Deschamps, Louis - Biography 2

Malad Valley Pioneer

Malad Valley Pioneer


(by F.M. Deschamps)

Louis Deschamps was born in Montreal, Canads July 12, 1842.  He was the son of Rosella Parry and Francis Deschamps.


His father was a woodsman and Louis and his brothers helped cut and float logs 30 miles or more down the St. Lawrence River.  Here they met many trappers who came from the United States, who told them wonderful stories of picking up gold nuggets in California.  These stories aroused the interest of Louis and his companions.  At the age of 17 he left his native land for the States with other companions. 


They fell in with other travelers and, on going as far south as St. Louis, they found employment cutting timber for a huge bridge.  Soon some of their companions drifted away to different parts but, as he spoke only French, he was glad to meet other Frenchmen and remained on the job.  An experience arose here that he never forgot.  While hunting game one day one of the men whom he was working with saw an Indian squaw sitting on the bank of a stream cleaning fish.  The man picked up his gun, fired and killed the woman.  Instantly a crowd of Indians gathered around and, feeling the barrel of the gun, they knew instantly who had done the shooting.  The man was taken a few steps away while the others were told to watch what was going to happen.  They stripped the man of his clothing and literally skinned him alive.


After this incident Louis decided to move to another place so he started traveling westward.  He went as far as North Platte with emigrants going west and here he took very ill with fever.  His friends took him to the ranch of a French couple who nursed him back to health.  After getting well he remained there to work, herding and feeding mules and horses which were sold for use in the Civil War.  He was well paid for his work but as his health was poor he was advised to go to Pike’s Peak where he was told he would regain his health.  With the money he had earned he was now able to continue his journey.  Upon arriving there he was persuaded by another man to go to Montana where gold had been discovered.  The trip to Montana was fruitless however and, being greatly disappointed, he went to Boise as there was also word of a gold strike there.  Arriving there he worked at timber cutting and, according to Idaho history and his own statement, he built the first house in Boise.  He did not stay there long and after first going back over the same route he had traveled, he went to Willard, Utah where he lived for some time and soon became a convert to the LDS Church.


About eight or nine years previous to this, things were transpiring in Wales that later affected the life of Louis.  The David Phillip Stephens family at PenCadar, Carmathan, Wales had been converted to the LDS Church.  Father and mother and eight children in the family all desired to come to America.  Ann Stephens, the fourth child, was a delicate child and the family doctor advised that she be sent to the sea coast for here health.  Accordingly, she was sent to live with her uncle and aunt by the sea.  Her uncle was a sea captain and her aunt a highly educated woman who taught Ann to read, write, embroider and sew.  In addition she also paid Ann wages while teaching her.  Ann saved the money to help pay for the trip to America.  Her brother, Tom Stevens, was earning good wages and they intended to make the trip together.


As it happened, however, there was not enough money for both of them to make the voyage so Tom decided that Ann should go and he would stay and earn more money to help the other members of the family.  Upon arriving in America she was able to get employment immediately as a seamstress and in time was able to repay her brother and also assist the rest of the family in coming to America.


While living at Willard she met Louis Deschamps and they were married on March 30, 1867 in the Endowment House at Salt Lake City.  Leaving Willard, they came to Malad and made their first home north of the J.N. Ward Sr. home.  In 1873 they moved to St. John where they established permanent residence.  They were the parents of eleven children, four of whom preceded them in death.  Louis Deschamps was a farmer assisted by his sons until later years when he and his wife entered the mercantile business.  Louis died Sept. 20, 1902 and his wife, March 5, 1909.  Both lived as useful and honorable citizens. 



Stephens, Ann

Deschamps, Louis


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