Friday, April 22, 2011

Shadrach Ford Driggs

1813 - 1898

Shadrach Ford Driggs was the son of Urial Driggs and Hannah Ford Driggs, born August 28, 1813 in Range No. 10, Ashtabula County, Ohio, then a wilderness. His father was born in the state of New York. His boyhood years from six to ten were spent in the vicinity of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

One day Shadrach’s mother Hannah told her four children that if they would “go into the nearby woods and pick blackberries, [she] would make each of them a pie out of the berries they brought home. Of course, they were happy over the promise; so off they scampered with their little pails.

“‘Now be brisk, and get home by noon,’ [she] warned them.” The children agreed and disappeared among the trees.

Shad spent his time chasing squirrels so he had little to show for the morning. Shortly before the children were to return home he went to work. “He soon saw he couldn’t fill his pail [like the other children had] before noon. Then he decided to play a naughty trick. By the blackberry bushes were some pennyroyal leaves. . . .He slyly filled his pail nearly full of these sweet-smelling leaves. Then he worked fast and soon he had the leaves covered with blackberries. His brothers and sister could not imagine how he had filled his pail so quickly.

“When they all came home, [their mother] praised Shad for being such a good worker. And [she] made each a pie out of the berries they had brought. Shad’s was the biggest pie of all. When he cut into it, though, he got a surprise. It was full of blackberries mixed with pennyroyal leaves.” It was a good joke on Shad and taught him a good lesson!

The family then moved to Licking County, Ohio, where he made the acquaintance of a skilled cartwright by the name of Benjamin Woodbury and became his apprentice.

At Fredonia, Licking County, Ohio, he met and married Eliza Elizabeth White who had been born in Chester, Vermont. She was tall, lanky and of laconic [concise, using a minimum of words] speech. Their first two children, Benjamin Woodbury and Hannah Jane were born in Licking County, Ohio. Both the Driggs and the White families joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and moved to Nauvoo, Illinois in 1840, where Shadrach became a foreman in a wagon factory where he built many of the wagons for the Saints to emigrate West with

, and “finally, after using up all the seasoned timber that could be obtained, he cut up the great cart that was used in moving rock in the Temple yard, and made two wagons out of it for himself and family to emigrate with.”

[When the saints left Nauvoo, the Driggs families] traversed the Iowa Territory to Kanesville on the Missouri, now Council Bluffs, where they tarried to repair wagons and raise crops. Then they moved 15 miles north to what was called Big Pidgeon Creek where they built a log house and a wagon shop and cleared the land for farming. Soon some 30 families made this area their home.

In the autumn of 1851, the call came, “On to the valleys”, so into the wilderness they departed leaving behind buried in the hills of Iowa, Shadrach’s father and mother, Urial and Hannah Ford, his sister, Ruth, and his daughter, Baby Ruth, who died at the age of five months.

They traveled painfully and slowly over the rough trails to Utah Valley

“and finally landed in Salt Lake City on October 2, 1852, and the same month moved to Pleasant Grove, where he has since resided.” They established a home just south of Pleasant Grove in a house built by a Mr. Lord. Here Shadrach built another wagon shop where he added the manufacturing of plows to his activities. "He has made and mended wagons ever since to within a few days of his death.”

He also made coffins for the settlement. In the spring of 1853 they tapped several maple trees and made the first maple sugar in Utah.

Shadrach and Eliza White had eleven children. He also married Celia Harvey Taylor, a widow, in 1855. They had one daughter in 1857.

“His wife, Eliza, preceded him to the great beyond, February 1, 1896. They had eleven children, but their grandchildren can hardly be numbered. He also leaves a wife, Celia, surviving him.”


Driggs Family in America: Book Two, L. Lynne Driggs and Harry Stoddard Driggs, 1971, pp. 44-45.

Ben the Wagon Boy, Howard R. Driggs, 1944, pp. 7-8.

Shadrach Ford Driggs' Obituary, Deseret News, 5 Nov 1898, Salt Lake City, Utah, from Thursday's Daily, October 27, "Local and Other Matters", posted by Emily Farrer.

Note: The original bio I prepared has proper footnotes, but I haven't been able to get it to "copy" with them intact into blog format. If you would like the "original", just let me know and I'll email it to you.


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