Our Family Legacy
The child was christened Charlotte Broomhead, daughter of Ann Broomhead and Stephen Melland. (Entry in the Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England Parish Register). Melland had something to do with the christening and acknowledged himself as her father or his name would not have appeared in the entry.
Charlotte lived five years with her mother, who in the meantime married Robert Spooner. She then lived three years with Squire Melland where she had a special nurse and many luxuries. She ate goat's milk and rode much in a beautiful carriage. Melland wanted to keep and raise her as his child, but Spooner made Ann take her away from Melland.
She then lived three years again with her mother and her stepfather. Spooner was very harsh with her until Melland swore he would shoot Spooner if he ever whipped her again. He wrote Spooner to that effect.
She then lived two years with her Uncle William Broomhead. During these two years she and her uncle's family heard the gospel preached by Cyrus H. Wheelock, and all embraced the gospel. She was probably baptized and confirmed by Brother Wheelock.
She had one half brother named Herbert Spooner.
When she was thirteen years old she visited her mother to bid her good-bye, and then returned to her Uncle William's family and with them embarked in Cyrus H. Wheelock's Company for Utah. They were nine weeks on the ocean during which time they were blown back twice. They landed in New Orleans from where they took the steamer to St. Louis. She went west in 1847 to where the Saints were located who had been driven out of Nauvoo and Illinois [Winter Quarters]. Here she went to work for Elmira Day whose husband, Abraham Day, was away in the Mormon Battalion. He returned in December 1847. She lived with them as one of the family until 1851 when they prepared to migrate to Utah in 1851.
Eli Day, an older brother of Abraham, also lived with the family. Abraham had four yoke of oxen, two wagons, and six cows. Eli owned two yoke of oxen and one wagon. Eli built the three wagons. Eli hitched his two yoke of oxen on his wagon, Abraham had two yoke of oxen and two yoke of cows on his heaviest wagon and two yoke of oxen and one yoke of cows on his smaller wagon.
The family was composed of Abraham and Elmira, an old lady, Grandfather and Grandmother Buckley and children: Joseph Smith, Janett, Julia, Ezra, and babe Alice, Eli Day and Charlotte Melland.
Abraham was captain of fifty in the company. It was an independent company, that is one that emigrated without church aid. Eli drove his own wagon, Joseph drove one wagon and a hired man, an Irishman, drove the other wagon. Captain Day's duties prevented him from driving a team. There, in the early summer of 1851 they started for Utah.
It would seem that Charlotte was engaged to Abraham, because when the hired man paid court to her and became insistent in his suit, she complained to Captain Day, and again when he became too persistent and somewhat insulting, she made strenuous complaints and offered to drive the team herself if the driver would only be dismissed, which was done.
The cows were milked as well as worked and considerable milk was given to others who had little or no milk. What was not used by the family or distributed to others was put into a churn in the wagon and by noon was churned to butter.
One evening one of the cows had a bull calf, but of course it had to be killed and a little later she had another that looked just like the first and was sent to join it.
Charlotte and the oldest daughter Janett slept in Eli's wagon and the other women folk in Abraham's two wagons and the men on the ground.
There were many obstacles met and overcome on the journey such as a lack of wood on the hundred of miles of prairie where they had to make fires of "buffalo chips" both for cooking their food and washing their clothes, lack of grass for the animals, and lack of good water.
The captain and scouts had to go ahead most of the days and select camps where fuel and good water was to be had. Then also the roving Indians had to be carefully dealt with. But the Indians were more friendly with the "Mormon" trains than other emigrant trains, for the saints treated them better and were more truthful to them. They thereby gained much immunity from the wild Indians.
Then they had to avoid running into the large buffalo herds roaming over the grassy plains. The buffalo sometimes stampeded their teams, and at times trampled men, animals, and wagons under their feet. There was also the large prairie wolf which was sometimes dangerous.
One day Charlotte wandered ahead of the train, picking flowers along the side of the road. She had picked all she wanted and sat down on a rock beside the road to arrange them. Suddenly a large, fine looking Indian rode up on a horse and said, "How, How." She answered "Are you lost?" He asked in broken English, "No, are you heap scared?" "No," she answered though she could hardly keep from fainting with fright.
He evidently saw her fright for he laughed. "Where wagons?" "Just a little way back." Again he laughed and rode away with a single head feather dancing in the breeze.
Another time Charlotte and Elmira had stopped at some springs to gather soda. They each had two tin pails, which they filled with soda. The train was then a considerable distance ahead. They were walking fast to catch up with the train. Joseph knew they were behind, and decided to have some fun. He hid in some tall grass near the road and as they drew near he began to yowl. "Meyow, meyow-yowyow-yow ."
"Pretend not to hear that wild cat," said Elmira, "don't run but walk along as if nothing was wrong and it will not bother us." So they walked by very straight and fast, while the yowls continued to ring in their ears. When a little way past, they broke into a run.
"Now I've got myself into trouble. Father will lick me unless I can catch them and make my peace with Mother," thought Joseph, and he broke into a run to catch them. His mother looked back and saw him coming and as he came up she shook her fist at him and said, "You little rascal. If you tell the men of this I'll whip you worse than I ever have done." Oh! what a relief to Joseph, and the tale was not told for several years.
In good time they arrived in Salt lake City where Charlotte was married to Abraham, November 30, 1851.
They soon moved to Springville, where their first child, Dora Elmira, was born August 21, 1852. Charlotte continued to live with the family where she was called Charlotte by all of them. Even Dora called her Charlotte for a number of years. Albert Damascus was born December 12, 1853. He died as a child. Herbert Stevens was born May 11, 1855, Eli Azariah was born September 23, 1856. Benjamin Franklin was born December 10, 1857, and Hannah Flavilla was born December 5,1859. These six children were all born in Springville. The following were born in Mt. Pleasant, Utah: Ephraim Arthur born January 21, 1862; Harriet Ann, born December 27, 1863; George William born September 7,1865; Harry Hazleton born March 2, 1867; Mary Ellen born August 10,1869; and Joseph Abraham born November 6, 1871.
While residing in Springville, Abraham built and ran a grist mill and farmed for a living. They raised flax from which they made and spun linen. They had a small flock of sheep, the wool of which was carded, spun and woven into cloth for the family. The house where they lived most of the time, had a basement of two rooms, the largest of which contained a large fire place, a small cook stove, one Dutch oven, two windows, and one outside door. This basement was partly dug out of a sloping low bench a short distance from the stream of Hobble Creek. It faced the west, and was on the north side of the stream, being but a short distance east of the Springville meeting house which was south of Hobble Creek, facing what was then the main street on the west. The basement was on a level with the low ground, and the upper part was entered from the higher ground and also by a ladder from the basement, and was used for bedrooms. The family life seemed to run very smoothly.
Abraham decided to leave Springville in 1859 because of trouble in the ward. He paid a visit to Mt. Pleasant, Sanpete County, where he purchased a small house of two rooms from Nathan Staker. This house was in the old rock fort, built around a complete block on Pleasant Creek just east of State and north of Main Streets. The house was on the bank of Pleasant Creek.
The rock wall of the fort was the west side of the house, the south and north ends and east side were built of brown adobe. It had a dirt roof, but a lumber floor with a fireplace in the south end of the house, also a window and one door in the east side of the south and larger room, and a door passing into the north room which contained one small window. The dirt roof was splendid except when there was an extended rain storm or the spring snow was melting. This wonderful house, twelve feet to the square contained for a few years, a very merry and happy bunch of children though they lived in destitution.
When Abraham arrived from Springville with Charlotte and her family and the young man Joseph, he found that Nathan Staker did not yet have his new house finished, so the two families lived in this small house together, but very crowded. During the fall his other family was brought from Springville. From then on the two wives with their families lived separately.
In those days all store goods were very dear, prints or calicoes as they were called cost fifty cents a yard; tea three dollars a pound; sugar fifty cents a pound; and money was very scarce, and farm products very cheap, so the family had a very hard time to get along.
Charlotte worked very hard cooking, carding, and spinning. Dora worked out most of the time, and Herbert and Eli herded summers when the Indians were not too dangerous. The children went barefoot most of the time and were poorly clad. During the winter the children attended the ward school but had very few and poor books and most of them made but poor progress. Charlotte lived a few years in the above house, then she moved into a better house also built against the wall in the south side of the fort just west of the big twelve-foot gate in the middle of the south wall of the fort. From there they moved onto a farm west of Mt. Pleasant, west of Sanpitch Creek, which home had to be abandoned at the outbreak of the Black Hawk War in 1856. They then lived in a series of small homes in Mt. Pleasant, finally they got a house on the east outskirts of the town.
Charlotte would make a very good broom by tying rabbit brush limbs securely together with a strong string and then driving a painted broom handle into the center. On Saturday, she mopped the floor then scattered sand over the clean wet floor so that the boards were nearly hidden. Sunday morning this sand was swept off and a nicely scoured floor showed its face. The house was illuminated by candles and fires.
Then Abraham built her a two room log house on the northeast lot of the block east of the North Sanpete High School, where she lived until the spring of 1872, when she moved onto a farm. three miles north west of town. There she cooked on a stove for the first time, having all these years after she moved to herself, cooked over a fire in a common fireplace.
Charlotte had poor health that summer. For years she had been subject to terrible spells of cramp colic, or inflammation of the bowels, probably appendicitis [colitis?]. About the 20th of September she had one of these spells come upon her. It did not seem to be more severe than the others, but it lingered longer. She died September 26, 1872. She was thirty-nine years, nine months and one day old. She was interred in the Mt Pleasant cemetery.
She was pure and good, chaste and virtuous, honest and truthful, a noble woman who loved God and her fellow men and reared a large family. She left behind her husband Abraham Day, children: Dora Johnson who was mother of one child, Herbert S, Eli A, Flavilla, Harriet Ann, Ephraim, George William, Mary Ellen, and Joseph Abraham, all of Mt Pleasant. The youngest, Joseph, being but thirteen months old.
Charlotte was a beautiful woman, short and heavy without being fat, very strong or she could never have done the heavy labor of those pioneer days. Bringing a child into the world a little short of every two years and caring for her flock as well as working for others. She was interested in schooling and books for her family. I remember she bought us a Child's History of the U.S.A. by William Zabriskie, also a History of Joseph Smith written by his mother. She also taught me long recitations which I gave at school programs.
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