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 Howard Coray

Howard Coray

Dansville, Livingston County, New York, USA
Death 16 Jan 1908 (aged 90)
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, USA
Burial Provo, Utah County, Utah, USA
Plot Lot 35, Block 2
Memorial ID 18567478 · View Source
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Son of Silas Coray and Mary Stephens

Married Martha Jane Knowlton, 6 Feb 1841, Bear Creek, Hancock, Illinois. Children: Howard Knowlton Coray, Martha Jane Knowlton Coray, Harriet Virginia Knowlton Coray, Mary Knowlton Coray, Ephrina Serepa Coray, Helena Knowlton Coray, William Henry Coray, Sidney Algernon Coray, Wilford Coray, George Quincy Coray, Francis Delavan Coray, Louis Laville Coray, Don Silas Rathbone Coray.

Married Mary Ann Johnson, 13 Jan 1853, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.

In December, 1838, Howard's father concluded to move to the western country, believing he could find a more desirable place in which to live, than in Pennsylvania. Accordingly, some time in this month, about the 1st, Howard's father and himself, also brother George, set out for the great far west.

They reached Perry, Pike County, Illinois, about the 1st of January, 1839. Here Howard's father found his half brother, Stephen Abbott; and, as the country and things in general pleased him, he resolved to stop and make himself another home. After looking around for two weeks, to see what he could see, he concluded to return to Pennsylvania for the purpose of getting his family and bringing them to Illinois as early in the spring as possible. Howard went along with him, as far back as Jacksonville, Illinois, with the intention of going to college. Not being altogether prepared to enter college, Howard went into the preparatory department, where he continued until about the first of the ensuing spring.

Meantime Howard received a testimony of the spirit to such a degree as to perfectly satisfy him that he had not made any mistake, that what was called Mormonism was absolutely the gospel, that Joseph Smith was truly a Prophet raised up in the 19th century to usher in the "Dispensation of the Fulness of Times," clothed with the Melchizedek Priesthood with all the gifts and graces appertaining thereto.

On the 3rd or 4th day of April, 1840, Howard set out with a few others for Nauvoo, for the purpose of attending conference and to gratify a curiosity that he had to see the Prophet. Sometime during the conference, he took occasion to visit him, in company with Joseph Wood. Joseph Wood introduced hime to Brother Joseph with something of a flourish, telling him that Howard was a collegiate from Jacksonville College. This was not true and was not authorized by Howard. The Prophet, after looking at Howard a little and asking he some questions, wished to know whether it would be convenient for him to come to Nauvoo and assist, or rather clerk, for him. As this was what Howard desired, he engaged at once to do so; and in about two weeks thereafter, he was busily employed in his office, copying a huge pile of letters into a book, correspondence with the elders as well as other persons, that had been accumulating for some time.

While Howard was employed in this manner, he had many valuable opportunities. The Prophet had a great many callers or visitors, and he received them in his office where Howard was clerking, persons of almost all professions, doctors, lawyers, priests and people seemed anxious to get a good look at what was then considered something very wonderful: a man who should dare to call himself a prophet and announce himself as a seer and ambassador of the Lord. Not only were they anxious to see, but also to ask hard questions, in order to ascertain his depth. Joseph Smith was always equal to the occasion, and perfectly master of the situation; and possessed the power to make everybody realize his superiority, which they evinced in an unmistakable manner. Howard could clearly see that Joseph was the captain, no matter whose company he was in, knowing the meagerness of his education, Howard was truly gratified at seeing how much at ease he always was, even in the company of the most scientific, and the ready off-hand manner in which he would answer their questions.

In the following June, Howard met with an accident. The Prophet and Howard, after looking at his horses, and admiring them, that were just across the road from his house, we started thither, the Prophet at this same time put his arm over Howard's shoulder. When they had reached about the middle of the road, he stopped and remarked, "Brother Coray, I wish you were a little larger, I would like to have some fun with you." Howard replied, "Perhaps you can as it is," not realizing what he was saying, Joseph a man of over 200 pounds weight, while Howard scarcely 130 pounds, made it not a little ridiculous for him to think of engaging with him in anything like a scuffle. However, as soon as Howard made this reply, Joseph began to trip him; Joseph took some kind of a lock on Howard's right leg, from which he was unable to extricate it, and throwing him around, broke it some three inches above the ankle joint. Joseph immediately carried Howard into the house, pulled off his boot, and found at once that his leg was decidedly broken; then Joseph got some splinters and bandaged it. A number of times that day did Joseph came in to see Howard, endeavoring to console me as much as possible.

Howard finished the job of copying letters. Howard was then requested by Brother Joseph to undertake, in connection with E. D. Woolley, the compilation of the church history. He next engaged in school teaching, which was his main avocation for livelihood while Howard resided in Nauvoo.

Subsequent, some three or four weeks, to getting his leg broken, and while at meeting, the blessing of the Prophet came into his mind, viz: "that I should soon find a companion, etc. etc." So Howard thought he would take a square look at the congregation, and see who there was, that possibly the fair one promised me might be present. After looking and gazing awhile at the audience, his eyes settled upon a young lady sitting in a one-horse buggy. She was an entire stranger to him and a resident of some other place. Howard concluded to approach near enough to her to scan her features well and thus be able to decide in his own mind whether her looks would satisfy his taste. Martha had dark brown eyes, very bright and penetrating. He was decidedly struck.

After the dismissal of the meeting, instead of going for his dinner, he remained on the ground and presently commenced promenading about to see what he could see. Howard had not gone far before he came square in front of the lovely miss. He was introduced by a friend. He bowed as politely as he knew how and she curtsied, and they then fell into somewhat familiar conversation. He discovered at once that she was ready, off hand, and inclined to be witty; also, that her mind took a wider range than was common for young ladies of her age. Howard visited her at her home, proposed, was accepted, and on the 6th day of February, 1841, they were married at her father's house. Brother Robert B. Thompson performed the ceremony.

Sometime in the spring of 1841, a room was built of considerable size and rented it to Howard for a schoolhouse. Howard then took his young wife in with him as an assistant school teacher. They continued teaching together until fall; when he left Nauvoo and went to Augusta, a small town on Skunk River in Iowa, not far from Burlington, for the purpose of selling goods, or exchanging them for grain for the Nauvoo House.

After winding up his business at Augusta, he returned to Nauvoo and engaged again in school teaching. When he had taught one or two quarters, he was called to go on a mission. His father-in-law, Sidney A. Knowlton, was called at the same time. They got ready and started about the 1st of November [1842], and went as far east as the Allegheny Mountains in Pennsylvania.

They were gone six months without accomplishing much, as it was a time of heavy persecution, the time when John C. Bennett apostatized and published his expose' of the spiritual wife doctrine as he called it. While on this mission, they were turned out of doors late in the evening, by a man by the name of Brown and had to lay out of doors on a cold, frosty night, on account of which Howard took cold in his eyes and the effects of which lasted him many years.

In 1843 he engaged again in teaching school soon after his return from the mission and followed this business most of the year.

In the fall of 1844, Howard procured the music hall for a schoolroom. It was large enough to accommodate 150 students and he succeeded in filling the room, or nearly so. In running the school he had his wife's assistance, and also Brother John M. Woolley's. Sometime in the winter following, Mother Smith came to see Martha about getting her to write the history of Joseph, to act in the matter only as her, Mother Smith's, amanuensis. This Martha was persuaded to do and so dropped the school.

In the month of May 1846, Howard left Nauvoo, in company with the main body of the Saints, for a new location somewhere west; but how far, he had not the remotest idea, neither had the Saints generally, and he doubted if there were any that knew very much about the matter. Howard got as far west that year as the Missouri River, where he spent the winter assisting his father-in-law in taking care of his stock.

The next summer (1847), Howard helped to put in and raise a corn crop. In the fall Howard went to Fort Kearney, on the Missouri, and took a contract of hauling 26 thousand bushels of corn. The government, or gr. master, swindled him in the settlement, so that he made nothing.

In 1848, Howard moved to Nishambotany River. Martha tended ferry and Howard got five or six yoke of unbroken steers and broke them for their use, and broke prairie that season, besides raising a crop of corn; by this means they made a little raise; bought a wagon, a good yoke of oxen and several cows.

In the spring of 1849, Howard moved up to Kanesville, put in a fine garden, and eight acres of corn. In August, he sold out to Brother Orson Hyde and moved up the Platte River to Fort Kearney, near Grand Island and wintered. The next season, Howard reached Salt Lake City.

In the winter of 1850-1851, Howard went into the General Tithing Office where he continued as a clerk four years, on a salary of $1,000 a year. He next sold out his premises to Elder Hyde for $1,000 and moved to E. T. City in Tooele County.

Howard next moved to Provo (1857) and lived here until 1871, doing various kinds of work, farming, clerking, school teaching, building a sawmill and sawing lumber, running a molasses factory and hauling lumber to Fairfield, etc. etc. Howard was getting on pretty well, until he undertook the sawmill, which resulted in embarrassing him not a little.

In 1871, Howard homesteaded a gr. section in Juab County and moved on it. Here, Howard lived continuously until the fall of 1880, when he returned to Provo, bringing with him a sick wife.




  • Created by: SMSmith
  • Added: 23 Mar 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 18567478
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Howard Coray (6 May 1817–16 Jan 1908), Find A Grave Memorial no. 18567478, citing Provo City Cemetery, Provo, Utah County, Utah, USA ; Maintained by SMSmith (contributor 46491005) .