Charlotte DeGrey was the fourth daughter of John and Maria Brooks DeGrey III, and was born on June 10, 1842. The home into which Charlotte made her first appearance was a humble but a good home where love and devotion were ever apparent. The bright eyed little baby girl brought no end of commotion as she wailed forth her wants and needs.
Dudley, Worcestershire, England, birthplace of Charlotte, and the country surrounding it, is called the "Black Country". Due to the coal mines underneath and near this area, the skies and the countryside are somewhat blackened in appearance. Consequently, Dudley is not as beautiful and green as most of the English towns. Nevertheless, standing majestically on a green hill overlooking Dudley, surrounded by beautiful old trees, is the one beautiful building which residents point to with pride. It is the old vine covered Dudley Castle which was build by Lord Dudley and later destroyed by Oliver Cromwell. It was there on that green, peaceful section of the ever dismal Dudley, that Charlotte and her sisters and the children of the neighborhood spent many happy rollicking hours in play.
Charlotte, her brother, Alfred, and sisters, Selina, Kezia, Maria and Sarah, and her parents lived in Dudley until she was about thirteen years of age. A short time prior, the DeGrey family heard and was converted to Mormonism. Even at her young age, Charlotte seemed to sense a difference in their home. A very happy and exciting occasion which occurred about that time was the marriage of her older sister, Selina, to one of the young missionaries, who first contacted the family concerning Mormonism. Then the whole family began making preparations to sail for America, where they could then travel to the Great Salt Lake Valley to join with other saints.
Opposition and a certain degree of resentment from friends and neighbors came to Maria DeGrey and her children because they had joined the "Mormon Church". Undaunted, the DeGrey family continued their efforts. Charlotte was still but a young girl and did not fully realize the feeling against them because of their church membership. It seemed to her as though many new adventures were in store for her as she thought of going to Utah, and because she was so young, she excitedly anticipated the future, not knowing of the hardships and trials which were to come into her life.
In June 1856, the DeGrey family sold their household goods and collected what savings they had and the clothing which had been prepared and set aside for the journey and booked passage on the sailing vessel "Well Fleet". Selina and her husband, John C. Hall, and their two children remained in England two more years while John was doing missionary work before going to Utah. Alfred DeGrey, Charlotte's only brother, also remained in England and came to Utah later. Only Maria and her daughters left their homeland at that time.
They had many interesting experiences crossing the ocean. The voyage took six weeks but Charlotte and the other children enjoyed everything. Though most of the trip the weather was beautiful and the ocean was calm so that none of them experienced seasickness. Their meals consisted of salt bacon, beef, sea biscuits, etc. Sometimes the stewards would give them lumps of brown sugar, which, when dipped in vinegar, made a very tasty luxury for them. The water they had to use became quite stale by the end of the voyage. The large barrels were filled with water before the boat left England, and before the end of the journey it had a terrible odor. Nevertheless, it had to be used both for drinking and cleaning purposes.
The voyage was an adventure from beginning to end for the children. Charlotte and her sisters spent most of their time on deck watching the porpoises jump out of the water, trying to catch the flying fish, and sometimes they caught a glimpse of a giant whale in the distance spurting water high into the air. The ships which passed them were far away on the horizon, but they seemed to take the loneliness from the vast ocean. When the weather was warm, Charlotte and her companions could always be found underfoot, watching the sailors’ climb the masts which governed the boat, or else watching the sailors swim in the ocean.
Near the end of the voyage, the DeGrey family were witnesses of a near riot on board the boat. The trouble started when one of the stewards and a negro cook had an argument. The cook stabbed the steward quite seriously and further trouble was culminated when a tugboat came out from Boston and took the Negro cook ashore. A riot was averted and relief swept the frightened passengers when the knowledge that further injury to either the crew or themselves had been stopped.
It was a warm day in July 1856, when the "Well Fleet" docked at the Boston harbor, after a monotonous trip of six weeks. Maria DeGrey deeply felt her responsibility as she stepped ashore in the new land of America. However the family was met by a friend of one of Charlotte's sisters, Kezia, and invited to her home at Chelsea.
The Degrey family spent many pleasant days relaxing and visiting at the home of their friend, then the family separated and found work in order to start saving enough money to carry them to their destination. At the home where Charlotte went to work, she was required to sleep in an attic room. One night not long after she had started to work, a fire broke out in the neighborhood. Charlotte was awakened by the reflection of the flames in the sky light in the small attic sleeping room. She became hysterical and frightened when she thought the house in which she was living was afire.
So great was the shock that Charlotte's health was greatly impared. Even after sometime had passed, she did not seem to regain her strength. Instead she wasted away until she was nothing but a skeleton of bones.
Charlotte's mother was working at the home of a doctor who insisted that Maria bring her daughter to his home where he could take care of her. A bed was fashioned out of a basket and in it they put Charlotte. The basket was placed in the kitchen where Maria could watch over her daughter. The young girl was too weak to move her limbs but her eyes followed her mother's movements from place to place as she worked around the kitchen.
During the nine months of working and saving in Boston, the DeGrey family managed to save only $112.00, but they were still faithful and undaunted by any discouraging words from their newly found friends in America. Their determination only seemed to be strengthened by each attempt to show the futility of their venture.
They were unable to start immediately on their journey westward because John and Selina had only just arrived and John had received an injury to his foot on board the boat, so the group waited about one week in Boston. Then in April, 1857, the small company of nine, full of faith and dogged determination, started on their way. They traveled by train as far as the Missouri River, which was considered the end of any civilization. From there westward, the frontier was rugged and uncharted.
When the family group arrived in Iowa City, Charlotte's young brother in law, John, took their combined savings and was able to buy only a yoke of cows, a yoke of steers and one covered wagon. This was insufficient means of travel for nine persons, but the group did not let this fact dissuade them. They were ferried across the Missouri River on a large flat boat and from there they traveled to Florence where they joined the main company of Saints. Further instructions were given them as they were grouped and assigned to the company with Jesse B. Martin acting as captain. Against the advise of Brother Martin that they wait until the next spring when at such time they would be able to secure another wagon and more provisions, and be better equipped for the long journey, the nine members of the DeGrey and Hall families determined to go to Utah as soon as possible.
The long journey had many unpleasant, yet faith building hardships for all the saints. The wagon train continued slowly westward, traveling from fifteen to twenty miles per day and stopping at the end of each day wherever they could find a suitable place to camp where there were food and water for their animals.
No complaints were uttered by Maria DeGrey and her family. Especially there were no complaints from Charlotte and her sisters and their newly acquired friends. Charlotte was about fourteen years of age and she found pleasure and excitement in each day as the company traveled along. There were always pretty rocks and wild flowers to gather as the young girls and boys walked beside the wagons. Sometimes the DeGrey girls would ride ahead of the company with the captain, Brother Martin, to find a suitable camping place. Then, while waiting for the wagon train to arrive, Charlotte and her sisters would pick up buffalo chips and make a fire.
The wagons of the company always formed their camp in the form of a circle as a protective measure against Indian attack. There were also the danger of buffalo causing a stampede among their own cattle. Although the company had no serious trouble with the Indians, there were many stories from other companies which had been molested by warring Indians. These stories kept the saints ever cautious and fearful, and certain precautions were exercised so that they were always prepared for any trouble from the Indians.
On one occasion, after the DeGrey family had crossed the Platte River, their cows and steers became exhausted and had to be given a rest. John Hall fell behind of the main body of the company in order to give the animals a chance to rest. Charlotte and her sister, Sarah, were gathering flowers near the wagon when they noticed a cloud of dust in the distance. They had been cautioned never to stray far from the wagons because of the constant danger so naturally they ran back to the wagon as soon as they sighted the dust. When the Indians came into view, the group could see that there were about thirty red skins. While the majority of them stopped a short distance away, several of the Indians rode up and encircled the wagon. They poked around under the cover of the wagon and then put their red faces into the wagon. The occupants were so frightened they were speechless and they knew their lives were in the protecting care of their Father in Heaven. Each member silently prayed that the Indians would be kindly toward them.
John Hall was a brave man and though only of the welfare of the women and children entrusted in his care. Realizing the danger they were in, he quickly motioned in the direction of the main body of the company, which was some distance ahead down in a deep ravine, and said, "Captain, company ahead." Two of the Indians rode away in the direction John had pointed out to them until they could so the rest of the saints. Then they rode back and consulted with the remaining Indians.
After a breathless moment while the frightened travelers waited the decision of the apparent leader of the group, the Indians whirled and rode away in a cloud of dust as quickly as they had arrived. A visible sigh of relief swept the occupants of the wagon as they watched the Indians disappear. That night as the saints made camp, John Hall and his small group thanked their Heavenly Father for His protecting care during their experience that day. Tired bodies and aching hearts received rest and new hope as the weary men and women knelt in prayer. Songs of thanksgiving and praise rend the still night as the saints gathered around the campfires.
Charlotte and sisters talked of their frightening experience to their friends for days afterward. There was always something new and interesting for the children to discuss as they romped and played. The DeGrey girls walked most of the distance because there was not room in the wagon for all of them. They waded across most of the steams, but whenever the company came to a large river such as the Platte River, the girls would hang to the back of the wagon until they were across.
It was September, 1857 when the company arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. Charlotte and her sisters had walked nearly all of the hundreds of miles across the plains. They, too, were tired, but nevertheless, excited and thrilled at the knowledge that they would not have any further to walk. They now could settle down and enjoy the companionship and acquaintance of both old and new friends.
The Saints were very fortunate in that they were able to arrive in Utah before the Johnson's Army did. Their journey would have been delayed about one year if they had not arrived when they did, so there was a great deal of excitement and relief among the group.
Their funds had been depleted in the purchase of provisions for the trip, so each able bodied member of the DeGrey family found employment in different homes after their arrival in Salt Lake City. Charlotte's sister, Kezia, married John Hall as his second wife and was sealed to him for time and eternity. The family built a small log cabin on seventh east, between South Temple and First South streets, for Maria Brooks DeGrey, and here she lived comfortably with the girls who were still unmarried.
Charlotte was courted and married in 1861 to George Baddley when she was but nineteen years of age. They planned to live in Salt Lake where they would be near their respective families, but one month after they were married, they were among the first to settle at Grafton on the Virgin River. Charlotte's other sisters, Selina and Kezia, and their husband, John Hall, were among the group called for the same mission, so it was much easier for Charlotte to leave her mother and travel so far away.
Great obstacles stood in the way of these pioneers when they first reached their destination. A great deal of their supplies had to be brought in from the outside, and lumber for building purposes had to be freighted by team and wagon, oftimes from great distances. Charlotte and her young husband, George, endured many trials and harsh experiences, as did all the faithful pioneers of southern Utah. Their first child a son, Alfred, was born September 14, 1862, while they were living in a dugout built in the side of the mountain. Just to have children in those days, unattended except for perhaps a midwife, was a fine and brave thing for those young women to do.
There was always the struggle in tilling the soil. Charlotte worked beside her husband in building and harvesting for their needs. There was also the constant fear of attack from the Indians which inhabited that section of Utah. Charlotte, because of the experiences she had while crossing the plains, was even more sensitive to that ever threatening danger.
Charlotte and George lived there for about three years when her husband was released to return to Salt Lake City due to ill health developed through the hardships of pioneering and the extreme heat in "Dixie", and was advised to return at once. Charlotte urged her husband to return as quickly as possible. George was hesitant to travel at that time because Charlotte was expecting her second child. So against his better judgment and because of Charlotte's persistence, the family made ready for the long, tiresome trip back to Salt Lake City. Charlotte's older sister, Selina, had became discontented and discouraged with her life in Dixie, so she planned to return with Charlotte and George in case of an emergency.
They traveled about three weeks and Charlotte seemed to be taking the hard traveling quite satisfactorily until they reached the point of the mountain near Lehi. There Charlotte gave birth to a second son, Henry, on April 16, 1864. The baby was born in a covered wagon. Selina knew that some friends by the name of Russon who also had come to Utah from Dudley, England, lived near. George contacted this family and they willingly gave what assistance they could for the three days they were stopped at Lehi. When Charlotte felt well enough the family again continued on their way to Salt Lake City.
They made a home on Ninth East between Second and Third South, which consisted of one adobe room with a lean to on the back to be used for a kitchen and a porch on the front. Here two more children were born to Charlotte and George, a daughter, Maria, and a son, George. Later George built a home on Tenth East for Charlotte, which is still standing (1949).
George's health did not seem to improve, and Charlotte was compelled to care for her husband and her young family. Alfred was still but a small boy, but he helped his mother haul coal from the depot with a wagon and a mule. Charlotte kept her own home supplied with coal and also many of their neighbors and friends. She planted and harvested all their crops. From her vegetable garden which was her pride and joy, Charlotte took peas to the market earlier then anyone else. To accomplish this she got up at day break and picked the peas, and then carried them in large sacks for twelve city blocks to "Market Row", located just off Main Street.
George was bedridden for two and one half years before his death on April 9, 1875, at the age of fifty. He was a comparatively young man but the hardships of the pioneer life were too strenuous for him. Charlotte was left a widow at the age of thirty three, with quite a bit of property and five children for which to provide.
Since her boys were older, they were anxious to find jobs in order to help their mother make her burden lighter. A neighbor, Mr. Keyson, who owned the Salt Lake Brewery, was a kind friend to Charlotte and her family and took a great interest in their welfare. He gave Charlotte's boys light work in the brewery at first and gradually promoted them to better jobs as they grew older. One son, Henry, became foreman of the bottling department and worked as such until the brewery business was discontinued.
Even though the extra money brought into the household by her boys helped lighten her work. Charlotte had her share of trials and sorrows. It seemed even more than she could bear because she had no partner to share her troubles. Her youngest son, John William died when he was about six months old and her youngest daughter, Sarah, died at the age of eight with membranous croup. The death of her little daughter so soon after her husband's death was hard for Charlotte because the child had such a sweet, loveable personality and had been such a comfort to her in her bereavement at her husband's passing. The children, in growing up, had their share of ailments and small injuries, which only added more worry and anxiety to Charlotte.
Each afternoon when the boys were younger they would take the cows upon the hill near Fort Douglas to graze. On this particular day they decided they would like to collect a menagerie of animals and insects. They caught horned toads, lizards of all sizes and colors and then they saw a rattlesnake. Being unafraid and adventuresome as small boys are, they decided to take the rattlesnake home with them, too. While the other boys were to hold the snake's head down with a forked stick, Alfred, who was the oldest, agreed to tie a string around its neck. However, in their excitment the boys let the stick slip and the snake caught Alfred's thumb in its poisonous fangs.
The two younger brothers yelled for help and drew the attention of some people traveling nearby in a carriage. They took the children to Wagner's Brewery, where Mrs. Wagner wrapped Alfred's thumb and poured a pint of whiskey down him. Although that much alcohol did not make Alfred drunk, the doctor said it probably saved his life.
Charlotte was frantic when she heard of the incident and even though she cautioned her sons never to bother rattlesnakes again, she knew she had to expect many such frightening episodes during the years of rearing her children.
Charlotte was a very kind and sympathetic person. When there was sickness anywhere in the nighborhood she was the first to offer assistance, especially if the family was poor. She went right into the home and stayed, if necessary, for weeks at a time. Her daughter. Maria, was young but was very efficient and dependable, and while Charlotte was helping in the home of a friend or neighbor who needed assistance, Maria took full charge of their home and family,
Charlotte was very reserved and what kindness she did were not done with any desire or thought of mention or praise. Although she never cared to appear before the public, she fulfilled her duty in the Relief Society when she was called to serve. Whatever Charlotte did in her quiet, unassuming manner brought far greater results then any public carreer, because she worked hard to do everything well. She was loved by everyone who knew her.
For about three years before her death on January 12, 1902 in Salt Lake City, Charlotte suffered ill health. Even at the age of sixty, the family doctor who attended her said she was not old; but that her body was just worn out through hard work and sorrow. Her ambitions were always more than her strength could manage.
Despite her sadnessess and tribulations, Charlotte spent many happy hours with her children. She, herself, had accepted the Gospel in a far away county, walked almost the entire distance to the Salt Lake Valley, married young and accepted the call with her husband to go to Dixie, always been a good and faithful wife and mother and had six fine sons and daughters, so her life had been a full and busy one. She will long be remembered by her descendants for the good and kind woman that she was as they hear by word of mouth and read of her accomplishments.