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John Brook Hirst

Male 1855 - 1923  (68 years)  Submit Photo / DocumentSubmit Photo / Document


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  • Name John Brook Hirst 
    Born 12 Jan 1855  Slaithwaite, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 7 Dec 1923  Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried 9 Dec 1923  Salt Lake City Cemetery, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Headstones Submit Headstone Photo Submit Headstone Photo 
    Person ID I126  mytree
    Last Modified 18 Feb 2018 

    Father John Hirst,   b. 7 Jan 1816, Slaithwaite, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 7 Sep 1878, Pleasant Green, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 62 years) 
    Mother Charlotte Brook,   b. 20 Feb 1819, Salendine Nook, West Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Jun 1880, Pleasant Green, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 61 years) 
    Married 5 Nov 1837  Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F99  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Alvira Spencer,   b. 6 Oct 1858, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 30 Dec 1931, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 73 years) 
    Married 19 Nov 1878  Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
    +1. Vira Hirst,   b. 28 Feb 1889, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 4 Nov 1969, Bellflower, Los Angeles, California, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 80 years)
    Last Modified 8 Nov 2019 
    Family ID F123  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 12 Jan 1855 - Slaithwaite, Yorkshire, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 19 Nov 1878 - Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 7 Dec 1923 - Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - 9 Dec 1923 - Salt Lake City Cemetery, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Notes 
    • Pioneer
      John G. Holman Company (1868)
      Age at departure: 13
      About 650 individuals and 62 wagons were in the company when it began its journey from the outfitting post at Benton, Wyoming.



      History of
      John Brook Hirst
      1855-1923

      Compiled by Victoria W. Chambers, 2014
      Resources:
      History of Charlotte Hirst Coon by Bertha Coon Chambers
      Obituary: Salt Lake Telegram, December 8, 1923
      Family Search / Family Tree
      Pioneer Overland Travel records and Mormon Migration records
      Utah Pioneer Biographies
      History of Pioneer Stake / Family Search
      US Passport Application
      Naturalized Citizen Record
      Wikipedia

      John Brook Hirst, born January 12, 1855 in Rushworth, Yorkshire, England, was the tenth of thirteen children born to John and Charlotte Brook Hirst. Of the ten daughters and three sons, two sons died in infancy and one daughter as a teenager. John was the only surviving son.

      From the History of Charlotte Hirst Coon, John’s younger sister, by Bertha Coon Chambers, we read something of the family’s background and experiences:


      “Their father was a farmer in that little English village [Todmoredon, Lancashire, England] and also a weaver of fine cloth. Both parents, John, Sr. and Charlotte, were staunch Latter-day Saints, having joined the Church [in 1852/1853] and for sixteen years John, Sr. labored as a home missionary and traveling Elder throughout England. During this time his home was always open to missionaries; among them were Charles W. Penrose and many other prominent men of the Church. For years all in the family who were able to do so worked and saved their hard-earned money that they might go to Utah; and by the year 1868 they were ready to depart from the land of their birth.

      “This they did with mingled feelings of joy and sorrow – joy at the prospect of journeying to a new land, and sorrow because three of their daughters who were married remained behind. Later, two of these daughters moved to Utah, the other one never saw her family again, with the exception of her brother, John, Jr., who went to England on a mission years later. [This daughter remained faithful and raised her family in the Church.]

      “The family [traveled 53 miles from Todmorden, to Liverpool and from there] embarked on June 20, 1868 on the little packet ship, Emerald Isle, an old fashioned sailing vessel, with a company of 876 saints under the leadership of Hans Jensen Hals. Incidentally this was the last group of saints to cross the ocean in a sailing vessel and also the last [successful] trip for the ship. On the return voyage east it sank with crew and cargo.

      [The ship’s manifest record shows John as a 13-year-old passenger traveling with his six sisters and parents from Leeds, England. The family declared £40 cash, £39-4s sea fare, and 16s returned.]

      “The long and tedious eight-week journey was marked by many sad incidents. Terrific storms were encountered all the way. The apparatus used for filtering the drinking water became unserviceable, so they all had to drink water from huge storage tanks in an unfiltered condition. Many became very ill. Thirty-seven adults and children died; [the family] had a vivid recollection of seeing the bodies being lowered into the ocean. [Charlotte, in an effort to protect her family] boiled chamomile flowers in their water to purify it.

      “On July 10, 1868, Nancy Hirst Dearden [one of the older daughters] gave birth to a baby girl who was named Emerald, at the request of the captain. After arriving in New York August 11th, they left by rail for Ft. Benton, Wyoming and arrived there August 25th. On September 1, 1868, with John G. Holman at the head of the company of sixty-two

      wagons drawn by ox-teams, they started on their journey. This was the last company to travel by ox-team.

      [“…this company traveled in a northwesterly direction from Benton through Whiskey Gap and northward from there until they reached the Sweetwater River and the old emigrant road on September 8th. As did many other companies in the 1860’s, after coming through Echo Canyon, they traveled to Silver Creek and then down Parley's Canyon into the Salt Lake Valley. They arrived in Salt Lake on September 25th. Twenty-two people died between Benton and Salt Lake. Utah Pioneer Biographies, 44 vol. 28:108,111,113, Trail Excerpt]

      “[The] family settled in a little log house west of the Jordan River. John, Sr., and his son-in-law worked on the railroad under construction through Echo Canyon during the 1868-69 winter and spring. That same spring of 1869 he took Dr. Anderson’s cattle on shares which he continued for three years. In 1872 the family moved to Pleasant Green [Magna] near the west mountains where they homesteaded and raised cattle. [John, Sr.,] was presiding elder of that place until his death and [Charlotte] was president of the first Relief Society, organized in 1879 which position she held until her death [June 28, 1880].”

      John fell in love with Alvira Spencer and they became engaged. Family Search records indicate that Alvira traveled from Pleasant Green [Magna] to Salt Lake City and received her endowments at the Endowment House on October 13, 1876. Her obituary indicated that Alvira, age 20, married John Brook Hirst, age 23, two years later on November 19, 1878 at Pleasant Green, Salt Lake, Utah. Family Search records also indicate that this couple was married November 19, 1878 at the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. A discrepancy exists; perhaps the marriage took place in Salt Lake City with a reception following that same evening in Pleasant Green. Some records indicate the marriage was October 24, 1876 with their sealing two years later, November 19, 1878.

      Alvira and John became the parents of one child, a daughter, Vira, born February 28, 1889 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Vira married James W. Fitches on February 10, 1913 and together they had four children: Noona, Delwin, Marlin and Elaine.

      John became a Naturalized Citizen on November 4, 1876 in the 3rd Judicial District Court.

      Family histories indicate that John returned to England, serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was able to visit his close family who had been left years earlier. His mission preparations began with his U.S. Passport Application #15885 which is dated November 5, 1909, listing him as 54 a year-old-farmer, 5 feet 8½ inches tall, grey eyes, and dark hair turning grey. He states that his destination address is: Charles W. Penrose, 295 Edge Lane, Durham House, Liverpool, England. We assume John left Salt Lake City in November or December 1909, traveled east by rail, then crossed the Atlantic to Liverpool.

      At age 56 we find record of his return trip from England leaving Liverpool on December 8, 1911 on the ship SS Hesperion. He arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada on December 16, 1911. Then within a few days time he would be back in Salt Lake City via rail.

      A tiny notation in the Society section of the Salt Lake Telegram on February 8, 1915: “Mr. and Mrs. John Hirst expect to leave tomorrow for San Francisco and Los Angeles.”

      As a married couple, John and Alvira were part of the Brighton Ward, Salt Lake Stake, for a short time then the Pleasant Green Branch was organized. Some historical details below:
      •A meeting was held February 24, 1867, in the home of William Camp, attended by Apostle George A. Smith and other brethren, when a ward named Brighton was organized. It embraced all the country in Salt Lake County lying west of the Jordan River north of North Jordan.
      •1877 the Pleasant Green Branch organization was effected.
      •October 1, 1882, Pleasant Green Branch was organized as a regular bishop’s ward.
      •Pleasant Green Ward belonged to Salt Lake Stake until 1904, when it became a part of the Pioneer Stake.
      •In 1923, when the Oquirrh Stake was organized, the Pleasant Green Ward was transferred to the Oquirrh Stake.

      John worked many years for the Oregon Short Line Railroad:
      “The Oregon Short Line Railroad was a railroad in the U.S. states of Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Montana and Oregon. The line was organized as the Oregon Short Line Railway in 1881 as a subsidiary of Union Pacific Railway. Union Pacific intended the line to be the shortest route ("the short line") from Wyoming to Oregon. In 1889 the line merged with the Utah & Northern Railway and a handful of smaller railroads to become the Oregon Short Line and Utah Northern Railway. Following the bankruptcy of Union Pacific, the line was taken into receivership and reorganized as the Oregon Short Line Railroad. The line started from the Union Pacific main line in Granger, Wyoming, and reached Montpelier, Idaho, on August 5, 1882 and then to McCammon, Idaho, in the Fall of 1882.” (Wikipedia)

      After many years living in Pleasant Green [Magna], John and Alvira moved to 878 West First South, in Salt Lake City. That was the home where John died, at age 68, on December 7, 1923 following an eleven-month lingering illness brought on by a stroke earlier that year.

      Obituary in the Salt Lake Telegram, December 8, 1923: Hirst – John Brook, for many years an employee of the Oregon Short Line railroad, died yesterday [December 7, 1923] at the family home, 878 West First South Street, after an illness of eleven months. He was born January 12, 1855, at Rushworth, England, and was a son of John and Charlotte Brook Hirst, both of whom joined the LDS Church in April 1852. When 13 Mr. Hirst came, with his parents to Utah. Besides his widow, Alvira Spencer Hirst, he is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Vira Hirst Fitches; two grandchildren; three sisters, Mrs. Fanny Jenkins, Mrs. Charlotte Coon and Mrs. Ellen Whipple, all of Salt Lake. Funeral services will be held at 2 o’clock Sunday [December 9, 1923] afternoon at the Fifteenth ward chapel, under direction of the Larkin Undertaking Company. The body may be viewed at the home from 10 o’clock Sunday morning until 1 o’clock Sunday afternoon.