Eighth in a Series on Wilford Woodruff's Wives


(July 26, 1838 – May 28, 1906)

Sarah Delight Stocking, known as Delight, was born July 26, 1838, in Canton, Bloomfield County, Connecticut.  She was the fourth of five children.  Delight’s mother, Catherine Emeline Ensign, died in February 24, 1841, when Delight was only two years old.  Her father, John Jay Stocking, then married Catherine’s younger sister Harriett Ensign on October 11, 1841.  Harriett raised Delight and her siblings as well as five more children born to Harriett and John.

John and Harriett, along with 20 others in Westfield, Massachusetts, were converted to the Church in February 1843 by Edwin Woolley.  On July 21, 1844, when he was in Westfield, Wilford Woodruff records receiving $1 from John Stocking as a contribution toward building the Nauvoo Temple.[1]  The Stocking family moved from Massachusetts to Nauvoo in September 1844 and Sarah's father worked as a tailor among other jobs to support their family. 

John and Harriet received their endowments in the Nauvoo Temple on February 2, 1846, four days before ordinances ceased there.[2] Then the Stocking family joined the first group leaving Nauvoo the following week.  But they faced extremely difficult circumstances and struggled for years in Iowa and Nebraska. Several members of their extended family died in Iowa, including Delight's half-sister Mary and her maternal grandmother, Mary Bryant Ensign.[3] Delight noted in her autobiography that in Mt. Pisgah they had to take bark from a tree to make her grandmother’s coffin. Her sister Catherine, her half-brother James, and her grandfather Isaac Ensign died in Winter Quarters, Nebraska in 1847.  

Delight was baptized at the age of 8, in 1847, in the Missouri River by Edward Stephen and then confirmed by her father.  The Stocking family finally joined the Warren Foote Company leaving Kanesville (Council Bluffs), Iowa for Salt Lake City on June 17, 1850. The one memory of their journey that Delight wrote about in her autobiography was the effect of cholera on the group.  Many in their company contracted cholera and died.  Delight became very ill and asked her father to baptize her in the Elkhorn River to heal her. He was afraid it would kill her, but she insisted.[4] 

Delight was 12 years old when they arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on September 12, 1850. She received her patriarchal blessing when she was 14 and was promised that she would be able to help the sick and believed she fulfilled that role during her life.[5] Her family initially stayed in West Jordan, but then moved further south with several other families in 1853 to establish what became known as Fort Herriman.[6]

On July 31, 1857, when Delight was 19, she was sealed to Wilford Woodruff in the Endowment House in Salt Lake by Brigham Young.[7]  Delight initially moved into the Valley House with Wilford’s three other wives: Phoebe, Emma, and Sarah.  She was there when the 14th Ward Relief Society made a quilt to raffle as a fundraiser for the Perpetual Emigration Fund.  Delight’s square was a picture of a colorful bird and a butterfly.  Her embroidered signature was, “Sarah D. Woodruff.”[8]

In 1860, Wilford bought a house in Randolph, Utah, where he moved his wife Sarah Brown. Delight gave birth to her first child, Marion, in 1861 in Salt Lake City.[9]  She recorded that the birth was so difficult that she died after he was born, then her spirit returned to her body and she came to life again.[10]  At the age of 56 she wrote about the experience and said when she died of old age, if she was as happy as she had been in 1861, then she would be a “happy woman.”[11] 

In July of 1862, Wilford moved Delight moved to Herriman to be near her family and help look after Wilford's cattle herd there.[12]  (Although the Fort had been abandoned in 1858 at the direction of Brigham Young because of the Johnston's Army, the Stockings and some of the other settlers had returned and established the town of Herriman.)  However, she was back in Salt Lake in July 1863 for the birth of her second child Emeline,[13] and her son Ensign in December 1865.[14] Jeremiah, Delight’s fourth child, was born in Herriman on August 29, 1868, but died 16 months later.[15]  Her fifth child Rosanna, born April 17, 1871, only lived 18 months.[16]  Her sixth child, John Jay, was born August 14, 1873.[17]  In 1875 Wilford bought Delight a house and 10 acre farm on Third East near Tenth South and he moved her into her new house January 3, 1876.[18]  She lived on her farm for 20 years.  Her seventh child, Julia Delight, was born there June 28, 1878.[19] 

Delight received her second anointing February 14, 1867, two days after Wilford’s wife Emma.[20]  She was rebaptized when she entered the United Order in 1877.  Wilford did not live with Delight after Phoebe’s death, but moved to Emma’s home until the Woodruff Villa was completed in 1893.  Her farm was subdivided and sold in 1892 to become the North Waterloo Addition.[21]  When Julia married in 1896, Sarah moved to Big Cottonwood where she lived with her unmarried son, John Jay.  (John did not marry until 1903.)  After Wilford's death in 1898, she received a share of his estate.  She died on May 28, 1906, at the age of 67, and was buried in the Woodruff family plot in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.

Carol Holindrake Nielson, The Salt Lake City 14th Ward Album Quilt, 1857: Stories of the Relief Society Women and Their Quilt, 56.
Kate Carter, ed., Our Pioneer Heritage, 10: 236-38, by Julia Woodruff Parks.Sarah D. Stocking Woodruff's Autobiography, written December 26, 1894.

Wilford Woodruff’s Journals, 1:209, 5:70 sealing, 225, 279, 336, 373 405, 6:37, 120, 122-23, 195, 210, 326, 398, 404, 408-409, 412, 458-59, 478, 498, 504, 509-10, 581; 7:80, 89, 92, 128, 136, 213, 228-29, 261, 265, 416, 424-26, 456, 475, 491, 516, 579; 8:3, 36, 152, 173, 232, 298, 310, 312, 331, 341, 343, 347-48, 372, 380, 386, 412, 451, 455-56, 469, 484, 492, 504; 9:10, 52, 98, 118, 137, 212, 230, 245, 301, 320, 445, 485, 499.