Mary Barton (Williamson) (1839 - 1923)

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Birthplace: Pendleburg, Lancashire, England
Death: Died
Occupation: Arrived July, 1856 from Sanshire England on the Ship Horizon. Married William Barton as second plural wife on 8/28/1857 and they had 10 children.
Managed by: Della Dale Smith
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Mary Barton (Williamson)

In July of 1856, Mary Williamson landed in New York on the ship Horizon, having traveled from England. Edward Martin was Captain of the ship. From New york, Mary traveled by railroad to Iowa city, Iowa, and across the plains in the handcart company of Edward Martin. Her father, who had already come to Utah from Sanshire, England, and who was now settled in Paragonah, had sent for his wife Ann and their family of ten children.

The daughter of James Williamson and Ann Allred Williamson, Mary was born March 13, 1839, in Sanshire, England. Because of financial hardships, Mary was unable to attend school and began work in a factory at the age of eleven years. Here she learned to weave corduroy and velvet. Mary was the fifth child in a family that later numbered ten children. During the time she worked in the factory, Mary’s parents embraced the gospel, and her father came to Utah to prepare for the family. He sent for them as soon as possible.

Mary was seventeen when she left England with her mother, four sisters, and two brothers on May 20. In Liverpool they joined a company of nine hundred and set sail on Sunday, May 25, on the ship Horizon. After being on the ocean five weeks, they landed at Boston June 28, 1856. After they reached Iowa city, they had to wait for their handcarts to be made and thus were not able to start until late in the season for their home in the mountains of Utah. Men who knew better than to encourage them to leave at this late date still did so, and on July 28, they left on their perilous journey. Early on the trip many of the handcarts broke down and resulted in additional delay. Men and women pulling loaded carts, and carrying little children and helping the aged and feeble, traveled on day after day in hunger and misery, motivated only by their strong will.

Mary sometimes carried her younger brother and helped pull the cart. When provisions became low, they were put on rations; these gradually became less and less, and the members of the company were then allowed only one spoonful of flour a day. This they used to thicken soups. They also scraped the hair from buffalo hides and sucked the hides for nourishment. The immigrants grew hungrier and weaker, unable at last to draw the loads in their carts. They were compelled to lighten their luggage by throwing away bedding and clothing that was needed later on when the weather grew colder.

Captain Martin went through the company and threw away the articles he thought they could do without, regardless of the personal value they held for their owners. Mary’s mother was bringing a few relics from her old home, among them a small metal lion which she especially prized. All these things were thrown away. However, Mary wanted to keep the prized lion, so in the stillness of the night she slipped out of bed and found it. She carried it the remainder of the journey concealed under her clothing both day and night.

Snow fell and bitter winds blew about the worn and weary travelers. Yet they dared not stop and chance an even worse fate. On October 28, their company was detained by the early snows. They had waded the cold waters of the river and set up their tents in a driving storm. They were so weak that they could hardly drive the tent pegs into the snowy, frozen ground. They had almost given up hope and had settled down to die amid their bleak surroundings when a relief company under the direction of Joseph A. Young, Daniel W. Jones, and Abel Garr arrived. The company consisted of four wagons loaded with provisions and clothing.

The fifth company in Edward Martin’s handcart company has gone down in history as suffering greater tragedies than any other group of Saints to come to the West. It was not until October 4 that Brigham Young heard there was still a train of handcarts out on the plains. Immediate help was sent with wagons of supplies for the rescue of these weary and dying Saints. Brigham Young had no idea that Saints were still crossing; he thought everyone was in. The rescue parties found this group huddled together in one of the worst blizzards of the year on Greasewood Creek in the Sweetwater country of Wyoming.

The trail behind them for miles and miles had become a burial ground for the dead, with only the snow to serve as a coverlet over the stiff, frozen bodies lying on ground that was frozen too hard for anyone to even dig a grave for them. Oftentimes, someone awakened during the night to feel the cold, stiff, lifeless body of his or her spouse who had passed on. The first thing the rescue part did was help bury the dead the best they could. Then they began cutting off gangrenous flesh from the frozen hands and feet of those who were still alive. They then bandaged and dressed the wounds, giving the best first aid that was available.

The book, Handcarts to Zion, reports that out of the 576 souls who left Iowa in the Edward Martin handcart company, there were only a few over 400 who arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah, on November 30, many of whom were extremely ill and incapacitated. Only about 140 were able to take care of themselves. Even though there had been many deaths, all members of the Williamson family were alive when the company reached Utah. The family was met by their father James Williamson the day they arrived in Salt Lake City.

William Barton had heard of the hardships of this company who had sailed over from the old country as “Perpetual Emigration Fund Travelers.” Because he was the kind of man who always went the extra mile to help anyone in need, he was soon on his way to meet them. William met the Williamson family at Cove Fort, Utah, and from there the group traveled on to Red Creek (a name often given to Paragonah, an Indian name, because of the red water that flowed in the creeks from the canyon). They arrived on December 15 without further trouble.

Then came 1857, a year that William, Esther, and Mary would never forget. On February 17, William Barton was ordained a High Priest by the presiding High Priest, William H. Dame, who also set him apart as a second counselor to Bishop Talton Lewis of the Parowan second ward. William’s degree of responsibility in the Church was now increasing, as was the pressure from the Church authorities for him to take upon himself another wife in polygamy. Pressure was specifically put on the men who were becoming financially able to care for more than one family. That all faithful Saints should live all of the commandments of the Lord was most important, however, and polygamy was one of the most important commandments at that time. The general Authorities at that time often chose for these men their plural wives, and George A. Smith, Brigham Young’s first counselor, was putting pressure on William, telling him that eighteen-year-old Mary Williamson was the most capable girl around. A hard-working, good, faithful girl she was, having been born to a family in England whose father was too poor to send her to school. He was only able to eek out the bare necessities for his family of twelve. Mary took a liking to William the very first time she saw him at Cove Fort, and she, as a new convert, fully agreed with the revelation on polygamy. It was a chance for her to serve the Lord in the greatest capacity—to multiply and replenish the earth.

But Esther would have nothing to do with it. From early spring on into early summer she would not give in; she would not share her husband with another woman. She remembered her dear friend Emma Smith, their beloved Prophet’s widow, and the many talks they often had, some concerning polygamy. She remembered how bitterly opposed Emma was to it. Esther herself had never believed in polygamy, and she would not give her consent for William to enter such an abomination.

June came, hot and sticky, and wanted on into an even hotter uly. It seemed there would never be any relief from the heat. Then baby Daniel came down with a fever. Esther was worried. There were a number of babies who were very ill at that time. And some of them had died with an unknown illness. Esther was concerned that her baby too might be coming down with this killing disease. Day after day, baby Daniel became worse. William and Esther had done all in their power to relieve him; the elders had been called in and had done all they knew how to do. Daniel too was ill with that dreaded sickness. Even Margaret Cooper West, Esther’s mother, who had been practicing medicine for many years, and who gave the best medical advice in the area, had also given up hope of saving the baby’s life.

Esther had made up her mind. “I’ll go to my father in heaven again. Only this time I will covenant with Him,” she said to herself. “If He will save my baby, I will accept polygamy.” Baby Daniel at once began to improve and within a short while was on his way to complete recovery. Esther said, “The Lord spared my child, and I accepted polygamy.”

Later when William and Esther were discussing the possibility of William’s taking Mary as his second wife, Esther said, “there is only one request that I would like to ask of you, Will, and that is that you take Mary to the Salt Lake Endowment House as soon as you can and marry her for time and eternity.” William and Mary were married August 28, 1857, for time, in a ceremony performed by George A. Smith, the same elder who performed William and Esther’s marriage. A few months previous, George A. Smith had married Susan West, Esther’s sister, in polygamy; she was his seventh wife.

As vehicles were hard to come buy, Mary walked all the way from Paragonah to be married, a distance of four and one-half miles. In her hands she carried a new pair of shoes. She wanted them to be brand new for her wedding and saved them especially for the ceremony.

SOURCE: Our Eternal Legacy, the story of William, Esther and Mary Barton, written by Sarah Ester Barton Rollins and researched by Sherman Stewart Barton, (written in 1975) and edited by her daughter, Kerrill Sue Rollins. _____________________

From FindAGrave.com:

Mary L Williamson was born on 13 March 1839 in Swinton, Lancashire, England to James S. (1804-1882) and Ann Allred Williamson (1807-1892). Both of Mary's parents were from England and both of them died in Paragonah, Utah.

Because Polygamy was endorsed for church leaders, which William was, he married Mary Williamson, an English emigrant, 28 August 1857. The two families never lived together, but resided in separate towns. William lived with Mary the rest of his life. This was because Esther seemed to be self-sufficient.

The following children were born to William and Mary:

Mary Ann Barton 1862-1940

Rachel Barton1863-1965

Amanda Barton 1865-1943

Louis Barton1867-1870

Rebecca Barton 1869-1870

Sophronia Barton 1871-1895

Lydia Barton 1873- ?

Julia King Barton 1875-1963

Amy Elizabeth Barton 1877-1958

Charles Hampton Barton 1880-1946

Grandma Esther passed from this life quietly in her little log cabin in Greenville,Utah on 28 March 1906, at the age of seventy seven, from pneumonia. William had preceded her in death on 11 October 1902. William died very peacefully in Paragonah and was buried in Parowan, Utah, in the cemetery of the town, which he helped settle.

On 23 November 1923, Mary died peacefully in her home at the age of eighty four. She was buried beside her husband in Parowan. Esther requested to be buried in the Greenville cemetery beside the body of her daughter, Estella. This in no way discounted her love for William, but she simply preferred to remain in the homestead where she had such happy memories with William and the children in their growing-up years.

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Mary Barton's Timeline

1839
March 13, 1839
Pendleburg, Lancashire, England
1857
August 23, 1857
Age 18
Parowan, Iron, Utah, USA
1862
January 3, 1862
Age 22
Beaver, UT, USA
1863
June 23, 1863
Age 24
1865
July 9, 1865
Age 26
Utah, USA
1867
May 27, 1867
Age 28
Beaver, UT, USA
1869
April 6, 1869
Age 30
Beaver, UT, USA
1871
January 29, 1871
Age 31
Beaver, UT, USA
1873
September 11, 1873
Age 34
Beaver, UT, USA
1875
March 2, 1875
Age 35
Beaver, UT, USA