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18 June 2014
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Immigration and Emigration
Mormon emigration from Sheffield

The sea
The voyage to America lasted 28 days
© Courtesy of Ian Britton,
In Sheffield one family attained their dream of emigration to this Mormon paradise, by saving every penny they could spare in a black box nailed to the floor. William Memmott, and his wife Ann, became members of the Mormon Church after attending one of the meetings convened by a visiting elder from America. The family soon rose to prominence within the church, with William eventually being appointed President of the Sheffield Conference whilst eldest son Thomas was ordained an Elder in 1859.

A fund to assist converts to emigrate was established by the Mormons. The Perpetual Emigration Fund paid for converts' passage, who then repaid them once they gained employment in Salt Lake City in the Mormon state of Utah.

Thomas Memmott
Thomas Memmott, son of William Memmott
© Courtesy of Hal Memmott
The Memmott family chose instead to save for 14 years to raise the money to fund their journey. However, when they did leave in 1861, the accumulated monies did not stretch far enough to cover the entire family. The eldest son, Thomas, stayed behind for a year to pay off the family debts and save for his own fare. Thomas's wife Emma, (nee Whitham) made the journey with her in-laws despite being pregnant and in charge of two children, one of whom she was still nursing.

Remie Bell, who has been collating evidence of the emigration from Sheffield, estimates that the Memmott family were among several hundred of the city's converts who made the journey to Salt Lake City in the 19th Century. By 1877, the number of Mormons in Utah had reached 140,000 Mormons and at one stage more than half of those originated from Britain.

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