Joseph France

Joseph France

Columbia County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 6 Jun 1886 (aged 72)
Centerville, Davis County, Utah, USA
Burial Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, USA
Plot C-13-8-4E
Memorial ID 49727 · View Source
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Son of William France Jr. and Ann Fanny Wale.

Married Elizabeth (Betsy) Cady Card. She died 28 Jul 1842, Howard, Steuben, New York.

Children - Son France, Amanda Melvina France, William De Wilton France.

Married Diana Lucina Smith, 23 Dec 1843.

Daughter - Annie Eleanor France.

Married Mary Ellen Eleanor Kuder, 1 Jan 1850, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.

Children - Adam France, Caroline France, George Washington France, William Wallace France, Phoebe Zellnora France, Joseph Kuder France, Adam Arcy France, Mary Caroline France.

Married Adelaide Gyde, 12 Oct 1856, Endowment House, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.

Children - Britmore France, Frances Joseph France, Sarah Angeline France, Mary Ellen France, Clarissa Frances France, Elizabeth Lavina France, Emily Adelaide France, Jedediah Samuel France, Matilda Sarah France, Lenore Angelica France.

Married Ellen Harrod, 12 Oct 1856, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.

Children - David Heber France, Charles Edward France, Mary Elizabeth France, Amasa Lyman France, Franklyn D. France, Ellen Francine France, Clarissa Ann France.

History - Joseph France was born in Sugarloaf Township, Columbia Co., Pennsylvania on the 9 September 1813. He was the son of William France a pioneer from England to Pennsylvania at the age of four years, and his wife, Ann Wale. He grew to manhood in Pennsylvania, where he heard and embraced the Gospel. He was baptized in September, 1843. His first wife was Elizabeth Card. She was born at Howard, Steuben Co., New York on August 9, 1816 and died there the July 28, 1841, leaving besides her husband, a son Dewilt and a daughter Amanda Melvina. Amanda was three years of age at the time of her mother's death.

In 1846 Joseph France signed up to travel on the ship "Brooklyn" which was to sail around Cape Horn and then on to California. It was an experiment of Church Immigration, but for some reason, perhaps for lack of funds as this was a very expensive trip, his reservations were cancelled.

Joseph emigrated with his family to Council Bluffs, suffering the trials and tribulations and sad persecutions and hardships which was the lot of all pioneers at that time. Driven again by the ruthless mobs, they finally settled in Pottawattamie County, Iowa, where on the 20th of January, Joseph with hundreds of other saints of the community in their camp, know as Log Tabernacle, signed a petition to the government of the United States for a post office at that place as they were compelled to go so far for the mail.

In the company of Captain Cully, Joseph left with his family and started on their journey across the trackless plains to join the saints who had preceded them to the far west. Their hope was that they might at last build a home for themselves and worship their God without the fear and danger of ruthless mobs. On this trip Joseph had a covered wagon, but only had one oxen. Mary Ellen Kuder was a pioneer in their company and was the owner of a Durham cow. They hooked these animals together to the wagon and the entire trip was made this way. Sometimes only three and a half or four miles were made in a day.

Mary Ellen Kuder's hair was so long that it lay upon the floor and as they were traveling, she would stand on the tongue of the wagon when she combed it to keep it from getting on the ground. One day a band of Indians came along and saw her combing her hair. They were quite excited and came to Joseph and asked him what he would take for the scalp. In a joking way he said "twenty head of horses of horses." The Indians left the camp and inside of twenty minutes were back with the twenty head. As they came in sight, it became apparent something must be done, so a chest which contained wearing apparel was quickly emptied and a couple holes drilled in the chest and Mary Ellen was crammed into it. The Indians were very angry and it was with much difficulty that they were persuaded to leave the wagons. The Indians followed the wagon train for many miles before they gave up. This chest was in the family for many years.

Cyrus Card and family were in the company of immigrants that came west with Joseph France. Many times Charles O. Card would take the men who had horses and ride ahead of the emigration train and would drive the roaming herds of buffalo from their path. These herds often numbered many thousands, and many times the wagons would have to stop for hours and let them pass. As these great herds stampeded along they would powder the dry hard soil of the prairie beneath their heavy hoofs and leave a trail of dust behind them sometimes twenty inches deep. Often these herds were so numerous that the pioneers were delayed so long that the men would ride ahead of the wagons and shoot many of the buffalo and scatter them before they could proceed on their journey. There was always plenty of buffalo to eat, and the women and children would gather the chips, carry them in their aprons and when camp was made, they would use these chips to feed the campfires which burned in the evenings, and for fuel with which to cook.

Although the days were tiresome and uneventful, when the wagons were made into a circle to camp for the night, there was always singing and entertainment. Many a time the old Virginia reel or the square quadrille was danced to the tune of the fiddle, and the clapping of hands. Though the trip might seem weary, there was great happiness in this band of pilgrims in their friendships and united, as they ever plodded on with their faces to the west and Utah.

They were placed in companies of hundreds, with a captain over them, then this hundred was divided into fifty, with a man over them as captain of the fifty. Then these fifty were divided into tens, with a captain of ten, each captain being under command of the captain over him, and the emigrants under the direct supervision of the ten families in his group. Thus everything was well organized at all time with all the groups of pioneers to go west.

While the world has stood in awe and wondered at the great success of the pioneers it has been brought about by perfect organization and obedience to those in authority to give orders. Joseph France was a perfect example of this. While he was humble and eager to obey the Priesthood over him, so his family were obedient and willing to accept him as head of a fine large family and to cooperate with him in the great building up of a Latter-day Saint community.

While journeying westward, Joseph France became very ill and the company had to stop and make camp. Here for miles around there was no water and they were at a loss to know what to do. As Joseph lay on his improvised bed, he closed his eyes in prayer. Then he called for some of the men to come to him. Joseph France told them to take spades, and to go to a certain distance in one direction, then to turn in a specific place he minutely described. And then when they got to this place to put the spades into the ground. They followed these directions very carefully in every detail, and when they came to the place Joseph had described, they began to dig into the ground and soon they had found good fresh water. The next day there were dug in this vicinity forty-three wells, a monument of living springs left to quench the thirst of weary pioneers as they passed this way.

At one time, while traveling in the states, Joseph took chills and fever and was so ill he could hardly stand. He had to go a long distance to fill an engagement and had to take the train to reach his destination. His fare was twenty dollars, but he had no money. He was ill, alone, destitute, almost beside himself. Joseph knelt down and offered a prayer to his Heavenly Father. Light hearted he arose and began walking down the road. No one was anywhere around, but as he walked on he saw lying on the ground in front of him some crumpled green paper. He stooped and lifted it up, and spreading it out in his hands, found twenty dollars in greenbacks. Just the amount needed for his fare, a wonderful answer to his prayer to help him on his way.

Arriving in Utah, Joseph France with his family took up land in Centerville, Davis Co., Utah. He was in destitute circumstances as were many of the early pioneers, but undautingly he began tilling the soil, building a home and planting orchards. His humble start in later years make of him a successful and prosperous farmer and cattleman.

Shortly after his settling in Davis County, he married on the 1st of January 1850, Mary Eleanor Kuder, born 5 January 1817 at Fishing Creek, Columbia Co., Pennsylvania. Joseph and Mary had six children. This marriage was performed by President Brigham Young.

On the 8th of April 1853, Joseph France was called on a mission to England. This call he gladly accepted, his family caring for the farm in his absence. He labored in different parts of England and became president of the conference with headquarters at Reading, Gloucestershire. After an honorable release, he was put in charge of the immigrants who came in his company. These two handcart companies were piloted by Joseph France, who acted as agent and commissary. These two handcart companies had 100 handcarts, 5 wagons, 24 oxen, 4 mules, 25 tents, and there were 497 souls in the immigration train. They arrived in Salt Lake City the 11th of October 1856.

In this handcart company were two ladies, Ellen Harrod and her dear chum Adalade Gyde, both of Gloucestershire, England. Joseph France took these two women for his wives on October 12, 1856, at President Brigham Young's office. These ladies received their endowments the 3rd of April 1857, and were sealed to their husband the same day in the Endowment House.

Joseph David France was a man of great faith and had a gift for healing the sick. He left a posterity of 27 children.

Salt Lake City Cemetery Map



  • Maintained by: SMSmith
  • Originally Created by: Utah State Historical Society
  • Added: 1 Feb 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 49727
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Joseph France (9 Sep 1813–6 Jun 1886), Find a Grave Memorial no. 49727, citing Salt Lake City Cemetery, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, USA ; Maintained by SMSmith (contributor 46491005) .