Monday, October 3, 2011

Thomas Reese and Margaret Jones (Parents of George Reese)

Thomas Reese, son of George Reese and Catherine Betsy Richards, was born about 1811 in Neath, Glamorganshire, South Wales.  Thomas Reese married Margaret Jones December 31, 1838 in Aberdare, Glamorganshire, South Wales.  Margaret Jones, daughter of John Jones and Ann David, was born September 27, 1809 in Aberdare, Glamorganshire, South Wales.

Together, they had three children named George, Ann and Lotwick. 

Mormon missionaries began to arrive in Wales from the United States in the early 1840s. In a remarkably short period of time they had succeeded in gaining many converts.  The missionaries were frequent callers at Thomas and Margaret’s home.  In 1845, Thomas and Margaret (Jones) Reese were converted and baptized members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

In 1845, Thomas and Margaret (Jones) Reese resided in Merthyr Tydfil. 

Thomas Reese was a coal miner.  He was trapped in a coal mine and an explosion or such killed him.

Thomas Reese died in January 19, 1847 in Glamorganshire, South Wales.

Aberdare Coal Mine
By 1850, the Mormon church had established two meeting places in Aberdare, Glamorganshire, South Wales.  The doctrine of leaving Babylon (Wales) to come to Zion (Utah) was preached strongly throughout Glamorganshire, Wales especially by Dan Jones the great Welsh missionary. 

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. 

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.

Handcart Company
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.

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.
1870 Census Bloomington, Rich, Utah  (Bear Lake, Idaho) 
Margaret (Jones) Reese died January 9, 1892 in Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho. 

Original Tombstone

New Tombstone

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