Emma was born 20 March 1827 in Whipsmade, Bedfordshire, England. Her parents were Thomas Grace and Mary Ann George Grace. Emma was the 5th of 12 children born to them, the others being Elizabeth, Thomas, Jr., John, Shadrack, Daniel, Edward, William, Sidney, Mary Ann, Alfred, and David. On her 20th birthday, 30 March 1847, Emma married John Austin, and together they had 17 children, Harriet, George, Hyrum and Joseph (twins), Alfred, Parley Pratt, Heber Charles, William, Sarah Emma, Juliet, Hector, Annie Marie, Mark, Thomas Herbert, John Ezra, Luticia, and Franklin. It wasn’t until after their marriage that thy were introduced to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by missionaries. She was baptized on 13 January 1848, and, two years later, her husband was baptized as well. For 18 years, they lived in Studham, Bedfordshire, England, working and saving money to eventually move to America. While there, they labored tirelessly to further the work of the Church and always kept their home open to missionaries. For her part, Emma worked making and selling straw hats, which brought the family a good deal of income. In the spring of 1868, following an impression she had, they secured passage on and sailed with the S.S. “Minnesota,” embarking on 30 June. They arrived in Utah in August of that year eventually settling in Lehi. Emma lived and served faithfully in the Church, always making time in her busy days to help those who were sick or in need. She died on 29 November 1893 Lehi, Utah, at the age of 66.
This manuscript is 3 pages of photocopied typescript writing. The work is entitled, “Biographical Sketch of Mrs. Emma Grace Austin: A Mother of 17 Children,” and it is written by her daughter, “Lettie” Luticia Gudmundsen. The sketch covers Emma’s parentage as well as her marriage and eventual conversion to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints. It also describes Emma’s experience leading up to her family’s move to America. She followed the impressions the Holy Spirit gave her to prepare to sail in 1868, despite their lack of funds, and despite her husband’s belief that they would never be able to afford passage. Then, thanks to some family friends, they were able to secure a place on the S.S. “Minnesota” and eventually they traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah to join the Saints there before moving to Lehi to settle. Emma was grateful she listened to the Spirit and prepared for a trip that was so uncertain until the last moment. There is also a short description of the legacy of hard work, religious devotion, and compassion she left in the wake of her passing, as well as how that legacy has been carried on by her children.