Edwin Watson & Mary Ann Swingewood


Edwin and Mary Ann were married April 16, 1870, at Burton-on-Trent. When the 1871 census was taken, they were living-in a little town called Morton, Derbyshire. Edwin was a miner. Their first son, Albert Edwin, was born Oct. 27, 1870, at Clay Cross in Derbyshire. Albert Edwin lived to be 97, almost 98, years old. He lived most of his life in Pocatello, Idaho. Their second son, Alfred, was born November 3, 1872, at Kibworth Harcourt in Leicestershire, but lived only until April 26, 1873. The rest of the children were born in the United States, although John Isaac Hart barely made it, having been born on the train during the emigration.


Edwin and Mary Ann emigrated with Mary Ann Barratt Watson Croxall and her second husband, Thomas Croxall. While on the train, somewhere in New Jersey, Mary Ann gave birth to her son, John Isaac Hart Watson, named, of course, after Bishop John Isaac Hart who had carried the gospel to them in England and arranged for their emigration. When Mary Ann's time came, all the gentlemen retired to another car and the women assisted in the birth. When all was in order, the men returned to their seats and the entire company continued on their way to Utah.


Edwin Watson wrote a short autobiography which members of his family have in their possession. Edwin tells us:


"I was born December 15, 1848, at Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England. I was baptized by Joseph Dawson, President of the Branstone Branch, Derby Conference about March 10, 1857, and confirmed the same day by President Dawson. [DJY: This date needs to be verified - he would have only been 9 years old - and yet his parents were never baptized ??  - not impossible - but one has to wonder if the date is wrong and he was actually baptized with his wife - recorded as  being baptized 26  Jan 1868] When I was eight years and six weeks old I was put to work in a brick yard for 20 cents per day. At ten years old I carried 5000 bricks a day, making about one shilling, or 25 cents. At age thirteen I started to work at Alsops Brewery in Burton. We worked from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and walked three miles to work for three years. I make one shilling per day. At age sixteen I left home for the coal mines, making nine shillings per week.


"I met Miss Mary Ann Swingewood at Clay Cross in Derbyshire. We were married at Tatenhill, Staffordshire. When our first boy was born I got hurt. The doctor said my back was broken and told Mary Ann I could not live, but I was administered to and I am still alive.


"I was ordained a teacher by the President of the Clay Cross Branch, Derbyshire, named John Springthorpe, and he also ordained me a priest. I served as a home missionary the summer that I was eighteen or nineteen years of age.


"We emigrated from the Leicester Conference to Utah in 1873, first to Harrisville, November 14, 1873. A son, whom we had named John Isaac Hart, was born on the train at about the location of Plainsboro, New Jersey, on November 5, 1873, and blessed at Fort Bridger by John Isaac Hart, Bishop of the West Weber Ward, November 10, 1873.


"I served as a Sunday School teacher at Harrisville in 1878. We moved to Hooperville, Utah, in the winter of 1875. I was a block teacher. In 1876 or the spring of 1877 we moved to Marsh Valley, Idaho. I was with the soldiers in the winter of 1877 and 1878 for a short time. Then I accepted a place tending stage barn for the rest of the winter of 1877-78.


"I left there to rent a farm from W.W. Woodland and George Wakley for about three years. I served as a visiting aid in MIA work for nearly four winters.


"I took up a ranch on the Portneuf River where we stayed about ten months but were driven off by Indians and I lost my home, crop, and all the stock I had. We went to Hooperville again where we rented a farm for about two years in 1882. We moved to Blackfoot in the winter of 1885 and was there a short time when we were transferred from the Basalt Ward to the Riverton Ward.


"Blackfoot Ward was organized by Elder John H. Smith in March 1894, with Elder Elisha E. Bingham presiding, in which I was Sunday School Superintendent. I was set apart and ordained bishop in March 1894, Elisha E. and Elijah E. Bingham as counselors. I was called on a mission to England in October 1898 where I labored in the Manchester Conference until November 1900, then in Lodham and Swinton Hayward Branches where I baptized 18 members.


"I was released as Bishop in 1892 and set apart as parent class overseer of the Blackfoot Stake for three or more years. I served as home missionary to the Lost River country about 1987-98.


"For about three months I was janitor and bailiff at the courthouse during the persecution of the saints where I was able to save quite a number from the officers. I was charged with giving information to our brethren and sisters, which normally would have necessitated my having to stand trial on the charge of aiding and giving information to those who were under indictments for polygamy and for unpatriotic conduct, if not for treason, as I had assisted about a hundred to a hundred fifty people to escape from the officers. Judge Berry, however, lost his pocketbook and  I was fortunate to find it, giving it to the Judge after which he did not require me to stand trial. The Supreme Court of the United States later declared the law unconstitutional.



"June 12, 1924, my dear companion died at Blackfoot, Idaho. She was buried in Grove City Cemetery on the Sunday following June 12. We had done work in the Salt Lake Temple in the winter of 1913 and 1914 for my dead relatives and had our temple work done, Brother Mattson officiating."


Some of the dates Edwin gave do not quite agree; for instance, he and Mary Ann received their endowments in 1895, but he was telling the story from memory late in his life. Edwin and Mary Ann raised a very large family. They were generous with their time and resources. They also made their home available to other children than their own, three of which were Charlie Ashton, his sister Sarah, and a grandson upon the death of Eliza Louisa Ivie, their daughter. Their records are plentiful and many of his descendants seem to have stayed close to the church. Many still live in the Blackfoot area.