Son of Joshua and Hannah Bell Bracken
26 Jan 1844 - 1 Jul 1874
Researched and written by granddaughter - Vera Bracken Rolph
Aaron Bracken was born January 26, 1844, at Hartland, Niagara, New York. He was the son of Joshua and Hannah Bell Bracken.
His family had lived in the Sub-district of Longbenton, Tynemouth, Northumberland, England, when they first heard about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Two missionaries visited their home. Joshua and his wife were not satisfied with their own church. Joshua had prayed that they would find the right church. When the young missionaries explained their church, husband and wife were almost immediately convinced that it was right. As soon as possible they made plans to come to the United States.
I quote from Mary Ann Bracken's book - - "We left England and crossed the sea in 1841 with Brigham Young and others of the twelve apostles". The ship was called the Rochester. They set sail April 20, 1841. The birth certificate of the youngest daughter states the name was spelled Brackon. On the ship, the name is spelled Brickson. It lists Joshua Brickson as age 36 - a farmer; Hannah, age 30; Alice, age 9; Mary, age 7; and Bell, age 1. (An interesting fact is that two other Bell families came on the same ship.)
The ship entered the New York Harbor. After the family landed they went immediately to Niagara County, New York. (My belief is that they went to Joshua's father's place.) At one time we found a John Bracken and his wife, Ann, living in Niagara County in an old book. Later we went back to find the book again, but could not find it. We were told the book had been in such a poor condition that the Genealogical Library was trying to rebind it.
Of John and Ann Bracken -- Mary Ann Bracken Lee states, "Did endowments for John Bracken and his wife Ann, born in England and died in America." In doing the endowments of Joshua, it gives John and Ann Bracken as the parents. It also states - "Daniel McLaws baptized for John Bracken, November 17, 1903, his great grandfather - for his great uncle Joseph Harrington," In the Salt Lake temple. It also gives - "endowments for Ann Bracken, Juliette Zashariasan, endowments for Jane Bell, Janet A. Snodden. Sealing done for John Bracken, Ann, his wife, and for Joseph Harrington and Jane Bell and for Isaac Lee and Mary Bell. Also "Julia Mclaws to be baptized for Ann Bracken, have endowments for her who is dead, born in England, died in America." There are also some other entries of close relatives of Hannah Bell.
The family was in New York at least four years. William being born there in Somerset, October 25, 1842, and Aaron, my grandfather, being born in Hartland, January 26, 1844. To again quote Mary's entry - "Emigrated to America in 1841, settled in New York State, moved to Nauvoo in 1845. Left Nauvoo and started for Salt Lake, got as far as Mt. Pisgah. Father was taken very sick and was taken back to Fort Des Moines on the Iowa Des Moines River. He died there in 1848." "Came to Utah in 1852. Settled in Tooele."
Alice Bracken, Aaron's oldest sister, had married Cyrus Tolman in August of 1847 and settled in Tooele; so the family went directly to Tooele. They came in the James Snow Company and arrived in Salt Lake October 9, 1852.
Mary Ann Bracken married Isaac Lee, January 18, 1853, who had three little girls and his wife had died at Loops Fork on the journey west. She proved a wonderful mother to the three little girls.
When Catherine Bell Bracken decided to marry James Gollaher in the endowment house. Mary and Isaac Lee went along with them and they too were all endowed and sealed June 11, 1856.
William was married to Minnie Ahlstrom, December 12, 1863, but went to Salt Lake to the Endowment House, April 1, 1865. That was a real happy day in the family. William and Minnie were endowed and sealed, Hannah was sealed "to her dead husband". Elizabeth Lee was endowed and Aaron's best friend and his wife were endowed and sealed (Henry Kennington). Waiting outside very patiently was Aaron Bracken (we do not know why he did not go to the temple with the rest, apparently he intended to). He and Elizabeth had a civil marriage after they all came from the temple. William's wife's mother was also with them, Ingerbory Allstrom. She too was endowed.
Aaron and Elizabeth lived very happily. In a little over a year their first little daughter came to live with them for a short time. She lived eight months and died April 14, 1867. Their second child, Aaron Franklin Bracken, my father, was born January 12, 1869, at Tooele. They called him Franky while he was small and later, Frank.
A call came to settle Bear Lake Valley, especially the northwest part later known as Liberty, Idaho. Among the group were Aaron and Elizabeth and their son Aaron Franklin (Franky), Elizabeth's sister Eliza and her new husband, Lucius Hale, William Henry Kennington and a Beesley family. There may have been others. The wife of William Henry Kennington and Mrs. Beesley were sisters; however, the Beesley family moved back to Salt Lake.
This little group built homes and started fine farms. They settled there in 1870.
To Aaron's family was added a son. Isaac Lee Bracken was born March 14, 1871, in Liberty, Bear Lake, Idaho. A daughter, Hannah Bell Bracken was born there April 24, 1873, but sorrow again came to this little family when she died in January, 1874. This left the family with two sons.,
In the spring Aaron was up in the mountains cutting timber and by some accident a tree fell on him. He never recovered from this accident, as according to modern day interpretations, it damaged his lungs and being a healthy robust man, he still wasn't able to cope with the damage. His condition became hopeless. He was concerned about his family. He knew he could not get better, so he asked his best friend, William Henry Kennington, if he would "look out for them". Mr. Kennington promised that he would. Aaron died July 1, 1874. His death certificate states that he died of pneumonia. Some of the folks took his remains back to Tooele and he was buried in the Tooele Cemetery, July 12, 1874, beside his little daughter Marietta.
William Henry Kennington, being true to his word and the kind man that he was, married Elizabeth Lee Bracken. He stood proxy for Aaron Bracken and had Aaron and Elizabeth sealed for eternity; then he and Elizabeth were married for time.
In the summer of 1885, Elizabeth went with Henry Kennington and took her two sons over into Star Valley to cook for the men who accepted another call to move again and help settle Star Valley, Wyoming. Uncle Lu Hale went too. They prepared land and built homes and returned to Liberty, Idaho, that fall. The following spring they moved their families there, 1886.
Aaron Franklin (Frank) Bracken moved with his mother to Afton, Wyoming, also his younger brother, Isaac Lee Bracken died in 1900 at Afton.
Frank Bracken lived with his mother part of the time and part of the time with his grandfather, Isaac Lee for the next three years. Isaac Lee was living down in the "Lower Valley". Here Frank met and married Amelia Bracken.
At present (1973), Aaron Bracken has 25 great grandchildren, 12 boys of which bear his Bracken name.
Someone finding the children of Joshua and Hannah Bell Bracken had not been sealed to their parents, had them sealed February 15, 1959. There were errors on the sheet and it had been recopied and sent in by numerous descendants. It gives Hannah Bell Bracken married to Peter Drubay. She was the daughter of James and Catherine Bell Bracken Gollaher. Her full name was Hannah Bell Bracken Gollaher and she was married to Peter Drubay. She was a granddaughter to Hannah Bell and Joshua Bracken. Franky Bracken is also an error on the same sheet. He too was a grandson.
One source, the Toleman's state that Alice Bracken Tolman said she had two younger brothers and one older one. There is a five-year space between Mary Ann and Catherine where another child might have been born, but he would have died in England before the family came to the United States. Perhaps someone will find him in the English records.
Also there is no proof that Ann, John Bracken's wife's maiden name was Reed or that John Bracken and his wife Ann both died in England.
Another bit of information. Mary Lee states her mother died at Marion, Idaho. She is buried at Tooele, Utah. She is buried on the same lot as William bracken, her son.