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
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
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
during the winter months. Even before relief could be sent out from Salt
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,
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
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,
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
about 150 miles below
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
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.]