Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mary Caroline Turnbaugh

  • Name: Mary Caroline Turnbaugh
  • Born: April 25, 1842 Pittsfield, Illinois
  • Died: August 1914 Provo, Utah
  • Related through: Dan's grandfather Heber Langford

Mary Caroline was the first child of Isaac and Parthena Davis Turnbaugh. Parthena was a member of the LDS Church when Mary Caroline was born. In 1852, at the age of ten, the family crossed the plains in the James W. Bay Wagon Train. They settled in Centerville, Utah after arriving in the valley. James Harvey Langford was in the same wagon train and they were married five years after their arrival. Mary Caroline was 15 and James Harvey was 25. Their first home was in Willard, Box Elder County where five of their 11 children were born. In 1865 they moved to Panaca, Washington County, (now Nevada) where the last six children were born, Mary being 33 at the birth of the 11th child.

Coming from this pioneering background, Mary Caroline was able to cope with and manage the frontier ways necessary to survive and care for her family. All of her children grew to maturity under her care. She was a woman of intellectual ability and was chosen to learn midwifery. She delivered many of the babies in Panaca, and many of her own grandchildren. Of all the babies she delivered safely, she was unable to save the life of her own daughter Mary Caroline Kimball. Isaac and Mary Caroline had gone to pick up their daughter who was soon to deliver and carry her to Panaca so her mother could attend to her needs. Accidentally, the daughter fell off the back of the wagon, went into labor and died during childbirth.  Tragically, the baby died soon after they returned to Panaca.

When she delivered her grandson Ernest Langford, the son of James Harvey Langford Jr., marshals came to the house and tried to take her daughter-in-law, Rose Ellen, to testify in court against her polygamist husband. Mary Caroline grabbed a shotgun and dared them to arrest her and the marshals left.

Mary Caroline divorced James Harvey in 1880 when her youngest child was four years old. One of the causes was his temper. She married Isaac Riddle as a second wife in 1886 and was sealed to him. During their marriage she did much temple work for her ancestors in the Manti Temple. In some sessions James Harvey was also a participant. Mary Caroline and Isaac were later divorced also.

In her later years she lived in Provo where she passed away in 1914. She is buried in the Manti Cemetery.

This article was written by Sharlee Doxey Rands for the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers.

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