Hannah M. Sanders
Contributor: finnsh Created: 4 years ago Updated: 4 years ago
Near the city of Wilmington, Delaware lived a family by the name of Sanders. This family consisted of Father Ellis, Mother Hannah (Mendenhall) Sanders, a daughter, Annie and a son, Ellis M. Sanders.
In the city of Wilmington was a girl Rachel B. Roberts attending a boarding school for girls. She as the daughter of John Roberts and Elizabeth (Broom) Roberts and she also had a brother. Her parents lived in Philadelphia and belonged to the Episcopal Church. After a short courtship, Ellis and Rachel were married. Their family disinherited her for marrying a Quaker and according to the Quaker Church he lost his membership when he married one not of his faith.
Ellis’s sister, Annie, married a cousin contrary to her parent’s wishes and all of the property, which consisted of two well stocked farms, was left to Ellis. One farm had frame buildings and thereby was known as the frame farm and always rented. The other farm was provided with brick and rock building. Here is where Ellis and Rachel lived with their family, which consisted of seven girls and one boy. Hannah M. (Sanders) Huntington was one of their family members. She was born on the 5th day of April, 1836.
Although Delaware was not a slave state, there was a slave owner living not far from the Sanders’ farm. Some of Hannah’s first recollections were of the stories the old Negro mammy, who used to come to do most of the heavy work such as washing, cleaning, soap making, etc., used to tell the children of the masters whipping some of the Negroes. Other memories of her childhood were of the nurse maid being allowed to take them to the religious revival meetings being held in that vicinity. The children were particularly interested in contrast between the shouting Methodists and the Quakers where the congregation would sometimes sit through the entire services without a word being spoken. She also remembered her father going to the bay and buying large quantities of fresh fish and how they enjoyed seeing him take the fresh oysters out of the shells. In the cold weather, when the children were ready for bed, the nurse would go upstairs with them and warm each bed with a warming pan. This pan was on the order of a corn popper with a long handle, except that it was made of metal with a tight fitting lid. In this hot coals were placed and then it would be moved back and forth between the bed covers until the bed was nice and warm.
Her family joined the Latter-day Saint Church in 1843 and moved to Nauvoo, Illinois, sometime in May, 1845. Here her father bought land and built a brick granary in which the family lived while the house was in the course of construction. William Mendenhall was the mason who built the house. Hannah remembered while in Nauvoo of going to see the three Egyptian Mummies with which was found the papyrus containing the Book of Abraham.
In 1846 they moved to Winter Quarters on the Missouri River. When she was ready for baptism it was very cold and the river was frozen over. There were others who applied for baptism at the same time so they went down to the river and cut a hole in the ice and here the baptisms were performed.
When her father was ready to join the saints on their westward trek, which was in 1848, he had a very good outfit of teams, wagons, cows and provisions. The mother and children had a light wagon to ride in so they did not suffer the hardships many of the families did while crossing the plains. The children would sometimes walk and sometimes ride in the other wagons. When they came back to the mother’s wagon they often found her crying and heard her say they were taking her children to the wilderness to raise them like Indians.
They arrived in Utah in September, 1848 and settled in Salt Lake City.
Hannah was sympathetic and was always willing to help those who were in trouble so at an early age she commenced helping to take care of the sick. Emeline B. Wells was one of her very close friends.
She was married to Oliver B. Huntington on November 25, 1852. They lived in Salt Lake City until 1858 when they moved to Springville. At this time they had two children, Olive Hannah born December 10, 1853 and Oliver Baker, born May 30, 1856. Their first home in Springville was about three blocks west of Main Street near the creek just a short distance from the place where her husband camped when he named the creek. Here their third child Elizabeth Jane was born August 31, 1858 and Dimick, their second son, was born October 16, 1860.
She continued to help take care of the sick and soon began to make burial clothes for the dead. She also helped with amusements taking part in home dramatics.
In 1862 they were called to go to St. George to help settle that part of the country. When they arrived, there was but one real house. It was made of red sandstone.
The first house they built was of sod cut in the shape of adobes only much larger. The roof was of willows. They soon added a frame room with a dirt roof. This with wagon box for a bedroom made them as comfortable as their neighbors.
July 10th of the next year, a son, Will, was born. They had occasional showers so every evening the mother was carried into the wagon box because the wagon box leaked and then in the morning she was taken into the sod room because that was cooler during the day. Two years in succession the dam in the Rio Virgin River was washed out and their crops perished. For three years they struggled under most adverse conditions. Her husband had to go eighty miles to Parowan to work for flour. This was the nearest flour mill.
The family moved back to Springville in 1864. With five children to care for now, she yet found time to take part in dramatics. She would place her parts where she could study them while she was about her work, on the shelf over the big fireplace or over the table where she was ironing or washing dishes. She was a good seamstress and made many suits for men by hand.
In the spring of 1867, they bought a place one mile south of Hobble Creek to which they moved. Her husband was sick with rheumatism and the Indians were not friendly. When they drove off a herd of horses from Mr. Roundy’s farm just across the street, their friends wanted them to move back to town. Instead she borrowed an old gun and stood guard over her children and sick husband while she nursed him back to health. Very early one morning they were awakened by an Indian talking. He had ridden his horse close to the open window and sat leaning through with his gun resting on the sill. It was some time before he could be persuaded to leave.
July 7, 1867 a girl, Nellie, was born.
At one time, they were camped at the mouth of Maple Canyon for the summer where her husband and one other man were farming. One day, her husband broke his plough and had to take it to Springville to be repaired. The blacksmith was so busy he did not get it finished that night so he stayed all night. The neighbor family decided to go to town that afternoon and they also stayed all night leaving Hannah at the mouth of the canyon with the children and the old dog. The next morning while she was washing the breakfast dishes, the dog ran off into the brush and barked and then he would come back to her side and growl. This he repeated several times. Suddenly an Indian decked with feathers and war paint rode out of the brush and sat on his horse at a short distance from her camp and watched her at work. She went calmly about her work not daring to show signs of fear, all the time keeping the children busy near her. Presently the Indian stealthily rode away. As soon as he was a safe distance from the camp, she asked Oliver, the oldest one with her, if he could go in the pasture and drive the oxen up. If he could help her they would go for a ride. He brought the oxen and stood on a box to help his mother put the heavy yoke on their necks. The only wagon in camp was the running gears with some boards across the top. With some quilts for the children to sit on she was soon on her way to town. When they reached the edge of the Mapleton bench she met her husband hurrying to her rescue for a friendly Indian had come to town and told him to “bring his squaw home, the Indians were mad, and they meant no good.”
All this time she continued to work with the sick and December 30, 1869 she was called to stay with Don Huntington’s wife until the midwife came, but the baby came before help came and she took care of the mother and baby. This baby was Zina H. Smoot.
Her last three children were Prescendia, born February 11, 1871, died March 27, 1873 of Scarlet Fever; Rachel Anna, born January 24, 1874, and Zina B., born October 20, 1877, died September 1878 of whooping cough.
She now devoted her spare time to studying from the best books she could obtain on obstetrics and medicine, all the time going whenever called for the sick and the dead, often sitting up most of the night sewing by candle light as they had no lamps. There was never sickness too malignant or contagious for her to go and do her part.
She was the first Primary President in the First Ward and the first Sunday School Teacher set apart in the First Ward or Second District Sunday School as it was then called. She was also a Relief Society Teacher for many years.
In 1893 a law was passed requiring a certificate for the practice of Obstetrics. She took the examination before the Board of Medical Examiners and was granted a license to practice midwifery in the Territory of Utah, September 6, 1893. IN all her years of practice she did not lose one mother or baby.
She loved to read and was well posted on current events and history.
She carried the petition for prohibition which closed saloons in Springville and gave it the distinction of being the first dry town in Utah.
Her husband’s tribute to her, as copied from his diary is, “My wife was always gentle, sympathetic, resourceful and courageous. In fact she was all that a man could ask in a wife.”
On the morning of February 2, 1913 her son Dimick came in from his room to build the fires. He heard her breathing deeply as he went to start the second fire. As she hadn’t felt very well the evening previous, he stepped to her bedside to ask how she was feeling. As he entered, she gave a little gasp and lay motionless, the bed coverings being undisturbed. So quietly she had slipped from mortal life into immortality.