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.

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.


  1. Thanks for sharing the converstion story of Mary and her traveling to Zion. I agree it must have been bitter,sweet-to have the gospel but be without your family. I am so grateful for their sacrifices. Peggy

  2. What a great conversion story. It is also great when other family members follow suit.