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Martha Ann Hyde

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Martha Ann Hyde


Martha Ann Hyde, daughter of Rosel Hyde and Mary Ann Cowles,

became a third generation member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day

Saints when she was baptized on 28 September 1851. Her grandparents,

Polly Tilton and Heman Hyde, had accepted the gospel in 1834. Heman and

Polly took their family and moved to Kirtland in 1835. Martha's parents met

during this time and were married in Quincy, Hancock Co., Ill. Martha was

the first of twelve children born to this union. She was born in Payson,

Adams Co., Ill. on the 20 Mar 1841.

Her parents suffered many persecutions, along with the other Saints.

Martha often told of being hastily bundled into a wagon by her parents, and

looking back to see their home in flames. Although a tiny girl when it

happened, Martha remembered sitting on the Prophet Joseph's knee, and

spoke of his love for children.

When the prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum were slain at Carthage

jail, Martha was three years old. Her family gathered in Nauvoo with the

other Saints. From here they began their long journey to the Rocky

Mountains. They were in the last company to leave Nauvoo. They wintered

in Council Bluffs, and in the spring of 1848 began the journey across the

plains to the Great Salt Lake Valley. She was seven years old during this

journey in covered wagons, and remembered walking much of the way, helping

drive the cattle. She and her family went through many of the trials and

experiences common to all the pioneers.

Her girlhood was spent amid pioneer conditions, new homes and cities

being built. It was a rough, hard way of living and of arduous toil. The family

lived in the Salt Lake City area for four years, then when Martha was twelve,

they moved to Kaysville to make a permanent home. They received their

allotment of farmland and proceeded to build a home from available materials.

Martha and her family were faithful Saints, following the teachings of

the Prophet. On 30 March 1856, ten days after her fifteenth birthday,

Martha entered into plural marriage, becoming the second wife of Edward

Hunter. He was 20 years her senior, and had been married 13 years to Mary

Ann Whitesides.

When Johnston's army came to Utah, the families moved south. They

were prepared to burn their homes if the army did not keep their agreement

to camp outside the city and leave the homes unmolested. The Hunter family

moved to Payson, Utah until the Saints were able to return to their homes.

While there, Edward heard from the other settlers of the good possibilities for

agriculture and stock raising in Willow Creek (now known as Grantsville).

When the danger was over, the family returned to Kaysville. Their first child,

Rosel, was born here when Martha was eighteen. Edward then moved his

families to Willow Creek, and the rest of the children were born there.

He received some farmland and began the building up of that

community and his own property. Sheep raising and farming became the

family occupations. Martha lived with her children about one mile from the

center of the settlement, on the Hunter farm. She was a loyal, patient, loving

wife and mother, and in trials incident to a polygamous marriage, was

continuously patient and enduring to a remarkable degree. She never doubted

her husband's love or the truth of the principle.

Martha taught the children in the Hunter home, their reading, writing

and numbers until schools were established. Churches and houses were built

of "dobies" (sunbaked adobe bricks). This method of building was learned

from the Mexican Indians by the Mormon Battalion members on their march

to Mexico. She raised her family in strict Latter-day Saint discipline. The

children attended the Church Sunday School and Sacrament meetings. They

did the necessary work about the farm and herded the sheep out on the ranges.

The boys, when very young, had the responsibility of taking care of the herd.

Their mother would be watching for them when they came home for supplies

and would come out to meet them and hear what new perils they had gone

through. Sometimes they had lost a water-keg from their wagon and had to

keep the herd going extra days before they could find water to make camp.

Sometimes they had killed a bear or a mountain lion, or a horse had broken

his leg in the rock crevices and had to be shot. When the range wars broke out

between the sheepmen and the cattlemen, new perils were encountered.

Martha also was a keeper of bees and was able to work with them

without fear or harm from their stings. She was neighborly and generous to

less fortunate friends and relatives.

One of her sons, at the age of five, fell upon the stem of a cut willow,

which ran into his nose and caused a hemorrhage and he bled to death. Five

sons and five daughters grew to adulthood. This family was the real

achievement of Martha Hunter. Of her sons, three became bishops, the other

two were counselors to bishops. All were married in the Temple and had large

families, raising them in L.D.S. homes. These were the days of midwives and

little medical care. She delivered one of her babies herself. She and Edward

adopted an Indian baby, whose mother had died. The baby was known as

Saidee, and was raised as though she were born into the family.

It was not all toil and hardship in Mormon pioneer towns. Dancing,

dramas, and quilting socials were enjoyed as only the Mormon pioneer knew

how to enjoy them. Early in Grantsville, a band was organized and an opera

house was built. In Martha's early married life she attended a dance, and hurt

her husband's feelings by dancing the first dance with a young man while her

husband danced with Mary Ann, his first wife. He thought she should wait

to dance her first dance with him. Thus, plural marriage brought its own

problems of etiquette!

The members of the two Hunter families were to each other as real

brothers and sisters. They felt as one large family, which indeed they were.

When Martha was fifty-one, her husband died. Her youngest child was

seven. Edward had provided well for his families, and they did not suffer

financial hardship after his death. In common with other early Utah settlers

they had purchased stock in the enterprises and industries of Utah. The

Z.C.M.I., the Amalgamated Sugar Co., the Consolidated Wagon and Machine

Shop were among the stocks they purchased. Stocks were held by Martha

Hunter. It was the interest from these investments that gave her income

during her long years of widowhood, after she sold her farm and sheep.

When Martha sold her family farm to August K. Anderson, he made a

down payment planning to pay the rest later. Martha refused to hold a

mortgage or a deed so that she could foreclose if he was unable to pay her the

rest of the money. "You have more confidence in me than I have in myself,”

he told her. He was able to pay the debt in full.

She sold her sheep in 1915 and divided the money among her children,

and grandchildren of those who had died, saying, "I want to see the children

enjoy this money while I am alive."

She also owned three houses in Grantsville, living in one and renting

out the other two. Her health was very good up until the time of her last

illness. Contentment was one of the chief characteristics of the last years of

this woman's life. She was grateful to be independent. She lived alone

peacefully and happily. She loved to read, and the Deseret News was her

paper. She also enjoyed light fiction, novels and tales of adventure. Visits

with old-timers were especially enjoyable to her. Martha hated display or over

exaggeration, and showed her ancestry in her controlled emotion and plain


Martha was buried at the side of her companion in the Grantsville

Cemetery, having passed to the other side on 28 November 1924. She left 83

grandchildren and 126 great grandchildren. Her 83 years on this earth were

spent in serving the Lord and her family, and her legacy continues to pass

through her posterity to many generations.

Source: History of Martha H Hunter by Helen Hale Winward






Compiled by Barbara Winward Seager July 1997 -4-


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