Friday, September 9, 2011

Happy 217th Birthday, Elizabeth Blackwood Muir (1794-1867)!

Anna Cramer's second-great-grandmother

Elizabeth Muir is intriguing: she came from Scotland to Utah, didn't like it, and went back home.  Quite the journey, to go both directions!  She is also our small connection with the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and has such an interesting perturbed expression.

Elizabeth was both born and buried in Scotland, but had a brief pioneer experience to Utah.  Based on their older son William's glowing reports of America, Elizabeth and her husband Stephen emigrated with their younger children, but their son James died in New Orleans en route.  In Utah, the Muirs lived in a house William had built in preparation for their arrival, and their daughter Mary married.   

After a few years, the older couple was lonely: they had not converted to the Mormon faith, and William had taken two more wives, was often gone on Church business, and had just accepted a mission call back to Britain. They were also disenchanted with polygamy. Stephen and Elizabeth chose to return to Scotland when William went that direction on his mission. 

They traveled with the military company accompanying the children of the Mountain Meadows Massacre back to their Arkansas homes, and sailed from Arkansas to Liverpool.  The Deseret News reported: “The departure of seventeen children, that survived the Mountain Meadows Massacre, left this city yesterday Tuesday [June] 28, 1859 for Fort Smith, Arkansas. They went in carriages, having everything necessary provided for their comfort during their journey.  Man and wife to care for them [Muirs]. Two Companies of the 21st Dragoons . . . will accompany the children as an escort as far as the posts to which they have been ordered.”

Back in Scotland, the Muirs were met by their son-in-law Thomas, who provided a small home for the couple to live in.  Stephen died only a couple years after returning to Scotland, and Elizabeth outlived him by a few years and moved in with her daughter.  She taught her granddaughters how to sew and knit, and told them stories of her Utah adventures and her twin grandsons there.

I would give her a new pair of shoes for all that traveling. 

1 comment:

  1. I'd give her Facebook so she could communicate with her friends back in Scotland while she was in Utah.