Roberta Flake Clayton, Rhoda Perkins Wakefield, Sarah Perkins Duncan, Barbara Ann Phelps Allen, Hazel Pomeroy Millett, Irene Pomeroy Crismon, Sarah Lucretia Phelps Pomeroy, and Elizabeth Isabelle Jacobson Pulsipher, "P," in Pioneer Women of Arizona, ed. Roberta Flake Clayton, Catherine H. Ellis, and David F. Boone (Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2017), 515-564.

Alzada Sophia Kartchner Palmer

Roberta Flake Clayton, FWP[1]

Maiden Name: Alzada Sophia Kartchner

Birth: January 5, 1858; Mohave Crossing, San Bernardino Co., California

Parents: William Decatur Kartchner[2] and Margaret Jane Casteel[3]

Marriage: Alma Zemira Palmer;[4] May 11, 1874

Children: Wesley (1875),[5] Ida (1878), Alma Jordan (1881), Jesse (1883), John E. (1885), Sally Jane (1887), Arthur (1890), Dora (1893), Rosetta (1896), Lulu (1899)

Death: January 8, 1936; Mesa, Maricopa Co., Arizona

Burial: Mesa, Maricopa Co., Arizona

Alzada Sophia Kartchner Palmer was born January 5, 1858, at Lower Waters, Mohave Crossing, California, near what is now San Bernardino. She was the daughter of William Decatur Kartchner and Margaret Jane Casteel. They were pioneers in California at this time, and were just preparing to leave for Beaver, Utah, to pioneer the desert lands, when their daughter Alzada was born. The night after she was born, her brother James, who was two years of age, died. The journey then was delayed three or four days to let the mother rest. The father prepared the little boy for burial in an old fashioned metal churn, sealing it tightly.[6] They took him to Parowan, Utah, to bury him.

The Kartchner family moved into Beaver, where they made their home for eight years. Their home was humble but a heaven on earth. They were all musicians; some played violins, Alzada played the accordion, and they all danced and sang, enjoying many jolly times in the way of pleasure, at home. In their work, life was also a joyous thing. Three or four spinning wheels were put in one room where all could work together and enjoy real companionship and a wealth of family love. Alzada wove cloth when she was so small she could hardly reach to put the band on the wheel. They spun their own thread as well as wove the cloth. One year her sister Sarah wove four hundred yards of cloth.

Alma Zemira and Alzada Sophia Kartchner Palmer.Alma Zemira (A. Z.) and Alzada Sophia Kartchner Palmer. Photo courtesy of Arvin Palmer.

It was here in Beaver that Alzada first went to school. She loved her school work and had much fun working her “sums” as she called it. She had a sweet alto voice, her sister, Marinda, soprano, and they spent many contented hours singing together.

Though very poor, they were quite happy. Their beautiful home life and the sterling character of her father and mother were truly reflected in her life, for no matter where she was she carried peace, strength, and comfort to those about her. In her diary, she mentions the caroling on Christmas morning, how she looked forward to the wonderful Christmas songs and spirit. Well might her life be compared to a beautiful song. Every minute was deeply lived in cheerful sacrifice and loving service to others.

From Beaver, Utah, they moved to what was called “The Muddy.” Here, both men and women worked very hard raising crops and weaving cloth and carpets. It was here they pioneered again, to build homes and make them comfortable. They raised good melons and made molasses. This first year they raised two crops. Always they were happy, making work as well as play a pleasure.

The taxes became so high they decided to move.[7] In 1871 they went to Panguitch where they built a log house of two rooms also a blacksmith shop as her father was a blacksmith. In this home as always they made work a pleasure and were taught by example as well as precept to be good sports and make life pleasant in the face of the difficulties that must of necessity arise when pioneering new countries. In her own words she says, “I was proud of my parents; they were honest and true.”

It was in Panguitch [that] she met Alma Zemira Palmer whom she married on May 11, 1874 in the Endowment House. Of him she writes in her diary, “My husband was an honest, straight-forward, good man and a good provider.” He had saved up a little money, and they were thrilled and happy buying a few necessities to set up housekeeping. In the little two-roomed log house there in Panguitch, they were happy and comfortably located.

Her husband obtained work at Beaver of William J. Flake (his brother-in-law). They moved to Beaver for a time, and it was here, on July 24, 1875, that a son was born to them. They named him Wesley. Soon after the birth of their son, they moved back to Panguitch. They were there about two years when their parents and the young folks too were called to go again and pioneer another desert, this time to Arizona.

In 1877, they came to Arizona. Her husband drove three yoke of oxen and two wagons, walking all the way from Panguitch, Utah, to Arizona. They encountered serious dangers while coming. One was in crossing the Colorado River, another when coming over what they called “Lee’s Backbone.” At one point the wagon was thrown on the two outside wheels almost throwing wagons, oxen, wife and child, and all the rest over the embankment to hundreds of feet below. But with his skillful control of the oxen, they were spared. These were only two of the many experiences.

For a time, they located on the Little Colorado River making farms and building dams. One main dining room and kitchen was built, and all the families ate together. It was here that a baby girl, Ida, was born to them, June 13, 1878.

The floods were so bad that her husband became discouraged. One day, as he was saddling his horse, William J. Flake asked him where he was going. When he told him, Mr. Flake said he wanted to go with him. (It was A. Z. Palmer who accompanied Mr. Flake on this trip and not as implied in this story.)[8] They went east and then south looking for a place where they would like to locate. As they were returning, they passed Stinson’s ranch thirty miles south of the Little Colorado on Silver Creek. Mr. Flake made a trade for the land and several families moved up and began again the work of pioneers, building up the waste places.

The place was named Snowflake. In a short time, the place was laid out in city lots, and they began building on their own lots. They went up in the forest and cut logs to help in the building of their homes.

Alzada Palmer soon had one room to call her home, the first to be built in Snowflake by the pioneers. After living in a wagon box for so long a time, she felt very rich and happy. When her husband had completed the first chimney ever made in the town, Mrs. Lois Hunt came by, swung her sunbonnet round and round in the air several times, and shouted, “Hurrah for Al Palmer.” Of course the floor was a dirt one, but they were truly home builders. Her husband put grass all over the floor and then they put a carpet down, one brought from Utah. It was cozy and lovely, but the deepest, grandest thought of all is that whether it was a wagon box or log house or the nice home they built in later life, it was indeed “Home Sweet Home,” for they made it so with the beautiful spirit of love and self-sacrifice.

They had brought enough flour to last a year but by this time it was gone. Her husband went over in the Nutrioso country and bargained for some good wheat. When they went for the wheat it was sacked and ready. They brought it home but when it was ground into flour they found it was not the nice wheat they had first bargained for but a dark, sticky wheat. She did not complain but, as always, found a way by learning how to mix it to make it eatable. They were even grateful for it, although disappointed in the bargain.

Six more children were born to them while they lived in Snowflake: Alma Jordan, Jesse, John E., Sally Jane, Arthur, and Dora. They moved to Taylor, three miles south of Snowflake, in 1895. Here Rosetta and Lulu were born. They lived in a four-roomed lumber house in Taylor for many years, [and] had an orchard and lots of fruit in the years when the frost wouldn’t kill the blossoms. Everyone for miles around enjoyed the fullness of this. In about 1910, they built an eight-room brick house much nicer than they had ever enjoyed before. This had been a goal long desired.

Mrs. Palmer, though timid, never making any public show, was in times of serious trouble or danger calm and handled the situation with deliberation and accuracy. After she was sixty years of age, she learned to play the piano well enough for her children to sing as she played. She received her lessons through the mail and worked them out herself. She lived fully, deeply, nobly, and truly, making her home a place of comfort and rest to all who entered it.

In about 1900, she was stricken with asthma and was almost entirely bedfast for fifteen years. She endured through this siege, having dropsy part of the time also. Never once did that sweet spirit of peace leave her despite the fact that her body suffered and she was powerless physically to help. She was a great source of strength to the family; she would laugh and join in the children’s jokes and sympathize with them in their troubles. She gave advice to them; she was a most helpful and loving wife. Her discipline was perfect for she did it with love, and in return the children obeyed her because of love and not of fear. She always had time to play the game such as crokinole and checkers with the children.[9] She was always at peace within herself to give the story hour in the evenings. She was truly a peacemaker. Her love reached out to the one in trouble. She could always in some way give relief, and day or night, ill or well, or in sorrow, she met you with a smile and a tender greeting that gave strength and made one forget he was in trouble. Not only her smile and time was given to others, but her last penny, butter, eggs, fruit—anything she had was as freely given.

Christmas was truly a joyous time, for she, with her husband, made it so. His death occurred in 1925, and she was very sad after so many years of close companionship. They had celebrated their Golden Wedding at Taylor a year and a half before. They had built a lovely home in Mesa, and it was here that Mrs. Palmer lived with her daughter Rose Brimhall until her death from pneumonia three days after her 78th birthday, January 8, 1936.

Ellis and Boone:

On December 28, 1936, Alzada Palmer was in an automobile accident with some of her grandchildren and died eleven days later.[10] In Arizona, poetry was common for funerals.[11] When the FWP sketch for Alzada Palmer was placed in PWA, Clayton made almost no changes, except for omitting this last sentence and poem: “A poem written by Vida Brinton at the time of [Alzada’s] death tells beautifully of her character.

“Sister Palmer”

Kind and gracious, sweet and lovely,

Is this sister whom we love.

Who by our Father’s been found worthy

To return to Heaven above.

She was grand to all who knew her,

Pleasant, sweet and gentle too,

An Inspiration to the young folks

To carry on and still be true.

What a glorious, grand reunion

When she meets her husband there.

With her children and her parents

All their glories she will share.

Would we ask if we could do it

To have her back on earth again?

No—’twould be a selfish motive

To bring her back to grief and pain.

Well she lived her life as mortal,

With husband, children, parents dear,

Now she’s gone to life eternal

To join her loved ones over there.

Now she’s gone each day you’ll miss her,

Miss her sweet and cheery smile.

Miss her in your work and pleasure;

Often it may seem a trial.

But through death our Father blesses

Those who seek in earnest prayer,

May his peace and comfort guide you

For his love you surely share.

Mary Jane Meeks Pearce

Roberta Flake Clayton, Interview

Maiden Name: Mary Jane Meeks

Birth: December 2, 1851; Kanesville, Pottawattamie Co., Iowa

Parents: William Meeks and Mary Elizabeth Rhodes

Marriage: James Pearce; March 6, 1867

Children: Lola May (1868), James William (1871), Joseph Harrison (1873), Mary Jane (1876), Elizabeth (1878), Henrietta (1881), John Henry (1884), Jesse Harvey (1886), Sylvia Amelia (1889), David Earl (1891), Perry Meeks (1895)

Death: October 13, 1941; Taylor, Navajo Co., Arizona

Burial: Taylor, Navajo Co., Arizona

Born of pioneer parents and destined to live more than eighty years of pioneer life in building up the country her fathers had adopted before her birth, Mary Jane Pearce in fulfillment of her parents’ work, shows a record well written with adventure, danger, bravery, hardships, and the many occurrences which accompanied travel in the early days.

Pearce family.James and Mary Jane Meeks Pearce with children; front row, left to right: James (father), Jesse Harvey, Mary Jane (mother), Sylvia Amelia, John Henry; standing behind parents: Mary Jane, Joseph Harrison, Henrietta, Elizabeth, James William, Lola May; c. 1889. Photo courtesy of Shirley Cole.

Mary Jane Pearce, weighing less than 100 pounds today at the age of eighty years, easily relates tales of hardships met and conquered by first her parents and brothers and sisters and later herself, her husband, and children.

She boasts a grandfather who was killed in the war while in action on the frontier of Indiana in 1811. Her father was William Meeks and her mother, Elizabeth Rhodes, and to them was born Mary Jane at Pottawattamie County, Iowa, December 2, 1851. Her parents and other members of the family came to Utah in 1852 before the child was a year old.[12]

In 1862, after already having made a home for themselves, the family answered a call to southern Utah to help settle St. George and work on the Latter-day Saint temple there.[13]

The childhood days of the young girl were spent in weaving cloth and later making their garments from the hand-woven materials and helping her mother with household affairs. At thirteen years of age, she was an expert weaver, and by the time she reached sixteen years of age and was married, all her bed ticking, pillowslips, and sheets were carded, spun, and woven by her own hands. The art of dyeing had been learned by the young girl from her mother who utilized native herbs as did the Indians, and Mary Jane boasted gaily striped and plaid garments. So expert was her weaving judged [that] she was requested to do the weaving for wives of high officials in the Latter-day Saint Church.

In 1866, a factory was completed in Washington which provided the pioneers with warp for the material, leaving only the woof threads to be filled in. In celebration of the completion of the factory, the entire countryside attended a dance of which Mrs. Pearce says

“Oh, we had good dances; we waltzed and schottisched, and square danced until nearly morning. I despise these dances nowadays. I don’t see how they get any fun with all their a-twisting.”

Mary Jane was married to James Pearce at St. George in 1867, the ceremony a culmination of a boy and girl attraction. The covenant was read by Erastus Snow.

Hardships of keeping house were but of the few confronting these people, but even the scarcity of soap must be met, and the women found they could obtain suds by digging up ooze roots, pounding them with an axe to start the lather. Mrs. Pearce lays claim to having dug many, many sacks of ooze roots.[14]

After nine years of residence in St. George, the young couple was called to help settle eastern Arizona. In 1876 they reached Panguitch and on October 18, 1877, they started for Woodruff, Arizona, arriving December 13 of the same year.

Mary Jane Meeks Pearce.Mary Jane Meeks Pearce, December 2, 1931, her eightieth birthday. Photo courtesy of International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers.

In addition to doing all the cooking and caring for four children, her husband, and a hired man who made the trip to Arizona in trade for a mule, Mrs. Pearce drove a team and wagon the entire distance. After some exploring done by James Pearce, he decided to move his family nearer to what is now Snowflake. As the couple topped the hill, coming in view of the Stinson ranch and what is now Snowflake, Pearce told his wife the entire valley belonged to James Stinson. She replied:

“Well, this is too good a place for one man to have it all. It won’t be more than two years before our people will have this place.” And within a year W. J. Flake and company had purchased the valley, fulfilling the prediction.

The family moved on toward what is now Shumway, Arizona. Here Pearce and J. H. Standifird purchased a ranch and farmed it for two years. The house was a half dugout with the lumber hand cut and hand sawed from Arizona pine. Mrs. Pearce made butter and cheese, selling it at Fort Apache during their stay here. At night she always managed to have the table cleared so “Pa could stand it up in front of the door to keep out the Indians.”

The first white child born on the Silver Creek was Elizabeth Pearce, now Mrs. Al Brimhall of Fruitland, New Mexico. Once during the absence of the men, Mrs. Pearce was left with a neighbor who was very ill. While Mrs. Pearce was attending the sick woman, several Indians entered the house. Mrs. Pearce decided to play on their superstitions and persuaded them to believe the woman was dying. The Indians immediately left, fearing the evil spirits.

Later, when questioned concerning the incident and her own thoughts at the time, she said: “Oh, they were just Indians, and I knew they were killing people all around the country.”[15]

When the first Relief Society was organized in Taylor, Mrs. Pearce was the second woman asked to act as a teacher. In 1888 she was made second counselor to the Relief Society president.

Later, the family moved to Shumway, and here she was active in Relief Society, religion class work, was chairman of the school board, and was assistant postmistress under her husband, James Pearce.

The Pearces are responsible for many acres of the fine plum trees planted in the Taylor region and bearing fruit today.

Their next move was to Snowflake where a two-story brick house was purchased. During the six years of residence here, a diphtheria epidemic claimed five of the Pearce grandchildren.[16] They then decided to leave and started for New Mexico. The children were ill with diphtheria and had to be quarantined (during the trip) in one wagon, while other members of the party rode in a second wagon.

They settled in Jewett on the San Juan River.[17] Mrs. Pearce immediately became active in Church duties and was instrumental in building and finishing a new chapel for the Jewett Branch. Donations of fruit, eggs, beans, and some cash were received toward paying for the building, and it was built by the men and painted by the women.

On December 10, 1904, Mrs. Pearce was made first assistant superintendent of the Sunday School and the next year was president of the Relief Society.[18]

In 1909 the couple sold their New Mexico property for $4000 and returned to Taylor, Arizona, buying the lot and building the house which is still home to the pioneer woman.

Since the death of her husband in 1922, Mrs. Pearce has spent the winters in Utah, visiting [family], and working in the Arizona Temple where she is continuing a life of service begun many years ago in a new and unexplored country. She was the mother of eleven children. She passed away October 13, 1941.

Ellis and Boone:

Northern Arizona pioneers, including the Pearce family, experienced near starvation their first winter in Taylor. Another Taylor resident, James Jennings, recorded the kindness of one non-Mormon neighbor. Jennings wrote:

Things were rough that first winter. There was no flour, but John [Standifird] did manage to get some barley meal. One day, while John was away, some range cows came down to the creek for water. Mother Standifird said to the teenage daughters, ‘Here is our chance for some milk. Lets [sic] go see if we can drive them into the corral.’ They were wild Texas cattle and had probably never before seen a woman. The women mounted the ponies and soon had three of them in the corral. Then with their lasso ropes they soon tied the cows down and milked them.

The cows belonged to Mr. [Corydon] Cooley, of Indian scout fame. Mr. Standifird sent word that they were milking some of his cows to see the babies through the winter. Cooley sent a message to keep the cows, ‘but do not starve the calves.’[19]

Also, with the Pearce family living in a half dugout, it is easy to understand a second story from Jennings. The details that he adds about the birth of daughter Elizabeth (whether true or not) definitely spice up the account. He wrote, “The Pearce family stayed in the dugout home. During this time Jane gave birth to her fourth [fifth] child. As she lay on a pallet on the dirt floor, in labor, a large bull snake slithered across the floor beside her. She called to her little son, Jim, to hand her the butcher-knife with which she whacked off the head of the snake and then watched the tail wiggle in the convulsions of death.”[20]

Finally, this story from granddaughter Georgia Young McGee provides a bit of local color to Mary Jane’s profession as midwife and nurse. McGee wrote:

Grandma was a licensed midwife for Arizona, and delivered over one hundred babies throughout the entire area. She was also a practical nurse. I turned seven years old while we were staying with Grandma. I will never forget the story that she told us kids about where babies came from. Mother was expecting her seventh child, and was having a very difficult time. For three months she had been right in bed. The day that my brother Leo August, was born, August 22, 1922, Grandma Pearce kept all of us kids out of the house. Aunt Gladys Pearce, who lived across the street, was trying to keep us under control. Grandma finally came to the door holding a tiny baby in her arms and told us that we had a baby brother. We did not let up, but kept asking Grandma where she got him. She finally gave in, and pointing to a big straw stack said that she got our new baby out of the straw stack. Grandma always wore a long white apron hanging from her waist and when she said that she heard a baby cry and took it out of the straw stack and wrapped it in her white apron and put it in bed with mother, it made sense to us kids.

After Grandma went inside with the new baby we got our smart little heads together and figured that if Grandma only got one baby out of that big straw stack, there should be a lot more babies still there. With the help of the neighborhood kids, we took that straw stack apart. The wind was blowing hard, and straw was flying all over Taylor before Mother decided to tell us the truth. Leo had not been found in the straw stack. He had been hatched out of an egg, along with the new baby chicks, in Mother’s bed.

And this is how that happened. A dog had killed the big black setting hen a few days before the eggs were ready to hatch. Grandma Pearce said we needed those chickens, so she punched some holes in a five-pound baking powder can, put in a few feathers, and then added the eggs from the deserted nest. Then she put the can in Mother’s bed so the eggs would be kept body-warm until they hatched. The chirping, tiny yellow chicks hatched out of those eggs the same day that Leo was born, so it was easy for us kids to believe that Leo hatched out of one of those eggs.[21]

Rhoda Condra McClelland Perkins

Rhoda Perkins Wakefield

Maiden Name: Rhoda Condra McClelland

Birth: October 20, 1821; Tompkinsville, Monroe Co., Kentucky

Parents: Josiah McClelland and Rhoda Condra

Marriage: Jesse Nelson Perkins; January 14, 1841

Children: John Henderson (1842), Littleton Lydle (1847), Brigham Young (1850), Heber Kimball (1852), Jesse Nelson (1854), Reuben Josiah (1856),[22] Franklin Monroe (1859), Rhoda Elizabeth (1862)[23]

Death: April 15, 1891; Taylor, Navajo Co., Arizona

Burial: Taylor, Navajo Co., Arizona

My grandmother’s family, the McClellands, was of Scotch Irish descent. Some of the ancestors had set sail for America as early as 1685. Our branch first settled in Pennsylvania, then North Carolina and Virginia, and later moved to Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri. My grandmother was born in Monroe County, Kentucky, [on] Oct. 20, 1821. She was the fourth child of Josiah McClelland and Rhoda Condra. This name has continued to be handed down to daughter and granddaughters with a second name added for variation.

While she was yet a small girl, her father built a home in Jackson County, Tennessee, where Rhoda grew to womanhood. She learned to row a boat equal to the native tribesmen and was an excellent horseback rider, typical girl of the Bluegrass State.[24]

In another migration with relatives and friends who were constantly moving toward the west, to me it seems preparing to hear the gospel message, their travels took them to Missouri. We have found record there where Jesse Nelson Perkins and Rhoda Condra McClelland were the first couple married in Mercer County, Missouri, January 14, 1841. They settled on a new farm with the intention of making a permanent home, but when the Mormon elders found them and taught them the gospel, which they knew to be true and accepted, these plans were very much changed. Mob violence ran high, and they suffered persecution as hundreds of other Saints had done at the hands of cruel, vicious mobs when they were driven from their homes and forced to leave all possessions behind.

At the time Jesse and Rhoda heard the gospel [in 1848], they had two little boys ages six and one year. They had accumulated some property and were comfortable in their good two-room home. Those hostile Missourians were heartless and unfeeling. Many would be preachers, professing to be ministers, were leaders in the persecutions.[25] My grandparents were forced, by a group who had threatened to burn their home if they did not get out, to move again and make another start in life. They loaded what few things they could get into one small wagon and under cover of darkness took their departure into the wilderness leaving their bins full of grain, their smoke house full of meat, all for the sake of the religion they had embraced. Grandmother was the only one of her family who ever joined the Church. After a few months they started with a company of Saints for the Rocky Mountains. They arrived in Salt Lake City [on] October 18, 1849.[26]

Rhoda Condra McClelland Perkins.Rhoda Condra McClelland Perkins. Photo courtesy of Ida Webb Collection, Taylor Museum.

They settled in South Bountiful, where they made a good home and where they lived for twenty-five years. In regular succession, the children came until nine sons were born to them. Rhoda was rewarded at last with a beautiful daughter, Rhoda Elizabeth, the pride of the family. The family had prospered in material things and were more than content in their comfortable home, and some of the boys were now married with homes of their own. Brigham Young, knowing the family well, said they were just the kind of family he needed to help build up the southern part of the state. They knew him to be a prophet and leader, and when the call came, “To your tents Oh Israel,” every member obeyed that call.[27]

They spent their first summer on the Sevier River. Here Grandmother put down kegs of butter which kept sweet and helped feed her big family for months to come. They bought land near Panguitch where they began again to establish themselves in good homes, but scarcely two years had passed when the call came to move on to Arizona to which ever part they chose to settle. One after another party was winding its way to Arizona then almost an unknown land but for the uncivilized natives, the Navajos and warring Apaches.

My grandparents knew they were going into this little known country, and before they left, there was some important work that must be done. The St. George Temple had recently been completed, ready for the sealing of families, work that had previously been impossible to have done. For two weeks the family was camped on the Virgin River while much of their temple work was completed.[28] They crossed the Colorado River December 31, 1877. That night the river froze over solid enough for many to cross on the ice.[29] What a time of year for families to be traveling. No wonder our people headed for the sunny land of the Salt River, but there would still be plenty of cold weather before their teams, some of them oxen, could travel the distance yet to go. They arrived at the little settlement first called Fort Utah, now called Lehi, March 7, 1878.

Once again the family bought land and water rights preparing to make permanent homes. They set out orchards, planted wheat and oats, put in gardens of melons and other vegetables. They made many friends with both white and Indian neighbors and, with true southern hospitality, entertained many travelers seeking new homes.

A meeting was held in one of their big tents, when with other brethren, Apostle Erastus Snow, often called the Arizona Apostle, called and set apart Jesse Nelson Perkins to preside over all the Saints in the Salt River Valley, the first to this position. Some of the boys had driven their loose stock down on the San Pedro River for better pasture; there they contracted bad cases of malaria. Owing to the severe illness of his family, Grandfather was released from his position to move them to a higher climate, and they decided to go to northern Arizona. The Perkins family arrived in the little settlement scarcely more than a camp, called Walker, afterwards changed to Taylor, January 4, 1879. Much improved in health, they soon began securing more land preparing to build homes.

At a special meeting held in her home, June 1880, some brethren of the Priesthood with Wilmirth East, Relief Society president of Eastern Arizona Stake, organized a Relief Society and set her [Rhoda Perkins] apart as president. Later, when Taylor Ward was organized with John H. Standifird as bishop, she was again sustained to that position. The ward was organized August 1880. This position she held until after the deaths of her husband and son John, who passed away with that dreaded disease known then as black smallpox.[30]

While she was Relief Society president, the call came for the women to store up wheat. To this cause she donated liberally. Four of her sons filled missions; others were bishops. Some were high councilmen as well as holding other important positions. She was a faithful wife and devoted mother. We have reason to bless the name of our little grandmother who passed away April 15, 1891.

Ellis and Boone:

In 1986 when Brigham Young University published papers which had been presented at a conference in Tucson, Arizona, the paper by Keith W. Perkins was titled “A Personal Odyssey” and included information about his great-great-grandfather Jesse N. Perkins. Here is the story of the deaths from smallpox at Taylor:

My second great-grandfather, Jesse N. Perkins, became the postmaster at Taylor; and his son John H. Perkins, became the mail carrier. John made frequent runs to Holbrook, when he picked up the mail and distributed it to the various settlements, ending up at Taylor. One night he stopped over in Holbrook, and for some strange reason the landlady forgot to tell him that a few days before, a man had died in the bed he had spent the night in from smallpox. John H. returned to Taylor, to what fate he did not know, since he had never had smallpox. They held a family council to decide the course they would take. The decision was simple. Rhoda, the mother, took the rest of the children and moved across the street. Dad, Jesse Nelson Perkins Sr., took care of their son.

Soon John contracted smallpox. Jesse cared for his son the best he could. Mother and father visited frequently, but never came closer than across the street. She brought supplies and medicines to her side of the road and carried information from her husband to the family. John grew steadily worse and finally passed away. Jesse, with the help of a friend, Joseph C. Kay, who had survived smallpox previously, took care of John’s final arrangements and burial.

Now the father, Jesse Perkins Sr., became ill with smallpox, and the only one who dared care for him was Joe Kay. Joe did the best he could for his friend, but after the disease had run its course, Joe Kay had to bury Jesse. The house was fumigated before the family moved back in; everything that could have been contaminated was destroyed.[31]

Another descendant, granddaughter Lucille Plumb, wrote, “How do you measure the devotion of this father? Or this pioneer mother? Each chose the role that was most important to the welfare of their family.”[32]

Sarah Catherine Hancock Perkins

Sarah Perkins Duncan[33]

Maiden Name: Sarah Catherine Hancock

Birth Date: February 23, 1870; Leeds, Washington Co., Utah

Parents: Mosiah Lyman Hancock and Margaret McCleve[34]

Marriage: Franklin Monroe Perkins;[35] March 20, 1889

Children: Sarah Alice (1890), Franklin Monroe (1892), Heber Kimball (1894), Jesse Joseph (1896), Rhoda Inez (1898), Brigham Dewey (1900), Katie May (1901), John Renmore (1902), Margaret Zella (c. 1905), Marion F. (c. 1907), Charles Fenton (1909), Edith (1912), Vaughn Elwood (1914), Ida L. (1916)[36]

Death: March 2, 1938;[37] Taylor, Navajo Co., Arizona

Burial: Taylor, Navajo Co., Arizona

Sarah Hancock Perkins was the daughter of Mosiah Lyman Hancock and Margaret McCleve Hancock, born February 23, 1870, at Leeds, Utah. As a child she lived in Leeds with her parents. Her mother had a small store there which helped earn a living for the large family of twelve children. One child more was added after they arrived in Arizona in 1880.

Perkins family.Frank and Sarah Perkins family, left to right: Frank, Joseph, Frank (father), Sarah, Sarah (mother), Inez, Heber. Photo courtesy of Ida Webb Collection, Taylor Museum.

In addition to the work and cares of such a large family, Margaret Hancock was set apart by the Authorities on her arrival in the community of Taylor, Arizona, as midwife and nurse to those for miles around. She is said to have brought no less than two hundred children into this world, and that, without loss of the mother. Many youngsters were tenderly nursed through sicknesses of childhood and epidemics of both major and minor importance, and this faithful little nurse and mother finally gave her own life up to the cause for which she had labored diligently for so many years.

Little Sarah learned to work along with her mother early to help out with the other children. She was loving and kind to those in her care, was always free of heart, and never turned any away hungry or in need. When eleven years of age, she was out helping other women in their homes taking care of little ones while new babies were coming to add to the number of that household.

She was given a blessing which said she had been called to this country to be associated with her husband. The Perkins family arrived only one year earlier (1879) than did the Hancock family (1880). Franklin Monroe Perkins and Sarah Catherine Hancock were married on March 20, 1889, and made the trip back to St. George, Utah to the temple there to have the marriage performed in the way they believed was right.

Sarah saw many hard experiences in her early life in Taylor. Her family was her joy, and she stood willingly beside her husband in the rearing of a large family and bravely shared the pioneer hardships which the settlers of a new land are required to do. She was uncomplaining and enduring in all conditions and lived humbly before her fellowmen. She helped encourage those about her and always set a good example to others.

Her home was always open to visitors and strangers and many young people were drawn to the doors of this stalwart couple and their large, loving family. Somehow there was always warmth and love within those walls and room for one more, often many more.

Perkins family.Frank and Sarah Perkins family: front, left to right: Vaughn (baby), Fenton, Marion; second row: Dewey, Sarah, Zella, Frank, Renmore; back row: Frank, Sadie, Heber, Inez, and Joseph. Photo courtesy of Ida Webb collection, Taylor Mueseum.

Both she and her husband worked faithfully in the Church, which was a great pleasure to them. She especially loved visiting teaching and was a wonderful example of what a teacher should be in the fifty years of service in this capacity.

She also went with her husband to help hold down a homestead in Clay Springs, Arizona, and saw the building up of that little ward and community.

She became the mother of fourteen children. Two of these died in infancy, and another lived to be a young man, but was drowned in Black River in his youth.[38] The rest have married and lived to raise families who have settled in various places throughout Arizona and California.

Note added by Rhoda J. P. Wakefield:

Aunt Sarah passed away at her home in Taylor in her 70th year, in March 1938, mourned not only by her family but by numerous friends. She was a true Latter-day Saint and taught her children to walk uprightly before the Lord. Of her it may truly be said, “She stretcheth out her hand to the poor, yea she reacheth out her hand to the needy. She looketh well to the ways of her household and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed, her husband also. A woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.”[39]

Ellis and Boone:

Roberta Flake Clayton once wrote that trying to make the fastest time to St. George and back was the goal of every matrimonially minded couple, and “Mr. Perkins was very proud of his matched team of high-stepping horses, and claimed that he would make the trip to the temple and back faster than it had ever been made.”[40] They chose to take Sarah’s younger sister, Rebecca, possibly as a chaperone.[41] Initially, the only temple available for Latter-day Saint couples wishing to marry was the St. George Temple, and so many from Navajo and Apache Counties used the Lee’s Ferry route that Will C. Barnes finally called it the Honeymoon Trail.[42] At this time, however, the route was simply known as the Mormon Wagon Road.

Mary Andersen Peterson

Author Unknown

Maiden Name: Mary Andersen

Birth: June 22, 1856; Bredstrup, Odense, Denmark

Parents: Hans Anderson and Maren Jensen

Marriage: Peter O. Petersen;[43] February 14, 1876

Children: Mary (1876), Anna Janette (1879), Sena Lenore (1881), Peter (1883), Wilford (1885), Alma (1887), Andrew (1890), Emily (1892), James Ammon (1894), Sylvia (1897), Lillian (1900)

Death: May 22, 1938; Thatcher, Graham Co., Arizona

Burial: Thatcher, Graham Co., Arizona

Mary Andersen was the fifth child of ten children born to Hans Andersen and Maren Jensen, June 22, 1856, at Bredstrup, Odense, Denmark. Her father tended land which consisted of seventy acres of timberland on the beautiful island known as Fyen Island and was quite prosperous. Her mother was known as the “honest miller’s daughter.” Her great-grandfather built a mill on the highest hill of the island, and it was handed down from one generation to another, each one taking great pride in keeping up the family honor and name which they had won of being the “honest miller.”

Peterson family.Peter O. and Mary Andersen Peterson family, 1914. Front, left to right: May Brown, Peter O. (father), Lillian Mulleneaux, Mary (mother), Sena Kempton; back: Peter, Wilford, Alma, Andrew, and Ammon. Photo courtesy of Eastern Arizona Museum and Historical Society, Pima.

Hans and Maren had been married about nine years when two missionaries knocked at their door and were invited in, given something to eat, and a place to sleep. They listened to the story the missionaries told and were impressed with the gospel message, but they did not accept it at that time. However, from that time on, every Mormon elder that went to that island always found a glad welcome with Hans and Maren. Among the elders who went there were William W. Cluff, Patriarch John Smith, Erastus Snow, and Knud H. Bruun.[44] During this period, something happened that opened their eyes to the truthfulness of the Mormon gospel. Their oldest boy, Andrew, was kicked in the head by a horse, crushing his head so badly that the doctor said he could not live. In great grief and sorrow the father went to a grove of trees near the house where he knelt down and prayed to God to save his child, promising him that if he would, he would join the Church and give and do all in his power for the building up of the Church. This promise he kept all his life, for when he went back to the house his child was greatly improved, and with the elders to administer to him, the boy made a rapid recovery, the injury leaving only one scar on his head, which his hair covered.

On March 13, 1861, Elder K. H. Bruun had the pleasure of baptizing Hans and Maren into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Two years later, they sold nearly all their possessions and their rights to rent the land on the island and on April 18, 1863, left Denmark with their seven children, also paying the passage for some friends that did not have the means to travel.

They left Liverpool on April 20, 1863, on the ship John J. Boyd in company with 755 Saints under the direction of William W. Cluff.[45] They were five weeks on the water. Mary was seven years old and told the following incident: “One day a whale came up to the vessel and raised its head up, leaning against the boat. The captain ordered all the people to go to the opposite side of the ship so it wouldn’t tip over, then ordered some of the men to bring buckets of potatoes which they poured into the whale’s mouth until finally it slid back into the water and went away.”

They landed at New York [on] June 1, 1863, and took the train to St. Joseph, Missouri, then a boat to Florence, Nebraska, to go across the plains in John R. Young’s independent company. They brought to America $20,000, more gold coins than any other immigrants up to that time. The mother had made a sort of slip of strong material to hang from the shoulders like a sleeveless blouse. For her and the two older girls, she had sewed three rows of coins around the bottom of this slip, and the younger girls had two rows on theirs. The rest of the gold pieces were in a large bag. They also brought many other things, such as large iron kettles and brass kettles and two cross cut saws. When they left Nebraska, they had two wagons, four yoke of oxen to each wagon, and one light spring wagon or hack for the women to ride in, which was drawn by a team of horses.[46] Also, they had provisions for fifteen people.

They arrived in Salt Lake [on] September 12, 1863. A great many of their friends went on south, but Hans felt impressed to go north, which he did. After getting settled in Logan, the older children worked for others in order to learn the language faster. Mary was privileged to go to school only a few months. Once she ran away from school and hid on a haystack and was crying because the children laughed at her Danish brogue, but her mother and teacher, Louisa Balliff, found her and took her back to school.[47] She learned to sew and card wool and the other things girls of that time were taught. As she grew older she was sent to the ranch, with her brother Andrew, to take care of the milk and help with milking and feeding the cows. While on this ranch one day, they were feeding the cows, and Andrew didn’t think she could lift a certain forkful of hay, and in attempting to show him she could, she hurt her back which gave her trouble the rest of her life. Life on the ranch was lonely and she loved to dance, but if they went to a dance they had to walk ten miles into the town.

Several other Danish families were living in Logan.[48] One young man, Peter “O” Petersen, who had been on his own since he was nine years old, was working on the St. George Temple and received a call from President Brigham Young to get married and help settle Arizona.[49] He asked Mary to share this call with him. Her father did not approve, but as she was of age, they finally decided she could go. Her brother Andrew and his young wife, Janet Henderson, also answered the same call.[50]

On February 7, 1876, they left Logan on bob-sleighs [bobsleds] to start their new venture. They were married February 14, 1876 in the Endowment House. There were about 200 people in the company, forty families and some single people. The way was rough and long, thirteen weeks from Logan to Obed. They crossed over “Lee’s Backbone” where the rocks were so large that some places there was barely room for the wagons to pass through and so steep that ropes or something had to be tied to the back of the wagons to trees to keep them from falling on the horses. They crossed the Colorado on a ferry, but when they got to the Little Colorado, they piled things high on the water barrels and floated the teams and wagons across. At Obed, a rock fort was built, and they tried farming near it. A spring of clear water flowed nearby but, when drinking it, caused them to have chills and fever. They found that the land was not good for farming and about eighty percent of the people went back to Utah.[51] While still at Obed their first child was born November 18, 1876. They named her Mary, but always called her May.

Peter “O” became discouraged and wanted to go back, but Mary would not go. She had that trait and faith that when she was sure she was right she would not change. She said they had not been released from the call given them and sat in the doorway of their little room, holding her baby and crying, while Peter was preparing to leave. But again, Andrew, her brother, assisted by talking to him, persuading him to stay.

In 1878, they were sent back to Utah for supplies. When it was time to return, the baby May was so ill with what they called lung fever that they could not travel, and when she was well it was too late in the season, and Mary was quite ill carrying her next child, another girl, born in Logan, March 18, 1879. As soon as they could travel, they left again for Arizona, going to the settlement of the Saints in the Order at St. Joseph.

While living in the Order one summer, Peter and Mary and another young family, Henry and Eliza Tanner, were sent to Mormon Lake to take care of the cattle.[52] They made 1300 pounds of butter and 2000 pounds of cheese for the Order. Mary had learned to be very thrifty and saved enough money to buy a sewing machine.

They moved to the Gila Valley in November 1882, and not more than three weeks later, their second daughter died of spinal meningitis.[53] They farmed just north of the Gila River. Mary was in a tent when her fourth child, a son, was born.[54] Peter had built a brush shed over it to keep it a little cooler, but as she lay in bed a whirlwind came and lifted the top off the shed and blew the tent down on her. As soon as possible, they built a log house which they lined with factory, as they called unbleached muslin. When it rained and the dirt roof sometimes leaked, that lining was taken down, washed, and put back up.

They worked in the ward; Peter was in the High Council, served also as bishop, and Mary worked in the Primary and was president of the Relief Society.[55] She was a good housekeeper, a very good seamstress, and a marvelous cook, using fifty pounds of flour each week for her good bread, when her five boys were at home. When the grandchildren would come, they always asked for bread and butter instead of candy or cookies. She was very thrifty, could hardly stand to see anything wasted, especially food. She taught her children to be strictly honest, to be dependable, and do their best. One of her pet sayings was: “Few can see how long it takes you to do a thing, but everyone can see how it is done.”

Mary had many trials to endure other than suffering with her hurt back; eleven children without a doctor didn’t help much.[56] One period she had sciatic rheumatism so severely she never slept a whole night in bed for twelve years but had to sit up in a big chair; heat seemed to be the only thing that eased the pain, and each morning she forced herself to walk around to exercise her leg until it felt better. It was during this period of suffering that her youngest son, Ammon, was in Europe serving in the First World War; and in 1919 she was proud to have her youngest child, Lillian, go on a mission for twenty-one months. Then she had a very bad sick spell and Lillian came home.

After the children were all married, she and Peter moved into town to be close to the church, stores, and post office. Then she took care of her husband when he was so ill with cancer just before he died.[57] She lived ten years longer, with her daughters taking turns looking after her. On Mother’s Day in May of 1938, she had a stroke and passed away two weeks later at her home in Thatcher, Arizona.

Ellis and Boone:

Some of the trials that Mary Petersen endured are not mentioned here, including the death of daughter Sena’s husband, Martin Kempton, in 1918.[58] This incident happened at the height of patriotic fervor (or resistance to the draft, depending on personal viewpoint) of World War I. On February 10, Graham County Sheriff Robert Frank McBride, Undersheriff Kempton, Deputy Thomas Kane Wootan, and U.S. Marshal Frank Haynes traveled to a remote canyon of the Galiuro Mountains southwest of the Gila Valley to arrest Tom and John Power on a charge of draft evasion. Before dawn, the lawmen surrounded the cabin, and when the shooting stopped a few minutes later, Jeff Power, father of Tom and John, lay dying, and three lawmen, McBride, Kempton, and Wootan, were dead. Tom and John Power, with hired hand Tom Sisson, fled toward the Mexican border and over 1,000 lawmen, soldiers, and civilian volunteers hunted the fugitives for almost a month before the men surrendered to a U.S. Cavalry troop in Mexico.

The lawmen’s deaths and resulting trial and incarceration of Tom and John Power left divisions and bitterness in the Gila Valley which lasted for decades. Some of these divisions were along religious lines, but only two of the lawmen were Latter-day Saints. After a quarter century in prison, the men were finally granted a parole hearing, and about twenty relatives of the slain lawmen attended to protest. This quote from Barbara Wolfe (who is not LDS), when writing about the 1952 hearing, illustrates the divide: “That so much bitterness had survived more than thirty years astounded prison officials. More appalling was the families’ unshakable faith in groundless rumors denied by evidence. Like the bitter hatred that blinded them, the rumors had become a family legacy passed from generation to generation. Most of the protesters were good people by any standard, but their self-righteous loathing of the Powers was shocking in its magnitude and horrifying in its intensity.”[59]

Applicable to the life of Mary Petersen is the story of grandson Glenn Kempton, who was thirteen years old at the time of his father’s death. Kempton said, “There grew in my heart a bitterness and a hatred toward the confessed slayer of my Father,” but after high school, Kempton accepted a call to serve as a missionary in the Eastern States Mission.[60] With the intensive gospel study common on any mission, Kempton came across Matthew 5:43–45 and Doctrine and Covenants 64:9–10, both of which teach the need to forgive. Kempton knew that he needed to speak with Tom Power after returning home, but with marriage and employment, the years quickly passed. He said that “guilt arose within me every time I thought of the appointment I had not kept.”[61]

One year, shortly before Christmas, Glenn Kempton made the trip to Florence, talked to Tom Power for about an hour and a half, and upon leaving, extended his hand (which Power took) and said, “With all my heart, I forgive you for this awful thing that has come into our lives.”[62] Kempton did not indicate that this encounter fully satisfied Tom Power who always believed that the lawmen shot first, but the Glenn Kempton story has had a powerful influence among Latter-day Saints all around Arizona. Kempton became a bishop and often spoke at firesides on the subject of forgiveness.

President Spencer W. Kimball lived in the Gila Valley in 1918 and for many years afterward. He included this story, much of which was in Kempton’s own words, in the book, The Miracle of Forgiveness. Kimball also told of one instance when he used this story in counseling a young widow with a bitter heart. He wrote, “Not only had Glenn Kempton found the joy of forgiving, but the example he set as a faithful Latter-day Saint has had far-reaching influence on many others who know his story and have heard his testimony.”[63]

Mary Elizabeth Bingham Phelps

Barbara Ann Phelps Allen[64]

Maiden Name: Mary Elizabeth Bingham

Birth: December 25, 1853; East Weber, Weber Co., Utah

Parents: Calvin Bingham and Elizabeth Lucretia Thorne[65]

Marriage: Hyrum Smith Phelps;[66] September 8, 1873

Children: Mary Laurette (1874), Lucy Ett (1876), Barbara Ann (1877) , Gove Edward (1878), Harriet Emeline (1881), Orson Ashael (1882),[67] Lester Leo (1883), Yuma Letitia (1885), Amy Dorothy (1887), Grace Darling (1889), Esther (1890), Clara (1893), Martha Gertrude (1895), Wilford Woodruff (1896)

Death: November 17, 1933; Mesa, Maricopa Co., Arizona

Burial: Mesa, Maricopa Co., Arizona

Mother was born on Christmas day, the year 1853. She is the daughter of Calvin Perry and Lucretia Thorne Bingham. Her early life was as useful and busy as were her later years. She worked out some, and she helped her grandfather Ashael Thorne make butter and cheese and other work to be done on a farm.

When she was a young lady, she earned money to buy herself a nice yellow calico dress with black dots on it and thought it most beautiful. She, like Father, loved to dance; she said often after midnight a crowd would get into a sleigh and ride until daylight.

Mary Elizabeth Bingham Phelps.Mary Elizabeth Bingham Phelps. Photo courtesy of Stephen Phelps.

She had quite a number of boyfriends; one in particular she liked real well. It was while she was keeping company with him that she married Father (Hyrum Smith Phelps) as a plural wife; said she didn’t know why she did it, but supposed it was meant to be that way.[68]

At the time she married, they lived in Montpelier. The weather was too cold, and they moved to Mesa, Arizona, after three daughters had been born, Laurette, Lucy, and Barbara. Laurette died with diphtheria before leaving Montpelier.[69]

The journey to Arizona was a long hard one, especially for Mother, as she was in delicate health. The company laid over three days at Lee’s Ferry because of her condition. On the third day, December 2, a son, Gove Edward, was born, and the same day traveling was continued. They left October 3, 1878, and arrived in Mesa January 17, 1879. Mesa was practically a desert when they arrived. They lived in tents the first three months, or until Father could make adobes to build a house. The first one was a long three room house. Mother lived in one end, and Aunt Clarinda the other. The center room was used for a while [missing words]. While she lived there, her son Ashael died.[70]

In 1881, Father built a house on the corner of First Avenue and Hibbert Street for Aunt Clarinda. This house was a “T” shape with a porch on two sides, had a shingle roof and dirt floors. It still stands today, but has been improved. Mother had the long house now to herself. It was here Hattie, Orson, and Yuma were born. The officers had been after Father, and Mother for plural marriage, and they got Father and arrested him. He was sent to Yuma, Arizona Penitentiary for three months.[71] Mother was taken to the home of Ed Jones in Lehi. She stayed there until just before Yuma was born, then went to her mother.

Father bought or traded and got 80 acres one mile east of town, known now as Frazier Acres. He built another home there for Aunt Clarinda who had a family of boys and moved Mother to the home on First Avenue and Hibbert because she had mostly girls. Here Grace (she only lived a few weeks), Amy, Esther, Clara, and Gertrude were born.

Hyrum and Mary.Hyrum S. and Mary Elizabeth Bingham Phelps. Photo courtesy of Stephen Phelps.

After Aunt Clarinda moved to the ranch, Mother was allotted a few cows for her support. It was Gove’s job to drive the cows to and from the pasture. He often rode a cow called Puso. I remember we had a lot of grief because the cows would often get out of the corral and get in Bro. Hibbert’s place at night, and he would come and awake Mother and say ugly things to her. We milked some of the cows that were brought from Montpelier. When Esther was a few months old, Father went on a mission to the Southern States. Mother lived in this home until 1895 when Father sold it and built her a nice brick house on the 80 acres. Wilford, Mother’s fourteenth child, was born here. He was the pride and joy of the family. Father used to call him the little prophet. He is four months younger than my oldest son Ashael. Mother practically raised him with Wilford. They were like brothers.

While living in this home, Mother’s greatest sorrow came when Lucy passed away. At the time, she [Mother] was confined to her bed with a sore leg and couldn’t go see her [Lucy] during her sickness. Lucy had blood poison after the birth of Lucy, her fourth child. Brother Calvin was sure good to Mother during Lucy’s sickness; he would come three times a day to keep her informed on Lucy’s condition.[72] Sometimes he would call at midnight. Lucy died January 6, 1905.[73] Mother took little Lucy and raised her as her own.

Because of Father’s age, and the boys married and gone, he found he couldn’t do the work, so he sold to a Mr. Frazier and moved on twenty acres on Horne Lane. He built Mother the nicest home she had had and built two houses in town on Sirrine, one for Aunt Clarinda and one to rent. As age kept creeping on, he found he would have to stop work all together. He sold and moved Mother into the house he built to rent. Here they spent their last days. Father died on April 23, 1926, after having been gored in his belly by a bull.[74] Mother died November 17, 1933, from the results of diabetes.

Mother was a wonderful mother to her family. She was a typical Bingham, the most unselfish and generous person to be found. She always went without for her family. I’ve seen her many times skim the cream off the milk and give it to Father, and she would use the skim milk. She didn’t go out very much; having fourteen children, two babies most of the time, one can understand why. One May Day there was a picnic; she sent us on ahead. Amy was the baby. Lucy and I took her and the other children on; Mother came later. When we took Amy to her, she didn’t recognize Mother and began to scream. ’Twas the first time she had seen Mother in her dress up clothes. Amy cried with hunger so Mother had to go home and change her dress so Amy would nurse.

Mother had inflammatory rheumatism while Amy was a baby. At that time there was an epidemic of some kind of fever, and Aunt Clarinda’s eldest son Hyrum had it. Father had to be with him until he died.[75] Lucy and me with Grandma Phelps had to take care of Mother and the baby.[76] She suffered something awful. Her legs were swollen twice their size, and she couldn’t bear it to be moved. After Hyrum died and Father came to help take care of Mother, he and Grandma decided to get her up on an open bottom chair and steam her. They got her on the chair, but it was cruel what she suffered during the ordeal, and the sad part was no good came from it. She finally got well.

Mother was quite spiritual. A number of times things happened and it was made known to her beforehand. One time she was in trouble and went into the bedroom to pray. As she came out, she said just above the door she heard the sweetest music she had ever heard, and as the music died away, a peaceful feeling came over her and she was comforted.

There are very few people that have suffered as much as Mother. One time she and sister Annie went into the field to glean wheat, and they came in contact with poison weeds, and their legs broke out with sores. Mother’s was the worst. Both her legs were a solid sore from her knees to the soles of her feet. It took weeks to heal them. Every summer for several years at the same time, her legs would break out with the same kind of sores, but each year they would be more mild. This was a few weeks before Grace was born. Since that time, her legs caused her a lot of misery. There were quite a lot of other things that caused a lot of suffering that I’ll not take time to mention, besides giving birth to fourteen children, without the aid of a doctor or having something done to ease the pain.

Mother was a good Latter-day Saint. She always donated liberally [and] paid her fast offering and tithing. When she began paying, she saved all her statements from the dairy so she would know how much she owed, and at the end of the year, she owed a few cents more than ten dollars. I don’t know how she managed to live. She had a few hens, but they didn’t lay any eggs until the price went down to ten cents a dozen. Lucy was the main stay of the family. Hattie and I worked some. When either of us earned any money, it was turned over to Mother; not a cent did we use for ourselves without her telling us to. She would shine our heavy shoes with stove soot. We were quite large before we could afford dress shoes. We weren’t the only poor people, however, most everyone was alike.

We had a happy home; Mother made it so. Our home was a house of prayer. We had family prayer night and morning, and I think that had everything to do with the spirit of our home. I know I speak for all of the family when I say I am thankful for our wonderful parents and what they did for us.

Ellis and Boone:

When Mary Logan Rothschild and Pamela Claire Hronek were describing the beginnings of their oral history research on Arizona women, they said that the project “had several bedrock premises: the first was that women were scandalously overlooked in the published histories of Arizona [Rothschild and Hronek cite Marshall Trimble’s Arizona: A Cavalcade of History and Odie Faulk’s Arizona: A Short History as examples]; the second was that if women in general were overlooked, minority women were invisible; and the third was that we were interested in the lives of ‘ordinary’ women, not the first doctor or professor or politician, but women who saw themselves as just like their neighbors and probably less worthy of interviewing.”[77]

Roberta Clayton could have written the same statement more than twenty years earlier when publishing PWA. Clayton wrote about ordinary women, not just the stake Relief Society presidents, and, in the context of general Arizona history and the number of times Mormon women are mentioned, Mormon women should be considered minority women. Finally, the amount that Mormon women are “scandalously overlooked,” even in Mormon sources, can be illustrated with W. Earl Merrill’s books about Mesa. By counting the number of women verses the number of men in the indexes of four of Merrill’s books, women make up only 15 percent of the people he discusses.

Actually, Merrill was heavily influenced by Clayton’s book on pioneer women. In 1973, he wrote, “No more fertile source for stories on ‘Pioneer Women of Arizona’ is to be found anywhere than in the 716-page compilation bearing that title which Roberta Flake Clayton completed in 1969 after 33 years of dedicated research.”[78] He noted that PWA contained more than forty biographies for women from the Mesa area. Then he picked five women and used brief excerpts from their biographies in PWA for his column.

One of the women Merrill used for his May 21, 1973, column was Mary Elizabeth Bingham Phelps. He used two shortened paragraphs from her sketch, including the phrase, “We had a happy home; Mother made it so.” Merrill concluded his column with these statements: “It is not by embellishment with words that memorials to a mother’s virtues are created. They are rather to be found in the reflections of her nobility that shine on in the lives of her children and their progeny. It is hoped, then, that the host of descendants of Elizabeth Allen, Ella Biggs, Margaret Millett, Mary Phelps, and Sarah Vance, along with all the rest of us, can make with our allotted days living tributes to all the noble mothers in our ancestry.”[79] Mary Elizabeth Bingham Phelps would probably agree that this would be a fitting tribute to her life.

Sarah Thompson Phelps

Barbara Ann Phelps Allen[80]

Maiden Name: Sarah Thompson

Birth: March 20, 1820; Pomfret, Chautauqua Co., New York

Parents: David John Thompson and Leah Lewis

Marriage: Morris Phelps;[81] March 27, 1842

Children: Laura Ann (1843), Sarah Diantha (1845), Hyrum Smith (1846),[82] Martha Ann (1848), Charles Wilkes (c. 1852), Amanda Angelia (1854), Olive Esphenia (1856)

Death: January 31, 1896; Mesa, Maricopa Co., Arizona

Burial: Mesa, Maricopa Co., Arizona

Grandma was born March 20, 1820. Her parents were David John and Leah Lewis Thompson.[83] When she was four years old, her father died, leaving her mother with seven small children, making it necessary for her to start out early in life making her own way. In spite of poverty, she succeeded in acquiring sufficient education to be able to teach school.

At the age of eleven years the gospel came to their home. She, together with her mother and the other members of the family (except one brother), joined and were baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After joining, their friends turned against them, and from then on their trials began. They were driven from place to place and finally forced to flee to the Rocky Mountains. She was brave and courageous as a young woman.

Sarah Thompson Phelps.Sarah Thompson Phelps. Photo courtesy of Stephen Phelps.

When quite a young woman, she taught school. It was customary for the teachers to board among the parents of their pupils which she did, and in doing so, she learned many of the plots and schemes of the mobs to assassinate the Saints. She kept the Saints posted on what was happening. When the final plot came for the general roundup of the Saints, she made a dash on horseback to give the alarm to her people. She was followed for five miles one time but her horse, being the fastest, made her escape.

Another time when teaching school, she went to a home to collect [money], and the people refused to pay and said their intentions were to drive all the Mormons out and take the crops that they had recently harvested. She told them what she thought of them. While talking, a voice spoke to her and told her to leave next morning as soon as she arose. She did and was followed, and they tried to kill her.[84]

At the time of the Hawn’s Mill Massacre, she lived but a few miles from the mill; some of those who were fortunate enough to get away came to her home.[85] While the mob was going through the country, they crossed the creek where Grandma and all the women [were] washing clothes. She told many times how they looked, said they had their faces painted and were disguised in every imaginable way, said some of the women were so frightened they fainted but Grandma shouted hurrah for the captain. Two of the men rode up to her and asked if she wasn’t afraid of them. She said she hadn’t been raised in the woods to be afraid of owls. They asked her if she didn’t recognize them; she said she did not. They told her she should; they were her old neighbors. She then asked them what they intended to do and one replied, “Kill everyone on the creek.” Grandma asked what they had done that they should be killed; their reply was they did not know, they were only obeying orders. On two different occasions, she was chased by a mob who tried to shoot her, but their guns refused to go off.

One time, when they had been driven from their home, she said they had traveled all day in the rain and were driving their cattle. She had on a sunbonnet that was quilted so as to put cardboard slats in it, and the rain had dissolved the slats and the front of her bonnet flopped in her face. She was soaked to the skin, weary, and tired after plodding in the mud all day. As they were passing a farm house a lady saw her and invited her into her home to dry her clothes and get warm. She was taken into the parlor by the fireplace. There were two young ladies and their boyfriends sitting there, and when they saw Grandma they burst out laughing. She said she was nearly in tears; she looked them in the eye and said, “You must have been born in the woods.”

Grandmother and her mother were charter members of the first organization of Relief Society in Nauvoo that was organized by the Prophet Joseph Smith.[86]

As a young woman she was loyal to the Church and all the leaders. She was personally acquainted with the Prophet Joseph Smith, and during her life she never tired of relating the stories of the early rise of the Church—the wonderful manifestations, as well as the persecutions they had to endure.

The last time she saw the Prophet was when he was being taken to Carthage Jail. She said quite a number of people were standing in groups along the sidewalks. He stopped to get a drink of water and turning to them to tell them goodbye he said, “Remember, if I never see any of you again, I love you.”[87]

On March 27, 1842, Grandma married Morris Phelps, a widower with five children.[88] She was at the meeting when Sidney Rigdon made his claim as rightful leader of the Church. She, with hundreds of others, declared that when Brigham Young arose to speak, the mantle of Joseph Smith was upon him so much so that he looked like him, and his voice was the voice of Joseph. The Saints were assured that Brigham was the one to be their leader.[89]

A short time after Grandma was married, Grandpa was called away and a young woman came to stay with her. They moved everything into one room to make it appear like the house had been vacated. One night a mob made a raid on the little town, some entered her home (the vacant room), built a fire in the fireplace, and spent the night. Grandma and those with her heard them tell the awful things they had done to the helpless. She had piled everything against the door so it couldn’t be easily opened. The mob wasn’t aware that someone was in the other part of the house.

Troubles of a different nature came into Grandma’s life after her marriage. Her first two baby daughters died, one Laura Ann, being a little more than thirteen months. She was buried in the Nauvoo cemetery, and Sarah Diantha, who lived but two days, was also buried in Nauvoo.[90] After she died, Grandma had trouble with her breast. Dr. Woolley said it would have to be taken off but she refused, said she would die first. The brethren fasted and went to the temple and prayed until they had a testimony that she was healed. While they were praying her breast started to discharge and continued until the core fell out of the sore.

On a cold winter night [on] February 26, 1846 while they were camped on the bank of the Mississippi River, she and eight other women gave birth to babies; hers was Hyrum Smith Phelps. The family was en route to the Rocky Mountains. They started in 1847 and stopped at Mt. Pisgah for two years. They did not reach Salt Lake until September 25, 1851.[91]

They settled in Alpine, Utah, and suffered many hardships along with the other Saints. My father, Hyrum S., said [that] she never knew what it was to have a good time but always enjoyed herself by doing good to others. Says Father, “I never knew her to have a house of her own that had anything better than a dirt roof.” He went with her many times to the canyon to gather serviceberries to dry to make something extra for Christmas. He said he had gone to bed many times while she washed and mended his clothes.

In 1864, President Young called them to help settle Bear Lake, Idaho. They settled in Montpelier. Grandma’s daughter Olive tells of their severe hardships there. Their cattle and horses died from starvation and cold, all but a cow and a span of horses. Grandma did the weaving and the other things while Aunt Martha (Grandpa’s other wife) did the housework and cared for the children.[92]

In October 1878 in company with her son Hyrum, she left Montpelier for Mesa, Arizona, arriving in January 1879.[93] She was made president of the first Relief Society organized in Mesa.

Some of the things I remember about Grandma—she lived with us most of the time, but as a midwife she was gone a lot. She was a large woman and weighed about 210 pounds. Mother did her sewing. I think she used the same pattern for all her dresses for years. Nowadays we would call them the princess style. She had asthma and the only thing that gave her relief was to smoke a plug of tobacco. I slept with her most of the time. I remember in the coldest weather she would sleep with her feet out of the covers. About 4 o’clock a.m. she would begin to wheeze and cough and in order to get relief would get up and smoke her pipe.

She was often called out in the winter time to deliver a baby. We would hear a rumble of a wagon at a distance, and it never failed to stop at our house. Wind or rain, it was the same. Mother would get up and help her get off. When she left, she would be wrapped up in a heavy shawl. Sometimes she would go before she was needed and stay a week or two and always ten days after, and when her job was finished she would nearly always be given a five-dollar gold piece.

She did her spinning in the summer time, would get out under the shade of a tree and often the Indians passing would stop and watch her. After the yarn was spun she would knit socks; she also knit in the summer time while she made soap. It would take all day and sometimes longer to make a batch. She told of her experience in making soap while crossing the plains. She said one day as they were traveling, she came across the bones of a buffalo that still had marrow in them. She gathered them up and collected ashes from the camps, put them in a kettle, poured water on them, and boiled them. After she poured the water off into another kettle, put it over a fire, and when the water boiled, she added the bones and boiled it until it became soap. She said after the women saw her soap they were always on the lookout for green bones.

Grandma used to make straw hats for the Barnett boys. She would get a bundle of wheat straws, select the ends of a uniform size, soak them in water, and braid with about six straws. When the hat was finished it was larger [more expensive?] than anyone could buy.

She was a great reader; it seemed to me like she read the Deseret News from cover to cover as well as story papers and novels.

She dearly loved the Prophet Joseph Smith. In the winter time we would sit around the fire and listen to her tell of the suffering and persecution of the Saints. In her later years she seemed to live in the past.

She was quite a superstitious woman and would tell spooky stories such as evil spirits working her loom at night, and if one would turn out of a funeral procession, they would be the next one to have a death in their family. The night her daughter Amanda died, an owl hooted on the roof of the house just above her bed, she called Mother and asked her if she heard it.[94] Mother said “Yes. I heard it too and was certainly frightened.” She worried and said she knew she would hear bad news and she did.

She had a very dear friend, Grandma Averett; the last time she talked to her, they agreed that the one that died first would tell their folks on the other side how they were getting along.[95] They both died in the month of January, Grandma Averett died on the first and Grandma the thirty-first, 1896.

She was loved by everyone who knew her and was known as Aunt Sarah. She fulfilled well the calling made of her when she was set apart as a midwife. In 1870 Eliza R. Snow came to Idaho and organized a Relief Society, and Grandma was made president. About 1873, Apostle Charles C. Rich called her to be a midwife and set her apart as a nurse and midwife. She was promised by Brother Rich that she would never lose a mother. She was faithful. She was no doubt faithful because she delivered 580 babies and never lost a mother.

Many trials came into her life but she never complained. It seems all the trials she passed through only strengthened her testimony to the truthfulness of the gospel that was so dear to her.

She was the mother of seven children, whose names are: Laura Ann, Sarah Diantha, Hyrum Smith, Martha Ann, Charles Wilkes, Amanda Angelia, and Olive Esphenia.[96]

Ellis and Boone:

Sarah Thompson Phelps came to Arizona after she was a widow. As a nurse and midwife, a profession that many widows pursued, the story of her life was featured in the DUP lesson, “Pioneer Midwives.”[97] Besides delivering babies, the DUP authors thought that “one of the noteworthy accomplishments in her fruitful life was the nursing of David Kimball back to health after having been lost on the Arizona desert.”[98] This was when Kimball received the remarkable vision of his father and mother and when he was told that he had just two more years to live.[99]

As part of the DUP lesson, a long poem entitled, “Sarah Thompson Phelps,” and written by Blanche Allen Leavitt, was included. Basic information comes from this autobiography, but brief excerpts sum up the life of Sarah Phelps:

Now listen my children, to what I have to say

About your great-great-grandmother Sarah and her day. . . .

The counsel from Brigham was, “Saints, go west.”

So they crossed the Mississippi River

Toward Winter Quarters with the rest. . . .

Morris was made captain of sixty wagons.

He was proud, of course,

For he had his own team, one cow and one horse. . . .

[In Utah] They planted flax to get linen, raised sheep to get wool;

After much carding and spinning, Sarah’s sewing box was full.

Was she satisfied with plain linens? Oh, no!

She tried out the plants and barks of trees, all around,

Until dyes of purple, brown, green, and yellow she found. . . .

Eliza R. Snow selected her as a Relief Society worker;

Apostle Rich gave her a blessing, for she was no shirker.

He set her apart as a nurse and midwife.

Sarah spent the rest of her days helping somebody’s wife.[100]

Cassandra Johnson Pomeroy

Hazel Pomeroy Millett

Maiden Name: Cassandra “Cassa, Cassie” Johnson

Birth: March 7, 1868; Spring Lake, Utah Co., Utah

Parents: Benjamin Franklin Johnson and Sarah Melissa Holman[101]

Marriage: Heber Chase Kimball Pomeroy; July 10, 1893

Children: Hazel Cassandra (1894), Francis Kimball (1896), Mildred Azola (1899), Gladys Amabel (1901), Beulah (1903), Melissa (1906), Benjamin Kent (1908), Jessamine Elizabeth (1912), Ralph Johnson (1915)

Death: October 2, 1957; Phoenix, Maricopa Co., Arizona

Burial: Mesa, Maricopa Co., Arizona

Cassandra Johnson was born in the beautiful little town of Spring Lake, Utah, March 7, 1868. Her father, Benjamin F. Johnson, had pioneered here and built a big two storied home. Some called it the “Johnson Mansion.” It housed three or more families for he was one of the men of the early Latter-day Saint Church who had more than one wife. He was a very good agriculturist, a legislator, harness maker, druggist, missionary, and patriarch. On his big farm of 200 or 300 acres, fruit trees, grapevines and berries, all kinds of vegetables and grains, hay, and other products were grown. He had pigs, sheep, cattle, and even bees and silkworms. There were great cellars with barrels and bins for storage, and equipment for canning [and] drying as well as for other industries. It was a busy, orderly, happy, and beautiful home.

Cassandra (called Cassa, who was my mother) has written in her sketches thus: “I was born of goodly parents. My father, Benjamin F. Johnson, born July 10, 1818, in Pomfret, Chautauqua County, New York, was a close companion to the Prophet Joseph Smith, and went through all of the hardships and trials those early members endured, for the gospel. My mother, Sarah Melissa Holman, born November 18, 1837 in Kirtland, Ohio, also had fond memories of the Prophet and a testimony of his teachings. We learned early to love the gospel and to pray and trust in the Lord.” Cassa was the seventh child of eleven children. She was a serious child, with black hair and eyes. Her father told her she resembled his mother, Julia Hills Johnson.[102] Cassa always wanted to be helpful and do something for others. She loved all of her brothers and sisters and their mothers. She had a busy, happy childhood.

Anna Kleinman Camp.In 1946 the Anna Kleinman Camp (from Mesa) and Ox Bow Camp (from Tempe) of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers met in a bombined meeting to honor Cassie Pomeroy (seated center) as the first DUP president in Mesa. Roberta Flake Clayton, original camp historian, is seated on the floor to the left of Cassie Pomeroy. Photo courtesy of Mesa Historical Museum.

A big dining room was in the central part of their home. The bedrooms were upstairs. In the big dining room, the entire family was summoned night and morning for prayer, for supper or breakfast or other family occasions. Melissa, Cassa’s mother, usually had charge of the breakfast, and it must have been a tremendous assignment for so many. Agnes, the older daughter, and Cassa were kitchen helpers. The family could have a complete choir, orchestra, dance, or program without any others. Some of the family were musical. I was told that one of the boys made a violin upon which he played quite successfully.

There were times that the Indians were troublesome. Grandfather always tried to be good to them. One, of the name of Guffick, crawled on his hands and knees for miles through rocks and brushes of the canyon to warn the Johnson family that some of the Indians were on the warpath and preparing to descend upon them and perhaps kill all of them. This saved their lives for they were able to get out in time.

Cassa’s mother and some of the older children were the first teachers of her children. Mothers were told to teach the children the gospel, good manners, and the niceties of life as well as the Three Rs. Later, a Mrs. Stickney boarded with them. This was the custom in that day of no public schools. There was a little one-roomed school house with a pot-bellied stove and tables instead of desks. Mother told us she was an outstanding student. She was very anxious to learn and loved school. The family attended all church meetings and took an active part. B. F. Johnson was a bishop then, and her mother was the Relief Society president.

In 1882, when Cassa was about fourteen years old, her family decided to move to Arizona. Some of the older members had already moved. Grandfather then sold his big farm and home. With part of the family, he left Spring Lake [on] May 20, 1882, arriving in Tempe about July 21, 1882. A little later, in October, the rest of the family came. They came by train to Maricopa which was the end of the railroad line in those days. The family met them with horse and buggy and took them on to Tempe.

Grandfather bought some land from Charles Trumbull Hayden, father of Senator Carl Hayden. One large house was built on the main street in Tempe. Cassa worked for the Hayden family taking care of the children and doing general housework.

She had always possessed a yearning to go to school. When the Normal School (now Arizona State University) opened in Tempe, early in the morning of the first day, February 8, 1886, she was the first pupil who bashfully approached the new Prof. Hiram Bradford Farmer to see if she qualified to enter. She was enrolled and loved every day of her school life. She had a special flair for dramatics. Later, in the many little home productions, she was sought to play the leading part. The original class of Tempe Normal lists thirty-three members, according to The Arizona State University Story by Hopkins and Thomas.[103] Among them are: Cassa (age 16), May and Lionel Johnson, Gertrude, Henry and Rosetta Pomeroy, and others who claimed Mesa as their home town, although at that time it was listed as Zenos.[104]

Before the Johnsons moved to Mesa a smallpox epidemic broke out. It was terrible! Kimball and Gertrude Pomeroy had it and recovered. Elijah Pomeroy, older and more experienced, did very much to care for the sick. A pesthouse or hospital was set up at the Tithing Office place on South Main near the corner of West Center.[105] Many, many died, and Mesa was quarantined for a long time. This was before the days of [universal] vaccination.

In Tempe, Sam Openshaw had been bishop. Elijah Pomeroy was bishop of Mesa. Some of the Johnsons there were grown sons now with families; they moved to a place between Tempe and Mesa they called Nephi. My grandmother and mother moved to Mesa. Mother had become a very beautiful young woman, as many of the old timers have told us. None of her daughters ever equaled her beauty. She was sought after by many. Her lovely complexion, Utah fresh, black eyes, and beautiful black hair were matched by her queenly bearing and gracious character.

In Mesa, she met and fell in love with Heber Chase Kimball Pomeroy (Kimball he was called). His family was one of the three earliest settlers of Mesa. They had laid out the town with its wide streets, built the canals, dug ditches, planted trees and crops, and built homes. Kimball had tried to get an education that would have enabled him to become a doctor or pharmacist. He went for a year at Valparaiso, Indiana, then for a time at Salt Lake Academy. Various family complications and finances made it impossible to continue. Having met the girl of his choice, they were married July 10, 1893 by her father, B. F. Johnson. The couple left for a honeymoon, taking Grandmother Johnson with them to San Francisco. Vice Pres. [Adlai Ewing] Stevenson [I] was on the boat and being feted, and there was a big celebration in progress. Everywhere was beauty and excitement. After a short time, the couple returned to home and reality.

Pomeroy women.Pomeroy women; front row, left to right: Zetta Pomeroy Jones (standing), Cassandra Johnson Pomeroy (kneeling), Etta Coleman Pomeroy (husband Elijah), May Johnson Pomeroy (husband Talma) (555), Fay Newell Donaldson, Ina Pomeroy Brewer (69), Sybil Newell Cooper; back row: fourth from left, Clara Drollinger Pomeroy, remainder unidentified; 1945. Photo courtesy of Arlene Tway Watters.

A one-roomed brick building, with a lean-to for a kitchen and dining room and a big brush shed, across the north side, was their first home. Brush sheds were cool, simple to construct, and plentiful. People used them for Church meetings. The first theater was a brush shed with planks for seats. Many homes used brush sheds for porches or a breezeway.

May 4, 1894, I (Hazel Cassa), with the assistance of Grandmother, was born to my dear parents. They thought they had a prize and tenderly cared for me. In about 1½ years—January 3, 1896, a brother, Francis K., was born. Finances became hard. My father tried farming, working on the thrasher, jobs here and there. Mother then attempted to help. She opened up a little millinery and dressmaking shop on Main Street. She was very artistic and could make and trim hats beautifully as well cut, fit, and sew those tight basques and full skirts with bustles to perfection, often making her own patterns. We lived here for a short time, then a sister, Mildred Azola came along on February 16, 1899, and we moved back home.

My father had become interested in mines. He had located many properties, some of them were very valuable and made fortunes for others but we were not so favored. Our family increased—Gladys Amabel, [born on] May 13, 1901, and Beulah, [born on] October 29, 1903. The house was too small so my father bought a lumber building and moved it to our brick portion, thus enlarging our home but not beautifying it. Melissa was born March 4, 1906, then Benjamin Kent [on] May 16, 1908. On May 25, 1911, tragedy struck our home. Our little sister, ten years old, Amabel, passed away after three weeks’ illness with typhoid fever. This was the year and at the very time of my graduation from high school. It was so sad; we missed her sweet sunshine and laughter every day. On January 25, 1912, a little black-haired sister, Jessamine Elizabeth, was born. She lived to be nineteen months, then passed away February 19, 1914. A brother, the baby of the family, was born April 15, 1915, and named Ralph Johnson. Another tragedy came to our home on August 24, 1940. Our oldest brother, Frank, passed away, leaving a wife and four children.

During this time Mother kept our family going to school [and] attending church and its activities. She worked in various organizations. She taught Sunday School, worked in the ward Relief Society, helped organize the Daughters of Utah Pioneers in 1924, and acted as the first captain in the Mesa Camp.[106] She was stake YLMIA president from about 1912 to 1915 and president of the First Ward Relief Society from May 1917 to the fall of 1922. She helped in the organization of the B. F. Johnson Family Organization and assisted in its activities as well as in the F. M. Pomeroy Family Organization. She acted on the stake Relief Society board for many years. This group of sisters did very much to assist in furnishing the temple with clothing, curtains for rooms, and linens. They worked hard cooking and serving many dinners to finance these projects. A sum of over $1000 accumulated for a Relief Society building was donated to the temple. This was the year that the temple was built.[107]

When the Mezona was remodeled, a new big stage curtain was needed. This was designed and made by these sisters. Sister Mamie Clark was the energetic president and leader of this group.[108] They were very united, and loyal friendships lasted throughout the rest of their lives. Very few of them are left, [in] 1965 [only] Sisters Bertha Kleinman, Lottie Crandall, and Roberta Flake Clayton.

Mother’s records show a lot of temple work was done by her and my father for their own families and others. The Johnson (B. F.), Pomeroy, and Rutledge lines they searched and did work for as many as they could.

Cassa and Kimball were very concerned in politics and good government. Mother won the nomination as Presidential Elector for the Democratic Party in 1928.

In the year 1915, our family began to decrease; that is, the ones at home. I, the oldest daughter (Hazel Cassa) was married to Artemus T. Millett; then Frank K. married Eunice Shurtliff; Zola married Lorel A. Stapley. A little later, Frank Gibson married sister Beulah, and Grant Magleby married Melissa. Laverne Hamblin and Kent; Cecile Skousen and Ralph were next in line. All of them now have been married and sealed in the temple and have grandchildren, and a few have great-grandchildren. The house became quite empty. Mother and Dad were quite alone.

Going back through the years again, my father, along with his mining operations, had been working as bailiff in Phoenix. About 1937, he had a very serious illness and a heart attack. He was in the hospital for some time, then at home where Mother nursed him. He had to have an operation then surgery for cataracts on his eyes. He had so many health problems, but managed to get about. Mother’s health also began to fail her. They had moved from their first home and were living on Hibbert Street when my father had a serious attack again with his heart. A Mrs. Johnson and son were staying with them, helping Mother with housework and cares. She married, and other women were obtained to help Mother. My father did not improve. He was in the hospital with special nurses for a long time. On February 20, 1948, two days before his father’s birthday, he passed away. He was almost eighty years of age. Mother, now heartbroken, ill herself, and dependent, must go on.

Although life had been rugged, she was a good soldier. With courage and great faith in our religious beliefs, she held up through the deep trials. These beliefs, this faith had molded and guided her throughout her life. Her philosophy, kindness, and graciousness was admired by all. She was queenly in bearing, wise and intelligent mentally, and beautiful in face and character. Although she became a frail shadow of her former self, she always kept a smile of courage, a word of cheer, and wisdom for all. She passed away at nearly ninety years, after a long illness. Cassa Pomeroy died on October 2, 1957.

Her patriarchal blessing had promised her many things and that “thou shalt live until thou art satisfied with days and years upon the earth.” Surely this was fulfilled.

Ellis and Boone:

Hazel Pomeroy Millett listed many of the organizations that her mother participated in to make her community a better place, including her years of service on the Maricopa Stake Relief Society board. On April 4−5, 1928 in Salt Lake City, Mary A. Clark, president of the Maricopa Stake Relief Society, reported on Relief Society activities in Maricopa County, Arizona. One paragraph illustrates the activities of LDS women throughout the Arizona Temple district (which included California, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico). She said:

When we knew for a fact that we were to have a temple in our land, and that our dreams were to be realized, the Maricopa Stake Relief Society was asked to contribute $1,000 toward the building. We immediately went to work and by bazaars, our penny fund, concessions at [the state] fair, cooked food sales, cotton picking, and, in fact, by everything that was hard (although we received great joy from our labor), we raised $1,450. Of this we turned over $500 to the building committee. We purchased an electric sewing machine and the best washable materials we could buy, and made three complete changes of veil and washroom curtains throughout the temple. We made sample temple suits and baptismal suits, then sent [them] to each stake in the temple district, asking them to make ten complete suits of each, which they did, with the exception of Mexico, which sent us the money to make six suits. Every stake responded loyally and expressed willingness to do more. Maricopa made twenty-six complete suits. We bought materials for towels and baptismal suits and asked the Y.L.M.I.A. to make forty of these suits and all towels. The Y.L.M.I.A. presented a beautiful bridal airline [sic] robe for the temple. This we call our bridal costume and it is worn by our brides. The Primary Association made forty baptismal suits. They also made, for the nursery, two beautiful quilts from the pieces left from these suits. We equipped the nursery with beds and chairs. We bought the best material for table runners, altar covers, chair backs, and pulpit covers, and allotted it to each ward asking them to do their own designing and to use their best workmanship. When it was all returned to the temple, we had 144 pieces in all, and we were very proud of this work—embroidery and cut work, and yards of beautiful tatting. It is estimated that 1879 hours were spent in this work. One sister told me that she had spent three hours a day for seven weeks on the piece that was allotted to her. The stake board spent weeks in sewing. They would take luncheon and spend the entire day sewing at the temple. About two months ago the stake board prepared and served a banquet to sixty-five of the temple workers.[109]

Emily Stratton Pomeroy

Irene Pomeroy Crismon

Maiden Name: Emily Stratton

Birth: August 4, 1859; Almon Place, Rochester, Kent, England

Parents: George Frederick Stratton and Mary Rowell

Marriage: John Haskell Pomeroy; September 6, 1877

Children: James Haskell (1878), Ella (1881), Irene (1884), Emily Elizabeth (1887)

Death: August 8, 1887; Mesa, Maricopa Co., Arizona

Burial: Mesa, Maricopa Co., Arizona

Emily Stratton was the daughter of George Frederick and Mary Rowell Stratton. She was born August 4, 1859, in England.[110] There were five children in the family, she being the third child.

There were several families, her father being one of them, who joined the LDS Church and took a sailboat and sailed across the ocean to America. There they got word to Brigham Young, and he sent ox teams and wagons to bring them to Utah.[111]

In my grandfather’s story, he said they were so heavily loaded he walked and carried one of the children most of the way. One night the mother had a dream, it was so plain to her. One of her children died. Next day sickness came to the children, they got cholera. He said two of the children were very sick, Emily and the baby. Emily got better, but the little boy passed away.[112] Nothing they could do but to bury that little soul there at the side of the road and go on.

Emily Elizabeth Stratton Pomeroy.Emily Elizabeth Stratton Pomeroy. Photo courtesy of FamilySearch.

My grandfather landed in Logan and made their home there. When my mother was four years old, her mother passed away. Soon after she went to Paris, Idaho, and made her home with her aunt. There she lived until 1877.

When my grandfather Francis Martin Pomeroy got the call to come to Arizona, my father, John Haskell Pomeroy, and my mother got married so she could come with them. So the trip to Arizona was their honeymoon.

On the way down, they wrote letters back to my father’s sister Ella Rich. Ella kept those letters and when she passed away, her oldest daughter Zula Rich Cole took care of them. Later she gave them to me. I have them, nearly eighty-eight years since they were written. In the letters they wrote back, they said it was snowing on them; it was cold, and they couldn’t hardly get their breakfast, “Our ink is froze so I must write with a pencil.” “You would laugh if you could see us sitting around the campfire with our plates on our laps eating and the smoke is so bad.”

“Don’t worry about us we are getting along alright have everything we need to make us comfortable, we have lots of fun us girls can ride horseback and drive stock when we want to, we get along splendid have good meetings and have good times, plenty to eat, drink, and wear. We get plenty of wild game along the way.”

They arrived in Lehi [on] January 8, 1878. They camped on the river bank in their wagon beds, tents, and brush sheds. The nearest store and post office was Hayden’s Ferry (now called Tempe) which was owned by C. T. Hayden. They camped here until they built the canal and got the water on the Mesa, which was in the fall. My mother wrote in one of the letters, “Ella if it wasn’t for the hope of some day being comfortable in a good home I could not stand it to live out of doors so long.”

One day my dad was up working on the ditch; the rest of the ones that lived in this camp had gone to Lehi. As the day went on, a bad storm came up; [my mother] said, “I never heard such thunder and never saw such lightening in my life, and the wind and rain was terrible, and in all that storm I was alone. Rena and Newell stayed at Jones’ all night and John did not come home because it stormed so where he was, but he came home next day, and I am all right now. I got pretty badly frightened that night in the storm but I guess we will all live through it. Everybody got a steam bath their beds were so wet. It was very hot weather it was in July.”

My brother Jim was born September 26, 1878, here in this camp. In October, the first water reached the Mesa, and by November all the families had moved to their lots on the Mesa. They were still living in their wagons and tents. This was in one of the letters: “It seems a regular frontier camp as yet there are many tents and covered wagons squatted around and all day and most of the night are fires and the heavy sound of the grubbing hoe in all directions.”

I have always been led to believe that Mr. and Mrs. C. T. Hayden were very good to our people while they were trying to get started. This was in one of the letters. “Mrs. Hayden gave a Thanksgiving Ball last Thursday night all the girls and boys and John and I were there, had a nice supper, roast turkey, mince pie, all kinds of cake and hot rolls and roast beef quite a nice supper for a cold night and a good appetite too. Their [sic] were over 80 persons present.”

My father built their first house out of a certain type of cactus, mud, and gunny sacks; it had a flat dirt roof.[113] My sister Ella was born in this house in 1881. By the time I was born in 1884, they had a two-room adobe house with a porch on each side and a shake roof. My aunt told me my mother was a very religious woman. She loved her Church work, and there were times they would hold Young Ladies meetings in her home.

Emily Pomeroy grave marker.This grave marker in the Mesa Cemetery commemorates the death of Emily Stratton Pomeroy six days after childbirth and the death of her daughter, Emily Elizabeth, at the age of one month. Photo courtesy of Ancestry.

My father planted a lovely orchard and vineyard. There were apples, peaches, pears, apricots, plums, nectarines, almond nuts, black and white figs, and two kinds of mulberries. My mother didn’t live to enjoy all this; on the second day of August 1887 she gave birth to a baby girl Emily and passed away August 8th. She was buried in the Mesa cemetery. The baby lived just a month.

Ellis and Boone:

Between 1861 and 1869, Church wagon trains were used by most Mormon emigrants coming to Utah. In 1860, Joseph W. Young demonstrated that a round trip (from Salt Lake City to the Missouri River and back) was possible in one season. He left on April 30, spent only a few days in Council Bluffs, and returned with emigrants by October 3. This set the pattern; each settlement donated teams, wagons, and drivers that traveled east as soon as spring weather permitted. Drivers were called for six-month missions and were paid in tithing credit. The “down and back” wagons were loaded with Utah-grown and milled flour and other supplies which, along with extra oxen, were dropped off along the way to be used on the return trip. Although the ox teams were to haul food, bedding, and clothes, the people had to walk as did George Frederick Stratton, and the child he carried may have been Emily Stratton Pomeroy.[114]

Sarah Lucretia Phelps Pomeroy


Maiden Name: Sarah Lucretia “Lou” Phelps

Birth: July 23, 1867; Montpelier, Bear Lake Co., Idaho

Parents: Hyrum Smith Phelps[116] and Sarah Clarinda Bingham[117]

Marriage: Elijah Pomeroy; September 27, 1884

Children: Sarah Clarinda (1890), Hyrum Phelps (1892), Francis Marion (1894), Loren Guy (1896), Monita (1899), Reuel Nephi (1901)

Death: April 30, 1966; Superior, Pinal Co., Arizona

Burial: Mesa, Maricopa Co., Arizona

I, Sarah Lucretia Phelps Pomeroy, am the oldest child of Hyrum Smith Phelps and Sarah Clarinda Bingham. I was born July 23, 1867, at the home of my Grandmother Phelps in Montpelier, Idaho.[118] I have often heard my father say how terribly disappointed he was when he first saw me. I was so terribly ugly. He asked Grandma if I would always look like that. She said she told him no. He said if I didn’t change in my looks, he would be ashamed to take me out in company, as my head looked like something twisted up in a paper tea bag.

I remember Father’s income was very meager; they had a hard time making ends meet. My two brothers, Hyrum and Calvin, and I would go to bed early in order that our clothes could be washed and ironed so as to have clean clothes to put on the next morning. I have seen Mother sit and sew by the light of a braided rag in a plate of tallow. As time went by, she made her own candles. I remember so well of stringing the candle molds. I learned to spin quite young, and Mother was a weaver. I would love to fill her spools and bobbins for her. Sometimes when I could, I would sneak [in] and sit on her stool, and throw the shuttle back and forth through the loom.

Sarah Lucretia Phelps Pomeroy.Sarah Lucretia Phelps Pomeroy. Photo courtesy of Allen, Ancestors of the Children of Hyrum Smith Phelps, 25.

The first of my school days was in a one-room log school house with long benches and no desks, and the huge stove in the center of the building. While attending school in Montpelier, I received my greatest thrill; my cousin Almira Holmes Rich and I spelled the school down. We were chosen on separate sides, and we were the last to go down. I think I went down before she did.

I remember when I was about seven or eight years of age my father was playing for a dance, and Mother had gone to bed. I was learning to knit some garters, and who should walk in but two big Indians with blankets around their shoulders. They talked with each other but didn’t say anything to me and then walked out. I wasn’t long getting to bed, and after that Father would take all of us to the dance with him when he played.

On October 3, 1878, Father with his family of ten, in company with seven other families, left Montpelier for Arizona. It was a long and tiresome journey for our parents but enjoyable for the children. When we were crossing the Colorado, one span of horses jumped overboard with their harness on, but landed all right. That evening my brother Gove was born December 2, 1878.[119] Coming over Lee’s Backbone was very steep grade. Father took one span of horses off the wagon, and I drove the team by the lines all the way over the dugway. Though the mountains were covered with snow and no roads to follow, we arrived in Mesa [on] January 17, 1879.

It looked like we had come to the jumping off place, with no one to greet us except Theodore and Laura Sirrine. Laura is my cousin; she looked so good to me. There were two houses and no roads in Mesa. My father was not long getting his family settled in tents; our first home was where the Temple Courts now stand.[120] About the next thing he did was to dig a well, it being the first well in Mesa. When the time came, he set out an orchard and grape vineyard, which gave us [fruit,] and all his neighbors some too. There were jobs for all that were big enough to work, Hyrum, Calvin, Annie, Laura, and myself. We gathered wood, piled brush, [and] killed snakes and thousand-legged worms.

I remember how happy I was to find some real straight chaparral limbs for brooms. We were very happy with our first real broom [that] Father bought at Hayden’s store in Tempe.

The first school which I attended in Mesa was under Aunt Matilda Pomeroy’s shed. Her daughter Urzula was the teacher. We had to make our own amusements, and as the town grew, more young folks came. We held dances in different homes that had room enough. My mother’s front room was one of them. We had three fiddlers we could depend on. They were Father, Joseph Lamb, and Harve Blair. We often went to Lehi for parties. We would put four seats in a lumber wagon. There would be four couples of us, and Wallace MacDonald [1865–1952] was the driver. It seemed as though we would make the trip as quick as they do now in their cars.

In the 1880s, I assisted Francelle Robson in teaching school. On September 27, 1884, I married Elijah Pomeroy. Due to circumstances, I had to work out all of my life. I worked in stores such as Zenos Co-op, the O. S. Stapley [hardware store], Joseph Clark’s Furniture, George Ellsworth’s grocery, and my brother William and Roy LeSueur’s grocery store. I have done lots of practical nursing. I cooked two seasons for the “thresher” [crew] and one season for my brother William’s bailer crew. I have worked in all of the different organizations of the Church. I was counselor in the stake Primary, president of the Second Ward Relief Society for six years, teacher in the MIA and Sunday School. I was one of the first teachers to be called in the Religion Class when Brothers Maeser and Goddard were here and organized it.[121]

I was blessed with six lovely babies; Sarah, Hyrum, and Loren died in infancy. Marion was permitted to stay with me eighteen years. Monita was with me twenty-two years. Reuel Nephi is the only child I have living. He married Helen DeLucia. They have five lovely children, Marion, Reuel, Monita, Loren Phelps, Delores Maria, and Geary Louis. Monita died shortly after her birth.

In 1917, Monita filled a mission in the Central States. She was released on account of her health and came home. In 1919, Reuel was called to the same mission. Monita and I went to Sombrero Buttes to cook for miners to help keep Reuel on his mission. I never got along as well in my life. The Lord is always ready to bless and prosper us when we are in his service. One of his commandments is, pay your tithes in the season thereof. When I cooked on the thresher, Marion was straw buck. We pooled our money and banked it, and then lost track of the amount we had. The Lord cashed all of our checks. We wanted to buy us a little farm when we got enough money saved. We bought a twenty-acre farm from Ed Lewis in the Alma Ward. When we drew our money out of the bank to buy the farm we had $40 more than enough to pay cash for it; that was a great testimony to us, for we had paid an honest tithing and the Lord had kept his promise to us. We will all prosper and live better lives if we obey all the commandments he has given to us.

I was an ordained worker in the Mesa Temple until I moved to San Francisco in 1935 on account of my health. Reuel was living there at the time and told Vera Menhennet (Hazel’s daughter) if she would go with his mother, he would board her until she got a job, so she went and made me keep on a strict diet, and it wasn’t long before I was my old self again. My trouble was my leg, and the heat was too much for it, so the doctor told me to go to California. I was chosen first counselor in the Relief Society in San Francisco, and I enjoyed it very much with the good people of San Francisco Ward.

After the Second World War broke out, Reuel thought it his duty to join the service, so in 1942 I moved back to Mesa, and Reuel joined the Army.

I lived for a while in the garage apartment of my brother Guy. My home [was] being rented. When the lease ran out I went to my HOME SWEET HOME and lived there until it was about to tumble down. I had a chance to sell so I did and put the money in on a three-bedroom home where Reuel had the lot already bought. The home is located on the old home place that my father had owned in 1884. Almost on the same spot Aunt Lib’s house was built on.

Again I have accepted a job in the Relief Society; I am a visiting teacher, and although I am past eighty-six years of age I am enjoying my work very much.[122]

Lucretia spent her last years in Superior with Reuel where she passed away early in the spring of 1966.

Ellis and Boone:

In 1879, when Elijah Pomeroy was twenty-nine years old, he married Mary Annetta Coleman, age seventeen, and in 1884 he married Sarah Lucretia Phelps, also age seventeen at the time of their marriage.[123] When Lucretia Pomeroy wrote, “Due to circumstances I had to work out all of my life,” she at least meant that as a second wife, she needed to provide financial support for her children.[124] In the 1910 census, Elijah and Etta Pomeroy are listed with their children in Mesa, and Lucretia is living separately in Alma with her three children (Francis, Monita, and Reuel). This seventeen-year age difference between Elijah and Lucretia also meant long years of widowhood. Elijah Pomeroy was a farmer and miner and died in 1919. His first wife, Etta Pomeroy, died in 1946, and Lucretia died on April 30, 1966, age ninety-eight. Her obituary describes her as “a teacher, nurse, clerk and church worker,” noting that “before the 1900s she worked in her husband’s dairy . . . and was one of the first employe[e]s of the O. S. Stapley Co. when it was started in 1895.”[125]

Sarah Matilda Colborn Pomeroy

Author Unknown[126]

Maiden Name: Sarah Matilda Colborn

Birth: November 4, 1834; Rose, Wayne Co., New York

Parents: Thomas Colborn and Sarah Bowers

Marriage: Francis Martin Pomeroy;[127] February 27, 1853

Children: Mary Ursula (1860), Talma Emerson (1863),[128] William Edley (1866), Franklin Thomas (1870), Sarah Rosina (1873), Edward Leslie (1876)

Death: December 25, 1926; Mesa, Maricopa Co., Arizona

Burial: Mesa, Maricopa Co., Arizona

In Rose, Wayne County, New York on November 4, 1834 a daughter was born to Thomas and Sarah Bowers Colborn. She was named Sarah Matilda. Her mother’s line went back to the Dutch in New York, and her father’s people a few generations back were from Scotland. Her grandfather Colborn had a wonderful orchard of apple trees near her home which remained bright in the memory of little Sarah Matilda.

Sarah Matilda Colborn Pomeroy.Sarah Matilda Colborn Pomeroy, c. 1909, in Chicago when she was visiting her son Edward. Photo courtesy of Lucille Brewer Kempton.

Brigham Young and his brother Joseph, with other elders, came to that part of the country, preaching the Mormon religion. Thomas and Sarah became convinced that this was the true gospel of Christ and were soon baptized. Since they were the only members of the Mormon Church in that vicinity, meetings were held in their house. Young Sarah Matilda remembered very well how she used to enjoy those meetings, especially the singing, which she thought heavenly. In school, she and her sisters were called “the little Mormons,” but they never felt a bit plagued by the name, rather felt proud of it.

About this time, the troubles in Missouri commenced, and the Prophet collected a company of young men to go up to the land of Missouri with food and clothing to assist those who had been driven from their homes by a ruthless mob. Thomas was one of the number chosen.[129] The Prophet Joseph Smith advised him to sell his property as soon as possible and gather with the Saints.[130] His property consisted of orchard, meadow land, timber land, houses, horses, sheep, and cows. It was eight years from that time before he had a chance to sell, and then it was at a great sacrifice.

The aged grandparents, Jonathan and Hannah Colborn, his brothers John and James, and his sister Catherine tried to talk them out of going at that time. It seemed every obstacle was thrown in their way to prevent them from going to Nauvoo. Just the day before they were ready to start, with the wagon already loaded, Thomas was thrown from a colt he was riding and was picked up unconscious. When he regained consciousness, he was out of his mind altogether. Declaring that he was going to die, he took his money box containing several hundred dollars into the street and tried to give it away.

Of course the family was in quite a quandary, but his wife was of the pure metal. She was determined to go at the time appointed in spite of the opposition of his family, who said it would be the death of him to go. Even the family physician protested his going. But Sarah Bowers Colborn felt that if they failed to go at that time they never would go, and she wanted her family raised in the Church. Her children, in later years, were to thank their Heavenly Father for such a mother, for without her willpower to go, they probably would not have enjoyed the rich blessings of associating with the Saints of God.

When they started, Thomas had to be lifted into the wagon because of his opposition to leaving his home, but his wife’s will prevailed. He soon became reconciled to the move, but still persisted in saying that he would never live to get to Nauvoo.

Camp was made below Nauvoo next to the river in a small log house already built. The next morning, Sarah Matilda, who was eight years old, saw the Prophet for the first time. Joseph Smith came to borrow $100 from her father to pay for a lawyer for Porter Rockwell.[131] Sarah Colborn Pomeroy wrote:

A gentleman rode up and enquired for Thomas Colborn. I called Father from the house. He shook hands delightedly and called him Brother Joseph. I noticed he was a fine-looking man but had no idea it was the Prophet. Father invited him to alight and come in the house, which he did. He then told Father that he was very much in need of some money and wished Father to lend him $100 to assist in paying a lawyer to defend Porter Rockwell, who had been kidnapped and taken to Missouri. He was accused of attempting to take the life of Governor Lilburn Boggs, of which he was innocent.[132] Father willingly loaned it to him, without receipt or bond, saying “Your word is as good as your bond.” Joseph said, “If I am alive I will return this within three days.” Aunt Catherine was angry with Father for thus “throwing his money away,” and saying he would never see his money again.[133] Father answered, “Oh, if he is not able to pay it, he is welcome to it.” The third day was a very rainy, dismal day, and I remember thinking, “Well, if he doesn’t pay today, he will have a good excuse.” About ten o’clock p.m. after we had all retired for the night, a knock came at the door. Father asked who was there. The reply was, “I, Joseph; I’ve come to pay you.” The door was opened, a light struck, and Joseph counted out the money, $100 in gold. He said, “I have traveled all day to collect this money, for I had given my word of honor, and I could not fail.” With a hearty “God bless you,” he was gone into the night. Aunt Catherine said not a word.

I have always felt thankful that Father had the opportunity of assisting the Prophet. Afterwards Father and Mother visited the Prophet, and she told him concerning Father’s case and the circumstances which led to it, with the request that the Prophet administer to him. This he did, rebuking the power of the Adversary which was afflicting him. Father improved from that hour, and in 1852 he filled a mission to Germany.[134]

Following the martyrdom of the Prophet, the Saints tried to sell their possessions in Nauvoo, preparatory to leaving Illinois. The Colborns sold their property for half value and bought a pretty good outfit so they could help two other families. They ferried across the river in May and found terribly rough roads and mud, for it was the rainy season. Sarah Matilda was thirteen years old when her family started across the plains in 1848.

Herds of buffalo, coming down from the hills for water, were a constant danger. Once William Clayton rode to head off the leading bull of a stampeding herd by firing his pistol. This turned the bull and saved the wagon train. When they stopped, the mother found her scissors were gone. It was impossible to live without those scissors, so after camp was made, she and young Sarah went to hunt in the dust made by the running teams and found her scissors.

The Colborns, traveling in President [Heber C.] Kimball’s Company, reached Salt Lake Valley September 24, 1848.[135] They lived that winter in a double log house in Holladay settlement, ten miles from Salt Lake City. The two daughters and their mother spent weeks gleaning in the wheat fields for seed wheat. Just when a beautiful harvest seemed assured, the crickets came. After four heartbreaking days in the fields fighting crickets, the gulls came, and the crops were saved.

Sarah Matilda Colborn Pomeroy with grandson.Sarah Matilda Colborn Pomeroy with grandson, Leslie O. Brewer, 1908. Photo courtesy of Lucille Brewer Kempton.

In 1853 Thomas Colborn was called to fill a mission to Germany.[136] When he was released to return home after his mission, he was given permission to visit with his relatives in New York. However, he found a great deal of bitterness against the Mormons, and so he continued his homeward journey to Salt Lake City.

Since their first arrival in Salt Lake City, young Sarah Matilda had been living with different families to help care for the children. When fourteen, she had cared for Francelle Pomeroy, daughter of Francis Martin Pomeroy and Irene Haskell Pomeroy. She found Irene to be a lovable, well-educated woman who dearly loved the gospel. At age nineteen, Sarah Matilda Colborn became the second wife of Francis Martin Pomeroy. President Brigham Young performed the marriage. She has written, “About this time I accepted the Patriarchal order of marriage, and was married to Francis Martin Pomeroy, who had a wife and four children, already. I went into it with a firm belief in the divinity of the institution, and although I passed through a great many trials on account of it, I never have changed my mind in regard to the sacredness of the Celestial Order of Marriage. I lived in the family a few years when I had a small cottage built on the same lot. His wife Irene always treated me like a sister, and I loved and respected her as a true Saint of God.”

Later, Francis took another wife, a little English girl who crossed the plains in the handcart company. Her name was Jessamine Rutledge.[137]

In 1856, due to false rumors, the United States government believed the Mormons to be in rebellion against the country. The people of Salt Lake City voted to desert their homes and burn every building if the soldiers came to take possession. While taking refuge from the rain and wind in cane wickiups near the river, Irene Pomeroy gave birth to twin girls. Although the soldiers were recalled and the city was saved, she never fully recovered her health from the ordeal. Her death came two years later.[138]

Francis purchased a farm in Little Cottonwood Canyon where Sarah and the family lived for five years. Then they were to move to Paris, Bear Lake County, Idaho, where four of her six children were born. Grandmother Haskell had always lived with the family, caring for Irene’s twins after her death. Sarah Matilda’s oldest child, Zula, was just two years younger than the twins, and the three were raised like triplets.

The next call to move came from President Brigham Young in 1877. Francis was asked to form a company to go south to Arizona. Sarah Matilda and the children, of course, regretted leaving their home and friends. However, she soon became reconciled to the move because of a number of remarkable dreams concerning Arizona—dreams of wonderful fruit and vegetables, green fields, and waving grain.

The Idaho pioneers were joined by others as they came through Salt Lake City, so that some of the names now included in the group were Pomeroy, Sirrine, Crismon, Newell, Smith, Schwartz, Blair, Nelson, Clifton, Hobson, and Robson.

Christmas Eve that year found the party on the summit of the Mogollon mountains in a big snowstorm. Their white Christmas looked like a blockade, and they feared being snowed in for the winter. “Merry Christmas” was heard but feebly responded to. They slowly made their way down out of the snow. Four men were sent ahead to select a final destination, and in January of 1878, they reached the small settlement of which is now known as Lehi, Arizona. They decided that water could be brought onto the mesa above Lehi, and so selected that area as their town site. Appropriately, the name Mesa was given to the new town.

The new settlers lived in tents until adobe houses could be built. Sarah Matilda’s husband put up a large bowery between her tent and a little adobe building. Her bowery served for church and social gatherings and also for the first public school. Her daughter Zula was Mesa’s first teacher.

In 1884, Francis Martin Pomeroy died of heart disease leaving two wives, sixteen children, and eighteen grandchildren. Since there was no will, most of the property was given to the children of his first family, whose mother was dead. Each of the other two wives was given her house and a small acreage. It was quite a struggle for Sarah to provide for her family until the boys were old enough to work for wages.

This faithful pioneer woman spent many hours caring for the sick, as she had taken a course in nursing given by the Church. In the very early days of Mesa, there arose many times when her services were needed. She also served as president of the Maricopa Stake Relief Society and as secretary of the Relief Society, a responsibility which she held for many years.

In the days when she had lived in Idaho, Sarah had dreaded another pioneering; but she now thought the Salt River Valley of Arizona was the best place of all. She, like many of our pioneer mothers, had conquered self enough that she could meet life with a smile and a challenge. With her children, she did much praying in secret at the bedside and much singing of hymns at home as well as in church. They could entertain a whole evening with songs and the stories of plays and books.

She spent the rest of her days in Mesa except for a few summers spent in cooler times. She was happy to have three of her four boys fill missions and was an active worker herself as long as she was able. She watched the growth of the country with great interest.

She lived to be ninety-two years old, passing to the other side on December 25, 1926, in Mesa.

Ellis and Boone:

In January 1967, W. Earl Merrill began writing a weekly local history column, “This Week in Mesa’s Past,” for the Mesa Tribune. Although he did not originally plan to publish these columns in book form, by 1970, he published the first two years of these columns in the book, One Hundred Steps Down Mesa’s Past. These stories were published as they appeared in the newspaper, with no effort to put the ideas and events discussed in chronological order.

For an October 1967 column, Merrill tried to reconcile the roster of first pioneers to the town of Mesa. Earlier authors such as Frank Pomeroy and Ethel Stewart Russell had used the numbers of 72 and 75 respectively, and McClintock and Our Town both used the figure of 83.[139] Merrill listed the people by families and ages and noted errors he found in previous lists. His entry for the Francis Martin Pomeroy family lists husband first, then his two living wives, a child by his first marriage, then children by Sarah Matilda, and finally children by Jessamine R. Pomeroy. This is Merrill’s list: “Francis Martin Pomeroy (55), Sarah Matilda Pomeroy (43), Jessamine R. Pomeroy (33), and children Elijah (27), Mary Ursula (17), Talmai E. (14), Wm. E. (11), Franklin T. (7), Sarah Rosina (4), Edward L. (1), Eleanor Rosetta (15), Gertrude (12), Henry (10), Heber Kimball (9), and Martin Isaac (17).” Martin Isaac is a son of Pomeroy’s first wife, Irene Haskell, and a separate entry is made for married son, “John H. Pomeroy (25), and Emily Stratton Pomeroy (17).”[140]

Merrill then wrote, “Thus we would have a total of 80 individuals as a peak enrollment of the company,” and with two men leaving before reaching the Salt River Valley and two deaths before moving onto the mesa, “the actual number of the original founders of Mesa would be 76.”[141] Regardless of the actual number, Sarah Matilda Colborn Pomeroy came with the Mesa pioneer company, stayed to make it her permanent home, and her children became important families in the community.

Sarah Melissa Johnson Pomeroy

Author Unknown

Maiden Name: Sarah Melissa “May” Johnson

Birth: May 4, 1866; Spring Lake, Utah Co., Utah

Parents: Benjamin Franklin Johnson and Sarah Melissa Holman[142]

Marriage: Talmai Emerson Pomeroy;[143] October 13, 1886

Children: Talma Emerson (1887), Mabel Aeolia (1888), Clarence Melnotte (1890), Gladys Leona (1894), Sarah Melissa (1896), Joseph Franklin (1899), Edith Ursula (1902)

Death: May 15, 1940; Mesa, Maricopa Co., Arizona

Burial: Mesa, Maricopa Co., Arizona

Sarah Melissa Johnson, whose mother re-christened her “May,” was born in Spring Lake, Utah, on May 4, 1866. She was the fifth of eleven children born to Benjamin F. Johnson and Sarah Melissa Holman Johnson.

She was a pretty, blue-eyed, brown-haired girl with a quick wit, who seemed to have a deep faith even as a small girl. Early in life she was promised in a patriarchal blessing that she would dream dreams that would be of help when in trouble. At times this blessing was realized, as the following experience will tell: At one time an adopted Indian brother, Kimo, had gone into the hills for wood, taking with him one of her small brothers. After they had gone, a terrific snowstorm came up.

Sarah Melissa "May" Johnson Pomeroy.y.Sarah Melissa "May" Johnson Pomeroy, c. 1890. Photo courtesy of Kathe Biery Espinili.

When they had not returned by evening, searching parties were sent out but the boys could not be found. At bedtime little May’s parents insisted that she go to bed, much against her will. She fell asleep and dreamed she saw her little brother lying on the horse with the Indian boy’s coat wrapped around him while the Indian boy was suffering from the cold.

She awakened, ran downstairs and told where her brothers could be found. A searching party went to the place indicated, and Kimo and little Angus were found just as May had said.

The small valley of Spring Lake, surrounded by green hills and lofty snow-peaked mountains, with its many springs, blue lake, and fields of wild flowers, was a literal paradise to May. It was her privilege, because she was such a lover of nature, to go into the hills very early in the morning when the weather permitted, for a bouquet of wild flowers for the prayer room where the entire family, including her father’s other wives and children, met each morning for family prayer and a song, the favorite song being, “Sweet Hour of Prayer.”[144]

She has said many times that children nowhere on earth could have been happier than she and her many brothers and sisters were. She loved them all dearly.

Her father had many occupations and enterprises in operation in this little Johnson community of Spring Lake. This was needed not only for their support, but also to keep his children busy, which he was very successful in doing. Her father was a horticulturist, nursery man, seedman; [he] manufactured leather goods, brooms, dyes; [he] engaged in lumbering, fruit canning, bee-keeping, silkworm culture, raising cashmere goats, and pharmacy. He was also a legislator, patriarch, and bishop. The children of his six families operated these industries, with even the small children hoeing in the fields. There was a time-keeper, and all were remunerated for their work in money. “Busy hands keep hearts happy!”

Because May was so quick and alert, her busy father kept her at his side to run errands and attend to his personal wants. He nicknamed her “Hopper.” When he told her what to do he would say, “Now Hopper, hop.” She hopped!

May was fourteen years old when the Johnson family, because of certain pressures, moved to Arizona. It was a great sacrifice to leave the beautiful Utah home, and it was a long time before May became reconciled to dry desert and sagebrush.

After coming to Arizona, the Johnsons first made their home in Tempe. Here, May lived in the home of the Haydens, parents of Senator Carl Hayden. She helped Mrs. Hayden in a small hotel the family owned (the original Casa Vieja). Mrs. Hayden was a lovely lady and an expert cook, and May learned much from her.

She was always treated as a member of the family in the Hayden home and before she left there, Mrs. Hayden tried several times to play cupid saying, “You are too smart to marry a poor Mormon boy,” and tried to marry her off to promising young men from the Phoenix district. This was not to be, and her children are very happy and proud of the choice she made.

On October 3, 1886, in the St. George Temple, she married Talma E. Pomeroy, a stalwart Latter-day Saint, whose father, a Utah pioneer with Brigham Young, was also one of the founders of Mesa. The Pomeroys preceded the Johnsons into the valley [by] three years.

To Talma and May were born seven children: Talma E. Jr. who died in infancy, Mabel, who passed away April 1964, Clarence E., Leona, Sarah Melissa (Melza), Joseph F., and Ursula, who passed away in 1914.

Talma and May operated the first hotel in Mesa, an adobe structure that stood where Everybody’s Drug Store is now [open until 1991 at Main and Macdonald]. After a few years, they built a brick residence at 145 South Robson in Mesa.

Because of her keen wit and the hospitality of herself and husband, their spacious home was made the general meeting place for relatives and friends. There usually was a crowd of children playing on the lawn and under the shade trees. Some of them who are grandparents now still tell about Aunt May’s good, hot, homemade bread and butter.

In 1902 for his second mission for the Church, her husband was called to Mexico. After laboring there for some time, he was made mission president. Talma returned home for his family, and they accompanied him to Mexico City where May presided as mission mother. Her sympathetic, loving nature and ability as an expert cook were qualities which endeared her to the missionaries.

In her later years, she and her husband were chosen to be among the first ordained Arizona Temple workers. This wonderful privilege they enjoyed for a number of years, as long as their health permitted.

May passed away May 15, 1940, and her beloved husband joined her five weeks later. Her memory is cherished as a devoted mother by her children, and as a loved one and friend by many.

Ellis and Boone:

In 1972, Leona Pomeroy Huber wrote about her father, Talma Emerson Pomeroy; she had previously written about her mother, although it is not certain that this sketch is her writing. Leona’s assessment of the relationship between her parents is revealing. She wrote, “One especially endearing quality was his deep devotion he had for my mother. Even as a small girl I noticed there was something different at home. For instance when I spent the night at the home of a cousin, I would notice the mother got up, made the fire in the wood stove, cooked breakfast then called the Lord and Master to come eat. Not so at our house. Papa was up first and the fire was burning for my mother to cook the meal. Mamma never shirked doing her part but how my father tried to make things nicer and easier for her always!”[145]

Leona Huber also told about Talma Pomeroy’s mission to Mexico, his call as president of the Mexican Mission, and the family’s time in Mexico. She wrote:

As I remember papa served as a Missionary about two years before he was set apart by Apostle Owen Woodruff to become mission president. Sister Woodruff accompanied her husband to Mexico and while there contracted the smallpox.[146] Her husband, my father and Elder Taylor cared for her, but she died. Papa started with the corpse and Apostle Woodruff to go with them to Salt Lake City, but Apostle Woodruff came down with the disease in El Paso where he also died.

After much fumigation and a period of quarantine papa came home to take his family back to Mexico City. As a germ precaution, when we reached the Mexican border, we were ushered into a State Room where we didn’t need to mingle with other passengers.[147]

Talma and May Pomeroy did not think it wise to send their children to public schools, and private schools were too expensive, but the children did learn something of the language and customs of the Mexican people. Leona wrote that she was the cause of her parents returning sooner than expected. After participating in races and other physical activities, she would be short of breath. A doctor thought the altitude was “too much for her heart,” and when LDS authorities learned of this, Talma Pomeroy was immediately released and the family returned to Arizona.

Talma Pomeroy presided over the Mexican Mission from 1904 to 1905; he was set apart on May 23, 1904. Rey L. Pratt wrote, “Great progress was made in missionary work during President Pomeroy’s administration. New fields were opened up and new branches were organized. He was released and returned home on August 25, 1905.”[148]

Nina Malinda Leavitt Porter

Roberta Flake Clayton, FWP

Maiden Name: Nina Malinda Leavitt

Birth: November 25, 1861; Richville, Morgan Co., Utah[149]

Parents: George Leavitt and Sarah Angeline Porter

Marriage: Sanford Marius Porter;[150] September 4, 1879

Children: Marius Earl (1880), Rulon Ensign (1882), Emma Ethel (1884), Adah Janette (1886), Aaron Bond (1887), Miral Adrian (1889), Mamie Teresa (1890), Sarah Elva (1892), Liona Ordel (1894), Myron Leavitt (1896), Leo Fenton (1898), Sanford Emil (1900), Nina Arreta (1901), Thora (1902)

Death: December 15, 1936; Mesa, Maricopa Co., Arizona

Burial: Joseph City, Navajo Co., Arizona

Nina Leavitt, daughter of George and Sarah Angeline Porter Leavitt, was born in Richville, Morgan County, Utah, November 25, 1861. The Leavitt family, like many of the pioneer families, spent their early years in humble circumstances with few of the comforts of life, which today would be considered necessities. Nina spent a great deal of her early life working for families for low wages, assisting, with the means thus obtained, in keeping [providing necessities for] her mother and the family.

Schools were few and rudimentary, and the school room in which Nina attended may well be described as poorly furnished. Around the walls were shelves on wooden pegs and rude supports, in front of which were split log benches, without backs, which served for the period of study as well as recitation. Only the three Rs and spelling were taught. Teachers were poorly paid and poorly prepared for their work. Nina’s mother, with an education far surpassed today by our eighth grade students, was one of the teachers of that day.

Sanford and Nina with children.Sandford and Nina Malinda Leavitt Porter with children. Photo courtesy of DUP album, Snowflake-Taylor Family History Center.

Nina was married September 4, 1879, to Sanford Marius Porter, son of Sanford Porter Jr. and Emma Ensign. The young couple lived in one of the rooms of his father’s home, and worked the farm which they had rented. Here their first child, Marius Earl, was born July 6, 1880.

On November 4 of that year, she and her husband left Porterville to join other pioneers who were called to Arizona to settle on the Little Colorado River. It was their intention to make themselves a permanent home there, taking with them their scanty personal effects, consisting mainly of a few pieces of primitive furniture, aside from their wagon and team. On December 4, 1880, they reached Sunset, where their home was made for a few years.

It was here that their first real sorrow came to them when, on August 10, 1881, their only child was taken by the “Angel of Death.” About the same time the husband was stricken with a disease similar to cholera, and for a time it seemed that the young wife was to be left alone in this land so far away from all of her loved ones, but thru the blessings of a kind Providence, he was again restored to health.

Each summer was spent at the old “Mormon Dairy” about twenty-five miles south of Flagstaff, working at dairying and stock raising. While in Sunset, their second son, Rulon Ensign, was born February 4, 1882. In him they felt less keenly the loss of their first born.

In the spring of 1884, the family moved to Joseph City and from there to their home on a ranch, about one and a half miles west of town. This was in 1886. Here, twelve of their fourteen children were born and reared under conditions characteristic of pioneer farm life. In spite of humble circumstances, their home life was full of love. Memories of happy times which existed, especially at Christmas seasons, due to the efforts of a loving mother, will always remain with her children.

Five of her children died during infancy, and three others during childhood, and [they experienced] much sickness and sorrow, but through it all Nina displayed a spirit of love and trust.[151] During all of her life, she was willing to do her share. In those early days in the little towns along the Little Colorado, the people worked together building dams and trying to bring land under cultivation, and they lived like one big family, living in a fort and all eating at one large table. The women folk took their turn at cooking and all the other housework, and Nina took her turn cheerfully with the others. She knew the lessons of thrift and the arts of making both food and clothing for her family. She took much pride in her gardening and raised many choice vegetables which she knew how to prepare in a palatable and nutritious way.

Ever ready to answer any call made of her by her church, she served for seventeen years as president of the Relief Society of Joseph City. Although she often had to walk more than a mile one day each week to attend these meetings, she rarely ever missed one unless on account of sickness.

Towards the latter end of her life, she and her husband built them a little home in Mesa, Arizona, where they spent the winter months, returning to their home in northern Arizona for the summers.

Women at the Mormon dairy.This well-known photograph of women at Mormon dairy was taken sometime between 1887 and 1889 by F. A. Ames, an erstwhile cowboy working for the Aztec Land and Cattle Company, better known as the Hashknife. Ames, however, is best remembered for his photographs. It would be interesting to know the names of these women, but Ames did not identify them other than as Mormon. Photo courtesy of National Archives.

On June 14, 1933, she was bereft of her husband. This was a great sorrow to her, but with her characteristic courage she went bravely on, much the same as before, until death came also to her, three years later, at Mesa, December 15, 1936.

During the last two years of her life her heart was very weak and she practically lost her eyesight. An operation was performed upon them and it seemed her sight would be restored, and the last Thanksgiving Day was truly one of thankfulness by her children and friends; but for only a short time, for in less than a month she had passed peacefully away, and her remains were brought to Joseph City, where they were laid away by the side of her companion, in a richly deserved rest. Truly the closing of a life well filled.

Ellis and Boone:

There is a well-known photograph at the National Archives showing two Mormon women and three children outside a cabin at Mormon Dairy. It was taken sometime between 1887 and 1889 by F. A. Ames, an erstwhile cowboy working for the Aztec Land and Cattle Company, better known as the Hashknife. Ames, however, is best remembered for his photographs. Of course it would be interesting to know if one of the women was Nina Porter, but the photograph is unlabeled other than location.

In the fall of 1876, men from Allen’s Camp traveled to the marshy area south of Flagstaff now known as Mormon Lake.[152] The cool mountains were ideal pasture for dairy cows in the summer, and soon Mormon men and women were producing butter and cheese for the Joseph City, Sunset, and Brigham City communities. They also found this area ideal for raising potatoes and pigs (presumably giving them the buttermilk). In October of 1881, Joseph City men brought 184 bushels of potatoes, 1000 pounds of pork, 900 pounds of butter, and 1060 pounds of cheese to the settlement.[153] In 1882, the Mormon Dairy pioneers produced 2000 pounds of cheese, 1300 pounds of butter, 340 bushels of potatoes, and 1100 pounds of pork.[154] Butter and cheese became an important source of calories for pioneers along the Little Colorado River.[155]

Three of the sons of Sanford Porter Jr. settled in Joseph City and at least two were intimately associated with the Mormon Dairy cheese-making operations. Nathan T. Porter had the reputation of a good cheese maker and at least in some years was in charge of cheese making at the dairy.[156] Marius and Nina Porter spent four summers at Mormon Dairy, probably 1881–84.[157] Communal operations continued there until after the Sunset United Order break up of 1887. Frihoff G. Nielson wrote in September of that year, “Finished delivering stock to the Porters” and “Porter boys left with stock at noon.”[158] Presumably they were taking the cattle to the property just west of Joseph City where both Nathan and Marius Porter eventually settled.

Elizabeth Isabelle Jacobson Pulsipher


Maiden Name: Elizabeth Isabelle (Ingeborg) Jacobson[159]

Birth: October 8, 1850; Stavanger, Rogaland, Norway

Parents: Rasmus/Erastus Jacobson and Iverine/Lorina Johansen

Marriage: David Pulsipher; October 30, 1867

Children: David (1868), William Jacobsen (1870), John Edward (1873), Ezekiel Charles (1875), Jacob Erastus (1877), Alma (1880), Daniel (1882), Hyrum (1884), Clarissa Lorena (1887), Ellen Grace (1890), Margaret Isabelle (1893)

Death: February 16, 1933; Mesa, Maricopa Co., Arizona

Burial: Provo, Utah Co., Utah

Elizabeth Isabelle, daughter of Erastus and Lorina Jacobson, was born in Stavanger, Norway, October 8, 1850.

Father joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1860, while persecution of the Saints was very bad and times were hard. He was a shoemaker by trade, but when he joined the Church no one would give him work, they were so bitter against Mormonism. He and Mother had to do any kind of work they could in order to get food for their children.

Father left Norway about the first of April 1863 for Zion. They were on the steamboat three days, and oh, how seasick I was. We arrived in England and waited about two weeks for repairs on the ship before we could cross the Atlantic. We were on the ocean eight weeks, and there were lots of sickness during the trip, many having fever and some dying. My little sister was very ill during the trip, and Mother prayed that she might live until we reached land, and she recovered. We stayed in New York City half a day and then boarded the train. There were so many of us we had to ride in cattle cars. I do not remember the details of the trip, but do remember that we ferried across rivers, boarded trains, and finally arrived in Carthage, where the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were martyred. My father and mother left me to care for the five children, including myself, while they went to see the jail.

We traveled up the Missouri River until we arrived at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where we met the ox teams.[160] I do not remember how many days we had traveled when Mother was run over. She was leaning out of the wagon to call Father to come and take the baby, as the driver had asked Mother to walk, when her foot slipped and she fell and was run over and severely injured. For four days we traveled and arrived at Fort Laramie. They carried Mother into an old log house which had no doors or windows and large cracks in the walls. Mother was helpless, the baby was ill, and I was left with a family of seven to care for, although I was only twelve years old. Being the oldest child, the responsibility of the family rested upon me, and nearly every night I had to be up with the sick baby. Father had to work at the fort for our bread. The Indians were very friendly with us and often came in to see what they could do for us. I walked to the fort often with them.

There is one incident I wish to tell to show that the Lord was with us and that he blessed us. One day I was preparing a meal and had fried bacon, pouring the hot grease into a cup and setting it upon a high shelf. My little brother, nine years old, wanted a drink so naturally reached for the cup and spilled the hot grease into his face. I grabbed the bucket of water and threw it over him, and as miraculous as it sounds, the hot grease left not a sign of a burn on him.

Elizabeth Isabelle Jacobsen Pulsipher.Elizabeth Isabelle Jacobsen Pulsipher; Margaret J. Overson, photographer. Photo courtesy of Overson Collection, St. Johns Family History Library.

We lived in the log hut for two weeks. There were some apostate Mormons living at the fort, and they had talked Father into going back to Omaha, Nebraska, to live. The night before we had made preparations to leave, Mother had the following dream: She dreamed that a man stood beside her bed and told her not to go back to Omaha, but to go on to Zion. There were no ox teams there at the time, and we thought there would be none in. The old man who stood at mother’s bedside had a long, flowing beard and white hair. He told her that there would be two ox trains in the next morning and that she was to go on to Zion with them and not to turn back. The next day when the wagon came to take us back to Omaha, Mother refused to go. That same day one of the ox trains came in, arriving at the ferry, a half mile from where we lived. We were told the train was already overloaded, so we could not go. The captain of the next train stated that his train had no room for us. This discouraged Father very much, but Mother never lost hope. “We are going. The trains have come as the man said they would, and I KNOW that we will go,” she said. As I was out preparing dinner on a campfire, I saw a wagon coming up the road. I ran into the house and told Father they were coming for us.

Traveling was not easy at this time, especially in our family. Mother had not recovered from her injuries, so riding in a wagon was very painful for her. My little sister was very sick also; her condition was so that I held her on my lap. She died the third day after we had started, and as there was no one to take care of the body, I had to bathe her and put a little dress on her and sew a cloth around her body to be buried in as there was no coffin. As small as I was, no one came to help me, and Mother was not able to do anything. Father helped Mother out of the wagon, and from that day on she walked the rest of the way. Many a night I have lain and held a quilt over Mother to keep the rain off her.

Joseph F. Smith, who had just returned from a mission to England, was in the same company as we. He would come to our wagon every morning to see how Mother was and to bring her a little sugar or other dainties that he had and always helped in any way he could.

Father, my little brother, and myself used to walk on ahead and would catch fish in small streams. Toward camping time, I would gather buffalo chips in my apron and take them to camp to burn. When I would get tired of carrying one load, I would put them down and rest before gathering more.

We arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah, on October 8, 1863, after traveling six months, having left on the first of April. I was thirteen years old. When we arrived we knew no one and did not know what to do or where to go. The wagon, which we occupied, was going to Lehi, so we went with it. We all stripped cane and did anything that we could do to get something to eat. That winter, Father went to Draper to work, as he was a shoemaker by trade, and could get nothing to do in Lehi. Mother and I went into the hills and gathered carrot-sagebrush to burn, and when the snow was up to my knees, I went into the fields and dug willows out and piled them up in piles. We then got a man to haul them to our place for half of them. I was small for my age but rather strong. In the Spring of 1864, we moved to Draper.

Here real hard times commenced for me. I worked in a field for a man for three months and three weeks, and I could not possibly stand it any longer. I left them, and they would not pay me anything because I had quit. They gave me an old dress made out of denim, and the woman there took my clothes, although she denied it. Every noon time, I had to draw water out of a deep well to water thirteen head of calves while the man and his wife went into the house to rest. After dinner I had to go into the field and do all kinds of work that men did, such as pitching hay and the like.

That winter I attended Dr. Park’s school for three months, that being all the schooling I ever received. I worked out for four years helping to support the family, then being tired of working for other people, I decided to be my own boss. On October 26, 1867, I was married to David Pulsipher, a member of the Mormon Battalion.

My life was a struggle both before and after marriage. The first year, our best horse was stolen, and this left us with only one horse. The second year, the grasshoppers came, and sometimes they were so thick that we could not see the sun. My husband went to work on the railroad, making the grading. We had a little grain left that the grasshoppers did not eat, and I hired a man to cut it, and I raked it. He bound, and I shocked it. We lived in a log house of one room and with a dirt roof. My husband was called to go to help settle Arizona, and in 1873 while he was gone, my third boy (John Edward) was born. They did not stay long in Arizona, and in 1874 we built a better home.

We were called to go to Arizona, so in [October] 1879 we left Draper and arrived at Concho, Arizona, in December. Here we had “grasshoppers” [eating our] grain, and taking out what we planted. We had plenty of flour to last us the winter when we left, but we found so many Saints without that we divided and soon were without ourselves. We bought some barley, paid $6.50 a hundred for it, hauled it eighty miles to be ground, and lived on this for nine weeks. For the first flour we got there we paid $12.00 a hundred for it, and many people gave a cow for a hundred pounds of flour. Soda sold for 50 cents a package. The grasshoppers took our grain for the next two years.

In 1880, I was appointed second counselor to Sister Killian of the Relief Society, and I worked in that organization for twenty years. I also worked in the Primary Association with Sister Helena [Olena] Kempe.[161] We lived there for two years when my husband took with rheumatism in both hands. Most of the times he was helpless, and for seventeen years I had to wash and dress him.

I was the mother of eight boys and three girls; when an epidemic of scarlet fever broke out, I lost two of my boys in one month.[162] Another boy was left with dropsy. When my husband was left helpless, I took in sewing for the Mexicans and made dresses for $1.00 apiece. We lived in a Mexican house until my husband and the boys could build one for us. My husband’s hands were so bad that he had to use them both at a time to drive a nail. The boys made adobes, the oldest boy being fourteen. The boys did most of the building, and I engaged a Mexican woman to plaster the house when it was ready. This was our first home, and it had three rooms. We lived on cornbread and graham bread for a long time. The oldest boy (David Jr.) said, “I am tired of graham bread. I am going to raise some wheat.” The first wheat we raised was tromped out; that is, shelled out by horses stepping back and forth on it.

In 1892, I lost a little girl, Ellen Grace; she was twenty-one months old. In 1895, I lost a son, (John Edward), twenty-two years old. He was killed by a horse falling on him. In 1899, one of my sons (E. Charles) left for a mission to Texas. Another son, David, fulfilled a mission to the Eastern States in 1902.

My husband died in 1900, age seventy-two years, and as I did not want my son Charles to return from his mission until it was completed, another son and I went into the Gila Valley in the southern part of Arizona to find work.[163] My son stayed in the mission field for twenty-eight months. By the year 1905, all of my children were married except my baby girl. I moved down to the Gila Valley in 1906. I worked in [the mining towns of] Globe and Morenci and purchased a little home in Pima, Arizona.

I was selected as a Relief Society teacher at Pima in 1907. In 1917, my oldest son, David Jr. died and in the same year I came to Provo, Utah. My baby girl, Margaret Isabelle, was married in June 1917 to Reed D. Meldrum and died a year later in 1918.[164] I then returned to Pima, but returned to Provo in 1921 and built a little home by my son Charles.

I was the mother of eleven children, only three of whom are living. My seventh son, Daniel, died in 1925 at St. Johns, Arizona, and left a wife and ten children. My oldest daughter that was left, Lorena, died in October 26, 1925, at Pima, Arizona, leaving six children, [including] a baby two years old.

I have been a member of the ward choir for over fifty years. I sang in the choir at Draper, Utah; Concho, Arizona; Pima, Arizona; and Pleasant View Ward at Provo, Utah.

Six of my children were married in the temple, four of the boys worked in the bishopric, two of them fulfilled missions of twenty-eight months each. Three of my boys also acted as Sunday School superintendents. At the present time I have only three boys living out of the eleven children.[165]

I left Provo for California for my health on October 14, 1929. On December 3, I got word that my son William was very sick. He was living in Idaho, so I left that night arriving there on the 4th of December, but he had passed away on the 3rd, leaving a wife and five children. His wife wanted me to stay awhile, so I did. Then I got word that my son Charles was sick so I left for home that night, arriving in Provo on Friday morning at 9 o’clock, and my son Charles died that night [December 13, 1929] at 9:25 p.m. leaving a wife and five children.

I was sick in bed for three days. I then went back to California and stayed there until March, when I came back to Provo. Praying to God I have one son, Jacob, left, he is living in Arizona. At this writing I have thirty-eight grandchildren and twenty-nine great-grandchildren. I will be eighty years old October 8, 1930. I have written this entirely from memory.

Elizabeth Pulsipher died February 16, 1933, at age eighty-two. She is buried beside her daughter Margaret in the Provo City Cemetery.

Ellis and Boone:

Much of this sketch was published during Elizabeth Pulsipher’s lifetime as well as more recently.[166] As noted here, she did not remain in Concho after the death of her husband, and the town of Concho itself was ephemeral. The Wilhelms wrote, “Almost from the beginning Concho has been a community of two faces. The story of the Mormon settlement . . . is a picture of poverty, hardship and failure. History also records the other face, the Spanish speaking sector of Concho, as a veritable horn of plenty of wealth, prosperity, and power. Therefore it depends on which source one is quoting as to what kind of place Concho was.”[167]

Kenner Kartchner described the Mexican-American portion of the town as he began to play for dances. He wrote,

Among its three or four hundred inhabitants were well-to-do sheep and cattlemen, such as Juan and Rosalie Candelaria, David and Tom Ortega, Lorenzo Martinez, Lorenzo Baca, and others, all with medium to large families. It boasted two saloons, a bank, several small stores, a school, a dance hall, and the old coffin-shaped Catholic church north of town. . . . For those times it was a prosperous village, comprised of descendants of original Mexican settlers who had moved along the Rio Grande up through New Mexico to southern Colorado. This dated back to around 1700 a.d. after Diego de Vargas reconquered the area in 1692. Concho was one of the many outlying hamlets where these people came to settle. It came into existence in about 1869 when Juan Candelaria settled there with his sheep. Other founders were largely pastoral, branching westward from Albuquerque and vicinity in search of new grazing lands for their flocks.[168]

The Mormon settlers of Concho never achieved this same prosperity. By the time Kartchner described the town, most of them had moved on. They tried to farm but found the soil sticky when wet. They were plagued with grasshoppers, and there was a constant need for more water. Wilhelm and Wilhelm wrote, “It is quite plain that the key to prosperity in Concho was to participate in the stock business or to be involved in some phase of commercial enterprise along the main street. Since the main body of the people who were called to settle in Concho didn’t have the financial backing to do either, their efforts were doomed from the beginning.”[169] Mormons abandoning Concho moved to the nearby settlements of Hunt, St. Johns, and Vernon, or further south, like Elizabeth Pulsipher did, to the Gila Valley or New Mexico. The Wilhelms thought that although the Mormon settlers “had failed in Concho, once away they all scored as well as—or better than—people around them.”[170] And in conclusion, they wrote, “Only a token of their posterity remain to reminisce about the Concho that used to be and to hope that it will come again.”[171]

Pioneer Celebrations: A Pima birthday. Pima women celebrating a birthday about 1920, possibly Caroline Scofield Teeple's birthday (standing at back). Seated (left to right): Ella Teeples Grice, Clarissa Roxsania "Sanie" Crocket Norton, Ruth Burns McBride, Julia Holladay Clark? (106), Mary "Mame" Dodge Ransom, Ethlon Cluff Saline, ___ Weech, Louisa Roseberry Rogers, Caroline "Crilie" Teeples Warren (behind), unknown, unknown, Laura Gardner Nuttall (494), Rebecca Dall Holladay, Elizabeth Clark McBride (42), Elizabeth Ferrin Lines (daughter of Janetta McBridge Ferrin (177), Ada Johnson East; standing (from back, left to right): unknown (faint), Caroline Scofield Teeples, Della Peck Teeples, Helen Rogers Williams, Ethel Felshaw Kelly. Photo courtesy of Graham County Historical Society.


[1] A great-grandson has compiled additional information for Alzada: Arvin Palmer, “Ancestry: A. Z. Palmer and Alzada Kartchner,” in Palmer, Roy Palmer, 25−54. A sketch is also found in Collinwood, Kartchner Family, 59−63.

[2] Thalia Kartchner Butler, “The William Decatur Kartchner Family,” in Clayton, PMA, 254−60.

[3] Margaret Jane Casteel Kartchner, 345.

[4] “Alma Zemira Palmer,” in Clayton, PMA, 372−75.

[5] “History of Wesley Palmer,” ibid., 376−81.

[6] William Decatur Kartchner was given the choice of learning papermaking or blacksmithing when he was about fifteen years old. He chose to become a blacksmith and practiced this profession in Illinois, Colorado, Utah, California, and Arizona. This expertise was used to fashion a makeshift coffin for his young son. See Margaret Casteel Kartchner, 347; Thalia Kartchner Butler, “The William Decatur Kartchner Family,” in Clayton, PMA, 254–60. For another account of a child’s delayed burial, see Margaret Henrietta Camp Brantley Baird, 43.

[7] High taxes were part of this decision, but they were simply one part of Nevada politics that led Brigham Young to suggest that it would be okay to abandon the settlements. See Arrington, Mormons in Nevada, 37–45.

[8] The information in parenthesis here was added by Clayton when she updated this sketch for PWA. This dispute is still ongoing, and as Arvin Palmer noted, “Neither Flake nor Palmer kept a written record of their trip so we do not know what they did at each place they visited but it was in the nature of the business to be discussing possibilities wherever they went.” Palmer, History of Taylor and Shumway, 50.

[9] Crokinole was often played by Latter-day Saints in the early twentieth century because it did not require playing cards. Chips, similar to checkers, were flipped onto a round wooden board (about 27-inch diameter) with three concentric rings and a small hole in the center with pegs guarding the hole. Points were accumulated as the chip fell on the five-, ten-, or fifteen-point rings or in the twenty-point hole. Clayton told about playing two games of crokinole with her son “to see who would get the ice-cream—we all did.” RFC journal, June 23, 1931, copy in possession of Ellis.

[10] AzDC, Alzada Sophia Palmer.

[11] For an example, see the poem RFC wrote for her sister-in-law, Carrie Lindsey Flake, 185.

[12] The Meeks family, father William (age 37), mother Mary Elizabeth (32), Harvey Henry (14), Henry Rhoads [sic] (12), Mary Elizabeth (9), Mary Ann (7), William (6), Joseph Brigham (2), and Mary Jane (infant), came to Utah with the David Wood Company of 1852. This group, consisting of about 288 people and 58 wagons, left Iowa on June 6 and arrived in Utah the end of September. MPOT.

[13] Brigham Young visited southern Utah in 1861 and found only seventy-nine families living in the entire area. During the October conference that year, he called 300 men to reinforce the settlements. The site for the St. George Temple was not dedicated until November 9, 1871. DeMille, St. George Temple, 2–3,

[14] Roots of many species of agave (or yucca) were pounded or soaked and used as soap, both by Native Americans and by pioneers throughout the West. Epple, Plants of Arizona, 27–31, plates 137–47.

[15] Nevertheless, when James Pearce attended the first Pioneer (Heard) Reunion in Phoenix in 1921, he was indignant that other pioneers (not Mormons) were bragging about the Indians they had killed. (For examples, see skirmishes reported by James Allen, Charles H. Bowers, John S. Brannaman, Al Doyle, and William Fourr in the Arizona Republican, April 13, 1921.) Reportedly, Pearce said, “I have listened to all you old timers tell how many Indians you killed. The only ones I killed, if any, were the ones who ran themselves to death chasing me. I was always ahead of them.” The inference was that there was little need, and no glory, in killing Native Americans. Florence LeBaron Clay, “James Pearce Stories,” in Tenney, Taylor’s Centennial Stories, 12; “Tells Experiences When He First Came Here 69 Years Ago,” Arizona Republican, April 13, 1921.

[16] The grandchildren include Wilmirth Vilate and Florence Adelle Pearce, daughters of James Pearce and Vilate Oakley; Vernal Pearce and LeRoy Alfred Stowell, sons of George Alfred Stowell and Mary Jane Pearce; and Loren Harvey Staten, son of William H. Staten and Mary Jane Pearce. All five died between August and December 1902. Snowflake Cemetery Records.

[17] Jewett area is today known as Waterflow, San Juan Co., New Mexico. It is between Fruitland and Shiprock. Other early Arizona Mormon settlers (whose descendants still live in the area) include Marshall and Sarah Runyon Hunt and William and Elese Schmutz Hunt, 288.

[18] Sunday School was established specifically to teach children, and so, although the superintendents have been men, women have often taught the younger classes. As Allen and Leonard wrote, “The Sunday School, long the leader in adapting educational methods to religious instruction, adopted a system of efficiently grouping children in classes by age group, and in 1902 this became standard practice churchwide.” Before the change to a three-hour block on Sunday in 1980, a woman was often called as the Junior Sunday School Coordinator, responsible for instruction of the younger children. Allen and Leonard, Story of the Latter-day Saints, 461.

[19] Jennings, Arizona Was the West, 140−41.

[20] Ibid., 139−40.

[21] Lucille Young Hyler and Georgia Young McGee, “From Grandma Mary Jane Meeks Pearce,” in Tenney, Taylor’s Centennial Stories, 11−12. See Margaret McCleve Hancock, 241, for another “where babies come from” story.

[22] “Reuben Josiah Perkins,” in Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 4:619–20.

[23] This sketch indicates there were two additional sons which are presently unidentified. It seems possible that a child or two may have died in Missouri before the family traveled to Utah.

[24] Today, Kentucky is known as the Bluegrass State; Tennessee, which no doubt also has bluegrass, is generally known as the Volunteer State, referring to the War of 1812 and especially the Battle of New Orleans.

[25] Mormon converts and missionaries in the South suffered much abuse and violence after the Civil War until well into the twentieth century. Ben E. Rich, president of the Southern States Mission, kept a record of mob violence in which ministers were involved and then estimated that 90 percent of the violence was led by “so-called Christian ministers.” Anderson, “Southern States Mission and the Administration of Ben E. Rich,” 23–25.

[26] Although RFC indicated that Rhoda arrived in Utah in 1848, Jesse Nelson Perkins and many of his extended family came to Utah with the Allen Taylor Company of 1849. He was also part of the 1856 rescue mission for the stranded handcart companies. MPOT.

[27] Quote is possible reference to 2 Samuel 20:1.

[28] This sentence originally read “camped on the Colorado River,” but camping at St. George would be on the Virgin River.

[29] Generally, the Colorado River freezing over is associated with the Anthony W. Ivins account of the river at Lee’s Ferry on January 16−22, 1878 (McClintock) or February 15−18, 1878 (Reilly). McClintock, Mormon Settlement in Arizona, 95−96; Reilly, Lee’s Ferry, 74−75.

[30] Black smallpox was hemorrhagic smallpox and almost always fatal. “Deaths from Smallpox,” Deseret News, March 14, 1883.

[31] Keith W. Perkins, “A Personal Odyssey,” in Garrett and Johnson, Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint Church History: Arizona, 12−13.

[32] Lucille Plumb, “Smallpox,” in Tenney, Taylor’s Centennial Stories, 71. For information about other smallpox epidemics, see comments by Ellis and Boone for both Lorana Page Rogers, 604, and Julia Christina Hobson Stewart, 699.

[33] Pioneer Women of Navajo County (partial manuscript copy of PWA, Mesa FHL), 2:174−76.

[34] Margaret McCleve Hancock, 238.

[35] For a sketch of Sarah’s mother-in-law, see Rhoda Condra McClelland Perkins, 523.

[36] Names and birthdates of children are from a combination of Ancestral File, Arizona birth records, and 1920 census, Franklin M. Perkins, Taylor, Navajo Co., Arizona.

[37] Although the death certificate is damaged, the death date is clear. Sarah Catherine Perkins, AzDC.

[38] Heber Kimball Perkins was born March 30, 1894, and died March 12, 1916. The White and Black Rivers meet just southwest of Fort Apache and form the Salt River.

[39] See Proverbs 31:20, 27−29.

[40] Roberta Flake Clayton Papers, MS CM MSS 28, Folder 22, Luhrs Special Collection, Arizona State University.

[41] For the full account of their less-than-successful-fastest-time trip, see the story in Rebecca Reed Hancock Tenney, 716.

[42] Barnes, “The Honeymoon Trail to Utah,” 6–7, 17–18,

[43] Quotation marks around a single initial, as is sometimes used for Petersen in this sketch, have historically been used in Arizona to indicate a single letter in a name which is not an abbreviation for a full name.

[44] William W. Cluff (1832–1915); “William Wallace Cluff,” in Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 1:340–41. PWA originally had H. K. Brown, but this is Knud Hansen Bruun/Bruhn (1821–1910), who died in Nephi, Utah.

[45] This was the last group of Saints to sail aboard the John J. Boyd. They were led by William W. Cluff, Knud H. Bruun, and William S. Baxter, three of nine returning missionaries. The John J. Boyd left Liverpool on April 30, 1863, and arrived in New York City on May 29. As Mary mentions here, they saw whales (and icebergs). Sonne, Saints, Ships, and Mariners, 121.

[46] The Andersen family traveled with the John R. Young company of 1863 which left Florence, Nebraska, June 30, and arrived in Salt Lake City September 12. The family consisted of father Hans (age 43), mother Maren (age 36), and several children, the numbers of which do not correspond to information found at FamilySearch.org. MPOT.

[47] Sometimes this surname is spelled Baliff or Ballif, but the identity of this woman is uncertain.

[48] Being from Denmark, both surnames should be “sen,” and some records show this spelling, but the names were soon changed to the English spelling of “son.”

[49] Peter O. Petersen, as a four-year-old, came to Utah with the Willie handcart company of 1856. His parents settled in Logan and because neither died until 1900/1901, a better way to state this might be this quote from The 25th Stake of Zion: “Peter ‘O’ went to work when he was nine years old. When he was nineteen years old he was called to work on the St. George Temple. His early working years had given him no time to go to school and he had never learned to read or write. This was something he wanted to learn. While he was working in St. George, he got someone to write the alphabet for him. This he studied, and probably with help from friends, he did learn to read and write, chiefly by his own perseverance.” Taylor, 25th Stake of Zion, 248; Riverton Wyoming Stake, Remember, E-8; MPOT.

[50] Andrew (Anders) Anderson (1851–1938) and his wife Janet (1857–1936) both died at Virden, Hidalgo Co., New Mexico.

[51] See "Obed and Old Taylor," in Tanner and Richards, Colonization on the Little Colorado, 133–38, especially 136.

[52] See Eliza Ellen Parkinson Tanner, 709.

[53] Anna Janette Petersen was born March 18, 1879, and died December 11, 1882.

[54] Peter Petersen was born May 10, 1883, and died July 8, 1970 in Graham County.

[55] The Petersens lived at Graham, and he was bishop of the Graham Ward from 1885 to 1892. Taylor, 25th Stake of Zion, 258.

[56] Besides the deaths of two children mentioned earlier, daughter Emily, born in 1892, slipped into a canal and drowned when fifteen months old, and Sylvia, born in 1897, died of meningitis when eighteen months old. Taylor, 25th Stake of Zion, 258.

[57] Peter O. Petersen died November 3, 1927. AzDC.

[58] Three books provide some details of this incident, but none adequately treat the subject: Wood, Tragedy of the Powers Mine; Power and Whitlatch, Shoot-out at Dawn; Wolfe, Power, Passion, and Prejudice. In 2015, Cameron Trejo released a documentary, “Power’s War,” and Heidi Osselaer is working on a book putting the incident into historical context.

[59] Wolfe, Power, Passion, and Prejudice, 157–58.

[60] Kimball, Miracle of Forgiveness, 291.

[61] Ibid., 292.

[62] Ibid.

[63] Ibid., 289–293; quote on 293.

[64] Barbara Ann Phelps Allen, 33. Allen included this sketch in her book, Ancestors of the Children of Hyrum Smith Phelps, 55−57.

[65] This surname is spelled both Thorn and Thorne.

[66] “Sketch of the Life of Hyrum Smith Phelps,” in Clayton, PMA, 387−92; “Hyrum Smith Phelps,” in Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 2:138–39.

[67] For a photograph, see Louesa Harper Rogers, 607.

[68] Hyrum’s first wife was Mary’s sister, Sarah Clarinda Bingham, whom he married September 26, 1866.

[69] Originally spelled Lorett in PWA, Mary Laurette Phelps was born August 14, 1874 at Montpelier, and died September 19, 1876.

[70] Evidently, Mary and Clarinda’s mother used this middle room for a while. The Ashael referred to here is Ashael Bingham, son of Calvin and Elizabeth Thorne Bingham. He died as a young man, nearly twenty years old, on September 27, 1883, and is buried in the Mesa Cemetery.

[71] Hyrum Phelps was one of the men who served time at the Yuma penitentiary with William J. Flake. See Boone and Flake, “Prison Diary of William Jordan Flake,” 145−70.

[72] “Brother Calvin” is apparently the author’s half-brother, Morris Calvin Phelps, son of Clarinda and Hyrum Phelps. AzDC.

[73] Lucy Phelps married George Moroni Fryer; nine months after her death, Fryer married Lucy’s half-sister, Lottie Phelps. Ten years later, Lottie also died in childbirth with her fifth child. In 1920, George was living in Mesa, a widower, with four of Lucy’s children and three of Lottie’s. 1920 census, George Fryer, Mesa, Maricopa Co., Arizona.

[74] Hyrum Phelps was eighty years old when he was gored by the bull. Mesa doctors operated on him to repair the damage, but he died a week later. AzDC.

[75] Hyrum Smith Phelps Jr. was born January 26, 1869, and died February 26, 1888.

[76] Grandma Phelps is Sarah Thompson Phelps, 536.

[77] Rothschild and Hronek, Doing What the Day Brought, xiv.

[78] Merrill, One Hundred Footprints on Forgotten Trails, 55.

[79] Ibid., 57. Paragraphs combined.

[80] Allen, Ancestors of the Children of Hyrum Smith Phelps, 6−9.

[81] “Morris Phelps,” in Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 1:373–74.

[82] “Hyrum Smith Phelps,” ibid., 2:138–39; “Sketch of the Life of Hyrum Smith Phelps,” in Clayton, PMA, 387−92.

[83] PWA listed her father as James Thompson, which is apparently incorrect.

[84] It seems likely that these experiences teaching school were in Missouri and maybe Nauvoo.

[85] On October 30, 1838, about two hundred state militiamen attacked Mormons at a small mill owned by Jacob Haun on Shoal Creek in western Missouri. This was a direct consequence of Governor Lilburn Boggs’s infamous “Order of Extermination” three days earlier. Men, women, and children fled into the woods and into a blacksmith shop. The mob fired into the shop, and all seventeen Mormons were killed. Church leaders, including Joseph and Hyrum Smith, surrendered, were court-martialed in absentia, and condemned to death. General Alexander Doniphan refused to carry out the order, but the Saints knew they would have to leave Missouri. More recent research gives the spelling of his name as Jacob Hawn, shows that he was not a Mormon, and reveals that he later moved to Oregon. Allen and Leonard, Story of the Latter-day Saints, 120−30; Baugh, “Jacob Hawn and the Hawn’s Mill Massacre,” 1–25.

[86] The Female Relief Society of Nauvoo was organized on March 17, 1842, with Emma Smith as president. The women were to provide for the poor and strengthen the morals of the community. Allen and Leonard, Story of the Latter-day Saints, 160.

[87] Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, were killed on June 27, 1844, at Carthage Jail. See Oaks and Hill, Carthage Conspiracy.

[88] Laura Clark Phelps died February 2, 1842, at Macedonia, Hamilton Co., Illinois.

[89] Although Sarah could have been at the Sunday meeting when Sidney Rigdon first made his claim to leadership of the Church on August 4, 1844, this is probably the August 8 meeting when Rigdon spoke in the morning and Brigham Young in the afternoon. See Allen and Leonard, Story of the Latter-day Saints, 198−202.

[90] Laura Ann was born February 16, 1843, and probably died January 21, 1844, age eleven months and not thirteen. Sarah Diantha was born February 15, 1845, and various records show her dying at age two, three, or four days. Both are buried in the Old Nauvoo Burial Grounds; findagrave.com #43370937 and 45352712.

[91] Records at FamilySearch.org generally show Hyrum S. Phelps as born February 26, 1846 at Nauvoo, and that location may indeed be correct. In 1981, Carol Lynn Pearson published an article questioning the accuracy that nine babies were born on February 26, 1846 at Sugar Creek. She concludes that the nine babies were instead born September 17, 1846 in the Poor Camp. It is unclear what what was meant by “they started in 1847.” It was not unusual for Mormon families to spend several years between leaving Nauvoo and arriving in Utah. Morris Phelps, age 45, was head of a small company of seventy-seven people that included his two wives and three children. They left Council Bluffs on June 9, 1851, and arrived in the Salt Lake Valley between September 26 and October 1. (This year was listed as 1852 in PWA.) Pearson, “‘Nine Children Were Born,’” 441–44; MOPT.

[92] Martha Barker married Morris Phelps on February 26, 1848.

[93] Morris C. Phelps died May 22, 1876, at Montpelier, Bear Lake Co., Idaho.

[94] Amanda Angelia Phelps Dana died on November 18, 1891, at St. Johns, Apache Co., Arizona.

[95] Cherrizade Grimes Averett, widow of Elijah Averett. This surname was incorrectly spelled Everett in PWA.

[96] One more daughter, Martha Pidge, born c. 1858, is also sometimes listed at FamilySearch.org.

[97] Note: a few problems were introduced as the DUP authors shortened the story of her life. Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Museum Memories 2:38−42.

[98] Ibid., 40.

[99] W. Earl Merrill, “David Patten Kimball,” in Clayton, PMA, 265–67.

[100] Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Museum Memories 2:41–42.

[101] Sarah Melissa Holman Johnson, 323.

[102] Kerri Robinson and Marcie Gallacher, “‘The Joy and the Song,’ Julia Hills Johnson (1783–1853),” in Turley and Chapman, Women of Faith in the Latter Days, 1:101–14.

[103] PWA lists this book as “‘Arizona State University’ by Hopkins Thompson.” The reference has been corrected. Beginning with the first territorial legislature in 1864, Arizona officials were urged to support universal education, and “the 1885 Legislature authorized the founding of a Territorial Normal School at Tempe and a University at Tucson. People in Tempe were so afraid that the 1887 Assembly would rescind the decision that they rushed to put up an impressive building and to be firmly established before the matter could be considered again. Classes in Tempe began on February 8, 1886. In Tucson, the people took their time because they had both more money and more confidence. Classes began there in 1891. The 1893 Assembly authorized the Northern Territorial Normal School and classes began in Flagstaff in 1899.” Latter-day Saints have attended each of these schools in preparation for teaching careers. Nilsen, Ferry, and Evans, Dust in Our Desks, 4.

[104] Hopkins and Thomas, Arizona State University Story, 84−86. Of the thirty-three initial students enrolled, seventeen (from Lehi, Tempe, and Zenos) were LDS: L. D. Collett, Addie Crismon, Louisa Harper, Fannie Hawley, Mamie Hawley, Lucretia Jones, Carrie Johnson, James F. Johnson, Lionel B. Johnson, May Johnson, Benjamin J. LeBaron, Julia A. Macdonald, James M. Patterson, Gertrude Pomeroy, Henry Pomeroy, Rosetta Pomeroy, and Amelia Rogers.

[105] A pesthouse is a place to isolate people with contagious diseases during epidemics. See the comments about smallpox by Ellis and Boone for Julia Christina Hobson Stewart, 699.

[106] On December 4, 1924, a Mesa camp of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers was organized with thirty-four women present. By 1978, Vida Driggs Brinton, Harriet Wilson Webb, Esther Wilson Lewis, Hazel Pomeroy Millett, and Roberta Flake Clayton were the only original members still alive. “Daughters of Utah Pioneers Preserve ‘Roots,’” Mesa Tribune, February 15, 1978.

[107] See comments by Ellis and Boone.

[108] Mamie Clark is Mary Adeline Noble Clark (1873–1943). AzDC; “Mary A. Clark,” Relief Society Magazine, 302–4; Turner and Ellis, Latter-day Saints in Mesa, 115.

[109] “Mary A. Clark,” Relief Society Magazine, 302−3. She also mentioned the many ordinances performed since the opening of the temple, and charitable work with people from Oklahoma looking for employment in the cotton fields.

[110] PWA listed a birthdate of August 20, 1862, which is apparently incorrect. FamilySearch.org lists a birthdate of August 4, 1859, and she is listed in the 1870 census as age 11. 1870 census, Emily Stratton living with James Collings, Paris, Rich Co., Utah Territory.

[111] The Stratton family crossed the plains with the Henry W. Miller Company in 1862. The family consisted of George Frederick Stratton (age 29), Mary Rowell Stratton (age 28), Mary Elizabeth (age 7), Rozena Rose (age 3), Emily (age 2), and George Frederick (infant, possibly listed as Henry E. Stratton). MPOT.

[112] George Frederick Stratton Jr. died August 1, 1862.

[113] This was probably ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) stalks placed vertically and then plastered over with mud. Native Americans and Mexicans commonly used ocotillo fences which then often began to grow. Louis Lamb of Mesa put ocotillo branches six inches into the ground and “in the spring when the rains came, the ‘fence’ was covered with a mass of red blossoms—a beautiful sight.” Merrill, One Hundred Echoes from Mesa’s Past, 57.

[114] Stegner, Gathering of Zion, 291−93; Hartley, “Down and Back Wagon Trains,” 26−31; Hartley, “Brigham Young’s Overland Trails Revolution,” 1−30.

[115] Some of this autobiography was quoted in an Arizona Republic article for her ninetieth birthday. Mitzi Zipf, “‘Aunt Lou’ Pomeroy 90 Years Old,” Arizona Republic, July 22, 1957, in Earl Merrill Collection, Box 15, Folder 18, Mesa Room, Mesa Public Library.

[116] “Sketch of the Life of Hyrum Smith Phelps,” in Clayton, PMA, 387−92; “Hyrum Smith Phelps,” in Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 2:138–39.

[117] For Sarah Clarinda Bingham’s sister and second wife of Hyrum Smith Phelps, see Mary Elizabeth Bingham Phelps, 533.

[118] Grandmother Phelps was Sarah Thompson Phelps, 536.

[119] Gove was the son of Hyrum S. Phelps and Mary Elizabeth Bingham, 533.

[120] When the temple in Mesa was completed, small homes were built nearby for volunteer workers. These all had the similar floor plans because they were made from kits shipped in by rail. They were called the Temple Courts. An example is located at 120 N. Hibbert Street. “Mesa: Historic Homes,” http://www.doney.net/aroundaz/mesa.htm.

[121] Karl G. Maeser and George Goddard were counselors (assistants) to George Q. Cannon, president of the Deseret Sunday School Union, until the death of Goddard in 1899. Their trip to Arizona was in early February 1895. Fish describes attending a meeting where they were speakers, and Merrill describes a picnic in their honor. Krenkel, Life and Times of Joseph Fish, 403–4; Merrill, One Hundred Echoes from Mesa’s Past, 20–22.

[122] This ends the autobiography and gives a date (1953) for the composition. The autobiography (with only a few changes) was included in Allen, Ancestors of the Children of Hyrum Smith Phelps, 26−28.

[123] Mary Annetta “Etta” Coleman was a sister to Sarah Francelle Coleman Heywood, 269.

[124] 1910 census, Elijah Pomeroy, Mesa, Maricopa Co., Arizona; Lucretia Pomeroy, Alma, Maricopa Co., Arizona.

[125] “Sarah Pomeroy, Mesa Pioneer,” Arizona Republic, May 3, 1966, in Earl Merrill Collection, box 15, folder 18, Mesa Room, Mesa Public Library.

[126] This sketch is taken directly from a much longer, first-person account written by Sarah Matilda Colborn Pomeroy; here “Father and Mother” from the first-person account have been changed to “Thomas and Sarah,” etc. This change may have been made by daughter, Sarah Rosina (Ina) Pomeroy Brewer. Pioneer Women of Navajo County (partial manuscript of PWA at the Mesa FHL), vols. 2 and 3.

[127] “Francis Martin Pomeroy,” in Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 3:488–91.

[128] “Talma Emmerson Pomeroy,” ibid., 4:52–54.

[129] With conflict between Latter-day Saints and Missourians, Zion’s Camp was organized in 1834 to provide relief for displaced coreligionists (D&C 103). About 200 men (including Thomas Colborn) and a few women and children from Kirtland, Ohio, and Michigan/Illinois marched toward Missouri. Negotiations with the governor of Missouri were a failure even after his promise to assist the Saints, and therefore the men were directed to not fight (D&C 105) but instead disband. Controversy concerning the purpose of this march has persisted to the present, but they had answered the call and nine of twelve apostles were chosen from their ranks. Lance D. Chase, “Zion’s Camp,” in Ludlow, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4:1627–29; Crawley and Anderson, “The Political and Social Realities of Zion’s Camp,” 406–20; “Zion’s Camp Participants,” http://members.latterdayvillage.com/latter-dayvillage.com/pages/seminary/cd2002/dc/z_camp.htm.

[130] Thomas Colborn was ordained an elder on August 4, 1834 at Kirtland. History of the Church, 2:139.

[131] Orrin Porter Rockwell (1813–78), controversial friend of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Dewey, Porter Rockwell.

[132] Lilburn W. Boggs (1796–1860) was lieutenant governor and governor of Missouri during the Mormon persecutions. On May 6, 1842, an unknown assailant fired a shot into the Boggs home, severely injuring him. Mormons, specifically Orrin Porter Rockwell, were blamed, and a warrant was issued for Rockwell’s arrest. Allen and Leonard, Story of the Latter-day Saints, 87, 125–27, 178–79; Dewey, Porter Rockwell, 50–77.

[133] Sarah explained that her father’s sister, Catherine, and family were the only ones of the family who joined the LDS Church “and they only remained a few years.” Catharine Colborn (1812–80) was married to Ezra Vincent (1808–81). They moved with the Church to Pottawattamie Co., Iowa, but did not come to Utah. Both are buried in the Magnolia Cemetery, Harrison Co., Iowa. 1850 census, Ezra Vincent, Pottawattamie Co., Iowa; 1860, 1870, and 1880 census, Calhoun, Harrison Co., Iowa; findagrave.com #61731433, 136975209.

[134] The end of this quote is from the autobiography of Sarah Matilda Colborn Pomeroy. Pioneer Women of Navajo County (partial manuscript of PWA, Mesa FHL), vols. 2 and 3.

[135] Thomas and Sarah Colborn, with their two daughters, Sarah Matilda and Rosina, traveled to Utah with the Heber C. Kimball Company of 1848; they left on June 7 and arrived on September 24. William Clayton, author of the hymn “Come, Come Ye Saints,” traveled with this company. Another daughter, Hannah Marinda, traveled to Utah with the Brigham Young Company of 1848. MPOT.

[136] This date for the mission to Germany is problematic because information from descendant Lucille Brewer Kempton indicates that he was gone two years and returned in time to see Sarah married (also 1853). MPOT lists his return to Utah with the Isaac Allred Freight Company of 1855. The solution to this problem may be that he left Utah in 1853, returned in 1855, and was in Utah for the marriage of his daughter Rosina to William S. Godbe on March 20, 1857.

[137] Jessamine Elizabeth Routledge married Francis Martin Pomeroy on February 11, 1857; they had six children including Heber Chase Kimball Pomeroy, husband of Cassandra Johnson Pomeroy, 540.

[138] Irene Ursula Haskell Pomeroy died on June 15, 1860. Irene’s son, Elijah, married (2) Sarah Lucretia Phelps, 547.

[139] Russell, Founding of Mesa, 12; McClintock, Mormon Settlement in Arizona, 212; Johnson, Perkins, and LeBaron, Our Town—Mesa, Arizona, 21.

[140] Merrill, One Hundred Steps Down Mesa’s Past, 89.

[141] Ibid., 90. Actually, it looks like Merrill did not add Pomeroy’s list correctly, and Pomeroy also reported a total of 76 in 1924. “Pioneers of Mesa and Vicinity,” 5.

[142] See Sarah Melissa Holman Johnson, 323.

[143] Talma and Talmai seem to be used interchangeably. “Talma Emerson Pomeroy,” in Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 4:52–54, 348.

[144] William W. Walford, “Sweet Hour of Prayer,” Hymns (1985), no. 142.

[145] Leona Pomeroy Huber, “Memoirs of Her Father, Talmai E. Pomeroy,” 4. W. Earl Merrill Research Papers, 1878–1975,” Mss 021, box 15, folder 22, Mesa Room, Mesa Public Library.

[146] Tullis, Mormons in Mexico, 81.

[147] Huber, “Memoirs of Her Father, Talmai E. Pomeroy,” 5.

[148] Pratt, “History of the Mexican Mission,” 497.

[149] Although some submissions to Ancestral File show her birthplace as Richfield, Sevier Co., Utah, her death certificate lists Richville, and in 1860, George Leavitt was in living northern Utah (Weber Co., bordering Mordan Co.,) rather than central Utah (Sevier, Co.). 1860 census, George Leavitt, Weber Co., Utah.

[150] Sarah Elva (Porter) Bushman and Rulon E. Porter, “Brief Sketch of the Life of Sanford Marius Porter,” in Clayton, PMA, 393−95.

[151] PWA originally had five children died as infants and five during childhood; this appears to be incorrect.

[152] Tanner and Richards, Colonization on the Little Colorado, 34.

[153] Ibid., 44.

[154] Westover and Richards, Unflinching Courage, 27.

[155] In the summer of 1915, Ben and Pearl Hunt milked cows in the mountains west of Snowflake and made butter and cheese. He then began delivering milk in Holbrook as a sideline to his ACMI job and was eventually able to support his family with his dairy. But for nearly a hundred years, dairying was an important part of the economy of Joseph City. In 1957, a cooperative was formed with the Joseph City Producers Dairy, Westover’s Guernsey Dairy, and Hunt’s Homestead Dairy; they delivered milk in Winslow and Holbrook. Ibid.; Ellis, Snowflake, 90–91.

[156] Ibid.; Tanner and Richards, Colonization on the Little Colorado, 167.

[157] Westover and Richards, Unflinching Courage, 400–401.

[158] Tanner and Richards, Colonization on the Little Colorado, 149.

[159] FamilySearch.org lists her name as Ingeborg Elizabeth Jacobson Pulsipher; at findagrave.com it is Elizabeth Isabelle Jacobson Pulsipher.

[160] The Jacobson family traveled with the John W. Woolley Company of 1863, leaving Florence (now Omaha), Nebraska, on August 9 and arriving in Salt Lake City on October 4 and 8. There were only forty-four people in this company, including Joseph F. Smith and the Jacobson family consisting of Erastus (age 40), Lorina (41), Elizabeth (12), Jacob (10), Rasmus (6), Edward (4), and Iverine (1). Iverine died on the trail, September 16, 1863. MPOT.

[161] See Olena Olsen Kempe, 353.

[162] Hyrum Pulsipher died May 20, 1886, and Alma Pulsipher died June 15, 1886; both are buried at Concho.

[163] David Pulsipher died April 13, 1900 and is buried at Concho. 1900 census, Elizabeth I. Pulsipher, Concho, Apache Co., Arizona.

[164] Margaret Isabelle Pulsipher Meldrum died May 1, 1918.

[165] Elizabeth wrote this text before 1929, as she states that she still had three boys living. Then she wrote the next two paragraphs between March and September of 1930. Her only child to outlive her was Jacob, who died on November 19, 1963, in Safford.

[166] Pulsipher, “An Amazing Life History,” 388−90; “Elisabeth Isabelle Jacobson Pulsipher, [Reminiscences],” in Carter, Our Pioneer Heritage, 2:268, 7:50−51.

[167] Wilhelm and Wilhelm, History of the St. Johns Arizona Stake, 122. Cameron Udall illustrates this dual nature in the nearby town of St. Johns; Udall, St. Johns.

[168] Kartchner, Frontier Fiddler, 84.

[169] Wilhelm and Wilhelm, History of the St. Johns Arizona Stake, 125.

[170] Ibid.

[171] Ibid., 126.