written by Violet Exeter Pickett, in the family book of Royal Pickett
Court Call 1856-1863. The Smallpox Epidemic took the toll of many lives among the early settlers. It became necessary for the counties to hire guards to search out the homes where there were Smallpox victims. The guards were to weigh the feather beds and burn them, then send a complete report to the County agents.
2 April 1858. George Pickett died of Smallpox, St. Louis, Missouri.
3 March 1858. Priscilla Clark Pickett, relict of George Pickett Dec'd, m (2) William Armstrong Pickett (elder brother of George). The marriage took place in the SLC office of Brigham Young and by him, and witnessed by Brigham Young and C.D. Calder. This marriage was short lived, and apparently the divorce was easy to obtain.
Priscilla was an "ornery Character" and she made up her mind to leave William and join a group of Saints leaving for California, taking with her Maria Louisa and William's unborn child. The 1870 Carson, Nevada census shows George to be 9 years old and born in California (which would make George Pickett born: 1861). It is not known how long Priscilla lived in California, but she was living in Carson, Nevada at the time of her death and today the Nevada Interstate Highway runs over her grave.
30 June 1862. Priscilla Clark Pickett m (3) William Wilford, of Carson, Nevada, a man of great means, and to this union three children were born: Sarah, William Jr., and Lillia (Lily) Wilford. It was on a peddling trip that William Wilford Sr. became the victim of Smallpox. Leaving his home, money and insurance to his wife. This caused contention and friction between his families and friends and many money disputes were angrily discussed which ended in a conspiracy and the life of Priscilla C. Wilford.
5 July 1869. Priscilla Clark Wilford's death. It was on the eve of her death that she was persuaded by those she had believed were her friends, to let her children stay with their relatives this night. Maria Louisa was to stop at the store the next morning and purchase a list of items for her mother. When Louisa entered the store, she overheard two men talking to the store-keeper and before she was noticed standing there, one of the men said, "Well, it was done." The conversation which Louisa had heard had very little meaning to her, until she arrived home and found her mother face down on the floor with a large butcher knife in her back. She pulled the knife from her mother's body and placed it in a large box, where it remained for years.
The Carson, Nevada Trial and Lawsuit lasted 14 to 15 years, the murderers were tried and sentenced. The Nevada Courts settled what was left of the Estate, Maria Louisa and George Pickett were each awarded $300. Sarah, William Jr. and Lillia (Lily) Wilford were each awarded $300. (Note: This account is in conflict with others posted on this site – Roger)
Maria Louisa Pickett was a woman of few words and had very little to say about her mother, or her youth. The story of her mother's death is the way she had related it to her children.
Maria Louisa had a small and beautiful bone structure and she wasn't a pretty woman, BUT HER FACE SHOWED CHARACTER! Her life was not an easy one and when her problems became heavy she would draw within herself and ponder the importance of them, but never would she discuss them with others. Louisa was quick witted and sharp tongued which many felt the weight of, especially those who criticized others. She admired common sense and honesty, and being a deep thinker and a scholar she was self educated and taught school, also the younger children in Sunday-school, being one of the few adults to ever attend Sunday-school in those days. While living in Utah Louisa took a course in Tailoring, Fitting and Pattern-making and she became an excellent seamstress and made all the saints' burial clothes.
Everybody that knew Maria Louisa Pickett had this to say: "She was a remarkable woman and she was far ahead of her times."
In the summer of 1882. Many Saints left Toole, Utah and came to the new Mormon settlement in Marion, Idaho and the Tolman families joined these immigrants. The trip took three weeks by wagons and teams, it being mid-summer the days were hot and the roads dusty. The slow pace of this wagon train was a mighty hard journey on Mannie Pickett, a lad of five years. He loved to tell his children of this experience, as he remembered it. Soon after the immigrant train left Tooele, Mannie began to watch for the new Mormon settlement in Idaho. Day after day he watched for a sign that would mean they would be in sight of their new home, until he lost patience and interest. Whenever he would ask anyone, "How much farther?" Their answer would be, "Not very many miles!"
However in due time the wagontrain arrived in Marion, Idaho and the travelers were soon settled and busy. Now that the school teacher had arrived, the most important business to attend to, was a school building. Louisa had agreed to cook their dinner each day until the building was finished and she would be able to start her classes. The men became so involved with their building that they forgot about eating. Louisa waited until she was sure the meal would be a disaster, then she told Mannie to go and tell the men to come to dinner. The small fellow started out on a run, but when he reached the hot and dusty road and was near enough to see the men at work about 1/2 mile away, he stopped and pondered the distance to that school house; then he turned on his heels and went back to his mother. "I'm not going," he declared, "It's not very many miles to that school house, but it'll take me a week to walk there!"
The above information was given to me by my beloved father-in-law (Mannie Pickett) and he read and approved of it. 1968. Written by Violet Exeter Pickett, wife of Royal Pickett, son of Mannie.