William Chappell and Hannah Lake

William Emanuel Chappell (1836 — 1907)
Hannah Lake (1837 — 1928)

William Emanuel Chappell was born at Berry Narbour, Devonshire, England, February 11, 1836. His parents were Emanuel Chappell and Ann Harris.

Hannah Lake was born January 1, 1837 at North Molton, Devonshire, England, of parents William Lake and Emma Court.

Hannah was 13 years old when she watched her mother, Emma, be baptized in the River Nile in England, in 1850, but she was “thrilled in every part of her body and she knew that the gospel was true.” She was baptized the 18th August l857. William was baptized August 11, 1857 and was already a Mormon when she met him. They were married January 8, 1859, at Officnell, Devonshire, England.

William worked in the mines in Eng1nd. John Brigham, their first child was born in 1860, Hannah in 1862, and Emma in 1864.

We all know that in the early rise of the church that as soon as anyone was baptized they would tell them that they must come to Zion. In the early part of 1865, word was received in England that a company of Saints had started to Utah, and when part way along Indians had stolen their oxen, burned their wagons and killed the people.

Hannah said “Well, if I thought our lives would be spared or if I were sure we would get to Zion in safety I would be willing to go”, so the Elder who had baptized them said, “Sister Chappell, I promise you in the name of the Lord that if you will go to Utah for the gospel’s sake, and if you will have faith in the Lord, you will get to Zion in safety and everyone of your lives will be spared”. So they began to save money and make preparations to go with the Saints to Zion. They were financed by the Church Perpetual Emigration Fund.

Just before they were ready to leave, little Hannah, (Annie as the family always called her) took very sick with whooping cough. The Doctor said she couldn’t possibly get better and the neighbors all thought she would die. But Hannah kept thinking of the promise the Elder had made — “Sister Chappell, if you will have faith, you will all get to Zion in safety”. So they called in two Mormon Missionaries. When they saw how sick Annie was they said, “Sister Chappell, I’m afraid we are too late”. She looked like she was dead, but Hannah said, “Administer to her”. They did and she got well. She commenced to get better as soon as they were through administering to her.

Taken from the Millennial Star, Vol 28 — 96: William Emanuel Chappell and wife, Hannah Lake and 3 chi1dren came on the ship, “Bellewood”, a fine ship.

They left Liverpool April 29, 1865 with 636 people on board. The leader of the company was Brother William H, Sherman. Captain Freeman was in charge of the ship. They arrived in New York 31 May 1865.

“They were unusually cheerful on shipboard. President Wells was on board to give them instructions at the start, Also, there were 11 missionaries on the ship. The Saints were required to have 4 pounds or $20 for the ship passage and three pounds for a hand cart to cross the plains.”

The Perpetual Emigration Fund to which all Saints were asked to make contributions enabled thousands of emigrants to come to Utah. By making down payment of $5 of which $1 was for the ship passage and the $4 for an outfit to cross the palms, a person could come to Utah and pay the rest later.

Hannah was sick nearly all the way. She got tired of sea biscuits, William helped cook on the ship and they had plenty to eat except bread. William and Hannah told often of how glad they were when the captain of the ship said, after a month’s voyage, “Land in sight”. The weather had been, hot and had brought much sickness.

(Copied from the Church Emigration Record) President Nelson, who was in charge felt it a task to have so many on board of different nationalities but they were all so faithful and diligent he had no difficulties. Also, it was pronounced by Doctors and Government officials to be the best disciplined and most agreeable company that ever arrived in port. While on the boat, prayers were held morning and evening and there were three meetings held on Sundays and two nights each week.

William and Hannah landed in New York City on the first of June in 1865 without a penny to their name. William said to his wife, “I will buy you a penny loaf of bread”, Small boats came to meet the big ship with good things to eat0 He went to hand his only penny to the boy and, dropped it into the sea so Hannah had to wait a little longer for her bread.

On the ship’s log we read:

Wm. E, Chappell age 29, a laborer from England’

Hannah Chappell age 27, a wife

John B. Chappell age 5

Annie Chappell age 2

Emma Chappell age inf.

They were strangers in a strange land. They knew a few people that came on the ship with them. Hannah said she was so happy because she knew they came for the Gospel’s sake and she felt sure that f he Lord would help them. Brother Trimmel, his wife, and son, came on the ship with them and the man was ‘well — to — do’, He said to William, “Brother Chappell, you seem to have a lot of influence with my son, he seems to be slipping away from me. If you will take him and let him work with you when you get a job I will lend you $50”. They were glad to get the loan of that much money. They were able to rent a little place in which to live and to buy something to eat. They were forced to stay in New York for about a year to get enough money to take them across the plains to Utah.

They were almost afraid to say they were Mormons be cause there was such a hatred toward the Mormons at this time, One morning the landlord came into the house where Hannah and William lived and said, “You know, Mrs. Chappell, the people who lived in this house before you came were Mormons.” Hannah was afraid he was going to tell her to move, but instead, he said, “And do you know they were the best damn people I ever had live in any of my houses, They went away owing me a lot of money, but I’ll be damned if they didn’t send me every cent of it. That’s what I call an honest people.” So Hannah breathed easier.

While they lived in New York, “Annie” was lost twice. They lived near the water’s edge and the first time she was lost they were afraid she had fallen into the water, but again Hannah remembered, “Sister Chappell, if you will have faith.” — So, after they had hunted all day, they found her away uptown in a police station where she had been taken until someone inquired for her, She was sitting in the window where she could see people go by and they told her to watch for her mother and when Hannah did go by, she cried out, “There’s my Mother.” When the police found her they asked her what her name was and she said, “Annie.” They asked, “What else besides Annie?” but she said, “Just Annie.” And she answered “Mother” or “Father” when they asked who her parents were. So they couldn’t find out from her to whom she be1onged. Parents were always called “Mother” and “Father” then.

William got a job at the railway depot coupling cars together. While working there, he got his elbow mashed between the cars and was off work for a long time. His arm was always stiff and a little crooked which caused him trouble when eating.

When Hannah heard that her mother had come to America and was ahead of them, she became very anxious to leave New York and catch up with them. They met them at Council Bluffs, or Church Grounds, as it was then called 0. They left with their family, Hannah’s parents, and some of her brothers and sisters with Captain John D. Holliday. He later married Mary Lake’s husbands sister, Johanna Blake.

William and Hannah told their family often of the joys and sorrows of the things that happened while crossing the plains. They both walked all the way and expressed how happy they were in the midst of their poverty and hardships.

There were 69 wagons in the party and each wagon had about four yoke of oxen and 14,000 pounds of church freight. There were 11 passengers, 5 children or babies and three women who took turns riding with the children. Hannah preferred to walk. Sometimes the women found wild currants. They rolled these in dough and made a steamed “roly — ply” pudding, minus sugar or cream. It was a rare treat.

Roads were well established by this time, their facilities were good, their supplies adequate. Captain Holliday telegraphed continuously to President Brigham Young in Salt Lake of their progress. They left Council Bluffs July 19, l866. They were two months and two days on the trip.

Hannah’s most ardent wishes and for which she prayed continually was that they all reach Salt Lake in safety and she bore a strong testimony that the Lord heard and answered her prayers. Hannah walked on ahead of the wagons with others of the Saints that had to walk. William drove the oxen that were pulling a11 their earthly belongings. One day she looked back and saw a break in the train and the wagons had stopped. She counted the wagons and the break was just at her own wagon. She knew they stopped only for difficulties. She hurried back. She met a teamster first, and asked him what was the trouble. He told her that her own little girl, Annie, had fallen out of the wagon. He did not know if she were hurt.

William was crying and said, “Oh, I know she will die for I saw the wagon go over her.” The mother said, “Nonsense, she will be all right”. “Send for the Elders and we will have her administered to.” One wheel had rolled across her body from her shoulder to her waist leaving the imprint of the wheel on her body. When they let her down, she wiggled, stood on her feet and shook her shoulders for her mother to let her go and from then on was well and firm. Annie had a charmed life, perhaps. She did get well. Once again, Hannah’s faith had been tried and found true.

They arrived in the Valley on the 25th of September. William got a job at the tannery, owned by his friend, Brother Pugsley. They had hard times, privations and adverse conditions. Mary was born in 1867 at Salt Lake. When the mines opened in Coalville, Utah, William and Hannah moved and located 2 1/2 miles from the town and they bought a farm near the mines. They built a one-room house.

After the railroad came through, converts from the British Isles, Ireland, Scotland and Wales moved to Coalville to work in the mines, Brother John Ray, his wife and three children from England moved in with them and shared their one-room house. Mary died at the age of two. Elizabeth Ann was born twenty days later.

In the early days nearly all families had a cellar under the floor. They dug a deep hole in the ground and had two or three short boards put over the hole on top of the potato pit (as some people called the ce1lar). One day there came a big thunderstorm, possibly a cloud burst, for the water came in big streams all around the house and into it, too. There was a foot and a half of water all over the floor. There was a sack of flour standing on the floor, so Brother Ray picked the flour up and was going to put it in a dry place, but the water had washed the boards from the cellar and down went Brother Ray and the sack of flour into the cellar. So amid their troubles and trials, they had a little merriment and laughter. The two families lived together in this house all winter. In the spring, the men brought logs from the canyons and built a two room house for Brother Ray.

Provisions were scarce and what few things were available, were so “dear” that people couldn’t afford to buy them. Hannah learned to make soap and her sister learned to make candles and they thought they were doing just fine in this new country. Hannah kept them in flour by making hop yeast and trading it for flour.

For awhile the Indians were pretty bad but after awhile became real friendly. William and Hannah lived in a dug out when they first came and they hung a blanket up for a door to keep out the cold. When the whether got cold in the fall in the day time they had a door-blanket but at night they had to put it on their bed. One day an old Indian squaw came and she had a big knife in her hand. Of course, the folks were scared but she pushed her way in and said, “How, me heap cold.” She kept the big knife moving around and kept asking for things she could see hanging around on the walls. She also wanted flour, sugar and soap and everything she thought they had. They were afraid to say “No.” They had never seen an Indian so didn’t know much about them then. She kept saying, “Indian heap cold.” Finally she said, “Me want a blanket, me heap cold.” They were afraid she was going to ask for their only blanket because she kept looking at it. Just then one of the men from the tannery came, and as soon as the Indian saw him, she gathered the things she had and went away as fast as she could walk. After this, our folks were not afraid of the Indians. (As told by Elizabeth Ann.)

There wasn’t any silver in circulation in Utah then, so they used five, ten, twenty-five and even fifty cents in greenbacks.

William worked first on the railroad and then at the mines. By now, the family lived in a 3-room log house. Sarah Jane, William Heber, Thomas Theophilius and Christenna May were born by 1878. Hannah’s two brothers, Thomas and Joseph Lake, owned a large ranch in Echo Canyon, a spot known as Castle Rock. Thomas had died and left Joe with all the ranch to care for. William and his brother John worked at this ranch and when they did, it left the family at home on Sundays without transportation to church which was at Coalville, 234 miles away. Some of the children were too small to walk in the wintertime.

One Sunday, when Hannah was weaning young Christenna, a boy came on horseback and handed Hannah a piece of yellow paper. When she read it she gave a scream, and of course all the children crowded around her to see what was the matter. She said, “Your Father is dead.” She got ready and left on the train for Castle Rock. Before she left Coalville, she made arrangements for the grave to be dug and his clothes to be made. While waiting at Castle Rock for someone to pick her up, the station agent seeing that Hannah was looking down — hearted and sad, said to her, “Mrs. Chappell, I believe John is a little better this morning”.

“Oh,” she said, “Is John sick too!” He said, “He is the only one that is sick.” She then told him how he had read the telegram. Just then she looked out the window to see her husband coming with a team and sleigh to meet her. The telegram read, “Mrs. Chappell, please come on first train. William E. Chappell paid.” She had read “dead” instead of “paid.” She, of course, was overjoyed to know that William wasn’t dead, but still it was a great shock to her, John was sick for some time before Hannah could go home.

At this time, while William was working for Joseph Lake herding sheep in Wyoming, Jane was taken very sick. She was sick for nearly two weeks and in spite of everything they could do she died the l7h of December 1878. She had to be buried without her Father seeing her. Joe said it was impossible to get him home for the funeral.

This was a terrible trial for these parents. Elizabeth Ann says, “I can just remember when Father came home in the spring, we were all so glad to see him, but so sad to see dear Father and Mother meet for the first time after the death of their dear daughter, Jane.” She was 7 years old when she died.

The boss of the mine, Mr. Fred A. Mitchell, hesitated to pay his men cash. He wanted them to buy from his store but they found it hard to get the things in the store that they really wanted. Finally, Mr. Mitchell owed them $93 and would not pay cash but insisted that they “trade it out”. Hannah went herself to Salt Lake to see Mr. Mitchell in person and asked for their money.

In the year 1863, the coal mines were opened in Spring Hollow and changed hands several times before Mr. Mitchell acquired ownership. In 1880 the mine property consisting of about 320 acres was purchased by the Home Coal Company. From the time the mines were first worked, the employees built their homes around the mine and some homesteaded the land along the Chalk Creek which they afterwards divided into small farms and sold to others to build their homes on. They worked their farm when not at work in the mines.

In the year 1880 it was felt that there was needed a place for their children to go to school and also a place to hold religious services, so a mass meeting was called to see what could be done and it was agreed that each one should donate a specified sum either in cash or other things, and to start the thing along. Mr. Thomas Wilde agreed to furnish the ground to build on. With cash and labor donated, a log room 15 by 15 feet with a very low ceiling was finally built.

It was at once turned into a school. One of the first teachers was Miss Maggie Salmon, a Coalville resident, The people used it also for an amusement hail and many, many enjoyable dances were held there. Imagine you young people of today who are used to dancing in large halls with their slick floors of having to dance in a room so small, and if there was much mud taken in on the floor, the tall ones had to quit dancing because their heads bumped the ceiling, yet on the authority of such persons as Mrs. Ed Roes (Hannah Chappell or “Annie”), now President of the Relief Society, and others, they had some of the most enjoyable dances ever held in the western states in that small building.

After a time the ceiling was considered too low and the men gathered around and raised the top log, roof and all, and placed in other logs, thereby raising the ceiling. Again, after awhile the building became too small, so one end was knocked out and an additional length of logs was added to the wall and the end built back. A new floor was placed in the whole building also a lumber ceiling was placed on, making a room 15 by 30 which was used many years as a combined church, school, and amusement hail, and many are the comments made today of the good times in that old log building.

The above two paragraphs taken from an article, “The Old Log School House in Spring Hollow” written in the interest of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers by Mr. Walter Lee. He comments: “I can also vouch for it for when a small boy I too danced there and many times the dust was so thick that I could not see my partner, but it was the spirit of comradeship and neighborliness that existed there that made those dances so enjoyable——one happy crowd.”

Practically all the life of William and Hannah was spent in Spring Hollow. He was the Ward Clerk in the Cluff Ward for many years. He helped build the church building. He raised lovely strawberries there. Everyone said he had a green thumb and he always had lovely flowers. He died at the age of 71 at Coalville December 9, 1907. His death resulted from a fall he had in a flume a few months previously.

Hannah remained at their small home over the mines which by now had been acquired by her sons. She was President of the Relief Society for 17 years. Her small home was of rock and log still.

She got an infection in her eye which steadily got worse until Dr. French removed her eye. She was given a “tonic” to help ease the pain. And as the story goes, she became quite a “tonic—toddler.”

Her daughter, Hannah (Annie) went each week to wash her which she objected to but Annie got her interested in telling about her experiences until she forgot what Annie was doing. She was very alert and insisted on caring for herself. She could recite “Saint Peter At the Gate” on a moments notice without hesitation or a mistake.

Hannah was finally persuaded to live with her daughter, Annie, the last six months of her life but she was loathe to leave her own home.

Ruth Rees Miller, daughter of Annie, tells of “Things I remember about my Grandma Chappell” —

“One of the high-lights of my early youth was the day we hitched Old Dan to the buggy and rode tip to Spring Hollow to give Grandma her bath”.

“I remember her setting in a corner in a cane rocking chair, (with much padding on because it was old and some of the cane had broken and was poking through) usually with the poker in her hand, poking at the grate of her old coal stove. Since her sons kept her supplied with coal, she kept the stove red hot most of the time. She bad such a twinkle in her one eye as we came in but I never remember us kissing her or her kissing Mother. I guess we were not a kissing family”.

“The bath and hair washing was always an ordeal for Mother. Grandma each time maintained she didn’t need a bath or her hair washed but Mother would get the water hot and pour it in a round tin tub in the middle of the kitchen floor and the struggle would start. The smell of ashes would fill the house as the water hit her hair, she had poked the old stove so much. Once clean though, her hair was a beautiful white.”

“Mother put on clean clothes from the skin out and took the dirty ones home to wash and iron. Grandma wore an apron tied around her waist and it reached to her ankles and a little shawl around her shoulders. She carried a cane, probably because of the loss of her one eye, because her legs were good and she could walk well.”

“Our next task was making the bed. She had a feather tick over her mattress and we had to shape it and get the feathers all even but oh! how soft it looked once it – was done. 0”

“My desire was to own the stove she used in the front room because it looked like a fireplace and was such a good heater. The door on it was round. It is now in my basement, badly in need of a polish and attention. By now, I guess that it is over 150 years old.”

“Grandma had a few old hens around the barn which housed the mine horses and they lay eggs all over, even on the side hill in the sage brush and it was my job to find the stolen nests, When I came back with a basket of eggs, Grandma would say I was the only one who could ever outguess the hens and I’d feel so proud. As a reward I would get bread and jelly. It was white ‘store’ bread which we never had at home, and the jelly had gone to sugar but never since have I tasted anything so good”.

“In the fall the rattlesnakes came down from the hills for water and there were many of them. One day one crawled into the house and under the cupboard. Grandma poked it out with her walking cane and stepped on its head with the heel of her house slipper. She wore the kind with felt uppers and hard sole and heel. She seemed to have no fear of them and killed many of them in the yard.”

“She refused to live with anyone, said she wanted to die in her own home. They picked her up and took her to live with Mother. We were afraid she’d try to return home but in a few days she had forgotten she had lived elsewhere.

“She loved little children and would take my little daughter Arleen by the hand and walk around the yard. She would rock her and tell her stories. I was married and living with Mother for a short time. When we bought ice cream cones, Grandma took a spoon to eat the ice cream and then she put the cone into the stove I’d ask her, ‘Grandma, why don’t you eat the cone?’ She’d say, ‘Nay, I’ll not eat the dish’.”

One day I noticed her sucking on a small piece of tile that was left from tiling the sink drain board. Soon she spit it out and said, ‘Tis neither sugar nor salt.’ She had thought it was candy.”

“She was the only one of my grandparents I ever knew and I am so thankful for these memories of her. How lucky are the kids of today who have four grandparents to spoil them. I often wake at night to wonder if they will write wonderful memories of me.”

Hannah passed away easily and quietly without sickness at the age of 92 at her daughter Annie’s home in Coalville on December 7, 1928.

(Material for this story taken from those written by Elizabeth Ann Chappell and Ruth Rees Miller, and as told to Ellen Greer Rees by Hannah Lake Chappell herself. Compiled by Helen Thacker Rees Berger, August 1961)

(From Ray Walker’s Book of Remembrance)

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Author: Heather Hoyt

I'm a stay-at-home mom living in Wyoming and I like to write, take photographs, and play with my kids.

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