Friday, January 2, 2015

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 1: Elizabeth "Betsy" Wilde Hatch

The topic for this week is:  Fresh Start

I couldn't figure out how I would ever find a relative (that I haven't already written about) that had a "Fresh Start".  I'm sure I would have all sorts of ideas and candidates if I wasn't trying to think of one!  I decided that most people consider January 1 to be a fresh start, so I decided I would use that.   I looked for people in my family tree that were born on January 1 and settled on researching my 5x great grandmother - Elizabeth Wilde.

I have been listening to a book about Brigham Young (Brigham Young, By John Turner), and it was interesting to find people, places and events that I have been hearing about, while researching my 5x great grandmother.

Another interesting thing was that there are several very interesting stories about various members of this family which are also not verifiable.   Her story follows.

My 5x great grandmother, Elizabeth Wilde was born on January 1, 1786 in Williamsburg, Massachusetts.  Her parents were Thomas Wilde and Anna Keith Williams.    She married Jacob Hatch on April 18, 1809 in Massachusetts - probably Northampton.  The couple settled in LeRay, New York and had 11 children between the years of 1811 and 1823.

Jacob and Betsy joined the  Mormon Church in 1838 and left New York to relocate to Illinois.  The bulk of Mormon Church members were then in Nauvoo.  In 1846 Mormon Church members started leaving Nauvoo and heading west.   Winter Quarters - just over the Iowa/Nebraska border was founded as the staging ground for the Mormon Pioneers move to Utah.   By 1847 the Hatch Family had settled in Keg Creek in Pottawattamie County, Iowa, just across the river from Winter Quarters.

Pottawattamie County, Iowa
Betsy died in October 1847 while living in Keg Creek.  There are several versions of this story - and I could not find any primary sources.   In the versions I saw - the basics are the same - some sort of disturbance at the house and in the confusion Jacob accidentally shoots and kills his wife.    Here is the version from Find A Grave:

"The mob had made several attacks on the small settlement, when one night they heard a signal of attack, a large rock thrown by the enemy hitting the side of their log home. The mob quickly surrounded each home preventing the people from gaining assistance from each other. They were throwing stones through the windows, banging at the door, and tearing at the roof. The house was dark, and Jacob told his wife to get under the be to escape the flying stones, as he got jus gun to protect his wife and home. Betsy was afraid he would be killed, and while he was getting his gun, she rand into the darkness to hold the door. Jacob hearing a movement of the latch and thinking she was under the bed fired towards the door. She groaned and fell to the floor exclaiming, "Oh, Father, you've killed me!" On finding he had shot his wife, Jacob ran to his son, Isaac's house, a short distance away, crying, "Isaac, I've killed your dear old mother." Isaac and his wife, Mary Jane, accompanied him back to his cabin where they found Betsy lying on her back in a pool of blood. The bullet had passed through her shoulder, near her heart, and right wrist, through the door, then through one of the mob and into a wagon box outside. The mob finding one of their group wounded, picked him up and ran from the place."

I searched for any indication of mob activity going on in Little Keg, or other areas around Winter Quarters in October of 1847 and I was not able to find anything documented.  The town itself no longer exists.

Betsy's husband, Jacob, did eventually make his way to Utah - though when is not clear.   His headstone refers to 1849, but Mormon Church records indicate he did not arrive until sometime in 1851 or 1852.    Yet another mystery surrounding this family.

Find A Grave:
Find A Grave:
LDS History:
Family Search:

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