_Samuel LEGGETT _+ _James LEGGETT ____| | |_Esther STONE ___ _William LEGGETT _| | | _________________ | |_Susannah BENSLEY _| | |_________________ | |--Susan LEGGETT | | _________________ | ___________________| | | |_________________ |_Sarah HOWES _____| | _________________ |___________________| |_________________
Sketch of the Life of Susan Leggett Clark
A Utah Pioneer of 1861
Prepared by her daughter, Annie C. Tanner
(Author of Mormon Mother)
Read in Emigration Camp, Daughters of Utah Pioneers
February 15, 1934
Word-Processed by Jan Knowlton Christensen
August 19, 2008
Susan Leggett Clark was mother to Sarah Clark Knowlton, who was mother to Franklin Richards Knowlton, father to my dad, Franklin
Biography of Susan Leggett Clark
To understand the cominant characteristics of a personality and to know the prevailing attitudes and philosophy of that life, we must be acquainted with the environment and ideals that pervaded in youth. So come with me across the Atlantic Ocean and visit the little English home of William and Sarah Leggett, the parents of the subject of this sketch. There is nothing pretentious there by the way of luxury. It is the atmosphere of the home that attracts us. Though the furniture is simple, the arrangement signifies refinement and comfort. A purpose seems apparent in every article. Cleanliness and order are so natural to that home that one questions if ever anything was ever out of place. There is no hurry or bustle manifested by the inmates. There is plenty of time n Old England to do everything well. There was time to read the Bible in the home and discuss it, too; time to sing the sacred songs of the church, for the father and eldest daughter, Susan, belonged to the village choir. For twenty years William Leggett was a member of the choir at the Church of England.
The Latter-day Saint Missionaries visited the home and a flood of new light illuminated the scriptures as William Leggett read them to his family. He was thrilled with the great tidings that were brought to him-to know that his heart’s desire could be realized by a loving Father in Heaven. He had found the truest and surest friend on whom he could depend for wisdom and guidance. And best of all, his oldest daughter, Susan, had the assurance of God’s existence and His loving care. Together they pictured another home among a people whose religious convictions were the same as their own. Zion, in America, where lived the pure in heart, was now their goal.
Together they planned and worked and saved. Some of their dreams came true.
Susan was the eldest child of eight that were born to William and Sarah Leggett. Their home at the time of Susan’s birth, August 25, 1838-was in Carlston Norfold, England. Later the family moved to Loeastuf, a seaport town where fishing was one of the main industries of the people there. Here with her little brothers and sisters, Susan played in the sand on the seashore and watched the fishermen as they cast their nets in the harbor filled with ships of every description. The great waves of the sea had a fascination for her. In her later years she often referred to those happy days on the sea beach.
Her father’s family had been among the wealthy land owners of England, but thru some mismanagement the estate was held in chancery, no one of the family seemed able to redeem the property, so William was obliged to provide for his family by hard work as a gardener. But the beautiful flowers and shrubs responded so wonderfully to his love and care that life was a joy to him. He loved nature and followed the work of a gardener all his life.
When Susan was 18 years of age her father and all his family were baptized (LDS). Every Sunday morning they arose early and walked a distance of five miles to the LDS church, often accompanied by the Mormon Elders who enjoyed the hospitality of the Leggett home. As the Elders traveled without purse or script, often, weary and worn, they returned to this comfortable home where their clothes were cared for and a hearty welcome awaited them.
Susan became helpful in assisting her father financially as she was a splendid seamstress and dressmaker. One great purpose dominated all their efforts in thrift and economy-they must earn money with which to emigrate to Utah.
Susan did not go to school after the age of twelve years, but she loved books and acquired the habit of reading as she walked to and from her work. She made but few grammatical errors and her good English was admired by college students all her life. She was particularly fond of poetry, and many times she composed lines of it suitable for occasions and experiences that came to her.
At last the time arrived when she could leave her father’s home and dear old England for America. She was now twenty two years of age. A tall, healthy, beautiful young woman; her abundant dark hair, brown eyes and tall stately figure, with her smooth olive complexion were admired by all who knew her.
It was April, 1861, when alone she left her father’s home. It took the fortitude and faith of real saints as her father and mother were to bid her good-bye. His helper, his companion, his pride, had left him. All night he walked the floor and would have loved to call her back but he must realize the great purpose of their years of effort. So Susan was the first to lead the way. She used often to say, in after years, that she was the savior of her father’s household.
There was just one thought that troubled Susan, she had a good ready, one of her dreams had come true, her faith was quite equal to the venture, but how could she say good-bye to her grandmother, her father’s mother. Together for six years they had talked of this event. Together they had spent afternoons with their needlework, and together they had walked the strand, gathering sea shells and admiring the green rolling hills of their village home in the distant landscape. Now they must part for this life. Susan said it was her last act before leaving and that it was a heartbreaking scene for them both.
For a day and a night she was among strangers in a coach traveling to Liverpool, where there were friends, elders and saints with whom she crossed the ocean. Her companions traveled steerage, but Susan’s charming personality, ability, and desire to be useful, won the favors of the captain and his wife for whom Susan sewed and thus enjoyed the best accommodations on board.
There were storms at sea which were not unusual in the early spring time, so the voyage was a rough one. In describing it, susan said the billows were so high at times that it seemed like they might be swallowed up by the ocean. Then the ship would mount the waves again only to go down in the valleys of water. No one could sleep for the rattle of the tin dishes. She was not afraid that the ship would not arrive safely, but said that she would never forget her delight at the sight of land, after being six weeks on the ocean.
As the company were preparing to cross the plains Susan wondered with whom she should travel. In looking about she observed some children and at once asked the father and mother if they would like help in caring for the family, and it was decided that Susan should travel with them. It was said of her that so painstaking was she in putting things away after camping that nothing was ever misplaced, and it was always a pleasure to camp again.
She, with others, gathered fuel for the fires-all they could carry-although they were told to go not far from the wagons. At one time some Indians approached them and the chief was asked what he wanted. Susan’s dark hair and brown eyes attracted him. Pointing to her, he proposed that five ponies be accepted in exchange for the girl. For a time she was hidden in the wagon box.
There was no traveling on Sunday. The animals rested, the children were bathed, and Church services were enjoyed by all. Susan said their favorite hymns were “Oh Ye Mountains High” and “Come, Come Ye Saints”. For evening entertainment around the campfires, Susan, with her fine voice sang “Star of the Twighlight”, “When the Springtime Comes”, “Gentle Annie”, and “Do They Miss Me at Home, Do They Moss Me”. She had a strong social nature, enjoyed dancing, and manifested an interest in the pleasure and welfare of all members of the Company. One can imagine that when the journey was over, which extended from April to September, it was with much regret that the friends must part.
While on this journey she embroidered yards of fine muslin which was used to decorate her babies’ wardrobes. All of her ten children were blessed in those first baby clothes which is an illustration of her economy and appreciation of values. One piece is in perfect condition and was used by another family of ten, Susan’s grandchildren, when they were blessed, and by five in the third generation. She said she used to tie her work to the bow of the wagon when traveling across the plains.
The names of the emigrants on arriving in the valley were published in the local paper in Salt Lake. Ezra T. Clark, on recognizing that of Susan Leggett, left his home in Farmington at once and came to meet her. He had not forgotten the young lady of eighteen whom he admired in England when he enjoyed the hospitality of her father’s home five years previous to this time when on his mission to England. He promised himself then that if ever she came to Utah he would win her for his wife. She was now a mature capable young woman of twenty three. At once she busied herself sewing for the family in the Clark home, making pants, coats, or dresses. One elderly man now, remembers with pride his first suit which she made for him. That same year, November 8, 1861, she became the second wife of Ezra T. Clark, and in due time was the mother of ten children. Her heart thrilled with joy as one of them said, “Mother, I am so glad you married Father.”
Life in Western America was different from that in England, but Susan learned to make candles and to cut fruit to dry. She knew how to make soap and molasses preserves-but best of all was her needle-work. Such tailored effects on pockets and sleeves were seldom seen; such even ruffles and puffs were the pride of her little girls. Neatness and cleanliness were inborn traits that were apparent in all that she did. Her cupboards and drawers were always in order.
All her life she was interested in church activities. With her singing she helped in the ward entertainments. For many years she was Secretary to the Relief Society. She not only attended meetings but expressed her love for the gospel and lived it. Her home was not far from a railroad station in Farmington where numbers of tramps entered the town and asked for food. Never was anyone turned from her door. Her sympathy and helpfulness to others was illustrated by a story told of a Colorado missionary who visited a shoemaker to have his shoes repaired. The cobbler was glad to know the young man was from Farmington and related his experience there, describing the home where he went and the lady, ”Susan L. Clark”, who gave him a meal. He said, “I gladly repair your shoes without charge for the kindness that was shown to me by that good woman.”
The immigration of her father’s family was accomplished in a few years. Just after her father arrived he was employed as President Young’s gardener and kept his grounds on South Temple. Later he had charge of President Young’s farm on South State Street. After the dedication of the Logan Temple, Susan and her parents did the temple work for many of their ancestors.
In 1888 she emigrated Susanna Leggett, an old maid aunt to whom Susan was very much attached in her childhood days in England. This aunt was 76 years of age at the time she came to America and for ten years was in Susan’s home. Her father lived until he was 74 years old, and her mother lived nine years after her father’s death. Four years of that time she was in the home of Susan with old Auntie and lived there three years after Auntie died. There is no wonder that with the care of these old people Susan Clark did not last so long herself. She died November 4, 1902.
She was faithful in training her family to love the gospel……..(indistinguishable)…..sons had filled …….missions. One of the eldest died February 8, 1895 in Palestine where he was called to labor among the Arabs. He contracted smallpox and was buried at Haifa, Palestine, at the foot of Mt. Carmel, where a monument marks his grave. Another son filled a mission in England and visited the scenes of his mother’s girlhood days.
The youngest son was called to California. The day she died she remarked that she was satisfied with all of her children.