Family Helps Reactivate Descendant of Missionary Who Baptized Them

Contributed By Julie Haycock Colton, Church News contributor

  • 30 April 2015

Written histories can shed valuable insight on the history of one’s ancestors.

Article Highlights

  • Her ancestors were baptized by a missionary who made a great sacrifice to serve.
  • A couple whom she had fellowshipped during their conversion and reactivation were the descendants of that same missionary.

“I was overwhelmed at the sacrifice William had made to serve a mission, which resulted in the conversion of my third great-grandparents.” —Julie Haycock Colton, Estate Groves Ward

 

While reading the history of my third great-grandparents, John and Ann Dalton LeFevre, of Crowland, Lincolnshire, England, I read that their son, my second great-grandfather, William LeFevre, and his sister were taught and baptized in 1848 by Elder William Cooke Mitchell of Parowan, Utah, who was accompanied by his 12-year-old son, also named William.

As soon as the Lefevre family was baptized, they worked hard and saved in order to migrate to Utah. In 1849, they were ready to leave. Before departing, John had a dream that he would not reach the United States. In spite of John’s dream, the family moved forward with faith. When they arrived in Liverpool, they bought passage on the ship Zetland. William LeFevre remembered his father pointing out features on the ship that he had seen in his dream.

While the ship was detained for a few days, John LeFevre took seriously ill. He died within days. His departing words to his wife and children were that his spirit would go with them to Zion. The broken-hearted widow and her children continued on their journey. William C. Mitchell and his son, who were also on the ship to return to Utah, were able to help the LeFevre family. When they eventually made it to the Salt Lake Valley in 1852, Brother Mitchell met them in Salt Lake City with a wagon and helped them settle in Parowan, which he had helped found the year before.

After reading this account, I became curious if William C. Mitchell was an ancestor of our good friends Bert and Cindy Mitchell. In the 1980s, as a stake missionary, I had helped teach the discussions to Cindy, which resulted in her baptism. Later, I was Cindy’s escort when she and Bert were sealed in the temple in 1985. I asked Cindy if Bert was a descendant of William C. Mitchell of Parowan.

Bert said that, yes, William C. Mitchell was his great-great-grandfather. From him I learned that William Sr. was called on a mission to England while at Winter Quarters. During his mission, his wife died. Nonmember relatives who were hostile toward the Church took his daughter in, and he never saw her again.

I was overwhelmed at the sacrifice William had made to serve a mission, which resulted in the conversion of my third great-grandparents. It was a poignant discovery to us that William’s sacrifice would come around full circle and bless his descendants many decades later, when I played a part in the conversion and reactivation of his great-great-grandson and his wife.

—Julie Haycock Colton is a member of the Estate Groves Ward, Mesa Arizona Citrus Heights Stake