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Dear Reader #145

Dear Reader,

My latest translation, the Portuguese version of Operation Cameo, Eve’s War Heroines of SOE, book six.

The Howes in America 

Jane Jenkins was born on 24 August 1806 in Marcoss, Glamorgan. A seamstress, she married William Howe, brother of my 4 x great grandfather John Howe, on 7 May 1833 in St Brides, Glamorgan. The couple produced five children. William, a shopkeeper, died on 1 August 1848, and Jane’s life took a dramatic turn.

On 15 December 1851 Jane married William Williams. In February 1866 Jane’s mother, Ann David, died and this appears to have been the catalyst for the dramatic change because, aged sixty, Jane set off for a new life in America.

On 6 July 1866 on the ship Arkwright, Jane set sail for New York. She travelled with her husband, William Williams, William’s grandson, William (Billo) Johns, Eliza Davis, Mary Gibbs, Hugh Morris, John Tardy, William Lewis and his wife Rachel.

From New York, the company travelled in cattle cars to Canada and by boat to Niagara Falls, Chicago, then on to Wyoming and Utah. They departed New York on 25 July 1866 on ‘Daniel Thompson’s Church Train’ and followed the pioneer trail before arriving at Salt Lake City on 27 October 1866. 

Jane’s husband, William Williams, died on the journey, on the plains near Old Fort Kearney. A widow for the second time, she married David Evan Davies on 22 June 1867 in Salt Lake City. Jane lived a further twenty-two years in Utah before her death on 22 December 1889.

My ancestor Cecilia Howe was born on 13 September 1840 in Wick, Glamorgan. Cecilia was a very popular Howe name that featured over many generations. She married Lewis Griffiths on 14 November 1863 in Bridgend, Glamorgan and on 6 April 1867 she gave birth to twins, Lewis and William. Sadly, Lewis died a day later and William died a day after that. 

Cecilia’s husband, Lewis, died on 16 August 1867 when she was two months pregnant. She gave birth to the exotically named Lorenzo Louis Griffiths on 19 March 1868. Thankfully, he survived. A widow with a baby, Cecilia didn’t allow the grass to grow under her feet. She decided to join her mother, Jane Jenkins, in America, arriving in New York on 28 July 1868 before travelling to Salt Lake City.

Cecilia married John Davis Reese on 20 December 1869 in Salt Lake City and in eleven years the couple produced six children. A Welshman from Merthyr Tydfil, John was twenty-five years older than Cecilia.

John Davis Reese

John Davis Reese was a blacksmith and a Mormon. His first wife Mary Morgan had a stillborn child when changing steamers from the Constitution to the Highland Mary. He also married Jane Morgan in 1852, Zillah Mathias in 1857 and Cecilia Howe in 1869. Between his four wives he fathered twenty-seven children.

John returned to Wales as a missionary in 1868. He died on 19 March 1880 in Malad City, Oneida County, Idaho making Cecilia a widow again.

Cecilia didn’t remarry. She died on 7 August 1932 in Benson, Utah aged ninety-one.

Idaho 1918, Cecilia Howe with her son, grandson and great grandson.

My ancestor Anne Howe, sister of Cecilia, was born on 6 February 1843 in Wick, Glamorgan and baptised in Wick on 5 March 1843. Her father, William, died when she was five. At sixteen, she worked as a servant for a solicitor, Thomas Stockwood. Many solicitors moved to Glamorgan in the 1840s to deal with coal mining and railway contracts.

1864, probably taken to commemorate Anne’s twenty-first birthday.

In the 1860s Anne Howe found herself in London. What was she doing there? I believe she was working as a governess for George Crane, a schoolteacher, painter and glazer. George was a widower with four children.

Anne married George Crane on 1 February 1868 in Chelsea, London. Exactly nine months later she gave birth to her first daughter, Mary Ella, in Salt Lake City. Anne was five months pregnant when she set sail with George and his children on 30 June 1868. The family sailed from Liverpool on the SS Minnesota and arrived in New York on 13 July 1868.

George, at a young age, was left alone in England when his parents emigrated to Galt, Canada. They decided that their son should remain in England and complete his apprenticeship as a painter and glazer. 

In 1854 George married Emily. The couple lived in London where George worked. Emily died when her youngest child was six weeks old. Grandparents looked after George’s children until he established his relationship with Anne Howe.

In 1868 upon their arrival in America, Anne Howe, her husband George Crane and his children were given berths in cattle cars for their trip west. Each family was allotted beds and a space to prepare their meals. They travelled with the John R. Murdock Company and completed their 430 mile journey from Laramie, Wyoming to Salt Lake City in covered wagons and on mules and foot. Anne was seven months pregnant at the time.

Anne Howe and George Crane

On 28 October 1868 Anne gave birth to a daughter, Mary Ella, the first of six children. Sadly, only Mary Ella and her sister, Maud Estella, survived into adulthood.

The family stayed in Salt Lake City that winter. George worked on the Utah Central Railroad and the Union Pacific until Leland Stanford drove the Golden Spike on 10 May 1869. Then George moved his family to Kanosh, Utah, where he resumed his career as a schoolteacher.

George was a member of the Church of the Latter Day Saints. In 1879 he was called on a mission to England. He returned home to Anne in November 1880. 

George held many offices in Millard County including county commissioner, and president and director of the Kanosh Store. Active in the church, he also acted in plays and organised a dramatic society in Kanosh.

Chief Kanosh

As pioneers, one wonders what Anne and George’s relationship was like with the indigenous population. Apparently, it was good because George befriended Chief Kanosh and spoke at his funeral. 

Anne and George were prominent members of their community and a newspaper report carried news of Anne’s ill health. Sadly, the newspaper’s good wishes were in vain and she died on 2 July 1895 aged fifty-two.

*****

From next week a new look for my weekly newsletter. To celebrate Wales qualifying for the football World Cup in Qatar, after a sixty-four year wait, over the summer months I will be profiling players from the past. I will also be featuring insights into the iconic TV series The Rockford Files, along with highlights from my family history research and news of my books.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

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