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Jeremy, Sarah (Evans) - Biography

Sarah Evans Jeremy

Sarah Evans Jeremy

Pioneer of 1849

 

"One of the holiest memories of a lifetime is that of a Pioneer Mother, who lived and loved, who labored and died in the far away days when the great West was in its swaddling clothes. She is like unto a choice and sweet blooming flower planted in the wilderness, unseen and unnoticed by the world, but her sweetness was by no means wasted on the desert air; she diffused it all about her and verily it refreshed and refined wherever it touched. To many of us, even today, it is a healing balm wafted on the wings of memory."

 

Such was the life of Sarah Evans Jeremy, born in Carmarthenshire, South Wales, April 27, 1815, the elder daughter of John and Hannah Evans. She had one younger sister, Margaret. When Sarah was very young her father died and her mother was left with two little girls, but she was equal to the task and made a good living by keeping a public eating house called "Black Lion Inn".

When Sarah was a young girl she had a beautiful wax doll, three feet high, dressed in pretty red satin with beads around her neck. She loved this doll and kept it until she left Wales.

The two sisters, Sarah and Margaret, grew to be beautiful young women. Margaret had a very poetical nature and many of her poems have been a great comfort and inspiration to her loved ones.

Sarah had a reputation or being the prettiest girl in the country, with her bright starry eyes, hair as black as a ravens wing, clear skin and rosy cheeks that she carried until she died. She was not only beautiful to look upon, but she was beautiful within, and was a real homemaker, wise counselor and true friend. Was it any wonder that when Thomas Jeremy looked for a bride that he should select Sarah Evans. Preparations were made for the wedding and a unique wedding invitation was sent out to all the relatives and friends.

After Thomas and Sarah were married, they went to live on a large farm with trees and shrubbery and the beautiful river "Tive" running through it. The farm was very large and grandfather subletted it to other farmers. He was an expert gardener and raise hay, grain and vegetables. They lived in a large two story stone house with a porch across the front. As you entered the door, the old grandfather's clock ticked a welcome.

It was the year 1846 that Thomas and Sarah first heard the gospel message. It was brought to them by Dan Jones in fulfillment of a prophecy made by Joseph Smith in the Carthage jail. One night in June, 1844, when the Prophet Joseph Smith and some of his friends were confined in the Carthage jail and had retired for the night, the report of a gun was heard and the Prophet got up from his bed and lay down on the floor between Dan Jones and John S. Fullmer and when all was quiet, he turned to Dan Jones and whispered, "Are you afraid to die?", and Dan answered "Has that time come, think you?", "Engaged in such a cause, I do not think death would have many terrors." the Prophet replied, "You will yet see Wales and fulfill the mission appointed you before you die." In the morning, Jones was sent to the Governor by the Prophet and when he came back with the message the guards would not allow him to enter, so in this way his life was spared and two years after he went on his mission to Wales and Thomas E. Jeremy was baptized March 3, 1846, and was one of the first to embrace the Gospel, in Wales.

After Thomas and Sarah had accepted the Gospel, they were so eager that their friends and neighbors should hear the glad tidings, that they held meetings in the large parlor of their home and many accepted the glad message. After accepting the Gospel, the spirit of gathering came upon them and they were anxious and willing to leave their comfortable home and embark for Zion.

Sarah was very busy making preparations for the journey, fitting her little children out with clothes, baking large flat cakes of oatmeal bread and much jams and jellies.

Their household goods and farm implements were auctioned off one stormy day and it took ten hours to dispose of their goods. Sarah parted with her beautiful wax doll as she felt she couldn't take unnecessary things on the journey. It brought the highest bid of anything that was auctioned and there was a great deal of quarreling as to who should get it. A great many young people came to the auction. They belonged to the gentry as was seen by the bright red, green and blue ribbon wound around the crowns of their tall hats.

The family, consisting of five girls and two boys, Hannah, Margaret, Sarah, Mary and Hettie, and John and Thomas, traveled in a wagon to Swansea, where they were to take the ship for Liverpool. Hundreds of friends came down to the shore to bid them goodbye as they stood on the deck and saw them waving and heard them singing to them, their hearts were deeply touched as they realized that their friends and neighbors had made an all day trip to Swansea to bid them goodbye. They laid over in Liverpool for three or four days buying their supplies for their journey over the water. The company was headed by Dan Jones and consisted of 249 souls. A letter which Thomas E. Jeremy wrote and sent to a Welsh paper, the Udgorn, gave a very vivid description of the trip.

After seven weeks aboard the Buena Vista, they ran out of oatmeal, bread and water and had to eat hardtack and drink water filled with slime called "Ropey water". Their hearts were filled with joy as they saw the buildings of New Orleans outlined against the sky and tow tug boats came and towed the big boat into the harbor.

Out of the 249 passengers aboard the Highland Mary, one third were stricken with Cholera while en route from New Orleans to Council Bluffs. Men and women were lying on the deck, unable to help themselves and no one able to do anything for them; their tongues and mouths were parched with thirst and they felt as though they were being consumed with fire, and yet they were advised by Brother Benjamin Clapp at New Orleans not to drink any water if they were stricken. However, Sarah's little boy, Thomas, who was nine years old at the time, crawled out of his bunk and drank the water off some oatmeal that one of the ladies was preparing to cook, and by doing so his life was spared. But, his mother lost three of her beautiful girls in one night, Sarah, Margaret, and Mary. Coffins were made of rough boards and they were buried among the big timbers on the banks of the Missouri River.

The grief of Thomas and Sarah was almost unbearable, but with their faith in the Lord and comfort given them by an angel of Mercy, Jane Treharne, who afterwards became Mrs. Edward Ashton, they were able to pass thru the terrible ordeal. The Cholera raged from New Orleans to Council Bluffs. One third of the company died and all but three members of the brass band succumbed to the disease. Thomas Jeremy paid the passage of three other persons across the water, one girl and two men.

In spite of the trials they had, still undaunted the turned their faces westward; they set their hands to the plow and couldn't turn back.

When they reached Council Bluffs, they were happy beyond words  to get off the boat and their legs shook from the effects of the Cholera and they were so weak they could hardly walk down the gang plank.

They stopped at Redfield's ranch for two weeks to get equipment for their journey across the plains. Thomas Jeremy purchased oxen to draw their lumber wagons across the plains, with wooden wheels, stock and chickens. When crossing the plains, the company in which they traveled was led by President George A. Smith. They were snowbound on the Sweetwater River during the winter months. Even before relief could be sent out from Salt Lake Valley, the emigrants suffered terribly from the effects of the severe cold, and hunger added its fury. While encamped there, seventy of their cattle perished one night from cold weather and want of fodder. The company left Wales Feb. 1849 and following the long journey arrived in Utah, the "Land of Promise" October 28, 1849.

The family settled with the Welsh saints in the old 16th Ward. During the first winter they lived in a house located West on First North Street. Then later on in the spring they moved to a house on Sixth West between North and South Temple Streets. The house was made of posts in the ground as supports and the roof and the walls were made of willows woven like a basket, the entire house being plastered both inside and outside when completed. When Sarah's baby Ann was born two umbrellas had to be arranged over the bed to keep the rain which leaked through the dirt roof, from them.

The only means of heat in the adobe home were two fireplaces which were used for cooking purposes also. The upstairs was not finished and the cold air came down through the cracks in the floor and froze  the bread so hard that grandmother had to chop it with an axe. This home was built in 1852, and up until this time they had lived in the willow basket home.

Thomas E. Jeremy went on two missions and was gone several years. His wife had a hard struggle to keep her family fed, but with the aid of her two sons John and Thomas, she managed to keep out of debt and to improve the place. She wove the cloth for the children’s clothes and made her own candles and soap. Although she passed through many hardships, she was never heard to complain.

One time she was at a quilting bee and one of the ladies present asked her if she wasn't sorry that she had left her beautiful home in Wales and had to share her husband with other wives. She said, "I came for my religion and I have nothing to say."

Thomas Jeremy married Minnie Bosh, a girl from Holland, with gray eyes and long black hair. She came to live with his first wife, Sarah, in her home on 6th West and her loved for Sarah Jeremy was divine. when Minnie’s babies came, Sarah was so considerate and tender and kind that the children hardly knew which was their real mother. They lived many years together and Sarah’s death, Minnie said she had lost the best friend she had and friend she had and her grief so intense that she could scarcely raise her hand to comb her hair for a week afterwards. She kept Sarah’s picture on the wall so that she could look at it when she woke, and it was there when she died at eighty-one years of age.

Sarah Evans Jeremy lived an obscure life, but a full and beautiful one. Her strength of character, her indomitable and uncomplaining suffering, her acceptance and adjustments to conditions, her unselfishness and greatest of all her never wavering faith and firm testimony of the divinity of the Gospel are an inspiration to all her descendants.

She was called to the Great Beyond Jan. 31, 1878. Her burial place is the Salt Lake City, Utah Cemetery.

The three girls who died were Sarah, Mary and Margaret; Sarah and Mary were buried in the same coffin on the East side of the Missouri River about 150 miles below

St. Joseph. Margaret buried on the East side of the river also about 180 miles below St. Joseph. Sick about one day with cholera. Grandpa wrote in his journal; "May they arrive in glory. Amen."

The following children were born in Salt Lake City; Anne Jeremy, Eliza Jeremy, Martha Jeremy, and Frances Jeremy.

 

[The foregoing document was found among the D.U.P. papers of Martha Cook McDonald. Author unknown. Furnished for the website by Stephan Rich McDonald, Genealogist, Logan UT.]

Immigrants:

Evans, Sarah

Jeremy, Thomas Evans

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