JENNETT AVERETT KELSEY

1809-1887, Sister of Elijah Averett

Taken from the book "Averitt Lines and Related Families" by Christine Shumway Solmon Walser.

Jennett Averett was born in Maury County, Tennessee, February 20, 1809. Tennessee at that time was a new country. She was no doubt subject to the privations of frontier life during her childhood. However there is little known concerning her life before her marriage. She was a daughter of John Averett (1780-1847) and Jennet Gill (1786-1855). When she was fifteen years old she was married to Samuel Alexander P. Kelsey who was a 2nd or 3rd cousin. He was familiarly known as Alex. The next year her oldest son, Thomas Monroe Kelsey was born.

When Thomas was less than four years old, Jennett moved with her husband and children to the Mayberry settlement near McLeansboro, Hamilton, Illinois. There they made their home for a few years and then moved on to a town in Missouri. Missouri was at that time the western frontier.

When she and her husband heard the gospel in Illinois in 1835, she was not one whit behind him in recognizing the truth and in applying for baptism. They joined the body of the church in Missouri and were driven from that state into Illinois with the other Saints.

Jennett was the mother of ten children. Six of them lived to maturity. One died as a young woman soon after her marriage, and five of them lived to come with the Saints to Utah. She and her two youngest children came to Utah in 1851 and lived in Cottonwood for nine years. They were then called to Cache Valley and were among the early settlers in Smithfield. The first year of her residence in Smithfield, her husband was away in the east where he had gone by ox team to bring their daughter, Eleanor Jennett and her two children, Jennett Elvira and Marian C.Everton. Samuel was expected to return that same summer, but was persuaded to remain over winter in order that he might be accompanied by his other children, Thomas Monroe and Diannah. So Jennet and her two children spent the winter of 1860 in Smithfield living in the old fort.

Jennett was born in the southern states and she never learned northern or western ways. Her conversation always bore the mark of a southerner. Apparently she made no attempt to acquire the western phraseology in her talk.

As I remember her in her old age, she was quite heavy. She probably weighed nearly two hundred pounds. As a girl in Tennessee she did not learn to wear corsets. She was one of the few who passed through the period when corsets were so popular without attempting to wear them. Her clothing was always neat and clean, but always very simple. There was never anything fancy about her dresses.

When Jennett was just a girl, her mother taught her the art of cooking as it was practiced among the Southern people. She continued to cook southern style all the days of her life. She rejoiced in the spring turnips and mustard when they got big enough so that she could have turnip and mustard greens. A good supply of well-cured pork came next to flour in her menu. They raised their own pork and in their home in Smithfield they had a smokehouse where they smoked and cured the pork. Cabbage was a favorite dish on their table always being cooked with liberal pieces of fat bacon. She thought that cabbage cooked in any other way was not fit too eat. As a small boy I remember visiting at her home and when we left she usually gave mother something for the trail. With cabbage she always gave a piece of bacon to cook with it. Pork in some style was served at nearly every meal and she always made "salt risen bread." She and her husband liked it much better than yeast bread that was made by the English emigrants and people from the northern states.

Jennet was beloved by all that knew her. She had a generous disposition and always looked for someone she could help. She was a sociable, cheerful, and faithful Latter-day Saint. She died in 1887 and was laid away in the Smithfield, Utah cemetery.