William Pope and Catherine 'Kit' McBride

Catherine and Thomas McBride had a daughter named Catherine. Kit, as she was known, was 17 years old when she witnessed her father's murder at Haun's Mill, Missouri. She was by her mother's side as they fled from Missouri to Quincy, Illinois, when they settled in Nauvoo and was there when her mother was buried in Nauvoo in 1841.

Later in 1841 Kit married a William Monroe Pope. William was a rail splitter in his younger days. He was honest and often spoke of the honesty of his father. When he was a small boy he found a small sled on the side of the road, about three miles from his home. Thinking it was abandoned, he took it home. When his father heard the story, he had William take the sled back where he got it.

William was a decendant of Squire S. Pope and Sally Angel (or Angell). His family disowned him when he joined the LDS Church and he didn't have any communication with any of them for many years until an aunt finally contacted him in Utah, 30 years later.

It's through the Angell line that you are descendants of John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley. Their daughter Lydia married James Brown and her grand-daughter Mary married James Angell, who was an ancestor of William's mother.

William and Kit's first child, William was born in Nauvoo in 1842. Sometime in 1846 their 4 year-old son died and was buried in the Nauvoo cemetery. They had one more child, Scharlotte or Charlotte, born in Nauvoo.

William was well-acquainted with the Prophet, Joseph Smith. He often spoke of the prophet's physical fitness. He and Joseph joined in various athletic events.

Apparently at that time he owned a home across the river from Nauvoo in Iowa. One day while hoeing in his garden, some men came by and said "Hey Pope, your old mormon prohet has been killed". He ran to his house and Kit helped him get ready. He went to the dock to cross the river on the ferry. He arrived too late and the ferry wouldn't come back for him. He sat down and wept for he knew that he'd never see the prohet again.

In 1846 William and Kit received their endowments in the Nauvoo temple. They had moved to Nauvoo until August, 1846 when the mob forced them to leave. By that time only the poor and sick were left in Nauvoo. Kit was expecting a baby and in fact was in labor in the back of the wagon as they as they fled their home. As they looked back they could see the mob burning their home and property.

Their third child, Oscar Monroe Pope was born August 19, 1846. In all they had 11 children. Only William died in childhood.

William and Kit crossed the Mississippi to Iowa, as most of the saints did. They stayed in Iowa, probably around Council Bluffs until 1852.

In 1852 they crossed the plains to Utah as part of the John B. Walker wagon train. They travelled with 5 of their children, including Mary Isabelle Pope, who had been born in December the year before. Leaving Kanesville (present-day Council Bluffs) Iowa around June 26th they arrived in Utah sometime between October 2 and 7.

They had two ox teams. There seems to be some discrepancy concerning whether one of the ox was in fact a cow or whether the cow was in addition to the oxen. At night they milked the cow, making it seem that the cow was in addition to the oxen. Oxen are normally steers.

William was noted for his skill at handling the oxen. At one time as they came to a steep incline and Kit chose to ride in the wagon. Some of the other wagons tipped over at that spot. It was probably between Fort Laramie and present-day Guernsey, Wyoming. There was one spot in the trail where it was said that a cup falling from the back of the wagon would land in fromt of the lead oxen. After they were safely down, some of the other women asked Kit if she had been afraid. "Oh no, not with William driving".

It was unusual for able-bodied individuals to ride in the wagon - partly because the wagons gave such a rough ride and partly to save the oxen. It's probable that Kit was tending to the baby or another of her children in the wagon. Cassandra would have been just three and 1/2, William Harrison would have been two and the six-month or so baby Mary.

William and Kit settled in Grantsville near Tooele. They owned a nice farm there, raising crops and a few head of livestock.

Grasshoppers, or Mormon Crickets, were a constant threat. Some of my ancestors lived nearby in present-day Rush Valley (then known as Saint Johns. Here's their story of this time. One year when the insects had destroyed almost all the crops, the Pope family, along with the others suffered severe hardships. They were reduced to eating Sego Lilies and greens (probably pig-weeds). In the fall William went to Salt lake to see President Young. He told Brigham of the failure of the crops and their need for flour. Prosident Young told him that he had some wheat that wasn't cut and if William cut it he could have enough for a grist.

William cut it with a cradle and threshed it with a flail. He received 10 bushels of the wheat as pay for harvsting Brigham's wheat. He took the wheat to the mill to be ground and took the flour home. His family asked him if he had flour and he replied "Yes, plenty of it". William and Kit shared the flour with their neighbors as well.

Emanuel Bagley married three of William and Kit's daughters, Mary Isabelle Pope, Charlotte Culver Pope and Hulda Jane Pope. It's said that the three sisters ruled his house with their united front. I don't know if Emanuel had any other wives, but I imagine these three were trouble enough for any man.

Mary Isabel was Grandma Von's great Grandmother.

Kit died in 1878 in Oakley, Idaho. William went to Lewiston, Idaho soon after where he lived with his son Oscar (the same that was born as they were driven from Nauvoo) and another daughter, Cassandra Pope Whittle, who was a widow at the time.

William died in 1901, just a few weeks short of his 91st birthday.