Sarah Emily Cowley

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Sarah Emily Cowley (Wall)

Birthdate: (68)
Birthplace: Gloucestershire, England
Death: Died in Venice, Sevier County, Utah, United States
Place of Burial: Richfield, Sevier County, Utah, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of William Wall and Sarah Wall (Sansom)
Wife of William Michael Cowley
Mother of Joseph Willard Cowley; Charles William Cowley; Frankllin Washington Cowley; Wilhelmina Colby; Sarah Ann Burton and 6 others
Sister of Joseph Laban Wall; Fanny Mariah Whitney (Wall); Elizabeth Dorcas Cantwell; Francis George Wall; Celia Francom and 4 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Sarah Emily Cowley

Biographical Summary:

"...Emily WALL Born: February 7,1840 in England Age: 16 Willie Handcart Company Sarah Emily (or Emily, as she was called) was the second oldest child in a family of nine. The family joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in England. They wanted to emigrate to America, but they could not afford to send the whole family at once, so they sent the two oldest children first. This was a fairly common practice at the time. Emily and her brother, Joseph (17), traveled to America on the ship “Thornton.” Apostle Orson Hyde gave Emily and Joseph a blessing before they left England, promising them that if they were true and faithful ‘and obeyed the counsel of those in authority over them, they would arrive in Zion in safety. They started out for Utah well prepared to make the journey on foot, as their mother had purchased 15 pairs of shoes for each of them. When the point was reached that the company could not carry so much, Joseph and Emily discarded part of their clothing, giving to those who were not as fortunate as they. A few days after leaving Winter Quarters, Nebraska, Joseph became ill. Emily pulled him in the handcart, but he grew worse each day. Finally the company stopped for a time to allow him to recover, but he didn’t. Those in authority said they would have to leave him behind to be picked up or buried by the next company. Emily said that she would not go on without her brother, and she would stay behind as well. The company moved on, but after traveling three miles out, one of the captains decided to go back for them. Emily promised to pull her brother on her cart if he would be permitted to come. Consent was given, and with the aid of a young girl, Emily pushed and pulled her brother in the handcart for many days. Later, after being stranded and subsequently rescued, Emily became acquainted with one of her rescuers, a young printer by the name of William M. Cowley. In conversation with her, he asked if some day she would marry him. Emily said she didn’t know and told him he would have to write to England and get permission from her mother. After being informed that a letter had been written to her mother and that an answer had come saying it was all right for them to be married, provided he was a good man, Emily consented and they were married in 1860. They became the parents of 12 children. The journey across the plains was a difficult test for all of the people in the handcart companies. As they were promised by Apostle Hyde, Emily and Joseph made it to the Salt Lake Valley. Joseph regained his health after their arrival. Emily endured the extreme hardship of pulling her brother in a handcart, but was sustained by her great faith in the Apostolic blessing received before leaving England..."

SOURCE: Emily Wall History, Original published in book of Willie and Martin Handcart Pioneers located at the 5th crossing, in Wyoming. Retrieved from:

  • Residence: July 16 1870 - Salt Lake City Ward 15, Salt Lake, Utah, United States
  • Residence: July 16 1870 - Salt Lake City Ward 15, Salt Lake, Utah, United States

Parents: William Wall and Sarah Sansom Spouse: William Michael Cowley


Was One of Historic Handcart Company Which Lost Many Members
Another pioneer has gone to her reward.  Mrs. William M. Cowley of Venice died on Tuesday morning after an Illness which has lasted for some time.  She suffered from kidney trouble for many months and completions set in which caused her death.  She was a native of Horsley, England and was 68 years of age.  She was a rather historic character in the settlement of Utah, as she was a member of the ill fated handcart company which crossed the plains in the early fifties and whose membership became depleted by the hardships and suffering endured on the journey.  Mrs. Cowley, or more properly speaking, Miss Wall, as she did not become Mrs. Cowley until 1860, pulled a handcart the entire distance and on the cart was her sick brother who was unable to walk.
Deceased married William M. Cowley in February,1860, and her home was in Salt Lake City for a number of years, Mr. Cowley being one of the few printers which the country boasted at that time and he was employed on the Deseret News.  They moved to this valley 35 years ago and settled in Glenwood and they have been identified with the progress of the valley in all the years since then.  Mrs. Cowley was a sister to Mrs. Henrietta Wright of this city and leaves many relatives and friends to mourn her loss.  Funeral services were beheld on Thursday.
Richfield Reaper
29 October 1908
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Sarah Emily Cowley's Timeline

February 8, 1840
Gloucestershire, England
March 22, 1840
Horsley, Gloucestershire, England, United Kingdom
May 2, 1861
Age 21
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States
January 22, 1863
Age 22
Logan, Cache County, Utah, United States
November 28, 1864
Age 24
Logan, Cache County, Utah Territory, USA
November 21, 1866
Age 26
Washington, Washington County, Utah Territory, United States
April 16, 1869
Age 29
Logan, Cache County, Utah, United States
February 25, 1871
Age 31
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah Territory, United States
February 28, 1873
Age 33
Logan, Cache County, Utah, United States