Julianne Higgingotham (1880 – 1852)

Julianne Higginbotham And William Rufus Slade (Birth name Washington Slocum) Julianne Higginbotham was born in 1880, daughter of Nelsen and Judah (Ware) Higgenbotham. William Rufus Slade was born “Washington Slocum” – the son of John Slocum and Phoebe Slade. He was born July 2, 1811 in Pittstown, New York. William had a twin sister was named Waity Ann. When William was about 7 or 8 years old his father died. Not much is known about Washington Slocum’s early years but it has been gathered that he left home about the age of 16, and changed his name to William Rufus Slade, using his mother’s maiden name “Slade”. William is a descendant of Phillip Slocum who married Charity at Old Cleve, Somerset shire, England on Nov. 20, 1621 – through their son Giles. An unconfirmed story of why he left home at such an early age – The Slocum’s were well off and had a tutor for the children instead of sending them to public school. Washington became extremely tired of study, and one day he threw his book at the teacher and jumped out of the window. Whatever the case may be, William received many letters from his family in NY. One letter from his twin sister Waity Ann from NY, dated Oct 10, 1872 was to William Rufus Slade (his family acknowledged his new name). William found his way into Louisiana where he married Julianne Higginbotham 24 October 1832. Later, William freed his slaves in Louisiana, sold his property and moved to TX and further west; one African American slave named “Moses” came to Utah with him and died in Pine Valley. Julianne and William had 11 children born between 1834 and 1851. When he married in Louisiana, his name on the record being George William Slade by the time he arrived in Texas with his family, and then in Utah his AKA name was: William Rufus Slade. His 11 children are: William, Martha, Jefferson, Mary Jane (Margiana), Albert, Clara Elizabeth, Benjamin, John, Henry, Alice and James McGaw Slade. When they arrived in Jefferson County, TX they heard about the gospel. Elder James McGaw was laboring in the area and was in the home of William and Juliann. He was loved by the family and baptized some. The last child was named for him. Julianne had heard and accepted the gospel, but died before she could be baptized. She died Nov. 22, 1852 in Houston, Texas. Many of the Saints were making preparations to leave their homes and go to Utah. Even though William was not yet baptized, he decided to take his family and leave with the Saints to SLC, UT. Taking his young family without his wife was a big responsibility. He met a 45 year old widow, Dorinda Melissa Moody Goheen, she had given her Negro’s their freedom, sold some of her cattle to outfit her 3 wagons and was ready to go West. She had been previously been baptized to the LDS church in 1850 and widowed twice leaving her well off. William and Dorinda decided to travel together and help each other –at the time, William had 8 living children and Dorinda had 5 children. They were married 20 February 1853 in Spring Creek, San Saba County, Texas. She was a beautiful and very artistic lady. She adorned her home with beautiful handwork and loving care. They left Texas for Utah in the spring of 1853 in a company with elder Preston Thomas as captain, said to be one of the largest companies to leave for Utah at one time. They had not gotten far when sickness and death overtook them. They took shelter in an old army post at Cherokee nation, which was on the dividing line between Texas and Oklahoma. Here Dorinda lost her only son and William lost 3 of his children, all within a month of each other. They decided to stay and rest a while in the Cherokee Nation which is today known as Oklahoma not too far from present day Tahlequah. They stayed in a settlement on the Spavinaw River near it’s junction with the Grand River. At the age of 44, William Rufus Slade was baptized in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saturday, 14 July 1855 by Elder Henry W. Miller. Four days later, he was made the branch president of the Cherokee Branch. There is an account in H.W. Miller’s journal of Wm Slade activities and service: “Monday, October 15. Elder Henry W. Miller baptized the wife of Mr. Buffington and then started for the home of Bro. Slade, suffering on the road with ague and a high fever. The next day he returned to his temporary home at Bro. Croft’s, where he went through a siege of severe sickness which lasted several weeks; it was an attack of fever and ague. He, however, visited as much as his health would permit among Saints and strangers and held several meetings.” After living there a while, William, Dorinda and their families started again for SLC with the Jacob Croft Company departing 26 June 1856 and arriving in Great Salt Lake City 11 Oct 1856. They traveled 16, 14 and 12 miles a day as they could. Travel was slow and food scarce. Their sustenance was corn bread, pigweed greens, and buffalo meat. When they reached the valley, Brigham Young advised them to settle at Fort Harriman in the southwest part of the valley. A meeting was held and William was named Justice of the Peace and school trustee. At the April General Conference in 1857 the Saints were told that a company had been chosen to go South to raise cotton. They settled on Washington Flat, a few miles N.E. of where St. George now is. William and Dorinda were familiar with raising cotton, but not with conditions as they found them in this hot, arid place, where water must be taken through almost impossible places to give life to the thirsty land. They made dug-outs for shelter and tried in vein to establish themselves. Cotton and sugar cane could be raised, but living conditions were so severe that by 1859 part of the group moved to Pine Valley, where two years earlier some scouters had found a basin in the tops of a high mountain surrounded by tall timber, peaks covered with snow and cool springs of water. Large pine trees were in the valley where the grass was knee-high. This little valley was a welcome relief to the Saints who had withstood the heat and drought of Washington. In Pine Valley lumber was made for many strong and sturdy homes and church buildings. The church which was dedicated in 1868 stands today, the oldest continuously used chapel in Utah. William and Dorinda built a four-room home with a double fireplace. It is being used yet by its present owners. William was chosen Justice of the Peace in Washington Co., and was again appointed Justice of the Peace in Pine Valley. William raised apples and other fruit that he sold, along with some lumber. They were an industrious family and did well. William and Dorinda were prominent in church and civic activities. In 1872, William and his two sons made a trip to Panaca, Nevada with 3 loads of apples to sell. William became quite ill and had been having serious breathing and lung problems, which worsened on this trip. He died and was buried in Panaca, Nevada. Dorinda was a beautiful and very artistic lady. She adorned her home with handwork and loving care. We owe much to her for the loving care she gave to William’s family. She was an ardent Relief Society worker and presided over the Ward sisters for twenty years. Under her direction, the Relief Society building was erected which stands beside the Chapel. Only 4 of William and Julianne’s children would live old enough to marry and raise families of their own: William Slade, Jefferson Slade, Clara Elizabeth (Mathews) and Henry Slade. The rest of his 7 children all passed away in their infancy or youth – James McGraw died when he was 20.

Sources: “Chronicles of Oklahoma”, Volume 13, No. 2, June, 1935 MISSIONARIES OF THE LATTER DAY SAINTS CHURCH IN INDIAN TERRITORY “Conquerors of the West: stalwart Mormon pioneers”, Volume 4 By Florence C. Youngberg, National Society, Sons of Utah Pioneers. Page 2357 Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868 Familysearch.org. William Rufus Slade search for family tree. 1)”The Higginbotham Family” Researched and edited by William Montgomery Sweeny, published by the J. P. Bell Pub. co. of Lynchburg, VA in 1978. EMail: cvrhoden@usa.pipeline.com; 8/96 Mary (Greear) South gedcom; John Wallace disc; 2)Mabel Marie LaBiche, Author of “Higginbotham Descendants of Benjamin and Elizabeth Graves”; pub. by Hebert Pub. P.O. Box 147, Rayne, LA 70578, Nov 1996. Library of Congress Cat. Card No. 96-77589


Source:  Family Search Memories

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