A Mother in Zion

A Mother in Zion

Lydia Mary Ballard Goodsell Catt wanted to go to America. She wanted to go to Zion. In this case, the Utah Territory. She wanted to dwell with the Saints–the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a church she had joined many years earlier.  Her youngest son, Alfred, had already emigrated from England in 1864 when he was 13. Some of her other children had also gone to America: Charles Henry, her eldest living son and Frances Mary, her only daughter had left with her husband. She missed her children and she wanted to be where she could worship freely. Opposition in her community to her faith made it quite hard at times to meet in public or to enjoy free fellowship with other believers.  

She and her second husband had met through their church. Lydia had been a widow for many years, while Stephen had lost his first wife fairly recently. After marrying, Lydia and Stephen decided to emmigrate using monies offered to them through the Perpetual Emigration Fund, a trust set up by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to help those who wanted to come to “Zion.” The idea was that these immigrants would pay back the fund through hard work once they arrived in America.

Lydia and Stephen traveled on the steamer Minnesota with 530 other passengers. They left England in the spring of 1868 and arrived in New York after a number of weeks at sea. They then headed west on the train to Kansas City and on to Laramie Wyoming. The remainder of the trip was by mule team. They arrived in Salt Lake City in September 1868 and moved north. The next year they helped settle the new town of Newton, which was a few miles south and east of Clarkston, Utah where “the land was more level and the snow did not pile so deep.” Town lore suggests that Catt Street in Newton, Utah is named after their family.

In Newton, Lydia was reunited with her youngest son, Alfred, who met and married his sweetheart, Hannah, that next year. Stephen’s only living daughter from his first marriage also immigrated to America and lived nearby with her husband and family. Lydia and Stephen realized their dream of living in America and having a place to call home. They enjoyed their later years with family surrounding and freedom to worship as they pleased.

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