Alexander Cupples (1830-1890), my 5th great-uncle, was the founding member of a large American family as two of his children emigrated to Pennsylvania and Utah.
The first child to emigrate was the eldest daughter, Jane Allan Cupples (1861-1937), who married George Easton in Slamannan on 11 October 1878. George and Jane initially settled in New Monkland, Lanarkshire, where they can be found on the 1881 UK Census with their eldest son, Alexander. Three more children would be born in Scotland before the Easton family would head for the United States as members of the LDS Church.
Alexander Wright and Samuel Mulliner, both native Scots, were the first missionaries to arrive in Scotland on 20 December 1839 after being converted to Mormonism in Canada. The men baptised their first converts in Glasgow on 14 January 1840 but subsequent numbers were disappointing and a pamphlet was created to highlight Joseph Smith’s vision. As well as encouraging people to convert, the missionaries also persuaded new members to emigrate to Utah where their headquarters had been established.
George and Jane became members of the LDS Church in 1884 and they emigrated to the United States two years later. The family arrived in New York on 1 June 1886 aboard a ship named Nevada which made regular trips over the Atlantic from Liverpool.
Although George and Jane renewed their vows in Utah on 15 August 1888, they didn’t live in Salt Lake City until their later years. Instead, George and Jane settled in Wyoming where their first American child, Elizabeth, had been born on 29 June 1887. The couple set up home in Almy, a mining town which would become infamous for its devastating explosions and George would have been there to witness the worst explosion on 20 March 1895 which killed 62 miners. The Red Canyon explosion was regarded as the third worst mining disaster in the history of Wyoming.
George and Jane eventually moved to Byron, Wyoming, a town bordered to the south by the Shoshone River and the oil rich Sand Hills to the north. The small town, recently established, had been named after the Mormon leader, Byron Sessions, who would soon contract a polygamous marriage with George and Jane’s third daughter, Janet. While George had worked as a miner for most of his life, he took advantage of the rich farmland around Byron and had his own farm in the 1910 US Census. George’s future occupations were recorded as a grocer merchant (1920 US Census) and a poultry farmer (1930 US Census).
George and Jane celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary in 1928 and a newspaper article written at the time describes how both were very active members of the LDS and George had attained the rank of high priest. Not long after the 1930 US Census, George and Jane moved back to Salt Lake City where George would die, aged 75 years, on 7 March 1934. Jane died, aged 75 years, on 14 January 1937.
So, how did George and Jane’s children fair?
Alexander Cupples Easton (1879-1943)
Alexander was born in Slamannan on 1 July 1879 and was 7 years old when his parents decided to emigrate to the United States. Once the family settled in Big Horn County, Wyoming, Alexander followed in his father’s footsteps by working in the coal mines.
On 5 April 1905, Alexander married Mary Gertrude Reehil Lynch and they had eight children: five daughters and three sons. When America entered the First World War, Alexander’s registration card revealed him to be of medium height, slender build with brown hair and blue eyes. According to information left on the FamilySearch website by family members, Alexander was an alcoholic who also suffered from depression. It looks like he may have passed his addictions on to his children as well.
The couple continued to live in Wyoming until Alexander’s death on 23 December 1943, after which Gertrude moved to Denver, Colorado, where she died on 23 October 1958.
Children: Frances Irene (1906-1969); George Cletus (1908–1981); Helen Joan (1910–1984); Kathleen (1912–1993); Gertrude Mary (1914–2002); James (1916–1916); James Reehil (1918–1997); Mary (1920–1920)
Annie Rankin Campbell Easton (1881-1950)
Annie was born in New Monkland, Lanarkshire, on 19 July 1881 and was 5 years old when her parents decided to emigrate to the United States.
On 29 November 1899, Annie married Alma Henry Peterson (1875–1947), the son of a neighbouring family and the older brother of William Green Paterson who would eventually marry Annie’s sister, Janet.
Although the couple were married in Salt Lake City, they settled in Wyoming where they initially had a farm a Byron next to the Eastons. Annie and Henry would eventually have 12 children: ten daughters and two sons. By the 1920 US Census, Henry and Annie have moved away from Byron and Henry is working as a superintendent in a gasoline factory. He would also be employed as a labourer in a canning factory and a retail salesman. Henry died on 30 March 1947 in Ogden, Utah, while Annie died in the same place on 21 July 1950.
Children: Ethel Jean (1900–1990); Lillian Margaret (1902–1990); Helen Mae (1904–1993); June (1906–1978); Olive (1908–1997); Genevieve (1910–1993); Henry Easton (1912–1994); Fred Easton (1914–1991); Marie (1916–2010); Laura (1921–); Annie (1922–2006); Betty Jean (1927–2014)
Janet Wotherspoon Easton (1883-1966)
Janet was born in New Monkland, Lanarkshire, on 16 June 1883 and was only 3 years old when her parents decide to emigrate to the United States.
Janet settled in the small town of Byron with her parents and siblings where she soon came to the attention of Byron Sessions, the Mormon leader for whom the town was named. Byron was already married to Ida Twombly and had several children, however he was persuaded to take a second wife. Byron chose Janet and they were married on 14 August 1903.
The 1890 Mormon Manifesto had advised against polyamorous marriages, however they continued to take place and a Second Manifesto was passed in 1904 stating the church was no longer sanctioning marriages that violated the laws of the land. The stigma surrounding her polyamorous marriage forced Janet to leave town for the sake of her young daughter, Helen, who had been born in 1905.
Janet and Helen fled to Idaho where she adopted her mother’s middle name as a surname and attempted to live in anonymity as the repercussions of her marriage continued and the legitimacy of her daughter questioned. Eventually, the marriage was dissolved and Janet supported herself by becoming a teacher.
On 24 December 1914, Janet married William Green Peterson, the younger brother of Alma Henry Peterson who had married her older sister, Annie, and they settled in Lovell, Wyoming. Janet and William had four children, although the youngest, George, died a day after his birth. The family eventually moved to Sacramento, California, where they settled on a ranch. William died there on 28 February 1962 and Janet followed on 20 December 1966.
Children (1st Marriage): Mary (1904-1904); Helen (1905-1997)
Children (2nd Marriage): Edna (1915-1997); Frank William (1916-1997); Janet (1918-1997); George (1923-1923)
Jane Easton (1885-1985)
Jane was born in East Langrigg, Lanarkshire, on 8 July 1885 and was the last of the Easton children to be born in Scotland before they emigrated to the United States.
Jane married James Bendt Jenson on 3 October 1906 in Salt Lake City, however they settled in Idaho where James was a farmer. The couple had six children. Jane died on 1 September 1968 in Pocatello, Idaho, and James died on 6 November 1948 in Preston, Idaho.
Children: Marie Jane (1907-1995); Lloyd Easton (1911-1978); James Theris (1915-1943); Angene (1921-2005); George Easton (1923-2016)
Elizabeth Easton (1887-1959)
Elizabeth was the first of George and Jane’s children to be born in the United States, arriving on 29 June 1887 in Almy, Wyoming.
Elizabeth taught school in Wyoming before she married David Egan on 11 April 1906 and they settled in Wyoming where David worked in the coal mines. After the birth of their eldest two sons, Harold and David, the couple moved to Utah where they eventually settled in Salt Lake City and had seven more children. In Utah, David was employed as a truck driver and eventually achieved a managerial post. Elizabeth was President of the Primary Association in Salt Lake City Sixth and Seventh LDS Wards for a total of 10 years, and was President of the Twentieth Ward Relief Society for 12 years. She was also a temple worker in The Salt Lake Temple for 14 years, was a genealogical research worker and taught religion classes.
Elizabeth died on 8 April 1959 and David married his second wife, Gertrude Anna Biechschmidt, on 5 June 1963. David died in Salt Lake City on 10 September 1975.
Children: Harold (1908-1987); David (1909-1930); Florence (1911-1981); Laura (1912-1990); LaRue (1914-1986); Edith (1915-1993); Mary Jane (1923-2003); Elaine (1927-); George (1929-2009)
George Easton (1889-1890)
George was born in Almy, Wyoming, on 24 March 1889 but he died on 25 July 1890.
William Easton (1891-1981)
William was born in Almy, Wyoming on 13 January 1891 and he married Elsie Ailinger in Billings, Montana, on 27 April 1918. William and Elsie settled in Wyoming where their two children, Walter and Dorothy, were born. William was initially a farmer, however the family soon relocated to Salt Lake City where he became a mechanic.
William and Elsie eventually moved to California where Elsie died on 6 October 1975 and William on 11 March 1981.
Children: Walter (1920-1991); Dorothy (1922-1985)
Agnes Easton (1893-1893)
Agnes and her twin sister, Marie, were born in Almy, Wyoming, on 22 February 1893, however Agnes died on 13 March 1893.
Marie Easton (1893-1980)
Marie and her twin sister, Agnes, were born in Almy, Wyoming, on 22 February 1893, however Agnes died on 13 March 1893.
Marie married Eben Ray Brown on 13 Jun 1912 in Salt Lake City and they went on to have at least nine children. they family settled in Wyoming where Eben had a variety of jobs, including agriculturist and washing machine salesman. After relocating to Utah, Eben became a teacher.
Eben died on 28 May 1970 in American Fork, Utah, and Marie died on 19 March 1980 in Pleasant Grove, Utah.
Children: June (1914-1996); Marjorie (1915-1989) George (1917-1994); Elaine (1920-1920); Inez (1921-1924); Mary (1922-1938); Jane (1925-2008); Ruth (1928- ); Eben (1931-1898)
Mary Easton (1895-1977)
Mary was born in Scofield, Utah, on 10 April 1895 and she married Guy Vivian Cutler on 5 April 1922. The couple initially settled in Wyoming where Guy was a superintendent at a school.
The family eventually moved to Los Angeles were Guy died on 23 February 1956 and Mary died on 27 August 1977.
Children: Ralph (1928-2007); Gae (1933- )
Andrew Cupples Easton (1897-1977)
Andrew was born in Almy, Wyoming, on 24 March 1897 and he married Alta Rowena Stookey on 21 June 1922 in Salt Lake City. The family remained in Salt Lake City where Andrew worked as a truck driver and Alta raised their five children.
Andrew died 27 July 1977 in Orem, Utah, and Alta died on 3 June 1986 in Anchorage, Alaska.
Children: Byron (1925-1994); Clara (1930-?); Malcolm (1929-1929); Stonewall (1929-1929); Edna (1931-?)
Ellen Irene Easton (1899-1980)
Ellen was born in Almy, Wyoming, on 12 April 1899 and she married Norval Thompson Safford on 10 June 1916 in Billings, Montana.
Ellen and Norval settled in Cowley, Wyoming, where they had four children. Norval had a variety of jobs, including a tailor, a truck driver and a garage fitter. Norval died on 20 March 1970 in Salt Lake City and Ellen died on 14 February 1980 in Marin County, California.
Children: Harvene (1917-2000); Grant (1919-1920); Norval (1925-1992); Jean (1930-1986)
Ida Easton (1901-1901)
Ida and her twin brother, Albert, were born in Byron, Wyoming, on 17 June 1901, however she died in September 1901.
Albert and his twin sister, Ida, were born in Byron, Wyoming, on 17 June 1901, however Ida died in September 1901. Albert married Laura Marsing on 24 February 1926 and they had three children.
Children: Beverly (1920-2002); Donna (1931-2007); Claude (1932-2004)
Byron Easton (1904-1904)
Byron was born on 6 Apr 1904 in Byron, Wyoming, and was likely named after the Mormon leader, Byron Sessions, for whom the town had been named. Sadly, little Byron died on 28 June 1904.
- Statutory Registers of Scotland [Scotlands People]
- Old Parish Records of Scotland [Scotlands People]
- 1861 UK Census [Ancestry UK]
- 1871 UK Census [Ancestry UK]
- 1880 United States Federal Census [Ancestry]
- 1900 United States Federal Census [Ancestry]
- 1910 United States Federal Census [Ancestry]
- 1920 United States Federal Census [Ancestry]
- 1930 United States Federal Census [Ancestry]
- 1940 United States Federal Census [Ancestry]
- Utah, Select County Marriages, 1887-1937 [Ancestry]
- Utah, Select Marriages, 1887-1966 [Ancestry]
- Salt Lake County, Utah, Death Records, 1908-1949 [Ancestry]
- Utah, Death and Military Death Certificates, 1904-1961 [Ancestry]
- US and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 [Ancestry]
- FamilySearch: Free Family History and Genealogy Records [Familysearch]