HISTORY OF SARAH ECKERSLEY ROBINSON
(by a granddaughter, Mildred G. Weaver)
Sarah Eckersley was the daughter of William and Hannah Hardy Eckersley, and was born 15th of February, 1844, at Oldham, Lancaster County, England.
Hannah Hardy, Sarah’s mother, was born at Oldham, Lancashire County, England, on the 19th of June, 1815.
William Eckersley, Sarah’s father, was born the year 1810, at Oldham, Lancaster County, England. He was married to Hannah in the year of 1833 when she was 18 and he was 23.
To this union came four daughters and one son: Ann–born 15 Oct 1834; Mary–born 1 June 1837; Fanny–born 18 July 1840; Sarah–born 15 Feb 1844.
In the year 1845, when Sarah was about one year old, her parents and sisters left England and came to this country for the Gospel’s sake. After a six weeks voyage they landed in St. Louis where they discovered that Sarah was totally deaf. This tragedy was due to an illness Sarah had on the ship.
While in St. Louis, a son, James Henry was born, July 1846. This child passed away just five weeks after birth and was buried in St. Louis. Three years after their arrival in St. Louis, Sarah’s father, William Eckersley, died in 1847 at the age of 37, and was buried in St. Louis.
Note: In the book, Pioneer Women of Faith & Fortitude, Vol I, a biography of Hannah Hardy Eckersley Crompton states:
The following year (after the birth and death of baby James Henry) William went into town, and some say he was mugged and killed for the money he had hidden in his coat, because when he was found there was no money. This left Hannah with four small girls and no support. She took employment at the largest hotel in St. Louis and earned enough money to get the family to Council Bluffs, Iowa, the taking off place for Utah.
Sarah’s mother left St. Louis in 1850 with family and went to Council Bluffs, Iowa. There she met and married John Crompton. This family, with the desire to come to Zion, began their trek west. Upon their arrival in Platte River Nebraska, a daughter, Emma, was born to them on the 21st of July 1853. A few months later they arrived in Salt Lake.
They lived for a short time in Cottonwood, where Sarah’s sister, Elvira, was born, 15 November 1855. Later the family moved to Camp Floyd (Cedar Fork) where they resided until after the arrival of Johnson’s army. Later, the family moved to American Fork, where the children were finally raised.
Although Sarah was totally deaf, she displayed an intelligent mind with great intuition and much wit and a sense of good humor.
She was known to play an April Fool’s joke on occasion; one of which was remembered by friends of her childhood. One day when she was about 10 years of age, as she was playing in front of her house, a wagon load of wheat driven by John Herbert, came by. Sarah ran to the young driver of the wagon and motioned to him that grain was falling on the ground from the wagon. He stopped his horses and getting down from his wagon, he went around to the back to inspect. At this moment, Sarah clapped her hands and laughed merrily.
Sarah was a very good swimmer as a small child and could dive as well. One of her favorite games was to dive into the deep creek bed which ran, perhaps, the distance of half block. At times pennies were tossed into the creek by the passerby for the purpose of watching her dive in, like a little fish, after them.
She grew into a beautiful woman, with black hair and blue eyes. She was about 5 feet 5 inches tall and very slender. She was as light as a feather on her feet, having never been known to stumble or to be awkward.
At the dances, she was the belle of the ball. All the men liked her and wanted to dance with her, because she never missed a step.
She learned to spin and weave at a very early age. She learned also to knit and crochet and to sew fine seams by hand. She did these things very well and was very particular with her work. She was well known for her find handicraft. She also made straw hats. After her marriage and family had arrived, she took the time to teach her daughters the fine arts of sewing while they were at a very young and tender age.
At the age of twenty-three, on the 15th of December, 1867, she became the plural wife of William Walker Robinson. The wedding took place in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah. They made their home on the corner of 1st West and 1st South in American fork, Utah.
Sarah became the mother of five children: Sarah Ann–born 16 September 1868; Hannah–born in 1871 and died 1872; Fannie–born 25 May 1876; Lot–born 19 January 1880; and Melinda–born 16 January 1883.
Sarah Robinson lived through the hardships of pioneer life from her birth and never faltered in the faith. Her husband’s first wife died August 12, 1876, leaving a family of eight children to Sarah’s care, adding to the two which were her own. She finished raising them to the best of her ability. She was 32 at the time.
Although handicapped by loss of speech through deafness caused by illness when a small child, and thus unable to read, she gleaned a remarkable spirit by her attendance at church and so great was her power of feeling that it seemed to more than balance her deficiencies. Her implicit faith was an example and inspiration to others. She was a loving mother and an industrious citizen, passing through all the hardships incident to pioneer life, never faltering.
She was an immaculate housekeeper and a very good cook, always seeming to know instinctively how to make food taste so very good.
Sarah could tell you when a train was coming two miles away and from which direction. Her great intuitiveness and discernment of spirit, which was displayed in so many ways, was her greatest boon and many times a life saver. For example, in the early days of her marriage, upon returning to her home, she sensed the presence of someone in the house. Quietly, she stepped to her bed and looking under she found a man crouched there. Acting quickly, she grabbed her broom and whacking him, she chased him from the house.
She always had a flock of chickens which she always kept confined in a net wire fence. The neighbors chickens would come to her yard and lay eggs and when Sarah found them, she would take them to the neighbor who owned the chickens. In her own way or language she always sang to her babies as she rocked them to sleep. She could always tell, somehow when her babies had awakened. :She was a loving and gentle mother to her children, and showed great faith in their behalf many times. When daughter Fannie, about 7 years of age, became very ill, Sarah called her own mother to her home to help her nurse the child to health. One evening as Sarah’s husband returned home from work he was met by his mother-in-law, to be informed that Fannie had passed away just a few minutes before. William, without a word, turned and ran next door south to his neighbor, Patriarch William Greenwood, who hastened back with him and helped administer to Fannie. The faith of this couple was exercised in the prayer offered to their Father in Heaven, for the restored life of their child and their prayers were answered. Fannie lived and grew to womanhood, to marry and raise a family of her own.
William Robinson was a very good man and a good husband to Sarah. He loved her dearly, and because of her handicap, he was blessed with inspiration in her behalf. He did much toward the disciplining and teaching of their children and the administering to the sick in the family.
Although Sarah was totally deaf, she did much of her own shopping, taking her own eggs to market and counting her own change when she received it.
She was a lover of nature all of her life. She took great pleasure in everything that goes to making a home beautiful, to the flowers and shrubs about her house, that one could hardly pass by without stopping to admire their splendor. Her plants were always at their best, and Sarah experienced great joy in giving flowers to her many friends and neighbors which gained her many loyal friends. A prize was once offered for the best kept lawn and flower garden, and William and Sarah’s place took the prize.
William passed away on the 21st of September 1923, at the age of 90 years, leaving Sarah alone at the age of 79. One year later her eldest daughter, Sarah Ann, who had been ill for many years, passed away on November 13, 1924.
Sarah, who loved to take long walks to and from her son Lot’s home in American Fork, took her last walk to her son’s home on March 14, 1929. In two nights there, her spirit quietly and peacefully passed from her body as she slept, in the early hours of the morning of 16th of March, 1929, at the age of 85 years.
At the time of her death, her descendants consisted of not only her own children, but 31 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren.