- Name: Sarah Hewlett
- Born: September 25, 1817 Winchester, England
- Died: July 26, 1904 Coalville, Utah
- Related through: Dan's grandmother Elvira Wilde Langford
Sarah Hewlett was born September 25, 1817 near Winchester, Hampshire, England in a town named Otterbourne. She was the only daughter of Andrew Hewlett and Sarah Alder.
Sarah had three brothers: Thomas, Andrew and Henry. Thomas worked for the telegraph department of the London and Southwestern Railroad for twenty seven years. Andrew was one of Queen Victoria’s body guards and to attain this position, he had to meet a height requirement of six feet. We don’t know much of Sarah’s other brother Henry as he died as a young man. Sarah worked as a maid in the homes of wealthy people and undoubtedly was quite a refined young lady and also a woman of ambition.
Sarah Hewlett met Henry Brown Wilde and they were married him November 9, 1840 at the age of 23. Early in their marriage they moved around quite a bit, settling in Fair Oak for a time, then in Southampton, later in Otterbourne, and finally to Portswood before making the long journey to America. They were blessed with six children: Thomas Hewlett, Sarah, Henry, Emma, Ellen Maria Martha, and Joseph Henry Wilde. Unfortunately, only four of her six children lived to adulthood and were blessed with children of their own.
While living in Portswood, her husband Henry Brown Wilde met a missionary from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, whose name was Elder Thomas B. H. Stenhouse. Elder Stenhouse was serving a mission with Elder Lorenzo Snow. Henry Brown Wilde was converted to the faith and Sarah Hewlett soon followed and was baptized a week after her husband July 20, 1849 at the age of 31. Her children also believed, and the family accepted the invitation to come to Zion. On January 6, 1851 they set sail for America, a land of opportunity and religious freedom.
Sarah and Henry’s fifth child Emma Maria Martha Wilde was born on their journey across the Atlantic Ocean and was named after the “Ellen Maria” ship they were sailing on and after Martha, the nurse in attendance. I can hardly imagine what it would been like for Sarah to give birth to a baby on the ship. I would think that the beds they had would have been small and in cramped quarters and that good sanitation would have been a challenge. It would have been quite scary knowing that if something went wrong they couldn't just dock at a moment's notice and find a doctor. She did have their family nurse, Martha there which would have been a great comfort.
The family arrived at the New Orleans port after nine weeks at sea. Upon arrival, Henry searched for work and they stayed there for a time to earn money for their journey west to Salt Lake City, Utah.
By the summer of 1852, they had enough money to pay for their passage on a steamboat up the Missouri River. It was on this leg of the journey that Henry’s mother Jane Brown Wilde caught malarial fever and died. She was buried in Jackson County, Missouri.
After arriving at Council Bluffs, they purchased a team of oxen, a wagon, and a cow and started their trek across the plains. While they were camped near the Platte River, her son Henry who was then six years old, climbed a nearby tree to play and to get a view of the land, and tragically, he fell from the tree and died of his injuries. They had to bury him there by the river, and press on up the trail the next day. Sarah later recalled to her granddaughter, that this was the hardest trial of her life. To leave the body of her precious child there, knowing that wild beasts would dig him up, was almost more that she could bear. She was obviously a woman of great strength and faith to be able to continue on her journey at that time.
After arriving in the Salt Lake valley in September of 1852, they moved around a bit over the next seven years, living in Provo in a tent and covered wagon, Sugar House, Spanish Fork, and then back to Sugar House. While living at Sugar House Sarah and her husband received their endowments and were sealed in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City.
On June 8, 1859, the family hitched up their ox team and drove to Weber Valley to settle in Chalk Creek which later was became Coalville, Henry having already preceded them and built a cabin and planted crops. Sarah and Henry must have like the area, since they no longer moved from place to place, but stayed there in Coalville for the rest of their lives. They were among the first to start the settlement there, but word spread quickly of the area, and by 1860 fifteen families had come.
Sarah Hewlett played a valuable role in the community and was the first teacher in the valley. Sarah held school in her own cabin for the neighboring children until a log school house could be built in 1860, at which time she taught there. School was later held in the Old Rock School House which was built in 1865. She also cooked for railroad workers that were building a railway down Echo Canyon.
Sarah remained strong in her religion. She was asked to serve as the President of the Relief Society. She willingly accepted this calling on Jan 8, 1870 at the age of 53. Her counselors were Ann Cluff and Jessie Boyden. She served in this capacity for 20 years, except for the two years when she and Henry were visiting England.
Sarah’s husband preceded her in death by almost thirty years, so Sarah had to support herself financially for quite some time, as well as two granddaughters she was raising. I presume these were two of her daughter Ellen Maria Martha’s children, since she died at the age of 33. Undoubtedly, learning to work hard in her youth as well as passing through her many trials, had taught her the skills and faith to sustain herself and those two children whom she loved. She was only 57 years old when her husband Henry passed on. By the age of about 77, her eyesight gradually began to fail her and by the age of 86 she could scarcely see light, let alone anything else. This was a sore affliction to her since she loved to do intricate needlework, read, and be industrious.
Sarah Hewlett Wilde passed away about a year later on July 26, 1904 at the age of 87 and was buried in the Coalville Cemetery. Margaret Carruth Rhead recalled of Sarah, “My grandmother was a perfect gentlewoman. She had a very sweet, even disposition and was kindly and gracious to everyone. I never heard her use a vulgar word or say an unkind thing of anyone. For the gospel’s sake, she left father, mother, brothers, relatives, friends and home. She experienced all the privations of pioneer life, buried her son on the plains and suffered mentally and physically, and through it all, she never complained or regretted the course in life she had taken. Her faith in the gospel never wavered and was just as firm at the time of her death, as it had been ever since she joined the church. I honor her memory and am proud to be her granddaughter.”
This story was compiled by Mary A., great great great grand-daughter of Sarah Hewlett Wilde's brother-in-law, William Wilde. Thanks to Mary for providing this history on her website.