Louis Deschamps and Ann Stephens - Biography

Ann Stephens was born, October 10, 1840, in Pencader. Carmarthen. Wales. She was the daughter of David Phillips Stephens and Jane Evans Stephens.

Mormon missionaries began preaching the gospel in the village and encouraged the family to come to America and join the saints who were traveling west to Zion (Utah). They were converted. Two sons. Thomas and John, began saving some of their earnings to pay passage across the Atlantic Ocean.

After several years, when it came time to depart from their native land and home, they changed their minds. Their younger sister Ann told her brothers she would be happy to go to America if she had the money. Thinking it was a joke on her part, they offered her their savings to make the trip. Her faith was strong, her heart sincere, and with a few personal belongings, she was soon on her way to join the saints in America. Of course her brothers thought she would surely change her mind when reaching the mighty ocean to board the ship, but she did not. At the age of 22, she sailed for America, Saturday, May 30, 1863, on the ship Cynosure out of Liverpool, England, with 774 other saints, arriving in New York Harbor July 19, 1863.

Upon arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, she was taken to the home of Brigham Young, Jr. as a housemaid. Many times Ann mentioned to her children the life at this home, of what a wonderful man Brigham was, of the kindness and thoughtfulness shown her by him and his family. Her work there was caring for the fine linens of the home (The Beehive House). Being an expert seamstress brought her more money than salary as a housemaid. This was encouraging to her, as she was trying to save enough money to bring more of her family from Wales to Zion.

She accomplished this desire in seven years, and the rest of the family came from Wales to Zion. Thev settled in the small town of Willard, Utah. Ann moved with her family to Willard but kept and cherished the close friendship with the Youngs.

About the same time that Ann left Wales, a young Frenchman named Louis Deschamps left his home in Canada and drifted south towards St John, Idaho.

Louis Deschamps was born March 12, 1838, Timothee. Beauharnois County, Province Quebec Canada.  He was the son of Francois (Henault) Deschamps and Josephte Pare' Deschamps. His father was a woodsman or logger who probably built the first log houses, and Louis learned his father's trade.

As he left his home for America, he traveled with other woodsmen or trappers, perhaps over a period of several years, down into Montana and Idaho, or possibly to St Louis, Missouri, and then coming westward with a Mormon wagon train. It was said that he built the first cabin in Boise, Idaho. He was baptized into the LDS church on July 28, 1866, at the age of 28. At some time in late 1866 or early 1867, Louis met Ann Stephens. She had been baptized into the LDS church on July 5, 1854, about 13 ½ years earlier, in Wales. The couple probably met in Brigham City, Utah, or Willard. Ann was a Welsh and English-speaking lady. Louis, a French Canadian, spoke French. Their courtship must have been a bit different than most because neither of them could speak nor understand the language of the other. But by signs and motions of various sort they courted. They were married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah, on March 30, 1867, by Wilford Woodruff.

Louis and Ann were living in Willard, Utah, at the time of the birth of their first child. In 1870 the family moved north to Malad, Idaho, with Ann's brother David and cousin Henry Jones. A year earlier, in 1869, the hamlet about 5 miles west of Malad, St John was named by Welsh immigrants. Ann's parents, David and Jane Stephens, moved to St John in 1869.
Louis and Ann and their family followed them to St John in 1872. Numerous families "staked their claims" with "squatter's rights" on land in St. John during this time. However, the Deschamps did not officially homestead until March 5, 1880. They built a house and store to supply the community needs.

The couple lived in St John until the time of their deaths. They were the parents of 11 children.

Louis died September 20, 1902, at age 64. Ann Stephens Deschamps died March 5, 1909, at age 69. They are buried in the St. John Cemetery. A picture of them hangs in the Pioneer Museum in Malad.


Submitted by: Sue Ann Deschamps Robbins,

great-great grand daughter

Additional information submitted br:

Judy Goodsell



Stephens, Ann

Deschamps, Louis


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