Saturday, December 1, 2012

Chauncey West - Bishop to Anna Hegetschweiler

I am indebted to Chauncey's grandson Franklin West as the following information was taken almost exclusively from selected portions of his published booklet, "Chauncey West Pioneer - Churchman" with some paraphrasing and a few added comments by me.

Shortly after Chauncey returned to his home in Salt Lake from his mission, he and his wife Mary with their two young sons Chauncey Jr, and Joseph moved to Ogden. The West family lived in Bingham's Fort the winter of 1855. In the spring, he obtained almost the entire block between 23rd and 24th Street and Main Street, now Washington, and Grant in what became the center of the business district of Ogden. (That area is currently part of the revitalization of downtown Ogden and called "The Junction.")

He built his home and a large barn on Main Street and planted almost the entire block into an orchard and a vegetable garden. At the same time he purchased 160 acres of land in Harrisville and built a small canal out of the Ogden River to irrigate it.

During this time, cattle were taken up through North Ogden Canyon to the Ogden Valley in the spring and then taken back in the fall. During the winter Chauncey kept his cattle on his ranch in Harrisville. Shortly after beginning to raise cattle, he started a meat business and established a market on his property.

Chauncey began a sizeable lumber business in Wheeler Canyon where he built a road and established a mill driven by water power from Wheeler Creek. He built and operated a tannery and used the leather in making boots, shoes, harnesses and saddles. He also built a wagon and blacksmith shop on the present site of the Methodist Church and had his meat market on the same street. Near the center of the block on 24th Street, he established a livery stable. Across the street on the corner of Main and 24th Street, he built and operated a hotel called the Ogden House. His barn was large enough that it was used as a social center for operas, plays, and dancing parties before ward houses were built.

Chauncey was called to be Bishop of the Third Ward almost as soon as he settled in Ogden. Within a short time he was appointed as Presiding Bishop of Weber County which office he held for the rest of his life. He was responsible for the collection and management of the tithing of all of the wards of Weber County. Keep in mind that tithing in those days was almost all "in kind," such as produce, animals, and other home produced commodities. The Bishop had to keep an accurate record of what was given, and give proper credit where it belonged and then to convert these articles into cash. He also had to know the needs of those in distress and to wisely help them get on their feet or provide them with the necessities of life from the storehouse. For at least eight years before regular mercantile stores were established, the tithing office was the only means of exchange for commodities.

His great energy and business ability was used to provide employment for the many pioneers moving into the area from all over the world. He was closely associated with Lorin Farr who was the Stake President. As noted by Franklin West's, "These two fine men worked together most harmoniously and beautifully, not only in religious matters, but they were closely associated in some business ventures, particularly in the construction of the railroad."

More about that very important time in the history of our country and in the life of Chauncey West in next week's episode


Nothing More Heroic

The title of this blog is the first part of the title to a book by R. Lanier Britsch, publised by Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, Utah, Copyright 1999. The rest of the title is "The Compelling Story of the First Latter-Day Saint Missionaries in India. The author includes a quote by Elder B.H. Roberts, "There is nothing more heroic in our Church annals than the labors and sufferings of these brethren of the mission to India." Chauncey West was called to be the leader of this group. A group of 13 Mormon missionaries boarded the sailing vessel Monsoon January 27, 1853.

The ship dropped anchor off Sagar Island, about 120 miles south of Calcutta on April 24th. The 2 years and 8 months on this mission were filled with severe trials and on his return on July 15, 1855, he wrote: "I cannot say that we have done any great things during our mission, but this much I can say, we have done the best that we knew how. I feel that we can say in truth that we have kept br. Amasa Lyman's counsel to the missionaries as we were on our way out; he said, 'if you can do no more, mind and save one each, this is yourselves.' I feel grateful to my Father in Heaven that my life has been spared to mingle again with the saints in these peaceful valleys, and I now report myself on hand for duty whenever the servants of God call, for the Priesthood is my law."

For the full story I highly recommend the book.

I would like to hear from you. Please let all of your relatives know of this project. My email address is:


Chauncey explores

Monument Progress Report Please inform all of your family members the address of this blog: If you agree that the monument should be replaced, please send in a contribution to the fund either by check payable to Chauncey W. West Monument Fund mailed directly to the America First Credit Union, P.O. Box 9199, Ogden, UT 84409-0199 or online by credit card on PayPal to my email address which is programmed to automatically go into the Chauncey W. West Monument Fund at the credit union. I will post the account statement monthly. This is an invitation to all of Chauncey's descendants to participate if they wish to do so. The hope is that this project will also bring his descendants together. I look forward to meeting all of them I can find. We have a great heritage.

The photograph of the monument clearly shows its deteriorated condition. This is the only marker for all of the four adults and thirteen children of Chauncey's and four of his sister Adelia's children that are buried in the C.W. West family plot.

Now for the next exciting episode in the life of Chauncey Walker West, Explorer, Pioneer, Father

Chauncey and Mary had a new baby with them when they arrived in the Salt Lake Valley that had been born on the journey near what is now Green River, Wyoming, besides his two brothers and sister. Their first baby, Margaret, died shortly after they arrived in the Salt Lake Valley.

He built a sturdy log and adobe cabin within what is now called "Pioneer Square" and began with the other men to divert the stream "City Creek" on the dry ground, plow and plant crops to provide their food for the coming winter.

In August of 1849, Mary gave birth to their first son who they named Chauncey Walker, Jr. In December of 1849, Brigham Young organized an exploring party to scout out the area south of Salt Lake to find suitable locations where settlements could be made. Parley P. Pratt was selected to head this group made up of fifty men with their wagons and animals. Chauncey, age twenty-one at this time was selected to go with this group.

The Pratt exploring party left Provo in December and traveled south approximately along where Utah State Highway 89 is located. The winter of 1849-50 was severe, making this journey even more difficult. They traveled south as far as they could go with horses and wagons, then cut over the mountains to the west about where Parowan is located, which was then called Salt Valley. The group made camp here and Parley selected a group to go with him on south to where Santa Clara is now located. Chauncey was given supervision of the other part of the group remaining in the Parowan area. Chauncey and his group explored west of Parowan discovering some interesting Indian petroglyphs at a place called The Gap. A detailed account of this exploring group is in the book Over The Rim, by William B and Donna T. Smart.

When Parley returned to the main group in Parowan in late January, they began traveling north. Parley, realizing they did not have sufficient supplies to carry them through the winter, left the main body of the men and equipment at Fillmore and started with twenty men and animals for Provo. The snow was so deep, the weather severely cold, and their supplies so low that he decided that he and one other of the men would take the best horses and push through to Provo to get help. The man he selected to go with him was Chauncey W. West.

In Parley's journal of January 27th we read, "Our provisions being nearly exhausted, Chauncey West and myself decided to take some of the strongest animals and try to penetrate to Provo, which was still some 50 miles distant in order to send back provisions to the remainder who were to follow slowly. We started at daylight, breaking the way on foot, leading the mules in our track and sometimes riding them. We traveled all day averaging about knee deep in snow. Camped at 11 at night on Summit Creek. Extremely hungry and feet badly frozen. We built a small fire it being the coldest night we had ever experienced and after trying in vain to thaw out our frozen shoes, stockings and the bottoms of our drawers and pants we rolled ourselves in our blankets and lay trembling with cold a few hours."

"January 28th. Rose long before day, ate a few mouthfuls of the last frozen biscuit remaining, saddled up our animals and after another laborious day, living on a piece of biscuit not so large as our fist, we entered Provo at dark, raised a posse of men and animals with provisions and set back the same night."

As noted in Franklin West's biography, "Governor Young had sent out colonists to practically every site recommended by the report of the exploring expedition."

Chauncey returned home to Salt Lake where he labored to build up the community and provide for his family, now consisting of his sister Adelia, their daughter Margaret, son Chauncey junior, and possibly his younger brothers. He and Mary welcomed another baby son into their home September 1851, whom they named Joseph Alva.

Be sure to logon next week for the next exciting episode.


Monument Fund News & First Episode Life of Chauncey

The Chauncey W. West Monument Fund account at America First Credit Union now has two custodians. Norma Buchanan and Rich Brewer. Please send all of your relatives who are also descendants of Chauncey the logon for this blog: and my email address: Any of you may email me at any time if you have questions or suggestions concerning this project or information you want me to include here.

For the benefit of the younger generation who may never have heard of Chauncey West and his great achievements and as a review for his older descendants brief biographical sketches of the life of Chauncey Walker West, a most remarkable man, and each of his wives who were equally remarkable women, will be posted on this blog each Wednesday evening.

Quoting from the Ogden Junction, dated Wednesday Morning, Jan. 19, 1870 "Bishop Lester J. Herrick said at the funeral of Bishop Chauncey W. West: "……..He was truly a father to the people and a friend to the poor…." This is only one of numerous accolades and honors paid to Bishop Chauncey West at his funeral.

Many years later in the Ogden Standard newspaper article commemorating 150 years since Ogden was settled, is this: "Chauncey Walker West is considered one of Weber County’s greatest pioneers and a highly respected leader in the history of the territory.” As one of his many descendants, I am truly grateful for his life, his character, his integrity, and his faith in God and His Son Jesus Christ. His contributions to building the Kingdom of God on earth, a great family, and the community in which I was born and raised and continue to reside has blessed my life immeasureably.

Chauncey was born in Pennsylvania February 6, 1827 to Alva and Sally Benedict West. His parents and their family responded to the message of Mormon missionaries and were baptized members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in about 1842.

In 1844 the family moved to Nauvoo, Illinois where Chauncey met Mary Hoagland, a lovely daughter of Abraham and Mary Quick Hoagland. They were married in May 1846 when Chauncey was nineteen and Mary seventeen.

Due to intense persecution by neighboring communities, the saints, under the direction of Brigham Young moved almost the entire population of the then largest city in Illinois, about 20,000 people, across the Mississippi River and out of the United States in early spring 1846. Their original plan was to travel to the Rocky Mountains before winter , but the crossing of Iowa Territory took four months due to unusually heavy rains that year. When they arrived at the Missouri River they decided to spend the winter. Many temporary communities were built on the Iowa side of the river, but about 500 log cabins were constructed on the west side and was called Winter Quarters.

Chauncey, with his young wife, his parents and brothers and sisters left Nauvoo in late May 1846 and traveled by wagon to Winter Quarters. Chauncey’s father, mother and elder brother Joseph died at Winter Quarters and are buried in the Winter Quarters cemetery. In the spring of 1847 Chauncey and his wife Mary brought his two younger brothers, Israel age 13, Alvin age 11 and sister Adelia, 5 across the plains to Utah arriving in the Salt Lake Valley September 1847. They built a small cabin and stayed in Salt Lake about two years. Life in the valley at that time was very hard. Take time to see the pioneer cabin across the street from Temple Square or the Miles Goodyear cabin near the Daughters of Pioneers Museum at 2150 Grant and imagine what it would be like for the five members of this family to live in one.

Logon again next week - You won't want to miss the next exciting episode


Next Step

I think I know how to include a photo so will try photo of Chauncey West gravesite monument in next post.

Also, there is bank account at America First Credit Union titled Chauncey W. West Monument Fund. I opened the account as custodian. In process of finding two other descendants to be custodians. Three signatures will be required for any withdrawal of funds.

I'm still working on how to have the PayPal donations credited directly to the account. Will post that info ASAP.

Personal checks may also be sent directly to America First Credit Union payable to the Chauncey W. West Monument Fund, Account #9033994. Your cancelled check will be your receipt. I will post the monthly AFCU statement here.

The goal is to have the new monument installed by end of May 2009. Propose we have an appropriate dedication service at or on Memorial Day. To achieve that goal, we must have at least $6,000.00 in the account by the end of 2008 in order for the monument company to order the material and get it made.

Your comments and/or suggestions are welcome.