Lydia Cleminson Jessee-McDannald Home

Lydia Cleminson Reeves
Mar 24, 1836 (Mo.) - Jun 27, 1925 (Covina, California)

Early California pioneer

  Lydia Lorena------ |       | John McDannald I
     1876-1923 |   | John McDannald II ----------------|    1785-1848
  Rita Beryl------- |   |    1817-1890 | Margaret McMickell
     1878-1966 | David W McDannald ------------|   |    1788-1857
  John S.----------- |    1851-1926 |   | John Henry Cull
     1880-1966 | | | Margaret Cull ----------------|    1794-1821
  Eugene------------ | |      1817-1887 | Mary Ann McDannald
     1884-? |-------- -------------|          1783-1834
  Mary Malinda------ | |     | Thomas C Reeves
     1887-1985 | | | Samuel Reeves ----------------|    1808-c.1880
  Rex R.------------ | | |    1827-1899 | Mary Ann McDannald
     1890-1953 | Lucetta Reeves ------------|        1783-1834
  Gladys Lucetta |    1859-1931 |   | John Cleminson
     1892-1967 |   | Lydia Cleminson ----------------|    1799-1879
  Lynn-------------- |        1836-1925 | Lydia Lightner
     1893-1986 |            1800-1873

Four generations in 1899

Lydia Cleminson Reeves, 63. In this year, she lost her husband of 47 years, Samuel Reeves.
her daughter, Lucetta Reeves McDannald, 40. Lucetta and her family have just moved back from Oregon.
grand-daughter Lydia Lorena (McDannald) Guynn, 22
great grand-daughter Reyland Guynn, 3

Four generations in 1923 - Lydia with her daughter Lucetta and her daughter Gladys.
Lydia Cleminson Reeves, 86,
daughter Lucetta Reeves McDannald, 64
granddaughter Gladys Lucetta McDannald Jessee, 31
great-grandaughter Linnie Rexene Jessee, 1

Lydia Cleminson was born March 24, 1836 in Independence, Jackson County, Missouri. Her father was John Cleminson and mother was Lydia Lightner. John was born in England.

John Cleminson, 52, was captain of a 17 wagon Mormon train that left Independence, Mo on July 11, 1851, and arrived in San Diego on July 8, 1852. The Cleminson family included his wife, Lydia Lightner Cleminson, 51, and six of their children, including their daughter Lydia, age 15.

After they arrived in San Diego, after more than a years long journey, Lydia was one of the first American citizens to be married in San Diego after California became a state.
Fifty years later, she remembers being married on April 15, 1852, to Samuel Reeves, a fellow wagon train traveler. This date may have been a Mormon ceremony because the August 3, 1852 Alta California newspaper reported that her civil marriage ceremony took place on July 11, 1852.
Soon after the marriage in San Diego, Lydia and Samuel, as well as her Cleminson family moved to the new Mormon settlement of San Bernardino. Her first child, Alice Ann, was born in San Bernardino on March 13, 1853. Her second child, Mary Jane, was born in 1855 in San Bernardino. Around 1856 Mormon headquarters in Utah called all the brethren to return to Utah. The Cleminsons and Reeves decided to stay in California, and soon left the newly deserted ghost town of San Bernardino to take up farming in El Monte.

Lydia and Samuel would have a total of seven girls and one boy.

Their children were:
Alice Ann, born 1853. Married William Guynn in 1874 and died at the age of 37 in 1890.
Mary Jane, born 1855. Married Wm Dougherty in 1890; she lived to the age of 101 years old.
Ella Victoria, born 1857. Married Jos. Lord and died at the age of 40 in 1897.
Lucetta Florence, born 1859. Married David W. McDannald in 1875; lived to age 72 (1931).
William A, born 1862. lived to age 71 (1833)
Lydia Minetta, born 1867. Married H. Snodgrass. unknown date of death.
Lillian , born 1871. unknown marriage or death information.
Ina Dell, born 1875. Married John Lewis in 1902. Lived to age 89 (1964).
Ina Reeves Lewis was the last of the Lydia and Samuel family to pass away.

Lydia Cleminson Reeves, 86, with daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren, 1923 Back row: Reita Guynn Layton (grand-daughter. Lydia Lorena MCDANNALD Guynn's daughter, married to Ralph Layton),
Linnie Rexene Jessee (great-gd), Gladys McDannald Jessee (grand-daughter),
Lucetta Reeves McDannald (daughter), Harry Jessee, Merill Reeves (?), Ramona Reeves (?), William Reeves (son), John Lewis (son-in-law), Mamie Dougherty (grand-daughter), Mary Jane Dougherty (daughter), Lu Lewis (great-gd), Ina Lewis (daughter).
Seated, Lydia Cleminson Reeves.
In Front: Great grandchildren Norman Layton (Reita's son), Keith, Warren and Harold Jessee (Gladys McDannald Jessee's sons).

Lydia Cleminson Reeves passed away June 27, 1925 at the age of 89 in Covina, Calif.

The following story was told by Lydia Ann Cleminson-Reeves to one of her children about her trip across the plains in 1850. ***

"My father's family came in train with about 12 or 15 other families. Each family had two covered wagons, drawn by oxen. One wagon being used for travel and sleep in, while the other was to carry provisions for the journey. We started from Independence, Mo in 1850. We first crossed the plains which are now Kansas where we saw many herds of buffalo and antelope. Once when the men killed a buffalo, it was very exciting for we youngsters. There was great danger from the Indians while crossing the plains of Kansas. Once we saw a band of Indians riding toward us and we all kneeled down and prayed. But when they came nearer we saw that they were traveling with their squaws and papooses and were peaceful.

At one time we went for two whole days and nights without a drop of water to drink, for either us or our oxen. And another time when we were caught in a severe snowstorm, we lost our way and were compelled to camp for two whole days before we located the main road again. And during that time we were compelled to melt snow for us to cook with, and also to water the oxen.

When we would camp for the night, we would arrange our wagons so as to form a circle, with the wagons close together thus forming a coral for the oxen so that the Indians couldn't drive them off in the night. Two of the men would herd them into the coral formed by the wagon. Then the other men would stand guard and watch out for the Indians for the remainder of the night. One dark night the Indians drove off several head of the oxen, thus leaving no oxen for one of the wagons. So the men pulled the wagon for a long ways until we came to the mountains, then it became too hard for the men to pull and we were forced to leave the wagon behind together with quite a lot of our provisions.

It took a long time to cross over the mountains. We always tried to find a level place on which to camp while in the mountains in order to form the wagons into a corral for the oxen. While we were in the mountains one of the young men went a short distance from camp to gather some pine gum. And was shot down by an Indian. Oh! I can see that Indian yet. He was on one of the high peaks of the Mts, and Oh how he danced for joy when he saw that he had killed a "Pale Face" (as they always called us). We could hear him shouting in his native language. There was great fear in our camp that night, for we did not know how soon we might be attacked in the night. No one slept a wink that night be we all sat up and kept a perfect watch in all directions so that we would not be surprised if attacked.

But, it must have been a lone warrior who had killed the young man for we had no more trouble with the Indians. We took the body of the young man down into the bottom of the valley to bury him. And as there was an old lady along with the train that had just died with mountain fever, she was buried in the bottom of the valley along with the young man.

After laying over for a day, we went on our way, and soon after that we passed the place where the "Olive Oatman" massacre had take place the year before. There was a large pile of rocks to mark the spot where the Indian crime had taken place. There was a great many of their personal effects still scattered about, and among them we saw a small card with the names of the Oatman girls written on it. That evening we heard a bell ringing in the distance, and it was a very joyful sound to our ears.

In the morning we found that it had come from a small Spanish settlement called "Tobas". After leaving the settlement the next town we came to was "Tucson", and here we took a long rest to regain our strength. It had been a long tiresome journey, with many a weary day and watchful night. While we were camped here an old old Indian Squaw used to come to our camp to get food. She looked to be at least 100 years old, but we were unable to find out just how old she was. She would come in and sit herself on the floor, then stretch out her hands and say something in her native language. Then my mother would give her something to eat. There was also an old Pimo Indian Chief who would come to our camp for food. My mother always gave this old Indian Chiefton something to eat, and when we started on and came through a Pimo Indian village, this old Pimo Chief looked through the wagon train until he located our wagon. And when he found it he raised up the wagon cover and slipped a little sack of ground corn which had been sweetened into our wagon. This ground corn he called "Panochi".

From here we traveled down the "Gila" river to Fort Yuma. And it was here that we crossed the Colorado river, on a ferry boat. We camped in a tent for several days at Fort Yuma. One night we heard a queer noise, and when we got up to see what it was, we found a rattle snake coiled up beneath mother's pillow. Of course that was only one of the many trials and dangers that we encountered while traveling and camping out on the praries. We went with a government train across the Colorado Desert arriving in San Diego in the spring of 1851, having spent one whole year crossing the plains from Independence, Missouri to San Diego, California.

After a few weeks in San Diego, I married your grandfather, Samuel Sylvester Reeves who then was a young man who had come across the plains in the same train with us. We were the first American couple to be married in the little sea town of San Diego. We were married on the 15th day of April, 1852. Soon after our marriage, we moved to San Bernardino, California were two daughters were born. Then we moved to El Monte where we took up a squatters claim on lands afterward claimed by "Uncle Lucky Baldwin". After we were forced off our claim by Baldwin, we moved to Azusa. There were five girls and one boy born while we lived in El Monte."

*** Lydia's story was added to a McDannald family history collection by John McDannald in 1935. The collection was passed to John's son Darold, who gave a copy of it to Vern McDannald, who provided it to this website in 2008.

Census Records
Lydia Cleminson Reeves

Lydia's father, John Cleminson