Tuesday, October 4, 2011

George Reese and Elizabeth Jones (Parents of Elizabeth Susanna Reese)

George Reese, son of Thomas Reese and Margaret Jones, was born July 26, 1840 in Aberdare, Glamorganshire, South Wales.  Thomas Reese, died when George was a small boy, leaving his wife, Margaret (Jones) Reese, with three young children, George, Lotwick, and Ann. 

In 1856, Margaret (Jones) Reese and her three children George (15), Ann (13), and Lotwick (11) were finally able to save barely enough money to emigrate with a Welsh company to Utah with the support of the Perpetual Emmigration Fund. 

Painting of Samuel Curling Ship
They left Liverpool, England on April 19, 1856 aboard the Samuel Curling and arrived in Boston on May 23, 1856.  From Boston, they travelled by train to Council Bluffs, Iowa where they joined the Edward Bunker Handcart Company.  Margaret (Jones) Reese and her three children walked and pulled a handcart carrying supplies and all their possessions the entire trip from the Missouri River to Salt Lake City, Utah.  They had very little food and clothing and this caused them many hardships and suffering.

We came across the plains with the Edward Bunker Handcart Company in 1856. We had very hard times, with scarcely enough food to sustain life and body, but Mother said that we stood the trip better than many of the others. We sold all that we had at Fort Bridger for something to eat—a few silk handkerchiefs, etc. We saw several herd of buffalo. We killed some to eat.                    
           - Lotwick Reese

On October 2, 1856, they arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah, where they stayed for the winter.  In the Spring of 1857, Margaret, George, Ann and Lotwick moved to Willard, Box Elder, Utah where they lived for about eight years.

Then in the spring of 1864, when Lotwick was 19 years old, he was called by President Brigham Young to help settle the Bear Lake valley.  Together, Lotwick and Margaret (Jones) Reese came with ox team and camped on Paris creek, then finally settled in what is now known as Bloomington.  There were only three other families living in the area.  The land was covered with sagebrush.

Living in those early days was difficult.  Their clothing consisted of wool which was washed, carded and spun by Margaret.  Their food consisted of bread and mush made from frozen grains which they ground and prepared themselves by means of a coffee mill.  Together they endured and suffered many hardships, food and clothing and all necessities were very scarce, but they worked and saved and did much good each day. 

George and Ann moved to Bloomington a few years later and lived with Lotwick and Margaret (Jones) Reese in a two room log cabin.

While still in his twenties, George was called as a missionary to go back across the plains with ox team to help bring out immigrants to Utah, making a total of three times that he crossed the plains.  On his final crossing of the plains, George met Margaret Hughes.

George Reese married Margaret Hughes January 9, 1896 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah in the Endowment House.  Together, George and Margaret had two children, Thomas and Hannah.  In 1866, Hannah died at the age of two years and Margaret (Hughes) Reese died at the age of 30 years.  George was a widower for seven years.

1870 Census Bloomington, Rich, Utah (Bear Lake, Idaho)
George Reese married Tabitha Jones, daughter of Llewellyn Griffith (Griffin) Jones and Mary Jannet John, July 1873 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah in the Endowment House.  Together, George and Tabitha had one daughter named Mary Jane. 

George and Tabitha shared everything that they had with Llewellyn and Mary Jones who lived across the lane from them.  George was humble, kind, patient, generous, and lived the Golden Rule.

Tabitha (Jones) Reese died December 17, 1879 in Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho at the age of 25.  Tabitha died during childbirth.  There were no doctors at that time, and the women did not get the care that they needed. 

Elizabeth (Jones) Johns and Tabitha (Jones) Reese were sisters, both daughters of Llewellyn Griffith (Griffin) Jones and Mary Jannet (John) Jones. 

Elizabeth Jones
Elizabeth Jones, daughter of Llewelyn Griffith (Grffin) Jones and Mary Jannet John, was born March 9, 1844, in Pentre Bloydn, South Wales (near Pentrych). 

Prior to 1879, William Johns married Elizabeth Jones in South Wales.  Together, William and Elizabeth had 5 children namely, Mary Jane, David, Ann, Thomas and William.  Ann and David died as children in Wales.  William Johns, Elizabeth’s husband also died in Wales, one week before her son William was born.  At this same time, Elizabeth contracted lock-jaw and was very sick.  Elizabeth was unaware that William, her husband has been taken to the cemetery.

Terrace House, South Wales
In 1872, Llewelyn Griffith, Mary Jannet, Tabitha, Ephraim and Lydia boarded the SS Minnesota in Liverpool, England and arrived in New York on October 28, 1872.  From New York, the family came by train to Wyoming (the end of the railroad) and then by wagon to Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho where David, their oldest son, and Jeanette, their oldest daughter, had settled.  Elizabeth stayed behind in Wales.  She did not have the same beliefs as her parents and joined the Baptist church. 

Mary Jannet (John) Jones died in April 11, 1880 in Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho.

Llewelyn Jones wrote to his daughter, Elizabeth (Jones) Johns in Wales and asked her to come to Idaho to care of him.  Elizabeth came to America, bringing her three remaining children Mary Jane, Thomas and William with her. 

They were on the ocean thirteen days.  She was sick all the way and had to be carried to the deck every time she got there.  Elizabeth and her children traveled by train from New York to Evanston, Wyoming.  They then traveled with a team of horses and a wagon from Evanston, Wyoming to Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho. 
Llewelyn Griffith (Griffin) Jones died in August 11, 1881 in Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho a short time after Elizabeth’s arrival.

George Reese and Elizabeth Jones

On one side of the lane lived the widow Elizabeth (Jones) Johns with three children and on the other side of the lane lived the widower George Reese with two children. 

George Reese and Elizabeth (Jones) Johns were married on February 2, 1880 in Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho. 

Together, George and Elizabeth had three children named George Llewelyn, Elizabeth Susanna, and Lotwick Lazarus. 

George spent most of his time on the farm attending to the daily chores.  This hard work allowed Goerge and Elizabeth to own a fancy buggy with flaps and fringe on top.  They spoke Welsh at home insisting the children learn their native tongue as well as English.  Both George and Elizabeth were good singers as was characteristic of most of the Welsh. 

The children enjoyed singing and whistling too.  However, George and Elizabeth thought it was unladylike for a girl to whistle.  He often said to his daughters, “A whistling girl and a drowning hen are neither fit for God nor man.”

Elizabeth was a very beautiful woman.  She was industrious, religious, kind-hearted, and a good wife and mother.  She had been baptized into the Mormon Church when she was eight years old, but she lived with a Baptist family when she was a small child, and they poisoned her mind against the Mormons.  Elizabeth believed what they told her and later joined the Baptist Church.  Even after emigrating to Idaho, Elizabeth did not re-join the Mormon church.

Elizabeth had been used to living in a city where people passed by her door all the time and brass bands playing passed by often, and people were sociable with each other.  When she came here, everything was so different.  Elizabeth lived a mile from town and she had no neighbors, and she missed the association of other people.  The winters were severe and there was much sickness and death.  Elizabeth longed to go back to her native land.  Her health was poor for years.

I used to go up to see Grandma, Elizabeth Jones Reese, every Sunday, and she would say, “If you will pick some raspberries, I will make some griddle cakes.” Her griddle cakes would melt in your mouth, and I would go like a whirl for the berries. If Elizabeth had lived I would have learned the Welsh language. She talked Welsh to me and had me figure it out with her help. She felt bad that we did not know our own language.          
      - LaVina Reese Hunter Doerfler

Elizabeth (Jones) Reese died November 29, 1907 in Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho at the age of 63.  She was buried in the Bloomington cemetery.

George Reese died on January 10, 1910 in Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho.

Tombstone of George and Elizabeth (Jones) Reese

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