Twitchell Family Genealogy Forum
I just now discovered the Twitchell Forum and was extremely surprised and excited about it.
This last year I have been doing some research on this part of the family. It's been really interesting but I never expected to find anything like this! I live in Ben Lomond, near Santa Cruz, and not too far from San Juan Bautista, one of my favorite towns to visit. When I was a boy we used to drive through San Juan on our way to Hollister and the Baker family ranch 20 miles south of Hollister where my Dad and family grew up. This ranch is less than 2 miles up the San Benito R. from the old Jasper Henry Lawn ranch, my gg-grandfather, and the grandson of Joshua Twitchell. His mother (my ggg-grandmother) was Eunice Corintha Twitchell who came out with the rest of the Twitchell family from Macomb Ill. in 1848 and 1849 in a wagon driven by 9 and 10 yr. old Jasper Henry Lawn, her eldest son. Eunice died on July 25, 1881 in San Juan. Her first husband was John Lawn (Long) from Glasgow, Scotland who fought in the Mexican War. He died in 1847 in Macomb. He was a talented Mason and stone-carver who did the drawings and much of the carving of the baptismal font of the Mormon Temple at Nauvoo, Ill. He also was one of the guards at Carthage, Ill. for Governor Ford's militia holding Joseph Smith and Byrum Smith in the jail when they were killed and martyred. He overheard Byrum Smith telling another guard to read a chapter in the Bible of Revelations, the night before the Smiths were killed. He came home that night and turned down the corner of that page in the family Bible which his son Jasper Henry still had in 1908 when he wrote his autobiography in Hollister for the Bretheren of the 5th Quorum of the Reorganized Church of LDS. He joined the church in 1873 six years after buying a 186 acre farm in Mulberry close to my family's ranch. He became an ordained elder the next year and spent the rest of his life up until his autobiography as a traveling Brother. His mother has a headstone in S.J. Bautista that reads Eunice Corintha Hallowell, Mother of J.H. Lawn, Mother of 12 children. Benjamin Hallowell was her third husband. Silas Beckwith was her 2nd whom she married June 22, 1849 two days after arriving at Sutter's Fort. He was a neighbor who had come across the plains in their wagon train. They had 4 children. She had 3 with Hallowell. Since J.H. Lawn writes only of her first child, a girl that died before they went west and his two younger brothers, it is still a mystery to me who the 12th child was. He could be a 6 yr. old boy named John listed in the Ca. 1850 census under the Beckwith name. That listing has Beckwith, Corintha, Eunice, 30, OH., Henry (Jasper who went by Henry) 11, Ill., Jas., 9, Ill., John, 6 Ca., Lorenzo, 5 Ill., S.G. 20 In. (Silas ?) and Sam B. 30 N.Y. (maybe a brother of Silas?) I've always wondered why Eunice Ursula, Joshua Twitchell's wife was not listed under the Twitchell family name in the Ca. 1850 census. Another confusing thing about the S.J.B. cemetary is in the plot of Twitchells that includes Jasper Harrison Twitchell, the son of Joshua and a Blacksmith, Lime Kiln operator and founder of a ranch in the San Juan Canyon as well as the builder of an historical 1860 house on the walking tour of SJ.B. near Dona Ester's Restaurant. There is the simple flat headstone of Ursula Twitchell with very worn dates of 1807-1903. I wonder who this was? Most of my information comes from J.H. Lawn's autobiography. Have you read this? It's 39 pages of single spaced type written in 1908 when J.H. Lawn was 69. He was born April 9 1839 and died Dec.18, 1919. He and his family are very well known in Mormon history of Ca. Three or four of his sons became presidents and founders of various branches of their church. Joshua Twitchell's brother Ephraim Twitchell left S.J.B. in 1854 to help start the church in San Bernardino. My copy of J.H.'s autobiography is very poor and hard to read, some of it so faint that you have to use a magnifying glass. An old mimeographed copy. I'm thinking of asking the LDS people in Hollister if they have a copy I can copy. There is some fascinating accounts of life in Sutter's Fort and a short description of an Indian attack and an Indian's arrow that whizzed right by J.H.'s head and killed an ox as he was unyoking him (near Truckee). His family wouldn't let him recover the bow and arrows after the lone sniper Indian was killed because "my mother and all the camp called me back in the fear there might be other Indians skulking near." J.H. Lawn's 5th child Lucinda Imogens (they called Emma) was my great-grandmother, born 18 miles south of Hollister at the farm in 1869 and died in 1895 leaving two very young sons Orley Baker and Glenn Baker, my grandfather and great Uncle. She was the only child of 11 that had passed away by the year 1908 when the history was written. We're fortunate that the Mormons are into genealogy and strongly encourage the Elders to write their stories.
Thanks so much for the information you posted. It's really helpful. I would like to trace the Twitchells back farther. I read in the Portage Co., OH. history of the area around Ravenna and that part of the Cuyahoga river in N.E. OH of an Arba Twitchell who was one of the first arrivals in that NW. Indian Reserve to begin clearing land in the wilderness about 1812 I believe. I'll have to reread that book because I believe it is possible Arba and his family were closely related to Joshua Twitchell from the facts given. There is I've heard one elderly lady from the Twitchell family still living in S.J.B. I heard her maiden name is Twitchell and had her house pointed out to me, so I must drive over and meet her soon. Can't put that off! I would love to hear your relation to Joshua T. I've got more history if you're interested and would be happy to share what I've found. Lots of interesting bits and pieces such as Amos Ray Lawn, great grandson of the S.J.B. patriarch Joshua T., who was born in 1888, became a chiropractor and one of the first practicioners in Watsonville renting one of the most famous Victorians on East Lake Av. in Watsonville, the old Tuttle house built in 1899. Probably just as well Amos Ray didn't have the Twitchell name as a Twitchell in the Tuttle house might have hurt his new business. It seems likely that A.R. was greatly influenced by his father's ability with being an instrument for healing through the custom of laying on of the hands and praying all through the night in times of grave health crisis. He helped to deliver many of his people from near death that way. So A.R. must have been inspired to be a healer through a different kind of laying on of the hands.
I hope to hear from you, and thanks again for all your work for the Twitchells. I'm proud to be one. Our phone # is 831-336-5717 and the address is Jack Baker 205 Willowbrook Dr., Ben Lomond, Ca. 95005