All rights reserved.
"Early Pioneer and Colonizer"
Birth: August 1, 1806 Death: May 21, 1898
Headstone Location: Row 1 Block: 17 Plot: 2
Wife 1: Louisa Minnerly Shumway
Children with Louisa: Catherine, Charles M., Wilson G., Peter M.,
Louisa A., Joseph S., Levi Minnerly
Wife 2: Elizabeth Jardine Shumway
Additional Info on the Life of Charles Shumway - Click HERE
Charles Shumway Conversion,
from the history of Elisha Hurd Groves
The following story of a conversion by Elisha is reported by Eleh T. Shumway as told by
Richard Franklin Shumway, son of Charles Shumway:
After having his own eyes opened to the truth of the Gospel, Elisha Hurd Groves had great joy
in it. He filled several missions, sharing what he found with others. It was on one of these missions, in
1841  , that he happened to be passing a sawmill on a sunny morning, when he saw two men
there working. He stopped to say hello and to pass the time of day. In the course of their visit one of
the young men asked him what he was doing in their part of the country. Elisha replied, "I am a
Not taking him too seriously and half in fun, the other young man said, "What do you preach?"
Soberly Elisha made answer, "I preach Jesus Christ by the power of God. "
The two young men pondered a few moments then one of them said, "That sounds all right. If
you will do that we will listen. "
Elisha spoke to them a while. He bore witness to them that the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ
had again been restored in fulfillment of Bible prophecy, and showed them a copy of the Book of
Mormon. They were very much interested and asked if they might read it. He said that they could.
Then he invited them to come to his meeting where they could investigate and learn more about this
message, which was to all people. They accepted the invitation and promised to be there.
One of these men was Charles Shumway. He was very much impressed by the Mormon Elder
and his message. He felt it had the ring of truth. He thought about it and thought about it. He could
not seem to get it out of his mind. He read the Book of Mormon, studied it and prayed about it. In his
heart he felt it was true, but he was not one to accept things blindly. He wanted to be sure.
' This probably included Charles Shumway and his family.
Then one night a mob broke into the meeting. They had gathered to kill the missionary Elisha
Groves. When Charles Shumway saw what they planned to do, it came to him all at once as if
had spoken to him. The young missionary was telling them the truth, and he must defend him. He
immediately stepped in front of Elisha and said, "If you commit this terrible crime, it will be over my
dead body. "
Hindered in their purpose, the members of the mob backed away cursing and threatening, but
none of them came forward to carry out the murder they had planned to do. The missionary and
investigators were left in peace.
Soon afterward, Charles Shumway and his friend and fellow sawmill worker, were baptized.
Charles Shumway left that part of the country to gather with the rest of the saints. He was a staunch
and faithful member all of his life, and gladly endured a life of hardship and pioneering for the sake of
the faith he had embraced. He took the first wagon across the Mississippi River when the Saints were
being driven out ofNauvoo, in February 1846. His wagon reached the other bank safely.
The bone chilling cold which had caused the homeless pioneers so much suffering in their open
air camps, became at last a blessing. A week later it made possible an escape from their enemies by
allowing them to cross the Mississippi River on the ice and putting the width of the Mississippi
between them and the mobs.
Charles Shumway was strong in the faith he had embraced. Reaching Utah, he helped in the
settlement of Cache Valley, Manti, Ephraim and parts of Arizona. One settlement in Arizona bears his
Years later at the funeral of Charles Shumway in Arizona, his grandson William Shumway,
reported that Bishop Hunt told the following story about Charles Shumway (this may have been the
same incident with Elisha H. Groves):
Charles Shumway was the nearest a fearless man of any man I have ever known. An armed
mob had assembled at one time and berated the leaders of the Church with some vile epithets.
listened to them for awhile, and unarmed, walked up to the leader of the mob and grabbed his nose
between the two forefingers of his right hand and gave it a vicious tweak, and said, "shut up" and he
Elisha made such a difference in the lives of those he taught the Gospel, but also in their
families and countless future generations. Charles Shumway was one of those whose life was
completely changed. His son, Andrew Purley Shumway, was born in Sutton, Worcester County,
Massachusetts on 20 February 1832. He left the following record of their family conversion and
struggles as they followed the Church:
When I was about five years of age my father moved my mother and myself to my grandfather's
(Samuel Hooker) near the town of Sturbridge, Worcester County and there left us to go to the west to
visit a brother of his who went to the west some years previous. He returned soon after and moved his
little family consisting of only my mother and sister Mary besides myself. We located on a little stream
of water called the Kill Buck near Rockford, State of Illinois. This was an unsettled country, at least
very thinly settled, our nearest neighbor living one mile from us. After erecting a hewed log house and
opening up a large farm and living here a year or two, during which time we had considerable
sickness, myself having the whooping cough, we then moved near to the Pecatonica River about 40
miles from Galena. Here my father fenced a farm, bought a sawmill 41 and by dint of perseverance and
industry he accumulated a good deal of property. We lived here until about the year 1840, when Elder
Elisha Groves came through that part of the country peaching the Gospel. My father and mother
believed and received the truth and were baptized by Elder Groves. Shortly after, he went to Nauvoo
to see and visit the Prophet Joseph. He soon returned bringing Elder Amasa Lyman with him who
preached therefor some length of time.
At this time my father was confined to his bed through being beaten by one Joseph McConnel
on account of his religion. However, he was remarkably healed through the laying on of hands by
Elder Lyman. After this, he loaded aflat boat with materials for a frame house, and putting on the
house furniture, went down the river to Nauvoo and soon returned and settled up his business. He then
took his family in a two horse wagon to Nauvoo.
We lived in peace until the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith on the 27 th day of June
1844, which circumstances I well remember as I attended their funeral.
I was baptized in the baptismal font in the Temple of Nauvoo in the year 1842. In the year
1845, the word of the Lord came to the Saints for them to prepare to move to the Rocky Mountains.
My father being appointed captain of fifty erected a shop for the manufacture of wagons. During the
winter I worked with a team of mules hauling corn and provisions from the country for the hands and
hauling wood for their families to burn. I also hauled timber etc. to the shop.
All things being ready in February 1846, my father [Charles Shumway] with his company
crossed the Mississippi River on flat boats and camped on the west bank of the river, his company
being the first that crossed the river for the Rocky Mountains. After a day or two we moved and
encamped at a place called Sugar Creek where there was plenty of timber and browse for our
We stopped here some three or four weeks waiting for the Saints to gather together, after which
President Young organized the different companies and we rolled out of camp some time in March.
The pioneer camp arrived at Mount Pisgah May 16 th . We arrived at the Missouri River too late
in the season to proceed across the Rocky Mountains. Therefore the headquarters of the Saints were
established on the west bank of the Missouri River. My father and some dozen families proceeded
about 110 miles to the Pawnee Missionary Station on the Loup Fork about four miles from the Pawnee
Village thinking we could procure corn from the Indians for our consumption through the winter.
They thought they could get it cheaper than from the whites in Missouri, which proved to be the case.
At this place Abel Guar and myself herded the stock belonging to the company. Most of the time we
lived on Indian corn ground in a hand mill, each family taking their turn at the mill, and by keeping the
mill constantly at work all managed to get enough to sustain life.
Here my father was taken with chills and fever as also a good many others. Just before winter
set in, and very late one evening Jack Redding and Solomon Case rode in to the fort having come
the headquarters in great hurry bringing word from President Young for us to move back to Winter
Quarters immediately as it was not safe for us to remain here. We therefore made everything ready
and left sometime the next day. We had traveled about twelve miles when on looking back, we saw that
It was at this sawmill that Elisha met Charles Shumway and began teaching him.
the Station and buildings we had just left were all on fire, this having been done by a war party of
Sioux Indians. The Sioux and Pawnee Indians had been at war with each other for sometime and had
they found us living at the Pawnee Station they would have massacred our whole company. Thus were
we warned by the Lord through His servants in time to save ourselves from the hostile savages.
We continued our journey in peace although many of the company were very sick. My mother
among the rest was hardly able to get out and into the wagon. By this time our family was all shaking
with the ague. Those who were sick suffered much for want of proper food, having nothing but corn
meal and dried buffalo meat. After arriving at Winter Quarters we managed to get a log house put up
to live in during the winter. Our sickness increased until there was not one of the family able to hand a
drink of water to another. My mother gradually grew worse until the 14 th of November 1846 when she
called her family around her and told them she was going to die. After some friendly admonitions to
her family and tenderly embracing each one, her spirit took its departure for the spirit world. She died
as she had lived, beloved and universally respected by all who knew her. She was buried along with
500 of the Saints that died during the winter from diseases of different kinds and through want of
necessary food when sick. The fact that 500 of our most able bodied men were called by the U. S.
Government to enlist in the War with Mexico to prove our loyalty to the government, left many families
to look out for themselves, many of which would have suffered much only for the kindness of those who
were left. However their labors were increased to the extent that many passed away through over-
exertion in taking care of those who were sick. The privations of the Saints through the winter will
ever be remembered by the Latter-day Saints.
In the spring of 1847 my father, with 143 others, was selected to start April the 14 th to pioneer
the way to the Rocky Mountains. When father told me he was selected to go, I burst into tears. My
mother having just died, it seemed more than I could endure to be left alone. This affected by father
very much and he went and told President Young how I felt and that I wished to go with him. The
President said, "Let him go; it will be alright. " This news gave me great joy. Brother John D. Lee
furnished us a span of mules and a light wagon for the journey. Accordingly on the 14 of April we took
our leave of my sister Mary and sister Harriet who was lying on her death bed at the time with the
canker. We went out a couple of days journey to a suitable camping place. Here we waited a few days
for President Young and others to accompany us. While here we received information that my sister
Harriet had died.
All things being ready we took up our line of march for the far off Rocky Mountains to seek a
place where we could live in peace and be free from the persecution of our enemies. As a people we
had for many years been subject to rank persecution . . .
Our wagons were loaded with provisions, some corn for our animals, farming implements,
tools of different kinds etc. Professor Orson Pratt with instruments for taking observations (latitude
and longitude), one boat on a wagon to be used in crossing rivers, one cannon, and one rodometer
we might measure the distance traveled each day. This we did by marking the distance on buffalo
bones and skulls and sticking them up by the side of our trail for the benefit of those following after us
later in the season. We lengthened out our provisions on the way by adding plenty of buffalo meat .
Along the Platte River and through the Black Hills there were buffalo in great abundance, so much so
that we often were obliged to stop our wagons and wait for hours for them to get out of our way before
we could proceed. We were forbidden to kill any more than we could consume as it was a sin to waste
that which God has created for the good of man.
When we started, it was as much as my father and myself could both do to harness, drive and
take care of one span of mules, owing to the sickness we had passed through. But our health improved
so that in a short time we were quite strong and well.
We proceeded on our journey without being molested by Indians although we saw many tribes
and bands, they injured us no more than to steal two or three horses. We often traveled two or three
wagons abreast in order to consolidate our strength in case of an attack by the Indians. We used the
utmost precautions at night to avoid surprise attacks. Thus we continued our journey from day to day
and from week to week through a country none of us had any knowledge of, being led by the
inspiration of the Holy Spirit and our way pointed out by the finger of the Lord.
"There was never a
more faithful man in
the Church. He was a
man who was not
wed to his gold. He
everything he had to
the Church, to the
building of the
Kingdom of God.."