Thursday, May 17, 2012

Leaving the Channel Islands

Susanne Esnouf Dolbel (1800-1862)

My fourth great grandmother

me --> Ruth Rasmussen Buchanan --> Alice Houston Rasmussen --> Eliza Adelaide Asay Houston --> Christianna Dolbel Riding Asay Allphin --> Eliza Adelaide Dolbel Riding --> Susanne Esnouf Dolbel

I wish I could find a picture of this amazing woman, but for now a tombstone will have to do.
Susanne was born in the Channel Islands, which is off the coast of Normandy, France.  Her husband's family were Huguenots, French Protestants who were inspired by John Calvin and suffered religious persecution.  She married Philippe Dolbel in 1823 and they had at least 8 children, but only two would survive to adulthood.

Susanne was introduced to the church while living in the Channel Islands and was converted, as was her daughter, Eliza Adelaide.  Borrowing money from the Perpetual Emigration Fund, they sailed across the ocean bound for Utah, leaving her husband, Philippe, and son, John, behind.

Their trip to Utah was difficult at best.  In Kansas they joined the Harper Handcart company and traveled from Mormon Grove, Kansas to Utah arriving October 29, 1955, the last company of the year to make it.  On an interesting note, the Harper Company ran into some Sioux Indians and sought help and protection from the Milo Andrus Handcart Company.  Milo Andrus is my third great grandfather on my father's side.  I wonder if Susanne ever met Milo.  I bet they never dreamed that their common descendant would write about them someday.

As you can see from the tombstone, Susanne didn't live in Utah very long, just a little over five years.  Her daughter Eliza, went on to marry Christopher Lister Riding, known as a tin man.

 He helped to construct the St. George Temple.

I found Philippe Dolbel in a 1881 Census record still living in the Channel Islands with his son John.  His occupation is listed as Former Stone Dresser.  His son, John, was also a stone cutter.  I couldn't help but wonder if they had joined the Church and made the trek to Utah if they would have been able to use their skills to help build the St. George Temple.

I'm so grateful to my fourth great grandmother for having the courage to follow her beliefs and come to America.  I can't image leaving behind my husband, son, and not to mention all of my buried children.  But because she did, and brought her daughter with her, I can enjoy the blessings of living in this country.

This is what Susanne left behind. 

And this is what Susanne emigrated to.

Thank you Susanne.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this. I feel that I have a deep connection to your story. I'm wondering if you ever found a photo and would welcome a conversation. Susan