Caroline Angell (Holbrook) (1825-1908)

(Taken from the Holbrook Family Organization Website)

A Sketch of the Life and Experiences of Caroline Frances Angell Davis Holbrook

Caroline Frances

Caroline’s Autobiography 

Caroline’s Biography
 – written by Alice Anderson Harris
 – from the ‘Davis County Clipper’ newspaper

    I was born October 3rd, 1825, in North Providence, Rhode Island. I am the daughter of James Williams Angell and Phebe Morton Angell, who was the daughter of Phebe Langford Morton and Abraham Morton.

    My father was the son of Solomon Angell; was born in Providence, State of Rhode Island, October 15th, 1776. Mother was born March 28th, 1786, Udica, New York State. Father was named for Roger Williams who was burned at the stake for his religion. By this union five brothers and four sisters. They are as follows:

    Mary Ann Angell was born June the 8th, 1808, Seneca, Ontario County, New York State. She was married to Brigham Young, who succeeded Joseph Smith, the President of the Mormon Church (born June 1st 1806).
Jamima Angell was born October 5th, Seneca, Ontario County, New York State. She was married to Valentine Young; six children.
Solomon Angell was born April 25th. He married Eunice Young; by that union eight children were born to them.
Truman Osburn Angell was born June 5th, 1814. He married Polley Johnson after coming to Utah; by this union eight children were born to them. He became leading architect of four temples: St. George, Logan, Manti, Salt Lake, and many other buildings.
Hyrum Angell was born in July and died in his 23rd year. He was not married; he was a good carpenter.
Washington Angell died in his 16th year, was born October 12th.
James Angell died in his 8th year, was born December 17th.
Abigil Angell was born June, 1825; died October.
Phebe Ann Angell was born October 13th; married Dyer Johnson.

The last six were all born in Providence, Rhode Island. I am the youngest. I married [George] David [Varner] Davis March 26th, 1843. By this union three children were born:

Mary Ann Angell, born January 11th, 1844; married Jorgen Anderson August 18th, 1860; he was born November 14th, 1836; they had five children by this union:

George Anderson, September 23rd, 1861, married Ann Hogan;
Caroline Frances was born in Richmond, Cache Valley, October 31st, 1863, died when three years old;
Mary was born December 11th 1865, married David Beach June 13th 1886
Phebe was born March 5th, 1868; married to Joseph Allen, December 9th, 1883;
Sarah Alice, January 10th 1870; married Charles Z. Harris April 14th, 1886.

Sarah Abigil died in her infancy.

George David Davis was born in Winter Quarters November 5th 1846, married Celestia Green December 3rd.


    We began our journey.  We got to Winter Quarters from  Nauvoo and there my husband left me and children and mother on May 25th, 1846 to travel alone the rest of the journey to Utah. He thought he could live in the States just as well as here. David married there a woman out of the Church, and is there yet for all I know. He left me and my children and mother to perform the rest of the journey to Utah without much means. I never had or heard from him only by the by. I then journeyed with mother to the mountains in President Young’s company, which consisted of two hundred wagons, divided by fifties and tens. Enduring many hardships, we landed safe in Salt Lake Valley, September 16th, 1848. When we got on Little Mountain, President Young showed me where he saw the Valley with his natural eye. We first moved the under-brush and I saw the valley for the first time. I thought it was beautiful and green, a home for the Saints.


    When I was twenty seven years old, I was taken very sick. Many thought my time had come to go; I thought I would not. I asked for seven sisters to come and wash and anoint me with oil; this was done. I began to mend from that very hour and got well. The sisters said my feet were as cold as though I was dead. I have lived over fifty years since.
Joseph Holbrook, my husband, died November 14th, 1885, at ten o’clock p.m. at Bountiful, Davis County, Utah, aged 79 years, 9 months, 28 days.


    I left with my parents, Providence, the place of my birth, when I was six years old. The next month after I left there we traveled by steam and canal boats to Buffalo; hence to China, now called Java, in New York State. There I, with the rest of my family, first heard the gospel. And all that was there joined the Church but me, I being only seven years of age. In February 1837 we  moved to Kirtland, State of Ohio, the first gathering place of the Saints. There I became acquainted with Prophet Joseph and his father, mother, brothers, sisters, and his wife Emma. At this time, the mob spirit was raging and they caused untold misery and suffering to the Church and its members. They went to the prophet’s house in the night, dragged him out of bed, and some distance from his house, laid him on a pile of lumber and beat him till his spirit left his body and stood overhead, witnessing the mob beat his body; now he could not feel it hurt. They took all the clothing off his body and covered his flesh with tar and feathers and tried to administer poison to him. They left him for dead; he regained consciousness and managed to get back to the house. By this time, a number of brothers and sisters had assembled at the home of the prophet, glad he had returned, but sorry to see the condition of his person. They spent the remainder of the night in cleaning off the tar and feathers and dressing the wounds.  O dear, how dreadful!

    When we got to Winter Quarters I was confined the fifth of November with my oldest son, in a wagon, and a very bad storm and wind for days, and no fire; one house in camp; went to get a bake kettle of coals to dress the baby by. Little fellow shook with the cold and I was very sick, nigh unto death. I sent to Brother Brigham to pray for me. I soon got better, and I am here yet.

    The next spring, a few families in a small company, mostly men, started for Salt Lake Valley, Utah for for the West. This company, now pioneers, arrived safely in Salt Lake Valley July 24th, 1847. The same summer, President Young returned with all the brethren that did not take their families with them to Winter Quarters, and the next spring, after spending one summer and two winters in Winter Quarters, we began to prepare for our journey to the Rocky Mountains. The entire company which left Winter Quarters consisted of six hundred ox teams, one horse team, and two or three saddle horses. This company was divided into three companies, two hundred wagons in each. We traveled two rows abreast, three rods apart, on account of Indians.


    The spring after we arrived at Kirtland, the Lord, through Joseph Smith, called for a company of men to go up to redeem Zion, Iacounty County, Missouri. They went. The mob had driven the Mormons from their home; they could not do anything. The Lord had accepted what they had done and they returned home to Kirtland. At Kirtland, the first Mormon temple was in progress at this time. The brethren were generally poor but gave freely for the temple for its erection when Mother Smith took her one horse and went around to gather means for glass and nails and also to gather all the broken earthen to put in the outside plaster. Soon after the temple was completed, an attempt was made to destroy it and destroy the printing office which stood close to the temple by setting fire, but the temple was not harmed much. Some of the outside plaster fell off. The temple was plastered on the outside and marked off like big square rock.

    In 1835 we moved from Kirtland to Far West, Missouri. There I saw the cornerstone of a temple laid. On account of the trouble and driving by our enemies it never was erected.

    On account of the surrounding circumstances, I was not baptized until January 1838 in Shoal Creek, Missouri, by President Brigham Young and confirmed by him.


    I was very sick with chills and fever. I was immediately healed after being baptized and confirmed. I was thirteen years old in October before I taught school the next following summer. I had about 25 pupils. I learned them what was taught in common schools, the girls to knit and sew. This was in Missouri.


    When I was 16, I taught school. I had thirty pupils under my tuition. This was in Nauvoo.

    The Nauvoo temple was practically finished; many of the brethren and sisters received their endowments. This duration of peace did not last long and we had soon to prepare for a visit from the State and to look for safety elsewhere. In February 1846 we crossed the Mississippi River; the persecution of the mob became hard to bear.


    In the following February, 1838, Brother Brigham and family, and many of the leading men, left Missouri for Quincy, Illinois, and by spring many of the Saints had followed them to Quincy. We, however, remained here but a short time when circumstances compelled us to journey as a people to a place which we named Nauvoo. Mother and I went out six miles form Quincy on a man’s farm, by the name of Hyal Travers, and my brother Truman Angell.  These people were not Mormons. We stayed a year from the next fall. They were very kind. We could, for our work, have a share of anything that grew on the farm. They treated us like we were their sisters; the young men of the place turned out and got our winter wood with teams and we gave them a good dinner; they would have no other pay because we had been driven away from our home.

    In Nauvoo, here the people built a temple and many fine houses and laid out a fine city. Brother Joseph Smith built what was called the Mansion House, which was his home at his death. Mother and I built us a brick house. It was only one room, finished and comfortable. We built it by our own industry and lived there till the mob drove us away.

    In Missouri a large body of soldiers, called mob, came and camped on Crooked River about a mile from Far West, with the determination of destroying the Mormons. The brethren went outside the town to defend the women and the children; then the mob advanced to the Mormons; a fierce battle was fought in which the mob was defeated. Three of the brethren were killed and an apostle, one of the twelve, the Mormon Captain David H. Patten, Brother Carter, Brother O’Banion; and some of the brethren were wounded, brother Joseph Holbrook —– and many of the mob were killed and wounded. This was called Crooked River Battle. Then the mob reinforced and came and camped in Far West. They were very hostile to the Mormons, destroying their crops and property and burning many of their houses. This same fall the mob took Joseph and Hyrum and several of the brethren prisoners to Clay County jail, Missouri.


    It proved to be a very arduous journey and many murmured. Brother Joseph told them to cease murmuring; if they did not, something worse would come upon them. The plague came, the colery [cholera] broke out in the camp; nearly all had a stage of it and some died. It caused a great deal of serious suffering. This was called the name of Zion’s Camp.


    Brother Joseph and Hyrum Smith got out of jail in Clay County, in April, and fled to Quincy; from there, they went to Nauvoo, the courts and officers of the law harassing Brother Joseph continuously. He had been arrested and after being dragged from one court to another, he was acquitted.

    On one occasion Brother Joseph and Brother Hyrum swam the Mississippi River to escape the officers. This alarmed some of the brethren and they murmured, saying, “Joseph is trying to forsake us, and leave us to be killed,” which was false. When Joseph heard of this, he returned to Nauvoo to stand by the Saints even if it cost him his life. His enemies soon captured him and carried him away to Carthage Jail to await trial. The Governor of the State promised protection to Joseph and Hyrum, and the five brethren with them, and he placed a guard of Carthage Grays to guard the jail. Their guns were loaded with false cartridges. About three hundred armed and disguised men approached the jail for the purpose of destroying the prophet Joseph and Hyrum Smith; the Carthage Grays fired their false cartridges in the air; the mob had full sway; the Prophet and his brother were shot in cold blood June 27th, 1844. Brother John Taylor was with them and would have been killed, but the ball entered his watch and thereby saved his life. The Governor must have understood the plot of the wicked massacre, for he went to Nauvoo to deliver a speech to the people, at the same time the brothers Joseph and Hyrum were killed in jail, on the piece of building where Joseph talked last to the Nauvoo Legion.

    Monday morning, when they started to the jail, Joseph on a black horse and Hyrum on a white horse, my eyes followed up the road as far as I could see them. I felt it would be the last time I would see them in this life.

    This was a great affliction and sorrow to the Latter-Day Saints. All the missionaries that were in the world were called home. Brigham and Heber arrived just in time to prevent Sidney Rigdon from calling a vote of the people for him, Sidney, to be put in leader of the Church. A voice was heard at the door like Joseph’s “Hold On,” and things changed, and at this meeting Brigham Young was chosen leader of the Church of Jesus Christ.


    When in Missouri and brothers Joseph and Hyrum were in Clay County Jail, Mary Fielding Smith, Hyrum’s wife, had a baby boy. Father Smith sent word to Hyrum: his wife had a boy, what shall it be named? He sent back word: when it was eight days old, have father come and name and bless him, and call him Joseph Fielding Smith. He is now President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Mother Angell washed and dressed him and laid him on his grandfather’s arms for the occasion, and looked after mother till she was alright. The enemies were prowling around us at the time.

    (I am living with my daughter Caroline F. A. Corbridge and son-in-law John Corbridge, Richmond. I am 78 years old next October.)


    I was married to Joseph Holbrook December 31st, 1850. He was the son of Moses and Hannah Morton Holbrook. Joseph was born in Florence, Oneida County New York, January 16th, 1806. (Moses Holbrook was born May 15th, 1778, and was the son of John and Lucy Babbitt Holbrook.)  From this union 9 children were born, 1 daughter and 8 sons:

Caroline Frances Angell Holbrook, born Salt Lake, October 21st 1851;
Joseph Hyrum Angell Holbrook, born Salt Lake City, February 8th, 1854;
Brigham Angell Holbrook, born Bountiful, February 10th, 1856;
Moses Angell Holbrook born Bountiful, January 16th, 185_;
James Angell Holbrook born Bountiful, April 3rd, 1860; died infancy;
John Angell Holbrook born December 9th; died in infancy;
Ephraim Angell Holbrook born April 8th, 1863; died 10 months old;
Enoch Angell Holbrook born Bountiful, July 12th, 1865; and
Heber Angell Holbrook born Bountiful, June 5th, 1867.


    When I saw the valley, it appeared to be the Garden Spot of the earth, except the ground which the pioneers had raised crops on. Then to the west appeared the beautiful lake. One house caught my eye beside the fort, which the pioneers had built. This house was Lorenzo Young’s, Brigham Young’s brother. We then finished our journey into the valley and during the winter we had to live on rations because our provisions were very low and the pioneers had not raised much during the summer. For two or three years, the grasshoppers and crickets were very thick; they destroyed a good deal of the crops. About the third year, the seagulls came and destroyed many of the grasshoppers and crickets. They would fill their crops, throw up, and eat again; so on, all day for days. Then we had a few prosperous years, raised good crops and the Saints became comfortable and happy, most of them.

    The Governor of United States, when we were traveling between Nauvoo and Winter Quarters, called for five hundred of our best men out of the camp to come and aid in the United States and Mexican War. They had families in rather distressed circumstances. The rest of the travelers had to look after them and do the best we could for all.


    Although we had many hardships and much care, we did not feel to murmur at all. We did not experience much trouble with the Indians; we kept a guard out every night to protect the camp and watch the stock; the wagons would corral in the form of a long O so as to make a fence so as to keep some of the stock inside during the night, as a mode to protect the camp. The guard called every hour the time of night or hour of night and changed guard at midnight. In this way, we traveled from Winter Quarters. We started April 19th, 1848, and arrived in Salt Lake Valley September 16th, 1848.


    My mother died in Salt Lake City, November 14th, 1854, aged 69 years. I moved to Bountiful in 1853, where I have lived ever since. In the main, we have been prosperous and been blessed by the word of God, and always had enough to get along by using economy, and got along alright.

RICHMOND, UTAH (at the home of C. Z. Harris):

    I have had many trials and many troubles. I have tried to overcome as best I could. Now to my children and great grandchildren and all my posterity who will read these words, I do not know how long I shall live, and I want to leave and bear my testimony to the truthfulness of this work. I know that the things here in writing are true, and that this is the church and kingdom of God, and I want to exhort my posterity to be true and faithful in Christ and to live their religion that they may be saved in the Celestial Kingdom of God, and I want not one of them to be lost. I have had hands laid on me many times, and been healed by the Holy Priesthood of God in Nauvoo, Winter Quarters, Salt Lake and Bountiful, I sign my name to this, that it may be read and thought upon by posterity.

                                (signed) Caroline Frances Angell Holbrook

[note:  much of the spelling and grammar remain intact from Caroline’s writing; some changes have been made for readability]

Caroline Frances Angell [Davis] Holbrook

a biography, written by Alice Anderson Harris, a granddaughter

    In attempting to give a short sketch of pioneer life, the traveling, hardships and suffering as told by one of the pioneers herself, Mrs. Caroline F. A. Holbrook, I find it difficult to remember in detail the most interesting events, when it comes to properly placing them on paper, although I seem to know them well enough in a general way.

    Mrs. Holbrook is my grandmother on my mother’s side. Her maiden name was Angell and she was an own sister to Mary Ann Angell, Brigham Young’s wife. As a result of this relationship, she was very close to the Young family, also was well acquainted with the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum Smith, visiting and associating with them before their martyrdom.

    She was __ years old at the time they were murdered and lived within a few blocks of the Carthage Jail at the time. For days the women of the Saints were anxiously watching the doings and reporting the intentions of the mob.

    On the day of the murder, reports of the approaching mob were received. Taking her baby (my mother Mary Ann A. Anderson) in her arms, she went to the front gate from which place she could see the mob surrounding the jail and at times could see the barrels of the guns and the bayonets glistening in the sun. Under such a trying scene, we may think we can imagine the feelings of this young woman, but such is impossible to feel and know that their beloved brothers and leaders were being murdered, and to be powerless at such a trying time to render assistance.

    She and her people were fairly well off, having a good home in Kirtland, Ohio. She, with her mother, aided in building the Kirtland Temple by boarding several of the workmen while the temple was in course of construction, With many of the others, it was a severe task and one of those trials which none but faithful saints could endure, for her to have her home and nearly every article of furniture so dear to every mother to the destruction of the mob. But the love of God and the desire to do His will prevailed against the human ties of peaceful and comfortable homes, so she deserted all for the gospel’s sake and started west.

    She was born 3 October 1825 in Worth Province, Rhode Island. She was the daughter of James William Angell and Phebe Morton Angell, who was the daughter of Abraham Morton and Phebe Langford Morton. Both of her parents were born New York State.

[excerpt from Caroline’s autobiography, above, was inserted here]

    Grandmother raised a large family and was a hard worker and a faithful Latter-Day Saint. She lived to a good old age and passed away 28 October 1908 at Bountiful, Utah at the age of 84 years. Thus ended the career of one of God’s noble creatures, but the stories of the pioneer hardships she left with us and the example of true womanhood we hope will live forever.


“Davis County Clipper”
6 November 1908


Funeral services over the remains of Mrs C.F.A. Holbrook, widow of the late Judge Holbrook, who passed away at the home of her son, Bishop Heber A. Holbrook, in Curlew Valley, Oct. 28th, were held in the East
Bountiful meeting house, Saturday afternoon at 2 o’clock.
Deceased was eighty-three
years old on the third of last
month. She was born in Providence, Rhode Island.
She was married to David
Davis, March 23, 1843. Three
children were born to them. She was married to Joseph Holbrook, Dec. 31, 1850. Nine children were born to them. She has fifty-four grand and seventy-one
She came to Utah in 1848 and has lived in Bountiful nearly all the time since.
She experienced the privations and hardships incident to the settling of this valley and endured the trials and persecutions experienced by the saints when they left to come to these valleys.