Elizabeth Donnelly 1803-1857

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History of Elizabeth Donnelly Maxwell

Pioneer Who Died in the Head of Echo Canyon 1857 on Her Way to Zion

Submitted by Cleaone Maxwell Robinson, great grand daughter to Elizabeth Donnelly Maxwell

Elizabeth Donnelly Maxwell was born in Kilman, Antrim Ireland December 8 1803. She married Ralph Maxwell Sr., a native of Celerty, Ireland on 13 July 1823 in St. Marys Parish in Cumberland, England. To them were born six children, Arthur, Catherine, John, Elizabeth, Ralph and Ann. All the children except Arthur, who was born in Cumberland, England, were born in Kirkfield Bank, Lesmahago Parish, Lanarkshire, Scotland.

Arthur was born April 22, 1824 and Catherine April 18, 1829. Elizabeth January 7, 1832, John July 1, 1834, Ralph April 30, 1837, and Ann April 5, 1843. So the family lived on a farm in Kirkfield Bank which is 6 miles from Lanark and 28 miles from Glasgow, Scotland until about 1840 when they moved to Lanark.

The boys became weavers and worked in the textile mills.

The family heard the gospel of Jesus Christ and were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints. Catherine was the first to join, then the Mother, Father and son Arthur were baptized November 22, 1844 just eleven days after the sister Catherine.

In Feb. 1852 the family moved from Lanark Scotland to Bristol Glocastershire (sic) England. They remained in Bristol only four months then they moved to Glasgow, Scotland. The father came first with John, Ralph and Catherine. A month later the mother (Elizabeth Donnelly) and the remainder of the family came to Glasgow. They were received into the Glasgow Branch of the L.D..S. Church, July 5, 1852. Her husband died in Glasgow sometime between 1852 and 1856.

In 1854 her son John emingrated (sic) to Zion Feb. 25.

In 1856 she made preparations to come to America and bring the rest of the family. Elizabeth was 52 years old at this time. So on March 25, 1856 Elizabeth Donnelly Maxwell and her 5 children, and her sisters 4 yearr old daughter, Elizabeth Darrough boarded the ship “Enoch Train” at Liverpool England, bound for America snd Zion. They all came steerage class on the Perpetual Emigration Fund. The Captian (sic) of the ship aas Henry P. Rich. They landed at Boston, Massachussetts 1st May 1856. They traveled by rail via New York to Iowa City, Iowa.

On June 11, 1856 with handcarts loaded, they started Westward across the plains, in the Daniel McArthur Company.

By the time the company reached Fort Bridger, Elizabeth Maxwell was very ill, and she was advised to remain-at the Fort until her health improved enough to finish the journey.

During the winter her sons worked hard to finish a home for her when she arrived in the valley.

Word came that she was with a company who would reach Salt Lake City wit a few days, so John left with a group of Saints who were to help the company through the mountains. They met the company at Echo Canyon and he learned that his mother had passed away the day before and was buried near a cave in the head of Echo Canyon 1857.

The History of Elizabeth Donley Maxwell, Born at Lanark, Scotland

In the little town of Lanark, Scotland a stalwart young man by the name of Ralph Maxwell was reared into young manhood and one day he met a fair lassie named Elizabeth Donley. After a courtship they were married and to this union six children were born, Arthur, Catherine, Elizabeth, John, Ralph and Ann.

One sunny day a Mormon Missionery (sic) called at their home leaving some Mormon tracts, they were invited to call again. Evidently the (sic) were converted and were baptized members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

After working hard for a long time, sufficient funds were soon accumulated to pay the fares to the United States. If the father came with the wife and children I do not know, but we just know about the mother and her six children leaving Scotland and going to Liverpool, England.

From Liverpool the ship “Enoch Train” sailed with a company of 534 Saints aboard, under the direction of James Ferguson, bound for America.

They arrived in Boston, Mass. May 1,1856, and from that city they traveled by rail via New York to Iowa City.

On June 11, 1856 with hand carts and wagons all loaded they started across the plains with Daniel McArthur as their captain.

The trials that were encountered were a hard strain on this tired mother and gradually her health broke. By the time they reached Fort Bridger she became so ill that it was advised for her to remain behind for a little while.

On Sept. 5, 1856 the company with six Maxwell children who were cared for by some of their friends, arrived in Salt Lake.

During the winter months the boys worked hard, and with the help of other emigrants prepared a home for their mother who was soon expected to join them in the Valley.

Word was received that Elizabeth Maxwell was with the company expected any day. So, thrilled were her children that her son John was among the Saints who were sent to meet the company and help them through the mountains.

In Echo Canyon they met the emigrants and were told the sad news that Mrs. Maxwell hadn’t been able to stand the trip, and had died the day before and was buried near Cache Cave at the head of Echo Canyon, in the spring of 1857.

The children still carried on and were married, each one having a large family and doing his share to help build Utah.

Arthur married Elizabeth McCoshlin (sic) and came to live at Peoa. Catherine married Truman and settled at Huntington, Utah. Elizabeth married William Boyce lived at Cottonwood and Salt Lake,

John married Ellen Russell and they also came to Peoa, later moving to the Uintah Basin.

Ralph married a beautiful Scotch lassie who was born at Glasgo, (sic) Scotland, by the name of Isabelle McGavin, they made their home permantly (sic) at Peoa, Utah, (these are my Grandparents.)

The youngest girl Ann married James Monroe Wheeler and made their home at Heber City, Utah.

(From Ross Foster. Also found here: http://www.childrentofathers.com/elizabeth-donnelly.html)

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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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