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Caroline Knowles


Caroline Amelia Knowles (Webb)

Born August 29, 1824 (or 1828 or 1829), probably in Manchester, England to Richard Knowles and Sarah Rostrin/Rossiter/Rostern. Her father was a cotton spinner and "machine maker" in the brutal cotton factories of Manchester. She was baptized Mormon on November 7, 1841 in Bristol Branch, England; her parents and siblings joined around the same time as well. When her parents and brother Thomas Knowles migrated to the United States on July 1, 1845, she accompanied them as well. The parents, Richard and Sarah Knowles, then joined Samuel Brannan on the ship Brooklyn in February 1846. In the meantime Caroline, her brother Thomas (now a Mormon Priest) and his wife settled in Lowell. Another brother, John, and his wife, Hannah Webb Knowles, headed directly for Utah in 1847. Unfortunately John died at Winter Quarters, Nebraska on April 8, 1847.

By 1849, with money sent to them from their parents in San Francisco, the Knowles start for Utah. Thomas' daughter, Emma Elisa, died in Council Bluffs, Iowa on December 8, 1849. They remained in Council Bluffs for three more years, while Caroline went on to Utah, possibly in the Justus Morse Pioneer Company (although she is not listed in that company's roster).

Caroline married 30 year-old David Webb on December 22, 1850 in Salt Lake City as his polygamous wife. He was born January 17, 1820 in Coaley, Gloucester, England and had married Esther or Hester Olpin in 1843 in Bristol, England, and then had served as a missionary in England. He was likely the "Elder Webb" who baptized her brother, Thomas, a month after her own baptism. David Webb (and most certainly his wife and children, although only he appears on the company's roster) was in the Justus Morse Pioneer Company. That company arrived in Salt Lake on October 2, 1850, and David and Caroline married just two months later. The two Webb families were told to settle first in Spanish Fork, Utah.

The two Webb families appeared in the 1850 Census of Utah County, Utah (where Spanish Fork is located), with only Esther's first child, four year-old Amelia, although Esther was nine months pregnant with her second child and Caroline was eight months pregnant with her first child, Sarah Ann Webb. (Note that the 1850 Utah Territorial Census was actually taken around April 1851.) About a year later both the Webb families moved to Ephraim, Sanpete County, Utah (although family records inexplicably say Nephi, Juab County).

David and Caroline's children were:

    1. Sarah Ann Webb (born May 15, 1851 in Spanish Fork; married William Cole Ockey; died July 2, 1887 in Nephi)
    2. Ann Maria Webb (born October 20, 1852 in Ephraim, Utah; died before 1860)
    3. Isaac Webb (born November 3, 1853 in Ephraim, Utah; died before 1860)
    4. Louisa Webb (born March 1, 1854 [sic - this only five months after the birth of Isaac] in Ephraim, Utah; died before 1860)
    5. Lorenzo Webb (born November 3, 1855 in Ephraim, Utah; married Ann Eliza Ockey)
    6. Cordelia Webb (born November 11, 1857 in Ephraim, Utah; married Robert Alexander Pyper; died November 10, 1944 in Salt Lake City)
    7. Priscilla Webb (born September 12, 1859; died before 1870)
    8. Annette Elizabeth Webb (born May 6, 1861 in Ephraim or Nephi; died about 1869)
    9. David Samuel Webb (born March 8, 1863 in Nephi, Utah; died before 1870)
    10. Richard Oscar Webb (born January 31, 1865 in Nephi, Utah; died before 1870)
    11. John Webb (born October 3, 1866 in Nephi, Utah; died before 1870)
    12. Zelnora Webb (born September 28, 1867 in Nephi, Utah; married Willard John Ockey in 1888; died March 27, 1955 in Nephi)
    13. Charles Webb (born June 26, 1869 in Nephi; married Harriett Proctor; died December 30 1935 in Salt Lake City)
    14. Thomas Henry Webb (born July 22, 1871 in Nephi; married Sarah Ann Hudson in 1902; died February 16, 1951 in Provo, Utah)

Unfortunately, only six of Caroline's 14 children lived to adulthood. Note that three of the Webb siblings married three Ockey siblings. Also note that Caroline named a daughter Zelnora in 1867 - did she somehow know Zelnora Sophronia Snow from the Lowell Branch? It is unlikely they would have only met in Utah, as Zelnora lived in northern Utah (Davis County), while Caroline was always in central Utah. Zelnora Snow was on the Brooklyn with her parents to California, but Zelnora then migrated to Utah with the Gold Train of 1849. Perhaps the name is just a coincidence.

Caroline's parents had grown very wealthy and died in San Francisco: her mother in 1856 and her father in 1859. Unfortunately, Caroline had never seen them again since they parted ways in 1846.

The families also appear in the 1860 Census of Ephraim, Utah (p. 26), but to hide David's polygamy, all of Esther and Caroline's children are listed as though they all belonged to Caroline, and Esther is then listed as the family servant. That must have been quite humiliating for the aging mother.

Caroline Knowles Webb died on November 27, 1908 in Nephi, Utah.

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