My father, Samuel Rose Parkinson was born at Barrowford, Lancashire England, April 12, 1831. He is the son of William Parkinson and Charlotte Rose. His father earned his living by daily toil as a twister in a cotton factory. He was also a preacher in the Wesleyan Church (Methodist). He died on Nov. 10, 1831, leaving his wife and infant son Samuel 6 months old. Also a stepdaughter, Elizabeth by a former husband John Duckworth. Father had one full sister who died Feb. 6, two months before father was born.
Father's mother was a refined and well educated lady. She was born of wealthy parents in the county of Kent near London.
Shortly after the death of his father, the family moved to Stockport where his mother taught school. In 1835, she married Edmond Berry who was a coal merchant. While residing at Stockport their daughters Sarah and Lucy were born. Owing to labor agitations, business became very dull in England and great inducements were offered colonists to settle Australia, which was then a comparatively new country. Mr. Berry (father's stepfather) and his mother and three children started for that far off land in April the spring of 1839. Father was now eight years old. They traveled from Manchester to Liverpool on the first railroad built in England and perhaps the first recorded in history. They left Liverpool in a sailing vessel, sailing down the West Coast of England past France, Spain and Portugal and on down the West Coast of Africa. They landed on the southern end of Africa called Cape of Good Hope July 30, 1839. It took four months to go that far because they had to depend on the wind to sail the ship.
They stayed on shore for eight days where fresh supplies were secured including live cattle and sheep and fresh drinking water. During their stay here in Africa, father's sister Ellen was born.
The ship continued its voyage for Australia on Aug. 8 and arrived in Sydney late in Sept. making a total of six months from England. Mr. Berry became engaged in burning lime from seashells at which he received fifty shillings a week or about $12.00 in our money. My grandmother baked hot cross buns for father to sell at the market place. Fruits and other provisions were soon added and through father's energy and business ability he was very successful. Eighteen months later father closed out his business to assist his stepfather in the sealing and burning of brick in a yard he had now purchased. They were not very successful in this business so Mr. Berry became discouraged and wanted to go on to New Zealand.
They left Australia in Oct. 1842, and reached Auckland New Zealand Nov. 15. Dissatisfied with that country they continued with the same ship to South America. They spent only eight days in Auckland. They landed at Valparaiso Chile Jan. 15, 1843, being the first English emigrants from among the working class ever to land in that country. The Governor tendered them the soldiers barracks for living quarters until they could find a home, one month later. Here Mr. Berry secured employment as a gardener for Mr. Martin. Soon he had a sunstroke and nearly lost his life. When he recovered he was put in charge of the English water works.
Father earned his board and lodging with Reverend Armstrong, a minister of the Church of England doing odd jobs waiting on table, working in the garden, watering flowers, etc.
While there he obtained the only scholastic training of his entire life, covering a period of six months. During this time he learned Spanish and was later engaged by a dentist as an interpreter. At the age of fourteen he obtained a position as clerk in an iron foundry. His brother William was born here in Valparaiso.
On one occasion a group of Spaniards, supposing his mother and baby to be at home by themselves attacked and made an attempt to rob the place. Grandmother screamed and after refusing to be silent they struck her with a sword. Father from another part of the house tried to escape to get help but was knocked down. The blow of the sword left a scar on his head he carried all his life. He finally escaped however, and brought a neighbor, Mr. Gibson back to the house. In the meantime, Mr. Berry was awakened from a sleep on the couch and with a big piece of iron cleared the house of the men.
They lived in Valparaiso three years then started back to England. In July 1845, still in a sailing vessel, they sailed south down around Cape Horn and up the east coast by Brazil. The sea was very rough and for a time they thought they would never make it and were afraid of their lives. When they crossed the equator they sailed over by Africa again and up the West Coast on north until they came to the Irish Channel. Here they were shipwrecked. After loosing both life boats they put up a signal of distress. It seemed so apparent to grandmother that the end had come she wrapped all of her children in a blanket and said we will all go down together. An Irishman responded to the distress signal and fired a rope to them from a cannon. Soon a boat was drawn back and forth until all of the people were safe in Liverpool. From here they went by rail to Stockport. Here they found all of the inhabitants suffering from a severe famine caused by potato rot. Mr. Berry visited his relatives and found them in destitute circumstances also was grandmother's oldest daughter, Elizabeth Duckworth, so he distributed what money he had among them. About $50.00. They also found Elizabeth had married James Chapple while they were away and had two little girls. Both of them died during the winter of 1846. The only money now the family made by selling milk from two cows his father had bought for them. In the spring he and his step-father went to Blackburn and worked for the Blackburn and Preston Railroad Co.
In the spring of 1848, they had saved a little money, so Mr. Berry, grandmother and all of her children, except Elizabeth embarked for North America on the steamer "European." They landed in New Orleans in Oct. Then took a boat up the Mississippi River to St. Louis.
The first family they met in St. Louis while they were looking for a place to rent were Mormons by the name of Clements. This was the first time father or any of his family had heard of Mormonism. Father and his sister Lucy, were the only ones who were interested in this religion, so in December 1848, they were baptized by Elder Wm. Clement and became members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The ordinance was performed in Chatoes Pond where the St. Louis Union Station now stands. He was confirmed by Nathaniel Polt.
Father and Mr. Berry secured work that winter in the Park Flour Mills. In July the Cholera broke out, grandmother took it and died. By her death the family lost a wise and faithful counselor, a loving mother, and a devoted wife. Father's sister, Elizabeth and her second husband Wm. Higgins came over from England to care for them. On Dec. 25, 1849, Mr. Berry married a widow, Thursa Booth, a member of the Mormon Church.
In the spring of 1850, father left home and began working for himself by driving a team at $18.00 a month on the St. Louis Levy. He continued to help support his family and accumulated some for himself. Soon he met Arabella Ann Chandler a member of the Mormon Church and they were married Jan. 1, 1852. Father then had a good team, about $700.00 in the bank and good employment. On Feb. 2, 1853, their first son was born. In June 1854, father, his wife and son Samuel and sister Lucy, started for Utah. They came with the St. Louis Company by team, who left Fort Levenworth in July and arrived in Salt Lake City Sept. 23, 1854. This Company consisted of 60 teams and Wm. Field was the Captain. They lived in Salt Lake only a short time then went to Kaysville, Davis Co. to live. He had a good farm here, so they settled down to living until about 1860. While living here they had twins, Charlotte and William, 2 years later George and two years later Frank. While living here he was sent out to meet Johnson's Army and stayed for three months. Once he went as far east as Devils Gate on Sweetwater to bring a load of goods left the previous fall by the handcart company. He was also called on a short mission to the Salmon River to help people into the Salt Lake Valley that they might have protection from the hostile Indians.
In 1860, Peter Maughan who was called by Pre. Brigham Young to be presiding bishop of Cache Valley, was getting together a number of families to settle where the town of Franklin now is. He appointed father, grandfather Thomas Smart and William Sanderson to take charge of the people and distribute the land until the bishop was appointed. The land was surveyed and distributed by casting lots. Father planted a crop and worked on a water ditch. At the same time he sold dry goods for Parry and Company of Salt Lake and assisted in building the first schoolhouse erected in the State of Idaho. During that winter he helped construct a canal from Cub River to the bench north of Franklin. In the spring he started a dry goods store of his own and also continued farming. During the next few years his daughter, Ester and son, Albert were born. He joined the Minute Company to help guard the Indians. He was active in all kinds of public work. He bought and operated the first threshing machine used in Franklin and he and grandfather Smart built the first sawmill there.
At this time 1865, there were a great many people entering the Celestial Order of marriage. Father wanted to keep the commandments and requirements of the Gospel. He was then engaged to Charlotte Smart, but at her father's advice she waited an entire year after the original marriage date, preparing herself for the countless duties of marriage in polygamy. She told father that she would not court him during the year for she knew it would be too hard on his other wife. They agreed if at any time during the year either of them changed their minds, they would meet to let each other know.
Father was married to Charlotte Smart Dec. 8, 1866 and nearly two years later he married her sister, Maria. Their parents were sturdy, honest, industrious people from England. To the first wife and father were born nine children. To mother and father, ten children, and to Aunt Maria and father, thirteen children, making a total of thirty-two children. Mother's children are: Annie Packer, Lucy Lloyd, Joseph and Fred Parkinson, Leona Monson, Bertha Larson, Eva Leigh, Hazel Cranney, Nettie Smoot and Vivian Taylor.
With all of these children, father needed many businesses to keep them busy. He was a merchant, farmer, manufacturer, sheep and cattle grower.
He first had a store in Franklin and was doing very well when he was advised to make of it a co-operative store, which obedient to counsel he did and was made manager. In this he was very successful and in a few years he started up a woolen factory. He went east and secured all the necessary machinery and started the factory going, making blankets, wool, sheets, yarn and mattresses.
In 1868, when Conner's Army was sent to fight Indians on Bear River, father assisted in taking dead and wounded soldiers to Salt Lake City with his team. He adopted an Indian boy by the name of Shem, from this battle, who lived in our family for thirteen years. He died suddenly of quick consumption.
On June 28, 1878, father was chosen first counselor to Bishop L. L. Hatch of the Franklin Ward. This position he held with honor and ability for 30 years. This by the way is the longest a bishopric has been together in the Church where all three have lived and worked together without a change.
During the years of what is known as anti-Mormon crusade against Plural Marriage, he was arrested on a charge of polygamy, tried at Malad, Idaho, and acquitted for lack of evidence. Later he was on the underground for years. He was finally convicted. After being tried in the U. S. Court at Blackfoot, Idaho, in his address to the Court before he was sentenced, he told them that he would suffer his life to be taken rather than desert his wives and children. He served six months in the Boise Penitentiary because of his obedience to the law of God. The Judge instructed the U. S. Marshall not to shave the beard and hair of Mr. Parkinson before his imprisonment. This was an exception to the rule.
Father always kept in touch with his family in St. Louis. He went back there every few years to see them. When I was seven years old I went with him. I remember how proud he was of his family and how he liked to tell it to his folks. His people didn't belong to the Church, so it was a novelty to them to hear of his polygamy experiences. One that happened in the penitentiary was interesting to them. The Warden said to him one day, Mr. Parkinson, which one of your wives are you going to live with when you leave here, you can't go to both of them." Answer, "I will stay here just as long as you say, but when I leave I am going home to both of them." Then he was curious, "Which one do you like the best?" Father made a circle in the dust with his cane, "You see this circle, put me in the center and my wives any place on the edge of it. I like the one the nearest to me." If father ever had a preference he was clever enough to keep it to himself. None of his children ever knew if he did.
Father's life to me started when he was about 70 years old, because he was 63 when I was born. I was his last and 32nd child. He even had great-great-grand-children when I came. At that time he was tall, had grey hair with a shiny bald spot on top. Grey beard and mustache and blue eyes. He had a very hearty laugh which showed one gold crown among all of his own teeth. Also had his second eyesight so he read anything without glasses. Always dressed up with collar and tie on, gold watch and chain, a cane and walked with an air of dignity. The first recollection I have of father was a party given in his honor on his 70th birthday. It seemed to me we lived in an awfully large house but to see it now it is quite small. The big double doors were thrown open and a long table was set the full length of the two rooms with a large birthday cake in the center. This was just for the family (brothers and sisters). We gave him a gold-headed cane. I was so proud when I paid 25 cents on it. He was quite English in his habits; used to set his shoes out of his bedroom door every Saturday night to be blacked, then peeked around the corner in the morning to see if I had done them. Never forgot to say, "My that's good bread, Mrs. I like the hard crusts to chew on." He always called mother Mrs. And she spoke of him as Mr. Parkinson or your father, never as Samuel. He read the Doctrine and Covenants a lot after breakfast or mended a cushion on his leather chair, or a fly swatter or the like. He always kept things fixed up around the home, where a few stitches or a nail was needed. I put his collar on and tied his shoes every day for years. I remember him mostly in his summer outfits. How happy he was to walk over to his son George's and come home with a red rose in his buttonhole. One habit of his was buying when the sign is right. Always his bin was full of coal and wood and plenty of flour and potatoes for winter. He was very fond of children. Used to walk the floor with them clinging to one foot as he dragged them along. When the grandchildren came to see us he would line them up and count them in Spanish. He always began and ended the day with family prayer. One time father ran a race on the 4th of July. It was an old man's race over 70. He won it and they handed him a dollar's worth of sugar for the prize. He said, "My! My! That took more than a dollar's worth of sugar out of me."
Father established "Home Night" for us. One night a week was set aside for each family. Here we sang, recited and served candy and nuts for the good time. He never missed the semi-annual conference in Salt Lake. Before I was nine, I remember what a big day it was for the Parkinsons when father came home on the evening train. Children from both wives went to the station to meet him. In the fall he always brought with him a basket of grapes, a stick of celery, a coconut and some bananas for each family. Of course we all wanted to help carry it home. I have often thought if my children could appreciate anything as much as I did one third of a banana, I would feel that they had learned what gratitude is. My father taught that. Later I went to conference with him a lot and sat between his knees on the front row were the Patriarchs sat to hear Golden Kimball speak. I had lots of fun with father, he took me nearly every place he went. He would sing "Dandy Jim from Caroline" and "Chase the Buffalo" to me. He played a lot of checkers with me.
Father moved mother to Logan when I was nine. This was to send the children from both families who were old enough to the Brigham Young College and for him to work in the Temple. He still was in the Bishopric so he traveled back and forth on the train each week. After three years we moved to Preston, Idaho, and built a home there.
His habit each day was to walk down town to get his Deseret News and sometimes bring home a little T-bone steak for dinner, a dozen large oranges. Now on April 12, we celebrate each year with his picture on the table and T-bone steak and sliced oranges for dinner. He enjoyed his horse and buggy. I hooked it up for his ride each day for years.
When he was about 80 he was ordained a patriarch. I wrote the blessings as he gave them.
All of his sons and some of his daughters went on missions. Some were called on two missions. He kept missionaries in the field for over 50 years.
As old age came on, he closed out his business affairs so he could work in the Temple for his ancestors. Of these he secured 6000 names with sufficient date for Temple work. These have all been baptized for and 5000 endowed with sealings up to date. This work was a joy and comfort to him and a great desire that his children should carry it on.
In 1918 during the flu epidemic he contracted the flu and was confined to his bed. Mother was the only wife living then so she cared for him with constant attention and loving kindness. Without any special pain he peacefully went to sleep May 23, 1919, in Preston, Idaho. My first baby was born on this day. Thus a beautiful life came to a glorious sunset in the faith and assurance found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. His posterity now numbered more than 700.