January 21, 2010

Dunton children: (Parents James Harvey and Mary Ann Doidge (Barker)

Before the San Juan Mission

Sarah Jane (Barker) was born April 24, 1861 at 3:30 AM at Devonport, Devonshire, England. Her parents were Joseph Barker and Mary Ann Doidge. She was blessed by George Staniforth, May 27, 1861 and baptized 22 June 1873 by William Holyoak and confirmed by Harman Balis at Parowan, Utah.  Sarah’s parents joined the Latter-day Saint Church at Devonport. First her mother was baptized in 1857 before she was married. Later Joseph was baptized in 1860, just a little before he married Mary Ann Doidge. He, at this time, was a Private in the Queens Army stationed at Devonport. He was born in Bramley, Yorkshire, England, 29 September 1835. His parents lived at Leeds, England and the father worked in the woolen mills there.Joseph, Sarah’s father, became a tailor before he joined the army.
Journey to Zion
When Sarah was one-year old, her parents decided to come to Utah and join with the Saints. They had little means to come on. Mary Ann went out as a wet nurse to a neighbor’s baby to get money. Her own baby, Sarah, became quite sickly. On the ocean voyage she was very ill and had spasms. One time they thought her dead, and her mother feared she would have to bury her baby in the sea, but her life was spared and she reached America. They left England from Liverpool May 1862. (Note by Marie Dean Speakman: Mother said that baby Sarah threw the family’s only comb overboard on the way across the Atlantic.)

The problem of finding a way to cross the plains to Utah confronted them when they reached America. Joseph found a way to go by driving a team of oxen with a load for a man, but there was not room for Mary Ann and the baby to go along. They decided he had better go and they would follow later. He could prepare a place for them to go when they reached the valley. Three weeks later, Mary Ann found an opportunity to send her belongings and her baby on a wagon by agreeing to do the washing for the captain of the company and his family along the way. There was not room for her to ride, so she walked almost all the way across the plains to Salt Lake City.

In Utah some kind friends named Moody took them in until they could get settled in a place of their own. Soon they moved to the Parowan settlement in South­ern Utah. Here Sarah’s father had to take any job he could find—herding sheep, hauling freight to the mining towns in Nevada, or keeping a small store in part of his home. There was not much demand for tailors in a small frontier town. Mary Ann also helped all she could to obtain the necessities of life for their family. She went out and did housework and washing for the more well to do financially. Mary Ann also taught the neighborhood school children by day, and a writing school for adults by night, and took produce or anything that would help with the living. The children went into the fields with their mother to glean wheat to grind for bread. They also gathered wool from fences.

Sarah was the oldest child of six girls born to Joseph and Mary. She must assume a great deal of responsibil­ity of caring for the younger children while her mother worked. She told of carrying the baby sister to the place where her mother might be working for it to be nursed. The names of her sisters, in order of birth, are: Mary Ann, for her mother, Emma Amelia, Catherine Maria, Ellen Melissa, Georgina Madora. They all came along about two years apart—six little girls. Each little girl had to learn early to do her share and more, for at eleven and twelve years of age, they were sent out to help in different households for their boarrd

In 1872 Joseph and Mary Ann made a trip to Salt Lake and were sealed in the endowment house. The children were not taken, as there were no sealings done for children there. They all have been sealed to their parents at a later date. The family had a lot of faith. One little incident that shows how the children were taught to pray for even the temporal things was when Sarah’s sister, Mary, prayed earnestly that her father might get them a milk cow so they could have milk. When he finally obtained the means and got first one then another cow until he had four cows, then he sold two and bought a team of horses. Little Mary said, “Oh, why did he go and do that for. Here I prayed and got the cows and I would soon have had him a team.”

About 1876, Joseph Barker went out to Pioche, Ne­vada, hauling freight to the mines to try to make money for his family. He stayed on there and asked his wife to join him, but her Bishop advised her not to take her girls and go there because of the rough element there. Therefore, they became legally separated.

Sarah Goes to Work
Later Sarah’s mother, Mary Ann, married a man named James Harvey Dunton. Mr. Dunton already had a wife and lived in Paragoona, near Parowan. He was called near this time to go to help settle the San Juan country. He went with the first company down through the hole in the rock to Montezuma Fort, and on to Bluff, Utah. The second trip he took Mary Ann and her two young­est daughters and a baby son named John Harvey Dunton. They left the four oldest girls to work in Parowan and places about Southem Utah. Sarah went to Washington and worked in the cotton factory. Here she had chills and fever very bad. Later she worked at the mining town of Minersville. Catherine worked for Bishop Dame’s family. A wonderful story of the rest of her life has been put together on a family web site: The rest of Sarah Jane's story:

 (Barker history indicates the four oldest girls remained behind) :Sarah Jane Barker, Mary Ann Barker, Emma Amelia Barker, and Catherine Marie Barker later joined their mother and James Havey Dunton in 1882 in Colorado, but they did travel by way of the Hole-in-the-Rock and across the Colorado. See their stories for more information.
Children on the trek:
Ellen (Ella) Melissa (Barker)
In October 1879, Mary Ann and the three youngest children, Ella, Dora, and John joined up with the main party of "Hole-in-the-Rock" pioneers, probably traveling with the families of James Harvey's grown sons from his first marriage who also made the trip. They traveled in a lumber wagon, bringing what few household belongings they could, including the stove and sewing machine that she so valued. The pioneering group headed for the Colorado River not really knowing where they were going to be able to cross the river. Eventually it was determined that a crossing might be made where a crevice in the steep cliffs was widened with dynamite, pick and shovel and much hard work before the wagons could pass through. The descent was so steep, the men blocked the wheels and then held back on the rear of the wagons to keep them from rushing into the horses. They finally crossed the Colorado River on January 28, 1880 by driving the horses and wagons onto a ferry boat. After crossing the river, they still faced difficult travel over very rugged country before they reached the San Juan, arriving at their new home in April. The trip that was supposed to take six weeks instead took six months.
While traveling on this trip, eight-year-old Ella developed a special fondness for her little half-brother [John]who was less than a year old. Being the oldest child, she was allowed to ride in the wagon to care for him. She was a motherly type and spent many hours caring for him and carrying him on her hip even though he was a husky child.
Georginia Madora (Dora) (Barker)
By the time most of the "Hole-in-the-Rock" pioneers got to the San Juan River at what is now Bluff, Utah, they had had enough and they established their new community on the San Juan River there, instead of traveling on to Montezuma Fort. Since James Havey had already built a cabin at the fort, however, he took his family on and they spent the winter there. In telling the story, Dora says, "I don’t know how we lived through that bleak winter. I remember toward spring, we children gathered twigs and leaves from the greasewood bushes for greens. The fort was built for protection from the Indians. The houses were touching each other in the form of a square, with the fronts facing inside. The children were not allowed outside of the square. During the winter the men dug ditches and made large frame waterwheels for the purpose of lifting the water from the river to irrigate the farms. This work was all in vain and the experiment failed, as when the high waters came in the spring from the melting snows above, the waterwheels were washed out of the sandy soil and down the river. The people were obliged to leave there and look for new wilds to conquer. Later when I went back over the same route, the river was running through the place where the fort had stood."

In May of 1881, when Dora was eight and Ella was ten, they again loaded their belongings into the wagon and started for an unknown destination. They moved north of Durango, Colorado, where James Harvey Dunton hauled lumber from a sawmill to Durango. Here, Mary Ann found work doing laundry for others. The first house they lived in there was a dugout and the children helped clear and then plant and harvest crops. Dora says "We helped Mother make tallow candles which we used for light, and soap for our laundry. We helped with the laundry and gleaned in the fields to get money to buy our school clothes. Mother, through it all, never looked on work as a drudgery, but was always glad to do anything she could to help make our way, and we learned to do the same. Always, it seemed she was able to look on the bright side of life."

John Harvey On April 15, 1879, John Harvey Dunton, was born to Mary Ann and James, the only child of that union. In the fall of that year, they were called by church authorities to go with others to southeastern Utah to settle the San Juan River territory. Early in 1879, James Harvey Dunton went with an exploring company by way of Moab to find a place for settlement on the San Juan River and build a cabin. The members of that first group started a settlement which was called Montezuma Fort. After starting a cabin, James Harvey returned to meet up with the main party of "Hole-in-the-Rock" pioneers. He left all his foodstuffs with the few people who were staying at the fort [Montezuma Creek] but were nearing starvation, saying, "I won’t need it. I have my gun and I won’t starve."

John Dunton, stayed with his mother as long as she lived, and never married. Dora stated that his not marrying "was sad for him, as he was alone and went from place to place, like a lost sheep."
More on the Duntons after they left San Juan

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