Margaret Griffiths

March 28, 1854 - February 12, 1945


Margaret Griffiths Pearce Biography

Contributed By Cathy Pearce Anderegg

LIFE HISTORY OF MARGARET PEARCE wife of the LATE DAVID PEARCE, SR. written by a daughter Rosetta Pearce Johnson 1937)

Margaret Pearce was born in Pengarnddu, South Wales on the 28th day of March, 1854. She was the daughter of John and Margaret Jones Griffiths and oldest child. Her father was a miner and worked in the coal mines. It was very hard work at that time as most of the work was done by hand. He did not have very good health but labored at all times to support his wife and family. Seven children were born to them in Wales. But four died before they came to America. Those coming were Margaret (my mother), Evan and Sarah Ann. Four more children were born to them at Lehi, Utah and two at Adamsville, Beaver County, Utah. Those whom I remember were Evan, Sarah Ann, John, Kate, Thomas Lewis. There are but four living now; Mother, John, Sarah Ann and Thomas Lewis. Mother's parents being very good people and religiously inclined were very much impressed with the L.D.S. missionaries who visited their home. So like many others who believed and had great faith in the teachings and Doctrines of the Elders they were soon baptized and became members of the L.D.S. Church. Shortly afterward they began to make preparations to gather to Zion. They soon sold or gave away all of their belongings that they could possibly get along without and packed the remaining articles and left their home on the 30th day of March, 1866. They had a short distance to go by bus. There they remained until the following day. They left Liverpool on the 1st day of April, 1866 by ship. The name of the ship on which they sailed was "Old John Bright". The captain of their company was Henry Chipman, now living at American Fork. (This was the last trip this ship ever made.) It was a long and tedious voyage of six weeks.

Grandmother was ill all the way over. But mother stood the voyage fine. She was just 12 years old and was always well and strong, so of course with her mother ill she had the responsibility of the two younger children, Sarah Ann being only one year old. After sailing some distance the ship sprung a leak and for some time there was a great deal of excitement and worry. We can imagine ourselves in such a predicament. But owing to the quick alertness of grandmother the trouble was solved. She quickly took a big pair of white wool blankets off her bed and gave to the captain to put into the hole through which the water was entering the boat. They then poured a big bucketful of tar over the blanket and that checked the flow of water. Each person who was able was given a bucket to help dip the water from the boat. So in a very short time everything was clear sailing once more. Mother has often told me how cheerful the entire group of people were. And a very devout, faith-loving and courageous family, or I must say families, they were; for including Grandfather and grandmother's family there was grandfather's sister and her husband, Evan Jones, and family, and grandmother's brother, John J. Jones and family. They came the entire distance together from Wales to Lehi.

At the end of six weeks, about June 12th, they landed safely and were ready to join others across the trackless plains. But to their disappointment there were no immigrants there to meet them so they had to wait there for three weeks. At first they were quite disappointed. But while they were waiting the people there learned that they were miners so they came to them and gave them work drilling wells. They were very glad to get this opportunity as it enabled them to get quite a sum of money to assist them on their journey west-ward. Let us imagine, if we can, how happy they must have been to take up their journey once more after being delayed so long. Three weeks must have seemed a long while to camp out and to know there were still days and weeks ahead. They surely must have been very brave and good. Grandfather was so very ill all the way across the plains that he had to ride. But Grandmother and mother walked all the way and took turns in carrying the baby (Sarah Ann), who, being only one year old was unable to walk at all. One of the drivers had his sweetheart along with him and she rode the entire distance while mothers with babes in their arms walked along with their little children by their side. One day two of the girls who had been walking every day got so tired they just refused to take another step. So they sat down in the road and would not move. The wagons rolled on for some distance before they discovered the girls really were not with them. They were quite concerned and had to send someone back for them. But the trip was not all sad and tedious; there were times when they had some very enjoyable moments while they rested and camped for the night, as there were some who were always full of life and would start a good jolly song or game to cheer them up and it would be no time before each of them would forget his troubles for the present and join in the fun. Then there were many trying occasions. Mother recalls the time the Indians caused so much trouble. They had camped for a short time and some of the boys at the age of 14 or 15 years of age thought they would go to the creek nearby for a swim. They had been gone but a few minutes when they heard a commotion among the horses and cattle. Looking up they saw some Indians driving them off (the cattle and horses). So they quickly ran to camp and notified the men, who began immediately to shoulder their guns and run after the Indians. They began firing as soon as possible; this frightened the Indians and they fled but not until many of their arrows had found their mark in the horses and cattle, wounding many and killing some. Some were saved as the arrow could be pulled out and the animal doctored. Others had to be killed but could be used for food if not too badly shot with arrows. Among these boys who gave the alarm were three whom most of us know well; B. H. Roberts, John G. Jones, and John E. Jones. This incident caused delay again as with the loss of several horses and oxen they had to use cows in their places; so of course they would have to stop oftener to let them rest as they were not as strong and could not go far at a time. Mother often tells of B. H. Roberts and what a brave boy he was. He was very poor at that time and walked bare-footed most of the way. But when the journey was nearing its end and a man died, so they took his shoes and gave them to the boy. Everyone felt so sorry for him as his feet were bleeding and very sore by this time. He was indeed grateful to get most any kind of shoes. After a long and tedious journey they arrived in Salt Lake City on the 16th day of October, six and one half months. How tired and worn they must have been. But the trip was not over with yet.

On arriving in Salt Lake their names were listed as usual and there were several men from Lehi and it was the custom for them to look at the names of the new immigrants, and seeing so many by the name of Jones and their names being Jones, they were than interested, so they invited them to their homes in Lehi. They accepted the invitation. Among these men from Lehi were Thomas R. Jones and Thomas R. Davis who had come to Utah two years previous, and were brothers-in-law to Grandfather Griffiths, having married his two sisters, both of whom died while crossing the plains. So it took very little persuasion for grandfather and his friends to go to Lehi. It took three more days to reach their final destination. People were very kind and considerate and helped them to get settled. At first they lived in little log houses as most people did at that time. In a short time Erastus Snow and his brother, William were called to go to Southern Utah--St. George--to assist in settlements down there. They were both polygamists and each had two women and lived in what was called large houses at that time. They each had two large rooms, room for each wife and family. So when they moved out, Grandfather moved his family into two rooms, and his sister and family took the other two rooms. Then they were quite comfortable. After they were settled and getting acquainted, Mother went to work for lots of the women as she was quite large and strong for her age. She was nearly 13 now. Then she lived with Abby Ellison most of her spare time and earned her clothes, etc. which helped her parents considerably. It also helped her in many ways as she learned to do lots of work which was very beneficial in later years. Whenever a herd of sheep would pass through the town the children were sent out to gather the wool that would be caught on the brush. She always did her share of this kind of work. This wool was then spun and corded by the women; and it was while she was living with Abby Ellison that mother learned to cord and spin. Mother also lived with and worked for a Mrs. Frank Moulan who was very well off. She always had plenty to get along with and when a meal was over with everything that was left over was thrown out. This extravagance, mother had never seen before and she hated to see it. So once she asked if she couldn't take a large piece of meat and other things home rather than throw it away as her folks hardly knew what meat was at that time. Mrs. Moulan gladly consented and told her she was welcome to do that at any time, because they wouldn't use it anyway. That, of course, helped greatly with grandfather's family. Wm. Snow's wife was very good to grandmother Griffiths too. Many times she gave her a large piece of tallow and loaned her the candle molds and taught her how to make candles. This was the only light they had at that time and the candles cost 25 cents each if one had to buy them. They had lots of good friends and every one seemed so willing to help each other. Mother has told me that one day grandmother was just wondering what she would have for supper when a dear old lady came in with a big bowl of something and said, "Sister Griffiths I brought you this", thinking grandmother would know what it was. Grandmother said, "Oh, thank you, that will be dandy soup for the children and all of us for supper." Then the lady laughed and said, "why, Sister Griffiths, don't you know what this is? It is soft soap." Well, grandmother was just as pleased anyway for that was a luxury in those days. But they had a good laugh about it. They also had a barrel of molasses given to them and after it had stood for a certain length of time it granulated. Poor grandmother felt terrible about it, not knowing it was supposed to do that, and she told her neighbors how badly she felt because her molasses had all gone to sand. After they had been in Lehi for some time, the soldiers who had been in echo Canyon fighting the Indians and keeping them from attacking the towns and villages, came home.

Among these brave stalwart men and boys was David Pearce, who met, loved and married my Mother. Mother was just a girl of fifteen years when married; but fully as capable of rearing a family and taking care of a home as any girl of twenty years is today. Mother and Father were married Jan. 6, 1869 in the Endowment House by Daniel H. Wells. To this union was born eight children; David, Margaret Ann, John, Jane, Richard, Elizabeth, Sarah Ellen & Mary Rozetta. Ann died when she was about eighteen months old. This was a terrible thing for them to endure. Richard died on the 24th of January, 1919 at Beaver of Influenza. He left a wife and six children. My parents were very happy together and father worked hard at anything any place where work was available to support his family. He worked a great deal on the Railroad that was being built at that time, and there was lots of work being done in Cottonwood Canyon where he spent weeks and months at a time. He would send his pay or bring it home, and mother always managed to save a portion of it for future use; never thought of spending it all carelessly. On April 9, 1870 their first child was born, a boy whom they called David after his father; then their happiness seemed complete. Two years later Margaret Ann of whom I have spoken was born and lived but eighteen months. This was very sad, of course, but they stood it bravely. Then on the 14th of May 1873, John was born, and of course another great rejoicing as usual. It was about two years after this in the Spring of 1875 that father made his first trip to the southern part of the state, Beaver County, to sell some produce and to look at some land that was for sale. He was very much interested as the land was very fertile and he could readily see that with lots of hard work and careful planning it could be made very productive. He immediately purchased several acres of land and at once returned to Lehi to break the news to mother and make preparations to return in time to get crops planted for the coming year. He quickly prepared a place for his family. Then about the first of June, 1875 they packed their belongings and moved to Adamsville, Beaver Co., Utah. It took about a week to make the trip at that time. They had just been there about a week when they received word that mother's father had died. Very sad news to receive so soon and it was made worse by the knowledge that she would be unable to attend the funeral as it would take so long to go, and she was not in a condition either for they were expecting the arrival of the stork soon again. It was on the 8th of August, 1875, Jane (now Jane Reese) was born. They were very happy in their new little home. And they worked so unitedly together. Four more children were born after this; Richard on July 11, 1877, Elizabeth--Feb. 20, 1879, Sarah Ellen--Feb. 9, 1881, and myself, Rosetta, Dec. 5, 1882. Father died on the 15th of June 1882, 5 months before I was born. He hurt his hand while bailing hay and blood poisoning set in and he died within a week. This was a great shock to mother, but she took it very well, and was very brave and dear as she has always been. And indeed it took a lot of courage with seven children to care for and the oldest but twelve years of age. But Dave had been taught to work and was able to do quite a good deal on the farm and by this time father had a great many acres of land, implements of all kinds, horses, harness, cows, etc. and nearly everything that was necessary to run a farm. He left enough money so that mother was able to hire a good deal of help too. Mother always insisted on paying for help. One thing she has always done--she has never accepted a cent of charity from anyone nor from County or State. Mother has worked very hard to rear her family, and her children did all they could to help her. She was always ready and willing to help her neighbors and friends also. There was never any sickness in any home in the community but what mother was always there to assist in any way. She and Sister Mary Ann Stewart brought dozens of babies to this world, as they were miles from a Doctor, and it would have taken hours to go for him and return. After the baby was delivered, mother would help at this home for ten or twelve mornings and take care of mother and babe and sometimes do lots of the house work. Most of the time this work was charity. Sometimes if the party concerned could afford it they would give her something for her labor but not very often. She never set a price. Day or night she was always ready to help. Whenever there was a death in the Ward, mother and Sister Elizabeth Reese (D. J. Reese's mother) were always on had to take care of the body and see that there was someone to remain with it while they went and bought material for the burial clothes; and then they would sometimes stay up most of that night sewing and making them, as it was impossible to buy anything ready made at that time. Not only did she do this kind of work but she also helped in the different organizations of the Ward. At the time father died, 1882, she was President of the Women's Mutual Association. Shortly after Mother and Father had moved to Adamsville, she was chosen First Counselor to Sarah Jones in the Relief Society at that time. She was President of Relief Society for twenty-six years in the Adamsville Ward and a very faithful president too. I can remember how she used to go from house to house doing good for all and gathering donations to help other people who were less fortunate. While she labored so diligently for others she never neglected her own family. She used to work any place and any time to get things to help us all. I well remember how she used to help Sister Stewart with sewing, washings, mending or anything she had to do. She would take me with her. It was about one and one half miles out of town, and we always had to walk there and back again after she had worked all day. Sometimes she would go two or three days a week and she would take produce or something of the kind for pay and carry that home. I never heard her complain.

She was so glad to be able to do this. This is the kind of life mother has lived--always doing good wherever she could. A wonderful mother, neighbor and friend she has always been and still is, and we all appreciate all she has done and is still doing for us. We all love and honor her and hope we will have her for years to come. She still lives in Adamsville, in the home she built after father died, and does most of her own work. At the time of my writing, she is still well and happy. She will be 83 years old March 28, 1937. She still resides at Adamsville, Beaver County, Utah, but she enjoys visiting with her children. Each year she spends most of the winter with me and my sister, Jane, here at Lake View, Utah. How we love to have her for she is so understanding, so contented with life, so kind and gentle to each of us at all times. We will always love her and we hope that we will be able to repay her in kindness and good deeds for the devotion and love she has shown us. She has twenty-five grand children and thirty-six great grandchildren living.

(From files of DUP Museum, Salt Lake City, Utah)

Margaret's Mother, Margaret Jones

Margaret's Father, John E. Griffiths


This page last updated on April 19, 2012 .