I am Clair Ford, christened Asa Clair Ford. I was born October 31, 1894 to John M. Ford and Esther Irene Judd Ford. My mother was the daughter of Zadok Knapp Judd and Mary Minerva Dart Judd. My mother copied an autobiography of Edwin Ford, who was my grandfather. She also wrote a sketch of John Mantripp ford, my father, and also her life with him. I am reproducing her manuscript as near I can. The only changes I am making are where I think some word is left out and needs to be placed there to add to its continuity.
Charles Ford by Edwin Ford, his son
A short sketch written by Edwin Ford. At first copied from a book he had written April 21, 1931, secondly copied in this book February 23, 1936 by Esther Ford.
In this chapter I shall speak of my father’s travels and his connection with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints. also his birth and marriage.
My father, Charles Ford, was born November 4, 1806 ( He was christened 13 Feb 1807) at Owlpen, Gloucestershire, England. He was sent to work as an apprentice to learn the shoe and harness trade at which he served a time of seven years. He learned the weaving trade, also the shoemaking trade.
At about twenty-three years of age (1830) he married Hannah Steventon. (Geneologists put it Stevenson), daughter of Richard and Sarah Steventon, she was age nineteen when he married her. She bore him two sons, Edwin and Alfred. About the last of May 1839, he started to Liverpool to make arrangements for passage to the United States. Having reached Liverpool, he made the necessary arrangements, and sent for mother, myself and brother Alfred, whom he had left at home in the town of Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England. We met him and set sail on the fifth of June 1839 and landed in New York of the same year and reached our place of destiny at my Grandfather Steventon’s in the State of Indiana (Martin County) in September of the same year where we remained some six years, during which time my father worked at his trade shoemaking and part time farming.
(Editor’s note: They sailed on the 513 ton freighter TROY June 5, 1839. They arrived in New York harbor Saturday, July 13, 1839. The ship’s manifest listed: Charles Ford, age 32, male, shoe & harness maker, England; Hannah Ford, age 26, Female, England. Edwin Ford, age 7, male, England. Alfred Ford, age 5, male, England. (Charles’ brother) Alfred Ford, age 22, male, shoe & harness maker, England Index to Indiana Naturalization Records show naturalization of Charles and brother Alfred in two separate courts at two years apart. The 1840 Federal Census for Indiana State lists Charles in Martin County. It is reported that Charles’ brother Alfred married one of the local girls, Justian (Gustia) Stevens, March 1, 1842 in Shoals, Martin County, Indiana.)
In the fall of the year 1843 three Mormon Elders by the names of John Garner, George Garner and Alexander Stevens came into the neighborhood and preached at different homes. Now about this time mother was and had been afflicted with spinal complaint so much so that it took away the use of her feet and legs, that she could not stand or walk and she was in this condition for nearly two years.
One day when Father was out from home three Mormon Elders came to the house where Father and family lived. Mother being bedfast, she bade them come in. They did so, seated themselves, and began to talk the principles of the Gospel, and introduced themselves as elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints. they talked of the gifts of the Church or of the Priesthood; that they held the same authority to administer in the ordinances of the Gospel as the Apostles of old. and in talking with Mother in turn for about an hour, she believed and requested them unitedly to administer to her, which they did by laying on hands and prayer. I think Alexander Stevens was mouth on that occasion.
Now, boy as I was, though these were singular moments, having never heard of the laying on of hands and praying for the healing of the sick. After they had done this ordinance, they sat and talked with each other. Then arose and said they would come on the morrow and expressed a wish to see Father when they came again. They shook hands with Mother, my brother and myself, then they went away.
Sure enough on the morrow in the afternoon here they came. Father was at home. He received them very kindly. They introduced themselves as preachers of the true Gospel of Christ and said they had been there the day before. Mother told him all and her was fully prepared to receive them. He made them welcome, and they made their home with him, while they stayed in the neighborhood. They preached in several places in the region around about, but only my Father, Mother, my step-grandmother, myself and brother, five in number were baptized, which occurred on the third of April 1844. Brother Stevens attended to the ordinance of baptism and confirmation. The Garners went to the north and went to see if they could find an opening to preach the Gospel. We did not see them again until we landed in Nauvoo.
I will state here that there were two families by the name of Mitchel that lived in our neighborhood some two or three years and left for Nauvoo. I think that was in the Spring of 1843 after they had left, we heard they were Mormons. We met them and renewed acquaintance in Nauvoo. The old gentleman having quite a family, he having married the second time, his first wife being dead. He was a stone cutter by trade, and did a great deal of work on the Nauvoo Temple. We were also acquainted with him at the same trade in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Some time after our Baptism, Brother Stevens went home to Illinois, and Father and family were left there with no other Mormons nearer than Nauvoo, that he knew of. We farmed that summer. In July of that summer, news came to us of the death of the Prophet Joseph and Hyrum Smith. And boy as I was, I remember seeing Father and Mother weep at the sad occurrence. In the fall and winter of 1844, Father sold everything that he wished and gathered together all the means he could, and started for Nauvoo in February 1845, and landed there, I think, in the fore part of March that same year. In the summer of 1845 my Father was ordained a Seventy in the Twenty Fourth Quorum. While in Nauvoo, all of us suffered much sickness. In February 1846 my Father was called upon to go to the House of the Lord and receive his endowments, which he did, taking Mother and step-grandmother, Nancy Rice, with him on the sixth of February 1846, and there received their washing and anointing. I remember hearing them and they felt happy and contented with what they had received and heard.
In April 1846 my Father and family started West with the Church and moved on until he reached a settlement of the Saints, called Mount Pisgah, where he remained until April 1848, on which same date he started westward again. (They traveled with the Lorenzo Snow Company of 1848 -from obituary in Millennial Star) On September 14, 1848 he landed in the Great Salt Lake Valley where Salt Lake City stands. The incidents of travel I shall not attempt to describe only that Father was appointed to be hunter for the company, in which calling he was very successful, having killed many deer and antelope, and several bears and mountain sheep, and thirty-two buffalos, which was considerable towards furnishing the camp with meat.
Father assisted to build up Salt Lake City while there. On December 2, 1849 he married Sarah Mitchell, who was born July 31, 1813 in Leeds, Yorkshire, England. He also married Katherine Gambrell who was born August 1, 1805 at Bythorn, Kent, England. They were married November 28, 1855. He also took himself other wives. One by the name of Johannah Tegan and one by the name of Caroline. He lived in Salt Lake City till the fall of 1863 when he was called and settled in Southern Utah. He died in February 1864 in Washington, Utah.(He died of lung fever.) The above was written in Washington, Utah and he wrote no more on it.
The man who wrote or was author of the above was Edwin Ford, son of Charles Ford and Hannah Steventon or Stevenson. The Genealogical record has her name as Hannah Stevenson, while her son always called it Steventon. Her Father’s name, Richard Stevenson and her Mother’s name Sarah Stevenson. Her Father was born about 1780, Mother about 1783. Hannah was born October 11, 1812. Charles Ford was born November 4, 1806. Father of Charles Ford was William Ford, born April 7, 1782. Mother’s name was Sarah Dauncey., born 30 April 1775 in Uley, Gloucestershire, England. William Ford’s Father was William Ford, Sr. born 25 December 1737 in Owlpen, Gloucestershire, England. His wife’s name was Hester Fords Born December 1738 in Owlpen.
This is the information I have of the Grandparents, Great Grandparents of Edwin Ford, of whom I wish to write a little.
Edwin Ford 1831- 1909
Edwin Ford was born May 13, 1831 at Tipton, Staffordshire, England, and as the above he traveled from there with his parents, left Indiana and started for Nauvoo February 1845 arrived in March 1845. Thus we see he was about fourteen, so he could have a good recollection of what transpired along the way. So he wrote of his Father and Mother. We see by the family record that he married Susan Mantripp on 13 November 1855. Thus we see he was twenty-four years old when he married his wife. He played the violin.
He told me that in his young days, he would take a partner on the floor to dance, then he would go through the quadrille playing the music, do the calling and be a partner, all at the same time. He was very good at calling thru the whole dances as well as playing the violin for dancing.
After living with Susan seven years, they having three boys, he told me that he wanted a change.
Edwin Mantripp was born April 28, 1857. Charles M. Ford December 19, 1858 and John Mantripp on November 17, 1860. So he married Emily Sandall August 2, 1862, then both wives had girl babies. Susan’s baby, Agnes Ann was born Janurary 19, 1863. Emily’s baby was born November 2, 1863 Name of Rachel who married B. A. Riggs at Kanab. Agnes Ann died March 18, 1867, at Washington, Utah. A son, James Edwin was born in Washington April 29, 1865. So between Rachel’s birth at Kaysville in 1863 and James Edwin at Washington proves he must have moved to Dixie between the years of 1863 and 1865.
He worked at shoemaking and farming or gardening in Washington. He also kept on with his violin. The 21st of June 1869, he married Jane Mace. Susan’s health failed and her girl Agnes Ann died March 18, 1867. Susan’s Mother and Edwin’s Mother sent for her to come to Salt Lake City, where she died October 17, 1867. Edwin lived in Washington until the Spring of 1873. Five children were born in Washington and three died there.
When Edwin came to Kanab, he lived in the Fort. Later he moved to his city lot and built a willow house and lived in it while he built a large brick home, two storied high. He made the brick on the lot taking the soil for the brick from the cellar, where he afterward built the house. This home was on the west side of town. The Highway goes by it. It is north of the highway which cut thru the corner of his west lot. Here he worked at shoe making. He often took trips to Salt Lake taking the hides which he bought from the people and bringing them more leather to make more shoed to the people. And those shoes wore well. He was leader of the Kanab Choir. He was a High Priest. He was a Patriarch in the Kanab Stake. He was always jolly and sociable.
His family here consisted of six sons and four daughters who grew to maturity. His first wife Emily Sandall died May 22, 1879, having been the mother of Rachel, born in Kaysville November 2, 1863. Four more were born in Washington, Utah: James Edwin born April 29, 1865, Leah Ann born November 29, 1867, William Alfred was born April 22, 1870, and Joseph Steventon born June 2, 1872. Willard Eugene was born in Kanab, Utah May 5, 1875. Also Susan Emily was born April 23,1878 in Kanab. Seven children in all were born to Emily Sandall.
Edwin married Jane Mace June 21, 1869 in Salt Lake City. Two children were born in Washington, Utah. Isreal Wandle was born March 24, 1870 and died May 26, 1873. George Merklee was born June 29 1872 and died November 17, 1872. Three children were born in Kanab, Utah. Henry Mace born November 7, 1875. He died the same day; Jane Mace born April 20, 1878 and Ruth born November 24, 1880.
Edwin married Fannie Aurora Elizabeth Ehrenheim August 21, 1884. She had just come from Sweden. One child was born, Edwin Emanual. He was born June 11, 1885. Fannie left Edwin who made an agreement with her that when the boy was five years old he was to have the boy. So on one of his regular trips to Salt Lake, he brought the boy home to Aunt Jane to raise. Ed’s mother married at Gunnison where the little boy was brought from. She had two sons, Alma and Moroni Jensen.
Edwin built two large brick houses in Kanab and an adobe house. He kept his wives, when alive, living in the same house together. He was always working early and late. He was a good provider and made and mended shoes. He played the violin and called for dances. He called all kinds of reels; Opera reel, Miss McCloud’s reel, Six Nation, French Four, Virginia reel. Those dances are to be remembered for the real enjoyment they gave to all.
He lived to a good old age. One night on November 10, 1909 it was slightly snowing. It came time for supper and he was missing. The Search began. All the homes of the children were visited seeking him. Then different ones began telling where he was last seen. His boys looked in his own garden and there with his hand clutching beet tops, which he was pulling for his cow, they found him lying with a slight cover of snow over him. He was soon taken care of and was buried in the Kanab Cemetery. He always taught his children to be truthful and dependable.
An incident told by his daughter, Rachel, is too good to leave out. In June 1880 the Kanab Sunday School had planned an outing. Everyone expected to be there. He was taking his oldest son to St. George Temple to be married to Ellen Bunting and to do the temple work, his wife, Jane, going with him. He knowing of this Sunday School outing gave his daughter, Rachel, strict charge that she stay at home and take care of a two year old sister. But through the insistence of friends she went, as this was a big day for Kanab, and friends kept the baby. Her father came home the day of the outing. She was not there, and to punish her a white leghorn hat he had brought for her was withheld for two weeks. Some boys feeling bad for her wanted to buy the hat, but he said if he wanted her to have it he could give it to her.
He was in the Echo Canyon episode, when Johnson’s army neared Salt Lake Valley. The men would ride up over a small hill at its brink then reaching the level would race around to be at the side to ride up again to deceive the army into thinking there was a great multitude of soldiers.
Edwin had been hard of hearing since early Utah days. While at the Bear River where a person had drowned and standing nearby, a cannon was fired to make the body raise. The concussion injured his eardrums and ever after his hearing was impaired. This did not impair his musical abilities, however. He played the violin and in his early adult life, he would take a partner on the floor to dance, then go through the quadrille playing the music, do the calling and be a partner, all at the same time.
At his death, he owned a large brick house with a good basement, which he and his boys built on the first street west in Kanab, south three blocks from the highway. I am loath to leave such a great character with such a short sketch. He was a good business man, a good provider, a good neighbor, a good father-in-law. But I will now write of John Mantripp Ford, the second son of Edwin Ford and Susan Mantripp, grandson of Charles Ford and Hannah Steventon, and James Boatwright Mantripp and Sarah Hollis. Great Grandson of William and Hester Ford, and Roger Hollis and Susan Hayhoe on his mother’s side.
John Mantripp Ford 1860-1933
John Mantripp Ford was born November 17, 1860 at Kaysville, Davis County, Utah. At the age of four years his father moved to Washington, Washington County, Utah. His brother, Charles died of measles. His sister, Agnes, died and through the hard times of pioneer life his mother grew sick having contracted consumption or as it is now called tuberculosis. The mother and mother-in-law of his mother decided to have her come back to Salt Lake, thinking she might get well. She continued to grow worse. Her folks wrote his father, Edwin, that if he wished to see her alive he must come. John had already been taken to Salt Lake where his mother was, as he was some over six years. He was out on the street when his father came. He said he saw a man he thought was his father. As he came closer he decided not and was about to turn and run away when the man called his name. The man who was dark and dirty proved to be his father.
His mother grew worse and on the tenth of October 1867 about nine o’clock she died. Grandmother Mantripp told me that she feared her daughter would go like the snuff of a candle. When the word came that she had changed about midnight, she went immediately. But Susan’s father stayed to uncover peaches that were drying. As the mother went in Susan said, “Here is mother, where is father? Then she said, “Mother, I can’t get up this morning.” And she was dead before her father came. So John was left motherless before he was seven years old. His father, Edwin, took him home to Washington where his Aunt Emily, Edwin’s second wife, welcomed him. He always spoke highly of Aunt Emily.
In 1873 his father, Edwin, moved his family to Kanab. He and his brother, Ed, had to walk and drive the cows. After coming to Kanab they lived in the Fort a short time then moved into a willow house of two rooms on a city lot. The Fort being on the east bank of the creek west of Kanab. The creek at that time was a small stream easily stepped over. Edwin with the boys help dug a basement and made brick from the soil. Edwin’s brother, Alfred, laid the brick helping Edwin make a house in Kanab for helping build the home in Washington. After building for Edwin, Uncle Alfred did plastering around town. He caught cold and died of pneumonia on December 8, 1882. His wife and six children were brought from Washington and the funeral was held in Kanab where Alfred is buried in the Kanab Cemetery.
John grew to manhood in Kanab herding cows and going to school. He learned to play the organ in accompanying his father in playing for dances which occurred every Friday night. John soon began to work for wages. One summer he worked for Brigham Y. Baird making bricks. He spent two summers with the Geological Survey of the United States mapping Arizona and Northern New Mexico. At one time he stood on the only place in the United States where four states come together, the Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and the New Mexico corners. He told of coming home from one of these trips at Christmas time, and crossing the Colorado River on ice.
He was a Sunday School teacher before getting married, but was too busy afterwards. He loved sports and baseball was his favorite. He was always at the catcher’s post. He would often take a vacation for a fishing trip. He was so fond of trout.
After two or more years of courting and corresponding with Esther Judd he was married and sealed to her in the St George Temple. Having already built a two roomed house, planning to be married January 22, 1886. He with his girl bride to be left Kanab the Monday morning before and after getting on the road there was Frank Hamblin and his girl Rose Brown. John Robinson and his girl Claudia Little were already in St. George. Lorenzo Brown and his girl Elizabeth Haycock went with Will McAllister who was taking his father’s mother to St. George.
It had been stormy weather. On the first days drive they were out walking. The roads were heavy with mud and occasional spots of snow. On the first day to Pipe Springs there were a lot of cowboys at the ranch at the time. The big room was full of boys. They say around the wall on the floor. At it was a wedding party jokes in plenty were passed around and songs were sung. Isaac Brown sang “I Know There Is Someone Waiting For Me.” John Adams sang “Tonight We Part Forever.” A Mr. Nagel sang, “I Know That You Will Call Me Back Again.”
They traveled the next day, Tuesday, and the next day, Wednesday, and the next day, Thursday at eleven o”clock before they got into St. George they rented a house not far from the Temple. They took the afternoon getting ready to go to the Temple. The Temple opened at nine o’clock on Friday January 22nd and they went through the Temple and were sealed. Those sealed were Frank Hamblin and Rose Brown; John M. Ford and Esther I. Judd. John Robinson and Lorenzo Brown went on to Pinto and never got married until the next Tuesday.
John Ford and Frank Hamblin came out of the Temple loaded up and parted company. Frank went to the Clara (Santa Clara) and John went to Washington to the home of Tom Greenhalgh’s father, where he camped for the first night of their married life. There was a dance in Washington which Tom took them to, in the basement of the Washington School House. Then they came back to the wagon. On going to bed John said they would be rolled down into the creek by morning. After the dance was out they heard someone coming. It was the musicians who had played for the dance, old acquaintances of John. They began to play “Lady Awake.” Then John raised the cover and looked out. Then it was “How are you, Johnny? How do you do, Johnny?” John asked Tom Greenhalgh to give them some wine. The next morning they started home and some five miles out from Washington, Frank overtook them. Then they traveled on together. That Monday night it began to rain. They were camped on the Cedar Ridge. The boys got up hitched up their teams. The rain ran in the road. The horses kept stopping. It was ten o’clock when they got to Pipe Springs. After leaving Pipe Springs, it took them till eight o’clock, Tuesday night to get home. Help came from home. They left their wagon, put bedding and grub box into Frank’s wagon and put both teams on the one wagon. It was wallowing in the mud.
John went to his brother Ed’s for the first month while plastering his home of two brick rooms which he had built before going to St. George. March 4, 1886 he moved the few things he had on a sled from his brother Ed’s. (Note: the home that John built was located on the corner of 100 East and 100 South. It was bought by William Frederick Hamblin in 1889 when he wanted to marry Susan Ellen Johnson. She died shortly thereafter and his second wife Sina Cecelia Averett raised their family there. They added two rooms to the back and a porch in the front. Their son Bill was the last to live in the house until he died in 1971. The house was sold and torn down to build a service station.)
John and Ed planned their work together. Early that spring they with their families and Tom Greenhalgh went to the meadows to work for John Kitchen and milk cows. They made cheese and butter and raise pigs.
John, his brother, Ed and James Bunting worked together burning lime for the making of bricks. One season after making brick they received a contract to build the top story of the academy. The basement was of rock which had been built for some time. For their pay they received produce, but they had to go to Long Valley for it. John and Ed bought a brick mill and later a sorghum mill. They raised cane and made molasses for others, too. After awhile, he took up the plastering trade, also rock masoning. Then he began to think he must do something to make employment for this boys. After making brick and building houses, he bought goats. After two or three years with them he was broke, broken in health. He and Jay and Clair all having the goat fever, the same summer. It took more than two years to be able to work again.
When he got able he built an addition to the home. The boys helping. And Josephine went out to the sawmill and worked for lath to put on the dining room. Then he began to plaster and burn marl, a lime like substance found below Kanab and northeast of Fredonia. He would start his fire under his boiler filled with marl and burn it until mid-day. Then empty it into a bin. He would refill the boiler with marl and burn it until late at night. He bought his wood for ten dollars load. Paid for marl hauling, sold the marl after sifting and sacking. It mad a nice hard plaster. It was in big demand, with never a sack left on hand. He was a hard worker.
However, he was ready for any sporty time and belonged to the first Brass Band which was organized in Kanab, the second of February 1887 with J.F. McAllister as leader. He played the baritone brass horn. He was punctual at band practices. That band was the life of the town, on all public occasions, with their music and serenades.
He was the father of ten children, seven boys and three girls. He would spend time in Temple work each winter, in later years. In October 1891 he took his grandmother to the Manti Temple and did the Temple work she dictated, having her children sealed to her. He believed in the work in the Temple for dead relatives. He always enjoyed the work there. The last year of his life he spent six weeks in temple work. On January 2, 1931 he did the work for his son Paul Arden who had died of goat fever on August 3, 1922. The winter of nineteen thirty-one, January and February, he was at the Temple.
He was light complexioned, blue eyes and sandy mustache, five feet ten inches tall, and was of a stocky build, weighing from one hundred seventy to one hundred ninety and nearly two hundred pounds.
In the early days when young manhood suited him, he would learn and recite comic or stump speeches. One was how Enoch walked with God. And one was “The Aching Tooth” and one was “The Candy Pulling.” He used to dance so hard that his clothes would be dripping wet. The old fashioned dances of Quadrilles and the Reel. He had a testimony of the Gospel and attended his meetings. He paid his tithing and did his ward teaching. In every way he tried to live by the requirements of the gospel. He did not drink tea or coffee or liquor, nor ever use tobacco. He led an exemplary life.
He died April 15, 1933. He was sick from Sunday, the ninth of April. He died Friday night with some of his children and wife by his side. He was buried Sunday afternoon. All his children were at home.
The foregoing pages were copied from my mother, Esther Judd Ford’s hand writing. I, Clair Ford, was born October 31, 1894. I am the third son of John M. and Esther Irene Judd Ford, and I am their fifth child.
Charles Ford was born November 4, 1806 in Owlpen, Gloucestershire, England. His parents were William and Sarah Dauncey Ford. According to Parish records he had eight brothers and three sisters. The Ford family lived in Owlpen for over 5 generations. It is assumed that William Ford was a supervisor for Sheppard’s cloth mill, one of the woollen mills in Uley since an old deed has William Ford living in Supervisor row on Woodstock Terrace in Uley. Sheppard’s mill, Dauncey Woollen mill, Jackson’s mill, Rockstowes mill were all working mills at that time. Uley is within walking distance of Owlpen.
Owlpen, a tiny English village in Gloucestershire county is so small that it cannot be found on most maps. It is surrounded by such colorful places as: Hetty Peglar’s Tump; Nibley Knoll; Stinchcomb Hill; Nympsfield Long Barrow; Wotton-under-Edge; Coaley Peak; Nailsworth; Uley Bury; Dursley; and Bagpath to name a few. It is 12 miles south of the city of Gloucester and about six miles east of the Severn River that flows into the Atlantic Ocean.
All that is left of the village of Owlpen today is a series of buildings called Owlpen Manor. The Manor stands in its own remote valley under the edge of the Coswolds, its domain of pasture and meadow land enclosed by an amphitheatre of steeply-rising hills crowned with beech woods. Here the peal-grey manor house with its enormous yews and attendant outbuildings form a remarkable group, nestling under the lee of the hillside. The Tudor manor house, built and rebuilt organically between about 1450 and 1720, its early formal garden and cluster of traditional buildings, posses a charm, presence and perfection of form and scale which have long been admired as one of the treasures of Cotswold scenery. There has almost certainly been a house on the site of the present manor since the times of the earliest settlement, attracted by the springs which rise under the house.”
Owlpen (pronounced locally “Olepen”) drives its name, it is thought, from the Saxon thane, Olla, who first set up his pen, or enclosure, by the springs that rise under the foundations, in the ninth century. The immediate area has many signs of earlier settlement. There are sites of round barrows and standing stones within a short walk of the manor. Uley Bury - the long, bare, flat-topped hill which shields the manor from the west wind - is an impressive multi-vallate, scarp-edge hill-fort of the middle iron age (300 B. C.), commanding spectacular views over the Severn Vale. Just by it is Hetty Peglar’s Tump, renamed “Uley Long Barrow”, a well-preserved middle neolithic chambered long barrow (2,900-2,400 B.C.).
The Owlpen estate has a recorded history of close on a thousand years, well documented for a manor of its size, whose owners were squires residing, far from typically in the earlier medieval period, on their own manor. Its history connects it with a number of old families, houses and estates throughout south west England, as well as Ireland. ( From “A Short History and Guide to Owlpen Manor:”)
In villages of Saxon origin, the ending “ley”, as in Dursley or Uley, meant ‘an enclosed clearing’, indicating a settlement carved out of the surrounding forest. It is probable that the great forest of Michael Wood did not end at Dursley, but continued up the valley to Uley. Roger de Berkeley, his family and friends would probably ride out from Dursley Castle to visit his manor house at Whitecourt with its two deer parks.
One can imagine the jingling, gaily dressed cavalcade, including the mounted knights of the castle, riding out on a cold day along the grassy rutted trackway by way of Wresden and Angeston, with donkey carts and packhorses to carry the plate and bedding, wines and stores, for the stay at Whitecourt. Lord Roger’s bailiff in Uley would have arranged for great log fires to be lit in all the rooms, and for a fresh supply of rushes to be strewn liberally over the floors. Local people would be employed as cooks, scullions, and menials and possibly a miller, and a verderer for the deer parks.
A small number of freemen would hold their land free from any lord, though they would look to Lord Roger to protect their interests, in return helping to plough his land or harvest his crops. Most of the people of Uley would be ‘Villeins’ or peasant farmers who ‘rented’ about 30 acres of arable land; they would usually have plough-oxen, pigs, sheep, and hereditary rights of cattle-pasture and pig-pannage on the Uley commons. They relied o Lord Roger for food and seed, and could not leave his land without permission. Their ‘rent’ would consist of grain, livestock, eggs and other produce, together with work on the Berkeley lands, especially at haymaking and harvesting. These tenant farmers would themselves employ ‘cottagers’ to do their labor. Finally, there would still be quite a number of landless serfs descendants of the slaves of Roman Britain. They were the property of Lord Roger and could be sold at his whim. They had to be given two meals and two loaves of bread a day and had Sundays and Feast days off. Lord Roger was by no means stupid and only a stupid lord ill treated his serfs. They could hire themselves out, and some even managed to earn their freedom. Others might try to escape to a town outside the Hundred of Berkeley, or become outlaws in the forest, living on robbery and poaching; if caught they could expect to lose an arm or an eye, or to be sold at Bristol to a foreign buyer.
The manorial fields (usually three) each divided into strips of about an acre each, with little grass paths between them. A man would have strips in all the fields and had to go from one to the other; it was a communal system in which the whole of each field grew the same crip each year on a rotatory system, while everyone had his share of the good land and the bad. In the event of a dispute, the priest, and the other interested partied would meet in Lord Roger’s Hundred-court to settle the matter.
In the scrub land and forest beyond the Uley fields, the pugs and sheep ran wild; wattle could be collected for thatching, and firewood for cooking and heating. In the cottages the women would bake bread, make butter, feed the chickens, tend little vegetable allotments and spin and weave sheep’s wool into rough cloth. Children from the age of even would help their parents at home or in the fields. At other times they would gather in or around the church porch to listen to the priest telling Bible stories.
Life was hard in Uley, but there was always the possibility of a visit to the market in Dursley, a journey with Lord Roger’s wagons, or a church festival to help relieve the monotony. On May Day there would be races, wrestling, jumping, archery, dancing and much else. At Christmas everyone would attend Mass in church, then there would be feast at Whitecourt, followed by games such as Blindman’s Bluff.
In the event of trouble on the Welsh Marches, Lord Roger might ‘call up’ some of the younger men or old soldiers to help repel the wild tribesmen beyond the Severn River. The stories of these conscripts, suitably embroidered on their return would keep the Uley gossips busy for several weeks. (From “Uley - A Cotswold Village”.)
The nearby city of Stroud was famous for its scarlet cloth which clothed the British Army, and Uley, a short mile up the road from Owlpen was famous for its blue dyes and cloth. Neither had rivals in all of Europe. The census of 1608 of all able-bodied men below the age of 60, shows that of the 50 men recorded in the Parish of Uley, 28 were weavers, with the proportion much the same in the surrounding towns of Cam and Dursley.
The cloth business flourished because the humidity of the climate allowed the cloth to be worked up; the numerous springs provided an abundance of clear water; useful deposits of fuller’s earth were available; Woad, in great demand for dyeing, grew plentifully; and teasels used to raise the nap of fine cloth flourished.
All mills relied on water power; some made artificial lakes; others, more astute used steam engines for power. At the beginning of 1800, there were many cloth mills with the wheels turned by the stream. Nearly all the processes - washing, dyeing, stretching, shearing, etc. seem to have been done by hand. The carding, spinning, and weaving were all at first done n the worker’s own homes by hand. It has been stated that ten spinners were needed to provide sufficient yarn to keep one weaver employed. Almost every woman spun, but the unmarried ones had generally the most time for it so they were known as ‘spinsters’. In 1770, however, Arkwright invented the spinning jenny, a machine worked by water wheels.
About 1820 there were six large and twelve small mills working in Uley. But even after the spinning jenny was started in the mills, and spinners were no longer needed in the cottages, all the weaving was still done at home, and nearly every house had its loom. Those who worked in the mills received good wages for those days: 42 shillings a week compared to 9 shillings a week for farm workers. There were eleven public ale houses in Uley, and a terrible amount of the wages went in them. There was no saving for bad times.
Bad times began about1810 when Yorkshire started to make cloth using a quicker process. Wages skidded gradually to a low of 7 shillings a week. The Uley mills went smash. To pay for the poor, the taxes went sky high.
The nineteenth century was unfortunate for the Owlpen manor and the whole parish. The Stroudwater woollen cloth industry, for centuries the mainspring of the local economy, was under check after the Napoleonic Wars, (during the war they supplied uniforms for both sides.) and after a period of expansion with the new steam technology, it could not compete with the north. There were riots and panic and mass emigration from Uley and Owlpen in the 1830s.
Owlpen was badly hit by the failure of Edward Sheppard’s cloth mill in Uley, which employed “nearly all the families at Owlpen”, in 1837 Parson Cornwall at the time described in his diaries how “the improvident weavers were left, almost to a man, utterly desolate. I was obliged to engage to pay the bakers, or whole families would have starved.” The population of Owlpen declined almost overnight from 255 in 1831 to 94 by 1841, still more than the estate alone could employ. In 1838 it is recorded that 84% of the population of the parish were officially paupers. Parishioners moved to the iron and coal works of the Forest of Dean and South Wales or emigrated from Uley and Owlpen to America, Canada (in 1835), Australia (Owlpen House in the Hunter Valley is dated 1837) and New Zealand. The cottages were abandoned (we were told there were 200 empty houses in Uley).
It is no wonder that Charles Ford learned the shoemaking trade, left Owlpen, the home of his birth, and moved North to Staffordshire and married Hannah Steventon from Tipton in 1830. With poverty spread all around them Charles and his family had to make another decision to move.
On June 5, 1839 Charles, his wife, two sons, and brother Alfred boarded the ship Troy for New York harbor. They then headed for Martin county, Indiana to the Steventon farm, Hannah’s father’s place. It was there Charles farmed and worked at his trade, shoemaking, until their conversion to the LDS Church. They moved to Nauvoo, Illinois in 1845, were driven out by mobs in 1846 to Mt. Pisgah, then crossed the Great Plains in 1848 to settle in Salt Lake Valley.
Charles married Sarah Mitchell December 2, 1849 in Salt Lake City. She was born July 31, 1813 in Leed, Yorkshire, England, a daughter of Enoch and Mary Cooke Mitchell. They had one child, Mary Cook Ford born October 11, 1850 in Salt Lake City, Utah. She married Thomas Jefferson Clark July 4, 1864 while living in Washington, Utah. Sarah’s brother William Cooke Mitchell helped settle Parowan, Utah.
Charles also married Katherine Gambrell November 28, 1855. She died four years later; Johanna Caroline Ritersham October 3, 1863; and Johanna Frederica Tegen November 1, 1861. A son, Charles, was born June 4, 1864 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Not much is known about these women.
In the fall of 1863Charles again moved his family at the call of the prophet Brigham Young to settle Washington city in Southern Utah. Charles died there five months later. His wife, Sarah, stayed in Washington near her daughter, Mary. His first wife, Hannah died in 1871 in Salt Lake City. His sons, Alfred and Edwin moved their families to Kanab in 1873. Kanab was the newest frontier at the time and this time the family stayed to raise families.
Lucy Ann Roberts was born November 7, 1814 in Monroe, Connecticut a daughter of John Benedict Roberts and Phoebe French, the sixth of twelve children. Lucy Ann married John Dart November 24, 1831. Two children, Phoebe Maria, and Lucy Edna, were born to them while livingin Monroe. They then moved to New York State where four more children were added to the family.These were Pauline Harriet, Mary Minerva, John Henry Harrison and George William. John was engaged in the merchandising business and was able to make a comfortable living for his family, but during a serious illness, John’s partner in business persuaded him to sign an obligation to pay all thedebts of the concern, and then left the country. When John arose from his sick bed, he found he had been stripped of all his possessions and his family was homeless.
The family then went to Bridgeport, Connecticut where John bought a house and here they lived until 1849. Three more children were born here, James Benjamin, Esther Rosella and Amanda Josephine. Sidney Roberts, a brother of Lucy Ann, brought the message of the Gospel to them from his home in Illinois, soon John and Lucy Ann decided to go West and find out more about these "Mormons." This was in the spring of 1849, many were preparing for the journey to California. Those joining the Saints, and those California bound made preparations to start the journey together. They made quite a company as they boarded the steamer and were sent out into the bay headed for New York. They arrived in New York about 5 p.m. and were taken in a carryall to a hotel to spend the night. The next morning they crossed by ferry into New Jersey, and from there traveled by rail to Philadelphia and on to Cincinnati. They traveled by steamer down the Ohio River then to St. Louis on the Mississippi River, thence by steamer to St. Joseph. Soon they were heading by wagon to Council Bluffs.
Cholera was even then around them, and the elder sister, Phoebe, had an attack before they left St. Joseph, so the family was compelled to travel slowly. When they reached Winter Quarters, they were counseled by those in authority to buy a farm, which John did. The fields had already been planted in wheat and corn. The crops were gathered and during the winter and spring were sold at fair prices. In the spring of 1850 John sold his farm to buy cattle to complete his outfit for traveling to the Salt Lake Valley. They gathered with the Saints at the mouth of the Platte River to be organized into companies for the trip west. Soon John Dart and his family were traveling with Warren Foote’s company. Along the way they saw graves where other travelers had buried dear ones. Sometimes there were evidences that wolves and other wold animals had disturbed the graves. As travel was slow and the people were many, some of the children walked. One day they came upon a boy who seemed to be asleep under a tree. John went to him and found the boy so ill he could hardly speak. He was given some prepared brandy and pepper which John carried for such emergencies. This revived the boy who told him his name was Rollins.
His family were in the company just ahead, so in a short time the boy was returned to his father. That night rain descended in torrents and while traveling the next morning the wagon became stuck in mud. In trying to get out the wagon tongue broke. They stopped to make repairs and while they stopped, Lucy Ann and two of the children, Harriet Pauline and George William, were takenill with cholera. Soon after they started George asked to be taken out of the wagon. This the father did but when he put the boy back in the wagon, George had passed away. They traveled on to where the company was camped, a grave was dug, and George William Dart, age eight years, was buried June 29th at dark. There was no sleep for John Dart and his eldest daughter, Phoebe, that night as they were kept busy caring for the mother and a sister. During the night a raging storm almost overturned the wagon. About 4 o’clock in the morning, just some twelve hours after the death of her brother, Harriet Paulina died. Her last words were a message to the young man with whom she had kept company in Council Bluffs and whom she hoped to meet again in Salt Lake City. She was past fourteen years of age and was buried at daylight on June 30th.
The mother, Lucy Ann, was desperately ill and when her husband spoke to her about their dead, she replied, "I shall notice it more when I get better." Many other families were suffering loss of their loved ones. While the company was camped near Fort Laramie for the night, the mother, Lucy Ann Roberts Dart, passed away about midnight. She was buried the next morning on a little hill near the campsite. She was forty-six, eight months old. All their tears could not bring back their dead, so they traveled on with the Saints to Utah.
I am a Mother of 6 and a Grandmother of 22. My husband, Kim, and I live on one acre in the country with 16 chickens and one busy terrier, Sami Jo. I have always enjoyed searching for my ancestors and have been collecting family histories as a hobby and want to share the information with a wider audience. I feel that our heritage binds us together and hope you enjoy the information I have provided.
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