Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Evelyn Nessie Eleanor Rudd: “A Humble Working-Woman” Doing the Lord’s Work

Evelyn Nessie Eleanor Rudd: “A Humble Working-Woman” Doing the Lord’s Work

By: Ardis E. Parshall - April 27, 2010

Evelyn Nessie Eleanor was born in London in 1881; married John William Rudd in 1904; and died in Skelton, Yorkshire in 1937. She served as a local missionary at the end of World War I. Although many of their children emigrated to the United States, Brother and Sister Rudd stayed at home in Yorkshire strengthening the Church there. She recorded her  testimony and the account of her missionary experiences in 1919:

I desire to give my testimony to the truth of the gospel. For I know that ours is the same gospel that our Lord preached, and that the Mormon Church is the Church of Christ, restored in these latter days. The persecutions the saints have suffered in former times bear witness to the truth, as do also the untrue statements that appear from time to time in trashy books and other publications. They prove that the adversary is afraid because he knows that the true and everlasting gospel is on earth again.

I have been a Mormon for nine years, and I have had all manner of evil said against me. We have had our cottage door stoned while we held meetings and had our children blessed. The clergyman of our parish preached against us in the pulpit, because we were Mormons, and because the elders visited us and tracted the village. At one time I fell ill, and was not expected to live. My husband tried, in three villages, to hire a woman to come and look after the children, but not one dared to come, because I was a Mormon. The parson, when it became known that I was not expected to live, came and visited me, with the kind intention of showing me the error of my ways. I do not now recollect all I said to him, for I was very weak at the time, but I remember telling him that I knew that I was going to heaven. My husband said I talked to him, till the tears rolled down his cheeks. I asked him to pray with me, and this he did, although with difficulty.

The same clergyman was a witness to the raising up of my eldest son, Ernest, from a bed of illness, by the power of God, through the administration of the elders. My boy was paralyzed down one side of his body, when six years of age. I wrote to the elders, at Darlington, and they came at once, walking nine miles from the Northallerton station to our home, and ten minutes after the administration, he raised his arm that had been paralyzed, and took a banana from Elder Hixon’s hand, whereupon he sat up in bed and laughed and talked to the elders, and in less than a week he was outdoors, playing.

This is only one instance out of many which I could relate, showing the goodness of God towards us, in restoring us to health and strength, through the administration of His servants.

I have been a missionary for over two years. We are over thirteen miles from the nearest branch – that of Middlesborough. I usually go tracting, on Sunday, and then I often go far afield in the summer-time. I always take one of my children, as I am the only missionary around here. We sometimes have curious experiences. In one village we visited, a woman shouted after us, in her Yorkshire dialect, and asked us if we “’d getten plenty of pennies now,” and, “ave ye gaing yame?” In another place we tracted, a man expressed the opinion that I ought to be “drownded” for giving out such “rubbish.”

In the month of May, 1918, I was called up before the vicar of this parish for distributing Mormon tracts in all the villages. When I came, he began to pull down the Church, or tried to. He hoped to be able to confuse me by reading extracts from old, worn-out anti-Mormon literature. And, no doubt, I would have been confused, if I had not called upon the Lord and asked Him to inspire me and enable me to speak in defense of truth. The Lord heard my prayer, and so a poor, humble working-woman confused the vicar. He did not know that the Scriptures teach us that there are two resurrections. There were several other things of which he was not sure, until I told him where to find them in the Bible. then he would look up the places and read them, and admit that I was right. He then requested me to explain our faith to him, and I was only too glad to comply with this request. I related to him the story of the Prophet Joseph’s first vision, and testified to him of the gifts and blessings that attend the gospel. After he had listened to me, he said our beliefs were very much like those of the Church of England, and he admitted that there was much good in our religion. Then he asked me if I dared to meet the archdeacon at Saltburn, as he had been to Utah and talked to our elders, and would only be too glad to meet me and convince me that Mormonism was wrong. I said I should only be too pleased to meet the archdeacon, and offered to give up a day’s work on purpose to go to Saltburn to meet him. I am still waiting for the appointment.

The interview ended in the vicar accepting the loan of the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and What the Mormons Believe, and several letters from friends in Utah and elders that had returned home. I have seen the vicar several times since the interview, but he has never alluded to Mormonism again.

I still keep on tracting and doing the Lord’s work.

I pray the Lord will bless all the saints wherever they may be; that He will strengthen the weak and give grace to the strong, and may love, pure and undefiled, ever abound amongst us.

Skelton in Cleveland.




  1. I love Sister Rudd’s testimony. It seems to me that we have largely given up on confounding others, but the stories of it from our past still stir us up.

    Comment by Eric Boysen — April 27, 2010 @ 8:51 am

  2. Thanks for commenting, Eric. You can sort of hear the determination in her style of storytelling that hints at these conversations with her challengers, can’t you?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 27, 2010 @ 10:48 am

  3. Yes, and thanks for including a photo of the proud couple. Wonderful!

    Speaking of tracting, I was reminded of my first day tracting on my mission. A kind Seventh-Day Adventist couple invited my companion and I in to talk and when we were done, they fed us (their prepared) dinner. Oh, I still get kind of weepy over that.

    And that reminds me of the two Jehovah’s Witness gentlemen who came to our home last Saturday. While I didn’t tell them that they should be drowned for giving out “rubbish,” I did little more than tell them I didn’t have time to talk.

    I’m so magnanimous. [long sigh]

    Comment by Hunter — April 27, 2010 @ 11:20 am

  4. We are over thirteen miles from the nearest branch – that of Middlesborough.

    My husband’s grandparents and family were members of the Middlesborough Branch, emigrating to Utah in 1912. My father-in-law was six years old at the time.

    Comment by Maurine — April 27, 2010 @ 11:32 am

  5. eeeh bah gum, love a duck.As they say in Yorkshire.

    (fights temptation to launch into Monty Python’s ‘Four Yorkshiremen’ skit)

    That’s a wonderful account, Ardis, thanks. And how amazing that the couple would have lived and died, presumably, without ever getting to a temple; transatlantic travel being way out of their league, at a guess.

    Comment by Anne (U.K) — April 27, 2010 @ 11:44 am

  6. A great story. And thanks to Anne for some authentic Yorkshire commentary! What’s not to love about a duck, by the way. I’ll take mine “Peking” style, thank you.

    Here, for those of you who haven’t got past the Dead Parrot or Silly Walks, is a link to the Four Yorkshiremen.

    Comment by Mark B. — April 27, 2010 @ 1:50 pm

  7. The temple work for John was done in 1933 in Idaho Falls, and for Evelyn in 1938 in Salt Lake City — in each case barely a year after they died. Whoever their branch clerk was, he made his reports promptly; and the then-fairly new system of caring for members who had no chance to go to the temple in life worked as planned.

    Thanks for remembering and appreciating along with me, everybody. Including the four Yorkshiremen.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 27, 2010 @ 3:12 pm

  8. Thank you, Anne and Mark, for the Monty Python references; on this kind of blog, no-one expects…oh, wait…

    Comment by Alison — April 28, 2010 @ 4:19 pm

  9. … expects what, Alison? The spinach acquisition? Did I accidently post my shopping list?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 28, 2010 @ 4:22 pm

  10. Perhaps IMDB’s list of Monty Python sketches!

    Comment by Alison — April 28, 2010 @ 4:26 pm

  11. I’m trying to do some research about Evelyn Nessie Eleanor Rudd. My grandmother is Evelyn’s daughter Rachel Mary Molly Rudd (Molly). I’ve been able to access accounts of Evelyn as told by her daughter Katheryn Annie and couple other accounts, however, I continually hear that Evelyn left a journal. Do you have any idea where I might find a copy of that journal (or any other records that might give insights into Evelyn’s life)?

    Comment by Ryan Baxter — July 26, 2012 @ 6:48 pm

  12. Sorry, no, Ryan. My awareness of her life comes solely from published materials and not from personal sources. Best wishes for your continued family history work — and if you have accounts that would be appropriate for this venue, I’d love to have you consider a guest post that would tell us more about Evelyn.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 27, 2012 @ 2:41 am

  13. This was wonderful to read–we do have copies of the same. I am Evelyn Nessie Eleanor Rudd’s granddaughter; my mother Rachel Mary Molly Rudd Baxter, was her next-to-youngest daughter.
    I am curious to know how you came to submit this about Grandma Rudd–are you also related somehow? Mom and my aunts and uncles growing up told me many marvelous stories about Grandma, and also Grandpa, and their faithful activities back then in Yorkshire. I (and most her other grandchildren) have always had a great respect and admiration for her. All the English stories inspired me to go to England for a year and work “working holiday” in 1965. I got to be familiar with the places my mother grew up–a beautiful place.

    Donna B. Oliphant

    Comment by Donna B. Oliphant — October 7, 2013 @ 9:37 am

  14. How nice to hear from you, Donna — it tickles me to learn that such a wonderful woman has descendants who are still connected with the Church.

    I’m no relation. One of the themes I like to feature on Keepapitchinin is the stories of Latter-day Saints whom nobody (but family, perhaps) has ever heard of, who did extraordinary things for the gospel simply by doing what they were supposed to do. Your grandmother’s story was especially appealing because it was told in her own words in such a charming way.

    You’ve been inspired by hearing your grandmother’s story through family channels — lots of other people with no family connection have been inspired by learning about her, too.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 7, 2013 @ 9:55 am

  15. I am also a granddaughter of Evelyn Nessie Eleanor Rudd by her daughter Rachel Mary Molly Rudd Baxter. Thank you for this testimony by her. There is much more to her story that very few people know but which make me even more proud of the strong woman she was and the supportive husband John Rudd was. Someday we hope to write the full story as it is a tale worth telling.

    Nessie had 11 children. Two died at a young age but the rest grew to maturity. Most immigrated to the US and Canada and most remained strong in the church and have raised their children as active LDS. Her posterity includes numerous missionaries – in our family alone, 12 of my 16 nephew and nieces have gone on missions around the world and all that are married have been married in the Temple.

    Comment by Susan Marzec — October 8, 2013 @ 11:27 am

  16. Susan, I’d love to hear more. If you’d like to share any part of their story as a guest post here, Keepa’s readers are a good audience. There’s a contact link in the upper left-and corner of this screen. I hope you’ll consider it.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 8, 2013 @ 2:48 pm

  17. I am a great-granddaughter of Evelyn Nessie Eleanor Rudd by her son (my grandpa) Thomas Rudd who emigrated to Canada in 1949 where he was later sealed in the Cardston Alberta Temple to his wife, Nellie Brewerton Hannah, and 4 young daughters, my mother, Janice Rudd Hall, being the oldest. Thomas and Nellie Rudd have 16 grandchildren, 56 great-grandchildren, and about 18 great-great-grandchildren (my best guess). The majority of Thomas Rudd’s descendants are active in the LDS church. Eleven of Nessie’s great-grandchildren (from Thomas Rudd’s family) served missions and 2 great-great-grandchildren are currently serving missions (that I know of).

    I was very moved by Great-grandma Rudd’s testimony. It is inspiring to know about her strong defense of the gospel and about the miracles that her faith wrought.

    It was also fun to read comments from my mom’s cousins who I know, Donna and Susan!

    Thank you so much for sharing my great-grandma’s story.

    Comment by Wendy Hall — October 10, 2013 @ 5:32 pm

  18. How wonderful to read all the comments about my grandmother! I am just one of thirty eight grandchildren of John William Rudd and Evelyn Nessie Eleanor Rudd. What a posterity they have! Thank you for publishing our grandmother’s strong and vibrant testimony.
    I discovered your site when completing an assignment from the instructor of a class. Typing Evelyn Nessie Eleanor Rudd in Google brought up keepapitchinin. Exciting for me!
    How did you come to discover our grandmother’s testimony? Perhaps from The Millenial Star which was a British Mission publication many years ago? I’m curious to know where.
    Janice Rudd Hall

    Comment by Janice Rudd Hall — October 10, 2013 @ 8:37 pm

  19. Ardis, I’m sorry it has taken me so long to get back with you. The full story of Nessie, as I call her, would fill a book. Not only is her story inspiring once she joined the church, but what she went through in her life before joining the church was amazing. I wish there were space and time to write it all here, but I do intend to put the story in writing sometime, hopefully soon. Thanks for the interest.

    Comment by Susan Marzec — October 30, 2013 @ 2:18 pm

  20. I too am a great granddaughter of Evelyn Nessie through her eldest daughter Gertrude Eleanor Alcock. Gertrude dearly loved her mother and joined the church to please her mother. She was soon active in the church, served a mission with her mother before emigrating to the United States.

    Grandma married Alonzo Newbold in Salt Lake City and raised six children. All, except one, took out their endowments and four were sealed to their spouses,and raised good families and many missionaries. Jack (John Richard) died before he was married. He was an active seventy at the time of his death.

    Thank you so much for this report of Grandma’s testimony.

    Comment by Cheryl England — October 20, 2015 @ 8:45 pm

  21. The best part of blogging is hearing from someone connected to a Keepa post. Thanks, Cheryl.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 20, 2015 @ 9:29 pm

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