Sunday, November 24, 2013


We missed writing last week because our Sunday was filled with activities. First, after breakfast, we went to church in the building next to the patron apartments where we live, from 10:20 to 1:20. We have four wards meeting in the building and ours and another one have joint primary, young men's, and young women's meetings. Its complicated.

Then lunch before we went to a meeting at 3:00 of the committee planning the next Discover your Root conference, an annual conference put on by the Black community, and the Church Public Affairs and Family History Library. Mary and I are members of the committee for the 2014 meeting in the Los Angeles Stake center.

At 5:00 we went to the Library to assist members of the Jewish community - Rabbis, community leaders, and reporters - who came to the Visitors' Center and the Library as part of a tour of "sacred places" in Los Angeles. This was also sponsored by the Public Affairs office. We showed them what is available in FamilySearch and how to find their ancestors. They were very gracious and many were deeply interested and suprised by what we have to offer. While this was going on, our library director, Bishop McBride, held a class for one of the other wards in his stake.

Then, at 7:00, we went to a "Why I believe" fireside upstairs in the Visitors' Center. The speakers were Chad Lewis and his wife. He is a former BYU football stand-out and NFL player; she was an All-American volleyball player at BYU. They gave great talks to a standing room only audience. Since he had served his mission in Taiwan, he had given an early fireside in Mandarin for Chinese members and investigators.

Today was not quite so busy. We went to church as usual and had a great sacrament meeting. The mission nurse, who lives in our ward, and her family spoke. She is a great speaker, very entertaining as she told us stories of the miracles she sees in her calling. Then we went to the library and had lunch with the British Genealogical Society and stayed for their meetings and to help those who need help with research.

On Tuesday last week, Max taught one of the classes in the "Three-day Intensive" course. Mary continues to find new family members to do temple work for. We are both working to find documents to support what is in the tree. Mary is now doing the scheduling for the staff which means running off a daily schedule showing where everyone is assigned, depending on when everyone works and gets time off.  She also will handle the e-mails for the Center.  Sister Hunt is training her to take over some of the office responsibilities.

Last Wednesday we spent most of our P-day at a zone conference in Downey. It started at 8:00, so we left just after 7:00 AM and stayed until about 2:00 PM. The mission president and his wife spoke, and so did the mission nurse to encourage everyone to get a flu shot, and the local stake president. We had four break-out sessions led by the missionaries, then lunch, then the last session, before the president finished in a general session. Zone conferences with the young missionaries build our spirits and makes us feel like we are part of a great work.

The Wednesday before, November 13, we went to the Huntington Library and Gardens in Pasadena for our P-day activity. The library has a wonderful collection of British and American history and literature, including rare books, manuscripts, and personal papers. They have a lot of western history related collections, including a strong Mormon history collection. But we spent most of our time visiting the 120 acres of gardens on the 307 acre site, and seeing the wonderful collections of British, European, and American art in the galleries. The library has a new exhibit on the treasures of its collections. It was a real treat to spend part of the day there.
Here we are at the Chinese Gardens

Sandpiper at Chinese Gardens
The British portraits collection 
Pinky by Lawrence
Blue Boy by Gainsborough

Our ancestor of the week is Max's great-great-grandfather, Edward Robinson. This story is based on the paper Mary wrote for a BYU family history class, 2011. 

Edward Robinson was born on October 16, 1807, in Little Sutton, Cheshire, England.  His parents were Joseph and Margaret Davies Robinson.  As a young man, he trained to be a footman at a manor house and worked with horses and blood hounds.  He had to dress immaculately, and be efficient and courteous.  He was somewhat heavyset, round-faced and of an optimistic spirit.  He had deep blue eyes and brown, curly hair.  He married Mary Smith and they settled in Salford[1] near Manchester so he could work as a guard or conductor on the first inter-city passenger railroad in the world, linking Manchester and Liverpool, England.[2]  Opening on Sept 15, 1830, it also provided faster transport of raw materials and finished goods between the port of Liverpool and the mills of Manchester. 

His training as a footman paid off. “At the age of twenty-two, he was engaged by the President of the Liverpool and Manchester railroad, Charles Lawrence, about three weeks before the line was open…Mr. Robinson continued in the employ of the company until 1842, when he left for America.  The Treasurer, Henry Booth Esq., of Liverpool, on his departure, presented him with a watch, …the inscription thereon, reads as follows:  “Liverpool and Manchester Railway, To Edward Robinson, In Token of Regard from the Directors, 1842.”[3] This watch is on exhibit in the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City.[4] 

The steam engine was an exciting scientific invention and the railroad an industrial milestone, but occurring at about the same time in America was the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  When the Mormon apostles came as missionaries to the British Isles, Mary and Edward converted to the gospel and desired to gather to Nauvoo with other Saints.  With their family of six children—Richard, John, Elizabeth, Edward, William and Mary Jane, (1841 UK Census shows 5 children and Mary Jane being born in 1842) they sailed on the Henry, leaving from Liverpool on September 29, 1842 and arriving in New Orleans about six weeks later on November 10.  Aboard were 157 converts under the direction of Elder John Snyder and ship Captain Benjamin Pierce.[5]

Also traveling on the “Henry” to gather with the Saints in America were Ann (nee Turner) and John Wootton and their two sons, Attewall and John, along with husband John’s sister, Anne and her daughter, Elizabeth.[6]  Ann Turner was born in Tunstall, Staffordshire and was a recent convert to Mormonism.

The new converts settled in Nauvoo in 1843, after spending the winter in St. Louis. Edward was a member of the 16th Quorum of the Seventy and was a soldier in the Nauvoo Legion.[7] A landowner in the city of Nauvoo, he purchased three pieces of property, one on May 13, 1843, for $200, where he built a fine brick house, another on December 26, 1843, and  one on June 12, 1845, for $120.[8]  He was able to sell one of the homes for $200 on August 27, 1847, while he was living in Iowa.  While living in Nauvoo, Edward and Mary had their ninth child, Joseph.  When Mary passed away,[9] the baby was cared for by the Kirkwood family until he died.  He was buried beside his mother in Nauvoo. Edward and Mary had two other children, Mary and Martha who also had died as infants while they lived in England.  

With a large family to care for, Edward hired a housekeeper, Ann Turner Wootten who had traveled with them on the ship “Henry”. Ann’s husband, John was injured in a work-related accident as a tile maker and brick mason and passed away in June of 1845.[10]  Now a widow with two children of her own, a sister-in-law and a niece, Ann also took care of the Robinson children. Edward and Ann were married in 1845 in Nauvoo[11] and were both endowed in the Nauvoo Temple on February 2, 1846 just prior to the family’s exodus from Nauvoo.[12]

Rather than leave with one of the early pioneer company crossing the plains, Edward and Ann chose to settle in Burlington, Des Moines, Iowa for a few years.   While in Iowa, a child was born to them, George Heber Robinson[13], on May 12, 1847.  Another child, Alfred Robinson was born in 1849 in Indian Territory as the family was traveling with the Ezra T. Benson’s Pioneer Company which crossed the Plains in 1849.  Alfred crossed the plains and was listed on the 1850 Federal US Census in Utah, but passed away as a child on December 23, 1854.  He is buried in the old American Fork cemetery, as well as his mother Ann Turner Wootten Robinson who died in 1864.[14]

After the Robinson family immigrated to Utah, arriving on October 28, 1849,[15]  they first lived in a rented house in Salt Lake City owned by John Taylor. The following year they were among the first settlers in American Fork where they farmed and lived in a small cabin in the fort.[16]  Later they built a large brick home. Edward was known for his landscaping, trees and roses. The townspeople called his place “Robinson’s Rose Corner”.  Today it is the location of Robinson Park on Main Street in American Fork.  After the death of his second wife, he married Margaret Grosvenor.  She lost her sight and he lost his hearing.[17]

[1] Edward Robinson household, 1841 UK Census, Salford parish, ED 16, folio 21, p 35, line 11.
[2] Wikipedia, Liverpool and Manchester Railway. Online, and Manchester Railway
[3] Millennial Star 40:35, The first railway conductor, 7 Oct 1873, p 630.
[4] Photograph of Edward Robinson’s pocket watch, Church History Museum,  230910-MUSM.
[5] Conway Sonne, Ships, Saints and Mariners, a Maritime Encyclopedia of Mormon Migration, 1830-1890, (Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, 1987) p 95-6.
[6] John Wootten household, 1841 UK Census, Wolstanton parish, ED 6,folio 27, p 6, line 1.
[7] Richard Bennett, Susan Easton Black, and Donald Q. Cannon,  Nauvoo Legion in Illinois: a history of the Mormon militia, 1841-1846. (Norman, Oklahoma: Arthur H. Clark company, 2010) .
[8] Susan Easton Black, Harvey B. Black, and Brandon Plewe,  Property Transactions in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois and Surrounding Communities (1839-1858)  (Wilmington, Delaware: World Vital Records, Inc., 2006) Vol. 5, p 3314-6.
[9] Nauvoo Neighbor, 3 Sept 1945.
[10]  Old Nauvoo Burial Ground, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Nauvoo, Illinois: Nauvoo Restoration, 7 Oct 1989). Vol. 30, p 38.   
[11] Frank Esshom. Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah. (Salt Lake City, Utah: Western Epics, Inc., 1966). p 1137.
[12]Temple Records Index Bureau, Nauvoo Temple Endowment Register, 2 Feb 1846. P 266-7. typescript
[13] Typescript letter from Ann Robinson, Burlington, Iowa, 7 Jan 1848. In author’s possession
[14] Grave marker photograph, Old pioneer cemetery, American Fork, Utah.
[15] Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847-1868. Church History Library, Online, 2 May 2011.
[16] Map of Fort of American Fork, 1855 manuscript. Original at HBLL map collection, Provo, Utah.
[17] John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 21, 28 Nov 1879, p 115.  
[18] Susan Ward Easton Black, Membership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1987). Vol. 37,p 212-215.

Elder and Sister Evans