Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Hardings of Trowbridge, Wiltshire, England

I have recently completed a family biography on my ancestor Samuel Harding and each of his siblings. I found their lives interesting in respect to their commitment to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to one another. I am posting in part the biography of my ancestor Samuel, but if you have any interest in his silbings:  Mary Ann Harding Beard, Edward Gilbert Harding, Mary Maria Harding, Thomas Harding, William Harding or John Harding, please contact me by me by email.

Samuel was the third son born to Edward and Mary Ann Offer Harding in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, England on 29 July 1828. His father, Edward, was employed as a butcher, an occupation Samuel probably learned from his father.

He was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 10 March 1847 in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, England by William Duel at the age of 18.

Samuel met Mary Jennet Stowe as they attending meetings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mary Jennet was born 27 March 1827 in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, England and baptized into the Church on 6 July 1847 in Trowbridge. The couple married on 4 April 1849. Their first child, a son, Jesse E., was born 16 July 1850 in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, England.

Samuel and his wife Mary Jennet were the first of the Harding sibling to emigrate from England. The young family departed from Liverpool, England on 10 February 1852 sailing on the ship Ellen Maria. On 16 March 1852 Mary Jennet delivered their second child. Mary claimed, “Mary Jeanette was born in a prayer meeting. There was only a curtain between the meeting and the place where she was born.” After eight weeks at sea, the Ellen Maria arrived at New Orleans on 5 April 1852.

After arriving in New Orleans, the company boarded a steamer to St. Louis, Missouri. From St. Louis they traveled to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. While at Fort Leavenworth, the Hardings were assigned to be in the Philip de la Mare Company.

After arriving in the Salt Lake valley on November 10, 1852, Samuel and Mary were not able to obtain living quarters with those already in the Salt Lake valley. Nor could they put up a log cabin for the winter. They did as many other Saints and dug a hole in the mountainside and with a wagon and wagon cover made their home for their first winter in Utah.

Samuel and Mary Jennet later moved to Provo, Utah and built a home in the Provo Third Ward. It is recorded that Samuel was of a very quiet, retiring nature. He worked hard improving Utah County and did his share in developing and cultivating the soil and improving the conditions around him.

Their granddaughter, Phebe Harding Jensen wrote, "Grandfather was a weaver in the old country, and he carried on this trade for many years in Utah. He later bought land and did some farming to help support the family. He served on the police force in Provo. Some years later, he opened a butcher shop which he operated for many years. Grandfather served as a guard in Echo Canyon when Johnson’s army came through."

Edward William Tullidge writes in the History of Provo that when Johnson’s army was approaching Utah, Provo leaders called upon the brethren to volunteer to go up into Echo Canyon and protect the incoming trains of immigrants and to act as a corp of observation to learn the strength and equipment of forces reported on the way to Utah. Samuel volunteered at this time as a private in company G. The group left Provo on 29 September 1857 marching in form to a brass and martial band and returned on 4 December 1857.

Samuel also participated in the Black Hawk War in 1868. He went south into Sevier County where he was stationed as a guard in the canyons and took an active part in putting down the Indian troubles.

 Samuel and Mary Jennet Harding 1899

Children of Samuel and Mary Jennet Harding
Front row left to right: Lydia Jane and Emily Esther
Middle Row: Samuel, Jesse, Sarah Ann, Ellen Rosina, William Henry
Back row: John Alfred, Mary Jeanette, Edward Thomas, Joseph James and Maria Elizabeth

Samuel died on 19 August 1904 in Provo, Utah, Utah at his home at 692 West Center Street of acute cystitis and prostatic hyperplasia.

In an issue of the Improvement Era is a short obituary for Samuel Harding, “In Provo, 19th, Samuel Harding, born England, July 29, 1828, joined the Church, March 10, 1847, was married to Janet Stowe, Nov. 14, 1849, and came to Utah in October 1852. He was a policeman 30 years ago in Provo. He leaves 12 children and 108 grandchildren.”

Mary Jennet died in Provo, Utah, Utah on 27 June 1909 at the age of 82. Both Samuel and Mary Jennet are buried in the Provo [Utah] City Cemetery.

Speaking of Samuel and Mary Jennet Harding, granddaughter Phebe Harding Jensen said, “. . . they left all that they held dear in their life and left England, never to return. What faith and courage they must have had to leave all behind, knowing full well they would never see t hem again. Their great desire was to go to Utah where they could be with the body of the Church. They suffered many hardships as most all pioneers did in the early days, but through it all, they remained faithful to the Church."


  1. Lovely to find your site. I am a descendant of Ann Harding, daughter of William Harding and Hannah Whatley. Ann Harding would be my g-g-g grandmother.
    My gen website is
    I can see the family likeness in their photos.

  2. I am a descendant of Samuel's son Samuel. Love to hear from you. Do not have your email address.