James Woolstenhulme was born in 1837 in Oldham, Lancashire, the oldest son of Alice Mellor and John Woolstenhulme.
James’s father died when he was six years old, leaving Alice with four small children to raise. Within the year both she and seven-year-old James were working in the Lancashire cotton factories.
That same October the Lower House Mill – where James worked – collapsed, killing twenty workers.
In 1849 his mother married William George Rhodes and she, her new husband and the younger children emigrated to the US. James had been accepted as a pupil at the Oldham Blue Coat School and, funds being limited for the family’s emigration, he remained in England to continue his education.
In 1851 James sailed for America on the Olympus and was baptized on board. On the same ship was seven-year-old Julia Duhamel, who was to be his second wife.
He left St Louis in 1852 and connected with the Phillip De La Mars company who were taking machinery to Utah to manufacture beet sugar.
Arriving in Salt Lake City, James lived with the Crosby family until he was twenty-one, when he was asked to leave. He married Mary Love Page and joined the Davis County Mountain Rangers.
The couple moved to Provo, and then to Camp Floyd. They had two children but their son, Ryan Jimmie, died in 1863. Around this time Mary left Utah, taking their daughter Elva with her.
About the same time James married Julia Mary Ann Duhamel, the girl he had met on the Olympus.
They lived in Battle Creek for a while, and Julia lived in a wagon box until just before the birth of their first child, James Albert, in 1863. They moved to Kamas Valley permanently in 1865, where James helped build the fort, and worked for Samuel Hoyt and Louis Smith for a while, before opening his own sawmill business.
In around 1869, James received word that Mary Love Page had returned to Utah with his daughter, and wanted James to come for her. By this time he and Julia had four children. He built a home for the family on his homestead and eventually built two homes for his two wives: Mary’s on the west side of the road and Julia’s on the east.
In November 1887 he was arrested, fined $65 and served six months imprisonment in the Utah penitentiary for unlawful cohabitation.
He was County Commissioner for Summit County for several years, served as High Priest, and President of the 22nd Quorum of Seventies. He died in 1914. Mary Love died in 1919 and Julia in 1926. They are all buried in Marion.
- Chronicling America
- Beverly Bemis