BRIEF SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF
SARAH ELIZABETH CONOVER WEAVER
(This sketch was in Geneva Wright Stephens' file box with Conover' s history that he wrote for his mother Loella Weaver. It was preserved by Conover and passed on to Geneva after the death of his wife Lenore. The author and date are unknown.)
"My grandmother, Sarah Elizabeth Conover Weaver, was born June 30th, 1834 at Golden Point, Hancock County, Illinois. She was the daughter of Peter Wilson Conover [1807-1892] and Evelyn E. Golden [1808-1847], who were married [February 14,] 1827. They were the parents of ten children, Sarah was the fourth child. Her parents were among the first to join the unpopular religion known as the Mormons.
In early infancy Sarah was stricken with an illness, Spinal, leaving her eyes in a weakened condition; Although they were operated on, they were never very strong and she was not permited to attend school very long. However, she learned to read and write.
Her parents were with the saints who settled in Nauvoo, which was situated on a very attractive location in the bend of the Mississippi River. Sarah saw Nauvoo grow to be a beautiful city. The eleventh anniversary of the organization of the church was an occasion in Nauvoo never to be forgotten. On April 6th, 1841 approximately 10,000 people from Nauvoo and surrounding sections saw the laying of the four corner stones of the Nauvoo Temple. Sarah saw the Temple during its construction and saw its completion when the capstone was laid May 24th, 1845 by Brigham Young.
She tells that the Prophet Joseph Smith visited their home often, (her father being one of his body guards). She often told how thrilled she was when the Prophet stroked her hair and told her she was a beautiful and good little girl, and when the news reached them that he had been killed, she threw herself on the bed and cried brokenhearted and exclaimed, "What will become of us now?"
The Mormons in Nauvoo had only a short time of peace from their enemies; persecution was again becoming severe on every side and Sarah's parents were among the saints who were driven from their homes there, crossing the Mississippi on a bridge of ice.
The winter of 1847 was spent at winter quarters. Chills and fever took many of the saints and her mother nursed untiringly from one to another until sickness entered their home. Her husband lay between life and death for weeks, but gradually regained his strength. One evening as she sat mending a coat. Sarah noticed the fevered brow and the distress upon her mother's face. She said, "Mother. I'll finish mending the coat, you look so sick you must go to bed". In a few days she passed away and they made her a coffin from the sides of a wagon box. She was buried in a crude grave, leaving her husband and ten children. Sarah was the oldest girl, but thirteen years of age. She seemed to change from a girl to a woman, and assumed the responsibility of the family.
The saints were kind and often came in to help. She tells of one girl in particular whom she trusted and loved, who helped her put away her mothers beautiful hand woven linens, table cloths, pillowcases, and exquisitely embroidered baby dresses that she had saved for years, spinning the flax, weaving the cloth and preparing for their hopes for a home in the west. The work was that of an artist, never forgotten by those who saw it. Some weeks later their tent house caught fire and burned to the ground and Sarah's frantic efforts to save the linen chest was of no avail.
In May 1848, they left winter quarters in the Heber C. Kimball company. There was six hundred sixty two souls, two hundred twenty six wagons in the company. They experienced many hardships. joys, laughter, and tears; Buffalo stampedes, Indian raids, etc. At the end of their days journey, they would sit around the camp fire and sign and tell stories, each having a turn to take part in their own way. Sarah was a gifted dancer and brought entertainment with her nimble feet. She could clog, tap, or do any dance she had ever seen, and the crowd would clap as her feet kept time with the accordian or mouth organ. They reached the Salt Lake Valley about Sept. 25th 1848.
Her Father was among the first to settle in Provo, Utah. When he was away helping others who were coming to the valley, Sarah was left to care for her brothers and sisters. Sometimes they would get out of food and would dig sego's to eat. Sarah would gather wild berries which she would exchange for flour. She would clean wheat and crush it in a large wooden bowl with a maul and make her own flour; this mixed with sour milk and soda baked in a bake oven over hot coals, made delicious bread.
After a few years, her Father married Jane Correll, and she was relieved of the responsibility of the home and family. She went to Salt Lake and worked in the homes of several prominent families, first at Heber C. Kimball's (whose wife was her cousin); also Daniel H. Wells arid others. While in Salt Lake she had several propose to her in marriage.
At one time at a large gathering in the Salt Lake Theatre Brigham Young cleared the dance floor and called for Sarah Conover and Mary Clark to waltz around the hall believing them to be the most perfect in grace and smoothness. A cup of water was placed on their heads, and they waltzed around the hall without spilling a drop.
While working as nurse and maid in one of the homes in Salt Lake she recognized her mothers beautiful linen baby dresses that she had thought were destroyed when their tent burned at winter quarters. She trembled with excitement as she took the dresses from the ironing board, and asked her mistress where she had gotten it. "I bought it from so and so" she said. It was the same girl who had helped her tuck the linen away when back in winter quarters. She was stunned and was about to tell the truth, when she thought of the works of Shakespeare. "He that steals my purse, steals trash, but he that steals my good name robs me of that which not enriches him, and makes me poor indeed." So she just said, "Aren't they beautiful" and left the room with a sob in her throat, and the words unspoken.
Time passed, she returned to Provo, and became interested in a dark eyed, fine looking twenty year old man by the name of Gilbert "Gib" Edward Weaver, whose bravery and good nature won her admiration. He was also a graceful dancer and the two were leaders in the ballroom and entertainments. They were married in Salt Lake July 14th, 1855 by Brigham Young.
Gilbert Weaver 1835-1910
[Gilbert Weaver was born March 2, 1835 in Croford, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Edward Weaver [1799-1842] and Mary Raymer Weaver [ ]. Gib's parents were early converts to the Mormon Church when he was a young boy. In 1846, his two older brothers, Miles Weaver and Franklin Weaver, joined the Mormon Battalion. He was left with Ebenezer Brown and in 1848, he accompanied Brown to Utah.]
Their early married years [1855-1861] were spent in Provo, three children were born there; two sons and a daughter; but the daughter died in infancy. Her husband, Gilbert with his two brothers, started north in search of land. In 1861 they settled in a beautiful spot in Cache Valley at a place called Millville, Utah. They homesteaded 160 acres and also took a preemption right of many acres. This they owned until President Brigham Young told them to divide their land with others who were coming to make their homes in Millville. It was divided into ten acre lots. Their home there was a three room log house, which is still standing in Millville.
They lived only a short time in Millville. Their leader Brigham Young called for sturdy pioneers to colonize Bear Lake Valley, and in the fall of 1863 they answered the call and moved on to Bear Lake Valley; where Paris, Idaho is now located. They encountered many hardships that winter, there was no railroad, telephone, or mail. The snow was very deep and the only way they could get in touch with other places was to go over the mountains to Franklin and Logan, Utah on snow shoes.
The next spring, in May 1864, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and Chancy West made a trip to the valley to see how the saints had gotten along during the winter. Sarah prepared supper for them over a fireplace. They insisted that she give them entertainment for the night, but she told them that would be impossible; the next day when they called they could hardly believe their eyes, for a baby girl had been born during the night; the first girl to be born in Paris. They blessed the baby and named her Sarah Jeannetta Weaver. Brigham Young released those who desired to go back to their homes in Utah. Grandmother Sarah and family moved back to Millville.
In Millville there were four Sarahs all living in the same block. One was light complected, one was dark, and one was a great talker. In order to distinguish which one was being talked about they were known as "White Sarah", "Black Sarah", "Sarah Gib", and "Sarah Gab".
Each fall Gib made as many trips as possible to Utah to bring back fruit to sell. It has been said that he gave more apples away to the fruit hungry children than he sold.
Some years later, Gilbert homesteaded two and a half miles north of Montpelier. He built a two room log home that stands until this day (1966). They returned to Bear Lake in 1883 and stayed until 1903 when they moved to Whitney, Idaho. Gilbert was a farmer and at one time served as sheriff of Franklin County. He was a kind man and was very highly respected.
She had a refinement, grace and poise of a lady, and this influence was felt wherever she went. She always wore a dainty white linen or lace collar. She was a marvelous cook; she had the art of seasoning her food that would rival any French chef. If friends or neighbors dropped in unexpectedly for a meal, and she wondered sometimes what to prepare, they would suggest that she make sour cream biscuits. She was always called on to help prepare church banquets. Her home was kept clean, she never could excuse dirt or ragged clothes. She would say "There "is plenty of water and always a needle and thread." Her kitchen chairs and floors were scrubbed white, and if there wasn't soap to be had she would use sand and no one could walk on the floor until it was dry.
She spun wool to make yarn for stockings, and she kept the needles merrily clicking every spare moment. She molded candles, made soap, starch, also lye by putting maple ashes in a barrel filled with water, and the water of the ashes was used for lye.
She and her husband led in the beautiful old time dances and marches. They knew the French four, Highland fling, Comin Through the Rye, Minuet, and many others. Often the dance floor was cleared for her to step dance and her husband would join her, shouts came from the audience for her to lift her skirts a little higher so they could see her nimble feet, but in those days, the ankle was all that was permissible.
In 1883 they turned their faces again toward Bear Lake Valley and started a new home three miles north of Montpelier. In 1888 the spirit of Temple work urged her to leave for the Manti Temple, her sister Katherine being one of the workers. She stayed there four months doing work for her kindred dead.
Though she and her family lived many years in Bear Lake, they could never stop longing for the beautiful Cache Valley where they had lived their early married life. The opportunity came in 1903, and they moved to the northern part of Cache Valley, where their oldest son Gilbert was living. They bought a home adjoining their sons in Whitney, Idaho. Had an orchard of apples, plums and small fruit of many kinds. They spent many happy years there and celebrated their Golden wedding and all their children were present to do them honor.
Sarah was the mother of twelve children, who were among the leading citizens in all activities and entertainments given for church and state. They all lived to maturity and married except Christina. Though she fought reverses, poverty and disappointments, she stood firm to her ideals with a testimony that Joseph Smith was indeed a true prophet of the latter day.
Children of Sarah Conover Weaver and Gilbert Weaver:
1-- Gilbert Edward Weaver b. April 24, 1857; md. Mary Ann Gamble on January 1, 1877.
2-- Peter Wilson Weaver b. November 15, 1858; md. Mary Jane Davis on December 3, 1884;
3-- Christina Weaver b. September 22, 1860; d. young.
4-- Zerelda Eveline Weaver b. November 16, 1861; md. Frank Kite on August 18, 1878;
5-- Sarah Jennette Weaver b. May 22, 1864; md. Liberty Hunt on October 11, 1883.
6-- Alice America Weaver b. April 22, 1866; md. Witt Stoddard on May 6, 1885;
7-- Martha Lowella Weaver b. July 8, 1867; md. Amos Wright on May 6, 1885;
8-- Dora Mae Weaver b. July 1, 1870; md. Daniel Davis on October 29, 1890;
9-- Catharine Ann Weaver b. January 24, 1873; md. Morris Holmes on September 4, 1889;
10-- Alpheus Weaver b. November 3, 1874; md. Olive Clark on October 29, 1896;
11-- Rachel Ida Weaver b. November 28, 1876; md. John Frederic Haycock on October 29, 1896;
12-- Houghton Weaver b. September 22, 1879; md. Minerva Richardson January 25, 1907;
Sarah's husband Gilbert Weaver was an active church worker, a veteran of the Indian wars, and sheriff of Cache County, Utah for several years. Gilbert died in March 13, 1910 in Whitney, Idaho and Sarah spent the remaining three years of her life with her married daughters. She passed away in November 6, 1913 at the home of her daughter Lowella (spelling preserved) Wright, at Bennington, Bear Lake County, Idaho. Her remains were taken to Whitney, Franklin County, Idaho and laid to rest near to her husband. Flowers are kept growing on their graves by many grandchildren, who keep their memories fresh.
Submitted by JoAnn Farnsworth
PAF - Archer files = Captain James Brown + (1) Martha Stephens > Moroni Brown + (1) Eveline Cindralla Conover was a sister of Sarah Elizabeth Conover Weaver.
PAF - Archer files = Captain James Brown + (7) Phoebe Abigail Abbott > Orson Pratt Brown
PAF - Archer Files = Gilbert Weaver + Sarah Elizabeth Conover < (1) Edward Weaver + Martha Raymer : Martha Raymer + (2) William Draper Jr. > Almon Draper + Amy Hansen > Erastus Carmon Draper + Linnie Adell Seguine > Ila May Draper + Glenn Eugene Murphy > Michael Leo Murphy + Lucy Brown > Michael Glenn Murphy.
This biography was written by "Conover", found in Geneva Wright Stephen's file box, kept by JoAnn Farnsworth, and submitted to this site by Erold Clark Wiscombe.
A Collection of Biographies for Bear Lake, Franklin, and Oneida Counties, Idaho From Settlement to 1916 Compiled by Glenys J. Rasmussen, Preston, Idaho, 2003, 979.64 D3r
"History of Bear Lake Pioneers". Compiled by Edith Parker Haddock and Dorothy Hardy Matthews. Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Bear Lake County, Idaho., 1968. Pages 857-858.
Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, Page 1234. Gilbert Weaver; Gilbert Edward Weaver; Franklin Weaver, Franklin Edward Weaver; Miles Franklin Weaver.
Copyright 2001 www.OrsonPrattBrown.org