Sunday, October 16, 2011

John Passey and Ann New (Parents of Thomas Passey)

John Passey, son of Thomas Passey and Margaret Showell was born December 17, 1810 in Twyning, Gloucester, England.  John Passey married Ann New on April 17 1836 at Worcester, Worcester, England.  John was a bricklayer.  Ann New, daughter of William New and Elizabeth Collins was born October 20, 1816 in Upton-on-Severn, Worcester, England and was christening on March 22, 1818. 

John Passey and Ann (New) Passey

John was smaller in stature than Ann who was nearly a head taller than her husband.  John and Ann moved to the small village of Strensham, Worchester, England, where a daughter and six sons joined the family.  John and Ann suffered from hunger in England.  She nearly became blind while nursing baby William. Blood came instead of milk because of her lack of food.

The Passey family lived in Strensham, Worcester, England.  Strensham was a small country village.  Most of the land around Strensham was owned by five or six farmers.  The people living in Strensham had to rely on these few farmers for work.  There was only one church in Strensham, the Church of England.  The Passey family children received their education here.  They learned to read and write at home and at Sunday school they learned their ABCs. 

When Ann heard the Mormon Elders, she wanted to embrace the Gospel.  John threatened to drown any man that would baptize his wife.  Ann went to witness the baptism of her sister, Sarah.  Ann was so impressed that she too was baptized on the same day, April 22, 1850.  There were others who also did not like the elders. A mob gathered at Ann’s baptism and began throwing rotten eggs. She did not let this deter her determination. She and her sister Sarah were baptized on the same day in 1850 as the mob pelted them with eggs. When John learned that she had been baptized, he wept.  Ann told John he knew nothing of the Mormons and asked him to go and hear them.  John did so only three times when he was baptized on May 19, 1850.

How well I remember the day that my sister, Sally (Sarah) and a number of others were to be baptized into the Latter-day Saints Church.  I left my home and husband to see the baptism.  A crowd gathered as they went to the water’s edge.  After Elders Wheeler and Lyons spoke before performing the baptism, Sally stepped forth and claimed she would be the first.  I was so impressed by my sister’s baptism that I too was baptized.  On returning home, my husband, John, exclaimed, “Have you been and joined the Mormons?”  As my hair was wet and I had no excuse, there was trouble in the Passey family for three weeks.  The scriptures were searched.
- Ann (New) Passey

After joining the Mormon Church, the Passey family stopped attending the village church.  As there were so few people in the village, the farmer John worked for deemed it necessary for the Passey family to attend church.  The farmer spoke to John and told him to either attend church or take a shilling less wages.  John did not go to church.  The farmer warned him again and again but John did not heed.  The farmer then fired him and convinced the other farmers not to hire John in an effort to force John to attend church or face starvation.

John wrote to his brother, Henry, in Birmingham, England to ask about getting work there.  Consequently, John and Ann moved their family to Birmingham, England.  All the boys and John got work there and the family began to prosper.  It was a godsend for the family.  Now they were able to save for their trip to America to join the Saints in Utah.  Thomas Passey, a son, sailed on the “Enoch Train” landing in Boston harbor in 1856.  The rest of the family stayed in Birmingham for four years before sailing to America. 

The remaining Passey family sailed on the “Underwriter” on March 30, 1860 bound for New York.  Following their arrival in America, John and Ann settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts to earn money for the second leg of their journey to Zion.  John worked in a lumber yard.  In the spring of 1861, the Passey family joined the Joseph Horne Company and crossed the plains by oxen.  Food on the journey was salt bacon, game, gravy and bread.  John Passey offered the camp evening entertainment as a left-handed fiddler.  They danced quadrille, schottische, waltz and French four. 

After their arrival in Utah, John and Ann remained in Salt Lake City for two years and then moved to Cedar Fort, Cedar Valley, Utah.  In the fall of 1865, John and Ann and family moved to Paris, Bear Lake, Idaho where they lived the rest of their lives.  John was a sawyer and farmer in Idaho.

Ann was a kind-hearted woman who endured all the hardships incident to pioneer life, always working for the benefit and comfort of others.  She bore a strong testimony to the truthfulness of the Gospel to whoever was interested.  No one ever heard her gossip or speak evil of anyone.  Her favorite hymn was “Nay Speak No Ill. 

John was afflicted with asthma while Ann had very poor eyesight.  One time, her young son was playing with friends when she called to him to perform a task for her.  He did not respond and continued playing.  Ann grabbed the child and began giving him a spanking.  The child cried out, “Mrs. Passey, I am not your boy.”  The child in hand was a member of the Charles C. Rich family.

John and Ann had a comfortable two rooms with a cellar and lean-to to make another room.  One room had a slate floor and the others had wooden floors.  The grain froze and they were forced to travel to other valleys for grain and flour.  They had very hard times every year either from frost or grasshoppers taking the crops.  They were counseled to “keep on”.

One wintery day after a heavy snowstorm, John shoveled the snow and became exhausted. As he lay dying he whispered his last words to Ann, “I feel sorry for you tonight.” He passed away at age seventy-two.

John Passey died March 21, 1883 at Paris, Bear Lake, Idaho.  He was never known to waiver in his belief and was firm in the faith up to the time of his death.  He was a kind man who was dearly loved by his grandchildren. He always had a flower garden.

Ann was a widow for twenty-eight years. She lived near her children in a small house built by her son.  Although she was almost blind, she lived alone and took care of her house. She was ninety-four years old when she died.

Ann (New) Passey died April 6, 1911 at Paris, Bear Lake, Idaho.  She could laugh at her mistakes and was able to face life with a good sense of humor.  She was a good cook and kept her home immaculate. Her older grandchildren well remember the caraway seed cake she baked for them, and for the unselfish devotion and interest in their welfare.  None knew her but to love her.  None named her but to praise her. 

Tombstone for John Passey, Ann (New) Passey and Thomas Passey

Sources for John Passey and Ann New History 
(Excerpts were taken from all sources and compiled or edited together and intertwined to weave a more complete record of their life events.)

1.      “A Brief Bibliography of William Passey,” Genealogical and Historical Magazine.
2.      Bennett, Archibald F. Our legacy from William and Elizabeth New: New, Neat, Nate, Passey, Oakey, Ellsworth families
3.      Bennett, Archibald F. Proving Your Pedigree, p. 26.
4.      Birmingham Branch Record of Members 1848-1948,FHL, SLC, film 0086981 item 5.
5.      British Mission Emigration records 1855-1863, FHL,SLC, film 0025691.
6.      Lisonbee, Lora, Biography of William Passey, Told by him to Lora Lisonbee, 1922.
7.      Lisonbee, Malinda C. P., Some Short Sketches of My Grandparents.
8.      Matthews, Dorothy Hardy, and Edith Parker Haddock, History of Bear Lake Pioneers, DAR, 1968.
9.      Passey, Thomas, History of Thomas Passey.

1 comment:

  1. Love this information. Thank you for sharing and making it available. I have an interesting record of when John Passey first came into the valley and they were met by Brigham Young and handed watermelon for the first time. Happy to share. Kelly Passey, Son of Ordell Edwin Passey, Son of Leo Fowler Passey, Son of John Thomas Passey, son of Thomas Passey, son of John Passey who was first baptized into the church w/ his wife Ann New.