Thursday, March 10, 2011

Happy 201st Birthday, David Peters (1810-1898)!

Nita Welch's great-grandfather

Both a Welch ancestor and a Welsh one, David Peters was married to feisty Laura. He owned this mill in Wales before coming to Utah:

David was the youngest of nine children raised in Wales.  The country used the patronymic system at the time, so his last name comes from his father, Peter Hughes.  David had blue eyes and was of medium height and a retiring disposition.  He learned the trade of spinning and weaving, and at age twenty established his own factory on a picturesque river, which furnished the water power.   The location of this prosperous woolen goods factory was a favorite haunt of artists who came to paint the beautiful mountains, green valleys, and sparkling waters.  However, the name isn’t as picturesque: Factory Rhyd-y-Sarn translates to “Ford by the refuse dump.”

David & Laura
At thirty, David was well-established and took a bride.  He and Laura had three daughters in Wales.  They heard and believed the gospel message.  David and Laura were ready for baptism, and when they went down to the river, Laura stepped forward.  David was of a reserved nature and hesitated a minute, but believing that men should always be first, stepped past Laura into the water and was baptized, clothes and all.   He was the second person baptized in Festiniog, Wales.  David was made branch president and all Church meetings were held in their home until they emigrated to Zion.  Their youngest daughter sadly died only a few months after their baptism.

David didn’t want to take luggage to the land of milk and honey where all would be provided, but his wife prevailed (and they were very glad). They sold the factory and paid for the passage of their family, a nephew, and five others.  The Atlantic journey was pleasant and four sailors were baptized, although coming up the Mississippi, Laura nearly died of cholera.  

In Utah, the Peters lived in fear of the Indians due to some frightening encounters.  David established a carding mill on a creek east of the city and the family moved south during the time of Johnston’s Army.  They were early settlers of Brigham City, where David farmed.  The Peters had six sons in Utah, two of whom died as children. 

David married a plural wife, a fellow Welsh convert, who was a fashionable younger widow.  She continued to go by her former name, Mrs. Parry.  He had several more children with her, including twin boys who died as babies.  David built a double log house with an entrance room between the two sides, and Laura’s family lived on one side, and Ann’s on the other.  After Ann’s early death in childbirth, Laura raised her children (including a son from Ann’s first marriage).  The Peters created a safe and loving home of culture and refinement.  David was remembered for his sterling qualities, his honesty, and his charity to the poor, and was a dependable man known for business integrity.

I would give him a fleece blanket, to enjoy what soft things can be created now!

1 comment:

  1. I'd rename that factory location. "Ford by the refuse dump?!" It should be "ford by the beautiful mountains" or something.