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Elizabeth Ryon Lewis

BIRTHDATE: 19 Nov 1809

Clark County, Kentucky

DEATH: 15 Apr 1883

Richmond, Utah

PARENTS: Leonard Ryon

Frances Adams Ryon

PIONEER: 19 Sep 1847

Ira Eldredge wagon Company

SPOUSE: Beason Lewis

MARRIED: 6 Feb 1846

DEATH SP: 22 Jan 1888

Richmond, Cache, Utah



43 foster children

Elizabeth Ryon Lewis was born in Clark County, Kentucky, the second of eleven children. There is little information about her childhood. She married Beason Lewis. They did not have children of their own, but they opened their hearts and home to forty-three children over their lifetime.

Elizabeth and her husband and the five orphaned children of her sister, Joannah, arrived in the Salt Lake Valley l9 Sep 1847 by horse-drawn wagon. They traveled with Captain Ira Eldredge's Company. Elizabeth said that Captain Eldredge was a hustler so their Company gradually got in advance of the large moving mass of teams. At Fort Bridger Captain Eldredge thought it best to divide his fifty into two companies in order to make better time through the mountains. Brigham Young's division was in advance. Captain Eldredge, with the remainder of his fifty, followed the group Elizabeth and Beason were with. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley 19 Sep 1847. The advance portion they were with was the lead of the entire emigration from Winter Quarters that followed President Brigham Young's Company which arrived on 24 Jul 1847.

When crossing the Plains they took in two more orphaned children. Their parents had died on the journey. When Elizabeth and Beason reached the Valley, Elizabeth's sister, Rebecca, died. Elizabeth and her husband took her children to be reared with their foster children. They made their home in Richmond, Utah. Cache Valley had just been opened for settlement. Eventually 43 children were cared for by Elizabeth and Beason, 27 at one time. Elizabeth was known as Aunt Bessie by her foster children. They were her crowning joy. She loved rearing and sheltering all the children. An entire generation of young people in Richmond knew and loved Aunt Bessie. She had an open heart and an open home for all the children who needed her love and care. She died 15 Apr 1883 in Richmond, Utah.


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