Family history moments: Respected name

When I read the name Robert Pierce in the Church News (Family History Moments, “A special name,” April 2, 2011, p. 16), I felt a tingle of excitement as Robert Pierce is a special name in Bringhurst family history.

The Bringhurst family was well established with the Society of Friends (Quakers) sect before coming to Pennsylvania shortly before 1701. There they were able to enjoy religious freedom, liberty and peace. However, when Samuel Bringhurst converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a “Declaration of Disownment” was announced by the Quakers and his family.

Samuel was a wagon and carriage builder, a trade learned from generations of the Bringhurst family involved in that business. Records show that George Washington purchased a carriage built by John Bringhurst in 1780.

Samuel and his wife, Eleanor Beitler Bringhurst, arrived in Nauvoo with three young children in 1845. Their youngest child, Henry, died March 21, 1846, and was buried in Nauvoo. It is believed that the Bringhursts stayed in Nauvoo to help build wagons for those remaining after the main exodus. The saints were forced to leave Nauvoo by the fall of 1846 because of mob violence.

The family arrived at a settlement of tents and wagons on the Iowa side of the Missouri River across from Winter Quarters. By late November the weather had turned bitter cold causing the river to freeze over. On the frigid night of Nov. 25, 1846, a healthy baby boy was born to Samuel and Eleanor in their covered wagon box.

Robert Pierce had built a small log cabin for his family in Winter Quarters. Upon hearing the news of the newborn, he invited the Bringhurst family to live with them for the rest of the winter. After a two week confinement, Eleanor carried the infant across the ice to the cabin. Samuel and Eleanor named their baby Robert Pierce Bringhurst after their benefactor. Robert Pierce is a respected name in the hearts of the descendants of Samuel and Eleanor Bringhurst.

We have discovered that Robert Pierce was a Quaker from Pennsylvania, and he also converted to the Church, settling in Nauvoo in 1840. The families were most likely acquainted prior to this event.

It takes immense faith and courage to plow, cultivate, and plant the seeds of a new way of life, but the yield is never ending. Thousands now have the greatest gift of all.

— Luzon Bringhurst Glines, Toquerville 3rd Ward, LaVerkin Utah Stake