Emma Jenkins was the daughter of James Jenkins and Elizabeth Wright born at Prestigue, Radnorshire, Wales, on 15 March 1840.


She was baptized at Forge Mill near Kington, Herefordshire, England, by Elder Farley on 3 Jul 1853 when she was 13 years old.  The missionaries were always welcome in their home in Wales.  According to Nephi Ward Records, Emma was rebaptized on 8 September 1877 by Joel Grover and reconfirmed 9 September 1877 by Joel Grover.


On 22 Apr 1855 the Jenkins family, consisting of Richard, Elizabeth Sarah, Emma, and James and their parents, James and Elizabeth Wright Jenkins, left Liverpool, England, for America on the ship Samuel Curling.


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 Liverpool with Saints.


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 Zion” for general prayer in wards.

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.

5th: “Rosa May” to prepare to get water in the morning.


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 Great Salt Lake.


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 “Statton Island” to the left.  Then we feasted our eyes upon the beauty of “Long Island.”  There we passed the doctor who is stationed there for the inspecting of passengers…The steamer towed us into the harbor by the afternoon, and all the way up the Hudson river we were annoyed by sharpers, alas thieves, who came out in small boats, and climbed up (another way) on to our vessel, and would be in but our guard kept them at bay and hunter out of the vessel any that chanced to get in.  The captain engaged the steamer that towed us in for 75 dollars….The captain is eloquent in extolling our conduct and propriety on board to the pilot, doctor, excise officers, and reporters.  He boasts that for goodness and healthiness, there never was a better ship load of people brought into port.  He and his crew wished we had further to go with them…The caption gets us to sing to strange officials when they come aboard…Our landing was reported in the New York papers today and our voyage and general conduct and appearance were commented upon.  We were called cleanly and orderly and our order was recommended to other emigrants.


From the New York Tribune:


….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, Ireland contributing but a small proportion, who are sent out to Utah at the expense of the Emigrating Fund.  They are mainly families, only a few single men and women were on board.  The married people were of all ages from tender 18 to hale 80, and appear to enjoy good health and spirits.  The vessel was the cleanest emigrant ship we have ever seen; notwithstanding the large number of her passengers, order, cleanliness, and comfort prevailed on all hands, the between decks were as sweet and well ventilated as the cabin, and the olodeck was as white as scrubbing brush and holystone could make it.  It would be well if the packet-ships that ply between this port and Liverpool were to imitate the system of management that prevailed on board this ship….The company was divided into seven wards, each superintended by a president and two counselors, who together attended to the affairs of the ward, such as cooking, drawing water, morning and evening worship, looking after the sick, setting the watch, and in short directing the affairs, temporal and spiritual, of the people committed to their care.


…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 Utah by way of St. Louis as soon as possible.  Wagons, teams, and tents are now waiting for them on the Missouri River, and they expect to reach the Promised Land in September or October next.


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 from Liverpool with 581 Saints on board, of whom 385 were Perpetual Emigration Fund emigrants….During the voyage three children were born, and as there were no deaths on board the net increase was that number.


In the Millennial Star, Vol XVII, pp. 280, the following account is recorded:


…Elder Peter Reid, who emigrated to America as a passenger in the Samuel Curling…and now resides in the Sixteenth Ward, salt Lake City, told the writer some time ago that the ship encountered several storms in her passage across the Atlantic, but that she passed safely through them all.  In the midst of one of these storms the Captain got somewhat disheartened, and declared to Brother Barlow….that he, in his long experience as a seafaring man, had never encountered a worse one.  He then added that the tempest had not reached its highest point yet, but that the next half hour would be worse still.  Brother Barlow, in reply, told the captain that the storm was nearly over, and would not increase in violence.  This bold remark of Brother Barlow made the Captain angry, as he thought he knew more about the weather and the sea than anyone else on board; but on going into his cabin to examine his barometer and other nautical instruments, he found that Brother Barlow was right; the storm abated almost immediately.  Elder Barlow afterwards told some of the Saints that while the storm was raging he saw the ship surrounded by scores of angels, who stood in a circle around it with joined hands.  This was a testimony to the Saints that the Lord was watching over the ship, and that there was no danger.


….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 St. Louis, whence they proceeded to Atchison, Kansas.


Emma’s sister, Ann, came to America the following June, but remained in New York, perhaps to earn enough money to continue the journey to Utah.


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 Missouri River.  A few were buried in the river, but Elizabeth was buried in a grove of trees by the side of the river where Leavenworth, Kansas, is now situated.


Emma walked the entire distance across the plains and arrived in Salt Lake City 24 October 1855.  They continued on to Nephi, Utah, by team and wagon.  She lived in a one-room cabin with her father and two brothers.  She said she had only one calico dress which was grey with black flowers.  She would have to wait until her father and brothers were asleep to wash it and let it dry during the night.


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 in Nephi, Juab County, Utah.  Later, on 10 August 1867, they received their endowments and were sealed by Wilford Woodruff in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City.


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 Center Street.  The home was enlarged as their family increased.


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 Bryan set his leg for him as best he could.  He had no splints, so he made a box out of lumber to fit William’s leg.  William sat with his leg in that box for eight weeks.  When they took the box away, the flesh from his heel dropped away.  He wasn’t able to work at that time, but he could ride a horse.  So they took the dry head outside Nephi toward Juab for the summer.  They had two children at that time.


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 Nephi, Utah.  Cemetery records state that she died of asthma.  The death certificate indicates that the cause of death was Nephritis and asthma was a contributory factor.  She was buried in the Nephi City Cemetery on 1 September 1920.


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.

Utah State Death Certificate SL 036663

Nephi City Cemetery


Cornia, Donna Vee. History of Emma Jenkins. Updated 19 Dec 2000 by Donna Vee Cornia. Copied from original 22 Nov 2005 by J.F.