Pauline Eliza Lyman (Phelps) (1827 - 1912)

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Birthplace: Lawrenceville, Lawrence, Illinois, USA
Death: Died in USA
Occupation: Married Amasa Mason Lyman 1/16/1846 in Nauvoo, IL and had 7 children
Managed by: Della Dale Smith
Last Updated:

About Pauline Eliza Lyman (Phelps)

Biographical Summary #1:

Paulina Eliza PHELPS LYMAN was born March 20, 1827, at Lawrence, Illinois, to Morris Charles PHELPS and Laura CLARK PHELPS. Her parents were early converts to the Church. She was blessed by Parley P. Pratt in a dungeon in Richmond, Missouri, and baptized by her father June 1, 1835, in Crooked River, Missouri. She was one of the children whom the Prophet Joseph Smith blessed and promised that she would come to the Rocky Mountains.

Her father was imprisoned with Parley P. Pratt and others. Her mother, whose fourth child was under one year of age, rode 250 miles on horseback to see him, and with the aid of Orson Pratt, was successful in having him released. It was in this prison she sewed the manuscript of the "Key to Theology" in her clothing, thus preserving it for the Church.

As a child, Paulina was melancholy and often felt lonely and sad. One night she dreamed that if she would read one-half hour daily, it would keep her mind occupied, relieving her despondency as well as improving her mind. When she was 14 years of age, her mother died and Paulina took over the responsibility of the home and family until her father married again. Circumstances were very hard and Paulina had to help the family by working for other people.

She was married January 16, 1846, to Apostle Amasa Mason LYMAN, in the Nauvoo Temple. Later she drove a four-horse team for Sidney Tanner across the plains to pay for her fare. Paulina took care of Mrs. Tanner during her illness until her death, and then for a time cared for the eight motherless children. Pauline's first child was born at Winter Quarters. She arrived in Salt Lake City in October 1848, living in the fort for one year. Food was very scarce and expensive, flour being $1.00 per pound. She obtained a few pounds for her baby, whom she could only allow a spoonful a day.

Later when Apostle Lyman returned from a mission to the Southern States, he brought a bale of cotton. This Paulina carded and spun, making candle wicking and thread, which was sold. She wove carpets, jeans, tablecloths, and bedspreads.

In the late 50's she came to Parowan with her three children. Brother Jess N. Smith invited them into his home, caring for them until one could be provided for her. Later Cornelia Lyman came from California, with her two boys, to share Pauline's home. She took care of Cornelia, who was very frail and ill, until she died, and then reared the two boys, always giving them first consideration. Mrs. Lyman was left a widow early in life. She labored early and late to support her family, weaving and sewing, tailoring, etc. and her work was of the highest quality.

When she was past 60 years old, she went to Salt Lake City to study obstetrics under Dr. Ellis R. Shipp, and obtained her diploma. Mrs. Lyman not only presided at the birth of more than 500 babies, but was a surgeon and doctor as well, setting broken limbs and providing for and nursing any affliction. She kept up with the latest methods, being interested in every advancement in medicine. She taught classes in obstetrics, passing on her knowledge that others might learn and be of service in the community.

She was the mother of seven children, six boys and one girl, two of whom met with tragic deaths early in life. Her sorrows and her responsibilities were met with faith in her Heavenly Father, and with courage and willingness to do her part. On October 8, 1912, she passed away at her home in Parowan, at the age of 85 years, her mind keen and alert to kindness to all the malice toward none. .."

SOURCE: Compiled by Carter, Kate B.; "Heart Throbs of the West"; Volume 3. Retrieved online from http://www.lymanites.org/lyman/archives/pioneerhistory/paulinaelizaphelpslyman.asp

Biographical Summary #2:

"...Paulina PHELPS LYMAN was born at Lawrenceville, Illinois, March 20, 1827, the daughter of Morris PHELPS and Laura CLARK PHELPS. Her father joined the Church in 1831 and was a prominent member from that time until his death. When Paulina was five years of age, she received a blessing from the Prophet Joseph Smith in which he promised her "that she would live to go to the Rocky Mountains," a remarkable prophecy to be given at that date. At the age of 14, she took the responsibility of caring for her father's family as her mother had passed away.

On January 15, 1846, Paulina was married to Apostle Amasa LYMAN in the Nauvoo Temple, as a plural wife. When the Saints were driven from their homes in Nauvoo, she drove a four-horse team across Iowa to Winter Quarters, for Sidney Tanner, as this was the only means she had of paying her way. Mrs. Lyman arrived in Salt Lake Valley, October, 1848. Here she made her home until 1857, then moved to Parowan in Southern Utah, where she lived until her death at the age of eighty-five years.

Added to the responsibilities of looking after the home, Mrs. Lyman had to provide for the physical necessities of her large family, and to that end she turned to different kinds of employment such as spinning, weaving and sewing. From her own home-woven cloth she made one hundred and thirty suits for men and boys. She next turned to obstetrics, since there were no doctors for many miles around. In this field of medical science she was unusually successful, but with the thought of increasing her efficiency in the care of women, she went to Salt Lake City to take some advanced work in obstetrics under Dr. Ellis Shipp. She was then past sixty years of age, but she was an apt student and succeeded in passing the prescribed course with honors.

Her services in the medical field were not confined to maternity cases but she became a general practitioner, even to the extent of setting broken bones. She was the first in Parowan to use disinfectants, the most commonly used by her being carbolic acid and iodoform. At a time when vaccination was frowned upon by many who thought it would leave the patient with some physical disability, this far-visioned woman doctor procured the vaccine from Salt Lake City and injected it into the blood stream of nearly every resident of Parowan during an epidemic of smallpox that was sweeping the country.

Much of the success achieved by Paulina Lyman in her work among the afflicted can be accredited to her supreme faith in the power of prayer. Always she carried a prayer in her heart for the recovery of those who came under her care, and this, together with her skill, resulted in a remarkable percentage of successful cases, both in childbirth and in her general practice.

SOURCE: "Our Pioneer Heritage"; Volume 6 -- Pioneer Midwives

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Pauline Phelps's Timeline

1827
March 20, 1827
Lawrenceville, Lawrence, Illinois, USA
1846
January 16, 1846
Age 18
Nauvoo, Illinois
1847
December 16, 1847
Age 20
Winter Quarters, , Nebraska Territory
1851
July 5, 1851
Age 24
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, Usa
1853
October 5, 1853
Age 26
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, Usa
1857
February 18, 1857
Age 29
Farmington, Davis, Utah, Usa
1859
February 19, 1859
Age 31
Parowan, Iron, Utah, Usa
1860
August 4, 1860
Age 33
Parowan, Iron, Utah
1863
August 9, 1863
Age 36
Parowan, Iron, Utah, Usa
1865
August 19, 1865
Age 38
Parowan, Iron, Utah, Usa