Tuesday, September 18, 2012

William Morris

William Morris was born 16 November 1820 in Burswardsley, Cheshire, England to Joseph Morris and Elizabeth Vernon.

William's father was a shoemaker. In his early 20s, William began working in the coal mines at Failsworth. He eventually became foreman of the mines.
William was baptized on 1 May 1842.

William married Sarah Durham on 2 August 1848 in St. Johns Church in Failsworth. The couple moved to Dukinfield where they opened a little shop. The business did very well and they were able to provide for their family.

Between 1849 and 1866 the couple welcomed 9 children to their family.

William and Sarah were both baptized into the LDS Church before their marriage. After 14 years, they saved enough money to join the Saints in America.

In 1862, the couple and 5 children traveled from England to Utah. William carried their ailing baby, William T., nearly the entire trip. The family sailed from England on the Mancester.

William and his family on the register for the ship, Mancester.

The company which the family traveled with made their way from New York, into Canada, to Chicago, the St. Louis and finally to Florence, Nebraska where they were met with ox teams to take them to Utah. From Florence to Salt Lake they traveled with the John R. Murdock company. The family, minus one, arrived in Parowan, UT on 10 October 1862. Their daughter Sarah Jane died in Wyoming of Mountain Fever and was laid in a lonely grave by the roadside.

In Parowan, William also became sick with a fever and an Indian known as "Doctor Bill" performed ritual ceremonies and prayers for him. William always believed that this saved his life.

At 44, William was called to help establish a settlement at what is now Panquitch, UT. Walking on snowshoes from Panquitch to Parowan for supplies, he became "snow blind" and later completely lost his sight after cataract surgery.

He and a neighbor, William Wilcock, also blind, would often walk together. One day they missed a bridge and fell into a creek. William laughed and said, "If the blind lead the blind, they both fall in the ditch."

William and Sarah were sealed in the St. George Temple on 13 March 1870.

1880 Census

1900 Census

William died in Parowan, in the home he built, on 5 November 1900 at the age of 80.

He was remembered as kind, gentle man, a good farmer, shoe maker, church worker, town builder, and neighbor. He had red-brown hair and deep blue eyes. His son, William T., said, "I loved to be with my father...a more honorable, upright man that my father cannot be found."

Click HERE to see William's gravestone on Find A Grave.

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