Wednesday, October 15, 2014

From FSFT under Richard Hepworth, father of Joseph

WILLIAM THORNTON - 1812-1898 Written by John Thornton, Blackfoot, Idaho. My Grandfather, William Thornton, was the second son in this family of Jeremiah Thornton and Mary Day, was born at Moorend house. He lived there as a boy. He worked steadily and was exceptionally talented along musical lines. His schooling was meager though he made the best of it in the musical profession. He married Mary Hepworth in May 1832. Mary Hepworth was born in 1811,at Thorn Hill, Yorkshire, England. She was the daughter of Richard Hepworth born 1789 and Hannah Wilkinson born 1789 in Yorkshire, England. . . . They were married in the Parish Church at Drighlington, they being members of the Church of England. They continued to live there. All of their children were born there. These are their children; Hannah married Isaac Brannan; Richard married Mary Lee; Joseph; Martha; Eliza, married Russel King Homer; Charles married Lovisa Matilda Homer; Phoebe married William Evans; Hyrum; William Junior married Mary P. Hillman, then Lottie Hawkins; Mary married Francis Marion McKenzie; Sarah died as they approached the harbor in New York City. Grandfather worked as a carter. On certain days each week he delivered parcels with a horse and cart, much as our Parcel Post delivery at present. He taught music, played lead violin in an orchestra, and led the choir in the church at Drighlington. He possessed an excellent singing voice. The family was visited by Elders of the L. D. S. Church, and became converted. In September 1843 some members of the family were baptized into the church in the Bradford District. This brought about great changes in their lives. The congregation in the Church of England begged him to remain with them. They offered he and his family two years on the continent to study music at the expense of the congregation if he would stay with his choral work. It was a difficult situation. He was thoroughly converted to the Restored Gospel. Nothing could turn him from it. He had determined to leave England and gather with the Saints in Utah. Soon after joining the new Church, Grandfather was called to help the Missionaries by preaching and singing in the City at Street Meetings. They would sing hymns until a crowd gathered, then begin to preach. When he resigned from his position with the choir in the Church of England, the members of the congregation were greatly disappointed. Friends and relations were also dismayed when they found that no persuasion could change their determination to leave for America. Their relatives and friends rapidly forsook them. Grandfather's old parents were living at Moorend house. They were heart broken. They had heard the many wild tales about wild animals, Indians and Mormons of the Western United States and the dangers of living among them. They offered to give him their home and everything they possessed if he would stay and raise his family in that country. His music students forsook him, and he lost his job as a Carter. He had to seek work in the coal mines. The family moved into a small apartment and dismissed their maid, who had served them for a number of years. Everyone who was able to do anything, worked at any kind of job they could get. Grandfather worked such long hours that the smaller children saw him only on Sunday. They were in bed before he got home at night and were still asleep when he left in the morning. The older ones all saved and made sacrifices to accumulate enough money to pay their expenses to America. It took them eleven years to save enough money to pay passage for the parents and seven children to New York. The eldest son Richard remained in England as he had a good job with the Farley Iron Works as a bookkeeper. The eldest daughter Hannah was married and also remained in England..

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