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Elizabeth Briggs Stephens 1812-1886

Elizabeth Briggs Stephens

Born: May 9, 1812 at Bladden, Rowan (later Davidson) County, North Carolina

Died: March 12, 1886 at Ogden, Weber, Utah

Compiled by Lucy Brown Archer

Elizabeth Briggs was born in Rowan County, North Carolina on May 9, 1812 to John Lemuel Briggs (1787-1877) and Constance Peacock Briggs (1789-1877). Her paternal grandparents were James Briggs and Ann Collins. On the maternal Peacock line her grandfather was Samuel Peacock and grandmother was Leah Jones.

John Stephens and Constance Peacock Briggs
John Lemuel Briggs (1787-1877) and Constance Peacock Briggs (1789-1877)
Right Click mouse on image to view enlarged photo

The earliest that is known of the Stephens family is in about 1750. They were then located in Fayetteville, in the central part of North Carolina, somewhere near the Yonkers River on the east side. Others settled in Salisbury, on the west side of the Yonkers River. They stayed in or near this place until the migration of the eastern people started into the Ohio Valley in the 1800's. This is true of the Briggs, Pincocks, Garners, Williams and Rileys. These people were closely associated with each other, especially in inter marriage.

Around 1830 her parents, with several other families, the Garners, the Cutlers, the Raymonds, the Stephens, moved to Brown County, Illinois. Among them was the Alexander and Mary Daley Stephens family. Elder John {Jacob) Foutz brought the Gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to these families and several became converted. Among them was John Stephens and Elizabeth Briggs. John Stephens was baptized by the Prophet Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith confirmed him. Elizabeth was baptized about 1840.

She married John Stephens who was born 31 March 1811 at Rowan County, North Carolina. His father was Alexander Stephens, 1775-1824, his mother was Mary Polly Daily born 19 November 1787- died 1824. His paternal grandfather was Richard Stephens (1750-1829), his grandmother was Martha Robards or (Roberts), 1755-1825. His maternal grandparents were William Daly of Ireland (1850-c1840) and Mary Palmer (1857-1819) of England. William came to America when a small boy with his brother Charles Daily/Daley/Daly.

John Stephens and Elizabeth Briggs were married on May 1st, 1833 in Illinois. They were endowed 6 February 1846 in Nauvoo. The date of endowment being 6 February 1846 it is near certain they were endowed in the Nauvoo temple, before their exodus Nauvoo. They became the parents of twelve children.

During the early days of the church persecution was poured on the saints by mobs and wicked men. The Prophet Joseph made the statement, "That the Saints would continue to be persecuted or lose their lives, and would finally be driven to the Rocky Mountains." He also said some of them would live to help build cities in the midst of the Rocky Mountains. Grandmother's family lived to see this prophecy fulfilled.  The church had grown to an estimated 20,000 attendance at a conference in April 1844. Some of the saints had left the church and were more wicked in their mobbings and persecutions than the enemy from without.

In July 1846 the Stephens family like many others felt they could endure the persecutions no longer, they were driven out of their Illinois home along with the rest of the Saints. So with their 7 children, then in the family, left with all their earthly possessions in one wagon drawn by 1 yoke of oxen, left Nauvoo and went to Missouri where they stayed with Elizabeth's Uncle Phillip Briggs', who gave her husband work. Which helped them through the winter.

In 16 March 1847, Elizabeth gave birth to her 8th baby, a son, whom they called Thomas Jefferson Stephens.  Soon afterwards they moved to Council Bluffs, Iowa. There they took up a piece of land and stayed there and farmed for 4 years. They raised crops for other Saints and made preparation for their own journey to the Salt Lake Valley.

While in Council Bluffs the children old enough went to school. The teachers were Mrs. Garlick and John Baker. On the September 1, 1849 another daughter, Constance Ann Stephens, was born. On the 1st or 7th of September 1850 Solomon Clinton Stephens was born in Council Bluffs. She must have surely had a wonderful testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to have laid down her life again, 3 times, on the alter to bring these three little ones into the world after their exodus form Nauvoo. She was a stocky heavyset woman, but truly a wonderful mother. She had gone into the valley of the shadow of death 10 times, and was yet to bring more children into the world.

They had twelve children:.

1. James Otha Stephens Born 1 May 1834 Brown County, Illinois
2. David Henderson Stephens Born 22 October 1835 Brown County, Illinois
3. John Cornelius Stephens Born 4 July 1837 Brown County, Illinois
4. Almire Caroline Stephens Born 17 February 1839 Brown County, Illinois
5. Alexander Nephi Stephens Born 11 December 1840 Brown County, Illinois
6. Daniel Monroe Stephens Born 4 October 1842 Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois
7. Elizabeth Jane Stephens Born 14 March 1845 Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois
8. Thomas Jefferson Stephens Born 16 March 1847 Missouri
9. Constance Ann Stephens Born 17 February 1849 Council Bluffs, Iowa
10. Solomon Clinton Stephens Born 7 September 1850 Council Bluffs, Iowa
11. William Jesse Stephens (twin) Born 1 April 1853 Ogden, Utah
12. George Washington Stephens (twin) (George died the day of birth, 1 April 1853)

In 1851 they started for the Salt Lake Valley with a large group of Saints. They traveled in the Bates Company (John Brown Company) Orson Pratt was also in the Bates Company. Elizabeth's husband was appointed captain over 10 families; they had many, many hardships during their long journey. They traveled with two wagons and two yoke of oxen. Can we, who are living in the lap of luxury, as a result of their faith and courage, imagine making the long journey from Nauvoo with 7 children and then having three more children en route, making it a family of 10 children, Father and mother, and having only two wagons and two yoke of oxen. Making the trip that they might take up their lives in this new strange land, where they could worship their God as the chose. Further information in the journey is given in the sketch of her husband, John Stephens.

They suffered many hardships during their long trek across the plains. They traveled with two wagons and two yoke of oxen they were in the Bates Company. Before reaching. Independence Rock their 10 families were about one day's drive ahead of the main company and brother Woodward's wagon was about a mile behind the rest, when they camped for the night. So John Stephens and his son James Otha Stephens went back to help them, and found about 50 Crow Indians surrounding the wagon taking what they wanted. Grandfather told them to leave things alone. Brother Woodward drove one wagon with the Indians following. One going arm in arm with grandfather and one with James Otha, and they went on to camp.

One of the Indians went to one side and fired his gun as a sign of peace. They came to camp with them for the night; but not knowing what they might do during the night and knowing Allred's company had camped at Independence Rock. Henry Boley and some others were sent back for help to move their camp. The Indians broke camp and were never seen again.

While at Independence Rock, there were many men and boys that went into some caves and found the names of the Saints who had passed before who had written on the walls. The next day they continued their journey and had no trouble until they reached South Pass in Echo Canyon. There was terrible hail and a windstorm. They had to unhitch their oxen and they stampeded. It took all the next day to find and bring them back.

They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on October 4, 1851 and stayed with John Stephen's brother, Alexander Stephens, until after conference. Then they went on to Brownsville (later renamed Ogden) area and stayed with a brother-in-law, Captain James Brown. They bought two city lots from James Brown in the Spring of 1852. There was a one-room log cabin on it so they built another and were very comfortable. The same year they rented a piece of land from Captain Brown near the Weber River, now 24th Street. Elizabeth had, like all the pioneer women of her day learned to card, spin, and weave the wool. She taught her three daughters how to weave and to sew and to make their families clothing. They made their candles, cooked over the fireplace and had the bare necessities. Whatever they had they shared with others. John began a farm in Birch Creek where he farmed and they raised their family. Years later they made three large reservoirs and stored water for irrigation.

Elizabeth gave birth to twin sons the 1st of April 1853. These children being born two years after they arrived in the valley. The babies were William Jesse and George Washington. George died the day of birth.

In the Spring of 1855, grandfather and his cousin, Phillip Garner, took up farms south of Ogden. They suffered with all others in the Valley the hard winters of 1855 and 1856. When their cattle froze and starved to death, everyone had to eat the flesh of their frozen cattle to maintain life.

Other hardships befell them. In 1857 President Young called out the Militia to go to Echo Canyon to help keep the army from coming into the valley. Grandfather and their son, James Otha Stephens, went and stayed until Johnston's army were snowed in for the winter. Their son, Alexander Nephi Stephens, was called to help guard Lost Creek, to keep the soldiers from entering that way. They had to leave their farm right after planting crops because of Johnston's Army. While they were gone it rained several times during the summer and when they returned they were able to harvest a good crop. They even sold much of their grain to Johnston's army.

In 1858, President Young called the Saints to move south, to Spanish Fork. They made six trips with one wagon and two yoke of oxen. Three of the older boys were left to guard the place and burn everything that would burn, if it were necessary, so the country would be as barren as when they found it. In the fall they returned home, having traveled 1200 miles with 1 wagon and 2 yoke of oxen.

In 1860 and 1861 they lived on 25th Street where they had a home.

In 1870 an epidemic of small pox swept over the valley and many of the community were stricken and died. So terrible was the epidemic that rows of tents were put east of the city. Those that were ill were taken there to be cared for. John Stephens was among the dead. He died 3 December 1870 and was buried in the Ogden City Cemetery. Elizabeth was 58 years old at this time. They were living on Grant and 25th Street at this time, and after John died, some of the sons continued with the farming in Birch Creek. Elizabeth taught her sons the value of work and they always provided well for their families. Her daughters also grew up to be women of great faith. Elizabeth and her husband John figured prominently in the settling of the south end of Ogden, Utah. Elizabeth lived until 16 March 1886, passing away in Ogden, Utah on that date, at the age of 73. She had to be a woman with much endurance to have endured the trials of those early Saints, and raising such a fine family who were some of the early settlers of Weber County.

Elizabeth passed away in Ogden, Weber County, Utah on Mary 13, 1886 at the age of 73.


Ogden City Cemetery

OGDEN DAILY HERALD - Tuesday March 23, 1886.

Funeral Services over the remains of Sister Elizabeth [Briggs] Stephens [daughter of John and Constant Briggs and widow of John Stephens] were held in the First Ward Schoolhouse March 15, 1886. Counselor James Burch presiding. J.T. Coleman sang: "Creation Speaks with awful voice." Prayer by Elder Moroni Brown. The choir then sang: "Sister thou wast mild and lovely." Father Wm. Crithclow was the first speaker. He had been intimately acquainted with the deceased, who came to Utah some 35 years since, the same year as he, the speaker, did. Our sister has accomplished the measure of her creation; she was the mother of nine sons and three daughters, to who she always gave the best advice. She left the place of her nativity because she was not permitted to live up to her religion among her sectarian friends and cast her lot among those who were despised and cared not for the frown of the ungodly, because she had an abiding testimony that the work was of God. She lived and died in full faith of the Gospel.

Counselor F. Garner, Elder George R. Hill, Prest. C.F. Middleton and Counselor Jas. Burch in turn addressed the congregation exhorting all to imitate her virtues and be faithful as she has been that it might be said of them as it is now said of her: She has been faithful to her covenants. True to her brethern, true to her children, true to her companion, and true to her God. The choir sang: "Unveil thy bosom faithful tomb, Take the new treasure to they trust.

Benediction by Elder L [or Q or D.] Rudd. The remains were followe to their last resting place by a large number of friends and mourners.


Elizabeth [Briggs] Stephens, daughter of John and Constance Briggs, was born in Rowan County, North Carolina, May 9, 1812. She migrated from there in the year 1852, and settled in Brown County, Illinois, and the following year was married to John Stephens who was one fo the company from N.C., and they together cleared up a farm and made a home. About the time of the expulsion of the Saints from Missouri an Elder by the name of Jacob Foutz came in the neighborhood preaching the Gospel of Christ. Sister Stephens lent a willing ear, and soon after, her husband and herself were baptized, and selling our their home, they gathered to Nauvoo with the Saints and there passed through the trials and persecutions that the Saints endured. They helped to rear the Temple and in it received their endowments. In Nauvoo they made another home, and at the time of the expulsion of the Saints from that city they took and left their home once more to find another among the savages in the Rocky Mountains, all because they had been dealed the right to worship God according to their own consciences in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Stopping at ta small town in Iowa, called Ganesville, they made another temporary home; and in the year 1851 again took up their journey westward, landing in Ogden City. Sister Stephens's husband died of smallpox in 1870. They had prviously been united for time and eternity.

She died March 13th 1886, and was 73 years 10 months and 4 days old whenshe died. She leaves 8 sons and three daughters to mourn her loss also one son dad. To them she was always a kind and loving mother, ever watchful of them giving them a mother's good and wise counsel. She leaves 76 grandchldren, 54 living, 13 great-grandchildren, 12 living.

In her sickness and death she was surrounded by her children and the exception of two who were in Bear Lake Valley at the time to even see he consigned to her last resting place. May God bless her family and help them to emulate her many virtues.


PAF - Archer files = Captain James Brown + (1) Martha Stephens Brown < Alexander Stephens + Mary Polly Daley ;

Martha Stephens/ and Elizabeth Stephens' brother > John Stephens + Elizabeth Briggs.

"Pioneer Women of Faith and Fortitude" DUP Volume IV, Page 2926.

Some story details from Laura E. Stephens Grand-daughter in-law, see at Spackman Family Histories http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~bspackman/histories/ElizabethBriggs.htm and from Martha May Stephen Steimle Book of Remembrance Taken from her Book of Remembrance that she gave to me her granddaughter Joy LaVern Porter Sabin. My grandmother Martha May Stephen Steimle first child was my mother LaVern Steimle Porter.

Copyright 2001 www.OrsonPrattBrown.org



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... Published March 2009:
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... Published 2012:
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... Lily Gonzalez Brown 80th Birthday Party-Reunion
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...... Wives and 35 Children Photo Chart
...... Chronology
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...... Letters


...... Biographical Sketch of the Life Orson Pratt Brown
...... History of Orson Pratt Brown by Orson P. Brown
...... Journal & Reminiscences of Capt. Orson P. Brown
...... Memories of Orson P. Brown by C. Weiler Brown
...... Orson Pratt Brown by "Hattie" Critchlow Jensen
...... Orson Pratt Brown by Nelle Spilsbury Hatch
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- Captain James Brown 1801-1863

...... Wives and 29 / 43 Children Photo Chart
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...... Brown's Fort ~ then Brownsville, Utah
...... Chronology of Captain James Brown

- Phebe Abbott Brown Fife 1831-1915

- Colonel William Nicol Fife - Stepfather 1831-1915


- James Brown of Rowan County, N.C. 1757-1823

- Mary Williams of Rowan County, N.C. 1760-1832

- Stephen Joseph Abbott of, PA 1804-1843

- Abigail Smith of Williamson, N.Y. 1806-1889

- John Fife of Tulliallan, Scotland 1807-1874

- Mary Meek Nicol, Carseridge, Scotland 1809-1850 


- Martha "Mattie" Diana Romney Brown 1870-1943

- Jane "Jennie" Bodily Galbraith Brown 1879-1944

- Elizabeth Graham MacDonald Webb Brown 1874-1904

- Eliza Skousen Brown Abbott Burk 1882-1958

- Angela Maria Gavaldón Brown 1919-1967


- (Martha) Carrie Brown (child) 1888-1890

- (Martha) Orson Pratt Brown, Jr. (child) 1890-1892

- (Martha) Ray Romney Brown 1892-1945

- (Martha) Clyde Romney Brown 1893-1948

- (Martha) Miles Romney Brown 1897-1974

- (Martha) Dewey B. Brown 1898-1954

- (Martha) Vera Brown Foster Liddell Ray 1901-1975

- (Martha) Anthony Morelos Brown 1904-1970

- (Martha) Phoebe Brown Chido Gardiner 1906-1973

- (Martha) Orson Juarez Brown 1908-1981

- (Jane) Ronald Galbraith Brown 1898-1969

- (Jane) Grant "Duke" Galbraith Brown 1899-1992

- (Jane) Martha Elizabeth Brown Leach Moore 1901-1972

- (Jane) Pratt Orson Galbraith Brown 1905-1960

- (Jane) William Galbraith Brown (child) 1905-1912

- (Jane) Thomas Patrick Porfirio Diaz Brown 1907-1978

- (Jane) Emma Jean Galbraith Brown Hamilton 1909-1980

- (Elizabeth) (New born female) Webb 1893-1893

- (Elizabeth) Elizabeth Webb Brown Jones 1895-1982

- (Elizabeth) Marguerite Webb Brown Shill 1897-1991

- (Elizabeth) Donald MacDonald Brown 1902-1971

- (Elizabeth) James Duncan Brown 1904-1943

- (Eliza) Gwen Skousen Brown Erickson Klein 1903-1991

- (Eliza) Anna Skousen Brown Petrie Encke 1905-2001

- (Eliza) Otis Pratt Skousen Brown 1907-1987

- (Eliza) Orson Erastus Skousen Brown (infant) 1909-1910

- (Eliza) Francisco Madera Skousen Brown 1911-1912

- (Eliza) Elizabeth Skousen Brown Howell 1914-1999

- (Angela) Silvestre Gustavo Brown 1919-

- (Angela) Bertha Erma Elizabeth Brown 1922-1979

- (Angela) Pauly Gabaldón Brown 1924-1998

- (Angela) Aaron Aron Saul Brown 1925

- (Angela) Mary Angela Brown Hayden Green 1927

- (Angela) Heber Jedediah Brown (infant) 1936-1936

- (Angela) Martha Gabaldón Brown Gardner 1940


- Stephen Abbott Brown 1851-1853

- Phoebe Adelaide Brown Snyder 1855-1930

- Cynthia Abigail Fife Layton 1867-1943

- (New born female) Fife 1870-1870

- (Toddler female) Fife 1871-1872


- (Martha Stephens) John Martin Brown 1824-1888

(Martha Stephens) Alexander Brown 1826-1910

(Martha Stephens) Jesse Stowell Brown 1828-1905

- (Martha Stephens) Nancy Brown Davis Sanford 1830-1895

(Martha Stephens) Daniel Brown 1832-1864

(Martha Stephens) James Moorhead Brown 1834-1924

(Martha Stephens) William Brown 1836-1904

(Martha Stephens) Benjamin Franklin Brown 1838-1863

(Martha Stephens) Moroni Brown 1838-1916

- (Susan Foutz) Alma Foutz Brown (infant) 1842-1842

- (Esther Jones) August Brown (infant) 1843-1843

- (Esther Jones) Augusta Brown (infant) 1843-1843

- (Esther Jones) Amasa Lyman Brown (infant) 1845-1845

- (Esther Jones) Alice D. Brown Leech 1846-1865

- (Esther Jones) Esther Ellen Brown Dee 1849-1893

- (Sarah Steadwell) James Harvey Brown 1846-1912

- (Mary McRee) George David Black 1841-1913

- (Mary McRee) Mary Eliza Brown Critchlow1847-1903

- (Mary McRee) Margaret Brown 1849-1855

- (Mary McRee) Mary Brown Edwards Leonard 1852-1930

- (Mary McRee) Joseph Smith Brown 1856-1903

- (Mary McRee) Josephine Vilate Brown Newman 1858-1917

- (Phebe Abbott) Stephen Abbott Brown (child) 1851-1853

- (Phebe Abbott) Phoebe Adelaide Brown 1855-1930

- (Cecelia Cornu) Charles David Brown 1856-1926

- (Cecelia Cornu) James Fredrick Brown 1859-1923

- (Lavinia Mitchell) Sarah Brown c. 1857-

- (Lavinia Mitchell) Augustus Hezekiah Brown c. 1859


- (Diane Davis) Sarah Jane Fife White 1855-1932

- (Diane Davis) William Wilson Fife 1857-1897

- (Diane Davis) Diana Fife Farr 1859-1904

- (Diane Davis) John Daniel Fife 1863-1944

- (Diane Davis) Walter Thompson Fife 1866-1827

- (Diane Davis) Agnes Ann "Aggie" Fife 1869-1891

- (Diane Davis ) Emma Fife (child) 1871-1874

- (Diane Davis) Robert Nicol Fife (infant) 1873-1874

- (Diane Davis) Barnard Fife (infant) 1881-1881

- (Cynthia Abbott) Mary Lucina Fife Hutchins 1868-1950

- (Cynthia Abbott) Child Fife (infant) 1869-1869

- (Cynthia Abbott) David Nicol Fife 1871-1924

- (Cynthia Abbott) Joseph Stephen Fife (child) 1873-1878

- (Cynthia Abbott) James Abbott Fife (infant) 1877-1878


- (Diana) Caroline Lambourne 18461979

- (Diana)  Miles Park Romney 1843-1904

- (Jane) Emma Sarah Bodily 1858-1935

- (Jane) William Wilkie Galbraith 1838-1898

- (Elizabeth) Alexander F. Macdonald 1825-1903

- (Elizabeth) Elizabeth Atkinson 1841-1922

- (Eliza) Anne Kirstine Hansen 1845-1916

- (Eliza) James Niels Skousen 1828-1912

- (Angela) Maria Durán de Holguin 1876-1955

- (Angela) José Tomás Gabaldón 1874-1915












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