Born 30 May 1860, Scranton, Luzerne, Pennsylvania, United States
Died 12 June 1941, Malad City, Oneida, Idaho, USA

Daughter of Joseph & Ellen H. COLTON

Wife of Thomas PARRY

Sheriff Thomas Parry

Painting of Scranton, Pennsylvania, about 1860, by George Inness


Written by Nellie Ward, Daughter
August 7, 1953

Sarah Hannah Colton Parry, wife of Thomas Parry Sr., was born May 30, 1860, at Scranton, Pa. She was the daughter of Joseph and Ellen H. Colton. Her parents were converts to the LDS Church in England. The family, consisting of Grandfather and Grandmother Colton and their daughter, Ann Elizabeth, left Liverpool, England on April 26, 1855, and sailed for America on the ship William Stetsen, with 293 Saints aboard.

1860 TrainAfter a long and tiresome journey they arrived at New York on June 24, 1855. From New York they went to Pennsylvania where Grandfather worked in the mines for six years. They lived near Scranton, Penn., and it was here that my mother, Sarah Colton, was born on May 30, 1860. A son, Joseph, was also born here. My Grandmother and Grandfather with their three children, Ann Elizabeth, Joseph, and Sarah, left Scranton in the spring of 1861, my mother being less than a year old. This was at the beginning of the Civil War. They traveled by train to where the emigrant trains were made up, and it was dangerous to travel. The men were searched for fire arms and often the Southern soldiers would shoot at the trains when they stopped or started up from a station.

Wagon TrainThey crossed the plains in the company of Joseph Horn and Homer Duncan. Grandma carried my mother most of the way across the plains. They arrived at Salt Lake City on Sept. 13, 1861. In this same company was a 15-year old boy, Thomas Parry, who some years later married Sarah Colton

They remained in Salt Lake only a short time when they came to Weber Valley where Bishop Hunter, the Presiding Bishop of the Mormon Church, owned a large farm. He placed Grandfather and his family on this farm to run it for him. They endured many hardships incident to pioneer life, and for one whole winter they lived on wheat ground in a coffee mill which had been brought from England. This mill served a number of people in the company while crossing the plains. The coffee mill is still in my possession and I prize it very much.

Shortly after coming to Weber Valley, my Grandmother Colton attended Conference at Salt Lake City, and walked most of the way from Weber to Salt Lake. With her was my mother who learned to walk at that time.

Wagon TrainThe family left Weber Valley and came to Malad in October 1866. The family at that time consisted of my Great Grandmother [Ann Hewitt] and her husband, Grandfather and Grandmother Colton, and the following children: Ann Elizabeth, Joseph Henry, Sarah Hannah, Mary Jane, and Edward William. Three more children were born after they came to Malad. They were George Alexander, Ellen Lucretia, and James who died in infancy. There were only a dozen families living in Malad at that time.

They located a farm and spent the first winter in a dug-out near the home of Jesse H. Dredge. They built a one room home of logs and later two log rooms were build on their farm. No nails were available at that time and wooden pegs were used in place of nails. Most of the houses at that time had fireplaces and it was the girls job to shine the brass candle sticks which were placed on the mantle above the fire place. They also shined the brass buckets. Sand was used to do most of this work.

It was under these conditions that Mother grew up. She attended school but a short time each year. Grandfather died in 1882, leaving grandmother with the family to care for and for almost 40 years she was a widow and raised her family alone.

Wagon TrainMy mother was married to Thomas Parry on January 25, 1882 at Malad. Nine children were born to them as follows: Lillian (Mrs. George W. Jones), William (who died April 23 1949), Joseph, Sarah (who died Jan. 10, 1904 at the age of 18), Thomas (who died Sept. 8, 1928), Ellen (Mrs. Owen D. Ward), Paul, George, and Mary Ann (Mrs. Lyman Ipsen).

Father entered a homestead and began breaking up the ground for farming. It was a hard and tiresome task with the machinery he had to work with at that time. Both he and Mother worked hard and were able to raise their family and give them an average education.

I remember my Mother telling me that when she was a girl things were hard to get and she went barefooted most of the time. She often walked almost to the Griffith ranch to take the cows to pasture and bring them home in the evening.

My parents were members of the LDS Church, and Mother was a block teacher in Relief Society for many years. She also took care of the Sacrament dishes for a number of years. Father was not a church going man, but he always encouraged his children to go.

Mother was always kind and had a cheerful disposition. Our friends were always welcome to our home, and she was one with us.

She died on June 12, 1941 at the Oneida County Hospital, eight years after the death of my father who had passed away Nov. 17, 1933. They were buried at the St. John Cemetery.

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by LaDore Ward Goodsell

This is a background on the Colton ancestors before sailing for America. Because the lives of Ellen (Hewitt) White Colton, my great-grandmother, and her mother, Ann Hewitt White Ceaston, my great-great grandmother, are so entwined, and because they were both pioneers, having come to this valley together, a biography of one without the other is impossible.

Ann Hewitt White Ceaston was born March 13, 1813, almost 172 years ago from the time I am writing this (March 16, 1985). She was born on the Sir Richard Arkwright estate in Sutton, Derbyshire, England. Later she married Robert White. Both were converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by their daughter, Ellen White Colton. I'll tell about that incident later in this story.

Ellen Hewitt White Colton often talked about the beauty of England, green fields, lanes, and flowers everywhere especially in the springtime. She told of how much she enjoyed walking in the evenings along the green Wickthorn hedges and how she picked huckleberries that grew wild everywhere in the country. She often expressed her desire to see it all once again, but would quickly add that she would not want to make her home there.

Ellen Colton told of the time in her childhood when she was five years old and Queen Victoria was crowned and went through the shires of England that the people might see her. Her father, Robert White, lifted her to his shoulder so she could see the Queen as she passed.

When Ellen Hewitt was about 15, she became ill with what the doctors then said was a "slow decline". Her father, Robert White, being well-to-do for those times decided along with her mother, Ann Hewitt White, that Ellen should travel and go to the seashore for her health. Ellen began her journey for her health by visiting friends and relatives in various places. "God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform." So it was, while at the home of a friend, who had previously joined the Church, Ellen was invited to attend a street meeting conducted by the Mormon missionaries. One of those missionaries was Jedediah M. Grant, father of President Heber J. Grant.

In telling about her conversion, she said, "When I heard them preach, it seemed as if I had heard it all before, that it was nothing new, and I knew it was true." She bought a Book of Mormon and acquired a lot of tracts, and after reading them, she was baptized on February 1, 1848. She was 16 then. February can be a cold month in England. The ice had to be broken on the river to baptize her. Her health was restored, and she started homeward with many misgivings about how her family would accept her now.

She packed the books and literature she had acquired in one of her suitcases. When she arrived home, her mother, Ann Hewitt White, wanted to know what she had in her small suitcase. Ellen stalled by saying, "I am very hungry. I must first eat. Then I will show you." Ellen knew that the time was near when she must tell her parents about her conversion. Finished eating, she got the books out of the suitcase and related the experience with the elders--their message and her acceptance. Her mother looked through the books and started to read the Book of Mormon. She sat into the early hours of the morning, so interested was she in the message contained therein. Finally, she said her testimony was the same as her daughter's testimony. "It was as nothing new to me." It seemed to her that she had always known it. Now was the time, Ellen broke the news that she had been baptized. Some time later Great-Great Grandmother and Great-Great Grandfather White were also baptized. From that time forward their home was always open to the missionaries. For as long as they lived in England, Great-Great Grandmother fed the missionaries and laundered and mended their clothing when necessary.

Ellen White was a young lady now and in June, 1851, she was married to Joseph Colton, who was also a native of Sutton, Derbyshire, England. Two children were born to them here in England, Robert who died in infancy, and Ann Elizabeth.

Now they were two families, and since they had joined the Church, their thoughts turned to Zion. They began to make preparations for that long and arduous journey across the Atlantic and thence across the great plains to Utah. Crossing the ocean took weeks and crossing the plains took months in those days.

The time had come. Family and friends and the pastor of their former church pleaded with them not to take the step. Undaunted and full of faith, they left Liverpool on Thursday, April 26, 1855, on the ship William Stetson with 293 other saints and under the direction of Aaron Smith Hurst. While on the ship, Ann began to walk and talk. After four weeks and one day they landed in New York on Sunday, June 24, 1855. From New York, Ellen and Joseph went to Pennsylvania where Joseph worked in the coal mines. They lived in or near Scranton for about seven years. It was here that Joseph and my grandmother, Sarah Hannah were born.

Since Ann Hewitt White and her husband, Robert White, were financially able to leave immediately for Zion, they left Ellen and Joseph Colton in Pennsylvania. They bought equipment--two wagons and teams, and started out with their single daughter, Mary. They traveled close to a company of saints, but somewhere on that lone prairie, Robert White got a prickley pear thorn in his heel. It developed into blood poisoning and he died. One of the wagon boxes was used to make a coffin for him and he was buried where he died, "out on the plains". Ann Hewitt then sold one of the outfits at a sacrifice to the company they were traveling with and left on the plains dishes, furniture, linens and other personal belongings she was bringing in two wagons so she could have a comfortable home in Utah.

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More about Sarah Hannah COLTON:

Thomas PARRY, husband

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