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Eliza Durrant Ursenbach

Eliza Durrant Ursenbach

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Published by Leena Rogers
Life Sketch of ELIZA "LIZETTE" DURRANT and her three husbands, Thomas Whitehead, Octave Ursenbach & George Compton.
Life Sketch of ELIZA "LIZETTE" DURRANT and her three husbands, Thomas Whitehead, Octave Ursenbach & George Compton.

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Categories:Types, Research, Genealogy
Published by: Leena Rogers on Mar 29, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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ELIZA "LIZETTE" DURRANT URSENBACH COMPTONLife Sketch of Eliza Durrant and her three husbands, Thomas Whitehead, Octave Ursenbach & GeorgeCompton:Eliza Durrant was born 9 Jul 1844 at Deanshanger, Northampton, England, to William and Phebe HoarDurrant. She was the 5th child of 11 children. She received a little schooling in England, mostly in classesheld in the home. Eliza parents were converted to the LDS church by missionaries in England, and they inturn taught the gospel to their children, and had them baptized as they reached 8 yrs of age. Eliza wasbaptized 4 Jun 1855. William and Phebe were anxious for the family to go to Zion (Utah), so they allworked very hard, sacrificed much, and saved all they could out of meager earnings, over a period of several years, in order to have enough money to secure passage on a ship for each of their olderchildren, one or two at a time.However, Eliza married Thomas Whitehead 20 Dec 1863 and had 2 children. The first, George Alfred,died at 1 yr of age. Thomas joined the church to win Eliza, but became a habitual drunkard and movedaround to various cities. One night he came home intoxicated, locked the door, took out his razor andthreatened to kill her. Eliza snatched up her baby daughter, Sarah Jane, and by some miracle at thatmoment, the door flew open and she ran out into the darkness.Later, her brother, Joseph, in Utah, heard of her trouble, and secured passage for her on the ship"Colorado." She sailed for America 28 Jul 1869, to join her sister, Jane, and 2 brothers, Thomas andJoseph. She divorced Thomas Whitehead before sailing. On this ship she met Octave Ursenbach whowas returning from a mission to Switzerland, and they were immediately attracted to each other.Sometime after arriving in Salt Lake City, they were married 8 Nov 1869, in the Endowment House inSalt Lake. They made their home here and a year later a son , Octave Fredrick, was born to them.Octave Ursenbach was born 22 Nov 1832 at Geneva, Vaud, Switzerland, to Jacques Daniel FredrickUrsenbach and Jean Sophie Ester Buvelot. He knew many hardships as a youth, being apprenticed at age13 to a cruel watchmaker. He worked hard tending this man's cattle while also learning the trade. For 5yrs he seldom had enough food or clothing, and was forced to sleep much of the time in the barn.
At the age of 22, Octave was converted to the LDS church and was baptized 12 Sep 1854. He sailed toAmerica on the "S.S. George Washington" on 27 Mar 1857. He lived in New York for one year, then witha group of returned missionaries, he came to Utah by mule team. They took an untraveled route toavoid Johnson's Army and had an extremely difficult journey, nearly freezing to death. When theyreached Salt Lake, it was deserted, except for men detailed to burn it should the Army come through.On 12 Nov 1859 he received his endowments and was sealed in the Endowment House in Salt Lake tohis first wife, Josephine de la Harpe, a widow with 2 children. He built a small house and started abusiness after much financial difficulty. He was finally successful in his trade as watchmaker and becamequite prominent. The Utah silk industry was started in 1868, fostered by President John Taylor, afterOctave imported silkworm eggs from France in 1863, and established a small cocoonery.Octave left April 1867 for a mission to Switzerland. His companion was Karl G. Maeser. They tried toopen up France for missionary work but failed. Octave was imprisoned in the Castle of Chillon in thesame dungeon where Lord Byron had been. This confinement caused him to be in very poor health,resulting in his early death. Just 4 months after Octave Fredrick, Octave's only child, was born to him andEliza Durrant, Octave passed away 26 Feb 1871, and was buried in Salt Lake City cemetery.18 Nov 1873, Eliza married George Compton, a friend whom she had known in England. They lived inMorgan, Utah for 17 yrs. He helped build the railroad and was a clerk in William's store. He was also CityRecorder for many years. No children were born to George and Eliza, but he was a very good father toEliza's two children, Sarah Jane and Octave Fredrick.Eliza was an unselfish and kind person. On 13 Jul 1874, Eliza went to the Endowment House and hadSarah and Emma, her 2 sisters who had died at the ages of 20 & 18, unmarried, sealed to her owndeceased husband, Octave Ursenbach.Eliza had an interesting life. She was an expert at making pillow lace, and some of her work won a prizeat the World's Fair. When the president of the US, Rutherford B. Hayes, and his wife were visiting SaltLake, the Relief Society presented a collar of lace to Mrs. Hayes, which had been made by Eliza. Shestudied medicine with Dr. Kohler in Morgan, and was very king and helpful to those who were ill.She was a very spiritual woman, and once when she was extremely ill, and had apparently passed away,her mother insisted that the Elders exercise their Priesthood and ask the Lord to bring her back so shecould raise her children. Eliza was revived, and she later testified that her husband, Octave, had met heron the other side and said "The Priesthood are exercising their power and you must return and raise ourfamily. I will come for you later."After this experience, her health was never good, and she eventually went quite deaf, which preventedher from being very active in church work. She lived until Sarah Jane was married and Octave Fredrickwas 20 yrs of age, then she passed away 8 Jan 1890, and was laid to rest in the Morgan Cemetery.1880 Morgan city, Morgan co, Utah census p510D: confirms date/place of birth

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