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William Perkins Vance

Vance, William Perkins (son of John A. Vance and Sarah Perkins), born Oct. 20, 1822, Jackson (now Putman) Co. Tenn.

From Pioneer Heritage by Kate B. Carter: Vol. 111 p. 546:
Williams Perkins Vance - Explorer. One of the original pioneers of Utah was born Oct. 20, 1822 in Jackson Co. Tenn. He was son of John A. Vance and Sara Gaunt Perkins. In 1842 he was baptized a member of the Mormon Church.

From his diary he notes:
"Baptismal Font dedicated, Brigham Young officiating (I was there) 8 Nov. 1841. After a meeting in the Grove by the Temple (Nauvoo) 20 Mar. 1842 Joseph Smith baptized 8 persons and I was one. One week afterwards, he baptized 107 (6 April Conference.)"

Upon his arrival in Nauvoo, he lived in the home of the Prophet Joseph Smith for a time. After the expulsion of the saints from that City, he was selected by Brigham Young and hiss associates as one of the pioneers of the company of Brigham Young, 1847.

Before the grass growth of 1847, a body of 103 picked men, with 70 wagons, drawn by their best horses, left Omaha quarters, under the command of members of the High Council, who had wintered there. They carried with them little but seed and farming implements, their aim being to plant spring crops at their ultimate destination. They relied on their rifles to give them food, but rarely left the road in search of game. The made long daily marches and moved with as much rapidity as possible.

Against the season when ordinary emigration passes the Missouri, they were already thru the south pass, and a couple of short days travel beyond it, entered upon the more portion of their journey. It lay in earnest thru the Rockey (sic) Mountains. They turned Fremonts Peak, Lange Peak, The Twins and other Kings Summits, but had to force their way over other mountains of the rugged Utah Range, sometimes following the stony bed of torrents of headwaters of some of the mightiest rivers of out continent and sometimes literally cutting their road thru heavy ragged timber.

They arrived at the great basin of Great Salt Lake much exhausted, but without losing a man and in time to plant for a partial Autumn harvest.

While living in Salt Lake Valley, he was a willing and hard working pioneer. He was instrumental in the building and developing in and around where Salt Lake City now stands. He was appointed Probate Judge of Summit County Jan. 18, 1861.

Kate B. Carter - Pioneer Heritage - Vol. 9 p. 164 - Las Vegas Fort: In 1855
Pres. Brigham Young appointed a company of men under the leadership of William Bringhurst to establish a union at Las Vegas. The Company left Salt Lake City May 10, 1855 and arrived at Las Vegas June 14, 1855. The next day they began to build a Fort, which was 150 sq. ft. with walls 14 ft. high, 2 ft. wide at the base, 1 ft. at top.

Kate B. Carter - Heart Throbs" - Vol. 12 p. 223
In 1868 the Muddy Mission, perhaps the most dreaded of all the missions assigned by Brigham Young in the settlement of the great Western Country, was that of the "Muddy Mission." This region described as "90 miles beyond St. George is a blistering alkali desert," was avoided even by the Indians. The settlers suffered thru heat in the summer, sickness in Malaria, passed thru almost unbelievable hardships and privation to obey the call of their leader and could only be endured because of their great faith and their efforts dedicated to the mission to which they were assigned. William P. Vance was one of the first 30 called in 1868. (page 198, Parley P. Pratt Co.)

While living in Salt Lake Valley he was marred to Ann Hudson Mar. 10, 1865. Later he was married to Hannah Richardson October 19, 1874, in the Endowment House. To this union were born seven children: Sarah Mahala; Joseph Amos; William Abner; John Moroni; Ann Elizabeth; Lenora; Agnes Minerva.

In 1882, he moved to St. George with his family. Part of their time was spent at Pine Valley and Kane Springs. Here he was engaged in farming and freighting from settlement to settlement, between St. George and Salt Lake City.

He had been a school teacher and missionary while in the East. He was well educated, always seeking to perfect his knowledge. One of his main goals was to establish a universal language. His notes on notebooks and bits of paper, denotes his desire to accomplish this. He felt all language should be compounded into one. His handwriting is beautiful and his knowledge of the scriptures could not be surpassed. He was known as a peacemaker with the Indians and they considered him their friend.

From Kate B Carter - Vol. 3 p. 546 is found this notation:
"I went to a school in a little town of our people, called Ramus, afterwards named Macedonia, some 5 or 6 miles from Carthage in Hancock County, Illinois, where a number of my mother's folks, the Perkins' lived. I went to a teacher Jos. E or H. Johnson, I disremember now which. He taught a class in stenography, the first time I ever heard the word. Eight of us young fellows were put into a class, and now I am going to tell you the truth, whether you believe it or not - that everyone of them gave it up but myself."

He later moved to Lund, Nevada in 1901, when the L. D. S. Church had received the White River Valley for colonization. Here he remained until his death, December 14, 1914, at the age of 92 years. He left a large and industrious posterity, of which few had the pleasure of knowing him.

From the Obituary published in the Deseret News at the time of his death:


A modest but not the less notable figure in Utah history passed from mortality with the death, early this month, Dec 14, 1914, of William P. Vance, at his home in Lund, Nevada. He was a pioneer of pioneers; for he was one of the last survivors of the gallant band composing the original party of 142 who set out from the Missouri River in April and was destined to lay Utah's foundations July 22-24, 1847, being a member of the sixth "Ten" of which Erastus Snow was also a member, and Charles Shumway was captain. He was also one of the chosen few who came into the Great Salt Lake Valley as advance guard a day or two ahead of the main company. Having been born in 1822, he lived to the remarkable age of 92, and his long life was spent in useful and energetic labor in developing and building up the country.

A native of Tennessee, he migrated as a boy to Illinois, and joined the L. D. S. Church in 1840 (1842), and lived for a time with the family of the Prophet Joseph Smith. After coming to Utah, He was called on various pioneering missions with those stalwart leaders and explorers of early times, Parley P. Pratt, George A. Smith, and others; and as early as 1858, he was a settler of Las Vegas. He was honored with high civil office while a resident of Summit County (Probate Judge) and later move to St. George, and finally to Nevada again, where he died. He was a valiant, willing, faithful man, and enjoyed as he deserved, the esteem and respect of all who knew him well.


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