Related to the first baptised member in the British Isles

by Murray Hamliton

Sister Ellison and Sister Perry

Sister Ellison, a full-time missionary in the England Leeds Mission, has several things in common with her great, great grandfather, George Darling Watt. Aside from sharing the same birthday, on May 18, Sister Ellison was the first member in her family from Carmel, California to serve in the ancestral homeland of England. George was the first member of the Church in the British Isles to be baptized, on 30 July 1837, by Heber C. Kimball in the River Ribble. Sister Ellison’s sister and George’s sister are both called Margaret.

Both George and Sister Ellison have connections with running. George won the right to be the first British convert by winning a footrace against eight others that desired to join the Church. Sister Ellison was a runner with her twin brother and other siblings in high school, and her father was a runner at university (Williams College, Massachusetts). Sister Ellison concedes, “… we like to say the running is in the genes!”

Sister Ellison and Sister Perry

Sister Ellison left California to serve a mission in Virginia. and then in England. George left England to serve a mission in Virginia, and then in California.

Both George and Sister Ellison are skilled with languages. George was the main sponsor of the Deseret Alphabet developed in the mid 1800s, and Sister Ellison is a Chinese-speaking missionary. George and Sister Ellison have both been baptised in Preston, George as a new convert and Sister Ellison as a proxy in the Preston Temple. Sister Ellison studied at Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah) and George was Brigham Young’s secretary. Sister Ellison keeps a journal and George kept the Journal of Discourses.

Sister Ellison and Sister Perry at Preston Temple

All these connections show how many links we can have to our ancestors. Getting to know them can be both interesting and surprising.

Sister Ellison with her companion Sister Perry were serving as Chinese speaking missionaries in the Hull 1st Ward.