David Russell Creer's Paternal Great Grandfather
Edward Creer was the second child and oldest son of the family of Mathias and Nellie Greenhalgh Creer. He was born 3 November 1813 in Bolton, Lancashire, England. For years Edward was a factory worker where he became acquainted with the construction and operation of woolen and cotton mills. This knowledge was later of assistance to him and his associates in the introduction of mills into the territory of Utah.
At twenty-two years of age he married Ann Morris, 21 June 1835 in Chorley, Lancashire, England. She was born 27 December 1813 in Chorley, Lancashire, England. They were the parents of twelve children.
After their marriage, Edward and Ann accepted employment in the factory at Preston, he as a spinner and she as a weaver. In this way they were able to equip themselves for home keeping. They labored at the mills until motherhood and family responsibility necessitated that Ann resign.
In 1837, the first missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints came into their life. Among the early converts were Edward and Ann Morris Creer. They were baptized at Preston, England in 1838. Edward and Ann opened their home to the missionaries. In spite of ridicule, persecution and severe denunciation by his wife’s parents, Edward stood by the Elders. In the early church records at Preston, Lancashire, England, Edwards name is found baptizing many people into the Church. His family felt the spirit of the Gospel and offered encouragement to their children. To provide means for a voyage to Zion, Edward and Ann went to the mills and labored at the old trade while his parents cared for the children.
In the fall of 1847 the family had sufficient funds to cover transportation expenses. They sailed for America together with Edwards mother, four sisters, his wife and six children. For eleven weeks the sailing vessel in which they took passage battled with the winds and the sea.
Edward led his family to the coalfields of St. Louis. He took employment at the mines at Gravois, a coal-mining district near the city. While here, two of his children, Ellenor Ann and Robert died. Two new ones, Alice Ann and Edward, were sent to comfort and bless he and his wife. Edward dug coal and the boys, William and Orson hauled it to market.
Edward’s family endured hardships working to pay for transportation to Zion. During this time, Nellie Greenhalgh, Edward’s mother and Phoebe, the youngest sister died.
The family joined the Independent Company led by William Fields and started westward. They arrived in Salt Lake City 25 September, 1854.
The first year Edward and his two sons, William and Willard Orson, worked for John Young, a brother to President Brigham Young, taking provisions for their pay. During the critical years, when the grasshoppers and crickets wrought destruction to the fields, Edward worked in the “Temple Quarry.” He labored here until 1857 when the call came to obstruct the advance of Johnston’s Army into the Salt Lake Valley.
Edward, accompanied by his eldest son, William, joined the forces of Lot Smith and went forth to burn the wagons and stampede the cattle of the approaching army.
In 1858, Edward and his family took up residence in Spanish Fork. They located on the corner of 6th North and 1st East. Their first house was a “dug-out” Though it was only one room with a cane and mud roof, it sheltered the parents and five children for several years. Three of their children, William, Mary and Willard Orson moved to Spanish Fork before Edward brought the rest of the family. Soon after the move, the two oldest, William and Mary were married and Willard Orson went to work for William Banks.
Improved conditions came. Edward made by hand sufficient sun baked adobe to erect a two-room house. This “elegant” structure was regarded with high esteem by those who had risen from the subterranean dwelling to the surface of the earth. Even the mud roof was looked upon with admiration and pride.
An early sawmill owner, Archibald Gardner came with shingles, and to the family’s delight, the first roof was removed, the adobe walls raised and a shingled roof added to complete a superb edifice.
During the Indian troubles of the early sixties, Edward Creer, served as a home guard while his sons volunteered for active service in the Black Hawk War. Shortly after his arrival in Spanish Fork he had taken an active part in erecting the adobe walls which serve as a defense fortification against the Indians. These mud breastworks were located on the outskirts of the city. Here, detachments of men were stationed to protect the inhabitants from any surprise attack. Behind these walls, Thomas Matley and Edward Creer spent many wakeful hours guarding the city.
Edward Creer worked with the construction of the New Survey Ditch. He and his neighbor, Thomas Matley worked together to complete the project that was to make possible the reclamation of the district known as Leland. Later, Edward served as councilman and justice of the peace for the city of Spanish Fork. As a builder, he will be remembered in connection with the installation of the first carding machinery in the mill at Springville, owned by Mr. Houtz. Later he worked with his sons and son in law, Llewellyn Jones, in the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad near Promintory, Utah. The ties used for railroad building were hauled across the Great Salt Lake by ferryboat.
Edward Creer assisted in the construction of the Provo Woolen Mills and in the installation of the machinery in that plant. The knowledge gained in the factory at Preston, England, proved valuable for this work. For twelve years he was employed as a spinner in the Provo Woolen Mills. He took shares in the factory as part pay for his labor.
On 18 December 1877 his wife, Ann Morris Creer died. At the time of her death they were living in Provo, Utah. It was the close of a wonderful companionship.
About a year after the death of Ann, He married Mary Nixon Radabough, A weaver in the Provo Woolen Mills. They worked together in the factory after they were married.
After several years of service at the mills he and his new wife returned to Spanish Fork where he sold his land to his son, Edward Creer, and his home to his grandson, Joseph Creer. The couple then moved to Beaver where his wife owned a home. During his years in Beaver, he and his wife did many hours of temple work at the St. George Temple for his departed relatives.
On 12 January 1886 Edward Creer died at Beaver, Utah. His body was brought to Spanish Fork for burial beside his wife in the city cemetery. He lived 72 years, 2 months and 9 days.
During his life he advanced in the Priesthood to the office of a High Priest in which capacity he served faithfully in every community where he lived. He was proud of his membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. His testimony was genuine. He never wavered in his determination to serve the Lord. He was an ardent advocate of the restored Gospel, paying his tithes and offerings with honesty and regularity. His life of unselfish service is a testimony of his character. He was an artisan, pioneer, colonizer and community leader. The crowning contribution of his life is the flourishing strong posterity that bears his name. Hundreds who now enjoy the blessings of the valleys of the mountains and of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ may justly bow in reverence and gratitude to the man who made their temporal and spiritual prosperity possible.