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Residents of Bethlehem Settlement,
Mills County, Iowa


All family members of the head of the household living within the Branch boundaries are listed prior to their departure West.  Some of these children may have been married or died and were not living with the family when the Branch census was taken.  The names are listed as transcribed on the Ron Watt Iowa Branch Records which lists twenty-six members (1).  The Bethlehem Branch Records were recorded from 1859 thru 1860.  Corrected spelling of the names is in parentheses and bold type.

Corbitt, W. B. (Corbitt, Wiley Buchanon)
Corbitt, Alziru (wife) (Corbitt, Eliza Elzira Shelton)
Corbitt, L. A. (Corbitt, Sarah Ann)
Corbitt, Alziru Jr. (Corbitt, Elzira, Jr.)
Corbitt, D. M. (Corbitt, Martha Dinah)
Corbitt, Margaret (Corbitt, Margaret Eliza)

Crouch, G. W. (Crouch, George William) (clerk of the Bethlehem Branch)
Crouch, M. A. (wife) (Crouch, Margaret Amelia Faught)
Crouch, A. E. (Crouch, Nancy Elizabeth)
Crouch, E. S. (Crouch, Eliza Roxey Snow)
Crouch, Elizabeth (George’s mother) (Crouch, Elizabeth Bean)

Didn’t arrive in Bethlehem until after 1850.  He was still living with his mother in Prairie Township in Washington County, Arkansas on the 1850 U. S. Census.  Came west with the Warren Wallling Company in 1860.

Howorth, James (Howarth, James)
Howorth, Emileu (wife) (Howarth, Emileu Judson)

Parker, Abel 
Parker, Isabella (wife) (Parker, Isabella Marshall)
Parker, James (James Oakley Parker)
Parker, William 
Parker, Robert 

Other family members not on record:
Parker, Nancy 
Parker, John (died 1844)

Found in Sharpsburg, Plattville Township, Mills County, Iowa on the 1860 U. S. Census.

Thorp, James  (Sharp, James Robertson)
Thorp, Jno. (Sharp, John Martin)
Thorp, Joseph (Sharp, Joseph Smith)
Thorp, James Robertson, Jr. (Sharp, James Robertson, Jr.)
Thorp, George W. (Sharp, George Washington)
Thorp, B. Y (Sharp, Brigham Young)
Thorp, Arvinintie (Sharp, Araminta Elizabeth)

On the 1850 U. S. Census the James Robertson Sharp family was found living in Dwelling #17 Madison County, Illinois.  They were enumerated as follows:

Sharp, James R. (age 42) (farmer) (James Robertson Sharp)
Sharp, Martha (age 32) (wife) (Martha Arminta Griffith Sharp)
Sharp, Mary (age 12) (Mary Louise Sharp)
Sharp, William H. (died 1839) 
Sharp, Joseph (age 10) (Joseph Smith Sharp)
Sharp, Ema (age 8) (Sarah Emma Sharp)
Sharp, James J. (age 7) (James Robertson Sharp, Jr.)
Sharp, George W. (age 5) (George Washington Sharp)
Sharp, Nancy J. (age 2) (Nancy Jane Sharp)
Sharp, Bingham Y. (age 5/12) (Brigham Young Sharp)

Other family members on the 1850 Census
Sharp, Araminta Elizabeth (born 1852)
Sharp, Rhoda Rowantha Josephine (born 1853; died 1854)
Sharp, Jefferson Charles (born 1855)
Sharp, Orson Pratt (born 1857)

Came west with the John Taylor Company in 1860.

The Bethlehem Branch Records noted that Robert Humphreys and Edward Ritchins are in the Branch on December 11, 1859 (2).

There was a traveler named Robert Humphreys that came west with an unknown company in 1854 and also died in 1854.

Edward Richins was born April 16, 1834 in Sheepscombe, Gloucestershire, England.  He came west to the Salt Lake Valley on November 7, 1855, with the William H. Hooper Company.  

Advertisements in The Frontier Guardian add earlier residents.  The following was written in the April 17, 1850, edition (3).

THE best blacksmiths have gone to Bethlehem.  Call and see horses and cattle shod at the shortest notice.
Wm. A. Beebee
Dennison Harris
Bethlehem April 17, 1850 

The 1850 U. S. Census, Pottawattamie County, Iowa, lists:

Dwelling #602
William Beebe (age 36) (William Albert Beebe)
Loiza (age 33) (wife) (Louisa Newton Beebe)
Harriett (age 15) (Harriet Mariah Beebe)
Emily (age 13) (Laura Emily Beebe)
Rurry (age 10) (Leroy Winslow Beebe)
Lydia (age 7) (Lydia Ann Beebe)
Jane (age 2) (Ruth Jane Beebe)

William was called on a mission to the Pottawattamie Indians.  He also served as a Bishop of the Plum Hollow Branch.  The family came west in 1852.

Other family members not on the 1850 U. S. Census
William Albert Beebe, Jr. (died 1845)
Julia W. Beebe (died 1845)
Joseph Hyrum Beebe (born 1850)

Listed on the 1851 Iowa State Census were:
Dennison Lott Harris
Sarah Ann Wilson Harris 
Deborah Jane Harris
Sarah Ann Harris

The family came west with the Harmon Cutler Company in 1852.

Beginning September 20, 1850, it appears that Luke Johnson began the enumeration of what would become Mills County on the 1850 U. S. Census.  He began with the Old Agency settlement and then proceeded to Bethlehem.  There would have been dwellings between the two settlements but dwelling #408 was close to Bethlehem.

Dwelling #408
Martin, Jefferson (age 28)
Martin, Cordelia (age 25) (wife) (Cordelia Clark Martin)

The 1858 Iowa State Census and 1860 U. S. Census placed the family in Plattville, Mills County, Iowa.

Dwelling #409
Rose, J. H. (age 37) (Jacob H. Rose)
Rose, Sophroni (age 20) (wife) (Sophronia Allen)

Jacob and Sophronia were divorced before 1863 when Sophronia married Abraham Foster.

Nancy Jane Rose (born 1854) was not listed on the 1850 U. S. Census

Book, Thomas (age 46) (laborer)

Dwelling #410
Martin, Samuel (age 32) (merchant) 
Martin, Mary (age 32) (wife)
Martin, Susan (age 12)
Martin, William (age 10)
Martin, John (age 8)

The 1852 Iowa State Census showed the Samuel Martin family living in Plattville Township, Mills County, Iowa. 

Allred, William (age 22) (laborer). Married Leona Elizabeth Burton while traveling across the plains in 1851.

Wilston, David (age 24) (laborer) born in Denmark

Dwellings #409 and #410 were most likely at a township called Plattville. The History of Mills County, explained that when the first records of the organization of townships appeared in March, 1853, Plattville was one of five townships in existence (4).
Dwelling #411
Robertson, J. W. (age 37) (grocer)

In the 1860’s, J. W. Robertson was found in Boone Township, Hancock County, Iowa.

Birchfield, James (age 34) (grocer)
Birchfield, Elizabeth (age 30) (wife)
Birchfield, William (age 6)

By 1865, James Birchfield was found in Hickory Grove Township, Scott County, Iowa.

Dwelling #412
Dixon, David (age 33) (grocer) (David Dickson)
Dixon, Nancy (age 35) (wife) (Nancy Stevens Dickson)
Dixon, Mary (age 7) (Mary Henretta Dickson)
Dixon, David (age 5) (David M. Dickson)
Dixon, William (age 3) (William W. Dickson)
Dixon, Lucy (age 10/12) (Lucy L. Dickson)

David’s name appears in the Utah Territorial Militia records at Cottonwood in Salt Lake County but on January 31, 1852, he was in American Fork.

Dwellling #413
Riley, W. W. (age 37) (merchant) (William Wommack Riley)
Riley, Charity (age 34) (wife) (Charity Sasnett Riley)
Riley, Rachael (age 4) (Rachel Riley)
Riley, Charity (age 8/12) (Charity Emiline Riley) (daughter of Elizabeth Lott and William Wommack Riley)

Other members of family not on the census:
Charlotte Riley (died before 1850)
William Wommack Riley, Jr. (died 1838)

Lott, Elizabeth (age 22) (wife) (Elizabeth Lott Riley)

The Riley family came west with an unknown company in 1851 and were found in Provo, Utah County, Utah in 1870.

Johnson, Frederick (age 49) (laborer) (came from England)

Sarslet, John (age 30) (carpenter) (John Gosney Sasnett) (brother to Charity Sasnett Riley)
Sarslet, Mary (age 21) (wife) (Mary Caroline McCall Sasnett)
Sarslet, Cordelia (age 1) (Mary Cordelia Sasnett)

The Sasnett family came west with an unknown company in 1851 and were found in San Bernardino County, California in 1860.

Dwelling #414
Horner, Russell (age 25) (merchant) (Russell King Homer)
Horner, Eliza (age 23) (wife) (Eliza Williamson Homer)
Horner, Edmond (age 11) (Edmund Homer)
Horner, Nancy (age 9) (Nancy Ann Homer)
Horner, Anna (age 7) (Anna Eliza Homer)
Horner, William (age 5) (William Harrison Homer)
Horner Matilda (age 2) (Lovisa Matilda Homer)

Other family members not on the 1850 Census:
Homer, Elizabeth Williamson (died 1838)
Homer, Julia Caroline (born 1850)
Homer, Benjamin John (born 1853)
Homer, Mary Ann (born 1854)

Came west in the Russell K. Homer Company in 1858.  Settled in Clarkston, Cache County, Utah.

Dwelling #415
Hendricks, Abram (age 39) (laborer)
Hendricks, Sarah (age 33) (wife) (Sarah Shaw Hendricks)
Hendricks, Joseph (age 16) (laborer)
Hendricks, Phoebe (age 13) (Phoebe Jane Hendricks)
Hendricks, Benjamin (age 1) (Benjamin Franklin Hendricks)

By 1860, the family was in Alameda County, California.

Petigrue, Lydia (age 36) (Lydia Shaw Pettigrew) (sister of Sarah Shaw Hendricks)
Petigrue, Aldin (age 14) (David Alden Pettigrew, Jr.)
Petigrue, Lydia (age 12) (Lydia Caroline Pettigrew)

On the Iowa State 1856 Census, the family was living in Franklin, Lee County, Iowa.

Dwelling #416
Johnson, Benjamin (age 57) (laborer)
Johnson, Lavinia (age 52) (wife) (Lovina Hayes Johnson)
Johnson, John (age 17) (laborer) (John Oliver Johnson)
Johnson, King (age 14) (King Benjamin Johnson)

Came west in an unknown company in 1851

Braly, Nancy (age 11)

Dwelling #417
O’Neal, James (age 35) (carpenter) (James O’Neill)
O’Neal, Rachael (age 25) (Rachel Avery O’Neill)
O’Neal, Elizabeth (age 9) (Elizabeth O’Neill)
O’Neal, Henry (age 7) (John Henry O’Neill)
O’Neal, Albert (age 5) (William Albert O’Neill)
O’Neal, Lydia (age 1) (Lydia O’Neill)

Other members of the family not on the 1850 U. S. Census:
Franklin O’Neill (died 1850)

Moved to Plattsmouth, Cass County, Nebraska

O’Neal, William (age 28) (William O’Neill) (brother of James O’Neill)
O’Neal, Hyrum (age 21) (Hiram O’Neill) (brother of James O’Neill)

It appears that beginning with Dwelling #418, the families lived in Rushville or Coonville.

Possible Births

Name Father’s Name Mother’s Name Birth Date
Hyrum S. Pettigrew David Alden Pettigrew Lydia Shaw 29 Oct 1846
William Albert O’Neill James O’Neill Rachel Avery Jun 1847
Lydia Caroline Pettigrew David Alden Pettigrew Lydia Shaw 1 Sep 1848
Louisa Matilda Homer Russell King Homer Eliza Williamson 3 Sep 1848
Benjamin Franklin Hendricks Abram Hendricks Sarah Shaw 1849
Lydia O’Neill James O’Neill Rachel Avery 2 Mar 1850
Julia Caroline Homer Russell King Homer Eliza Williamson 30 Sep 1850
Adelade Hendricks Abram Hendricks Sarah Shaw Nov 1850
Jefferson Carlos Sharp James Robertson Sharp Martha Arminta Griffith 4 Oct 1855
Orson Pratt Sharp James Robertson Sharp Martha Arminta Griffith 16 Nov 1857

Possible Marriage

Chauncy Williamson and Elizabeth J. Liston married on April 17, 1851.  They are found on the 1860 U. S. Census living in Galland Grove, Shelby County, Iowa.

The following biography was found on  “Chauncey Williamson, a native of Onondaga County, Town of Spofford, New York, was born May 23, 1823. He is the son of John and Nancy Williamson, natives of New York. When he was eight years old, his parents removed from New York to Pennsylvania, remaining there one winter; they then went to Monroe, Ashtabula County, Ohio, and here our subject dwelt until he was twenty years old, receiving a common-school education.

When he left Ohio he went to Oakland County, Michigan, remaining there about six years; here he was employed in various pursuits, and in the spring of 1850 he started to California. On reaching Council Bluffs he stopped and concluded to remain in Iowa. Mr. Williamson was married April 15, 1851, to Miss Elizabeth J. Liston. Seven children were born to them - George H., Matilda (deceased), Henry (deceased), John, Nancy, wife of David Baughman; Mary, wife of C. A. Beebe, and David. Mrs. Williamson was called to the other life in October, 1869, at the age of thirty-nine years. Mr. Williamson was again married February 22, 1872, to Leanah, the widow of Milton M. Beebe, and daughter of William and Polly (Headrick) Van Ausdell. She was born in Lawrence County, Ohio, May 29, 1826, and was married to Milton M. Beebe in Lee County, Iowa, in 1850. They resided in Shelby County from 1851 until 1857, and during this time Mr. Beebe figured quite prominently in business and political circles of the county. He was engaged in the mercantile trade in Manteno and was elected the first sheriff of the county.

After his first marriage Mr. Williamson resided in Mills County, then Harrison County, and in 1854 came to Shelby County, and purchased 160 acres of land in Grove Township, which he still makes his home. He has made many valuable improvements, erecting a residence and barns for stock and grain. Mr. Williamson has done much toward the advancement and growth of this part of Shelby County and has held many positions of trust among the people. He assisted in the organizing of the school districts in his section. In politics his sentiments find expression in the principles of the Republican party. Mr. and Mrs. Williamson are consistent members of the reorganized church of Jesus Christ, or the Latter-Day Saints, he having served as priest in this body for twenty-six years. They have been zealous workers in their church and have done much for the religious element of the community and are deserving of the regard in which they are held.

Elizabeth Jane Liston was born January 15, 1830, in Clinton County, Ohio to George and Elizabeth Nottingham Liston.  She died in Galland’s Grove, Shelby County, Iowa on October 25, 1869, at the age of 39 years” (5).


  1. Watt, Ronald G., Iowa Branch Index 1839-1859.  (Salt Lake City, Church History Library, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 1991).
  2. Bethlehem Branch (Iowa). Bethlehem Branch record book, (accessed: October 29, 2022).
  3. Hyde, Orson, Editor.  “Attention.”  Frontier Guardian [Kanesville, Iowa], April 17, 1850.
  4. Iowa Historical Company, History of Mills County, Iowa: containing a history of the county, its cities, towns, etc., a biographical directory of many of its leading citizens, war record of its volunteers in the late rebellion, general and local statistics ... history of Iowa and the Northwest, map of Mills County ... etc. (Des Moines, Iowa: State Historical Company, 1881), p. 502. 
  5.*qh87l6*_ga*MTA0MTkyMjA3MS4xNjYzODgzMzAw*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*MTY2NjYzNTE5NS4yMC4xLjE2NjY2NTY0MzkuNDIuMC4w (accessed October 24, 2022)