History of John Harding

John Harding Jane Evans John Harding was born September 28, 1830 at Trobridge, Wiltshire, England.  He had four brothers and one sister all of whom emigrated to Utah.  John was a weaver by trade.  Most weavers at that time worked with small looms in their homes, but he was skilled in the use of the new power loom.

We don’t know of his marriage to Sarah Slatford nor if any children were born to them, however, when he was forty years old and decided to come to America they separated and he came on to America alone, leaving her in England.

When John was nineteen years old he was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  That was the year his future wife, Jane Evans was born.

On the 9th day of August 1871, he sailed from England for America on the US Minnesota.  He and Jane Evans both arrived in Zion in 1871.  John was forty-one years old and Jane twenty-two.

While he lived in Salt Lake he worked in the Woolen Mill housed in the old fort.  Plural marriage was practiced at that time so he was permitted to take another wife although he was still legally married to Sarah Slatford.  When the manifesto, stopping plural marriage, was issued in 1890 he was safe from the law, but his brother Thomas, who had two wives in Utah, was hounded from place to place, and at one time hid under the bed in John’s place to escape being sent to jail.

Jane and John lived in Salt Lake City for ten years and five children were born to them there.  The fourth child Albert Quine died in infancy.

In 1877 the oldest of the Evans girls, Salina, who was then forty-two came to Utah and made her home with them.  She earned her living by working in the woolen mills.

When they moved to Provo, Utah, they operated a restaurant called the Dew Drop Café.  Salina made the move with them and she, and all the children who were old enough, helped with the work.  This was a period in their life much disliked by the older children because they had to help with the dishes.

John next got a job laying stones in the construction of the Provo Woolen Mill.  One day, while the men were employed at this, Brigham Young came to tell them that the new power machinery had arrived and they would now have to send east for a man to assemble it for them.  John Harding informed him that it wouldn’t be necessary as he was well acquainted with the work and could do the job for them.  After it was set up he wove the first yard of cloth in the new mill.  Many of the officials had suits made of the first cloth he wove and they remarked many times on the quality and durability of the material.  After than, naturally, John was made superintendent of the mill.

Salina went on living with them, in Provo, working at the new woolen mill and helping Jane with the babies.  She continued with them until her death five years later at the age of fifty-three.

Three more children were born to Jane and John after they went to Provo, making a total of eight – six boys and two girls.

On May 8, while he was still in Salt Lake, John filed his intention to become a citizen of the United States.  Fourteen years later, September 7, 1894, he received his citizenship papers.

Twenty tow years after their marriage, when their children were all born, Jane and John went to the newly completed temple in Salt Lake to take out their endowments and seal their marriage for eternity.  Eight years later on August 12, 1903 they received their second endowments.

On the first of February 1914, at the age of eighty-four years, four months and four days, John Harding passed away at his home and was interred in the Provo Cemetery.  He was a High Priest of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Between 1900 and 1910 all the Harding boys and Iva left their home to make their way to Canada.  Mary had married and lived in Provo.  Eventually Bill, Iva, and Roy returned to the States to live.

On May 27, 1923, when Mother Jane was seventy-four years old, Mary wrote a letter to her brother John in whom she says, “Iva went back to Salt Lake again about a month ago and that leaves Mother again with just me to care for her.  She is getting very feeble and is swelling up awful again.  Her mind is bad – she can’t tell everything she wants to.  She starts to say something, then her mind wanders and she cant’ remember what she wanted to say.  I wonder how it is she lingers so long in this condition.  It doesn’t seem to me that she can stand it much longer, but one never can tell.  I don’t know what I will do when she gets right helpless for she is an awful weight and I am not very strong, but I suppose a way will be provided.”

One month later Jane Evans Harding passed away and was buried beside her husband.


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