Mary Ann Ashdown & Henry Garrett

Mary Ann Ashdown was born in 1853 in Brighton, England. Her mother was Ann Burgess and her father was Richard Ashdown. Shortly after
she was born the family met the Mormon Elders and the family embraced the doctrine and were baptized in the sea in 1855. When Mary
Ann was 7-years old they left Liverpool on the ship Manchester on a journey of 6000 miles to the Salt Lake Valley. The journey across the
ocean was very difficult for her mother. They joined the hand cart company of Ira Eldredge (1861) and Mother Ann walked nearly the entire
1000 miles across the plains. The family arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1861 and moved to Bountiful where Mary Ann grew up.
Mary Ann was married in 1870 to Henry Garrett in the Endowment House in Salt Lake and the couple moved to Nephi then known as Salt
Creek. Her mother left her father after his excommunication shortly thereafter and joined them. Henry worked at a variety of odd jobs to
support the family. Her father Richard eventually gave them his old homestead and the family moved back to Bountiful. Henry married a
second wife Hannah Day in 1878. He had 22 children between his two families thirteen belonging to Mary Ann.
In 1887 Mary Ann’s mother Ann married Thomas Briggs in the Saint George temple. He had a large family to care for, but her mother was a hard worker and she
became a good mother to his children, the youngest being only 4 years old. About that time the family decided to take care of their work for the living and dead.
As Mary Ann’s father hadn’t come back to the church the children decided to have their mother and themselves sealed to Brother Briggs in the Logan Temple as
he had been a good father to them. Mary Ann caught the spirit of temple work and by 1906 had done over 753 ordinances for the dead for her family.
Ann Burgess Briggs fell ill and passed away in 1898, but left a final blessing on her family from her death bed, “Although my sufferings have been great, the Lord has
been very kind to me. I have been backward in bearing my testimony and that is the cause of my sufferings. But, the Lord knows my heart, for I love all my children
and grandchildren and all my brothers and sisters, for I have nothing but blessings for you all. “ Then she said to Henry Garrett, “be faithful and true to both of your
families. You have got two large families and they are good although you are in trouble at times. But be faithful and attend to your prayers and all will be well with
you and attend to all your duties and the Lord will bring you safe through, and when troubles come, kick them to one side. If you will be united with your families I
know the Lord will bless you at all times.” Her dying testimony was that the gospel was true.
By 1900 the old homestead where Henry and Mary Ann were living was in need of repair, and so the family decided to build a new home. One of their neighbors
was making bricks so he offered those in exchange for payments. Her sons George and David agreed to do the carpentry and bricks and Mary Ann worked hard even
during storms picking beans and peas and taking in washing to get the brick paid for. Shortly after they moved in they contracted Smallpox and the family had to
be quarantined. She often worked with her son David in his gardens helping with the planting and care of the vegetables and flowers. The entire family had to work
hard most of their lives to stay out of debt. They did splurge a little and bought an organ and she loved to play with her family all around her. Being surrounded by
family gave her the greatest joy. She spent her later years working in the garden and serving in the temple doing genealogy and temple work.
In her journal, Mary Ann mentions in 1904 that many of the church leaders, egged on by apostates, had been called to testify in Washington over temple ordinance
practices and a newly elected senator from Utah they were trying to remove and bring trouble to the church. She also mentions in 1906 the great ‘fearful’ San
Francisco earthquake and the 250 thousands and 500+ orphans that needed supplies sent by train, some of it from donations given by members. Later that year she
mentions a severe famine in Russia and a terrific wind that blew through her area and took out houses, telephone poles and trees, as well as part of her own roof and
chimney. Her husband owned the butcher shop and so many people couldn’t pay their bill that the shop had to close so that winter she took in washing to help out.
She saw these things as a sign of the times and the beginning of sorrows. She left her testimony:
“Oh my children, let me beg of you to keep from these evils and teach it to your children. I can truly say that this is the Lord’s work and He will protect it and bring it
victorious. If you will keep the commandments of the Lord as they are made know by his servants, he will bring you safely through and this is the constant prayer of
your loving mother and father.” – Mary Ann Ashdown.

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