Louisa Hurt (Hortt)
Dofflemyer Dille Holbrook
1822 - 1903
left to right: Esther Dille Phillips, Clerinda Dofflemyer Hardy, Louisa,
David Brigham Dille and his wife, Emily Tuttle, who is standing by his
Standing: Josephine Elenor Dille Moss and her husband, Hugh Moss, one of
George's wives (not certain which one) and George Washington Dofflemyer.
written by Varla
Wright, a descendant of Louisa and Joshua Dofflemyer
Louisa's original maiden name was Hurt and she was born
in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Madison County, Virginia on 4 Jun 1822 to Nancy
Hurt. Her father is unknown. She may have had a twin sister, Lutie or
Lottie, who appears to have died as an infant. The story the family told
little Louisa was that her father had committed suicide and his name had been
blotted out of the records for such a disgrace. I really don't believe
that was the case. But her mother and her mother's family did indeed
bury that piece of scandalous information deeply.
Louisa was raised by her plantation-owning maternal
grandparents, James Hurt and Frances Thomas Hurt until she was fourteen, when
she caused no end of family consternation by marrying a young German-speaking
cobbler, Joshua Dofflemyer who was ten years her senior, and definitely
considered to be below the family's social standing. Her step-father,
Enoch Jenkins (who had married her mother in 1826) signed the permission for
her to marry as a minor.
Her first child, my great grandfather Henry Jefferson
Dofflemyer, was born 31 Aug 1839 in Page Co., Virginia, and Louisa shortly
after that moved with Joshua's parents and siblings (large family) to Lee
County Iowa, just across the river from Nauvoo. Her next three
Dofflemyer children were born in what is now Van Buren Co., Iowa. Joshua
died 10 Feb 1847, leaving her to support her three remaining living children
by making shoes, having learned the trade from him. She also lost infant
twins about the same time as her husband's death.
It appears that shortly after his father's death, Henry was
apprenticed out to a local tradesman, with a contract stating that he was to
remain with the tradesman until he became of age.
One night, Louisa dreamed that she was walking in the town
and saw a meeting taking place in the local bowery. It was impressed on
her that it was very important to attend this meeting. The next day, she
asked around, and learned that a meeting was indeed scheduled for that place.
She did attend and listened to the gospel being preached by two LDS
missionaries. She joined the Church, and was urged to go with the Saints
to Utah. Her husband's family was not at all happy with this turn of
events, nor was the apprentice master. Henry would not be allowed to go
with her and the other two small children, George Washington and Clerinda
She prepared her wagon and goods for the trip, then stopped
that night at the home of the apprentice master, explaining that she had come
to say goodbye to Henry. Once in his sleeping quarters, she dressed him
as a girl and pushed him out the window, instructing him to get in the wagon
and hide. She then carried on a conversation while making his bed
look as if he were
asleep in it, and departed, explaining that he was very sad and had cried
himself to sleep.
She then joined the immigrant wagon train, registering with
the wagon master under a slightly disguised version of her maiden name...thus Hort.
The apprentice master came after her with a sheriff's posse, but was unable to
locate a wagon with the Dofflemyer family. And so she made good her
get-away and traveled on to the Salt Lake valley.
She eventually married David Buel Dille, with whom she had
six more children. They were divorced when she refused to leave the
Ogden area and go with him to Idaho. It is interesting that in his
journals, he refers to her as "the widow woman I married".
Never once does he refer to her by a name. I believe there is a
biography of her in the DUP archives, written by one of her Dille
Following her divorce from Dille, she married Judge
Holbrook. They never had any children together. She is buried
along with him and his other wives in the Bountiful Cemetery.
The "Hortt" spelling was manufactured by my
grandmother and her older sister, daughters of Henry Jefferson Hort (he kept
the name) when as young girls, they thought that spelling the name with two
"t's" might give them more social status in a community where the
Pratts were community leaders. However, Henry and his wife, Bethana
Bailey, recorded the family name in the family Bible as Hort with one
"t". So much for the claims, "Our family always spelled
it THIS way"!
Louisa's Hurt ancestry has now been researched back to the
1400's in England.
Additional information sent about Louisa:
Louisa left many questions
unanswered, the primary one being who her father was. She told her family that
he was a suicide and that she had a younger sister who stayed with her mother
when the mother remarried Enoch Jenkins. Louisa was reared by her
grandparents, James and Frances (Thomas) Hurt, who died when she was
Little documentary evidence has been found about her origins, but her
information did lead to the identification of her mother's family. When a
marriage bond was posted for her marriage to Joshua, the surety was a William
Jenkins who was a member of her step-father's family. Her step-father, Enoch
Jenkins signed permission for her marriage. She was born in the Blue Ridge
Mountains on the Madison County side, probably within the boundary of what
became the Blue Ridge Parkway. as there were still Hurts there who were
dispossessed when the park and road were constructed.
All LDS church records indicate that she gave her father's name as James Hort,
which was a version of the name of her grandfather, James Hurt. Her
Endowment House Record shows the names of James Hort and Nancy as her parents.
The East Bountiful Ward Record show that she listed her parents as James Hortt
and Nancy Hortt. On several occasions she gave her grandmother's name,
Frances, as her mother's name. She was proud of her family who had come to
Virginia in the early 17th century (1650) from Bristol, England.
Louisa and her children joined the LDS church in 1847 and crossed the plains in
1850. She traveled in one of David Dille's wagons, and when his wife died
on the trail, the two families joined forces, encouraged by Brother Dunn, the
leader of the party. They lived together in Ogden for a number of years
where she bore Dille a family of six children and supported him on a mission to
England with her shoemaking skills--which she had learned from her first
husband. The couple later separated, and she married Judge Joseph Holbrook
as a plural wife. She died in Bountiful, Utah at the age of 83. She
is buried in the Bountiful Cemetery under the name of "Hoit".
She appears with her maiden name in the 1900 census of Bountiful. David
Dille's history in the DUP museum asserts that she left him when he decided to
move to Cache County, and then to Idaho. He does not refer to her by name,
but only as "the widow woman."
She appears in the 1850 territorial census of Weber County, Utah in the home of
David Dille with her children. They are shown as Doffhiner [probably due
to the southern accent being misinterpreted] In 1860 Louisa Dille age 40
is living in Ogden while David B. is in Cache County.
Louisa's obituary (sent by Pearl Oldham):
The funeral services over the remains of Mrs. Louisa Hoyt Holbrook, who died
Feb 5, 1903, were held in the tabernacle at East Bountiful, last Sunday at 2
p.m. and were very largely attended. The speakers were Elders Brigham A.
Holbrook, Thos. Phillips (of Porterville), J.J. Holbrook and Home Missionaries
Wilcox and Robinson from Farmington.
Deceased was born 4 June 1820 in West Virginia, near the Blue Ridge mountains,
which would make her nearly eighty three years of age.
At the age of about fifteen she was married to Joshua Doffelmier and moved to
Iowa. Here she buried her husband and two of her children. She then
joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints starting across the
plains with her three remaining children--two sons and a daughter. On this
journey she met and married D.B. Dilley who was then a widower with three
They located where Ogden now stands, in 1850. Theirs was the second lumber
shanty erected in that place, however, there were a few brush huts. In
1858 they moved south but returned to Ogden. Finally moved to Bountiful
where she has been living for forty years. Three children were born to
About thirty-nine years ago, she was married to the late Judge Holbrook.
Louisa's children with Joshua Dofflemyer were (1) Henry Jefferson, (2)George
Washington, (3) Clerinda Jane, and the twins (4) Joshua and (5) Waring who died
shorely after their births in 1847. Her children with David B. Dille
included (1)Esther, (2) Israel, (3) David Brigham, (4)Arvis, (5) Josephine
Elenor and (6) Ruth.
Dofflemyer Hort (the one who dressed up like a girl to escape his
apprentice master) and his youngest daughter, Lilly Josephine.
Henry Jefferson also learned the shoemaking trade, and when the United
Order where he was living in Orderville broke up, he was paid his share
of the goods in leather, which he took to Fredonia, AZ and was a
shoemaker there when not busy farming.