Maria Ann Cook Bezzant was born at Lowestoft, Soffolk Co. Engl. on March 27, 1837. She was the daughter of Cotton and Emily Green Cook. Her father was a Methodists Minister and she was raised in a very religious home. Her parents were very sincere in their belief, especially her father and he raised his family to always attend Sunday School and church and devote themselves to the spiritual side of life. At the age of eight she won a prayer book for repeating scripture in church.
As she grew older she heard the Mormon Elders preach and became very interested. Her family were very bitter toward the Mormons, although they were very good hearted people and very sincere their belief. Regardless of the hatred which her parents showed toward the church she believed the Mormon Elders and had faith in their teachings. At the age of twenty, she joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and was sent away from home by her father. She left every relative she had for the gospel she believe to be true. She was the only one of the family of seven children to join the Church.
After leaving home she went to London where she belonged to the Goswell Branch Road. It was here in London that she met her husband, he being at that time Pres. Of the Goswe1l Road Branch. She worked in London and saved her money which she put in the Immigration fund until she got enough to pay her way to America.
She left London on the forth of June 1864 and sailed on the ship Hudson. There were 1100 passengers 1000 being saints. On the ship they organized the saints into fourteen wards Each ward had two teachers and each night and morning meetings were held where they would sing and pray. They were six weeks across the ocean.
After landing in America, they road on the train as far as the Missouri river. It was at the close of the Civil War and the trains were used for soldiers. The saints had to ride in cattle cars. One car in which they were riding caught on fire from cinders. It was exciting for them and if it hadn’t been for a brother Rass who walked across the tops of the cars to the engine and had the car switched off, they might have all been burned to death.
After reaching the Missouri River they were organized into companied under two captains, Hyde and Snow. Maria was in Captain Snow’s company. There was only room for the older people and chi1dren to ride the younger people had to walk. Maria walked all the way from the Missouri River to Salt Lake. In the evenings they would hold meetings and sing, trying to make the journey as pleasant as possible. Many became discouraged before the journey was over and some of the older people died from the cold and hardships.
They arrived in Salt Lake City about the first of Nov. 1864. Mother lived with the family of William Ward in Salt Lake the first winter. She married Matthew Bezzant the following spring in Pleasant Grove. They were married by Bishop John Brown. To this union there were five children, Alfred, Emilyn, Martha, Joseph, and Mary. She made her home in Pleasant Grove for a few years and later moved to Lindon where she raised her family and where her husband died Feb. 14, 1891.
She worked in different organizations of the church, being a Sunday school teacher fro many years and was Relief Society teacher at the time of her death. She spent much time among the sick and was always ready to help where there was trouble or death.
An interesting incident in her life and one that impressed her very much was a dream shortly after the death of her parents. It seemed in this dream that her father was very anxious to get across a high mountain but was impossible to get any farther without mother’s help. He kept calling to her telling her to hurry because it would soon by sundown and too late to cross over. She interpreted this dream as meaning she should do temple work for her family and in order for her father to progress on in the spirit world he must have his work done. Form then on she took great job in doing temple work for her relatives.
She was a good kind mother always ready to sacrifice for her family. She was a good neighbor and friend and a faithful Latter Day Saint. She died April 13, 1917.
Correction: Maria was in Captain Hyde’s company, not Captain Snow’s. Thanks to Mary Jean Caldwell for pointing that out.