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Ashton, Jane (Treharne) - Biography

THE LIFE STORY OF JANE TREHARNE ASHTON

In Llangyndeirne of Carmarthenshire, Wales, lived a humble Welsh family by the name of Treharne. The Father, William, and the Mother, Ann Richards Treharne. We know little of the home life of these two brave people for their sojourn here on earth came to an end, as they responded to the call to gather to Zion after hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ taught in their native land, and accepting it. We do know from the lives of their children that they were fine, devout people delighting in truth and its goodness; and implanted in their children a gentle, firm, faith that never faltered. These characteristics are golden treasures to their descendents.

Into this lowly welsh home came six children, namely, William, Mary, Jane, Sarah, Satsie, and another boy child. Our story particularly concerns Jane our ancestor. Jane was born in Llangyndeirne, Carmarthenshire, Wales, on 2 April 1828. Little is known of her childhood, but she was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in February 1848 by Elias Morris. Soon after her baptism, she left Wales to come to America to make her home in Great Salt Lake City, and to gather with the Saints there.

In company with her Father, Mother, and family they sailed on the good ship Buena Vista, in the Dan Jones Company. Many things occurred on this journey that effected their lives and to hear of some of them we have two different reports to which we turn.

From the book, Heart Throbs, in the pioneer Memorial Building, this excerp is taken as written by Sarah Evans Jeremy:

With her husband, Sarah came as a pioneer of 1849. Her story of the people stricken with Cholera follows: 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 slime 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 Mar, one-third were stricken with the Cholera while enroute 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 sticken. 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 Treharne (later, Ashton), they were able to pass through the terrible ordeal.

The Cholera raged from New Orleans to Council Bluffs. In spite of all trial they had, they turned their faces westward, undaunted. 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 the could scarcely walk down the gang-plank. They left Wales in Feb. 1849 and arrived in Utah, the "Land of Promise" on Oct. 28, 1849.

Another account of this journey from "Heart Throbs": At the end of Dan Jones mission to Wales, Captain Jones sailed from Liverpool Feb. 26, 1849, with 24 emigrating Saints on board the ship, "Buena Vista." The boat was a leaky one that the English had discarded. They said, "Let them have it and it will go down with the damned Mormons on board." But Brother Jones being seaworthy and wise, repaired the ship and with prayers each day for safety, they came across the ocean, unloaded everything upon the docks at New Orleans, (much of it water-soaked and spoiled) and as the last was taken to land, the ship sank in the harbor. "They had been protected by the hand of Him who doeth all things well."

In a letter written by Thomas Jeremy, husband of the above, Sarah, to a brother Davis in Wales, we get this interesting account of that journey also: Dated 18 April 1849.

Will you be so kind as to lend you udgorn that I may say through it about the first work from a distant country. That which I desire to make known through it is the history of our journey by sea from Liverpool to this place, New Orleans.

On Monday Feb. 26, 1849, about 2 P.M. we commenced our journey, by going out of the Waterloo Dock and singing the Saints farewell. During this time my feelings were wrought in a wonderful manner, too much for me to describe on paper. I remember will the sober faces of my faithful brother William Phillips of Mercurthur, Abel Evans, Eliaser Edwards, John Davis, my brother David, and Daniel Evans of Velinvach, Ustrad, Cardiganshire, who came from Wales all the way to bid us farewell.

O how heavenly the fellowship of these brethren many times in Wales. The day was often too short for us to talk over the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. We would often extend the conversation through the night while others were sleeping and it came to my mind when should we meet and see one another again. I thought of hearing something saying that the time would not be long before I would meet them all in Zion and this gave me courage.

When we were being towed out of the Dock, I saw my dear brethern following down on the river bank as far as possible, and I imagined I could hear on the breeze, them saying, ðO Father take Thou the care of them, for we cannot go further."

After we had gone about thirty miles out to sea, the steamboat left us alone on the great ocean. The wind was against us the first day but the weather was fine.

On Tuesday we came in sight of an island, the land looked barren and the mountains very high and dwelling houses were numerous skirting the beches beaches. Tuesday and Thursday following, most of us were very much out of sorts through sea sickness, but some of us escaped without any sickness. During these days our dear President, Captain Dan Jones was very mindful of the sick. He showed his love towards us very much. He would walk back and forth through the great ship, and administer to those that were sick. He and Brother Daniel Daniels of Brechfa and William Jenkins of Cardiff and other faithful ones were very busy waiting on us, and making gruel for those that were sick. This was the most tasty and beneficial food for us during these days. It would stay on the stomach better than anything else. I did not want either salt or butter with the gruel, nor could I eat any bread with it. It was the same with my dear wife and children, but Mary my youngest daughter, was not sick during the whole voyage, though many prophesied before we left Wales that this one would surely die on the sea because she was nursing her mother, but to our Heavenly Father be the glory for keeping us all alive. We did not remain sick but a few days and I see by this time that the sea sickness has done us good by purifying our stomachs.

I recommend all those that will follow us to Zion to bring oatmeal, and oatbread with them. They will find this the best food when they are seasick. The best way for those that follow us to Zion to keep their health is to keep on desk as much as possible. This will be an advice that will benefit them at our expense.

Bro. Jones kept very busy to get people to go on deck, but many would hide from him by covering up in bed while he passed and I fear that I was not far from being like one of these. He would sometimes jokingly say that he would bring the pully down and put a rope around us and hoist us up against our own will, but all willingly obeyed, and went on deck so the joke was not executed.

Love toward us caused brother Jones in every way to benefit us. We all see his worth to us from the beginning of the journey until now and I believe that bro. Jones will continue in his effort until we reach the valley of the mountains and I believe also that he will continue in this effort until we shall enjoy every blessing temporally and spiritually.

Dear Brother, you may publish through your sweet sounding udgorn that false prophets are those that have prophesied through the press and pulpit that Bro. Jones would sell us as slaves and take all our money. It is plain to see where their inspiration comes from, and spirit leads them to prophesy such lies about us.

But to return to the history of the voyage. There were not many that of us sick after the first day or two. I do not intend to give a daily history of the voyage as I intended at first in this letter because Bro. Jones has given a minute history of the daily occurance. It suffices for me to testify that he has stated the conditions correctly. I have a daily account of the things that happened and also the conditions of the weather. We sometimes saw a large school of fish jumping and rolling in the water in the wake of the ship. They were 6 to 7 ft. long called sea pigs. We also saw dolfin. It was caught by one of our sea man. They consider this the handsomest fish in the sea. It is about the size of the ordinary salmon of the river type. We saw scores of flying fish. They were flying in flocks over the water. On the 19th of March we saw a fish about 12 ft. in length. Some of them called it shark and others young whale. We left many ships and islands behind and our vessel hurried towards the setting sun. We had fine weather and fair wind nearly every day. In deed it was much more of a pleasure trip than I expected, the middle of March wa was like June. While in one part of the hip musicians were playing, in other part good book were being read and studied- other conversing about our country and the success of the gospel is that in Wales and many of their relations had obeyed it. And my prayer is that my relatives and all those who heard me preach in the countries of Carmarthen and Cardigan and all Wales will rake hold of the truth and obey the gospel, that the seed that I sowed will grow luxuriantly. I have no doubt that the gospel, that the seed that I showed will grow luxuriantly. I have no doubt that it was planted in good soil and that it will bring firth fruit. Those that are left in charge will watch over the young sprouts that they grow, and plant much more of the seed in good soil, that it may not be destroyed but bring forth much fruit.

We held family prayer and prayer meetings nearly every night instead of family prayer. Our Heavenly Father gave us of his spirit from above and answered our prayers until the winds obeyed us. We held saints meetings every Sunday and commemorated our Lord and Savior and some times in those meetings the spirit would make known to us knowledge about you in Wales. Yes, it revealed to us great things, and oh how sweet was the teachings and exortations of Brother Jones to us and about the resurrection of the dead- how they would be raised and with what kind of bodies they would come. There's more mistery in this than some believe.

Well I see that the letter is getting long no matter how sweet it is to write to you. I must draw it to a close but before ending I desire to inform my dear brother and sisters who intend to follow us to Zion to obey the councils of their presidents from time to time, for then they will have much happiness through the Holy Spirit, but those on the other hand who disobey the council and disregard the Holy Priesthood had better stay at home until they become possessed of more of Godós Spirit, and be obedient and well bred and gentlemenly and easy of handling.

My dear Brothers and Sisters, hurry and come after us and remember the above council, be obedient and remember the word of the Savior Jesus Christ, that the meek shall inherit the earth. And now dear brother Davis after writing so much, I will terminate by informing you that we have reached this place in good health and my wife joins me in remembrance to you and wishing you every good,

Your Brother in Christ
Thomas Jeremy.

It is not hard to imagine their joy to reach the councils of the Saints at Council bluffs, after all these many hardships. One of the hardest for Jane was the losing of her mother on the way up the Mississippi river. Little is given about the part she played on that momentous journey but her children have heard her say how her mother was buried before they reached their destination, but judging from Sister Jeremy's account, Jane was an angel of mercy helping whenever she could. Apparently from the article to follow, Jane was not present when her mother passed away, why we do not know. Sister Jeremy said she did nursing and she may have been doing that at that time.

They went as far as Council Bluffs and then stayed there until July 852. It was necessary to gather equipment together to make the journey across the plains. During their stay in Council Bluffs their faith was further tried. The dread disease Cholera broke out among the saints and many were ill. In the number 8 edition of the "Early Scenes in Church History", the following article is found as told by Jane herself:

"In the winter of 1850, Elder Able Evens lived in Council Bluffs, on the eastern bank of the Missouri river. (The Treharns family came in the company of Bro. Abel Evans). A great many of the Saints were there at the time, working or awaiting the return of fine weather before starting across the plains. That locality was somewhat noted for its insalubriety, but during that winter an unusually large amount of sickness prevailed. Some of the more prominent elders were kept busy going from house to house administering to the sick among the Saints and scores, perhaps hundreds of cases of healing occurred under their hands, many of which were quite remarkable."

"Sister Ashton", the article continues, "Now of Salt Lake City, relates how she was healed there when near death's door, and under circumstances, the memory of which, even now causes her to shed tears. (1882) She had been sick for a considerable length of time and so bad for two weeks that she had not been able to take a mouthful of food when she heard of the death of her Father.

In her weak condition this intelligence was a heavy blow to her. Her mother had died previously and had been buried without her having the privilege of being with her or even seeing her face when dead, and the thought of being deprived of this privilege in the case of her father also, almost overcame her. She had, during her illness, felt a strong desire to live and now in addition to that she was anxious to see her dead father before he was buried, and attend his funeral. Some of the Elders came and administered to her, but they were not men in whom she had a great deal of faith, and she failed to receive any benefit from their administration. After awhile, however, Bro. Evans called to see her, and on learning of her desire to attend her father's funeral, he promised her without any hesitation that she would do so. Placing his hands upon her head, he rebuked the disease with which she was prostrated and prounced the blessing of health upon her. She arose immediately from her bed and rode six miles that same day and saw her Father buried."

This great faith should be an incentive to us, her descendents, to strive to attain greater faith that we too may be blessed when necessary, and be able to live good faithful lives.

Aunt Emma recalled hearing her mother tell how she walked barefoot, most of the way from Council Bluffs to Salt Lake City, saving her shoes to wear when she arrived. She, also, told how Grandmother came with some family. The father of the family was possessed of a quick temper and eve several times during the journey he became angry at his wife, and to spite her, he threw the big family Bible away. The wife would pick it up and bring it along, but if he got was angry, out would go the Bible again. The pioneers, like their descententd were very human as this experience shows.

They arrived in Salt Lake City in the latter part of Sept. 1852. Jane went to work in the home of President John Taylor. While working there a certain young man from Wales was hired to mend their shoes and make shoes. As he went often to the Taylor home to fix shoes, Jane soon learned that his name was Edward Ashton from Wales. Having a common interest was helpful in their getting acquainted and a thriving romance resulted.

Jane Treharne was married to Edward Ashton 6 Feb. 1854, William Lewis performing the ceremony. They received their endowments in the Council House in Salt Lake City, 1 April 1854 and were sealed by Pres. Brigham Young at his office in Salt Lake 25 March 1855.

A detailed description of their first home is given in the life of her husband, Edward Ashton, as compoled by her children. Their home life was simple, having few of life's luxuries ever, but her quiet dignity reigned and as the children came along, each shared the responsibilities of life and all worked together for the good of the family.

No one was ever turned from her door hungry. Their food was of the plainest variety, but, was always shared gladly. One such incident is the sor story of an old Indian squaw who came year after year to beg for food. Always Jane gave her bread and molasses and gave her an old dress or something to make her happy. The last time she came and girls told her that Jane had passed away, but the old squaw went around the house many times saying ðWine o sqaw", but she never returned again. Her love for Jane was very great.

Aunt Matie Ashton, Uncle Jed's wife, used to tell how she loved Grandma Ashton's cooking, especially her griddle cakes made with light dough. Aunt Emma took these in her school lunch and Matie would chase her to get her to trade so she could have the griddle cakes.

Grandfather, Edward Ashton brought the wages home to his dear Jane, and she used it most carefully, always keeping out of debt, showing her good management and good judgement.

On the occasion of the death of Pres. Brigham Young, some of the neighboring sisters came to Jane and said, "Oh, Jane Pres. Young is dead, what shall we do? What will happen to us now?"

"We still have John Taylor and Willford Woodruff," Jane quickly replied. "They will lead us as the Lord directs". Her faith never wavered one bit, and though her health was very poor for years, as she suffered with asthma, often not being able to lie down much, and she wasn't able to attend her Sacrement meetings, yet she had the Priesthood take her the Sacrement every Sunday. She taught her children to go even if she couldnót go herself, always seeing that on Saturday night the shoes were shined, etc., ready for Sabbath day.

She was mindful of the children always. Aunt Emma recalled how she would worry if one was not home, particularly the girls, and often she took Emma with her to go look for the missing one.

After Sally died, Jane took her children to rear, and although her health was poor she didn't complain, but was happy to know that she could help. Jodie describes her as a quiet, patient, unassuming person. He said he never saw anyone with so much patience. Jodie often combed her hair for her for hours at a time. She had a lot of hair and he, as a child in her home, was the ideal one to do that little favor, which she enjoyed so much. He said he sat on the floor many times listening to her talking to the good old Welsh friends. They too were faithful to her, and when she was not well they came to comfort and cheer her.

Jodie was so close to her those days that he often thought of her condition and even dreamed of her just before her death. After the 26th of August 1897, Jodie had a dream in which he saw the sky get very light and he saw people coming calling to Grandma Ashton. The next morning when he told his dream to the family they became quite excited. Grandma Ashton had been very ill, and that day she passed to her heavenly home on 27 Aug. 1897.

"Though she was an invalid for the last many years," Lolly writes, "Grandpa Ashton leaned on her greatly in considering her opinion and judgement in all important decisions. His devotion was unusual. One of such perfect devotion can suffer greatly deeply. In mentioning Grandma's departure to her "Heavenly Homeñ, members of the family often repeat these words; òShe couldnót be called to any other kind of home, for she had made to all the family a heavenly home here on earth. A SWEETER SPIRIT NEVER LIVED".

 

Immigrants:

Treharne, Jane

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