Biography of Erastus Bingham: A Grandson of Capt. David Perry

      Some of David Perry's Descendants:        
Erastus Bingham

Grandson of Capt. David Perry
(1798, Concord, Essex, Vermont - 1882, Lynn, Weber, Utah)

by Denise G. Jones © 2002-2013
Copyright by Denise G. Jones extends to all three color photographs.

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Erastus Bingham was a Mormon pioneer. With roots in New England values, his family joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Vermont in 1833 and went west with the Saints. In so doing, they followed a road that would finally take them farther west than they dreamed, and leave them few of their original belongings. Their first resting place was in Kirtland, Ohio; then on to Far West, Missouri; LaHarpe, Illinois, and finally to Nauvoo, Illinois, arriving in 1845. While there, Erastus Bingham labored to help complete the Nauvoo Temple. When persecution forced the exodus of the Saints in the winter of 1846, the Bingham family joined a wagon train of 200 wagons in the Daniel Spencer/Ira Eldredge Company.• In a life sketch of his father, Erastus� eldest son Sanford wrote: �Erastus Bingham was made Captain of one hundred. They traveled Westward until they reached Council Bluffs, Iowa. [On the way,] the United States Government asked for 500 volunteers to fight in the war with Mexico�[and] two sons and a son-in-law of Erastus Bingham volunteered�[They] were recruited in the Mormon Battalion in Council Bluffs,� this, despite their inability to obtain redress of their grievances as a people, and despite an extermination order by a governor against them. Many of the Latter-day Saints were New Englanders, and all believed in the Constitution and in obeying the law. (�Life Sketch of Sanford Bingham,� ed. by Richard Bingham, Centerville, Utah.)

While the wagon train debated what to do for the winter, �a number of Indian chiefs of the Ponca Tribe passed by on their way home from an Indian Council.� The Ponca, who had a strong ethical standard, believed in being good to the old, orphans, and the needy. (James H. Howard, The Ponca Tribe, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995. p. 98). �They were very friendly and invited the travelers to go with them to their camping ground to a place called Swift Water near the Missouri River about 150 miles above or north of winter quarters,� a temporary winter settlement located in present-day Omaha, Nebraska where the main body of Saints were encamped. Over 600 children under age three died of illness and cold at Winter Quarters; many were buried in unmarked graves. It was a a heart-wrenching time for the Saints. �The Indians said the camping ground was good, with plenty of water and wood and feed for the animals which the white men were welcome to share. Erastus Bingham stood up on his wagon wheel and talked to the Saints, telling them that he proposed to obey the council of President Brigham Young, that he and his family would remain until spring and invited all to join with them in accepting the invitation of the Indians to share their camping ground. About one half of the company remained with Erastus Bingham.� The other half pressed on but were forced by lack of food to return. �The Ponca Indians were very kind to the families who were sharing with them their camping ground, even bringing meat for the most destitute families.

�In the spring, [the company] returned to Council Bluffs where [Erastus] was chosen a member of a committee to go into Missouri and secure wagons and supplies for the journey�across the plains. He bought provisions to last his family eighteen months. On the 11th of June, 1847, they left Council Bluffs," crossing the Elkhorn River and assembling at an outfitting post 27 miles west of Winter Quarters (now Omaha), Nebraska. When the wagon train headed westward on 17 June 1847, the company consisted of 170-plus people and 76 wagons. (See Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847�1868.•) Apparently it joined up with other companies until there were over 600 wagons in this grand exodus. With a view of the lush grasses growing on its shores, they traveled up the north side of the Platte River, following on the heels of Brigham Young's company, preparing the way for others who would follow. On July 18,1847, on the banks of the North Platte (shown in photo) just upriver from Grand Island, Nebraska, Erastus' son Sanford, crippled since birth, married a young woman from Kentucky orphaned by the Haun�s Mill Massacre,• and her mother�s death.

�The company was so large that it was organized with captains of tens, fifties, and hundreds to maintain and guarantee the best of order. [Erastus served as a captain of ten wagons.] Yet it was very unpleasant because it would be so late before the last wagon could start from camp in the morning and so late at night before it could get into camp. Two wagons traveled abreast, making two roads. The company divided near Laramie, Wyoming, and Erastus Bingham and family were with those in the lead.� (Source: Neil D. Bingham, �Life History of Erastus Bingham, Sr.,� in Desc. of Erastus Bingham and Lucinda Gates.)

This group of pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley � then part of Mexico, later the Utah Territory � on 19 September 1847. Erastus remained in Utah for the rest of his life, working a homestead as a farmer and rancher, first in Salt Lake City, then in the Ogden area to the north. His livestock grazed in what �is now known as Bingham Canyon.� His children and grandchildren helped settle Arizona, Idaho, and Mexico.

Erastus served as a bishop (a lay minister) in Ogden for 17 years. Erastus also fulfilled many civic duties. He served as associate judge of Weber County, had a seat in first territorial legislature, and served as a selectman, like his grandfather Capt. David Perry before him.

For a time, his family lived in Bingham�s Fort, which was named for him. His cabin and those of several sons were in the south-west corner of the fort, on what is now 2nd Street. (The fort ran East-West between Wall Ave. and the Ogden Defense Depot). In all around 50 families lived in the fort, which also housed a one-room school and a molasses mill. Today, his cabin is preserved in Lagoon�s Pioneer Village in Farmington, Utah (source: Gordon Q. Jones, 1995).

When Erastus Bingham and his family came west, they brought what treasures they could in a small trunk. It held records, and a small brown leather book, known as the Sally Bingham Album 1834. In it were recorded the names and birth dates of Erastus and Lucinda [Gates] Bingham and their children, and other family information. Sally (d: 23 Jan 1835, Kirtland, Ohio) was the widow of Erastus' brother Willard Bingham (d: c1830).1
One treasure, however, was lost to them, and to Bingham descendants for years to come. And that was Capt. Perry�s autobiography Recollections of an Old Soldier, printed in 1822. It is easy to see how a book as small as the 1822 edition is, could be left behind in the forced flight from Nauvoo, Illinois; or lost in a migration of so many miles. It is even possible that Erastus Bingham never owned a copy. His Grandfather Perry completed the manuscript the same spring that Erastus married Lucinda Gates in St. Johnsbury, Caladonia, Vermont. Their third child Erastus Jr. was born the year the book was published, and money was likely tight. The first of Erastus' descendants to know about the book were apparently contacted by Mary Emma Bogue Alden in the early 1900s when she began printing the book to share with all the Perry descendants she could find. They must have been delighted!

It is estimated that, through the line of Erastus Bingham, David Perry has several thousand descendants. Many, down through four generations, are listed extensively in The Descendants of Erastus Bingham and Lucinda Gates.


1   Erastus is often confused with his brother Willard Bingham (d: c1830), Erastus' name being given in many genealogies erroneously as Erastus Willard Bingham. Mrs. Sally Bingham was also the sister of Erastus' wife Lucinda, making Sally his sister-in-law twice over. In her album, Erastus middle name is given as Perry (using an inverted "v" to insert the name, spelled Pearry). However, Perry was the name of Erastus' eldest brother, so this was likely an error. As far as is known, none of the Bingham siblings were given middle names.
The Mrs. Sally Bingham Album 1834 is called a "notebook" in The Descendants of Erastus Bingham and Lucinda Gates, where it is reproduced in part. A microfilmed copy of the the original album is in the LDS Church Archives, which is housed in the Church Office Building, Salt Lake City, Utah. Erastus apparently began the album in 1834 shortly after he and his family joined the Church. It is said, in that source, that it �contains many parting thoughts and sentiments expressed to his [Erastus'] mother [sic.] Mrs. Sally Bingham.� (Neil D. Bingham, ibid.), that is, Mrs. Sarah or Sally [Perry] Bingham, the daughter of Capt. David Perry — an understandable mix-up. A perusal of the information for the album in the archive catalog verifies that the Mrs. Sally Bingham of the Album is indeed Erastus' sister-in-law not his mother.

Bingham, Neil D. "Life History of Erastus Bingham, Sr.� in The Descendants of Erastus Bingham and Lucinda Gates. Ogden, Utah: Bingham Family Corp, 1970. A copy of this book is in the FHL collections in Salt Lake City. Neil D. Bingham, was the son of Thomas S. Bingham, president of the Bingham Family Organization in 1970.) An electronic version is available on CD through Richard �Dick� Bingham at [ See• for his electronic edition. Family histories are in RICH text format.]
On Erastus Bingham and Lucinda Gates, see also Erastus Bingham the Patriarch ([email protected]).

On Bingham Canyon and Bingham Copper Mine, see:
Bingham Canyon• from the online Utah History Encyclodedia.
Bingham Canyon Copper Mine, UT, USA• at This site states: "Bingham Canyon copper the largest man-made excavation on earth...[It] is two-and-a-half miles wide and half a mile deep. It is one of the most efficient copper producing mines in the world.",• a site with Bingham Canyon and Bingham Copper Mine information.

To cite a page or article in Supplementary Pages:
Jones, D.G. "(put the name of the page or article here)." Supplement to The Captain David Perry Web Site. (date page was modified [see bottom of page], OR date accessed).
To cite a page or article in "Excerpts" pages:
Jones, D.G. "(put the name of the page or article here)." Excerpts from Recollections of an Old Soldier: The Life of Captain David Perry. Windsor, Vermont: 1822. Electronic edition, 1998. (date page was modified [see bottom of page], OR date accessed).
To quote David Perry's words from "Excerpts":
Perry, David. "Recollections of an Old Soldier: The Life of Captain David Perry." Windsor, Vermont: 1822.   Jones, D.G., ed. Electronic edition, 1998. The Captain David Perry Web Site. (put chapter or appendix number, or excerpts page title, here). (in parentheses, date page was modified [see bottom of page], OR date accessed).
For further information on citing internet sources, see:

To order a hard copy of Recollections click here


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