About Harriet Page Young (Wheeler)
"...Harriet Page Wheeler Decker Young, one of the three original pioneer women of Utah was in a sense the matriarch of the three, as she was the actual mother of one of them, Clara, President Brigham Young's wife. She was born of Welsh ancestry on September 7, 1803, at Hillsboro, New Hampshire, a daughter of Oliver Wheeler and Hannah Ashby, and was reared in Salem, Massachusetts, her mother's home, and after a brief schooling, was employed in one of the local mills, where she became an expert spinner of flax and wool. When she was seventeen, she moved to Ontario County, New York, where she taught school in the vicinity of the Hill Cumorah. Here she met Isaac Decker, to whom she was married in 1821. She bore him six children, four girls and two boys. For a time she lived with her first husband at Freedom, N. Y., and in 1833 removed to Portage County, Ohio, where they became members of the Mormon Church..."
"[Harriet and Isaac] separated the 9th of March, 1843. She later married Lorenzo Dow Young, brother of Brigham Young. Harriet's sisters, Lucy Ann and Clara Decker married Brigham Young. Her sister, Fanny, married Feramorz Little, a brother of her husband;so Harriet and her family were closely associated with the leaders of the Church.
Source: Our Pioneer Heritage, Volume 2: They Came Alone, "She Came in 1847"
Birth: Sep. 7, 1803 Hillsboro Hillsborough County New Hampshire, USA
Death: Dec. 23, 1871 Salt Lake City Salt Lake County Utah, USA
Daughter of Oliver Wheeler and Hannah Ashby
Married - Isaac Decker, 1820, New York
Children - Harriet Amelia Decker, Fannie Maria Decker, Lucy Ann Decker, Charles Franklin Decker, Clarissa Clara Decker, Isaac Perry Decker
Married - Lorenzo Dow Young, 9 Mar 1843, Ohio
Children - John Brigham Young; Lorenzo Dow Young
Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 2, p. 481
Harriet Page Wheeler Decker Young, one of the three original pioneer women of Utah was in a sense the matriarch of the three, as she was the actual mother of one of them, Clara, President Brigham Young's wife. She was born of Welsh ancestry on September 7, 1803, at Hillsboro, New Hampshire, a daughter of Oliver Wheeler and Hannah Ashby, and was reared in Salem, Massachusetts, her mother's home, and after a brief schooling, was employed in one of the local mills, where she became an expert spinner of flax and wool. When she was seventeen, she moved to Ontario County, New York, where she taught school in the vicinity of the Hill Cumorah. Here she met Isaac Decker, to whom she was married in 1821. She bore him six children, four girls and two boys. For a time she lived with her first husband at Freedom, N. Y., and in 1833 removed to Portage County, Ohio, where they became members of the Mormon Church. Subsequently, the Deckers took up land near Kirtland, Ohio, and acquired considerable prosperity, only to lose everything in the catastrophe which overtook the Saints in 1837. For the journey to Missouri they were furnished a team by Lorenzo Dow Young. Still hounded by disaster, they fled from the new Zion to Quincy, Illinois, and ultimately settled in Nauvoo. Here, Harriet separated from Isaac Decker and married Lorenzo Young, March 9, 1843. Two children issued from this union. After sharing in the expulsion from Nauvoo, Harriet was permitted to remain with Lorenzo when he was chosen as one of the original pioneers in the spring of 1847, because she was in delicate health and her husband was afraid she would die if he left her in the Missouri bottoms. After she came to Utah Harriet became indispensable to the life of Lorenzo Young, seeing after his business, keeping his books, and otherwise aiding him, in addition to her duties as housewife. After living a noble and useful life, she died in Salt Lake City, December 22, 1871. _________
Harriet Amelia Decker by Teton Hanks Jackman & Leone Paul Dailey
"On a certain blistering day in July, 1847, two men might have been seen picking their way carefully up through the brush on the eastern slope of a hill near the mouth of a canyon overlooking what is now known as Salt Lake City. Having reached the summit of the hill, they paused to look out over the valley below them to the west. Even they were satisfied with what they saw, for after each had gazed for a few moments in silence they shouted for joy and waved their hats. The scene they looked upon was far different from what it is now, nearly one hundred years later. Not a tree, not a green thing was in sight, except some willows along the bank of the little creek that ran down through the valley. The land was white and barren looking and waves of heat rose from its alkali surface everywhere. Those two men were scouts sent ahead by their leader, Brigham Young, to find a place to make camp, preparing the way for those who were following.
A few days later, July 24, down this same canyon the two had come,came the long line of covered wagons. On and on they came, these Pioneer Saints, till they reached the place selected by the scouts; the place where they were to build their homes. This barron desert that they were to transform into a beautiful city.
In this first company there were only three women. they were Harriet Page Wheeler, wife of Lorenzo Dow Young; her daughter, Clara (Decker) Young. wife of President Brigham Young, and Ellen Saunders Kimball, wife of Heber C. Kimball. It was not in the original plan to include any women in the first Company of Pioneers as it was felt, that the journey would be too hazardous for women. Harriet, who was in delicate health at the time, and a feeling that if she remained at Winter. Quarters, she would never live to see her husband again. Her husband, who was very tender hearted and loved his wife dearly, received permission from his brother Brigham Young, to take her with him. She was also allowed to take her two little boys. Later it was decided that these other two women should accompany their husbands. They had to make careful preparations for that long journey. These three women proved to be a great blessing. Harriet took her cow, also some chickens. She had a chicken coop built on the back of her wagon so that she could tend them carefully and keep them laying those precious eggs. And she said they laid three eggs a day all the way across the plains. Her cow, because of its value to them, has been immortalized as the poets immortalized Sheridan's horse. How good that milk must have tasted, and if they were very careful they even churned butter once in awhile. They would save cream, put it in a bucket with a lid on and the jolting of the wagon would churn the butter.
Clara Young was a beautiful young girl. She said that before she left Winter Quarters she made her a fine skirt and waist from some material her husband purchased for here It was a task to keep clean on that journey, but they always managed to have some clean clothing on the Sabbath day.
She said one of the hardest things was to see the cattle come limping in to camp at night, some of them got very lame. Before the journey was over there was a great deal of sickness and the women nursed and cared for the sick; they were truly ministering angels. They were greatly blessed for not one soul died on the journey. As they entered the valley of the Great Salt Lake, try and imagine, if you can, the feeling of these three women. Harriet gazed at the desolate wilderness and cried. She said to her husband, "Weak and weary as I am, I would rather go one thousand miles farther than stay in such a foresaken place as this. "Ellen Kimball said nothing, but looked heart broken. Clara, the pretty young wife of Brigham Young, said, "Things do not look dreary to me. I am satisfied to abide by my husband's decision that 'This is the Place'. There aren't any trees, but they can be planted." And she went calmly about making a home out of wagon boxes.
The first winter in the valley the saints lived in the old fort for protection against the Indians and wild animals. The entrances to the fort were carefully guarded by heavy gates and were kept locked at nights. Clara Young says that they were among the first to move into their little hut in the fort. Her cabin was about eighteen feet square. It had a door and wooden windows which she took out during the day to let in the light, then nailed them back at night. The floor was dirt; there was a big fireplace in one end where Clara cooked for her family. It also provided the heat for the cabin.
This was all very fine until the heavy rains set in--then the sod roof leaked and the storm was almost as bad inside as out. Eliza R. Snow lived in Clara's home that first winter and she tells how they would get into bed and put, their umbrellas over their heads to try to keep dry.
Clara raised a little Indian girl whom they named Sally, It was the custom of the Indians to torture their prisoners of war and put them to death if they could not sell them. Sally was a prisoner, a very tiny prisoner and Charles Decker bought her and gave her to his sister,Clara, who reared her to womanhood, then Sally felt it her duty to returnto her own people. She returned and married an Indian Chief, but was unable to endure the hardships of savage life, consequently, she soon passed away.
Lorenzo Young was the first to move his family out of the fort. He and Harriet moved into their first real home in December of that first winter. This was a risky thing to do, as they were without protection of the fort. Their friends feared for their safety. One day Harriet was alone with her three month old baby boy, when a fierce looking Indian came to her door and demanded bread. She gave him all she had, three small biscuits But this didn't satisfy him, he wanted more. When she refused him he drew his bow and aimed his arrow at her heart. She feared her last moment had come, as well as that of her baby, and then she remembered that in the other room was a large dog, a powerful mastiff her husband had given her for her protection. She quickly made signs to the Indian as if she would get more bread. She stepped into the next room and released the dog with a command to seize the Indian. The dog bounded through the door and bore the Indian to the ground. He begged for his life. After Harriet had relieved him of his bow and arrow, she called off the dog, and after washing and binding up the wounds of the Indian, she set him free.
It has been said that in planting a colony of people in the wilderness and establishing a civilized community, it is the women who play the most heroic part. Their dangers are great; their anxieties are greater. The women here in the valley were drawn closely together. Around that great prayer: "Give us this day our daily bread", centered most of their activities, and, as the poem says, they "cut desire into short lengths and fed it to the hungry fires of courage." Long after, when the flames had died, moulten gold gleamed in the ashes where they gathered it into bruised palms and handed it to their children and their childrens children. Soon they began to see the fulfillment of that wonderful prophecy, "and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose."
"Descendants of George Edwin Little & Martha Taylor" by Teton Jackman & Mattie Hanks printed by Copy Cat Print Shop, Provo, Utah, pp. 11-12.
- Oliver Wheeler (1782 - 1854)
- Isaac Decker (1799 - 1873)
- Lorenzo Dow Young (1807 - 1895)
- Lucy Ann Decker Young (1822 - 1890)*
- Charles Franklin Decker (1824 - 1901)*
- Harriet Amelia Decker Hanks (1826 - 1917)*
- Clarissa Clara Decker Young (1828 - 1889)*
- Fannie Maria Decker Little (1830 - 1881)*
- Isaac Perry Decker (1840 - 1916)*
Burial: Salt Lake City Cemetery Salt Lake City Salt Lake County Utah, USA Plot: H_10_7__S2R
Harriet Young's Timeline
September 7, 1803
Hillsborough, New Hampshire, USA
May 17, 1822
Phelps, Ontario, New York, USA
June 21, 1824
Phelps, Ontario, NY, USA
March 13, 1826
Phelps, Ontario, NY, USA
July 22, 1828
Freedom, Cattaraugus, New York, USA
April 24, 1830
Freedom, NY, USA
August 7, 1840
Winchester, IL, USA
March 9, 1843
Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois, USA
It's possible that this is the date of separation of Isaac Decker and Harriet Wheeler, and that her marriage to Lorenzo Dow Young came later. Supporting documentation must be found.
September 5, 1844
Waynesville, Warren, Ohio
September 20, 1847
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, UT, USA