Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Frances Ann Matthews Litson

After posting this history, I will return to the Mormon Pioneer Record Tutorial rather than posting the histories of the four Litson children. I will post those when I am done with the tutorial.


Frances Ann Matthews [1] was born 1 May 1819 in Ely, Llandaff, Glamorganshire, South Wales, the third child and second daughter of James Matthews (1789) and Frances James (1789). James and Frances Matthews had eight children, three girls and five boys. Their first girl Frances Ann died just prior to her third birthday and their sixth child David died before he was one year old. At least one of Frances Ann Matthews’ brothers, James Richard, came to American sometime after his wife Beata died in 1871.

A letter dated 10 Jan 1843 mailed from Cardiff from James and Frances James Matthews to their daughter Fanny (F. A. Matthews, 20 Cambridge Street, Edgeware Road, London, England, expressed concern for her welfare. She was working for some people in London although it was not clear in what capacity. Frances was a seamstress as was indicated in this letter as well as her marriage certificate. Frances would have been 23 years of age at the time this letter was written.

She was married 8 February 1845 to Richard Litson (1819) at the Parish Church, St. Andrews Parish, Glamorganshire, South Wales.

Her first child, Eliza Mary was born 7 March 1846 at St. Andrews, Glamorganshire, South Wales.

Her second child was Joan Jennetta, born 24 May 1848 at Whitchurch, Glamorganshire, South Wales.

Her third child, Richard, was born 24 August 1851 at Whitchurch, Glamorganshire, South Wales.

Her fourth and last child, Joseph Young, was born 24 September 1858 at Treforest, Llantwit Vairdre, Glamorganshire, South Wales.

Although the date has not been proven in a church record, she was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 2 October 1852 and rebaptized at South Cottonwood 5 May 1867. Record has been found in the Dinas Powis Branch of the Wales Mission of the baptism 3 October 1861 of her third child Richard, indicating he was baptized by Llewlyn Jones and confirmed by Richard Litson, John Jones, Llewlyn Jones, and James Peard.

When Eliza Mary was 17 and Joan Jennetta was 15, they sailed from London, England, on 4 June 1863, on the Ship Amazon, arriving in New York 18 July 1863, on their way to Zion. What an adventure for two very young girls. Just think of a mother’s concern to send them off. William Bramall was the leader of this Latter-day Saint group.

When they arrived in Florence a few days later to be outfitted for the journey, they were assigned to the wagon of James Glade who had returned to Florence to help other emigrants travel west. It was just two years earlier that he had lost his first wife, Mary Dyer, near Florence on their quest to Zion and he traveled with his young daughter, one and a half year old Mary Jane the remainder of the way alone.

They left Florence August 7 and arrived in the Salt Lake Valley 4 October 1863. It was in October Eliza Mary wrote her parents of her marriage to James Glade from Cardiff and also in October James Glade wrote to Eliza Mary’s parents telling them of the marriage.

Imagine Frances’s feelings upon hearing that news. As her husband Richard Litson expressed in a letter dated 7 February 1864 to Eliza: “When your mother opened the last letter bearing the date October 30 and not in your own writing but in a very strange hand and the first word she caught sight of was I am married. It came like a beyonet to her heart that she could not read it. Had she not been standing in the middle of the old ship Zion the heavy wave would have dash her overboard. But she has now nearly recovered of the shock. She thought that you would have waited until she got there but as it is, we all wish you joy and may the blessings of heaven attend you in everything you set your hand to.”

Richard Litson (1819), Frances (1819), Richard (1851), and Joseph Young (1858) emigrated to America on the ship John Bright which left Liverpool, England, 30 April 1866, and arrived in New York 6 June 1866. They traveled to Zion with Captain White’s Company, walking many miles of the journey. They arrived in Salt Lake on 4 September 1866.

When the family first arrived in Utah, they lived in Great Salt Lake City but moved to South Cottonwood. The family were members of the South Cottonwood Ward as early as 5 May 1867 when Richard Litson, Frances Litson, and Joseph Young Litson were baptized and their baptisms recorded in that ward record. [Immigrants were often rebaptized upon arriving in Utah.] It is believed that the family lived in a little rock home on the brow of the hill about 891 East 5900 South. Baptisms were also recorded in the South Cottonwood Ward for Frances A., Joan Jeanet Turpin, Richard Litson, and Joseph Young on 31 October 1875. (Names were recorded backward in this record.)

Their address in the 1870 Census was not determined. Post Office Union Fort was the heading and would probably have been the South Cottonwood 5900 South address. The 1870 Census South Cottonwood Ward of the Territory of Utah shows Frances and Richard with their sons Richard age 20 and Joseph age 12.

Homestead certificate approved 20 May 1862 (date of the Homestead Act) signed by President Chester A. Arthur, transaction 20 November 1882 was in her name, possibly because Richard Litson died 29 October 1872 and perhaps she applied for the homestead as a widow. The property was on the northwest corner of 3100 south and 40th West and the 1880 Census shows her living there. Her daughter Joan Jennetta also lived there with her husband James Richard Smith Turpin and their family.

The Deseret News carried the obituary of Frances Matthews Litson who died in South Cottonwood, Salt Lake County, Utah Territory 17 February 1885. It stated that she was a treasurer for several branches of the Church in this part of the country in which she resided and was honest and faithful in the discharge of her duties. She was treasurer of the Ladies’ [Relief] Society from 1870 until her death. She lived the life of a faithful Latter-day Saint.

The Millennial Star No. 12 Vol. XLVIL dated Monday, March 23, 1885, also carried her obituary.


Written by Beulah Litson Twede
Read February 13, 1995
South Cottonwood Camp
Daughters of the Utah Pioneers

Typed by Martha Moss Spencer, March 2009

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[1] The name is spelled Mathews in Welsh records and Matthews in American records.

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