across Iowa - leaving Nauvoo
The Saints moved in a mass migration across the
Mississippi River into Iowa. Staging areas and stations were set up
as they moved across the waving grasses of the state of Iowa to their next
destination in Council Bluffs.
James arrived there sometime in 1847 on the heels of the first influx of
Mormons. Why it took him as long as it did
to get there was probably because of Elizabeth's pregnancy.
Her next child was born in 1848 at Trader's Point, which
was a town set up by the French trappers, and served as an Indian reserve
and trading post. Later he moved across
the river to Winter Quarter's which was situated on Indian lands.
The Indians and their agents, finally demanded that
the Saints move back across the river to Kanesville.
James lived in Kanesville until around 1853 when he sold his land and
moved southeast to Wheeler's Grove. While there
He probably hooked up with the various families who had become
disenfranchised with the Brigham Young. Some stood
alone in their faith and others forms smaller groups such as the
Cutlerites. Evidence that we have points to James and
Elizabeth joining alliances with Alpheus Cutler and his group.
However, Alpheus Culter's records do not show his name.
Evidences that show his affiliation to the Cutlerites are many. One of the
most obvious was the marriage of James'
daughter Esther the son of a prominent Cutlerite, Edward O. Beebe, son of
Calvin Beebe who was Cutler's right hand
man. Many other theological and geographical reasons add up to this
By the time James moved to the area around
Wheeler's Grove, it appears that Nancy had abandoned her marriage to
James. She went to Utah with her brother and sister. She remarried
later in life. James still had Elizabeth and Sybil
to keep him company, but by the time they are found in Wheeler's Grove,
James appears to have put aside Sybil in
following the rules of Cutlerism. No polygamy was practiced by the
sect. However, Elizabeth dies shortly after
childbirth in 1856 and Sybil moves into the household to take her place in
raising the children. Sybil apparently lived in
a separate domicile, but she was never far away. The children grew
up calling her mother. Especially the small ones.
Sybil and James also lived in Indian Creek.
Not much is known about the area which is now a mere ghost town.
However, they were farmers in all locations as near as can be told via the
census'. Sybil died in 1870 and is presumed
to be buried either where the old farm was in Indian Creek, or in a near
by cemetery that was begun as an Indian
After the death of Sybil, James was to marry one
more time before his journey on the earth was finished. Little is
about his wives, and even less is known about the fifth wife. All we know
is that she was a very young girl, and they
weren't married for very long. Her name is found on a deed when he
sells a piece of land in Wheeler's Grove where
he maintained property. Her name was Amanda. She was also
thought to be of Native American descent. The family
stories bear this out. Cloda Gunn, at the age of 102 - with a very
sharp mind remembered the stories about Amanda.
She was only barely out of her teenage years when she married a man old
enough to be her great grandfather. In a
mug book James' son Alma Maroni, remembered to mention her as well.
However, her name is not mentioned, and
he believed she was a second wife, not a fifth. The only other clue
he gave regarding her was that when she left
his father she retired to Harrison County, Iowa. Extensive research,
has failed to turn up more on this wraith of a
girl. However, there is a photo from an old family album that shows a
young girl with Indian features, who also appears
pregnant. Is this Amanda? Only James knows for sure.
On to James' final days