ELIZABETH JONES LEWIS
Written by her
granddaughter Josephine Lewis Anderson
Elizabeth Jones Lewis Jones was born 2 April 1812 in Cleddy,
South Wales, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Jones who were members of the Baptist Church which
organization she joined at the age of fifteen years.
In 1833 she married David Lewis in
Carmarthenshire, Wales. To this union were born six children, four sons
and two daughters: Thomas, John, Eliza, Canaan, Sarah and Lewis.
I shall write here
part of her story in her own words as written for the book The Women of Mormondom, by Edward W. Tullidge,
“I was born April 2d,
1812, in Claddy, South Wales. My parents
were members of the Baptist Church, which organization I joined when
fifteen years of age.] In 1846 several years after my marriage, while keeping
an Inn, a stranger stopped with us for refreshments, and while there
unfolded to me some of the principles of the—then entirely new to me—Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His words made a profound impression upon my
mind, which impression was greatly heightened by a dream which I had shortly
thereafter; but it was sometime before I could learn more of the new doctrine.
I made diligent inquiry, however, and was finally, by accident, privileged to
hear an elder preach. In a conversation with him afterwards I became thoroughly
convinced of the truth of Mormonism, and was accordingly baptized into the
church. This was in 1847. After this my house became a resort for the elders,
and I was the special subject of persecution by my neighbors.
In 1848 I began making preparations to leave
my home and start for the valley. Everything was sold, including a valuable
estate, and I determined to lay it all upon the altar in an endeavor to aid my
poorer friends in the church to emigrate also. In 1849 I bade farewell to home,
country and friends, and with my six children set out for the far-off Zion.
After a voyage, embodying the usual hardships, from Liverpool to New
Orleans, thence up the Mississippi and Missouri rivers to Council
Bluffs, some fifty fellow-passengers dying with cholera on the way, in the
early summer I started across the plains. I had paid the passage of forty
persons across the ocean and up to Council Bluffs, and from there I
provided for and paid the expenses of thirty-two to Salt Lake City. Having
every comfort that could be obtained, we perhaps made the trip under as
favorable circumstances as any company that has ever accomplished the journey.
For her magnanimous conduct in thus largely
helping the emigration of the Welsh saints, coupled with her social standing in
her native country, she was honored with the title of “The Welsh Queen”. The
title is still familiar in connection with her name. Since her arrival in Zion she
has known many trials, but is still firm in the faith of the Latter-day work.
In early fall 1849 she married Captain Dan
Jones in Salt Lake City. Two children blessed this union: a son, Brigham,
and a daughter, Ruth.
This Welsh group
settled on the west bank of the Jordan River, the first foreign-speaking
Mormon community in the intermountain region. This community also included the
George A. Smith company, but subsequently became
residents of the fifteenth and sixteenth wards. Grandmother and Grandfather Dan
made their home in Sugar House, Salt Lake City.
In 1851 they were
called to help in the settlement of Manti. There was no doubt foresight in
President Brigham Young’s sending grandfather Dan to Manti. This settlement was
in the heart of Chief Walker’s Indian domain and the chief had become friendly
with grandfather Dan two years earlier when
he, Parley P. Pratt and Dimick B.
Huntington visited Walker’s camp during the exploring expedition. At that
time many of Walker’s tribe were sick,
and the three elders administered to them. Many regained their health. So when
Captain Jones had much influence in quelling Indian uprisings there. He also
did much building. He was taking no changes, however, that his people be taken
by surprise by these various Indian tribes. He and his townsmen hurried the
erection of a stone fort. It was stone because they were close at hand and men
folk would not be taken away from their imperiled families to bring in timber
from the mountains. He operated a pioneer threshing machine in Sanpete’s wheat-growing
He was mayor of Manti and did much to advance
the conditions. He being a college graduate himself, one of his first acts was
to establish a school. It was among the first in the Territory. Andrew Silver
was hired to teach during the winter of 1851-52 for fifty dollars a month.
Mayor Jones’ sojourn
in Manti was short-lived, however, for in August 1852 he was called on another
mission to Wales, Great Britain. Grandmother with her small daughter
Ruth moved to Provo. It was here that her son Brigham was born on 7 October1852, just two months after his father had
entered the mission field. Here she was a pioneer for several years.
Grandmother was a dignified lady, with high
ideals. Her code was to stand firm to her convictions of the truth. Her
religion taught her the way to the coveted goal, that of salvation and
exaltation in the celestial kingdom of God. She knew that to
gain this goal was through the honorable performance of the tasks of life which
means work. These pioneer ancestors of ours were not afraid of work. They
worked and taught their children likewise. It was through grilling toil,
rigidly imposed self-denial, and incredible privation and sacrifice. They
subdued the sterile earth, converting barren wastes into fruitful harvest-laden
fields. In these endeavors her five sons took an active part.
Grandfather Dan died 3 January 1862 in Provo at
the early age of fifty-one years, though young in years, old in accomplishment.
As long as there are Latter-day Saint Welshmen or their kin his spirit will go
marching on among them.
Then grandmother with
her family returned to Salt Lake where they lived in Sugar House
on what we called Brigham’s Farm. Her children now grown, her older boys had
worked in the woolen mills in Provo and in the canyons. Her oldest
son Thomas had died in Manti, Utah, and was buried there. John had
married and gone out of the state. Eliza had married Isaac Vorhees and lived in Manti. Leaving her now with
children ranging in years nine to twenty, my father Canaan being twenty years
old took over the supervision of the farm and helped grandmother in every way
possible, until his marriage in 1873. After his marriage, he moved to Wales, Sanpete County,
where he made his home until his death 8 November 1908. He was interred in the Walescemetery.
Grandmother continued to make her home in Salt
Lake City. She visited often in Wales and Manti with her children and
grandchildren whom she loved very dearly.
She endured many trials, tribulations and
sorrows but remained a true and faithful Latter-day Saint all her life. She
died in Salt Lake City 6 May 1895, aged 85 years one month, four
She was interred in the city cemetery in Salt
I think that it is a fine thing to have
ancestors of whom we may be justly proud, and a fine thing to pay them fitting
tribute and keep their memory ever fresh. But it is a still finer thing to live
our own lives in pursuance of the same high ideals which those ancestors taught
us and to show our love and respect for them in carrying on their work.