Zerviah Eliza Clark

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Zerviah Eliza Clark

Birthdate: (45)
Birthplace: West Suffield, Connecticut
Death: August 16, 1863 (45)
Salt Lake City, Utah
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Richard Clark and Susanna Gillett
Wife of William Harrison Folsom, Architect
Mother of Harriet Amelia Young; Hyrum Pearse Folsom; William Burdette Folsom; Hinman Day Folsom; Frances Emily Wallace and 2 others

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About Zerviah Eliza Clark


Zerviah Eliza Clark was born in West Suffolk, Hartford Co., Connecticut on February 5, 1818. Her parents were Richard Clark and Susan Gillett, both from old New England stock.

Little is known of her early life, except that she was taught to sew at an early age. Evidence of her handiwork Rhea Wallace in the form of an embroidered sampler done in 1827 at the age of twelve. She was educated as a school teacher and went west to Ohio to teach school. It was in the Buckeye State that the marriage between herself and William Harrison Folsom took place August 21, 1837. They soon moved to Buffalo, New York where their two eldest children Harriet Amelia and Hyrum were born.

It was at Buffalo that the gospel came to them, and they were converted and baptized February 17, 1842 in the Niagara River. It was necessary to cut through 2 1/2 feet of ice to perform the baptism, Zerviah being the first one baptized. John P. Green officiated. They had a hole about six by eight feet with steps leading down into the water.

It was not long after this that the family moved to Nauvoo. Here they found the people upset over the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum. They remained in Nauvoo and her husband did carpenter work on the Nauvoo Temple until it was finished. One child, William Burdette, was born here February 22, 1846. They were among the Saints who camped on the Mississippi River bank in an almost starving condition. Quails came to the camp in great flocks night and morning. Saints took small clubs and threw at the quail. In almost every instance they killed enough to last them until the next meal. Corn was 10 cents a bushel but the Saints could not even buy that from the hostile neighbors, who guarded their fields with guns for fear a few ears might be taken.

From Nauvoo the family moved to a village called Farmington on the Des Moines River and for a time Mr. Folsom made washboards and clothes pins and Zerviah made horse nets which were sold in exchange for provisions. It was here that Mr. Folsom was accosted by a drunken mob because he was a Mormon, and hung by a rope in front of the saloon and left for dead. A friend took him down and laid him on the bank of the river where in time he regained consciousness and managed to get home in a very weakened condition. Zerviah was at a quilting bee and was sent for to nurse him. Another time the mob was taking fire arms away from the Mormons but Zerviah hid theirs between two mattresses on the bed where a sick child lay.

Zerviah was a woman with many social graces and accomplishments. It is said she was a social leader. Her family were from the best educated people. At one time one of the towns people tried to persuade Zerviah to leave her husband or "put him out of the way" because he was a Mormon, but she loved her husband and was faithful to the Gospel.

A short time after they moved to Keokuk, Iowa the missionary spirit caused Mr. Folsom to leave his family to sail around Cape Horn to California preaching the gospel all the way. He found work in California making sluice boxes for the gold miners. After two years he returned home to his family who were staying with Zerviah's family at Atwater, Ohio. They returned to Keokuk and lived there nine years. At this time Mr. Folsom did some important construction work and two more children were born, Hynman on Feb. 17, 1849 and Francis on Sept. 20, 1853.

In 1854 they fitted out two wagons, with two yoke of cattle each and started out for Salt Lake City, but arrived in Council Bluffs ten days too late for the last company, so they settled again and remained for six years. Mary Louisa was born here Oct. 9, 1855. They eventually joined the Joseph W. Young company and came west meeting Indian and buffalo on the trail arriving in Salt Lake City October 3, 1860.

When they first arrived in Salt Lake City, they lived in a home owned by Enoch Reese. It was from Mr. Reese that Mr. Folsom got his first job of putting a glass front in the Enoch Reese store on Main Street. Not long after they had been in Salt Lake City, Mr. Folsom was standing in front of a sporting supply store on Main Street talking to a friend. A man was inside examining a gun which went off accidentally. The bullet went through the plate glass window, through the coat, vest and shirt of Mr. Folsom but stopped at his garments. Simultaneously, Zerviah had a strange feeling about her husband and had knelt down and prayed for him.

Her seventh child, Richard Clark, named for her father was born July 22, 1862 but only lived until November. The summer following August 16, 1863 Zerviah died from the affects of childbirth. Her children were all married and served as good citizens in the communities wherever they settled. The children lived in Canada, California, Utah and Idaho.

  	The Deseret News published this obituary notice of her, "In this city, Zerviah Eliza Clark, wife of William H. Folsom, died at the age of 45 years, 6 months, and nine days.  She was the daughter of Richard and Susan Clark, born in Southwich.  She died firm in the faith of the everlasting Gospel, and has left a large family and numerous friends, who deeply mourn her loss.  Peace to her ashes, while the spirit immortal mingles with the just in a brighter and better existence."   
                              Written by Ethleen F. Hillam	
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Zerviah Eliza Clark's Timeline

February 5, 1818
West Suffield, Connecticut
August 23, 1838
Age 20
Buffalo, Erie, New York, USA
September 1, 1841
Age 23
Buffalo, Erie, New York
February 29, 1844
Age 26
Nauvoo, Hancock, IL, USA
February 17, 1849
Age 31
Keokuk, Lee County, Iowa, United States
September 20, 1853
Age 35
Keokuk, Lee, Iowa
October 9, 1855
Age 37
Council Bluffs, Pttwtt, Iowa
July 22, 1862
Age 44
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, UT, USA
August 16, 1863
Age 45
Salt Lake City, Utah