Monday, June 22, 2009

Life Sketch of Jacob Hess and Elizabeth Foutz

Jacob Hess was born May 21, 1792, in Franklin Co., Pennsylvania. In 1816 he married Elizabeth Foutz. In 1832 he moved his family to Richmond co., Ohio. Here he located on heavy timberland. In March 1834 he and wife and three oldest daughters and John W. were baptized in the Mormon Church by David Evans. They were persecuted by the neighbors and on May 1, 1836, they moved to Ray Co., Maine where he rented a farm and lived until the Mormons were expelled from Caldwell co. Then they moved to Hancock co., Illinois. He cultivated a piece of heavy timberland as best he could. But his health began to fail from the privation and persecutions he had suffered and he had lost his means by moving so much.

The persecution became so bad they had to move again. This time to Nauvoo, Illinois, where they lived with relatives. In November 1845 he became stricken with Paralysis and lost the use of one of his sides and was a helpless invalid from that time on. Word was received that they were to leave Nauvoo in the following spring. John W. being the oldest managed to get two wagons and two yoke of oxen, which he fitted up putting a bed in one for his father. The family belongings were placed in the other wagon and the entire family (except the father) walked the entire distance. On April 3, 1846 they started for Mt. Pisgah. That night they crossed the Mississippi River and camped on the Iowa side in a drenching rain. The advance companies had planted corn and vegetables for the benefit of those who came later and the family decided to remain for a time as the father was failing rapidly. In June 1846 John W. built a temporary house of bark where his mother and four children lived for two years.

In the meantime, John W. married Emeline Bigler, August 20, 1824. At this time it was learned that Brigham Young was sending companies to locate in Utah. John W. and his wife started out after making the family as comfortable as possible. When but a short distance from Council Bluffs word was received that the Governor wanted 500 volunteers to go to Mexico. Five hundred forty-nine volunteered among them John W. and his wife, as a laundress. Each company had two six-mule teams. John was allowed to drive one of them. The women rode thus having a fairly comfortable journey. He received word of his father’s death just before leaving Fort Leavenworth, Kansas which took place on June 22, 1846 at the place where he left them.

Elizabeth and the four children lived at Mt. Pisgah until her oldest son, John W., returned in 1848. His brother David was the oldest at home, being ten years old, when his father died. He had pluckily set about to assist his mother and had planted corn and buckwheat so they were in fairly comfortable circumstances when John W. arrived. He made arrangements to bring them out the following spring. On July 27, 1949 John W. arrived in the Salt Lake Valley having accomplished one more magnanimous act by bringing his dear Mother and her four children to the home of the Saints. He found his wife, Emeline well, and with her first child in her arms, which had been born January 6, 1848, while he was away.


  1. Thank you, thank you to the contributors to this blog. I am the great-great granddaughter of John W. Hess.

  2. I am so grateful for all of your research and for publishing it all to share. I am the Great-great-granddaughter of Albert Carrington Hess, Son of John W. and Emeline Bigler Hess. THANK YOU!!!