|BIOGRAPHIES - EMILY COVINGTON
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH PART 1
By Great Granddaughter, Wilma Susan Harris Smith.
Emily Jane Covington, a New Year's child, was born January 1, 1843 in Summerville, Noxubee Country, Mississippi. She was the Great Great Great Granddaughter of William Covington. William Covington and his younger brothers, John and Thomas Covington, came from England to Maryland with Lord Baltimore in 1632. The brothers had received land grants in Maryland and Virginia from the King of England. William and Thomas moved on and settled in North Carolina. Emily Jane's father, Robert Dockery Covington, was born August 20, 1815 in Rockingham, Richmond country, North Carolina. He attended school in Rockingham where he obtained a college education. Emily Jane's mother, Elizabeth Thomas, was born April 29, 1820 in Marlborough County, South Carolina.
Robert D. Covington and Elizabeth Ann Thomas married in about 1838 or 1839. Soon after their marriage they moved with Robert's father, Thomas B. Covington, to Summerville, Noxubee County, Mississippi.
With the help of slave labor, the Covingtons established a large successful plantation in Summerville. Here three children were born to Robert and Elizabeth Ann. John Thomas, August 7, 1840; Emily Jane, January 1, 1843; and Sarah Ann, February 2, 1845. Sarah Ann died the same year in 1845.
During this time period many of the Thomas family, relatives of Elizabeth Ann Thomas, had also moved to Summerville, Noxubee County, Mississippi. Some of the Covington and Thomas families attended Gospel meetings which were presented by Mormon missionaries. Robert D. Covington and Elizabeth Ann Covington were baptized February 3, 1843. Robert D. Covington's father, brothers and sisters disapproved of their new religion. Robert D. Covington was eventually disinherited.
In 1845, Robert D. and Elizabeth Ann Covington left Mississippi and joined the Saints in Nauvoo, Illinois. After just two years in Nauvoo, the Covington family joined the great Mormon Westward migration. Travelling by wagon train they headed toward the great Salt Lake Valley. They travelled in Edward Hunter's Company under the leadership of Captain Daniel Thomas. Emily Jane was 4 years old. The wagon train endured rain, hail storms, dust storms, lack of good water and wood to burn.
Indians often followed the group and sometimes approached their camp to beg or trade for food. On one occasion the travelers had stopped to repair wagons near a growth of wild currant bushes. Emily Jane and her older brother John were given an empty lard bucket and sent to pick the ripe currants. When their container was about full, several Indians reared up from hiding with a loud war whoop. The frightened children dropped the bucket and ran for camp. When they looked back the Indians had retrieved the currants and were laughing at their big joke. The Indians, on several occasions, stampeded their cattle. However, the Mormon leaders tried to maintain a friendly relationships as no one wanted a hostile confrontation with the Indian followers.
Somewhere near what is now known as Scotts Bluff, Nebraska, Elizabeth Ann gave birth to her last child, Robert Laborious on August 1, 1847. After traversing the last of the cold, slow and rough miles through the mountains, the Hunter Company arrived in Salt Lake Valley on September 27, 1847. Elizabeth was frail and weakened from the hardships of the journey. She fell ill of a severe respiratory infection and died December 7, 1847.
Robert moved his family to the cottonwood settlement located just south of Salt Lake City. He became the school teacher and was called Professor Covington by the community. He accumulated land and livestock and married twice more. His second wife was Melinda Allison Kelly. His third wife was Nancy Roberts. In April of 1857 Robert D. and a number of other men from the Southern States were called by President Brigham Young to travel to Southern Utah to establish a new settlement on the Virgin River. At the age of 14, Emily Jane Covington was one of the 160 men, women and children who were called to move 330 miles to Southern Utah to establish a new Mormon settlement.
The phrase "I was Called to Dixie" became the by-word of the hardy pioneers who journeyed and stayed to establish the communities of Washington and St. George in Southern Utah. Like the true Dixie of the Southern United States, they planted cotton, sugar cane, tobacco and later alfalfa, vineyards and peach trees.
Winslow Farr, Jr., resided with his father and mother, Winslow Farr, Sr. and Olive Hovey Farr on their farm in the cottonwood settlement. Winslow, Jr. describes his journey to Cotton country:
September 27, 1858: I started with a horse team for the Cotton Country the distance of 330 miles.
After describing his 11 day journey, he continued in his diary:
October 8, 1858: I arrived at my place of destination down in cotton country on the 8th of October in good health. My animals stood the trip first rate.
On the 17th of October 1858 at eleven o'clock a.m., I was married to Emily Jane Covington the daughter of Robert D. & Elizabeth Covington Washington City Washington County Utah. I help to make molasses while was there from sugar cane (Diary of Winslow Farr, Jr. 1856-1899, Page 42).
At the time of their marriage Winslow Farr Jr., was 21 and Emily Jane Covington was 15. Ten days later the newlyweds began their journey back to Winslow's parents home in the Cottonwood settlement.
October 27, 1858: I with my wife started for G.S. Lake the distance of 330 miles arrived there on the 10th of November in good health I am living with my father the following season I farmed my fathers place for one third of the crop he helping what he as able and boarded (sic) us till harvest wheat crops did not do very well this year. I raised for my share 105 bushels of wheat 30 bushels of corn 20 bushels of potatoes and I do not know as this will ever be any (good?) to any one but to my mind I do write as these things present. (Diary of Winslow Farr, Jr. 1856-1899, Page 45).
On November 9th of 1859 Winslow and his wife started by team and wagon for Southern Utah to await the birth of their first child.
Washington County February 3, 1860 : "at 2 o'clock p.m. our first child was born Winslow Robert. (Diary of Winslow Farr, Jr. 1856-1899, Page 45).
Winslow Farr, Jr. helped his father-in-law, Robert D. Covington, quarry sandstone and build a stone wall. In addition, Winslow drove cattle to mountain pastures, hauled seed cotton to the gin, helped bail cotton and plant trees. He also worked for others in exchange for cotton and molasses. On April 24, 1860, their wagons loaded with 100 bales of cotton and 42 gallons of molasses, the young couple headed out for the return journey to the Salt Lake Valley.