Le Sueur family on the ''Chimborazo''

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Le Sueur family
on the Chimborazo


Caroline Le Sueur, nee Le Gresley

A story of emigrants to the USA by an unknown writer

John LeSueur, son of Jean Le Sueur and Marguerite Levain, was born 9 July 1813, at St Saviour, Jersey. He was baptised on 25 July, also at St Saviour. [1]

Little is written of his early youth. However, it is known that his father was drowned at sea about 1819. What part his mother had in his rearing is unknown. Also, when he was nine years old, he went to live with a farmer who was very good to him. It is not known whether this farmer was a relative or not, but John lived with him until his marriage. It is known that he had godparents named Jean Aalard and Jeanne Rayner, that he had a half-brother named Thomas John Mallet, born in 1803, a half-sister, and that his mother died on 3 December 1843, at the age of 63.

He lived on the farm with this family until he was married to Caroline Le Gresley on 23 October 1836, at St Ouen. Caroline Le Sueur (1814–1898) was a Mormon pioneer and one of the founders of St Johns, Arizona.

Caroline Le Gresley

She was born Caroline Le Gresley on 11 June 1814, in Ville Bagot, St Ouen. Her ancestors for many generations back had lived in the Parish of St Ouen.

In 1610, a hill at St Ouen was called " Mont Gresley." Part of the surrounding country was called "Houque Gresley." Caroline's father, Philippe LeGresley was born on 17 October 1785 at St Ouen, and at the age of 20 married Judith Marquand, daughter of Jean Marquand and Caroline Langlois. She was born on 20 April 1788 at Vale, Guernsey.

In 1811 Philippe and Judith Marquand sold his paternal property (house and lands) to Mr Samuel Hamon, and bought a larger property a month later, including pasture land. It was here that Caroline was born.

Caroline was the fourth child of nine children, and had four brothers and four sisters. Her mother was very religious, belonging to the Methodist Church, her father claimed no religion nor belonged to any church.They were hard working, industrious, and thrifty, and Caroline learned to work both inside and out of doors. She learned to sew and knit very well. She had little schooling but became a very efficient business woman when she grew up.

Early in the l8th Century, one member of this Le Gresley Family,a direct ancestor of Caroline, settled in the neighboring parish of St Peter, at Val de la Mare, and the couple lived initially in the parish of St Peter.


Within two years they had two children, a boy and a girl, the first of whom died in infancy. Their second child, Mary Ann Julia, was born on 23 September 1838. After her birth, they moved to St Helier, where John worked in a candle factory. Caroline operated a small grocery store in her front room where she sold vegetables grown in her garden. In St Helier they had four more children, three of whom survived to adulthood.

Their third child, a son, Jean Philippe, born in May 1840, died on 25 Apri1 1845. Their next child, Jane Caroline, born on 7 October 1842, contracted the same disease as her brother and would have terrible headaches. After they heard the Mormon missionaries, the missionaries administered to her and it was arrested; but when it returned, she would have her father administer to her and she became well.

She was followed by Caroline (Mallory), born on 27 January 1847; Harriet Ellen (Warner), born on 18 June 1850; and John Taylor, born on 4 December 1852.

Religious debates

John’s wife Caroline was, as her mother, devoutly religious and a great student of the Bible. When John first told Caroline he had heard the Mormon missionaries speak and was interested in their message, she cut off his narrative with a dissertation on the evils of Mormonism and forbade him to investigate again. She considered the matter closed, but John continued to investigate and being convinced of the truth of Mormonism told her that he desired to be baptized if she could take her Bible and prove to him that he was wrong. It was a harder task than she thought, when night after night John kept winning all of the arguments. Finally she began investigating the Church and was converted. They were baptized on 16 February 1849 by William Dunbar. The other elder who converted them was John Taylor, who later became the third President of the Church.

Caroline's uncle, John Le Gresley, and his wife, Eliza Francois Luce, also joined the Church. They had no children, had been very thrifty in their gardening and selling at the market and were quite well off for their time. As they were saving and thrifty, some of their relatives looked upon them as being close and miserly. But after joining the Church, they became liberal and offered their hard earned savings to finance their two nieces (Caroline and Mary) and their families’ trips to America. They had sufficient funds to have all gone first class, but decided to come as the other immigrants and donate money they didn't need to the immigration fund to help others make the trip.


It was hard to leave parents, brothers and sisters, knowing they might never see them again. Leaving on 29 March 1855, there were nine relatives in all; John and Caroline and their five children, their Uncle John LeGresley, and his wife Eliza. They joined a large group of 431 Saints at Liverpool, England, (seventy of this number being from the Jersey and Guernsey Isles). They set sail on 17 April 1855 aboard the ship Chimborazo, under the direction of Edward Stevenson, former President of the Gibraltar Mission. President Stevenson wrote in the account of the voyage: "Considering the experience of the Saints on board, I never wish to preside over a more willing and better people than the Chimborazo conference." Except for a little seasickness, the journey was a happy and successful experience.

They arrived in New York on May 15 where some elders met them, took them to a hotel, and treated them to a nice dinner. Their daughter, Harriet, age five, became lost and they were all frantic. They finally found her at the police station happily enjoying her first ice-cream cone. After this brief stop-over, they boarded the ship and traveled down the sea-coast to the mouth of the Delaware River which forms the Philadelphia Harbor.

They took the train from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, where they boarded an excellent steamboat named the Amazon and traveled down the Ohio River to the Mississippi, then upstream to St Louis, arriving there Saturday night, 2 June. From St Louis, they either continued on the Amazon or boarded the Ben Bolt and traveled up the Missouri River to Atchison, Kansas where they ended their boat trip and commenced their journey across the plains.


Early one morning on their river trip, the boat docked for supplies: There was a store close by, so Caroline went after some soap. John, seeing that the boat was about to go, went after her. Upon their return they saw their children sailing away without them. In the excitement Caroline lost her purse and money. John had only a few cents in his pockets and the only thing they could give as security was Caroline's gold ring.

Another steamboat was soon leaving that would overtake the slower boat in two or three days, but they found it difficult to make anyone believe they could pay their fare when they reached the other boat. The captain finally allowed them to go, but they received much better treatment after they passed the slower boat and friends aboard held up the children signaling messages to the parents. At the next stop the family was reunited.

Upon their arrival at Atchison, a Mormon elder, returning from England with three orphan children whom he had adopted and was taking to his wife (the children's aunt) in Utah, became very ill and died. Before he passed on he asked John Le Sueur to care for them and take them to his wife.

After much preparation, they began their 1,000-mile trek from the Missouri River at Atchison, Kansas to the Great Salt Lake Valley. They were four and one-half months crossing plains and mountains, enduring many hardships, as food and water were scarce, and often encountered hostile Indians along the way.

Sessions Settlement

After the one-month stay in Salt Lake City, they moved ten miles north to Sessions Settlement, later known as Woods Cross, or West Bountiful. Here they moved into a little house on the farm of John Pack, whom they had known as a missionary to Jersey.

John went to work at any job he could get to support his family with the necessities of life. It was a time of famine and great scarcity of food, as grasshoppers had invaded the area. He traded his fine broadcloth suit of clothes which he had brought from Jersey for a cow that supplied the family with milk. His son, John Taylor, was three years old at this time, and he later said that this cow was about the first thing he could remember in his early life.

During 1856 John rented a piece of land and planted a crop on it and worked hard for others at any job he could get. In the autumn he worked on a threshing machine for 40 days at a bushel of wheat per day for wages. He was also beginning to raise some stock of his own. In 1856 his daughter Mary Ann was married to James Fackrell. Also, John and Caroline had another son, William Francis, on 11 November 1856.

In 1857 John continued to work for wages besides running his own farm. He also bought a small parcel of land and began to build a house on it. In 1858, before the house was completed, the Mormons heard that Johnston's Army was coming to drive them out. So John and his brother-in-law, Philip Maret, who had married Caroline's sister, Mary Duhamel, after her first husband's death, moved to American Fork nearby. There they secured a small farm and cleared it for farming.

Then they obtained employment at nearby Camp Floyd. They worked in the building of houses for the United States Army and were paid good wages in cash. This was a great help as it enabled them to purchase clothing and supplies for their families.

Return to Bountiful

In the summer of 1859 their daughter Mary Ann and husband James Fackrell came to visit them and persuaded them to move back to Bountiful; and as they were offered a 30-acre farm with a two-room log house on it on very favorable terms, the offer was accepted and they moved to South Bountiful in the autumn of 1859. Here they were happy to be settled in a home of their own and they worked hard to make necessary repairs on the house and on shelter for their animals.

John had to haul wood from the mountains for fuel during the winter season because coal mines in this area had not yet been developed. Three of their children, Caroline, Harriet, and John Taylor, attended the district school. In 1860 daughter Jane was married to John Davis.

John Le Sueur worked hard in planting and cultivating his farm and some other parcels of land which he had rented in this neighborhood during the years 1860, 1861, and 1862. He grew crops and supplied his family with the necessities of life, and also made improvements on his place.

John Taylor Le Sueur's recollections

At this time, their son, John Taylor, was 10 years old, and in later life he had this to say of his parents:

"I can truthfully say, without reservations, that my parents were thrifty and worked unitedly together and prosperity smiled upon them. They fully paid off the debt due on their farm and were entirely out of debt, besides accumulating a considerable amount of personal property, being well supplied with teams and several cows and other necessary equipment for successful farming operations. Father often said he would not have to work so hard in the future. He would cultivate his farm and care for his stock and not rent other places, and being free from debt, his prosperity was sure.
”Father was a strong and active man, tall and slender in build and a very fast worker. I never knew him to punish his children and we all loved him very dearly. He was always kind and considerate towards mother. I remember when it was cold and stormy weather he would tell her not to go out in the storm for anything as he would take care of all outdoor work. Father took pleasure in playing with his children and friends who visited us frequently. He was happy and felt encouraged in his growing family and in his prosperity and was planning on building a new house in a year or so, and had planted an orchard of fruit trees. I am sure that had he lived he would have carried out his plans successfully."

John's death

In the autumn of 1862, John became sick, and on advice of the doctor in Bountiful, he was taken to Salt Lake City by James Fackrell where he was placed in a hospital to receive treatment for his disease. His wife was there and nursed him all of the time, assisted by her daughters. He had the best of medical treatment then available, but all failed to cure and death came to him on 24 November 1862. He was returned to Bountiful for burial.

In addition to the marriages of Mary Ann and Jane, Caroline married Charles Mallory, on 10 March 1866; Harriet married Charles Warner, on 2 July 1867; John Taylor married Geneva Casto on 17 October 1875; and William Francis, married Anne Mari Bingham, on 16 January 1878.

After her husband's death, Caroline leased the farm, saving out a small portion to raise vegetables and potatoes. They all worked very hard. Aunt Eliza helped in the vegetable garden. The boys herded cows and helped every way they could. The two younger girls who were not married did the house work. Caroline was a very good manager, but worked too hard at this time. After her conversion to Mormonism, Caroline was very strict in her obedience to the commandments. She would not allow any playing or laughing in her home on the Sabbath and was always in attendance at her meetings.

She could not stand wastefulness. When butter was expensive, she would make them all pass their bread for her to butter. Three years after the death of her husband, Caroline and her unmarried children moved with Jane and her husband to Montpelier, Bear Lake County, Idaho, which was then being settled under the direction of Apostle Charles Rich. Here they lived in a two-room, log house with a shanty between the rooms. Caroline and her family occupied one room. Through Caroline's good management, the united effort of the children, and plenty of hard work, they soon had a comfortable home in the downtown area of Montpelier. It was one of the best at that time.


They lived in Montpelier 13 years, then just when her last child, William Francis, married, the entire family decided to join the company of Saints going to Mesa, Arizona where her daughter Caroline and her husband Charles Mallory and family had moved the year before with the Francis Pomeroy and George Sirrine Company.

Just before they left Montpelier for Arizona, they received the sad news that Caroline's daughter, Caroline Mallory, had died after childbirth, and the baby girl had died two weeks later. After much deliberation, they decided to still make the journey as planned. They left 3 October 1878 and arrived in Mesa 10 January 1879. They followed the same route that the first company from Montpelier had taken the year before.

Caroline, upon their arrival in Mesa, went immediately to help care for her motherless grandchildren. After 15 months in Mesa, her entire family decided to move to San Juan, Colorado. They left in March; and when they reached the Navajo Indian Reservation near Holbrook, hearing of Indian trouble, they decided to go over to St Johns until it would be safe to journey on. St Johns was a Mexican village. They arrived 21 April 1880. Church leaders had seen in it a place they must hold if they were ever to settle that part of the country, so they bought up the land and were calling people to settle there. Things were not very prosperous there. There was no flour in the town. The nearest flour was in Albuquerque, New Mexico 200 miles away, and there were Indian uprisings in between. It was March and so windy, they wondered if the wind ever stopped blowing. While they were waiting for a chance to go on, they received calls from the Church to stay and settle.

Not long after their arrival, a party of men went through and got a load of flour, which they sold for $25 per hundred pounds.

Very hard times

They saw some very hard times at first. The land was not in shape for farming, but they did freighting, hauled, carried mail, and farmed; and soon things started improving. At that time the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad was under construction. So the men found employment with them. It was not many years before John T was employed in the mercantile business, with a steady income. After a few years he was able to have a lovely, large home built. He had a room especially for Caroline, his mother, on the quiet side of the house so she would be away from the noise of the family, and on the ground floor where she had access to the house and could come and go as she wished. She spent the rest of her days there.

The Mallory family moved back to Idaho, Harriet Warner's family moved to the new settlement of Layton in southeast Arizona. Jane Davis and William Francis's families were also in St Johns. In 1891 William moved his family to Springerville, about 40 miles south of St Johns. He also was in the mercantile business. Caroline stayed with William's family some of the time, but most of her time she stayed in St Johns.

She helped with the grandchildren and was gentle with the babies. She could lull them to sleep when others could not. There were 12 children in John's family and most of them came along while she lived in their home. Her grandchildren recall the wonderful stories she told them about the islands and the journey to America. Also, she would sing to them in French, songs that she'd learned in her childhood.

She spent much of her time knitting and making lace. Also, she made beautiful window curtains, bedspreads and tablecloths, and kept all the grandchildren in hose. She believed that one should give gifts on their birthdays, and not receive them, so the things she made were given to her loved ones and friends. When she was 77 years old she knitted a quilt.

Soon after they moved to St Johns, there were not many white people and there were desperadoes who often came through the country stealing cattle, etc. John and William and their families lived in the same house and the men used to haul freight from Albuquerque, New Mexico and the women would often have frights. Caroline was the one to drive them away. After a brief illness, she quietly passed away at 10 pm on a Saturday night, 1 October 1898. Her funeral was held in the St Johns Meeting House the following day. She was 84 years old and was buried in the St Johns Cemetery.

Family tree


Notes and references

  1. No record of this baptism or the marriage of the parents has been found in church registers, but the baptism of Marguerite Levain, daughter of Jean and Marguerite Esnouf, was recorded in St Saviour on 29 August 1781
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