Dunster, James & Mary Jones - Biography
The Dunster Story
The Dunster Story
The following story was told by Emily Jane Dunster Siddoway
mother, Mary Jones, was a daughter of Noah Robert Jones and Esther Lewis
Jones. They were converted in the
British Isles and while in transit, the mother, Esther, died, leaving my
grandfather and his daughter alone. They
made their way by boat to a point on the Missouri River where they disembarked
with the intent and purpose of migrating to the Salt Lake Valley.
While remaining there, making preparations for their trip westward, my
Grandfather, Noah, passed on. Prior to
his death, and in conscious realization of his impending death, he enjoined
upon my mother, who was then twelve years of age, not to attempt to return to
her homeland or to be separated from her devotion in the church, and asked that
she maintain her affiliation with the Church and accept a personal
responsibility to see that the work was done for and in behalf of the
family. My mother agreed to discharge
Mary Jones, was then but 12 years of age and was left entirely alone in the
world. She, however, courageously
collected what few personal belongings they had, put them in a box and sought
ways and means to cross the plains from Missouri River to the Salt Lake Valley.
One of the
emigrant trains was about to leave, and some kindly hearted people made
accommodations to let mother come with them.
The trek was long, slow and tedious.
Mother walked most of the way to the Salt Lake Valley.
Upon her arrival she had no place to go, and being of a backward,
reticent nature, failed to find suitable accommodation. She sought employment doing housework and
would do large washings for which she was paid about 25 cents a day. She continued this laborious work wherever
available for some time, after which she was unable to find employment and was
seriously destitute. She became so
hungry and famished that her spirit began to weaken, and seeing no solution of
her condition, she accepted the thought that probably she should end her own
life. In this spirit of deep gloom, she
went to the old mill race near the vicinity of Liberty Park,
and there sat meditating the course she had resolved upon to end her own
life. The water within the mill race was
swift and would undoubtedly within a very short distance, lapse her into
unconsciousness. Her feet were covered
with worn out shreds of shoes, the soles of which were gone and the leather
turning up about her feet. Modesty made
her where she did not want people to find her body, clad in those old shoes,
and she felt that she would desire to remove the shoes. As she sat down in a likely spot to take off
her shoes, her father, Noah Jones, appeared to her and remonstrated that she
should not do such a thing. The act
that she was contemplating would destroy the very pledge that he had enjoined
upon her to carry on and see that their temple work was eventually done. Likewise, he told her to go to a certain part
of the town and there she would find friends and assistance. She accepted this admonition and did go into
town, and found that a distant relative had been inquiring about “the little
Jones girl.” The way opened up through
such friends and relatives in that she obtained the necessaries of life and was
given assistance. She remained and did
housework until the time of her marriage with my father.
15 years of age when she married James Beard Dunster, who was then 18 years of
age. My father was small in stature, and
had no opportunities for education and was incapable of reading or
writing. He was a hard working, honest,
considerate man, and a great love and confidence existed between mother and
father. They had a considerably good
sized family, but were compelled to work very, very hard for everything they
had. The severe ordeal of Mother’s life
weakened her, and she passed on while her family was still young. Prior to Mother’s passing, but little
genealogical work had been done, but mother exhorted upon my father that he
would see that our genealogical and temple work was carried on.
passing of my mother, my father gave great concern for this work, but his
inability to read or write seriously handicapped him until he was visited by
persons from the unseen world and there received genealogical data. In this stillness of the night, a bell would
ring and father would arise. He held
conversations with persons who had come to deliver to him the essential data required
to establish proper genealogy. Because
of his inability to write, he asked me to act as scribe, and when the bell
would ring, he would call me and I would act as scribe, writing down the
information given him. This information
came to him and he repeated it to me about as fast as I could record it. I, at times, made a mistake, and while Father
was not looking at my record, and did not know what I was writing, he would
correct it, tell me that I had made a mistake and give me the correct data to
replace that which I had erroneously copied.
interviews with our unseen visitors continued at various intervals covering a
period of two years until the time I married William H. Siddoway and left my
father’s home. I was unable to hear the
voices of those who talked with father.
Many, many times he repeatedly asked me, “Can’t you hear them?” but I
was unable to hear them, although I could hear the bell ring. Likewise father was unable to see them,
although their conversation to him was completely audible. I was deeply impressed in my own soul with
the serene, sweet spirit that pervaded me during those periods of time. Often my father would tell me to go to bed
early to get my sleep, because he told me he felt that he would work that
night, and usually he was correct; because usually on those nights the bell
would ring and we would again write the genealogy given to Father by audible
voices from unseen guests.
The names of
these dead persons were taken to the General Authorities of the Church. The whole circumstances of their having been
given was related to the authorities, and the authorities gave permission to
have these records copied as sufficiently authentic records to cause the temple
work to be done for the persons whose names had been thus obtained. My memory is that we compiled and copied and
had recorded approximately 2,000 names coming from this Divine source.
no temple facilities in the Salt Lake Valley,
and father made a pilgrimage to the Logan
Temple where he did the
work for our family. Father did not know
the date of his own birth, and this had given him considerable concern. He had prayed that through some source he
might find accurate information as to the date of his birth. It was upon his visit to the Logan Temple
that his mother appeared to him while on a stairway in the Temple.
He was astounded at the naturalness of her appearance. She talked with him and told him that he had
desired to know the date of his birth, and she informed him that he was born on
January 21, and gave him the year.
Mother likewise told father that she greatly appreciated his activity in
this genealogical work. Father continued
for a number of years to be very active in genealogical work, and after my
marriage and leaving him, one of my sisters assisted him for a brief time in
copying the names that were obtained in the evening visitations.
spiritual blessings and the power of insight were given to Father, and I remember on one occasion when a man who was
very near to us and who evidently had fallen away sufficiently that he had
taken off his garments, was by him. He
discerned that his man had fallen away and he said, “I can see him with his
garments off but still hanging on his arm.
He will leave the church but he will later return.” And it was a singular fact that this man did
leave the Church and after much travail and much sorrowful sufferings, he
returned completely to renew his membership within the church and to have his
blessings and sealings restored to him.
our marriage, we started out for ourselves.
Mr. Siddoway had been deprived of
assistance, but through the many mercies and goodness of our Father in
Heaven, we have been abundantly blessed and my life has been enriched.1
narrative above was recorded by Emily Jane Dunster Siddoway more than fifty
years ago. It has been shared among the
descendants of Mary Roberts Jones and James Record Dunster. In an effort to clarify and compliment Emily
Jane’s story of her mother and father, the following information has been
researched and compiled.
Mary Roberts Jones
In the early
morning hours of June 27, 1844, the Prophet Joseph Smith lay on the floor of an
upstairs bedroom in the Carthage Jail with seven of his friends. Unable to sleep, he lay between Dan Jones and
John Fullmer and they spoke of facing death.
The Prophet reached over to Dan Jones and as he touched his arm said,
“You will yet see Wales
and fulfill the mission appointed to you before you die.” Later that morning, Joseph asked Dan Jones to
take a message to the governor of Illinois.
When he returned, the jailers would not let Dan Jones re-enter the jail, and
thus he was spared on the day of the martyrdom. 2
and his wife made preparations to return to their native land of Wales,
Dan Jones being uniquely prepared to serve as a missionary there. He had graduated from college in Wales, not a common thing, and was at the time
probably the only member of the Church who could speak, read, and write Welsh.3 William Henshaw had been teaching the gospel
in English in the area of Merthyr Tydfil and
had his first converts in February 1843.
By December of 1845, when Dan Jones was called to preside in Wales, there
were 500 Latter-day Saints. After his
arrival in South Wales4, the
membership of the church grew with 500 baptisms in 1846, just under a thousand in
1847, and in the last year of his mission, 1,700 Welsh converts.5
converts joining the church in August of 1848 were the small family
of Noah Robert Jones and his wife,
Esther Lewis Jones, and eleven year old daughter, Mary Roberts Jones of Merthyr
Tydfil, Wales. Noah was a 34 year old
miner. Noah and Esther had experienced the death of their five year old son,
John, in 1845 and the death of two young daughters in the previous year.6
As Dan Jones
finished his mission to Wales,
he began to organize a company of Welsh converts to emigrate. Noah Jones supported the work being done by
the leaders of the church in Wales
by writing poetry. A poem that Noah
wrote in Welsh was published in December of 1848 and starts with:
supporters of dear Jesus,
To show the
power of God,
his virtuous arm
All were encouraged to pay off their debts and the wealthy
were asked to be generous in assisting the poor to leave for Zion.
These Saints had received Thomas Bullock’s account of the trek in 1847
from Council Bluffs to Utah, so they had an idea of the trials
facing them. The Saints also were given
detailed instructions on the clothing and tools that they should plan to take
In spite of
much local opposition, the Saints of South Wales met in Swansea
on February 13, 1848, for the 34-hour steamer voyage to Liverpool. Noah, Esther and Mary Jones were among this
company. In spite of bad sea-sickness on board the Troubador no one
turned back when they arrived in Liverpool. The entire group from South Wales rented
rooms in the “Music Hall” for five nights while they waited for the Saints from
North Wales to join them and for their ship to
be ready. A combination of factors
including distrust of the English people, fear of swindlers on the docks,
religious opposition and the fact that most of the Welsh Saints spoke only
Welsh, kept the company closely banded together and generally confined to their
rooms9. When the Buena Vista was ready, the
whole company marched “along the streets of Liverpool
like a regiment of soldiers.”10 While they waited on board for another six
days, the Saints were plagued by many ministers coming on board to dissuade
them from continuing their journey. The
answer of the Saints was, “It is forward that all of us want to go.11” Finally, on February 26th, the first company
of Welsh Saints bound for Zion left the harbor with 249 Saints, accompanied by the harp, singing
“The Saint’s Farewell”.12
journey across the ocean consisted of cramped conditions, sea-sickness, chores
and preaching among the Saints13. Their leader, Captain Dan Jones, had spent
many years on the sea and considered himself an “old tar.” At his recommendation, the Saints had
supplemented the ship’s larder of “good navy bread,” rice, oatmeal, flour, and
potatoes with additional supplies such as sugar, raisins, butter, cheese along
with homemade jam and oatmeal bread14 15. No preparations, however, could help the
Saints avoid the onset of sea-sickness once they were underway. Cramped quarters, lack of privacy and the
stench of vomiting all combined to create challenging living conditions in spite
of the faith that had lead them on this voyage16.
used every opportunity to re-emphasize to the Saints that they were being
guided by divine powers. One of these
opportunities arose on March 16 after eighteen days at sea. Because the wind had been so strong against
the ship, Jones called a special prayer meeting below deck so that all might
pray for fair wind. Characteristic of
his fervent attitude, Captain Jones announced that he felt like going on deck
and not returning until the fair wind had been granted. When he had put his foot on the first rung of
the ladder, one of the brethren asked him what he wanted most. He replied he would most like to hear the
mate on the deck shouting, “Haul in the weather braces!’ which would mean fair winds. As Dan Jones wrote in a letter back to Wales,
“And before I had moved my foot, I , and others who had heard my wish, heard
the mate above our heads shouting loudly, ‘Haul in the weather braces,’ yea,
word for word as I had said” furthermore, the fair wind had come and all the
Saints gave thanks.17
The young twelve-year old Mary Jones understood what had happened and it
made such a deep and lasting impression on her mind that years later she
related the story to her children. She
also remembered that Captain Dan Jones was always very kind to her.18
A granddaughter relates that during the voyage, Mary contracted mumps and was
healed by Captain Jones.19
When the Buena
Vista arrived in New Orleans,
they were advised not to linger because of cholera in the city. Dan Jones arranged to join a company of
British Saints. Jointly, they hired the
steamboat Constitution to take the 450 passengers up the Mississippi
River and got to St. Louis
eleven days after arriving in New Orleans.20
It was May
Day when the Welsh and British Saints transferred from the Constitution
to the Highland Mary, without going into the city of St. Louis because fear of cholera was high.
Many were dying in St. Louis
of this little understood disease. As
the company of Saints traveled up the Missouri River,
forty-four of the original 249 Welsh company died. When they began their journey, most were
traveling with their families, but very few families were left intact by the
end of May.21 Among these victims
of cholera was Esther Lewis Jones, age 30, who died six days after leaving St. Louis. Noah expressed his grief in Welsh verse,
published in a pamphlet in Wales. His poem, “Lament of the Emigrant” starts:
friends in the environs of Wales,
my lament in verse;
still am I in sorrow
loss of my dear Esther,
Whom I loved
as my own soul.22
Esther was wrapped in a blanket and buried in the same graves
with other Saints who had died that day.23
of the original Welsh company from the Buena Vista went on to the Salt Lake valley
that year, many had planned from the beginning to stay in Council Bluffs to gather resources and
prepare for their further journey west.
When they arrived in Council Bluffs, the Welsh Saints settled on lots
which adjoined each other, and formed a Welsh branch of the church since many
of them didn’t speak English.24 In October of 1849, Noah Jones traveled with
four other Welshmen from the Buena Vista back to St. Louis in hopes of
getting employment in the coal diggings at Gravois on the outskirts of the
city. Noah Jones and David D. Bowen
boarded in the house of a widow named Williams. In January of 1850, the coal
business became slack so Noah Jones, along with three other Welsh saints, took
the boat Salvida from St. Louis to St. Joseph and then returned
to Council Bluffs.25
24, 1850, Noah Jones, age 35, and Mary Jones, age 13, were enumerated in the
1850 census for Pottawattamie County,
Iowa. Although Noah probably spent the summer
working on the Welsh Farm, he is listed as a “collier,” another name for a coal
miner. They were listed as living in
Stringtown26 in the household of the Edwards, a family who had also
traveled in the Welsh company on the Buena Vista.
1, 1850 Noah was married to Mrs. Mary Meredith in Council Bluffs. 28 She was a
Latter-day Saint who had been with the same company from Merthyr Tydfil to Liverpool. Some of
that company, including Mary Meredith, her husband, and five children had come
on a second boat, the Hartley. Her
husband had died of cholera on the Missouri River
on May 25, 1849, the same month that Esther Lewis Jones had died, leaving Mary
with five children to care for. For a
few months, fourteen-year old Mary Jones’ family consisted of her father, a new
mother, four step-sisters, and a step-brother.
Soon after Noah’s
marriage to Mary Meredith the Welsh Saints experienced a set back. The Omaha Indians set fire to the prairie
west of where they were living. The fire
spread towards Stringtown burning hay and wheat. The local newspaper reported that the fire
did immense damage and commented that “the loss falls upon those the least able
to bear it.”29
In May of
1851, Noah wrote a letter to his father back in Wales. In the letter he said that they were well and
he passed on little Mary’s request for locks of hair from certain family
members and friends. Noah’s father,
William Robert Jones, replied addressing the letter:
father must have believed him to be in Council
Bluffs at the time.
In the letter, William Robert Jones asks Noah to write and tell, “where
little Mary is staying and what her condition is.”30 This suggests that Noah had sometimes left
Mary in the care of others. His
granddaughter later wrote that Noah spent two summers in Council Bluffs working in the wheat fields.31
family group of Noah Jones didn’t last long since sometime between the time
Noah wrote to his father in May of 1851 and the spring of 1852 both parents had
died. Mary Meredith Jones was taken by
cholera in Council Bluffs.32 Noah
died of Bright’s disease, a kidney disorder.33 The date or the location of his death has not
been determined but there is no reason to doubt Emily Jane’s recounting of his
dying wish for Mary to continue on to
Utah and see that the family received their temple blessings.34
Noah’s associations in the period between 1849 and 1852, on his excursion to
St. Louis for work, in the census and his short marriage, show that he was
still knit within the community of Saints.
Noah’s father, a member of the Church in Wales, expressed his joy in the
condition of Noah and Mary when he has last heard from Noah, while in the same
letter he refers in harsh terms to Noah’s brother, who apparently had turned
away from the Church.36
A granddaughter wrote the following:
sick with kidney trouble. Mary did
everything she could for him, took care of him through his sickness, but he
just seemed to grow worse, till finally, one night while she sat alone with
him, he passed away. She said they had
no light, so she sat alone with his dead body till morning before she could
call for any help. She said the last
thing he said to her was to be sure and go on to Utah with the Saints and to
try to live so that she could always be a Latter day saint and to try and do
the work for them that they hadn’t had the privilege of doing for themselves.
father’s death there was an old couple who took her to live with them by the
name of Elsworth.37
They tried to persuade her to go with them and give up her religion, but
she said: “No I will never do that, the last thing I promised my father was
that I would go on as soon as I could get the chance.” These people were quite well to do and hadn’t
any children of their own, they told her they would educate her and do for her,
as if she was their own, but she had promised her father she would continue her
journey to Utah.
spring she had an opportunity to do so and came with a family by the name of
Murther. She drove three oxen and a cow
and she also cooked the meals for this family.
They had three little children.
In the evenings after the work was over they sat around the camp fire
and sang Welsh songs. She had a
beautiful voice and Mr. Murther would joke with her and say he would forgive
her for proving awkward in hooking up the oxen when he listened to her lovely
arrived in Utah
the family dispensed with her services after she had washed all the soiled
clothing they had used on the journey.
She walked all those weary miles across the plains barefooted. Think of it she had some shoes, but saved
them to wear when she got to her journey’s end.
She had driven cattle, milked the cow for the Murther family and now she
had no place to go, no place to call home.
The girl walked the streets looking for work until her cherished
possessions the shoes, were threadbare.38
company that Mary traveled with or the date of her arrival in the Great Salt
Lake Valley has not been determined, although it was most likely in the fall of
1852.39 The remainder of
the Welsh Saints still in Council Bluffs in 1852, came to the valley of the
Great Salt Lake as the thirteenth company of that year.40 A search for a Murther family has also been
It is possible that the family she came with was a family from Merythr
Tydfil and the name was confused in later accounts.
granddaughter of Mary Jones wrote that when Mary arrived in the valley, they
“went to the 8th Ward Square
in Salt Lake City. It was the practice of the residents of Salt Lake
to provide temporary accommodations for newly arriving immigrants by allowing
them to live in their homes. W. W.
Phelps went to meet this particular company and took three girls home.”42 Whether Mary remained in the Phelps household
for the next few months is not known, however, a great-grandson of Mary related
that W. W. Phelps approached Mary and said that he had received a revelation that she should become his
On April 3,
1853, Mary Jones was sealed to William Wines Phelps at 6:30 PM in Brigham
Young’s office. The sealing was
performed by Brigham Young.44
Mary was fifteen. William Phelps
was 61. Family oral history holds that
the marriage between Mary and W. W. Phelps was
distressing for Mary and that Phelps mistreated the young girl45. A Phelps historian said that it is well
documented that W. W. Phelps mistreated his wives. Phelps, at one time, was excommunicated from
the Church by Brigham Young for taking three young girls as polygamous wives
without permission.46 A
granddaughter said that after some time in the Phelps home, an older wife of W.
W. Phelps told Mary that this was not where she should be and that she should
ask to have the marriage dissolved. The
older wife said Mary was just working her youth away for nothing.47 Another granddaughter wrote that Mary went
to the home of Lorenzo D. Young to get help from one of his wives, Harriet.
Lorenzo D. Young was then instrumental in
helping Mary out of the marriage.48 Although we don’t know the exactly how it was
brought about, Brigham Young issued a certificate of divorcement in his office
on October 12, 1853. The certificate was
signed by Mary and by W. W. Phelps.49
history holds that Mary brought a box
across the plains with her containing poems that her father had written, but
was unable to take the box with her when she left the Phelps household.50 Since Noah Jones’ other poems that are know
are written in Welsh, these poems were probably written in Welsh as well. Family tradition also has it that at the time
of the divorce, Brigham Young told W. W. Phelps that if he ever published those
poems, he would die a pauper.51 W. W. Phelps is well-known for writing The
Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning for the dedication of the Kirtland
temple; however after betraying Joseph Smith in Missouri, re-uniting with the
Saints, and writing Praise to the Man, his writing diminished. No songs or poems have been found attributed
to W. W. Phelps after 185352.
written by a granddaughter states, “Mary got a job at Brigham Young’s farm in
Forest Dale working for $.50 a week. The
farm was managed by the Dalton
family. The work Mary was expected to do
for a mere $.50 a week was demanding, and suffering from a boil in one hand and
a bad cut in the other, she was somewhat incapacitated. She worked about, keeping herself busy but
she soon became quite despondent.”53 Emily Jane’s description of Mary Jones’
destitute situation is heartrending: “She walked the street trying to get
something to do, but everyone seemed alike, it was all every one could do to
get enough to live themselves, and no one wanted a little orphan girl. She did manage to get a few day’s work, but
it would just be long enough to do up their big dirty washing then she would
have to go trying for work again.”54
So this was
sixteen year old Mary Jones’ situation at the time of her thoughts of suicide.
Mary was young, alone and homeless with no foreseeable means of support. The work which she had been able to get,
doing laundry by hand, had left her with sores on her hands. Mary’s language
ability in English at this time may have been limited since it appears that
until her arrival in the valley she had always been with Welsh Saints. She had
carried her shoes and chosen to walk bare-footed across the plains to save them
for when she lived in Zion. Now her shoes were an embarrassment to
her. She had suffered a troubling
marriage to an older, emotionally unstable man. Through him she had lost
possession of her tangible tie to her father, the box containing Noah’s poetry,
and possibly other personally valuable items such as the locks of hair from her
friends and family in Wales.55
considering the story of Mary’s crisis at the mill, a noteworthy fact is that
the gristmill which still stands in Liberty Park was built by Isaac Chase in
1852, on a farm jointly owned by himself and Brigham Young.56
57 While existence of the mill doesn’t prove
Mary’s story, it does make it credible.
The story by
Emily Jane Dunster Siddoway at the beginning of this work doesn’t name the
cousin whom Mary found as she left the mill, following her father’s advice to
return to Salt Lake City. However, in a story that Emily Jane wrote for
the DUP, she identifies cousin as John Edwards, who had a beautiful tenor voice
and sang in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for many years. This is likely the same John Edwards in
whose home Mary had been living at the time of the 1850 census in Council Bluffs. John Edwards had a frequent visitor who had
crossed the plains in the same company named James Dunster.58
James were married on February 25 1854 in the Endowment House.59
Mary was sixteen and James was 24. James
had a team and wagon. For the first part
of their marriage, they lived in their wagon box. James had worked for Erastus Snow since his
arrival in Utah
and Brother Snow made them a bedstead as a wedding gift.60 The newlyweds farmed on shares for Zerubbabel
Snow on a 24-acre farm in the Sugarhouse Ward.
The farm was on the west side of 11th East from Emerson Avenue (about 1500 South) to Wilson Avenue
(about 1800 South) in the Salt
Lake Valley. A fresh spring on their farm supplied water
for the household and the garden. James
said that when the air was still, he could hear his wife, Mary, singing from where
he would be working in the field. The
neighbors said they always knew when she was well, for they could hear singing
all around the neighborhood.61
been many opportunities for Mary to attend school, but she was determined to
get an education in English. After she
was married, she attended school for six months. Later, she studied at home and would read
anything available. When she needed
help, she would go to her neighbors, Mrs. Kennedy and Mrs Kirkham, who kindly
helped her with her studies.62 63 64
child, Mary Elizabeth, was born in their wagon box home.65 But soon afterwards, plans were made to build
an adobe house. The day the adobe blocks
were delivered, James was busy in the field, so Mary helped unload every adobe.
George Handley laid out the adobes to build a one-room house with a door facing
east, a window looking west, and a fireplace on the north side. The floor consisted of wide planks. John Edwards made a rocking chair of white
pine with a rawhide bottom and a little child’s chair for them. Their second child, Jacob, was born in this
In March of
1858, news of the approach of Johnston’s Army
caused Brigham Young to issue an order for all the Saints in the Salt Lake
Valley to leave their
homes and go south. James and Mary
Dunster packed their wagon with their belongings and prepared their house to be
burned. They had a yoke of oxen to pull
the wagon and two cows. They traveled
with their two year old daughter and their infant son to Spanish Fork, where
they camped for a few weeks. By the end of June the crisis had passed without
violence and Brigham Young announced that everyone could go back to their
homes. James and Mary Dunster returned
their little family to the farm in the Sugarhouse Ward.67
of 1860, Mary’s time to deliver their third child came but complications arose
during the delivery. The doctors in attendence used chloroform, a practice not
common at that time. The baby was taken
but died the same day.68
They named the baby John and buried him on the lot which James had
purchased on 1100 East and Blaine Avenue.69
summer of 1860, James and Mary moved onto their own ten acre lot, again camping
in their wagon box. They dug a cellar
and lined it with rock. They also built a rock foundation for their new two
room home. Since cold weather came early
that year, James put on a roof and covered it with willows and clay. Their crop of wheat had done well that fall,
but they had no place to store the harvest.
James made a big bin on the north end of the room and filled it with a
hundred bushels of wheat. A tick was
filled with straw and it was placed on top.
The children used a chair to climb up to their bed on top of the wheat.70
family continued to meet the challenges of family life and to grow. Four daughters were born to them: Esther,
Francis, Hulda and Emily.71
The oldest son, Jacob, struggled in school. He was slow and simple-minded. After a bad experience at school, he remained
at home and helped with the farm chores.72 James planted peach and apple trees. In one of the apple trees Mary budded the
center branches to each other so the children could climb up to pick the fruit. The children called this the “ladder
tree.” She grew flowers and a
garden. Mary raised chickens and had
enough butter and eggs for her family’s needs and a surplus to sell. In 1869, James built a new adobe home using
clay from the bed of Emigration Creek near the present day site of Westminster College. Mary bore three more children:
James, Alice and Samuel Lewis. James took his grain to Neff’s mill on Mill
Creek to be ground. He raised and
slaughtered the family’s pigs. Mary made
her own cheese and starch and soap and candles.
They grew sugar cane and potatoes. They got on in the same way as
countless other pioneer families.73
of Mary Roberts Jones will end with a tribute written by her daughter:
As years rolled by and her family came she was never too busy
to give a helping hand in sickness and trouble.
She was sent for all around the ward to care for the sick, lay out the
dead and make burial clothes. During the
time of the diptheria she was called night and day. I can remember one night she laid out two
children, and she just got home when another family sent for her to come and
lay out another child. Most parents were
afraid to go into homes where there was diphtheria, for fear their own children
would get it, but she always said, “No, I am not afraid, I feel like if I help
those who need my help, the Lord will protect my children.” And he surely did.
always loved her native tongue, for although she was young when she left Wales, she
never forgot the Welsh language. During
her last sickness, she would brighten up and seem so happy if one of her
friends who could speak Welsh, came in for a friendly chat. All through this illness she would tell us
what a beautiful place Wales
was with its rolling hills and beautiful springs. Some mornings when she looked so weak and we
would ask her if she couldn’t eat a little.
She would say, “No, not this morning.
I dreamed my father was giving me such a wonderful drink out of the
spring where we used to drink when I was a child, and it seemed so good.” She was always so sweet and patient, anxious
for us children to live right, and begged us to stand firm in the Church, then
she was sure we would all meet again.
She died at the early age of 49, leaving three sons and six daughters,
all striving to live as she had taught us.74
Mary Jones Dunster is buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery under the branches of a large
James Record Dunster
noted, the following is taken from a
history of James Dunster written in 1936 from memory by his granddaughter, Ida
was born on January 25, 1831 in Sommerset, England, the fifth child of John
Dunster and Frances Record.78 79 His father was a cooper (barrel maker) by
profession, but probably did some farming on sub-let land to aid in raising his
large family.80 James
was never sent to school but was compelled to go to work for others herding
sheep and farming.
As a child
of four or five, James spent all the day in the springtime in the fields
chasing the English sparrows from the spouting wheat. When James was young, he worked for a farmer
who raised cattle. This farmer had a
horse that was old and useless, so he decided to send it away. He told James to take the horse and warned
him not to get on his back, as it would throw him off and possibly hurt
him. James walked for miles and became
very weary. He decided to disregard the
warning and ride the horse. He no sooner
had climbed on the back of this old horse when it threw him headlong into the
brambles, injuring his head and one eye.
Ever after, whenever he was confused or angry, this eye would look
When he was
about seventeen or eighteen, he heard the missionaries of the Mormon Church
preach and was converted. He was
baptized in September of 1848.81 He told his family and they were very much opposed. He saved his money to emigrate to Utah and, when all was
ready, he found that his parents had taken the money and refused to let him
leave. He started to save again; this
time he gave his money to the missionaries.
When he had enough, he inquired when the next ship was sailing and,
without bidding anyone goodbye, he took his belongings and started for America. He never wrote to his family.
sailed from Liverpool on the Argo on
January 10, 1850 with a company of 402 Saints under the leadership of Jeter
Clinton.82 After waiting for
a favorable wind, they were about eight weeks on the ocean. During the passage, the Argo was
nearly wrecked off the coast of Cuba. A sudden flash of light of unknown origin
saved the ship from disaster by illuminating the sea and revealing a huge rock
dead again. Captain Charles Mill quickly
changed course in time to avert a collision. The Argo landed at New Orleans on March 8, 1850.83 Afterwards, James traveled up to St. Louis, Missouri where
he stayed for two years and worked as a gardener, saving his money to come to Utah.
was not very tall, measuring about five feet eight inches and weighing about
140 pounds. He had nice regular
features, an equiline nose, brown hair and eyes, and a wonderful ruddy
complexion. He was healthy and strong
and was very willing to help the pioneers about camps with the cattle.
pioneers crossed six rivers on their way to Utah. The wagons and people were ferried
over the larger streams and the oxen were forced to swim. At one river, all the Saints and wagons had
crossed and James was left to drive the oxen and cattle into the river. He did not tell them that he did not know how
to swim, but he determined to try. He
started to wade when a swift current pulled him under. He struggled and came up near an ox. He had the presence of mind to grab the ox's
tail. The crowd cheered and called,
"Hang on! Hang on!" The good old ox pulled him to the shore. He was none the worse for the experience and
he was a hero from then on. The company arrived in the valley in the fall
of 1852.84 Erastus Snow took James Dunster home and
hired him as a gardener until James was married. On December 20, 1852, James was ordained a
Seventy.85 86 87
and James life together is related in Mary’s story)
1867, a family by the name of Case came to Utah
from Winsham, Sommerset County,
England. They had been neighbors to the Dunsters and
told James that his father, mother, and all his brothers had died except his
older brother, George.88
was a very spiritually minded man, having unusual faith and
manifestations. He was a ward teacher
for 30 years, when Sugar House Ward extended from Ninth South to 27th South,
from the mountains to the Jordan River. He was well known for having the gift of
healing. People called him to administer
to the sick from all parts of the ward.
granddaughter was plagued by constant earaches
and one day told her grandfather about them.
He put his hand on her ears and blessed her. She never had an earache after that.89 Other descendents remembered similar stories.90
was a very strict tithe payer. He would
harvest his potatoes and sort them. He gave the little ones to the pigs and
paid the full tithe from the large potatoes.
Besides potatoes, he paid his tithing in wheat, beets, corn, molasses,
pigs, chickens, wood and by donating labor, all in the same honest manner.
James taught his family the Gospel. He would gather them together night and
morning for family prayer. One of his
favorite expressions was "forgive us of our faults and imperfections and
hold them no more against us. Blot them
out of thy book of remembrance." No
matter who called at the house in the evening, the girls' beaus or their
friends, he invited them to join the family in prayer and they knew what to
the time of the passing of his wife,
Mary, James still had quite a full house. The two oldest daughters, Mary
Elizabeth and Esther L. had married.
However, Mary Elizabeth was a plural wife. Because of the legal situation regarding
polygamy, Mary Elizabeth Dunster Eldredge and her children could not live
openly with her husband. This meant that
besides James’ own family of two boys and four teenage girls, the household also included his oldest daughter
and four young grandchildren.
his wife, Mary, died in September of 1886, and passed on the committment to
perform temple work for the dead, the Salt Lake Temple had not yet been completed. In January of 1887, James and his daughter,
Mary Elizabeth Dunster Eldredge, went to the Logan Temple
to do the work for the dead.91
He only had the records of his and his wife's immediate relatives, so he
did not expect to stay many days. They
rented rooms in a house near the temple grounds. This house had been dedicated to aid in the
work of the Lord.
evening, James said he felt that they had been guided to this particular house
and that great blessings would befall them.
That night about 2 A.M., he called Mary to come to his bedside. He asked
her to bring a paper and pencil to write from him. He said several spirits of his dead friends
and relatives were there and wanted him to do their work. Much to Mary's consternation, her father
greeted someone whom she could not see.
He called them by name and talked to them as man to man. Mary wrote their names and the dates of birth
and death, which were needed for their work to be done in the temple. They were baptized for many of their
dead. They also participated in marriage
sealings for their ancestors with James acting as proxy for the husband and his
daughter Mary acting as proxy for the wife.
They first acted as proxy in the sealing of Noah Jones and Esther Lewis;
next they participated in the sealing
for James’ parents. Following those,
they did sealing for Mary Jones’ grandparents followed by James’ grandparents.92 One night James' mother came and sat beside
him on the bed and told him how sad she was when he left home and how she had
mourned his disappearance, but that it was all forgiven now. She knew that he
had to leave to prepare the way for his family.
1888, Mary Elizabeth Dunster Eldredge moved to Logan to be near the temple. It would probably have been in this period of
time, that Emily Jane Dunster Siddoway had the experience of acting as scribe
for her father, possibly starting after he returned from his first experience
in Logan in
January of 1887 and continuing until her marriage in 1890. During the following winters, James Dunster
returned to do work in the Logan Temple.93
the next years, James’ household started to diminish. Francis married in 1887 and Hulda in
1888. When Emily Jane married in 1890,
she and her husband moved to Vernal
where Emily’s sister Esther had gone earlier.
Esther had moved to Vernal in 1887 when her husband, Edward Young, along
with two other men, introduced sheep to the Ashley Valley. James Mathew married in 1893. The youngest child, Samuel Lewis, died of
typhoid fever in 1893 and was buried near his mother.94 The last to leave the Dunster nest was Alice, who married in
1900. Jacob continued to live with his
father, helping on the farm.95
James’ dimishing family responsiblities, he had time to enjoy his
grandchildren. He would sing and romp
with them. One of his favorite songs to
sing with them was, “When Johnny comes marching home again.” He also would sing the LDS church hymns with
them. He had an abundance of white hair
and the grandchildren would take turns sitting on the arm of the rocking chair
to comb his hair so it would snap with electricity. He never grew out of patience or weary.
staying at his daughter, Mary’s, home in Logan,
James Dunster met an English widow by the name of Sarah Young. She had joined the Church in England and emigrated to Utah, bringing with her one son, Thomas. Her
eldest son would not join the Church and had remained in England. One day Mrs. Young came to James Dunster's
daughter's home and said that she had some temple work that she would like to
discuss with Brother Dunster. He
accepted the invitation to her house. He
went over that evening and the next. After about a week, they both came to
Mary's home together and announced that they were married.
the fall of 1891, James and Sarah Young Dunster moved to South Cottonwood Ward
in Salt Lake
County to a farm at 5301 South 900
East.96 97 James was ordained a High Priest in the
Assembly Hall in Salt Lake City
on February 24, 1894 by William C. Dunbar and he spent several years as a ward
had a wonderful flowing well, from which they irrigated the truck garden. James always arose before 5 A.M. He would walk out to the flowing well in all
weather and wash his face and hands in this icy water. Even as he grew older, his skin was smooth
and firm and ruddy. Ida Eldredge Holmes recalled summer vacations spent on the
farm in Cottonwood. She remembered a big
orchard, buckets of foaming milk, evening chores and long buggy rides. She
remembered how James enjoyed family gatherings when his daughters would come
from far and near. They gathered in the
big front room and sang songs. He always loved to talk of the gospel.
was in good health and worked on his farm even on the day he suddenly died,
January 4, 1907.100
His funeral services were held in South Cottonwood Ward. The speakers eulogized his life, speaking of
him as a man who possessed rare gifts from God.
He was buried next to Mary Roberts Jones in City
Cemetery, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Temple records show that
his children continued to do temple work on their ancestors following his
a faith promoting story, Emily Jane’s descriptive narrative stands on it’s
own. It is comforting, however, to place
the story in some historical context and to support it with a framework of documentation. The purpose to this history is not to prove
the very important spiritual experiences of James and Mary Jones Dunster. They will be accepted or rejected by each
reader on a personal basis. Hopefully,
however, these stories and supporting
sources have brought Mary and James closer to their descendents by giving us
insight into their lives. Mary Jones’
experience shows us how desperately hard life was in the early years of Utah. Accepting the fact
that her father, Noah, appeared to Mary at her lowest point reminds us that
those on the other side are aware of our situation and they feel our
needs. Her story is one of both physical
survival and the endurance of faith and commitment. It is important to note that Mary survived
through the help of friends, relatives, and church leaders. James Dunster’s early commitment to the
gospel of Jesus Christ and perservence against obstacles in obeying the call of
a prophet was matched by his diligence in his later life. James’ willingness to do all he could to
perform temple ordinances despite illiteracy, a large family to provide for,
and the distance to the nearest temple, is a great example to all of us. This remarkable legacy also shows us the
value of recording family stories. We
are all indebted to Emily Jane Dunster Siddoway and Ida Eldredge Holmes for
helping to preserve these histories.
1. “This was recorded in August 10, 1947 by Ray
E. Dillman, then serving as President of the Hawaiian Temple,
after visiting Emily Jane Dunster Siddoway.
Ray E. Dillman had lost his parents early in life and the Siddoways had
shown interest in him. He attributes his
ability to go to law school in Chicago
to a loan extended to him by William H. Siddoway. Following the sunrise service, in Vernal, he
was invited to breakfast where this story was told. After the above narrative
was given, a granddaughter, Eloise
Siddoway, said ‘Grandmother, why have you not told us of this before?” She said, “You would only have made fun of
old age and such things.’After recording the story he sent a copy to “Mother
Siddoway” for her confirmation or modification.” Manuscript in possession of family members.
Reed, 24 Hours to Martyrdom, Bookcraft Inc. Salt Lake City, Utah,1973,
pp45-46. Dan Jones had been the captain
of a steamer on the Mississippi, Maid of Iowa. At the time of the martyrdom he had
already sold his half share of the boat and started preparing to go to Wales.
4. Hinckley, Gordon B. Ensign,
“The Thing of Most Worth”, September
1993, pp. 4-7.
5. Dennis, Ronald D. The Call of Zion: The Story of
the first Welsh Mormon Emigration, Brigham Young
University, 1987 p.2.
6. Family records: John Jones, (AFN: 51D9-4D) b. 2 Nov 1839, Penderyn, Brecon, Wales, d. 22
Feb 1845; Elizabeth Jones, (AFN: 51D9-5K) b. 1 Mar 1844, Dowlais, Glamorgan,
Wales, d. 9 Jan 1847; Elizabeth Jones, (AFN: 51D9-6Q) b. 13 Jan 1847, Dowlais,
Glamorgan, Wales, d. 20 Mar 1848
7. Jones, Noah, Prophet
of the Jubilee, Vol III, Merthyr-Tydfil, 1848
10. Bowen, David D., “History of the Life of David D.
Bowen” manuscript, LDS Church Archives
11. Udgorn Seion, March
13. Sonne, Conway B., “Under Sail to Zion” , Ensign, July
1999, pp 7-14
15. Jensen, Jean A,
unpublished manuscript at Sons of Utah Pioneers in Salt Lake City, great granddaughter of Thomas
and Sarah Jeremy, “Sarah was kept very busy making preparations for the
journey. She did much sewing, to fit the
children with proper clothing and much baking.
She made large flat cakes of oatmeal bread and much jelly and jam to
take with them. All of their cooking was
done in a big open fireplace. She packed
six chests and a mahogany bureau with thirteen beautiful hand embroidered
shawls, nine sets of dishes and other treasures to take with them.....It took
seven weeks to reach their destination of New Orleans....They had a good
crossing although they did run out of oatmeal bread and water and had to eat
‘hardtack’ and drink ‘ropey’ water.”
16. Apparently, the voyage wasn’t too bad for everyone,
though. Thomas Jeremy, one of the
emigrants and President of the Llanybyther branch, gave this description of the
voyage: “We had fine weather and fair wind every day. Indeed it was much more a pleasure trip than
I expected. In one part of the ship
musicians were playing while in other parts, good books were being read and studied. Others were conversing about our country and
success of the Gospel in Wales. We held prayer meeting nearly every night
instead of family prayers.” This journal
is quoted in Ship, Saints and Mariners by Conway B. Stone, University of Utah Press, 1987 p. 34.
18. Siddoway, Emily
Jane Dunster, daughter of Mary Jones Dunster, manuscript, Daughters of Utah
Pioneers, 1937, p 1
19. Holmes, Ida Eldredge, granddaughter of Mary Jones
Dunster, manuscript, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, undated, p 1.
22. Jones, Noah, Cwyn yr ymfudwr, a’ I ddau anerchiad (Lament
of the emigrant and his two greetings). Merthyr Tydfil:
John Davis, The only extant copy of this pamphlet is owned by the Huntington
23. Siddoway, Emily
Jane Dunster, p 1
25. Bowen, David
D., journal, pp 22-23, transcript copy in the possession of Ronald D. Dennis.
26. Journal History of the Church, LDS Church Historical
Department, The only mention of Stringtown in the Journal History of the Church
is in a report made by Edward Hunter on July 4, 1850, page 3. He was sent on a mission for the Perpetual
Emigration Fund in October of 1849. He
went to Kanesville in December of 1849.
He then went to Philadelphia
with gold bullion to sell for the church at the U. S. Mint. He returned to Pottawattamie
County in March and began buying oxen
with the cash and organizing a company of Saints to take to the valley of the Great Salt Lake.
He reported, “I had my cattle herded and kept in a yard in
Stringtown. Our wagons began to assemble
on the Welsh Farm nearby. On June the
25th, 1850 we made out start for our journey.”
#0442963, 1850 Iowa Census, Pottawattamie County, p 096, Family History
Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
#30105, Pottawattamie County, Iowa,
Marriages 1848- 1856, page 44, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah
, both Mrs Mary Meredith and Noah Jones were listed in the marriage record as
being, “of Stringtown”.
29. Frontier Guardian, Orson Hyde editor, Kanesville, pg 2
col 2, October 30, 1850, “on the 16th instant, the Omaha Indians set fire to
the Prairie, a little west of this town, and there being a high wind at the
time spread the flames with great rapidity; burning stacks of hay and wheat,
fields of corn and fences in its fury.
At one time it threatened to burn the town, but the wind shearing round,
it galloped towards Stringtown, doing immense damage, burning hay, wheat, etc.,
in its progress. The amount of damage
sustained by individuals will amount in the aggregate from five to eight
thousand dollars. The loss falls upon
those the least able to bear it. It may
be very pretty fun for the Indians to destroy the farmers all; but we would
like to know where the owners of property are to seek redress for damages.”
30. Jones, William Robert, letter, postscript dated
September 13, 1851, translated by Ronald D. Dennis.
31. Siddoway, Emily Jane Dunster, p 1
32. Baker, Ruth Ann Tolman, a descendent of Mary Owens
Meredith Jones, 97 Crestwood Road, Kaysville, Utah, 84037, (801) 544-8116,
conversation, October 1999.
33. Holmes, Ida Eldredge,
Dorothy Rae Siddoway Anderson, in conversation of August 1999, says that Noah
Jones may have died in St. Louis. There is no
mention of Mary in David Bowen’s journal when Noah traveled to Gravois near St. Louis for work from
the fall of 1849 to January of 1850.
This would suggest that she stayed in Council Bluffs. If James went to St. Louis to work again in the winter of
1851-1852 it seems unlikely that Mary would have gone with him. However, Emily Jane Dunster Siddoway’s story
recounts Mary being with him at the time of his death and all family oral
tradition speaks of a deathbed promise concerning temple work. Marsale Siddoway submitted to the Ancestral File that
Noah died in the fall of 1851.
35. Emily Jane
Dunster Siddoway’s story, written in 1947 by Ray Dillman, says that Mary was twelve at the time of her
father’s death. This appears to be a
mistake. Mary’s birthday was August 1,
1837. Noah died sometime between May of
1851 (when he wrote a letter to his father) and the spring of 1852. Mary would have turned 14 years old in August
36. Jones, William Robert, letter, PS dated September 13, 1851, “I received a letter from
you which comforted me greatly to hear that you are well.....(torn page) but he
is succeeding in the world quite well except that up to now he continues
stubborn against the religion of the Saints; Jacob, your brother, sends his
brotherly regards to you, but he, as the old proverb says, has turned back as
the dog turns back to his vomit or as the sow wallows in the mire. Benjamin, my son, sends his loving regards to
you, but he as yet does not desire religion....After writing this letter, I
received your dear letter ...which brought joy to me to hear that you are all
well as I was hoping presently.”.
37. A search of census records for 1850 in the St. Louis area and the area of Council Bluffs does not show any older couple
without children named Elsworth or Ellsworth.
38. Siddoway, Emily
Jane Dunster, p 1.
39. Since Noah
wrote a letter to his father dated 13 May 1851 and his father sent him a letter
sometime after 13 Sept 1851 and addressed it to Kanesville, Council Bluffs, it doesn’t seem likely that
Noah had told his father of any plans to cross the plains during the summer of
1851. Since Mary’s marriage to W. W.
Phelps occurred in April of 1853, the assumption is being made that she arrived
in the valley by the fall of 1852. The
restrictions of travel on the plains would have meant that she couldn’t have
left Council Bluffs before spring of 1852 and
that she probably arrived in Salt
Lake by fall of
1852. Ida Eldredge Holmes wrote in her
manuscript at the DUP that Mary arrived in the fall of 1852.
40. Hinckley, Gordon B.,
41. No mention of
the Murther family appears in the three microfilms of pioneer immigration, the
manuscript history of the Church lists of immigrations for 1852, or the card
catalog for the documentary history of the church at the LDS Church Historical
Library. There is no Murther family in
the International Genealogical Index or the Ancestral File. The Daughters of the Utah Pioneers has no
record of any Murther family. A search of variant spellings gave the name
Merthyr. Possibly Mary Jones came with a
family from Merthyr rather than a family named Murther.
42. Holmes, Ida Eldredge,
p 2. It seems questionable that Mary would go to live
with Phelps for six months and yet accept to marry him.
44. Microfilm #
183393, Sealings in the Endowment House, 3 April 1853, #1117, “William Wines
Phelps, Hanover, Morris, New Jersey, 17 Feb 1792, Mary Jones, Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan, S. Wales, 1 Aug
1837, sealed by Brigham Young in this office at 6 ½ hour, signed T. B.”
(Probably Thomas Bullock)
45. Siddoway, John Lewis, Jr., great-grandson of Mary
Jones Dunster through Emily Jane Dunster Siddoway and John Lewis Siddoway, Sr.,
2110 Cresthill Drive, Holladay, 84117 (801) 278-6072, conversation, July 1999
46. Van Orden, Bruce, 1356 East 950 South, Springville, Utah
84663, (801) 489-6746,
conversation , July 1999
47. Broadbent, Lorna Doone Siddoway, granddaughter of Mary
Jones Dunster through Emily Jane Dunster Siddoway, 1466 South Wasatch Drive, Salt Lake
City, Utah 84108,
(801) 582-4489, phone conversation, July
48. Holmes, Ida Eldredge,
49. Brigham Young
private papers in the LDS Archives, second floor, Church
Salt Lake City, Utah.
Family members are not allowed to view these papers. The LDS church would not release a copy of
the divorce certificate.
50. Siddoway, John Lewis, Jr.
51. Paddock, Colleen Broadbent,
great-granddaughter of Mary Jones Dunster through Emily Jane Dunster Siddoway
and Lorne Doone Siddoway Broadbent, 384 East Spencer Way, Farmington, Utah
53. Holmes, Ida Eldredge, pp 2-3 .
54. Siddoway, Emily Jane Dunster, p.2.
55. The letter from Mary’s grandfather, William Robert
Jones, survived and in the 1970's was in the possession of Mary’s
great-grandson, J. Lowell Young (deceased), of Murray.
The original letter in Welsh is missing at the time of this writing.
56. Emily Jane specifically says that Mary went to the
mill which is now in Liberty
Park. Stan Holmes related that in her time of
crisis Mary had gone to the Jordan River. The four mile distance from Salt
Lake City to the Jordan
would not have been a problem for girl who had walked across the plains. Many of the Welsh Saints who came in 1849 had
acquired land and settled on the banks of the Jordan River. If that land was still in the possession of
Welsh Saints is not known. However, it
would be hoped that if she was living among the Welsh that she would have been
receiving some support from them. Also, no record could be found of a mill on
the Jordan River at this period.
57. Salt Lake City Parks and Recreation, phone conversation, July 1999.
59. They were sealed in the Endowment House on March 28, 1856, two weeks before their first
child was born. Microfilm # 183394 Family History Library, Salt Lake City,
Utah, pg 8 Endowment House Sealings of wives to husbands 1855-1856, “solemnized
by B. Young, Witnesses: J. M. Grant and W. W. Phelps
60. Holmes, Ida Eldredge, p 3.
61. Siddoway, Emily Jane Dunster, p 2.
62. A map on
display in the library of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museum shows that
Charles Kennedy family owned the land adjacent to the north to the land owned
by Zerubbabel Snow in the plat of land between 1300 South and 2100 South and
between 1100 East and 1300 East. It is
interesting to note that Sugarhouse Ward records seem to show that Charles
Kirkham’s wife’s name was Hulda Elvira.
Mary Roberts Jones named a daughter Hulda Elvira, possibly naming her
after this friend.
63. Kirkham, James, journal, 1849-1929, Microfilm #MS 1431
at LDS Historical Department on the second floor of LDS Church office building,
shows that the Kirkham family lived in the Sugarhouse area for a short time in
the late 1850's.
64. Siddoway, Emily Jane Dunster, p 2.
66. Holmes, Ida Eldredge,
67. Holmes, Ida Eldredge, p 4-5.
68. Utah 1860
Mortality Schedule, Accelerated
Indexing Systems, Compiled by Ronald Vern Jackson, 979.2 X2jm 1860, “John
Dunster, Salt Lake County, 1 day old male, Jan, died at birth”
69. Holmes, Ida Eldredge,
70. Holmes, Ida Eldredge,
71. Following the choices of names can be
interesting. The first daughter was
named Mary, the mother’s name. The
second daughter Esther L. has the maternal grandmother’s name and the third
daughter has the paternal grandmother’s name, Frances. Hulda Elvira, the fourth daughter, has the
name of a nearby neighbor, suggesting a close friendship or possibly reflecting
something about the nature of neighboring wives helping at childbirth.
72. Hamilton, LaRue Ruff, phone conversation, December 7,
1999. LaRue recalled the story that
Jacob was beaten at school until he bled.
He was afraid to return to school and remained uneducated. As this was told to her, the beating injured
his mind but she did not know if he had learning difficulties before the
incident. She described him as good
natured, but dumb and he didn’t talk very much.
When LaRue and her cousins visited
the farm, they would sometimes
tease Jacob by locking him in the chicken house when he had gone in to gather
the eggs. He would holler for a while
and they would let him out. He was a
73. Holmes, Ida Eldredge, p 5-11.
74. Siddoway, Emily Jane Dunster, p 3.
77. Holmes, Ida Eldredge, manuscript, written in 1936,
copy obtained from Gary Eldredge,708 Century Farm Lane, Naperville, Illinois 60563,
78. James gave his birth as January 24, 1831, Sommerset County, England
when he was sealed in the Logan
Temple to Mary Roberts
Jones. The 1841 Census of Winsham, Sommerset, England
(microfilm # 474600, Family History Library, Salt Lake City) gives his age as 13, which if
correct would mean that he was born between May 1827 and April 1828. His Death certificate issused by the State of
that his birthdate was 25 January 1828, however the same death certificate says
he was 77 years, 11 months and 10 days old at the time of his death implying
that he was born on 25 January 1829. In
the New Orleans
Passenger Lists 1 Jan 1850-15 Apr 1850 microfilm # 200163, he is listed as being
20 years old on the 11 of March 1850.
This would mean that he was born after March 1829 and before March in
1830. In the Sugarhouse Ward Records, 1876-1905 page 8, microfilm # 26792, item
2, he says that he was born in Jan 1831.
This research was done by Gary Eldredge of Naperville, Illinois. His obituary ( Deseret Evening News,
Saturday, January 5, 1907, p 2 col3, under the headline, “Found Dead on Bench”
) says that that he died at age 79. This
story uses the birthdate that James used in the Logan temple.
79. 1841 Census for Winsham, Somerset, England, microfilm
# 474600, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah
80. Gary Eldredge did the following research: The 1841
Census of Winsham, Somerset,
microfilm # 474600) and the 1851 Census of Winsham (FHL microfilm # 221085)
give John Dunster’s occupation as “cooper”.
On James’ mother’s death certificate, John Dunster is a cooper. The informant for the death certificate was
#10750673, Early Church File, card number 870,Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, says that he was baptized by John
Oatler. Microfilm #924617, item 4, High
Priest Genealogies, S. L. Stake of Zion,
1890's, says that he was baptized and confirmed by John Osler. There is no John Oatler or John Osler in the
Missionary Index File
Emigration Card Index, 1840-1925 microfilm 296432 at Family History Library, Salt Lake City , Utah
83. Sonne, Conway B., Ships, Saints and Mariners,
1987, pp 15-16.
84. No record has yet
been found of the company that James traveled with on the way to the
valley. He must have arrived by October
3, 1852 because he received his Patriarchal Blessing on that date.
85. LDS Sugar House Ward Records, Great Salt Lake County,
Utah, 1876-1905, page 8, microfilm # 26792, item 4, Family History Library,
Salt Lake City, Utah.
86. Deseret News, November 5, 1856, 6:280 “Report of the 35th Quorum
of Seventies...Members:...James Dunster....All members claiming a standing in
the 35th Quorum of Seventies must report immediately to Charles King, clerk of
the quorum, G. S. L. Giving their place of residence, &c or their places
will be filed by active members. Those who live in the city are requested to be
punctual in meeting with us at br. Ira Willis’ on the 1st Saturday of each month, 13th ward. Charles King, Clerk, 8th ward”
87. Deseret News, May
14, 1877, 26:236, Doc. Hist, 1453, “GeorgeQ. Cannon read the following names of
missionaries who were unanimously sustained by the Conference- James Dunster......”
88. James’ mother, Frances, died
June 22, 1853 of decline, at the age of 59 (Certified death Certificate,
Register Office, London,
in the possession of Gary Eldredge). She
was buried 29 June 1853 (Winsham Parish Registers).
Dunster, great-grandson of James Dunster, 9436 South 220 East, Salt Lake City,
phone conversation in September of 1999 and Mabel Stringham, daughter of
Lawrence Dunster Eldredge, 4198 Morning Star Drive, Holladay 84037, phone
conversation, September 1999.
91. Logan Temple Marrriage Book, starting date, 21 May
1884, microfilm # 0178061, Special Collections Room at Family History Library,
Salt Lake City, Utah.
93. James Dunster
and his daughters Mary Elizabeth Dunster Eldredge, Hulda Elvira Dunster Pack,
and Alice M. Dunster are listed as proxies for about 500 ordinances in 1887,
1888, 1889, 1890, and 1891 [Logan Temple Records: Baptisms, FHL Films 177845,
177846, 177848, 177849, 177850, 177851, and 177852; Endowments, FHL Films
177957, 177958, and 177959; Marriage sealings, FHL Films 178061, 178062, and
178063]. He was not listed as having
done any sealings of children to parents in the period 1884-1903. The sealings of children to parents has been
completed by Gary Eldrdege.
94. Hamilton, LaRue Ruff.
95. Hamilton, LaRue Ruff, After James Dunster died, Jacob went to
live with his brother, James, until that household grew to ten children. He lived his last ten years with his
sister, Francis and her husband, John
Sherman. They had no children and Jacob
was good company for them. He was buried
at his father’s feet in the Salt
Lake City Cemetery.
96. Microfilm # 0026625, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah; Records of members South Cottonwood Ward, Nov
29, 1891: membership records of James Dunster and family of four, records
received from the Sugarhouse Ward, also membership records of Sarah Young
Dunster and son, Thomas, records received from Logan 2nd Ward.
97. Dunster, James L., a great-grandson of James Dunster,
phone conversation December 8, 1999, 9436 South 230 East, Sandy, Utah
84070, (801) 571-4879. Erickson’s Dairy later occupied part of the
924617, item 4, High Priest Genealogies, S. L. Stake of Zion, 1890's
100.Deseret Evening News Friday, January 4, 1907, page 2, col 7, “Died: Dunster-at his home in
South Cottonwood, Salt Lake County at 8, Jan 4, 1907 of heart failure, James
Dunster, formerly of Sugar House. The
deceased was born in Sommersetshire (England) Jan 25, 1829. Funeral notice later.” Deseret Evening News, Saturday,
January 5, 1907, p 2 col 3 “FOUND DEAD ON BENCH” James Dunster of South
Cottonwood Dies Suddenly at His Home, James Dusnter a well-known farmer of
South Cottonwood died suddenly at his home.
He was 79 years of age and up to yesterday had enjoyed very good health
and his family had no previous intimation that he was afflicted with heart
trouble. Yesterday he left the house and
went to do some chores. He sat down on a
bench in the yard to rest and after he had been gone for some time his son
instituted a search for him and found him dead on the bench. The deceased was born in Sommersetshire,
England 79 years ago and come to Utah in 1849 where he has resided ever since. For years he has neen a faithful member of
the Church. He was married twice and had
eight children by his first wife. He
leaves a widow and the children referred to above to mourn his death. Arrangements for the funeral have not yet
101. TIB, Special
Collections Room, Family History Library, Salt
Lake City, Utah.
Jones, Mary Roberts
Dunster, James Record
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