gold rush settlers

Melissa Burton Coray

Melissa Burton Coray

This video was done to show those interested in doing first person presentations in schools or other settings, how you might look and the material you could present. Please make sure your information is accurate. If there is question in your mind about the accuracy of your material, just send it to the foundation. Several of the Advisory Board make up State Historic Committee, who are dedicated to approving the accuracy of material being presented to the public.

Melissa was born March 2nd, 1828 in Canada. Melissa’s father was Samuel Burton and her mother was Hannah Shipley. Her family joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 1837. They had endured persecutions for about a year.  When Melissa  was 10 years old her family along with other members of the church left Canada and headed towards Missouri. They  heard about  more persecutions and  they traveled through a very cold winter and went across Michigan, Indiana and finally Illinois. The Burtons lived in Walnut Grove until 1842 and they then moved to Camp Creek where they lived for 2 years. When trials began again they went to Nauvoo for protection.  During the spring of 1845 William Coray began courting Melissa.  When troubles began again in 1845-1846 the Burtons crossed the river the last week in April.  They arrived in Mt. Pisgah Iowa June of 1848.  William and Melissa renewed their friendship and were married June 22nd, 1846.  Married only 4 days when men in army  uniforms rode into camp and said they needed 500 healthy men to enlist in the War with Mexico.  Melissa hated the thought of being separated from her beloved William and after he enlisted she signed up as a laundress.  Melissa and William endured many trials and hardships together as did many others.  Their journey is one of great love, courage and faith.

Remember this should be basically historical, and while the religious side is often needed to show why things were done, we need to be very careful not to be accused of proselytizing.