Isaac Campkin and Martha Webb history

(Isaac was the son of Stephen Campkin and Rebecca Puter [Pewter]. Martha Webb Campkin was the daughter of DeGrasse Webb and Mary Jackson. Her second marriage was to Thomas Young.)

This Information was originally prepared by Ida Young Thorne. Comments in [] are also taken from the account of Martha A. Merrell, daughter of Isaac Campkin and Martha Webb Campkin, and Clarice Y. Whitesides. Keith Young, Editor.

The name Campkin is an unusual one. Ida Thorne found sixteen different spellings. When she did the original research, the name was unusual enough that the church allowed them to do temple work for anyone with the name. In 1941 by correspondence to England, regarding the Kelly Directorate of 1904, she found a Walter Charles Campkin but he could find no ancestor in common. The parish records were said to have been destroyed by fire. New information was received in September 1989 when D. V. Campkin of England visited Utah. The information is in the genealogical section.

Isaac Campkin was born in Melbourne, Cambridgeshire, England on 1 April 1823. He was the son of Stephen and Rebecca Puter Campkin, the third son and sixth child in a family of ten. The children were Emma, George, Ambrose, Livisey, Issac, Josiah, Susannah, Livisey Ann, and Samuel. Their parents seemed to follow a custom used at that time to quite an extent, that when one baby died in infancy as so many did, another baby was given the same name, so there were two Emmas in this family, one Livisey, and one Livisey Ann.

Little is known of Issac's childhood and youth but his father was a boot and shoe maker and no doubt he and his elder brother, George, assisted their father and learned the trade. Both were also successful boot and shoe makers in their mature years. When Issac was 20, he married Martha Webb, daughter of DeGrasse and Mary Jackson Webb.

Martha was born in Littlington, Cambridgeshire, England 11 Oct 1820. She was the eighth child in a family of twelve composed of six sons and six daughters. Isaac and Martha moved from place to place [based on birthplaces of children] as they raised their family of two sons and four daughters. The first two were born in Wellingborough, Northampshire, Wilfred on the 25 of December 1847 and Rebecca 27 June 1849. The third child, Francessa, was born at Melbourne, her father's birthplace.

The family moved to Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, where they were located for a few years. This town is about 40 miles north of London. Bedford was the home of John Bunyon who wrote Pilgrims Progress. It had then about 3,000 inhabitants with two or three chemist shops [drug stores], meat, and grocery shops, shoe shops, a carriage shop or livery stable, and the parish church. It was the business center for much of the surrounding country. Isaac established his shoe shop, making the best and finest of shoes and boots. Martha assisted him with the lining and binding, and on occasions hired a wet nurse to care for her babies while she did so.

It was probably in Biggleswade that their second child, Rebecca, died of the dread disease, diphtheria, on 21 April 1852 at the age of three. On 23 May, Harriet was born there as were Martha and James.

A description from Lewis' Topographical Dictionary states that Biggleswade is a market town, had a parish church, and was the head of a Union. It is in the County of Bedsford and 45 miles north-northwest from London on the road to York and ten miles east of Bedford. The town was famous for white thread, lace, edgings, and plating straw for straw hats. Fine shoes and work boots are made there. Ida Y. Thorne's son, Wynn, who visited there on a mission, said it was a quiet country town with narrow streets but it was not on a principal highway. The old parish church was very impressive. The church yard had rows of weather beaten, dilapidated tombstones and graves around it. Farms, almost always green, with green hedges for fences surrounded the town.

Church records show that Isaac was baptized and became a church member 17 Nov. 1850. We have been told from then on he was a strict observer of the Word of Wisdom, though previously he had not been.

While they lived in Biggleswade, he was a traveling elder and visited nearby branches. Occasionally Martha accompanied him. She was described as a quiet dressy little woman and he was a genial, tall, good looking man, a good singer, and a public speaker. Isaac was fond of hunting and outdoor sports. He brought some of his guns with him to America. He thought he could enjoy the sport when he reached the West.

A young man who knew them at that time related this interesting event to members of the family many years later. He said, "Brother and Sister Campkin and I were members of the same Branch in Bedfordshire, England. One day in one of our meetings in the winter of 1855, Brother Campkin, spoke with the gift of tongues, and Brother Sears gave the interpretation. One part of it was that some in that branch would go to Zion in the spring. Later Brother Campkin said that he had no thought of going that soon." Yet, Isaac did begin to make preparations, and disposed of his shop and home. His family with five small children set sail from Liverpool 18 Feb. 1856 in the ship Caravan. [Note by using birth dates, the children ranged in age from six months to 8.5 years.] There were 454 saints on board under the direction of Daniel Tyler. Thomas Young was on the same ship. They were five weeks on the ocean and arrived in New York 27 March where a great disappointment awaited this little family.

Before leaving home in England, an elder who had been performing a mission there approached Isaac for a loan of some money to assist some families to immigrate. Isaac loaned the elders the sum of $600. which the elders faithfully promised to return either by sending it to church headquarters in New York or to be there with it when they arrived. The elders failed to do either and the $600. was never returned to the family. This amount would have defrayed all their expenses to Utah. [This loss reduced them from a middle class family status to one of near poverty.]

They journeyed to St Louis that was a gathering place for European Saints on their way to Utah. Just two years before this, there had been organized in St Louis a stake of Zion, the only one then existing outside of Utah. It consisted of six wards with a membership of 1820 persons.

The following is a slightly revised paragraph from the St Louis Luminary, a small LDS paper dated 5 February 1855: St. Louis is a fine, large, and flourishing city and has been a gathering place for our people for 10 to 15 years. There are few public buildings of any consideration in this city that Latter Day Saints have not taken an active and prominent part in creating or ornamenting. The saints have taken or are taking an active part in establishing or sustaining, either as employers, as artisans, or as customers the few factories, foundries, or mercantile establishments [to be found here]. There is probably more business done in this city than any other of the same magnitude in the world. [There is] probably no city in the world where Latter Day Saints are more respected and where they may sooner obtain an outfit for Utah than in this city."

Isaac may have had the thought of establishing a shoe store here to replenish the funds lost by the Elder not returning the money he borrowed. We do know that Isaac's older brother, George, and his family had lived for a time here about ten years before this. Two of George's nine children were born in St. Louis, one on 2 Jan. 1845, and another on 16 Dec. 1846.

Isaac's plans for the future were sadly changed when he contracted a severe cold. This developed into pneumonia and in three days he passed away at the age of 30. He was buried in St. Louis. [Martha, his daughter, indicates that her father had smallpox before leaving England and had never felt well since.]

Now Martha with her five small children was left without a husband to protect and lead her and without the means they had saved and expected to have to take them to Zion. Friends urged her not to continue the journey this season. She was, however, determined to be united with the Saints of God as they had planned. Full of faith she journeyed on. At Iowa City, Iowa they became [Martha Campkin Merrell says they were assigned] members of Captain James A. Willie's handcart Company, the fourth and next to last company of the year 1856. The saints had no funds or places to live if they stayed there during the coming winter.

Captain Willie went to Martha and said, "You can't pull a hand-cart alone, and it will be useless for to think of going." Mother wouldn't give up the trip so a young man named Thomas Young who had come over on the same boat helped her somewhat. Thomas had promised her husband before he died that he would help take care of her. He drove for the Smoot wagon train that was three days behind until they reached the high country. Two young women, Emily and Julia Hill, helped Martha pull the cart and tend the family. Wilford, age nine, and Francessa, seven, walked most of the way while their mother walked much of the way. Martha had a big trunk that was carried in one of the wagons. She was allowed 17 lb. for each one of the six in the family. She was also allowed to ride in the wagon sometimes and hold her baby. [They arrived Nov. 9 in Salt Lake City and none of Martha's family died or lost limbs.]

They started west on July 15th. [Note that this was the same company described in Thomas Young's Autobiography. Since they were from the same area, came on the same ship, etc., Thomas knew the family. He was a youth of 19 and she of age 36 with five small children. It is believed Martha lived with Isaac's older brother George's family after arriving in the valley. Martha shared some of the fine linens she had cherished and brought from England with them.

Martha married Thomas in the spring of 1857, a year after their arrival in Utah. Tradition is that Thomas was asked to marry Martha and take care of the family by Brigham Young. He had worked for Brigham Young's son, Brigham H. Young. The wagon of A. O. Smoot that Thomas drove across the plains while he walked alongside is stated to have been a part of the handcart company in his Autobiography.]

A sister of Issac's, Emma Campkin Farrow, and a small son had left the other members of her family in England and had come to Salt Lake City. She lived in a small home near George.

Thomas Young helped Martha raise her family as related in his autobiography. Some description of the log house is given in his record. [Clarice remembers the four room log house that Martha and Thomas lived in as about 20 feet south and 100 ft. west of the new farm house where Thomas, Martha, and family lived. Harriet won the draw for the new house after the family was broken up by the polygamy decision and Martha drew the lot for the log home. The log home was torn down between 1931-1932. The logs were used to make the barns and corrals. The house had a large fireplace with the swing-over-the-fire cooking pots. Some were large copper pots. The pots could also be set on their three legs right down amid the coals. Wood was the usual fuel.]

[Benches were put on the east side of the house. Tubs were placed on the benches when needed so the men could wash up when they came from the fields. Wash water was placed on the benches on wash days. Much of the furniture went to the DUP in Brigham City. The bed was supported on three sides by log walls. The foundation rocks were used by Rose Young to build a rock garden and goldfish pond. The exterior of the log house was covered with boards and batten. There was a cellar to store fruit. A well west of Martha's house furnished both the old and the new house with water. It kept milk cool for the families until refrigerators came along.

Candle molds were used to make candles until kerosene lamps came. Martha had made straw hats in England. They had a straw making machine that Martha used in the old log house. Straw was collected, graded, split, and then rolled flat on the machine. The straws were braided with the chant, "Over one and under two, that's the way the braiders do." The braids were made into hats, and sewn by hand. The finished hats were bleached by burning sulphur in a container with the hats.

Wool was used for clothing. It was washed to remove oil and dirt, carded to remove the burrs, and get it into a batt form. It was then spun. It was said the women worked 12 hours a day spinning the wool. Long days were pretty standard on the farm for everyone in the summer. [DRoss Young has a pair of carding brushes. These were used by his Grandmother Atkinson when she came to visit us. Clarice and Velda each had quilts made with wool bats from wool that dad had sheared and mother had washed and carded. The bats were laid on top of the quilt, the quilt top cover was placed over the bats, and the whole was quilted by hand stitching in the patterns desired. Martha was a good cook and often fed travelers and haulers who stopped by. Thomas fed and watered their horses while Martha cooked.]

Martha had six children by Issac Campkin. Rebecca, their second child, died in England. Martha and Thomas had Fanny, Thomas Harvey, and Albert Herbert [Bert]. Many of the people came often to visit with the family and Clarice had known the large extended family quite well.

The oldest son, Wilford, married Katherine Russell and located on a little farm immediately north of his mother. They were parents of two daughters, Maggie and Retta, and one son. Maggie, born 6 November 1873, married Samuel Knight 10 February 1904 but died 8 Jan 1905. George Isaac Campkin was born 6 Nov 1875 and died 12 May 1883 in his youth. Martha Maritta known as Retta was born 29 August 1878 and was married 22 February 1899 to Thomas Rampton. She died 8 August 1963. Their father, Wilford, was accidently killed in January 1879 at the age of 32. [He was run over by a team of horses as he was taking a load of hay to market in the Town of Corinne.] Retta and Thomas Rampton's children are Ferna, Catherine, Doyle Henry, Maggie, Leone, and Jay T.

Francessa married her step-father's brother, James Young, and they settled north of Thomas in Perry. Francessa and James had six sons and three daughters.

Harriet married into polygamy and continued to live with her mother until Thomas had finished the new house. Harriet was the mother of three daughters and one son.

Martha Ann became the wife of Joseph Merrell and lived first at Plymouth, then in Brigham City, and later in Idaho. They were the parents of eight sons and five daughters. [Martha remembers that as a girl she had herded cows with her brother James. The Tippetts family lived across the lane. They had six girls and one boy. The children had many good times playing together.]

James Issac married his brother's widow, Katherine Russell and lived near his mother. [The tradition is that she followed the Old Testament customs of marriage.] They had one child, a son, James Moses, known as Jay Campkin. [Jay Campkin married Cleo Facer and had three children, Russell, Afton, and Devere.] James Isaac lived to his 90'S and is buried in the Brigham City Cemetary.

Martha was a quiet little woman, more given to working than talking and did not say very much about her early life. Someone seems to recall that she said Issac was of a jovial disposition and at times given to prank playing. Once he put a little water snake in her wash tub when she wasn't looking and awaited her reaction. He had been born on 1 April, "All Fool's Day" and perhaps decided he had to live up to that day's traditions.

Clarice remembers playing as a child in Martha's home. " With no one living there, the house was my playhouse for hours on end. The white top buggy was my chariot. I traveled far and wide in my imagination. The family had a stereoscope with post cards from all over the world. I could travel to all of the places in my chariot."

When Martha's husband, Thomas, bought the farm, the log home had two rooms with dirt floors and only boards for a roof that leaked when it rained. He put in wood floors, shingled the roof, and added two west bedrooms. The Northeast main room faced the street on the east and had a large fireplace. The room had a bed in the NW corner. The room also was used as the kitchen. The house was made of large logs chinked with plaster to make the walls weather tight. Later wooden boards were added to the outside in the style of boards and batten. This made the house warm and cozy. The walls were always kept in good repair to withstand the severe winter weather. Clarice, born 13 years after Martha died, remembers the exterior boards had by then weathered to a rich chestnut brown color. Uncle Bert, Martha's son, kept the house in good repair.

The main room of the house had a large walk in fireplace with a high mantle on the south wall. It took up the entire wall except for the opening into the south room. The large opening was well equipped with swing out hooks to hang kettles. Several three legged kettles of iron and brass were used. A grill structure was used to hold roasting and baking pans. Some years later, a small two lid stove was acquired. It was more efficient and didn't blacken the kettles. Rose Young later used it to heat wash water and did her washing in the old home with the new fangled hand-turned washing machine. The wringers were also hand powered. All agreed this was an improvement over the scrub board. Bruce Young now has the wood stove.

The south room was furnished with a large table, chairs, a trundle sofa, and pictures on the wall. An important feature of the kitchen was a large flour bin. It would hold several hundred pounds of flour. Rose moved it to the porch of the new house and used it for many years. A cupboard on the west wall held dishes, baking pans and milk processing utensils. The heavy treasured plates were purchased one by one from selling dried apples in Brigham City. Later they acquired a pie safe or a tin safe with door coverings made of thin tin with punched designs that allowed air to pass through.

The north rooms had a bed with three corners pegged into the walls for support. The free corner was supported by a large turned wooden post. The bed was made with woven rope to support the straw ticks. A bag large enough to cover the bed was filled with dried wild grass hay. Its softness and sweet smell made it much better than straw. A feather bed was placed on top of the hay mattress. The bed ticking was filled with soft downy feathers plucked from domestic chickens, wild geese, and ducks the men shot. It was the standard custom to fluff the feather tick and air it out each day. They are very warm to sleep in on cold nights.

The main house entrance was on the east with an adjoining window. The patio area near the door was paved with stones in the English custom. Flowers were along the walk. The northeast room had a door and a large window with many small glass inserts as in England.

An addition to the log house was a large storage room extending into the ground as a rocked-in cellar. It had a lean-to roof on the house north wall. An interior shelf about waist high along the cellar wall. The wide cellar stairs were made of rocks.

A well was dug west of the house. It is remembered as about 30 feet deep to reach water. It was filled in but the present owners are re-excavating it. The cold water was used to keep foods and dairy products cold. The well also served the new house where Rose and Wallace lived until city water became available.

A lean-to shed was added to the house on the south side to shelter a white top buggy that was acquired. A whitetop buggy seats six. It has a white canvas cover on top. Later other sheds were built to house the other buggies.

The church in Salt Lake urged everyone to plant mulberry trees so Utah could become a silk producing area. The trees grow fast, offer good shade, and bear fruit. The fruit is either white or black, very sweet, the diameter of the end of a small finger, and an inch and a half long. The mulberry leaves had to be picked fresh every day to feed the silkworms. There is no record that any silkworms were ever purchased or that silk was produced on the Young farm. Many mulberry trees were still around the south and west of where the old house stood until the 1940S. The trees were in two rows that made a lovely shaded area.

Many plums, a small wild plum called potawatamie [possibly after the Indian chief], currants, and choke cherries were grown south and west of the house on the fence line. All were favorites for making jams and jellies. One favorite recipe combined the wild plums with green tomatoes. Several bushes of sage grew on the north farm fence line. Its gray-blue color was a nice contrast to the red currant and wild rose bushes especially in the winter snow. Rose's mother was very fond of sage tea and the children were sent to pick sage leaves to make her tea when she visited. The spearmint plants on the ditch banks were also favorites for flavoring water to make 'tea'.

Martha and her girls made quilts and some are still in existence. One is a nine patch made of woolen pieces. The good parts of worn clothing were used for quilting material. The woolen cloth was homespun.

In the 1930S the last rooms of the log house were taken down and the logs used to build a barn with sheds for the livestock. The last of the cellar rocks was used by Rose to make the edges of a gold fish pond and a rock garden filled with flowers and succulents in front of the new house.