Hannah Brandham was born at Eaton Bray, Bedfordshire, England 1 November 1843. She was the daughter of Mary Smuin and John Brandham, one of five children. The other children were Jabez, Jessie, Naomi and Elizabeth.
The 1851 England Census for Eaton Bray, Beds shows John Brandham as head of household, married, age 32, agricultural laborer, born in Eaton Bray, Beds
Mary, wife, age 30, born in Radley, Berks
Hannah, dtr, age 7, straw plaiter, born in Eaton Bray, Beds
John, son, age 5, born in Eaton Bray, Beds
Jesse, son, age 2, born in Eaton Bray, Beds
unnamed, dtr, age 1 month, born in Eaton Bray, Beds
The Eaton Bray Millenium Book found here explains more about the work Hannah did as a 7-year-old plaiting straw:
History Written by two Granddaughters: Mabel W. Christensen and Mildred A. Raymond:
In 1855 the Latter Day Saint Elders brought the Gospel to the Smuin family. Mary Smuin Brandham and her brothers and sisters joined the church. John Brandham, Hannah’s father, never did join the church and was very; displeased with his wife and family for doing so and soon after, left his family. He was of a roving disposition and it was never known what became of him.
About one year later on 15 July 1856, Hannah’s mother died. At this time the family was separated. Hannah and Naomi went to live with their mother’s sister, Hannah Smuin Harvey, and Elizabeth and Jessie made their home with another sister, Susannah Smuin Empey. Jabez being older, was on his own.
Hannah resided with her aunt Hannah and Uncle Daniel Harvey in England until the family emigrated. She was a member of the North London Branch.
On 4 June 1863, she and the Daniel Harvey family sailed from London England, on the ship Amazon. Before the Amazon sailed, Charles Dickens wrote an article which is published in his works “Great Expectations and the Uncommercial Traveler”. Dickens thought that “Mormonism” was taking from the shores of England only the scum of the land–the ignorant class. The article referred to tells the object of his visit and what he found, and how utterly astonished he was in finding just the opposite of what he expected. He visited the immigrant ship Amazon and this is what he said:
“My emigrant ship lies broadside on to the warf. Two great gangways made of spars and planks connect her with the wharf;and up and down these gangways, perpetually crowding in and out, to and fro,; like ants are the emigrants who are going to sail in this emigrant ship…I go out on the poop deck for air, surveying the emigrants on the deck below. I find more pens and inkstands in action, and more papers and interminable complication respecting accounts, with individuals for tin cans and what not. But nobody is in an ill temper, nobody is worse for drink, nobody nobody swears and oath or uses a coarse word, nobody appears depressed, nobody is weeping and down upon the deck in every corner where it is possible to find a few square feet to kneel, crouch, or lie, people in every unsuitable attitude for writing, are writing letter.
Now I have seen emigrant ships before this day in june. And these people are so strikingly different from all other people in like circumstances whom I have ever seen, that I wonder aloud, `What could a stranger suppose these emigrants to be?’
The vigilant bright face of the weather-browned captain of the Amazon is at my shoulder, and he says: `What indeed! The most of these came aboard yesterday evening. They came from various parts of England in small parties that had never seen one another before. Yet they had not been a couple of hours on board when they established their own police, made their own regulations, and set their own watches at all the hatchways. Before nine o’clock the ship was an orderly and quiet as a man-of-war!’
`Later in the day, when this self-same boat was filled with a choir, who sang glees and catches for a long time., one of the singers, a girl, sang her part mechanically all the while and wrote a letter in the bottom of the boat while doing so.
`”A stranger would be puzzled to guess the right name for these people, Mr. Uncommercial”, says the captain.
`”Indeed he would.”
`”If you hadn’t known, could you have ever supposed–?”
`”How could I? I should have said they were, in their degree the pick and flower of England.”
`”So should I” says the captain. `”How many are they?”
`”Eight hundred in round numbers….Eight hundred Mormons.”
In closing the article, the great novelist says this:
`What is in store for the poor people on the shores of the Great Salt Lake, what happy delusions they are laboring now, on what miserable blindness their eyes may be opened then, I do not pretend to say. But I went on board their ship to bear testimony against them if they deserved it, as I fully believed they would, to my great astonishment they did not deserve it, and my predispositions and tendencies must affect me as an honest witness. i went over the ship’s side feeling it impossible to deny that so far some remarkable influence had produced a remarkable result, which better known influences have often missed”.
On 20 July, the Amazon berthed at Castle Garden, and in the evening the passengers continued their journey by rail to Albany, New York, on their way to Florence, Nebraska.
They rode in a box car with the door flapping. It was Civil War time and the rebels had torn up the rails causing delays enroute. At Florence, Nebraska, they joined Captain Roael Hyde’s company, bringing freight and about 300 emigrating Saints (most of whom had been on the Amazon). They left Florence, 11 August, 1863. By telegram to Pres. Brigham Young, it was learned the company was opposite Grand Island in the Platte River on 22 August, all well. The train arrived safely in Great Salt Lake City 13 October 1863.
They came directly to Kaysville, Utah, living in a dugout until plans could be laid for a more permanent home to be built of logs hauled from nearby canyons–this home to be on the upper lands near Bair’s Canyon. It was while they lived here that Hannah met and married Ebenezer A. Williams in polygamy on 29 October 1864, in the old Endowment House in Salt Lake City; and moved into the old Williams home on the Mountain Road–Ada the first wife, had moved into town.
To Ebenezer and Hannah were born six children: Mary, Horace, Jabez, Albert, Esther and Mabel.
In talking to people who knew her, Hannah was considered a very beautiful woman, small of stature, with much black hair, large blue gray eyes, a very pleasant disposition and was quick in her actions and moving about. She was considered a very excellent seamstress and cook, having learned the arts from her mother, at a very early age. She worked hard doing all the tasks required of a farmer’s wife in those early pioneer days.
Hannah died 20 May 1879 in Kaysville, leaving to her family a fine heritage, a faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Burial was in the Kaysville Cemetery.