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Almira Mehitable Meacham Palmer Whiting Packard - Historical Information Compiled by Lovell Killpack

 

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ALMIRA MEHITABLE MEACHAM PALMER

 

ALMIRA MEHITABLE MEACHAM AND HER FAMILY
    Compiled by Lovell Killpack 1999

In 1839, driven from Caldwell County, Missouri to Hancock County, Illinois, the three families, sixteen in number, Cox, Whiting and Morley, pitched their tents in the backwoods where they lived until log cabins could be built.

On April 15th 1839, Joseph and Hyrum Smith and their three companions had been set free from prison.  The governor of Missouri could no longer continue to hold his captives illegally.  He had the Smiths set free and tried to make it appear that the Smiths had escaped.  With the two horses supplied the Smiths, the five men changing rides, made their way unmolested to Quincy, Illinois in nine days, Joseph and Hyrum there found their families.  They were in poverty.  The exiled saints, scattered everywhere, were waiting the direction of their leader.

Two days later after the prophet’s arrival in Illinois, the members of the Twelve who had been commanded by revelation to take their leave from the temple lot at Far West, Missouri on April 26th, met as they had been commanded.  The enemies of the Latter-day Saints had said that they would not allow the revelation to come to pass, but on the appointed day, the cornerstone of the temple at Far West was laid....

This is how Clare B. Christensen, in 1979 described conditions in the Church from the view-point of those family members at the Morley Settlement in his Chapter 6 of  “Before and After Mt. Pisgah”.

Continuing from his page 106, “Because Morley Settlement was a half way place between Nauvoo and Quincy, the people of the settlement often had distinguished guests.

The Prophet Joseph was very busy writing at this time.  Besides translating the Book of Abraham, he was keeping voluminous history of happening events.  He employed three scribes full time....

 ....(p.107)  The year of 1844 was an eventful one.  It was an election year in the United States.  The question of slavery was a political issue as was the annexation of Texas.  Joseph Smith announced his candidacy....   On April 21st, Apostles Brigham Young and Wilford Woodruff arrived in Lima Stake and spent the night at the home of Isaac Morley.  On Sunday both Apostles spoke to the saints in conference.  After the meeting, 26 elders volunteered themselves for service in the east to preach the gospel and speak for the election of Joseph Smith as president of the United States. Edwin Whiting was called to go to Pennsylvania....

....(p.113)   Plural marriage was introduced by the prophet Joseph Smith
and had been discussed in public and private in the Morley Settlement prior to 1844.  Cordelia Morley stated that in the year 1844, Joseph Smith had asked for her hand in marriage....

At this time Heber C. Kimball made several visits to the Settlement to see Thersa.  The first plural marriage within that Settlement took place on 3 January 1845 between Edwin Whiting and Almira Mehitable Meacham.  They were married in Nauvoo....

In February, the persecutions from the mob became worse.  On the 14th, Isaac Morley hurried to Nauvoo with word to Brigham Young that five brethren at the Settlement had been arrested on false charges.

....(p.112) The story of the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum Smith was recorded in great detail...”

Almira Mehitable Meacham was the fourth child of eleven, born on 13 May 1824 at Hopkinton, St. Lawrence, New York, to Stephen Peabody Meacham and Dorothy Maria “Dolly” Ransom.  Father Stephen was born 12 March 1797, at Fletcher, Franklin, Vermont, being 8 years older than the Prophet Joseph Smith.  Mother Dolly was born 26 August 1801 at Rochester, Rutland, Vermont.

During the birth of their children, until 1837 they lived at Hopkinton, St. Lawrence, New York.  About 1837 or 1838 they were on their way toward Nauvoo, living for a period of time at Springfield, Hancock, Illinois.

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Above: Photo of Almira M. Meacham Palmer Whiting

Andrew Waren Palmer (Almira’s First Husband)

At the age of 15, Almira married Andrew Warren Palmer, who had also been born at Hopkinton, St. Lawrence, New York.  They were married at Springfield, Illinois about 1839.  They gave birth to two children, Almond Babbit Palmer on 22 Feb 1841 at Springfield and Warren Palmer about 1842.  This second child died the following year.   Almon Babbit Palmer lived and died at Nephi, Utah in 1915.  Almira’s husband Warren also died the same year as their child, in 1843.

From page 125 of ”Before and After Mt. Pisgah”,  ... “The Meacham family were converts to the Mormon Church.  In their westward migration, they stopped for a time at Springfield, Illinois, where at the age of 15 years, Almira married Andrew Warren Palmer.  To that marriage were born two sons, Almon Babbitt Palmer and second, Warren Palmer, who died in infancy.  Soon after the baby’s death, Andrew Palmer died.  Two years after that, Almira, the 20 year old widow with a four year old son, married Edwin Whiting.  (Edwin was in his 36th year).”

Almira's Marriage to Edwin Whiting

As was stated above,  “The first plural marriage from within that Settlement took place on 3 January 1845 between Edwin Whiting and Almira Mehitable Meacham.  They were married in Nauvoo.”     

The next day after her attendance at the temple, to be sealed to Edwin Whiting (27 January 1846), Almira Mehitable Meacham Whiting bore him a son.  They named the baby Edward Lucian Whiting.”

Edwin and Almira had seven children: Edward Lucian Whiting born 28 January 1846 at Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois who later married Martha Elizabeth Alleman and died at LaGrande, Union, Oregon 31 December 1926;    Ellen Emeret Whiting born 1 September 1847 at Nauvoo and married Ed Deal;    Catherine Emeline Whiting born 1 May 1849 at Mt. Pisgah, Union, Iowa and married James Cornelius Braslin;    Cornelia Dolly Whiting born 11 June 1851 at Manti, Sanpete, Utah and married Lewis Rosalvo Perry and died at LaGrande, Union, Oregon 15 October 1933;    Elisha Franklin Whiting born 27 December 1853 at Manti and died 15 February 1914;    Edwin Lafayette Henry Whiting born 30 July 1857 at Manti and married Mary Armstrong.  She died at Los Angeles, California 29 May 1943;   Sylvia Almira Whiting born 4 December 1860 at Manti, Utah, married Nathan Henry Barton.  She died 20 October 1927 at Healdsburg, Sonoma, California.

After their seventh child was born in 1860, times became very difficult for Almira.  Consideration must be given to the extreme pressure from the Federal Government against polygamy with the imprisonment in many cases and the enforced abandonment of families, left to fend for themselves in providing for an existence.  

Some went northward to Canada and some into Mexico, in order to keep from abandoning their families.  By this time Edwin Whiting was in his fifties.  Almira’s oldest child was but 14 years old by that time and her others were mostly daughters.  She must have had a very difficult time.  Mary Elizabeth Cox left with her older sons for Arizona, with deepest sadness in parting... with Edwin=s sad permission.  Her sons were able to care for her there in Northern Arizona.  Mary Elizabeth’s son Charles went into Colonia Diaz, Chihuahua, Mexico in order to keep his families.

Quoting from Clare B. Christensen again beginning in chapter 24: “The Whiting family had had a continuous struggle at Manti, Utah.  There had been the pioneering, the problems with the Indians, and crops destroyed by the grasshoppers.  Edwin had been away for two years on a mission, and after he returned, he had taken two more wives to support.  

Elizabeth’s children were old and of greater help.  Three of them were married and she left them behind when she moved to Springville.  Of the children, only Oscar Newell, 13, Louisa Melitia, 11 and Caroline, 7 moved to Springville.  Almira must have had a harder time.  She had more children to feed and care for.  It may have been at the time that Almira moved to Springville that Almon Palmer, her son by the first marriage, moved to Nephi, Utah in 1861.  Almira’s children by Edwin were then Edward Lucian, 15, Ellen Emerett, 14, Catherine Emeline, 12, Cornelia Dolly, 11, Elisha Franklin, 7, Edwin Lafayette, 4 and Sylvia Almira only months old.  F. Walter Cox had given help to his sister Mary in Manti.  No doubt Orville had helped her also.  She had five children when they moved to Springville.

The hardships had made Almira’s marriage to Edwin an unhappy one and soon after the move to Springville they were civilly divorced.  July 14, 1863, Almira married Henry Packard and later she had a daughter, Sophia Olive Packard.

Edwin Lucian Whiting, Almira’s oldest child by Edwin, during the early 1860's, worked on the farms and in the canyons and wherever he could find work.  His half brothers, Albert and Oscar spent much of their time herding cattle east of town.  Often the Indians would steal the boy’s lunches and the boys would have to go hungry.”