logo Anne Pitchforth


See Introduction for some general background -

In Emigrant Roster & Voyage History 1840-1869 is recorded as emigrating on the Rochester in April 1841 however this is at variance both with the 1841 census and with another report which places her on the Palmyra in 1843.

Anne Pitchforth was the wife of Solomon Pitchforth who came to Douglas from Yorkshire and who supposedly ran a hotel (as yet unidentified) on Douglas North Quay. This conjecture is based on an early letter from Ann to her family dated from North Quay but the letter does not actually say they were running an inn - only commenting on the low price for wine etc and that her husband was looking around for property; by 1841 he had moved to the Mitre at Kirk Michael, and then to Marine at Peel. John Taylor is thought to have stayed with them and obviously strongly influenced Anne who some two years later deserted her husband taking her children with her on the voyage, on the Palmyra, to Nauvoo. An examination of the surviving list of licensees for Douglas does not indicate that Solomon held a licence.

In the 1841 census (indexed as Petchforth) the family (Anne, Solomon and three children) is shown as staying in Michael - in 1841 Mathiesion notes a Mr Pitchford as running the Marine Hotel in Peel as well as the Mitre Hotel in Kirk Michael "until in 1841 it was taken by a Mr. Pitchforth from Yorkshire, who had it all newly papered and painted (Mona's Herald 8. June. 1841)" which may explain why in the census the family were not at the hotel as it was being decorated. George Goodwin ['Old Peel Mannin #6 p318] fills in some of the story -. "Soon after this [1841 on death of Mrs Graves] it was once more changed into an hotel. One Pitchford from the 'Mitre' in Michael took it. It was then called the 'Marine.' After Pitchford, came Edward Frissel ... ". In Pigot & Slater's directory of 1843 a Solomon Pitchforth is noted as running a 'Mitre Hotel' in Peel (it is likely that the name was mistranscribed as the address on the Quay corresponds to the Marine or possibly the directory misplaced the well known Mitre Hotel in Kirk Michael in Peel ). List of applications for licensees indicate that Solomon Pitchforth held a licence for a public house in Kirk Michael for year ending 10th Oct 1842 but not for the year commencing 10th Oct 1842. Pitchforth is found within the Peel licensees for two years commencing 10th Oct 1842. through to Oct 1844 - he does not appear in the year starting Oct 1844.



Letter of November 20, 1840, to her brother-in-law, Samuel Jackson; addressed to 'Mr Samuel Jackson, Green Hammerton, by York, England'; postmark: ISLE OF MAN N020 1840; transcribed from the original holograph, The Ann Pitchforth Collection, MSS 1374, Folder 6, Special Collections, Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library, Provo, Utah


North Quay Douglas
Isle of Man Novbr 20th

My dear Brother 1840

Heere we are, on a lonely [possibly lovely] island in the midst of roaring & raging billows of the foaming ocean.- The roaring of the wind, on the rising of a storm at sea is inconceivable to you tame inlanders.- In my minds eye, I can now see you, so snug so quiet, so comfortable happy & nappy gently smoking your pipe by the fire - No distant sound of a raging sea, no whisper of a hurricane, no boisterous winds rising higher & higher sweeping down the valleys, rocking the houses as it rushes by!

"You Gentlemen of England that live at home at ease
How little do you know of the danger's of the seas-"

But I am afraid I shall frighten you & keep you from daring to venture in the Winter with talking of Hurricanes & storms, ah but you are no Kitten after all, although you well know a Gig & a pranceing Horse terifies me, so my tremendous storms that frighten[s] me, would only make you smile & amuse you - - But why do I cheat my self with the vain hope of your comming when perhaps you never think of such a thing But surely you do?- - Now, look me in the face if you can, & say you wont come to see us Alas I cannot see you, or reach your ear, or you would have such a lecture; Now, pray how can you excuse yourself with any degree of grace Have you not plenty of time?- A perfect gentleman & nothing to do!- and plenty of money-Just step to the Bank, or pop your hand into your pocket,- or unlock the Cash Box- order the Gig down to York- Step into the railway then in another, pop in the Packet; & here you are directly Now Brother good Brother, naughty Brother what do you say What excuses are you going to coin, you had better not attempt it, I shall detect them all.- Just say in your next, "I leave here on such a day &c &c & we will meet the packets till we find you;- then we shall want Annie to sing "Oh that will he joyfull" &c- Well now I shall most anxiously I have hardly patience to give you any description of the island and its inhabitants because I want to talk to you as formerly, & writing is a poor cold substitute for friendly conversation,- the chat is all on one side & one has to wait such a while for an answer to all enquiries;- How are you,- the lovely boys, looking so rosy & healthy when last I saw them, I often picture them to myself- & Ann, my namesake far out stripping her Aunt soon, in height, talent & in Spirit,- I think she would not fear the sea the roaring raging sea,- How grieved I was I could not go to see Ann, be charitable on that subject till I see you, & I will convince you I could not circumstances on my road home prevented me quite unforeseen when with you. As to the inhabitants, there are abundance of half pay Officers & Gentlemen who retire on small in comes, & some on large ones, attracted by the beauty of the island & the salubrity of the climate.- Abundance of rich old maids- sparkling widows & rusty old Batchelors,- a Corpulant High Bailiff comfortable looking deemsters,- Members of the House of Keys &c As to Provisions- Potatoes 3d. a stone Good moist sugar 6d. Soap 4d. Beef 4d. Fish plentifill & sweet &c &c- The view from our house includes the Quay, fields houses vessels etc- but I must conclud[e] the Packet is going Solomon will write, for he has so many messages for me to tell you co[n]cerning trade beautifull cheap country hous[es] that he must tell his own tale, all I want is you to come see them.- I have not heard from Father yet, & shame to say I have not wrote to him of such a time, I had a very polite letter from Dr Donne,- & many from Aunt, Hannah is with her at Green side House [R]uncor[n], John is well, I should not be surprised if he came to reside here-I wish he would, we have a very nice house for us, 3 Parlers &C Do write I am very impatient.- Wine the best 2s. a bottle, Brandy 2s. 6d. & 3s. per Quart- rum 2s. per Quart. &c-Ann & Sam & Soll join me in love & remain dear Brother your's ever the same Ann-

She must have been one of the first Manx converts as her son Samuel is noted "Samuel Pitchforth, the first person baptized on the Isle of Man, died at Nephi, Juab Co December 21, 1877".[Andrew Jenson, Church Chronology]

One of her letters (possibly influenced by, if not sub-edited by, John Taylor as the style is quite different from that above) was printed in the Millenial Star as encouragement to other Manx converts. [see Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 12, p.437-440]

To the Saints in the Isle of Man: Dear brothers and sisters,-I greatly rejoice that our brother Mr. Joseph Cain is going to England, and will have the pleasure of visiting you; and as he is respected and esteemed here, and thought worthy of confidence and trust, you will be much edified by his testimony; but beware of other spirits who may even come from this place, and whom it would not be prudent to name, "By their fruits ye shall know them;" they will not bear a straightforward testimony to the work of the Lord. Believe them not. If my testimony and brother Cain's goes hand in hand, you then have two witnesses, and I will only simply state what I have seen and heard, and my own conclusions thereon, believing I have a right to think and judge for myself. I am no enthusiastic girl in her teens, but have seen a good deal of the world, and am accustomed to be extremely cautious, and weigh well all circumstances and things ere I jump to a conclusion. A statement of simple facts will enable you to judge for yourselves; truth needs no ornament. I shall endeavour to use the most plain and simple language, for the express purpose that I may be understood by everyone.

From a child I had studied the scriptures, and in secret poured out my heart to the Lord. Mr. Taylor and others providentially came to our house on the North Quay, and boarded with us. In spite of my Jewish unbelieving heart, I could not deny baptism and at the same time believe the New Testament; however, I was so resolved not to be deluded, that I thought I would just get baptized, and only go so far as I could see was right. Slow and cautious ever, I received the truth; many ran before me, while I crept slowly along. I soon felt, in common with many of my brethren, a spirit of gathering pervading my bosom, and a strong desire to be enabled to visit Nauvoo, to see and judge for myself; at the same time there seemed to be no possible chance for me ever to go; however, by faith I believed I should go, though so very unlikely, and frequently testified the same in the meetings. To be short, the Lord opened my way, I knew beforehand by prophecy that it would be so.

I sailed in the ship Palmyra, and left a kind father and friends. When the farewell hymn was sung on ship-board, I felt what it was to leave all for the truth; I had before gone through much persecution as many of you know. Unkindness in all its forms I could cheerfully bear, but to leave a kind and aged parent was almost more than I could endure. Well did St. John say, "These are they who have come through great tribulation." We had soon something else to think of than farewells, friends, or anything else, for the winds arose, and our fears with them; wave dashed on wave, and storm on storm, every hour increasing; all unsecured boxes, tins, bottles, pans, &c., danced in wild confusion, cracking, clashing, jumbling, rolling, while the vessel pitched, and tossed, and bounced till people flew out of their berths on the floor, while others held on with difficulty; thus we continued for eight days-no fires made-nothing cooked-biscuits and cold water; the waves dashed down the hold into the interior of the vessel, hatchway then closed, all in utter darkness and terror, not knowing whether the vessel was sinking or not; none could tell-all prayed-and awful silence prevailed-sharks and sins presenting themselves, and doubts and fears; one awful hour after another passing, we found we were not yet drowned; some took courage and lit the lamps; we met in prayer, we pleaded the promises of our God-faith prevailed; the winds abated, the sky cleared, the fires were again lit, then the luxury of a cup of tea and a little gruel.

Oh! how ungrateful are we for our mercies, because they are so common. We soon sailed joyfully and pleasantly along, rescued a sinking vessel with nine human beings from a watery grave; they had been seventeen days up to their waists in water, sleeping by turns, held up by the others. Oh! we wept for joy to be the means of saving them, remembering our own perilous condition. We arrived at New Orleans. The sight of land caused every face to smile, though on a foreign shore. Refreshed, we started up the noble Mississippi; the beauty of the scenery would take me too much time to describe; orange trees, houses, plantations, villages, pass in quick succession. We arrived at St. Louis-the great emporium of the west, all bustle, animation, and full of interest; leave St. Louis for Nauvoo. Our hearts now begin to feel lively and warm with emotions, as the Captain from time to time proclaims our near approach to Nauvoo. It was a beautiful moonlight night, our vessel glided silently and gracefully over the moon-lit waters. Spontaneously we sang a hymn, and never before or since has music seemed so sweet-it was from the heart; we had surmounted every difficulty, had braced every danger, and now were nearing our desired port. The bell rang-the vessel stayed-we were at Nauvoo. Soon friends welcomed friends. We seemed alone. I thought I knew no one there, when we heard a voice, "Is any here from the Isle of Man," we gladly responded "yes," when our two kind brothers, Mr. Joseph Cain and Mr. James Cowley gave us a right Mormon welcome. It is impossible to describe our sensations, when seven thousand miles from our natural home, on being received with such brotherly kindness and attention. It was midnight, but a warm comfortable meal was provided, a conveyance got for us and our goods, a house warm and comfortable found for us-and our joy seemed full.

Brothers Cain and Cowley we shall never forget; they would receive no remuneration for their trouble and unwearied attention; they proved themselves true brethren, and we shall ever feel grateful. The next morning Mr. and Mrs. Taylor called upon us, and evinced the same kindness and hospitality; we found one spirit in all-the spirit of union and love. From that time to this we have ever found them the same. Nauvoo greatly exceeded our expectations-likewise the temple. Soon after we came it was the conference, and to witness such an immense multitude of happy faces was in itself a treat; thousands thronged to the stand (a place erected for the twelve before the temple was completed), and what did we hear at the stand? Some set formal discourse, rightly divided, graced with flowery eloquence? No! But men spoke as they were moved by the spirit. The word, though clothed in nature's simplest language, was as fire-it came from the ear, and went to the heart-conviction followed the words of truth....

Your affectionate sister in the gospel, Ann Pitchforth

Her use of 'jewish' as an epithet and her husband's name Solomon, gave raise to a mistaken assumption of a Jewish background (which is sometimes still repeated). I can't resist quoting Samuel Taylor (grandson of John Taylor and author of a biography) -

For Taylor, hospitality at the luxurious Pitchforth mansion at Hanover Street on the North Quay provided a scale of living such as he'd never before enjoyed. Solomon Pitchforth was a wealthy businessman and patron of the arts. Tapestries and oil paintings covered the walls; the Library had hundreds of rare books. Ann, the hostess, was a beautiful woman of forty, of good breeding, cultured, well read, and an accomplished pianist, with a family of four beautiful and talented children. Samuel, the oldest, was a brilliant young man. The three girls had their weekly music and elocution lessons, and gave every promise of developing the grace, charm, and loveliness of their mother. Taylor was completely captivated by this family. It was too bad the Pitchforths weren't Mormons, nor even Christians. Well, perhaps he could bring them to the Lord"

From where this 'information' came I don't know - they were not Jewish!, their background seems rather obscure and as mentioned Samuel ran the Mitre at Kirk Michael and the Marine at Peel in the early 1840's! Certainly Taylor had captivated Ann for he was polygamously married to her by 1846.

Taylor's biography describes Ann as teaching the piano in Nauvoo and attempting to take her piano on the trek to Utah in the January of 1846. She was ill on the journey, though rested some time, she died it would seem from exhausion and malnutrition.


Samuel W. Taylor The Kingdom or Nothing Macmillan 1976 reprinted 1999 as The Last Pioneer: John Taylor a Mormon Prophet Salt Lake City: Signature Books (ISBN 1-56085-115-5).

Manx Note Book      [Genealogy Index]

see Mormon Converts

Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
© F.Coakley , 1999