Lucy Wheeler Summary

This page was added 2 January 2015. Have we found Lucy?

The existance of Lucy as the youngest daughter of William and Lucy is confirmed by the McCubbins Collection from Rowan County, NC. In the 1810 census she is presumed to be the '1 female under 10'. For the 1820 census she would be the 10-16 female. For the 1830 census she is the 1 female 20-30. And during the 1840 census it is believed she is the 30-40 year old female living with Robert Wheeler, her half-brother. After that there is no mention of her in any 1850 census or beyond. It has been assumed that she must have died between 1840-1850. Unfortunately the ONLY place where she was named was the McCubbins Collection - until now.

On the 1st of November of 2014 I received an email from Jason Forbush who had found this site and was seeking information on a Lucy Ellis Wheeler whom he had found mentioned in a book of his ancestors - the Becksteads. He had indicated that one of his ancestors, Rufus Forbush came with the Mormons from Iowa and settled on Little Cottonwood Creek in Salt Lake Valley in Sept 1852 and never remarried after his wife died but "was assisted in caring for his children by a crippled lady in a wheelchair , Lucy Ellis Wheeler ".

This intrigued me on two levels - first was the exact name "Lucy Ellis Wheeler" and the second was the fact that Lucy's brother, John and his wife Patsy also moved to Utah with the Mormon movement. They left Illinois about 1840, stopped for 5-8 years in Iowa, and then were in Utah by 1849.

I responded to Jason's email and he sent the following page from his book:

Taking the information provided in the above image, I began my research into just who was this Lucy Ellis Wheeler.

Using and I began to accumulate images and data on this new Lucy Wheeler. After completing and acquiring the images I arranged them into semi-chronilogical order to provide her lifeline below.

Utah Pioneers database (1847-50) on

This database gives a birth date of 3 April 1810 and a birthplace of Illinois.


1850 Federal Census of Pottawattamie Co., IA

In this census I found 41-year old Lucy Wheeler b. KY living with the Allen & Mary Compton family. Although extremely difficult to see in this image Lucy is recorded on line 18. It shows her age as 41 and with a place of birth as KY. The image was edited and reduced in resolution to get it on this page. To see a much higher resolution, click on the image. The new JPG will open in a new window. To return to this page, close the new window.

Annotated 1850 Federal Census

On is an extracted / annotated copy of the above 1850 census. An image of that Annotated Record is below. Note the added comment "On 22 January 1846 Lucy was endowed in the Nauvoo Temple." That places this Lucy in Illinois in 1846.

1851 IA State Census of Pottawattamie Co., IA

Some of the counties in the state of Iowa took a census the next year - 1851. Fortunately the one for Pottawattamie county still exists and one of the pages is shown below. There were no column headers. I am not sure what the left two columns are for but the two to the right of the family names are ages - 1st column is male, 2nd column is female. Again, this image was reworked and reduced in size. Click on it for a larger image.

The trouble with the 1860 Federal census of Union, Salt Lake, UT Territory

The next record of Lucy in the 1860 Federal census requires a bit of an explanation first. I did not initially find her in this census. No matter how I went about it, this Lucy Wheeler was not in Utah as reported in the Beckstead book above or even still in Iowa. So I decided to look for Rufus Forbush.

I was successful in finding him but he appeared to only have his two oldest children living with him and 15 other people including 11 members of a Pomeroy family ranging in age from a couple months to 34 years of age. It also seemed odd that they were identically split on two pages - Forbush on the bottom of the first page and Pomeroy on the top of the next. The extracted / indexed record on combines both of these into one family group because the "dwelling house" column for Rufus Forbush on the first page is numbered 1924 and the next family after the Pomeroys on the second page is numbered 1925. This indicates that everyone between the two are living in dwelling 1924.

However, after much searching in this census I concluded that the two pages MUST be out of order. But how could that be if the dwelling number went from 1924 on the first page to 1925 on the second and the page numbers went from 264 on the first page to 265 on the second?

The answer turned out to be the next column over after the "dwelling house" column. This is the "family number" column. Surprisingly, those numbers ARE out of order. The Rufus Forbush family is number 303 but the next number on the next page after the Pomeroy family is 292! It seems that before this census was page numbered and before the dwelling numbers were added someone "swapped" 2 pages. Now instead of them being in correct 1, 2, 3, 4 order they were in 1, 3, 2, 4 order. Pages 2 and 3 were swapped making the end of the Pomeroy appear to be the rest of the Forbush family.

I went to page 266 and found the remainder of the Forbush family and Lucy. That is presented next with an additional twist.

1860 Federal Census of Union, Salt Lake, UT Territory

Since the Forbush family was split on two different pages, I cut and pasted the image below to show the one family. The twist with this image is that Lucy is now shown with the Forbush surname. The page out of the Beckstead book above helps to explain this situation. Lucy is in the house of Rufus Forbush to take care of his children. She is apparently going by the Forbush name (or someone just assumed she was). As with previous images, click on this one to load a higher resolution image.

1870 Federal Census of South Cottonwood (Union Fork), Salt Lake, UT Territory

In this census, Lucy is again shown with the Forbush name but now she occupies the position of second in the house (usually reserved for the spouse) followed by the two Forbush children, Frank & Hiram. As with the previous images, you can view a larger resolution image by clicking on this one.

1880 Federal Census of Union Precinct, Salt Lake, UT Territory

The last census that Lucy appears in returns her to her Wheeler surname. She is still with Rufus Forbush but now shown as a 'Friend'. One child is still in the home but shown with a servant and given a different family number. Lucy is back to being born in Illinois and it shows that both parents were also born in Illinois. Even though the header at the top of the page says "State of Utah" Utah was still a territory until 1896. As with previous images, click on this one for a higher resolution image.

Utah Cemetery Inventory

A couple years after the 1880 census Lucy died. Two different sources have two different dates of death. The first is the Utah Cemetery Inventory. It shows a birth date of 3 April 1810 and a date of death as 1882. This was retrieved from an database.

Find A Grave

The Find A Grave web site has what appears to be a duplicate of the data contained in the above record. Rather than include an image here, I will just provide the link:

LDS Death Record

And it would appear that I have saved the best for last. This is a record of Lucy's death as contained on in the on-line database "Early Members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints". This one names her parents as William and Lucy Wheeler. It also implies an obituary is available as the source stated is "Book C/ Saints' Herald Obituaries, 1883, p. 728". I will be looking for that obituary.

After having completed all of this research I have come to the conclusion that this is the youngest daughter of William and Lucy (Ellis) Wheeler. With that being said, there are a number of assumptions that will need to be re-looked at. The assumption that Lucy Ellis died before leaving NC is apparently false. Since daughter, Lucy is named in the legal paper filed in 1818 and it appears from census records (and other noted above) that she was born in 1810, it would appear that Lucy Ellis did not die until 1810. And they are in Illinois but this time.

One record above (1850 Iowa census) gives a place of birth as KY. That is a possibility and if so it is also possible Lucy died in KY. Now the search goes on to try and find the place in KY that the family stopped between 1804 - 1810 - if they did. With the exception of the one record above that names Virginia as her state of birth the rest state Illinois. That is a very good possibility.



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