PHEBE NARCISSIA ODELL BROWN
Daughter of Jacob Odell and Rebecca Vaughn Odell
Phebe Narcissia Odell was born 4 July 1822 in Hartland, Niagara County, State of New York, the daughter of Jacob Odell and Rebecca Vaughn Odell.
In the year 1838, Phebe Narcissia Odell married William Brown, all respected citizens of the same locality. The couple settled on a part of the old homestead, and bought a tract of land and added to it. William was successful in operating his farm, providing thereby for his family.
Phebe and William were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on March 5, 1843 by Elder Archibald Montgomery. Leaving their Johnson Creek home in New York, Phebe made her way across the plains, with her husband and children: Mary Jane, Adelia Ann (b. March 3, 1840), Cynthia Saloma (b. June 13, 1842), and Moroni (b. Feb. 28, 1844). William and Phebe buried their infant son, Moroni, on August 7, 1844 and daughter, Cynthia Saloma on September 30 of the same year. On Oct. 16, 1845, a daughter to whom they gave the name of Naomi or “Naamah” was born. William and Phebe Brown and daughters Mary Jane, Adelia Ann and Naamah arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on Sept. 22, 1847 in Daniel Spencer’s 100 and Ira Eldridge’s Fifty.
[See History of William Brown for additional details on the westward trek.]
Their first winter was spent in the old Fort. Here, a son named, William, was born (Jan. 5, 1848), but he passed away July 30, 1848. The next spring, they located in the fifteenth ward, now the corner of First South and Second West Streets, theirs being the first and only home in that locality for some time.
Here William erected a small log home as quickly as possible to house his family and commenced the erection of a better home of adobe. On Nov. 6, 1850, a daughter “Phebe Narcissus” was born to them in this home.
In 1851 Phebe moved with her family to Woods Cross where William had taken up a quarter section of land a mile south of the station. They farmed this land, raising abundant crops of wheat.
On Jan. 17, 1852, William Brown married Elizabeth A. Andrews Coleman, a friend of Phebe’s.
Just one month later, on February 29, 1852, Phebe N. Odell Brown gave birth to a daughter whom they named “Rachel Rebecca” The following day, March 1, 1852, (some records say 9 days) the birth of the baby, Phebe Brown passed away in Woods Cross (Bountiful), Utah. Although the City Cemetery had been established by this time, the family buried their wife and mother on the home lot in Salt Lake City, Utah. This was not an uncommon practice at that time.
The care of Phebe’s children now fell to Elizabeth, William’s second wife. The oldest daughter, Mary Jane, was 14 at this time. Wee Rachel was either fed with a spoon or taken to a “wet nurse” at each feeding. The family genealogical record states that “Hannah Pauline” first child of Elizabeth Coleman by William Brown was born April 10, 1853 at Bountiful (Sessions Settlement). William Brown married a total of four wives.
The names of his wives, their dates of birth and dates of death are as follows:
First wife, Phebe N., born July 4th, 1822 died March 1, 1852
Second wife Elizabeth A. born Sept. 10th, 1818 died May 25th 1904
Third wife Rebecca W. born Sept. 25th, 1825 died May 17th, 1891
Fourth wife Ellen born Dec. 25th, 1839 died February 24th, 1922.
William Brown died October 28th, 1892, at Bountiful, Davis County, State of Utah, and was buried at that place.
HISTORY OF PHEBE NARCISSIA ODELL BROWN
Pioneer of 1847 Born: 4 July 1822 Died: 29 Feb 1852
by Marjorie Parkin Winegar
As we record the lives of our courageous pioneer ancestors, we rightly give them praise and acclaim for their arduous trek across the western prairies to settle and develop the Salt Lake Valley. But for many of our people this was by no means their first experience at pioneering.
So it was with Phebe Narcissia Odell Brown. She was born to pioneer parents who were children of men and women who played a part in settling and building up towns and communities in the early years of our country.
The earliest record we have of the Odell family is of Phebe’s father and mother, Jacob Odell and Rebecca Vaughn. They were both born in Queensbury, Warren County, New York—Jacob on 28 January 1786 and Rebecca on 13 January 1788. Their marriage date is not known on family records, but the birth of a daughter, Cynthia Ann, was recorded at Queensbury about 1817, indicating that they resided in this town. An obituary record states that there were fifteen children in the Odell family. If this is correct, there were seven more children not on the family record born to Jacob and Rebecca Vaughn Odell in the early part of their marriage while living in Queensbury, Warren County, New York.
In an early history of Queensbury, we find that in 1785 (three years before Rebecca was born) a Stephen Vaughn owned and occupied a farm on Dunham’s road, which he sold that year. At this time there were only 18 families residing in the whole town of Queensbury, which suggests that this man could have been Rebecca’s father. In the 1880 New York census of Queensbury, other Odell and Vaughn names are recorded.
The town of Queensbury is in Warren County, which is located in the eastern part of New York. This country was truly the home of the red-man and early history books give interesting accounts of them and their vast domain. This area is described as a table land of streams, lakes, rugged ranges, endless swamps and a dense wilderness of pines. Here thronged the moose, elk, deer, wolf, panther, bear, and other species which abundantly supplied the red-man’s needs. Lakes and streams give evidence that the natives used these spots for summer camps. These were the hunting grounds of the aboriginies and the scene of many battles for supremacy which thinned the warrior ranks and opened the pathway of conquest by the white men, from far-away lands, and their descendants.
Few localities have furnished a more abundant yield of Indian relics than Queensbury. Arrow points, spear heads, knives, hatchets, gouges, chisels, amulets, and calumets were found broadcast through the town; also such relics as bullets and bombshells, buttons, buckles, and bayonets indicating battle grounds of civilized warfare.
The next record we have of the whereabouts of the Jacob and Rebecca Vaughn Odell family is in Hartland, Niagara County, New York where a son, Elezar, was born about 1819. Noting that Cynthia Ann was born in Queensbury, it is reasonable to suppose that sometime between the births of these children, the Odells made a trek all the way across the State of New York, a distance of more than 300 miles, to settle in Hartland, Niagara County located in the western part of the state. It is not known why they made what seems like a distant move for that early day, but we may surmise that the spirit of the day charged them to go westward, pushing into new frontiers.
Niagara County is bordered on the north by Lake Ontario. It was originally a part of the Great Genesee Country which now encompasses 15 other counties in western New York. This country is described as the “Garden of the World” because of its scenic beauty, fertility of soil, and favorable climate. Credit is given the character of its people and their industrious superiority. Hartland is located inland and is the only town in Niagara County that is untouched by watercraft or railway transportation. It was formed from Cambria on 1 June [unreadable]. It and Johnson’s Creek being the oldest settled places. There was also evidence that the red-man had occupied this area before the pioneer settlers. Eighteen miles west of Johnson’s Creek Village was an earth work fortification with walls three feet high upon which trees had grown to the height of the surrounding forest. As these early settlers moved back the trees and plowed the land, they found arrow heads and other Indian relics in abundance.
In the early years, the Hartland region consisted of worthless swamps; however, drainage and cutting back of the forest exposed the soil and settlers gradually developed it into a fairly productive and well fruited area. In this early settlement wild game was plentiful, but gradually it was hunted to death.
Every farmer raised sheep and also flax for the family clothing. The women knew how to spin the flax and make linen cloth for their summer clothing. Most of the preparation of the wool was also done at home.
All that was taught in the pioneer schools was the three “Rs.” At first, religious services were held at school houses, but in time, churches were erected and there came to be six denominations in the town. If is not known if the Odell family joined any of these sets, but here they lived and reared their family.
In 1821 another son, Joseph, was born to them. Two years later on 4 July 1822, Phebe Narcissia followed, just ten years after Hartland was formed into a town.
As the years passed and Phebe was growing up, four more children were born to the family at Hartland: Wilson in 1823, Rachel in 1825, Jacob on 18 October 1828, and the last child, Asa on 4 February 1831.
When Phebe Narcissia was 16 years old, she married William Brown at Hartland. William was not a native of this town and his reason for being in that vicinity is not known. His parents, William Brown and Jane Straugham, had come from England. William Sr. was born 25 Feb 1781 in Elsdon, Northumberland. They both emigrated to this country while young. They were married 23 Nov 1805 in Seneca, Ontario County, New York. Here they settled on a homestead and reared a family of ten, the son William being the sixth child. According to recent information, this farm is still owned by descendants of William Brown and Jane Straugham.
Ontario County is inland, south of Lake Ontario in northwestern New York. It was also within the borders of the Grear Genesee Country. Seneca lies to the southeast of the county, bordering Seneca Lake. Seneca is within 60 miles of Palmyra.
According to the family history, the Browns were aware of the translation of the Book of Mormon. William Jr. was visited by the Elders in 1836 and in 1837 became interested in the new religion. This history also states that William and his wife, Phebe, settled on part of the old homestead and added land to it. However, the records show the first child, Mary Jane, born 10 Dec 1838, at Hartland, which is about 90 miles from Seneca. Adelia Ann was born 3 March 1840 at Hartland. Cynthia Saloma was born 13 June 1842, also at Hartland.
William and his wife, Phebe, were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on the same day, 5 Feb 1843. About that time, a branch was organized at Johnson’s Creek, a short distance from Hartland, and William was chosen Clerk. At this time, they had been married for 5 years. This information suggests that they made their home in the Hartland vicinity.
In the years previous to William’s and Phebe’s baptism into the Mormon church, Phebe’s parents, Jacob and Rebecca Vaughn Odell were contemplating another venture westward. The memorial report of Asa Odell, youngest child on record, states that in 1841 Jacob Odell with two sons, Joseph and Wilson, came to Michigan with the intention of buying a home. They located in Carlton, Barry County on a farm owned by John Fleming, which was bought of Harrison Wickham. The following year (1842) the family moved to Michigan coming by way of the Great Lakes from Buffalo to Detroit, and overland to Hastings, which, at that time, was a small village of about 30 white inhabitants. The road from there to their future home was little more than a trail around the hills and swamps. The Odells were some of Carlton’s earliest settlers and once again began their pioneering.
Jacob Odell died 28 March 1847. In 1862 his wife, Rebecca, moved with a son, Asa, to another son, Joseph’s farm. Rebecca died 18 May 1869.
William and Phebe became zealous supporters of Mormonism and prepared to follow the Saints when they left for the West. William’s family was very much opposed to his affiliation with the Church, but his father finally purchased his farm, which no doubt provided the means to join the great exodus which was near at hand.
The diary of William Brown reveals much interesting details of this family’s journey and trials. Early Church history substantiates these facts, but little is written about Phebe Narcissia, wife and mother pioneer, who was by her husband’s side standing up to her tasks all the way.
In the midst of family persecution, public abuse and final preparations, Phebe was expecting her fourth child. Moroni was born 29 February 1844, thus giving Phebe another responsibility to cope with. This did not alter their plans, and on 9 May 1844 she and the children were ready to join her husband and other Saints on their way to Nauvoo.
In the latter part of May, they landed at their destination where William immediately bought a house and lot and settled his family. This was a time of great distress in Nauvoo. The mobs were gathering and threatening to drive the Saints from their homes. On 27 June the Prophet Joseph and his brother, Hyrum, were murdered in the Carthage Jail. Great personal sorrow was added to the Brown family when their five-month old son, Moroni, died 7 August 1844. Then they suffered the cruel blow of losing their two-year old daughter, Cynthia Saloma, who died 30 September of the same year. But on the heels of tragedy came the blessing of another baby, Naamah, born 16 October 1845.
Realizing that their stay in Nauvoo would be of short duration, their leader, Brigham Young, counseled the Saints to bend every effort to complete the temple so that they may enjoy the blessings revealed by the Prophet Joseph. The faithful efforts of William and Phebe were rewarded and they received their own endowments in the Nauvoo Temple on 8 January 1846.
From this time on, the Brown family followed the movements of the Church until they came to Utah. During this period, Phebe saw her husband appointed to numerous duties, thereby leaving a greater responsibility on her shoulders. Wherever the Saints were camped, William became engaged in various worthy pursuits. He helped build a bridge, supplied provisions, secured feed and cared for cattle, supplied wood for the poor, built cabins and outfitted wagons.
In the spring of 1847, two divisions were ready to start the long trek westward, one under the direction of President Brigham Young and the other headed by Heber C. Kimball. The Brown family was assigned to the Kimball Company with William chosen as captain of ten.
Sometime in May of 1847, the company left Winter Quarters with the Brown family registered as follows:
William Brown -- age 31
Phebe Narcissia -- age 25
Mary Jane -- age 9
Adelia Ann -- age 6
Naamah -- age 1
wagons 2, meat 75, yoke oxen 5, groc. 20 flour 250.
This worthy family had withstood the trials of the past many months and felt humbly thankful for the privilege of leaving the land with their family and few provisions, trusting God to lead them to a land they knew not where.
The remainder of this long journey was made without very much recorded detail or incident. It must have been doubly trying for Phebe because she was expecting her sixth child before they left Winter Quarters. Before reaching the Platte River, they had traveled with 365 wagons together. This was very difficult so they broke into fifties, which proved to be much more convenient.
In August these travelers were overjoyed at meeting a group of pioneers of Brigham Young’s company on their way back to Winter Quarters. There was great rejoicing in the camp at news of the valley that had been found where they could soon find rest.
They met a number of tribes of Indians along the way which were all peaceable, and they traded with them for some ponies and skins. On the route, they saw large herds of buffalo.
The Brown family arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on 22 September 1847. Again there was much rejoicing and counting their blessings.
They spent the first winter in the Fort. We are not told and only hope that the living quarters were somewhat comfortable because this is where William was born 5 January 1848. While they were waiting for the survey and their allotment of land, another sadness came their way. Baby William, seven months old, died 30 July 1848.
In 1849 William was granted the quarter block at the northwest corner of the intersection at First South and Second West. Here he quickly built a small log house and then commenced a better home of adobe. In this home daughter, Phebe Narcissia, was born on 6 November 1850.
In 1848 William had decided to take up some farm land in Sessions Settlement, later known as Bountiful. It was located at what is now (1964) about 2100 and 2500 South 800 West in Woods Cross, Utah.
On 17 January 1852 William married a second wife, Elizabeth Andrews Coleman. It is believed she was acquainted with the Browns when they lived in Nauvoo.
Just one month later on 29 Feb 1852, Phebe Narcissia Odell gave birth to her eighth child, a daughter, named Rachel Rebecca. The following day (some records say 9 days) Phebe died, leaving the infant and four other young children. She was buried on the home lot in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is assumed that the children were cared for by William’s second wife, Elizabeth; third wife, Rebecca Webster Chapin, whom he married 20 January 1854; and fourth wife, Ellen Bernett, whom he married 13 July 1867.
The above history of Phebe Narcissia Odell Brown was compiled and written by Marjorie Parkin Winegar on 19 March 1965. Assisted in research by Beatrice Parkin Schulthies. Both are second great granddaughters. The information came from family records prepared by George B. Stanley; exerts of Journal of William Brown; Locality Histories and records of Genealogical Society; History of Elizabeth Andrews Coleman Brown, compiled and written by Nina F. Moss.
Phebe Brown Patriarchal Blessing
The following Patriarchal Blessing was taken from Book 6, page 74, in the office of the Church Historian, 47 East South Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah: No. 88. Nauvoo Jany 1st, 1845
A Blessing by John Smith Patriarch, upon the head of Phebe Brown daughter of Jacob and Rebecca Odell, born July 4, 1822, in Niagara County, New York.
Sister Phebe in the name of Jesus Christ I lay my hands upon thy head and I seal a Father’s blessing upon thee, even the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the blessings of the daughters of Ephraim, with the authority and power of the Priesthood and all the privileges thereof in common with thy companion with power to preserve thy children from the grasp of the destroyer and thou shalt loose no more until they are old, for thou shalt have faith to heal them when they are sick and drive the destroyer from thy habitation; they shall grow round thee like plants and become very numerous; thy sons shall be mighty men and thy daughters shall prophecy; thou shalt possess all things which you desire, which are calculated to render life agreeable; thou shalt have the ministering of Angels to comfort thee in the absence of thy companion and to counsel thee when thy mind is troubled; to encourage thee when thou art cast down; and even bring tidings to thee from thy companion when he is far away; thou shalt be satisfied with life, for thou shalt even see the Lord while thou art in the flesh face to face; and shall be caught up to meet him in the cloud and reign with him forever with thy companion, having a large kingdom I seal all these blessings upon thee in faithfulness. Amen.