|Birth: ||Aug. 11, 1823|
|Death: ||Sep. 22, 1901|
LYDIA ANN THORN
(Written by Mary Jane Chase Finley, her daughter)
"Lydia Ann Thorn was born 11 August 1822 at Sempronius, Cayuga County, New York, being the ninth in a family of ten children. She was the daughter of Mary Anner Armstrong and Richard Thorn. Her mother was a descendant of the Armstrong brothers who came to America from Holland with the original Dutch Colony and settled in New York. Her father, Richard Thorn, was of English descent. His father, William Thorn, came to America and made his home on Long Island. Richard Thorn was born in Flushing, Long Island, and was a well-to-do farmer. Both of her parents were from sturdy devout New England families.
As a child she attended school in her native city. Thereafter, she made her home with her cousin, Susan Matt Allen, in Auburn, New York. Here she attended a private school for girls. She tells that during a visit of the supervisor of the school, one of the girls declared that Presbyterian prayers and hash were all they had for breakfast. Thereafter the table was bountifully and supplied.
After returning to her home, her with other members of her family were converted to the Latter-day Saint Church.
When she was 17 years of age, Alfred Gleason, a school teacher, invited her to go with him to his brother's wedding reception. Taking her brother Richard along to drive the horses, they went to the home of Isaac Chase, where John Gleason and Desdemona Chase were married. Here, her brother, Richard, introduced her to a young LDS Elder, Solomon D. Chase, who was making his home with his uncle. The courtship was short, and Elder Isaac Chase performed the marriage ceremony at his home after church services Sunday evening, 19 Apr.1840.
The young groom had little worldly goods to offer this girl of quiet manner, who had been raised in good circumstances, but the union was a happy one in every respect. The husband was a Yankee Quaker, and she soon learned his thrifty ways.
In 1839, the Chase and Thorn families were preparing to move to Nauvoo. They had all been converted by Elder Pelriah Brown to the faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In consequence of the economical conditions, Solomon and Lydia Ann remained at Sparta for one year.
In 1841, they started on their journey west. They and their baby, Harriet, arrived in Rochester, Ohio. They remained here until 1846 when they took the boat on the Mississippi River for Wisconsin. They and their three children remained here at South Port, Wisconsin, until 1849. Then they moved to the town of Turtle, Wisconsin. Here, their first sorrow came. Their baby son, Alva, died. Although surrounded by kind friends, there was not a blood relative to comfort them, but my mother often said that although her own mother was far she found a mother and friends in every community.
It was a long way from New York to Iowa; and on account of the increased difficulties of traveling and saving money for the western migration, it was necessary for my father to work as a carpenter as they moved from state to state. My mother assisted in every way she could and by their thrift and economy, they saved enough to buy a span of horses and a wagon and with such continued their journey. They reached Iowa in the spring of 1850, and their joy was beyond measure in meeting their relatives and friends who had previously been driven out of Nauvoo. They had been ten long years working their way from New York to rejoin their friends and people in Iowa.
Here at Little Sioux, Iowa, they lived with their brother Amos Chase and his family. For two years, they were again busy making preparations to further their journey west. Their next temporary home was at Kanesville, now Council Bluffs, Iowa, where the three children attended school, and the baby, John, was born. Every move brought them nearer their goal. On 7 June 1853, they crossed the Missouri River and made their final start across the plains for Utah.
Father built his own and other wagons. In it they loaded all their possessions, including a cedar chest Father had made to carry mother's most precious things for her home in the west.
When the company came to a favorable spot where there was good water and the right kind of timber for making charcoal, they would stop long enough to burn a good supply to have in case of emergency. On these stops the women would wash, patch, and darn their clothing, bake bread, churn, and make further preparations to continue their 1840 journey. Mother told of making yeast cakes and great bags of crackers and preparing many other supplies for the journey.
The family owned a cow that trudged across the plains, and Mother churned butter on the way, if the rocking of the wagon had not already done the work. Then too, Father had some money with him, and Mother had good dresses she had brought from her Eastern home. Mother said the journey across the Plains was one of the happiest times of her life, and she had no stories to relate of hardships.
After a journey of three months and three days, they arrived in Salt Lake City. The six-year-old city of adobe and log houses had few accommodations to offer a weary pioneer. After visiting relatives and friends who had preceded them in coming, they set up housekeeping in a small adobe house.
They had but little furniture which Father made, including a table, chairs, a rocking chair which is still in the family, and a bed stead with homemade straw ticks. The cooking was done over the far fireplace with bake ovens, frying pans, and iron kettles. There a few cups, saucers and plates, and the rest of the furnishings were bare necessities, yet the family was happy here where they lived for two years.
The year after they arrived, Father was sent by President Brigham Young to build saw mills in Cottonwood Ward. For a brief period, the Chase family enjoyed a measure of prosperity. In 1857, two years after moving to Cottonwood, she heard of the approach of Johnston's Army. Once more she realized her domestic security was threatened and once more she packed what prized possessions she could into wagons and moved them and her family, this time to Springville. This is where they made their home with her brother, Richard Thorn, Jr., and using wagon boxes as bedrooms until other accommodations were obtained.
In 1859, Father traded for a three-room adobe house and lot. It was inside the big fort wall and was situated on the corner of what is now 3rd North and 2nd West Streets. An orchard was planted from trees brought from Salt Lake City, and gardens of vegetables were raised. From 1865 to 1867, the Black Hawk Indian War broke out, and she was in constant fear, especially at night when Father had to take his turn standing watch.
The Chase home in Springville was a social center for both young and old, and my parents were never happier than when they were extending hospitality to neighbors and friends. There were books and music and it was here that many of the dignitaries of the Territory were entertained and the social functions of the city were held, but she met all the demands upon her hospitality with dignity and ease.
There was much work to do in my mother's home. She washed and carded wool and then spun it into yarn. She dyed the yarn with dyes made of weeds and minerals found in the canyons. Then it was woven into cloth to be made into blankets. Even my brothers' caps were made from jeans. I recall at one time my father had a pair of buckskin pants sewed with buckskin thread which my mother made. Hats were made from wheat straw which my brothers raked up and removed the heads. This straw was made into braids and fashioned into hats. The straw was bleached with sulfur brought from the mountains.
Many interesting things went on in our home. Soft soap was made; candles were molded; there was homemade sausage; milk was milked into a big brass bucket and strained and carried into the cellar; a great storeroom. Here the butter, wild currants and ground cherries preserved in molasses and many other things were kept.
My mother was a good cook and could make something savory even when raw material was scarce. I can remember those lovely pies made of wild currants and tasty vinegar pies made long before lemons were even seen in the valley. There were delicious bread puddings and custard pies, too. Then there was soup with farmer' rice for thickening and many other tempting dishes. These bits were often on the table as tokens of appreciation for her children's' labors.
After the arrival in Springville, times were much better. Only one year contained real hardships, meaning danger of starving. That was in 1855 when the grasshoppers destroyed everything in the territory. But Father and Mother, with their keen foresight had purchased a large supply of wheat. The whole community came to appreciate this large supply of wheat. My father weighted out just what flour they could get along with until harvest time. Then he gave the Bishop the surplus for the less fortunate ones.
My mother taught her daughters to card, spin, weave, knit, cook, and to do housework, and above all, she taught her children to be scrupulously honest and to love work. She realized that many things were lacking in their lives, and she did her best to supply the vacancy. Always a great reader, she urged her children to appreciate the things she did. Mail at that time was an infrequent thing at best, yet she subscribed for periodicals, Harper's Weekly, Home and Fireside, and The Deseret News. When these arrived, the whole family discussed the fate of the continued heroine. Lydia Ann was a remarkable mother. Her children's needs would be considered very modern today.
It was a keen disappointment to my mother that her children could not be educated as her family had been. But she sent the children to the best schools at hand where they learned declamation out of McGuffer's Reader, and spelling from the Blue Black Speller. Later, with the aid of a small income, they sent the younger girls to a private school taught by Mary Narley Hall.
My mother was very hospitable. The fall and spring caravans of people on their way to and from Conference in Salt Lake City were great events. Her house was always overflowing with beds and food supplies at these times. I can recall being wakened in the night and taken out of my bed, along with my sisters, and crowded into another bed already seemingly full, that our bed might be replenished with fresh linen and given to some late caller who had been delayed on the journey.
I recall also the long dining table in the kitchen at which we sat. It was here during the meal that we learned some of the most valuable lessons. I remember Uncle Jacob Bigler was one of the favorites she entertained. No traveler ever was denied welcome here. The many friends my father and mother had made in their new home, as well as their Eastern friends, seldom failed to seek them out and make the Chase home a place of rest, because the visiting in those days of slow travel was no simple luncheon or overnight affair.
In their younger days, my father and mother were among the first at the town dances. They were dressed in their best and were accompanied by the larger children. Dancing was not then a half-night entertainment, but people from far and near came early in the evening and stayed until the "wee, small" hours, and the family did not lie in bed the next morning either.
My mother's education and experience gave her a sense and appreciation of proper educational training, impressing her with the dual importance of individual responsibility in the duties of the home. Her activities in the home and the community evidenced leadership and executive ability. Public problems affecting the home had her interest and support. She did not crave public work. A sort of reticence of manner made her timid, but the people who worked with her knew her worth and her friends were many. She never felt so poor that she could not give a part of her small possessions to one in greater need. Giving was a joy and her only regret was that she did not have more to give.
When the Relief Society was organized in Springville, she became a teacher. Being a natural nurse, her services were often called for in case of illness. In homes where contagious diseases were and no quarantines, she did all she could, taking the simple precautions that she knew and returning to her family without fear. And in no case did we suffer because of the risks she encountered. It often became necessary for her to prepare the dead for burial and assist in making their clothes.
Impressions' concerning my mother was her implicit faith. This she imparted to us in many ways, but more often by example than by precept. Often when we were ill, she bent over us caring for our needs and her lips moved in silent prayer. With the soothing touch of her healing hands and faith in silent words we were soon made well. My mother had no fear in the presence of illness or accident. She had a steady nerve. In the crisis, she was calm and never failed us at any moment in our lives. We felt secure in her presence. Hers was a life replete with usefulness and good deeds. Her patience, forbearance, industry, and faith gave her an experience that proved strength to the end of her day.
One of the greatest trials of my mother's life came February 22, 1891 when her life-long companion, lover, and friend left her. They were blessed with nine children living and two waiting to receive them. Had father lived six weeks longer, it would have been fifty years since they began life's journey together.
On September 22, 1901 she died, content to go. She was then 78 years of age. Her nine children were present. Much that she had wanted in life had been denied her. In the face of privation, she had struggled to keep from compromise and to maintain her pride intact and bright. "You have the look and mannerisms of Grandmother Chase" is the highest compliment any of her girls can receive.
The final scene came at my home in Springville. After several months' illness, she passed on to join our father and her husband."
Richard Thorn (1786 - 1883)
Mary Anner Armstrong Thorn (1784 - 1856)
Solomon Drake Chase (1818 - 1891)*
Charles S Chase (1843 - 1903)*
Nancy Elizabeth Chase Miner (1845 - 1928)*
John Edwin Chase (1852 - 1921)*
Phillip T Chase (1854 - 1936)*
Mary Jane Chase Finley (1857 - 1949)*
Adelaide C. Chase Dalton (1860 - 1948)*
Asahel Thorn (1808 - 1897)*
Joseph Thorn (1811 - 1886)*
Mary Thorn Peck (1816 - 1908)*
Abigail Thorn Pond (1821 - 1901)*
Lydia A Chase (1823 - 1901)
Richard Thorn (1825 - 1907)*
Springville City Cemetery
Plot: Blk. 3 Lot 4 Pos. 3
Maintained by: H. Bundy
Originally Created by: Utah State Historical So...
Record added: Feb 02, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial# 84580
Headstone reads: Lydia A. Chase Born Aug. 11, 1823 Died Sept. 22, 1901|
Added: Dec. 4, 2008