Sarah Elizabeth Morgan Kimber

Parents: William Samuel Morgan was born at Cadoxton, Glamorgan, Wales, in 1829 at his father’s farm, called “Ynys-ymond Isof”, the second of the seven children born to William and Sarah Davies Morgan. His mother died when he was twelve and at nineteen, he left home to work as a collier.  The mine was some distance from the Morgan home and it was there that William heard the gospel and was baptized at age twenty.  He returned home for a visit and left a copy of the Book of Mormon with his family.  His father didn’t come to share his son’s new beliefs, but offered little resistance as each of his children were immersed in the waters of baptism at the hands of the Mormon Elders.

William emigrated in April of 1856, with the help of the church’s new Perpetual Emigration Fund and boarded the Samuel Curling, with 706 other saints, to sail to America.  During the voyage, he met Catherine Jarman, another young Welch convert, who was traveling to America with her brother, Thomas and his family.   William and Catherine fell in love aboard ship.  After docking in Boston, the group of 550 Welch saints, under the direction of Dan Jones, rode in cattle cars to Iowa City, Iowa, where they joined handcart companies to start west.

William and Catherine were married on the 20th of June, just three days before they left with the Edward Bunker Company bound for Utah.  And so it was that the newlyweds spent their honeymoon days on the trail as they walked the 1300 miles to Zion.  When they arrived in Utah that October 2nd, their long journey was almost finished and their blessings were many.

However, behind them on the high plains of Wyoming, the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies were struggling with short food supplies, fatigue, cold weather, illness and death brought on by the heavy snows of an early winter.  Rescue teams were soon sent from the valley to their aid.

Many Welch and English emigrants were moving to the new settlements in Tooele County, some 40 miles west and south of the Salt Lake Valley.  The presiding Elder of the settlement on Clover Creek, some twenty miles south of Tooele was the former LDS Apostle, Luke S. Johnson.  Brother Johnson was a medical doctor, having received his training in Virginia before practicing medicine as a physician in Kirtland, Ohio.  He was the first medical doctor in Tooele County.

It was in Rush Valley, at the new Johnson Settlement (Shambip) on Clover Creek, that William and Catherine Morgan made their new home.  They are listed among the first settlers to arrive and William’s name appears on the list of brethren with the original water rights on Clover Creek.  Each of the families drew lots for their ten acre plots and lived in dugouts that first winter, as they built up their farms along the creek.  The Morgan’s first child, Sarah Elizabeth was born the following year at their new home on Clover Creek.

Sarah Elizabeth Morgan was born at the Johnson Settlement on Clover Creek in Rush Valley, Tooele County, Utah on the 26th of November 1857.  She was the first child of William Samuel and Catherine Jarman Morgan.  Her father’s younger brother, Evan Samuel Morgan, who had arrived earlier that fall from Wales, wrote in his journal of her birth, “Thursday, a little baby girl was born to Catherine, my brother William’s wife, their first child, and named Sarah”.  William and Evan built a small adobe home on the Morgan farm that fall.

Eighteen months later, in July 1859, Sarah’s baby sister, Margaret Catherine, was born. That fall in November, the first Sunday School was organized on Clover Creek and their father, William was called as the 1st assistant to the new Superintendent.  Their meetings were held in the newly completed one-room school/meeting house which was barricaded by the largest cedar posts available and served as a fort during times of danger.

Two years later, in September 1861, William and Catherine Morgan traveled to the Endowment House in Salt Lake City to receive their temple blessings and be sealed eternally.  Just six weeks later they welcomed their first son into the world and named him William David.  Another little son, Evan Samuel, joined the family in 1863.  The following year, in the fall of 1864, six year old Sarah Elizabeth started school at the new little community building in Clover.  In May of 1866, another baby girl, Annie Arrabella joined the Morgan family.  It was six months later, on the 4th of November that Sarah Elizabeth was baptized into the LDS Church, just three weeks before her ninth birthday.

Apostle George A. Smith visited the saints on Clover Creek in 1867 and suggested that the settlement move to a new location about two miles further down the creek, that he deemed more suitable.  The new community was to be called St. John.  Most of the saints heeded his suggestion and made the move.

It appears that William and Catherine also made the move at that time, leaving behind their little farm, and moved their family to Tooele, some twenty miles to the north.  Sarah Elizabeth would have been ten years old when the family left Clover Creek.  The Morgan family settled on acreage on the southwest edge of Tooele near the open range.  There they lived in a small log home and had an orchard and animals. The Indians often camped near their home.  Her father, because of his experience in the mines in Wales, started digging wells as an occupation.  He was also taken away from home quite often helping with Indian affairs.

In 1868, a new little brother, Thomas Vaughan, joined the family and two years later, in 1870, another little brother, John Franklin expanded the family to seven children.  By then Sarah Elizabeth was about to celebrate her thirteenth birthday and would have been a great help to her mother, as well as enjoying her school and church activities.

In the spring of 1873, Sarah Elizabeth was fifteen years old when her mother gave birth to her new baby brother, Daniel Osborne on March 20th.  Five days later, tragedy struck the Morgan family when on March 25th, their mother, forty-one year old Catherine Jarman Morgan, passed away of complications due to childbirth.  Sarah Elizabeth, the oldest child, had seven younger siblings, the youngest just 5 days old.  She and her thirteen year-old sister, Margaret, probably took over many of the responsibilities of the home and family to help their father at that difficult time.

We do not know when or how Sarah Elizabeth and Charles Kimber met, anything of their courtship or when they fell in love and nothing of their love story.  However, it is interesting to note that the Morgan and Kimber families arrived in Tooele about the same year.  Nevertheless, eighteen months after her mother’s death, Sarah Elizabeth and Charles were making wedding plans.

On the 16th of November 1874, sixteen year old Sarah Elizabeth Morgan and twenty-three year old Charles Kimber Jr. were at the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, where they took out their endowments and were married for eternity by Elder Daniel H. Wells.  The young couple was accompanied by their parents, William Morgan, as well as Charles Sr. and Caroline Sellwood Kimber, who also received their temple blessings and was sealed that day.  It would have been a very memorable day for the family.  The week following their wedding, Sarah celebrated her seventeenth birthday.

Charles and Sarah returned to Tooele to make their home near their families.  Phillip A. Paskett wrote, “About the time he (Charles) was married; he was working in a saw mill and had the misfortune of having two fingers cut off.  This accident came near taking his life, because of the loss of blood and it was a great expense to go to Salt Lake City to the doctor for medical care”.

During the summer of 1875, Charles Jr. and his younger brother, William, crossed the Salt Flats to the Grouse Creek area in search of ranching opportunities.  They were some of the first to arrive.  They found an area that appealed to them.  They chose a large acreage for a ranch on some natural meadows, about five miles south of West Fork (later called Etna) and returned to Tooele in the fall.  A baby daughter was born to Charles and Sarah Elizabeth on the 3rd of December in Tooele.  She was their first child and they named her Annie Elizabeth.

In late July of 1876, Charles and William returned to their ranch on lower Grouse Creek.  They cut hay from the meadows and built a small adobe house, making all the adobes by hand, and then returned to Tooele that fall, to prepare for the impending move.

In March of 1877 the plans were complete and the Kimber’s loaded their belongings and supplies and left Tooele to make the move across the Salt Flats and desert to the ranch on the Grouse Creek.  The family included Charles Jr. and Sarah with their little fifteen month-old daughter, Annie; his parents Charles Sr. and Caroline Kimber; his brother William, younger sister, Elizabeth Ann and her little twenty-two month old daughter, Clara Elizabeth.

That summer, the Kimber families were getting settled on the ranch in Grouse Creek, when 19 year-old Sarah received the shocking news that her father, forty-seven year old William Morgan, had suffocated while working in a well in Tooele.  The authorities immediately assigned guardians and ordered that the Morgan family home and property be sold and the money put into a fund for the rearing of the Morgan’s seven minor children.  Most of the younger ones were taken into the home of William’s sister, John and Eliza Davies at St. John and raised among their parent’s friends from their early years on Clover Creek.

Sarah must have felt great concern and loneliness for her family being so far away and unable to comfort and care for them.  That fall, the Kimber family was blessed when Sarah gave birth to their first son, Charles William, born the 14th of October 1877, at the Kimber Ranch in Grouse Creek.

Years later, Uncle Billy wrote of his childhood memories at the Kimber Ranch.  “He told that he and his older sister, Annie liked to wander over the surrounding hillsides and many times were gone for hours at a time.  It caused considerable alarm at home, so their mother often cautioned them to play close to home.  He and Annie apparently didn’t pay much attention to their mother’s warning, even when she told them if they strayed too far, the devil would get them.  Their next little journey took in the usual amount of time and territory.  When they finally turned their feet toward home, they spied an object all dressed in black coming down the road toward them.  The object seemed intent on getting to them and they were frightened little children as they remembered their mother’s warnings about the devil and scampered for home.  Sarah was unusually calm and composed when they related their frightening story.  As she put away her black clothes, she must have smiled to herself and thought that at last the lesson had been learned.”

Billy also told that they played regularly with the Indian children who lived near by.  “One time they found a baby bobcat and carried it home.  Their mother was not fond of the little animal and insisted that they take it back to where they found it.”  (They were lucky they didn’t meet its mother along the way.)  “As he grew, Billy spent a lot of time with his mother helping to irrigate the grain and potatoes and doing the chores when his father was other wise occupied.”

In July of 1879, when Charles’ older brother, Edward arrived from England with his wife, Mary and family, Charles and Sarah met the train at the railroad depot in Ogden.  They loaded the bags and belongings into the Kimber’s wagon and began the return trip to the Kimber Ranch at Grouse Creek.  On the trip, Edward and Mary’s little son, Charles, became very ill and it was decided to send the sick baby and his mother on the train to Lucin.  They did all they could, but the baby died near Lucin and was buried at the Kimber Ranch.   Four months later, on October 15, 1879, twenty-one year old Sarah gave birth to their second son, George Edward, at the Kimber Ranch.

It was just over a year later, on December 11, 1880, that Edward and Mary Kimber were baptized into the church.  It is interesting to note that Sarah Elizabeth Kimber, and her mother-in-law, Caroline Kimber, were also re-baptized and re-confirmed at that time, which was customary back then; a reaffirmation of their testimony of the gospel.

It appears that after Edward’s arrival, Charles and Sarah built a new home in the northern area of the ranch, for it was at Rose Point,(according to Elmer), about a mile north of the ranch home, that their twins, Elmer and Ellen, were born on the 10th of November 1881.  They were children numbers four and five.  Two and a half years later, on July 10, 1884, Evan Osborne also made his appearance.  Franklin Vaughan was born on the 27 December in 1886, just two days after Christmas.

After about ten years of living on the ranch on lower Grouse Creek, Charles and Sarah left the ranch and moved up to Grouse Creek.  Later they homesteaded a place on the north end of Grouse Creek, later called the Ballingham Place.  It was there that thirty-one year old Sarah gave birth to their baby daughter, Louisa Caroline, on the 12 of August 1889.

Uncle Oz later wrote of an experience he had after the family moved to Grouse Creek.  He was just a little boy and remembered watching his older brother, Elmer chopping a piece of paper with an ax at the woodpile near the cabin.  He wrote, “I reached for the paper to see how much was cut off, and he chopped the end off my third finger of the hand right hand at the first joint.  Dad carried me into the house where Mother was mopping the floor.  They held me so that the blood dripped into the mop bucket while they poured turpentine on the finger and wrapped it up.  We didn’t get the end of the finger before it got cold, so it couldn’t be put back on the finger.”

In January of 1891, Sarah’s brother, William David Morgan and Charles’ niece, Fannie Kimber were married in Grouse Creek.  That fall, in October, Charles and Sarah sold their ranch in Grouse Creek and started out with their eight children for southern Utah to make a new start.  They were accompanied by the Phillip A. Paskett and Heber Shaw families.  Allen Tanner also accompanied them as far as Tooele.

It is interesting to note that the Charles Kimber Jr. family membership records were removed on the 19th of October 1891, from the Grouse Creek Ward and sent to Emery County Utah.  The first night they stopped at the Kimber Ranch and stayed with Charles’ parents.  They went south to Lucin, crossed the railroad tracks, and then headed out across the Salt Flats to New Foundland.  It was a very difficult trip with their heavily loaded wagons and driving about ninety head of loose horses.

They finally reached Tooele, after two weeks on the desert, and then went on to St. John, spending a day or so at each place with extended family and friends.  They traveled on south-east and crossed the high Wasatch Mountains up through Cottonwood Canyon near Ephriam, then on up to the 9,875 ft. high Flat Canyon then down the other side.  They arrived in Huntington, in Emery County, on November 26th, where they spent the winter.  Their fifteen year-old daughter, Annie, wrote a detailed account of the trip.

The financial prospects Charles and Sarah had planned on did not develop.  Money become very tight, plans were made and the Kimber family returned to Grouse Creek seven months later, in June of 1892. They were nearly broke and without a home.

Charles returned to his career as a farmer to support his large family.  (According to Clara Chadwick, Aunt Lizzie Cooke’s daughter, the Kimber family lived in a little two-room log house behind the old post office and across the lane from Winfred’s home, which Charles later sold to Aunt Lizzie.)  We do not know if the little log home was already there or if Charles built it himself.

Uncle Oz told of his baptism that fall in Grouse Creek,” Grandfather built a dam across the irrigation ditch to make a place where the water was deep enough for my baptism.  I wore Grandfather’s overhauls and jumper.  They were extremely large for me as Grandfather weighed over 200 pounds.  After my baptism, I dressed by the fire in the fireplace.”

They had been settled in Grouse Creek for about four months when on 9 October, Sarah gave birth to a new baby daughter born at home.  She didn’t recover after the birth and just seventeen days later, thirty-four year-old Sarah Elizabeth Morgan Kimber, passed away due to the complications of childbirth.  The following notice of her death appeared in the newspaper and marked her passing.

KIMBER – At Grouse Creek, on Wednesday, October 26, 1892, Sarah E. Morgan Kimber; aged 34 years and 11 months.  She leaves a husband and nine children to morn her loss, the youngest child being but 17 days old.

Sarah’s death occurred one year to the day after the Kimber family left Grouse Creek to go south.  It is interesting to note that the Kimber family’s membership records arrived from the Huntington Ward and were read into the Grouse Creek Ward on 21 October 1892, just five days before Sarah passed away.

Sarah left behind her nine children to be raised by their father: Annie was almost 17, William (15), Edward (13), Elmer and Ellen (11), Oz (9), Frank (5), Louisa, (3) and a tiny baby daughter.

Fifteen year-old Billy was devoted to his mother.  It is said that he was easy to handle, willing to obey and slow to temper.  After her death, he was defensive and would never respond to questions about her, even in his adult years.  That seems to be the case with Sarah’s other children, as well.  They silently faced a lonely world without her.

Sarah was a loving mother; true and faithful in the gospel.   She was raised by stalwart parents who were grateful for their Welch heritage and their testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that brought them to Zion.  Sarah instilled that same love of the gospel in her children.

Aunt Annie wrote of her mother’s death, “On October 26, 1892, my dear mother, Sarah Elizabeth Morgan Kimber, passed away, leaving nine children (five boys and four girls).  I was almost seventeen years old, and being the oldest of the children, it fell to my lot to take the place of a mother to the rest of them.”

The baby, Sarah Elizabeth, was named and blessed by her grandfather, Bishop Charles Kimber Sr. on November 1st in the Grouse Creek Ward.  She was just two months old when she died, five weeks later, on 9 December.  She was buried beside her mother in the Grouse Creek Cemetery.

When Charles again left for Huntington, Utah, with his older boys, a few weeks after the death of his wife and baby daughter, it was under the care of his sister, Lizzie Cooke, that he left his daughters, Annie, Ellen and little Louisa; and  Elmer, Oz and Frank as well.  It is not known how long the older children lived with Aunt Lizzie, but she truly became a mother to the younger girls.  Her only child, Clara, was then in her late teens.  The Cooke family moved from the ranch into the little Charles Kimber home in Grouse Creek.  They built a large front addition on to it and its there that “Nell” and “Louie” grew up and where the Cooke’s lived out their lives.

Apparently Sarah’s nineteen year-old brother, Daniel Osborne Morgan, was living in Grouse Creek when she passed away. “Oz” then moved south with them and settled at Huntington where he married, then moved to Mohrland where he worked in the mine.  He settled permanently at Ferran where he remained throughout his life.  (Three of Sarah Kimber’s brothers lived at various times in Grouse Creek – William, Frank and Osborne.  William and Frank both married local girls.  Several of the Kimber children were named after Sarah’s siblings.)

Researched and written by Marvel and Junelle Lind

November 2002