MARY MILLESANT PARKS PARRISH
West Bountiful Pioneer of 1852
Mary Millesant Parks Parrish was born 12 Oct. 1846 at Louisana, Pike County, Missouri. She was the youngest child of William and Millesant London (Osborn) Parks. Both her father and mother had been previously married. Her mother died 21 June 1871 and was buried in the Bountiful Cemetery.
William Parks (her father) married Fanny Hyde, his first wife. They had a large family of sixteen children, then his wife died.
Her mother Millesant London (Osborn) Parks married John Osborn (her first husband) in Pennsylvania in 1823. Four children were born to them: Milton, Joseph Milton, Sarah Augusta, and Frances Ann. Then John Osborn died about 1833. She joined the Church soon after. In 1835 his widow married William Parks (a widower) in Kirtland, Ohio by Brigham Young, endowed 18 Dec. 1845 in Nauvoo Temple. Five children were born of this union: Susan Annie, born 1838, Kirtland, Ohio, died 1845; Maroni, born 1 March 1840, Kirtland, Ohio, died 1861; Naomi Sariah, born 2 Dec. 1842, Louisana, Pike Co., Missouri, died 28 Aug. 1910; Sarah Elizabeth, born 8 Oct. 1844, Nauvoo, Illinois; died 1859; Mary Millesant, born 12 Oct. 1846, Louisana, Pike Co., Missouri, died 3 Feb. 1920. She was the youngest of 20 or 21 children of her father and two wives.
Mary Millesant, with her brothers and sisters, came across the plains with their mother in 1852 in Ira Willis’ Company, walking most of the way. Her father William Parks had a wonderful clear voice and his orders could be heard very distinctly at a great distance. He was a Colonel in the Nauvoo Legion and went through the mobbings and hardships of that time, but on account of his being sick he did not start across the plains, but went back to his son’s, William Orr Parks, at Pike Co. Missouri where he died 2 Dec. 1856.
In the Spring of 1852, her mother, Millesant London Osborn Parks, being in very poor circumstances, left the Osborn children with some friends with the understanding that they would cross the plains later. (I think the Corneilus Lott family, but for some unknown reason, they didn’t come.) And took her smaller children (the Parks children) and started across the plains. It was very hard for her because she never saw her husband or the four Osborn children again. She heard later on that the children were taken away down the river by some of the Osborn relatives to keep them from being Mormons.
Although Mary Millesant was but six years old when they crossed the plains, she well remembered many incidents that happened. When they started her mother had two cows which were hitched in with one of the brother’s oxen. One of the cows pulled so hard that its neck swelled up and it died on the Plains. The other helped pull them and gave a little milk on the way. They walked a good part of the way.
They arrived in Salt Lake in October 1852 in Ira Willis’ Company. After arriving in the valley, they had a very hard struggle to get along. They would glean wheat, have it ground between two flat rocks. The mother would then make little biscuits, give each of the children one and a cup of milk, which the faithful old cow still gave them, and ask them if that would do them until the next day. They were very thankful because that was a cup of milk more than some of the neighbor children had.
Marry Millesant learned to work and handle responsibility when very young. On her eighth year old birthday, she cooked and served dinner to the family and some hired men where they were staying.
On 3 Feb. 1861, she was married to Henry Strong Parrish by Bishop David Stoker and endowed and sealed in the Endowment House 3 March 1866. She became the mother of fifteen children from this union: ten boys and five girls. The names of Henry Strong and Mary Millesant Parks Parrish children are as follows: Mary Ellen; Henry Parks; Rebecca Annette; Alta Sariah; Nathan Rice; John Franklin; William Manley; George Washington; Ezra Parks; Millesant Annabel; Warren Asa; Milton Osborn; Lyman; Marion; and Clifton. She also raised two grandchildren, a boy and a girl—her oldest son’s children, their mother having died when the youngest child (the boy) was but a few week’s old. Their names were: Aleen and Mark. She also raised two other orphan children by the name of Millard.
She was optimistic in her nature and always looked on the bright side of things. No doubt this helped her in rearing her large family. She was called the neighborhood nurse and was never so busy with her own large family that she would not go day or night to help the sick in the community. After she was married her mother lived with her and she cared for her through her sickness until she died 21 June 1871 in East Bountiful Ward.
She was a Relief Society teacher and helped with donations and service among the sick. She responded to every call made of her in Church and Civic affairs and she taught her children to do the same. She never failed to see the family’s wants were satisfied as far as she could do it.
She prepared wool, spun yarn, and knit stockings (Father’s always had to be white.) for members of the family. Also knit beautiful lace and had a hobby for making quilt blocks and quilts with many difficult and pretty designs. She also hooked and braided rugs. She was a good cook. Her friends and neighbors told her she seemed to make things taste just a little better than they could, anyway she surely had practice in the line of cooking. She also made quilt batts of wool. She would wash the wool and then spend the evenings with the children by the light of the fireplace, picking wool ready to spin into yarn or card into batts for quilts. While picking wool by the firelight, Mary Millesant would sing songs and tell Bible and Pioneer stories to the children.
She lived a good honorable life and gained the love and respect of all who knew her. She wouldn’t stand for anything but fair play with the children. At one time when one of her daughters and her boyfriend drove up to the gate with a horse and buggy, she came out and borrowed the young man’s buggy whip to go after some older neighborhood boys that were teasing some of the younger children. Some of mother’s favorite sayings: “It is better to suffer wrong than to do wrong.’’ “Seek knowledge and hold fast to that which is good.” “Waste not, want not.” “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Some of her favorite hymns: “Speak of All the Best you Can,” “Oh, My Father,” “Come, Come, Ye Saints.”
She was baptized 24 Oct. 1856 by Chester Loveland (confirmed the same date). She died 3 Feb. 1920 in Salt Lake City at the home she had purchased a few years before. At this time the influenza epidemic was bad. Funerals were not allowed to be held in chapels, so her funeral was held on the lawn of her oldest daughter’s (Mrs. Richard Pelton) home in West Bountiful. She was buried in the Bountiful Cemetery by the side of her husband, Henry Strong Parrish who died 10 Nov. 1906.