Mary Ann Pain Holt Barker was born on this day in 1840, 176 years ago in Johnston City, Illinois, the daughter of James Holt and Mary Pain/Payne. She was a young girl when her family joined the James Emett Company in Nauvoo to travel West with the Saints. Times were hard. Her mother died in 1844 from a dose of Lobelia the doctor had given her when her stomach was too weak to stand it. She was buried by the banks of the Iowa River in a place they hoped the wolves wouldn’t find.
Mary Ann wrote of eating squirrels and any edible wildlife. The women cooked greens and roots and had meager corn rations, or an ox that had died of fatigue and starvation. They lived in fear of massacring Indians, sickness and disease. Two of her siblings, Leander and John died as they traveled. Mary Ann often told her children about walking most of the way across the plains by the side of the wagon, sometimes barefoot.
Mary Ann married William Barker 5 October 1855 when she was only 15 years old. She had 13 children. Only 6 grew to adulthood. They lived in North Ogden in a dugout, then in Ogden. She lost children to typhoid fever and pneumonia. In 1881, William was called on a mission to Minnesota, leaving Mary Ann with eight children at the time. In 1899 they moved to Pleasant View, where she and William lived out their lives.
I love thinking about Mary Ann as I look into her stern face and tired eyes. Her youngest daughter was only a babe when William was called on a mission. She stayed home with the children, until 1881 when their son, Albert died 23 October 1881 and William was called home.
I also have left my home and family for 3 years to go with my husband, John on a mission. Many of my beloved ancestors did the same. It’s never an easy thing. So why do we go? The answer is simple: because we are commissioned by Jesus Christ to bring others to Him. That’s why we go. We love Him and we love how His gospel has changed our lives in so many good ways.
I feel comfort in knowing those I love did hard things. I believe they are aware of us and our family. They are not far from us. I am grateful for their example of faithfulness and sacrifice. It is an honor to see my name descending from theirs.
Obituary from the “The Ogden Tribune” 23 Feb 1916:
Mrs. Mary Ann Barker died last night at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Sarah E. Taylor, 84_, Washington avenue, of lobar pheumonia. She had been in failing health about a year, but waas only confined to her bed about eight days. Mrs. Barker was born in Johnson county, Illinois, January 11, 1840, the daughter of James and Mary T. Holt. She came to Utah in 1852, crossing the plains with an ox team. In 1857, she was wedded to William Barker, who died in 1904. Since his death, the widow had lived in North Ogden, Ogden and Pleasant View.
The pioneer was widely known through her work in the Mormon church relief society. She is survived by the following children: Mrs. Harriet m. Smuin, Rexburg, Idaho; Mrs Lenora Farley, Mrs Sarah E. Taylor and George F. Baarker of Ogden; LeRoy Barker, pleasant View, and Mrs. Amy Johns Bridge, idaho. She is also survived by 46 grandchildren. 1_great-grandchildren and the following brothers; Willliam, Frank, George and Henry Holt, of St. George, Utah. The body was taken to the Lindquist mortuary and the funeral announcemnts will be made later.
You can read more about Mary Ann and William Barker here: https://annlaemmlenlewis1.wordpress.com/2014/08/29/mary-ann-holt-and-william-barker-history/
Birth announcement for their last daughter, Fidella, born 25 October, 1880 in Ogden:
The Ogden Standard Examiner, 30 October 1880:
BARKER–To the wife of William Barker of Mound Fort, on Monday morning Oct 25th, 1880, a fine 9 pound daughter. Mother and child well. Father is very well, in fact he is proud, it is his 13th.