George Wilcox Burridge was born to Thomas and Anne Wilcox Burridge in 1813. At the age of 18 he joined the English army as a private in the 76th regiment. Eventually, he was promoted to "color" sergeant.
In 1847, George's regiment was stationed near Aberdeen, Scotland, where he met 19 year-old Hannah Jane Shaw. They fell in love and began to make wedding plans. Before the plans could be carried out, George's regiment was transferred back to London and the marriage plans were revised.
Hannah was to meet George in the small seaside village of Ayton, Scotland, just over the border from England. George was to arrange for the minister and the posting and calling of the banns.
When the time came for Hannah to meet the ferry that would carry her to Ayton, a cousin who had marital designs on her for himself, gave her false information about when the boat was leaving. As a result, Hannah missed the ferry.
Imagine George's feelings as he, the minister and his best man met the ferry and discovered that his beloved Hannah was not among the passengers. George never lost faith and somehow convinced the rest of the wedding party to hang in with him. The next boat to come down from Aberdeen was a smelly cattle boat with one very anxious bride aboard. Happy tears flowed as George and Hannah finally found each other.
During the next 5 years, George was elevated to the rank of Lieutenant. During his career, he served in the West Indies, Bermuda, circled the world twice and was finally stationed on the isle of Malta. There, on July 4, 1852, George joined the Mormon Church and two weeks later, Hannah also joined.
Ultimately, joining the Mormons spelled the end of George's army career. In September, 1852, George was returned to England in chains to face a court martial for preaching the gospel (and hence sedition) to his fellow soldiers. Probably becuse of his excellent record, (his army discharge record states that he was of "examplory character and not given to vice and intemperance") George was allowed to resign his commission without facing the court. He was also given a small (2 schillings a day) pension from the army.
Hannah and George returned to Malta where they continued preaching the gospel and used their personal finances to rent a house, part of which was used for a meeting hall. George also obtained work with a tailor to help with their finances.
Eventually, Hannah, their daughter Charlotte and son Thomas returned to England. George followed a few months later. Passage from Liverpool to New York was purchased, then train tickets to St. Louis and boat passage to Atchison, Kansas.
I believe it was at Atchison where most of their beautiful furniture had to be abandoned. Years later, Hannah still got tears in her eyes as she described the sun glinting off the mirror on their wardrobe, visible for several miles on the prairie. Somehow they got to Mormon Grove, Iowa where they prepared for the rest of the trip to "Zion".
As an officer in the English army, George and Hannah were quite well off, but providing for their missionary activities on Malta and subsequent travel took most of their money. Their lack of cash and the lack of available wagons meant that George was only able to find space in a wagon that was shared with another family.
They left Mormon Grove August 1, 1855 in the Milo Andrus company. This was the last wagon train of the year, so their pace was hurried. Everyone who was able had to walk, as was the case with all wagon train immigrants. The wagons were reserved for those too frail to walk, but mostly for the provisions and household goods that would be needed in their new homes.
They arrived in Salt Lake on October 24. George soon went to work for Porter Rockwell in Rush Valley in exchange for room and board for him and his small family. George worked for "Ol' Port" as he was called until March, when the settlers were advised by Brigham Young to gather in Tooele because of indian problems.
On March 6, 1855, George and Porter ended their arrangement and George and Hannah decided to make their home in Tooele. George traded a coat and a vest worth 60 dollars to a Brother Eli B. Kelsey for a city lot and a very poor garden lot from John Gallispie for a "good frock coat". George recorded the following in his journal about this garden lot:
"this turned out to be a very Bad Bargain for the Land being so Sandy we could Raise nothing of any account upon it. Flour and all kinds of Provisions being very Scarce we had to Sustain ourselves by the use of Nettles and Pigweed and other course things untill the Spring & Harvest"
It would appear that the Burridges lived in a dugout in Tooele for two years until George was able to get an adobe house built. Sometime in the first year or so after arriving in Utah, the incident with the brass kettle occurred.