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 Charity <I>Arms</I> Everts

Charity Arms Everts

Quebec, Canada
Death 12 Mar 1883 (aged 71)
Oak City, Millard County, Utah, USA
Burial Oak City, Millard County, Utah, USA
Plot A-5-11
Memorial ID 69318 · View Source
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Daughter of John Thomas Arms and Mary Ann "Betsy" Bresee

Married Joshua Everts, abt 1830, Richford, Franklin, Vermont. He died 22 Sep 1839, DuPage, Illinois.

Children - Affaiena Everts, Elizabeth Ann Everts, Philena Everts, Caroline Everts, Joshua Everts

Married Thomas Prows, 21 Dec 1842, Portsmouth, Rockingham, New Hampshire. He died 3 July 1865, Cynthiana, Harrison, Kentucky.

Children - Alvin Prows, Sarah Jane Prows, Mary Jane Prows

Married William Lewis, 1850, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah

Married Jacob Croft, 12 Oct 1856, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah

History - After Charity married Joshua Everts they went down to New York where he bought a farm, which was to be paid for in payments. They lived there for some time, but were unable to make their payments. They went over into Upper Canada where they took a homestead and began making a home.

Canada at that time was still a new uninhabited country, and wild animals roamed through the tall timber. On one occasion, Joshua and Charity were returning home at night in a sleigh. They were still several miles from home when Joshua heard a wolf howl. He quickly seized the whip and hurried the horses to a gallop, for he knew too well the meaning of that howl. It was the call of the pack. Soon there was an answering call, then another and another. Faster and faster he drove the horses and soon he saw that they were being followed by a pack of timber wolves.

He drove as fast as the horses could go, and when he reached home he drove right into the barn and closed the door. They waited there for hours listening to the wolves on the outside, snarling and snapping at each other in their disappointment.

Here in Canada they were more successful than they had been in New York. They worked hard and built a comfortable home. Four little girls had been born to them, three of whom were living. Their names were Caroline, Affacena, Elizabeth or Betsey and Philena. Joshua and Charity were very happy with one exception, which was the difference in their religious views. Charity's people were all Baptists and she had been taught their doctrine all her life; while Joshua was a staunch Presbyterian. They often argued over their religious beliefs and both claimed the right.

Late one evening Joshua drove into the yard on his return from the village. He unhitched his team and came in, taking his place in front of the blazing fire. He seemed very serious and said, "Wife, I listened to some men preaching this evening on religion. They are going to preach again tomorrow evening. I would like you to go and hear them !"

"What did you say, Joshua?"

"No, Charity, I am not going to influence you. You must judge for yourself," and he would not be persuaded into any conversation regarding the matter.

The next evening the chores were done early. The children were wrapped warmly and they drove away to the village to attend the meeting. There they heard men who said they belonged to a newly organized church, preaching such doctrines as they had never heard before. After the meeting, as they rode home, Joshua turned to his wife and asked, "What do you think of their doctrine as compared with ours, Charity?" she slipped her arm confidingly into his and answered. "I think we were both wrong." Peace they had never known before came into their hearts, and it seemed that only barrier between them had been broken down.

Soon after, they were baptized into the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They made a home for the Elders as long as they lived there. They were happy but not contented, because like all others who embrace the Gospel, they wished to gather with the Saints. Joshua very much against the wishes of Charity's people, succeeded in selling the farm for a fairly good price, more than enough to take them to the Church; but there was an Elder Savage and family who had no money and wished to go too, also a young lady who felt sure she could work and pay it back, so he loaned them both money to go to the Church, which was then located in Nauvoo. It was a happy day for them when they said goodbye to their friends, took their three little girls and a few belongings and sailed up the St. Lawrence River toward the setting sun and toward happiness and a home with the Saints of God.

They finally reached Lake Michigan and landed on the Illinois shore. They started from there to go across the state to Nauvoo. When they reached DePage county, they found they did not have enough money to complete the journey. Joshua decided to work a while to get money to go on. They found an old unused school house and camped in that while Joshua went to work cutting timber.

One day the men carried him into the house, injured, crushed by a falling tree. It was thought that he would recover, but he had sustained internal injuries and in a few weeks passed quietly away. Neighbors helped his wife to bury him. Thirteen days later, Caroline, the baby was laid beside him in the forest. Charity had no stones to mark the graves, which were soon covered with a blanket of autumn leaves, for winter was fast approaching.

Charity had heard of a Mormon family some distance from there. She took her two little girls and searched until she found them. They took her into their house and let her work for her board. They had very little room in the house. The only place they could make her a bed was in the loft of the house. This was reached by a ladder, up which she had to carry the children to bed every night. She lived there all winter, and in the spring she gave birth to her first son, but he was dead.

She was very ill for a long time. How often she thought of her loved ones and the comforts of the old home. Her father was dead, but her brothers were well provided for. She wrote them a letter, telling them of her condition. She received a letter in answer from her brother saying: "We want you to come home, Charity, and you shall never want for anything, but you must give up that religion. If you do not give that up, you can go to hell with the Mormons!

She finally made her way to Nauvoo and arrived there without home, friends or money. She was able to get work to do in homes, such work as carding, spinning and weaving, also of cutting and making men's suits, and other clothing, for she was an experienced tailoress. She worked in many homes. Among them were the homes of Peter Haws and William Law, the infamous leader who later plotted to kill the Prophet Joseph.

It was hard for her to keep two children with her while working, so she let the older girl stay with another family. This family lived out a few miles from tow, but they brought her occasionally to see her mother. There came a period of several weeks when she did not see her so Charity walked out to the home. There she found the child very ill from what they called canker. She died a few hours after. Charity was grief stricken and to add to her grief, neighbors told her that the child had been badly neglected.

Betsey was the only one left to her now of the family. One Sunday she was attending a meeting in the grove. Betsy slipped away from her and was lost in the crowd. She went to look for Betsey and met a lady coming toward her holding the child by the hand and crying. Charity thought at first that something had happened to the child, but the lady said that Betsey looked so much like her own little girl who had died, she begged Charity to let her take Betsey home with her and care for her while the mother worked. She said she would do all she could for her, and it would make her very happy to have her in the home. Charity hesitated, thinking of the fate of the other child, but she finally consented, so Betsey went to live with the Hendricksons and became a very favored child.

While at the home of William Law, Charity became very ill with what they called lung fever. At that time, the font of the Nauvoo Temple had been dedicated for use, but the temple was not finished. Many people were being baptized for their health. She begged them to take her to the font and baptize her. William Law was then working secretly against the church and did not care to take part in its ordinances. At last she became so ill that she was unable to speak. They became frightened, then, lest she would die and the Church members would learn of their refusal to baptize her. They took her to the font. They had to carry her into the font on a sheet. She was baptized and walked out healed.

Some time after this she became acquainted with a man named John Thomas Prows. He had been through all the trials and hardships of being driven from place to place with the Church. His wife had died, leaving him with a large family of thirteen children. The older children were gown, but some of the younger ones were sick and needed a mother's care. She married this man and went to live in his home and care for his family.

He had a comfortable home. The house was guilt of brick and was new, as were most of the houses in Nauvoo, and it was well furnished. John Thomas Prows was a hard worker and a good provider, but to her great disappointment, she found he was not true to the faith and was on the verge of apostacy. He refused to pay tithing or donations to the Church.

At that time they were trying to finish the Temple. She was so anxious to help that she carded and spun wool on shares to get yarn which she knitted into socks and donated to the Temple building. She had to do this unknown to her husband.

When she was settled in her won home she brought her own little girl home to live, but Betsy had been favored too much and could not get along with the other children, so she had to let her go back to the Henricksons. She grew up to care more for them than her own mother.

On the 7th of October 1843, a little son was born to her. They named him Alvin, which was the name of one of Charity's brothers. Alvin was always a frail child, but had a sympathetic, helpful nature.

The next June after Alvin's birth came the terrible martyrdom of the Prophet, Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum. The saints were grief stricken. They had never thought his life would be taken. He had escaped so many times. They thought he would always be protected.

Then there arose the great controversy among the leaders of the Church as to who would be leader. Charity attended the afternoon meeting which was held in the Grove on the 8th of August, 1844. When Brigham Young arose to speak, Charity exclaimed, "Oh ! There is Brother Joseph !" for he looked like and spoke with the voice of Joseph Smith, their martyred leader. A woman sitting next to her said, "Where? I don't see him." Charity observed that this woman afterward left the Church as did most of those in that congregation who did not witness the transfiguration of Brigham Young.

For awhile after Brigham Young had been chosen to lead the Church everything was quiet. The enemy, seeing that the death of the Prophet had not destroyed the Church became more active in their persecutions.

In the autumn of 1845, Charity gave birth to a baby girl, Sarah Jane, but it died soon after birth.

The persecution of the Saints continued and they were told to get ready to leave Nauvoo. Then came another test of Charity's faith. Thomas Prows told her that he had followed the Church as long as he was going to. If she were determined to go with the Church, she must go along. This grieved her very much, because she did not wish to separate from her husband, yet she could not give up her testimony of the Gospel for which had had sacrificed so much.

They stayed in Nauvoo until it was unsafe for them to stay longer. Then they left, taking with them only a very few necessities, leaving everything else to the merciless mob; not everything, though for before leaving, Charity took the axe, broker her rocking chair to pieces and threw it on the fire and burned it saying: If I cannot have this chair no one else shall sit in it !"

Charity took her own little boy and the two youngest children of her husband, for they were too young to be without a mother.

She went with two other families with one wagon to Council Bluffs, a distance of 240 miles and walked all the way.
Thomas Prows took his other children and went down the Mississippi River to Cincinnati. William Prows, the oldest son of Thomas Prows, remained loyal to the Church. He had gone to Council bluffs with another company and had promised to help charity when she arrived, but when she reached there, he had enlisted in the Mormon Battalion and was ready to leave.

Charity stayed in Council Bluffs that winter. It was a hard winter. Food was scarce and houses were poor. There was much sickness and suffering among the people. She lived in a house with two other families. They all cooked over the same dire and sometimes were in one another way. One impatient woman pushed Alvin out of her way, and he fell into a large kettle of hot mush. His legs were badly burned and he was helpless for a long time.

One morning in early spring Charity was surprised to see her husband there. He told her he had made up his mind to go with the Saints on their journey to the West, and begged her to go down into Missouri with him, where he could get work and get enough money to take them to the valley. She was very happy and willingly went with him to Jackson county. He found work and everything seemed to be going well. She soon found however that she had been deceived. He had taken her to Missouri thinking that if he got her away from the church she would go with him. She felt that she could not do that, for it meant as much to her as it always had.

He then tried to force her to stay with him by selling all of her belongings, even her feather bed. When he found she remained loyal to the church he went and found the cow he had sold and returned it to her. He then obtained passage on a flat boat for himself and his family. She begged him to leave her the two little boys, but he refused. As the boat was leaving, she could hear the two little boys crying for her. Her own little boy stood on the bank crying for a new hat like theirs.

She never saw Thomas Prows nor his children again. He made his way to California where he spent the rest of his life. Many years after, one of the little boys, Alma, then an old man, came to Utah. He asked if anyone had a picture of Charity. He said, "I would give anything for a picture of her. She was the only mother I ever knew and she was a wonderful mother!" but a portrait of her and never been taken.

Her husband left her in very destitute circumstances. She had to move out the house she was living in and had no place to go. On a bleak hill, not far away was an old log house. It was open and had no chinking between the logs. Into this she moved her few belongings. She went to work again as a tailoress, and was paid in corn and fodder, which she piled up on the inside of the room to keep out the cold, and to be used also to feed her cow. One Sunday morning in late autumn, she was startled to be called out by a man who had ridden up on a horse. His language was very rough. He took an oath and asked her why she was living there. He said it was no place for a woman to live.

She was frightened because this was the same country that the Saints had once been driven out of by rough men. He told her to get ready for he was going to move her the next day. He moved her down to a comfortable room in one of his houses where another family was living. He told the other renter to see that she had wood to burn to pay for his rent. She never saw the man again, but she was very grateful for his kindness.

Here in this house on the 15th day of December, 1847, a little girl was born to her. An old lady attended her and was very kind to her. To her was given the privilege of naming the baby, and she named her Mary Jane. As for regular care, she had very little. The people in the other part of the house took care of her cow and baked her bread, but the woman was so jealous because she was getting free rent, that she refused to do more than that. Alvin was four years old and he could keep the fire going and carry water in a little pail from a spring outside the door. He stayed by her and helped her. She had to put away soiled clothing until she could get up and wash it herself.

The baby's clothes were made mostly from some flannel shirts that she had slipped away while packing her husband's clothes when he left.

Charity stayed there that winter and in the spring she managed some way to get back to Council bluffs where the saints were. She lived in a house that belonged to man named John Nichols. Her daughter, Betsey, still lived with the Hendricksons. Betsey later married this John Nicholas.

Charity worked and saved her money. William Prows, who had gone with the Mormon Battalion sent her $40 as a loan. This she put with that she had saved and bought a team of oxen and a wagon with provisions to take her to the Valley, as the destination was then called. She started with a company which left in the early summer of 1849.

Charity had two heifers which she hitched with the two oxen to the wagon which carried her provisions and her two children. She walked all the way and drove the team. The journey was hard for her. The captain was angry because she came. He thought women should not try to come alone and he made it very disagreeable for her. She was not allowed to turn her cattle in with the herd because she had no one to stand guard so she had to take her chance on the cattle straying away to be stolen by the Indians. The captain often scolded and accused her of delaying the train because sometimes it was very difficult to get her teams driven in and yolked with only a little boy to help her.

Once she said, "Never mind, Captain, I shall reach the Valley before you do !" Of course the captain thought that was a great joke. Her wagon was placed last the train. On one occasion it nearly proved disastrous for her.

A herd of buffalo was stampeding. They were coming right toward the train of wagons. The captain rode along the train and told them to hurry to get out of the way. She urged her team as much as she could, but oxen do not hurry. At last she saw it was of no use and stopped them. The wagon train went on. The buffalo came on with an awful roar and passed right through the gap she had made on the trail. After they had passed, men came running back to see what had become of her. They expected to find her killed, which would have been the case if she had not stopped her wagon, for the last wagon in the train was trampled to the ground, but it was a supply wagon and no one was hurt.

She always had perfect faith that the Lord would protect her if she did her duty. On one occasion cholera had broken out in camp. The only son of a widow had become ill. Their wagon had been driven away from the company. The boy died and the mother was told to prepare the body for burial. No one was allowed to go near the wagon. Charity had such sympathy for the mother that she went and helped her prepare the body. She was very careful to not carry the disease to her children, but the next day she became ill with it herself. The only drug she had was some camphor gum dissolved in liquor which she used to smell when she had a headache. She took sips of this during the day and sat on the wagon tongue to ride. It was the only time she rode during her journey. By night, she seemed to have recovered and no one ever knew she had had cholera.

In the same company crossing the plains were two non-Mormons who were going to California. She washed and baked bread for these men. The money she received for this was a great help to her when she arrived in the Valley. They hunted a great deal as they traveled along and often gave her meat which she "jerked", which means that she cut it into strips and dipped it into brine and hung it inside the wagon on the bows to dry as they traveled along. By the time she reached the Valley, she had several sacks of dried meat which helped out a great deal with the food.

The children grew tired of riding. Alvin could walk, but Mary Jane was too young. Sometimes she climbed up on the side of the wagon box. Once they went down into a creek. The wagon struck the bottom with a jolt and Mary Jane fell head first into the water. She was not injured, only frightened and well soaked.

After many weary miles of travel they reached the Valley in the autumn of 1849. The last night of their encampment some trouble arose in the camp. In the morning the captain was delayed in making a start. Charity and some of the others who were ready thought it no use to wait so they started on. She reached the Valley several hours before the captain thus fulfilling her own prophecy.

She sold her oxen and wagon and bought a lot in the Eleventh Ward. It was located on the Emigrant road where the children often climbed up on the fence and watched the long emigrant trains come down the hill and go past the fence.

The first winter in Salt Lake Valley was very hard. Food was scarce and what little there was was very expensive. Many people had to dig roots and boil rawhide for food.

The same year that Charity came to Salt Lake Valley, there was a Welsh emigrant named William Lewis who came with the George H. Smith company. He was a very refined scholarly man, and was later known among his acquaintances as "The Welsh Poet". He was a widower, his wife having died in Wales. He and Charity became acquainted and married in 1850. He was a stone mason. He helped to build the wall around the Temple block, also the Salt Lake theatre and many other buildings of early days in Salt Lake City. He built an adobe house on the lot Charity had bought. Records tell us that he was the first Ward Clerk in the Tenth Ward. He was kind to Charity's children, and learned to love him very much.

On the 21st of August 1851, a little girl was born to them. She was named Lemira in honor of one of her mother's aunts. It was a family name, coming from their French ancestors. Lemira was a frail child from birth, and had to be fed from a bottle, which in those days was often a serious task. She had blue eyes like her mother, but dark wavy hair like her Welsh father.

About this time there was a movement in the church regarding Temple marriages and sealings. The question arose as to whom Charity should be sealed when they could do their temple work. William Lewis wanted her sealed to him, but she felt it was her duty to be sealed to her first husband, Joshua Everts.

They disagreed very much about this. She advised him to marry a plural wife whom he could have sealed to him. He married Ann Joseph Evans, a young Welsh woman. Charity gave her half of the house and divided her belongs with her. As time went on there was more trouble. He finally refused to provide for her and the children if she would not be sealed to him She went to President Young for advice. He advised her to take her children and go down to Fillmore where her daughter Betsey and her husband had located, with a company that was leaving soon. He promised her that she would never want for bread.

She sold her home and bought a team and wagon and once more began a journey alone. Alvin was nine years old. Mary Jane was five, and Lemira was a year old. This was in the autumn of 1852 and the weather was cold. A doctor friend of hers told her that she would never be able to take the frail little baby on a journey like that; that she would not get ten miles on the way until she would have to bring her back to bury her.

Charity made a bed in a basket and hung it to the bows of the wagon for the baby to lie in. She swung there in the basket and grew stronger every day as the wagon jolted along. When they reached Fillmore, the people there were all living in a fort, so they, like all the others, lived there also.

On the 25th of March 1853, Charity gave birth to a baby boy. She named him Joshua. He was a very delicate baby and did not live.

While living in Fillmore, she had many experience of frontier life.

Family Members





  • Maintained by: SMSmith
  • Originally Created by: Utah State Historical Society
  • Added: 2 Feb 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 69318
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Charity Arms Everts (19 Mar 1811–12 Mar 1883), Find A Grave Memorial no. 69318, citing Oak City Cemetery, Oak City, Millard County, Utah, USA ; Maintained by SMSmith (contributor 46491005) .