Saturday, 09 March 2013 03:59

(John) William Winward

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Newly married Thomas and Betty Silcock Winward made their home in Chowbent, Lancashire, England. Their first child, William, was born here on 10 March 1830. The family later moved to Warrington, next to Westhoughton, and finally to Preston. It was in Preston that the family first heard the gospel. This was at the time of the great missionary effort when many of the apostles went to England. Thomas was able to readily accept the gospel teachings and joined with the Saints. His wife Betty did not accept the gospel despite the persuasions of her husband. Thomas made plans to join the Saints in Nauvoo. He took his two oldest boys, William (age 11) and Peter (age 9), and with 270 other Saints boarded the ship “Hope” at Liverpool. This was on 5 February 1842. His hope was that Betty’s love for the boys would bring her to America along with the rest of the children. Circumstances were such that this did not happen. The ship arrived in New Orleans in March. Both boys had memories of being very seasick. The trio continued on to Nauvoo, arriving in April, and then made their home with a Brother Driggs. Thomas purchased a small lot and began to build a home for his family. He became ill with diphtheria and died the following October. William also was very ill. Bishop Jonathan Hale, along with Brother Driggs took care of the burial of Thomas. He then took the two boys to his home where Olive Hale cared for them. It was four months later before William recovered from his illness. During their stay at the Hale’s, William was given the name “John,” apparently because there were too many “Williams.” He used the name, John, the remainder of his life. John W had this to say about his stay at the Hale’s, “When my father died, Bishop Jonathan Hale of Nauvoo came over to Brother Driggs and moved me and my brother Peter to his home. I will here say if I, or we, ever had a friend in this world, Bishop Hale was that man. He could not have done more for his own children than they did for us. Bishop Hale was a father, and Mrs. Hale was a friend and mother. I have never seen their equals since I left there. In fact, our own parents could have done no more than they did for us.” Betty wrote from England that she wanted the boys to return home, and sent money for their passage. Their father had asked his friend, Brother Shumway, to promise that he would see that the boys remained in America. This made a decision difficult, and it was finally decided that the boys could choose where they wanted to live. Remembering how seasick they both had been, and frightened to make the long trip back, both boys decided they would stay in America. In some notes written by John he states that he was baptized in the Mississippi by Andrew Lameroux, but through some misunderstanding he was not confirmed at this time. Peter and John stayed with the Hale’s for a while, then were sent to live with various other families until they left Nauvoo. Peter arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847 and John arrived by 1848. Some records state that he traveled with the Charles Shumway Company. John recorded that he left Nauvoo with Samuel Snyder in 1846; in 1847 he lived with John W. Lasley, although in his notes he does not mention where. Apparently John was re-baptized in the Salt Lake Valley in 1848 by Joseph Hardy. This information is recorded in the Early Church Information Card Index, found in the Family History Center in Salt Lake City. The 22 July 1936 newspaper edition of the Ogden Standard Examiner, gives a brief history of Uintah, stating that it was first settled by white settlers in 1850, when eight men - some with families - settled there. The men were John Bybee, Lewis Hardy, Joseph Kingsbury, Daniel Smith, Henry Beckstead, Joseph Hardy, John William Winward, and John L Smith. This places John in Utah in 1850, unmarried. By 1854 he is in South Jordan, where he married Sarah Elizabeth Beckstead on 5 August 1854. Sarah was the daughter of Alexander Beckstead and his wife Catherine. We have very little of her history except what is given with the history of her parents. John and Sarah apparently set up their home in South Jordan, as their first child, John William was born there in January 1856. The family then relocated to the Morgan and Weber County areas where their next two children were born - Sarah Elizabeth in November 1857 and Alexander in July 1859. Sarah died when she was 14 months old. John and Sarah were sealed on 12 April 1862, probably in the Endowment House, and their remaining 10 children were born in South Jordan from 1862-1882. When a meeting house was built in South Jordan, it was also used for a school, with John Winward as the first school teacher (1864). At least one of his students remembers him as a strict disciplinarian, as the teacher was observed each morning gathering thin willow branches to use when disciplining his students. Later, a new church was built and John was called to be the Sunday School Superintendent. Lydia Beckstead became the second wife of John on 22 March 1869. They had one child, William Andrew and then they were divorced. She later remarried and had a large family by her second husband. John provided for his family by farming and school teaching. In his later years he persuaded his son, Samuel Eli, to bring his family back to the farm from Salt Lake City. This arrangement proved to be the undoing of the family as the advancing years and temperament took a toll on John, and thence to his family. On 9 March 1915 John died in South Jordan. His wife Sarah Elizabeth had preceded him in death on 17 July 1890. Both are buried in the South Jordan Cemetery. The Daughters of the Utah Pioneers erected a monument in the South Jordan Cemetery in April 1973. It gives a brief history of the South Jordan settlement, mentioning both Alexander Beckstead and John Winward.


  • Early Church Information Files
  • Family History Library
  • History of John William Winward by Ada Winward Gibson
  • Memories of life recorded by John William Winward
  • Memories of Peter Winward Letters written by Jonathan H Hale to British consulate
  • Family group sheets compiled by Winward families
  • Files of The Daughter’s of the Utah Pioneers Compiled by Barbara Winward Seager July 1997
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