|Birth: ||Aug. 1, 1837|
Merthyr Tydfil, Wales
|Death: ||Sep. 22, 1886|
Salt Lake County
THE DUNSTER STORY
As written by Ray E. Dillman
Told by Emily Jane Dunster Siddoway
On August 10, 1947, after attending the Sunrise Service at Vernal, Utah, Mildred and I were invited to the home of William Henry Siddoway and Wife, Emily Jane Dunster Siddoway, and following breakfast Sister Siddoway related the following incidents.
My Mother, Mary Jones, was a daughter of Noah Roberts Jones and Esther Lewis Jones. They were converted in the British Isles, (Wales) and while in transit crossing the ocean, Mother Esther Lewis Jones died, leaving my grandfather and his daughter alone. They made their way by boat to a point on the Missouri River where they disembarked with the intent and purpose of migrating to the Missouri River. While remaining here, making preparations for their trip Westward, my Grandfather, Noah, passed on. Prior to his death, he enjoined upon my mother, who was then 12 years of age, not to attempt to return to her homeland or to be separated from her devotion to the Church, and asked that she maintain her affiliation with the Church and accept a personal responsibility to see that the work was done for in behalf of the family. My Mother agreed to discharge that responsibility.
My Mother, Mary Jones, was then but 12 years of age. She had no personal interest, but was left entirely alone in the world. She, however, courageously collected what few personal belongings they had, put them in a box and sought ways and means to cross the Plains from the Missouri River to the Salt Lake Valley.
One of the emigrant trains was about to leave, and some kindly hearted people, whose names I cannot now remember, made accommodation to let my mother come with them. The trek was long, slow and tedious. Mother walked most of the way to the Salt Lake Valley. Upon her arrival she had no place to go, and being of a backward, reticent nature, failed to find suitable accommodation. She sought employment doing house work, and would do large washings for which she was paid 25 cents a day. She continued this laborious work where ever available for some time, after which she was unable to find employment and was seriously destitute. She became so hungry and famished that her spirit began to weaken, and seeing no solution of her condition, she accepted the thought that probably she should end her own life. In this spirit of deep gloom, she went to the old mill race, and there sat meditation the course she had resolved upon to end her own life. The water within the mill race was swift and would undoubtedly within a very short distance, lapse her into unconsciousness. Her feet were covered with worn out shreds of shoes, and she felt that she would desire to remove the shoes. This she did. As she sat there, her father, Noah Jones, appeared to her and remonstrated that she should not do such a thing. That it would destroy the very pledge that he had enjoined upon her to carry on and see that their temple work was eventually done. Likewise he told her to go to a certain part of the town, and there she would find friends and assistance. She accepted this admonition and did go into town and found that a distant relative had been inquiring about "the little Jones girl." The way opened up through such friends and relatives in that she obtained the necessaries of life and was given assistance. She remained and did house work until the time of her marriage with my Father.
Mother was 15 years of age when she married James Record Dunster, who was then 18 years of age. My Father was small in stature, and had no opportunities for education and was incapable of reading or writing. He was a hard working, honest, considerate man, and a great love and confidence existed between Mother and Father. They had a considerable good sized family, but were compelled to work very hard for everything they had. The severe ordeal of Mother's life weakened her and she passed on while her family was still young. Prior to Mother's passing, but little genealogical work had been done, but Mother exhorted upon my Father that he would see that our genealogical and temple work was carried on.
After the passing of my Mother, my Father gave great concern for this work, but his inability to read or write seriously handicapped him until he was visited by persons from the unseen world, and there received genealogical data. In the stillness of the night a bell would ring and Father would rise. He held conversation with persons who had come to deliver to him the essential data required to establish proper genealogy. Because of his inability to write, he asked me to act as scribe, and when the bell would ring he would call me and I would then act as scribe, writing down the information given him. The information came to him and he repeated it to me about as fast as I could record it. I, at times, made a mistake and while Father was not looking at my record, and did not know what I was writing, he would correct it, tell me that I had made a mistake and give me the correct data to replace that which I had erroneously copied.
These night interviews with our unseen visitors continued at various intervals covering a period of 2 years until the time I married William H. Siddoway and left my Father's home. I was unable to hear the voices of those who talked to father. Many times he repeatedly asked me "Can't you hear them?" but I was unable to hear them, and likewise Father was unable to see them, although their conversation to him was completely audible. I was deeply impressed in my own soul with the serene, sweet spirit that pervaded me during these periods of time. Often my Father would tell me to go to bed early to get my sleep, because he told me he felt that we would work that night, and usually he was correct because usually on those nights the bell would ring and we would again write the genealogy given to Father by audible voices from unseen guests.
The names of these dead persons were taken to the General Authorities of the Church. The whole circumstances of their having been given was related to the authorities, and the authorities gave permission to have these records copied as sufficiently authentic records to cause temple work to be done for the persons whose names had been thus obtained. My memory is that we complied and copied and had recorded, approximately 2,000 names coming from this Divine source.
There were no temple facilities in the Salt Lake Valley, and Father made a pilgrimage to the Logan Temple where he did work for our family. Father did not know the date of his own birth, and this had given him considerable concern. He had prayed that through some source he might find accurate information as to the date of his birth. It was upon his visit to the Logan Temple that his Mother appeared to him and he was astounded at the naturalness of her appearance. She talked with him and told him that he had desired to know the date of his birth and she informed him that he was born on January 21st and gave him the year. Mother likewise told father that she greatly appreciated his activity in this genealogical work. Father continued for a number of years to be very active in genealogical work and after my marriage and leaving him, one of my sisters assisted him for a brief time in copying the names that were obtained in the evening visitations.
Many spiritual blessings and the power of insight was given unto Father and I can remember on one occasion, when a man who was very near unto us, and who had evidently fallen away sufficiently that he had taken off his garments, was by Father. He discerned that this man had so fallen away and he said, "I can see him with his garments off, but still hanging on his arm. He will leave the church, but he will return." And it was a similar fact that this man did leave the Church and after much travail and much sorrowful suffering he returned to completely renew his membership within the Church and to have his blessings and sealing restored to him.
(A note form Ione Eldredge Bush, a great great granddaughter) I remember being told how Mary Jones walked across the plains, and her shoes wore out so she tore her skirt, or slip, into strips and wrapped her feet. My friend Joyce Dunster Stout, also remembered hearing this and that Mary's footsteps were in blood on the snow. We have no documentation of this, but our memory. Also, in the above story it says that James' mother came to him in the temple, and then refers to her as "mother" which would be Mary Jones, his wife.
(A note from Edith Eldredge Hanks, a great granddaughter) I remember being told by my grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Dunster, how she used to assist her father, James Dunster, in writing the names he received from the spirit. She said that he would go into a deep trance. One day she began to feel that what he was doing could not be of a heavenly spirit because he was only doing names from his own side of the family. However, on her next sitting with her father he began giving names on her mother's side, and she knew this was a sign telling her that what he was doing was good and true.
Migration Wales to Council Bluffs (May 1849) to Salt Lake, Sugar House 14 Sep 1852.
James Dunster (1829 - 1907)*
Mary Elizabeth Dunster Eldredge (1856 - 1947)*
Esther Dunster Young (1861 - 1907)*
Emily Jane Dunster Siddoway (1868 - 1961)*
Salt Lake City Cemetery
Salt Lake City
Salt Lake County
Created by: Maxeen Jeppson Hanks
Record added: Jun 13, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 53669255