15 Mormon Battalion men saying goodbye

Thomas and Ann Karren

Their’s was a remarkable love story. Ann Ratcliffe was born at Little Crosby, Lancashire, England. Her father, John, owned and operated a successful bakery. In time Ann worked in the bakery with him. Then her father died of Typhoid Fever. Ann ran an ad for someone to help her in the bakery. Thomas Karren answered the ad. He was a skilled baker and came highly recommended. She hired him. Over the next two years as they worked together they fell in love and wanted to get married, but Ann’s mother opposed the marriage. Ann was an English Catholic and Thomas was of the Church of England. Finally Ann’s grandmother gave consent for the marriage and they were married May 11, 1833. Thomas was a seeker always searching for the true Church. When the elders brought him the Book of Mormon he studied it diligently and knew that he had found the true Church. He was baptized May 11, 1842, but Ann was not ready and refused to be baptized. In time however because she trusted Thomas, she too was baptized. Once again Thomas was eager for the next step. He wanted to emigrate to America, join the Saints, and meet the prophet Joseph. Ann was reluctant but finally agreed. On the day of their departure their youngest son Joseph died. The grief of that loss and the sickness that bore her down at sea brought Ann to the point where she wanted to die herself, but with the help and encouragement of Thomas, her family, and her friends, she rallied and regained her health. When President Brigham Young called for volunteers to join the war with Mexico, Thomas stepped forward and was assigned to Company E. “Only the strongest sense of duty and devotion to my religion,” said Thomas, “could induce me to leave my wife in her delicate condition and our children under such distressing conditions.” The shock of Thomas’s leaving caused the pregnant Ann to go into labor and prematurely deliver a baby girl. The babe lived only 24 hours. Thomas marched off with the battalion headed west. Ann and the five remaining children lived for a time in their wagon there on the Missouri River. It was the rainy season and frequently the children would wake to find their ill and weakened mother immersed in her bedding in the wagon box. They would pick her up, dip out the water and lay her back down. Then in time a man came and offered Ann his cabin back at Garden Grove, Iowa. She took it even though it meant she had to backtrack along the trail. There she and the children established a comfortable home. Sometime in October of 1847, a stranger clad in buckskin and buffalo leather came to their door. When he entered the home the youngest children were frightened, but they soon realized that it was their father. “Words cannot express the great joy of such a return home,” wrote their daughter Catherine, “As my parents had in their parting, thought they would never meet again.” Thomas and Ann eventually made their way west and became some of the first settlers of Dry Creek, Utah, now called Lehi. There they served and there they were buried.


18 Responses

  1. Thomas and Ann Karren are my Great Great Great Grandparents… They are buried next to my parents and brother in the Lehi cemetery… Thanks for posting this!

  2. I have visited the church on the Isle of Man where Thomas was born with many pictures. I have a copy of their marriage license. I have pictures of their home in Liverpool at the time they left for Nauvoo. I have a copy of Joseph’s death certificate and information that Ann’s sister buried him and a picture of where she was living at the time. I have a photo copy of the diary of Thomas Karren he kept on his mission to the Sandwich Islands (Hawai) and I am “translating” it into a Microsoft Word document. It is writen with little punctuation, capitilation, with many words spelled phonicly. Thanks for the Facebook entry.

    1. Glenn Rawson are you a relative? I don’t see you name in “The Thomas Karren Family” book by K. Howard Lewis. There is many other interesting and faith promoting story of him, my ancestor who is at true Viking according to our DNA.

    2. Jay B. Karren, I am a direct descendant of Thomas and Ann Karren (through their daughter Catherine). I would VERY MUCH APPRECIATE viewing your photographs (Which home in Liverpool? The one in 1836 on Combermere? or do you have information of another address?) and the information of Ann’s sister (Mary?) burying Joseph. I am preparing a family history presentation on Thomas and Ann’s lives. Thank you!

      Christine Hilton Anderson with email: chaspamblocker@gmail.com
      (daughter of John Levi Hilton, son of Ruth NaOmi Savage Hilton, daughter of Adeline Hannah Hatch Savage, daughter of Catherine Karren Hatch, daughter of Thomas and Ann Ratcliff Karren)

    3. Jay, I am a Great Grandson of Charles Hopkins Karren. Charles is the son who moved to Magrath Alberta, Canada where we still reside. The original home, farm and headstones are still there. We were just in Lehi last week and went and visited Thomas and Ann’s graves. I was so excited to see your entry. I would love to keep in touch with you and learn more about the family history.

    4. Hi Jay! I am also a direct descendant of the Karren and Ratcliffe family, and I would also love a copy of all the information you said you have! Is that possible for me to get?

    5. My husband is a direct descendant of Thomas Karren. They come from the son Hyrum Karren that settled in Lewiston, UT. I would also love a copy of the pictures. Is there a book with the information?

    6. Are you willing to share your document? We are descendants of Thomas and Ann Karren. We come from their son Hyrum.

  3. Jay B Karren is my dad and passed away November 24, 2019. I am in the process of sorting through his genealogy papers. I don’t know if responded to each of you, but I am happy to share what he has as best I can. He had a true love for his ancestors, especially Thomas Karren. It brought him great joy in his final hours to know that he would soon meet this special ancestor. And he promised to help us find more ancestors from the other side!

    1. Are you willing to share your document? We are descendants of Thomas and Ann Karren. We come from their son Hyrum.

    2. Hi Lori, Thomas is my 4th great grandfather. I would love any information and pictures you can share with me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *