Adaline Knight was born on 4 May 1831 in Perrysburg, Cattaraugus, New York, the third of 7 children born to her parents, Vinson Knight and Martha McBride.


            Starting in 1833, several members of the McBride family, relatives of Adaline’s mother Martha, joined the LDS Church.  Adaline’s parents were baptized into the LDS Church in March 1834.  In June 1835 Adaline’s family moved to Kirtland, Ohio to gather with other Latter-day Saints.


            Deep apostasy and persecution took hold in Kirtland during 1837 and 1838.  The Knight family moved in the spring of 1838 to Missouri, arriving at the end of May 1838 at Far West, Caldwell, Missouri.  They settled in Adam-ondi-Ahman.  Very quickly persecution again descended upon the Knight family and they were driven from their new home by a mob.  Forced to flee Missouri following Governor Bogg’s Extermination Order, Adaline’s family found refuge with some friends in Pike County, Missouri near the Mississippi River.


            They moved to Commerce (later Nauvoo), Hancock, Illinois in 1839, where Adaline’s parents constructed a sturdy two-storey red brick home on Main Street, said to be the first brick house in Nauvoo, on the same block as the homes of Brigham Young and John Taylor (this home is still standing).  Adaline’s parents were soon very involved in the affairs of their faith and community.


            Adaline was baptized into the LDS Church in the Mississippi River on 8 April 1841 by Lyman Wight, who was ordained an Apostle that same day by Joseph Smith.  She was confirmed a member of the Church by William Marks, Nauvoo Stake President.


            On 17 March 1842, Adaline’s mother Martha became a founding member of the LDS Relief Society, which day also happened to be Martha’s 37th birthday.  Adaline attended that organizing meeting, being almost 11 years old.


            Adaline’s father Vinson Knight suddenly took ill and died on 31 July 1842 in Nauvoo at the relatively young age of 38.  One month later her youngest brother died.  At the time of Vinson Knight’s death, their house was not quite finished.  In order to make ends meet, the family moved to the second floor and rented out the downstairs floor to the George Grant family.


            On 27 June 1844, Joseph Smith, Jr. and his brother Hyrum Smith were martyred in Carthage.  Adaline was present when the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum were brought into Nauvoo.  Her mother brought sheets as a shroud for the martyrs until they were dressed for burial.  In later years Adaline distinctly recalled the bloodstained clothing, soaking in tubs, during the burial preparation.  She was also present at the open air meeting in Nauvoo on 8 August 1844 and witnessed the miraculous transfiguration of Brigham Young into Joseph Smith.


            Later that same year Adaline’s oldest sister Almira, for whom Adaline would later name one of her own daughters, left the LDS Church over the issue of polygamy, marrying on 10 November 1844 a disaffected Latter-day Saint widower, Sylvester B. Stoddard.


            On 21 December 1845 at the age of 14, Adaline was married to Gilbert Belnap in her father’s red brick home on Main Street in Nauvoo by Heber C. Kimball.  Shortly thereafter, on 5 January 1846, she and Gilbert received their endowments in the Nauvoo Temple.  There is no record of their having been sealed at this time.  Three weeks later, Adaline’s mother, who had married Joseph Smith during the summer of 1842, married Heber C. Kimball on 26 January 1846 in the Nauvoo Temple “for time.”


            On 1 February 1846 Adaline and her husband evacuated Nauvoo and traveled through Iowa and across the Missouri River to Winter Quarters.  She and her husband crossed the Mississippi River on the back of “Old Tom,” Brigham Young’s horse, as it jumped from blocks of floating ice.  While her husband was in Missouri looking for work, Adaline reportedly drove her own team almost all the way to Winter Quarters.


            In Winter Quarters Adaline resided with her young family, her mother Martha, her sister Rizpah and her husband, and her younger brother James Vinson Knight.  Their wagons in Winter Quarters were formed in 2 large hollow squares.  During Gilbert’s absence to Missouri to procure supplies, Adaline, who was sheltered in a wagon box, gave birth to their first child, a son, on 8 January 1847, 2 weeks after her sister Rizpah had given birth to a daughter.  Her nurse was Emmeline B. Wells.


            Adaline departed for Utah with her young family, consisting, in addition to herself, of her husband and 2 small sons, on 15 June 1850 in the Warren Foote Company, 2nd hundred.  Her husband served as captain of their ten.  Also in the emigrant company were her mother and her younger brother James Vinson Knight.  Their wagons were drawn by their oxen “Duke” and “Dime” and their cow “Beaut.”


            One week after departing for the West, Adaline lost her second son, John McBride Belnap, who had taken ill in the evening of 21 June 1850 with a cholera plague that was sweeping the camp.  The child died in the latter part of the night on 22 June 1850 and was buried near the confluence of Salt Creek and the Platte River near present-day Ashland, Saunders, Nebraska in a tool chest of Gilbert’s which dovetailed together with a tight-fitting lid.


            Adaline and her family arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on 17 September 1850.  Two weeks later, they were sent by Brigham Young to settle in Ogden, Weber, Utah.  Their first home was a dugout on the south side of a hill on Canfield Creek in Sullivan Hollow at about 30th Street and Madison Avenue.  Later they moved into a log house on the southeast corner of the intersection of Grant Avenue and 26th Street.  Adaline was rebaptized on 25 February 1851 by her husband.

            On 26 June 1852 Adaline was sealed to her husband by Brigham Young in the President’s Office in Great Salt Lake City, the same day her husband married polygamously as his second wife Henrietta McBride.  (Gilbert’s first wive Adaline was a first cousin to Henrietta.)  Adaline and Henrietta were very close, as were their children.  As a polygamous wife, Adaline shared her home on 26th Street with Henrietta, who, upon her marriage to Gilbert, moved to Ogden from Farmington.


            Adaline’s husband Gilbert was called to the Salmon River Mission in April 1855.  Gilbert left on 16 May 1855, leaving Adaline behind with 3 little boys; their first daughter was born just 4 months after Gilbert’s departure.  Adaline saw her husband on occasion during resupply trips from Fort Lemhi to Utah, although it is evident from their correspondence that she suffered greatly during his absence.


            Gilbert Belnap returned from his mission in 1857.  Adaline and Henrietta were resealed on 17 July 1857 to Gilbert Belnap by Brigham Young in the Endowment House, the same day on which Henrietta received her endowments (she had previously been sealed to Gilbert in 1852 but at that time had not been endowed).


            In the spring of 1858, approximately 3 or 4 weeks after the birth of her sixth child Hyrum, Adaline packed a few belongings in a poorly sheltered wagon and left her home in Ogden as a participant in the “Move South” on account of the approach of Johnston’s Army.  She and her family resided for a season in Springville in Utah Valley.


            Following her family’s return from Springville, Adaline lived in a log house situated on the east bank of the Weber River near the present-day 24th Street viaduct.  Here she resided until her family moved to Hooper.  During part of the time in which Adaline was residing in this house, Gilbert’s wife Henrietta and her children lived in Huntsville.


            Adaline and her mother Martha were members of a Relief Society committee that dressed the frozen and bleeding feet of the members of a handcart company brought to Ogden by a scouting party.  This committee cared for their wants and provided homes for them until their recovery.  On 14 March 1862 Adaline lost her second child to die young, Volney Belnap, who was less than one month old.


            On 25 January 1869 Adaline received a Patriarchal Blessing in Ogden.  In the spring of 1868 (or 1869, following the birth in Ogden in August 1868 of her daughter Adaline Lorinda Belnap) Adaline moved with her family to Hooper.


            On 6 April 1871 Adaline was made president of the Hooper Ward Relief Society, a position she held until 24 September 1907, a period of 36 years.  Her strength of character and high ideals, as well as her initiative, were manifest when the first saloon was introduced in Hooper.  With the assistance of her counselors in the Relief Society, Adaline diligently canvassed the homes in the vicinity with a petition and were successful in having the menace removed.  Adaline was again rebaptized in Hooper on 7 July 1878.


            Adaline served as a midwife and nurse, having studied under a Dr. Powers from whom she received her certificate to practice.  Her first experience with a confinement case was when she was 18 years old.  When the ill-fated Martin Handcart Company arrived in the valley, Adaline took care of some of the unfortunate people who had frozen limbs.  Her daughter Mary Louisa Belnap was named after Mary Gibson, one of the handcart survivors whose arms were frozen to the elbows.


            When diphtheria broke out in Hooper, within a week 38 people were infected.  Adaline helped with as many as she could and not one of her patients died.


            On one trip to a confinement case, Adaline was thrown from her buggy and sustained some broken ribs; however, she continued to the home, took care of the birth, and made the mother and child comfortable without telling anyone of her injury.

            Adaline continued her practice as a midwife until she was 70 years old.  She was the only doctor and midwife in western Weber County for many years.


            In 1895 a large 50th wedding anniversary celebration was held in Hooper in honor of Adaline and her husband.  At that time her posterity numbered approximately 200.


            After the death of her husband on 26 February 1899, Adaline took turns living with her daughters Mary and Adaline Lowe in Franklin, Idaho and later with her daughter Lola Coolbear in Salt Lake City.  Adaline’s mother Martha came to live with Adaline until Martha’s death in 1901.


            In 1914, Adaline was described as being “afflicted with rheumatism, which badly deprives her of the use of her lower limbs, having to have someone with her if she goes any distance from home.  She gets around the house and her mind is clear and her hands are busy.  Now, 84 years old, she pieced a quilt, put it on frames, quilted it, and . . . in April 1914 . . . was binding the edges.”  While living in Salt Lake City, Adaline was sealed to her deceased parents on 6 January 1915 in the Salt Lake Temple.


            Adaline died on 10 June 1919 in Salt Lake City at the age of 88 years at the home of her daughter Lola Almira Belnap Coolbear.  Her funeral was held in the Hooper LDS meetinghouse at which Apostle David O. McKay spoke.  She was buried on 15 June 1919 in the Ogden City Cemetery next to her pioneer husband of 53 years.


            Adaline essentially grew up in the LDS Church, living and suffering with the other Latter-day Saints, first in Kirtland, then in Missouri and Nauvoo, before heading West to Utah.  Adaline witnessed first-hand some of the most pivotal moments in LDS Church history.  Through the influence of her parents, Adaline met many key figures in early LDS Church history.  She remained firmly devoted to her religion her entire life.


            Adaline was the mother of 13 children, 2 of whom died in infancy.  She also reared to adulthood a boy, Eli Roy Stoddard, whose mother had died shortly after he was born.  All of Adaline’s children who lived to adulthood were married in the Endowment House or an LDS Temple and had large families of their own.  Her posterity today numbers many thousands and are scattered around the globe.  Many of her descendants have excelled in medicine, law, business and finance, sports, government, music, and art.


(Written by Brent J. Belnap.  Submitted on behalf of the Belnap Family Organization to the Daughters of Utah Pioneers in 1995.)



                 Name:          Adaline Knight Belnap

                   Born:          4 May 1831, Perrysburg, Cattaraugus, New York

                   Died:          10 June 1919, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah

               Parents:          Vinson Knight and Martha McBride

   Pioneer Arrival:          17 September 1850

            Company:          Warren Foote Company, 2nd Hundred (by wagon)

               Spouse:          Gilbert Belnap

              Married:          21 December 1845, Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois

   Spouse’s Death:          26 February 1899, Hooper, Weber, Utah

              Children:          1.         Gilbert Rosel Belnap, born 8 January 1847

                                    2.         John McBride Belnap, born 11 May 1849

                                    3.         Reuben Belnap, born 14 June 1851

                                    4.         Joseph Belnap, born 26 January 1853

                                    5.         Martha Jane Belnap, born 17 September 1855

                                    6.         Hyrum Belnap, born 24 March 1858

                                    7.         Augustus Weber Belnap, born 25 March 1860

                                    8.         Volney Belnap, born 17 February 1862

                                    9.         Vinson Knight Belnap, born 26 June 1863

                                    10.        Amasa Belnap, born 22 June 1866

                                    11.        Adaline Lorinda Belnap, born 1 August 1868

                                    12.        Mary Louisa Belnap, born 11 December 1870

                                    13.        Lola Almira Belnap, born 5 June 1874

      Other Spouse:          None