John & Sophia Geary



(early settlers of Toquerville)


John Thomas Geary was born in 1823 in Atterton, Leicestershire, England. He married Sophia Fryer who was born in Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight in 1829. At the time of their marriage, John was a lawyer and member of Parliment.

While living in London, the Geary's joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1851. They immigrated to America in 1853. They traveled to Council Bluffs, Iowa, where they remained for three years.

They left Florence, Nebraska as members of Capt. Andrew J. Siler's Company of Independent Wagons, which had been attached to the Willie Handcart Company. At Ft. Laramie, Nebraska Territory, they separated from the Willie Handcart Company. They then travelled with the Hodgett Wagon Train until they were joined with the rescue party sent by Brigham Young, and were brought into the Great Salt Lake Valley, arriving on December 15th, 1856.

The family settled in Cedar City, Utah for a brief time and then settled in Toquerville by about 1860. They raised cotton and John taught school.

After settling in Toquerville, marital discord arose, and for a number of years John was back and forth between in Salt Lake and Toquerville. John moved to Salt Lake City sometime in 1866. On October 16, 1866, Sophia composed a letter to President Brigham Young requesting a Bill of Divorcement. John was residing in Salt Lake at the time, and it is apparent from the response by Pres. Young to Sophia, that Pres. Young had spoken with John. Pres. Young asked John to write "his wishes and feelings" that Pres. Young might have information upon which to act. In the letter, he counseled Sophia to reconsider her request by stating, "Your better course, I think, will be to accept his acknowledgements and be reconciled forthwith. You cannot do any better anywhere else. [signed] Brigham Young". Whether Sophia was granted a divorcement by Pres. Young is not known. But the matter became mute just six weeks later when John died.

On December 27, 1866, he was shot while target practicing. The bullet entered his body just below the left lung, passing through the body. He lived for about a week before dying on January 5, 1867.

It was a difficult time for Sophia. She had five daughters to care for, ranging in age from 14 down to just under age 3. She was known for her beauty and for her sewing skills. She worked hard at her sewing to make ends meet for her young family. It was necessary for her children to help in providing for the family needs. Her daughters Sophia Ann and Echo worked out of the home to assist in support of their mother and sisters.

Sophia Geary eventually married Bishop Joshua Thomas Willis of Toquerville, sometime in 1867. Their first child, William Richard Willis, was born 22 May 1868 and their second child Adina Laura Willis born 17 February 1870. Sophia died in childbirth, along with her infant son, James Willis, on the 27th of May 1872.


John's Parents and Siblings:
    Xxxxxxx X. Xxxxxxxx
    Xxxxxxx X. Xxxxxxxx
        Xxxxxxx X. Xxxxxxxx
        Xxxxxxx X. Xxxxxxxx
        Xxxxxxx X. Xxxxxxxx
        Xxxxxxx X. Xxxxxxxx
        Xxxxxxx X. Xxxxxxxx

(xx/xx/xxxx-xx/xx/xxxx)   (married xx/xx/xxxx)
(xx/xx/xxxx-xx/xx/xxxx)   (married Xxxxxxx X. Xxxxxxxx)
(xx/xx/xxxx-xx/xx/xxxx)   (married Xxxxxxx X. Xxxxxxxx)
(xx/xx/xxxx-xx/xx/xxxx)   (married Xxxxxxx X. Xxxxxxxx)
(xx/xx/xxxx-xx/xx/xxxx)   (married Xxxxxxx X. Xxxxxxxx)
(xx/xx/xxxx-xx/xx/xxxx)   (married Xxxxxxx X. Xxxxxxxx)

Sophia's Parents and Siblings:
    Moses Fryer
    Eliza Miller Fryer
        Eliza Fryer
        Jane Fryer
        William Aaron Fryer
        Edward George Fryer
        Sophia Fryer
        George Nick Fryer
        Leah Fryer
        Richard Fryer
        Albert Fryer
        Victoria Fryer
        Annie Fryer

(2/6/1786-7/11/1863)   (married 12/5/1819)
(1/5/1820-xx/xx/xxxx)   (married James Russell)
(9/7/1823-3/18/1896)   (married Francis Jorden and Richard Harrison)
(9/17/1825-xx/xx/xxxx)   (married Jennie Henriette Thuillard)
(3/23/1827-xx/xx/xxxx)   (married Xxxxxxx X. Xxxxxxxx)
(8/12/1829-5/27/1872)   (married John Thomas Geary and Joshua Thomas Willis)
(2/12/1832-12/14/1909)   (married Fanny Reynolds)
(3/31/1835-2/22/1921)   (married Emanuel Fryer)
(5/4/1837-3/16/1875)   (married Theresa Ann Revel)
(2/10/1840-xx/xx/1910)   (married Fanny Young)

John & Sophia's Family:
    John Thomas Geary
    Sophia Fryer
        Sophia Ann Geary
        Thomas Fryer Geary
        Echo Workman Geary
            Robert Emmet Hanley    
            James Geary Hanley
        Eliza Jane Geary
        Leah Fryer Geary
        Sarah Ann "Annie" Geary

(2/5/1823-1/5/1867)   (married 8/26/1852)
(6/xx/1853-xx/xx/xxxx)   (married Xxxxxxx X. Page)
(12/9/1856-xx/xx/xxxx)   (married Kennedy James Hanley around 1880)
(2/13/1882-xx/xx/xxxx)   (married Xxxxxxx X. Xxxxxxxx)
(3/15/1885-xx/xx/xxxx)   (married Xxxxxxx X. Xxxxxxxx)
(xx/xx/xxxx-xx/xx/xxxx)   (married Xxxxxxx X. Xxxxxxxx)
(xx/xx/xxxx-xx/xx/xxxx)   (married Xxxxxxx X. Xxxxxxxx)
(xx/xx/xxxx-xx/xx/xxxx)   (married Xxxxxxx X. Xxxxxxxx)


John Thomas Geary
John Thomas Geary
        Sophia Fryer Geary
        Sophia Fryer Geary


John Thomas Geary Pioneer History (blog)

Sopia Fryer Pioneer History (blog)

John Thomas Geary and Sophia Fryer Pioneer History (blog)

A John Thomas Geary & Sophia Fryer genealogy

The Second Birth in Echo Canyon
Research Report on the Birth of Echo Workman Geary Hanley
by Dr. Kaye Page Nichols
April 2010

The Fryers of Yarmouth
Chapter XI of an unknown book

The Fate of the Fryers
Compiled by Bessie "Bess" Snow
Privately published

Find-A-Grave entry for John Thomas Geary

Find-A-Grave entry for Sophia Geary Fryer Willis