"I, Emily Hodgetts Lowder, the granddaughter of Joseph Hodgetts, and daughter of Joseph and Ann Walcroft Hodgetts, was born January 24, 1841 at Worcester, Parish of Saint Martin, England. I was confirmed in the Church of England when a babe. My father was Joseph Hodgetts, a wealthy man. My mother, Ann Walcroft, was born at Hertford, 70 miles from London. Both my parents were orphans. My Father owned a great deal of land, some of it being the Spring Hill Terrace. My father owned a terrace of houses. We lived in the center of this terrace --- No. 1 Spring Hill Terrace, Spring Hill, Worcester, England. He retired from business when I was very young and I well remember many pleasant trips with him. We were not supposed to do any work in the kitchen, but I loved to watch the cook. I spent a good deal of my spare time there and learned to be a fairly good cook, which was a great benefit to me in later life.
In 1849 Thomas Smith, who died in Parowan, took the Gospel to Worcester. In one of the cottage meetings he converted my mother and sister Mary Ann to the gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My sister, Mary Ann, was healed of a growth in her breast at the time of her baptism, after all medical aid had failed to do anything for her. They called it cancer. It was a grand testimony to all. There was a heavy persecution in Worcester at this time and all baptisms had to be done secretly.
Through the teachings of my mother, I was baptized into the Church at the age of eight by John Lyon, who later died in Salt Lake City. My entire family, with the exception of Father, was baptized into the Church at one of our conferences.
We were sent to the best of schools. I was sent to Mrs. Doward's Academy for Girls, a private school at 56 Edgar Street. Sixty young girls attended this academy. I objected because they were constantly asking about our religion and I shocked my sister many times when I would always tell them we were Latter-day Saints. It always brought comments from Miss Doward, our instructor. I had my own pony and went back and forth to school on him a great deal of the time, because I objected to the boarding school, and Father always gave in to me.
My father was never converted to the Mormon Church although he never opposed Mother or any of us going to the Mormon Church. It was probably his pride and wealth that kept him out. He always treated the elders kindly and invited them to our home many times. At a conference, Brother George B. Wallace came down from London to speak and Father went to the meeting. Father was very much taken up with him. After the meeting he invited him to our house. This Brother proposed bringing my brother, William Benjamin, to Utah with him, which he finally did. William Ben was then twenty-one years old. At the age of twenty-three Ben returned to Worcester on a mission. We were so delighted at his returning home a great time was prepared for him and I read the greetings that were written for me by Mathew T. Rowen. There were twenty verses in all, but just a few lines are all I can remember now:
William Ben preached the gospel in Worcester one year, then was called on a mission to Cambridge before going back to Utah. While in Cambridge he contracted pneumonia which was caused through hardship and exposure. Father went to him and found him in a very poverty-stricken place. My father felt dreadful. Father took doctors from London to his bedside. William Ben bore his testimony before all when he said to Father, 'You have spent a great deal of money on me, but the best money you ever spent was while I labored with the Saints.' He was very ill for three months. He lost the use of his left lung which injured his health for the rest of his life. When he was able to travel, Mother thought it best for us to 'Flee from Babylon.'
Father went away for a few days. I remember seeing him at the wharf. Mother knew Father would follow us and she thought we would be better off if we went to Liverpool. Ben stayed home to tell Father we had gone to Utah upon his return, for we loved him dearly and deeply regretted leaving him alone. We went to Liverpool expecting to sail on Wednesday on the steamer, but the Elders advised Mother to wait and go on Wednesday on the sailing vessel. We stayed there from Wednesday until Saturday morning, then crossed the Mercy River. We stayed at a wonderful hotel. From there we were taken at twelve o'clock at night in a lifeboat to the vessel. The sailors carried us from the boat aboard the 'Enoch Train,' March 18, 1856. There were 534 Latter-day Saints aboard this vessel, among them were three girls whose transportation to Utah, Mother had paid. I also remember Mrs. Catherine Bell, who lived and died in Cedar City, was on this vessel. I must not forget to tell you that Mother paid for the immigration of five girls the year we came.
The Birmingham Brass Band was aboard this vessel. What grand times were had upon the voyage. My sister, Maria, was a belle and a beauty, too, she was; and how she enjoyed the dancing as the vessel rocked and swayed.
But all the time I had a strange foreboding . . .
When Father received the news, he hastened to Liverpool. He brought four officers with him and followed us. We were not yet out to open sea, but were in the Irish Channel. Father paid the captain of the vessel one hundred sovereigns to cast anchor for one hour. When they cast anchor we hid, but Mother could not bear this, so when the time had almost expended, she came out and gave herself up. Then Father, by gentle persuasion and not by force, promising to sell out and come to Utah, took Mother and the children back to Worcester.
I shall never forget my dear mother's face as she bade me farewell upon the vessel. She hugged me gently to her heart and murmured, 'Oh, Emmie, Oh Emmie, Oh Emmie.' Deep in my heart I knew I would never see their dear faces again and I have not. Many times I got so homesick I could hardly bear it. One time I went to President Brigham Young and said, 'If you will let me go home, I will be willing to carry rocks in my frock the rest of my days.' President Young bade me be patient until the Endowment House was finished and said, 'My girl, you shall wear martyr's crown.'
I was but 15 years of age when Maria and I were left to come alone. She was 17. We were six weeks and three days on the ship, arriving in Boston Harbor May 1, 1856.
But again my dear parents had thought of us and sent William Ben to us. He left England two weeks after we did, and on a fast steamer reached Boston two weeks before we did, so when we landed in Boston he came out to meet us in a little life boat.
William Ben brought a letter from Mother telling us what to do. This letter I kept until it fell to pieces, reading it often and crying, as did my husband (Grandmother memorized this letter). In the letter my mother said, 'Maria, come home and take care of your mother in the hour of trial, my days are short. Emmie, my loved one, go to Utah with your brother and keep faithful, work in the house of the Lord. William Ben, be a guide and protection to your sister, tenderly watch her footsteps.' Maria stayed in Boston two weeks then returned to England. My brother and I came on to Utah.
Mother only lived a few months after Maria's return home. A very sort time afterwards, Mother died of an abscess on her sweetbreads from going into a shower bath.
A strange thing happened to me the day she died. Ben and I had gone out to the corral to sell some cattle to Noah Guymon. I had just placed my hand on the side of a white cow when I head my mother's voice, 'Oh, Emmie, Oh Emmie, Oh Emmie.' 'Ben,' I said, 'Did you hear what I did?' He said, 'Oh Emmie, what is the matter, you are deadly pale.' The next letter we got was one bearing the news of Mother's death. She died the very day, and as near as we could calculate, the very hour that I had heard her voice. (Her mother's last words were, 'Oh, Emmie, Oh Emmie, Oh Emmie.')
Ben was put in charge of the emigration to see the emigrants to Iowa City. There were forty-nine wagons, ours being the first. We camped in these camp grounds twenty-one weeks. I was very much upset over the separation in our family and my health was poor, so my brother put me in a boarding house for twelve weeks. During this time, he was in Missouri on Church work.
Miss Brenchley, Squire Tennant and our mother's money bought two hundred heifers, which were afterward used in helping to feed the handcart company. We never got our heifers off the plains.
I did not walk across the plains. I rode a horse and a good animal it was.
While we were on the plains, we came across John A. Hunt with eleven wagons. The
Indians were very hostile and my brother told him it was not safe to travel alone and
invited to him to travel with our company, which he did.
Then we came on - my brother, William Ben Hodgetts, being appointed captain of the last independent wagon company in 1856. Nathan Tanner Porter was his assistant. There were 33 wagons led by Ben. At this time the Indians had become very hostile.
Squire Tennant died on the plains. Ben left the train and traveled 60 miles with his body to have him buried at Laramie, Wyoming. Later his body was taken to Utah for burial.
We got as far as an old fort known as Devil's Gate. There we were called upon to help the Martin Handcart Company, which we gladly did. It was bitter cold. We were snowed in for ten days. The Martin Handcart Company camped by us and we shared with them. Then Joseph A. Young and Brother Grant--George--I think, came back to meet us from Utah. We gave up our five wagons and 20 yoke of oxen to the handcart company and moved into the old fort. We stayed there 10 days and the handcart company went on. Brother William Carter from Utah came and helped us on. Hundreds of teams came. We left our belongings in the old fort in our four blue chests.
The next summer Ben went back for them and for some freight for the church. Of the four chests, we only got one back. The blue box is the only relic of my childhood home. As you know, I still have this blue chest which was made in England by John Newman, father of Callie (Caroline) Newman Mitchell, my dear life-long friend, wife of John T. Mitchell of Parowan.
I must tell you about one thing that was in that chest. It was 16 yards of the very best satin which had been bought in Paris, France by my father to make dresses for Mother and we girls. But in taking things from the ship, it had been left for Maria and me. After Maria went home, I fell heir to this and I feel I put it to good use. I have had that material made into almost every style from polineau to hobble skirt and have been a well-dressed woman each time. I have worn this satin in some style to the christening of each of my nine children.
As to the blue chest, it has been my shrine and many times I have knelt before it in humbleness and tears. It always contained my best clothes, for clothes closets were not as plentiful then as now.
We reached Salt Lake City, December 15, 1856. Three weeks before Mother died, she had sent money to rent for two years a place for us in Salt Lake City. Ben was married the first Christmas we were in Utah to Betsy (Mary Elizabeth) Bonham. It was the time of the Reformation and my brother had charge of the Sixth and Seventh Wards. He would go to the one ward Sunday, the other Thursday, then change about the days. To them three children were born, two boys and a girl. The girl and one boy died in infancy.
Little Ben lived to young manhood. He died long after his father, William Ben. While he was digging gravel he was buried, all but his feet, in a gravel cave-in. Ben's wife married William Brazier of the 4th Ward, Salt Lake City. He was a baker.
I had always boarded at Mrs. Elizabeth Thomas' and remained there until I was married. While I was in Salt Lake City, I taught school.
Our first celebration was held at the Lion House and we had a grand time. A very important incident was the coming of Johnston's Army to Utah. I remember it so well. I was in the bowery at Brighton celebrating Utah's first Pioneer Day, July 24, 1857. I was dancing with my brother in the same set with President Young when Eph Hanks brought the news that Johnston's Army was coming to Utah.
I think it was Brother McCallister who wrote and sang this song:
Ben was a Minute Man when Johnston's Army came to Utah. He came back November 29th.
He was greatly grieved when he knew he was going to die and leave me alone in Utah (I was just nineteen years and four months). He called me to him and said, 'Emmie, I can't leave you alone, I want you to marry.'
At his request and my own desire, I was married to John Lowder, May 25, 1860 in the home of Brother Goodsall in the 4th Ward in Salt Lake City, by Harrison Sperry, who was at that time a Counselor to the Bishop. (He later became Patriarch of the Church.)
Ben died of T. B. as a result of the pneumonia he had in Cambridge, England while he was preaching the gospel. He died Sunday, August 12th in Salt Lake City in the home Mother had rented for us.
The first baby came to our home April 6, 1861, which added greatly to our happiness. As time went on eight more children were born to us, making five boys and four girls in the family. All are still living, married, and members of the Latter-day Saints Church, which is a great comfort to me.
We lived in Salt Lake for some time where my husband had good work with Walker Brothers. But Grandfather (Jesse) and Grandmother (Zilpha Bullard) Lowder, who were in Parowan, wished us to join them there in their old age. When we reached Parowan, they were ready to go to Panguitch to help in the settlement there, so we went with them.
My first trip to Panguitch was in the year 1864. I went with my husband's father, Jesse Lowder and wife. We went by wagon and team. I took with me my two children, John Logan and Emmie. I made up my mind to go while John was in Salt Lake City with his brother-in-law, William Burrows. They had gone to take William's son to see a phrenologist. The boy had been having some kind of spells. While there John, my husband, had his head read or whatever they called it. He told John, 'Your wife is very ill.' He hastened to Parowan--not finding me there he brought a girl (Mary Mortenson) to do the work. I was very sick. So they took me back to Parowan.
There were no houses then. I think I caught cold cooking in a bowery and sleeping in a wagon box. When I got better and went back the fort was built.
After we had been in Panguitch about one year the Indians became very hostile. They had built me a nice log cabin and one day they pulled it into the fort. I did not even have to take my dishes out of the shelves for this move. I would like to tell you about my room. It was a beauty, nice clean smooth logs, with nice plaster chinking. It was put in the fort next to the Butler's.
My third child, Zilpha Ann was born in this house, March 19, 1866. There was no help. (Jesse Lowder delivered his grandchild.) Two days after she was born March 21, 1866, John Lowder received his commission from George A. Smith. He made my husband, John, Captain of the Minute Men. He was to get his orders from Silas S. Smith who had come from Paragonah and was 'Lieutenant' Smith at Fort Sanford. Panguitch was in Iron County then.
Fort Sanford was down the river ten or twelve miles near what was then called Lowder Springs. At one time there were 50 armed men at this fort. Here are some of the names of those I remember: Black, John (John Black was married to Jane Paxton. They were proprietors of Cove Fort, UT for a time); Butler, James; Butler, John; Butler, Thomas; Christensen, Hans; Clark, Daniel; Dalton, Edward; Evans, Jenkin A; Gunn, Thomas; Hadden, Alfred; Hakes, Collins; Hyatt, John; Jenkins, James; Jenkins, Thomas; Joseph, John; Joseph, Joseph H; Lowder, Jesse; Lowder, John; Lyman, Oscar; Matheson, Alexander Jr; Morris, William; Munford, George; Munford, Robert; Munford, Thomas; Nielson, Jens; Parker, Max; Paxton, James; Rasmussen, Christen; Robinson, Timothy; Smith, Silas S; Talbot, William; Walcot, Henry; West, William.
At one time, it was my happy privilege to have them all to dinner, 25 on Monday and 24 on Wednesday.
These were trying days, my child. I hope none of you ever experience the like of them. We kept the Express Office in our room. Usually two men rode together from the Kanab way to bring mail and express. I shall never forget the fearful time when they brought news of the murder of the Berry boys somewhere near Kanab. There was a woman or two killed with them. It was my duty to feed the express men. We were all so frightened. We expected we would be next. I never undressed myself that night. We all lived in terrible fear for many months. Grandma Lowder was a great comfort to me then. She always sacrificed for me. She lived in a dugout at this time. But she would not allow me nor the children to.
John went to Fort Sanford to receive orders. Soon after he reached the place, an Indian scout shot a white man. John spoke the language of the Indians fluently. John was told by Silas S Smith, who was in charge of Fort Sanford, to take the Indian prisoner. Captain John took 25 Minute Men on what is called Panguitch Creek, about one-half mile perhaps, toward Parowan. The Indians began to hand over their guns when a large robust Indian, handing over his gun, tried to shoot Captain Lowder. Some of the 25 men shot and killed this Indian. Then old Dr Bill, an Indian, became angry and shot Jim Butler with an arrow, wounding him. John Butler rode to town. He would not tell who was wounded. Finally, he told me. I was so worried as I always was when John was out with his men. Finally, he said it was his brother. I hastened and told his mother (she was a grand old lady) and what did she do but get in a buckboard and go to him. I nearly went crazy. I was more than sorry for having told her. I surely did pray for her safe return. I was afraid she might be killed, perhaps by an Indian in ambush. Oh! those were trying times. I shall never forget how relieved and thankful I was when she returned. My husband, with help, finally brought the Indians to town. I prepared their meals each day and nursed Jim Butler back to health.
There is another experience I shall never forget. One time John was starting for Fort Sanford when someone saw two Indians coming down Panguitch Lake Hill. William West and Collins Hakes took Grandpa's good horse and another to go find out what they were up to. One of the Indians shot William West, wounding him. Your Grandfather, (Emily is speaking to Eleanor Bruhn) John, took a bronco horse and followed 'Segump' and wounded, but did not kill him. I surely did suffer a lot that day. It was way after dark when John returned to relieve our fears.
John's being a Captain was a serious concern to his mother and me. As you know after we left Panguitch, I successfully prevailed on John to accept no law office employment of any kind.
It was right that as Captain he obeyed his senior officers who themselves had to make laws for the protection of the entire area; many of these consisted of laws, which in having them enforced, brought serious troubles, disagreements, skirmishes and sometimes death.
We suffered every time John went out with his men to fulfill a command. Disarming our local Indians seemed to me, then and still, was a serious unwarranted mistake. Of course, I realized the fear that marauding Indians would so rile them up that they might and could annihilate the whole settlement. Such a trying time! I realized, too, that a Captain, whether guilty or not, must assume all responsibilities for any error, even the death of his men.
They brought the Indians to the fort and locked them in a room and guarded them. One Indian was a crazy Indian and had to be tied down. Of course, we had to feed the Indians; the men did that, you know.
Now that the Navajos got on a rampage, that was the climax. The little handful of Piedes could be handled, but when the Navajos came too, the men realized it would be easy to wipe out these weak little settlements. So in May, I think it was late in May, orders came from General Wells to abandon the place (Panguitch) and strengthen other Southern Utah towns.
We were very thankful when the Saints were ordered to leave Panguitch (May 28, 1866). I
was glad to take my children and go back to Parowan."
Up to this point, I (Eleanor Bruhn) have given the story just as it was told by Emily Hodgetts Lowder. They went from Panguitch to Paragonah. The people of that section were very poor and those who had worked in factories were hardly prepared to meet hardship. It was necessary for them to help each other with whatever means they had.
While John and Emily were living in Paragoonah, Ida Maria was born, August 3, 1868.
After the death of Zilpha Lowder, the family moved back to Parowan where the rest of their children were born. They struggled with the other pioneers, being somewhat more fortunate because Grandfather Hodgetts, as long as he lived, sent money twice each year to help out. But the family stopped writing soon after his death.
John and Emily Teressa Lowder's Family: >John Logan, born April 6, 1861 in Salt Lake City, and married (1) Sally Ann Hyatt (2) Mary Barney (3) Mary A Isom Mary Emma, born June 30, 1863 in Salt Lake City, and married Abraham Owen Smoot Webb Zilpha Ann, born March 19, 1866 in Panguitch, and married Marcus Lafayette Guymon Ida Maria, born August 03, 1868 in Paragonah, and married (1) Moroni Alexander Orton (2) Anthony Paxton, Jr Lewis Monroe, born February 25, 1870 in Parowan, and married Ida Vivian Smith Jesse Frank, born June 04, 1872 in Parowan, and married Mary Alice Bentley Katherine Amelia (Kate), born May 28, 1875 in Parowan, and married Jorgan Andrew Jensen William Joseph, born April 04, 1878 in Parowan, and married Minnie Whitney Edgar Marion, born September 02, 1882 Parowan, and married Evelyn Taylor
Emily and her family had a home and also homesteaded a ranch near Cedar Breaks.
Emily Hodgetts Lowder did not fill many church positions, but was always a faithful Latter-day Saint. Her mission seemed to have been among the sick for she was called on from far and near, all hours of the day and night to administer to their needs. Everyone felt they could put their loved ones into her skilled hands. She was always a companion to her children, a quality which is worthy of note. She entered into their work, recreation, joy, and sorrows. She was a fine horsewoman. Although summer homes were miles apart, she made frequent visits in the afternoons when her household tasks, including making of butter and cheese, were completed. She made these many visits on her own horse until nearing her sixtieth year.
Emily and John left their family home at 185 East Center Street in their later years, and moved into the hotel with their daughter, Maria (Ri) Paxton.
After John died in St. George, February 14, 1917, Emily continued to live with her daughter at her various hotels. Emily died January 26, 1943, two days after her 102nd birthday. At that time she had lived with her daughter for thirty-two years.
When Grandma died her mind and hearing were still keen and strong. Her second eyesight (which she received when in her 80's) had started to fail her. She was agile in body. The day of her 102nd birthday, because she could not see the time on the clock's face, she stepped up on a chair and down again, unaided.
Writing their noble history reminds me of some poet's lines---
: : : : : : : : : : : : : : : TRIBUTE PAID TO EMILY H. LOWDER ON
by: the editor of a local newspaper
We take real pleasure in stopping the dull grind for the moment to pay our respects to honored, advanced youth. The years have dealt no more kindly to anyone we know than they have to Mrs Emily Lowder, whose youthfulness at the age of eighty-three caused us to pay our respect. In a youthful old age indeed is this remarkable woman who is now eighty-three years young. She reads without glasses, she is spry, she works and her intellect is keen. What is more fitting than to pause in the daily grind and lift one's hat courteously to the lady as she goes calmly, serenely living in the present, thought of the past gently borne by the years, to the quiet she has earned. What a fitting day is Mother's Day and what more fitting than to pay tribute to this mother?
: : : : : : : : : : : : : : : from page 264, A MEMORY BANK FOR PARAGONAH 1851-1990 Sam, and countless young boys, believed that hard work would kill them all. And who wanted to die young? The old had got that way being pampered; so that was the life for them! Take for example Grandma Lowder. Well, she might knock off any day now. Of all people who had lived in and around the old Paragonah Fort in the early days, Emily Hodgetts Lowder worked the hardest. It certainly would kill her soon.
At fifteen she and her brother emigrated from England, so self
sufficient and so affluent that they outfitted others less fortunate. Caught between
storms in Echo Canyon, (Wyoming) in 1856, their wagons ground to a halt. The emigrants
feared for their lives. One person up ahead had other fears. Her time had come. Emily, age
15, volunteered to deliver the child. (Seventy years later a man came to her door and
thanked her for this delivery.)
Emily had 9 children, ran a mountain ranch, worked in the fields, made clothing from wool she helped shear, delivered babies and taught other to do so.
There was only one flaw - she was pampered once a day. Every morning of her life she had breakfast in bed! That little English woman, for one brief spell each day, could pretend she had never been an emigrant or ranch hand. She lived to be 102.