Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Submitted by C. J. Christensen
(The parents of Sarah Russon, the mother of Lot Kirkham, who is the father of Doris Johnson {her great-grandparents)

Lott Russon and Eliza Round were born in Netherton, Worcestershire, England. Lott was born January 1, 1829 and Eliza on October 21, 1830. Lott was a lad of 13 when his father died, and he was the support of his mother and four sisters for many years.

On December 25, 1850, he married Eliza Round. They were baptized in August, 1852. He was a collier, and she made nails until their fifth child was born. They were faithful in their church duties. In October, 1871, they emigrated to Utah with eight children, namely; Charlotte, Thomas, Mary, Sarah, Lot Jr., Eliza, Enoch, and George. Annie Amelia had died in England. Two were later born in Lehi, Joseph and Kate. All were stalwart Latter-Day-Saints and have done temple work.

Brother Lott was appointed President of the Elder's Quorum by Apostle Erastus Snow on June 10, 1877, being the first to receive that appointment in Lehi, and was President 22 years. He missed only four meetings in that time.

Eliza held the office of a teacher in the Relief Society for thirty years, and died in the harness on July 22, 1908 in her seventy eighth year, surrounded by her husband and children, all except Enoch who was doing missionary work in England.

I, Lott Russon, was born January 21, 1829, in Netherton, Worcestershire, England. I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on August 8, 1852. I came to Utah November, 1871. I went through the House of the Lord with my partner, September 9, 1872 and we received our washings and anointings and sealings, and received the greatest blessing of our lives on this earth, if we are faithful to the end.

We received our second blessings on October 27, 1875, by President Lorenzo Snow. I was called by Bishop David Evans to be President of the elders quorum on February 11, 1876, and was called by Bishop Evans to be a block teacher on 23 October, 1876. I received my appointment as President of Elders quorum June 10, 1877, by Erastus Snow. I was first to receive that appointment in Lehi. I remained as President of Elders quorum for 22 year and never missed one meeting.

I was called to be one of the circle members by Bishop T. R. Cutler, June 25, 1881.

I was ordained a high priest November 6, 1897, by Brother James Daniel, President. Was appointed to teach High Priests May 1898.

My wife, Eliza Round was born October 21, 1830 at Netherton, Worcestershire, England, was baptized August 11, 1852 at Dudley, Worcestershire, England by Elder John Price. She was confirmed by Elder Price on August 14, 1852 in the same place. She was rebaptized April 22, 1872 by William Yates and confirmed by William Ball in Lehi, Utah, the same day (first record of baptism lost). She was rebaptized into the United Order by her husband, Lott Russon, September 19, 1875, confirmed by me the same day. She was called to the office of Relief Society block teacher which office she held for 30 years and 8 months, which we was forced to give up because of ill health.

My dear beloved wife departed this life, 22 July 1908, in her 78th year. Now I will continue to write my life story.

When I was a little past 7 years, I worked at boiler making, carrying rivets. While working there I had a spike driven into my head, and I was senseless for a long while. The master (boss) Soloman Woodell took me to his home, and had my head dressed and washed and made me as comfortable as they could, but they had to take me home soon, as I was very weak from loss of blood, but I was soon at work again. While I was working there, my father was working at the mines, and he got disabled down n the mines. A piece of ruff fell onto him and buried him into the small dirt. It took 20 men to get the weight off him.

At that time I had a mother and four sisters to support. I was the only son Mother had. I had to leave the boiler making, and get work to make more money, so I went down to the coal mines. My poor father was never able to work again, so we were left very short. My father came to the pit one Saturday where I worked to see how I was getting on. He accidently fell down the pit, and was killed. I was only 13 years of age, but being the only boy in the family, I had to work hard to keep the family together.

In this same pit, a Brother Weeks, a Latter Day Saint, and myself had to stay down one afternoon when all the men went up. We had to clear out the airway, to get more air in the pit. It was a mile thru, and we had to go on our hands and knees. While we were going through (Brother Weeks first) our candles burned out. It was so dark we couldn't see a thing, while trying to go thru in the dark, Brother Weeks caught fast, and he could not move. I was in an open place but no light. What to do I did not know.

 For hours, it seemed I was praying to God to put into my head a scheme to get him out. At last there came a plan into my head. We used to wear little round hard caps, and the spirit of the Lord put into my head to get my cap and dig the dirt from under him. I worked with my cap digging that way for an hour. The Lord heard our prayers, and we got to the bottom of the pit about six o'clock. The other men couldn't imagine what had happened to us, and gave us up for dead, and they never did get us near that place again.

When I was about 18 year old, four of my companions and I were out one night a few miles from home. As we were walking through the woods arm in arm, I was in the middle between them,, (I had a little of the gospel) and the ground in front of me opened at my feet, and a great ball of fire came out the opening right up to may face, and burst, then disappeared. It frightened us all. Now when I think back on it, I was the only one of us that joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or obeyed the promptings and commandments of God.

When I was 21 years old, I married Eliza Round. It was on the 25th of December, 1850. We lived with limy mother until we had our first born, then we moved into a house by ourselves.

One day, the next door neighbor let us take a Book of Mormon, and I read it through. I could see that no lone man could ever ‘make up’ such a book unless he was inspired of God. OI said to my partner (wife), “It is the truth”, and right now I wanted to be baptized. The Sunday before we were baptized, my sister Ruth came to spend this afternoon with us. Our neighbor came in, and said he was on his way to meeting. He had a large boil on his arm, the size of a hen’s egg. He said to me, “Look, Lott, when I come back from meeting, this boil will be gone, and this arm will be as well as the other arm.” When he came from meeting (he had been blessed by the Elders), he called in to show us, and there was nothing on his arm, not even a scar.

We gave our names in for baptism and the following week we were baptized by John Price, who is the man that had the boil. (Lott was baptized when he was 23 on 8 Aug 1852). He was then President of the Dudley Branch of the Church. I was in the church only six months, and they ordained me a teacher. After meeting, I was thinking if I had done the right thing. It was a pitch black night, and as I came to a narrow bridge over a deep gully about 20 feet down, a man appeared before me. He zigzagged across the bridge, and each time I crossed to get by he would cross too, and get in m way, and try to push me off. I feel it was the evil one trying to banish me because I had become a new member in the Church. I began to utter a prayer, and he vanished. I was so weak, I could hardly get to my home, but IO thanked God for my safe return.

The next month, another council meeting was held. I had to walk the two miles there each time. When the meeting was over, I was possessed with the same feeling of doubt, and still wondered if the church I had joined was the true one. Again , that feeling of perplexity came into my mind. I took my hat off my head and knelt down, and began to call upon the Lord in solemn prayer, asking God to show me if this was the true church of God. I hadn’t prayed for long when suddenly a light from heaven shone about me, and the bible was opened before me, then all came so clear to me and I understood. This satisfied my mind. The light stayed with me for a mile, and I shall never forget the joy I felt. When I got home, it was 12 o’clock. I told my partner about this, but it was a sleepless night for me. The next morning I went to my mother, thinking she would b e happy to hear my glorious testimony. When I reviewed to her the proceedings of the night before, I was disappointed for she thought I was joshing. Anyway, I still felt as I was engaged in the work of helping build the Kingdom of God.

Not long after I was baptized, it was pronounced upon my head that I should soon travel to Zion (Utah). One day after this I was as work in the pit where they mined iron ore, and a fall of bind (this could have been a cave in) came on me, three tons fell on me. The other miners thought for sure I was dead, but through the mercy and goodness of my Heavenly Father, I was spared again, but was hurt so bad of the leg, it cause me to stay home from work for one month. When I was able to work, I went back in the iron pit and stayed for a few more months, then I went to work for my uncles, William Davis, in a coal mine. One day as I was finishing my work, a fall came onto me. I was part senseless. I could hear the men say, “he must be dead.” It took five men to remove the weight off me. This time a prop in the mine had saved me from being crushed. Then they got me out, I walked home, and again thanked God for saving my life.

Another time, I want to work on Sunday night, and got into the cage to go down into the mine. When I started from the top, the drum slipped out of place, and I was run to the bottom of the pit, and there I lay senseless for quite some time. They came down to the thinking I was dead. When they took me up, they found I was only shaken a bit, and I went to work and worked all night. It was 450 feet to the bottom of that pit, and I thanked God again that I was still alive.

One morning I was working in a place by myself, the ruff began falling. I prayed for it to stop, it did not. The still small voice said to me, “Lott, go out this minute and get your breakfast.” I obeyed and soon as I stepped out the fall came, and hundreds of tons of coal and ruff covered all my tools, which were never recovered, and the work was discontinued at this mine, but men went into the place with a lighted candle, and fired the sulphur. It caused an explosion which blew some of the men to pieces. Five men were killed, and all the lights in the pit blown out.

One, I was at work in what was called a sump. It is the bottom of the pit. It was winter, I was climbing out of the bottom, and as the water was drawn up the shaft, ice had formed around the shaft, and on the breaks and all in a moment the ice gave way it came down on me burying me up to my arms. I was hurt a little bit, but not enough to hinder me long from work. Again my life was spared.

While living in Derbyshire, I went to work at a place called Buttly Park. It was a foundry. I worked at molding and casting. One afternoon, the Master came along, and said he wanted a cogwheel cast right away. I got busy with it. It was then 4 o’clock, and the iron was almost run out of the furnace. I ran to the crane to hoist the pattern to the mold. The cogwheel and the handle came off the crane, and I fell with my head against the cog. One of my fingers went into the cog, and it took my finger to the first joint. Later it took to bad ways, and proud flesh set in, and it was very bad for many weeks. While I was away from work, we went very short for then we had eight children, but the Lord always opened the way for us.

After my finger was well, I went back to the pit where I worked before, and we opened up a new place for better coal. I had what they called a chamber to get the coal out, and send it up. There were six men working for me, and one day as we were at work, there came and weight upon the chamber. The ruff broke loose, and a stream of water as big as a home came through.  We ran for our lives, and all of our tools were lost again.

On October 14, 1871 (age 42), my wife came to the pit, and had me called up. At that time, I was with other men laying down pipe, and were up to our waists in water. When she saw me, she said, “Take off the wet clothes Lott, and never put them on again. The money has come to take us to Utah.” I said, “Let me go down and finish the job. She said, “No Lott, you might get hurt.” As I was taking off my clothes, another accident happened, and buried all the men in the mine. I was saved again.

We left our home for Utah \the following week, and went to my sister’s where my aged mother lived, to bid them all god-bye. My mother put her arms around my neck, and tears rolled down her face. With m e being the only son, and she was 78 years old, it made her feel pretty bad when we left her. When we were about to start for Nottingham, my youngest sister fainted away, and we did not get to bid her goodbye.

We left my mother, four sisters and all my wife’s folks, and boarded the train. We stayed in Nottingham over night, and on the 22nd of October 1871, we boarded the train for Liverpool. Eight children, my wife and I arrived in Liverpool about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. While waiting, I went to buy beds and cans to cross the sea. October 23, at 2 o’clock in the night, we had to go up a narrow plank to go into the ship, “Nevada” which we will never forget while we live. It was a trying time for us all, going into the vessel in the dark of night. As soon as we were all safely on, they launched her, and set sail on the Atlantic Ocean. We had a pleasant voyage for the first two days, then buckets came in use for many days. We were all sick but for our little daughter Annie. My wife ate very little for days. I got a herring from one of the returning Elders. She ate a little bit, but was very sick after.

We were eighteen days crossing the water. We never had but two fine days in all, and we could hold no meetings, the sea was so rough. The vessel went onto its side many times. The sailors said it was the roughest voyage they had ever experienced. One Sunday it was so bad, none of us were allowed on the deck. My children were crying for water. I had to go fetch some for them. I started up to the deck. When I got near the pump, there came a mountain of water and sent me headlong against the side of the vessel, and I lay senseless for some time, how long I do not know. When I came to myself, I was soaking wet to the skin, and not another soul on the deck. Still, I had no water to drink. I crawled on my hands and knees to the pump, got the bottle full and started back. Just as I came to the galley, there came a great hurricane that would have sent me into the sea if I had not been where I was. I got back to my family, and told them they could not get me to go back there again while the sea was so rough. We would have to suffer the thirst and too, I had to keep my wet clothes on until they were dry. The ship was reported lost, the pilot ship came three days out of New York City after us. Finally we sighted land. The pilot of the ship said to my wife, “where are you going, Madam, with your large family?” My wife told him “to Utah.” He said, “they’ve got your prophet in jail.” My wife said to him, “Well, if all the sisters will be of the same mind, I am sure we will have the jail walls down and let him free.” He went away and said no more.

Two days after we sighted land, we arrive at Castle Gardens. We bowed our heads in thankful prayer to our Father for our safe landing, and rejoiced that all our lives had been spared.

At New York City, we board the train for Salt Lake City. While traveling across the plains we saw many interesting sights. At every stop, I would jump off the train to get something to eat. We had bread, but needed something to go with it. As I arrived at the store door, the train whistle blew, and I had to run back without a thing. We were seven days on the train from New York to Salt Lake City.

We arrive in Salt Lake well and happy, and was me by Brother Nebeker. He took us to his home, and his good wife and family gave us a good supper and made us very comfortable for the night. At last we were safe in Zion.

My Son-in-law, Elisha Peck came to the Nebeker home the next morning, and we started for Lehi with him in a wagon. Upon our arrival at his home, we were proud to be united with our daughter, Charlotte (Elisha’s wife), the eldest in the family. We hadn’t seen her for two and one half years. She came to live and work at Bro. Nebeker’s home. She came as soon as the rail was completed to Ogden. She was all alone. She knew no one, only Brother Nebeker, who was a missionary to England. He sent for her to work for them, knowing she was anxious to go to Utah. It was this same Brother Nebeker who sent the money for us to go to Utah. The amount of money he send us was $535.36. He was a savior to us, and we have it all paid back, now.

When we arrived in Lehi, my daughter Charlotte, who had been married about a year, lived in a little two room house built of mud. We lived with them for a few months. We were crowded together in that little place until my daughter gave birth to her firstborn, a son, our first grandchild. My son-in-law Elisha asked me to go up to the canyon with him to get some wood. We were getting up some stumps with an iron bar. I was pulling the bar when it gave way, and I fell onto a rock and struck the back of my heard. It moved my brain. He had to bring me home on top of the load of wood, every jolt I thought I would die. I thought I would never see my partner again. I lay for two weeks at the point of death, but through the administration and the power of the priesthood and the goodness of God I was restored to health again.

In the last of February 1872, we left my daughter’s place. Brother William Turner let us have a place they had once lived in, but now it was where they kept chickens. It was made of mud and the roof was willows and dirt. When it rained it poured through on us. We though the roof would fall in on us, too, but at that we were very grateful for a place to live. We did the best we knew how, and the Lord Blessed us, and we thanked him for all our blessings.

On April 9th, 1872 we went through the Endowment House. I was ordained an Elder September 9, 1872 by William Smith in the Endowment House.

Once I lost the use of my hearing. I could not hear a thing, not even the train, and we lived right near the railroad track. Now in our own house, (my sons and I made the adobes to build it), I felt the loss of my hearing. My family had to write to me on paper when they wanted to convey a message to me. I shall never forget it. We appointed a day to fast and pray, all my family and my grandchildren that were old enough fasted for 28 hours. My son, Joseph Russon, was away in Provo, going to school. We did not tell him about the fast, but he had an impression to fast the same day, then they all came to my home, and each one took a turn to pray for the restoration of my hearing. After the prayers were said, I arose to my feet, and said to my family, you have done all the Lord requires of you. I shall hear again. The next morning I could hear my partner speak to me, and we burst into tears of joy. After that I went to the circle and Andrew R. Anderson anointed me with oil all over my ears, and Bishop T. R. Cutler did the anointing upon my head, and after that I heard all that was said, and I surely thanked God for it all.



A Patriarchal Blessing is on file in the church archives. Much was said about the rewards Lott earned in the afterlife.
Given January 8, 1909 in Lehi, Utah by James Kirkham (brother of Lott's son-in-law)


It was said by his daughter, Kate Russon Anderson, that Lott’s back was so pitted and marked with scars or pieces of coal while working in the mines that there was hardly room to place a pinhead between them.

Lott and Eliza Russon had 11 children; one died at the age of nine years. They were all married to their mates in the Temple. All of the boys but one filled mission going back to the place of their father’s birth to carry the message of the gospel to others.

In the Life Sketch of Eliza Russon Taylor, daughter of Lott and Eliza Russon, she indicated the children in the family had to begin work at an early age to help support the family. They were never entirely satisfied as for eating. Times were hard, money and commodities were scarce in their home.

Eliza’s history tells that 15 people lived in the two room house of Charlotte Russon and Elisha Peck when Lott's family came to Utah. Her mother could sometimes be heard singing aloud: “Give us room that we may dwell, Zion’s children cry aloud. See the numbers how they swell, how they gather like a cloud.”

 Eliza tells that after her father built an adobe home, the Russons made adobes for sale and many of the homes in Lehi and American Fork were made of the Russon adobes. Eliza and the other children helped make the adobes. They tramped straw in the mud with their bare feet, and put the clay in molds and pressed them out on the ground to dry in the sun. They were a little bigger than the bricks of today. They made good insulation and the homes were cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
 In the life sketch of Sara Russon, there is information that Sara’s father, Lott Russon, was a coal miner in England and through an accident to his hand, was out of work several months. Because of this, Sara’s mother was obliged to find a way to support her family and she made pancakes and filled a little basket each morning for Sara to sell from door to door. Many days she would sit by the driveway and cry if the people wouldn’t buy, but when the task was done and all were sold, she would run home happily, with her pennies for her mother.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this information. Lott Russon was my 4th great grandfather.


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