Ebenezer Godfrey DeFriez Sr.

Brief Life History of Ebenezer Godfrey

Ebenezer Godfrey DeFriez was born 7 December 1851 in Bethnal Green, London, England. He was the fifth of ten children born to Joseph George DeFriez and Mary Ann Godfrey. His father was a medical doctor. In addition to his private medical practice, his father served as the medical officer for the Bethnal Green parish. His mother was a talented and inquisitive woman. The family was well-to-do and enjoyed the better things of life. Mary Ann was religiously curious. Ebenezer was christened at the Cambridge Road Independent Church, a non-conformist church. Although we know very little about Ebenezer’s education, but latter in his life it was apparent that he was intelligent and well-educated. On 6 November 1870, at age 18, Ebenezer set sail aboard the SV England bound for New Zealand. Most likely Ebenezer signed on as a member of the crew. Also aboard was John Mills, an apprentice seaman. Ebenezer and John were either already friends or would soon become friends. When the England began its return voyage, Ebenezer stayed in New Zealand with family friends. Ebenezer’s younger brother also went to sea in 1870 as a cabin boy aboard the City of Seringapatam. In December 1871, the England left London on another voyage. On this voyage, Ebenezer’s younger brother joined the crew as an ordinary seaman. John Miles continued as apprentice seaman. Sixteen children and two adults died during this passage and upon arriving in Wellington, New Zealand, the England was quarantined for 40 days. After the quarantine, Ebenezer came aboard as a passenger. The England sailed to Newcastle, Australia, where Ebenezer joined the crew as an ordinary seaman. After a voyage to Hong Kong, the England returned to Australia, this time porting in Sydney. The England stayed in Sydney for a number of months. While on shore leave in Sydney, Ebenezer and his friend, John Miles, met missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. John Miles was baptized on 30 March 1873 and Ebenezer was baptized a week later, on 6 April 1873. From Sydney, the England sailed to Japan and then continued to Puget Sound in the Washington Territory. While in Puget Sound, Ebenezer, his brother Charles, and John Miles resigned from the crew of the England. They made their way to Salt Lake City. Not long after arriving in Salt Lake City, Brigham Young called Ebenezer and John Miles to work on the St. George Temple. Ebenezer’s brother, Charles, was baptized on 18 April 1874 and joined Ebenezer and John in St. George to work on the temple. Under the direction of George Jarvis, also a former sailor, Ebenezer, Charles, and John Miles helped rig a series of blocks and tackles to hoist the heavy baptismal font into the temple and onto the twelve wooden oxen. At April Conference 1876, Ebenezer and John Miles were called to serve missions in their native England. They walked and hitched rides from St. George to Salt Lake where they were set apart as missionaries on 29 May 1876. They made their way by foot, train, and ship to London. Ebenezer was assigned to the London Conference. He served in East Sussex, Essex, Kent, and London. During his mission, Ebenezer was able to share the Gospel with his family. His mother, his sister, Frances, and his brother, William, and family were all baptized. Upon his release from his mission, Ebenezer accompanied his mother and sister to the United States and on to Utah. They settled in St. George. His brother, William, and family would follow latter. Not long after returning to St. George on 11 September 1877, Ebenezer married Sarah Elizabeth McCullough in the St. George Temple. Sarah was the daughter of James Dillard McCullough and Elizabeth Moore Loftin. Among other jobs, Ebenezer worked on making repairs to the St. George Temple, as a constable, and as deputy sheriff. In the fall of 1886, Ebenezer, Sarah and their four young children moved to Vernal, Utah, in Ashley Valley. The first winter in Vernal Ebenezer taught school in a one-room school. The following spring Ebenezer and Sarah began to cultivate land to raise crops for their use and to sell the excess. In August of 1891, Ebenezer was elected superintendent of schools for Uintah County. In 1894, Ebenezer was appointed as Probate Judge. He was admitted to the bar in March 1895 and began to practice as an attorney. Ebenezer tried other business ventures including a freighting business and ownership of a small coal mine. In the fall of 1900, Ebenezer made the decision to move the family to Olio, New Mexico where he was able to acquire a large tract of land that had recently become irrigated by a new canal. Within a few months of arriving in New Mexico, tragedy struck the family. Ebenezer’s oldest son, Ebenezer, Jr. died. Then the following spring unusually heavy rains flooded the fields and destroyed the canal that irrigated their land. Saddened and much worse off financially, Ebenezer and family returned to Ashley Valley. They made their home in Naples. They only stayed in Naples for a short time before relocating to Huntington, Emery, Utah. Once again, Ebenezer engaged in the freighting business. He also continued his law practice and served for a time as Assistant County Attorney. Sometime after World War I, Ebenezer and Sarah moved to Roosevelt where two of their married children lived. After a few years in Roosevelt, they moved back to Huntington. Ebenezer’s health began to decline. He required a major operation and remained hospitalized for an extended period. Sarah died on 23 November 1927 after a long illness. Although Ebenezers health was not good, he lived for ten years after Sarah died. He died 8 October 1937 at age 85 in Huntington. He was buried in the Huntington City Cemetery.

Photos and Memories (21)

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Family Time Line

Ebenezer Godfrey DeFriez Sr.
Sarah Elizabeth McCullough
Marriage: 12 September 1877
Ebenezer Godfrey DeFriez Jr.
Mary Amelia DeFriez
Sarah Elizabeth Defriez
Frances Moore DeFriez
Joseph Dillard DeFriez
William Henry DeFriez
Ethel Clunnie DeFriez
Margaret Grace DeFriez
Josephine DeFriez
Arthur Godfrey DeFriez
Herbert Charles Defriez
Charles DeFriez
Mabel Defriez

Sources (75)

  • Ebenezer Godfrey Defriez, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Church Census Records (Worldwide), 1914-1960"
  • Ebenzer Godfrey Defriez, "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975"
  • Utah, Select County Marriages, 1887-1937

World Events (8)

1852 · First Public Lavatory Erected 

George Jenning was the person that invented and gave us the public lavatory. It cost people a penny to use. 


Abraham Lincoln issues Emancipation Proclamation, declaring slaves in Confederate states to be free.

1875 · A Treaty with Hawaii

In the Mid 1870s, The United States sought out the Kingdom of Hawaii to make a free trade agreement. The Treaty gave the Hawaiians access to the United States agricultural markets and it gave the United States a part of land which later became Pearl Harbor.

Name Meaning

English: See De Vries .

Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland © University of the West of England 2016

Possible Related Names

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Ebenezer Godfrey De Friez

Ebenezer Godfrey De Friez was born December 7, 1851 in London, England, 5th child of Dr. Joseph George and Mary Anne Godfrey De Friez. He was given all the advantages for education that the time affor …

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