Clogs and Shawls: Mormons, Moorlands, and the Search for Zion

Written by Ann Chamberlin
Review by Susan McDuffie

Mary Jane Jones and Ralph Robinson Whitaker met in 1896 in the Yorkshire town of Bradford.  Ralph, blind since childhood, made a living as a piano tuner. The couple married in 1897 and had eight daughters over the next thirteen years. Mary Jane converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 1901, and her daughters followed her in that faith.  Most of the girls left school at age twelve to work in the local mills, but seven of them eventually left Yorkshire for Zion—Utah. This book, by Mary Jane’s great-granddaughter, tells the story of this remarkable family.

Ann Chamberlin is a wonderful writer, and her great-aunts’ narratives, tape-recorded by Chamberlin and her uncle over the years, are interspersed with her spirited retellings of other events. The result produces a thoroughly engrossing family history. The reader is transported to early twentieth century Yorkshire and mid-century Utah, and the characters of Ralph, Mary Jane, and their daughters spring to life in this vivid, entertaining read of family ties and immigration to a new land.