Mynydd Isa to Mendon, Utah

The Life and Times of Henry Hughes (1825-1904) by David Rowe.

The story of one of the survivors of the 1837 Argoed Colliery disaster, who later went on to write an account of the event, has been the subject of various articles. When I was contacted by his American descendants, the Cheney family, asking me to show them locations associated with Henry, I did think I had a reasonable understanding of his story. How wrong can you be? As the visit progressed, more information came to light and peaked my interest so much that further research was clearly required. This article is the result of my research and I hope that you find this of interest.

Henry was born at Bistre Farm, Well Street, off Rose Lane, Mynydd Isa on 25th December 1825, to Robert Hughes of Mold and Martha Read of Ruabon.

Bistre Farm with the Cheney Family & Nick Jones

As can be seen from the extract of the parish register, Henry was baptised at St. Mary’s the Virgin Parish Church, Mold on the 1st vJanuary 1825.

As the Register lists Henry’s father, Robert, as a collier it was not unusual for other family members to follow their father into mining. At this time there were no restrictions on the age of children working in collieries. It was after the publication of the 1842 Report on the ‘Employment of Children and Young Persons in Mines and Mineral Works in North Wales and on the State, Condition, and Treatment of such Children and Young Persons’, legislation was enacted and restrictions were placed on the employment of women, girls and boys underground. Up to this time children as young as six were working underground; Henry started working at the Argoed Hall Colliery, Mold at the age of nine years. He recalled that during the winter, daylight was only seen at weekends.

The events of 9th May 1837 are etched in the history of Mold, it saw the death of 21 miners, including that of Daniel Owen’s father and two of Daniel’s brothers, one aged 11 years. Ken Lloyd Gruffydd’s article on the disaster and Kenneth. E. Hughes ‘Transcription of the Journal of Henry Hughes’ will be found in volume 2, Christmas 2001, of the Mold and District Civic Society Journal, Ystrad Alun. The articles can also be found on the Mold & District Civic Society Webpage.[i] I therefore only intend to make a relatively brief mention of the sad event. The 39 miners, including ten boys aged 16 years and below,  had descended the seventy yard (64 metres) shaft, with the warning to avoid adjacent old workings which had previously flooded. At 8 o’clock all the miners were warned that water had been breaking through into their workings. They assembled at the bottom of the shaft to await lifting up to the surface. As the pump appeared to be working normally the miners were advised to return to their seams. Around 10 o’clock the water broke through and seven men were immediately drowned, with all but two other miners, moving to highest part of the seam. This left 22 men and boys huddled together in the dark with nothing to eat or drink, no air and without any apparent way of escape. The reaction of those trapped varied from panic to prayer, and Daniel Owen’s 11 year old brother, Robert, is described as leading the singing of the Welsh hymn O Fryniau Caersalem ceir gweled.  Henry was kept out of the mud by John Jones laying him across his lap. Sadly after awaking from a sleep, Henry found his saviour dead.  Rescuers finally broke through after three days of frantic efforts to empty the pit of the water, and among the rescuers was Henry’s 22 year old brother, John. The rescue is best described in Henry’s own words, which fully describe the scene and conditions found by the rescuers. “My brother John continued to crawl over bodies of my fellow workmen, shaking them as he went to see whether they were alive, until he got to myself. He shook me and called my name and I answered by making a mournful, wailing noise. He took me in his arms and, as the water was only about a foot from the roof, he got on his back and paddled himself along holding me above the water ’til we got to the shaft.”  On being gradually brought back to the surface, Henry and the other survivors were seen by local doctors, given a little to eat before being taken to their individual homes accompanied by a doctor. The gruesome business of recovering the bodies went on from 13th to 27th May and as will be seen from St. Mary’s Church burial registers, the dead miners were discovered progressively and buried accordingly.

Site of Argoed Colliery (Depression in ground)

John Williams showing the registers to the Cheney Family.

While the search for bodies continued, a public meeting, chaired by John Wynne Eyton, was held at Black Lion, High Street, Mold on Tuesday 16th May. This resulted in the setting up a subscription fund to support the dependants of those killed in the disaster. The fund administered by Douglas and Smalley & Co. Bank with branches in Mold and Holywell raised in excess of £950.  However, the bank went bankrupt and the promised support payments did not materialise.

In due course, Henry recovered from his ordeal and continued to live in Mold until he was 15 years of age, when he, his mother and sister moved to Joiner’s Square, Shelton, Stoke on Trent. In the 1841 Census he is still described as a Coal Miner, so clearly the experience at the Argoed Hall Colliery had not deterred him from such work. Or is it more likely that he had no option?

Stoke on Trent from Joiners Square.

The name of the colliery is not known but it is likely it was one of the Shelton collieries[ii] mentioned below.  “The main site began around 1830, was rapidly developed in the 1840s by the 4th Earl Granville and his managing partner William Roden MP. In 1873 there were 93 puddling furnaces, 7 mills and 8 blast furnaces with extensive iron mines and collieries. Many coal mines were sunk on the site, and railways built into the site which stretched from the western reaches of Hanley into Etruria as far as Middleport“. Henry’s next move, at the age of 20, was to the Grange Colliery, Wingate, County Durham,[iii] and there he met and married Shropshire born Ann Howells[iv] on the 4th November 1850. The same year, Henry and Ann made the major decision that was to change their life forever. On the 2nd July, 1851 they were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), and he and Ann moved the five miles to a mining village called Five Houses[v] (now known as Trimdon Grange). [vi] The area comprised of three villages, Trimdon Grange, Trimdon Station and New Trimdon, whose development and growth was directly the result of the proliferation of coal mining in the area. The 1841 census for the area listed a population of 382, which by 1851 had increased to 1,598, thereby offering employment opportunities to colliers from across the United Kingdom, in what was a volatile industry. How Henry, who had no known links to the area, came to live and work in the north east of England remains a mystery. However, the movement of colliers across the borders was commonplace and let’s not forget the manager involved in the 1869 Mold Riot, originated from nearby Seaham in County Durham.

As well as continuing to work as a collier, Henry was ordained an elder and formed a church branch containing 23 members. He and Ann also celebrated the birth of their first son, Henry, on 14th June 1852.[vii] The membership of the Trimdon & Five Houses branch in 1852 was reported to be 22, including one elder, 3 Priests, 3 teachers and 2 deacons.[viii] The branch was part of the Newcastle Conference, and interesting to note that following Henry’s departure the 1853 membership is shown as 14. In 1856, a reorganisation took place and the Five Houses branch comprised of Trimdon, Five Houses, Castle Eden, Thornley, Thardbushes? and Wingate.

Henry’s stay in the north-east of England was relatively short lived, as when in 1852  Brigham Young instructed all ‘Saints’ do their utmost to gather in the Salt Lake Valley, Henry & Ann made the decision to travel Utah. During 1853, the following journeys by sailing ships from Liverpool to New Orleans carried Mormons on the first stage of their lengthy journey.

Date of SailingDate of ArrivalShipNo. of PassengersWritten Accounts
16th Jan.16th MarchMonarch44110
17th Jan.6th MarchEllen Maria3439
23rd Jan.26th MarchGolconda34412
5th Feb.22nd MarchJersey3304
15th Feb.31st MarchElvira Owen3759
28th Feb.25th AprilInternational47718
28th March18th MayFalcon3246
6th April7th JuneCamillus2574
24th August28th OctoberRufus K581

The above is a snapshot of one year of the many sailings during the period 1847 -1931 from ports across the world.[ix] On the 28th March, 1853, Henry (27) listed as a miner, Ann (32), Henry (5 months) along with another Wingate family, John Vest (54), listed as a platelayer, his wife Mary (52) and daughter Hannah (14) and a further 318 like-minded people set sail on the sailing ship ‘Falcon’ from Liverpool’s Bramley Moore Dock en route to New Orleans.[x] The cost of the journey was £10 per adult and for children £5, with other costs covered by ‘The Perpetual Emigrating Fund.[xi] The church had agents[xii] at each of the key locations, and it was their responsibility to ensure the travellers had as smooth a journey as possible, this with the intention of avoiding individuals who would look to take advantage of these devout people.

We are fortunate in that the referenced ‘Saints by Sea’ includes a Passenger list, general voyage notes, autobiographies, a diary and journal. The journey from Liverpool took over seven weeks from the 28th March to 18th May 1853, and was not without its issues. The following analysis of passenger list shows the passengers having very differing occupations, but all sharing a common goal. The passengers also came from all parts of the United Kingdom.[xiii] 

AberdeenAbersychanAirdrie BedworthBirmingham
Barton –U-NBridportBelfastBurselm Cambridge
ChelseaCoventryColchesterCalvertonDouglas IOMDumfriesh..
 Edinburgh Fifeshire Golding
GlasgowGreenockGosport Hull 
Kilmarnock LiverpoolLondonLudlowLeicester
 Mottram in LMansfieldManchesterMonkwearm’th 
NorwichNuneatonNewportNew Shenton Paisley
StockportSt. NeotsStroudSouthamptonShrewsburySpalding
ThrapstonTiptonThornhill by J WingateWorcester
Boot MakerBoot CloserBlacksmithBoilermakerButcherBookbinder
BricklayerBakerBook SellerBrass Finisher Cordwainer
CollierComb MakerCarpenter Draper 
EngraverEngineerEngine Keeper FarmerFarm Lab.
Framework KnitterFitterFlax Dresser GamekeeperGardener
Gate KeeperGrocer Hatter Innkeeper
Iron FitterIron MoulderIndia Rubber Worker Joiner 
LabourerLetterpress PrinterLamp MakerLinen Draper Miner
Rope MakerReed MakerRibbon Weaver SawyerShoemaker
SlaterSpade & Shovel MakerSpinnerSchoolmaster Tinplate Worker
TailorTile CutterTravellerThread Manufacturer Tinsmith

The weather was not always kind and many of the passengers suffered a lot from sea sickness. During one storm a lot of personal belongings were damaged and scattered all over the place. During the journey four young children died, two from the same family, and following an on board service the unfortunate infants were buried at sea. Two marriages were conducted and daily services were held, and during the difficult times it was quite obvious from the journals that the group was comforted by their faith. In the diary of James Leatham he refers to Brother Bothal being possessed of the devil and handcuffed. He goes on to say that while the elders had “administered him but it had not been effectual.”[xiv]  In what way he was possessed is not described or whether ultimately a ‘cure’ was effected. By the 4th May, the mood lightened considerably when a land based lighthouse was sighted and even a very night long heavy thunder storm didn’t dampen their spirits. The subsequent improvement in weather over the following days allowed many of the passengers to take the opportunity of bathing in the sea. Throughout the journey the Captain and his crew had made every effort to make the journey as pleasant as possible, and the passengers presented the Captain and 2nd Mate with memorials reflecting their kindness.  As a celebration, on Thursday 12th, the passengers held a concert lasting around four hours. On the 16th May the Falcon was taken in tow by a tug and finally on the 18th May, the passengers disembarked in New Orleans where they spent the night. Probably unknown to the passengers, New Orleans was in the grip of a Yellow Fever epidemic[xv] with 7,849 deaths recorded. The authorities didn’t want anything to affect their lucrative trades and accordingly places of entertainment remained open and ships continued their journey’s up the Mississippi.

On Thursday 19th, they started on the next part of the journey, sailing on the steamship St. Nicholas up the Mississippi to the outfitting post at Keokuk via St. Louis, a total distance of 1,406 miles,[xvi][xvii]

On reaching the camp at Keokuk, a group crossed the river to visit relatives of Joseph Smith,[xviii] at the former headquarters of the church. They also visited the ruins of the pictured Nauvoo temple.

During the 1853 spring and summer migration, over 2,500 Mormon emigrates made their way through Keokuk, swelling the permanent population of some 3,000. The local authorities made encampment and grazing land available to the temporary residents. While in the area many of the men took the opportunity to temporarily follow their trades or working on the streets, or in the case of women they were often employed in the permanent resident’s homes.

 If the sea and river journey’s had not all been a trial the next stage of the journey would be the hardest task.

For this 1,344 mile trek from Keokuk to Salt Lake City, each ten of the group were intended to have a wagon, four oxen, two cows, 100 pounds of luggage and sufficient provisions to cover the whole journey. In the event, there was insufficient money in the ‘Emigrating fund’, so the number per waggon was increased to 12 and the luggage was reduced to 75 pounds. In some cases this resulted in luggage being left behind or even burned. The 1853 food allowance for each wagon (based on the original plan of 10).

1,000 pounds Flour50 pounds of sugar50 pounds of bacon50 pounds of rice30 pounds of beans
20 pounds dried apples, peaches5 pounds of tea1 gallon of vinegar10 bars of soap25 pounds of salt

After about a week, 33 wagons containing 400 people, under the supervision of Jacob Gates set off on their long journey. One of the issues to be considered was the number of parties making the journey and the effect this would have on the state of the ground by bogging down heavily loaded wagons and putting a strain on food for the oxen and other livestock. As a result the starting times for groups were staggered, although it wasn’t unknown for the different groups to catch and in some cases pass an earlier group. The spring and early summer were the wettest known to the agents, resulting in higher creeks and rivers, thereby causing delays in getting large parties ferried across the swollen rivers. The cost of the ferries was also high and the shortage of money provided a further challenge. Although provisioned at the start, the travellers needed to obtain further provisions at Bluff City and to take the opportunity to rest before attempting the crossing of the swollen Missouri river. They travelled every day, with many of the party having to travel on foot. In addition the men were required to take their turn in standing guard duty at night; this was to ensure cattle didn’t stray and to keep a lookout for previously unknown wild animals and reptiles. Each adult male was expected to stand guard for three to four hours, at least twice a week. As may be expected men either fell asleep during their watch or in some cases were so tired they refused to take guard. The other danger groups had been warned about was that of the Native Americans (Indians), and although no major problems were experienced, individuals were cautioned about straying from camp. It was later reported that only seven of 35,000 travellers bound for Utah, Oregon and California lost their lives to Indians. No Mormons were among those killed. The normal day for groups started around 4.00 with a prayer followed by breakfast, and once the oxen were hitched to the wagons the trek started about 8-9. Depending upon conditions the group would travel for a 5-6 hours before stopping for dinner. After a short break the group would travel for a further 4-6 hours before finding a suitable place to stop for the night. After a light meal, prayers and a song, those not on the first watch would, despite their aching limbs and blisters, try to sleep. After about 8 days travel from the Missouri a rest day was given. The next stage of the journey would see them having to cross the mountains. During the trek the normal cycle of births and deaths were experienced, with only a short stop possible for funeral services and the deceased were buried and the grave marked by a simple cross.

Finally Henry and the remainder of his party arrived at Salt Lake City on the 16th October, 1853 and they followed the normal symbolic practice, of being re-baptised.

Salt Lake City in 1853

As an aside, the paternal side of the Cheney family emigrated from Bristol and were part of what was known as the handcart group of 1856. [xix] The Cheney’s great grandmother, Susannah Stone at the age of 25, was part of this group and recorded in her diary. “I am thankful that I was counted worthy to be a pioneer and a Hand Cart Girl. It prepared me to stand hard times when I got here. I often think of the songs we used to sing to encourage us on our toilsome journey. It was hard to endure but the Lord gave us strength and courage.”

Accommodation at this time was limited and most families were living in one or two room log cabins or even dugouts.[xx] After wintering in Salt Lake City, Henry and the family moved to South Mill Creek Canyon, where they were granted a piece of land to enable them to sustain themselves. In the 1860, 1880 and 1900 census, Henry’s occupation is listed as a farmer. The second of Hughes and Ann’s children, Charles was born on the 15th June, before in 1855 the family moved to Cottonwood Canyon, where Henry worked as a teacher for seven years. During their time at Cottonwood a further two sons were born, John on 13th April, 1857 and Thomas Howells on 15th September 1859.

Cottonwood Canyon

Four years prior to the American Civil War, the government of the President of the United States, James Buchanan, faced a serious challenge to their authority from the Mormon community in Utah. Federal officials were reporting that members of the church were refusing to obey federal judges and federal law and they would only obey Brigham Young. In 1857, Young had been Governor of the territory for seven years and during this time he gave precedence to church doctrines in civil matters. Issues ranged from governance and land ownership to plural marriage and Indian affairs, during which both Mormons and non-Mormons endured violence and privation. The tension was reflected in the fledgling Republican Party’s 1856 presidential platform, which included a pledge to eradicate the “twin relics of barbarism—polygamy and slavery.” The President decided to replace Young as Governor, but without advising him of the fact. Recognising this move was likely to be resisted by Young and the residents, the replacement Governor, Alfred E. Cumming, [xxi] was accompanied by a force of 2,500 soldiers led by General A.S. Johnson. Warned that this force was approaching, the Mormon Militia under the command of General Daniel Wells, harassed the approaching troops by stealing livestock and attacking & eventually burning the Army supply trains. The Echo Canyon was turned into a fortress forcing the Federal troops to attempt to outflank the defenders, but with their mobility and knowledge of the terrain the Militia had the upper hand. Extreme weather also caused large casualties to both sides in men and animals. Finally a negotiated settlement was arrived at and although hostilities ceased, some of the core issues remained. A detailed report of the ‘war’ will be found on the following webpages  and [xxii][xxiii]

According to Henry’s friend Jens Jenson, Henry was drafted into the Militia and served at Echo Canyon, but I’ve not discovered what part he played during the 1857-1878 expedition.

After the settlement Henry returned home, and in May 1862, the family moved to Mendon, Cache County and a further son, Edward Robert was born on 20th August 1862. Henry was a teacher in Mendon from 1862 to 1868, before being appointed Bishop[xxiv] of Mendon in 1870.

Family Home in Mendon

When Henry and family moved to Mendon, the area was still inhabited by the Northern Shoshones tribe[xxv] and conflict between settlers and tribe members was often strained resulting in outbreaks of violence. As a result, Henry as ‘Bishop’ had the delicate task of trying to negotiate a peaceful relationship between very disparate groups. As mentioned previously the Mormon practice of multiple marriages, polygamy, remained a major area of conflict with the Federal authorities. Illegal under United States law the practice was openly criticised by religious leaders across the world, but the practice remained part of the religion until formally discontinued in 1904. Henry followed the tradition by marrying Sarah Ann Goatman in 1868, Sarah Shaw in 1872 and Rebecca Bassett in 1875. From contemporary newspaper articles it would appear that many of the emigrants were totally unaware of the practice prior to setting off on their journey. In one case a young woman wrote to her mother from New Orleans, stating that she was not going onto Utah but would be returning home as soon as possible. She explained that she had been subject to unwanted advances from an elderly man, who wanted her to enter into a polygamous marriage. We will return to the consequences of Henry’s actions later, but worth noting that in the early of the 1900s the American government required Mormon immigrants to sign an affidavit confirming that they would not participate in polygamy. In the meantime, Brigham Young[xxvi] had other plans for Henry when in October 1873, he requested that Henry prepare himself for a mission to the country of his birth, Wales. On the 19th October, along with nineteen others, he set off for New York via Ogden. As this only took 5 days we must assume this was by the new Pacific railroad.[xxvii]

They arrived in New York on the 25th October, and left for Liverpool on the 1st November aboard the 437 feet long steamship ‘Oceanic.’ Unlike his original 1853 journey by sailing ship, the passage was uneventful and they docked in Liverpool on the 12th November. On disembarkation Henry proceeded to the order’s house at the pictured 42, Islington, Liverpool where he was met by Bishop L.J. Herrick.[xxviii]

Missionaries were not financed in any way and were reliant upon people’s kindness for board and lodging. One way they could raise funds was to sell copies of the Book of Mormon[xxix] (not to be confused with the show of the same name). The early editions were produced in the UK by John Tomkins of Liverpool with different quality covers. In 1843, they sold for between 4-6 shillings. Whether Henry had sufficient funds to initially purchase the books or whether he sold any we don’t know.

During his mission from 13th November 1873 until his return home in June, 1875, he travelled widely but his mission was primarily aimed at South Wales. Before embarking on his mission, Henry took the opportunity to visit his brother, Thomas, in Wigan; his sister Elizabeth in Jarrow and sister in law in Durham.  As they had not seen him for many years they did not immediately recognise him, but after questioning they ultimately warmly greeted their long lost brother. With the family visits over, Henry took the opportunity to visit the site of Argoed Hall Colliery where thirty six years earlier he had been rescued from the flooded mine. Being alone he took the opportunity to go to a nearby wood and prayed for his upcoming mission. The nostalgic visit to the colliery site over, Henry travelled by train from Mold to Merthyr on 25th November, where he was met at the station by John Rees, and together they travelled to the Conference House at 24, Mary Street, Merthyr. From the 2nd December 1873 onwards he travelled widely across South Wales, preaching and encouraging converts. He did make a detour to stay for one night at his second wife, Sarah Ann Goatman’s, grandparents who lived in Churchdown, near Gloucester. In his journal, Henry detailed his activities and some comments in particular are worthy of note.

On a meeting at Swansea “We slept at the Yellow House, a very dirty hole and damp bed.” Before leaving Swansea he went to the Pier Head and carved his name (HH Mendon 1873).

On another visit to Swansea; “I left Alltwen for Swansea to preach there this evening, had a slim house and I would say that this Branch is dead as to the gospel.”

Visit to Aberkenfig: “Held two meetings, one at two and the other at 6 p.m. There is a good branch here. The President is a fine man.”

Final visit to Neath. “The branch was in a bad state when I first came here, but is good now. I baptized 7 last night and had a good meeting.”

Following his mission in South Wales, Henry travelled up to North Wales, stopping off at his mother’s birthplace and great grandfather’s grave at Ruabon.[xxx] Moving onto nearby Rhosllanerchrugog[xxxi] he visited his 80+ year old uncle and friends in the colliery village. After a couple of days, Henry returned to the place of his birth, visited the old colliery site and in the company of his cousin George Hughes, went to St. Mary the Virgin Parish Church of Mold where they discovered graves and information related to his great grandfather and other members of the family. Henry called into the Liverpool Conference House, before travelling by train to Bagillt where he was met by a colleague and the following day they travelled to Holywell. His journal records the day’s activities.

February 8th. Today we went to Holywell four miles from here that is from Bagillt, and came back and held two meetings, then left for Prestatyn at 6 p.m. We stopped here all night. This is a nice village on the seashore, and the mountain on the other side.”

Shortly after this Henry stopped detailing his travels making the following entry. “I don’t think it will be wisdom for me to write all my travels on my mission, as it can be found in my diary. I would here say that it was the best time I ever had in all my life. I left my home at Mendon October the 19th, 1873 and got home June the 3rd, 1875, in good health. (I did) a good work in Wales.”

Much of his mission was in and around coalfields and as an ex-miner who survived a disaster, this would have enabled him to have empathy with the many miners who faced death or injury on a daily basis.

In 1871, Henry wrote an account of the tragedy in a LDS publication called the ‘Juvenile Instructor.’[xxxii] Returning to Mendon, Henry was reunited with his three wives[xxxiii], 5 children and 7 step-children and recommenced his work as the Bishop of Mendon, a post he held for about 40 years. One of his responsibilities was that of collecting what was a major issue among non-conformists in Wales, the Tithe.[xxxiv] The ’10 % tithe’ could be in cash, livestock or other goods and these were stored in a large Tithe Barn built specifically for the purpose. In addition to the Tithe Barn, Henry also oversaw the building of two chapels for church services. To date we have focussed on his church duties but there was a lot more to Henry than just work. He actively participated in local dramatic productions and regularly participated in step dancing, although what form this took we don’t know. Today’s form is probably best known for the Irish variety as performed on the show, ‘Riverdance.’ Music has also played a large part in the Mormon tradition, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir[xxxv] is famous throughout the world. Henry actively supported his local choir and any singer who could read music and participated in the choir, could be rewarded with 10 acres of choice agricultural land. He was Mayor of the city for several terms, business manager of the co-op store and helped those engaged in improving the livestock industry. However, his multiple marriages came back to haunt him. In November 1886, he recorded that he was virtually a prisoner in his home as deputies were in town, which he believed were there to arrest him. The deputies were acting on a warrant issued by the District Court of the First Judicial District of the Territory of Utah –Weber County. The indictment listed ‘Unlawful Cohabitation’ as the reason for the warrant. A Warrant of arrest was also issued on the 10th May 1886, in respect of three of the wives, Jane, Annie and Rebecca. They were required as witnesses for the prosecution, and Henry and wives were required to furnish bonds ensuring their appearance at the trial.

The deputies were first spotted on the 17th October, so Henry took the decision to leave Mendon hidden in a covered wagon. He travelled throughout Utah, sometimes by train, staying with various members of the church before returning home secretly on the 19th November. In a letter dated 28th November, 1886, Henry makes mention of his situation “As I have not written much of late, I thought I would write now, as I cannot go out of doors and let the good folk of Mendon know I am home. This may seem strange for a man to say in a free country like this. Because I have three wives and I will own them as my wives (and) honour them as such…….here I am hid up from my brethren and sisters, a prisoner in my own house, and no man knoweth when the end of this crusade will be, for many of my brethren are today in the pen for the gospel’s sake, and it is where I could be if they could find me.”

Henry continued to avoid the deputies for some months, but eventually Henry came to trial on the 26th November, 1887.  He was found guilty and fined $100, and sentenced to five months imprisonment, although he does not appear to have paid the fine promptly. On the 3rd March 1888, the court issued a writ to the United States Marshall to recover the amount due, either in ‘Lawful money of the U.S.’ or out of the personal or real property. This was not the end of the story as, in 1893, he was indicted once again for ‘unlawful cohabitation.’ This was withdrawn when President Benjamin Harrison[xxxvi] issued an amnesty[xxxvii] for those practising polygamy.[xxxviii]

After serving his community as Bishop for over 30 years he was released from his duties. He continued to live in Mendon until his death on the 28th May 1904 at the age of 78. Henry is buried in Mendon City Cemetery.

The story of one remarkable life and while we have looked at this through notable events we haven’t really learned about his character, so perhaps the words of his friend of 40 years, Jen Jenson, are the best way to close this research. “The duties of the Bishop included such a diversity of work that a brief sketch will not permit details. He was called to administer to the sick almost whenever there were any sick, and many testify – the writer one of them- that the sick were restored to health by the power of God under the administration of Brother Hughes…He was elected and served as a member of the convention that framed the constitution under which Utah was admitted to statehood. In person, rather above medium height, weighing 190 to 200 pounds; strong and active, blue eyes, hair dark brown or black that turned grey early in life. He was quick tempered and outspoken but if angered it was soon over and forgotten, never revengeful. He always enjoyed a good joke, even at his own expense. He had very little schooling when a boy, but by reading and mingling with people, he became a well-informed man, keeping well abreast of the times. He was free and at ease with people of prominence as well as with the poor and lowly. He was sociable and courteous to all.”


This research would not have been possible without information and assistance provided by the following, and my grateful thanks are due to them.

Mark, Susan, Lane, Tawna Cheney Love and Clark Cheney for their family information and friendship; the extensive published archives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; Paul Davies and Barbara Forbes of the Buckley Society; The Jones family of Bistre Farm; Roger Bletcher of Argoed Hall Farm; John Williams of St. Mary’s the Virgin Parish Church, Sue Hipkiss of Mold Library & Museum; Ken Craggs of the Trimdon Times; and last but not least Haydn Jones, Mayor of Mold.








[viii] Page 134



















[xxvii] By Drawn by C.H. Wells for Harper's Weekly December 7, 1867(original engraving)(Digital reconstruction & restoration by the uploader) – The Cooper Collection of US Railroad History (private collection), Public Domain,






[xxxiii] He married his 4th wife in 1875 and they went on to have 5 children






DAVID ROWE                                                                                               24th August 2022