Sketch of the Life of William Capener
From material gathered by Louise Rebecca Taylor, his eldest daughter, by his granddaughter, Margaret Wicks Taylor Cluff.
William Capener was born July 31, 1806, at London, England. He was reared in the home of his grandfather, John C. Capener and step-grandmother, Rebecca Selves. His own grandmother, Hanna Hulbert, having died a few years previous.
William was the son of Daniel Capener and Elizabeth Capener Capener. They were cousins. He was educated in private schools of London. His grandfather was a minister in the Church of England and was very desirous that his grandson, William, should follow that profession. William entered college for that purpose, but could not agree with the principles of the Church of England, although he was a very spiritual man, and chose, instead, cabinet making as his vocation, much to the disappointment of his grandfather. But William excelled in his trade.
He had an early sweetheart by the name of Louise Glenn. About that time, Sarah Verrinder went to London from Painswick, Gloucester County, England, to act as seamstress in one of the nobility’s homes. She was very well liked and treated as one of the family and often accompanied them in their travels to the continent. She attended services at the St. George Church, Hanover Square, where Grandfather William was also a member. It was there that Grandfather met her and they were very much impressed with each other. After a short courtship they were married at that church, October 26, 1828. Sarah Verrinder was born September 2, 1804, at Painswich, Gloucester, England.
Louise Glenn requested that they name their first daughter Louise, which they did, and before she died she bequeathed to her namesake $500 in American money.
The first two children born to William and Sarah were boys, George and William. George was born July 29,1829, at London and died February 1912 in Wisconsin. William was born December 26, 1831 in London, England and died in Cleveland, Ohio.
Grandfather was very anxious to see America so he in the spring of 1834, set sail for the United States without his family. His grandfather persuaded him to leave his family in London, partly because he felt sure Grandfather would soon become discouraged with America and return to England and settle down to make his home in London.
This was not the case, for grandfather was very favorably impressed with the new country and sent for his family eight months after their daughter, who they named Louise, was born. Louise was born July 17, 1834, London, England.
In the spring of 1835, Grandmother, with her two small sons and infant daughter, set sail for America and arrived in New York after a six weeks voyage.
Their first home was at Poughkeepsie County, New York. They lived there two years. It was at this place that two children were born, Charles Henry in 1836, dying in infancy, and Elizabeth Ann, born May 22, 1837. Grandfather was unable to obtain a clear title to his property at that place, so they moved to Dry Brook, Ulsture County, New York, where another daughter was born October 16, 1840. They named her Jane Maria (my mother.)
About this time there was quite extensive ship building on Lake Erie and one of the large ship builders wanted a man who could build winding stairs on his ships. One of his employees who was acquainted with William, recommended him to the builder. He sent for William to go to Cleveland, Ohio, which he did, moving his family to that place.
They lived in a double home. The family who occupied the other part of the house was the family of Thomas Wilson, president of the branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and it was through him that the Capener family first heard the gospel. William was invited to attend a meeting with Brother Wilson, which he accepted and when he returned he made this statement, “Now I know I have found the right church, and I can understand why I could not be a minister in the Church of England.” He was baptized soon after and progressed in the Priesthood and became counselor to Brother Wilson, Branch President at Cleveland.
William had acquired a large home there and as the wife of the President of the Branch was ill and unable to care for the visitors or work in the Church, it was at Grandfather’s home that all the conferences were held.
They often went to the Kirkland Temple for meetings, which was not far fro Cleveland. Grandfather was ordained an Elder in that temple January 24, 1844.
While the family lived at Cleveland, Ohio, there was much travel by boat on the Erie Canal and Lake Erie and the missionaries traveling back and forth were cared for at Grandfather’s home until their boats would leave. Martin Harris visited their home often and Grandfather said wherever he saw Martin Harris, he always had a Book of Mormon under his arm.
It was at this time that Grandfather made a trip back to England to settle the property left by his grandfather, John Capener, who had died September 25, 1836. Martin Harris, hearing of Grandfather’s intended trip to England, requested that Grandfather take him along as he desired to preach the gospel there, but Grandfather told him that he had not been set apart for that work and should not go, but Martin Harris was determined to go and did go. When they reached England, they separated, each going about his own business. Some time later, on one of Grandfather’s trips to London he was attracted by a crowd gathered on the street and went to see what it was all about. To his astonishment, there was Martin Harris standing, preaching Mormonism. He looked very unkempt and ragged and like he was hungry. Grandfather took him, fed him and bought him a new suit of clothes that he might look more respectable, but Grandfather also chided him for going there without an appointment by the proper authority.
In 1847, they desired to sell their home and prepare to come west with the body of the Church, but Brigham Young requested them to remain in Cleveland for a while to assist the Saints who were coming from the old country and from the Eastern States.
Three girls, Louise R., Elizabeth A., and Jane M. were baptized in Cleveland in 1852. They remained in Cleveland until 1852 and again sold their home where they had beautiful gardens, large flocks of fowl of all kinds and Grandfather had steady, well-paying employment and his trade, which gave them strength to once more break up their home and prepare to move on with the Saints.
Grandfather bought four wagons, which he filled with everything that would make them comfortable. When they arrived at their destination, they even had a melodeon, which Brigham Young afterwards acquired, much to the disgust of Louise, who played well.
Grandfather left Cleveland for the Salt Lake Valley May 2, 1852, and arrived at Council Bluffs on May 26, staying there until the July 6. While there, Grandfather helped the Saints repair their wagons. They started across the plains in Captain Isaac Bullock’s Company.
Louise recounts that a great epidemic of Cholera was among their company and the young women were forced to walk much of the way across the plains so that those afflicted and the aged could ride in more ease and comfort, but Jane Maria thought the journey was quite a lark as she was younger and rode all the way. They had new wagons, harnesses and good horses and a cow that kept them in butter and milk all the way.
President Thomas Wilson and his family came with Grandfather and his mother was one of the number who died with cholera on the plains. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley October 2, 1852. They first settled on property where the St. Mark’s Church and rectory now stand on First South. Grandfather built the first cabinet shop in Utah on that site, later selling the property to the St. Mark’s Church.
It was at this place that Grandmother Sarah Verrinder Capener died May 27, 1863. She was afflicted with asthma and not able to do hard work, but she surely did train her girls to be wonderful housekeepers and seamstresses. Grandmother was a brilliant woman who could speak French fluently. The one great sorrow in hers and Grandfather’s lives as the fact that their two boys. George and William refused to join the Church and come west with the family. William remained in Cleveland and became a physician and George went to Wisconsin and became a successful building contractor. They both married and had families.
Grandfather married Ellen Rigby, March 23, 1861. She was born 15 August 1839, at Lancaster, Lancastershire, England, and died February 7, 1903 at Bountiful, Davis, Utah.
Grandfather made a second trip to England to get the money that was left by Louise Glenn to her namesake, Louise R. Capener, his eldest daughter, also the records of his family.
Grandfather was a very thrifty man, fine gardener and loved to have a nice looking home and surrounding. When he sold his Salt Lake City property after Grandmother’s death, he moved to Centerville and built a two story rock house and had a fruit orchard and gardens there. He and his second wife, Ellen Rigby, reared a large family of two girls and five boys. He died at Centerville in 1894 and was buried there.
Birth: July 30, 1806, Knightsbridge, Middlesex, England
Death: January 24, 1894 Centerville, Davis County, Utah, USA
Parents: Son of Daniel Capener and Elizabeth Capener
Married Sarah Verrinder, October 26, 1828, Saint George Church, Hanover Square England
Children: George Capener; (1829 - 1912)
William Henry Capener;
Louisa Rebecca Capener;
Charles Henry Capener;
Elizabeth Ann Capener; (1837 - 1918)
Jane Maria Capener (1840 - 1926)*
Married Ellen Rigby, 23 Mar 1861, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
Children - Arthur Rigby Capener, John Rigby Capener, Ellen Matilda Rigby Capener, Samuel Rigby Capener, Alfred Albert Rigby Capener, Edward Theodore Rigby Capener, Margaret Alice Rigby Capener, Mary Lucinda Rigby Capener, Sarah Ada Rigby Capener, Daniel Rigby Capener, Joseph Aaron Rigby Capener
Married also: Margaret Wilson and Louise Glenn
William was a Latter-day Saint Pioneer of the Isaac Bullock Company, arriving in Salt Lake Valley, October 2, 1852.
At London, William Capener was apprenticed to become a cabinet maker and architect. He acquired excellent qualifications in this professional field. He was sent to New York City on a business trip in the summer of 1834. He was thrilled with the new city and country; rather than return to England, he sent for his wife, Sarah Verrinder, and three children. He left New York City for Cleveland, Ohio, in 1840 to supervise intricate work in the shipyards. It was here that he soon joined the Latter-day Saint faith. He was ordained an elder in the Kirtland Temple, January 24, 1844.
Elder William Capener and family were willing and ready to come to Utah in 1847. President Brigham Young counseled them to remain in Cleveland, Ohio and make a home for the L. D. S. immigrants and for the local L. D. S. missionaries. Thus his arrival in the Salt Lake Valley was delayed until 1852.
William Capener purchased and settled on property at 333 E. 1st South. At this location his first cabinet and furniture store for making household furniture was established 1852-1872. All types of furniture were made to order, from chairs to coffins. Old furniture was repaired and refinished. Young men were trained as apprentices, the first in Salt Lake City.
In the year 1872, with a family of six children by a marriage to Ellen Rigby, William Capener established a new home in Centerville, Davis County, Utah. Two beautiful structures of his handiwork stand as monuments to his name in this day 1951--the Centerville Capener rock home, and the Centerville South Ward rock chapel, which was dedicated in 1877.