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Ellen Collier Hinchliffe Midgley
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Birth: Dec. 24, 1801
West Yorkshire, England
Death: Sep. 4, 1855
Wyoming, USA

Daughter of John Hinchliffe and Hannah Collier

Married Thomas Midgley, 30 Sep 1821, Almondbury, Yorkshire, England

Children - Jonathan Hinchliffe Midgley, John Midgley, Anne Midgley, Hannah Hinchliffe Midgley, Mary Ellen Midgley, Joshua Midgley, Thomas Midgley, Martha Midgley, Elliot Midgley, Ephraim Midgley, Benjamin Midgley

Midgley of Almondbury, Nephi and Salt Lake City, Utah

Thomas Midgley, the son of Jonathan II or junior Midgley and Martha Beaumont was born 2nd April 1798 in Almondbury, Yorkshire, England. He married Ellen Collier Hinchcliffe, daughter of John Hinchcliffe and Hannah Collier on the 30th September 1821. Ellen was born 24th December 1801 at Almondbury, Yorkshire, England. Thomas died 9th September 1870 in Nephi, Juab, Utah.

Thomas and Ellen had eleven children. John, Martha, Elliot, and Ephraim died young, the remainder of the family migrated to America. In 1855 the family joined a 'wagon train' heading west but whilst crossing the River Platte Ellen became ill. As a result of her illness, Ellen died on September 4th 1855 while crossing the plains with a wagon train. She died at age 54, possibly of cholera which was rife that summer. The wagon master refused to stop to bury the corpse and left her lying on the ground as the wagon train continued west.

Her children, the three who accompanied them to America of the eleven children she bore, ages 12 and up, including Ann Midgley, aged 29, refused to leave their mother's unburied body as the wagon train left them in the middle of the plains. The story may have ended there except for one good Samaritan who turned around and helped them bury her before taking them with them. At the time of Ellen's death, Thomas Beaumont Midgley [husband] was age 57, Jonathan 33, Ann 29, Mary Ellen 25, Joshua 23 and Benjamin 12.

Ellen was buried by the Platte River, Indian Territory, US. According to Kenneth Eardley Midgley's book, she died of cholera after nursing some of the many who were sick with the disease at that time. She is buried 50 miles west of the Junction of the North Platte River and the (main) Platte River on the south side of the North Platte, "about 4 miles east of the "last crossing", at or near Ash Hollow in Nebraska (Indian) Territory. Some genealogies state that Ellen was buried in 1855 in Wyoming which was part of the Nebraska (Indian) Territory. This information may come from the memorial marker in the Salt Lake Cemetery which just states the place of death as "Wyoming". There is a possible discrepancy here as the Andrus records of the wagon train imply that the train may not have come this far by September 4th.

Stephen Douglas Burton citing The Midgleys: Utah Pioneers, by Kenneth Eardley Midgley, Lowell Press, Inc. USA 198, p. 57

Mother Ellen, age 53, was a small frail woman, but nevertheless she was active while crossing the plains in rendering service to those of the company who became sick with cholera. She was a midwife and by reason of her efforts was known as "Doctor Midgley." To the extent of her strength she treated many of the Saints in the company who became sick with the dreaded disease. Her ordeal was indeed a most difficult and trying one. She herself became extremely ill with lung fever and cholera.

Her children and Ann Killip did all they could to care for her as she lay in a wagon of the moving train, but it proved to be in vain, and she was called to her eternal reward on September 4th (the uniformly accepted date of her death) at a point on "the south side of the North Platte River." In view of the dates and places given in Milo Ardrus' letters, it seems certain that her death occurred in or near Ash Hollow in Nebraska Territory. Some have stated that the event happened about four miles east of the "last crossing" referred to above.

Ellen would not in this life see her newborn grandchild, Joshua H., who was waiting in Great Salt Lake City. In a biography of her son Benjamin, he is quoted as saying that Captain Andrus wanted Ellen's children to roll their mother's remains in a sheet and leave her on the plains because the company was compelled to move on. This they refused to do, and the company moved ahead. It is quite likely that the company had not been told by Andrus of the advice he had received from General Harney, for obvious reasons. In view of that advice, however, there can be little wonder that the lateness of the season and the proximity of hostile Indians compelled Andrus to push ahead a far as possible.

Zeno Worthen Buttle, granddaughter of mother Ellen's daughter Mary Ellen, said that one Peter Reid, later Bishop of the Sixteenth Ward in Salt Lake City, dug the grave. It was six feet deep. The children were concerned that it was not deep enough to protect the body from the wolves. Brother Reid, who was six feet tall, jumped into the hole to show how deep it actually was. That convinced the children. Ellen's son Thomas is reported to have swum the river with another young man in order to get some bark of trees to cover the sheet which was wrapped around Ellen's body. Her remains were then buried deep in the ground and a roughly prepared grave marker was placed over the spot.

The children then hurried to catch the train. But shortly they returned to the burial spot to have one last look at their mother's last resting place before they hastened on. They were able to catch up with the company and continued with it on the journey to Utah.

The Midgleys - Utah Pioneers, Lowell Press, pp. 56-58

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, Milo Andrus Company (1855) 
Family links: 
  Thomas Midgley (1798 - 1870)
  Johnathon Hinchliffe Midgley (1822 - 1899)*
  John Midgley (1824 - 1825)*
  Ann Midgley McCune (1826 - 1911)*
  Hannah Hinchliffe Midgley Morris (1828 - 1892)*
  Mary Ellen Midgley Worthen (1830 - 1910)*
  Joshua Midgley (1832 - 1912)*
  Thomas Midgley (1834 - 1909)*
  Martha Midgley (1837 - 1837)*
  Elliot Midgley (1838 - 1838)*
  Ephraim Midgley (1840 - 1844)*
  Benjamin Midgley (1843 - 1925)*
*Calculated relationship
Non-Cemetery Burial
Specifically: At the side of the Platte River, Wyoming
Created by: SMSmith
Record added: Sep 07, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 76136331
Ellen Collier <i>Hinchliffe</i> Midgley
Added by: Michael V Drachman
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7th Cousin 5x removed of mine. Sad to learn that you were destined to be left on the ground. Heartwarming to hear that family stayed with you xxWe share a common ancestor Ann Haigh b1596 AlmondburyXX
- sam race
 Added: Aug. 4, 2015
I often think of you. I am upset that your grave is likely unmarked along side the platte river. You are not alone, for I have you in my heart.
- Terri McLain
 Added: Aug. 19, 2014

- Lance
 Added: Nov. 15, 2012
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