By Guy L. Black, from family records provided to him by his mother, Glenda Joyce Memmott Black; federal census records; Ancestry.com records; and records of Gertrude L. Baird.
Emma Linda Hiskey was born in or near Shelly or East Texas, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, on June 24, 1840. She was oldest child in the large family born to her parents, Allen Benjamin Hiskey and Mary Ann Dankel.
Her parents had been long-time residents of Pennsylvania, both of them having been born there. They were reportedly Pennsylvania Dutch Amish. They and she joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Pennsylvania in 1856.
A few years after joining the Church, the family traveled to Omaha, Nebraska and joined the Henry Miller Company of Mormon pioneers in Omaha, Nebraska. They departed Omaha for Utah by ox train between August 5th and 8th, 1862, and arrived in the Salt Lake Valley between October 17th and 18th, 1862.
The ox train started late in the year because they were waiting for Henry Miller to arrive from SaltLake with the teams. Almost as soon as they started, one of the wagons overturned while crossing a bridge leaving camp. The mosquitoes were also quite annoying the first few days.
After traveling for one day, they camped three days, waiting for the provision wagon to arrive. While waiting, they gathered berries and wild grapes, and went fishing. One young boy caught an eighteen pound fish, but was unable to bring it to shore. A man shot the fish so it could be landed. Another boy, Peter Barker, narrowly escaped drowning. The train also had its first encounter with Indians, when an Indian claiming to be chief of the Omaha Indians met girls picking berries. He just wanted to beg for a pair of boots. Except for the deaths of several young children and minor snow and hails storms toward the end of the journey, the rest of the trip was relatively uneventful.
After arriving Utah, Emma’s parents settled in Salt Lake City in an area known then as Brighton. Emma’s son, Peter Hiskey Baird, indicated to his daughter, Thalia Baird, that the home was east of Redwood Road in the vicinity of California Avenue in present day Salt Lake City.
Emma did not live long with her parents, as she married Richard Alexander Baird less than five months after she arrived in Utah, on March 21, 1863 in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. Richard almost immediately left Emma to travel east to meet up with his mother and two of her sons (presumably his brothers), who were staying in Doniphan County, Kansas. In about mid-July, 1863, he accompanied his mother and brothers, and traveled back to Utah with the Alvus H. Patterson Company of Mormon Pioneers.
Slightly more than a year after Richard returned to Utah with his mother and brothers, Emma gave birth to the couple’s first child, Isabella Hiskey Baird, born October 17, 1864. After Isabella’s birth, more than four years passed before the birth of their second child and son, Peter Hiskey Baird, on January 9, 1869.
Apparently the relationship between Emma and Richard was strained, because the couple separated on April 26, 1869, and received a temple divorce on August 16, 1870. Richard remarried on October 3, 1870.
After the divorce, Emma moved close to her parents, who moved from SaltLake to Erda in 1868. She supported herself by tailoring men’s suits. Eventually, she sent Peter to live with her parents (and perhaps Isabella as well). Emma’s parents raised Peter until he was fourteen years old.
On January 23, 1871, Emma married again, this time to William Coon, a thirty-three year old resident of Salt Lake City and native of Carlton, Illinois. Like Emma, William Coon, had also been previously married, and was probably divorced from his first wife. He was a farm laborer, according to the 1870 Census.
Less than sixteen months after her marriage to William, Emma gave birth to another child, William Hiskey Coon, on May 6, 1872.
While apparently still married to Emma, William took a plural wife, Elizabeth Braithwaite, in Colonia Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, on September 10, 1889. It is not clear whether Emma accompanied him to Mexico for the marriage or whether she remained in Utah.
It appears likely she remained in Utah, because about fifteen months later, on Christmas Day, 1890, at a mere fifty years of age, Emma died in Erda, Tooele County, Utah, and was buried on December 29, 1890 in the Tooele City Cemetery. Her second husband lived for another seventeen years.[i]
[i] Vital Records, Cemetery, and Obituary Sources: Birth Certificate: No primary source available. Secondary source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, “Sealing of Couples, Living & by Proxy,” Volume D, pp. 199-200, Entry 5454 (22 November 1861 – 29 December, 1866), Family History Library Special Film, Roll No. 1149514. This is live sealing record for the marriage of Richard Alexander Beard and Emma Linda Hiskey in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City on March 21, 1863, performed by D. H. Wells, with witnesses, W.W. Phelps and S. L. Sprague. The records states Emma’s birth date as June 24, 1840 in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. Marriage License: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Sealing of Couples, Living & By Proxy,” Volume D, pp. 199-200, Entry 5454 (22 November 1861 – 29 December, 1866), Family History Library Special Film, Roll No. 1149514. This is live sealing record for the marriage of Richard Alexander Beard and Emma Linda Hiskey in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City on March 21, 1863, performed by D. H. Wells, with witnesses, W.W. Phelps and S. L. Sprague. Death Certificate: No known Utah death certificate exists. However, there is a grave marker at the Tooele City Cemetery, Tooele, Utah indicating that she died December 25, 1890. Grave Location and Cemetery Directions: Tooele City Cemetery, 361 South 100 East, Tooele, Utah 84074. To get to the cemetery: From I-80, once in Tooele, follow Main Street to 400 South and turn left; drive one block. Obituary: No known obituary.