Thursday, September 30, 2010


This is a question about copyright laws.  I have a book from the library which is copyrighted 1942 saying, all rights reserved, This book, or parts thereof must not be reproduced in any form without permission.  So if the book is copyrighted in 1942, is it still copyrighted, or has the copyright expired by now, 68 years later.  There are some prints of water colors in the book I would like to share. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Book Review: Landmarks and Events Along the Historic Mormon Trail

This pamphlet was published by the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers in 1990.  The stories it contains deal mostly with the 1847 Mormon migration, but it talks about the handcart companies.  the most impressive thing about this pamphlet is the bibliography, and I have two books on hold at the library as a result.
It does have a quote describing the Platte River which was very interesting.  "[It was] too thick to drink, to thin to plow, hard to cross because of quicksand, impossible to navigate, too yellow to wash in, and too pale to paint with."
It includes general descriptions of sites and events along the trial.  This would be a good travel companion, but it doesn't include directions like the pamphlet published by the Church.
It has some sketches of different sites, but the are mediocre at best.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Book Review: Story of the Mormon Pioneers,W. Cleon Skousen

This is a little book published by the 223rd Quorum of Seventy, San Fernando Stake in 1947.  It deals primarily with the 1847 trek of the first Mormon Company to the Salt Lake Valley.  There are a couple of things that stood out to me from this book.  One is the dedicatory poem at the beginning of the book:

Lay him down tenderly under the willows;
Dampen the warm brown earth with your tears;
Then turn your face again to the prairie,
Harden your heart to the lonely years.

We must relinquish him to this wide darkness,
Push toward the goal again, smiling and brave;
The willows will guard him silent and weeping,
No one will know that they shelter his grave.

Lay him down quietly under the willows,
Lay him down gently, gently, and then
Run away quickly, softly, on tiptoe--
We cannot come back to the willows again.

     by Lisbeth Wallis, Improvement Era, July 1943

I think this poem says a lot.  Over the years, 60-80,000 pioneers crossed the plains making there way to Utah.  Of those 6000 were left in graves, mostly unmarked, along the way.
The other quote that caught my eye from this book is a quote from Brigham Young, which more explains why the Mormons moved so far away from everyone else, resulting in such a long and dangerous trek.  "We wish strangers to understand that we did not come here out of choice, but because we were obliged to go somewhere and this was the best place we could find.  It was impossible for any person to live here unless he labored hard and battled and fought against the elements, but it was a first-rate place to raise Latter Day Saints, and we shall be blessed in living here, and shall make it like the Garden of Eden"

This explains a lot to me why people were so willing to put there selves through such risk, and hardship.  They must have known that they would not all make it to Salt Lake.  They sang it along the way, "And should we Die."  I am grateful for people who chose to endure despite the obstacles.

Monday, September 27, 2010

William Ashton's Military History

I did not realize how many contacts the Wardles, and in this case Ashtons, had with California, Bay Area, until I moved here.  Since then I have come to realize that my great great great grandfather, William Ashton, Isaac's father-in-law by his second wife, spent several years here, my great great grandfather, Isaac Wardle, came here, and my own father was stationed at Treasure Island during the War. 
Donna Olsen, my cousin, discovered William Ashton's military record which indicated that he enlisted in the military in 1856 for five years at Fort Laramie, leaving the Martin Handcart Company, and his three daughters.  He completed his military duty, and discharged from Benicia Barracks, California in 1861.  Curtis R. Allen wrote a history of William Ashton's military career which is marked, "not final draft," but appears to not be copyrighted so I am going to include it in full:

Five Years a Foot Soldier-William Ashton's Military Life
by: Curtis R. Allen
William Ashton from Stockport, Cheshire, England, a member of the Martin handcart company of 1856, enlisted in the 6th infantry in 1856.
He had lost his wife, Sarah Ann Barlow, August 28, 1856 on the Nebraska prairie.  A daughter, also named Sarah Ann, and another daughter, Betsey, died on the plains.
At Fort Laramie, Kansas Territory (now Wyoming), William enlisted in the 6th Infantry, U.S. Army on October 9, 1856 for a five year term of service.  From incomplete records, we have surmised he received early pay and allowances for enlisting and used these to purchase food and clothing for his three children.  He probably turned the children over to his wife's relatives in the handcart company.  Betsey, the youngest,[oldest] died somewhere on the plains while the other daughters, Sarah Ellen (age 7) and Mary (age 6) survived the trip and lived to marry.  Sarah married Thomas Wesley Beckstead of South Jordan, Utah, 30 Jan 1864.  Mary married Isaac John Wardle in 1868 and died in childbirth in 1869.  Thomas and Sarah moved to Whitney, Idaho after 1883, where she raised her six children (four had died in infancy at South Jordan).
Williams's regiment ramained at Fort Laramie through the winter, and then marched to Kansas to be part of the Cheyenne Expedition in that territory in June and July of 1857.  During this expedition, the infantry not only great fatigue but deprivation of food and shelter, as the Expedition commander, Colonel Edwin V. Sumner followed the Indians with his cavalry, requiring forced marches by the foot soldiers to attempt to keep up.  Many soldiers deserted, William stayed the course.
August and September, 1857, Company G was in the field in Nebraska and by September was in the Fort Leavenworth area where the winter was spent on garrison duty.
May, 1858, the 6th Infantry was ordered to Utah Territory to reinforce the army force sent the previous fall to put down the "Mormon Rebellion".  The regiment was to become part of General Albert Sidney Johnston's Army of Utah.
July 31, 1858, the regiment, including William's Company G. arrived at Black's Fork, near Fort Bridger, Utah Territory.  William was in the unique position of being the only Mormon to be a soldier in what is known as "Johnston's Army", which was to march into the Salt Lake Valley to ensure Brigham Young and the Mormons comply with federal law.
July, 1858, General Johnston is ordered by Headquarters, U.S. Army, to select one of the 1858 regiments to add to the force already at Camp Floyd (Utah County), the other to be sent to the Department of the West, headquartered at Benicia, California.  Johnston selected the 7th Infantry, and ordered the 6th to California, instructing its commander, Lt Colonel George L. Andrews to travel by the northern route, via Fort Hall and to the headwaters of the Humbolt River and to report on the condition of the trail.  Had Johnston chosen to keep the 6th and send the 7th Infantry to California, William would have been stationed at Camp Floyd in Cedar Valley, 40 miles south of Salt Lake City, and twenty miles from his two daughters, assuming they were at South Jordan at that time.
August 31, 1858, William's regiment left the Fort Bridger area.  By October 1858 they were encamped in California, moving then to Benecia Barracks in the Oakland area.  The regiment was then divided and sent to various posts in the Northern California area.
November 16, 1858, Company G was sent to New San Diego, California.  Company G traveled to San Diego by steamboat, and arrived December 8.
February 1859, Company G embarked on steamer Uncle Sam to garrison Fort Gaston in the extreme northwest corner of Northern California.
April, 1859, Company G returned to San Diego by way of Fort Yuma, arriving May 23rd.
June 1859 to January, 1860 Company G was at San Diego.
June 1860, Company G was sent to Alcatraz Island from June 25th to August 7th, and then transferred to Benicia Barracks.
August 1860 to  October, 1861, Company G was at Benicia Barracks.
October 9, 1861, Private William Ashton was honorable discharged, having served his five year term of enlistment.
We now lose track of William.  His regiment had been called east to fight in the Civil War.  But he was now a civilian and perhaps was able to pay to travel with them or he made his way to the east coast by other means.  There is family  tradition he worked in New York and earned passage to England, thinking all in the Martin Company had perished, including his three daughters.  He shows up in the English census records in 1881.  He apparently learned mor of the handcart company and wondered about his three daughters.  He placed a notice in the Millennial Star, a newspaper of the English Mission, asking anyone knowing anything about them to contact him.  The notice made its was to Whitney and SArah and her husband sent money to bring him to Whitney.  He made the trip and lived with his daughter and her family until his death in 1891.  He has a large posterity in Idaho and in many areas of the country.
The family has always wondered about William's motivations in leaving his three children.  Some say he was "discouraged', as he certainly was after losing his wife and two children.  But it is also quite possible he saved his two daughters' lives by enlisting in the army and providing them with the food and clothing that could e purchased form his enlistment as well as their having one less mouth to feed.  His staying with the army the full five years while hundreds were deserting indicates he was a man of honor.

Several of the notes are also insightful, and then I want to clarify a couple of things.  The enlistment record includes a description of William, he had grey eyes, fair hair and complexion and was five feet five and a half inches tall.
The regimental return for November 1858 reports the regiment marched 1017 miles from Fort Bridger to Benicia.  The total march from Fort Leavenworth to Benicia was approximately 2,147 miles, covered between May and November.  Adding William's trek from Iowa City to Fort Laramie and his experience chasing Cheyenne Indians with "Bull Sumter", he may have set a record for "footin' it."
(If you add the travel by ship from England to Boston 3000 miles and 5 weeks, and from Boston to Iowa City 8 days and 1700 miles William Ashton was a well traveled man.
The civil War had begun in the Eastern U.S. and orders were issued for the 6th Infantry to move to the scene of action.  Company G. boarded the steamer Orizaba for the trip to Panama where they would travel by rail across the isthmus to board the steamer for Washington, D.C.  William was no longer in the army and would not have been included in the transfer, unless some special provisions were made.
(Benicia is know for the camel barns, which would have been there when Isaac was stationed there.  There were also two arsenals which also would have been there.  These are made of stone, but without mortar.)

Mary Ashton
By way of personal note for clarification, William Ashton lost his youngest daughter, Elizabeth, while they were in Boston July 2.  She passed away at 9 a.m. and the train left Boston at 11:40.  It would have been hard to leave so quickly, and most likely without seeing your daughter buried.  His wife passed away in childbirth at Cutler's Park as mention August 28.  The baby, Sarah Ann, lived for a couple weeks, and then too passed away.  When William remained at Fort Laramie he left three of his daughters, Betsey, Sarah and Mary.  Family story says Betsy froze her feet at the last crossing of the Platte River.  She then passed away sometime between that day and before the handcart company left Martin's Cove.  There is no record of her death, as the journalist and recorder were in such and awful state, that they did not keep journals, and document the deaths over this period of time.  Mary and Sarah arrived in Salt Lake with the rest of the company November, 30.  They were taken in by local families and raised.  Somehow they were known to the Becksteads, and possibly this is the family that took them in.  Isaac Wardle was a friend of the Beckstead, co-founding South Jordan with them.  If Isaac knew of Mary on the handcart trek it is not known, but she became his second wife.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Book Review: Mormon Pioneer Trail; A Highway Guide to Wyoming

This is a pamphlet published by the Department of the Interior as part of the sesquicentennial of the Mormon Pioneers entering Salt Lake Valley. I must admit, I did not expect to find much in this pamphlet, and it only presented sites along the trail in Wyoming.  Even so I was pleasantly surprised to find some amusing stories.

Simpson's Hollow in Western Wyoming is so named for Captain Lewis Simpson who was part of General Johnston's troops marching on Salt Lake City.  The Mormon militia captured and burned 22 wagons of supplies at Simpson Hollow.  This, and a couple of similar operations, along with the coming of snow, prompted General Johnston to winter around Fort Bridger.  With another Winter of talk and negotiations, agreements were reached, and the "Utah War" for the mos part was diverted.

For some reason I hadn't realized the Mormons burned Fort Bridger as part of the same war.  Subsequently the government occupied the fort.

As an auto guide this is useful.  It gives general description of etiquette for following the trail.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Book Review: The Martin Handcart Company at the Sweetwater; Another Look Chad M. Orton, BYU Studies 45:3, 2006

One of the most prominent stories in Mormon folklore is the story of the Martin Handcart Company, and three [four] of the rescuers carrying all of the company members across the Sweetwater on a cold winter day.  This story was popularized by Soloman Kimball.  The popular story goes that when the Martin Company reached the Sweetwater, they were overcome with the thought of having to cross another river, especially since the day was very cold, it was a cold part of the day, and there was ice floating in the river.  The rescuers entered the water, and carried the entire company across.  The effects of being in the water for several hours caused these young men, all 18 to suffer the effects of this the rest of their lives, and to eventually die early.  Brigham Young when told of their sacrifice promised them places in the Celestial Kingdom of God.

If not for Solomon Kimball this story probably would not have been known at all.  It is correct in generalities, but not correct in particulars.  All of the rescuers did their duty, however they were not all at the river that day.  Several of the rescuers entered the water to carry pioneers across.  Five rescuers are named in different histories, none of them were 18, two were older and three younger.  In truth they did not carry all of the handcart members.  They had several wagons with them, and many of the invalids and children where taken to Martin's Cove in the wagons.  Of those who had to ford the river, there was a hierarchy of who received help as the rescuers could not help everyone.  Woman, children and elderly received the first choice.  It is true some of the men where also carried across, but most forded the stream.  Although most of the handcarts were abandoned at Devils Gate, they still took several to the Cove to carry the cooking utensils etc.  These the pioneers had to pull across the River.  They did receive help from the rescuers as the River was muddy and the opposite bank was steep.  Some of the rescuers did have health effects, but it cannot be verified that these effects actually caused premature death.  In fact some of the Valley Boys who helped at the Sweetwater lived long lives.  A couple died young, but the first death was 16 years after the rescue.  That these boys were guaranteed Eternal Life in the Celestial Kingdom by Brigham Young may also not be accurate.  Although Brigham Young said that the rescuers were portraying true religion by serving in this manner, that is not quite the same as being guaranteed Celestial Glory.

For anyone studying the handcart story, and particularly this rescue, I would recommend this article.  It is interesting how things different sometimes between what we grow up believing, and what may have really happened.  Mr. Orton does provide extensive footnotes and sources for his conclusions.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Isaac Wardle Questions

As I have been writing Isaac's history, I have some questions.  If you have answers and sources please let me know.

Is there documentation of Isaac chopping the trees at the Cove, or is this based on passed down family conversation only.  I have the one-page history Isaac wrote, but it does not mention this.

Did Isaac's father give him an ax to take on the journey with him?  I thought I was told this, but can't find it written any place.

Does anyone know what came of Joseph Wardle, Isaac's next younger brother?  Did he pass away before the family (Parents and James) crossed the plains in 1860.

Same goes for Hannah Wardle.  Does anyone know what came of she and her husband, Frederick Udy?  It is understood they went to Australia but is there any documentation?

Book review: The Mormon Pioneer Trail

This is a pamphlet published the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for the sesquicentennial of the Mormon pioneers arrival in Salt Lake. It is a highway guide and trail etiquette guide. I did not follow the trail using the guide, so cannot tell of the accuracy of the directions provided. The guide presents 50 different sites along the trail, and gives a paragraph or two about the history of each site.

It presents historical brief insights of the original trek in 1847, as well as brief outlines of the handcart treks.

I enjoyed the introductory comments. "The trek west is a symbol of the faith and dedication that pioneers in all times and places have as they help establish the Church throughout the world." The pamphlet then quotes President Gordon B. Hinckley. "It is good to look to the past to gain appreciation for the present and perspective for the future. It is good to look upon the virtues of those who have gone before, to gain strength for whatever lies ahead."

This pamphlet is most useful as a guide to visiting sites along the trail.  The information may be dated however.  It does give some background information with regards to the trail.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Book Review: Stories of Young Pioneers In Their Own Words

This book is written by Violet T. Kimball,Mountain Press Publishing, Montana, 2000. This book has many interesting stories. It tells not only the story of the Mormon Trail, but also the Oregon and California trails. It is a very good book for background information on what the trail was like, what activities the children participated in, and what tragedies befell some of the pioneers.

My favorite part of the book was a song from the out and backers (when young men would go out, pick up the Mormon pioneers and bring them back.) It refers to to ox team:
Whoa, haw, Buck and Jerry Boy
There's a pretty little girl in the outfit ahead
Who, haw, Buck and Jerry Boy
I wish she were by my side instead
Whoa, haw, Buck and Jerry Boy
Look at her now with a pout on her lips
As daintily with her fingertips
She picks for the fire some buffalo chips
Who, haw, Buck and Jerry Boy.

The author includes several stories of different pioneers at the end of each chapter. I enjoyed the story of Lizzy Flake Rowan, an African American Mormon who helped found the city of San Bernadino. She eventually married Charles Rowan, a local barber.

This book is full of many such stories and tidbits about the plains, romance, deaths, hardship, happy times. I would recommend this book for anyone who is interested in learning about the Western migration in our county.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Isaac Wardle History: Chapter Three: Conversion: "I Was Baptized into The Church of Jesue Christ of Latter-day Saints"

Isaac Wardle History: Chapter Three 
“I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints” 

Ye Elders of Israel
Ye elders of Israel, come join now with me 
And seek out the righteous, where'er they may be: 
In desert, on mountain, on land, or on sea, 
And bring them to Zion, the pure and the free.

The harvest is great, and the laborers are few; 
But if we're united, we all things can do; 
We'll gather the wheat from the midst of the tares 
And bring them from bondage, from sorrows and snares.

We'll go to the poor, like our Captain of old, 
And visit the weary, the hungry, and cold; 
We'll cheer up their hearts with the news that he bore 
And point them to Zion and life evermore.

Chorus: O Babylon, O Babylon, we bid thee farewell; 
We're going to the mountains of Ephraim to dwell. (Hymns 319)

Mormon missionaries first went to Great Britain in 1837. Seven missionaries, including Apostles Heber C. Kimball and Orson Hyde were called to Britain while the church was struggling in Kirtland.  “Despite difficult times in Kirtland, the Prophet, [Joseph Smith] through revelation, called the first missionaries to England.”  (Hales)  In a talk, celebrating the sesquicentennial of the church in Britain Gordon B. Hinckley said:

The opening of the British Mission a century and a half ago was a declaration to the world; it was a declaration of a great millennial vision; it was an expression of tremendous faith; it was a demonstration of personal courage; and it was a statement of everlasting truth… There was a vision in the hearts of these men.  It was a millennial vision that the gospel was to be preached to every nation before the end should come.  (Hinckley) 
Expressing this millennial vision, Parley P. Pratt, who was a part of the second wave of missionaries to England in 1840, penned this thought in his classic hymn, “The Morning Breaks:”

The morning breaks, the shadows flee;
Lo!  Zion’s standard is unfurled!
The dawning of a brighter day
Majestic rises on the world.

The clouds of error disappear
Before the rays of truth divine;
The glory, bursting from afar,
Wide o’er the nations soon will shine…

Angels from heav’n and truth from earth
Have met, and both have record borne;
Thus Zion’s light is bursting forth,
To bring her ransomed children home.  (Hymns 1)

Ironically when the missionaries first traveled to England it was at the same time when Queen Victoria was crowned.  (Isaac was one-year-old.)  The missionaries traveled to Preston, England, where the brother of one of the missionaries was a priest.  Queen Victoria had called for new elections, and the missionaries saw a political banner: “Truth will Prevail.”  This they adopted as the motto for the mission. (Hinckley)
Heber C. Kimball explained that, “We opened the door to that nation in great simplicity.” (Walker quoting Heber C. Kimball)  The message of the gospel was simple; the original Christian Church had been reestablished upon the earth.
The first Millennial Star (Church publication published by the British Mission) announced the message of the Church:

The long night of darkness is now far spent—the truth revived in its primitive simplicity and purity, like the day-star of the horizon, lights up the dawn of the effulgent morn when the knowledge of God will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.  It has pleased the Almighty to send forth an Holy Angel, to restore the fullness of the gospel with all its attendant blessings, to bring together his wandering sheep into one fold, to restore to “the faith which was once delivered to the saints…”  (Millennial Star hereafter MS I p 1)

The church, from its inception was a proselyting church, having the duty to carry the Gospel to the world.  “And the voice of warning shall be unto all people, by the mouths of my disciples, whom I have chosen in these last days.  And they shall go forth and none shall stay them, for I the Lord have commanded them.” (D&C 1: 4-5)
            Within a year of establishing the church in England, there were 1500 members. In 1840 a second wave of missionaries arrived, led by Brigham Young with six other apostles.  Shortly over 6000 persons were added to the church and “…by the end of the decade the Church was claiming fifty thousand English conversions.” (Walker)  Eventually over 55,000 British Saints would migrate to Utah. (Taylor, P.A.M.)
Ronald Walker explained that the reason for the success of the church in Britain was two-fold, first the social conditions of the time and second the qualities of the religion itself.  “Mormonism… was a youthful and vibrant faith that spoke to the British industrial and preindustrial vernacular.  Its message fit perfectly… with the social religious upheaval of the time.” (Walker)  Numerous changes were taking place during this time in Britain.  These included: rapid population growth, over 50 percent of the population being urban for the first time in history in any society, industrialization in manufacturing and transportation, political reform, public safety reform, religious reform, increase in trade unionism, and changes in public health. “There, in the squalor of his new environment, the English laborer found the certainties of his old life-style were lost.  No longer was his behavior reinforced by the scrutiny of village acquaintances... Britain seemed convulsed with agitation and transition.” (ibid) 
The people were prepared for the message:

In England the missionaries immediately found that many souls were ready and waiting for their message.  England in the mid-nineteenth century was at the zenith of the Industrial Revolution.  Those most attracted by the missionary message were the casualties of social change, the poor, the unemployed, and the illiterate.  (Hale)

The quality of the church was based on its being the restoration of the original Christian Church, with the same authority, powers and priesthood.  Joseph Smith was visited by ancient disciples, including John the Baptist, and Peter, James and John.  They brought him priesthood authority and keys.  The church thus spoke “with the voice of authority.” (Walker)  P.A.M. Taylor noted, “The Mormon Church claimed authority on the ground that it had a living prophet, who had been inspired to recover and translate a sacred book, and who thereafter had received and would receive equally authentic revelations. (Taylor, P.A.M.)
A third reason for the success of the missionaries may have been the unhappiness of the people with their current religious instruction.  In a letter dated, 16th May 1848 Winter Quarters to G.D. Watt, the first British convert in 1837, Willard Richards talked of this preparation: 

From the accounts of the proceedings in Great Britain, it is certain that the people are discontented with their old precepts and creeds, and are seeking after something they know not what; but the Elders are sent to tell them how it is, and, I would say, thrust in your sickle, preach the gospel, call men to repentance, proclaim aloud that and angel has flown through the midst of heaven and committed the everlasting gospel to men on the earth… (Millennial Star Volume XI p 9) 
Brigham Young and Willard Richards echoed these thoughts, “We find the people of this land, much more ready to receive the gospel, than those of America, for their priests have taught them but little, much of that is so foolish as to be detached at a glance.” (Walker quoting Brigham Young and Willard Richards)
Marguerite Cameron espoused that the dedication of the missionaries had an influence on the number of converts.  “No missionaries were filled with greater courage or lofty enthusiasm, none were so indifferent to scorn and insult.  In the British Isles they made a lasting impression which resulted in larger migrations than those from any other country.  Mormonism came as a saving grace to hundreds and thousands of poor for whom working condition were hard and wages low.” (Cameron)
In this environment the church flourished, mostly among the poor and urban. Almost 90 percent of British converts were from urban areas.  Additionally the converts included more than their share of laborers. Church shipping records indicate 20 percent of Mormon emigrants in the 1840s were considered middle class.  However this percentage went down to 10 percent for the next decade, and lower in subsequent decades.  (Taylor, P.A.M.) “If the typical British convert was urban, he also was drawn from the lower social levels.” (Walker)
The conditions surrounding Isaac prepared him to receive the message of the gospel.  There is a story in the Book of Mormon where Alma is trying to restore the Zoramites, who had become apostate because of their pride and their many riches.  Alma had no success until the poor people of the community approached him and asked him what they should do to worship God.  Their poverty had prepared them to receive the Gospel.  Alma turned towards them and began teaching. It is interesting to note, that in a similar manner to England, the hearts of the poor people were ready.  (See Alma 32)  As indicated in the hymn “Ye Elders of Israel,” “We’ll go to the poor like our Captain of old, And visit the weary, the hungry, and cold; We’ll cheer up their hearts with the news that he bore And point them to Zion and life evermore.” (Hymns 319)
John Lyon, an early Mormon poet penned in the last stanza from the poem, “Exodus” the sentiment that the Church attracted those despised:

            Then, the despised and trodden down
Shall rise to glory and renown;
And nations in earth’s midst shall flow
To Zion, and a kingdom grow,
To swell the restoration. (Lyon)

Isaac described his conversion and baptism in this manner, “In September 23, 1853 I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, by Elder Fredrick Smith.  I was confirmed the next day by Elder Smith.”  (Wardle, Isaac)  Fredrick Smith was a local Elder rather than a visiting missionary from the United States.   (Smith, Sherry)  It was not unusual for local lay clergy to carry a great deal of the proselyting load. “The American missionaries might take the lead, but duly ordained English converts carried the ministerial load.  This allowed Mormonism to shed whatever image it might have possessed as a foreign intruder.”  (Walker) 
Uncle Orrin, wondering about Isaac’s motivations for baptism, wrote.  “Isaac, as likely was true of many other thoughtful and energetic young men of England who were trapped by their social origins, must have been somewhat mentally ready to hear an opportunity for change and improvement, ready to hear a message that would offer them hope of a better life in the present world, and, if that be possible, in the worlds to come.”  (Wardle, Orrin p. 2)
Mary Rupp described Isaac’s conversion.  “It was while living at Coalville that the elders of the Latter-Day Saint Church came to the home of John Wardle and my Grandfather Isaac John Wardle was baptized… He was the only member of the family to accept the church at this time.  However at a later day the rest of the family, with the exception of his half brother Thomas Martin, joined the church.” (Rupp)
            The facts as put forth by my great-aunt Mary are not accurate.  In the letter I received from Kathy Taylor she indicates Thomas Morton [aka Wardle or Martin] was baptized.  “Thomas belonged to Whitwick branch, baptized in 1847 by Henry Platts. Whitwick Branch records film # 087038.” (Taylor, Kathy)  According to FamilySearch Isaac’s parents were also baptized during this time, Mary Wardle 14 Feb 1845, John Wardle 14 Nov 1845 and William Wardle 15 Sept 1848.  (  According to this, Isaac’s mother was the first in the family to be baptized.  All members of the family were baptized, with the exception of Isaac’s sister Hannah.  (Call, Patti)
            The following was recorded in the Millennial Star after a conference in Whitwick, Coalville area.  Isaac, although not yet baptized, likely attended with his family:

SECOND DIVISION OF THE DERBYSHIRE CONFERENCE.  Held at Whitwich, Jan. 7, 1849.—At this conference were represented 6 branches, containing 232 members, including 24 elders, 14 priests, 5 teachers, and 8 deacons.  During the last quarter 15 have been baptized, 5 received by letter, 9 removed, 1 cut off, and 1 dead.  LEWIS ROBINS, President.  JOHN VAUGHN, Clerk.  (MS XI)

Because of the limited literacy of the family, it may have been difficult for family members to gain testimonies and desire baptism.  They would have been dependent on the spoken word and prayer.  Although others may have read from tracts to them, often the Church was promoted by the spoken word, and less frequently through tracts or the Book of Mormon, which were costly.
            Whitwick and Coalville pertained to the Derbyshire Conference, even though they were in Leicestershire. “We suggest that you search the membership records for the Derbyshire Conference. Coalville was a part of that Conference.” (Smith, Sherry)  The basic unit of organization in the church in England was a branch.  A group of branches were organized into a conference; generally three conferences were a district or pasturage.  In the case of Coalville it was part of the Derbyshire Conference which was part of the Nottingham, Derbyshire, Leicestershire District, with the headquarters of the district in Nottingham.  The leader of the District was referred to as a pastor.  The leadership of the conference was called a president.  These positions were usually taken by visiting missionaries from the U.S. while branches would have local leaders.  (Taylor, P.A.M. p 20)
            After his baptism Isaac moved away from the family home.  “In a short time I moved to Worcel, [Walsall] Staffordshire.  (At that time Walsall was part of Staffordshire County and today is in West Midlands County.)   I stayed there until I had saved enough to emegrate [emigrate] to America.”  (Wardle, Isaac)  Walsall is about 50 miles from Coalville.  The train had reached there in 1849.  (Wikipedia)  It is more urban than Coalville.
I must assume that Isaac continued in the coal industry after he moved, as his occupation is given as a collier on the ship manifest two years later when he left England.  (Handcart) There was a coal mine in Walsall at the time.  Walsall is also known for leather work and saddle making. (Wikipedia)
Working in the coal helped shape Isaac’s body as a young man.  He undoubtedly was strong from his many years as a hewer of stone.  Isaac described himself as “a strong man” (Wardle CH) on the handcart trek.  His years in the coal contributed to this.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Book Review: Sweetwater Rescue, The Willie and Martin Handcart Story

This book is a companion to the PBS movie by the same name. It was written by Heidi Swinton and Lee Groberg, Covenant Press, Utah, 2006.

There are some things I like about this movie, and some things I don't. It really doesn't work as a help to doing research of the trip, other than to give a general idea. Its sources a very confusing, and at times the story presented is confusing. This is because in addition to the narrative it offers sidebars. The sidebars don't always match what is going on tin the history, and consequently things are out of order, or talked about more than once.

The thing I like about the book is the artwork. There is lots of beautiful art. I am especially taken with the back cover. This is an artwork entitled orphans by Julie Rogers. This is suppose to be a depiction of my great great grandmother Mary Ashton and her older sister Sarah Ashton. I am not posting the artwork here because I am sure it is copyrighted. However by going to this link you can see the painting.You can also read the story of the Ashtons at this link.

I think my favorite quote from the book has to do with the motivation behind the handcart pioneers. "My parents, relatives, and friends did all in their power to keep me from coming to America. But I had the spirit of gathering and the Lord opened my way... with the3 handcart company.

This book does give a very good overview of the handcarts, with specific stories, however it often only touches the surface of these stories. It is very good for background information. I would recommend this book, if nothing else for a coffee table book because of the great art.

Friday, September 17, 2010

other Isaac wardle family websites, blogs

Very good histories, pictures

This blog is a wardle name blog.  It has emails form New Zealand, U.S. South Africa, England.  Wherever there are Wardles

Very good histories

This is a family blog, but 8/10/10 is a report of a stake trek with picture and story of Isaac and the stumps.

My cousin's blog

Letter from Langley Bailey to Isaac Wardle from Mike Wardle

Mike Wardle, from Boise, Id discovered a box of items which must have belonged to Isaac Wrdle, my great great grandfather. I am enclosing my transcript of a letter that was in the box written my Langley Bailey to Isaac, when they were both older. This letter has been delivered to the Church History Library. I have tried to match Langley's punctuation as best I can.

Nephi Nov 28/16
Isaac J Wardle Esq
My Dear Most Respected Old Friend. How are you.
I was much disappointed because I did not meet you at our annual HandCart meeting.
I hope and pray that you are well in health in your old age. and prospering.
Very pleased to tell you I am well. getting old. This time last year I was in California. I visited Los Angles. thence to San Diego. thence to Old Mexico. thence to San Francisco. We took lots of trips. Visited the fair both at San Diego and San Francisco. With My wife son & daughter and daughters husband. We met our son at Frisco who had been to Autralia on a mission. we enjoyed our trip very much.
I organized a H.C. Daughters in Nephi. I am sending you a clipping of the Newspaper. thinking you would enjoy the lines I pened and wrote. Well Isaac I have got me an automobile. We take much pleasure in it, visiting around amongst relations. You and me are in much better condissions than we were at this time 60 years ago, I can remember one morning. every tent was blowed down. but ours. You did stake our tent down strong and firm My dear Brother. I honor and respect you much more than I can explain. You and my brother John (he was a boy 15) hauled me on the hand cart for hundreds of miles. Can I forget you. Can I ever repay, you for your kindness No, No,
I have just made my will. I have 6 sons & 6 daughters. I am doing right by all of them. All receive equal. I let nothing pass out of my hands until me and wife passes away. You know my second wife died. her children receives the same as all the rest.
You know I was on a mission in England. 4 of my sons been on foreign missions. Cross the deep sea. One of my sons has just gone on another mission. One of my sons is a Bishop. he seems to fill the bill well.
I will now Close my dear old boy. I am writing without the use of glasses. my hand is steady in March I will be 79. you are 81.
God bless you. May peace crown your latter days. Please let me hear from you. get someone to write for you
I am yours Very Respectfully
Langley A. Bailey

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Book Review: BYU Harold B. Lee Library, Liverpool to Boston, Horizon
The Harold B. Lee Library has transcribed many of their historical documents and put them on the internet. This particular collection is a compendium of first person accounts of the voyage of the Ship Horizon, which carried most of the Martin Handcart Company. However I think the collection contains information on most of the Mormon voyages.

I think this is the most complete information with regards to this voyage. I pleasantly found stories I had never heard before. At on point while hoisting said on of the officer said "hoist higher." This was misinterpreted by one of the young guards to be "fire." He raised the alarm, but fortunately his mistake was quickly corrected.

On passenger was on deck with her father during a fog, when they saw an ice mountain. They were frightened, but then the sun began to shine brightly which it did until the ship was out of danger. John Jacques talks of how the company suffered when they were ordered below to give more reign to the seamen as the entered Boston Harbor.

An interesting story is told by John William Southwell, but not collaborated by any other entry. He described a wedding where the bride and groom were hoisted into the topmast and were there married. He says when they were lowered each of the couple were met by 100 people congratulating them.

I would recommend this series of diary entries and reminicences for anyone interested in studying the handcart pioneers.

One story, which is not corraborated by

Your Heart Will Burn

Several Years ago, when I first began to study the handcart story, I took what I knew and wrote a musical about the Martin Handcart Company. I included the story of William Ashton1, who lost his wife and three children on the trail. He was not there when his oldest daughter passed away, as he left the company in Laramie and joined the military. He fulfilled he five yer commitment, but instead of going to Utah to see if any of his children survived, he returned to England, and only came to Utah several years later.

I also tell the story of Isaac Wardle, who was a young man upon the trek. It talks about his conversation, using the version of my great aunt Mary Rupp who said he was the first of the family to be baptized. This doesn't appear to be true, but he was the first to travel to Utah. Isaac is know for having chopped down several trees in Martin's Cove, which helped establish the exact location.

I also included other characters, and combined some characters for the sake of casting. The story included John Jacques, Edward Martin, Brigham Young, Franklin Richards, Elizabeth Jackson and Peter McBride.

It also included several songs, "Your Heart Will Burn" is the conversation story, "See Them for Real" is the Martin's Cove song, "Get Them Here" is Brigham Young recruiting the rescuers. Of course there are traditional songs, "The Handcart Song" and "Come, come Ye Saints." Probably the best song is an instrumental Mark wrote, "The Campfire Song."

There are actually two versions, the original was a two act musical. Admittedly this version has some historical errors. I have Langley walking, which was actually Tamar Loader, Elizabeth Ashton dying at sea rather than in Boston Harbor as is accurate (I discovered this after the musical,) and I had the trumpeteer play "Taps" which was not written until the Civil War. I am sure there are more mistakes.f I also add a love interest which was fictional, although the parties did in fact marry on board the Horizon. We performed this as a ward.

However I wrote a shorter readers theater version which we performed for the 150 year anniversary of the handcarts. This version is more historically accurate. It includes quotes from many different handcart pioneers. Much of the music is the same, but not as much of it.

At any rate, if anyone wants to read these I could copy and mail for the approximate cost of shipping and copying. I would guess this would be $20 for either the musical or the readers theater. If you want both, shipping would be less so that would probably come out as $30. If you want without the music the cost would be $5 less as there would be less copying. The lyrics are in the script.

You can contact me at my email Please put handcart in the subject so I can see what it is very quickly and respond quickly.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Book Review; BYU Studies 1987

1987 marked 150 yeas since the Gospel was first taken to Great Britain. To commemorate BYU Studies dedicated the first two issues of the year to the history of the Gospel in Britain. There was also a symposium held at BYU which provided much of the material for the magazine. Gordon B. Hinkley, counselor in the First Presidency at the time, introduced the theme with a discourse published in the magazine "A declaration to the World." He gives a good introduction, and testimony, but not much in terms of historical detail. However he points out the sacrifice of those who first went to England, and their millennial call.

The article by Robert D. Hales "The British Contribution to the Restored Gospel" is excellent. As is the following article, "Cradling Mormonism, the Rise of the Gospel in Victorian England" by Ronald W. Walker. This article points out the influence of the environment to the rise of Mormonism, while not discrediting the message of the Gospel itself--That the original Christian Church had been reestablished upon the earth.

Leonard J. Arrington talks about the history of British women in the Church. Thomas Lyon talks of the first book of poetry published by the church "The Harp of Zion." I will provide a review of the Book of Poetry at a later time, but this article gives a good idea of the history of the book and how it came about. It was written by someone who could not read and write until age 25. There are more articles, which were not directly related to my topic of research, but which someone might find interesting.

My only disappointment was that the articles mentioned the revelation Heber C. Kimball had in which he saw the evil spirits who opposed the restoration of the Gospel. I would have liked to have read the original revelation.

I would recommend these studies to someone interested in looking at the history of the Mormon Church in England. It can be accessed via the internet at

Isaac Wardle History: Chapter Two; "I Was Put to Work at the Age of Seven Years"

This chapter 2 of the history of my Great Great Grandfather. Comments are welcome.

Chapter Two: Child Labor, Coal Miner
“I Was Put to Work at the Age of Seven Years”

The Cry of the Children

Do ye hear the children weeping, O my brothers,
Ere the sorrow comes with years?
They are leaning their young heads against their mothers---
And that cannot stop their tears.
The young lambs are bleating in the meadows;
The young birds are chirping in the nest;
The young fawns are playing with the shadows;
The young flowers are blowing toward the west---
But the young, young children, O my brothers,
They are weeping bitterly!---
They are weeping in the playtime of the others
In the country of the free.

Do you question the young children in the sorrow,
Why their tears are falling so?---
The old man may weep for his to-morrow
Which is lost in Long Ago---
The old tree is leafless in the forest---
The old year is ending in the frost---
The old wound, if stricken, is the sorest---
The old hope is hardest to be lost:
But the young, young children, O my brothers,
Do you ask them why they stand
Weeping sore before the bosoms of their mothers
In our happy Fatherland?

They look up with their pale and sunken faces,
And their looks are sad to see,
For the man's grief abhorrent, draws and presses
Down the cheeks of infancy---
"Your old earth," they say, "is very dreary;"
"Our young feet," they say, "are very weak!
Few paces have we taken, yet are weary
Our grave-rest is very far to seek.
Ask the old why they weep, and not the children,
For the outside earth is cold,---
And we young ones stand without, in our bewildering,
And the graves are for the old.

"True," say the young children, "it may happen
That we die before our time.
Little Alice died last year---the grave is shapen
Like a snowball, in the rime.
We looked into the pit prepared to take her---
Was no room for any work in the close clay:
From the sleep wherein she lieth none will wake her
Crying, 'Get up, little Alice! it is day.'
If you listen by that grave, in sun and shower,
With your ear down, little Alice never cries!---
Could we see her face, be sure we should not know her,
For the smile has time for growing in her eyes---
And merry go her moments, lulled and stilled in
The shroud, by the kirk-chime!
It is good when it happens," say the children,
"That we die before our time."

Alas, alas, the children! they are seeking
Death in life, as best to have!
They are binding up their hearts away from breaking,
With a cerement from the grave.
Go out, children, from the mine and from the city---
Sing out, children, as the little thrushes do---
Pluck your handfuls of the meadow-cowslips pretty---
Laugh aloud, to feel your fingers let them through!
But they answer, "Are your cowslips of the meadows
Like our weeds anear the mine?
Leave us quiet in the dark of the coal-shadows,
From your pleasures fair and fine!

"For oh," say the children, "we are weary,
And we cannot run or leap---
If we cared for any meadows, it were merely
To drop down in them and sleep.
Our knees tremble sorely in the stooping---
We fall upon our faces, trying to go;
And, underneath our heavy eyelids drooping,
The reddest flower would look as pale as snow.
For, all day, we drag our burden tiring,
Through the coal-dark, underground---
Or, all day, we drive the wheels of iron
In the factories, round and round…

And well may the children weep before you;
They are weary ere they run;
They have never seen the sunshine, nor the glory
Which is brighter than the sun:
They know the grief of man, but not the wisdom;
They sink in man's despair, without its calm---
Are slaves, without the liberty in Christdom,---
Are martyrs, by the pang without the palm,---
Are worn, as if with age, yet unretrievingly
No dear remembrance keep,---
Are orphans of the earthly love and heavenly:
Let them weep! let them weep!... (Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

Northwest Leicestershire is an area with an abundance of coal under the surface of the ground; hence the name of the largest community in this area, Coalville.  (The Free Dictionary)  Coalville was set up as a residence for those who worked in the coal mines that surrounded the city.  Even though some coal had been mined since the 13th century, (Semper-Eadem) coal mining was just being developed in this area in the 1830s.  This followed the completion of the Leicester-Swannington Railroad in 1832.   The rail line was designed and completed by George Stephenson.  It provided for the inexpensive transport of coal to urban areas.  It was the second railroad in the world to go through a tunnel.  The line was not built to accommodate passengers, but a passenger car was often added to the work trains. (Wikipedia)

In the census of 1851 three percent of the laborers in Northwest Leicestershire worked in the mining industry.  By 1861 this was 10 percent and eventually increased to a high of about 30 percent.  On the other hand in 1851, 35 percent worked in manufacturing, 28 percent in agriculture and 28 percent in service.  (Vision of Britain)
Isaac’s work career began when he was seven years old.  “I was put to work at the age of seven years.  At nine years old I was to work in the lead mines.  I was after put to work to learn the rope making business.  I only stayed at that work a short time as the family moved to the town of Coalville.  I was put to work in the coal mines again.  I continued to work at the same place until I was 18 years old.”   (Wardle, Isaac)  There is some discrepancy between Isaac’s histories.  In his other history he wrote, “I was put to work at the age of seven years in a rope factory at nine years I went to work at the coal mines where I worked for ten years.” (Wardle, Isaac 2)
There were four major collieries around Coalville: Whitwick, Ibstock, Bagworth and Snibston.  Snibston was developed by George Stevenson and his sons in 1833 and he settled in Ravenstone.  This mine was the closest to Ravenstone and was a great success.
An unfortunate consequence of the industrial revolution was the need for cheap labor.  Children worked cheap.  Grolier defines child labor as, “…Work performed by children that either endangers their health or safety, interferes with or prevents their education, or keeps them from play and other activity important to their development.”  (Grolier)  Young people had always done work on family farms, but the use of child labor during the industrial revolution was much different.  Children were used in manufacturing, agricultural, mining, service and chimney sweep industries, often in conditions that were not favorable.
Child labor not only serviced the employer, but because of poverty, is also helped the families who had no other means of support:

   That the shameful practice of child labor should have played an important role in the Industrial Revolution from its outset is not to be wondered at. The displaced working classes, from the seventeenth century on, took it for granted that a family would not be able to support itself if the children were not employed…. The children of the poor were forced by economic conditions to work, as Dickens, with his family in debtor's prison, worked at age 12 in the Blacking Factory. In 1840 perhaps only twenty percent of the children of London had any schooling…. The others were working. Many of the more fortunate found employment as apprentices to respectable trades…or as general servants... but many more were not so lucky. Most prostitutes (and there were thousands in London alone) were between 15 and 22 years of age.
   Many children worked 16 hour days under atrocious conditions, as their elders did. Ineffective parliamentary acts to regulate the work of workhouse children in factories and cotton mills to 12 hours per day had been passed as early as 1802 and 1819. After radical agitation, notably in 1831, when "Short Time Committees" organized largely by Evangelicals began to demand a ten hour day, a royal commission established by the Whig government recommended in 1833 that children aged 11-18 be permitted to work a maximum of twelve hours per day; children 9-11 were allowed to work 8 hour days; and children under 9 were no longer permitted to work at all (children as young as 3 had been put to work previously). This act applied only to the textile industry, where children were put to work at the age of 5, and not to a host of other industries and occupations. Iron and coal mines (where children, again, both boys and girls, began work at age 5, and generally died before they were 25), gas works, shipyards, construction, match factories, nail factories, and the business of chimney sweeping, for example (which Blake would use as an emblem of the destruction of the innocent), where the exploitation of child labor was more extensive, was to be enforced in all of England by a total of four inspectors. After further radical agitation, another act in 1847 limited both adults and children to ten hours of work daily.  (The Victorian Web)

Over time the consciences of people were pricked by literature, including Charles Dickens’ "Oliver Twist" published 1838.  Of note are two poems.  The first, The Chimney Sweeper was written by William Blake in 1789 and rewritten in 1794.   The 1789 version begins:

When my mother died I was very young,
And my father sold me while yet my tongue,
Could scarcely cry weep weep weep weep,
So your chimneys I sweep & in soot I sleep.  (Blake) (For complete poems see appendix)

Just as poignant were the words written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning in 1844 (cited in entirety at the beginning of this chapter):

Do ye hear the children weeping, O my brothers,
Ere the sorrow comes with years?
They are leaning their young heads against their mothers---
And that cannot stop their tears.  (Browning)

The life of Isaac reflected this poem in many aspects.  “Grandfather has told us how his mother would have his supper ready for him when he would come home after a ten or twelve hours of work at the mine and he would sit up to the table too tired to wash himself first and that he would go to sleep while eating and then his mother would wash and clean him up, putting him to bed without him ever washing.  Then he would be up and at the mine the next morning at seven o’clock for another long day.  This would seem impossible to us for a child to work such long hours at such hard labor.”  (Rupp)  “He would sit at the table, he remembered, too tired to wash himself.  Then he would go to sleep while he was eating.  His mother would then wash and clean him, little boy that he was, and put him to bed.  The night never seemed long enough as he had to rise early enough the next morning to be at the mine by seven o’clock for another long day…  These long hard hours were endured six and sometimes even seven days a week.  Play, as known by the children of our day, was an almost totally unknown part of growing up so far as Isaac was concerned.” (Wardle, Orrin)
Poetry pricked the consciences of people, and laws dealing with child labor were passed.  These included the Chimney Sweep Act of 1840, Mines Act of 1842 and Factory Act of 1844.  A discourse before parliament by Anthon Ashley Cooper Earl of Shaftesbury, in relation to the Mines act in 1842, talked about the horrid conditions of children and women in the mines.  It compares the mines, and indicates children as young as five were in the mines.  This included those in Leicestershire.  However it makes the point that women were not employed in the mines in the Leicestershire district.  He points out that after fourteen, or sixteen hours in the mine, sometimes children would have to walk “a mile or two at night without changing their clothes.”  The children often had constrained posture because of the lowness of the ceiling, and there were often drainage and ventilation problems.  (See Kessen)  He lamented the lack of education.  “…It is a mockery to talk of education to people who are engaged, as it were, in unceasing toil from their cradle to their grave.”  (Kessen)
Cooper had proposed that women not be allowed to work in the mines, as well as children under thirteen.  The Mining Act of 1842 prohibited women from working inside the mines, and children under 10.  It was decided an education in the mines was worth more than a reading education. (Kessen) The Factory Act of 1844 limited the work day of children to six hours and women to twelve.  (Wikipedia)  Even though laws had been passed, enforcement was another issue.  The Mining Act of 1842 was not initially enforced and it would be some time before if would keep children from working in the mines.  In fact the number of children under fifteen working in the mines increased with the censuses of 1861 and 1871.  It wasn’t until the census of 1881 that the number started to show significant decline—1851 37,300; 1861 45,100; 1871 43,100; 1881 30,400. (Economic History Association)  These numbers don’t differentiate those working on the surface and those below ground.  If strictly enforced, Isaac could not have started working in the mines until after his tenth birthday.
Coal mining was an industry where child labor played an important part.  “Child labor… proliferated in coal mining. Half-naked children as young as six labored incredibly long hours in the damp and dark. Many of them carried coal in packs on their backs up long ladders to the surface.”  (Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia)
The industrial revolution increased the demand for coal, but unfortunately methods of extraction were not improved:

   Coalmining was another industry that was heightened by the advent of the Industrial Revolution.  However, the technology employed in mining remained unchanged.  Most of the mines refused to implement advanced means of mechanical conveyance and remained inefficient and labor-intensive.
   Child laborers in coalmines were employed to work with haulage and ventilation.  Most child miners worked in underground haulage operations as 'putters' (pulling carts and sledges) or as 'drivers' (driving horse and pony carriages).  The narrow roads and low ceilings have made it inevitable to use increasing numbers of child laborers in coalmining industry.  Some children 'trappers' opened and closed the underground ventilation door to maintain the direction of air currents, for the miners were always at the risk of explosion and suffocation due to accumulations of toxic gas.  According to an interview conducted by the Children's Employment Commission in 1841 in Britain, only thirty percent were working in ventilation whilst fifty percent were in haulage.  Also, it is notable that only few children remained as 'trappers' beyond the age of eleven or twelve and the vast majority of coalmining children aged ten to fourteen remained concentrated in the haulage sector.  The hazardous working environment, poisonous gas, and lack of sunlight posed lasting threat to the well-being of the child laborer.  (Chung)

Isaac worked in the mines starting from as early as the age of seven.  “He had very little schooling as at the age of seven he was put to work as a runner at the coal mines.  At the age of nine he went to work inside the mines.” (Rupp)  Whether Isaac started in the rope business, or as a runner for the mines, we know he was working at seven, and by nine years old was working inside the mines, where, much of the year, he would go to work in the dark, be in the dark mine all day, and then come home again in the dark.  In Isaac’s history he mentions working in the lead.  (Wardle, Isaac 1)  It is possible lead coexisted with the coal.

George Cunningham, a fellow hand cart pioneer, also worked in the coal, starting at the age of seven.  Of this experience he said, “I labored there for six years, often working twelve or fourteen hours a day, sometimes not seeing the light of heaven for a whole week, only on Sunday… No one knows the danger and privations experienced there, only those who have gone through the same.  (Olsen, p 44)
Coal mining was often a family career, with brothers and fathers and sons working the same mine.  I noticed this in reviewing the rosters of the dead and injured from mining accidents. (The Mining History Resource Centre)  Isaac and his older brothers, as well as Joseph, are listed as coal miners on different census reports.  “…Boys and girls opened and closed the vents that controlled the supply of air underground.  (Most of these children came into the mines with their fathers or some other relative.)” (Mitchell)

Earl Anthony Cooper pointed out that working in the mines affected the character of the children.  “A clergyman, the Rev. W. Parlane, of Tranent, says—‘Children of amiable temper and conduct, at 7 years of age, often return next season from the collieries greatly corrupted, and, as an old teacher says, with most hellish dispositions.’  See, too, here how the system superinduces habits and feelings of ferocity that are perfectly alarming.” (Kessen)

A novel I read, tried to present this change in attitude.  It tells of a young man, who worked in the mines with his family, comparing the mines to his life on the plains:

   “I am free here,” he says.  “I can stand up straight.  Stretch out my arms and legs.  Look up whenever I choose and see the sun.  You have no idea what it is like to go for days and days without seeing the sun because you are buried in the belly of a mine.”
   …”Papa took me to work with him the morning I turned thirteen,” he says.  “I felt proud of myself as I walked in the colliery with him.  I was a man.  Just like Papa.  Just like my brother…”
   “By the time Papa and I reached the pithead, I was sick with excitement.  I couldn’t wait to enter the mines with the rest of the men.  I stepped into the crowded pit cage, waiting to be lowered to the bottom.
   “They dropped us nearly a quarter of a mile.
   “The ride was fast and hard and dark.  Bits of dust and coal blew into my face.  Wind whistled in my ears.  I screamed, Charlotte.  In front of all of them…”
   John shrugs, “I hated the deep darkness of the pit and the way is smothers a soul like a filthy blanket.  I hated tasting dust and slithering on my stomach through tight places.  And I hated myself for hating it all...”  (Cannon)

Isaac was initially a “runner” which would give the impression that he was not working inside the mines, but was running messages or materials, and other duties as assigned.  At the age of nine he started to work inside the mines, most likely as a “trapper.”   A trapper was in charge of opening and closing doors to control the flow of air when those hauling coal needed passage.
The job of “trapper” was important, as failure to do the job properly could result in a lack of oxygen or a build-up of gas which could be hazardous.  In 1841 the deaths of 32 persons at a mine in Northumberland were blamed on a “trapper” not being at his post as the deputy viewer of the colliery explained:

I am further of the opinion that the accident happened as I have stated, from the body of the boy, the trapper, Cooper, being found at a place he could not have been forced by the explosion and who must, in all probability, gone there to play with two other boys, who had also charge of trap doors near to where he was found, add one of whom was found close to him. My son had come through the supposed deserted trap door, to put some coals from the board where the explosion took place. The consequence of that door being left open would be the accumulation of the gas in the middle and northwards boards, from the total absence of the proper current of air which would have passed through them had the door been kept shut.  

Several other witnesses were of the same opinion and the jury returned a verdict of ‘Accidental Death from the explosion of hydrogen gas.’ (The Coalmining History Resource Centre, April 1841)

As Isaac grew older he likely worked as a hauler known also as a “hurrier” or “putter.”  “Work as a ‘putter’ was very difficult.  You had to work a tub of coal (which usually did not have wheels) from where it was mined to where it could be taken by a central route to the surface.  ‘…Hurriers’ dragged away the cut coal in wheel-less tubs or small trucks to the pit bottom, where it was hoisted to the surface or carried up ladders in corves [baskets].   (Damon quoting J.F.C. Harrison)  Women often did this job.  A girl who worked at the mines as a hauler testified before a commission set up by English Parliament in the 1830s to look at problems of working children:

I never went to day school; I go to Sunday school, but I cannot read or write; I go to the mine at 5 o'clock in the morning and come out at 5 in the evening; I get my breakfast of porridge and milk first; I take my dinner with me, a cake, and eat it as I go; I do not stop or rest any time for that purpose; I get nothing else until I get home, and then have potatoes and meat, not every day meat. I work in the clothes I have now got on, trousers and ragged jacket; the bald place upon my head is made by carrying the coal buckets. I carry the buckets a mile and more under ground and back; I carry 11 a day; I wear a belt and chain at the workings to get the buckets out; the miners that I work for are naked except for their caps; they pull off all their clothes; I see them at work when I go up; sometimes they beat me, if I am not quick enough, with their hands; they strike me upon my back; the boys take liberties with me; I would rather work in a mill than in a coal-pit.  (Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia)

    Isaac, when older, also likely worked at the end of the hole, as a “hewer,” extracting coal.  These men often had to stoop and but weight on their knees in an uncomfortable manner while using pick and shovel to extract the coal.  “At the coal face the “hewers,” naked and on their knees, hacked away at the coal with their picks.  In narrow seams,…the face worker had to lie on his side, use his elbow as a lever, and pick away at the coal.  (Damon quoting J.F.C. Harrison) 

    D.H. Lawrence, whose Uncle died in a mining accident, described coal mining in this manner:

A coal mine remains a hole in the black earth, where blackened men hew and shovel and sweat.
The men might be crushed or buried alive by a sudden fall of earth that blocked their way out of the mine.  The deep pits might suddenly be inundated with floods or choked with poison gas and firedamp [a combustible gas…].  The miners’ lungs were clogged with dust as they breathed the odors of stinking horses and sweating men… The mines were always dark, dirty, and dusty as well as hot, wet and cramped.  Eating, drinking, urinating and defecating all took place in a confining space, and rats ran through the stagnant water. (Damon quoting D.H. Lawrence)

Cooper provides some documentation of the abuse towards the children:

Isaac Tipstone says—“I was bullied by a man to do what was beyond my strength.  I would not, because I could not.  The man threw me down, and kicked out two of my ribs.”  Jonathan Watts says—“A butty has beaten a boy with a stick till he fell.  He then stamped on him till the boy could scarcely stand.  The boy never told, and said he would not, for he should only be served worse.”  Boys are pulled up and down by the ears.  I have seen them beaten till the blood has flowed out of their sides.  They are often punished until they can scarcely stand.  John Bostock, speaking of Derbyshire, says—“the corporals used to take the burning candle-wicks after the tallow was off, light them, and burn his arms.  I have known my uncle take a boy by the ears and knock his head against the wall, because his eyesight was bad, and he could not see to do his work as well as others.”  (Kessen)

Coal mining was not only detrimental to children; it was hazardous to all who worked in the mines.  Life expectancy for miners was only a little more than 45, while productive life was less than that.   (Engels)  Frederick Engels, who was a major player in the development of communism, wrote a report of working conditions in England in 1845, which included an assessment of the mining industry.  He reports on the consequences from mining of poor health and shortened life span.  His report may be biased as indicated in the title of the chapter, “The Mining Proletariat:”

   In the coal and iron mines which are worked in pretty much the same way, children of four, five, and seven years are employed. They are set to transporting the ore or coal loosened by the miner from its place to the horse-path or the main shaft, and to opening and shutting the doors (which separate the divisions of the mine and regulate its ventilation) for the passage of workers and material. For watching the doors the smallest children are usually employed, who thus pass twelve hours daily, in the dark, alone, sitting usually in damp passages without even having work enough to save them from the stupefying, brutalizing tedium of doing nothing. The transport of coal and iron-stone, on the other hand, is very hard labour, the stuff being shoved in large tubs, without wheels, over the uneven floor of the mine; often over moist clay, or through water, and frequently up steep inclines and through paths so low-roofed that the workers are forced to creep on hands and knees. For this more wearing labour, therefore, older children and half-grown girls are employed. One man or two boys per tub are employed, according to circumstances; and, if two boys, one pushes and the other pulls. The loosening of the ore or coal, which is done by men or strong youths of sixteen years or more, is also very weary work. The usual working-day is eleven to twelve hours, often longer... Set times for meals are almost unknown, so that these people eat when hunger and time permit…
   The children and young people who are employed in transporting coal and iron-stone all complain of being overtired. Even in the most recklessly conducted industrial establishments there is no such universal and exaggerated overwork… It is constantly happening that children throw themselves down on the stone hearth or the floor as soon as they reach home, fall asleep at once without being able to take a bite of food, and have to be washed and put to bed while asleep; it even happens that they lie down on the way home, and are found by their parents late at night asleep on the road. It seems to be a universal practice among these children to spend Sunday in bed to recover in some degree from the overexertion of the week. Church and school are visited by but few, and even of these the teachers complain of their great sleepiness and the want of all eagerness to learn. The same thing is true of the elder girls and women. They are overworked in the most brutal manner. This weariness, which is almost always carried to a most painful pitch, cannot fail to affect the constitution. The first result of such overexertion is the diversion of vitality to the one-sided development of the muscles, so that those especially of the arms, legs, and back, of the shoulders and chest, which are chiefly called into activity in pushing and pulling, attain an uncommonly vigorous development, while all the rest of the body suffers and is atrophied from want of nourishment. More than all else the stature suffers, being stunted and retarded; nearly all miners are short, except those of Leicestershire and Warwickshire, who work under exceptionally favourable conditions. Further, among boys as well as girls, puberty is retarded, among the former often until the eighteenth year…  Distortions of the legs, knees bent inwards and feet bent outwards, deformities of the spinal column and other malformations, appear the more readily in constitutions thus weakened, in consequence of the almost universally constrained position during work… The women seem to suffer especially from this work, and are seldom, if ever, as straight as other women… The coal-miners suffer from a number of special affections easily explained by the nature of the work. Diseases of the digestive organs are first in order; want of appetite, pains in the stomach, nausea, and vomiting, are most frequent, with violent thirst, which can be quenched only with the dirty, lukewarm water of the mine; the digestion is checked and all the other affections are thus invited. Diseases of the heart… are readily explained by overwork; and the same is true of the almost universal rupture which is a direct consequence of protracted overexertion. In part from the same cause and in part from the bad, dust-filled atmosphere mixed with carbonic acid and hydrocarbon gas, which might so readily be avoided, there arise numerous painful and dangerous affections of the lungs, especially asthma… The peculiar disease of workers of this sort is "black spittle", which arises from the saturation of the whole lung with coal particles, and manifests itself in general debility, headache, oppression of the chest, and thick, black mucous expectoration. In some districts this disease appears in a mild form; in others, on the contrary, it is wholly incurable... Here, besides the symptoms just mentioned, which appear in an intensified form, short, wheezing breathing, rapid pulse (exceeding 100 per minute), and abrupt coughing, with increasing leanness and debility, speedily make the patient unfit for work. Every case of this disease ends fatally… Rheumatism, too, is, with the exception of the Warwick and Leicestershire workers, a universal disease of the coal-miners, and arises especially from the frequently damp working-places. The consequence of all these diseases is that, in all districts without exception, the coal-miners age early and become unfit for work soon after the fortieth year, though this is different in different places… This applies to those who loosen the coal from the bed; the loaders, who have constantly to lift heavy blocks of coal into the tubs, age with the twenty-eighth or thirtieth year, so that it is proverbial in the coal-mining districts that the loaders are old before they are young. That this premature old age is followed by the early death of the colliers is a matter of course, and a man who reaches sixty is a great exception among them… (Engels)

    Engels mentioned the mines in Leicestershire on two occasions.  First he mentions that the stunting of growth is not so pronounced giving the impression the caverns were larger and so the miners were not as confined.  However this is not to imply that things were good.  A statue from Bagworth, Leicestershire, honoring the miners of a past era, shows the miner on his knees as he picks the coal.  (Wikipedia)  The other advantage was the dryness of the mines in Leicestershire as compared to others in England, thus reducing the rate of rheumatism.

In addition to poor health, the mines were also dangerous.   An accident occurred almost daily in some mine in England.  (Engels)   There were over 164,000 mining injuries and deaths between 1700 and 2000. That is over 500 a year. This included over 15,000 children. These numbers are likely conservative, as before 1850 accurate records were not kept.  (The Mining History Resource Centre) Damon indicates that over 1000 miners died annually due to accidents.  (Damon)  I have reviewed much of the data with regards to the mine mishaps.  The most common accident was explosion in the mines.  There were also fires, collapses, drowning (when water from one shaft would flood another, elevators falling, boilers blowing, injuring workers on the surface.  The fatalities from the mining accidents killed children as well as men and occasionally woman.

In reviewing the record I only found one accident in the Coalville mines.  This was at the Whitwick mine in 1898.  33 men and two boys were killed.  The timbers of the mine caught fire and because of the fire it was impossible to get the men out.  The men succumbed to carbon monoxide gas.   There had been problems with fires at this mine prior to this, but no one had been killed.  (The Mining History Resource Centre)

During the time when Isaac was working in the mine, March 1847, a mining accident occurred at a mine in Church “Gresley, Derbyshire, about 20 miles from where the Wardle family lived.  This accident occurred as the elevator was letting the miners down the shaft to enter the mine.  The rope of the elevator broke, and the elevator fell about 230 yards killing nine men and boys and injuring others.   The inquest for this accident took place at Leicester.  (The South Derbyshire Graveyard Rabbit)

Although Isaac primarily worked in the coal, he also worked for a time in the rope making business.  “I was after put to work to learn the rope making business.  I only stayed at that work a short time as the family moved to the town of Coalville. (Wardle, Isaac 1)  “…He was put to learn the rope making trade, but only stayed with it for a short time…” (Rupp)  “When he was about eleven or twelve, he was put out by his parents as an apprentice to learn the rope making trade.  This didn’t seem to work out because he stayed with it only a short time.”  (Wardle, Orrin)
To be “put out” refers to learning a trade through apprenticeship:

APPRENTICE signifies a person who is bound by indenture to serve a master for a certain term, and receives in return for his services instruction in his master's profession, art, or occupation. Apprentices and masters are equally bound to perform their portion of the contract towards each other; and if the master neglect to teach the apprentice his business, or the apprentice refuse to obey his master's instructions, both are liable to be summoned before a magistrate to answer the complaint against them. A master cannot legally compel his apprentice to work an unreasonable length of time. There is no specific duration marked out by law, but doubtless the habitual employment of an apprentice for more than twelve hours daily (exclusive of meal times) would be deemed unreasonable. Compelling an apprentice to work on Sunday is clearly illegal… Indentures may be cancelled by mutual consent; the safest and most economical mode in such a case is simply to cut off the names and seals of the parties in the indenture, and endorse thereon a memorandum, signed by all parties, to the effect that they give their consent to the cancelling of the same… A master may administer reasonable corporal chastisement to his apprentice, but he cannot discharge him...

   The usual term of apprenticeship is seven years, namely, from fourteen to twenty-one years of age, but that period of probation is not always necessary, and, generally speaking, it is optional to determine upon a shorter term.  (Human Resource Management)

Isaac going back to the mines was likely a mutual decision between Isaac, his parents and his apprentice.  The exact nature of this is not known as Isaac simply states his family moved to Coalville and he felt compelled to go with them.  (Wardle, Isaac)

Isaac may also have worked as a brick maker’s assistant.  The census of 1851 gives this as his profession.  (findmypastUK) The 1851 census included the occupations of the family.  It lists John, the head of the household and his two oldest sons, Thomas, 21 and William, 18 as coal miners.  Isaac, 16 is listed as assistant to brick maker.  Joseph, 14 is listed as an assistant to coal miner.  Hannah, 12 and James, 9 are listed as “at home.”  No occupation is listed for the mother, Mary.  Perhaps the child labor laws were starting to have an effect as James was listed at home at nine years old.

Isaac worked in the mines almost exclusively from age seven to nineteen.  He tried rope making, and perhaps brick making but worked for ten years in the coal mines, and for two years before entering the mines.  “I went to work at the coal mines where I worked for ten years.”  (Wardle, Isaac 2) He must have known of the dangers to health, and the risk of accident involved.

Thomas Morton, aka Thomas Martin, Thomas Wardle

This is a picture of Thomas Morton, aka Thomas Martin, aka Thomas Wardle, the half brother of Isaac John Wardle, my Great Great Grandfather. He was a coal miner in England who followed Isaac to Utah. He settled in Coalville, Utah after living in the Coalville area of England. However the census data lists him as a farmer in Utah.

He was the son of William Morton, who passed away, and Mary Kinston. Shortly after the death of her first husband his mother remarried John Wardle, and together they had four boys and one girl. Eventually they all immigrated to Utah except for Hannah, Isaac's younger sister, and Joseph his next younger brother. His two other brothers came to Utah, William his older brother and James the youngest.

Joseph is mentioned with the family in the 1841 and 1851 censuses. However he seems to disappear sometime between 1851 (coal miners assistant) and 1860 when his parents immigrate to America. He was born in 1837, 2 years after Isaac.
Posted by Wardle Family blog at 10:03 PM