|Elizabeth Wells Owen
|Material for this history was gained from Chrissie B. Owen, wife of Herbert Owen, a son of Richard and Elizabeth Wells Owen. Minutes and
record books of the Worm Creek Branch and Glendale Ward were searched for information and were very helpful. Portions of this writing
have been adapted from a history of Richard Owen that was compiled by my mother Marie H. Owen. Thanks is expressed to Mr. and Mrs.
Milton H. Owen, my parents for much help in this assignment.
Compiled by Elizabeth Owen Anderton a great grand daughter.
|Elizabeth Wells was born 27 May 1854 at Norwood Green, Yorkshire, England, the daughter of Joshua Wells, born 23 May 1828 at Norwood
Green, the son of Jonas Wells chr. 17 Mar. 1792 at Bradford, Yorkshire, England. Her mother, Margaret Farrar was born 4 May 1833 at
Norwood Green, Yorkshire, England, the daughter of Nathaniel Farrar chr. 1 Dec 1793 at Lightcliffe, Yorkshire, England, the son of Joshua
Farrar and Mary Wood. Margaret's mother was Lydia Crowther chr. 9 June 1796 at Halifax, Yorkshire, England the daughter of Thomas
Crowther and Amy Shoesmith.
Elizabeth's sisters and brother are as follows: Sarah chr., 30 Apr. 1853, she died 3 May 1853. Next came Elizabeth, then Lydia born 11
Oct. 1856, married Edmund Hepworth,, she died 2 Nov. 1928. Grace was born 16 Feb. 1859, she married Titus Holmes and she died 11
Dec. 1937. Hannah was born 19 Feb. 1861 and died 2 May 1918, she married Thomas Ogden. Emily was born 2 May 1863, married to
Edmund Dugdale and died 14 June 1928. Ephriam, the only brother was born 2 Mar. 1865 and died 13 Oct. 1937, he married Cicely
Kershaw. Clara another sister was born 10 Apr. 1867, married Thomas Parkinson and died 8 Nov. 1951. Ellen the youngest child and a
daughter was born 31 Dec. 1869, she married James Christian Larsen and she died 1 Nov. 1946.
The parents of this family were converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in England and were baptized 12 June 1861.
Elizabeth was baptized at the age of 9 years on 10 Dec. 1864.
When she was young she learned to be frugal and to make the best of what she had. Her family was not a well to do family, thus had to
learn to do with what they had. Nothing more is known about her childhood and family life in England.
At church meetings was where she met Richard Owen, the man to be her lifes companion. She always let it be known that he didn't join the
Mormon Church to get her and she felt she had made a good choice. They were married 11 Nov. 1880. The marriage was held at St. Pauls
Church in Bradford, Yorkshire, England. She, Elizabeth Wells, age 26, a spinster and He, Richard Owen , age 29, bachelor and labourer,
were married by John T. Maguinness and the witness were James Thompson and John Goodchild.
The time came when they wanted to come to America to be with the body of the church. Ephriam is believed to have come to America first,
then their mother Margaret Farrar Wells Gledhill. Their mother had been widowed by this time and had married Aaron Gledhill. Margaret
brought the following children with her; Lydia, Hannah, Emily, Clara and Ellen. Grace stayed in England and Ephriam was already here.
It was easy for Elizabeth to save money. She and Richard saved money three different times to come to America, but each time they
were unable to come because of illness.
At the time they were preparing to leave England Thomas was a baby and a very ill child. Elizabeth was concerned that the child would die
on the ship and would have to be buried at sea. She received a blessing from the Elders and they told her the baby would not die while at
The ship landed in New York City on 13 August 1890, but because the Mormons were not allowed at that time to disembark in New York
they sailed on to Memphis Tennessee. Can you imagine going by boat with 4 young lads - Herbert age 9, Ernest age 8, Alma age 6 and
Fredrick age 4 and of course Thomas age 2. I would think Elizabeth and Richard had their hands full.
Richard wanted to go to Montana to work in the mines and Elizabeth wanted to go to Preston, Idaho to visit with her mother. Richard said,
"We don't have enough money." And Elizabeth said, "Yes we have'. She had been saving money that Richard was unaware of.
When they arrived in Preston it was August 22. They were met at the train by John Greaves. Richard asked him if he knew Ephriam
Wells. Mr. Greaves brought Eph to the depot and he took the family to the Gledhills. They made their home with them for two month in a
part dugout and part home built on top of a sandhill.
Elizabeth was shocked to find her mother living in a dugout in the side of a hill. She could remember her mothers beautiful home in England.
After they had been with the Gledhills seven days, little Thomas passed away and was buried on the sandhill west of the dugout. The burial
services were conducted by the Whitney Ward. The following day, because of the wind blowing the loose sand, the grave could no longer be
They liked the Preston area so well they decided to stay and not go on to Montana. They looked around for some time to purchase land.
Finally they chose 160 acres upon the divide, between Preston and Riverdale, which was known as the Jackass Pass. The land since has been
identified by the family as ‘on the flat'. They moved into a shack of sorts which was on the land. .It had one room downstairs and a leanto
on the north of the house and one room upstairs. (The loft) There was a door on the south and an entrance to the lean-to. During the
summer months cooking and washing was done in the "Shanty". The stables were to the north of the house. There were no battens on the
boards and really not much protection from the winter weather. At the time of Richard Jr.'s birth 17 Dec. 1891 the Relief Society came
and hung quilts along the walls for protection of the mother and new baby. During the winter the diapers were hung in the kitchen to dry and
would freeze stiff. Any water they used had to be hauled from two miles away.
This purchase of land was in Glendale, Idaho, which was a settlement north and east of Preston on Worm Creek. The 12 families residing in
Glendale near Worm Creek Canyon were organized as a the Glendale Ward on 1 Oct. 1893 with Austin F Merrill as Bishop.
The social activities of the time consisted mostly of square dances, which the people enjoyed very much.
The women in the community spent many social hours participating in quilting bees and sewing carpet rags. They also gathered wild fruit and
berries for winter food. It is noted that the quilts made were sold for $3.00 each.
Food for them was scarce. At one time some friends came to visit the Owens. And the next testimony meeting the man told of visiting a
family that had only a barrel of water and a sack of frozen potatoes. Food was sent to them from the Franklin Ward.
The two older boys were farmed out to several farmers to herd cows and pigs or whatever work thy were capable of doing for their keep and
sometimes food for the family. A cow was loaned to the family so they could have milk. Ernest pulled corn and received corn for pay.
Herbert worked at Merrills and one time carried some buttermilk home in a bucket in which Mrs. Merrill had so thoughtfully place a hunk of
butter. When he got to the end of the lane he called to his mother and held the bucket high so she could see what he had.
Elizabeth would fix fruit for the boys to eat and when they didn't eat it, it would show up the next day in a pie. The children were always
admonished to clean their plates.
Whenever bread was baked the boys would gather sagebrush for their mother to use to bake with.
George Edward was born 22 August 1895. When he was 13 months old, Ernest was working for John Larsen and rode one of the horses
home and tied it by the gate close to the house. Little George got to near the horse and was kicked in the head. He died a short time
after on 29 Sept. 1896.
The following is recorded of this young lads funeral:
Minutes of Funeral Services for George Edward Owen 1 Oct. 1896
Counselor George W. Hendrickson presided.
Opening song "Keep Not For Him That's Dead and Gone"
Opening prayer was given by W. A. Wagstaff
The song "Oh My Father" was sung
Speakers were: F. M. Crouch, James Larsen, George W. Hendrickson and Neils Nielsen
All spoke of the hopes we have of meeting our children again at the morning of the resurrection if we prove faithful. They exhorted Brother
and Sister Owen to acknowledge the hand of the Lord in their trouble and be comforted by the hope of a resurrection.
The closing song was "When First the Gospel Light of Truth"
Benediction was offered by Wilson Wheeler
It is told that Elizabeth cooked for and boarded Header crews. The header crews consisted of about 10 men who went ahead of the
threshing machines and cut the heads of grain, hauled, unloaded and stacked them in a thrashing yard. At one time Austin Hollingsworth was
the boss of the crew and when it came time to settle up with Elizabeth he brought her a large check given him by another farmer for his
labors with the hopes she couldn't give them the change necessary and wouldn't have to pay her at that time. To his surprise she went into
the bedroom and returned with the change.
Elizabeth and Richard bargained for a Singer sewing machine and when it was delivered to the house Elizabeth thought the price was too
high,. She argued with the man about the price and they finally told her she could have it for her price if she would let them stay at their
place a night or two on their way to Mink Creek to fish.
By now we have a pretty good outlook on what kind of woman Elizabeth Wells Owen was. She had brown hair and brown eyes she was fleshy
and stood five feet three inches tall. She had a mild disposition and was very quiet. A very neat person, she always kept her home and
herself very clean. She was a good cooks and an excellent seamstress.
One thing she liked was to go to the bakery in town and have a bun and some hot chocolate. For the children who visited her home they
remember she always had special mint candy for them.
Elizabeth's husband didn't like to start his day until 10 o'clock in the morning but Elizabeth would retire early with her children and would
arise early and have her breakfast with them.
In Fast and Testimony meeting on 9 July 1901 she said, "I have a testimony of the Gospel, and feel it my duty to attend my meetings. I
know if we do right and live the Gospel we will be able to overcome evil."
She was a member of the ward choir. On occasion she led the congregational singing in meetings. It is also recorded on other occasions that
Elizabeth sang solos. She was not ashamed of her testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
23 Oct. 1898, she was sustained as 2nd counselor in the Relief Society. She had a great concern for the sisters and she admonished them
to rise their families and fulfill the mission they were sent to do. To teach their children to be pure and to pray.
Elizabeth was sustained as Relief Society President of the Glendale Ward on 30 Mar. 1902, being set apart by Bishop Lars C. Larsen.
Serving as counselors were Sarah Dobbs and Anna Mary Wanner, another counselor she had was Sister Nelson. Sister Nelson moved away and
because of the death of Sister Dobbs, Elizabeth was without counselors for sometime before a reorganization. She was released from this
position 18 July 1906.
During her term as president she taught a course of study on cleanliness in the home. 10 February 1903 in a Relief Society meeting she
said, "We should teach our children to do good for evil and the Lord would come to our rescue when ever we are tempted." Up to this time
she had to encourage the women to do their duty and attend Relief Society, she stated at one time that Relief Society was for charitable
and benevolent purposes. On 4 Sept. 1904 in Fast Meeting she spoke of the trials that the gospel brings. She said that she thought that a
call should be made for a donation for an organ without going into debt. (Once again being very thrifty and concerned about debt) The ward
Relief Society organization was in debt when she became president. Through her efforts after a time the debt was eliminated.
One of the most interesting missions undertaken by Relief Society women of the church was that of "grain storing" of which she had a part.
They raised wheat, gleaned in the fields and bought wheat with funds raised through the sale of quilts, carpets, rugs, cheese, jams and
Sunday eggs (eggs that were layed on Sunday). Sometimes they would follow the threshing machine with team and wagon to gather in the
wheat. They also solicited wheat from door to door. The time to use the grain arrived during World War I when in May 1918, the grain was
sold to the Government. Elizabeth and the sisters were very faithful in this project. The grainary used for this project was used for a
tithing grainary after their grain was sold.
At the age of 79, 11 April 1931, Elizabeth passed away and the following account is made of her funeral services:
Funeral services for the remains of Mrs. Elizabeth Wells Owen. Held in the Glendale Ward Chapel at 2 p.m. Wednesday 15 April 1931.
Conducted by Bishop Oleen A. Jensen. The choir sang, "Come, Come Ye Saints". The prayer was offered by Wm. H. Auger. The choir sang
"Resting Now from Care and Sorrow". The first speaker Brother L. C. Larsen, told about Sister Owen joining the Church in England when she
was nine yeas of age; and how they used to walk to and from choir practice after a hard day's work. The next speaker was Brother A. D.
Mortensen, he told what a peace loving couple Brother and Sister Owen were and what a strong testimony they had of the Gospel. Brother
Thomas Kershaw told about being a playmate of Brother Owen in the city of Bradford, Yorkshire, England. He also knew Sister Owen in
England. He spoke of the Key of Knowledge and Brother and Sister Owen had received that wonderful key. A song was sung by the Wheeler
Brothers, ‘Lay My Head Beneath a Rose". Brother Willard S. Fjeldsted, the 4th speaker said that his only wish was that he could associate
with Brother and Sister Owen in the place that God has prepared for us after death. In closing he bore his testimony to the truthfulness of
the Gospel. President, David G. Eames, the next speaker said that he hoped that the grandchildren in years to come would remember the
testimony of their grandparents and follow in the footsteps of these good people. Bishop Jensen in closing said that he had listened to Brother
Owen bear his testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel and he had also listened to Sister Owen tell of the trials they had while coming to
Preston. The closing song was sung by the choir "God Moves in Mysterious Way". Benediction was offered by Asa Webster.
Internment was made in the Preston Cemetery and the grave was dedicated by Brother Nahum B. Porter of Lewiston, Utah.
Pallbearers were grandons: Vincent R. Owen, Clarence L. Owen, Arnold P. Owen, Tafton C. Owen, Lavon R. Owen, Donald A. Owen.