1. William Pickett apparently had a plural wife
2. Death of William Pickett
3. Agnes and the Godbeites
1. William Pickett had a plural wife
For many years, William Pickett, Agnes's brilliant but alcoholic husband, was viewed as a classic Gentile. However while researching Agnes and William, to my surprise, I found that he apparently joined the Mormon church and was friendly with Brigham Young and other Mormons after they left Nauvoo. Now, the next surprising development -- there is a tradition that he married a plural wife at that time and had a child with her. I quote from a email sent to me by Debra Barton, a descendant of that plural wife:
My ancestor was Susanna Mehitable Rogers/Sangiovanni (Daughter of David White Rogers and Elizabeth /Betty/Martha Collins). She came from England in 1846 to St. Louis. She married William Pickett as a second wife and had a son, Horatio Pickett born on May 10, 1848 at Winter Quarters. The family history says that William abandoned her for gold and left with the other wife, Agnes. And she was left high and dry. 0r it could also be that she went her way when he left for gold and didn't want to go with the Saints. There is a letter she wrote to her son, Horatio, on October15, 1865, that states, " I hope you will leave Grange as soon as you can if he starts to make liquor. It will be no credit or good to you to stay there any longer. I know he has been good to you and I feel thankful to him for it and I hope you will repay him as soon as you can but don't be persuaded to drink liquor remember that was the ruin of your father (underlined in letter).
One of my relatives, Jane Rae Topham wrote a book called In Living Water about Susanna's life. She stated that the authorities annuled the marriage when they found out about it because it wasn't sanctioned by them. ( I don't know if there is written documentation for this. ) Susanna was living with her sister Hester Ann Rogers and George Beebee in Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa in 1850 (census) and uses the name Sangiovanni. Her family knew Wandle Mace, Almon Babbitt and many of the people that mention Pickett. She was bitter according to family story and didn't wish to talk about him much. I have always wondered if she knew he was married before she married him. Family story has said that Agnes was against polygamy and that William kept it from her but after reading your book I wonder if susanna didn't know he was married when she married him. If Agnes married Joseph and George Smith I could see her agreeing to it with William.
Susanna's life before she met William Pickett was really interesting also. She learned Spanish and Italian and Portugese and was in Florida, England and other places. She met Sangiovanni as a boarder in New York in her father's house. She was married to him Nov. 5, 1833 in New York by Reverend Fitch Reed. Benedetto was always going to secret meetings while they lived in England, plotting to overthrow the government in Italy. He was with Rossini and that bunch that met in England all the time. They stayed with Murat in Florida. She was baptised in England against her husband's wishes and found out that his first wife was not dead (1845-46). He either died in Brighton or she left him in 1846. The family story says that she left him while he went to one of his meetings but I think he may have died first. (trying to verify dates). That story is quite the story.
Horatio was above average height. In a picture taken in 1878 he is shown as having a lot of dark hair. In later life he wore a moustache and had grey hair. He came to Salt Lake City in 1852. His mother, Susanna married James Keate and they were called to St. George in 1861. In 1864, he accompanied the church wagon train on a round trip from St. George to Nebraska, to a town near Winter Quarters. He was a member of the first martial band formed in St. George, sang in the choir and was in dramatics there He was a carpenter, painter, mortician, owner of mining claims, and a lawyer. He was also in the Utah Legislature at one time. (I have a picture of him in it) He had learned Spanish (from his mother). He married Harriet Josephine Johnson, daughter of Joseph Ellis Johnson May 31, 1868. They had 12 children. 5 died young. Harriet died December 19, 1892 of consumption. On Aug 8, 1895 Horatio married Philena Hunt. Six children were born to this marriage, five living to maturity. Horatio helped build the St. George Tabernacle. In 1890 he was an usher at the Utah State Legislature. ( I have a picture that looks like he was part of the Legislature and the woman that gave it to me said that he was but I must check that out.) He also had a store and sold furniture and farm equipment. From 1886 to 1890 he served as a Justice of the Peace in St. George. He was on the Stake board of education to form a high school to be called the St. George Stake Academy. He served as councilman for the city of St. George in 1888 and in 18902. In 1892 he was also Washington Copunty Coroner and Washington County Treasurer. He was treasurer again in 1896. He was licensed to practice law on August 3 1907.
Horatio had been corresponding with some other Picketts to find his family line. Only one letter remains, dated in 1902, written in Salt Lake City, from an H.L. Pickett a mining lawyer. In it he talks about the Virginia Picketts and says that his father belongs to the Alabama branch, no doubt.
Horatio died of the Spanish Flu in 21 Dec.1918.
One of the awful things is that his wife burned all his private papers about his father. It wasn't perfect so therefore it was only his business (this is what her descendents said happened.)
I have not found any written reference of the marriage of William and Susanna as of yet. I am looking for descendents of Susanna's sister Hester Beebee who died in Provo. They wrote a lot of letters to each other and Charles her brother. We haven't found the descendents of these two as of yet to see if they have any written references to the marriage of Susanna and William. Susanna was bitter and did not talk about the marriage.
2. Death of William Pickett
Debra Barton writes:
I heard yesterday that a Smith from California told [a friend] that William Pickett died in Julian California in a mining claim dispute and I have been trying to check that out over the net. I did see on a site that a Moran started that mine and on one of the California Censuses there are two women with the last name Moran living with the twins, Don Carlos and William. So that was interesting.
Debra also tells me that William's birthplace has been difficult to track down precisely, though there is the persistent tradition that he was from Alabama.
3. Agnes and the Godbeites
In Ronald W. Walker, Wayward Saints: The Godbeites and Brigham Young (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998), 252-53: William Shearman is sent to California as a Godbeite "missionary" in summer 1870. "Shearman's hope of converting California Mormons to the New Movement met with greater opposition. Only Agnes Coolbrith Pickett, former wife of Don Carlos Smith . . . seemed interested in the New Movement message." [*Shearman to Amasa Lyman, Sept. 13, 1870, Lyman Papers, LDS Archives.]