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Alonzo Hamilton PACKER

Alonzo Hamilton PACKER[1]

Male 1841 - 1917  (75 years)

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  • Name Alonzo Hamilton PACKER 
    Born 14 Apr 1841  Nauvoo, Hancock, IL Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    _UID A7CAB20E6F81B947A418A15A7D4CF9C55F0F 
    Died 23 Mar 1917  Safford, Graham, Az Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried 25 Mar 1917  Safford, Graham, Az Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I42  pember-crandall
    Last Modified 28 Jan 2017 

    Father Jonathan Taylor PACKER,   b. 26 Jul 1817, Perry Township, Richland, Ohio, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Jan 1889, Safford, Graham, Arizona, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 71 years) 
    Mother Angelina Avilda CHAMPLIN,   b. 8 Jan 1820, Hartland, Windsor, Vermont, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 7 Jan 1893, Colonia Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 72 years) 
    Married 1840  Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    _UID 5484D6551DD5744CB4D214A4EF6569E79766 
    Family ID F64  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Lydia Ann PARKER,   b. 19 Nov 1847, Ekfrid, Middlesex, Ontario, CANADA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Oct 1918, Safford, Graham, Az Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years) 
    Married 6 Jul 1869  (Eh) Salt Lake C, Salt Lake, UT Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3
    _UID 1040F9E84819F74C9AFF2FCFDB303BAF61FA 
    • MARRIAGE: Also shown as Married Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.
     1. William Henry "Packer" POWELL,   b. 1864, Deweyville, Box Elder, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1864, Deweyville, Box Elder, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 0 years)  [Adopted]
     2. Nancy Jane (Powell) PACKER,   b. 8 Apr 1866, Deweyville, Box Elder, Utah Territory, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 20 Dec 1953, Bisbee, Cochise, Arizona Territory, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 87 years)  [Adopted]
     3. Avilda Angline PACKER,   b. 29 Apr 1870, Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 Aug 1941, Pinecrest on Mount Graham, Arizona Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 71 years)
     4. Mary Verona (May) PACKER,   b. 1 Oct 1872, Brigham, Box Elder, UT Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Jan 1946, Safford, Graham, Arizona Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 73 years)
     5. Charlotte Beryl (Lottie) PACKER,   b. 15 Dec 1874, Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 31 Jul 1961, Mesa, Maricopa, AZ Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 86 years)
     6. Clara Mabel PACKER,   b. 26 Jun 1878, Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 30 Dec 1929, Gilbert, Maricopa, Arizona, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 51 years)
    Last Modified 9 Nov 2017 17:05:48 
    Family ID F26  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos

  • Notes 

    • Source: Family information copied from the book,
      "The Life and Times of Alonzo Hamilton Packer and his wife Lydia Ann Park er"
      Compiled by John A. Freestone
      Page 26-28
      Alonzo Hamilton Packer was born in Nauvoo just 8 days before the Cornerst one for the Nauvoo Temple was put in place. Just three years later in 184 4 the Prophet Joseph Smith was murdered by the mob.

      The following is taken from the life story of Jonathan Taylor Packer in o rder to document just where Alonzo was during these years.

      Avilda lived until the 7th of January 1893. She died at the home of her d aughter, Sonora. (This story is affectionally dedicated to our little MOT HER, Charlotte Beryl "Lottie" (Packer) Freestone, whose life was rich wit h the true spirit of our early pioneers.)
      (Our thanks to Cousin Lee Crandall who has worked faithfully as a typis t to cut the stencils to make this story available to all our cousins.)

      Brigham Young was chosen (1847) the new president of the Church. Under hi s leadership the Saints worked feverishly to finish the Nauvoo temple. O n December l0th, 1845, the temple was opened for endowments. Mobs force d its closing February 7th 1846. During those two months, however, abou t 2,000 saints received their endowments. Jonathan and Avilda were amon g the faithful who were privileged to receive their endowments on the 6t h of February 1846, just the day before it was closed.
      Life was uncertain from then on in Nauvoo. Brigham Young and the Saints w ere busy preparing for the great exodus. Jonathan and Avilda knew that th e time was at hand when they would have to again give up the home they ha d worked so hard to obtain. Jonathan's time was consumed building a wago n and disposing of the property to the best advantage possible. Avilda wa s busy deciding issues, sorting clothes and packing necessities. One stor y of these necessities handed down to us is the story of a bag of potat o eyes which Avilda had very carefully cut from her potatoes to take wit h them for seed. During their long journey, the eyes became as hard as ro cks, but to their great astonishment they grew into fine potatoes when pl anted in the great Salt Lake Valley. Jonathan and Avilda entered the grea t Salt Lake Valley on the 31st of August 1848) about a year after Brigha m Young had proclaimed, "It is enough. This is the right place) drive on . " They arrived 16 days ahead of their particular company. The trip, alt hough hard, was made without further incident. Avilda was expecting her f ourth child. William was born while they lived in Pioneer Fort on the 26t h of October 1848. He was the first white child born in that fort.
      It was this year (1858), that Johnson's Army threatened to destroy the Sa ints in Utah. Those men living in polygamy were forced to hide out or b e persecuted. These were the times that tried men's souls. It also trie d their stability, their courage and their faith. It was in this year (18 58) on the 19th of April that Lavern Sonora was born to Avilda. Lavern wa s born in a tent where her mother, Avilda, and Jonathan were camped. The y were then on their way to Mexico to escape the persecution dealt thos e living in polygamy. However, after a few weeks camp there, they change d their minds about going to Mexico and decided to turn back to their hom e in Brigham City.
      Christiana (one of the wives of Jonathon, Alonzos father) died on the 17t h of December 1892 in Brigham City--just nine years after Jonathan left f or Arizona. (Safford)
      Avilda who lived with her doughter Sonora from that time on came to Arizo na with her daughter and family, along with Alonzo and William and thei r families.

      "The Life and Times of Alonzo Hamilton Packer and his wife Lydia
      Ann Parker" Compiled by John A. Freestone
      Page 31-34


      Alonzo was privileged to witness the building of the Salt Lake Temple. H e relates the following incident as he was watching the laying of the sto nes for the Temple wall. "A workman was having trouble making one of th e stones fit into place, when he said 'Damn this stone!' Brigham Young, s tanding nearby, heard the remark and said, 'Brother, take that stone ou t and replace it with another. We do not want any stone that has been dam ned put in our Temple wall'"

      Alonzo related this story to his grandson, George E. Freestone, saying , " You may want to tell this sometime in later years."

      This story is a clear indication that Alonzo had a keen sense of humor , a quality needed to endure the hardships of pioneer life. Indeed, a sen se of humor can always bring a feeling of relief into anyone's life. Thro ughout his life he often manifested his appreciation of good humor wit h a spontaneous outburst of laughter, a characteristic inherited by his g randson, George. However, under situations of great stress or vexation, h e was known to have used his most vile expression of disgust by saying "B y grab." That was almost as bad as Grandpa Thomas Freestone's expression , "Thunderation", or great-grandson David Freestone's "Garbage!" I also h ad an assortment of expressions to use at vexing times, but I feel it i s the better part of wisdom not to mention any of them at this time


      The Packer family's first move from Salt Lake City was northward to Brig h am City when Alonzo was about 17 years old. A description of the plac e at the time the family arrived there is as follows: "..sagebrush, bunc h grass, no bridges. The vegetation was sparse, and the brush showed sign s of having been torn by something passing through."

      Although the exact date of the family moving to Brigham City is not known , it can be definitely established that they were there before 1858. Ver y little is known of Alonzo's activities during his early youth. However , he does tell with pride of seeing his father marching as a major at t h e head of the militia with the historic sword from the Battle of Crooke d River in his hand. This military unit was organized in Box Elder Count y for the purpose of safeguarding against hostile Indians and Johnston' s Army, the latter being an army sent by the United States government t o put down a supposed rebellion by the Saints in Utah.


      The aforementioned sword was given to Alonzo by his father at a later tim e, but its history appropriately belongs here. Following is a copy of a n ews article prepared by Alonzo and published in the Deseret News.

      "I read with great interest the correspondence from old timers, as I am m ore acquainted with all these incidents they are the more interesting . I have an old relic which if deemed worthy can be placed among the man y that will be on exhibition at the Jubilee. I have in my possession a sw ord that the late Judge Holbrook in Bountiful, Utah, used in a hand to ha nd conflict in the Battle of Crooked River. It was in that battle that Ap ostle David W. Patton fell a martyr to the cause of truth. After the batt le, Mr. Holbrook discovered he had made a niche in the edge of this swor d . This niche yet remains. I prize this sword above anything I possess . On reflecting back to the parade ground at Brigham City, Utah, when m y fat her, Jonathan T. Packer, as a major, with this sword in hand marchi ng at the head of the Box Elder Militia, always brings to me a pleasant r emem brance of my father now dead."

      "I was born April 14th, 1841, in Nauvoo; crossed the Plains with my paren ts when but seven years old, walking the entire distance firom Winter Qua rters on the banks of the Missouri River to Salt Lake Valley, barefoot. M y father drove one of the four wagons that entered the Valley August 31 , 1848, arriving about sixteen days in advance of the other wagons. Fathe r built the first house erected in the First Ward, Salt Lake City. The fi rst grist mill in Utah was a small one built on City Creek, not far abov e where President Young's house now stands. An Indian stole a sack of cor n meal from this mill; his chief procured a pair of shears and cut off th e boys hair close to his head. This to him was great punishment. I will m ention no hardships, for any old veteran of the Church will know from th e above dates that I have passed through many."


      While in Brigham City, Alonzo's father and mother were listed as clerk s d uring the years 1864 to 1877 in the Woolen Mills Department of the Co oper ative Institute, which institute was operated upon the principle o f the United Order. Lorenzo Snow and Jonathan Taylor Packer directed th e first United order project of the Church. Alonzo tells of helping in hi s father's tannery, which also may have been a department of the Cooperat ive Institute. A knowledge of this craft was to serve Alonzo well at a la ter time in his life.

      Alonzo gained a love of music as he listened to the brass bands play duri ng the drills of the militia to which his father belonged. As will be sho wn, this interest and talent played a very important part in his later li fe. Alonzo's father became a member of the first City Council of Brigha m City when it was incorporated in 1867. During the Brigham City days,

      Alonzo's father owned a store near the railroad depot where he sold fruit , candy, gurn, etc. to the weary travelers. As a means of supplementing t he family income during these years, Alonzo's mother, Avilda, operate d a boarding house. Cafes and restaurants had not as yet been establishe d in these early settlements, consequently, boarding houses satisfied th e needs of those persons requiring a place for meals and, in some cases , as a place for some persons to live. No doubt the operation of this boa rding house was an act of Providence as far as Alonzo was concerned.


      Alonzo's mother hired a young Canadian lady to work for her in the operat ion of the boarding house. Her name was Lydia Ann Parker, the daughter o f Solomon Parker and Nancy Welch, of Edwardsville, Ontario, Canada. Anni e had been married to Henry L. Powell. Two children had been born to thi s couple, William Henry, who only lived for six months, and Nancy Jane, w ho at this time was three years old. A close relationship between Alonz o and Anne developed into interest, love, courtship and then culminatin g in marriage. The couple were sealed in the Endowment House in Salt Lak e City on 6 July, 1869. Daniel H. Wells officiated in the ceremony and fo r the remainder of his life, Alonzo carried a picture of Brother Wells i n his wallet as a reminder of that most important event of his life. At t he time of their marriage he was 28 years old and she was 22. Annie's fir st husband simply deserted her, leaving her with Jane.


      Alonzo's father went on a trip to Arizona before May, 1884, to determin e whether or not this undeveloped area might be suitable as a place to br ing his family. When his father returned with a glowing report of the opp ortunity to acquire undeveloped land at a nomimal cost, a decision was ma de to move to Arizona.

      During the month of May, 1884, the Alonzo Packer family in company of the ir daughter, Janie and her husband, Seth Wright, the William Jefferson P a cker family, a sister Sonora and her husband Lorenzo Wright, and the Ch arles Forsgren family, set out in a covered wagon train for another lon g and treatures journey to Arizona.


      Alonzo and Annie were both well prepared to endure the rigors of early pi oneer life in Arizona. Alonzo was 43 years old and Annie was 37 when the y entered the Gila Valley area on October 4, 1884. Among the first settle rs in the valley.

      Alonzo was a craftsman with many talents and skills, which he combined t o make a great contribution to the development of Safford. He was a skil l ed brick mason and built the first brick home in Safford.Several of th e homes that he built are still standing and are lived in at this time (1 999 ). He also laid brick in the construction of the Layton Ward Chapel.

      Annie possessed great qualities of leadership which were evidenced in he r method of raising her daughters as well as the fulfilling of responsib l e positions in Church service. She served as President of the Relief So ciety and of the Primary. She filled other positions as well, and soon ha d the reputation of having the ability to make things move. In other word s she was a mover and a shaker.


      Alonzo had an interest and talent in music. While living in Brigham Cit y he was a member of a band. He brought the first drums into Safford, a b ass drum, which he played, and two snare drums. Having learned the tannin g trade from his father, Alonzo prepared his own skins to cover the dru m heads. It took several weeks to prepare these skins in a tub of tannin g solution. He played his bass drum as a member of the Safford Pioneer Ba nd, which group performed for all-important festivities in the early day s of Safford. Other members of this famous band included James F. Freesto ne, snare drum, and Peter Jacobson, the fife. This band made very impress ive music on all occasions, but was especially an important part of the p rograms for the Fourth of July.

      Annie's talent related to the home and its surroundings. She loved and ow ned lovely linen and fine china dishware. She was always a gracious hoste ss and many people were royally entertained within her home. William's wi fe, Mary Ann, often joined her in preparing dinners for house guests. Sin ce there were no hotels in Safford at that time. Church authorities ofte n stayed in the Packer home. Among those thus entertained were: John Henr y Smith, Francis N. Lyman, Rudger Clawson, Heber J. Grant and Carl G. Mae ser.

      Annie was about 5 feet 4 inches tall. She had dark, curly hair and large , dark eyes full of snap and fire. She always dressed well and was descri bed by my father as being "majestic and queenly" in appearance. She wa s a lover of flowers and beautified her home and yard with a wide variet y of flowers that she took great pride in growing. At the time the Packe r family moved into the Gila Valley, there was still danger from hostil e Indians and outlaws. The children never seemed to outgrow their fear o f them and were afraid to even have a small. light in the home after dar k .


      Alonz and Annie were worthy, devoted members of the Church of Jesus Chris t of Latter-day Saints. Alonzo donated the land on which the first Layto n Ward chapel was built. While the chapel was under construction, meeting s were held in a bowery on the back of the lot. This bowery was built wit h cottonwood posts and a roof consisting of branches. During this time Al onzo was a counselor to Bishop John Welker.


      Alonzo was about six feet in height, of slender build, weighing about 17 0 pounds. He had hazel eyes, iron grey hair, and wore a well trimmed bear d. He was always well groomed and wore a wide brimmed black felt hat at a ll times when out of doors. This hat hung by the door for convenience sin ce he always put it on upon going outside even for the smallest errand. I t seems reasonable to assume that his practice of wearing this type of ha t could have been an influence carried down (by) his Quaker forefathers.

      The rigors of pioneer life eventually took their toll in the life of Alon zo Hamilton Packer. He died in his home in Safford, before the 76th anniv ersary of his birth. A granddaughter, Lillian F. Millett, who attended hi m during his final days relates the following: "I had the privilege of ca ring for Grandpa Alonzo the last weeks of his life. He never allowed anyo ne to wait on him, and it was difficult to persuade him to rest in the be d this day. I remember so well the day that he came home after takin g a 5 gallon can of milk to the creamery. He drove in a one-horse buggy w ith the buggy top just as erect as he sat beneath it. On this day he cam e to the fire place to warm himself, and asked me to fix him a' hot todd y '. I was surprised, as he never asked anyone to do anything for him. Wh en I saw that he was chilling as he drank the hot drink, I realized tha t he was very sick. As I urged him to lie down, he remarked, "No,. ..i f I go to bed, I will never get up. I am not like your grandmother, whos e body is accustomed to sickness and has built up an immunity. When I giv e up to the bed, that is the end for me".

      "It was only a short five days from the day he went to bed before death t ook this courageous soul. Grandma had been ill for a number of years, an d she lingered for another year in a paralyzed condition before passing . A touching incident occurred just before Grandpa died which brought t o mind the nearness we are to the 'other side'. I was seated by his bedsi de watching him very closely, as I realized that the end was near. He aro se from the bed with a glassy look in his eyes as though he could not se e me nor hear me calling him. Walking across the room where the picture o f his brother, William was hanging. (William preceded him in death), he t ook the picture down and stood gazing at it for some time. I was nervou s and tried to persuade him to return to his bed. After a time he laid th e picture or the sewing machine sitting near and without a word or eve n a look at me, he returned to his bed. The end came a few hours later.

      "It was also on this day that his old friend, James F. Freestone came t o see him. He had walked with the aid of his cane the distance of the 2 0 acre field that separated the two of them, to pay his respects to Alonz o. As he entered the room, he stood for a time looking down upon his frie nd in bed, then he said, "Well...'Lonzo." Alonzo replied, "Well ... James ." "Two short words! That was the only exchange. That was all that neede d to be said. A lifetime of meaning and emotion were packed within thes e few words. There is no doubt that many mental images of past associatio ns and experiences flashed through their minds during this solemn moment.

      Descents from John Howland (Mayflower)and Elizabeth Tilley
      (b. 1592; md
      Elizabeth Tilley)
      (b. abt Feb 1625-26;
      md John Gorham)
      (b. 20 Jan 1658;
      md George Denison)
      (b. 11 Sep 1689-90; md
      Christopher Champlin)
      (b. 4 Aug 1709;
      md (2) Mary Noyes)
      (b. abt 1765;
      md Mercy Sisson)
      (b. 16 Apr 1794;
      md Mary Ring)
      Angeline Avilda Champlin
      Margaret Emma Champlin

  • Sources 
    1. [S25] 1860 United States Federal Census, Year: 1860; Census Place: Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah Territory; Roll: ; Page: 539; Image: 552.
      Birth date: abt 1841 Birth place: Illinois Residence date: 1860 Reside nce place: Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah Territory, United States 0&indiv=try&gss=pt

    2. [S10] Millennium File.

    3. [S13] 1900 United States Federal Census, Year: 1900; Census Place: Anaconda, Deer Lodge, Montana; Roll: 911; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0014; FHL microfilm: 1240911.