JANE HEATH SILCOCK

Jane Heath was born November 6, 1826 in Handley, Staffordshire, England. She was the eldest daughter of John Heath and Barbara Hulme. Her father was a decorator of china by trade. When she was about two years old her father was stricken with typhus fever, which left a nerve disability from which he never fully recovered. As a means of support her mother bought a baking business, which she personally conducted. After school and in holiday time, Jane worked in the shop or ran errands. At a very early age Jane would assist her mother when hired help would fail. She was a strong, healthy girl and matured early. She was educated in the schools at Handley and received a good common schools education together with plain and fancy needle work. She also learned knitting, plain and fancy stitches and shoe binding. She learned button hole making from a tailor. Dancing was one o f her many accomplishments. In the winter of 1840 and 1841, the Latter-day Saints came to Staffordshire, preaching the gospel as revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith. A great many people in the different towns and cities of Staffordshire investigated and embraced the gospel. One of the first families in Handley to accept the gospel was Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Poole. Mrs. Poole was a patron of the bakery shop. She would often stay and chat with Jane when she found her not busy. The gospel had made so much difference in their lives that Mrs. Poole interested Jane in the new faith. Mrs. Poole was anxious for the young girl to hear her husband read the Bible for she was sure that it sounded much different since the new gospel had come to England. One day Jane went to hear Mr. Poole read in company with Thomas Silcock, a young man who had made his home with the Heath family for the past six years. His mother died when he was a small child. He and five other brothers and sisters lived with their father until he died, then Thomas went to live with the Heath family and worked at carpenter work and any kind of labor he could find to make a living. When Mr. Poole read of the Savior’s baptism, Jane was converted to the necessity of baptism by immersion. It was necessary for the Savior to go down into the water and be baptized by John it was also necessary for her. Thomas Silcock, was a convert and was baptized, but Jane was young and had to wait for the consent of her parents. John Heath was strictly moral religious man and Jane did not dare go to meetings or apply for baptism without her father’s consent. When thoroughly convinced that it was her duty to be baptized, she asked her father’s consent and he replied, “Jane, you are too young to think of religion.” She said, “No father, I am not.” In her soul Jane felt she was right, but she adored her father, so would not oppose him. In solitude she besought her Heavenly Father, asking him to soften her father’s heart to the new creed. Jane returned to her father and asked for his consent, but was again refused. Not wholly disheartened Jane waited until along in the afternoon when she for the third time made the question a matter of prayer. The third time she asked, her father said, “Yes, Jane you may go.” That evening early in the month of March 1841, Jane in company with Mrs. Poole, went to Burslem, an adjoining town. Jane went down into the water and was baptized by one who had authority to perform that ordinance in this dispensation of the Gospel. Later on in the same evening she was confirmed a member in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Elder Wilford Woodruff.

On April 14, 1841, Jane Heath became the wife of Nicholas Thomas Silcock. After they were married, they continued to live with Jane’s family and Jane still helped her mother with the business. During the summer, her father’s last illness came and lasted for many weeks and all during that time her father clung to her and thought no one could lift or wait on him like Jane. On 8 September of 1841, John Heath passed away, having been an invalid for twelve years. Jane continued to help her mother with the business. On February 6, 1842, a son was born to Thomas and Jane and they named him Alma. On October 6, 1842 Thomas bade farewell to his wife and child, his friends and country in order to immigrate with the saints to Nauvoo. Jane continued to live with her mother, but in October 1843 Thomas sent for her to join him in Nauvoo, Illinois. Consequently she bid her friends and kindred goodbye and started her long journey across the Atlantic Ocean with a child one year and eight months old in her arms. Amos Fielding was the President of the Company of Saints. They sailed from Liverpool and went to New Orleans on the ship Champion which arrived in New Orleans 6 December 1843. They had a pleasant voyage of six weeks and three days. Arriving, in New Orleans the saints changed steamers and proceeded up the Mississippi River to enroute to Nauvoo. When Jane landed in New Orleans, she received a letter from her husband informing her that he had come down the river to meet her that she was to land at Island 69, Dickle County, Arkansas. On December 22, 1843 Jane reached her destination and found her husband in good health and he had employment for the winter. They spent their first winter among the planters on the plantations near the Mississippi River. Prior to this time in September 1842, Nicholas Thomas Silcock started on his long and tedious journey to the new world, covering a period of eleven weeks. On landing in America, Thomas and a fellow passenger, who had also left a young wife and child in England, found employment in New Orleans before proceeding up the river to St. Louis. When work started on the Nauvoo Temple, Thomas was employed there. His specialty was stair building and he built the spiral staircase in the temple. In the summer of 1843 Thomas sent for his wife to join him in America, during the voyage Jane’s baby had the measles. Thomas and Robert Pixton, who was also expecting his wife to arrive on the same boat with Jane, went down the river to meet their wives and obtained work making a kill of brick for a planter. Their wives arrived in December and they remained with the planters until spring. In May 1844, they took a steamer for Nauvoo where they arrived about May 15, 1844. They lived in a room in Parley P. Pratt’s house until they could build. They built a small one block from the temple. The change of climate broke Jane’s health and she never regained her health while she sojourned in the states. Soon after their arrival in Nauvoo they had the pleasure of meeting the Prophet Joseph Smith. They were in Nauvoo when the Prophet and Patriarch went to Carthage Jail and were martyred. They had the privilege of being present at the memorable meeting when the mantle of Joseph fell upon the Prophet Brigham Young and they testified with many others that verily he spoke with the voice of Joseph and looked like Joseph. This they testified to the rest of their lives. Jane said, that the happiest time of her life was while she was watching the workman hurry the temple to completion. Jane sold spare clothing to buy food so that Thomas might do his part in the great building. Thomas was chosen to help do the hand carving on the finishing of the

temple. During their sojourn in Nauvoo they met the Prophet’s mother. Jane had the pleasure of spending an afternoon in her company with other sisters in the home of Parley P. Pratt. They had a very pleasant visit and each one present gave the guest of honor some token of remembrance. They also were at a meeting one Sunday afternoon when President Young had Sister Lucy Mack Smith speak from the pulpit. She said her heart was with the saints, but she was so feeble she would like to stay and be buried with her dead. On August 2, 1845, Thomas and Jane had a daughter born and named Elizabeth Jane. Late in the fall 1845 Jane’s mother, Barbara Hulme Heath, and her three brothers, Henry, Thomas and Fredrick came from England. January 1846 they received their endowments and were sealed in the Nauvoo Temple. They witnessed the westward march of the church authorities, who crossed the river on the ice and turned their faces westward and started in search of a resting place for the saints. They were at the dedication of the Nauvoo Temple. They said over the pulpit in large gold letters was written, “THE LORD HAS BEHELD OUR SACRIFCE, FOLLOW AFTER US.” Shortly after the completion of the temple, they bid adieu to the beautiful city of Nauvoo, leaving everything standing in the house. Taking only such things as could be taken aboard a steamboat Thomas and Jane Silcock and their two children also turned west. They took a steamer up the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers to St. Joseph, Missouri. They expected to continue to Fort Leavenworth, but while in St. Joseph they learned of the Mexican War. They heard that the government intended to discontinue their improvements at Fort Leavenworth, consequently it would have been useless for them to continue their journey there in search of work. What could they do? Where could they go to obtain employment in order to live and also to get an outfit to cross the plains? This was the great object in view, always. After counseling together Jane proposed to go back down the river to St. Louis. Worn and weary from useless wandering and with a sick child in her arms that had to be nursed on a pillow, they arrived in St. Louis. Here they found food and shelter, but before Thomas could find work, the baby, Elizabeth Jane, died August 17, 1845. Alone in a strange city without friends or work and little money left, they were indeed in sore straights. But they had friends raised up to minister to their wants in time of need. Jane soon found friends who gave her work and in that way she was able to earn enough money to supply their needs until Thomas could get work. In the fall of 1846 (Oct 20th) they received a letter from a friend in Winter Quarters, informing them of the death of Jane’s mother, Barbara Heath. She and her three sons were in Bishop Hunter’s Company and were on their way west. This was indeed a sad blow and Jane felt that she could not be reconciled to this great loss. On Sept. 6, 1847, the second daughter was born, Barbara Ann. During their sojourn in St. Louis they had to live on high land away from the river or Jane had chills and fever. Jane was never in good health and could not do hard work. She was a good needle woman, however; and could always get sewing to do and in that way made friends and earned means to help toward an outfit to cross the plains. At last Thomas went to work at the boat yard and served his time to learn to be a ship carpenter and then he followed the river for some time between St. Louis and New Orleans. Jane would be

alone with her children for weeks at a time. All this time she would fill in with her sewing. On April 10, 1849, their little daughter, Barbara Ann, died very suddenly. She was taken sick at 2 p.m. and an hour later she was laid out a corpse. This was another blow and one from which they thought they could not recover. The summer 1840 was destined long to be remembered, for during that summer an epidemic of cholera broke out in St. Louis and its surrounding area. There was sickness and on every hand. During this trying time Thomas was out of work. He had been appointed to preside over the six wards in St. Louis and he spent his time among the sick and dying and when the plague was stayed, they found they had need to be thankful indeed and they took courage once more. After the plague had passed, grandfather (Thomas) got work at a sugar refinery where he worked until the following spring. On December 4, 1849 they had another son, Thomas, born. A few days later Jane took a chill and milk leg set in and she was sick all winter of 1849 and 1850. Bishop Hunter, in passing through St. Louis, called to see them and said to grandfather (Thomas), “you must get her (speaking of Jane) out of this or you will have to leave her here. Get her to the mountains where she can bathe in the Salt Lake and breathe that mountain air.” About May 1, 1850, they left St. Louis after a sojourn there of nearly four years. They were going to join the saints in the Rocky Mountains. When they started on this journey with their other things they had a small wooden box which contained a zinc coffin containing the remains of their second daughter, Barbara Ann, who had died so suddenly more than a year before. They had buried her out in the country where they had friends living. When the time came for them to resume their journey they took the body along, in order to bury it with her grandmother, Barbara Heath, in Winter Quarters. When they reached Winter Quarters they were unable to find the grandmother’s grave, so this dear child after being carried so far was laid to rest in the Kanesville Cemetery. The reason for them carrying the body with them was that when their first little daughter, Elizabeth Jane, died soon after they reached St. Louis they buried her St. Louis cemetery and measured and marked the spot as best they could, so later they could mark it with a head stone as soon as they could earn the means to do it. To their dismay when they went back to mark the grave they were unable to find it. It was never marked with a stone and that is the reason why they carried the other little body with them when they left St. Louis. When they were crossing the Platte River the wagon started to sink and they had to unload some of the heavier things in the river. Among them were Thomas’s valuable tools and a fur coat of mole skin. In due time they arrived at Council Bluffs. There had been a very hard winter, dry and cold, and a very late spring and the companies were late starting out for fear of finding no feed for the stock. After waiting for some weeks the drought continued. A special meeting was called by Apostle Orson Hyde who was presiding there at the time. The meeting was called for Sunday afternoon for the saints to exercise faith for rain to be sent, that the grass might grow and the saints might take up their journey. The people assembled and after meeting was called to order, Elder Hyde explained the object of the meeting and told the people to pray with him. Then he led in prayer and it was a prayer long to be remembered by those who took part. After the prayer the services were continued for some time. At the close of the meeting clouds were gathering and before all the people reached their wagons and tents the rain drenched the parched ground. July 4, 1850, Edward Hunter’s Company left for the west and Salt Lake. In the company traveled the Silcock family, as well as a widow and her son. The widow acted as a helper and cook, because

when Jane left St. Louis she was unable to walk but very little. Travel improved Jane’s health so that by the time they arrived at the end of their journey she had recovered her health. Abut three days journey from Salt Lake, Jane’s eldest brother, Henry Heath, met the company. He had brought with him a fresh yoke of oxen and by this help they arrived in Salt Lake October 4, 1850, some days ahead of the company. After arriving in Salt Lake, they went direct to home of Doctor Sprague. Jane spent two or three days visiting with the Doctor and Mrs. Sprague. After which they camped on the lot Henry Heath, her brother, had secured for them. It was located north toward the warm springs in the 19th Ward. Her brother had a lot adjoining and they made preparation to build a house. Soon Thomas had a building under way. It consisted of two rooms and an entry built of adobe. They were able to live in the house during the coldest weather. In February 1851 Jane’s eldest brother married Sarah Ann Bird. Move to Tooele About the last of March, Jane, Thomas and their two sons and Jane’s two younger brothers moved to Tooele. Tooele was just a small Fort near the mouth of the canyon, but in consequence of trouble with the Indians the Fort was moved during 1851 so that it would be further from the mouth of the canyon. This would enable the white people to guard the Fort from the Indians more successfully. The family resided here for one year and six or seven months. After the Fort was moved, Thomas built a one room house of hewn logs, had it finished and made very comfortable, with home-made furniture, consisting of table, cupboard and bestead. It was all so nice for the little daughter Martha, who was born 30th of April 1852. Back to Salt Lake and Grasshoppers In October 1852 the family moved back to Salt Lake and located in the 6th Ward, on 6th South between second and third and third west. They resided here for over five years. During this time Jane’s two younger brothers were married. Jane had two daughters born, Esther on March 25, 1854, and Rosena January 27, 1856. They passed through the scarce time caused by the visit of the grasshoppers. This was the summer of 1856, and it was a very trying time until harvest. Jane was able to minister to her husband as Sarah of old, for in April 1855 she gave her husband another wife under the new and everlasting covenant. This was Harriet Bebbington. Harriet was too old at the time to have any children, but she was a godmother to all of the girls by Jane. The first baby that was born to Jane after Harriet came into the family was named Rose Harriet, (Rosena) after her in order to show that there was no hard feelings. Adapting to frontier life All this time Jane was adapting herself to frontier life. She could cut and make men’s clothes and was quite an expert seamstress. Jane made all her baby shoes and would make shoes for her friends and neighbors and this prevented many from going barefoot. She would make shoes for herself and her daughters so that they did not have to go to meeting barefoot. Jane made soap and candles and would scour yarn and dye it. Although she never spun or wove Jane became quite a supervisor of such work, under her roof. In the fall of 1857 Thomas was called to go to Echo Canyon. He was gone three months and left on short notice. Jane had herself and five children to provide for. When she found that she could not collect some of his summer earnings she just turned her hand to work and earned such things

as she needed and on his return from the canyon Jane had not run her husband into debt. Thomas helped build the Lion House, the Beehive House and the Salt Lake Temple. The children all helped to clear sage brush for farming. Move to Grantsville and the coming of Johnston’s Army In February 1858 the Silcock’s family moved to Grantsville, Tooele County. On the 4th of April 1858 a daughter, Almira Heath (who later married Alexander Shellington Henderson), was born. About the first of May, Jane had to leave her home once more with just what they could put on the wagon. Everything else was packed and ready for the torch if such a sacrifice was necessary at the coming of Johnston’s army. Jane stayed for some time at the old English Fort in Taylorsville. From there they went to the Jordan River three miles below Lehi, Utah. Thomas moved a boat from Salt Lake to Utah Lake for Dan Jones. From here they went to Provo and camped on the Provo River not far from Utah Lake until Thomas finished the boat. On the 4th of July word came to the travelers to return home. They turned their faces homeward. Life on the frontier-Hard times Jane assisted in every way she could in order to get a start in a new country. She got a start of sheep and took care of cows on shares. On the 5th of November 1859 another daughter, Sarah was born. Again milk leg set in, so that Jane was in doors all winter. Even then she was not idle. When not suffering too much Jane would knit as she lay in bed and when able to sit by the fire she would gather her children around her and teach them the alphabet and to count. By this means she helped to pass the time away and be useful. In the later part of the summer of 1860 Jane’s ten year old son, Thomas, was run over with a very heavy wagon loaded with hay. He was seriously injured, but recovered in a short time. On the 4th of October 1861 another daughter, Paulina, was born. Soon after this Thomas started with a load of freight to Ruby Valley, Nevada. He was gone six weeks. During this time Jane took a relapse and was very seriously ill. She was nearly recovered by the time her husband returned. On the 2nd of August 1863 their oldest son, Alma was married to Mary Ann Hudson. On the 17th of August 1863, a son, John Walter, was born to Jane & Thomas. On the 29th of May 1864 their first grandson, was born. Three months later their oldest son, Alma, was killed, having been accidently shot with the new baby in his arms. He died twenty hours after the accident. He was buried in Rhodes Valley, about 50 miles from Salt Lake. In Grantsville the family farmed and hauled timber from the canyon. There is still a canyon named Silcock Canyon at Tooele. Thomas was presiding elder for seven years while they lived there. Move to West Jordan The 7th of May 1865, the family left Grantsville and located in West Jordan Ward. They endured more pioneering hardships and privations. They reached their destination the 18th of May 1865 and the 25th of July she had a daughter, Nina Etta, born. The following winter was a very hard one and very lonely. They lived far from any neighbors and Thomas was away from home to work. Most of the time Jane did not despair, but did all she could to help in such isolation by sewing, spinning, weaving, taking milk cows on shares. They had taken up a quarter of land on the banks of the Jordan River. They lived for the time being in one log room and a dug out. At this time there were only six families from the Jordan Narrows to

West Jordan. Later Thomas took up a homestead. During the summer of 1868 Jane had a spell of sickness that lasted two months. On the 25th of January 1869, her oldest daughter, Martha, was married to Robert Pixton. On the 8th of September 1869, Jane had another son, William Hulme, born and still it was a struggle in their surroundings to keep the wolf from the door. A New Home In 1870 and 1871 they had quite a number of cows on shares and by this helped her daughters. Jane got three adobe rooms added to their one log room that had been their only shelter for more than six years. Just before the house was ready to move into a son, Samuel Ephraim, was born on the 5th of September 1871. The baby was born in the dugout, which was a great disappointment at the time, but she made the best of it and when she was able to get up her daughters moved her and the baby to the new house. One girl wheeled Jane in the wheel barrow and the other carried the baby. They did this to surprise Thomas when he was away from home. They suffered no inconvenience from this journey. When the baby was a month old they went to Salt Lake to get shoes and supplies for the family. They were caught in a cold fall rain storm on the way home. They sat down in the bottom of the wagon and covered up until they reached home with the supplies. Neither Jane nor her babies caught cold. In the winter 1872 Jane had a very severe spell of sickness, but she regained her health and planned how she would get work for herself and daughters. In the summer of 1873 the house was plastered inside, having been without plaster for two years. During the summer of 1873, when the threshing was under way they found they needed more room to store grain. Jane said she would clear out one of the bedrooms for the grain. It seemed so good to have a good crop after so many years of waiting and struggling to get along with a big family. Now, they had their homestead and the water to it and part of it was under cultivation. On the 12th of October 1879, their daughter Rosena Silcock Dansie died leaving two children. Jane took them home with her and cared for them for nearly a year. Jane’s Callings in the Church About this time South Jordan Ward was organized. Jane was called to act as a visiting teacher in the South Jordan Relief Society. On the 1st of February 1880, a branch was organized and called Riverton. When the Sunday School was organized Jane was appointed teacher of the Book of Mormon class. Soon after this she was called to act as President of the Relief Society of the Riverton Branch. She served faithfully in this office for sixteen years. More losses of children October 5, 1881, her youngest son, Samuel Ephraim, died at the age of ten with diphtheria and on the 7th of November another son, John Walter, eighteen years old followed of the same dreaded disease. This was indeed a sad blow from which Jane never would have recovered if it had not been for the great faith she had in the gospel. She said as Job of old, “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, Blessed be the name of the Lord.” In October 1890 their daughter, Sarah Silcock Bowld, died leaving five children and Jane was still able to minister to the motherless for she did her best to care for the helpless and those in need. April 1893, they attended the dedication services of the Salt Lake Temple. In November 1896, their daughter, Almira Heath Silcock Henderson, died leaving thirteen children. The two oldest were married and the other eleven were at home. The two youngest were twin boys seven months old. After burying this daughter, Jane remarked to Thomas as they returned home, that

they had lived to lay the biggest half of their family away. In 1899, Jane had a grandson, Seth Pixton, son of Martha & Robert Pixton, go on a mission to England, her native land. Jane continued her labors in the Relief Society until some time in 1900, when she was released. In July 1901, she had the pleasure of welcoming her returned missionary home again. Although the only grandson, he was the only one of her family to go to the nations of the earth to preach the Gospel and Jane felt to rejoice in having this privilege. Early in January 1902, Jane met with an accident. The horse she had been driving started too quick and consequently Jane was dragged a short distance and was shaken up and bruised. Jane got up and un-harnessed the horse and put him in the stable. She walked to the house, but the end came and she failed more rapidly. Thomas Silcock was the first Presiding Elder of Riverton and served as a home missionary all over the county. They had fifteen children and one stillborn, thirteen living past the age of 8. They were Alma, Thomas, Martha, Esther, Rosena, Almira, Sarah, Paulina, John, Nina, Nicholas, William, and Samuel. Jane died April 27, 1902 and Thomas died May 10, 1906. When Thomas said grace or family prayers he would always say, “Hasten the day of thy Judgment, Lord, and he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” Originally typed by Jewell Dansie Feb 25, 1966 Taken from a biographical sketch by Martha Silcock Pixton. Italics indicate text added by Marie Arnold.

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