Thursday, November 15, 2012

Matilda Commander Thompson

Matilda Commander Evans Thompson
Pioneer of 1863
Matilda was born May 23, 1838 in Rowington, Warwickshire, England.  She was the only child of Thomas Commander, (a brick mason by trade and son of John Commander) and Elizabeth Bunn, (daughter of Joseph Bunn).
Matilda had an injury to her spine at birth and the doctor said she could never have children, but she had eight.
She married Thomas Evans, who was an excise officer in the British government, in 1859.  She, her husband , their two small children, Louise (born March 17, 1860) and Mary Elizabeth (born February 2, 1862), and her father and mother emigrated to Utah in 1863.  The husband returned to England to look after business interests, and on his return to the United States he died at Philadelphia in 1864.
She was a rather small slight woman who had been carefully reared and unused to hardships, but she braved the dangers and endured the privations of pioneer life at Bountiful, Utah, caring for her little girls as best she could.  They gleaned wheat in the fields in summer in order to provide flour for bread in the winter.  The children also worked in the field and garden, gathering wood from the hillsides and picking vegetables and fruit in the seasons, in order to help provide food for the family.  The winters were long and severe and the winds were fierce and bitter.
In 1868 she was married to William Thompson.  To them were born six more children: William (born Dec 3, 1868), John Thomas (born ?), Hyrum (born ?, died ?), Jennette (born Jan 24, 1875), Lillie (born ?, died ?) and Elijah (born May 3, 1879).  The Evans girls were sealed to the Thompsons.  The family moved to Salt Lake in 18??, where the father engaged in the shoe repairing business.  Matilda brought with her from England and across the plains a small hardwood chest in which she carried tea, sugar, and such things.  It is still in the family.
William owned a double harness, for it he was offered an acre and a half of land in the main street of Bountiful.  This he refused.
One son, William Jr, became a stalwart in the church and had the gift of healing, in a remarkable degree.  He was Presiding Elder in Parleys, a branch of Sugar House Ward for years, and later was a member of the Granite Stake High Council.  He married Emma Emelia Gindrup, and they had ten children.  He filled a mission to California in 1907, leaving a wife and five children at home.
A daughter, Jennette, spent her whole life in Church service.  She had a lovely singing voice, and gave freely of her talent.  She filled a mission to the Central States in 1911.
The family lived in the 14th Ward until William died in 1891, then moved to Sugar House, where the oldest daughter, Mrs. John R. (Louise) Wilson lived.  Mrs. Thompson was a very spiritually minded woman.  She loved the Gospel and instilled in the lives of her children a deep appreciation of its truths.  She died at Sugar House October 8, 1908 and is buried in the City Cemetery. 

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