The story of Elizabeth “Lizzie” Talmer Roberts continues from the previous Mojo Monday…
When they reached New York on April 23, 1883 Lizzie’s son was still very ill and she began to fear that they would be quarantined by the immigration and custom service. She had him wrapped up in a blanket and as the line moved slowly forward they didn’t stop her and instead barked at her “Pass on lady, pass on.”
Lizzie, her two children Florence (age 4) and Benjamin Earnest (age 2), sister Lucy and brother-in-law Fred Fields, after arriving in New York, continued their journey west via train. They rode in boxcars on rough wooden benches with other immigrants to the Salt Lake Valley. Later they took another train to Milford where they were met by members of the Roberts family from Beaver, Utah. A small house was found for Lizzie and her children and it was here, on October 22, 1883 that she gave birth to another son that she name John Wiggett after his father. Lizzie delivered the child herself and the child lived only a few days.
During the fall and winter Lizzie received several letters from her husband John Wiggett, who had remained in England. She kept the letters in a coffee can for many years. Copies of the letters were preserved by her family. Below is the first page of a letter John Wiggett wrote to Lizzie in October 1883. It was four pages long. This is followed by a typed version a family member prepared.
It soon became necessary for Lizzie to find work to support herself and her children. She went to work as a housekeeper for a man named Rollins Don Carlos Shepherd who lived in Beaver, Utah. He had been born in Cleveland, Ohio on December 8, 1832. He was thirty years older than Lizzie and already twice a widower, having been married to Sarah Smithson and then to Sarah Harris. About 1870 he lived in San Bernardino, California where he acquired property which was lost through lawsuits. He then moved to St. George, Utah where it is believed he worked on the building of the temple.
Lizzie and Don Carlos were married at Minersville, Utah on February 16, 1884. He was 53 years old and she was 23 years old. On January 1, 1885 their son Rollins Don Carlos II was born in Beaver, Utah. Although it is believed that Rollins Don Carlos Sr. had children from a previous marriage, it is thought this was his first son. On December 16, 1886 their second son was born. He was named Marcus de Lafayette after his uncle, the brother of Rollins Don Carlos. His brother Marcus was also a resident of Beaver, Utah during this time and had established a store and mill. From 1869 Marcus served many years as Bishop of the Beaver First Ward. Marcus was six years older than Rollins Don Carlos and they were very close.
During these years the church was still colonizing in many areas. Families were often asked to volunteer to go into new areas and open them up for future expansion. Early in the spring of 1888 Rollins Don Carlos Shepherd, Lizzie and their children moved to Vernal in the Uintah Basin of Eastern Utah. The family spent about five years farming in this area and accumulated quite a few cattle. During this time three more children were born to Lizzie and Rollins Don Carlos, Claude Ashley Shepherd born June 18, 1888, next Electra Shepherd born November 23, 1889, and then Edna Shepherd born December 9, 1892. They established a good home and had cattle and horses.
To be continued….