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Elizabeth Birch

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Elizabeth Birch
Born in Wootton, Kent, Englandmap
Wife of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Wife of — married before in Englandmap
Wife of — married in Folkestone, Kent, Englandmap
Wife of — married in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, USAmap
Died in Taylorsville, Salt Lake, Utah, USAmap
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Contents

Biography

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Note: Ancestral File Number:<AFN> 17PR-0T
Elizabeth Birch Fagg Swain Harker
April 4, 1830 - November 23, 1897
This history is very largely given as prepared by Sarah E. Squires Benion assisted by her sister Beatrice Squires Paulman, for the files of the Daughter of Utah Pioneers. The historical committee ofthe Harker Family is very grateful and appreciative of this kindness and cooperation in being given the privilege of using the sketch.
According to the records, Elizabeth Birch was born on April 4, 1830, in Wooton, Kent, England. Elizabeth's father was William Birch born July 7, 1793, died March 6, 1869, in Swingfield, England.
Her mother was Mary Rogers. Elizabeth was eighth of eleven children. She had three older brothers, William H., George Richard, and James. Following the boys were four sisters, older than Elizabeth, and three younger. These sisters were Harriet, Mary, Charlotte, Sarah, and later came Esther, Jemima Caroline, and Emily Ellen (after whom Elizabeth later named her own first girl.) Elizabeth?s later pictures still show her as a beautiful woman, with a sweet smile and warm eyes. We can only guess her beauty as a child and young woman.
William and Mary Birch, the parents of this large family, were devout members of the Church of England, the father being a deacon of the parish near his home, and very early in the lives of their children implanted in their hearts the principle of integrity, morality and right living as well as implicit belief in the Bible. In this way, they laid the foundation for lives of usefulness and of consistent and life-long devotion to duty as they knew it.
Her father was a deacon of the parish near their home. Elizabeth?s mother was educated, in part, when she lived for a time in the home of two maiden ladies who taught her to read and write. She loved to read from the Bible, and made sure her children were able to read it and followed its teachings. Mother Mary also was very knowledgeable in the use of herbs and berries and was called on to heal their neighbors when illness struck.
Sarah (Birch) Waters, three years older than Elizabeth, wrote in a sketch of her life the following: ?I was born in a small village known as Seisted, Parish of Wooten, Kent, England. When I was nine years of age, my father secured some land in the Parish of Swingfield where they built a small house. (According to family history, father William first homesteaded the land ?out in the commons?, and when it was put on the market he purchased it.)?
All of the children in the family worked wherever they could find it, according to Sarah. There was very little available in the way of formal education, so as soon as they were able, they began to work away from home When Elizabeth was old enough to look for employment, she went to live as a servant girl in the home of a well-to-do farmer. While working there, Elizabeth met John Fagg, one of the hands on the farm. They fell in love and Elizabeth soon was expecting her first child, a son. (We have not found pictures of this John, but their one and only child, John Birch Fagg, was a very handsome man from the pictures we have of him.) To this day, several generations of descendants believe that this union soon met tragedy when John left the farm to work on the railroad and was killed before his son was born. This may not have been true. According to Fern Silver (a Granddaughter), the truth of the story was not even known by their son until many years later. She wrote in an addendum to her history of John Birch Fagg that when he was on his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day saints in 1904-1904, he discovered that his father had not been killed, but was still alive and well! John had abandoned Elizabeth to have the baby alone, and left her penniless. Elizabeth was one day past nineteen years old, at John Birch Fagg?s birth. Records show that she delivered the baby in a house for the poor in Lyminge, parish of Elham, Kent, England, on the fifth of April, 1849.
Through diligent research of the Fagg ancestors by Ken Fagg, in 1979, it was discovered that John Fagg Sr., was the oldest son of Israel Fagg (chr. 12 July, 1794, Saltwood, Kent, England) and Hannah Birch(b. 1799, Elam, Kent, England.) He was born in 17 May 1818, in Elam, Kent, England, and his parents subsequently had three boys and two girls. If son John Birch Fagg found out his line of descent while on his mission, it was not recorded.
On top of the sorrowful marital problems, tragedy struck again in Elizabeth?s life when, on Christmas day of the same year, 1849, her mother died, leaving five of Elizabeth?s younger sisters still at home. Not only was her mother?s death a double blow to Elizabeth, but her responsibilities as a new mother were added upon in feeling partially that it was her duty to care for her younger sisters.
Nothing is found in family records of Elizabeth?s life between baby John?s birth and the marriage of Elizabeth to her second husband, Robert Henry Swain. We do know that they were married on March 11, 1852, in Folkstone, Kent, England, when baby John was only three years old. (One wonders at the relationship between Robert Swain and Elizabeth?s former mother-in-law Hanna Swain Fagg?) Elizabeth was twenty-two years old and Robert twenty.
Coincidentally, Robert?s parents were also named William and Mary. He was born in Alkham, Kent, England, March 19, 1832 to William and Mary (Fox) Swain.
According to a history written by a descendant, Scott Swain, the town of Alkam was a heavily wooded area, not suited to fruit trees, but the area around the town was well suited to sheep grazing and for planting barley. Robert?s father was a farm laborer, hired by one or more of the few large landholders to work on their farms by the day or week. Most farm laborers lived in small cottages in the towns surrounding these larger landholdings. Barley bread was the staple of their diet for the families of most farm workers of this time.
Taken from the Book "Heap Brave Woman" by Beverly Squires Muir
On April 4, 1830, Elizabeth Birch was born in Wooten, Kent, England, the eighth child of William and Mary (Rogers) Birch. She had three older brothers, William H., George Richard, and James. Following the boys were four sisters, older than Elizabeth, and three younger. These sisters were Harriet, Mary, Charlotte, Sarah, and later came Esther, Jemima Caroline, and Emily Ellen (after whom Elizabeth later named her own first girl.) Elizabeth?s later pictures still show her as a beautiful woman, with a sweet smile and warm eyes. We can only guess her beauty as a child and young woman.
Elizabeth had a righteous upbringing, as her parents were devout Church of England members. Her father was a deacon of the parish near their home. Elizabeth?s mother was educated, in part, when she lived for a time in the home of two maiden ladies who taught her to read and write. She loved to read from the Bible, and made sure her children were able to read it and followed its teachings. Mother Mary also was very knowledgeable in the use of herbs and berries and was called on to heal their neighbors when illness struck.
Sarah (Birch) Waters, three years older than Elizabeth, wrote in a sketch of her life the following: ?I was born in a small village known as Seisted, Parish of Wooten, Kent, England. When I was nine years of age, my father secured some land in the Parish of Swingfield where they built a small house. (According to family history, father William first homesteaded the land ?out in the commons?, and when it was put on the market he purchased it.)?
All of the children in the family worked wherever they could find it, according to Sarah. There was very little available in the way of formal education, so as soon as they were able, they began to work away from home When Elizabeth was old enough to look for employment, she went to live as a servant girl in the home of a well-to-do farmer. While working there, Elizabeth met John Fagg, one of the hands on the farm. They fell in love and Elizabeth soon was expecting her first child, a son. (We have not found pictures of this John, but their one and only child, John Birch Fagg, was a very handsome man from the pictures we have of him.) To this day, several generations of descendants believe that this union soon met tragedy when John left the farm to work on the railroad and was killed before his son was born. This may not have been true. According to Fern Silver (a Granddaughter), the truth of the story was not even known by their son until many years later. She wrote in an addendum to her history of John Birch Fagg that when he was on his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day saints in 1904-1904, he discovered that his father had not been killed, but was still alive and well! John had abandoned Elizabeth to have the baby alone, and left her penniless. Elizabeth was one day past nineteen years old, at John Birch Fagg?s birth. Records show that she delivered the baby in a house for the poor in Lyminge, parish of Elham, Kent, England, on the fifth of April, 1849.
Through diligent research of the Fagg ancestors by Ken Fagg, in 1979, it was discovered that John Fagg Sr., was the oldest son of Israel Fagg (chr. 12 July, 1794, Saltwood, Kent, England) and Hannah Birch(b. 1799, Elam, Kent, England.) He was born in 17 May 1818, in Elam, Kent, England, and his parents subsequently had three boys and two girls. If son John Birch Fagg found out his line of descent while on his mission, it was not recorded.
On top of the sorrowful marital problems, tragedy struck again in Elizabeth?s life when, on Christmas day of the same year, 1849, her mother died, leaving five of Elizabeth?s younger sisters still at home. Not only was her mother?s death a double blow to Elizabeth, but her responsibilities as a new mother were added upon in feeling partially that it was her duty to care for her younger sisters.
Nothing is found in family records of Elizabeth?s life between baby John?s birth and the marriage of Elizabeth to her second husband, Robert Henry Swain. We do know that they were married on March 11, 1852, in Folkstone, Kent, England, when baby John was only three years old. (One wonders at the relationship between Robert Swain and Elizabeth?s former mother-in-law Hanna Swain Fagg?) Elizabeth was twenty-two years old and Robert twenty.
Coincidentally, Robert?s parents were also named William and Mary. He was born in Alkham, Kent, England, March 19, 1832 to William and Mary (Fox) Swain.
According to a history written by a descendant, Scott Swain, the town of Alkam was a heavily wooded area, not suited to fruit trees, but the area around the town was well suited to sheep grazing and for planting barley. Robert?s father was a farm laborer, hired by one or more of the few large landholders to work on their farms by the day or week. Most farm laborers lived in small cottages in the towns surrounding these larger landholdings. Barley bread was the staple of their diet for the families of most farm workers of this time.
Schooling was scarce for the farm laborer?s children but Robert was apparently educated enough to be shown to be literate when he joined the Police Force in 1854. This was quite an accomplishment, because only about one-fourth of the population could read and write and half could do neither. How Robert?s childhood was spent is unknown to even his own children, but we do know that when he married Elizabeth in 1852, he was a member of the Folkston Police Force.
Robert was known as ?The Flower of Kent? because he was not only a tall(over six feet), large man, but he was said to have been a strikingly handsome young man in his policeman?s uniform with it?s high plumed bobby?s hat and brass buttoned uniform. To add to his image was the big dog that accompanied him on his beat. It is said, that he had the attention of the housemaids wherever he went along his beat. Thus the nickname, ?The Flower of Kent.? According to Folkstone Police Records, Robert was considered a ?Very sober and good duty man.? He served in the Folkstone, Ramsgate and Guildhall, Bradmuch, Divisions, and at one time was chosen to be a bodyguard to Queen Victoria. To add to his charm, Robert was very musical and led a band, never having taken music lesions. He also played roles in amateur theatricals. (This talent he passed on to his son, Mack Swain, who played in movies with actors like Wallace Beery, Maxine Normandy, Charlie Chaplin, and many others.)
Robert and Elizabeth?s first child was a tiny premature baby girl whom they named Emily Ellen, after Elizabeth?s youngest sister. Emily was born on October 10, 1852 at Folkstone, Kent, England. Elizabeth said her baby Emily was so tiny she could fit in a quarter cup, and her premature birth was cause for much care and attention.
Apparently, a policeman?s wages were not sufficient, so Robert and Elizabeth made shoes at home to help with the finances. Fine shoes were made by hand in those days. Elizabeth made the tops, trimming them with fancy colored stitching, and Robert made the soles and finished the shoes.
It seems that Robert was very versatile and adept at whatever he attempted. Mother remembered how he led a band in England, although he had never taken a music lesson in his life. She remembered, too, grandfather having a wonderful, big dog that was well-trained in police duty as a man and that used to accompany him on his beat. Grandfather was a man much larger than the average, and when these two walked the beat together it was a sight to intimidate the wrongdoer. His striking appearance won for him the title "The Flower of Kent, which caused him to be a little vain. The attention the housemaids on his beat gave him did not detract from his good opinion of himself either, and so at times, his arrogance was trying to Grandmother who was a very level-headed, practical woman. She was older than Robert, too; and no doubt his boyish pride seemed foolish to her.
Soon after Emily?s birth, the little family of four moved to Dover, Kent, England. Elizabeth?s sisters, Sarah, Esther and Harriet were living in Dover at this time, and the three (and Harriet?s husband) had joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, ?Mormons?. Elizabeth?s sister Sarah said that, ?In the summer of 1851, the Gospel was preached to me by my eldest sister?s husband, Henry Goodsell. I was rather obstinate at first but began to search the scriptures. I was so closely watched that I had to keep my books and papers locked up and I received no small amount of insult from the other servants. I therefore concluded to leave my place of employment and go to stay with my eldest sister (Harriet) who was living in Dover, where I could get baptized and learn more of the principles of the Gospel, as there was a branch there.? Elizabeth?s sister Esther, was converted to the Gospel after a bad case of frostbite when some Mormon missionaries were called by her sisters, Harriet and Sarah, to administer to her. After being saved from amputation, she was open to listening to her sisters? preaching of the Gospel and was converted and baptized in November of 1851. It was through the influence of this part of her family that Elizabeth and Robert found the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and were baptized May 15, 1853.
Elizabeth and her sisters were very close and when, in November of 1851 her sisters, Sarah and Harriet, and husband and family, left Dover for Utah, it was a hard time for Elizabeth and Esther. Then in just two years, in the spring of 1855, Esther left for Utah also, leaving Elizabeth alone with her little family in Dover.
Another little girl jointed the family on March 27, 1855. She was named Martha Elizabeth Swain. John Birch was baptized June 1860, Emily Ellen was baptized June 3, 1862, and Martha Elizabeth May 17, 1863
Granddaughter, Beatrice Squires Poelman, wrote that when her mother, Emily, was about six, her parents separated by mutual consent. There were indications that Robert may have become a little vain with all the attention given him by the local housemaids, and/or that Elizabeth may have become a bit jealous. However, this wasn?t their only cause of contention. Elizabeth was a good cook, and often the missionaries conveniently arrived on their doorstep around mealtime. To Emily, a small child, it was not clear whether her father resented the money spent for feeding the elders, or whether he resented that it often happened the elders came for dinner when he was on duty, or both. Emily said that on one occasion her father returned home from his beat and in anger hit her mother with a rolled up waterproof cape he was carrying. Elizabeth retaliated by saying that she could get along very well without a man who struck her and that father Robert took her at her word. It would appear that these frequent and varied arguments took their toll. The separation was final, and Elizabeth was so angered that she three her wedding ring in the nearby sea as a final gesture. Mother remembered her mother throwing her wedding ring into the sea, and she could never understand such recklessness until she was a grown woman.
Two years prior to the separation, Robert was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for ?Unrighteous conduct.? Exactly what action brought this about was never passed on to their descendants, but undoubtedly this was a partial cause for the breaking apart of this marriage. In tribute to Robert, he remained faithful to his beliefs, eventually was reinstated into the church by the time he married again in Utah.
Elizabeth retained custody and full support of the children after the separation. She took a position as a cook in the local hotel, the Antrope, to support herself and her three children. As there was no one to care for her children, Elizabeth would prepare their meals for the day and leave them on the kitchen table and they fended for themselves. As most working mothers, her evenings were spent in washing, ironing and household chores. She made bread puddings as part of her duties at the hotel, and her children remembered how she would sometimes bring some of the delicious steaming-hot pudding to them in the evenings.
Part of the time after the separation, the little family lived in rooms above the Mormon chapel where Elizabeth did janitorial work for their rent, on top of her day job at the hotel. Emily was employed by a family as a nanny to their baby, and told frightening tales of how, in the innocence of youth, she used to push the pram with the baby on a pathway that ran along the cliffs overlooking the sea. She said she would give the pram a shove, then run along the path to catch up, never thinking of the consequences if she didn?t reach it in time!
John helped out too, by working for one of Elizabeth?s brothers who was a fisherman. Young John would help sort the fish, and was allowed to take home some of the bruised ones. This added to the support of the fatherless family also.
While they lived in the rooms above the Mormon chapel, Elizabeth?s father, now getting along in age, came to live with them. He was unable to work because of rheumatism, but looked out for the children when needed. The children remember that he could be a little stern, because when they irritated him he would rap them on the head saying, ?Dattle, you little Vixen!? By this, time Grandfather had deeded his farm, the ?Springfield Mines?, to another of his children, (probably William H. if the custom of inheritance was followed, but this is not really known).
The next few years began dramatic separation for what remained of the family. Through the busy future years ahead, some saw each other and some even lived in the same town, but the family was never as it had been in the early days in Dover.
Elizabeth wanted very much to follow her sisters to Utah, so she began to put aside whatever she could to buy tickets for the ship that could take her and her children to ?Zion?. She had saved only a small amount when she found out that some new converts (the Kirby?s) were going to travel with some returning missionaries and that she could send Emily, now ten and a half, for half price. She was told Emily could accompany them, and that she could stay at Elizabeth?s sister, Sarah (Birch) Waters home in Springville, Utah, until Elizabeth could save enough money to buy tickets for herself, John and Martha. Little did she know that it would be five years before she could follow. It is said that she must have had great faith that all would be well with Emily. Had she known what was ahead for her small daughter, she might not have been so trusting.
Elizabeth finally immigrated to Utah in the year 1868, five years after her daughter Emily arrived and three years after her former husband Robert arrived. John Bennion, Elizabeth's brother in law, loaned John Birch money $130.00 to send for his mother and sister. John Birch Fagg had also left England and had arrived in Utah two years before (1866). John was 17 years old when he left, and it is not know whether he traveled with companions or alone. He also received money from John Bennion, Elizabeth?s sisters husband to come to America.
Elizabeth and Martha Elizabeth Swain sailed on the ?Constitution? in the spring of 1868. Traveled by railroad to Benton, Wyoming where she joined the John Gillespie Company. Elizabeth is listed those traveled with this company as ? Swaine or Swayne, Elizabeth age 37, her daughter Martha Elizabeth as Swaine or Swayne Elizabeth age 12 ?. They departed 23-24 of August 1868
A narrative of the John Gillespie Company 1868 follow: ?John Gillespie captained a company of emigrants comprised of about 500 people in 54 wagons. Gillespie, who was from Tooele, left Salt Lake on June 18 with a contingent of out-and-back teamsters to assist the emigrants. They reached the end-of-track terminus at Benton, Wyoming, before late July. Most of the emigrants who joined his company had crossed the Atlantic Ocean on the ship Constitution. (We know that Elizabeth & daughter were on this ship) That ship reached New York on August 6, and the emigrants left the next day on the Hudson River Railroad for the West. They traveled on trains (including cattle cars on some stretches of track) through Albany, New York, crossing into Canada and past Niagara Falls, Detroit, Chicago, and arriving in Omaha, Nebraska on August 13. They reached Benton on August 16 and found Gillespie?s teamsters and wagons waiting for them. The company?s departure was delayed waiting for luggage, so they left Benton on August 24. Some of the wagons traveling with company carried merchandise and freight destined for stores in Salt Lake City. They traveled in a northwesterly direction from Benton through Whiskey Gap and northward from there until they reached the Sweetwater River and joined the old emigrant road 10 miles west of Devil?s Gate. Upon reaching Echo Canyon, many of the men left the company to work on the railroad. A portion of the company traveled ahead and arrived in Salt Lake September 3. The majority of the company entered the valley via Parley?s Canyon and arrived in Salt Lake on September 15. There were 6 deaths?
. The excitement and anticipation that Elizabeth felt can only be imagined. Not only would she be reunited with her daughter Emily who had left home so young, and her son John, but she would see her beloved sisters again soon! When she arrived in Salt Lake, she learned that Emily had married. When she was told that Emily had not only married but had married a man older than her own father, she was not too happy about it, to say the least! Her joy at reuniting with Emily had been dealt a blow.
One of the first things Elizabeth did was to find her sister Sarah, who was married to John Bennion and was living in Taylorville, Utah. Next door to the Bennion home was the home of Joseph Harker. Joseph had previously been married twice, first to Susannah Sneath while still in England, and Eliza Smith Spencer in Utah. A falling out had occurred with this second wife between 1861 and 1862, so that at the time Elizabeth met Joseph only one wife was living with him. ( Joseph and Eliza reconciled in 1887). Joseph had several children at the time. The practice of polygamy was still being practiced, and Joseph asked Elizabeth to be his wife soon after they met. They were married on December 21, 1868. (Elizabeth?s three children were sealed to them, said to have been a bone of contention with John in later years).
For the first year or two, Elizabeth must have lived in the Harker home there in Taylorville. In 1872 Joseph Harker recorded ?I bought a house and claim and moved my Elizabeth out in April to Rush Valley and I fenced a field and commenced farming. Rush Valley was west of the Jordan River Joseph had settled there when he came to Utah, but had to leave because of the threat from Indians. Now he apparently felt it was safer and wanted Elizabeth to live near his sheep farm there. Her duties included feeding and taking care of Joseph?s sons as they went to the ranch to care for the sheep. A hot meal or a bath, was always welcome to the boys and they brought Aunt Elizabeth their mending, their buttons to be sewed on and other little problems. Benjamin?s history refers to him having lived at ?Aunt Elizabeth?s house?. Also Heber Harker married, he moved out to Rush Valley and lived near his stepmother.
Joseph Harker remained with the rest of his family in Taylorville, where he was one of the more prominent men of the area. The Harker history tells the complete details of Joseph and his family (and descendants). And is well worth reading for it? early Church history alone. For our own history of Elizabeth, Joseph?s story is only mentioned briefly for background, to inform the reader of what kind of man Joseph was.
At the time of their marriage Elizabeth was thirty-eight, a little late for childbearing. We know from her past history, and the one that follows, that she was very independent, determined, woman. After over two years of living in Joseph Harker?s home in Taylorville, perhaps she welcomed the opportunity to move to the solitude of the new home in Rush Valley.
We continue the rest of what we know about Elizabeth from two sources. In the Harker history of 1951, Sarah Squires Bennion and her sister Beatrice Squires Poelman at attributed for the four-page insert about Elizabeth and her family in 1971, which is identical to the one in the Harker book, with a few additions. Therefore, for the remainder of our story, the latter account is used in it?s entirely, only changed to make the relationships less confusing to the reader. Beatrice notes at the end of her account that she never met her grandmother, but had recorded what she knew from siblings of Elizabeth and from other older members of the family who knew her.
Rush Valley was hardly a spot to cause the traveler to pause and wish he might linger indefinitely, so it takes little imagination to picture its uninviting desolation in pioneer days, a place almost terrifying in its loneliness to any but the undaunted spirit. Friends and loved ones advised Elizabeth against the move as neighbors were few and, for the most part, there were no ?menfolk? to help her make a home in the desert. She closed her ears to the warnings, however, for she desired to be independent and to have a home of her own, even though it was only a little log cabin.
In this log cabin in Rush Valley Elizabeth was almost entirely self-supporting. Although she had been a cook previously, and had no training as a nurse other than what she had learned from her mother, she was set apart by Brigham Young to be a mid-wife. She was known as ?Aunt Elizabeth? to the many babies she brought into the world. The blessing given to her by President Young was fulfilled, and she took care of many mothers without losing one. She would deliver the mothers, and nurse them as well, for the small sun of $7.00. If necessary she would do it for gratis.
Another source of her income was in raising baby lambs, which would be given her by sheepherders for whom she would bake bread or do some laundry on occasion. These men would pass through only once in awhile and then for days at a time Elizabeth would be alone.
Such a life would have been impossible for a timid woman; for it was not uncommon in those days to discover a snake curled under one?s doorstep or finds a cow pen in possession of a skunk and her brood. But Elizabeth felt herself equal to any such situation when she was armed with her spade. This weapon of defense she kept sharpened to such an edge that a well-aimed jab with it would sever a rattler?s head. One time the cries of her chickens called her into her yard just in time to see a huge eagle clumsily trying to leave the ground with on of her hens clutched in his claws. A quick blow to the side of the bird?s head brought it stunned to the ground. Then a jab with the spade cut off its head and thus Elizabeth was able to rescue her chicken. For many years she used to brush off the top of her stove with one wing of this bird. The other wing Elizabeth gave to an Indian brave who admired her courage so much that he desired this token in remembrance of her. The curly white feathers found in the tail adorned the hats of her grandchildren. It is said that this bird was one of the largest eagles killed in this region.
Wild animals weren't the only danger existing at this time either. The Indians were not too friendly and some of the rough characters found to be in this frontier were as terrifying as the Indians. Elizabeth?s sister Esther Bennion had lived with her family at Rush Valley from 1864 to 1867 but had left because of danger from roving tribes of Indians. When Esther cautioned Elizabeth about these dangers as she was preparing to move to Rush Valley in 1872, she only laughed and said that when she was armed with an umbrella and a bottle of fruit she felt that she was a match for any of them. During the years she lived alone, she was not called upon to use her weapons, however.
No doubt this security was won by the courage she displayed shortly after she went to live in Rush Valley. One day as she was skimming milk in her milk house the sunlight was suddenly shut out. Glancing up to see the cause, she discovered a large Indian filling the doorway and watching her movements with immobile face. Nothing daunted, she put down her spoon and came toward him inquiring his wants. As he stepped aside to allow her to come through the door she saw another Indian sitting on a horse outside. From him she learned they had come for bread and when Elizabeth shook her head and said,?No bread. I have no bread,? the Indian astride the horse looked at her and said ?You lie.? Quick as a flash Elizabeth caught the Indian by the arm and with an unexpected jerk unseated him, much to his surprise. There upon Elizabeth let him understand that no person could call her a liar and have her take it, and explained to him she was out of bread at the moment but was expecting some sheepherders to bring her some flour shortly. She promised the Indians that if they would return when the sun was in the west she could give them bread. They seemed to be convinced and as the brave went to mount his horse again he rewarded Elizabeth with a sudden smile and remarked, ?Heap Brave Squaw.? They returned at sundown in a friendlier mood and received a hot batch of bread as she had promised. From then on the Indians who came into the community held Elizabeth in deep respect and brought her wild game.
During the first few years that Elizabeth lived in Rush Valley there were many times that she did not see another person for days on end.
But in 1876 the Bennions returned to Rush valley and Esther and Elizabeth could enjoy once more the companionship that had always been so dear to them. In a letter to Elizabeth?s daughter Emily dated April 8, 1877, Esther wrote: ?Last Wednesday being your mother?s birthday, I thought I would spend it with her. So just at dusk Tuesday evening I took my three youngest children and walked over and staid (etc) till the next night. And a merry time we had. We wish you could have been with us.?
Also, when Joseph?s son Heber was married June 28, 1878, he moved out to Rush Valley near Elizabeth, so these young folks were company for her, as were some of the Harker boys who would live in the house nearby when they took care of the family sheep or the leased herds.
However, in the 1880 a serious fire occurred on the Harker property. Elizabeth was away from home but had left Dora Durant to care for the house. Heber and his wife were also away from home. The children left in their home opened a can of gunpowder and scatter it in a line from the shed toward the house, and then set fire to it. Everything on the ranch was destroyed and the Durant girl was so badly burned she died a short time later. Elizabeth and Heber?s family lost all their personal possessions and household furnishings, as well as their homes and farm buildings. No doubt this fire caused the abandonment of the Harker Ranch, as we have no record of the Harker family at Rush Valley thereafter.
Upon Elizabeth?s return to Taylorville, Joseph built her a small brick home near the John Bennion homes on what is now 4800 South. This home still stands (1971), although it was recently remodeled.
During her lifetime, opportunity for schooling was indeed limited. Only those of considerable wealth could afford private teachers, and there being no public schools, she, like many others, had to shift for herself. This she did, and learned to read and write intelligently making her life interesting and pleasurable to herself and all others with whom she came in contact.
Elizabeth continued her work as a practical nurse and mid-wife and became closely associated with Dr. Wiley Ferrebe, a capable and genial physician, who served the entire county. She also constantly administered comfort and medical assistance in the homes of the Harker family. This intimate association with the ever increasing number of Harker children won her their love and appreciation.
Elizabeth?s own grandchildren were welcome at her home and when sickness broke out among them she would take the well ones into her home so they would not be exposed; or she would help nurse the convalescents back to health, whichever was the more convenient arrangement. A stay with her was an event not to be forgotten. Emily?s daughter Minnie, a frequent visitor as a child at her grandmother Elizabeth?s told of the pains grandmother Elizabeth took to make attractive dishes to tempt the lagging appetite of a convalescing child. One time a small decorated pat of freshly churned butter was placed in easy reach of a toddler just recovering from the whooping cough. The little tastes of butter the child occasionally would dip up with her fingers seemed just the thing to settle her weakened stomach and start her back on the road to robust health. And the pending arrival of a baby to one of her children or to a grandchild brought Elizabeth post haste to the home to lend a helping hand. (There are several entries in John Squires? journals when Elizabeth was called on to minister to Emily?s sick children, and after the birth of Emily?s fourth child she was needed at their home for over a month until Emily was well again. In another journal entry of July 1887, upon his return form exile to Mexico, John Squires wrote: ?Arrived at the Franklin Station (near Murray) and walked to Emily?s mother?s house. I found Minnie, Sarah, Laura and little Nephi there, to the joy and agreeable surprise of their father who had not seen them in over 15 months. I stayed until 4:30 pm, then started on foot for Salt Lake, a distance of 9 miles.? He then explains that young Reuben had diphtheria and that these other children were staying with Grandma Harker to avoid being contaminated.)
Beatrice Squires Poelman said that at the death of her sister Minnie, she found a slip of paper on which she had written: ?Grandmother never changed her style of dress. Her house dresses and best ?go-to-meeting? dresses were cut by the same cloth pattern; plain four gored skirt, basque (a plain princess type jacket buttoned up the front), plain for house dresses but for dress occasions a ruching (ruffle) or lace collar with tie and breast pin. She always looked neat and her clothes were always very becoming in their plain simplicity. Her aprons were the plain three gored type, gathered to a rather wide band with long strings, no bibs or frills, always the same style. Her wrap was a shawl doubled cornerwise, while on her head, which was always held high, she wore a bonnet tied under her chin.? Another line Minnie added to this note: ?She would never curtsy to the gentry or nobility, always had an independent, ?how do you do, Sir??
Beatrice says, ?As I read the above notation and the one about ?her head always being held high? I was reminded of something my mother (Emily) had told me of grandmother. It seems that when Joseph Harker built her home on 4500 South in Taylorville he failed to provide many comforts, but the one she could not forgive was the fact that he had built the doorways so low she had to stoop whenever she passed through them.?
Among her other qualities Elizabeth believed in Utilizing every moment of her time for some good purpose and when not busy working was reading or knitting or doing little kindly things for neighbors. In those pioneer days when the services of doctors were not as available as now, she was comfort and help in many homes. She and her old white horse and buggy were a cheering sight to families who were in distress.
Entries in John Squires? journals show that while visiting them in the end of July, 1897, Elizabeth began not feeling well. An seemingly unusually thing occurred by this entry: Emily?s mother is very sick and Minnie (daughter) quite poorly. The next day Emily?s mother was ?Baptized? for her health and deemed better?. However, several days later Emily took Elizabeth home to Taylorville in their buggy. For Elizabeth this was probably the portend of her death.
Following an operation for the removal of tumors, Elizabeth passed away at her home in Taylorville on November 23, 1887, at 11:15 a.m. Emily was with her, as were probably other members of her family. In John?s entry of November 25, 1897, when he, Emily and five of their children attended the funeral at the chapel in Taylorville, ?All the speakers spoke of her as a faithful Latter-Day Saint and as one who had done much good in her life. She was willing and on hand to help the sick at all hours of the day and night?, She was buried as she requested in her son John Fagg?s lot in the Mill Creek Cemetery. (This cemetery is now called Elysian Burial Gardens. The entrance is at 1075 East and 4580 South in Salt Lake County.) Apparently it was more of a threat than a request from Elizabeth as to where she was to be buried! A descendant tell the family story that in her later years Elizabeth told her son John that if she died and he buried her on the same side of the Jordan River as Joseph Harker she would return to haunt him! Perhaps it was at a time when she was frustrated by stooping through the door that were too short for her in the house Joseph built for her?
The strong love that the sisters Harriet, Sarah, Esther and Elizabeth felt for each other as young women lasted throughout the years and visits with each other afforded much pleasure. An entry in John Squires? journal dated July 7, 1893 states: ?Paid a visit to Taylorville, Emily?s Aunt Harriet and cousin accompanied us. They had come from California. The objects of the visit was to be present at the meeting of Emily?s mother and three aunts, sisters of her mother, one of whom (Harriet) had not been seen for about 35 years. It is quite an affecting scene to witness,:?
Family ties were strong between members of the Birch Family. Elizabeth?s sister Sarah writes in her life sketch: ?My family came together, as was their custom, to honor me on my eight-first birthday. This was one of the most eventful days of my life for my younger brother, James Birch, was here from California. This was the first time I could remember seeing him for about 66 years.? After having lived with Sarah?s family when she first came from England, Elizabeth?s daughter Emily considered her a second mother and was very close to Sarah?s children, so she too was among those who gathered at Mapleton in October 1908 to celebrate Sarah?s birthday. Emily?s daughter, Beatrice, went along and said she still remembered the long tables piled high with delicious food and the chatter and laughter of the many whom were present.
Beatrice Squires Poelman finishes up her history of her grandmother by telling where some of Elizabeth?s brothers and sisters lived. James (Jim) lived in Redlands, California, when she visited there in 1915, and he took them to see some relatives of Harriet?s who were living in his neighborhood. Jamima Caroline also lived in California in Oakland, Mary Ann went to Australia, Charlotte died in infancy, one brother went to sea and was never heard of again, and one stayed on the farm in Swingfield, Kent, England. Since William was the oldest, it is imagined that he was the one who inherited the farm and George Richard was the one lost at sea. (George Richard was probably the uncle that young John Birch Fagg worked for as a youngster, cleaning fish.) Emily Ellen?s whereabouts are not known, but Elizabeth must have loved her very much (her youngest sibling) because she named her daughter after this sister.
We close this history by saying that in gathering the material for this history we have a new respect for Elizabeth. She was a warm, spiritual, caring independent woman, and an ancestor of whom we can be proud. We honor this courageous woman who was once given respect by an Indian who called her ?Heap Brave Squaw?.
NOTES:
 ?Heap Brave Woman? History of Elizabeth Birch Fagg Swain Harked written by Bevy Muir from meeting with 11 descendents of Elizabeth.
History of Elizabeth Birch Fagg Swain Harker written by Sarah E Squires Bennion assisted by her sister Beatrice Squires Paulman for the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers.
John Gillespie Company 1868 information taken from lds.org/pioneercompany
# ID: I345397
# Name: Elizabeth BIRCH
# Given Name: Elizabeth
# Surname: BIRCH
# Sex: F
# _UID: 7B35F9EFA9E35B449DE43355EC639C52098D
# Change Date: 8 Jun 2008 1
# Birth: 4 APR 1830 in Wooton, Kent, England
# Death: 23 NOV 1897 in Taylorsville, Salt Lake, Utah
# Christening: 4 APR 1830 Wooton, Kent, England
# Burial: NOV 1897 Millcreek (Elysian Gardens), Murray, S-Lk, Utah
# LDS Baptism: 3 JUN 1861 Temple: SLAKE
# Endowment: 21 JUN 1868 Temple: EHOUS
# Ancestral File #: 17PR-0T

Baptism

Baptism:
Date: 4 APR 1830
Place: Wootton, Kent, England

Immigration

Immigration: on 'Constitution' bound for Utah
Date: ABT MAR 1868
Place: USA

Burial

Burial:
Date: 30 NOV 1897
Place: Mill Creek, Salt Lake, Utah, USA
Note: (Elysi, Murray,

Object

Object:
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Format: jpg
Title: Harker Joseph and wives
Type: PHOTO
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Primary or Preferred: N
Object:
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Format: jpg
Title: Harker Joseph and wives
Type: PHOTO
Scrapbook: Y
Primary or Preferred: Y
Object:
File: C:\Documents and Settings\Utilisateur\Mes documents\MyHeritage\Salmon tree 20100323_Photos\P1013_494_792.jpg
Format: jpg
Title: EBH2
Type: PHOTO
Scrapbook: Y
Primary or Preferred: N
Object:
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Format: jpg
Title: ebh3
Type: PHOTO
Scrapbook: Y
Primary or Preferred: N
Object:
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Format: jpg
Title: ebh4
Type: PHOTO
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Primary or Preferred: N
Object:
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Format: jpg
Title: ebh5
Type: PHOTO
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Primary or Preferred: N
Object:
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Format: jpg
Title: ebh6
Type: PHOTO
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Primary or Preferred: N
Object:
File: C:\Documents and Settings\Utilisateur\Mes documents\MyHeritage\Salmon tree 20100323_Photos\P1018_494_792.jpg
Format: jpg
Title: ebh7
Type: PHOTO
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Primary or Preferred: N
Object:
File: C:\Documents and Settings\Utilisateur\Mes documents\MyHeritage\Salmon tree 20100323_Photos\P1019_494_792.jpg
Format: jpg
Title: ebh8
Type: PHOTO
Scrapbook: Y
Primary or Preferred: N
Object:
File: C:\Documents and Settings\Utilisateur\Mes documents\MyHeritage\Salmon tree 20100323_Photos\P1020_494_792.jpg
Format: jpg
Title: ebh1
Type: PHOTO
Scrapbook: Y
Primary or Preferred: N
Object:
File: C:\Documents and Settings\Utilisateur\Mes documents\Mes images\My Personal Pictures\Family rena\family tree\Birch Elizabeth Home built by Joseph Harker in Taylorville Utah.jpg
Format: jpg
Title: Home buit for Elizabeth Birch by Joseph Harker
Date: ABT 1881
Note: 4800 South, Taylorsville, Utah
Type: PHOTO
Scrapbook: Y
Primary or Preferred: N
Object:
File: C:\Documents and Settings\Utilisateur\Mes documents\Mes images\My Personal Pictures\Family rena\family tree\Birch Elizabeth home.jpg
Format: jpg
Title: Elizabeth Birch's home in Taylorville
Date: 1919
Note: Thanks to Louise Rounds for finding it.
Type: PHOTO
Scrapbook: Y
Primary or Preferred: N

Marriage

Husband: John Fagg
Wife: Elizabeth Birch
Child: John Birch Fagg
Marriage:
Date: BEF 5 APR 1848
Place: England[1]
Husband: William Hogben Henry Birch
Wife: Mary Ann Rogers
Child: Harriet Birch
Child: Mary Ann Birch
Child: William Henry Birch
Child: Charlotte Birch
Child: Sarah Birch
Child: Elizabeth Birch
Child: Esther Ann Birch
Child: George Richard Birch
Child: James Birch
Child: Jemima Caroline Birch
Child: Emily Ellen Birch
Marriage:
Date: 27 NOV 1819
Place: Brabourne, Kent, England[2]

Sources

  • WikiTree profile Birch-54 created through the import of Salmon tree.ged on May 31, 2011 by Rena Brewin. See the Changes page for the details of edits by Rena and others.
  • Source: S110 Abbreviation: FamilySearchOrg Title: FamilySearchOrg (http://www.familysearch.org) Subsequent Source Citation Format: FamilySearchOrg BIBL FamilySearchOrg. http://www.familysearch.org. TMPLT TID 0 FIELD Name: Footnote VALUE FamilySearchOrg (http://www.familysearch.org) FIELD Name: ShortFootnote VALUE FamilySearchOrg FIELD Name: Bibliography VALUE FamilySearchOrg. http://www.familysearch.org.
  • Source: S212 Abbreviation: Stamps Web Site Title: Diane Stamps, Stamps Web Site Subsequent Source Citation Format: Stamps Web Site BIBL Diane Stamps. Stamps Web Site. Text: MyHeritage.com family tree CONT Family site: Stamps Web Site CONT Family tree: 7259440-9 TMPLT TID 0 FIELD Name: Footnote VALUE Diane Stamps, Stamps Web Site FIELD Name: ShortFootnote VALUE Stamps Web Site FIELD Name: Bibliography VALUE Diane Stamps. Stamps Web Site. Repository: #R7 Page: Elizabeth Birch TMPLT FIELD Name: Page VALUE Elizabeth Birch Quality or Certainty of Data: 3 QUAL Information: P Data: Text: Added by confirming a Smart Match
  • Repository: R7 Name: My Heritage Address: Web Address: www.myheritage.com
  1. Source: #S110 TMPLT FIELD Name: Page
  2. Source: #S110 TMPLT FIELD Name: Page









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Person Index  >  B  >  Birch  >  Elizabeth Birch