you when you leave this world," he often said, With his love for his children went a desire for them to be loyal to him and to show it as his horses did. To make it so, he institued some hard and fast rule: Home by sundown on Sundays; in bed by 10:00 pm after parties, and by midnight after dances; no sleeping away from home. But hardest of all was: No dates without first getting his permission. "Do you think I'd allow anyone to take my mules from the corral without first asking my permission?" he would say. "And do you think I love my mules more than I do my girls?" When times changed, he changed with them. His younger children heard only, "You've been taught correct principles, govern yourselves. But no late hours." His children rarely forgot.
He was proud to be a member of the first High Council organized by President Anthony W. Ivins. When cases were tried, he was invariably assign to defend. This was because, as explained by President Ivins, Alma Spilsbury was ever a friend to the erring one. He watched older people on the downward slope of live and his worry turned to finding some way to make life brighter for them. Hearing of gala occasions in Utah where older people were honored, and attending such an occasion in Mesa, he returned to sell the idea to community leaders, who immediatley planned an Old Folk's Day and placed him in charge of it. He went himself to invite every person in town over fifty years of age of both races, and when the day arrived, he met all honored guests and chivalrously escorted them to their assigned places in the hall. A huge corsage was placed on the oldest person present, thus making him the center of attention. As a jovial master of ceremonies, Alma led in the singing of old-time songs. Then, following a sumptuous banquet, all were in a mood to reminisce, and experiences were aired that provoked both tears and laughter until it was time to take them to their homes again.
The first successful Old Folks' Day in Colonia Juarez was made into an annual affair, and soon it was a Stake organization under his direction, with Miles A. Romney and Daniel Skousen as helpers. After his death, Old Folk's Day was held each year on his birthday, August 5, until in later years it lost its identity. Being in charge of such occasions sublimated his dread of growing old, but nothing could really hide the fact from him. Called "old man Spilsbury" for the first time was like a lash from a whip. His family writhed with him, but secretly enjoyed his quick retort: "Looky here, young man, when you can throw more mud out of the ditch in a day than I can, you can call me old." He never heard the words again.
Eulogies of the dead irked him. "Why couldn't they have told that poor fellow all those nice things while he was alive?" Life and how it was lived were more important to him than how he was buried. "All I ask is that the Lord will let me live as long as I am useful, and then let me die in the harness." These words were literally fulfilled. In June 1920, hauling a load of wool on a lonely mountain road, his wagon overturned, killing him and a favorite horse. His body lay in the hot June sun for two days before he was found. He was laid to rest June 22, 1920, in the Colonia Juarez cemetery.
He was survived by sixteen of his twenty-eight children, fourteen of whom were born in Mexico, and his posterity numbers around 300 at this writing [1979-1985]. Many of his numerous posterity are found in Stake and Ward leadership, also as Stake and full-time missionaries for the Church. Many grandchildren served in all branches of the armed forces during World War II, with but one casualty. There are apt craftsmen to be found among his children and grandchildren. Professional men and women are numbered in fields of medicine, art, science, and music. In the field of education are teachers from elementary to university level, as well as principals of high schools. All of which proves, as in the life of Alma P. Spilsbury himself, that hardships and meager opportunities are no bar to achievement if proper incentive is supplied." ---by Nelle Spilsbury Hatch, published in "Stalwarts South of the Border" Pages 628-632
Children of Alma Platte Spilsbury and Sarah Ann Higbee Spilspury
Fannie Ann Spilsbury
Born: 1 September 1870 at Tocquerville, Washington, Utah
Married: Isaac Dana on 28 March 1889 at Mesa, Maricopa, Arizona
Died: 16 June 1961 at Mesa, Maricopa, Arizona
Alma Platte Spilsbury, Jr.
Born: 1872 at Toquerville, Washington, Utah
Died: 1872 at Tocquerville, Washington, Utah
Born: 7 November 1876 Tocquerville, Washington, Utah
Died: 27 October 1879 Tocquerville, Washington, Utah
David Moroni Spilsbury
Born: 14 May 1874 at Tocquerville, Washington, Utah
Married: Maud Smith McKellar
Died: 17 April 1917 at El Paso. El Paso, Texas
John Somers Spilsbury
Born: 1 December 1878 at Tocquerville, Washington, Utah
Died: December 1880 at Tocquerville, Washington, Utah
Children of Alma Platte Spilsbury and Mary Jane Redd Spilsbury
Katie Pearl Spilsbury
Born: November 6, 1881
Married: Alonzo Leander Taylor on 1 January 1906 Colonia Dublán, Chihuahua, Mexico
Died: January 10, 1953 at El Paso, El Paso, Texas
Sarah Ann Spilsbury
Born: June 2, 1993 at Mesa, Maricopa, Arizona
Married: Daniel Skousen on September 24, 1901
Died: August 30, 1968 at Mesa, Maricopa, Arizona
Lemuel Hardison Spilsbury
Born: March 14, 1885 at Mesa, Maricopa, Arizona
Married: Martha Alice Acord on July 11, 1907 in El Paso, El Paso, Texas
Died: January 8, 1973 at Douglas, Cochise, Arizona
Born: March 22, 1887 at
Married: Ernest Isaac Hatch on August 19, 1918
Died: August 29, 1979 at Colonia Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico
Della Redd Spilsbury
Born: 23 January 1889 at Tocquerville, Washington, Utah
Married: George Travers Tucker on 29 August 1912 at Colonia Dublán, Chihuahua, Mexico
Died: 24 April 1964 at Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
Ruby Vilate Spilsbury
Born: 10 November 1890 at Tocquerville, Washington, Utah
Married: George David Brown on 27 June 1912 El Paso, El Paso, Texas
Died: 3 May 1981 in El Paso, El Paso, Texas
Born: 16 November 1892 in Colonia Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico
Died: 17 November 1892 Colonia Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico
Born: 11 December 1892 in Colonia Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico
Married: Morgan Wilson Hurst on 18 December 1916
Born: 11 December 1893 at Colonia Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico
Married: William Alvin Coon on 3 June 1915 at El Paso, El Paso, Texas
Died: 17 June 1958 Colonia Dublan, Chihuahua, Mexico
Monroe Platte Spilsbury
Born: 16 Feb 1895 at Colonia Juárez, Chichauhau, Mexico
Died: 4 September 1897 at Colonia Juárez, Chichauhau, Mexico
Born: 28 January 1898 at Colonia Juárez, Chichauhau, Mexico
Married: Eugene Ernest Taylor on 11 Oct 1917 at Colonia Juárez, Chichauhau, Mexico
Ronald Kent Spilsbury
Born: 8 April 1900 at Colonia Juárez, Chichauhau, Mexico
Died: 12 October 1903 in Mexico
Paul Duane Spilsbury aka Porfirio Diaz Spilsbury
Born: 8 April 1902 at Colonia Juárez, Chichauhau, Mexico
Married: Josephine Nielsen on 23 December 1922
Children of Alma Platte Spilsbury and Margaret Jane "Janey" Klingensmith Spilsbury
Estella May Spilsbury
Born: 3 March 1884 at Mesa City, Maricopa, Arizona
Married: Orson Pratt McRae on 15 May 1907
Died: 22 November 1964
George Phillip Spilsbury
Born: 17 Nov 1885 at Tocquerville, Washington, Utah
Died: 29 August 1887 at Tocquerville, Washington, Utah
Ernest Moroni Spilsbury
Born: 10 March 1888 at Tocquerville, Washington, Utah
Died: 31 December 1912
Born: 27 April 1891 at Colonia Dublán, Chihuahua, Mexico
Married: John Howard Jester on 6 September 1911
Died: 11 January 1967
Born: 9 March 1893 at Colonia Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico
Married: Leonard Absalom Vance 29 Oct 1912 Mesa, Maricopa, Arizona
Alma Platte Spilsbury
Born: 5 August 1895 at Colonia Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico
Died: 28 July 1896
Carola Anita Spilsbury
Born: 7 August 1897 at Colonia Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico
Died: 28 July 1898 at Colonia Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico
Donald Grant Spilsbury
Born: 14 April 1900 at Colonia Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico
Died: 17 Jan 1974 at Pasadena, Los Angeles, California
Born: 29 May 1902 at Colonia Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico
Married: Louis Charles Fine on 14 Feb 1919 at El Frida, Cochise, Arizona
Died: 15 June 1959 at Tempe, Maricopa, Arizona
Winslow Farr Spilsbury
Born: 12 February 1904 at Colonia Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico
Died: 31 December 1905 at Colonia Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico
Troopers of the 10th Cavalry Regiment, led by General John J. "Blackjack" Pershing, going into Mexico. These heroic Negro soldiers were ambushed by Mexican Army Federales near Carrizal 21 June 1916, and suffered a loss of half their number in one of the bravest fights on record. --http://www.vinnyswebsite.com/africanamericanww1.html
U. S. Tenth Cavalry Regiment survivors of Carrizal, despoiled of their uniforms by the Mexicans. They arrived in El Paso, Texas in overalls. Lem Spilsbury, white scout from Mormon Colonies in center. Each soldier has a bouquet of flowers. --http://www.vinnyswebsite.com/africanamericanww1.html
PAF - Archer files = Captain James Brown + (7) Phebe Abbott > Orson Pratt Brown
PAF - Archer files = Nelle Keziah Spilsbury < parents Alma Platte Spilsbury + (1) Mary Jane Redd > (Nelle's sister) Sarah Ann Spilsbury + Daniel Skousen < James Niels Skousen + (1) Sidsel Marie Pedersen; wife (2) Ane Kirstine Jorgensen /Hansen/ [Hanson] > Eliza Skousen fourth wife of + Orson Pratt Brown.
Photos and information from :
"Trailblazers in Mexico" by Nelle S. Hatch, The Instructor, May 1967
http://www.buffalosoldiers.com/Generations.htm and http://www.vinnyswebsite.com/africanamericanww1.html
Additions, bold, [bracketed], some photos, etc., added by Lucy Brown Archer
Copyright 2001 www.OrsonPrattBrown.org