BY JENNY GOLDSBERRY
“I imagine he practiced [the saxophone] as he walked.”
Abraham Chadwick was born in England in 1821. At eight years old, he began working at a printing press; his job was to press the ink pad onto the paper. When he was fifteen, he decided to make a career change and apprenticed as a tailor for five years. This decision would alter his destiny, as he ultimately became one of the finest tailors in Utah according to his great grandson David Chadwick.
Abraham married Mary Burton in 1840. Together they were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His parents and family disowned him following his conversion. In 1842, he and Mary immigrated to the United States, spending eight weeks on a ship.
“I didn’t realize this until now but they actually came to New Orleans,” David said. “They must’ve gone all the way around South America.”
They lived in St. Louis, Missouri for six years, and raised four children. There, he continued his career as a tailor. His wife ultimately died of cholera in Iowa after being married for ten years and having four children. Abraham remarried, and his second wife was named Mary Foxall.
In 1851, he started across the plains with a company of saints of 150 wagons. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in October of 1851, eventually settling in Bingham’s Fort in 1854. This fort was built to protect roughly 50 families from two adversaries: Native Americans, and military troops from Washington. The Shoshoni Native Americans were seeking revenge after the wrongful death of Chief Terikee, who was shot by a Harrisonville farmer on September 6, 1950 as he was returning from a meeting with Mayor Farr of Ogden. Troops were sent by President Buchanan to check on the Mormon settlements. However, after the Extermination Order by Missouri governor Lilburn Boggs, the settlers were worried about the troops’ intentions.
At this point, Abraham had taken another wife, who was named Mary Wheeler, and altogether they had twelve children. While he continued his tailoring business in 1856, Abraham started a band. He played the saxophone himself, and walked from his home in North Ogden to Ogden for practice with his band.
“I imagine he practiced as he walked,” David said.
In 1857, they had a ten-year celebration of the arrival of Brigham Young to Salt Lake. Abraham’s band played at the celebration. All the while, he continued his tailoring business. He also began to farm while living in North Ogden, since that was largely what most men did for work. He learned to tailor the farmers’ overalls.
His fourth wife, Mary Ann Newby, was David’s great-grandmother. After marrying Mary Ann, he married Ellen Burton. Between all his wives, he had 26 children. After polygamy became illegal, he built another house for his first wife near 2100 East 2600 North. David’s great-grandmother lived in another house with another farm. This strategy was used by many polygamists, and was implemented across Utah. Luckily, Mary Ann was a tailor too, and used her skills to support herself after they separated, following the legal order. Ellen divorced him nine months later. In the end, Abraham spent six months in jail two times in his life for practicing polygamy. Abraham lived till he was 83 years old. Many of the families the North Ogden Connection magazine have already written about being descendants of Abraham, including the Randalls, Barkers, and Montgomerys.
David’s grandfather, son of Mary Ann, was sent to Wyoming by Brigham Young to create a settlement there. David himself was born in Wyoming. His father was offered a position as a Botany Professor at Weber State, so when David was in the sixth grade, they moved to North Ogden, bringing his family back to their roots.