Autobiography of Sarah Jane Jones
Contributor: Jan PC Created: 6 months ago Updated: 2 months ago
Sarah Jane Jones Lloyd
I was born at Neyland, Parish of Landstadwell, Pembrokeshire, South Wales on December 12, 1860. My father, Evan Jones, was born at Carmarthen Town, Carmarthenshire, on July 13, 1839; and my mother, Jane Thomas, was born at Merlin Bridge, Pembrokeshire on April 10, 1838. I was the second child in a family of ten children. My sister Elizabeth Susanna, whom we called Bessie, was the oldest, and was born January 20, 1859. The younger children were: John Claudius, born February
3, 1863; Joseph Hyrum October 24,
1864; Parley Parker, born July 4, 1867;
Evan Jones, born February 10, 1870; David
William, born August 8, 1872; Leander Thomas, born March 28, 1875; Mary Ann, born August 1, 1877; Charles Henry, born March 6, 1880.
Being seven years old when my parents left the Old Country, I can remember very vividly my home in Neyland. I can remember my sister, Bessie, and me walking quite a distance to school. I remember after school one day some of the children ran home ahead of us and told Mother that Bessie had eaten some blackberries which she found along the ditch bank and that she had died. Mother hurried frantically toward the school and met us coming home. Of course, what the children had told her was not true and was evidently their idea of a practical joke. Mother, however, did not appreciate the joke.
My first school teachers in Neyland were Miss Lilly and Miss Jane. I can remember that one day while playing on the school grounds with the children, I fell injuring my knee. I was carried home and the doctor came in the house and dressed my knee. I was lame after this accident and my parents thought that I would never be able to walk again without limping. Sometime after this occurred, I went up to Carmarthen Town to visit with my grandfather, John Jones, and there I met a clever old doctor who gave my knee some massaging treatments. As a result my leg became entirely well and I could walk without limping.
My father and mother joined the Church soon after they were married. In the year 1867 they decided to emigrate to America. They landed in New York with four children, and my father had only five cents in his pocket. Soon after their arrival, my mother gave birth to another baby boy.
My father obtained work in Williamsburg with the Long Island Railroad Company. He worked there for 16 months, obtaining enough money for our emigration to Utah. I went to school in Williamsburg. We lived right on the sea coast at the Castle Gardens where the emigrants landed in those days. I used to spend time on the wharves watching the ships and the emigrants arrive. We lived in a tenement house with 12 families, all members of the Church. All these families came to Utah and subsequently apostatized. There was a large branch of the Church at this place. Mother used to attend Sunday
School and Sacrament Meeting. Orson Pratt came to visit the Branch when her brother Parley was ten days old and her mother took him to Orson Pratt and had him blessed.
Mother's uncle, James Thomas, attended a Fast Meeting one Sunday afternoon in which a member of the Branch spoke in tongues. James Thomas was given the interpretation, but before he could arise and give it to the meeting, someone else arose and bore his testimony. He was so overcome by the Spirit that he became weak and pale and was taken home by a man named Scott. Scott took him in his house because it
Sarah's mother Jane Thomaswas nearer than the James Thomas' home. He died that night at the Scott home.
We left New York for Utah in the summer of 1868, when I was eight years of age. We came to Bentley, Wyoming by train, and as it was the end of the railroad, we came from Bentley to Salt Lake by ox team, in Captain Simpson Muller's company. It took us about three weeks to make the trip from Wyoming to Salt Lake City, Utah. My parents settled in Paradise in Cache Valley, about 12 miles south of Logan, Utah. My grandfather, my mother's father, and his brother and his family, who had immigrated two years previously lived there. We lived with them the first winter.
My father bought a city lot in Paradise with a log building on it that had been built for a stable but never used. It was one large room with three sides closed and one side open. It had a dirt floor and a dirt roof. The roof was flat and constructed by placing two by fours upon which willows were laid. Upon the willows was placed straw, and upon the straw was placed dirt. When it rained, leaks often developed which let the water in.
My aunt was so crowded in her house, she had five children and we had five, so my mother decided to move into a place of her own. She went to the river bottoms and got some clay which she mixed with some water and made white-wash. Then she whitewashed the inside on the stable using a piece of sheepskin for a brush.
It was in the Spring of the year that my little brother, Joseph Hyrum, took sick with the measles. The rain came through the roof, making it necessary for us to hold umbrellas over the bed where he lay to keep the water off him. He was getting better, but living in this damp place, he caught cold and died.
We didn't have any furniture to put in our rudely constructed house, so my father made two bedsteads out of old lumber, a little table and two stools. We children had to stand up around the table for our meals. Since we had no stove, all our meals were cooked out of doors over a fire.
The Indians were quite troublesome. There was always a band of them camping in the settlement. One band would stay there for a while and then move when another one would come. Some of them were very mean and some were friendly. One night a big Indian came to the houses after dark looking for his squaw. Father was away at the time and Mother was alone with the children. He frightened us very much as our house was all open and offered no protection. When he found that his squaw was not there he went away to look elsewhere for her.
When I was about eleven years old I was staying with Aunt Sarah Lallis who was expecting a baby. Her husband was away and I was the only one with her. She only had one match in the house. The night she took sick, she told me to light the candle and be very careful with the match. Matches then were not as good as they are now. She told me after, while I was striking the match she was praying that the match would not go out. I lit the candle all right. I had to go about four blocks in the middle of the night to get a midwife for her. I imagined that every post and tree along the way was an Indian.
Another cause of trouble for the early settlers was the grasshoppers. I have seen them so thick that they appeared like a cloud over the sun. We had a fine garden, and one day while we were in Fast Meeting, which was held on Thursday, the grasshoppers had eaten everything off clean.
The crickets were also bad. We would go to the fields where the grain was and try to keep them off the wheat. We would get large switches and drive them into ditches, or sacks and either drown or burn them.
We also would go to the fields to glean. As shoes were scarce and worn only on Sundays, we gleaned bare-footed. Walking on wheat stubble with bare feet was not pleasant. Mother would go down too and take the baby with her. She would take along some blankets and make a tent for the baby while she gleaned. We would then carry the bundles of wheat home on our heads. This we fed to the pigs and chickens.
We also used to pick potatoes and shock corn. We turned this produce over to a man who owned a sawmill and in return he sawed us enough lumber from the timber on our place to build us a home.
Although pioneer life was a life of hardships and privations, still the people were happy through it all and made the best of everything.
I went to school in Paradise. My first school teacher was Mary Shaw. I used to attend the amateur theatricals in which my father used to play. We loaned the theater clothes brought from the old country.
Brigham Young and some of the apostles used to come to Paradise about once a year. In the summertime they would cut willows and make a big bowery in which to hold the meeting. Tables would be set in the meetinghouse and all the ladies of the settlement would stay up the night before and cook. The next day they would all sit down to a big dinner, inviting the Indians to eat with them. The school children would all go out to meet the President and would all line up on both sides of the road dressed in white and would all bow when the carriage passed and Brigham Young would wave recognition. It was a great occasion when Brigham Young came to town. He wouldn't eat any dinner.
When Brigham Young and the apostles came to the settlement, mother and her sister Bessie would sit and look at them in admiration and pick out the one that they would like to have as a husband. They looked on them as gods, almost.
In 1872 my father moved from Paradise to Logan where he obtained work as an engineer on the Utah Northern Railroad. In 1875 we moved to Salt Lake City where he obtained work with the Utah Western Railroad.
We lived in the Fifteenth Ward and rented a house of William J. Lloyd and it was here that I met my husband, John H. Lloyd. We were married in the Endowment House in 1880.
We were blessed with three boys and three girls. A boy, John, and a girl, Bessie, died in early life. The others were Florence, Luella, Charles, and Parley.
We were both actively engaged in Church work and at one time I held the position of Treasurer for the 15th Ward Relief Society. We lived in this ward for over 30 years and then decided to move to a better location.
Charles, Luella, John, Florence, Parley, Sarah
We moved to 2336 South 3rd East in what was then the Farmer's Ward. Soon after, the ward was divided and our new ward was organized and called the Burton Ward. While living in this ward I was called into the Relief Society Presidency, being Counselor to Sister Amelia Wardrop.
On October 23, 1922, I was called to be a night worker in the Salt Lake Temple and was set apart by apostle George F. Richards. In 1928 my husband passed away and the matron of the Temple, Sister Richards, asked if I could be a day worker as well as a night worker. Realizing I was all alone, she thought it would be nice for me to come in the morning and stay on for night, also. She said that I could have a nice hot dinner and a lunch, and could rest quite a bit. I told her I would if my daughter Florence would keep my furnace fire going so the house would be warm when I returned home. I asked Florence if she would, and she said she said she would be glad to do it, so for ten years I worked night and day.
We had large companies at night at the Temple. Sometimes it was 11 o'clock when I got home. It was pretty hard to come home to a big house alone so I would call and get my dear little granddaughter, Bessie Soderburg, to come and sleep with me.
After ten years I gave up the night work, which was too hard for me. I just worked in the daytime until I was 83 years old. I resigned December 22, 1943. I worked under three presidents, George F. Richards, Nicholas G. Smith, and Stephan L. Chipman. Sister Chipman, the Matron, didn't want me to quit. She asked me why I wanted to resign and I told her I was getting too old. She said, "You are not old, you are dependable and do your work as good as anybody." "Well," she said, "if you are determined to quit, I will get Brother Chipman to write you a nice letter and release you," which he did.
I felt very sorry to leave all the nice sisters that I had worked with so many years. I loved them and they loved me.
I have four children still living: Charles, Parley, Florence Soderburg, and Luella Kimball.
Four and a half years ago I gave up my large home and am now living with my daughter Florence Soderburg. I am now over 92 years old and am awaiting anxiously to meet my husband on the other side.