Sunday, September 7, 2014

John Lloyd Roberts and Mary Adeline Ensign

John Lloyd Roberts and Mary Adeline Ensign met each other in Brigham City, Utah and the above photo was taken on or near the date of their wedding.

John Lloyd Roberts was the son of Daniel L. Roberts and Winnifred (Gwen) Lloyd.  He was born on 11 January 1850 in Llanfrothen, Merionethshire, Wales.  His parents joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and left Wales to join with the Saints in Utah from Liverpool on the "Joseph Badger" in 1850 when John Lloyd was just a baby.  They landed in New Orleans and then traveled up the Mississippi River on a steam boat.  While en route, Daniel and his three year old son, William, contracted cholera and passed away on the same night, November 26, 1850.  The boat anchored the next morning at Worthington Landing, Kentucky and father and son were buried in the same grave.  To read more of John Lloyd Robert's mother and her courage, go here.

John Lloyd traveled on to the Salt Lake Valley as a toddler.  In 1853, his mother remarried a fellow Welsh man who had lost his wife and they relocated to a Welsh settlement near present day Brigham City where five more sons were born to John's mother and David R. Evans.  As a boy and young man, John Lloyd herded cattle, was a camp tender, and a cook.  When out herding he came down with measles and while very ill walked the 15 miles back to Brigham City.  He also helped his mother with working the soil, especially after her second husband also passed away. He also played a flute in the Martial Band in Brigham City and he could tap dance well.

On November 29, 1869, at the age of nineteen John married Mary Adeline Ensign in the Endowment House located in Salt Lake City.

Mary Adeline Ensign (Addie) was the oldest child of Martin Luther Ensign and Mary Dunn Ensign.    Martin Luther Ensign and Mary Dunn married on 8 Jan 1852, in Salt Lake City. Addie was born November 10, 1852 at Centerville, Utah,  the first of nine children. Her parents moved to Brigham City in 1853. They moved into the ‘old fort’ for a while and moved several times before settling at the corner of 1st North and 5th West. For more about Addie's parents go here.

In 1857, when Addie was 3 years old, her father was called on a mission to England. While he was gone Addie and her mother and two siblings were left in the care of Grandfather, Simeon Adams Dunn and his wife, Harriet, who were also living in Brigham City. Harriet died in childbirth shortly before the approach of Johnston’s Army. Simeon took his family and Addie’s family and moved south to Payson, Utah until Martin returned in 1859. 

At the age of eighteen years, Mary Adeline Ensign married John Lloyd Roberts  Their first child, also named Mary Adeline, was born October 7, 1870 in Brigham City. It was shortly after this that John and his three Evans brothers went in search of land where there were more advantages to making a living. They ultimately helped their mother file for a homestead in Malad, Oneida, Idaho. It was then still part of the Box Elder Stake.

In Malad,  John Lloyd Roberts helped with the family farm and was an active member and leader in the LDS Church. He was also on the Board of Directors for the Malad ZCMI store. Before they left the area he even served as the President of the Malad ZCMI store. He and Addie added six more children to their family.
In 1881, at the encouragement of the church leaders John took a second wife, Elizabeth Ann Dredge. “He brought Elizabeth (Lizzy) to his home and there together the two wives and his children lived in love and peace with the spirit of the Lord in their home.” One historical account states that their home was a log cabin on Gwen (Winnifred Lloyd Roberts) Evans’ homestead north of Malad.


In the spring of 1884 John took his two families to Rexburg, Idaho, which was being newly settled by members of the church. Initially they stayed with the Ricks family and then “secured a cellar for his two families to live in during the summer months.  John built three log rooms; the two families using two of the rooms and the livestock the other one.” A short time later Addie, John and most of their family moved back to Utah, staying with Addie’s parents for a short time. That winter the family moved to Wellsville, Utah where John worked for his brother-in-law, William Hill. They returned to Rexburg and lived peacefully for a couple of years.

 In 1885 the Deputy US Marshals, in accordance with the federal Edmund Tucker Act, began actively seeking and harassing polygamist families “in an effort to stamp out polygamy among the Mormons. John Lloyd Roberts went into hiding and his wives did all that they could to protect him.” Nonetheless, he was arrested on May 10, 1885 and spent four months in the Territorial Prison in Boise, Idaho and paid a $300 fine provided by his Evans brothers before he was released to return to Rexburg.

After his return to Rexburg, the harassment did not stop so he took Elizabeth and her children to Montana for a while. When they returned, John and Addie went to Montana and then on to Canada for a time and lived under difficult circumstances with their eight children. They spent one summer working in Montana before returning to Rexburg in 1888. On their return, Lizzy and her children moved to Logan, Utah and lived under an assumed name. “These were trying times for John and no less for his wives and children. Aunt Lizzy and Aunt Addie, of course, suffered in feelings and sometimes in the necessities of life, but one thing that they did was stick together. They loved each other and in one way or another they assisted each other."

Although Addie and the family were eventually able to settle in and enjoy a better life, the next few years brought the discouragement of illness and the heartache of losing many of their family. In 1891 diphtheria claimed Daniel, age 19, and Luther, age 14; Mary Adeline Ricks, Addie’s oldest daughter, age 21, died in childbirth, in 1892; Georgianna, age 3, also died in 1892. Addie’s second oldest daughter, Winnie Ricks, tells how her mother spent the summer of 1893 caring for sick children and raising “400 ducks and chickens” to help raise extra money for the family. Addie then “died August 6, 1893, at Salem, Idaho, at age 40, leaving a baby six days old, Henry Charles Roberts. The extra money she raised was instead used for her burial expenses.”

I find this photo very interesting because Alfred Ricks is standing in the back row with his current spouse, Mary Adeline Roberts, standing on his right.  After her death, he married her sister, Winnifred Lovenia Roberts, standing on his left, who was my great grandmother.
The other children are John Lloyd Roberts, Jr. standing to the right of his father, Prentice Noble Roberts between his parents, Georgianna Roberts resting against her mother, and Horace Ensign Roberts standing behind Georgianna.  This photo was taken after Daniel and Luther died from diphtheria in December 1891 and before Mary Adeline Ricks and Georgianna died in 1892.
(Winnifred was named after her grandmother Winnifred Lloyd Roberts Evans and Winnifred named her daughter, my grandmother, after her little sister Georgianna.)

Aunt Lizzy moved back from Logan and raised both families until she died in 1921 at the age of 59. After dividing his farm among his adult children, John Lloyd Roberts moved into Rexburg,  Idaho where he died at the age of 82 in 1932.

A picture of his farm and an explanation of its creation is included below.

William Carlos Roberts Sr. wanted the memories of his childhood home put down on paper for the John Lloyd Roberts' posterity. Our cousin Carl Roberts' wife Helen, sketched as Dad related what it looked like. Dad then took the sketch to Richard Bird an art teacher at Ricks College to complete as an oil painting. The round top building between the barn and the shed was their first home for his first wife, "Addie" and family on the old homestead. Their frame home was built about 1895, bricks were used as insulation. The old home was then used as a granary. The frame home had two bedrooms, kitchen, living room and later an added bathroom. The front door led into the kitchen. They had all kinds of apple trees in their front yard and a U shaped drive to get in and out of the yard. You could view the beautiful Tetons from their home. The slough in the upper right corner had a big and little swimming hole. William was baptized by his father there. Clifford states that after John Lloyd Roberts divided the 160 acres among his children, the property ultimately came under the ownership of Henry, Bill and Jesse. In the early 1940's the home was being rented out. A renter apparently disposed of fireplace ashes too close to the home and it burned to the ground. The decision was made to return the original home site to productive land . Henry and Bill built homes and barns on the north end of their property, which borders the south boundary of Sugar City. Although the property has changed hands several times through the years, those old red barns are still standing in 2013. Jesse's property was ultimately sold. An LDS stake center now stands on the northern most portion of Jesse's property. - Boyd D. Roberts

The adult children of John Lloyd Roberts and his wives, Addie and Lizzie.

John Lloyd Roberts in the dark suit with his Evans brothers, sons of David R. Evans and Winnifred Lloyd Roberts.  It appears that the height was in the David R. Evans family :)

John Lloyd Roberts at his home near Sugar City, Idaho.

One of my most favorite photos, John Lloyd Roberts with his great grandsons, Gary R Ostler, my father and son of Georgianna Ricks Ostler, and Jack Thomas, son of my great aunt Mary Adeline Ricks Thomas.

Both John Lloyd Roberts and Mary Adeline Ensign are buried in the Sugar City Cemetery. There appears to be an error on her grave marker as she was born in 1852.

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