Sunday, September 4, 2011

Happy 191st Birthday, John James (1820-1863)!

Gayle's great-great-grandfather

John James was a British butler, whose life contrasts sharply with another British ancestor named John (Scarborough) in a similar situation with his wife.
He died when he was 43--does he look older than that here?
John James was born on the southern coast of England, and married Clara.  He was a noble young man who worked as a valet for Sir Robert Ray, a very strict English gentleman.  (I have unsuccessfully searched for information on his nobleman, and would love to find out more!)  His uniform consisted of a pair of tight fitting trousers, black patent boots, red coat and a powdered wig.

Clara accepted the gospel and was baptized as a young mother, although her husband never investigated the religion seriously. He attended the Church of England services with his employer and didn't object to his wife's beliefs, but insisted that the children also be christened in the Church of England.  Several of their seven children died young.  John himself only lived to his early forties, but is remembered kindly by his family, including daughter Ellen Williams.

Now think of John Scarborough, father of our Annie Hatch. He was born two years later than John James in 1822, and several hundred miles north, in Yorkshire towards England's lake district. His wife Elizabeth heard the gospel through her brother. John was not initially opposed to his wife’s religious fervor, but after a few years, he became very bitter towards the Church and Elizabeth noted that he was “doing things that made home anything but pleasant.” Elizabeth continued in her journal, “I did at one time wonder if I left the Church if matters would be improved or not, but through the blessings of my Heavenly Father I held on to the faith I had espoused.” John began staying away from home for days and finally never returned.

Elizabeth felt alone in the Church and was anxious to emigrate. She sent word to John that she was leaving, and he called once while she was at work. They never saw each other to say goodbye, although Elizabeth did worry that he would take away their two children, Joseph and Annie. Family legend says she threw her wedding ring in the ocean as she sailed away with her two children. Back in England, John remarried.  He and his new wife had four children, and he named the first two Joseph and Annie, to replace the ones he had lost to America and the Mormons. When Annie's husband Lorenzo Lafayette Hatch served a mission to England, he visited John Scarborough to meet his father-in-law, and John slammed the door in his face.  Sadly, John Scarborough is not remembered fondly by his American descendants.

Seeing the two very different reactions from two men who were contemporaries and even shared a first name, I'm even more impressed by John James' tolerant attitude.  I would give him a new shoeshine kit!

1 comment:

  1. I'd give him a new wig--I'm sure they're more comfortable nowadays.