Elizabeth Boyes (1831-1919)

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Elizabeth Boyes (Boyce" Truman
Boyes, Elizabeth.jpg
Elizabeth Truman
Born: 19 Apr 1831
Died: 6 Nov 1919
Father: George Boyes
Mother: Ann Geldard
Siblings: William Boyce
Thomas Boyce
Mary Ann Boyce
Elizabeth Boyes
Henry Boyce
Margaret Ann Boyce
Spouse: Jacob Mica Truman
Married: 19 Apr 1849
Children: Martha Ann Truman
John Franklin Truman
Emma Maria Truman
Jacob Boyce Truman
George Almus Truman
William Thomas Truman
Lucius Truman
Lucy Elizabeth Truman
Albert Henry Truman
Mary Lois Truman
Lacina Almena Truman
Esther Priscilla Truman
Biographical History of Elizabeth Boyce Truman
Pioneer to Utah
Pioneer to St. George, Utah - 1862
(Taken from the book As Time Goes By by Nellie Rae Hunt Jones)
by Erma Bowler Bracken

Elizabeth Boyes was the daughter of George and Ann Geldard Boyes. She was born April 19th 1831, at Laharp, Michigan. Her childhood and early education took place in that State when it was the borderline of civilization and physical learning of how to make gardens, milk cows, and make butter, cheese, raise a few sheep, shear, wash, dye and spin the wool was common knowledge among the young ladies of her day. yet she learned to spell read, and write. She was highly intellectual and each day of her entire life added knowledge to her fine mind.


In her childhood she loved to roam the green hills of her homeland and gather the wild flower and in the spring the winter-green berries to chew. This flavor was always her favorite choice throughout her life.

Her father was the fine type the Latter-day Saint missionaries found when they went proselytizing the Gospel and as soon as he became a member of the Latter-day Saint faith he gathered his family and went to Nauvoo, to be with the Prophet Joseph Smith and the body of the Saints.

Her mother, Ann Geldard, one of God’s noble women was endowed with faith to heal the sick, drive the power of the destroyer from her habitation and her talent was to set a table of abundance of the things of the earth with very little with which to do it. She was a peacemaker and enjoyed, with her husband and children, the spirit of the Valleys of the Rocky Mountains.

Crossing the plains

Elizabeth Boyce with her parents, brothers and sisters, was with the Saints when they were driven out of Nauvoo and spent the winter of 1846 at Council Bluffs. It was here that we presume she met Jacob Mica Truman. He soon left to march with the Mormon Battalion.

Elizabeth and her family crossed the plains in the Daniel Spencer Company during the summer of 1847. They arrived in the valley of the Great Salt Lake, Friday, September 24, 1847. Elizabeth was 16.


Jacob M. Truman returned to Salt Lake Valley in the fall of 1848 and on the 19th of April 1849 Jacob Mica Truman took Elizabeth Boyce to be his bride. They were married on her 18th Birthday by John Taylor.

They went down in the South East part of the valley and took up land in South Cottonwood and built a house and both went to work to plant a garden and a few acres of wheat that they might reap a harvest and be sustained in this barren desert land.


Soon after her marriage, Elizabeth was called, in fact at the age of 19, and set apart as a midwife and doctor. This calling became her well, because by nature she was endowed with wisdom, sincere faith and keen knowledge of the functioning of the human body. The first child she brought into this world was when she was all alone. She continued the practice of midwife until she was 75 years old and attributed all great success to the Father in Heaven, who had restored his priesthood authority to men and they were always called in to administer and bless the patient whom when with her own faith was delivered in safety and brought back from the gates of death with a wee one safe and secure. Her calls were many and on horse back or in a wagon drawn by oxen, mule or horses she answered them all, going as far as 60 to 70 miles from her home to do so. Of such women words are great symbols to praise their name, surely there are laid up for them crowns of glory for the reward of their love and unselfishness. We love them and will always revere the memory of such heroines as Elizabeth Boyce Truman.

When she had three little children, Martha Ann, John Franklin and Emma Maria, her husband went back to the States to get his mother and two sisters. He was gone a year and in that year she milked cows and made butter sufficient to clear the indebtedness of $300.00 on their place. It was one of the outstanding homes and small farms in that district. They were so proud of it and were prospering very well when Jacob returned.

Move to southern Utah

Brigham Young had visited southern Utah and could see resources there that would make a more self-supporting people and put to use their trade and abilities. Therefore in the 1857 he called 28 families who were from the cotton growing states of Virginia, Tennessee and Texas to move south. In 1862 many more were called to move to Utah's Dixie. Obedient to the call the Truman's Cottonwood place was sold and a wagon and outfit was purchased and some time in the spring of 1862 they with the others and their little family of seven children set out.

This trip to the south was the most trying, hard and perilous trip our pioneers encountered. When they came to that great Black Ridge, this side of St. George, Elizabeth Boyce could not see how they would ever get over it and the story is told how in places the gulches were so straight down and narrow it was necessary to unload the wagons, take them apart, and piece by piece take them to the other side. Such obstacles overcome then the doubt of “how on earth would they ever be able to live in such a desolate looking place.”

While on the road, George Almus, her little son of five years, fell out of the wagon and had his leg broken. The Company laid over 1 day to set the limb and journeyed on the next day.

They lived in their wagons until they could build one small adobe room. It was shelter and was dear to them with its surroundings of mesquite and arrow willows. Soon a garden was planted, trees brought from the mountain and flowers edging the walk and geraniums in the windows made it “Home Sweet Home” to everyone.

The water was brackish and warm and very unsatisfactory to quenching the thirst and made the entire family ill.

The first three or four summers the Truman family moved up on the south side of Pine Valley Mountains and made butter and cheese for everyone who had cows in the settlements around.

In 1870 they moved to Mountain Meadows - here she experienced some real thrilling experiences; one day she looked out of the window and saw her husband running toward the house just as fast as he could run and another man pursuing him almost upon him. Grandpa Truman darted into the house, shut the door and slipped up stairs. The man opened the door and hollered “Where is Jake.” She pointed toward the kitchen. He was a drunk ruffian with the desire to intimidate the peaceful ranchers in the vicinity. At another time the same villain came to her home, stalked in and seeing her table set for dinner, took the plates and one by one broke them as he threw them on the floor. With the Indians and the constant fear of them, she was glad to leave the town of Hamblin, and move.

It was in April 1877 Elizabeth Boyce Truman moved from Mountain Meadows to a farm 2 and a half miles below the town of Gunlock. Here she planted an orchard, obtained a weaving loom for weaving homemade carpets and rugs and with her practice of midwifery lived for thirty-eight years.

Gunlock was a very small place and had only a community square with a one roomed school house and meeting house combined, also used for a public amusement hall, located upon it. The nearest store was at St. George, which was 20 miles away and would take a complete day of travel to get there and a complete day to return. They received mail only when someone went to St. George, therefore they didn’t get many letters and they wrote very few.

In the month of June 1874, Jacob and Elizabeth Truman, their daughter Emma Maria and Franklin Overton Holt left St. George for Salt Lake City in a covered wagon. The occasion was to have their young folks married by the authority of the Church in the proper way. The marriage sealling was performed July 6th 1874 by Brigham Young in the Endowment House.

It took three weeks to make this long trip to Salt Lake City and three weeks to return home. Such faith and obedience to the principles as taught by their elders make us of today marvel at their loyalty and desire to adhere to council. When they arrived in the City they went to Elizabeth Boyce’s sister, Nora Boyce Taylor. She was touched at the signs of toil and hardships as shown on the brow , hands and bended back, and the poverty of dress and equipment. So she said, “Out yonder is plenty of corn. If you will shuck it, you may have all your wagon will hold.” Thanking the Good Father above and loving their kind sister and auntie more than mere words can express, they set to work and in a few hours the wagon was heaped to running over with golden ears of corn. They took it, with the bags of dried peaches, to the market and sold it, spending every cent in needed clothing, shoes, yarn and yardage goods. Oh how happy they were and Elizabeth quoted, “All right Jacob, we can go home now and be assured we are covered until prosperity and markets come to Southern Utah.”

We who live in the northern part of the State of Utah where the railroad came to carry our surplus to market will never know the struggle of our brethren and sisters in the Southern part where it never touched, and each family raised an abundance and could neither trade nor sell or give away their surplus for not even a postage stamp.

Her home in Gunlock was situated two and a half miles below the town and when Father Truman was gone from home, which was a great part of the time, as his second wife, Katie Maxwell Truman and family still lived upon the farm at Mountain Meadows, Mother Elizabeth Boyce would take her entire family and walk to Sunday School and Sacrament Meeting every Sunday.

Church work

She was a teacher in the Sabbath School teaching the Book of Mormon class for many years. She was also appointed President of the Relief Society on November 7th, 1895 and served until 1897 when she was released.

In 1896 when she was 65 years old Elder Mathias F. Cowley, an Apostle visiting them, asked her how old she was and she answered “65 years.” He replied, “You are good for 20 years more,” and she lived 22 years, enjoying the fruits of her labor in the well organized home and faithful living sons and daughters. They loved her and her grandchildren revered her and knew her taste for green peas, mashed potatoes and dried peaches, stewed and made into a pie with nutmeg sprinkled upon it.

The summer time is very warm and when grandma was coming to spend the day the children would draw water from the well and sprinkle it all over the door yard and walls of the house to cool and make pleasant the arbor where she could sit and enjoy herself as she sat and knitted and visited with them.

She had many beautiful traits of character as well as beauty of feature. Her eyes were black and smiling wrinkles, that patience, sympathy and true devotion to her God and his children had etched about her mouth, with her white hair she was beautiful. Her stature was short and rather plump and neatness in everything she did.

She often remarked no one had ever seen her bed unmade, nor her dishes not done. Indeed, work was her philosophy - she had cut and dried enough fruit to encircle the globe, made quilts sufficient to cover the families of a city, wove miles of carpet, besides tons of butter and cheese, bushels of wild fruits gathered, and followed day after day garnering wheat after the man who cut with an old fashioned grain cradle. We have no count of the babies she brought into the world nor the lives she saved through her administrations.

She always reminded her grandchildren to always do two jobs while you are doing one. If you went to feed the cow, bring back an arm full of wood on your return; if you went for water, draw and put an extra bucket in the trough for the animals in the yard to drink; if you were visiting, take your stitching or knitting with you, thus wasting not a minute of the day so that at its close you may truthfully say, “Something accomplished, something done has earned a night’s repose.”

These Latter-day women of the past generation were Saints defending a new religion, they were also Saints of perfection as they lived their span of life.

Elizabeth Boyce was the first of three wives of Jacob Mica Truman. She was the mother of 12 children. Two of the children died young, John Franklin and Lucius. Jacob, her fourth child went hunting jack rabbits with a boy friend and as they were going under a fence the gun in the friend’s hand went off and Jacob was shot. She also saw her daughter Emma Maria Holt lose her beautiful daughter, Roxie, by being burned to death and another grandchild drowned.


Jacob Mica Truman died in 1881, leaving Elizabeth Boyce a widow for 38 years. Elizabeth passed from this life herself on November 6th, 1919.

Funeral services were held in the open air at Mountain Meadows on the 7th, Bishop James L. Bunker of Veyo presided. The Enterprise Choir composed mostly of her grandchildren furnished the singing. The speakers were Elder Jacob Truman, a grandson, and George Henry Bowler, also a grandson. She was laid to rest beside her husband and the grave was dedicated by Bishop Bunker of Veyo.


Washington County News, November 13, 191, Volume XII, Number 44, page 5:


Gunlock, Nov. 11--Elizabeth Truman passed away Thursday, Nov. 6, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. F. O. Holt, after an illness of five days. She was 88 years of age. She leaves two sons and four daughters.


  • Name variant: Boyce [gravestone]
  • LDS Family Group Record Collection [Patron Section]
Submitted by: Helen Truman based upon family records by Clara Chadburn and the Index Bureau
  • Black, Susan E. Membership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-1849, [Microfiche]
  • Price, Paul E. Truman.ged file, 19 May 1996
  • Birth variations:
Lapeer, Lapeer, Michigan or Laharp, Laharp, Michigan
Bedford, Wayne County, Indiana [Membership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-1849]
  • Utah Arrival: FHL Film #298440, Utah Immigration Card Index, 1847-1868:
Boyes, George (52) Capt. of 5th Ten, 2nd 50, 1st 100. Utah Pioneers of 1847
Elizabeth (16)
1847: Members of Capt. Daniel Spencer's Hundred which arrived in G S L Valley Sept. 24, 1847 (Journal History June 21, 1847, p. 15, 16.)
  • Utah Arrival: Carter, Kate B. Heartthrobs of the West, vol. 8, p. 423:
She arrived in Salt Lake Valley 19 Sep 1847, a member of the 5th 10 of the 2nd 50 of the 1st 100.
  • 1870 Federal Census, Utah Territory, Washington County, Mountain Meadows, Page #1 , Dwelling #1, Family #1:
Elizabeth, 38, f, w, Keeping House, Mich
  • Patriarchal Blessing: Historian's Office, Index to Blessings:
Name: Truman, Elizabeth Boyce
Born: 19 Apr 1831
Blessed: 7 Jun 1875
Recorded: Vol. 175, Page 103
  • 1880 Federal Census, Utah, Washington County, Truman Ranch, Gunlock Precinct, Page #3, Dwelling #1, Family #1, Enumerated 2 Jun 1880:
TRUMAN, Jacob M.
Elizabeth, w, f, 49, wife, md, Keeping House, Mich, Eng, Eng
  • Letter found in DUP Museum:
Dec 8/96
Mr E G Rognon
Dear Sir
I am one of the Pioneers That arrived in Salt Lake Valley in Sep 1847
Mrs Elizabeth Truman
Gunlock Washington Co Utah
  • Letter found in DUP Museum:
March 20th/97
Ernest G Regnon.
I arrived in Salt Lake Valley Sep 1847 In Parly P Pratt's hundred Daniel Spencers Fifty. and George Boyeses ten My Maiden name was Elizabeth Boyes
Elizabeth Truman.
Gunlock Wash Co; Utah.
  • Gravestone: Hamblin Cemetery:
Elizabeth Boyce Truman
Apr. 19, 1831 - Nov. 6, 1919
  • Burial variant: Mountain Meadows