This article originally appeared in Vol. 58 No.2 (2011) edition of Pioneer Magazine
Joseph Powell was born Dec. 11, 1831, to George and Susan Pike Powell in Bridport, Dorsetshire, england. It is assumed that his father and family were rope makers in this coastal town, since they lived directly across the street from the large rope factory, which made ropes for the local industry of boating and fishing.
Thurza Ann Powell was born Apr. 13, 1835, to Thomas and Mary Hodder Powell in Bradpole, Dorsetshire, England. She was the eighth of nine children—two girls and seven boys.
Members of their families were converted to the Church in 1847 by Elder George Kendall. Within eight months 155 people had been baptized, including Thomas and most of his family, and Joseph Powell.
On June 13, 1853, Joseph Powell and Thurza Ann Powell, first cousins, married in Allington. After several years of activity in the bridport branch, Joseph and Thurza Ann emigrated to America in 1854 with many others in the branch including Thurza’s father Thomas, her mother having died earlier that year.
Joseph and Thurza had an infant son stillborn Mar. 1, 1854, buried at sea. Their first child listed in the genealogical records is Mary Elizabeth, born Nov. 9, 1855, “on the plains coming to Utah” prior to their reaching Council Bluffs, Iowa. This child died Apr. 22, 1857. The next child, Emma Jane, was born at Council Bluffs; the last 3 children were born in Venice, Illinois.
Joseph and Thurza’s family, (and most likely Thurza’s father, Thomas Powell), crossed the plains in the John D. Chase Company, leaving Nebraska June 26 and arriving in the Salt Lake Valley Sept. 20, 1864.
Later Joseph and Thurza went back to Venice, Illinois, with a mule train to pick up more immigrants. Joseph is listed in the 1880 census as living in the 1st Ward in Salt Lake City. Their son William Joseph was baptized at age 14. On Aug. 30, 1883, Joseph and Thurza Ann had their marriage sealed in the Endowment House.
On Jan. 27, 1885, Joseph sealed Hannah Charlotte Jones or Sanders to him in the Endowment House. She was born in 1829 in England. And on June 17, 1887, he sealed Elizabeth Powell to him in the Endowment House. Elizabeth was the niece of his wife Thurza Ann and was also from Bridport, England. Then on May 16, 1888, he sealed Ann Sims to him in the Logan Temple. Ann Sims was also from Bridport, a distant relative and his same age.
Joseph was a truck gardener in Salt Lake City. In 1896 Thurza’s brother talked Joseph, Thurza and their son William Joseph into moving to Castle Valley to help settle the town Desert Lake and help build the buckhorn dam. The venture was such a long, hard, and unsuccessful experience that their families moved back to Salt Lake City, where they continued gardening.
Thurza passed away Dec. 31, 1910, in Salt Lake City and Joseph on Mar. 7, 1925.
Source: “The History of Weymouth Branch” by John Dadd, LDS IGI records, Bridport branch records, “Thurza Ann Powell” by Verla Timmerman, and a personal visit to Dorsetshire, England.