San Diego, California, February 21, 1921
This is a brief sketch of my travels through life written from memory, in my eighty-first year. I am the daughter of William Capener and Sarah Verrinder Capener. My father was born in London, England, July 31, 1806. My mother was born in Painswick, Gloucester County, England, September 2, 1804; she later, about the age of 18, went to London to act as ladies' maid in the home of some nobility family where she attended St. George Church, Hanover Square. It was there at a church festival that she first met father and where she and father were married on the twenty-fifth of October, 1828.
My parents came to America in 1834, Father came first and liked it so well he sent for Mother and her three children, William, George and Louise. She came in 1835. They landed at Poughkeepsie County, New York, where sister Elizabeth was born, also Charles Henry, who only lived two hours. I was born the 16tb of October 1840 at Brooke town of Sherdaken, Ulster County, New York. My parents later moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where I was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ ofLatter-day Saints in 1848 by Thomas Wilson, then president of the Cleveland Branch of the L.D.S. Church.
Father was ordained an Elder in the Kirtland Temple on 24 January 1844. My parents and I and my two sisters, Louise Rebecca and Elizabeth, came to Utah in 1852 in the Isaac Bullock Company, landing in Salt Lake Valley the 2nd of October 1852. I was rebaptized in City Creek by Isaac Decker some time in November 1852. William and George, my brothers refused to join the Church and come to Utah so they remained in Cleveland where William was a physician. I lived in Salt Lake City with my parents and attended school there until March 27, 1856, when I was married in plural marriage to Ephraim Knowlton Hanks, Brigham Young performing the ceremony, afterwards going to the Endowment House and receiving my endowments.
We went south with the Saints in the general move south in the year 1858, [1857?] where we camped at Spring Creek, south ofProvo, Utah, and returned the same year in August and went to live between the Little and Big Mountains which Mr .Hanks named Mountain Dell. I lived there until the year 1863, then moved to Provo Valley.
We first landed at Midway, then called Snake Creek. We arrived there in July where our daughter, Elizabeth, was born March 10, 1863. From there we moved to the McAfIee ranch then called the Bill Wall ranch. Ephraim Hanks bought the ranch from William Ball and later sold it to Brother McAfIee. My son, Ephrairn, was born at this place. When he was three months old there was Indian trouble and we moved back to Salt Lake City from the McAfIee ranch, stayed there until the next spring then we moved to Thayne's Canyon, Park City District. I was very unhappy there for there was no church activities and my husband was not doing well, but my sons, George Augustus and David Capener, were born there. George became very ill while we were there and we nearly lost him. I think it was then that I decided to leave that place so far from anybody, where there was no church to go to, to help keep up one's spirit. But I lived there about six years. So I picked up and left and went to Heber City. Three months later, on the 27 of June, Louise Rebecca was born.
Ephraim took his wife, Thisby, and her family and went south to Wayne County where he died on the 9 of June 1896. President Brigham Young gave me a church divorce form Ephraim Hanks. He said that, "Because ofhis neglect ofhis family he has forfeited all claim on his wife and family." [No temple divorce is recorded in the Salt Lake Office of the Church Historian.]
I lived in Heber City four years. Here is where I commenced laboring in the Lord's vineyard. I was first set apart as a teacher in the Sunday School, taught there for two years and also furnished the bread for the sacrament for one year and helped to comfort the sick and aftlicted and helped to prepare the dead for burial. Then I was again married to Joseph Edward Taylor, the 9 of July 1876, again in plural marriage. His first wife is my older sister, Louise Rebecca. She gave her consent and went with us to the Salt Lake Endowment House and placed my hand in his to be his wife for time and eternity. We left the next day for Charleston, Utah, where Mr. Taylor bought a thirty acre ranch and built me a small home. I did not want to raise my family in the city. I had as family of seven children, William Albert, Ephraim K., George Augustus, David Capener, Alice and Elizabeth and Louise Rebecca, children of Ephraim Hanks.
I was very active in church work while I lived in Charleston where my two daughters were born, Jane Ann, the 23 ofDecember 1878, and Margaret Wicks, the 10 of February 1883. My first call was First Counselor in Relief Society, Melissa Murdock being the President. I worked in that capacity until Sister Eliza R. Snow came to visit the Charleston Ward and chose me for local President of the Primary Association of the Charleston Ward. I worked in that organization for a number of years.
In 1883 I went on a visit to St. George to my sister Elizabeth Hardy.'s and while there I did temple work at the St. George Temple, for the dead. Years later, 1903, I went to the Manti Temple with my daughter, Margaret, where she was married to Hyrum Fredric Cluff the 15th day of July 1903 and at that time I was sealed to my parents.
After returning from St. George I found conditions unsatisfactory and left Charleston and moved back to Heber City. I was later divorced from Mr. Taylor and my father, William CAPENER, built a very nice home for me. He did all the carpenter work. Mr. Taylor was generous in providing for me and my family. On the 12 of November 1890, I married Thomas H. Giles in the Logan Temple, Mr. M. W. Morril officiating. Mr Giles died in June, 1903. He was first counselor to Abraham Hatch in the Wasatch stake, Henry Alexander was the second counselor. Shortly after I married Brother Giles I was set apart as Stake President of the Primary of Wasatch Stake of Zion with Mary Duke and Jane Shelton as my counselors.
I worked a number of years in that capacity and my health became poor, being afflicted with asthma, and I was advised to move to a lower altitude so I bought a home in Provo, and lived there until 1919, when my health forced me to seek a warmer climate. Two of my children were living in San Diego, California, so I left Provo and went to San Diego, the land of sunshine and flowers.
When I go to my last resting place I wish to be laid in the city of the dead at Heber City, Utah, where lies those who have passed on before me and where many of the associates of my younger days, also those that I loved and hope to meet in a fairer land than this. They are gone but not forgotten. My posterity at this date is nine children, seven living, two passed on: William Albert Capener and Alice Hanks McAffee. I have sixty-three grandchildren and sixty-five great- grandchildren.
Comments by her youngest daughter, Margaret Wicks Taylor Cluff:
My one regret is that my mother did not have her wishes carried out. She died at San Diego, California January 6, 1926, and was buried in the mausoleum at San Diego. George and Louise are buried just outside in the cemetery there so she will have some ofher children near at the resurrection morning.
Mother was a wonderful woman. She loved a nice home and was as grand housekeeper and manager. She was a devoted mother and it seems to me she was more devoted to her children because of her hectic life with the men she married. All her love was showered on her children. She wrote to me on August 17, 1921, and here are her words: "Now My dear girl, go straight ahead and do all the good you can, both in the church and out and obey council and God will bless you and you will be exalted. Be prayerful and don't let your children ever hear you say a word against polygamy. It is all right, the wrong is in the weakness of the flesh. People are not good enough to live it as they should and as the Lord intended they should."
Mother was a neat, proud woman, always looked well dressed. She loved nice shoes and had a pretty small foot that looked nice always. She was stylish and trim and had good taste in choosing her clothes. She was a good seamstress. She was strict and always frowned upon sin of any kind yet she was lovable and tender hearted. I never heard her gossip or criticize the authorities. She almost worshiped Brigham Young as President of the Church. She believed in obeying council of the authorities and was a devout Latter-day Saint.
She was mortally afraid of death because of being put under the ground. The members ofher family who were with her at her death were her two sons, Ephraim and George, Louise and Jane Ann. They felt that it would be best to have her laid away in the beautiful Green Wood Mausoleum, so there is where her body rests.
© 2008, Daniel C. Hanks