CHARLES B. WIGHTMAN
DORA MAY WIGHTMAN
CHARLES BILLINGS WIGHTMAN was born 11 Aug 1815
in German Flats, Herkimer County, New York. He was 18 or 19 years old
at the time he joined the Church; his brother Erastus would
have been 31, brother William 26, and sister Jane, 15.
(One source gives Charles B.'s baptism date as 1834, and another says
His nephew, William Charles Wightman writes:
"My brother, mother, Uncle Charles, and Aunt Jane moved to
Kirtland the fall of 1835. They could not rent a house in
Kirtland so they moved to Willowby Bridge, four miles from the
Charles Billings Wightman, and Charles' brothers,
William and Erastus and their families, who had come to Kirtland a little
later, were ordained Elders in 1836, received their anointings (a partial
endowment), assisted in building the Kirtland Temple, and participated
in its dedication in 1836. Charles was ordained a Seventy in 1837 and
served a mission at that time.
Charles married Mary Ann Dixon in 1843 in Kirtland. She was 20 years old
at that time, and he was 28. They lived in a large stone house near
a maple grove which yearly yielded large amounts of sap for maple syrup
and maple sugar of which the family and children were very fond. The stone
for the Kirtland Temple had been taken from a quarry on this farm. Martin
Harris was a close neighbor and visited their home often. He told often of
seeing the plates and the appearance of the Angel Moroni to him. Charles'
daughter Mary Elizabeth told of how she would go to the cellar and get
apples for them to eat while Martin Harris was visiting them. In the
diary of Martin Harris he tells of visiting the Charles B. Wightman
home and of Charles giving him a pair of shoes to wear.
Although most of the Latter-Day Saints left Kirtland in the later
1830s and 1840s, the Wightmans and Dixons were among those who had not,
and were among those who remained faithful to the Church. (After the
Prophet Joseph Smith and other Church leaders had been forced to flee
Kirtland in January 1838 because of their lives being in danger, most
of the believers who were left in the city soon followed them to Missouri
and later Nauvoo. However, since there had never been a formal
command to leave Kirtland, some chose to stay. Most of these were
disaffected members; others simply drifted away gradually, not having
firm testimonies of the gospel. But as stated above, there were some
in Kirtland, including the Wightmans and Dixons, who remained faithful
to the Church).
The following children were born to Charles and Mary Ann in Kirtland:
AMY JANE WIGHTMAN (1844-1929), married Amos REESE
MARY (JANE) ELIZABETH WIGHTMAN (1846-1931),
married Matthew Henry DALEY.
CHARLES BILLINGS WIGHTMAN Jr., (1845 - died as an infant)
**JOSEPH WIGHTMAN, (1848-1930,
married Emily Johnson)
CAROLINE LADELL WIGHTMAN (1851-1926),
married John Benton GILBERT;
CHARLES HARRISON WIGHTMAN (1853-1926),
married Emma Lovina COLLET;
MARTHA EMELINE WIGHTMAN (1855-1946),
married Charles Willard MORRILL;
WILLIAM EDWARD WIGHTMAN (1857-1909),
married Effie WYMAN
ARTHUR AUGUSTUS WIGHTMAN (1861-1909)
In 1843, cousin William Charles Wightman
(1833-1923, quoted above) was orphaned when his parents
William and Dolly Eaton Wightman died of the yellow fever or swamp
fever (malaria) near Nauvoo. In 1849 he came back to Kirtland to live
with Charles' family and help in the blacksmith shop. His father,
William Wightman, was an older brother of Charles Billings Wightman.
William had been a bishop at Ramus, Illinois (bishop or
president of the Crooked Creek branch, which was sometimes called a
"stake"). After he and his wife died, their four children each went
to different families in different states; the other three were raised
by non-LDS relatives and never came to Utah.
William Charles wrote:
"When I was sixteen years old I went to work in a blacksmith
shop for Uncle Charley (Charles Billings Wightman was a blacksmith
and carriage maker, and his nephew also became a blacksmith); and
stayed with him until the 24th of April, 1854. I could not have
been treated better by my own father ... About 1850 Uncle put up a
large cut stone house and lived in it until 1862, then he and
Chris Dixon and families came on to Utah."
In 1854, after he turned 21, cousin William Charles Wightman left
from his uncle's home and went to Utah, taking with him Grandfather and
Grandmother Dixon, their daughter Jane Dixon Pepper, and Jane's children
Lucretia and Charley Pepper.
(These people were no direct relation to cousin William Charles,
since they were on Mary Ann Dixon's side of the family -- they were
in-laws of his uncle Charles Billings Wightman.)
(Lucretia Jane Pepper later became William Charles Wightman's wife.)
Mary Ann Dixon's parents, Charles Dixon
(b. 1766 in Yorkshire, England, d. 1855 in Illinois) and Elizabeth Humphrey
Dixon (b. 1778 in Canada, d. 1864 in Payson, Utah) joined the Church in
May 1836 in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada and moved to Kirtland, Ohio in
October 1837. Mary Ann was baptized in 1838, at about age 15.
Grandfather Charles Dixon was our earliest-born (1766) ancestor
to join the LDS Church. His family had come to New Brunswick, Canada
from Yorkshire, England in 1771, when he was 5 years old.
Grandfather Dixon didn't make it all the way to Utah; he died
at 89 years of age on 22 May 1855 in Rock Island, Illinois, before they
crossed the Mississippi River. He is buried in Davenport, Iowa, on the
west side of the river. Grandmother Elizabeth Humphrey Dixon, who was
77 when she crossed the plains, finished the journey with her daughter
and grandchildren, and they settled in Payson, Utah. She later died 17
July 1864, at the age of 86. She is the earliest-born (1778) of anyone
buried in the Payson Cemetery, where there is a double marker for her
and her husband.
Charles Dixon and Elizabeth Humphrey had 11 children, and all who
were still living came to Utah with them:
JOHN DIXON (1800-1825)
married Mary Jane BOWSER
ELIZABETH DIXON (1803-1890)
married John McKINLAY
SIDNEY DIXON (1805-1832)
married Eliza WOODMAN
LEONARD DIXON (1808-1875)
married Eliza ROBSON
JANE DIXON (1810-1879)
married George Harrison PEPPER
RUTH ROACH DIXON (1813-1893)
married Edward O'HARA
CHRISTOPHER FLINTOFF DIXON (1816-1905)
married Jane Elizabeth WIGHTMAN
EDWARD DIXON (1818-1892)
married Sarah Ann GOULD
ALFRED DIXON (1821-1880)
married Mary BIGGART and Julia A. HALL
**MARY ANN DIXON (1823-1903)
married CHARLES BILLINGS WIGHTMAN
MARTHA DIXON (1825-1916)
married Orrawell SIMONS
Charles and Mary Ann Wightman and their family of eight children
left for Utah in 1862.
A great-granddaughter, Blanche Daley Whitelock, writes,
"On June 15, 1862, Charles B. Wightman's family and the family
of Christopher F. Dixon began their journey to Utah. They were
the last of the Saints to leave Kirtland and would have left
earlier, except that his mother, Amy Sholes Wightman, had fallen
and broken her hip, which made it impossible for her to travel.
(Apparently she was bedridden for many years, and they cared for
her until she died in Dec. 1861 at age 85). The children told of
stopping to wave their last goodbyes to the Temple. They left
their lovely home which overlooked it. On the Temple grounds
some of their loved ones who had passed away were buried."
"They made their wagons and shipped them from Kirtland to the
Missouri River where they assembled them. It was cheaper this
way. They traveled from Ohio to Council Bluffs by rail and water.
The water was very low on the river, and when they were traveling
and the boat would hit the bottom, they would have to shift the load
and the passengers to the other side so the boat would move.
The Civil War had broken out in 1861 and the boatmen were rebellious
and mean. The children and the passengers were afraid. During the
voyage Charles was robbed and his gun taken away from him ...
(Instead of drafting young men for the army at that time, officers
would often ride up and take the men and young men from their
families at gunpoint. They were afraid this would happen, but they
got through all right).
"The Wightmans and Dixons traveled from Council Bluffs to Salt
Lake City in Captain Isaac Canfield's Company, there being forty
ox teams in the party. Charles B. did all the blacksmithing
work, shoeing oxen and resetting tires for the whole company.
He led the company and it was said he never used the "cracker"
on his whip to make the oxen move. They had one mean ox and
they would have to climb out of the back of the wagon so it
would not kick them. The Indians would come up to the wagons
and spread their blankets and beg for food. They were always
fed. One morning baby Arthur crawled into the campfire. He
burned his hand so badly it was crippled the rest of his life.
"They arrived in Salt Lake City October 20, 1862 and the following
week went on to Payson, where Mary Ann's mother was residing with
her daughter Martha Dixon Simons. They had come to Payson in 1854.
Jane Dixon Pepper Rust, another sister of Mary Ann, was also residing
All of the members of the family were re-baptized April 2, 1863,
a common practice for pioneers after reaching Utah.
The Wightmans and Dixons became prominent citizens of Payson.
Christopher F. Dixon had brought a melodion across the plains, and often
the choir practiced at his home, accompanied by this instrument.
His front room was one of the largest in town, of such dimensions that
it could accommodate a square for dancing. Many gatherings were held
at his home and town celebrations were held in the grove nearby. "The
old Christopher Dixon grove" was located on the outskirts of Payson,
4th North Street just east of 4th West. This was a native grove of Box
Elder and Cottonwood trees located about 150 yards east of the Ammon
Nebeker grove, where the first settlers of Payson had camped, and where
the Indians often camped when they came to Payson.
"The railroad will someday pass through your land," Brigham Young
once told Christopher Dixon. But when the Utah Central Railroad Co.
(later known as the Union Pacific) built its track through the Payson
fields, Mr. Dixon was deeply disappointed, and reproached the Church
President, "I can see the trains from my property," he said, "but it's
missed my land by a mile." That was in 1874. However, in 1891 the
Denver and Rio Grande Railroad built a branch from Springville to
Eureka, and this line cut Mr. Dixon's farm in half. His home and farm
faced south of 340 W. Fourth North street and extended some distance
north. He was pleased when the depot was built only a few blocks from
his front gate.
(From PETEETNEET TOWN: A History of Payson, Utah
by Madoline Cloward Dixon.)
When he first came to Payson in 1862, Charles Billings Wightman
bought a homestead of 168 acres on the south end of Payson from an
Indian woman. There was no water for his ground, so Charles started the
first "poor man ditch" up Payson Canyon, which was to catch the high
waters of the spring run-off. He took his oxen up the canyon and made
the first reservoir. Men told Charles B. that the land for his homestead
was no good, but he said "the time will come when this ground will be
worth one thousand dollars an acre and will look like a park." This
prophecy has come true; today the land is worth far more than that, being
the land on 8th South & Main where the old Payson High School and athletic
fields, track, park, and the homes and orchards around it stand. He
brought apple trees with him from Kirtland and planted them, some of which
are still there today. Also currant bushes brought to Payson by Charles
B. Wightman went wild and became native to the area. They grew wild
along fences and ditch banks for over a hundred years afterwards.
Two more children were born to Charles and Mary Ann Dixon
Wightman after they moved to Payson:
ABBY MARY ("May") WIGHTMAN (1864-1941),
married Charles Henry WELLMAN,
MERTON DIXON WIGHTMAN (1868-1869)
Charles continued his vocation of blacksmithing after he came to Payson.
He also sometimes served as the village "dentist" (this type of primitive
dentistry being the only kind they had in those days); he used an
instrument called the "turnkey" with which he extracted teeth. He never
charged for this service and was always willing to help, but we can
understand why it sounded more like an execution than anything else.
His great-granddaughter, Blanche Daley Whitelock, writes that
"Charles B. Wightman was an honest upright man, and was respected by
everyone. He was called Uncle Charles by many. He spoke often of his
friendship with the Prophet Joseph Smith, and that he knew he was a true
prophet of God. He expressed his faith in his own way. He once told
Bishop Joseph Tanner, 'You do the preaching and I'll do the work.'
He always paid his tithing with hay or produce, and not money, believing
that the Lord had sanctified the ground to bring forth good crops for
The book THE WIGHTMAN ANCESTRY by Wade C. Wightman says of Charles Billings
Wightman, "although well liked and successful, he was known as 'the most
dour man in Utah County'."
Charles Billings Wightman died 31 Mar 1895 in Payson
at age 79, and Mary Ann Dixon Wightman died 10 Nov 1903 in Payson
at age 80. They are buried in the Payson City cemetery.
by Karen Bray Keeley
by Sandra S. Bray