John Rowley and Sarah Wright Family Messenger


My father, Ralph Nephi Rowley, was born April 1, 1824, at Handley, North Staffordshire, England. My mother Mary Ann Thompson Rowley was born on July 14, 1925 at Glasgow, Scotland.

Father Ralph and mother Mary Ann were married at Glasgow, Scotland. Father Ralph died June 7, 1901, at Fillmore, Millard County, Utah.

Ralph Nephi Rowley’s father was John Rowley who was also born in Handley, North Staffordshire, England. He married Sarah Wright, my grandmother Rowley, who was my father’s mother. Grandfather John Rowley died at the age of 45 at Handley, North Staffordshire, England.

Ralph Rowley was born in 1766 at Handley, North Staffordshire, England. He was my great grandfather, my father’s grandfather.

My grandmother, Sarah Wright Rowley, was born at Handley, about the year 1785. She came to Utah with others of her family and remained about ten years and then she left the church and went back to England. I, George Arthur Rowley, the writer of these records, can remember my Grandmother Rowley well at Fillmore.

George Wright was my Grandmother Rowley’s father and my great grandfather. George Wright was born at Handley, North Staffordshire, England about the year 1765.

North Staffordshire, England for a long time had been, and I suppose still is, a big pottery center and a large portion of my ancestors were potters by trade or by professional occupation.

My father Ralph Nephi had a pottery in Fillmore, Utah. In the early days father discovered the sulphur beds at South Millard County, near Cove Fort. He hauled and sold sulphur to Brigham Young, on one occasion Brigham Young paid him a yoke of oxen for a load of sulphur.

Ralph Nephi Rowley and Mary Ann Thompson Rowley, his wife and three children called from Victoria Dock, England on February 11, 1852 on the ship “Ellen Maria” with Captain Whitmore in command. They were on the Atlantic Ocean seven weeks and three days. They landed at New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America and were transferred to a small river steamer sailing in the Mississippi River between New Orleans and St. Louis, took one week after a stop of two days at that city, they took another steamer, the “St. Ange”, for Kansas City, where arrived three days later. After a brief delay, owing to the lack of wagons, they started on their westward journey for Utah.

They joined and made the journey with the first company of the Perpetual Emigration Fund Company which started across the plains June 1, 1852 under the command of A. O. Smoot, Captain and Chris Layton, assistant Captain. They arrived in Salt Lake City on September 4, 1852 having been six months and three weeks on the journey.

They had plenty of Indian trouble. Father (Ralph Nephi) and brother John Thompson Rowley both fought Indians in one particular raiding party. These Indians came to Pahvant Valley with full intentions of massacring all the whites in Millard County. They landed at Corn Creek which was sometimes called Petersburg on account of Peter Robinson being so well known there. My folks then lived in Meadow. The Indians came in from the western part of Millard. That large company of Indians was met by the little tribe of Kanosh Indians but not in battle form but only as peacemakers and after a consultation which lasted about twelve hours, Kanosh won the Snake Indians went back to their home in Nevada.

Father, Ralph Nephi Rowley, prospected for clay to make earthenware and found many deposits which some day may prove very valuable. He found the pummy stone deposits and also volcanic glass which is the mother of pummy. He also found feldspar in goodly quantities. Pummy stone deposits were near the Twin Peaks and bordering on the Beaver River, north and east of the Black Rock Springs, which are in the South Millard County on the Union Pacific Railroad.

Back in the 1870’s a real man-killer by the name of James Hedges, held Black Rock as a range and lived there for some years.

My mother’s father was Hugh Thompson, born at Glasgow, Scotland and became a Scotland Yard Detective. During his early years he developed a love for a particular type of work, that of crime detection and remained with it even in his old age. He was baptized a Mormon in about 1842. Later he came to Utah.

My father Ralph and three friends in the building profession, following are their names:
Jackson Clothier, a good old drunk
Tarbuck, likewise a good old drunk
But neither of these two would ever get drunk on the job.

There was also Nicholas Paul (John Thompson Rowley’s father-in-law), who was a fine rock and bricklayer. For a period of twenty years theses four men built almost every house in Millard County, except on Deseret and Scipio and father Rowley and my Grandfather Thompson worked on the construction of the State House at Fillmore, the first Capital of Utah. He also worked on the Saint George Temple and on Cove Fort.

Father, Ralph Nephi, joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was set apart to go to Glasgow, Scotland. There he obtained a job in a pottery. After work he would preach on the streets with the other Elders. It was while engaged in this preaching, after his regular working hours that he met my mother and her parents. Later my Grandmother Thompson died. Grandfather Thompson came to Utah sometime after this; he died at Meadow in 1865 at the age of 85 years. He was buried in the cemetery at Fillmore, Utah.

Father Ralph was a builder with stone and brick. Being a builder of more than average ability, he built many houses in Millard County.

Brother, John Thompson Rowley and father Ralph Nephi Rowley constructed fifteen charcoal kilns north of Frisco, which is in Beaver County. The Horn Silver Mining and Smelting Company of Frisco bought the charcoal for many years, from father and my brother John.

An incident occurred while crossing the plains which I will relate here. A Mrs. Brock was lost and never found – she may have perished or the Indians may have captured her. Her fate was never learned.

My Grandmother Thompson’s maiden name was Mary Ann O’Brian. She was born at Glasgow, Scotland. She married Alexander Dunbar. They had a son whom they named Alexander Dunbar Jr. He was called to war, her husband, and had to leave his wife and child. Dunbar was killed in a Naval engagement which went into English history as the battle of Trafalgar in the war with France. Mrs. Dunbar became a widow and thereby received a pension.

I will here relate the story of the day Grandfather and Grandmother were married. Her pension was due and she received it but was notified by the government to return the pension money which she did.

I have heard the story told by my mother (Mary Ann Thompson). Hugh Thompson met Mrs. Mary Ann O’Brian Dunbar as a widow and married her taking Alexander, her son, as a stepson.

Alexander Dunbar was of course my mother’s half-brother. He grew into manhood and at about twenty years of age he died of a severe fever.

Grandfather and Grandmother Thompson had two daughters, the oldest named Elizabeth died and the youngest was named Mary Ann Thompson, my mother.

Elizabeth, my mother’s sister died sometime after Alexander Dunbar Jr. Her death happened about the year 1841 or 1842.

*May be edited for correct info if needed. Notifications will be posted if corrections are made


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