IISARAH ELLEN DIXON BROWN 1861-1924
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Orson Pratt Brown's Half-brother's Wife
Sarah Ellen Dixon Brown
I do not know much of my ancestors. My father, William W. Dixon, was born in England in 1818 of Scotch descent. He was an only child and was raised by his father of whom William spoke of in the highest terms. He emigrated to America in 1837 and joined the Latter-day Saints in 1846. I do not know what his religion was before. In politics he was always Democrat. He was one of the first settlers in the little village of Harrisville, Weber County, Utah. Taking up his home there in 1850. He resided in Harrisville and followed the occupation of farmer until his death which occurred in 1891. He was councilor to the first president of the Harrisville branch before it was organized into a Bishop ward. He was also a faithful member of the Thirty-eighth Quorum of Seventies and just prior to his death he was ordained a High Priest, the highest compliment I can give my dear father is that he was a consistant Latter-day Saint, an honest man, the noblest work of God. Our Heavenly Father was very good to him, having given him a testimony of the truth before he was baptized. He often told of the first prophecy that he heard uttered in this dispensation, it was uttered by President John Taylor. He said Governor Ford would die a pauper and would be buried at the public expense. He lived to see it literally fulfilled. My father was of a cheerful , happy disposition and indeed he believed in scattering sunshine where ever he went.
My mother, Sabra Lake Dixon, was born in Earnest town, upper Canada in the year 1824, of honest , sturdy people of the Reformed Methodist Church. I have often heard mother say when she first heard the Elders of the Church among whom was President Brigham Young. She said the sound of the Gospel filled her soul with joy unspeakable although she was only a child. She was converted at once. My dear mother was a big, free-hearted saint. She fed the hungry, clothed the poor, and blessed every one that came to her door. She took active part in Relief Society work, being a Visiting Teacher for a number of years. Her parents joined the Church after she was a small child. She was married to my father in 1842 in Illinois. They emigrated to Utah in 1850 and settled immediately in what is now called Harrisville. My mother did not have the advantage of much schooling but she learned from the great book of experience. She was a loyal helpmate to a pioneer and mother of 15 children.
I first made my appearance on the first day of October 1861. The house in which I was born was logs, contained 3 rooms with dirt roof and dirt floors but it was as good and better than the average house at the time. I grew up surrounded with loving brothers and sisters and protected by kind and affectionate parents. I never knew what luxury was but on the other hand I never wanted for food or comfortable clothing.
I attended school in Harrisville from the age of six years until I was 14, during my fourteenth and fifteenth years I attended Prof. Louis F. Moench's school in Ogden. During this interval I made servral visits to Idaho to visit my older brothers who had married and moved there.
During the age of 12 to 14 I was secretary for the Retrenchment Society Association , also teacher in Sunday School and continued in Sunday School until I was nearing my 18th year when I was married to Charles David Brown, son of the late , the founder of Ogden, and his eighth wife, Cecelia Henrietta Cornu Robellez Brown.
For five years we lived in Ogden and had a little home on Washington Avenue, then on Main Street, during this time two baby girls were born to us. Some time before our marriage my husband was called on a settling mission to Arizona. He made several trips there but did not decide to make a home there until the year 1884. We sold our home and all that we had and left for Arizona. We first settled in Cochise County, Arizona. We lived there but one year during which time our third daughter was born. The Apache Indians were so troublesome that most of the settlers moved out. We then took our home at Thatcher, Graham County, Arizona where we lived for four years while at this place our fourth child was born (one boy). [Here we lived close to William and Phoebe Fife, and an assortment of half-brothers and cousins]
In order to better our condition we moved to San Pedro County, AZ. We resided there but one year and then returned to Utah. While in Arizona we endured the pleasures and hardships incident to pioneer life. We should have probably remained in Arizona had it not been for the fact that we suffered from chills and fever almost the entire time. On returning to Utah we made our home in Harrisville where we lived for eleven years and then moved to Ogden.
My family and home have most influenced my life. I have been no hand to take part in public, although my children have alwalys been active in the organizations of the Church. My three daughters have all married in the Temple and have fine families of their own. I now have eight grandchildren. My son was graduated last June 1913 from the College of Medicine of the University of Illinois with the degree of Doctor of Medicine. He took nearly a year of intern work at the hospital of the City of Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee. He is practicing in this town at present. He expects to be married in the Temple at Salt Lake City the 24th of this month, March 1915 to Miss Thora Williams.
My family has been wonderfully blessed with health and we always had plenty to live on although we were never what might be called well-to-do. We have been able to raise our children to maturity without losing one and seldom had serious sickness.
As stated above I was never engaged in public work very much and when I was asked to labor on the Relief Society Stake Board of the Ogden Stake of Zion and I accepted. It was one of the greatest trials of my life. I felt that I was totally unfit for the work. I do not know how my labor has been viewed by my superiors but I do know that I have tried to do my duty and I have benefited myself if no one else. I do think that the Relief Society has done more for bringing me out of my shell and giving me an appreciation fo the great work in which we are engaged
March 19, 1915.....signed...Sarah Ellen Dixon Brown
Charles David Brown and Sarah Ellen Dixon Family (11A)
Of Sarah Ellen Dixon Brown and Charles David Brown
Life Sketch of Sarah Ellen Dixon Brown
Sarah Ellen Dixon was born at Harrisville, Utah on October 1, 1861. He father was William Wilkinson Dixon and her mother was Sabra Lake.
Sarah Ellen, the 12th child of this family was a restles energetic girl. She could ride horses, swim, dance, skate, coast, and play ball as well as her brothers. She appeared to be her father's pet or favorite, if he had any. She was exceptionally brilliant and learned her lessons quickly. Her father taught her to sew, and she made her clothes beautifully. He was kind and patient with her and she loved him dearly.
When she was fifteen, she became a favorite with the young men of the neighborhood, but she was especially a favorite with the married men. These were the days of polygamy, but she disliked the practice very much. They followed her and worried her a great deal, but she would have nothing to do with them. She wanted to be free or have a husbnd of her own, so when a well-dressed young man from the city came to the country dances, she was thrilled. Her parents disapproved of his attentions to their daughter. She met him secretly for a couple of years and then eloped with him. On June 26, 1879 she married Charles David Brown in the Endowmwnt House at Salt Lake City. Her parents would not speak to her for weeks, not even when she came back home for her personal belongings. This was very hard for the seventeen-year-old girl. She went to live in a part of the old Brown home on Washington Avenue, Ogden, Utah. On May 2, 1880 her first child was born. This was another trial for her. She did not want to be tied down to the care of a baby. She wanted to be free, to come and go and dance as she pleased. Girls of her age should have a good time. In 1882 another girl was born. She was older now and settled down to be a wonderful mother. She disliked moving and traveling and was always unhappy in doing either. In 1884 her husband was called by the LDS Church to go to Arizona on a settling mission. This was another trial, to sell her beautiful new home and go to the wilds of the Indian Country. She took her two babies on the train by way of California to Tucson, Arizona. She was over a week on the slow dusty train. She was very tired and did not enjoy the trip at all. She was not a pioneer woman, and sand, dust, mesquite brush, and the never-ending cactus desert were always distasteful to her. She expected at every stop to see the terrible Indians fire in and perhaps take her babies.
To make matters worse, her husband took her to an adobe fort at Sulphur Springs, Arizona, where the adobe house was surrounded by a high, 3-foot thick adobe wall with small port holes near the top for shooting at the Indians should they come too close. This place terrified her; and from her sheltered farm home with her father and the new home in the center of Ogden, this was quire a contrast. Every week or so the neighbors for miles around would come quickly to this fort. They had heard of some new Indian outbreaks. After a couple of months of this exciting life, on January 25, 1885, another baby girl was born. This was a ray of sunshine, for she was a bright, beautiful baby.
Along in the spring, things quieted down and the family moved into a little frame cottage just outside the fort. The father planted a crop on a rented farm nearby.
One May afternoon Mother was sitting hold her baby. The little girls were playing by her side, the kitchen door was locked, and they were quite contended when suddenly without a sound, a big Indian face was pushed against the mesquito bar covering the open window and grunted, "Biscuit i uk, biscuit i uk." Mother was badly frightened, and the little girls hid behind a big old trunk. She shook her head at the big Indian and said she did not have any. Angrily he yelled, "Biscuit I uk, biscuit i ul" again. Suddenly she thought of her new sack of flour. The wood box was full, and she had plenty of water and baking powder. She laid her baby down in the big rocking chair and haded all of the bread and crusts she had to the Indian at the windwo., She motioned that she would make more. The yard was soon full of gesticulating Indians, but the Chief told them to sit down. She was too paralyzed to be frightened so she baked biscuits until the sack of flour was emply and passed them out of the windwo to the leader of the band. Then they quietly filed away. Father, coming home from the field, counted 70 big wild Indians coming from his yard. He hid behind some big mesquite trees, not daring to think of what was ahead of him at his home.
Late that year they moved to a new townsite called Thatcher. [Phoebe Abbott Brown Fife, Colonel William Nicol Fife, Orson Pratt Brown, among other family members were also settled in Thatcher at this time.] Here they took up some farm land from the Government and began to build a new home. While they were getting the land cleared, they lived in a Mexican hut. This was comprised of two rooms, a dirt floor, dirt colored adobe walls, dirt roof, and holes in the walls for windows. She made this place quite comfortable by tacking factory over the straw and brush ceiling, rag carpet over the straw on the floor, and tacked flour sacks on the windows for panes. In the kitchen she laid down clean scrubbed boards to walk on and kept cans of water under the legs of the table, and the cupboard to keep out ants and other insects.
As soon as some crops were planted, a new house was built which was one room and a lean-to. This room was used for tools, granary and kitchen. One would have to go outside over a rock path to step from one room to the other, but the main room had a real wood floor and glass in the one window. They worked hard here for four years battling Malaria fever, scurvey, flies, and dust storms. During this time, on November 5, 1888, their only boy was born. Mother ws now 26 years old. Due to unsanitary conditions and lack of medical care and improper food, she was never well again.
Father was not a farmer. He traded his farm for a share in a cattle ranch. Because of the gambling and drinking of his partner, the ranch was lost.
In the summer of 1890, William Dixon, her father sent her some money to come home on a visit. She was ill and discouraged and was living in poverty. She came home; and her husband soon followed, giving up everything but determined to start over. They now had four children, and they were penniless and Mother was sick. She had the embarrassment of living in one room of her father's house for the winter. In the spring they built a one-room shack on the northwest corner of her father's farm. It was built of rought boards on the outside with batting on the cracks and black tar paper on the inside. There was neither plater, foundation, nor chimney.
For thirteen years she struggled in this house. of course, it was enlarged and improved but was never very comfortable. She and the children lived alone most of the time for Father went away on surverying parties for eight to ten months at a time. He made insufficient money to support the family and a heavy burden fell on her. She kept a garden, chickens, a pig, and a cow, and picked fruit on shares. She kept a horse and buggy, and drove to Ogden 5 miles away and brought home loads of sewing and loads of washing and ironing. She kept her children in the public school and even sent them to Ogden to the Weber Academy. The girls did not realize what she was doing for them, for they were carefree and happy. She made them beautiful clothes, and they mingled with the best people of the community. She frowned on rowdyism and vulgarism, such as was found in small country towns. The best young peole in the country were frequent visitors to her house. They all loved her better than they did her girls. She was young along with them.
In 1903 the family moved to a little rented house in Ogden. The girls could get better work, and soon father obtained a steady position as a surveyor for the City Railroad Company. They soon bought a small modern brick home with water in the house, bathroom, and electric lights.
She still worked hard, but she had many comforts and more satisfaction in what she did. Her boy must be educated, so she cooked for boarders and took in sewing to help send him through a medical college in Chicago. She said she was well paid for all of this hard work, for her girls married the best young men in her church and all were loving and kind and her every wish was filled. Her long sickness at the end was made as easy as possible by her doctor-son, her loving husband, her daughters, and their children. Her life closed peacefully on January 23, 1924
PAF- Archer Files - Captain James Brown + (8) Cecelia Henrietta Cornue > Charles David Brown + Sarah Dixon.
Genealogical Charts and Biographical Sketches of Members of the L.D.S. Church, Ogden Stake, Utah, Vol. 11, Ogden Sixth A-G.
Typed from the original handwritten manuscript and added photograph by Lucy Brown Archer.
Cowles material submitted to this site by Erold Clark Wiscombe, June 2004
Additions, bold, some additions by Lucy Brown Archer.
Copyright 2004 www.OrsonPrattBrown.org