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Friday, August 1, 2014


NEWTON CELEBRATED THE 4TH OF July in 1892, according to the Logan Journal of July 6th 1892. “The 4th of July celebration in Newton was a grand success, and great credit is due the committees for their untiring efforts to make it a pleasant day for all. The parade, which took place at about ten a.m., was the best we have ever witnessed in Newton. It was headed by our Martial Band, followed by a finely decorated wagon containing 14 young ladies, all dressed in white and representing the Goddess of Liberty and the 13 original states. “Next was a company of young men representing the Revolutionary War soldiers, who were well trained in military drill and commanded by John A. Christensen. Another feature of the procession was a wagon containing ladies and gentlemen representing American citizens of old times. Three clowns kept the spectators in a continuous roar by their many pranks. Well, to mention all who took part in the procession would be too lengthy. “At 11 a.m. our new Meeting House was crowded with people. Meeting was called to order by Lorenzo Larsen, master of ceremonies. The program then carried out was extensive. The singing rendered was very fine and the musical part of the program proved that Newton is fast improving in that beautiful art. “In the afternoon several hours went pleasantly by in witnessing various sports and races and drill exercise of our military company. From 5 to 7 p.m. the children had an enjoyable dance. At night a grand ball was the occasion of much enjoyment to the grown people. Thus we spent the 4th. It was a happy day to all and we are justly proud of our celebration. This was posted in the Herald Journal Feb. 24, 1957. Copy donated by Ruby Larsen Woodward Transcribed by Janis Griffin.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


Susan Dermott was born May 20, 1843, in Southampton, England, the daughter of William and Mary Kimber Dermott. When eleven years of age, her father died and Susan left school to help her mother with the support of three younger sisters. While working at Radley’s Hotel in Southampton she met John H. Barker, another employee. On December 29, 1861, she was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints and when the ship Manchester left Liverpool, England May 6,1862, Susan and John were among the 675 Saints aboard.
On the evening of June 28,1862, the young couple were united in marriage by J. D. T. McAllister, who had been in charge of this group of Saints since leaving England. The ceremony was performed in his tent in Florence, Nebraska. Susan had brought with her, her mother’s written permission to become the wife of John H. Barker. They were member of the Henry W. Miller company which arrived in Salt Lake City, October 17,1862
The Barkers made their first home in Salt Lake City until June 1865 when they moved to Paradise in Cache Valley. Their first son, John Henry was born in Salt Lake in November, 1863, and the second child, Annie, was born in Paradise in September 1865. The family next moved to Providence where John taught school, and two more children were born, William James in August 1867, and Fredrick George in July 1869. They were among the first settlers of Newton where John again taught school. Other children were added to the family, Eliza Gertrude, born in Newton in 1871, Mary Dermott, February, 18, 1874, Lucy Dermott, March 1876, Jennie Dermott, July 1878, and Bessie Ella in March 1881.
Besides the care of her family, Susan helped in the Post Office of which the Barkers had charge, the Tithing Office, and a store. The family engaged in the butter and egg business collecting there products from Oxford, Clinton and Weston, Idaho and Trenton, Clarkston and Newton Utah. The butter had to be reworked on tables in the cool stone cellar and made into two-pound rolls which were taken to Corinne. Much of it was freighted to the mining towns of Montana. Later it was taken to Z. C. M. I. branch store in Logan.
Susan served as secretary of the Relief Society of Newton in 1873. In 1886 she served as first counselor in the Relief Society and that same year was chosen President. She was stricken with diabetes and died May 30 1888. A loyal wife and devoted mother, her passing left a great void in the Barker Household.( transcribed by Anne Herzog) 


James Parsons was born 14 January 1836 in Bride, Sussex County, England. He was the oldest child of Hesheck Andrew Parsons and Mary (Fyper or Pyper) Parsons. James was a gardener and fisherman by trade.
Mary Ann Catt was born 16 May 1836 om Westfield, Sussex County, England. She was the only living daughter of Stephen Catt and Elisa Dawson Catt: one sister died in infancy. On 11 July 18 ? , Mary Ann Catt was married to James Parsons. At this time, Mary Ann had one son, Stephen Thomas, who was about three years old. James Parsons adopted this boy and he went by the name of Stephen Parsons until he was a grown man when he legally changed his name to Durrant. At the time of their marriage, James and Mary Ann moved to a place called Winchelsea in Sussex County were they sold fish for a living. While here their son, Frank, was born. Later they moved to Hollington and while there their daughter, Eliza, was born. At Hollington they had a fine garden from which they sold vegetables. Later they moved to Hastings, Sussex, a seaport town, where it would be more convenient for James to carry on his trade as a fisherman.
At this time, Mary Ann’s mother became very ill and Mary Ann carried her babies and walked the distance between Hastings and Westfield, (about 4 or 5 miles), in order to care for her mother. Her mother died in the year 1863 and her father came to live with them at Hastings for a while.
After her mother’s death, Mary Ann worked for a nobleman as a cook in the kitchen. She used to being food that wasn’t touched at the table and kept an open house for the L.D.S. Elders. At this time, Elder George Simms and Thoriness Pridy converted the family to Mormonism. They were baptized in 1864
In 1866. Grandfather Stephen Catt emigrated to America. He walked the entire distance across the plains and drove an ox team. He went directly to Newton, Cache County, Utah and settled there. He built a one room log cabin in the fields south of town and engaged in farming.
Back in England, James and Mary Ann made one more move in 1867 when they settled in Halton, Sussex, England. By now their children had increased to number seven. George Mashack, named for his grandfather, Fanny, who died as an infant, and two daughter, Emily and Mary Ann had joined the Family.
On October 16, 1872, Stephen Thomas emigrated to America. He arrived in Salt Lake City on 5 November 1872 with .25 cents in his pocket and did not know a soul. But he was successful in getting work the following day with Brother Daniel H. Wells. He lived at Brother Wells home and this is where he met Francis Ann Rowley when she came to this country. They were married in 1875.
A year after Stephen came to America, he sent for his brother, Frank. Then the two boys worked and saved until in 1874 they were able to send for their father and mother and the rest of the family. Mary Ann was very ill while crossing the plains and many times they feared she would not live to reach her sons and father, but she was blessed and they were able to reach their destination in safety. Her father, Stephen Catt, had been here 8 years when they arrived. He and a man named John Snider left by team to meed them in Ogden and help them the rest of the way. The snow was so deep that they had to break a trail for the horses part of the way. When they arrived in Newton, the family went to live with Grandfather Catt for a while. Early in the spring, they moved into the Tom Bates home, and there their daughter Francis was born.
As soon as they got on their feet, James went into the hills and quarried sandstone to build their home. The original home was one large room and a lean-to. The walls were thick sandstone, warm in the winter and cool in the summer. A well was dug in the front of the house and a cellar just north of the well. Grandpa James bought forty acres of ground east of the town and settled down to farming. They tried raising cane sugar and flax, but for three years, 1877-1879, the grass hoppers destroyed all of their crops. The father and older boys went into the canyons and cut ties for the railroad in order to get something to eat for the family. There were many times when they did not have flour in their home..
During those years two more children blessed their home. Elizabeth and James Henry. There were now ten children in the family.
James Parsons was a very efficient rock mason. He quarried rock for several rock homes in Newton. The huge rock window and door sills for the Brigham Young College in Logan were his work. He also quarried rock for the Logan Temple, The Hyrum Tabernacle, the Logan Fourth Ward and Clarkston Meeting House. He also burned lime for white washing and many other purposes.
Grandpa James Parsons was the first Deputy Constable of Newton. He was appointed by the county even before the town was corporated and served many years. I have talked to some of the older Newton residents and they remember him well. He was not a large man, but he was very dignified with his gray hair and flowing beard. He was not afraid of anyone and did his duty with no compromise. They tell of an incident of some boys disturbing the peace by promoting fighting at the old Barker Store. It was reported to Grandpa James. He bridled his horse and rode bear back to Fielding, apprehended the boys, brought them back to Newton and fined them each $5.
It was the custom for each man to work out his poll tax one day a year. Grandpa called a work day for hauling gravel and fixing roads. One of the brethren was late for work and Grandpa really gave him a lecture. After he finished the man spoke up, "You know Parsons, I’m not afraid of losing this job." He was a public spirited man and upheld the law in every way.
On December 8, 1878. Mary Ann Parsons was appointed Relief Society President. During the time she held this office, a call came for so many yards of carpet for the Logan Temple to be delivered in a very short time. Grandmother went to work. She went from house to house and gathered the rags, cut sewed and wound them ready for weaving. Sister Hansen wove the carpet mornings before daylight in order to meet the appointed time.
For many years she helped care for the sick and afflicted and sewed for the dead. She performed many acts of kindness to those in need. One case has been recorded. A Mr Peterson had a very sick child, suffering from a high fever. He came for grandmother. She left her family, went into the home and nursed the child back to life. Mr. Peterson could not pay her, bur could never thank her enough. In these day everything was done for love and to help those in need. She was a Relief Society worker and teacher all her life.
Grandmother Mary Ann spun yarn and knit her children’s stockings, She also spun yarn which she had woven into cloth for their clothes and blankets. She dried most of the fruit they could obtain but occassionally they were able to can a small amount with honey. She was an immaculate housekeeper and taught her children well.
James Parsons and Mary Ann Catt Parsons lived lives of usefulness and remained true to the faith. They left a noble heritage to live up to.
James Parsons died at Newton, Cache County, Utah October 17 1906. Mary Ann Catt Parsons died at Newton, Cache County, Utah May 6, 1912. Both are buried in the Newton Cemetery.
This history is taken from the book "History of Newton Ward Relief Society 1871-1992" This book was compiled by Cleo Griffin.( Transcribed by Anne Herzog)


Sophia Elizabeth, daughter of Joseph and Alice Hulme Eckersley, was born June 8, 1848 in Lancashire, England where she lived until she was fifteen years of age. Since both her mother and father were silk weavers. Sophia also worked in the mill winding bobbins. The family joined the Latter-day Saint Church a few years prior to leaving for America and many times she walked four or five miles to attend their meetings. Two of her older half-brothers, William and Henry Haslam, had emigrated to Utah in order to provide means for the rest of the family to come in to the valley.
On April 30, 1863, the Eskersleys left Liverpool on the ship John J. Boyd. Arriving in the New York harbor they proceeded at once to Florence, Nebraska. At this time teamster were sent from Utah for the purpose of bringing converts to the valley and the family joined a party under the captaincy of John R Murdock. Sophia and her younger sister Emma washed the tin dishes of the captain and the teamsters to help pay their way. On August 29, 1863, they entered the valley and made camp on City Creek until William Haslam came from Wellsville with a team and wagon. Upon their arrival in Wellsville they were reunited with Henry.
The men built two walls between two other log houses in the fort and here the family of nine lived all winter. In the spring of 1864 they moved out of the fort and built a small cabin. The children all contributed to the support of the family and Sophia went to work quite frequently for William F. Rigby and his first wife, Mary Clarke. On June 1865 she became his forth wife.
After Sophia’s first child was born, Mr. Rigby was called to Clarkston and Later to Newton. He took up a ranch two and one half miles west of Newton where he built a two-room house. Her younger sister, Mary Ann, who later married Mr. Rigby, lived with Sophia. After her death Sophia returned to Newton where she presided over the Relief Society for several years. While her husband was on a mission to England Sophia helped her sons manage the farm. When Mr. Rigby returned he served six months in the penitentiary on a polygamy charge and during this time Sophia gave birth to twin girls.
In 1889 she, with her family, moved to Rexburg where they lived two years before going to the Teton Basin in Wyoming. When Teton Valley was organized into a stake, Sophia was chosen president of the Relief Society. Having an excellent Voice she sang in the choir and also at many public gatherings. About 1819 Sophia returned to Utah settling in Logan where she took an active part in church work and temple work until her death May 3,1928
Fourteen children were born to Sophia, viz., Joseph, Henry, Alice, Martha, Samuel, Zina, David, James, Elmer, Willard, Moroni, Eva, Ella and Leatha.
This history was take from the book "History of Newton Ward Relief Society 1871-1992" compiled by Cleo Griffin. ( transcribed by Anne Herzog)


                                                                   By William Griffin

     Elizabeth Treberne Griffin was born in Leadburry, England, at the foot of the Malvern hills, November 9, 1838.  At the age of six weeks her mother passed away and a kind aunt took her to raise.  When about twelve years of age, Elizabeth became friendly with a family named Griffin who lived in a village near the city of Worcester.  At this time the elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were peaching in the neighborhood where Elizabeth lived.  The Gospel, as these humble elders taught it, appealed to her and also to the Griffin Family.  They believed that the elders were teaching the truth and as a result, they asked for baptism.
     This step, taken by Elizabeth without first consulting her aunt, proved a very costly one – one that tried her soul because her aunt, with deep regrets, but feeling she was performing her duty, sent the girl from her home to battle life without kin.  So, for her faith in the Gospel, Elizabeth found herself cast out, young and inexperienced in the ways of the world, and facing a stormy life, but she never felt that she was alone in the world, for she found strength and courage in the beautiful words of Christ:
     Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you;  not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
     This was the light and the glow that was always bright in her life, and in it she ever trusted; it kept her unspotted from the world.  Just where she lived and what work she did while in England, is not known; but she made many friends and found favor wherever her lot was cast.  She acquired the habit of thrift, and at an early age managed to save a little out of her small earnings.  With the help of friends she was able to emigrate to the United States in 1862, crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a sailing vessel.  The voyage was a weary one, with few pleasures and many hardships, Elizabeth traveled with friends, the Walker Family, to Omaha where she found work in a glove factory.  Her work was appreciated, and soon she became head of the ladies’ department.  Pleased with her financial situation, Elizabeth remained in Omaha for seven years.
     Mary Pitts Griffin, a pioneer of  ‘66 was a woman of discernment, and Elizabeth’s friend of old days in England.  She advised her son, William, to write to Elizabeth in Omaha, invite her to come to Utah and, if suited and agreeable, to become his wife.  Elizabeth accepted the invitation and late in 1869 came to Ogden by train.  William did not remember her, but took his mother’s word that she would make him a suitable wife.  He and his mother left Clarkston in a covered wagon to make the trip to Ogden to meet Elizabeth.  They were to know each other by Elizabeth wearing some bright colored silk or ribbon around her neck or tossed over her shoulder, and William wearing a colored handkerchief tied around his neck.  It is said that Grandma Griffin drove most of the way back, and that when the covered wagon pulled up at the end of the journey, William said to Elizabeth, “This is Clarkston and there is our home.”  They were married in the
 Endowment House.
     Their early life together was a happy one filled with love, hard work, and the joy of raising a fine family.  Elizabeth loved her friends and neighbors and encouraged her children to bring their friends home with them.  While in Omaha, she made a study of phrenology under the tutorship of Dr. Fowler.  She often amused gatherings by telling what the bumps on people’s heads indicated.  She also told fortunes from the last tea leaves in a cup.  Uncle Tom Griffin of Clarkson has often remarked that “Elizabeth was a phrenologist of ability, Many interesting times were enjoyed in Clarkston while listening to her tell what different people were best adapted for, and what their work in life should be.”  Later William and Elizabeth moved to Newton.
     Elizabeth Griffin passed away in Prove, October 6,1890, and her body was taken to Newton for burial.  She sleeps in a little cemetery, but to the many friends who knew her, she still lives.  She was a devoted wife, a kind and loving mother who lived a beautiful life, always active and ever ready to give service and love to others

MARY TEMPEST BENSON ( transcribed by Anne Herzog)

                                MARY TEMPEST BENSON
                                                              By Fayone Benson Rigby

     Mary Elizabeth Tempest Benson was born on 19 July 1867.  She was the first of 8 children born to her parents, Phineus Tempest and Sarah Jane Wilson.  After joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Sainte, her father, Phineus Tempest set sail on the bell wood leaving Liverpool. England 19 April 1865.  He arrived in New York on 2 June 1865 and then moved on to Nebraska.  Her mother, Sarah Jane Wilson came to American, sailing across the Alantic Ocean on the steamer John Bright.  She arrived in Nebraska in late June.  Phineus and Sarah were married in Nebraska City 27 September 1966.  That following summer, Mary was born.  Mary’s father moved his family down the Missouri River where he engaged in the saw mill business.  They moved often in order for Phineus to find the work necessary to support his family.  For this reason, Mary did not have the opportunity to attend school on a regular bases.  Mary and her family experienced so many
 hardships during the next seven years that it is difficult to write them without deep emotion.
     Mary’s family mover to Newton when she was 15 years old.  It was here she met her future husband John Benson.  The family remained in Newton from November 1882 until 3 July 1884 when they moved once again to Rexburg, Idaho.
     Three years later, John Benson went to Rexburg to renew his acquaintance with Mary.  Most of their dates took place in Mary’s home under the close supervision of her parents.
     On 21 December 1887, they were married in Newton by Amos Clarke, Justice of the Peace.  Their marriage was later solemnized in the Logan LDS Temple for time and eternity.  They built a log house 1 ½ miles southeast of Newton on John’s farm.
     In the fall of 1898,  John and Mary purchased a home in Newton and moved from the farm.  Their large new home was then turned into a hotel known as “The Family Hotel-de-Benson”.  Mary cooked and cleaned for the guests and John continued to run their farm.  She was an excellent cook serving delicious meals to family and guests.
     Mary was well known as a faithful worker in the LDS church .  One of her callings was to serve as Relief Society President of the Newton Ward from February 6, 1915 to June 1920.  She was faithful and loving to the sisters and their families.  She was a visiting teacher often going to sit with the sick.
     In later left, Mary had diabetes which she controlled by a strict diet.  Part of that diet was eating black bread which Mary made herself.  She never strayed from her diet!  There were days when Mary did not feel well, however, she never complained to others and tried to be cheerful.  She went about her work with love and harmony.
     Mary was the mother of 9 children, 6 boys and 3 girls.  Only four of these children, John P., Emory H., Kenneth and Ula Jane was she and John able to raise to Adulthood.  The other five children died shortly after birth.  John and Mary also raised their grandson.  E. Neal was 3 years old when he moved in with them.  John P. and E. Neal served missions for the LDS church.
     Mary passed away at 7:30 a.m. 31 October 1932.  Her funeral was held that Thursday at 2:00 p.m. in the Newton Ward chapel.  Burial was in the Newton Cemetary.  Her daughter, Ula Jane had died three years earlier.
     Family and friends speak often of her sincere love and devotion to husband, children and ward members.  Mary suffered the hardships and trials of pioneer living and remained firm in her testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.


                       FLORENCE ELLEN MERRILL RIGBY

     Florence Ellen Merrill was the eighth child of Parley and Mary Ellen Jackson Merrill.  She was born in Richmond, Utah on 10 May 1897.  She was blessed 6 June 1897 by George M. Thompson, Baptized in the Logan Temple 13 June, 1905 by Joseph M. Smith and Confirmed the same day by Joseph E. Cowley.
    She grew up in Trenton, Utah and attended Primary, Sunday School and elementary school there.  She graduated from eigth grade in 1912.  She taught in the primary and Sunday School in Trenton, attended the Weber Academy one winter in Ogden, living with Eva, and attended the North Cache High School one winter in Richmond.  She left school both
of these Springs to return home because of illness of her mother.
     Florence had enough music lessons that she could play church hymns and often acted as organist, especially in the Primary.  She sang in the Trenton Choir, an alto voice, and a few times sang duets with choir leader, Brother Mortensen.  She was also in the girls Choruses.
     Her father moved the family to Weston, Idaho in 1916.  That fall, Florence went to Richmond and worked for Cousin Ora Merrill, whose wife had a new baby.  After a month there she went to work at the Richmond Co-Op under Uncle James W. Fund, Manager.  She worked there for three years until her marriage to David L. Rigby on 4 March 1920 in the Logan Temple.
     She taught a class in Sunday School in Richmond.  In Newton, She was active in the Church.  She was a member of the Newton Choir, taught classes in Primary, Sunday School, Religion Class:  also YWMIA for several years from 1931 to 1939.  She was president of the YWMIA for one year, May 1938 to 1939.  In May of 1940 she became a member of the Smithfield Stake Primary Board, set apart by Elder Ariel Jorgensen, where she served for two years.  She was Relief Society Theology Teacher for five years, 1944 to 1949.
     Florence was called as Relief Society President on  August 1949.  She was set apart by Bishop Lyle Cooley and served for four years until 1953.
     She became first Counselor on the Relief Society Stake Board, Smithfield Stake, on 17 June 1954, set apart by President Bryon Ravsten.  She served under Sister Vera Cantwell, President, Rula Farrell, Second counselor for one year, then Vienna Johnson.  She was released in January 1959.  She became Theology Teacher in Newton Relief Society 1 November 1959.
     She served also in Rigby Camp Daughters of Utah Pioneers.  President for one term (one year), Counselor one term, and Chaplain one term.  She acted as PTA Vice-President for six years.
     Florence Ellen Merrill Rigby passed away December 31, 1983, at Sunshine Terrace.

This History was taken from the book “History of Newton Ward Relief Society 1871-1992" compiled by Cleo Griffin.