Friday, March 28, 2008

Faith in Every Footstep, William Reese DAVIES and Rachel MORRIS

[More DAVIES history posts to be added]
Faith In Every Footstep
William Rees/Reese DAVIES and Rachel MORRIS
(Rachel-first women baptized in Wales)
and son James George DAVIS with 2 other grown children
25 Sep 1852 Pioneers from Wales

*William Reese DAVIES

Born: 31 Jul 1805

Place: New Church, Carmarthen,
South Wales
Married: Abt 1824

Place: Swansen, Glamorgan, Wales

Immigrated from Wales: 1849 sailed from
Liverpool on the “Buena Vista”
with Dan Jones
Pioneers: 25 Sep 1852 William Morgan Wagon Company
Died: 5 Feb 1865

Place: Kanarraville, Iron, UT

*Rachel MORRIS

Born: 6 Apr 1803
Place:St. Ishmeal, Carmarthen,
South Wales
Died: 28 May 1882
Place: Samgamon, IL


1.(*)George, 17 Nov 1825 St. Ishmael, Carmarthen, South Wales
2.*John Rees, 16 Sep 1827 St. Agusta, Bristol, England

3.*Elizabeth, 23 Nov 1829 Ferryside, Carmarthen, South Wales

4.*James George Born: 6 Nov 1832 Place: Llanelly, Carmarthen, South Wales Married: Polly Willams Date: 21 Oct 1856 Place: St. George, Washington, UT Died: 3 Apr 1909 Place: Kanarraville, Iron, UT
5. David, 9 May 1834 Carmarthen, South Wales -died at 6 yr

Grandparent *Pioneer, (*) Possibly died of Cholera between New Oreans and Council Buffs.
Note: For the history of James George and
Polly Williams see history under their names.

William Rees Davies was born on 31 of July 1805 in New Church, Carmarthen, South Wales. He was the son of Ann Thomas and Rees Davies. William’s wife Rachel Morris, was born the 6 of April 1803 in St. Ishmael, Carmarthen, South Wales. She was the daughter of Catherine Anthony and George Morris. William and Rachel are my fourth great grandparents. They were married about 1824 in Swansen, Glamorgan, Wales.

After they married they moved around to many parts of southeastern Wales living by the Atlantic ocean. When they lived in Newcastle, William picked up the tailoring trade.

The first Mormon missionary arrived in Wales in 1843. The missionary couldn’t speak Welsh so he preached in English hoping that some would understand. The Davies family were his first converts. They where baptized on February 19, 1843 all but their daughter Elizabeth who was baptized three months later. Rachel was the first women baptized in Wales. The Davies might have known a little English, or he and others in his family just recognized truth when they heard it. William then served a mission in Wales he was the first to preach in the Welsh language. In the fall of 1843 he and his companion William Henshaw were preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ as known to the Later-day Saints. They quoted the scriptures confirming their principles as they preached. Their converts were hindered by opposition to the truth.

While William was on his mission Rachel ran a cookie shop to provide for the family. Rachel also sold used clothes to one particular woman. They lived in the back of this women’s house. She was a wealthy woman and threw away her dirty clothes. Rachel collected them, washed them, ironed them, and sold them back to the wealthy woman.

Music was important to this family. William was blessed with a beautiful voice. In fact he was invited to sing for the Queen of England three times! Rachel loved to sing church songs.

Rachel did her sewing by hand, and all her washing. She had never seen a wash board before she came to America. The clothes were rubbed between her hands.

In 1849 The Saint who had saved $45.00 per person for passage got permission to leave Wales and immigrate to America. On Feb 14, 1849 they arrived in Liverpool, England. They were among the 249 Saints organized to make the trip on the “Buena Vista” the following day. They were lead by Dan Jones assisted by three counselors William was one of those leaders. They sailed to New Orleans.

In February of 1849 there were 72 Welsh branches organized and 4,645 members. One in every 278 Welsh were members of the Church.

As they traveled to Council Bluffs about one fifth of the group were victims of cholera. Only 163 remained in the group after the disease had passed who all continued with their plans to head for Utah.

William was called to stay in Council Bluffs as a leader in the Welch Branch. By June of 1852 most of the Welsh and British were fitted and ready for the trip to the Rocky Mountains. It was a very hot day June 28, 1853 they got underway.

They encountered no snow or rain. They had a much more pleasant trip than the Saints who had left in 1849. Some Welsh brothers met this wagon train with a load of watermelons, muskmelons, potatoes and grapes. This was a blessing because by this time food was in short supply. September 25, 1852 they entered the Zion they had sung and dreamt about. From the Great Salt Lake Valley they traveled south and settled new areas.
Orson Pratt picked the location where the Harmony Fort was built. William Rees Davies was the Bishop with his son John R. Davies and Henry Barney as Counselors. (Henry Barney was the husband of Marcy Jane Lucas William Barney my fourth great grandmother.) At that time Fort Harmony was the southern most colony, and became the County Seat.

Rachel was a mid wife and assisted many families in the fort and in Kanarraville.

After the muddy demise of the Fort in early 1862 they moved and settled what became Kanarraville. [See Marcy Jane Lucas Williams Barney history for detail of the demise of Fort Harmony.] William was the first bishop of Kanaraville Ward and presided until his death, February 5, 1865. Rachel then lived with her daughter Elizabeth’s family.

When her grandson built a home after getting married, she spent the last years of her life with him. Rachel was a widow for seventeen long years. She died in Kanarraville at the age of 76 on May 28, 1882 and was buried next to William in the Kanarraville Cemetary. They both held strong to their church and were grateful they had joined the Saints in Zion.

1. Pioneer Women of Faith and Fortitude, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, 1999, vol. p. 766-767
2. The Pioneer Heritage CD-ROM
3. Together Again - An Autobiographical History, (about 1975) by granddaughter Sophia Parker Stapley, with History by granddaughter Ester Parker Robb
4. The Gathering, Mormon Pioneers on the Trail to Zion, Maurine Jensen Proctor and Scot Facer Proctor 1996, p. 40

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