Amanda Morgan Barlow Tanner

AmandaTanner-OliveTannerAmandaMorganBarlowTannerMy mother, Amanda Morgan was born on April 27, 1852 at Swan Village, Woodsetton, Sedgley Parish, Staffordshire, England. She was the seventh child of David Morgan and Hannah Turner. The earliest remembrance of her home in England, was of a comfortable, thatched roof cottage.

While a baby in arms, she had the great misfortune of losing the sight of her left eye. There were large patches of briars near their home and one day her sister swung a long branch of briars and a thorn penetrated the pupil of her left eye.

Her father, David Morgan, was an Engineer by trade and made a very good living. His work made it necessary for the family to move from town to town. When she was three years of age they moved to Broadwaters, Wolverly near Kidderminster, where he worked as Head Engineer in the iron works. Amanda started school there at the age of three and one-half years.

Her mother and her grandmother, Hannah Smith Turner, were both baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints about 1851. Her grandmother was living with the family at that time and died in their home on October 3, 1854. Amanda, her father, brothers Jesse and David, and sister Agatha were not baptized until April 15, 1861, a few days before they sailed for America.

As soon as Amanda’s mother was baptized she started saving money to bring the family to Zion.

Grandfather tried very hard to persuade Amanda to remain in England with him. When he failed to persuade her, he decided to join the Church and go to America with his family. The family sailed from Liverpool on April 23, 1861 on the ship “Underwriter.”  There were 624 Saints aboard under the Presidency of Milo Andrus, Homer Duncan and Charles W. Penrose. They had many hardships while crossing the ocean. It was crowded and they had to live on hard sea biscuits, corn beef and salt pork. Not knowing how to cook the meat they went hungry many times.

Mary Morgan Pingree, Amanda Morgan Barlow Tanner and Olive Morgan Hodge

Mary Morgan Pingree, Amanda Morgan Barlow Tanner and Olive Morgan Hodge

Amanda, her sister Eudora, and a friend used to pound the biscuits up, add water, sugar, and nutmeg and take it to the cook to be baked and they thought they were having pudding. They had to wait their turn to get it cooked. Many times it would be dark before they received it back.

They arrived in New York, on May 22, 1861 after sailing on the ocean just one month. The Civil War had just started and they had to detour from the usual route to get to Florence,Nebraska. They traveled by way of New Orleans by train. After crossing the Mississippi River at New Orleans they took a steamboat up the river to Florence, Nebraska (Later called Winter Quarters), arriving on June 2, 1861.

From the 23rd to the 31st of June upwards of 200 church wagons, with four yoke of oxen to each wagon, and carrying 150,000 pounds of flour, left the Great Salt Lake Valley for the Missouri River to bring in the poor. They traveled in four companies under Captains Joseph W. Young, Ira Eldridge, Joseph Horne, and John R. Murdock. The Morgan family started across the plains on June 30th with Captain Ira Eldridge Company.

Mother walked most of the way, at times losing her shoes in the mud. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on September 15, 1861, coming through Parley’s Canyon. Amanda, her sister, Agatha, their father and two other men walked from Parley’s Park that day, a distance of thirty five miles, starting at sunrise before the wagon train did.

Captain Eldridge instructed them to go to his home in Sugar House Ward and ask his folks for some bread and milk, which they did. In mother’s word, “Oh how good it tasted after that long walk, and how we did eat.”

The wagons arrived in Salt Lake City about 3:00 p.m. and camped on the 8th Ward Square (where the Federal Bldg. now stands). A friend of Grandmother Morgan’s came and took them to his home where they stayed until they could get a house to live in.

Valison Tanner Sr, Emily Barlow Tanner and Amanda Tanner

Valison Tanner Sr, Emily Barlow Tanner and Amanda Tanner


Aunt Mary Pingree had come from England before her family. She had married Job Pingree and was living in Ogden, Utah. She soon came to see her family and took Amanda back to Ogden to live with her. She lived there until June 1862 and attended school. There is no record of more schooling, although she may have gone later. She was an avid reader and schooled herself by reading good books.

At this time money was scarce and as everything was strange to them and the family suffered many hardships. They lived on bread, raw onions and beet molasses. There was no food in the country. When grandfather worked he had to take whatever the people had for pay.

In 1863 the family moved to Fairfield in Cedar Valley where grandfather got work for $1.00 per day and the family thought they were rich. That fall the grasshoppers came and ate all of the crops. Flour was hard to get at $20.00 per 100 pounds. Also in the fall of 1867 the grasshoppers came so thick they darkened the sun. They laid their eggs in the ground and the next spring the young ate everything. The people would dig trenches, put straw in them, then drive the hoppers in and set fire to them.

A remnant of Johnson’s Army was stationed at Camp Floyd, near Fairfield. The soldiers were very rough and uncouth. The girls were afraid to go out after dark without an escort.

Amanda Morgan and Joseph Smith Barlow were married on November 30, 1867 at Cedar Fort, Utah County, Utah by James Rhodebach. She was fifteen years old and Joseph was nineteen, both very young to be taking on the responsibilities of married life.

Most of the men left home and went to work on the Union Pacific Railroad, which was being built at that time. Joseph went in May and came home only twice in a year. There were a lot of …rough bad men there and he was beaten and robbed of his money. He was beaten so severely he could not work, so came home a few days before the job was finished in May 1869.

The first son, Joseph Smith, was born on January 27, 1870. A daughter, Alice Ann, was born on September 24, 1872, the third child Mary Emily, was born on February 8, 1875.

Amanda’s husband, Joseph died on August 28, 1876 of appendicitis, leaving her homeless and destitute and with a large store bill to pay. Jesse, the fourth child was born on January 11, 1877, almost five months after his father’s death.

As soon as mother was able to work she did washing, house cleaning, nursing, sewing and weaving or anything she could get to support her children. The wages were fifty cents per day, a small wage on which to feed four children.

Four months after Joseph Barlow died Amanda went to the temple and had him sealed to her along with their children.

Mother had one good friend, William Carson. He was very kind to her. One time she was completely out of food. She was full of despair and prayed, asking the Lord what she should do to feed her children. In a short time a knock came on the door. It was Uncle William with a sack of flour for her. She knew her prayers had been answered, as they were many times in the years that followed.

She kept house for Uncle William for some time. While she was living there, Joseph and Jesse had diphtheria and were very ill.

Mother was finally obliged to move in with her parents so her mother could care for the children while she worked.

In the spring of 1878, mother’s brothers, Jesse, David, and Llewellyn moved to Grouse Creek, Box Elder County, Utah to make homes. However, in the fall, David and Llewlyn returned to Fairfield. Jesse settled on Pine Creek at what is known to this day as the Morgan Place.

Grandma Morgan died on June 3, 1883, which added to the hardships of mother’s life.

In January 1884 Uncle Jesse returned to Fairfield and took Joseph and Grandpa Morgan to Grouse Creek. Joseph worked for Samuel Kimball, herding horses, and for the Sparks and Tinnin cow outfit as wrangler. Most of his wages were sent to his mother.

Grandfather Morgan lived with Uncle Jesse’s family during this period. The following year, on February 4, 1885, Uncle Jesse brought mother and the rest of her children to Grouse Creek where they started a new life. Uncle Jesse helped mother in every way he could. She greatly appreciated his kindness and tried to repay him by giving him a home during the last years of his life.

The trip to Grouse Creek was an eventful one. While crossing the desert, Alice was walking and started to sink in some quicksand. The driver of one of the wagons stopped to help her and the wagon sank in the mud so deep they had to leave it until spring. When they returned for it they found nothing had been molested.

On arriving in Grouse Creek mother immediately went to work at the Sam Kimball home, as their children had diphtheria. She then went to work at the Richard Warburton home. Their children were also stricken with the dread disease. She worked there for several months. Her children, at this time were living with her brother Jesse and his wife Lizzie.

In the late spring she moved into a one-room house at what was called the Burg.

On June 5, 1885 Amelia Graehl and Charlotte Squires of Brigham City visited Grouse Creek and organized the first Primary Organization, with mother as President, Alice Kimber, her counselor, JamesBetteridge as secretary, Emily E. Paskett as Assistant Secretary and Alice Barlow as Treasurer. Grouse Creek Ward at that time was in Box Elder Stake.

Mother taught school part of one winter at Grouse Creek. The next winter she boarded the school teacher, Ellen Stark, from Brigham City.

In the fall of 1886 she moved again to the West Fork of Grouse Creek (now known as Etna) on what was called the Worthington Field. This is where my sister, Emily, was stricken with polio, which left her with one leg much shorter than the other. Grandfather and mother lived there a short time then moved again to the Richard Warburton ranch, which my grandfather leased while Mr. Warburton was in Tacoma, Nevada, plying his trade of blacksmith.


Tanner Ranch at Death Valley

My father, Valison Tanner, at this time had just bought the Death Valley Ranch from Charles Smith and he hired my mother to keep house for him, thus giving them the home they needed.

On October 15, 1887, my mother, Amanda Morgan Barlow and my father, Valison Tanner, were married at this home by Benjamin F. Cook, Justice of the Peace, according to my sister, Emily, who was present. They were married in the afternoon and all the relatives were present. In the evening, neighbors and friends and cowboys from Sparks and Herald Outfit in Nevada came and participated in an old fashioned dance. My uncle, Alma Tanner, and Frank Hales, a neighbor, were the orchestra, each playing the violins. They danced until midnight then lunch was served. After lunch the dance continued until dawn. Breakfast was served to the family and also the cowpokes who had many miles to ride on horseback to return to their work.

The home mother and father lived in was a four room log house, with a dirt roof, a cellar built up with rock on the inside, making it very cool for summer. All houses in the community were built in this same manner.

Mother was very industrious and economical. She soon made this house into a comfortable home. Here she at last found peace and security for herself and her children. From this time on they never lacked for the necessities of life.

Four children were born to this second marriage, Thomas Lester, born on May 8, 1888. He died on May 11, 1888. David Ralph, born on April 25, 1889, Valison born on June 12, 1891, and Olive, born on November 23, 1896.

Life on the ranch was a busy one for all. There were always lots of relatives and company dropping in to stay overnight and sometimes longer. A short time after my parent’s marriage, father’s mother, his two brothers, Moroni and Allen and his sister, Jemima came from Tooele and made their home with them for some time. Aunt Jemima soon married William James Kimber, and went to a home of her own.

On June 20, 1894, the youngest brother, Allen and Emily were married. They bought a farm at Grouse Creek and grandma Tanner and Moroni went to live with them.

Although there was much work to do on the ranch, mother enjoyed her life. She was kept busy helping to raise a garden, cooking for hay crews during the summer and threshing crews in the fall, picking goose berries, currants, crab apples and plums, making jam, jelly and pickles, bottling fruit, churning butter, making sausage and other jobs too numerous to mention. Her time was never wasted. She always managed to accomplish something each day.

She was adept at crocheting, knitting, sewing and making rugs and quilts. The floors of our log house were always carpeted with home made carpets and rugs. To make these rugs, the rags were torn and sewed and then rolled into balls. In the fall when the grain was taken to Oakley, Idaho to be milled into flour, the balls of rags were sent to Mrs. Emery, who wove them into yards of carpet. Mother cut these into strips and sewed them together to fit the rooms.

Every spring and fall the carpets were untacked from the floors, put on the clothes line and beat with a broom to remove the dust. Fresh wheat straw was put on the floors and the carpets tacked down again. What a hard job.

The culinary water used in the home was obtained from the irrigating ditch, which ran by the house.  About 100 yards up on a hill west of the house was a spot where wild rose bushes were growing. My father got the idea that there may be water close to the surface. The men folks dug a tunnel into the hill twenty five or thirty feet and a spring of ice cold water came bubbling up. For several years the water was carried from this spring as they could not afford to buy pipe. In time it was piped into the house. I can remember how anxious we were to have the line completed. We would watch every day to see how far the trench had been dug and the pipe connected.

Not having to carry water lightened the work around the house considerably. There were only two other families at Grouse Creek at this time with water piped into their home, George A. Blanthorn and George S. Cook.

As far back as I can remember, with the exception of two or three years, mother boarded the school teachers, bringing a little, greatly needed cash into the home. At times during the busy season my father would hire one of the neighbor girls to help with the work.

With the exception of minor disturbances all went well in mother’s life until the last week in September 1906 when my father fell from a load of hay, his head striking a post hole, which broke his neck. He lay paralyzed from his armpits down for six weeks. He died on November 13, 1906.

Mother was again a widow with a family to support but this time her family was much older. Ralph was seventeen, Valison fifteen, and Olive, almost ten. With the help of her older, married sons, Joseph and Jesse, and the younger boys she continued to operate the ranch.

Because Amanda and Valison could only be married civilly, she and Valison’s children were automatically sealed to the first husband and this is where it gets interesting. Amanda felt sorry for Valison so she sought special permission from the prophet Lorenzo Snow to have Valison sealed to a person who was already deceased and apparently had never married (Mary Turner). She also got permission for the boys to be sealed to him. She kept Olive sealed to Joseph and herself and their children.

After two or three years the younger boys decided they would like to go to town and find work so Ralph went to Park City where Uncle Dave Morgan lived and worked in the mines. A little later Val went to Ogden and worked in the Railroad Shops. The ranch was leased to a son-in-law, Delbert F. Hart.

Mother was very lonesome at this time as she was more or less confined to her home. My father had always been very willing to take her wherever she wanted to go, at times he would even leave the hay field or other work to see that she attended Relief Society meeting. There were few Sundays that we did not attend church at the Burg when he was alive.

A year or so before my father died, he, mother and I went to see Joseph or Jesse at their home. We were riding on a bob sleigh with a hayrack on it. As we were coming home the sleigh tipped over on one side and the rack with mother, dad and I was thrown off.

Mother’s shoulder was hurt and she suffered the rest of her life with this injury, making it difficult for her to sweep, churn, iron or work butter. These jobs became mine as I became old enough to do them. It also made it almost impossible for her to climb into a wagon or high buggy.

She made a visit to Ogden, after my father’s death, and purchased a surrey from her nephew, John Pingree. It had low steps on each side and fringe around the top. It was mother’s pride and joy and just what she needed for easy boarding.

Mother decided to build a house for herself and me at Grouse Creek so she could walk to church. The boys ran the ranch.

She bought a two-acre lot from Elizabeth Cook in 1912, bought bricks from a man who was making them at Grouse Creek for Wilford Richins, and in the late summer of 1913 she and I moved into the four room house where I now live.

She was very happy to be where she could attend church every Sunday and mingle with her friends and have close neighbors. She later sold half of her lot to Joseph and he built a seven room house next to hers. Her son, Jesse, bought Joseph’s house when Joseph was called into the Stake Presidency and moved to Malta, Idaho.

During her life at Grouse Creek she served as Primary President twice, Sunday School Religion Class and MIA Teacher. She was one of the first Relief Society Visiting Teachers, remaining in this position most of her life. She served as Theology and Literature Teacher, second counselor, first counselor and later served five years as President of the Relief Society. She was a member of the Old Folks Committee and a member of the Ward Genealogical Committee.

She obtained all the family group sheets she could from her mother and she and her sisters, Mary and Olive, spent much time doing temple work for their dead relatives. She was very desirous of having her children and grandchildren carry on this work.

In examining the old Relief Society Ward record books, I made note that she attended 300 meetings and had taken part in 209 of them.

Mother’s children, her home, and her church were very important to her. She was sincere in her religion and taught her children the gospel at every opportunity. Her greatest desire was to see them remain faithful to the church and live virtuous and honest lives.

She suffered for many years with cancer but never complained unduly, attending her meetings and helping her family as long as she possibly could. She was a good, kind mother and grandmother, a brave and courageous woman and a true and faithful Latter-day-saint.

She passed away on January 24, 1931 at her home in Grouse Creek, Box Elder County, Utah and was buried in the Grouse Creek Cemetery.

Written by daughter, Olive Tanner Kimber from memory and also incidents related to her by Amanda. Also information was obtained from a short history written by herself for her granddaughter, Mildred Barlow Lind.

After Olive died, the church changed its policy and women who had passed away but had been married to two men could then have their descendants seal them to both men.

So the children of Olive (Verna, Dorothy & Delma) gathered up some other relatives that were interested and they stood as proxies in the Salt Lake Temple for Amanda, Valison, Val, Ralph, Olive, and  Thomas Lester and sealed them as a family. They were just sad that Olive was not alive to participate and know about it.