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 Hannah and George in Utah


Hannah in her 40's                         George in his 40's

The Trip to Utah . . .
The trip across the plains took several months and many sacrifices.  Hannah spent a good portion of her time just looking
after her children and surviving the brutal conditions of the journey.

Their first winter in the valley was spent in a covered wagon in sub freezing temperatures.  Her valor in surviving those
first few years is nothing short of amazing.  I will not go into all the history surrounding the first days in the Salt Lake
Valley, as this is written in history books.

Much of what happened to Hannah in the years to come would not be published. She was stoic in her reserve and what
comes down to us is jaded by family privacy.  My grandmother always kept most things about her family to herself and
"didn't want to hang out her dirty wash" regarding the goings on in her family.

Very  little is written about Hannah even by her own husband.  His main concern was writing only about what was happening
within Church history. Other attendant controversies probably precluded family history from being included in his writings. 
Hannah's ethnicity has been a huge bone of contention for succeeding generations, and it's hard to believe it wasn't a difficult
subject while she was living.

First 'dobie' house in the 17th Ward . . .
George received land in the Salt Lake Valley and built a small 'dobie' house for himself and Hannah. They continued living
on what he could make as a well digger and other trades.  Hannah also took in work as a seamstress. 

When one of the hand cart companies pulled into the valley during the winter, there was a young woman named Maria Allen
to whom George ministered during an illness brought on by exposure to the elements.  She was near death and asked George
if he would marry her.  Hannah agreed to let this take place and stood for her while the elders married them.  Later, George
would also take Hannah's sister Harriet as a polygamous wife, even though she was already deceased. However, she had
previously requested the opportunity. To this Hannah also agreed but her daughter Lavina stood proxy in this ceremony..

But it was when George took another woman who was
still living that Hannah's life began to take a sad turn.  George married
Annie Matthews in a polygamous union which displeased Hannah greatly. She soon realized that she was no longer the favored
wife, through incidents that come down to us in family histories. One that was related by Sarah Johnson before her death was
of Sarah visiting with Hannah and admiring the peaches on the tree in the yard.  She spotted one peach that she watched until
it was just perfectly ripe and then picked it for her grandmother as a special gift. As it turns out this infuriated her grandfather
George Morris who had been watching the same peach for his wife Annie.

It is unclear if Annie lived in the same house with George and Hannah initially, but eventually George moved out of the house
entirely with Annie and moved to St. George, Utah to work on the temple there.  Before he left he locked the cellar door, so
that Hannah would be unable to access the provisions stored there. 

Sarah Ann Grow Morris, her daughter-in-law, (my great grandmother)  went to Hannah's home and took an ax  to the padlock
George had placed on the door, so Hannah could feed herself and her 10 children. Hannah was pregnant at the time that he left. 
George ultimately was to be gone for eight years.  In his old age he was barred from living with his second wife by the federal
law, and was brought up on polygamy charges, from which he was able to escape only with the testimony of Hannah and his
daughter Harriet.  By this time he was an old man. Harriett testified that he had not lived with her mother for eleven years. This
information he wrote himself in his journal. He was acquitted.

In old age, he could no longer live with Annie because of the law, so he begged Hannah to take him back.  She said to him,
"You may live in this house, but you shall never share my bed again."  George lived with her a short time, providing his own cot.
Later, he took up bachelor quarters until the end of his days, as he felt the atmosphere the house was not amiable enough to live
harmoniously. 

Hannah died November 6, 1892 and George died January 29, 1897. Both are buried in the City Cemetery in Salt Lake City
Utah.  Annie Matthews is buried on his right hand and her parents are buried to her right.  Hannah is buried on his left hand. 
Six of George's children by Annie Matthews are buried at their feet. Most of these children did not reach their 12th birthday,
and many were just babies who died of fevers.

After all these many years, there is little known about the perils that Hannah faced as a wife in a polygamous union. Judging from
her life previous to that time, I would judge she likely fought against it, because George unlike her father had only one wife until
they arrived in Utah.  However, there are sentiments in the family which many have chosen not to broach regarding George's
treatment of Hannah.  Some in the family have said this was not a happy life for Hannah, but only one chose to write anything
about it.  Below is a treatise by Sarah Johnson who was a grand daughter of Hannah Maria.  Others have said they felt it was
unwise to air the tales, but Sarah was brave enough to say what was on her mind.

In Defense of Hannah Maria Newberry Morris by Sarah Johnson

After reading very carefully the two autobiographies written by my great grandfather, George Morris, one in pencil the
other in ink (both are now in the genealogical library of the church), I wish to make the following comments.

My mother, Hannah Maria Davis LeCheminant, was the first grandchild of George and Hannah Morris.  Never do I
remember her saying anything derogatory about her progenitors and their polygamous lives until the last year of her
life.  Both her father and grandfather were polygamists.  And she defended polygamy vigorously.  But while she was
living with me during the winter of 1933-34, her mind went back to some of the things I’m sure she wanted to forget. 
She couldn’t remember things that were happening currently, but events of by-gone days were very clear to her.

She told me things about her grandmother Morris that gave me great respect and admiration for her.  And after
reading George Morris’s complaints, I feel that I must tell her side of the story.  My mother said, “My grandmother
Morris was an angel.”  And from other things she told me, I think I can understand why Hannah refused to let her
husband share her bed when he had been forced to leave his plural wife after having lived with her “exclusively for
eight years.”

Mother said that her grandfather was always partial to his plural wife.  He showed it in many ways.  One thing she
remembered:  when he bought dress material for his two wives, he always bought better and prettier material for his
plural wife.  She recounted an incident she remembers distinctly:  One day as she was going through the yard to visit
her grandmother, she spied a single, beautiful peach on a little tree.  She wanted to please her grandmother, so she
picked it and took it in to her.  When her grandfather found out what she had done, he was furious.  He was waiting
for that peach to get perfectly ripe for his wife, Anne.  It was the first peach that tree had produced, and it was special.

While reading his autobiographies, I discovered a few fact that might account for George’s matrimonial difficulties. 
George Morris couldn’t have known Anne Mathews longer than 2˝ months before he married her because as
recounted in his ink copy P. 127, Anne arrived in Salt Lake City Oct. 4, 1863, and he had her sealed to him Dec. 26,
1863.  That would have been their marriage date.  Anne was 23 years old, George 47.  At that time Hannah would
have been two months pregnant with George’s 12th child.

It is understandable why his family would resent this marriage.  He couldn’t adequately care for the family he already
had.

It is apparent that George Morris did lead an arduous life.  He was a hard worker, and he was resourceful.  He was a
devout Latter-day Saint, true to the faith.  He had many misfortunes.  It would seem that all his life the devil had been
trying to destroy him.   Five times he had a miraculous escape from death.  Twice he nearly drowned in an icy river. 
Once he barely escaped death while digging a well, another time while cleaning a well.  Trouble often hit him.  As he
says: “Whenever prosperity has smiled upon me for a season, adversity has stripped me of all earthly means and
leveled me down again.”

But Hannah Maria Newberry Morris led an arduous life too.  She bore and raised 12 children under the most adverse
conditions.  And "SHE WAS AN ANGEL".

Comments by Sarah LeCheminant Johnson, daughter of Hannah Maria Davis LeCheminant, who was a daughter of
Lavina Newberry Morris Davis, oldest child of George and Hannah Maria Newberry Morris.

I too, have read the autobiographical sources written by George Morris.  One thing that struck me was the fact that he seemed
to be ashamed of Hannah and her family. There was never anything written of any substance about her or her family.  My
guess is that George was somewhat embarrassed about her ethnicity and that of his in-laws.  Why do I say this?  Interestingly,
there are two halves of the Newberry family who were separated in1848 by the rugged Rocky Mountains.  The half who
remained in Iowa still thrive there. They knew and accepted the information regarding the ethnicity of the Newberry family,
while the people in Utah only whispered about it. 

Luckily, for those of us who are interested in genealogy, keeping the secret was like trying to keep a squirmy, willful child
seated against their will - the truth won out, sporting  the persona of a mischievous, gape-grinned child.

However, even today, many of the family have tried to suppress the information, or have conveniently decided to ignore
it - or worse yet - vote it out of  existence. Their logic is, if it can't be documented with census or other records, it isn't true. 
My response to this is, there were no records before 1790. At that period in history, Native people were struggling to
acculturate themselves in order to survive; so there won't be any record, unless they stayed with a tribal group.  Their tribal
groups split off and intermarried with other tribes and white folks. Few people were counted on the federal tribal lists before
the 1830's.  It wasn't until our forefather's rallied to the battle cry of "Manifest Destiny" that anyone cared who the Indians
were and where they lived. When expansionism began to spread, there was more of a concern.

George had another cross to bear which he did with more detail regarding his brother Joseph Morris, who challenged
Brigham Young for the position of leader.  It was an unsuccessful bid, and he paid with this life. For more information
on the Morrisites click
 
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Other Topics and Destinations:

Newberry Researcher's Corner - BRICK WALLS  This page is dedicated to the continuing research of the family and the
 researchers who continue with me to sift through the ancient records of the New England and New York.

All pages
Stage 1
/Connecticut / New York / More Newberry's in New York Samuel Smith / Smith Farm / Revolution /
Old School Baptists
/Native people in New England / Stage 2 / Ohio / Missouri / Illinois & Iowa / Nauvoo /
Flight to SW Iowa
/ The Half Breed Tract / Cutlerite membership / dissidence in NauvooDeath of James Newberry /
Wives and Family
/ Children who Went west /Stage 3 /Exodus to Utah / Utah Morrisites / Hannah's Children /
Hannah's Necklace
/ genealogy table / Addenda /Newberry Brick WallsWhispers - beginning the search /
Bibliography
/ Family Album / Jonathan Newberry Bible /

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