Friday, November 16, 2012

Caleb Baldwin and Nancy Kingsbury Baldwin

Caleb Baldwin’s History
Caleb Baldwin was born 2 Sept, 1791, at Noble Town, Orange, New York.  His father was Philemon Baldwin.  He served in the War of 1812 as an Ensign under Capt. Charles Parker.  On the 7th of Dec., 1814, he took as his wife Nancy Kingsbury.  They made their home in Cleveland, Ohio, their first child being born there in 1815.  They moved to Hainesville, Ohio, in the southwestern part of the state and there a son was born to them on the 3rd day of June 1817.  Five more children were born to them between the years of 1820 and 1831.
Caleb Baldwin was baptized (into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) on the 14th of Nov., 1830 by Parley P. Pratt.  There was a branch of 130 members at Geauga County, Ohio.  The families of Caleb Baldwin and John Murdock were among the first converts to the church from Ohio.  When Mrs. Murdock died following the birth of twins, leaving five children, the Prophet Joseph Smith adopted the twins and Caleb Baldwin took young John R., who was just five years old, with him to Jackson County, Missouri, where he placed him in the home of Morris Phelps who had no sons of his own.
The Baldwin Family stayed in Jackson Co. from late 1831 to Nov. of 1835.  The saints were abused and persecuted until they were forced to find new places to make their homes.  Caleb Baldwin took part in the Battle of Big Blue.  On the 6th and 7th of Nov., 1835, a mob of two or three hundred well armed men had collected at Independence.    A part of that number went above Big Blue to drive away saints led by David Whitmer.  The saints were prepared for an attack and poured deadly fire upon the mob, killing two and wounding a number of others.  From Friday until Tuesday the brethren remained armed.  On Tuesday morning they agreed to leave the county and let the mob have their guns.  After the brethren surrendered their weapons some of the mob went above Big Blue and whipped and even murdered them, driving them into the woods and across the river.  Caleb Baldwin was whipped so badly he carried the scars as long as he lived.
The brethren scattered with their families throughout the Counties of Clay, Ray, Lafayette and Van Buren, and were unable to communicate with one another.  They left everything and were in a destitute condition.  The mob threatened to kill them if they returned.  After leaving Jackson Co. the Baldwins found refuge in Clay County in a small village seven miles west of Liberty.
Caleb Baldwin received his patriarchal blessing in 1835 on the 27th of August.  In Jan of 1836 he left on a mission with Jacob Cates. 
Because of persecutions the Baldwin family left Clay Co. and settled in the northern half of Ray County along Shoal Creek.  The persecutions followed them and the situation became critical by late Oct. 1838. (The Battle of Crooked River and the Haun’s Mill Massacre both happened in late Oct. 1838.)  The Saints at Adam-Ondi-Ahman were ordered to leave there and Caleb Baldwin among others volunteered to go and help them get to Caldwell County and protect them.  During the journey back to Caldwell, they were continually threatened and some of the brethren died from exposure and fatigue. 
On the 31st of October the Church leaders, including Caleb Baldwin, were betrayed into the hands of the mob.  About 80 in all were taken prisoners.  Their weapons were given up and the prisoners were marched away.  That night they lay in chains subjected to the cold drenching rain and abusive language of the guards.  On the following night, November 1st,  in the camp of General Lucas, a court martial was held and the prisoners were sentenced to be shot in Far West on the public square at sunrise, as an example to all Mormons.  The order was never carried out.  General Doniphan refused and said to do so would be to commit cold blooded murder.  Some of the prisoners were allowed to say goodbye to their wives and children.  Almost all of the families were destitute of the necessities of life.  Some women had babies in their arms and others were expecting babies.  With winter approaching the cold rains were already falling.  It was more than these men could bear.  The prophet said their only hope was God’s care.  After being taken to Independence they were marched under guard to Richmond and there placed in chains.  On Tuesday, Nov. 10th, they were brought before Judge Austin A. King to be tried.  The trial lasted two weeks, at the end of which, the majority of the prisoners were released or admitted to bail, excepting Caleb Baldwin, Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Alexander McRae, Lyman Wight, and Sidney Rigdon, who were sent to jail at Liberty, Clay Co, Missouri to await trial for arson, treason, larceny and murder.
Imprisonment dragged on during the winter.  While they were imprisoned in Liberty, Bishop Edward Partridge wrote to them from Quincy, Ill., telling them that most of their families had arrived safely.  The family of Caleb Baldwin had not yet arrived but he thought they were across the river on the Iowa side waiting for the weather to moderate.  During the imprisonment, the brethren tried to make an escape by cutting a hole through the wall but were detected.  Judge Tillery was going to have them put in irons and chained to the floor of their cells.  Caleb Baldwin said, “Judge Tillery, if you put these chains on me, I will kill you, so help me God!”  The Judge left without putting the chains on.  On the 15th of April, 1839, the prisoners were removed for Grand Jury Trial first to Davis, and then to Boone Co.  One night, enroute to Boone Co., the Sheriff fell asleep and the guards got drunk.  The prisoners escaped with the horses and wagons.  They traveled for ten days and arrived in Quincy the 25th of April.
Caleb Baldwin’s family had located in Calhoun County along with his oldest son, Caleb Clark Baldwin.  They left Calhoun County and went to Commerce, Hancock County.  This was a swampy, mosquito infested land a few miles above Quincy.  The land was drained and the beautiful city of Nauvoo was built.  On the 17th of January, 1840, Caleb Baldwin was ordained a Seventy in Nauvoo.  Also in Nauvoo, on the 18th of Dec. 1845, they received their endowments and on the 20th of Jan., 1846 they were sealed as man and wife.
Following persecutions and the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith, they left Nauvoo and traveled a distance of 145 miles and settled in a temporary settlement called Garden Grove, Iowa.  Here they planted corn and grain and harvested the crops while the first company of pioneers went on West.
Brigham Young returned to Iowa in May of 1848 and the second band of saints was organized to go to the Rocky Mountains.  Caleb Baldwin was in the second division under Heber C. Kimball.  It was composed of: 662 souls, 226 wagons, 96 pigs, 299 chickens, 15 cats, 22 dogs, 3 hives of bees, 15 ducks and 1 squirrel.  Caleb was chosen as Captain of ten.  Before they got to the head of Sweetwater, they were met by a party of men with supplies from Salt Lake.  Among these was John Murdock who Caleb Baldwin had cared for as a boy in 1831.  They arrived in Salt Lake City on the 24th of September, 1848.
Caleb Baldwin was 57 years old when he arrived and his wife was 50.  He was not privileged to live long in the Promised Land.  He died June 11, 1849.   He had a strong faith and suffered many persecutions rather than to deny what he knew to be right.  He was the 13th person to be buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.
………..excerpts from original manuscript compiled by John E. Gardner, researched by Bruce Despain
(a note from Leslie: the John R. Murdock who was cared for by Caleb Baldwin is the same John R Murdock who married May Bain, daughter of May McEwan Bain Smith.  Also, John Murdock Sr, the father of John R, was briefly married to May McEwan Bain Smith.  The marriage ended in divorce.  Some very interesting family connections!!)


  1. I am a descendant of Caleb Baldwin and I am wondering where you got this information and if you have any more info.

    1. Troy - I believe that the Family History Library in SLC has this history on file - which is where I got a copy. As noted above the manuscript was conpiled by John E Gardner and researched by Bruce Despain. I only took the excerpts that I had interest in, there may be other info that would be of interest to you.

  2. I, too, am a descendant of Caleb Baldwin. I come through the lines of Caleb Clark Baldwin, then Jessie Baldwin, then Marha Jane Baldwin, then Thelma Susan Briggs, then Franklin J. Rawlins, who is my dad. My name is Tony Rawlins. Thanks for the info about grandpa Baldwin!

    1. My name is paul murphy. I joined the church in 1995 and am a member of Canterbury ward, Kent, England. I thought I was the first person in my family to become lds until I accidentally came upon some info my mum put on familysearch (one ancestor buried in Utah) after a lot more searching discovered I am a direct descendent of Catherine Wilson. From there I have discovered Royal connections, lots more pioneers and a president or three.