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


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Romance: Sarah Rogers and Starling Driggs

Sarah Rogers Driggs, daughter of Chandler and Amanda Hollister Rogers, was born March 19, 1833 at Palmyra, Ohio, the next youngest child in a family of nine. She was sixteen years of age when she reached Salt Lake City in 1849, completing the trip across the plains with her sister-in-law and small daughter, as her father, mother two brothers and an uncle died en route from the effects of cholera, and were buried in shallow graves along the trail. Her brother, Samuel, was a member of the Mormon Battalion. Previous to her father's death he had asked Brigham Young to be Sarah's guardian, at least until she could be reunited with her brother.

Sarah's romance or courtship, if you can call it such, was rather unusual. It began in Nauvoo when she, with a crowd of girls, was sitting on a hayrack just before sundown. Looking down the street they saw a young man coming toward them. She remarked that this young man was going to be her future husband and warned them to leave him strictly alone as she had already set her cap for him. Prior to her departure from Nauvoo, Sarah did not see the young man again, but she encountered him quite frequently on their trek across the plains. He tried on several occasions to be attentive to her but she seemed to give him no encouragement.

After Sarah and her brother had been reunited in Salt Lake City, he still left her in the care of Brigham Young while he went in search of work. In the meantime Starling Driggs, the young man of the trek, was summoned to the office of President Brigham Young for the purpose of receiving instructions prior to answering a call to help in the settlement of San Bernardino, California. During the conversation President Young said, "Young man, why are you not married? You are a likeable chap. Isn't there some girl you could get to marry you and go with you to California?" Starling answered, "there is one I like well enough but she doesn't seem to care for me." "Who is that-Sarah Rogers? ... Yes," was the answer. "She's my ward," replied the President. "You go and tell her to come up to my office." Starling did as he was bade. He found her raking the yard. "President Young told me to tell you he wants you to come to his office." "You tell President Young he's got as much shoe leather to wear out as I have. He can come down here if he wants to see me," she replied. Starling, greatly taken down, started back. He had gone quite a distance when she called. "I just wanted to see how far you had gone." As he started to turn away, she said, "Don't tell President Young what I said, I'll go as soon as I get cleaned up."

When she entered the office there sat President Young, Starling Driggs and two other men. "Sarah," said the President, "Starling Driggs has been called to go help settle San Bernardino and you are called to go help him as his wife. Will you go?.... Yes, President Young, if I am called." He then performed the marriage ceremony, May 29, 1855. They left immediately for San Bernardino, and it was there their first child was born, Starling Graves, Jr. They lived in California for about four years then they were called back to Utah, settling in Parowan. Here her husband Starling Driggs, died February 17, 1859, leaving the mother and daughter, Olivia, the only remaining members of the family. She never remarried and in order to support herself and daughter, kept a boarding house. It is said that President Young advised her to purchase a gun and carry it at all times for protection. Both she and her daughter learned to use it.

Sarah and Olivia went to Snowflake, Arizona in the spring of 1865 and again kept a boarding house. Her hospitality was usually larger than her house. Later granddaughters came to help her with the work. She was appointed postmistress of Snowflake December 23, 1887 and served in that position until 1901. She promised the Lord that if He would help her to make her own way she would never complain, and she was never afraid of hard work. Sarah passed away June 20, 1911 at the age of 78 years, having been a self-supporting widow for over fifty-one years.

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.