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  • Writer's pictureAmyanne rigby

Honoring Sara Ann- Pioneer Day 2018

Updated: Jul 4

In Search of Sara Ann

The faces and names of my ancestors don't seem to escape me-- I remember their names and I am driven to discover their stories.  My discovery of Sara Ann Norris was perhaps an accident, but her story is a miracle.  In June 2013, we traveled with our "Fab Five" to Martin's Cove in honor of my husband's ancestor, Ann Jewell Rowley.  Little did I know that my own ancestor, Sara Ann Norris was also part of this ill fated company as well.  Sara Ann was 22 and single.  She joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Somerset England and migrated to "Zion" with her sister Cecelia Norris who was 26.  

The story goes that while in perilous times her hair became frozen to the ground and had to be cut off on one snowy, desperately cold morning-- a small symbol of her sacrifice.

It is said the bonnet she wore while crossing with the Willie Handcart company is on Display in Parowan, Utah at the Old Rock Church....

My search to know more of Sara continues....

Fourth Hand-Cart Company—Capt. J. G. Willie.

FROM ENGLAND.J. [James] G. Willie, William Woodward, John Chislett, Thomas Moulton and family, Jesse Impey and family, Wm. Reed and family, Ann [Foulks] Osborn, Joseph Oborn and family, Sarah Charles [Chowles], William Edwick, Alfred Peacock, Jeminia [Brown] Rogers and daughter, Mary P. [Priscilla] Griffiths, Susannah Stone, Mine A [Minnie Ann] Cook, Sarah A [Ann] Williams, Esther [Young] Millard, Elizabeth Tite, Betsey [Elizabeth Gent] Stanley, Mary A Stockdale, Julia and Emily Hill, Amelia Evans, Cicella [Cecelia] and Sarah Norris, Mary A [Ann] and Adelaide Cooper, David Reader and family.

That first winter, Jenkin courted Sarah Ann Norris from England. She was the daughter of William and Cecilia Norris. Sarah Ann was also a handcart pioneer, but she was fated to be a member of the Fourth Company, the tragic Willie Company. She and her sister, Cecelia, survived the late-starting, snowy, starving handcart trek. Cecelia's husband succumbed to the cold and starvation after the rescue party had arrived. Sarah Ann and Cecelia were called to go to Parowan to settle. Both married Parowan boys. They were married June 29, 1857 in Parowan, Utah. To them were born nine children: Jenkin Abraham, Cecelia Spencer, William Alonzo, Sarah Ann, Thomas Henry, Deborah Mandora, Fredrick Veltus, John Arthur, and Charlotte May. Pioneering wasn't over for Jenkin, when he and Sarah Ann had only three children, they were called by the Church authorities to go east over the mountain to Panguitch and establish a settlement there. In 1864, Jenkin, his family and a few other Parowan families, packed up and moved to Panguitch. They tried hard to till the soil and make permanent homes, but the Indians were so bad that the mission was temporarily closed. In 1866 the families were sent back to Parowan. While in Panguitch Jenkin and Sarah welcomed a daughter into their home. The rest of the children were all born in Parowan. Jenkin and Sarah Ann opened their home to travelers. They called it the Evans Hotel. Travel by horse and buggy was the norm for drummers (traveling salesman) and others. Travelers could stay at the Evans Hotel and enjoy a bed and meal. Because Jenkin was often gone hauling freight, it was usually Sarah Ann and the children who ran the Hotel and farm.



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