William Rowsell was born 1 November 1843 in Crewkerne, Somerset, England. He was the son of Douglas Rowsell and Ann Cleal.
William was baptized in the parish church in Crewkerne on 26 November 1843. As with most people in England at the time, his family were members of the Church of England.
Williamâs parents died when he was quite young, leaving him to the care of himself and likely neighbors in town. By 1861 both of his parents had died and he was living a man named Henry Diamond and his family. William was 17 years old and worked for Henry weaving woolen webs. Crewkerne specialized in webbing and sailcloth. The textile industry expanded and William was part of this major industry in Crewkerne.
In the summer of 1863 William began meeting with missionaries from the Mormon Church and on 12 August 1863 he was baptized into their church.
One of his fellow boarders and coworkers in 1861 was Mercy Webber. They were both living with Henry Diamondâs family. Mercy became familiar with the Mormon Church and was baptized before William.
On Christmas Day 1864 William and Mercy were married in Bourton, Dorset, England. Although they had both joined the Mormon Church, they likely had to get married in the parish church for legal reasons.
William and Mercy had two children: Rosina Rowsell was born 18 September 1865 in Bourton, and William Douglas Rowsell was born about 1870, likely in Crewkerne. By the time William Douglas was born they likely either could not baptize him into the Church of England, or they refused to because of their beliefs in the Mormon Church. No baptismal record for William Douglas in the Church of England has been found.
By the summer of 1873 William and his family decided to join other Mormons in Utah. They packed up all that they could take and left England. They sailed on the passenger ship, Nevada, and arrived in New York City on 23 July 1873. They continued their way west towards Salt Lake City.
Shortly after they settled in Utah, Mercy became sick and died on 2 May 1874. William was left with two young children.
On 15 February 1875 William married Grace Lye in Salt Lake City, Utah Territory. William and Grace had known each other in England, as they had both joined the Mormon Church there and worshiped together in Crewkerne.
Together, William and Grace had 12 children. The fourth oldest child was my great-great grandfather, Walter Rowsell. Walter was born 18 November 1879 in Richmond, Cache County, Utah Territory.
William became a U.S. citizen on 6 September 1882 in Richmond. By 1900 William and his family moved from northern Utah back to the Salt Lake valley. William spent much of the remainder of his life in West Jordan, Salt Lake County.
He died on 2 July 1916 in Salt Lake City. He was 72 years old. He dies from cancer of the stomach. He was buried on 5 July 1916 in West Jordan City Cemetery.
At the beginning of January I went to Dublin and England for about three weeks. Although it would have been amazing to spend the entire time traveling to ancestral hometowns and sight-seeing, most of the trip was for work. I did make and effort to take a couple of days for myself and see a few town some of my ancestors lived.
Denby, Derbyshire, England
My Hunt and Bardill/Bardel families were from a tiny little village called Denby. The village is only a few minutes north-east of Derby, Derbyshire, England. I have put together a little map of some of the places I visited while I was there as well as the location of where my Hunt ancestors lived.
My great great-grandmother, Mercie Hunt, was born 3 April 1863 in Denby. She was the daughter of Hannah Hunt, who was the daughter of John Hunt and Sarah Bardell. In 1864 Mercie, Hannah and Sarah made their way to the United States and arrived in New York City on 23 June 1864. Mercie was just over a year old.
John Hunt was a coal miner during part of his life. In both the 1851 and 1861 UK census he was living at the Smithy Houses with his wife and children. When I visited Denby, there was one of the original Smith Houses still standing, and someone even lives in it. I am not sure how many houses there originally were - there may have even just been the one that was there when I visited. When I searched online to find out more about the Smithy Houses, I found several websites proving more information about the houses, but nothing I found said how many houses there originally were. Below are some photos of the Smithy Houses as well as the local church where my ancestors were married, baptized and buried. I will write more about Denby in future posts.
Crewkerne, Somerset, England
The second place I had the opportunity to visit while I was in England was a small town called Crewkerne. Crewkerne is located in Somerset, almost on the border of Dorset.
My Rowsell family came from this little town. Douglas Rowsell and his wife, Ann Cleal, were married 29 June 1828 in Crewkerne. Together they had at least six children, including my 3rd great-grandfather, William Douglas Rowsell, who was born 1 November 1843 in Crewkerne.
Below are some photos of Crewkerne, including the home Douglas Rowsell and his family lived in 1851 when the census was conducted. I will post more in the future of the Rowsell family and Crewkerne.
A.C. Ivory is a professional genealogist, blogger, product manager, ux designer, computer geek, and traveler.
Do you love old photos? If so, check out my other site, Forsaken Photos!