A Narrative Summary of the Life of Charles Cripps

Author Unknown, Acquired in 1975


Transcribed by  Marolyn Cross






This story of Charles Cripps does not begin as most histories do, with his birth--this is the major objective of our genealogical research. Until we can locate a record of his birth and parentage, his story must begin with the information which has been accumulated in genealogical research.

The earliest record we have of Charles Cripps is in the parish registers of St. Mary, Rotherhithe in Surrey county in England. Here he is recorded as a ropemaker, living on Silver Street. Ten children of Charles and Elizabeth Cripps were christened at St. Mary, Rogherhithe between 1826 and 1844. One stillborn child is registered among the burials there.

When and where Charles Cripps met and married Elizabeth Baker is not known. We do know that she was born in Exton, Rutlanshire, February 5, 1801, the daughter of Henry Baker, a carpenter, and his wife Mary Turner.

Sometime after the birth of their last child, Charles and Elizabeth moved from Rotherhithe and took up residence in Bermondaey, Surrey, England. According to one of their sons, the family was obliged to make this move because of "adverse circumstances."

Rotherhithe and Bermondaey are parishes in the Southwark borough and are part of greater London. They are located on the Thames River where the shipping industry flourished. Ropemaking being associated with the shipping industry explains why Charles made his home there. However, in spite of his known history's having its beginning there, and there being justification for his living there, there is a question of his having been born there.

Charles Cripps has been located in three separate census returns in England. In 1841 the record calls for a statement of whether or not he was born in the county where he was then residing. The answer was "no." In 1851 the record calls for a definite statement of where he was born and it gives "London." However, in a 1861 census his birthplace is recorded as "Coventry, Warwickshire." A sampler made by one of his daughters, Sarah Ann, when she was a child, says he was born May 17, 1795, in London. The Salt Lake City death records show he was born in Warwichshire and his tombstone in the Salt Lake City Cemetery indicates that he was born in Warwichshire.

Charles Cripps was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. David Shorten baptized him on May 25, 1850. His membership is recorded in the church records of the Finsbury branch and also in Theobald's Road branch. His residence at the time was 1 harts Cottage, Bermondsey. His wife, Elizabeth also joined the church in England as did his daughters, Elizabeth Mary Cripps Spicer, and Sarah Ann Cripps Hayward. The church was probably the reason and possibly the means of their coming to America and to Utah.

Sarah Ann came first with her husband, Gammon Hayward and their two oldest children. They sailed February 28, 1853, and three years later, on March 16, 1856, Elizabeth Mary came with her husband, William Spicer. The next in the family to come was Elizabeth Baker Cripps. She came at the same time as her daughter, Emma Godbe and her husband William Augustus Hodges and their oldest son.

Elizabeth sailed on the ship "Underwriter" on April 8, 1861. This was just two weeks before the 1861 a census was taken in England, but no record has yet been located for Elizabeth Cripps or for the William Augustus Hodges family in that census. It is possible that they were in Liverpool waiting for their ship to sail. Charles was living alone in Bermondsey when the census was taken. While traveling to Utah by wagon train, Emma Hodges gave birth to her second child, a girl whom they named Florence, possibly because she was born near the frontier settlement of Florence, Nebraska.

It was yet two years before Charles Cripps emigrated. He sailed on the ship "Amazon," a ship with a capacity of 1600 tons. They left London on June 4, 1863, and arrived in New York City July 18, destination "Florence." The ship was a church chartered vessel sailed by Mr. Hovey. There were 882 persons aboard and William Brammel was president of the company.

On the church emigration records Charles Cripps is listed as a ropemaker, age 59. He received notification #104 and was issued ticket #96. He used 100 plus 320 (probably pounds) from the London account of the church's perpetual emigration fund. There is a column in the emigration record for the address of the emigrant, but in the case of Charles Cripps, there was entered "R. Bentley."

A brief research project at the Church Historian's Office in Salt Lake City revealed that Richard Bently was prescient of the London district of the British mission at the time of Charles Cripps' sailing. Often the saints would give reference to a missionary instead of giving their address. This had happened in Charles Cripps' case and a number of others on the same record had done the same. Just below Charles' name a few lines are several persons from Coventry. Among these was a man named William Waddups who was shown to be from Sowe near Coventry. There was a man named William Waddups who was associated with the Hayward family in Salt Lake City but no relationship was ever known to exist. Often people who came from one place in the homeland would associate together in the new country.

There were ten wagon trains sponsored by the church which left Florence, Nebraska in the summer of 1863. No register for these companies has been found with the exception of one which left June 30, 1863, too early for Charles Cripps to have been a member.

Little more is known of Charles Cripps. One record is contained in a Salt Lake City directory where he is listed as a ropemaker in 1869. He was in the 16th ward residing on 6th West between 1st and 2nd north.

Salt Lake City death records tell us that Charles Cripps died June 1, 1879, of old age. He was buried on the lot of his son-in law, William Spicer, lot 5, block 4, plot H. His birth is given as June 19, 1795, county Warwick, England. In the Salt Lake City cemetery members of the family have erected an attractive marker to his memory.

No further written record of Charles Cripps has been found. One of his granddaughters, Clara Hayward Porter, in an interview with Thayle Smith gave the following description of Charles Cripps' father. "Charles Cripps' father was an aristocrat. Allowed to war knee pants and gold buckles on his shoes, which was granted only to the upper class. He would not work and when he found himself in poverty his beautiful and lovely wife took over a laundry. She became overseer to the laundry, was said to have dept the white shirts done up for Lord Hardcastle. She knit his stockings above the knee. He was about the tallest man in England, having to stoop for the door frames to pass through."


This narrative is concluded with an appeal for people to make contributions to Wilson H. Hayward, with the purpose of hiring a professional genealogist to go to England to do further research.


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