Treasures: Susan Kaziah Davis History

Susan Kaziah Davis

Susan Kaziah Davis is my 2nd great grandmother.  In 1915, at the age of 65, she wrote a brief sketch of her life.  This manuscript was passed down to her son Claude Albert Ellis, and to Claude’s daughter Mary Margaret Ellis, and to Margaret’s son Blake, and then to me.  Margaret is my grandmother and Blake is my uncle.

This brief sketch was used as the basis for a longer personal history written by Susan and her son Claude.  That history can be found here.

The full resolution scans for this handwritten sketch can be found here.  Smaller images of this sketch are presented here in order:

Transcription of Susan’s history:


Ogden Utah

April 28th, 1915

A Brief Sketch of the life, & happenings of Susean K. Ellis, Wife of F. W. Ellis. and Daughter of Sarah E, & Edward G. Davis, Born Jan 28th, 1850, Bath Summerset England,

My Mother and Father joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, about the year 1849, just a short time preceeding my birth, I being born with my


eye lids sealed together, but through the anointing with oil, and the faith of my mother, I was made to see,

I was blessed with a name by Bro Kendel.

My Father was made president of the Bath branch of the Church, and Counsel meetings were held at our home every monday evening,

Our doors alway’s remained open to welcome any of the servent’s


of God,

When about twelve years of age, I went to work at the Corset factory, where my Father was engaged as a presser, and two of my sisters as seamstresses,

A year later after my Father’s death, my Mother had to begin work in order that we might obtain a living, We continued working at this factory for five years longer, “And were greatly favored, & respected by our head Maneager”


When we decided to emigrate to Utah,

During our short stay in England as members of the Church, we rec’d great persecution from mob’s, which gathered to persecute the saints,

Many times my Father had to remain at the Poleace Station the greater part of the night, to avoid being mobed, and our windows were broken in with rocks from the hand’s of our enemies,

I was very sickly


the greater part of my younger life, and when we decided to come to Utah, A great many people tried to perswade Mother to leave me in England with them, as they thought it impossible for me to stand the voyage across the water, and told mother that she would barry me in on the ocean, but through the faith, & ambition of my mother, & the goodness of the Lord, I was permitted to come to Zion,


We sailed from England on the ship Colorado, Tues, july 14th, 1868, with a company of six hundred (600) saints, under the direction of William B, Preston,

After a voyage of about two week’s, we arrived in New York, July 28th, 1868, The Company continued on as far as Benton Neb, arriving Aug 7th, 1868,

We left Benton Aug 14th, 1868, for Utah, with an Ox team company, numbering 61 wagon’s, & 411 passengers, under direction of Capt. Daniel D. McArthur,


arriving in Salt Lake valley in Sept 3 1868,

There were six deaths on the journey,  One being a young man by the name of Harry Popel, who was acciedently shot, “Also one birth”

Our journey accross the plain’s was very pleasant considering the mode of travel, The evenings were spent singing hyms, and listening to our brethern talk, We had not the hard-ships to indure which some companies had,


We were meet in Salt Lake City by Sister Irish, who took us to her home, that we might rest for a few days,

I went to work at the “Salt Lake House” as Chambermaid, with Mr Little, as owner, After two months service I went to live with a family by name of Foalsome, staying with them about four month’s, I then went to live with a family by name of George Alder, for two month’s, Here I took sick with Typhoid feaver,


and Erysipelas, and was under the care of Sister Polly Felt, for seven weeks I was very sick, but rec’d the best of care,

While in the City I took an active part in the seventeenth ward choir, under direction of F. W. Ellis,

In July 1869, I accompanied Bros James Ward, F. W. Ellis, & Miss Marry an Ellis, to North Ogden, and made my home with Bro. & Sis Ellis, at Plesant weiv [Pleasant View],

I also lived a short time with Sister Lizia Brown,


On the 6th, of sept 1869, three month’s later, I was married to T. W. Ellis [Frederick William Ellis], in the Endowment House at Salt Lake City, by Bro Daniel H, Well’s,

I joined the Relief Society in 1869, shortly after arriving in North Ogden, and with a number of other’s we used to walk from Plesant view, to North Ogden each week to our meeting, & choir practise, I acted as a visiting teacher until just about four years ago,

My Husband was asked to take charge of


the coaperative store, which then stood on the East corner of the old Dudman lot,

This necessitated our moving to North Ogden, which we did, and lived in one log room just behind the store, “which was used partly for a granery” Until four month’s after our first baby was born, When we moved to where we now live,

In 1881, My Husband was married to Sarah Jane, Barker, Both Family’s lived


together until the persecution started, and my Husband then built another home at Plesant view,

My Husband was taken to the Penitentiary Dec 13th, 1886, where he served a term of six month’s, and then again later, the 13th, Dec 1890, he was made to serve two month’s more, This was a hard trial for me, having such poor health at that time, and a large family to take care of,


In 1893, My Husband recd a call to the Australian Mission, which he accepted, and left Nov 6th, He was gone for 2 1/2 years, during which time we did every thing possible to support him, & ourselves,

Two of My boy’s also have filled mission’s of late, My oldest son “Freddie” spent two years in the Western States mission, and my youngest son “Claude” spent two year’s in


the Eastern States Mission, The oldest son, “William” of the second Family spent 4 1/2 years in the Japanese Mission,

I am happy to state that I have been priveleged to go through the temple a number of times, and do work in behalf of our dead relative’s,

I am the Mother of ten (10) Children, six boy’s, & four Girls, all “but one” of which are living at the present time, and all but


two have made their home’s in the Idaho Country,

I am now (65) years of age, and am enjoying better health than when a girl alout the age of 18 year’s,


There is something extra special about reading a sketch of someone’s life in their own handwriting.  Even though there are more detailed histories of her, this one is my favorite.  I feel like the items she chose to include on these brief 15 pages must have been the very dearest to her heart or the most painful.

I am grateful for Susan and her life.  I’m grateful for the fine son she raised who grew up to be the father of my own beloved Grandmother.  I’m thankful that this treasure found its way to me.  And lastly, I am thankful for the technology that has allowed me to preserve and share this family treasure.


Happy Monday, I hope you have a meaningful genealogy experience today!


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Thomas S. Monson Quote

Thomas S Monson faith quote

This quote has been slightly altered and comes from an article found here.  It includes the following story:

The mission president in Sweden at the time of our visit was Reid H. Johnson, a cousin to my wife. As he and our group were journeying throughout that area, we went to a large Lutheran church. As we walked into the building, President Johnson said, “I think you would be interested in an experience my companion, Richard Timpson, and I had in this city at the termination of our missions back in 1948.”

He said, “We came to this town because we knew that our family history was recorded here and had been lived here. As we entered this large church, we were met by a most hostile keeper of the archives. Upon hearing that we had completed our missions and had a few precious days in which we would like to seek out the records which he maintained in his church building, he said that no one had ever been given the opportunity to peruse those valuable records, far less a Mormon. He declared they were under lock and key, and he held up to view the large key to the vault in which the records were stored. He said, ‘My job and my future, and the sustenance of my family, depend upon how well I safeguard this key. No, I am afraid it would be impossible for you to peruse these records. But if you would like to see the church, I’ll be happy to show you through. I’ll be glad to show you the architecture and the cemetery which surrounds the church—but not the records, for they are sacred.’”

President Johnson indicated they were profoundly disappointed. However, he said to the keeper of the archives, “We will accept your kind offer.” All of this time, he and his companion were praying fervently and earnestly that somehow something would change this keeper’s mind, that he would let them view the records.

After a lengthy journey through the cemetery and looking at the church building, the keeper of the archives unexpectedly said to them, “I’m going to do something I have never done before. It may cost me my job, but I’m going to let you borrow this key for fifteen minutes.”

President Johnson thought, Fifteen minutes! All we can do in fifteen minutes is open the lock!

But the keeper let them take the key. They turned the key in the lock and had made available to their view records which were priceless for their genealogical value. In fifteen minutes the keeper arrived. He looked at them and found they were still in a state of wonder over the find which they had discovered.

They said, “Can’t we please stay longer?”

He said, “How much longer?” And he looked at his watch.

They said, “About three days.”

He said, “I’ve never done anything like this before. I don’t know why, but I feel I can trust you. Here is the key. You keep it, and when you are through, you return it to me. I’ll be here every morning at eight o’clock and every evening at five o’clock.”

For three consecutive days, those two missionaries studied and recorded for our current use information which could have been obtained in no other way. President Johnson, filled with emotion, explained this experience to us. He said, “The Lord does move in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform.” As he made this statement of testimony to me, I realized that his experience had also blessed the lives of Sister Monson and me, for much of the information he and his companion had obtained happened to be on our family lines.

I thought of the key which the keeper of the archives gave to those two missionaries. While that key opened the lock which revealed and released to their information the names which they needed, there is a much greater key—a key which each one of us earnestly seeks to obtain and which will open the locks to the treasure houses of the knowledge which we desire to acquire. That key is the key of faith. In this work, no lock will open without it.

I testify that when we do all we can to accomplish the work that is before us, the Lord will make available to us the sacred key needed to unlock the treasure which we so much seek.


My New Responsibility


I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I’m a Mormon girl.

My faith and religion are deeply important to me.  They are at the very foundation of who I am and what I value most in my life.  This here blog of mine is about genealogy and so I don’t talk about my personal life – much – which includes my religious beliefs.

But something happened recently that will effect my blogging habits.  I’m going to be unpredictable.  I’ll have time to write and read and then I won’t and then I will again.  It’s going to be spotty.  And I wanted you, my blog friends to understand why.

We Mormons are organized folks.  We meet in local units called wards that are based on geographical boundaries.  Each ward meets at a certain time on Sundays.  We have three meetings and spend three hours at church.  The first meeting is called Sacrament Meeting and is for everyone in the ward.  We sing a hymn, have an opening prayer, sing another hymn, take the sacrament, listen to speakers who are members of our ward, sing and pray again.  The last two hours are different.  Children have their own meetings called Primary.  Teenagers go to Sunday School for one hour and then to classes divided by age and gender for another hour.  Adults also have Sunday School and then the men go to Priesthood Meetings and the women go to Relief Society.

Relief Society is the largest women’s organization in the world.  It began in 1842.  Over the years this organization has been a powerful force for good in the world, caring for the poor and needy, providing relief for suffering, offering love, support, and instruction for it’s members.  The motto of Relief Society is “Charity never faileth”.  Charity in this statement refers to the pure love of Christ.  What a beautiful sentiment.

Relief Society sisters throughout the world meet every Sunday for an hour.  They sing, pray, participate in a gospel lesson, sing and pray again.  These women also have occasional activities during the week.  They learn skills that will help them care for their families, they provide service, and learn from one another.  I learned to tie quilts and make homemade bread at Relief Society activities.  I’ve helped with service projects and listened to women share their experiences.

Relief Society is a wonderful organization for women throughout the entire world.

I have recently been asked to be the Relief Society President in my ward.  I am now responsible to oversee our Sunday meetings, our weekday activities, and all other aspects of Relief Society.  I find my days suddenly filled with phone calls, visits, planning, and meetings.  I will busy for a while.  And my blogging will suffer.  But my soul will be joyful as I am blessed to get to know the women in my Relief Society.  To really see them and love them.

In fact, it’s already happening.  I spent my Saturday morning in the home of an elderly woman who was born and raised in Germany.  She is a widow who is lonely and feels like she doesn’t fit into her world.  She poured out her heart to me.  I listened, offered encouragement and most of all, I saw into her heart.  I now have a much deeper understanding and love for her.  That is what I am looking forward to with my new responsibility, moments like that.  Moments that will help me develop greater compassion and empathy for others.

So, please be patient with my unpredictability.  I still love genealogy with my whole heart.  I still want to share and learn with you.  And I will, when I can.


If you want to learn more about my faith, read here.  If you want to learn more about Relief Society, read here or watch this short video.


A Tender Reminder

Last week was Spring Break.  We took our children to St. George for a few days.  We visited Zion National Park and had a lovely little vacation.  As we traveled, we passed signs for Kanarraville, Utah on the way there and on the way back.  Seeing those signs reminded me of this video.  So today I pulled it up and watched it once again.  And once again I was teary as I considered the story and the message.

What does this have to do with genealogy?

Well, I believe we all have moments during our lifetime when we are stretched by trials and troubles.  Moments when we either choose to rely on our faith and hope or become distant from God and often bitter.  Listening to this story of a challenging moment for a young husband and father and the message that same man would share with himself after 30 years of life, is a lovely reminder to me that we all have a story or two like this.  A story of struggle, an experience that helped to shape us, a moment when our faith in whatever we believe was tested in some way.  And most of the time, we let those moments make us stronger, better, and ultimately happier.  We overcome.  We cling to faith.  We have hope.  That is one of the miracles of the human spirit.  We feel a connection to heaven that guides us to be a better version of ourselves.

What do you believe, hope and have faith in?  How has your faith helped you to overcome trials?  If you could talk to a younger you facing a difficult challenge, what message would you share with yourself?

Would you say something like this?

“In that imaginary instant, I couldn’t help calling out to him: “Don’t give up, boy. Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead—a lot of it—30 years of it now, and still counting. You keep your chin up. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come.”  Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come. Of that I personally attest. I thank my Father in Heaven for His goodness past, present, and future.”
-Jeffrey R. Holland

What message would you leave for your posterity?  What is your message of hope?