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John and Martha Cozzens


Information comes from Emily Almira Rich in the History of Bear Lake Pioneers and has been condensed.


John Cozzens, was born 17 May 1833 at High Cross South Wales, the son of James Cozzens and Diana Thomas.  His father worked in the coal mines, where he was accidentally killed at the age of 37.  John had very little schooling and went to work in the mines as his father had.  At the age of 19 he married his cousin, Martha Cozzens on 5 July 1856 and during the same year, he heard the missionaries and they both accepted the gospel.  They left for America  from Liverpool on 19 Apr 1856 on the ship Samuel Curling and arrived in Boston 23 June.  From here they traveled by rail to Iowa City, made handcarts and arrived in Salt Lake City 2 Oct.

The settled in Hyrum and lived here until the fall of 1863 when they moved to the Bear Lake Valley, spending the winter in Paris under the direction of the Apostle Charles C Rich.  John Cozzens with two other men, sawed the first lumber in the valley with a whip saw. It was used in building the meeting house in Paris.  They also made seats out of slabs.  In the early spring of 1864 he and several others crossed Bear River to the east side of the valley and located on what was then called Clover Creek, later to be called Montpelier.  John Cozzens was called to preside over the settlers and was approved by President Rich.  Early in the year of 1870, Martha divorced John, moved to Evanston Wyoming, married and lived to be quite old. They did not have any children.

On 5 July 1870 John married Emily Almira Merrill and Sarah Jane Perkins in Salt Lake City.

Children of John Cozzens and Emily Almira Merrill

1. Emily Almira Cozzens b-7 May 1871 in Montpelier; d-6 Jan 1954 in Ogden
2. James Dudley Cozzens b-26 Feb 1873 in Montpelier; d-23 June 1901
3. William Ernest Cozzens b-19 June 1876 in Montpelier; d-14 Jan 1938 in Montpelier
4. Lucy Cozzens b-19 Dec 1877 in Montpelier; d-4 May 1879
5. Oren Mose Cozzens b-15 Jan 1881 in Montpelier; d-9 Feb 1968
6. Mark Cozzens b-9 July 1883 in Montpelier; d-13 Apr 1949 in Ogden
7. Earl Lavon Cozzens b-7 Aug 1888 in Montpelier; d-30 Oct 1969

Children of John Cozzens and Sarah Jane Perkins

1. John William Cozzens b-3 Feb 1873 in Montpelier; d-26 Sep 1916 in Lovel Wyoming
2. Sarah Dianna Cozzens b-24 Feb 1875 in Montpelier; br-26 Apr 1949
3. Matthew Cozzens b-21 Sep 1878 in Montpelier; d-17 Oct 1969 in Powell Wyoming
4. David Richard Cozzens b-25 Aug 1882 in Montpelier; d-12 Aug 1965 in Salt Lake City
5. Luke Cozzens b-6 Feb 1884 in Montpelier; d-16 Oct 1906
6. Joseph Francis Cozzens b-22 May 1886 in Montpelier; d-26 Feb 1964 in Powell Wyoming
7. Paul Cozzens b-19 Nov 1888 in Montpelier; d-19 Oct 1960
8. Milton Jesse Cozzen b-3 Apr 1891 in Fairview Wyoming; d-22 Jan 1923
9. Martha Lepries Cozzens b-12 July 1894 in Montpelier; d-21 Oct 1955
9. Golden Cozzens b-24 July 1896 in Montpelier; d-19 Apr 1907

In the early days John did freighting from Montpelier to Evanston and other forts. He owned a large hand coffee mill and this was used to grind grain for the colony before grist mills were built.  For several winters he carried the United States mail from Montpelier to Soda Springs.  It was under his presidency that the town of Montpelier was laid out, ditches made, fields fenced and cultivated, roads and bridges built.  He operated the first ferry across Bear River between Montpelier and Paris and through his influence the Montpelier Co-op Store was organized.  With Joseph M Phelps they graded contract work between Montpelier and Soda Springs for the Oregon Short Line Railroad.

In 1890 John was arrested for living in plural marriage and served six months in the Boise penitentiary with a fine of $300.  On his return home in May 1890 he and Sarah Jane and family moved to Big Horn Wyoming.  In early September 1905 he was stricken with typhoid fever and died 13 Oct 1905.  He son Luke died the same night.  Emily died 2 Aug 1923 in Montpelier and Sarah Jane died 10 Feb 1925 in Billings Montana.


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