Sylvia Desire Wheeler

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Sylvia Desire Beecher (Wheeler)

Birthdate: (55)
Birthplace: Springfield, Portage, Ohio, United States
Death: March 9, 1877 (55)
Elba, Cassia, Idaho, United States
Place of Burial: Willard, Box Elder, Utah, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Charles Wheeler and Phoebe Wheeler
Wife of Ransom Asa Beecher
Mother of Elmina Maria Beecher; William Joseph Beecher; Ransom Asa Beecher Jr.; Sally Lovisa Beecher; Asa Moroni Beecher and 7 others

Managed by: Ivy Jo Smith
Last Updated:

About Sylvia Desire Wheeler

Sylvia Desire Wheeler (1821-1877)

By FHS EditorPublished 10/17/2000Drake Family FHS Editor

View all articles by FHS Editor

Life Sketch Sylvia Desire Wheeler was born in Portage, Ohio, April 17, 1821. When she was 17 years old she went west to Fort Leavenworth, Missouri to be with other members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While there, she was married to Ransom Asa Beecher November 22, 1838 by Mr. Grooves. Sylvia and Ransom had twelve children (including two sets of twins), eight boys and four girls. All but three of them grew to maturity and were married.

The Beechers moved next to Nauvoo, Illinois, where their first three children were born. They were living there when the Saints were being so badly treated by mobs and "Mormon-haters." Sylvia endured many trials and hardships and remained strong, faithful and devoted to the cause of Truth. She dearly loved and supported the Prophet Joseph, in whom she had great faith. On one occasion when she was ill and in bed, the Prophet was also ill. Sylvia sent her apron to him to be blessed. He blessed it and sent it back to her with the promise that she would recover. She wrapped it around her head and was instantly healed.

Sylvia was in Nauvoo during the period of mobbing and fighting. She saw cannon balls roll down the streets and at one time a mob came to her home and commanded her family leave the city. Ransom was ill with malaria at the time. When the mob was informed of this they withdrew and the Beechers were permitted to remain in Nauvoo until after the martyrdom of the Joseph and Hyrum Smith. Sylvia recounted on the night the Prophet was murdered she could not sleep. She knew something horrible was happening. She was so nervous that she walked the floor and wrung her hands. When she was informed of the terrible deed she was not surprised.

Shortly after this incident the Beechers left Nauvoo and crossed the Mississippi River with their little family and belongings. Sylvia was worn out from worry and overwork so they sought refuge for the night under humble and uncomfortable conditions -- whether in a tent or a hut is not certain. Her makeshift bed provided inadequate comfort to her and in these circumstances she gave birth to twin girls. Ransom delivered the babies with the assistance of Sylvia's married sister, Ursula. The twins lived, notwithstanding the fact that they were two months premature. They were so small a teacup could cover their heads and rest on their shoulders. Ironically, these girls each weighed over 200 pounds as adults.

The Beechers resided in Illinois and surrounding states (including Wisconsin) until 1853, when they migrated west to Salt Lake City, Utah. Two more children were born to them when they lived in Wisconsin. They traveled across the Plains in a company of Saints in a wagon drawn by three yokes of steers and cows.

They lived in Salt Lake four years worked for President Brigham Young as a carpenter. Twin boys were born to the Beechers during this period. Wages were low and there was little employment in Salt Lake, so in 1859 Ransom and Sarah moved to Willard, Utah, known then as Willow Creek, where Ransom established a sawmill and purchased a few sheep.

Sylvia had a difficult time managing for her family, as there was little income to meet the needs of her family and regular visitors and she had little help. She cared for the little home, made clothing from the wool their sheep provided and assumed responsibility for the guidance of the children.

The Beechers lived in Utah until 1872, when they moved to Elba, Idaho. Until the Post Office was established, the new settlement was called Beecherville. In this new land they were once again pioneers, as there were only four families in the entire valley. Times were difficult and they had to haul everything they purchased from Kelton [?] or other distant places. The country was wild and there was little government protection from marauding Indians. Often bands of roving Indians would call at the Beecher home. At other times the settlers gathered at the community center (log cabin) in fear of an Indian attack.

The Beecher children married and chose homesteads in the valley. Eventually all of Sarah's living children, with the exception of William and Lovisa, were living in Cassia Creek, Idaho. She acted as midwife in bringing many of her grandchildren in this world and she seldom had the help of a doctor.

Sarah's life was full of hardships, trials and overwork. She was delivered from these when she passed away on March 9, 1877 at the age of 56.


1870 United States Federal Census :

Name: Selina Beacher

Birth Year: abt 1821

Age in 1870: 49

Birthplace: Ohio

Home in 1870: Willard, Box Elder, Utah Territory

Race: White

Gender: Female

Post Office: Willard

Household Members: Name Age

Ransom Beacher 56

Selina Beacher 49

William J Beacher 27

Moronia Beacher 21

Reuben A Beacher 18

Fredrick O Beacher 15

Silvia Beacher 12

Orvil L Beacher 9

Merriet E Beacher 5

view all 16

Sylvia Desire Wheeler's Timeline

April 17, 1821
Springfield, Portage, Ohio, United States
November 27, 1840
Age 19
Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois, United States
October 25, 1842
Age 21
Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois, United States
December 23, 1844
Age 23
Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois, United States
September 23, 1846
Age 25
Montrose, Lee, Iowa, United States
September 23, 1846
Age 25
Montrose, Lee County, Iowa, United States
February 15, 1849
Age 27
Vienna Center, Trumbull County, Ohio, United States
May 20, 1855
Age 34
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States
May 20, 1855
Age 34
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States