Eliza Jane Adair

Eliza Jane Adair
(photo courtesy of
Delbert Adair, Jr.)

Husbands: Samuel Carson
Moses Pearson
John Price
11 Children:
John Carson (1830-1830)
Valentine Carson (1831-1898)
Elizabeth Carson (1833-1901)
William Carson (1835-1847)
Margaret Jane Pearson (1839-?)
Rebecca Ann Price (1845-1929)
George Thomas Price (1847-1896)
John Wesley Price (1849-1849)
Hyrum Wylie Price (1851-1872)
Joseph Smith Price (1853-1932)
Eliza Jane Price (1857-1860)
Father: Thomas Jefferson Adair
Mother: Rebecca Brown
Show Pedigree
Eliza Jane Adair was a persevering pioneer woman who was born on 11 Nov 1811 in West Carthage, Tenn. She was one of eleven children, all of whom survived childhood, which was unusual in those days. The family moved several times in her youth, also living in South Carolina, where her older brother Samuel had been born, Indiana where her brother Thomas was born, and in Alabama where her youngest sisters were born, and where they apparently settled down. Her father ran a large cotton plantation.

She married Samuel Carson and had four children by him in Carrollton, Pickens County, Alabama. Her first child John Carson lived only a few months, but the others survived. Then her husband died on her baby William's first birthday. She remarried to Moses Pearson and they had a daughter Margaret, also born in Pickens County.

Later Eliza married John B. Price in about 1844. They soon heard the restored gospel of Jesus Christ taught and Eliza was the first of her siblings to be baptized into the church, along with her husband John, on her 33rd birthday. Most of the rest of her brothers and sisters followed within the next two months. John and Eliza's first child, Becky Ann, was born in Pickens County in 1845. They then relocated to be with the saints in Nauvoo, Illinois. Her mother Rebecca Brown Adair also joined the church and came with them.

When persecution drove the saints west, the Price and Adair families went with them. Eliza gave birth to George in van Buren county Iowa in 1847, but her son William Carson died that year at age 12. They suffered greatly at Mount Pisgah, Iowa where her mother died and her brother Thomas Adair lost his wife Fanny and two of his four children. Many of their relatives died there, but Eliza's son Valentine Carson later married Thomas's surviving daughter, Mary Ann Adair. John and Eliza's third child John was born there in 1849 but he only lived 8 months and died in December of that year.

Finally the opportunity to join the saints in Utah came, and they crossed the plains in 1851. Hyrum was born to them in Iowa just as they began the trip in April. In Salt Lake City, she and John had their marriage sealed for eternity in 1852, and on 2 Jul 1853 Joseph (Jode) was born to them there. But the adventure of crossing the plains was only the beginning of their pioneering efforts. At the October conference of the church in 1856, Brigham Young called ten families from the Southern States to found a community at a place he named Washington to grow cotton in southern Utah. This would be the first "Cotton Mission." Jacob Hamblin had shown earlier that year that cotton could be raised there. During the preparation for the move, Eliza gave birth to her last daughter, Eliza Jane Price in January, 1857.

The ten families called included John and Eliza's and also the families of all of her living siblings: Samuel, Thomas, George, and John Adair, and her sister Mary Ann Mangum and her husband John Mangum. Samuel Adair headed the group which left on March 3, 1857 and arrived the following April 15. Thus, six of the original ten families were those of the Adair siblings. Their father had run a large cotton plantation, so they were well prepared to head the Cotton Mission.

Twenty-eight more families were called in April to join them that summer. Soon her son Valentine Carson and his wife Mary Ann Adair Carson, who was her niece, also joined them. They called the area "Dixie", which name still refers to all of that area of Southern Utah, including St. George which was founded four years later.

Many serious problems plagued the new community. Many of them contracted malaria from the mosquitos there, but the cause was then unknown. They also got typhoid and dysentery from bad water. The ground was very alkaline which made it hard to grow cotton. Several families left after the discouraging first season. Three years lated, Eliza's daughter Eliza died before reaching her fourth birthday. Another very discouraging factor was their inability to tame the Virgin River for irrigation, which defied all attempts. It broke their dams seven times in their first three years there. In late 1861 when the group who were going to settle St. George passed through, Robert Gardner wrote that seeing the Washington saints "tried me more than anything I have seen in my Mormon experience. Thinking that my wives and children, from the nature of the climate, would have to look as sickly as those now around me..." He noted how they were as blue as the homemade, weed-dyed cotton clothes they wore, and were all shaking with Malaria.

Even as late as 1889, the dam gave way. Many inhabitants left at that time and the population dropped from about 600 to only 300. But Eliza lived to see a new dam completed in 1891 which finally succeeded. Cotton was no longer grown much after the arrival of the railroad, which brought inexpensive cotton from the South, but Washington City has continued to grow from that time, and is now thriving at 7,000, the legacy of these indefatigable familes. Eliza died in Washington, Utah, on 16 Aug 1892 at the age of 80, having been faithful to the mission where she was called.