“ A Flower Bloomed”
To my Grandmother –
Mary Ashton Wardle
By Orrin D. Wardle
The flowers bloomed With colors bright
That verdant spring of fifty-six
‘Round Stockport town,
Down Cheshire way, On hills, In Vales,
In England’s realm.
The rains of March, With fog and cold,
Had nourished growth And brought the green
That dressed the hills And filled the vales
Throughout the land In April, May.
Beyond the town, Brim full of glee,
Roamed Little girls In play
And search to see, Enjoy,
The land’s display.
Four girls there were:
One Our Mary.
Who were those girls?
The Ashton Girls.
They’re William’s girls
And Sarah Ann’s;
Of yeoman stock who worked
In mills To earn Their bread
A NEW LIFE
Wilford Woodruff And
Brigham Young Years ‘fore Had come
To that good land To teach the plan,
The word of Christ, Of Gospel lost,
To earth restored.
The parents heard;
The word they b’lived;
The Ashtons Joined
The Church of Christ.
In forty-one, They were baptized;
Then thought Of Zi’n
Across the sea.
When Mary came
In fifty-one The thought held firm,
“We’d go there now If Funds we had.”
They Labored Own Selves to sustain
While Waiting long.
From fifty-one To Fifty-six,
She grew, And played, And learned, And Worked
As little girls in England did
In age of Queen Victoria.
She went to church In cottage small.
She’d listened To the preachers
Tell Of Joseph Smith,
Moroni too Who’d brought
The book From days of old.
She’d talked with friends
‘Bout Jesus Christ,
Asked her parents dear,
Why She On earth had come To live.
She’d Come to b’lieve
What Mormons know!
While daddy In the mills did work,
They saved A pence, A farthing here,
But Realized They’d never get cash funds enough
To pay Their fare.
Their Miracle Did Then occur!
The leaders Told about a fund –
Perpetual Emigration Fund –
For Worthy saints of Ashton mold.
Why Did they come?
We Can surmise they thought
Some Of a better life:
More free to be what they would be,
To have a job,
To own a home.
Or Was it faith In Zion Mew?
They Truly b’lived the Mormon book;
They Wanted place among the Saints:
They Pondered brief, Then Said,
Meanwhile The girls danced down the lanes
With skipping feet And pumping hearts.
A hope A new Came to their house
As fresh new green bathed
All the land.
The flowers Bloomed
That verdant spring Of fifty-six
Excited girls chose What to go
And What to leave,
While Green The hills and vales
To gold They gave but little thought.
The girls More thought, ‘Mid grass and shade,
Of ships And trains And Indians,
Of buffalo And
Would they be Safe?
With daddy, Yes! No fear;
He’d Surely Care for them.
Their souls Were full of sheer delight:
We’re Going To-
The fond Farewells
To friends and home,
To relatives, With tears
But firmed In faith that they now had
In Gospel true.
If friends they’d leave;
New friends they’d have.
If home was left;
If birthplace left;
New birth had come.
They’d Leave the old;
They’d Find the new.
For They’d been Taught.
Missionaries had taught and told
With certainty How desert
Would, from rim to rim,
Be filled And make
The roses bloom.
And Thus That May
As flowers bloomed
‘Round Stockport town,
The Ashtons Left their loved ones deer
To seek New life
In Zion land.
At Liverpool, They found Their ship
Whose Master Reed in record wrote,
“A man and wife, Each thirty-three,
And children Four By
P. E. Fund.”
Ship for Boston bound,
Six hundred saints,
Two hundred more,
Were being led by Priesthood
Called to organize
And see them through.
Great storms They had
With boisterous waves,
But sun Came out
And girls played on,
Chased ‘Round the deck
And through the ropes
As Captain yelled
Then smiled and bore.
Her sister dear, Her living doll,
Did die At sea, When Only two,
And then Was slipped beneath the waves,
To play No more.
“Oh, Father dear, In Heav’n Above
Why Took you her In life so new?
A babe In arms Was all we knew.”
And Anguish Filled
The hearts of all.
The ship sailed on,
Five weeks passed by,
Until They made the Boston port.
By train They went,
Through settled lands,
To end of tracks:
There Wagons were To haul them on.
With Meager wealth, Uncertainties,
But Hope alive,
They fin’ly came to Council Bluffs,
The Gath’ring Point.
The plan was set.
They All Would walk a thousand miles
Across the plains And through the hills.
Their meager wealth And food supplies
In handcarts haul.
The handcart train, With wheels
So frail And box so small,
Set out Too Late; The season spent,
Yet Without choice, They set out West
Along the Platte.
The men did Pull; The women Pushed:
While children Small Did trudge along.
In sandy spots, On stubborn hills,
Young men Would help,
With shoulders Push.
Yes, He Was there Now twenty-one.
He’d crossed the sea,
Now Walked the plains with Martin group,
Fifth company: An Isaac Strong
Of Wardle line.
Then Mary Small Was only four.
Thus, If he saw, If her he knew,
She could have been
But nothing more than little girl
Upon the plains.
They’d gone not far.
They yet Were on Nebraska plain
When mother said, “My time has come.”
Their Hearts Did Break! The baby died.
Their mother died!
Out on the plains, Where winds did roar
And Wild life ran, They Dug a grave,
A shallow trench, And placed Therein
The ones they loved
To wait Christ’s call.
Saints Gathered round Condolence grave,
“She’s now with God.”And “You’ll make out.”
The handcarts rolled And tears
Did stream down Mary’s cheeks
As on she trudged
“Oh Mother dear, Why Did you die?
The plain’s so broad The trail’s so long:
Who’ll Wash our clothes And meals prepare;
Who’ll Keep us safe With
FOLLOWED BY HEARTBREAK:
Then William Felt His loneliness.
In tears, distraught, His reason broke.
A desp’rate man, He fled The train,
Went back To home
Across the sea.
“Oh, Father dear, Why Did you go?
The home We seek’s still Far away.
Who’ll Pull our cart; Who’ll Build our fire:
Who’ll Tell us right When we’re not sure?”
“Who’ll take them in?” “They’re three lone girls.”
“Who’ll pull their cart?”
Saints Took them in –
Sarah Betsy, And Mary too
Were taken in.
Soon Mountains rose before their view.
The days of fall Rushed Quickly past
And Winter’s blast Came
Far too soon to cloak the land
With Cold And Snow.
At Old South Pass Their Movement Stopped:
Crude shelters built Gave little help.
They’d left so late that
They now stalled in drifts of snow
On sagebrush hills.
“Be not afraid,” Some bravely said,
“We, Brigham know; He’ll send us food.”
But days passed on And food ran short:
First one, Then more,
Succumbed to death.
The girls did watch And shuddered
Hard As shallow graves were gug about.
Unmarked, The saints Went To their rest
As prayers Went up,
“Lord, Save us yet.”
THEN – ANOTHER LOST!
E’en Betsy Froze Out on those hills.
She left but two:
Sarah Ellen was but seven And Mary five;
Two girls Alone
In winter cold
No Flowers Bloomed
Upon those hills,
And Wintry blasts Benumbed their hands;
But, Deep Within each little soul,
Each Softly prayed,
“God, with us be.”
As Mary Looked across the land,
Through drifting snow With eyes near froze,
She saw out there But
Gray of plains with gath’ring white
On hills of brown.
She looked about And Realized
The desert rose was far away,
For all she saw Was
Barren land of sagebrush gray
The wagons Came That Brigham sent.
The little girls Were ‘Mong the first
To taste Of food That nourished them.
Then Saviors Took them
To their goal.
Bedraggled Girls To Zion came,
Their parents Gone, Bewildered Full.
What Would they do?
Where Would they go?
Would e’er again The
But saints Are saints.
They’ll try to Do right.
So they did care And Took them in:
But life was harsh Scant time for care;
They Oft’ were used Much more
Thus Mary lone Passed through the years
As sisters two Went sep’rate ways.
No mother dear To bless at night;
No father’s hug To hold her
The little girl Still Hoped and dreamed
“Til By sixteen
She’d found a role as mother’s aid
In Isaac’s home To care,
His children there.
Was this the man, The Handsome youth,
On ship she’d seenAs little girl,
Who Pushed their cart when help required?
He was the one Of Wardle name
Their clothes, Their beds, The dishes too;
She cared for them;
She cared for them;
She struggled on.
The garden corn Oft’ felt her hoe
As dawn to dusk She
From charity, Affection came,
And turned to love –
To fill The need of lonely girl
With Saddened heart,
Who’s Lived alone
With people ‘round
The place To work ‘Came place To wed.
For Isaac asked – She heard him say –
"You’ll Mary me;
Then here You’ll live as one of us,
Love All around."
She was His wife, His second wife,
By nuptials Joined and fully blessed
Through Pow’r of God
By joint consent. Sealed
At the Church Endowment House.
Fall colors passed. The spring green came.
She found Her place within their love.
She walked the lane, His hand in hers,
Displayed Her love
To Isaac dear.
One day She knew That she would have
one of her own To have his name.
Her joy was full For now
She knew that Isaac’s true
She’d always be.
The winter blast’s Ne’ver cooled
No flowers bloomed With colors bright,
But Fields of white Bespoke to her the purity
She’d Give Her child.
She Sensed the joy Her arms Would hold.
Her eyes would spark Then Turn demure
As Isaac Said.
“You’ll teach him well His God To love
Good works to do.”
She planned The clothes for baby wear;
She thought Of names He well might bear.
He’d Carry on the Ashton line E’en though
He’d have a Wardle name.
Through passing months She dreamed
And planned a life That soon more full would be.
No more alone! She’d hold him near –
Her blood -Her child –
The One She’d Rear.
The Flowers Bloomed
In April month of sixty-nine:
Bright buttercups And Indian paints.
The desert lands And Mary’s heart
Came all a-glow.
THEN FINAL BLOW:
The baby lived; The mother died!
When At the gates of happiness,
She left this world. She’d
See no more the flowers bloom
When Springtime Came.
What Was her thought In final breath
As life did ebb,
What Did she think?
“From toil I’ free!”
Or could it be,“ My happiness
Denied to me.”
Might She Have Screamed in anguished mind
As life drained out?
“Oh, Wicked death, Thou Me Hast stung
Just when my dawn first breaks With rays
Dear God above,
Why Did she die before her time?
She’d just Begun her life to live.
Hard times And grief She’d put behind.
Her joy’d just come.
Then She was gone!
She Lived no more. Her child was here,
But she’d not raise the William
Named for father lost.
She’ll never have Her joy in life.
We mortals Cannot understand Why
Took You her in early life.
She’d lived Without, Been numbed With grief;
Then Took you her
Of joy deprived.
We’ll never know In Mortal life;
Though Faith we’ll have With hope alive;
But, If she knows –
I b’lieve she does –
She’s Seen the line
Through William come.
Three girls, Eight boys,
With Ten full grown Grandchildren
Come to live their lives And many more
Will be Her seed throughout
The generations Yet.
Bishops, Clerks, Patriarch,
Presidents some And couns’lors too
Teacher, Workers In Priesthood groups
As well as in
Missionaries Her seed became
To teach, Expound the Gospel full
Within the States, In land afar,
As faith Most kept
With Mary’s b’lief.
They all Trace back Through William lone,
The only one Born To that girl.
Mary Ashton Bore him alone
Then went her way
To dwell above.
She Waits the day, Not far away,
When All who b’lieve And True obey
Will Gather ‘round With fam’lies dear
To taste With her
If She came back And talked to us,
Might not She say
About that day in sixty-nine?
“I’d lived my life; I’d had my teast;
My son was born;
I Briefly Came on earth to live
I Hoped And Dreamed;
I suffered much;
But, Ne’ver forget, Although
And quietly lie in death’s repose.
My flower bloomed,
And Through its seed
Spread o’er the land –
And will spread more.
Yes, yes: Yes, Yes:
My flower bloomed
That April day
Completed on September 4, 1979
Mary Ashton Wardle was born in Stock-port, Cheshire, England, on 13 Jul 1851. She came to America on the ship “Horizon” and crossed the plains with the Martin Handcart Company in 1856. Her son William was born 5 Apr 1869. Mary died in South Jordan, Utah on 5 Apr 1869.