THE LIFE SKETCH OF JOHN HOPWOOD BLEAZARD, by Kate B. Curtis 1964.

May 22, 2009

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THE LIFE SKETCH OF JOHN HOPWOOD BLEAZARD  

“Note:  This History was received from Kate B. Curtis, June 15, 1964, and copied at that time. –James H. Blazzard. Received from James Bleazard –1975”

 

             John Hopwood Bleazard, or Blazzard, was born in Newton, Yorkshire, England, on February 26, 1803, and lived in England until he emigrated to the United States in 1842.  He was a son of Robert Bleazard, born about 1777 (the son of John Bleazard and Mattie Parsons), and Ann Hopwood, born July 13, 1777, in England. (Her parents were James Hopwood, born March 21, 1741, and Margaret Smith, born in 1744).  He had the following brothers and sisters: Joseph, born in 1792; Mary, born in 1796; James, born in 1798; Robert, born in 1804; and Margaret (Marcy), born in 2809.  (Also William).

            He joined the LDS Church as one of the very early converts, and we have record of his volunteering for the Missionary Service at Cornslaw, England, and also of his being ordained an elder July 6, 1840.  He came to America on the ship “North American”, but the number in his family who came over with him is not certain.  From Uncle Mark Bleazard’s diary we find that he brought a wife, Ann, and a young daughter, Ann.  It may be that he was accompanied by two sons and two daughters, Robert, John, Mattie, and Ann.  Two of them, Robert and Ann, once visited Grandma Sarah Searcy Blazzard and their father in Salt Lake City.  The grown children probably remained in the East and came West at a later date.

  
            In England, John Hopwood Bleazard was a wheelwright, and a ship’s carpenter.  He was apprenticed out in his youth and learned these trades. But precisely how he spent his early life, up to his baptism, is unknown to us.  Generally speaking, living was hard for common people in England in the middle of the nineteenth century, when it seemed that the poorer class of people had become permanently servile.  For twelve or fifteen hours a day, men worked for a wage too small for bare necessities. 

            Quoting from POLITICAL AND SOCIAL HISTORY OF EUROPE – Hayes: “The city of Manchester was full of starved factory workers, and in the country of Lancashire there were great manufacturing towns where men, women, and children hurried out of ill-drained hovels, through the snow and slush of dark streets, to the cotton mill. 

            “Children sometimes as young as four were employed for sixteen hours a day to hold bobbins or skeins in the cotton factory.  An overseer walked up and down the aisles, lashing out with a long whip to keep overtired men, women and children awake. 

            “They returned at night to the cheerless one-room hovels, with their damp dirt floors, bare and windowless, their leaky thatched roofs sagging and dripping water. 

            “The winter nights were bitterly cold, but fuel was expensive so that many people of the poorer class went shivering supperless to bed, on a pile of straw. 

            “The peasants in Europe had no voice in making the laws, but were liable to heavy fines or capital punishment for breaking the laws.  They had no voice in the levying of taxes, but bore the burdens of paying the taxes.  They paid outrageous fees for the use of a lord’s mill in which to grind their grist; heavy tolls to cross a bridge, or to use a wine press.  They were hauled into court for imaginary offenses.  They worked on roads without pay, and went hungry while fat deer ran in every dooryard, and could not be killed for food because the masters were too fond of the chase.” 

            It is family history that our paternal grandfather’s brother, William Bleazard, was banished to the penal colony in far off Australia, for poaching on the king’s domain. 

            “The peasants paid the heaviest of triple taxes to the lord, to the church and to the king.  To the lord went three days labor a week and portions of grain and poultry; to the church, went a one-twelfth or a one-fifteenth tithe; and to the king was paid a salt tax, a property tax, and a food tax. 

            “With the best of harvest they could barely provide for their families.  They ate the coarsest of bread, and but little of that.  Meat was a luxury; delicacies were for the rich.  The starving peasants in some parts tried to appease hunger with roots and herbs, and in hard times succumbed to famine by thousands. 

            “Surely, if ever a country needed reform it was Great Britain at that time.  The country was filled with paupers maintained by the taxes; poor people might be shut up in work-houses and see their children carted off to factories; sailors were kidnapped for the royal navy; the farm hand was practically bound to the soil like a serf; over 200 offenses such as stealing a shilling or cutting down an apple tree were punishable by death; religious intolerance flourished, Quakers were imprisoned and Roman Catholics debarred from office and Parliament.”  

            “These adverse conditions in England and over Europe at large, caused restlessness and discontent among the poor and made America in general and the Utah Church in particular, seem like a haven of rest and prosperity, in the message delivered by the Utah Missionaries.” 

            (Quoting from Bancroft’s History of Utah:)  “Prepare to come by tens of thousands and think not that your way is going to be opened to come in chariots, feasting on the fat of all lands.  We have been willing to live on bread and water, and many times very little bread, too, for years, that we might search out and plant the saints in a goodly land…….. 

            “And we now invite you to a feast of fat things, to a land that will supply all your wants with reasonable labor, therefore let all who can procure a bit of bread and one garment on their backs, be assured there is water plenty and pure by the way …….” 

            After coming to America and to Nauvoo, John Hopwood Bleazard belonged to the Nauvoo Legion and played a clarinet in the Nauvoo Band.  (This clarinet is now owned by some member of his descendants; at one time, his daughter, Mrs. Lucy Watts, was in possession of it.)  His son Mark’s family has his tool chest.  (West Blazzard, grandson, says he has seen the chest and that the name is spelled Blazzard on it rather than Bleazard, as some of his family still spell it. Some of the relatives claim that Grandma Sarah Searcy Blazzard was the one who changed the spelling.)  I saw the tool chest in 1913 at Uncle Mark’s, it was in a granary out back. K.) 

            John married (I) Ann Knowells in England, who died in Nauvoo. (II) He also married Betsy Pool who died in Nauvoo (from Uncle Mark’s diary.) (III) Then he married Sarah Searcy Miller, a widow with four children, in Winter Quarters (sealed to him March 30, 1848) and he also married her daughter (IV) Mary Jane Miller the same day.  Mary Jane had two children by him – Sarah Jane, born October 14, 1849.  And Mary Ann – then she left him and married Isaac Hill and had ten children.  (V) His next marriage was to Lydia Davis, who bore him five children. (VI) He married Margaret Birch, but they had no children that we know of.  Sealing date October 15, 1851.  (VII)  He married Matilda Murch Penny, January 17, 1855, a widow, who bore him one son whom they called Tom Penny Blazzard.  She soon left him, and after that the boy went by the name of Tom Penny.  This boy showed up when the will was broken, about 1892. (VIII) Another wife was Mary Ison Worthington (or Isom) whom he married, November 16, 1867, but there were no children that we have record of. (IX) Another wife was Mary Matilda Holden, who was sealed to him February 7, 1963, but there is no record of any children.  This woman fleeced him, and the other families. (X) Mary H. Blazzard who was baptized in England March 10, 1846, and came to Salt Lake City in 1866 and lived in the 14th Ward.  His children also claim that he married (XI) Martha Miller – another daughter of Sarah Searcy Miller – that she soon left him, married another man, and then later married Isaac Hill – the husband of her sister, (then later, two others).  (Mary’s posterity lived around Green River.) 

            Wife Number III, Sarah Searcy Miller Blazzard, had six children, three boys and three girls.  These are: John, born December 1848; Miriam, born 1850; James, born 1852, after they reached Salt Lake City; Dorcus and Ellen, and Thomas, born August 14, 1857. (Thomas was between Dorcus and Ellen.)  Sarah left John and Married George Pectol and moved to Southern Utah and made her home in Washington until her death March 15, 1889. 

            (George Pectol had four wives, or so, and grown children, when he married Sarah.  They lived in or around Dixie.  I think she married him in Washington.) 

            John Hopwood Bleazard and Sarah Searcy Miller were endowed at the new Nauvoo Temple in 1846, and probably lived together by Brigham Young’s permission (as was a customary proceeding) until they were remarried March 30, 1848, at Winter Quarters.  They were sealed in the Endowment house, Salt Lake City, January 17, 1853. 

            Their first child, John was born December, 1848 at Winter Quarters; the second, Miriam, December 23, 1849, at Winter Quarters.  I’ve heard through Uncle Mark’s line that Brigham promised John Hopwood Bleazard Mary Miller, daughter of Sarah, as a plural wife, in order to induce him to make and mend wagons for the Church.  He married her (Mary Jane) and the first child, Sarah Jane, was born October 14, 1849, in Holt County, Missouri. 

            Sarah Searcy Miller, my grandmother, got a temple divorce from John Hopwood in the Endowment house in Salt Lake City, July 7, 1873, at the age of 58, and was sealed to her first husband, James Miller, by Daniel H. Wells.  (On record) 

            Her daughter, Mary Jane Miller, had two children by Bleazard, (one died), then left him and married Isaac Hill, October 27 1852.  It is on record, in the Temple archives, that she was sealed to Hill March 10, 1866. (Mary Jane had been sealed to Bleazard at Winter Quarters at 6:00 p.m., Witness, Wilford Woodruff.) 

            (Sarah Searcy Miller must have been about 33, when she married Bleazard, and her daughter Mary, 16, and Bleazard, 45.)

            It is said that Brigham promised Martha, Mary’s younger sister, to John Hopwood Bleazard also, when she grew up a little more.  (My mother said Martha wouldn’t have him.  Effie Syphus in St. George, swears that Martha married him, also.)  Anyway, Martha is on record as marrying her sister Mary’s husband, later, and having a family by him. 

            (Ma said these two girls were beautiful, that Martha was to have married a young man her own age, that she was crazy about.  She wouldn’t give him up, when commanded by the priesthood.  He came up missing, and she never saw him again.  A young man’s body was dug up in an old cellar, a few years later, but could not be identified as he.) 

            Lydia Davis, number V, bore him five children: Joseph Davis, born April 17, 1860; Mark Hopwood, born March 21, 1861, Lucy Davis Watts, born March 30, 1863; Caleb Davis, born March 1, 1865, Orson Davis, born January 1, 1867.  Joseph died as a small boy.  Mark married Annie Danks and raised a large family in Salt Lake City.  Lucy married Wilford Linford Watts but had no children that we have record of.  Caleb married Elizabeth Diane Merritt and they raised a family at Afton, Wyoming.  His wife is still living, (1959).  Orson married Carrie Fisher and they had nine children.  These families all spell their name Bleazard. 

            Mary Ison Worthington, number VI, was an aunt to Lydia Davis, Uncle Mark’s wife, and had three sons when she married John.  She was the widow of Henry Worthington.  John made her his bookkeeper and treasurer.  She seemed to have had a fair education.  At John’s death she became the executor of his estate.  She gave her three sons, John, Henry, and Jacob, much of the property, then gave some to her Niece Lydia’s children. (This is what Mark’s and Orson’s children told J. W. Blazzard.) (He said).  

The children of Sarah Searcy Miller and John Hopwood Blazzard need to be brought into the picture for genealogical purposes.  

(1)   John was born in 1848, came to Salt Lake with his parents, never married.  He was injured when a child so that he was not able to learn to read and write.  He spent the last 20 years of his life with his brother, Thomas, and family in Washington, Utah.  His leg was broken by a buck sheep, after which he lived one week.  He was buried in Washington, Utah. 

(2)   Miriam was born in 1850, in Winter Quarters.  She married James Pectol, her step-brother, and had 3 children before he died, a comparatively young man.  Two of these boys, James and Leroy, married and raised families in Southern Utah. (Leroy married Nell Jolley. They had a large family in Washington, Utah. James married Lena __________there.) Miriam later married E. M. Steers and had five or six more children (We have had no contact with any of her children for a long time.) She died in Idaho. 

(3)   James Blazzard was born August 7, 1852, in Salt Lake City.  He was raised in Southern Utah after the age of 9 or 10, and married Mary Catherine Jolley November 30, 1876, in Glendale.  They spent most of their married life in Luna, (18 years), New Mexico, and Thatcher, Arizona.  They had a family of ten children. They are both buried at Thatcher, Arizona. 

(4 & 5) Two girls were born next, Ellen and Dorcus, but we know very little about them except that they both died young and were buried in Washington, Utah, where their mother is buried. 

(6) Thomas was the last child born to John Hopwood Bleazard and Sarah, August 4, 1857, in Salt Lake City.  When he was four years old, his mother separated from John and married George Pectol, and they moved to Southern Utah to raise cotton.  Thomas married Eliza Melzena Averett in St. George Temple, January 19, 1882. They raised a family of nine children, all but two of whom lived to marry and raise families.  Hazel died at the age of twenty-one of typhoid fever, and George died an accidental death.  Thomas, the father, died July 3, 1924, in St. George, Utah, and is buried in Washington, Utah. Tom’s wife, Eliza (Dean) Everett, mother of his children, died February 22, 1935, and was buried beside her husband.  

            John Hopwood Bleazard married (IV) Mary Jane Miller who was sealed to him by President Brigham Young, March 30, 1848, at 6 p.m. at Winter Quarters –Witnesses, Wilford Woodruff and Willard Richards.  They had born to them Sarah Jane and Mary Ann. (Mary Ann died in infancy.) Sarah Jane was born October 4, 1849, at Holt County, Missouri, and she died in 1921 at Moab, Utah.  Sarah Jane married Waldo Kinneson. Then, later, married Randolph Stewart, the first Bishop of Moab, and had a family by him.  Four years ago, Effie Bleazard Syphus, granddaughter, of St. George, (1955) went to Moab and met Irene Emmaline Berry Powell, one of Sarah Jane’s daughters, who was very feeble and too weak to tell very much about her mother.  She also met Brother and Sister McConkie who knew Sarah Jane and helped get her ready for burial as well as to speak at her funeral.  

            As nearly as e can ascertain, John Hopwood Bleazard was the father of twelve children.  The blizzard and Bleazard children never met or knew each other until they met in court to break their father’s will or to make a settlement of his property. 

            After reaching Nauvoo, John H. Bleazard evidently got together a good outfit for the move to Salt Lake City, but when he reached Winter Quarters, Brigham Young instructed him thus: “Brother Bleazard, let me have this outfit of yours now, so the first immigrants can go on.  Some of the wagons are broken down, and some of the oxen and teams have died.  You can build other wagons and get together a new outfit and come later.”  He was instructed to stay and build and mend wagons for two years.  

            At Winter Quarters when so many were dying of disease and starvation, he managed to have a cow, and kept Sarah and her children from starving.  

            Bancroft, in his history of Utah, describes the conditions at Winter Quarters: 

            “These two years were so dreadful on account of starvation, sickness and death, that during the autumn months of the first year, 1846, more than one-third of the encampment lay sick, not one escaping the fever.  Some mortally ill, staggered from tent to tent, carrying water and food to comrades.  For weeks graves could not be dug as fast as people died.  One might see in the open tents wasted women brushing flies away from the putrefying corpses of their dead children. 

            “Six hundred died that first year from fever, similar to typhoid and from Scurvy and Black Canker, due to lack of vegetables and milk. 

            “The first relief came when a bag of potatoes was brought in from Missouri, and the sick were fed scraped raw potatoes, a spoonful at a time.” 

            John Hopwood Bleazard finally did reach Utah September 20, 1850, after leaving Winter Quarters May 1, 1850.  Whatever the Church officials asked of the members in time or money, they had to give, as though the request was made by God, Himself.  This was both law and Gospel. 

            To go back to Nauvoo, John Hopwood Bleazard was one of the first to get his endowments in the new Nauvoo temple in 1846.  While in Nauvoo, he was baptized in the Mississippi river for about fifty of his relatives, and from the baptismal records, we were able to get names of his parents and family. (Says Effie Syphus.) 

            According to Church History, on April 6, 1855, in Salt Lake City, Brigham Young called thirty men to pen an Indian Mission at Las Vegas.  Those missionaries were sent there for a number of purposes; to teach Christianity to the Indians, to make a treaty with the Indians which would allow them to build a fort on their ground, to teach the Indians how to raise livestock and grain, and as a sort of half-way place for emigrants going to and coming from California.  

            On May 10, they left Salt Lake.  They had forty wagons drawn by oxen and had fifteen cows and some saddle horses.  They followed the old Spanish Trail part way, possibly from Parowan down.  William Bringhurst was placed in charge of the mission and the men.  They arrived in Las Vegas on June 14, 1855, and immediately began work.  Their camp was where the remains of the fort is to be seen now. 

The fort was made with a foundation of rocks, and on these were placed large adobes.  The fort was 150 feet square and the walls were two feet thick at the bottom and one foot wide at the top, and the wall was fourteen feet high.  There were loop holes to shoot through for defense. One large opening on the north was left where the oxen could pull the wagons inside the fort.  This fort was just above the stream Fremont wrote about.  They built fences, put in crops, gathered grass seed, preached to and fed and clothed the Indians. (The fort is torn down now, and the water diverted, 1962).  I read a description of this Mission in one of the Church books: 

            “In 1855 William Bringhurst was called to take thirty men to Las Vegas Springs to convert the Indians.  They built crude defense against the Indians.”  (It was called THE OLD MORMON FORT.)  They also had a guarded stock corral and built a dam and four bridges across the little stream that flowed from the Springs.  A plot of land was taken up by each of the first white settlers, fenced with Mesquite and crops planted in the rich soil. The Mormons reclaimed the land and preached to the Indians. 

            “In the fall a school was started and both Indians and white children attended.  In January, 1856, a post office was established. From a newspaper, we get the following information: 

POST OFFICE APPOINTED

            Thursday, January 10, 1856.  Early this morning, Brothers Benjamin R. Hulse and John H. Bleazard arrived at Las Vegas from the valleys.  Three other brethren also arrived at sundown, Viz: George Reed, Robert Reed, and John Allen, they having been sent from Cedar City by Erastus Snow. They were all in destitute circumstances, and had but little or no provisions. 

            Brother Hulse brought the documents appointing a post office at Las Vegas to be called Bringhurst Post Office, Las Vegas County, Territory of New Mexico, William Bringhurst appointed postmaster.  This would be convenient after the postmaster took the necessary measure for making the appointment legal. (Editor’s note:  The reason for calling the post office Bringhurst was because Las Vegas was at the time in the territory of New Mexico and there was another Las Vegas, New Mexico, farther to the south.  The name of the post office here was probably changed to Las Vegas with the formation of the State of Nevada in 1864.) 

            In another clipping dated Thursday, August 26, 1856, --a portion of it reads: “Brother John Hopwood Bleazard gave the brethren an exhortation to faithfulness, and perseverance in their duties as missionaries, etc.” 

            A few Indians were baptized, but all showed bad faith and stole very possible thing – cattle, clothes, supplies of every kind. In 1857, the Indians swooped down on the mission crops and carried them off, entirely.  All that could not be carried back to Utah by the whites was abandoned to the Indians.  All the Mormons left there, too, because Brigham Young recalled them, at the approach of Johnson’s army, the same as he did the Mormon settlers in San Bernardino.  (I read where the Indians stole Brother Bringhurst’s and Brother Bleazard’s good and provisions while they were in church.) 

            This two years hard labor paved the way for later settlements in Southern Nevada. 

            Brigham Young was removed as Governor of Utah in 1857, by the President. Thomas L. Kane gets the credit of settling the row between the Mormons and the United States Government.  Amnesty was granted to all Mormons and Johnson’s army entered Salt Lake City.  (NoteJ  John Hopwood Bleazard reached home in time to evacuate his home with the other Mormons.  

            In 1857, when Brigham ordered the evacuation of Salt Lake City so it could be burned in case Johnson’s army tried to enter, 968 souls – 350 men sold their property at such prices as could be obtained at a few days’ notice, to gentiles, to obey Brigham.  Nine hundred eighty-five souls with 710 head of stock, horses, mules, and oxen, 148 wagons goods, money ($193,000) all moved out at Brigham’s call and left lovely homes they had in and around Salt Lake City, and traveled southward, toward Southern Utah. All that could went back later.  

            In Salt Lake City, John Hopwood Bleazard lived at First South 21 West (40 rd.x 165 rd.) (Now in 1930 valued at $150,000). 

            He owned a row of houses and grounds at 5th South West Temple.                        

            He owned property at 54 West 1st North, also at 27 West 1st South. 

            At his death, the property at 1st South 21 West was yet in his name.  At the time the will was broken, it was mortgaged for $30,000.  It was not redeemed, yet the mortgage could not be foreclosed.  The heirs, at one time, were offered $71,000 for it, Uncle Orson Bleazard told me. (Kate) 

            The property at 5th West and South Temple 10 rd.x 20 rd. where Mark’s folks used to live was about 1/5 of the other, at that time.  

            He did not leave Sarah nor her children any share at his death, 1871, so his daughter, Miriam, by Sarah, had the will broken and the property somewhat divided.  My father went back from Luna in 1893, at the time court was on.  His share would have been about $1,000. He signed it over to James Andrus, and Andrus sold him horses for it.  Pa and his young son, Jim, about 14, went back in 1895 and drove the horses home over the long perilous trail from Southern Utah to Luna, New Mexico.  Uncle Tom’s share purchased the farm in Washington Field after the will was broken.  The long, drawn-out court proceedings lasted so long that some of the buildings were condemned and had to be removed, which left little of value to the heirs.  

            A clipping from the obituaries of the Deseret News, dated January 13, 1871, states: "Died:  In the city last night about 12:00, Typhoid Fever, John Hopwood Bleazard – age 67 years.  He was taken sick on the 28th of November last.  He was born in Newton, Yorkshire, England, and was one of the first to embrace the Gospel in that land.

            Funeral services will take place on Sunday at 10 a.m. in the 14th Ward Meeting House. Friends of the family are invited to attend.” 

            The following advertisement or notice appeared in the Deseret News, November 1, 1850, while John Hopwood Bleazard was living in Little Cottonwood:  

NOTICE

            Strayed, a yoke of oxen, sometime in September last.  The nigh ox, red and white spotted, one loop horn, end off, and the other straight out. Crop off the right ear, and slit; under bit off the left ear, with a red yoke, ring and staple.

            Also seven sheep, both ears square crop.

            Any information left at the Editor’s office, or at the subscribers in Little Cottonwood, will be thankfully received.

J. H. Bleazard, North Cottonwood

Deseret News

 
----Volume 7, HEART THROBS OF THE WEST by Carter.

 
            A blessing by John Smith, Patriarch, upon the head of John Hopwood, son of Robert and Ann Bleazard, born February 26, 1803, Newton, Yorkshire, England. 

            Brother John I lay my hands upon thy head as a Patriarch in the Church of Jesus Christ and in his name I seal a Father’s Blessing upon thee.  Thou art of the House of Jacob, through the loins of Joseph.  Thine inheritance and priesthood hath been held in reserve for thee though they fathers for many generations; and they have sought diligently to obtain the blessings even the fullness of the gospel which thou hast received, and they were not able because darkness covered the earth.  God hath brought thee to a knowledge of these things and sealed on thee the Holy Priesthood to make thee a savior on Mount Zion to gather together the remnants of Jacob and to preach the gospel to many nations, bring thousands into the Church of Jesus Christ, lead them to Zion with mighty power and with much riches to beautify the place.  Also to redeem thy father’s house and bring them up in the morning of the Resurrection, clear back to when they died in the gospel, joining the dispensation of the fullness of times with every dispensation of the Gospel which has been committed to man, and thou shall be blessed abundantly in all thy labors.  So mighty miracles, even to removing every obstacle which comes in thy way for no power shall stay thy hand.  They posterity shall become very numerous and continue to increase forever; they years shall be multiplied upon thee according to thy desire, and no good thing shall be withheld from thee, if thy faith does not fail.  These words shall all be fulfilled, even so Amen.

City of Joseph, July 27, 1845.

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