LIVINGSTON, Isabella (1843)
|Isabelle Livingston Aiken|
|Full name||Isabelle Livingston|
|Born||July 10 1843|
|Place of birth||Airdrie, Lanark, Scotland|
|Died||April 17 1905|
|Place of death|| Spring City, Sanpete, Utah
Isabelle Livingston Aiken
By her grandson, Veron S. Thomander
Grandma Isabelle Livingston Aiken was born July 10, 1843 at Chapell Street in Airdrie, Lanark, Scotland, to Archibald and Jean Bain Livingston. Her father, Archibald, had first been married to Helen Muir Conners on December 2, 1832. She bore him three children: James, December 2, 1833, Charles, March 12, 1835 and Helen, January 17, 1837. In 1837 shortly after Helen was born, she died leaving her husband with three motherless children.
On February 8, 1840, Archibald married Jean Bain. Her first daughter, Jane, was born January 12, 1841 but passed away January 25, 1847 at the age of 6. On July 10, 1843 a daughter Isabelle was born. On December 7, 1845 her son Archibald was born, followed by another son, William on April 28, 1848.
Shortly after William's birth a terrible epidemic of cholera swept through the area taking Jean Bain Livingston in February 1849, and her husband Archibald on April 30, 1849, leaving six orphan children ages nine months to sixteen years; three by his first wife Helen and three by Jean Bain.
By good fortune their grandmother, Christina Campbell Livingston, (later known as Granny Christine) was in good health and willing and able to care for her six orphaned grandchildren.
It seems strange that no mention was made of the Mormon elders previous to or at the time of Archibald's death, because his mother, Christina, had been baptized in May 1848 and his son James was baptized just a week after his father's death, May 7, 1849. The other children who were old enough were baptized shortly after. Isabelle and her two younger brothers were not old enough at this time. Records show that she was baptized April 5, 1857, just seventeen days before her marriage in the Endowment House. (Could this be a second baptism, which was common at that time?)
From the early spring of 1849 to the spring of 1853, James and Charles worked hard and supported the Livingston family with Granny Christine acting the part of a kind, loving mother. By the early spring of 1853, James, now 20, Charles 18, Helen 16, Isabelle 10, Archibald 8, and William 5, it was decided that Charles could support the family and James could go to America and find a way for the rest of the family to move to Zion. By the summer of 1854 James had saved $200.00 which he gave to the Emigration Fund of the Church with the agreement that he would pay enough more to bring the family to Zion. They left Glasgow December 16, 1854, traveled by sailboat to New Orleans, up the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers to Atchison, Kansas. There the family worked hard to earn enough money to finish the trip by helping to build the first houses in that important railway center. They arrived in Salt Lake City September 25, 1855 where they were united with James. They located on a lot on Ninth East between 1st and 2nd South. There the boys built a house for the family.
Samuel Ruggles Aiken (who later married Grandma Isabelle) was born in Hardwick, Mass. October 28, 1803. There he was educated and trained to be an elementary school teacher. Because of his excellent penmanship, he was given a special certificate. On April 26, 1826 he married Nancy Mason Lazell Smith (born November 28, 1795), widow of Calvin Smith. On July 18, 1841, while living in New Salem, Mass., they both joined the LDS Church. In September of that year a Branch was organized there and he was made the Presiding Elder, which position he held for two years. He then moved his family to Nauvoo, arriving there December 25, 1843, after a twelve-week trip. On December 28th he saw and received counsel from the Prophet. Later he saw the Prophet mount his horse, leave his family, and go to Carthage on June 25, 1844. He was also present when they brought the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum back to Nauvoo after the martyrdom.
The Aikens arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in the summer of 1848 and settled on a lot in Salt Lake City between State and Main Streets on 2nd South. They had four children but a daughter, age 12, had died in Nauvoo and a son, age 21, had died crossing the plains. Benjamin age 20, and Fanny Mason, age 12, made it to the valley. Nancy was married very young and she and her mother left Samuel Ruggles Aiken and moved to California.
Isabelle arrived in Salt Lake with her family September 25, 1855. Sometime between then and 1857 she met and fell in love with Samuel Ruggles Aiken who was teaching school in the city. We do not know, but it may be possible that she was one of his students. From his Journal I quote:
- "Sunday, March 30, 1857, I was present at the Bowery when the names of several brethren were read, appraising them of their appointment as missionaries to Canada to preach the Gospel. My name was among others. On April 22 I went into the House of the Lord and received my blessing and was set apart for my mission. My wife, Isabelle Livingston Aiken, received her endowment and was sealed to me over the altar.
- "April 23. This day commenced my journey by handcart. Our company consisted of seventy men and twenty-five carts. Hannah, Isabelle, Benjamin, and Samuel accompanied me about five miles from the city; also a band of music went with us two miles from Salt Lake."
The following account was printed in the Church section of the Deseret News, September 22, 1962:
- "Mormon Elders On the March. A crowd of about 2,000 people milled about on the Temple block in Salt Lake City on the morning of April 23, 1857. Here and there among the crowd were brightly painted handcarts with white canvas covers. Young men dressed in rugged travel attire stood about the carts, chatting and laughing and shaking hands with the many well wishers. The young men, most of them with wives and children, had been called at a recent conference to fill missions in the U. S. and Europe. Three of the Council of the Twelve joined the crowd: Elders Orson Hyde, Lorenzo Snow, and Wilford Woodruff. Elder Hyde announced the singing of a hymn and an opening prayer, then the three brethren spoke, giving advice and counsel to the missionaries. President Brigham Young and his counselor came and gave the missionaries farewell and Godspeed. Each handcart had a motto printed on the side, 'Truth Will Prevail', 'Zion's Express', 'Blessings Follow Sacrifice', 'The Lion of the Mountains', 'Merry Mormons'.
- "Behind the handcart train marched the Nauvoo Brass Band earnestly blaring a lively tune. Hundreds of friends, relatives, wives and children, trailed after them to the mouth of Emigration Canyon. After the climb to the bench the missionaries spoke briefly, thanking the band and well wishers. They said their good-byes and were on their way. There were seventy in the company."
The missionaries were called home when Johnston's army entered the Valley in 1858, so Aiken was not able to fill a full time mission. He had traded his property in the city for a place in Millcreek on 4200 South State. Here they lived about five years and two sons were born to them here: Samuel L., December 5, 1859; and John A., August 26, 1862. It has been said that Aiken did not like the water there and, hearing that the water was excellent in Spring City and that there was a forest of Pinion pines there from which they could make pitch and lamp black, he decided to sell out and move. He sold his farm for two yoke of oxen, a wagon, some farm implements, etc., and went to Spring City. Due to danger of Indian raids they first lived in the fort. He obtained a teaching job in Ephraim and stayed there for a time during the move. Later they built a small house and he traveled back and forth on horseback, which took him about two hours each way. He kept up his farm and vegetable garden with the help of his family while he continued to teach at Ephraim and later at Spring City. While in Spring City the following children were born: James William, February 8, 1865; Charles Henry, February 16, 1867; Sarah Jane, November 1, 1869; Joseph Hyrum, March 30, 1871; Lorenzo Wilson, August 18, 1873. They lived in a very small house until the boys were old enough to build a new house for the family.
Uncle James Livingston was in charge of the quarry where they were cutting the stones for the Salt Lake Temple and he asked Jim and Charley to come and work there. Then he asked Jane and her friend, Hannah Adler, to come and cook for the men, which they did. With the money the three Aikens earned they bought furniture for their parents' home, among which was beautiful oak dining room set.
Samuel Ruggles Aiken died December 15, 1896 in his 94th year. Isabelle was very lonely after the death of her husband, and spent the rest of her life living with her children in their homes or hers. She spent most of the time with Lorenzo or Joe. But Aunt Myra, Joe's wife, said she wanted to come and live with them but they had only two rooms. So she got them to move in with her. She said Grandma used to say, "Myra can't get along without me". She stayed with her daughter, Jane, in 1902 when Veron was born. And when she was ready to leave she said, "Veron is mine, and I am going to take him home with me. You can't take care of him, Jane." And Jane burst into tears but she kept her baby. Again in 1904 she went to be with Jane when Jane gave birth to a daughter, Jean, but never lived to see her.
Grandma returned to her home in Spring City with a bad kidney problem from which she never recovered. Aunt Myra said she sat in a rocking chair in front of a mirror from January until her death, April 17, 1905. The day she died she said for Myra to "Come Quick." Myra did, and Grandma looked up at her, smiled, and passed peacefully away.