Autobiography of Thomas Howells
I, Thomas Howells,
the son of John and Gwendlian Howells, was born in Yniswendarth in the Parish of Penderyn
in the County of Breconshire,
South Wales. My father followed the occupation of
farming. He died when I was only 10 years of age, and left my mother a widow
with 6 children, five of whom were younger than myself.
She continued in the farming business for several years after my fathers death. Being that we were young and so unprofitable
to keep servants, she sold all of the stock and implements of husbandry and put
the money in the bank; and we children had to seek other employment besides
farming. In the course of time, the Latter Day Saints Elders came to the
neighborhood, and I embraced the gospel and was baptized by John Davis the 12th
of October, 1849; and emigrated to America the fall of 1850 (Oct. 17, 1850 with
227 souls). I sailed across the ocean in the ship Joseph Bager
and landed in New Orleans; and from
thence up the Mississippi River in a steamboat and
landed in St. Louis; and there I
and another man in connection, hired a team, which took us and our luggage to Fravey, where we remained through the winter, digging coal.
In March 1851, I engaged myself
with a merchant to drive one of his teams across the plains to Salt
Lake City. We started from Jackson County, Missouri;
which place was first settled and built up by the Latterday
Saints and whom were driven there from because of their religion. After a tediou[s] journey, encountering many snow storms on the
road, we reached Salt Lake City June
I feel grateful to Almighty God
for his protecting care, which has been over me since I have left my native
land to the present time.
Immediately on my arrival in
said City, I engaged myself to an adobe maker to make adobes; and in a little
while I got so accustomed to the business, that I could make them myself, and
therefore I bought me a piece of land and carried on the business upon my
responsibility for a number of years, until I took up with the mason trade.
I was ordained an apostle
amongst the Seventies, by James Furgison, the
9th of April, 1852, and was assigned to the 33 Quorum.
I began to think that it was
not good to be alone; consequently, I began to look out amongst the young women
for one that would suit my taste. I met with Ann Francis, who came from
Cardiganshire South Wales; I married her on the 12th day of October
1853. We went through the House of the Lord August
31, 1855, where we had our endowments and my wife was sealed unto me
for time and eternity.
I was elected Junior Major of
the 1st Regiment Infantry Nauvoo legion, Salt
Lake district, the 11th
day of September 1869.