This history was compiled by Ella Barnes Braithwaite and appears on FamilySearch Tree.
To begin the life history of William Braithwaite, we must go back to November 4, 1821, when Rowland Braithwaite of Helsington, England and Hannah Askew of Kendal were married. They moved to Kirkland, a suburb of Kendall, where eight sons and one daughter were born to them; John, Thomas and Robert died in infancy; Robert 2nd, George, Rowland, Hannah, William born 7 May 1842, and Joseph Smith.
This family joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1843, and plans were made to come to America. The death of the father, Rowland, stopped all plans for emigration for a while. Hannah lived with one thought in mind, and that was to get her family to Zion. She struggled and paid into the emigration fund, and in other ways saved for the trip. In June of 1863, she with four of her sons, George, Rowland, William and Joseph, set sail for America on the ship Amazon. Also accompanying them were her daughter Hannah, and Rowland's wife and two small daughters, The Amazon, a sailing vessel, chartered for the Mormon immigrants, sailed with 880 passengers aboard.
The family traveled by ox-team to Utah in Captain Daniel McArthur's Company. When they arrived in Utah they went directly to Manti where Robert, another son, had been for some months. They arrived in Manti in October of 1863.
William was twenty one years old when he arrived in America. He had been trained as a shoemaker; and had also studied Etomolgy: The former being his life trade; and the latter a hobby that brought him joy and some fine butterfly cases for his friends and family.
Shortly after William's arrival in Manti, he was sent to help settle Richfield. It was during this time the settlers were digging a canal. Each man was assigned so much of the canal to finish according to the amount of land he owned.
While working on the canal, the drum sounded which called everyone to town in case of trouble with the Indians. He saw a young mother with two children and he picked up the smallest one in his arms to hurry them. He jumped the canal and injured his ankle, throwing it out of place. He was nursed by a Sister Hill with whom he was living as he was not yet married.
That winter he broke through the ice while chasing an ox across the Sevier River. He fell into the water and was carried down-stream several yards before finding ice strong enough to support his weight. This caused him to catch cold in the ankle and the bone began to decay.
During the time he was in Richfield, William met and fell in love with Elizabeth Francis, a young girl who had come from England with her brother and was living in Richfield with her sister and husband. William and Elizabeth were married March 18, 1867, in Richfield and shortly thereafter went to Manti to live.
William's injury steadily grew worse. A Sister Hamilton doctored it in Manti until July when he and Elizabeth went to Salt Lake City by ox Team. The leg was amputated about 2 inches above the ankle by Dr. Andrews of July 18, 1868. It was cut again twice more 2 inches each time until they could get it to heal. When his leg was sufficiently healed, he and Elizabeth went to the Endowment House and were sealed to each other on August 8, 1868. They then returned to Manti.
Fourteen children were born to William and Elizabeth at Manti, only nine of whom they raised to maturity and saw go into homes of their own.
William was called to Salt Lake City and told to take a second wife as he was prospering and could afford one. He and Elizabeth talked it over and decided on a young girl who had worked for them on several occasions. This girl was Rose Ellen Walker. The Braithwaite's went to her parents' home and asked for Rose to join the family as a second wife. They had prayers with the family and left asking her to give them her answer. She felt it was a call from the Lord, so William and Rose Ellen Walker were married in the Endowment House March 2, 1882, with Elizabeth accompanying them. To this union seven children were born; three of whom died of prematurity and one of pneumonia, leaving only three to grow to maturity. William had twelve children who lived to carry on his name.
Through the years, life at the Braithwaite home was busy. Along with his shoemaker trade he had a large garden and nursery. He also had an apiary, the first in Utah, from which he extracted tons of honey. All twelve children learned to work and hold responsibility early in life.
William was a High Priest and was faithful in his callings. He seemed to have a special gift for healing and was often called to heal the sick or give a troubled person a blessing or to help in some way. Perhaps it was with his music that he gave his greatest service. All of the Braithwaite brothers had fine voices and, he, together with George, Robert and Joseph were known as the Braithwaite Brothers Quartet and gave of their talents generously to church and community.
For years he and his wife Elizabeth were members of the Stake Choir. While in this capacity they participated in the dedication of the Manti Temple. Here they had an experience that they related to the family many times. The choir sang the first song and they heard many heavenly voices join them. The prayer was given. When the second song was announced, it was sung by a heavenly choir with a heavenly band accompanying it. They said, never had they heard before or since such beautiful music. Many manifestations of the spirit were experienced at that dedication.
It was in 1918 that Elizabeth went to spend the winter in Idaho with her sons William and Robert. The day she left Manti, Rose had her come over to her home for luncheon before her train left. The two enjoyed a quiet meal and talked together, at the close of which Rose walked with her for a short distance and then they kissed each other good bye. Elizabeth went on some short distance alone and then turned and called Rose to come to her. Rose, over twenty years the younger, went to her. "I just wanted to thank you once again for the luncheon and kiss you again and know that we are parting as friends," was the reason for the call. Thus ended the association of the two women who had tried to live under difficult circumstances, for two months later Elizabeth fell victim to the flu and died. She was brought back to Manti for burial and placed beside her husband in the Manti cemetery.
Rose was to live for some twenty years before her time came. She died at the home of her daughter, Ruby, at Payson and was taken to Manti for funeral services on February 21, 1950, which were held in the Manti Center Ward, with Claude Braithwaite, William's grandson conducting services. She too was buried by her husband.
The last years of William's life were spent in ill health. His bad leg gave him trouble and he was afflicted with palsy besides other minor ailments which made it impossible for him to work. He died in the home of his wife Rose on October 2, 1909 and was buried in the Manti cemetery.
One by one the twelve children grew to maturity and established homes of their own throughout the world, holding civic as well as church positions of responsibility.