Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

St. Johns Overson Home

...And here is the Overson house in St. Johns. Granny's Christensen grandparents lived in a house that was torn down to build the elementary school.

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St. Johns Home

Now that I have all the Tanner files posted, I was looking online for some information to start the Morgan posts, and found that St. Johns (of all places) is on Google Street View. Many of you may recognize this home...

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Tanner 30 & 31: George and Ann Jarvis Children

George Frederick Jarvis was ten years old when the family sailed to Boston and thirteen years old when they moved to Utah. He worked extensively on the plastering of the St. George temple. He was bishop in St. George and later patriarch and was held in very high regard in his community. He married Eleanor Woodbury and had eight children and later also married Rosinia Sylvester.

Ann Catherine Jarvis Milne was born in London and made the trip across the ocean with the family. Her biography notes that the Jarvis family also lived in Ashland, Massachusetts, for awhile. During her childhood, an Indian scared her little sister Maggie, so Ann Catherine picked up a stick and beat the Indian out of the house. Ann was David Milne's second wife and they had eight children. She was still alive when the Jarvis book was written. She passed away in 1956 at age 109.

Brigham Jarvis was also born in Stepney, London. He married Mary Forsythe the first day the St. George temple was open and they had twelve children, seven of whom died as infants or toddlers. Brigham was involved in construction and irrigation work.

Amelia Jarvis Webb married William Webb and had twelve children, two of whom died in infancy. They were farmers and very hard workers although her health was poor throughout her life.

Samuel Walter Jarvis was the last of the children born in England. He married Frances (Fanny) DeFriez, who was the sister of our ancestor Charles Godfrey (Defriez) Jarvis. They had twelve children. Samuel married next in 1902 in Mexico to Pearl Taylor and they had seven children. The family fled Mexico in 1912 and settled in Benson, Arizona, and eventually returned to Mexico. Mary Ann Godfrey Defriez lived with her daughter Fanny and her family in the years before she died.

Margaret Jarvis was our ancestor. She was born in Boston and married in St. George to Charles Godfrey DeFriez Jarvis (he changed his name and was sealed into the Jarvis family). They had eight children and lived most of their lives in Arizona. Among the other many forms of work they did, living in a pioneer community, he trained in Chicago as a dentist and she trained in Salt Lake City as a midwife.

Elizabeth Jarvis was born while the Jarvis family was living in the Boston area. She died there at the age of four months.

Heber Jarvis was born in Salt Lake City, six weeks after the family arrived in Utah, his mother having walked almost the entire way across the plains. He settled in Arizona and married Susan Janet Smith. They lived in Snowflake, Nutrioso, Eager, and finally St. Johns. Heber and Susan had fifteen children. Heber was a member of the Arizona legislature and a firm supporter of women's suffrage.

Emmaline Jarvis Cottam was the first child born in St. George. She married Thomas Cottam who later served (among other things) as President of the St. George Temple and Mayor of St. George. They had ten children.

Victoria Josephine Jarvis Miles was a school teacher for many years before marrying George Miles slightly later in life. They had seven children. Shortly after their marriage, George was called on a four year mission in the Southern States.

Thomas William Jarvis was the last child of George and Ann Jarvis. He was killed by lightning on the steps of the St. George Tabernacle on April 5, 1881, when he was seven years old.

Tanner 31: Ann Prior Jarvis

Ann Prior Jarvis
b. 29 December 1829 Stepney, London, England
m. 17 September 1846 Harlow, Essex, England
d. 10 January 1913 St. George, Washington, Utah
b. 12 January 1913 St. George, Washington, Utah
Husband: George Jarvis
Father: William Prior, Jr.; Mother: Catherine McEwan

A poem written by Clarence Jarvis and copied by Ann Prior Jarvis and sent to Margaret Jarvis Overson on the date shown on the poem.

Ann Prior Jarvis, youngest child of Catherine McEwan and William Prior, Jr., was born in Stepney, Middlesex, London, England, December 29th 1829.

Her father was a very well-to-do contractor, but when she was a young child, he had the misfortune of losing his business, home and all savings through a fire, leaving him broke and very much discouraged. He managed to obtain a hundred year lease on a small home in a poorer district of London, where Ann grew to womanhood, and where she stayed with her mother, often when her children were born or her husband off on voyages.

Her father, William Prior Jr., never really seemed to rally after his loss, but became ill, and gradually grew worse until his death, when Ann was about seven years old.

Her mother was a splendid strong character, and did all she could to raise her children well, and educate them properly, but Ann could see that her mother had to work very hard, and she would ask her mother to let her go to work instead of to school, so she might earn a little to help her mother. She went to school until she was about eleven years old, when she got work helping make shirts, thereby saving her tuition and earning about fifty cents a week. She did this for some time before her mother found it out. She saved her money and gave it to her mother. Later she was apprenticed to a dressmaker, and learned to do very fine stitching, and make her own clothes, which was useful to her all her life. She says she might have been better educated if she had stayed in school, but she was always glad she helped her mother.

At school they read the Testament, and she always wished she had lived when Christ was on the earth. She was a deeply religious nature, and the memory of that reading never left her.

When Ann was about fifteen years old she was invited to a party by her friend, Phyllis Robinson, in honor of her brother, who was just home from a sea voyage. During the party the young sailor paid no special attention to our Ann, being busy entertaining guests with stories of the countries and peoples he had visited. When she returned home her mother asked her about the party, and what she did. She answered, “I saw my future husband.” Her mother said “Silly child! I’ve never heard you speak so foolishly before.” All through life, Ann was to have “Impressions” forecasting events in her life. The young man, George Jarvis, soon went on another voyage, and was sick, lost an eye, and was in a hospital for months, and was finally sent back to London as an out-door patient, but not very long after he returned, they were married, September 17th, 1846, three months before she was seventeen. She had other beaux who tried to get her to promise them, but she knew George was the one for her.

The next great event in their lives was when elders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke on the street of the town where they lived, and George listened spellbound to all they had to say. After the meeting he went home to tell his wife what he had heard, and she listened intently, and then said, “George, it’s true!” In that was also the hand of the Lord, and showed how her impressions were right, for not one of her other suitors were known to accept the “Mormon” religion, in which they both rejoiced all their days, notwithstanding the many hardships they had to endure because of accepting it. After she had walked across the plains to Salt Lake City, and seen the prophet of the Lord, Brigham Young, she said she felt she could gladly endure much more for that privilege.

Sister Jarvis loved to sing and knew all the old English songs of her girlhood days, and loved to teach them to her children. On stormy days or cold evenings, or when she was homesick or lonely for her mother and dear ones in England, she would gather her children about her and sing to them for hours, teaching them the dear old songs, and instilling in them a love for each other and strengthening the home ties. Through the years, the home was a gathering place for the town young folks, especially those young men who were away from home working on the temple. They enjoyed the singing, and also the stories of the sea and foreign countries that brother Jarvis would tell.

She bore and reared a large family, and taught them to be industrious, self-reliant, cheerful under trying circumstances, loyal to each other, their Church and its authority, truthful, trustworthy, honest, kindly and friendly to all, loving beauty, learning and refinement, and above all, having faith in the Lord and trusting in Him for His blessings. Her faith was unbounded, and she never failed to pray and call the elders in times of sickness. She related many instances of healing in her family life. She seemed to be able to detect any wrong in her children, and they knew they could not deceive her. She died January 10th, 1913, four days after the death of her companion, after more than 66 years together.

Overson, Margaret Jarvis. George Jarvis and Joseph George DeFriez Genealogy. Mesa, Arizona: 1957, i:41–46.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Tanner 30: George Jarvis

George Jarvis
b. 25 March 1823 Harlow, Essex, England
m. 17 September 1846 Harlow, Essex, England
d. 6 January 1913 St. George, Washington, Utah
b. 8 January 1913 St. George, Washington, Utah
Wife: Ann Prior
Father: Thomas Jarvis; Mother: Elizabeth Billings

Our pioneer ancestor, George Jarvis, was born in Harlow, Essex, England, March 25th, 1823, and was the fifth child and fourth son of Thomas and Elizabeth Billings Jarvis. Thomas was a hostler and farmer. Elizabeth was a nurse.

As a boy and youth he worked at farming and gardening, and later, in a grist mill. His employer had often heard George express a desire for the sea, and through his influence, obtained for the lad a position on ship-board as an apprentice for four years, when he was near seventeen years of age. He started on a voyage to South Australia, visiting China, India, and South Africa, and being gone about a year.

Another voyage was to West Australia, China, and the Malay Islands, loaded with tea, and return to London, lasting twenty-two months. Another voyage loaded with troops for South Africa; then went to Ceylon, and Calcutta. After that he changed ships and went again to China, loaded with tea, and returned again to London. Next he went on a voyage to North America, loaded with lumber, and returned to London, being gone about four months.

His apprenticeship over, George now joined the British Navy, and went to the West Indies. There he was unfortunate; he lost his big toe, got sick, and was blinded in one eye, and there was fear that he might lose both eyes. He was placed in a hospital in Jamaica, where he remained for four months. He was then invalided home to London, passed a medical examination by a naval surgeon, was an outdoor patient of the hospital and given a pension of sixpence a day for life. (He lost that, however, when he left England.)

George had previously met a beautiful girl, who was now almost seventeen, Ann Prior. They were married September 17th 1846, and went to Woolwich, where he was given the job of ship-keeper in the British Navy, and belonged to Her Majesty’s Flagship for about three years. While here he met Lorenzo Snow and Franklin D. Richards, elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He went home that night and told his wife what he had heard, that an angel had appeared to Joseph Smith and that the church had been organized as it was anciently, and now missionaries were visiting the people, being sent out as the apostles of Christ were. Ann listened intently to all he told her and then said “George, it’s true.”

They were both baptized by Ira Bradshaw on Christmas 1848, in the Thames river.

Not long after this, George went to work for Ravenhill and Miller, on Blackwall, London, as leading seaman for rigging purchases for lifting heavy machinery. He held that position for nine years, sometimes going on short voyages. He was anxious to emigrate to Utah, so he went on a voyage to China to get money for that purpose. On the voyage over the chief engineer was very friendly, and told George he would keep him on the steamboat to run from Hong Kong. Soon, however, he was discharged. He was much disappointed and grieved. He went to the engineer and asked if he had not given satisfaction. The engineer replied, “Yes, George, you know I like you, but you are a married man, and I think you had better go back to England.” He tried to get another job, but had a large boil on his arm and had to go to a hospital, which was very expensive. Everything seemed to be against him, and he finally sought the Lord in prayer, and the impression came, “Go home.”

At a post on the way home he heard of the massacre of European sailors. The Chinese war with England had begun. Had he remained he might have been slain with the other sailors. He felt that the Lord had overruled for his protection. He had been gone about a year, but had not obtained as much means as he had hoped. He found they only had enough to take them to Boston. They decided, however, to make the start.

It was the spring of 1857, and they had five small children. On board the SS George Washington, the cook became seasick, and George was given the position of chief cook, which lasted all the voyage, as the other man did not get well enough to take over. With only one helper, George cooked for 815 passengers, leaving his wife to care for the little ones.

Their stay in Boston was a very trying experience. It was a time of bank failures and general financial panic. Work was hard to get and wages were small. George was willing to work at whatever he could get to do, but was often out of a job. Housing could only be had in the poorest part of the city, which was also an unhealthy part. They were often without proper food, and in winter, fuel was also scarce and sometimes impossible to get sufficient to keep the family warm, as the weather was extremely cold. Added to these conditions, the wife and mother bore a child in the last of November 1857 (Margaret), and was so ill she was not able to be out of bed for four months. She could not nurse her baby, and with insufficient means to hire help, the little one was delicate, and had a real struggle to live.

In March 1859, another little girl was born, a beautiful child, and was apparently doing well, but at four months it died from cholera, after only a day or two sickness. The mother sorrowed for her loss, and was not completely recovered from her illness. They were, however, able to change locations to a little better place, and were getting some household necessities, but she grew worse again.

George Q. Cannon visited them, and advised Brother Jarvis to leave Boston and start for Utah. He said, “You may lose your wife on the way, but you will surely lose her if you stay here.” He administered to her, and gave him promise of work when they got to Florence, Nebraska. They sold their few belongings and managed to get enough means to take them to the frontier of the immigration, about a thousand miles from Salt Lake City.

Here George was employed by the church making tents and wagon covers for outfitting the company for the journey. They had to wait until all were ready, and while waiting, the mother was gaining in health, so that she was more fit to attempt the long journey. Brother Cannon arranged to have Brother Jarvis and a Brother Hunt have one outfit together, so that Sister Jarvis could ride, and the others take turns riding and walking.

But Brother Jarvis was not used to handling a team, so the other man drove and his wife rode, and the Jarvis family walked all the way, not even being allowed to let the little children ride occasionally for a rest.

They arrived in Salt Lake City in August 1860. George and the two oldest boys soon had work, they found a room to live in, and President Young let them have what food they needed in advance. On the 14th of October a son was born, who was named Heber.

They all rejoiced at being with the Saints, and during the next year had begun to prosper, and gain health and strength.

At October Conference 1861, President Young called for volunteers to go to Dixie. Our George was one of the first to volunteer. His wife was not pleased, but by early December the company was ready to start. The Jarvis family did not have as good an outfit as had been requested, nor the provisions specified, but they went, walking most of the way. They were the first to move onto their city lot in the St. George townsite.
First they lived in a tent, but soon worked together and made adobes and built a house with upstairs rooms, and later added other rooms on the ground. The first years it was hard to get flour enough, and they had to substitute caneseed and corn and some bran, and sometimes the flour was sticky, so they wanted for some necessities and all niceties for some years. But by industry and taking advantage of natural resources, they managed to live and build up a home city that has been noted all over the Church.

There were dams and ditches to build, crops to plant, care for the harvest, they built a tabernacle and the first temple the Saints built this side of the Mississippi River. All of these projects received due support from the Jarvis family. George had charge of all the scaffolding during the construction of the temple, and also charge of swinging the font into place on the backs of the oxen.

Picture of the scaffolding on the St. George Temple.

He sent to England for grape seeds, and from them originated two kinds of grapes that were extensively planted in Southern Utah, and both became very popular—a white and a dark grape. His home lot contained many sorts of vegetables, fruits, vines and flowers, and was a show place in the city.

Nor were his church duties neglected. He served as superintendent of Sunday School, president of ward teachers, a member of the bishopric for many years, and later, was ordained a patriarch, and gave hundreds of blessings. He expressed himself as more pleased with that calling than if a million dollar legacy had been given him.

His daughter Josephine makes the following comments:
One day during an illness when my brother Brigham was taking care of father, he said, "Brig, I have traveled all over the seas, have visited many countries, and I thank God I am as pure as the day my mother bore me." ... He has accumulated no wealth, yet to my mind he is rich, vastly so, in the record he has made of honesty, temperance, purity of life, and integrity to the Gospel. I lived at home until my 29th year and I can testify that I never heard or knew of a dishonest act of his. I never heard him utter a vulgar or profane word: he was always loyal to those in authority in the Church. Never a word of fault-finding in them was allowed in our home. He was the kindest, most indulgent father! Words fail me when I try to express my love and admiration of his character.

During the last years of his life his health was poor and his memory failed to some extent. He passed quietly away on the 6th of January 1913, after about a week’s illness from Lagrip or “flu.” He would have been ninety years old in March.

Adapted by Margaret Overson from sketches and history had in the family, and from a sketch written by his youngest daughter, Josephine Jarvis Miles. In Margaret Jarvis Overson, George Jarvis and Joseph George DeFriez Genealogy. Mesa, Arizona: 1957, i:34–38.

I see that someone put up a family site online at www.george-and-ann-prior-jarvis.org.

Image of St. George temple from http://flickr.com/photos/clementi/2393750904/. Image of St. George desert landscape from http://flickr.com/photos/bossco/107320587/ Photo of grapes http://flickr.com/photos/farlane/127551550/ Photo of art of ships at sea http://flickr.com/photos/agroguru/2516978871/

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tanner 29: Mary Ann Godfrey DeFriez

Mary Ann Godfrey DeFriez
b. 12 August 1822 Chatham, Kent, England
m. 19 October 1842 Christ’s Church, London, England
d. 22 June 1902 Colonia Morelos, Sonora, Mexico
b. 23 June 1902 Colonia Morelos, Sonora, Mexico
Husbands: (1) Joseph George DeFriez, (2) George Baker
Father: William Hinds Godfrey; Mother: Rebecca Bailey

Mary Ann Godfrey DeFriez (Baker), my maternal grandmother, was a native of England, having been born August 12th, 1822, in Chatham, Kent. Her parents were William Hinds Godfrey and Rebecca Bailey.

About the only incidents I can now recall of her early life, were, that her mother required her, as also her sisters, to commit to memory a certain number of lines of poetry daily; and that when about twelve years of age, she had a severe sick-spell which caused her hair to come out, never again to reappear. This was the cause of her having to wear a wig all her days. As a young girl, a beautiful set of curls adorned her face; thereafter changing to suitable designs to suit her age and the trends of the times. In color, it was dark brown tinged with red. Her eyes were scummed over with a white film, giving them a blue-black hue, but as I remember, she said naturally they were light brown.

She learned music under her father, who was a fine violinist. She accompanied him on the piano. He was, however, very stern and strict, and many times gave vent to his wrath, by slapping her off her stool if she failed to keep proper tempo, and then requiring that she resume without further interruption. She thereby became very adept in her art.

She was married to Dr. Joseph George DeFriez, a practicing Physician and Surgeon, 19th of October, 1842, in London. They moved a few times to more desirable locations. Their last home being a very large house on Bethnal Green Road. Ten children, eight boys and two girls, graced this union.

Grandmother was a painstaking mother, seeing that her children were well cared for physically, but she never indulged them in any way. She told me a neighbor once said to her, “I’ve never heard one of your children cry.” Grandmother explained to me that this was because she looked to their needs and wants.

When her family no longer needed such care, she assumed the responsibility of Postmistress in one of the five head, or largest offices in the City of London. This was housed on the street floor of their home. In this business she was assisted by her youngest daughter, Francis, my mother, lovingly called “Fan” by her father and “Fanny” by others. Mary, her eldest daughter, had charge of the Telegraph Office, a division of the Post Office at that time.

Having been brought up in a God-fearing home, she had a broad understanding of the Bible (having committed to memory many of the Proverbs). But yet, she could not content herself with any of the sects of the day. She joined first one and then another, attempting thereby to satisfy her religious desires.

My grandfather DeFriez was a ranking member of the Free Masons Lodge, and often took grandmother to their Banquets, lawn parties, &c. Also they frequented the High class theaters, and at times visited different Churches to hear the great Divines of the day. In this way she heard a Dr. Adams, whose doctrines appealed to her, and she forthwith affiliated herself with his church. Disappointment again manifest itself. He proved to be an apostate “Mormon,” and while he preached many of our principles, she soon detected his human weaknesses, and his lack of Divine Authority.

About this time her own son, Ebenezer, returned home from a voyage abroad, and a trip to the continent. Having heard the Gospel in a sea-port town in Australia, he had joined the “Mormons” and gone to Utah, and from there been sent back to England as a Missionary.

Now, indeed, had the Restored Gospel in its purity, been brought to listening ears. Grandmother at once recognized it, the True Church of Christ. At last she had reached the end of her quest, and found the Pearl of Great Price. She remained faithful to her testimony to her dying day, June 22nd, 1902, though it cost her loss of husband, home, and loved ones, wealth, position, and all the comforts of life. At first Grandfather was kindly disposed towards the Elders, inviting them to his home. He outfitted Uncle Eb at the best Taylor Shoppe because he felt his clothes were not becoming to or dignifying enough for a Minister, and showed many other kindnesses. But through indiscreet actions on the part of Elder Albert Carrington, then President of the British Mission, he turned against them, forbidding them ever to again enter his door. Mother and Grandmother, however, were faithful to their testimonies, and Uncle Eb was released to accompany them to Utah.

They took passage on the ship S.S. Wyoming, July 25th, 1877, thence to Salt Lake City by rail.

From there they went direct to St. George, Utah, where Uncle Charles was residing. He had left the sea, (having been a sailor for three years), landing at Puget Sound, Washington. He heard of the “Mormons” while abroad, and came to Utah to gain first-hand information concerning them.

He worked for the Bishop at Filmore a year, was baptized there, and called to go to St. George to work on the Temple, where he remained until its completion, consequently was still there when his mother and brother and sister arrived from England, but he was soon called to go to help in the settlement of Arizona.

In St. George Grandmother gave Music Lessons and worked in Church capacities. She married George Baker (as a plural wife). It soon became apparent that Grandmother and Mrs. Baker were of such different natures and dispositions as to make life unhappy for them both, so, while grandmother always retained his name, she did not long make her home with them.

She was at this time, President of the Primary and was teaching the children a Cantata. While seated at the piano with the group about her, grandmother said it seemed as if a cloud passed before her eyes, and she could no longer see the music. Gradually her sight diminished until she could only discern objects; and after months sight faded to a glimmer. This was in 1886 or 1887.

About this time, my parents were advised by the Apostle Erastus Snow, then presiding over the LDS Colonies in Mexico, to pay a visit to their parents in St. George, in the hope that the trip would prove beneficial to my elder sister, then an invalid baby.

After staying in Dixie for some time, they made preparations to again return to Mexico, taking grandmother with them her sight having totally failed.

Were it possible to have two mothers, I should feel that blessed person, for Grandmother, though blind, was my mother’s nurse and my caretaker at birth. My memories of her are interwoven with my early life. I just can remember her at the table a few times, but she became so self-conscious that she preferred eating by herself, therefore, almost as far back as my memory runs, it was my duty and privilege to take Grandmother’s serving to her, before I ate, and ‘ere I had finished, see if she desired anything more. I was likewise trusted to lead her without the house whenever she wished to go. In short, I grew up with her. She never failed to be helpful in some manner or other; e.g. she and I almost daily peeled a pan of potatoes for mother to cook. After the weekly washing was done, she folded many of the clothes and often held the baby. When father brought home a wild turkey, she would strip all the larger feathers for pillows. And for past-time, before we had an organ, she would knit—principally with two needles—a ball of yarn, then undo it and do it over—though she did knit wrist-bands for herself.

From her I learned to do simple knitting. Again she would hem pieces of cloth to use as handkerchiefs—it was remarkable how uniformly and neatly this was done.

As I grew older, she would have me read a poem to her, a line at a time, and repeat until she memorized it.

For a few years she used to go, occasionally, to our neighbor, Hannah Jane Spencer’s home and visit for hours together and play her organ.

My brothers, like all youngsters, were up to snuff sometimes. We had no screen doors in those early days, and sometimes a hen became troublesome, but if ever one began picking, Grandmother would at once move in that direction and shoo it out, by waving a handkerchief. One day mother was away, George and Will thought to have fun, providing themselves with sticks, they tapped on the doorstep. Grandmother took it to be chickens, so out came her pocket handkerchief, but shoo as she would, that old hen still pecked away. At length she moved her chair along until she reached the door, and remained on guard until mother’s return.

Patient, kind, long-suffering, thoughtful, cheerful, considerate, loving, humble, meek, sympathetic, willing, faithful—and many other adjectives could well be used, in an effort to describe her sweet disposition and gentle nature. She took great pride in personal neatness, was always clean looking and prim. Each Sunday she would dress as if expecting to go out for the day.

In the late fall of 1896, we moved to Colonia Juarez. Father at once procured an organ, which proved a real companion for Grandmother. She played by the hours, and was a marvel to all who were priveleged to hear her. Though she regretted not being able to teach us from notes, she taught us the scales and chords in all keys, and also simple tunes.

With my father to do her bidding, she delivered my mother with five births beside my own. Grandfather had imparted knowledge which made her equal to this task.

On Sunday just two weeks to the day before her death, Bishop O.P. Brown spent the time between Sunday School and Sacrament Meeting (then held at 2 p.m.) with her. After a brief exchange of greetings, she entertained him by reciting “The Broken Crutch” and “The Miller’s Maid,” which consumed more than an hour—two poems she had learned in her youth.

She always observed the Monthly Fast, and was true to every principle of the Gospel. Her language was couched in the best of English, her words flowed freely and with no grammatical errors; expressive and well accented, her diction seemed perfect.

She possessed a large vocabulary, hence a great variety in wording. To listen to her or converse with her was music to one’s ears. No one ever visited her who did not feel blessed for having done so.…

Grandmother never wore common-day clothes on Sunday, she varied her garb from week to week, and was extremely methodical and orderly in all she did, having a place for everything, and everything in its place. No matter what article she wanted she knew just what part of which trunk to feel for it.

No one ever meddled with or disturbed her belongings, but many times I’ve stood by and watched her while she took out the things she wanted, noticed how everything was placed with precision, and marveled at her ability to judge size and space and fit things in with exactness. It was inspirational to watch her fold different articles of clothing, and her arrangement of the same in putting them away.

Her end came peacefully, though unexpectedly, in the twilight hour. Most of the family had gone to an evening meeting. I had been in her room shortly before, but noticed nothing unusual, except that she had seemed a little weary all day. As I finished my evening chores, I felt impressed to go to her, and was surprised to hear a wheezing, rattling sound in her throat. I called Mother. Grandmother tried to talk, but her tongue seemed partially paralyzed. (This, however, had happened at least twice before in years passed.) She raised her right arm, placed it over her breast, as a peaceful calm spread over her countenance. “She has gone to sleep,” I said. But it was the sleep of death.

Fenn, Grace Jarvis. “Mary Ann Godfrey DeFriez Baker.” in Margaret Jarvis Overson, George Jarvis and Joseph George DeFriez Genealogy. Mesa, Arizona: 1957, ii:35–39.

Editor's Note: Grace Fenn notes that Mary Ann DeFriez (Baker) wrote the hymn, "Master, the Tempest is Raging." I'm not sure where her information came from, but it is not true. Here is a brief biography of the woman who wrote the song, and some notes about the writing of the song.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tanner 28: Joseph George DeFriez

Joseph George DeFriez
b. 5 July 1821 London, London, England
m. 19 October 1842 Christ’s Church, London, England
d. 29 August 1887 London, Middlesex, England
Wife: Mary Ann Godfrey
Father: Joseph DeFriez; Mother: Sarah Harrington

Dr. Joseph George DeFriez was born in East London, 5 Beatty St. Commercial Road, England, July 5th, 1821. He was the oldest child of Joseph DeFriez and Sarah Harrington. His parents must have been well-to-do and thrifty people, as Joseph George was well educated, and they raised eleven children to maturity, and all seem to have married well.

Joseph George DeFriez and Mary Anne Godfrey were married at Christs' Church, Middlesex, England, October 19th, 1842.

He was a noted Medical Doctor, Surgeon, and Accoucher, having the following letters: M.D., F.R.C.S., & L.S.A. of England. In addition, he maintained a private practice, and was a parish doctor, and a dearly loved family physician. Also, he was a high-ranking Mason. These professional and social activities were the means of maintaining a large circle of friends and acquaintances.

He was successful financially, and gave his children the best in educational opportunities according to their class.

Dr. DeFriez was a lover of sports—especially boating and fishing—and in those outings was accompanied by his children, thereby cementing the love and understanding between them.

After he was fifty years of age his happy, successful life was disrupted and practically broken up because of religious differences arising between himself and members of his family.

Three of his sons, one daughter, and his wife joined the unpopular sect known as “Mormons,” rightly named the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and when his opposition and authority failed to induce them to recant, his bitterness and that of many of their friends, became so intense that it virtually amounted to persecution; therefore, to save further dissensions, and in the full belief that their course was right and justified, when Dr. DeFriez was away from home, one son, one daughter and his wife, quietly and unannounced, left England and sailed for America, and Utah. The other two sons went at different times.

This was a terrible blow—his authority defied, his dignity wounded, his social standing shattered, his home broken, his loved ones gone. He never seems to have regained his former prestige, but his life became lonely and morose. He refused to associate with the friends of his wife or children, or his wife’s kindred. He must have suffered greatly, and finally concluded he was not entirely right in the course he had taken, ‘tho’ he still considered himself wronged.

Several years after his wife’s departure, she received a book from her husband, entitled, “A Wife’s Duty.” On the fly-leaf he had written, “I will forgive you for all, if you will only bring my baby back to me,” and signed. But it was too late, his “baby” was married and had a home and children.

On the 29th of August, 1887, Dr. DeFriez attended a Masonic Banquet, and on returning home, complained of feeling ill. In less than two hours, he had passed away. Nothing is known in this country as to the cause of his death.

Overson, Margaret Jarvis. George Jarvis and Joseph George DeFriez Genealogy. Mesa, Arizona: 1957, ii:34–35.

Tanner 26: Jens Christensen

New Information on the Life and Death of Jens Christensen, Brickmaker

The Mormon Overland Pioneer Travel information and Ancestral File information on Jens Christensen was not accurate. It took a few tries to get the information corrected, but now better information on this family is available in the pioneer database.

Information in the family’s genealogy (Margaret Overson book, Ancestral File) also did not agree with the primary sources (Ove Overson and Andrew Jenson).

Proposed Revisions to the Genealogy
Jens’ Current Death Information: 12 June 1866 Omaha, Nebraska
Jens’ Revised Death Information: 10 August 1866 Outside Wyoming, Nebraska*

Christine Death Information: 28 August 1866 On the plains, Nebraska

*Wyoming (now Nebraska City), Nebraska is about 50 miles south of Omaha. I would like to update this information in New Family Search, but I have not learned yet whether it was in Holt or Otoe County at the time. [10.24.10 It was Otoe County.]

What Margaret Overson Says

At Ephraim [Ove Oveson] worked, saved and prospered. Two years after his arrival a young girl whom he had known before leaving Denmark, Mary K. Christensen and her mother came to town. She had buried her father at Omaha and her sister on the plains, and they had lost their means, or rather, her father had loaned it to help other emigrants, and at his death the mother knew nothing about his business affairs. Now they were in a strange land without home, a provider, or means, although among many of their own people.

What the New York Passenger Lists Say

Name: Jens Christensen
Arrival Date: 16 Jul 1866
Estimated birth year: abt 1819
Age: 47
Gender: Male
Port of Departure: Hamburg, Germany
Destination: United States of America
Place of Origin: Denmark
Ethnicity/ Nationality: Danish
Ship Name: Kenilworth
Port of Arrival: New York

Kenilworth Ships Register. See lines 10-15 for Jens, Karen, Maren (Mary), Christen, and Marinus.

(By the way, who is “Christian Christensen” who traveled to Utah with this family? The age is not right for it being Jens’ brother or father.)

What Ove Overson Says

15 August 1859 I was Babtised by Elder Lars Peter Christensan and confirmed by Hans C S Hogsted as a Member of the Church of Jesus Crist of L.D. Saint in Taars Branch Vensyssel Conference Danmark.………
On the 27 Of Jan. 1861 ther was district meeting in my Fathers House, Elder C. A. Madson from Utah, was ther, and in the Evning my Father, Mother & Sister was Babtised … I was ordaned an Elder and sat apart as President of Taars Branch by J C A Viby in Vensyssel Conference.………
January 1867
Noting Particular our Naten was on gard by Bishop Edvard, the Soldorer wood Heart him if the coud get hol of Him Workt in town and a trip acros the River and got my Heffer hom on the 29 had a conversation with Mery Kjerstine Christenson (she is a datier og Jens Christensen Brickmaker fom Denmark she com from Denmark Last fall.
February 1867
Workt in Town an tendet, Miting & Danses and some sport in this month Mary Kjerstine Christensen & I was Promised
March 1867
Arbeedet [worked] in Town 1 Day I prepared to get Mariet to Mary Kjerstine on the 6 of March, the 6 com but the Bishop Knud Peterson vill have os go to Salt Lake City to the Indowment House To get mariet which we consented to due but Bishop Peterson com and we had a good Supper and sattisfied the Boys by given them Beear & Kigs.
This Week I plasterd & Whed Wast my House and Mowed ther, til den (I have boarded with my Parence til Den). We, Mary Kjerstine, Her Mother Karen Marie an a Boy Marinur (Karen Marie’s Hosbon & one Girl 19 year Chrestine Dide on the Planes.) & Myself moved to my House eller workt in Town for veges the 24...
May 1867
Tusday the 7 of May, Sevees Dorias, his entendet Wife Marie, I & Mery Kjerstine, my entendet Wife and Karen Marie my Wife’s Mother. (Her Hosban & one Dattr Dide on the Planes) we had some truple that Day Braked Dobeltre teier ran of & Kamped in Fountain Green that night the 8 went tru the Kannon and to Spring lakville, 9 tru Payson, Spannis Fort, Springville, Provo, American Fort to point of Mountain and Kamped. 10 to Salt Lake City. stoppet, at Franson——the 11 May 1867 went tru the Indowrnent House and had over Indowment and Mery Kjerstine Christianson and I was Mariet and her Sister Christine Christensen was Sealed to me as my Wife. (Oveson, Ove Christian, Journal 1860-1920, item 13, 23-24. Church Archives, Salt Lake City, Utah.)

What the Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847-1868, Records Said

Christensen, Jens
Birth Date: Unknown
Death Date: 10 Aug. 1866
Gender: Male
Age: Unknown
Company: Andrew H. Scott Company (1866)
Pioneer Information: brickmaker from Vendsyssel, Denmark; died en route 10 Aug.

1866 Andrew H. Scott Company
Departure: 8-9 August 1866
Arrival in Salt Lake Valley: 8 October 1866
Company Information:
About 300 individuals and 49 wagons were in the company when it began its journey from the outfitting post at Wyoming, Nebraska (the west bank of the Missouri River about 40 miles south of Omaha) [Only 45 members of the company are listed by name.]

What the Overland Trail Information Says Now

Christensen, Jens
Birth Date: 31 July 1819
Death Date: 10 Aug. 1866
Gender: Male
Age: 47
Company: Andrew H. Scott Company (1866)
Pioneer Information: brickmaker from Vendsyssel, Denmark; died en route

Christensen, Marie Karen Johannesen
Birth Date: 14 Feb. 1821
Death Date: 6 Sep. 1878
Gender: Female
Age: 45
Company: Andrew H. Scott Company (1866)

Christensen, Mary Kjirstine
Birth Date: 29 Mar. 1846
Death Date: 6 June 1922
Gender: Female
Age: 20
Company: Andrew H. Scott Company (1866)

Christensen, Christine
Birth Date: 24 Dec. 1847
Death Date: 30 Aug. 1866
Gender: Female
Age: 18
Company: Andrew H. Scott Company (1866)
Pioneer Information: She died en route.

Christensen, Marinus
Birth Date: 6 June 1863
Death Date: 23 July 1927
Gender: Male
Age: 3
Company: Andrew H. Scott Company (1866)

What Andrew Jenson Says

(Andrew Jenson was a fellow traveler on the wagon train and later Assistant Church Historian)

Friday 10. Owing to a rainstorm we broke up our encampment late, and after traveling about 15 miles through a hilly and sparcely settled country, we encamped about sun-down. Jens Christensen (a brickmaker) called "Teglbrander" from Vendasyssel, Denmark, died today and was buried on the plain without coffin.
Tues 28. In the forenoon we descended a very steep hill into a deep valley, known as "Deep Hollow" or "Ash Hollow," and after traveling a few miles further, we reached North Platte river. The junction of the two rivers North Platte and South Platt, some distance east of this point, makes the larger stream, Platte river, which again is a tributary of the Missouri. In the afternoon, we traveled 16 miles up the river, over a heavy and sandy road and emcamped for the might near the river. We passed a number of wagons from which, during the night previous, the Indians had stolen all the animals, and the company traveling with the wagons were consequently unable to move till help could be sent. The Indians in this locality were said to be very hostile, and those of us who walked were instructed to keep near the wagons. A number of the emigrants were sick from eating wild berries in Ash Hollow, and a young lady from Vendsyssel conference died.

The Trail Excerpt from Andrew Jenson’s Biography

(The entire link is fairly short and worth reading.)

(The Jenson family took the same route to Salt Lake City as the Christensen family.)

Their journey took them to Copenhagen, to Kiel, and then to Hamburg where they boarded the Kenilworth for the voyage to America on May 19th. Two other ships left Hamburg a few days later, the Humboldt and Cavour, also loaded with Scandinavian converts headed for Zion. A total of 1,213 Scandinavian converts left Hamburg on these three ships.

Unlike many of the ships going from Germany to America, the Kenilworth took the route north around Scotland and then headed west. The passage took nearly two months during which time 16 people died in Andrew’s group, seven couples were married, and two children were born. After landing in New York City Andrew’s group went by steam ship to New Haven, Connecticut, and then by train to Montreal and on to St. Joseph, Missouri. After spending two hot and humid days on a steamboat their group landed in Wyoming, Nebraska, the church’s staging place for immigrants to Utah.

The Jensens left Wyoming on August 8th in a wagon train captained by Andrew H. Scott. Their trek west involved experiences similar to those of tens of thousands of others who passed over this portion of the Oregon Trail. They were hungry part of the way, endured an early snowstorm at South Pass, and barely avoided the cholera that decimated groups that followed them. On October 7th they entered Salt Lake Valley.

The picture of the Danish farm is from creative commons with all uses allowed with attribution http://flickr.com/photos/zoned_dk/817769177/. The photo of the Nebraska prairie is also from creative commons with all uses allowed with attribution http://flickr.com/photos/jasminedelilah/2290085929/.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tanner 26 & 27: Jens and Karen Johannesen Christensen

26 Jens Christensen
b. 31 July 1819 Torslev, Hjørring, Denmark
c. 8 August 1819 Torslev, Hjørring, Denmark
m. 26 December 1845 Tolna, Hjørring, Denmark
d. 12 June 1866 Omaha, Nebraska
b. June 1866 Omaha, Nebraska
Wives: (1) Christine Huborn, (2) Karen Marie Johannesen
Father: Christen C. Jensen; Mother: Christiane Christensen

27 Karen Marie Johannesen Christensen
b. 14 February 1821 Falget Lendum, Hjørring, Denmark
c. 18 February 1821
d. 6 September 1878 Brigham City, Navajo, Arizona
b. September 1878 Brigham City, Navajo, Arizona
Husband: Jens Christensen
Father: Johannes Jensen; Mother: Maren Andersen

This is the biography from Margaret Overson. I will follow it up with a second post with some more information about the family.

Mary’s father, Jens Christensen, was a well-to-do man in his native Denmark. He was a brick-maker, therefore employed men and had a thriving business. When he heard and accepted “Mormonism” so called, he had a similar desire as a majority of those early converts, to go to Utah and join the body of the Church.

The family consisted of the following:
Jens Christensen…
Karen Marie Johanneson…
Mary Kjerstine Christensen, born 29th March 1846, Tolne, Hjørring, Denmark
Christine Christensen, born 24th December 1847, Mydgal, Hjørring, Denmark
Marinus Christensen (adopted) born 6th June 1863, Toralev, Hjørring, DenmarkFrom the information I have, when the ship on which they had come from Denmark arrived at a United States port, the emigrants were transferred to a boat and were taken up the Mississippi River. The outfitting place for the Saints to begin their journey across the Plains was at Omaha, Nebraska. By the time this Company reached that place, there was an epidemic of cholera in the camp, and Jens Christensen was stricken, died and was buried, without allowing his family to know of the condition, lest they, too, contract the dread disease,

Jens Christensen had reserved for himself sufficient means to make the trip and see the family to Utah, but his spare means had been loaned to people who were also emigrating, but were short of means, with the understanding that it would be repaid when needed, after they all arrived at their destination. His business affairs were not understood by his wife, neither did she know the parties to whom he had loaned money. And if papers had been made to show the debts, they did not come into her possession.

Trouble and misfortune did not end with the death of the husband and father, but after they were part way along on their journey crossing the plains, the sister Christine was taken suddenly ill one night after the day’s travel, and died before morning, and had to be buried in a lonely grave by the wayside. The widow and baby and daughter Mary, finished the journey to Utah, and were directed to Ephraim, Sanpete County, where they found friends and acquaintances, but soon found themselves without means to live upon, since the husband and father was gone, and the creditors did not reveal themselves. They never did receive any payment of the means loaned, and in time it was understood that the parties who had received it, never came to Utah, but remained in the East.

Karen Marie Johanneson Christensen, mother of Mary K. Oveson, and the son Marinus, went with the Ove C. Oveson family to Brigham City (now Winslow, Arizona), in 1876, and were members of their household, as mentioned in the sketch of Ove C. Oveson, until the mother’s death there September 8th, 1878.

Overson, Margaret Jarvis. George Jarvis and Joseph George DeFriez Genealogy. Mesa, Arizona: 1957.

(Marinus continued to live with Ove and Mary. He married Frances Thomas and he and Frances were Granny's grandparents.)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tanner 24 & 25: Jens & Kjersten Pederson Oveson

I'm always amazed at this picture of Ove and his brother Lars Peter. In August and September 1922 Ove took a road trip to visit his brother in Utah. Ove was 82 years old and Peter was 69.

Here's Ove's account of the trip, edited for clarity.
Trip by Auto to Utah in 1922

Left St. Johns on August 23 with D.P. Oveson Jr.

Went through Gallup, Shiprock, Cortez, Monticello, Moab, Green River, Price, Huntington, and arrived at Castle Dale on the 27 of August.

Found my brother and his family all well. Traveled 527.6 miles. It cost $12. 68¢ for gas and oil and repairs. $1.15 for food.

Stayed there until September 23 then Peter took me to Ephraim. We visited with relatives and friends in Emery County. Was in Huntington, Cleveland, Elmo and Orangeville and visited Niels Oveson, brother, Jens Oveson, brother, Caroline L. Oliver, sister, and families and of my brothers’ children, Lew P. Oveson and family, Nora Ovesons (dead) husband Joseph Larson, Bishop of Cleveland, Clarence D. Oveson and family, Moroni Oveson and family. Geneva Oveson and husband Peter Johnson, eight friends Erick Larson, Cleveland, O. Sorenson Castle Dale, Mr. and Mrs. Anderson, Orangeville and many others, but my main stay was with my brother L.P. Oveson and family and they treated me fine.

On the 23 of September Peter took me to Ephraim, Sanpete County, fifty miles in his auto. We arrived there in the evening and stopped at our cousin’s A.C. Nielson and family.

The 24 and 25 visited old relations and friends, Mother Oveson, our father’s third wife, Christian Hald and wife, friends from Denmark, Maria, a sister and her husband, Lars and Christian Hansen widowers, Martin Isaacson, some of Poulson’s sons, Peter Peterson (Davie) one of Lars Anderson’s sons (he is married to one of Mariane Oveson’s daughters). Niels Peterson (Postmaster) Orson Poulson, Peter Larson and wife Sophia, and many more.

On the 26 I went to the temple in Manti where I was sealed to my father and mother.

I added some additional information and photos to the previous Oveson post. Here are some links that I saw today:
  • Here is a partial transcription of the autobiography of Jens and Kjersten's son Lars Peter Oveson. The entire history can be found in the BYU library.
  • Here is a general conference talk by Jens and Kjersten's great-grandson, Stephen B. Oveson. He mentions his grandfather, Lars Peter.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tanner 24 & 25: Jens & Kjersten Pederson Oveson

24 Jens Andreas Oveson
b. 17 September 1816 Mossberg Sogn, Hjørring, Denmark
m. abt 1839 Tårs, Hjørring, Denmark
d. 11 January 1905 Ephraim, Sanpete, Utah
Wives: (1) Kjersten Maria Pederson, (2) Anne Nielsine Carlson, (3) Marian Iverson Nielson
Father: Ove Andersen; Mother: Anne Marie Jensen

25 Kjersten Maria Pederson Oveson
b. 7 September 1813 Mojen (or Udelt Sogn), Hjørring, Denmark
d. 30 January 1874 Ephraim, Sanpete, Utah
b. 1874 Ephraim, Sanpete, Utah
Husband: Jens Andreas Oveson
Father: Peder Nielsen; Mother: Kirsten Christensen

Jens was born in 1816 in Mossberg, Hjørring, Denmark. He was a twin. His father Ove Andersen was married previously and had one or two children from his first marriage. After the first wife died, he remarried Jen's mother and adopted a child (probably hers) and had five subsequent children, including the twins.

The Danish way of creating names back then was to add -sen to the father
's name for a son and -dotter to the father's name for a daughter.

Jens' father's name was Ove Andersen, so the son's name was Jens Ovesen. When the family came to the United States, they Americanized the name to Oveson and our branch even added an "r" to the middle of the name, resulting in "Overson." However, Jens' gravestone reads "Jens Ovesen."

Jens and his family joined the church in Denmark, as you can read about in his sons' histories. Of course, you can read Ove Overson's history on this site and I will link to a partial copy of his son Lars' history on a separate post.

Jens Andreas Oveson, our ancestor, came to Utah in 1863, sixteen years after the earliest pioneers reached Salt Lake Valley. He was one of the earliest pioneers in Sanpete County, making his home in Ephraim. He was a builder, and therefore much in demand in planning and making homes and a meetinghouse—and later stores and other public buildings. He also made furniture… The work was beautifully done by hand (no machinery in those days), from timber obtained in the nearby mountains.…

Brother Oveson was the official casket (coffin) maker for those who died in that vicinity and often worked all or most all night, to get the work ready in time for the burial. There was no way of keeping a corpse in those early days. They had to be buried as soon as possible.

His own home was neat and comfortable, and his garden and orchard well kept. He raised a goodly supply of choice apples, and had plenty put by for winter, and to share with relatives and neighbors, especially the children.

He also did much work on the Manti Temple, during the early years of its construction.

To a person viewing this beautiful edifice today it is a great marvel because of its exact and exquisite workmanship, all of which was done under pioneer conditions of poverty and sacrifice, and with primitive tools and materials.

Jens Andreas Oveson raised a large family, worked hard, was a good neighbor, genial and pleasant, willing and helpful. He kept his strength and agility to the last. He lived to be past 88 years of age, and was able to work at his bench until a day or two before his death, when he complained of being tired. Rest came to him January 11th, 1905.…

When Jens Andreas Oveson’s first wife, Kjersten Maria Pederson Oveson died, January 30th, 1874, their two older children (Ove Christian and Anne Kjersten) were married and had homes and families of their own, their third child, Eliza, had died in Denmark, and their youngest son, Lars Peter, was a grown man, twenty-one years old.

The following year Jens Oveson and Anne Nielsine Carlson took the trip to Salt Lake City in the Endowment House there, on May 18th, 1874.

This wife was a single woman from Copenhagen, Denmark, who was a refined and rather delicate, dainty and artistic woman of thirty years, who had been raised in a large city, and was a dressmaker by trade (all young people in Denmark must learn a trade by the time they are mature), and not accustomed to the hardships of a pioneer country. She bore two little girls, not quite two years apart, but died March 14, 1877, leaving a three months old baby, and the older sister just two years old.

Brother Oveson was now past sixty and must work to support his family. He was now in dire need of help to take care of the little ones, and keep his home. He found a widow from Denmark who had four children, and was in need of a home and some means of support. She offered to take care of his little ones, and after a time, they later had four more, making eight children for her, and his two little girls, quite a family for a man his age to support. Their last child was born the year he was seventy, and his two little girls were ten and twelve years old, but his life was prolonged until he was in his eighty-ninth year, and he was well and able to work until his last week.

Overson, Margaret Jarvis. George Jarvis and Joseph George DeFriez Genealogy. Mesa, Arizona: 1957.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tanner 22 & 23: Samuel Bryant & Sarai Stapley Bryant

22 Samuel Charles Bryant
b. 8 August 1799 Rolvenden, Kent, England
c. 15 September 1799 Rolvenden, Kent, England
m. 20 October 1822 Rolvenden, Kent, England
d. 15 September 1863 San Bernardino, San Bernardino, California
Wife: Sarai Stapley
Father: John Bryant Jr.; Mother: Jane (Jenny) Watson

23 Sarai Stapley
b. 1 October 1803 Rolvenden, Kent, England

c. 3 November 1803 Rolvenden, Kent, England
d. 15 November 1857 San Bernardino, San Bernardino, California or Beaver, Beaver, Utah
Husband: Samuel Bryant
Father: Henry Stapley; Mother: Elizabeth Tarbutt

The Bryant family lived in the County of Kent as far back as can be traced. When historical records began, the Bryants were located in the parish of Tenterden. In the mid 18th century they moved to the parish of Rolvenden where three generations of Bryants were born and christened. The Bryants remained in Rolvenden until they emigrated to Australia in the late 1830s.

The county of Kent is in southeast England. The Bryants came from an area called the “Weald” in south-central Kent. The Weald was a great forest region covered with wild oak. When the Romans occupied Britain, they avoided the region. After the Romans left, the British did not move onto the land until pastoral people began to move into the Weald.

The family name of Bryant was written as Briant in the records u
ntil the late 1700s and early 1800s.

First Generation

The first Bryants recorded were Thomas and Elizabeth Bryant of Tenterden. Almost nothing is known of this couple, except that records exist for the christening of three of their children in Tenterden: Elizabeth in 1727, John in 1730, and Rebecca in 1734.

Second Generation

John Bryant, the son of Thomas and Elizabeth, was married in the pale sandstone Church of St. George in Benenden in 1756 by Vicar John Williams. Benenden is a small town in the Hundred of Rolvenden about two and a half miles from the town of Rolvenden. John married Sarah Pankhurst, the daughter of William and Sarah Pankhurst whose records begin and end in Benenden. Desc
riptions of Benenden consistently include the one interesting event in its history:
On December 30, 1672, a bolt of lightning set fire to the steeple of St. George’s. The blaze melted the church’s five large bells, razed five houses adjoining the churchyard and left the interior of the church in ruins. Fortunately, many of the best 15th-century features were saved, particularly the north porch with its gargoyles and stone-vaulted ceiling.
As a note of interest, when John and Sarah were married, over 3000 Frenchmen were being held prisoner from the Seven Years War just a few mi
les away at Sissinghurst Castle.

John and Sarah continued living in Rolvenden hundred. They had three children. Richard, the oldest, was christened in 1757 but died less than two years later. John was born 25 May 1760 and christened the next month at the Church of St. Mary in Rolvenden by Daniel Chadsley, Vicar.

The father of the family, John Bryant, died at the age of 31. His burial record reads, “1762. January 3. John Briant, Labourer. [Burial service
by] Daniel Chadsley, Vicar.” Five months later a third child of this family was christened, a daughter Sarah. The Widow Bryant died four years later. It is not known who took care of the two orphans: six year old John and four year old Sarah (assuming Sarah lived past infancy and childhood—no records have been found to the contrary).

Third Generation

The orphan John (now a 22 year old farm laborer) married Jenny Watson in 1783. Jenny was one of twelve children of Stephen Watson and Ann Kadwell (the Kadwells were an old respectable landowning family in Rolvenden). One of Jenny’s sisters was born in 1777 and given the name Philadelphia. There were at least five other girls born in the parish at this time named Philadelphia. Benjamin Franklin had spent time in the next parish over (had gone to church two and a half miles away in Tenterden) three years before.

John and Jenny had seven children between the years of 1783 and 1802.

Fourth Generation

The two youngest children of John and Jenny Bryant married into the Henry and Elizabeth Stapley family: our ancestor Samuel married Sarai Stapley (1821) and Sarah married Charles Stapley (1822).

There was such a large exodus of people from Rolvenden in the 1820s and the 1830s that it was mentioned in the British census records. In the parish register, “America” was penciled next to every second or third marriage entry.

Our ancestors left Rolvenden to find a better life as farmers in Australia. In 1839 Samuel Bryant and Sarai Stapley Bryant had a son, James, born 14 December 1839 in Rolvenden. On 5 July 1842 another son was born, George, in Wi
tham, New South Wales, Australia.

Diane Parkinson wrote a history of the Parkinson family and included some notes about the Bryants which I quote here:
About 1837, the families of Charles Stapley, Sr. and Samuel Bryant of Rolvenden, Kent, England, began an adventure that would ultimately culminate in the colonizing and taming of a desert waste.

Like the Parkinsons who came later, the route that the Stapleys and Bryants took to America was somewhat circuitous.

Many opportunities for farmers, tradesmen and skilled workers were being offered in the far off land of Australia. The crown was eager to assist those who wished to start a new life and contribute to the upbuilding of the colony that had received its infamous start as a notorious dumping ground for England’s felons.

Each of these families was skilled in the art of farming; Australia was in dire need of farmers to produce the crops that would feed her swelling population.

Charles Stapley, Sr. had married Sarah Bryant, the sister of Samuel Bryant, and this same Samuel Bryant had married Sarai Stapley, the sister of Charles Stapley, Sr....

The Bryant’s daughter, Mary Ann would marry Thomas Parkinson, and the Stapley’s son, Charles Stapley, Jr. would marry Thomas’s sister, Sarah…

They had lived in close proximity in the small farming community of Rolvenden. Each couple had seven children between 1823 and 1836. Only a few months separate the births of double cousins, and although we do not have evidence that they went to Australia on the same vessel, it would only be natural that they would undertake this adventure as a family team.…

Birth records of the subsequent children born into these families indicate that they immigrated to the fertile Hunter River district in New South Wales where work as tenant farmers was easily obtained. Each couple added five more children to their already large families.

They pursued agriculture in this area for sixteen years when a dramatic change then entered their lives.

In 1853, missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opened a new mission in the Hunter River District. It was a fruitful place to preach. The Stapley and Bryant families were numbered among some seventy souls to align themselves with the Church that year.
Elder William Hyde mentioned the Bryant family a number of times in his missionary journal.
April 22nd [1853]. I preached at the house of Brother Samuel Bryant and the Lord blessed me with great liberty in speaking.

[May 8] I preached at Brother Bryant's at 11 a.m. and at 3 p.m. and administered the Sacrament. Had a comfortable day.

The 18th [May]. Preached at Brother Bryant's. Had a good time.

The 12th [June]. Preached at Brother Bryant's. After meeting went to Brother Stapley's. Rained very hard.

Sunday 26th [June]. Preached at Brother Bryants. At 11 a.m. the weather was rainy and disagreeable.

Tuesday 28th...After baptism of [Hannah Stapley Rawlings] returned to Brother Bryants and met with the saints agreeable to appointment...

Tuesday [also 28th]...I returned to Brother Bryants.

Thursday [4 August] I attended a fast meeting which I had previously appointed at the house of Brother Bryant. I spoke to some length, giving such instructions as were dictated to me by the holy spirit, after which the brethren spoke round, and we had a very interesting time.

Sunday, the 7th [August]. Preached at Brother Bryant's. Had a full house and the Lord gave me great liberty in speaking.

Sunday, the 4th [September]. I preached twice at the house of Brother Bryant, on Williams River.
There are several more such entries.

A history of the Stapley family gives the following information:
Presumably Samuel and Sari or Sarah (Stapley) Bryant sailed on the Julia Ann for California, for Toquerville's John Steele, before leaving on a mission to England, noted some of the Stapley English relatives. He wrote that "Samuel Bryant and wife died in San Barnerdino [sic]."

Fifth Generation

The third child and second daughter of Samuel and Sarai Bryant was Mary Ann Bryant, born in Rolvenden in 1826.

In Australia she married John Porter and had three children. She joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and separated from or divorced her husband. Mary Ann went to America on the Julia Ann along with other members of her family. Also on the boat was Thomas Parkinson formerly of England and Australia. By the time Mary Ann and Thomas reached America they had decided to get married. The records are unclear on whether they were married on the boat or right after disembarking. Family tradition holds that they were married while on the boat.

Mary Ann’s daughter Eliza Ellen Parkinson Tanner wrote a short history of her mother:
Mrs. Mary Ann Bryant Parkinson, wife of Thomas Parkinson of Beaver City, passed over the dark river after a lingering illness on Wednesday, September 6, 1905. Sister Parkinson was born in 1826 in Kent, England. Went to Australia in 1838 where she received the gospel. In 1853 emigrated to America and was married the same year in San Bernardino, California. She and her husband remained in San Bernardino until 1857 when they moved to Beaver where they resided until 1890 when they moved to Toquerville on account of their health, coming back some time ago. Deceased is the mother of eleven children, seven boys and four girls, sixty-two grandchildren and forty-nine great-grandchildren.

The picture of Kent is mine, 2006. The picture of the San Bernardino mountains is from
http://www.flickr.com/photos/respres/2609983817/. If you would like footnotes and sources and tables and appendixes and the section describing the area of Kent where the Bryants lived, please contact me.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Life in the Dark Ages

The other day in a conversation, a friend used the expression "it was as dark as the inside of a cow." Following so closely my dad's post on walking in the dark, it brought to mind the following anecdote, probably told by Granny. I wish I could tell things in as funny a way as she did. I also don't remember the identity of the people in the story, but they were relatives of some sort. I'll call them Bert and Ethel.

Bert and Ethel were walking home from a dance late one night in St. Johns. It was, as they say, as dark as the inside of a cow. As they came down Main Street and turned the corner by the Overson home, they tripped over a cow.

They argued with the Oversons for years about whose cow it was and why it was in the road.

(Oh boy, the explanation was longer than the story itself!)

An upcoming post on the Bryant family is currently in production. It is taken mostly from a paper I did in college, but I have some interesting additional details to add from a Stapley family history. Look for it in a week or two.

Photo of the cow from http://flickr.com/photos/66164549@N00/1340413398/ with permission granted for use. I found the photo of the Overson house online but neglected to save the link. Let me know if it's yours so I can provide attribution.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Back to School

With the Parkinson biography finally finished after four months, we're on the home stretch of Tanner ancestors, after which I will switch over to the Morgan line, starting with Harold Morgan and Jessie Christensen. My goal is to finish the Tanners in 2008 and start the Morgans in 2009.

Now that the children are back in school after the teachers' strike (which might not be entirely over since they're just submitting to nonbinding arbitration right now), I'll resume working on this:
(The Overson Diary.) For this project, I'm reading Utah's Black Hawk Indian War and have just ordered a copy of Take Up Your Mission: Mormon Colonizing along the Little Colorado River. These two major sources are, curiously, written by father and son, Charles and John Peterson.

Our temple district will be added to New Family Search next week. Is your temple district included yet? If it is, have you used this interesting new resource?

Tanner 20 & 21: James and Elizabeth Chattle Parkinson

b. 22 October 1808 Ramsey, Huntingdon, England
m. 23 July 1827 Ramsey, Huntingdon, England
d. 2 September 1870 Brookfield, New South Wales, Australia
b. 3 September 1870 Hanleys Flat (now Dungog), New South Wales, Australia
Wife: Elizabeth Chattle
Father: Charles Parkinson; Mother: Hephzibah Newton

b. August 1806 Farcet, Huntingdon, England
d. 18 April 1872 New South Wales, Australia
Husband: James Parkinson
Father: James Chattle; Mother: Sarah Andrews

Our Parkinson ancestors are from the largely rural English county of Huntingdonshire (now in Cambridgeshire). We covered the Parkinson family once before here (click on link).

James Parkinson was the second son and fourth child of Charles and Hepzibah Newton Parkinson.

Elizabeth (called Betsy) Chattle was the daughter of James and Sarah Andrews Chattle.

James and Betsy married in 1827 in Ramsey, Huntingdonshire.

They had four children: William, Thomas (our ancestor), Sarah, and Eliza.

James was a farm laborer and Betsy was a house servant and both were members of the Church of England when they and their children (ages 11 to 21) decided to seek a better life in Australia. They left James’ widowed mother Hephzibah in Manchester, and Betsy’s widowed father James, living with another daughter, Mary Quemby. They knew no one in Australia, and were in good health.

They sailed on the barque St Vincent around Cape Horn, Africa, then all the way to eastern Australia, arriving there in 1849, where they settled in Brookfield, Hunter River, New South Wales. Brookfield is 125 miles north from Sydney along the east coast of Australia, and is about 20 miles inland. It is a farming area. Much of the travel was done by river.

Not long after arriving, Thomas’ younger sister Sarah was married to a former convict or soldier named Rodwell. The marriage did not last long but resulted in two children who were later adopted by her second husband.

A number of families also settled in the Hunter River District included the Stapleys and Bryants.

In 1853 Thomas and his sister Sarah joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They were very active in the Williams River Branch of the church. Other families from the area joining the church at this time included the Stapleys and Bryants, also ancestors and relatives of ours. The story of this new branch of the church and several mentions of all three families are found in the diary of Elder William Hyde. James and Betsy did not join the church.

Thomas and Sarah and her two children left for Utah in 1854. When they reached America, Thomas married Mary Ann Bryant, and Sarah married Charles Stapley, Jr. (Sarah’s sixth child, Emma Ellen Stapley was Henry Martin Tanner’s second wife.)

About this same time, the Parkinson’s daughter Eliza married and returned with her husband to England. James and Betsy lived near or with their remaining son, William and his family.

The family has copies of three letters written by Betsy to her children in America. She talks about farming, their health, and family matters. Here is the final page of one of her letters.
James died in 1870 in New South Wales and Betsy probably two years later.

* * *

Sarah’s neighbor in Toquerville, John Steele, recorded this genealogical information when he left on his mission to England.
“Mrs. Sarah Stapley Toquerville wants me to look after her friends in England. Her maiden name was Sarah Parkinson born Cambridgeshire, England, daughter of James and Betty Parkinson whose maiden name was Betsey Chattle. She had Thomas, George, Mary, Susan, Mariah, her brothers in Fassett North Lincolnshire, England. Mariah married Broadbent. Continued on next page Newton Parkinson. John Parkinson, Thomas and Sarah Parkinson, Brothers and sisters of James Parkinson whose mothers maiden name was Newton, residing in 1847 in Manchester, Cambridgeshire, England. (Wanda Steele Cox, ed., Journal of John Steele and Mahonri Moriancumer Steele. Cedar City: 1967, p. 15. Quoted in Kerry Bate, Stapley Family. Manuscript: 1991.)


I have found some disagreement on dates and places and have not seen any good documentation yet for either set of data.

Bate, Kerry. Stapley Family. Manuscript: 1991

Parkinson, Diane and John Parkinson. James Parkinson of Ramsey: His Roots and Branches England—Australia—America. Austin, Texas: The James Parkinson Family Association, 1987.

Picture of Hunter River copyright free from Flikr. Letter from Parkinson book.