Mary Jane Walker

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Mary Jane Walker (Shadden)

Birthdate: (86)
Birthplace: Sing Sing, Westchester, Ny
Death: September 3, 1916 (86)
Lewisville, Jefferson, Id
Place of Burial: Lewisville, Jefferson, Id
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Simeon Shadding and Fanny Shadding
Wife of William Holmes Walker
Mother of Theodocia Frances Davis; Simeon Holmes Walker; Don Carlos Walker; William Adelbert Walker; Winslow Farr Walker and 3 others

Managed by: David Embrey
Last Updated:

About Mary Jane Walker

A brief sketch of the Life of Mary Jane Shadden Van Velsor Walker, Written by Sarah Scott Walker 1935. Information Added in 1955 by Lois W. Grover, relative.

Mary Jane Shadden, wife of William Holmes Walker, and Daughter of Simeon Shadden and Fanny Cronk, was born in Sing Sing, Westchester County, New York on the 26th of July, 1830. Her father, Simeno Shadden was born in Paris, France. Simeon came to America with his brother who returned to France. While crossing the ocean his ship sank and Simeon never heard from any of his family again.

Mary Jane became a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints while still a young girl, her mother joined her as a member of the Church within a few weeks. Her father was very bitter toward the church and soon left his family because he refused the Church. Her mother after being divorced lived in New York until she met the married Stephen Van Velsor. About one year after the divorce Simeon Shadden was killed in the shipyards in New York.

The Van Velsor's soon emigrated to Nauvoo, Illinois, in order to be near the church of their choice. To Stephen Van Velsor and Fanny Cronk were born a daughter Catherine and a son Henry. After Stephen Van Velsor's death in Nauvoo in 1840, Mary Jane and her mother, together with the saints were driven from their homes in Nauvoo, in what is known as the Exodus and in this they suffered untold trials.

They went to Montrose, Iowa, where Mary's mother died, and this trying time is best related in her own words; "I was all alone with my mother when she and my brother Henry died. It was a very stormy night, and I was only fourteen years old. I had my little sister and a baby eight months old to care for also. I could not leave the baby and mother to get help. That night the wind blew and the rain came down in torrents, leaking through the roof of the old log hut. In all the trials I had to pass through in my life, this was the hardest to stand. I though the night would never pass; as soon as it was daylight, I took my baby sister in my arms and went for help. As soon as our condition was found out there were many kind friends who came to our aid, and did all in their power to comfort us. Sister Smith, the wife of Don Carlos Smith, and brother of the Prophet Joseph Smith, took my little sister and were exceptionally kind and good to her.

Mary Jane was persuaded to go on to Utah with some of the saints. She arrived in Salt Lake City in 1849 or just two years after the arrival of the first company. She came to Utah alone, leaving her little sister with the Smith family. She told of many interesting experiences in crossing the plains, and while they were real hardships, they were always told in a way, to show her thankfulness and appreciation, and there never was a tone of regret or remorse in these experiences.

Mary Jane was married to William Holmes Walker April 28, 1850 by President Heber C. Kimball a brother-in-law of William Holmes. They made their home in the sixteenth ward in Salt Lake City; while living here she had a most wonderful experience, which she related as follows: "I was taking a walk when I saw some immigrants camped on the bank of the creek known as "City Creek", so I thought I woudl walk over and see if there was anyone I knew from the East. There I found Mr. and Mrs. Pickett and my little sister. She was now 12 years old,

Imagine my joy and delight at seeing my little sister again. I found that Mrs. Smith had married Mr. Pickett and they were on their way to California, and if I had not been impressed to visit their camp, my little sister would have been taken on to California, and I would have lost all trace of her. As it was I got them to let me have her. When she grew up she married Jesse Smith and lived in Farmington, Utah, where she raised a large family. Catherine was the only relative that Mary Jane had in the west. Her other living relatives were uncles and aunts of her mothers side in New York State.

When word came to Utah that Johnson's Army was coming to Utah, the Saints were advised to move south, and upon this movement south, while camped in the bottoms on the Prove River, Mary Jane gave birth to her third son. She was confined in a covered wagon, and this son was named Don Carlos in honor of the good man, Don Carlos Smith, who had reared her sister Catherine. Mary Jane was the mother of six sons and two daughters: Theodocia Fanny, Simeon, Don Carlos, William Adelbert, Winslow Farr, Welby Holmes, Edwin and Ollie May. She and her family moved to Lewisville in the spring of 1884, where she lived the remainder of her life.

She promised Aunt Olive that she could always claim Don Carlos, because she felt badly over having no children of her own. She always did claim him as her son.

She was loved by all who knew her, and was considered a wonderful grand old lady. She was always cheerful even during her last illness. During her earlier life she had the misfortune to be thrown from a spring wagon and had her leg broken; and while it left her with one leg shorter than the other, she never complained, and often would step dance, and was ever willing to make people happy who came in contact with her. She was a keen observer, and loved animals, and especially livestock, and could pick them out when all others were at a loss to identify them.

She died in her home in Lewisville, September 3, 1916, being more than 86 years of age. She is buried in the Lewisville cemetery. The principal speakers at her funeral were Apostle George Albert Smith, President Mark Austin of the Fremont Stake and President John W. Hart of the Rigby Stake, and Bishop Richard F. Jardine of the Lewisville ward. They all testified to her wonderful character, that she had made a wonderful wife and mother and had truly been a stalwart pioneer in helping to settle the upper Snake River Valley. Her memory and her many sterling qualities will long live in the minds of those who knew her.

Original History written by Sarah Scott Walker in 1935. Additional information added by Mary Jane's daughter Ollie May in May 1955. Transcribed by: Christine L. Robinson Fall 2002


SOURCE: on March 21, 2003.

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Mary Jane Walker's Timeline

July 26, 1830
Sing Sing, Westchester, Ny
May 8, 1851
Age 20
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Ut
July 6, 1852
Age 21
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah Territory, United States
May 21, 1858
Age 27
Provo, River Bottoms, Utah, Utah
November 5, 1859
Age 29
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States
October 10, 1861
Age 31
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, UT
January 8, 1864
Age 33
Big Cottonwood, (Holliday),Salt Lake, Utah
July 7, 1865
Age 34
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Ut
April 13, 1871
Age 40
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Ut