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Hanks, Elizabeth (Edwards) (1) - Biography






(Being a short biography of the life of ELIZABETH EDWARDS HANKS,
with notes added herein on the life of her husband, George William
Hanks; her mother, Sarah Morgan Edwards; and others closely
associated with her during her life time.)

Compiled and presented by her granddaughter,
Ilene Hanks Kingbury in memory of the day
eighty years ago, October 4, 1864, when she
entered the Great Salt Lake Valley.

The life story of an individual is closely intertwined with his home, his county, his family, his trials, sorrows, joys, and achievements. It is with vast appreciation and humility that I recount the events in the life of my paternal grandmother,


Merthyr Tydvil, Glamorganshire, Wales, was the scene of the childhood and young girlhood of Elizabeth Edwards Hanks. This ancient village got its name because in the olden time a Christian British princess was slain in the locality which it occupies. Her name was Tydvil, and after her death the place was known as Martyr Tydvil, then later was Merthyr Tydvil. Glamorganshire, the southern shire of Wales, is about 53 miles long and 29 miles wide. The coastline is about 83 miles in length. For two-thirds of its extent, the coast is composed of formidable limestone rocks rising almost perpendicularly from the beach to swimming heights exceeding 200 feet. The River Taff, chief river of Glamorgan, is 33 miles long. Near the source of this river, which empties into the Bristol Channel, lies Merthyr Tydvil. Cardiff, the important shipping city, lies at the mouth of the Taff. Some of the richest coal mines of the earth underlie Glamorganshire, and since the discovery of the precious material, great changes have taken place in Wales. The valleys, before the days of coal mining and manufacturing dawned, in which nature has been stripped of her external garb for the satisfying of man's greed for the wealth underlying her surface, consisted of brown and fertile loam, well suited for all the purposes of husbandry and agriculture, and which yielded crops of all kinds.

The quiet pastoral valleys became, with the discovery of coal, the greatest and most important coal fields of Great Britain. Extensive veins of coal were mined, until they literally honey-combed the under surface of the valleys and towns and cities. It is known that whole towns caved in as a result of improper engineering and too extensive workings underground. Great manufacturing industries sprung up in Glamorganshire, and the dawn of the iron age, about the middle of the 18th century, brought troublesome times to the inhabitants. Iron-smelting works were built, furnaces were heated, never to cool, and the once farm folk of South Wales became the laboring classes to dig in the earth away from the sunshine. It is a matter of history that whole families went underground to dig for coal. Men, women and children worked as long as twelve to sixteen hours a day.

Coal mining is the most dangerous occupation in the world, and yet pregnant women were allowed to work there. Small children, aged two and three years, were taken into the mines by their parents in order that an extra trainload of coal could be mined and received payment for by the father. No sanitation laws were in existence, no labor boards enforced safety rules, the death rate was high; yet for many years these conditions existed with no though of improvement. But now, 1944, after one-hundred-fifty years, the story is quite different. The labor unions of the entire world were founded in Wales by the pit or colliery workers as they were called. Riots, murders, and strikes all mark the bloody history of South Wales. The bloody strikes of 1810, 1816, 1824, and 1910 each marked advances in child labor laws, insurance laws, safety devices, shorter working hours, and more than an existing wage scale. In 1824, trade unions were first legalized. And even though this was only a theoretical blessing, yet progress was made as the years wore on. And, as hordes of workers swarmed into the valleys, living conditions became intolerable. Nearly all the trees had been whisked away and in their places large naked rows of dwellings had been built. These were rigid lines of stone divided into poky little houses overflowing with the invaders. The cascading silver streams became black turbid rivers containing the refuse of dozens of collieries and the thousands of dwellings that lined the banks. The average life of a miner was 45 years as accidents occurred with commonplace frequency.

Thus we have a picture of Welsh life in the middle eighteen hundreds. (References: Wild Wales by George Borrow, Glamorgan by A. Morris, My Wales by Rhys Davies, In Search of Wales by H. V. Morton, and numerous magazine and newspaper articles.)

David Edwards, born in Merthyr Tydvil 15 November 1814, and his wife, Sarah Morgan Edwards, born 14 January 1819 in Merthyr Tydvil, and their sons and daughters lived under the circumstances just described.

David was a colliery worker, and he too took his small son into the depths of the earth with him each day so as to earn two men's wages for his large family. The child was about two year old when he was first taken down to the pit. The older boys, as the grew, also worked in the pit, and the family of mother, father and five children lived in much the same manner as the average coal miner of South Wales. Three of their eight children died in infancy. Their children are as follows:

Name Birth Date Death Date
Ann Edwards 29 Mar. 1840 30 Mar. 1840
Edward Morgan Edwards 27 Feb. 1842 9 Feb. 1923
William Edwards 12 July 1844 3 Nov. 1927
John Edwards 18 June 1847 5 Nov. 1848
Elizabeth Edwards 1 Dec. 1849 28 Dec. 1927
Samuel Edwards 21 July 1853 4 Nov. 1854
David Edwards 21 July 1856 8 March 1919
Sarah Ann Edwards, 30 July 1858 3 June 1934

Elizabeth Edwards, Born 1 Dec. 1849, is the immediate subject of this history and from her I have learned of her early life in South Wales.

She told me of two of her uncles who were killed in the coal mines on the same day, each on the eve of his marriage. Each left a house full of furniture to his mother. These were the dowries they had gathered for their brides. Thus, the mother had her own and two other complete sets of household goods in her home.

Eliza, for that was the name by which she was known all her life, remembered that as a child, her uncle William Morgan would hold her on his knee and sing to her. He was a famous Welsh singer. He won many singing contests or Eisteddfod prizes in Wales and was called to sing before the Queen of England in Buckingham Palace. Jenny Lind, the Swedish Nightingale, sang there too, and from her neck she took a medal of honor she had won and gave it to William Morgan, as he was judged to be the best singer at that time. Eliza often heard him tell of this event, and saw the medal he had won.

Music is in the very life blood of the Welsh, and the Morgan and Edwards families had their share. Eliza sang all her life, and it was my pleasure as a child to have her sing Welsh folk songs to me. Her voice was like that of a bird, and when she sat at her organ, accompanying herself, and sang "Silver Threads Among the Gold" your heart was touched with something of the beauty of Heaven. Her brother, David Edwards, always had a choir or music festival under way. In the late nineties, in Paragonah, Utah, he led one of the first choirs in the state.

When Eliza was about thirteen, she went to view a grand parade held in honor of Queen Victoria, then visiting Wales. As the magnificent carriage drove past, the horses prancing high, Eliza stood entranced. Then from one of the carriages fell a large bow of pink ribbon. It fluttered to Eliza's feet. She picked it up. Pinned to it was a beautiful coral pin set in gold. It was never claimed although Eliza's father advertised it extensively. She kept the pin for many, many years. She brought it across the ocean, the plains, and valued it highly. Then one evening her young sister, Sarah Ann, wanted to borrow it as she was being "courted" by the man she later married, Hohn Robb. Eliza loaned the coral pin to Sarah Ann. The young couple walked down the Paragonah lane, the pin was lost, and though they looked for it everywhere it was never found.

The Welsh are a quick, temperamental and emotional race. The miners' choirs and the chapel meetings on Sundays are the means by which the Welsh express that Welshness in them. They are inherently religious. So when the Gospel of Jesus Christ was preached in Wales by the missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Edwards family accepted the Gospel. The first converts in Wales were contacted by missionaries from London in the fall of 1860. James Burnham and Henry Royle were among the first missionaries in Wales. There is a record of 32 members of the Church in South Wales, Nonmothshire in 1840 and 1841 with John Needham as the local missionary. I have no record of the missionaries who converted the Edward family, but we do have the dates of baptism of David and his wife Sarah, on 17 Jan. 1847 and 21 Feb. 1847 respectively. Their children, an they became of age, were also baptized into the Church.

This family, like all the early converts in all lands, hoped to come to "Zion" as soon as possible. There they could mingle with those who believed as they did, could bring their children up in the ways of the Lord, and build "Zion in the tops of the mountains."

When the Perpetual Emigration Fund was instituted by the Church to bring its converts to Utah, David and Sarah Edwards contributed to it in the hope of sometime leaving Wales and traveling to Utah. For eight long years they waited. Then Sarah, being perhaps impatient of waiting, took things into her own hands and told David that she would now do the saving herself to get to Zion. In a few months she had saved enough to take herself and family to America. As these two were the only ones to each of their families to join the Church the sacrifice was great indeed.

Then sorrow came to the Edwards family. An epidemic of typhus fever spread over the land and David Edwards, the father, became sick and died. He was forty-nine years of age. His dying request was, "Sarah, take the children to Zion." And when she cried, "David, how can I leave you?" he promised, "Go, and the Lord will protect you, and will be pleased with you." He died 18 Sept. 1863.

Sarah Morgan Edwards, a widow at 44 years, with five children, then prepared to leave her native land forever. Her children were of the ages, 22, 20, 15, 8, and 6.

Her parents had already left Wales for Brady's Bend, Pennsylvania, North America, sometime prior to 1856 to work in the coal mines of that country. A goodly portion of the American miners were of Welsh stock. Sarah's parents and fourteen of their seventeen children had left Wales to seek their fortunes in the new world. Sarah had not seen her parents for at least eight years, and it was her hope to sometime see them in America. None of her family had joined the Church, but it was her hope that sometime they would be converted. Her older brother and sister, who had families in Wales, did not go to America with their parents. Such was also the case with Sarah. What a reunion she planned with her dear ones when she arrived in America!

The 128th sailing of organized companies of Saints of Foreign Lands to the United States was 21 My 1864. Sarah Morgan Edwards and her three sons and two daughters were aboard. They sailed from Liverpool on the sailing vessel "General McClellan." Thomas E. Jeremy was their leader representing the Church. There were 802 souls on the ship and their place of landing was New York City, New York.

NOTE: I wrote most of the following from Eliza Edwards Hanks' own words as told to her granddaughter Maurine Hanks, who took the story in shorthand, then transcribed the notes for this history.

"We started from Liverpool, England. We had a very rough voyage. One baby died on the ship. It was buried in the ocean. But because a baby was born on board, we numbered the same at landing as at departure. The new baby was named after the ship, General B. McClellan. The mother had another baby besides the very new one. No one else was with her. She died on the plains and left the two children with the nurse. She was a perfect lady and seemed to belong to some very well to do family.

"It took us five weeks to get to New York, and our first landing on American soil was in the famous Castle Gardens.

"We had never seen a Negro until we got to New York, and my mother said to me, 'Eliza, run over to the store and see if they will sell us a little milk.' I ran over. I could not speak English, so I knocked at the door and waited. A black Negro opened the door. How frightened I was. I looked into the house past him and there was the largest Negro woman with a baby nursing, and all as black as our Welsh coal. I stood looking so intently and kind of scared, and the Negro man said, 'Little girl, what do you want?' I was just so frightened and the woman was so black and so large, that I ran back to Mother and didn't get any milk after all. How Mother laughed when I told her this story. After that I saw plenty of Negroes.

"We were examined when we got into the harbor. I never had a well day on the ship. I was sick all the time, but I was administered to and had good care. I was in bed lots of the time. I looked so ill, and my brother William, age 20, liked to tease me. He would say, 'We will all get off this ship but Eliza', and Mother would scold him and tell him not to talk like that. At last the doctor came and looked in everyone's face and when it came my turn I just held my head down. 'Now sister,' he said, 'Hold it up, and let me see if you are fit to go on land. This little girl is all right, but the sea has been too strong. When she gets on land she will be all right.' He gave a testament, which I still have, so I could go on land.

"The sea had been rough most of the five weeks. We could see the sharks following us, waiting for any corpse to be thrown overboard.

"I shall never forget the terrible storms we had on the voyage. One time we were all locked below deck until it was over. I remember sitting on top of our traveler's trunk to hold it from sliding from one side of the ship to the other. But with each lurch of the ship, off I would slide on a wild ride to the other side and returning as the boat righted its self. We brought that trunk across the plains and still have it. (Note: In 1944 Eliza's daughter, Sarah Ann Hanks Barton, has it in her home).

"We traveled from New York by river. Then we had to take the train. We were about two weeks on the trains after we left some of the rivers. It was the time of the American Civil War, 1864. We came to St. Joseph, Missouri and there was a ferryboat there. A great battle had been fought at St. Joe, and the train had to stop there. Bones lay bleaching in the sun. We had to stay there three days because a great bridge had broken down and a whole train of passengers had caved in with the bridge. The bridge wasn't repaired when we got there. I nearly died at that place because I was so sick. Finally we went across the bridge. We could see the fish in the river from the train. We traveled until evening. We came to a little station where there was everything imaginable to eat. My brother Edward said, 'If Eliza will go there and eat, I will pay for both of us.' They all tried so hard to get me to go, but I was to sick, and of course we didn't go.

"The company traveled further on. In a day or so an officer of the Union army came through the train to enlist young men for the Civil War. Mother said, 'Edward, take this shawl and bonnet.' He put them on and the officer thought Edward was an old woman traveling with us. The train had stopped and William had gone out with some boys to look around. We were worried for fear he had enlisted or had been conscripted for service. At last he came through the train to us. 'Thank God,' cried my mother.

"At last the Missouri River was reached. Plenty of oxen and wagons were waiting for us at Council Bluffs, later called Omaha. The boys who had the care of the teams would swear a lot. The immigrants thought it was bad for Latter-Day Saint boys to swear. Teams had to be sent to Nebraska for cooking utensils and so we had to stay in Omaha for quite a few days. Our outfitting station was Wyoming, Nebraska. Our date of departure for "Zion" was July 19, 1864. The Captain of our company was William S. Warren. Four hundred souls were in our wagon train of about 65 wagons. We arrived in Great Salt Lake on October 4th, 1864. Our leaders on the plains were George Bywater and Thomas Jeremy.

"I walked all the way across the plains, a distance of about a thousand miles. I was not quite fifteen years old at the time. I wore out three pair of shoes and walked the rest of the way barefooted. Often I could see the blood from my sore feet in the sand as I walked.

"There was a boy in our wagon. His mother was too old to do any cooking. His sister had to do that. Tom was the boy's name. And he was such a grumbler. I told him to stop his grumbling and he pulled my hair. He was a boy about 19 years old. I lost my temper and jumped right at him and pulled his hair until he went right head over heels on the wagon tongue, and whoever was looking on said, 'Give it to him. And shame on you Tom for striking a little girl like that.' I went behind the wagon crying then. Mother laughed and said, 'That was a good battle. That was as swift as the battle of Waterloo.' Later on my brother William challenged Tom to a fight, saying, 'I'll throw my coat for fifty dollars, and then you won't strike my sister again.'

"There was one time soon after this event that I remember well. Just after we passed Ft. Laramie we came to a little station. I had never seen and Indian. We came to this place and there were a lot of Negroes there. They were a band of minstrels and had all kinds of musical instruments with them. I stayed behind the wagons with the other walkers in our wagon train. The Negroes were singing and we listened to them. Then one of the walkers said, 'Well, I think it is time we were making tracks. The wagons are way ahead of us out of sight.' So of course we started out after them. Just as we came around the hill, our wagons had gone around the other hill. At the point of the trail we saw a drunken Indian as he came shooting his gun in the air. It just went to my heart so. There was a big band of Indians after him to capture him. The man with us said, 'Don't be afraid. They are trying to capture him. He is drunk.' I fainted away, and dropped right down. A man came by and said, 'This child is scared to death.' So he helped me along. Mother and the rest of our family had gone ahead with the wagons and they did not see the Indians.

"I reached the wagon at last and the team was going, and I tried to get in the wagon without stopping the team. They move so slowly. There were three pair of oxen on each wagon. I was weak from being so ill and scared, so when I tried to climb in the wagon, this boy Tom, whom I had had the fight with, gave me a push until I fell right on the wagon tongue. Mother caught me by the dress and saved me from getting killed. Mother said, 'That boy Tom tries me to death.' It was then that my brother wanted to fight Tom, but Tom would not fight anyone his own size. That boy Tom and I never did like each other, and mostly because of him I walked the rest of the way to Salt Lake City. In all the miles from Omaha to Salt Lake I walked all but 25 miles.

"The next day after leaving Ft. Laramie we met a family and they stopped to talk to the people in our wagon train. There was a man and his wife and family. We asked them where they were going. They were going to see some friends at the fort. Their home was way back on the trail and they were just going to meet their friends. The day after that we came to their home. The house was all on fire. The Indians had been there. The man they had left to guard the place was dead in the road. The corrals were on fire. As the man's body was right in the trail, our leader said, 'Don't touch him.' The soldiers would soon come from the fort to care for him. We made a track around him. There was a woman who arrived there just then, and she screamed, 'I know it is my John,' but it wasn't.

"We camped near that place that night. We didn't go very far in a day. During the night it looked like there were regiments of soldiers coming into camp. They said that there were seven men who had been killed by the Indians and that three women had been stolen. The soldiers had taken care of the bodies. The next day we came to the seven graves the soldiers had spoken of. It looked like there had been an awful fight. We were told by our leaders not to touch a thing, even though there were things that would help us. The soldiers would come back and get what provisions were left.

"Our water captain on the plains was William Davenport, who later lived in Parowan. Our teamster was Ephraim Thompson, who later lived in Fillmore. My brother William Edwards was a hunter on the plains for our wagon train. Sometimes he would be gone for many hours alone hunting what little he could bring back for us to eat. Mother would worry about him. We had bought him a gun at the outfitting station in Nebraska. He was a very good shot for a very young man who had worked in a mine all his life.

"I had walked and walked so much that the soles had come off of my shoes. I then went barefooted. The shoemaker was sick and he couldn't fix my shoes. He was always busy. I walked barefooted until my toes would bleed from walking through prickle pears. I walked through all the rivers but one, and that was the Platte. There was a young man by the name of Stephen who liked to be among the Welsh people. He had been in the Civil War and had lost his leg in battle. He used a crutch. When we would come to these rivers, he would say, 'You are the smallest one of all, take hold of me.' Being hold of him would help me. He had his crutch and wooden leg. I walked through all the rivers holding on to Stephen. The rivers were swift and deep. The water would come into the wagon box and over the oxen's backs and the oxen would make such a loud noise driving the water out of their noses. The teamster would have to ride on the back of the oxen to guide them in the water.

"We soon came to one of the women who had been stolen by the Indians and had escaped from them. She was at a government station along the way. Her husband and two boys had been killed and her two girls had been stolen. Her mind was completely broken and she was nearly dead. She didn't want anything. She was right out of her head. We could look at her through the window of a cabin. I thought it was the most pitiful sight I had ever seen.

"I remember one day in particular. I was barefooted and I couldn't follow the wagon because I felt so ill, and my feet were so sore and bleeding. The wagons got farther and farther ahead. My brother and mother were sick in the wagon and so were not with me. I gave out and sat down to rest a bit and I could see that they were a long way ahead. When they camped at night my mother saw that I wasn't with them. And, as sick as she was, she came back for me. I had been crying, but I dried my tears and go up to meet her. 'Oh, Mother', I cried, 'Why did you come back for me as sick as you are?' But she only smiled at me. She looked very ill when we got to camp. Thus we traveled along from day to day.

"We arrived in Great Salt Lake City on October 4, 1864. General Conference of the Church was going on. I wanted to go to Conference like any young girl would. But we didn't know when we would have to leave for Southern Utah, and there was a lot of work to do. Mother said, 'You cannot go to the meetings, you have no shoes to wear.' So she talked me out of it. Some friends came and took us to their house. They did treat us so nice. We camped not far from Bishop Hunter's place.

"Then we started for Paragonah in Iron County. It was sometime in November when we reached Paragonah. There were four or five wagons in our bank. We were in the wagon of a man by the name of Gilbert who lived in Washington, Utah. Each day we started our journey as soon as daylight. It was always a problem to reach water for ourselves and our oxen. One morning we got up extra early. Everyone was ready, teams all hitched just before sunrise. It was quite cold. There was one wagon loaded with flour. There was an old couple and a boy in that wagon. They were loaded up high. I remember it was quite cold. I was over by the fire getting warm with several others. Then suddenly the oxen started in a stampede. It was a wonder they did not run over me. They went right against a hill. They all went the same way. The camp had a big corral in the middle to drive the oxen and to yoke them up. Their heads were all pointed the same way and they just rushed towards a low hill altogether. Some of the wagons tipped over, some of them were broken, and some of the oxen were killed. They had their horns caught in the wagons and had them torn right out of their heads. The wagon loaded with flour tipped over and broke open some of the flour sacks. We rushed to the wagon to take the old woman out and she was very near death, but she was saved without much harm. She was almost smothered in the flour. In fact, all of us were lucky not to be killed as the oxen had rushed right past us toward the hill.

"Finally, we arrived in Paragonah. We found our friends. They were very kind to us. They paid us all the hospitality they could.

"Iron County had been created by the legislature in session during the winter of 1851-1852. Paragonah, or Red Creek as it is still called even today, was first settled April 22, 1852 under the leadership of William H. Dame, John Topham and Joseph and Stephen Barton. When we arrived there, we saw very few homes and one large fort. Most of the people lived in the fort. Some lived in little log houses. There were three brick houses and two or three adobes. The brick houses belonged to Brother Prothero and Stephen and Joseph Barton. (Joseph Barton's home was still standing in 1944.) We were glad to have a stopping place somewhere. We lived with friends that we had known in Wales and they were very kind to us. Such was the custom of the Latter-Day Saints when immigrants came into the country, even though no one had much to spare. We soon had a log cabin built for us.

"Then I got acquainted with George W. Hanks. He had originated from Australia in 1851 with the Mormon converts to the Church. He and his mother had lived in San Bernardino, California, until the Mormons had to leave there after the Mountain Meadows Massacre in Utah of September 1857. He and his mother then settled in Paragonah, Utah, where he applied his trade of shoemaker. He had helped emigration trains across the plains, and that is where I met him.

"When I was sixteen and he was thirty-two we were married. The day was Sunday, 23 July 1865. Jesse N. Smith of Paragonah performed the ceremony. We had quite a nice reception. We had a big time, as everybody did in those days. We gave a big dinner and later a dance. Later on we were able to go to Great Salt Lake City and be married for time and eternity in the Endowment House.

"My wedding dress was blue silk mohair with little pin-point snowflakes in it. I had nice little shoes, my husband, being a shoemaker, made me a very pretty pair for the occasion. An old friend made me a pair of earrings with a little set of gold in the center. They were black. I had a front comb which stood upright in front like a crown. This was also black with little golden prongs in it. It came like a band over the head, and then I had a nice little comb in the bob. I had such nice hair. I had a black shawl that was kind of fancy with little beads of gold on the corners and this I wore over the combs. Then my bracelets; I had one on each hand. The bracelets were all black beads with little golden beads in between them. There were six widths of silk in the skirt of my dress and the sleeves were leg-of-mutton design. A nice set of hoops was worn under my skirt to keep it standing out. I guess I looked just like a butterfly. They said I looked very pretty. My hair was long and black and a friendly squaw, who had been raised by Mother West, waved and braided it for me. The squaw loved to do work like this and she liked to sit and fix my hair up in all kinds of different styles. I had small hands and feet and weighted 92 pounds.

"Then we went to our home. My husband bought a little adobe house with two rooms, and of course we went that night to our own house. It was furnished the best we could and everything was ready. It was a surprise to me, I wasn't looking for it, but George had prepared it perfectly.

"Before sunrise the next morning, Brother Thomas Durham, leading the brass band from Parowan, drove up to our gate with his players and played for us. And so we were welcomed into married life. And of course my husband had to lead his bride out to thank them. Then we gave them all a glass of Dixie wine. They wished us much joy.

"Everyone was going to Parowan to celebrate the 24th of July. We took what food was left from our reception and had a dinner at old Mother West's in Parowan. (The Bentley family in Parowan are descendants of Mother West.) Then we went to the dance. This started at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. There was another bride and groom there. The two grooms had to furnish the music for the dance. This was the custom in those days."

(End of dictated notes)


Eliza lived the rest of her life on the same lot on which was built the two room adobe house. As the years went by a new home was built and enlarged upon to accommodate the ever-growing family. This large home was part frame and part adobe, a T-shaped home with two bedrooms on the second floor above a bedroom and parlor, with a dining room and kitchen at the rear. At one time one room was built at the north end of the long parlor for use by George's aged mother. However, after her death the room was moved to the east end of the new adobe home. At another time, after Eliza had raised her family, she thought to turn the place into a hotel, so with that idea in mind, she had another room started on the north side of the dining room. However, before Sam, her youngest son, who was helping to build it, got it finished, Eliza decided that such a plan was not wise. She realized that too much hard labor was involved at her time of life. The partly constructed room was torn down and a porch was built instead, running east and west along the north side of the dining room.

When Eliza was a bride in her little house, they had a room of logs filled in with mud and sod then they white-washed the inside walls and the whole effect was very beautiful. How proud she was of that lovely room. Then came the spring rains! Before many minutes had gone by, streaks of red Paragonah mud began to show through that beautiful white wall. And a half hour more the entire room was a mixture of white, pink and red. How Eliza's tears fell with the rain with her disappointment.

When Eliza's oldest son George was in his sixties she noted one day that the plum trees at the north side of her home were dying and should be taken out. I remember well, how with tears in her eyes she could not give the order, as they had been planted by herself and her husband when their first-born was a babe in arms. She remembered holding baby George in one arm while steadying the plum shoots with the other as her husband planted then firmly in the ground. She was very sentimental about such things, and her heart was troubled when old happinesses were uprooted. (Note: She dried untold bushels of plums during those sixty years that the trees bore fruit and sixteen years after her death some of those dried plums were made into preserves and still retained a delicious flavor.)

As the years came and went, Eliza often had a special visitor in her home. This was the Indian girl who had combed her hair for her marriage night. Each had children, and as the little white mother visited with the little brown one, their babies would be laid side by side to sleep.

George William Hanks was the son of William and Elisabeth Hanks. His mother's maiden name was Hanks. George William was born in Earlwood, Glowchester, England on 19 October 1832. His father died in England and the widow Hanks and her son went to Australia with other English families. While there, missionaries for the Church lead by "Father John Murdock" converted them to the gospel.

George William Hanks was a shoemaker by trade. He had learned this in Australia where he had grown to manhood. He had become a leather-goods manufacturer and made saddles, bridles, harnesses, boots, shoes, halters, dog muzzles and men's and woman's leather belts. Eliza said that the best and most comfortable shoes she ever had were made by George from the tops of and Indian fighter's boots. He used hardwood pegs instead of nail in the soles of the shoes. These often outlasted the leather. He would procure the hardwood from old wagon tongues or some such material made of hardwood. He made shoes for the entire community, but his own children seldom had a good pair to their name. His chief concern was to make fine shoes, but the payment for the labor was not his chief concern. He always served the widow and orphan first and often times never mentioned cost to them. After his death, Eliza canceled all debts owing to him as an impossibility to collect. The exact amount of this was never known.

George loved the warmth and sunshine. He had been so used to the Australian climate that he always sat or worked in the sunshine when possible. When he shingled the roof of his home he followed the sun rather than the shade as all shinglers do.

He was kindly and loving by nature. He was devoted to his widowed mother. He supported her practically all his life, and after her second husband died she lived in his home for many years. Her second husband was Mr. Cribble.

George believed and practiced the saying of Brigham Young, "Feed the Indians, do not fight them." Eliza has often told the story of the day she came into her log home just in time to see a very tall and very large Indian buck, naked to the waist, bending over the cradle of her baby George. In terror she tried to get the Indian to move away, bribed him with a loaf of bread, but to no avail. She then called to her mother who was out getting some wood. Sarah Morgan Edwards came. She seized the young buck by the shoulder and the seat of his pants and pushed him out of the door. Sarah Edwards was a tall woman and very strong, especially when aroused to anger, and the Indian was too surprised to resist her. This act struck the brave as extremely funny. He sat on the ground outside the door and laughed and laughed. But he did not get up or go away. Hours went by. The two women became alarmed. However, at dusk George came driving down the lane from the farm. They ran to the barn to tell him. George, when he had heard their story, went over to the Indian. George sat cross-legged on the ground beside the Indian. Not a word passed between them. They smoked the pipe of peace together. That night, to the horror of the two women, George "bedded" the Indian in the chaff pen for the night. Eliza was sure they would have no horses, blankets, saddle, or even the chaff pen by morning. But next day as they investigated very early, the Indian was nowhere to found. Nothing was stolen.

Months later, some of George's horses and cattle were stolen by the Indians. No trace of the cattle could be found. Weeks later, a great cloud of dust was seen down the lane. And, as it neared, the Hanks family could recognize their horses and cattle. And driving them before him was the Indian whom George had befriended earlier in the year. The brave gave George to understand that some of his tribal members had stolen the cattle, but when they were identified as the Hanks stock, the Indian had insisted on bringing them back.

George W. Hanks was called to be an Indian fighter. However, most of his contributions to the Indian war were in the nature of range horses and cattle for use in battle. Two of his horses were shot from under Indian fighters. For those services he was called a Veteran of the Indian Wars in Utah. In after years, Eliza received a small remuneration from the government for the losses sustained during that period.

This splendid couple became the parents of eight sons and daughters. Following are the names with dates of birth, etc.

Name Birth Date Location Death Date Age
George Edward 26 Aug, 1866 Paragonah, Utah 24 Jan. 1932 66
Elizabeth Jane 21 Aug. 1868 Paragonah, Utah 8 May, 1894 26
Sarah Ann 21 April 1871 Paragonah, Utah 12 April 1949 78
William David 14 Jan. 1874 Paragonah, Utah
Heber Thomas 14 July 1876 Paragonah, Utah 17 June 1938 62
Mary Alice ? Dec. 1879 Paragonah, Utah ? Feb. 1880 2 Months
John Samuel 21 May 1881 Paragonah, Utah
Joseph Hyrum 9 June 1884 Paragonah, Utah 8 Mar 1888 4

Six of this family of eight grew to manhood and womanhood. Eliza would still shed a tear for the little girl baby who died at two months of age, as Eliza at seventy-five said that it was the hardest burden of all to lay away a child who was still nursing its mother. Little Joey, age four, died of diphtheria in a great epidemic of the time. Jane, who had married Benjamin Hoyle, and became the mother of Eugene Hoyle, died in childbirth. She and her little daughter were buried together. The baby's name was Mary Bell. Jane was twenty-six.

Eliza Hanks, then, for years, raised her grandson, James Eugene Hoyle, for though his father was still alive, Eugene (Gene) love his grandmother and lived with her a major part of the time until he was about fourteen. I have often heard him say that no mother could have done more for him than Grandma Hanks. And I have heard her say that no son gave her more joy than did Gene. He was always regarded as a little brother by his big uncles, and he looked enough like them to be a full brother to them.

George William Hanks, the father of this family, became ill of Bright's Disease when he was about 52 year of age, and for some five years he lay in bed unable to leave it. His suffering was intolerable, and on 27 March 1889 at the age of 57 years he passed away. Eliza was now a widow with a large family to raise alone. She was just forty at the time. As a young girl with romantic ideas, I asked her once whether she loved her husband when she married him. She was 16 and he 32 when they married. She answered me that theirs was not a love match, but that as the years rolled by she loved him more than her own life. She promised him on his deathbed that she would never marry again. And she never did, although she had several chances to marry men of wealth.

At the time of the United Order being practiced in Utah, George and Eliza participated. George was used to the old English method of farming. That is, small plats of ground intensely cultivated and hand weeded. His wheat was never dirty and was almost perfect. However, because the United Order was not entirely successful, the wheat that George received in exchange for making shoes was not of the clean fine quality that he was used to. So, with the breaking up of the Order, George then cultivated his wheat patch as he was used to and plied his trade of shoemaking in addition.

At the death of the father the oldest son, George E., age 23 years, became as a father to the younger children. Eliza always praised him, and his younger brothers said he was always older in years because of this responsibility. When he died at 66 his brothers and sister mourned him not only as a brother, but as one who had in a measure taken the place of a father in their lives.

As widowhood became her lot in life, Eliza began to need more fully the strength that she inherited from her Welsh ancestors. The same spirit that made them strive to leave the coal pits of Merthyr Tidvil and come to Zion now came to her aid. With her mother as an inspiration she never faltered in her ideal of raising an honorable family. She homesteaded land on the outskirts of Paragonah. This meant that for six months of the year she would have to sleep in a little log cabin on the farm in order to "prove up" on it. As evening would approach, she would settle her family at home, then leave for the mile and one-half walk "down the lane" to the log house to spend the night alone. (Note: This road is now U.S. Hwy 91.) Her youngest son, Sam, remembers that he would run crying after her as he hated to be left at home, so she would patiently take him back home again, and once more set out for her lonesome vigil. This homesteading took five years time, as that was the land law at that time.

At such a great sacrifice she "paid" for her large farm. She was a real business women. She never wasted a thing that possibly could be salvaged, and was very keen of mind about money matters. When her boys grew up and needed college education, she was able to sell or rent the land she had worked so hard to get in order to educate her sons.

She was a woman of great faith in her Heavenly Father. She always paid "an honest tithe." At one time, during the haying season, her boys were hauling the hay from the fields to the barn on her town lot. Every tenth load was driven past her home and taken to the Tithing Office Barns. Eliza would stand at the front gate to see what kind of hay was going to be tithed. In spite of protest from her boys (who were not as far sighted as she), she picked out the best load to represent her crop as tithing, for she said to them, "Boys, the Lord has given me the finest sons and daughters in the world, and I shall give him the finest tithing I have in the world."

Eliza Hanks was a woman of prayerful heart. Her testimony of the restored Gospel was great, and her influence was felt by many. She observed family prayers every morning of her life, whether she was alone or had her children and grandchildren around her. As we would turn our chairs around from the breakfast table and kneel with bowed heads, we felt the nearness of God as she prayed. How our minds would flit across the nation as she prayed for the welfare of her children living away from her. There was never a doubt in my mind but that the Lord was near and heard and blessed all through this good woman. As we arose from our knees a feeling of joy was ours to begin the breakfast and the day of labor and living.

Her faith in the power of the Priesthood was great also. Often she called the Elders in to heal the sick and comfort the dying. At one time when her son Dave was very ill and no Elders were available, she administered to him herself, for, she said, "The Lord will surely hear the prayers of a mother and answer to her needs." She testified that the pain and fever in Dave's arms and legs gradually moved away, even from the tips of his fingers and toes.

She did not believe in getting something for nothing. All labor was honorable if it was honorably done. Economy was a ritual with her. In spite of years of drastic material adversity she said she always had something laid away for an emergency.

She was self-taught in all the arts and crafts of home and business life. She had only three days of schooling in Wales. She was always a great reader, but did not learn to write until her 53rd birthday. Until then her life had been too full of hardship and responsibility to practice and learn. However, during the winter she spent in Salt Lake City to keep house for Sam when he was going to the University of Utah, she taught herself to write with the aid of an old speller and a little coaching from Sam. On her 53rd birthday, 1 December 1902, she sent her first letter to her daughter Sarah Hanks Barton in Paragonah. This art always pleased Eliza very much and from that time on she corresponded regularly with her family wherever they lived.

She was very active religiously. For fourteen years she was president of the Paragonah Primary Association. She was a member of the Relief Society from the time it was organized in Paragonah until the time of her death. She did what temple work she could for her family and always wanted to have all records kept completely.

No matter what her circumstances in life, whether rich or poor, she always had a cow, for she said that the basis of any meal was a bit of cheese and some bread and milk. Several times she was kicked over by her cow, and late in life she received a shoulder injury by this means. But until her family insisted that she give it up, she cared for her cow herself. All her early life and most of her married life and widowhood she had to get along on just the necessities of life. But she could "achieve wonder with a saucepan of oddments" and always had good food on her table.

She was the first person in Paragonah to have cement sidewalks and indoor plumbing fixtures. Her first use of electricity was when the municipal power plant installed a one-drop light in her home. She installed lights in all the downstairs rooms, but the upper bedrooms always had to be lighted by either candles or coal oil lamps. Her old milk-glass kerosene lamp is a treasure in my home.

Great responsibility was here for most of her life. A bride at 16, a mother at 17, and a widow at 40 with six children to raise is far more weight on a pair of shoulders than most people can stand. Yet she never lost courage. Her cheerful attitude towards life was contagious. For five years she nursed her invalid husband, and for over 20 years she took care of her aged mother who was blind and bedridden for most of that time. She took care of her aged mother-in-law in her declining years. She raised six of her eight children to honorable manhood and womanhood and is an undying inspiration to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren beyond measure. Her presence and influence is still felt though she passed away so long ago, at the age of 78 years. She died 28 December 1927 in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the home of her son John Samuel Hanks. She was buried in the cemetery in Parowan, Iron County, Utah.

I am sure that one of the events in the life of Eliza Hanks' mother, Sara Ann Morgan Edwards, was a strength and inspiration to Eliza as well as to all the posterity of that brave woman and the American continent because of her belief in God.

Sarah Ann Morgan Edwards' father and mother had left Wales and settled in Brady's Bend, Pennsylvania, United States of America about eight years before Sarah Ann brought her children to America. As the little Welsh widow arrived in New York with her little family and prepared to journey west to Utah, her children naturally expected that they would visit their grandparents and relatives. In fact, that had been the plan from the day it seemed possible to come to America. The children pled with their mother to leave the main route of travel and go to Brady's Bend for this long-looked-for visit. But Sarah Edwards, with her heart breaking, said, "No, if I do not go right on to Zion now I shall never have the courage to break away from my parents and go to the valleys in the Rocky Mountains. And we surely must go. I have promised your father to take you to that promised land, and I shall take you there and make a home for you even though I may never see my loved ones again on this earth."

And she never did see her parents or brothers and sisters during her lifetime. But she never faltered in her purpose and never regretted leaving home, friends, and loved ones to come where the Gospel called. After arriving in Utah she suffered much to provide bread for her family of five. She even did washing from door to door, sometimes barefooted, to provide for them. In all her days, when ease and comfort were hers, she had abundant faith, joy, and comfort in that knowledge that she had accomplished her purposes in life and was honored by her family and friends.

Surely such women as this emigrant mother and her daughter Eliza have contributed much to our well being in this time and time to come. Our responsibility is to carry on in like manner, that our lives may fulfill their wishes, and that we too shall be called worthy sons and daughters of such glorious PIONEER MOTHERS.


Salt Lake City was a very special place to Eliza Hanks. Her first sight of it was at the age of fifteen when she entered "Zion" as a little emigrant girl unable to speak the English language. She was always disappointed that after a walk of over a thousand miles she could not linger in the city and enjoy it. Her first view of it was on October 4, 1864.

Her home from that time on was in Paragonah, Utah, but she always longed to return to Salt Lake. Her second visit to Salt Lake was on 4 October 1869 when she came with her husband to receive their endowments in the Endowment House. This was five years to the day from her first entrance in to the Valley. The journey took six weeks by ox team.

Then for 24 years she did not return to northern Utah. It was her wish for many years to go to Salt Lake for the dedication of the temple. This magnificent structure was 40 years under construction and the whole Church looked forward to seeing it dedicated. Eliza Hanks planned to witness this event. She was now a widow and as the crops from her farm were not very plentiful that year she became afraid that she could not afford to go to Salt Lake. However, just two days before time to leave, Will Evans of Parowan came to the town looking for some hay. She sold him two tons and received enough money to pay her expenses to Salt Lake and return. After paying all expenses she had fifty cents left. She traveled to Milford, Beaver County, by wagon and then the rest of the way by rail. In Salt Lake she stayed with the William Harmon family, old Welsh friends, who were always kind to the Edwards and Hanks families. Her hopes were fulfilled when she saw the Temple dedicated. With the fifty cents she had in her pocket she purchased oranges for her family at home. How happy they were with such unusual fruit; the younger ones carried them around for days before eating them as they had never seen oranges before.

Her fourth trip to the city was between 1902 and 1903 when she spent a winter there keeping house for her son Sam when he attended the University of Utah. On their return to Paragonah they traveled by train to Milford, the southern terminus of the railroad, and were met by her son George. He had come from Panguitch with a wagon and team to take them to Paragonah. It took him three days to get to Milford and it took them two days to return the 65 miles to Paragonah. They spent the first night in Greenville with Welsh friends.

Her subsequent journeys to the City were many. In 1920 her son Sam and family moved to Salt Lake and after that Eliza spent many winters with them. She said she loved her daughter-in-law, Mabel Whitney, with all her heart, and loved to be with her. However, her visits were not long, as with the first sign of spring she became restless and Sam would take her home to Paragonah to take care of her home and farm. During these years of ease and comfort she also visited frequently with her son Dave and his family in Le Grand, Oregon, and with Heber and his family in Milford, Utah and Los Angeles, California.

It was during these pleasant years that she reaped the harvest of her years of toil and sacrifice. She had a very keen business sense. Her sons often said that if she had been a man and had had the advantages of an education that she would have become very wealthy. As it was, she was very well to do, and left each of her children a fine inheritance upon her passing. However, she never quite became used to comfort, and was never wasteful or pretentious in any manner.

I remember well a conversation I had with Grandma when I tried to persuade her to cross the ocean with me and go back to the scenes of her girlhood in Wales. She was very enthusiastic as for as my visit was concerned, but as far herself, the memories of her crossing in a sailing vessel in 1864 were still so vivid and brought up such confused feelings of suffering, that she declined. She loved land travel and had been in every kind of conveyance, except the airplanes, but she said she would leave travel by water to her grandchildren. And, as far as I know, only one of her posterity has been to Wales. In January 1944 a grandson, J. Whitney Hanks, serving with the Navy as a Lieutenant in World War II, and stationed in England, had a few hours leave. He went to Merthyr Tydvil and upon visiting around, he left his name with the local newspaper regarding any descendants of the Morgan and Edwards families still living in that country. It is our hope that some contact can be made and that in the future we can be in contact with our Welsh cousins.


On 23 July 1915, Eliza Hanks celebrated her fiftieth wedding day. All her living children and grandchildren gathered around her for the occasion. A banquet was given to the family and numerous friends. Programs were enjoyed, the main parts being given by the children and grandchildren. George Hanks and his family orchestra led the way in the music field. Grandma Hanks, or Aunt Eliza as she was known for miles around, played her organ and sang many numbers, including her favorite, "Silver Threads Among the Gold." This celebration stands as one of the happiest reunions ever a family enjoyed. Grandma always spoke of it with joy and satisfaction.


The Indian mounds in Paragonah have been the object of archaeological investigation from early times. Neil M. Judd of the Smithsonian Institute gives his report of this in his Hisce. Coll. Vol. 70, p. 1, No. 3. I quote from the book, "Introduction to the study of the Book of Mormon" by J. M. Sjodahl, p. 372: "The Pueblos were built in the canyon on the table lands - Mesas - and their inhabitants have been quite numerous at one time. It is claimed for Dr. H. C. Yarrow that he observed 400 mounds in the vicinity of Paragonah, Iron County, Utah in 1872. This is regarded as an exaggeration, but Pro. Henry Montgomery of the University of Utah, reported approximately 100 mounds in that locality in 1893, and this is corroborated by Don Maguire of Ogden, Utah. However, in 1915 less than 50 mounds remained and it is possible that the first report is not greatly exaggerated."

"John Samuel Hanks states that as a lad he helped the townspeople dig in these mounds for Prof. Brimhall of the Brigham Young University. Eliza Hanks had a picture of this work, as the men were hired to bring their plows and horses to assist in the diggings. Many bones, skulls, pieces of pottery, bone needles, bone cooking utensils, and implements of agriculture were found buried in these mounds. Jane Hanks Hoyle built a home on top of one of these mounds. This place was situated across the street north of Sam Hanks Barton's home."


(A short sketch of the life of Sarah Ann Morgan
Edwards to supplement the history of the life of
Elizabeth Edwards Hanks as contained herewith.)

Sarah Ann Morgan Edwards, wife of David Edwards, and the fifteenth child in a family of seventeen, was born 14 January 1819 in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales. She was the daughter of William Morgan and Elizabeth Richards. She was a convert to the "Mormon Church" by the missionaries in Wales, and was baptized 21 February 1847.

Her husband, David Edwards, died almost a year before she left her native Wales and brought their five children to America. They arrived in Great Salt Lake City on 3 October 1864. They were instructed by the authorities of the Church to proceed to Southern Utah to make their future home. They therefore settled in Paragonah, Iron County, Utah.

In dire poverty she endeavored to make a living for her little family of two daughters and three sons; many times doing washing from door to door, many times barefooted. During their first winter in Paragonah, Sarah and her five children built for themselves a one-room log home. The furniture was of the homemade pioneer type prevalent at that time, but was supplemented by a few articles they had brought across the ocean and the plains. Among these pieces was a chest for holding clothing. It is in the possession of her granddaughter Sarah Hanks Barton to this day, 4 October, 1944. (Eighty years after being brought from Wales.)

Many times while crossing the plains, her children observed that she did not eat the evening repast of corn cakes. But, claiming that she was not hungry, she would give her ration to her hungry growing boys and girls that they might not cry for want of food. Her whole life was one of self-sacrifice for her loved ones.

I have recounted in the history of her daughter Eliza Hanks, of her determination to come to Utah without stopping in Pennsylvania to see her father and mother and sisters and brothers whom she had not seen for many years. She said she knew that if she went to see them she would not have the courage to go on to the "Valley of the Mountains," and thereby would not fulfill her promise to her husband to "bring the children to Zion." Steadfastness to a purpose has no finer example than in the life of this good woman.

The following is the account of an incident that happened to her after she arrived in Paragonah, as told to me by my father John Samuel Hanks. It has been printed in "Heart Throbs of the West" compiled by Kate B. Carter from the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, Vol 3, Page 350:

One fine spring morning in 1865, Sarah Ann was sitting in front of her fireplace alone. This was about eleven o'clock in the morning. She was poorly clad, hungry, ill, and for the first time in her long struggle she was offering up a silent prayer of thankfulness that her husband had not lived to experience such hardship. At the close of the prayer she heard distinctly a knock at the door. She arose, opened it, and there stood a tall slender man, whose face was covered with a long black beard. His countenance was serious, but very kindly, and he was dressed in rough homemade clothing of the pioneers of that period. Grandmother Edwards invited him in and he stepped inside the door. As he did so, he said, "You did well, my daughter, to bring your five children to Zion." Sarah Ann turned to get a chair for her visitor, but when she turned again to the door, he was gone.

In surprise, she stepped to the door, looked up and down the street, but could not find him, and never did see the stranger again. She always contended that the mysterious man was one of the three Nephites who roam the world preaching the Gospel until the coming of Christ.

Many years afterwards, when the St. George Temple was completed and ready for endowment services, she took her five children to that place and there she was sealed to her husband, David Edwards, and the children to them, for all time and eternity. Soon after their return from this journey, she was seated alone in the kitchen of her daughter's home. Sarah Ann was now in somewhat better financial circumstances for not she had at least sufficient to eat and to wear. As she sat there, her husband David, appeared to her. He was dressed as when she last saw him alive. He seemed to be in good health and to be very, very happy. He said to her, "Sarah, the Lord has blessed you, and will yet bless you, and you have done well." With these words he turned and walked out of the door as quietly as he had entered.

From the age of about seventy years until her death at eight-two she became totally blind. A cataract was in her eyes. At one time she was given a blessing in which she was promised that she would be able to see before she passed from this life. She became very frail and ill and was nursed for many years by her daughter Eliza. Then one day as Eliza was cleaning her mother's room she noticed her mother turning her hands over and over in front of her. Eliza went near the bed. Her mother raised her eyes and said, "Eliza, how white your hair has grown!" She could see at last! Their joy was unspeakable. She lived for several weeks, enjoying the world of light again after so many years of darkness. I have a rocking chair that belonged to her. She rocked the rockers flat during the long years of her blindness.

On November 7, 1901, Sarah Ann Morgan Edwards passed from this life's sphere. She had been a woman of unbounded courage. Her faith was enough to move mountains, and her healthful attitude on life's problems was an inspiration to her family and friends. The path of life down which her feet had traveled was richer for her being there. For 82 years she had been a strength to her family in a period of time when strength and courage were most needed in coming to a New World and making a home in the wilderness.

Fact: Original Pioneers to Utah is a term used to designate those who came to Utah before the Transcontinental Railroad was completed May 10, 1869. This family, consisting of Sarah Ann Morgan Edwards and her children, Edward, William, Elizabeth, Samuel, and Sarah Ann are therefore all Original Pioneers of Utah, having arrived in the valley on October 4, 1864. Any of their descendants who apply for membership in the Daughters or Sons of Utah Pioneers can rightfully claim them as the Pioneers who make them eligible for that membership. I. H. K.


Morgan, Sarah Ann

Edwards, Elizabeth


Compiled and presented October 4, 1944, by Ilene Hanks Kingsbury, 1656 Emerson Ave., Salt Lake City, Utah.