Hannah and George Migrate . . .
In August of 1843 James’
daughter Hannah Maria Newberry married Mormon
convert George Morris, who was barely off the boat from Hanley,
before he started looking for a wife. In his journal he tells about
meeting a young woman
on the boat going up the Mississippi from New Orleans. Just a
few days into the
journey he asked her to marry him. She agreed, but before the
trip is over, she
changed her mind and declined. He writes that about a year later
she was back in
Nauvoo to ask him if the offer was still open. He declined.
Weather this was because
he already married to Hannah we don't know. George was not good at
a dated chronology in his journal.
George and Hannah were married
on George's birthday August 23, 1843. What a special gift he
received that day.
George Morris was assigned at some point to preach to the Indians,
but we have not as yet been able to determine
where he went, and if he met Hannah while preaching. She was already a
Mormon at the time they met. There is
one reference in his journal to a dream that he had which might indicate
that he had contact with Indians.
He talks about how they attacked him in the dream. But he never mentions
where he was assigned, and the LDS
Church has no record in their Historical Department. There is one
book that was seen by a family member in 1970 in
Nauvoo that tells that he served a mission with the Indians. We have been
unable to find this particular volume in recent
years. Joseph Smith asked that this information note be recorded in
the 1830's as a precaution.
In his diary George does not tell where or how he met Hannah Maria.
There is nothing about their courtship or meeting.
He just says that she is an American girl and then goes on and
tells about her parents and their names.
Early on he does
not even mention her name - he just refers to her as "my wife".
married when she was 20 years old and he was
26. Later in his journal he mentions her as Hannah.
The Mormons were driven out of Nauvoo by the mobs and all their land was
sold for what they could get. In 1847
George Morris and Hannah Maria were heading across Iowa to Council Bluffs
to ready themselves to go west to
Salt Lake City. In George’s
diary he tells of all the sickness and troubles they had on their way
across Iowa. He does
however make a point of telling about how someone was trying to harm
“There is a foul plot
brewing aginst [sic] Hannah, and I must yet again move
her for fear
of her safety.”
At the time Hannah was a young mother with two little babies and a third
on the way. George is not forthcoming about
who would be so crass as to make evil attempts on Hannah. It is suspected
that her ethnicity was part of the reason,
but this is not ever confirmed.
When they left Nauvoo, they
crossed the Mississippi River with the rest of the contingent. Historian
archaeologist Mike Foley has done work in the past several years mapping
the route of the Mormons crossing the
Mississippi River and found that the trail leads to Newberry land. Keokuk
Mike has doused these areas and found
remnants of old buildings and structures used to house the fleeing
Mormons. Also in a letter to the family in Utah, an
Iowa family member wrote that Brigham Young camped on a corner of the
The Mormons headed west to Grand Encampment on their way out of
mid-America. George and Hannah stayed with
her brothers in Argyle for a short time and then they moved onto the
prairie where they would remain ill for many months.
When they finally reached Council Bluffs they stayed a while with
Hannah's father James. George was anxious
to get going, and set out on the journey with insufficient
provisions. When it was found that he had done this he was
re-assigned to the Pisgah Company. This group shared the supplies
On to Utah