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 Mary <I>Smith</I> Robinson

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Mary Smith Robinson

  • Birth 2 Dec 1810 Neston, Cheshire West and Chester Unitary Authority, Cheshire, England
  • Death 1 Sep 1845 Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, USA
  • Burial Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, USA
  • Memorial ID 11745954

Daughter of John Smith and Elizabeth

Married Edward Robinson, 1828, Manchester, Lancastershire, England

Children - Richard Smith Robinson, John Robinson, Mary Robinson, Elizabeth Robinson, Martha Robinson, Margaret Robinson, Edward Robinson, William Smith Robinson, Mary Jane Robinson, Joseph Robinson

At the age of 21, in 1828, Edward married a lively, spiritually-minded English girl named Mary Smith, who was, born 2 December 1810, in Manchester, England. Their courtship began while they were working on the same manor. Mary Smith was a tutor to the Lord's children. She was very intellectual and a good teacher. Her picture reveals a rather delicate little face surrounded by a mop of thick curls. During the 16 years of their short life together, nine children were born to them.

Edward Robinson, came into manhood at the beginning of the most inventive and important century of the world's history. In 1828, the English Parliament offered a prize for the best model steam engine to run on rails from Manchester to Liverpool. Several men in different parts of the world were experimenting with steam power, but the prize was awarded to George and Robert Stevenson of England, for their prize steam engine the "Rocket." A charter was granted and this engine made its initial run from Manchester to Liverpool in 15 Sep 1830, the same year as the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This date marked the beginning of great things. A new Era of science and religion.

Edward Robinson had the distinction of being the first conductor, or guard, on this train. The English nobleman for whom Edward acted as footman owned a big block of stock in this new enterprise and he gave Edward this position because of the deep trust he had in him.

Edward used to like to tell of that first run and how they sprinkled sand on the rails to keep the cars from slipping when they got going so fast as 26 miles per hour. In the American Fork Cemetery on Edward Robinson's tombstone is carved a picture of the engine "The Rocket", under which is engraved "Edward Robinson, First railroad conductor on the World."

With a good salary and a thrifty wife, Edward and his little family were very happy, welcoming each child as it came into their lives to bless their home and name, but the grim reaper came and robbed them of two of the children Mary and Martha.

In 1840, the same year that Mormonism was first preached in England, Little William, who was one year old, became seriously ill, and Mary, a very religious woman with a great interest in this new religion, sent for the Mormon Missionaries. Brigham Young was then in Manchester and came to their home, anointed and laid his hands upon the sick child's head, and promised the parents that he should be made well and live to a ripe old age. William has been a living testimony of this healing, and always spoke of it with appreciative reverence. Soon after this, Edward also joined the church and he often let the missionaries ride free on the cars. He would say, "Sit still and say nothing." More than once he took them to his tailor and ordered a suit of clothes for them.

It took a year or so for Mary Smith to persuade her husband to quit his fine position and leave their native land to join the Mormon Saints, who were then in Illinois, but the prayers of this little woman prevailed and in 1842, Edward and Mary with six children, left their native land for America. Upon leaving, the railroad company presented Edward with a silver watch in which was engraved, "To Edward Robinson in token of regard from the Directors of the Manchester-Liverpool Railroad, 1842." This watch is now in the keeping of the Daughters of the Pioneers of American Fork.

They crossed the ocean in an old sailing vessel, the "Henry" in October 1842. It took nine weeks to cross the water. They were delayed by storms and Mary and two of the children lay at death's door during most of the voyage.

They were indeed happy to set foot on ground, but as soon as they landed, they changed ships for the steam-propelled flat river boat which sailed up the enchanting Mississippi for Nauvoo. The Saints had built this beautiful city in Illinois on the banks of the Mississippi on swamp lands, thought worthless by others. Edward, believing this to be their permanent home, took their savings and immediately built them a lovely, little red brick two-story home. This was the happiest year of their lives. They were living and learning the gospel of Jesus Christ as taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith and others.

In the newly built Nauvoo Temple, the children were sealed to Edward and Mary and were endowed for all eternity. They envisioned only happiness ahead, but as the poet Burns said, "The best laid schemes of mice and men can aft gang agley and leave us naught but grief and pain, for promised joy."

Within the next year, 1844, the Prophet and his brother, Hyrum, were martyred. This tragedy brought horror and unrest among the people. Grief came with even more force into the home of Edward Robinson for three months later, in September 1844, his wife, then 33, was taken in death at the birth of her ninth child. The baby, who was named Joseph after the Prophet, was taken care of by the Kirkwood family. Later he died and was buried beside the mother in Nauvoo.

Life was discouraging for Edward. He employed Ann Wootton, a widow with four children, two of her own, Attie and John and two adopted one's, Lizzie and Nammie, to care for his household. Ann Wootton was born in Tunstall, Staffordshire, England, 7 November 1810. She made such a good housekeeper that Edward proposed marriage to her and these two plucky parents decided to rear their families together. She made a good stepmother to Edward's children, although a mixed family of ten children was a big job for one woman.

Unrest and mobbing in Nauvoo again became rampant. Edward, taking the advice of authorities to seek homes in nearby towns and hoping to get employment, traded his little dream home for a team of horses and moved his family to Burlington, Iowa. Here for four years they struggled, trying to save enough to make their journey with the Saints to Utah. Here two boys were born, Heber and Alfred. At this time Edward and the biggest children would go to the mills and get roughins (bran) for ten cents a bushel. From this Ann would make sack after sack of bread which was dried, in order to take it with them on their journey across the plains.

They traveled in the Ezra T. Benson Company, leaving in the spring of 1849. By that time over 5000 Saint's had gone ahead of them, so by then the paths first made by the light tread of the moccasined Indian were trampled into a dust road, by the clumsy hoofs of the oxen and rawhide boots of the men. At one time, Edward, still retaining his jolly humor, said, as he held up his coarse boot, "This old clod cruncher doesn't look much like the fine-polished English boots I wore in the Gentry, but such is the price of pioneering."

Edward drove two good yoke of oxen to pull the two wagons and had two good cows; Paddy and Lilly. Lilly was a hard looker, as she had had her tail bitten off by a coyote when she was a calf, but they gave plenty of milk to soak the dried bread they had to eat. With an occasional flapjack or egg from the hens they took with them, they seemed to have a mighty healthy diet. They also had buffalo and deer now and then. There were plenty of these dangerous looking buffalo on the plains. At a distance they looked like a patch of cedar trees. The Indians claimed the buffalo and deer and they didn't like to see so many white men coming onto their hunting grounds. The whites took away the deer from him and robbed him of his food, clothing, needles and thread and other essentials.

When Edward and his family finally started down grade into the valley they were indeed thankful. 'Tis true, the land with it's purple sage appeared dry and deserted, compared with the green plains they had left behind, but the streams and the beauty of the lake made up for the land's dryness. The majestic mountains stood like sentinels guarding the people as they proceeded to build their homes once more, happy with the thought they would never be driven again.

The first thing Edward did when he arrived in the valley of Salt Lake in October 1849, was to secure land. He rented the John Taylor farm and immediately commenced Fall plowing, using the faithful oxen that had brought them across the plains. The boys helped slip logs to make walls to keep the wolves out of the milk. They cleared the land and broke the sage and skunk brush up for fuel, drove the oxen into the canyons to bring back cottonwood, wild game and berries. Deer and game were plentiful and helped out when bread stuff was so scarce.

Most of the grain had to be saved for Spring planting as it was the year before, 1848, that the crickets got away with a big part of the crop when the Lord in his mercy sent the Seagulls to help them out. Much grain was needed in 1849, as well as flour, for that is when the gold rushers came through. They were glad to trade tired animals for food stuff. That is how the pioneers obtained horses, sheep and cattle.

Family Members






  • Maintained by: InMemory
  • Originally Created by: Ray Memmott
  • Added: 14 Sep 2005
  • Find A Grave Memorial 11745954
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Mary Smith Robinson (2 Dec 1810–1 Sep 1845), Find A Grave Memorial no. 11745954, citing Old Nauvoo Burial Grounds, Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by InMemory (contributor 47147217) .