Monday, October 17, 2011

Agnes Laura Phipp Eborn

     Not a lot is known about our great grandmother, Agnes Laura Phipp.   She was born February 27, 1852 in  Ware, Hertfordshire, England.  She was the third child of William Phipp and Emma Thorogood.  There were ten children in the family, three boys and seven girls.  At her birth she had an older bother and an older sister. Five more sisters and two more brothers subsequently were added to the family.  Her older brother died when she was just two years old. Her younger sister, Emily Mary Phipp, married William Nathanial Budge Shepherd in Paris, Idaho on the 22nd of December in 1877.  She had been converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in December of 1876 and had made it somehow to the Bear Lake Valley in Idaho where she married the man who had converted her to the Church the previous year.  About 1890 with the encouragement of her sister, Emily Mary, now living in Paris, Idaho, Agnes Laura emigrated with her husband James William Eborn and their three young children to the United States.  Little is known of their journey but we can assume that they crossed the ocean from England on a steamship and came to Utah by train where they settled temporarily, it was hoped, in Ogden, Utah.  They didn't know anyone there and according to  information handed down by Grandpa Arthur Eborn, they found the adjustment to life in America/Utah rather difficult.  Undoubtedly one of the problems when they settled in Utah was that they were not members of the Church and didn't seem to fit in very well.  The couple had three children at the time, Agnes Maud, who was about ten years old, Emily Edith about age eight and Arthur Phipp, who was a child of about four or five.  It is not known when  or if they first made contact with Emily Mary who had now been in America about thirteen years and was living with her family in Paris, Idaho.  We do know that they were eventually able to find a small frame home in which to live.  It was modest and very humble even by the standards of their day, but we can assume they were happy to have a roof over their head.  Life was hard in those days in the towns of the Rocky Mountains.  James William did not have a specific trade and found it hard to find work to support his family, and they felt somewhat out of place in their new environment and community.  Life at this time was even more difficult in England.  Many people had left their home in the English countryside and moved to the larger cities/ London for manufacturing jobs.  This was during of the so-called Industrial Revolution which came early on to England and affected the English way of life dramatically both for the good and for the bad.  There was employment, but the wages were meager and the living conditions were often very bad.  Infant mortality was high in England at this time and many children died while still in infancy or as young children.  The Phipp family was no stranger to these sad events in their lives.  Nonetheless, I can imagine that Agnes Laura missed her family terribly as she was so far away for them and all the familiar faces and places she had know in England.  It can also be assumed that they had left England full of hope for a better life in America, which was considered a land of opportunity.  Except for Emily Mary and Agnes Laura none of the rest of the family ever made it to the United States, nor did they ever return to England, so it was pretty much a complete separation from family when they came to America. 
     In the summer of 1892.  Agnes Laura was  doing the family laundry.  She was heating the water for the wash and was dressed in a full skirt as was the custom of the time.  In the process of checking the water heating on the wood burning stove she apparently got to close to the stove.  Her dress touched the stove and burst into flames.  She ran  screaming  from the small wood frame house and rolled on the ground in attempt to put the fire out, but her efforts were in vain and she died of the burns she sustained in this horrific accident.  This was on July 11, 1892.  She was buried the next day in the Ogden Cemetery in Utah.  This incident changed the lives of  not only her immediate family, her husband and children, but also generations to come.  Her husband and the father of her three children basically fell apart in this strange land where he had difficulty finding work and felt he simply couldn't cope with all of the problems of life that had been thrust upon him.  Eventually he ended up letting his three children go to various foster homes.  This must have been very difficult for him to do, and yet he felt it was for their best good.  The children were separated and had little to do with one another from that time forward, though they did stay in touch from time to time.  What happened after this is the subject for another post.  I will try to add to this as I can and as I remember it being told to me when I was young.

This is the only photo I know of  that exists of Agnes Laura Phipp Eborn, our great grandmother.

We should all be grateful for our heritage and give thanks for the sacrifices our ancestors were willing to make.  I firmly believe that the day will come when we will see this good woman again, and pray that we will all be a cause for her to rejoice and know that all of her sacrifices were worth the terrible price she paid for us.

1 comment:

  1. Dont just leave us hanging...we need more of this story!!