|Hannah at about 40 years of age|
Hannah Judd Court (Bolton)
Hannah Judd Court (Bolton) was born November 14, 1832 in Fossel, Warwickshire, England. She was the third of eight children bo rn to Arthur Judd and Eliza Cross. Hannah h a d no formal schooling. Her father was a silk weaver, and operated a loom in his home. Hannah learned early to weave the silk ribbons, special output of this home loom; in fact, she was hardly tall enough to reach the engine, in order to wind the bobbins, when she was put to work.
When she was twenty years of age she married William Lee Court, a shoe-maker from Burbage, Warwickshire, England, who was born November 6, 1824. Because she was not quite twenty-one years old, her mother objected strenuously to her marriage.
William had a habit that sometimes got him into trouble. Several times he landed in jail for hunting on the forbidden lands of one of the Lords. After their marriage, William and Hannah heard and accepted the gospel and decided they wanted to come to Utah, where the body of the Saints dwelled.
Before leaving England, she had her fortune told, the gist of it being that she would be married twice and be the mother of nine children. We will find out that later this, in a sense, came true. Another thing that she was told before leaving England was that Brigham Young would take her away from her husband upon her arrival in Utah.
In 1862 they arrived in Utah after months of journeying from England via Liverpool and New York. (Later information has them landing in New Orleans and coming up the Mississippi River.) Their ship, a sailing vessel, required six weeks for the voyage. During the voyage their five-year-old daughter, Alice, contracted the black measles (called the red measles today). She became very ill; so much so, in fact, that they even had her sewed up in a sheet preparatory to throwing her overboard to the sharks, which always followed the wake of the ships as scavengers. Hannah had already lost two children in England, and she begged them to make sure Alice was dead before tossing her overboard. They made one last check, and as a result Alice lived to be over sixty years old.
Hannah and William, along with a widowed sister of William's, traveled together in the Homer Duncan Wagon Train Company to Salt Lake City. Of Hannah's whole family, only two joined the church and emigrated to Utah. The other besides Hannah was a brother, Arthur Judd, who settled in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Hannah and her family first located at Provo Valley, where they resided for a short while. They moved to Payson, Utah in the spring of 1862, where they set up permanent residence.
The first child to be born to Hannah and William Court in the new world was a daughter, Eliza, born at Payson April 17, 1864. Three sons followed; Arthur, born April 8, 1866, who died as a young child; Abel, born November 1, l867, who died when he was a young man, and Andrew, born January 20, 1872, who died June 23 of the next year. Hannah loved to play jokes. One day she got up and told her husband that the cows were in the garden. He got up, stomping and spluttering around, wondering who let the cows out. He got dressed and went out, but soon came back, reporting that the cows had all been safe in the corral. Then Hannah admitted that she had just been playing a joke on him. Boy, was he mad!
Ten years after coming to America William Court died, leaving Hannah a widow with three children to support. Hers was the usual hard times of the pioneer, made doubly hard by the loss of her provider. She did washings, husked corn, dried fruit, and did many other manual tasks in order that her three children might go to school and become better equipped to face life's battles. All this was in direct contrast to the work she had been accustomed to, that of handling silk. Hannah's mother wanted to come to Utah, but because Hannah still owed on her emigration charges, officials took her only cow for the debt, and her mother remained in England. This so discouraged Hannah that after her husband died she would have returned to England but for the lack of funds. Even though Hannah had no formal schooling, she taught herself to read. One of her comforts was reading the Deseret News, which she subscribed to for many years.
In March 1878, she married John Bolton and took his two children to mother. The youngest child was then only three months old. Her life with Mr. Boulton proved to be a very unhappy one, as he would beat her. She finally obtained a divorce from him. Hannah so impressed the importance of baptism upon the minds of her two little step-children that they counted the years, months, and days until they would be old enough to be baptized.
Shortly before the time set for the oldest, a boy, to be baptized, his father forbade it and not long after, the boy was accidentally killed. The other, a girl, was later baptized.
Hannah used to tell the story of how she out-witted a thief. Instead of having a cedar chest as we do now, she had a long, wooden box that she kept her clothes in. At the very bottom of the box she had a five dollar gold piece. One day she went to town and when she returned she found that someone had torn the screen off her bedroom window and got into the house. They had ransacked the room and had some of the clothes that were in the box pulled out on the floor. They hadn't found the gold piece, though!
One of Hannah's main means for supporting herself and her children was raising a truck garden. She had the first radishes in the summer, and would bunch them for people to come and buy. She also raised currants, gooseberries, raspberries, and cut and dried hundreds of apples and other fruit to sell to the co-op stores in the fall. She had to irrigate all the time, all alone, except for her cat, who used to keep her company. She often said she could always tell about where the water was, because the cat would lay down in the furrow, and when the water would reach him he would get up and move a little further along.
One summer, she had quite a bit of trouble with someone taking her water. Once she went up the creek to see where it was going and found out who had been taking the water. He started quarreling with her and trying to make her believe that it wasn't her turn. She was not much more than five feet tall, but she took about as much as she could, then hauled off and knocked the man down with her shovel. You can bet he didn't try to take her water anymore! Hannah was easy to get along with, but she knew how to stick up for her rights!
After the death of Abel, Hannah lived alone for the remainder of her life. She was troubled for many years with rheumatism and many times she would be found walking the floor to keep her joints from stiffening, for she didn't want to be a burden to anyone. She was also troubled with a hernia, which ultimately caused her death. The summer of Hannah's eighty-first year rolled around, and she was still seen out tending her garden.
|Hannah at 80 Years of Age|
Her grandchildren used to take turns going to Grandma's house and staying with her overnight. They can remember finding her many times sitting in the dark in the evening, singing. She loved to sing. For years the family had been coaxing Grandma Court to go down and have a picture of her taken. Finally in the fall of her eighty-first year she went down all alone to a local photographer and had her picture taken. Grandma Court had a favorite name for her grandchildren: "wenches", she called them. When she became very sick her grandchildren would beg her not to leave them. "What will we do without you, Grandma?" they would plead. "No, no, wenches," she would say, "Let me go, I want to go." Grandma Court had her wish granted that she would not be a burden on anyone. While her sickness was severe, she was sick just one week before she was called home on February 14, 1915, at the age of 82 years.
She was a faithful church member and many remember her for her deeds of kindness. She never turned a hungryperson awayfrom her door. Even if she had onlya crust of bread in the house, she would share it. She taught SundaySchool for ten years and attended meetings regularlyup until the time of her death. At the time of her death the local newspaper paid the following tribute to the aged pioneer woman: "She was of a genial and uncomplaining disposition and was always willing to bear life's burdens cheerfully. She died in full faith of the gospel."*