A SHORT HISTORY AND TRIBUTE TO ETHEL MAY BECKETT, WIFE OF JOHN HENRY ROWLEY
Written by Luella Jones Downard, Historian
A funeral was held for Ethel May Beckett Rowley Bearsdall, at the Berg Mortuary Chapel, in Provo, Monday, June 1, 1958.
Ethel May Beckett was born Feb. 8, 1892, in Melbourne, Australia. Her parents were John and Ann Taylor Beckett. She was one of a family of 13 children. She lost both of her parents in death when she was only eight years old. She took turns living with her married sisters until she was old enough to work and support herself.
She was one of the first converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Melbourne. She and her family met a young Mormon Missionary, John Henry Rowley, who called on a mission to Australia from Spring Glen Wad, Carbon Stake. He was a son of John T. Rowley and Mary Jane Smith. Their friendship grew and John and Ethel became engaged to be married. He filled and honorable mission and was loved by all who knew him. He returned home and as soon as he could he sent for his sweetheart to come to meet him in Canada.
As a British subject, she could enter Canada but nit the United States until she was married to a citizen of the United States, thus becoming a citizen herself. Arrangements were made for a time and a place of meeting. John Henry was held up by Customs and there was a long delay on his passport. He was not able to keep the appointment. When he did not some as they had planned, she thought he must have changed his mind abour marrying her. When he finally did arrive she had obtained a job and was preparing to earn a return ticket to Australia. When their difficulties were finally settled, they were married in Vancouver, British Columbia, on the 5th of January 1914. She was then a citizen and they journeyed to Salt Lake City, where they were married for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake Temple.
They made their home in Spring Glen, Carbon, Utah. They were both very active in the Church. The following children were born to them: Ethel Jane Rowley, born 1 October 1914; Ruth Adelaide, 19 December 1916; John Henry, 19 February 1919; Cora May, 16 December 1923; John Henry’s father died 31 January 1925, and they decided to go on a trip back to Australia. Their last child, Reginald Charles Beckett Rowley, was born to them soon after their arrival in Australia.
Ethel’s family and friends were very glad to see them and two children,. They were very happy at first. Them times began to get hard for them. John Henry had a bad automobile accident and became very ill. He was in the hospital for months and months, where he finally died 14 August, 1928. He was alone and friendless and homeless in a country that was not his own. He longed with all his heart to return to his beloved country before his death.
After his death their circumstances became even worse and it was with great suffering and sacrifices that Ethel was able to provide and keep her family together. ?? the many hardships they all suffered were very hard to hear. When the girls became 14 years of age (which is the age children are allowed to work in Australia) they obtained work and were able to make things better for the little mother.
Ethel Jane married Russell Stewart Cabtree, 19 March 1938.
Ethel Jane and Ruth Adelaide came to Spring Glen in 1940 to see their old home and visit with their father people.
The war in Europe came and traveling from one country to another was curtailed. Ethel Jane was permitted to return to Australia because she had a husband there, but Ruth had to remain here. She lived for a while with relatives. She lived for about eighteen months before her marriage to Grant Gerber, 19 January 1943 with her cousin Luella Jones Downard, where she was loved and honored as a member of the family.
Twenty years after her husband’s death, Ethel May Beckett Rowley came back to Utah, with some of the family and lived in Provo. While living there, she met Willis Beardall, whom she married for time only, on March 9, 1950. They made their home at 631 East A Street, Provo. They lived happily together for a long time.
The last two years of her life were filled with sorrow, unhappiness and poor health. During this time she became divorced from her husband, Willis Beardall and went to live with her girls. Her health continued to become worse and when she had a heart attack and had to have constant hospital care, she was put in a rest home.
She passed away with her daughter Ruth lovingly caring for her at the rest home, on Thursday, May 20, 1958.
She had great determination and held her family together under almost impossible difficulties. She had a deep and abiding faith and a sure knowledge a that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is indeed the only true Church. She was returned to her husband, family and friends who had passed on before her. She was dearly loved and cherished by all who knew her.
She is survived by the following: sons: John Henry, Salem, Oregon; Reginald Charles Beckett Rowley, Annapolis, Maryland; three daughters: Mrs. Russell (Ethel Jane) Crabtree; Mrs. Grand (Ruth Adelaide) M. Gerber; Mrs. Lloyd (Cora May) Crabtree, Sale, Australia; Nine grandchildren; two sisters: Mrs. Emma Land, Mrs. Olive Diamond, Melbourne, Australia; one brother, Harry Beckett, Melbourne, Australia.