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Jarman Family Papers
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The collection primarily consists of correspondence related to the Jarman family, Mormon converts who immigrated from England to Utah in the 1860s. It includes statements by Maria Bidgood Jarman Ford Barnes regarding her divorce from her abusive, polygamous first husband; 26 letters sent to Maria from her son Albert while he was serving on a mission trip to England from 1894-1895; and various letters from other family members and friends, including the Dickert family, who describe their life in Germany, and a friend who served on a mission to Switzerland in 1897.
Background
Maria Bidgood Jarman Ford Barnes (1832-1924) was born in Devon, England. Dissatisfied with the religious atmosphere of her day, she became interested in the evangelical Plymouth Brethren. While attending one of their meetings, Maria met widower William Jarman. They married in Exeter in 1862 and a son, Albert (1863-1929), was born a year later. Maria later stated that William was prone to excess drinking and the company of “lewd women,” and in 1865 he was briefly placed in an insane asylum in Devonshire. Maria continued to support him after his release and a second child, Maria, was born in Cudleigh in 1865. Soon after, a millinery apprentice named Emily Richards came to live with the Jarmans and quickly became pregnant. Around the same time the Jarmans received a copy of “The Faith” by Orson Pratt, and after a visit from a Mormon elder were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Less than six months later, the family arrived in Albany, New York, where Emily gave birth to William’s child. The Jarmans lived in Albany for two years while they saved the money to travel to Utah. They eventually emigrated with the Murdock Company to Salt Lake City, arriving in August 1868. William married Emily in December, after which time he became increasingly violent toward Maria and was arrested for threatening to kill her in April 1869. Maria filed for divorce, and soon after the couple’s separation she gave birth to a third child, who went by the name John Jarman Bidgood (1869-1960). In May William was arrested for grand larceny. After being acquitted on a technicality, he left his job at the Jennings Mercantile Company and returned to England, where he became an outspoken opponent of the Mormon Church. Maria found employment as a milliner at Auerbach’s Department Store, and later ran a millinery business from her home. The family struggled financially, and at the age of eight Maria’s daughter began working as a nursemaid. Maria married Robert Henry Ford in 1881. Robert did not get along with Maria’s daughter, who moved out of the house and later married Samuel DeGrey against her mother’s wishes. Edward remained active in the Mormon Church and served on a mission to England from 1894-1895. Following Robert’s death, Maria married a man named Mark Barnes. She later reconciled with her daughter and went to live with the DeGreys in 1919. She died on February 5, 1924.
Extent
56 items
Restrictions
In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as owner of the physical property rights only, and researchers must also obtain permission from the holder of the literary rights. In some instances, the Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights. Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further information.
Availability
Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, please go to the following website.