Mary Billot and Francis Romeril

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Marie Anne Billot was born on 18 April 1801 and baptised on 29 April 1804 at Trinity, Jersey. Her parents were Joshua Billot and Elizabeth Magdelaine Gibaut.

[Note: If the birth date is correct it is not clear why Marie Anne was not baptised until she was three years old. Her sister Nancy was baptised in January 1802, and she had younger siblings Anne Susanne (1807- ), Charles (1809- ) Sophie Anne (1812- ) and Marguerite Rachel (1814- ).

Family

Mary's parents owned a large shoe establishment and built a beautiful house near Ebenezer Chapel in Trinity. Mary's father was a widower with one son when he married Elizabeth Gibaut He was twelve years older than her. They had seven children.

Mary Billot married Francis Romeril about 1820. He had been bound to his stepfather as a shoemaker apprentice. Because of his lowly position, the Billots did not approve of the marriage of Mary and Francis.

Mary and Francis had eleven children. This was also an annoyance to Mary's society family. Upon one occasion the Billots were to entertain at a splendid affair at Christmas. All the family were to be present. Sophie and Nancy, Mary's sisters, feared that Mary's children might embarrass them before their fine guests and suggested that the children eat in the kitchen with the servants. Mary said if they were sent to the kitchen she would go with them. The children did not go to the kitchen and later, when relating incidents in Jersey, were fond of telling of this grand affair.

Marie Marguerite, the oldest child, was born on 22 March 1824. She did not join the church, married Richard Cornish and stayed in the Island when the family left for Utah.

John Abraham was born in May l826. He joined the church in1851 but left for Australia before the family left for Utah. Some of the family thought he went to Canada.

Francis was born July 31,1829, Charles was born in 1830, and George was born October 14,1832. He joined the church and left for America in 1851 before his family. He married Mary Ann Porter in St Louis. They had two daughters, the first died in infancy. Mary Ann was not a member of the church and when George left for Utah in 1861, she refused to go with him.

The next daughter, Ann Mary born in 1836, died before the family left Jersey and Jane Nancy was born February 23, 1838. Fanny Mary Ann was born April 26, 1840 and Ann was born September 19, 1841 and died in infancy. Sophia Jane was born May 23 1846 and Charles Abraham was born May 18,1848.

Fannie Mary Ann went to stay with her Aunt Margret Marriot when she was six years old. Mrs Marriot was rich and influential and having no children of her own wished to adopt Fannie and make her heiress to the Marriot possessions, but Fannie was baptized with the rest of her family.

Journey to Utah

After joining the Mormon Church, the Romeril family found themselves forsaken by their friends and neighbours; the children were looked down upon at school. When Andrew Lamoreaux led a group of Saints to Utah, they went with him to Liverpool and on to St Louis. Captain Lamoreaux died there on 13 June 1855 and they continued on with C A Harper.

In Utah they settled in Bingham's Fort in the Ogden area. Francis continued his occupation as a shoemaker. In the book "Beneath Ben Lomand Peaks", it states that Mary was appointed and served as a midwife in the Harrisville area. Mary died on 11 May 1866, just 11 years after entering the valley. She was buried in the City Cemetery in Ogden in the "Pierce" section. Francis died on 9 October1875 and was buried next to his wife.

Fred Romeril's story

Fred Romeril, son of George, told the following.

Mary Billot Romriell was born 18 April 1801, at St Lawrence, Jersey. She was the daughter of Joshua Billot, born in 1776, and Elizabeth Gibot Billot, born in 1778. She was married to Francis Romriell about the year 1820 and had 10 children— Mary, John, Francis, Charles, George, Ann Mary Ann, Jane Nancy, Fannie Mary Ann, Charles Abraham, and Sophia Jane. They were all born in the Isle of Jersey. They emigrated to US leaving Jersey in April 1855 and went to Liverpool. With a company of 431 saints they sailed 17 April 1855, under the direction of Edward Stevenson. Landing at Philadelphia 21 May 1855.

Tradition states that the Gibot family owned a large farm that included the St Laurence Valley for many generations. There was an old well on this farm supposed to have been dug when the Isle was first settled. They said when a pin was dropped into it, it sounded as if a big rock had fallen in. Joshua Billot was a widower with one son when he married Elizabeth Gibot and was 12 years her senior.

The Billots owned a large shoemaking establishment and built a beautiful home near Ebinizor Chapple, Trinity, Jersey. They were well to do people and classed among the gentry of the Isle.

Family disapprove of marriage

In 1845, Joshua Billot died and according to English law 2/3 of his estate went to the son of his first marriage. Mary Billot was married to Francis Romriell in about 1820. Francis had been bound to his father as a shoemaker apprentice, and because of his lowly position, the marriage was not approved of by the Billots. They also disapproved of Francis and Mary having such a large family.

On one occasion the Billots were to entertain at a large Christmas affair and all of the family were to be present. Some suggested the children eat in the kitchen with the servants but Mother Billot vetoed the suggestion by declaring that if they were sent to the kitchen she would go with them.

The Romriell’s lived a simple and industrious life. Francis worked at his trade as a shoemaker and Mary running a store, operating a bakery department, keeping cows and carrying milk a long way to market. Early each morning they would collect the oysters on the seashore to use and to sell. There was plenty of work for everyone.

They were a happy affectionate family, all religiously inclined. They spoke French although the children were taught French and English in school. The school was sponsored by the Methodist Church, of which they were all members until the year 1849. At this time, they heard and embraced the Gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Mary’s brother, Phillip Billot, was a great factor in gathering the genealogy of their family for he kept the records in the Trinity Church. He was a staunch Methodist in his faith but he was not prejudice against the Romriell family for having joined the Mormon Church, as were the rest of the Billot family.

Elders welcomed

Mary’s home was always a place of welcome to the Elders, among whom were the late President John Taylor, Curtis E. Bolton and John Pack. President Taylor was imprisoned in France and through Mary’s influence and tact a goodly sum of money was raised and used as an aid in releasing him from prison.

The Romriell’s lived in a stone house, very old with huge oak beams across the ceilings, pillars, stairways, and banisters also were of oak but were decaying with age. Ivy covered most of the walls, while cherries and apricots, bearing an abundance of fruit were trained up the side of one of the walls.

The next four years, after joining the church, were spent in earnest toil, laboring, saving, planning, making ready for the long journey to join the Saints. Great chests were made which they packed full of clothes and other necessities. In the early part of April 1855, they left their Jersey home and went to Liverpool, England, together with 70 other saints all from Jersey. This party with a company of 431 Saints left Liverpool on board the ship Chimborazo, April 17, 1855, they proceeded to the headquarters of the Latter Day Saints where they obtained an ox team and wagon.

Elder Andrew L. Lamoreaux, their captain who had accompanied them from Liverpool was taken ill at St. Louis, Missouri and died there on June 13. This was a real blow to the family for they had learned to love him and often spoke of the wise council that he gave the Saints. After Elder Lamoreaux’s death Captain C.A. Harper was put in charge of the company.

Long journey

The journey was long and wearisome. The oxen were hard to manage. The company must have a good share of troubles because they did not arrive in the Great Salt Lake Valley until November 12, 1855. Too late in the year to prepare for winter. The family was forced to endure many hardships. Though they had plenty of money and clothes, they wanted for food. Francis paid $10 for a sack of brown flour, and they rationed it out a little to each person each day. Digging roots was a common thing and an absolute necessity.

Their son George came just to St. Louis with the family and stayed there for six years and worked at his trade of shipbuilding. He came to Utah in September 11, 1861.

The family moved to Ogden and settled at Bingham’s Fort. The book “Beneath Ben Lomand Peaks: states that Mary Billot Romriell was appointed as the first midwife of Harrisville. She died May 12, 1866 and is buried in the Ogden City Cemetery. Francis Romriell died October 9, 1875.

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