Mary Ann Astington
Born 6 July 1824, at Richmond, Yorkshire, England, the daughter of Richard Astington and Mary Ann Isom. She was baptized a member of the Church of Latter-day Saints by Samuel Lee, 6 March, 1854.
It was in London that Mary Ann Astington met George Kirkham, son of James Kirkham and Ann Jeatt. They were married 17 December 1844 at the Trinity District Church, in the Parish of St. Mary Newington in the county of Surrey, England.
My parents were of the Weslyeyan persuasion and at her death she asked me to never leave the Wesleyan Church. I told her that I would never leave Christ. Previous to the death of my mother I heard of the Latter-Day Saints. Six months after the death of my mother I was baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
“After I came into the church I had very much to contend with. My husband was very much opposed to the work, but after some three months investigation, I had the pleasure of seeing my husband, also my youngest sister, (Eliza) the youngest of my father’s family, baptized into the Church”. [Eliza married James Blundell Smuin 27 March 1859.]
“After I received the first principles of the Gospel of Christ then came the spirit of gathering and the hope of gathering with the Saints of Zion, but how we should get the means to gather with I did not know. After my mother died she appeared to me in a dream of the night and told me that I should have everything that would accomplish every righteous desire of my heart. This was all fulfilled in time to my satisfaction.”
“After I had this dream, my mother‘s oldest brother, a gentleman of independence, died and left me eight hundred dollars and by this means, myself and family all gathered home in Zion to the valleys of the mountains and glory be to God for His merciful kindness in opening up the way for us to gather for without His aid we surely could not have been able to have done so.”
“Some time after the marriage she was called upon, and did so, to call upon and visit with one of her very rich uncles who had poor health. During the conversation he told her that she should not be forgotten when his will was made, which promise he fulfilled. The amount he left in his will for her was received and placed in the Liverpool Office to her credit, for which in return she received when she got to Omaha, Nebraska, two yoke of cattle (one very wild and one tame) and a new wagon and food to last for the journey across the plains over a thousand miles.”
The uncle who left Mary Ann Astington (and Eliza) “a neat little sum” of 150 pounds sterling ($800) was her mother‘s older brother Thomas Isom, son of Thomas Isom and Rachel Blundell.
One of the main reasons for this sketch and family history is to emphasize the importance of this gift of money by this man and the good that has come from it. Without the generosity of Thomas Isom and the courage and faith of Mary Ann Astington, the history of the Kirkham family, as we know it, would be quite different.
Abstract of the Will of Thomas Isom
“This is the last will and testament of me, Thomas Isom, of Richmond in the county of Surry, gentlemen…..(He mentions his sister Elizabeth, the wife of James Hope…her daughter Jennette, the wife of Edward Phillips…
“I give and bequeath unto my said sister Elizabeth, the wife of James Hope, the sum of six hundred pounds for her own and absolute use and benefit, I also give and bequeath the following legacies, that is to say, to my nephew, Thomas Astington the sum of one hundred thirty pounds and to my nephew Richard Astington and to my nieces Elizabeth, the wife of Mr.Odell: MARY,THE WIFE OF WILLIAM KIRKHAM,Francis the wife of Thomas Bonner and ELIZA ASTINGTON, spinster, and Jennette, the wife of said Edward Phillips , each the sum of one hundred and fifty pounds.”
“In witness whereof the said Thomas Isom have to this my will set my hand this twenty second day of March, one thousand eight hundred and fifty eight.”
/s/ T. Isom
“Witness: John Bishop, Richmond, 27th October 1858.”
“Will proved: by Thomas Bricknell, Kew Road
This information is found in the SMUIN BOOK, pp. 25-26.