Sophia Minerva <I>Foster</I> Burgess

Sophia Minerva Foster Burgess

New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut, USA
Death 1 Sep 1898 (aged 88)
Woodruff, Rich County, Utah, USA
Burial Woodruff, Rich County, Utah, USA
Memorial ID 146415 · View Source
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Sophia Minerva Foster was the 6lh child of Orrin and Rachel Crampton Foster's twelve children. Their home was in Madison, (East Guilford), New Haven, Connecticut. When the
Mormon missionaries came to Madison in 1832, most of the Foster family accepted the Gospel and joined the Church. Sophia related in her Testimony written in 1884:
I joined the Church late in the fall of 1831. I was then in Vermont visiting some sisters and other relatives who lived there. Myself and sisters and their husbands joined the Church,and the next season we went home to Connecticut, New Haven County, taking along with us Elders Orson Pratt and Lyman E. Johnson. They preached the fullness of the Gospel there and baptized nearly all of my father's family... I have never doubted the truth of this work for a moment, my experience in this cause having fumished me with many living testimonies to the truth.
I went to Kirtland, Ohio in the summer of '34 was there when the Temple was finished and dedicated, and became intimately acquainted with all the Smith family who were all very kind to me. I am quite sure a better family never lived on earth. I know that Joseph Smith was an inspired Prophet of God as I was personally acquainted with him and often listened to his
divine teachings.
In the summer of '35 (1 July 1835) I was married to Harrison Burgess with whom I lived 48 years... Harrison heard the fullness of the Gospel proclaimed by Elder Simeon Carter
and was convinced that the scriptures were tme and that the Book of Mormon was a divine revelation from heaven. He, his father and brother Horace were baptized in 1832, and others of his family were converted. He filled several missions, and went to Missouri with Zion's Camp in 1834.
In 1837 apostasy, persecution, and mobs engulfed the Saints in Kirtland. Harrison and Sophia left and arrived at Far West, Missouri in May, then moved on to Daviess County. In a
short time Sophia was taken sick with the chills and fever, nigh unto death with cholera. She continued very sick, and nearly helpless for about six months, during which the well-known tragedies of persecution were enacted in Missouri. His brother-in-law Daniel Carter and some of
his family were sick also, and Harrison cared and provided for them. Thus surrounded by affliction he was compelled to remove his sick family to Caldwell County. They tarried there until March 1838, and were then obliged to leave the state.
They moved to Nauvoo in April 1840. In the fall he and Daniel Carter took a mission to the East and took their families along. By request of Hymm Smith, moved into his large and commodious house with beautiful orchard in Kirtland. They proceeded east on their mission visiting the branches of the church, and gathering up means for the Nauvoo Temple. They were gone about two years, and returned to Nauvoo.
The storm of persecution arose in 1844 which terminated in the martyrdom of Joseph and Hymm Smith.
On Dec. 15, 1845 he and Sophia were notified to appear at the Temple at 8 o'clock to receive their endowments. On the 25th they both were called to assist in Endowment work. On
Jan. 25, Harrison and Sophia received the ordinance of Sealing by Pres. Brigham Young.

"My husband took a second wife in 1846 by whom he had 11 children, all living but
three, and all have families. We lived in friendship and love, each one striving to fulfill the
sacred obligations we were under to each other in the new and everlasting covenant.

They made preparations for the wilderness journey, crossed the Mississippi River the last day in May, then journeyed on to Council Bluffs. After crossing the Missouri River in July, the family prepared for winter quarters. Sophia was sick most of the winter with scurvy, but "through the mercy of God her life was spared, quite a number died with it." They were not able to obtain the necessary outfit to go west, and spent the spring putting in a crop. In July Sophia, Harrison and his father went to Missouri and labored making shingles to obtain an outfit to cross the mountains.
Harrison was called to take a mission to England and
hesitated to respond, but his family chose to have him go. He prepared everything to be as comfortable and convenient for his family's expedition, and resolved to see them across the Elkhom River. He had a good strong wagon, two yoke of oxen and a yoke of cows, and got a boy to drive the team.
Before leaving Brother Kimball gave him a blessing that he should perform a good mission and retum with much honor to Zion. He blessed his wives and said they "should both be blessed and prospered in my absence and that we should all live to meet again. This was all fulfilled." They parted at
the Elkhom River Jun 3, 1848. Sophia wrote a poem for him at their parting at the Elkhorn River.
He served a very successful mission and was released to come home in January 1850.
After an absence of nearly three years, it was a happy
reunion when he arrived in the valley in safety and found his family well, and met his little daughter Mary Almeda for the first time.
Another wonderful happening for Sophia was being reunited in 1855 with her mother, Rachel Crampton Foster, when she arrived in Salt Lake City after crossing the plains. Rachel's husband, Orrin had died 13 May 1852 in Connecticut, leaving Rachel a widow at age 75. She must have had a very strong testimony of the truth of the Gospel to make the long journey to Utah with her son Daniel and his family. Several of her daughters and their families had come earlier. Rachel
made her home with Alpha and her husband, Harlow Redfield, until she died January 24, 1865. She lived and died a Saint of the most high."
In the spring of 1861 Harrison, Sophia and Amanda and family left Salt Lake City and went to Park City, Summit County to keep a dairy and build a sawmill.
Two years later they were appointed to go to southern Utah or Dixie to build up St. George and surrounding settlements. They lived in Pine Valley over 20 years and were blessed and
prospered. Sophia continued her writings:
As our family increased it was always my pleasure to receive each one as they came into our family circle, and to do all in my power for their comfort."
Sophia and Amanda lived in homes next to each other in Pine Valley, and Sophia helped Amanda care for her 11 children. She especially helped rear Harrison Joseph or Jode, one of the twins. He received a good education, served a mission in New Zealand, and became a successful businessman.
Sophia also helped raise her younger sister, Clarissa's two daughters, Harriet Amelia and Ruth Clarissa. Clarissa had died in Illinois 12 Feb. 1840, age 26, leaving her husband, Daniel Carter, the two daughters, and two little sons Orin and Jabez, who died later.
When Relief Society was organized 10 Oct. 1869 in Pine Valley, with Jane Snow as President, Sophia was first Counselor, and Mrs. L. Sargent, second Counselor. Quilts, rag carpets, stockings, etc., were made, the sick were cared for, visited and comforted. The dead were prepared and clothed for burial.
Sophia became the first President of the Primary when it
was first organized in Pine Valley Dec. 4, 1880. Ellen M. Jones and Julia M. Cox were her Counselors. Sophia was also a school teacher. She performed much Temple work for her
deceased family members in the St. George Temple.
After the death of Amanda in 1882 and Harrison in 1883, Sophia moved to Woodruff,
Utah where she lived with her nieces Ruth Carter Comia, and Harriet Carter Lee, until she died
September 1st, 1889 at the home of Bishop William H. Lee.

Sources: Life Sketch of Harrison Burgess;
DUP. History of Rachel Crampton Foster by Delia Putnam Montgomery, 1971

Gravesite Details autobiography of Sophia Minerva Foster Burgess,


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  • Maintained by: Renae Burgess Linn
  • Originally Created by: Utah State Historical Society
  • Added: 1 Feb 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 146415
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Sophia Minerva Foster Burgess (12 Apr 1810–1 Sep 1898), Find a Grave Memorial no. 146415, citing Woodruff Cemetery, Woodruff, Rich County, Utah, USA ; Maintained by Renae Burgess Linn (contributor 47012298) .