Joseph Henry James (1855 - 1908)

HOME SELECT A BIOGRAPHY Elizabeth Ann Barton Bloomfield

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2nd Wife of John Bloomfield
by LaVon Gurr Hansen* 

Elizabeth Ann Barton was born June 3, 1839 in St. Helens, Lancashire, England, to Josiah and Margaret Woods Barton.  Josiah was born July 17, 1809 in Winstanley, Lancashire, England.  Margaret was born January 1, 1819 in St. Helens, Lancashire, England.  Elizabeth Ann was the first of five children.  She had two sisters Eliza: born, July 25, 1844 and Margaret, born February 22, 1847.  And  two  brothers, William, born September 9, 1849 and James, born June 3, 1853. 

Elizabeth Ann's mother died when she was just in her early teen's.  The day her mother was buried her father gave her her mother's ring.  It was to big for her finger so she wore it on a string around her neck until it fit her finger.  She loved it better than anything in the world, and she took very good care of it. 

After her mother's death Elizabeth Ann and Eliza had to take care of the younger children, and do the cooking and house work for their father.  But the death of his wife, and his work and the resposiblity of the children were too much for him.  He drank a lot and had a very bad temper.  The children were never allowed to leave home, and If they quarreled or were noisy he would whip them very hard.   

Elizabeth Ann and Eliza decided between them that Eliza would tend the children and Elizabeth Ann would do the house work and cooking.  By doing this they would be done by the time their father came home from work. 

The family very seldom attended church.  Elizabeth Ann and a girl friend would go and listen to the Mormon missionaries talk when ever they got a chance.  Elizabeth Ann was very certain that the doctrine they preached was the truth.  She asked to be baptized.  When her father found out that she had joined the Mormon church he was very angry.  He swore at her terribly and ordered  her out of the house .  As she started to leave he grabbed her and just about broke her fingers while jerking her mother's ring from her finger.  This about broke her heart.  It was the only thing she ever had that had  been her mother's.  He then whipped her so hard that she was sick for several days.  After this she was never allowed to leave the house only when here father sent her for food.  If she was gone longer than he thought she should be, he would punish her severely.  He wouldn't even allow Eliza to go with her. 

For a year after this the father treated the children as prisoners.  He stayed home all the time to see that they never left the house.  He seemed to take delight in punishing them.  After Elizabeth Ann's mother  died their home was never like a real home.

Elizabeth Ann and Eliza become so frightend of their father they made up their minds to run away the first chance they got.  Finally Elizabeth Ann got her chance.  With the help of some saints there and the missionaries, she sailed from Liverpool England on the ship "Monarch of the Sea" on May 16,1861, for America.  She traveled with some missionaries who were returning home.  Her sister Eliza was not able to go with them at this time.  She stayed to care for the younger children and work for a lady who was kind to them, she gave them many things they badly needed.  Eliza wrote to Elizabeth Ann several times and in a few years she was able to come to America also. 

When Elizabeth Ann got to America she found a job working for a good family.  Then she got the chance to go to Utah with a company of saints.   It was a hard long journey for her.  She was a small person and wasn't very strong.  She walked every step of the way across the plains.  When she arrived in Utah her shoes were completely worn out and her feet were calloused and bleeding.  She took some cedar chips and laced them with cow hide strings and wore them for shoes.  Her clothes were almost worn out too.  Through all the hardships she had suffered she thanked her Heavenly Father that she had enough faith and courage to make it. 

After being in Utah for a while some of the sisters told her they thought she would be better off if she married.  She liked Henry Ashcroft better than any of the men she had met.  She married him October 26, 1861, and they made their home in Hyde Park, Utah.  They were the parents of three sons; James, Emer, and Walter.  When the boys were very young Henry Ashcroft died, leaving Elizabeth Ann to care for them alone.  She seemed to have one hardship right after another. 

Brother John Bloomfield, who had been the Ashcrofts ward teacher, lost his wife at this same time leaving him with three small daughters and a baby son.  He asked Elizabeth Ann to marry him and they would raise the children together.  They were married January 11, 1869.  Elizabeth Ann often said John Bloomfield was kinder to her and treated her a lot better than Henry Ashcroft ever did. 

From their marriage Elizabeth Ann and John had seven children: Joseph W.,  born November 17, 1869;  Richard H. born, March 6, 1873;  and Harriet Martha, born July 31, 1875, all in Hyde Park;  Margaret Emma, born November 28, 1882; and Helena,  born December 6, 1884, in Ramah, New Mexico;  Alexander Finely, born August 4, 1887, in Colonia Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. 

They lived in Hyde Park until 1875 when when they were called to help settle Arizona.  They first went to Obed now known as the Meadows.  It was so swampy that soon everyone in the settlement was sick with chills and fever.  It got so bad they all had to leave.  Then they were called to settle in Sabolla, New Mexico.  There was hardly anyone living there so they didn't stay.  They settled in a large valley a short distance away and established a colony there, which they called  Navajo.  When President Brigham Young came to visit the colony he changed the name to Ramah,  the name by which the Hill Cumorah was called in the Book of Mormon days. 

Elizabeth Ann helped shear the sheep.  She would wash, dry, cord and spin the wool into yarn from which she would knit all the stockings for all the family.  When the girls got old enough they helped her.  Her stepson, John was working in Blue Water. He come home to Ramah one night and had to be back for work the next day.  He needed some socks.  Elizabeth Ann went out caught a sheep and sheared it washed dried corded and spun the wool into yarn then knit John a pair of socks to wear to work the next day. 

In 1888, they moved to Sonora, Chihuahua, Mexico.  They lived there for nine years and then moved back to Ramah, New Mexico.  They thought it would be best for the children to be raised in the USA, where they would meet suitable husbands and wives.  After living in Ramah a short while they moved to Kirtland, New Mexico.  In 1894 some of their family needed help and they moved once more back to Ramah.  This was their last move.  Here Elizabeth Ann died September 15, 1913.  John lived only two and a half years longer, and died January 7,1916. 

*NOTE:  Material taken from  an account by George Bloomfield, a son. 

HOME SELECT A BIOGRAPHY Elizabeth Ann Barton Bloomfield

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