Wilford Woodruff's Wives

Prior marriage
Subsequent marriage
Phebe Whittemore Carter
Mar 8, 1807-Nov 10, 1885
Ezra Carter
Sarah Fabyan
Wilford met Phebe in Kirtland, Ohio
Married April 13, 1837 in Kirtland, OH/Sealed Nov 11, 1843 in Nauvoo, IL
Mary Ann Jackson
Feb 18, 1818-Oct 25, 1894
William Jackson
Elizabeth Lloyd
Woodruffs met Mary Ann on their mission in England
Aug 2, 1846 in Cutler’s Park, Nebraska then Resealed Dec 1878?
May 11, 1848
David J. Ross
Dec 13, 1857
Sarah Elinor Brown
Aug 22, 1827-Dec 25, 1915
Charles Brown
Mary Arey
Wilford met the Browns on his mission in Maine
Aug 2, 1846 in Cutler’s Park, Nebraska
Aug 29, 1846
Lisbon Lamb
Feb 15, 1849
Mary Caroline Barton
Jan 12, 1829-Aug 10, 1910
William Allen Barton
Mary Ann Swain
None known
Aug 2, 1846 in Cutler’s Park, Nebraska
Aug 29, 1846
Erastus Curtis
Feb 4, 1848
Mary Meek Giles
Sept 6, 1802-Oct 3, 1852
Samuel Giles
Elizabeth Reith
Woodruffs met Mary on their mission in Massachusetts?
Mar 26, 1852 in Woodruff’s home in Salt Lake City, Utah
Nathan Webster
Clarissa Henrietta Hardy
Nov 20, 1834-Sep 3, 1903

Leonard W. Hardy
Elizabeth Harriman Nichols
Woodruffs served with Leonard on their mission in England 1844-45
Apr 20, 1852 in Brigham Young’s East Office in Salt Lake City, Utah
June 4, 1853
Alonzo H. Russell
Dec 11, 1853
Thomas W. Winter
Feb 11, 1867
Sarah Brown
Jan 1, 1834-May 9, 1909
Harry Brown
Rhoda North
Wilford met Harry Brown in New York in 1834 
Mar 13, 1853 in Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah
Emma Smith
Mar 1, 1838-Mar 4,1912
Samuel Smith
Martisha Smoot
Wilford met the Smiths on his mission in Kentucky
Mar 13, 1853 in Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah
Sarah Delight Stocking
July 26, 1838-May 28, 1906
John Jay Stocking
Catherine E. Ensign
Woodruffs knew the Stockings in Nauvoo
July 31, 1857 in Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah
Eudora Lovina Young
May 12, 1852-Oct 21, 1921
Brigham Young
Lucy Bigelow
Wilford met Eudora in St. George, Utah
Mar 10, 1877 in St. George Utah Temple
Nov 25, 1878
Moreland Dunford
Albert Hagen
March 1, 1879

Note: On January 23, 1857, Wilford wrote a letter to Lydia Maxline through her Bishop regarding marriage and recorded that he was granted permission by Brigham Young to marry her (see Wilford Woodruff’s Journal 5:11). However, I have found no evidence that she accepted his offer or that they were subsequently married.  D. Michael Quinn and E. Carmen Hardy include Lydia Mary Olive von Finklestein Mountford (“Madame Mountford”) as another plural wife of Wilford Woodruff.  Although Mrs. Mountford was a close friend of Wilford and Emma Woodruff, and they corresponded frequently, I have found no evidence that a marriage took place. In fact, Wilford was on a boat traveling from San Francisco to Portland when Madama Mountford was lecturing in San Francisco so they could not have been married on the boat as has been hypothesized. (See Thomas Alexander's book Of Things in Heaven and Earth, 327-329.) After their deaths, however, they were sealed by proxy.


(March 8, 1807- November 10, 1885)

Phebe, Wilford's first wife, was born in Scarborough, Maine, on March 8, 1807.  She was the sixth of eleven children born to Ezra Carter and Sarah Fabyan.[1]

Phebe was converted to the Church in 1834 at the age of 27, against her parents' wishes.  When she left her family behind to gather with the Saints in Kirtland, Ohio, she said she was, "sustained only by my faith and trust in Israel’s God.  My friends marveled at my course, as did I, but something within impelled me on. My mother’s grief at my leaving home was almost more than I could bear; and had it not been for the spirit within I should have faltered at the last.  My mother told me she would rather see me buried than going thus alone into the heartless world, and especially was she concerned about my leaving home to cast my lot among the Mormons. ‘Phebe,’ she said, impressively, ‘will you come back to me if you find Mormonism false?’ I answered thrice, ‘Yes, mother, I will.’ These were my words well remembered to this day; she knew I would keep my promise. My answer relieved her trouble; but it cost us all much sorrow to part. When the time came for my departure I dared not trust myself to say farewell, so I wrote my good-bye to each, and leaving them on my table, ran down stairs and jumped into the carriage. Thus I left my beloved home of childhood to link my life with the Saints of God."  (Phebe's mother, father, three sisters and one brother were later baptized members of the Church.[2])

Phebe received her patriarchal blessing from Joseph Smith, Sr. on November 10, 1836.  She was working as a school teacher when she was first introduced to Wilford Woodruff on January 28, 1837. They were married less than three months later, on April 13, 1837, at the home of Joseph Smith.  Joseph had planned on performing the ceremony for them but was "under the necessity of fleeing" for several days because of the actions of certain "wicked and ungodly men."  Instead Phebe and Wilford were married by Frederick G. Williams, 2nd counselor in the First Presidency of the Church.  The following month, Wilford left for a mission to the Fox Islands off the coast of Maine.  Phebe understood the sacrifices that might be required of them as they consecrated themselves and their lives to God.  Phebe later wrote of Wilford, "I can truly say I have found him a worthy man with scarcely his superior on earth. He has built up a branch of the Church wherever he has labored. He has been faithful to God and his family, every day of his life. My respect for him has increased with our years, and my desire for an eternal union with him will be the last wish of my mortal life."

Their first child, Sarah Emma, was born on July 14, 1838 in Scarborough, Maine, where Phebe was staying with her family.  Wilford was able to be with them for a month before returning to his missionary work in the Fox Islands.  By the time they left Maine to gather with the Saints in Missouri, Governor Bogg’s extermination order had forced the Saints to seek refuge in Illinois.  Their journey almost cost Phebe’s life.  The story taken from Wilford’s writings exemplifies Phebe’s strength and the faith they shared. “On the 23rd of November my wife, Phebe, was attacked with a severe headache, which terminated in brain fever. She grew more and more distressed daily as we continued our journey. It was a terrible ordeal for a woman to travel in a wagon over rough roads, afflicted as she was. At the same time our child was also very sick.”[3] 

Wilford tried to find places for her to rest, but Phebe’s health continued to decline, and Wilford wrote, “December 3rd found my wife very low. I spent the day in taking care of her, and the following day I returned to Eaton [a nearby town] to get some things for her. She seemed to be gradually sinking, and in the evening her spirit apparently left her body, and she was dead.  The sisters gathered around her body, weeping, while I stood looking at her in sorrow. The Spirit and power of God began to rest upon me until, for the first time during her sickness, faith filled my soul, although she lay before me as one dead.”[4]  Wilford said he laid his hands upon her and, in the name of Jesus Christ, “rebuked the power of death and the destroyer, and commanded the same to depart from her, and the spirit of life to enter her body.  Her spirit returned to her body, and from that hour she was made whole; and we all felt to praise the name of God, and to trust in him and keep his commandments.” 

Afterwards Phebe told him that her spirit left her body, and she saw her body lying upon the bed, and the sisters weeping. While she looked at them, at her husband, and her baby, she said two personages came into the room. “One of these messengers informed her that she could have her choice: she might go to rest in the spirit world, or, on one condition she could have the privilege of returning to her tabernacle and continuing her labors upon the earth. The condition was, if she felt that she could stand by her husband, and with him pass through all the cares, trials, tribulations and afflictions of life which he would be called to pass through for the Gospel’s sake unto the end. When she looked at the situation of her husband and child she said: ‘Yes, I will do it!’”[5]  It was at the moment she made her decision that her spirit re-entered her tabernacle.  Three days later, on December 6th, Wilford wrote that the Spirit said, “‘Arise, and continue thy journey!’ and through the mercy of God my wife was enabled to arise and dress herself and walk to the wagon, and we went on our way rejoicing.”[6]

Phebe and Wilford arrived in May 1839 and lived temporarily across the Mississippi River from Nauvoo in the abandoned army barracks of Fort Des Moines in Montrose, Iowa.  Leaving Phebe in these terrible conditions, Wilford was called to serve another mission with the other members of the Quorum of the Twelve, this time to the British Isles.  While he was in England (August 1839-October 1841), Phebe gave birth to their first son, Wilford, Jr., in March 1840, and four months later suffered alone through the death of their daughter Sarah on July 14, 1840.

When Phebe wrote to Wilford, on May 4, 1840, she expressed her continued faith: “I know that it is the will of God that you should labor in his vineyard; therefore, I feel reconciled to his will in these things. I have not been left to murmur or complain since you left me, but am looking forward to the day when you shall return home once more to the bosom of your family, having fulfilled your mission in the love and fear of God. You are always present with me when I go before the throne of grace, and when I am asking for protection and blessings upon myself and children, I claim the same for my dear companion, who has gone far from me, even to a foreign nation, to preach the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Six days after Wilford returned from England he purchased a log house in Nauvoo, ferried their belongings over from Iowa, and for the first time in their married life they lived under their own roof.  He began building a brick house for them, but they were not able to move into the house until 1844 and then only lived in it sporadically for a total of less than 100 days.

By 1843, the temple ordinances revealed to Joseph Smith included baptisms, washings and anointings, the endowment, and sealings.  Between 1843 and 1844 Joseph administered or directed the administration of these ordinances to both men and women.  Wilford and Phebe were sealed on November 11, 1843.  On that day Wilford wrote that Hyrum Smith “sealed the marriage covenant between me and my wife Phebe W. Carter for time and eternity …”  On December 2, 1843, Wilford received his endowment and three weeks later Phebe received her washings, anointings and endowment under the direction of Emma and Mary Fielding Smith.  Phebe testified that Joseph Smith "was one of the greatest prophets the Lord ever called, that he lived for the redemption of mankind and died a martyr for the truth."  It was after the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith in June 1844 that Phebe accompanied Wilford to Europe so he could preside of the missionary work there.   Their son Wilford Jr., remained in Nauvoo and they left Phebe Amelia in the care of Phebe’s sister, only taking one-year-old Susan Amelia with them.  While living in England Phebe gave birth to Joseph Carter on July 18, 1845.

They returned to Nauvoo in April 1846 in time to assist in the dedication of the Nauvoo Temple before leaving to join the Saints in Iowa and escape the ongoing persecution.  Mary Ann Jackson had traveled with the Woodruffs from England and was sealed to Wilford on August 2, 1846 in Winter Quarters, Nebraska.  The winter of 1846 was a tragic one for the Woodruffs.  Wilford was seriously injured while felling trees to build a cabin for his expanding family and, within days after his accident, their one-year-old son Joseph died on November 12th.[7]  Phebe was pregnant at the time and gave birth to another son, Ezra, prematurely on December 8, 1846.  He died two days later.  Of her seven children, only three remained alive: Wilford Jr., Phebe Amelia and Susan.  Wilford’s tribute to Phebe on their departure from Nauvoo explains her ability to endure.  He wrote, “Phebe possesses too much firmness and faith in God and confidence in God to put her hand to the plough and look back or to wholly give way to such trials. She is determined, like Ruth, to forsake her kindred and country for Christ's sake and my own, and the cause in which she is engaged. As I behold this principle beaming in her daily walk, heart and countenance, it binds my whole soul to her stronger than death or the bars of a castle."[8]

In the spring of 1847 Phebe remained in Iowa with their three children while Wilford accompanied the first pioneer expedition to the Salt Lake Valley.  On April 3, 1847, Wilford wrote in his journal: “I have never felt more weight upon my mind at any time while leaving my family to go on a mission than now. My prayer to God is that He will sustain myself and family to meet again on the earth as He hath done in the many missions I have taken on the earth in the vineyard of the Lord.”  Four days later his family watched him as he departed on a 2,500 mile journey that would take him away for six months.

On October 28, 1847, three days before he returned to his family in Council Bluffs, Phebe delivered a baby girl, Shuah.  Shortly after his arrival, Phebe and Wilford were asked to move with their family to preside over the missionary work in and gathering of the Saints from the Eastern States.  This mission lasted almost two years and was significant for the Woodruffs in several ways.  Wilford and Phebe’s sacrifices included the death of their nine-month-old daughter Shuah as they traveled east.  On the other hand, they were living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, about 100 miles from Phebe’s hometown, and were able to share the gospel with members of Phebe’s extended family.  Wilford baptized over 20 individuals, including Phebe’s father.  On March 22, 1849 Wilford wrote that he baptized Ezra Carter in the ocean. He then recorded, “This is a great consolation to my soul.”[9]  Ezra was 76 years old and Phebe accompanied her father to the water and back again. 

When the Woodruffs left Maine in the spring of 1850, they had gathered about 100 Saints, among them Phebe’s sister, Sarah Foss, and her family.  Their company was later joined by another 125 Saints and they arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on October 14, 1850.  They moved into the cabins Wilford had built in 1847 in preparation for their eventual arrival, and he later built an adobe house.  Phebe was finally able to establish a permanent home, later named the Valley House, where she lived for the rest of her life.  It was located on the corner of South Temple and West Temple streets (where Abravanel Hall now stands in downtown Salt Lake City). Wilford’s father Aphek owned the lot next to the Valley House, and Phebe’s sister Sarah lived two doors down. 

Phebe gave birth to her fifth daughter Beulah in 1851, and her fourth son in 1853, but he died within a few hours.  Of her nine children, only five lived beyond the age of two years.  That same year Wilford married two additional wives, Sarah Brown and Emma [Smoot] Smith. The Valley House briefly held four generations of the Woodruff family (after Susan married in 1859 and bore Phebe’s first grandchild, Eugenia, in 1860), and the families of four of Wilford’s wives: Phebe (with 3 children), Emma (with 2 children), Sarah (with 3 children), and Delight (with 1 child).

At the organization of the 14th Ward Relief Society in 1856, Phebe was chosen by Bishop Abraham Hoagland as President. Under her leadership more than 75 women in the 14th Ward embroidered or appliqued a quilt block to make a beautiful commemorative quilt that was raffled to raise money. Those who contributed to the effort included Phebe's sister Sarah Foss and Sarah’s daughter Rhoda; Phebe’s daughters 14-year-old Phebe Amelia, 13-year-old Susan Cornelia, and even 6-year-old Beulah; and three of Wilford’s plural wives – Sarah Brown, Emma [Smoot] Smith, and Delight Stocking (who was sealed to Wilford in 1857).[10]  Phebe’s square was the centerpiece of the quilt.  It featured a beehive on top of a table surrounded by flowers, bees and butterflies.  Underneath the table she embroidered, “By industry we thrive” and below that, “Phebe W. Woodruff President of the 14th Ward Female Relief Society.”  The Deseret News article published May 20, 1857, stated that, to date, the Society had raised $200.01 of which $126 was donated to the Perpetual Emigration Fund.

When Phebe wrote her short autobiography she included her thoughts on polygamy: "When the principle of plural marriage was first taught, I thought it was the most wicked thing I ever heard of; consequently I opposed it to the best of my ability, until I became sick and wretched. As soon, however, as I became convinced that it originated as a revelation from God through Joseph, knowing him to be a prophet, I wrestled with my Heavenly Father in fervent prayer, to be guided aright at that all-important moment of my life. The answer came. Peace was given to my mind. I knew it was the will of God; and from that time to the present I have sought to faithfully honor the patriarchal law."

In January 1870 when Congress was considering legislation against polygamy she was among the women protesting.  She spoke at a mass meeting held in Salt Lake City and said, in part, "I am proud that I am a citizen of Utah, and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have been a member of this Church for 36 years, and had the privilege of living in the days of the Prophet Joseph, and heard his teaching for many years. He ever counseled us to honor, obey and maintain the principles of our noble Constitution ... President Brigham Young has always taught the same principle. This glorious legacy of our fathers, the Constitution of the United States, guarantees unto all the citizens of this great republic the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences, as it expressly says, 'Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.' Cullom's Bill is in direct violation of this declaration ... Shall we, as wives and mothers, sit still and see our husbands and sons, whom we know are obeying the highest behest of heaven, suffer for their religion, without exerting ourselves to the extent of our power for their deliverance? No; verily no! God has revealed unto us the law of the patriarchal order of marriage, and commanded us to obey it. We are sealed to our husbands for time and eternity, that we may dwell with them and our children in the world to come; which guarantees unto us the greatest blessing for which we are created. If the rulers of the nation will so far depart from the spirit and letter of our glorious Constitution as to deprive our prophets, apostles and elders of citizenship, and imprison them for obeying this law, let them grant this, our last request, to make their prisons large enough to hold their wives, for where they go we will go also."  The following month Phebe was named to a committee to promote women's suffrage.

In her later years as her children began families of their own, Phebe served on the Deseret Hospital Board of Directors and was an official worker in the Deseret Agricultural and Manufacturing Society which Wilford had helped establish in 1852.  She was also one of the presiding board of the Ladies’ Cooperative Retrenchment Association (the precursor of the Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association now called Young Women’s or Mutual).  In addition, Phebe was elected one of the Executive Board of the Deseret Hospital in 1882. 

Phebe lived to the age of 78, dying after a fall caused a serious head injury.  Wilford had been in hiding, but risked arrest to visit her after her accident.  On November 9, 1885, realizing her serious condition, he “blessed her and anointed her for her burial."  His wife of more than 48 years died a few hours later.  Under these difficult circumstances, although he watched from the office window, he wrote, “I was not permitted to attend her funeral without being arrested for my religion, and imprisoned … I saw the procession as it passed the office, I saw the hearse that carried my wife … to the grave. … Persecution is raging against the Latter Day Saints.  I am perfectly willing for my wife to lie down and go to sleep and be freed from any of the persecution from the wicked.  I hope I may prove true and faithful unto the end that I may meet with her and our friends in the Celestial Kingdom of God ….” 

Wilford also wrote this poem in her honor:
“Sleep on Dear Phebe, but ere long from this;
The conquered tomb shall yield its captive prey;
Then with thy husband, children, friends and Prophets and Apostles;
Thou shall reign in bliss as wife, queen, mother, and Saint to an eternal day."[11]

Carol Holindrake Nielson, The Salt Lake City 14th Ward Album Quilt, 1857: Stories of the Relief Society Women and Their Quilt.
Edward W. Tullidge, The Women of Mormondom
Wilford Woodruff’s Journals, 1:139-41, 1:164-65, 1:167-69, 1:181-85, 1:188-89, 1:192-93, 1:216, 1:219-20, 1:224-25, 1:230-33, 1:236-37, 1:240-41, 1:243, 1:254, 1:271-72, 1:274, 1:281-83, 1:285-86, 1:288, 1:294, 1:298, 1:303-305, 1:311, 1:338, 1:342, 1:344, 1:346, 1:348-49, 1:353, 1:358, 1:365-66, 1:370, 1:372-73, 1:403, 1:413, 1:426, 1:443, 1:454-55, 1:471, 1:483-84, 1:486, 1:488, 1:494, 1:497, 1:541-42, 1:545, 1:551, 2:24, 2:28-29, 2:37, 2:105, 2:120-21, 2:157, 2:177-78, 2:188-89, 2:259-60, 2:272-73, 2:278, 2:305, 2:307, 2:327, 2:332, 2:344, 2:412, 2:422, 2:455-56, 2:458, 2:477, 2:561, 2:600, 2:624, 3:8, 30, 65-66, 68-69, 97, 99, 104, 263, 288-89, 343, 359-60, 367, 370, 377-80, 433-34, 587-88, 4:211, 281, 442, 5:28, 53, 185, 251, 261, 339, 391-92, 412, 461, 6:14, 37, 44, 46, 68, 129-31, 137, 165, 174, 177, 192, 209, 239, 298, 326, 330, 348-49, 387-88, 392-94, 408, 443, 457, 462, 489, 504, 521, 532, 535, 537, 545, 566, 7:27, 32, 44, 68, 74, 76-77, 84, 99, 107, 121, 126, 138, 142, 144, 152, 156, 159, 169, 174, 186, 188, 193-96, 206, 213, 218-19, 237, 248, 264, 267, 279, 286, 292-94, 320, 341-42, 345, 375, 380, 382, 404, 433, 450, 454, 475, 478, 481, 484, 489, 491-92, 496-97, 512, 516, 518, 526, 528, 532-33, 557, 562, 564, 576-77, 586, 591, 605, 608, 8:3, 9, 11, 15, 17-19, 26, 31, 36, 42, 45, 64, 89, 111, 113, 121, 140, 156-58, 168, 172, 185, 206, 225, 229, 232, 234, 237, 251, 273-74, 276-78, 280, 284-85, 289, 299-302, 308, 310-11, 314-16, 320, 322, 326, 332-35, 338-39, 342-44, 354, 381, 429, 465, 9:141, 292, 534-36, 426, 534-35, 553.


(February 18, 1818 – October 25, 1894)

Mary Ann Jackson, Wilford’s second wife, was born on February 18, 1818 in Liverpool, England.  She was the daughter of William Jackson and Elizabeth Lloyd, the second of their four children.  Her mother died in 1837 and her father died 1840. She was baptized May 2, 1843, by Elder William Cooper.  She was the only member of her family to join the Church, although she had two brothers and a sister.[2]  Mary Ann met the Woodruffs when they were living in England and Wilford was serving as President of the European Mission.  She began working for them as a housekeeper in August 1845.[3]  She left England on January 16, 1846 with Phoebe and forty other British Saints, arriving in Nauvoo in April 1846.  She was present when the Nauvoo Temple was dedicated and traveled with the Woodruffs when they left Nauvoo in May 1846 to begin the trek west.

Wilford and Mary Ann were sealed by Brigham Young on August 2, 1846, in Nebraska Territory.   Wilford did not openly write about plural marriage at the time, so his journal record makes only a vague reference: “During the evening President Young and Dr. Richards called at my tent.  President Young delivered an interesting lecture upon the priesthood and the principal of sealing.  There being present: Phebe W. Woodruff, [Mary] Caroline Barton, [Sarah Elinor] Brown, Mary [Ann] Jackson.”  On the same page of his journal he drew a large heart with four keys, a symbol reportedly used to indicate patriarchal marriage before the doctrine was preached publicly in 1852.  (He also drew a picture of a heart with four keys in his journal on January 28, 1844, the day his marriage to Phoebe was sealed by Hyrum Smith in Nauvoo.) 

Mary Ann was eight months pregnant in April 1847 when Wilford left with the advance company of pioneers for the Salt Lake Valley.  Before leaving, Wilford asked her if there was anything that he could do to make her happy.   Mary Ann told him she wanted to go with him.  Wilford replied that it was too great a risk to her life and the life of their child.  She then said that she would start after the baby was born and “if she died she would be in the wake of the Camp of Israel on their way to build a city to the Name of the Lord in the midst of the Rocky Mountains.”[4] 
Mary Ann wrote, “On May 25, 1847, my baby was born, a son.  We called him James Jackson Woodruff.”[5]  On the 13th of June I began the journey to follow the pioneers when he was nineteen days old.”  She joined the Abraham O. Smoot-George A. Wallace Company of 223 pioneers escorted by Wilford’s father, Aphek.  Mary Ann and Aphek had two wagons, two horses, a cow and eight oxen.  One wagon was for the family and their provisions; the other was loaded with the machinery to set up a flour mill in the Salt Lake Valley.

Of the journey she recorded, “dear old father, Aphek Woodruff, blessed be his name, for in the hands of the Lord, he was the means of saving my life.”[6]  Apparently while they were traveling she wanted to get out of the wagon to walk alongside it.  She stood on the hounds [length of wood on the side] and tried to jump down.  Her skirt caught and kept her dangling between the wheels.  She was able to use her hands to keep from being crushed by the wheels until one of the men were able to stop the team of oxen. 

On occasion she would ride with John and Marie Woolley.  Marie was about her same age, and they kept each other company.  Brother Woolley would usually walk her back to her camp if she stayed with them until night, but one time because she could see the campfires ahead, she told him she could go on alone.  Carrying James, she went from fire to fire asking if they were part of Captain Smoot’s company.  Before she reached the second fire she could hear wolves howling.  By the time she reached the fourth fire she could see the wolves.  Aphek and some of the other men in their company who had been looking for her, found her before she reached the fifth fire and were able to escort her safely back to camp. 
In September their company was met by Wilford and the other Apostles headed east, back to Winter Quarters.  Wilford saw his son James for the first time.  Of this occasion James later recorded, “We met Father on his return journey from Salt Lake and he named and blessed me at the Sweetwater [River].”[7] 

The Smoot Company arrived in Salt Lake on September 26, 1847.   Since Wilford had been sent east from Winter Quarters to gather more Saints, Mary, James, and Aphek wintered in the two-room cabin Wilford had built in August.  (It was located in the fort.)  2,000 other Saints had survived the journey that year and lived in similar conditions until they could start building in the spring.  Wilford was not able to return to Salt Lake until his mission in the Eastern States was completed in 1850.  This separation was apparently too much for Mary Ann and she divorced Wilford before his return.[8] 

In 1857 Mary Ann asked Wilford if he would remarry her, but he declined based on their past experience, saying “we have not rendered each other happy.”[9]  Mary Ann married David James Ross, a widower with three children, December 13, 1857.[10]  Initially James Jackson went with her to live with her and the Ross family.  David and Mary Ann had two children together, William in 1858 and John in 1860.[11]  After a disagreement with Brigham Young, David left Utah abandoning Mary Ann in the 1860s.[12]  On May 29, 1863, James, who was then 16, moved to Wilford Woodruff’s home.  Wilford recorded in his journal, “My son James Jackson, who had been absent for several years, returned to live with me."[13] James Jackson married Fanny Lloyd December 21, 1868. [14]

Although Mary never lived with the Woodruffs, she remained close to Wilford and his families throughout her life.[15]  In a cryptic note in his journal on December 2, 1878, Wilford asked Mary Ann to be resealed to him. Then in November 1886 she asked President Taylor if she could be sealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith.   Her letter was referred to Wilford Woodruff.[16]  Although they lived separately, Wilford helped support her until her death on October 25, 1894.  Her obituary says that she died of paralysis.[17]  It also stated, "She died as she had lived, a faithful Latter-day Saint."  Wilford spoke at her funeral on October 28, 1894, and she was buried in the Woodruff family plot in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.  She is included as one of Wilford’s wives on his tombstone, along with Phoebe, Sarah, Delight and Emma.

"A Brief Sketch of the Life of James Jackson Woodruff," was written July 24, 1926 and can be found in  
Chronicles of Courage, 8 vols. [1990-97], 2:127-29.   
L. John Nuttall’s Journal.
Mary Ann Jackson Woodruff Biographical Sketch by James Jackson Woodruff, April, 1-2, 1917.
Ogden Standard, (Ogden City, Utah), page 5, September 7, 1909.
Wilford Woodruff’s Journals, 3:42, 65-66; 6:113, 582; 7:294, 441; 8:411, 479-84, 486, 488, 491, 494, 496-97, 499, 507, 509, 513-17, 520, 523-25, 528-29, 531.
Willard Richard’s Journal.

Some historians state Mary Ann Jackson and Wilford Woodruff were sealed in the Nauvoo Temple by Brigham Young on April 15, 1846.  This was impossible because Brigham Young was in Iowa at the time, and Orson Hyde was the only apostle present in Nauvoo when Wilford and his family were there.  Alternatively, others state the sealing occurred in Winter Quarters in April, which is equally impossible because Wilford and his family remained in Nauvoo until May.  In addition, some records erroneously give James’ birth date as March 25, 1847 instead of May 25, 1847.  James began the journey to Salt Lake City in June when he was 19 days old.
James Jackson Woodruff , “A Brief Sketch of the Life of James Jackson Woodruff, Pioneer of 1847,” July 24, 1926.


(January 12, 1832 – August 10, 1910)

Mary Caroline Barton was born January 12, 1832, in Wilmington, Delaware, the daughter of William Allen Barton and Mary Ann Swain.  Her parents were converted to the Church and gathered with the Saints to make the journey to Utah. 

In Nebraska Territory – near what became known as Cutler’s Park – Mary was sealed to Wilford Woodruff by Brigham Young on August 2, 1846, along with Sarah Elinor Brown and Mary Ann Jackson.[1]  Wilford Woodruff obliquely references the occasion in his journal, simply stating that Brigham Young and Willard Richards came to his tent that evening and “President Young delivered an interesting lecture upon the priesthood and the principal of sealing.  There being present: Phebe W. Woodruff, [Mary] Caroline Barton, Sara [Elinor] Brown, Mary [Ann] Jackson.”[2]  Six days later he recorded that he rebaptized Phebe twice and then also rebaptized Mary Caroline, Sarah, Mary Ann, and Rosetta King.[3]

The personal lives of the three women sealed to Wilford that day were very different.  Both Mary Ann’s parents were deceased.  Sarah Elinor’s father had died on the journey from Maine to Illinois in 1839.  Both Mary Caroline’s parents were members of the Church and living among the Saints in the Iowa camps.  Mary Ann Jackson had known the Woodruffs for about a year and had worked as a housekeeper for them when Phebe and Wilford were living in Liverpool, England.  Wilford Woodruff had introduced Sarah Elinor Brown’s family to the gospel on his mission to Vinalhaven, Maine in 1838 and the Browns had been part of the group of Saints from the Northeast that he led to Nauvoo.  On the other hand, I have not been able to determine his long-term relationship, if any, with the Barton family. 

Mary Ann Jackson was 29 years old in August 1846, Sarah Elinor was 18 and Mary Caroline was 17.  The age of the two younger women at the time of the sealing was apparently a factor in their subsequent behavior.  It is not clear if they considered their sealing a spiritual one – not an earthly or physical union – or if they simply chose to continue socializing with others their own age regardless of their marital status.

According to Wilford Woodruff, Mary Caroline and Sarah Elinor spent 15 nights straight, sometimes until 2:00 am, in the company of three young men in camp: Daniel Barnum, Jack Clothier, and Peletiah Brown.[4]   Wilford forbade them from such “night ramblings” and said they would be expelled from his family if they continued their unrighteous behavior.[5]  On August 28, Mary Caroline and her parents were at a meeting with Wilford Woodruff, Brigham Young and Willard Richards where both Mary Caroline and Sarah E. Brown were given the option to stay and follow the rules, or leave.[6]  Both Mary and Sarah chose to leave.  Mary returned to her parents’ and Sarah was sent to live with the Bakers.  The three young men were whipped for their alleged sexual misconduct with Mary and Sarah.  Hosea Stout carried out the punishment and felt it was just given the fact that he believed the punishment for their actions under territorial law was death.[7]

Sometime between August 1846 and February 1848, the Bartons moved to Georgetown, Ohio.  Mary Caroline married Erastus Curtis there on February 4, 1848.[8]  Erastus and Mary Curtis then moved to Holt, Missouri where their first child, Oceania was born in 1850.  Their second child, Phebe Martin Curtis, was also born in Holt, Missouri on February 2, 1852.  Phebe traveled with them when they made the journey to Utah later that year.  They were part of the 365 Saints in the company led by Erastus’ father, Uriah Curtis.[9]  They started from Council Bluffs, Iowa, on June 24, 1852 and arrived in to Salt Lake City October 1, 1852.

Erastus and Mary Caroline Curtis had a total of eleven children between 1850 and 1872.  Their third child, Matilda Caroline was born in 1853 in Parowan, Utah before they moved with Mary Caroline’s parents to help settle San Bernardino, California.  Their fourth child, William Barton, was born in San Bernardino in 1856.  (Mary Caroline’s parents remained in San Bernardino until their deaths.)  However, Erastus and Mary Caroline returned to Utah, and their fifth child, Erastus, was born in Springville in 1858.  Emmaline Joan, their sixth child, was born in 1860 in Spanish Fork, Utah.

Erastus was the Marshal of Moroni, Utah and later the Sheriff of Emory County.  He married a second wife, Joanna Price Fullmer, in 1860 in Moroni.  Erastus and Mary Caroline had five more children while living in Moroni: Florilla Ann in 1862,  Eliza Jane in 1864, Rosetta Parthenia in 1866, Joseph Boulden in 1869, and Homer Franklin in 1872.  Erastus and Joanna had eight children together.[10]

In October 1877, Erastus, Erastus Jr., and William joined five other men who were responding to the call by Brigham Young to leave Sanpete County and settle in Castle Valley.  Erastus and his sons built a cabin on Cottonwood Creek in what became the town of Orangeville, Utah.  Erastus, Jr. and William remained there for the winter and the rest of the family joined them in 1878.[11] The Curtis family later settled in Mackay, Custer County, Idaho.  Erastus died there on January 20, 1902.  Mary Caroline died there August 10, 1910.  They are both buried in the Barton Flat Cemetery in Custer County, Idaho.

Deseret News, October 24, 1863.
Frank Ellwood Esshom, Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah.
Juanita Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier: The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844-1861.  
Journal History, Supplement to 1852.
Leonard J. Arrington, Latter-day Saint Settlement of Eastern Utah: A Story of Faith, Courage and Tolerance.
The Manuscript History of Brigham Young
Wilford Woodruff’s Journals.
Journal of Willard Richards.
William Clayton’s Journal.


(August 22, 1827 - December 25, 1915)

Sarah Elinor Brown was born to Charles and Mary Arey Brown August 22, 1827 in Vinalhaven, Maine.[1] Sarah was the second of their five children.  Her older sister Rebecca was born in 1825, her only brother Thomas was born in 1830, and her younger sister Susan and Mary were born in 1833 and 1836.[2]   Captain Charles Brown and his family were converted to the gospel by Wilford Woodruff on his mission to Vinalhaven, Maine in 1838.  Charles Brown was baptized on January 1, 1838.[3]

When Wilford Woodruff left the New England states with a group of converts to join the Saints in Missouri he learned that the Saints had been expelled from Missouri.  Due to their late start, the Woodruffs and several other families, including Charles Brown’s, decided to spend the winter in Northern Illinois and go on to Commerce, Illinois in the spring.  Charles and his oldest daughter Rebecca died in Rochester, Illinois in June 1839.[4]

Mary and her four remaining children went on to join the Saints in Nauvoo.  The Woodruffs helped them get established.  According to Harriet Jane Lamb, to help support the family, “Sarah found employment as a waitress at an inn or tavern house near the jail in Carthage. She was working there when the Prophet Joseph Smith was brought there and imprisoned by his enemies. The day before he was martyred many of the mob came into the tavern to make their plans and bolster up their courage with drink Anti-Mormon feeling was running high. A man brandishing a pistol threatened Sarah with death if she would not deny her religion, but she said, "I am a Mormon." The drunkened mob would not let him kill her, saying she was too pretty to die, but they tried to get her to renounce her faith. They made her leave the tavern and she went back to Nauvoo, very frightened and upset. She warned the brethren of the plans to kill the prophet. All her life she vividly recalled what the mobsters had told her they were going to do to ‘Joe Smith’.”[5]

At the age of 18, Sarah received her endowment in the Nauvoo Temple on February 7, 1846, two weeks after her mother Mary.[6]  Mary was sealed to Loren W. Babbitt on February 6, 1846.  Loren’s wife Almira Castle died in 1845 leaving four young children and combined with Mary’s four children they had eight.  Six months later, in Nebraska Territory near what became known as Cutler’s Park, Sarah was sealed to Wilford Woodruff, three weeks before her nineteenth birthday.  Brigham Young performed the ceremony on August 2, 1846, and also sealed Mary Caroline Barton and Mary Ann Jackson as Wilford’s plural wives.[7] 

Wilford Woodruff obliquely references the occasion in his journal, simply stating that Brigham Young and Willard Richards came to his tent and “President Young delivered an interesting lecture upon the priesthood and the principal of sealing.  There being present: Phebe W. Woodruff, [Mary] Caroline Barton, Sara [Elinor] Brown, Mary [Ann] Jackson.”[8] 

The personal lives of the three women sealed to Wilford that day were very different.  Mary Ann Jackson had known the Woodruffs for about a year and had worked as a housekeeper for them when Phebe and Wilford were living in Liverpool, England.  Wilford Woodruff had introduced Sarah Elinor Brown’s family to the gospel on his mission to the Fox Islands off the coast of Maine and known them since 1838.  On the other hand, I have not been able to determine Wilford’s long-term relationship, if any, with the Barton family.  Both Mary Ann’s parents died before she was introduced to the gospel.  Sarah Elinor’s father had died on the journey from Maine to Illinois in 1839 and her mother had been sealed to Loren Babbitt in 1846.  Both Mary Caroline’s parents were members of the Church and living among the Saints in the Iowa camps.

In August 1846, Wilford Woodruff was 39 years old, Mary Ann Jackson was 29, Sarah Elinor turned 19 on August 22, and Mary Caroline was 17.  The ages of the two younger women at the time of the sealing was probably a factor in their subsequent behavior.  It is not clear if they considered their sealing a spiritual one, not an earthly or physical union, or if they simply chose to continue socializing with others their own age.  Apparently Wilford did not believe Sarah and Mary’s personal conduct in camp following their sealing on August 2, was in compliance with the established rules. 

Six days after their sealing, Wilford recorded rebaptizing Phebe twice and also rebaptizing Mary Caroline, Sarah Elinor, Mary Ann Jackson, and Rosetta King.[9]   He does not explain why he rebaptized those five women, but rebaptism was considered a symbol of recommitment to the gospel principles, used to symbolize a new beginning, and a method of healing or restoration of health.  In Phebe’s case the rebaptism was for health, but does not make it clear if their conduct in camp was the reason for rebaptizing Sarah and Mary.

According to Wilford, Mary and Sarah spent 15 nights straight, sometimes until 2:00 am, in the company of three young men in camp: Daniel Barnum, Jack Clothier, and Peletiah Brown.[10]   They played the fiddle and danced and Wilford believed that led to other things.  He forbade Sarah and Mary from continuing such “night ramblings.” Two days later, on August 28, a meeting at Wilford’s tent included Sarah, Mary, Mary’s parents, Wilford Woodruff, Brigham Young and Willard Richards.  Both Mary and Sarah were given the option to stay and follow the rules, or leave Wilford’s family.  Wilford recorded the meeting in his journal: “I called my family together and I laid before them the conduct of [Mary] Caroline Barton and Sarah Brown in their night ramblings with unprincipled young men.  Many things were said upon the subject.  They manifested a disposition to live elsewhere and I wished them to do so if they would not conduct better.  Elder Richards prophesied to them in the name of the Lord that they would see the day that they would be willing to have their right arm severed from their body if that would restore them to the place and station they were now losing.  But, in consequence of their bad conduct, I sent Caroline to her father and mother, and Sarah . . . went to Brother Baker’s until she could get [a place].”[11]  The three young men were whipped for their alleged sexual misconduct with the Mary and Sarah.[12]

I have not found any clear records of the next few years in Sarah’s life.  Sarah’s mother divorced Loren Babbitt at some point, and the next documented event in Sarah’s life was her marriage to Lisbon Lamb on February 15, 1849 in Kanesville, Iowa.[13]  Lisbon served as a private in the Mormon Battalion and returned to Winter Quarters in October 1847.[14]  Lisbon and Sarah are listed in the 1850 census of Pottawattamie County, Iowa.  Lisbon’s occupation was “grocer.”[15]  They apparently met and courted while preparing to follow the Saints to Utah.  In the meantime, Lisbon’s parents had worked their way to Kanesville, Iowa and Abel had established a bakery.  Abel and his sons sold cakes, pies, crackers and bread and earned enough money to head west with the Johnson Company on June 12, 1850.[16]

After reaching the Salt Lake Valley in September, Sarah and Lisbon initially lived in Salt Lake City.  They had three children together.  Two sons, Don Lisbon born July 2, 1855 in Salt Lake City, and Albert Marion born on May 5, 1857 in Lamb’s Canyon.  Lisbon worked in Lamb’s Canyon with his father Abel, who was also a cooper.  They made things like barrels, washboards, churns and water buckets.

In the summer of 1857, Lisbon and Sarah did not move south with the rest of the Saints in anticipation of the approach of Johnston's Army.  They remained in Lamb’s Canyon and served as “lookouts.” Lisbon then joined Lot Smith's “raiders,” a group that worked to thwart the progress of Johnston’s Army.  Among other things they burned the army’s supply wagons, stampeded their cattle, set the grass on fire so their animals would have nothing to eat.

After the new governor of Utah Territory was peacefully installed and the “Utah War” was over, Lisbon and Sarah moved to Farmington, Utah with their two sons.  Lisbon’s parents were also residents to Farmington.  Lisbon was a cooper, and his family built and operated a sawmill.  On March 12, 1862 Sarah’s only daughter, Mary Jane, was born in Farmington. 

Four years later, on February 3, 1866, Lisbon married Subrina Catherine Smith, and they had six children. The two families lived in the same house together.  On the 1870 census for Farmington, Utah Lisbon and Sarah are listed with their three children, Don age 15 – a laborer – Alfred, age 13, and Mary, age 8.  Sarah’s occupation is “keeping house” and Lisbon is listed as a cooper.[17]  In the 1880 census Lisbon at age 52, is listed as a carpenter.  Both Sarah, age 52, and Subrina, age 33 are listed as his wives.  Don, now 24 is a teamster, Alfred or “Ally” age 23 is a lawyer, and Mary, age 18, is “assistant house keeper.”  Subrina’s children are George, age 13, Ann, age 11, Lucy, age 9, Charles, age 7, Catherine, age 5, Alonzo, age 3, and Brigham, age 10 months.[18]  Lisbon died later that year, on October 19, 1880, at the age of 53. 

 Sarah lived to be 87 and died in Farmington on December 25, 1915.  Her obituary in the Davis County Clipper dated January 1, 1916 read in part, “she experienced all the vicissitudes and hardships incident to early Church history and arrived in Utah in 1851 … Lifelong associates of hers have said they never saw her angry nor had they ever heard her talk about anybody.”  She was survived by her three children, many grandchildren, and 22 great grandchildren.

References to Captain Charles Brown in Wilford Woodruff’s Journals, 1:219-20, 223, 241, 277, 293, 302, 352.
Davis County Clipper, January 1, 1915. 
Heart Throbs of the West, Volume11.
History by Harriet Jane Lamb Stradling.
Juanita Brooks, “On the Mormon Frontier: The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844-1861,” 
Manuscript History of Brigham Young.
Nauvoo Temple Endowment Register.
Treasures of Pioneer History, Volume 6. 
Wilford Woodruff’s Journals.
William Clayton’s Journal.

(September 6, 1802 – October 3, 1852)

Mary Meek Giles, Wilford’s fifth wife, was born in Marblehead, Essex County, Massachusetts on September 6, 1802.  She was the 10th child born to Samuel and Elizabeth “Betsy” Giles.[1]  Mary was christened in St. Michael’s Church in Marblehead on September 26, 1802.[2]  This is the same church where Mary’s grandparents, Samuel Giles and Elizabeth Meek, were married in 1756.[3] The marriage date of Samuel and Elizabeth Reith Giles was 1784, although the church is not listed.   

Samuel and Elizabeth (Reith) Giles had 12 children between 1786 and 1812.[4] Four died as infants, then Hannah died at the age of 21, Alice died at 32, and Samuel Jr. died at the age of 45.  So, when Mary was introduced to the gospel in 1842, only four siblings – Elizabeth Giles Jones, Lydia Giles LeMarsters, John Reith Giles, and Ruth Jane Giles – were still living.[5]

Mary was taught the restored gospel by Erastus Snow and he baptized her on September 4, 1842.  Erastus Snow, with companions Benjamin Winchester then Freeman Nickerson, preached in Boston, Salem, Marblehead and surrounding towns from 1841 to 1843.[6]  At this point in time Mary probably lived in Salem.[7]  Erastus Snow also performed Mary’s marriage to Nathan Webster.[8]  With the exception of Ruth Jane Giles, it does not appear that Mary’s other siblings joined the Church. 

According to Ruth’s records, she was also born in Marblehead, Essex County, Massachusetts to Samuel and Elizabeth Giles.[9]  Ruth’s son Jacob Omner Turley wrote that his mother had an older sister named Mary, and two brothers, John and Samuel, who were shoemakers.[10]  There are no records of Ruth traveling to or arriving in Nauvoo, but she could have traveled to Nauvoo with Erastus Snow in March 1843 or with the Ashby family, also converted by Erastus Snow, who left Salem for Nauvoo on October 14, 1843.  (Nathaniel’s wife Susan Hammond was a native of Marblehead, and Nathaniel was a shoemaker in Salem, Massachusetts.)  The first indication that Ruth was in Nauvoo, was the birth of her son, Joseph Orson, on July 12, 1845.  Ruth was endowed in the Nauvoo Temple February 6, 1846.  Later, according to Benjamin Ashby, Ruth was staying with the Nathaniel Ashby family in Nauvoo during the early months of 1846 as the Saints began leaving the city.[11]  Ruth made the journey to Salt Lake sometime between 1846 and 1850[12] because she became the plural wife of Theodore Turley in Salt Lake City on June 18, 1850.[13]

There are no records documenting Mary’s journey from Massachusetts to Utah, and she is not listed in any of the overland trail databases under her maiden name Giles or her married name Webster.  However, from two letters written to her in 1850, it is clear that Mary traveled from Massachusetts by way of St. Louis, Missouri and Kanesville, Iowa to Utah in 1850.  The letters, written by Mary’s friend Anne Elizabeth Holman Wilson in January and Mary’s husband Nathan Webster in July, indicate she left Boston between those two dates.  Nathan’s letter includes a response to a letter he received from Mary on June 18, 1850 indicating she had already passed through St. Louis and had written him before from Kanesville.[14]  Several individuals kept records of the exodus of Boston area Saints, including Leonard Hardy, William Henry Branch[15], and Wilford Woodruff.  Wilford Woodruff left Boston on April 9, 1850 with about 100 people from the Massachusetts area. They arrived in New York the following day and were joined by another 100 Saints.  In Cincinnati the group had grown to 213.  They arrived in St. Louis on May 1st and the Deseret Depo near Kanesville, Iowa on May 15th.  Wilford Woodruff’s Company left Kanesville on June 15, 1850 and arrived in Salt Lake City on October 14, 1850.[16]  Mary was most likely part of this group of Saints. 

In any case, Mary arrived in the Salt Lake Valley sometime between July and November 1850.  She received her Patriarchal Blessing in Salt Lake City from John Smith on November 23, 1850.[17] In it Patriarch Smith said Mary had passed through “many trials, losses, and crosses to dwell with the Saints,” yet she had not departed from the ways of righteousness.  He told Mary that God was pleased with the integrity of her heart and had given His angels charge to protect her and deliver her from danger.  She was promised that she would enjoy her “companion in the blessings of the fullness of the Gospel,” that she was a “lawful heir to the priesthood which would be conferred upon her in due time with her companion” and she would be given power to heal the sick.[18]

Nathan’s letter to Mary, dated July 14, 1850, includes a note, “remember me to Ruth and all that ask after me” which could be a reference to her sister Ruth Jane Giles or to Ruth Vose Sayers[19] – another member of the Church from the Boston, Massachusetts area.[20]  The April 1851 Census of Salt Lake City, Utah, shows Mary was living with Ruth Vose and her husband Edward Sayers.  Mary received her endowments in the Council House on June 21, 1851.[21]  On March 28, 1852, Mary was sealed to Wilford for time and eternity in the Woodruff’s home.[22]   Wilford wrote that Mary “took up her abode” with Wilford and Phebe at that time. 

Five months later, on September 13, Wilford became ill with erysipelas, a bacterial infection that causes fever, chills, blisters, and skin lesions.  A week later Mary, Phebe, their daughter youngest daughter Beulah also became ill.  By the 27th Wilford was getting better, but still weak, Phebe was “feeble,” and Mary was “sinking.”[23]  Tragically, Mary died on Sunday, October 3, 1852.  That day Wilford recorded in his journal: “I sat by her at her last moments and closed her eyes.”[24] Her funeral, held the following day at the Woodruff’s home, was attended by four of the apostles.  Erastus Snow, who had baptized her ten years earlier, preached Mary’s funeral sermon and she was then buried in the Woodruff plot in Salt Lake City.[25]


Benjamin Ashby's Autobiography, published 1941. 
Catharine E. Mehring Woolley's Journal, Salt Lake Telegram, published serially January 7-11, 1935.
Diary of Erastus Snow, 1842.  
MS 2081 0000740s in the Emma Smith Woodruff Collection, Church History Library.
MS 2081 0000731 in the Emma Smith Woodruff Collection, Church History Library.
Vital Records of Massachusetts, 1639-1915
Walter Turley’s application for membership in the Sons of the American Revolution.
Wilford Woodruff’s Journals,1:209; 4:103, 148-49; 6:349; 7:107; 8:18.

(January 1, 1834 - May 9, 1909)

Sarah Brown was born January 1, 1834 in Jefferson, Henderson, New York.  She was the fourth of seven children.[1]  Her parents, Harry Brown and Rhoda North were taught the gospel by David W. Patten and joined the Church in June 1833.

On April 1, 1834, three months after Sarah’s birth, her father Harry Brown accompanied Parley P. Pratt on a mission to Richland Township, New York to recruit volunteers to help aid the Missouri Saints. Wilford Woodruff was one of the recent converts they met with.  Wilford immediately made arrangements to settle his affairs in New York and accompanied Harry Brown and Warren Ingles back to Kirtland, Ohio on April 11, 1834.[2]  Sarah’s father Harry and Wilford were among those who participated in the march from Ohio to Missouri that became known as Zion’s Camp.[3]  After Zion’s Camp disbanded, Harry Brown was one of Wilford’s missionary companions to Missouri, Tennessee, and Arkansas in January 1835.[4]

While her father was gone, Sarah’s mother moved the family from New York to Jefferson, Ohio (about 35 miles from Kirtland).  Four more children, two sons and two daughters, were born while the Brown family was living in Ohio, between 1837 and 1849.  Ohio is also where Sarah began her schooling at the age of six.  She completed regular school at the age of 14, then studied for two more years so she could earn a teaching certificate in 1850.[5]

In December 1851 the Brown family sold everything to join the Saints in Utah.  Harry and Rhoda along with their children Ira, Sarah, Mary, and Jane, took a steamboat from Cincinnati, Ohio to Louisville, Kentucky.  There they waited for three months until the river thawed enough for them to make it to St. Louis, Missouri.  On March 30, 1852 the Browns joined other Saints and were among the 175 passengers on the steamboat Saluda when it left St. Louis.  The ice in the Mississippi River delayed their journey for several days and they had to stop at Lexington, Missouri. On April 9, when Captain Francis T. Belt decided to get started, the dry boilers exploded disintegrating the hull.  The boat sunk within minutes.[6]

One hundred of the 175 passengers were killed or injured, and Sarah’s family members were among them.  Sarah was knocked unconscious by flying debris, her brother Ira’s teeth were knocked out, his face was cut, and his leg was broken.  Sarah’s mother and her two sisters were not harmed, but her father’s injuries were so severe that he died two weeks later, on April 24, 1852.

Rhoda Brown continued on their journey to Utah with her children.  On July 12, 1852 their company departed from Council Bluffs.  Rhoda, Ira, Mary and Jane spent the winter in Laramie, Wyoming because Ira’s injured leg became so infected it had to be amputated.[7]  Sarah, at 18 years old, continued the journey in Henry Miller’s Company and arrived in Salt Lake City on October 1, 1852. [8]

Sarah was sealed to Wilford Woodruff on March 13, 1853, the same day Wilford was sealed to Emma [Smoot] Smith.[9]  Although Sarah’s mother and siblings arrived in Salt Lake City later that summer, they left a year later to return to Ohio and Sarah did not see her family again.[10]

Initially she lived with Phebe and Emma in the Valley House in Salt Lake City.  Her first son, David Patten, was born there April 4, 1854.  Then, the following year, she taught school in Weber.  When she returned to Salt Lake she taught school in the 14th Ward.  Sarah had six more children while living in Salt Lake City:  Brigham Young (1856 - 1876), Phebe Arabell (1859 - 1939), Sylvia Melvina (1862-1940), Newton (1863-1960), Mary (1867-1903), and Charles Henry (1870-1871).

After her son’s Brigham’s birth in 1856, Sarah learned how to make gloves.  The cloth for the gloves was made from the flax they grew.  They also used flax to make other things including carpets, linens for the kitchen, and bedspreads.  In her autobiography Sarah wrote that “Aunt Phebe” was a good tailoress and taught her how to make dresses as well as clothes for the men.[11]  Phebe was Relief Society President, and Sarah contributed a square for the 14th Ward quilt which the Relief Society auctioned off in 1857 to raise money for the perpetual emigration fund.[12]  Sarah’s square featured two birds tending a nest using appliqued fabrics and she embroidered her name as “Sarah Woodruff.”[13]  Ten years later Sarah learned millinery, and began to make hats and bonnets.  She was very proud of her work and the fact that all the materials were homegrown, except the silk thread she used to embroider the gloves and the silk used to decorate the hats and bonnets.

Sarah’s oldest son David was a horse enthusiast and Wilford wanted to support David’s interest in raising stock horses.  Wilford purchased 20 acres in Randolph, Utah – about 75 miles northeast of Salt Lake City – and moved Sarah’s family there in May of 1871.  Wilford then spent weeks there building fences, plowing, and planting with his sons David, who was 16, and Wilford, Jr. – Phebe’s eldest – who was 30 years old.[14]  Reflecting on Wilford’s work ethic, Newton’s son Wilford Weeks Woodruff said his grandfather "worked so hard he'd make himself sick.  He didn't stop until he got through with a job.  He'd go like crazy till he got through.”[15]

Sarah was sad to leave Salt Lake City and her close association with Wilford’s first wife, Phebe, who had become a second mother to her.  In her autobiography Sarah wrote that Phebe “was a noble woman and a loving mother to us all … She would administer to the sick children and give us good counsel and advice in all things.”[16]  It was also hard for Sarah to leave her second oldest son, Brigham, behind in Salt Lake City, but he stayed so he could pursue an education at the University of Deseret.

Sarah’s daughter, Arabell, wrote the following about the move to Randolph: “This was a severe trial for me.  There were no good schools or teachers in Randolph.  I arrived there on my twelfth birthday [May 30].  We lived in a tent for six months.  I went boat riding with my sister in a tub on Little Creek.  In the fall we moved into a new home, the only home in Randolph with an upstairs.  Mother taught school two years and was secretary in the Relief Society.  I often attended these meetings with her.”[17]

Wilford, David, and Wilford Jr., built a 20 x 40 foot cabin on the farm in Randolph.  For five years, Sarah’s family of five children shared the Randolph cabin with Wilford, Jr. and his wife Emily and their children.  Wilford lived in Randolph periodically between 1872 and 1876.  On Sarah's 39th birthday, January 1, 1873, Wilford recorded that he installed two floors.  He also wrote that, "Sarah was very poorly through the night."[18] A month later, Wilford and Sarah's eighth and last child, Edward Randolph, was born on February 2, 1873.  He died six days later and Sarah wrote that she “came very near following him.”[19] 

Wilford records farming, fishing, and hunting with his sons in Randolph, particularly during the summers.   One entry, from September 6, 1873, tells of taking both Sarah’s family and his daughter-in-law Emily’s family in a wagon on a day trip.  He caught 30 trout, three ducks and two sage hens.[20]   During this time Sarah also accompanied Wilford when he traveled around the area meeting with the various wards and branches.  On one occasion, in May of 1874, he was responsible for organized the settlements into the United Order.

On June 14, 1875, Sarah’s daughter Phebe Arabell was married to Jesse T. Moses, and Sarah became a grandmother in April of 1876.  That fall the Moses family moved back to Salt Lake City and Wilford traded some of his cattle for 40 acres with a house in Cache Valley that David wanted.  So Sarah moved to Smithfield with David, Sylvia, Newton and Mary.  A few months later, on February 17, 1877, David was married to Arabell Hatch.

In June of 1877 Sarah’s son Brigham graduated from the University and traveled to Smithfield to visit his mother.  The following day, June 16, he went duck hunting with his brothers and drowned while swimming in the Bear River to retrieve one of the ducks.  His body was not found for five days.  At this time Wilford was in St. George presiding over the new temple there and received the tragic news by telegram.[21]  Sarah wrote that, because she did not have Wilford’s company to help her cope with Brigham’s death and burial, she was grateful the people of Smithfield “did all in their power” to comfort her.[22]

Two years later Sarah’s daughter Arabell’s family moved to Arizona, her son David’s family moved to Ashley, Utah, and her daughter Sylvia married Heber J. Thompson and moved to Liberty, Idaho.  1879 was also the year that Wilford began his exile in hiding to avoid arrest by federal Marshalls for practicing plural marriage.  Sarah helped support her remaining children by making hats and dresses.  The next time Wilford was able to come visit them was for the dedication of the Logan Temple in 1884.

Sarah’s youngest daughter Mary left for college in Logan in 1885.  She felt another great loss when Phebe Woodruff died in 1886.  Sarah was grateful that Arabell moved back home from Arizona in 1887 and when Mary returned to Smithfield to teach school after graduating from college in 1888.

In 1889 Wilford Woodruff was sustained as President of the Church and that same year Sarah moved to Coalville with Mary while Mary taught school in the Academy.  Sarah and Mary lived in Farmington, Utah for two years and Mary taught school.  In 1892 they moved to Provo so Mary could teach in the Brigham Young Academy, and she remained there for nine years.  While she was living in Provo, Wilford Woodruff died September 2, 1898.  She wrote that this was another severe shock to her.  And on February 5, 1903 she lost her daughter and close companion, Mary who died suddenly.  Sarah tried to stay in her home in Provo so she could be near her grandchildren, but when her health began failing Newton and Arabell moved her back to Smithfield where she lived until her death in 1909.

Sarah was the mother of eight children, but suffered the death of two children in infancy, Brigham’s death when he was 20 years old, and Mary’s death at age 36.  Sarah died May 9, 1909 at the age of 75 and was buried in the Woodruff family plot in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.  At her death she had 34 grandchildren and 24 great grandchildren.


Biographical Sketch of Sarah Brown Woodruff, written in Smithfield, Utah, dated April 15, 1909.  MS 13106, Church History Library.
Carol Houndrake Nielson, The Salt Lake City 14th Ward Album Quilt, 1857: Stories of the Relief Society Women and Their Quilt, The University of Utah Press, (Salt Lake City, 2004).
Interview of Wilford Weeks Woodruff quoted in “Restored cabin a remnant of faith,” article by John L. Hart, Church News, May 29, 1993.
Millennial Star 27 (1865), History of Wilford Woodruff, (From His Own Pen).
"Sarah Brown Woodruff," Kate Carter, ed., Our Pioneer Heritage.
Wilford Woodruff’s Journals, 1:205, 209, 3:71-73, 75, 4:199, 211, 304, 366, 448, 5:9-10, 28, 180, 341, 411-12, 6:7, 37, 44, 135-36, 213, 216, 326, 387, 457, 510, 521, 571, 582, 7:6-7, 20, 24, 38, 40, 43, 45-46, 53, 59, 61, 71, 77, 79, 89, 91, 98, 107, 119, 121-22, 125, 127-28, 131, 133, 147-48, 153, 156, 159, 162, 7;164, 171, 182, 193, 196, 207-208, 213, 225, 267, 273, 288, 295, 412-14, 433, 448, 475, 482, 494, 548, 559, 564, 582, 586, 589, 593, 602-603, 608, 8:8, 12, 18, 25, 34-36, 43-44, 71-72, 85, 88, 90, 110-11, 115, 117, 127, 129, 134, 141, 147, 152-53, 159, 170, 194-96, 200, 205, 208-209, 222-224, 242, 248, 251, 276, 298, 300, 304, 307, 309-10, 312, 315, 317, 319, 321, 328-29, 331, 337, 341, 348, 350, 372, 374-75, 378-81, 8;383, 385-86, 388, 390, 392, 394, 397, 400-402, 407-408, 411-12, 414, 423, 425-26, 428, 430, 432-33, 436, 451, 456-57, 468-69, 481, 484-86, 492, 495, 499, 504, 509, 514, 517, 522, 9:3, 12,14, 39, 43, 51, 54, 59, 66, 69-70, 72-73, 80, 84, 88, 90, 101, 108, 112, 122, 129, 134-35, 137-38, 142, 146, 149, 161-62, 165-66, 176, 182, 184-86, 201, 213, 222, 226, 237, 244-45, 256, 258, 270, 283, 292, 303, 319-20, 322-23, 339, 344-45, 353, 363-64, 369, 378-79, 381, 387-89, 395, 397-401, 403, 411, 415-16, 446, 450, 453, 459, 472, 483, 496, 505, 515-16, 532, 536, 552, 555.


(March 1, 1838 – March 4, 1912)

Emma, Wilford’s seventh wife, was the daughter of Samuel Smith and Martishia Smoot, the oldest of their four children. Samuel and Martishia were married January 25, 1835 and taught the gospel by David W. Patten and Warrren Parrish.  Samuel and Martishia were baptized March 22, 1835.  Martishia’s brother, Abraham O. Smoot, was also baptized in March and served as one of Wilford’s missionary companions in 1836 when he was preaching in Kentucky and Tennessee.[1]  Wilford writes about staying in the home of Samuel and Martishia Smoot Smith while on his mission in April 1836.[2]   

The Smoot and Smith families left in February 1837 to migrate to Missouri.  (See Abraham O. Smoot’s Journal, February 20-21, 1837.)  They named their first child Emma, after Joseph Smith’s wife.  Emma was born in Spring Hill, Adam-ondi-Ahman, Missouri on March 1, 1838.   They lived in Davies County until they were expelled by order of General Wilcox on November 1, 1838.  They relocated to Caldwell County, but were expelled from there a few months later, in February 1839, after Governor Boggs issued his extermination order.  The Smiths moved first to Quincy, Illinois, for several months then Zarahemla, Iowa until 1841.  Emma’s sister Sarah Ann was born on December 19, 1841.[3]  The Smith family finally settled in Nauvoo, Illinois.

In 1843 Samuel Smith was asked to work in the mill in Wisconsin to help produce enough lumber to finish the temple in Nauvoo.  The Smith family spent a year in Wisconsin.  Emma’s younger brother Joseph Samuel, named after the prophet Joseph Smith, was born there March 19, 1844, just three months before Joseph and Hyrum Smith were murdered.[4]  The Smiths returned to Nauvoo in July 1844.

After the Nauvoo Temple was dedicated, Samuel and Martishia Smith received their endowments in the Temple on December 25, 1845.  They then left Nauvoo with the first wave of Saints that followed Brigham Young in the exodus in February 1846.  However, their journey to Utah was delayed four years.  Why they left the camps in Iowa is unclear, perhaps to earn additional money for the journey, but they were in Missouri or Kentucky when Emma’s youngest brother, Abraham Owen, was born on August 15, 1849.[5]  

Emma’s family then began the trek across the plains June 15, 1850, in the Wilford Woodruff Company.  Over 400 Saints were part of the gathering Wilford Woodruff accomplished between 1848-1850 when he was sent East from Winter Quarters to bring more Saints to Utah.  When they joined Wilford Woodruff’s Company, Emma was 12 years old, her sister Sarah was 8, her brother Joseph was 4 and Owen was only 10 months old.

When the company reached Salt Creek, Nebraska on June 27, her father became ill with cholera and died a few hours later.[6]  He was only 43 years old.[7]  Two weeks later, on July 12, 1850, Emma’s mother gave birth to their fifth child, Martishia Rosalia.  They continued their journey and Emma helped her mother and younger siblings.[8]  The company arrived in Salt Lake October 14, 1850.[9]

Two and a half years later, when Emma was 15, she was sealed to Wilford Woodruff on March 13, 1853.  In his journal Wilford recorded that he was sealed at 7:00 pm to both Emma Smith and Sarah Brown by Brigham Young.  Emma received her endowments in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City on March 17, 1854.

Initially Emma lived with Phebe and Sarah and their children in the Valley House.  She may have been more like a daughter to Phebe, because Phebe’s daughters Susan and Phebe were 10 and 11.  In the summer of 1857, when their Relief Society made the 14th Ward quilt to auction off to raise money for the Perpetual Emigration Fund, Emma and Phebe Amelia used the same fabric to create the flowers they included in their squares.[10]  Later that year, on October 4, 1857, Emma bore her first child, Hyrum Smith Woodruff.  He only lived for 14 months. 

In 1866 Wilford built a second home on his farm and Emma lived there, perhaps with Sarah, until Sarah moved north to Randolph, Utah in 1871.  Emma bore another seven children between 1860 and 1879, and six of them lived to become adults:  Emma Manella (1860-1906); Asahel Hart (1863-1939); Anna Thompson (1867-1867); Clara Martishia (1868-1927); Abraham Owen (1872-1904); Winifred Blanche (1876-1954); and Mary Alice, (1879-1916).

Following Phebe Woodruff’s death in 1885, Wilford moved to Emma’s home on the farm.  He built it in 1859-1860, and it was a log home covered with adobe.  Emma was his "public" wife for the remainder of his life.  Because of the laws against polygamy, Wilford could not be seen in public with his other wives, Sarah and Delight.  However they and their children were part of private gatherings and celebrations held in Emma’s farmhouse and later the Woodruff Villa after it was completed. (Wilford built the Villa in 1891 next door to Emma’s farm house.  They lived together in the Villa from 1892 until his death in 1898.) 

Emma and her daughter Mary Alice accompanied Wilford St. George during the winter of 1886 and 1887.  Her mother Martishia died November 3, 1886.  There Mary Alice was baptized in the St. George Temple on January 4, 1887, two days after her 8th birthday.[17] 

Emma also accompanied Wilford and several others on a vacation to Northern California in the spring of 1889 and British Columbia that fall.  Their last trip together was along the West Coast from Portland, Oregon to San Diego, California in August and September, 1896.  They were accompanied by George Q. and Caroline Cannon, among others.  In San Diego they stayed at the Hotel del Coronado for three days and spent time fishing from the pier.[18]  They also spent a day deep-sea fishing off the coast and caught about 600 pounds of fish.[19]
Wilford took a final trip to San Francisco in the fall of 1898.  It was while on this trip that he died unexpectedly on September 2, of complications from a surgical procedure.  His body was returned to Salt Lake City, where he was buried on September 8, 1898.

Emma’s life was then filled with her continued service as an ordinance worker in the Salt Lake Temple and the care of her children and grandchildren.  After the death of her daughter-in-law Helen and then her son Abraham Owen in 1904 from small pox, Emma helped raise their four children: Wilford Owen, June, Rhoda, and Helen.[20]  Her eldest daughter and namesake, Emma, died in November 1906.  Her granddaughter Rhoda died at the age of three in 1907.  Emma Smith Woodruff died of anemia and nephritis on March 4, 1912.  She was 81 years old.

On June 5, 1905, Emma wrote her testimony.  She included her participation as a charter member of the first Relief Society organized in Salt Lake City, her service as president of the Farmer's Ward Relief Society, member of the General Relief Society Board, and Relief Society President of the Granite Stake.  She also spoke of her memory as a child sitting on the Prophet Joseph Smith’s knee and said she had never forgotten how he looked.  She concluded by stating, “I am a firm believer in every principle of the gospel and bear my humble testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.”[21]

Carol Holindrake Nielson, The Salt Lake City 14th Ward Album Quilt, 1857: Stories of the Relief Society Women and Their Quilt, 50.
Wilford Woodruff’s Journals, 1:209, 4:199, 211, 305, 366, 373, 407, 5:28, 105-106, 180, 242, 244, 373, 471, 573, 6:44, 95, 100, 158, 186, 210, 228, 326, 335-36, 347, 416-17, 436, 504, 510, 521, 528, 575, 582-84, 7:93, 122, 194-97, 203, 217, 246-47, 271 277, 293-94, 320, 357, 395, 404, 416, 426, 429-30, 447-48, 451, 456, 475, 478, 486, 494-95, 569, 611, 8:31, 88 140, 173, 184, 211, 213-15, 232, 237, 277, 289, 300-301, 305, 308, 310-13, 316-17, 320, 323, 343-45, 347-48, 373, 375, 377-78, 380, 382-83, 385-86, 387, 390, 394, 397, 400-402, 404-407, 408, 410-14, 419-23, 425-30, 432-34, 446, 449-51, 454-55, 457, 464-66, 469, 471, 474, 484-87, 493, 497, 502, 509, 511-12, 521, 527, 530-31, 9:3, 5-6, 10, 15, 17-18, 23, 31, 40-42, 47-48, 50, 60, 66, 69, 71-72, 80, 85, 99, 102, 104, 106, 110-12, 120, 126, 128, 133, 139-40, 147, 151, 155, 157, 164, 166, 171, 175, 177, 181-82, 186, 188, 190-91, 195, 198-99, 200, 203, 205, 208, 210, 214, 218, 223, 229, 241-42, 249-50, 252, 254, 257, 259, 263, 272, 286, 288-89, 291, 293-95, 297-98, 300, 306, 311, 313, 315, 317, 322, 324, 326, 328-29, 335-36, 338-39, 341-42, 344, 346, 348, 350-53, 355, 357-58, 364, 366, 369-70, 376, 388, 391-92, 395, 399-401, 403-404, 406, 412-13, 415, 417-18, 421-23, 425-26, 430, 432, 449, 453-54, 456, 458, 460-61, 472, 474, 476-82, 484, 486-87, 493-94, 496-97, 499-500, 503, 506-507, 511-12, 515-17, 520, 531-34, 536-38, 545, 549, 552-53, 556. 558-60.


(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.

John and Harriett were converted to the Church in Westfield, Massachusetts by Edwin Woolley in February 1843.  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 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 they had to take bark from a tree at Mt. Pisgah to make her grandmother’s coffin. Her sister Catherine, her half-brother James, and her grandfather Isaac Ensign died in Winter Quarters 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.  Many in their company contracted cholera and died.  Delight became very ill and asked her father to baptize her in the river to heal her. He was afraid it would kill her, but she insisted and was healed.[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 in 1853 with several other families to help establish what became knows 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: Phebe, 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 in1861, 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 1869 Wilford bought a farm on Third East near Thirteenth South and he moved Delight into her new house January 3, 1876.[18]  Her seventh child, Julia Delight, was born there June 28, 1878.[19]  Wilford deeded the farm to Delight and her children in 1882.  Ten years later she had the farm subdivided to become the North Waterloo Addition and sold it.[21]  When Julia married in 1896, Delight moved to Big Cottonwood where she lived with her unmarried son, John Jay.  (John did not marry until 1903.)  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.


(May 12, 1852 – October 21, 1921)

Eudora Lovina or “Dora” was the eldest of three daughters born to Lucy Bigelow and Brigham Young.[1]   She was born May 12, 1852 when her mother was living in the Beehive House in Salt Lake City, Utah.  She was baptized at the age of 8 on June 13, 1860 and received her endowments on August 25, 1866, at the age of 14.  

When Dora was 18 she eloped to marry Moreland “Morely” Dunford October 3, 1870.[2]  Dora and Morely had two sons, Frank in 1873 and George in 1875.  Due to Morely’s alcoholism she divorced him and returned to St. George to live with her mother in 1876.[3]  Dora’s sister Susannah “Susa” married Morely’s cousin Alma B. Dunford in 1872.  Alma also suffered from alcoholism and Susa subsequently divorced him and also returned to live in St. George.[4]

In January 1877, when the St. George Temple was dedicated, Brigham Young asked his wife Lucy Bigelow to preside over the female temple workers.  Lucy’s daughters Dora and Susa assisted her in the temple in January and February.  In fact, Susa was the first person to serve as a proxy for baptisms in the St. George Temple, and Wilford Woodruff officiated in baptizing her.  Lucy, Dora and Susa were among the 154 women who helped Wilford Woodruff complete proxy work for his family members on March 1, 1877.  Dora was sealed to Wilford on Saturday, March 10, 1877.[5]  Dora received her second anointing with Wilford on March 21, 1877 and continued to do temple work with him for several months.[6] Dora moved to Salt Lake City later that year after Wilford returned following Brigham Young’s death in August 1877.  Dora and Wilford had a son born April 1, 1878, Wilford records that the baby only lived a few hours.[7] They named their son Brigham Young Woodruff and he was buried in the St. George Cemetery.

Dora left Wilford later that year to marry Judge Albert Hagan. At the time Albert Hagan and his wife Mary were living in Ann Eliza Young’s boarding house in Salt Lake City.[8] Albert Hagan was a California mining attorney who moved to Utah in 1873 to form the firm Smith, Tilford, & Hagan. Albert was not a member of the Church.[9] Albert was one of the attorneys who assisted Ann in her infamous divorce from Brigham Young.[10] He and his wife Mary had two daughters.   

The newspaper accounts of the scandal caused by Albert’s relationship with Dora are contradictory.  Over the years the various papers stated Albert and Dora were married in Seattle[11], and that Albert’s law partner Frank Tilford moved their law firm to Denver and Albert followed.  After Albert and Dora left, Albert’s wife and daughters moved back to Pennsylvania. The date for Albert and Dora's marriage is given as March 1, 1879 after Albert's wife Mary was committed to an insane asylum under suspicious circumstances. (Only after intervention by someone within the institution Mary was released 25 years later.)[12] 

According to Albert's eulogy, the law frim of Tilford and Hagan dissolved shortly after relocating to Denver and Albert and Dora settled in Leadville, then Socorro, New Mexico. Their first son Albert Hagan, Jr., was born in Chicago, Illinois August 13, 1882 and died December 3, 1883 in Lakeview, Illinois.[13]  They moved to Spokane Falls, Washington in 1886 where their second son Harold Raymond was born May 20, 1886, then moved to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho where their two daughters were born: Mabel Clara May 15, 1889 and Lucy Mary on June 13, 1891. Lucy died three months later. Albert established himself as a well-respected attorney in Kootenai County, Idaho and represented the mine owners in the Coeur d’Alene strikes of 1892.  He died there June 23, 1895 at the age of 53.

Dora lived a full life as a mother and grandmother. She eventually returned to Salt Lake City and lived there until her death at the age of 69 on October 21, 1921.[14]  The name entered on her death certificate was Dora Mary Hagan and she was buried in the Mount Olivet Cemetery in Salt Lake City.[15]

Lineage Book - National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution -# 2632 Estelle Kathleen Hagan Wholley.
Milwaukee Journal, October 21, 1904.
Salt Lake Herald, February 3, 1905.
"The Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine".
Utah Death Certificates, certificate number 1564.
Wilford Woodruff’s Journals, 7:330, 7:338-341, 345, 347, 363.