History of Elizabeth Cadwallader Davies
Elizabeth Cadwallader Davies
Written by Anjanette Stone Lofgren, a 4th great granddaughter.
Elizabeth Cadwallader, who was a twin, was born about October 7, 1807, in Manorbier, Pembrokeshire, Wales. She was the daughter of John Cadwallader (b. January 20, 1781 d. Mar 1869) and Alice Morgan (b. Sept 9, 1768 d. Mar 16, 1837). Family tradition says that John Cadwallader was a wealthy farmer who was a descendant of Cadwaladr "Fendigaid" Ap Cadwallon, also known as “King Cadwalladr the Blessed”.
Other children listed for John and Alice Cadwallader are: Susanna (Susan), b. Oct 7, 1807, Susanna, b. Nov. 4, 1810, William, b. Nov 4, 1810, Sarah, b. Dec 26, 1810, Maria, Nov. 1, 1811, and Joseph, b. May 30, 1815.
Elizabeth married John Davies (b. Jan 20, 1802) on Apr 17, 1831 in Manorbier, Pembrokeshire, Wales. They were the parents of eight children, William b. July 8, 1833, Alice b. July 8, 1834, Mary b. 1835, Joseph Cadwallader b. Dec 6, 1836, William George Davis b. Nov 24, 1841, John Davies Jr. abt 1842, Frances (Fanny) b. Apr 24, 1844, and George b. Sept 23, 1846.
Elizabeth’s mother died on March 16, 1837, in Manorbier, Pembrokeshire, Wales, three months after Elizabeth gave birth to Joseph Cadwallader Davies.
Bessie Clark Butterfield, a granddaughter of John and Elizabeth, had this to say about her grandmother; “(Elizabeth) was very sober and serious minded, positive, and could not endure any foolishness; a woman full of charity and mercy, very generous, but frugal in her own wants. She was not as religious as her husband but always lived up to the Golden Rule and truly loved her neighbors really better than herself…She had pride and dignity and could not endure anything slipshod or careless, or work half done. She loved peace and order, disliked confusion or outward show and never bragged. Her motto was “Let not your left hand know what your right hand doeth”. She never spoke of her charity, had great pity and kindness to a fallen woman, and always honored her sex; a true Royal descendant of King Cadwalladr. She was a wise councilor to her husband and children; if the children wanted any foolish pleasure they went to their father, then ‘Twould be [told] ‘John surely thou ou’tn’t encouraging such a thing?’ He would plead, ‘Oh Betsey, let the little maid have it’; such was the difference”.
Elizabeth was tall and moderately built. She had large dark grey eyes, dark brown wavy hair, and a dark complexion. She was affectionate but sensible.
In 1847 John invited two Mormon Elders to dinner. After dinner a mob gathered outside to taunt the Elders. The Elders left the Davies home so no incident would take place. John was a religious man and wanted to hear more of what the missionaries had to say. Two years later he went to a meeting held by the Mormons. He believed the gospel message that was being taught and he was baptized on November 10, 1849 at the age of 47. Elizabeth was baptized three years later on November 11, 1852. In 1855, their children, Alice, Mary, Joseph, William, and Frances, were baptized. Elizabeth was unable to convince her family of the truthfulness of the gospel. Her brothers and sisters were satisfied with their Weslyan faith. Only her father, John Cadwallader, joined the Mormon Church at the age of 80 on September 22, 1861, 7 ½ years before his death.
At the time of John Davies’ baptism in 1849, he was working for a farmer by the name of James Gardner. Alice was 15 and living with the Gardner’s as a servant. When Mr. Gardner got word of John’s Baptism, he sent word that he did not want John to work for him anymore because he did not want a Latter-Day Saint on his property.
At this time the house the Davies lived in belonged to this farmer. The farmer had several cottages on his land for his hired help to live in. John had told some brethren in the church that they could hold meetings in his house. As soon as Mr. Gardner heard they were going to hold meetings there and that one was planned for that evening, he sent Alice to tell her father “not to dare hold another meeting in that house or if he did he would come down in the morning and set fire to that place.” Alice got to her father just as the Mormon Elder, named Brother Williams, was preparing to start the meeting. Alice whispered to her father what Mr. Gardner had told her and he told the message to the Elder. He told Elder Williams to go on with the meeting and in the morning he would move his family out. Elder Williams was there to preach his farewell sermon before heading to Utah. He prophesied against James Gardner, saying that Mr. Gardner would not prosper and would die poor and his family would be scattered. Elder Williams had never met Mr. Gardner and did not know him. When he made this prophesy the house was crowded and everyone in attendance heard the prophesy. Within two years the prophesy was fulfilled. Everything seemed to go against Mr. Gardner and he could not make the payments for his farm. The farm was auctioned and he ended up renting a small house. He lived there for a few weeks and then died. His wife wrote to her relatives in England to help her get back there. The people of the village who had heard the prophesy of Elder Williams said that the Elder had bewitched James Gardner.
The Davies’ were the only members of the church who lived in the village of Manorbier and they had to walk three miles to attend meetings. John was the branch president for five years.
Beginning in 1856, John and Elizabeth’s children began to immigrate to the United States and cross the plains with the Mormon Pioneers. In 1856, Joseph Cadwallader Davies immigrated with Alice’s fiancé, James Crane. In 1857, Alice and William George left their home in Wales to join Joseph and James in New York City where they changed their last name of Davies to Davis. They arrived in Utah on September 29, 1859. The youngest daughter, Frances, was 17 when she left Wales in 1861 with a young couple who had a baby. Frances took care of the baby as they crossed the ocean and the plains. They arrived in Salt Lake City in September 1861. Mary and her family also came to the United States but it is not known when or where they settled.
The Davies children saved up their money so they could bring their parents to join them in the Salt Lake Valley. Along with 775 other Saints, John and Elizabeth sailed to New York on the ship Cynosure and arrived in New York City Harbor on July 19, 1863.
We can learn more about their voyage to the United States from the history of another passenger aboard the Cynosure, Hannah Molland Byington; “Shortly after the ship left England it was stopped because of no wind. For three days the ocean was so quiet they could almost see the bottom. The Saints aboard held a meeting and in prayer, they asked the Lord to cause the wind to blow. Their prayers were answered and the next day the ship sailed on. They had favorable winds for sailing for several more days.”
Many of the passengers became seasick. There was a measles outbreak and some of the passengers died and were buried at sea. Their drinking water on the ship became stale and was rationed. They ate bread called “hard-tack”. They slept in bunks in little cabins.
From the history of Hannah Molland Byington we also learn that; “A storm came up suddenly one day and they all rushed down to their cabins. The port holes were closed up. For three days they were locked in their cabins with no air, no light and no cooked food - just hard-tack.”
“The trunks bumped from one side of the cabin to the other, so they couldn't sleep. The ship tossed and rocked so much they were afraid of falling from their bunks. The wind was so strong that the captain had to let the anchor drag to keep the ship from going backward. When the storm was over they went out on the deck. The waves were still strong enough to almost wash them overboard.”
Finally after six weeks on the ocean, land was spotted and everyone onboard shouted and cried for joy! It was a beautiful sight to see land after only seeing the ship and the ocean all those weeks!
In another account by David M. Stuart, he wrote about the ship coming near icebergs, the measles outbreak, deaths, births, and weddings that also took place on this journey. He remarked that even with all the things that had been suffered, the voyage, “on the whole, although rather long, has been a very pleasant one.”
The following is from Hannah Molland Byington’s history; “For those who were going to Zion the trip was not over yet. From here they journeyed to the Mississippi by train. The train cars had no comforts, no upholstered seats. They had no water and so every time the train would stop they would get off and fill everything they could from the railroad tanks. On and on, day and night they rode until they came to St. Louis. Here they were having an outbreak of cholera. Some of the Saints died here and had to be buried along the way. From here they went on a steam ship across the Mississippi River and up the Missouri River. Their destination was Florence, Nebraska.”
While crossing the plains on their way to Utah with a team of oxen, Elizabeth came down with typhoid fever. She didn’t recover from the illness until sometime after their arrival in Salt Lake City. By an account given from the record of George Hadley, another passenger aboard the Cynosure, we have an idea of which company John and Elizabeth may have traveled with to Salt Lake City. He said, “The ship’s company was divided in two companies [which were] Captain John W. Woolley’s Company and Captain Thomas E. Ricks’ Company”. These companies arrived in Salt Lake City between the third through the eighth of October, 1863.
John and Elizabeth joined their family members in Salt Lake City and settled in the Sugar House Ward. A lot of their belongings that they brought with them from Wales had been lost.
John and Elizabeth took out their endowments and were sealed on August 25, 1866 in the Endowment House.
Elizabeth’s father, John Cadwallader, died in March of 1869, in Manorbier, Pembrokeshire, Wales, about three years after John and Elizabeth left Wales.
While William George Davis was on his mission to Great Brittan, both John and Elizabeth died. Elizabeth died May 24, 1881 in Sugar House (Salt Lake City), Utah and John died September 26, 1881 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Both are buried near their daughter-in-law, Esther Harrison Davis, wife of William George Davis, and seven of William and Esther’s children in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.
1. The Histories & Mission Diaries of William George Davis by Phil E. Davis
2. John Davies & Elizabeth Cadwallader History by Bessie Clark Butterfield
3. Census Records for Wales, 1841, 1851, 1861
4. Census Records for Utah, 1870, 1880.
5. Mormon Immigration Index-Ship List for Cynosure, July 19, 1863
6. Salt Lake City Cemetery
7. Alice Davis (Davies) Crane Diary
8. Deseret News Death Notice, Oct 10, 1881
9. International Genealogical Index (IGI)
10. Ancestral File ®
11. Letter from David M. Stewart-May 31, 1863
12. History of Hannah Molland Byington by Fay Byington
13. Record of George Hadley by Mary Ann Hadley
14. Sugar House Ward Membership Records 1876-1917 Microfilm #26792