List of Pioneers in Pierce-Hawkins Family

(Updated May 15, 2005)

Pierce Heath Family

McRae Fitzgerald Family Weeks Company 1852



Pierce Pioneer Book - reference chronology of Church History

Story Board Layout

Pictures of People going from Us to Them Pierces

1805 - 1827

Austin Hammer: born May 6, 1804 - NC or SC

Joseph White Pierce born June 5, 1805 - Middletown Massachusetts

Joseph Smith Jr. born Dec 23, 1805

Nancy Jane Elston born February 20, 1806 - Lexington Kentucky

Alexander McRae born Sept 7, 1807 - Anson County, North Carolina

Nahum Curtis and Millicent Waite were married in New Salem Massachucettes on October 29, 1809.

Amanda Mary Heath born Jan 15, 1811 - Broome County (Windsor), New York

Eunice Fitzgerald - Born Feb 7, 1818 - New Castle, Kentucky

1820 was the First Vision in Palmyra New York - Eunice would have been 2 years old, Amanda 9, Alexander 12 and Joseph White 14

1823 - Sept 21-22 Visit of the Angel Moroni - told about the Book of Mormon

1827 -Sept 22  Joseph gets the gold plates

Colesville - 1829 - 1832

1829 May 15 - John the Baptist conferred the Aaronic Priesthood on Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in Harmony Pennsylvania (D&C 13 - JS-H 1:71-72)

1829 - May 16 or later - Restoration of the Melchizedec Priesthoods by Peter James and John near the Susquehanna River between Harmony, Pennsylvania and Colesville New York. (D&C 128:20)

1829 June - Translation of the Book of Mormon completed.

The Three Witnesses and the Eight Witnesses shown the gold plates (see 2 Ne. 11:3; 27:12-13; D&C 17).

1830 April 6 - Church Organized in Fayette Township - 1/2 of the 60 people there were from Colesville

1830 - April Joseph Smith made his first visits to Colesville

Joseph White Pierce and Amanda Mary Heath taught the gospel by Joseph Smith in Colesville just after the organization of the church in 1830.  Near the birth placed of Mormonism. 

1830, December-January 1831 - The Saints were commanded to gather to Ohio (see D&C 37; 38:31-32).

Amanda talked about being driven from five different homes as they followed the saints all the way west.

Kirtland - 1831

1831, July 20 - Site for the city of Zion (the New Jerusalem) in Independence, Missouri, revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith (see D&C 57; A of F 1:10).

Pierce-Heath Family: They followed the church to Kirtland, Ohio in 1832.

Joseph White Pierce helped to work on the Kirtland temple

In Kirtland food was scarse and Amanda along with other women were charged with the responsibility of providing food for the temple workers

Austin Hammer was baptized November 16 1834.  We need to find out where but it was in the Kirtland Era.

McRae-Fitzgerald Family: Alexander and Eunice were married in Newcastle Kentucky October 2, 1834.  The same year he moved to Ripley County, Indiana, and established himself on a farm. There he was visited by edlers of the L D S Church, and in June, 1837.  They had to walk eight miles to hear the Elders preach and would walk back the same night holding their one year old baby boy John.  Perhaps their conversion was a quick one, but it must have also represented a difficult choice.  Alexander's parents would have nothing to do with him after he joined the Mormon Church.  But at any rate, Alexander and Eunice decided that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that they would be baptized into the Mormon Church.  In June of 1837 they walked the sixteen miles to the place of baptism, carrying John in their arms all the way.  When they arrived they found a mob of 200 men who had gathered to prevent any baptisms from taking place.  The mormon elders told Alexander and Eunice that they had better postpone the ceremony and wait for a more favorable time.  Alexander asked if he was worthy of baptism.  The elder told him that he was.  "Then I demand baptism, and as for these men, I am not afraid of all the devils out of hell."  He and Eunice were baptized by Elisha P. Davis, and none of the 200 moved to stop them.  Then they walked sixteen miles home.

Far West, Caldwell County, Missouri 1837

Hammer-Elston Family had twins in Caldwell County.  There's some confusion about when Feb 9, 1836 or September 9, 1836.  There are three names that show up, Isiah a girl, Julia Anne another girl or Isaiah a boy.  The family had seven children.

Pierce-Heath Family: Joseph White Pierce and Amanda Mary Heath moved to Missouri.  Their fifth child, Joseph Henry was born here on 17th of January, 1838 and died one month later.  Four of their first five children died before reaching the age of two.

McRae-Fitzgerald Family: Alexander and Eunice moved to Far West in the fall of 1837. 

Alexander McRae was elected a captain in the 23rd Regiment of the Missouri Militia. [21]  During the persecutions and mobbings of 1838 he was very active in defending the members of the Church.  Trouble had been building up for a long time between the Mormons and the Missourians.  On October 25, a band of Missourians, led by a Captain Bogart, and seventy-five Mormons clashed at Crooked River, and one of the Missourians was killed.  Two days later Governor Lilburn W. Boggs issued a proclamation which gave the Mormons a choice between leaving Missouri and being exterminated.  Mobs and state militia began to gather around Far West.  The Mormons in outlying settlements had moved into Far West for protection and six hundred had armed themselves to defend the city.  On October 30 the mob attacked the Mormon settlement at Haun's Mill.  2,000 men arrived at Far West and surrounded the town.

Millicent Waite wife of Nahum Curtis died in Shoal Creek, Caldwell County, Missouri on 3 September 1838  she was burried in the town of Far West on the 6th.

Hauns Mill Masacre, Caldwell County Missouri

Austin Hammer was killed at the Hauns Mill Masacre on October 30, 1838.  He was burried the same day.  He left seven children the twins Isaiah and Julia were two, Austin was three, Josiah was seven, John was eight and Nancy was nine.

When the militia attacked Far West in October, 1838, Alexander McRae was taken prisoner with the prophet Joseph Smith, his brother Hyrum, and other leaders.  They were held in Liberty Jail at Liberty, Missouri from November 30, 1838, to April 6, 1839. While in the jail, Alexander whose red head stood a couple of inches taller than the prophet was scribe for sections 121, 122, and 123.  He tells a story of how they tried to escape and how they were fed the leg of a Negro slave and were poisoned.  Alexander's wife Eunice Fitzgerald brought guns and letters to the jail.

Of his experiences while in Liberty Jail, Alexander McRae wrote in 1854:

"Among our friends who visited us were Presidents Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball-the latter several times: George A. Smith of the Quorum of the Twelve; Don C. Smith, brother of Joseph, came several times and brought some of our families to see us; Benjamin Covey, bishop of the Twelfth Ward of this city, brought each of us a new pair of boots and made us a present of them; Orrin P. Rockwell brought us refreshments many times and Jane Bleven and her daughter brought us cakes and pies, etc., and handed them in through the window. These things helped us much as our food was very coarse and so filthy we could not eat it until we were driven to it by hunger.

1839, January 29,  in Far West, Missouri, Joseph White Pierce subscribed his name, along with many others, to pledge their available property to be disposed of by a committee, for the purpose of assisting the worthy poor and destitute to remove from the state in compliance with the order expelling them from the state of Missouri. (History of the Church Volume III page 250 to 254.)

Nauvoo 1839 -

Pierce-Heath Family: Joseph White Pierce and Amanda Mary Heath lived in the same house with Hyrum in Nauvoo.   They knew and associated with the prophet Joseph Smith

On April 15, 1844, Alexander McRae was called to labor as a missionary, and to preside over the Church in North Carolina.  Aaron Razer, Thomas Guymon, George Watt, John Holt, John Houston, and James Sanderson were called to work with him. [60]  Brigham Young instructed the missionaries to preach the gospel and to also present "General Smith's Views of the Powers and Policy of the General Government" with an eye to finding electors who would stand for him in the presidential election later in the year.

1844, April 18 - Alexander McRae met with the Quorum of the Twelve, the City Council, the High Council and several others to act as part of an excommunication court.  The men they excommunicated in April were those who would publish the Nauvoo Expositor in June.  The destruction of their printing press, directly led to the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum in Carthage Jail, (June 27, 1844).  Alexander was said to have made the suit Joseph was wearing when he was shot, although Alexander had left for his mission at the time.  He went back to Indiana, but was back in Nauvoo, by the spring of 1845.

1845, April 9 - Alexander McRae was ordained into the 22nd Quorum of Seventies in Nauvoo.

Amanda Mary Heath often told about hearing the Prophet's funeral sermon, and how deeply his death grieved her. Two weeks after the martyrdom of the Prophet and Hyrum Smith, her son, Isaac Riley Pierce was born at Nauvoo, Illinois.

Isaac Riley Pierce Sr. was born in Nauvoo, July 13, 1844 two weeks after the prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were martyred in Carthage Jail. His mother, Amanda Mary Heath, heard the Prophet Joseph Smith deliver his last public address and also attended his funeral. She said in her last days that the death of the prophet caused her more grief than anything else she had experienced in her whole life.

Nauvoo Temple

The leaders of the Church had decided to leave Nauvoo to go to the West, but they wished to complete the Nauvoo Temple first so theat they could receive their endowments before leaving.  There was no telling how long it would be before a temple could be built in the West.  The temple was completed enough in December that the first ordinances could be performed.  Alexander McRae received his endowment December 18, 1845. [68]  The next day he was called to officiate and labor in the temple by Brigham Young. [69]  Eunice was endowed February 7, 1846.

Nahum Curtis received his endowments in the Nauvoo Temple on December 18, 1845 - He later died on March 9, 1846 in Nauvoo.

Phoebe Jane Ramsey received her endowments on January 28, 1846

Sophronia Curtis received her endowments in the Nauvoo temple on Jan 30, 1846.

Moses Curtis and his brother Joseph received their endowments February 2, 1846 in the Nauvoo temple

Lyman Curtis and his brothers George and Foster received their endowments on February 7, 1846 in the Nauvoo temple.

John Reynolds received his endowments in the Nauvoo temple on April 26, 1846.

Nancy Jane Hammer received her endowments in the Nauvoo temple on February 7, 1846.

Mary Curtis received her endowments in the Nauvoo Temple on May 6, 1850.

Mississippi River Crossing - From Pioneer Story

1846 Isaacr Riley Pierce Sr.’s (2 years old) family crossed the Mississippi river on the ice when the "Mormons" were driven from Nauvoo.

At the time the Saints were driven from Nauvoo, they had many provisions with them. She, Amanda Mary Heath, very courageously stood up for her rights and did not allow the angry mob to rob them of their provisions. At the time the Saints left Nauvoo, she and her family crossed the Mississippi River on the ice. She carried with her a clock about two feel tall and approximately 20 inches wide. This clock, which still runs is now owned by her grand-daughter, Martha Pierce Christensen, and is at present in the Daughter's of the Pioneers Relic Hall in Salem, Utah.

Eunice Fitzgerald McRae - had to evacuate the whole family by herself because her husband stayed to fight with the army who volunteered to defend Nauvoo.

From February through September of 1846, thousands of Latter-day Saints abandoned Nauvoo, fleeing to the West in barges and ferries across the Mississippi River. Some of those who crossed in late February did so on ice, as the wide river froze solid in sub-zero temperatures. (A number of diarists refer to the freezing as a miracle, even though, notes one commentator, "it was a miracle that nearly froze a couple of thousand saints.") The majority, some 7,000 or more, left between March and May. By September only six or seven hundred remained in Nauvoo. Known as the "poor saints," they were either physically or financially incapable of traveling west by themselves to join the main body of the saints now near the western edge of Iowa. Mobs forced this last group from the city in mid-September, 1846, in what came to be known as "the battle of Nauvoo."

The Battle of Nauvoo - Defending the City against Mobs

1846, Fall - Alexander McRae was the commander of the 2nd volunteer company raised to defend Nauvoo.  He later became 2nd Captain of an elect band chosen by William Anderson, called the Spartan Band.  They had a battle with a mob of 500.  At this point there was an engagement of an hour and twenty minutes between the mobbers and the Mormons and the mob began to be driven back.  After taking care of their dead and wounded, the volunteers resumed the positions they had held in the morning.  The command of the Spartan Band now devolved on Alexander McRae and Almon L. Fullmer.  

On September 16, there was a conference between the trustees-in-trust for the Church, who had been left in charge of Nauvoo when the Quorum of the Twelve had gone to Winter Quarters, the commanders of the mob, and the chairman of the Quincy "committee."  An agreement was reached whereby the city of Nauvoo would be surrendered to the mob the next day at 3 p.m., the Mormons would deliver up their arms, to receive them again upon crossing the Mississippi, and would leave the state. [79]

Many of the volunteers were outraged over the action of the Church trustees.  A good many of them felt incensed by their success on the 12th, and felt they could beat the mob.  But the trustees decided that the city could not be defended, and that it ought to be surrendered without further bloodshed as it would soon be abandoned at any event.  The volunteer troops were disbanded, and preparations were made to leave the city.  At 3 p.m., September 17, 1,500 of the mob marched into the city. [80]  Charles Middleton said he was an eye-witness to the surrender of various companies of the Nauvoo Legion.  Of Captain Alexander McRae he said, "He marched his company up, then drew his sword from the scabbard and drove it into the ground.  (He was a giant of a man).  He twisted the handle from the blade and threw it on the ground in front of the receiving officer and said, 'Take it if it will do you any good!'  He was ordered shot.  Several guns were snapped, but none of them went off, and he escaped." [81]  He was a hunted man for a long while, while his wife and family were wondering what had become of him.  Eunice had to take care of the family, which probably included getting them across the river into Iowa. [82]

The McRaes moved to join the main body of the Saints at Florence, (Winter Quarters), Nebraska.  Alexander along with Andrew L. Lamoreaux, was back in Nauvoo in February, 1847, leaving February 18 to carry a packet of letters to Brigham Young at Winter Quarters.  They had narrowly avoided a clash with unfriendly elements in Nauvoo, and Alexander had been put in jain in Van Burren County, Iowa.  He had been remanded to Lee County where he was released.  He also reported to Brigham Young on the persecutions being given to the members of the Church still living in Van Burren County.

Winter Quarters (Kanesville- Name later changed to Council Bluffs), Iowa

Pierce-Heath Family: Amanda Mary Heath and Joseph White Pierce and their family spent several years in Winter Quarters, Iowa.  Adelia Delialah, their ninth child was born Jan 13, 1847 somewhere in Iowa.  Lucy Jane, the tenth child, was born March 22, 1850 at Silver Creek, Iowa - she died at the age of ten months.  In Kenesville, pottawattamie County, Iowa, their eleventh child, Julia Ann Menetta was born August 3, 1852.  Thier home in Kanesville was the fifth home they were driven from.

Norton-Hammer Family  James Wiley Norton and Nancy Jane Hammer were married on July 8, 1846 in Walnut, Pottawattamie County Iowa.  They were later sealed in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City on November 10, 1873

James and Nancy's brother and siter, John Wesley Norton and Rebecca Anne Hammer were married on July 20, 1846 - Council Bluff, Pattawattamie County, Iowa.  They were later sealed in the Endowment house in Salt Lake City on June 1, 1851.

James and Nancy Hammer had their first child, Amanda Malissa Norton on April 19, 1847 in Winter Quarters, Iowa.  They had their next child, Sarah Jane in Salt Lake City, Utah on April 17, 1852.  Showing they left as pioneers some time between 1847 and 1852.


McRae-Fitzgerald Family: Alexander McRae and Eunice Fitzgerald and their family crossed the plains and arrived in Salt Lake City October 1852. with Seven Children John McRae 16 (Jan 30, 1836 - Henry Kentucky) Joseph McRae (3 Mar 1838 - Far West, Caldwell County, Missouri) Kenneth McRae 14 (11 Mar 1840 - Ripley Indianna) Alexander McRae 9 (Oct 22, 1842 - Nauvoo) Daniel McRae 6(April 12, 1846 - Nauvoo) Mary Jane McRae 2 (6 Sep 1849 Winter Quarters, Kanesville, Iowa) and Martha McRae 1 (Jan 14, 1851 - Kanesville)

Pierce-Heath Family: Amanda Mary Heath's journal says they arrived in Utah in 1852 via covered wagon.  Isaac Riley Pierce Sr. came to Utah in 1853 with his parents, crossing the plains with an ox team. He was 9 years old. Roxy Abigail Pierce 13 (24 May 1840 - Nauvoo) Adelia Delilah 6(13 Jan 1847 - Bentonsport) and Julie Anne Menetta 1 (3 Aug 1852 - Winter Quarters or Kanesville Pottawattamie county, Iowa. 

There were 11 children born to Amanda Mary Heath and Joseph White Pierce and only five of her children lived to cross the plains, four girls and one boy, Isaac Riley Pierce

Mary Adeline Pierce 17 (21 Nov 1836 born in Kirtland) married William Batson Ballard February 5, 1852 at the age of 15 - I don’t know if they went with the Pierces in 1853.

In 1866 Isaac Riley Pierce Sr., age 22,  went back to the Missouri river in Captain Abner Lowry’s train to bring the poor saints to the Valley. He also participated in the Blackhawk War of 1867. He took his team and wagon and spent seven months in this campaign, protecting the settlers from the Indians.

In Salt Lake City Utah

The Pierce-Heath family settled in the Tenth Ward in Salt Lake City - 5th South and 9th East.  They owned about 2 1/2 acres.   They lived on a farm up Emmigration Canyon during the summers and in the city in the winter.  The old monument honoring the entrance of the pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley was located on their farm.  Amanda was Relief Society President in the tenth ward for many years.

Pierce-McRae Family: Isaac Riley Pierce Sr. married Mary Jane McRae February 1, 1868 in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City.   In 1882 he took Elenor Thomas to wife. By these two wives he became the father of eight children. He suffered many persecutions in living the order of polygamy, being one of a number incarcerated in the State Penitentiary for unlawful cohabitation.

Isaac Riley Pierce Sr. helped to build the Assembly Hall on Temple Square.

William Ellis Cushing was born December 5, 1848 in Salt Lake City

Emigrants and Hand Carts

John Powell heard and Accepted the gospel soon after Margaret was born and she grew up with the gospel principles and teachings.

Powell-Harris Family: John Powell (Father) and Elizabeth Harris (Mother) and their six children: William 14, Mary 13, Margaret 8 (Grandma Helen Pierce’s Grandma--- Gordon Dale Pierce - Helen Betts - John Alexander Betts - Margaret Powell ), Elizabeth 5, Hannah 3, and David a baby of 3 weeks left their comfortable home in Llanover, South Wales and went to Liverpool England. On March 22, 1856 they set sail on the American sailing vessel, "The Enoch Train," under the leadership of Elder Edmund Ellsworth, for America.

After two weeks on the ocean a storm came up and the wind drove them back until they shores of Ireland were visible. On May 1st 1856, they landed near Boston and took the train to New York. From there, they went by rail to Ohio, by boat to Cincinnati, and then by rail arriving in Iowa City, Iowa on June 11, 1856.

When they came to the Mississippi River they were just ten minutes too late to take the train across the bay. They were thankful they had missed it, however, and felt the hand of providence, when they learned that the bridge had broken and the train had gone into the river.

In Iowa they met many of the Latter-Day Saints and all were kept busy making preparations to come to the Rocky Mountains. Horses, oxen and wagons were scarce, and this company of saints had very little money so they decided to make handcarts. So the Powell family became one of the first hand cart companies.

Edmund Ellsworth led the company of 266 people out of Iowa city, June 9, 1856. Another company led by Daniel D. McArthur left two days later. (The Restored Church p.280-281) Margaret’s biography says that they left in July and that the company consisted of 500 men, women and children, 100 handcarts, twelve yoke of oxen, four mules, five wagons and twenty-five tents. Maybe her memory counted both companies as one.

Margaret walked all the way from Iowa to Echo Canyon with the exception of half a day when she rode in the wagon to take care of her baby brother, her mother was too ill to care for him.

In recounting her experiences on the plains, Margaret said, many times, that they wouldn’t have minded walking if they could have had all they wanted to eat, but rations were scarce and they might have starved if they hadn’t had buffalo meat occasionally.

When they arrived at Emigration Canyon September 26, 1856,  Brigham Young and the first presidency and others met them with loads of food, upon which they feasted while resting and listening to a Brass band, before completing the last stretch of their journey.

They camped on the public square in the 16th ward the first night in Salt Lake. They were given a small log house in which to live with no furniture. In a few days they were settled and John Powell began to work on the Salt Lake Temple. He worked only one day when he became ill. He lay on a pile of straw in the corner of his poorly furnished log hut three for three days with two children sick in one corner on a bed of straw and two in another corner on a similar bed. He died October 12, 1856 just two weeks after arriving in the valley on his wife’s birthday. Leaving her with six small children the oldest being 14.

In February 1857 they were persuaded to move to Payson where they lived with Charles Long and his wife in a dug-out where the 4th ward now stands. By spring a home had been built for them. How proud they were of it, for it had a real door and windows with greased paper for windowpanes.

Margaret Married James Betts when she was 19 (April 3, 1867) They had six children of which one died. Eliza, Mary, William, John and David. She and her husband built the Betts home in the First Ward where she lived out her life. It was especially dear to her as she helped make the adobe brick of which it was built.

After eleven years of happily married life she was called to go through the greatest trial of her life when her husband and brother Dave Powell were killed in a snow slide in Payson Canyon on March 26, 1878, leaving her with five children the oldest one being only ten.

July 2000 Ensign Article they Walked 1,300 miles


First Transcontinental Train

John Quigley was born in York, Ireland 1854 to Ann Melvin and John Quigley. He had a sister, Margaret Quigley Crook. They came to Utah when he was ??? and settled in Payson where he helped his step father make adobes and houses and later worked on the railroad.

Kathryn Quigley’s Mother, Ruth Lewis was born August 22, 1856 in Llanover Wales. The daughter of Catherine Evans and Phillip Lewis. They kept the mission home for the Elders in Wales. Mother and her family (Mary, Margaret, Maria, Cristie, Catherine, Henry and William) came to Utah in 1869 on the first train to run into Utah from the East bringing passengers. She was thirteen years old. They settled in Lehi. She worked in a railroad bording house and there met John Quigley and were married Sept 22, 1874 and moved to Payson to live.

Kathryn Quigley (Gordon Dale Pierce - Helen Betts - Kathryn Quigley was married to John Alexander Betts on 10 May 1922 - GG’s mother died Dec 3, 1918 when GG was 4 years old and Kathryn became Gordon's Grandma Betts) Her brothers and sisters older, John, Ruth Ann who died at six months, Melvin, Louis and Margaret. Four younger Edwin, Joseph F., Edna and George A.

When Kathryn was seven years old her father died and her mother was left with nine children to face life alone.

Kathryn attended the University of Utah in 1904

Married Ed Bills June 2, 1909 in the Salt Lake Temple

June 29, 1910 first boy was born who lived a half an hour

Winona April 10, 1912

Reed June 29, 1915

Ed Bills died Feb 7, 1920

On May 10, 1922 John Alexander Betts and Kathryn Quigley Bills were married in the Salt Lake Temple and they did his first wife’s (Helen Anne Cushing) work for them done and all their children sealed to them. Venetta, Edna, La Vern and Helen 6 were still at home then and I have tried to be a mother to them. Grandma Helen Betts Pierce called Kathryn her Aunt Kathryn her step Mother who raised her from age 6. She was Gordon, Nancy and Vickie’s Grandma Betts, she was wonderful to all three of them and they loved her.

Endowment House - Salt Lake City

Norton-Hammer Family: John Wesley Norton and Rebecca Anne Hammer were sealed in the Endowment House 1 June 1851 after being married in Council Bluff, Pattawattamie County, Iowa.

Reynolds-Norton Family: October 4, 1875 Squire Reynolds and Nancy Fidelia Norton were sealed in the Endowment House in Salt Lake.

Western Settlements

Nancy Jane Elston Hammer - Smithfield, Utah