Our Welsh Heritage - - The Eynons
Of all our ancestral lines there is no question but that those stemming from Wales have been most difficult to research. Despite this fact, however, our natural curiosity has not been diminished. The history of the Welsh people is shrouded in mystery. Using a phrase of a national T V advertiser, the people in Wales can well be classed as "A breed apart". Students of racial history, to this day, are at a loss as to where to place the Welsh people in relation to their ancestral connections to any other early European races of people. They appear to have come from an unknown source, for the original, pure Welsh language is entirely foreign to any other early European language. 'We are told that that language is so far from any other language (with one exception) that their original roots could not have been of the same source. It is true, the Scandinavian countries have a similar means of identifying the people known to us as patronymics, an example of which is, the son of William will be identified as William's son or Williamson. Early Welshmen strove to keep their race untainted by any mixture with the blood of other peoples, such as the Saxon invader and the full rights of a tribesman were only allowed to him who could point to eight great-grandparents of genuine Welsh stock. Long before writing was in common use among the common people, Welsh pedigrees were handed down by oral tradition, 'The enumeration of the four descents in the male line forming the full name of the individual. Thus, Lles ap Coel ap Cyllin ap Caradog was the name of a man formed of his own name joined to those of his father and paternal grandfather, and great-grandfather. For ordinary purposes the name of the individual with the addition of his father's was considered sufficient, the two being united by the word 'ap' or 'ab', "The son of;" but for purposes of formality and display the whole of the known or supposed male ancestry was set out, even to an inordinate length."' See The Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, Vol. II, No. 3, (July 1911, page 140).
Mention was made in parentheses in the above paragraph, that there was one exception among the other European languages to which the Welsh language may have a distant relationship and that is the Basque language. The American College Dictionary tells us that the Basque "is a people of unknown origin inhabiting the western Pyrenees regions in France and Spain'". It is thought by some that these two peoples, the Welsh and the Basques, could have stemmed from the same roots for their languages have great similarities.
For well over fifty years this writer has been aware of a tradition which has been in the Church that some Book of Mormon scholars have suggested a great possibility of the Jaredites, after having been blessed of the Lord that their language would not be changed - - Jared and his immediate family and Jared's brother and his family and a few friend's families- - at the time the Lord confounded the language of most of the people at the time of the Tower of Babel. (See Ether 1:33).
Those who have attempted to trace the route of the Jaredites from the City of Babylon to the New World (America) show the group eventually reached the Mediterranean Sea where they embarked on barges to, supposedly, Spain where the group stopped for a few years. Some of the group, including Jared and the Brother of Jared built eight ships and embarked to where the Lord was going to take them. This group eventually reached the eastern shore of what is, today, Mexico where they became the Jaredites of the Book of Mormon. Some historians read into the account that not all of the group came to the New World but remained in Spain.
This event occurred approximately 2200 years B. C. - - some claim even earlier. This writer remembers a genealogical meeting of the early 1930s wherein one of the speakers - - and, as he remembers, it was one of the General Authorities, quite likely President Anthony W. Ivans, first counselor to President Heber J. Grant, relate that there is a tradition that the Welsh people are very likely the descendants of the few of the people of Jared who remained in Europe in what is now known as southern Spain and who, eventually, crossed the English channel and peopled the island of England. The Basque people, according to this tradition, were another splinter of these Jaredite remnants who remained in Spain. When the island of England was later invaded by the Norsemen and, later, the Saxons and other races of Europe - - long prior to the Romans, these original Jaredite Welsh people chose to retreat to the western extremity of the island since known as Wales. Here they defended themselves and retained their identity, including their native language which, very probably stems from the Adamic language itself as previously suggested.
And so, when we trace a branch of this Wilkes family - - the Eynons - into Wales we can honestly say that thru Martha Eynon, the wife of Daniel D. Hunt thru whose loins we descend, they are, indeed, "a breed apart".
Let it be repeated again that, to this point of time, the story of Martha Eynon first meeting Daniel D. Hunt, and marrying him, has not been uncovered. Daniel D.'s second wife Susan, a sister of his first wife Nancy, who bore him seven children was with him in his later Nauvoo years and, also, with him, at least, during part of his stay in Garden Grove, for Susan's name appears on that branch's records. Let us not overlook the fact that we have tax receipts for Daniel D. for the years 1848 and 1849 over in Pottawatomie County in western Iowa which indicates his stay in Garden Grove was during the year 1847 - - possibly the latter part of 1846 after leaving Nauvoo and, perhaps, the forepart of 1848 before he reached Pottawatomie County, along the Missouri River. He was slowly working his way toward Utah. We presume his second wife, Susan, may have died in Garden Grove or, perhaps, not until the family had reached Pottawatomie County but we can rest quite assured that it was in the latter place - - perhaps even while crossing the plains in 1850. As to the latter, we think not because of what appeared to have happened with the James Eynon family who were at the time, also residing in Pottawatomie County, at least in October of 1850 when the census was taken.
The Wilkes' family record has long shown that Martha Eynon's parents were James Eynon and Elizabeth Griffiths of Lawrenny Ferry of Pembrokeshire, Wales, and they had seven daughters between 1819 and 27th of July 1830.
The Mormon Church touched the lives of this family at this same time, for baptismal records tell us that father, James, was baptized in the, year 1843. The day nor month is not given. Checking the family group sheet it appears the children also joined the unpopular Mormon Church but not together. it took the most of the decade of the 1840s following 1843 to get them all into the fold. For two or three of the girls there appeared no baptismal record and in those instances their temple work was done by proxy as late as the 1940s.
As one views the map of Wales he will discover Pembrokeshire to be in the extreme south and west corner of that little country sticking well out into the Atlantic. The inland portion of the county is agriculturally oriented but our families, living near the intruding waterways of the southwestern corner of the county were engaged in activities pertaining to the sea, such as a dock worker, mariner or ferryman. James of whom we have been writing is identified as being a ferryman, we suspect one who operates or labors on a ferry of which there would be many opportunities. Shipyards were common in the area of Lawrenny which would furnish a great deal of employment.
James' father, William Eynon is identified as a, merchant marine meaning that he probably went to sea on a freighting ship taking freight to other parts of England, even to Europe across the English Channel by going down around the southern portion of England. He could have crossed the Atlantic to the United States or in fact all over the world for at this period England was the maritime nation of the world.
Earlier in this account attention was called to the fact that a spider web-like system of canals was constructed throughout inland England on which freight barges were horse drawn with heavy loads of freight being transported, such as coal from the numerous coal pits to the manufacturing cities of England. This was true of Wales as well and it so happened there was considerable coal mining in the very area of Pembrokeshire in which Lawrenny was situated. In the census reports of 1841, 1851 and 1861, the time period of the very people we are dealing with, coal mining was a common occupation of many of the Eynon families tabulated - - very likely related to the Eynons of our bloodline. On enlarged maps of Pembrokeshire such as our favorite three-miles-to-the-inch map, finger-like tentacles of the Atlantic spread quite far inland into the land area of Pembroke. These far-in extremes of the Atlantic were fed by waters from streams which were ocean-bound, and boat or barge service was able to be provided by dredging the stream beds to accommodate water traffic. Wales is quite mountainous which, in many instances, canal locks were required by which small boats and barges could be raised or lowered depending on the direction the traffic was headed. This made it possible to get freight from inland - - such as coal - - to the loading docks at sea level. From there ocean freighters could carry the many types of freight around the entire coastline of England or freighting docks of continental Europe, the Mediterranean world, or wherever ships would ply the sea and, of course, that was worldwide. The point being made is that our Eynons could have found employment as boatmen even on the canals of inland Wales. Water traffic was considerable in the early to middle of the 19th century of which period we are presently relating and where there was water traffic there was human employment.
It is well for us to remember that water traffic employment in which our Eynon ancestry families were engaged could take the men folk from home. Depending on one's type of marine work, it could take as long as six months to go with a boatload of merchandise to far off shores. Perhaps only weeks if, perchance, his boat was to travel from port to port up and down the shores of England and to the western ports of the continent or, perhaps, to ports on all sides of the Mediterranean. Even down into the first half of the nineteenth century sailing vessels were common. Steamboats were yet to come. Horse drawn barges and canal boats were slow and depending on the distance our Eynons, for generations, would venture, could take them from home on each trip a number of days at a time. Too, regardless of type of work certainly most of it was manual. Freight onto the boats and off the boats was slow, tedious and physical.
We should keep in mind that modern-day inventions were yet far into the future in the very early 1700s when our earliest known Eynon progenitor lived. This was certainly true during the middle of the 1700s when Theophilus' three boys and four girls were being reared. They will shown on the Eynon family tree on a later page. There is no known reason to believe that particularly the boys, were not becoming involved in the labor market at a tender age. This was true, particularly, with coal mining and considerable of that trade was being carried on in this locality at that time, despite the fact that Lawrenny has always been known as a far inland seaport as the reader has already observed from the preceding map.
Manual labor was constantly in demand from the young to the elderly. During the generation of which we are presently referring the first steam engine had not yet made its appearance. Quaint but promising locomotive engines made their appearance after the commencement of the 1800s, but Theophilus' children probably did not live long enough to see them, let alone having the privilege of benefiting from their use. It was Theophilus' grandchildren who were being born during the time mechanical labor saving devices were being recognized, but even then the equipment was crude. However such oncoming help was promising.
During the earliest generation of our known ancestry, the ingenuity of man had long before discovered the use of the wheel. In many instances heavy loaded carts required human pushing and/or pulling such as in the coal mines. There coal was brought to the open air by manual labor usually by boys and/or women, some of whom, in low-ceiling areas had to get down on hands and knees to do the pulling with a special devised harness about their shoulders and hips. After coal reached the surface it was often possible to load carts, wagons and, in certain circumstances, barges on waterways by gravity - - letting the coal slide down inclines. It was not at all uncommon for men and women to literally wear out their lives even prior to middle age. Loading and unloading barges, boats and ships was done universally by manual labor.
What was described of our ancestral Bradley and Wilkes families in the forepart of this history was likewise true of the Eynons. All types of craftsmanship such as weaving or sewing or tanning, prior to the industrial factories was actually done in the home. There long, tedious hours were spent in meeting a specific quota of finished goods such as shirts, pants, shoes or whatnot that the family had agreed to have completed within a limited time. In short, life was far from being a picnic, but, frankly they knew nothing different for such was the mode of living for most people of the time and had been for generations.
As stated earlier in this chapter of the Eynons, research effort has been slowly rewarded with this family in particular. We early resorted to help on these lines to professional researchers, but they, too, were severely handicapped by the fact of not only a difficult language problem but, also, by the fact that the ministers of the parishes involved were reluctant and, often adamantly against permitting researchers into their records, as well as being reluctant to search their records for hire. There were exceptions to a degree. In some cases a minister's successor was not so spiteful in this matter and limited research could be done.<! The paragraph below was written by Paul Blacker on 27 January 2020 as a replacement for the original>
As an example of the minister's behavior, I quote from a letter from the Genealogical Society of Salt Lake City. Through their contacts, we hired professional researchers living in the Wales area. In a letter sent from the Genealogical Society, dated 19 March, 1948, they quoted the Welsh researcher:
The vicar of Martlebury, who is in charge of Lawrenny (the ancestral home of our Eynon family) was not inclined to permit inspection of parish registers. Whilst in Pembrs, the researcher attempted to make several contacts with this minister but he would not relent in the matter of our inspection of the registers. Under these circumstances it was not possible to search Lawrenny registers. Later in that 19 March letter, it was indicated the researcher searched among the tombstones of the churchyard, with no success as to our family; namely, the James and Elizabeth Griffith family, who are the parents of our Martha Eynon, who married Daniel D. Hunt in about 1850, as noted previously in this history. The Welsh researcher was not aware that some of the members of this family emigrated to the U.S. In approximately 1848 or 1849.
As was mentioned earlier, some members of the family were touched by the message of Mormon missionaries. The first Mormon missionaries appeared in Liverpool in 1837 and made rapid progress, first in north England, but success soon spread throughout England and Wales in particular.
We learned form the 1850 Utah census that Martha Elizabeth Eynon of Wales, the daughter of James and Elizabeth Eynon was married to Daniel D. Hunt. We have searched and researched for Martha's marriage place and date but to no avail. We had tax receipts from Pottawatamie County in Iowa made to Daniel D. Hunt which showed that he had lived there in 1848 and 1849. We searched the marriage and 1850 census records of Pottawatamie County for their marriage but it wasn't recorded there. While searching the census we found James Eynon and his daughter Louisa listed. James listed himself as being 57 years of age with no occupation and Louisa gave her age as 27. Perhaps this was but a pause on their westward trip.
Interestingly the very next household in the 1850 census of Iowa, was the family of Israel Justus Clark with his wife, Elizabeth, both listing themselves as at the age of 29. Their three boys, ages 11, 9 and 4 had been born in the state of New York. The James Eynon family group sheet states that his daughter Louisa married an Israel Justus Clark on the 16th of July, 1857. She was his second polygamous wife. However the Israel Justus Clark Four Generation family group sheet sent to the Genealogical Department in 1957 declares the marriage of Israel Clark and Louisa Eynon took place in Nauvoo, Illinois on November 24, 1851.
It seems that the Israel Clark family group sheet is incorrect. If they lived as neighbors in Iowa in 1850 why would they travel 200 miles east to Nauvoo to be married. The Mormons had been gone from Nauvoo for three to four years. All of the church authorities except Orson Hyde and Erastus Snow who were in Iowa were in Salt Lake City.
Let us again return with our story of James Eynon back in Lawrenny, Pembrokeshire, Wales. It appears their two eldest, Maria and Frances had married prior to 1841, at least Maria was married 2 Feb 1841 to John Harlow. We do not have Frances' marriage date. She had married prior to the family's immigrating to America but that date is not exactly known. Another reason for the possibility of Frances having married is the fact that she was not with the family in the 1841 census of Lawrenny which census record we had obtained in 1948 and is as follows:
Probably the reader has already observed that the children were all girls. As can be noted from the above, the census taker had a spelling of his own of Louisa and Esther which is quite understandable in these cases. Note he abbreviated Elizabeth, the mother.
There is no question but that eldest daughter, Maria, had married for we have her marriage date as of 2 Feb 1841 slightly over four months prior to the census of that year which was taken on the night of 7th of June 1841. It has always been customary to so organize as to take the census in Great Britain on one evening. Also, as confirmation, a copy of their marriage certificate is at hand.
In searching the Civil Registration records of Wales, an act by Parliament, which requires that every birth, marriage and death following 1 July 1837, be registered at the local registration district, we found the following entry:
"Esther, spinster, dau of James Eynon, died 24 July 1848, age 24 years".
The fact that Esther was listed as a spinster indicates that she never married. Her death date and the fact that her father, James Eynon, was the informant shows clearly that the family was yet in Wales as of July 1848.
With considerable searching over the years we have failed to locate any indication of an immigration record, however, it surely must exist somewhere and it will yet be located. A boat record is like finding a proverbial "needle in a haystack" for boats were crossing the Atlantic constantly from, one port or another.
We can be quite assured the family's boat trip was between July of 1848 when they were known to be in Lawrenny and the 4th day of October 1850 , the date the census taker recorded the census record of the James Eynon home in Pottawatomie County, Iowa. While Louisa was the only one of the daughters at home at the time of the census, there is evidence that most, if not all the members of the family, other than the two eldest daughters, Maria and Frances plus a younger daughter, Elizabeth of whom we have heard nothing relative to the family's migration to this country, were here in America at the time. Elizabeth was of marriageable age in 1850, in fact, was 22 years of age, and there is the probability she had married and remained in Wales.
In the process of our Eynon research which has covered a period of many years, we have had personal contact with descendants of Martha, one of the three girls James brought with him. Also contact with living descendants of the other two sisters, Louisa and Charlotte. Also descendants of the second eldest daughter, Frances, whose family years later, migrated to America. More will be reported of this latter family later in this story.
May I suggest that the reader become acquainted with these fine distant relatives if you are in their areas: Helen Beardall of Springville, Utah, a genealogist by her own rights, with whom we have become closely enough acquainted that we speak and write on a first name basis. Six or seven years ago Helen made a special trip to Wales where she visited among the Eynon parishes. It was while on this trip she verified much of the data we have, and extended our Eynon line of ancestry from William Eynon, our James' father, to William's father, Theophilus, our common ancestor. I had the privilege, in turn, to be just a little helpful in a problem she had encountered when, this year of 1984, while I was searching for a possible marriage date in Pottawatomie County, Iowa of our Martha Eynon and Daniel D. Hunt which I failed to locate, but had the good fortune of running across another interesting entry, "John R. Blanchard of Farmersville, Pottawatomie County, age 19 years and wife, Charlotte Eynon of Farmersville, Pottawatomie County, age 19 years were married this 30th day of June 1850" the very information Helen had been searching for for years, Charlotte, Helen's great grandmother.
Also, this last entry provided us with the town or settlement in Iowa that we did not before have. There is but little question that this was the settlement where James Eynon had his temporary home. The Blanchard family of which Charlotte became a part, settled in Cache Valley, Utah.
Another distant relative on daughter, Louisa's descendants was a Mrs. Peeril H. Graham who, in the years of 1943 and 1944 lived in Logan, who was then an elderly lady doing considerable temple work. She also worked in the Idaho Falls temple. She was the granddaughter of Louisa Eynon who married Israel Clark. Louisa's children, according to their family group sheet, were born in Farmington, Utah and the last three of the family of nine children were born in Logan. Louisa, however, passed away in 1898 in Teton, Idaho. A large branch of this Clark family still reside in the Idaho Falls area.
Still another distant relative - - third cousin to the writer - - is Rex Ashcraft of Rupert, Idaho, a great-grandson of Frances Eynon, she who with her family remained in Wales 18 years following the James Eynon family's coming to America. Rex had worked for our business for a few years before we learned of any relationship to us. For many subsequent years he served as manager of our floor covering department in our furniture store. We are both now retired. As stated, more will be told of his great-grandmother, Frances later in this chapter.
As previously stated, not having the boat record of the James Eynon family, we have no exact date of when they came to America nor just who of the family were included. However, according to the marriage dates of the three daughters known to have been here with James, their father, were Louisa who was married to Israel Clark. Charlotte who married John R. Blanchard the 30th of June 1850 and our own Martha Eynon who showed up in Utah in 1851 as the wife of Daniel D. Hunt whose story appears in an earlier chapter. Her exact marriage record has not been located.
With James Eynon and family now having been located as far west as the western border of the state of Iowa, the question may be asked, why in Iowa? The answer is relatively simple: Because the area at this point on the Missouri River was the last stopping place and/or outfitting place prior to the thousand mile stretch of plains and mountains to the Salt Lake Valley. Just how and which route to western Iowa is a question which remains unanswered. There were different means of getting there. The railroad had, undoubtedly reached Chicago area or elsewhere on the Mississippi by 1850. There was the possibility of their traveling by water and up the Mississippi and then traveling across Iowa by wagon. Also there was boat traffic up the Mississippi and thence up the Missouri River. Whichever method of travel to reach western Iowa was, undoubtedly difficult.
From the fact that we have Charlotte's marriage date to be the 30th of June 1850, we are assured the rest of the family had reached there, which means that they were there in ample time to have joined with some of the wagon trains for the west in 1850. Nine wagon trains left Council Bluffs, Iowa in June of that year, and the last and tenth left on the 4th of July. All these wagon trains arrived in Salt Lake in September and the first half of October.
We can but speculate why James Eynon chose to remain in Pottowattamie County for another summer, which was twelve months away. There undoubtedly was a good reason. Was it finances? We don't know. The Perpetual Emigration Fund program was just being started, which was designed to provide loans to those needing assistance to complete their journey. This Church program proved very helpful to many, but its affects were not to be felt widely until later in the 1850s and the 1860s. Our family was just a little early, however, we are not suggesting they were in need of it.
In all likelihood, the reason for not going west in 1850 could have been due to a health problem. They had traveled 3,000 miles across the Atlantic - - and this by slow boat - - and by the time they reached the Missouri River, they had covered another nearly 1,500 miles and none of it was easy. James was not old in years by any means, for he was but 57, yet, due to the rigors of 57 years he probably had become an old man. At least he had become tired - - very tired.
On the 4th day of October of 1850 the census taker appeared at the Eynon home, Luke Johnson by name, who was serving as Assistant Marshall. Could he have been the Luke Johnson of earlier Church history? Very possibly.
The census record states that James Eynon 57, had no occupation at the time and that at this home lived daughter, Louisa, 27. The fact that he had no occupation is very understandable for they were in the process of moving on to their future home.
Census records have no intention of revealing the health condition of the populace. In this instance, had such a report been taken, James Eynon would, undoubtedly, have been reported as having been in poor health, for according to family records given to us from the previous generation, and since confirmed from his TIB (Temple Index Bureau) card he, James, passed away on the 6th of October 1850, two days following the taking of the census referred to above.
Our subsequent searching for his death and burial records in Iowa have not proven fruitful to this date. There remains little question but that the date of his passing is factual for his TIB card reveals that Israel J. Clark, Louisa's future husband, who, at the time of the census lived next door, and who could have even been a witness, served as proxy for James in the St. George Temple on 9 November 1877. Interestingly, the temple had recently been completed with its dedication having been the 6th of April of that very year, - - the first L. D. S. temple completed in the West. Temple work, previous to the dedication of this temple in the West, was done in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City.
When James' youngest daughter, Charlotte, was married, as previously noted, she gave as her address, 'Farmersville, Pottawatomie County, Iowa'. We can, therefore, presume that this was the address of her father despite the fact that the marriage was three months prior to the date of the census - - plus a week. Just where Farmersville was located we don't know excepting the entirety of the Council Bluffs' area had been set aside as, first, a rest area for those pioneers who had recently crossed the length of the state of Iowa following their having been literally driven from their homes in Illinois and other areas east of the Missouri River. Secondly, the area was set aside as a supply center, to restock the wagon and handcart companies which had started further the East. It also served as a supply center for those who had to make the super effort to leave their homes beyond the Atlantic. These included the James Eynon family who were touched and now responding to the charge, 'Come to Zion, Come to Zion'. That center had within the last five or six years been transplanted from Jackson County, Missouri, to the far away Rocky Mountains. Thus would Isaiah's scripture be fulfilled, "And it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem* Isaiah 2:2-3. This transplant was due to the unrelenting persecution being encountered by the faithful members of the Church.
James Eynon., a grandfather to all of us, his descendants, regardless of our generation, became a casualty of the great Mormon Migration. He became one of the more than six thousand souls who have been buried on the way to Zion scattered along the Pioneer Trail thru Iowa, Nebraska and Wyoming. He sacrificed his all, including his life, in order that his family of daughters and his extended family of today could be perpetuated in Zion. Perhaps near scripture can be stated in the thought, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his future family's abode to be in Zion". He did his best to reach his goal but his mortal body lacked the strength. In this, even James Eynon cannot assume failure. We, his descendants, are where we are today because of his dream and his effort. Let us, even before this day is over, kneel and express appreciation for such a forbearer. We are who we are and we are where we are partially because of him. Indeed, he is a part of us as are our other ancestry, for after all, can it not be said, we are living in the body of our ancestors and, in the case of James Eynon, we are the better for him. God bless his memory!
A note may be inserted at this point in the history of the Eynon family to the effect that we are aware that our James' next younger brother, William, emigrated to the United States after joining the Mormon Church in Wales. Some of William's descendants have lived in Utah for two or three generations. One of William's son was George Eynon who has a descendant - - probably a granddaughter, Mrs. Josephine Barfuss of Brigham City, with whom we have corresponded. Because this history is being confined to our own direct line of ancestry no attempt will be made here to include such allied lines.
We must not leave our story of James' family of daughters without returning back to Wales where remained daughters Maria, Frances and Elizabeth (of the latter we are not certain). Both Maria and Frances had married prior to the time their father and, at least, three of their younger sisters had migrated. Frances had married a young man by the name of Francis Purser of Cosheston, Pembrokeshire. Cosheston is approximately three miles south and west of Lawrenny, across the finger of the Haven and near to Pembroke Dock. The map does not show Lawrenny Ferry, a suburb of Lawrenny, where our Eynon family actually resided. In all likelihood Lawrenny Ferry was even closer to the water than Lawrenny proper, and so the ferry which spanned the Haven made it not overly inconvenient for a suitor by the name of Francis Purser to make connection with another Frances, this having been spelled with an 'e' rather than an "i". An interesting courtship can easily be imagined by the reader. It will be unnecessary to compare notes after each of our imagined stories.
This young couple lived to have a family of nine children with their sixth, a son, Joseph, having lived but a year, who died 19 Feb 1855. Their last child a girl, Marie, was born 10 May 1862 some 12 or 13 years following Frances' father and sisters having left for America. Undoubtedly Frances kept in touch with her portion of family who came to America and was informed of the passing of her father in 1850.
Apparently sufficient favorable word had been sent back that the Purser family concluded that they, too, should emigrate. It was not, however, until about the first of June 1868 that they actually left Wales. By this time their three oldest, James 27, Louisa, 25, and John 22 were at least sufficiently mature to have married. We have no record indicating they did and we are aware that, if not at that time, then certainly James came to America for he has a posterity here in the States.
We have made no attempt to search the boat record of that branch of the family so we have nothing to report. If we had that record we would know whether or not all or part of the family left Wales at the time. Other than the three children mentioned above with their ages, the next children in descending order would be Peter 18, Phillip 15, Charlotte 12, Almira, four months short of being 8 and little Marie just a month past her 6th birthday.
At this late date of writing up the event - - 116 years later than the trip - - we are not aware of their then existing conditions, nor as stated, how many of the children were with them, but tragedy soon struck following their boarding the boat. After leaving - - presumably Liverpool - - and prior to reaching shore - - presumably New York - - for that was the course most European LDS immigrants took, Frances, wife and mother, took seriously ill and died between the two ports somewhere on the Atlantic. What grief this caused her husband and children we can but imagine. Following the husband our first thoughts go to little Marie, a child of such tender years. Regardless of the age of the remaining children the experience had to have been traumatic.
Details are not here at hand but there had to have been tears and, perhaps, real regrets for starting. Had they remained in Wales would wife and mother still have been with them. We don't know nor did they know. They had started on their course and, for the then present, at least, there was no turning back. Frances' time for passing away may have come, regardless. Her health could have been poor prior to their leaving but, in all likelihood they must have sensed that had they remained at home there would have been a great possibility that her life could have been prolonged. Such thoughts are but "what could have been!" and quite irrelevant to the facts at hand. In reality they were in mid-Atlantic and their loved one had left them.
Since my father wrote this I have found more information that will clear up some of the confusion he expresses in this document about the James and Elizabeth Eynon family and their oldest daughter, Frances.
The information he had, indicated that Elizabeth Griffiths Eynon died in Wales on 1 June 1843 before the James Eynon family immigrated to the United States in 1849. We now know that she sailed with her family and arrived in New Orleans. She died 26 May 1849 while journeying from New Orleans to Council Bluffs, Iowa.
I found an immigration for Francis and Frances (Fanny) Purser. They left Liverpool on 5 June 1868 on the ship John Bright. As can be seen from the image below Francis and Frances were on the ship with four of their children Peter, Phillip, Elmira (listed as Mary) and Maria. The image also shows that the mother, Frances died 9 June 1868 while they were on the ship.
Ruth Blacker Waite 2018
Certainly, it would have appeared to the mourning family that the approaching burial would have been less austere or less terrifying were her body back home in the cemetery in Lawrenny, than now with the approaching burial in the icy waters of the Atlantic. Apparently the boat was sufficiently far from land that there was to be no choice. Even now, to us the reader and the writer, there comes a pang at the heart and tears well in the eyes, when we think of that family with little ones standing by the rails of the ship as the boatmen, after having placed wife and mother in a canvass bag, gently lowered her silenced and, now, listless body into the dark - - very dark - - waters of the ocean. Or had it been the less painfully for Frances' loved ones to remain away from the scene of the lowering of the body? To some, perhaps the latter. We don't know what was done excepting we are aware that it was done.
Certainly such a burial place would nor could ever have the advantage of being where, during the oncoming days, weeks, months and years her loved ones could come to place flowers to beautify her grave. When experiencing a loneliness or a longing for just the feeling of her spirit, they could stand or sit at her burial site for rejuvenation. Such is the blessing of a land cemetery. Who knows but even the deceased - - wife and mother Frances - - could have gained solace from her family's presence, for after all, doesn't it seem so natural that she, too, would retain a caring for her loved ones? To this writer it seems such an experience as death is not a one-way street. There, also, has to be caring on the part of the one who leaves for, certainly, the one departing is dead only as to the physical body. The love and caring for loved ones does not die but goes on into the eternities.
A watery grave would lack such facilities for the tender closeness a normal land-based cemetery provides. Such are the singular thoughts stemming thru the fingers while sitting at this typewriter. No scriptural references as to the validity of such above thoughts - - but can we deny that such seems to be in line with reason?
As we here hesitate to ponder and, perhaps, meditate for the moment, let us scan a brief section of this family's charts
The John A. Hunt wagon train left Iowa City 1st of August 1856. This sketch of the map of Iowa is as applicable to the Hunt family as it is to the Eynon family.
After leaving Nauvoo in 1846, Daniel D. Hunt and family spent a year or more at Garden Grove from where they moved to Pottawatomie County. It was probably here that he met Martha Eynon whom he married. The earliest record in America we have of the Eynon family is in the 1850 census of Pottawatomie County. It is here the other two Eynon sisters also met their husbands and in this county where James, their father passed away and, undoubtedly was buried.
We have no record that the Francis Purser family of the above chart stopped in Iowa, unless, it was to pause for the children to see their grandfather's grave. By 1868 when they crossed thru Iowa the railroad had been extended nearly to Utah and they would have traveled as far as possible.
In the preceding paragraph, my father Loyn Blacker, stated that the immigration date of the James and Elizabeth Eynon family was not known. However, in December of 2009, I located the immigration record of this family. The Mormon Immigration record shows they left Liverpool on the ship Hartley 5 March, 1849 and arrived in New Orleans on 28 April, 1849. Their names and ages as they were listed on ship's manifest for that voyage is shown below.
According to family records Elizabeth Eynon died 1 June 1843 in Wales. As can be seen James' wife Elizabeth is listed on the manifest, so she did not die in Wales as the family has supposed.
Lucius N. Scoville served as an agent for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to arrange transport for immigrant members of the church from New Orleans to Winter Quarters in Iowa. He arranged for the members from the Hartley to travel up the Mississippi River to St. Louis on the steamship Mameluck. They left New Orleans on 3 May 1849. From New Orleans to St. Louis 34 people on the steamship died from cholera.
They left St. Louis on 14 May 1849 on the steamship Lightfoot to travel up the Missouri River. After they passed St. Joseph the current became too strong for the Lightfoot, so they returned to St. Joesph and transferred to the St. Croix. The deaths from cholera continued as they traveled. At least 21 people died between St. Louis and Council Bluffs. They arrived in Council Bluffs 8 June 1849.
The paragraph below shows an entry in Lucius Scoville's journal that records that Elizabeth Eynon died between St. Joseph and Council Bluffs.
"On Saturday, May 26th, Elizabeth Eynon, 66 years of age, from South Wales, died, and was buried one mile below Oregon Landing."
Ruth Blacker Waite 2010; updated 2018