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 Sarah <I>Parkinson</I> Stapley

Sarah Parkinson Stapley

Death 21 Aug 1908 (aged 77)
Washington County, Utah, USA
Burial Toquerville, Washington County, Utah, USA
Memorial ID 146004 · View Source
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Sarah Parkinson was born 24 May 1831 in Ramsey, Huntingdonshire, England, the oldest daughter of four children (two brothers older and a sister younger) to James Parkinson and Elizabeth Chattle.
It is assumed they lived on a tenant farm in England until 1848 to 1849 when news of the great life in Australia caused them to board the "St. Vincent" and go to Australia. Sarah was then 16 years old. The St. Vincent arrived in Sydney on 13 March 1849 after spending some three months at sea.
They settled in the area of Brookfield in the Hunter River district of New South, Wales. Her mother with her daughters Sara and Eliza, set about establishing a household. Perhaps, they also obtained other work according to their abilities. Soon the family was settled into the routine of their new life.
She met Edward Rodwell not long after her arrival. On 12 February 1850 she married him. Their marriage was solemnized at the parish church in Maitland and was witnessed by her sisters Eliza and her brother, Thomas.
On 18 November 1850, Sarah gave birth to her first child, John Edward after his father, a sister Sarah Anne, followed in April 1852.
We do not know whether Edward Rodwell died, leaving Sarah a very young widow. Perhaps the marriage simply did not work out, or perhaps he simply went to sea.
She was baptized a member of the Mormon Church on 22 February 1853. After Sarah's baptism, she became a devout member of the Church. It is reasonable to speculate that she left Australia harboring a desire to begin a new life with her children in a new land with a new set of standards and beliefs.
Under the charge of Elder William Hyde, Sarah Parkinson Rodwell, (with her two children John Edward and Sarah Anne ages two and four) and her brother, Thomas Parkinson were among the contingent that sailed on the "Julia Ann." They set sail for America on 22 March 1854. On Monday, the 12th of June 1854, they landed in San Pedro, California having been upwards of three months on the vessel and ninety days at sea.
It is speculated that a shipboard romance began between Sarah Parkinson and Charles Stapley Jr. even though they had known one another quite well in the William's River LDS Branch.
On 24 July 1854, some six weeks after arriving in California, she married Charles Stapley Jr. beginning a relationship that would see them participate in the colonization of two Mormon settlements, raise eleven children to maturity and complete their "mission" on the earth with the satisfaction of witnessing their own remarkable accomplishments. They settled in San Bernardino for about three years.
With the threat of Johnston's Army mustering troops against the "Mormon" people in 1857, there was considerable unrest in Utah. Brigham Young needed all of the Saints outside of Utah Territory to come to "Zion" to help resist this menace. Members of the family of Charles Stapley Sr. including Charles Stapley Jr. and his wife, Sarah began to make preparations to heed President Young's call.
The Stapley families joined the Starling Driggs ox team company which left San Bernardino on 03 December 1857. They arrived in Cedar City on 02 February 1858 having walked all the way from San Bernardino to Cedar City.
Six weeks later, on 26 March 1858, Sarah gave birth to Charles Henry. He was welcomed by sister, Harriet Elizabeth who was born in San Bernardino on 01 July 1855.
They stayed in Cedar until 13 November 1858 when word was received from the church authorities that they were to serve in the Dixie Mission. They were to settle Toquerville. As the Stapley party arrived at the top of Black Hill, which overlooks a vast valley of red sandstone stretching southward, Sarah Bryant Stapley (Charles Stapley's Mother) proclaimed, "Neither God nor the Devil will ever find us here."

The first home of the Charles Stapley Jr. Family was a large one-room house of lumber. Later, a room measuring 10 feet by 20 feet with a lean-to for a kitchen and pantry was added. Sometime later, Charles built a five-room house using the black rock which is prevalent in Toquerville.
One time Sarah took the wagon cover they used when coming from California, dye it and made dresses for her children. Sarah Parkinson spent the rest of her life keeping her large family (12 children) well supplied with food, clothing and affection. She was noted for her fine cooking, dexterity with a needle and a gentle listening ear.
Mary Janet Stapley Bringhurst, a daughter of Sarah and Charles Jr. has written: "Our first home Toquerville was made of logs with a dirt floor and roof. The first church was also a log building with a dirt floor and roof. My Father danced barefoot on it. My uncle, Tom Stapley was the fiddler. When my people first came here, they were very poor. They had to make the lines for their harnesses out of factory (muslin)."
"We use to raise beets and made beet molasses for a sweetner. Also, on special occasions, we had vinegar pies. We baked them with one crust and filling was made of vinegar, water, beet molasses and flour."
"In the early days you could live without cash. You raised things yourself or traded for things you needed. Many times you did without. Mother sold some butter to some soldiers who were passing through for seventy-five cents. That was all the cash we had for two and one-half years."
"In the old days we were always afraid of the Indians. Father was even-tempered and would always feed the Indians and they generally liked him well. Father used to stand guard at night when they were bad. When we first came here, we used to raise cotton. Father hired one Indian to work for him. He worked for us so much that he became known as ‘Charlie' in charge. He would scold us if we did not work fast enough. He could pick about three rows to my one."
"One old Indian named ‘One Eye' came to Mother one day when Father was down to LaVerkin Creek gathering wood. He had a pistol and threatened to kill all of Mother's babies. She was so frightened, that she grabbed the pistol and twisted it out of his hands. Where she got her strength, she never knew, but she always believed the Lord helped her. When she got the pistol, she told ‘One Eye' to go away because he wasn't a good Indian. Days after, he came back and wanted to be forgiven as he was afraid he would be punished. After that, whenever ‘One Eye' came to our home he always praised Mother for being so brave, as he said he would have killed them all if she had not been."
The Stapley home was quite large. After her children left home, Sarah took in borders to supplement the family income. As it became increasingly hard for her to keep up with the laundry and cooking, local girls would be hired for such tasks. She was proud of her home, a landmark in Toquerville, which bore a sign which hung from the porch, "Stapley House."
Shortly before Sarah died, a rarity occurred. An automobile arrived in Toquerville. Everyone in the community was anxious to see the new contraption, but Sarah wanted more than that—she wanted a ride. The driver cheerfully complied and Sarah had her ride.
Sarah died 21 August 1908 and was buried at Toquerville, Utah.




  • Maintained by: L Despain
  • Originally Created by: Utah State Historical Society
  • Added: 2 Feb 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 146004
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Sarah Parkinson Stapley (24 May 1831–21 Aug 1908), Find A Grave Memorial no. 146004, citing Toquerville Cemetery, Toquerville, Washington County, Utah, USA ; Maintained by L Despain (contributor 46999228) .