Daniel Stark, son of John Stark and Sarah Mann, was born at Windsor, Nova Scotia, June 29, 1820. In his youth he went to Boston, Massachusetts where he served an apprenticeship at the joiners trade. While there he first heard the Gospel and united himself with the Latter-day Saint Church on December 15, 1843. On December l, 1844 he married Ann Cook, daughter of Thomas and Frances Cook of St. John, New Brunswick, Canada, where she was born June 4, 1821. While living at North Margin, Boston their first son, John Daniel was born September 18, 1845. Daniel and Ann made close friends with Edwin Fuller Bird, a cabinet maker by trade, and his wife, Mary Montgomery Bird, who were living in Cambridge Port, Massachusetts. Four days after the birth of a child, January 1, 1846, who was christened Elizabeth Wallace Bird, the mother died, and when the baby was three weeks old, at the request of Mr. Bird, the Starks took the infant.
Daniel kept a diary and one of the first entries is dated June 30, 1841. This diary is in the possession of his son Samuel who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah and much of this story is taken from it. When Daniel and his wife decided to join with other Saints in the journey to western United States he sold their belongings, excepting a tool chest filled with carpenter tools and a feather bed which he crammed into a flour bin. After bidding goodbye to their respective families and friends, they, with their two children boarded the train from Boston January 22, 1846 and arrived in New York the following day where they found the ship Brooklyn not yet ready to sail. Daniel met Samuel Brannan and commented that he was a very good looking young man, well dressed. He also learned that the trip had been arranged by President Young and other Church authorities with Elder Brannan as guardian of the 238 Saints who were to be the passengers. Farming and gardening tools and seeds of all kinds were loaded on the ship. Each emigrant also carried the seeds of the Gospel to plant on the western shores. It was believed by the Saints that Brigham Young would pioneer the main body overland to California where he would establish the church.
While they were waiting for the final preparations large hogsheads of fresh water from Croton Lake were placed in the hold. The diary entry of January 25, 1846 states "that Daniel, his wife and children went on board the ship and because he had two children in arms he was released from deck service."
The Saints lived together on the ship somewhat after the fashion of the United Order, all eating together in the large room, excepting the Brannans and Captain Richardson who had more enviable quarters. The same large room was held for morning and evening prayers and on Sunday, church services were held where all were admonished to live together in harmony and love. Many faith promoting testimonials were borne, a choir organized and all joined in singing the songs of Zion.
Daniel was frequently found studying a surveyor's manual which he had received when he purchased necessary instruments. These studies he hoped would qualify him for remunerative employment. While he could not sing, yet he listened to the many solos and hymns as the Brooklyn glided along the eastern coast of South America. Suddenly the weather became colder and heavy seas and storms came up causing ice to form on the sails and rigging and making the masts almost uncontrollable. Captain Richardson's anxiety and concern was for his living cargo which he had undertaken to transport from the eastern coast to the western coast, and realizing that the casks of water taken from the lake in New York were becoming low, he made several attempts to land on the west coast of Chile. Because of strong southerly winds he could not make a landing, so he set sail for an island 430 miles west of Chile. This island was Juan Fernandez. It was a beautiful island covered with all kinds of trees, shrubbery and flowers and it made a welcome and appreciated stop on their journey. The Saints all mourned the death of Laura Goodwin who was buried in this lonely place.
When they were ready to resume their journey the Saints assisted in filling casks with fresh water and also in storing plenty of wood for cooking purposes. On May 8th, anchor was raised and the Brooklyn set her sails in a northwesterly direction over a trackless but fairly calm sea, at the rate of 6 or 7 knots per hour. Traveling three or four weeks steadily toward their destination the wind suddenly stopped and the ship was becalmed. As if in answer to their fervent prayers a breeze came up and once more the ship moved forward.
On June 20, 1846 the Brooklyn entered Honolulu harbor, one hundred and forty-six days since leaving New York. Daniel tells of the welcome received from the natives and also how they learned that the United States was at war with Mexico on the western coast where they intended to land. This was a severe shock to them and some wanted to stay in Honolulu while others suggested going back to their homes in the East. During this interlude Brannan bought all the muskets and ammunition he could find, also blue denim to be made into uniforms on the ship. He once more reminded the Saints that they were to meet Brigham Young in the west and build up a Kingdom of God on earth, and that they must not falter in this undertaking. Daniel also records that while the ship was taking on fresh vegetables, meat and fruits of all kinds and casks were being filled with fresh water, he visited some of the natives. Soon after leaving the Island, July 1st, a lad was discovered aboard, a stowaway soldier from the U.S. Army. He came in handy in training the men in the use of muskets and swords, while the women on the Brooklyn were busy making uniforms from the denim.
When they entered the Golden Gate Captain Richardson ordered all the passengers to go down into the hold for fear of being caught with armaments of war. Soon after they were permitted to come on deck and put on their uniforms, the hold was unlocked and Brannan passed out to each man a musket and ammunition. They were now ready to enter into combat with the Mexicans. Shortly after a warship came alongside and they were informed that they were now in the United States of America.
The housing situation was a great problem and the foggy weather gave the place a dismal aspect. Some shelter was found in a small adobe house on Dupont Street; others pitched tents on vacant lots. Daniel and his family with others found quarters in the deserted Mission Dolores over the hills about three miles. The men folk of the families sought work for food was scarce. Since there was a shortage in the payment of fares due, the captain decided to accept a cargo of lumber and Daniel was one of the men sent by Samuel Brannan to Bodega in the Marin forest to get out redwood. After finishing this task he returned home September 19, 1846. He records that he witnessed the naming of San Francisco, California January 30, 1847 and also that three months later he purchased a lot in that city receiving his deed March 8, 1847.
Daniel's diary states that Samuel Brannan and two others left on horseback April 26, 1847 in search of Brigham Young and his emigrants coming westward. He said that when Brannan returned September 17th he was a changed man, downhearted, and within ten days disorganized the Brooklyn Saints and told them to go where they pleased.
Being a contractor by trade Daniel assisted in the building of the first school house in San Francisco which was completed November 29, 1847. He then helped to build a large home for Samuel Brannan and a printing establishment. After these were finished he built a home for himself and moved his family into it February 1, 1848. One month later Elder Addison Pratt came to board in their home. He was returning from the Society Islands where he had been laboring as a missionary. Under Pratt's supervision the San Francisco branch of the Latter-day Saint Church was organized.
On May 13, 1848 Daniel went to the mines where he entered into an agreement with Captain Sutter to dig gold on a payment to him of one-half, later one-third of the gold found. Mr. J. W. Marshall directed him where to dig on Mormon Island on the American River and here he garnered a large amount of gold. On November 20, 1848 Heber C. Kimball rented a room in the Stark home. He had been sent from Utah to encourage the Saints in righteous living. Daniel made several trips to the mines-the last one being April 12, 1849 when he went in a wagon with Joseph Mathews of the Mormon Battalion.
His day by day diary tells the story of his many successes, money sent to his father, to his brother and tithing paid to Brother Lissing. Later he worked on J. W. Marshall's home which was finished February 16, 1850. Daniel built a new home for his family in San Jose and moved them there in April, 1850. Apostles Amasa Lyman and Charles C. Rich visited him in the hopes of getting money to aid in the colonization of San Bernardino. Stark, and his friend, John M. Homer went to San Bernardino, where he paid $8000 for a city lot of ten acres and entered into an agreement to purchase 160 acres. On this place Daniel built another home and then returned to San Jose for his wife and four children. In this city he became a well-to-do farmer and keeper of vineyards. Both enterprises proved successful. He carried on a freighting business and at various times built houses. At the height of his prosperity the Saints received summons from President Young requesting them to journey to the Valley of Great Salt Lake to help in protecting the territory from the troops under General Johnston. Daniel sold his home and ten acres of grape land for six mules and a wagon. Just before leaving, a Dr. A. Osborne, traveling under the auspices of the Academy of Natural Sciences, bought the 160 acres supposedly for collecting specimens. Osborne hired three men to take him to Salt Lake in fifteen days. He was known to Brigham Young as Thomas L. Kane, friend of the Mormons.
The Saints leaving San Bernardino for Utah were divided into groups of ten caravans each and Daniel Stark was appointed captain over one of the companies. Before his departure he loaded his belongings including a chest of carpenter tools, surveyors" instruments, a gun with plenty of ammunition and a bullet mold, into a covered wagon. In his mind he carried the same thoughts of going to war that he had carried all the way from Honolulu to California. He sat in the front spring seat with his wife and youngest child, James T. and in the back seat were his son John D., his daughter Annie Frances, and his foster daughter, Elizabeth Bird. There was plenty of good food and strapped on each side of his wagon was a cask of water for the mules and one for family use. He rigged up a good camping outfit.
Leaving San Bernardino in April, 1857, he left on the ground a threshing machine, two large 41/2 foot mill stones, and other machinery just arrived from the East for a new flour mill which he intended to erect. No one could buy them. Daniel, sitting on the right side with a long handled buckskin whip in his right hand and the leather reins connecting the six mules started out leading the ten families under his command. The first 19 miles were a very steep climb to 4,300 feet above sea level, the Cajon Pass. After reaching the top he waited for the others before going on. The next eleven miles was a gentle downhill grade which landed the caravan along the shores of the Mohave River where they found good forage and fresh water. They had passed through groves of strange trees, yucca, Joshua and various colored cacti.
The next 37 miles took them over the Mohave desert and landed them at the place now called Barstow, California. Here they ranked up for the next 36 miles more or less upgrade to 4,775 feet above sea level through the same kind of trees, they then journeyed 63 miles to the present site of Baker, California, thence over mountains, valleys and mountains to the Las Vegas springs. Here they filled their barrels with pure spring water, then started over 30 miles of rough, mountainous dugway, after dugway passing through St. Thomas, Nevada, now the bed of Lake Mead.
Traveling northward they dropped to 1000 feet above sea level into a fertile valley along the Virgin River where Daniel was later called to settle. About ten miles along this river took them into Beaver River. Filling up their water casks they were prepared for the next 20 miles upgrade all the way to a point 4550 feet above sea level.
They were now in Utah. From here it was downhill 20 miles to St. George where they rested and took on fresh supplies of vegetables and other food stuff, and filled their tanks with water. Leaving an elevation of 2500 feet they started on an uplift climb for 58 miles along the narrow dugways in Ash Canyon and landed in Cedar City, Utah where they learned that Johnston's Army had come into Salt Lake peaceably and disarmed. Driving on to the next town of Parowan, Daniel bought a lot and erected a home where he and his family lived from 1857 to 1858 when they moved to Payson, Utah.Source: Our Pioneer Heritage © Carter, Kate B., ed. 20 vols. Salt Lake City: International Society, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1958-1977. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the publisher. Documents and images are exerpted by permission from the LDS Family History Suite CDROM from Ancestry.