About Lydia Knight (Goldthwaite)
Lydia Goldthwait Knight:
The third wife of John Dalton Jr. With some history of her family.
Lydia Knight was 39 years old and was the widow of Newel Knight and had seven children before marrying John Dalton. Newel Knight had died January 11, 1847 in Nauvoo.
She married John Dalton Jr. on August 13th, 1851 in Salt Lake City. They had one child,
Artimesia who after her mother divorced took the last name of Knight. When John Dalton, Jr., married other plural wives, there was family friction between him and Lydia. But mutual consent, the couple appeared before Brigham Young and were separated.
From the book “History of Utah” by Orson F. Whitney.
Knight, Lydia Goldthwait, wife of Newel Knight, was born June 9, 1812, in Sutton, Worcester County, Mass., and the daughter of Jesse Goldthwait and Sally Burt. When fifteen years old she was sent to a boarding school in a village where she met a young man by the name of Calvin Baily, to whom she was married in the fall of 1828. This marriage proved an unhappy one (though it was blessed with two children), and three years after her marriage she was deserted by her husband. She then returned to the home of her parents. During a visit to Mt. Pleasant, Upper Canada, she first became acquainted with the Latter-day Saints, the Nickerson family living at that place being visited by Joseph Smith the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon in October 1833. A number of meetings were held, and the Nickerson family, Lydia and others were baptized. When Lydia, in the summer of 1834, returned to her father's home in New York State, her relatives did all they could to persuade her to leave "Mormonism." At length she grew restless and unhappy on account of the constant raillery and derision showered upon her by her parents on account of her religion, and therefore decided to go to Kirtland, Ohio, which at that time was a gathering place of the Saints. Immediately on reaching Kirtland in the spring of 1835 she met Vincent Knight, who approached Sister Lydia, saying: "Sister, the Prophet is in bondage and has been brought into distress by the persecutions of the wicked, and if you have any means to give, it would be of benefit to him." She at once emptied her purse containing $50, which was all she had. Bro. Knight looked at it, counted it and fervently exclaimed, "Thank God, this will release and set the Prophet free." The young girl was now without means, not having enough to procure a meal or a night's lodging. For six or eight months after that she lived a pleasant life in the home of Vincent Knight. In the fall of 1835 Hyrum Smith asked Lydia to come to his house and assist his wife. She complied with the request and while living there she became acquainted with Newel Knight, who boarded at the place while working on the Kirtland Temple. Newel Knight (who was not related to the Vincent Knight previously mentioned) is described by Sister Lydia as a tall man with light brown hair, a keen blue eye and a very energetic and determined manner; he was a widower, whose wife, a delicate woman, had died the previous fall, in consequence of the trials and persecutions she had suffered, and left an infant only two days old. Bro. Knight, in course of time, made Lydia an offer of marriage, which she after some hesitation accepted, and the two became man and wife Nov. 23, 1835, Joseph Smith the Prophet performing the marriage ceremony. It was the first marriage ceremony the Prophet ever performed. The young married couple gladly accepted the offer of Hyrum Smith to spend the winter at his home. In the meantime Newel Knight continued his labors on the Temple and generally attended the school of the Elders in the evenings. Together with his wife he also attended the dedication of the Temple and witnessed many marvelous manifestations of the power of God. After this Sister Lydia and her husband moved to Clay County, where a girl was born to them Dec. 1, 1836. In February 1837, Newel Knight purchased 40 acres of land from the government near Far West, Caldwell County, Mo. A boy (named James Philander) was born to Lydia April 29, 1837. She passed through the persecutions of the Church in Caldwell County, Mo., and afterwards in Illinois, and she left Nauvoo with her family April 17, 1846, in the exodus of the Saints for the Rocky Mountains. While on the way, and while stopping temporarily together with many other Saints at a place known as Ponca Fort, upriver some 150 miles from Winter quarters on the Missouri, her husband died on Jan. 11, 1847.
Lydia Knight's story about her husband Newel's death:
"On Monday morning, January 4th, 1847, Brother Knight, whose health had been failing for some time, did not arise as usual, and, on my going to him, he said, "Lydia, I believe I shall go to rest this winter." The next night he awoke with a severe pain in his right side, a fever had also set in, and he expressed himself to me that he did not expect to recover. From this time until the 10th of the month, the Elders came frequently and prayed for my husband. After each administration he would rally and be at ease for a short time and then relapse again into suffering. I felt at last as if I could not endure his sufferings any longer, and that I ought not to hold him here. I knelt by his bedside, and with my hand upon his pale forehead asked my Heavenly Father to forgive my sins, and that the sufferings of my companion might cease, and if he was appointed unto death, and could not remain with us, that he might be quickly eased from pain and fall asleep in peace. Almost immediately all pain left him, and in a short time he sweetly fell asleep in death, without a struggle or a groan, at half past six on the morning of the 11th of January, 1847. His remains were interred at sunset on the evening of the day he died.
That evening [January 11, 1847] Newel was buried. No lumber could be had, so Lydia had one of her wagon-boxes made into a rude coffin. The day was excessively cold, and some of the brethren had their fingers and feet frozen while digging the grave and performing the last offices of love for their honored captain and brother. As the woman looked out upon the wilderness of snow and saw the men bearing away all that was left of her husband, it seemed that the flavor of life had fled and left only dregs, bitter, unavailing sorrow. But as she grew calmer she whispered with poor, pale lips, "God rules!"
Time was empty of incident or interest to Lydia until the 4th of February, when Brother Miller, who had been to Winter Quarters for provisions, returned and brought tidings of a revelation showing the order of the organization of the camp of the Saints, and also the joyful news that Brothers E. T. Benson and Erastus Snow were coming soon to Ponca to organize the Saints according to the pattern given in the revelation.
On the day of the organization, Lydia returned from the meeting and sat down in her home full of sad thoughts. How could she, who had never taken any care except that which falls to every woman's share, prepare herself and family to return to Winter Quarters and from thence take a journey a thousand miles into the Rocky Mountains? The burden weighed her very spirit down until she cried out in her pain, "Oh Newel, why hast thou left me!" As she spoke, he stood by her side, with a lovely smile on his face, and said: "Be calm, let no sorrow overcome you. It was necessary that I should go. I was needed behind the veil.... You cannot fully comprehend it now; but the time will come when you shall know why I left you and our little ones. Therefore, dry up your tears. Be patient, I will go before you and protect you in your journeying. And you and your little ones shall never perish for lack of food."
The little babe [born after Newel's death] was a week old when a sudden severe rainstorm came up. Lydia told her daughter Sally to give her all the bedclothes they had, and these were put upon the bed and removed, as they became soaked. At last, finding the clothes were all wet completely through and that she was getting chilled sitting up in the wet, she said, "Sally, go to bed. It's no use doing any more unless some power beyond that which we possess is exercised; it is impossible for me to avoid catching cold. But we will trust in God; he has never failed to hear our prayers."
And so she drew her babe to her, and covered up as well as she could, and asked God to watch over them all through the night. Her mind wandered back to the time when she had a noble companion, one who would never allow her to suffer any discomfort and who loved her as tenderly as man could woman. But now he was in the grave in a savage Indian country, and she was alone and in trouble. As she thus mused, chilled with the cold rain and shivering, her agony at his loss became unbearable and she cried out, "Oh Newel, why could you not have stayed with and protected me through our journeying?"
Oftentimes the pioneers struggled to control their own herds and teams.
Lydia Knight described a prairie stampede:
It was here in this "buffalo country" that the famous stampedes of the animals were wont to take place. Without one second's warning, every ox and cow in the whole train would start to run, and go almost like a shot out of a gun. No matter how weary or how stupid they were, when one made the spring, the remainder of the horned stock were crazed with fear. On, on, they would go for miles, and seemed unable to stop until headed and brought back into camp.
One day while slowly plodding along beneath the burning, sultry sun, the start was made, and as every wagon was drawn by oxen or cows, away went cattle, wagons, and inmates; tin and brass pails, camp-kettles ... jingling merrily behind and underneath the wagons where they were tied; children screaming, everything that was loose flying out as they bumped along. Over the un-trodden prairie flew the maddened cattle, nearer and nearer to the riverbank, which was here a precipice of twenty-five feet down to the water. Women, seeing their danger, sobbed out wild prayers for God to save; men ran and shouted to no avail; when suddenly over the plumy grass flew a horseman, spurring and screaming to his quivering, panting horse. Mothers clasped their frightened babes in their arms and prepared to face their watery grave. But the rider was up with the head team, and just as the head wagons were within ten feet of the deadly bank, he turned them aside and they were saved. Lydia's wagon was near the lead, and she came within a few feet of the precipice. When she once more was safely traveling in the road, she and her children thanked God for his deliverance, praying that they might be so endangered no more. Her prayer was granted.
After the Martyrdom, Newel penned his feelings for the Prophet and his brother Hyrum: "O how I loved those men, and rejoiced under their teachings! it seems as if all is gone, and as if my very heart strings will break, and were it not for my beloved wife and dear children I feel as if I have nothing to live for, and would rejoice to be with them in the Courts of Glory." One year and a day after their deaths Newel and Lydia visited Carthage Jail to see the room where the Martyrdom took place. Blood still stained the floor and bullet holes pocked the walls.
Continuing bigotry and mobocracy forced Newel and his family to abandon Nauvoo and join the migrating Saints in Iowa Territory. On 1 January 1847 he seemed to sense that his death was near: "I scarcely know why I am thus anxious, why this world appears so trifling, or the things of the world. I almost desire to leave this tenement of clay, that my spirit may soar aloft and no longer be held in bondage, yet my helpless family seem to need my protection."
Three days later Newel wrote his last diary entry. He described his preaching in church that day of the Saints' need to purify themselves so that "the Lord's presence [will] go before us, while we are journeying in the wilderness." He died on 11 January 1847 from lung inflammation. His remains were placed in a lumber coffin fashioned from a wagon box. Because of the cold, the fingers and feet of the men digging his grave froze.
Lydia, a widow with seven young children, wondered why he had left her. According to her history:
“As she spoke, he stood by her side, with a lovely smile on his face, and said: "Be calm, let not sorrow overcome you. It was necessary that I should go. I was needed behind the Vail to represent the true condition of this camp and people. You cannot fully comprehend it now; but the time will come when you shall know why I left you and our little ones. Therefore, dry up your tears. Be patient, I will go before you and protect you in your journeying. And you and your little ones shall never perish for lack of food."
The eagerly awaited opportunity to emigrate came to Mrs. Knight early in 1850, when, her two wagons having returned from the Valley, (one a useless wreck, the other susceptible of repairs) the indomitable little woman hired two yoke of Church cattle, and on the 1st of June started with her children for this place. The company in which she traveled was commanded by Bishop Edward Hunter, the agent of the Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company, who, before leaving home, had received instructions from President Brigham Young to exercise a kindly watch care over the widow and her family and bring them across the plains that season. Jesse Haven was captain of the ten wagons that included her vehicle, which was driven most of the way by her little son James, aged twelve. He, with others of the children, trudged on foot the greater part of the way to Salt Lake City, where they arrived on the third day of October.
Mrs. Knight settled in the First Ward. She bought a vacant lot and erected a humble log and adobe dwelling, in which she opened a small school, teaching her own children and those of the neighbors, during the winter. She succeeded so well that she was solicited to take the Ward school, and did so in the spring. Her first act, after obtaining enough means, was to pay her debt of sixty dollars to the Perpetual Emigrating Fund for the use of the cattle in crossing the plains. In the fall of 1851 she married John Dalton Jr. and moved with her children upon a farm six miles south of the city. Jesse's earliest recollections are attending his mother's school and herding cows on the East Bench. Afterwards he worked on his stepfather's farm, tending sheep. A pet lamb was given to him by Mr. Dalton, and this increased until he had ten sheep of his own, the first property he ever possessed. Five years later, his mother having separated from Mr. Dalton, Jesse left his little flock behind, and returned with his mother to the city, where she again taught school.
Lydia Knight’s story about how she married John Dalton Jr.:
The year is 1851. Lydia and her family are living in SLC after crossing the plains in Bishop Miller’s wagon train. Her husband, Newel Knight had died in Jan.11 1847 at
Fort Ponce, west of the Missouri River. Spring came and went, summer passed, and Lydia was teaching school in her church ward.
Lydia's own words about the next events in her life:
"Sometime in the fall of 1851, a friend by the name of John Dalton proposed to become my protector for this life, if I wished him to do so. He had a farm six miles from the city, (This would be the Church farm that he managed in the Sugarhouse area) which he had no one else to live upon, as his first wife lived in the city in a comfortable home. Said I could think of it, and sometime he would call again. This was a new idea to me; for since my dear Newel's death, I had never thought of marrying again. It had been all my study to take care of our little ones, and try to teach them those principles which would prepare them for usefulness in this life, and to meet their father in eternity, so that we might be an unbroken family in the future state of existence. What should I do? What would be for our best good?
"My boys had to go from home to get work, and the responsibilities upon me were very heavy. I prayed, I sought to do for the best. I had always believed in the principle of celestial marriage, since I received a testimony of its truth in an early day from the Prophet Joseph's teachings. I have heard him teach it in public as well as in private; have heard him relate the incident of the angel coming to him with a drawn sword, commanding him to obey the law, or he should lose his priesthood as well as his life if he did not go forward in this principle; and I had received a strong testimony of its truth when under the Prophet's teachings. The spirit seemed to whisper to me, you can now test your belief by practice. What would be for the best for my children? If we were situated on a farm, it would give them employment, always at home; and the change would relieve me of many cares and burdens which were fast growing too much for my strength. My constant prayer was, 'Oh Lord give me wisdom to do that which will be Thy will!' At last, I concluded to accept."
Lydia soon found herself, after accepting the proposition, situated on a farm, with plenty of labor for herself and family. She moved in September, 1851. In December, 1852, a girl was born to her, whom she called Artemesia.
Nearly five years were spent upon this farm, and at the end of that time, Lydia returned to her home in the city; Mr. Dalton having expressed a desire for her to do so. He said she had performed all the labors required of her in an acceptable manner, but she was welcome now to return home.
She had lived under the celestial law, and had found no more trials than she could bear, and she thus gives her testimony concerning the principle:
"It may be some will inquire of me, 'how do you like plurality after living in it and getting the experience you desired? What are your feelings now?' I will say I like it first-rate; my belief is strengthened; I do believe it is a principle that if not abused, will purify and exalt those that enter into it with purity of purpose, and so abide therein."
On her return to the city, she took up school again, and the people were very glad to have her do so. She again began to teach in the Ward school in the spring of 1856.
In the early spring of 1858, when rumors of Johnson's army began to come like a blasting air upon these peaceful mountain homes, Pres. Young called out a standing army to prepare for future emergencies. Lydia's oldest daughter, Sally, had married a young man named Zemira Palmer, some two years previous to this, and they were living in Provo. This young man was called to act as a soldier in this standing army, and he wrote to Lydia, asking her if she would not come and live with her daughter, the boys taking charge of the farm. She complied. But very shortly afterwards the standing army was disorganized. Pres. Young had decided to make a complete move from the city, going south, so that when the army should come in, they would find nothing but desolation and loneness. The general excitement caused many weak and doubtful spirits to quiver with affright. Among the rest, an old man living in Provo, named Hoops, had become so alarmed that he was determined to leave Utah at any cost. One morning Zemira came in and said; "Well Sally, old man Hoops is going to sell out if he can, give out if he can't sell out, and get out whether or not. He has a good farm, a city lot and tolerably good house, but nothing will keep him here."
As he ceased speaking, the spirit whispered to Lydia; "The hand of the Lord is in this. Because of your faithfulness in the past, you shall have a good home. Go, and you shall obtain this for yourself and children."
Presently she said quietly to James who was with her; "Are you acquainted with this old gentleman, Hoops?" "Yes, mother; why?" "Zemira will not need us here now, and as we do not wish to return to the city in the present state of things, I thought perhaps we might be able to buy this place of the old man."
"Why, mother, all we have would not begin to buy the place. It's worth several hundred dollars. It would be an imposition to ask the old man to take a wagon and what few other things we could give him. I could not bring my feelings to consent to such an imposition."
Lydia felt that she knew that when she listened to the guiding of that Spirit which had so often prompted her, that she had always succeeded and been prospered; and she was sure, although it looked hopeless, that she would succeed this time.
Waiting a little while, she next asked Zemira if he would go with her and introduce her to Bro. Hoops. With a peculiar smile he answered;
"Yes, mother, I will go with you, if you really wish it, but I have no faith that you can possibly get the place."
They went down to the old man's place and Lydia stated to him the object of her visit. He asked her what she had, and as she named over the various articles she could turn out, he said: " That's just what I want."
And when she had told him all she had to give, he eagerly answered, "It's a bargain."
So she was once more in possession of a good home.
Just before leaving the city for Provo, Lydia had gone to President Young and stated her circumstances in full to him, and asked if he knew any reason why she should not have a divorce from Mr. Dalton. She had then been separated from him for some time. The President did not know anything to prevent her being a free woman, and accordingly gave her a legal divorce. So she was once more alone and battling with life without earthly aid. Her farm was a good one, and with the valuable assistance of her boys, she soon became comfortable.
A widower, named McClellan, was living at the time in Payson who had two motherless girls, aged eleven and thirteen. He was comfortably situated, and, becoming acquainted with Lydia, he very much admired her kind, motherly ways and general thriftiness, and he besought her to unite her fortunes with his and be a mother to his girls who had been orphaned about two years previously.
Lydia was not very willing to once more embark upon the perilous sea of matrimony. Her heart was buried with her husband and no love ever bad or ever could waken it to life. She had had a sorrowful experience in that state with Mr. Dalton, and as she was now getting in years, being upwards of fifty, she shrank from again taking a wife's burdens upon her. Still, her heart yearned over the little helpless, motherless girls. Finally, after much serious thought, she again accepted an earthly companion, and joined her fate, for time, with James McClellan. They then moved to Payson, Utah Co. in 1860, where his farm was situated. Two or three years after this Bro. McClellan was called south, and Lydia moved with him, leaving Jesse and Hyrum with their brother James in Provo. They settled in Santa Clara, Washington Co. and soon became very nicely fixed.
In the Fall of '71, Lydia's brother, Jesse, wrote to her that their father and mother were both dead, and, as there was some property to be divided among the children, she had better visit the old homestead where he lived and get her share. She therefore went east and was treated very kindly by her brothers and sisters and enjoyed herself quite well. As her share she received $1,500, and then returned home.
On the 1st of January, 1877, work was commenced in the St. George temple. President Young called upon Lydia to act as one of the workers. Circumstances beyond her control did not permit her to go until the Fall of '77, when she entered the sacred walls as one of the regular attendants. In the Winter of '80-81 Brother McClellan's health failed altogether, and on the 10th of February, 1881, he died. She took him to back to Payson, where she buried him. Thus, after a companionship of twenty years, Lydia was once more a widow. The work in the temple, however, was so constant and pleasant that she could not feel lonely. In 1882 Lydia purchased a piece of property in St. George and has there settled. She shut up her house in Santa Clara, and manages to live quite comfortably with the proceeds of her little estate.
She is all alone, as Samuel lives in Santa Clara; Sally and Lydia, with their husbands, in Orderville; Newel, in Provo; James, Jesse and Artemesia, in Payson; Joseph went to Arizona and died there four years ago, and Hyrum died at Payson three years ago unmarried.
Her posterity are numerous; they outnumber that of her eleven brothers and sisters put together. She has upwards of eighty children, grand-children and great grand-children, and is proud of her labors and the "helps" she has raised to assist in the up building of this kingdom. When the relief society was organized by the Prophet Joseph in Nauvoo, Lydia was one of its active members, and from that time until now she has almost continuously labored in one of these societies.
In the old-time fairs she has often taken prizes for the production of her hands. She has always taken a very active interest in sericulture since its introduction into this territory. There is now on exhibition in the Philadelphia silk rooms several silk skeins of various
colors so well spun and twisted as to be indistinguishable from the imported article; also nets, mitts, etc., of Lydia's make. Her labors in the temple are constant and full of the greatest joy and pleasure. She has labored there as a work-hand 621 days, has received endowments for over 700 of her dead and those of her friends; and has blessed many sick, sorrowful and afflicted. Shall I paint a little scene of almost daily occurrence during the past season in St. George?
Tall trees shade a modest house so deeply set in its leafy frame that the passer-by scarcely discerns its shape. Birds sing in their bright green home, and the grass hides many a harmless insect. The dewy freshness of the morning shimmers on every bough and grassy hillock. The chickens cluck over their morning meal; the cow stands in her cozy shed, happy with her dewy green breakfast and chewing the cud in contentment.
Out of the front door steps a brisk little woman with so blithe an air, and free a step that you are surprised to look under the veiled bonnet and find a kind, withered face surrounded with a silvery halo of pure white hair. The firm lines around the mouth are rather deepened with experience but the lips wear that pleasant half-smile seen on the faces of the cheerful; the blue eyes, a little dimmed with age and tears, but full of a sunny light and the expression so soft and sweet that little children love to kiss the dear old face. Over the path goes she, and steps into the waiting temple carriage before the clock strikes eight; her house as neat as wax, everything about her clean, happy and well fed. This is
Lydia, now seventy-one years old, and living alone, but for the beloved spirits of Newel and her children who often visit her in dreams and visions. She has earned her present peace and rest, and today, as it passes, is but the one link less between her and her longed-for eternal home within her beloved husband. But it is a very golden link, for it is gilded with precious blessings and privileges but few mortals enjoy. She blesses and is blessed. And here let us leave her, with the prayer to know and greet her when we shall be united on the glorious resurrection day!
Lydia Goldthwait Baily Knight Dalton McClellan died on April 03, 1884 in St. George, Washington Co. Utah.
Patriarchal blessing of Lydia Knight, by Joseph Smith Sr:
For Lydia Knight, who was born in Sutton, Worchester Co., Mass., June 9th 1812:
“Sister Knight, in the name of Jesus Christ, I lay my hands upon thy head and ask my Heavenly Father to give me wisdom and power to pronounce such things as shall be according to the mind of the Holy Spirit. I also ask God to prepare thee to receive blessings, and pour them into thy soul even a fullness; and to give thee wisdom to abide all things that shall come upon thee; and bless thee in thy out-goings and in thy in-comings. I seal a father’s blessing upon thee and thy posterity. For thou shalt be a mother of many children. And thou shalt teach them righteousness, and have power to keep them from the power of the destroyer; and thy heart shall not be pained because of the loss of they children, for the Lord shall watch over them and keep them. And your children shall raised up for glory and be ornaments in the Church.
"Thou hast been afflicted much in thy past days, and thy heart has been pained. Many tears have fallen from thine eyes and thou hast wept much. But thou shalt be comforted. The Lord loves thee and has given thee a kind and loving companion for thy comfort. And your souls shall be knit together, and nothing shall be able to dissolve them. Neither distress nor death shall separate you. You shall be preserved in life, and go safely and speedily to the land of Zion. Thou shalt have a good passage, and receive an inheritance in Jackson County. Thou shalt also see thy friends in Zion, thy brothers and sisters, and rejoice with them in the glory of God. Angels shall minister unto thee; thy heart shall be comforted. Thou shalt receive all the heart’s desire. Thy soul shall be enlarged, and thou shalt stand to see Israel gather from their dispersion, the tribes come from the land of the north country; the heavens rend, and the Son of Man come in all the glory of His Father. And thou shalt rise to meet Him and reign with Him a thousand years, and thy offspring with thee. Great are thy blessings. I confirm blessings on thee in common with thy husband. Blessings of the earth, and all things which thou neediest for thy comfort. And thou shalt be a mother in Israel. Thou shalt relieve the wants of the oppressed and minister to the needy. All needed blessing are thine. I seal them upon thee, and I seal thee up unto eternal life, in the name of Jesus. Amen.”
Lydia Knight's Timeline
June 9, 1812
Sutton, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
November 3, 1830
Lodi, Erie, New York, USA
February 12, 1832
Lodi, Erie, New York, USA
October 14, 1832
Lodi, Erie, New York, USA
October 24, 1833
October 24, 1833
November 23, 1835
Kirtland, Lake, OH
December 1, 1836
Galletin, Clay, Mo
April 29, 1838
Far West, Caldwell, Missouri
October 18, 1840
Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois