MEEKS, Mary Jane McCleve

MEEKS, Mary Jane McCleve
This pioneer story was submitted by Acacia Barney, as part of the Cotton Mission Chapter’s 4th Grade Student Essay Contest.

Mary Jane McCleve Meeks is my great, great, great, great grandmother. She was born on August 21, 1840. She was born in Belfast, Ireland.

Mary Jane lived in Ireland until April 19, 1856. She left because she was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and her family wanted to be with other people in the same religion. When Mary Jane left, her boyfriend gave her a pretty scarf. She knew she would never see her boyfriend or Ireland again.

Mary Jane arrived in Boston later in 1856. From there she went on a train to Iowa. From Iowa, her family joined a handcart company that was going to Utah. For most of the trip, Mary Jane carried her two year old brother on her back. She also helped carry another little boy on the way. In Wyoming, Mary Jane’s dad died. He died two days before they arrived in the Salt Lake Valley.

They arrived in Utah on September 26, 1856. Mary Jane was 16 years old by then. A couple of months later, Mary Jane met Dr. Priddy Meeks. They married the day after they met. He was 61 years old and she was 16 years old. After they married, Mary Jane moved to his home in Parowan.

Mary Jane was Priddy Meeks’ third wife. The other two wives were nice to her. Mary Jane and Priddy Meeks had ten children together. Mary Jane helped her husband a lot with his doctor work. She was a midwife and delivered nearly 1000 babies. Mary Jane and her family moved to the United Order (now it is called Orderville) in 1877.

After her husband died she continued being a midwife. Mary Jane died on January 19, 1933. She was 92 years old. She was buried in Orderville where my grandpa and grandma live. I liked it when her boyfriend gave her the scarf. I liked learning about Mary Jane McClever Meeks.

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