David Sessions, III (1790 - 1850)

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Newry, Oxford, Maine, United States
Death: Died in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah Territory, United States
Occupation: LDS elder, pioneer, farmer
Managed by: Richard King Newman III
Last Updated:

About David Sessions, III

David Sessions, III, son of David Sessions, Jr. and Rachel Stevens, was born at Farley, Orange County, Vermont on 4 April, 1793. He was a farmer, a pioneer, and an LDS Elder. He had two plural wives and nine children. He died at the age of 60 on 11 August 1850 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah Territory.

Marriages and Children

  1. Patty Bartlett (born 4 February 1796), daughter of Enoch Bartlett and Anna Hall, married 1813 at Newry, Oxford County, Maine. Their children were:
    1. Perrigrine Sessions, born 15 June 1814, married:
      1. Julia Ann Killgore on 21 September 1834
      2. Lucina Call on 28 January 1845
      3. Mary Call on 28 June 1845
      4. Fanny Emmerette Loveland on 13 September 1852
      5. Sarah Crossley on 2 March 1861
      6. Betsy Birdenow on 25 March 1865
      7. Sarah Ann Bryson on 29 September 1866
      8. Esther Mabey on 22 November 1873
    2. Sylvanus Sessions (5 June 1816 - September 1832)
    3. Sylvia Sessions (born 31 July 1818) married
      1. Windsor P. Lyon in 1839
      2. Ezekiel Clark in summer 1850
    4. Anna Sessions (21 March 1820 - fall 1823)
    5. David Sessions, IV (born 9 May 1823), married Phoebe Carter Foss
    6. Anna "Annie" Bartlett Sessions (16 March 1825 - August 1832)
    7. Asa Sessions (1 August 1827 - 1832)
    8. Amanda Sessions (14 November 1837 - 15 May 1841)
  2. Harriet Worthing, daughter of James Worthing and Harriet Tibbets, married at Nauvoo, Illinois. They had one child:
    1. James Sessions

Biographical Sketch

On 13 June, 1813, when David was twenty-two years old, he married Patty Bartlett (born 4 February 1796), daughter of Enoch Bartlett and Anna Hall, and settled in Newry, Oxford County, Maine. Newry is in the Saco River district, one of the few arable sections of Maine. Ongoing controversy over conflicting claims to the area by the French and the English was not resolved until Maine was admitted to the Union in 1820.

The Methodist Church

Their first child, Perrigrine, was born on 15 June 1814. Two years later, David and Patty sold their farm because the land was so poor, and moved to a place about eight miles away. This was good land and the family prospered. Perrigine relates his parents' baptism into the Methodist church in his journal, "This neighborhood was mostly Methodists, and as neither of my parents belonged to any church, they began about this time to think and read the Bible. They decided that baptism was right, so on October 1, 1816 my mother was baptised and in October 1818, two years later, my father was baptised, into the Methodist Church."

Their second son, Sylvanus was born 5 June 1816, a few months before Patty's baptism. On 31 July 1818 the first daughter, Sylvia, was born, followed by Anna on 21 March 1820.

Joy and Grief

The birth of David IV on 9 May 1823, was closely followed by the death of little Anna that fall. The next child was a girl, who, according to the custom of the day was named for the deceased sister. Called "Annie", she was born 16 March 1825 and was christened Anna Bartlett in honor of Patty's mother, Anna Hall Bartlett. Two years later Asa was born on 1 August 1827.

Annie died in August 1832 at the age of six, and Sylvanus, only sixteen, died a month later. From Perrigrine's autobiography, "In 1832, our family was stricken with typhus fever, and three of the family died. There were eleven of the family sick at that time, and many of the neighbors were in the same condition."

Conversion to Mormonism

Perrigrine's journal relates his family's introduction to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "In August 1833, Mormonism was introduced into this part of the country by Hason Aldrich and Horace Cousin. As soon as my mother heard them preach, she believed. Father, however, thought they should wait and consider a little longer. As soon as he gave his consent, in July 1834, she was baptised into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Daniel Bean. She stood firm and scorned all opposition from her neighbors and brothers and sisters for one year before any of us joined." Mormon church doctrine is founded on the principle of the eternal family, promising that those who abide by the covenants they make with their Heavenly Father will be together in Heaven forever. This had to have been a powerful factor in the conversion of a mother who had lost three of her children by the time she turned 37 years old.

David and Patty were thrifty. They had acquired a large farm stocked with well-bred animals, as well as a saw mill and a grist mill. In June of 1837 they sold their beautiful home and other holdings and set out to join the Saints at Kirtland, Ohio. The journey was made by ox team and took about three months.

Blessed with the gift of comforting and caring for the sick, Patty began this work in earnest by helping her friends and neighbors with the delivery of their babies. For the rest of her life she dedicated much of her time to midwifery. Many people blessed her for her untiring service and kindness in this great calling.

On to Missouri

Later they moved to Far West, Missouri, where Amanda was born on 14 November 1837. About a year later, David IV was baptized by Dominicus Carter, in December 1838, and Sylvia married Dr. Windsor P. Lyon (a noted army physician). Dr. Lyon and his young bride moved to Nauvoo, where he established a mercantile and drug business. Sylvia and her young brother David IV had become very close as children. When Davis was about fourteen years of age when he went to live permanently with the Lyons in Nauvoo. Under the kind supervision of his brother-in-law, he learned to manage the mercantile and drug business and to assemble and put up drugs. Dr. Lyon possessed many medical journals and books which David was encouraged to study in his room above the establishment.

The Saints in Missouri were enduring a great deal of religious persecution. Prior to the completion of the Nauvoo Temple, David and Patty, and many other Saints, performed baptismal ordinances for the dead in the Mississippi River. The Mormon church believes that performing baptisms and other ordinances (often referred to as "temple work") for the dead gives their ancestors the opportunity to make and keep the covenants which will allow them to be with their families for eternity. It is considered a great honor to do this work, which is important for the spiritual growth of all concerned - such baptisms provide an ancestor with the opportunity to hear and accept the gospel of the church, but they do not require the ancestor to accept church membership. The misunderstanding that baptisms for the dead impose Mormon beliefs onto those who don't want them is one of the causes for the terrible persecution of LDS church members since the founding of the church.

Religious Persecution

The oppression and persecution became so bad that the Saints were driven out of Missouri. Perrigrine describes the exodus in his journal, "We [the Sessions and Lyon families, and the other Missouri Saints] started in February, it was very cold and we had to live in tents along the side of the road. Here women and children waked until the shoes fell of their feet, and they were compelled to walk barefoot. Every town through which we passed, jeered and threatened us. Some of our people were taken and whipped nearly to death. Finally we arrived on the banks of the Mississippi River and found two hundred families camped, unable to cross as the ice was so thick. We were detained three weeks, my dear mother and wife were both sick with fever and chills. There was about three inches of snow and we were living in tents, and had only parched corn to eat. Many died for want of food and comfort. Women gave birth to babies in tents by the side of the road. Such suffering and sorrow I cannot describe to you."

"We bid farewell to Old Missouri and breathed the air of freedom again. The people here [Illinois] were different. They took us into their homes and tried to make us comfortable. Many became our best friends, and many joined the church afterwards. By May, all of the Saints were out of the state of Missouri... Here a place was chosen for the saints to locate. Nauvoo, then called the city of Joseph." Three-year-old Amanda died on 15 May 1841 and was buried in the Nauvoo Cemetery.

Another cause of religious resentment and persecution against the Saints was polygamy. During their residence in Nauvoo David married a second wife, Roselle Cowan. This caused some friction in the family. With the general exodus in February, David and Patty crossed the river and moved to Winter Quarters. Rosella remained In Nauvoo with Perrigrine and his family for a while, but Dr. Lyons and Sylvia moved his business and family to Iowa City and David IV went with them.

Before David and Patty left Winter Quarters to go west to Utah, they were joined by Perrigrine and his family; however, David remained with the Lyons family in Iowa City until after the death of Dr. Lyons in 1849. Patty Sessions kept a diary on her westward journey, giving careful account of the journey of the Brigham Young Company while crossing the plains.

In the summer of 1850 Sylvia married Ezekiel Clark and David felt that his help to his sister was no longer needed. A group of immigrants were making ready to go to California to cast their lot with the gold seekers. David decided he would go with them as far as Great Salt Lake City. He arrived in the valley of Salt Lake sometime in July of 1850, according to Patty's diary. His father and mother had received a portion of land where the Oregon Short Line Depot now stands, and Perrigrine was located at Sessions Settlement, about eight miles north of the City.

After visiting a few days with his parents, David IV went to the home of his brother and assisted with the farm work. But soon word came from their mother of the illness of their father. In poor health, Davis had made an attempt to get wood for winter from Bountiful Canyon, but had become overheated and drank too much cold water. He passed away at the age of 60 on 11 August 1850 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah Territory.

Sources

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David Sessions, III's Timeline

1790
April 4, 1790
Newry, Oxford, Maine, United States
1812
June 28, 1812
Age 22
Newry, Oxford, Maine, United States
1814
June 15, 1814
Age 24
Newry, Oxford County, Maine
1816
June 5, 1816
Age 26
Newry, Oxford, Maine, USA
1817
March 19, 1817
Age 26
Newry, Oxford County, Maine
1818
July 31, 1818
Age 28
Newry, Oxford, Maine
1819
1819
Age 28
Newery, Oxford, ME, USA
1820
March 21, 1820
Age 29
Newery, Oxford, Maine, USA
1822
July 31, 1822
Age 32
Newry, Oxford, Maine, USA
1823
May 9, 1823
Age 33