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Brigham City, Utah
May 26, 1916
Mr. James E. Hart
c/o Hon. Chas H. Hart
1015 Kearns Bldg.,
Salt Lake City, Utah


Dear Brother:
According to my promise and your request I enclose a brief statement of my experience in obtaining the genealogy of my father’s family and also the American collateral branch.
Kindly excuse apparent delay, as I have been very busy since I saw you last; of necessity, I must be brief and concise, omitting perhaps many very interesting details for the sake of brevity.
To commence with: will say that from my earliest experience in the Church, I have been ever profoundly impressed with the work for the dead. The vast, compre¬hensive nature of a scheme of salvation embracing all the generations, past, present and future, always appealed to me, as one of the greatest evidences of the divinity of the great Latter Day work.
Consequently, I have taken the greatest pleasure in Temple work, and received from time to time, most convincing testimony of its efficacy and power. For some years we had desired to get the genealogical record of a collateral branch of the American Holton family, but without success.
During the year of 1899 and 1900 I was a law student at the Columbian University, Washington, D. C. While there as a student, I did the larger parts of my research work in law, and kindred topics at the Congressional Library.
One reason was economy, -- it was only by the strictest economy I could pursue my studies; hence at the Library I had free access to every book on law and every other related subject without the necessity of buying books. Some time during the months of October and December, 1899, while diligently studying my law course, and looking up cases in the Library upon the subject of Criminal Law; which as you know is anything but an inspiring study, I found that one morning against my will, my mind would continue to drift from the subject and run upon the lines of Temple work, and Genealogical work, with special impress upon the American branch of the Holton family; this occurred so frequently during the course of the morning as to be remarkable; and again and again, by an effort of will, I would drive the subject from my mind and apply myself again to my law study, but as often the subject of temple work would recur, until at last almost in despair, I threw down my law book, and exclaimed, ''What does this mean? Why does my mind this morning so persistently dwell upon genealogy despite my efforts to control it?"
As I asked the question to myself, I heard plainly and distinctly, a voice which pierced me to the center, and seemed to penetrate my whole being repeat these words, "It means that right here in this Library is the record of the American collateral branch of the Holton family, you have desired so long to obtain." I was startled, and astonished, it was my first experience of this kind, and involuntarily I turned in the direction of the sound, but of course saw nothing. But even then, although profoundly moved, I did my best to dismiss the matter from my mind and turned again to my law books, and tried to concentrate my mind upon the topic, but without success. Try as I would to dismiss the matter, it would persist, and repeat itself again and again, and now with the added experience of the strange voice. It was no use I could not study; and again throwing down my book, I said, ''What does this mean anyhow?"
In a tone which thrilled my very soul, the same voice replied, "It means that the records you have long been seeking are here, and NOW GO, and ask the Librarian for them." There was no mistaking it this time; it was the voice of command and rebuke; and impressed me beyond expression. I approached the Librarian and inquired of him, wether or not, they had in the Library any genealogical records of the New England Holton family?
As I spoke the librarian looked me searchingly in the face, and asked my name. I told him, in reply my name was Holton. "Then give me your hand," said he - I did so, and he clasped it in an iron grip. ''What does this mean," said I.
"It means," said he, "That the best friends I have on earth are Holtons and anything on God's earth I can do for a Holton, I will do." I was certainly astonish¬ed by his warmth of manner, and by the strange coincidence, and told him; he could render good service to a Holton now, if he could put me on the track of the records I desired. In brief he made search through the catalogues, and in a few minutes sent his assistant to my desk with a large book; which upon examination to my great joy, was the record of the collateral branch of the family we had so desired to obtain. It was round in Chart Form, and contained the "radical chart" system of genealogy, with text matter between the charts, for more complete biography and his¬toric matter. But mat impressed me most at the time, was the printed statement on the TITLE PAGE of why and how the work came into being.
I read these remarkable words - "Mrs. Miriam Holton Brown, feeling impressed that hereafter, some relative of the family will enquire for this record, for some important purpose, WHICH PURPOSE SHE KNOWS NOT, leaves a bequest in her will, that at her death, sufficient of her estate be used to compile, and print this genealogy that it MAY BE HERE WHEN HE ASKS FOR IT!" - as I read these words - the spirit of God thrilled me through and through, and filled me with joy and divine testimony, I am unable to fitly express, and right there and then, I received one of the most striking and remarkable testimonies, concerning the work for the dead, it had ever, previous to that, been my food fortune to receive.
“Certainly,” I thought, “I am here, asking for that very record, being directed by a voice to ask for it; certainly the use and purpose I shall put this record to, was unknown entirely to the good woman, whose means were instrumental in having it compiled and published, and certainly too, I am a relative of the family, God in my very soul for this singular and beautiful testimony and truly I reflected "He moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform."
To be brief dear brother: I will say that I was profoundly affected, and natur¬ally looked closer into the family history for details, when I found that this good woman, in her will, had appointed her brother Dr. David Parsons Holton, a surgeon of New York, as executor with a special injunction upon him to pay diligent heed to the genealogical part of the work. To make a long story short, I found that although an expert surgeon in love with his profession, having taken the full course of the New York College of Physicians and Surgeons and also four years advanced work in the hospitals of Paris and- Berlin, yet no sooner was he made executor of his sister's will, that he immediately turned his attention to genealogy, and the love of it grew so strong with him, that he largely abandoned his practice and put the whole of his time and fortune, eventually into the work besides using his sister's bequest for the purpose, and being a man of wealth, he accomplished a wonderful work in this direction. I
He invented a system of "radial charts" or genetic zones; and his work was ¬highly commended by skilled genealogists, he published before his death four large volumes of the Holton and collateral families including the Parsons, Winslow and Farwell families, and had arranged the data, and gathered the biography and genealogies of over three hundred and fifty great-great-grandparents, whose records ancestral and decedents he had collected. In this connection, it is interesting to note, that the original ancestor was Deacon William Holton, who in 1634 came to Massachusetts from Ipswich, England, when only 23 years of age. He was one of the early pioneers of Hartford, Conn. and also of Northampton, Mass. His daughter Ruth married in 1678 Thomas Lyman of Durham, Mass. and his grand-daughter Abagail married John Lyman, son of Richard Lyman, of Northampton, Mass; -from a conversation had sometime ago with Judge Stanley Hanks of Salt Lake City who is a grandson of Apostle Lyman, I find these Lyman’s were of the same line as Brother Lyman. Need¬less to say Brother Hart, we had great joy in performing the Temple work, for these good people whose record came so wonderfully to my hand; we have made progress but, of course, the work is almost exhaustless.
It was after the lapse of some years when I was District Atty. of the 1st Judicial District, to be more exact on the 23rd day of May, 1908, that again, in wonderful manner, the Father blessed me with additional light and knowledge pertain¬ing to my genealogical work. After making fairly good progress on the American branch, and exhausting all our known English record, I had a great desire to obtain knowledge of our English ancestry, even to the earliest ancestor. I knew it was by the power of God I had obtained the American collateral records, and I knew the Father was just as able to open to my view the English records. So, after several days of earnest prayer, that the Father might reveal to me the English records from the earliest ancestor, I was blessed just before dawn of the 23rd day of May 1908, with a wonderful and vivid dream or vision. It made a great impression on my mind at the time, and, even although years have since passed it is just as vivid and plain NOW as it was then.
In fact in my experience, I have noticed that whenever the Lord manifests any¬thing to His children by dream or vision, it is most CLEAR, VIVID, AND STRIKING, and seems to BURN itself forever upon the very inmost soul; thus differing from ordinary dreams, which fade almost before the dawn.
But to resume: In my dream I beheld a large man who stood before me, and announced his name as Blethlyn de Hulton, and he talked to me as one man to another. He said he came originally from Normandy with William the Conqueror, and was one of His Knight's and assisted in the conquest of England; he said after the conquest William divided out the land in large part to his followers and the surnames were called after the names of the estates granted, as he spoke, I saw England as it was in the time of William, and saw the estate granted to this man was called De Hulton, in Lancaster, England. I saw also that his same plan was followed with others, thus I saw the estate of Courtenay, and DeLacy and De Standish, and many others.
Resuming his conversation with me, he stated that from 1066 to the present time, the estate of Hulton had always remained in the Hulton family, and that the present owner of it was named for his great progenitor Blethlyn. He further said ¬that as the years passed the name was frequently written Holton instead of Hulton; but that Hulton was the ancient way of spelling it. Now said he, "I will show you my posterity, and the scene changed, and I beheld an almost innumerable multitude of persons marching past like a great army, and I further noticed that they early members were clad in the mailed armor of the feudal times, in ancient style, but that as the procession passed, gradually the persons attire changed, until the later ones, were clad in modern style. As I looked I marveled at the immense number of persons represented. And I thought, "Now is it possible that this vast host can come from one pair; but he said, "Remember it was said to Abraham that his seed should be as innumerable as the stars of heaven, or the sand on the sea shore for multitude; and now behold the multities of my posterity, and see how great and mighty is the work for these countless dead.”
I said to him, “But this is merely a view of your posterity but I want the records; how can I obtain the records.” He replied, “They will be shown you.” At this point the scene changed and I found myself in an immense room, filled with records from floor to ceilings. Looking around I saw a personage clothed in white robes seated at a long table that stood in the center of the room; addressing me, he asked me what I desired and I told him I desired the records and genealogy of the posterity of Blethlyn Hulton; I had just beheld in vision. He said, “Be seated and you shall see them.”

At this I seated myself at the table beside him; and he handed me volume after volume of the records of the Hulton's, and said, "Behold, here is the record of your Father's house." I eagerly took the volumes in my hand and turned them over; and to my great joy found the early founder of the family was truly named Blethlyn De Hulton as he had told me, and arranged in orderly manner. I found his generations carefully catalogued, and arranged in the order of their generations from the first founder to the last generation, and I marveled at the number and beauty of the record. I noticed also the families and how they blended with other ancient families of England thus I saw they intermarried with the DeLacy, the Courtenay, and the De Standish families, as I had seen in vision, and I marveled.
"Now," said the personage who handed me the records, "These are the records of your father's house, but I want to impress upon you that these things are not shown you to gratify curiosity, that the Lord does not nor will he reveal the past simply to satisfy curiosity, but these things are shown you that you may know that it is your work and mission to perform a vicarious work in the Temples of our God, for all the generations you saw, for it is your birthright so to do, as you are the eldest son of your father's family and entitled to do this great work. And remember - he continued - impressively, that when knowledge is given it brings responsibility, and from this time it is your work and you are responsible to see that the Temple work is done for all you saw in a vision, for the hearts of the Fathers must be turned to the children and the hearts of the children must be turned to the fathers that the great plan of Salvation may be carried out as God designed."
I said to him, "But this is a vision. I know I am now in the spirit but where can I, in reality, get the records of my father's house?"
He answered, "Turn to the title page of the volume you hold in your hand." I did so and saw it was part of a record of the Herald’s England. He said, "You will find the records by searching through the Visitations and Inquisitions, made in the different reigns of the Kings of England." As he spoke I saw these words in large letters of Gold around the walls of the room. "Now," he said, "you know where to look for the records and remember to be true and faithful to what you have seen and heard."
As he spoke, another messenger, took me by the hand and said, “Now, I will show you the House of Holton," saying which, he brought me to where I saw an immense building, towering up several stories and seemingly filled with people. I noticed over the large entrance the letters - in gold - of immense size - the word "Holton."
"Now," said he, "look within."" I did so and saw large numbers of people, of all ages and degrees. I looked closer and saw that while they appeared to be well clad, yet they appeared cold and uncomfortable and unhappy. I said to the messenger, "Who are these people and why are they apparently so unhappy?" Said he, "They are all of the house of Holton and are of the hosts you saw in vision, but they are unhappy because they have progressed as far as they can in their present state and they cannot make further progress until the work is done for them in the Temples of our Lord." - continuing, he said, "You have the keys of your father's house and it is your right to unlock those doors; and do the work for these dead that they may go on to their exaltation and glory, and this is why these things are shown you, that you may have perfect knowledge of the work for the dead, and henceforth be faithful and active in laboring for your ancestors and acting as a savior upon Mount Zion."
Again he looked upon me and repeated impressively, "Now you have been shown the generations of your father’s house you have handled the records and know where to obtain them, you have also beheld that the spirits of the dead cannot advance to full knowledge and glory until a vicarious work is done by the living for the dead, henceforth remember your responsibility and be faithful to what you have seen and heard."
At this the vision faded and I awoke, and it was dawn. But I lay awake rejoic¬ing with great and exceeding joy at the wonderful vision I had beheld, and thanking and praising my Father that he had so answered the desire and prayer of one of his humble children.
After which I arose, and while the spirit of the vision was yet fresh upon me, made a record in my diary of what I had seen and heard, that I might preserve it as a witness to hand down to my children and their children’s children and this writing is a brief abstract of that record.
About one year after this vision, I was interested in noticing that our Utah Genealogical Society had been successful in purchasing some reprints of the old English records, and the thought occurred to me - I wonder if among the books and records purchased they have any of the reprints of the "Visitations and Inquisitions" made under the order of the English Kings, and the desire came to me to look into the matter, so I attended the April Conference of 1909 and took my diary with me containing the account of my vision of my forefathers.
Between the meetings of the Conference I visited the Historian's office; and going upstairs to the Genealogical room I inquired of Apostle Joseph F. Smith, Jr., whether amongst the recent purchase of English Records, the Society had purchased any reprints of the "Visitations and Inquisitions" of the reigns of the Kings of England. He replied, brother Holton, I will search for you and in a short time he brought me an armful of books.
"Now," he said, "You can sit down and be happy. I am going to one of our meetings of the Apostles but you can sit down and peruse these records at your leisure." I thanked him, and took the books and began my search; and to my great and exceeding joy as I handled the books I found the "Visitations" of Lancaster, and the record of Blethlyn De Hulton, and his descendants. I quickly saw I was on the right track for I saw the connection by marriage of the Holton and De Lacey families as well as the De Standish and Courteney families and others, and then I saw at once why these family connections were shown me in vision, in order that when I handled the real records, I would know at once I was pursuing the correct line of descent. I found also that the present holder of the old family estate bore the name of the first ancestor Blethlyn de Hulton, and from this start I have been able to learn that from this first ancestor there originated the Holtons that eventually swarmed into almost every County in England and also originated the Holton stock to America.
Now when Brother Joseph F. Smith, Jr. said to me, "Brother Holton, you can sit down and be happy," I doubt if he had the smallest conception of the unlimited happiness and joy that would come to me by the perusal of the records of my Father's house. For it is not given to any man to fitly and correctly portray the grandeur and beauty and majesty of the Spirit of God as with transcendent power he fills the soul to overflowing, with living testimony when the great vouchsafements of God are thus verified by actual demonstration and absolute proof; Where was doubt? Where could there be doubt in my mind in relation to the great work of God?
All doubt was fled, in the light of fulfillment and I shall ever look upon these testimonies of my Father concerning the great and vicarious work for the dead with joy, gratitude and emotion, and I humbly trust by faithful devoted work and humble endeavor to ever prove worthy and true to the work committed unto my hands.
I can say Brother Hart, our joy has been full in performing labor for these kindred dead, and I write these my experiences not in any boastful spirit, not as feeling that I am better than others because the Lord has given me such beautiful testimonies, but rather with a feeling of gratitude, humility and rejoicing that one so unworthy as I feel to be, in many respects, should have been so signally favored.
I feel however, that these same experiences are the right of every member of our church, for ALL are entitled to seek the Father and receive for their individual needs and personal work, and the Father is ever ready, and all who come in faith nothing doubting will find that “Everyone that seeketh findeth" and "to everyone that knocketh it shall be open." The Lord is ever ready and willing to reward to the uttermost, those, who with faith and full purpose of heart seek His face, and the light we receive from God will be exactly in proportion to our worthiness and capacity to receive and obey.
Well, I am afraid, I may weary you by this lengthy account already much more than I intended to write, but still a very brief account of my experience in this matter.
With sentiments of esteem and brotherhood, I remain your brother in the covenant of peace.
(signed) FRED J. HOLTON.