Monday, January 28, 2013

William Slade 1825 - 1863

William Slade and his wife Amelia Lacey Slade, were both members of the Latter-Day Saints Church (Mormons) when they were married on June 28, 1852. They lived in the little factory town of Crewkerne, in Somersetshire, England. They both worked as weavers to provide for their children, Rhoda, Amelia Eliza, and Martha. Also, they tried to save money to emigrate to Utah. Finally, William borrowed money and traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, where he worked on the estate of a Mr. Sellars, a Quaker gentleman. Three years later, in 1860, he sent money for the passage of his wife and three daughters.

They all settled on the estate, where William did farm labor, with the goal of saving money to travel on to Utah. In the next two years, two sons, Alfred and Edward, were born to the couple. William was kicked by a horse and developed rheumatism so that the work was difficult for him. He struggled on though, until he developed trouble with his heart and kidneys. He died in a Philadelphia hospital on October 28, 1863 at the age of 38.

Amelia was expecting another child, and even though Mr. Sellars had to hire another man to take William's place on the farm, he helped arrange places for the children to live and work. Rhoda made her home with the Sellars' family, Martha went to a family named Leisering, the little boys were placed in an orphan's home, and Eliza went to live and work in the home of Mr. Sellars' daughter, Mrs. Bancroft. Amelia went to a hospital for the birth of the third son, Charles. After the birth, Amelia rented a small room in Philadelphia. Mr. Sellars had papers made "binding out" the older children and urged Amelia to sign them. She begged time to consider his offer and asked that he come back the next day for the signed papers. Amelia's dreams of going to Utah seemed impossible.

That night as she prayed, she asked the Lord for guidance as to what she should do. When she told of this experience in the years that followed, she would tell, "Three times that night, your father appeared in my room and each time he said, 'Don't bind the children.' I was not asleep. I actually saw him."

Mr. Sellars tried to get her to change her mind, and when she refused, he said, "What are you going to do?" Amelia thought of Utah and all it meant to her, and said, "I'm going home."

The family had been attendeing a branch of the Mormon church in Philadelphia. While Amelia sat in a Sunday meeting a short time afterward, the President of the branch arose and announced that on the following Wednesday a company of emmigrants was leaving for Utah, and that means had been provided for Sister Slade and her children to go with them. Amelia's prayer had been answered. The speakers at the meeting were Orson Pratt and Hyrum Clawson. After the meeting they both came to Amelia. Orson Pratt placed $2.50 in her hand saying, "I'm on my way to England. I have enough money to get me there, and I am sure you need this worse than I do." Brother Clawson gave her $5.00. They spoke words of encouragement and cheer.

There was much hurried preparation to be ready in time. The children had to be gathered from the places they were staying. Some of the sisters of the branch helped with the preparation. Mr. Sellars came to say goodbye. He was never told that "home" meant Utah, not back to England. Soon they were on their way to New York, then by train to a town on the Missiouri River, where they waited for a company of emigrants from England, then traveled by ox-cart to Utah.

It was August of that year, 1864, before the company left. The ox-train was in the charge of Warren Snow, and their particular group was directed by Frank Cundick. As autumn approached, the train was traveling in Wyoming. Many became sick with dysentery. The two youngest boys died, and each was wrapped in half a shawl, and buried in a shallow grave. When thewagon train arrived in Utah, Amelia and her four children traveled to Morgan, Utah, where they lived for the first winter with her sister's family in Littleton. The next spring, the Slades moved out into a tent made of quilts. Later, a Mr. Thurston built a new home and let Amelia and her children live in the small cabin his family had left.

Birth: May 9, 1825
Somerset, England
Death: Oct. 28, 1863
Philadelphia County
Pennsylvania, USA

~ This information copied from the book, Morgan Pioneer History Binds Us Together (2007), as submitted by Barbara D. Whittier (great-grand daughter of Amelia Lacey Slade Dean)