Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The First Mormon in our Family's History. John Closson Annis (Mattson - Pierce - McCrillis)

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
The fog and smog have returned to Utah Valley while the skies continue to hoard snow. Our ski resorts are making snow to stay in business. I read South Dakota is in a similar situation. Last winter we were white with snow at this time of year. I don't care much for the white stuff (a sediment arising from a steep hip breaker of a driveway. My car is scuttled if it isn't shoveled and that's where the problem lies) but like it or not, snow is a must to fill the reservoirs.

Today we learn about Abigail Annis, our 5 Great Grandmother and her nephew John Closson Annis.

Our family tree had this line dead end with Great Grandmother Abigail. Ancestry.com and the LDS site also end with Abigail. I don't take dead ends lightly and spent several hours on Sunday searching for clues concerning the linage of Abigail.

Here is what I learned.
  • The family tree's listed show Abigail as born in Orange Ct. Vermont in 1764.
  • The 1790 US Census lists the following as living in Orange County, Vermont.

1790 Census of Orange County, Vermont
Ezra Annes.
Jacob Annis
Jesse Annis. Fairley
John Annis. Thetford

Ezra Annis died in 1818 in Thetford Orange County, Vermont. He had brothers named Jacob, Jesse and John. His brother John died in 1778, thus too early for the 1790 Census. Ezra had sons named Jacob and John and a daughter named Abigail born in 1771. It is this Abigail whom I believe is our 5th Great Grandmother. There is a discrepancy of seven years on the birth between the two records, but how many Annis families would live in tiny Thetford Vermont in late 1700's, and wouldn't they all be related?

Thus from the 1790 Census we see that the Annis families living in Orange County Vermont are all siblings. Our Abigail fits right into this family. This is our Annis family.

Relationship Chart
Cormac Annis (1638 - 1717) born in Enniskillen, Fermanagh Co. Ulster Province, Ireland. married Sarah Chase (1647 - 1726)
Abraham Annis (1668 - 1751) married Hannah Badger (1673 - 1724)
John Annis (1700 - 1771) married Abigail Rolfe (1706 - 1770)
side note. John and Abigail also had a daughter named Abigail morn in 1741. Abigail was a common name in this family.
Ezra Annis (1726 - 1818) and Married Sarah Hagget Both died in Thetford, Vermont.
Their daughter Abigail was born in 1771. This Abigail I believe is our Abigail Annis who married Judah Swift. Our Abigail Annis born 1764 (or 1771) inThetford,VT. married Judah Swift (1756)

Abigail Annis Married Judah Swift
Phineas Swift (1786 - 1854)
Almira Swift (1809 - 1903)
Isabella Denora McCrillis
Vesta Althea Dennis (1892 - 1978)
Voilet Mae Pierce (1918 - 1987) married Walter Mattson
Luella, Linda, John and Marvin

Our 5 Great Grandmother Abigail's brother John Annis (1764- 1839) had a son named John Closson Annis (1785 - 1864). John was also born in Thetford Vermont. John Closson Annis is our 1st cousin 6 times removed.

This is his story taken from the Annis Family History Facebook Page.

JOHN CLOSSON ANNIS was born May 8, 1785 at Thetford, Vermont; died circa 1846; married June 16, 1806, Hannah Crawford at Thetford, Vermont.

John was named for his maternal grandfather who died during the Revolution on an ill fated expedition against the British in Canada. He was married about the same time that his parents and younger brother migrated to western New York state, and did not accompany them at that time. He later traveled west, spending time at Batavia, New York, and than later worked as a boat builder at Cincinnati, Ohio. At some time he became a Mormon preacher and was at Nauvoo, Illinois during the settling of the religious community there during the 1840's. There may have been other children. His sons, Hamlet and James stayed in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. There is some conflict in the Latter Day Saints records as to the year of his death, and they have it recorded as June 16, 1849.

He also served with Mahon's regiment in western NY during the war of 1812. After the war, John C. continued his trek westward and is found on the 1820 census record in Mason Va. (now West Virginia) where his children James, Hannah Marie, and Elizabeth were born. John next appears in the 1829 Cincinnati Directory and the 1830 Ohio census. He purchased land in Cincinnati which he sold in 1833. The next chronological record is out of sequence and requires explanation:

The July 7, 1838 minutes of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints recorded in the Far West Record, indicates that John C. Annis received a blessing and was advanced to the office of a seventy for coming up to meet the camp in 1834. The camp referees to Zions Camp. Zion's Camp was a group of Mormon men from Kirkland Ohio led by the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith to relieve the suffering of the "saints" in western Missouri who were embroiled in mob violence and were being severely persecuted. To this day in the Mormon church, it is well know that the men of Zions Camp provided the leadership of the church for the next fifty years. It might be assumed that his participation in Zion's Camp gave John C. Annis a stature in the church as well as the community of Nauvoo that he might not otherwise held. He is mentioned several times in Joseph Smith's History of the Church and it might be significant that although John C. was born some 18 years earlier, the location of their birthplaces is less than eighteen miles apart. According to John C. Annis' appeal to the U.S. Congress for redress of grievances he and his family were driven by Missouri mobs from Jackson, Caldwell, Clay, and Lafayette counties between 1834 to 1839. When the Mormons were finally driven from the state in consequence to governor Lilburn Bogg's extermination order which decreed the all Mormons leave the state of Missouri or be killed, John C. Annis and his family joined the journey east to Quicey Illinois and eventually to Commerce City which became Nauvoo. The forced exodus during the winter of 1838-1839 Is a low point in Mormon and U S history, but it gave the Mormons experience in moving their people on short notice over long distances under the worst of conditions. John C. lived in Nauvoo Ill until 1846 when the Mormons in the words of Brigham Young "left because they were obliged to do so." There are numerous records from the Nauvoo period which document John C. Annis' activities. He built a saw mill on the Mississippi river at the intersection of Water and Parley Sts. the site of which is now under water occasioned by the construction of the Keokuk dam. He was involved in a court case over the logs from the mill hindering traffic and commerce and he voluntarily dismantled the mill.

Mormon Temple at Nauvoo.
Later destroyed by fire and Tornado

He purchased several pieces of property which he sold at a loss when he left Nauvoo. He served as a lieutenant in the Nauvoo legion and was active in the Nauvoo Masonic Lodge. Church records indicated that he was a member of the Nauvoo 4th ward. Mormon congregations are organized into units called wards. He was advanced to the office of a high priest is 1843, received the endowments in the Nauvoo temple which he undoubtedly helped build and received a Patriarchal blessing under the hand of John Smith in 1846. John's movement across Iowa can be roughly traced by the dated sale of his Nauvoo property.

The marriage of his daughter Hannah Marie to Cyrus Benedict Chase in Mason, Cerro Gordo county Iowa. This a little far north of the main Mormon migration route and whether he was there for the marriage has not been determined. It is know that he was with the main body of the church on March 13, 1847 when he sign a document held by the Mormon church which list his wife Hannah and their children Sabrina, William, John, Hamlet, Harvey, Nancy, James, Hannah, and Elizabeth. This document also asserts that William Taylor born to John and Susan Taylor June 12, 1832 in Pennsylvania was adopted by John C. Annis. Also included in this document is the name of Dolly Annis b. June 10, 1800 in Donnell, Caledonia Vt. The names of Dolly's parents and Dolly's children are also listed. Further investigation reveals her to be the former Mrs. Rueben Daniels of Kirkland Ohio. She was born Dolly Green in the place and on the date cited. Dolly died in either Toole or Salt Lake City in November of 1877 and was buried in a grave unmarked in 1989.

John C. Annis continued westward across Iowa and was welcomed into the Block house high priest Quorum at Potawatomee County (winter quarters) in August 1848. According to the 1850 census mortality schedule, John C. Annis died of cholera on June 12, 1849. This day is validated by Latter-day-Saint ordinance work performed on behalf of John C. Annis and his wife Hannah by Dolly Green Annis and Asa Davis in the endowment house of Salt Lake City in 1865

Joseph Smith

Also of note is the following:

To whom it may concern:--

"This is to certify that William E. McLellin commanded an Anti-Mormon company, in Missouri, who (with their faces blackened) cooperated with the other mob troops, to deprive the Mormons of their possessions, and drive them from the state. McLellin said, "I wish to God that I could see Joe Smith brought into the public square, in Far West and BEHEADED, for if the G-d__d rascal is taken to Liberty he will escape!"

At this time Joseph, Sidney, Hyrum, and the other prisoners were in a waggon, and fourteen guns were presented to their breasts, but the general slaughter was prevented by the interference of John C. Annis. McLellin was decorated with a variety of different coloured ribbons upon his hat, shoulders, and arms, as badges of distinction. M. AVERY.

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