TURNING THE HEARTS OF THE
CHILDREN TO THE FATHERS
submitted by Halvor Clegg
It all began in 1988 when J. Halvor Clegg and his
wife, Miriam, took a BYU Study Abroad program, which started in Madrid, Spain,
and ended in London, England. Halvor and Miriam had planned in advance
to take their family (8 children) on a week's tour of England, Wales and
Scotland, with family history as the main goal. As his family drove
along, the children would shout, "Look Dad, a graveyard!!"
Preston, England, was one of the important
destinations for the Clegg family, because Halvor was intensely interested in
finding the grave of Henry Clegg, his great, great grandfather. The oral
history handed down to the descendants of Henry Clegg, recounts the events of
the carrying of the gospel to Preston, England, by the early apostles,
Wilford Woodruff and Heber C. Kimball, and their companions. Among
those companions was Joseph Fielding. Elders Woodruff, Kimball and
Fielding left partial written accounts of the events that took place, but
there exists no official Church record.
Henry Clegg's unique perspective aids in filling
in the gaps. The oral history relates that Henry Clegg and his son,
Jonathan Clegg, along with Jonathan's wife, Ellen Walmsley, were
among the very first to hear the preaching of the brethren. Henry was a
deeply religious and free-thinking man. He found the gospel message very
interesting. In fact, he was among the very first to accept the new
religion. The written accounts state that there were several people who
wanted to be baptized, and that two men from among the group contested to
determine who should be first. It was decided that they should run a
foot race. The accounts also give the name of the winner of the race,
and therefore, the first to be baptized, as George D. Watt. None of the
written accounts gives the name of the man who came in second. In fact,
there is no official record of the baptism of any of these converts. The
only written source that gives the names, is the diary of Joseph Fielding, and
he does not include the name of Henry Clegg. However, Clegg oral history
claims that that man was Henry Clegg. This story has been told and
retold through the years by Clegg descendants. There has even been some
heated discussion as to whether the story is true, based on melancholy letters
sent by Henry Clegg to his son, Henry Clegg, Jr., in Utah. Nevertheless,
later records provide definite evidence that Henry Clegg was indeed baptized.
Those first baptisms took place in September, 1837. Henry's own son,
Jonathan Clegg, was baptized on September 26, 1837. Again, from the
diary of Joseph Fielding, dated December 27, 1837, he states that several of
the brethren, (and he gives the list of the brethren who were baptized on that
famous day of the foot race) were all ordained Priests. It's
important to note that now Joseph Fielding included the name of Henry Clegg on
that list. He also stated that these brethren had previously been
ordained Teachers. Later records of the Preston Branch show
that Henry Clegg performed functions of the Melchizedek Priesthood and a
great deal of unselfish service to the Kingdom.
Later a second son, Henry Clegg, Jr., joined the
Church in 1854. He and his brother, Jonathan, both immigrated to
Zion with their families, leaving Henry and his wife, Ellen, in Walton Le
Dale, a suburb of Preston.
So, in 1988, after arriving in Preston, the Clegg
family found their way to the tiny suburb of Walton Le Dale (just over the
River Ribble, where all those first baptisms took place). Halvor
couldn't wait for the next day to go searching for Henry's grave, but there
was only an hour and a half left of daylight. He asked around and was directed
to a Church. At that Church's cemetery, Halvor found that the
graves were too recent, and besides it turned out to be a Methodist Church! So,
Halvor asked if there was another Church in Walton Le Dale. He was
directed to the St. Leonard's Parish Church. Halvor walked the blocks to
St. Leonard's and found a very old church and cemetery. Darkness
was approaching, and so Halvor knocked on the door of the nearest house,
looking for the Vicar. It didn't turn out to be the Vicar's house.
The occupants asked Halvor why he needed the Vicar. He replied that he
wanted to find Henry Clegg's grave. Those kind people replied,
"Oh, you don't want to see the Vicar, you want to see Arnold Rigby.
He knows everything about the cemetery." Halvor immediately
asked, "How do I find Arnold Rigby?" They gave Halvor
directions, and he quickly walked the 6 blocks to Mr. Rigby's home. Mr.
Rigby cheerfully invited Halvor into his study, where Halvor quickly explained
his mission, and asked if Mr. Rigby could help him find the site of
Henry's grave. He answered, "Oh yes. I've been
making a map of all the graves in St. Leonard's Cemetery. I have the
original book right there." Given the approximate dates, Mr. Rigby
turned to the exact page and showed Halvor the entry of Henry's death and
burial dates, including the exact location of his gravesite. Mr. Rigby
then asked, "Would you like to see it?". Trying to contain his
excitement, Halvor said, "Would I? Could you please?".
And so, Mr. Rigby loaded Halvor into his old car and drove him to St. Leonards.
Entering at the back gate, he drove right into the cemetery. He then
rechecked the map again, and walked to Henry Clegg's unmarked gravesite.
No one could ever have found it alone. Halvor will be forever indebted
to Arnold Ribgy for his kindness.
Halvor floated back to the bed and breakfast in the dark, with joy and great
excitement, wanting to share it all with his family.
The next morning, the Clegg family returned to the
cemetery, to cry a little, sing a little, pray a little, and place lovely,
yellow buttercups on Henry's grave. They left with a strong feeling in
their hearts that there should be a marker on that good man's grave.
They also reflected on the sweet miracle that Halvor, in such a short time,
had been led to those who could help him find Henry's grave. Later that
day, they realized, after looking at the family group sheets, that that day
was Henry Clegg, Jr.'s birthday.
Many years passed. The Cleggs took donations
for a grave marker at family reunions, but the opportunity to return to
England never happened. But, Halvor and Miriam continued to feel deeply,
that someday this problem should be rectified.
In 1995 Halvor was called to serve as the mission
president of the Italy Milan Mission. In 1996 Calvin Clegg (Halvor's
cousin whom he had never met.) was called to serve as the mission president of
the Portugal Lisbon Mission. Calvin and Gayle Clegg and Halvor and
Miriam Clegg met for the first time in Frankfurt, Germany at a Mision
President's Seminar. There was instant rapport and love between these
two families. Halvor shared with Calvin his intense desire to put a
marker on Henry Clegg's grave. Calvin and Gayle got excited too, and
promised to help with the project. After both Halvor and Calvin had
finished their missions in 1998 and 1999, they got together to discuss the
grave marker. Calvin and Gayle, along with his brothers and their wives, Charles
and Dixie Clegg, and Milton and Mary Ellen Clegg, were planning a trip to
England in the early summer of 2000. Halvor gave them the name of Mr.
Rigby and all the information he had collected, along with the donations he
had from his own family tree.
Calvin's family added a substantial amount of
money to the grave marker fund, and began to prepare in earnest. Spurred
on by this whole experience, Calvin and Gayle enthusiastically researched to
be sure all the family names had their temple work done. By a true
miracle, they found that 7 of Henry's grandchildren had not had their work
done. (They were children of Henry's oldest son, Thomas and his wife,
Ester.) They submitted the names and with their own family members did
all of the baptisms and confirmations and even some of the endowments
before leaving for England.
They called and found out that Mr. Rigby had
passed away. His good wife, however, directed them to the current Vicar,
Cannon Roy McCullough, who helped them find a stone mason. The
stone mason, Mike McMurry, sent computer sketches of possibiliites.
Calvin and Gayle wanted to choose a stone that would fit in with the other
stones of the cemetery. They also wanted to include the name of Henry's
wife, Ellen Cardwell, since they didn't know where she was buried. From
a letter Henry Clegg had written to his son in Utah, Henry Clegg,
Jr., Calvin and Gayle found a lovely quote Henry had used from the New
Testament, "Who relied wholly on the mercy of God in Christ Jesus",
indicating his deep belief in God and Jesus Christ. So, they used this
quote on his grave marker also.
One June 15, 2000, The Clegg brothers and
their wives met with the stone mason, and saw the marker which had been
placed on the grave. Having a deep desire to find out about Ellen
Cardwell, Calvin and Gayle returned to the Vicarage on June 18th to inquire
about her gravesite. The vicar had been a happy participant in all of
these events, and gladly went to the books in search of Ellen's gravesite.
To their great joy, they found that Ellen Cardwell was buried right next
to her husband and under the grave marker that shared her name.
They also found that an infant son, Henry C. Clegg was buried near Ellen's
To further make this a truly profound, spiritual
experience, the Calvin Clegg group went to the Preston Temple to finish the
endowments of the 7 grandchildren, to have their parents sealed to each other
and to have the children sealed to their parents. They had intensely
wonderful, spiritual feelings as this work was accomplished, and the family
was complete at last. It was a lovely case of the hearts of the children
being turned to the fathers. We will forever be grateful to have
participated in this event.
Halvor and Miriam Clegg, August 2000
When Calvin, Gayle, Charles, Dixie, Milton and
Mary Ellen got back from England and reported their wonderful experiences, it
generated so much excitement, that it was felt this had to be shared with all
of Henry Clegg's descendents. So, with the help of the internet and
word-of-mouth, a Henry Clegg Family Home Evening was announced for August 14,
2000 at the Vineyard City Park. It was hoped that descendents from all Henry
Clegg's lines that immigrated to Utah would be in attendance. The four
lines are Jonathan Clegg and the children from all three of Henry Clegg Jr.'s
wives (Hanna Eastham, Ann Lewis, and Margaret Griffiths). A group of
70/80 descendents came bringing memorabilia, photographs and histories.
They found great joy in the gathering and forged bonds with cousins they had
never known. Miraculously, descendents from all four lines were present.
Planned for next year on August 6, 2001 at Vineyard
City Park, there will be a Henry Clegg Family Home Evening II, which will
hopefully and prayerfully be attended by hundreds of the descendents of Henry
Clegg. If you have email addresses of other family members who would
like to know about this gathering next August, please send them to us, and we
will include them in our notices. We would like the addresses of the
descendents of Grandma Maggie, Jonathan, and Hanna Eastham, and anyone else
who would like to know.
Also, we are working very hard to break the
barrier that has kept us from being able to trace our ancestory back from
James Clegg and Mary Brierly. I have heard that there is a Clegg and
Brierly currently alive and married and that are descended from Grandma
Maggie. If so, please write to me, and let me know if you have any
information from the Brierly side that would help us break this barrier.
Anyone willing to work on this, we would be very grateful. --Miriam
and Halvor Clegg