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Matilda Nease was born 1 January 1828, in Butler County, Pennsylvania, to Peter Nease and Ellen Martin. Her parents joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1843. They were living at Bear Creek, adjacent to Nauvoo, Illinois, when Matilda's father died 20 August 1845. Three months later Matilda's mother followed her husband in death. Her older sister, Mary Ann, married a few days later.
The Nease family were neighbors to Jefferson Hunt's family. He was the presiding elder of the branch of the Church at Bear Creek. Matilda, eighteen years of age, with her young twelve year old brother, Peter, and her ten year old sister, Ellen, were taken into the hospitable home of the Hunts. On 7 February 1846, Matilda was sealed to Jefferson Hunt in the Nauvoo Temple as his plural wife. Peter and Ellen were adopted by Jefferson Hunt and they fared the same as his own family from that time until their marriage.
When the two wagons belonging to Jefferson Hunt crossed the Mississippi River on ice the day following these rites in the Nauvoo Temple, in Matilda's wagon rode an elderly English couple, John and Jane Bosco, who were perhaps relatives or dear friends of Matilda's parents. When the families of the Battalion left Council Bluffs, following the brave band of volunteers, this couple remained in Matilda's wagon. Matilda ministered to their needs on the difficult trek across the State of Iowa. The Tyler History of the Battalion says: "On 28 August an elderly English lady, Jane Bosco, who was traveling with Captain Hunt, died, and before daylight the next morning, her husband, John Bosco, passed away. He was not a soldier. Their oft repeated wish that neither should be left to mourn the loss of the other was realized. They were buried in one grave, and under the supervision of Elisha Averett, a stone wall was built around and over their resting place."
Through this experience, Matilda proved herself a young woman of sterling character as she did in all the difficult situations in this march of the Battalion to Sante Fe. In the separation from her husband in the journey to Pueblo and the months spent there, Matilda conducted herself with the dignity that her position as the wife of the senior captain would demand. Not only at this time, but in the days that followed the detachment's arrival in Salt Lake Valley with the privations the pioneers knew, Matilda was ever a poised, unselfish person. She was in the Old Fort when her husband returned after his discharge from the Battalion on that bright October day of 1847. She felt the loneliness of his absence through the hard winter of 1847 and 1848, and the joy of his return with the provisions from California when he came the following May.
It was while Jefferson was away on his journey east to meet and assist Brigham Young in bringing the large company of Saints to the valley that Matilda's first baby was born. She was in her wagon set beside Mother Celia's adobe cabin in the Old Fort. Matilda and Celia had been devoted to each other through the vicissitudes they had already shared together. The birth of Matilda's baby daughter and the care Celia bestowed on her as a nurse and a mother strengthened the tie they felt toward each other. The two years Matilda and Celia spent together in Fort Utah, followed by the journey to and the colonization of San Bernardino, continued to cement the solidarity of their relationship.
Two more daughters, Ellen and Olive, came to swell Matilda's family. The little daughters ever held happy memories of their early life spent at their fathers sawmill at Big Bear near San Bernardino, on the high mountain. They also remembered their exodus from California to Utah at the coming of Johnston's Army. They remembered how the wagons all stopped at Hamilton's Fort, just south of Cedar City while Aunt Celia officiated at the birth of their brother John's baby, Ida Frances. The same thing happened in two months, when their wagons made a long stop in Parowan, where Matilda gave birth to her first son with Aunt Celia assisting. They named him James Franklin. After the Utah War was settled, the Hunt family located in Ogden, Utah, where another baby boy, named Liberty Independence, was born.
Matilda, with her family of five, accompanied her husband when he located his cattle up Ogden Canyon and established a colony known first as Hunt's Fort, later Huntsville. Matilda spent five happy, busy years in Huntsville. Here another son, Peter, was born. In the fall of 1865, Jefferson Hunt sold his property in Huntsville and moved his stock onto a larger range he had acquired in upper Cache Valley near the present town of Oxford, Idaho. Since Matilda was expecting another child, her husband arranged that she should remain with his son and wife, Joseph and Catherine, while he was in the process of making the move to upper Cache Valley.
Matilda was taken in labor 22 October 1865, and gave birth to twin girls, Jane, (called Jennie, and still living at this writing age 93) in Santa Monica, California and Janette. Matilda was very ill. The doctor from Logan could do nothing to save her life. The infant Janette lived only long enough to receive a name, then was buried in the arms of her mother. They were buried in an unidentified grave in the Millville cemetery. By the time Captain Hunt could be reached and get to Millville, he found his wife and babe dead and buried. His grief was intense. He had a great gift of healing and felt that if he could have reached her side he could have healed her. He had withstood many a hardship, but this was grief almost unbearable. Matilda Nease Hunt had won the love and admiration of all who knew her. Her memorial marker was placed by the side of her husband's grave at Red Rock, near Preston, Idaho. — Pauline Udall Smith
|Offspring of Peter Nease and Lucinda Ellen Martin (1798-1845)|
|Daniel Martin Nease (1822-1822)|| |
|Mary Ann Nease (1824-1906)|| |
|William Nease (1826-1826)|| |
|Matilda Jane Nease (1828-1865)||1 January 1828 Butler, Pennsylvania||22 October 1865 Millville, Cache, Utah|| Jefferson Hunt (1803-1879)|
|Rhoda Leech Nease (1830-1899)|| |
|Katie Nease (1832-1832)|| |
|Peter Nease (1834-1910)||5 July 1834 Leechburg, Armstrong, Pennsylvania||28 September 1910 Alberta, Canada|| Mary Jane Lockhart (1837-1881)|
|Ellen Lucinda Nease (1836-1882)||12 March 1836 Leachburg, Armstrong, Pennsylvania||2 March 1882 Minersville, Beaver, Utah|| Albert Leonard Stoddard (1832-1916)|