- Born 17 Mar 1815 Hanley Castle, Worcestershire, , England
- Died 28 Aug 1881 Mound Valley, Bannock, Idaho
- Parents: Richard Bennett and Mary Pritchard
- Wife: Ann Lacey (md. 25 Dec 1839 Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, , England)
- Children: William Barnaby Bennett, Ephraim Bennett, George Bennett, Emma Bennett, Hyrum Joseph Bennett, Isaiah Lacey Bennett, Enoch Lacy Bennett, Annie Maria Bennett, Sarah Eliza Bennett
- Born 7 Mar 1819Stoke Heath, Worcestershire, , England
- Died 26 Jan 1907 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
- Parents: Joseph Lacey or Lacy and Nancy or Ann Reeves
- Husband: Thomas Bennett
THE HISTORY OF THOMAS BENNETT AND ANN LACEY (LACY) BENNETT
by Rayola S. Barnes--a Great-Granddaughter
"This is the story of the courage and noble achievements of two of our most stalwart pioneers, of the sacrifice and privation of those who accepted the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and traveled so far to be with those of their kind.
"These were our great-grandparents.
"This story had its beginning at Hanley, Worcester, England March 17, 1815. Richard Bennett and Mary Pritchett became the proud parents of a bouncing baby boy. They named him Thomas. They lived in a two story house and the upstairs was reached by steps ascending up the outside of the house.
"Thomas and his brother spent many hours at work and play beneath the shade of a huge yew tree. How typical it was that their home was called "Yew Tree Cottage." Though his parents were not wealthy, their financial status was above the average. Their mother, Mary, was Irish and in every sense a lady. She taught them the good things of life.
"Thomas' father, Richard, apparently preceded his wife in by quite a number of years as his mother was alone at the time Thomas went to work in the harvest field, where he met Ann Lacey, the girl he chose to be his bride.
"Ann was the daughter of Joseph Lacey and Nancy Ann Reeves. She was born 7 March 1819 at Stoke Heath, Worcester, England. She had four sisters and seven brothers. Ann's grandfather was a wealthy Earl and her grandmother a Welch Heiress. Although they possessed much wealth, Joseph Lacey inherited very little of it. When Ann's older sister Sarah was nine years old, her grandparents, Lord and Lady Lacey came to visit them, taking Sarah back to London. She was only allowed to visit her parents twice a year. (At the age of eighteen she contracted consumption and died.) Her other sisters all married and raised families and eventually came to Utah. Her brother William contracted tuberculosis when he was eighteen years old and passed away.
"Ann's family had many hardships and sorrows to bear. To assist the family as much as possible, Ann went to work. She first found employment at an eating house, but disliked being in public, she went to work on a dairy farm as a dairy maid. Some time later she left and went to a different county. As it was summer time she worked in the grain fields. This was where she met Thomas Bennett. She was twenty-one and he twenty-five.
"They were united in Holy Matrimony on the 25th of December 1839 at Broomsgrove. They then moved to his mother's house as she was living alone. Her children were all grown so they lived upstairs in the cottage.
"Ann mended lace and took in other sewing, and practiced nursing constantly to help out with expenses. Thomas was a steady worker, a gardener by profession. While living here two or more of their children were born. The oldest, William; then came Ephraim. Then leaving his mother's home, they went to live where there were several work plants. It was here that Thomas and Ann first heard of Mormonism and recognized it as the true way of life. Ann was baptized in August of 1842 and Thomas the following September. Both were baptized by William Barnicle. Their family increased by this time to six sons and one daughter. Then came their great desire to join the Saints in Utah.
"Thomas, the father, left his family and came to the United States to prepare the way whereby his wife and children might follow him. He first traveled to Nebraska and worked for a farmer. He saved enough to purchase a second-hand wagon, a set of harnesses and a team. He next acquired a quarter section of ground which was mostly timber, cleared some of it, split up the logs and built a house and stable. He then plowed up some of the land and planted wheat and corn. When he harvested he sold the produce, withheld enough money to pay his debts and to live on, and saved the rest, repeating this over a period of four or five years.
"In the meantime, his eldest son, William, employed at a plant in England, became ill and at the beginning of the fourth year joined his father in America. Together they worked and when they sold the farm they cleared approximately $400.00.
"Thomas deposited $300.00 in the immigration fund to bring the rest of the family to America.
"What a happy reunion in the spring of 1861, when the family was again reunited! After five years of loneliness and sacrifice, how wonderful America must have looked to them. How impressed they were with the great metropolis of New York City. So much so that at first Ann thought she would like to remain in New York where it would be easy to obtain employment. But the father, desiring to attain the happiness and joy that comes from mingling with the Saints, encouraged his family to continue on to Utah, which they did.
"They traveled first to Florence, Nebraska on the train and from there continued their journey by ox team in a company of six wagons with Captain Milo Andrus in charge. They learned the hardships of bumpy trails, of fording rivers and other difficulties that were the lot of our early pioneers. They also knew the joys of the evening, after a dreary day of travel--the setting sun--food cooked in large kettles over a campfire--then later the singing of hymns with others--and finally, humble kneeling in family prayer, thanking their Heavenly Father for guiding them to a land of freedom, choice above all other lands.
"Arriving in Salt Lake Valley, they stayed with Ann's sister, Eliza Bird and husband, in West Jordan, for a short time. They soon rented a farm ten miles south of Salt Lake City and lived there for four or five years. Two little girls were born to them while living here--Anna Maria and Sarah. From here they moved to Pleasant Grove where they resided for two years. While here little Sarah passed away.
"Their next move was to Draper, Utah, where they purchased a farm. They lived very happily and while here Ann studied midwifery, instructed by Dr. Ellis Shipp. Sometime later in 1873 they moved to Idaho, to what is known as Gentile Valley. Here the family lived on a small ranch.
"Thomas, possessing a strong testimony of the Gospel and diligent in his Church obligations, was soon found worthy to become the first Presiding Elder in that section, which included Cache Valley on the south and as far north as there were Mormon settlers. They lived here for many years and the people leaned to love and respect the Bennett family. Thomas' personality was one of gentleness and kindness. He was a medium-sized man, light hair and blue eyes. He always wore a beard and became bald-headed in later years.
"Ann dressed very plain and disliked anything frilly or impractical. Descending from royalty as she did, she respected refinement and urged all her children and grandchildren to be perfect ladies and gentlemen. She had a strong testimony of the gospel and spent many hours reading the scriptures and conversing with others about gospel principles. She was prompt in paying her tithing, despite the fact she only received a meager income. Her role as midwife was outstanding.
"She helped bring many of her grandchildren into the world as well as many other babies throughout the valley. Her calls of mercy took place any hour of the day or night and in all kinds of weather, and by all means of travel. In the winter time she would stay in a home for weeks waiting for a new arrival. She charged very little for her labors. It would be impossible to estimate the good she accomplished in her unselfish service.
"As in all families, came days of sorrow and grief. The 28th of August 1881, was such a day for the Bennett family. One Sunday morning Thomas left the house early in search of a cow and calf. Late in the afternoon the horse returned without him. Ephraim and Matilda, returning home from a meeting, called in to see them and found Ann very upset over the failure of her husband's return. They found him about a mile from home with a broken neck. It is supposed that his horse stumbled and fell, him instantly.
"So ended the career of a man who had been a real pioneer and a true Latter-Day Saint, who had sacrificed much and endured many hardships that his posterity might live in Zion and have the privileges of raising their families according to the principles of the Gospel.
"For a period of time after the of her husband, Ann remained on their farm and raised sheep and cattle, hiring whoever she could to help her. With the help of her son Ephraim and the Church, she sent her oldest son William on a mission to England. After his mission he remained in England for a short time gathering family genealogy.
"With the aid of her sons she was provided with a small one room house located in Mound Valley. She lived here for some time and continued her practice of midwifery. It filled many lonely hours and meant a great deal to her to be in the service of others.
"Ann often visited her sons and daughters. At this particular time she was with Ephraim and Matilda, but decided to visit her daughter Annie Fowler. Ephraim was to take her there in a sleigh. However, Ann had to go home first to get some articles she needed. When she arrived at her little one roomed house, she was indeed overwhelmed with surprise to hear the happy voices of her family greeting her with "Surprise, Surprise!" The little room was filled and overflowing with laughter and cheery voices of brothers and sister. These occasions were indeed the things that made life worth living for Ann Bennett.
"Ann was known for her courage; at one time when she was our riding, the horses became frightened and ran. She was thrown to the ground with terrific force. Her scalp was torn loose from around her forehead and with her own hands she pulled it back into place. It healed over but she carried a scar on her forehead the rest of her days as a result of the .
"Another time she was out on the front porch of her little home and fell and broke her hip. She lay there until a passerby stopped and gave her aid. For the rest of her life she carried a cane and had to wear a special built-up shoe, as one leg was longer than the other. After her she became well enough to be moved, so she went to live with her son Ephraim and wife Matilda where she remained for some time. The rest of her life was spent living with her sons and daughter, going from one to the other.
"As Ann's personality was one of independence and being strong in her convictions of what was right and wrong, It was at times hard for her to become adjusted to situations around her. She finally went to Salt Lake County to be with her eldest son William. It was here she passed away 26 February 1905 at the age of 86. Her life was one of service and sacrifice for her family, her community and Church.
"Our grandparents have gone to prepare a place for us; let us be thankful for the wonderful heritage they have left us.
"NOTE: The material in this sketch was gleaned from the memories and records of various people. I have tried to make it as authentic as possible with material also taken from OUR HERITAGE--by Lydia B. Egbert--a Granddaughter--and copied from the 1948 Thomas Bennett Family Bulletin--the above history was also printed in this issue."
|Inter-Mountain Republican 1907-01-31, p. 3|