Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
sponsored by the Utah State Board of Education, the BYU-Public School Partnership and the Utah Education Network

Pioneer 1848-1868 Companies

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1868 (age 17), Boak (Browne), Margaret Ann (England - Dressmaker)

Margaret Ann Boak Browne, the youngest child of Nicholas and Elizabeth Irving Boak, was born June 13, 1851, at Whithill Point, Northumberland, England. She had a good education and was a professional dressmaker and milliner. When Margaret was young, she showed great faith in the gospel. The elders stayed with her parents when they came to their locality, and during a siege of cholera, Margaret took care of several of them who had contracted the disease. Soon her mother was taken ill and their neighbors and friends felt that because of her frailty she would not be able to survive. But Margaret, through inspiration and faith, nursed her mother through the long illness until she regained her health.

Her people, who were fairly well fixed financially, received a great deal of opposition when they joined the Mormon Church. They were so ostracized they had to sacrifice their property in order to come to Utah. Margaret Ann, her mother and father sailed on the ship Constitution. It arrived in New York on August 5, 1868, and the immigrants continued by rail to Benton where they were met by Captain Daniel D. McArthur's oxteam train of fifty-one wagons.

During the trip Margaret and her parents became friends with one of the drivers, Charles Browne, and upon arriving in Salt Lake City they decided to go on to Spanish Fork with Charles. They arrived there on September 8, 1868, and on the evening of that same day Margaret and Charles were married. The family made their home with the young couple until they could establish themselves in a home of their own.

Margaret had been used to all the necessities and many luxuries when she lived in England. She was artistic with a needle and when just a child won a prize in the infant's class with her fancywork. Ambitious, she decided to rely on her resources for obtaining finances, so she did dressmaking and millinery work for others. At first, it was necessary for her to make all dresses by hand, which was a tedious job, but later she bought a sewing machine. It was quite an event when her new machine arrived. It was one of the first in town and the first many of the people had ever seen. Dressmaking was not so long or tedious after that, and although Margaret was frail, she ofttimes sat up the greater part of the night to finish dresses and hats so her customers would have them for some special occasion.

Her millinery shop, which was said to be the first in town, was in one room of her home. Her father, Nicholas Boak, walked to Salt Lake City and carried her first supply of hats back to Spanish Fork.

Source: Our Pioneer Heritage © Carter, Kate B., ed. 20 vols. Salt Lake City: International Society, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1958-1977. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the publisher. Documents and images are exerpted by permission from the LDS Family History Suite CDROM from Ancestry.