|Birth: ||Apr. 5, 1834|
|Death: ||Mar. 20, 1917|
Life story of Sarah Jane Huntsman Lewis
Sarah Jane Huntsman was born in Steuben County, Indiana, April 5, 1834. Her parents, James William Huntsman and Hannah Davis had two children when they joined the Church, Sarah Jane and Joseph. They moved to Nauvoo in 1840 when Sarah Jane was about six years old, and was in Nauvoo when the Prophet was killed and she remembered him quite well all her life.
She said one morning in early childhood while her father James was milking the cow at the first home she ever knew or remembered, somewhere in Missouri, a wicked cowardly, cruel mob came in their yard, knocked her father down and lashed him to a fence rail. After beating him nearly to death, turned him loose and gave him this choice; if he would betray his people and join the mob he could keep his home and property. If not, he could take the old blind mare, hitch her to an old cart he had abandoned to the dump, fix it up and he would be allowed to take from his home all he could pile on the cart, and leave within a short time. His home and all he had would be taken over by the mob. Sarah Jane saw her father staggering to the house, and while her mother dressed his wounds he told her of the threat made by the mob. There was nothing for them to do but get out. So they laid their plans. While her father repaired the old cart, her mother packed up what she needed the most and the cart was overloaded. They said goodbye to their good home they had worked so hard for and were on their way to they didn't know where. Father leading the old blind mare, and Mother walking behind leading the children - a very sad family. Where would they go? All they knew for sure was that the Gospel was true and they wouldn't deny it for all the world. This is an example of what all the Saints went through for the Gospel's sake and it was the plan the Lord had in teaching his faithful followers the way of sacrifices they must make in order to gain the testimonies they must obtain to qualify them to be staunch members of His Church here on earth. This was only the beginning of their persecution.
It is said that Sarah Jane Huntsmen worked in a Post Office and a store on the banks of the river just out of the town on the river front. She couldn't have been more than thirteen years old; but Grandma was doing a woman's work at home then, so she could have managed a job like that I am sure. She was smart and quick at figures so this may be true, but we have no proof.
After leaving Council Bluffs in 1851, Sarah Jane crossed the plains to Great Salt Lake with her father and oldest brother, walking most of the way. She worked for other families a lot. She lived with Hyrum Kimball's family while in Nauvoo to help out. After coming to Salt Lake, she moved south as far as Parowan and worked for Tarlton Lewis. Later she married his son Samuel Lewis. They had four children while there, Samuel Edward, Orson James, Hannah Keturah, and Mary Ellen. Then they moved to Minersville, where six children were born; Oliver, Adelbert, Laura, Malinda, Joseph Tarlton, and Sarah Lavira. Then they moved to Panguitch where two more children were born, Lula Jane and Bertha Maria, making twelve children in all.
From one of their son Oliver's letters to his sister Laura, we learn a little about the happy home Sarah Jane and Samuel had in Panguitch, Utah:
"I am dreaming tonight of our dear old pioneer home in Panguitch, and the snow is on the ground, the storm is raging wild outside, and big snowflakes are falling down. Mother is singing her sweetest lullabies to her babe on her knee. Father is reading the old reliable L.D.S. News, just as happy as a father can be. They have eleven children [Orson James had passed away at five years old] all at home, all happy, healthy and bright with a pitch pine log for a candle. We have all our lessons to get tonight and all huddled around the fire with our hearts plumb full of glee. We are back to the winter of 1876. The old home is warm with plenty of room with a big pile of wood outside. We have plenty of milk cows out under the shed and plenty of horses to ride, a herd of cattle on the range, and a big fat hog to kill any time we choose with plenty of beefsteak on hand and a dandy farm to boot. The best of neighbors by the score and a whole town full of friends. Both school and playmates all around, surely such pleasures will have no end. The peoples most valuable possessions were their community and their health, their hearts were full of mirth, trying to do all the good they could, their hearts were bound together with friendship and love. They never rode a bicycle or the kids a tricycle. They always rode a horse, or in a wagon when they went on a hike. Never saw an automobile, never rode a train. They were harmless as a kitten, but as rugged as a bear. They never used bad language, if you were looking for neighbors, you could always find them there."
In 1881 the family moved to the Gila Valley, settling in Pima, Arizona. They later moved to Thatcher where Sarah Jane lived the rest of her life. Sarah Jane was a Relief Society teacher, but she was so heavy she couldn't walk much so she contented herself by reading. She had good eyesight so she read night and day. She was familiar with many prominent writers of her day and became well versed in the scriptures and in the Gospel.
She was standing with her back to the fireplace one morning. The coals must have rolled down close to her skirts and before she knew it, a blaze ran up her back. She was old and inactive, and was very heavy. She must have weighed close to 250 pounds and was almost helpless. Her screams attracted Uncle Winfred Moody, who lived just down the lot. He ran, but was too late to save her. She was burned so badly that she died within a half hour afterwards. She and her daughter Keturah lived there together, but Keturah was away at the time. It was a terrible experience and it was a blessing she could go so soon. Funeral services were held in the Thatcher Chapel, March 20, 1917 with Bishop Franklin in charge. Appropriate selections were rendered by the choir and President and Sister Payne sang a song. The opening prayer was given by John Morris. The speakers were Selena Phillips, John Nash, Thomas Kimball and President Andrew Kimball. Each spoke of the noble character of Sarah Jane. The closing prayer was given by James H. Moody. Interment was in the Thatcher Cemetery.
Photos to the right are her parents and identified under their pictures.
James William Huntsman (1806 - 1867)
Hannah Davis Huntsman (1816 - 1902)
Samuel Lewis (1829 - 1911)
Orson James Lewis (1855 - 1861)*
Keturah Hannah Baker (1857 - 1939)*
Created by: Janet Larson Dansie
Record added: Oct 03, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 59569012