History of Ann Stephens Deschamps
By Rosalie Ann Cole Talbot (granddaughter)
Ann Stephens Deschamps was born October 10, 1839 at Pencader, Carmathen, Wales. She was the 4th of ten children born to David Stephens and Jane Evans.
As a child she lived close to the ocean and became an excellent swimmer.
She went to a Bible class and was awarded a prize for the one who could recite the Bible by heart. It was evidentially done in small sections.
Wales was a land where everyone sang. The men would sing going to and coming from the mines. They never saw the sun and they went to the mines early and come home late.
Then some Mormon missionaries came to Wales, and Ann and her family were converted to the LDS church. Ann worked and saved enough money to come to America. She crossed the plains with a handcart in 1863. She walked every step of the way and enjoyed it as there were other young folk along the way. In the evenings they would dance to music provided by some of the members.
When she got to Salt Lake City she was offered to be assigned into polygamy, but she refused saying she wanted a man of her own. She worked for people as she was an excellent seamstress, one of them being Brigham Young.
After seven years she sent money back to help pay for the rest of her family to come to Zion. When they arrived, the family, including her moved to Willard, Utah. Here she met a young Frenchman who had come down from Canada named Louis Deschamps. He joined the church and they were married in the Endowment House on March 30, 1867. It was said they he never learned to speak Welch and she never learned to speak French, and neither of them could speak English very well.
Ann and Louis lived in Willard for two years. Their oldest daughter, Rosalie Jane (who was my mother) was born there and one other daughter. They then moved to Malad, Idaho and three years later took up a homestead at St. John, a farming community just outside of Malad.
Ann was very smart and a very good orator, and they would call upon her to speak at all the gatherings, many times right out of the audience. She always spoke at St. David's Day which is a Welch celebration.
They had the first organ in Malad Valley and everyone would gather at their home for 'singing school' as they called it.
Here they farmed and my grandmother had quite a nice house for those days, four rooms, and shingles on the roof. Most had dirt roofs.
She and Louis had eleven children. Three of them died in childhood. They ran a store besides farming. I can remember the store when I was a child. It had an old cowbell on the door. I can remember women coming with their eggs from miles and Grandmother giving them refreshments before they left. The children from school would buy candy, gum, and crackers at noon hour. Their store had a front like old time stores and had two large slopes where they kept their supplies. Later they moved all of the things into one slope and their son David lived there a while. Then their son Francis and wife Hannah lived there and lastly their daughter Rachel and husband lived there until Ann died. Then they quit the store.
They donated and deeded part of their homestead to the church and the present church was built upon it, close to the old store.
Ann Stephens Deschanps died March 5, 1909, and was buried at the St. John Cemetery. She was preceded in death by Louis seven years earlier.