Name:  Catherine Wiggins
Born: 13 April 1845, La Harpe, Hancock, Illinois
Married: 31 January 1862, Ogden, Weber, Utah
Died: 6 Jun 1931, Thomas, Bingham, Idaho
Buried:  Riverside Cemetery, Bingham, Idaho
Parents: Ebenezer Wiggins and Eleanor Moore
Husband: Lewis Dunbar Wilson


Ebenezer's parents, Jonas and Mary Ann Wiggins, were born in Morgan County, Illinois. After their marriage in 1794, they remained in Morgan County where eleven of their twelve children were born. Ebenezer Fairchild Wiggins was born in Scott County, Kentucky, February 4, 1806. His wife, our mother, was born in Wabash, Pike County, Illinois. These two were married about 1829 and made their home in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois where six girls and one boy were born to them. Our mother, Catherine, was the fifth child and was born April 13, 1845 at Le Harpe, Hancock County, Illinois.

Thought to be a picture of
Eleanor Moore Wiggins - mother of Catherine

Mother's parents joined the church. The family crossed the plains with Daniel Miller and J. W. Cody Company, arriving in Salt Lake City in 1853. It was such a thrilling experience for the children crossing the plains, the handcarts, the excitement of it all, and Mother was only seven at that time.

The family settled in Ogden where Mother was educated and grew up to be a very attractive, refined, brown-eyed brunette. She taught grade school for a short time. She was a very good speller, so to her delight the other teachers would invite her to join them in spelling contests.

It was quite a thrill for her when some of Utah's first fruit was brought to her by Apostle Orson Hyde, who was wanting to be more than a friend. But he was an older man, and she thought she would sooner be a young man's sweetheart.

At the age of seventeen Mother had found her sweetheart -- he had come across the plains in the same company as she and was five years her senior. They were married January 17, 1862 and for a short time lived at Wilson Lane, one and one half miles West of Ogden. Wilson Ward and Lane were named after the Wilson pioneer families settling there, all relatives. Father and Mother later moved to Ogden where he had started in the copper and lumber business making churns, etc., for homes. The first hardware store and lumber yard that was in Ogden. The first plate glass windows in Salt Lake City were placed by him.

During polygamy, Father, after getting Mother's consent, married a second wife on March 10, 1873, the daughter of Mother's sister, Ellenor; her name was Eliza Ellenor Hunt. Father built a large duplex frame home for both families on his ranch at Wilson Lane and Wilson Ward where both families and wives shared alike, uniting often for family dinners and other occasions. This house was torn down in 1950. Then children were born to his first wife, Catherine Rozilla, born October 15, 1863; Jennie Lind, April 16, 1865; Martha Vilate, February 22, 1867; Mary Elizabeth, September 27, 1868; Sarah Lettie, December 11, 1870; William Lewis, November 26, 1872; Ezra Dunbar, October 30, 1873; Elveretta Annie, .January 27, 1877; Pearl Ellen, September 11, 1879; and Arthur Ebenezer, April 6, 1884. William Lewis lived only twenty-eight days which brought sorrow to the family. The second wife, Eliza Ellen, had four girls and two boys.

When the Edmunds Law was passed, it created difficulties among the L.D.S. men having more than one wife, unless they were willing to desert all but the one wife and family. They would be arrested and sent to prison. Father loved both wives and his children and so in trying to avoid the law by trying to keep out of their sight, he was unable to care for his business as necessary, so he lost not only his business but his property also.

In 1885 Father and his second wife, Eliza Ellen, came to Blackfoot, Idaho to make homes for both families. Mother felt she wasn't able to endure the hardships in settling a new country, so she kept Eliza's children who were in school as well as her own. Lot Adams, his wife, and Mother's brother-is law, Ferry Adams and wife, came with them and settled close by. They were also willing to help in pioneering new country. Father and Eliza Ellen lived in a dugout until they could haul logs from the river to build houses to live in which took three years. They each filed on homesteads one mile apart west of Blackfoot, later to be called Riverside. When a two room log house on each ranch was completed, Mother came to Idaho with the children to live in their new home. The four oldest children were now married and in homes of their own. Catherine Rozilla married Brigham H. Bingham the same day as Jennie Lind married Elijah Bingham January 17, 1884. Martha Vilate married Daniel Jefferson Murdock, and Mary Elizabeth married George B. Wintle. Sarah Lettie was the oldest child at home, age seventeen. Only a few months after Mother moved to Idaho (1888), Father was arrested, put on trial, and because he didn't choose to desert his second wife and family, he served not only three months in Boise but after being liberated he was sentenced again to prison in South Dakota for two years, and he was released in eighteen months. His imprisonment brought sorrows to us all.

While living in Utah the children all played together in the same yard as one family and after moving to Idaho both families shared alike, even the furniture was the same. Mother was a kind, loving mother but firm; she always demanded the respect of her- children, and they all grew up to love her. She spoke the truth, kept the Word of Wisdom, always spoke well of everyone, and kept the Sabbath Day holy. She didn't allow her children or hired girl to cook or do anything unnecessary work on that day. Even the Sunday meal was prepared on Saturday. She was always there to see that her children were in Sunday School and attended their church duties which taught her children to ha a faith in her Heavenly Father and to pray as youngsters. She was a real help with her family, because she was so well educated at that time with only three months of schooling, during each year.

The winters in Idaho were very severe. In 1888 the snow drifts piled high over the fences, and the wild cattle would come from the desert and be found frozen in the snow, because they were thin and weak. The first ear  of corn that could be raised had been offered $50.00. The Snake River bridge was a toll bridge, and the farmers would take turns going across and doing the shopping for all the group in Blackfoot, or they tied their teams near the bridge and walked in. The nearest flour mill was Malad, Idaho. The meeting house which was dirt roofed, as was the homes built by Father for his families, also served as a school house where school was held three months out of the year as in Ogden. One time the children were standing up in the classroom when the roof started cracking and caved in. Our youngest sister, Pearl Ellen, ran for the door, and most of the children followed. The teacher was swept out through the door by the falling timber and escaped injury. Just her ankle was badly sprained. Everyone was hurrying around-frantically until it was found that all was safe.

In 1912 Father and Mother celebrated their golden wedding anniversary with all the family present.

Our home was always open to those who came to settle this new country west and north of us. Our house still stands (1967) one mile east of Riverside Ward Church on the southwest after turning the corner. Mother never turned anyone away hungry.

Sarah Lettie married John Lingren. Ezra Dunbar married Rebecca Davis. Elveretta Annie married John Isaac Hart Watson, and Pearl Ellen married Fay Ulysses Campbell. The youngest child, Arthur Ebenezer, never married. He and his brother, Ezra, filled missions for the church while they were young, and Arthur had the privilege of filling another one. He died February 11, 1951.

Mother's posterity are children she could be proud of. Those who married went through the temple. Some are bishops, superintendents, and presidents or chairmen of church organizations, stake leaders, also county leaders as well as elementary teachers and college professors. Considerable work has been accomplished down through the years by Mother's numerous posterity. Her husband passed away January 28, 1922. Thirty-eight days later her daughter, Sarah Lettie, had also passed away.

Mother suffered a stroke when eighty years of age and was bedfast for six years and four months. She never complained and would say there were people worse off than herself. She was thankful she had children who cared for her so tenderly.

The last fourteen months of her life she was taken care of her daughter, Elveretta, and family who lived in Thomas, Idaho, west of Riverside. Her mind kept alert until the last , and she enjoyed her visits from her children, grandchildren, and friends. She passed away at the age of eighty-six in June 6, 1931, and she was laid to rest in the Riverside Thomas Cemetery, the family plot where her husband and other loved ones were at rest.

(Material obtained from family records and from her two daughters, Pearl and Elveretta.)