Darrin & Andrea Lythgoe's Genealogy Pages

Catherine Harrop

Catherine Harrop

Female 1837 - 1914  (77 years)


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History of Catherine Harrop Lythgoe Harston

by Rachel Lythgoe Capson (daughter) Also mentioned: James Harrop, George Harston, Mary Harston, John Kilner, Rachel Kilner, James Lythgoe, John Lythgoe, Catherine Worthington.

Catherine Harrop Lythgoe Harston

Catherine Harrop (Lythgoe Harston)

A Pioneer of 1864

Written by her daughter, Rachel Lythgoe Capson
February 1938

In Manchester Ecles, England, on the 28th day of August 1837, a promising baby girl was born and was called Catherine Harrop. Her father was James Harrop who ran the machinery of a factory. Her motherís name was Rachel Kilner Harrop, the daughter of John Kilner, an English soldier, and Catherine Worthington Kilner.

Motherís father, James Harrop, heard that two American boys were in the community teaching the Bible wrong. Tucking his Bible under his arm, he went to show these two Americans different. In the end, however, they convinced him that he was the one who was wrong, and that they were right. A short time later he was baptized into the Mormon Church. Still later the rest of the family also joined the church.

Because grandfather joined the Mormon Church, he was fired from his position as engineer in the factory, and his assistant was put in his place. This assistant could not do the work as well as grandfather had, so they re-hired him and gave the assistant the job of night watchman. In a dream grandfather had the assistant [say] to him, "Iíll kill you, Harrop, and I wonít bloody my hands with you." For three mornings he went to the factory and found the boilers dry and ready to blow up. On the fourth morning the gasometer did blow up, throwing both he and his helper under the building into the water which ran under the factory, and they were both drowned.

After grandfather was killed, my mother, at the age of thirteen, went to work in a factory to help earn the living.

While mother and her sister were visiting their aunt and cousin, the cousin, who was a game keeper, came into the room and sat down in a chair placing his gun between his knees. While they were talking the gun was accidentally fired. The bullet from the gun went through the wall and lit on the hearth stone in the bedroom upstairs. Spinning around and round, it wore a hole as large as a saucer. The cousin shouted, "Is anyone hurt?" No one spoke a word or made a move, for they did not know, as the room was full of smoke and the explosion had made so much noise. The cousin felt so bad about it all that he went out and brought them back a hare for their dinner.

When mother was eighteen years old, John Lythgoe came to see her. A short time later she got the black small pox and was very ill. When she was better she looked into the mirror and found her face was quite blue. She said, "John will never go walking with me again." But the first time she went out John met her and asked if she would go walking with him. At the age of nineteen they were going to marry, but decided to wait until he could first go to America, work, save money, and send for her. He came and did work for three years before he had enough to send. He sent the money to his father, but in some way it failed to reach her, so again she had to wait. For five years she did not hear from him, but longed for and waited for him. Her health began to fail, and they sent her to her grandfatherís farm. This helped for a time, but again she became ill, very ill, and did not have a desire to get well. However, she was a Mormon and believed in the administration of the Priesthood. In a branch meeting of the Mormons they prayed for her, the Elders administered to her, James Lythgoe was mouth. He promised that she would get well and become the wife of his brother John. She thought, if there is that much for me, I want to get well. Then she spoke, which she had not done for two days. Her mother shouted, for joy, and mother soon recovered.

It was not very long before she got a letter from John Lythgoe. He said that he did not know how to write until he had heard from her. She wrote him that she was still waiting for him. Soon she received $250 in gold, and two weeks later she again received $250 so that her sister might come with her. Mother told her family if they would put all they could with it they could all go to America. Mother, grandmother, three sisters, a brother-in-law, step-father, and step-sister with a six week old infant set sail for America in 1864.

Sailing was fine until large icebergs loomed on the horizon. At two oíclock one morning the ship struck one of these. For two minutes all was still except the patter of the sailorsí feet as they went about fixing the sails. Then, the ship began to toss and tossed violently for twenty-four hours. Some of the people aboard cried, some sang, and others prayed. During the tossing of the ship they tied ropes in front of the beds so that they could not be thrown out. All they had to eat was sae [sic Ė sea? some?] bread. The captain came down to where they were the next morning and asked if they had been awake at two the morning before. When they said yes, he said, "That ws when the ship was about to go down. When it began to toss was when the ship was breaking away from the iceberg." Four weeks after leaving England they landed on American soil, and the long journey across the plains began.

Because of necessity mother and several of the other girls waded a platte half a block wide and up to their armpits deep. They took hold of each othersí arms so they would not fall down. But one of the girls died from the effects of this, so it was never repeated.

While on the trail [and] it began to get about camping time, the girls would gather buffalo chips in their aprons for the fires. When they first sighted the sagebrush the women and girls shouted with joy, for they thought they were close to civilization, but the teamsters only laughed and said, "Youíll have plenty of this, Utahís full of it."

On the plains en route to Salt Lake, grandmother got sick and mother nursed her, sitting up all night and walking all day. This went on for six days. Mother was so tired she could walk no farther so [she] sat down by the side of the trail and soon fell fast asleep. All the wagons passed her by but the last, which stopped and asked what the trouble was. She said, "I cannot go any farther." Completely exhausted, she could not move. The driver helped her into his wagon and took her into camp. This man told the captain about mother being worn out with the care of grandmother and the walking. The captain said that one who sat up with the sick all night should not walk during the day. Grandmother died about two days later and was given a last resting place on Sweet Water, Wyoming. Motherís step-father died about two weeks after her mother, and just one week before they reached Salt Lake.

The infant who was with them was very ill during the last part of their journey and was very bad when they reached this valley and stopped at East Mill Creek. An old woman who was there took all the clothes from the child and immersed her in the Brigham Young ditch. This she did every morning for several days, and gradually the child began to improve, and grew to womanhood.

Mother met John Lythgoe in Salt Lake City, and they were married October 22, 1864. They then moved to Coalville where a girl, Rachel, was born January 21, 1866. One year and three months later [on] May 16, 1867, a baby boy was born who is John T. Lythgoe.

In Coalville father farmed, dug coal, and loaded wagons that came from Salt Lake. On September the 24th, 1867, father went to work at one a.m. where he was killed by coal falling just at daylight. This ended three years of happily married life for my father and mother. Mother was prostrate when she was told. Father was buried the next morning, and a month later they held a memorial for him with the ward house filled to overflow.

Mother then moved to East Mill Creek in 1869. There she met and married George Harston September 10, 1870. They lived happily together for eight years. During these eight years they had three children, two girls and a boy. Hannah, born July 10, 1871; Mary, born December 21, 1872; and George, born March 17, 1875. In 1878 [actually it was 1877, as the next sentence will indicate], George Harston Sr. died. Five months after his death another boy was born to them, James William, April 10, 1878. James William was a great comfort to his troubled family.

Mother struggled hard to raise her children. One night when she was coming home from work she slipped into a ditch of water, ice and snow, which came to her waist and completely drenched her. She would grasp for the weeds to hang on to and pull herself out, but they would only break off in her hands. Finally she got out and walked about seventeen rods to her home. It was bitter cold and soon had her clothing frozen stiff. We children had a warm fire and at once took off her wet clothing [and] wrapped her in warm comforts and put her in front of the fire. From this she suffered no ill effects. She always said she liked it best when the east wind blew and the snow was drifting, for at these times she was most happy. She was very thankful for the warm clothing, bright fires, and plenty to eat. Often at these times mother would prepare we children some special treat after the evening meal.

Motherís turn at irrigation came at midnight once a week. She could not go out alone and the baby was only a few months old, so I would wrap it in a blanket and went with her to stand on the bank while she waded in the water to place the dam.

Motherís home was always open to her children and her childrenís friends.

The promise that she wold work for the dead was fulfilled, for she did work for nearly a thousand people.

When my brother and I were in the Temple to be sealed to her and my father, we saw a young woman smiling at us. She came nearer, and we saw that it was mother. Always when she had on her temple robes she had on Youth.

When Mother lay in her coffin with her robes on, she had that same beauty. A dimple in her plump cheek.

She died of "old folks pneumonia" after 77 years of happy active life on November 19, 1914.

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