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Danielson Buran Barney
Born: September 14, 1831, in Amherst, Ohio
Died: [date? – see footnote 8]
Marriage: (1) Laura Matthews, on April 23, 1857
(2) Sophia Arkansas Hulsey, January 6, 1885
Father: Edson Ballou Barney, a member of Zion’s Camp
Mother: Lillis Ballou Barney
Childhood Spent Among the Early Saints
Danielson Buran Barney was born 14 September 1831 in Amherst, Ohio. His parents, Edson and Lillis Ballou Barney, had converted to the LDS faith in the spring of that same year. The family moved several times during Danielson’s childhood in company with the early Saints, the first move taking them to Kirtland, Ohio, following his father’s return from Zion’s Camp.i While living in Kirtland, young Danielson attended school inside the Kirtland Temple for a time.ii
By 1846, however, the family had moved to Nauvoo, Illinois, where Danielson was baptized in the Mississippi River by the Prophet Joseph Smith. Danielson and his family were eyewitnesses to the mob violence that escalated against the Prophet and the Church in Missouri. It is told that once Danielson sat on the gate outside his Nauvoo home all day watching for the mob to come in search of the Prophet, who was sequestered beyond the Buran family farm. Thankfully, however, the mob never appeared that day.iii Nevertheless, Danielson and his family were forced, along with the rest of the Nauvoo Mormons, to leave behind their farm during the exodus of 1846. They then spent the winter at Winter Quarters and eventually moved to Potwattamie County, Iowa.
Danielson was approximately seventeen years of age when he helped to blaze a trail that to guide immigrants to Salt Lake City.iv He and his family then crossed the plains and settled in Provo, Utah. They endured the grasshopper invasion of 1855, in which most of the early settlers’ crops were destroyed. Danielson was a soldier in the Black Hawk War, and afterwards served a mission to Ohio where he met and converted his future wife, Laura Mathews.v They were married in Wisconsin on April 23, 1857, and became the parents of ten children.
Over the course of the next twenty years, Danielson’s family moved several times in response to calls he received under President Brigham Young’s leadership to help colonize new places. First came a call to St. George, Utah, where he assisted in the building of the temple there, he being a sawmill man by trade. After that, Danielson was called to move to Pine Valley, Utah, where he and his growing family lived for several years. In 1879, he was called to settle in Arizona. En route to Arizona he became part of the Hole-in-the-Rock expedition.
According to a letter written by his daughter in later years, Danielson accomplished the descent through the “Hole” without incident by tying two cedar trees to his wagon in order to weight it back.vi However, his ascent up Cottonwood Hill later in the journey was more problematic, as one of his horses caused the wagon to tip off the graded trail. Thankfully, his daughter Bird Ella, who was riding inside, was saved from injury by being ‘“rolled up in a feather bed,’” though most of the family’s dishes and other belongings were broken.vii
Eventually, as Danielson continued his journey to Arizona, he met Sophia Arkansas Hulsey, who became his second wife. They were married in the St. George Temple on January 6, 1885, and had five children together. By 1886, Danielson had arrived permanently in Thatcher, Arizona, where he resided until his death.viii
Researched and written for the Hole-in-the-Rock Foundation by:
C.S. M. Jones LLC, Family Heritage Consulting.
i There are two biographies about Danielson Buran Barney housed in the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers (DUP) files. They conflict as to the reason for his father’s absence. One states that his father was serving a mission, while the other places him in Zion’s Camp at this time. This is the more credible explanation, as Edson Barney is listed in the roster of Zion’s Camp participants. See Reta Damron Bowman, “Danielson Buran Barney,” submitted 16 April 1971 to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers; and Georgene Cahoon Evans, “Danielson Buran Barney,” submitted February 2000 to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers.
vi Laura May Barney Moody, letter to Lucretia L. Ranney, 1954, in David E. Miller, Hole in the Rock: An Epic in the Colonization of the Great American West (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1966; 118.
viii Once again, the two DUP sources written about Danielson Buran Barney disagree as to the date of his death by quite a spread of years. The older of the two sources, submitted by Reta Bowman, states that Danielson became a Patriarch for the St. Joseph Stake in 1902, and passed away on January 12, 1922. However, the more recent DUP submission written by Georgene Cahoon estimates that he died 25 April 1897.