The Winegars and the Early Mormon Church

August 13, 2010
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.