I have been working with this unique Woolsey family for over ten years, as I researched them in Great Yarmouth, England records, to Rotterdam, Holland, and then to New Amsterdam (New York), Long Island (1647) and then to places north and south throughout America. It is an unique family in that MOST of the Woolseys in America can be traced back to our immigrant ancestors George ‘Joris’ Woolsey and Rebecca Cornell in 1647 in New Amsterdam and Jamaica, Long Island, New York.
We have a Woolsey Website
All the above as a preamble to my interest in my Mormon Woolsey Ancestors. This whole family has been a challenge, in New York State, Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and then on to Utah. (And this doesn’t count the Woolseys who went from Long Island, to Westchester and Ulster Counties, New York, then to up-state New York and then throughout the United States.)
One of the greatest challenges has been the repetitive use of first names in all the families. For example, I have dozens of Richard Woolseys and John Woolseys, with numerous Richards and Johns in each generation, living in the same counties, in the same time period. Multiply that by many other first names, and it truly is a “Gordian Knot“.
So I am not surprised that we have numerous references to Joseph H. Woolsey, Joseph Hyrum Woolsey and Hyrum Woolsey, who are three distinct (though often confused) Woolsey men. I am going to approach this Utah Travel problem by using the various families of Woolseys as unique family units, starting with Jacob C. Woolsey.
Jacob C. Woolsey (22 Aug 1781-after 1856) is a son of the Revolutionary War Veteran Richard Woolsey and his wife Nancy Plumstead. Jacob C. Woolsey was born at St. Clairs (Sinclairs) Bottoms, on the South Fork of the Holston River, Washington County, Virginia, and died probably at South Cottonwood, Utah. He is a younger brother of Joseph Woolsey (abt 1771-1839) born in Ulster County, New York and died in Vandalia, Fayette Co, Illinois, who married Abigail Schaeffer, whose family is noted elsewhere on this site.
Jacob C. Woolsey is the “brother-in-law who dug Abigail Lee’s grave” at the “9th or Last Crossing of the Sweetwater” on 2 Sep 1848. Abigail Schaeffer is the widow of the above Joseph Woolsey and eight of her twelve children joined the Church and came to Utah! She was married to John D. Lee “for her protection and for convenience of traveling.”
Jacob C. Woolsey joined the Church sometime before 1846, probably in the early 1840’s, along with the other Woolsey family members.
Woolsey, Jacob C. His personal statement:
On 30 Jan 1846 in the Nauvoo, Illinois, LDS Temple, he stated that he was born 22 Aug 1781. (Nauvoo List of Members, p. 59, Endow. p. 233.) He was a “Seventy” as per the Nauvoo Temple Endowment Register 1845-1846. On 30 Jan 1846 he received his “Endowments”.
NAUVOO: From “Nauvoo List of Members” p. 58. Jacob C. Woolsey, Eliza Woolsey, and either living with them or next door, James VON and Emeline Von and Lueda Von. [abt 1844-1846]
Jacob C. Woolsey was married at least four times, possibly more. He married (1) Elizabeth Weger (22 Aug 1782-abt 1831) and had 11 children, only one of whom joined the Church; Emeline (“Emily”) Woolsey (1822 – ), who married (1) James Von (Vaughn?) abt 1840 and was living with her father in Nauvoo. She married (2) John D. Lee but left him at Summer Quarters. She MAY have come to Utah (per 1856 Utah census).
Jacob C. Woolsey married (2) Catherine _____ (1787-bef 1860) born in North Carolina and died at Farmington, St. Francois, Missouri. Jacob C. Woolsey and Catherine had three children:
- Sarah A. Woolsey (1827 – ) died at Farmington, St. Francois, Missouri.
- Joseph H. Woolsey (10 Jan 1828) born in Indiana, died in Utah. The Interweb doesn’t think that this Joseph H. was ever known as Joseph Hyrum, more likely Joseph Henry Woolsey, but confusing, nevertheless. He came to Utah with his father and they are both found in the 1850 Utah census. (The “Joseph Hyrum Woolsey” as listed with the Brigham Young Company (1848) should be changed to “Joseph H. Woolsey”.) In any event, he married abt 1842 in Missouri, to Rachel ____ (born 1826, Kentucky). They had
- Elizabeth Woolsey b 1843 Missouri,
- Nancy Woolsey, born 1849, Territory of Deseret, and
- Lucinda Woolsey (1 Jan 1832-after 1900) born in Randolph County, Illinois, and died in San Francisco, California. She was living with her father in Nauvoo. She may have been married (perhaps a “sister wife”) to a Von (Vaughn) while at Nauvoo. She married Stephen H Goddard 6 Jan 1850 in Salt Lake City and has a large family.
Jacob C. Woolsey married (3) in 1838, at Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri, to Elizabeth “Eliza” Trick (14 Mar 1813- ) born in Illinois and died in Utah, and came to Utah in 1848. They had these children:
- Melinda Woolsey (1813- ), born in Iowa and died in Utah.
- William Richard Woolsey (5 Feb 1847-25 Aug 1917), born in Missouri, died in Gridley, Butte, California. He married Rebecca A. Butcher (18 Jan 1858-24 Jul 1940) born in Utah and died in California, a granddaughter of William “Bill” Hickman. The above two children are found on the 1850 census.
- Mary Woolsey born Feb 1851, in Deseret.
- Matilda Woolsey born about 1852.
- Harriet Woolsey born about 1854.
Jacob C. Woolsey married (4) to an unknown woman, with at least six children, but unknown at this time. There are unidentified Woolseys in the Provo, Utah, Utah 1856 Census, which could be some of his children. More research is being done on these.
Now, to recap:
Jacob C. Woolsey came to Utah in the Brigham Young Company of 1848, traveling with John D. Lee and his families. With Jacob C. Woolsey came the following:
- His wife Elizabeth Trick (1850 Utah census)
- His daughter Melinda Woolsey (by Elizabeth Trick) (1850 Utah census)
- His son William Richard Woolsey (by Elizabeth Trick) (1850 Utah census)
- His son Joseph H. Woolsey (by Catherine) [The Joseph Hyrum Woolsey listed with the 1848 B. Y. company should be changed to Joseph H. Woolsey. (1850 Utah census)
- His daughter-in-law Rachel Mitchell), wife of Joseph H. Woolsey
- His granddaughter Elizabeth Woolsey, d/o Joseph H. Woolsey and Rachel Mitchell.
- His daughter Lucinda Woolsey (by Catherine)
Jacob C. Woolsey’s daughter Emeline Woolsey (Von, Lee) could have come to Utah with her father, but I’ll take that up at a later time.