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Squires, Sarah Peters - Journal

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF SARAH PETERS SQUIRES



My father David Peters was born at Harlech, Merionethshire, North Wales, on 10 March 1810. During his youth he followed the business of carding and spinning and commenced business for himself at the age of twenty at Ffestiniog, about twenty miles from his birth place.

On 11 April 1840 in his 30th year he married my mother, Laura J. Davis, at Llanfrothen. Mother was born 8 February 1817 in Merionethshire, North Wales. They were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 21 June 1846 by Elder Abel Evans.

They were in very comfortable circumstances, father having owned and operated a small woollen factory. Their home was situated on the banks of a picturesque river which furnished the power to operate the mill. This place was a favorite haunt of artists who frequented the premises to paint the beautiful mountains, green valleys, and sparkling waters.

I was born in Ffestiniog on 6 February 1841. When [I was] about four or five years of age a little neighbor boy, who was my constant playmate, suggested that we get married. His uncle was a minister and lived in a little town near by. The little fellow had witnessed the marriage of many couples in his uncle's home and thought it would be nice to go through the same ceremony. I really consented and when we began our journey to the little town in which his uncle lived our absence was discovered at home and we were overtaken just before reaching our destination. This same playmate and I once captured what we thought was a large eel and took turns carrying it to a neighbor who made whips from eel skins. Placing it on his porch we called him to come and see what we had brought for him to make into a whip. He was horrified when he saw before him a great poisonous snake.

In the winter of 1848 father sold his factory and in March 1849 we started for America with the first company of Saints from North Wales. It is said that my father and mother were the second and third persons to be baptized in North Wales. Besides paying the passage of his own family my father paid the passage of five others, all of whom were Saints. I was baptized before leaving Wales by Owen Roberts, a stone cutter who in after years was employed in cutting stone for the Salt Lake Temple.

After seven weeks of ocean life we landed in New Orleans. Then we came up the Mississippi River to St. Louis and from there to Council Bluffs. The river journey was sad, for an epidemic of cholera raged, and many bodies were left buried along the river banks. Mother was ever busy caring for the sick and preparing the dead for burial until finally she was prostrated with the disease, but was haled by faith in touching the hem of Elder Scoville's garment. Elder Scoville was a man of great faith and did much among the sick on that terrible journey. In one family of nine, six died. In another of six, all died except one little fellow [Nathaniel Eames] subject to fits. My father kept this boy for three years until some of his relatives came from the old country. We crossed the plains in the George A. Smith company, arriving in Salt Lake City in November 1849 after a continuous journey for nine months by land and sea. How good it seemed to reach our final destination.

We lived in Salt Lake City until the spring of 1853 when we moved to Box Elder or what is now Brigham City where I have since resided. In those early days the Indians were numerous and dangerous, especially in that locality as the entire country north of us was inhabited by Indians only. One night my mother was left alone and after going to bed she heard some one trying to open the door and just as she threw herself against it, she felt the weight of someone from the outside. In spite of her efforts, mother was forced back slightly and a bronzed arm shot through the small opening. Someway she got hold of the table and pulled it up in front of the door and picking up a butcher knife which lay on it, she ran the back of the knife along the arm which was quickly withdrawn. Then she began to scream for her husband who was nowhere near, but it had the effect of hustling the savage away.

We were instructed to form a fort to protect ourselves better from Indian assault, so a fort was made just north of the present Third Ward meeting house at Brigham. The families living in the fort were Bishop Davis, William Williams, Daniel Thomas, George Hanson, Simeon Carter, Martin L. Ensign, Benjamin Thomas, Stephen Kelsy, Jefferson Wright, Benjamin Jones, Thomas Mathias, Captain David Evans, Harvey Pierece, Thomas Williams, Daniel Williams, ________ Dunn, John Thomas, John Gibbs, David Peters, Henry Williams, Henry Evans (school teacher), Benjamin Phillips, John Morgan, Cadwalader Owens, Bill Dee, Riston family, Booth family, and William Lewis (singing master).

I, being the eldest, experienced all the hardships incident to pioneer life in a new country, which meant making a new home in the wilderness and living in constant fear of the Indians with no ready assistance or relief in time of trouble.

After the great danger from the redskins was passed, we built a home in the Brigham First Ward, residing there for a number of years. I was married by Lorenzo Snow to Charles Porter Squires on 1 September 1856. My husband was a good carpenter and builder and was always active in developing the country. Just previous to the birth of one of my children my husband was ill and at the same time my children were stricken with the black measles. I was much burdened with the strenuous labors which I had to perform at that critical time. Finally I was taken ill and there was no one to send for help. However, my husband told our eldest son to get up out of bed and go for aid to one of the neighbors. I objected fearing what the results might be, but my husband promised that if my son would go he should take no harm, which promise was truly fulfilled. During this siege of illness we buried a little boy which was a great sorrow to me. One night about nine or ten o'clock, while all were ill, a knock came to the door; my husband said, "Come in," and in walked a stranger who asked if he might remain overnight. We told him our condition but said we had plenty in the house to eat if he would wait on himself. He answered that he wished nothing to eat and that he would lie on the floor at the foot of our bed. He did so, and in the morning again refused to eat. Then he thanked us for shelter and left. During that night while the stranger lay there I had a wonderful manifestation . I lay awake when something white was placed over my eyes and I saw a guide standing by my side. Then many wonderful scenes were presented to my view. I first saw a great, high, dark wall and near it stood a large man holding an iron rod. I saw men come with chains, surveying, and they passed under this rod. I asked the meaning of this and my guide said it was a railroad coming. Next I saw shipwrecks and many other things. Then two young women came dancing along, but they did not pass us but danced away off into a great dark forest in the distance. I asked the meaning of this and was told it was the daughters of Zion who, in following the fashions of the world, had gone into utter darkness. Soon I saw many people coming to the Rocky Mountains for safety and protection, but all passed under this rod. I saw a beautiful building-a door opened-I went in. There stood Joseph and Hyrum Smith talking to some man. While I stood there two of the men turned perfectly black and swiftly passed out of the door. Eliza R. Snow and another woman met me and we went into an adjoining room where I saw many children, among them my little brother who had died sometime before. All of them were saches and stars upon their breasts. From the first room another door opened, and I saw the most beautiful sight imaginable-its beauty was beyond all description and Eliza R. Snow pointed and said: "Only those who endure to the end faithful should inherit this." Soon everything passed from my view, and I found myself in my little home as before.

On 5 May 1872 my husband died leaving me with a family of seven children-one yet unborn. I had a good farm, but I was never strong and so did not have the health and strength to do much work.

My mother and father assisted me all they could, and I sewed early and late making clothing, hats, coats and shoes, etc., for my little family. I also did all of my mother's sewing, making similar articles for my six brothers.

My farm consisted of ten acres of farming land and five acres of hay land and so I managed to successfully raise my family of five boys and one girl, one boy having died young.

I will here relate something that occurred soon after the death of my husband. I was sorrowful and sick, being in a critical condition myself, and one of my little boys was seriously ill. One night as I lay sorrowing over my troubles, my husband entered the room and reaching over me laid his hands on my little one's head and administered to him. I felt the weight of his body as he leaned on me and he promised the child should get well. After being with me there, he passed out of the room. The next morning my eldest boy said he dreamed his father came and told him to go out and hold his horses for him. The boy thought he went out and held the horses for his father while he went in and talked with me. He thought his father remained in the house for a long time-seemed as though he would never come out-but at last he came and drove away. The boy seemed very much worried over his dream, but I told him not to worry, for his father had really been there. The next morning I was able to be up and my little one was comparatively well. I have had many wonderful things shown to me which have all strengthened my testimony and my faith in my religion and God, and I hope to be among the faithful who inherit a place in that glorious home once shown to me.

[Grandmother Squires's Relief Society record shows she was sustained as a visiting teacher 7 April 1878 and released from this position 10 March 1881; and on the same date (10 March 1881) she was sustained as second counselor to Susannah P. Boothe, and was released from this position after nineteen years' service in the fall of 1900.]

Immigrants:

Peters, Sarah

Peters, David Hughes

Davis/Davies, Laura

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