William Henry Deuel's paternal grandfather played the violin, which was unusual for a Quaker. His 5th great-grandfather was born in England, introduced the family name to Colonial America in 1640, and was later brought before a Puritan court "for the continuing of a meeting upon the Lord's day from house to house"!
The DEUEL surname has an interesting background as well. It is derived from DEVILLE, a village in France, anglicized from the name DAVID. Various spelling derivations have been recorded in official documents through the centuries, with the evolution eventually settling on a version recorded in the Old Testament. Besides not writing their name on a daily basis, members of this religious family were probably uncomfortable with an identity that resembled [the] DEVIL.
On his 25th birthday, William Henry Deuel married Eliza Avery Whiting in Freedom, New York (1837). Shortly thereafter, they followed the convictions of their hearts in response to the calling of an American born prophet, Joseph Smith. Accompanied by at least two of his brothers, Amos and Osmyn Merrit, they left their home behind to be with fellow members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
William had more in common with his older brother Osmyn than being born in Greenfield, New York. Coincidentally, these two siblings also shared the same birthday, January 1; William was the younger by a decade. Each fell in love with, and married daughters of Nathaniel Whiting (Eliza Avery and Mary). They were also experienced blacksmiths, as well as farmers, which proved to be valuable pioneer skills. Both shared a strong desire for religious freedom, that took them on a journey across the American continent.
During their Westward Trek, they lived in at least three cities: Platt, MO; Nauvoo, IL; and Montrose, IA. The journey was not an easy one, and required more sacrifice than originally visioned. Two sons were born, and died along the way. Joseph lived for only five months in Platt, whereas Alonzo was able to celebrate his 2nd birthday in his birthplace of Nauvoo. These were the first children born by the young couple, each given their uncle's middle name of Merrit.
Two daughters, Minnervia Adeline and Mercy Ann, were born the following year in Montrose. This was also a time when dark forces gathered against the sect they were members of, which resulted in the martyrdom of their beloved Prophet Joseph Smith in 1844. Two years later, many in the Deuel kin received church endowments & ordinances in the Nauvoo Temple. Brigham Young soon became the new religious leader, then asked the faithful to leave their homes once again.
The Deuels arrived in the Great Salt Lake Valley (1847) as members of the pioneer company led by Charles C. Rich. William and his brother Osmyn quickly built a new home that would house both families during the coming Winter. Their first log cabin was located north of the east portal of the old fort, now Pioneer Park.
The home, 15 feet by 20 feet, was constructed of Douglas fir and lodgepole pine brought from the mountains east of the city. Its furnishings reflect the lifestyle of a prosperous pioneer family, complete with cast iron stove. Another log structure, adjacent to the log cabin, probably served as a blacksmith shop for the brothers. It is supposed that their younger brother Amos helped as well.
William Henry Deuel, Jr. was born a year later in the log home, during the great infestation of Mormon Crickets. His mother helped fight the pests devouring their fields, until it was time for her to give birth. The crops were later saved as white seagulls swooped down from the sky to ingest the black wave of insects, disgorging their prey into the waters of the Great Salt Lake. He and his wife, Marcy Jane Barney, were early settlers in the Southern Utah town of Escalante. They raised 10 children.
The cabin was later sold to Albert Carrington in 1849, after which he moved the structure to 1st North and West Temple Streets. His first five children were born in his new home. He also allowed Captain Howard Stansbury of the U.S. Army Typographical Engineers to spend much of his time in this cabin (1849-50).
This historic pioneer log home has since been on display in Salt Lake City at the Deseret Museum (1912-19), on Temple Square (1919-76), and in the plaza located adjacent to the North side of the Genealogical Library (1984-present). The cabin was restored in 1985 to appear as it would have looked in 1847. Currently, this Pioneer Log Home is furnished with antiques and reproductions from their era.
In 1848, both William and his brother Osmyn moved North as original settlers of the second Mormon city in Utah, known today as Centerville. They planted crops in the vicinity of Deuel Creek, named after them. The brother's real value was recorded as $1300 in the 1850 U.S. Census, which doubled by the next decade.
They were soon joined by their wives, the Whiting sisters, along with William's three children. Eliza gave birth four additional times, before she passed away in 1873 of Black Smallpox. Mary, the older sister, became an invalid later in life. Osmyn married three other women, one of which he met while serving a mission in England for his church, although he fathered no children.
Following the death of his wife Eliza, William moved to Southern Utah to be with three of his sons. They were farmers, providing blacksmith services to travelers heading for "Hole in the Rock" pass. William Henry Deuel lived in the small town of Escalante for the remainder of his life, where he was laid to rest in 1891.
"Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New England", Volume I, page 162.
"Directory of the Ancestral Heads of New England Families", by Frank R. Holmes, page 65 & 67.
"Holy Bible", King James Version, Numbers 1:14, 7:42 & 47, 10:20.
"Heart Throbs of the West", Daughters of Utah Pioneers - 1945, Volume 6, page 187.
Wording from a plaque placed outside the current location of the log cabin.
"Heart Throbs of the West", Daughters of Utah Pioneers - 1945, Volume 6, page 188.
"Ensign", Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, July 1986, page 42.
"Heart Throbs of the West", Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1945, Volume 5, page 27.
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