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Photograph of Martha McKinney Frost

History of
Martha (Patsy) McKinney Frost

A history of unknown origin in the possession of Robert S. Raymond, gggrandson of Martha.


Martha Wiser, better known as (Aunt Patsy) was born Oct.7, 1825 in Knox County, Tennessee, to McCaslin Frost and Peninna Smith. While a child she moved with her parents to Hancock, County, Ill. From there to Jefferson County, Iowa. She went through all the hardships and dangers of pioneer life in those three states, which were Indian country then. She was married in Jefferson County to Harmon J. Akes, 1840. Soon after their marriage they were both baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 1841. They had three children, one son and two daughters born to them. Shortly after birth of their third child, the whole family became seriously ill and Martha's husband and three children died. Her husband died, in full belief of the Gospel, in 1844. Martha was then at the age of 20. Two years later in 1846 she was married to her second husband, George W. Langley in the Nauvoo Temple. They, with the Saints, were driven from Nauvoo to Winter Quarters. Martha was persecuted, and driven from her home and forced to leave all her property, even her personal belongings.

Martha crossed the Mississippi River on the ice and camped on the open prairie in snow and sleet with the thermometer below zero. She was in the camp at Sugar Creek when it was 20 below zero and nine babies were born at the camp. She helped through the night to protect the sick mothers from the chill winds by holding blankets around their beds. She helped during the rain, to keep the beds dry, by holding pans over the sick mothers, to catch the rain while their babies were being born. At Winter, a baby daughter, Martha Langley was born, to Martha and George Langley, on January 17, 1848. In May the next year they came west to the Rocky Mountains over the "Old Mormon Trail" in a covered wagon with Heber C. Kimball Company. They arrived in Salt Lake City on Sept. 25th. 1848.

Martha's husband, George Langley, built the first adobe house in Salt Lake City, but it is thought that they lived first at the old fort. But during the fall while George Langley was herding stock on the Jordon River, Martha lived in a brush hut on the banks of the river, to be near her husband during his work, until the herd broke up. The next spring on April 3rd, 1849 their second child, Penina Langley was born in Big Cottonwood Canyon. The next Feb. 1850, George Washington Langley died, leaving Martha a widow for the second time. He was the first man to be buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.

After her husband's death, Martha left Salt Lake City and with her two baby girls went to live with her sister Margaret Rawlins, in Cottonwood Canyon. In 1851 when she was 25 years old, Martha was married for the third time. She married John McCormick Wiser, who came to Salt Lake City in the fall of 1850 with a company of miners who were on their way to the California gold fields. He was converted to Mormonism and was baptized into the L.D.S. Church in Dec. l850 and remained permanently in Utah, all thought of gold forgotten.

Soon after their marriage, John and Martha located in Alpine, Utah, where their first child Sarah Ann, was born Feb. 1852. The winters were extremely cold in that little mountain town so the Wiser's spent the next winter in Draper. There the baby contracted whooping cough and died March 1853. Their second child, Amanda Jane, was born in Draper June 13, 1854. The family returned to Alpine in the spring where they lived about eight years and where four of their eight children were born. The difficulties of pioneering this arid region were many and during the summer of 1885, due to excess drouth and grasshopper plagues, the crops were a failure and settlers didn't raise enough grain to last until the next harvest. The Wiser's had no bread for a period of six weeks and many other families were much longer without flour. The pioneers had to live almost entirely on greens and fish. There was plenty of fish in the streams for the people to eat and also enough to salt for future needs. Sugar was also sent in a miraculous manner and Martha gathered all the sugar lumps she needed off the oak brush. She sweetened whey with this sugar and made vinegar which she served with the greens and fish. In Alpine there were few sagos, only pig-weed and nettles, and when those were gone the children were sent into the canyon to search for greens and there on the hillside before their astonished eyes was a thick blanket of wild green onions, where three days previously the ground was bare. The happy children quickly gathered and filled their aprons with the tender onions. They were mild and delicate in flavor and the children ate them raw. The grain in the valley ripened earlier and it ripened in patches only as fast as it could be taken care of. When the Rawlins' grain was ripe they wrote for John Wiser to go over to Draper and get some of their wheat.

To save the weary horses a trip, John walked to Draper over the mountain trail. He cut the grain with a sickle and threshed it with a flail...Took the grain to mill where it was ground into flour. He then walked the five miles or more back to Alpine over the mountains with the sack of flour on him back. He made the trip in one day as he would not leave the children any longer without broad.

Other help came to the needy pioneers, and when Johnston's Army came to Utah, John worked at Camp Floyd building adobe houses for the soldiers. The wages he earned at the fort was a big help to Martha as money in the little town was scarce and their food supply meager.

Springtime came late in Alpine, and to improve their financial condition they moved with their family of six children to Cache Valley. They arrived at the new settlement of Richmond in June 1860. Martha kept house in their wagon box while their new home in the Old Fort was completed. And as soon as safety from the Indians was assured, they moved into their own home near the fort, where they lived about twelve years.

It was there that Martha's five year old girl, Alvira died and where her three youngest children were born...And her two oldest daughters, Martha and Penina Langley were marrled in the old Salt Lake Endowment House while the family were residents of Richmond.

Their farm in Richmond was small and not adequate for the needs of their growing family, so they decided to move where more land was available. And In 1871, when land in Lewiston was open for settlement, Martha's husband took up a quarter section of land on the "Flat" and in July he went to Salt Lake City and filed on the land.

And the next spring (1872) at high water time they moved to Lewiston, where they helped to build and develope the community. Helping in all the pioneer projects. Building roads, canals, public buildings, etc. Also helping with the donation work on the Utah Northern railway from Richond to Franklin.

It took years of toil to reclaim the sandy soil on the flat, and was a bitter struggle against poverty, but the industrious pioneers never suff-ered for food inspite of the drouth and grasshoppers - early frosts and the destructive elements.

The Lewiston Ward was organized October 20th, 1872, and Lewiston was officially named for their first Bishop. Meetings were hold the first two winters at private homes. First at the VanOrden home, and the second winter at the Wiser home.

Martha spent two summers in her unfinished house while her husband was busy breaking up land and raising a crop in both Lewiston and Richmond.

In the winter of 1873, they remained in Lewiston and the inside finishing work was done on her home while they lived in it. Lath had to be made from siding board, and it was so cold when the plastering was done that it had to be mixed in the house on the floor, and Martha cleaned up the house late at night when the walls were finished, and prepared for the Sunday meeting the next day.

Martha's life was spent in service to others and her home was always open to friends or those in need. And after her husband returned from his mission in England, Martha gave shelter to many Mormon converts until they could find a home of their own in this new land.

Martha was a good practical nurse, and all during her adult life she helped to care for the sick whenever her services were needed, for days at a time or for weeks if necessary. She never charged for her work, and never accepted a cent of money for her services. She always went cheerfully and gladly where ever she could be of assistance, not only in her own neighbor-hood, but to surrounding towns as well.

The nearest Doctor lived In Logan and help was scarce, so even Martha when advanced in years, often rode eight or ten miles in an open cart, and sometimes through winter storms to out-of-town homes when her help was required.

"Aunt Patsy" and "Uncle John" as they were affectionately called, never lost their sympathy or their interest in the unfortunate or those in distress, and when she was called away to care for the sick, he was at home looking after the children, cooking their hot meals and taking care of the butter and milk as well as doing his own work.

During the tragic winter of 1890-91, when calamity struck the home of her neighbor, Marion Stephenson, when all of his ten children were stricken with diphtheria, Martha Wiser spent six weeks in their home fighting desperately against that dread disease. But it proved fatal to six of the children. Three girls and three boys died in six weeks, one each week. Others also helped as much as possible in that grief-striken home, and when Martha had to leave occasionally at night she walked home alone over that dark and lonely road, as all available help was needed to take care of the sick.

Martha Wiser was active as a member of the Relief Society for many years. She helped to gather up grain for storing. She was a member of the first Relief Society in Lewiston, and 15 days after the organization she was sustained on January 20, 1876, as a member of the first organ-ization of Visiting Teachers...In 1879, Martha was sustained Second Councilor and served for 17 years with her sister, Margaret Rawlins, who was the first president and worked in that position for 26 years. Martha Wiser's daughter, Martha Langley Karren, was also a councilor and the three worked together for 12 years. Their total years of service in the Relief Society presidency was 61 years.

Martha passed through many hardships, but she was always happy and cheerful, and appreciated her opportunity for service in the Church. She was a personal friend of "Brother Joseph" and Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball and testified many times before her death of the marvelous healing of the sick by the Prophet Joseph during the terrible epidemic of cholera and malaria at Nauvoo, and also the remarkable healing of the sick by Brother Woodruff when he placed the handkerchief of the Prophet on the faces of the sick during his administration1.

Martha also had the privilege of attending the meeting at the grove in Nauvoo when the "Mantle of Joseph" fell upon Brigham Young the day he was chosen to lead the Saints after the death of the Prophet Joseph.

Martha loved her religion and remained true to her convictions, never wavering in her testimony of the truth, and felt no sacrifice too great for the sake of her religion.

Marther McKinney Frost Wiser and her first husband, Harmon J. Akes had three children. All three of her children and her husband died before she started to cross the plains.

She married George Langley and their first little daughter, Martha Langley was born January 17, 1848. Their second daughter Penina Langley, was born In Cottonwood Canyon, April 1849. In February 1850, her husband died. In 1851 when she was 25 years old, Martha married for the third time. She married John McCormick Wiser and they had the following children:

Born Died
Sarah Ann 26 Feb. 1852 Alpine, Utah March 1853
Amanda Jane 13 June 1854 Draper, Utah July 1,1899
Mary Olive 11 Feb. 1856 Alpine, Utah Mar 12,1906
John Harvey 9 Apr. 1858 " Feb. 6,1950
Nancy Alvira 8 Apr. 1860 " Mar.23,1865
Samuel Frost 23 Oct. 1862 Richmond, Utah June 3,1947
George Harmon 11 Oct. 1867 " Feb.17,1941
Alla Arminda 24 Feb. 1870 " July 28,1952

Martha McKinney Frost Wiser, the daughter of McCaslin Frost and Penina Smith Frost, was born October 7th, 1825, near Knoxville in Knox County, Tennessee. She was the sixth child in a family of eight children. Her brothers and sisters were: Samuel Buchana Frost, Nancy Ilewood Frost, (Kerr): Isabelle Van Dyke Frost (Jones); Feraby Frost (Barber); James William Frost; Mary Ann Frost; Margaret Elzira Frost (Rawlins).

Martha's paternal grandparents were Captain James Frost his wife Isabel Van Dyke. They resided in Pennsylvania where James was born and where they were married and their two oldest children were born. Then they moved over-land to North Carolina. James was an engineer and a worker in iron. He moved and lived in a number of Counties where he found and developed iron mines. One mine in particular was very valuable and was still a heavy production long after James Frost was gone. He finally settled In Johnston County where he had Iron Works. James owned real estate on Big Troublesome Creek. Register of Deeds, Wentworth, North Carolina gives a record of two conveyances of real estate by James Frost, 1793 - a Deed from James Frost to John Marr for 39 acres on Big Troublesome Creek. And 1798 - Deed from James and Isabel Frost, his wife, to William Case for 192 acres on Big Troublesome Creek.


NOTES

  1. "On the morning of the 22nd of July, 1839, [Joseph] arose from his bed and commenced to administer to the sick in his own house and dooryard, and he commanded them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to arise and be made whole; and the sick were healed upon every side of him. ... After healing all that lay sick upon the bank of the river as far as the stone house, he called upon Elder Kimball and some others to accompany him across the river to visit the sick at Montrose. Many of the saints were living at the old military barracks. Among the number were several of the twelve. On his arrival the first house he visited was that occupied by Elder Brigham Young, the president of the quorum of the twelve, who lay sick. Joseph healed him, then he arose and accompanied the Prophet on his visit to others who were in the same condition. They visited Elder Wilford Woodruff, also Elders Orson Pratt, and John Taylor, all of whom were living in Montrose.

    "After healing the sick in Montrose, all the company followed Joseph to the bank of the river, where he was going to take the boat to return home. While waiting for the boat a man from the west, who had seen that the sick and dying were healed, asked Joseph if he would not go to his house and heal two of his children, who were very sick. They were twins and were three months old. Joseph told the man he could not go, but he would send some one to heal them. He told Elder Woodruff to go with the man and heal his children. At the same time he took from his pocket a silk bandanna handkerchief, and gave to Brother Woodruff, telling him to wipe the faces of the children with it, and they should be healed; ... Elder Woodruff did as he was commanded, and the children were healed." (Wilford Woodruff, as quoted in History of the Church, vol. 4, pp. 3-4, footnote 4.)

    These healings seem to be the ones refered to in Martha's history. The problem with this assumption is that these healings occured prior to Martha's baptism. There are several possible explanations. The author doesn't explicitly state that Martha claimed to be a first-hand witness of these events. She would have heard the first-hand testimony of the participants and thereafter testified as one who heard and believed the first-hand witnesses. And, it can not be ruled out that she may have been present in Montrose at the time. (In the 1840 census, the Harmon J Akes household is listed in Jefferson County, Iowa. Fairfield, in Jefferson County, is about 44 miles from Montrose.)

    Joseph instructed Woodruff to keep the handkerchief. Sickness continued. Other healings, even involving handkerchiefs occurred. See, for example, "Lydia Knight: "God Rules" Was Her Motto," Ensign, Aug. 1977, p. 50. Martha may have witnessed subsequent healings to which she bore her personal witness. Go back

Wednesday, 27-Jul-2005 20:38:35 MDT