The Radford Family came to Virginia from England in the middle 1600's. They settled in Virginia until about 1800 when they
started moving west. James Whitlock Radford and his wife Martha Petty moved to Cumberland County Kentucky with his family.
When their son John Whitlock Radford was born they were with some of the Petty family in Franklin County Tennessee. They
moved back to Kentucky until 1819 when they moved to Sangamon County Illinois. It was here that John received his schooling
and worked on his father's farm.
According to family tradition John married a lady named Jane Whyte in 1839 in Fayette County Illinois. In 1840 he was in Washington
County Illinois. Jane and John had two children when Jane divorced John on grounds of insanity because he joined a strange
cult, the Mormon Church. John moved to Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois, where he met Rachel Leah Smith Ross.
Rachel had been born in Gibson County Tennessee, the daughter of Richard Smith and Dianah Braswell. In 1837 she had married
Andrew Jackson Ross. They had two sons James Richard Ross and Melvin Ross. Andrew died in a logging accident leaving her
as a young widow. The extended Ross and Smith families joined the Mormon Church and moved to Nauvoo. Rachel and John were
married 6 April 1846 in Nauvoo.
The Radford's stayed in Nauvoo until September 1846 when they were forced to leave during the Battle of Nauvoo. They moved
to Louisa, Wapello, Iowa where their first daughter Nancy Jane was born. Catherine was born while they were living at Mt.
Pisquah, Harrison, Iowa. They were living in the Shirts Branch near Kanesville, Pottawattamie, Iowa in 1850 when they joined
the Aaron Johnson Wagon Train and went west. On the way their daughter Catherine died of Cholera and was buried beside the
As soon as they arrived in Utah they were sent to help settle in the Utah Valley. Soon after their arrival their first son
John Franklin was born. Two and a half years later Leah Ellen was born in Provo. After three years there they were sent to
the new State Capital of Fillmore to help build the State House.
In 1855 John married Polly Stevens as a plural wife. They had four daughters, Mary Elizabeth, Martha Jane, Mallissa, and
Estella. In 1863, Polly, Mary Elizabeth and Estella died. Rachel took the other two girls along with Polly's two children
by her first marriage to raise with her own children. While living in Fillmore their last three children Granville, Daniel
H. and Diana Rebecca were born. Granville died at the age of six months from chills and fever.
Saints from Fillmore were called in 1860 to establish at settlement at Deseret on the Sevier River. During the Blackhawk
Indian War, John was in charge of building a fort to protect the people from the Indian Raids. Severe flooding finally forced
the abandonment of Deseret in 1868. Most of the pioneers moved to Oak Creek to establish the new town of Oak City. In 1869
John married Mariam Elizabeth Sampson, they were later divorced.
In 1871 their daughter Nancy Jane married Thomas Morgan and moved to Leamington to help him settle a new community they would
call Leamington. John and Rachel moved with them. In 1880 they were living in Kanosh, Millard, Utah.
The Radford family in 1889 decided to relocate to Salt River Wyoming. When John was asked why he was going there to live
he replied. "I am going there to die with my family." On the 14 Dec 1889 John died and was buried near the present
community of Etna Wyoming. After two very hard years the rest of the family gave up and moved to Shelton Idaho to live where
in December of 1894 Rachel died. She was buried in the Ririe Shelton Cemetery, later her husband's body was moved and re-interred
beside her. Most of their family eventually settled in the Ririe Shelton area, where many of their descendants still live
John Whitlock Radford and Rachel Leah Radford
Click on the link above to view a picture of John Whitlock and Rachel Leah Radford.