Joseph Wightman

JOSEPH WIGHTMAN was born December 17, 1848 at Kirtland, Lake Co., Ohio. He was the fourth of ten children, and the oldest son of Charles Billings Wightman (b. 1815 in New York, d. 1895 in Payson, Utah) and Mary Ann Dixon (b. 1823 in Canada, d. 1903 in Payson, Utah). He was named for his grandfather, who died in Kirtland five years before Joseph was born.

Joseph's best boyhood friend was named Wayland Rodgers, and Joseph named one of his sons after him. After Joseph left Kirtland with his parents at age 13, on their move to Utah, he didn't see his friend again until they were both in their 80's. At that time, in the late 1920's, Joseph's son Philo Wightman took his father on a trip back to Ohio. By then, the city of Cleveland had grown around the little village of Kirtland, and the area wasn't anything like it had been in the days when the Wightmans had lived there. But they found Wayland Rodgers in Cleveland, and the two old friends had a happy reunion reminiscing together.

Joseph Wightman married Emily Johnson on 25 July 1869, in Salt Lake City, when he was 20 and she was almost 16. Emily (b. 1853 in Salt Lake City, d. 1926 in Payson) was the daughter of pioneers Philo Johnson (1814-1896) and Experience Almeda ("Speedy") Brown Ellsworth Johnson (1820-1896). Her father was one of the original 143 pioneers who came with Brigham Young in 1847. Joseph and Emily received their endowments and were sealed for time and eternity in the Endowment House in Salt Lake on October 21, 1872.

In the 1870 census of Payson, Joseph "WHITEMAN", 22, was listed as a farmer. Real property was listed valued at $300 and personal property, $150. His wife Emily was 17. His older sister Mary E. Daley, her husband Matthew, and their two children were listed just before Joseph and Emily. The WM. C. "WHITEMAN" family were listed two families after, followed by his Uncle Christopher Dixon's family (indicating that they were all near neighbors).

William Charles Wightman and his wife Lucretia Jane Pepper built The WIGHTMAN HOTEL in Payson in 1886, and ran it for a number of years, and it was said to be the largest and finest hotel in the territory south of Salt Lake City. It was located at the southwest corner of First East and First North streets in Payson. The hotel was an impressive 3-story building of red brick. Hacks met passenger trains at both depots in town and brought them to the Wightman Hotel. Negro waiters and porters were a mark of the elegance of the place ...

Mrs. Wightman was a talented actress and community leader. In 1892 she was elected president of the Woman's Suffrage Association of Payson. She also went into raising silkworms for the production of silk, as did many of the women of the territory. Mulberry trees were planted for shade, and the leaves were fed to the worms. "She had silkworms eating mulberry leaves all over the place. You could hear the crunch of leaves as they fed," recalled her granddaughter Dolly Wightman Nelson, in 1972. She also said that her grandparents kept a gila monster (a poisonous lizard) in a cage. Then, too, they had a monkey that was prone to run away. Often it got into the home of Bishop John Huish, who lived nearby. His children would hide from the monkey until Mrs. Huish sent one of her brood to ask the owners to "Come and get that darned monkey again!"

In the census of 1880, Joseph and Emily "WHITEMAN" and four children (Joseph A., Evaline, Charles, and William) are listed in Thistle Valley, Utah County. Joseph, 31, is listed as a farmer. They moved back to Payson within a year.

Joseph and Emily had ten children:

        JOSEPH ALTON (1871-1926)
           married Mary Loas GREEN
        EVALINE LADELL (1874-1901)
           married William Tell HARPER
        EMILY MINNETT ("Minnie") (1875-1878)
        CHARLES PHILO (known as PHILO C.) (1877-1947)
           married Rosa Tobitha WRIGHT
           (he was a mayor of Payson during the Depression years)
        WILLIAM DAVID ("Will") (1879-1944)
           married Sarah Florence WRIGHT
        LILLIAN ALICE (1881-1882)
        WAYLAND RODGER (1884-1955)
           married Abbie WOOD 
	       and Laura Adell CALLISTER
        MARTHA (1885)
        ORIN LYNN (1888-1891)
        DORA MAY (1890-1918)
           married DAVID SHULER


All were born in Payson except Will, who was born in Thistle. Four died as infants or young children. Both surviving daughters died as young mothers, years before their mother did in 1926.

Joseph and Emily also raised a grandson, William Oran "Skeet" Harper (1901-1966), whose mother Eveline died when Skeet was born.

Joseph's father Charles Billings Wightman died 31 Mar 1895 in Payson at age 79, and his mother Mary Ann Dixon died 10 Nov 1903 in Payson at age 80.

In 1898 Joseph Wightman constructed a two-story building at 80 South Main Street in Payson, attached to a building built in 1891 by his relative, Orrawell Simons. The Wightman building was first occupied by Joseph Wightman's meat and grocery store. He had built it on the site of a small meat market he had previously owned. In 1902 he leased the business to Charles C.F. Dixon, and in 1905 sold out to his son Philo Wightman. Philo and his young family lived in the upper rooms while their home was under construction.

Joseph was active in civic affairs. He was Payson city marshall in the 1887-88 term replacing Henry Fairbanks who resigned. He was also on the city council in the 1900-01 term.

Joseph and Emily were active in the Church. Emily, and all except one of her surviving brothers and sisters, were sealed along with the deceased ones to her mother Speedy Brown Ellsworth Johnson, and Speedy's first husband German Ellsworth in 1888 in the Manti Temple. Emily was also proxy for her grandmother Johnson (Sally Abigail Griffin Johnson) on that trip. Joseph and Emily sent their son Wayland on a mission from 1906 to 1908. Joseph's parents Charles Billings Wightman and Mary Ann Dixon had been sealed to each other in 1865 in the Salt Lake Endowment House soon after coming to Utah, but except for one son, none of the children had been born in the covenant. So Joseph was sealed to his parents in 1925 in the Salt Lake Temple. Four of his sisters also were sealed to their parents in the 1920's, and before Joseph's death they saw to it that their three deceased brothers and a deceased sister were also sealed.

Emily Johnson Wightman died 18 June 1926, at age 72. Following Emily's death, Joseph remarried on September 20, 1927 in the Salt Lake Temple, sealed for time only, to a childless Santaquin widow, Mary Ann Simpson Stickney Boyle (1849-1934). He was 78 and she was 77. She was born in Malmo, Sweden as Maria Anna Simonsson, later anglicized.

Joseph died July 22, 1930, and was buried in Payson Cemetery, next to Emily, and close to his and Emily's parents and near many of their brothers and sisters. His obituary follows:


Payson, Utah, July 23.
"Joseph Wightman, a former merchant of Payson, died at the family residence (Santaquin), Tuesday (July 22, 1930) from infirmities incident to old age (he was 81). He was born Dec. 17, 1848 at Kirtland Ohio, the son of Charles B. and Mary Dixon Wightman. He crossed the plains by ox team in 1862, locating in Payson. He served in the Black Hawk Indian war. He was in the Mercantile business for 20 years, retiring from business in 1910. He was active in civic affairs and served as city councilman and marshal. He married Miss Emily Johnson, who preceded him in death four years ago. He has lived in Santaquin since his marriage three years ago to Mrs. Mary Simmonson Wightman, who survives. Three of his ten children survive: Philo C. and Wayland Wightman, Payson, and William D. Wightman, Salt Lake; also 37 grandchildren, 30 great grandchildren and three sisters: Mrs. May Wellman, Salt Lake; Mrs. M.J. Morrell, Montana, and Mrs. Mary Daley, Payson. The body may be viewed Thursday at the Deseret Mortuary and Friday at the home of Wayland Wightman, previous to the funeral services, which will be held at 2 p.m. in the Second ward chapel. Bishop John F. Olson will conduct the funeral. Burial will be in Payson City Cemetery."

Information Compiled
by Karen Bray Keeley

INTERNET Adaptation
by Sandra Shuler Bray