Early in 1906, the Western Mail, a newspaper at Cardiff, Wales, carried the following obituary:
[Mary Walters Baxter] was a native of the parish of Vaynor, having been born at Pontsticill, and the exact spot in which she has been laid to rest was selected by herself, she having been driven over to the burying ground in a basket carriage for the purpose of picking out the site of her grave in the autumn of last year.
Exceedingly bright, sharp, and active, notwithstanding her advanced age, Mrs. Baxter was able to see, though not to any great distance; hear perfectly, and walk without assistance. Her habits were regular – rising from bed between eight and nine o’clock every morning, and staying up till late at night. She had a particularly retentive memory, and could recall the battle of Waterloo. She had a vivid recollection of the Merthyr Riots, though she was not an eye-witness of those scenes. She often spoke of her mother carrying lime on horseback from the kilns kilns at Pontsticill to make mortar for the men employed in the erection of the Parish Church, Dowlais, which was completed in 1827. Of old Dowlais she had numerous reminiscences.
Mary Walters Baxter was born in about 1805, the daughter of Jenkin and Jane Walters. I wish I knew how she met the Mormon missionaries, and what her conversion story was – at least we know she was baptized on November 1, 1846. Her husband John Baxter (1800-1868) apparently did not join the Church.
At the time of her death, at nearly 101 years of age, she was described by Elder R.J. Walker, then serving in Cardiff, as “a faithful Latter-day Saint, always kind to the Elders, and ready to bear testimony to the truth of the Gospel.”
Her temple work was completed in Salt Lake City on 17 May 1917.
I wish I knew more, I wish I could tell a real story about her – but I’m happy to know the name of one more early and always-faithful Latter-day Saint.