Thursday, October 20, 2011

Happy 219th Birthday, Stephen Muir (1792-1862)!

Anna Cramer's great-great-grandfather

A Scottish pioneer who didn't like Utah and went back home!
Possibly the son of a Scottish baron and his housekeeper, illegitimate Stephen took his mother’s last name.  Stephen was both born and buried in Scotland, but had a brief pioneer experience to Utah. He was an agricultural laborer in the mountainous highlands of Scotland, and also raised sheep and cattle. Based on their older son William's glowing reports of America, Stephen and his wife Elizabeth 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 from there sailed 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 [the 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 his native land.  

I would give him a haircut!


  1. I'd give him Facebook to communicate with his friends and family back home.