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 Byram Lee Bybee

Byram Lee Bybee

Barren County, Kentucky, USA
Death 27 Jun 1864 (aged 65)
Grafton, Washington County, Utah, USA
Burial Grafton, Washington County, Utah, USA
Memorial ID 59777 · View Source
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Son of John Bybee and Elizabeth Kelly

Married - Elizabeth Ann Lane, 5 Jan 1820, Grafton, Washington, Kentucky

Married - Mary Hartley, 13 Mar 1852, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah

Married - Else Marie Knudsen, 15 Aug 1856, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah

History - Byram Lee Bybee was born 25 February 1799, in Barren County. He was a farmer and a shoemaker. He married Elizabeth Ann (Betsy) Lane, on 5 January 1820. Elizabeth was born in Washington, Tennessee, 24 January 1801. She was the daughter of Robert David Lane and Mary (Polly) Chapman. Byram Lee and Betsy moved to Green Co., Missouri, about 1830, then back to Kentucky about 1836, then to Clay County, Indiana, about 1837. The Bybee family were, at this time, of the Campbellite faith. It was here in Indiana that they were first introduced to the Mormon religion by Elder Isaac Morley.

Byram Lee's family is listed on the 1840 census of Clay Co., Indiana, and it was noted they were prosperous farmers. However, the land they were tilling was not opened for entry, but was held on "Squatter's rights." The house they lived in was of logs, with a dirt roof and floor, and was built on the river bank. Byram Lee was not a healthy man and the responsibility of the family fell on his wife and sons.

Byram Lee must have had itchy feet, because again the family moved. This time to Illinois to be near the saints, as they were now members of the church. This was in 1843 or early 1844. Most of Byram's family went with him to Illinois, also his Uncle Lee Allen Bybee and some of his family. They traveled together in covered wagons and, upon their arrival in Nauvoo, they engaged in farming.

Byram Lee and "Betsy" Lane had ten children. The Bybee children remembered seeing the Prophet Joseph Smith riding on a black horse. He would often call at the Bybee home. They also recalled meetings held in a beautiful grove in the Eastern part of the city of Nauvoo. These meetings would be conducted by the Prophet Joseph. The Bybee family also mourned the death of Joseph and Hyrum with all of the Saints. Byram Lee was too ill to attend the services held for the brothers, but their mother, Betsy, took the children and they remembered this day always.

Byram Levi was one year old when the family moved from Indiana to Nauvoo, and four years later, they were on the move again. They left Nauvoo and went into Iowa. There was about a foot of snow on the ground and it was bitter cold. They crossed the Mississippi River on the ice. They could take only the bare necessities with them, and they were instructed by Brigham Young to leave their homes clean and in good order. Polly Chapman Bybee Hammon, Byram Lee's daughter, said she even left a clock ticking on the wall.

The Bybees arrived in camp at Sugar Creek and made their home out of brush and blankets, mere shanties. Some of the company, however, used their wagons for shelter. From Sugar Creek they went to Farmington, Iowa, and on to the Winter Quarters sight on the west bank of the Missouri River.

In the late summer of 1848, they moved to Buchanan Co., Mo., and lived with their daughter Polly Chapman Bybee and her husband Levi Hammon. While at Buchanan, they built wagons for the trek west. They then returned to Winter Quarters, and then Council Bluffs, Iowa, where the men built more wagons, and the women made cloth, called Lindsey Woolsey. It was a grey cloth, and they changed colors by making dye using sage, weeds, grasses and other concoctions. The saints had brought with them useful items such as looms, seeds, spinning wheels, slips of trees and shrubs, and very few personal items.

On 21 June 1851, they left Council Bluffs, for Utah. They were with the Alfred Cardon Co. They traveled in the third ten of the second fifty. Levi Hammon was their leader. There were nine families in the group. There were 5 people in Byram Lee's family; Byram Lee, "Betsy," David Bowman, Robert Lee and Byram Levi. They had 1 wagon, 4 oxen, and 6 cows. Byram Levi was now ten years old and walked most of the way to Salt Lake bare foot, although his father was a shoe maker. The shirt he wore had 17 patches on it. Byram Levi said it was hard to tell where one patch ended and the next patch began.

The company arrived in Salt Lake Valley, 6 Oct 1851. They contacted Heber C. Kimball, and he advised them to go to East Weber (now known as Uintah) and homestead. This valley had been settled one year before and Byram Lee's son John McCann, and two sons-in-law, Henry Beckstead, and Daniel Smith, helped to settle. East Weber was located at the mouth of Weber Canyon, near the Weber River. It was unprepossessing and unpromising country that presented itself to the Bybee family. It was wild and the land was covered with bunch grass; the only forest trees being willows that bordered the streams. However, the rich grass did provide food for their cattle and stock raising and primitive farming was their occupation.

The family made their home with logs, or branches, cut from the banks of the Weber River. The implements used to farm were very poor. Some plows were made entirely of wood with little strips of iron. They cultivated the land the best they could. The soil was productive and they realized a good harvest.

Byram Lee and Elizabeth Ann "Betsy" were sealed by President Brigham Young in his office on 13 March 1852.

The winter of 1855 and 1856 was so severe the settlers lost many cattle. Each morning they would go around the fort and lift up the cattle that were too weak to get up by themselves. In the daytime, they cut down willows for the cattle and sheep to browse on. They also carried wood on their backs to have firewood available to build fires, if necessary, to warm the animals.

That spring and summer were hard, and they suffered much. The women carried their small babies on their backs while they searched for segos and other roots to cook in milk to feed their families.

Sometime between 1856 and 1858, Byram Lee moved his family to Mountain Green, up Weber Canyon, in Morgan County. While there, Byram Levi, now a young man of 15 or 16, met a very lovely young lady, Jane Geneva Robinson. Her father, with one of his wives, and family, had pioneered Mountain Green. Byram Lee's family lived only a short time in Mountain Green and then returned to Uintah. However, it was long enough for Byram Levi to decide he wanted to marry Jane and he wasn't too happy about moving back to Uintah, at this time.

In 1858, when Johnson's Army threatened the valley, the Bybee's, along with other Mormon families, moved south to Dixie, as instructed by Brigham Young. Byram Levi went with his parents. However, about a year later, Byram still thinking of the "lady fair," at Mountain Green, received permission from his parents to return to their home in Weber County so he could court Jane. His mother baked him some bread, his father gave him several cows, and with his gun and very few personal belongings, Byram bade his parents goodbye, not realizing that would be the last time he would see his father alive. Byram Lee Bybee died in Washington, Utah on the 27 June 1864, and was buried there.

After his death, his wife, Elizabeth Ann (Betsy) Lane Bybee, moved to Smithfield, Utah to live with their son, Robert Lee. She died in Smithfield, 7 May 1867, and was buried there.

Research Note: There is no early documents or histories that we have found that Byram's middle name is Lee. This middle name LEE was added to the Ancestral File in the 1990s by some cousins when Family Search was first introduced and it was then copied by numerous cousins and resubmitted back to Ancestral File and Pedigree Resource File. Of course then all of the various errors in spelling showed up too such a Brom, Byron, Byran, etc.

I recognize that the replacement tombstone in Grafton has Lee on it but that was done by family members who again took the information from Family Search. I have had one cousin state that the name listed on the Alfred Cardon Company immigrants was Byram Lee Bybee, but we don't find the actual list of the members of that company in the archives. -- Leslie P. Fowers



  • Maintained by: SMSmith
  • Originally Created by: Utah State Historical Society
  • Added: 2 Feb 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 59777
  • Leslie P. Fowers
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Byram Lee Bybee (25 Feb 1799–27 Jun 1864), Find A Grave Memorial no. 59777, citing Grafton Cemetery, Grafton, Washington County, Utah, USA ; Maintained by SMSmith (contributor 46491005) .