Ann Newman Tanner

AnnNewmanTanner-1Ann Newman Tanner spent her last thirteen years in the Etna and Grouse Creek valleys. She came here from Tooele, Utah in June 1888. Her husband, Thomas Tanner, had passed away nine years before in Tooele. Her son, Valison, and step-son, Alma, were the first settlers on the west side (Etna) in 1875. They were attracted there because of the acres and acres of natural meadows and brought cooperative cattle herds there to feed on these meadowlands.

With Ann were her son, Moroni, and daughter, Jemima. Her youngest son, Allen, had come earlier to work for Valison. They lived for a while with Valison, who, just shortly before, had married Amanda Morgan Barlow, a widow lady with four children. Ann’s daughter, Jemima, married the following summer, moving to the Kimber Ranch. Jemima’s husband, William James Kimber had homesteaded just south of the Etna/Grouse Creek valleys.

When Ann’s son, Allen, bought a place in Grouse Creek, she and Moroni made their home with Allen. Allen married Mary Emily Barlow in June 1894. The Allen Tanner home was a three-room log house, by the granary, a kitchen in the center and a bedroom on each side. There was a well further down. Grandmother Ann lived here with Allen and Emily and their children until her death on April 25, 1902.

AnnNewmanTannerAllen’s daughter, Amanda, commented:  “Grandma Tanner was a small woman. I don’t remember her ever going anywhere or leaving the house. Because she had difficulty hearing we had to ‘Shout’. I remember her sitting on the edge of the bed, rocking back and forth, front to back (she wasn’t bed-fast). When she died, I sat and rocked my brother, Les. Uncle Bill Paskett made the casket.”

Valison’s daughter, Olive, wrote:  “I remember my grandmother Tanner very well. She always wore a full skirt with a blouse with a peplum on it. Her skirt always had two big pockets. Every time I went there she came out with a piece or two of candy for me from these pockets. I still have a china plate that she gave me that I have always prized. I remember vividly the shape of her coffin when she died and how bad I felt at her passing. The coffin was a wooden one, white with bluebirds on the front and head.”

Valison’s son, Valison Jr., wrote:  “Before we were old enough to go to school, we would visit with Grandma Tanner who lived with Allen Tanner in Grouse Creek. This was always a treat which we looked forward to, as she would tell us nursery rhymes and stories.”

Annie Paskett (Barlow) said Sister Tanner was small and thin. She lived with Allen and Emily when I used to go there and do the washing when Ray was born. She was easy to get along with, and was nice looking for an old lady. Annie’s sister, Pollie Paskett (Jeffs) said she used to go and sit with her while the folks went somewhere. Ann told her she made all her own baby clothes out of her dresses and petticoats. They were nice material.

Moroni, Allen, Valison Sr, Ann, & Jemima Tanner

Moroni, Allen, Valison Sr, Ann, & Jemima Tanner

Ann Newman was born on December 26, 1821, in South Witham, Lincolnshire, England, a daughter of Allen Newman and Sarah Cooper. Ann was only fourteen years old when her mother passed away. We know little of her life in England. Ann had a daughter, Elizabeth Ann (Betsy Ann) Newman, born in South Witham on April 30, 1839. Ann’s father died eight years later in 1847.

Ann Newman joined the Mormon Church the following year, being baptized in November or December of 1848, and became a member of the “Gratham” Branch, then two years later emigrated to America, departing from Liverpool, England, on October 15, 1850 on the sailing vessel “Joseph Badger”, and arriving in New Orleans, the United States of America, onNovember 13, 1850.

Ann came with her daughter, Betsy, who was now eleven years old, Ann’s brother, William (a baker by trade) age thirty-two; William’s wife, Mary Ann, their children, Thomas, ten, William, eight, and daughter, Sarah, six; Ann’s brother, Thomas, age twenty-five (occupation, wheelwright) and another church member, Lucy Francis, age twenty-two. Ann at this time was twenty-nine years of age. Shortly after they arrived in St. Louis, Missouri, sorrow beset this family when both of Ann’s brothers, William and Thomas, died. William was thirty-three years and Thomas twenty-six. Both were buried in St. Louis.

The following year, Ann was married to Thomas Tanner Sr. on October 10, 1852 in St. Louis by Elder William Gibson, President of the St. Louis conference. Thomas, at this time had six sons ranging in age from eighteen years down to four. Their mother, Mary Cruse Tanner, had died the summer before during childbirth. Both mother and infant are buried in St. Louis.

Thomas was a shoemaker by trade, but it was necessary for everyone to work at whatever they could find to do. (We know that his son Joseph worked in the tobacco factory, although he was only seven years old). By the following summer, arrangements had been made for this family to begin their trip to “The West.” An ox team was purchased in St. Louis by an acquaintance from the Newbury Branch (inEngland), a Brother Thomas Carter, expressly for the Tanner families’ journey to Salt Lake City.

Thomas wrote:  “We left St. Louis crossing the Missouri, July 4, 1853 and came over the plains by ox-team in Captain Claudious Spencer’s company of about forty or fifty teams.  We brought with us Ann’s brother William’s widow, her two sons William and Steven, her daughter Sarah Ann, Ann’s daughter Betsy Ann, and Lucy Francis who remained in the family until her death in Salt Lake City.” (She married George Remington). “Our wagon was pretty well loaded and the ox teams heavily laden and caused us much annoyance and inconvenience – it was a very trying experience to my family – but a kind providence brought us through.”

Ann was expecting a child, who was born the night they reached the Salt Lake Valley, on September 17, 1853, and they named him “Valison.” They had camped a few miles distant from the city (near what is now Echo, Summit County).

The family moved to Tooele on November 5 1853. Two years later Betsy Ann married and son Moroni was born on April 21, 1856. Daughter Jemima arrived on November 19, 1859, and son Allen Newman on March 27, 1862. On December 8, 1860 Ann and Thomas were endowed and sealed to each other by President Brigham Young in the Salt Lake Endowment House. Both Thomas and Ann were “baptized into the New Order” on September 7, 1870 at Tooele by George Atkin. Ann’s husband, Thomas, died on July 28, 1879(at age seventy-two) and was buried in Tooele.

From their son Allen’s life sketch, when the children were young they were in very hard circumstances, having little schooling as they had to pay such a high fee and the family was very poor. Allen used to run errands for his father, who was a shoe-maker, and worked at any job he could find. Many times the family sat down to a meal of dandelion greens or pigweed greens, and anything else they could find such as rabbits, sego-lily roots and any thing to fill them up. Sometimes some neighbors would give them some milk and they would think it was such a treat to have some bread and milk.

Maude Tanner Somsen, a daughter of Thomas’s son, Joseph, described Grandma Tanner as a small, frail woman, being hard-of-hearing as long as she could remember. She was a good, kind old soul. “She had ‘NERVE’ when she married Grandfather. In Tooele the family often had candy-pulling and played checkers and cards. They had their own orchestra with harmonicas, Jew’s harp, violin and accordion. Allen and Jemima would dance as the others played.

From her obituary notice we read:  “She lived and died a faithful Latter-day Saint and has gone home to a well-deserved rest. Ann passed away on April 25, 1902. Funeral services were held in the meeting house on April 27, 1902 at which word of praise for her well-spent life, and of encouragement to the living were offered.” Ann Newman Tanner is buried in the Tanner family plot in the far-west central section of the Grouse Creek Cemetery. Her son, Moroni, who remained single, is buried next to his mother, also her sons Valison and Allen Newman Tanner.

Compiled by Velma Kimber Jensen