Saturday, June 25, 2011

Harriet Hales Ellis Biography

Biography of Harriet Hales

[Sylvia Barlow, granddaughter of Harriet Hales, tells this story about her grandmother:]

Harriet Hales was born in Kent, England, on June 10, 1824, the daughter of Stephen and Mary Ann Hales. In June of 1832 the family, then consisting of the parents; five boys, Charles, George, Stephen, Henry William and Elias, and two girls, Isabella and Harriet; emigrated to Canada. They sailed on a ship and the voyage took them eleven weeks. The subject of this sketch spent her eighth birthday anniversary on the ocean had the sad experience of seeing one of her brothers, Elias, buried at sea.

They settled in Toronto Canada. Here the family joined the Mormon Church. When they were first invited to attend a Mormon meeting the father agreed to go to the service but he said he would soon knock that into a cocked hat. However, before the service was over he knew that he had found the truth. Soon after this the whole family was baptized.

In the spring of 1838 they started by team to join the body of the saints at Far West, Missouri, arriving in the fall of the same year. While at Far West they endured the persecutions by the mobs with the rest of the Saints. It was here they met the prophet Joseph Smith. After their expulsion from Missouri they moved to Quincy, Illinois. There on October 31, 1839, Harriet married John Ellis, a native of Canada, who had joined the church and emigrated to Quincy.

Four child were born to Harriet and John Ellis while they lived in Quincy; namely, Mary Ann, Hanna Isabella, Stephen Hales and John Henry. In 1842 they moved to Nauvoo where they lived until the expulsion of the Saints by the mob.

Harriet’s father and mother joined them in commencing the journey across the plains. One day the oxen strayed away, and Harriet’s father went in search of them. He became fatigued and reaching a spring of water, drank from it. It was later learned that the water was poisoned, and it caused his death. His wife, Mary Ann, started the journey, but she also died while crossing the plains. They started for the Rocky Mountains in the spring of 1851, and it is believed that they were in John Taylor’s company. Harriet’s younger brother, Henry, and his family were also in the same company. They arrived in Salt Lake Valley in September of 1851. Harriet’s sister Isabella’s two sons, Joseph and Henry Horne, met them in Parley’s Canyon and took them to the Horne Home. Isabella and her family had come west with the second company of pioneers in 1847.

After resting a few days they went on to Bountiful where they proceeded to make a home. Four months after their arrival a babe girl was born to the family, and she was named Harriet Louisa. They built a one room log house in which they lived for a number of years. Later, in about 1867, they built a four room adobe house. It was located a quarter of a mile south of the Wood’s Cross depot. It was quite a roomy house with a large attic, and was built on their homestead. Six more children were born to the family; Joseph Ezra, Sarah Ann, Elizabeth Jane, Laura Victoria, Charles William, George Franklin (who only lived one year), and James (who died at ten months).

The family engaged in stock raising. They kept a little flock of sheep to supply wool for clothing. The wool was prepared for use by the industrious mother. She sewed for her family by hand, even making trousers for her husband and sons. She also made them straw hats by braiding the straw and sewing the braids together. They made their own soap and candles. When the grain was ready for harvest it was cut and cradled by hand. During the harvest when the men worked hard Harriet prepared lunches and a cool drink and sent them to the fields during the morning and afternoon. They raised sugar cane and had a molasses mill on the bench land farm. This mill was one of the first in Bountiful. Youngsters came from miles around with their pails to get the skimmings to make candy.

The Ellis home was a hospitable one. The mother, and subject of this sketch, was a capable, refined woman, and her husband was a happy, jovial man who loved young people. Naturally their fireside was often the scene of social gatherings. These two often sang together for the entertainment of their family and friends. Singing school was often held in their home.

Tragedy struck the family when the father died, after a severe illness of several months duration. He left his widow and ten surviving children. Some of the cattle and property were sold to pay the doctor bills. The mother kept her family together, and in spite of her strenuous household duties, she always found time to take an active part in church affairs. She was a Sunday School teacher for twenty-five years, and when the Relief Society was organized she served as treasurer of the ward organization. She pieced several quilt tops for the Relief Society; she was a very fine needle woman.

She was matron at the Deseret Hospital for about two years. In 1897 she went to live with her youngest daughter, Laura, and she made her home there until her death on May 24, 1910, after having been a widow for thirty-nine years.

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