Sunday, May 26, 2013

Penzance and George Matthews


George Matthews married Mary Weymouth on 25 June 1781 at Madron, Cornwall, England. George was also christened at Madron on 26 May 1733. His parents were Robert Matthews and his wife, Thomasin Hammond, both christened at Madson, but married at Penzance. He was the fifth of ten children, some of them christened at Madron, and some at Penzance. Madron is located just 1.7 miles NW and inland from Penzance.







Mary was christened at Penzance on 25 March 1738. George and Mary had four children, their youngest daughter, Honour, being our ancestor. All of their children were christened at Penzance. This church is located at Penzance.

You can read a little about Madron on the posting for George and Mary's granddaughter, Phillippa Commin. For information about Penzance, you can click on the name for a link. There is quite a bit of information about it and its interesting history. The ancient town of Penzance is the ‘Capital’ of the far West of Cornwall and is the last major town before the Atlantic Ocean. Penzance (Pensans), or "holy headland" in the Cornish language, is a reference to the location of the chapel of St. Anthony that stood over a thousand years ago on the headland to the west of what became Penzance Harbour. The Cornwall Guide has a nice history. In fact, there is a lot to look at for Penzance because it is a beautiful touristy place to visit and it also has a long and interesting history.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Kenneth Leo White, My Dad

Ken was born on 18 May 1908 in Kamas, Summit, Utah. He was one of eleven children born to George Francis White and his wife, Emily Swaby Baggs. He was the fourth in the family, and also the fourth son.

Ken married Beatrice McKinley, a petite girl from England, on 7 August 1934 in the LDS temple in Salt Lake City, Utah. He moved from Utah to California in the early 1950's where he worked for United Airlines. They bought a home in Palo Alto where Ken spent the rest of his life.


Ken and Bea celebrated their 50th wedding anniverary in 1984. Ken died on 22 August 1992 at home and is buried in Palo Alto.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Short Life of Phillippa Commin


Phillippa Commin was christened on 16 May 1824 at Crowan, Cornwall, England. Her parents were Joseph Commin and his wife, Honour Mathews. Phillippa was the third child in a family of seven children. Since they were all christened at Crowan, we can assume that she grew up there. The parish has many remains of prehistoric times including barrows and stone crosses.The 15th century parish church of St Crewenna is entirely of granite, and was restored in 1872.


In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Crowan like this:
"CROWAN, a village, a parish, and a sub-district in Helston district, Cornwall. The village stands 3 miles S of Camborne r. station, and 5 NNW of Helston; and has a post office under Camborne, Cornwall, and a fair on 17 May. The parish comprises 7, 239 acres. Real property, £8, 836. Pop., 4, 131. Houses, 824. The property is divided among a few. The manor has belonged, since the time of Richard II., to the family of St. Aubyn. Granite, slate, and copper ore occur. Crowan Beacon is 850 feet high, and commands a fine view. A quondam logan-stone, thrown off its balance by some of Cromwell's soldiers, lies ½ a mile south of the village. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Exeter. Value, £451.* Patron, the Rev. H. M. St. Aubyn. The church has a tower; contains monuments of the St. Aubyns; and was recently restored. There are chapels for Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists. The sub-district is conterminate with the parish."(Taken from A Vision of Britain through Time)

There is a nice site with interesting information, including Cornish place names. It also has some photos. Click here for the link.

On 16 May 1824, Phillippa married John Baggs at Aberdare, Glamorgan, Wales. Their first two children, Emily and Elizabeth, were born there. In about 1856, John and Phillipa moved to America. Their son and our ancestor, Andrew, was born in Missouri in 1857. They had two other sons after Andrew, giving them five children. Shortly after their last child died, Phillipa died on 30 May 1861.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Mary Rivers White

A True Pioneer

Mary Rivers was born 4 May 1828 in Charlcott, Wiltshire, England. Her father, Abraham Rivers was born 1804 at Brimhill, England. He, being a sport, was disinherited by his parents. He married Hannah Dowswell in England. To this union were born three boys and six girls: Mary, Thomas, James, Emma, Jane, Ann, Martha, James, and Martha.

Mary Rivers married George White in 1845 at Brimhill England. To them were born three boys and one girl: Thomas Henry, Amelia, George Ofred Joseph, and Earnest Authenia. George died in 1859 leaving Mary with four young children. Mary was an accomplished seamstress. With help of her son Thomas (now 13 years old) she was able to make a living for herself and family. Having heard and accepted the Gospel (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) she opened her home to the Elders as a meeting place and as a place where they might stay.

Answering the call to gather with the Saints, she and her children sailed for America, on an old sailing vessel that had been white washed and tarred with coal tar. This vessel, the Antartica, proved not to be too sea-worthy. Sailors were kept busy many hours a day pumping water from this leaky ship. During the journey seven emigrants were buried at sea. The journey lasted seven weeks. The water was bad and they had to drink it without boiling it. Their rations included hard tack, which was eight or ten inches thick and thick fat bacon. Mary had toasted some bread very dry and brought it with her. This tasted very good and helped though the journey. They arrived in New York Harbor, 4 July 1863. It being a holiday they were not allowed to land until the next day.

They crossed the plains in the George Holliday Company, having come from New York with emigrants in box or cattle cars. As it was during the time of the War of the Rebellion, and soldiers were about everywhere trying to enlist (by force if necessary) men and boys into the army. The soldiers met the trains hoping to stop the Mormons and draft them into their rank. To avoid this the emigrants were loaded into the cattle cars to make the journey. They had to lie down to the bare floor, dirty as it was, like so many sheep. There were three passenger cars on the train and the soldiers watched these closely and at every station they would ask “When those Mormons coming through?”. No one seemed to know. They landed safely in St. Joseph, Missouri. This was a desolate looking town, no families and only soldiers looking for men to draft into the army. The soldiers received one dollar for each man or boy he could bring into the army. Their method was to pin a ribbon on the man and this accomplished, he was “in”. It was Thomas’ job to guard the luggage, as the soldiers would take anything that was not watched. They tried to pin a ribbon on him but did not succeed. The soldiers stole one girl form the company. One boy asked a soldier to let him ride his pony. At once the soldier reported the boy was trying to steal his horse. The boy was hidden for three days or he would have been taken.

Sailing up the Missouri River to Florence, Nebraska they met many Josephites who were eager to tell them what would happen to them if they went to Utah. The emigrants were met by Captains of the different Companies. Eight or ten emigrants were assigned to each wagon Mary and family were assigned to the Peter Nebekers Company. William Green was teamster (Who afterwards lived in American Fork, Utah was still alive in 1912).

They traveled along until we reached the Platte River. Some of the emigrants died from exhaustion and exposure. Some very hard storms were experienced on the journey. One incident of note was: Three young girls who always traveled side by side were walking together. A thunder and lightning storm came up. The lightning was very bad. The lightning struck the girl in the center entering the top of her head, coming out the soles of her shoes. It also killed seven of the oxen in the train of about seventy wagons, and knocked down some of every yoke running along the chain. One of the teamsters had the skin taken off his nose while sitting on his front endgate. Suffice to say after the long perilous journey across the plains, building bridges, making roads etc., they landed in Salt Lake Valley.

They landed in Salt Lake Valley close to October Conference in 1863. Mary followed her trade of dressmaking and sewing to support herself and family. In 1864 she married Carl Elver, a native of Germany, by whom she had three sons: Carl Arthur, Martin Dowswell, and Roy Edward Rivers Elvers. They built a small rock home on 3rd South and 2nd East and added two frame rooms later. She lived here the rest of her life. She died 5 February 1897, leaving her husband, five sons and one daughter.

She was kind and affectionate, well respected by her friends and neighbors, who loved her for her genial, kind disposition. She was an affectionate wife and mother and willing to help wherever duty called. (Author unknown)