Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Henry William and Elizabeth Tyler Babbitt

Henry William Babbitt was born 14 Jan 1815 in Ashcott, Somersetshire, England, the only child we know of Robert and Esther Goodin Babbitt. Elizabeth Tyler was born 5 Sep 1817 in Ashley (or Astley), at Hammond Hall, Worcestershire, England, the 4th of six children born to Thomas Tyler and Ann Griffin.

Elizabeth Tyler’s father was the head gardener on a large estate owned by a very wealthy man. The name of the place was Hammond Hall. Mr. Tyler was the gardener for forty years. He had a home on the estate and all of his children were born there. Elizabeth did not learn to write until she was 70 years old, but her mother taught her to read. Even though this was all the education she had, when she grew up she became the matron for the Blue School, a school for boys.

Elizabeth Tyler had several brothers and sisters. One brother was a bell ringer in the Church of England at Westminster Abbey. Another worked in the mint in England, one sister was ladies maid to Florence Nightingale. The brother who worked in the mint was on his way home from visiting his mother and had to pass through the woods where he was ambushed by some men and later found tied to a tree, murdered. It was believed that he had been robbed and killed for his money on account of having been carrying money with him. An uncle of Elizabeth’s went to Cape of Good Hope and fought in the Battle of Waterloo and received a pension from that service but he was never heard from again.

William was one of the 4th Dragoon Guards in Queen Victoria’s Regiment for 14 years. Each man in the Regiment had to be of uniform size, a height of six-feet in stocking feet. They wore maroon colored uniforms and black helmets with three plumes. William’s army helped reinstate Queen Isabella of Spain on the Spanish throne. He spoke Spanish as well as English. He traveled with the army for many years and was in Ireland and Scotland with the troops after he was married. William and Elizabeth had a child, Richard Babbitt on 2 Jul 1842 in Dublin, Ireland, and were married some five months later, 24 Nov 1842, when he was 27 and she was 25.

We don’t know when Henry William was baptized, but Elizabeth was baptized in Dec 1849, at the age of 32, before emigrating to America. One history (unknown authorship) reports that William, who had been a member of the Church of England, a branch called the Westlunds, joined (with) the LDS Church and, although Elizabeth went with him to church occasionally, she still retained the Westlund religion. They would walk to church together but when she came to her church she would turn off and, as he walked on to his church, she would say, “You’re going to the devil.” But as it happened, a revelation on plural marriage converted Elizabeth to the LDS Church and she was actually baptized before William, although he started attending before she did and attended church regularly. Elizabeth’s conversion started when one day she was persuaded by a neighbor lady to go to a meeting with her. On that day, the sermon was relative to plural marriage and what was said, converted her.

They had sixteen children, with only two surviving infancy. Their first was Richard, born in Dublin. The next six, all born in England, all died young, and before William and Elizabeth were baptized. William eventually wanted to come to America, and since no man was ever released from the Queen’s Guard, he deserted the army. In 1850, at the age of 35, he landed at Baton Rouge, LA, and went to live with his wife’s sister, Mrs. Tobin, who had previously come to America. Her husband, Mr. Tobin, owned a very large plantation and they had many slaves. William worked as an overseer. He was kind to the slaves and had many quarrels with his sister-in-law and her husband because they treated the slaves cruelly. He had so much trouble at the plantation for this and other reasons that he finally left.

Richard came with his mother as Elizabeth followed William to America. Her parents, ages 74 and 72, also came with her. They sailed on the ocean for 6 weeks. The old people had never been more than forty miles from their home and they had the heaviest luggage on board.

After William had trouble with his relatives, the Tobins, he left their place on horseback. In the meantime, Elizabeth had landed with her parents and son and took them to the relatives. William had no knowledge of their arrival, but while going past the railroad station, he spotted their luggage, and returned to the plantation.

William, Elizabeth, and son Richard moved to New Orleans, leaving her parents with her sister. Six weeks later, the parents died, the trip being too much for them. Mrs. Tobin, still being angry with William, did not let them know about the death of the old folks. Elizabeth ran a rooming house in New Orleans for four years, and William obtained work on the wharfs.

They worked in New Orleans four years and finally earned enough money to buy a team of horses so they could move to Utah. The pioneers were divided into groups of ten. William captained ten wagons in the first group of pioneers carrying church property in 1854. They settled in Grantsville, UT.

In crossing the plains, there was a woman named Agnes Armstrong who had two children. She was in William’s company and wanted to be his second wife. William did not want to, but Elizabeth was so firmly convinced of plural marriage, and anything the Church advocated, that she insisted on it; so William married Agnes and they had a child named Helen. One, unverified report indicated that Helen later married Brigham Young, Jr.

After William and Elizabeth moved to Tooele, William had an interesting experience involving the discovery of gold in the hills not far from their home. Elizabeth was making soap and he went out to the hills and got her a large rock to put under her kettle. The fire was so hot that the gold in the rock melted and ran out of the rock. This was very exciting, but Brigham Young had told the people not to mine, that the important thing at the time was to develop farming and grow food to take care of them. So Elizabeth took the gold and buried it in the cellar. Bishop Clark, bishop of Tooele at that time, came to William and said, “Say, Babbitt, I understand you have discovered gold. Where war it (sic)?” William answered him, “Bishop, if it is not god for me to take the gold, it is not good for you.” Four years afterwards, a gold mine was discovered on their property.

They later moved to Call’s Fort, nine miles north of Brigham City, where they operated a farm for a man named Hanson Call. William also whip-sawed lumber for President Snow in Cache Valley and Logan Canyon. During the winter time, they had to stay in the canyons and, as they could not get out during the winter months, they were very hard up for food. They were snowed in all winter in Cache Valley. Men were supposed to bring them supplies, leaving them at a certain spot down in the canyon. William would have to put on his snow shoes and go bring the provisions back to camp. One time while he was gone and Elizabeth was all alone, her baby was born. Upon Williams return, he found her huddled next to the fireplace with the baby. Elizabeth could never nurse her children (no doubt why she lost so many) and kept this one alive for six months feeding it tea which she made from a hide which had grown to the bones of an ox. (Story by unknown author – in the file of Scott Hepworth).

Of the nine children born to them in America, only one, Evalina Lavina Babbitt, their 14th, born 22 Feb 1858, in Brigham city, UT, lived to grow up and marry (Samuel Pegular Cornell) and have an 89-year life, finally passing away in Salt Lake City.

They were endowed and sealed 24 Nov 1862 in the Endowment House when she was 45 and he was 47. Henry William died five years later, 23 Dec 1867, when he was 52, in Manti, Sanpete County, UT, and was buried in Brigham City, UT. Elizabeth was a widow for 50 years, living to the age of 100 (or 99), dying on her birthday, 5 Sep 1917 (or 1916), in Salt Lake City. She was buried in Elysian Bur. Gar, Mllerk, UT.

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