Mary Crossely

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Mary Crossely (Jarvis)

Birthdate: (68)
Birthplace: Huddersfield, Yorkshire, , England
Death: May 1, 1880 (68)
Bountiful, Davis, Utah, USA
Place of Burial: Plot: A-9-5-4, Bountiful, Davis, Utah, USA
Immediate Family:

Wife of James Crossley
Mother of Hannah Winn; Sarah Sessions; Ephraim Jarvis Crossley; William Crossley; Elizabeth Crossley and 5 others

Managed by: Kevin Lawrence Hanit
Last Updated:

About Mary Crossely

Mary Jarvis Crossley was the daughter of William Jarvis and Elizabeth Brooks. She married James Crossley, 16 April 1840, Eccles, Lancashire, England. Their children were: Mary Ann Smith Crossley, Joseph Smith Crossley, Hannah Crossley, William Crossley, Elizabeth Crossley, Emma Crossley, Mary Crossley, Ephraim Jarvis Crossley

The Life of James Crossley and Wife, Mary Jarvis, Compiled by Maurine A. Smith, From essays by Sarah Crossley Sessions and daughter Hannah Sessions Burningham, with other data.

Providence, Utah – June 24, 1949   The Life of James Crossley and Wife, Mary Jarvis

In the little town of Radcliff, Manchester, England lived the family of James Crossley Jr. and his wife Mary Jarvis Crossley. This was a very happy little family of good circumstances who lived in a neat, trim, little cottage full of love, comfort and happiness. The father, James Crossley, was born in Barrex, Saddleworth, England, June 1, 1816, and was the son of James Crossley Sr. and Sarah Brierly. The mother, Mary Jarvis, was born in Hudderfield, York, England, November 25, 1811, and was the daughter of William Jarvis and Elizabeth Brooks. Mary Jarvis had been married to a Mr. Smith by whom two children were born, Mary Ann, September 1834, and Joseph, November 20, 1836, before she was married to James Crossley, April 16, 1840. To this latter marriage was born seven children: Hannah, November 27, 1840; Sarah, January 29, 1843; William, November 15, 1845; Elizabeth, March 20, 1848, Ephraim, June 4, 1850; Emma, October 6, 1852; and Mary, January 30, 1855.

Joseph, the eldest son and half brother was a cripple. He had suffered from a hip disease when a child and was left a cripple for life, but of a sweet, cheerful disposition. The childhood days of this little family were very happy as they ran and played with many companions, carefree and gay in the little village of Radcliff.

The parents of this family, James and Mary Jarvis Crossley belonged to the Methodist Church and took the entire family there on the Sabbath day. About 1846 the gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was preached to this happy little family. Many Elders came to this home and stayed where doors were ever open to them and among them came Elder Sessions, President of the Manchester Mission.

Elder Sessions later became the husband of daughter Sarah. It was a strange new story, but it rang true and soon found an echo in the faithful mother’s heart, who was eager and glad to accept. She was the first to embrace the same. Sometimes her husband would laugh at her earnestness and sincere predictions, but many came true. She often said, “James, you shall yet see as I do and be baptized and shall go first to the new Zion established in the tops of the mountains.” This promise was fulfilled in the year 1847 when James Crossley joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 1854 he immigrated to Utah leaving his wife and young family to follow as soon as he could make a home for them. But this was not so easy done, as work was scarce and money hard to obtain; then after two years the way came to them.

The handcart plan was presented to the saints in England as well as the Scandinavian countries. Many considered it as a splendid opportunity and hundreds flocked to the seaport towns eager to immigrate and join the Westward Trek to Utah. The plan seemed so cheap and easy, only nine pounds, or forty-five dollars in American money for each of them. It had been a long lonely wait and Mother Crossley’s heart filled with joy at the thought of Zion, the Latter-day Saints, and her dear one waiting there for the day to come when she should join him. She did not hesitate long but felt that this opportunity had been sent to her by her Heavenly Father so she sold all their possessions but just those chosen few that could be easily carried on a handcart and she with her five living children made up a fine little family to start the journey.

Mother Crossley was a small frail woman; Mary Ann was a young lady of twenty-one years; Joseph, the cripple brother, age twenty years, who could never walk the thirteen hundred miles across the plains, was a brilliant student and a school teacher as well as an expert writer of shorthand. Hannah, sixteen years old, and Sarah, thirteen years old were carefree, happy, strong young girls and Ephraim who was six years old was full of courage and very willing.

After the little home and all else they possessed was sold, they prepared to leave. It was the beautiful spring time in England as only a spring there can be. May 23, 1856 they bid adieu to their many friends and the beloved land of their birth. Mother Crossley often said, “All Englishmen love England,” but a call stronger than the love of home and friends was ringing in their hearts. Thirty-seven days were spent on the ocean where much illness was suffered but the ship “Horizon” carried them safely into the New York harbor. They were then taken by railroad and sometimes by boat until they finally reached Iowa City, the gathering place of the hand companies. There was a long delay before carts could be furnished and day by day slipped by until it was the last of July before they started. It was there that mother Crossley’s first great sorrow came into her life for Mary Ann, her eldest child who could have helped her so, had lost heart at the sight of the poverty and hardships that surrounded her and her faith waivered. She was twenty-one years of age and could choose for herself so she planned to return home to her friends and relatives as it meant comfort and ease which she was ready to grasp at the price of her faith. She promised to return to her mother in a few years when the path would be trodden smooth and a home prepared, but the mother knew it was a last farewell and her heart was rung. Mary Ann begged to take Sarah back with her as she was fond of her, and once Mother Crossley thought it might be well, as there would be a tie there and Mary Ann would have to promise; promise of religious freedom, the opportunity to help build a Zion in these last days and to mingle with God’s chosen people. That was enough.

It was a strange pilgrimage, this handcart train. Men, women and children shared the load alike, each lending their upmost strength to roll the carts over the uneven trail; a cart loaded with all their worldly possessions but the most precious treasure they carried with them, the implicit faith in God and undaunted courage to endure for that faith.

The first few weeks were not so bad, they crossed the plains and waded the rivers and streams with good cheer and happy songs. At evening around the camp fires they would dance and sing and all sorts of fine entertainment kept the morale of the hard working company where it should be, at a high standard.

Hot dry winds were responsible for the many delays in repairing the carts which were made of unseasoned wood and fell apart so that evenings were spent in make-shift repairs and sometimes it became necessary to discard their carts and double up with another family.

All went well until the supplies ran low, and every day or two there would be a cut in rations, until hunger was an added discomfort, which made them weaker and travel slower every day. Then early in September as they struggled toward the towering peaks of the Rocky Mountains, the first breath of winter sent a freezing blast with a heavy mantle of snow. Out in the open with few clothes and little shelter; then began their real suffering. All tried to be brave and not complain more than necessary to each other. The children felt that they should cheer dear little mother and help her all they could. Poor Joseph, it was so hard on him, jolting over the uneven road suffered greatly and became so thin and pale. All did their best, almost anything to keep his spirits up, not let him grow sad as he was really a bright, happy, cheerful fellow. They had cared so tenderly for him and he missed the good, nourishing food and comfort he had always had, but he seldom complained, and only seemed to dwindle away in body and spirit.

Do we really see this pathetic picture? Four hundred souls half starved, scantly clothed, some barefooted and no sign of shelter of any kind, laboring over the hard frozen ground, pushing, pulling with all the human strength they could gather until dusk released their burden. Wet and cold they laid their weary bodies down upon the hard cold ground to rest as best they could.

At Wood River they were overtaken by some Elders from England. Among them were Franklin Richards and Joseph A. Young. They encouraged the pioneers and promised to hurry along and report their condition to the Saints in Salt Lake asking them to send food and help. So these pioneers struggled on day by day. When they came upon the Platte River’s icy waters they had to ford or wade it. Some of the stronger men carried the women and children across on their backs. Here they met large herds of buffalo that frightened their cattle and caused them to stampede. At one time they lost thirteen head which was a great handicap as they had been want to pull the provisions. Now each had to take a hundred pounds of flour on his cart to share the load. Travel was slowed down to three or four miles a day through ice and snow; and half clothed they trudged onward.

A terrible disease had crept into the fold and death became a frequent visitor. They were obliged to leave loved ones in graves that marked the path of the struggling band. Rations became lower and lower with no food or help in sight. Rations for each day finally got down to one tablespoon flour to each person with no salt, no sugar, and no meat. Mother Crossley would make gruel of this which the children drank and were glad to get that much. Occasionally one of the cows used to pull the supply wagon would have to be killed. This only gave each a small taste and added some weight to each already loaded cart.

Many were dying each day, and men and women who started strong and well were dropping out. Each morning before leaving camp a grave was dug and the dead buried. Was it any wonder dear brother Joseph was stricken with this terrible disease? Each child gave him their own clothing to keep him warm but then morning came they found his suffering over, he was gone and frozen stiff in his bed. The little family was so callused and numbed with suffering and the sight of death that they were almost glad he was gone as they all looked forward to the end. They felt he had only gone on a little ahead of the rest and that they would soon be with him. Sister Sarah did pray however that the commissioner of provisions would not know of Joseph’s death until she had received his spoonful of flour. But such a pang that smote her heart was he counted about the spoonfuls and when he came to Joseph’s name he said, “Oh, Joseph died last night, didn’t he? Well that will be one spoonful less.” She had lost her dear brother’s portion and it hurt her worse than that first look upon his still, white face had done.

Brother Joseph was left by the roadside November 5, 1956 with four others. The ground was frozen so hard that a grave could not be dug. So the dead were wrapped in a large blanket and left by the side of the trail, but before the train was out of sight the wolves had reached the blanket covered bodies. This was an awful trial for Mother Crossley to bear but she did not complain of the Lord and did not lose faith in Him. No doubt she felt it had been a merciful hand rather than a hard one that had taken her son. The story of Joseph’s passing has been told in poem by Hanna Sessions Burningham, a granddaughter of James and Mary Jarvis Crossley.

The Hand Cart Trail

The sun hung low l’er western hills, A ball of fire it shone So bring forth a rosy, golden hue, To tint the distant snow-capped peaks And top the desolate plains and hollow pink As if it fain would be to rest, And leave the world uncheers and black Gathering others it went its fiery rays To warm the homes of man and beast Who strayed within its path and leave. A comforting memory while the night should last, A stranger scene one could not find A plodding train of immigrants In a barren desolate wilderness An ice-bound valley ‘tween snow Clad mountain peaks, Formidable that seemed to say “Thou shalt not pass.”

The road they trod and struggled o’er Was rough and stony in summer days, And now the snow had partly covered o’er But had not softened that beaten trail. Bloodstains in the sleet and snow Bespake the suffering some endured, As on they trudged with bruised and bleeding feet.

A halt was called and evening camp prepared, Their tottering carts a lonely circle made But soon a fire was kindled bright Round which they treaded in deep paths To warm their tired aching limbs And dry their meager tattered clothes While night’s dark wings the day unfolds.

An evening meal was then prepared With rations low, it need be as salt, One spoon of flour for each they had And mixed with snow a pasty broth was made, Thankful to their God for that - their beds were laid Then one by one they went to rest Beneath the stars that smiled above And tried to tell them, “God is Love.”

While each heart breathed a prayer of faith, And trust in Him, to help them through another day And ease their burdens on their way Ere sleep did overtake The fire died low, the embers paled and faded away; The distant howl of wolves rang out And pierced the silence of the night.

A mother sat beside a bed Where lay her son, her eldest one His strength was spent, the sparks of Life were ebbing fast. A crippled boy whose life had sheltered been With comfort and with tender love Through all his years. He could not stand the cruel test And death was drawing near.

Unselfishly each child had shared A portion of their scanty clothes To wrap the wasted body in. It was so cold they huddled close for warmth But beds their brother rest and sleep. “They need not fear,” the mother taught For in her heart, she knew the truth.

Her son would sleep eternally e’er Morn should come, And so she watched and murmured not But thanked her God, whose gentle hand Should gather home her dear loved one And felt assured that soon they’d follow him.

Her thoughts turned back in memory And dwelt upon the past two years In merry England’s sunny vale She bade her husband fond adieu And sent him forth to make a home Among the Saints in distant land A land of promise to all God’s men.

Bravely she faced the lonely wait Until at last she now a chance To bring their brood mid jobs him there Nor once had crossed that faithful mind Thought of the tragedy that watered the land For strife and sorrow hard in hand With sickness and starvation ran.

Alas! Her haste was wrong, now all was lost She’d never see that little end Awaiting in the promised land She’d never plant the climbing rose Beside the door Nor watch the golden grain awave In balmy breeze at evening time, Nor feel those strong arms around her clasped, Holding her to one, she loved, most dear.

“O, loved one, please forgive,” she cried I know we ne’er shall meet again I am too weary to struggle on But we shall wait for you above In that last meeting place of love Oh, please dear Lord, make haste And take us soon.”

And as her thoughts ran back and forth Death’s hand in silence had passed o’er She raised her eyes to look again The spirit of her son had gone. She felt for breath, but none was there Then gently but with steady hand She closed his eyes and said, “Farewell,” But still watched on till break of dawn.

Kind hands there bore her son away And strove to make a grave for him But frozen earth as hard as stone forbid And they must hasten on their way So in a blanket snugly sewed They left him by the lonely road And struggled on Nor turned to see the pack wolves who Long e’er the train had passed from view Had found their prize and gorged themselves.

Day by day the train moved on Until at last their plight was known And strong men sent to aid them in To Zion’s land of peace and rest United with the ones loved best. They murmured not, this core tired band, But worshiped Him who calms all fears And thanked their God throughout the years, That life was spared and faith unchanged.

“Dear Lord, who blesses us with faith Though mine is weak and very small I fain would learn a lesson here And I’ve my thanks to Thee for all And as I journey o’er life’s path Made rough at times by petty trials I beg of Thee to give me grace To see Thy loving hand reach out And fill my heart with lasting faith.”

As they neared Sweetwater River the provisions were gone. A small ravine was found, since called Martin’s Ravine, where camp was made. In the morning, to add to their sufferings, a heavy snow had fallen. Since they had camped in a circle they did not know which way to go onward nor the direction from which they had come. They could go no farther, they must wait for help or death to come and few cared which. Here they were – provisions gone, starving, lost, and buried in two feet of snow.

Three days they suffered through this and four days brother Joseph had been dead. Then as the sun set from over the rim of the ravine came a covered wagon and men breaking a road for horses. Such cries of joy were never before heard. They laughed and cried and shouted all together. Here was help and food coming. Cheer rang through their hearts but only a small portion could be eaten as they would all die, as some did. In the morning thirteen were dead and two more died during the day as preparations were being made to go. These dead were left in a large grave.

With new hope and courage they started on and as they came to South Pass the weather moderated and the suffering was lightened. Mother Crossley, Sarah, Hannah, and little Ephraim were met by dear father, James Crossley, and many friends. In fact most of the city came to look upon the suffering of this company and to give them aid, to take them into their homes, and nurse them back to life from the very jaws of death through which they had passed.

Their first home was in Willard or Three-Mile Creek nearby, then two years later they moved to Fillmore. There too, they were unsuccessful and went on to Camp Floyd and finally to Bountiful, where they remained for some years establishing a brewery, for James Crossley was a brewer by trade. Here he was successful for some time. Mother Crossley’s health was never restored after the terrible strain she endured crossing the plains and there was always need for help in home after her family was all married and gone. She was never able to do much in a civic way nor to help in church organizations. It required all her strength to manage her little home and care for her family. Never did she complain of her condition, never did her faith in the gospel waiver in the slightest. She was a good neighbor and a faithful friend and loved by all who came in contact with her humble, sweet, gentle disposition.

While living in Bountiful, Mary Bently, an English convert, came to make her home with them and help with the household duties. She was a fine type of womanhood and after a short time Mother Crossley suggested to her husband that should consider the principle of polygamy. She felt that their daughters, Sarah and Hannah, both were living in polygamy, that she also wanted to be with them and persuaded her husband, James Crossley, to marry Mary Bently. This was finally arranged and Mother Crossley soon after passed on happy that her dear husband was left in the care of so kind and fine a companion. On May 1, 1880 Mary Jarvis Crossley was laid to rest in the Bountiful Cemetery. James Crossley and Mary Bently reared a nice family of children.

Sister Sarah lived with her parents for several days upon completing the trek across the plains, then went to live with Elder Sessions, whom the family had known as a missionary in England, and his sister. She was brought back to health and upon becoming eighteen years of age was married to Elder Sessions and went to live with his other wives.

Sister Hannah became one of George Winn’s wives and brother Ephraim married Koziah Hall.



James Crossley (1816 - 1894)



Mary Ann Crossley Broad (1833 - 1887)


Joseph Smith Crossley (1836 - 1856)


Hannah Crossley Winn (1840 - 1912)


Sarah Crossley Sessions (1843 - 1906)


Ephraim Jarvis Crossley (1850 - 1917)


William Crossley (1855 - ____)

Maintained by: SMSmith

Originally Created by: Mary

Record added: Jan 25, 2010

Find A Grave Memorial# 47104432

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Mary Crossely's Timeline

November 5, 1811
Huddersfield, Yorkshire, , England
November 27, 1840
Age 29
Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
January 29, 1843
Age 31
Tinsley Banks, Lancshire, Eng.
May 15, 1845
Age 33
Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom
March 20, 1848
Age 36
Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom
June 4, 1850
Age 38
Ashton-Under-Lyne, Lancashire, England
January 30, 1852
Age 40
Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom
October 6, 1852
Age 40
Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom
August 26, 1869
Age 57
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States
November 20, 1872
Age 61
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States