Convert Ancestor

I recently posted about the visit my family and I made on Memorial Day to the cemetary in Pershore, England where my ancestor Timothy Fowles was buried in 1881. As I noted in that post, Timothy’s son John Fowles — my namesake — is not buried in Pershore with his father because he converted to the Gospel as taught in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the age of 16 with his mother Eliza Sanders and emigrated with other Mormon converts to America. Thus, he is buried far away from Pershore in Sanpete County, Utah.

fowles-john-18461.jpgAfter our Memorial Day visit to the Abbey Church at Pershore, my mother was kind enough to send a picture of my ancestor and namesake who was born in Pershore in 1846 and died in Utah the same year as his father (!) in 1881.

I was pleasantly surprised at this picture of my namesake. For some reason I had never seen this picture before. But those who have seen it all say that I look very similar — almost just like — him. To be more accurate, my wife agrees with my mother that I strongly resemble him. At any rate, my wife and I discussed this picture when my mother sent it to us and decided that my ancestor looks decidedly modern in this picture. It’s the expression on his face and the look in his eye that convey this impression. He compares favorably, we think, to many other pictures of Mormon pioneers and farmers who came across the plains to settle in desolate places like Sanpete County.

13 Responses to Convert Ancestor

  1. Jordan F. says:

    Wow, John! You really do look like him!

  2. Justin says:

    Nice post, John. That’s a great photo. Do you know his cause of death?

  3. Justin says:

    And was he married and have children?

  4. Geoff J says:

    That is weird. He does look a lot like you. What are the odds?

    (I guess that need not be a rhetorical question…)

  5. J. Stapley says:

    Can’t blame the folk for having sad expressions after moving to Sanpete (he says knowing that his family still lays claim to the land).

  6. john f. says:


    He was married with children — that’s where I come from! His wife was Magdalena (?) Hafen. I have also been wondering why he died at 35 though. I need to follow up a little on that.

    J., I am not sure when this picture was taken. To me he looks to be in his late twenties but I don’t know if he was already in Sanpete County at the time this was taken.

  7. Justin says:

    After I wrote that question, I realized how dumb that sounded (realizing that he must have had a family or you wouldn’t be around). I really intended to ask for more information on his family. Oops.

  8. john f. says:

    Justin, he died of complications from pneumonia. He emigrated at 16 with his mother Eliza Sanders Fowles (52) on the ship Amazon which sailed from London on June 4, 1863 and arrived at New York City on June 18, 1863. Also accompanying them were his siblings Edward Fowles (20), a Screwmaker, Henry Fowles (18), a Puddler, and Marcella Fowles (10).

  9. Justin says:

    Thanks, John, for the interesting details. (I just saw your comment today.) Family history is fascinating.

  10. Fact Finder says:

    Your story is very interesting. I definately need to start delving into my family history.

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