Our Britton and Wilde Ancestors

         A Brief History of Martha Elmina Norton

Martha Elmina Norton was born 12 September 1846 in Keosaugua, Iowa which is a small community in Van Buren County, located about 40 miles west of Nauvoo, Illinois on the banks of the Des Moines River.

Her parents Alanson Norton and Sally Freeman had left Nauvoo with others of the Saints to escape severe persecution. Nauvoo was once a beautiful city of peace and refuge, but had become a hotbed of turmoil . One can only imagine how Martha’s parents must have felt having to leave Nauvoo, knowing that they were soon to have a child born in the wilderness.

They continued on west across Iowa and Alanson established a temporary community called Little Pigeon about 130 miles east of Council Bluffs. Church leaders thought it necessary to create these communities between Nauvoo and Council Bluffs to raise crops and provide resting areas for other Saints that would follow. Thus, baby Martha Elmina remained there for a time with her parents before they headed on west, departing from Kanesville (present day Council Bluffs) in the spring of 1851. After spending the entire summer on the trail they arrived in the Salt Lake Valley 17 September 1851 with the John G. Smith Company.

Alanson Norton initially settled his family in Provo. It was here that Martha lost her mother 22 January 1852 at the age of 34 of childbed fever. Martha was only 5 years old at this time. Her father did not remarry until almost 4 years later on 3 November 1855. Her step-mother’s name was Julia Ann Williams. Martha would have then been 9 years old. In 1856 Alanson moved his family to Sugar House just south of Salt Lake City, Utah. Martha Elmina Norton was baptized there in 1857.

Martha met Thomas Hewlett Wilde (son of Henry Brown Wilde and Sarah Hewlett) and they were married 15 June 1862 in Coalville, Summit, Utah. At the time of their marriage Martha was almost 16 years old and Thomas was 21.

Martha Elmina and Thomas Hewlett Wilde made their home in Coalville and were blessed with their first child 4 June 1863 whom they named Thomas Henry Wilde, Martha being 16 at the time. Two years later they had another son 6 August 1865 and they named him Albert Alanson Wilde. A third son Jacob Henry Wilde was also born to them there in Coalville 8 January 1867. Unfortunately, however, he died as an infant.

During that period of history in the church there were select members of the church who were called upon to take part in plural marriage. Thomas Hewlett Wilde was one of these righteous men who was asked to do this, which he did. Thus, on 5 July 1870 in the Salt Lake Endowment House he married Louisa Jane Carter (age 17), daughter of Simeon Dagget Carter and Louisa Holland Gibbons.

On this day Martha also received her endowments in the Endowment House and she and Thomas were sealed for eternity, they previously being married civilly for 8 years.

Martha was 23 at this time and Thomas was 29. On the 1st of September 1873, Thomas married his third wife Sarah Jensen (age 17) in the Endowment House. Sarah was the daughter of Mads Christian Jensen and Maren Hansen.

Martha was almost 28 years old when Sarah came into the family. Thomas held the family together well and they lived in great harmony.

He and Martha had no more children until Thomas had married both Louisa and Sarah. Sometime between 1867 and 1874 the family moved to Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah. It was here that Martha’s other children were born: Lawrence Brown Wilde 11 Oct 1874, Milton Leonard Wilde 27 Dec 1878, Louise Elmina Wilde 22 February 1881, Emma Marie Wilde 5 Feb 1883, and Joseph Henry Wilde 18 January 1886. The date of Joseph’s birth must be incorrect, however, since Martha passed away in 1885 in Mink Creek and also they were no longer living in Brigham City at that time, as they had moved to Mink Creek, Idaho some time prior to February of 1884. 

Martha and her family re-located to Mink Creek, Franklin, Idaho around 1883 and her husband helped set up a sawmill in the mountains. It was here at Mink Creek that Martha Elmina Norton Wilde passed away 15 June 1885 at the age of 38. I don’t know the reason for her passing at such a young age.

 This story was compiled by Mary A., direct descendant of Thomas Hewlett Wilde’s uncle William Wilde.  This headstone photo was shared by Doran Wilde.


"History of Alanson Norton" by the Daughter of the Utah Pioneers

"Histories of Althea Marie Norton" taken from writings of Clara Lewis Hall 

“Memories of My Dear Father Thomas Hewlett Wilde” by Evelyn Wilde Heath