Alice Ashcroft was born on September 18, 1885 in Kit Green, Wigan, at Lancaster, England to James Ashcroft and Mary Ellen Barton. She was the youngest of five children. Her siblings were Margret Ellen, (later married Richard Thomas Rowbottom), William, (later married Mary Alice Burroughs), John, (died when he was 21 years old), and Amelia, (later married Harrison Booth).
She grew up at No. 34 School Lane, about 4 ½ miles from Wigan, in Upholland. Not too much is known about Alice’s early childhood and teen years. She had about nine years of schooling, which was quite a bit for those times in England. She worked in the cotton mills with her sister, Amelia. She also worked in a library and a home that took care of sick people.
She joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was a member of the Wigan Branch, Liverpool Conference in the British Mission. She was baptized on September 19, 1909 by Joseph Y. Card and confirmed on September 19, 1909 by Thomas Walton.
She immigrated to America with her niece, Mary Jane (Janie Rowbottom) and her nephew, James, about August 20, 1910 on the “Laurentis” Quite*Line from Liverpool, England. Janie had tuberculosis (TB) and they thought if they could get her to Arizona, she would recover. But Janie was allowed to come into the country, so Alice took her back to England, where Janie later died on April 21, 1912.
Alice came back to America in 1912 on the “Carpathea” White Star Ljne. There is no verification of the ship’s name, time, or port of entry.
When Alice arrived at Salt Lake City, Utah, she journeyed to Malta, Idaho where her sister, Amelia, had married Harrison Booth and was living.
John William Hepworth was a neighbor and needed help with his family, as his wife had just died. Alice went to work for John, which later led to their marriage on December 4, 1913 in Albion Idaho. She had watched him in a baseball game, and thought he would be an okay husband! She had to be a kind and patient lady, as there were probably children still at home, from John’s first marriage to Mahala Strong Parker. The ages of the children were: Seth 20 years, Alvin 18 years, Squire 15 years, Oren 14 years, Joe 12 years, Lathel 10 years, Merritt eight years, Mahala six years, Riley four years, and Eliel two years. These boys and girl said that Alice was the only mother they knew and she was a good mother.
While still living on a farm at Malta, they were blessed with Mary Alice born 1914, James Edmund born in 1915, Emily born in 1917, and ethyl born in 1918. They resided at Malta for about 4 ½ years. They then moved Elba, Idaho where Effie was born in 1920 and Ivan was born in 1922 at Conner Creek, Idaho Susie was born in 1924 at Declo, Idaho and Beatrice was born in 1925 at Buhl, Idaho and Cora Mildred was born in 1927 at Eden, Idaho. While living at Eden, they raised range cattle and milk cows.
Alice was an English lady, through and through. She was small, about 5’3”, with brown hair and blue eyes. She could have a bit of it British temper, if the occasion called for it! Her reprints and her house were Nice. She kept her parlor just for visitors. John had to buy her shoes and bring home for her to try on, and if they didn’t fit just right, she sent them back. She wouldn’t permit men to spit in her stove or spittoon, which was a common practice at the time. The dishes had to be washed immediately after a meal and put away.
They had a neighbor that was a little bit vain and he always looked in the mirror as he came into their home. One day, she turned the mirror to the wall! She had quite a sense of humor.
Amelia, her sister, sent close, that her children had outgrown, for John and Alice’s children. Ivan had to put the English knickerbockers on. He cried and cried and cried to pull them down so they would cover his legs. Finally, his father came to his rescue and said that he didn’t have to wear them.
While living in Buhl, Alice fell while throwing out dishwater and broke her arm. Emily also had a broken leg at same time.
Effie thought Ivan got to sit on Momma’s lap more than the rest of the children.
At age 41, Alice got the influenza when Mildred was about nine months old, and died on May 14, 1928 in Jerome, Idaho leaving her young family. She was buried at Malta, Idaho.
John never married again and with the help of his daughter, Mahala, who had married Alice’s nephew, James Rowbottom, and the older girls in the family, helped raise the family. There were seven girls and two boys.
Perhaps the greatest compliment given to Alice’s that her children remember the love that their mother had for them.
After further research through immigration records, Alice was listed as a passenger on the “Laurentic” ship that sailed on August 20, 1910 from Liverpool, England to Québec, Canada. On her second trip, she was a passenger on the “Scandinavian” ship that left Liverpool, England on August 25, 1912 and arrived in Montréal, Canada. Alice almost boarded the Titanic ship, but it was full. She was second in line from being able to board, when it was announced that no further passengers would be allowed aboard. As we all recall from history, the Titanic sank on April 14, 1912 in route to New York.
“Where’s Mother?” could be heard through the hallway. And they stood and watched her as she went on alone, and the gates closed after her. And they said: “We cannot see her, but she is with us still. A mother like ours is more than a memory. She is a Living Presence.”
A thought from Alice’s youngest son, Ivan: “Even though I was only five years old when my mother passed away, I feel as if her influence in spirit has been with me my entire life. I felt her presence and love throughout my life. Even though she wasn’t able to live to see her children grow into adults, I think she would be proud of each of them and the people they’ve all become.”
[Insert: Pdf of John William Hepworth and Alice Ashcroft and family from Hepworth Family folder]
[Insert: Pdf of John William Hepworth’s Seventy’s License from Hepworth Family folder]
Letter to Aunt Amelia from her cousin, Peter Barton
172W. 7th So. St.
Salt Lake City, Utah USA
August 13th, 1910
Your welcomed letter of July 26th was received last night. It was a little older on the road on account of your failure to put “Utah” on the address. You put Kaysville, Davis County, USA, so it New York, they put on a red stamp “Deficiency Address Supplied by N.Y.P.O.” There are other Davis Counties in other states of the Union.
I was pleased to hear that Alice would start on her journey here one week from today. So we shall be able to welcome her here early in September.
You will notice that I am writing from Salt Lake City. I think I mentioned in my last letter a possibility of my moving. I have let Oscar and Albert take the home and farm in Kaysville, and after much deliberation, finally concluded to move here some four weeks ago. My daughters, Nellie and Clara, and Beatrice, my wife, make the family.
Kaysville is 22 miles north of Salt Lake City and about 16 miles south of Ogden. The railroad from Ogden to Salt Lake passes through my land in Kaysville and only about 300 yards from the house.
I will arrange so that she will come on to Salt Lake and will meet her at the depot station. I will find out at the President’s office today where the company will land (I expect Canada or New York) and will write Alice, so she will get it on arrival there.
My brother, William, from the Presiding Bishopric’s office, meets every company of emigrants at the station here and arranges to get them to their destination. We will try and make Alice feel at home and after getting rested up and a little acquainted with Customs. We will decide what is best to do, as there will be no lack of opportunities for domestic labor.
We have had an unusually dry season. Scarcely any rain all summer, but crops are yielding much better than many anticipated.
I was pleased to hear that Cousin Ann had wed William Contimel. Please remember me kindly to them as well as to the other of my relatives.
My brother, John, still resides at Kaysville and was 70 years old on July 24th . Two days before, William and James, the twins, were 74 years old and are quite active. They live here also, as does Isaac who is in his 68th year.
48 years ago at this date, I was on my way to Utah with Father and Mother, two younger brothers, Joseph and Hyrum, and sister, Bertha. We sailed from Liverpool on May 1 on a sailing vessel. Was 42 days on the ocean, then by rail and steamship to Florence on the Missouri River. Then we started out West on the last miles, over the planes and through Indian country, with the wagon, drawn by oxen. I was driving all the way. We was 63 days on this part of the journey and arrived in Salt Lake City on October 5, being five months from leaving Liverpool. What a change from some of the emigrants today; they make it in 10 to 14 days.
Our family, on leaving England, were looked upon as foolish and diluted, but the longer I live the more thankful I am that we made the move, although it has not been without its trials and privatizations, which seem to be necessary in this mortal state. As Isaiah says with regard to the Savior, “He was a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief.” Although he was without sin, yet his trials was all he could bear. It seems that he had to suffer in order that he might know by experience and thus be able to sympathize with others.
When we arrive at the condition spoken of in the Bible by the apostles when we should quote see as we are seen and know as we are known” we will understand more fully and see the wisdom of God in many things that are more or less a mystery to us now.
I am so thankful for the testimony of the Gospel, the knowledge and a hope of the future, which it is given me. It is a perfect plan and reaches and provides for every condition in this and the future lives. Never mind the sneers and taunts of the world, but continue to attend to your duties and you will have strength from the Lord day by day.
We are all well except my wife, who continues quite bad with rheumatism, still bettering herself than she was. Well, I must conclude.
With kind love to you, also Jane and James. Trusting to meet all of you soon.
As ever, your affectionate cousin,
November 16, 1915 (transcribed copy of handwritten letter)
Gunner William Rowbottom L/16548
C. Battery & Sub.
149 C.P. Bng R.F.A.
No 16 Camp Lark Hill, Salisbury Plaines
Dear Mrs. Alice Ashcroft Hepworth, Malta Idaho
Just a few lines to you, hoping that this letter will find all of you in the best of health as I am keeping in the pink, I was surprised when my wife sent me a letter and that you had sent one for me. I had given all hopes up that you did not think about writing to me anymore and that you say you hate writing, well I cannot say anything about that, I sent a letter to Amelia, but I don’t know whether she got it or not, so I thought I would not send any more, till I did get another one back, she wrote to Uncle Willie and also sent me a letter, he sent it on to me, and I forgot to put their address down, so I could write back to them, I have asked my wife to send it on in her next letter to me, and I will write, I don’t know what you will think about me now that I have joined the Army, well I wanted to go, I felt that I should be a coward not to join, and the way the Germans are doing, I should not like my little baby Alice to be cut up like they are doing with those poor little Belgium’s are being done and everybody is going, that is why I went to join, I daresay you will have got a letter from my wife, and telling you about it, I saw to my wife before I went, she is doing very well, she gets money from the government, and some that I don’t, it’s no benefit to you, getting your pay stopped and doing other things, well I will tell you some news about the lads that has gone, you will know John Flomas King he has got wounded and that Tom Barton’s son, the tailor who is my godfather, his son has got killed and you know Mrs. Chatham, is dead and young Tom is at the front in Belgium, there is only Elthel at home now, Alice has got married, it’s nearly killing them, Mother, they asked me about you, and Mrs. Moorfield is dead, I could tell of lots that has gone, and I am the next, so you must do your best, and also tell Jim that I hope that he will do the best for you and he will get along in this life, I have no doubt that you would all like to come back and see us all, I cannot say whether you will never see me again, now that I am going to the dangers of this awful war that we are fighting, but I can tell you this, we shall win this war, men are joining every day, well dear friends I hope and trust that we may all meet again, and that I shall get back to my dear wife, she is doing all right, there is no need for her to go out working or else I should have not joined, well I am going with a good heart, so you must not think that I am afraid, I am looking on the best side of it, and we won’t be long before we will put it to an end, I shall not be able to write another letter like this, when I am at the front, just a line to let you know that I am still alive and kicking the Germans out of their trenches, so here is the best of love to you and your husband and family from your dear sisters love, William Rowbottom XXXXXXXXXX
I wish you could see me as XXXXXXXX
good luck to you all, Amelia Alice and brother Jim
bedtime XXXXXXXXXXX lights out – good night