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 Eliza <I>Collings</I> Hunsaker

Eliza Collings Hunsaker

Spencer County, Kentucky, USA
Death 13 Oct 1888 (aged 71)
Honeyville, Box Elder County, Utah, USA
Burial Brigham City, Box Elder County, Utah, USA
Plot B-16-47-8
Memorial ID 17309807 · View Source
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Daughter of Allen Collings and Mary (Polly) Broady

Married Abraham Hunsaker, 3 Jan 1833, Quincy, Adams, Illinois

Children - Isaac Hunsaker, Jacob Hunsaker, Eliza Hunsaker, Lewis Jones Hunsaker, Franklin Collins Hunsaker, Allen Collins Hunsaker, Sarah Hunsaker, Abraham Hunsaker, Israel Hunsaker, Elizabeth Hunsaker, Mary Jane Hunsaker, Nephi Collins Hunsaker

History - Eliza was 13 years of age when she first met Abraham Hunsaker. On the occasion of their first meeting, Eliza was at home spinning flax on her spinning wheel. Abraham thought her the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. It was made known to him that she was to be his wife, and before he left the neighborhood, they became engaged to be married two years from that day. During this waiting period, Abraham and Eliza met only a few times. Indeed, so long was the time between visits.

The couple lived with Abraham's father on a farm near Quincy for the first two months of their married life while their own small log cabin was being built. As soon as it was finished, they began keeping house for themselves. The first little baby, whom they called Jacob, lived only eight weeks and was buried in the Dunkard Graveyard, as they then belonged to the Dunkard Church.

Eliza and Abraham sold their first home and moved to a farm on Pigeon Creek, near Payson, Illinois. There they raised grain and hogs and cattle and became a very happy and prosperous couple in their new home. Being very sympathetic and generous, they opened their house to any one in need. In this way a family by the name of McBride came to live with them. Through the McBrides, who were Latter-day Saints, Eliza and Abraham had the privilege of hearing the Gospel for the first time.

They were greatly impressed with the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and made use of every opportunity to learn all they could about it. After their investigations they were anxious to join the Church, but did not do so until 15 November 1840, when they were baptized in Pigeon Creek by Elder David Evans. They were confirmed members of the Church the same day at a meeting held in their home. The young couple now had a desire to live nearer the Prophet Joseph Smith, so that they might have the privilege of hearing him speak the truths of their doctrine from time to time. To accomplish this, they sold their farm on Pigeon Creek and moved to a place on the Mississippi River about three miles below the City of Nauvoo. The location of this farm, in the river lowlands, was not very healthy and the dampness caused considerable sickness in the little family.

Eliza and Abraham felt it a privilege to entertain the servants of God and felt they could not do enough to make the Elders who visited them comfortable. The first time Abraham and Eliza were visited by an Apostle of the Church was when Brother Heber C. Kimball and his family partook of their hospitality. About 20 families desired to make homes in this same locality and bought lots on the Hunsaker farm where they built their houses.

A little community sprang up and the Hunsakers held religious meetings and also provided a school in their house. After the murder of Joseph Smith in 1844, the persecutions of the Mormon people became greater than they could endure. Homes were burned, property destroyed, and even the lives of women and children were not safe. Although Abraham and Eliza were a little better off than most of their neighbors because Abraham owned a flour mill, they began making preparations to leave Nauvoo with the rest of the Saints. In the winter of 1845-46 they traded the mill for an ox and a cow, a wagon, and the other things to make the journey away from Nauvoo. They left their home in February 1846 and crossed the Mississippi River on the ice, not knowing where they were going, or what the future would bring them, but placing their trust in God. They took their cattle and sheep with them. The sheep were to provide wool for Eliza to make clothes for her family on her precious spinning wheel.

After they reached Kanesville, now known as Council Bluffs, Iowa, on the Missouri River, a call came to this band of homeless people to provide 500 volunteer soldiers to fight in the war between Mexico and the United States. Abraham was one of the first
to volunteer.

Eliza had a very well-to-do brother who lived nearby. This brother told Eliza that if she would give up the Mormon religion, that she and her children could come and live with him and they would never want for anything. He told her that Abraham would never come back, and that she should renounce this new and strange religion. Eliza answered her brother that her husband would be back, and that she would never give up her religion. She remained with the Saints who built a small cabin for her and her children to live in. When her husband did finally return in December of 1847, he found his family living in this primitive cabin.

In 1847 the Saints had started their trek to Utah. When Abraham returned to his family, they immediately made preparations to travel westward, and left Council Bluffs in 1848 in the Cunningham Company. Abraham was a very generous man, and sometimes was too generous for the comfort and well being of his own family. He could never stand to see anyone in need without offering to share his own substance. As a result, his family often suffered many hardships when Abraham divided his means with others who wanted to go westward and did not ave the means to do so.

After arriving in Utah, Abraham and Eliza settled in the southwest part of the Salt Lake Valley, in what is now West Jordan. Here they accumulated a large herd of cattle, sheep, and horses, which they grazed around Utah Lake.

Abraham also took care of livestock for other people, and he and Eliza and their children spent a great deal of their time with the livestock. About this time the Indians became very troublesome and began stealing livestock and occasionally killing the settlers. Abraham realized it was unsafe to have his family in the Utah Lake region, and on 23 February 1856, went there to bring them home. Abraham sent his son Lewis to round up the horses while he made preparations to move the family to Salt Lake Valley. Lewis was never seen nor heard from again, and Abraham was obliged to tell Eliza that their son had fallen a victim to the Indians. The grief of Eliza at this news can better be imagined than told. She always waited to hear some word from her lost son, and the uncertainty of his death was almost more than she could bear. With the faith of a true Latter-day Saint, she put her trust in God, as she did with all her troubles and sorrows, and went on with her life.

When Abraham was called by the Church authorities to settle what is now Carson City, Nevada, he sold all their possessions except livestock, which they took with them, and Eliza moved with him to this new wilderness. The journey was a difficult one. The road, which was very rough, was by the roundabout route known as Point Lookout, Blind Springs, and Curlew Valley, then southward into Nevada. Water was very scarce in this desert area and many cattle died on the way. On 17 July 1856 the family located on what became one of the best farms in Carson Valley, on the spot where the present center of Carson City now stands. Abraham and his sons soon planted their crops, and the women milked cows, made butter, and raised chickens and garden foods. As the farm was located on the Missouri to California trail, they had a good market for food and produce which they sold to the travelers passing through. The family was prospering when a call came from Brigham Young to sell out and return immediately to Utah. The United States Army had been authorized by the Congress to make war on the Latter-day Saints because of polygamy, and 2,000 soldiers were marching against the Saints. Abraham, always obedient to his leader's commands, sold or gave away what he had and started on the return trip to Utah. During this trip, at what is now Snowville, Utah, Eliza gave birth to her last child, Eliza, in a covered wagon.

When the Hunsakers arrived in Utah, President Brigham Young and Apostle Lorenzo Snow told Abraham to settle in Brigham City. Here Abraham bought an adobe brick home for Eliza from Lorenzo Snow.

In 1858 the Saints left Northern Utah and moved south to the area around Payson because of the coming of the army. Abraham and his families participated in this move, although it again meant tearing up their family roots and enduring new hardships and sufferings incident to a forced move of this kind.

Later in 1858, they returned to Brigham City. About 1864-65 Abraham built the house at Fourth South and Main Streets which became known as the "Hunsaker Big House."

In 1874, Church authorities requested Abraham to settle the area north of Brigham. He moved part of his families northward and founded the settlement which was later named Honeyville. Eliza remained at this home in Brigham City until 1880, when she too moved to Honeyville.

Eliza was a woman of sterling character, and was honest and virtuous. She was always hospitable, and of a pleasant, but very independent disposition. She was always willing to sacrifice and endure hardships for the sake of the Gospel and for those she loved. She had a fair complexion and dark brown, wavy hair. She was a little above medium height, and in later years, rather stout of figure. She was not a woman who liked taking part in public affairs, and was not a good public speaker. On one occasion, when asked to bear her testimony, she said, "When my husband accepted the Gospel and was baptized, I too was ready; and when the principle of plural marriage was made known to us, I believed it to be sent of God and consented to my husband taking four other wives, and I have never regretted it."

On the 13th of October 1888, Eliza passed away in the house in Honeyville which Abraham had built for her. During her last days Abraham spent most of his time by her bedside. His blessings and his presence seemed to bring her comfort and rest. As he sat by her bedside, her hand in his, he said to her "Only one or two more trips to the Logan Temple and my work here will be finished; I shall be with you soon." Less than three months later Abraham's words saw fulfillment.




  • Created by: SMSmith
  • Added: 5 Jan 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 17309807
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Eliza Collings Hunsaker (5 Mar 1817–13 Oct 1888), Find A Grave Memorial no. 17309807, citing Brigham City Cemetery, Brigham City, Box Elder County, Utah, USA ; Maintained by SMSmith (contributor 46491005) .