To continue in her own words:
All during my youth I was restless about religion. I was never quite satisfied with the Church of England. I went to investigate all the revivals and knew of all religions but none of them satisfied me. When I turned eighteen I was confirmed into the Church of England. (1902) I thought this would end my restlessness. The day of my confirmation I went back to Horton's and the whole world seemed so very dark - almost black. I was very unhappy and felt worse than ever. I sat on the foot of my bed and got my prayer book. I felt an awful chill go through me. I laid down my book and sat and thought. I thought of all the churches and I asked myself, "how do I know which church is right?".
For the first time I knelt down and prayed in my own words. Afterwards, my feeling of darkness seemed to leave but the restless feeling stayed with me.
Soon I left Horton's and went to work for a family by the name of Naughton. I met a Mrs. Horn in church and she invited me to tea the next Sunday to meet her boarders. She said, "they call themselves Mormons". So I went. I met Elders George C. Parkinson and Emery B. Needham. After tea we began to talk of their religion. The more they said, the more I knew that what they said was true. I knew this was what I was looking for. Within three weeks I was baptized by Jesse Hoopes on June 11, 1905 at Tiberton Baths. A few weeks later I went to work in the Liverpool Mission House as cook and housekeeper.
I took a trip home to tell my family of my happiness. My mother told me she knew I wouldn't do anything wrong, so it must be all right. I took a copy of the Millennial Star with me.There was a story of Brigham Young which I wanted them to read. My father at the mention of the name got up and walked out. I never saw him again. My mother went to the train with me. It was very hard to leave her knowing I would probably never see her again.
I returned to London. A returning missionary, Alec Nibley, offered me immigration money if I would "work it back" by working for his folks in Salt lake City. I agreed and came over to America on the ship, the "Republic". The day before we landed we hit an iceberg. It was not very serious though. It was only enough of a "jar" to wake up the passengers. I had my 23rd birthday on the boat. we landed in Boston and it took me five days by train to get to Salt Lake City. I arrived July 2, 1907. I went right to work.
Here is a map of the UK showing Flaunden's location (lower right, in red) and the journey Annie took to live and work at her first apprenticeship in Kent.
This map is one I put together to show Annie's different travels and places of work until she ended up in Watford at age 18.
This is an old postcard showing a row of shops in Watford in 1903.
St. Mary's Church, Church of England, where Annie most likely was confirmed.
Church of England prayer books from early 1900's.
1903 postcards showing the market place in Watford.
I "Googled" Tiberton Baths where Annie says her baptism took place. The only thing close was Tiverton, near Watford. There are some ruins of Roman baths in the area, but that doesn't seem like that would be the place as they really are ruined! Perhaps there are warm springs in the area? I am going to try to get to the bottom of this question but that will be for another time.
It always amazes me to read the stories of my ancestors' conversions to the gospel of Christ. Without exception they are wondering, questioning, and restless. It seems that they were born to find the true church. Joseph Smith was no different. I love and admire Annie for her immense faith and her ability to follow what the spirit was telling her was wrong. The bad feelings she had after her confirmation into the Church of England were so strong that it turned her to prayer. First to her prayer book, which was all the prayer she had ever known, then to her knees to utter her first prayer in her own words. It almost seems like that was instinctive.
I ache for Annie when she returns home to Flaunden to tell her family about her "happiness", perhaps with the hope of giving them the gospel too. Her mother was kind and showed her support, but her father left the room. My own father told me once that his mother (Annie) had told him that as she left the family home that day, her father was outside. He shouted at her as she left, using words of hatred for the "Mormons". That was the last time she was ever home or saw any of her blood family in person. Still, she left her home country with great faith and hope. I will be forever grateful to her for this choice.
Next time you will find out how Annie felt about America and all of the work and learning she did after arriving.