Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Gordon Silas Beckstead 1825-1891

Gordon Silas Beckstead

MILITARY SERVICE: Private, Company A; Private, Company A, Mormon Volunteers

Click here for a history of the Mormon Batallion

Enlisted: 16 July 1846, Council Bluffs, Iowa Territory (age 20)
Discharged: 16 July 1847 Ciudad de los Angeles
Enlisted 20 July 1847, Diudad de los Angeles, Company A, Mormon Volunteers
Discharged: 14 March 1848, San Diego, California
Bounty Land Claim: 6038100-160-47
Survivor's Pension: 22 May 1888

BIRTH: 25 November 1825, Williamsburg, Dundas, Ontario, Canada
Son of Alexander Beckstead and Catherine Lince

FIRST MARRIAGE: Barbara Park, 24 August 1852, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
Daughter of David Park and Anne Brooks
Birth: 11 September 1830, Dalhouse, Ontario, Canada

SECOND MARRIAGE: Elizabeth Collins Hunsaker, 23 May 1856, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah (divorced)
Daughter of Abraham Hunsaker and Eliza Collins
Birth: 17 November 1837, Payson, Adams, Illinois
Gordon Eli Beckstead, 17 October 1857, Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah
Elizabeth Collins Beckstead, 29 August 1859, Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah
Abraham Beckstead, 8 March 1861 Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah
Alexander Beckstead, 8 April 1864, Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah
Henry A. Beckstead, 2 May 1867, Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah
Lewis Alfons Beckstead, 6 March 1869, Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah
Barbara Etta Beckstead, 10 April 1871, Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah
Elizabeth Beckstead, 1873, Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah
Death: 30 August 1894, Oxford, Bingham, Idaho
Burial: 2 September 1894, Oxford, Bingham, Idaho

THIRD MARRIAGE: Susanna Luckham, 22 November 1867, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
(plural wife)
Daughter of George Sweeten and Mary Gardner, stepfather Roger Luckham
Birth: 21 October 1848, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
Roger Adelbert Beckstead, 20 October 1869, Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah
Silas Beckstead, 29 July 1871, Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah
Francis Beckstead, 7 June 1873, Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah
Mary Elizabeth Beckstead, 15 August 1875, Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah
Eugene Beckstead, 7 December 1878, Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah
Robert Beckstead, 18 January 1883, Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah
Hubert Leroy Beckstead, 4 April 1887, Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah
Asa Clarence Beckstead, 11 April, 1889, Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah
William Leon Beckstead, 16 April 1890, Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah

Death: 17 August 1913, Preston, Oneida, Idaho
Burial: August 1913, Preston, Oneida, Idaho

DEATH: 31 January 1891, Preston, Oneida, Idaho (age 65)
BURIAL: February 1891, Preston City Cemetary, Preston, Oneida, Idaho
The US Mormon Battalion marker has been placed at his grave site.

In 1838 Elders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints converted Gordon's family and assisted in their immigration to the United States from Canada. The family crossed the ST. Lawrence River on 24 July 1838 with a company of Canadian Saints. They experienced great difficulties en route to DeWitt, Carroll, Missouri, and were persecuted upon arrival. The intense persecution caused the family to move to Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois (Beckstead, Descendants of John Beckstead)

In Nauvoo, Gordon was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in March 1845 (Temple Index Bureau). When persecution mounted against the Saints in Illinois, he migrated to Council Bluffs, Iowa Territory, where he enlisted int eh Mormon Battalion. At the time of his enlistment he was 5'9" in height, having brown hair and blue eyes (Pension File).

Joining Gordon on the battalion march was his cousin Orrin Mortimer Beckstead and his uncle William Ezra Beckstead. The marched from Council Bluffs, Iowa to San Diego, California. At the end of his enlistment he was discharged on 16 July, 1847. Gordon chose to enlist four days after his discharge, serving in the Mormon Volunteers until 14 March 1848 (Pension File).

He then trekked to the Rocky Mountains and settled in Weber County, Utah, in 1851 (Pension File). On 19 Januarey 1852 he was given the endowment. From 1857 to 1861 Gordon and his young bride, Barbara Park, resided in Riverdale, WEber County. From 1861 through 1862 they lived near the Jordan River. From 1862 to 1882 they resided in Box Elder County, Utah, where Gordon married for a second and third time. His second wife was his niece.

The remainder of his live was spent in Preston, Oneida, Idaho (Pension File). Gordon became a successful farmer and one of the leading citizens in the community. He was known for his involvement in public enterprises and esteemed as a far-seeing, progressive man. Gordon died from pneumonia (Beckstead, Descendants of John Beckstead)

GRAVEMARKER INSCRIPTION: Born in Upper Canada, November 25, 1925. The deceased was one of the early pioneers into the western county and his adventurous life was filled with thrilling and interesting experiences. He was amongst the formost to discover gold in California, having walked across the wild trackless deserts and prairies from Council Bluffs to the Pacific Coast. He was strong and robust, brave and courageous. Was fond of hunting and an excellent marksman and furnished the party with game on the long journey. He was active as a frontierman and had narrow escapes while contending with the savage red men. He was a member of the "Mormon Battalion" in the Mexican war, and drew a government pension at the time of his death. His first home after marriage was on South Jordan, Utah, moving later to Brigham City, where he resided about twenty years. In May, 1883, he came to Preston, Idaho, where he lived until pneumonia caused his death Jan. 31, 1891. He was honest in his dealings, well respected and left a large family to mourn his loss.

Served as a Private of the Mormon Battalion, Company A, with first cousin Orin Mortimer Beckstead. William Ezra Beckstead, uncle to Orin and Gordon, served in Company C.

This record was compiled from the Daughters of the Pioneers Archives in June 2001 by Louise Crandall Huefner and Rebecca Huefner Chapman.


  1. Thank you so much for compiling this information!

    You might be interested to know that there is a letter written by Orin about his time in the battalion that is now available online at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~iapcgs/BecksteadLtr.htm

    1. Thank you! I was really excited to find and print out the letter! I am related, on my maternal side, through Alexander Beckstead, so I THINK Orrin (Orin) is a cousin, and my family (that I came from) all live in California, now, and I have been to the Mormon Battallion site--it is really wonderful to read about it and see some of the areas they were in and think about the history! My grandparents came to California from Utah, and my husband and I now (and our children) all live in Utah, now!

      Thank you for all your work and for passing it on to others (like me!)! It is surely appreciated!