(The following was copied from THE WINEGAR TREE, a Winegar family newsletter edited by Arthur Goold of Northfield, MN)

The Family of Samuel Winegar and Susanna Thomas

A paper presented by Helen Beazer Email: hmsb@earthlink.net

At the 1984 meeting in Salt Lake City

Samuel Winegar was born 11 January 1747 in Sharon, Connecticut, the son or Garret Winegar and Catharine Snyder. He married Susanna Thomas 13 September 1773 in Amenia, New York, just over the border from Sharon. At an early age he acquired the mill owned by his father and together with his brother Jacob they worked it. The house that he built for himself, and lived in for a great many years, stood about twenty rods north of the old dam. Before 1786 he sold the land to James Reese and moved to the Royal Grants to get a piece of that land. This was in what was later Fairfield, Herkimer County, N.Y. This family had seven children: Gideon, Susan, Asenath, Jeremiah, Samuel Thomas, Isaac, and Mary.

Their son, Samuel Thomas Winegar (an ancestor to many here from this area), was born 7 December 1782 in Amenia, N.Y. Before he was four years old he moved with his parents to Herkimer County.

About this same time, another couple, John Cummings and Sarah Sibley by name, sold their farm in Willington, Connecticut and they look up a grant of land on the Royal Grant in Herkimer County. They had nine children: Joseph, Sarah, Rhoda, Ann, Elizabeth, Margaret, Susanna, Ira, and Clarissa.

Both the Winegars and the Cummings raised their families in the same area in Herkimer County. On 15 February 1807 Samuel Thomas Winegar married Rhoda Cummings. Many records state this marriage took place in Germantown, Columbia County, N.Y. Though not yet proven, I believe this should be German Flats in Herkimer County. Before 1818 Samuel Thomas moved his family to Homer, Cortland County, N.Y., where his daughter (and my ancestress) Almira was born. After the birth of Almira, the family moved to Onondaga County and in 1825 they moved to Cayuga. After 1830 they had moved back to Onondaga. They had eight children: Sarah, Samuel C., Alvin, Almira, John, George, Susan And, Stephen Samuel.

In 1832 while living in Erie County, Pennsylvania, Samuel Thomas and his family were contacted by the missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, also known, also known as the Mormon Church. After bearing the missionaries' teachings they asked to be baptized. Alvin was baptized 15 January 1833 in a place called Turkey Creek in Springfield, Pennsylvania, by Elder Lincoln Haskins. Springfield was just a short distance from Kirtland, Ohio, then the headquarters of the church. Rhoda was baptized 20 January and the following day Samuel Thomas, Almira (age 14} and John (age 12) were baptized by Elder John F. Boyton. These events were a turning point in their lives in many ways. Where they went and what happened to them from then on had a great deal to do with their faith in the Mormon Church.

They soon joined other members of the church in Far West, Missouri. While there in 1835 Samuel Thomas, Alvin, and a daughter of Samuel Thomas (either Almira who would have been 17 or Sarah who would have been 28} were called by Joseph Smith to go with a group of Saints to Missouri. This was called Zions Camp. Their purpose was to relieve the sufferings of members of the church there. They traveled along, camping al various places along the way, visiting with many families. They also were into Indiana. Perhaps this is where they met the families of Alvin's, Sarah's, and Susan Ann's spouses, who all came from that area. While still in Far West, Almira married William Stoker in October 1838. Probably in this same area Alvin married Mary Judd 29 August 1837.

When the church moved on to Nauvoo, Illinois, the Winegars and the Stokers went with them. William and Almira settled on a small farm about six miles out of Nauvoo. At that time the whole area was one big swamp, but with a great deal of effort by all, it became one of the most beautiful cities in the United Slates. Samuel Thomas and his sons helped cut stones for the temple and later the baptismal four. During this time the oldest daughter, Sarah Winegar married John Smith about 1840 and daughter Susan married David George Stidham about the same time. Both men were from Indiana and both were widowers with young children.

This was a time of great turmoil for the Mormon Church and its people and because of their relationship with the church, the Winegars suffered too.

Alvin Winegar's wife, Mary, would help Joseph Smith's wife in her home. She was there one of the times the mob came for Joseph, but he was gone. One of the guns used to guard Joseph and his brother Hyrum belonged to Samuel Thomas' family. It had been in the family for two generations. It was probably made by the grandfather who did blacksmith work and made small firearms.

When Joseph Smith was killed in Carthage, Almira witnessed the bringing of his and his brother Hyrum's body to Nauvoo.

In the winter of 1846-47 the church was forced to leave Nauvoo. The Winegars went with the main body of the church to Winter Quarters, or Mr. Pisque as it was later called. It was located in eastern Iowa. Some of the family moved on right away while others remained there for some time.

That next summer after spending a short time in Pottawattamie County. Iowa. David George Stidham took Susan Winegar and their family in one of the first companies heading for Utah. They arrived in this valley 25 September 1847. He was said to be a bold and fearless man. He loved exploring new places and new country and loved an adventurous life. In Utah, he soon became dissatisfied with the land and the church. And the next year he and two other families (we haven't as yet learned their names) left to return to Iowa, He first located in Monroe County where he stayed for two years and then went hack to Pottawattamie County where he and his wife spent the rest of their lives. He had two children by the previous marriage and ten children by Susan Ann. Susan died 15 January 1890 and David 18 August 1879. Both are buried in Wheeler Grove.

Samuel Thomas' son-in-law, John Smith, and wife Sarah stayed in Winter Quarters until April of 1847 when their family joined their son Stephen who was already in Pottawattamie County. There the Smiths spent the rest of their lives. John built the first saw mill in the township in 1853 on Farm Creek. The LDS Church was the first religion organized in Pottawattamie County. John was one of the first branch presidents: he died 25 February 1870 in Wheeler Grove Township and Sarah died 15 November 1880. Both are buried in the LDS Cemetery. John had seven children by his first marriage and six with Sarah Winegar.

John Winegar married Elizabeth Smith, a daughter of the above John by his first wife. He and his family never left Pottawattamie County. He was a farmer and spent his life doing that. He remained active in the Mormon Church. He and Elizabeth had nine children.

My William Stoker and Almira Winegar were m Pottawattamie County by 1849 when his name appears on a petition for a post office along with the signature of Samuel Thomas Winegar. In June of 1852 they started for Utah. Alvin Winegar's family started about the same time but they were in different companies. They both arrived in the Salt Lake Valley late that year. Alvin stayed in Salt Lake City, building an adobe home in what was the 5th ward, later moving to the 16th ward. He later married Ann Margaret Petterson. He and Mary had nine children. Alvin died 12 January 1874 and Mary 21 April 1886. They are both buried in Salt Lake City. Most of the Winegars across the Wasatch Front descend from this family. William and Almira Stoker went to Bountiful to visit his brother John and then headed south settling in Spanish Fork. William also married Christina Emily Madsen 27 Oct 1873. He and Almira had nine children and he and Emily had five. William died 19 May 1892 and Almira died 6 November 1884. Both are buried in Spanish Fork.

The baby of the family, Stephen Samuel, married Lois Smith 18 August 1850. probably near Salt Lake City. His wife as a girl spent a great deal of time with Joseph Smith's family. In later years she told how Joseph would take her for a ride on his horse, Joe Duncan, riding behind him through the streets of Nauvoo. When Joseph was assassinated Lois lived in Brigham Young's home. After coming to Utah she often worked in his home. We don't know when Stephen came to Utah but it must have been earlier, perhaps even with the Stidham family. They first lived in Salt Lake City, later moving to Randolph and then later to Egin, Idaho. They had eight children. Stephen died 8 February 1903 and Lois died 3 September 1916. Both are buried in Egin.

This is our family. Though never meeting them in this life, I hold them very dear.


I would appreciate hearing from anyone with additional information:

Helen Beazer - Email: hmsb@earthlink.net


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