Jane Thornley was born 14 April 1802
in Horwich (a small town about two
miles east of Bolton), Lancashire, England, the daughter of
John F. Thornley and Ellen Hilton.
"The name of Horwich is thought to come from the Old
English words of "har" and "wice", meaning the grey
wych-elms. According to the oldest records, wild boar used
to be hunted in the forest during the 13th Century... Early
industry was concerned with the cotton trade, most homes had
some form of weaving equipment, and a major bleachworks as
well as a few mills when mechanisation arrived, powered by
waterwheels. A few coal mines and a sandstone quarry also
supported the economy."
Janeís father, John worked as a
spinner. He was born in Leyland, Lancashire. Ellen, Janeís
mother, was born in Croston, Lancashire. Jane had an older
brother, Jonathan, born in 1800 in Horwich, then Jane was born
in 1802. The family moved to Bolton,
where Ann (1811), Ellen (1816) may have died young, Ellen
(1821), and John (1823) were born. The last child, Alice was
born in Leyland in 1827.
Jane and Samuel Hamer were married 7
March 1824 in Bolton le Moors. Samuel worked as an engineer,
fixing and maintaining machinery, and as a miller. Ten
children were born to them in England - John, Martha, Nancy,
Ellen, James, Samuel, Jane, James, Ann, and Joseph. In 1835,
the family moved to Tottington (about four miles north of
Bolton), and it must have been here that they were converted
to the gospel. According to the History of the Church,
in 1840 there was a branch of sixty members in nearby Bolton.
It is not known when Samuel and Jane were baptized, but their
son John was baptized in September of 1840 by Robert Crook.
John was 16 years old.
The Hamer family appears in the English census in Tottington Mill in 1841. The record shows:
Saml Hamer, 35, Engineer
Samuel Hamer, age 38, origin England, occupation: Miller
The Hope sailed from Liverpool
on 5 February 1842, under Captain Soule. There were 270 LDS
immigrants, under the direction of James Burnham. The company
of Saints traveled up the Mississippi and joined the Saints at
Nauvoo. The ship arrived on 1 April 1842. The History of
Joseph Smith records: "About one hundred and fifty Saints
from England, landed in Nauvoo from the steamer Louisa, and
about sixty from the steamer Amaranth."
1840 had a population of 2,450. The call to gather brought
many hundreds of English immigrants like the Hamers: "One
of the assignments given the Council of the Twelve in Nauvoo
was the resettlement of British immigrants. The Twelve
helped newcomers find homes and land, employment, and
temporary sustenance when needed. So, to serve the steady
influx of Missouri and British Saints, surveyors in Nauvoo
laid out a plat of four-acre blocks, each divided into four
plots. Upon the city lots were many small log homes, some
frame and stone buildings." (Ensign, Sept. 1979).
The Hamers were given Lot #74, a few blocks from the Nauvoo
Temple site, towards the river. (One of the Hamer's next-door
neighbors, Sarah Granger Kimball, was responsible for starting
the charitable women's organization that became the Relief
Society. Her house is still standing, and is part of the
Nauvoo restoration site tour.) Family stories indicate that
the Hamerís daughter, Jane Hamer, worked for the Prophet
Joseph Smith. Perhaps it was the mother, Jane, who worked
there, as little Jane Hamer would have only been six years old
at this time.
Samuel worked in Nauvoo as a
blacksmith. The one-year-old baby, Joseph, died in September
of 1842. He is believed to have been buried on the Hamer's
property. Samuel died 7 August 1843, of malaria. The loss of
her husband must have been very hard for the widowed Jane
Hamer, and she still had young children to raise.
The Hamerís property on the corner of Young and Bain in
Samuel and baby Joseph may be buried here.
All of the Saints were shocked by the murder of Joseph and Hyrum Smith in June 1844, and mob violence increased. A diary kept by Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs in Nauvoo records on September 14, 1844, "I went and saw Sister Hamer." (Zina later became General Relief Society President from 1887 to 1901).
Jane Thornley Hamer was left with the responsibility of a
large family, as the Saints encountered increasing
difficulties in Nauvoo. She had eight children, aged five to
twenty. The family gathered together to support each other. In
1845, John S. Haslam, a good family friend, married the oldest
daughter, Martha. The family remained in Nauvoo until
continuing persecution caused the Saints to leave in 1846.
The family traveled
together to Winter Quarters. Samuel, Jr. and John S. Haslam
helped the Saints carry supplies and immigrants across the
Missouri River, and worked as blacksmiths. The winters of 1849
and 50 were especially hard. They often did not know where the
next meal was coming from: "There had been no supper the
previous night and the mother (Jane) could
find nothing for breakfast. They held family prayers and
asked God for food. After prayer, Samuel (her son)
took his gun and prepared to go in search of food. He was in
the act of leaving the tent when a large rabbit ran through
the tent flap and across the floor. He took aim and fired,
killing the rabbit. In the midst of their rejoicing, someone
noticed a shadow which fell across the floor. Looking up,
they saw a large Indian standing in the doorway. With what
little English he knew and many gestures, he let them know
that he had chased the rabbit into their tent, and that it
was rightfully his. The mother recognized the justice of his
action and relinquished the rabbit without further ado. As
he turned to go the children, seeing their breakfast
disappear, began to cry. The Indian stopped, turned to
grandmother and said: "Where your man?" She told him that
her husband was dead. He grunted, handed her the rabbit and
turned and walked away." (Nellie Hamer Reiser).
Jane is found with
her family in the 1850 census in Pottawatamie County:
John Amer, age
26, occupation: blacksmith
Elizabeth, age 18
John Hazlem, age 27
Martha, age 24
Jane, age 4
John, age 2
Jane Amer, age 49
Samuel, age 17, occupation: none
Jane, age 15
James, age 13
Ann, age 12
Source: 1850 federal census,
Iowa, Pottawatomie County, District 21, page 112, on
1850 census, Iowa
Jane and her family crossed the plains
with the Orson Pratt Company, encountering hardship and near
starvation as they journeyed to Utah. Jane was a midwife, and
her skills were a great blessing to the sick while crossing
the plains. Her son, Samuel, remembered her determination and
economy: "Father was always proud to tell of his mother's
foresightedness and economy. He told us of how she would
prepare the bones and small pieces of meat for their
immediate meals, drying and saving the larger pieces for the
future. When father's gun would bring down a prairie chicken
or two, his mother would cook the forepart of the bird, and
would dry the legs and hang them up by pieces of string to
the beams of the wagon in the manner which she dried the
pieces of meat. He told of how his mother made soda from
salratis which she gathered from the wayside, of how she
made soap." (Nellie Hamer Reiser)
The family arrived in the Salt Lake
Valley in October 1857. Jane was 55 years old and had crossed
the plains. Jane received a plot of land in the 16th Ward from
Brigham Young. Her life here was comfortable and happy. Her
children married and had children: "Samuel married Ann
Albion on November 5, 1857. Nancy married William Player;
Martha, married John Haslam; Jane married Thomas Dallin and
was the mother of the famous Utah sculptor Cyrus E. Dallin;
Ann was the second wife of D.O. Calder; John drowned in the
Jordan River in the year 1877 while fishing; and James died
in Salt Lake City." (Nellie Hamer Reiser). There
is an incidental mention of Jane Hamer in "Our Pioneer
Heritage": "Brother David Calder, President Young's
head clerk had engaged me... One day of his wives had me go
with her to visit her mother, to help carry her child.
Sister Hammer lived in the lower part of town. While there,
a young man, Henry Maudsley, came in. His mother and Mrs.
Hammer had been playmates in England and later neighbors in
Nauvoo." (History of Mary S. Maudsley, Our Pioneer
Heritage, vol. 19 p. 377)
1860 census, Salt Lake City, Utah
Samuel Hamer, Jr. was called on a
mission to settle Panaca, Nevada in 1868. Jane moved in with
her son John and his family. Samuel returned in 187l, and
settled with his mother on the land that Brigham Young had
given her. Samuel's likeness may be seen on the Brigham Young
Monument in Salt Lake City, as his granddaughter tells: "It
has been stated by members of his family that Samuel Hamer
posed for the figure of the Trapper on the west side of the
Brigham Young Monument at South Temple and Main Street in
Salt Lake City. This monument was the work of his nephew
Cyrus E. Dallin. The figure is a very good likeness of my
grandfather." (Isabella Hamer Vogelaar).
Trapper statue, Temple Square -
Samuel Hamer, Jr was the model for the statue
1870 census, Salt Lake City, Utah
Jane Thornley Hamer is found in the 1880 federal census in Salt Lake City:
Samuel Hamer, age 46, born in England, occupation: Blacksmith
Jane died 7 May 1885 in Salt Lake City, 83 years old. Her obituary in the Deseret News reads:
"HAMER - in the Sixteenth Ward,
Salt Lake City, May 7, 1885 of old age, Jane Hamer, widow;
born in Harwich, Lancashire, England, April 14, 1802.
Funeral service at Sixteenth Ward School House, at 11 am on
Sunday, May 10. Friends invited."
FAMILY GROUP RECORD OF
AND JANE THORNLEY
SAMUEL HAMER was born 28 May 1803 in Bolton Le Moors, Lancashire, England to John Hamer and Jane Bentley. He married Jane Thornley 7 March 1824 in Bolton Le Moors, Lancashire, England. She was born 14 April 1802 in Horwich, Lancashire, England to John Thornley, a spinner, and Ellen Hilton. Samuel died 7 August 1843 in Nauvoo, Illinois. Jane died 2 May 1885 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Samuel and Jane had the following children:
1. John, born 2 July 1824 in Bolton; married Elizabeth Ann Wilding 24 September 1850; died 1877 in the Jordan River, Salt Lake City, Utah.
*2. Martha, born 1 July 1826 in Bolton; married John S Haslam 4 March 1845; died 16 June 1867.
3. Nancy, born 1 April 1828 in Bolton; married William Player 24 September 1880; died 28 June 1889.
4. Ellen, born 15 August 1830 in Bolton; christened 18 August 1830 in St. Peter parish, Bolton; may have died young.
5. James, born 14 August 1832 in Bolton; christened 23 September 1832, St. Peter, Bolton; may have died young.
6. Samuel, born 30 August 1833 in Bolton; christened 22 September 1833 in St. Peter, Bolton; married Ann Albion 5 November 1857; married Sarah Openshaw 8 July 1870 (the daughter of John S Haslam's cousin, Job Openshaw); is said to have posed for the figure of a trapper on the base of the Brigham Young statue on Temple Square; died 8 February 1895.
7. Jane, born 12 November 1835 in Tottington, Lancashire, England; christened 13 December 1835 in St. Peter, Bolton; married (1) C.A. Allen, (2) Thomas Dallin in 1859; mother of Cyrus Dallin who sculpted the angel Moroni on top of the Salt Lake Temple; died 16 March 1919 in Springville, Utah; buried 19 March 1919.
8. James, born 12 September 1837 in Tottington.
9. Ann, born 10 December 1839 in Tottington; married David Orson Calder 5 March 1857; died 5 December 1902.
10. Joseph, born 19 August
1841 in Tottington; died 30 September 1842 in Nauvoo.
SOURCES: IGI; St. Peter
parish register, Bolton FHS# 559177; Leyland parish
register; Croston parish register; Tottington parish
register; New Orleans, 1820-1850 Passenger and Immigration
Lists; Family Group Sheet submitted by Elsie Hamer Taysum;
Obituary, Nauvoo Neighbor 16 August 1843; Nauvoo property
records; 1850 census, Pottawattamie County, Iowa; 1860
census, Salt Lake City, Utah; 1870 census, Salt Lake City;
1880 census, Salt Lake City; Deseret News.
f you have any additional information about this family, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.