James Otis Bigelow (1824-1886)
Son of Isaac and Angeline Bigelow – Husband to Elizabeth Cazier
I was born in the town of Junius, Seneca County, New York, June 14,1824. My grandfather’s name was John Bigelow. His forefathers came from England.
My father moved from Bangor, Franklin County, New York to Seneca County 1817. He worked in the potash business. In the fall of 1830 my father moved to Macon County, Illinois where he remained one year tending grist mill. In the Spring of 1831 my sister, Ellen, was married to Dorus Stevens. In the Fall of the same year my father moved to Sagamon
County, Illinois and tended Twist’s grist mill where he remained until the death of my mother. She died in the Winter of 1832-33. In the following Spring my father broke up housekeeping.
My father was a kind, generous and industrious man. He was moral but made no profession of religion until in his later years when he became a Methodist. My mother was a pious and goodly woman according to the light she had. She was a Presbyterian, uniting with them in early in her life. She taught her children to pray and live a strictly moral life. Not having the family record I will have to omit giving the date of birth. My father’s family consisted of eight children, namely: Ellen Augusta, Nancy Maria, George Washington, James, Otis Ware, Martha Spring, James Otis, and Catherine Ann.
After my father broke up housekeeping, my youngest sister and I went to live with my sister, Ellen. I Lived with her till after her death. She died in the winter 1834. My sister, Nancy, was married December 8, 1834, to Andrew Love. After the death of my sister, Ellen, my sister Catherine and I went to live with my sister, Nancy, in Decatur, Macon County. My brother-in- law carried blacksmithing. In the Fall of 1837 he moved to Okaw in Macon County (afterwards was formed into Moultrie County). Here I helped to carry on farming.
In 1835-36 my father, brother, and sister, Martha, George, and Martha, moved to Wisconsin. They worked in the lead mines. Here my father died. After the death of my father my sister, Martha, was married to Henry Schellenger. In the summer of 1849 hired out to Charles Emerson for eight dollars per month. Worked one month. In August hired to McDonalds and Fudge to help drive a heard of cattle to Wisconsin. Arrived the last of September. After remaining a short time hired to my brother-in-law, H. Schellenger, for one month; lived with my brother-in-law during the winter. The following Summer farmed with H. Schellenger; received for my share, one-third of the crop.
In the Spring of 1845 my sister, Catherine Ann, was married to Wm. H. Souther. In November, 1845, I returned to Okaw, Moutrie County. Stayed a short time with my sister, Catherine. Here I met Andrew Love. Previous to this he had moved to Saharp. On his return home I accompanied him; arrived a few days before Christmas. Here I went to school a few weeks.
While going to school, word came from Nauvoo soliciting young men to go West as Pioneers. I responded to the call. I made ready to go West; A. Love and Wm. Cazier fitted up a team for the Pioneers; Benjamin Cazier and myself took the team and went to Nauvoo. Stayed two days. Crossed the Mississippi River 8th of February, 1846. Moved out to Sugar Creek; stayed two or three weeks; the weather was cold and disagreeable. Here I saw most of the Twelve Apostles for the first time.
From here the Pioneers started for the West. Made rails and bridges, opened new roads, etc., traveled on the headwaters of Grand River, the companies stopped, made a farm, established a stopping place called Mount Pisga. Here I helped to make rails and open a new farm. Here my sister and brother-in-law, A. Love, arrived. The last of June, started for Council Bluffs. Arrived the first of July on the ridge East of Mosquite Creek.
Here the United States Government made a requisition for a Battalion of Soldiers from the Mormons. The call was responded to, a battalion was furnished, mustered into service and started for the Mexican War by the way of Fort Leavenworth.
On July 26th, 1946 baptized by Andrew Love, confirmed the same time by Samuel Gates. August 2nd went to Father John Smith’s while camped on the ridge East of Mosquite Creek and got my Patriarchal Blessing. Brother G. A. Smith acted as scribe. August 31st moved to Highland Grove. Helped the brethren to cut hay, build cabins and prepare for wintering.
November 12th started for St. Louis with Benjamin Cazier. Walked to Boonsville on the Missouri River, got aboard the Steamer, Amealia, worked as fireman. Run on the river until May, 1847, returning home in June. Ordained into the Elders Quorum on June 20, 1847, by Henry W. Miller. January 15, 1848, went to Miller’s Hollow, now Bluff City, to a Jubilee. He gave some good instructions in regard to dancing.
May 7, 1848 I was married to Miss Elizabeth Cazier. Elder Orson Hyde married us. On November 20th moved to St. Joseph, Missouri. Orson Henry was born on January 29, 1849. In the Spring hauled provisions and goods for Captain Whitehead to the Pottawattamie Indians. Cazier, Gordon Muir and myself hauled together. October 20th moved to McDonald’s Steam Mill; worked at the mill, attended the engine until Spring of 1851. April 20th started for the Great Salt Lake City via Council Buffs. Crossed the Missouri River the first of June. Organized a company of fifty. On the 20th of June, started for the mountains in Brother Morris Phelps’ Company. Brought Sister Dunn, the widow of Lorin Dunn, and two children, She lost her youngest child, Lorin.
Arrived in Great Salt Lake City, September 27th, 1851; moved to Provo City. James Otis Junior was born on December 18, 1851. Moved to Willow Creek, Juab Country, February 1852, also Brother Love and John A. Wolff. William Orlando born January, 1853. Built houses, farmed, etc. April 1, 1853 went to Conference in Great Salt Lake City. Saw the corner stones of the temple laid. July 18th moved to Nephi City, Juab County, Utah Territory. Isaac Bigelow born July 12, 1855, Nephi City. May 18, 1857, I was ordained into the Forty-ninth Quorum of Seventies by George Kindall, President, John A. Wolff. Darwin born January 29, 1858, Nephi City, Juab County, Utah Territory.
In the year of 1861 he moved to Millville, Cache County. There he bought a lot containing one acre located just above the big ditch. He also bought another piece of land West of town, which was called hay land. On the lot he built a small 2-room house, which they lived in. In 1864-65 he was appointed watermaster.
On March 7, 1868 he received word he had been appointed Postmaster of Millville. On May 4, 1868 he received the office. He then built a small room called a lean-to on the house for the office. He also kept a small grocery store. He kept a few items of dairy goods. He took butter, eggs, or grain to help the people. These things he would take to Ogden in exchange for more groceries.
He used a horse and buggy to make these trips as it took several days to make the trip. Grandmother took care of the office and the store while he was away. Grandfather had the Post Office for nineteen years. During that time, he bought land close to the mountain East of town, where he made a farm. He raised hay, grain, and had a fruit orchard.
Grandfather was really a pioneer, he loved to go into the mountains and get timber, which he made into furniture for the family use.
Grandmother or one of the family walked to town each day and took care of the Post Office in his absence. The store was discontinued in the Spring of 1886.
His son, George Bigelow, then being a married man had been living in the home taking care of the Post Office until another man was put in his place.
In the Spring of 1886, he went into the canyon for wood and had an accident. The reach which couples the back and front of the wagon together broke and grandfather was thrown from the wagon, causing him to break a leg. He was brought home and a Dr. Snow from Logan, came and set the leg. Six weeks later the leg was taken off below the knee. He still lived for several weeks, then died on October 20, 1886. He was buried in Millville October 22, 1886.