Emma Jenkins was the daughter of James Jenkins and Elizabeth
Wright born at Prestigue, Radnorshire,
She was baptized at Forge Mill near Kington,
On 22 Apr 1855 the Jenkins family, consisting of Richard,
Elizabeth Sarah, Emma, and James and their parents, James and Elizabeth Wright
In the journal of Matthew Rowan who also was on the Samuel Curling, he states that on 19 April 1855:
…..he and other pastors and presidents…met with Frankin D. Richards and Brother D. Spencer. Both prophesied that if we would do right on
board we would have a good voyage and not a soul of us would die, but if we
would not do right it would prove the unhappy reverse us. Elder Isreal
Barlow, late president of the Birmingham and Warwickshire Conferences, was
appointed the president of the ship and Elder Perry, late president of the
Wiltshire Conference and Elder Robinson, late president of the of the London
Conference, were appointed to act as counselors. In fact we were all appointed to act as his
counselors….The Samuel Curling is the finest ship that has sailed from
On Monday, 23 April 1855, he writes:
This morning we were nearly at a stand still, the weather was so fair and calm. We did not sail more than about 14 miles last night. I got up by half past 5:00 a.m. and got my ward watered and breakfasted, then had prayer therein by 10:00 o’clock a.m. The strictest discipline is kept up relative to going to bed at night and rising in the morning. Up by half past 5:00 a.m. and to bed by 9:00 p.m., prayers being over by 9:00 p.m. It is the business of the presidents of wards to see that all in his ward are in bed by that time. None to go up on deck after that except by the special permission of the president of the ward the one may be in. There is a guard at each hatchway, relieved every four hours, and there are two men appointed in each ward to wash and scrape berths. The ward’s cook in turns under the supervision of their respective presidents. A good feeling prevails. All goes first-rate along.
Friday, 27 April 1855, he states:
We were in a calm all day. The captain says we are only one day’s good sailing from Liverpool…We had our second ration of provision given out today, which occupied the chief part of the day…The children are playing as merrily on the deck at their little games. The young men and women at their pastime and promenading, the sailors at their fun and frolic, as though we were assembled as a picnic party on some large park or green. A brother who can play the saxehorn is appointed to give the following signals for the following purposes:
1st: Three notes for general silence.
2nd: “Weep not for me
3rd: “God Save the Queen” for lights to be put out at night.
4th: “Soldier’s Tear” for those engaged at night, such as guards to take to their posts and for all passengers to get to bed.
Saturday, 28 April 1855, he records:
We are still in a calm this morning and of course, making
little or no progress. I had a testimony
meeting in my ward this morning at 10:00 a.m.
The brethren were spirited in bearing their testimonies and a happy
feeling prevailed…There are in my ward 45 berths, 19 men, 35 women, 24 boys,
and 31 girls – altogether 109 souls.
There are on board as passengers 568 souls about 500 of whom are going
direct to the Valley of the
Monday, 30 April 1855, he writes:
….The weather was fair. All, with but a few exceptions are in good health and spirits…We lack not for music on board. We have both violins, saxehorns, cornopians and accordions, playing merrily. We indulged in but very little dancing, however.
Tuesday, 22 May 1855, the journal entry states:
At 6:00 a.m. the land was sighted by the naked eye, and oh!
how beautiful it did appear to the emigrant’s eye. All were electrified by the cry of land. Lame, old, young, sick and all ran up on deck
to see it. It seemed like a
fairyland. We first gazed upon what is
called “Never Sink,” then “Sandy Hook,” then “
….From a visit to the Samuel Curling we are enabled to lay
some interesting facts before the readers of the Tribune respecting the order
and management of the voyage. A large
majority of the passengers are of the poor class of British peasantry,
…The routine of the daily duty was somewhat as follows: At 4:00 a.m. the men told off in rotation the
night previous, commenced cleaning the wards, at 5 o’clock morning worship, at
5 ½ cooking commenced, the stewards of each ward being allowed the use of the
galley for half an hour, and priority of use being assigned to the wards in
rotation every day. At another stated
time water was served out. Dinner
cooking commenced at 11, and tea at 5.
At 8 o’clock, evening worship was celebrated and then lights were put
out and the night watch set. The duty of
the latter was to guard against visits from the sailors, or indiscretions of
any kind among the brethren. All of
these duties were discharged with military precision at the summons of the
bugle….As far as we could learn, comfort, cleanliness, good humor and good
health prevailed throughout the voyage.
The Saints will set out for
The following is an excerpt from the Millennial Star, Vol XVII, concerning the voyage of the Samuel Curling:
On the 22 of April 1855, the ship, Samuel Curling sailed
In the Millennial Star, Vol XVII, pp. 280, the following account is recorded:
…Elder Peter Reid, who emigrated to
….Most of the passengers left New York enroute
for the Valley on the twenty-forth, going by steamboat via Amboy to
Philadelphia, where the emigrants were placed on a railway train, and left
Philadelphia on Friday the 25th, about
noon, arriving in Pittsburgh on the morning or the twenty-seventh
(Sunday). The same day the Perpetual
Emigration Fund emigrants….continued the journey to
Emma’s sister, Ann, came to
The Jenkins family crossed the plains in the Milo Andrews
Company. Emma’s mother, Elizabeth Wright
Jenkins, along with some others, died of Cholera while coming up the
Emma walked the entire distance across the plains and
They endured the hardships that all the pioneers passed through – the lack of warm clothing, the troubles with the Indians during the Black Hawk War, and the scarcity of food through the ravages of the grasshoppers.
According to Nephi Ward Records, on 29 September 1857 Emma
was married to William Cole by Bishop Jacob G. Bigler
After their marriage, they were sent out to a place called
Chicken Creek, which was located between Nephi and Levan,
to take care of the cattle belonging to the settlers. While living there in a one-room cabin which
had one door and one window covered with hide to keep out the cold in winter
and have open in the summer, William, their first child, was born. Later they moved back to Nephi and built a
home of adobe at what is now 1st East and
Emma was the mother of 15 children, seven girls and eight boys. She also raised three other children. Needless to say she was always busy. One year she had ten cases of measles and nine cases of diphtheria between February 1 and April 15. Still, she found time to help others. Whenever there was sickness or an epidemic, she was always on the go from one place to another helping out. Her son, Claude Vivian, told his family that he often drove her to do her “midwifery” and helped her if she needed it. This experience caused Claude to be extremely helpful when his wife and children were ill and he was very gentle and caring in dealing with the sick.
Following is a list of the children born to Emma Jenkins and William Cole:
Name, Born, Died
William Cole, 23 Mar 1858, 03 Apr 1933
James Edward Cole, 18 Jan 1860, 18 Nov 1926
Emma Eliza Cole, 22 Dec 1861, 07 Nov 1865
Sarah Elizabeth Cole, 13 Feb 1864, 19 Feb 1942
Edgar Cole, 10 Jan 1866, 15 Apr 1880
Wilford Jenkins Cole, 25 Nov 1867, 23 Jan 1961
Cora Ella Cole, 13 Aug 1869, 21 Sep 1945
Mary Ann Cole, 17 Feb 1871, 08 Dec 1968
David Jenkins Cole, 05 Dec 1872, 06 Dec 1951
Urban Cole, 29 Oct 1874, 22 Sep 1911
Claude Vivian Cole, 02 Aug 1876, 06 Feb 1941
Richard Roscoe Cole, 30 Jul 1878, 01 Feb 1924
Edna Cole, 23 Sep 1880, 10 Nov 1934
Clara Delia Cole, 28 Jul 1883, 24 Aug 1958
Ruby Cole, 19 Sep 1885, 22 Sep 1953
The three children that Emma raised, in addition to the 15 she had herself, were the children of her son, David Jenkins Cole and his wife, Elizabeth Sarah Coulson who died in childbirth. David’s daughter, Ruby, said that her father “lost interest in life” and when she was five years old, he drifted out of their lives. Those children were:
Ruby Sarah Elizabeth Cole Stickney
David Samuel Cole and
Emma Guen Cole Davis
About three years after they were married, William Cole
broke his leg. A doctor was almost
impossible to get at that time, so a neighbor named
According to Mary Ann Cole Francom, the cabin they lived in at that time had mud between the logs. There was no glass in the windows, so Emma put greased paper in the windows. The floor was of black dirt and a quilt hung at the door. Emma couldn’t stand the black dirt, so she carried sand from quite a distance away to cover the floor every week or so. Then she burnt hard wood and saved the white ashes. She gathered rabbit brush, tied it together like a brush, and white-washed the log walls using the white ashes for whitewash. William Cole didn’t want his children to know of the hardships he and Emma went through so he didn’t like her talking about them.
William Cole was one of the men who helped build the fort around Nephi. It was nine feet high, three feet thick, and fenced off nine blocks – three blocks square. They cooked weeds for breakfast, had a cold potato for dinner and had weeds for supper again all the time they were building the fort.
A daughter, Mary Ann Cole Francom, described her mother this way:
She was a short woman and rather plump – very jovial and full of fun, but Father would never let us joke with her when he was around. He felt it wasn’t showing her enough respect and reverence. When Father wasn’t there Mother was like a child with me, and we always had such a good time together. She loved pretty things, especially pretty dishes, but of course they didn’t always have such things in those days. She always went to the quilting and sewing bees.
A story that was often told in our family involved Mother’s sister and how she loved her tea. One time the family was all sitting down to a meal and nearly everyone was having tea. President Brigham Young drove up and there was a lot of dashing around getting their cups of tea out of sight. Mother’s sister said, “God knows I drink tea and little do I care if Brigham Young knows it.” She quietly went through dinner sipping her tea. After dinner, Brigham Young got up and patter her on the shoulder and said, “Sister, God bless you and your cup of tea.”
Ruby Cole Stickney, a granddaughter of Emma Cole, gives the following account of Emma Jenkins:
Grandmother often took two tubs of dirty clothes over to the creek, which was about a block away from her home. She would fix one over the fire to heat water in and scrub the clothes in the other tub. The clothes were then rinsed in the creek and then hung on bushes to dry. This activity would take all day.
Grandfather Cole was a farmer and cattle raiser. Grandmother Cole often told about getting the wool from the sheep, making the thread and weaving it. She was a good seamstress. It makes me wonder how she could do all the sewing for a family as large as hers. Sometimes she and other members of the family worked late into the night – first using a light called a bitch which was string in a saucer of oil or grease. Later they used a candle, then the kerosene lamp which was considered a wonderful thing in those days.
There was the year when the grasshoppers came just as their gardens were up nice and green. The grasshoppers ate everything green they came to. Trenches were dug, the grasshoppers were driven into them, then they covered them with straw and set the straw on fire to destroy them.
Everyone suffered from hunger, living on what little they had and could gather. They ate weeds such as mustard, dandelions, pig weed, etc. There were times when her family had nothing to eat but these weeds for about a month at a time. Grandfather Cole’s sister was very ill and could not eat these weeds and course grains. Through the church, they were able to obtain a little flour to make some bread for her. Her daughter had fixed her a cup of tea and a slice of this bread, and she also cut off another slice of bread and hid it in the sack they were taking to gather more weeds or greens. While they were getting the weeds, she gave Grandmother Cole part of this slice of bread. Grandmother Cole said that never in her life did she taste anything as good as that small piece of bread.
In the winter of 1879 and early 1880, there was an epidemic of diphtheria and the Cole family had eleven cases of the illness at one time. It was awful! Everyone was afraid it was contagious, so one couldn’t get outside help. By the time the last throat was swabbed, it was time to start over again. Grandmother and Grandfather Cole took turns caring for the sick.
One of the boys, Edgar, who hadn’t had the diphtheria, came down with the measles and was so sick that nothing they did to help him did any good, and he died April 15, 1880, at the age of 14. This was so hard on the family right after they had all been so ill. But life went on.
Grandmother Cole lived a full and useful life after her family was grown. She worked in the Relief Society presidency, helped to care for the needy and sick, delivered babies, and helped in homes where there was sickness, accidents and deaths. She was known to relatives, neighbors, and town people as Aunt Emmy.
On 28 Mar 1896 Emma Jenkins Cole met with a very painful accident while out buggy riding with her daughter, Cora, and her grandson, William Pexton. She was badly cut about the face and head and was bruised on her hip and knee. It was a very narrow escape.
On 16 November 1904 she took ill and lost the use of her right arm. She went to the temple at Manti on 21 November 1904 and was healed by the power of the Lord.
Emma died at age 80 on 29 August 1920 in
Much of the above history was told to Donna Cornia in 1953 by Mary Ann Cole Francom, daughter of Emma Jenkins, when Mary Ann was 80 years old.
A handwritten history of Emma Jenkins Cole, author unknown.
Journal of Matthew Rowen, (LDS Church Archives, Ms6084 1, fd. 1, vol. 2 Acc. #9323) pp. 153-190.
BMR, Book #1040, pp. 169-191 (FHL #025, 690); Customs #376 (FHL #419,652)
Nephi Ward Records, Films 0026218 and 1033729
Endowment House Records, Film 1149515
Mary Ann Cole Francom, daughter of Emma Jenkins Cole, as told to great granddaughter, Donna Cornia, in August, 1953.
Betty Cole, daughter-in-law to Claude Vivian Cole.
Ruby Cole Stickney as told to Elma Jacobsen Broadman, who in turn told it to Kalei Jacobsen Pollard at the Jacobsen reunion in July of 1977.
Cornia, Donna Vee. History of Emma Jenkins. Updated 19 Dec 2000 by Donna Vee Cornia. Copied from original 22 Nov 2005 by J.F.