Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
sponsored by the Utah State Board of Education, the BYU-Public School Partnership and the Utah Education Network

Pioneer 1848-1868 Companies

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1852 (age 24), Parks (Taggart), Fanny

I was born October 25th, 1827, in Livonia, Livingston County, New York, the daughter of William Parks, who was born March 21, 1787, in Lebanon, New London County, Connecticut.

...I lived in Nauvoo until the summer of 1846. As my husband, George Washington Taggart, was appointed to go as one of the guards for the artillery in the first company that left Nauvoo, I was left in the care of John Mills, in hopes of selling some property we had there, and thereby get means to take me to Winter Quarters. I will state here that when I married Mr. Taggart, he was a widower with one little girl by his former wife, (Harriet Arkins Bruce). Through all the hardships and trials to come, I had her with me, and she was a great comfort to me. Her name was Eliza Ann Taggart.

I was unable to sell anything, so was left on Brother Mill's hands. When the call came for five hundred of the best men to go into the battalion, my husband was one of them. I was still back there, and it seemed to me to be awfully hard on me. I had no one to look after me or help and not a penny of my own. Brother Mills was very kind to me and did all in his power to make me comfortable. He told me if he was able to bring his own family out, he would bring me also, but he had neither team nor wagon, and no one to help him, as the children were all small. It was very discouraging.

One day while Sister Mills and I were talking, she said to me, "My father lives in Illinois and is a member of the Church. Maybe he will come and go with us, and as he has plenty of cattle, he may help us to a team." I proposed writing to him, and she asked me to do the writing. I did this and he answered immediately, saying he would come and bring a team. In a short time, he came and when all was in readiness, we started for Winter Quarters, arriving late in the fall of 1846.

The old gentleman turned and went back without even unpacking his things. It seemed that he was directed just to bring Brother Mill's family and my family to the Bluffs. When I arrived, I did not know what to do. I had no money, and no one to look to for help. I immediately looked up Brother Brigham Young and asked for counsel. He told me to look for some of my acquaintances and get in with them until I could get a house for myself.

My husband had written to me before I had left Nauvoo, stating that some provision would be made for the families of the men in the Mormon Battalion. This had kept up my hopes on the way. The answer I received from Brigham Young made me feel like bursting in tears. To hide them, I quickly turned away. I walked a few steps and looked up to see a woman standing in the door of a tent. I wiped my eyes and asked if she could direct me to Brother Asa Davis. She showed me his house, so I went there and was made welcome and given accommodations as they had.

Their house was very small, but I was given the privilege of staying there through the day, and slept in their wagon at night, until the weather was so cold. I then made my bed of hay on the floor. I had to take it up each morning and put it on top of their beds.

They had a place fixed in one end of the house where they could make two beds by placing a pole across from one side to the other end, then a support in the center formed two beds. These were called Mormon beds, as we moved from place to place so often, and were unable to take any furniture or articles of any kind. Everything had to be made temporary.

While I was staying with Sister Davis, she was often called out to care for the sick. One of the neighbors, who had lost his wife, had two sick children, and in return for me caring for his children, he said he would give me my board and room. His name was Cook. Brother Cook told me that he would also take a one hundred weight for me West. I decided to do this, as I had no means of my own and didn't know how I was going to live through the winter. In the spring he married again to a widow named Marble. I didn't know what to do, as he didn't need my services any longer and had given up the idea of going to the valley.

The way opened up for me to have a home. Mrs. Marble's daughter had been sick all winter with land scurvy. Her husband was also in the Battalion and she was on the hands of the Bishop Hoagland. He asked me if I would go in with her and care for her, and in that way, my house and wood would cost me nothing. I accepted this offer and we each furnished our share of provisions which consisted mostly of corn boiled with weak lye water to take off the husks, then washed clean and boiled until tender. I well remember when a child I thought this was quite a treat. When we had nothing else for a week at a time, it was quite a different thing.

My husband sent me some money through the winter and I was able to get the necessary articles of clothing and such food as we could get. We were living on Indian land and so far from settlements, and our cattle so poor, that there were only a few who could travel to town for food. The food was the plainest kind; no fruit, no meat or vegetables, and as for butter, we seldom saw any.

During the summer our house was sold and we were obliged to leave it. I was wondering what I should do for shelter, but Brother Charles Lambert was living near me and had gone down to Missouri to work and had left his family at home. One day Mrs. Lambert came and offered me the use of their home for a few months, as she was going to her husband in Missouri. I moved into their home and remained there until my husband returned home on the 17th of December 1847.

Soon after my husband came home, we moved to a town on the other side of the river, called Harris Grove. We lived there until we left for Salt Lake City in 1852. We arrived in the valley on October 17, 1852. My children were all born in Harris Grove, Pottawattamie County, Iowa. Their names are: Harriet March, George Henry and Charles Wallace.

Source: Our Pioneer Heritage © Carter, Kate B., ed. 20 vols. Salt Lake City: International Society, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1958-1977. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the publisher. Documents and images are exerpted by permission from the LDS Family History Suite CDROM from Ancestry.