Overland Trail

Overland Trail
A blog sharing information about the Meears family who worked hard to be able to walk their way to Utah -- written by a third great granddaughter.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Eliza Meears, 1834-1835, just a baby!

Burials in the Parish of Ombersley in the County of Worcester in the Year 1835.   Page 108, No. 863 Name: Eliza Mears   Abode: Hadley   When Buried: May 28th   Age: 1   By whom the Ceremony was performed: L. H. Burrows, Curate.”[i] 

Bishop's Transcripts, Burial record, Parish church of Ombersley, Worcester, 28 May 1835, see full page below.
Eliza MEEARS was listed in only one record and her surname was spelled Mears.  The Ombersley parish record listed her abode as Hadley upon her burial 28 May 1835 at age one.

The curate, L.H. Burrows, is the same man who had listed christenings for her siblings, Elizabeth [28 July 1833], Sarah [18 October 1835], and Jane [7 January 1838] in the Ombersley parish records.  

Page 108, Bishop's Transcripts for Ombersley parish burials, 28 May 1835, No. 863, Eliza Mears
A search was performed in the Ombersley parish records for any record using the Meears surname [under any of its variant spellings]  for the years 1833 to 1840 because these were the years George and Sarah Ann Gibson Meears lived with their family in that area. We know they had moved to Batheaston in Somersetshire by 9 September 1840 when their daughter Emma was born.  

The only records listed under the Meears surname for the 1833-1840 period of time were connected with their family. Thus, it was concluded that Eliza Mears of Hadley was the daughter of George and Sarah Ann Gibson Meears and had died as an infant.

It is important to note that this child did live. There is often an effort to combine her records with those of her sister, Elizabeth, who was listed as Eliza on the Amazon’s manifest when she emigrated. Elizabeth was born 3 July 1833 and lived a full life, married Thomas Sunderland Hawkins, and had descendants. Elizabeth Meears Hawkins died in Mexico 20 March 1901. See the previous blog.  

[i] Eliza Meers burial 28 May 1835, Church of England. Parish church of Ombersley (Worcestershire) (Main Author), Bishop’s Transcripts, Baptisms and burials, 1820-1838, page 108, no. 863, FHL film 350594.

Elizabeth Meears Hawkins 1833-1901 continued… Born in England – Died in Mexico

In the February 16th blog we were able to trace Betsey from her birth in Ombersley in 1833, thru her appearance in the 7 April 1861English census records.

 Elizabeth’s life then moved abroad as she emigrated with her mother and siblings. They arrived in New York on 20 July 1863 aboard the Amazon.[i]

There was not much published about the Amazon.  I found this picture on Tall Ships of Atlantic Canada. This site is a virtual exhibition and educational website produced by the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.[ii]  This ship was built in 1861 and its’ name later changed.  This Amazon is the only ship I have found functioning in the correct time period; it is possibly the ship the Meears family traveled on.

Elizabeth Meears Hawkins
Narrative information about Elizabeth’s life has not been found so church and census records were used to piece together her life.  Her marriage and sealing to Thomas Hawkins were performed on 28 May 1864 in the Endowment House, in Salt Lake City, Utah. This was also the date she received her initiatory and endowment ordinances.[iii]

It became apparent that she was part of a polygamous marriage when she appeared in the census, 21 Jul 1870, in the 14th Ward, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, with her two children, Elizabeth and David. They lived next door to Thomas and his first wife, Hariet Hawkins, who had six children.[iv]
1870 US census, Salt Lake City, Ward 14, 21 July 1870, Elizabeth Hawkins and children
She was living in Lehi, Utah with Thomas, who was working as a tin smith, and their four  children, Elizabeth, David, Alma and Louisa on 3 June 1880.[v]  There was another wife, Sarah, and her four children living in the same household. 

1880 US census, Lehi, Utah, Enumeration District 87, 3 June 1880, Thomas Hawkins household

Elizabeth Meears Hawkins from Ancestry Trees
Elizabeth and her family did not appear in any other US records and might have moved to Mexico before the 1900 US census was taken.  The Mormon colonies in Mexico were believed to have been settled when the federal government tried to curb polygamy by making it a felony.  Since the Hawkins families were participating in the practice, they could have been among the first colonists that located near the Sierra Madre Mountains in northern Mexico in 1885. 

She was living in Colonia Juarez, Galeana, Chihuahua, Mexico when she died on 20 March 1901 at the age of 67. She was buried there the next day.[vi]

[i] Sarah Mears and family, New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957, Amazon, 20 July 1863, passengers 369-375, 391, www.ancestry.com, accessed 28 November 2011; Sarah Ann Mears family emigration record 20 June 1863, Record of Members, Birmingham, Warwickshire Branch, item 4, page 83, FHL film 86981.
[ii] http://www.atlantictallships.ca/gallery.php?action=display&ID=616&OutputType=PortraitsByShip&lang=e accessed 27 February 2012.
[iii] Elizabeth Meears, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, IGI, batch 6940194, FHL film 035130; Thomas Hawkins sealing to Elizabeth Mears, 28 May 1864, EHOUS, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, IGI, FHL film 183395, page 325, reference 6699.
[iv] Elizabeth Hawkins household, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah Territory, US 1870 census, ward 14, page 14, lines 15-17, dwelling 99, household 29, www.ancestry.com, accessed 21 October 2011.
[v] Thomas and Elizabeth Hawkins household, Lehi, Utah, Utah , US 1880 census, ed 87, page 6B, lines 34-43, dwelling 44, household 45, www.ancestry.com, accessed 21 October 2011.
[vi] Thomas and Elizabeth Hawkins family, Record of members, 1887-1948, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Juárez Ward), Library number 26365, FHL microfilm 35130, lines 167-175; Elizabeth Hawkins burial Colonia Juarez created by TB, findagrave.com, accessed November 2011.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Smith Farm Apples

One of the reasons I chose to create a blog for the George and Sarah Ann Gibson Meears family was because I was unable to find documentation on the family.  I was also sad to find very little narrative history even after I had begun to find sources. I had always been told that Aunt Norma left her files to her son, Glen Smith, in Lehi.  In order to make the podcast I went to visit him and spent several hours at his home.  He allowed me to copy a history of Oliver Smith that was written by Mary Pulley.  This told of the farm that Jane and Oliver Smith created South of American Fork and West of Pleasant Grove.  Today it is being divided up and sold. Much of the property is condominiums.  I asked my father to travel there with me and tell me some of his memories. This is a recording of Ronald Glen Smith telling his experience as a child on the farm of William T. Smith.  This was the original Oliver and Jane Meears Smith family farm that is told about in the life story written by Mary Pulley. To listen to the podcast please see the right sidebar.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Elizabeth "Betsey" Meears or is it Mears, Meers, or Miers?

Bishop's Transcripts for Ombersley 1833

"Betsey" MEEARS was born on 3 July 1833 in Ombersley, Worcestershire, England. Her christening on the 28th of July listed her as Elizabeth, daughter of George and Sarah Miers of Hadley.[1] 

Her baptism ceremony was performed by L. H. Burrows, Curate. Starting with this record on July 28th 1833 through January of 1838 he was the recorder of all entries for the family found in the Ombersley parish records. These entries were made while the family resided in Hadley. Google Maps shows this to be a small hamlet 1.2 miles away from Ombersley. It is about a 23 minute walk.

Since Elizabeth’s birth was four years before the Public Records Office started collecting official records, we are lucky to have this clear record of her birth. Note the variant spelling of the family surname in this record. They were listed as Meears most frequently but also as Meers, Mears, and now Miers. 

1841 England - Batheaston, district 1, folio 11, page 14

When Elizabeth was age seven, her family had moved to Batheaston, Somerset, England as recorded 6 June 1841on the census record. They had lived there at least six months since her newest sister, Emma, was listed as having been born in the county of Somerset on the record. Today this move is an 82 mile car ride or 70 mile walk. It was possible that they moved by rail since her father, George, was listed as a railway worker in the census.[2]

The family had moved to Birmingham when seventeen-year-old Betsey and her sisters, Emma and Selina, were baptized 17 September 1850. It was recorded in the Bristol Road Branch records that she was baptized by a priest named Thomas Hawkins, who became her future husband. They were all confirmed members of the LDS Church the next day, 18 September 1850.

1851 England - St Martin, district 8, folio 208, page 4, householder 43

Elizabeth worked as a shoe binder and lived on Upper Bishop Street, St Martin, Birmingham, Warwickshire when listed in the 30 March 1851 census. This census was the most complete of all the family listings found in research. It included her parents, George and Sarah Meers and their children: Mary A; Elizabeth; Jane; Emma; Selena; George; and Louisa. Missing are Eliza, who died in infancy, and Sarah who has as yet not been found in the census records that year.[3] [Sarah may have been off working but was listed with them again on 7 April 1861 in the family census record.] 

 Birmingham, St. Martins, district 11, folio 22, page 37, household 184

Elizabeth’s occupation had changed to book binding in the 1861census. She was also listed as a book binder in the Bristol Road Branch Records previously mentioned. The family seems to be very industrious in both these records.  It appeared they were all working toward immigration to the United States.  Father, George, and Mary Ann had both emigrated prior to 1861.[4]

Elizabeth will follow them in the next blog….

[1] Elizabeth Miers christened 28 July 1833, Bishop’s Transcripts for Ombersley, 1608-1876, Baptisms and burials, 1820-1838, page 159, no. 1267, FHL film 350594.
[2] Elizabeth Meears in George Meears household, Batheaston, Somerset, England 1841 census, district 1, folio 11, page 14, line 15, Batheaston Street, www.ancestry.com, accessed 9 September 2011. 
[3] Elizabeth Meers, daughter in George and Sarah A. Meers household, St. Martin, Birmingham, Warwick, England 1851 census, district 8, folio 208, page 4, householder 43, Upper Bishop St., accessed 11 October 2011. 
[4] Elizabeth Meears, daughter in Sarah Ann Meears household, St. Martin, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England 1861 census, district 11, folio 22, page 37, household 184, www.ancestry.com, accessed 7 September 2011.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Mary Ann Meears Taysum (1829-1891)...

Twenty-year-old Mary Ann Meears was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 19 September 1850, just two days after sisters, Elizabeth, Emma, and Selina.  Their father preceded them when he joined the LDS church in January of 1848 and was followed by their mother in March the following year.

1851 England, Birmingham, St Martin, district 8, folio 208, page 4
Sarah A., Mary Ann and Elizabeth were listed as shoe binders in the 1851 English census. The other girls were listed “at home” on Upper Bishop Street. Brother George was the only family member listed as a scholar while father, George, labored at agriculture. The birth place listings revealed the variety of homes the family had lived in since  their parent's marriage in Birmingham; moving first to Ombersley, Worcestershire; then to Bath, Somersetshire; back to Warwickshire at Solihull; and finally by 1851 back to the city of Birmingham.[1]

At the age of 25, Mary Ann was the first member to go to Zion. She traveled in the Richard Ballantyne Company with the group of ten that included her future in laws, Thomas and Alice Hinton Taysum and their children Nathaniel and Mary Ann [having the same name probably created confusion]. They arrived in the valley 25 Sep 1855.[2]

It must have been a lonely first for Mary Ann when she wed Andrew James Taysum on September 4, 1857 in the Endowment House with all of her family still residing in England.

Mary Ann was the first member of the Meears family found in a United States census. She appeared with her husband Andrew who worked as a plasterer, and their two children, Alice and Rolla George. They were found in Great Salt Lake City listed as the Teysum family 25 July 1860. [3]

1870 - Andrew Payson, SLC, UT,  ward 20, page 18,

Mary was housekeeping for Andrew and their six children: Alice; Rolla; Alonzo; Louisa; Mary; and Andrew on 23 June 1870. The record was hard to find because the census taker recorded Payson as the surname.[4] Andrew was working as a brick mason showing $1,000 in real estate and $500 in personal estate which made them comparatively wealthy in that time in their neighborhood.

1880 SLC, UT, ed 50,  pg 6, A.J. Taysum household 

Mary Ann was still at home with all eight of her children on 2 June 1880. [5]  A.J. was listed as a plasterer. Their sons,  Rollo and A. F., are listed as compositors. The dictionary lists that occupation as one who sets written material into type.

Our Mother- M.A. Taysum

She died of nervous prostration at the age of 61, on 4 June 1891, and was buried on the 7th in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.[6] The photo of the headstone was taken February 2, 2012 and shows just how fast evidence of a life can be erased. Hopefully someday the descendants of her eight children will find more of her life to share beyond the bare bones of these statistics.

[1] Mary A. Meers, daughter in George and Sarah A. Meers household, St. Martin, Birmingham, Warwick, England 1851 census, district 8, folio 208, page 4, householder 43, Upper Bishop St., www.ancestry.com, accessed 11 October 2011.
[2] Mary Ann Mears traveled to Utah in 1855, Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847-1868, accessed via http://lds.org/churchhistory/library/pioneercompany, 16 October 2011.
[3] Mary A Teysum, Great Salt Lake City, Great Salt Lake, Utah Territory, 1860 US census, ward 20, page 206, lines 36-39, dwelling 1533, household 33, www.ancestry.com, accessed 21 October 2011.
[4] Andrew and Mary Payson household, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah Territory, US 1870 census, ward 20, page 18, lines 33-40, dwelling 129, household 29, www.ancestry.com, accessed 21 October 2011
[5] A.J. and Mary A. Taysum household, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, US 1880 census, ed 50, page 6, lines 41-50, dwelling 52, household 56, www.ancestry.com, accessed 21 October 2011
[6] Mary Ann Taysum record of death, “Utah, Salt Lake County Death Records, 1908-1949,” page 27, line 1067, digital folder number 004139839, images 56, 57, www.familysearch.org, accessed 6 November 2011.