PHILINDA UPSON STANDLEY
Pioneer of the Year 1852 (1 Oct.)
Joseph Howell Company Capt. Whitehead’s Co. of Ten
History compiled by Ruby P. Barlow and Marjorie P. Winegar in the year 1960. Nina F. Moss (Camp Eutaw) (Camp Historian) Camilla R. Bolton (South Davis) (County Historian)
Born 1 Aug. 1814 at Randolph, Portage, Ohio. Married Alexander Scoby Standley 19 March 1829.
Died 27 Jan. 1892, Richmond, Cache Co., Utah.
Philinda Upson was born 1 Aug. 1814 at Randolph, Portage, Ohio. She was the daughter and third child of Freeman and Sally (Sarah) Culver Upson. The Upson family was among the early settlers of Ohio. When the family arrived, they found the land covered with a growth of timber which had to be cleared before gardens, orchards, and fields could be planted.
As a child, Philinda lived with her three brothers and five sisters in a log house built by her father. Their names were: Laura (22 May 1811); Caroline (3 Dec. 1812); Lovina (22 Nov. 1817); Erastus (22 Dec. 1819); Carlton (15 Jan. 1821); Mary Ann (1 Aug. 1824); and the twins Alva Freeman and Alvira Sally (11 Oct. 1827).
The house they lived in was described as follows: There were two rooms built of logs with an attic which was used for bedrooms for the boys. A ladder was used in place of a stairway. There was a large fireplace with a crane with hooks on which they hung kettles of food to cook. Their baking was done in a large covered flat iron kettle. This, filled with dough, was placed on the rock hearth and live coals were placed around the kettle and on the lid. They had to learn from experience how many coals to use and how long it took to bake.
Philinda’s father had a set of shoemaker’s tools with which he made and mended the family shoes. At this time, it was necessary that each family be practically self sustaining. From the sheep’s wool, they spun and wove woolen cloth for warm winter clothing. On some of their land the Upson family raised flax which they combed and spun on a small spinning wheel. With thread they wove beautiful, fine-twined linens. Some was bleached to make fine white dresses, men’s white shirts and special articles of clothing. From the combings which they called “Tow” they made a coarser cloth used for men’s pants, bed ticks and summer work clothes.
They made their own soap. By pouring water over the ashes of the hard wood, they obtained a lye solution which they combined with grease, boiled and produced their needed soap. For washing they had what was called a “tromping barrel.” This barrel was shallow and was filled with suds and clothes. If there were no children to tromp them with their feet, a large wooden punch was used to agitate the clothes up and down in the water. A large tree near a spring preferably was cut down, leaving a stump flat on top. The soiled clothes would be wet and soaped and placed on this stump to be beaten with a wooden paddle until they were clean enough to be put into the boil. The boiler was a large brass kettle that held about as much as two ordinary wash tubs. This was hung over a fire (outside) and the clothes boiled in it. They were then ready to rinse and hang out to dry.
They dyed their cloth different colors. They raised madder root to make red; grew their own indigo to obtain blue; used black walnut to make brown; set peach leaves with alum for yellow; and combined blue with yellow to make green.
On the 19th of March 1829 Philinda Upson married Alexander Scoby Stanley. They continued to make their home in Ohio. Her husband was a hard-working, thrifty man and she was an economizing, ambitious woman. They soon gathered around them the comforts of home. He was a staunch political man, but disgusted with all the religions of the day. Philinda was seeking a religion but like her husband none of the churches suited her until Elder James Emmett came teaching the doctrine of the Latter Day Saints. After a brief investigation both Philinda and Alexander were converted and baptized by Elder Emmett in March of 1837. By this time they had a family of four children: Eliza (16 April 1830); Franklin (Aug. 1831); Ellen (8 April 1833); and Martha (20 Sept. 1834). All born at Suffield, Ohio. Their first child, Eliza, died 15 May 1836.
Before the family left Portage County, Ohio on September 10, 1838, two more children had been born to this couple, Alexander Henry (28 April 1836) and Elizabeth Standley (7 March 1838). With other members (31 in all) the Stanley family journeyed to Far West, Missouri. Most of them walked while their bedding, cooking utensils and provisions were hauled in the one wagon. The remainder of their belongings were sent by steamboat. This little group arrived in Missouri where the “Mormons” were located, soon after the Crooked River Battle was fought. The men were forced to give up their arms and sign over their property to help defray the expenses of the war and were also required to leave the State of Missouri in the month of February 1839. Because of the extreme weather and hardships, they lost their little girl, Martha, who was six years old. She died of whooping cough on 28 May 1839.
On leaving Missouri, the Standley family went with the Saints to Illinois. Here they settled on the banks of the Mississippi River where the city of Nauvoo was built. Alexander built a log house for Philinda and their family which was ready to occupy by 1 May 1840.
The day after his seventh child was born, in 1842, Alexander came very near losing his life when a limb struck him with great force in the breast while he was trimming a shade tree. He lived thirteen years after that but never saw a well day. After months of suffering, he did improve sufficiently to go with the boys and oversee their work they were obliged to do. Philinda would go out and follow flocks of sheep so that she might gather bits of wool from the fences to wash, card and spin. Then she and the girls would knit socks which they sold to buy cotton yarn. This yarn was colored with bark dye and woven into cloth for their dresses.
While at Nauvoo, Philinda and Alexander became the parents of three more children: Cyrene (1 May 1840); Philinda (19 March 1842); and Sarah Alvira (26 May 1844). Also they were privileged to go to the Nauvoo Temple and receive their endowments on 30 Jan. 1846. Philinda was among the members of the first Relief Society organization in Nauvoo. She was also present at the meeting when the people received the testimony that Brigham Young should be their next leader and she often bore testimony of this wonderful occasion.
In Feb. 1846 the Standley family left Nauvoo with Captain George Miller’s Company to cross the plains. Before they had traveled a great distance, they overtook a company of Saints under the leadership of James Emmett and decided to join with them for better protection from the Indians. In June of 1845 came the call for the Mormon Battalion and after they were fitted out, the Saints were not able to continue their journey West. Brigham Young sent messengers to the head companies instructing them to select a suitable place to make themselves as comfortable as possible for the winter. They followed the Platt River for many miles and finally stopped and made a town which they called Punca, for the Punca Indians, on the banks of the Running Water River in Nebraska. Here they stayed for some time. Provisions were scarce and quite a number went back again across the Missouri River and traded watches and other jewelry to the Indians for food supplies. James Emmett told the Punca Indians, unknown to most of the members of the Company, that they could unite with them and could inter-marry. In the course of time, a band of Indians came to obtain wives. Word went around the community that all girls over twelve must hide or claim to be married. This greatly offended the Indians and the white people had to kill a beef and prepare a feast before the Indians could be pacified.
While living at Punca (Indian Nation), Nebraska their daughter Lydia was born on 13 Dec. 1846. From this confinement Philinda did not recover as she should, serious trouble with one of her legs (in all probability milk leg) developed. Friends sympathized with her daughter, Ellen, for they predicted that her mother would never walk again. When warm weather came, Philinda was carried to a nearby river, the Running Water River, where she was baptized for her health. She walked out of the water by herself, healed of her affliction.
In the Spring of 1847 the family moved to Pottawatomie County, Iowa and with the help of the boys, Alexander put up a log house, plowed several acres of ground, and planted a field of corn. They let their only horse team go to help take properties and records of the Church to the Salt Lake Valley. Apostle George A. Smith said, “Brother Standley, I fear you are robbing your family, but the Lord will bless you ten fold.”
The next spring the gold fever was on, and many wealthy people went to California. There was a great demand for corn to feed their teams while traveling, and Alexander and Philinda got a good price for their corn. They took the money and bought twenty cows and as many calves, so Apostle Smith’s promise was fulfilled in less than a year.
Early in 1852 the company began making preparations to go to the Great Sale Lake Valley, making yokes and bows for the cattle and training them to travel when hitched together. Alexander fitted out three wagons with three or more yoke of cattle to each wagon.
At Council Bluffs, Iowa, a company of fifty families were organized with Joseph Howell as Captain. They were in Capt. Whitehead’s Company of ten. The Standley family consisted of the parents, Alexander and Philinda and the following children: Franklin; Ellen; Alexander Henry; Elizabeth; Cyrene; Philinda; Sarah Alvira; Lydia; and Michael (born 7 May 1849 at Pottawatomie, Iowa) started for Utah the first week in May 1852. Their trek across the plains is described as follows:
Every morning at the call of the bugle all would make preparations for the days journey. In the evening after the cattle and sheep had been herded on the grass for several hours, a corral made of the wagons shut in the cattle. There were also about forty sheep which were protected at night by a fold made of canvas. While traveling, they would roll up and fasten it to the side of the wagon.
The family walked most of the way across the plains with the exception of the two youngest children, Lydia (6 yrs.) and Michael (3 yrs.). The older girls walked all the way and drove sheep and younger stock.
One of the difficulties to contend with was to get the sheep across the streams as sheep are afraid of water. The eldest girls would catch a sheep with horns and drag it across the water, then the remainder would follow.
Night and morning the cows had to be milked and the milk taken care of. Milk and milk products added greatly to the food supply. Any milk or cream not used was put into a churn and carried in one of the wagons. When they stopped at night, there would be a nice lump of butter for supper and breakfast the next morning. After traveling for several days, the company would choose a place where wood, water and grass was plentiful and let their teams rest for a day or more. This was the time when the women would do their washing and baking of bread and crackers. The men would spend their time watching the animals graze, repairing wagons and equipment, making whips and lariats out of rawhide, and other needed jobs. Occasionally on moonlight nights, a plot of ground was cleared and all would enjoy a dance for a change. Sunday was observed as a day of rest and worship. While crossing the desert they had to gather buffalo chips for fuel as nothing grew that could be burned. When passing salaratus beds after a rain it was difficult to prevent the animals from drinking from the puddles of alkali water which was poisonous.
The Company reached Great Salt Lake Valley on 1 Oct. 1852. The Standley family went to East Weber where the cattle could live by brousing on the cottonwood limbs, as they had no hay for feed. The boys made a dugout in the sidehill with willows, rushes, and dirt for roof and floor.
In May 1853 they moved to Bountiful where they built a log house near Jordan Island. Several of the cows died because they were not able to get suitable food for them. At this time, they owned twenty-five cows, some young stock, about fifty sheep, and two horses. Philinda and the girls made cheese and butter to sell. Also, they spun, dyed and wove many different kinds of cloth for dresses, shawls, bedspreads, blankets, and men’s wear.
During the two years after they arrived in Utah, Philinda’s husband, Alexander S. Standley, found his health failing greatly. He died 29 Dec. 1854 at the age of 54 and was laid to rest on New Year’s Day in 1855.
The responsibility of caring for this large family of eleven now rested on Philinda’s shoulders. Only two of the children had chosen companions and left their parental home. However, her husband had left the family well provided for and the work went on as usual. Philinda carried out the plan which they had made early in their married life, that each child should spend some time in study every day.
Then Cyrene, the seventh child, was married at the age of 16, her dowry was regarded as most unusual. She received two cows, some sheep, household supplies, and several small parcels of land. This was an indication that the family was still prospering two years after the father’s death.
In 1865 Philinda moved to Cache County. Here she lived for 36 years after her husband’s death. She did much temple work and was instrumental in having all her known deceased relatives endowed and sealed in the Logan Temple. She also did some work in the Old Endowment House in Salt Lake City. She often bore her testimony to the divinity of the mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith and of his mantle falling upon the Prophet Brigham Young.
In her later years her eyesight failed, however, after several years her sight was restored and for many years she could see to read and write without her glasses.
Philinda Upson Standley died 27 Jan. 1892 at Richmond, Cache County, Utah. She was buried beside her husband in the Bountiful Cemetery, Davis Co., Utah. A granddaughter, Harriet O. Mikesell, describes Philinda’s death as “so peaceful and sweet,” proving to her family that even death can become sweet to the righteous. She was left a widow with a large family, being the mother of three sons and eight daughters, six of whom survive her. She has 72 grandchildren and 96 great grandchildren. She was a very exemplary woman and died as she had lived, a faithful Latter Day Saint.
Father was like a sturdy oak,
That eleven branches bore;
Nine thrived and bore delicious fruit,
Two perished long before.
Mother was a fruitful vine,
And knowing well her duty;
Her loving tendrils did entwine
Imparting grace and beauty.
Together thus through stony paths,
They traveled long together;
And never murmured or complained
Both smiled in stormy weather.
Stern death stepped in and cut him down
While we were left lamenting
She then shown forth strong as a tree,
Not wavering or lamenting.
The tree and vines sprang up around
A beauteous grove has grown
If virtuous faith and love abound,
We’ll n’er be overthrown.
By Elizabeth S.O. Benson (daughter)
Source of Material
Sketch written by her daughter, Lydia S. Burnham in 1927.
Also recollections written December 1931.
Recollections of daughter, Elizabeth S.O. Benson
Copy of part of journal of Alexander S. Standley.
Copy of sketches and family records in possession of George B. Standley.
Philinda Upson Standley
By: Lydia Stanley Burnham in the year 1927
Philinda Upson Standley was born 19 Aug. 1814 in Portage County, Ohio. She died at Richmond, Cache County, Utah 27 Jan. 1892, of old age, superinduced by Lagrip.
She married Alexander Scoby Standley 19 Mar. 1829. She, with her husband, was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Mar. 1837. They moved to Missouri in the fall of 1838, and shared the mobbings and expulsion with the Saints from that state. They moved to Commerce, afterwards called Nauvoo in April 1840. She was a member of the first Relief Society that was organized by the Prophet Joseph. She often bore her testimony to the divinity of the mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and of his mantle falling upon the Prophet Brigham Young. She, with her husband, were among the privileged few that received their endowments in the Nauvoo Temple. They left Nauvoo in ’46, wintering in Punca and sharing the privations with the Saints of that place. They crossed the plains in 1852 and settled in Davis County. She was left a widow 30 Dec. 1854 with a large family being the mother of 3 sons and 8 daughters, 6 of whom survive her. She was a very exemplary woman, and died as she had lived, a faithful Latter Day Saint. The remains were interned at Bountiful by the side of her husband. She moved to Cache County in 1865. She has 71 grandchildren and 96 great grandchildren. (when this was written)