10 November 1821 – 5 January 1905
We had a lovely home surrounded by beautiful flowers, lawns, shrubs, and trees. Being an only Daughter I was loved dearly. I first went to school at Dilwyn Commons and later attended Earldisland school. I also went to a private school at Haven Dilwyn. I was taught dressmaking and tailoring by a private governess, and became very expert at sewing. I was fortunate to have such a good education and training. My life was such a happy one of ease and comfort in my nice home.
Then one night I chanced to go to a meeting. There I heard a new message preached by two missionaries from America. They said they represented The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also called Mormons. And when I heard their words, I knew then that it was the truth. My parents were very upset about me attending these meetings, but as I enjoyed hearing all about this new religion so sincerely they let me go. The more I heard the more I felt that this was the truth.
Then an overpowering desire to join this church became so strong that at the risk of losing all my earthly comforts and leaving my kind parents and home I knew that I must do this. So, I was baptized at Stretford [in 1842] and began secretly making plans to leave with the other Saints for America and the land of Zion. Letting my parents believe that I was going to visit my two aunts in a distant town, I packed my bags, kissed Mother and Father for the last time on this earth and said a sad goodbye.
[Mary sailed from Liverpool on March 12, 1842 aboard the Hanover with Amos Fielding presiding over the company of saints. The ship arrived in New Orleans on May 2nd. The company of saints proceeded by steamboat up the Mississippi River and arrived in Nauvoo on May 14th.]
I was just twenty one years old when I left for America and when I arrived at Nauvoo Illinois, in 1842, I was without relatives or any acquaintances and I did not have a cent of money to my name. But I knew that these people were my people and their God, my God. I felt perfectly at home with the Saints and whenever I was sick I was always cared for and comforted. Here in Nauvoo I had the privilege of hearing the Prophet Joseph Smith and his Brother Hyrum preach the truth with others.
So I embraced the divine command and sometime later on of my own free will and choice I entered into plural marriage. The man that I would later meet was John Scott. He was born in Armagh, Ireland 6 May 1811. He and his parents, the Jacob Scott family, emigrated to Canada in 1819. They lived at Ontario at first, later moving to Trafalger, Canada. Here the Mormon Elders found them and gave them the message and the parents and all eight children, some married were converted and baptized. John Scott had married Elizabeth Meneary and they had one son.
Then the entire Scott Family became anxious to join the main body of Saints They moved to Far West Missouri in September 1838, just in time to get in all the terrible persecutions of that time. Then in 1839 John was called with some of the twelve apostles to go to England on a mission. He left wife Elizabeth and a son of two years and a year old baby. The Scott Family in 1839 left Far West and settled about five miles above Nauvoo, living near the Mississippi River. Jacob Scott was also called to go on a mission in a revelation given to Joseph Smith at Kirtland.
When John Scott returned from his Mission he heard and accepted the doctrine and revelations on plural marriage. So, when I was twenty four years old when I met him, he later ask me to be his second wife.
John Scott was a very prominent man in military affairs in the early days. He held the rank of Colonel in the First Regiment of the Nauvoo Legion. He was also a body guard of the Prophet Joseph Smith and he was one of his best loyal and true friends. He was so dependable and when the Prophet Joseph and Hyrum were martyred, John went with others to bring their bodies back to Nauvoo.
The Mob thought that now they had put an end to the Mormons by killing their leaders, but little did they know that there was in reserve another Man of God to continue the work and build up the kingdom that will endure forever. At the public burial only sand was in the caskets as they were deposited in the grave. Later John helped when they were laid to rest at the rear of the home where Joseph Smith had lived. I, Mary Scott heard and saw the sham trial of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. I saw some of the guilty men pointed out.
Some of them were trying to whittle sticks, but their hands trembled so much that they made little progress.. The reason that I was there, I accompanied the young woman who gave her testimony against the murderers. She lived in Warsaw at the time at the hotel and saw the mob that had tried to wash the black off their faces there, then ate their supper at the hotel.. So she got a good look at them and was able to point them out. But the guilty were not brought to Justice. Their crimes were just winked at.
They were allowed to rob us of our homes and widows and children were turned out of their homes, sick and shaking with the ague. They were driven to the banks of the river to starve and die. They had no mercy on young or old. After The Prophet Joseph's death there was great worry and confusion about who should be the President of the Church. John, Elizabeth, and I went to the meeting. It was held in the Bowery [8 August 1844] to decide this. We all bore testimonies of the Transfiguration of Brigham Young.
While he was speaking he seemed to have the voice of the Prophet Joseph Smith. We also saw the form of Joseph Smith before us. So there was no doubt in our hearts and minds from then on as to who should be our leader. The John Scott Family knew unitedly that Brigham Young was the right man in the right place.
[Mary and John Scott were married 2 March 1845 in Nauvoo.] I was endowed 18 December 1845 and we were sealed 23 January 1846 in the Nauvoo Temple. Later [24 March 1846] John married twenty one year old Sarah Ann Willis as his third wife. John was very industrious and working hard to prepare for the trip across the plains He also made shoes and mended them for his Family. While waiting to leave for Zion, I washed and ironed the temple clothes in the basement of the Nauvoo Temple.
Of the entire Scott family who left Canada for the Gospel, only John Scott and his wives Elizabeth, Mary, and Sarah and children would make the trip across the plains to reach Zion. The fondest wish of Jacob Scott was not granted, that they might reach Zion. Sarah Warnock Scott died at the age of sixty two, 9 August 1840 and Jacob died at age sixty three on the 2nd January 1845 and both are buried at Nauvoo. [The rest of the family had all left the church.]
In 1846 the companies were being organized to start for the Rocky Mountains. March the 1st we were told to be ready to start at noon. We reached the Missouri River about the middle of June.
Then they called for six hundred men to go to Mexico to fight. They thought that by taking all those men, the Mormons would be wiped out of existence. Men were selected and by the middle of July the Mormon Battalion march began. All plans were now abandoned to leave this year.
We went into Winter Quarters, now called Florence. John was called on a special mission to stay one more year and help prepare all for the trip. [Mary and John's first child, Hyrum was born 15 July 1846 at Council Bluffs, Iowa.]
Finally on May 30, 1848 John Scott and Family started west in Heber C. Kimball's Company. John was Captain over 10 wagons. This company included 662 people, 226 wagons, 150 loose cattle, 25 mules, 737 oxen, 57 horses, 299 chickens, 96 pigs, 52 dogs, 17 cats, 3 hives of bees, 3 doves, and 1 squirrel. Rules of a camp; each had a Captain, a captain of the Guard, a chaplain, and clerk. All names were enrolled.
We sleep in our camp wagons or on the ground along the swampy river bottoms. John helped a lot before leaving going among non Mormons and asking for clothes, bedding and money for those who had everything in the world taken from them. He also converted three people to our Gospel. I am now 27 years old and trying hard to be a good wife.
We cook in a camp kettle. it is an iron pot with three legs. It had a heavy lid and could be set right on the beds of coals and biscuits, corn bread, or cake could be put in, then a shovel full of coals was put on top to bake them. Some who had no kettles cooked on hot rocks to do their baking. Some of our meals were just broiled meat and bread. Other times all we had to eat was water gruel (a very thin mush). One wedding dinner on the plains consisted of fresh bread baked in a skillet, fresh butter and a piece of meat.
Milk and cream could be placed in a churn in the morning and by night you could have a pat of butter by the jolting wagon over rough trails. An English emigrant whose sense of smell had left him due to age was one day hungrily out looking for food, found a strange animal and killed it. (It was furry and black and white.) He skinned it and proudly brought into camp a skunk and to his amazement everyone fled as he approached and for some days he was an outcast.
Our daily exertions made hunger a constant companion. The quantity of food was limited and meals were usually scant. At other times fish was caught in streams and ducks, geese, turkeys, and prairie chickens were shot. The men hunted for buffalo, elk, and deer and these added to our daily diet. Pig weeds, thistles and other greens were gathered at times and cooked to add variety. And sometimes if several buffalo were shot the Saints would stop over for a day or two and we cut the meat in strips.
This we dried for future meals. Some places an abundance of wild red and black currants and sometimes gooseberries were gratefully gleaned. Some of the children while walking wore a bag and picked up buffalo chips and sticks to make fires for the evening meals. As soon as we camped everyone tried to share in the labors. Some carried water and gathered wood for fires. Big high sagebrush was used and in timber country we burned wood. But all was not desolation on the long journey.
We enjoyed the smell of the pretty wild roses. At some places beautiful wild flowers of all hues could be seen and we enjoyed the singing of the birds. Young girls tended weary babies until they could be fed and put to sleep. After prayers the camp retired for the night, with campfires burning and the lights of lanterns in the wagons. The lowing of the cattle, bleating of the sheep mingled with the neighing of the horses in the corrals of wagons. The howling of coyotes and wolves on distant hills and prairies mingled with the half hour cry of the faithful guards, "All is well. All is Well".
There was always the dread of crossing dangerous streams and rivers. Yet many plucky women gathered up their skirts and waded right through them. Sometimes large herds of Buffalo crossed our path, so many that at times we had to wait one hour or two while they clumsily lumbered by. And there was always the danger of meeting Indians, some friendly and others hostile and dangerous and they almost always demanded some of our scant food supply. One day we nearly lost our lives.
They held a big "Pow-Wow" minutes seemed like hours as we tried to keep our children quiet. They gestured and yelled louder and we grew more frightened as our fate seemed so hopeless. Again I breathed a prayer, “Father I am so young, will l have to die here on the plains with my family now we are so near the end of our journey? Will I never see Zion after I have given my all for my religion?” Then some of the Indians slid off their ponies and as they came nearer we saw a young white man.
He had been captured by them and was forced to live with them — but he had recognized John Scott as a boy he had gone to school with in Canada. He begged and pleaded with the Indians to spare our lives and he finally persuaded them to go away. It was a miracle from God we always thought after, and today we owe all of our lives to that brave young man's pleadings and to our kind Heavenly Father. Once during our journey the authorities gave John ten gallons of whiskey to pacify the Indians.
They were on the war path at the time. At last we were near the end of the long, long journey as we enter The Valley of the Mountains and look out over the vast land of Zion. I am dismayed by the very immensity of the view. The boundless silence and to see miles of sage brush everywhere. Behind us now are the heartaches and many thousands of silent tears that fell on the long unknown trail. I remember my dear home in England, of the flowers and trees and beautiful surroundings at that safe home.
And I am homesick for my dear Mother and Father. But just as I have covered those endless hundreds of miles, so now I will begin work with renewed faith, begin the task of building a good home in this new wilderness.
At The End Of That Long — Long Trail
Mary Pugh 1848
She sat on the wagon tongue remembering
Her English birthplace far across the sea,
Where all the comforts of family living
Had been hers for the asking, such a loved daughter was she.
In her hands she held a wilted -potted Geranium Flower
With luck and tender care the plant had survived
On the ships long voyage across the ocean.
Here at journeys end would she be denied?
Of seeing the Scarlet Geranium bloom someday?
This last link with family and memories so far away?
She had left her all, home and her parents in England
To come to Zion and to live the perfect plan.
Now here she was, the long - long trek nearly completed
Her expressive brown eyes filled with tears remembering that land.
Then she looked down - A miracle was happening
As she held the flower that meant so much to her
She watched the scarlet flower bud unfold,
What had just happened was worth its weight in gold.
Now her faith was strengthened, her hopes rose anew
A prayer of thanks to heaven was sent
She had new courage to live her life
Thank you God that I was converted and am a Mormon
And am worthy to be John Scott's Wife.
By LaRee Barson McCauley
This poem is true. This Scarlet Geranium was still blooming eighty years later in Clarkston, Utah in 1928. That treasured start that Mary Pugh brought in 1848. Starts from it were freely given to many relatives and friends.
Our Scott Family of twelve from John age 37 years down to Elizabeth the Baby 16 months have arrived today 24 September 1848 and have settled on the banks of City Creek. Our covered wagons will be our homes until John has time to build us a home. Yes, is tiresome to climb in and out over the wagon wheels so many times a day.
We are Pioneers in a new Country. What happiness and joy it is to meet in Church with all the Saints. It has been pouring rain for hours. Our wagon cover is soggy and leaking and we have all our brass buckets and pans set around so our bedding and possessions won't get wet. And I have a precious secret, I am expecting my second child. Will it be a boy or girl or even a twin like me? But oh, is that the stork flying over our wagon? Yes it is. I must tell Sarah and Elizabeth.
All was commotion as the kind wives tried to relocate brass buckets and pans to try and keep the young mother dry. On a rainy 22 May 1849, my dear little daughter was born at 11 a.m. They carefully wrapped her in my nicest petticoat then wrapped her in my black and red shawl. That shawl is my most treasured possession as it was my mothers gift to me on my eighteenth birthday. I carried it carefully across the ocean and then across the plains.
And her precious little Mary was the fourth Mary on her mother's line. Later this baby would name her baby Mary Eliza and that Mary would name her Daughter Mary Eliza and this brave little pioneer didn't have any idea this rainy day that in 1899 the four Marys would have their pictures taken in Logan, Utah and that picture would be treasured in our homes today as the only one we have for our records and genealogy books.
It finally quit raining on May 22, 1849 and all was right with the world. My Mary is three Months old today. And we are moving into our new home at 33 South and 7th East. Its a large two story home. Spacious enough for we three wives and children. John is so proud of it and we are all so happy to be here after so many long months in a wagon. [Mary and John's third child, Eliza Ann was born 20 October 1852 at Mill Creek.]
John Scott is now got busy trying to build a school. With his influence and the help of neighbors and many others they built a good two room log cabin school. It was about four blocks west of the Scott home and was to be used for school, church and all community affairs. It was named the Scott School and John Scott was very proud of their efforts. Mary Pugh Scott was asked to be the first teacher. Her daughter Mary was kept home to tend the Scott babies while the older ones went to school.
Mary was paid with food, grain, wool, or anything the pioneers could spare. The school served well for forty one years, then the thriving community needed a larger school and in 1890 a newer up-to-date brick building was built. It has been remodeled four times. In 1917 an addition was added. it is still called the Scott School and is now used as an exhibit hall for crafts and an arts reference Library. The Scott school stands today as a monument not to an individual, not to a school but to a way of life of the thrifty pioneer's progress.
One day at the Scott School one of Mary Ellen's brothers sneaked a hornets nest into the school. He ask his sister to hold the cone shaped trouble making thing, while he covered it with his hat so the teacher would not punish him. As soon as Mary took it, he hit it with his hat and gave a loud shout and pandemonium broke loose. The children were severely stung, poor Mary Ellen was stung the worst of any of them. The boy got several lashings with a willow.
Times were so hard. Grasshoppers had destroyed nearly everything growing and money was so scarce. Then John Scott was called to go on his second mission to Great Britain the 6 April 1855. He was 44 years old. Obeying the call, John left Salt Lake on May 7th. There were nine sons, the oldest 18 years old, and eight daughters in the home.
There was a pair of twins 10 months old and I had my third daughter, Lucy Jane [19 April 1855], who is just one month old. We dug roots and sego bulbs and anything to help out with food. Mary, six years old and her sister went out each day pulling flax. I wrapped their little hands in rags so the flax would not cut their hands. Mary earned three dollars and was so happy because there was enough money to buy her first new dress. All her life she had to wear hand-me-downs cut smaller to fit Mary's calico dress.
But I called Mary in and told her we had three babies in the home and no food to feed them and asked her if I could take her money and walk into Salt Lake thirty three long blocks and buy flour. Kind hearted Mary loved babies so much and could not see them suffer, so thoughtful Mary told me to use her money. Sarah Ann did fine sewing on men's shirt collars and bosoms for wealthy people and received a few pounds of flour a day.
While on his mission, John went to my parents home in Stretford to meet Father to tell him about our three children and that I was well and happy. Mother died in 1853 of a broken heart because I came to America to be one of those terrible Mormons. Father lived seventeen years after Mother went and died at the age of eighty on June 1, 1870. Father was happy to meet John and he stayed there several times. Father took him through our home and to see my room just as I left it, pictures on the walls just the same.
They walked to the Stretford Churchyard where Mother and my twin were buried. He divided Mother's things, half for me and half for my brother Edward's wife. (Edward had emigrated to Utah in 1853.) He also sent me ten pounds. But at home we had a new challenge to meet. Johnston's Army was coming to Utah to subdue the Mormons. They took the two older boys to stand guard duty, so we wives and the younger children had to pack our belongings in the wagons again, we started south with other Saints. It was so hard to leave our good home.
One day they paused to let the tired oxen rest and six year old Mary Ellen wandered away picking flowers alone, a dangerous thing to do on account of the Indians. A group went to find her and Brigham Young's young negro servant found her and said, “Don't you cry Honey, I'll take you to your Mama.” Mary said, “Don't you put your dirty hands on me!” and she was spanked good for her outburst. Brigham Young sent word to John to come home as quickly as he could to help defend us, He arrived January 19, 1858.
Orson Pratt, Ezra T. Benson, John McKay, John C. Ray, and others who had been in the mission field came with him. Away from home we were destitute for food and clothing but after the Johnston Army scare we returned home and with John home things settled down and people began farming again and some raised flax or did anything to earn a living. John knew how to handle Indians so he was sent often to Southern Utah to quell uprisings. He believed in kindness and feeding them.
He thought treating them kindly was lots better than fighting them. Each Sunday evening one of the Scott wives would care for all of the children and John and the other two wives would walk from 33rd South into Salt Lake to the Tabernacle for meeting. It was my turn to stay home and after they left a hard rain storm came up. I heard loud knocking at the door. There stood eight very big Indians dripping wet. They asked if they could stay all night on account of the storm.
I wasn't afraid of them and let them come in and spread their blankets all over the kitchen floor. They were weary and soon fast asleep and when John came home he was so amazed and he yelled, "Mary what in heavens name have you done?" She quietly pushed him out of the room so he would not wake them. But always after the Scotts would find a large piece of meat or venison there and many times beads and trinkets. [Mary and John's last child, Vilate, was born 12 May 1861 at Mill Creek.]
Then in 1860 [11 February] John was fifty nine years old when he married 17 year old Esther Yeates and he also moved her family to Millville, Cache County and she became the mother of seven children. And last he married Angeline Keller [11 April 1868] at age 16 and she had three children. John had moved back to Mill Creek because Elizabeth his first wife's health was so bad. She was a wonderful woman, so kind and gentle to all of the wives and children. Always sacrificing for all of them and sharing her love.
They also praised his community accomplishments. He was loved by all that knew him. He had such great faith that he was sent for from far and near to administer to the sick and needy. He left a fine family that will always be an honor to his name. John Scott's family included his five wives and thirty six children.
All of my Daughters named a Daughter after me, Mary, but one. So five good women were named after me. When John died leaving me a widow at age 55 my two oldest girls were married. Mary Ellen married Peter S. Barson 20 October 1869. Six years later Mary gave her consent and her younger sister, Eliza Ann age 23 was his second wife. They both moved to Clarkston, Cache County in 1876. [Eliza Ann died 25 September 1887.] Lucy married David Park in 1877 and they went to Lorenzo, Idaho to live. Then my only son married Amelia Morgan in 1878.
So Vilate, my seventeen year old daughter and I were left alone to build a new life. She later Married Fred Fowler who was shortly killed in an accident and she was left a very young widow. She married Charles Hilton in 1893 and they lived in Salt Lake City. I enjoyed going to Clarkston to visit Mary and Eliza and their Families. In 1899 we had a four generation picture taken there.
I spent my last years at Vilate and Charles Hilton's home. I was cared for with love and devotion. Mary Pugh was a gentle voiced woman and barely four feet tall. She carried herself with a regal air. She was always neat and trim and looked nice in her clothes. She wore her hair parted in the middle, with a neat bob at the back of her head. She passed away 5 January 1905 at the age of 84 [in Salt Lake City]. Her services were held in the Seventh Ward. All who spoke said what a true Latter-day Saint she had always been.
They said what a perfect Lady she always was. She gave her all for her religion and church, as well with her services in the community. She was laid to rest at the side of her beloved John Scott in the Salt Lake City Cemetery after living in Zion sixty three years.
By LaRee Berson McCauley — Great Granddaughter.
History Compiled from:
Letter written by Mary Pugh in Salt Lake in 1877 .
'Stories told to me by my Grandmother Mary E. Barson.
Life history of Mary E.S. Barson
Life history of John Scott.
Dates on Pugh Family in Stretford Eng, from John Scott's Missionary Journal Notes on Scott School printed in The Desert News, Oct 27 1966
[Some details have been added and the some paragraphs have been rearranged to flow better]