History of Ann Gwenthlyn Davis
Ann Gwenthlyn Davis, daughter of Richard Jenkins Davis and Rebecca Morgan Davis, was born in Willard, Box Elder County, Utah, on January 24, 1858 just seven years after the arrival of the first settlers to this place. Her parents had hoped for a son but after her arrival into this home she was made truly welcome.
She was a baby of only a few months at the time of the move south. Her parents participated in this event, but Ann was too young to know of its importance in her life. There were three older children than she, Ann being the fourth child in a family of eight children. When she was seven years old her father was called on a mission, and her mother was left with the eight children to care for. Richard left two wives and ten children when he departed for Wales to carry the Gospel of Jesus Christ to his relatives and friends in Wales.
When he returned after a little more than three years, he found his family well but destitute. The two wives, Rebecca and Phoebe, and lived in the same house and had gotten along in harmony. Rebecca had eight children and Phoebe two. All had given their best efforts to obtain a well kept, peaceful home.
Ann received the advantages of good training at home and at school. As a little girl, she entered the church activities in the Sunday School of Willard. Although there were not the advantages for an education that there are today, she made the most of them and enjoyed good health and the association of teachers and playmates. Chances for education in the pioneer village were very limited, but under the second teacher employed in Willard, the pupils of Charles Wright advanced to the fifth reader, a very worthy achievement.
As Ann grew, she assisted her mother about the house and did work for others. She was also a member of the Willard Choir under the leadership of Evan Stephens. She took an active part in the Dramatic Association. Evan Stephens had a very dear friend, Robert B. Baird, who asked Evan to give him organ lessons. Another dear friend was John J. Ward, who also was taught by him to play the organ. Then came an idea for an organization for a group of six young people, three young men and three young ladies. They called themselves the Willard Glee Club. They met in the granary loft where Evan had previously prepared comfortable lodgings. He had his organ there. The girls as well as the boys climbed the ladder to the loft. They were all eager to learn, yet were merry and vivacious. The young people were Ann G. Davis, Mary Ann Ward, Ellen Owens, Robert B. Baird, John J. Ward and Evan Stephens. While Evan was conducting character songs, either Robert Baird or John Ward would play the organ. The Glee Club gave concerts with success in Willard and the neighboring towns.
After the railroad was built, a group of young folks went to Smithfield to attend a Sunday School convention, among those attending were four young bells, Ann Davis, Lizzie Thain, Ellen Owens, and Mary Ann Ward. They rode in an open car on the narrow gauge road. It was on a May day. When they started from home, the sun was shining so brightly that they wore white dresses and took no coats or other wraps. It started to snow heavily. They had a good time but were a sorry looking bunch when they got home.
Ann Davis became a member of the "Entrenchment Association" of Willard when it was organized on July 27, 1875. She was the sixth member to have her name recorded. Later in life she became a member of the Willard Ward Relief Society and served as a visiting teacher for several years. Ann was a firm believer in Mormonism and often bore her testimony in the meetings where women were assembled. She was often called to care of the sick, to make clothing for the dead, and to help lay away women and children who had passed away.
She cared for her husband's mother and sister, Janet, who was thirteen years old. They came to live as neighbors to her.
As a member of the Willard Choir she took an active part. When the choir was invited to go to Salt Lake City to sing with Prof. Careless' Tabernacle Choir, she went and sang and enjoyed the merriment.
She was married to Robert Bell Baird on October 27, 1876 in the old Endowment House in Salt Lake City. All of their married life was spent in Willard except the winter of 1882. They moved to Logan for a year where they took an active part in the social and religious life of that community.
Ann was the mother of eleven children, 7 boys and 4 girls. Four boys and one girl died in early childhood. Their home was a commodious rock house which is still standing in good condition. It is owned and occupied by their son Malcolm. This home has often been the rendezvous for adult as well as children parties and many times it had been the scene of some practices and rehearsals. The Bairds were good entertainers.
Ann cared lovingly for her husband in his final illness. He passed away on May 28, 1916 after a lingering illness. Before Ann's mother died, Ann attended patiently and lovingly to her wants and comforts. She passed away six weeks after Ann's mother-in-law. Ann died October 19, 1920 and is buried in the Willard Cemetery.