Joseph Henry James (1855 - 1908)


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George Holyoak Jr. was born at Solihull, Warwickshire, England, September 1, 1829, son of George and Sarah Green Holyoak.  His chances for education during his boyhood days were very limited. He was taught the gospel by the elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  He was converted and was baptized and confirmed at Warwickshire, England, August 28, 1843, by Robert Denham.  He was ordained a teacher by James Bailey, about 1848 in the Branch of Birmingham, England.  He belonged to this branch until he left England.  It was here that he learned how to tan leather and to make boots and shoes. 

George Jr. set sail for the United States on Sunday February 2, 1851, on the ship Ellen Marie in the company of 378 saints.  The company arrived in New Orleans, April 6, 1851.  Here George Jr. took a steamer up the Mississippi River and arrived in St. Louis April 16, 1851.  He stayed three months with his brother William and sister-in-law Sarah.  He was sick ten weeks with a bad form of chills and fever known as the ague.  While George Jr. was still sick, William and Sarah, went into town for supplies early in the morning so they would be back home before George's chill came on.  They had no sooner left when the chills came on so hard that he thought it would kill him.  All of a sudden a stranger came into the room, and up to the bed.  He seemed to know George and called him by name, asking what he was taking for the chills.  He told the stranger the number of grains of quinine.. and the man told him to double the grains of quinine and it would cure him.  The stranger then fixed George a double dose of the quinine, which he took and the fever left him, and he never had another chill.  He always seemed to think that this stranger was one of the three Nephites. 

From St. Louis, he moved to St. Joseph, Missouri.  It was here he met and married Eliza Moore, May 29, 1853. The following year on March 26, 1854 a son, William Henry was born. 

Leaving St. Joseph, Missouri in June of 1854 in the Captain Camp Company, the Holyoak family crossed the plains.  George Jr. drove a team of two yoke of oxen to pay the fare for his wife, child and himself.  They arrived in Salt Lake on, September 21, 1854, after a long and difficult journey across the plains having lost his mother Sarah and sister Ann enroute. 

They were in Salt Lake but a short time, when they were called to settle in Parowan, Utah, arriving there October 26, 1854.  He was ordained an Elder in 1856, by William H. Dame and acted as counselor to President Joseph K. Parramore in the Elders Quorum until February 22, 1856, when he was ordained a Seventy by Horace Thorton, being a member of the 69th Quorum.

He built an adobe house on the East side of town for his little family.  In 1866 he was called to go East as far as the Missouri River and assist Latter-Day Saints immigrating to Utah.  Bidding his wife and family good-bye, and with a promise to bring back another wife, he left for the East.  He was a member of the Daniel Thompson Company.  While on this trip he met Elizabeth Ann Ferguson, and when they reached Salt Lake they were married in the Endowment House, October 9, 1866. 

When George and Elizabeth arrived in Parowan, the little adobe house was shared by both wives and a very happy home it was.  It was here that Eliza gave birth to three children, George Peter, Harriet Eliza, and Eliza Ann; the first two died in infancy.  Elizabeth Ann had six children; Emma Elizabeth, George James, Sarah Jane, Thomas Knott, Joseph Ferguson and Mary Esther Mariah. 

George took up some farm land two miles west of town and when the Indians became less hostile, he built a home there for his first wife and children. 

He was ordained a High Priest March 3, 1877, by William H. Dame, at which time he was chosen first counselor to Bishop Samuel H. Rodgers of the Second Ward of Parowan.  He remained counselor until January 3, 1879, when Bishop Rodgers moved to Arizona.  He served as high counselor in Parowan Stake for many years.  He also was a member of the City Council. 

He ran the Parowan Tannery for many years, making boots and shoes.  He then had a shoe shop in his home. 

George and two other men, discovered gold near Parowan and George was told that if he would leave the gold alone, neither he or his children would ever want for bread.  Being a very religious man, the mine was never touched. 

He was a staunch believer in the United Order as it was practiced in Parowan.  He was a man of great faith and was called upon by people all around to administer to the sick.  Having believed in and lived the law of plural marriage, for which George spent about six months in the Utah State Penitentiary. 

George passed away March 15, 1921.  He lived a faithful and good life.  He was a friend of everyone that knew him. 

Written by Thomas Knott Holyoak


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