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.