Thursday, April 28, 2011

John A. Lewis 1814-1887

John A. Lewis was born December 11, 1814, in Llandaff, Glamorganshire, Wales. His parents were Edmund Lewis and Amelia Preece. He was the third child from a family of three, his siblings being: Edmund and John.

John A. married Ann John in 1834, in Cardiff, Glamorganshire, Wales. They had seven children: Ann, June 25, 1835; Fred, born 1837; Mary November 22, 1839; Amelia, February 20, 1842; Frederick, May 29, 1844; and twins William and Preece, January 6, 1847.

He was a rock mason by trade and a mater builder. He and his brother, Edmund built the Cardiff Docks. He owned and operated a store, owned and leased twelve houses, and accumulated quite a fortune. He had private tutors and a governess for his children. He was educated as a Wesleyan minister.

His wife, Ann, died May 10, 1850, in Cardiff, Wales. John A. Married Priscilla Phillips Merriman in August of 1851, in Wales. She had a little girl, Louise Mary, from a previous marriage and she was also caring for her dead sister's daughter, Caroline Mathews. He welcomed them all into his home. They had a daughter Amelia, born in June of 1852.

He studied the gospel, carefully, for nearly tow years; he was baptized in November of 1852.

The family decided to join the Saints in Utah. Before leaving Cardiff, John A. was desirous of buying a home in Utah so they would have a place to go when they arrived. A missionary recommended a nice farm and home that he owned; John paid $500 for it.

He and his family left Cardiff by train for Liverpool, England, on January 22, 1854. In Liverpool, John A. secured a first-class passage for his entire family on the ship, Colconda, and set sail for the United States on January 25, 1854. The Golconda was a sailing vessel and some days the high winds would drive them back farther than they had progressed the previous day.

They arrived at New Orleans on March 16, 1854. After a short stay, John A. secured first-class passage on the boat, John Simmons and sailed up the Mississippi River. They were delayed for a while because the boat became stranded on a sand bar. Upon arriving in St. Louis, Missouri, they were taken to the campground on the outskirts of town, where the Saints were camped, preparing to go to Utah.

After about three months of preparation and delay, they started their journey across the plains. John A. and Priscilla had their second child, John Samuel, born July of 1854, on the the plains of Nebraska. They traveled in the Darwin Richardson Company. They arrived in teh Salt Lake Valley on September 30, 1854.

When he and his family reached the valley, they found that the nice farm he had purchased was covered with sage brush and there was no house on the property. John A. told Brigham Young how he had been deceived. When Brigham Young held council, the man promised to pay the money back, but he never did. He did, however, give John A. a pair of mules and a buggy. A number of years later, when the man was on his death bed, he sent for John A. and begged his forgiveness, which was granted.

John A. and his family first settled in Brigham City, Utah. John planted peach trees and he used to say that he had the first tree to bear peaches in that city. Some of the old rock buildings and walls located in Willard were built by John A. and his son Frederick.

When Johnston's Army came in 1858, the family moved to Spanish Fork. Their home was a neat, white, four-room house which was located on Main Street. It had a high board fence around it and had beautiful flowers adorning the yard. They grew all kinds of apples and many other kinds of fruit trees.

John A. and his son, Frederick, traveled to Salt Lake City to work on the wall around the temple block.

He brought and financed the passage of twenty-five families to America, but received very little in return payments. He lost his fortune, but he never lost his faith in the Gospel.

John A. was sealed to Gwen Morgan in December of 1867. She was an elderly lady, who was referred to as Grandma Morgan. She died in July of 1882.

His wife, Priscilla, died in June of 1887. John A. Lewis died November 4, 1887, in Spanish Fork, Utah, Utah. He is buried in the Spanish Fork Cemetery next to his wives, Priscilla and Gwen.

This record was compiled from the Daughters of the Pioneers Archives in June 2001 by Louise Crandall Huefner and Rebecca Huefner Chapman.

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