logo Kewley Family


See Introduction for some general background.

The Peel family of James (b. 1802) and Ann (Karran) Kewley (b.1815), together with their three youngest children Margaret (b. 1840), Robert (b. 1845) and Thomas (b. 1853) emigrated on board the Horizon in 1856. Their two eldest daughters, Ann (b. 1834) who was married in England and Elizabeth (b.1837), who was about to marry her cousin (William Kewley), remained at home; three other children had died in infancy. Thomas apparently died en-route in Cleveland Ohio, the remainder of the family were on the ill-fated Martin handcart trek to Salt Lake City. In order to conserve funds, a number of parties trekked the last 1300 miles to SLC pushing handcarts rather than using ox-drawn wagons. This party, including many older emigrants, set off too late in the year and was further delayed in Iowa City waiting for carts (many of which, being ill-built, failed on the journey) and then was caught by early snow falls - about 1 in 8 (i.e. about 100 persons) died on the journey, many others suffered frostbite including Margaret Kewley who later married John Carlisle one of the rescue party sent out to help them. Margaret was apparently reluctant to talk about the journey.

They does not appear to have left anywritten record of their conversion or life; the information here is taken from a well-researched family history site <http://lythgoes.net/genealogy/history/JamesLittle.php> but even they state little is known.

The family state that the Kewleys were baptised several months before John Taylor visited Peel, by an Elder John Boyd, in April and May 1840 possibly in Liverpool as no earlier mission work on the Island is recorded. If so then this family may be one of the earliest Manx converts. James Kewley was noted as a labourer on the ship's manifest - according to family history he worked at Graves' shipyard in Peel and was recalled in 1880 by Mrs Graves in conversation woth son Robert as an honest workman - "Mrs Graves said she remembered very well the last Sunday my father & mother ate supper at their house, and how agraveted they was to think they had joined the Mormons. She said my father worked 22 years for them, and a honester man they never saw. " This comment is however difficult to reconcile with an 1840 Liverpool conversion as well as lack of mention of them by Taylor and others - it is possible that they were off Island c.1840 as they do not appear to be in the 1841 census (certainly not in Peel) and Mrs Graves was mistaken about the time. Their eldest daughter was christened at Marown though all later children in German.

In the 1851 census they were noted as living in Kirk Patrick street which lies just above Graves' shipyard on the Neb as it broadens into the harbour - Ann and Elizabeth were not at home, their youngest daughter Emily was to die in May that year at 14 months and is buried in Kirk German (23 May 1851). They would appear to have been the last Mormons to remain in Peel for James Little visiting the Island briefly in 1855 states "We visited Brother and Sister (blank space) who are struggling to keep alive in the work in their poverty and isolated condition, for the work is so low in Peel that no meetings are held, or an organization maintained. I would not but deeply sympathize with this brother and sister who are anxiously praying for their deliverance" - though the Kewley's are not mentioned by name Little recalls their acquaintance on board the Horizon.

Ann Kewley died within three years of arrival in SLC in 1859, James Kewley died in 1867, also in SLC, and is buried in an unmarked grave. Robert Kewley, who visited the Island in 1880, had moved to Logan by 1860 where several other families from Peel, including Charles Cowley and family had also moved at about that time; Margaret and husband also moved to Logan.

Elizabeth's wedding is noted in a clipping preserved in a family bible which reads, "KEWLEY — KEWLEY — March 10, at the New Jerusalem Church, Bedford-street North, by the Rev. C. G. McPherson, B.A., Mr. William Henry Kewley, of this town, to Elizabeth, second daughter of Mr. James Kewley, late of Peel, Isle of Man." The family state that the year and location of this marriage is unclear - possibly it is Liverpool but the title of the church would indicate it as being atypical.

Manx Note Book      [Genealogy Index]

see Mormon Converts

Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2003