Keziah Ketura Van Benthuysen Rollins Burke
Keziah Ketura Van Benthuysen Rollins was born in Albany, New York, on 15 May 1796; the daughter of James Van Benthuysen and Mary Simmonds. Keziah's father, James Van Benthuysen slipped on some steps of a hotel and died as a result of these injuries. Mary Simons, mother of Keziah Keturah, had also a daughter Elizabeth and sons, John and Henry. After the death of her husband, Mary gave the two girls to her sister-in-law Alida Van Benthuysen, and her husband John or David Winne. Their mother, Mary Simons, took the youngest son and went to Canada where some of her relatives, the VAN KLEEKS had settled. Reports say that Mr. Winne gave the girls to a Mr. James Guernsey, a merchant of Lima, Livingston Co., New York
Keziah Keturah married John Porter Rollins of New Hampshire about 1815; they had three children, James Henry, born 27 May 1816, Mary Elizabeth born 9 April 1818, and Caroline Amelia born 1 May 1820, all born at Lima, Livingston Co., New York. John Porter died while taking a boat load of cattle across Lake Ontario. A terrific storm came up and the ship sank. John Porter drowned. After the death of her husband, about 1828, Keziah Keturah and her three children moved in with her sister, Elizabeth who had married Algernon Sidney Gilbert. Algernon Sidney Gilbert and his partner N. K. Whitney had a store in Kirtland. It was here that the gospel was brought to the Rollins and Gilbert families and they joined the Church. Keziah Keturah and her daughters being baptized in October, 1830. Soon after this the Prophet Joseph sent A.S. Gilbert and wife to Independence as the Church storekeeper or to keep the Lord's storehouse. Reports state that A.S. Gilbert, who was at one time wealthy and a graduate of an Eastern College, gave all he had to the Church. In October, 1831, Keziah and her children went to Independence in company with Cyrus Daniels, Father Morley, W.W. Phelps, Brother Partridge and their families.
When the Saints were driven out of Jackson County, while waiting on the banks of the Missouri River _ November 13, 1833 _ they saw the meteoric shower. They said it looked like a heavy snowstorm but the flakes were like fire and the brilliant shower lighted up the whole sky.
After crossing into Clay County, Keziah Keturah married John M. Burk, a widower with two children, Charles Allen and Abi Selina. His wife had died with the cholera in 1831. Keziah Keturah and John Burke had a daughter, Phoebe Jane, born 28 January 1836 in Liberty, Clay County. They later moved to Far West where they built and operated an Inn or hotel and eating establishment. On the first of November 1838, after Joseph, Hyrum and other leaders had been betrayed in to the hands of General Lucas, General Lucas came into Far West and took over the Burke’s home as his headquarters, confiscated their food supplies, feed their hay and feed to the mob’s horses and turned the Burkes with their children into the streets, and ordered them to leave the state. After being driven from Clay County the Burks had great difficulty crossing Missouri and finding a place to live. Finally they made it up the Mississippi River to the Half Breed tract on the Iowa side of the river. They lived there for some time; Mary Elizabeth, her husband Adam Lightner, and their family, and sister, Caroline, who had married Nathaniel (John) Kerr found refuge with them. John Burke was soon called to Nauvoo by Joseph Smith where John did much work on the Nauvoo Temple.
When the Saints were driven from Nauvoo the Burks were among the first to leave. James H. Rollins says in his diary that his mother was one of the ten he was over, so it is suppose John M. Burk was among them also. It is not certain with which pioneer company or the year they traveled for Winter Quarters to Salt Lake. They were living in Ogden in living in Ogden where Mr. Burk died in 1853. Phoebe Jane married Edwin Bingham Dec. 28, 1854, and they lived at Lynne or Bingham's Fort. Edwin's father, Erastus, settled Lynne. Phoebe's first child was born there, September, 1855. They moved to Parowan and a daughter was born there, March 2, 1852. They then moved to Minersville where four more children were born to them. Edwin and Phoebe and Grandma Rollins Burk then moved to Horseshoe Bend. Keziah died there in Jan of 1878. She was buried in the Minersville cemetery and her sister, Elizabeth, was buried beside her. (1983_Horseshoe Bend no longer exists)
Adam Lightner and Mary Elizabeth Lightner and Aunt Elizabeth Gilbert came to Minersville, September, 1863. Edwin Bingham had gone back to Florence, Nebraska, to get them. They were met in Minersville by Keziah Keturah and her daughter, Phoebe Jane Burk. James Henry Rollins moved to Minersville in 1859. (He arrived in Salt Lake City in 1848). From Grandma Lightner's diary she states that Aunt Gilbert came from Nauvoo to St. Croix Falls to live with them.
I am sure that others have writtne better histories of Keziah Kethurah than the one above . I would very much appreciate receiving more information or other histories. If the reader of this blog has more information please comment on this blog and let me know.