Henry Helm 1832~1862

                       Submitted by; Carol Lackey                            


Henry Helm, the son of Allen and Elizabeth (McClure) Helm born October 12, 1832 in Greenton, Lafayette Co., Missouri and died April 26, 1862 Plainsburg Merced County CA. He married Sophronia Ann Elizabeth Turner in April 1858. She was born April 6, 1837 in Johnson Co., Mo and died April 12, 1913 Merced Co California

children of Henry Helm and Sophronia Turner

i. Baby boy Helm born 1859

ii. Sarah Olive Catherine Helm born November 19, 1861 Plainsburg Merced Co., Ca died September 22, 1925 Santa Cruz. CA

Notes for Henry Helm and Sophronia Turner

Henry and James Benton Helm came out in May of 1853, with the Turner wagon train. Not the first wagon train that Turner had taken west, but on this wagon train he took his family. They traveled from Independence a short distance over the Santa Fe trail to the Platte River and then north to Fort Laramie through Kansas, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. The trip across the plains from Missouri was difficult and the Indians a constant worry. This time of year it was common to see sudden thunderstorms arise from nowhere entrapping wagons in the mire. In Kansas territory they stopped near Pawnee Rock and while resting there James Benton Helm and his brother Henry Helm carved their names in the rock. (The name still appear today.) The Turner wagon train remained in the Washoe Valley in Nevada until the spring of 1854. The journey then continued over the Donner Pass to Stockton, and lastly to Plainsburg. The reports of Colonel James C. Fremont describing the wild game over the plains of Central California, the wonderful climate and the fertile earth capable of growing anything was not exaggerated. The sparse, rich land was a beautiful sight with roaming Mustang horses, wandering cattle, and so many wild geese along the foothills it looked like snow. They passed a large ranch with herds of cattle wandering the fields, with two adobe houses in the distance; the flowering trees surrounding the main ranchhouse was a beautiful sight. The owner of the ranch, James Cunningham, was also watching as the wagon train turned west by his ranch. He was particularly interested in the small red-headed young girl riding side saddle on her horse. The wagon train continued on until it stopped in what is now Plainsburg.

In 1857 Henry was assessed for his 160 acres of land on the Mariposa Creek with a value of $200; improvements of $50; three work horses, 1 colt, two hogs, one wagon house, kitchen furniture, two tons of hay, gun and pistol. Total value $2,198. It was a good beginning for him and was looking forward to his parents coming out. In late November 1856 Allen and Elizabeth Helm arrived at the bank of the Mariposa Creek. Both boys, Henry and James Benton Helm, were happy to see their parents. Especially Henry as he had some special news to give to his parents. Sophronia Turner and Henry were to be married. They had been playmates growing up, crossed the plains together and lived an acre apart. In early April 1858, Henry and Sophronia, first cousins, were married in the Turner home. It was the first marriage in the family in the new state.

The young couple lived on the land Henry had acquired. On the 26th day of August 1859, Henry and his wife Sophronia sold land to N. S. Hazelton for $750. Another piece of land belonging to Henry was sold on March 31, 1862 to his brother James Benton Helm, for $300. Henry died intestate on April 28, 1862 in Merced County. He was only 29 years old and left a daughter, Sarah Olive Catherine Helm, aged 5 months. An infant son had died in 1859 was the first to be buried, along with Mr. and Mrs. T. J. Wilcox baby, in the Helm Turner Cemetery. Henry was buried near his first born son on his father's land. Sophronia filed for probate of her husband's estate September 1, 1862 at the county courthouse in Snelling. Nicholas Turner and Sophronia's brother, Joseph L. Turner, were sureties for $3600. A payment of $50 was paid to a Dr. W. Dickerson for five visits. Henry's estate was settled September 1, 1863. Cattle, horses, lumber and posts were sold for a total of $2,160. The court allowed Sophronia half of the estate and the other half to be set aside for her daughter, Ollie Helms. Sophronia returned to her father's home. On October 18, 1865, Sophronia married James Henderson of Snelling. Before a year was gone, he also was dead. She again went home to her parents.

The owner of the large ranch land the Turner wagon train passed on the way to Mariposa Creek in 1854 was still enamored of Sophronia. She rode often by his place to Snelling and he vowed he would marry the beautiful young woman. On July 30, 1868 Sophronia Turner Helm Henderson and James Cunningham were married at the Presbyterian Church on Mariposa Creek. A reception followed at the Cunningham Ranch, in a covered courtyard.

It was a beautiful day for Sophronia and attending the reception were neighbors, friends, and relatives from nearby ranches. Sophronia was 28 years old and James was 44 years old. They were fortunate as the marriage lasted over 40 years.

Contributed by: Carol Lackey