Sunday, May 23, 2010

Daniel Holding and Sarah Middleton

Thomas, Sarah Middleton Holding, Polly Eardley, Ephraim

Daniel Holding was born April 5, 1813 and Sarah Middleton was born September 6, 1823 in Cottonwood, Preece, Shropshire, England. They both joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in December 1842. In January of 1844, they walked 20 miles to John's Church, Chester, England, to be married. During this time, their home was always open to the missionaries and Elders of the Church.
In 1853 the spirit of gathering came upon them. They sold their possessions and with their four children ages two to nine, (Margaret Hannah, Thomas Hyrum, Epraim George, and Sarah Jane) they sailed from Liverpool, England on the sailing vessel Elvira Owens on February 2, 1853. There were 345 saints aboard under the direction of Joseph W. Young, who presided over the Preston conference. Both Daniel and Sarah were very seasick and unable to cook meals for their children. Each family on the ship had to provide their own food and cook their own meals.
In March, after a speedy voyage lasting 36 days, they landed at the mouth of the Mississippi River where they changed to a river boat and sailed up the river to St. Louis. Three days before they arrived there, Sarah gave birth to twins, Joseph and Josephine. She was carried from the boat to the shore on a chair. In St. Louis, one of the twins died and was buried in a crude coffin made by Daniel. They took the boat up the river to Keokuk, Iowa and crossed to river to Nauvoo. On June 2, 1853, the other twin died as well as their two year old daughter Margaret Hannah. They were both buried in the same box made by Daniel. He gathered tree branches and made a big bonfire on top of the graves to keep the wolves away.
At Keokuk, Daniel made the wagon in which they crossed the plains to Utah. They joined the Cyrus E. Wheelock Co., known as the Independent Ten Pound Company, and left Keokuk on June 10, 1953, again with Joseph W. Young as president of the company. During the trip, the indians would steal possessions from their wagons and terribly frighten the children, who had never seen indians before. Their food while crossing the plains was buffalo meat, greens, roots and bulbs.
On August 29, their daughter Sarah Jane fell from the wagon and the wheels passed over her arms and crushed her head flat above her forehead. The whole company stopped and she was administered to by the elders. Then they squeezed her head back into shape, bandaged it, and continued on their journey. The scar was always noticable on her head and face the rest of her life.
Later, their oldest son Hyrum fell from the wagon and broke his arm.
They arrived in Utah on September 19, 1853 and camped in Pioneer Square. They later went to live with the Hewett family who had come to Utah 3 years before. Then they found a place to live on 1st South Street.
A few months later, early in 1954, they started back over the plains headed back to England. Daniel had been called back home to settle the estate of his father who had died. On July 15, 1854, Sarah gave birth to a son Richard at Savannah, Andrew, Missouri. In St. Louis, Sarah had typhus fever and was near death. It took them six months to get back to England. On July 30, 1856, a daughter Mary Ann was born. She was called Polly the rest of her life.
On August 6, 1857, Daniel passed away and left Sarah a widow with a family to raise.
The first of the family to return to Utah was Ephraim George who arrived in Salt Lake August 5, 1870 when he was 21 years old. In 1875 Sarah and her daughter Polly, who was 19, arrived back in Utah. This was 22 years after Sarah had made her first trek across the plains. Sarah was so happy to be back with her sons and the saints.
Polly married Bedson Eardley who was a pioneer potter, and they built an adobe house on 3rd South and 2nd West opposite Pioneer Square where Sarah and Daniel first camped in 1853. Sarah lived with Polly and her family. They had a tailor shop in their home where Sarah and Polly made suits for the men in town before they were available in stores. The lot their house was on was a large one and Sarah raised all their winter potatoes, other vegetables, and many herbs which was their year-round medicine. Sarah was a nurse and midwife and went into homes where there were contagous diseases. She was kind and generous and never failed anyone in need. She never wore glasses and in her spare time she knit stockings for her grandchildren.
Sarah died December 16, 1912 at the age of 89.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Mary Jane Clifton Holding

Mary Jane Clifton was born on January 24, 1853 in Loxley, Birmingham, England to William Clifton and Mary Greenway. She is my great-great-grandmother. She was born near Stratford-Upon-Avon where William Shakespeare and his wife Ann Hathaway were born. As a child, she played on the steps of the Hathaway cottage.
When Mary was about 5 years old, the doctor came to their village to vaccinate every child. Her father was opposed to this, so he had Mary go to the backyard and climb up a tree and stay there until the doctor left. A few years later, Mary did have a light case of small pox.
When she was still a young girl, Mary was placed in the Squire Jones home to do domestic work for which she was payed $5.00 a year. During the time she was employed there, she was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She did not let Squire Jones know this for fear she would be discharged from her job.
At the age of 18, she desparately wanted to go to Utah to join the Saints there. She wrote to her brother, John Clifton, who had moved to Ontario, Cananda. He sent her the money, expecting that she would join him in Canada. She arrived in Liverpool, England on September 5, 1871 and boarded the ship Nevada with other members of the Church. They arrived at Castle Gardens in the USA on September 18th. She decided that she wanted to go on to Utah with the Saints and not go to Canada to see her brother. She didn't think she would get the chance to go on to Utah if she did go to Canada first. She wrote a letter to her brother telling him this, but she never did hear back from him. She arrived in Salt Lake City on October 27, 1871.
Having arrived in Salt Lake City with many dear friends from England, Mary starting working at the home of Franklin D. Richards, who was an apostle in the Church. Every Sunday, Mary went with many young men and women to the services at the Tabernacle. Here she met Ephraim George Holding, who later said that the very first time he saw her, he thought "This is the girl I want for my wife". After courting, they were married in the Endowment House on October 28, 1872. Their first home was two rooms on South Temple and Main Street where ZCMI later stood. They moved a few times while having their first children, and finally settled in a home at 164 So. 400 West, where she lived the rest of her life.
Mary and Ephraim had 11 children, one of whom passed away as a toddler. Their home had a very large living room and dining room combined, where they had a huge table where all 12 of them had their own seats. Mary sold live yeast, which she exchanged for food and money. She made two large crocks of yeast every night and it would all be sold the next day.
Mary was a Visiting Teacher for many years, and in many of the Relief Society testimony meetings she spoke in tongues, which was interpretted by Sarah Kimball.
In the Salt Lake Temple Annex on December 22, 1898, Mary was given a blessing and set apart as a nurse under the direction of the Relief Society. Under a program initiated by President Brigham Young, she studied nursing and helped serve the Saints in the Salt Lake valley, and later worked at what was to become the LDS Hospital. It was while on duty there that she learned that her son Franklin had been struck and severely injured by a train that passed near their home. This was on October 19, 1902. Franklin and 5 other boys jumped on a boxcar when the train came to a stop to turn the switch. They climbed up the ladder to the top. A train man saw them and ran along the cars while the train was in motion. Frank, seeing the switchman coming towards him, started to climb down, but lost his fold and fell beneath the wheels. Several wheels passed over him until a steel coal car came along with the trap door open and this twisted Frank's legs over the track and he was dragged quite a distance. They stopped the train and went back to where he lay on the track. Both of his legs were severed, he had a broken shoulder bone, broken arm and fingers, had a very deep scalp wound, and his ear was torn down. Mary went into the operating room where Frank lay on the table, and told the doctors to save his knee. She fainted and it was some time before they revived her. The doctors said that the grief caused enlargement of her heart and this was the breaking of her physical strength. She remained at Frank's bedside night and day from the time of his accident. A few weeks later, she became so sick that she was taken home and she died three days later on November 26, 1902.
After Mary passed away, Ephraim asked his oldest daughter, Helena, to become the "mother" of the other children in the family. She delayed for 15 years her pending marriage to fulfill that task.
Franklin survived the train accident, wore prosthetic legs, never married, and lived with different brothers and sisters his whole life.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Ephraim's Poem

My mother wrote this poem a couple of years ago. I just read it for the first time this weekend and thought it would be great to include it with Ephraim's biography.

A Tribute to My Great-Grandfather
Ephraim George Holding

To you, a Pioneer times two,
Who left a legacy to us -
Generations yet unknown -
We homage pay and thanks bestow.
Hundreds proudly bear your name.
You rose above your humble start
To claim great men among your friends.
Integrity, humility,
Were hallmarks of your business life
And strength to your large family.

You look so dapper perched astride
Your somewhat muddy motor car.
The newest thing, an Oldsmobile.
I'd love to ride along with you
And celebrate nineteen-oh-four.
But there is room for only two,
Just you and auntie Sarah Jane,
The little girl whose head was crushed
Beneath a heavy wagon's wheel.

So, Grandpa, though we'll never meet,
At least not for a long, long while,
I still know much about your life
And how you learned the secrets of
The great electric power source.
Three generations yet ahead
We, too, are Pioneers who set
Our feet so firmly in the soil.
We'll carve our way to new frontiers
Like you, in 1888.
Janet Ridd
June 2007

Friday, March 27, 2009

Ephraim George Holding

This is my mother's pedigree chart. Ephraim George Holding (commonly called E.G. Holding) is my great-great-grandfather. He was born on September 15, 1849 in Chester, Cottonwood, Shropshire, England to Daniel Holding and Sarah Middleton. At the age of six he came with his parents, brother, and two sisters to Utah. They crossed the ocean on the ship Elvira Owen and landed in New Orleans, Louisianna where they transferred to a river boat and went to Nauvoo, Illinois. There his father bought a wagon and oxen, and on June 10, 1853, they set out on their trek across the plains. Their food was buffalo meat, greens, and Sego Lily bulbs. The Indians were very troublesome at this time and they stole the children's clothing and food. They tried to get Daniel's watch and chain which his father had given him before they left England, but he refused to give it to them, so the Indians grabbed Ephraim and started off. The other children screamed and cried so his father gave the Indians his watch and he got his little boy back!
They arrived in Salt Lake City on October 6, 1853. Two years later, they recieved word that Daniel's father, Richard Holding, had died and they needed him to return to England to settle the estate. The family returned and four years later Daniel passed away.
While back in Chester, Ephraim became very active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was baptized, ordained to the Priesthood, and traveled with the missionaries preaching the gospel. On July 12, 1870, at the age of 21, he packed his belongings and sailed back across the ocean and landed in Castlegardens on July 26th. He rode the train across the country and arrived in Salt Lake City in August. It was only the second train to arrive in Salt Lake City. He found work as a shoemaker and as a car repairman for the railroad.
He met Mary Jane Clifton who was employed at the Franklin D. Richards home. They were married on October 28, 1872 in the Endowment House. He worked various jobs for the Utah Central Railroad and was in charge of running the first telegraph and telephone line to
Dixie- now St. George, Utah. When this was completed he was superintendent of the Bell Telephone Company and, in 1877, he decided to go into the electric wiring and fixture business. He was the first electrician in Utah. He established his first store at 79 West 1st South and then moved to 55 West 1st South.
Ephraim did all the electrical wiring of the Salt Lake Temple inside and out. He wired many large buildings between Ogden and Provo. His home was the first to have electic lights and this caused great curiosity in the neighbors who came from blocks around. He and his wife lived in a home at 164 South 400 West, where they raised 11 children. They later moved to 177 H Street. He died on July 7, 1927.

Inside of his store, his business card, and an order form.

This photograph of Ephraim George Holding standing on the Temple spire is hanging in the South Visitor's Center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City.

These are the light fixtures that Ephraim installed in the Celestial Room inside the Salt Lake Temple.
This is a four generation photo. The boy in front is William Holding. Behind him is his mother, Olive Holding, next to her is her father, Ephraim George Holding, and sitting is his mother, Sarah Middleton Holding.

(Click on pictures to see them enlarged)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Windows in Time

Have you ever wished you could go back through the years and meet some of your ancestors, get to know them, and see what the world was like in that place and time? Have you looked at their photos and wished they could talk and move like the photos in Harry Potter? Have you wondered if they have some of the same looks, abilities, and interests as you? I certainly have! I have always been interested in my ancestors, and not just names and dates and places. I have always wanted to know about them and find out the stories of their lives. There is much information to be found about some ancestors' lives- written histories, diaries, photos, and all kinds of other info. But it's hard to find a lot about others. My great-grandmother, Olive Middleton Holding, kept all kinds of information about her parents and grandparents, but has very little written about herself, which is really sad. I spent part of this afternoon reading the diary of my great-great-grandfather, Ephraim George Holding, which he kept for a few years. It was so interesting!
In this blog site I want to write the stories that I can find of my ancestors to share with my children, grandchildren, my parents, my sisters and their families, and other relatives. I'll be getting lots of help from my parents who have much information about these wonderful people we want to find out about. I hope we can all get a little peek into those windows in time to get to know our ancestors a little better! And, who knows, we might even discover ancestors we didn't know about to share with each other!