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John Pitcher Rebecca Brown

History of John Pitcher
and Rebecca Brown

From a photocopy in the possession of Robert Raymond, gggrandson of John and Rebecca Pitcher. The photocopied pages have page numbers of 88 to 92.


A history by grandson Walter M. Everton

A history by their grandson Walter M. Everton. Written in 1932; revised in 1942.

John Pitcher was born in Shipdham; Norfolk, England, in March 1816. His parents, Edward Pitcher and Elizabeth Germany (or Jarman) were of the poorer farming class and at that time it was considered unnecessary for farm children to have any education. For that reason John was not given a chance to learn to read or write. In his young manhood he was in service. His particular job was to tend to the livestock on the farm - the cows, horses, etc.

While he was working on a farm with the livestock, a young lady named Rebecca Brown was employed as a helper in the dairy department. When John carried the milk to the dairy he often had a chance to speak a word to Rebecca. It was not long until a word or two was not enough, and he sought opportunity to speak many words. The mistress was quite strict and insisted that Rebecca be in bed at an early hour. She refused permission for parties, or other association with young John. The mistress was old. Her eyesight was faulty. Young John, decided not to be driven away by any command of hers, so on one occasion when the pair wanted to attend a party John put a ladder up to Rebecca's window. Thus he entered her room. Together they made a dummy to put in the bed. Then he sallied forth with Rebecca to the party. When the mistress went her rounds to see that all the servants were in, she found Rebecca in bed and asleep. The next morning the mistress remarked that Rebecca slept very soundly as she was unable to awaken her. Not long afterward Rebecca and John were married.

In their early married life they lived for a time in Yorkshire. Rebecca told of having witnessed tho celebration in honor of the coronation of Queen Victoria when she had her first baby in arms. Residence in Yorkshire was not for long. They soon moved back to their old home and Grandfather worked on the same farm where he had worked as a boy.

When the gospel was preached to them they joined the Church though we do not know the exact date this occurred. After they had held membership in the Church for sometime they became dissatisfied and lukewarm and finally withdrew. During the time that they were out of the Church they visited other churches with the idea of joining one of them, but they found nothing in any of them that satisfied their longing for religion. When the daughter, Elizabeth, was six or seven years old the missionaries again came into their neighborhood. Elizabeth had been afflicted with fits for sometime, and other members of the family had various afflictions. When the Elders came back into the neighborhood they were welcomed again into the home of the Pitchers and the members of the family were re-baptized. From that time on Elizabeth never had another fit. They considered this a special blessing from the Lord that she was healed of this serious affliction.

After this their home became the headquarters for the Mormons in Shipdham. The Mormon meetings were held at their home. Missionaries, when they came to town, came to Pitchers first and were always made welcome. Many a missionary was made to rejoice in the splendid cooking of sister Pitcher.

In 1869 preparations were made to emigrate to Utah. Grandfather was not financially able to pay his way and was only able to emigrate by getting a loan from the perpetual Emigration fund. This was a fund set up by the Mormon Church from which money was loaned to faithful saints who desired to gather with the saints. It was supposed that the saints would repay the money when they got to Zion and thus make it a perpetual fund for assisting the worthy poor.

I examined the entrees made in the ledger kept in Liverpool showing loans made to immigrants. This book is now in the church Historians Office in Salt Lake City. This record showed that the money was loaned to grandfather in a lump sum to pay the fare of himself and wife and his family including two daughters in laws with their babies.

         Passage on ship was charged - 47 pounds  5 Shillings.
         Railroad fare -               61 pounds 10 Shillings.
         Additional cash advanced -     7 pounds 10 Shillings.

The last item may have been to pay for food on the train or to pay Railroad fare to Liverpool. In American money the total equals about $580.00.

The list of those in his family is thus recorded:

                    John Pitcher   age    53
                    Rebecca "       "     53
                    Edward  "       "     27
                    Martha  "       "     21
                    Elizabeth "     "      7
                    John    "       "     24
                    Rebecca "       "     22
                    Infant
                    Susan           "     22
                    Infant
Page #    Line #     Name Age   S Occupation   Origin   Destination   Part of ship occupied
728 or43 John Pitcher     24   M Labr[Laborer]   " [Gt Britain]   " [Utah Terry]   " [Tween decks]
77544 Rebecca     " 22   " Matron   """
View image on Ancestry.com 45 do do     Infant """
 46 Susan Pitcher 22 F Matron """
 47 do do Infant """
 48 John Pitcher 53 M Labr[Laborer]   """
Next  1 Rebecca   Pitcher   53   F Matron   Gt Britain   Utah Terry   Tween decks
View image on Ancestry.com 2 Edward     " 27 M   Labr[Laborer]   """
 3 Martha     " 21 F Spinr[Spinster] """
 4 Elih[Elizabeth] " 7 F Chd[Child] """

[NARA microfilm, M237, roll 319, list number 1156, p. ??, line 39 to p. ??, line 4.]

This record makes no mention of James D, whom we know was in the group and it does mention Martha 21 who was not a member of the Pitcher family. It lists Elizabeth age 7. Her real age was 14. She apparently came for half fare. (full fare for one person was 13 pounds 16 Shillings)

There is a tradition that the Elders "took their money away from them" in New York. Some have interpreted this to mean that the Elders misused the money. However we must remember the food for the journey across the country was bought in bulk by the Elders and as grandfather had borrowed church money to pay his expenses he very likely had no surplus. It took all he had to pay the bill and it is unlikely that the Elders profited by the deal. Walter E. Pitcher, who lived with grandfather for fifteen years said he never heard either grandfather or grandmother say anything about the Elders taking their money wrongfully. He says that Grandfather paid back his immigration money before he went through the Temple in 1885.

They sold their furniture and took passage on the steamship Manhattan which carried them over the ocean. If not the first, they were among the very first emigrants to arrive in Utah who came on the railroad. When they came to Ogden there was no depot as yet. Their trunks were dumped out on the river bank and they got their first glimpse of Utah and the Mormons in Utah. It was late September when they came, and they went immediately to Farmington. During the first winter they made their home with the Ladle family. Mrs. Ladle and Mrs. Pitcher were sisters. The following spring they moved to Smithfield, in Cache Valley. Before leaving however they returned to Salt Lake and went through the endowment house. Their first home was a little log hut which belonged to John Peacock, situated on second west street, a little more than a block north of the creek which runs down the middle of town. After spending a year in this place they built a log house of their own, one block north and one block east of the 0. S. L. depot, on the south west corner of the block. Grandfather pre-emptied some government land west of Smithfield and continued in the business of farming and stock raising until he retired a few years before his death.

Grandfather Pitcher was small in stature, probably about 5-1/2 feet tall and medium build. He always wore a full beard. Sometime in middle life he had injured one of his legs by falling off a wagon and having the wheel pass over his leg. This caused him to walk with a slight limp.

The knowledge he had gained on the farm in England in tending the livestock was put to good service when he came to America, for he was the horse doctor in Smithfield for many years. He did not have the scientific knowledge of a trained veterinary. He did have a lot of practical information as to what to do and how to do when a horse or cow became sick. He always raised a splendid garden, priding himself on having potatoes first.

In his later life he spent most of his time in going around among the sick. He was a favorite, being called upon to administer to the sick, and many there were who claimed that they were healed under the hands of Grandfather Pitcher.

Although he lived in America for thirty years, he never copied the American ways of speech. He always spoke the broad English brogue, just as he did in the old country. Although he lived until he was nearly eighty years of age, his death occurring May 3, 1896, he was not bald headed, and was not very grey. His beard at the last became a very dark iron gray.

He was respected by all those who knew him and looked upon as a thorough Latter-Day Saint, as an honest man, and as a good neighbor.

Another grandson's story, Walter E. Pitcher

Walter E. Pitcher, a grandson who, when his mother died was taken into the home of grandfather Pitcher and there grew to manhood, has this to say about his grandparents. (written in 1942)

I am pleased to add this tribute to my grandfather and grandmother, that they were real L.D.S. they lived their religion, never refused a call by those in authority. Paid a full tithing, their fast offerings, all paid in kind, hauled their hay to the Tithing Office.

Grandfather was a very good stacker. The Tithing yard was in the center of Smithfield, enclosed by a high rock wall where the Tithing hay was stacked. Tithing cattle were also kept there. I remember grandfather stacking the hay. I was just a boy 12 years old. He had me take the team, go down on the river, cut and haul a load of willows to put on the hay. He tied the tops of the willows together, threw them over the stacks of hay to keep the wind from blowing it away. That was my first tithing, so through this kind of work he taught me to pay tithing.

What I am I owe to the teachings and the example of my grandparents. They were good neighbors, the 15 years I lived with them, there was never any trouble with their neighbors. They were always willing to give the helping hand. They had good health, were very thrifty. They were so schooled in the serious side of life of making a living, they could not see the funny side of life.

He was a lover of live stock, his work was always up to par, his tasks were never neglected. Lines were drawn straight, and followed straight. Remarkable to me, that they could come at their age, to a new world, new peoples, build a home and get so comfortably established in the short time they had before they were called home, without any outside help, but they did help many others.

They were grand old people, never found fault, never complained. I feel their mission was to establish their posterity in the land of Zion, making a good job of it.

Grandmothers Story

Rebecca Pitcher was the daughter of James Brown and Elizabeth Wright. She was born in Wretham (or Hockham) Norfolk, England in about the year 1818. She was quite provoked because her mother did not keep the record of the date of her birth, and she often spoke of it. Her mother told her that she was born two weeks after Michaelmass (sometime in the fall. Rents were paid at that time and renters made moves).

I remember her only as an old woman, bent over, stoop shouldered and gray. Her husband and her older son spoke of her beauty when she was a young woman. She had black hair, very black eyes, and a beautiful face. She was a strong character, especially in the matter of money - she ruled at home because she knew how to rule better than her husband. She held the purse, she said when to sell and when to buy, and whether to sell, or whether to buy, and she it was who was responsible for having money on hand to meat the various emergencies as they came along. While her descendants may not have inherited her financial ability, many of her grand children and great grand children have inherited one physical characteristic from her, and that is a long head. Her head had a large bump at the back which made it larger than average.

Her parents gave her no opportunity to learn to read or write, but she was ambitious and was not satisfied to remain in ignorance of the art of reading, and therefore, she managed to learn to read well enough to understand what she was reading, and she also learned to write.

When she started with her family to Utah she was sick. She could not walk alone going to the train or going off the steamer. All the way across the ocean she was sick and across America in the train she was also sick. In fact, it was a year after she arrived in Utah before she regained her health.

She was very king-hearted[sic], and yet her words were oftentimes snappy. I remember as a small boy my mother sent me to her home to ask for the loan of a loaf of bread. When I made my wants known, she snapped out quickly, "No, I can't let your mother have a loaf of bread." I had hardly got out of the house when she came and called me back saying, "Come on back, 'haps I can find you a piece of bread." We children soon learned that she meant nothing by her snappy ways, and we also learned that no one could show more kindnesses than Grandmother Pitcher. Among the very pleasant remembrances of her is the family gathering at her home each Christmas. All the sons and daughters with their families came there to spend the Christmas Holidays. This was an annual affair until her health failed her and she was unable to care for them.

As I remember Grandmother her hair was white and she had very little hair on her head, having quite a job to get enough of it to gather at the back to make a little bob. She was very stoop shouldered, she walked with short quick steps.

In her later years I suppose she would have weighed less than a hundred pounds. She was a good Latter-Day Saint, and a good neighbor. At her funeral her neighbor who had lived across the street from her for thirty years said that she was one woman who always minded her own business. Not only did she not interfere with other people's business, but she did take care of her own affairs. She died of general debility May 13, 1892, and was buried in the cemetery at Smithfield Utah.

As Their Son Remembered Them

When Uncle John Pitcher was nearly ninety years old he was living with his son John William Pitcher in Cornish, Utah. He was visited there by Laura E. Everton, who spent many hours gleaming the following bits of information regarding his parents as he remembered them when he was a young man in England.

My father, John Pitcher, belonged to the church of England. He was the only one of the family to join the Mormon Church. His father, Edward Pitcher, was a little short man. He used to come to see us. He stayed with one of his sons.

Uncle John said, "Father and mother were Mormons ever since I could remember. Father used to travel with Wm. Dock and preach. Father baptized me and may wife and Ted and his wife."

After marriage John Pitcher milked seven cows daily for one pound of butter a week.

Mormon meetings in Shipdham - -"Sometimes they could get a place to preach. Sometimes they went to homes of members. Even held meetings in barns where hay was."

John was very free hearted. If he had anything he would give it. If he was paid all right, if not all right.

Grandmother went to stay with her daughter when daughter's first child was born and Grandfather was left to care for the family. Uncle John remembered the terrible dread they had during those days.

Bill and George, uncle John's brother, came to Utah, 18 months before others of the family. The family arrived on first emigrant train to come to Utah. Fifteen days on the way from New York to Utah.

John Pitcher was a veterinary. George Barber had a horse, if anything was wrong with it he would turn it loose and it would come to Pitchers to be doctored.

Mother was sick on the way to Utah. She lay by the window on ship and I didn't think she would live. The captain gave the ship up three times because the sea was so rough. Some were swearing and some were praying. There were 100 on the ship, which took fourteen days to cross the ocean. We were one month coming from our home to Utah.

Father working in brick kiln, in Shipdham. Took a load of tile to station. Horses got scared in Railroad yard. Father was run over and broke his leg. (This was the day I was twenty years old said Uncle John).

When barb wire fences first were put up Grandfather Pitcher had from one to three head of horses there doctoring them. Healed the sores so there was scarcely a scar. Even colts not broke would be brought to him. Wednesday, 09-Mar-2005 21:06:51 MST