Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
sponsored by the Utah State Board of Education, the BYU-Public School Partnership and the Utah Education Network

Historical Pioneer Biographies

Henry Gale

Born: 1818 Died: 1891

Henry and his family migrated from Australia to Utah in 1853, coming by way of California.

Biography: (The author of most of this biography is unknown. A paper copy of it resides with Milo E Lyon.)

The following history was written as dictated by James Gale (son of Henry Gale and Sarah Wills) to the writer [probably a Daughter or Daughter in-law] in 1919 while they were living in Franklin, Arizona. He would sit and tell the happenings as they came to his mind. I [daughter] would write, with the note pad on the arm of my chair. Trying to use his own words and expressions as much as possible.

He started by telling that his father, Henry Gale, was born in Box, Wiltshire, England the 18 Oct 1818, the third child in a family of eight. When he was sixteen years old he went to Australia, as did many of the younger men, in search of land holdings. the lure of a new country appealed to him, with the many possibilities there. Later two of his brothers followed him. He never saw his parents again.

There isn't much known of his first few years there but it is known that he did farming and other work until he was the owner of a grocery store.

He was married to Sarah Wills 8 Apr 1844. Sarah was the daughter of Martin Wills and Elizabeth McAudra. She was born 2 Feb 1822, on a ship in the harbor of Mayo, Ireland. The circumstances were not given, but she was the fourth child in the family.

Sarah and her older brother Thomas and small sister left their people in Ireland in about 1842 and went to Ontario, Canada, where their friends the Leach family was living. They thought to go there where they could have work and that the other members of the family would soon join them. But soon the family, before hearing from Thomas as to conditions in Canada, had an opportunity to go to Australia. When they arrived there they wrote for the other children to join them in Australia. They settled in the same place where Henry Gale lived.

During this time Sarah and her brother Thomas worked hard and obtained means enough to take them to Australia to see their folks on a visit. Thinking to return to Canada they left their little sister, Elenor, with the Leach family, she was about five years old. While in Australia they obtained work to get means to return to Canada, which detained them longer than they expected. During this time they became acquainted with friends, at the parties and singing-evenings. On these evenings Henry Gale first met Sarah Wills. They were married 8 Apr 1844.

In 1852 the Gospel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was brought to them by Elders C. W. Wandell and Murdock. Henry and Sarah were Baptized and confirmed by C. W. Wendell 8 May 1852.

On Wednesday 7 Apr 1853 they started for America with a small company of Saints in charge of Elder Wandell. This was the first company of Saints to leave Australia to come to America. They left Sidney in the ship "Envelop" with their four children; Elizabeth, James, George, and Rebecca. While on the Pacific Ocean on 12 May 1853, another son was born and named Wandell Pacific after Elder Wandell and the ocean they were on.

(from here on the history is told in first person as James Gale gave it.)

When we arrived at Santa Barbara the ship anchored for the passengers to go to the city for supplies. My Father got into the boat and Matthew Walker was going down the side of the ship. The tide was low and the ladder did not reach the water. Walker went to the lower end and was holding onto the Ladder. The men in the boat said "Hold fast until we get the boat closer to the ship." He let go all holts and went straight down into the sea. I was looking over the side of the ship. A man by the name of Evens threw off his coat and dived in after Walker and brought him up. Both were nearly drowned.

Nine weeks after we left Sydney we reached America and landed at San Pedro, California. We were met there by a Brother Button and others with teams and wagons to take us to the church ranch at San Bernardino. On the second day out, we camped at the Coco Mungo ranch to prepare dinner. One of the women took we children out in the desert to gather wild flowers and rest us from the tedious journey. Other ladies took care of the tiny babies and cooked the noon meal. It was a lovely place with heavy brush and timbers, we were enjoying ourselves. I told the woman I was going back to the wagon and left the group. Then I saw another bunch of flowers that I wanted, and even though I heard them start calling for dinner, I decided to get them.

The others returned to camp, but I missed the trail, and couldn't find my way back. This was the first time in my life to be alone away from a city street. When the group returned from their flower hunt they ate their dinner, which was spread out on the ground. Every one ate together and helped themselves. In their hurry to pack up and go on their way, they overlooked the fact that I was not with them. After everyone was ready to start and were climbing in the wagons, mother said "Where is Jim?". They searched in all the wagons and to their great dismay I was not there. They were a long distance from water and knew they must go on, they unhooked their teams and started their search up the wash and around where they had been gathering flowers, but no trace of me could be found. They searched with lanterns and torches all night. Prayer circles were held in my behalf. The search was continued until about ten the next morning, but still they didn't find me. They decided i might have been eaten by wild animals or perished with fatigue. They made ready to go on their way without me because they were unable to find any trace of me and the water supply was getting very low. Mother held back and said she wouldn't go on without me. Trying to persuade her to go on, they unloaded her trunk with a small baby in her arms. After going a short distance they looked back and saw her kneeling in prayer by the trunk. They turned and went back to try to persuade her to come on and that it was no use to hunt longer. She arose with faith and confidence that if they would go up the wash a short distance and search again they would find me. With an unwilling attitude, the group went again in the direction she told them and they met me coming toward them. They ordered me to stand still. I was trying to get across a deep hollow. I saw two men coming and hollered. It was my father and another man. I must have been quite a picture, Just a small boy of six, dirty, tear-stained and sunburned, and with travel worn bare feet. In my hand was still the wilted bunch of flowers. They soon had me by each hand and was hurrying me to camp. Here we all knelt in a prayer of thanksgiving. I told them how i had wandered around looking for camp until evening. I remember getting upon a large rock, eight or ten feet wide and about five feet from the ground, to see if I could see the camp, but it was useless. It was about sundown so I lay down, tired and hungry, and cried myself to sleep. Next morning I awoke with the sun shining in my face, got down and wandered around until I met the men. I took them back to the rock where I spent the night and they found footprints of the men who had searched for me in the night. We returned to camp, loaded up mother's trunk and went on our way rejoicing.

We arrived at the San Bernardino Ranch about June. My father, being a farmer in early life, got a sickle and went to the field to cut patches of wheat that was left in the weeds. After cutting, binding and shocking it up, he took me with him to mind the cattle away from it while he helped on the thresher. The cows came and were bellowing and playing around me. It scared me so I ran and they followed me. I ran toward the thresher. I wore dresses then as was the custom in Australia, which made me fall down, the men, seeing the fix I was in, came with the wagons and picked me up, gathered up the grain and threshed it with a two-horse-treadmill. They said there was 44 bushels.

That winter, 26 Dec 1856, I was baptized by Elder Mathews.

Father bought a small piece of land three miles from the town of San Bernardino. This place was bought by the church and presided over by Apostles Charles E. Rich and Amasa M. Lyman. Father gave his last $5 in gold to help buy the ranch. We had to walk the three miles to church and school.

Father bought a cow from Dan Matthews, he gave $100 for her and $1 for a rope to lead her home with. He also bought one horse, had a two wheeled cart made and did all his work and hauling with the mare and cart.

We lived there until the call came for the saints to gather closer to Salt Lake City. that was in 1857. Father traded his place for four horses and a wagon. He also bought two colts which were two years old. He got an old hack and worked the colts on it. My brother George and I drove them to Utah.

We started by way of the Canyon Bix Pass. My what a time we had. All of us were green drivers who had never done any driving. The horses seemed to know our lack of horsemanship and we thought them quite "giddy" as father used to say for balky. We got along by lifting on the wheels and sometimes pushing the wagon onto the horses until we got to the summit of the hill. Going down they would have to move. Many times they refused to be pushed up the hill, then father would say, "Well Mother, we will have to unload the wagon and carry every thing up the hill and pack it up on old Giney" (the name of the mare). It was dark by this time, but go we must, so we all carried things, and the old mare packed up the hill of half a mile. The horse could gallop with the empty wagon. One time we got the last load on the mare and got half way up the hill when the mare took fright, and down the hill she went scattering everything, especially mother's dried corn and peaches out of a sack. Father chased her for five miles before he finally caught her. We gathered up and repacked things which took nearly all night.

The next day we overtook the campers who were ahead of us and traveled on to Mojave. Just before reaching the main camp of saints, the front axle of the wagon broke. We had to camp sure enough. The brothern came back the next day, cut a cottonwood tree down and put it in for an axle without any irons, just a linch pin to keep the wheels on.

We were organized with Captain Chase in charge of the company. Here we spent Christmas.

After New Years we traveled slowly with the company until we reached Las Vegas Spring Stream. Other companies of saints came along,, among them was William Moyes with his family. In a few days we traveled up the big Meadow Valley wash to cottonwood springs. We came to the Muddy stream or river.

The Indians gathered in the camp and begged for food. They were almost naked. The Captain called for donations of flour, cornmeal, shorts (a coarse grind of wheat) or anything that would make mush for the hungry Indians. A large iron pot was set on the fire, the water and the donations gathered up were put in to cook. Before it was done, the Indians dipped their fingers into the boiling pot and into their mouths. The crowded around the fire so that the hindmost ones could not get any and they threw up the sand over the fire ,pot and all. It all made mush. The next morning an old poor work ox got into the mud. The Indians wanted it so the Captain gave it to them. They killed it in the mud, drank the blood ant cut it in strips and ate it raw, intestines and all. We thought it was awful.

We traveled up the Virgin river, and at another cottonwood springs is where we first met the William Moyes Family. Here we saw the first snow in our lives. We traveled on over the desert and passed over the ground of the Mountain Meadow Massacre and saw several graves. Next we reached Cedar Creek, and then on to Summit Creek. Here it snowed all day - twelve to fourteen inches deep. While we traveled, I walked to lighten the load. My brother George had to ride, he had a lame foot. I began to get behind as my feet were being frozen. My team got so far ahead I could not catch up. Brother Meeks and his wife came along, picked me up, took off my shoes, and wrapped my feet in a blanket, then I knew my feet were frozen. We rushed on as fast as we could and overtook Father, glad to be with them again.

We got to Parowan, and then went on north and reached Beaver, Utah on 14 Feb 1858. The town of Beaver was located 8 Feb 1856 with Simon F. Houd as the Presiding Elder. We got two city lots. Father dug a big cellar six feet deep, put some long cottonwood poles across it, then put a wagon cover over them for a roof. We used one corner of the cellar for a fireplace. Mother did all her cooking on the fire. No stove.

Father and I went back to Parowan and traded the two-year-old colts and the hack for a two-year-old Heifer and some wheat. We were overtaken by a snow storm, by the time we got home the snow was three feet deep. The snow broke in the roof of the cellar and left Mother and her six children without fireplace or stove. Father and I went to the mountains through the deep snow and got pine logs to build a house over the cellar and put on dirt roof. But my, the logs were crooked. That winter William Decater Kartchner came to Beaver and located on the same block we were located on.

Our heifer brought a calf but it died. Father, thinking the cow would do better and be more gentle, skinned the calf, stuffed the hide with straw and when he milked the cow he would bring out the stuffed calf, lean it up against the fence, drive the cow to it and sit down and milk.

We took up land in the east field, put in crops, built fences and went to the mountains twenty five miles away to get posts. The snow was very deep and our shoes were badly worn. The frost came so early in the fall that the wheat did not ripen for seed. We could not use risening and had to eat unleavened bread.

About the year 1860 Father bought a claim of land on North Creek, of Matthew McQuan, about three miles north of Beaver and homesteaded land joining it. We sold our home in the city. Father got some cows and sheep and a loom, then we made most of our clothing. Father worked this Land until he died on 26 Dec 1891. We built a house in Beaver for Mother, near her son Henry C. Gale, where she lived until her death 12 Nov 1905.

Before continuing my history, I should like to say a few more things about my parents. They were always faithful and true to their religious convictions as long as they lived. Going through the trials and persecutions that were given the church in those days. Father was sent to the penitentiary for six months and fined $300 by the enemies of the church because he would not denounce the things upheld by it's leaders. For his good conduct he was presented with a beautiful cane braided over with black horse hair and initials "H.G." in gold letters stamped on the head of the cane.

When the St. George temple was opened for work in 1877, my parents drove their team and wagon that distance and camped out while they did the work for their people as far as they could.

NOTE! The history that this was copied from goes on with the history of James Gale. I will include some of it because it is very interesting to me ME - Lyon

I [James Gale] was called to fill a mission to drive four yoke of oxen across the plains to the Missouri River at Nebraska City for the poor Saints whom the Church was helping to reach Salt Lake City. On the 13th of April, 1866 I started with a company of nine of the Beaver boys for Salt Lake City. Here we were organized into ten companies with ten captains, 456 teamsters, 49 mounted guards, 89 horses, 134 mules, 3042 oxen and 397 wagons. Daniel Thompson was our captain. President Brigham Young paid us for hauling some oats to Hams Fork mail station. That was the first money that I ever had and my first trip away from my Parents and the family. Fifty miles from Salt Lake City, in Echo Canyon, we had to stop on account of stormy weather. While there, I spent my 20th Birthday on the 6th of May 1866. We were compelled to keep day and night guard because of the marauding Indians that were so bad. Our train, one of eight, each containing 50 to 80 wagons, made the trip that year. We reached Wyoming landing 8 miles north of Nebraska City, on the Missouri River, on the 20th of Jun 1866.

With seven other teams, I was sent up the river one hundred miles to cross the river at the river's Mouth on a stream ferry. We went into Iowa, returning with flour for the emigrants. It was early in July and the weather was very hot. We had to travel up the Missouri River bottoms which were very sloughy and all took sick on the trip or soon after returning to the main camp.

The emigrants began to arrive about the 15th of July with 82 wagons and 520 passengers. We started on our trip July 24th.

During the first day of our journey to Salt Lake City, we traveled eight miles. My! What rejoicing from the Saints as they were going to Zion - and on foot! All had to walk that was able. The next morning after prayers and before starting, we buried an old gentleman who had just died. We continued traveling at about 15 or 20 miles each day, but some days had to drive farther to get suitable watering places. We had to gather wood as we could find it, but used buffalo chips most of the time. Our road was on the old Pioneer Trail up the north side of the Platte River. We were inspected in several places by U.S. Government officers. To prepare against Indian attacks we had to stand guard about every third day or night around the camp and the cattle. It was quite trying when our turn to stand guard after walking all day.

We had a prosperous trip and there was not much sickness. I did get quite sick with bowel trouble but my passengers of eight women and three children took all the care of me they could. They had formed an acquaintance on shipboard and had stuck together all the way. I was relieved of my sickness by eating wild cherries that we got at Cherry Creek. Every time we camped at night the train was corralled. One half of the train would make a circle to the right and the other half would circle to the left which formed a hollow circle. The inside of the wagon circle was used as a corral for the cattle with the wagon tongues on the outside. We all prepared the food as best we could with fires on the outside of the circle.

On crossing the Platte River, which was from a mile to a mile and a half wide and quite sandy, the passengers would join hands and wade the water. The river was from one to four feet deep and the line was about fifty people so the stronger ones could help the weaker ones. Sometimes it was very dangerous. At Fort Laramie we received letters from home. When we got to Independence Rock we saw a large lake that looked like ice, but we found it to be "saleratus" like crystals. We Gathered many sacks full to take on the road to use in raising our bread. In traveling up the Sweetwater, many of our cattle got alkali and many of them died. At the Little Sandy River we saw the ashes of the government wagons that were sent to Utah with provisions for the U.S. soldiers that were sent to destroy the Mormons at Goose Creek. At one place our train was stampeded just as we were all hitched up and ready to start. Two wagons were crushed in the four mile race. At Echo Canyon we saw the fortifications that were built to defend the Mormons from Johnston's army. The soldiers were held out until peace was established.

We entered Salt Lake City Oct 5, 1866 and unloaded our passengers at the Tithing Yard I started for Beaver, and on the 21st of Oct my parents and the family met me at Wildcat Canyon, north of Beaver. I was soon home after making a trip of 2200 miles with three yoke of oxen and one wagon in six months and seven days.

NOTE 2. James Gale does not mention Henry's other wives. He married Hannah Dade and her mother Mary Halliday on 18 Nov 1865 in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. Details of his marriage is found in Hannah Dade's history. MELyon

Source: Miscellaneous personal histories This information has been gathered by various people interested in Utah history. These are unpublished biographies.