John Kirton and
Elizabeth Jane Mason
John Kirton, was born in 1863 in Westmoor, England to John and Grace Barrass Kirton. He married Elizabeth Jane Mason on 20 September 1884 in England. They are the parents of six children. The family joined the church through the efforts of Elizabeth Jane. One evening she heard singing and talking in the apartment below hers. Curious to know what was transpiring, she had her pail ready later that night so that she could fetch water at the community pump at the same time that her neighbor did. Upon learning that Mormon missionaries were holding cottage meetings downstairs, she readily accepted her neighbor’s invitation to join them. She read the Book of Mormon and gained a testimony of its truth. When she asked her husband John Kirton, “a man of few words,” if he had any objections to her baptism, he said, “No, but while you’re about it, make arrangements for my baptism, too. They joined the Mormon Church in 1890. When her mother (Hannah Gardner Armstrong) learned what Elizabeth had done, she was shocked and infuriated and ordered her out of the house with instructions never to darken her door again. She had heard terrible stories about the Mormons and Brigham Young and polygamy, and thought her daughter had surely gone
astray. But the rift didn’t last, and it wasn’t long before mother and daughter were reconciled. At her daughter’s request Hannah read the Book of Mormon. Initially unimpressed, she read it again but this time she followed Moroni’s admonition to pray about it with a sincere heart. She could scarcely believe it was the same book. “If the book had been taken from my house, I would have believed this was a different book.” Convinced that it was true, she asked for baptism, and eventually all of her children were also baptized. Elizabeth’s John William Mason was never baptized although the missionaries were always welcome in his home. He was a large man, almost 300 pounds, and he joked that the elders wouldn’t be able to handle him in the water. Prior to his demise, he asked to have his temple work done for
him following his passing. John and Elizabeth’s home was open to the missionaries at all times, feeding and lodging them without charge. John left England in 1891 and came to America to work and get enough money to send for his family, who came one year later. He was a coal miner and worked in a number of mines in Utah and Wyoming. The last place he worked was in Scofield, UT where he was killed in the great mine explosion that killed two hundred men on May 1, 1900. John Kirton was the first man brought to the surface. He was still alive, but presented a terrible sight. His scalp was burned to a cinder and his face was almost unrecognizable. In his horrible pain, he cried out to his companions, begging them to end his misery by taking his life. He passes away soon after. John was 37 years old when he died leaving his wife with five children the youngest was 14 years. After the death of her husband Elizabeth moved to Lehi, Utah where she raised her children. She took in sewing and went from door to door selling scissors and household goods. The children all helped
as they grew old enough. Elizabeth’s life was a struggle but she loved the gospel and never regretted coming to America. She loved the scriptures and spoke in sacrament meetings several times. She was reserved in nature, about 5’6” tall and weighed 135 pounds. Her hair was light brown and she had brown eyes. She sang solos and also sang in church choirs. She had many friends. She died in December 1919 in Salt Lake City. She was 54 years old. The couple are buried in Lehi, Utah.
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