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 Franceanya <I>Rogers</I> Miller

Franceanya Rogers Miller

New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Death 21 Apr 1923 (aged 82)
Springville, Utah County, Utah, USA
Burial Springville, Utah County, Utah, USA
Plot Sec. A Lot 124 Pos. 8
Memorial ID 134581 · View Source
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Franceanya Rogers Miller
(1840 to 1922)
Written by herself in 1921 at age 81

I am the daughter of Isaac and Mary Miranda White Rogers, born in New York City, July 29, 1840. My parents had joined the Latter Day Saints Church some time before. I was five years old when my parents started for Utah. I often heard my mother say that the Mormons expected to settle in California, but our leaders thought it better not to go there, but to settle at Salt Lake City and build the city. I have watched the city grow since childhood. It has become a beautiful city; a big contrast to what it was when I first set eyes on the valley, which looked dreary at the time.
I will go back in my mind and describe my travels as I remember them. I often wonder how it is I can remember so vividly so many things, but I see them in my mind whenever I look back.

I will start with my first recollection of how I cried when Mother sold my high chair, and a little broom. I thought so much of them. My elder brother bought a big paper sack of candy to pacify me.

The next I remember was going to bid good-bye to Mother's people who lived in Key-Port, New Jersey (Mother's birth place). Mother felt very bad about going so far away from her mother and father and sisters, not knowing if they would ever see each other again, (which they never did), but they felt they were doing right. I will never forget going over the Allegheny Mountains in the stage coach. Mother had a baby boy six weeks old, my brother Isaac, who was born on the farm in Key-Port. Father had bought the farm so they could go there in the summer. His business as a druggist and chemist was in New York City. When the baby cried, Father would light some little candles like the ones we put on Christmas trees. I would want Father to keep them burning, the stage was so dark. We crossed in the night, and the road was very dangerous. I will never forget hearing the driver say, "Whoa, whoa, steady there." When we got to the bottom of the mountain, we took a sleigh. There was snow all over the ground, so they had buffalo robes in the sleigh to keep us warm. Mother fixed a warm place under the seat with some of the robes. I was so frightened of them that I screamed and would not touch them, so Father held me in his arms wrapped in shawls. It is strange how I remember so well.

The next I remember was riding on a big steam boat on some river. I think it was the Ohio. I remember hearing Mother say that the river was frozen over. When we got to Pittsburgh, we stopped there three weeks until we could go on. A Mr. Willey opened his house to the saints, all that he could accommodate, which was very kind of him, my parent being among them. I think his family came on later to Utah. Afterwards, we came to Nauvoo. We stayed at Parley Pratt's house. It was near Christmas time. We children had a bed on the parlor floor. In the morning there were candy and nuts all over the bed. We children went for the in a hurry.

One day my parents were invited to go and visit the temple. I was with them. I remember I hid in the font, which was on the backs of twelve white oxen made of stone. Mother looked all over but couldn't find me then I said, "Here I am!" I remember we went to the top of the temple, on the roof. Looking down, the houses looked very small to me up there.

The next I remember was when the whole camp stopped at a place called Mt. Pisgah. I know there was snow of six or seven inches during the night. I wandered away from our wagon and got lost in the camp. I remember crying, for I thought I was lost for good. Someone took me to our wagon, and my father told me that if I ever left the wagon again, he would give me a whipping, and you may be sure I never did stray again. Next we came to Winter Quarters, now called Florence. I will never forget the place, while I can remember anything. Just think of a large camp setting along the Missouri River, a narrow strip of land in the bottom, with high bluffs on each side. The saints built log huts and dugouts. Orson Whitney says in his writing that there were 700 cabins and 150 dugouts which became the homes of the wanderers. There was a flour mill, a school house built about a mile up the river at a spring, and a saw mill. A lady by the name of Everett taught the school. I can remember I went to that school with other children.

About 25 years ago I went to look at the place. It is north of Omaha. The place looked the same. I went straight to the old graveyard. There were many of that camp who left their bones there. I nearly lost my parents there. The scurvy broke out among the people. It was for the want of vegetables. There was someone buried nearly every day. I can see them in my mind, climbing the hill to the graveyard. My parents sent a nice feather bed to someone down the river. I don't remember the name. The person brought back a little three-year-old heifer and half a bushel of potatoes, which saved my mother's life. I can remember seeing my parents roast one or two of them in the ashes and eating them. The heifer helped to save our lives about a year after, which I will relate further on. The people had to stop in that place to get bread and things to come to the valley. We stayed there one year.

In the spring of 1847 the first band of Pioneers started for the valley of Utah. Brigham Young was at the head of the company with 143 men and three women and two children. Soon after, there was a large company formed with about 500 wagons in the train. We traveled side by side, about half a mile apart. We would all camp together at night. Our family was in that camp. I can never forget the Platte River which we crossed many times. We got among the buffalos; there were thousands of them. The men killed what we needed for food. They were big fellows, and they were dangerous when they started to run. When they headed towards our wagons and teams, the men would get out and drive them back as best they could. If they had not, our wagons would have been upset, and our cattle killed; for when a herd of them started, there was no stopping them. The meat of the buffalo is very good. I can almost taste it now. At the Black Hills in Wyoming, I took sick with Typhoid fever. Mother came near to leaving me on the trail, but by faith and prayer, I know I was saved. Mother said she would not leave me out there; my work was not done. When I got so I could eat, the buffalo meat was what I craved; it was so good. I think it helped to save my life. What meat the company could not eat was saved by what was called jerking. The meat was cut in long strips, then dipped in strong salt brine and hung on long poles. It was then placed along the side of the wagon to dry while we traveled. It soon dried.

Well, we came to Emigration Canyon. I have never forgotten that big mountain. It was so steep that all the wheels had to be rough locked. The men had to hold the cattle back by their horns, and then it looked like the wagon would turn over on them.

None of the women or children rode down that trail. I was so weak from my sickness that I came near falling and rolling down to the bottom. Mother had my little brother Isaac in her arms and me by the hand. I will never forget. I do not remember the rest of the canyon, but I do remember when we got out of the mountains and I looked at the valley. It looked good to all; we were so glad to know that our journey was at an end.

The Great Salt Lake of water was the first that took my attention. It looked beautiful to us who had been on our journey so long. There was good feed for the cattle, so they soon picked up. There were no houses to live in, so we camped in our wagons and tents until our fathers could go into the mountains and get logs to build houses. They built against one another so the houses formed a fort. There was snow on the ground before the people could get into the houses; dirt roofs, and no floors except the ground.

A man by the name of Jim Bridger said there would never be any rain, the country was so dry, but he was mistaken for in the spring of 1848 it commenced to rain. I do not know how many days, but I do know that it was so hard that the water was about two or three inches deep on the floor. Mother got all the boxes and anything that would turn water and fixed a bed under the bedstead that father had made, so we children--my brother Isaac and myself--could sleep. Mother sat up all night by the fire with an umbrella overhead, and then she could not keep dry. We had to wade in water to the fire. When I hear people growl about their homes, I look back in my mind and wonder what they would say if they had to live like the saints did.

There were a great number of Indians, so we had to protect ourselves. We did not know what they would do to us. There were no trees or shade of any kind. Just imagine a small fort set down in the wilderness. I did not remember of any more rain that summer. After it cleared up, the sun beat down so hot all day. In the summer of 1848 the people built a bowery in the middle of the fort so we children had a place to stay. The people held their meetings there. The men put up a liberty pole close by so they could fly the stars and stripes. The people put in gardens, so we had plenty of vegetables, but some of the people were hard-up for want of bread and milk. This is where the little heifer comes in. Mother called her Pickeune, she was so small. Mother turned her out with the rest of the stock as people did not have a chance to put up hay, it was so late in the fall (1847). In the spring, Mother could not find her cow. She had men hunt for her all over the valley. She thought she was lost for good, or killed. Our family was getting out of bread stuff and things looked dark to us. One morning when Mother opened the door, there stood her cow with a young calf at her side. Mother said the hand of the Lord was in it. I do not know what we would have done without her. That was before the harvest. There was no one in the fort that was sure of a harvest, for the crickets came down from the mountains in swarms. They would have devoured everything green. Every child and woman that could had to go out with sticks and clubs to help kill them, but it seemed there was no end to them. It looked pretty bad for the people. Then the seagulls came in big flocks. They would eat all they could and then disgorge them and then eat again. I watched them--they were tame and did not seem afraid of us. Our heavenly father did not want his people to die, so I am sure he sent them. They have always been our friends and I love them.

In the year 1849 the emigrants came through on their way to California to the gold mines. Our people would exchange their produce for groceries and whatever they had to spare which helped us out. They had some dried fruit which was a great treat to us, although it was wormy, some of it. But it tasted good at 40 cents a pound. Some of the pioneers brought what they call a pit saw. It was a cross cut saw. They would dig a long trench and make some kind of carriage to lay the logs on, then one man would get down in the pit, get hold of the saw, and the other man would be on top of the carriage. Then they would draw up and down, up and down. That is how people got their lumber for floors and doors or any kind of furniture they could make. I have a part of one of the first chairs that was made in Utah. Mother bought two rocking chairs, a small one for me, and one for herself. But wasn't I proud of my little chair? I used to rock my little sister by the hour in it. She had the whooping cough very bad. The Indians brought it to us--I do not know how else we got it.

I remember the flour mill that was built by Brigham Young. It is in Liberty Park, what is left of it. I remember when the park was all meadow. People used to cut their hay there. I often rode on the loads of hay. How time and things do change! Now it is a beautiful park with trees and animals, beautiful flowers and fine walks.

I will go back and tell how we got along in 1848 and 1849. In the spring of 1848 my father went to California to get some household goods that he had around by water from New York. Gold had been discovered in California at that time and my father started digging for gold. Shortly after, he took sick and died at Sutter's fort, near Sacramento. This left Mother with three small children to care for.

In the fall of 1848, Mother's cousin, John S. White, one of the Mormon Battalion boys, came to Utah and stopped at Mother's home. He helped her take care of the family. He was like a father to us. He bought a lot in the 8th ward and in the spring of 1849, he moved Mother's log house onto his lot. In time, Mother married again to a man named Thomas Rhoads. He was rich. He brought his gold from California to Salt Lake City and gave a lot of money to the church.

In July, 1851, Mother gave birth to triplets (the first set of triplets born in Utah), two girls and a boy. The first little girl was born on the 24th. Her name was Adaline. The boy was born on the 25th. We called him Benjamin. The other little girl was born on the 26th. Her name was Adelaide. All had separate birthdays. They were all fine babies. The two girls weighed six pounds each and the boy weighed seven pounds.

It was something unusual for a woman to have triplets. The people came from all around to see the babies. They lived until they were two and a half years, then the boy died in January with whooping cough. Mother died the following month: 11 February, 1854. When Mother died, that broke up our happy family, for

What is home without a mother,
Where are all the joys we meet?
When her gentle care no longer
Guides the coming of our feet,

The days seem long, the nights are dreary
And time rolls slowly on.
And, Oh! How dark is life around us
When her gentle care is gone.
Never was a truer poem written. We all found it so.
The two little girls lived until they were five years, then one of them died. The other lived to womanhood, got married and died with her third child.

After Mother's death, my stepfather was none too good to us children. We all three left him and went to live with Mother's cousin John White. It was while living there that I met John Andrew Miller. In time I was married to him on March 15, 1856. John White bought a farm in Davis County and moved Mother's house onto it. Mother had given it to him. I was married in that house, as was also mother at her second marriage. It was the same old log house that Father built in the old fort in 1848.

More From Clara

(This sketch seemed incomplete, so I have add a few things that happened later. /s/ Clara Esther Miller Clark).
My mother was a woman of very forceful character and clear vision. She always seemed able to look ahead and see where she could do best. She came to Springville at the time of the move and lived at the home of Davis Clark for one year. Soon after that she received $2,000.00 from her parent's estates in Salt Lake City. With this money they bought 5 acres of land and Father built the home on it. Mother did all kinds of work to earn an honest dollar. She took up spinning and weaving. At one time she took 400 pounds of wool right from the sheep, washed it, carded it, spun it into yarn and then wove it into cloth. Some of the cloth she sold to get a little money and the rest she made into clothing for the family. She also took in sewing and went out nursing, often forgetting and neglecting herself in her desire to help others.

Mother did beautiful needle work. I have a baby dress and petticoat that she made which are about 75 years old. She was very fond of music. At an early date she played an accordion and melodeon. Later she bought an organ which I still have. It was one of the first in Springville.

For years Mother sang in the choir when Fredrick Weight was the organist. All meetings were held in the old white meeting house. She helped with all church and civic work. She worked both in the Relief Society and MIA and she was an honorary member of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers.

She had an attack of the flu in 1921 and she never fully recovered, complications of it finally caused her death April 20, 1922. A more devoted and loving mother never lived.

Even More From Aunt Kate

Franceanya Miller wrote a fine article about her early life and of her crossing the plains and of her parents up to the time of their deaths and her own marriage. However she leaves out some thing about herself and her work that her children desire to have recorded and so her daughter Kate, now Mrs. Ambrose Thompson of Hollywood, California gives the following:
My mother wrote her article about her life when she was 81 years old, while suffering from an illness of bronchitis aggravated by an accident of a broken leg. She wrote this sketch while in bed and would have written further but became tired and being feeble, did not take it up again. This was her last sickness.

My mother was a woman of very forceful character and clear vision. She had very little schooling but was wide awake and active and eagerly grasped every opportunity that came her way.

When I was a little girl she went for a while to Chas. D. Evans, one of the early good teachers in Springville. She was passionately fond of music and learned to play a melodeon and an accordion and gave lessons. Later she bought an organ. While her first children were little she gave a night school to the poor neighbor children who could not afford to pay for their school.

She sang in the Springville choir for years and took part in the entertainments that were given in the town. When her children were little she taught them to sing and play some instrument. My mother could draw a very fair plain picture of any plan she had in her mind for building, making or improving anything. She was very hospitable and generous forgetting herself in her desire to do for others. A more devoted and loving mother never lived.

My father was in poor health for 20 years and my mother was a tender nurse to him. We have spoken elsewhere of her beautiful work as a needlewoman.

In the fall of 1891, my mother's half-brother, Lester Tinker Rogers, came to visit us. He was my grandfather's son by a former wife who was dead. He remained back there and had never come out West until then. My mother had lost track of him but had written trying to find him, and he had written trying to find her. Finally they had located each other. They corresponded for awhile and then he came out and brought his wife with him. That was certainly a joyous meeting. She had never seen him since she was seven years old. He and his wife belong to the Seventh-Day Baptist Church. His home at that time was Milton Junction, Wisconsin, where he held many offices then and before, both by election and by appointment. He was a very religious man. Besides being an active live citizen in his town, he was devoting much time and means to gathering the genealogy of the Rogers family. He collected a lot more information for his book while here and the family paid $5.00 each for a book and the books were sent later. My mother's own brother Isaac lived in Provo and they each received books. Isaac's family are: Mrs. William Phelps (Lester Rogers), Mrs. Thomas Taylor (Maud Rogers), Mrs. Fred Fechser (Florence Rogers), Mrs. Percy Greenwood (Ethel Rogers), Mrs Edgar Reeves (Nellie Rogers), and a son that died.

These members of the Rogers family were all enthusiastic over the record as they were Latter-day Saints and wanted to have their dead relatives baptized in the temple. The record shows that there is mighty good in the Rogers family. My uncle went back home and my mother went and visited him in the summer of 1897.

His wife died three years after he was here. He visited us again in 1900. He was born in 1821 and my mother in 1840, so he was 19 years older than she. His grandparents Tinker had partly raised him.

Here is a link to the Company Roster showing her name on list of people that crossed the plains together to arrive in Utah in 1847:

Family Members

Gravesite Details Cause of Death: Old Age. Parents: Isaac Rogers & Mary Miranda White Rhoades




  • Maintained by: Mark Morgan
  • Originally Created by: Utah State Historical Society
  • Added: 2 Feb 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 134581
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Franceanya Rogers Miller (29 Jul 1840–21 Apr 1923), Find A Grave Memorial no. 134581, citing Evergreen Cemetery, Springville, Utah County, Utah, USA ; Maintained by Mark Morgan (contributor 47299783) .