Jeremiah Pipe (1787 - 1850)
- Born Sibton, Suffolk, England
- Died Rumburgh, Suffolk, England
- Married 1810, Rumburgh, Suffolk, England, to:
Mary Reynolds (1787 - 1848)
- Born Rumburgh, Suffolk, England
- Died Rumburgh, Suffolk England
- Eight children
THE COUNTIES of Norfolk and Suffolk in the east of England are characterized by flat farmland, few hills, and a patchwork quilt of fields flanked by lines of trees and hedges. The area has for centuries been one of the primary agricultural regions of England. It is here that generations of tenant farmers and agricultural laborers made their living, often moving from farm to farm as economic conditions and opportunities fluctuated.
And it was here that Jeremiah Pipe was born in 1787, in the quiet village of Sibton, on the eastern side of Suffolk. His christian name was not unusual. Well over 2,000 Jeremiahs and more than a few Jeremiah Pipes have been born in Suffolk from the time that parish registers began in 1538. The fact that the biblical prophet of the same name was known for his dire prophecies and lamentations may have played no part in his parents' choice of the name, but it was, nevertheless, well suited to the area where Puritanism held sway during the English Civil War more than a century before he was born. Most of the people in these eastern counties were solidly pro-Parliament, anti-Royalist and anti-Pope. Oliver Cromwell himself was born in a neighboring county.
Jeremiah's ancestry has been traced back to the 1300s, and his 5th great grandfather, who bore the same name, married into the Dowsing family, notorious for the Civil War iconoclast William Dowsing.
As for Sibton, it's an ancient parish. It was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 with a population of just 51 people. When Jeremiah was born there in 1787, the parish probably numbered fewer than 400 people. While he lived there, he would have known all the buildings pictured below, especially St Peter's church where he was christened, even though they have all changed in 250 years.
Top: Sibton village sign. The figures represent the old abbey that was once part of the village. Center: The White Horse pub, dating to the 16th century. Above: Sibton Village school, founded in 1719.
However, it was in and around the village of Rumburgh where Jeremiah was to spend most of his life. Rumburgh is also an ancient village, but not much remains today to point to its antiquity other than the unusual parish church with its squat tower, dedicated to St. Michael and St. Felix.
It isn't known when and why Jeremiah moved from his native Sibton to Rumburgh, 10 miles to the north. It might have been early in his life. One record refers to him as a "husbandman," which is the old word for a farmer below the rank of yeoman. A husbandman usually held his land by copyhold or leasehold tenure. Other records suggest he was an agricultural laborer in later years. Either way, agriculture was the dominant occupation at the time in Suffolk, and he was likely following work opportunities.
Or, he may have met his future bride at the nearby market town of Halesworth, located midway between Sibton and Rumburgh. Young people from the small villages scattered across the county had limited opportunities to meet prospective marriage partners, except at the market towns where everyone gathered. In any event, Jeremiah at some point became acquainted with Mary Reynolds, from Rumburgh.
Mary's family financial circumstances may have been more favorable than Jeremiah's. About the age of 20, she was the subject of a portrait painting - not something associated with farmers.
Mary gave birth to a daughter, Hannah Reynolds, in 1809 before she was married, and it seems very likely that Jeremiah was the father. They were married on 13 April 1810 in the 13th century parish church in Rumburgh. From that time, Mary's baby daughter, Hannah, became known as Hannah Reynolds Pipe. Hannah's later life story is significant in the Pipe narrative because of who she would marry, and through the accomplishments of one of her sons.
In the autumn of 1811, Jeremiah and Mary had a second daughter, named Mary after her mother. She was christened, not at Rumburgh, but at All Saints parish church at South Elmham, a mile and a half from Rumburgh. All Saints church (full name All Saints and St Nicholas) was already ancient when Mary was christened over the old Norman baptismal font (pictured). The parish of St Nicholas had been joined to All Saints since the church there collapsed many years earlier, hence the long name.
There is some conjecture as to whether Jeremiah and Mary lived in South Elmham after they were married. All of their first four children were christened in All Saints parish church between 1810 and 1816, after which four other children from 1819 to 1829 were christened in Rumburgh parish church. But the two villages are only a mile and a half apart and the Pipes may simply have changed their preference for their place of worship.
For 40 years, Jeremiah and his large family would live out their lives in the area like any other farm laborers in 19th century Suffolk, watching their children grow up and marry. Eight children were born to the couple. After Hannah and Mary came Elizabeth (1814), then James, (1816), Betsy (1819), Maria (1822), George (1826) and Emily (1829). (Sixth child Maria Pipe is the second great grandmother of this site's webmaster, and married William Garwood, a steward on a Suffolk farm. It should also be noted that some genealogical websites have public family trees that add other children, but research clearly shows that those extra children properly belong to a different Jeremiah and Mary Pipe in another part of Suffolk).
Hannah, the eldest child, mirrored the experience of her mother when, in 1833, she bore a son, John, before she was married. A few months later, she married the probable father, George Hancer, at All Saints in South Elmham. She was then 25. But it was the birth in 1835 of Hannah's second son, James Hancey, that would later change the course of this family's fortunes.
Hannah Reynolds Pipe and George Hancer in the mid-1800s. Distortions are due to enhancements by descendants. George's right eye is said to be a distortion from glasses. The photos have been colorized from the originals. And, right, Hannah as an older woman in 1886.
Hannah's next four children were born at a time of particular economic hardship in Britain. In the late 1830s, the country went into an economic slump that was to last well into the next decade. Between 1836 and 1838, 63 banks collapsed, investment plummeted and unemployment soared. High prices and a poor harvest in 1838 made life especially difficult for the poor. Inventive ways were found to survive. Children were frequently hired out as live-in domestic servants, even when quite young. Domestic animals were sold to keep food on the table.
By the mid-1840s, a new government had turned things around with commitment to free trade, the repeal of the Corn Laws and the removal of other tariffs. Grain prices fell and food became more plentiful.
In 1848, the last year of her life, Mary, Jeremiah's wife, fell ill with cancer, untreatable at that time. According to a biographical essay by Marnette Woolley on FamilySearch.org, Mary went to live with Hannah, sharing a room with a seven-year-old granddaughter. She died in great pain in the summer of that year. Her husband, Jeremiah, followed her two years later. His death certificate recorded the cause of death as "paralysis." He was 63.
It was not long after the death of their parents that things took an unexpected turn for the adult Pipe children. Hannah's son James had married Rachel Seamons from the same parish, at All Saints church in 1855. Rachel tells her own story in a substantial essay found on FamilySearch.org. It is too lengthy to include here, but parts of her story are best told in her own words. From about the age of 15 she had been hired out as a servant to an elderly farmer and his wife, whom she describes as "very religious people and very kind to the servants."
Most farmers who kept servants expected their domestic help to attend the same church with them - usually the Church of England. But Rachel's employers allowed her to choose. Sometimes she would go with them, sometimes to the Wesleyan Methodist church.
"I enjoyed the meetings and loved the singing," she wrote, "but when they would tell us to only believe on the Lord Jesus and we should be saved, I used to wonder why our dear Savior who died on the cross and did so much for us required so little from us in return."
That self-imposed question would signal a turning point in her life. She continues:
"When I was about 18 years old the “Second Advents” were preaching their doctrine near our village so I went to hear them. They spoke some on baptism, but I did not hear them again. About five months after that my parents sent word to me that there would be preaching on the Common close to where we lived by a new sect. So on the following Sunday I went to hear them. They proved to be two Mormon elders. One of them spoke but a short time, but when the other one arose he said he had come to bring us the everlasting Gospel as was taught by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and His apostles, and called upon the people to repent and be baptized in the name of the Lord, and have hands laid upon them that they might receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. He bore a strong testimony to the divine mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith, who was sent as a prophet of God to restore the Everlasting Gospel to the earth. This was the first time that I heard about the Mormons or heard preaching that seemed to me to harmonize with the Bible. But the cry soon went out “imposters, delusion, false prophets, etc.” and they were called many vile names. I did not get to hear them again for some time."
Missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had first arrived in England in 1837, docking at Liverpool and heading north to Preston. But people all over England were now flocking to their sermons. They were nicknamed "Mormons" because of their belief in a companion volume of scripture to the Bible, namely the Book of Mormon.
When Rachel next encountered the new faith, it was in the home of George and Hannah Hancer, her future in-laws. Interest was spreading in the community, and that Hannah and her husband George Hancer were among those engaged. Again, in her own words (she is writing her narrative to her children, so refers to George Hancer sometimes as "father," sometimes as "Grandpa"):
"When they came again it was very warm weather, but I thought I must hear more of the good tidings, so after getting dinner ready for the old folks I hurried to where they were holding the meeting which was at father George Hancey’s house. I was rather late, for when I entered they were passing the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. I was somewhat surprised at this for it was the first time I ever heard of the Lord’s Supper being given to the poor. One elder by the name of William Smith spoke and, while he was speaking of the Restored Gospel and the gifts and blessings of God, his face shone with the spirit of truth and of God that was in him. I was forced to leave before the meeting closed and ran most of the way to get home at my appointed time, but I felt that I heard the truth and rejoiced in what I had heard.
"Not long after this day my parents sent word to me that there would be a 'Mormon' or Latter-day Saint conference held at Norwich about October 1, 1852, and for me to try to get permission from my employers to attend it....
"The City of Norwich was between 15 and 20 miles from where we lived, the nearest town to us being five miles, so we had to walk there and hire an omnibus which would carry about 14 passengers to Bungay, waited there for a short time for some Saints who came from three miles farther back, and then took the bus to Norwich.
"We arrived just in time to hear them singing the hymn entitled 'Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken, Zion City of Our God.' Dear children, I wish I could explain and tell you of the joy and gladness that I felt at hearing that hymn sung, and others, and the Spirit of that conference. It was a day I shall always remember.
"The meeting house in which the conference was held was built by an aged brother after he was 75 years old. It was beautifully decorated with banners in blue and gold and white on which were inscribed different mottos. On one I remember was 'Brigham Young, the Lion of the Lord....'
"The morning session was given to reports and testimony and the saints assembled were full of the spirit of testimony and singing. In the afternoon the house was crowded with people. The presiding elders from Utah were Claudius C. Spencer and Cyrus H. Wheelock. They spoke for over two hours. Oh, how we rejoiced in the glorious truth we heard that day. When they sang the hymn 'The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning' many of the Saints were so thankful and full of joy and the spirit of the Lord that they stood up and shed tears of joy. I stood up and cried with them, for I fully believed in the truths they taught that day.
"After conference we traveled by bus to Bungay and then walked five miles home to All Saints. Grandpa George Hancey, Robert Daines, Brother and Sister Elwood had to walk two miles further to their homes and Brother James Hurren, William Seamons and sons, John Balls and sons walked three miles farther to a place named Linstead."
These passages from Rachel's account provide insights not only of reaction to her newfound faith, and the names of others of her family and friends who were beginning to embrace the new church, but the difficulties and circumstances in which the working classes traveled from village to village, town to town. "Bus" in this narrative refers to a horse-drawn wagon or carriage. She continues:
"I was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints October 26, 1852, by Elder Robert Winters. I returned to my place of labor but still attended church with the old folks. It was after this that I made it known to the old folks I lived with, but they treated me respectfully and asked me many questions about the Mormons and we had many good conversations together while going home from church.
"One of my girl friends asked me if I had been baptized by the Mormons. I answered “yes” and she made it known to some of her girl friends, so after that when I attended church they would point their fingers at me and laugh and make fun of me. Thereafter I did not have as many friends as I thought I had.
"One day a Wesleyan Minister came to talk to the lady of the house on religion, but he talked to me most of the time. When he asked whether or not I had been baptized into the Mormon Church and I answered “yes” he wanted to know what for. I said, “For the remission of my sins.” He looked shocked and shook his head and said he was very sorry for me, for it was all a delusion. They, the Mormons, are false prophets, he said, and have come to deceive and lead the people astray and said they were of their father the devil. I said, “Our Savior taught baptism, for what did he mean when he told his disciples to go to all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature, baptizing them in the name of the Lord, and he that believed and was baptized would be saved and he that believed not should be damned.” He hardly knew what to answer me. Then I asked him if he knew our Savior was baptized. He said yes, and then I asked him, “What for, but to fulfill all righteousness and set us the pattern and lead us to follow him and keep his commandments.” Well, all he could say was that he was very, very sorry for me. He never would talk to me about religion again."
The pattern of Latter-day Saint proselytizing in those early years in England, and later in Scandinavia and Germany, was to encourage emigration to the headquarters of the Church in the Great Salt Lake Valley in the western United States, now Utah. It was the sense of building "Zion," a city where their religion could be practiced freely and where people would live in harmony, that attracted tens of thousands of converts over the next few decades. Hundreds of stories of these pioneers have been recorded in diaries and journals and are readily accessible on FamilySearch.org. The journey was not easy. Money had to be saved. The process often took years, and some of the emigrants settled in other areas of the United States rather than make the long, difficult and dangerous trek across the plains to Salt Lake City.
Hannah, along with husband George Hancer and five of their eight children emigrated to the United States, making it as far as Iowa but most settled there rather than "gathering" to Salt Lake City. Hannah became affiliated with the Methodist church in Iowa. The exception was second son, James, who was determined to move all the way to "Zion" with his wife Rachel Seamons and their family. In time, that decision would be fully vindicated.
Rachel Seamons continues her account with her marriage to James:
"On October 11, 1855, I was married to James Hancey by Reverend Mr. Jeckell of Rumburg. In the spring of 1856 most of father’s family was ready to set sail for America. There were my father, mother, Henry and Mary Seamons, my sister Mary and her husband James Thurston, myself and husband James Hancey, my sister Lucy and her husband John Reynolds, my brother Samuel Seamons and my three unmarried sisters, Jemima, Lydia, and Eliza Seamons, also William Beddingfield and his wife Louise Wilkinson Beddingfield.
"The Mission President of Liverpool sent word to my father that they would have a ship chartered and ready to sail by the first of February and notified him to be in Liverpool by the 7th of the month. The day before we left home the neighbors came from all around us to bid us goodbye. It was with sorrow that we said goodbye to our dear home and to some of our dear friends and relatives we were leaving behind.
"Some of our relatives had turned against us because we were Mormons and would not come to see us off. Father turned to those present and said, 'If anyone could come and say we owed them a penny, he would be glad to pay them.' So we parted with them all with good feelings. But, oh, how sad it made us feel to say goodbye to some of our dear friends we were leaving behind, our dear home that never looked more beautiful than the day we left it. When our father bid goodbye to his father and mother and four brothers we never saw them again, but we were going to Zion and many new scenes were before us.
"We were two days going to Liverpool and then had to wait for a few days for the ship’s crew to unload some ballast before we could go aboard. I remember that it rained in torrents for three days and nights while we were in Liverpool, and on the 17th of February we were taken out to the ships in open boats in the rain and had to climb up wet rope ladders into the ship. On the 18th at half past 2 a.m. the good ship Caravan set sail with 454 saints on board under Captain Wm. Sands and crew for America....
"About 8 a.m. we were assembled together for singing and prayer. Perhaps you can imagine the feeling of some of the saints and see the tears roll down their cheeks as they tried to sing the hymn 'Yes, my native land I love thee, all thy scenes I love them well, friends, connections, happy country, can I, can I say farewell; yes, I leave thee, yes, I leave thee, far in distant lands to dwell.'
"When we were about in mid-ocean a fierce storm arose and the water became so rough that the sailors had to close down the hatchways for over two days, so we didn’t have much to eat except sea biscuits, or hard tack as the sailors call it, because we could not cook anything. The ship’s cargo got shifted to one side of the vessel so that the vessel lurched over considerable and one mast was broken off and hung over the side of the ship. One sailor fell from a mast and was killed and another one had his thigh broken. One little girl died and was buried at sea.
"A few days after this, March 24th, my oldest child and son was born. It was a fine day and there was a wedding up on deck and many of the passengers went up on deck to hear the ceremony and see the couple married. Our Captain was very kind to the saints and especially to the sick. During rough weather he, with his cabin boy, would come down and distribute large cans of soup and vegetables among the poor and the sick. So we named our son James Sands in honor of our Captain, William Sands, because of his kindness to us and the saints.
"We landed at New York on March 28, 1856. A steam tug boat came out and tugged us into the harbor. I had to be carried from the ship to the steam boat, and then from the boat to land, and up three flights of stairs to a room for the sick. This was in a place called Castle Gardens. My mother stayed and took care of me and another sister who was sick until we were able to be moved two weeks later.
"My husband and James Thurston went over to a place called Williamsburg on the 1st of April and got a job from Jerry McWiggens. After a few weeks we moved over there and stayed until the fall of the year and then moved to New Jersey, where we lived for a little over three years.
"The people there were very kind to us and a branch of the church was organized there with 33 members....On June 21, 1858, my second son George Henry was born at New Jersey, Monmouth County. In the year 1859 our late President John Taylor was then President of the New York Conference and he came and counseled the saints with the families to move as far toward Utah as their means would carry them. Accordingly all the saints of the New Jersey Branch went as far as Omaha, traveling by steamboat from St. Louis up the Missouri River to Omaha.
"Here a branch of the church was organized and we lived there for about 15 months. There was a great deal of sickness here and most of the Saints had the ague or chills and fever as it was called, and a great many deaths occurred among the saints. Among them was my second son, George, who died September 25, 1859. The older one lay sick two months longer and recovered. On January 14, 1860, our dear father, Henry Seamons, died at the age of 51 years, which was a great sorrow to us all.
"In the spring of that year we began to prepare to go to Utah. Your father said he was going to Utah, but how we did not know; but said the Lord would open up a way. On the 25th of February another son was born to us. We named him Horace William. He took down with the chills and fever but recovered. About the 25th of May, Edmund Horton, with two wagons and four yoke of oxen, his wife and family and Harriet Bloomfield were ready to move. Also your grandmother Mary Seamons had one wagon, a yoke of oxen, a yoke of cows and a yoke of steers. In this wagon were Grandma Seamons, her son Henry and his wife, her son Samuel, her daughter Lydia and son Billy. Your father and James Thurston had one yoke of oxen, one yoke of cows and some young steers, and one wagon. In this were James Thurston and wife and three children, James Hancey and wife and two children, and a young woman, I have forgotten her name.
"After we started we traveled slowly so as to get the cattle used to it. We joined with a Brother MacGee and Charles Savage and others at Wood River and by the time we got as far as Genoa we had a company of fourteen wagons. A company of 32 handcarts and eight wagons were about half a mile ahead of us. When we encamped that night 30 mule teams that were going from Utah to Omaha for freight came and camped with us. President Joseph A. Young and 12 missionaries were with them. They gave notice that they would hold a meeting the next day and call the camp together for singing and prayer that night.
"About four o’clock the next morning the guards came running into camp and reported that they saw something coming which they thought were Indians, but were not sure. We called up all the members and told the families to keep as close together as possible, to corral the cattle and look to their guns and ammunitions. As they came nearer we could see that they were Indians, all dressed in their war paint and feathers with guns, spears, bows and arrows, and tomahawks. Some of our men went out to meet them to see what they wanted and they asked if we had any gun powder or caps for sale or swap.
"Our men told them we had not so after they grunted around for a while they said they were Sioux Indians and were going to fight the Pawnee Indians.
"At 10 o’clock that morning we had a lovely meeting out in the open prairie at which President Joseph Young organized our Company with a captain and two counselors. Our Captain was Franklin Brown and with his brother Philander and John Leavitt as counselors and Josiah Leavitt as assistant captain. There being so many persons to each wagon that all could not ride and we had to walk most of the way. I had to carry my baby a great deal and he was growing heavier every day. Sometimes we would travel through wind and dust, and then through heavy rains and thunder storms until we would be wet through. It was a long tedious journey, nearly four months from Omaha to Salt Lake City, but we had no sickness to speak of and no deaths.
"As we went to camp at night and had supper and got rested up; oh, the good times we had singing songs, telling each other our experiences and expectations, and then we would kneel down and thank the Lord for all his kindness and mercies unto us. I remember your father saying to the oxen when he would unyoke them, “Well done, old Nigg and Dave, we are one day’s march nearer home.” We arrived in Salt Lake City September 4th and having the address of a Brother John McDonald and his wife Rachel who lived in the 14th ward, we were soon made welcome at his home. We knew him in England before we left there. He invited some friends in to meet us and introduced us and we had a real good social time together. Brother Phenus H. Young came in and shook hands with us and bid us all welcome to Utah. We stayed there for two days and on the third day started for Cache Valley and arrived at what is now known as Hyde Park."
Rachel Seamons Hancey lived in Hyde Park from this time until her death on 2 July 1911. It appears she never finished her narrative to her children beyond Hyde Park, possibly recognizing that they knew the rest of the story. Her husband, James, practiced as doctor, carpenter and inventor and became one of the most prominent and fondly remembered men in the community. With the open introduction of polygamy in the Church from the mid to late 1850s (officially discontinued in 1890), James had three wives and fathered 31 children. A book, 'James Hancey and his Family,' was published by the James Hancey Family Association in 1988 and records James' life in detail. James' posterity in Cache Valley and throughout Utah - and therefore the posterity of Jeremiah Pipe and Mary Reynolds - now numbers in the thousands.
Above: James Hancey and first wife Rachel Seamons, mid-life and elder years.
The most complete account of the lives of James Hancey and his family was published in 1988, and subsequently reprinted in 1999.
OTTERSON ROOTS Relationship of Jeremiah Pipe to Webmaster (Jeremiah Pipe is the 3rd great grandfather of Michael Otterson
Jeremiah Pipe (b.1787) md. Mary Reynolds | William Garwood (b.1818) md. Maria Pipe | George Garwood (b.1847) md. Mary Ann Lawson | Elizabeth Lawson Garwood (b.1876) md. John James Dix | Doris Dix (b.1912) md. Robert Otterson | Michael Otterson (living) - Webmaster