IIMARY ANN BARKER VIRGIN 1831-1922
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Orson Pratt Brown's Cousin Willis Brown's Family
Mary Ann Barker Virgin
Mary Ann Barker Virgin was born July 25, 1831. She was a daughter of Thomas Barker and Elizabeth (Betsy) Thompson Barker and was born at Marston, England and was the fifth child of a family of thirteen.
When but a child she acquired the art of making Valenciennes lace or pillow lace as she called it, because to make it she had a large round pillow stuffed with clean straw. The patterns used were pricked with pins on light cardboard or heavy paper and required the use of dozens of bobbins and hundreds of pins. The bobbins were manipulated back and forward over and under and a pin used to hold each stitch in place. The teacher who taught this art offered a prize to the child who could make the most lace in a given time. Mary Ann won, but to her horror was informed she must have that amount of lace finished at intervals of the same length of time that was given in the contest. She became very efficient in making the lace and also she would prick her own patterns. And even though she was a fast worker, it was slow and tedious work, but more beautiful lace was never made than she made, so smoothe, so even, and so fine. It was made of thread sizes 60, 70, or 80. She made lace and sold it to help support the family. Once she was given the honor of making lace sleeves for a dress for Queen Victoria.
Mary Ann was married to George Thompston Virgin, son of Samuel Virgin and Mary Alice Keep, on September 19, 1852 in the Paris Church at Marston, Bedfordshire, England. They made their home there for some time. To this union four children were born, Amos Moses Virgin 1854, Nephi Charles Virgin 1857, Heber George Thompston Virgin 1859., and Mercy Ann Virgin 1861. The eldest, a son, Amos Moses, was born at Marston on January 23, 1854. A few months later George and Mary Ann heard some Mormon Elders preaching and their message brought joy to their hearts. After praying sincerely to the Lord to know if the message was true, Heavenly Father gave them a testimony. They were baptized members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on September 22, 1854. As soon as it was known that they were Mormons, George lost his job and was unable to find employment. He would succeed in getting work but for a short time, then his employer would learn of his being a Mormon and again he was forced to look elsewhere for employment.
Nephi Charles, the second son, was born at Wooton, England, on October 6, 1856. Many times Mary Ann would work at her pillow all night to finish the lace that she would take to the market place and sell to get money to buy food before they could eat.
On the 19th of February 1859 another son, Heber George Thompston Virgin, was born at Kempston, England, but he died a year and one half later at Birmingham, Warwick, England.
Again the family was forced to move to find work. At last George was successful in getting employment with the railroad at Birmingham, England and they began happily to plan emigration to America and to Zion. During all this time they faithfully lived the Gospel and paid into the emigration fund to help others to emigrate to Zion. On December 20, 1861, a little daughter, Mercy Ann Virgin, came to brighten their lives.
On the night of December 29, Mary Ann had a dream, and in this dream she saw her husband's crushed and broken body. Awakening, she related her dream to her husband and begged and. pleaded with him not to go to work, but he said it was just the evil one trying to worry her in her weakened condition; she clung to him and pleaded with him to remain home but all in vain. She told him she would never see him alive again. He went and a few hours later one of the workmen came and told her of the accident and of her husband's death. He had been crushed between two cars when the wrong signal had been given. Without waiting for the men to explain the details of his death, she told them she knew all about it for she had been shown it in a dream.
The ordeal of losing her companion and the means of the support of her family brought forth the noble character she possessed and trusting in God she arose to the occasion in the full strength of her womanhood and was father and mother and sole support of her little family.
Spurred on by her desire to go to Zion she was blessed of the Lord and by spring her greatest hopes were realized. Mary Ann Barker Virgin, her two sons and her baby daughter were among eight hundred Saints on board the William Tappscott when it sailed in May, 1862. They crossed the plains in the Horton D. Haight Company. Even though Nephi was under six years of age and his brother, Amos, was eight, they walked almost the entire distance. Nephi said, "Many times they were tired and once they lagged behind the wagon train and would have been lost and perhaps devoured by wolves but the provision wagon happened to be behind and picked them up.
Mary Ann became ill from constant exposure and the hardships of the journey and was unable to care for her children. A young man by the name of Ephraim Barton took great interest in the baby Mercy Ann and carried her in his arms almost continuously, but the weather and exposure proved too much for the little one, and she died on October 6, 1862, and the young man passed away the same night. Mary Ann was so sick that she did not realize that her baby had passed away. A hymn was sung and a prayer offered. Ephraim Barton and the baby were placed in a blanket and buried together in a crude grave. He had the baby on his arm. A fire was lighted over the grave to keep animals away and the grave was covered with rocks and the company moved on. This was near the Utah-Wyoming line.
They arrived in Salt Lake Valley October 19, 1862. Mary Ann and the two boys settled in Grantsville, Utah. Two years later they moved to St. Charles, in Bear Lake Valley to make their home. The boys worked at fishing and trapping. She gleaned wheat in the fields for bread. Some of the terrible hardships they endured are found in the history of the life of each of her sons. She resided in St. Charles until spring of 1907 when she moved to Salem, Idaho. She was sealed to her husband October 12, 1867 and the children were sealed to them October 17, 1884. She was ever a faithful Latter-day Saint, having worked for a number of years in Relief Society and also a teacher in Sunday School. She loved to testify of the truthfulness of the Gospel and of the goodness of the Lord.
She died at Salem, Idaho January 14, 1922 and her remains were laid to rest in the Sugar City Cemetery. At the time of her death she was survived by one son Amos, her son Nephi having died March 20, 1917, sixteen grandchildren, sixty-seven great-grandchildren, one great-great-grandchild and three sisters.
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PAF - Archer files = Captain James Brown is the brother of Daniel Brown they married the Stephens sister, Martha and Elizabeth : Daniel Brown + Elizabeth Stephens > Willis Brown + Jane Williams > Willis Brown Jr. + Alice Matilda Dinsdale > Augustus Mark Brown + Zalia Louise Virgin < Amos Moses Virgin + Sarah Francis "Fannie" Merkley : Amos Moses Virgin and Nephi Charles Virgin are brothers : Nephi Charles Virgin + Mary Ann Barker.
"Pioneers of Bear Lake" Mary Ann Barker Virgin by Lorinda Virgin Stone. DUP. Pages 344-346.
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