Tuesday, April 30, 2013




Sarah Ann Robinson Wrigley was born 16 September 1864 to Sarah Eckersley and William Walker Robinson in American Fork, Utah.  She was the oldest of four children born to Sarah, but she had several half brothers and sisters as her father was a polygamist. W. W. Robinson married two women, with Sarah's mother being the second wife, who actually raised all of the children as the first wife died young.  It is interesting to note that Sarah's mother was deaf.


Her early childhood was spent in American Fork.  Her father, being a farmer, she learned to work and help on the farm.  She learned to milk cows and feed stock. 


     At a very early age, she learned to sew, and became a fine dressmaker.  She said her father had stock in Provo Woolen Mills and he would bring home a bolt of wool material and she would help her mother make dresses and shirts for all the family.  They would all be made of the same bolt of material.  Because of this training, she became the leading dressmaker where ever she lived.


Sarah attended school in American Fork and often talked of Brother Forbes as one of her teachers.


She lived for a time with her Aunt Ellie Steel who learned to love her as she would her own daughter.


Sarah went to Salt Lake City and hired out as a maid to Rudger Clawson and a family by the name of Pierpont.  She also went to Bingham Canyon and worked for her Aunt Rachel Main who ran the railroad boarding house.  With all this experience, she became a very good cook and housekeeper.


On May 15, 1888, she married Edward Charles Wrigley (Ed Steel).  They made their home in American Fork for about one year, then moved to Salt Lake City.  Edward was a carpenter by trade.  His Uncle Richard Chamberlain in Salt Lake was a contractor and when Edward could not find work in American Fork, he would go to Salt Lake and work for his uncle.


About the year 1893-4, Edward's father, Joseph Wrigley, who lived in Ferron, Emery County, Got him to move down there and homestead a farm.  They lived on the farm three years but Edward was not a farmer.  He loved his trade, carpentry, so they moved back to Lehi, Utah, where his mother lived.  They bought a lot and he built a house on it.  He would still go to Salt Lake to work when there was no work in Lehi so about 1909 (when Sarah was 45), they moved to Salt Lake again. (For more details of this experience, see the history of Edward Charles Wrigley.)


Sarah was a Relief Society visiting teacher and was always called on when there was a banquet to be served or cooking in any form as she was a splendid cook and manager.  Sarah loved to make quilts and did all kinds of handwork:  crocheting, knitting, tatting, embroidery.  Her home and the houses of her children were adorned with her handiwork.


Sarah loved flowers and always had a beautiful yard and garden.  He children always dressed well as she was a good dressmaker and had good taste.  She could make over articles and decorate them with her handiwork, and they would be beautiful.  At one time in Lehi, she gave dressmaking lessons, and taught how to cut patters from a cardboard model.


Soon after they moved to Salt Lake, she discovered she had creeping paralysis.  She gradually lost the use of her legs and for seven years (beginning when she was 50 years of age) was confined to a wheel chair.  She never gave up.  Until shortly before she died, she was able to do her own house work and cooking and care for her two small children, Helen and Robin.  She had a chair on casters which she would push around from one room to another.  Her son, Charles, lived across the street and his wife, Syrena, would help when she needed help.  Finally, toward the end, her daughter Nona, and her husband moved in to keep house. 


Shortly before her death, she bore a strong testimony of the gospel to her bishop.  Sarah passed away 13 November, 1925 at the age of 57 of broncho pneumonia, and was by then, flat on her back from paralysis.  She died in Salt Lake City, and was buried in Lehi Cemetery.  When she died, her oldest daughter was 37 years old, and her youngest child was 10 years old.  Her husband died four years later in December of 1929.


The Following is taken from the history of Sarah's husband, Edward Charles Wrigley, also written by Sarah Adelaide Wrigley Kirkham.


When Ed and Sarah had been married for about six years and had three children, Charley, Adah and I (Sarah), his father (Joseph Wrigley) came to American Fork to see him and convinced the family to move to Castle Valley in Emery County, Utah.  They homesteaded a farm between Ferron and Castledale. 


Mother and Dad had a hard time in Castle Valley.  Father knew very little about farming. They lived so far from the railroad that local produce was very cheap and food that had to be shipped in was so high it was not within their reach.  Mother said she had to trade three dozen eggs for a spool of thread.  Sugar was fifty cents a pound, a luxury they could not afford.  They used honey for sweetening until mother could hardly stand the smell of it.  I was only five years old, but I can remember what a grand occasion it was when we got a box from Grandpa Robinson in American Fork.  He would send shoes and pieces of cloth for dresses.  In one box he put in a note that said, "If you don't like these things, send them back." 


We lived like this for three years.  In that time it seems like mother said we made five trips to American Fork.  Each trip was made over a different route, and during all seasons of the year.  I remember my parents made a fire to melt the snow so they could make their bed by the fire.  Then they made a bed in the corner of the wagon for us kids.  The horses would be tied to the wagon and we could hear them eating all night.  It took from five to eleven days to make the trip.


One time we were caught in a sand storm.  Father had to get out and dig the sand away from the wheels so the horses could move the wagon.  It seems like that was near Orangeville. 


When I was eight years old, we moved to Lehi in the cottage back of the Union Hotel, which Grandma Stoddart (Edward's birth mother) ran.  From here, we moved into a one room house in the Locust Grove. Willie was born in the Locust Grove. Soon after that, father bought a lot and built a house.  Then when we moved into the new house, Nona, Menta, and Velma were born. 


Willie had died in December, five months after his eighth birthday when his mother was six months pregnant with Velma.  (That story is told in the history of Sarah Adelaide Wrigley Kirkham.)  Velma was born three months after Willie's death, but died of scarlet fever when she was four years old.  At that time of Velma's death,  Helen was very young. 


When Velma died, mother(Sarah) was on the verge of a nervous breakdown so we moved to Salt Lake so she would not have to be alone while father was working in Salt Lake.  Robin (Bob) was born in Salt Lake in 1915. (It is interesting to note that Sarah was 27 years old when her youngest brother was born.  Edward would have been 51 years old and his wife, Sarah was 47 at the time of Bob's birth.)

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