Call for Entries in the BCC Ancestor Knife-Fight Competition

(Squeamish readers beware.) A fellow bloggernacler called my attention to this blog post about a hypothetical knife fight between all of the US Presidents: “In a mass knife fight to the death between every American President, who would win and why?”

I’d like to put a Mormon twist on this and propose a mass knife fight to the death between everybody in the BCC community’s most fearsome ancestors.

I refer you to the basic ground rules in the US Presidents deathmatch, which will apply to our contest:

To begin, here were the original conditions of the hypothetical, as suggested by the redditor Xineph:

(1) Every [ancestor contestant] is in the best physical and mental condition they were ever in throughout the course of their [life]. Fatal maladies have been cured, but any lifelong conditions or chronic illnesses (e.g. FDR’s polio) remain.

(2) The [contestants] are fighting in an ovular arena 287 feet long and 180 feet wide (the dimensions of the [1] Roman Colosseum). The floor is concrete. Assume that weather is not a factor.

(3) Each [contestant] has been given one standard-issue [2] Gerber LHR Combat Knife , the knife [3] presented to each graduate of the United States Army Special Forces Qualification Course. Assume the presidents have no training outside any combat experiences they may have had in their own lives.

(4) There is no penalty for avoiding combat for an extended period of time. Hiding and/or playing dead could be valid strategies, but there can be only one winner. The melee will go on as long as it needs to.

(6) Each president will be deposited in the arena regardless of their own will to fight, however, personal ethics, leadership ability, tactical expertise etc., should all be taken into account. Alliances are allowed.

Additional notes:

  1. To enter, you must comment below. Your comment must include a photograph of the ancestor you wish to nominate, their name, and their birth year if known.
  2. Additional relevant facts may be provided (war experience, wrestling a grizzly bear to a draw, etc).
  3. You may submit up to 1 male and 1 female ancestor.

My submissions:

Abraham Brown, b. 1808. Baptized Spring 1831. Pioneer. Just look at the face. It speaks for itself.

Josephine Clark, b. 1855. Farmed in southern Utah. Again, the face says it all. She could be an Olympic weightlifter from the old days in East Germany.


  1. Ardis E. Parshall says:

    Please tell us how to add photos to comments. I’m rifling through my Book of Remembrance now!

  2. I’ll have to look and I don’t know how to add pictures and details…but I have an ancestor names Mahitabel (Are there bonus points for names?). She fought indians alone and there were hatchets involved.

  3. Captain Jack McKay, WWII, Korea. Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Distinguished Service Cross, Bronze Star, Bronze Star, Silver Star with Oakleaf Cluster, Silver Star with Oakleaf Cluster, the French Croix de Guerre (awarded by France), five individual Campaign Stars, and five, yes FIVE Purple Heart Medals.

    Landed June 6, 1944 on Omaha Beach, and is given credit by the US Army with being the first American Soldier to set foot in Germany with his platoon.

    He also played a wicked game of marbles and scared all the boys in the neighborhood with his mad skills. ;)

  4. Jeannine L. says:

    Aw, man! Third comment in and Tracy M already wins.

    Also, I’m pretty sure I’m related to Porter Rockwell.

  5. To provide a photograph, upload to imagshack or other free image hosting, then put the link here. Or you can email cynthiaL at

  6. I don’t have a picture, but I think David Burlock Lamoreaux could be interesting. He, with another person, returned to Nauvoo and stole back the Nauvoo Temple bell from a Protestant minister – from within the middle of a mob, apparently!

  7. John D. Parker, of Kanarraville, Utah. Friend (not relative, though I wish he were) of Robert LeRoy Parker (aka Butch Cassidy). Friends, that is, until Butch stole his favorite dog. He must have been tough to have been friends with ol’ Butch.

    Second, there is a story of one of my great great grandmothers, whose name I’ve unforgivably forgotten. Apparently she was 12 years old, and home alone on the ranch somewhere in Southern Utah when some Native Americans stopped by for something to eat. She was frightened of them so she picked up a kitchen chair, poked it at them, and yelled at them to leave. They laughed, said they admired her bravery, and left.

  8. I’ll submit William Madison Wall, b. 1821- seen in poor quality photocopy here-

    Or here in an epic statue of him found just off Heber City’s main drag-

    While stories abound, a few will serve to exemplify his tenacious and cunning nature (of especial use in an arena knife fight).

    The first two, told by his first wife (of five), Nancy Haws: “Shortly after the death of my father (William Haws died 11 Jan 1845 at Ramus or Macedonia, Ill.) my husband, WILLIAM MADISON WALL was imprisoned with other church leaders for the sake of the Gospel. My husband was a natural mimic, and able to imitate any voice. One evening the prison warden left the keys in the cell door and stepped outside. My husband reached through the bars of the prison door and unlocked it a shouted, imitating the warden’s voice, ‘Bill Wall is loose!’ In the confusion the remaining guards left their posts and the imprisoned group all escaped.”

    “Several times the prophet [Joseph Smith] and WILLIAM WALL engaged in a friendly wrestle. Both were large strong men over six feet tall and were well-matched.” Family legend has it that Wall was not only a match for the prophet, but frequently bested him.

    The last, taken from his own mission report, tells of his time in California after returning from the New South Wales mission (very soon after Mountain Meadows). He left the company and went into town to purchase supplies for the journey back to Utah. While there, the townspeople learned he was Mormon and decided he must have been involved in MM and camped outside his hotel room threatening violence. After several hours under this constant and growing threat, he grabbed his firearm, unbarred the door, and faced the mob, saying (to paraphrase) “do what you will with me, but I can assure you I’ll be taking at least a half dozen of you with me”. Apparently his threat worked because the mob then dispersed and left him in peace.

  9. Forget it, #4 automatically wins with Porter Rockwell.

  10. I believe my ancestor Genghis Khan (b. 1162) would win.
    I don’t have a photo but you can see a nice likeness here:
    You may also be one of his lucky descendants.

  11. Porter beware — great, great…. grandma Eunice Fitzgerald McRae might have taken him.

    She was one feisty woman, facing down mobbers and even managing to smuggle a pistol to Joseph Smith and her husband Alexander McRae in Liberty jail (alarmed, Joseph insisted she smuggle it out again before she got him killed).

    I don’t have my family history materials in front of me, so some of what I’m about to say may not be quite right (and I know that’s reprehensible in these parts) but she was apparently pretty tough and willing to be confrontational. She had a hard life. When she She and her husband got sent out from Salt Lake to settle somewhere in the sticks, he got recalled to Salt Lake and called to be bishop, and her letter to him about the death of a child crossed his to her about taking a couple new wives. I kind of got the impression she and her hubby didn’t see each other much after that. Porter Rockwell shot two of her sons for horsethieves, and when he and his deputy threw the bodies on the ground in front of her house, she reportedly yelled to Porter that if she weren’t a woman (or had a gun, or something like that), she’d shoot him. Porter reportedly yelled back that if she weren’t a woman (or had a gun), he would’ve shot her too.

    Photo at,%20Eunice.htm.

  12. Does it have to be a pioneer ancestor? Cause supposedly I’m a decendant of one Thorfinn Skullsplitter. I’ve no idea what he looked like, but with a name like that I suspect he’d do well in this contest.

  13. I just emailed my picture of Jorgen Christofferson Folkman, my 2nd great grandfather. He doesn’t look very scary, but he was tough. He survived several beatings by his neighbors in Bornholm, Denmark, after joining the church, and then emigrated to Utah in 1857 by handcart at age 65. While off hunting one day in the Black Hills, he got separated from the rest of the company, and survived on his own eating berries for several days, before linking up with a trapper and his Native American wife, who helped him for a day or two. Ultimately, he linked up with another company, and was reunited with his son and family about two weeks later. Upon arriving in Utah, he spent another nine years farming in Plain City before dying at age 74.

  14. My wife is related to Ephraim Hanks. I’d put him up in a knife fight against pretty much anyone. Just read this excerpt from his journal account of his rescue mission to the Martin and Willie Handcart Companies:

    <blockquote.Riding on alone for several days I ran out of food. I came one evening to a place along the Sandy where I found grass for the horse and wood to make a fire; I staked the horse and made a campfire. There was no sign of food so I knelt down near the fire and told the Lord of my errand. I was in need of fresh meat for supper and a warm robe to sleep in, I told the Lord that if he would send me a buffalo it might help to save the lives of many suffering people. Arising from my prayer I saw a buffalo standing a few feet away, looking off the other way. I drew my knife and slipped up behind him and quickly slashed the ham strings so he couldn't run. I was able then to cut his throat. I had my meat and a robe to sleep in. Next morning, the horse was saddled and I placed the robe back of the saddle and cut all the long strips of meat and tied and rolled them in the robe and started again on my journey.

    The man killed a buffalo with his bare hands! I mean, you’d have to be pretty impressive to beat this guy in a knife fight.

  15. .

    Hosea Stout was the law in Nauvoo and Winter Quarters, the latter of which was, contrary to your average pioneer hagiographic GC talk, a cesspool of people doing bad things. He wasn’t allowed on Brigham’s first trek to Salt Lake for two reasons: 1. Someone had to keep law and order. 2. He probably would have killed William Clayton. He totally hated that guy. According to the first century of antiMormonism, he was a hellacious and brutal assassin to boot. Which “fact” I will embrace for purposes of this contest.

  16. I vote for my Great-whatever Grandmother Charlotte Percillia Taylor Richens. Not only did she cross the plains with the Willie Handcart Company, she punched James Willie out when he was hurrying her along after she buried a toddler and gave birth within days of each other.

  17. My ancestor Freeman Nickerson (photo: started out as a poor sailor in Massachusetts. He served as a lieutenant in the War of 1812 and settled in Vermont where he became famous for being the champion wrestler of the state. He was about 7 feet tall and weighed about 300 pounds. When he became a Mormon at age 55 he was known for his charisma and was Joseph Smith’s bodyguard and missionary companion at times (Joseph would refer to him as “Father Nickerson”). He was always poor, so he and his family were forced out of Nauvoo with hardly any supplies. By this time he was almost 70 years old, so it is perhaps not surprising that he died from exposure after walking to Winter Quarters.

  18. Does William the Conqueror count?

  19. lol, how far back are we talking? One of my ancestors killed the black knight with a tree.

  20. Mark Brown says:

    I don’t know her name, and she’s not an ancestor, but I want to nominate the woman who provided room and board for the missionaries at her home in rural Feliciana parish, Louisiana, 113 years ago. She was a tough broad.

    Some of the local yokels were determined to get the Mormon missionaries out of the parish by means of a bullwhipping. This woman had worked as midwife for decades, so when the crazies came calling at her house with torches and pitchforks and demanded that she send the elders out to get what they had coming, she very coolly stepped out onto her porch with her “fowling piece” (aka shotgun) and stared them down, John Wayne style. She said that she had brought some of the mobbers into the world, and she was, by Gawd, prepared to take them out of it, too, and that no harm was going to come to the Mormons. And it worked.

    I like to imagine that she had a pump shotgun and racked the slide as she was delivering her threat.

  21. Arapata Taniwha my GGGG Grandfather was my first ancester to join the church in New Zealand. He was born around 1795. His name Taniwha means sea monster, so that should give you an indication of his nature. I grew up on stories of him canibalising enemy tribe members (pre mormon conversion of course!) so I am pretty sure he could win. Hopefully this link works so you can see his fierceness.

  22. Only Mormon ancestors count. Sorry converts. And no one can beat Porter Rockwell.

  23. I think E and EOR are correct about Porter Rockwell being unbeatable. We can still battle for 2nd place though!!

    I think we should have Mormon (in life) and non-Mormon divisions. So everyone feel free to submit both.

  24. E is right. Avenging Angel of Mormonism = completely winning any knife fight.

  25. A close reading of the rules would suggest that as long as you read BCC, your ancestor is eligible for the fight. :)

  26. Wow this is fun!

  27. I give you Peter Shirts, Mountain man, explorer. One of the leaders of the Navaho Legion. Once he was suppose to arrive somewhere and he didn’t show so they went looking for him, they found him with a team of men hitched to a plow. You know he’s tough to be able to get men to act as plow horse. He was also ruthless. When the Hole in the Rock pioneers arrived he was the only one with flour so he made them pay exorbitant prices. They felt robbed and cheated to their dying days (Romney would have been so proud though–he charged what the market would bear). One day he rode off into the wilderness, shacked up with a Native American woman and was never seen again until he died years later. He lived the life of Mountain man. One tough guy. He’ll take your ancestors any day.

  28. I have a short, skinny ancestor who was known for blending in and becoming practically invisible. She would win any battle like this by fading into the background and walking up the near-dead other finalist, killing him or her with one knife thrust.

  29. I am in fact related to Butch Cassidy. He is the only guy that could give old Porter Rockwell a run for his money, and I would definitely pay to see that fight.

  30. I nominate my great great great Grandmother Chestina. She slept inside a buffalo, a real live buffalo!

  31. I’m reasonably sure that William the Conqueror has been baptized. Probably several times.


    Taken from wikipedia:

    “Joseph Bartholomew (1766–1840) was a general in the Indiana Militia who is often referred to as General Joseph Bartholomew. He played an active role in the settling of the state of Indiana and in his later years was known for his work in politics. He was injured in the Battle of Tippecanoe. He died in Clarksville, Mclean, Ill and is buried in Clarksville Cemetery, McLean County, Illinois. More information can be found in a pamphlet entitled “The Forgotten Warrior”. Bartholomew County, Indiana was named after him.”

    I’ll have to go looking for a picture. Don’t know if I’ve ever seen one.

  33. I don’t think General Joseph Bartholomew was a Mormon. It was one of his descendants, perhaps even a son who converted to the gospel. So he’s out of the running.

  34. My fourth great-grandfather David Norton, Jr. was good friends with Porter Rockwell. When Porter Rockwell kicked down the door at the Nauvoo Expositor, David Norton followed him in and set the printing equipment on fire. They were acting under orders from Joseph Smith. Unfortunately this event led to Joseph Smith’s martyrdom.

    This is according to the Afterword of “Stories From the Life of Porter Rockwell” by John W. Rockwell and Jerry Borrowman.

  35. Do I get to use uncles?

  36. Last Lemming says:

    I’m descended from Daniel Seegmiller, but I suppose that the guy who murdered him (Wm.H. R[oundy]) would have won the knife fight.

  37. Nothing about them having to be any more LDS than the presidents in the OP

  38. John Smith Park. First child born in Happy Valley (residing in Orem Bench, now Provo). His mother was pregnant going through the trek (so maybe she was the tough one?). As a boy, he was responsible for taking the family sheep into the hills for pasture, where the Indians would often harass him. On occasion, they would stomp on his bare feet until he surrendered his lunch to them. There remains major tension between me and the Utes to this day because of this.
    He was a very successful businessman and farmer as an adult. He was the first person to own a car in Happy Valley.
    I’m sure that if he had a good quality knife, and perhaps a pair of shoes, he would have had the entire Ute tribe on the run…..

  39. I’m descended from John D. Lee. You could say he fought dirty. All the other ancestors better watch their backs.

  40. I am not related to him, but B. H. Roberts once shot a large bear with a single shot rifle in the dark while herding sheep as a summer job. Night vision goggles, anyone?

  41. Meldrum the Less says:

    I will nominate ancestors of my children:

    1. My side has Southerners who were converted in 1840 and didn’t move to Utah until the 1880’s. This family was so mean that they survived completely surrounded by people who shot Mormons on sight. They fought for the South in the Civil War after their conversion.
    2. My side also has a Danite who reportedly hunted down a couple dozen of the members of the mob who killed the Prophet and “blood-atoned’ them. This charmer also was supposedly in on some episode where they tarred and feathered the Prophet before he converted.
    3. I have a cousin we called Chucky who was known as “the ram rod” of the Sundowner’s motorcycle gang and he killed about a dozen of the members of the Hell’s Angels gang during turf wars in the 1960’s and 70’s. He also killed the leadership of his own gang in a sucession dispute and had both gangs after him. He died in a shoot-out with the Utah Highway Patrol. My dad and his brothers who fought in WWII were every bit as mean as cousin Chucky but they generally respected the law.

    But my wife has me beat.
    1. She is descended from Isaac Haight, Raymond Higbee, and John D. Lee of Mountain Meadows fame. Many of their children were socially ostracized and intermarried. There are also connections but not direct descend with other participants such as Bishop Dame and Nephi Andrson (?) the guy who died shouting “blood, blood, blood everywhere.”
    2. Butch Cassidy has ancestors in her line. If you subscribe to the theory of the acorn falling near the tree, then this might be worth a couple more points.
    3. If you include ancestors back in New England in the 1600-1700’s she has a horse thief and a murderer both hanged and one of the witches of Salem but they obvious were not Mormon ancestors.

    This seems like a lot. But our families have done quite bit of research and these things crop up. My wife also ties into the Huntsman line and they have spent millions of dollars connecting their ancestors into the royal families of Europe. So pick a King of England, for example Henry VIII beheading wives, William the Conquerer, Charlemagne. Also they are tied into the Norse royal lines that trace back to Thor, Odin, and other Viking Gods.

    Makes me sort of nervous thinking about this right before going to bed tonight. Maybe this was not such a great idea.

    My wife ha me beat.She is descended directly from Isaac Haight, Raymond Higbee and John D. Lee of Mountain Meadows fame and indirectly related to Bishop Dameand I think Nephi Anderson(?) who died shouting blood blood blood everywhere. Their kids all intermarried.
    Her other line ties in wih Butch cassidy ancestors but not direct

  42. Meldrum the Less says:

    Sorry about the last part that got copied.

  43. According to family lore, I’m related to Shakespeare. And, as we all know, the pen is mightier than the sword.


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