Thomas Passey, son of John Passey and Ann New was born September 23, 1837 in Strensham, Worcester, England. Thomas Passey married Drucilla Theobald on August, 4 1858 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah. Drucilla Theobald, daughter of William Theobald and Martha Lane was born October 22, 1842 in Freshwater, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England.
Together, Thomas and Drucilla had fifteen children named John Thomas, William Theobald, Florence May, Charles Herbert, George Henry, Ann Selina, Clara Angeline, Cora Frances, Arthur, Druscilla, Margaret Katie, Ernest Frank, and Edgar.
Thomas Passey was baptized in the Mormon Church June 18, 1851 in Strensham, Worcester, England. After joining the Mormon Church, the Passey family stopped attending the village church. The local farmers refused to give Thomas’ father, John Passey, any work in order to force the Passey family to attend church or face starvation.
|Strensham, Worcester, England Village Church|
Consequently, the Passey family moved to Birmingham, England. All the men in the family including Thomas 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 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.
|Enoch Train Sailing Vessel|
In the spring of 1857, I went to work for Edmund Ellsworth who had married my cousin, Mary Ann Bates, who came with me from England. I worked for him for several years. In the spring of 1858, all the people who lived north of the mountains moved south. I drove a team of three yoke of black cattle, with flour boxed up in lumber boxes of 150 pounds each, ready to cache if necessary. Inside of three months, we moved back again. I was still with Brother Ellsworth when the soldiers passed through Salt Lake about fifty miles south.”
Drucilla Theobald, daughter of William Theobald and Martha Lane was born October 22, 1842 in Freshwater, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England. In February 1851, Drucilla along with her parents and siblings took passage on the ship George William Bowen arriving at New Orleans in April 1851. They went by river boat up the Mississippi River to St. Louis where they stayed about two weeks, then continued on to Council Bluffs, Iowa. In May they were outfitted for the trip across the plains. They joined the Kelsey Company of a hundred, and Isaac Allred’s Company of fifty and arrived in Salt Lake Valley, October 3, 1851. While the crickets were so bad in Utah, food was scarce. One thing that was plentiful was nettles for greens, which was a healthful food, but got very monotonous. Even their skins turned yellow. The harvest time brought some wheat that had been gleaned by the family. This would give them bread for the table which had been denied them for many months.
Thomas Passey and Drucilla Theobald
|Thomas Passey and Drucilla Theobald Passey|
Thomas Passey married Drucilla Theobald on August, 4 1858 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah. They returned to the Endowment House on July, 20, 1861 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah to be sealed together for time and all eternity.
Thomas and Drucilla lived in Salt Lake City for two months and then moved to Farmington in the late fall to work for Bishop Moon. They didn’t have much to move; one bedstead, one sheet iron kettle, three plates, three cups and saucers, one vegetable dish, one tin pan and one cow. Thomas wrote.” We thought we were rich.”
The first thing Thomas and Drucilla had to do was look for food. They had flour. Thomas borrowed a gun and went hunting to obtain meat. Sometimes it was rabbit or a chicken, many times it was nothing. They had some potatoes that Thomas had dug on shares. At Christmas, they rode 20 miles atop a load of wood being taken to Salt Lake City to visit people they knew. Then they went to Fort Herriman for New Years. Thomas and Drucilla rode back to Salt Lake City atop a load of charcoal after a weeks visit.
In 1860, Thomas worked for Sherman Leonard. In 1861, he worked part time on shares and raised a big crop of wheat. Thomas had 200 bushels for his share which he sold for 35 cents a bushel. They still had their cow and butter and milk.
In the spring of 1863, Thomas was called on a mission to return to Florence, Nebraska and brings the new saints to Utah. He was called as an out-and-back teamster.
My brother, Frederick, and I went with Brother John W. Wooley who was our captain going back. We had to take our provisions for going and coming back. The provisions were donated by the members of our ward and consisted of flour, potatoes, bacon and eggs. We had to cache part of it on the road going back to use on the way coming back. The most of it was eggs. They were 5 cents a dozen. We had eggs three times a day for six weeks, four eggs at each meal. If you don’t think we were sick of eggs just try it and see.
We had to camp at Florence for six weeks watching for the saints that were coming from other places. While I was in Florence, it rained a good deal. We had to take turns at night herding out stock. One morning as I was coming back to camp, I picked up a little roll of paper. It had been rained on all night and the paper was so wet, I couldn’t unroll it. So, I put it in my pocket until it dried. When I unrolled it, I found it was $18 in greenbacks. I could not find the owner, so I bought a stove. I was allowed to take it back home with me; that was all I received for my summer wages. I came back with Brother Peter Nebeker, as captain of the company.
Thomas and the company arrived in Salt Lake City on Sep 23, 1863. Thomas’s wagon had been outfitted by Brother Cole, a tanner by trade. Thomas returned to Salt Lake City with Mrs. Cole and her daughter, Angeline. Having arrived too late in the fall, Thomas could not find any work. Drucilla and their small family lived on a small food supply consisting mostly of nettle greens. Brother and Sister Cole and family proved very good friends. Brother Cole, having plenty of work being a tanner, looked after Drucilla and family while Thomas prepared for winter. Thomas went up in the mountains and dug out cedar stumps for winter wood to use and sell; nearly everyone had a fireplace at that time. Thomas had a little work all winter along with some help from the Cole family. They lived on cornbread all winter, except when Mrs. Cole sent a loaf of white bread baked in a bake kettle. It was salt risen and like cake to them. They had meat but no butter.
In 1864 Thomas moved his family into Sister Hawkins’ house while she returned to London, England on a visit. Druscilla cared for her own family and also for Sister Hawkins’ two sons, Creighton and Reigo, through the winter 1864 and 1865.
I was one of the special police guards for the wards and was sent to Camp Douglas. There was trouble with the soldiers. They were very rough and rude, threatening the Mormons with everything imaginable. I had a pair of brass knuckles made for the occasion but never had to use them.
In the spring of 1866, Thomas and Drucilla moved their family and started working for Mr. Blair. He was building a concrete house in the middle of the block, letting the contract to a man to build it. The man backed out, saying he could not make enough doing it. Mr. Blair did not know what he was going to do.
Mr. Blair came to me the next morning and said, ‘Tom, can’t you do this job for me?’ I had never seen that kind of work done as it was the first year it had been used in this part of the country. It consisted of lime, cobble rocks, and gravel. It was a slow piece of work as it covered so much ground. I stayed with it and finally completed it and everyone said it was a fine piece of work.
In October 1866, Thomas and Drucilla prepared to move to Bear Lake, Idaho. Thomas’ parents and siblings had moved there the previous fall. Thomas’s brother brought his ox team to move the family to Bear Lake.
It was very cold and stormy the whole way. It was almost dark when we arrived at the foot of the mountains and it had been raining all that day. The road was so slippery; the oxen could hardly make any headway. We had two wagons and three yoke of oxen. We had not gone far before it started snowing. The snow came down in big flakes that covered everything. Soon the snow was so deep that we could hardly see the road. We reached Liberty at 2 pm the following day and ate dinner at Brother Hymas’ home. This was the first time we had eaten that day. We let our teams eat for two hours and then drove into Paris. The lights on the south of the town were all lit as the houses all faced that way. We drove into town from the north. Everyone was glad to see us.
|Mountain Log Hauling|
Thomas and Drucilla and family lived with his parents, John and Ann (New) Passey that winter. There was plenty of room in Bear Lake and plenty of lumber in the hills to build a home. There were no saw mills in the country then, so they had to haul the logs from the hills. Thomas and his brother built a two room house with wooden floors, doors and windows. That home was more fancy than any other house built to date in the Bear Lake area.
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”. Thomas obtained had a herd of sheep on shares during this time, but people complained about them as a nuisance and he got rid of the sheep. From sheep, Thomas moved on to cattle and raised a herd on shares for the Wilcox family. They moved the cattle to Dingle in 1875.
In the spring of 1881, Thomas and Drucilla moved to Liberty, Bear Lake, Idaho and took over the Union Dairy working for Brother Horsley for 3 years. Then, they bought the old Joe Rich ranch and lived there until 1908 when they sold the ranch to Joseph Wilcox and moved to Paris, Bear Lake, Idaho.
Thomas died December 10, 1910 at Paris, Bear Lake, Idaho.
Drucilla died October 25, 1915 at Paris, Bear Lake, Idaho.