Friday, November 1, 2013

Mormon Missionary has Baby while on Mission...in 1916.

It isn't every day I get surprised by what I see in Church history records. I am always learning something, but to be outright surprised is less frequent. Today (actually, last Wednesday) was one of those days. I am reading through the index of the Southern States Mission Manuscript for a project I'm working on and I came across this entry.

Hamilton, Pearl Andersen  
1915 Apr 18  Arr[ived] in Miss[ion]: to G[eorgi]a Conf[erence]
1916 Feb 27 Trans[ferred] to S[outh] Car[olina]
1916 May 26 ret[urned] to G[eorgi]a
1916 Sep 30 had baby
1917 Feb 2 Released

I don't know about you, but I am not aware of many children born while the parents are on a mission. Many factors work against this. One would be my relative unfamiliarity with this portion of Church History. But also in 1916 there were not a whole bunch of female missionaries. In my less than scientific survey I'm seeing less than half of them are married and serving with their husbands. Plus I am assuming that there were even fewer who were financially able to support themselves (both of them) on a mission that were still in their child bearing years and didn't already have children at home. Finally, given the time period I'm guess few women felt pressured into serving a mission. In fact I'm assuming the opposite was true. Getting on a mission would take a woman who was determined to get what she wanted. It appears Pearl Hamilton was just that sort of woman.

Pearl was born on 25 August 1889 in Fremont Idaho to Niels Peter Anderson and Ellen Beveridge McKinlay. She went through the temple for her endowments at age 22, two and a half years before getting married. Even today men and women are encouraged to wait until just before they serve a mission or get married before they enter the temple. Going against that pressure requires a bit of determination. On January 6th, 1915 she married Charles Orson Hamilton (1883-1959)  in the Salt Lake City Temple, just over three months prior to starting their mission. They were set apart on April 13, 1915.

Hamilton, Charles Orson
1915 Apr 18  Arr[ived] in Miss[ion]: to G[eorgi]a Conf[erence]
1915 Jul 15 App[ointed] pres[ident] G[eorgi]a Conf[erence]
1917 Jan 28 Trans[ferred] to Ohio, pres[ident]
1917 Mar 26 Released

As you can see, they spent a good portion of their mission together in Georgia with some exceptions. In February she was transferred to Greenville, South Carolina where she served with Sister Lilly Celestia Larson while her husband remained in Georgia as President of the Conference. But it isn't clear how long she was actually there. She was not mentioned with the other sisters in the May 20-21 dedication of a brick chapel (by James E. Talmage) in Greenville, SC. The May 26th Georgia Conference Report noted that she had already returned to Atlanta and would be staying there.

The baby, Lloyd A Hamilton, was born on 25 September 1916 in Atlanta, Georgia. He was the Hamilton's first child. Grace Callis, the wife of Mission President Callis was "with sister Hamilton during her sickness."

Photo added 1/6/2014


About a week after her husband was transferred to Ohio in 1917 to take over as President of the Ohio Conference, Pearl was released to return home to Sugar City, Idaho. Two months later her husband was also released.

10 comments:

Edje said...

Wow!

matthewrlee said...

Great find!

Tod Robbins said...

This is so fascinating Bruce! Thanks for sleuthing!

BruceCrow said...

Thanks, all of you.

BruceCrow said...

I found a photo of the baby as part of the mission conference!! Just added.

Dean said...

Charles and Pearl were my grandparents. Thanks so much for posting this. In those early days, a "conference" looked and functioned more like a mission does today, whereas a "mission" covered a much larger area. So really the Hamiltons acted in their calling much like we would expect a mission president to function in an area where church leadership was weak. Another tidbit about Pearl: As a member of the Young Women General Board, she pioneered the pilot program in Idaho and Wyoming that became YW Camps to this day. Thanks again for a fascinating post.

Rodger said...

I'm a great-grandson of the Hamiltons, and knew about their mission and that Pearl was one of the first sister missionaries in the Church. This news about having a baby is completely new, though. Thank you so much for finding such an important and interesting piece of my family's history.

BruceCrow said...

Dean & Roger, it is great to hear from members of the family. Usually I don't have the opportunity to find and query the descendants of the people I write about. I can track the deceased; the living are much harder. Thank you for coming by and taking the time to write something. While I value every contribution, your contributions are more so because of your connection to Charles and Pearl. I assume the two of you knew each other already?

Dean said...

We do. Rodger's my nephew. I remember Pearl very well. When you speculated that she was a determined woman, I thought, "If you only knew!" One thing that doesn't seem to have come out in your research us that she served a mission in The Central States, mostly in Chicago, prior to marriage. That would be the reason for her endowment. Charles also served a mission prior to marriage, in the British Isles.

BruceCrow said...

Thanks for that additional info on their prior missions. That helps complete the picture.