Monday, December 1, 2008

Mary Ann Covington 1815-1908

We have three separate manuscripts about Mary Ann Covington that document her life and her marriage to Chauncey Walker West:
  1. "Biography of Mary Ann Covington Stratton West" by Ruby Brown Clayson. This manuscript was found at the BYU Harold B. Lee Library in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections. Ruby was Mary Ann's grand-niece. We discovered this manuscript because of a comment added to an earlier blog entry about Mary Ann. This biographical sketch was originally submitted to the Daughters of Utah Pioneers by Ruby. The sketch is almost two pages long, typed, plus a title page.
  2. "Biographical information regarding the Brewer family ca. 1917-1972". The manuscript is located at the Church Archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, MS9352. The collection of papers includes an exact copy of the biography found at BYU, except the title page was missing. Even though the title page was missing, we assume the sketch was written by Ruby Brown Clayson. (Note that this manuscript collection also included a six page biography of Chauncey Walker West titled, "A Biographical Sketch of My Grandfather West.")
  3. A second biographical sketch about Mary Ann Covington was found in the same manuscript papers as listed in item two above. The second sketch was titled, "A History Written by Marie West Belnap in 1972." This was a one page history about the life of her great-aunt, Mary Ann Covington. I believe Marie West Belnap was the daughter of Charles Covington West, and Charles was the son of Chauncey Walker West and Sarah Elizabeth Covington. (Please add a comment if you have additional information about this assumption.) 
Mary Ann Covington was born 31 March 1815 in Bedford, Bedfordshire, England to Berrill Covington and Elizabeth Hodges. The Covington family was baptized into the Church in 1840 and in 1842 Mary Ann and her brother Berrill Jr. immigrated to the United States. Mary Ann stayed in St. Louis, Missouri for a year and then migrated to Nauvoo, Illinois.

While living in Nauvoo, Mary either worked in the home of the Prophet Joseph Smith, or both lived and worked in the Prophet's home. (See sketch 1, 2, and 3 which document both senerios. Mary was eventually married to the Prophet's brother William, assumably in Nauvoo. According to the sketch written by Ruby Brown Clayson, the Prophet counseled her not to live with William as his wife, so she never did.

Sometime before 1847, Mary Ann was married to Joseph Albert Stratton. A record of this marriage has not been located thus far. (If anyone has already searched for and found an original marriage record, please feel free to add a comment to this blog entry.)

Joseph and Mary Ann migrated to Utah in 1847 with the Daniel Spencer/Perrigrine Sessions Company. See the Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847-1868 website for more details about the company. (Note that some of the previous biographical sketches about Mary Ann and Joseph stated that they crossed the plains with the Joseph Horne company and that Joseph served as a clerk in the company. The records do not support this information.) Three years later, on 30 October 1850, Joseph Albert Stratton passed away.

Two years after Joseph's passing, Mary Ann Covington Stratton married Bishop Chauncey Walker West. Mary's grand-niece, Marie West Belnap, wrote that Mary was "sealed in the President's Office to Mr. Stratton, with Chauncy Walker West acting as proxey for him. Then Mary Ann married for time only to Chauncey Walker West so he could handle and manage her money and property, in building many businesses in Ogden." (Spelling was not changed, see sketch #3)

Three years after their marriage, she moved to Ogden, Utah and remained there the rest of her life. Mary Ann did not have any children. Mary had some "beautiful crystal and silver" that she brought to Utah. We assume these items were brought from England to the United States when the Covington family immigrated in 1842. (sketches 1-3)

Marie West Belnap wrote that Mary was "a staunch upholder of the faith, and had many positions of honor and trust in the Church Organizations. She was for a number of years President of the Relief Society in the second ward of Ogden [and] later was a councilor in the Relief Society in the Third Ward. At one time Mrs. West possessed a considerable amount of Ogden Property, largely in the business district, which gave her much prominence in civic affairs as well as in Church. She was widely known and beloved by all." Mary died 5 October 1908 in Ogden, Weber Co., Utah and was buried in the Ogden City Cemetery, plat A, block 7, lot 12 in the northeast corner of the lot. (click on links to Mary's death certificate online at FamilySearch Record Search and the cemetery link to a map that shows where she is buried.)

The Daughters of Utah Pioneers has a photograph of Mary Ann Covington in their collection.

Note: Ruby Brown Clayson's full name was Ruby Wray Thornton. She married (1) Marion Abram Brown, and (2) Eli James Clayson. Her parents were Simeon Covington Thornton and Elizabeth Robenia Steggell. Her grandparents were Thomas Ephraim Thornton and Priscilla Covington. Her great-grandparents were Berrill Covington and Elizabeth Hodges. Berrill and Elizabeth were the parents of Mary Ann Covington, the focus of this biography. 

1 comment:

billnchris said...

Mary Ann's first husband was James Sheffield, who she married in England. A record of the marriage can be found in the following source:
MARRIAGE: England (St.Paul-Bedford Parish Register), 1834-1837, Vol.17, p.25,
No.74; FHL Film #952398
(1) "James-bachelor, Mary Ann-spinster, both of the parish,
by banns".
Note: Parish Register recorded as event occured for the year l836,
but individual certificate recorded as 15 Feb 1835.
Bishop's Transcripts recorded as 15 Feb 1836.

Ted Steele sent me this information about the marriage of Mary Ann Covington Sheffield to Joseph Stratton.

St. Louis Register of Marriages, vol. 3, p. 350.
"Joseph A. Stratton married Mary Ann Sheffield in St. Louis, Missouri, on 17 Dec 1846.

Source: St. Louis Register of Marriages, vol. 3, p. 350.

These registers were indexed by the St. Louis Genealogical Society a few years ago."