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Jarman Family Papers
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administration Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Jarman Family Papers
    Dates: 1883-1962
    Bulk Dates: 1883-1897
    Collection Number: Consult repository
    Creator: Barnes, Maria Bidgood Jarman Ford
    Extent: 56 items
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Manuscripts Department
    The Huntington Library
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2203
    Fax: (626) 449-5720
    Email: manuscripts@huntington.org
    URL:http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: 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.
    Language of Material: The records are in English.

    Administration Information

    Access

    Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, please go to the following website .

    Publication Rights

    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.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Jarman family papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Acquisition Information

    The collection was purchased from the Swann Americana Sale 2310, Lot 192, on April 16, 2013, by the William Reese Company.

    Biography

    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.

    Scope and Content

    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.
    In the earliest letter, sent by Maria to George Lambert in 1883, Maria describes the history of her family’s emigration from England first to Albany, New York, and later to Salt Lake City; of her husband’s attempts to “cover his shame” with his pregnant mistress by converting to Mormonism and adopting polygamy; of his theft from the general store where he worked and threats to kill Maria; and of her attempts to befriend her husband’s second wife, whom she “treated as a sister.” An additional notarized statement from Maria further describes the difficulties of her marriage. Other letters include those from Maria’s sister Lydia Chaney, who writes from England of putting money in an emigration fund for her daughters, who she hoped would travel to Utah (1893); a letter from Sperry W. Lawson describing his arrival in Basel, Switzerland, for mission work (1897); a letter from Maria’s niece Maude Evans in Marietta, New York, detailing the cost of clothes and groceries since the outbreak of World War I (1917); a letter from an elderly relative named Emily Hall in San Francisco who worried that she would have to go to a “Relief Home for the poor” (1923); and a letter from an unknown acquaintance named Ted who writes of a fire caused by his wife washing clothes in “high powered gasoline” and her quick thinking in saving a boarder from the fire. Letters involving the Dickert family, who may have been related to Maria, include those written while they were living in Teufelsbrucke, Germany, and planning to return to Salt Lake; an 1891 letter to Mrs. Dickert from a friend apparently working as a governess in Warmbrunn, Germany, in which she compared the scenery to Salt Lake City (much to the consternation of the locals) and wrote of a pair of sandals “really…worn by a Chinese lady..this of course makes them quite a valuable curiosity” (1892); and a letter from a Dickert to his young son Dilpert sent from Helena, Montana, in 1895. Also included are some genealogical notes on the Jarman, Bidgood, and Sherring families.
    Albert Jarman’s letters from his English mission often focus on the difficulties of mission life, and he notes that “no one knows what an Elder has to put up with until they have to go through [it].” The hardships he describes include lack of pay, unsanitary living conditions, his many illnesses (Jarman tried to cure his lung ailments with Turkish baths before ultimately ending up at St. George’s Hospital in London), and the reluctance of local Mormons to offer him aid. “The Saints ain’t like they used to be,” he wrote on September 25, 1894, “they don’t want to do anything for the Elders now…[the Saints] are a very queer set of people some of them.” He writes often of theology and the “heathens” he has to deal with, noting that, while he originally had success distributing religious tracts, people ultimately would not “sit to talk…for fear that they may have to embrace what we say” (June 15, 1894). He had long talks with a local minister and befriended a Catholic family, conceding that “there is [sic] good people in the Catholic [Church] but they are priest bound” (May 4, 1894). Albert also prophesied that England would “become a forest instead of a garden…her industry is dying out fast” (July 27, 1894); described the scenery of Kent, which he greatly admired although he was not quite as interested in “old castles and old ruins,” noting that “I don’t care much for these kind of sights” (Aug. 31, 1894); and complained about the cold winter of 1894-1895, during which a man “froze to death while driving his cab in London” (Feb. 12, 1895). In other letters Albert praises British mission president A. William Lund, occasionally writes of hearing news of strife between Mormons and Gentiles in Utah, and mentions the books he is reading, including a novel by Ben E. Rich. He also writes of a future meeting with his estranged father, assuring his mother that “you didn’t need to be alarmed about my Father doing me any harm because he won’t have the power, why he is afraid of me” (Apr.27, 1894). Although he had hoped to bring his father and other family members back to the Mormon Church, after a brief encounter with William Jarman Albert conceded that “I do not expect that [he] will repent” (March 12, 1895).

    Arrangement

    The collection is arranged chronologically.
    A detailed container list is available through the Manuscripts Department.

    Indexing Terms

    Personal Names

    Barnes, Maria Bidgood Jarman Ford, 1832-1924.

    Subject

    Domestic relations--California.
    Domestic relations--England.
    Domestic relations--New York (State).
    Domestic relations--Utah.
    Fires.
    Mormon converts.
    Mormon families.
    Mormon missionaries--England.
    Mormon missionaries--Switzerland.
    Mormon women.
    Mormon Church--History--19th century.
    Mormons--Genealogy.
    Mormons--Utah--History--19th century.
    Polgamy.
    World War, 1914-1918--Public opinion.

    Geographic Areas

    California--History--1850-1950.
    England--Description and travel.
    England--History--19th century.
    Germany--Description and travel.
    Germany--History--1789-1900.
    Kent (England)--Description and travel.
    Maidstone (England)--Description and travel.
    New York (State)--History--20th century.
    Warmbrunn (Germany)--Description and travel.

    Genre

    Letters (correspondence)--England--19th century.
    Letters (correspondence)--Germany--19th century.
    Letters (correspondence)--Utah--19th century.
    Manuscripts--Utah--19th century.