A Sketch of the Life of Alfred and Priscilla Pitt Lunt
Written by their son, John Edgar Lunt
Alfred Lunt; Father; Alf (40) – Self/Priscilla’s Husband
Alfred Oscar Lunt (15) – Alfred and Priscilla’s Son
Charles Howard Grace (219) – Alfred and Priscilla’s Son-in-Law; Husband of Daughter, Elizabeth Ann Lunt
Charles William Foote; Will (1015) – Husband of Alfred’s Sister-in-Law, Caroline Kate Pitt/Priscilla’s Brother-in-Law; Husband of Sister, Caroline Kate Pitt
Edward Lunt; Grandfather Lunt (202) – Alfred’s Father/Priscilla’ Father-in-Law
Elizabeth Ann Lunt (42) – Alfred and Priscilla’s Daughter
Enoch Bowles (1271) – Daughter-in-Law, Jeanette Sperry’s, Maternal Aunt’s, Amelia Emily Webb’s Husband
George William Lunt (44) – Alfred and Priscilla’s Son
Jeanette Sperry (16) – Alfred and Priscilla’s Daughter-in-Law; Wife of Son, Alfred Oscar Lunt
John Edgar Lunt (45) – Alfred and Priscilla’s Son
John Henry Lunt (948) – Alfred’s and Priscilla’s Nephew; Son of Alfred’s Brother, Shedrick Lunt
John Martin Pitt (211) – Alfred’s Father-in-Law/Priscilla’s Father
Lydia Jane Kendall (244) – Alfred and Priscilla’s Daughter-in-Law; Wife of Son, John Edgar Lunt
Priscilla Pitt; Mother; Mrs. Lunt (41) – Self/Alfred’s Wife
Rose Etta Morgan (235) – Alfred and Priscilla’s Daughter-in-Law; Wife of Son, George William Lunt
Sarah Florence McCune; Florence (226) – Alfred and Priscilla’s Daughter-in-Law; Married to Son Shedrick James Lunt
Shedrick James Lunt; Shed (43) – Alfred and Priscilla’s Son
Shedrick Lunt; Shed (206) – Alfred’s Brother/Priscilla’s Brother-in-Law
By 1864 Edward Lunt and family had been in Utah nearly seven years and permanently located in Nephi, then known as Salt Creek, and through hard work and perseverance, were beginning to reap some reward for their labors. A little home, a piece of land, a yoke of cattle, a cow or two, were the reward of untiring work and rigid economy.
Alfred, the oldest son, was now 19 years old and had become accustomed to the western pioneer life, and like the father was industrious, courageous and honest.
Among the Latter-Day Saints, there are several ways of giving voluntary service. At this time, when so many immigrants were coming to Utah, it was customary to call for donations to help the converts out. Some were called to give their time, others oxen, others wagons, others provisions, etc. It so happened that in the spring of 1864, Alfred Lunt was called to go back to the Missouri River to help bring out the immigrants. Others going from Nephi at the same time were: James Wright, Thomas Ingram, Enoch Bowles, James Jenkins and Gideon Watson.
About 1 May 1864, Alfred Lunt, a lad of 19, equipped with 4 yolk of oxen on a wagon, started with a company for the Missouri River to bring out the immigrants. A splendid spirit of helpfulness existed toward the migrating saints and they were anxious to render all the assistance they could to the strangers who were coming to make their homes with them.
In due time the company arrived at Florence, Nebraska on the Missouri River, and then preparations were soon made for the return journey. On 19 July 1864, what is known as Captain William S. Warren’s Ox Team Company started westward across the plains. Youth has always been characterized by mirth and romance, and thus the impulses of nature now were more powerful than the arduous task that lay before them.
So now we bring together two of the principles in this little drama. It is here and now that Alfred Lunt, the young teamster from Utah, meets Priscilla Pitt, the young English girl from Willenhall, Alfred’s former home. Alfred claims to have remembered seeing her in England, but she has no remembrance of having seen him. Alfred, feeling sure that he knew the girl, made inquiry as to who the young lady was, and had his opinion confirmed by being informed that the young lady in question was Priscilla Pitt, daughter of John Pitt of Willenhall, England.
An affinity sprang up between them and no doubt this spark of true love helped very materially this young couple during the next arduous weeks of hardships and trials. While there were wagons provided to haul provisions and personal effects, it was the rule that all who were able, were to walk, and so Priscilla walked most of the way from the Missouri River to Salt Lake.
As they journeyed through the districts inhabited by Indians, they encountered many tribes that were on the warpath. Two companies of immigrants were forced to travel together for protection. The combined company now numbered 500 wagons.
One night, the Indians planned an attack on the company, but through wise leadership, the attack was averted. It was about midnight, just as the moon was coming up. The immigrants were horrified at hearing the wild cries of the red man as they were ready to make their attack.
The captain, being a real scout and suspicious that trouble was brewing, from the signal fires that had been noticed during the day and early evening. That night all the cattle were kept within the enclosure of the wagons, instead of being night herded, as was the custom. The ox yolk were placed between the wagons, so as to resemble men on guard. Men with loaded guns were stationed between each wagon, but were told not to shoot until ordered to and the first shots were to be fired in the air and no blood was to be shed unless absolutely necessary.
The camp was in a flat, just under the brow of a hill. Just as the moon began to come up, was the time planned for the attack. With their war paint on, out of the stillness of the night, came that awful yell that would almost freeze your blood. Mounted on their horses and swinging their tomahawks, they made a dash for the immigrant camp. The nervous immigrants stood at their posts until the leading Indians had nearly reached the camp, when the order was given to fire into the air. A blast of fire and report of a gun came from between each wagon. This turned the surprise on the Indians, who upon finding the Saints prepared to defend themselves, turned their horses, and with an angry yell, ran back to their camp without anyone being injured.
Mother states that she was sleeping in a wagon next to the side circle when the attack was made and by lifting the wagon cover, could see the Indians in the moonlight and the glistening steel of their tomahawks. Imagine the feelings of the Saints who had just left England a few weeks before.
About this time a company of non-Mormons consisting of 5 or 6 wagons and carriages drawn by horses and mules over took the immigrants as they were traveling west. The captain of the ox team tried to persuade the small company to stay and travel with them for safety, but they were not afraid of the Indians, and so they pushed ahead. The next morning, the immigrants reached the place where the small company had camped the night before and there they found all of the party killed, their wagons burned and the horses and mules stolen. Surely the Lord had a watch card over his Saints as they gathered to the headquarters of The Church. I have not heard of one losing their life by the Indians on their journey to the valley.
Much sickness and many deaths occurred in this camp. Out of the wagon in which the Chappell family came, the father, mother and four children died within a month. They were not discouraged and they had no thought of turning back. They sang, “Come, Come Ye Saints. No toil, nor labor fear, but with joy wend your way”.
It was not an uncommon thing to wade streams they had to cross and even rivers where the wanted came up to their armpits. They kept going and their clothes dried on them as they went. Finally on 1 October 1864, The Warren Company reached Salt Lake City. Here, no doubt, the company broke up, some staying in Salt Lake and others scattered to different settlements of the Saints.
We do not suppose it took Alfred Lunt long to convince Priscilla Pitt that she should go to Nephi with him. Their fathers were friends and members of the same branch of The Church in Willenhall. And so on 9 October, Priscilla finally reached her destination in Nephi. She went to the home of Edward Lunt and with Alfred was given a hearty welcome. Although they had but two small rooms, Priscilla readily adapted herself to the new environment and soon fell in with western primitive mode of living.
Home industry was popular in those days. Among the new trades, Priscilla had to learn, was to make tallow candles, lye, soap and to clean, card and spin wool into yarn. From the yarn cloth was woven and made into clothing, socks, mittens, caps, etc. were knit in the home. Also butter and cheese were made.
This was a wonderful change for a young girl just out from England where everything was bought from the store as needed. They were out in the wilderness and had to make the best of the situation. It took courage, thrift, ambition, determination and resourcefulness to get along. There was a splendid spirit of cooperation and helpfulness among those early pioneers and thus by united efforts, they began to wrest from native environment happy homes and more comfortable surroundings. The social side of life was not neglected in those trying times. They met together and their parties and dances and no doubt enjoyed themselves as well then as we do now.
Just 14 months from the time Priscilla Pitt arrived in Nephi, she and Alfred Lunt were married in the Endowment House, Salt Lake City, 8 December 1865. The journey to Salt Lake was made with an ox team and required 3 days. They did not wait until they had accumulated a fortune before getting married. Their capital consisted principally of love and confidence and faith in each other. They were both ambitious and willing to work and meet the problems of life together. And thus through the years of consistent plodding along, persistent in work, conservative and thrifty, they began to accumulate a little property. Eternal vigilance is said to be the price of success, and so it was in this case. By careful management and hard work, little by little the added a chair, an ox, a stove, an acre of land or a share of water. On one occasion, Father shoveled snow a whole day for a pair of discarded trousers.
Alfred seemed especially interested in cattle, for one of his first jobs was herding the cow herd. Through years of experience, he was an expert on identifying cattle. The two years following his marriage, Alfred herded the cow herd with George Carter. In 1868 he freighted oats from Ephraim to Nevada for the stage line. In 1868 he worked for George McCune on the farm. His ambition was to get a business for himself. So from 1870 to 1876 Alfred and Shed Lunt and James Belliston herded the cattle that were not used as milk cows or oxen and were known as the dry herd. These cattle numbered between 100 and 1200 head. They were herded in the summertime in the hills east of Nephi in Four Mile Creek and in the winter they were taken to Sage Valley. The price received was $3.00 per year for every animal that could not be accounted for, they had to pay for herding. Thus careful attention to business and sometimes taking cattle for pay for herding, he soon began to get a herd of cattle of his own.
In 1870 Alfred took up a homestead at Four Mile Creek and was the first person to settle on that now valuable farming land. A log cabin was built on this property and his good wife, ever willing to do her part to help her husband to make it easier for the man folk in their daily trial. At this time Shed Lunt, Alfred’s brother, and James Belliston lived with Alfred and Priscilla.
It was a strenuous and lonely life for this young wife, with her small children, to be alone all day at the ranch making butter and cheese, cooking and mending. There was also the danger of Indians coming while the helpless was there alone. While Alfred was riding in the mountains, he carried field glasses and kept a watchful eye on the home at every chance. One day while the wife and two small children, Elizabeth and Shed, were at the ranch, a big mean looking Indian came and demanded bread, flour and sugar. Although frightened, Priscilla was brave. She gave the Indian flour and bread, but as they had only a small amount of sugar, she refused to give him any. He went to the cupboard to take it, but Priscilla stood in front of the cupboard so he couldn’t open it. Seeing that the woman was helpless against his strength, he grabbed her and threw her across the room and was in the act of taking the sugar when Mrs. Lunt looked out and saw her husband, who had seen the Indian go into the house, coming toward the house at full speed. Mrs. Lunt pointed in the direction of her husband and said “Mormon”. As the Indian saw the man coming, he ran from the house, jumped on his horse and made off as fast as he could.
Mother related another incident that happened while they were living at Four Mile Creek. One day as she was there alone, a strange man came to the place and asked a lot of questions, and after surveying the place quite thoroughly he left. When the men folks came home that night, Priscilla told them of the visit of the suspicious man and told them she was sure he would come back that night. The men folk did not take the incident seriously and did not think he would come back. Father and Mother slept in a wagon box at the side of the house. Mother was so sure that her impression would prove true, that she could not sleep that night.
The moon came up about midnight and about this time the cows began to moo, which was a signal to Mother that the man was coming. From the wagon box, she kept a close survey of the premises, when to her horror she saw a man crawling toward the house with a large knife in his hand. The shining steel glistened in the moonlight. When she saw him she poked Father, Who was sound asleep and said, “Alf, Alf, he’s here”. It took a little time to get Father awake sufficiently to realize the situation, but when he did, he called the boys in the wagon to get up quick and get their guns. Of course, with this alarm, the man ran to the hollow where he had a horse and escaped in the night. It was presumed that he was trying to steal their saddles. Mother was guided through life by what she called “impressions”, which she said had never failed her.
The land now began to be taken up, and as there was not sufficient range to take care of the number of cattle they were taking care of, they decided to push further into the frontier. So with about 1200 head of cattle, some theirs’ and other they were herding, in the spring of 1876, they went to Pleasant Valley, Fifty or Seventy-Five miles east of Nephi, and there spent the summer. They wintered near Price and in the summer of 1877, moved to what is known as Nine Mile, in Carbon County. They were the first white men in that locality and feed plentiful. The Indians were friendly and honest and for a number of years, the cattle business was very successful. There was no expense, except the riding that was necessary to keep the cattle from straying off.
The Nephi men, who most heavily were interested in the cattle business in the Nine Mile County were: James Mynders, Alfred Lunt, Shed Lunt, James Belliston, Walter Brough, George Howard and Will Foote.
Father had cattle in this district for about 18 years and at one time it was estimated that he had 2500 head. In the early 1890’s the cattle thieves became so numerous and stole the cattle in such numbers, that in 1895, a drive was made and all the cattle that could be found were sold. I was just a boy of 15 at this time and helped in the gathering. As I remember we delivered 250 head of cows and calves at Colton and about 1200 head at Jensen, across the Green River. The price was $12.50 per head and anything under a year old was not counted.
Prior to going east, Father sold his property on Four Mile and Mother moved back to Nephi. While the cattle business was there, Father got his first start, he also got in the sheep business and at one time had about 3000 head. He also had a farm of about 60 acres and 34 shares of water.
Alfred Lunt and Priscilla Pitt had one daughter and four sons as follows: Elizabeth Ann, Shadrach (Shedrick) James, George William, Alfred Oscar and John Edgar. Father was a hard working, straight forward, honest man whose word was as good as his bond. A guiding principle in the lives of Father and Mother was to live within their means and I don’t know of them getting anything until they could pay for it. I don’t know of them running in debt.
In the earlier part of Father’s life, he was out with stock a great deal but the dearest spot on earth to him was home, and there is where you could find him when he was not at work. As soon as possible the little house left by Grandfather Lunt was improved and made more comfortable. Later a new and larger one was built. In this, I was born and raised. In about 1898, the old home gave way to the beautiful brick house that now stands in the property. A strange thing in the fact that Father and Mother lived on the same lot nearly all their married life. Father owned the property where J. H. Lunt lived for about 50 years. He served as a city councilman for two terms. He participated in recognition of his service.
Alfred Lunt was a hard working, industrious man and accumulated sufficient means to live comfortably in later life. Alf, as he was known by his friends, had to learn the hard way how to adjust his activities to his age and health. He finally closed out his livestock business and farming. His plans were to retire from work and take it easy. He found idleness was harder than working. Not knowing what to do to pass the time away, he applied for work on the railroad as a section hand. With his usual ambition, he tried to work as fast as he did when a young man, He couldn’t stand it and was unable to continue his work for several days. As soon as he felt better he returned to work, but it was a few days till he was brought home sick. It almost proved fatal and as much as he disliked it, he had to quit work.
The song says “God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform”. This may have been the Lord’s way of leading him to a more happy and profitable life. At this time, Mother’s desires and prayers were realized, for they moved to Manti and worked in the Temple. In this, Father found a solution to his problem. His time was fully occupied and they lived in that beautiful influence of the Temple. They were later called as ordinance workers and thus ended their lives in peace and happiness. Their last days were the best days.
Mother was very charitable and delighted in helping the poor. One of her happy moments was when she would invite a group of elderly ladies to her home for an afternoon chat and lunch. Both Father and Mother were active in the Old Folks Committee and spent much time spreading cheer to the aged.
While Father was out providing for his family, Mother not only took good care of the family, but found time to give some public service and attend to her religious duties. She joined the Relief Society in 1870. In 1890, when the ward was divided, she was made Treasurer of The First Ward. In 1900, she was set apart as 1st Counselor to Ann Wilkey, President of The 1st Ward Relief Society. In 1902, she was chosen 2nd Counselor to Addie Cazier, President of Juab Stake Relief Society and in 1906, was made 1st Counselor to Unity Chappell, President of the Stake Relief Society.
In 1900, Father and Mother went back to their native land and there gathered genealogy. In 1915, they were called as missionaries to work in the Manti Temple.
Father was operated in for gland trouble in 1922 and after being bedridden for nearly 16 months, died of cancer. Mather died in 1930. After Father’s death, Mother went back to Manti and finished her life working in the Temple. Unlike Father, Mother was active till the day of her death. She had attended a night session in the Temple. The next morning, while getting ready to go to the Temple, was stricken suddenly and died the same afternoon.
Thus ended the lives of two noble characters. Their lives had been rich, full and purposeful. They faced eternity without fear, but with a confidence and trust and great anticipation of the fruits of well spent lives.
The family of Alfred Lunt and Prisclla Pitt was as follows:
Elizabeth Ann married Charles Howard Grace
Shadrach (Shedrick) James married Florence McCune
George William married Rose Morgan
Alfred Oscar married Jeanette Sperry
John Edgar married Lydia Jane Kendall