As we begin to make our plans for gathering I thought it pertinent that a note be made of our pioneer mothers.
Mary Ann Astington has been mentioned, I hope with the admiration and appreciation due her. She could as easily have had the attitude that the 'neat sum' would ease her lot right where she was- in London, England. Surely it would have- the lot of the whole family. It was no easy thing to bear and raise children in that time. Nor was it any easier in the new place- as witnessed in the loss of children before and after her emigration. ( We need appreciate that it remains a risk to health and life even today, and if we are reading this we have a mother that probably- but not always- met such a risk!)
The four Kirkham brothers of our purposes grew to adulthood, married and reared families. Both James and George entered into plural marriages and endured much relative to their decission to do so.
The wives of these four- and thus our pioneer mothers were Martha Mercer and Emma Wootton, the wives of James Kirkham; Mary and Sarah Russon, wives of George Kirkham; Lizzie Ann Wanlass, the wife of Hyrum Kirkham and Tyresha Cragun, who died after childbirth and Mary Jane Stoddart, wives of Joseph Kirkham.
Returning to E. Kay Kirkham's book we get a glimpse of the pioneer wife's life:
"Our first home in Lehi was a mud hut with a dirt roof...we put up a mud fence...we worked a good deal of time at night. I used to mix the mud while mother held a candle lantern for us to see by.
"Black Hawk and his band of Indians were at war with our people...with a number of our boys I was given fifteen minutes to be readyto join our regiment or that portion that was called. We bid our mothers, fathers and families good bye and with our life in our hands went off to meet our foe. We left our mothers in tears...
"Monday November 18, 1872. Last night my wife was very sick. My mother stopped with us at 12:25 noon and a son was born to us, the mother suffering very much...
"Friday February 16, 1877. In clear Creek Canyon stayed the night at Cove Creek Fort, built by Brigham Young...we went to bed in our wagon without supper and spent a very miserable night. Today our son Albert was born at 15 minutes to 9:00 p.m..."
related from journal of James Kirkham
E. Kay's book has much on the wives of James, I think because it is his direct line. So we will rely on you- from the familes of Mary and Sarah, Lizzie Ann and Tyresha to tell us about them. Should I make this an assignment? Let us not forget or neglect our pioneer mothers! We could not be meeting but for their place in our heritage.