Taken from the Later Life of Emily Dow Partridge Young, by Eugenia Y. Hardy Rampton. . . 1970
Grandmother Young’s journal continues with letters from the Prophet and others concerning the exodus of the saints from Clay county. They are found in Church History. I have tried to make this paper more complete with a short biography of her life in later years.
After years of persecution and hardships in Missouri, the Partridge family went to Nauvoo, Illinois. They lived in very crowded quarters with others and Edward Partridge started to build a house and stable, which located a mile away from where they were now living. Due to overwork, exposure, etc., his health was failing and he started to move his family into the finished barn so he could be nearer his work, having to walk between the two places. He was also planting a garden. However, he soon contracted pneumonia and died in May, 1840, at the age of 47. Prior to his death his second daughter, Harriet, had passed away. After his death, Brother William Law took the family to his home to stay until their house was finished. The man who did most of the finishing work on the house lived with the Partridges for sometime.
Emily and Eliza, went to live and work for board and room in the house of the Prophet, Joseph Smith. They lived there about three years. Emily was now sixteen years of age. Joseph taught them the principle of plural marriage. After some time they accepted it and were married to him; Emily in March, 1843, at 19 years of age.
Emily writes in her diary, “As a general thing I was very happy, going to parties, singing school, and raising horses. One day Emma said, as we had been to so many parties, that we ought to have one and invite the young people in return. Of course this pleased us very much. We had an excellent time, playing games and enjoying ourselves as only young people can. Finally, as we were about to close, someone proposed that we have one more game, “Poor Puss Wants a Corner.” But that was about the last of playing games, for dancing was soon the rage.
The Parade of the Nauvoo Legion was a great day with us. Joseph on his big black horse, “Charlie,” and dressed in his uniform as Lt. Gen. looked grand. Sometimes Emma and others would accompany the officers on horseback and sometimes in carriages. Once the carriage that Emma was in tipped over, which brought out some disagreeable expressions, such as, “Served her right and I am glad of it.” But nobody was hurt. Emma looked well on a horse; she was a large, noble looking woman. She generally rode the chestnut horse, “Joe Duncan.”
After Emily’s marriage to the Prophet she went to live in the home of another man and woman. Sometime after the Prophet’s death some of the brethren felt they should marry his plural wives, as proxy, and in September, 1844, Emily was married to Brigham Young, and her sister, Eliza, was married to Amasa M. Lyman. Emily’s first child, a son, was born in December, 1845. He was named Edward Partridge.
In 1846, when she was 22 years old, Emily with many other saints, left Nauvoo. After crossing the Mississippi River she found herself without relatives or friends–amongst strangers. Her friends had not yet crossed the river. She wandered from one camp to another. Some gave her food and others a place in their tent to sleep. She wrote that president Young had to look after the welfare of the whole people–no small task–so she could see that he had little time to devote to his family. There was a snowstorm and Emily sat on a log, shielding her baby as best she could from the elements. As soon as he could, President Young made arrangements for her comfort as far as his means would permit. Sometimes food was very scarce; a small piece of Johnny cake and a little bacon fat to sop it in, constituted a meal. Sometimes they had a little more and sometimes a little less. Her sister Eliza tells of visiting Emily on Feb. 15th and found her living in a tent surrounded by mud. Eliza tells of traveling in a company not far from the one Emily was traveling in and their mother being in still another company and of their visiting one another and occasionally staying overnight. Their mother, Lydia Clisbee Partridge was now married to a Brother Huntington, father of Zina D. Huntington Young. Eliza also tells of the trials they all went through while traveling to their first stopping place, Mt. Pisgah; snow, wind, soaking rains, cold and mud.
Emily and her mother spent one winter in Mt. Pisgah, Eliza moving on to Winter Quarters. They also spent a winter at Winter Quarters. Emily left for the valley in the spring of 1848. Brother Huntington had died while they were in Mt. Pisgah. Emily wrote “We were more comfortably fitted out than we had been at any other time before, but I was not well. When we arrived in the valley we found comfortable rooms prepared for us to go in to the Fort. The next spring the people began to move from the Fort and settle on their lots. I moved on the 1st of March, into a room in Lorenzo Young’s house and about nine o’clock that night my eldest daughter, Emily, was born. (This house was later called ‘the old log row’, and was situated west and on the same block as the Lion House.)
Later, when some of the Saints began to make other settlements, there were quite a number of vacant houses. Brother Young got one for me in the 12th Ward. The day I was to move, something hindered, and it was dark before I got started. I did not know where the place was for I had not been to look at it. The road seemed long. I thought we must be going a good way from where I had been, as it was too dark to see anything outside the house. I lit a candle and took a look inside. If my sister Lydia had not come with me, to help me, I should have gone back with the team. There was one good sized room with a very good floor but there was no window except where a log had been cut out. There was no latch on the door and no heat. I had to step down one or two feet to get at the fireplace. It had one chair, one small chest that served as a table. I had six plates, knives and forks, and one tin tumbler that served to drink from and also for a candlestick. I did not stay there long. I moved into a more comfortable house nearer my friends. In 1852 my three were sick and on 26th of September, my little Edward died and I went to stay with my mother a short time.”
Emily had five other children after the birth of Emily. Her daughter Emily, was married to Hyrum B. Clawson–a plural wife. Caroline was married to Mark Croxall but later divorced. Later, she married George Q. Cannon–a plural wife. She was born February 1st, 1851. Joseph Don Carlos was born on May, 1855. He attended school in the East and studied architecture. He supervised the finishing of the Salt Lake Temple and was Church Architect at two different periods. While acting in this office he built the beautiful Church Administration Building. My mother, Miriam, was born in the Lion House. She married Leonard G. Hardy. Josephine was born in the Lion House and married Albert Carrington Young. Also born in the Lion House was Lura, who died in infancy.
Emily, in 1869, went to live in the “Forest Farm House,” with her three youngest children. At that time the farm was large with herds of dairy cattle. I have been told that butter was made there to supply the families in the Lion House. Mother told me of the thrill she and her sister Josephine, had when they sneaked into the pantry and stuck their fingers into the pans of milk to taste the delicious cream. There is now a large wooden bowl in the restored Home that was used for working over the butter. Whether it is the same one used formerly in the Home, I do not know. In a later writing Emily tells of her health breaking while at the Farm. She left there in 1873.
One of her homes, the first given to her by Brigham Young, was on 5th East just below South Temple on the west side of the street. She also lived in the Womens’ Exponent Office Building, located on the corner of South Temple and State Street. I remember the place, with its whole north wall against the earth. It was about a third of a “dug-out.’ The Alta Club now occupies the site. Grandma was living there when I was born, as that is my birthplace. I remember her in a home on South Fifth East, opposite Liberty Park, about a block north of 13th South, which was then 10th South. There the three youngest children built homes nearby. Twice she spent some time in San Francisco, staying with her daughter, Emily Clawson, who was on the underground.
I remember Grandma taking old dresses of the family and making small dresses out of them for the youngest children, boys and girls. Left over pieces were cut for quilts, always in symmetrical form; and then came carpet rags, sewn together, and the remaining small pieces of fine material were formed into flowerettes and leaves, and sewn onto split burlap sacks, lined and backed with durable material, such as old heavy draperies. She also made many lovely bed spreads and pillow shams of net, darning beautiful patterns into it. She also made two net dresses for grown granddaughters, and some lovely aprons. (I donated one of the aprons to the Forest Farm Home.) I also remember seeing Grandma plucking either ducks, or geese, and putting flannel jackets on them. This was at her home on South 5th East, by Liberty Park. She also dyed many pieces of material, and I wonder if her thoughts were not with her young days when she saw felt hats dyed in the Father’s shop.
Grandma was well-read and did a lot of writing, although her schooling was limited. She had a number of articles published in “The Womans’ Exponent Magazine.” She had a gift of expressing her thoughts very well. She also wrote some good poetry. Her son-in-law, George Q. Cannon, said her understanding of many things was above her time.
Emily always bore a strong testimony of the Gospel and had the gift of tongues although she often suppressed the desire to speak, feeling it was best. In later years she did a great deal of Temple Work, in the St. George Temple, some in the Logan and Manti Temples, and later in the Salt Lake Temple, after it was finished. She was tall, slim, and rather dark complexioned. She died in 1899, in the first house given to her by Brigham Young, and then owned by her daughter, Emily Clawson. She is buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery. A beautiful eulogy of her, written by Emmeline B. Wells, was published in the Womens’ Exponent after her death.
The following is a poem she wrote at the time of President Brigham Young’s death:
Speak not a word to dishonor his name,
Lisp not a sound but in praise,
Close up the mouth that would sully his name
Or tarnish his honor in death.
Low in the dust he has bowed his head
His spirit has soared away
He has gone where the wicked will trouble no more
The noble, the true and the brave.