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Jean Rio Griffiths Baker Pearce letters and photographs

Identifier: MSS 9000

Scope and Contents

Collection comprises a series of letters written by Jane Rio Baker to her children (including William George Baker); a photocopy of Jane's obituary; William George Baker's letter to his son Josiah Elliot Baker; and a scrapbook containing family photos, pedigree charts, and other family history-related materials on Jane Rio Baker's family. Materials dated 1843-1960.


  • 1843-1960


Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from the Jean Rio Griffiths Baker Pearce letters and photographs must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Coordinating Committee.

Biographical History

Jean Rio Griffiths Baker Pearce (1810-1883) was a concert singer, musician, dress maker, and Mormon pioneer in England, Utah, and California.

Jean (Jane) Rio Griffiths Baker Pearce was born on July 8, 1810 in London, England to John Walter Griffiths and Susanna Ann Burgess. On September 24, 1832 she married Henry Baker (1811-1849) and together they had seven children. In January of 1851 she and her children left England to live with the Latter-day Saints in the Salt Lake Valley. Her company, the John Brown company, arrived there on September 28, 1851. Pearce lived in Salt Lake, Ogden, and California. She died on July 21, 1883 in Antioch, California.

Biographical History

William George Baker (1835-1901) was a British Mormon pioneer who served in the settlement of the state of Utah as a teacher, choir leader, hotel owner, and a member of the United Order in Richfield, UT.

William George Baker was born to Henry Baker and Jean Rio Griffiths in London, England on June 10, 1835. While growing up in London, he was taught in the manners of many upper-class Londoners, learning to speak proper "Queen's English," traveling with his mother - an accomplished musician - throughout Europe. While living in Europe, his family was eventually contacted by John Taylor and eventually the family was baptized under the hand of Wilford Woodruff in 1849. Although his father passed away shortly after this, eventually they emigrated to the United States to settle in the Salt Lake Valley in 1851.

Four years after settling in Utah, William married his first wife Hannah Hayward and eventually the two settled in Moroni, UT. However, in 1862, the family was called to move to Sevier County, where he fought against the Native Americans in the Black Hawk and Walker Wars. While he did try to teach and sing in the community during this time, in 1867 he eventually fled to Nephi, UT to live for the next 5 years. It was around this time where he entered into plural marriage, marrying his second wife Nicolena Bertelsen on June 1, 1867.

In 1873, the Baker family resettled in Richfield, UT. Once returning, William served in a variety of positions in the community - leading the first choir in the region, organizing a community theatre troupe, and even building a hotel for travelers to live in in 1879. In 1874, he also agreed to live in the United Order, attempting to share their hay to everyone in the community. However, this ended up in disaster for him: not only did some of his hay burn alongside a threshing machine and farm implements in a fire, but the order itself proved unsustainable - disbanding only 4 years later.

William continued to live in thr region for the remainder of his life. On October 1, 1901, he passed away in a heart attack and was buried in Richfield with his twelve grown sons serving as his Pall Bearers.


1 box (0.5 linear ft.)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Donated by Jeffrey Ogden Johnson, descendant of Jean Rio Baker, in 2017.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; Jeffrey Ogden Johnson; March 2017


LDS and Utah and the American West cultural, social, and religious history (19th Century Mormon and Western Manuscripts collection development policy IV.a.i.1 and 4, November 2013).

Processing Information

Processed; Eric Wolford, student manuscript processor, and Ryan K. Lee, curator; 2017.

Register of Jean Rio Griffiths Baker Pearce letters and photographs
Eric Wolford
2017 May 30
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States