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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sarah Jane Whitley - by Illa Bauer

Sarah Jane Whitley 6 Jan 1834 – 3 Jan 1892

Sarah Whitely was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England. She was the second child of Thomas and Mary Beal Whiteley. Always she was as sweet and dainty as a Dresden doll, like her petite little mother, whom she never really knew, for her mother died when Sarah was not yet two years old, and her older brother Isaac was five years old.

While Sarah was still a young girl, she awoke one morning to find a beautiful lady standing at the foot of her bed. They just looked at each other a few moments then the lady left without a word. Sarah got up and went downstairs to her father. She asked him who that beautiful was who came to her room. Her father told her that he didn't see anyone and ask what the lady looked like. Sarah described her, and then her father said, “Sarah that was your mother. I couldn't have described her better myself." Sarah was always grateful that her mother had come to her from the other side so that she could at least know what she looked like.

Thomas worked at the J.Q. Long Company on Devonshire Lane in Sheffield. It was a large implement factory where they made all kinds of small tools and implements, forks, famous steel scissors etc. Thomas gave his profession as a “Fork Grinder.” As he had worked at that factory all the while in England, he knew no other, as young men began to apprentice very young in those days.

Little Sarah grew very fond of her only brother and they shared many sweet and lasting memories. When the Mormon Elders visited their part of England, they attended meetings and learned all they could of the new and everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ. Thomas and his two children were baptized into the Mormon Faith in 1946. On 8 October 1949 Thomas married once again, this time to a lovely woman, Harriet Susannah Saynor.

The children were happy to have a mother in the home again, and she was good to them. It wasn't long until

Thomas was called to serve a British Mission which he did from 1848 to 1950. When he was released from the mission, he and Harriet decided to go to America to join with the Saints in Utah. Isaac now 19 years old had joined the British Army and was sent to South Africa. Although Sarah missed her beloved brother, she never saw him again. He became the Governor General of South Africa and as such won several medals and badges of honor, one of which he sent to Sarah and it is still a prized possession of her youngest daughter's family. (The area Isaac served was the British Crown Colony of South Africa.)

Sarah was an outstanding student. She learned well at school and also from her beloved grandmothers.

Her speech and manner were above reproach, for she had been well trained to be a lady in every way. Sarah was very musically inclined. They tell that her voice was “sweeter than the song of the bird.” She sang and whistled often and taught many beautiful songs to her children.

The seasons and scenes of her England gave her inspiration. She became a great reader. Early in life she learned that she could associate with the best people in the world by reading good literature, and also could travel to all parts of the world. Never would she waste time reading “trash," but read great books which still are considered the classics of today.

On 20 November 1849 Thomas signed up for Sarah, his wife Harriet and himself to sail on the ship “Argo" to America. There were 396 people aboard. The vessel left Liverpool on 10 January 1850. Sarah was 16 years old. They enjoyed a wonderful voyage with no mishaps, and arrived in New Orleans on schedule. They transferred to a ship going up the Mississippi River to Council Bluffs. At Council Bluffs the Whiteley’s found their means too meager to go on, so they stayed at Council Bluffs to earn money with which to purchase a sturdy wagon, oxen, a year’s supply of provisions and whatever else might be deemed necessary to cross the plains.

The Whiteley's remained at the Bluffs for two years where they worked and saved to purchase their needs.

While there, Sarah met and fell in love with a wonderful young man. They planned to wed when they reached the Salt Lake Valley, but as they left at different times and traveled in different companies, they never met again.

Sarah was broken hearted over never being able to meet her sweetheart again.

In the spring of 1853 the Whiteleys joined the Moses Clawson Company to cross the plains. There were 56 wagons and 295 people in the company. Oh, how complex the life and labors of the Utah Pioneers! These were all highly educated people from the schools, the factories and mills of England. Never had they tilled the land or farmed the valleys, dug ditches, or even seen irrigation before. It was all so new, so different, and so difficult!

Salt Lake of that day offered no mills, no factories; they needed no fork grinders, no scissor makers. How hard Thomas and his family tried to adjust. They all lived in the 12th ward in Salt Lake for sometime. Here Sarah, disillusioned by the loss of her sweetheart, grew quite discontented. She moved with her family out to Little Cottonwood Canyon, in South Salt Lake where her father and step-mother lived for about 1 ½ years, but during her life in the new land, she had hears sermons on plural marriage. She met a fine man several years her senior, he was married and had children, but he was most kind to young Sarah. Since the church advised young girls to marry in plural marriage to men who were in financial circumstances to care for them, Sarah decided to marry her benefactor. She and Daniel Allen were married in the endowment house 2 July 1854. She was his third, wife.

Daniel, one of the first members of the School of the Prophets, was a very learned man. He was the son of Dr. Daniel Allen of New York State. His mother Nancy Stewart was a direct descendant of Mary, Queen of Scots. Whereever Daniel lived he continued to study with the groups teaching The School of the Prophets and throughout their records it records many of his responses, all of which indicate his intelligence.

Because of the faithfulness of Sarah's husband, they moved many times, where ever he was called to establish tanneries and make shoes, an important industry in those days. Daniel had been the first tanner in Salt Lake and set up tanneries, but now he sold out to Samuel Mulliner as he was called to Manti. It was at Manti

Sarah had her first child, Isaac Beal Allen named for her beloved brother whom she missed so much. Besides his tanning, Daniel also helped on the Manti Temple with labor and money. This was the 4th temple he had helped with. They did not remain in Manti long, for they were called to Provo. Here he put up a tannery, built two nice homes for his families, helped build the Provo 4th Ward house and a school house. He was very anxious for all his children to get a good education. He also had a boot and shoe shop in connection with his tannery and repaired and made harnesses, saddles, and any leather goods needed by the townspeople.

At Provo Sarah's first daughter, Harriet Amelia was born. Louisa Jane also had a girl just 6 weeks younger than Harriet. They named her Thurza Armelia, the girls were always called 'Hattie and Millie’.

They grew up almost like twins and remained very close thru a lifetime.

Soon after Sarah's son Hyrum was born 8 June 1862, Daniel answered a call to go to the “Cotton Mission” in Utah's Dixie. It was late spring of 1862 when they were finally able to settle affairs so to make the move. Daniel left Louisa Jane and her family, and Mary Ann's at Provo while he and Sarah and her family made the move to Dixie. For the first time in her 8 years of marriage Sarah had her precious husband all to herself. Oh! How happy she was. Daniel built a little home with but one door and one window, but it was nice and homey and they all loved it there. They prepared a plot and planted a garden, grape vines and cotton plants. The children carried buckets of water to get the garden and all growing while their father prepared an irrigation ditch to get water to the garden thru furrows. After getting Sarah all settled and his tannery going, he started preparing to bring the rest of his family to St. George. He was never happy with the roots and bark in the Dixie area, for it was far inferior to that he had used in other places.

When all was in readiness, Daniel left Sarah and family and went back to Provo to sell out and move the rest of his family to St. George. They had lived in St. George about one and one half years trying, to get established before going for Louisa Jane's family.

While Daniel was away to get the rest of his family, Sarah and her children busied themselves in gathering the garden, the cotton, and all. One day after all had joined in gathering the cotton, Isaac and Harriet carefully picked out all the seeds so their mother could cord it and make it into batts for quilts or to make cotton material. Just as they were nearly finished cleaning and working the pretty white cotton, a gust of wind swept thru the open door whipped the cotton out the window and scattered it in weeds and thistle and red dirt from the Coral Cliffs to the north of their home. Poor Sarah! How hard she had worked to plant and raise and harvest the cotton and now to see the beautiful white stuff rolled in red sand and fill with thistle and sand burrs. She quit singing, laid the tools down on the table and just cried! Never had her children seen her cry before. It was a day always remembered by her youngsters.

Many times the families took lunch to the red and coral hills to picnic while Daniel was away, for that was their reward for all their good help while their father was away. Each child was taught to do his or her share of the work, what ever it may be. Often she read to them, from the Bible, the Book of Mormon or her beloved book of the travels and doings of people in the entire world about them. They loved to listen to her read as did their father. Ever since they married, Daniel had loved to hear her read and had spent nearly every evening listening to her read while he rested from a hard days toil. She missed reading to him while he was away, but took every opportunity to read and discuss the church books with her children.

When Daniel was returning to St. George with his wife Louisa Jane, her children and the children of Mary Ann, he stopped over in Parowan. As they were coming thru Parowan, President George A. Smith met with Daniel and counseled with him.

“Brother Allen we are badly Parowan. Wouldn’t you like to move here and establish a tannery and shoe and boot shop?"

"Well now, President Smith that just might be a good idea. I never have been satisfied with the way Kanuga root around St. George tans the leather.”

“I had a report to that effect Brother Allen. You know those samples you sent into President Brigham Young? Well I have received word to have a talk with you. They tell me the sample from here in Parowan is the best yet. The church would advise you to stay here and establish your industry.”

Daniel was happy to hear this, he had hoped for a chance to do better at his work than he had been able to in Dixie, even though he liked it there in other ways. He thought the bark here would do better; it turned out later that he proved it to be the best tan bark in the entire state.

“Ok President Smith we'll stay. I'll get Louisa Jane settled then move the rest of my family up here. Can you show me a likely place where we can live until we can get a cabin going?”

Back at St. George Daniel almost dreaded to tell his family, they were so happy there. One could almost see things grow when they had plenty of water. God provided plenty of sunshine.

“Sarah, we'll be moving soon. I left Louisa Jane and the children in Parowan. We'll be living there now.”

“Oh Daniel, not moving again!” She felt the quick onrush of tears. She looked about. Already the vines were heavy with clusters of grapes. The harvest of the garden was sufficient; the cotton patch gave signs of a good crop--and the cabin, just one large room with a lean-to, one window with no glass, but sweetly curtained and homey. Her heart ached as she looked at this tiny happy home where she felt the warm glow of her husband's love even while he was away at work.

“You'll love it at Parowan, Sarah, “he slid a comforting arm about her. “You'll each have a home of your own.” He broke into her dreaming-as if he had read her thoughts.

"Yes dear. We’ll all pitch in and start preparing to move. I'm sure it's for the best. It just seems 5 moves in 10 years should be enough.”

When the boys heard the news, Dave was overjoyed. “Oh boy! Snowballs in winter, a real white Christmas like in Provo."

“Ugh! Snow for Christmas is ok, but oh all that crunching thru the snow, to school. Burrrr---" Fred shivered at the memory.

"Yeah and all that sloshing back and forth to do chores, frozen water buckets and kegs, chopping ice and everything. “ Ike was thoughtful a minute, "You know Dad, it, doesn't seem possible how much colder they say it gets just 85 miles away.”

It was difficult to leave the fast growing area of Dixie behind, the place where the summer sun spends the winter, where several crops of small vegetables grow in one year. They did remain long enough to harvest what was now growing and to sell their property. The St. George Temple was moving along well. Sarah had enjoyed taking her turn cooking for the workers on the temple, for she wanted to do her share of work as that was her way of showing her love for the gospel, and she prayed that someday she might return to share in its blessings.

At Parowan Daniel first built homes for his families then got his business going. He built a tannery on Parowan’s main street in 1864. It was across the main creek going west thru the town. It became a huge success as he was an excellent tanner and an artist at any leather goods, including saddles, harnesses, bridles, chaps, as well as shoes and boots for all ages and both sexes. The bark from the red pine was the best tanning agent to be found, much better than the kanuga root found in Dixie. The last six of Sarah's nine children were born in Parowan. She raised eight of her nine children. But Sarah was destined to make one more move.

When her youngest child was but 4 years old and her husband a pretty old man now 77 (very old for pioneer days and the trials he had gone thru). Daniel and his two wives were called to sellout, pack up and go more than 125 miles from Parowan, again to help settle an area and to start a tanning business for the pioneers going to Potato Valley, later called Escalante. Oh, the years of service they gave to help make life worthwhile to hundreds and thousands of people. Never did the Allen’s refuse a call but remained forever true and faithful and honored.

Sarah was never well after they moved to Escalante, some said it was consumption, others said it was malnutrition, for there was not always a well rounded diet available. She was a good cook but some things were not available to be cooked. But at least Sarah was not well. No doctor to consult, no drugstore medication, just faith and prayers. These helped many times but Sarah's health kept going down hill.

Even in old age Daniel still loved to spend the little time he had to relax sitting by his lovely Sarah, listening to her read to him. His eyes were tired and dim; no eye doctors in their far-a-way corner of the world, and Sarah still loved to read all the church books to him as well as others. Thru them they visited many far away places, not only in America but also in foreign lands.

Sarah felt she just must go to Parowan to be near her girls. The fall winds were beginning to howl across the Escalante desert, screaming in the near naked trees. Lonely and blue, partly because she just couldn’t get to feeling better, she got someone to take her to Parowan. There she stayed for some time and though she enjoyed her family, her health did not improve, but grew steadily worse. Finally Sarah knew the end was at hand so she begged her family to return her to her little home in Escalante. She wanted to be near her husband.

A bed was prepared in a wagon box and the tortuous 125 miles or so to Escalante was finally accomplished. It was winter now and chill winds whipped about the house but Daniel was near and so was the end. She was not old, but the hard pioneering years had aged her, robbed her of her beauty, lined her once lovely face and worn out her small frail body. No matter how she felt, however, she was always kind and sweet to her beloved Daniel and to her family and each never forgot the wonderful principals she and Daniel always taught them. She was a lady always, never stooped to slander or belittle herself by gossip or otherwise. Her deeply religious life was always a guide to those about her, for she lived it the best she could, hoping to join again with her loved ones in the hereafter. Her children fairly worshipped her for all the endearing lady-like ways she showed throughout her life.

Back home in Escalante, Sarah did not last long. She passed away at her home on 3 January 1892 with Daniel at her side. He attended her funeral on the 5th then the following Sunday he attended church and many told what an inspiring talk he gave. It was dreadfully cold January day sitting on the stand; he sat near a drafty spot. There was only one small wood heater in the church. He took a chill and was soon taken to his bed with pneumonia. Knowing his end was near Daniel called for all his family to gather around. He admonished them to remain faithful; to fulfill all obligations asked of them, especially his sons to honor the Priesthood of God and that all those not yet married in the temple to get their temple work done as soon as possible. Those who were with him said their father then asked his family to release him for his mission was finished. He then stretched out his arms and called to his dear departed Sarah saying, “Wait for me Sarah, we'll go in together". He fell back on his pillow and was gone. It was 15 January 1892 just 17 days after Sarah had gone. She was undoubtedly waiting in Paradise for him knowing he was soon to follow.

Sarah was just 57, lacking 2 days. Daniel was 87 years old.

Source: DUP Files: Sarah Whitely Allen, written by Illa Bauer

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