Yorkshire to Utah, John and Martha Stockel Hurd Family

By Sharon Shaw

Thomas Hurd married Sarah Thornton (alias Gryson) on 25 Aug 1822 in the Parish of Sneaton in the county of York.  Sarah had a son, Thomas and a daughter, Lucy.  Thomas and Sarah had three children, Hannah, John, and James.  Their youngest son, James died in infancy. 

            According to a family story Thomas, Sarah and family sailed to Canada.  I don't know exactly when this occurred or for what purpose they came.  After some disagreement, Thomas set off with the children to head back to England.  Before getting very far, the ship experienced some problem and had to head back to port.  In this time Thomas may have rethought what he was doing.  At any rate the family stayed on in Canada until after Sarah passed away.  Thomas and the children then returned to England.

It is said that Sarah died in 1834 and is buried in Montreal, Canada.  An account written by Vienna Olson Conaway states that Sarah probably died during a cholera epidemic that occurred in Eastern Canada in 1833.  After an extensive search of records in that time period Patty McIntyre found a Sarah Hoad age 28 that died at the General Hospital in Montreal 13 Oct 1831 and was buried the following day.  Patty was told that a Quebec law restricts all patient records from the public so we can’t be sure if this is our Sarah but it certainly is a possibility.   Thomas took the children back to their old home in Middleton.

            As the story goes, John and his sister were good singers so their dad would take them to the pubs to sing and entertain for a few coins.  Thomas married Margaret Dobson about 1835 and fathered more children.  Research to document this story is ongoing but if accurate, John was about 9 and Hannah was 12 when their father remarried.  In the 1841 British Census John and Hannah were working as servants at homes in Middleton.

            Hannah Hurd married Robert Myers in the Parish Church of Middleton, Yorkshire, England on 5 Nov 1844. They made their home in Middleton and were blessed with seven children that I can source. Those children were William, Robert, Sarah, John, Lucy, Thomas, and Francis (a son) Myers. 

The next fact that can be documented is the marriage of John Hurd to Martha Stockel on 11 June 1853 at Amotherby in the Parish of Appleton-le-Street in the County of York.   John would have been almost 28 years old and Martha was 22 at the time they married. 



To this union came nine children, four daughters and five sons.  Their third daughter, Mary, died in infancy but the other eight children grew to maturity. All were born in Middleton, Yorkshire, England.  Middleton is located in the North Riding region of Yorkshire.

 Martha and the children joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

            From the Mark Hurd account written by Galand Nield, who has traveled to England, I include this excellent description of their English homeland.  "Middleton is a small country village on the eastern side of Yorkshire, located in the beautiful Ryedale District.  Middleton is a mile from Pickering and only about 20 miles from the seaside town of Scarborough.  The village still looks very much like it did when [the Hurds] lived there.  Many of the quaint stone houses are the same ones that were there a hundred and fifty or even two hundred years ago and still provide warmth and shelter for those who live there now.  Middleton is a small village with a highway running through the middle with only a few side streets branching off of the main road.  The houses are built touching each other as they line both sides of the highway.  The old parish church still stands where it has for hundreds of years and is still in use today." [1989]

            "The beautiful countryside of the Ryedale District is surrounded on three sides by soft rolling hills.  This picturesque vale is about 10 miles wide and 20 miles long.  Through the middle of the valley runs the River Rye, which is fed by many smaller streams.  The area is given predominantly to farming and the raising of sheep, pretty much the same as when John Hurd lived there.”  Martha was also born and reared in this same valley in the village of Normanby.      

            The family can be found in the 1861 British Census.  John was working as a farm laborer at Hull Village.  Mary was not listed so this leads me to believe that she died as an infant.  Rachel Stockel (Martha’s mother) was living with the family, possibly helping Martha, since she had a new baby.  Another glimpse of the family is had in the 1871 British Census.  John and his sons, William (15) and John (10) were listed as broom makers.  The older girls, Rachel and Eliza, were probably working as servants or maybe staying with relatives since they aren’t listed with the family.

As one studies the accounts and records it becomes apparent that Martha was the first member of the family to accept the gospel and join the church.  William heard the Mormon Elders preaching and singing at a street meeting.  The song, "Oh My Father" so impressed him that he went home and told his mother about it and later took her to hear the missionaries.  Martha joined the church 9 July 1866, which would make William 10 years old at that time. 

Martha's husband, John, for reasons that I don't know, chose not to join the church in his lifetime.  That might explain why the older children did not join until they were teenagers.  Rachel and Eliza joined at ages 14 and 12.  William was 14 when he joined in 1870.  Brothers, John and Mark were baptized the following year in 1871 ages, 10 and 8.

            At this time, within the church, new converts were being encouraged to immigrate to America.  John apparently went along with this idea.   According to William, the oldest son, the family moved to Lancashire in 1871 so the family could get work in the cotton factories.  It is interesting to note that John had family in Lancashire from his father’s second marriage.  His stepmother, Margaret died in Preston the year before they left England. William also got work at a picker shop and as soon as he had earned enough money for his passage he sailed out of Liverpool on the steamship, "Wyoming," on 2 Sep 1874 making him 18 and one half years old. The plan might have been for William to get work and find suitable living arrangements for the rest of the family.  He got to New York on 14 Sep 1874, entering in at Castle Garden.  The group headed west on the Pennsylvania Central Railroad the next afternoon.  In Omaha he boarded the Union Pacific Railroad on the 19th and arrived in Ogden on 23 Sep 1874.  In November William moved from Ogden to Brigham City where he secured a job at the co-operative institution where George B. Reeder (his future father-in-law) was the superintendent.

The rest of the family immigrated 2 years later, boarding the steamship "Nevada" at Liverpool on 24 May 1876 and arriving in New York on 5 Jun 1876. The United States was celebrating its first 100 years. The next day the company boarded the Pennsylvania Railroad to travel westward.  They came to Utah Territory in June.  In an account written by Vienna Olson Conaway it states, "The total amount of their passage was 91 pounds 8 shillings.  There was paid in cash of this amount 85 pounds 1 shilling 6 pence which left the amount of 6 pounds 6 shillings 6 pence to be paid for their loan from the Church revolving fund."

            Children, Albert and Martha were baptized in August of the same year, 1876, probably in Brigham City since the family is there according to the 1880 Census.  I have been unable to find Martha and family listed in early church records of Brigham City.  In a Spendlove family account it says that some of the family found employment with the railroad.  Martha and Eliza worked as cooks at one of the camps (most likely Corrine which is just west of Brigham City).

            For reasons that I don't know, Martha filed for divorce from John.  The court proceeding took place on 9 July 1883 in the Probate Court for Box Elder County in the Territory of Utah.  Her complaint, affidavit, testimony and the divorce decree were issued that same day.  I will quote a part of the decree as follows:

"And on the investigation thereof it was satisfactorily made to appear to the Court from the pleadings and proofs taken therein that all the material allegations of the complaint were sustained and that the matter so alleged and proved were sufficient to entitle the plaintiff to the relief prayed for in her complaint.  There upon the Court by virtue of the power and authority in it vested and in pursuance of the statute in such cases made and provided, rendered the following judgment and decree to wit.  It is ordered and adjured and decreed by the Court that the Bond of Matrimony heretofore existing between the said Martha Hurd and John Hurd be and the same are hereby forever absolutely dissolved, annulled and made void and it is further decreed that the Plaintiff have awarded to her the 2 city lots - numbered 3 and 4, Block 41, Plat C, Brigham City Survey and Home.  Ten dollars from A. Nielson, 150 lbs flour, 30 dollars cash, 15 bushels wheat, the half of the pigs, all the chickens, 2/3 of the bedding and dishes, the half of the hay grain and potatoes after harvest that may be raised or produced on the farm after Lorenzo Snow Jr. receives his 1/3rd for rent of the ground and all the wearing apparel now belonging to plaintiff.  The minor children, Mark, Albert, Martha Jane and Frederick Hurd to be allowed the privilege of choosing for them selves whether they shall go with the mother or remain with the father.  The plaintiff shall also be allowed her cows, one named Brin and another one named Red.  Signed, John D. Burt  / Judge"

The property described above is located 1 block west of Main Street and 600 N. in present day Brigham City.  The west property line was at 200 W.  The Hurd's would have resided in the Third Ward at the time of the divorce.  The 3rd and 4th wards were created on 19 Aug 1877 when the Box Elder Stake was created.  It is perplexing that I cannot locate the family in the Brigham City church records.  Maybe it was the religious differences that brought about the divorce.

John moved to the Morgan area and took up farming.  He purchased 14 ¾ acres of land from Eli Whitear on 22 Jun 1886 for 300 dollars.   The description of the property goes as follows:  “Situate, lying and being in the Northwest quarter of section 21 township 4 North of Range 2, East of Salt Lake Meridian.  Bounded and described as follows to wit: Commencing 10 rods north of the center of the afor said N.W.4 and running thence East by north 46 rods:  thence South by East 28 rods:  thence West by South 80 rods:  thence North by West 29 1/2 rods: thence East by North 34 rods to the place of beginning.”

The children who were not yet married chose to go with their mother, Martha, to Snowville about 1883.  They were John, Mark, Albert, Martha and Fred.  William had moved his family to Snowville about 1881. In the early church records of Snowville I only find records for Martha Goodliffe and none for Martha Hurd.  Logan Temple records show that Martha became a plural wife to Bishop Arnold Goodliffe on 3 Dec 1885.  Was this the means to her being able to enjoy the blessings of the temple and be sealed to an eternal companion?      

 John lived on his farm near Morgan.  According to the Spendlove account he raised cattle, grain and hay and had a few horses.  Late in life he lost his hearing.  This bothered him a great deal but he tried to make the best of it by reading all the good books he could find.  Vienna’s account said that in 1896 or 97 John suffered a stroke.  He was still able to get around, though his mind was somewhat affected.  This would explain why John sold his farm to Eliza, his daughter on 28 Apr 1897.  His son, Albert Hurd witnessed the sale of the land for the price of one dollar!  Eliza and James watched over and cared for him until his death on 12 July 1900. He is buried in the Milton Cemetery in the Spendlove family plot.