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Lewis, Elizabeth - Biography

Elizabeth Lewis

(Lewis is the English version of Llewellyn)
Born: April 15, 1804
Place: Aberavon, Glamorgan, Wales

Elizabeth Lewis was born on April 15, 18041 to Rees Lewis and Gwenllian Hopkins in Aberavon, Glamorgan, Wales.

She was born in a monumental year when the first steam locomotive made its outing on February 13, 1804 at the Pen-Y-Darren Ironworks in Merthyr.

Her Parents

Her father Rees Lewis was born on May 10, 1785 in Michalston, Wales in Glamorgan County. Rees married Gwenllian Hopkin2 on February 7, 1806. Of the three daughters born to this union, Elizabeth was the oldest.

Her Maternal Grandparents

Her grandfather Rees Hopkins was born about 1745 and married Rebecca Evans on February 20, 1762. They had four children and Rebecca died. Rees married a second wife on November 14, 1770 by the name of Sarah Lloyd. They had five children of which Gwenllian was their last child. Rees was a portreeve3 of Aberavon and later became a cordwainer.

Aberavon is located at the mouth of the Avon River. It is south of Swansea in the County of Glamorgan and the newer portion of the town is called Port Talbot, being a coastal town.

When Elizabeth was 32 years old she met Thomas Edwards who was 10 years her senior. He was a widower with one son David who was 24 years old. Thomas and Elizabeth were married by banns in the Aberdare Parish. Most of their children were born in Aberaman, a small hamlet just south of Aberdare. The family belonged to the Aberdare Parish. Their children are listed below:

Rees Edwards 17 Nov 1835
David Edwards 17 Sep 1836
Elizabeth Edwards 26 Jun 1837
Margaret Edwards 26 Jun 1837
Mary Edwards 12 Oct 1839
Margaret Edwards 1840
Janet Edwards 20 Feb 1844
Elizabeth Edwards 1846
Thomas Edwards 15 Mar 1849
Sarah Edwards 8 Jan 1852

Their second son David died at two years of age and their twin daughters died of scarlet fever at the age of two. They moved to Merthyr Tydfil in 1844 where Janet was born. William Jones baptized Elizabeth into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in December of 1850. Thomas investigated the church quite a bit longer before he committed to baptism but the following year her husband was baptized by Miles Williams. They attended the LDS Glamorgan East Conference.

They were encouraged to leave Wales and move to America to join the Saints there. After saving for a number of years for this voyage, the family traveled to Liverpool, England to board their vessel. On November 13, 1854, their family of seven boarded the Clara Wheeler along with 414 LDS passengers. After leaving Liverpool on November 24, 1854, they returned to port six days later because of bad weather. Everyone suffered from seasickness. After the Captain obtained more food and water, they set sail on December 7 and cleared the Irish Channel in three days. Measles broke out among the passengers (20 children and two adults died at sea). Upon arrival at New Orleans on January 11, 1855, their eight-year-old daughter Elizabeth died (from measles).

On January 12, the family continued their journey on the steamer Oceana, which took them up the Mississippi River to St. Louis, Missouri. In St. Louis, they were met by Apostle Erastus Snow. After staying in St. Louis for about 4 years, they made their way to Nebraska to prepare to cross the plains.

Their daughter Mary Edwards was the first to marry and give them a grandchild. She married John James and named their first child, Kathryn James who was born in December of 1859. Mary became a widow sometime between 1859 and 1861. She married her second husband William Alfred Hymas in May of 1861 in Omaha, Nebraska.

Crossing the Plains

The Edwards family left Florence, Nebraska on June 7, 1861 traveling with Job Pingree4 (an independent company) and arriving at Great Salt Lake City, Utah on August 24, 1861.

Robert McQuairce rebaptized both Thomas and Elizabeth after they arrived in the valley. Thomas began farming in Ogden, Utah. The family attended Ogden's 1st Ward5. On November 5, 1866, Thomas and Elizabeth went to Salt Lake and took out their endowments and their marriage was solemnized for time and all eternity in the Endowment House. 1891 had ordained Thomas Edwards ordained a High Priest6.

Their children: Mary Edwards Hymas had her first pair of twin girls in April of 1862 in Omaha, but like her mother's twins, they died. In July of 1862, William and Mary joined the James Wareham Company. They traveled in a covered wagon pulled by oxen and arrived in Utah on September 26, 1862. They left Utah in 1864 and settled in the southeast corner of Idaho near Wyoming. Mary had two more sets of twins except these twins were a boy and a girl from each set. The boy from the first set died at age 5 but the other twins lived to adulthood. Mary had 11 children total, 8 lived to be adults, and out of the 11, she had 3 sets of twins. Now this is quite an accomplishment in itself, but the Hymas family was the third family to move into the tiny village of Liberty, Idaho. Being pioneer times, there were no doctors in most of the settlements, so Mary was asked to become a mid-wife. She was given a special blessing in the Logan Temple in Utah to become a midwife and was promised that she would be given strength to accomplish this task. She successfully delivered more than 700 babies in Bear Lake County while raising her own 8 living children.

Janet Edwards married William Slater and moved to Huntsville, UT. Sarah Edwards married William Morgan in 1868. Thomas Edwards married Nancy Helen Nicholas in 1877 and they became pioneers in helping to establish Almo, Idaho. Reese Edwards7 never married and lived in Ogden until he died. He is buried in the Ogden cemetery next to his mother.

Elizabeth Lewis Edwards died on April 13, 18798 and was buried in the Ogden Cemetery. She lived to be 77 years of age having had 10 children, five of which she buried. Her hair never turned gray but continued to stay dark brown until she died.

On Saturday morning, April 19, 1870, The Ogden Junction (a forerunner of the Ogden Standard Examiner) a Death notice said,

Death Notice9

"Edwards -- In this city April 18, 1879, of old age, Elizabeth wife of Thomas Edwards, aged 77 years. The funeral will take place today at 2 PM in the First Ward Schoolhouse. Friends of the family are invited to attend."

  1. FHL film 183,405 Endowment Record: verified date of birth and parents names.
  2. Hopkin and Hopkins are the same surname.
  3. Aberavon was governed by a Portreeve and two aldermen.
  4. Pioneers & Prominent Men of Utah, p. 953
  5. Organized in 1856.
  6. Film 26,245 (1878-1889 Ogden First Ward Records), p. 13.
  7. Rees is the Welsh version of Reese.
  8. Death record: FHL 979.228/01 Vol. 30 Ogden City Cemetery, p. 270.
  9. Ogden Junction 1872 Ð 1879, University of Utah, Marriott Library, AN2.U8 044.


Lewis, Elizabeth


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