by Charles A. Cobbley
The gospel message came to my Mother’s family through my great-grandfather Cobbley in the year 1853. The Elders bringing the message and the names of the two baptizing my great-grandparents are thought to be Price and Odell.
My great-grandfather’s name was Thomas Cobbley. He was born in Barnham, England in the year 1816 January 15th. He married Sarah Smith of Winwick, England in the year 1841. She was born in the year 1821 April 27th.
They accepted the gospel in their native land and were among the first in that part of their country to be baptized. A this time Thomas Cobbley was 37 years of age and his wife was 32 years old.
The morning of their baptism was very cold and it was necessary for the ice to be broken before they were able to enter the water. Needless to say the Lord blessed them so that they suffered no ill effects at all.
After their baptism my great-grandfather’s relatives refused to have anything at all to do with him, they even went so far as to refuse to speak or write to him. This however did not make him less strong in regard to his religion.
In the year 1856 my great-grandfather and family left England sailing on the S. S. Thornton. On this ship which sailed from Liverpool were 764 Saints under the direction of James G. Willie. They sailed May 4th and arrived in New York June 14th, being on the water 40 days.
From New York my great-grandfather went to Pennsylvania to settle. They settled at Valley Forge near the town of what was then called Phoenixville. They stayed here for six years prior to coming to Great Salt Lake Valley.
Valley Forge in located between two hills, these mountains were called at the time Mt. Joy and Mt. Misery; so called probably because of the part they played in Washington’s trials. On the land where my great-grandfather lived was a small stone house, this was a small place with a spring running by the side of it. In this very house General Geo. Washington knelt to pray during his stay the terrible winter at Valley Forge. My grand-father Charles Cobbley says that as a child he often played in this house and on the battlefield also. This was just some 70 to 80 years after the Revolutionary War and he says that among their playthings were articles picked up and unearthed on this place. One article in particular was a bayonet which was fashioned into a stove lifter, which was used by the family for a great number of years and finally brought to Utah. My own mother remembers this stove lifter. What became of it we do not know.
In Pennsylvania my great-grandfather worked in the iron mines until he was hurt by a cave-in. Soon after this they came to Utah.
They started west in the year 1862 in a company headed by Capt. John R. Murdock, this being his second company to cross the plains. At this time they had eight children. My great-grandfather walked all the way. At Florence, Nebraska now Omaha, two children died of the measles and were buried there. Both were girls, their names were Annie and Lizzie. Imagine a mother’s heartache at leaving those two there is a strange land without but a day or two preparation to go onto this new land. One month after arriving here in the valley my great-grandmother gave birth to her ninth child. What a brave and noble woman she was.
My great-grandfather lived to be 92 years of age. Up to the time of his death he never needed glasses and his hearing never was impaired, being exceptionally keen and he was vigorous. He possessed a remarkable memory, having no schooling he had to depend upon his memory and it served him well. He was a man of his word and was so known in all his dealings with his fellow-men. Upright and honest were the values he preached as well as practiced. His hair when young was jet black and very heavy as he grew older it turned white but did not fall out as is the case so often.
At one time shortly after my own parents marriage my father was out cutting wood on the farm and he came by, now my father had been raised in a city but thought he at least knew how to chop wood but my great-grandfather thought differently. Taking the ax from my father he swung it vigorously and soon showed up my father. At this time he was about 90 years of age and my father about 25 years old.
His was a real pioneer; life among Indians and woodsman, holding fast to the truths and steadfast in his faith.
A great-grandmother of whom I am proud was Sarah Smith Cobbley. She was a wonderful mother and a staunch saint. A real pioneer and homemaker. She was strict and her children say that her mind made up was seldom if ever changed. When I think of her trials in crossing the plains and the number of children she had I think that God could well say, Well done thou good and faithful servant enter into Thy rest.” She lived up to an old age being near 90 when she died.
They were sealed in the old Endowment House February 11, 1865. All of their children were sealed to them but Jane, she refused.
They settled in Pleasant Grove and lived there all their life.
Truly no greater tribute can be paid to them than to say that they were real Latter-Day Saints, living and preaching their religion at all times and in every way possible.
March 7, 19933
This story is attested by my own grandfather, one of the sons of Thomas Cobbley
signed by Charles A. Cobbley
My grandfather is now 77 years old.
(From the files of Mary Jean Caldwell)