Thomas and Margret Mordecae Watkins are pleased to announce the marriage of their daughter Margret to David Jordan, son of Benjamin and Mary Evans Jordan. David and Margaret were married 21 September 1839 in Merthyr-Tydfil, Glamorganshire, Wales.
Much of the history below is taken from the sketch written by David and Margret’s granddaughter Martha Evans Anderson (1870-1930). I have fleshed it out with dates and additional detail from source documents.
Margret Watkins was born 10 September 1816 in Merthyr-Tydfil. She is believed to be the second of 5 children born to Thomas and Margret Watkins. We really do not know a whole lot about Thomas and Margret Watkins. A number of stories have survived which are shared below.
David Jordan was born 7 February 1820 in Merthry-Tydfil. He is the first of four known children born to Benjamin and Mary Jordan. Just like Margret’s parents, we really do not know much about this family. At least minimal family history dates or stories have come down regarding either line.
Benjamin and Mary Jordan “were of a religious turn of mind and taught the Bible when he was just a boy, refined and of a gentle manner.” Mary Jordan passed away in April 1843 when the family was still young. The family consisted of David, Jane, Sarah, and John. The Jordans were “a very refined and considered High Class people and of a high moral and religious character. They were always proud of their personal appearance, always well dressed.” The brothers were “devoted brothers, they lived and worked together with kind and friendly for each other. When David and Margaret had children they all lived as a loving family together…this brother was named John Jordan.”
We really do not know anything of the Courtship between David Jordan and Margret Watkins. “At this times Wales was in a prosperous condition and David and Margret were soon settled in which was very comfortable and spacious. They had an extra room so that his father and one brother could live with them in their home. His father lived only two weeks, when he died. His brother continued to live with David and his wife.”
“Margret (Watkins) Jordan lost her mother when she was very young, leaving her father with a family of small children. While the family was without the mother’s care, Margret met with an accident which left her with a crippled arm for the rest of her life. This happened when she was about 2 years old…when her sister was carrying her on her back, when she slipped and fell. Margret cried for days from pain before they learned that she had a broken arm at the elbow. It had already started to set, it had been so long since it happened that they thought the child could not stand to have it rebroken and set properly, so it was never properly taken care of.”
“Margret’s father married again and brought into their home a most worthy and wonderful new mother to the children. Grandmother used to tell us that she never remembered her real mother but their step mother was all that our real mother could have been.”
“When Margret was still in her teens and because of her crippled arm, she was apprenticed in a school for sewing. The sewing at that time was all done by hand, they had no sewing machines. Margret took to that kind of work very readily and was very satisfied to become a very good seamstress, while still a very young woman. She was able to construct some of the finest work in the area.”
“Margret had a blind brother who learned to play the harp. He was often requested to play, to entertain for groups at entertainments. He carried his harp with him everywhere he went. He was employed to play at different places and went alone to his employment places with his harp. He became very popular and was loved by all his friends and family.”
“Margret continued to follow her trade as a seamstress after her marriage to Grandfather David Jordan, because she was very popular among the people of her community for her sewing. As her family duties increased on her time, they had six children, two of which died in infancy, she gave up a lot of her sewing and devoted most of her time and energies to her family responsibilities.”
“David and Margret were among the very first in their area to embrace [T]he Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They were baptized [18 January 1849]. Their children all grew up in the church.”
At this time there was a large branch of the Mormon church in their area of Wales. “Their family was very faithful and devoted to their new church. David was a good singer and also a composer and poet.” He composed a number of beautiful poems. One song was in honor of the Prophet Joseph Smith. “As children, we remember hearing him sing this beautiful song, the music was very sweet and the words were all in Welsh. We only understood it in part, but there was just something about the song that touched us very deeply.”
When they embraced the LDS church they had two little children, Mary and her older sister Gwyn who were 3 and 5 years old. They were raised in the LDS church and were baptized when they reached 8 years old.
David and Margret’s first son was Thomas Jordan born December 1840 in Merthyr-Tydfil and dying June 1841. We know very little about this little boy.
The first daughter was Gwenlliam Jordan born 2 August 1842 in Merthyr-Tydfil. She was baptized in August 1851.
The second daughter was Mary Watkins Jordan born 5 December 1844 in Merthyr-Tydfil. She was baptized 1 January 1852.
“David was a coal miner. He and his brother went to work every day in the coal mines. They were paid good wages at the time, so they did very well economically.”
“One day David’s shift in the mine interfered with his Priesthood meeting so he traded shifts with a friend of his. He was the secretary of his group and felt like he should attend his Priesthood meeting. Grandmother Margret told us that she remembers the incident very well. It was a beautiful day and all was peaceful and calm. Then at 9:30 am word came there had been an explosion in the mine. People rushed to the place and it was soon learned that a large number of miners had lost their lives in the explosion and among them was David’s friend who was working in his place. This was a great sorrow for David. He loved this man very much and he was there instead of David.”
“As time went on, conditions changed. Little by little the miner’s wages were reduced causing hard times. Then there were strikes putting them out of work entirely for months.”
“Their two girls had by now grown into their teens. They found employment and became independent. There was also two little boys in the family.” These two boys would have been David and Thomas.
Charles Jordan was born 3 November 1848 in Merthyr-Tydfil. He died in December 1848.
Margret Jordan was born 26 Jul 1850 in Aberdare, Glamorganshire, Wales. She died in June 1852.
David Moiah Jordan was born 7 June 1854 in Merthyr-Tydfil.
Thomas Jordan was born 17 March 1857 in Merthyr-Tydfil.
Ann Watkins Jordan was born in 1861 and we do not know how long she lived.
“Margret now returned to her sewing again to support the family during the hard times. In a few years, the two girls got married and came to Utah, leaving their parents and the two brothers in Wales. This happened in 1864.”
I have previously written about Gwenlliam Jordan and her marriage to David D Williams at this link.
“David and Margret had now been members of the LDS church for 20 years. They were however very happy and contented until their daughters left for America. They were also making every effort to join their daughters in Utah.
“Then they were made very sad by the death of their youngest son. He was 11 years old. Many of the members of their church had gone to Utah and they were feeling lonesome and sad.” David Moiah Jordan died 14 October 1865.
“The Elders that served as missionaries in their area always found a big welcome in the Jordan home, even in the middle of the night would stop by and found a welcome and told them that it was like coming home.”
“They themselves were making every effort to prepare to go to Utah themselves. They were planning to sail with the next company of Saints that were to leave by ship for New York.”
“It was now 9 years since their two daughters had gone to Utah. One day the Elders called on them and told them that the next ship would sail in three weeks. They counted their money which they had saved and it was not enough. So they decided that they would have to wait for a later sailing date, until they could accumulate some more funds.”
“When they had secured the money they needed, they sent word to their daughters of their plans so they would expect them.” The Jordan’s departed 29 July 1872 from Liverpool, Lancashire, England.
“After a lazy and weary journey crossing the Atlantic Ocean, they landed in New York City, on the 13th of August 1872 and remained in New York with their 15 year old son. They found employment and remained there until October. They received a letter from their 2 daughters containing money for them to continue to Utah. Some of the money came from their daughter Mary’s husband, who sold his team of horses to get the money to send to them.”
They arrived in Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah on 10 November 1872 “after visiting in Ogden with their oldest daughter Gwenie Williams, and then they continued on to Brigham City where their daughter Mary Evans lived. It is useless to try and describe how happy they all were to be back together again after 9 years of being apart, and praying for the time when they could all be together in Zion.”
David and Gwenllian Williams
“The first winter in Utah was very hard on them because of the extreme cold temperatures and the abundance of snow. It was particularly hard on Grandfather David because he was used to working underground in the coal mines of Wales.”
“Their daughter Mary and her husband William Evans were living in their two room log cabin at 1st East and 3rd South, just one half block south of the First Ward Meetinghouse. They had 4 children by now, Margret, Mary Jane, Martha, and Abraham, who was just one week old when their grandparents arrived in Brigham City from Wales. These newly arrived grandparents remained with William and Mary and their 4 children in their small home the rest of the winter of 1872.”
“At this time the railroad was being built from Ogden to Logan and the three men, Grandfather Jordan, son-in-law William, and the 15 year old son (Thomas) of David and Margret Jordan, all found work building for the railroad. It was very difficult for David and his son to endure working out in the awful cold weather through that first winter.”
“Two years later, William Evans purchased another house on a large lot. The house had 4 rooms in the Third Ward at the corner of 3rd West and 3rd North. It was on the northwest corner of the intersection. When they moved into the bigger house with their 4 children, they sold the old house to David and Margret who lived in their log home for the rest of their lives.”
“They lived comfortable and made it very attractive and comfortable. They were neat and tidy people and they kept a beautiful garden which they were very proud of and they produced a lot of products for their table.”
“They were very interesting people to talk to and had many interesting and the conditions and memories of their lives in Wales and the extensive knowledge and testimony of the gospel, made it always a pleasure to visit with them.”
“As time went on they worked at many different things that there was to do around Brigham at that time, which was all real hard labor.”
David and Margret attended the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah to receive their own endowments on 10 October 1878. David and Margret were sealed to each other the same day.
“Their son Thomas grew into manhood and they decided that they would build themselves a better house. They erected the foundation and bought as much of the material for the house as they could the first year, with hopes that the next year they thought and hoped that they could continue building the house.”
“However, the winter came and there was no work to be had for them. Their son Thomas decided to go to Evanston, Wyoming to work, putting up ice, and they had some relatives. He obtained employment in one of the coal mines near by. He was doing well and was very happy there with the thought that he would be able to help his parents with their new home building.”
“This was not to be because Thomas was severely injured in an accident and word was sent to his parents at Brigham City. His father, David, went to Evanston to see his son but Thomas died just one hour before his father arrived on February 28, 1880.”
“This was a great sorrow to Thomas’ family and destroyed all their hopes for completing their home building plans. When spring came, David sold all the building materials that he had accumulated for their new home, spent the rest of their lives in the original small log house.”
“Their sorrow over the loss of their son weighed so heavily upon them that it changed their life’s hopes for the future. However, their faith and convictions in the gospel and the LDS Church which they accepted in Wales; and the trust in their Heavenly Father never failed them. Faithfully they continued to attend all their church duties and their testimonies grew and were wonderful to hear them speak.”
“Grandfather David was able to adapt himself to most any kind of employment; and with the products of their well kept garden and the fruit that he raised in the years at their home, they had a comfortable living.”
“They also took a great interest in the Temple work of the church and were some of the first to attend the new Logan Temple after its dedication in 1877.”
“They had their family genealogy all in order so that when the temple was ready, so were they. They traveled to Logan often to do temple ordinances for the members of their family and stayed a week at a time on many occasions to do this temple work.”
“This work of love continued until David’s health began to fail, but he continued to obtain information and prepare records on the members of their family for the work to be done in the temple for their dead ancestors.”
David and Margret were sealed to all their children in the Logan Temple 27 June 1888. Gwenlliam and Mary were both happy to be physically present for the occasion. All of the other children had passed away prior.
“Grandfather David Jordan’s life came to a peaceful end November 26, 1893 in Brigham City, Utah. So peaceful and sweet was his passing away that our family can be proud of that dear old Grand Sire. He was the first fruits of the gospel in our family.”
“Grandmother Margret was not the last one in their little home, and she felt the loss of her companion very keenly, but she was visited and comforted by her living daughter and grandchildren. She wanted to continue living along in their home.”
“It had been 25 years since she and her dear husband came to live in that little log cabin; and there she wanted to stay until she could go to join her dear departed companion.”
“She lived another 7 years after her husband died.”
Mary Jordan Evans, LaVan Jones, Margret Evans Jones, Margret Jordan
“She died November 19, 1902, at home in Brigham City, Utah. She was buried in the Brigham City Cemetery beside her beloved husband.
A side note at the end of the above: “This was written by granddaughter Martha Evans. This story was copied from a note book, in the hand writing of Martha Evans.” “It is probably a repetition of the story I have previously translated from his hand-written record that I have previously had translated and distributed some years ago. However, I am sure that it is more more in detail than the one I translated previously because there is much more of it. Yours truly, Wesley Anderson 10 May 1986”
Gwenlliam passed away 3 September 1900 in Slaterville, Weber, Utah. Mary passed away 8 December 1923 in Brigham City.