Thursday, August 12, 2010

Eliza Jane Thomas Clark

  • Name: Eliza Jane Thomas
  • Born: June 6, 1828 Michelstone, Glamorganshire, South Wales
  • Died: March 4, 1899 Malad, Idaho
  • Related through: Erin's grandfather James Madson

Eliza Jane Thomas Clark, was born June 6, 1828 at Michelstone, Glamorganshire, South Wales, the sixth child of a family of 14. Most of her family joined the church and eventually came to America.

Eliza, was the first of the family to emigrate. She came as a servant girl to the family of Thomas Jeremy, who was the father of Ella Jeremy (Richards), thereby earning her passage and being in their care for the trip.

They left Waterloo Dock, England Monday, Feb. 26, 1849 about 2 p.m. As the ship pulled out those on deck sang, “The Saints Farewell,” wondering when they should meet and see their families and loved ones again.

On board the “Buena Vista,” on which they sailed, there were 249 Welsh Saints under the direction of Dan O. Jones. Many of the Saints were very seasick and Captain Dan O. Jones, David Daniels of Brechfa and William Jenkins of Cardiff administered to their wants by making gruel, etc. for them. The sickness lasted only a few days.

They had fine weather and fair wind nearly every day. They reported that the middle of March was like June. After being on board seven weeks and day, they landed in New Orleans April 18, 1849. They traveled up the Mississippi River to St. Louis where in 48 hours, 62 of their company died of cholera. They went from there to Council Bluffs, Iowa where they stayed six weeks to prepare for the trip across the plains to Utah by ox teams.

They had considerable trouble with the Indians on the Platte River. While on the wagon train, Eliza met William Clark, who was also from Wales, and they were married on September 14, 1849 Near Deer Creek by the Platte River. They arrived in Utah in October, 1849. Eliza and William had nine children.

William Clark
Her parents, William Howell Thomas and Ann Williams Thomas and seven more of their children came to Utah in the fall of 1853. Before the Thomas and Clark families came to Idaho they lived in Brigham City, Utah, being among the very early settlers in Box Elder County. They lived for a time in the Old Fort. From there they moved to a rather artistic “Willow Palace,” which had a dirt roof and dirt floor just south of the opening at the southwest corner of the Old Fort. This unique home brought them the name of “The Willow Thomas Family,” even in Malad, they were called the “Tee Willow” people.

While in Brigham City William Clark, who was a tinsmith by trade, established a tin shop on North Main Street and mended his neighbors’ meager supply of tin ware. The pewter which was used in mending was purchased in the form of spoons, plates, cups, etc. They moved to Malad about 1863, where Eliza acted as more than an ordinary mid-wife for many years until her health failed. She ushered into the world hundreds of babies. She also vaccinated her own family and perhaps others for smallpox. Her daughters later attended to people with that disease and never contracted it, having had only the one vaccination if it was crudely done compared to now.

Eliza was a widow for nine or ten years and died in Malad on March 4, 1899. At that time seven of her nine children survived her. Eliza and William area buried in the Malad City Cemetary.

Source: This history was written in October 1953 by her granddaughter, Ella Colton Palmer. It can also be found at and is included in the book Early Settlers of Malad Valley Volume I - Pre 1870. The photos came from and

No comments:

Post a Comment