Joseph Henry James (1855 - 1908)


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 Henry Holyoak was born March 5, 1839 in Yardly, Worstershire, England, the seventh child of George and Sarah Green Holyoak. 

The Holyoak family joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints June 24 1841 and sailed to America in February 1854.  The trek across the plains was hard and also saddened by the loss of his mother, Sarah, and sisters, Mary and Anne.  Henry settled in Parowan, Utah, with his father and sisters.  In 1863 and later he made three trips back East with an ox team for freight and immigrants. 

In 1865 he married Sarah Ann Robinson daughter of English immigrants.  She was born in Nauvoo, Illinois December 22, 1842, and came to Utah with her parents, settling in Paragonah, Utah. 

They later went to the temple when it was ready for sealings and had their work done.  It is interesting to note that all the children have been married in the temple, also a large majority of their grandchildren. 

Children of this union are:  Sarah Ann (the oldest died at 13 years of age) Alice Jane (Thomson), Henry John, Mary Luella (Young), Eliza Ellen (McMonkie), Albert Daniel, and Richard James, (who died at 8 years of age).  

When the church called colonizers for the San Juan area, the Henry Holyoak family were among those who were called from Parowan, in the fall of 1879.  In January, 1880 they were with the company that went through "Hole in the Rock", actually a slot in the wall of the canyon, which was widened so wagons could be driven down to the Colorado River.  The route was selected as a shortcut.  Starting at Escalante, Utah it required  about six months for the expedition because they were constructing the road as they went.  Holyoak's wide wagon marks are still on the walls of the ravine where the stone had to be chiseled away to permit it to go down through.  There is still evidence where stakes were driven into the rock to hold brush and rock and dirt which formed the wagon trail with one set of wheels running on this built up material and the other set running in a groove chisled in the sand stone slope.  This wagon trail is known as "Hole in the Rock".  An extremly steep road in the slot of the canyon. 

Sarah Ann  drove her own wagon most of the way.  She had a bed in it as well as a stove to keep her young children comfortable, the baby being very young. 

The four years on the San Juan were wasted so far as crops were concerned because the rising river ruined the farming land, also took out the water wheel and washed it to the other side of the river.  This left them no way to get water onto crops not washed away.

The people were at last released from their mission and the Holyoaks moved to Moab in 1884.  They ran out of provisions on the way, while camped at Kane Springs waiting for a wagon wheel to repair the wagon which was broken down.  Henry left his family to live on a bit of flour and hunt rabbits for meat, while he came into Moab to get a wagon, also flour.  No flour could be purchased.  There was no wheat either, except a sack which some man had saved for seed.  Henry took this to his family.  They washed it and ground it on an old coffee mill.  It made course whole wheat meal, but they were glad to get it, along with some corn meal ground between rocks.  Later when the Grand River (now the Colorado River) was low so it could be forded, freighters went to Castle Dale for flour and other supplies. 

At the time they moved to Moab, Henry John and Alice Jane drove the livestock, (which consisted of about 100 head of cattle, a yoke of oxen and some horses).  The calves were tied up at night, and in the morning the dairy cows were milked.  The milk put in the barrel churn on the back of the wagon would, by night, supply the family with fresh butter as well as milk.  Many others shared in these dairy products. 

The Holyoaks were always friendly with the Indians and they gave Henry the name of Pooats and Henry John was "Pooats Papoose". 

Henry Holyoak was a counselor to Bishop Stewart, first Bishop of Moab Ward.  Sarah Ann was counselor in the Relief Society and later became President. 

They took an active part in building up the community, schools and church.  They were considerate of others and shared their food, but stood for their own rights.  Squatters's built a shack over night on part of their land in Moab while Henry took a trip by team and buggy to Salt Lake City to get title to the land.  Sarah Anne held the squatters off with an old gun, not loaded.  Years later Mr. Loveridge said, "We moved when she said to get off because we knew she meant what she said".   

The blessings given Henry and Sarah Anne the same day in 1875 must have been an inspiration to them and they lived for them and fulfilled them, and surely will be inspiring to all who read them, so are being added to this history.  All who knew them well will tell you they were good, respected citizens, well loved by all.  They fed the hungry and had plenty to set before their friends.  They were friendly with the Indians and were able to feed them by the dozens when they passed through Moab. 

In his declining and lonely years after the passing of his good wife, Henry was very desirous that some one carry on the genealogy work he had pursued.  He was a life member to the Genealogical Society of Utah and sent money repeatedly for research work.  When on a mission to England in 1893, he searched for genealogy and he also secured the Holyoak Family Coat of Arms and placed it in the Society.  He always went to church and bore his testimony on fast day.  Said he, "Even though I cannot hear, my presency will be there".


A blessing given by Levi W, Hancock, July 2, 1875, upon the head of Henry Holyoak, the son of George and Sarah Holyoak.  Born March 5, 1839, at Worcestershire, England. 

Brother Henry, I place my hands upon thy head and give thee a patriarchal blessing, which is a fatherly blessing confirmed upon the heads of the sons of men, who belong to the house of God.  That they may look upon the same and claim the blessings that are recorded.  That they may be handed down from generation to generation for the benefit of the whole family branch, that shall spring from them through all their generations.   

Thou art the sons of those that were counted wise in the councils that are among the Gods,  Thou hast come in the time appointed to be one with thy brethren in this age of the world to help them promote the cause of truth, peace, and prosperity among the offspring of Adam, the father of us all.  To be counted with Him in the ties of friendship and love to bind the hearts of the children to the fathers and the fathers to the children; that virtue and truth may prevail.  Thou art the pure blood of Ephraim and much of thy time should be spent in pursuit of Manassa by encouraging the young men and the middle age and also of thy own posterity to deal kindly and truly with the Lamanites.  That they may be brought to knowledge of Christ, their Redeemer and learn to be one with Him.  That His spirit may rest upon them and commence binding their affections to each other, and cease hankering for blood.  

Thou art capable of doing a great work for the benefit of the House of Israel, not so much because of a great flow of word, but because of the uprightness of thy walk and proceedings.  From this time give thy mind to study and wisdom shall be given from on High. 

And when thou hath been sufficiently tried as Abraham was, thou shall have intelligence concerning the second comforter which thou have not as yet comprehended but in part.  When He comes thou will know it.  It will be a sudden impression upon thee and it will continue to instruct thy mind from hence forward.  Let thy heart be joyful.  Let the revibrating strokes of the sudden emotions of thy heart stimulate thee to work in the service of thy God.  And as far the riches of this world, thou shall be in possession of enough to make thee comfortable all thy days.  And thine offspring, with a numerous host of others of the different branches of the family of man, will give thee honor.  Mind not what opposers may say.  Keep a straight onward course.  Do good for evil and have right to the tree of life in the Paradise of God. 

These are the blessings that I seal upon thy head, with the blessings of the Eternal life, even so, Amen.


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