Thomas Greenhalgh

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About Thomas Greenhalgh

The following account was written & compiled by Howard G. Wood - Great great grandson of Thomas:

Thomas Greenhalgh is the son of William Greenhalgh and Margaret Hope (Matty). He was born on the 15 of January 1821, in Worsley, Lancashire, England. Thomas had four brothers and seven sisters. His father, William, died in 1861 and was buried in the Methodist chapel in Swinton, Lancashire. His mother, Margaret died in 1867 and was also buried in Swinton.

His family owned a silk mill where fine material was woven. Their religious preference was toward the Independent Calvinists. His father, apparently did not care for the Mormons from America., but Thomas and his brothers and sisters did. Thomas and his brother Abraham were some of the first people to join the church in the Preston Area. In Thomas’ journal he wrote of attending “Tea Parties” where they would invite friends and family to come and hear the Apostles teach.* Thomas wrote of walking many miles to get a recent copy of the “The Star” (The Millennial Star) which was a publication from the Church under the hand of Parley P. Pratt. Thomas also attended the first general conference of the British Mission that was held in Manchester Conference in England on Oct. 6, 1840.

Thomas wrote in his journal concerning the Church:

“I began to think about religion. From time to time I went to hear the different sects. I was rather inclined to the Methodist Society. In 1840 I heard of a strange sect called Latter-Day-Saints, which gave a little feeling. So, I said that I would hear them for the people said they were false prophets and so on. Sister Betty Ray tried to persuade me to obey the gospel but I need not be persuaded to live the gospel when I heard the Saints preach. I believe with all my heart. I was baptized by Thomas Lythgo who was then a Priest. Baptized, December 3, 1840. Confirmed under the hand of John Smith, Elder Willard Richards and Elder William Walker”

Because of their strong religious beliefs and a desire to have a piece of land, they left Great Britain to come to America. They had emigrated with the saints known as the “Thirteen-Pound company,” along with Thomas’s two brothers, Abraham and Peter in the spring of 1854 under the direction of William Taylor. That year 2,109 people from the British Isles came to Utah.

They arriving in Kansas City and joined the William Empey handcart company and journeyed across the plains. Pushing a handcart, filled with all their earthly belongings, they walked the many miles. I’m sure there were times that they wanted to just give up. Tired shoulders, tired feet…tired hearts. But ahead was life and land…and the wheels of the handcart rolled on. When one would falter, the other would lift. When one would fall the other would pray.

They arrived in Salt Lake on the 24th of October 1854. Their strong religious belief and sturdy character, never wavering set them to work with great zest in their new land. They loved their labours so much that they often overtaxed their strength and would be temporarily disabled but the rains and cold weather were not to stop them from the task of getting their families homes.

It was during this time that the United States government in an attempt to quell the “Mormon up rising” sent an army of men lead by Albert Sidney Johnston. President Brigham Young said on September 15, 1857, “We are invaded by a hostile force, who are evidently assailing us to accomplish our overthrow and destruction.” To the Nauvoo legion he told them to, “Hold themselves in readiness to march at a moment’s notice to repel any and all invasions, and martial law is hereby declared to exist.”

Thomas’ first wife, Mary Moorcroft. Later, while in Washington, Utah, Thomas married Harriet Wardle in 1873. It is from Harriet, that my great grandfather, John Thomas was born.

From the journal of

Mary Ann Greenhalgh, age 18 of England:

I, Mary Ann Greenhalgh Mace, was born April 21, 1848, at Maulesfield, Cheshire, England, the daughter and eldest child of Mary Moorcroft and Thomas Greenhalgh. My father was a silk warper and worked at his trade in the city of Manchester in Lancashire. He learned this art when a very young man. I can not remember the time when he had any other trade than that of a silk warper. At the age of twelve years I started to wo rk in a cloth factory where my father warped. I never attended school as my parents were in need of my help at home. At nights, however, when my father came home from work, his working hours were from six until six, he taught me to read, write, spell and figure. When I was twelve years old the Civil War broke out in America. This made it necessary for me to work in the factory with my father to help support the family, which by this time included five children. I earned about three and one-half dollars each week winding skeins of yarn on spools.

To America, 1865/Aftermath of Civil War

On April 29, 1865, our family of nine children with father and mother, left Liverpool for America on a sailing vessel called the Belle Wood. This ship was in charge of Captain Freeman, a large red-headed yankee, who said he had crossed the ocean six times. Our trip on the ocean lasted five weeks and two days. The captain said it was the nicest trip he had ever taken across the Atlantic Ocean. We landed at Castle Gardens, New York, June 2, 1865, and found the country in deep mourning over the tragic death of Abraham Lincoln. Everywhere we saw soldiers who were returning home from the Civil War. I remember one troop carrying what remained of a huge American Flag. The center had been taken out by a cannon ball, and soldiers were carrying it down the street by its corners. They looked ragged, tired and sick as they dragged themselves down the street to their quarters amid the sound of cheers and martial music.

Stay in New York/Brother Died

My baby brother, who had been sick on the voyage, died one month after we landed in New York and was buried in the Green Wood Cemetery. A short service was held at the grave. The undertaker's name was John Mace. Our family stayed in New York City until the middle of September, where my sister Sarah and I obtained work in a silk factory. We were dissatisfied here because father could not find work and we did not like living in a city either, but we were obliged to stay until we could do better. In a short time we heard of a manufacturing town called Cohoes, which was eleven miles from Albany, so we moved there. Here we obtained a comfortable house in which to live, and secured work for us all; that was, for my sister Sarah, father, and myself. It was while we were living here that I attended one quarter of night school, the only school I ever attended in my life. We lived here until July 10th or 12th, 1866, when father decided to move west to Utah. When all was ready we sailed down the Hudson River for about three hundred miles from Albany to New York. Here we waited for more people whom we learned were also going to Utah. We were obliged to take a round about way to come west as a satisfactory agreement could not be made with the company which had been handling the immigrant traffic.

To Wyoming, Nebraska/Did Not Like Travel Arrangements

Our route took us into Canada by way of the Great Lakes of Huron and Michigan, then to Chicago, from here to a place called Wyoming. We rested a few days and left on July 24, 1866, about noon after we had cooked our dinner around a camp fire. We were met by a company of eighty-two covered wagons which had been sent out from Utah by Brigham Young to meet the immigrants. Two families were assigned to travel in each wagon on the journey to Salt Lake City. This arrangement did not meet with my mother's approval, as she did not like the looks of some of the immigrants. She thought they might have vermin, or that we children might contract some disease from them. After talking with several of the drivers, we were assigned to ride in a wagon that carried some freight. It consisted of two large flat wooden boxes which just fit into the bottom of the wagon box and completely covered the floor. Packed into these boxes were the materials for the Great Salt Lake Tabernacle organ.

Pleasant Trip Riding With Freight Wagon

During the journey we had delightful weather. It was warm with a few gentle rains. When we grew tired of riding we walked to rest ourselves. At night we camped in a half circle. The oxen were put in a corral made by the wagons, and we slept in the corral made by the wagons or in the wagon boxes. Every night guards stood at the opening of the circle, the men in the party together with the drivers acted as guards. We passed over hundreds of miles of prairie country.

Indian Scare

The advice given us was "always keep in sight of the wagons when walking." One morning a girl friend and I were standing, perhaps within a stone's throw of the wagons, washing our faces and combing our hair by a small stream, suddenly almost before we had finished; we decided to run back to the wagons, we had no more than reached them when fifteen or twenty big Indians rode into our camp. The captain of the company gave them sugar, flour, and other things to eat. I remember how they stood and looked at mother's baby, which was only a month old, and then offered to trade her a horse for it.

In Utah

After reaching Utah, the first settlement we came to was Coalville at Silver Creek, a small village with a few buildings. We did not stop here, however, as our destination was Salt Lake City, where we arrived Oct. 4, 1866. Here we camped in the lot just east of the Tabernacle grounds in the tithing office sheds.

The roof had been put on the tabernacle and the foundation for the temple was just laid. Not far from these was the old Salt Lake Theatre, which was completed and had been in use for four years. We were to stay in the sheds until we could find another place. The next day however, I had a chance to get work peeling fruit in a private home. I worked all day. At night when I went back to the tithing sheds my folks had gone. I was very puzzled and did not know where to find them. After inquiring I learned they had gone to the First Ward schoolhouse because they could camp there in more comfortable quarters. I decided I must find them as it was growing dark, and I determined to hurry.

As we were coming into Salt Lake City I remembered our teamster saying we were passing through the first ward, so I had an idea that I could find the place where my parents were camped and started on my way. As I hurried along I came near the Salt Lake Theatre, people were going to the show. Hesitatingly I stepped up to a lady and her escort and asked if she would please direct me to the first ward schoolhouse. "My child," she said, "you have no business on the street alone at this time of day." However, she directed me and I hurried on as fast as I could go.

At length I reached the schoolhouse but there was no light in the building. In the house next to the school building I could see a light so I hurried along and rapped at the door. I knocked repeatedly, but could get no response, so I returned to the schoolhouse where I found the door standing ajar. It was dark, but I walked in feeling my way along the wall until I came to a bench, where I sat down to wait until day dawned. Occasionally during the night I heard slight noises which seemed to come from the farthest corner of the room, but in the darkness I could see nothing, and feeling strange and timid I remained quiet. When morning came I found I was not the only occupant of that room; huddled together in the opposite corner were some Danish immigrants. They smiled as they recognized me, as we had traveled in the same train. At daylight I went outdoors and sat on the stoop. The sun came up and people began moving about the city, when suddenly I looked up the street and saw Mr. Chase, the father of our teamster, coming in my direction. I ran up to him and told him my trouble. He said my folks had gone to the tenth ward schoolhouse to camp, and accompanied me to that place.

First Water-powered Weaving Looms

Our family stayed here a few days and then moved out to Mill Creek near Cottonwood Canyon where there was a factory in which blankets were being woven on hand looms. My father now began setting up the power looms that had been freighted along with our company. These were the first waterpower looms to operate west of the Mississippi river.

I intended going to work with my father in the factory but was prevailed upon to stay in Salt Lake City and assist with the housework in the home of Bishop Sheets, who had sickness in his family and was badly in need of help. I earned two dollars per week in cash and stayed here until the middle of April, when father told me I must come, as he needed me badly in the factory. I worked with father until October, weaving cloth of many kinds, including linseys and jerseys. The cloth was made of cotton warp and wool filling. On the 7th of October my father moved his family to Dixie to set up some water-power looms there in the Washington factory, Washington County. We arrived in the little town of Washington on November 7, 1867. Here we found a factory operating Mendenhall hand looms. Father now started to set up power looms immediately, and I began to weave cloth as soon as he got the first loom set up.

Father and I worked in the factory from the years 1867 to 1871, and in all that time we did not see one cent of money. In fact there was no money in the country. We received cloth for our labor, this was called factory pay, and we exchanged cloth for everything we needed. If we wanted fruit we traded cloth for it. People came from all over the country to trade their products for cloth, some brought butter and cheese, others brought corn and wheat and many other things which we needed and were glad to trade cloth for.

At this time, 1867, the first orchards of Dixie were beginning to bear fruit. One day a man passing through the country bought two bushels of peaches from us and gave us a dollar for them, we simply did not know what to do with that cash; I believe we did buy some postage stamps with some of it. This was the first and the last money that I saw while I lived in Dixie. I worked in the Washington factory until June 21, 1869 when I married George Mace. We journeyed to Salt Lake to be married. My husband's sister, Jane, and her husband accompanied us. We were gone the best part of one month going and coming.


When the Mormons entered the Salt Lake Valley, Brigham Young recognized the need of the pioneers for clothing as well as food. He resolved that the Latter-day Saints should be economically independent, and experiments in growing cotton in the Salt Lake Valley were implemented.

Early exploration in the 1850s confirmed that the Santa Clara and Virgin river basins, located 300 miles south of Salt Lake City at a lower altitude, had the potential to grow cotton, grapes, figs, flax, hemp, rice, sugar cane, tobacco, and other much-needed semitropical products. Following the Utah War of 1857-58 Brigham Young's drive for self-sufficiency was strengthened.

By this time Parowan, New Harmony, Pine Valley, Toquerville, and Santa Clara had been established. The mission of those sent to Santa Clara was to befriend the Indians. This had to be done before cotton could be planted. However, at Santa Clara three quarts of old cotton seed were procured, planted, harvested, and ginned. The cotton was then carded, spun, and woven into thirty yards of cloth. A sample was sent to Brigham Young.

Church members were called to go to Washington County to colonize, with the specific assignment to "grow cotton." They were told that the Cotton Mission should be considered as important to them as if they were called to preach the gospel among the nations. Settlements involved in the Cotton Mission, some now erased from memories and maps, were Washington, St. George, Heberville (Tonaquint), Parowan, Grafton, Hurricane, Santa Clara, Harrisburg, Duncan's Retreat, West Point, Rockville, Millersburg, Shunesburg, Northrop, Springdale, Gunlock, Harmony, Kanarra, Hebron, Middleton, Pine Valley, Pinto, Leeds, Bellevue (Pintura), Panada, Eagleville, Cedar City, and Toquerville. There were also those on Muddy Creek--St. Joseph, St. Thomas, and Overton. Some of these settlements involved just a few families.

Men were chosen for their skills and capital equipment. The first calls included: ten families under the leadership of Samuel Adair left Payson 3 March 1857; twenty-eight families were called at April 1857 conference and came under the direction of Robert Covington; fifty families arrived at Washington from San Bernardino. They had been told to return to Utah because of the Utah War in 1857. Most stayed for the winter and left in the spring for other locations in Dixie and elsewhere. Three hundred families were called in October 1861 conference. That year the Civil War cut off cotton supplies. Thirty families of Swiss converts were included in the call; and they were directed to settle in Santa Clara and provide supplies for the cotton farmers. In 1862 220 families were called. Fifty or sixty families were called in October 1864 to settle south of St. George on the Muddy River. At least 300 additional families (upwards of 1,000 persons) were called in the late 1860s and 1870s.

The Covington company arrived in May 1857. Isaac C. Haight, who was presiding over the Parowan Stake, organized the new settlement as a branch of the Harmony Ward. It was at this time that the name Washington was chosen for the new town. Civic and religious leaders were sustained. The pioneers prepared the ground for corn and went to work making dams and ditches. They lived in tents, wagons, or dugouts.

Many problems were encountered as they struggled with nature. Most of the early colonists were converts from the South and were familiar with cotton but were not familiar with irrigation. They had to cope with the alkali in the sandy soil. They had an unending battle with the Virgin River. Their dams, built on quicksand bottoms, were washed out yearly, sometimes several times. One year there was a drought, and grasshoppers and worms consumed their crops. They had night watches to protect their crops from hungry animals.

As cotton growers they were successful, but they quickly found that to survive they had to grow their own food and "make do." Many were beset with chills and fever and were unaware that they had contracted malaria from the mosquitoes that bred in the seeping springs and along the streams' edges. This robbed them of much productive energy.

Many quit the mission. By June 1861 only twenty families remained in Washington. Late that year, the community received quite a number of new settlers, most of them from Sanpete County. Their spirits rose. One historian said, "Just to have a few fresh arrivals to share their miseries must have made the burden lighter." In 1862 the arriving cotton missionaries settled in what is now St. George.

Most of the early ginning was on a home basis, but there was a problem processing and selling the "lint." One-tenth was sent to Salt Lake as tithing, and as much as possible was shipped east by freight. One year some was freighted to California. Brigham Young objected and arranged for the purchase of much of it.

Brigham Young then had machinery imported. Factories for processing cotton and wool were set up in Salt Lake City, Springville, and Parowan. When it was determined that the Cotton Mission had a deteriorating economy and needed support, Young had the equipment operating in Salt Lake City dismantled and shipped south in 1866. The cotton factory was built in Washington because of its adequate water supply and its central location for the cotton growers. The colonists were asked to contribute their labor and materials to help build the factory. More missionaries were called.

Indian troubles forced the colonists to neglect their crops; some homes and farms in the smaller settlements were abandoned. The end of the Civil War then caused the price of cotton to drop. The less hardy pulled up their stakes and left. The ruts in that trail were deepened as many fled to other settlements.

There was always an acute cash shortage. Most of the exchange was in goods or in paper money printed for temple and factory work, which was not acceptable for the purchase of materials and machinery outside the territory. Added to the factory was a section used for a store, a branch of ZCMI where miscellaneous items for everyday living could be purchased.

One thing that encouraged the poverty-plagued Dixie colonists to remain was the granting of subsidies out of tithing resources to construct a tabernacle and a temple in St. George. These were "public work" projects. Mines in Nevada and in Leeds, Utah, provided markets for the pioneer produce, which included grapes for wine. The emphasis was shifted from cotton. Young men fled to the mines to work for easier money.

The cotton factory began operating in 1869, the year the railroads were united, linking the East with the West. The settlers' problems multiplied. Supplies for the northern communities were now brought in by rail. New machinery was required at the factory for quality production; two additional stories were added. Skilled help was difficult to obtain. Dyes and supplies had to be obtained from the East. The growers organized a cooperative to better their marketing possibilities and increase their purchasing power in California. Their first purchasing agent was killed by Mojave Indians.

The colonies on the Muddy had furnished most of the cotton during the period from 1866 to 1870. An official survey revealed that their farms were located in Nevada, instead of Utah. Nevada then demanded back taxes in cash, which taxes had already been paid to Utah. Because of the tax situation, malaria, and poverty, Brigham Young advised the colonists to abandon their settlements in 1871.

The cotton industry was revived briefly from 1873 to 1876 and again from 1893 to 1896. The factory made a profit for only a brief period in the 1890s, under the direction of Thomas Judd; it ceased operation as a cotton mill in 1910.

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Thomas Greenhalgh's Timeline

January 15, 1821
Worsley, Lancashire, England
April 21, 1848
Age 27
Macclesfield, Cheshire, England
August 27, 1850
Age 29
Pendleton, Lancashire, England
October 3, 1852
Age 31
Pendleton, Lancashire, England
April 12, 1855
Age 34
Manchester, Lancashire, England
April 13, 1857
Age 36
Manchester, Lancashire, England
March 14, 1859
Age 38
Manchester, Lancashire, England
March 18, 1861
Age 40
Cohnefielld, Lancashire, England
May 18, 1864
Age 43
Cohnefield, Lancashire, England