Saturday, September 12, 2009

James Walter Eardley

James Walter Eardley was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on December 1st, 1854 to James Eardley and Zurviah G. Fuller. On October 30th, 1878, he married Catherine Adella Woolley. Catherine was born in Salt lake City on July 31st 1857 to Samuel A Woolley and Catherine E. Mehring. They had a son, Roscoe W. Eardley, before James was called to serve a mission to the Southern States.

James Eardley officially began his mission on October 11th, 1880, but didn’t leave Utah until after November 23, 1880. His wife would give birth to their second son Walter H. Eardley on August 6th, 1881 while James was on his mission.

James spent much of his early mission west of Nashville, working in and around Henry County, Tennessee. His first companion was Richard C. Camp. He also worked with Daniel R. Bateman, Hyrum Belnap, Thomas Merrill, William O. Beesley, and B. H. Roberts. In the later part of his mission he worked south of Nashville including in Cane Creek and Shady Grove.

On July 22nd, or perhaps the 29th, in 1882, James baptized a 14 year old girl named Mary Belle Bryant. Mary was born on August 29, 1868, Williamsport, Tennessee to William D. Bryant and Sallie E. W. Church. William had been a member of the Church since 1875. And although I can’t find a baptismal date for Sallie, her father had been a member since 1871 and her mother since 1879.

He later encouraged her to come to Utah. She worked for the family and became a second wife in [February 20th] 1888, two years before the Manifesto [in 1890]. (Jessee)

James and Catherine had four more children. Villette F. Eardley (1883), Mehring V. Eardley (1886), Catherine A. (1889), and Carol A. Eardley (1895) all born in Salt Lake City.

James was well respected by Mary Belle’s family. In 1898, her brother, Robert Emmons Bryant, named his first child, a girl, Eardley Belle Bryant after James Walter and Mary Belle Eardley.

James eventually moved to Oregon with his second wife. Catherine Adella and her children stayed in Salt Lake City. ... The reasons for the change have not been passed along but there has always been a family tradition that the plural marriage was a trial for Catherine Adella. (Jessee)

James and Mary had three children.
-Myron Whitney Eardley (1894) Whitney, Idaho
-Walter Bryant Eardley (1895) Whitney, Idaho
-David William Eardley (1904) Baker, Oregon

In Baker Oregon, James went into the lumber business.

[He] was ordained a High Priest Sept. 29, 1912, by Franklin S. Bramwell, and ordained [the] Bishop [of the Baker Ward, Union Stake, Oregon] April 3, 1921, by Rudger Clawson (LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, vol. 4, p. 654), a position he held at least until 1930 when his biography was published.

On his 83rd birthday, December 1st, 1937 James W. Eardley passed away in Baker, Oregon.


Sheri said...

Hi, I'm an Eardley. James Walter Eardley is my 1st cousin 2 times removed. Just ran across your blog and I'm wondering why you wrote about James Walter. Are you related?

BruceAllen said...

Hi Sheri,
No, I am not related.
I am interested in James for two reasons. First, I am documenting Tennessee Mormon history, and James served his mission in Tennesse. Although the LDS Church did record some history in Tennessee, the most interesting and detailed history comes from journals of those who lived it; missionaries and members.

Second, my primary interest in the Cane Creek Massacre and I am trying to get to know the people who were members of the Branch before it dissolved because of the Massacre. Unfortunately most of the people were illiterate. So missionary journals are almost my only source. James spent part of his mission with the people of Cane Creek. Do you know if James kept a mission journal? If so, do you think I could get permission to read it?

Julie Kingsbury said...

Hi again.. Robert Emmons Church was my great grandfather. His first daugher's name was Earley Belle Bryant. I have her bible in which she recorded her family history. I knew that grandpa Bryrant had one full blood sister that married James Eardley. It was always a mystery how she ended up in Baker Oregon. I love your sight. If you would like to e-mail me your address I will send you a copy of the history in Earley Belle's bible. My name is Julie Belle Taylor Kingsbury.

BruceAllen said...

I am very interested in seeing a copy of the history in her bible. I won't put my address on here, but I would be happy to email it to you. Just drop me an email at and I'll reply with my address.