Alexander Nephi Stephens
Alexander Nephi Stephens was born
11 December 1840 in . He was the 5th child in a family
of 12 (9 boys and 3 girls). His father
was John Stephens and his mother Elizabeth Briggs. Brown County, Illinois
John and Elizabeth were converted to the Mormon Church and John was baptized by the prophet Joseph Smith. He and his wife were endowed in the
Nauvoo Temple 6 Feb 1846.
Because of the bitter persecution in July 1846 the Stephens family left Nauvoo and started across the plains to
. Alexander was just 9 years old at this time
and much of the journey he walked, as there were several children younger than
he was and there was so little room to ride in the two wagons filled with the
family possessions. Salt Lake
The Stephens family reached the Salt Lake Valley in October 1849 and after a few days lay over in Salt Lake went on to Ogden where they purchased two city lots on 24th Street near the Weber river, below where Wall avenue is now. A one-room house was on the one lot and they built another room onto it and so were fairly comfortable for the winter. In the spring they homesteaded a farm in the Birch Creek area.
In the spring of 1857 President Brigham Young called out the State Militia to prevent Johnson’s Army from entering the
. The federal government was afraid the Mormons
in Salt Lake
becoming too well established and successful, so on the pretence they feared a
rebellion the sent an army to subdue them. Utah
The father and oldest son Otha were stationed at
to stop the army from entering
the valley that way. Later Alexander
Nephi was sent with a group to Lost Creek to prevent entrance from that
direction. Echo Canyon
Brigham Young felt the Mormons had been persecuted, murdered and robbed in Missouri and Illinois both by mobs and government authorities and now the United States was about to adopt the same course and he and the Mormon people resolved the army could not enter the Salt Lake Valley. They would resist to the death the troops entering the valley.
In 1860 Alexander Nephi married Sarah Ellen Gheen who at that time was only 16 years old. Her parents had been Quakers but had joined the
. Alexander Nephi and his young bride rented a
small place on Latter Day Saint
Street and Grant Avenue in where he made a living working in a
general merchandise store. Here three of
their children were born - a boy and two
girls. Eight years after his marriage
Alexander’s father gave him a piece of land on the farm and he built a two-room
log house with a lean to and a dirt roof.
It was built on a small hill facing the east mountains and just below
the hill was a spring of cold water and a little creek. Ogden
In this home on
January 4th, 1869, a second son,
John Andrew, was born and nine days later the mother, Sarah Ellen, passed
away. The mother’s sisters (two of whom
had married Heber C. Kimball) took care of the baby and the youngest girl. Later another sister, a Mrs. Elmer, took
them. The two older children lived with
their father’s brother Daniel and his wife.
In August of the same year Alexander Nephi married Amina Raymond and the
children were united again. The children
learned to love their new mother and she was very good to them. She later had two sons and five daughters of
April 10th 1873, Alexander Nephi married Mary
Eames as his third wife. She was an
English girl who with her family had joined the
and immigrated to LDS Church
where the settled at America . Her father contracted diptheria and died
about a year after coming here. In order to help provide for the family, Mary
did house work for any one who needed her.
She was working in the Stephens home and was just 17 when she met Mr.
Stephens and married him. Later she
became the mother of eight children (4 sons and 4 daughters). Four of her
children died in infancy. Plain
In March 1879 Lester Herrick and Charles Middleton of the Weber Stake presidency organized a company of saints to settle in
the Idaho Snake River with John K. Poole as
president. Mr. Poole had visited the with a trapper the year previous
and was very desirous to promote settlement there. He interested the Stephens and Raymond
families along with a few others to go to Snake River Valley with him. Idaho
When Mr. Stephens and Mr. Raymond arrived at
later known as Menan, it was late in March and they each staked a claim on a
quarter section. Then they returned to Poole Island to move their
Before the family left for the
Snake River country Alexander Nephi had the Browning Brothers
make him a special gun which he named Sally Ann. It could shoot either large or small bullets
and could fell a deer a half mile away.
This gun was a prized possession and he became an excellent shot with
it. The Stephens family loaded all their
possessions in wagons and set out over the trail- like road for their new
home. It was a road easy to trace by the
clouds of dust, which hung over it.
As Mary was expecting her fourth baby she was left behind in
until the others could get settled in Ogden . Her two oldest children (a girl and a boy)
had both died before they were three years old.
Her fourth child, a boy, was born in August 1879 and Mary and her two
children joined the others in Idaho
in November. This boy died in August the following year. Idaho
They arrived on their claims on
July 2, 1879, after a long,
tiresome journey. Mid-summer was a
wonderful time of the year for these settlers to arrive. Their quarter section of land was well
covered with heavy river grass and sage brush higher than a horses head. In true pioneer spirit they started to fell
the cottonwood trees and peel them into logs.
A two-room house was raised in no time and they set about clearing their
The early settlers had to do things the hard way. They had only the most primitive tools to work with. The land was covered with sagebrush and this had to be cleared off, the ground plowed with a hand plow and leveled before it could be planted. The crop was planted by hand, a man broadcasting the see. After the crops were grown they had to be harvested by hand. The grain was cut with a cradle and tied into bundles by hand. Later the bundles were threshed by hand using a homemade flail.
Since Alexander Nephi had two families, so was living in polygamy, the government agents were constantly after him. He hid out whenever he knew any deputies were around and he had to constantly be alert and on the move. He had a hiding place fixed in one of his homes and all his children were always on the watch for the government agents. Finally Alexander Nephi and some of his polygamist friends decided to leave the country for a time. They disguised themselves as trappers and trapped through
Idaho and Montana . After several months of living this way he
returned home and gave himself up. He
was tried and sent to the Wyoming
penitentiary where he served for six months then was paroled because of good
Some time later the government decided to allow the Mormons who had more than one wife to continue to live with their first wife without being molested. They were to provide for their children, and future plural marriage was forbidden. Eventually the persecution quieted down and they were able to work out their own problems. For many years Alexander Nephi lived quietly enjoying his families and helping build the town of
and the church in
that area. Menan
He loved to hunt and fish with his sons.
November 21st, 1915, Amina passed away in ,
and was buried in the Ogden, Utah near Sarah
Cemetery January 17, 1916, Alexander Nephi died in
Menan and was brought to
and was buried in the Ogden
cemetery with his two wives. Ogden