Question: What great sacrifice did Matthew Hayes Ivory, Jr. make when he accepted the Gospel in 1846?
Answer: Matthew Hayes Ivory, Jr. was born on July 13, 1809, in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the last of five children born to Matthew Hayes Ivory, Sr. and Ann McNulty.
He married Mary Susan Cox on September 30, 1830 in Burlington, New Jersey. They had seven children born to them, the last one being born in 1844.
Matthew, in his search for the truth, affiliated himself with first the Presbyterian Church. Unable to find what he was looking for, he turned from there to the Baptist. At the age of 25, still trying to find that which would satisfy, he tried the Catholic Church. Matthew then came in contact with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and accepted this new faith. Records indicate he was baptized on February 1, 1840 by Joseph Newton. This action apparently caused problems with his wife, as she and her family greatly opposed this new religion.
By the winter of 1846/47, it was necessary for Matthew to make a choice, as his wife was demanding he give up his faith or leave. He made the great sacrifice of departing from his family and going west to join the Mormons, who were then at Winter Quarters preparing for the great Exodus to the Rocky Mountains. We don’t know exactly when he arrived at Winter Quarters but on 3 April 1847, Matthew was given a patriarchal blessing at Winter Quarters by John Smith.
A few days later Matthew left Winter Quarters in the first company of pioneers under the leadership of Brigham Young [Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company] to make the epic journey across the plains to the Salt Lake Valley. Matthew was a member of the group of 10 commanded by John Brown and entered the Salt Lake Valley, along with the main body of pioneers, on July 24, 1847. Matthew, along with others, again under the leadership of Brigham Young, left the Salt Lake Valley in August of that same year to return to the East to help the main body of the church undertake the great task of migrating to the Rocky Mountains.
Matthew married Mary Judith Elizabeth Bemus on December 14, 1854. This marriage resulted in the birth of seven children. About 1855, Matthew, still wanting to have his first wife and family for time and all eternity, returned to Philadelphia to see Mary Susan, and, although the years had softened her heart some, it was not enough for her to accept this faith. While there he was arrested for bigamy. Mary Susan refused to testify against him so a nephew, who was greatly embittered was only too glad to do so. Matthew appeared in court on the day set and waited for his accuser to come, but he didn’t appear and Matthew was released. He later heard that the nephew had been stricken with a fatal illness and had died.
Matthew and Mary Judith and their infant son traveled to Utah in 1857. They were endowed in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City on September 11, 1857. After arriving in Utah, Matthew moved to Beaver, Utah and the next two children were born there. After four sons, the family finally had a daughter, Martha Amelia Ivory, who was born in 1862 in Monroe, Utah. Another daughter, Mary Ann Ivory, was born in 1864 in Manti, Utah. Next we find the family in a small, recently settled Valley in what is now Lincoln County, Nevada, called Eagle Valley where their last son, Frederick Olson Ivory, was born on October 1, 1866. Eagle Valley was first settled in the Spring of 1865, and the small Valley held less than a dozen families, most of whom left within two years time and returned to Utah.
Matthew with his wife and seven children apparently returned to Utah shortly after the birth of Frederick, as Matthew’s wife, Mary Judith, became quite ill and went to Manti in Sanpete County to stay with her mother. Mary Judith continued to have health problems and died on January 29, 1870 in Manti, Utah, leaving Matthew with a family of seven children. The oldest, George W., was 14 years old, and Frederick, the youngest, was just past three years of age.
Matthew at this time was 60 years old and now had the full responsibility of raising a young family. Frederick passed down stories through his children of the “Olden Days” about his mother dying when he was very young and about him being reared by family friends, the Olsons. He said Mrs. Olson was like a mother to him, and he referred to her as “Mercy.”
Matthew’s daughter, Mary Ann, passed on stories to her family of her father, Matthew, as a man who was very exacting in all his actions who taught his family law and order in all the household duties. She told of his stores of food in the cellar, its neat arrangement on shelves and in bins. There was always a big barrel of good Dixie Molasses. This was the case with his carpenter shop, tool shed but above all his home. Though left motherless at the age of 5, Mary Ann was schooled well in the cleanliness and order of the home. Matthew’s pride and joy to exceed all others was his orchard and garden.
Matthew lived long enough to raise his little family and by the spring of 1879 was able to accept a call to serve a mission for the Church. Matthew Ivory was set apart for a mission to New Jersey. From this mission he returned on September 12, 1879. In the year 1885 Matthew had agreed to build a building to house a grist mill. He was an expert mechanic, and he fitted up the millstones in the newly erected grain chopper. Before leaving the job, he made one final test and for a time all went well, when suddenly, one of the stones came loose and while still revolving at a tremendous rate, struck Matthew in the stomach, killing him almost instantly. This accident occurred on October 17, 1885. Matthew was buried in the Mountain View Cemetery in Beaver.
Source: “History of Matthew Hayes Ivory, Jr,” compiled for the Ivory Family Reunion July 4, 1981, Fountain Green, Utah; FindAGrave.com