Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » I Found a Baby Pioneer

I Found a Baby Pioneer

By: Ardis E. Parshall - July 02, 2011

Emmaretta Eliza Green, age 2, daughter of Robert Kenyon Green and Eliza Elvira Esther Morrison Green, was a Mormon pioneer.

Her living family doesn’t know that, so I’m posting this where the information can be found by Googling, as well as having her added to the Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel database.

Emmaretta’s parents (then married to other spouses) and older siblings emigrated to Utah in 1847, members of the Daniel Spencer company. Robert and Eliza Green were married by 1850 and settled in the Cottonwood area of the Salt Lake Valley. Eliza and at least some of the children of the combined marriages accompanied Robert back to the States late in 1854 when he was called to serve a mission there.

Family history notes that “Emmaretta Green was born in Chester, [Porter County,] Indiana 23 April 1855. She died before they returned to Salt Lake in 1857,” which probably accounts for the entry in New Family Search reporting that Emmaretta died in 1856 (no day/month given). In some family histories, Emmaretta is called “Loretta” or even “Energetta,” and sometimes appears as if she were two sisters instead of one small child with an unusual name.

But she didn’t die in 1856. She started west with her parents in 1857 and died on the Plains, somewhere east of Laramie.

On 19 August 1857, Amos Milton Musser, returning from a mission to India and traveling with the William G. Young company, wrote a letter to friends in New York City:

We are now within about 7 miles of the above named Fort [Laramie] under circumstances truly prosperous. Thus far we have been blessed beyond anticipation or expectation. We have lost but one ox and left but one wagon, and that an old one not worth hauling half the way.

General health prevails and a unanimity of feeling exists throughout. This last, you know, is a striking or prominent characteristic of the Latter Day Saints. Yesterday we unanimously deputed Elder W.G. Young to precede the emigration companies to the valley, that he may be enabled to report at head-quarters their exact position and circumstances, and that they may in time receive succor if necessary.

I regret to have to mention several deaths, and the loss of a number of cattle, through stampedes, in Captain Martin’s and Captain Hofhiens’ companies. The first of these companies lost a number of cattle in the stampede, so laming the train that several families were obliged to return to Genoa. Bros. Latey, Greener, Gillis and Keates, with their families and friends, were those that returned.

Brother E. Howard, from Sheffield, aged sixty-five, and a daughter of Sister Banford, aged four years, were the sufferers. They were interred in a double grave which formed a melancholy feature of the fatal spot where the tragic scene occurred. A Sister Rogers, and a daughter of Sister Turner’s were seriously injured, so much so that their recovery was hardly looked for. Captain Hofheins’ train lost upwards of thirty head of cattle. No human suffering I believe. The Hand-Cart Companies are, as far as we can learn, going along pretty well, but slower than was expected.

Several fresh graves mark the steps of the Angel of Death amongst them. I think we noticed but three or four. The names of three I remember well, as follows: Brother James Reader, late from St. Louis, formerly from England; Brother Peter Hanson, a Dane, and a young female by the name of Emerretta Green.

We learn that the company of soldiers, set apart to straighten the Utonians out, have lost 800 head of cattle, through stampedes; 60 head had been recovered. It is reported that Gen. Harney, their commander, has been remanded for shooting one of his subordinates, a lieutenant, in a duel.

The names of James Reader, Peter Hansen, John Banford (a son rather than daughter, obviously) and Edward Howard, along with the fact of their deaths, are already listed on the Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel database. Emmaretta’s name is not – at least, not until next week.

Musser’s letter was printed in The Mormon, the New York City newspaper published by John Taylor, on 19 September 1857. By that date, John Taylor had returned to Utah in anticipation of the Utah War; his deputies were winding up Eastern business. That issue was the last edition of The Mormon. In fact, Musser’s letter was printed at the end of the last column of the last page of editorial content, followed only by advertisements. It was literally the last news published in that newspaper.

The record of little Emmaretta’s death on the Plains as a Mormon pioneer came that close to being lost.



  1. You never cease to amaze me Ardis! That was a wonderful story, it makes one wonder how many pioneers and folks there are in general who’s stories are only known unto God.

    This is my favorite kind of history, the stories of the common folk in the trenches, far better stuff then the famous and the well knowns.

    Comment by andrew h — July 2, 2011 @ 7:57 pm

  2. In connection with your “only known unto God” comment, andrew h, may I recommend an old post about Annie Griffith Burbank?

    Thanks for joining in my delight at discovering and remembering a little Latter-day Saint of the past.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 2, 2011 @ 8:20 pm

  3. My husband does family history like an addict and his favorite thing is finding children who have been left out. Many, many times the adults are found and sealed but not children who have died. He also looks especially for unmarried or childless adults. There is a special satisfaction there, like with this one.

    Comment by Carol — July 2, 2011 @ 9:24 pm

  4. Yes! Finding the people that no one else is looking for because they have no descendants is tender and rewarding.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 2, 2011 @ 9:43 pm

  5. Thanks for sharing this “little” discovery.

    Comment by David Y. — July 3, 2011 @ 1:44 am

  6. Thanks for joining this memorial service, David.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 3, 2011 @ 3:45 am

  7. Thank you, Ardis, and also thanks to Brother Musser for writing that letter. (He was one of your Best Beards, wasn’t he?)

    Comment by Researcher — July 3, 2011 @ 8:32 am

  8. Indeed he was, Researcher, in the “chin strip” division (no doubt a much later image
    than the 1857 emigration).




    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 3, 2011 @ 9:27 am

  9. Doing the Lord’s work, as ever, Ardis. Thanks.

    Comment by J. Stapley — July 3, 2011 @ 11:39 am

  10. Thanks, J. I know this isn’t what the Psalmist had in mind, but I like to think of this verse every time a forgotten Latter-day Saint is remembered again: “I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever.” (Psalms 45:17)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 3, 2011 @ 3:50 pm

  11. Ardis,

    What a delightful find! I’m sure Emmaretta must have smiled when she heard of your discovery and subsequent submission of her name for remembrance.

    Little nugget of interest: one of my great grandfathers was William Furlsbury Carter, who also served with Amos Milton Musser in India with that initial missionary effort. Although, William returned in 1853 due to illness. He did manage to circumnavigate the globe in the process though. 😉

    Here’s a history of him if anyone is interested:

    Comment by Tod Robbins — July 4, 2011 @ 9:08 am

  12. This is a tender story. I appreciate those who look after the forgotten saints.

    Comment by Maurine Ward — July 4, 2011 @ 6:56 pm

  13. I love these kinds of posts, Ardis. Thanks for the hard work.

    Tod, my wife is a distant cousin of yours, having William Furlsbury Carter as a second great grandfather. Thanks for the link.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — July 5, 2011 @ 9:46 am

  14. Make that 4th great grandfather.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — July 5, 2011 @ 9:50 am

  15. @Bruce, very cool. We’ll have to exchange info some time soon!

    Comment by Tod Robbins — July 5, 2011 @ 10:00 am

  16. Emmaretta was added to the database today, along with her parents and two slightly older but still very young pioneer siblings, and the text of the letter referring to her grave is being added as a source to the pioneer files of the others mentioned in the letter. Hip, hip, hurrah!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 6, 2011 @ 1:02 pm

  17. I wrote a biography for Emmaretta’s father, Robert Kenyon Green. She died on the return trip to Utah following her father’s mission to the eastern states. There is a photo of Emmaretta and her mother in the biography, it was taken while back east.

    Thank you so much for finding this wonderful source! I will include it in the next update of the biography. You can access the biography freely on

    Comment by Shane Green — February 5, 2014 @ 10:24 pm

  18. I got a history of Henry Lawrence from Evlyn Green Richardson in Vernal. Here is a brief section:   My father and mother were called on a mission to the eastern part of the nation and went. While on the return trip to Utah my sister died and was buried on the plains. Father had purchased hard wood lumber, which he planned to use to make furniture and useful items for his home. He used what was necessary and constructed a small casket, to hold her body. To erase signs of the grave and try to prevent Indians or wild animals from disturbing her remains he built a campfire on top the level ground over her body.” he cherished a picture, of his mother and sister, which he said was of her and her little child she left buried in an unmarked grave somewhere along the road back home. In the family Histoyr archives of the LDS Church is preserved on film 026-625 page 112 line 57 under the listing children the following information: Name-Emeretta Eliza Green, born 23 April 1855. Where-Chester County Indiana, America. Blessed by Isreael Evens. Father no name. Mother no name. Remarks in column – Died and was buried on the plains opposite Scotts Bluffs. This information has been placed on the records of Robert and Eliza Elvira Esther, because family members believe this is data about Henry Lawrence’s older sister.

    Comment by Shane Green — February 5, 2014 @ 10:37 pm

  19. Delightful, Shane! I’m glad to know Emmeretta’s family keeps track of her, and that you have a new source to document her too-short life. I’ll look for the biography you mentioned … but in the morning. Glad to hear from you.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 6, 2014 @ 1:39 am

  20. I want to be a Utonian.

    Comment by Grant — February 6, 2014 @ 8:04 am

  21. Hi! I am a descendant of Charles Wesley Shippen, who was the son of Esther Eliza Elvira Morrison and Henry Shippen. We didn’t know of any other siblings! Do you know if there were other children in their family? Do you have any more info about this family?

    Comment by Emily — April 17, 2014 @ 11:12 pm

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