ELIZA AVERETT HARVEY
MARGARET HARVEY ROSS
(1850-1903), Granddaughter of Elijah Averett
by Margaret Whitman
For a number of years I have been quite devoted to Genealogy and tracing family histories. Names are not just names to me, but actual people who had the responsibility of building not only the churches and bridges, but who built human lives and characters.
Our ancestors spent their lives devoting all of their efforts to make a worthwhile place for their posterity. Their time was not wholly wasted. While they took care of our physical needs they were also building their strength, determination, and undying faith. They were a generation of hard-working, God-fearing, honorable, and grateful men and women.
In searching through the lives of my grandparents none stand out quite as clearly as does John Harvey and his wife Eliza Averett Harvey.
I will leave the biographies of the early years of the Averett family's for you to read. Many people have written about them. There are many more that will still write of them. Very little has ever been written about Eliza. I feel she deserves a place of merit in this book.
Eliza was the fifth child of John Averett and Jennett Gill. She was born 12 July 1814 in Maury County, Tennessee. In 1835, she was a young lady of twenty-one when she joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with her family. When the body of the Church moved to Far West, Missouri she followed them. Later she followed the Church to Payson, Adams County, Illinois. Here, she met John Harvey, a Scotsman who had been reared in Canada. John Harvey first heard the Gospel preached by Martin Harris when he was on a riverboat on the Mississippi River. He recognized the truth and followed the Saints to Illinois.
Brigham Young at Payson, Illinois married Eliza and John 31 March 1841. They were later sealed in the Nauvoo Temple.
This noble couple suffered all of the hardships and privations that any human could bear. They had eight children born to them but only three of them reached adulthood.
Eliza Averett Harvey died while giving birth to her eighth child. After all of the trials she underwent to reach Salt Lake she only lived there for two years. She died at the age of thirty-eight. Her third child, George Gill Harvey was buried near the Temple site in Nauvoo, Illinois. After a long trek across the plains the Harvey's were forced to remain in Winter Quarters where Eliza gave birth to twin daughters. The twin daughters died at childbirth on 16 March 1848. On the Memorial Plaque at Winter Quarters (now Florence, Nebraska,) you will find these two names.
After the death of their little girls they heard of the death of a woman twenty miles away. There was a little girl left with no one to care for her. John Harvey rode twenty miles to get this child. They named her Eliza Jane and raised her to womanhood. She was born 2 April 1848. I'm not sure where. She was never legally adopted and later she went to the temple herself and was sealed to her own parents.
Margaret Ann Harvey was the only one of these children who was blessed with posterity. Margaret married Thomas Ross. Neither of the boys who lived to manhood married.
Margaret Ann Harvey Ross was my grandmother. Millie Albison is the writer. Grandmother Ross died before I was born. I often heard my mother say that she was the sweetest woman she ever knew. This should be high praise as it came from a daughter-in-law. I am not going to attempt to write about her but will copy the few things written about her by her own daughter, Margaret Whitman.
The following history is written by Margaret Whitman, daughter of Margaret Ann Harvey Ross.
Margaret Ann Harvey Ross was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, March 26, 1850. She was the daughter of John Harvey and Eliza Averett. Brigham Young married John and Eliza, March 31, 1841. They received their endowments and were sealed in the Nauvoo Temple by Brigham Young on 22 January 1846. Their lot was now cast with the Saints and they participated with them in their trials and persecutions on the frontiers until 1848. They entered the Salt Lake Valley, crossing the plains in President Brigham Young's company. My grandfather, John Harvey took an active part in the military operations during the Johnston Army trouble. He also hauled some of the stone that went into the foundation of the Salt Lake Temple. He was part of the party who went back to meet the belated handcart companies in 1856.
Mother, Margaret Ross was just two years old when her mother, Eliza died. Her mother died giving birth to her eighth child. About a year and a half-later grandfather married an English widow who had one child. She had recently joined the church. Her name was Anne Coope.
Mother spent some of her early childhood with an Aunt Jenny Kelsey. She was Jennett Averett Kelsey, Eliza's sister. She lived near Richmond. Aunt Jenny preserved some of the following keepsakes for her. She preserved her mother and father's bed, a leather brass buttoned trunk, a silk parasol, and a little case, which we still have.
Margaret Ross gave birth to twelve children, six girls and six boys. Eight of her children grew to maturity. The greatest tragedy that befell upon us was when a siege of diphtheria struck the town of Joseph, Sevier County, Utah. We were living in this town when the diphtheria struck. The diphtheria took a toll of twenty-eight children. This of course was before the days of anti-toxin. There were seven of us down with it at once. Two little brothers, one age three and one age six months, died within a week of each other. A baby girl was born ten days later and died of summer complaint at ten months old. Our youngest brother, Aaron came between her and another baby girl, who passed away at seven months. All this sorrow to come to our mother in her latter years. Aaron was born with clubfeet. The family spent countless dollars to have them successfully straightened.
In 1900 father, John Ross decided to try ranching in Canada. Mother went with him, pioneering again for two summers. It was here that her health finally failed. She felt that she was only spared to come home to be with her daughters. We nursed her for three months. She passed away March 31, 1903.
I cannot begin to tell you of her wonderful disposition, her inherent cheerfulness, and her great fortitude in sorrow and trials. For she was truly loved by all who knew her. Our home was a gathering place for the young people of the town. Those young people would often persuade her to sing some of the Scottish songs her father had taught her. She had a beautiful voice.
The young people all called her Aunt Margaret Ann. It was she, that Grandfather Harvey asked for on his deathbed. She sat by him holding his hand until he had breathed his last breath. When she left, Uncle Andrew said, "Grandfather loved her almost as much as his father had. "Uncle Richard Harvey told me the two finest women he ever met were my mother, and his Aunt Margaret Harvey, in Canada. He thought they had much in common. Mother was named for her.
The following is a part of the obituary from our county newspaper:
"No tribute too great or praiseworthy for this estimable woman. Mrs. Margaret Ann Ross, wife of T. W. Ross, died at Joseph last week. She was one of the best women whom the Creator endowed with sterling womanhood. She was an ideal mother, a true wife, and a warm friend to every deserving person. No tribute is too praiseworthy to bestow on her."