I do have some more info on the life of Charles and his wife Eliza. The info comes from a speech given at a devotional at Brigham Young University by a Professor Chabries, a descendant of Charles Westover and Eliza Ann Haven. Charles is also listed in the 1880 Census as a farmer living in Pinto, Washington, Utah. He was one of the early colonizers of Pinto, a city which no longer exists. Apparently the early colonizers had too much trouble with nearby Indians. I am also aware of a forthcoming book on the Westover line authored by Paul Westover and I anticipate it will have contain further info on Charles and his family. Charles had two wives and a total of 18 children. His second wife was Mary Eliza Shumway. I have complete info on all the children and family if you would like to get that. I am descended from Charles' and Eliza's son Lewis Burton. Here is the text of the speech pertaining to Charles and his wife:
I am honored to be with you this morning. As this sesquicentennial year draws to a close, I would like to reflect upon the legacy left by a special set of pioneers who are perhaps not well known. These pioneers, my ancestors, experienced the trials of the trek westward, converted to the Church, and left a noble heritage but left us little to understand their everyday feelings and experiences. Still, they left a great legacy, even though my first acquaintance with them occurred as I helped my parents copy the pages of pedigree charts for our family.
Mary A. Johnson wrote:
I've always known your names
You were flat people on a white page
I read your stories.
Now you are more than names
I know that your blood flows also in
[Excerpt from a poem by Mary A. Johnson, quoted in Sarah Jane Cannon, "Pioneers Exemplify Faith, Courage," Church News, 22 July 1995, p. 5]
For each of us here today, the path to Utah is marked with special events. For some the story is recent, whereas for others those events are recorded in the memories of our families. My father, whose parents emigrated from Yugoslavia to the now-dormant logging town of Bridal Veil, Oregon, used to chide my mother for following an ancestry of her people that she hoped to trace to the Mayflower. My father's rhetoric was silenced when Mother discovered the migration of the 19-year-old Puritan Jonas Westover to a Pilgrim colony in the Massachusetts Bay area in 1647. It was the desire for freedom to worship God according to the dictates of his own mind that precipitated his departure from a Dutch port where his family had worked to reform the Church of England, in opposition to the British Crown. For well over a century the Westovers meandered the plains and hills of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont. The end of the American War of Independence opened opportunities for migration to the west at a time when heavy frost and drought forced many from New England.
Charles Westover was born in Ohio during the fall of 1827. His father died in Ohio during the spring of 1834, but shortly before his death he described a dream in which he saw people being baptized by immersion in something that resembled a "tan vat." This dream would later have dearer meaning for Charles. After the death of his father, young Charles lived with many different families. At times he was ill-treated, and he never seemed to really fit in.
Charles heard about the events that surrounded the rise of the LDS Church in Ohio and became prejudiced against it, even though his aunt and cousin had been baptized. Finally, two elders (Goodale and Howe) arrived and left the message of the restored gospel. Although Charles' prejudices vanished at that time, he did not commit to baptism. He recorded:
The house was jammed full. Such a sermon as we heard that night I never heard before. That night with all my prejudices, I was converted to the truth of Mormonism. I tell you all who read this sketch that Elder [Goodale] was most powerful and that he was filled of the Holy Spirit. His words pierced you through and through. [Charles Westover, Pinto Ward Membership Records]
Charles was intrigued by what he had heard. The occasion arose for Charles to attend a conference of the Saints only 15 miles north. Again he wrote about the special feeling that attended that conference. A few months later young Charles accompanied his mother and his brother's family to Council Bluffs on the Missouri River. From there he ferried across the river to Winter Quarters. He tried without success to find Elder Goodale. Discouraged, without money, and 1,000 miles from home, he wandered out to the graveyard, where there were buried more than 600 people from the areas where the Saints camped.
Then, though Charles had still not been baptized, Brother Erastus Snow engaged him to drive one of his wagons across the plains. This must have been an exciting moment for a rough young man whose independence had caused him so much trouble in the past. He noted, "It was a beautiful team to drive--a yoke of large stags on the tongue, a yoke of cows and a yoke of yearling heifers on the lead" (Charles Westover, "A Short History of My Life," family archives).
A few days later, while camped at the Elkhorn River waiting for the arrival of President Brigham Young's company, Charles' eye caught sight of a lovely young lady--Eliza Ann Haven. Eliza's roots were also in Massachusetts, where she had been born on May 15, 1829. I have asked my mother to read a part of the letter Eliza wrote to her son, since my mother and Eliza knew each other and together their lives span the history of the Church from the time of the restoration of the Aaronic priesthood by John the Baptist to the present day.
The first Mormon Elders that I saw, I was eight years old, were President Brigham Young and Willard C. Richards. . . . In 1838 my father and mother joined the Church. In 1841 we left our native home for Nauvoo. Arrived there in May, traveling by canal, rail and steamboat. The first to greet us on landing were the Prophet Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. After shaking hands and bidding us welcome, Brother Joseph's first question: had we anyplace to go. . . . Brother Joseph was a great lover of children. I never met him but I had a bow and one of his sweet smiles. Used to love to hear him preach although then I was but a child, he was always interesting.
We lived on the main street going East out of Nauvoo, less than a half mile from the temple. Seldom a week but Brother Joseph would go by, either horseback or in his family carriage with his family. He was a noble-looking man. . . .
Brother Joseph, with the other brethren and heavy guard, rode past our house on their last ride. When word came that our Prophet and Patriarch were killed, what a gloom was over the city. Everyone was in tears. We were a flock of sheep without a shepherd. The question was a general one: What shall we do without a Prophet?
I was then 15 years old and I felt so sad. I was to [the] meeting when Sidney Rigdon declared himself our true prophet and leader. Very few responded to the call, I am happy to say none of my father's family felt that he was. Soon after Brother Brigham came home from the East where he was on a mission. I was to [the] meeting he said he was our Prophet and Seer. When he spoke it was in Brother Joseph's voice. I gave a jump of[f] my seat and said, "our Prophet Joseph has come to life, we have our Prophet back!" I looked up and there stood Brother Joseph just as slim as I ever saw him when alive. For a minute I heard Br. Joseph's voice and saw his features then a mist seemed to pass from Brighams face and go up. Then there stood Brother Brigham talking to us. Hundreds saw the same thing I did, but not all that were present. I forgot to tell you. I saw Brothers Joseph and Hyrum after they were in their coffins, the cruel bullet hole in Brother Hyrum's head. It was a sad day for the saints in Nauvoo.
After that, all seemed at peace for a short while, but our enemies found out they had not killed Mormonism by killing our Prophet. The temple was built through much persecution (dedicated) so the saints could receive their endowments. Father's family, myself included, received our endowments there. Persecution continued. Father sold his home and we left Nauvoo before the big battle. . . .
In the Spring of 1848 we left for Winter quarters, the general gathering place for the saints, then started for Salt Lake City in President Brigham Young's company, a large one. I had a very pleasant time. I was young. No cares. Father had a team of two yoke of oxen and two cows in the company so we had milk along the way. It was on the plains I first met your father. [Eliza Ann Haven Westover, letter to her son Lewis, 2 July 1916, Church Archives; copy in possession of the author]
Although the family journals do not record much of the final exodus of the Saints to the Salt Lake Valley, it was begun in the spring with the goal to reach their destination before the winter months set in. Charles was assigned guard duty once every six or seven days. They observed hundreds of buffalo on the slope of the river going to drink. They had dancing and music, for the Nauvoo brass band was in the company. We read from the previous journey that the travel across Iowa was slowed by the heavy spring rains that made the trail a path of mud. Brigham noted that one day they only had one mud hole to contend with, but it was six miles long. It must have been similar on this trek. Charles was baptized on May 17, 1848.
Eliza and Charles were sealed for time and eternity as husband and wife in the home of apostle Erastus Snow on October 14, 1849, by President Brigham Young. Family tradition has it that they were the first couple to be married in Utah, but the late date of this sealing makes that unlikely.
Why is this legacy of our forefathers so important? I am reminded of the words of Alma:
And behold, he preached the word unto your fathers, and a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts, and they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God. And behold, they were faithful until the end; therefore they were saved.
And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?
Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body? [Alma 5:13-15]
Hope this helps,