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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Thomas Barratt Whitby by Althea Whitby Hunsaker.

Thomas Whitby was born 29 August 1845 in Sutton Bonington, Nottinghamshire, England. He was the only child of John Whitby and Mary Morgan. His father, a shoe maker, was the son of Edward and Sarah Akers Whitby of Sutton Boning-ton; his mother, the daughter of William Morgan and Mary West of Sheepshed, Leicestershire, England. Thomas did not remember his father because he was only two years old when a falling wall accidentally crushed and killed him. A short time later the widow and her child moved to Loughborough, a larger town near by. Here she met and married Dec. 25 1848 Thomas Barratt, a lacemaker. During his youth Thomas Whitby was known by most people as Thomas Barratt Jr., but as he grew up into manhood he gradually became known as Thomas Barratt Whitby. He signed his name this way the rest of his life.

The Barratt family moved to Snenton or Sneinton as it is now called: a parish in the city of Nottingham where the father was employed. Thomas's mother became a dressmaker and Thomas was enrolled in school. One of the favorite wintertime sports in England was sliding on the ice. One day while having a great time on the ice at the nearby brick pond, the ice broke and Thomas fell in. He had a hard struggle but finally managed to get out. This incident made quite an impression on him.

His mother and stepfather had become much concerned regarding their religious welfare. She was a Baptist and he Calvinist faith in a country where but they still were not satisfied. Bro. Barratt had been reared in the Independent Calvinist faith in a country where the Church of England is the State religion. They prayed often that they might be led to embrace the true gospel. One Sunday morning they intended to visit a cousin. The mother was not yet ready to go so the father took Thomas by the hand and strolled on ahead. His thoughts were upon his desire to find the right church when suddenly a voice declared to him the words, "Latter Day Saints.” Under the influence of this same spirit he was directed to go in a different direction. After some walking he caught sight of some people and the same voice said "Follow those people". He followed for some distance and the people went into a church which had "Latter Day Saints" wr1tten over the entrance. They entered and for the first time heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. The meeting closed and they hurried to the cousins to tell them of their experience. The next week they were back to church and after the services the father applied for baptism and was baptized the next day. His wife Mary was baptized one week later and the young boy, Thomas was baptized when he was eight years old 16 Dec 1853 by his stepfather and was confirmed 18 Dec 1853 by John Orlon.

The family had a desire to emigrate to Zion but the cost seemed insurmountable. When the church announced that the saints in Utah had extended the Perpetual Emigrating Fund to help the European Saints they rejoiced that the way was now open for them to come to America. On the 29 March 1854 they bade their friends and loved ones goodbye and set out for Liverpool where they had reserved passage on the "Marshfield.” Upon arriving they found that there were so many Saints waiting to come to America that they were transferred to the "Germanicus" which sailed four days earlier on April 4 1854. There were two hundred Saints aboard this ship under the direction of Elder Richard Cook. The vessel had a rather lengthy voyage in consequence of which she had to put in for fresh water at Grand Caicos Island, in the Bahama group and then again at Tortugas, near Key West Florida. They finally reached New Orleans on June 12th. Within two hours after landing at New Orleans Elder Cook had made an engagement with the Captain of the steamboat "Uncle Sam" to take the company to St Louis the next day. Upon arriving at St Louis, the Barratts along with some of the others decided to remain here until the following season before going on to Salt Lake Valley.

Just before Christmas, Thomas’s mother took sick with cholera from which she did not recover. After fourteen days she died 5 Jan 1855 leaving her only child an orphan nine years of age. Thomas Barratt promised his wife before her death that he would send back to England for a member of a Julian family, friends of theirs to care for her son. When the Julien family arrived from England the next spring, Brother Barratt married Ellen Julien 19 May l855 at St Louis. Thomas’s stepfather was very good to him. He always treated him as if he were his own son. Perhaps no person had more influence on a young boy's life from that time on than did Ellen, who he deservedly called Mother. Shortly before his death he received her photo. He pressed it to his lips and said; "She is one of the best women in the world." On the day of his death she said of him, " He has never given me a sassy word in his life.” He was held up as an example for her children to follow.

Mormon Grove, near Atchison, Kansas was the outfitting place for the Saints crossing the plains in 1855. The Barratts were assigned to Richard Ballantyne' s company, the fourth of eight companies who emigrated that season. This company was the first division of the perpetual emigrating company to cross the plains that year. The company consisted of 402 souls, 45 wagons, 220 oxen, 24 cows, 3 horses and 1 mule. The Barratts had their wagon, four oxen and two cows. As they came along they said the prairie seem to wave with buffalo, something the English converts had never seen before. After traveling for sometime the company stopped at Council Bluffs for two or three weeks. While there, Thomas wrote in a brief history of himself that he had his finger sawed nearly off. When they got to Laramie there were thousands of Indians congregated there. They had a happy journey yet hard too, and arrived in Salt Lake city in pretty good shape on Sept 25 1855. In passing thru the streets of the city the train was enlivened in its progress with the sweet strain of music by the Nauvoo Brass Band, which had gone back to Willow Springs to meet the company and the band's old captain William Pitt who was returning from his mission in the same company.

The following Feb 1856 the family moved to American Fork. They walked the entire distance in snow up to their knees. Here they endured the hardships of the early settlers. The next spring ten year old Thomas got a job herding sheep. He had several experiences with the Indians. He and two other boys were out with the sheep when the Indians came upon them and fired a shot at Thomas which cut a hole through his hat. The bullet came close enough to his ear that it tingled for hours afterward. They caught the frightened boy and took his clothes and hat, but spared his life. Some of the clothes of the other boys were also taken. The dogs belonging to the Indians killed some of the sheep. Other times the Indians frightened them by popping out of the brush, taking the boy’s dinner and doing as they pleased with them.

When Thomas was thirteen, the army came to Utah. The family sold them milk, grain and hay. There was a good market for all they had. Thomas helped Father Barratt to break land, make adobes and build walls to improve their home during the next few years.

In the spring of 1866 he was called by the church authorities to go in a church wagon train back to the Missouri river for poor emigrants. At the same time he was called he was required to take out his endowments which he did on April 21 1866. Several other boys from American Fork went with him. He was assigned to Captian William Henry Chipman’s company. When they started back east in May, Thomas was driving four yoke of oxen. On the way one of the oxen ran at him, to keep from getting killed he had to shoot the oxen. The following day one of the other boys oxen ran at him. The oxen fell in the river and drowned. He started the trip back from the Missouri River with 11 emmigrants. Two died on the way and one died the day after arriving in Salt Lake Valley. The trip was a hard one. It rained or snowed every day for twenty one days. As they came back, the Indians stole 96 head of catt1e and 4 or 5 horses.

The next year (more likely in 1868 because the church sent no teams back in 1867 to the Missouri river), he was called to go back to the states again. This trip he brought nine emmigrants back with him. They had a fair prosperous journey this time. There were only two accidents that he could remember. William Kelly cut his foot with an axe and George Warder shot himself in the leg. Thomas was the smallest person in the group, but he was chosen to run the emmigrant business for American Fork and Alpine. He said he really appreciated the fact that not one of the boys disagreed with him.

During the next few years he worked in the West Mountains peeling tan bark, hauling logs and building himself a home. He spent two winters hauling rock for the Salt Lake Temple, all of which was donated to the church. He worked in Alpine, white pine, Peoche with two yoke of oxen. He had his best year in 1872 when he went to Peoehe with two yoke of oxen and returned with four yoke and $400. He felt that on the whole he had done well. It must have been because he was planning to get married.

On the 9 Dec, 1872 he was married to Emma Sarah Freestone in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. She was a brown eyed girl with long black hair and a loving personality. They began their married life together in Alpine, where they had bought some land and had built a home. They furnished their, home with a stove and kitchen furniture that Thomas had freighted from the states.

The Whitby's were blessed with eleven children: Mary Emma, Thomas Alvin, Loretta Ann. Oscar Alfred, Clara Matilda, Franklin Lorenzo, John Albert, Ernest LeRoy, Minnie Vilate, Walter James and Della.

Early in their married life they and a brother-in-law James Freestone took up land in Fort Canyon north of Alpine where they had a dairy. They finally sold the dairy after a few years and moved back to Alpine. They bought more land and went to farming. In 1881 they bought the Andrew Hodnett (Emma’s step-father’s) property on 354 West 200 North in Alpine. The place was to become their final home. They lived in a rock home at first. This was just one room which they constructed themselves. It was located several rods to the east of the present home and further back from the road. They had a nice vegetable cellar and the home was surrounded by fruit trees: cherries, apples and pears. Later they built a log home. It is located approximately where the kitchen of their present home of their son John is. Originally this home was two adobe rooms with a log room on the north. As their family grew, they needed more room, so a new adobe home was built south of the log house. Later the log home was moved to the southwest side of the yard and used as a granary. The adobe home that Thomas and Emma built remained in the family for many years. In the 1920’s, when Thomas’s son John Whitby lived there, porches were added to the east and south sides.

Thomas and Emma did many things to support their large family and also to teach their children how to work. Besides farming they hauled logs; did some peddling of their fruits and vegetables, planted and operated a mulberry and poplar tree nursery, an ice house, sold ice in the summer time, and had 50 to 60 bee hives. They had their own extractor and sold many gallons of honey. The Barratt family came up from American Fork often on Sundays, They certainly enjoyed Emma's nice cooked dinners with fresh vegetables and especially their lovely short red radishes that were not raised any where in those days.

Thomas served the City of Alpine for several years as City Marshall. Later he was appointed tree inspector.

The Whitby's were religious people. Every Sunday, you would see them go to church with their family.

They were very particular in paying their tithing. They paid in fruit, loads of hay, grain, etc. Emma gave every tenth egg, pound of butter, or any other produce that they had. Thomas was a member of the 47th quorum of seventy until 3 Mar 1906 when he was made a High Priest.

Throughout his life he tried to find out more about his relatives in England. He had in his possession several letters written by his mother listing the names of her people. When Father Barratt went back to England on a mission he visited some of his wife Mary's relatives and got a little information. In 1902 he and Emma took time out from their labors and traveled to Salt Lake and spent several days doing baptism and endowments for quite a few of the deceased relatives.

Emma died the 4 April 1906 after quite a bit of illness. In 1908 Thomas spent several months doing baptisms and endowments in Salt Lake. While in the city he met and married Christine Marie Mickelsen (Larsen) 11 Sept 1908 in the Salt Lake temple. Four months later on Jan 29 1909 at 3:40 PM. he passed away at the age of 63 of cancer of the stomach. He was buried on top of the hill in Alpine City cemetery beside his wife Emma.

Source: DUP Records: Submitted by Althea Whitby Hunsaker in May 1975.