logo Joseph Cain


See Introduction for some general background

There is a mention in Manx Sun 13 Feb 1847 :

Joseph Cain son of late James Cain, Nunnery Mills, married Elizabeth Whittaker on board The America bound for New Orleans.

Married Elizabeth Whitaker in Liverpool just prior to emigration in 1847 - both Elizabeth's unmarried sisters who accompanied them on that voyage later married the polygamist John Taylor (who had missioned the Isle of Man in 1840) who later became 3rd President of the Church following the death of Brigham Young. Thus Joseph Cain married into a family that had much influence.

Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 12, p.442, however states:

Joseph Cain and his wife Elizabeth, both of whom were born on the Isle of Man, came to Utah in September 1847 with the John Taylor Company. Their voyage across the ocean was made on one of the numerous miscellaneous ships about which no chronological record is available. However, their marriage is interestingly related, and is typical of the many marriages that took place on board ship:

But not in heaven, neither on the earth, but on board the ship America, hence to New Orleans, in lat. 48 degrees, 29 minutes, north, and long. 17 degrees, 34 minutes, west. Wind fresh on the starboard quarter, under full sail at the rate of ten and a half knots an hour. At the conclusion of the afternoon service, on Sunday, the 24th ult., Mr. Joseph Cain, and Miss Elizabeth Whittaker, were united in the holy ordinance of matrimony, by Elder John Taylor.

The Whitaker's were not Manx - her birth on Island is still to be confirmed - her sisters were not Manx born.

James Quayle mentions Joseph Cain being administrator for the Estate of Dr. Willard Richards’ family - Willard Richards was an early Mormon and highly placed within the church being a counselor to Brigham Young

The LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, has:

Cain, Joseph, a Utah pioneer of 1847, was born Nov. 5, 1824, at Douglas, Isle of Man, Great Britain, the son of James Cain Esq. and Ann Moore. Being converted to "Mormonism" in his native land he joined the Church about 1840, and was ordained to the Priesthood, and in 1844 he emigrated to America, crossing the ocean in company with his brother in law, the late Pres. John Taylor. While residing for a short time in Nauvoo, Ill., he worked in the printing office with George Q. Cannon, making his home with Pres. John Taylor. In the spring of 1846 he was called on a mission to Great Britain, where he labored until February, 1847, when he returned to the United States and joined the main body of the Saints at Winter Quarters; he crossed the plains in company with Pres. John Taylor, arriving in Great Salt Lake [p.751] Valley in October, 1847. He took up his permanent residence in Salt Lake City, and in 1849 he was called to go on a mission to California under the direction of Elder Charles C. Rich. During this hazardous journey they attempted to reach California by way of a cut-off; which added greatly to the dangers and duration of the trip. They suffered terribly, especially for want of water, so much so that when they reached their destination their tongues were swollen in their mouths, and they were almost starved. Bro. Cain's mission in California lasted about one year. Upon his return to Utah in 1850 he became very active in both public and private duties, for which his unusual strong and active mind peculiarly fitted him, and which made him generally known among the saints as a worthy and enterprising citizen as well as a true and faithful Latter-day Saint. He became associated with the "Deseret News", in connection with Willard Richards and Judge Elias Smith, and remained on the staff of that paper up to the time of his death, which occurred April 20, 1857, in Salt Lake City. Brother Cain possessed rare literary abilities, and many productions of his facile pen graced the columns of the "Deseret News" at an early day. At times he wrote in the name of Homer, but often signed his own name to his articles. During his missionary trip to England he met Miss Elizabeth Whittaker, who became his wife Feb. 1, 1847, just prior to his return to America. She made the trip with him, and together they endured all the trials and hardships incident to pioneer life in Utah. Mrs. Cain survived her husband and lived until 1880. Joseph Cain was the first postmaster in Salt Lake City to be appointed by the government. He joined the Church in opposition to his relatives' wishes, and was one of the most faithful and consistent members, enjoying the confidence and esteem of the community amongst which he lived.

Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 19, p.440

A brown leather trunk was brought to Nauvoo, Illinois, by Joseph Cain, who was born November 5, 1822, in Douglas, Isle of Man, England. He was the son of James Cain, who was born September 28, 1797, and Anne Moore. Joseph left his home about 1840 and traveled to Nauvoo, where he joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in about the year 1845. Shortly thereafter, he was called on a mission to England. He took with him, filled with his belongings, the old brown leather trunk which he had brought from the Isle of Man. In February, 1847, he married Elizabeth Whitaker. They came to Utah in September, 1847, with the John Taylor Company, bringing the trunk with them. When Joseph was called on a mission to California to help colonize, accompanying George Q. Cannon and others, he took the trunk with him there. It is said that he never went anywhere without it.

He was postmaster in Salt Lake City during the years 1854-55 and was also associated with Willard Richards and Elias Smith in the publication of the Deseret News.-D.U.P. Files

Saunders states that Cain returned to Utah from California in September 1850 and within a few days was employed at the newly established prining office - Cain having probably worked as a printers devil [odd job boy] at Nauvoo; he continued his association with the printing office for several years. He was apparently often ill but continued his editorial role until his death.

His daughter, Elizabeth Turner Cain Crismon, contested a court case over a legacy of  Joseph's half-sister Eleanor Cain - apparently adjourned several times, a report of 'an extraordinary Douglas Will Suit" was reported at length in IoM Advertiser 23 Jan 1889 in which several depositions as to the legality of Joseph Cain's marriage with Elizabeth Whitaker were read out.

One was from John Joseph Kelly who left Douglas in 1852 for Utah , another by the wife of Orson Pratt who sailed with Joseph and Elizabeth in 1847 - she states Elizabeth Whitaker Cain was 'of Liverpool'. Another affadavit was from Mary Pitchforth (? daughter of Ann Pichforth).


Richard L. Saunders Printing in Deseret Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press 2000 (ISBN 0-87480-660-1) - has some coverage of Joseph Cain's early printing.

Manx Note Book      [Genealogy Index]

see Mormon Converts

Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 1999