Mary Ann Ellis
Excerpts from story by Abram Workman
Mary Ann Ellis was born December 30, 1840, at Quincy, Illinois. She was a daughter of John Ellis and Harriet Hales. They came to Utah in September, 1851, when Mary was eleven years of age. She married Meltiar Hatch, May 6, 1856, in the old Endowment House in Salt Lake City.
I would like to relate a little experience that was told me by Meltiar himself. I always understood this was his first acquaintance with Mary Ann Ellis. The two families were neighbors there in Bountiful. I think the story is too clever not to be retold.
Meltiar had bought a little pig; it kept getting out of the pen. One day little Mary saw him trying to catch it and she ran and caught it for him.
A few years later, President Brigham Young advised several men to take another wife;
Meltiar was one of them. By now, Mary had grown to be a beautiful young lady. He thought,
‘Why not her?’ So it happened.
They were called to go to Parley’s Park, where they lived for a few years. While there, Mary’s first three children were born: John H., Elias, and Julia.
Mary had the experience of the Eagle Valley Mission - which ended with the exodus and sacrifice of property when it was learned they were in Nevada instead of Utah. The state of Nevada started a suit against them for back taxes. This would have taken about all they had. They moved in a body from both the Muddy Valley and the West Valleys back to Utah. Mary had three more children while at Eagle Valley.
As there had been a number of towns in Utah abandoned on account of Indian troubles, they were advised to occupy those abandoned towns. The Muddy Valley people were to settle in Long Valley and the Eagle Valley people were to settle in Panguitch and Kanab.
Those who had gone to Panguitch had quite a lot of cattle, so they formed a co-op herd and located them 15 miles south of Panguitch at the Mammoth Fork of the Sevier River. Here Meltiar built a log house on the ranch and Mary moved here where she did the cooking for the ranch hands. She made much butter and cheese and extended a hearty welcome to all newcomers. Everyone who came there praised her for her delicious well-prepared meals.
It was in the fall of 1878 when I first met Mary Ellis Hatch. It seemed to me a most ideal home. Her children were well-behaved, the house was clean and home-like. Her husband was with her a good deal of the time, but he was quite feeble and the way she cared for him made me love her.
She was one of the most pure and faithful of wives and mothers I ever met. She had 10 children. In her declining years, the government of the United States passed a law legalizing her children, but making her marriage to Meltiar Hatch unlawful. Although she had been a faithful wife to him through the years, he was forbidden to live with her, under threat of being put in jail. This, of course, was a great sorrow to both of them in their declining years. He dared not even visit her lest some spy make trouble.
She died at the home of her son, John H. Hatch, in Tropic, Utah, on August 26, 1914, after a long illness of Bright’s disease. Mary, too, was laid beside her husband in the local cemetery that bears his name.
© 2001 Vickie L Nielsen and family