Friday, May 25, 2012

Tooele County: McIntosh Land

My cousin Kathleen Henderson Wheeler is a lot of fun to be around -- always in a great mood, quick with a smile and someone who really loves her family. She sent me an email a couple of weeks ago letting me know she would soon be in Utah. On her to-do list while in the Beehive State to visit her father, Mark Henderson (my mother's older brother), was to take him out to St. John -- 40 or so miles west of Salt Lake City -- to visit cemeteries and to see where his mother, Mary Anne McIntosh Henderson, was born. In the email, she wrote that she'd love to have me and my parents came along on the excursion, but that even if we didn't she'd be going anyway -- not being blunt about it, just that she was determined.

As it turns out, that was just the kick-start I required. You see, I've been promising to do this for years -- the going-to-St.-John trip, that is. Just never done it. I've talked to my cousin Neil Lamont about it, to another distant cousin Rob McIntosh about it, even to Rob's uncle Howard McIntosh about doing it.

But this time we pulled it off. On Monday, eight of us piled into Howard McIntosh's (Howard is my mother's first cousin; his father was Ira McIntosh) 12-passenger van and spent the morning driving through Rush Valley -- the "new" town that was formed out of combining St. John and Clover a few decades ago.
Here we are, absent Jean McIntosh, Howard's wife, who's taking the photo. L-R: Mark Henderson, Helen McIntosh Henderson Porter, Don Porter (Sr.), Don Porter (Jr.), Howard McIntosh, Linda Henderson Pullan, Kathleen Henderson Wheeler.
As the day approached, I thought it might be nice to have a better grasp on specific locations in St. John -- if possible, to verify what I'd learned from the Caldwell-McIntosh information that I have -- by visiting the Tooele County Recorder's office and checking the land records from the mid-1850s to 1900. I spent almost three hours there, and the employees couldn't have been more helpful. Given my limited time (I'll spend more there later this summer), I was able to verify the location of the building lots Caroline Elizabeth Caldwell McIntosh owned between 1868 and her death in 1891, and found record of a piece of ground purchased by William Abram McIntosh (her son, my great-grandfather) in the years after his marriage to Nancy Lena Guhl but preceding his move to Burlington, Wyo.

Here's a photo of the old, abandoned home still sitting on the block where Caroline owned two lots. If this is the right lot, it must be where she lived for many years.
Someone's living in a mobile home on the lot -- you can see a bit of it to the left, obscured by the pine tree -- but we didn't see anyone around when we were there. I'll post a scan of the original plot map (from 1890!) on the website sometime soon.

We drove to the site of the land purchased by W.A. McIntosh after his marriage to Nancy Lena, but there's a park and a couple of city buildings on the ground now.

We had better luck at the St. John and Clover cemeteries, though. There we found various McIntosh and Caldwell markers, including this one designating the graves of my Great-Great-Grandfather John McIntosh, my Great-Great Grandmother Caroline and my Great-Great-Great-Grandmother Mary Ann Vaughn Caldwell (Caroline's mother).
Now, I don't think we discovered anything new. This information, or most of it anyway, is contained in a wealth of information I received from the Caldwell-McIntosh organization. But I'll have to review that collection to see if it includes the land records. (If someone knows, please tell me where to look.)

It was a great day, full of stories and laughter and, not least, a great opportunity for my mom and Uncle Mark to catch up.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Henderson Reunion website has moved

WEST POINT, Utah -- Priorities. We all have them, and this past year mine have hardly included the family website. It's been a year filled with tumult, and so the website and this blog have not been at the top of my to-do list.

Not only did I switch web hosting services -- a racket if ever there was one -- but I was so disassociated from the whole website thing that I allowed ownership of my domain name ("") to expire. Once I realized that had happened, it took a little while for me to get things sorted out, and I decided to buy a new domain instead.

Henceforth, you'll have to change your bookmarks for the Henderson Reunion website to "" from

One other thing: I'm still cleaning up the inevitable broken and/or missing links to pages and photos, so please be patient. I believe most of the site is up and running, but I'll have to go through page by page to fix things in the coming weeks (not months, I hope, but I'm making no promises).

Frances Henderson's passing and funeral

I'm sure everyone knows by now, but in case you don't: Frances Henderson, my Uncle Mark's wife, passed away recently. I've started a Web page, but haven't yet posted any photos from the funeral (I'll need some help with names). I'll do that soon, and announce it here.

It was a terrific service, of course, and we felt so fortunate to be there to see so many family members that we rarely see (gotta get those reunions going again). Not only were Mark and Frances' children and (most of) their spouses there, but of course lots of their grandchildren and their spouses (spousi?), as well. I learned lots about my Aunt Frances that I hadn't known before. For example: I somehow had a vague knowledge that she'd grown up in Pennsylvania, but had no idea she volunteered to work in Hawaii during World War II -- tough stuff, that.

My subset of the Henderson clan has always felt a special kinship to Mark and Frances because when my father, Don, attended the FBI National Academy in 1970, he lived for three months with Mark and Frances in Alexandria, Va., just outside Washington, D.C. He has repeatedly spoken of their generosity and kindness. I was 11 years old when we flew back to see Dad graduate (we met J. Edgar Hoover at a reception, among other interesting experiences), and we stayed there, too.

Anyway, I just love my cousins, and so it was nice to be able to visit -- especially with my new pal Amy, Mark Jr.'s wife, who's been a great help to my family this past year.

Another treat was that a trio of our McIntosh cousins also attended the service. We agreed to get together in the coming months to seek out and document (here and on the website) the McIntosh homes in Rush Valley south and west of Tooele.

So, make sure you navigate to the "new" website:, and after a couple of weeks let me know which links are still broken or photos missing, and I'll try to fix things. Also, I hope to announce here that the photos from the funeral are up for viewing.