Sunday, October 10, 2010

Church History in the family - Delight wife of Wilford Woodruff

[Delight was second cousin to my great grandmother Harriet Camilla ENSIGN SMITH]


Born: 26 Jul 1838, Canton, Bloomfield, Conn. daughter of John Jay Stocking and Catherine Emeline Ensign Died: 28 May 1906, South Cottonwood, Salt Lake, Utah

She was know as Delight. Her mother died when she was only 2'/z. Her father then married her mother's sister, Harriett Ensign. Her step-mother aunt raised her. The family converted to the `Mormon' faith in 1843 and moved to Nauvoo in 1844. Their family was in the 1st" party leaving Nauvoo in February 1846, but they struggled In Iowa, several members of the extended family died, including Delight's Grandparents. At some point on the trail, Delight and several members of their party became very sick As an act of faith she asked her father to baptize her. Her father thought the ordinance would only hasten her death, but she insisted She was baptized the first time and had to be helped out; baptized again and she walked out on her own power, baptized a third time and she was almost instantly healed On seeing this, the other sick were also baptized in this manner and the disease was checked A large Indian also tried to steal Delight. He was in the camp and made a grab for her, but she quickly scrambled under a wagon and spread the alarm.

Upon arriving in the valley in 1850, the family lived in West Jordan briefly and then became one of the original settlers of Fort Herriman. At that time parents often betrothed their children at an early age. In Nauvoo Delight had been promised to Wilford Woodruff. In Harriman, when any young men came to see Delight, her step mother compelled them to sit nearby so she could hear every word they said When her father saw the young men calling, he said that the time had come for marriage. He hitched up the team and took Delight to Salt Lake. Wilford Woodruff and Sarah Delight were married by Brigham Young in the Endowment House on July 31, 1857. Delight was 19, Wilford 50. She was Wilford's 5'h wife.

She learned quickly the role of a plural wife. Delight lived at the Valley House, Salt Lake's first Hotel, with Wilford's other wives. She shared a stove with the oven going through the wall with another wife. It is said that Delight made good bread and when she put the bread in the oven to bake the other wife would sometimes pull it out on her side and eat it. In 1860, Wilford bought a house in Ft. Harriman, where he moved his wife Sarah Brown. Delight gave birth to Marion in 1861 in Salt Lake City. In July of 1862, Delight moved to Ft. Herriman to help tend Wilford's cattle interest there and to be closer to her father. However, she was back in Salt Lake in 1865. Delight gave birth to 6 more children: Emeline (1863), Ensign (1865), Jeremiah (1868), Rosanna (1871), John Jay (1873) and Julia Delight (1878). In addition she also cared for an Indian boy. In 1875 Wilford bought Delight a house and 10 acre farm on 3'd East, near W South (today it is 13'h South). The next few years were difficult for all of Wilford's families as he was in hiding because of Polygamy laws for several years. His first wife died during this persecution. When he was able to come out he was only seen publicly with Emma, his second wife. However, he was conscientious in writing to, caring for and attending to the needs of all his wives and children. All of his descendants honored his name. Delight kept herself busy with her family. She found time for church duties particularly in Relief Society and M.I.A. The farm was subdivided and sold in 1892 to become the North Waterloo Addition. On Wilford's death in 1898, she received her share of the estate. When her youngest daughter married, she made her home with her unmarried son, John She was a sweet woman, with a good disposition, modest and unassuming She passed away at the age of 67.


Sarah Delight Stocking Woodruff

by Julia Woodruff Parks

from Carter, ed., Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 10, pp. 236-38

Sarah Delight Stocking Woodruff was born July 26, 1838 in Canton, Hartford County, Conn., the daughter of John J. Stocking and Catherine Emeline Ensign, converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1843. The family moved to Nauvoo in September 1844 where Sarah's father followed his trade as tailor for a short time, but was compelled to take any work available to obtain supplies for their intended journey with the Saints. They left Nauvoo and traveled to Des Moines, Iowa, where Mr. Stocking harvested twenty acres of wheat. This wheat was used for food on their journey to the Salt Lake Valley.

During the journey, Sarah's mother became ill with cholera and died. Wrapped in a sheet and covered with a thick bark from a nearby tree, her body was placed in the earth and covered with dirt and rock. The cholera epidemic was increasing and the sick were not recovering. Sarah was very ill and pleaded with her father to baptize her in the river, explaining that she knew if he would do so she would be made well, but if he did not, she would die. Her father decided to do as she asked, although he was fearful her death might be hastened as a result of the baptism. He carried the child in a chair to the river bank. News spread through the camp, and many of the company gathered to witness the ceremony. Some remonstrated with him, but he explained that Sarah's faith was strong and he must comply with her wishes. She was taken in his arms into the water where he baptized her three times. After the third immersion she was healed and walked from the water unaided.

After many trials, one of which was the attempted abduction of Sarah, the family arrived in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake September 12, 1850. Mr. Stocking married his deceased wife's sister, Harriet, who was very strict and severe with the children, and required them to work hard, which training they later appreciated. The Stocking family settled in Fort Herriman, and seven years after her arrival in the Valley, Sarah married Wilford Woodruff in the Endowment House July 31, 1857, Brigham Young performing the ceremony. She moved into the Valley House and made her home with his four other wives.

As the Woodruff family grew, Sarah moved to a ten-acre farm on Third East near Tenth South. Here her family earned their living. She became the mother of seven children, four sons and three daughters. One child died in infancy, and one was an Indian boy she raised who was given to her husband by a tribe. Sarah found time for Church duties, particularly Relief Society and M.I.A. When her youngest daughter married and left home, Sarah moved to Big Cottonwood where she made her home with her unmarried son, John J. She was characterized as a woman of sweet disposition, modest and unassuming. After being an invalid for more than two years, she died May 28, 1906, at Big Cottonwood, and was buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.

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