Story found in home of Maxine McRae Layton:
Charles G Beirdneau was born and grew to manhood some where in France. In those days if anyone expressed his political views against the Monarchy, he was subject to death by guillotine in the public square. He(Charles) expressed his views and soon learned the officers were looking for him, so he left France as a stowaway on a boat bound for Canada. The sailors were very good to him. While crossing, the Captain discovered he was on board and asked what he was doing there. He told his story. The Captain believed him and gave him a job on the boat as one of the crew. They landed somewhere in Canada.
He then emigrated to the United States and down to Galipossito ( maybe Gallia?, county seat Gallipolis) County, Ohio. He was a steam engineer at the salt works. He fell in love and married a young widow,Mrs Zebiah McCallow McDonald, who had two or three children. Two of the children were named Wm and John McDonald. To this union, two children were born. They were Nehemiah Wood born Feb 2, 1824, and Sarah (called Betsy). They lived in Ohio until the Civil War. He joined the Yankee or Northern side. For awhile his wife heard from him, then the letters stopped. After the war they searched for him but could find no trace. Evidently he fell in battle. His wife Zebiah was married a third time to a Mr. Stoker. To this union there were at least four boys, namely: John, Joe, Jeriod, and Dave Stoker. There may have been other children.
Nehemiah Wood Beirdneau grew to manhood in Ohio, was converted and baptized into the Mormon Church. He met America Ann Steel. They were married and emigrated to Illinois. He belonged to the Nauvoo Legion, which was trained by Prophet Joseph Smith. He was a body guard to the Prophet, and he together with Tom and Price Nelson stood guard over the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum Smith while they were lying in state.
While in Nauvoo, he and several others went to volunteer for service in the Mormon Battalion, but found the quota had already been reached.President Brigham Young made this statement to the Battalion: “They have taken the flower of the Mormon Church, but if you men live your religion, and say your prayers morning and night, you will never have to fire a gun.” When they were coming to the place where Tucson Arizona now stands, they could see the smoke of the battle, but upon reaching there, they found the battle was over.They never did fire at the enemy.
He was with the Saints during their persecutions and sufferings in Illinois and Missouri, and emigrated to Winter Quarters. There he rigged up two yokes of oxen and a wagon, and emigrated to Utah with the James S Brown Company. At that time they had four children. They were: Clara, Sally, Etta, and Will.
They reached Salt Lake in 1848. While there, he met Mary Bird Ferrell and they were married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake. He then moved to Logan and helped settle the country. To this union came six sons, namely: Charles Nehemiah, George Hyrum, John Joseph, David Wm., Enoch Louise and Lionel Ferrel.
He was a blacksmith by trade and was the foreman for tempering and sharpening the tools that were used for cutting the blue lime rock used in building the Logan Temple. When the polygamy question came up, he was called on a mission to Saint Johns, Arizona to help colonize and settle the country. He and his wife Mary and family left Logan June 4, 1884. His first wife America Ann and family remained in Logan. They left Logan traveling the main highway through Brigham City, Salt Lake, Provo and Panguich, and then to Little’s Ranch. There they learned the Big Colorado was so high it was impossible to ferry across and as there was plenty of Prairie grass and feed for the oxen,they remained for six weeks. Sometime in July, they left Little’s Ranch and started on. Upon reaching the river, they found it still so swollen the operators of the Ferry wouldn’t attempt to take the ferry across. Finally it was decided to swim the cattle and by tying two boats together, the wagons could be loaded on them. After taking the boats and wagons up stream about a half mile, they started across, but a hard wind struck the cover of the wagon and turned the boats back to the shore they had started from. They then took the boats and wagons back up stream about three-quarters of a mile. This time they removed the covers from the wagons and made it all right. They journeyed on to Winslow, Woodruff, and Snowflake. When they left Salt Lake they turned in the grain they had, received an order for it, and they were able to receive grain and flour along the way as they needed it.
On November 29, 1884, they reached Pima, Arizona. They lived in Pima and did Blacksmith work for a while. A little later, they bought a small mill and ground flour. About this time President Christopher Layton moved from Saint David and settled in the upper part of the valley about where Thatcher Arizona is now located. The Birdno family sold their business and bought from President Layton about 160 acres of farm land about half way between where Thatcher and Safford Arizona are now located. Here the family settled until after the children were grown and married.
David, the fourth son, worked on the farm part time, and together with Charles and George hauled lumber from the Graham Mountains. In 1890 he started driving stage for President Christopher Layton between Bowie and Fort Thomas taking two days to make the trip. He made this run for two years, then took the run from Bowie to Globe for another year. During the three years he drove stage, he never failed to make the run, was never held up, and never more than one hour late on any run. He then quit driving stage and hauled the freight between Wilcox and Globe for several years. During this time, he met Millie May Haws and they were married in Pima, August 29, 1894, with Bishop John Taylor performing the ceremony.
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