Sarah Louisa Felt

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Sarah Louisa Felt (Bouton)

Also Known As: "Louie"
Birthdate: (77)
Birthplace: Norwalk, Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States
Death: February 13, 1928 (77)
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States
Place of Burial: Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Joseph Bouton and Mary Rebecca Bouton
Wife of Joseph Henry Felt

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Sarah Louisa Felt

Daughter of Joseph Bouton and Mary Rebecca Barto. Married Joseph Henry Felt, 24 Dec 1866, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, at the age of sixteen years old.

First General President of the Primary, 45 years; married at 16, no children of her own, but helped raise 8 others.

In the year 1864 Louie's family started for Utah. They had gone only a short distance when the baggage train took fire, and all they owned, but the clothes they wore, were burned. So they returned to Norwalk again and remained two years.

In May 1866, the Bouton family, with a number of missionaries, left South Norwalk for Omaha. But before reaching there Brother Bouton was taken ill and it was necessary for him to rest before continuing the journey. Two of the elders remained with him while Louie and her brothers, Harry and Frank, and the other elders went on to Omaha. A telegram was sent to the elder in charge at Omaha, asking that someone meet the little party and provide them with a suitable home until the father should recover and be able to resume the care of his dear ones.

Joseph H. Felt was in charge of the Saints in Omaha, and had just recently returned from a mission to England, Sweden and Denmark. The telegram was read to the brethren at headquarters and a number of young men wanted to have the privilege of meeting Miss Bouton and her brothers, so they drew lots to see who should meet the boat. The lot fell to Elder Felt who took the carriage and went to meet them.

Louie was just sixteen, with sparkling blue eyes, golden hair, tall, slender and graceful, very dignified in her manner and a true gentlewoman. All these attractions very much impressed this young elder and she was also attracted to him. Four days later, Brother Bouton, who was still very ill, reached Omaha, staying there six weeks before he could continue on to Utah. The company with which the Bouton family traveled reached the Great Salt Lake Valley September 19, 1866, having spent over four months on the journey from South Norwalk. On the 29th of December, 1866, Louie was married to Joseph H. Felt in the Endowment House and the wedding was celebrated in the Felt home with an elaborate party, President Young and many others being there in attendance.

They had been married only a short time when President Brigham Young called them with several other young couples to colonize "The Muddy" now known as Moapa on the Virgin River until the Muddy Mission was finally abandoned.

When her father died, back in Connecticut, he left her some money, which she used to purchase a lot on the southeast corner of Seventh East and First South Streets where they built a two-room adobe house.

Not long after this Louie met Alma Elizabeth "Lizzie" Mineer, a young beautiful girl, who was very accomplished. She was singing in the Ward and Louie loved her as soon as she saw her. She suggested to her husband that she was willing to share his love and their home with "Lizzie" and hoped that some day they would be privileged to share their happiness with some little ones. So Alma Elizabeth Mineer Felt became "Lizzie Ma" and Sarah Louisa Bouton Felt, "Louie Ma" in the Felt home, and love and happiness came to three instead of two. Soon a little girl came to this home. Her name was Louise Ellis Felt. They called her "Little Louie". Then came Vera Inger Felt, and few people could guess just who the mother was, so great was the love of both for these children.

Before "Lizzie Ma's" fourth child was born, polygamy was being prosecuted and the women had to flee to the home of friends for protection and were separated from their husbands and children for months at a time. Joseph had to leave his home and go in one direction and Lizzie Ma, with her baby, in another. Louie Ma kept little Louie and Vera.

When the Retrenchment Association was merged into the Mutual Improvement Association in 1877, Louie Ma was chosen as one of the counselors to Mary Freeze.

Beginning in the month of August, 1878, Eliza R. Snow, Emmeline B. Wells, Zina D. H. Young, M. Isabella Horne, E. Howard, Lula Greene Richards, Sarah M. Kimball and others traveled throughout the Church organizing Primary Associations in rapid succession. Louie became president of the Eleventh Ward Primary of Salt Lake City on September 14, 1878. It was the second primary in the Church, after the one established by Aurelia Spencer Rogers in Farmington.

Lillie Freeze said about her: "Children were fascinated by her gracious manner and she taught them many things." Donations were made by them to help build the Salt Lake Temple. They had May walks, outings to Liberty Park and Garfield Beach, concerts and plays to bring out their talents. The money made from these concerts was used for various things, once to send an elder to England on a mission, another time it was used to bring a family to Zion, and so the work started among the children of the Eleventh Ward with a remarkable attendance —varying from one hundred to one hundred and seventy-five at a time.

Primary Associations soon became part of the auxiliary work throughout the Church. Meetings were usually held once a week, and not only theology, but good manners, the value of punctuality, the need for obedience, the joy of loving service, kindness to each other and to dumb animals were featured. The children were taught to lead in prayer, singing and in various games, and if any talent was perceived it was carefully fostered for the benefit of other members.

Primary organizations increased in members so fast that Stake Committees and a Central Board became imperative. At a Primary session of the Sister's Conference of the Salt Lake Stake held Saturday morning, June 19, 1880, the first Stake Board was organized. Immediately following this action, was sustained General President to preside over all the Primary Associations of all the Stakes of Zion. She was then set apart as General President of the Primary Association of the church, by Pres. John Taylor, which position she held until her death. She was not only the President who presided the longest, but she was the first woman in the history of the Church to be sustained as a General President.

She saw as her main duty the visiting of the various Primaries to encourage the work—a duty that involved much traveling. Under her supervision the organization was divided into ten groups according to age. The next step was to prepare appropriate material for the lessons that would be given in the various groups. The Church could offer the general board no financial assistance in implementing this venture. Undaunted, Mrs. Felt pledged her own home as collateral in order to promote the printing of the Primary's publication, The Children's Friend, begun on Jan. 19, 1902. Also, since the association had no office, these first issues were addressed for mailing in Sister Felt's home.

During the years of 1894 and 1895 Louie Ma with May Anderson attended a Kindergarten class conducted by Miss Chapin, who had come from the East. After receiving their diplomas they opened a private kindergarten in the basement of the little old adobe meetinghouse in the Eleventh Ward on the corner of Eighth East and First South Streets. She also taught Kindergarten during the summer months in the old University Building where the West High School buildings now stand.

Louie's work in the Primary continued. By promoting a feeling of gratefulness for good health among the children, they soon learned sympathy for others who were less fortunate than they and a project was commenced whereby they were able to contribute to a fund by which some sick child was. given medical treatment and hospital care. Under Sister Felt's supervision, a Primary-sponsored children's ward was opened in the Groves LDS Hospital in 1911. In 1922, feeling the need for professional nursing in a homelike atmosphere for children, the old Hyde home on North Temple became the LDS Children's Convalescent Home and Day Nursery. Soon, in addition to members of the organization, every person, old and young was invited to contribute one penny for each year they were old, and the money collected each year during the Penny Drive assisted in defraying the cost of maintaining the hospital and providing medical care.

In 1916, Louise Ellis "Louie" Felt Keysor, the eldest daughter of "Lizzie Ma", passed away and "Louie Ma" took her children, Elsa Keysor, Judith Keysor, Alma May Keysor and Buddy Keysor to live with her. She fed them, helped clothe and educate them, and gave them the love and devotion that only a second Grandmother could give, and was lovingly called "Nana."

As the years went on, she gradually grew too feeble to carry the responsibility of the Primary work and finally was so ill she had to have a trained nurse. For forty-five years Louie Bouton Felt's remarkable influence radiated throughout the Primary organization. She was succeeded by May Anderson, her lifelong friend, October 6, 1925. With "Lizzie Ma" as her faithful companion, she passed away Feb. 13, 1928, at age 77.

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Sarah Louisa Felt's Timeline

May 5, 1850
Norwalk, Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States
February 13, 1928
Age 77
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States