VISITING THE GRAVES OF A FEW SPECIAL L.D.S. WOMEN
"One Life Can Make A Difference"
(Ron Andersen, August, 1999-2002)
(Compiled from LDS History Suite 2, books, magazines, and news articles)
Salt Lake City Cemetery
The Salt Lake City Cemetery contains about 120 acres of ground, lying between N and U Streets and Fourth Avenue and the Wasatch Boulevard. The Jewish and Catholic cemeteries directly adjacent on Fourth Avenue and the Boulevard are privately owned, but the Japanese cemetery west of the Mausoleum is part of the Salt Lake City cemetery proper.
It is laid out in rectangular plats lettered from A to X in the order of their development. Between the plats are the principal streets. These, extending from east to west, are named Main, Center, Cypress and East Streets. Each plat is subdivided into blocks whose dimensions are two by six or eight rods. A single lot, one rod square, will hold eight adult graves. On the sexton's records, each grave is numbered by plat, block, lot and grave, so that each grave is located exactly.
1. Emmeline Blanche Woodward Harris Whitney Wells (H-3-9-4-W) 29 Feb 1828 - 25 Apr 1921 [5th president of the Relief Society; married at 15 years, 5 months; Daniel H. Wells was her 3rd husband; 6 children; editor of "Women's Exponent, 38 years; in charge of wheat storage, 42 years.]
Emmeline was educated in select schools and by private instructors. At fifteen she taught school and was baptized March 1, 1842. In 1843 Emmeline became the wife of James H. Harris, a son of an influential Elder in the Church, the president of the local branch. The bride was but fifteen years and five months old on her wedding day. The Harris family began their westward journey in April, 1844, the objective point being Nauvoo, Illinois. Here Sister Emmeline was deeply impressed at her first meeting with Joseph Smith the Prophet. She was thrilled by his very handshake and received at once a testimony of his divine mission. This was not many weeks before the martyrdom, and she heard him deliver his last sermons and addresses, and noted the wondrous power that accompanied them. Immediately after the Prophet's death her husband's father and mother left the Church and moved from Nauvoo to La Harpe; they wished to take their son and his wife with them, but the young couple refused to go.
In 1845 she was married in Nauvoo, Illinois to Presiding Bishop Newel K. Whitney and came to Utah with his family in 1848. Bishop Whitney died September 23, 1850 and in 1852 Sister Emmeline was married to Elder Daniel H. Wells. In 1866, President Brigham Young instructed Sister Eliza R. Snow to assist the Bishops to organize Relief Societies in the various wards of the Church, in which she was assisted by Sister Emmeline B. Wells. In 1888 Sister Wells became a member of the General Board of Relief Society, serving successively as corresponding secretary and general secretary of that organization. She became general president in 1910, which office she held until 1921, her death occurring April 25, 1921 (55 years of RS work). In 1874 she became assistant editor of the "Woman's Exponent," the organ of the Relief Society, and was editor and publisher of that periodical from 1876 to 1914. She also published two editions of her poems and numerous pamphlets and brochures. She organized the "Reaper's Club" and the "Utah Woman's Press Club" and also women's literary organizations, in which she fostered talent by publishing writings of the members in the "Exponent." She was appointed chairman of the wheat storing movement in 1876 by President Brigham Young and continued to advocate the cause until 1918 when the stored wheat was turned over to the United States.
Emmeline was nearly 83 years old when she was called as President of the Relief Society in 1910, an organization she had previously served for 20 years as general secretary and head of its grain storage program in the 1870s. Her tenure, like her life, proved to be bittersweet. She proposed that the "Woman's Exponent" magazine, on which she had worked for half her life, become the official organ of the Relief Society. She was rejected. During WWI, she sold 205,000 bushels of wheat to the U.S. Gov't., was honored by Pres. Wilson, but lost autonomy of the Relief Society over the grain-storage program. While she presided over the Relief Society, the Welfare Department and the Burial Clothes Department were organized at Relief Society headquarters. Sister Wells was a pronounced suffragist and gave service in organizing both state and national associations, and as a delegate to women's councils she traveled extensively at home and abroad.
In 1928 the women of the State of Utah placed a marble bust of Mrs. Wells in the rotunda of the State Capitol in recognition of her service to women. Sister Wells was the mother of six children.
In 1921, at age 93 and suffering severe illness, she was released as President, the first since Emma Smith not to die in office. Upon hearing of her release, she suffered a stroke and died three weeks later, April 25, 1921. She continued to be honored after death. She was the second woman ever to have a funeral in the tabernacle.
2. Harriet Page Wheeler Decker Young (H-10-7-ROD-SO) 7 Sept 1803- 22 Dec 1871 [one of first three women pioneers, wife of Lorenzo Young, mother of famous Decker children]
Harriet was born of Welsh ancestry on September 7, 1803, at Hillsboro, New Hampshire, a daughter of Oliver Wheeler and Hannah Ashby, and was reared in Salem, Massachusetts, her mother's home, and after a brief schooling, was employed in one of the local mills, where she became an expert spinner of flax and wool. When she was seventeen, she moved to Ontario County, New York, where she taught school in the vicinity of the Hill Cumorah. Here she met Isaac Decker, to whom she was married in 1821. She bore him six children, four girls and two boys. For a time she lived with her first husband at Freedom, N. Y., and in 1833 removed to Portage County, Ohio, where they became members of the Mormon Church.
Subsequently, the Deckers took up land near Kirtland, Ohio, and acquired considerable prosperity, only to lose everything in the catastrophe which overtook the Saints in 1837. For the journey to Missouri they were furnished a team by Lorenzo Dow Young. Still hounded by disaster, they fled from the new Zion to Quincy, Illinois, and ultimately settled in Nauvoo. Here, Harriet separated from Isaac Decker and married Lorenzo Young, March 9, 1843. (Two male children issued from this union, both died in infancy, the last being born 2 months after Harriet arrived in the valley. He was the first white male born in the valley.) "It was no part of the original plan to include women and children in the Pioneer company," remarks Orson F. Whitney, in his History of Utah. "The hardships and dangers in prospect were foreseen to be such as would test the strength and endurance of the hardiest and healthiest of men;" therefore men of that class only had been chosen. But Harriet Young, the wife of Lorenzo D. Young, brother of Brigham Young, being in feeble health, and her life imperilled by the malaria atmosphere of the Missouri bottoms, pleaded successfully for the privilege of accompanying her husband to the mountains.
When she arrived in the Valley July 24, 1847, she had an awful heartache at the thought of passing the remainder of her days in such a desolate and barren place, but her heart was brave and strong and she flung despair to the winds. In 1849 she returned to the Missouri river with her husband who had gone to assist his brother Joseph to the Valley. On her return in 1850 she nearly lost her life while driving through a river, but here cool presence of mind saved her. On one occasion, while living where the "Beehive House" now stands, she was saved from an Indian by her husband's faithful dog. When the animal was finally induced to release the "redskin," Mrs. Young dressed his wound and sent him on his way a wiser and, it is to be hoped, a better Indian.
Harriet became indispensable to the life of Lorenzo Young, seeing after his business, keeping his books, and otherwise aiding him, in addition to her duties as housewife. Courage, energy and magnanimity were signal qualities with Sister Harriet, and when at last on Sept. 22, 1871, in Salt Lake City, she passed to her rich reward (69 years old), all the people of the Valley mourned her inestimable loss. Two of her daughters, Lucy and Clara, became the wives of Brigham Young. A third daughter, Harriet, first became the wife of Edwin Little [Brigham's nephew and one of the first to die in Iowa] and then Ephraim Hanks. The fourth daughter, Fanny, became the wife of Feramorz [Fred] Little (who partnered with Charles Decker and Ephraim Hanks in a mail business and together had been over the pioneer trail some 50 times in 13 years, and was for a time mayor of Salt Lake City). Her son, Charles, married Brigham Young's oldest daughter and was the lead scout for the rescue wagons searching for the Willie and Martin Handcart companies. Her youngest son, Isaac Perry, became a Pony Express rider at age 17.
Note: Harriet Page Wheeler Decker, wife of Isaac Decker, was married to Lorenzo
as a plural wife. Presumably an amicable separation had been arranged between
Harriet and her first husband, though the record is blank. As for Lorenzo
Young's first wife, Persis Goodall, about all that can be said is that she
gradually fades from the picture. Persis subsequently became a wife of Dr.
Levi Richards, and came to Utah in Bishop Edward Hunter's company, September
29, 1850. She died September 16, 1894, in Salt Lake City, aged 88. (The graves
of Levi Richards, Persis, Lorenzo, and Harriet are almost next to each other.)
3. Elizabeth Ann Smith Whitney (H-10-9--) 26 Dec 1800 - 15 Feb 1882 ["Mother Whitney," wife of Newel K. Whitney; sweet songstress of Zion (Adamic language); 11 children; widow 32 years]
Elizabeth was the daughter of Gibson and Polly Bradley Smith, born in the vicinity of Derby, New Haven County, Connecticut, Dec. 25, 1800. At the age of eighteen her parents consented to her leaving home with a bachelor uncle and a maiden aunt to go to Ohio, then the western frontier. She met and married Newel K. Whitney. Although up until this time neither of them had been very religious, the Whitneys joined the Campbellite Church and remained members until Parley Pratt and other Mormon elders preached in Kirtland. To hear [the truth] with Mother Whitney was to believe; and to believe, to be baptized.
"She was gifted with many of the most amiable qualities of womankind: patience, meekness, humility, the power of self-sacrifice, and the spirit of peace seemed to rest ever upon her. She has often been alluded to as 'the comforter,' so powerful have been her efforts to help others. She came to be widely known as "Mother Whitney."
In its early days she was designated by the Prophet Joseph Smith as "the sweet songstress of Zion." She was among the first members of the Church to receive the gift of tongues, which she always exercised in singing. The Prophet said that the language was the pure Adamic tongue, the same that was used in the garden of Eden, and he promised that if she kept the faith, the gift would never leave her. It never did, and many who heard her sing never forgot the sweet and holy influence that accompanied her exercise of this heavenly gift. The last time she sang in tongues was on the day she was 81 years old. It was at the home of Sister Emmeline B. Wells, the latter having arranged a party in honor of Mother Whitney's birthday.
At a meeting held in the Kirtland Temple, Sister Whitney sang in tongues and Parley P. Pratt interpreted, the result being a beautiful hymn descriptive of the different dispensations from Adam to the present age. She is said to be the second of her sex to receive the endowments, being a High Priestess in the House of the Lord, in which capacity she served until a short time before her death, or until she was obliged to relinquish her labors on account of ill health. In that position it became her privilege to bless hundreds, perhaps thousands, of the daughters of Zion.
In Nauvoo, Mother Whitney endured much hardship and privation, but never a murmur escaped her lips. She was always cheerful and looked on the bright side of life, ever encouraging her husband in the performance of his duty, even when it left her destitute and alone. In March, 1842, when the first Relief Society was organized, Sister Whitney was chosen and set apart as second counselor in its presidency, which office she filled with honor and credit.
At the time of the exodus from Nauvoo, in 1846, she crossed the Mississippi river on the ice with a family of little children, and from sleeping on the ground she contracted a cold which settled in her limbs, causing rheumatism, from which she never entirely recovered. Her youngest son, Newel M., was born at Winter Quarters, and she passed through such scenes of sorrow and suffering as no pen can portray. Her two eldest sons, Horace and Orson, were among the original Utah pioneers of 1847.
Bishop Whitney and family arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, October, 1848,
having crossed the plains in Heber C. Kimball's company. Bishop Whitney died
Sept. 23, 1850. She resided in the 9th Ward, Salt Lake City, where she died
Feb. 15, 1882, surviving her husband thirty-two years. Her death was caused
by general debility, incident to old age. She was the mother of eleven children
(seven sons and four daughters), six of whom survived her. "She was said
to be the second oldest member of the Church at the time of her death. She
died after the Kimball & Whitney Cemetery could no longer be legally used.
Hence, her interment here.
4. Aurelia Reed Spencer Rogers (G-6-5-2-W) 4 Oct 1834 - 19 Aug 1922 [At age 43, she proposed the idea of an organized Primary Association for her ward in Farmington, Utah. The program was soon adopted church-wide, with Louie B. Felt as the first general president.]
Aurelia's father, Orson Spencer, was a trained Baptist Minister.In the year of 1840, Aurelia's uncle, Daniel Spencer, came to tell his brother about the new religion, Mormonism, to which he had been converted. Orson and his wife, Catherine, converted and moved to Nauvoo.
On the 12th of March, 1846, at Indian Creek, near Keosaqua, Iowa, Catherine died, leaving six children, age 14 and younger (Aurelia was 11).. Her remains were taken back to Nauvoo for burial. Just before she passed away she whispered to her husband, "A heavenly messenger has appeared to me tonight and told me that I had done and suffered enough and that he had now come to convey me to a mansion of Gold." She then asked to kiss each child good-bye. Then turning to her husband she said, "I love you more than ever, but you must let me go." As soon as he consented, she was gone.
Before leaving Nauvoo, Orson Spencer had been called to go on a mission to England to edit the Millennial Star, but on account of persecutions his departure was postponed. While they were at Council Bluffs he was notified to be in readiness to start late in the fall. He therefore made arrangements to fill the appointment and went across the Missouri River to Winter Quarters where he put up a log cabin, into which they moved before it was finished, there being no door or floor. Soon after the door was put in, but the floor, which was made of hewed logs, wasn't laid until the next spring. Aurelia and her sister, Catherine, were just recovering from a spell of sickness when their father bade them farewell and started on a three-year mission leaving his six motherless children in charge of friends (James Bullock).
They kept house by themselves. Their father left them with eight cows and one horse. The winter, having been uncommon in its severity, their horse and all cows but one died. They frequently had only cornmeal for food.
In January 1848, President Brigham Young visited the family and asked the children if they would like him to send their Father word to stay another year, then he would take them over the mountains in the Spring. Ellen replied: If it is thought best Brother Brigham, we would like it so, for we want to do for the best. And they all said amen to it.
The children accompanied Brigham Young to the valley in 1848. Their Uncle Daniel had built a room in the fort for them. Here they put up their stove and started housekeeping once more.
While crossing the plains, Aurelia became acquainted with Thomas Edward Rogers and became his wife, 27 May 1851 (she was 16). A few days later they moved to a two-room log home in Farmington.
That fall Thomas bought a farm, also in Farmington, and they moved into a new log house, sixteen by fourteen feet. Here their oldest son, Orson, was born June 24, 1852. Aurelia would have 11 more children, but lost five of them, three in succession.
In the fall of 1855, came the news that her father, Orson Spencer, had died.
The Organization of the Primary
Through anxiety and concern for the future generation, Aurelia Spencer Rogers in 1878 conceived the idea of having an organization for little children that they might be taught all things good and to keep them from idle talk and rowdyism. Later in her life she described the circumstances that led her to such thinking.
"I was always an earnest thinker, and naturally of a religious turn of mind. And for some time previous to the organization of the children, I had reflected seriously upon the necessity of more strict discipline for our little boys. Many of them were allowed to be out late at night; and certainly some of the larger ones well deserved the undesirable name of "hoodlum." It may seem strange that in a community calling themselves Latter-day Saints, children should be allowed to indulge in anything approaching to rowdyism. But it must be remembered that the age in which we live is one that tends to carelessness in the extreme, not only in regard to religion, but also morality. And not only this, but in many instances our people have been driven about and persecuted on every hand, until it has seemed to be all they could do to make a living for their children; and an apology might almost be made for negligence in training them up. Yet why should anything be allowed to come before the most sacred duty of parentage, that of looking after the spiritual welfare of the children? was the question which burdened my mind.
"Our bishop must have been similarly impressed, for a meeting of the mothers of our little ones was called by him at which much good advice and counsel was given. The subject of training children was thoroughly discussed and the responsibility of guiding their young minds was thrown almost entirely upon the mothers. I had children of my own, and was just as anxious as a mother could be to have them brought up properly. But what was to be done? It needed the united effort of the parents, and, as is often the case in a community, some of them were careless. A fire seemed to burn within me, and I had a desire at one time to go to the Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association meeting and talk to them; but I did not yield to the impulse, thinking too much, perhaps, of what people might say. The query then arose in my mind could there not be an organization for little boys wherein they could be taught everything good, and how to behave. This was in March; a few weeks later Sister Eliza R. Snow and Sister Emmeline B. Wells, from Salt Lake City, came to Farmington to attend a Relief Society Conference. After meeting was over, and when on their way to the depot, these sisters in company with Sisters Mary S. Clark, Nancy Clark, and Lorinda Robinson, stopped at my home for a short call. The topic of our conversation was the young people, and the rough, careless ways many of the young men and boys had at the time. I asked the question, 'What will our girls do for good husbands if this state of things continues?'Sister Eliza seemed deeply impressed with the question; and then I asked: 'Could there not be an organization for little boys, and have them trained to make better men?'She was silent a few moments, then said there might be such a thing and that she would speak to the First Presidency about it."
The death of President Brigham Young occurred on the 29th of August, 1877: and at the time of the beginning of the Primaries, President John Taylor with his quorum of the Twelve Apostles, presided over the Church. Sister Eliza consulted with Apostle John Taylor and others of the Twelve, concerning this new move, and it was approved of by them with the following suggestion:
We think that at present, it will be wisdom to not admit any under six years of age, except in some special instances. You are rightwe must have the girls as well as the boysthey must be trained together.
Eliza R. Snow suggested that the organization be called Primary and was appointed to direct the organization With her assistance, Mrs. Rogers at once commenced the first Primary Association in Farmington, Utah. Thus was set in motion one of the greatest auxiliaries of the Church, the Primary Association, also the first organization for the betterment of children in the United States.
The Primary organization being established, they held the first meeting with the children on August 25, 1878, with an enrollment on that date of 224 children. Singularly the count read 112 girls and 112 boys from six to fourteen years of age. Shortly afterwards another Primary Association was started in the Eleventh Ward, Salt Lake City, and Primary Associations soon became part of the auxiliary work throughout the Church.
Aurelia was the secretary in the Ward Relief Society for twenty-two years. In 1894 (age 59) she made a trip to the Woman's Suffrage Association convention, held at Atlanta, Georgia and at the advanced age of 80 years (1914) she made a silk dress for herself, without using glasses. She had the privilege of entering every Temple the Church had erected up to the time of her death with the exception of the Kirtland Temple (Nauvoo, St. George, Logan, Manti, Salt Lake).
Aurelia died August 19, 1922 in the little bedroom that was built for her by her husband in 1854, and where most of her twelve children (8 boys, 4 girls) were born. She was almost 88 years old.
5. Bathsheba Wilson Bigler Smith (I-5-1-3-E) 3 May 1822 - 20 Sep 1910 [4th general president of the Relief Society; wife of George Albert Smith; married at 19, shared 5 wives; opened Nauvoo, Logan, SL temples, served in Endowment House 17 years; "Elect Lady" in temple and Relief Society.]
Bathsheba was born May 3rd, 1822, near Shinnston, Harrison County, West Virginia, and joined the Church August the 21st, 1837, at her birthplace. She first met the Prophet Joseph in 1839, at a meeting near Quincy, soon after he was released from prison. Of her impressions concerning his appearance and character she says:
"My first impressions were that he was an extraordinary man--a man of great penetration; was different from any other man I ever saw: had the most heavenly countenance, was genial, affable and kind, and looked the soul of honor and integrity.
"I know him to be what he professed to be--a true Prophet of God, and the Lord through him restored the everlasting gospel and every ordinance and endowment that will lead us into the celestial kingdom."
"Joseph Smith attended one of our Relief Society meetings in the lodge room. He opened the meeting by prayer. His voice trembled very much, after which he addressed us. He said: 'According to my prayer I will not be with you long to teach and instruct you; and the world will not be troubled with me much longer.'"
The following quotes were taken from her autobiography. "On the 25th of July 1841 (at age 19), I was married to George Albert Smith, the then youngest member (age 24) of the Twelve Apostles and a cousin of Joseph Smith. When I became acquainted with him in Virginia in 1837 (age 14), he was the junior member of the first quorum of Seventy. On the 26th of April 1839, while in the city of Far West, Missouri, he was ordained one of the Twelve Apostles and from thence started on a mission to Europe, from which he returned ten days before our marriage.
"In 1843, my husband went East on a mission. My son George Albert had been sick all summer, which caused me great anxiety, he was now a little better. Soon after my husband's return in the fall we were blessed by receiving our endowments and were sealed under the holy law of Celestial Marriage which was revealed July 12th, 1843."
Polygamy. "I heard the Prophet give instructions concerning plural marriage; he counselled the sisters not to trouble themselves in consequence of it, that all would be right, and the result would be for their glory and exaltation.
"Being thoroughly convinced, as well as my husband, that the doctrine of plurality of wives was from God, and having a fixed determination to attain to Celestial glory, I felt to embrace the whole Gospel, and that it was for my husband's exaltation that he should obey the revelation on Celestial Marriage [D&C 132], that he might attain to kingdoms, thrones, principalities and powers, firmly believing that I should participate with him in all his blessings, glory and honor.
"Accordingly within the last year, like Sarah of old, I had given to my husband five wives; good, virtuous, honorable young women. This gave them all [a home] with us, being proud of my husband and loving him very much, knowing him to be a man of God and believing he would not love them less because he loved me more. I had joy in having a testimony that what I had done was acceptable to my Father in Heaven."
Bathsheba officiated in the opening of the Nauvoo, Logan, and Salt Lake Temples and for seventeen years continuously worked with Sister Eliza R. Snow in the Endowment House. After the Salt Lake Temple was dedicated sisters Zina D. H. Young, Bathsheba W. Smith, and Minnie J. Snow were set apart to preside over the woman's department. In Dec. 1877, when the Relief Society of Salt Lake Stake was organized, she was elected treasurer. In October, 1888, she was chosen second counselor to Zina D. H. Young in the General Relief Society, and on November 10, 1901, was unanimously elected president of the General Relief Society of the Church. After the death of George A. Smith (1875), she was highly honored by the priesthood to fill the position of Elect Lady in the Temple and in the Relief Society. She was the first General President to occupy the quarters of the Society in the Bishop's Building. Her death occurred in Salt Lake City on Sept. 2, 1910, when she was eighty-eight years of age.
6. Emily Dow Partridge Young (I-1-9-5-EAST) 28 Feb 1824 - 9 Dec 1899 [father was bishop, older sister & he died when she was 16; deaf in one ear; wife of Joseph and Brigham; mother of 7 including Church architect; widow 22 years; ancestor of football quarterback, Steve Young]
Emily was born in Painesville, Ohio, on February 28, 1824, the third child of Edward and Lydia Clisbee Partridge, there being two older sisters. Her father was a prosperous hatter and had his business establishment near his home which gave Emily the opportunity to visit the premises in search of bright colored bits of material for her own use in play. Then Edward Partridge joined the newly established Church of Jesus Christ and became a Mormon. At this time, Emily was about seven years old. With this new horizon replacing the old, poverty, privation and insecurity wiped out the prosperity and bright hopes for the future. Gone were the pretty clothes, the spacious home, the bounteous supply of this world's goods. She became deaf in one ear as a result of measles picked up by emigrant Mormons stopping by their place to be helped by her father, Bishop Partridge.
Emily remembered the family being driven from Jackson County, from Far Westof spending most of the month of November out in the open with nothing but a temporary shelter of unhewn logs and canvas between them and the freezing weather. She also remembered the terror and horror of the mobs that preceded every move as they went from place to place seeking refuge, finally reaching Illinois and the little town of Commerce. Their first shelter here was a tent. Sickness accompanied the Saints on their desperate flight and as the years passed, Harriet, the older sister died in May, 1840. Strenuous tasks, privation and suffering proved too much for Edward and ten days after the death of Harriet, he died, May 27th, 1840 (in his 47th year). Emily was now sixteen years of age. Lydia Clisbee Partridge now found herself in straitened circumstances with her young brood, so that when the Prophet and Emma Smith offered to give a home to Eliza and Emily it was readily accepted. After having resided with them about a year, the principle of plural marriage was made known to them, and Emily and Eliza were married to Joseph Smith in the year 1843 (Eliza as wife #20 on the 8th of March; Emily as wife #23 on May 11 at age 19 ), Elder Heber C. Kimball officiating in performing the ceremony. (Joseph married at least 42 other women, beginning 5 Apr 1841 with Louisa Beaman [age 26], and ending with Fanny Young [Murray], 2 Nov 1843. It is not clear whether he lived as husband with any of these plural wives.)
"The first intimation I had from Brother Joseph that there was a pure and holy order of plural marriage, was in the spring of 1842, but I was not married until 1843. I was married to him on the 11th of May, 1843, by Elder James Adams. Emma was present. She gave her free and full consent. She had always up to this time, been very kind to me and my sister Eliza, who was also married to the Prophet Joseph Smith with Emma's consent; but ever after she was our enemy. She used every means in her power to injure us in the eyes of her husband, and before strangers, and in consequence of her abuse we were obliged to leave the city to gratify her, but things were overruled otherwise, and we remained in Nauvoo. My sister Eliza found a home with the family of Brother Joseph Coolidge, and I went to live with Sister Sylvia Lyons. She was a good woman, and one of the Lord's chosen few. Emma, about this time, gave her husband two other wivesMaria and Sarah Lawrence."
After the Prophet's martyrdom in 1844, Emily married Brigham Young in September of the same year. Survival and safety prompted haste in these matters. The hardships and trials of her girlhood seemed to have left their mark for she developed into a retiring and shy young woman, and only once did she speak up for herself. Death and excommunication had left many young women without support or protection, and they were told by the leaders that they could select any one of the brethren for a husband if they so desired. When Brigham Young brought this message to Emily, she looked up shyly and said, Well, Brigham, I choose you. It must have been perfectly agreeable to him for he did not evade the request.
In 1846, Emily left Nauvoo with most of the Saints, crossed the Mississippi and again became a wanderer without a home she could call her own. On one occasion, she sat for several hours on a log holding her first child, a three-month-old baby girl in her arms, exposed to the pitiless blast of a blinding snowstormcold and hungry (she was 21). The winter of 184647 was spent at Mt. Pisgah, Iowa, the next stop was Winter Quarters, Nebraska, and in the spring of 1848 she left for the Salt Lake Valley. Her son was named "Joseph Don Carlos Young." He became the Church architect after the death of Truman Angell and completed the Salt Lake Temple, making some significant modifications.
Emily was always a faithful Latter-day Saint and bore a strong testimony of the Gospel; she was affiliated with the Relief Society and did a great deal of temple work. She had a very sweet singing voice but because of her shy nature she did not sing in public. Many pieces of handwork attested to her ability and originality in this line. Bed spreads, pillow shams, aprons and doilies show her skill in string-darning on net and her patterns were all original. Flowers made of velvet and satin, arranged in attractive designs and sewn onto a background of heavy material made beautiful rugs. Some of these articles are still in the possession of family members. Emily Dow Partridge (Smith) Young died in Salt Lake City December 13, 1899.
7. Vilate Clara (Clarissa) Decker Young (I-22-4--) 22 July 1828 - 5 Jan 1889 [one of first three women pioneers; age 16 became 4th plural wife of Brigham; 5 children; widow 11 years]
Vilate was a delicate child, being afflicted with asthma. She was born 22 Jul 1828 to Isaac and Harriet Page Wheeler [see #2] Decker. Strange as it may seem in the light of the hardships and exposure through which she passed in later life, her parents hardly dared to hope that she would live beyond childhood. When she was three years old she ran under her father's ax, while he was chopping wood, and before he could prevent it the blade was buried in her skull. She appeared to be dead, but eventually showed some signs of life, and by careful nursing she was able to speak after a lapse of one year. She literally fluttered between life and death for six months. She possessed her mother's rare courage and presence of mind. When but sixteen years old she was married to President Brigham Young. Clarissa was one of the three original pioneer women who arrived in the Great Salt Lake Valley in July 1847. Her statue is part of the "This is the Place" monument. She came with her husband, mother, father, step-father, brother and step-brother, was young (19) and had no children to worry about except her mother's, all of which may have influenced Brigham to bring her rather one of his other wives. She was not a public woman. She took no part in affairs outside of her home, though her sympathies were with women who were doing charitable and religious work. She was a great reader and always kept in touch with vital subjects, especially those pertaining to literature and the arts. She was small in stature, of medium complexion, a loving wife, devoted mother, and a faithful friend to all needing her friendship. She bore 5 children and lived in a house immediately north of the Social Hall.
8. Ella Young Empey (I-22-8--) 31 Aug 1847 - 8 Sep 1890 [first president of the young women's Retrenchment Society, which later became the Young Women's Mutual Improvement Association.]
On November 28, 1869, President Young called his family together in the parlor of the Lion House. After addressing them in an inspired manner upon the responsibilities that rested upon the women of Zion, he organized his daughters into a "Retrenchment Society", the members of which were pledged to avoid all extravagant practices, to retrench in regard to dress, eating, and even in speech. The time had come, he assured them, when the sisters must agree to give up their follies of dress and cultivate a modest apparel, a meek deportment and to set an example before the world. At age 23 Ella Young Empey, eldest child of Emmeline Free (Brigham's 20th wife), was selected to be the president of the society. She had 6 of her sisters as counselors. The members of this society designed and made their own clothes, and they had their own dancing class under the direction of Henry Maiben of England, who taught waltzes, square dances and other steps and routines. Within a year, there were associations in nearly every ward in Salt Lake City while work in other towns and settlements had commenced. The older women were also anxious to be represented and the Retrenchment Association developed into Senior and Junior Retrenchment Societies. The Young Ladies [later, Women's] Mutual Improvement Association, organized in 1877, is an outgrowth of the Retrenchment society. She died in 1890 at the age of 44.
9. Ellis Reynolds Shipp (I-16-9-2-W) 20 Jan 1847 - 31 Jan 1939 [Midwife, trained thousands in health issues; crush on "Milf" at 9, in love at 12, mother died at 14, endowed at 16, married Milf at 19, medical school at 28; delivered or attended 6,000 births in 50 years; separated from husband over 40 years]
Ellis was born, Jan. 20, 1847. She and her friend (who would later marry Heber J. Grant) were five years of age when on their way to Utah in 1852. Her friend's mother, Rebecca Winters, age 50, would die between Chimney Rock and Scotts Bluff, Nebraska. Ellis held a candle as her father inscribed pertinent information about Rebecca on an old iron wagon tire that would become her headstone. (This tire [ or a facsimile] is in the Ellis Reynolds Shipp room of the DUP Museum in Salt Lake.) The family settled in Pleasant Grove.
When she was 9 or 10, she saw in her friend's house a picture of a relative, Milford Bard Shipp, who was 20 and living in the east. She was fascinated with his face in general and his eyes in particular. She wrote: "How often I used to gaze at it in admiration and jokingly say, "This is the man I intend to marry." In 1859, when she was 12 and he was 23, they saw each other for the first time. He was on vacation from the east. By the time he returned home, Ellis said she was "deeply in love," just as girls of that age and for the first time can love, and "I imagined I could see in him some preference for myself." Her mother died when Ellis was 14. She cared for her two younger brothers and two younger sisters until her father remarried almost a year later. She was depressed and lonely, the family was poor.
News came that "Milf" (as they called him) had married an heiress, his beautiful, educated, childhood sweetheart. A baby was born and Milf was called on a mission. While in England, his wife divorced him. Following his mission Milf emigrated to Utah with his mother and anti-Mormon father. The flame for him still burned.
Dec. 12, 1863, she received her endowments in the Endowment House (age 16), which made her think more seriously about her religion. She could not afford schooling, so taught herself by going to the Seventies Hall and reading in the Reading Room. She was seriously courted by a Bro. Jacobs, who urged a speedy marriage. Ellis put him off until he went on a mission and "Dear Janed" her two years later in 1865. Ellis was relieved. Two months before her 18th birthday, Ellis received news that Milf had married another woman. Ellis saw them once and predicted that the marriage would not last. It didn't.
Zina B. Young had invited Ellis to live with her in the Lion House and attend school with her. She became well acquainted with Eliza R. Snow and Brigham and the rest of the family. In December, Milf proposed to Ellis and she accepted. Brigham counseled her against marrying him, even mentioned some negative things about him, and tried to persuade her otherwise until he realized this was what she really wanted. They were married in the Endowment House, May 5, 1866, by Heber C. Kimball (it was her parent's wedding anniversary). Ellis loved Milf with a passion that carried her through most of her marriage and certainly through medical school. Milf took 3 more wives and she lived the last half of her life alone. Her first and final house was a humble adobe structure at 34 South, 700 East in Salt Lake City.
Encouraged by friends, Ellis resolved to educate herself. She adopted a rigorous schedule of rising daily at 4 A.M. to study until 7 A.M. Then she tended to her two small boys, milked the cow, and taught at the ward school. She studied many subjects, but it was medicine that interested her most. Later, she studied medicine in Salt Lake City with a Dr. Gunn.
In October 1873 Pres. Brigham Young declared that "the time has come for women to come forth as doctors in these valleys of the mountains." The first woman to answer the challenge was Romania B. Pratt in 1874. The spark in Ellis of first believing that "it might be possible" fanned into the blaze of "reality" when on Nov. 10, 1875, she boarded the train east and headed for "Women's Medical College" in Philadelphia.
She maintained her habit of rising early, went without food, endured shabby living conditions in order to live and pay tuition. She missed her children and husband. Fortunately, polygamy solved the child care problem she claimed. When Milf arrived in the spring to see her, she was weak and sick. He persuaded her to go back to Utah and recuperate. This she did, but by the following fall she was pregnant and broke and didn't want to leave her children again. Her strong convictions that she should serve others and help provide for her family helped her overcome her reluctance and she returned.
The second year of school was worse than the first, compounded by pregnancy and poverty. She was deeply touched when her young son sent her a letter with a pressed flower and a dollar he had earned. One of her polygamous "sisters" bailed her out of a difficult situation with another gift in the mail of $5. Worried that her pregnancy might end her schooling, Ellis prayed all one night to the Lord that she might have the strength to finish her classes before the baby was born. She did not miss a single class. On May 25, 1877, the day after she passed her exams, she gave birth to a baby girl. She wrote in her diary, "It is to me the crowning joy of a woman's life to be a mother."
Ellis had one more year to go. She took care of her newborn daughter and tried to raise money selling dolls but was not very successful. She did find a family that gave her a little room and board in exchange for teaching her daughters dressmaking skills. In the fall, she began her final year of school. She graduated from the "Woman's College of Medicine of Pennsylvania" on March 14, 1878, and returned to Utah to begin "the happiest hours of her life."
In the fall of that year, she opened her School of Obstetrics and Nursing. After medical school, she gave birth to four more children - two boys, who died in infancy, and two girls (five of her children died young). It was not unusual for her to be either pregnant or holding one of her children while she taught her classes.
She delivered or attended the births of 6,000 babies during the next 50 years before she died in 1939 at the age of 92. Her usual fee was $25, if the family could afford it. Ellis Ivory, the local home builder, was given her name by his grandmother, who trained under Ellis Shipp. She served in the Relief Society General Board, instituted health and cleanliness in and out of the Church. She lectured in this country, Mexico, and Canada. Her children were all well educated, one son becoming a doctor. Milf studied law and became a lawyer.
10. Ruth May Fox (J-10-14-2-E) 16 Nov 1853 - 15 Apr 1958 [YWMIA General Board - 42 years, wrote "Carry On" for Church Centennial at age 75, married son of prominent surveyor, lived over 105 years).
Ruth May Fox was born in Westbury, England, Nov. 16, 1853, the daughter of James and Mary Ann Harding May. When she was five months old her parents were baptized into the Latter-day Saint Church; but, when Ruth was only sixteen months old, her mother died. As Ruth was the only child, her father tried to keep her near him teaching her the principles of his newly found religion. She lived in several homes, then with her grandmother May.
When not quite eight years old, Ruth's father took her to Yorkshire, some 200 miles from Wiltshire, where he had gone to better his employment conditions. They boarded with a widow, a Mrs. Saxton, who had a daughter, Clara, about the same age as Ruth. Soon Ruth was fitted out from top to toe with clothes as nearly like Clara's as possible. Of course she wore hoops ever so large, so you may be sure she was a proud little girl. Her father was now her guardian and in some respects her teacher. She was all that he had and he was quite proud of her.
Ruth was sent to school with her new companion and to the Church of England Sunday School. It was about this time that she began to philosophize on religion and how she ought to live. To quote from her own story: "What I had gotten out of my Sabbath School teaching was death-bed repentance and I was sure I wanted a good time, so I decided that was the thing to do, and when I was about to die I would ask God to forgive me and go right straight to heaven. I made up my mind, also, that I did not want to marry a minister. They were altogether too sober.
In the early spring of 1865, her father sailed for America, leaving Ruth in the care of a widow, Mrs. Saxton. James May obtained work and in five months he sent for the widow, her daughter, Clara, and his own daughter, Ruth. At the end of the journey, Mrs. Saxton became the wife of James. They lived for awhile in Philadelphia where Ruth worked in a factory. In July of 1867, the family started on their trek to Zion [age 13, her story is included in the book, I Walked to Zion] by ox-team in Captain Leonard Rice's company. Upon reaching the valley, they went immediately to the home of the Wilkinsons, who had traveled with them over the plains. They were returning to Utah from buying goods in the East. Mr. May was employed as a carder in Pres. Young's factory and soon the two girls, Ruth and Clara, went to work in the factory. She attended John Morgan's college briefly.
Early in 1872 she became acquainted with Jesse W. Fox, Jr., a surveyor by occupation. They were married May 8, 1873, his mother's birthday, Ruth being nineteen and Jesse twenty years old. Ruth wore a pink poplin dress with a long train and basque trimmed with blonde lace, her own work, as was most of her trousseau. One not very large trunk held all her worldly possessions, excepting one dollar and fifty cents. A few days before leaving home she had the misfortune to break a lamp, so she gave her mother seventy-five cents to pay for it, and with the rest of the money she bought a bustle. Up to that time she had used newspapers for that purpose and her father used to say that she carried more intelligence on her back than in her head. The ceremony was performed in the Endowment House by President Daniel H. Wells. After the wedding, Solomon Kimball, who was a friend of Jesse's, met them as they came out of Temple Square, with an open carriage, and drove them down Main Street and then to the Fox residence where the family had gathered to greet them. The only unusual thing about the affair was a three-storied wedding cake, which her husband had provided. It was decorated with two foxes and six little ones. This noble creation cost him $20.00.
They made their home in Salt Lake City in the Fourteenth Ward. All of their twelve sons and daughters [6 of each] were born in that ward. For six months they lived in the home of her husband's people and later moved in the house next door, where her first child was born April 14, 1874. It was here that Ruth commenced her church work as a teacher in Sunday School.
In 1875 her husband was called to accompany Feramorz Little to New York on a mission, but was recalled three months later to help his father survey the Utah Southern Railway. While he was away the second child, a girl, was born. When the Primary Association was first organized in the 14th Ward she served as counselor to Clara C. Cannon. Later, she became president, serving for 19 years. Changes were frequent as they moved from one house to another until they built their new home on Second South between First and Second West. The family prospered financially and her husband took a second wife without asking her advice
In the panic of 1893 they met with reverses and lost their home. Soon afterward they left their beloved 14th Ward and moved to Farmers Ward, where she was asked to teach the parent's class which had just been organized. They took in boarders.
She became a Republican, about 1890, because she believed in "protection and centralization of power." She campaigned, 1895, but was not as active in politics after that. She took an active in the Woman's Suffrage associations in the county, territorial and state organizations of which she held office. She was also a member of the committee which drafted the memorial asking the constitutional convention that the franchise for women be placed in the constitution for the State of Utah. She was a charter member of the Women's Press Club, organized by Emmeline B. Wells and others in1891, where she became Emmeline's "devoted disciple," and its first treasurer. In 1897, she was elected president. She was a charter member of the Reapers Club and director of the Deseret Agricultural and Manufacturing Society for eight years, having been appointed by Gov. Heber H. Wells.
She served as a faithful missionary on Temple Square, from 1902, when the Bureau of Information was organized, until 1929. In 1903, she represented the Y.L.M.I.A. at the executive session of the Council of Women of United States held in New Orleans. In the spring of 1913, she represented her own organization as well as the Relief Society at the National Council. She worked diligently in Red Cross and Travelers' Aid, 192537, and a member of Social Welfare League during Prohibition. It is in the Y.W.M.I.A. that Mrs. Fox has given the greatest share of her time, talents and energies. She served from 1895 to 1937a period of 42 years. For 39 of those years she was a member of the board, holding the office of president, from 1929 until her release in 1937 [age 84]. Her husband died in 1928.
For the Church centennial in 1930, she wrote a poem, "Carry On," which was set to music for the occasion. She was the first auxiliary head to visit a stake conference outside the continental United States [Hawaii, 1936]. She visited England for British Mission centennial, 1937. With advancing age, she lost hearing and sight capabilities. She studied Braille. A frank and intelligent woman, she once commented on her status in the Church: "I am sure I would have missed much of my local importance had I arrived in Salt Lake two years after instead of two years before the completion of the railroad."
11. May Anderson (A-14-9W-3-S2) 8 Jun 1864 - 10 Jun 1946 [President of the Primary; leader in Primary 59 years; never married]
May was born June 8, 1864, in Liverpool, England, a daughter of Scott Anderson and Mary Bruce. She was baptized in England by John Nicholson and confirmed by Orson Pratt. In 1883, with her father's family, she emigrated to Utah, crossing the Atlantic in the ship Nevada with a company of Latter-day Saints in charge of Ben E. Rich. She became interested in kindergarten work and studied kindergarten methods under Miss Alice Chapin and in the University of Utah under Miss Mary C. May. For two years Sister Anderson taught the Free Kindergarten in Salt Lake City [with her friend, Louie Felt] and for four years operated a private kindergarten and also for four years was assistant teacher in the kindergarten department of the University of Utah. For five years she served as a counselor to Louie B. Felt in the Primary Association of the 11th Ward, Salt Lake City, and in October, 1890, was sustained as general secretary of the Primary Association. From this position she was released in 1905, to act as first counselor to Louie B. Felt, general president of the Primary Associations of the Church, and on Oct. 8, 1925, she succeeded Sister Felt in that position. May had been the editor of The Children's Friend, since 1901, and in her official capacity in the Primary Association visited every stake in the Church except those just recently organized.
One day in 1911, Louie B. Felt, general president of the Primary Association, and May Anderson, her counselor, while walking along the street saw a little crippled boy. Their hearts went out to him and to other crippled children, thus the idea of the Primary Children's Hospital was born. It was to President Joseph F. Smith that the plan for helping crippled children was first submitted. He was generous in his approval and beds were obtained for Primary patients in the Latter-day Saints Hospital in Salt Lake City. The General Board of Primary established a hospital fund at that time and hospital expenses of the children were paid from this fund. Unfortunately, it was not always possible to keep the little patients as long as they should have been kept in order to give newly straightened limbs time for complete mending. Sometimes the gains were lost for want of proper home conditions to keep up the progress begun. What these children needed was an opportunity to receive hospital care for long periods of time if benefits were to become permanent.
For one year she served under Dr. E. Gowans in behalf of the Children's Bureau of the U. S. Department of Labor during World War I, working under the direction of Miss Julia Lathrop, being appointed to serve as an honorary or "dollar a year" worker. As a member of the Salt Lake committee of child welfare (division of the state defense council) in April, 1919, Sister Anderson received from U. S. Department of Labor a handsome bronze medal. For her efficient service, the U. S. Treasury Department, in 1919, presented her with a Victory Loan Medal, made from a captured German cannon.
In 1922, the good women who had originated the hospital idea went to President Heber J. Grant and laid before him their plea for help. Under his direction, Mrs. Felt and Miss Anderson were sent east to study plans and methods used in the finest children's hospitals. The Church provided, remodeled and equipped the old Hyde home on North Temple street, which was then turned over to the Primary Association for use as a convalescent hospital. As the services grew there was an ever increasing number of requests for admissions. This resulted in the need for larger, more adequate facilities. On President Grant's eighty-second birthday, the businessmen of Salt Lake City presented him with a box made of Utah copper. It was filled with one thousand silver dollars. President Grant donated this gift to the Primary Children's Hospital as a nucleus of the building fund. The Primary presidency and the hospital board of trustees, knowing how difficult it was going to be to raise the money for the new building, had these dollars made into paperweights which were given to those people who contributed one hundred dollars or more. This swelled the building fund to nearly one hundred thousand dollars. These paperweights may be seen in the offices of many bishops and stake presidencies throughout the Church today. The contributions often were raised by ward and stake Primaries. The copper box is on display in the board room at the Primary Children's Hospital. May Anderson is president of the board of trustees of that institution.
Additional money was raised through a "Brick Fund." Primary officers, teachers, and children were asked to buy bricks at ten cents each. The names of all those who contributed to the "Brick Fund" were placed in the cornerstone of the building as were the names of those who made larger contributions. The funds grew, supplemented by generous donations from businesses and private individuals.
October 6, 1925, May Anderson was sustained as President of the Primary Association. She came to the organization well qualified to be its leader, having served for thirty-five years on the general board. Under her supervision a program was inaugurated which would ultimately result in the building of a new hospital; anticipating lesson manuals for each age-level in the organization; and a more child-centered Children's Friend. The Home Builders, Trail Builders, Seagulls and Bluebirds were named.
(Note: In 1949 [three years after May's death] President George Albert Smith gave approval for the commencement of the new building. He said, "I want it to be the finest building of its kind in the world." A truly fine structure was erected, but President Smith did not live to see its completion. It was finished in 1952 and dedicated by President David O. McKay.)
In The Children's Friend, Vol. III, President Anderson wrote that, "the Primary had 659 associations, with a membership of over 46,000, and nearly 7,000 earnest, energetic officers, who are striving to help this vast number of children to become better men and better women. In the early days of the association, we were not able to do much more than to bring the children together, encourage them to speak little pieces, sing songs, to pray and bear little testimonies, thus helping to counteract the evil influences of the streets. This simple work, however, did much good; many of our missionaries bear testimony that it was in the Primary Associations they learned to pray aloud, to express themselves and gain the control necessary for appearance in public." Many of the officers who preside today in other organizations laid the foundation of their success in these little meetings. ...Too much importance cannot be given to the selection of the teachers of our children. ...We must continue to do our part to the best of our understanding and ability, to prepare the soil for the little roots, to care for the tender plants, and nourish them while we may, leaving the rest with the Father."
On Dec. 31, 1930, there were 1,252 Primary Associations in the Church, with a membership of 104,899. May Anderson was still the editor of the "Children's Friend," after 28 years.
After many years of devoted service in the Primary Association, Miss Anderson was released from her duties December 11, 1939, after 59 years as general secretary, counselor and president.
Following are excerpts from the letter she and her board received from the First Presidency: "We know that the future of the Church will in no small part be determined by the lessons of honesty, truth, integrity, and faith in and an understanding of the Gospel which it has been your privilege to implant in the hearts of the children.
"Every officer of the Wards and Stakes, as also the General Authorities, including the First Presidency, have been aided by the work which you have done among the children. We commend your devotion to the cause of the Lord and to the up-building of the Church. We thank you for your loyalty, we thank you for the example you have set to the children."
At the age of 82, May Anderson passed away June 10, 1946.
12. Jane Elizabeth Manning James (A-11-8-4-E) 1813 - 20 Apr 1908 [first black Mormon woman pioneer; great faith, virtues]
Jane was born in southwestern Connecticut around 1820. The date on the gravestone says "1822," which is probably as good an estimate as any, as births often went unrecorded in the early nineteenth century. She was raised in straitened circumstances. Her father died when she was a young girl, and she was placed in the home of a prosperous white farmer in Wilton, Connecticut, to work as a servant. She received no formal education and no special training. Though she did learn to read, in later life she often signed her name with a mark and dictated her correspondence, which suggests that she never mastered writing.
Jane encountered the Mormon faith through missionaries who in the early 1840s preached the Gospel in Westchester County, New York, and neighboring southwestern Connecticut. She converted in late 1842, as did a number of her immediate relatives. This was an era of millennial expectations, and a key element of the faith was gathering the Saints from "Babylon" to "Zion" in order to build the kingdom of God on earth. In the fall of 1843, Jane, her mother, two brothers, two sisters, a brother-in-law and a sister-in-law traveled from Connecticut to Nauvoo, to join with fellow Latter-day Saints. Authorities at Buffalo, New York refused the group passage by boat to Columbus, Ohio, so from Buffalo to Nauvoo, a distance of more than 800 miles, Jane and her family were forced to travel on foot. Jane recorded: "We walked until our shoes were worn out, and our feet became sore and cracked open and bled until you could see the whole print of our feet with blood on the ground. We stopped and united in prayer to the Lord, we asked God the Eternal Father to heal our feet and our prayers were answered and our feet were healed forthwith." As Jane and her companions continued on, foot-sore and weary, she recorded that "the frost fell on us so heavy that it was like a light fall of snow. We rose early and started on our way, walking through that frost with our bare feet, until the sun rose and melted it away. But we went on our way rejoicing, singing hymns and thanking God for His infinite goodness and mercy to us, in blessing us as He had, protecting us from all harm, answering our prayers and healing our feet." As African-Americans and as strangers to the communities through which they passed, they faced the risk of being waylaid and seized as fugitive slaves.
Joseph Smith was sufficiently impressed with the account of their journey to open the "Nauvoo Mansion" to them on their arrival. Jane was destitute, the trunk containing her possessions having miscarried en route to Nauvoo. She worked in Joseph Smith's household until shortly before his death six months later, while the remainder of the family scattered and formed their own homes. Her "Life History," dictated nearly a half century after the Prophet's death, reveals the depth of her affection for him. She particularly appreciated his personal warmth and democratic manner. "When he was killed," said Jane, "I like to a died myself. If it had not been for the teachers, I felt so bad, and the teachers told me, You can't want to die because he did. He died for us and now we want to live and do all the good we can.'" But in the years that followed, Jane recalled, "I shall never forget the agony and sorrow."
Jane was one of those who fled Nauvoo under the leadership of Brigham Young, temporarily settling in Winter Quarters, Nebraska. The remaining family members who had made the trek to Nauvoo with her did not move west. Before leaving Nauvoo, Jane married Isaac James, a free black from New Jersey who converted to the faith in 1839 and afterwards moved to Nauvoo. She was pregnant during the flight, and their first son was born in Iowa. In 1847, she and Isaac were among the main body of Mormon emigrants who pushed across the plains to the Great Basin. Theirs was the first free black household to arrive in the Salt Lake Valley with the Mormon pioneers.
Jane was ever generous in sharing whatever she had, which in the early days in this valley was often precious little. "Oh how I suffered of cold and hunger and keenest of all was to hear my little ones crying for bread, and I had none to give them," she said. Her friend, Eliza Partridge Lyman [sister to #6], whose husband had just left for a mission to California, wrote on 13 April, 1849: "May the Lord bless and prosper them and return them in safety. He left us without anything from which to make bread, it not being in his power to get it . . . Jane James, the coloured woman, let me have two pounds of flour, it being half of what she had."
Isaac and Jane settled in a rural area of what was to become Salt Lake City. They practiced farming, kept a few horses and sheep, and raised at least seven children.
Jane's ability to cope with economic adversity was tested again in middle age, when her marriage to Isaac broke up. She struggled financially as a single parent, but she had food from the garden, took in laundry and made soap to help make ends meet. She received assistance from her older children who lived at home and occasional aid from her Mormon neighbors as well as the lease of a five-acre property. From her meager funds she provided money to the building funds of the St. George, Logan and Manti temples and contributed regularly to the work of the Relief Society and supported its special drives. She raised good children and wept when she lost them to death. She was the mother of ten and outlived all but two of them. Of her seven children who reached maturity, five died before the age of 40. Two of her daughters died in childbirth, and six of 14 grandchildren died before reaching the age of four. But through all her sorrows, her faith in Christ and His atonement stayed strong. Of her children she said, "They now know of Jesus and His love. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord."
When his health failed, Isaac returned and Jane nursed him the last year of his life.
Jane lived in a time of great prejudice towards African-Americans. Amazingly, and this is a tribute to the greatness of her spirit, Jane was not embittered by the ignorance and prejudice of many around her.
Jane maintained a sense of millennial expectation, believing that she was living in the latter days or "the fullness of time." As she grew older, she became increasingly anxious about her future salvation. Over a 20-year period she submitted a number of requests to church leaders for temple ordinances and other blessings. These requests prompted discussions among the General Authorities and exposed underlying tensions over the issue of excluding blacks from certain temple rites and priesthood ordination. Attitudes were hardening, given the assumption of black inferiority and the belief that blacks bore the "curse of Canaan." The responses that Jane received were polite but cool, and often not entirely satisfying to her, and she therefore persisted in her requests. Yet her faith remained firm to the very end, and her integrity and steadfastness gained her the respect of the community. The Deseret News in reporting her funeral took note of the large crowd at the Eighth Ward meetinghouse and acknowledged her "undaunted faith and goodness of heart."
Perhaps the example of faithful, humble, patient but persistent Jane Elizabeth Manning James may help us all come to the point where we fully understand that "God hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth" (Acts 17:26)and that "all are alike unto God" (2 Nephi 26:33).
13. Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs Young (J-87) 31 Jun 1821 - 28 Aug 1901 [third General President of Relief Society; 33rd plural wife of Brigham; gift of tongues/interpretation; delivered 3 children, raised 7; in charge of sericulture; widow 24 years]
Zina was born, 31 Jan 1821, baptized into the Church by Hyrum Smith, August 1, 1835, and soon after went to Kirtland with her father's family. In this year she received the gift of tongues. On one occasion in the Kirtland Temple she heard a whole invisible choir of angels singing, till the house seemed filled with numberless voices. At Kirtland she received the gift of interpretation. She was also at the memorable Pentecost when the spirit of God filled the house like a mighty rushing wind. Zina was a member of the Kirtland Temple choir. She experienced the persecutions in Missouri and Illinois, and her mother died from fatigue and privation in Nauvoo, July 8, 1839. Sister Zina was married in Nauvoo to Henry B. Jacobs and had two sons, but this not proving a happy union, she subsequently separated from her husband. Joseph Smith taught her the principle of marriage for eternity, and she accepted it as a divine revelation, and was sealed to the Prophet after the order of the new and everlasting covenant, October 27, 1841, her brother Dimick officiating. Sister Zina was a member of the first organization of the Relief Society at Nauvoo, and when the Temple was ready for the ordinances to be performed, received there her blessings and endowments. After the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph and Hyrum, she was united in marriage for time to Brigham Young, and with others of the Saints left Nauvoo February 9, 1846, crossing the Mississippi on the ice. Arriving at Mt. Pisgah, a resting place for the exiles. Father Huntington was called to preside and Zina D. with her two little boys, remained with him temporarily. Sickness visited the camp, and deaths were so frequent that help could not be obtained to make coffins. Many were buried with split logs at the bottom of the grave and brush at the sides, that being all that could be done by mourning friends. Her father was taken sick, and in eighteen days he died. After these days of trial she went to Winter Quarters, and was welcomed into the family by Brigham Young. In May, 1848, she accompanied them to the Salt Lake valley.
In 1850, she and Brigham Young had their only child, a daughter, but she reared four of his other children in addition to the three of her own. Much of her life was devoted to teaching the young, to whom she imparted not only book learning but a desire for better living. When teachers became numerous, she turned her attention to public service and aided Eliza R. Snow in her Relief Society organization work, serving as her first counselor. In 1870, President Brigham Young gave Zina the mission of establishing silk culture in the Territory, and silently seeking to overcome her great repugnance to silkworms, she succeeded in fulfilling this mission. She was a worker in the Endowment House and later served in the Salt Lake Temple until the time of her death. For many years she practiced obstetrics and was always ready to exercise faith and lend her outstanding abilities as a nurse. At the death of Eliza R. Snow, Zina Young became the General President of Relief Society, April 1, 1888, a position which she held for thirteen years. During her presidency, the Relief Society became incorporated and affiliated with the National Council of Women. Upon many occasions she ably represented the Society at national conventions. "Aunt Zina" died August 28, 1901, at the age of eighty, loving and beloved by all.
14. Sarah Melissa Granger Kimball (E-12-14-2-E) 29 Dec 1818 - 1 Dec 1898 [Relief Society founder, ward president 41+ years, school teacher, women's suffragist]
Sarah Melissa Granger was born in Phelps, Ontario County, New York, a small town midway in the near twenty miles between Palmyra and Seneca Fallsa fortuitously appropriate beginning for a woman so committed to the gospel restored by Joseph Smith, Jr., and the principle of the equality of the sexes. At the age of 15, Sarah moved with her family to Kirtland, Ohio, in 1833, where she attended the School of the Prophets. Some nineteenth-century women may have been content with the piety proffered them by religion, but in Kirtland Sarah had grasped an intellectual and spiritual challenge that excited her throughout her life.
For Sarah, Granger family memories would always center in Kirtland where the Grangers lived for almost ten years. From there Oliver Granger set off on several missions for the church to Ohio and New York. There he served on the church's high council, and when Kirtland collapsed financially Joseph Smith designated Oliver his fiscal agent with responsibility for settling a substantial debt. Though Oliver attempted to move his family from Kirtland to Far West, Missouri, late in 1838, anti-Mormon mobs forced him back. The Grangers joined the Saints in Nauvoo for a year, but the Prophet Joseph sent them back to Ohio so Oliver could exchange remaining land there for land further west.
Sarah's 1840 return to Kirtland was short-lived. Her twenty-first year had been spent in Nauvoo where her intelligence and charm had attracted the attention of thirty-four-year-old Hiram S. Kimball, a prosperous non-Mormon merchant. Hiram and Sarah were married in Kirtland with her parents' blessing in September 1840, and the newlyweds made their home in Nauvoo. There Hiram was making handsome profits selling everything the growing city was buying: land, lumber, and bricks. His holdings in livestock, merchandise, and real estate made him one of the wealthiest men in the city, and one of the most prominent. He was as conspicuous in city politics as he was fin business, and was well respected by the LDS church hierarchy, even though he was not a Latter-day Saint until 1843.
Sarah M. Kimball became an affluent young matron whose home, often the site for social and religious gatherings of church leaders and their wives, was remembered for its elegance long after the city of Nauvoo faded. Hiram's prosperity must have delighted his young bride, but she was at times frustrated that she as wife owned nothing. Later in life she confessed that she had not wanted to ask her nonmember husband for funds to contribute to the church for the building of the Nauvoo Temple. When she bore their first son, she asked his father if she owned half of the boy. When Hiram said yes, she inquired as to the boy's worth, posing $1,000 as a reasonable estimate, and Hiram agreed. Sarah declared she was contributing her half to the church. When Hiram related this conversation to Joseph Smith, the prophet told him he had "the privilege of paying [the church] $500 and retaining possession, or receiving $500 and giving possession." Mr. Kimball paid the church in land, but Mrs. Kimball maintained that the contribution was hers.
It was in Nauvoo that Sarah Kimball developed the concern for Mormon women that would characterize her life. Margaret A. Cook was a seamstress in the home of Sarah M. Kimball and discussed how they could best help in expediting the building of the temple. It was decided that they could help by clothing the workers. Miss Cook offered to cut out all the shirts and other wearing apparel, and superintend all the sewing done for the many workers on the building, if Mrs. Kimball would provide the material. Sarah suggested that other women might similarly like to pool means and efforts. She then set about organizing a "Ladies Society." After their first gathering, the group asked Eliza R. Snow to write their constitution which was submitted to Joseph Smith who responded: "Tell the sisters their offering is accepted of the Lord, and He has something better for them than a written constitution." On March 17, 1842, Joseph Smith organized the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, the name and officers being selected by the eighteen women present, and he explained that "the Church was never perfectly organized until the women were thus organized."
Sarah Kimball attended that first meeting and the weekly meetings that continued in Nauvoo until just before Joseph Smith's martyrdom in 1844. By that time some 1,200 women were involved. These sisters shared their feelings about the restored gospel, sewed clothing for the poor and the temple workers, visited troubled and needy Saints, and at one point petitioned the governor of Illinois "for protection from illegal suits pending against the Prophet Joseph Smith." Early meetings were frequently addressed by Joseph Smith; Sarah, later counseling Relief Societies in Utah, would quote him profusely regarding Relief Societies' obligation to improve property and conduct business and woman's obligation to gain intelligence.
One phrase especially did Sarah accept as prophetic: She heard Joseph Smith declare in 1842 that he was turning the key in behalf of woman "in the name of the Lord," and that knowledge and intelligence would flow down from that time henceforth. And in her lifetime she saw women given significant educational, economic, political, and religious opportunities and responsibilities. Sarah, by her own definition a "woman's rights woman," traced the suffrage movement itself to this "turning of the key," asserting that "the sure foundations of the suffrage cause were deeply and permanently laid on the 17th of March, 1842." For the next fifty years that statement colored Sarah Kimball's perception of woman's changing sphere.
Hiram and Sarah Kimball did not leave Nauvoo until 1851 (he-46; she-33). That spring business complications detained Hiram in New York City, and according to Sarah by that time he "had become financially much embarrassed." She with her two sons and widowed mother journeyed by wagon to the Salt Lake Valley where she exchanged the traveling outfit for a small comfortable home. Hiram Kimball arrived a year later "financially ruined and broken in health."
To support the family, Sarah began teaching school in Salt Lake City's Fourteenth Ward. Franklin D. was born in April 1854, and by June Sarah had resumed teaching, not, however, without opposition. Emmeline B. Wells indicated that Sarah taught "under very trying circumstances, and while thus engaged in teaching she became even more than ever convinced of the need of changed conditions for women engaged in work that came in competition with men, and determined to push the matter to the utmost." It is clear that Sarah was not hired to teach in the ward school. When her private students became too numerous for her own sitting room, she asked her husband and sons to haul timber from the canyons and build her a schoolroom.
By 1857 Hiram Kimball was again prospering in business. Fifteenth Ward records indicate that he was able to purchase more shares for building the ward storehouse than any other man in his ward. Sarah's life became increasingly centered in ward activities when in February 1857 (age 38) she was named president of the Fifteenth Ward Relief Society, a position she held until her death (almost 42 years). At Brigham Young's suggestion ward Relief Societies had been reorganized in the early 1850s, but their activities were cut short by the Utah War and the subsequent move south in 1858. The local organizations were not fully revived until the end of 1867.
During that ten-year interim Sarah's life changed dramatically. Her mother, Lydia Dibble Granger, died after having lived with the Kimballs for twenty years. Hiram was killed in a steamship explosion in the port of San Pedro (1863, age 56) while traveling to Hawaii as a missionary. Sarah adopted a young daughter, Elizabeth; and the oldest Kimball son married. When Brigham Young called upon bishops to reorganize Relief Societies in their wards, Sarah M. Kimball eagerly assumed her position. She was forty-nine years old, committed to service in the LDS church and to the burgeoning movement for woman's rights. The last thirty years of her life would be public rather than private years during which her work with the Fifteenth Ward Relief Society would make her realize the value of her own strong opinions and administrative talents and motivate her to prod other women to likewise discover their personal resources and make their influence felt.
"Mrs. Sarah M. Kimball was essentially an organizer," wrote Susa Young Gates in describing Relief Society beginnings in Utah. Almost immediately "Presidentess" Kimball drew up a description of the duties of Relief Society officers, a listing slightly revised by Eliza R. Snow and used by her in organizing Relief Societies throughout the territory. The organization included a presidentess, two counselors, a secretary, and a treasurer; a council of teachers with a presidentess and a secretary whose responsibility was visiting the sisters in the ward, caring for the needy and collecting donations; deaconesses to prepare the meeting place; messengers to run errands; superintendents of work to provide for the handwork; a board of apprizers to assess donations; and a commission merchantess to sell or exchange what the society received or made.
In Salt Lake City's Fifteenth Ward that organization was quickly put to work with tremendous success. In reporting on the society's first year of activity Sarah Kimball told President Brigham Young and Eliza R. Snow that the poor, the sick, and the sorrowful had been looked after "so far as we had the means and power to relieve and comfort them." "We soon found an increasing treasury fund which it became our duty to put to usury," Sarah proudly informed her superiors. That money was invested in a small lot 2 1/2-by-3 rods (41.25 x 49.5 feet) on which the society planned to build a hall, the first Relief Society hall in the church. The cornerstone was laid in November. (By 1888 Mormon Relief Societies owned land and buildings valued at $95,000; and by the turn of the century Relief Society halls had been constructed throughout Utah, Idaho, and Arizona, and in Canada and Mexico.)
In the years that followed, the woolen cloth, carpet rags, spools of cotton, baby stockings, crewel and braid, dried fruits, valentines, buttons, shoes and moccasins made by Fifteenth Ward members and sold on a commission basis by the sisters in their store helped pay for the building. These funds combined with what the sisters collected in monthly donations were extensive enough to furnish the hall; purchase shares for the ward organ; build a granary and stock it with grain; contribute to funds for Perpetual Emigration, the Salt Lake and Logan temples, and the Deseret Hospital; provide a carpet for the ward meetinghouse; and purchase a knitting machine and set up a tailoring establishment within the ward. Such contributions would have been typical of Relief Societies throughout the church that also provided food, clothing, and quilts for the poor, and temple and burial garments for church members in the 1870s and 1880s. In addition, Fifteenth Ward sisters engaged in some less typical Relief Society activities: sending assistance to those who suffered in the Chicago fire, mailing the Woman's Exponent to English sisters too poor to subscribe, beginning a ward kindergarten and financing the teacher's professional training as well as paying tuition for poor children, founding a ward library, and sponsoring quarterly parties for the ward's widowed and aged. These were profitable servants putting their delegated powers to usury.
Mrs. Kimball attempted to vary the curriculum, placing heavy stress on the study of physiology in 1872-73. She told her sisters that "human bodies were not forlorn, disagreeable objects, and should not be subjected to the causes that would make them such." Accordingly, she preached dress reform, declaring that "tight lacing was a sin against humanity."
In 1881 the Fifteenth Ward society attempted to center weekly discussions on basic gospel principles, and Sarah became frustrated when attendance dropped off.
Convinced that each woman should have a sense of self, President Sarah Kimball delegated significant responsibilities to the Fifteenth Ward sisters and did not intrude upon such assignments.
Though Sarah Kimball indicated that she was somewhat reluctant to express her views on the equality of the sexes as early as Susan B. Anthony did, she apparently lost all hesitation as soon as it was clear that there was a place within the Latter-day Saint scheme for a woman's rights advocate. Sister Kimball was never one to go against the brethren, but when the territorial legislature granted the right of suffrage to Utah women in 1870, Sarah affirmed "that she had waited patiently a long time and now that we were granted the right of suffrage, she would openly declare herself a woman's rights woman." Sarah Kimball "never hesitated in giving her opinion upon equality of the sexes." And no one who knew her doubted the strength of her convictions.
In the 1870s Sarah had served as a member of the territorial committee of the People's party and she was a member of the constitutional convention that drew up Utah's unavailing petition for statehood in 1882. Thousands of Mormons were already feeling the sting of disfranchisement when the Edmunds Act was passed in 1882. Within three years anti-Mormon abuses under the Edmunds law would become so intolerable that sixty-five-year-old Sarah Kimball would head a women's committee petitioning Congress against outrages inflicted upon Utah women by federal deputies. In 1891 she would head the Utah Woman Suffrage Association and travel to Washington, D.C., as Utah's delegate to the National Women's Suffrage Association. She was Utah's pioneer suffragist.
By choice, it seems, Mrs. Kimball refused to allow her involvement with public weal to usurp her vital concern for individual men and women. Perhaps it was this concern that kept her so occupied with her work in the Fifteenth Ward. Though she was active in territorial politics and suffrage activities and served with the general Relief Society presidency and board for almost twenty years, much of her life continued to center in her own ward where as Relief Society president she was called upon to administer to the wants of the needy. When she sensed that disagreements in Relief Society discussions were alienating some members she pleaded with the sisters to recognize that "when we grow old we get very sensitive," reminding them that "we should govern our sensitiveness with judgment." She thought sisters "tried and wounded each others feelings, but not knowingly," and should work to cultivate good feelings toward each other.
With the dedication of the St. George Temple in 1877 Sarah had committed herself to searching her own lineage, and from the trip to Phelps would come the names and dates necessary to complete the temple work for her kindred dead.
Sarah Kimball celebrated her seventy-fifth birthday (1893) by sponsoring a special dinner for the widows and aged women in her ward. "The ladies came and went in carriages at her expense," the Woman's Exponent reported.
During 1897-98 Sarah attended her Relief Society meetings less frequently. Her health declined rapidly, and not infrequently the society officers met with Sarah in her home. At one of the last meetings she was able to get out to attend, plans for a new Relief Society hall were discussed and President Sarah M. Kimball announced that "she desired to give the funeral sermon of our old hall." She reviewed the history of the hall and the Fifteenth Ward society, "and the work of progress intellectually as well as attending to the wants of the poor and needy." She was proud of the society of sisters in her ward, a society that many said "prospered beyond any branch in Zion." In Salt Lake City's Fifteenth Ward she had seen in microcosm the effects of Joseph Smith's "turning of the key" and the subsequent "extended field of useful labor for female minds and hands."
Sarah Melissa Granger Kimball died December 1, 1898, on the eve of her eightieth birthday. "The liberal shall be blessed," she had told her sisters at one Relief Society meeting, and that statement seems a fitting tribute to her ideology and works.
Her son Frank (buried in the plot immediately southwest) shared her enthusiasm for local and national politics. He managed the campaign of Utah's first state governor, Heber M. Wells, and then ran for several public offices on his own, always without success. He was unable to share her allegiance to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and joined with his wife in Christian Science.
15. Louie Bouton Felt (N-12-1-5-E) 5 May 1850 - 15 Feb 1928 [first General President of the Primary, 45 years; married at 16, no children of her own, but helped raise 8 others]
Louie was born in Connecticut. In the year 1864 Louie's family started for Utah. They had gone only a short distance when the baggage train took fire, and all they owned, but the clothes they wore, were burned. So they returned to Norwalk again and remained two years. In May 1866, the Bouton family, with a number of missionaries left South Norwalk for Omaha, but before reaching there Brother Bouton was taken ill and it was necessary for him to rest before continuing the journey. Two of the elders remained with him while Louie and her brothers, Harry and Frank, and the other elders went on to Omaha. A telegram was sent to the elder in charge at Omaha, asking that someone meet the little party and provide them with a suitable home until the father should recover and be able to resume the care of his dear ones. Joseph H. Felt was in charge of the Saints in Omaha, and had just recently returned from a mission to England, Sweden and Denmark. The telegram was read to the brethren at headquarters and a number of young men wanted to have the privilege of meeting Miss Bouton and her brothers, so they drew lots to see who should meet the boat. The lot fell to Elder Felt who took the carriage and went to meet them.
Louie was just sixteen, with sparkling blue eyes, golden hair, tall, slender and graceful, very dignified in her manner and a true gentlewoman. All these attractions very much impressed this young elder and she was also attracted to him. Four days later, Brother Bouton, who was still very ill, reached Omaha, staying there six weeks before he could continue on to Utah. The company with which the Bouton family traveled reached the Great Salt Lake Valley September 19, 1866, having spent over four months on the journey from South Norwalk. On the 29th of December, 1866, Louie was married to Joseph H. Felt in the Endowment House and the wedding was celebrated in the Felt home with an elaborate party, President Young and many others being there in attendance.
They had been married only a short time when President Brigham Young called them with several other young couples to colonize "The Muddy" now known as Moapa on the Virgin River until the Muddy Mission was finally abandoned.
When her father died, back in Connecticut, he left her some money, which she used to purchase a lot on the southeast corner of Seventh East and First South Streets where they built a two-room adobe house.
Not long after this Louie met Elizabeth Mineer, a young beautiful girl, who was very accomplished. She was singing in the Ward and Louie loved her as soon as she saw her. She suggested to her husband that she was willing to share his love and their home with "Lizzie" and hoped that some day they would be privileged to share their happiness with some little ones. So Lizzie became "Lizzie Ma" and Louie, "Louie Ma" in the Felt home, and love and happiness came to three instead of two. Soon a little girl came to this home. Her name was Louie"Little Louie" they called her, then came Vera, and few people could guess just who the mother was, so great was the love of both for these children.
Before "Lizzie Ma's" fourth child was born, polygamy was being prosecuted and the women had to flee to the home of friends for protection and were separated from their husbands and children for months at a time. Joseph had to leave his home and go in one direction and Lizzie Ma, with her baby, in another. Louie Ma kept little Louie and Vera.
About this time Louie opened her heart and home for another woman to share her home and happinessElizabeth Liddell, Aunt Dell.
When the Retrenchment Association was merged into the Mutual Improvement Association in 1877, Louie Ma was chosen as one of the counselors to Mary Freeze.
Beginning in the month of August, 1878, Eliza R. Snow, Emmeline B. Wells, Zina D. H. Young, M. Isabella Horne, E. Howard, Lula Greene Richards, Sarah M. Kimball and others traveled throughout the Church organizing Primary Associations in rapid succession. Louie became president of the Eleventh Ward Primary of Salt Lake City on September 14, 1878. It was the second primary in the Church, after the one established by Aurelia Spencer Rogers in Farmington.
Lillie Freeze said about her: "Children were fascinated by her gracious manner and she taught them many things." Donations were made by them to help build the Salt Lake Temple. They had May walks, outings to Liberty Park and Garfield Beach, concerts and plays to bring out their talents. The money made from these concerts was used for various things, once to send an elder to England on a mission, another time it was used to bring a family to Zion, and so the work started among the children of the Eleventh Ward with a remarkable attendance varying from one hundred to one hundred and seventy-five at a time.
Primary Associations soon became part of the auxiliary work throughout the Church. Meetings were usually held once a week, and not only theology, but good manners, the value of punctuality, the need for obedience, the joy of loving service, kindness to each other and to dumb animals were featured. The children were taught to lead in prayer, singing and in various games, and if any talent was perceived it was carefully fostered for the benefit of other members.
Primary organizations increased in members so fast that Stake Committees and a Central Board became imperative. At a Primary session of the Sister's Conference of the Salt Lake Stake held Saturday morning, June 19, 1880, the first Stake Board was organized. Immediately following this action, was sustained General President to preside over all the Primary Associations of all the Stakes of Zion. She was then set apart as General President of the Primary Association of the church, by Pres. John Taylor, which position she held until her death. She was not only the President who presided the longest, but she was the first woman in the history of the Church to be sustained as a General President.
She saw as her main duty the visiting of the various Primaries to encourage the work a duty that involved much traveling. Under her supervision the organization was divided into ten groups according to age. The next step was to prepare appropriate material for the lessons that would be given in the various groups. The Church could offer the general board no financial assistance in implementing this venture. Undaunted, Mrs. Felt pledged her own home as collateral in order to promote the printing of the Primary's publication, The Children's Friend, begun on Jan. 19, 1902. Also, since the association had no office, these first issues were addressed for mailing in Sister Felt's home.
After the Manifesto [statement by Pres. Woodruff ending the practice of polygamy] and there was no more danger of persecution of the Saints, Louie told her husband that she wanted to deed a piece of her property to Lizzie Ma and Aunt Dell so they could have a home of their own.
During the years of 1894 and 1895 Louie Ma with May Anderson attended a Kindergarten class conducted by Miss Chapin, who had come from the East. After receiving their diplomas they opened a private kindergarten in the basement of the little old adobe meetinghouse in the Eleventh Ward on the corner of Eighth East and First South Streets. She also taught Kindergarten during the summer months in the old University Building where the West High School buildings now stand.
Louie's work in the Primary continued. By promoting a feeling of gratefulness for good health among the children, they soon learned sympathy for others who were less fortunate than they and a project was commenced whereby they were able to contribute to a fund by which some sick child was. given medical treatment and hospital care. Under Sister Felt's supervision, a Primary-sponsored children's ward was opened in the Groves LDS Hospital in 1911. In 1922, feeling the need for professional nursing in a homelike atmosphere for children, the old Hyde home on North Temple became the LDS Children's Convalescent Home and Day Nursery. Soon, in addition to members of the organization, every person, old and young was invited to contribute one penny for each year they were old, and the money collected each year during the Penny Drive assisted in defraying the cost of maintaining the hospital and providing medical care.
In 1916, Louie, the eldest daughter of "Lizzie Ma," passed away and "Louie Ma" took her children, Elsa, Judith, Alma May and Buddy Keysor to live with her. She fed them, helped clothe and educate them, and gave them the love and devotion that only a second Grandmother could give, and was lovingly called "Nana."
As the years went on, she gradually grew too feeble to carry the responsibility
of the Primary work and finally was so ill she had to have a trained nurse.
For forty-five years Louie Bouton Felt's remarkable influence radiated throughout
the Primary organization. She was succeeded by May Anderson, her lifelong
friend, October 6, 1925. With "Lizzie Ma" as her faithful companion,
she passed away Feb. 13, 1928, at age 77.
16. Harriet Amelia Folsom Young (PARK-13-11-1-S2 C) 23 Aug 1838 - 15 Dec 1910 [50th, and supposed "favorite" wife of Brigham, 20 when they met, 23 when married (he was 59)]
Harriet was daughter of William H. and Zerviah Clark Folsom, was born in Buffalo, New York. Her father and family embraced the Gospel in 1841, and removed to Nauvoo, Illinois soon afterwards. In the year 1846, when the Saints were driven from that state, they moved to Keokuk, Iowa, and afterwards went to Council Bluffs. Early in 1860 they started across the plains for the Valley of the Great Salt Lake arriving in October of that year. Amelia was then twenty-two years of age, tall and queenly in appearance. She was of fair complexion. She became acquainted with President Brigham Young in 1860, but was not married to him until January 24, 1863.
Quite the opposite from the many "homemaker" types of women that Brigham married was Amelia Folsom, "whose elegance", said one of Lucy Decker Young's daughters [who grew up in the Beehive House], "was partly responsible, I suppose, for the frequently circulated statement that she was Father's favorite wife,' a statement that was entirely without foundation."
Said she, "I loved to go to her room, because she had such beautiful cut-glass bottles of lovely-smelling bay rum and cologne which I might sniff to my heart's content. Her father [architect William Folsom] had given her some very fine jewelry, which she would permit me to play with on the floor. I would empty it all out of the box and then put it back in again, piece by piece, admiring each jewel as I did so, and longing for the time to come when I would be grown up and perhaps have some of my own.
"She was an accomplished musician, being able to play the piano and to sing, so naturally she was very much in demand at home entertainments. As she had no children, and therefore had more time on her hands than some of the other wives, she used to put a great amount of beautiful handwork on her underwear. I loved her modesty skirts'short petticoats that reached from the waist to the kneesbecause they were so dainty with their crochet trimmings, and yearned for the time to come when I could wear them myself. In fact, I wore the queer things for years after my marriage simply, I am sure, because the desire had taken such firm root within me."
Eugene Tranghber of the Evening Star of Washington [newspaper] was granted an interview with Amelia on the day Utah became a state, January 4, 1896. It took place in the "Junior Gardo," [not the real Gardo House]. Amelia was 55. Wrote he, "It was a cold winter day that I called on the former queen of Mormon society and through the courtesy of George Q. Cannon of the Mormon Church, I bore a letter of introduction and was granted audience.
"Mrs. Young told me that she had never before submitted to an interview from a representative of the press. She was aware that many unauthentic and untruthful newspaper articles had been published about her and her late husband, and it was to correct the false impression conveyed in these stories that she was now willing to talk the public.
Said Amelia, "It was on October 3, 1860, when, in company with Heber Kimball, he [Brigham Young] came out into the Salt Lake Valley in a carriage to meet and welcome our party. I was introduced to him then, and, after arriving here, he called on us. The call was returned, and we subsequently visited back and forth frequently and went to social gathererings.
" How long did it last?'
"Until August, 1862 when we were engaged. In January, 1863 the marriage took place."
" Did President Young employ peculiar methods of courtship?' "I think not. I was aware that he was the husband of a number of wivesI did not care to know how manybut that did not affect our Courtship in the least. President Young was naturally dignified but was always at ease with company."
" Did you take up immediate residence with your husband after marriage ?'
"I remained at home three weeks, when I took up at the Lion House, President Young's home. His wives and all lived there and each wife, including myself, had her separate room. At that time there were seventy-five of us in the family including hired help. We all dined at the same table, over which Young presided. Every morning and evening all gathered in the parlor, and here, also my husband presided. I afterwards took quarters at the Bee Hive House, but returned to the Lion House and remained there until the death of President Young August 29, 1877.
" Was your married life generally happy?'
"I should certainly dislike to think otherwise. Why not? We were all members of the same family and treated each other as such. I would sacrifice anything for the surviving wives of President Young, and their feelings toward me, I think are the same.
" How many times did your husband marry after you became his wife ?'
"Twice afterward; I don't know how many times before. His will should show that."
" Where did you reside after your husband's death?'
"I went to the Gardo House. This building had been begun before President Young's death. I planned the structure myself. I also planned the residence I now live in, which was built in 1879 and I moved into this house the same year. All of President Young's wives were treated alike in the distribution of his estate."
" You have the name of being President Young's favorite wife?'
"I can't say that he had any favorites. He was equally kind and attentive to all in his lifetime, and left each surviving wife an equal legacy. I was absent from home at long intervals during my fifteen years of married life having visited several times in the East and having taken an extensive tour of Europe."
"After conversing with Mrs. Young, it was easy for me to believe that she had been the most popular of Brigham's nineteen wives. [According to historian Jeff Johnson, 57 wives were married to him.] She is tall and symmetrical of form, dignified and graceful of manner, and a brilliant conversationalist. The silvery locks which tell of the fifty and five years of her eventful life, are mingled with threads of gold, and the large blue eyes have lost nothing of their fire and expressiveness.
"Amelia Folsom Young appears seldom in public since the death of her husband, but is not, on this account, a recluse. She is still as popular in the private gatherings in the older Mormon society circles as she once was in the public events occurring in the younger circles."
Gardo House Note: Shortly before President Young's death he decided to erect an official residence where he could entertain people who came to see him. The family understood that Amelia would live there and was happy that President Young had chosen her to assume the responsibilities of all social affairs. Before the residence was completed President Young passed away. It was finished by President John Taylor and named the Gardo House. Harriet Amelia Folsom Young passed away December 11, 1910.
There are many stories told about the Gardo House. The architect was Amelia's father, William Folsom. The most popular conception is that the Gardo House was built by Brigham Young for his favorite wife, Amelia Folsom. The story is also told that the name "Amelia's Palace," came from the discourse of a lacky driver who pointed it out as such to a group of visitors. It stood directly across South Temple Street from the Beehive House. There are two traditions as to how it received the name "Gardo." Some say it came from an old Spanish story, but had no meaning or significance attached. Others say that Brigham Young, Jr., originated the word. At that time, every house of distinction had a name. Brigham, Jr., made a remark to the effect that this particular house towered above other neighboring houses like a sentinel, appearing to be on guard. Thus the name "Gardo" would be appropriate.
John Taylor was the first President of the Church to live in this official residence. Wilford Woodruff, who succeeded John Taylor, chose to live in his own home (and so, in time, the house defeated its purpose). Isaac Trumbo, a wealthy mining man, purchased the home in 1890. In 1900 Colonel Emery Holmes purchased the home and added a picture gallery on the west part of the house. Mrs. Holmes was a woman who loved to entertain and so the fame of the house spread far and wide. She revived the name of "Amelia's Palace" and it was at this time that many of the stories linked with the place came to be known.
17. Phoebe Whittemore Carter Woodruff (I-2-14) 8 Mar 1807 - 10 Nov 1885 [married Wilford Woodruff, age 30; out of body experience; 3 of 7 children die young; husband could not attend funeral] was born March 8, 1807, in Scarborough, Maine, a daughter of Ezra and Sarah Fabyan Carter. While still a young woman, Phoebe embraced the gospel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1834 against her parents' wishes. A year later with strong faith in her new-found religion and a promise to her grief-stricken mother that she would return if Mormonism proved false, Phoebe journeyed 1000 miles to Kirtland, Ohio, where she joined the colony of Latter-day Saints. Before her departure, Phoebe wrote and left notes for her family, as she was too sad to bid farewell to her loved ones.]
After she arrived in Kirtland Phoebe met the Prophet Joseph Smith and became a close friend of his family. Within a year she married Wilford Woodruff. Joseph Smith had promised to perform the ceremony, but was unable to do so. Phoebe's life from then on proved to be a very eventful one. She accompanied her husband on two missions, the Fox Islands off the State of Maine, and to England. Their first child, Sarah Emma, was born while Phoebe was visiting her parents at Scarborough, Maine. When her husband came for her, the Carters begged her to remain with them, as it was October and they were fearful the trip to Nauvoo would involve hardships for the family. Her husband said of her at this time: "Yes, Phoebe possessed too much firmness, faith and confidence in God to put her hand to the plough and then look back, or to give way to trials however great." They spent three months traveling in wagons through rain, mud, snow and frost. It was on this trip that Phoebe was stricken with a severe headache which developed into brain fever. The baby also became ill. As Phoebe's condition worsened, she was believed to be dying, but a prayer was offered for her and next morning the travelers continued a little farther, where they found a house in which to stay for several days. It was here her spirit apparently left her body, but the faith and prayers of her husband and friends brought her back to life. She related after her recovery that she saw her body as in death and was given her choice of being released from this earth or to return to her body and stand by her husband through all the trials and tribulations she would be called upon to pass through. She chose to return to this earth, resulting in her being able to continue the journey to Quincy, Illinois, where her husband decided to settle.
Wilford, Jr., Phoebe Amelia and Susan Cornelia were born to the Woodruff's in Illinois, and here Sarah Emma died and was buried. Phoebe joined her husband in fulfilling a mission to England and while there a son, Joseph, was born. On their return to America, they found the Saints had left Nauvoo and established themselves at Winter Quarters. They joined the Saints and the care of the family fell upon the shoulders of Phoebe as her husband was called to fulfill another mission. About this time Phoebe's mother, father and one sister were baptized into the Church. Another son, Ezra, and a daughter, Sarah Carter, were born at Winter Quarters, but each died soon after birth, and to add to their grief Joseph, who was born in England, also passed away. With all of her tribulations, Phoebe believed sincerely in the gospel and remained completely devoted to her husband. She spoke of him as "a most worthy man with scarcely his superior on earth." On June 20th, 1850, Wilford and Phoebe, with their three remaining children, Wilford, Jr., Susan and Phoebe, left for the Great Salt Lake Valley where they arrived, after many interesting and trying experiences, October 14, 1850.
Soon after their arrival, Wilford moved his family from the Old Fort into a home near the Temple Block to his tract of land on the southwest corner of South Temple and West Temple Streets (where Symphony Hall is located). A storehouse and an adobe house were built on this property where Phoebe lived until a large brick home was erected into which she moved and lived her remaining years. Two more children were born to the Woodruffs in Salt Lake City, Beulah Augusta and Aphek. Of her nine children, only four lived to maturity: Wilford, Susan, Phoebe and Beulah.
November 10, 1885, Phoebe Woodruff died at the age of seventy-eight. Her
husband was greatly affected by her death and painfully humiliated because
he was only able to watch her funeral procession as it passed the historian's
office where he was in hiding from the authorities of the law because of polygamy,
a doctrine she had struggled so hard to embrace.
18. Martha Hughes Cannon (C-5-14-5-E) 1 Jul 1857 - 10 Jul 1932 [MD at age 23; married at 27; first female state legislator in the U.S.; separated from her husband most of her life]
Martha (Mattie) Hughes was the first women physician in the Territory of Utah (Ellis Shipp was trained at the Women's Medical College, but did not have a M.D. degree]. Fired with a desire to study medicine, the fulfillment of this wish seemed almost impossible because of the economic status of her family. Born Martha Hughes, her father died a few days after he and his family arrived in Utah. Later, her mother married James P. Paul, who encouraged her in her ambition to study medicine. President Brigham Young gave her a position and facilitated her securing a preliminary education. Surmounting many difficulties, she pursued her course in medicine at the University of Michigan, graduating with the degree of Doctor of Medicine on her 23rd birthday, July 1, 1880.
In the autumn, she entered the University of Pennsylvania, and the National School of Oratory, both in Philadelphia.
Returning to Utah, she opened an office in a new wing of her old home, built by her step-father. After practicing about a year, she was drafted as the second resident physician of the struggling Deseret Hospital. While serving here, she met Angus Munn Cannon, President of the Salt Lake Stake of Zion. Falling in love with him, they were married in the Endowment House, Salt Lake City, on October 6, 1884. Because of the agitation regarding polygamy, the marriage was performed secretly, not even her parents knowing of it at the time. Later, taking her small daughter Elizabeth, she went into voluntary exile in England, where her stay was saddened by the fact that her mother's brother would not receive her, because the status of plural wives was neither understood nor accepted in that country. However, her exile enabled her to visit many hospitals and clinics in England and on the Continent. From time to time she returned to Salt Lake City, where she organized and taught classes in nursing.
On the occasion of one of her visits to Salt Lake, eager to see a State Board
of Health organized, and to see improved working conditions for women insured
by legislation, she permitted her name to be put on the Democratic ticket
as candidate for state senator. By the irony of fate, she defeated her own
husband, running for the same office on the Republican ticket. It is said
that he never forgave her for her boldness in running against himand
defeating him. With this election, she was the first woman in the United States
to be elected a state senator. The victory widened a rift between husband
and wife, which really began when she was forced to live in Europe. She moved
to California and died July 10, 1932, age 75.
19. Mercy Rachel Fielding Thompson (B-15-12-5-W ) 15 Jun 1807 - 15 Sep 1893 [younger sister to Joseph and Mary Fielding; sealed to Hyrum, Aug 1843, 2 years after death of husband]
Mercy was born 15 Jun 1807 and emigrated to Canada in 1832, together with her brother, Joseph, and sister, Mary. There she became a convert to "Mormonism," being influenced by the preaching of Parley P. Pratt. She, together with her brother Joseph, John Taylor and wife, Robert B. Thompson and three others were baptized by Parley P. Pratt.
She married Robert B. Thompson in June 1837, the Prophet performing the ceremony.
In January 1839, she, with her little babe (Mary Jane Thompson, born 14 Jun 1837), accompanied her sister Mary, who was taken on her sick bed in a wagon from Far West to Liberty to visit her husband, Hyrum, in Liberty jail. After suffering with the Saints in the persecutions they endured in Kirtland and Missouri, Mercy, together with her husband (who was standing next to David Patten when he was shot at the battle of Crooked River, south of Far West), arrived in Quincy, Illinois in the spring of 1839.
She became more intimately acquainted with the Prophet in consequence of her husband being employed as his secretary, and to whom the Prophet became very much attached, so much so that one day he jocosely said to her, "Sister Thompson you must not feel bad towards me for keeping your husband away from you so much, for I am married to him;" they truly loved each other with fervent brotherly affection.
At Commerce, Illinois, her husband, who was one of the recorders of the Church, took sick and died, leaving her a widow with one little daughter. She was married as a plural wife, by the Prophet Joseph Smith, to his brother, Hyrum Smith, who had previously married her sister Mary, in Kirtland, Ohio. "On the 11 of August 1843 I was called by direct revelation from heaven through Brother Joseph the Prophet to enter into a state of Plural Marriage with Hyrum Smith the Patriarch." She was opposed to the idea at first. She acted as a scribe to Hyrum at times.
I received my endowments by the directions of the Prophet Joseph, his wife Emma officiating in my case, and in his instructions to me at that time he said: "This will bring you out of darkness into marvelous light."
When the Nauvoo Temple was completed, so that holy ordinances were administered therein, Sister Mercy was called to labor as a temple worker and continued this sacred work almost night and day for six weeks during the winter of 1845-46.
In 1846 she accompanied her brother Joseph Fielding and sister Mary, with their families, to Winter Quarters. Here she remained until June, 1847, when she started for the Great Salt Lake Valley, crossing the plains and mountains in Daniel Spencer's hundred, (also known as Parley P. Pratt's company). She spent the winter of 1847-48 in the Old Fort, and in the spring of 1849 located on Lot 8, Block 97, Plat A, Salt Lake City Survey (later the Sixteenth Ward) where she resided until the day of her death in 1893.
When the Perpetual Emigrating Fund was instituted she was a generous contributor
of funds toward emigrating the poor, giving at one time over $800 toward assisting
the poor saints to emigrate to Zion. She also donated liberally toward the
building of Temples, the assisting of missionaries and for many other charitable
purposes. In 1871 she visited her relatives in upper Canada, and the following
year (1872) she visited England, traveling part of the way in company with
President George A. Smith, who at the time started his famous mission to Palestine.
Returning to America, she crossed the Atlantic in the steamship "Nevada",
which sailed from Liverpool, England, June 4, 1873. On this occasion, she
assisted a number of people to emigrate from Great Britain to America. For
many years Sister Thompson was an active member of the Relief Society of the
Sixteenth Ward, and she passed to her final rest at her home, 103 North Second
West Street, Salt Lake City. She had been an invalid for a number of years.
20. Mary Fielding Smith (@ B-15-12) 21 Jul 1801 - 21 Sep 1852 [Second wife of Hyrum Smith; mother of Pres. Joseph F. Smith; 6 years older than sister, Mercy]
Mary was the 6th child (her brother, Joseph, was the 4th) of a woman who married a minister who had previously been married. Life was very difficult for her and she impressed her feelings on Mary and her younger sister, Mercy. Don't marry a man who had previously been married!
Her brother, Joseph, was called on a mission to England (with Heber C. Kimball) where they had remarkable success, starting first at Joseph's brother's (James) church. (When members of James's congregation wanted to join the LDS Church, he closed the doors of the church to further proselyting. James's wife, Martha, was interested, but James persuaded all his relatives to disown Joseph, which really upset him. Joseph Fielding married on his mission and had 2 children before he left his mission.)
Hyrum Smith was away on a mission when his first wife, Jerusha, died. Joseph asked Mary if she wouldn't help look after the children until Hyrum returned. Hyrum did have a handyman, George, and a housekeeper, Hannah, which made things a bit easier. The children were well behaved and she began to love them and vice versa. When Hyrum asked her to marry him, she thought of her mother's advice and reluctantly said yes. (She loved the children more than she loved Hyrum and worried about whether another woman as Hyrum's wife would take proper care of them.) She learned to love Hyrum.
When the family moved from Kirtland to Missouri, Mary had to drive the wagons alone and had to learn about packing, caring for the animals, and other travel requirements. When Hyrum was taken to the Liberty Jail, Mary was due and soon delivered a son, Joseph Fielding Smith (Nov. 11, 1838), at Far West, named after her brother, Joseph Fielding, whom Mary really loved. Her sister, Mercy, came from Illinois and nursed her own child as well as Joseph - probably saving his life. Due to stress, Mary was unable to produce milk. Mary and Mercy drove miles to see Hyrum in jail. It was frightening (the jailer thought they were planning an escape) and the conditions miserable. The next day they headed for Quincy, Illinois. The whole trip was about 200 miles.
Emma Smith and Mary were good friends until Emma chose to move Joseph's and Hyrum's bodies from their hidden grave under the Nauvoo House across the street to their current resting place. Emma hadn't told Mary and that night Mary had very uneasy feelings. She realized the cause of her feelings when she found out about the moving of the bodies. From then on their relationship was somewhat strained.
After the martyrdom, the wives of Joseph and Hyrum were given choices of husbands from among the Twelve so they could be taken care of. Marriages for time were performed and connubial relationships generally did not exist among them. So it was with Mary. She was married to Heber C. Kimball, came with his company to the Valley in 1848, and died at his complex on Main Street, 1852, but lived and provided her family's needs, separately, as much as possible. George, the handyman, and Hannah, the housekeeper , stayed with the family and lived with Mary and the children at their farm on Highland Drive and Twenty-Seventh South. (When Heber and Orson Hyde went on a mission, Heber was sick and broke. Mary slipped Heber $5 as he left Nauvoo, which paid the fare for both to Buffalo.)
On the trip west, Mary's ox about died just west of Casper, Wyoming. She
insisted that her brother, Joseph, anoint and heal the ox. He did and it revived.
At or near Little Dell Reservoir, Mary's animals wandered off and couldn't
be found, even with help. Captain Lot told her the company couldn't wait and
went on ahead. Mary claimed she could go it alone and would reach the Valley
before him. A black cloud arose and dumped ferocious wind and rain on the
company as it attempted to climb Little Mountain. The animals could not secure
good footing and kept sliding backwards. Captain Lot decided to make camp,
though it was early in the afternoon. Two hours behind came Mary. The animals
had been found and the rain stopped. When she got to Captain Lot's group,
she went right around it and came all the way to Pioneer Fort, arriving at
about 10 P.M. that night. Her prediction was fulfilled and young Joseph went
around the fort telling anyone who would listen what a mean man Captain Lot
was. Her house was preserved by subsequent owners, visited by primary children,
and finally moved to "This is the Place Heritage Park," where it
was set off from the rest of Old Deseret Village.
A. Vilate Kimball (first wife of Heber C. Kimball), the youngest daughter of Roswell and Susannah Murray, was born June 1, 1806, in Florida, Montgomery County, New York. Vilate wrote many tender and beautiful poems. One day Heber C. Kimball was passing through the little town of Victor in the County of Ontario. Being thirsty, he reined in his horse near a house where a gentleman was at work in the yard. He asked for a drink of water and the gentleman went to the well to draw a fresh bucket, at the same time calling to his daughter, Vilate, to bring a glass from the house. He filled the glass and sent her with it to the young man. It was not long before Heber again had business in Victor and became thirsty opposite the same house. But this time the gentleman waited on him, so Heber with the blunt manner for which he was noted said, "If you please sir, I'd rather 'My Laty' would bring it to me." On his previous visit he had understood her name to be Milaty. Vilate then brought Heber a glass of water, much to the amusement and good-natured teasing of her brothers and sisters. More visits followed and Vilate became as impressed with Heber as he with her. In time, acquaintance ripened into love and they were married November 7, 1822.
Heber lived in Mendon, New York, where he worked in his pottery business during the summer, at his forge during the winter, and his affairs were prospering nicely. It was in Mendon that the intimacy and friendship between Heber C. Kimball and Brigham Young began. In the fall or winter of 1831, Heber and Vilate joined the Baptist Church. About three weeks later, elders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came to Victor, where the Kimballs received the gospel message. In September 1832 Brigham Young's wife, Miriam, died, leaving two little daughters. These children were taken into Vilate's home and from then until they left Mendon, the families of Brigham and Heber were as one.
In the fall of 1833 Heber disposed of his possessions in Mendon and moved his family to Kirtland, the center of the Church. Heber soon acquired a home which he shared with his friend until the latter was able to procure one of his own. Brigham Young, a carpenter, joiner, painter and glazier, was the builder of the new Kimball home. On June 13, 1837, Heber C. Kimball was called to leave Kirtland to open the English Mission.
When the Prophet Joseph received the revelation concerning Celestial Marriage, he was very cautious as to whom he told. Before he told Heber C. Kimball, he decided to test him. The test was no less than a requirement that Heber surrender his beloved wife Vilate to Joseph in marriage. This revelation nearly paralyzed Heber. He could scarcely believe his ears, yet he knew the integrity of Joseph too well to doubt him, and recognized the divinity of his word.
For three days Heber fasted and prayed, then with a broken heart, he led his dear wife to Joseph's house and presented her to the Prophet. Joseph wept at this proof of Heber's devotion and joined the hands of the devoted pair and "by virtue of the sealing power and authority of the Holy Priesthood made Heber and Vilate husband and wife for all eternity." This was the test for Heber. Vilate's test was yet to come.
Heber, through the Prophet Joseph, was commanded to take a young widow with two small children as his wife without telling Vilate. This deception grieved Heber sorely. He was commanded three times before he yielded. Vilate noticed a change in his manner and appearance and inquired as to the cause. Heber tried to evade her questions. His looks became haggard and his body ill with the mental strain. Finally Vilate retired to her room and bowed down before the Lord, pouring out her heart to Him. As she knelt, it all became clear to her. Before her was illustrated the order of Celestial Marriage in all its glory and beauty, together with the exaltation and honor it would bring to her if she would accept it and stand in her place at her husband's side. She also saw the woman he was to take as a wife.
With a beaming countenance she returned to her husband saying, "Heber, what you have kept from me the Lord has shown me." She told what she had seen and said she was satisfied, and knew it was from God. She faithfully kept her covenant, and though her trials were many and often difficult to bear, she knew that Heber was also being tried, and her integrity was unflinching to the end. She stood by as Heber took many wives, who always found in Vilate a faithful friend. Helen Mar, the eldest daughter of Vilate and Heber, was subsequently given to the Prophet Joseph in the Holy bonds of Celestial Marriage.
Vilate, on February 2, 1847, gave birth to her seventh son, and remained behind in Winter Quarters while Heber went to the Salt Lake Valley. Heber's large family emigrated the following year when the main body of Saints left for the Rockies, which they reached in September 1848. Heber's family at this time, including his adopted children and others dependent on him for support, numbered over 100. After arriving in Salt Lake Valley, Heber built homes for his various families. Vilate's home became one of the most beautiful garden spots in the Valley, about 50 North Main Street.
Heber prophesied the coming of famine. Taking his own advice he laid in thousands of bushels of wheat, bran, shorts, corn and barley, all of which were used before the next harvest.
While feeding needy people on the best her larder afforded, Vilate sent her own children into the fields to dig roots, which she would cook and serve together with coarse corn bread. Her guests were served wheat bread, potatoes and boiled beef. Heber was very strict with his families and gave out certain rations to each which were expected to last an entire month. It often happened that they did not last the full month and then the wife concerned would appeal to Vilate to intercede for her with Heber, which Vilate did. Many times she gave the other families the needed supplies out of her own store without going to Heber. Vilate was known as the peacemaker of the Kimballs, pouring oil on troubled waters in the misunderstandings which were bound to arise in so large a family. As a whole, the families dwelt in peace and unity and the children of the various wives clung to each other with deep affection and clannish intensity. To insult one Kimball boy was to insult all.
Adelia Almira Wilcox Kimball [one of Heber's plural wives], wanting a righteous husband who could take her to the celestial kingdom, concluded to become Heber's wife, but before doing so she wanted to know how sister Vilate Kimball felt to have more added to their large family. She did so. Vilate seemed perfectly willing, but gave her to understand that there were a great many things to put up with in such a large family. Now this she was prepared for and made up her mind to so live that she would not be a detriment to them. So on the 9th of October, 1856, Vilate went to the Endowment House with Adelia and gave her to Heber to be his wife for time and all eternity. In a few days Adelia left for home expecting him to come and spend some of his time in Fillmore that winter, as the brethren were expected to hold legislation then, but they did not come for it was changed from Fillmore to Salt Lake City.
The winter passed slowly by and the last of March 1857, Adelia's brother moved her and what little she had from Fillmore to Salt Lake City. When she arrived there Heber put her in with several of his wives to live, all eating at the same table, but each, believing as she did the principle [of plural marriage], she had made up her mind to be satisfied with, whatever good place Heber saw fit to place her in, and with this determination she soon got used to it and quite liked it.
Mr. Kimball [as his wives called Heber], was very peculiar to have things carried on in order in his family. He always took breakfast with Vilate and dinner with some other portion of his family if he was invited, if not he came home. He generally had prayers in Vilate's part of the house together in what was called the "Girls' Parlor," which was separated from Vilate's only by folding doors and here they would all unite in prayer.
Vilate was privileged to have her second endowment while yet living [meaning, she was sealed up unto eternal life - her calling and election to exaltation in the next life was sure].
The love between Heber and Vilate was profound and beautiful. Through their many letters to each other this love runs like a bright thread. Heber always referred to Vilate as the love of his youth. Vilate gave birth to ten children. She was dearly beloved by his wives and children, as well as by all who intimately knew her. She was as a ministering angel to those in distress, ever ready to aid those who had not been so fortunate as herself in regard to the comforts of life. She had never seemed so happy as while seeking to make others happy. Every year it was her custom to invite all the family to dine at her table, and insisted that it was her privilege to wait upon and make them happy and comfortable. In her last sickness she expressed her regret that she could no longer have the pleasure of seeing the family together as she had been in the habit of doing.
On October 22, 1867, in her 62nd year, Vilate died. One of the immediate causes of her death was the passing of her son, Brigham Willard, who succumbed on the plains while returning from a mission in England. She had not been well for months and took the death of her son so to heart that it hastened her own end. As Heber stood by her side, after struggling and praying to keep her longer, he said with quivering lips, "I shall not be long after her."
The funeral services for Vilate Kimball were held October 24th in her home. President Young delivered the funeral address. He said, among other things, that if anyone had ever found any fault with Sister Kimball he had never heard of it. She was buried in the family burial grounds.
The remains of Heber C. Kimball, his wife, Vilate, and also Ellen Sanders
Kimball, one of the first three pioneer women to enter Salt Lake Valley were
interred in this cemetery, as were those of Newel K. Whitney, second presiding
bishop of the Church.
Brigham Young Cemetery
Eliza Roxey Snow (wife of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young; 2nd general
president of the Relief Society) was born on Jan. 21, 1804, in Becket, Berkshire
County, Massachusetts. She was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints on April 5, 1838. In Kirtland she taught the family school
of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and boarded with them. Late in April 1838, the
Snow family started with a small company for Far West, Missouri. Eventually
they settled with the Saints in Nauvoo, where Eliza taught school, wrote for
the press, and began to rise in prominence in the Church. She was present
when the Prophet organized the Relief Society, of which she was named secretary.
She fulfilled her obligation as the first secretary of the Relief Society
in Nauvoo by safely bringing "A Book of Records" to Great Salt Lake
in 1847. Her long record as a temple worker began at Nauvoo. She arrived in
Salt Lake Valley in the month of October, 1847. When the Endowment House was
dedicated as a temporary temple for the Saints, May, 1855, she was placed
in charge of the sisters' work, and held the sacred office then conferred
upon her as long as ordinance work was performed there. In 1866 she was called
by President Young to assist the bishops in organizing ward Relief Societies
throughout the Church. In that position she labored continuously for 21 years.
On June 19, 1880, she was formally set apart by President John Taylor to preside
over the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints women's organizations
in all the world. Eliza R. Snow died on December 5, 1887, in Salt Lake City,
Utah. She was given a public funeral at the Assembly Hall, and buried in President
Young's private burial lot on First Avenue.
C. Mary Ann Angell Young (2nd wife ofBrigham Young). Miriam Angeline Works, first wife of Brigham Young, died of tuberculosis in Mendon, New York, Sept. 8, 1832, a convert to the faith which had so powerfully attracted her husband. It was in February, 1834, at Kirtland, Ohio, that Sidney Rigdon performed the marriage ceremony for Brigham Young and Mary Ann Angell (she was 30 years of age).
Familiarly known as "Mother Young," Mary Ann Angell was not only a faithful wife and mother, but a woman of rare courage. She was known as a benevolent, kind and resourceful woman. She was born June 8, 1803, in Seneca, Ontario County, New York, the eldest child of James Williams Angell and his wife, Phebe Morton.
Mary Ann, who had been a Free-Will Baptist Sunday School teacher, joined the Latter-day Saints Church and went to Kirtland, Ohio, where she became acquainted with Brigham Young. (She had not found a man righteous enough for her to marry, and he was impressed with her spirituality and depth.) After her marriage to him, she became a true mother to his two children whose mother had died. She assumed a role, which for years took great physical and moral courage as the wife of the great colonizer.
In the first years of her married life, she was left alone while her husband participated in the work of the Church. At the time of the exterminating order for the Saints to leave Missouri, her husband left her while he helped the poor and needy in their exodus from Missouri. Then "Mother Young" secured a wagon, placed a few necessities in it, and hired an Elder to help her get away. At this time there were five children in the family under her care. Brigham Young, Jr., and his twin sister, Mary, were babies. Climbing into the wagon, she seated herself on top of the load with a baby in each arm. As they started out the wagon hit a rut and the baby girl was thrown out of the wagon and the wheel passed over her head. The driver picked up the little one saying, "the poor little thing will surely die." Mary Ann neither fainted nor screamed, but answered, "Don't prophesy evil, brother, take the other child." With skillful hands she pressed the little head back in shape, all the while praying that God would spare her babe. The family traveled on for two days when they met the father, Brigham Young. The baby continued to grow better and lived. They rested for a time in a village where the only home they could find was a stable, which President Young whitewashed. It housed his and the Orson Pratt family.
Mary Ann was left with a baby ten days old when her husband left for his mission to England, September 1839, but with a smile on her face, she bid him farewell, saying "God will provide." She did not see him again for two years, yet she struggled hard to provide for the seven children under her care.
In 1842, President Young was very ill. He had an attack of apoplexy, followed by a severe fever. Tenderly nursing him, Mary Ann was the means of saving his life. He says: "I was bolstered up in my chair, but was so near gone that I could not close my eyes, which were set in my head. My chin dropped down and my breath stopped. My wife, seeing my situation, threw cold water in my face, which I did not feel; neither did I move a muscle. She then held my nostrils between her thumb and finger, and placing her mouth directly over mine, blew into my lungs until she filled them with air. This set my lungs in motion, and I again began to breathe. While this was going on, I was perfectly conscious of all that was passing around me; my spirit was as vivid as it ever was, but I had no feeling in my body."
Coming to Utah in 1848, her life in the West was one of self-sacrifice and devotion. After twenty years of hard work as a pioneer wife and mother, there came days of affluence and social position. Her attitude toward polygamy was expressed in the words "Thus saith the Lord."
Mary and her family lived in the "White House" with Brigham until the Beehive house was built in 1856. It was located east of the Eagle Gate. Her brother, Truman O. Angell, who designed this building, lived with them. This was the first construction of any size that Brigham Young built for his family following his arrival in Salt Lake Valley. The architecture of this building was a distinct colonial design. It was a well-constructed home in spite of the difficulty encountered in obtaining building materials. The building received the name, "The White House," because of the fact the adobe walls were covered on the outside with a white plaster. It was also unique in the fact that it was the first house in Utah to have a shingled roof. The rooms downstairs were large and the ceilings were high. The rooms upstairs were of just average size. The plastering and woodwork were painted white. French doors made of plate glass joined the downstairs parlors and opened onto the front porch from a small sitting room.
"The White House" has sometimes been referred to as the "Mansion."
Although the house was not a large one, the blending of the architecture with
the beauty of the grounds made it an aristocratic appearing home. The "White
House," with the carriage house, barn and other buildings appertaining
to it was considered by some as occupying the finest location in Salt Lake
City, from it one could see nearly all over the valley. The house was eventually
torn down and was rebuilt in the lot west of the original site. A new home,
the Farnsworth house was built on the old property. Later the two homes were
razed to make room for the present building of the Elk's Club. The Brigham
Young private cemetery was located east and a little north of this location.
Mary Ann and Brigham lie side-by-side there.
D. Lucy Decker Young (Brigham Young's first plural wife), was a daughter of Isaac Perry and Harriet Page Wheeler Decker. She was born in Ontario County, New York, May 17, 1822. Lucy embraced the Gospel when quite young, fully believing the message Joseph Smith brought, and was baptized. She moved to Nauvoo where she was married to Brigham Young June 15, 1842.
Lucy was 20 when she became Brigham's first polygamous wife, 14 Jun 1842. She was previously married to and divorced from William Seeley, who was alcoholic and abusive. She always felt her polygamous relationship with Brigham was superior to her monogamous relationship with William. Her younger sister, Clarissa (Clara) Decker, became Brigham's 4th polygamous wife two years later, at age 16, and crossed the plains with him and her mother, Harriet Wheeler Decker Young, Lorenzo's wife, in the vanguard company. Her statue is part of the "This is the Place" monument.
Lucy was of fair complexion and of medium height. She was a kind and loving mother, a devoted wife, of a charitable disposition and true in every particular to her religion. She came to Salt Lake City with the rest of her husband's family in 1848 and was always diligent, energetic and attentive to every duty reposed upon her. At the Beehive House, which she managed, there were always one or two girls to help Lucy, as she had a big house and a large family (four boys and two girls) and they had a lot of company. She was a hard-working woman, always in the kitchen. She did most of the work; the girls did not do very much as they had to go to school and that took up most of their time.
She bore seven children. Wrote one of her children, "The picture of my mother, Lucy Decker Young, as I remember her in my childhood days, is a very lovely one to me. She was of medium height, with beautiful brown eyes, and hair as fine as silk. As I think back, I never remember her with her hair untidy or uncombed. She used to part it in the middle, comb it down over her ears, then braid it in about eight or nine strands and loop it up at the back "bob," as it was called then. She had two dimples in her cheeks, and her smile to me was adorable. She did not have a beautiful nose, but a nose that seemed to fit in with the rest of her features, and that made it seem just right. Without exception, she had the loveliest, whitest skin I have ever seen, and pink cheeks that added to her charm." Lucy died January 24, 1890.
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