Saturday, February 26, 2011

James and Mary Mead Rex Clucas. Part 5.

The William and Mary Mead Rex [Clucas] history is continued from here.

Mary Mead Rex was married to James Clucas in St. Louis the following year, December 28, 1853. Family records indicate their marriage was performed by Mormon Elders; Samuel James Lees and Brigham H. Young.

The James Clucas family had immigrated from England in 1849, a year earlier than the William Rex family. The Clucas family also sailed from Liverpool, England on the James Pennell (departed England September 1, 1849 – arrived New Orleans October 22, 1849).

Mormon Immigration Index Passenger List
James Pennell (September 1849)

Clucas, James, [born] 1823
Clucas, Ann, [born] 1827
Clucas, Elizabeth A., [born] 1847

"We had a good violinist and accordion player on board, and also a number of good singers, and every night before or after prayers, we have a very enjoyable time. The evening after we had passed the equinoctial line. The captain in order to keep the ship upright on an even keel, to have a good dance, ran her about fifty miles off her course. The enjoyment derived there from being well worth the time. Sailors and passengers having a most enjoyable time. During the voyage there were only three causes for sorrow, or fear. Two of which were caused by the death of two babies who were sick when they came on board, and the third case was a storm in the Gulf of Mexico, by which we lost our mizzen top mast. "-- Gardner, Frederic, A Mormon Rebel: The Life and Travels of Frederick Gardiner, ed. And introduced by Hugh Garner (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Library, 1993) pp. 10-13, 53-54. (HDL)

The James Clucas family was living in St. Louis when the William Rex family arrived there in 1851.

In 1860 James and Mary Mead Rex Clucas household consisted of fifteen people, from three families. Mary Mead Clucus was born to James and Mary on November 11, 1854.

James Clucas died from dysentery on December 23, 1864.
"As the boys grew older they went away from home seeking more lucrative employment. Thomas, the eldest, joined up with a surveying crew which took him over much of the territory, even into Wyoming. William went onto a farm in Illinois and it was from there that he enlisted in the union Army. Alfred G. also enlisted in the Union Army for the duration of the Civil War." -- The Rex Family,” Edna B. Rex, Our Pioneer Heritage, V5, Kate B. Carter, 1962, pgs 498-500.
"Alfred G. also enlisted in the Union Army for the duration of the war. He was a drummer boy and William played the flute." --Rex Family History, pg 16.
[note:] Family stories preserved the fact that Mary's sons enlisted in the service while they were too young. Their mother went to camp to retrieve one of them and took him home with her. He purportedly left home again, and returned to the war. I couldn't find any documentation on Alfred's service.

To all whom it may concern.
William Rex, a private of Captain Edward C Dew, Company B,145 Regiment of Ill. Infantry Volunteers who was enrolled on the 21st day of May, 1864 to serve 100 days is hereby Discharged from the service of the United States, this 23rd day of Sept, 1864, at
Camp Butler by reason of Expiration of term of Service. Said William Rex was born in the State of England, is 19 years of age, 5 feet 5 inches high, leight [sic] complexion, Hazel eyes, leight [sic] hair, and by occupation, when enrolled, a farmer. Given at Camp Butler Ill this 23rd day of Sept 1864
/s/ D [illegible] Montgomry, 1st Lieut, 17th U.S. Infantry
Edward C. Deu, Mustering Officer, Capt Cornd”g Co.--
This certificate is from my mother's collection, and a copy of it is in the Rex Family History Book

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

William and Mary Mead Rex. Part 4. In St. Louis, Missouri.

Continued from Part 3 here.

Passenger James Sherlock Cantwell wrote that on November 23rd they arranged for passage on the steamer “Pontiac” No. 2 [Pontiac seems more likely than steamer Poufine No 2 as named in the earlier post], with Captain Warden, to transport them up the Mississippi River to St. Louis, Missouri. The James Pennell passengers “arrived in St. Louis at about 7 o’clock p.m.” on December 3, 1850.

According to passenger Sarah B. Layton’s account, “It was a cold, rainy day when we landed; we knew no one, and no one seemed to know us. We were as pilgrims in the promised land, without home or shelter.” Brother Cutler’s account details his search for housing, and the ill health he suffered.

Where the Rex family found housing upon their arrival in St. Louis, is unknown. The family’s history claims that William, “who was a baker in his native land, established himself in that business and did very well.”

Their little girl, Florence Celeste, died on July 20, 1851, six months after they arrived in St. Louis.

Passenger Sarah Layton was plagued by an illness in July of 1851 that she described in her autobiography, “One very hot day in July, as I was about to eat my dinner, I began shaking violently, and did not know what was the matter. Soon a fever developed, and I then realized that I had chills and fever. Every day I would have a spell until I became very weak. Many a night I never closed my eyes. One time I felt a little better and was left alone to do some work while Sister Layton was away to see her father, who was sick. I got a pan and went to get some flour from the barrel, and that was the last that I knew that day. When Brother and Sister Layton returned they found me in an unconscious condition, and everything just as they had left it in the morning. I had torn my clothing into strings and pulled my hair, but knew nothing of it. I had the best of care that could be had, but could get no relief as long as I lived in St. Louis.” --from “Autobiography of Sarah B. Layton,” Woman’s Exponent 29:18-19 (February 15 and March 1, 1901) pp. 86-87.

William Rex, husband and father, died the following Spring on April 4, 1852, from a “serious malady.” A few weeks later Mary gave birth to their seventh child, Willard. On June 17, 1853 Willard died, age 1 year, 1 month, and 2 days.

Mary attempted to carry on her deceased husband’s baking business. Her lack of experience forced her to sell the business and find other work to support her family. She did nursing and was considered gifted in the care of the sick.

Her boys, Thomas, William, Charles, and Alfred were resourceful and tried every available means to help support their mother. They swam the Mississippi River and gathered drift wood for fuel, selling the excess. “They did errands of all kinds. At one time William [my great grandfather 1844-1927] and Alfred had a contract as lamp lighters for the City of St. Louis. William used to say that the poem The Old Lamp Lighter [by Robert Louis Stephenson, 1850–1894] was a story of what they did. He often told of how they went about the streets with a torch and ladder to light the gas lamps.” There is a nice sketch and information about early lamplighters like Mary’s boys here.

The Old Lamp Lighter
My tea is nearly ready and the sun has left the sky;
It’s time to take the window to see Leerie going by;
For every night at teatime and before you take your seat,
With lantern and with ladder he comes posting up the street.

Now Tom would be a driver and Maria go to sea,
And my papa’s a banker and as rich as he can be;
But I, when I am stronger and can choose what I’m to do,
O Leerie, I’ll go round at night and light the lamps with you!

For we are very lucky, with a lamp before the door,
And Leerie stops to light it as he lights so many more;
And O! before you hurry by with ladder and with light;
O Leerie, see a little child and nod to him to-night!

(To be continued.)

Great granddaughters Winnie Rex Andrus and Flora Rex Lamborn traveled to St. Louis, Missouri in 1997. They visited the cemetery and located the gravesite of their great grandfather. Family members joined their effort to place this gravestone in the cemetery.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Aunt Flora (Flora Elizabeth Rex Lamborn) 1930-2011

About 1936 in Randolph Utah; l-r, Winnie Rex Andrus,
Glenn Frazier, Helen Rex Frazier, and Flora Elizabeth Rex Lamborn in front.
My dear Aunt Flora passed away on Saturday, February 12, 2011.
This is Flora at the P. H. Rex Family Reunion in Bryce Canyon, 2006.

“And ever has it been that love knows not its own depth
until the hour of separation.”—Kahlil Ghibran

Flora's funeral is in Randolph tomorrow, February 19th, and the obituary can be seen here.

At times it is difficult to believe that the harsh reality of death holds the promise of resurrection. President Gordon B. Hinckley wrote these words while attending the funeral service of a friend:
What is this thing that men call death,
This quiet passing in the night?
‘Tis not the end, but genesis
Of better worlds and greater light.

O God, touch Thou my aching heart,
And calm my troubled, haunting fears.
Let hope and faith, transcendent, pure,
Give strength and peace beyond my tears.

There is no death, but only change
With recompense for victory won’;
The gift of Him who loved all men,
The Son of God, the Holy One.

(Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley, 552)
Christ is risen! And because he lives, we shall live also.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

William and Mary Mead Rex. Part 3. Arrive at the Mississippi River.

View 1850 William Rex family immigrated on James Pennell in a larger map

William Rex is not mentioned again in the voyage accounts. Continued from here. On Friday, November 1, 1850, Brother Cutler wrote, “A great portion of the afternoon, we were running 10 knots an hour & sometimes 12.” He frequently logged the ship’s speed. From his account it appears that 10-12 knots was an ideal speed, but infrequently attained.

On Sunday, the 3rd [death 1 yr-old, A. Rogers]. The ship continued at the same speed, and “the sea was very heavy and frequently broke over the bulwarks in great quantities, which prevented us from having a meeting in the morning.” At 2 ½ p.m. they held a sacrament meeting and read a letter with good instructions relative to what course the Saints ought to pursue after arriving at Orleans. The captain and some of the crew attended this meeting and were very attentive.

By the 6th they were in the Gulf of Florida. At a meeting, Brother Cutler “informed them of many things which [they] would hear, relative to the authorities of the church, & endeavored to prepare their minds, to meet, & to reject all these false reports, & to keep a firm hold of the truth. Brother Layton made a few remarks by way of bearing testimony to what I had said.”

11th “The wind continues unfavorable, although there is but little of it; We tacked the ship, or changed course, several times, but the wind soon changed so as to be direct a head of us; & instead of our making any headway, we were carried back, as both wind, & the Gulf Stream were against us.”

The wind continued unfavorable on the 12th, but the weather was pleasant. A shark made an appearance around the ship, but evaded several hooks and various schemes to serve him up for dinner. “The night being very pleasant, we had a dance to give our passengers plenty of fresh air and a little good exercise. We have had two previously.” The next day the wind changed so as to be dead ahead, which made the officers crass, & many of the passengers very down hearted; some of the time it blew quite hard, & brought considerable rain. The following night, “we had a meeting between decks and brother Layton, Webb, and I occupied the time, in giving council and trying to cheer up the spirits of the Saints.”

On the 15th clouds gathered and rain began to fall in “perfect sheets” … between 4 & 5 a.m., “we were struck by a gale from the northeast which carried away our main mast, the main brace falling upon the house on deck, where Brother Layton, & wife, Sister Barns & Ashwell, & I were sleeping, but there being very strong timbers in the upper deck, they shielded us from harm, but it cracked the timbers so that we had not a shelter from the rain. It also carried away the mizzen mast, & the foretop sail yard, & top sail, & cracked the foremast in two places, one or two of the jibs were also carried away … the night (or morning) was extremely dark, & all the disaster took place in 10 short minutes, yet no one was hurt. The wind soon began [to] die away. But the sea rolled considerable, & our wreck of a ship rolled as though she was going down, all the passengers & cargo into the sea. When daylight made its appearance, a very unpleasant scene presented itself to our view.”

Passenger Sarah B. Layton wrote of this storm (which another passenger called a hurricane), “At the end of six weeks we were within one day’s sail of the Gulf of Mexico, and we retired about midnight, the stars shining as brightly as possible. But we were awakened soon after by the heavy roaring of the sea, and the sound of the sailors. Such thunder and lightning I had never heard or seen. In a short time the main mast was torn off and we drifted helplessly for eleven days, not knowing what our fate would be. But we were rescued and landed safely at St. Louis, December 4, thankful to our Heavenly Father for our deliverance from what seemed would be a watery grave.”

On November 20 a towboat pulled the Pannell up near the mouth of the Mississippi River, where they anchored for the night. The next morning a steamer took them into the river. When they "got over the barr," they were alongside of the “Joseph Badger” that left Liverpool two weeks after they had. On the 22nd they landed safely in Orleans, having been seven weeks and two days on their passage.

23 “This morning I went & engaged the Poufine No 2 Cabin fare $10 Deck $2. I then went to the custom house to do the same business & was detained until late in the afternoon. After 8 p.m. we had all our luggage on board the steamer & left port.” He wrote on the 25th that “some few of the company began to be effected by the bowel complaint.” Brother Cutler writes of passing Vicksburg and the mouth of the Arkansas River, and that “some of the sick are recovering & some few others are complaining.”

On Sunday Dec 1st 1850, They passed the mouth of the Ohio River and “by the request of a great number of the cabin passengers & the consent of the captain, I preached for a short time upon the first principles of the gospel. Many paid great attention & took great pains to learn what our true principles were & some received the most of them with gladness.

(To be continued.)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

William and Mary Mead Rex. Part 2. Voyage to America.

The 574 ton U.S. Ship James Pennell, was built at Pennelville (a part of Brunswick), Maine, in 1848 by Pennell Brothers. It was named after James Pennell, the third of the five brothers who constituted the firm. [1]

On October 1, 1850 the William Rex Family boarded the James Pennell at Liverpool, England, as part of the 254 souls traveling to America. The following information is from the Diary of William L. Cutler [2], unless otherwise indicated. I included the deaths he noted in brackets near the appropriate date. Their voyage was called “ordinary” in the Millennial Star account mentioned earlier. The William and Mary Mead Rex Family was part of this company, it is “extraordinary” to me.

According to an October 1, 1850 letter from Orson Pratt and Franklin D. Richards, Presidents in Great Britain & Ireland, Brother Cutler was appointed to preside over this company of Latter-day Saints sailing to New Orleans. Elders Christopher Layton and Henry Webb were called as his counselors.

At 7:00 a.m. on the 2nd the ship left the dock and went out into the Mersey River where it anchored throughout the day. An inspector and several Elders visited the ship “to take the last shake of the hand, and to bid us farewell until we should meet in the land of Zion.”

That night all assembled upon the quarter-deck and were read a letter of instructions which received universal sanction from the company. Following a comfortable night’s rest all were awakened at 4 a.m. by the tow boat fastening to the ship. The anchor was raised and they began their trip down the River Mersey. The next day, “The wind continues unfavorable yet the weather was very pleasant and we glided smoothly over the water.” The wind began to blow and the rain to fall on the 5th and “seasickness seized nearly all on board.”

On Sunday, the 6th [death-C. Meek], “after an almost restless night, we arose and found that the ship had had to contend with a severe headwind all night. The wind continued all day and a considerable part of the time it rained, and the sea frequently rolled over the bulwarks and we were compelled to have the hatches fastened down, which caused great suffering among our sick.” On the 7th "the storm continued through the night, and the morning presented a miserable and gloomy scene to our view and continued through the day. Nearly all our passengers were sick and not able to wait upon themselves or anyone else, and even the captain and mate were seasick. They said they had not experienced such a storm for three years. At sunset the storm began to abate.”
8th “The weather was a little more favorable and in the afternoon we ventured to open the hatchways to get a few of the passengers on deck.” The morning of the 9th “our hearts were cheered by a pleasant breeze and a clear sky and the restoration of the most of our sick and we passed quite a pleasant day upon the deck. At night we had a meeting for the purpose of making further arrangements relative to the organization of the company and to instruct and cheer the hearts of the Saints. Brothers [Christopher] Layton, [Heber] Webb and myself occupied the time.”
On Sunday the 13th they planned on having two meetings on the quarter-deck, but rain and showers “of which we have had more or less every day” prevented them from gathering there.

Sarah B. Layton, a passenger on the James Pannell, later wrote, “After I had been on the sea about two weeks I was taken down with a severe cold, and was so bad that I could hardly move. The captain told Brother Layton to take me out and put me in a chair on deck. This he did without telling me what it was for. But I soon found out, for I had not been there long before a great wave came in sight, and I sitting, there helpless and alone. I was fastened to the chair and the wave rolled over me and drenched me through. It made me angry, for I could not so much as change.”—from “Autobiography of Sarah B. Layton,” Woman’s Exponent 29:18-19 (February 15 and March 1, 1901) pp. 86-87.

The 19th counted two deaths: last night 2-yr old A. Ashwell and this afternoon, 29 yr-old E. Matthews.

Sunday the 20th the wind increased during the night, and the rain continued. On the 21st ”wind continued during the night and the sea became rougher than any since we started. Between 12 & 10 [sic] o’clock the wind had subsided so that we ventured to open the hatchways which was a great relief to our passengers who were very sick & had suffered much for the want of fresh air. We had a general cleaning out below and when night came they began to be quite cheerful. Also the sea became quite calm.”
The deck was dry for the first time in seventeen days was noted on the 22nd.

23 “We had a very pleasant day. At night we called 30 men of our company together, whom we had selected to act as watchmen for the remainder of the voyage. This was done because some were not willing to do that duty & they neglected it when they pretended to do it. The men whom we selected consented to act as watchmen & do what they were or should be instructed to do. One of our principal objects was to keep a few females in their proper place, after bed time & to prevent any person from going above or below deck unless they had special business."
Sunday, October 27 “Had a pleasant breeze and a fine day, being the first pleasant Sunday we have been favored with since we left Liverpool.” They held multiple meetings ... “I was so sick that I could not take any part in the service of the day; in fact I could not set [sic] up but a small portion of the time pain in my head, chest, & lungs. Those persons who have been so rebellious & caused us so much trouble, this day made a confession of their faults & promised to observe the regulations of the company & to obey our counsel for the future. This gave great satisfaction to all our company.”
28 “This day was very warm & but little wind, in fact I might say we had a calm. The first mate (Franklin Bartlet) caught a dolphin. The captain had it cooked & gave it to us to divide among the sick & aged. At 6 ½ p.m. we called a meeting when Brothers Layton & Webb addressed the company & gave them counsel upon various subjects, which was needed very much."
Brother Cutler wrote on the 31st that “At night we had a meeting between decks when Brother William Rex, Aldons and myself occupied the time."
(To be continued.)

1. William Arnstrong Fairburn, Merchant Sail (Center Lovell, Maine: Fairburn Marine Educational Foundation, [1945-55]), V.3303-3304.
2. Diary of William L. Cutler, James Pennell (October 1850), Mormon Immigration Index, Personal Accounts.
Photocopy of immigrants is something I copy 10-15 years ago from a long forgotten source.