Matthew Bezzant

Matthew Bezzant was born in Broadtown, Wiltshire, England Aug. 10, 1826. He was reared a member of the Church of England. While still a boy he moves to Wales where he was employed by Squire Surrage, as a farmer for fourteen years. He was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints by Elder John George. The exact date of his baptism is unknown.

He was married to Ann Savior and four children were born to them. In the sixties he acted as President of the Cragun Hill Branch. He conducted man street meetings. His son Mark usually accompanied him to the meetings. At one time he was rotten egged and driven from the street.

In 1860 he prepared to take his family to Utah, the money for this venture to be secured from the perpetual immigration fund. Just before they were ready to leave England, however, his one daughter died and shortly after his wife died at the birth of his other daughter, who also followed his mother in death. This delayed his plans for leaving England for some time. In 1862 his son, Mark emigrated and was followed in 1862 by his brother Samuel. He then moved to London where he operated a milk route for his brother, William. He continued with this work until he migrated to Utah. He arrived in Utah Nov. 11, 1864 and Aril 21, 1865 he married Maria Ann Cook, whom he had met at the Goswell Road Branch in London. Five children were born of this union.

Conditions at this time were far from good, many people having barely enough to eat. One instance was when Mark accompanies his grandfather to the harness makers (Jensen’s). The harness maker invited the grandfather to dine, explaining to Mark that he would give him food also but could not afford it.

In 1868-69 he worked for the Union Pacific Railroad in Echo canyon. The company was making a road building eastward from San Francisco. The contracts for this work was let out to different people. The grading of the road through Echo and Weber canyon, together with the cutting of ties in the mountains was done by Utah people. The buildings of this road brought prosperity to Utah for it caused money to be circulated and immigrants came to the new country where land was so plentiful. The country at this time was so wild that men carried firearms at all times. The workmen used to sing this song:

At the head of the great Echo the railroad begun,
The Mormon’s are cutting and grading like fun,
They say they’ll stick to it until it’s complete
When friends and relations they’re hoping to meet.
Hurrah, Hurrah. The railroads begun
Three cheers for the contractor, his name’s Brigham Young
Hurrah, Hurrah we’re honest and true,
And if we stick to it, it’s bound to go through.
Now there’s Mr. Reid, has a gentleman too
He knows very well what the Mormons can do.
He knows they will earn every cent of their pay.
And are just the right boys to construct a railway.

When the United Order was established in Pleasant Grover brother Bezzant worked in it. He was an excellent farmer and bundle pitcher. He owned a piece of property in Pleasant Grove which he traded to Oscar Winters for property in Lindon. In the latter part of his life his hearing became very poor. He died of Pneumonia Feb. 14, 1891.

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