The past few weeks have held some very interesting walks of family history. The Sharp family has always been one of the most difficult lines. I will explain some of the reasons why later.
I have mentioned in past updates my interactions with Kent and Pat Nielsen of Provo, Utah. He contacted me for the first time several years ago. I found that he was a relative of mine. We share the common ancestors of Thomas and Elizabeth Cartwright Sharp. He was born in 1796
in Misson, Nottinghamshire in England. We don’t know exactly when he passed away, but his wife immigrated to the United States with her children. Sadly, she never made it all the way to the Utah Territory dying in St Louis in 1851.
We do not know with certainly what exactly the family’s plans were. William (1826-1900), my ancestor, joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1848. His sister, Isabella (1831-1904) joined in 1849 and is Kent’s ancestor. None of his other siblings joined the church but yet they made their way to the United States. We assume they came for the LDS cause since they embarked upon a ship predominately LDS. They finally arrived in St. Louis despite some considerable difficulties at sea in Nov 1850.
They stayed there for a time. They held together as a family but the draw for William and Isabella to be gathered with the Saints must have been strong. They eventually set out for Utah leaving behind them their non-LDS family (Their mother died in Feb 1851). In 1853, Isabella and William set out for Utah with their new spouses. They arrived in September of that year. Joseph and Isabella Carlisle settled in Millcreek, Salt Lake County. William and Mary Ann headed to Lehi, Utah County. (I leave behind the Carlisle family due to the fact that they have several individuals working on that line including Leanne Maynes, who I come to find out later was working with Kent.)
Difficulties with the water, cattle, and neighbors prompted them to move elsewhere. During the evacuation of Salt Lake from threats of the United States Government, they learned of open, available spaces in Weber County to the north. They made provisions and picked a place moving there the next spring in Mar 1859. Their daughter, Evelyn, is claimed to be the first white girl born in Plain City.
This is where things get a bit more difficult. They lived there and were actively involved in the community. William’s skills as a mason became useful and were employed often in the community. The family was also actively involved with dramatics and music as well. Somewhere in this time, discord became apparent in the area. Somewhere from about 1870 to about 1879, William and Mary Ann (Bailey) Sharp were excommunicated from the church. It is also notable to show that they were not the only ones. A list of individuals was read at a meeting in 1879 announcing their excommunication. Several prominent names from Plain City are on the list, including; Skeen, Dix, Musgrave, Singleton, Noyes, and Davis. There are many speculations for the reasons of this excommunication, but nothing is known or documented for sure.
Since we don’t know the exact excommunication date, we do not know how this played into the divorce of William and Mary Ann in 1876. We do
know that there was a group of former Anglicans who asked for a congregation of the Episcopalian Church to be organized in Plain City. William Sharp built their church and school for that purpose.
He would later remarry and would die in Mount Fort (Ogden). Mary Ann we know a little less about, but she would pass away in Plain City in 1913. With that as a backdrop, we can focus on some more contemporary family. Anne Sharp would marry in the Endowment House of Salt Lake in 1872 to Daniel Claiborne Thomas. Their family would for the most part remain active in the LDS church until the present. The other three children, Milo Riley Sharp, Evelyn Carlisle Sharp, and Victorine Mary Sharp would all remain away from the church for their lives.
Evelyn would marry James Henry Taylor and we still know little of their family. They would make their way to Oregon and they are hard to follow with little more than census locations. Victorine Mary Sharp would marry Robert Edward Maw. The Maw name is well known in West Weber. We still know relatively little concerning her family.
Milo Riley Sharp would marry Mary Ann Stoker in 1879. She was the daughter of William Thomas Stoker and Emma Eames. Her father joined the
LDS Church in 1852 with two siblings joining in 1860 and 1863. Her mother passed away in 1863 and that same year her family immigrated to the United States. They moved directly to Plain City. Due to financial difficulties, each of the children were raised by separate families.
Mary Ann Stoker was raised by the George and Victoria Musgrave family. (Her father would go on to remarry and raise another family.) It was
during this time she took on the name of Lilly Musgrave Stoker (some records show her as Lillian).
Milo Riley and Mary Ann would eventually have 12 children; Milo Ray, George, Effie, Delwin, Ernest, Austin, William Edward, Victorine, Mary
Irene, Edith, Ethel, and Emily. George, Effie, and Emily all died young. Their 11th child, Ethel Sharp, is my great grandmother.
The Sharp family has been one of the most difficult lines to connect. Ethel died in 1925 after giving birth to her 4th child. John Ross and his parents were not able to take care of the 3 children so they were separated among Ethel’s siblings. I have written more about this family at this link: Ross-Sharp Wedding.
Grandpa, the son of Ethel, has very few memories of his parents. He grew up with the Ed Sharp family, and for numerous reasons has refused
to speak of them. So any continuation of family stories or history has for the most part not jumped that break.
It was with interest that last year in corresponding with Leanne Maynes (Joseph and Isabella Carlisle descendent) that I learned she had some
contact with Mrs. Brenda Pett and Mrs. Carilee Sleight. I found out they were descendents of Milo Ray (Milo Riley and Mary Ann’s oldest child). I contacted them and initiated conversation. The information, history, and photos they were able to provide gave a catalyst to opening up the Sharp history.
With enough information and history on the Sharp line, I began to feel the connection and felt to pursue the family. The family although raised non-LDS would have several lines who would go on to become LDS. Only two of the children would join the church in their lifetime, Mary Irene and Victorine. Although many more lines would open up to becoming reclaimed through a spouse. For the most part, some of the difficulty
in the Sharp family is still one of a house divided. That introduced some difficulty in reconnecting the family and bringing them together. So I will tell of my experience with a couple of the lines.
Brenda and Carilee are both from Milo Ray’s family. They are a granddaughter and great granddaughter of Milo Ray respectively. It has been interesting to get to know them. Brenda is in charge of one of the family history libraries and her mother’s 40 years of accruing family history documents and history has been a valuable resource. We hope to take this more available to the family and that it can be the means of tying the family together through documentation. I visited with Brenda for some time this past weekend in touching base and looking to the future.
William Edward, known as Ed, married an active LDS woman and all their children were raised LDS. This is the family my Grandfather was raised
with, and probably the most familiar of all the Sharp lines. My personal interaction with Josephine Sharp Costley and Dean Sharp have provided the more human face to this family. Even though Dean passed away just last month, it has been interesting to interact with these lines at my Grandparents 60th anniversary and at my Grandmother’s funeral. I have corresponded with Delores Bair who was married to Ed’s son, who we call Eddie. She provided a great deal of information on the Eddie Sharp and Ed Sharp family line. I continue to actively pursue this line with Josephine Sharp Costley and Lois Sharp.
I received a phone call from Grandpa sometime last year informing me that a woman, Ms. Lynne Riddle had been to visit him asking for family
history information. Lynne is a granddaughter of Edith Sharp Martin. I have been in contact, but she seems to have fallen off the planet. She
will not return phone calls and e-mails. She was very anxious in corresponding earlier on. However it seems she got what she wanted and does not want to share. For what reasons I do not know. I do sense it may have a question with the LDS issue after her apparent upset at my
Grandfather imposing his testimony upon her. I do hope we can break any barrier that may or may not be in place.
Last weekend I visited with Mae Richardson, the youngest daughter of Mary Irene Sharp Richardson. Mary Irene was the first to join the LDS
church of the siblings. She joined in 1931. Her family were all raised LDS, but seem to have had no contact with the rest of the Sharp family
after about 1970. I just started sending out letters to those who I thought may be family of the Richardson family. I received a letter back from Mae telling me she was related, and informed me who the Richardson “in house genealogist” was. In phoned Mae and had a great conversation with her for over an hour. I also phoned Karen Knudsen, who is her niece, the one who apparently keeps the family history information for the Richardson family. I look forward to her first e-mail and corresponding and bringing that family back in communication. The most impressive thing about Mae was her memory. For being in her 80’s, she could still remember all her siblings birthdates and even locations for weddings, children’s birth locations, and much, much more.
I also relocated a connection through the Victorine Sharp Hunt family. I met Archie Hunt several times. Most notably I remember him from my
Grandma’s and Uncle Harold’s funerals. Who can forget a man who has two prosthetic legs? One cannot but honor and reverence a man who still
farms under those circumstances. I look forward to visiting with Archie and reestablishing those links.
So, there is a great deal of work to do in relation to the Sharp family. There are many descendants that are yet unaccounted for. There are many
questions and holes just in dates and information on the current family. Then the fleshing out of stories and life histories yet to be found. It is good that I am not going about this alone.