Maria Davis and Stillman Pond

I promised to write about your ancestry. I was going to write about Charles Augustus Davis (Grandma Von's great-grandfather), and I will at a later date. For now, I'd like to tell you a little about his sister, Maria Louise Davis. Maria was born in 1812 in Templeton, Worcester, Massachussets. I'm not sure when or where Maria was baptized, but her brother Charles was baptized July 24, 1843. Maria was probably baptized about this same time. Certainly by 1845 Charles and Maria and their families were living in Nauvoo.

Maria married Stillman Pond in 1834 in Masssachussets. Stillman was born around 1803 in either Worcestershire, England or more probably Worcester, Massachussetts. They were sealed in Nauvoo 04 February, 1846. Stillman and Maria had 6 children. Harriett was born in 1835. Lowell was born in 1837. Lyman was born in 1840. Charles was born in October, 1844 in Nauvoo and died in January. Hyrum and Joseph were born in 1846 in Iowa and died the same day or shortly afterwards. I am awe-struck as I think of Maria giving birth to these twins and having to bury them on the prarie of Iowa. Poignantly she named them after her heroes, the recently martyred Joseph and Hyrum Smith.

Lowell died September 1846, Harriett December, 1846, Lyman January 1847 and finally Maria in May, 1847, all in Winter Quarters.

This family gave everything for the Church. In 1846 the Church members in and around Nauvoo were forced to leave. The struggle across Iowa was an epic journey that not only cost the lives of the two babies but also literally hundreds of others. The harsh living conditions in Winter Quarters took the lives of the remaining three children. Ultimately the brave Maria too was buried in the little cemetery near the Missouri river. Despite the hardships of burying all their children, leaving the Church was never an option for Maria and Stillman. As far as I've been able to learn, they never railed against the injustice of God for their sacrifices, but lived their testimonies of the gospel.

The graves in Winter Quarters aren't marked by headstones, In fact we don't have a record of where individual burials are, but we do know where the burial ground was. The monument shown below has a list of all who are known to have been buried there, and as I recall, it includes those like Hyrum and Joseph who died in Iowa while fleeing Nauvoo. it would be fitting to honor Maria and Stillman and their children if you go there. Stillman went on to Utah and helped settle Richmond in 1860, where he died in 1878. He was survived by several children from other marriages.

This picture was taken in 2004 when we visited winter quarters. This statue of a mother and father burying their child is in the burial grounds there. I didn't know Maria's story then, although I did know that Charles Augustus had been in Nauvoo and Winter Quarters

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