[Mary Jeanne Jenness retyped, reorganized for clarity, and added new information in 2002.]
WILLIAM WHITE AND MARY ANN SYER
Grandmother Elizabeth White (Stewart) was born February 22, 1838, a daughter of William White and Mary Ann Syer, in Gilbert St., Broomsberry, London, England. She had two brothers, Barnard White, born November 9, 1839, and Richard Herman White, born May 22, 1842, in London, England.
William White, Elizabeth's father, was the son of Barnard and Elizabeth White and was born in 1779 in Nottingham, England. He had two brothers and three sisters: Barnard, John, Mary, Elizabeth, and Ann. Grandmother Elizabeth said her father resembled George Washington, but no pictures are available. He was a master tailor and employed twenty-five men. He died October 21, 1843 in London, England. His brother, Barnard White, lived in the Strand, London, and he never married. He was a man of means worth about 80,000 pounds. Upon his death his property was left to William, his brother, who died a short time later. The three families wanted it all and got into litigation over it. The result was that the greater part was used up. Elizabeth's mother's share was the lease-held house in Eltham, which she sold for 200 pounds (about $10000.00) and used it for immigrating her family to Utah.
Little is known of Elizabeth's mother's people. Her mother, Mary Ann Syer, was the daughter of William and Ann or Mary Ann Syer. She was the youngest of a family of four children and was born January 1, 1793. She had one brother, William, and two sisters, Elizabeth and Martha. Her father was the son of John and Mary Syer and he had one brother John. These people probably lived in London, England.
[Elizabeth's father had three wives. The first wife of William White was Margaret Hawley, christened 31 Aug 1778 in Saint Mary's, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England. They were married 13 April 1801 in St Mary's at Nottingham. They had two sons and five daughters: John Place White, christened 20 Jan 1802; Sarah, christened 23 May 1803; Mary, christened 25 May 1804; Jane, christened 29 September 1805, Margaret, christened 13 November 1806; Mary Ann, christened 6 September 1808; William, born about 1816. Margaret died in 1825. All children were christened in St. Mary's.
After the death of Margaret, William married a second wife who was named Mary. Her children were: Eliza, christened 19 January 1828 in St. Mary's, (married Edmund Brooks and came to Utah with Elizabeth); Caroline White, christened 4 September 1831 in St. Mary's; Charles White, born in 1832-33 in London. (IGI says "Nottingham, Nottingham, England")]
Elizabeth's mother, Mary Ann Syer, born 1 January 1793 in Nacton, Suffolk, England, was William White's third wife. Mary Ann had previously been married to William Smith. To that union were born three daughters in Suffolk County, England: in 1826 Emma Smith was born but she probably died as a child; she was followed in 1827 by twin girls Mary Ann and Charlotte Smith who died the same year as they were born.
William White and Mary Ann Syer were married 17 April 1837 in Trinity Church, St. Marylebone, Middlesex, England. Her children were Elizabeth White born 22 February 1838 in St. George Bloomsbury, Middlesex, England; Barnard born 18 November 1839 at Sun Street, Walworth, Newington, Surrey, England; Richard Herman White born 22 May 1842 at Eltham St., Walworth, Newington, Surrey, England. William White died about 1842 or 43 leaving Mary Ann with three small children.
After William's death about 1845, Mary Ann married William Hill, but that marriage ended in divorce.
In 1854, Mary Ann Syer White and her three children, Elizabeth, Barnard, and Richard, joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was their great ambition then to be with the Saints in America. A Saint finally offered to bring fourteen-year-old Barnard to America. His mother had confidence that he could take care of himself, so with two sovereigns (about $10.00) in his pocket and a promise to his mother that he would never taste intoxicating drink or associate with bad company, he left England never to return.
After quite a rough journey, Barnard landed in New York and set out into the farming community to secure work. After some time he gained employment with a farm family at $7 per month. He said that when the farm family gathered around the table for a meal, each sat with his fork poised and at a signal, each one tried to get what he wanted to eat. It seemed strange to young Barnard that enough was not prepared for each to have what he wanted without having to scrap for it.
In the spring of 1856 Barnard met his mother, Mary Ann Syer Clark [correction] White, his sister, Elizabeth, his half-sister, Eliza Clark White Brooks, and his brother, Richard, in Boston as they disembarked from the good ship Horizon. Eliza's husband, Edmund Brooks, was with him. The two went out to meet them in a small sailing boat. As they left the ship later in the evening, a storm blew up. Had Brooks not been a good sailor, they would have drowned. Elizabeth's autobiography tells their adventures on the way to Utah later that year.
On the 21 November 1862, Mary Ann was married for a fourth time in Salt Lake City to John Pannell Wright, born about 1789 in Nacton, Suffolk, England, but that marriage also ended in divorce.
Written by herself at the age of seventy-six years
I was born February 22nd, 1838, in Bloomsbury Square, London, England. I am the daughter of William and Mary Ann White. My father died when I was about five years old. I was taught to pray when very young, also to be honest, truthful, and kind.
In 1854 we heard of the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was then sixteen years old. My brother, Barnard, and myself were baptized on the 22nd day of May 1854 and my mother, sister Eliza and brother a short time before. We were very anxious to emigrate where we could enjoy our religion more freely. As soon as our circumstances would permit, my dear mother made all arrangements for our journey.
We left London on the 22nd day of May 1856, arriving in Liverpool that night; and on the 24th day of May sailed on the good ship Horizon, bound for Boston Harbor, under the Presidency of Edward Martin and Jessie Haven. We had a pleasant voyage with the exception of one storm. We had three deaths and three weddings. We had 856 passengers on board, all of the Mormon faith. We had our meetings on Sundays and sometimes through the week, also singing and dancing. Each passenger was allowed so much provisions. It consisted of hard sailor's biscuits, made of very coarse flour, so hard we could scarcely break them; salt pork and beef, rice, and split peas. We had a large cookhouse on deck and cooks. We had so much water allowed each person, but it was very poor. When the sea was calm we could occupy our time in reading, sewing and taking our walk on deck, also listening to the sailors singing while they were pumping the water out from the bottom of the ship. They never worked without singing, so they could all pull together. Then it was grand to see the sun go down. We were all thankful when the captain told us we could see land. We arrived in Boston Harbor June 28th, being just five weeks on the sea. Some of the passengers had to stay to earn means to go the rest of the journey. We then had to travel by train 1500 miles from Boston to Iowa City, which was a very unpleasant journey. We were put in cars that had no seats. We had to sit on our trunks and baggage and had no room to lie down at night.
When we completed our journey to Iowa City, we were informed that we would have to walk four miles to our camping ground. All felt delighted to have the privilege of a pleasant walk. We all started, about 500 of us, with our bedding. We had not gone far before it began to thunder and lightning and the rain poured. The roads became very muddy and slippery. The day was far advanced and it was late in the evening before we arrived at the camp. We all got very wet. The boys soon got our tent up so we were fixed for the night, although very wet. We camped there until September.
The handcart company had started ahead of us. We started on our journey across the Plains on the third of September with two yoke of oxen, two cows, a tent, a covered wagon, our trunks and bedding and provisions, and seven of us in the family, so we had to walk except when we went through the water. I think we would travel from fifteen to twenty-five miles per day, when the weather was fair.
We had about forty wagons in our company, led by Captain John Hunt. We got along real well, had no trouble with Indians, but when we were near Fort Laramie a herd of buffalos came along as we were traveling and caused our cattle to stampede, resulting in the death of Mrs. Walters. She was driving the team in front of ours. She was knocked down and tramped upon by the oxen. She never spoke, but died in a few minutes, leaving a young baby. This sad affair cast a gloom over our camp. She was sewed in a blanket and buried on the wayside.
Another sad event, one night a father and little son went out for wood to make a fire. They never returned. One leg was found in the father's boot. Wolves had eaten them.
The weather was fair and we got along real well until we were near the Platte River. It was getting very cold by this time. We finally reached the last crossing of the Platte River. We were then about 500 miles from Salt Lake. Our company camped on the east side and the handcart company passed over that night. All our able-bodied men turned out to help them carry women and children over the river. Some of our men went through the river seventy-five times. The snow fell six inches during that night; there were thirteen deaths during the night. They were so worn out. It was a terrible night for them. This was on the twentieth of October. The snow continued falling for three days. From this time we had no food for our cattle; when it stopped snowing and we could see to travel, our cattle were so weak they would drop in the yoke. Then they would kill them for us to eat. Our provisions were getting very low and we were then living on a fourth pound of flour per day and we used nothing but the poor meat for our noon meal. [We] were in this condition until we reached Devil's Gate. We could then go no further. Our two yoke of oxen and one cow had died and the rest of the company [was in] about the same [condition]. We had nothing to burn only the wet sagebrush from under the snow, and melt the snow off the sage for our water to make our tea and make our bread with soda and sage water, what little we had. The snow was then from three to ten inches deep. The ground was frozen so hard they could not drive the tent pins, so they had to raise the tent poles and stretch out the flaps and bank them down with snow.
We were nearly out of provisions. Our dear mother said she had never seen her dear family want for bread, but said the Lord would provide. About midnight that night all the camp had retired and we were awakened with a noise, and thought it was the yelling of Indians. We got up expecting they were upon us, but to our great surprise the noise was caused by the teamsters of the relief team and some of the camp shouted for joy. They were loaded with all kinds of provisions: flour, bread, butter, meat of all kinds, but all frozen so hard. Everything was so good. The bread was like cake, so sweet and nice. I remember we had to cut everything with the hatchet, but oh how thankful we all were that the Lord had answered our prayers and saved us all from starvation. Through the timely action of President Brigham Young in organizing this company, we were saved. The loaded wagon that came to our camp was from Draper. George Clawson and Gurnsey Brown were the teamsters.
The next evening we had made our campfires. The boys had cleared the snow away and several of us young folks were sitting around the fire singing when our captain, John Hunt, and those two teamsters stood there until we got through, then the Captain came to me. He said that Mr. Brown was going to take a load of sick and old folks and if I would go with them, as his wife needed help, he would give me a horse, but I told him I would rather he would take my mother, as I could not leave her, but she begged me to go and said they would soon follow. I bade my dear mother good-bye, thinking she and the folks would soon follow, but they did not for two long weeks. I was lonesome when I left camp and we overtook the camp ahead of us. We stayed there and got Sister Esther Brown, one of the girls that crossed the sea with me. I felt so pleased to have her with us. We had a load of sick and infirm folks under the cover. We had to sit in the front with the men folks. We had to walk considerable. When we got to the foot of the big mountain, the snow was so deep I had to put men's boots on. The teamsters were tall and so was Esther, and she could step in their tracks, but I could not in hers and had to make my own road up both mountains, frequently falling down. The snow was so deep and drifted but they told us when we got to the top we would see Salt Lake City. We were so thankful and delighted that it seemed to renew our strength and energy. It was the hardest part of my journey, but the thought of being nearly at our journey's end after six months traveling and camping was cheering. If only my dear mother had been so near, I would have felt so much better.
When we got to the top of the big mountains, the men folks took off their hats and we waved our handkerchiefs. They then pointed out Salt Lake City and I could not believe it was, for it looked to me like a patch of sagebrush covered with snow. I could not believe it until we got nearly to it. We arrived in Salt Lake City just at sundown on the thirtieth day of November 1856. The last handcart company came in on the afternoon of that day. Bishop Hunter came to the wagon. "Well," he says, "Brother Brown, I thought you were to bring the sick and the old folks." He said, "I have."
"Well, it does not look like it when we look at those girls," he smiled, and found the rest under the cover.
They took us to Ephraim Hank's home to stay all night. Next morning they took us to Draper in a sleigh, and the snow being about two feet deep on the level. It was my first sleigh ride, and the longest I ever had.
We arrived there all right and were welcomed by Sister Harriet Brown. I never can forget her kindness to me, a stranger in a strange land. My happiness would have been complete if I only had my dear mother, brothers, and sister with me. It was two long weeks before they arrived, then my happiness was completed.
We did not know how to be thankful enough to our Heavenly Father for his preserving care over us during our journey, for the health and strength we enjoyed, and for every blessing he bestowed upon us.
We kept behind the last handcart company so that our able-bodied men could assist them. My brother Barnard, with others, would go into their camp and see how they were suffering. He said it was terrible. Our company assisted them all they could, but there does not seem to be any account of our assistance in their history.
After my folks came in, Bishop I. M. Stewart gave my brother, Barnard, employment. My mother made her home with me at Sister Brown's, until she went to Sister Burnhamīs. My brother, Richard, about fourteen years of age, went to Salt Lake City, and William Godbe, the druggist, took him as errand boy and he was there for years, from errand boy, to clerk in the store.
My sister, Eliza, stayed at Cottonwood with her husband's sister, so we were all blessed with good homes for the winter and all enjoyed good health, which is one of the greatest blessings we can enjoy. Barnard was soon able to get a home, so our dear mother could live with him.
I remained with Sister Brown two months, and then went to live at Bishop Stewart's home. I lived with them about five weeks, and was married to Isaac M. Stewart on the eighth of March 1857.
In July we received an invitation from the Presidency of the Church to celebrate the twenty-fourth of July up Big Cottonwood. It was while celebrating that the news came that Johnston's Army was coming to wipe us out, but they did not. They Lord was on our side and they did not have power to destroy us. They came and everything was prepared for them.
It was in the year 1864 that John R. Park came to Draper and to our home. I was then living in a small house with four little children. My husband, Isaac M. Stewart, being greatly interested in education, learned he was a schoolteacher, and got him employed to teach. He also baptized him a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Note: Elizabeth White Stewart died May 7, 1917, in Salt Lake City, and was buried at Draper, Salt Lake County, but the side of Isaac M. Stewart May 10, 1917.
On March 8, 1857 I married Isaac Mitton Stewart who was bishop of Draper. We lived in two small rooms with his other family until after my first child, Mary, was born, at which time an addition of one room was added to the home for me. When I had four small children, I milked seven cows night and morning, and the following year I made one thousand pounds of butter out of which I paid one hundred pounds for tithing. All of the soap, which I used for laundry work for forty years, was what I made myself. I washed wool, picked it, spun and dyed it, and wove it into cloth and made clothes by hand for my six children before getting a sewing machine. I braided straw and sewed it into hats.
During the early part of my married life, sugar was so scarce and high in price that we boiled beets and made a syrup from them which served in the place of sugar. We also made preserves from carrots cooked in beet syrup. Wild currants were cooked and sweetened in the same way.
I was one of the first Sunday school teachers in Draper. For twenty years I cooked for and waited upon the missionaries and visiting elders to Draperville. I always tried to remember the sick and poor around me whenever I could be of any service.
I am the mother of ten living children and one dead child, grandmother to 60 (69 at her death) grandchildren, and great-grandmother to 35 (48 at her death) great-grandchildren. I have knitted for my great-grandchildren over 60 pairs of stockings. At this writing, I am 78 years old and still doing my own work.
Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 22, 1908
By - Luella A. Lindsay.
In the city of London seventy years ago today, a little babe came to gladden the hearts of a kind and loving father and mother. Words cannot express their joy and happiness as they gazed upon the face of this innocent child, for with her she brought love and sunshine. With pride these anxious parents watched over her, for they knew the purity of her heart and soul, and the noble spirit which she possessed would bring great joy and comfort as she grew in years. But when only a little girl, her father died, leaving her mother to care for her and guide her little footsteps aright.
Desiring to assist her mother, she succeeded in obtaining work, which afforded her very little opportunity to attend school. Early and late you could see her going to and from her work, always hopeful and cheerful, ever devoted and faithful to her religion.
Being religiously inclined and taking treat pleasure in listening to the principles of the Gospel which were taught by the Elders who came to visit their home, she was baptized, and in company with her mother and brothers and a number of the Saints, boarded the ship and started for Zion, which was a happy yet long and tiresome journey across the waters.
While some were discouraged, downhearted and sad,
Kind words were spoken which made their hearts glad,
By little "Miss White," for that was her name,
"Twill be brighter tomorrow, so do not complain."
These words of courage gave all new life and determination, which built up and strengthened them to face another journey of much greater hardships and suffering. This young maiden who was always full of courage and hope to endure the suffering incident to such a journey, laid the foundation for a noble and useful career.
Some were barefoot, some were hungry,
Some were cold and wet with rain,
But with all these trials and hardships,
Never once did she complain.
On she traveled, this dear maiden,
From the morn till close of day
With no one to guide their footsteps,
None but God to lead the way.
Yes, for days and weeks she journeyed
Up the mountains, through the pines,
Leaving friends and dear companions,
Yes, she left them all behind.
Ah! I fancy I can see her
By the campfire warm and bright,
Singing praises unto God,
And the hymn, "Do What is Right."
Morning dawned, and this fair maiden
Starts again upon her way,
Tired and weak from her long journey,
Yet her heart was light and gay
For she's now almost to "Zion!"
One more mountain she must climb;
See her struggling, oh how faithful
With their handcarts on behind.
Ah! She sees dear Zion City
Where she oft has longed to be,
In the valleys of the mountains
Where there's peace and liberty.
This fair maiden, upon arriving in this beautiful valley, soon became the wife of a kind and noble man, and the trials and hardships which they together endured for the sake of the Gospel, and for the rearing of sons and daughters God blessed them with, only increased their joy and happiness to know that they were trying to do the Will and keep the Commandments of God.
Dear Mother, how thankful we feel today to our Heavenly Father, for being permitted to be brought into this world through such kind and noble parents, and for their watchful care over us.
We feel and know that you are and have been a true and faithful mother to your children, and to our dear Father, and although he is not permitted to be with us today in person, we feel and know he is here with us in spirit, and joins with us all in wishing you many, many happy returns of the day, and as your years increase, may your joys increase, and may your declining years bring peace and comfort to your soul.
Written for our beloved Mother on her seventy-sixth birthday,
February 22, 1914
Can it be, Dearest Mother, so long since our birth?
Seventy-six years since you first came to earth?
In fancy I see the good angels of love
Selecting a spirit to send from above.
They all knew the great work there was here to do,
That is why they looked īround until they found you;
But they did not send you on roses to tread,
So many sharp thorns were placed in your bed;
And how bravely you've fought through life's rugged way,
With a sweet smiling face and heart hopeful and gay;
With faith and with patience you've trusted in God
Amid trials and hardships, have been true to the rod.
O the joy and the pride, God looks from above
Upon you, Dearest Mother, with His tender love;
He knows how oft at the close of the day
You've gathered your children around you to pray;
Ah, I fancy I see us now at your knee
Little boys and girls so full of glee;
But those happy days have now passed away,
And you, Dearest Mother, have grown old and gray;
The once rosy cheek and the dark brown hair
Have faded with toil, with sorrow and care;
But you are just as sweet with your silvery hair
As you were when a maiden young and fair;
We love to gaze on your beautiful face,
Which beams with sunshine, love and grace.
O loving Mother, may God grant you peace,
And may your days of joy increase,
May we, your daughters and your sons,
Live the good life that you have done.
You have not sought honor, wealth, nor fame
A humble, pure life has been your aim;
For your children you've sacrificed everything dear,
And your name, Precious Mother, we'll ever revere.
Yes, your eyes have grown dim and your form bent with care.
May we tenderly smooth each silvery hair,
Strew flowers around, speak kind words of love,
'Til God calls you to dwell in His home up above.
TO OUR MOTHER
November 30th, 1916
Dear Mother, what a joy to gaze into thy face,
And feel thy sweet spirit of sunshine and grade;
To know thou hast lived, through all these years
For the comfort of others with no thought of fear.
How we love thy sweet smile, and the hands worn and thin,
The once sparkling eye, which with care has grown dim;
The kind voice that taught us to pray at your knee,
When we knew not a care, just hearts full of glee.
We think of you then, and we think of you now,
The form bent with age and the deep furrowed brow;
We see the dear girl of eighteen summers, you know,
When you entered this valley just sixty years ago.
Up the mountain you climbed. Ah! The snow was so deep
With those big heavy boots, and how cold were your feet;
So tired and weary from hunger and pain,
But never a word did you, mother, complain.
So bravely you journeyed, six months on the way,
Ever hopeful and happy, a heart blithe and gay;
With a kind word for all, a song and a prayer,
You cheered many hearts, and lightened their care.
Thank God for you, dearest Mother, we pray,
That He brought you to ion, sixty years ago today,
And has guarded you tenderly with His gracious love,
Sent angels to watch you from His throne above.
God has loved you and blessed you, since the day you were born;
He will still love and bless you, on this November morn;
He knows of the life you lived, ah! so true,
And many rich blessings are waiting for you.
Peace be to your soul, dear mother, we pray,
That the sweetest of flowers may bloom in your way;
And the angels of heaven will ever be near,
Is the wish and the prayer of us all, Mother dear.
------------------------Luella S. Porter