Lavina Wollerton Harper

Is your surname Harper?

Research the Harper family

Lavina Wollerton Harper's Geni Profile

Records for Lavina Harper

2,281,071 Records

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Related Projects

Lavina Wollerton Harper (Dilworth)

Birthplace: Uwchlan, Chester, Pennsylvania, United States
Death: Died in Rexburg, Madison, Idaho, United States
Place of Burial: Holladay, Salt Lake, Utah, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Caleb Dilworth and Eliza Dilworth
Wife of Charles Alfred Harper
Mother of Harvey John Harper; Ellen Harper; Charles Alfred Harper, Jr. and Livina Walker
Sister of Rebecca Wollerton Riter; Ann Wollerton Bringhurst; Harriet Wollerton Brinton; Martha Ann Neff; Elizabeth Nebeker and 7 others

Managed by: Smith Harper Hutchings
Last Updated:

About Lavina Wollerton Harper

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel 1847–1868 Heber C. Kimball Company (1848) Age at departure: 31

Lavina Wollerton Dilworth was born Nov. 5, 1818 at Chester County, Penn., the daughter of Caleb Dilworth (1784 - 1852) and Eliza Wollerton (1793 - 1876). A Quaker by birth, Lavina was an early member of the Mormon Church, which she joined after marrying Charles Alfred Harper in 1839 at Montgomery County, Penn.

Twin girls, Susan & Ann were born to the couple in 1841 but both died the same day. Soon afterward, Charles & Lavina migrated west with the Mormons to Nauvoo, Ill. Her son Harvey John (1842) and daughter Ellen (1846) were both born at Nauvoo. Ellen died two years later at Florence, Neb., just as the family was preparing for another migration.

In 1848 Lavina crossed the plains by wagon and arrived in the Great Salt Lake valley in the spring of that year. Along the way, she gave birth to a son, Charles Alfred Harper, Jr. at Fort Laramie, Wyo.

In Utah, she and her husband took up residence at the mouth of Big Cottonwood canyon in what would become the town of Holladay, where they built a substantial farming operation. A son William Bringhurst Harper was born on the farm in 1851.

The pioneering spirit was strong in those days but Lavina's first years in Utah were challenging at best. Her husband left in 1852 to serve a mission to England, leaving Lavina behind to care for the three boys. It was during this time that two-year-old William was bitten by a rattlesnake and died in 1853. After Charles returned from England, he took a plural wife, Harriet Taylor, and was promptly sent with her to homestead at Carson City, Nevada. Again, Lavina remained in Salt Lake and again she buried a child alone. Her son Alfred died in 1856 at three months of age. It was also during this absence that federal troops arrived in Utah, sent their by President James Buchanan to investigate Mormon activity. Fearing the wrath of the federal government, the settlers spent the Spring of 1857 preparing to abandon the Salt Lake valley, while the nearby Army readied for battle. Lavina and the children endured alone.

Later that year, Charles returned to Holladay and for a brief time, both Lavina's family and Harriet's family shared a household. In 1858 (about the time federal troops were departing) Lavina moved to Park City where her older boys were instrumental in building a successful cattle ranch on land that Charles had procured there. Her sons Edwin (1858) and Park (1861) were both born at the Park City ranch. In 1862 Harriet's family moved to Park City and Lavina returned to Holladay where she delivered twins, Chester and Lavina, in 1864.

The years after her return to Holladay were probably her most comfortable. The farm there was profitable and her family was all nearby, though Charles split his time between Holladay and Park City.

About 1880 her oldest son Harvey moved to Arizona to help establish the Mormon settlement of Lehi, near current-day Mesa. He built a comfortable home there where Lavina eventually moved along with her sons Edwin, Park, and Chester, and her stepson George. Edwin died quiet suddenly at Mesa in 1881 at just 23 years of age. A few years later Lavina returned to Holladay where she and Charles enjoyed about 15 years of retirement together until his death in 1900. She spent her final years at Rexburg, Idaho in the home of her daughter Lavina (Bine). Harriet stayed in Holladay on the farm.

The challenges that polygamy introduced into Lavina's life were doubtlessly difficult to bear, and it is well documented that she and Harriet had little in common and spent practically no time together. Still, insight to Lavina's character is revealed by the wonderful relationship she had with her six stepchildren, all of whom loved her deeply and referenced her kindness all their lives. Lavina blessed the entire Harper family with a sense of grace, benevolence, and a strength of character that must not have come easily to a woman who suffered countless hardships and buried six of her eleven children.

Her own death occurred July 9, 1903 at her daughter's Rexburg home. She was brought back to Utah for burial at the side of her husband in the Holladay Memorial Park. Harriet, who died in 1907, is buried there as well. Her sons Charles Jr. & Park, and daughter Lavina rest in the same cemetery, as do a number of her descendants.

view all

Lavina Wollerton Harper's Timeline

November 5, 1818
Uwchlan, Chester, Pennsylvania, United States
December 19, 1839
Age 21
Age 21
November 10, 1842
Age 24
Nauvoo, IL, USA
April 25, 1846
Age 27
Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, United States
July 23, 1848
Age 29
Fort Laramie, WY, USA
April 15, 1864
Age 45
Salt Lake City, UT, USA
July 9, 1903
Age 84
Rexburg, Madison, Idaho, United States
Age 84
Holladay, Salt Lake, Utah, United States