Mary Crook Knell was born in Plymouth, England, on July 23, 1822, the daughter of William and Margaret Crook. In England she married Elias Eagles. When the early missionaries met her in England she belonged to a sect called United Brethren (Quakers)
After joining the church, she and her husband came to Nauvoo in April, 1845, and then moved to Burlington, Iowa. She had four children by Eagles. They were Mary Ann, born in Nauvoo; Elizabeth, Joseph and Josephine born in Burlington, Iowa. Joseph died the day he was born on June 1, 1849, and Josephine passed away September 1, 1851, when she was about one year old. They were both buried in Burlington. Her husband, Elias Eagles, deserted Mary in Burlington and she never knew what became of him.
Brigham Young advised her to sell her property and join the Saints going to Winter Quarters. She joined with the families of Robert Harris and Henry Roberts to go to Winter Quarters.
Mary came to Utah in 1852 arriving in September. She, a widow with two children, two yoke of oxen, and two wagons, crossed the plains. The prophet Joseph Smith put his hands on her shoulder and said she would be blessed of the Lord and the way would be opened before her. This was comfort to her and sustained her in her trials. in Salt Lake she worked in a glove factory to support herself and her two children. The gloves were hand sewn. She was an expert at the business.She met Robert Knell and married him in Kaysville, Davis County, on February 23, 1855. They were married by Samuel Henderson, Jr. They received their endowments in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City April 2, 1857. Her first child by Robert Knell, Susanah Catherine, was born November 24, 1855, in Kaysville.
When the United States troops came to Utah, the First Presidency decided that the people north of the point of the mountain in Salt Lake County should move south, so Robert began their move by taking his wife and three children to Salt Lake City in April 1858. Their second child, Rhoda Ann, was born May 7, 1858, in the 14th Ward, Salt Lake. On the day of May 18, they continued their move south, not knowing where they were going. The baby was only ten days old. The weather was very windy and cold. Mary Crook suffered much with sun pain. They stayed at Willow Creek (now Draper) until the 3rd of June and then went to Mountainville (now Alpine) where Robert made a dugout and covered it with brush. They slept in the wagonbox. In July, the people were told they could return to their homes so on July 6th they started back for Kaysville. By the time they arrived back home they had traveled 600 miles with ox teams.
In Kaysville, January 30, 1861, their only son Robert Charles was born. They had now decided to move south to Pinto on the advice of Robert's brother, Benjamin. On May 18, 1862, they with all their belongings, left Kaysville for Pinto, arriving there June 23 without any accident or trouble. In January 1863, Cornelia Evaline was born. On April 27, 1865, their youngest child, Clara Antoinette, was born. In December 1869, Eveline took sick with typhoid fever and passed away at the age of six years. The other children had the same fever but through faith and prayers they were restored to health.
In 1889, Mary was afflicted with rheumatism and had to use crutches. In 1891 she fell and hurt her back and was not able to help herself but later she did improve and could move by chairs and tables. In May 1897, she began to fail and passed away June 4, 1897, after seven years of great affliction. She is buried in the cemetery at Pinto, Utah.
Robert and Mary made two trips to the St. George Temple in 1878 to have the four children by Mary's first marriage sealed to them.
Mary never talked about her past experiences. To her the past was a sealed book.