Darrin & Andrea Lythgoe's Genealogy Pages

History of Fanny Elizabeth Goodman Moss

Fanny Elizabeth Goodman Moss
Fanny Elizabeth Goodman Moss

By Lucille C. Jones, "Pioneer Heritage," Vol. 3, page 84

Fanny Elizabeth Goodman Moss was born December 29, 1839, in Aspley, Bedfordshire, England, an only child of William and Matilda Crisp Goodman. Her parents, having embraced the Gospel during her early childhood, had her baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when she was eight years old. When Fanny was twenty-one years of age, she married Thomas Moss of London, England, and a year later a son, William, was born. He was a very delicate baby. When he was six months old Fanny began making preparations for the beginning of her journey to Zion; but before leaving she took the baby to the doctor, who advised her against taking the infant on such a long journey. Financial circumstances made it impossible for her husband to accompany her at this time. Nevertheless, Fanny was determined to go, so she made her way to Liverpool. One pound, or approximately five dollars, was all the money she had left. Upon reaching the dock she learned that the vessel upon which they were to sail was declared unseaworthy. En route the boat sprung a leak and some of the passengers were called upon to help dip out water. After a long and trying voyage they docked in New York harbor.

Fanny found traveling from New York westward very difficult as the Civil War was then beginning. Upon arriving at Florence, Nebraska, she joined the Isaac Canfield company, one of the smaller groups, with one hundred and twenty-five souls and twenty wagons. Fanny walked beside the wagon most of the way carrying her baby. At times it was almost impossible to get milk to satisfy the infantís needs. The young mother was fortunate in having made friends with a Maria Robson who was in delicate health. Often this lady cared for the baby while Fanny gathered fuel which consisted most of buffalo chips. She also became acquainted with a young English girl who was ill, homesick, and discouraged. Many times she lagged behind the others, wanting to turn back, and Fanny practically pulled her into camp at the end of each dayís journey. One morning a shallow grave was dug and the girl laid to rest.

Upon arriving in Salt Lake City October 16, 1862, Fanny was taken to the Eighth Ward Square. She had no friends to whom she could turn for assistance. Finally she secured a position taking care of an invalid lady. One day she noticed a man passing the window who seemed vaguely familiar. He proved to be an old friend from England by the name of William Rogers. A few days later Mr. Rogers moved her belongings to his home, and she lived with Mr. Rogers and his wife, Emily, until she obtained employment in the Townsend Hotel on First South and West Temple. Fanny hired a woman to take care of William for twenty-five cents a day, plus the used tea leaves and coffee grounds which they gave her at the hotel. Her wages were $2.50 per week, room and board. From this small amount she succeeded in keeping herself and child, and also saving a little each week to help bring her husband to Utah.

Thomas sailed for America bringing his parents and a brother, Joseph, with him. When he arrived in the Valley, he immediately resumed his trade of harness maker and succeeded in making a meager living for his family. On June 9, 1864, a daughter, Elizabeth, was born. Two years later they purchased a piece of land on South Temple and M. Street and here they made a dugout. This dugout was no different from others in the valley, just a hole dug into the side of a hill with a dirt roof and one window. Thomas planted many beautiful flowers around it which were much admired. While living in this crude shelter four more children were born, Mary, Katie, Annie and Matilda.

William Tuddenham, a close friend, visited the Moss home one rainy day and rather an odd sight met his eyes when he entered the room. The children were playing under a table, the rest of the floor being a puddle of mud. Mr. Tuddenham said to Fanny, "What are the children doing under the table?" "Oh, Iím just trying to keep them dry," she laughingly replied. "Well, I donít see anything to laugh at." In her usual cheerful manner she answered, "Well, Tom, it wonít do any good for me to cry about it either." It was a glorious day for the Moss family when they moved into a lumber house, even though it had only one room. Here another son, James Edward, was born.

Soon they were called to Central Utah to help with the settlement of Castle Valley. They felt this a wonderful opportunity but were loathe to leave their new home. The decision to go was made and the home sold for $750.00. It was in October, 1875, when James was six weeks old, that the family set out on their long journey to Castle Valley. On their way they met another group of settlers who were going to Grass Valley, the present site of Koosharem. The Moss family decided to join them. As soon as they arrived Thomas took up land and built a log cabin. It had one room, a fireplace for cooking and heating purposes, a bed, table and chairs. The children slept on the floor. Another son, Joseph, was born here. Soon the group was organized and lived the United Order. The Moss family remained in Grass Valley for six years enduring untold hardships. In the fall the crops were harvested. The brethren were to divide the produce according to the size of the family, but the Order did not prove successful for some took more than their share.

The following incidents were told by James E. Moss: "I remember when I was a boy watching my sisters, Jane and Mary, using grubbing hoes to clear the big field for the crops. It was fun to see them dig up the sagebrush for I knew there would be a big bonfire later. The Indians used to gather around these fires. They were friendly and interesting. I remember the squaws would come and sit on the ground for a long time. If anyone said anything to them, they would just grunt. Mother, in her usual kind way, made friends with them. Whenever the bucks returned from a hunting trip they would always give some to ĎTomís Squaw.í Mother often said we would have starved had it not been for her good Indian friends.

"One year the jackrabbits were very numerous and were destroying the crops. The grain was just about ready to be harvested. We called for the Indians to come and kill the rabbits with their bows and arrows. How delighted I was to see an Indian pull his bow and down would come a jackrabbit. While they were hunting them they were careful not to tromp on the grain. They killed many of them, and as long as the meat could be kept sweet, we enjoyed plenty of food.

"When my brother William was thirteen years old my parents sent him to Fish Lake with a small herd of sheep to pasture for the summer. A group of Indians came and set up camp nearby. They were of a different tribe and frightened him with their wild antics. He abandoned the sheep and left for Salt Lake. When he arrived there he knew no one. He found work at a slaughterhouse and never went back to his old home again. When winter came mother went to Salt Lake and Will gave her money to buy shoes for the rest of us down in the valley. One winter, for some reason, we did not get shoes. My sister Millie had to go on an errand to one of our neighbors. She made the trip there and back barefoot. Finally we were forced to come back to Salt Lake City in 1881, or remain there and face starvation."

Fanny took the baby Joseph and came to Salt Lake with some of the Church authorities who were coming from St. George. She secured a three-room adobe house on First Avenue and M. Street. Then she sent for the family. Thomas resumed his trade of harness maker, and Fanny went out nursing, for which she received five dollars for nine daysí work. She was always an ardent and active Church worker, having been a Relief Society teacher for twenty-one years in the Twenty-first Ward. She was ever willing and ready to answer a call for help, especially during an epidemic of diphtheria when so many homes were made desolate. Mrs. Moss was elected the most popular lady in the ward and presented with a gold watch. On another occasion, when the family planned to show their deep affection for her, they presented her with a fine rocking chair.

On October 9, 1909, Fanny was called to part with her beloved husband, Thomas Moss. On March 2, 1912, she passed away. She was the mother of ten children, four of whom preceded her in death. The only remaining member of the family in 1959 is a son, James E. Moss.

Brief Synopsis of Motherís Life

(Fanny Elizabeth Goodman Moss)

By Millie Moss Webley

Fanny Elizabeth Goodman Moss was born December 29th, 1839, in Asley, Bedfordshire, England; she was the daughter of William Goodman and Matilda Crisp, whose motherís name was Mary Crisp.

She was baptized a member of the Church when eight years of age, her parents having embraced the Gospel during her early childhood.

On February 17th, 1860, she married Thomas Moss of London, who followed the trade of harness maker. Their oldest son, William, was born August 15, 1861, and died December 4, 1928. When he was six months old, mother began her journey to the "Valleys of the Mountains." She sailed from Liverpool for New York in April 1862, leaving her husband and loved ones to follow. Their financial circumstances would not permit of their coming together. She found traveling from New York west very difficult at that time, as it was in the year 1862, during the Civil War, and they were forced to travel in cattle cars which traveled at a very great rate of speed until it would be necessary to stop the train to prevent wheels from setting the cars on fire. At this same time the Rebels were cutting the bridges so that the emigrantsí anxiety was increased at each sudden stop, not knowing just the reason. The passengers were often times thrown from their seats by the sudden stop.

Upon arriving at Winter Quarters, she joined the company, leaving for Salt Lake City, under the leadership of Amasa Lyman. During this long and tedious journey Mother was forced to carry her baby a distance of some one thousand miles. At times it was almost impossible to get a drink of milk to satisfy the babyís thirst.

Mother was very fortunate in having made friends with a Mrs. Robson (who was indelicate health) and during their stops on the way this lady would take care of and amuse the baby, while Mother gathered firing which consisted mostly of buffalo chips.

With weary footsteps they wended their way toward Zion, and upon arriving in Salt Lake, on October 15th, 1862, with no friends toward whom she could turn for assistance, she was forced to earn her own living. She obtained employment as waitress at the old Salt Lake House, the first Hotel in Salt Lake, her remuneration being $1.50 per week. With this wage she managed to keep herself and baby, and helped to pay her husbandís way from the old World, he following one year after her arrival. They endured together the hardships incident to pioneer life, after becoming comfortably located, having purchased a house and garden plot, Father following his trade, they were prepared to relax and enjoy life somewhat. At this time Father moved south in 1875, to help colonize new settlements in Grass Valley. The family consisted of Father, Mother, and eight children. They remained there for six years enduring untold hardships, having entered the United Order, and having nothing to fall back upon for sustenance. Finally they were forced to come back to Salt Lake in 1881, or remain there and face starvation. They came back, put forth all their energy and obtained another home, with the assistance of the older children. Mother was always an ardent and active Church worker, having been Relief Society teacher on the same block for twenty-one long years in the old 21st Ward. She was every willing and ready to answer the call for needed help during the diphtheria plague, when so many homes were made desolate. She was elected "most popular lade" of the Ward during a Bazaar held in the new Twenty-Seventh Ward Hall, and presented with a gold watch. On June 3rd, 1906, her son George, died, leaving a wife and little boy. Mother never seemed to quite recover [from] the shock and seemed to fail in health from that time. In the fall of 1909, October 29th, she was called to part with her husband, and on March 2nd, 1912, Mother was called to leave their sphere of action at the age of seventy-three years. She was the Mother of ten children, four of whom had preceded her to the Spirit world, and two have followed since. Her posterity living in 1930 numbers 109; four children, forty-two grandchildren, and sixty-three great grandchildren.