Note: After assembling all available information on Margaret Evans, this biography was compiled in April and May 2008, by W. Bart Christenson, Jr., Provo, Utah. A bibliography of sources appears at the end. Particular recognition is given for the help of Shannon Howells of Salt Lake City, Utah (email@example.com, descending through Thomas Francis Howells, oldest son of Thomas Howells and Ann Evans Francis), who for many years has been collecting information and artifacts pertaining to the Howells and Francis lines.
It is clear from the scriptures and latter-day revelations, including The Family: A Proclamation to the World 1, that we came to earth to receive physical bodies, to learn, and to be tested. During mortality, we play many life-roles, such as child, sibling, spouse, parent, and grandparent. And we continue to function and grow in these multiple roles as we proceed on our life's journey.
Ideally for most of us, our families are the working units in which these needful roles are played out. For, it is only through learning to properly perform our various life-roles in a family setting that we can hope to acquire the celestial attributes of our Savior, including: faith, hope, charity, virtue, knowledge, patience, humility, diligence, obedience. In fact, to underscore this truth, we are taught in the Gospel Plan that we are not saved and exalted individually, but in families. Thus families can and should be forever.
On 10 February 1886, the Deseret News Weekly ran the obituary of Margaret Evans Francis Jones. The short article reported that she died of old age, at 86, on February 5th, and concluded by noting that she had suffered the hardships of settling Utah, had never wavered in her testimony, and had died a faithful Latter-day Saint. 2
To be sure, such deeds would be a credit to anyone belonging to the Restored Church. However, again, the Gospel teaches that we are not saved and exalted individually, but in families. In view of that, since there was much more which occurred during Margaret’s earthly sojourn that could not be expanded upon in the brief newspaper memorial, let’s look at her long and useful life in greater detail.
As is recorded in the Francis family record book 3, 4, 5 which she dutifully maintained after she married, Margaret was born on 15 January 1800, in New Court, Llanwenog, Cardiganshire, Wales 6 to David Evans and Elinor or Ellen Samuelson. 7 She was evidently the third of four children, three girls and a younger brother, all born in New Court, or Cwrt-newyyd, Llanwenog: Rachel, christened 1 Dec 1799; Ann, christened 26 Mar 1805; and Daniel, born about 1806. 8 Her father was a carpenter. 9Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | ME Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
To set the stage for what now follows, consider these observations: Each of us comes to earth at a particular time in the world’s history, allowing us to play out our unique roles in the cavalcade of humanity. Likewise, as a result of our birth placement, life circumstances vary. This in turn leads to determining our individual choices and actions.
As case in point, at the time Margaret’s parents married and started their family in the late 1790’s, in the small Welsh farming village of New Court, near Llanwenog, the world economy was still largely agrarian. Families worked together to provide their own food, clothing, textiles and wood products. Additionally, occupational trades at the time were largely cottage industries. Thus, one can imagine Margaret and her siblings assisting their father in his carpentry business and other household duties as they grew up. Such were the traditions of the time. But change and revolution were in the air.
World events transpired which forever changed the landscape of human endeavor: the American Revolution, 1776; the French Revolution, 1789; and especially the Industrial Revolution, beginning in the late 1700’s and lasting into the mid 1800’s. These various undertakings wrought multiple changes on the Occidental world.
Because of significant resources of coal and iron, the necessary ingredients that fueled the grand metamorphosis from an agrarian to a mechanized society, Great Britain became the center for monumental changes during the Industrial Revolution. Thus, enabled by astounding new inventions and innovations such as the steam engine, the spinning Jenny, railroads, new type road surfaces, and new banking/commercial procedures, to name just a few, traditional home industries were replaced by machines and factories. This resulted in massive social readjustments. Old techniques became obsolete; new skills were required; unemployment ran rampant; new centers of industry developed; child labor and woman suffrage issues came to the fore; disease and malnutrition were common; social unrest was everywhere. 10
Living in a rural part of Great Britain as they did, the Evans family was probably initially insulated from the changes which were radically affecting other parts of the country—like Manchester, in Lancaster Shire, where the textile industry had begun to flourish. Indeed, so important became the English textile industry in Lancaster Shire that the saying evolved: Lancashire thread produces England’s bread! At the same time, Wales was important, too, being noted for its coal mines. Nearby Cardiff, through the Butte family’s leadership, eventually became the world leader in this commodity.
Accordingly, reflecting further on the sweeping changes resulting from the Industrial Revolution, David Evan’s cottage industry carpenter trade, would also, in time, certainly have undergone significant alteration. So, too, would the trade of blacksmithing, which Margaret’s eventual husband, Benjamin Francis, pursued.Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | ME Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
Benjamin, although born in neighboring Carmarthin Shire, South Wales, on 12 February 1802, making him two years Margaret’s junior 11, had evidently set up his blacksmithing business in Llenwenog, Cardigan Shire. For this is where they eventually married. It is also where they resided at the time of the 1841 Welsh Census. 12
However, the circumstances of Margaret’s and Benjamin’s meeting and courtship are not known. But Llenwenog is only two miles from Cwrt-newyyd, or New Court, Margaret’s childhood residence. So, presumably, there would have been ample opportunity to become acquainted through various social circles—perhaps through church, fair, sporting events, or business encounters. At any rate, they married on 16 December 1828, in Llenwenog. Margaret was 28, and Benjamin was 26. 13
From Margaret’s family record book, we learn that the couple had eight children, three girls and five boys. Nancy Evans Francis, was born 29 May 1829, but died only 14 months later, on 29 July 1830. David Evans Francis, born 27 August 1830, died at age ten, on 10 October 1846, after being dragged ¾ of a mile following a throw from the back of a “wild pony” he was riding. Ann Evans Francis, our direct relative, was born 26 May 1833. She was the only child to live into adulthood. She eventually married and bore 13 children of her own. Then came the five youngest children: Daniel Evans Francis, born 4 February 1835, who died at 14 months, on 4 May 1836; a second Daniel Evans Francis, born 3 February 1837; Margaret Evans Francis, born 26 August 1839; Benjamin Evans Francis, born 25 October 1841; and Francis Evans Francis, who was born and died on the same day, 10 October 1844. 14Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | ME Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
The Gospel was first preached in modern times in England in 1837 and later, beginning in 1840, in Wales. Church growth was remarkable. 15 Interestingly, in 1850, there were more members of the Church residing in Great Britain than in all of North America. 16 Thereafter, throughout the remainder of the 19th Century, some 65,000 converts, who joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the British Isles, immigrated to the United States to assist in the establishment of the New Zion. Moreover, as the eminent English author Charles Dickens once observed, some of these people were the pick and flower of England. 17
To some people today, the rapidity and extent of these new religious conversions might seem astonishing. But considering the tenor of the times, it is not so surprising. As one author noted:
Perhaps the greatest disruption of all was industrialization. Whereas the average life expectancy for laborers working the land was 38 years, that figure dropped to 19 years for the working classes in the mills. A young girl living in Utah once said to her grandmother, ‘It must have been hard for you to give up every thing you had to join the Church and come here.’ But the grandmother replied, ‘Child, you don’t understand. In Manchester we had nothing. Here we could have land.” (Effie Kelsey.) The restoration of the gospel offered people a new world, not only eternally but temporally. 18
Hence, the advent of the Gospel in Great Britain coincided with the onset of the Industrial Revolution and was the precise time that so much hardship and poverty were being inflicted upon thousands of conscientious workers looking for a better way of life. It would seem, then, that with the Industrial Revolution the Lord had much more in mind than mere machinery and material goods.
South Wales was the most fertile area in Wales for new converts. And for the above mentioned reasons and perhaps others, as well, the Francis family must have been seeking new vistas. Consequently, we learn from Margaret’s little family record book that she, Benjamin, and their oldest living child, Ann, were baptized into the Church by Thomas Jeremy, in Llanwenog, on 19 December 1847. Confirmation took place on 23 December 1847. 19
Then, in keeping with the counsel of the leading Brethren to immigrate to the United States in order to assist in building up the New Zion, fourteen months after joining the Church, in February 1849, the family prepared to immigrate to Zion with Dan Jones and his company of 249 Welsh Saints.
In 1849, the ship ‘Troubadour’ departed from Swansea [Wales] to Liverpool [England]. Some 249 passengers then sailed on 25 February 1849 on the ‘Buena Vista’ from Liverpool. [They reached their] port of arrival, New Orleans[Louisiana], on 10 April 1849 [after 44 days on the water]. Also aboard the ‘Buena Vista’ with the Francis family during the lengthy passage were Thomas Jeremy and his family [age 34, farmer], most likely the same man who had baptized them in Llanwenog, plus the Treharne family. 20
Thomas Jeremy, in a subsequent letter to friends in Wales (Welsh Saints maintained close ties), as is reported in The Life Story of Jane Treharne Ashton, wrote the following:
I recommend all those that will follow us to Zion to bring oatmeal 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 deck as much as possible. This will be an advice that will benefit them at our expense. 21
Additionally, Sarah Evans Jeremy, Thomas’s wife, recorded her memories of the sea voyage and ensuing river travel. Extracts are found in this same life story, as 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.
[Then, on the river boat taking them further north, up the Mississippi River], out of the 249 passengers aboard the ‘Highland Mar,’ one-third were stricken with the cholera while en-route from New Orleans to Council Bluffs [Pottawattamie County, Iowa, the eastern staging area for Saints migrating to Utah]. 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… Coffins were made of rough boards and they were buried among the big timbers on the banks of the Missouri River [once the river boat left the Mississippi River and entered upon the Missouri River near St. Louis, to ply its way further west towards Iowa]. The cholera raged from New Orleans to Council Bluffs. 22
Historically, cholera appears to have been originally endemic to the Indian subcontinent, with the Ganges River likely serving as a contamination reservoir. Evidently, the disease then spread via land and sea trade routes to Russia, Western Europe, and thereafter to North America. The years 1829–1851 encompassed the Second Cholera pandemic in which Western Europe and North America suffered greatly. In fact, in 1849, at the time the Welsh immigrants arrived in New Orleans on the Buena Vista, the pandemic was spreading throughout the Mississippi River system. During that particular year, cholera took the lives of over 4,500 in St. Louis [10% of the city’s population] and 3,000 in New Orleans. The disease then spread along the California and Oregon Trail as thousands were making their way further west, at the time of the Mormon Migration and California Gold Rush. 23
Widespread fear and panic would often result from any rumors that cholera was suspected to be in a given area. What caused the disease and what caused it to spread was unknown at the time… The most prevalent theory of the time held that the illness was caused and spread by vapors… During this epidemic the eating of potatoes and other vegetables also had come under suspicion…
The mortality for untreated cholera is around 50 percent… The disease is spread by fecal contamination… But in 1849, none of this was known.
It would be five more years before the spread of cholera by water supplies contaminated by sewage would be demonstrated [in 1854]… It would then be only another three years before Louis Pasteur would introduce the germ theory of disease in 1857… It wasn’t until 1883, though, that the German physician, Robert Koch, discovered the Vibrio cholerae bacterium, and it wasn’t until well into the twentieth century that effective treatment with intravenous fluids was developed. 24
The toll that this horrific disease took on the Welsh Saints and particularly on our own forebears in the Buena Vista Company is related by Dan Jones in a letter written from St. Louis, on 30 April/1 May 1849, to William Phillips in Wales:
May 1st—[Here, in St. Louis], we hired a steamer [the Mary] and moved to it yesterday to carry us to Council Bluffs, 900 miles up the Missouri River, for 16s. 8c each, half price for children between 4 and 14; and younger than that no charge; we can have a hundred pounds of luggage without paying, and we pay 2s. per hundred for the rest. We shall start from here tomorrow. We purchased our food here to get us to the valley. Also our stoves, iron to make wagons, clothes, arms, goods, etc., etc. To this point our journey has been as expensive as I noted in the Prophet [magazine]; and as far as I can tell the costs will be hardly any different from what I noted there.
The deadly cholera is killing hosts here now. One dear and faithful elder died this morning, namely Benjamin Francis, leaving great sorrow behind him. It would be difficult to find anyone more faithful than he was during his life, and he died happy. His wife and family will come along with us… [Unfortunately, three other family members died afterwards, as well.] 25
In the aforementioned small bound family journal, Margaret Evans Francis dutifully recorded the deaths of her dear husband, as well as, shortly thereafter, three of her children:
Benjamin Francis Senior died on Tuesday the 1st of May 1849 [age 47] at Saint Louis and was buried at Saint Louis on the same day. [To date, search for the gravesite has been unsuccessful.]
Daniel Evans Francis the son of Benjamin and Margaret Francis died on the ‘Steamer Mary’ on the 6th of May 1849 [age 12].
Margaret Evans Francis daughter of Benjamin and Margaret Francis died on the Missouri River on the ‘Steamboat Mary’ on the 7th day of May 1849 [age 9].
Benjamin Evans Francis Junior son of Benjamin and Margaret Francis died on the Missouri River on the ‘Steamboat Mary’ on the 8th of May 1849 [age 7]. 26Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | ME Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
We know that Margaret and Ann, now the sole remaining members of the Francis family, continued on with the Buena Vista Company and made their way to Council Bluffs, Iowa, in mid 1849. We also know that they remained there until June of 1852, presumably gathering resources for the trek westward. They are listed in the 1850 United States Federal Census for Pottawattamie County, Iowa, taken on 24 May 1850, where they are shown to be 50 and 17 years of age, respectively. 27
As is recorded on the Church History Library and Archives website, which documents Mormon Pioneer overland travel during the time frame 1847-1868, we learn that they then departed Council Bluffs between 22-28 June 1852 in the John Morgan Company, composed of 50 wagons and 88 persons. The pioneers who made this 1,130 mile, three month long journey to the Salt Lake Valley were divided into five groups of ten wagons each. They were predominantly Welsh Saints, plus some English and French, as well.
We do not have exact details as to Margaret’s and Ann’s activities during the journey, but there are several letters and journal entries from fellow travelers included on the website, which give us good insight into what transpired. For example, there were four deaths during the trip (two from cholera, one from cancer, and one accident.) There were several babies born. The weather was temperate and quite mild throughout the entire trip: they had no snow. They encountered thousands of bison, killing five of them for meat. Their meat tastes like Welsh beef, wrote one of the journalists.
John Morgan, the Company leader had an interesting experience. While scouting the trail ahead, he unexpectedly met two Sioux Indian chiefs in full dress, who greeted him: How do… Mormon good! They insisted that he come to their village and smoke a peace pipe, which he wisely did. Thereafter, the pioneers swapped various items with the tribal members: sugar, cakes, etc. His final impression of Plains Indians after meeting hundreds more along the way was that they were friendly and completely harmless.
Yet, perhaps the most memorable event of the entire, physically demanding trip for these Saints was being greeted forty miles outside the Salt lake Valley by numerous Welsh friends, including Dan Jones, already established in the valley, that came out to greet them with wagon loads of fresh fruit and produce: watermelons, mush melons, potatoes, pickle cucumbers, grapes, etc. They joyfully visited far into the night, singing and communing one with another. It was an endearing gesture of true brotherhood.
The John Morgan Wagon Company finally entered the Salt Lake Valley, arriving 25-30 September 1852, some ninety days after departing Council Bluffs, Iowa.28 Margaret and Ann evidently settled in the Sixteenth Ward on the west side of Salt Lake City, a traditional place of residence for newly arriving Welsh Saints to the valley, for we learn in Margaret’s 1886 obituary in the Deseret News Weekly newspaper that she was a longtime resident of this locale. 29Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | ME Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
The next year, on October 12, 1853, Ann married Thomas Howells and moved to the Fifteenth Ward in Salt Lake City. Two years later, on 31 August 1855, Ann and Thomas received their endowments, and their marriage was sealed for time and eternity in the Endowment House. 30
On that same day, 31 August 1855, in the Endowment House, Margaret took out her own endowments. She was later sealed, on 22 April 1857, for time and eternity to her deceased companion of 29 years, Benjamin Francis, and married a new companion for time only, Thomas John Jones. 31,32 Without a doubt, these were banner days for the family.
However, preparatory to these events, being now in her fifth decade, having resided in the Salt Lake Valley for three years, entirely alone for two years following Ann’s marriage and surviving as a solitary widow without obvious economic support, it must have been not only difficult for Margaret, but lonely, too. Yet, the commitment for a member of the Church is to endure and to serve. So she had. Nevertheless, gratefully, to help bolster her spirit, there had been promises of better days to come.
For example, on 23 June 1850, while at Winter Quarters in Pottawattamie County, Iowa, heartsick and worn following the deaths of Benjamin and the children, Margaret received comfort in a patriarchal blessing, perhaps much like Abraham and Sarah of old, wherein she was told:
…thou shall stand at the head of a numerous posterity, and thou shall yet be a mother in Israel, and many shall call thee blessed...and thou shall yet live to see many good days; thy last days shall be thy best days, and thou shall rejoice in the work of the Lord… 33
Then again, after settling in the Salt Lake Valley, on 27 March 1853, seven months following Ann’s marriage, she received a second blessing with these comforting words:
…you shall be blessed in your family, your children shall increase and become exceedingly numerous…you shall find a companion that will comfort you… 34Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | ME Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
Concerning Thomas John Jones, Margaret’s second husband, and his first family, there is not a lot known. But here is the information that has been found: From his tombstone in the Salt Lake Cemetery, Thomas John was born in South Wales, on 2 October 1804, and died in Salt Lake City, on 29 September 1886. 35 His first wife was Elizabeth Rees, evidently born on 21 May 1810. They had at least one child, John Rees Jones.
We have this information from records of the Church detailing the Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847-1868. The three of them were in the Job Smith Company (1854), which, with 217 individuals and 45 wagons when it began its journey from the outfitting post at Westport, Missouri, on 16 June 1854, arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on 23-24 September, 1854. 36 Thomas John was listed as being age 50 at the time 37; Elizabeth was 44 38; and John Rees was 7. 39
However, exact ordinance and death dates for Elizabeth have not been identified, as yet. (For instance, it may be that she died after Margaret’s marriage to Thomas John, perhaps in 1858 40, which would indicate a possible pleural marriage relationship, divorce, separation, or other situation. Obviously, more definitive information is needed here.)
Nevertheless, three Untied States Federal Census Records for the State of Utah, 1860, 1870 and 1880, show the family association of Thomas, Margaret, and John Rees Jones.
In the 1860 record for Great Salt Lake City Ward 16, Great Salt Lake, Utah Territory, Thomas J. Jones, age 55, farmer; Margaret Jones, age 60; and John R. Jones, age 13, are shown living together in the same household. 41
In the census for 1870, Thomas Jones, age 64; farmer; Margaret Jones, age 70, keeping house; and John Jones, age 22, teamster, are shown. 42
Then, in the record for 1880, Thomas John Jones, age 76, plasterer, unemployed for the previous 12 months of the census year [presumably retired]; and Margaret Jones, age 82, wife, are listed. 43Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | ME Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
As already indicated, Margaret died on 5 February 1886 44; Thomas John died seven months later, on 29 September 1886. 45 Interestingly, this means that the two of them lived together as a couple for 29 years—as long as Margaret and Benjamin had lived together as husband and wife.
We have already discussed the momentous and challenging life Margaret and Benjamin experienced together. What about Margaret and her second husband, Thomas John?
We do not know all of the details. But, their life together certainly must have been more settled and sedate. Thomas John was first a farmer, and then evidently a plasterer. Margaret kept house. For the better part of two decades, Thomas John’s son John Rees, who eventually became a teamster, lived with them. Of course, they would have been in the role of nurturing and training him.
But, also according to her patriarchal blessings, Margaret was to enjoy a numerous posterity and would rejoice in the work of the Lord. And, indeed, she did. Her only remaining child, Ann Evans Francis Howells, bore 13 children. And from these grandchildren, those that lived to maturity and married, came other large families.
When Ann died in 1874, at the comparatively young age of 41, leaving a distraught husband and eight dependent children, Margaret and Thomas John stepped in to assist. For example, we have a picture of Margaret with a granddaughter, Amelia, at her side. 46 We also have several recorded experiences of a grandson, John Francis Howells (JFH), which describe the help he received from his grandparents.
JFH was only 8 years old when his mother died. Margaret stepped-in to help in his training. However, he did not always listen as he should have. Therefore, realizing problems in memorization while on his mission, he lamented in his journal at his disappointment for not having applied himself better during his earlier years, and listened to my aged grandmother.
I have been thinking seriously today of the time and money that I have wasted in my youthful days—not taking council from those that had gone through the experience of youth before me. I thought that I knew it all, and went in a course that neither brought me knowledge or happiness. But, the past cannot be recalled. It has gone forever, and I will try and improve in the future. 47
Even later in life, as well, in a letter to his eldest son, Edmund, JFH again recalled being rash as a young man and going against the counsel of his older siblings and grandmother. He accepted a job working in the roundhouse of the Utah Northern Railroad, in Butte, Montana, where he contracted pneumonia and nearly died:
I will here relate that I went to Butte against the wishes of my older brothers, who threatened to stop me as I was still underage. My old grandmother [Margaret Evans Francis] told me exactly what I could expect if I went. On my return home, she nursed me, and through her nursing and Grandfather Jones’ administrations [Thomas John Jones, Margaret Evans Francis’ 2nd husband], after many months, I regained my normal strength. Sometime afterwards, they both died…. 48
Yet again, while serving on his mission, he recalled dreams in which he conversed with his grandmother, still concerned with his eternal welfare. For example, he related:
I had a very sweet night’s rest. I dreamed that I was talking with my dear old grandmother…. 49
Thus, following Ann’s death, Margaret was indeed able to realize the promises specified in her blessing … thou shall yet be a mother in Israel, and many shall call thee blessed... and thou shall yet live to see many good days; thy last days shall be thy best days, and thou shall rejoice in the work of the Lord… 50Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | ME Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
To conclude the biography, a word or two about the nature of the world and times in which Margaret lived after coming to Utah in 1852 is revealing. Concerning Utah itself, attaining statehood was an important issue for the people. Thus, after organizing themselves into the State of Deseret in 1849, statehood was denied by the federal government and the Territory of Utah was created instead. Brigham Young was appointed Territorial Governor. The Church continued to expand its territorial borders throughout the next decade: certainly in Utah and the intermountain region; but also, in 1855, establishing settlements in Las Vegas, Nevada, San Bernardino, California, and the Wind River, Wyoming area.
Unfortunately, however, because of these expansion efforts and for other reasons, as well, the character of President Young was soon besmirched by envious government-appointed politicians in the territory. They complained to U.S. President James Buchanan. Consequently, in 1857, he sent an army of 2,500 soldiers to Utah to quell the supposed insurrection, thus creating the Utah War or so-called Buchanan’s Blunder.
In addition, there were other factors smoldering in the meld which caused hardship and misunderstanding for the inhabitants of Utah at the time. In 1852, the Church publicly announced polygamy. General reaction to the announcement was both negative and persistent. And energized by other festering issues such as slavery and the Negro question (the Dred Scott Decision protecting the right to have slaves came in 1857), the Meadow Mountain Massacre (also in 1857), formation of the Reorganized LDS Church (in 1860), and Indian mismanagement (Custer’s last stand occurred at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, in 1876), polygamy became a major issue against the Church, nationally.
In 1862, the U.S. Congress passed the Morrill Anti-bigamy Act (President Abraham Lincoln refused to enforce it); in 1879, after appeal, it was upheld by the Supreme Court. Then, in 1882, the Edmunds Act was passed. It made polygamy a felony and stipulated that anyone practicing it would be disenfranchised and jailed. By year’s end, over 1,000 Mormon men had been convicted and confined. Nevertheless, the Church continued to grow in Utah throughout this time: in 1852, there were 20,000 members of the Church in Salt Lake City; in 1862, there were 60,000 in the city; and by 1878, the number had risen to 109,894.
Meanwhile, looming national issues impinged upon the Church during the last half of the nineteenth century. Certainly the Civil War, largely over the issue of slavery, raging in various parts of the country between 1860 and 1865, had its effect. The aftereffects of the War, ratification of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, in 1868 (defining citizenship in the United States), and ratification of the 15th Amendment to the Constitution, in 1870 (giving Blacks the right to vote) had bearing on the inhabitants of Utah, as well.
So, too, did the following important events: patenting of the first sewing machine, in 1851; laying of the first transatlantic cable, in 1858; discovery of oil in Titusville, Pennsylvania, in 1859; creation of the Pony Express Route (from St. Louis, Missouri, to California), in 1860; foundation of the International Red Cross, in 1863; passage of the Homestead Act (granting ownership of 160 acres to anyone living on the property for 5 years or more), in 1863; the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, in 1865 (as well as the subsequent deadly shooting of U.S. President James A. Garfield, in 1881); completion of the first transcontinental railroad, in 1869 (made possible by the work of Mormon laborers, with the final spike being driven at Promontory Point, Utah, uniting the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific lines); invention of the telephone, in 1876; the development of the electric light bulb, in 1879; and invention of the first transparent photographic film, in 1884.
Moreover, this was also an era of great writers. Without a doubt, their works would have left a mark on Margaret and other Utah residents of the time. Here is a partial listing of some of these contemporary literary giants: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Herman Melville, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Walt Whitman, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Mark Twain, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Louisa May Alcott, Henry Thoreau, George Eliot, Victor Hugo, Emily Dickenson, Lewis Carroll, John Greenleaf Whittier, and Jules Verne. 51, 52, 53
Thus, there must have been much that touched, affected, and illuminated Margaret’s life after she came to Utah which helped in fulfilling the promises she had been given.
Finally, departing mortality at age 86, Margaret was interred in the Salt Lake City Cemetery. Her supportive companion during the last 29 years of her life, Thomas John, was laid to rest next to her after he died seven months later. 54 But the physical remains of her first husband, Benjamin, to whom she is sealed for time and eternity and with whom she lived and raised her children during the first 29 years of married life, lie buried somewhere near St. Louis, Missouri, in an undisclosed grave. 55
However, as was observed at the beginning of this piece, according to the scriptures and latter-day revelations, we are saved and exalted within family units. Consequently, with their sealing ordinances in place, as their descendants, we can be assured that following the resurrection, the two of them will be together again, forever, in the next life.Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | ME Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
1. Ensign, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, November 2007, p. 102.
2. Obituary of Margaret Francis Jones, appearing in the Deseret News Weekly newspaper; Volume 35, p. 64; 10 February 1886.
3. Compilation of entries found in the small bound book of the Francis Family, showing dates and data compiled and entered at the time of occurrence by Margaret Evans Francis. The book is currently in the possession of Shannon Howells, Salt Lake City, Utah. It is about 4 x 6 x 1 inches in size and was seen and handled by the compiler of this biography. Part I.
4. Op. cit.: Compilation of entries found in the small bound book…Part II.
5. Op. cit.: Compilation of entries found in the small bound book…Part III.
6. Birth entry for Margaret Evans Francis from the small bound book of Francis Family dates and data: Margaret Evans Francis, the daughter of David and Eleanor Evans was born in Cardiganshire, South Wales, January 15th 1800.
7. 16th Ward Records, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1853-1900. FHL Film #908218, under Jones, page 139: Margaret, b.15 Jan. 1800, Wales, d. of David Evans and Ellen Samuelson; rebap. 1 July 1884, 16 Ward by John Cottam.
8. Family Search, Ancestral File, v4, 19; microfilm: 1394225; submission: AF83-051120; submitter: Mary Alice Olsen, a now deceased Howells Family member and researcher.
9. Baptism/christening entry: Bishop's Transcripts, Llanwenog Parish, Wales, 1676-1892, GS#0105183. "Baptized: 1800, January 20th, Margaret, daughter of David Evan, carpenter, & wife."
11. Birth entry for Benjamin Francis from the small bound book of Francis Family dates and data: Benjamin Francis, the son of David and Ruth Francis was born in Glandeaar, LlangbySar, Carmarthin- shire, South Wales, February 12th 1802.
12. http://ancestry.com. 1841 Wales Census: Source Citation: Class: HO107; Piece: 1375; Book: 31; Civil Parish: Llanwenog; County: Cardiganshire; Enumeration District: 3; Folio: 37; Page: 1; Line: 1; GSU roll: 464304.
13. Marriage entry: Bishop's Transcripts, Llanwenog Parish, Wales, 1676-1892; 1828, p. 56; GS #0105183.
14. Op. cit.: Compilation of entries found in the small bound book…Parts I & II.
15. Truth Will Prevail, the Rise of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the British Isles, 1837-1987, Editors: Bloxham, Moss, Porter; 1987 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.; a 462 page book prepared for the 150th anniversary of the introduction of the Church in Great Britain, containing multiple chapters, maps, illustrations, and an index; see pp. 236-237.
16. Op. cit.: Truth Will Prevail, the Rise of The Church of Jesus Christ…; see pp. x & 214.
17. Op. cit.: Truth Will Prevail, the Rise of The Church of Jesus Christ…; see p. xi.
18. Op. cit.: Truth Will Prevail, the Rise of The Church of Jesus Christ…; see p. 1.
19. Op. cit.: Compilation of entries found in the small bound book…Part II.
20. http://home.clara.net/tirbach/HelpPageBuenaVista.html. Buena Vista and Hartley passenger lists. “In 1849 the ship Troubadour departed from Swansea to Liverpool; some 249 passengers then sailed on 25 Feb 1849 on the Buena Vista from Liverpool; port of arrival, New Orleans, on 10 of April 1849.” Passenger list: “#165 Benjn. Francis, 46, Blacksmith; #166 Margaret Francis, 48; #167 Ann Francis, 16; #168 Dan Francis, 12; #169 Margaret Francis, 9; #170 Benjn. Francis, 7.”
21. http://welshmormonhistory.org/index.php?/resources. The Life Story of Jane Treharne Ashton.
22. Op. cit.: http://welshmormonhistory.org/index.php?/resources. The Life Story…
24. http://www.galliagenealogy.org/cholera.htm. The 1849 Cholera Epidemic, by Neil Elvick.
25. http://welshmormonhistory.org/index.php?/immigrants/view/890. Letter of Dan Jones to William Phillips, 30 April/1 May 1849, from St. Louis. Published in “Udgorn Seion” (Zion’s Trumpet), June 1849, p.123.
26. Op. cit.: Compilation of entries found in the small bound book…Parts II & III.
27. http://ancestry.com. 1850 United States Federal Census: Source Citation: Year: 1850; Census Place: District 21, Pottawattamie, Iowa; Roll: M432_188; Page: 95; Image: 191.
28. http://www.lds.org/churchhistory/library/pioneercompany/0,15797,4017-1-212,00.html. William Morgan Company (1852).
29. Op. cit.: Obituary of Margaret Francis Jones…in the Deseret News Weekly…
30. LDS Church Temple Index Card to the Endowment House Temple Records, for Ann Evans Francis: No. 165, Book B, page 8.
31. LDS Church Temple Index Card to the Endowment House Temple Records, for Margaret Evans: No. 166, Book B, page 8.
32. As per research work of Mary Alice Olsen, a now deceased Howells Family member and researcher. Unable to locate her cited reference, as yet.
33. 1850 Patriarchal Blessing, found under Margaret Evans (1800-1886), ME Additional Family History, on this website.
34. 1853 Patriarchal Blessing, found under Margaret Evans (1800-1886), ME Additional Family History, on this website.
35. Utah State Historical Society, comp., Utah Cemetery Inventory [Ancestry.com], Provo, Utah; The Generation Network, Inc., 2000. Original data: Utah State Historical Society, Utah Cemetery Inventory, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2000.
40. Ancestry.com, Salt Lake City, Utah Cemetery Records, 1848-1992 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA. The Generation Network, Inc, 2004. Original data: This index was created from cemetery inscriptions and records from the Salt Lake City Cemetery located at 200 N. Street, Salt Lake City, Utah.
41. Ancestry.com, 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA. Source Citation: Year: 1860; Census Place: Great Salt Lake City Ward 16, Great Salt Lake, Utah Territory; Roll: M653; Page: 238; Image: 241.
42. Ancestry.com, 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA. Source Citation: Year: 1870; Census Place: Great Salt Lake City Ward 16, Great Salt Lake, Utah Territory; Roll: M593; Page: 684; Image: 712.
43. Ancestry.com, 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA. Source Citation: Year: 1880; Census Place: Great Salt Lake City Ward 16, Great Salt Lake, Utah Territory; Roll: T9_1337; Family History Film: 1255337; Page: 135-2000; Enumeration District: 48.
44. Op. cit.: Obituary of Margaret Francis Jones…in the Deseret News Weekly…
45. Op. cit.: Utah State Historical Society, comp., Utah Cemetery Inventory…
46. Margaret Evans Francis (1800-1886), Margaret and granddaughter, Amelia, found under ME Photographs, on this website.
47.Entry dated July 8th, 1892, in John Francis Howells: Missionary Journal to Great Britain, April 1892 – March 1894, in possession of W. Bart Christenson, Provo, Utah.
48. Taken from a letter dated January 27th 1930, written by John Francis Howells from Salt Lake City, Utah, to his oldest son, Edmund. The letter was transcribed by W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah, March 2007, from a typewritten copy in his possession.
49. Op. cit., entry dated April 15th 1893, in John Francis Howells: Missionary…
50. Op. cit.: 1850 Patriarchal Blessing, found under Margaret Evans (1800-1886)…
54. Op. cit.: Utah State Historical Society, comp., Utah Cemetery Inventory…
55. Op. cit.: Compilation of entries found in the small bound book…Parts II & III.Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | ME Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
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