William Theobald - (1813-1895)


Autobiography written Dec. 5, 1888

I, William Theobald, was born March 31,1813, at Freshwater, Isle of Wight, England. My father's name was John Theobald, who was born at the Parish of Feversham, County of Kent, in the year 1776, and died in the year 1859, at the age of 83 years. His forefathers were supposed to have come to England at the time of William the Conqueror. My mother's maiden name was Elizabeth Door, supposed to have been born about the year 1781 in the Isle of Wight, England, who died October 31, 1825, aged 44 years. All I know about her father's or mother's family is that her father was called Esquire Door. I had five brothers and four sisters as follows.

The first brother born died in infancy, I don't know his name.

My sister, Christian, was born in the year 1805 at Freshwater, in the Isle of Wight, and married one Benjamin Smith and had by him four children named as follows: Benjamin, George, and Percival, also one daughter who died when eight months old. Father, mother and daughter all died inside eight months of consumption. Benjamin is also dead and I don't know if the others are alive or not. Died April 27, 1883, aged 28 years.

My brother, John Baldwin, was born about the year 1807 at Freshwater, Isle of Wight and died June 15, 1886 in New Zealand. His family turned out bad, he was the father of five or six children.

Caroline, my next sister, was born in the year 1809, she never married and died April 23, 1840, aged 31 years.

My next sister, Mary, born in the Isle of Wight in 1811 and married a Mr. Stevens, who died leaving her with seven or eight children. One of her sons at the present time is working in Scotland in the railway office and one of her daughters married Benjamin Smith, her cousin.

I was the next in the family.

My next brother, George, was born in the year 1815 and died December 21, 1835, aged 20 years and unmarried.

Charles, my next brother, was born in the year of 1817 and died July 24, 1865, in the 48th year of his life. Married, but had no family.

My next brother was Thomas, born in the year 1819 and died in the year 1876. He married a Miss Murwood who had by him several children, boys and girls, who are alive at the time of writing this article.

My next sister was Anna, born in the year 1822 and is still alive at this date. She married Isaac Barnett, a sea captain and who died in Valparaiso of yellow fever. She had several children, sons and daughters.

As for my father's brothers and sisters, I know very little about them, only I know he has several brothers and sisters. As for my mother's brothers and sisters there are several of each and one Mr. Newbury married one of mother's sisters and one Mr. Bennett married another of her sisters. As for the Door family, they went into Wiltshire and I lost track of them.

And as for my own private history, as has been said, I was born at Freshwater, Isle of Wight, County of Hampshire, England. I worked on my father's farm until I was about twelve years of age, when my mother died and father married again, and at the age of sixteen, I was bound for five years to Mr. Barton to learn the trade of carpentry and wheelwright at which I worked until I was twenty-three years of age, when I slipped on board the Princess Charlotte, a British Man of War, of 120 guns commanded by Captain Fenshaw. The admiral's name was Sir Robert Stockford, where I worked as ship's carpenter until the year 1840. During which time I served at the Siege of Bayroot [Beirut?], which took place in the year 1839. We remained along the coast until the Egyptian troubles were over and settled. The Turkish Fleet was turned over to their own government again. Then we sailed for Portsmouth, England, where we were paid off. Then I went to work at my trade again.

While thus engaged, I became acquainted with Martha Lane, who I married in the month of August 1841. She was the daughter of Mr. William Lane and Martha Parish. She was born in Freshwater, Isle of Wight, England, October 18, 1816, and I had by her the following children namely Drusilla, born Oct. 22,1842, at Freshwater, Isle of Wight, our next child, a boy named Arthur, was born June 2, 1844. Our next child, a girl named Clara, born June 15, 1846, at Newport. George, born May 22, 1848. Our next child, a girl, that we named Ruth, who was born September 1, 1850, also at Newport, England. During those times I kept working at my trade, when one Paul Harrison came along preaching the gospel, which pleased me and I commenced to investigate the principles that he taught and I believed them true and came to the conclusion to cast in my lot among the people called Latter-Day Saints or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and was baptized in the year 1848 at South Sea, Common near Portsmouth, England. My wife, Martha was converted and baptized about one year before I was. I still continued to work at my trade until the year 1850, when I made arrangements to leave England and come to America, the home of the Saints and to that end we took passage on board the George William Bonen, ship of about 1,000 tons surden and after a ten weeks passage landed at New Orleans, where we got on board a river boat and in two weeks landed at St. Louis, Missouri, where we arrived sometime in April, 1851. We stayed there about two weeks, then started for Council Bluffs where we arrived in May of that year where we got our outfit to cross the plains. There I must relate a dream or vision I had before I joined the church and while investigating and reading the Book of Mormon, which is as follows:

"While I was investigating the principles of the gospel, I dreamed there was a large man came to me and he looked like Joseph Smith and I though it was Joseph, he brought me across the plains and showed me all the camp grounds all along the road from the Bluffs into Salt Lake City, and very strange I never though of my dream from the time I left England until I was helping to drive up our work oxen preparing to start across the plains and it all came to me like a flash that I had seen those cattle before in a vision and all along the road I knew the camp grounds and when I came to the point of rocks at the mouth of Emigration Canyon, I knew it perfectly. Joseph brought me into the bench east of Salt Lake City and I was left there alone."

We joined Kelsies' company of one hundred and Isaac Alfred's company of fifty. We had three stampedes at one of which there was a woman and child killed. My oxen undertook to run. I took hold of my leaders horn and held them so that they could not get away and thereby saved my team from the stampede after one of them; we found our cattle twenty miles away.

October 3, 1854, we landed in the valley after a tedious journey we arrived in Salt Lake Valley. I then looked around to find a place where we could get to make our home and at least found a place in the First Ward that I bought from a Brother York, for which I paid him three hundred dollars. I then commenced work at my trade, and I was called to join the police force, where I served until called to come south to Washington County. During this time I had another child born, that I called Martha, for her mother. She was born January 20, 1853 and died June 9, 1858 and is buried in Salt Lake City. We also had a son born to us while in Salt Lake City that we name John Theobald, born February 14, 1855 and he died September 27, 1855 and was buried in Salt Lake City Cemetery. We then had another girl, born to us which we named Elizabeth, born January 24, 1858 in Salt Lake City. Our next child, a girl, was born January 24, 1859 and we named her Francis. I shortly after this met another calamity by the loss of my wife, who was one amongst the best of women.

On August 30, 1860, my wife died in child bed, the child was not born and her and the child were committed to the silent tomb in Salt Lake City, there to await the resurrection of the just. I now found myself alone with my children and as it is not good for man to be alone, I looked about for another companion. Accordingly, as I had been looking around to find a housekeeper, Mrs. Hardy directed a woman to me that had come in along with the Handcart Company by good providence; she came to be my housekeeper. Her name was Elizabeth Uren, a woman who had been married before and had some children and as she needed a father for her children and I needed a mother for my children, we concluded to be married and on the 24 of November, 1860, we went to the Council House and were married.

We were also sealed in the President's Office by President Brigham Young. We continued to live in the First Ward until I was called for Dixie. I had a child by my wife Elizabeth that we named Charlotte, it was stillborn, but came to this world on the 14th of August, 1861. In this same year we left Salt Lake City and came south and took up our resting-place at Duncan's Retreat on the Rio Virgin River and there my next child, a girl was born that we named Anna, born June 21, 1862. We there made a good place, although we had to work very hard to keep the terrible floods that often came down from washing us away, which it did.

And after living at Duncan's Retreat about ten years and find that our farm and orchard was washed away by the succeeding flood and my house was in danger, I came to the town of Toquerville, where I bought a place and made another home, this took place in the year 1871 and in the year 1864, on the 23 of March we had another child born to us that we name Mary. Our next child, a girl that we named Amelia was born on the 2nd of February, 1866. Our next child, a boy that we named Charles, was born August 4, 1870 and died August 21, 1870 and was buried at Duncan's Retreat. I then moved my family as comfortable as I could under the circumstances. I concluded to visit my old home where I was born and see my relations and friends once more. Accordingly, on the 6th of June, 1872, I left for England taking the train for Ogden. Thence to Omaha and then New York where I took passage on board the S.S. Montana where after a ten-day sail, I arrived in Levenport. I went from there to the Isle of Wight, found my sister Mary and many of my old friends and enjoyed my visit. Before my return home and about the time I arrived in Salt Lake City, I had another child born to me which we named Leanora Caroline, born August 12, 1872. She was born in Toquerville.

I will now give a short account of my wife Elizabeth Uren, who was the daughter of Thomas Uren and Mary Rowe. She was born at St. Kerven, Cornwall, England, August 22, 1829. She had been married before to a man by the name of Emanuel Ould in England while only a girl and went with him to the Cape of Good Hope, Africa, 1850. She set sail for her new home, but destined not to remain there long. Her first child was born February 24, 1851, named Mary Jane, and her next child was named Thomas, who was born December 28, 1854 and her next child, Elisa was born April 29, 1858, which lived only about two months and was buried at a place called Mulbury near Cape Town. During this time she heard the gospel preached by an Elder named Jesse Heaven. She believed and in the month of February, 1855, she was baptized by Elder Nicholas Paul into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her husband being a notorious drinker and was otherwise bad, it was thought best for her to leave him and make her way to America.

So accordingly by advise and council, she stole herself away about the 7th of March in the year 1860 in the company of Nicholas Paul and family as a helper to the family in a fore and aft schooner. She put in at the island of St. Helens and visited Napoleon's tomb and Jacobs Ladder; over a hundred steps; called at the island of St. Thomas from thence to New York, where she arrived sometime in June, stayed in New York three weeks then left for St. Louis, where she remained three more weeks. Still waiting for a company to cross the plains. Arrived after much delay and trouble at Council Bluffs, where she got into Captain Stoddard's company and traveled in the company with the handcarts and after the usual troubles and trials, consequent with a long tedious journey of more than a thousand miles, arrived the last week in September, 1860, about one week before the October Conference. At this time Mrs. Hardy knowing that I wanted a housekeeper, sent this Mrs. Elizabeth Ould to me and upon further acquaintance, she pleased me, and we were married as previously stated on the 24 of November, 1860.

(According to the Toquerville Cemetery Records William Theobald passed away on 28 February 1895)


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