1856-1894 — Rockville UT
History of Sarah Elizabeth Hansen Gifford Terry
By Ina B. Gifford a Daughter-in-law
Sarah Elizabeth Hansen was the 5th child born to her parents, Nels Hansen and Marilla Terry Hansen. The day of her birth was Jan 11, 1856 and it occurred near Glenwood, Mills County, Iowa, where the family were living on a farm.
Sarah was 5 years old when she crossed the plains with her family and settled in Draper. Along about this time the Church leaders were calling people to settle different sections of the state. It was thought that cotton could be profitably raised down south, consequently this mission was organized and people called to settle in Rockville. Her family came in the fall of 1862.
It was mighty hard to make a living in this far-away place and Sarah helped all she could when she became old enough. Her opportunities for schooling were very meager. The social functions that she enjoyed were those centered around the church and its activities.
When Sarah was a young girl, she was courted by young Alpheus Gifford from Springdale. This marriage was encouraged by Oliver, an older brother, who at the time was keeping company with Alice Allred. Oliver kept urging Alpheus to make it a double wedding. Alpheus thought the idea was a good one, but Sarah was playing hard to get. Whereupon he thought to bring her to his way of thinking by making the urgent threat that if she did not marry him right away, he would drive his horses off the ledges and kill himself. So to save his life, Sarah married on Sept 11, 1873 – no doubt at her home in Rockville. (They went to the Temple later on and were sealed for time and eternity.) At the time of their marriage, Sarah was 17 years old and Alpheus was 26.
He took his young bride to Springdale and made a home for her. They looked forward with joyous anticipation to the arrival of their first child, but were disappointed because it did not live. Next Riley was born in 1875, then in their order came Bertha, Samuel (who died at birth), Harriet, Nathan, Irene, Cyrus and Elsie.
Alpheus tired every way to make a living for his large family. He became an expert at making chairs. Suitable wood was selected, prepared and shaped into comfortable chairs. Then strips of home-tanned rawhide was interwoven for the chair bottoms. He learned the trade from his father and could make them durable and comfortable to sit on.
Sarah worked hard to help support the family also. She would dry fruit which Alpheus would take to Salt Lake and other places to exchange for their clothing and other necessities of life which they could not make of produce themselves. On one of these trips to Salt Lake City, their little daughter, Ingri, died of Membrainous Croup, as did one of her little cousins, Cornilia Draper. Sarah was heartbroken at this turn of events and dreaded to have to tell her husband.
Another time when Alpheus was away from home, Sarah gave birth to twin boys but they died at birth.
Along in the late 1880’s, many of the Dixie people were bitten with the “Move to Arizona” bug. Sarah’s sister, Hannah, and her husband, Cyrus Jennings, moved there in 1887. Alpheus and Sarah thought perhaps they would like it …
…and do better, so they sold their home in Springdale and started out. They got as far as Lees Ferry on the Colorado River, but upon hearing that the Arizona settlers were having much trouble with the Indians, they turned around and came back. On reaching Kanab, they decided to remain there and try to make a go of it, butn their 12 year old son Riley took violently ill soon and passed away. This was a great sorrow to the family and they had a longing for their old friends and relatives in Springdale. Accordingly, they moved back and re-possessed their old home.
(to be continued)