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 headed 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, was 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.
In 1900, George and Jane travelled across the entire state of Wyoming in a wagon to settle in the Big Horn basin. The family made their home in Byron, 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 active members of the LDS with George attaining the rank of high priest. Not long after the 1930 US Census, George and Jane moved back to Salt Lake City where George died, aged 75 years, on 7 March 1934. Jane died, aged 75 years, on 14 January 1937.