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.
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.
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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.
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