Guide to the Francis Wilson Gunnell Family Record,

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Gunnell, Francis W.(Francis Wilson), 1831-1889
Title: The Francis Wilson Gunnell Family Record
Dates: 1860-1926 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 1 box (.25 linear foot)
Collection Number: USU_COLL MSS 301
Summary: This collection consists of a handwritten record ledger containing autobiographical sketches of Francis W. Gunnell and Francis C. E. Gunnell and a biographical sketch of Sarah Walters Gascott Owens Gunnell written by Francis C.E. Gunnell. The account written by Francis W. Gunnell was written sometime after 1860, and the Francis C.E. Gunnell account was written around 1925.
Repository: Utah State University, Merrill-Cazier Library, Special Collections and Archives Division
Contact Information: Special Collections and Archives
Merrill-Cazier Library
Utah State University
Logan, UT
Telephone: 435-797-2663
Fax: 435-797-2880
Languages: Material in English 

Biographical Note

Francis Wilson Gunnell was born March 3, 1831 in Houghton, England the son of Christopher and Sarah W. Gunnell. At age nine Francis was thrown from a horse and his leg bone was shattered, leaving him crippled and on crutches for the next five years. In 1845 Francis' parents sent him to a nearby town to live with his aunt and uncle to obtain better schooling. Prior to his arrival Francis’ aunt and uncle had converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and through this association Francis joined the LDS Church during the winter of 1845.

In the fall of 1848 Francis, along with his aunt and uncle, decided to immigrate to the United States and join fellow LDS Church members gathering in the Utah Territory. On January 29, 1849 they set sail from Liverpool aboard the Hetland and arrived at New Orleans on April 2. In the company of other Latter-day Saints, Francis sailed up the Mississippi to St. Louis before beginning the journey across the plains to the Utah Territory. He arrived in 1850 and settled in present day Tooele. On July 24, 1851 Francis married his first wife, Polly Ann Edwards, in Tooele. During this time Francis farmed and was involved in numerous disputes with local Native Americans, which he described as the Utah Indian War that resulted in the death of one Tooele resident.

In 1856 Francis and his family moved to northern Utah and were some of the original settlers of present day Wellsville. He worked to construct Maughan’s Fort and interacted with the local Native Americans residing in the valley. In 1858 Francis and his family, along with the other residents of Wellsville, fled south to Tooele in response to the pending arrival of Johnston’s Army as part of the Utah War. One year later, after the conflict had passed, Francis and his family returned to Wellsville. Francis later married four other plural wives, Sarah Elizabeth Bickmore (1859), Esther Griffiths Lewis (1864), Emma Jeffs (1869), and Jane McPhail Baxter (1869). He spent the remainder of his life in Wellsville working as a farmer and teacher. Francis died October 20, 1889.

Francis Christopher Edwards Gunnell was born August 4, 1853 in Toole, Utah Territory the son of Francis Wilson and Polly Ann Edwards Gunnell who died in 1862. At age thirteen Francis found work as a mail runner transporting mail between Logan, Hyrum, Mendon, and Wellsville and one year later was transporting mail between Brigham City and Cache Valley. The next year Francis found work on the railroad near Duff Creek. In 1869 he worked for the railroad in places such as Corrine, Utah; Aspen, Colorado; and Fort Bridger, Wyoming. In 1870 he worked for the railroad transporting goods between Ogden, Utah and Bozeman, Montana. From 1871 to 1883 Francis found employment transporting goods to various areas in the West. During this time Francis married Sarah Ann Owens (1872) and Emil Baugh (1878).

In 1883 Francis was called to serve as a councilor to a LDS Bishop and settle in Rexburg, Idaho. For the next six years Francis farmed and engaged in various ecclesiastical duties throughout Franklin County, Idaho. In 1889 Francis decided to leave Rexburg and move to Wellsville, where he farmed until 1907. During this period Francis served as a laborer during the construction of the Wellsville Tabernacle. In 1907 Francis moved to the Naft River Valley and attempted to farm, but met with failure on account of the high alkali content of the soil. In 1914 Francis returned to Wellsville where he remained for the rest of his life. During this time he served as the town mayor of Wellsville for one term. Francis died in Wellsville on March 30, 1926.

Content Description

This one-box collection consists of a handwritten record ledger containing autobiographical sketches of Francis W. Gunnell and Francis C.E. Gunnell and a biographical sketch of Sarah Walters Gascott Owens Gunnell written by Francis C.E. Gunnell. The account written by Francis W. Gunnell was written sometime after 1860 and the Francis C.E. Gunnell account was written around 1925.

This ledger also contains genealogical information concerning the extended Gunnell family. A typescript (a 1947 Gunnell family reunion program) and photocopy of the original handwritten record are also included in this collection. The 1947 typescript was edited and condensed and is not an exact transcription of the original handwritten account.

The written record of Francis W. and Francis C.E. Gunnell provides a firsthand account of the settlement of Cache Valley and life in early Utah and Idaho. These handwritten entries discuss Mormonism, polygamy, Latter-day Saint interactions with Native Americans, the Utah War, and other similar topics.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

No restrictions on use, except: not available through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Use :  

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.

Permission to publish material from the Francis Wilson Gunnell Family Record must be obtained from the Special Collections Manuscript Curator and/or the Special Collections Department Head.

Preferred Citation :  

Initial Citation: The Francis Wilson Gunnell Family Record USU_COLL MSS 301, Box [ ]. Special Collections and Archives. Utah State University Merrill-Cazier Library. Logan, Utah.

Following Citations:USU_COLL MSS 301, USUSCA.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

Arranged chronologically.

Processing Note :  

Processed in April of 2006

Acquisition Information :  

The ledger in this collection was donated to USU Special Collections in 2006 by W. Adrian Gale in memory of his wife, Kathleen Haslam Gale, the great-granddaughter of Francis W. Gunnell.

Detailed Description of the Collection

1 1 The Francis Wilson Gunnell Family Record ledger 1886-1926
1 2 Photocopy of the Francis Wilson Gunnell Family Record ledger
[please photocopy this copy when a reproduction is needed]
1 3 The Gunnell family reunion program 1947


    • Personal Names :
    • Gunnell family.
    • Gunnell, Francis C. E. (Francis Christopher Edwards), 1853-1926
    • Gunnell, Francis W. (Francis Wilson), 1831-1889
    • Gunnell, Sarah W.
    • Subject Terms :
    • Indians of North America--Cache Valley (Utah and Idaho)--History--Sources.
    • Mormons--Utah--History--Sources.
    • Geographical Names :
    • Cache County (Utah)--History--Sources.
    • Wellsville (Utah)--History--Sources.

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