The Winegars and the Early Mormon Church

I have been working on a project to create an extensive Winegar data base by adding to my existing files information from the Winegar Tree newsletters.  In this effort, I have found several articles that describe the involvement of the Winegar family in the history of the Mormon Church.  I have found these stories very interesting and I have decided to briefly share this information.

Individuals involved are the family and descendants of Samuel Thomas Winegar (1773-1874).  Samuel’s line is Ulrich(1), Garrett (2), Samuel S. (3), Samuel Thomas (4).  Samuel Thomas and his wife, Rhoda Cummings, as well as their children Alvin, Almira, and John received Latter-Day-Saints baptism in January of 1833 in Springfield, Pennsylvania.  Springfield was only a short distance from Kirkland, Ohio, then the headquarters of the Mormon Church.  Samuel, Rhoda, and the three children joined other members of the church in Far West, Missouri.

Zion's Camp, painting by C.C.A. Christensen. Copyright expired.

In 1835, Samuel Thomas, Alvin and a daughter of Samuel, either Almira or Sarah, were called by Joseph Smith, the founder of the church known as the Prophet, to go with a group of Saints to Zions Camp.  Their purpose was to relieve the suffering of members of the church there.  While in Far West Alvin married Mary Judd and Almira married William Stoker.  When the church moved to Nauvoo, Illinois, the Winegars and the Stokers moved there as well. Marriage records from Henry County, Indiana show Alvin and Mary were married there, August 31, 1837.  See comment below.

Alvin’s wife, Mary, helped Joseph Smith’s wife in her home and was present when a mob came for Joseph.  Fortunately, he was not there.

Lois Smith, who later would marry Stephen Samuel,  the youngest son of Samuel Thomas, lived in the home of Joseph Smith.  Lois and her family had immigrated to Nauvoo from Canada.  When her parents and all her siblings all died of cholera, Lois, an orphan,was taken into Joseph Smith’s home.  She was baptized by him two days after her eighth birthday.  One of her relatives related that she would repeat that she had been baptized by the Prophet as many as 20 times per day.  She also liked to tell of how she would ride with him on his horse, Joe Duncan.  After Joseph Smith was assassinated, she lived in the home of Brigham Young until her marriage.

Balconies and pillars of the Old Mormon Tabernacle.

The Winegar family traveled by wagon train to Utah.  Lois Smith and possible her future husband Stephen, traveled in 1848.  They were married in Utah in 1850.  Stephen cut lumber for the building of the Temple and the Tabernacle.  The pillars that hold up the balcony of the Tabernacle were cut and hauled by ox teams driven by Stephen Winegar.  William Stoker and Almira Winegar Stoker started for Utah in June of 1852.  Alvin Winegar and his family left about the same time but traveled in a different company.  In Utah, William Stoker took a second wife, Christina Emily Madsen.  Living with both wives, he had nine children by Almira and five by Emily.

Alvin Winegar and Mary Judd had nine children.  Stephen Samuel Winegar and Lois Smith had eight.  A large number of the Winegars living in Utah today are descended from these two brothers.

In putting together this post I have relied heavily on a paper, The Family of Samuel Winegar and Susanna Thomas by Helen Beazer presented at the 1984 meeting in Salt Lake City and The Story of Smith Winegar by Orla L. Coltrin-Pratt -Hillhouse from The Winegar Tree, January 1981.


9 Responses to The Winegars and the Early Mormon Church

  1. Lynn Dial says:

    This is very nicely done. I have one correction on the marriage information of Alvin and Mary that you may be interested in. In the record of marriages for Henry County Indiana is listed the marriage of Alvin Winegar and Mary Judd on August 31st 1837 by James Tomlinson.

  2. Jonathan Winegar says:


    I have enjoyed reading your blog. My family goes back to the RLDS Church. I was trying to figure out where and why the LDS Winegar’s pronounce the name as wine-e-ger and the RLDS Winegar’s pronouce it as Win-ne-ger or Vinegar with a W. Do you have any insight on the pronunciation? Also, I have a hand written tree that is pretty intersting. Do you have an email that I could send it to?

    Jonathan Winegar

    • winegar says:

      Hi Jonathan,

      I’m glad you enjoyed reading the blog. I really haven’t written anything in for quite a long time but hope to get back to it sometime.

      The pronouciation question is interesting. Ira Winegar, one of the early family genealogists, wrote to his cousin, Caleb in 1855. He says that some members of the family were pronouncing the name Wine-gar but he thought it should be more like Winnegar with three sylables. Copies of Ira’s letters are on the internet. My side pronounces it like you do like vinegar.I don’t know when the split occurred. I have also run into Wine-e-gers. The name originally was German or Swiss and wouldn’t have had an English spelling. Early census reports have the name spelled many different ways.

      I would be interested in a copy of your family tree. I have some gaps in my records of the Mornon descendants. Can you trace your ancestry back to the early Mormon WInegars?

      What does RLDS stand for. I don’t think I have run into that before.

  3. Vicki Tollstrup Winegar says:

    There is a (good?) article on Stephen Winegar and Lois Smith Winegar in the Pioneer Pathways. I enjoyed reading what you wrote and thought you did a great job, as to the correction you was given about the marriage of Alvin and Mary, I had some professional work done and they gave me a marriage date of August 29, 1837. So who knows

  4. Thomas says:

    I’m Thomas winegar and I’m 13. I’m related to him

    • winegar says:

      Hi Thomas,

      It’s good to hear from a fellow Winegar. I can’t tell from your comment who you are related to. Let me know who you are related to and how. Then I can find how you and I are related. You may have some information that I don’t have.

      Hope to hear from you again soon.

      Jim Winegar

      • Vicki Tollstrup says:

        HI Jim,   Since you wrote about Samuel Thomas Winegar, married to Rhonda Elizabeth Cummings, I will start with him.  We pick up his son, Alvin T. Winegar, born May 13, 1816, married August 29, 1837 to Mary Judd.  Alvin died June 12, 1874 in Salt Llake City, Utah.   Next we go to Samuel Thomas Winegar born Dec. 15, 1840 in Nauvoo, Hancock, Il. Married Rachel Jane Kilfoyle. He died March 17, 1921 in Woods Cross, Davis, Utah.   Next we go to William Wesley Winegar born March 5, 1864 in Salt lake City, Utah. He married Nov. 18, 1885  to Myra Pace. He died Nov. 26, 1942 in Logan, Cache, Utah.   Next we  go to Clarence Winegar (my husband’s grandfather) born Feb. 6, 1887 in Bountiful, Utah. Married Sylvia Mann May 27, 1961. He died March 17, 1961, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Clarence Winegar raised his children in Woods Cross, Utah.  My father-in-law, Earl,  moved to Ontario, Oregon.   As far as going further back than Samuel Thomas Winegar, I just show  Samule S. Winegar Married to Susannah Thomas. and then Rhonda Elizabeth Cummings’ parents as John Cummings and Sarah Sibley. If you go further back I would love to know.   Some information might have a different day or month but usually checked out. I hope you can figure out what I have written.  Just depends on the children and who line it takes off in. 


  5. April Bertolini says:

    Jim, this blog is fascinating, thank you. I just started reading and ponder it. …Vicki, my line descends from Samuel Thomas Winegar and Rhoda (I don’t think her name was Rhonda) Cummins. And yes, the Cummins to the Sibley’s!. Samuel T. and Rhoda Winegar had a son named John Winegar who married Elizabeth Martha Smith. John and Elizabeth’s Winegar’s daughter was Susan Ann Winegar, my great-grandmother. There are two Susan Ann Winegars. Mine was born 1849 Pottawatomie, IA, and she died, 1905, Pottawatomie, IA. My Susan Ann Winegar married John Thomas Pritchett (his second marriage) and they had a son, my beloved Grandfather, Clifford Elmer Pritchett. Grandpa was the youngest of 13 children, the oldest born during the Civil War. My great-grandfather, John Thomas Pritchett, was born in 1839 in Gibson County, TN. In approximately 1844 a large group was converted to LDS and left TN and eventually ended up in IA after many adventures. There is a RLDS cemetery in Pottawattamie, IA with many of my Winegar ancestors resting there. My line of Winegars changed their minds about going to Utah and many of them returned to Iowa. But not all of them. Since both my great-grandfather and grandfather were born very late in life – I feel that I am closer to these old Winegars, then some.

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