Biography of Mayhew Hillman, 1793 and his wife Sarah King, 1799 who were early converts to the LDS church. The sources for this family history document will be given at the end of the biography. This is all the information I have at present. Any additions or corrections are welcome, just email me from the 'contact' page at the bottom of this history.
Sarah King was born at Cambridge, New York, on 24 Aug 1799 to Jonathan Seymour King and his wife, Tahpenes Coy. Sarah's parents were members of the First United Presbyterian Congregation Church. Sarah was one of eleven children, being the second daughter and fifth child. She grew up in Cambridge, Washington, New York, under the pioneer conditions prevalent at the time, but no record has been found of her early life. She met and married Mayhew Hillman about 1816 in Cambridge, Washington, New York. Cambridge is located about thirty miles northeast of present-day Albany, near the Vermont border.
Sarah and Mayhew set up housekeeping in Cambridge, where he was engaged in manufacturing. Here, two children were born to them: Silas on February 27, 1820, and Hyrum, about 1822. Hyrum died at the age of eighteen months. By 1823, Mayhew and Sarah had moved to Spafford, Onondaga County, New York. which was west about 160 miles in the same state, the country being new, and opened up a new farm. Deeds recorded in Onondaga County show that Mayhew Hillman purchased seventy-one acres of land for $850 and fifty acres for $325. Spafford was an agricultural town with well watered soil, near the Hill Cumorah. Here, on 30 Apr 1827, Ira King Hillman was born. Sarah gave birth to two more children in Spafford. Mandana was born on 3 Dec 1829, and Sarah was born about 1831.
Mayhew and Sarah were members of the Spafford Congregation of Free Will Baptists. In 1831, Elder Chamberlain came to Spafford, bringing the Book of Mormon, and preaching about the Restored Church. Sarah believed the message, and was baptized on 19 Jul 1832, joining the Spafford Branch which had been organized in January of the same year. In the late fall of 1832, the Spafford Branch was visited by Elder Orson Pratt in the company of several other elders. Mayhew Hillman was baptized on 10 Nov 1832. Libbeus T. Coon, (whom Sarah married for time after Mayhew's death), was also among the fourteen people who were baptized at that time.
The next fall, the Hillman family prepared to move to Kirtland, Ohio, the headquarters of the new church that they had recently joined. Silas(Mayhew? as Silas would only have been thirteen!) sold his land for $1520 in the late fall of 1833. The Hillmans left their home where they had lived for eight years and started for Ohio. The roads and weather were so bad at this time of year that they were forced to stop for the winter at the home of Benjamin Hillman in Napoli, Catteraugus County, New York. They had traveled about 160 miles west of Spafford. In the early spring of 1834 they completed the final 190 mile portion of their journey to Kirtland so that they might be near the prophet and assist more definitely in the building of the new Church.
When they arrived in Kirtland they found that the foundation of the temple had been laid. Mayhew purchased a house about 100 rods south of the temple. Here their youngest daughter, Sariah Hillman, was born on 23 Mar 1835. Mayhew donated countless hours in the construction of the temple, and Sarah worked at knitting, spinning, and making garments for the temple builders. They rejoiced when the temple was completed on 20 Mar 1836.
During September of 1837, Joseph Smith, accompanied by several brethren, traveled to Missouri to help the Saints there establish themselves. The city of Far West was chosen as a central gathering place at this time. The Hillman family took part in the migration to Missouri in the spring of 1838, a distance of approximately nine hundred miles. They settled in Adam-Ondi-Ahmn, Daviess County. At the time of Mayhew's and Sarah's arrival, persecution was raging against the Missouri Saints. Sarah endured mob violence. Homes were burned and cattle driven off. The brethren at Adam-ondi-Ahmen stood guard for two or three weeks, after which they negotiated a treaty allowing the Saints to move to Far West. The Saints fleeing Adam-ondi-Ahman were forced to leave all possessions that they could not carry in their hands. Far West was captured by the mobs and the Mormons were forced to leave Missouri under the exterminating order of Governor Lilburn W. Boggs.
In the spring of 1839, Mayhew took his family out of the state and into Illinois. They crossed the Mississippi River at Marion and traveled from there to Nauvoo. They had lost most of their worldly possessions and were forced to travel a distance of about one hundred fifty miles in extremely cold weather. Mayhew Hillman fell a victim to the hardships of the journey and to the unhealthful conditions prevailing in Nauvoo at the time. He died on 2 Nov 1839, of the "ague fever".
Sarah King Hillman became a widow at the age of 40. Four living children were listed in Mayhew's obituary: Silas, age 19, Ira King, age 12, Mandana, age 11, and Sariah, age 3. Sarah continued to live in Nauvoo after the death of her husband. The Nauvoo Temple was under construction and Sarah aided in every way that she could. At a funeral discourse given by Joseph Smith in August 1840, Sarah first heard of the doctrine of baptism for the dead. She was eager to perform the ordinance of baptism for her deceased kindred. In 1843, she performed baptisms for her mother and other ancestors in the Nauvoo Temple. Records of these baptisms have proved of great value in enabling her descendants to search out her ancestry.
Sometime in 1844 or 1845, Sarah received her patriarchal blessing from John Smith, the uncle of the prophet Joseph Smith. Some of the blessings promised to Sarah Hillman were as follows: "...Thou shalt have sufficient riches for thy needs... Thou shalt be blessed to see Zion established upon the whole land of the United States... and to see a numerous posterity who will mourn thy loss and say, 'Verily a mother in Israel has fallen asleep.'"
Sarah continued to live in Nauvoo with her younger children, enduring the increasing persecutions of the Church. On 10 Dec 1845, ordinance work in the Nauvoo Temple commenced. There was great urgency for the Saints to receive their endowments and be sealed to their families before they were forced to flee from Nauvoo. On 24 Jan 1846, Sarah King Hillman received her endowments. She was sealed to her husband, Mayhew Hillman, for eternity, and was married to Libbeus T. Coons for time. On this occasion Sarah must have felt well compensated for the sacrifices made and the work performed during the building of the temple.
Sarah's nineteen-year old son, Ira, crossed the ice on the Mississippi River in February of 1846. He traveled with Brigham Young's company as far as Richardson's Point (located in Van Buren County, Iowa Territory, fifty-five miles from Nauvoo.) He returned to Nauvoo after Brigham Young counseled him to go back and assist his mother and her family to emigrate. In the spring of 1846, he started west for the second time with his mother and siblings. Ira and Sarah stopped at Garden Grove and planted corn and a garden for the use of other pioneers. They did not stop to harvest, but left Garden Grove on July 4th. They traveled to Mount Pisgah, where they stayed for a short time, and arrived at Kanesville (Council Bluffs), about the 1st of August 1848. They they moved to a place called Traders Point, Iowa. This small Branch of the Church was located on the east bank of the Missouri River, south of Council Bluffs, in Pottawattamie County,near the borderline of Mills County.
The Pottawamie Indians had been removed by the federal government a few months before. There were no Caucasion settlements for many miles. President Young deemed it wise that the Saints should hold this land for some time in the interests of emigration. In 1848, Sarah's son, Silas, Libbeus T. Coons, and others searched for land to farm on the Missouri River bottoms. They traveled up Keg Creek and established a settlement. They called the settlement"Coonville". The name of Coonville was later changed to Glenwood, Mills County, Iowa. Sarah, Silas, Ira, Mandana, and Sariah lived there with their families from 1848 to 1851. They organized a small branch of the Church which they named "Union Branch". The Pottawamie census of 1850 listed Sarah Hillman as residing in the household of her daughter Mandana Hillman Dalley. Sarah was fifty-one years old at the time of the census. The Coons family was also listed at a different residence. Libbeus Coons was thirty-eight years old and his wife Mary was thirty-seven, with children ranging in age from two to twenty-two.
Sarah and her family resided in Coonville until 1852 when the first presidency of the LDS Church issued a call for "all true believers to gather to Salt Lake." The Pottawattamie lands were vacated, and the organization of the church there was discontinued. Sarah Hillman procured her own team and wagon for the trip west. She and her son, Silas Hillman, and family were assigned to the Twenty First Company under the direction of Allen Weeks. The Hillmans in a small company of ten or twelve wagons left on 10 Jun, two months ahead of the main Weeks company. They arrived at the mouth of Emigration Canyon on 10 Sep 1852. The Hillmans may have departed early because Silas was being sought by anti-Mormon groups who were increasing in numbers and intensity. Silas had been active and vocal in defending the rights of the Mormons in Pottawattamie County. The numbers of "gentiles" had increased as the Mormon emigrants gradually departed to Salt Lake and sold their land to them.
The Hillman company crossed the Missouri River at Platteville. They headed up a steep hill on the Nebraska side. As they neared the top, they found that the road had been blocked with trees which were felled by Indians who had a village at the summit. The Indians demanded a toll of the pioneers before letting them pass. That night, Indians crept into camp and stole two horses. Sarah encountered Indians several more times during the treck. Usually they would come into camp begging for food. One frightening incident occurred at the upper crossing of the Platte River, when a group of Cheyenne Warriors encountered the small pioneer band. Sarah and the other women prepared a large feast, which the Indians ate, and then departed. Food for Hillman Company was not a problem, as they found fish, buffalo, and antelope to be plentiful along the way.
Sarah drove her wagon most of the way without incident, except when she forded the Upper Platte. The water was very high and the box floated off her wagon. They were able to recover it, and saved everything except for a piece of steel which she was bringing to Ira, who had already arrived in Utah. The Hillmans arrived at the entrance to the Salt Lake Valley on 10 Sep 1852. They rested for two or three days at the mouth of Emigration Canyon, and then traveled to Big Cottonwood where they stayed with her son Ira, and his bride Mary Pryann Petty.
Sarah Hillman Coons was living in the 12th ward of Salt Lake City in 1860. It is likely that she purchased a lot with money that she had inherited when her father died in 1857. Her thirteen-year-old granddaughter Fidelia Hillman, (daughter of Silas), was living with her at this time. She supported herself by making gloves. She may have taught this skill to her daughter-in-law, Emily Ann Cox Hilllman, who made beautiful buckskin gloves embroidered with a deep cuff with silk flowers. Sarah's grandson, Ira King Hillman Jr., lived with her from time to time. Ira told everyone what a wonderful person she was.
Sarah King Hillman Coons spent the last part of her life in Salem, Utah County, Utah. Libbeus Coons was residing in Salem at this time, as was Sarah's daughter, Sarah Haws, but it is not known with which family she was living. Libbeus Coons, who was a physician, and Dr. Riggs attended her during her illness. She died in Salem on 25 May 1870, of breast cancer, at the age of seventy-one. She was buried in the Spanish Fork Cemetery. Her obituary which was published in the Deseret News on 6 Jul(?) 1870, stated, "Sister Coons was with the church in all its driving and sufferings; and, up till the day of her death, was held in high respect by her brethren and sisters as a true and faithful Saint." A numerous posterity mourned her passing and said, "Verily a mother in Israel has fallen asleep."
This biography was taken from A Short History of the Life, Ancestry, and Descendants of Mayhew Hillman and His Wife, Sarah (King) Hillman by Rhean Lenore M. Beck, 1 June 1968.
Additional dates from family group sheet of Mayhew Hillman, LDS Church Ancestral File. Compiled and Edited in 1995.