Jakob Bachman, son of Hans Rudolf Bachman and Elizabeth Aerny was born 26th of April 1830 in Wiliberg, in the parish of Bottenurl, Canton Aargau, Switzerland. He was the third child in a family of five, two sisters, Elizabeth and Verena, two brothers, Johann Rudolf and Melchoir, the latter died at the age of nine months.
Near the head of a little valley which is about six or eight miles long and varying in width from about half a mile to a mile at its widest place in the foot hill regions of the Swiss Alps is a hill named Wiliberg. It is about 600 feet above the base of the little valley. About half-way up the hill, overlooking a beautiful small creek is a typical Swiss home nestled in the center of a growth of old and stately hazelnut trees. This house is the ancestral home of the Bachmann family. How long the family has lived there is not known. Presumably they have lived there many generations and perhaps the family name of Bachmann was taken from the residence itself, the name meaning "The Man of the Creek."
Wiliberg is in Canton Aargau, in the northern and German part of Switzerland. This Canton is one of the most historical parts of Central Europe. About twenty miles from Wiliberg is an amphitheater built by the Romans before the time of Christ and during their conquests of Ancient Gaul and Germania. On the opposite side of the low range of mountains forming the eastern water-shed of the valley in which the Bachman forefathers lived and about six miles from Wiliberg is the medieval baronial castle, now in ruins, of the Hapsburgs, at one time the reigning house of the Austria-Hungarian Monarchy.
The whole hill of Wiliberg is owned by the Bachmanns, and theirs is the only house which has been built upon it. It is two stories high and is pretentious for the home of ordinary people. The ground floor is occupied by the cow barn, pig sty, small store rooms, kitchen and living room. The upper story is the large store rooms and bed rooms.
In the kitchen is a huge fireplace of stone, the only provision for heating the whole house. It is about eight feet long, five feet wide and four and a half-feet high and extends into the center of the room. The bottom is the firebed and above is the oven. The tope is the most coveted spot in the whole house on a cold winter night. The little room opposite the kitchen, the one from which the fireplace is fed, is also warmed by the fire and is the one to which a sick member of the family is assigned.
The Bachmanns have always made their living by the business of lumbering. The steepness of the hill makes it impossible to use any considerable part of it for farming. What hay is raised must be cut by hand and carried into the loft upon the backs of the harvesters. Vegetables for summer and winter use are raised in sufficient quantities upon little spots where cultivation is comparatively easy. The hill has always been covered by soft and hard wood trees. Their cutting and hauling to market about eight miles distant, constitutes the occupation of lumbering. As the trees are cut down, new ones are planted so that a good growth is maintained for succeeding generations.
Jakob Bachman went to the parish of Boezberg for his first wife, Elizabeth Suter. They were married the 3rd of October 1852 by the Parish Minister.
In about the year 1854, Mormon missionaries came to the neighborhood and found good friends in Wiliberg. Jakob and Elizabeth joined the church in 1855, as did also his brother Johann Rudolf and his family.
Persecution caused the spirit of emigration to Utah to become the desire of the brothers. It was decided that Jakob should go first, and if he found conditions satisfactory, his brother would come later. The homestead was owned jointly by the two brothers. Johann Rudolf purchased Jakob's interest for $2,000 or 10,000 francs in Swiss money, a considerable fortune in that locality at that time. One thousand dollars was considered an ample sum to take the family to Utah and purchase a home.
The money was entrusted to two Mormon Elders for safe keeping, but they got into some trouble with the authorities and it cost them the entire sum to free themselves. This delayed Jakob for sometime, but he was determined to go to Zion. As soon as his brother was able to give him the remaining thousand dollars, he made preparations to go to Utah.
The family consisting of the parents, Jakob and Elizabeth and five children, Maria born the 21st of February, 1854, Verena, born the 23rd of February 1857, Jakob, born the 27th of October 1858, Elizabetha, born the 14th of March 1860 and Emuel, born the 17th of August 1861, sailed from La Havre, Franc, on the ship Windermere, the 15th of May 1862. This was the 119th Company. The ship set sail on Thursday with 109 Saints from Switzerland and France, under the Presidency of Serge L. Ballif. The Windermere had 460 immigrants on board. Elders Johannes Liedermann and frederick Goss assisted President Ballif on the voyage, also six other Elders and some Priests and teachers. The non-Mormons paid three dollars more per person than the Saints. The cost of emigration from La Havre was five dollars less than it would have been had the immigrants traveled, as heretofore via Rotterdam, Hull and Liverpool. It was the first attempt at emigrating Latter-day Saints direct from La Havre, France to America.
The trip across the ocean in a sail boat took six weeks and the family was crowded into the poorest part of the ship. Jakob called it a cattle ship and they were crowded together as cattle are shipped on boats. It was especially hard for the mother with five small children. They stayed in winter quarters for the next year, where Elizabetha gave birth to her sixth child, Sarah, who died soon after birth. Jakob's brother and his family never left Switzerland.
Jakob, his wife Elizabetha and five children left Florence, Nebraska, the 14th of August 1863 on the tenth church ox train, Samuel D. White's Company, the lat church train of the season, bringing freight and about 300 Latter-day Saint immigrants. They arrived at Loup Creek the 21st of August 1863. they traveled in covered wagons. They arrived in Great Salt Lake the 15th of October 1863.
They went to Ogden and later to Harrisville, a small town near Ogden. They afterwards moved to Liberty. Jakob was very much discouraged with the hard journey and the severe suffering he had to endure. The extreme cold and lack of food and clothing caused him to complain bitterly. Several times he was on the verge of returning to Switzerland. One time when he had decided to go back to his native land, he became very ill and was near unto death. He said he saw an evil spirit enter his room and he felt that he was going to be destroyed. He repented of the mistake he had made in complaining and prayed to the Lord for forgiveness and the evil power was withdrawn and he felt a wonderful peace. He was healed and had no more thoughts of returning to Switzerland. he never mastered the English language so he could read it. He read from his German Book of Mormon and the Bible.
Jakob and his family later moved from Liberty to Eden. They built a one-room log cabin and cellar on a five-acre plot of ground. The benches and stools were home made. They scrubbed the pine floors with sand. there were bunks in the north end of the cabin where they all slept. The Eccles family lived a block away and they baked their bread on Jakob's stove. Jakob walked over the mountains to Ogden and carried flour and sometimes a little molasses. One of the Eccles boys David, who later became a multi-millionaire, sometimes went with him.
Elizabetha had given birth to two daughters, Rosilla, born the 26th of February 1864 and Bertha, born the 19th of April 1865. November of 1866, she died at the birth of Alma, having borne nine children. She was buried in the Eden cemetery, a beautiful place near the mountains in the north end of the town.
Liberty and Eden are small towns in Ogden Valley. Ogden Valley is a peaceful little pastoral place, situated at the eastern mouth of scenic Ogden Canyon. It is a beautiful valley in summer; multi-colored in autumn; picturesque in winter; and most verdant in the spring. The Valley averages about four miles wide and twelve miles long; and is completely surrounded by high mountains. It is indeed "the land high up."
A number of well-known canyons break trails through the rocky, bare hills. These are Ogden, the main traveled one; South Fork, Middle Fork, North Fork, Geerston, North Ogden and a ravine that connects the valley with Morgan. All of these canyons have clear mountain streams. North, South and Middle Forks form the Ogden River which flows through Ogden Canyon.
In the early days, Ogden Valley was settled by a few sturdy frontiersmen. These were not sent by church authorities, but came of their own accord. Dan and Ammon Campbell were the first permanent settlers, although a few trappers had wintered in the Valley. These two men spent their first winter in the north end of the Valley, which is now known as Liberty.
They came over the mountains by ox team through North Ogden Canyon, which is known as the most treacherously dangerous of all the canyons of the valley.
1860 saw the establishment of a settlement in Huntsville. Captain Jefferson Hunt, with six other families, including Nathan Coffin, Joseph and Hyrum Hunt, Joseph and Charles Wood, Ed Rushten and James Earl, named and began the first valley community known as Huntsville in honor of the leader, Captain Hunt.
His title of Captain Hunt was a legal one as he had helped lead the Mormon Battalion. It was to until 1863 that a road was made connecting the valley with the lower valley towns.
Eden was named by David Jenkins, a government surveyor. He said, "This is one of the most beautiful townsites I have ever surveyed, we shall name it Eden after the famous garden of Biblical times."
John Freeman, an independent spirited man who left Eden because he could not have his own way, went to the north end of the valley. He said, "My name is Freeman. I am a free man in a free country, so I will call this place Liberty." And so it is known.
The last place to be named was Middleton, in honor of Charles F. Middleton who was a pioneer as well as a diligent, faithful and tireless church worker.
Richard Ballantyne was sent to act as presiding Elder. Josiah M. Ferrin was the first bishop of Eden. Orders to "fort-up" were given to the scattered families for protection from the Indians. This meant that several families were to live near each other for mutual aid.
There was no permanent tribe of Indians in the Valley, just roving bands during the summer. Many times to make themselves more impressive and frightful to the scattered pioneers, they rode in full war paint. Sometimes as many as 400 were in a band. The Utes and the Washakee were the most numerous. They were treacherous and stealthy and once in a while killed and scalped a person.
Means of communication were meager and tiresome. Most of the traffic was on foot or horse-back. To get to the small city of Ogden, it was necessary to walk. Many men saved their families from starvation by walking to Ogden and carrying back a bag of flour. The early days of the Valley are replete with stories of hardships, poverty and courage.
Ogden Canyon was primeval, filled with huge boulders, high cliffs and a winding unnavigable river. In 1862 the road was started from Ogden and made as far as Leur's Resort, where a small saw-mill took care of the logs cut from the canyons. The people in the Valley did their part by making the road to the Hermitage (now a log cabin serves as a landmark) where another saw-mill was built. The canyon between the mills was so narrow that it was not until the next year that the road was completed. It was so narrow and dangerous that traffic was scarce, and to the men who hauled logs goes the honor of improving the road bit by bit.
As the settlements grew and trade was established the roads were improved. Now a paved road with a protecting wall lines the canyon. The completion of this road was celebrated Pioneer Day 1921. But few of the early settlers remained to marvel at the progress and have their first auto ride on the paved road.
The only landmark that remains in the canyon is where a fire-place was chiseled in a rocky ledge, and a cabin built over it, which serves as the home of Mr. and Mrs. Willis Boss. Their charity, hospitality and humanity saved the lives of many who might otherwise have died by blizzard, freezing or hunger, as they tried to travel through the canyon.
Farming was not the first occupation as it is now. Hauling logs and rough sawed lumber was the early vocation, as the land was covered with wheat grass so high that the hat of a man on horseback could hardly been seen. The hills were barren except for a few bunches of sage brush and bushes of wild berries. Only in the canyons was nature gentle enough to offer provender. Then only by hard work could the logs be cut and hauled.
It took many years to clear the land as the wheat grass was so hard to cut and so deeply imbedded that often an ox-team was required to pull out the bunches. Logs were exchanged for merchandise and money was unheard of. Later a toll gate was put at the south end of the canyon leading to Ogden. Because the "Valleyites" were unable to pay the toll, a trip to Ogden became even a greater rarity.
The slow tireless oxen were used for cultivating the land. Meadow land was a precious acquisition as it furnished the only hay. Horses were scarce and not used for work until about 1885. Anyone who had a team of horses was considered among the wealthy.
Until the turn of the century poverty was the rule among the people of the Valley. From then on the Valley progressed as other places did.
It was into this little Valley that Jakob moved with his family. He was left with eight small children, the oldest Maria being twelve and the youngest, Alma a new born baby. It was not possible for Maria and Verena who was nine to care for five small children and the new baby was given to Alma Taylor when he was three days old.
There were no Swiss people in Eden but Jakob. But one day a girl came there to visit some of Jakob's neighbors. Her name was Anna Sidler Hegetschweiler Stone. She was twenty years old and she had a little son, William Henry Stone eighteen months old. Anna was alone, having secured a divorce from her son's father, Samuel Stone. Jakob, now a man of thirty-seven married Anna the 27th of April 1867. They were married by Heber C. Kimball in the Endowment House.
Anna with her little son now moved into the one-room log house with Jakob and his seven children. They had to endure all the hardships of pioneer life. Their crops were often destroyed by grasshoppers. Sometimes food was so scarce they had to dig sego roots. The climate in the valley was lovely in summer, but the winters were long and severe, the thermometer sometimes registering 40 degrees below zero and snow covering the ground to a depth of six feet. They could raise no fruit but berries, currants and a few apples. Their vegetables often froze before maturity.
Jakob later purchased some land where he raided alfalfa and wheat. He also secured some pasture land about two miles east and south of his home, so he could have cattle.
The 8th of February 1868 Anna gave birth to a son, Joseph. She had no one to help her but the little girls and kind neighbors, who came in when they could spare time from their own large families. Jakob had to work very hard to get food and clothing for his family. Having carried on the occupation of lumbering in his native land, he started it also in the valley when the saw-mills were built in Ogden Canyon. But it was a very difficult job. So as soon as he could secure a farm to raise hay and grain he bought cows. It was a happy day when he could get a team of horses and a good wagon.
The 19th of August 1870, Anna gave birth to a daughter, Annie. She was alone with the children. She did not even have a match to light a candle. She had to tie the cord herself.
In November 1874, another great sorrow came to Jakob. His eldest child, Maria, now twenty years old, died. He was surely heart broken. As soon as his children were old enough to work they went to work to earn a living. So Maria had been working for several years. Bertha, who was extra large and very strong, started to work for other people at the age of eight. She did house work and drove cows to the pasture. Her mother had died when she was one year old. The hard work she did from childhood did not keep her from growing into a large strong woman with a constitution that could endure much. She was never sick, gave birth to eight children and did very heavy work most of her long life until she reached the age of 91 years. Her sister Rosilla died at the birth of her first baby, the 6th of March 1889. Verena and Elizabetha also worked to earn a living from an early age, grew to womanhood, married and raised large families.
The 19th of October 1875 Anna gave birth to her fourth child, John Rudolf. He was a strong baby. She nursed him until he was three years old.
Now that most of the older children were earning their own living, Jakob was in more prosperous circumstances. So he was able to build a two-story four room house by the log cabin. There were two bed rooms upstairs and two rooms and a pantry on the first floor. It was a frame house. It was situated on a five-acre plot of ground in the center of town. The adjoining land on the south was the location of the school house. The Ward Chapel was later built one block south on the east side of the street. A creek of water runs past the house on the north. Plum trees and currant bushes were on the west, also a pump where they got drinking water. There was a barn on the south east where Jakob had about twenty cows, horses and chickens. They also raised hogs. The cows were taken to the pasture every morning and brought back to the barn at night during the summer. They milked the cows, put the milk in pans and let the cream come to the top, skimmed it off and churned it in a large round wooden churn which turned the dasher inside by a handle on the outside. They molded the butter in pound molds and Jakob took it to Ogden and traded it for other food. They killed the hogs and smoked their hams and bacon in a smoke house.
Jakob's house is now owned by his grandson, Gainer Bachman. He and his wife live in it. It has been remodeled, but still has the same rooms as it had with bath room, front room and porch added. The log house was destroyed but the granary still stands. Too bad the log house was not kept.
The 5th of December 1887 Anne gave birth to her last child, Emma Josephine. Anna's health was now very poor. She was troubled with asthma and chronic bronchitis which caused her great suffering the remaining years of her life.
On Christmas day 1890, another sorrow came into Jakob's life. His son Alma died at the age of 24 years. All of Elizabetha's children were now married except Jakob Jr., who was deaf and dumb. As there were no institutions in Utah in that day to train the deaf mutes, he remained a child mentally. He helped Jakob on the farm.
In 1901 Jakob sold the home and farm to his son Joseph. He moved to a home in Ogden at 1518 Jefferson Avenue, a three room house and five lots. He had a garden and fruit trees. He enjoyed walking up town. He went to the Salt Lake Temple the 16th of June 1904 and had Elizabeth's children sealed to them.
The 19th of December 1907, after a short illness with pneumonia, he passed away peacefully. His remains were laid to rest in the family lot in the Eden Cemetery.
Jakob's daughter Emma Bachman Scholl is the family genealogist. Julius Billiter secured the records of 4,900 of Jakob's dead ancestors.
In 1958 Jakob Bachman's descendants number thirteen children, forty grand-children and one hundred and ninety-eight great-grand children.