Samuel Griffiths and Louisa Field Hadley
Contributor: MDSIMS Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
The young girl stood on the deck of the ship, “Minnesota,” clutching a little, two-year-old boy to her breast. She had her eyes glued to the shore of Liverpool, England, and her face was washed with tears. The further the shore line receded, the closer the girl peered to see the shore sink away. Her tears grew more profuse as the English land disappeared altogether. She still stood on the deck looking into the empty void, crying for a long time.
The girl was Louisa Field Hadley, the mother of two-year old Samuel Hadley, whom she had fiercely clung to on the ship’s deck. She had been married just a very few years to Samuel Griffiths Hadley. She had also lost a daughter, Flora, when only a few months old.
Louisa’s family, Henry Field and Sarah Ann Baker Field and their children had joined the Latter-day Saints Church in England. They believed so staunchly, they were willing to leave their friends, most of their possessions and their livelihood to sail for America. The family was reluctant to go without their daughter, Louisa. Louisa had also joined their church after many heated discussions with her husband. He refused to accept the same gospel and did not approve of Louisa’s joining. He wanted nothing to do with their crazy scheme to leave England.
Louisa agonized over a decision. She did not want to leave her husband or the grave of their little daughter. She knew if she went, the severance would be permanent. From somewhere she found the strength of her convictions and cast her lot with her mother and father and family to sail for America. With heavy heart she carried little Samuel aboard the ship.
If Louisa had known the awful tragedy awaiting her, it is almost a certainty she would have remained in England with her husband. From the beginning, October 14, 1872, the journey seemed ill-fated. The ship ran into terrible storms. The deck swerved up and down and the passengers with it. Once a wall of water six feet deep swept across the ship, and the men helped bail out the water with buckets. Many of the passengers felt queasy and ill. One girl was especially sick. Mrs. Henry Field’s compassionate nature caused her to try to relieve the illness of the young girl. This act of good-Samaritan would bring about dire consequences. The voyage took fourteen days, and the longer the days, the sicker the young girl became. It was now apparent she had the dreaded, fateful smallpox. This information struck terror in the hearts of the passengers. Smallpox was then one of the worst scourges of the world.
The passengers finally arrived on the shores of America, October 28, 1872. The Field family traveled by train to Utah and arrived November 5, 1872. They were met by Sarah Ann Field’s brother, William Evans Baker. The Henry Field family was the last of the Bakers to immigrate to America.
William gathered the family and their belongings together and settled them in Hooper in a small adobe cabin near his own farm. Within days, tragedy struck. Fourteen-year old William died first and then six year old Hyrum died of smallpox. The whole family was ill. William Baker was willing to risk his own life to go to their aid, but Elisha Millard, a neighbor, who had had the disease and recovered, volunteered to help. Elisha Millard moved Sarah, the mother, into the old herd house, a short distance away. She was pregnant, and it was hoped she could thus save her expectant baby’s life. Too, it was winter and bitter cold. Mr. Millard brought blankets and food to her. Sarah was distressed, full of anxiety and uncomfortably cold, but she had no other choice.
The next morning, Elisha Millard brought the mother the sad news that Louisa, little Samuel’s mother, had died during the night. That made three of her children dead of the smallpox. Mr. Millard made three pine boxes for the dead and buried them in the Hooper cemetery in unmarked graves during the night. This was a restriction placed on the people, so that no one would be around to catch the disease. (A headstone has recently been placed.)
Was it worth the sacrifice that young Louisa made, paying with the sorrow of leaving her husband and losing her life? Now, over one hundred years later, her many progenies say, “yes.” Six grandchildren filled missions and more than a few great-grandchildren have done likewise. Many have filled important positions in civic and church endeavors. All of it began with Louisa’s son, Samuel Hadley.
What of the husband and father who remained behind in England, Samuel Griffiths Hadley? His son never heard from him. The father never knew Louisa had died. However, a marriage license in England, where Samuel Griffiths Hadley and Louisa Field had been married, was located. A second marriage license showing that Samuel Griffiths Hadley remarried to Sarah ******* in 1878 has also been obtained. It was learned that Samuel had been a pyrotechnic (firework artist) and had lost a thumb. [Taken from the sources "Hadley Heritage" compiled by Ralph Hadley and "Footprints of Roy" by Thelma Russell.}