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Jeremy, Sarah (Evans) 2 - Biography

MY GRANDMOTHER

MY GRANDMOTHER

 

Sarah Evans Jeremy

by

Sarah Jeremy Andersen

 

            “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 was 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 Carmartheshire, 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 her two little girls, but she was equal to the task and made a very good living by keeping a public eating house called the Black  Lion.

            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 very much 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 the reputation of being the prettiest girl in the county, with her bright starry eyes, hair as black as a raven’s wing, clear skin and rosy cheeks that she carried with her until her life was ended.  She was not only beautiful to look upon but she was beautiful within, and was a real home maker , 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 unique wedding invitations were 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 raised hay, grain and vegetables.  They lived in a large two-story stone house with a porch across the front.  As you entered the door, and old grandfather’s clock was seen.

            It was in the year 1846 that Thomas E. Jeremy and his wife, 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 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 who embraced the fullness of the gospel in Wales.  After Thomas and Sarah had accepted the gospel, they were so eager that their friends and neighbors would 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 clothing, baking large flat cakes of oatmeal bread and much jam and jellies.  She did her cooking in a big open fireplace.

            She had a great deal of packing to do, in the six chests and big mahogany bureau that they were going to bring with them.  Sarah had thirteen beautiful hand-embroidered shawls and nine sets of dishes that she brought with her.

            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 that 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 and as they stood on the deck and saw them waving their handkerchiefs 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 supplies for their journey over the water.  The company was in the charge of Dan Jones and consisted of 249 souls.  A letter which my grandfather wrote and sent to a Welsh paper, the Udgorn, gives 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 full of slim, called “ropey water.”  Their hearts were filled with joy as they saw the buildings of New Orleans outlined against the sky and two tug boats came and towed the big Steamer into the harbor.

            Out of the 249 passengers aboard the “Highland Mary,” one-third were stricken with the 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 if they were being consumed with fire, and yet they were advised by a 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 of some oatmeal that one of the ladies had put on the stove to cook and by so doing, his life was spared, but his mother lost three of her beautiful little 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 Trehorne, Who afterwards became Mrs. Edward Ashton, they were able to pass through 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 dread disease.  Grandfather paid the passage of three other persons across the water, one young girl and two young men.

            In spite of all the trials they had had, still undaunted, they turned their faces westward; they had 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 that 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.  Grandfather purchased oxen to draw their lumber wagons with wooden wheels, stock and chickens.

            When crossing the plains, the company in which the remainder of the family traveled was in charge of President George A. Smith.  They were snowbound on the Sweetwater River during the winter months.  Even before relief could be sent out from the 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 during one night from the extreme cold weather and want of fodder.  The Company had left Wales in February, 1849, and following along journey arrived in Utah, the “Land of Promise,” October 28th, 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 into 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 walls were of willows woven like a basket, the entire house being plastered both inside and outside when completed.  When Sarah’s baby, Anne, was born two umbrellas had to be arranged over the bed to keep them from the rain which leaked through the dirt roof.  They lived in the “Willow Basket Home” until 1852, at which time her husband built the larger two-story adobe house on Sixth West and South Temple Streets, where the family lived for many years.

            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 bead so hard that Grandmother had to chop it with an ax.

            Grandfather went on two missions and was gone several years.  Grandmother had a hard struggle to keep her family fed but with the aid of her two sons, John and Thomas, she managed to deep out of debt and improve the place.  She wove the cloth for her children’s clothing, made her own candles and soap and 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 here for my religion and I have nothing to say.”

            Grandfather married Minnie Bosch, a girl from Holland, with gray eyes and long black hair.  She came to live with Grandmother in her home on 6th West and her love for Grandmother was divine.  When Minnie’s babies came, Grandmother was so considerate and tender and kind that the children hardly knew which was their real mother.  They lived together many years and at Grandmother’s death, Minnie said she had lost the best friend she had and her grief was so intense that she could hardly raise her hand to comb her hair for a week.  She kept Grandmother’s picture on the wall so that she could look at it every morning when she awoke, and it was there at the time of her death at the age of eighty-one.

            Her beautiful unselfish life has been an inspiration to all of her descendants.  She was called “Home” January 31, 1878.

 

                                    “Full many a gem of purest ray serene,

                                    The dark, unfathomed caves of ocean bear.

                                    Full many a flower is born to blush unseen

                                    And waste its sweetness on the desert air.”       

 

Thomas Gray

                                    (Elegy written in a country churchyard.)                        

                                                 

 

            Grandmother Sarah Evans Jeremy lived an obscure life but a full and beautiful one.  Her strength of character, her indomitable courage and uncomplaining suffering, her acceptance and adjustment 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 of her descendants.

 

[Sent to be posted on the website by Susan Ashton, Salt Lake City.]

Immigrants:

Evans, Sarah

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