|Birth: ||Oct. 1, 1869|
|Death: ||Dec. 18, 1960|
On October 1st 1869 in Middlesex, England a baby boy was born to Mary Ann Dangerfield and Charles Denney who they named Edward. Edward was the 12th child of 13 in this family.
Edward came to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1871 with his older sister Rebecca when Edward was two years old and Rebecca was 18 years old. The family could not afford to bring everyone at the same time. Edward was cared for by Rebecca for two years until his parents and other family members arrived in Utah on July 24th 1873 when Edward was four years old.
In 1874 when Edward was five years old, his mother Mary Ann divorced his father Charles Denney due to his father's alcohol problems. Charles had brought the Denney family into the church and was an active member four years before his mother was baptized. Edward's mother Mary Ann Dangerfield Denney became the polygamous wife of her brother in law Charles Henry John West two days after the divorce on August 23rd 1874. This marriage was performed in the Endowment House after Mary Ann was invited by her sister Eliza to marry with Eliza's husband Charles Henry John West. This marriage lasted 32 years ending only with the death of Charles West.
After the divorce Edward lived back and forth between his brother Charles Denney Jr.'s home where his father was living for a while and his mother's home.
Edward's father Charles Denney died one year after the divorce on October 30th 1875 of health problems related to his excessive alcohol use. Charles Denney had been a faithful member of the church in England. He served as book agent and treasurer (clerk) in his branch. Alcohol cost him his marriage and his life. Charles Denney and Mary Ann Dangerfield's thirteen children were born about two years apart. Of the last five children born only Edward and Willard reached adulthood. Edward also lost her sister Rebecca when she died at age 33 and Edward was only 16 years old. Four years after Edward moved to Wyoming his 37 year old brother Williard died as well. Life was not easy for this family who had many mouths to feed and saw death often both among Edwards siblings and step-siblings. A year after Mary Ann married Charles West her youngest child Arthur died and then Edward's father, Charles Denney died. Edward was almost seven when his father died. Edward's aunt Eliza had given birth to her 11th child on August 29th 1873 who Edward's aunt named William Joseph West. Edward was four years old when William was born as his cousin, but by the time Edward was five William West had become Edward's step-brother. Edward and William would live near each other as brothers for many years including the settling of the Big Horn Valley in Byron Wyoming where William would live most of his life.
Edward Denney was eight years old in 1877 as he watched with his Eleventh Ward primary class between the Eagle Gate Monument and the Deseret News while the funeral procession of Brigham Young passed by. Although the Eagles Gate goes over the street in down town Salt Lake City now, it was near the Brigham Young's home when Edward watched the funeral in 1877. As a child Edward helped paste covers on the first Deseret Song Books. When he was a little older Edward helped four other young men pump the old wind organ in the tabernacle during conference.
Charles West worked hard after his full time job to build Edward and Edward's mother Mary Ann a nice home in Salt Lake where She and Edward lived for some time.
Edward's mother became a nurse at the Holy Cross Hospital. Edward met his wife to be, Julia Ann England, when Julia came to conference with her sister who was friends with Edward's sister Rebecca(Taylor). Rebecca married Joseph Wardell Taylor when Edward was only three years old while she was caring for Edward in Utah as a toddler, before Rebbeca and Edward's parents migrated to the United States. Rebecca acted as Edward's mother at this time and Edward must have been deeply saddened by Rebecca's death in 1886 when he was only 16 years old.
Both Edward and Julia attended the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple on April 6th 1893 and were married in this temple December 5th 1894 by John R. Winder.
Charles Henry John West recorded in his Journal: "My wife, Mary Ann, bought a farm in Oakley of Walter Walker and gave him $400 cash for 40 acres 1/2 cultivated with water rights, also a log house on it, it was very small but fit to live in.
She got a good deed of it. She had sold out her home in Salt Lake for a good sum. I think $800. She had a two roomed house, rustic, put up, the work being put in by Brother Johnson, a mason, he made a good job of it. I put in the foundation with her son Edward's help. She got her sons Willard and Edward to work it. Willard got married to a sister [Elizabeth Salisbury] in Rockport on 3 miles. It left Eddy to do the work alone. My wife Mary Ann, not being contented living in the country moved into Salt Lake City. Soon after Edward he got married to a Miss English [Julia Ann England] of Tooele, he continued on the farm and was doing pretty well. My wife [Mary Ann] sold a portion of her land, I think 20 acres, for $400 to a man by the name of Jenson. My son William [West] helped me on our farm until 1895. With the help of a mason, Charles [West] and Mary Ann's two sons built a rustic home for Mary Ann. Her sons, William and Edward, worked the Oakley farm."
Edward was 5 foot 10 inches and was thin. After marrying, Edward and Julia went to work his mother's land in Oakley, Utah. east of Park City. Edward and Julia traveled to Julia's parents home in Tooele after their crops were in. There first child was born on September 30th 1895 with the help of Julia's mother Eliza Kennington England. They named their daughter Mary Vervean and called her Vervean. Julia records: "We [Edward and Julia] lived in Oakley about three years then moved back to Tooele, but there was no work and we could not make a living so we went back to Oakley. While in Tooele, Vervean wandered off looking for me. I had gone to the store. She went about one mile toward the canyon and was found by the school children and brought back." Although she does not share her feelings it apears that this incident was upsetting since it is the only thing she recorded for nearly the entire year.
On August 31st 1897 Edward and Julia's second child was born on August 31st 1897 in Oakley, Utah. They named him Edward LeRoy and called him Roy. On January 13th 1900 another baby was born in Oakley. They named him John Claudaus and he was known as Claude.
In 1900 the call came from church headquarters to settle the Big Horn County in Wyoming. Records indicate that these Saints left on April 19th. Edward and Julia Ann Denney and their three children, Mary Vervean, Edward Leroy and baby John Claudaus set off. Edward and Julia traveled with friend and family who all headed the prophets call to settle Wyoming. They included Edward's older brother Willard David Denney and Willard's wife Elizabeth Wallace Denney, Edward's step-sister Ann Lydia West NeVille and her husband Joseph and their children, Edward's step-brother William West, and Charles West Wright the son of Edward's step-sister Eliza and her husband Thomas Wright.
Edward's wife recorded: "That fall we sold out and shipped our machinery and cattle and horses to Byron, Big Horn County, Wyoming. Ann Lydia West NeVille recorded: "My husband was called to go on a mission to the Sandwich Islands. He was called on later to go to England and was nearly ready to go, when a call was made by the President of the Church for people to emigrate to the Big Horn country, so Brother Sessions sent word for Joseph to be changed to go to the Big Horn as he would be a great help to build up a new place. He was to do the leveling of the canal, but Brother Sessions being in charge of the canal ordered my husband to learn him to do the leveling and took his level, and got Joseph to do black smithing.
We got ready to go, sold a few things and left all our furniture, except one chair and bedstead, but lost the chair, and shipped the bed and tent. Started about April 20th, and what a trip we had. It snowed for about a week and the roads were very bad and we had to make bridges and roads, but we were blessed with health. I drove a team and buggy most all the way. My son Leo drove a team and wagon, so did Joseph. One night we camped near Little Wind River. We sent my boy Daniel to get a bucket of water. In a little while he come in dripping wet. He said the stream was so swift it took him and the bucket down stream, but he grabbed a willow and saved himself, but not the bucket. We were very thankful he was saved. Solon was 15 months old and I had to carry him up all the steep hills. He would not let anybody else take him. How tired I got. Ralph's birthday was on the 21st of May. I shall never forget that day we had just crossed the Green River, it was storming. People told us that lived close by that we should not cross, but our leader called us all together and we all knelt down to pray. When we got up President Sessions said, and others that felt that it was all right to cross so we all got across safely. They unharnessed the horses. It was no sooner done than the biggest clap of thunder I have ever heard in all my life was heard and lightning was so fierce that the horses reared and some broke loose; and the rain came down in great sheets; and the river rose in a short time and overflowed it's banks. It stayed up a long time. We were thankful we had crossed as it would have delayed us two or three days.Our daughter, Anne Mae, was married just before we left Woodruff to Ed Sessions, so she was with us part of the time and helped me some. We used to be called mornings and nights to sing a hymn and pray. My husband used to call them with his cornet, the bugle call.
I have a picture taken with him calling us and usually the dogs were the first to be there, and oh they would set up and howl. My Leo had a Kodak. He took quite a few pictures. The children all rode in with me in the buggy. That is Nona, Daniel, Jabez, Ralph and Salon. Ralph had a good voice although he was so young and we would sing and that helped. We drug a cart behind the buggy loaded with a big copper boiler loaded with cooking utensils and you should have heard the racket when we went a little fast. We arrived in the Big Horn about the 29th of May. We passed some beautiful country we wished to stop in, but since we were called to the Big Horn, we did not want to stop until we got there. We were five weeks on the journey. Started on April 19th and arrived May 29th. I was disappointed when they said this was where we were going to stay. Well, I thought it was the worst place I had ever seen. There was not a green thing to be seen and even the few cottonwood trees on the river had hardly any leaves on and the water did not taste good, but we had to make the best of it. We had been called by the authority of the Lord. We camped at the head of the canal by the Big Horn River, or as the Indians called it, "Stinking Water," as it smelled of sulphur. We were on the bottom land, the canal was up on the bench where the land was for us to make our homes. They all worked hard on the canal and the poor horses, not much for them to eat, only grain and salt sage. That summer they got the water on the bench and, oh, how we rejoiced to have the water running in front of our homes. We had a meeting of thanksgiving to out Heavenly Father because he helped us in many ways. We did not suffer many hardships, we came with plenty of provisions and clothes, but it seemed that we were so far away from Utah and our many friends and loved ones. We used to get the blues and we wondered whether we would ever hear or see them again. Julia was 27 years old and Edward was 30 years old the summer they settled in Byron. As mentioned by Ann, the first summer in Wyoming required that everyone live in tents for many months. Edward went to work and built his family a home. Their home, seen in the photo below, was the second one completed in Byron, Wyoming only a few days after the first home built there. It had a dirt roof. Despite now having a house to live in Julia records: We built a one room log house with dirt roof then went up on the Garland and Powell railroad and I cooked for ten men all winter. I had a hired girl to help. We had two tents, one to cook and sleep in and one for the men to eat in. It was terrible cold, but we did not get sick." "In the spring  we went back to Byron and the men finished the canal. We planted some shade trees. It was much too hot and dry to raise much of a garden. I raised the first annual flowers planted in Byron by watering them with a bucket. We hauled all the water from the river in a barrel." Julia put wet sacks around the flowers to protect them from the hot sun and the frost.
Edward spent time working to building the railroad from Montana to Cody, Wyoming and Julia cooked for the railroad workers. Edward also worked to build the Sidon Canal. This is when a miraculous inspiration prompted Bishop Sessions to move everyone out from under the large rock they were digging beneath just before it fell nearly crushing many. Both the canal and the railroad were worked on by most of the men in Byron in an effort to survive during the first couple of years in this desolate valley. When conference was held in the area years later the visiting Apostles told the people about Edward's mother's flowers and said, "If beautiful flowers like that would grow there, anything would."
On June 2nd 1902 while living in Byron, Edward and Julia had another baby. They named him Joseph Boyd Denney and called him Boyd.
Julia continues: "After we had been in Byron for a while they discovered gas and piped it in some of the houses. There were several houses burned down and a family of children and a school teacher also got burned and died in 1907." In 1904 Edward's brother Willard David Denney died at age 37, only four years after arriving. He left a wife but no children. While still in Byron on February 1st 1905 Julia gave birth to Charles Oliver and he was called Oliver. On December 21st 1907 another baby was born to Julia and Edward in Byron and they named him Lavon. During the 21 years the Denney's lived in Byron Edward played the piano for dances and would sometimes take his piano in a wagon to where the dance was to be held. On October 9th 1910 Eliza Margaret was born. Edward's son Boyd recorded: "We always blessed the food and Mother always taught us to say our prayers at night before we went to bed. If I every lost my toys or things, I prayed to the Lord and he helped me find them." Boyd said he enjoyed the activities of baseball, basketball, pole vaulting and racing. His brother would often ride his horse in the Fourth of July races. He often enjoyed playing marbles. He was baptized in Tibbets Hole in the Big Horn River July 29th 1911. Sometimes when he collected fast offerings the members would donate produce such as a sack of flour to be given to the needy. Boyd records that the school classes were small in Byron. His class had only five girls and three boys. On June 13th 1913 Julia was born. Vervean attended the Big Horn County Common School with the rest of the family in Byron until she decided to move to Tooele, Utah and live with her grandma and grandpa England to attend one year of High School there. High school at this time was something like modern college since most children stopped school by the 8th grade. Vervean records that she returned to Byron after that year to help her mother with the family. Additional school was not available in Byron at this time. On March 25th 1916 Alice was born and on July 20th 1920 Doris England was the last child of this family to be born. On January 22nd 1917 Mary Vervean married Alexander Pryde in Billings Montana. Although Edward served on the school board and was a director for the canal board the farm was not doing very well. The ground had too much alkali in it, so Edward and Julia decided they would try to find a place in Idaho to farm. They were able to sell their mineral rites for $4000.
They found a place near Virginia, Idaho and bought a Nash car which they used to move to Idaho. Although their brief accounts do not tell us much of their history Edward and Julia lived in Wyoming for 21 years moving to Idaho when Edward was 51 years old.
Vervean married Alex Pryde and stayed in Byron Wyoming. Boyd and Claude rode with the livestock and furniture in a railroad car. They watered the stock at the different stops while the rest of the family traveled in a passenger train car. The family arrived in Pocatello on Easter Sunday 1921 and stayed with a cousin until the furniture arrived. They were met at the Virginia depot and rode with the load to their new home. Julia's memories of this time are as follows: "In March of 1921 we moved to Idaho and bought a farm. I kept quite a few pullets and sold eggs to the association in Pocatello. In 1925 Roy [Edward Leroy Denney 1897] came with his three children from Casper, Wyoming and I [Julia] took care of them until he remarried in 1927."
Roy had married Mary Mryrtle Skidmore on February 13th 1918. They divorced in about 1926 and she left the children as well. Roy then married Iva Viola Hancock June 29th 1927 and had three more children.
The family enjoyed the water cress that grew wild in a near by stream. They often had bread, milk and water cress for supper. Don Denney a grandson of Edward through his son Boyd, lived near Edward and Julia. He reported that the water cress was like tangy lettuce and was enjoyed often.
The children attended a one-room school house which taught all eight grades. It appears from reading other histories that this school was divided into two rooms over time. There were two schools in the valley but it is likely that this family attended the brick one on the west side of Virginia. This school is seen in the photo below.
The girls all graduated from high school by traveling to Downey due to money raised from the chickens. Boyd was 17 at this time and went to work on the farm after finishing the 8th grade.
The Denney family road horses, wagons and sleds to church many miles each Sunday to get to attend church. It often snowed deep in the Downey area. The snow was reported to be over the fence posts. The family continued to farm in this area although at times there was not enough water to operate a farm. Many of the children stayed in the area and raised families but some moved away to find work and to purchase their own farms.
Boyd's family left the valley for Groveland, near Blackfoot, Idaho area in 1938. Eliza Denney married (Carl) Keith Olsen and they stayed in the ward. LeRoy and Iva, Fern Larry and Ivan Ray and some these families children remained in the ward for a time. The children attended a one-room school house which taught all eight grades. The girls all graduated from high school by traveling to Downey due to money raised from the chickens. Boyd was 17 at this time and went to work on the farm after finishing the 8th grade.
Alice Denney became a nurse and served in World War II and later earned a Ph.D. in Horteculture. A monument for Veterans was constructed in front of the Virginia Chapel four miles north of Downey, Idaho with Alice Denney's name on it. Alice out lived her family and never married. She died in August 12th of 2011.
In 1949 the children went to school in Downey and the ward bought the rest of the church from the government. After the purchase this building it was renovated and the work was completed in 1952. It was dedicated by S. Dilworth Young of the First Quorum of the Seventy on February 3rd, 1952. A new building was completed in 1976. It should be here noted that the Denney family has served as a foundation of the Virginia Ward since the family moved to this valley in 1918.
The Eliza Denney (Olsen) family stayed in the valley. Many of Edwards descendent's served missions.
Edward died December 18th 1960. Edward was able to drive a car and was quite healthy up until the time he died at age 90.
When Julia died she left 36 grand children, 107 great grand children and 13 great great grand children. Julia lived with her daughters Eliza and Julia after Edward's death until her death at age 96 on September 13th 1969. She died within 6 months of President McKay's death who was also 96 when he died. The following information was taken from Edward and Julia's personal history and from "The Virginia Ward History 1915 to 1976." This history can be found in the Church History Library in Salt Lake City.
Edward and Julia Denney's children:
1 Mary "Vervean" (Pryde) was born September 30th 1895 in Tooele, Tooele, Utah. She married Alexander Pryde.
2 "Roy" Edward Leroy Denney was born August 31st 1897 in Oakley, Utah.
3 "Claude" John Claudaus Denney was born January 13th 1900 in Oakley, Summit, Utah. He married Phoebe Christensen.
4 "Boyd" Joseph Boyd Denney. He married Vivian LaDella Reynolds. He was born June 27th 1902 in Byron, Wyoming.
5 "Oliver" Charles Oliver Denney was born February 1st 1905, in Byron, Wyoming. He married Ruth Coe Henwood.
6 Lavon Denney was born December 27th 1907 in Byron, Big Horn, Wyoming. She died September 16th 1915 at age seven.
7 Eliza Margaret (Olsen) was born October 9th 1910 in Byron, Wyoming. Eliza married Carl Kieth Olson.
8 Julia (Blachard) was born June 13th 1913 in Byron, Big Horn, Wyoming. She married Merlin W. Blanchard
9 Alice Denney born March 25th 1916 in Byron, Wyoming and died August 12th 2011 in Chubbuck, Idaho at age 95 .
10 Doris England Denney was born July 20th 1920, Byron, Big Horn, Wyoming USA.
Charles Denney (1822 - 1875)
Mary Ann Dangerfield Denney West (1829 - 1925)
Julia Ann England Denney (1873 - 1969)
Mary Vervean Denney Pryde (1895 - 1987)*
Edward Leroy Denney (1897 - 1944)*
J. Claudaus Denney (1900 - 1993)*
Joseph Boyd Denney (1902 - 1989)*
C. Oliver Denney (1905 - 1989)*
Lavon Denney (1907 - 1915)*
Eliza Margaret Denney Olson (1910 - 1991)*
Julia Denney Blanchard (1913 - 2001)*
Alice Denney (1916 - 2011)*
Doris E. Denney (1920 - 1943)*
Elizabeth Denney Leaker Hannibal (1847 - 1927)*
Charles Denney (1849 - 1937)**
Henry Denney (1857 - 1940)*
Willard David Denney (1867 - 1903)*
Edward Denney (1869 - 1960)
Maintained by: Kerry Denney
Originally Created by: Bill E. Doman
Record added: Aug 25, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 21148521
John & Kitty
Added: Jun. 1, 2012
Added: Aug. 25, 2007