Thursday, October 2, 2008

Almeda Sophia and Samantha ROUNDY sisters and wives of John Davis PARKER

Known to the family as Little and Big Grandma Samantha ROUNDY and Almeda Sophia ROUNDY both married John Davis PARKER in the Nauvoo temple 3 Feb 1846.


Biography and memories by Esther Parker Robb (Granddaughter)

“Big Grandma” was the daughter of Shadrack Roundy and Betsy Quimby Roundy and mother to my father, Charles. She was born in Spafford, Onondago county, New York. Her family moved to Kirtland, Ohio, headquarters of the Church at that time, when she was seven years old (1836). She was baptized there after her eight birthday. Later they moved to Missouri where they suffered persecutions (1840). They settled in Nauvoo, where she grew up and met her future husband, John Davis Parker.

Grandma Sophia was very devoted to her older sister, Samantha, who had the misfortune of falling off a load of hay at the age of nine. This accident was blamed for her being a very frail child and she had never grown in height from that age on. When Grandpa proposed to Big Grandma, the acceptance was with the understanding that he would marry the both of them. Her mother had always said that whomever married one should also marry the other, because Samantha was not a strong child. So Grandpa did this. In 1846 he married the two sisters, “big Grandma” and “little Grandma”, these being his second and third wives, with whom he lived and emigrated west to Utah in 1852. Big Grandma was seventeen years of age at the time of her marriage. [John D. Parker was 46 years old] She had ten children altogether, but only five who lived to marriageable age. My father Charles, the fourth child, was the only son to live his full life with his four sisters as companions.

Grandmas lived were so welded that wherever you saw one, you usually saw the other, exception that Grandma Sophia ran around more than Grandma Samantha, as she did the chores outside, such as milking the cows and caring for the chickens, while Grandma Samantha did the house work. Their company was much sought after. The younger generation liked to go to their home and visit and hear them relate their many interesting experiences.

The social life at that time included invitations to quilting parties and weddings in which Grandmas were both active. They were ambitious at a sewing, spinning and weaving. They were also attentive to the sick, spending much of their time in caring for them. One neighbor and friend of Grandmas converted herself to the Gospel by observing the way they lived. They were so faithful that she knew for sure that they must have been fight and she was convinced enough to join the Church herself.

In 1891 Grandpa died at age 92 leaving his two wives and family. But with Charles’ help and with their many experiences. They were well able to carry on. As they had always been used to hard work and much responsibility. The warm affection of these two sister companions, sharing the responsibilities of their home and family, lasted throughout their lives.

Both Grandmas spent their last years with Sophia’s daughter, Malinda at her ranch. Little Grandmas died as a result of a stroke. Big Grandma died in 1912 at the age of 83.

[Esther Parker Robb (1886-1975) was the daughter of Charles Parker (1853-1935). Esther live most of her first 26 years living next door to Big and Little Grandmas in Kanarraville, Utah.]

Believed to be the home of John Davis PARKER in Kanarraville, Utah Sophia and Samantha ROUNDY PARKER on left the names of the mother and child on right are not known.

The Life of a Utah Pioneer

Written by Malinda Parker (daughter)
Salt Lake City, December 15, 1930

Almeda Sophia Roundy Parker, a pioneer of 1852, was a woman of faith and endurance; loyal and sympathetic to others. She was blessed with ten children and shared with her sister the love and companionship of her husband in plural marriage. In the exodus from Nauvoo to winter Quarters, Iowa, she shared the sorrow of the death of two of her brother’s wives, their death being caused by the persecutions of the mob, each leaving two little boys. She aided in caring for four little orphans until one of them died and was taken back for burial beside its mother at Nauvoo.

President young advised her and her husband to remain at Winter Quarters where he could manufacture wagons for the Saints to emigrate across the plains to Utah. For five you ear he worked at this occupation, then they suffered a burnout, burning the workshop and hundreds of dollars worth of oils, paints and wagon timber in seasoning. Soon after the loss by the fire they started across the plains with Abraham D. Smoot’s company. Occasionally they met with a buffalo stampede, causing them much anxiety and fear, but little damage. The women would walk along beside the ox-teams toward the close of day and gather buffalo chips with which to build a fire to cook supper, as wood was unknown of the plains. While on the prairie, the dreaded disease of cholera broke out among the Saints. There was a family by the name of Allen who traveled in the wagon next to Sophia’s and with whom she had become very friendly. Early one morning the father of this family came in from guard duty drenched with rain and shivering with cold. Sophia heard the first death groan from his lips and knew the warning of cholera. In a moment she was at the bedside aiding in soothing his pain, but all that friends could do for him was in vain. And he passed to the great beyond, leaving his wife and ten fatherless children to move on westward without a Father’s guidance. Another grave was dug and another stone placed to mark the trail of the Utah Pioneers. They moved on to the valley -- the widow and Sophia proved to be the closest friends.

Pioneering did not cease in the valley for Sophia. She traveled on from place to place with her husband as he was called to settle new places confronting pioneer life. In the early 1860’s during the Indian war, she buried a son and daughter in the wilds of southern Utah, from the treacherous disease of Scarlet Fever. Their requiem was the howl of the lonely wolf and the whoop of the wild savage. Soon after this great sorrow, her eldest son, 19, a noble youth, was called to the other side. Eight days after his burial she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl who greatly comforted her through the trials of pioneer life. In the course of a few years, death claimed another daughter 15 years of age. Finally, her husband died leaving her one son and four daughters, all of whom were grown. A decade or so passed when her devoted and trusted sister left her. This caused her to be very lonely and she exclaimed shortly before her death, “I can repeat the words of Job, ’Oh Lord, why hast Thou forsaken me?’ I wish I could go with my family and friends and meet with the prophet Joseph.” to her he was the ideal Prophet and Seer of whom she ever bore testimony through life. She was a true Latter-day Saint, with an abiding testimony of the Gospel; not aspiring, not ostentatious, a mild amiable and loving mother; a woman of true pioneer history. She died at the age of 84 years at the home of her eldest daughter in Southern Utah.

[Malinda PARKER ROUNDY (1851-1937) was the pioneer daughter of John Davis PARKER and Almeda Sophia ROUNDY]
So many years later we and Sophia's gr. gr. gr. gr. grandchildren wish Esther had written down the many life experiences her grandmother had told the "younger generation."

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