Sunday, July 18, 2010

More Pioneers....Henry Zufelt and Julia Ann Dillabaugh

So the next Pioneer Story is from my side of the family. Look on Grandma Della's pedigree chart. Henry and Julia Ann are #14 and #15 at the bottom of the page. They are Grandma Della's great great-great-great grandparents...

Henry Zufelt was born in 1810 in Madrid, St. Lawrence, New York. a small town about 10 miles south of the borders of the St. Lawrence River and Canada.

Henry had sandy hair and deep set blue eyes which twinkled with good humor. One night when he was about 20 years old he was sent on an errand to the home of his Aunt Elizabeth Schwerdtfeger (try spelling that the first time!) She lived just over the Canadian border in Williamsburg, Ontario, Canada.

He approached the house through the back yard and there met a young girl who was milking the cow. His errand was temporarily forgotten and his whole attention was soon absorbed in an interesting visit with this new acquaintance. Her interest in him was just as absorbing so neither noticed the approach of Aunt Elizabeth. And they were wholly unprepared for the scolding given to them as Aunt Elizabeth was very indignant at the impropriety of a young man visiting with a young girl in the corral. She was most emphatic in instructing the girl who was none other than her granddaughter Julia Ann Dillabaugh. Julia Ann was about 14 years old, only about 100 lbs. and 5 feet tall, with long black braids.

Elizabeth was emphatic that she must not have any close friendships with young men while she lived under her roof! Henry was ordered home and instructed not to try to see Julia again...but of course the young people managed to meet again about a year later when they secretly planned to marry.

They told their parents their plans but not Grandmother Elizabeth...on 5 June 1833 Julia eloped with Henry...she was 15 years old. I tell this story because all of the pictures I find of her are when she is much older...she and Henry had 17 children; only 8 lived to adulthood. Her life was hard and I like to remember that she was once a young adventurous girl!

Julia and Henry set up housekeeping in Ellisburg, Jefferson, New York, and soon had a daughter, Louise. And it was here in Ellisburg that they first heard the "Mormon" missionaries...Possibly Parley and Orson Pratt. So eager were they for baptism that they refused to wait for warmer weather...they were baptized on 24 December 1835. They walked three miles to the place that had been selected for the ordinance to be performed...possibly along the shores of Lake Ontario. A hole had to be chopped in the ice before the baptism...and then they walked home three miles in their wet clothing which froze and had to be thawed before they could dress in dry clothes! It is noted that they were very happy and suffered no ill effects from the cold.

By 1850 Henry and Julia had joined with the Saints in Iowa. They had also had 9 more children, but only 3 had survived. In 1852 they crossed the plains with the Allan Weeks Company. They arrived in the Great Salt Lake Vally on 12 October 1852. They were sent to settle in Lehi. (There was no roller mill yet!)

It was a harsh winter; they struggled to survive...
One time during the winter a man brought a herd of sheep through the town on his way toward Utah Lake. He camped near town and was caught in a terrible blizzard. Before the storm was over his whole flock of sheep had died and were left in the snow.

When the snow melted in the spring, the women went out to the old sheep camp and pulled the wool off the dead carcasses. It was a dreadful job, but they were so happy to have to wool. It was washed, carded, and spun. Some was made into yarn and some into cloth from which much needed clothing was made.

Soon the Zufelts and other families were sent to settle in Cedar Fort, just east of Utah Lake. The fort was built because of many problems with the Indians. It is here on 11 July 1855 that Julia Ann Zufelt was born. She was Grandma Nora Buchanan Pearson's mother, Grandma Della's grandmother. There are many more interesting stories about this couple. You can read them here.

Here's an interesting connection....Henry's sister, Sarah Zufelt, married John Murdock after his first three wives dies. He and his first wife, Julia, were the parents of the twins adopted by Joseph and Emma.

Here's a picture of Henry and Julia when they were older....I've loved reading about this more little detail about Henry:
With all the seriousness of his life, Henry still retained a sense of humor and kept the twinkle in his eye.
He enjoyed sports. He was especially fond of boxing and although he was short in stature he often dared others to try to knock his hat off and usually succeeded in first upsetting the hat of anyone who took the dare because his arms were surprisingly long. It is said that he could touch his knees with his fingertips while standing erect. (Try it!)

Here's a cool picture of one of their sons, a brother to Julia Ann, named Henry Almoran...and evidently called "Moan"...


  1. Hi,

    I am a descendent of Henry Zufelt on my father's side. My grandmother is a Zufelt; thanks for more information on them. I had Julia's history and some pics but not any on their son. If you have more information, I would love for you to post it or send it to me through email

    Thanks again,

    Julia Nielsen (Julia Tooley is my maiden name-my father is Lawrence Tooley)

  2. thanks for sharing your information and pictures of Zufelts, I am a direct descendant Of Henry. In your post you have a link that is supposed to take you to more stories of this couple but it doesn't work. Do you have another or could you direct me to where there are more stories. thanks so much.
    ourfamily @

  3. Hi! My name is Carol Zufelt Mason. Henry Zufelt is my great great grandfather also. We are researching pioneers for our Youth Trek in July. I was hoping to find out more about Henry and Julia. Can you email me?
    It would be great to know more. Thanks, Carol
    Where do you live? We are in Auburn, California, about 30 miles north of Sacramento.

  4. Henry Zufelt is my GGG Grandpa. My email is I welcome any emails for conversation!

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this. My Grandmother was a Zufelt from Trenton, Ontario Canada. If anyone would like to know more about this line, you can contact me at

  6. Does anyone have Henry Almoran "Moan" Zufelt's History? He is my great-grandfather.