The Biography of Sarah Lucinda Lee Dalton, 1847-1925
Researched, complied & edited by Rodney G. Dalton
Lucinda Lee or Aunt Lou as she was called married Charles Wakeman Dalton on 03 Oct., 1868 in Salt Lake City, Utah Territory. She was his 4th wife in polygamy. Her father, John Percival Lee was a school teacher and she become one as well. Below is her story.
A good way to meet Sarah Lucinda Lee Dalton is through one of her poems, a feminist statement of power and passion, irony and even bitterness, yet, paradoxically, of faith. She wrote many articles for the 'Woman's Exponent” periodical.
The Woman's Exponent was a newspaper published from 1872 until 1914 in Salt Lake City. Its purposes were to uplift and strengthen women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to educate those not of the Mormon faith about the women of Mormonism. Although it was not an official publication of the L. D. S. Church, it was closely tied to the church, especially to the Relief Society. Its influence in politics and other areas was large, especially among Mormon women. Although its influence was great, from what can be seen from limited sources, the number of women in the Relief Society that subscribed to the Exponent was approximately ten percent.
"Woman," Woman's Exponent, 21 15 January 1893. By Sarah Lucinda Lee Dalton.
“Woman is the first to know sorrow and pain,
Last to be paid for her labor,
First in self-sacrifice, last to obtain justice, or even a favor.
First to greet loving a man at his birth, last to forsake him when dying,
First to make sunshine around his hearth, last to lose heart and cease trying.
Last at the cross of her crucified Lord, First to behold him when risen,
First, to proclaim him to life restored, Bursting from death's gloomy prison. First to seek knowledge, the God-like prize, last to gain credit for knowing
First to call children a go from the skies, last to enjoy their bestowing.
First to fall under the censure of God, last to receive a full pardon,
First to kiss meekly the chastening rod, thrust from her beautiful garden,
First to be sold for the wages of sin, last to be sought and forgive.
First in the scorn of her dear brother, man, Last in the kingdom of heaven.
So, a day cometh, a glorious day, Early perfection restoring sin and its burdens shall be swept away, And love flow like rivers outpouring. Then woman who loves, through sorrow and shame. The crown of a queen will be wearing, and love, freed from lust, a divines pure same, shall save our sad earth from despairing. That latter-day work is already begun, the good from the evil to server, the word has gone forth that when all is done, The last shall be first, forever.”
This poem contains the four great passions that weave the fabric of Lucinda's life. Most obvious is her strong sense of the injustice done to women, and as an inseparable second, how worthy women are of honor. Equally powerful is her sense that the issue of women's rights was a theological issue as well as a political one. Women's ultimate redemption and compensation for the wrongs of mortality will be part of the purification of the earth itself. The fourth characteristic is simply that Lucinda Lee Dalton is an eloquent and polished poet, clear and forceful in her expression. She is not merely angry, merely sorrowful and merely hopeful. She is all three at the same time, her emotions controlled and channeled by her ironic edge and her poetic form.
And the poem, possibly her strongest, is an excellent introduction to the woman, still a mystery fifty years after her death. Her talent, her clear mind, her great personal strength, and her unflinching faith make her acquaintance valuable.
In surveying Lucinda's writings, we sense that her feelings about being a woman are inseparably connected with her feelings about men and those feelings were generally not good.
She was born in Alabama in 1847 to John Percival Lee and Eliza Foscue. Two years later, they joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Texas, crossed the plains in 1850, went to help colonize San Bernardino, California, in 1851, and after seven years left to settle in Beaver, Utah, in the winter of 1857-58.
John P. Lee was a great influence on his daughter. Oldest of thirteen children, Lucinda was intelligent and thirsty for knowledge, recalling with gratitude that her father "at the close of his days” work patiently taught us, while yet too young to attend the common schools. At the age of twelve she helped him teach school; four years later she was a teacher herself a profession she dearly loved and followed for the rest of her life.
Lucinda says little else of her father in her unpublished autobiographical sketch, but later he was to take a new wife, a practice that was socially accepted and respected in the Mormon view that countenanced plural marriages; however, his action possibly because of his manner or because of the timing, deeply hurt Lucinda's mother and alienated his children.
Lucinda mentions two more men who influenced her youth. One was her first teacher in Utah. "O bless him!" she exclaims. With compassion upon "my ravenous hunger for knowledge. He gave to me instruction many a noontime hour when other children played and other men went home to dinner." It was "this beloved tutor and friend" she had to leave when she began teaching school.
The second man, likewise a teacher, was someone she humbly approached, asking, if in his opinion, I was sufficiently advanced in mathematics to study algebra with profit. This "gentleman teacher" replied that it would be wasted time for me to ever study it, because I already had more learning than was necessary for a good housekeeper, wife, and mother which was a woman's only proper place on earth. Then she adds something significant: "It is but justice to him and myself to say that he has since warmly commended my efforts at self culture and the good I have done as a teacher." Lucinda's sense of justice never deserted her; she would not lie, even by omission, and we learn to trust her unsparing honesty.
Lucinda, then, entered adolescence with some sense that being a woman meant being limited, and she remembers that she had always longed to be a boy, because boys were so highly privileged and so free. She envied their liberty, their mobility, and the encouragement that they received to seek education, but wryly attributes this envy to "my youth and blissful ignorance." and chastises men in one of the most scathing passages in her autobiography:
"Not for all their boasted supremacy, superiority, and extensive advantages would I have women come down to their low moral level. Intellectual acquirements, fame, power, wealth, and even their self-conceit added, are as feathers in the scale against moral purity."
She wrote this autobiography in 1876 for Emmeline B. Wells, then editor of the Woman's Exponent, "rising in the night" to do it. She was at that time twenty-nine years old, living in Beaver, the fourth wife of Charles Wakeman Dalton, without doubt the man who was most significant both for good and for ill in her life. They had been married for eight years. Lucinda had borne six children and lost two. Her sixteen-year-old sister Emma had also married Charles five years earlier and had divorced him only the year before; Lucinda herself was to apply to President John Taylor for a cancellation of sealing in 1884, eight years in the future and barely a year after Charles' death. This cancellation President Taylor granted in 1887. Because of these facts, we might be tempted to interpret Lucinda's scorn of men as the result of a disappointing marriage, one in which she had expected too much, or expected the wrong things. Lucinda's marriage was a disappointment, but for spiritual reasons rather than romantic ones. We misread Lucinda completely if we do not take her deep faith and strong desire to obey the Lord into consideration as one of her most enduring motivations.
She recounts, in her autobiography, several accounts of answered prayers, including one heart-rending story about the illness of a much-loved little brother. Feeling, in all humility, that she was entitled to claim the Lord's promise that he would grant the prayers of the righteous, the sixteen-year-old Lucinda "fasted and prayed with intense fervor that the little one's life might be spared." Indeed, she seemed to have halted the illness, but he did not improve. He simply lingered, suffering, and she felt "like I had lifted some heavy weight just to the edge of a place of rest, but lacked the one ounce of power necessary to deposit it thereon. Coming at one time suddenly into the room, I saw my mother wring her hands and cry in anguish: 'Why oh why must my innocent baby suffer so much; If it is God's will to take him away, oh, let his cruet sufferings end!” Lucinda says, "My heart smote me guiltily. Perhaps, thought I, it is God's will to take him, perhaps my shortsighted wishes stand between the beloved and his rest. I hastened away and with streaming eyes fell upon my knees crying, 'Thy will, 0 Lord; not mine, be done!' As soon as I was calm enough to re-enter the sick room I did so and was struck to the heart by the change in the precious one's face; and that same evening he died."
It was characteristic of Lucinda's faith that she could effect a great work and accept a hard answer. It stood her in good stead later. She tells this story purposefully as prelude to "the greatest spiritual manifestation ever vouchsafed to me." Her decision to marry Charles W. Dalton, she explains, indirectly, why her need of a special manifestation was so great: "I had seen in the married state so much that was disagreeable and humiliating to woman, that I was firmly resolved to remain single." She could support herself and provide for her old age. She knew she wanted children but expected to care for neglected motherless children in the community and also to influence children through her teaching.
Obviously, she could not be driven to marriage by economic necessity or because of personal restlessness with her situation. Instead it was her faith in the principles of Mormon theology that brought her to the altar. As her conviction that its teachings were true deepened, she was unable to avoid the stark fact that, "in the highest glory of heaven, none are single." This was in full keeping with the Mormon doctrine that marriage, when performed and "sealed" by the proper authority, is an eternal as well as a temporal union and that the family unit can endure and increase throughout the eternities, the woman and man sharing power, kingdom, and glory together. Lucinda resolutely contemplated the idea of being "handmaiden to some sanctified woman" (the fate she felt was reserved for the righteous but unwed), since she "had been told in express terms by some blind leaders of the blind, that the Kingdom here, and hereafter belonged only to man; and that woman enjoyed its gifts and blessings only in sufficient degree to make her man's efficient servant; and that looked to me not worth striving for."
The doctrine of celestial marriage-or eternal union as one of the blessings of salvation-, however, remained "worse than gall and wormwood to me, for in my pride of heart, I had determined to win my soul's salvation alone, forgetting that the best and bravest of us are only too happy to be acknowledged coworkers with Christ."
Then she met Charles Wakeman Dalton. She was about twenty and he, nineteen years older, was only two years younger than her father. He had married his first wife a month before Lucinda was born and had married twice more by the time Lucinda's family came to Utah. She mentions no objection to his age or to his other marriages, and apparently objected to him only because he was male-for when he proposed, "I resented the thought, and told him that the man who thought I should be a meek, obedient, unobtrusive servant was very sadly wrong." He was apparently intimidated by neither frankness nor intelligence, for he overcame her objections by reasoning, an approach that communicated respect for both Lucinda's mind and her free agency. By pointing out that Christ had served all of mankind and thus exalted the position of servant, Charles was able to draw the analogy with marriage: by benefiting from Christ's service, we are his debtors. So a husband and wife, in need of mutual service, both have obligations, not just the wife. And no obligation, which bound one did also bind the other. Lucinda exulted: "This was new light on a difficult problem. This was speaking from reason and common sense instead of vaguely hinting at some foggy superstition about man's being created first and consequently best, noblest, and superset. These were arguments at once indisputable and satisfactory."
As this new concept penetrated Lucinda's mind, love also began to touch her heart, but fear followed. She remembered the unhappy marriages made by wiser women than she, and felt the salvation of her soul in jeopardy. "For time alone, as the people of the world marry, I could not and would not, because I considered that in a woman's case, the burdens and trials of matrimony far exceed its benefits and blessings.
Only for the sake of its expected joys in eternity, could I endure its trials through time; but that cherished 'free agency' which gives a woman the choice with which of her fellow beings she will undertake to find eternal happiness, began to look far more like a burden and a snare than a privilege or a blessing." She applied the energies of her mind to the problem, and took her questions to the Lord: "I thought and dreamed about it," she records. "I fasted and prayed about it; I grew pale and hollow-eyed over it but found no conclusion. I was at last willing to love a man, but dared not assume the responsibility of becoming his wife." The only answer she got to her prayers was one, which drastically humbled her pride:
“In very despair-and in deep humiliation because I was impressed so to do-I called on him to pray with me on the subject. I knew he was startled by the demand, and felt it like assuming a great responsibility but he hesitated on enough to learn that there was no shadow of trij7ing in me. He knelt down first, and I placed myself beside him and laid one of my hands on one of his; and as I did so, I felt a thrill through every fiber of my being and I know he fell the same. I was utterly crushed under the knowledge that within a few minutes a question would be settled which would shape and determine my destiny forever, and cowardly I dreaded to meet the decision. The prayer was short, simple and unassuming, but direct, earnest, and sincere; and at every word uttered, a huge stone of my mountain load of doubt and fear rolled from my heart. My stony pride and bitter humility were alike softened; a peace sweeter than joy took possession of my soul; I felt that we were in the presence of the hosts of heaven; and a direct incontrovertible testimony was given me that it was the will of God and not my will that I should accept this man for my yoke fellow. He knew as well as I what the decision was; and in awe-struck solemn silence, we left the spot. To this day it is to both of us a most precious and solemn recollection, and is never mentioned between us except with deepest reverence."
They were wed in the Endowment House October 3, 1868, and it should have been the beginning to an idyllic Mormon love story, not the prelude to a cancellation of sealing several years later. Lucinda was teaching, and was loved by her pupils and respected by the community. She also apparently participated in the meager cultural life of Beaver by singing in the choir, partially satisfying "the master passion of my soul," her craving for music. Lucinda was also a mother, little Charles having been born in 1869 or 1870. Her experience with this baby shows again her sensitivity and her faith.
Six years after Charles' birth and four after his death, she records:
“Early in my married life, one day my mother was sitting with me in my own house,
and I was embroidering a delicate muslin robe for my expected child. After much pleasant conversation she inquired playfully, how I felt doing such pretty work for a child of my own. A most natural and innocent question, but my mother thought most direr in its effect; for, throwing down the work and bursting into hysterical weeping I wailed. "Oh! Mother, I feel like I were sewing on a shroud." She was alarmed for my safely, and urged the necessity of self-control, and begged to know if she had said anything wrong. When I was sufficiently recovered, I explained. For months a haunting dread had hung like a great black cloud over me, that my child would died in infancy. I had tried to smile at it; I had refused it admittance to my thoughts; I had fought it like a deadly foe and barred the doors of my soul against it; but still it lay in wall, and my mother's unexpected question suddenly swung wide all those barred doors and gave the enemy full possession. Lying, as I may say, a bound and helpless captive at the feet of my foe, I confessed my secret grief. As in duty bound, even had she not fully believed it, my mother argued that I had mistaken nervousness for presentiment and assured me that by the time I had borne a dozen children I should be able to discriminate better. I sobbed forth "I wish you were right, Mother, but my child will live six months or a year or possibly two years, but not longer. Great was my surprise and delight when, instead of the puny, wailing little skeleton I had expected, my child was a great, lusty boy who seemed the very impression of good health, high spirits, and precocious intellect. Nothing ever seemed to hurt him, and in the pride of my heart I laughed my former fears to scorn. I told my mother she was right and I was tempted to give up my belief in presentiments entirely. But in his fifteenth month, I found myself compelled to wean him; and it was with a sinking heart that I took him from the breast and began the old warfare anew. He pined from that day and in spite of all care, all weeping and praying, he died in my arms on the second anniversary of his birthday, and we buried him in the embroidered dress I had once called a shroud. A strange and sad experience, truly, and my mother lives to testify to its truth; but the warning which was once my torture and foe, is now my comfort and friend, because it assures me that it was not my ignorance of the laws of life and health which deprived the world of so noble a soul, but the will of God.”
Lucinda was to mourn this loss with elegiac poems for years; but even in so bitter an event, she was able to find sweetness and strength. It was still far in the future as she moved tranquilly through the opening months of 1870 with her beloved child and loving husband, but within a few months, her happiness was clouded. Ironically, those who had most power to hurt her were those closest. Her father took another wife in 1870, even though the price was the breach of his marriage with Lucinda's mother, the woman who had married him at fifteen and followed him faithfully into a new church and through three different states be- fore they found their home in Beaver. Apparently the rupture was a painful one, for about the same time, Lucinda's sixteen-year-old sister Emma left the family home and came to live with her.
A year later, in April 1871, the ward teachers (representatives of the local presiding church authority who routinely visited a given number of homes monthly) were sent to make peace between Charles and his father-in-law. It was apparently an important case, for, in the ward clerk's uncertain orthography, "Bishop Ashworth spoke at some length on the difficulty existing between John P. Lee & Charles W. Dalton. Three of the brethren were appointed to visit these brethren." The trio returned to say that they "could not make any reconciliation with them. The minutes do not specify the cause of the quarrel, but it may have been an event that occurred only six months later. Emma's marriage to Charles, apparently they had been engaged for some time, possibly without the estranged father's permission. Before that fall wedding on October 16, 1871, in the Endowment House, the loss that Lucinda had been prepared for by premonition had occurred and the summer serenity was shattered by the death of her little son, an unimaginable strain on the devoted mother, still recovering from the birth of her daughter Belle on June 1.
Apparently Emma shared her sister's home after marrying Charles; relationships between the sisters seem unmarred by jealousy or competition, for Lucinda always speaks of Emma tenderly and affectionately. But the marriage itself was evidently a mistake for the seventeen-year-old girl and the forty-five-year-old man. They had no children and Emma seems to have refused domesticity.
We know little of the family during Emma's four years with them. A daughter Rosette was born to Lucinda probably in 1874, but apparently died within months. On February 18, 1875, Lucinda's third child, a son named Clifford, was born. Apparently Emma had reached the end of her optimism and patience the same year, for on September 12, she sent a cryptic letter to Brigham Young: “Sir, I was married to Charles Wakeman Dalton in the house of endowments, on the ninth day of October, 1871. For reasons, which Pres. Murdock has kindly informed me, you do not require me to state, I now desire a divorce. By giving this matter your earliest convenience, you will confer an eternal obligation.
Yours respectfully Emma Lee Dalton”
A clerk has noted on that letter that blank forms were sent to Bishop Murdock on September 15. However, two weeks later, the Beaver Literary Institute was organized for "persons of good moral character" under the auspices of that same John Murdock, and on October 4, Emma Dalton was there, nominated to serve on a committee to propose a list of officers. Between then and Christmas, she presented an essay, edited the first number of the Literary Star, helped plan the Christmas party, appeared on a spelling team, and gave a recitation. However, this flurry of activity faded suddenly, for the minutes of January 17, 1876, include the report of a delegation sent to find out why Mrs. Emma Dalton was absenting herself from meeting with the Institute at regular meetings. Emma told them "that it is no intention on her part to relinquish her membership in the Institution and considering herself an honorary member, therefore [illegible] to excuse to offer and further-more was not aware that she was violating any of the rules, or by-laws, or that an absentee was required to furnish an excuse in case of being absent a specified time.”
Despite these excuses, Emma never reappears in the minutes and apparently left Charles, Beaver, and the church, having decided, in Lucinda's sorrowful words, that "Mormonism was inquiry, and its followers hypocrites." According to Lucinda, she went to work for the Rio Grande and Denver Railroad in Little Rock, Arkansas.
In Lucinda's obituary, Emma is listed as "Mrs. Emma Sutherland of San Francisco." She had married Jabez Gridley Sutherland under her maiden name sometime between 1893 and 1897. Judge Sutherland, a widower, was a prominent gentile in Salt Lake City, some thirty years older than his bride, who was then in her late forties. He died in Berkeley "after a lingering attack of paralysis" at the age of seventy-seven, only a few years after their marriage.
We know very little of what happened during those four years when Emma, Lucinda, and Charles struggled to make the marriage work and eventually abandoned the effort. It was during those four years, however, that Lucinda began writing for the “Woman's Exponent” a lively paper devoted to matters feminine and feminist, first edited by Louisa Lula Greene Richards with a circulation that never rose above a thousand, although readership may have been that high. It was only five months old when Lucinda saw her work in print for the first time on November 1, 1872. This initial essay was, pointedly enough, a criticism of fathers in a concrete and vernacular style that shows a keen mind and a satirical eye at work:
"Oh, yes, I know the boys are wild, that they use bad language and cultivate bad habits, and, as you say, 'Make themselves a great nuisance; but, my friend, I don't think the boys deserve quite so much blame as they get.... When I heard a father complain that 'outside influences' was too strong for him, and it was almost more than he could do to keep his boys under any restraint whatever, I could not help wondering if 'inside influence' were what they should be."
“A Plea for the Boys," “Woman's Exponent”.
It would be mere wishful thinking to make her articles replace Lucinda's missing journals and letters. She was a woman with a deeply developed sense of privacy, and these articles are very public. But even if we cannot read them autobiographically, they are extremely valuable in showing us her attitudes on certain issues. A common theme was mourning the death of little Charles. She describes his baby beauty and bewitching ways, but finds comfort in his immunity from the world's guises and snares:
“I fear not worldly pride may win thee now, Nor guilt betray, nor flames or guilt devour; God's will is wiser than our flail desires, His mercy tendered than our purest love;
And I can yield to this since He requires, And name thee now, "My waiting saint above."
"A Mother's Resignation.” Woman's Exponent, November 15, 1872
The same issue also contains an article condemning intemperance. Charles drank, both before and during their marriage, and this essay may contain a hint of her feelings about his weakness. One trenchant paragraph slashes:
"Do you degrade yourselves 'below' the brutes by disregarding Nature's laws in your own homes, and seeking only your own sensual gratification, persistently closing your eyes to the fact that thus you perpetuate and foster a low tone of morals, and send abroad into the world, exaggerated types of your own depravity, to carry their pestilential presence and shameful deeds everywhere?"
“Woman's Exponent”, November 15, 1872.
Her opening essay in 1873 was unabashedly feminist. She advocated exercise for girls, not only skating, swimming, and ball, but even shooting. She does not rely only on the relatively safe argument that exercise means better health. Instead she argues the psychological necessity for recreation as well as work and the desirability of a more self-confident generation of women. In passing, she thwacks such "foolish and groundless customs, as the deep prejudice against whistling" and sketches a sarcastic portrait of the nineteenth century miss; "laced up in corsets, with smelling bottle at nose, giving little plaintive screams if she should spy a mouse."
“Woman's Exponent”, January 31, 1873.
She returns to one of her favorite themes, prayer, for her next essay, a thoughtful and reverent article that differs in tone from the polemics she had written heretofore. From a few paragraphs we can see that her faith was maturing as she successfully assimilated her sorrows and learned to trust the Lord despite her pain:
“That very frame of mind, which is necessary to produce true prayer, is in many cases the answer to Prayer-the starting point from which we may accomplish the good we desire. In His wisdom God so ordained it that many prayers should thus answer themselves. To cultivate this prayerful resigned state of mind is the very best preparation against adversity, for we can believe our seeming misfortunes to be blessings in disguise, and generally prove them such. And prayer is an armor fitted to all wearers”.
“Woman's Exponen”t, February 15, 1873.
She also mentions the great shield prayer can provide for the innocent maiden who may not see beneath the roses. That she herself had formed the habit of prayer early is attested to in her autobiography where she states:
"I do not recollect ever attending a ball or place of amusement without asking God to keep me from all ill or unbecoming thoughts, words or deeds, and from accidents or harm of any kind. During the entertainment I often recalled the prayer and I can truly say that my prayers were answered. Few young girls ever met with fewer little mortifying mishaps, or moved amid giddy pleasures with less danger of becoming enamored of them."
She returns to the theme of temperance in her next essay, printed on March 1, 1873, but now discusses more than alcohol. One particularly vivid passage described the effects of lust:
"Love, that heavenly radiance which ... lifts the weakest of mortals to a level with the angels ... is a name sorely misapplied. Alas, that it should be so! but many, by giving unrestrained liberty to all the emotions which it awakens in their peculiar natures, and pursuing the object with headlong speed, miss it altogether and grasp, in- stead-passion; that adder to sting the heart that warms it."
"Moral Temperance," “Woman's Exponent”, March 1, 1873.
Lucinda's own life seems to have been free from illicit sexual passion, and even from its temptations:
“Even while attentions from gentlemen were in themselves pleasant, I always fell a sort of guilt in accepting for my personality what I knew was rendered merely to abstract youth and beauty; and much disgust at the thought that my quick intellect, my honest heart, my high aspirations, all the sterling worth that was really of myself were never considered in this glittering realm of pleasure to which I was beckoned. What girt that ever paused to think that she was caressed in society merely for her youth and freshness, things not in the least due to herself and which advancing time soon take from her, and that then she will surely be forsaken by this same society through no fault of her own; could ever become enamored of its seething pleasure and hollow praise? I never was. Although the metrical movements of the dance in time to the rhythm of sweet music were very pleasant, I could grow tired as of any other kind of exercise, but I have seen girls who professed never to tire of dancing. I have open looked on while the beautiful girls, radiant of youth and happiness, with their devoted partners, whirled through the dreamy waltz and mused on the possibility of one of these lovely and carefree maidens, become a woman and perhaps wife of one of these same adoring youths, wearing out not only her youth but her very life, drudging from morning till night to keep his house in order, and from night till morning with his ailing baby, and be looked on by him as an inferior being, designed how and true to serve him. I wonder if man could have the effrontery to ask, or any woman the suppleness to lay down the scepter and crown of girlhood to assume the yoke and burden of wife hood. My prayer was then as now, that the time may come when women will know and hold themselves at their true worth; when their eyes will be opened to the degradation of wasting their spotless lives on worth- less and depraved men; when by the depth of their contempt for men who lead unholy lives, and by the firmness of their resolution and the dignity of their self-respect, they shall compel men to come up to their standard of morality and with them seek some- thing still better, or be outcast from the Eden of woman's association.”
Possibly Lucinda's mistrust of men generally immunized her against sexual temptation, and she saw with sorrow and compassion those whose uncontrolled love became passion. She may have seen its effects in the marriages in her own family, possibly that of her father, or possibly that of her blooming sister, barely out of childhood, to Charles, who was already the father of twenty-five children.
Two months later appears "To Ernest," a love poem addressed to "my own." She remembers a "sweet night" when they wandered out, hand in hand, and:
“Lowly bowed before the Eternal throne (But one in spirit, though two hands were joined) .You plead 'for guidance for our troubled souls, O'er our coming lives a Father's kindly care, And that when dread temptation darkly rolls, Our steadfast faith might keep our purpose fair. The pure petition fell like summer rain upon the fields when parched and gray; And doubts and fears that on my soul had lain like cliffs of terror, melted soft away”
The details of that last stanza, the shared prayer that reassured her about her choice of a marriage pardoner, made it clear that she is recalling her own courtship with Charles. Why she chooses the name of Ernest we do not know, but six years later she gives that last name to her last child.
The hour is spent-thy girlhood's knell is tolled, as by a passing bell.
Thy bridegroom comes, with Joyous eye, To lead thee to thy destiny.
With smile had sad but wholly sweet, Thou turnest thy heart's lord to greet.
"Woman's Exponent”, August 15, 1873.
This is hardly a glad celebration of matrimony. The woman's wisdom and acceptance of suffering contrast with the groom's blithe-and blind-happiness, but it reflects Lucinda's own unswerving faith in the essential nobility of womanhood.
Perhaps it is only coincidence that the very same issue contains one of the most scathing exposes of male insensitivity that she was ever to write for publication. Deliberately gossipy, she addresses the reader with a cordial confidentiality suitable for raking the male sex over the coals; “You are a young matron whose girlhood, with its peculiar tastes and feelings, stands so near you that you could almost touch the hem of its garments; You think your husband about perfection; You have one baby old enough o toddle about, and in your family lives and aunt whom you greatly respect” (If indeed this is autobiographical, it is Lucinda’s only published reference to Charles’ other wives, all of whom were at the time living in Beaver)
She continues, “Your husband is absent on business much of the time, and you have to be both master and mistress of the house; cut your own wood, water your own garden and do your own marketing, but as you pride yourself on your cheerfulness and independence, you do not even sigh over this.”
This model little wife decides to forgo the pleasure of celebrating a July holiday with the rest of the town even through a married friend would willingly take her. Her little daughter would enjoy the festivities and she would also like a pleasant holiday herself. The deciding factor is that “Charles, might feel a little sad to think you could really enjoy such an excursion without him; or he might return during your absence to find only an empty house, and in his loneness, he might think you ungrateful for all his toil and care”
Then Charles reappears on the night before the outing. The loving wife circumspectly waits until he has been fed and had a good night’s sleep to tell him the news. He decides that it’s too late to arrange for a buggy, but proposes instead, “a little home holiday and a cozy dinner together.”
“The darling fellow you are so happy to think a day passed quietly at home could be a holiday to him, that you are a thousand times glad you had not made any arrangement to go aboard. Full of happy thought’s you set about dressing Rosebud while Charles goes on his errand. Presently he returns laden with parcels, and overlooking Baby, who runs to meet him looking like a little white bird, he tells you hurriedly that “Brown and them” encountered him in town, and nothing would do but that he must go out with them to see what the picnickers were doing. He explains that he had no idea of such a thing when he left the house, but that they were good fellows and he didn’t wish to offend them.
All your boasted “independence” could not keep your countenance from falling, and as your husband is neither blind nor a fool, he asks co-punctiliously, “Would you like to go too.” “No” you answer softly, winking very hard to keep back the tears while he says in a "livened sort of way, and with the air of one who has done his whole duo. "I didn't think you would, since there are to be only men in the carriage, and I am not an invited party; but you can make yourselves comfortable here and have your little dinner together all the same as if I was with you." Then with hasty adieu your adorable Charles hastens away to his bachelor friends and a day among the rocks. No longer able to conceal your tears, you throw yourself face downward on your bed, grieved to the heart, not for the loss of a day's pleasure, but for the bitterness of the discovery, that all your delicate consideration was unheeded, and because the slight and loneliness you would not risk putting upon him, he would lay upon you ten times magnified.”
The anger and hurt of this description comes from the very heart, but by the next and concluding paragraph, the wife regains control with a wry extravagance: she rises, bathes her face, spurns the parcels of groceries, gives the baby to Auntie, and sits down to write a hot letter to the Exponent, "hoping in her secret soul that 'he' will read it and be very indignant, thus proving that his conscience pricks him." That consolation isn't worth counting on, though, and the young wife turns to a more sure consolation, her certainty that "scores of wives, will exclaim, Isn't that the truth? Just the way they do! And applaud your fixed resolution to learn a lesson from this experience, and, where you can in the future, take care of yourself.”
Were those tears, those crushed hopes, the wounded tenderness Lucinda's? And even more poignantly, did she, in moments of betrayal, feel sustained by the sympathetic sorority of women who also knew the hard necessity of emotional independence? Two weeks later in an essay written in the middle of the previous month, Lucinda is blasting again at the nineteenth century's equivalent of male supremacists who demand belief without the courtesy of offering proof. After a half-dozen trenchant examples, she gives her crowning illustration:
“You women sympathize with the Woman's Rights movement and honestly believe that the mothers of men and women have as deep an interest in their Present and future world as the fathers, and, therefore, would be, if as well educated, quite as capable of properly shaping their destinies. But you learn with wondering and awe that "Woman never was and never will be capable of understanding political economy nor of acquiring a man's education. Having the testimony of all sacred and profane history that women have been chief rulers, high priests, counselors, commanders and warriors, you suppose, in your innocence, that you are to receive some new light on the subject, but instead of that, your informant looks the picture of injured innocence, that you even imagine that statement needed confirmation. Surly you do not doubt his veracity?
Now what I want to know is just this. Am I obliged to swallow all these nauseous doses of wisdom and call them "good" for me, or may I speak my mind, and say "If you can give me a reason sufficient to convince my judgment, then I will accept your views, if I shall consider myself at liberty to express my own opinion as highly as yours."
Then she issues her own manifesto:
“If, in order to be womanly and keep my "sphere," I must do the former, then let spheres take care of themselves, for I've no use for them. I do not feel like 'giving proof’ of woman's inferiority by any such complaint course. Every person within whose soul the least spark of reason exists, has a right to cultivate that reason and give it satisfaction before adopting any principle or opinion; and because my head may be weaker than yours and my judgment less reliable, is no reason I should not cultivate and improve them. And when you give me your views on any given subject and withhold the support of these views, you defraud me of an opportunity to cultivate my judgment and arrive at a just conclusion for myself."
“Woman's Exponent”, September 1873.
We do not know who these men are, but we are not necessarily justified in numbering Charles among them. If the picnic episode really records an incident of their domestic life, he may have been insensitive to her tender feelings as wife, but there is no evidence that he ever considered her intellectually inferior. In her autobiography, after a particularly scornful passage about men who consider themselves superior, she adds:
“I am not so unjust as to make no exceptions to all the sweeping assertions I have been making. I know all women are not good and true, nor all men tyrannical and unjust. I could mention the names of several men pledged heart and soul to the Latter day work of woman's emancipation from her long bondage; and one at least of my acquaintance is a far more ferocious antagonist of woman's slavery than 1. From him I received the first antidolic draught to cure my misanthropy and disgust of life. He it was who first showed me wherein Religion is not leagued with woman's oppressors; who first assured me with a man's lips that a woman has as good a right to her individuality and her free agency on the earth as her brother-man. So you see, my dear friend, that for his sake, did I never know another liberal minded, large-hearted man, I could not, and would not wish to condemn the whole race. I shall give honor where honor is due and while waiting for the good time coming when all men and women shall be free and equal, put in my feeble oar wherever I can in her service. “
A later paragraph makes it clear that this man is her husband. Lucinda wrote voluminously for the rest of that year and through 1874. Only five months passed in those two years without a contribution to the Exponent, usually one but not infrequently two, in every number. She recommends singing to babies, defends women's suffrage, denounces the Frelinghuysen Bill which would have admitted Utah to the Union at the price of permanently disenfranchising its women, contrasts the economic and legal inequality of gentile women with Mormon women, points out the advantages of Relief Society for every Mormon woman, vehemently denounced "interference" from busybody neighbors during first pregnancies, writes occasional verse, writes a rousing feminist song called "Woman Arise!" and writes a tender comparison between her sleeping baby daughter and the dead baby Charles.
Personal philosophy giving us another view of her marriage seems to appear in a poetic exchange between her and "Query," who demands somewhat rhetorically, "Is it a crime for woman to love?" meaning, "How aggressively may a woman pursue a man?" Lucinda answers that forwardness is not sin but is usually stupid, since "man is perverseness within, And values not things lightly won." She is not just offering a nineteenth-century version of fascinating womanhood, however. The concluding stanza gives the reason why love should always be kept in check:
“No passion should break our control, No love supersedes love of God, This anchor made fast to the soul will save from the angriest flood.”
"Woman's Exponent”, 15 December 1874.
"Query" responds the next month, hinting that Lucinda's answer was jaundiced by her mistrust of her own husband. Loyally, Lucinda counters, defending Charles, and-what is more significant-explaining the wryly practical need for womanly self-restraint: one rarely meets a man so ideal he won't take advantage of a woman. She continues, expressing concern for women married to the type of man she fears and mistrusts, one who through misunderstanding or a desire for power will betray a woman through her own love:
"Who think that God made her a slave to man's will; if not, he will make her so yet,
Who will win her affections with cunningest skill and lead her to lifelong regret,
I wish her to learn to be wary and wise that by such she may never be won,
That poor, sightless Love may be furnished with eyes and never cool judgment outrun."
“Woman's Exponent”, 3 February 1875.
It is ironic that this is Lucinda's last contribution for almost a year. Perhaps, considering the subject, it is even significant. She wrote her answer to "Query's” romantic argument in January 23 1875.
Less than a month later, Clifford was born. Lucinda writes nothing during the entire spring and summer. In September, Emma applied for her divorce, obviously as the result of her own deteriorating marriage. She is gone soon after January 1876. Lucinda is, at that time, pregnant with Guy, who is born April 24 1876. Apparently her babies keep her busy, for we see only four poems: two seasonal offerings, one mother's out poured hopes and fears for her children, and one jibe at men who worry about what their own "true sphere" will be if women begin working.
Charles, by this time, is in financial difficulties and his health is failing as well. By1878, Lucinda and Charles are in St. George, returning to Beaver after a three-year's stay.
On April 1, 1878, the Exponent published her "Questionings," a poem of poignant power lamenting the bitter lot of women.
“An endless round of weakness, toll, and pain, of deep humiliations, longings vain, And blind out preachings for the light above. Self-sacrifice we drain as nectar cup; For others one we are taught to live. Oh, darling, you have last seen His face. And in His presence felt no diffidence;
Oh, tell! You forget or my heart break, If now you are forever banished thence?
If after we have worn his crown of thorns, And borne, like Him, the cross, with bleeding feet, To touch our outstretched hands He will come, or send, not bring, the balm of healing sweet.
Not his the tongue a scornful word to fling, To wound a sister soul and rankle there; Not his the heart to whisper I am king And she my subject now and evermore;
Not he says laughing, this child is mine, But tenderly and proud, It is ours;
And deems the marriage vow a pledge divine of mutual bonds, and equal joys and powers.”
“Woman's Exponent”, May 15, 1878.
Since she also hinted broadly that an unhappy marriage could be cured if the wife would change her selfish attitudes, Lucinda quite properly saw in it a personal attack against her own marriage and responded, not by defending herself from charges of selfishness, but by defending her husband from charges of oppressiveness.
The next four years see scanty contributions, although Lucinda's carefully reasoned defenses of polygamy and Mormon principles in 1882 are important. Then Charles died on July 18, 1883, in Beaver, and Lucinda mourns him and supplicates his departed spirit for some sign of continued love a year later:
“A year and a day-a year and a day!
I linger and hearken; one whisper I pray:
No matter how lightly your footstep may fall I'll hear it; I'll answer your faintest call;
My famishing soul in your presence could gain The courage to labor and struggle again. My heart is weary. No longer delay!
I've waited and listened a year and a day.”
“Woman's Exponent”, 13 August 15, 1884.
After scattered poems and essays during the next four years, she wrote another expression of grieving widowhood:
"My eager hands that would clasp his own in fond and fervent grasp, With patient labor strive to still the trembling pains that through them thrill. My paling lips that would press upon his brow a pure caress, may only breathe his name so low.
That none but God can hear or know.”
"Sundered, Woman's Exponent”. September 15, 1881.
These public expressions of love for her husband-certainly with the ring of sincerity-are a continuing counterpoint to the private tragedy she was experiencing. That first lament, "Invocation," was written only a month before she began the steps that would lead to the cancellation of her marriage sealing, and "Sundered" was penned eighteen months, after she was eternally sundered from a man for whom she obviously felt unquenched love. What, then, explains her action? Certainly we do not have full access to all the facts, but we need to remember her unwavering testimony-for ironically, it was her understanding of the gospel, accurate or not, that led her into eternal separation from Charles.
On August 24, 1884, she wrote to David Henry Cannon, president of the St. George Temple and the St. George Stake. His uncle, John Taylor, was then president of the church:
“It is with reluctance almost amounting to shame that I come to you this time for counsel, because it is on the subject of marriage, and my husband has been gone scarcely thirteen months. I was always true to him in thought, word and deed during his lifetime, and I laid his body in the grave dreaming naught else than that I should be his only in time and in eternally, though I knew he had many imperfections. But now the brethren say he was unworthy, (though I know not who appointed them to judge him,) they urge that I stand in a very insecure position, and that for my children's sake, as well as my own, I ought to marry again.”
One of these judges was a suitor. She does not say whether his attentions annoy her; with her fine sense of justice she describes him only as being "beyond doubt, a faithful Latter Day Saint, above reproach in his daily walk and conversation" and already married with a wife and children. The insecurity Lucinda feels is not economic or social, but spiritual. She confesses: "I have indulged in thoughts of being more to my deceased husband than wives usually are; of assisting him with my faithfulness and my favor in the sight of God, to recover any ground he may have lost, to expiate any offenses. Is this vain dreaming or could it be done?"
Possibly her suitor and the other "judges" had seized on this dream of "atoning" for another's sins, a mission reserved for the Savior, and stressed the implied pride as a sign of her spiritual "insecurity." It seems uncharacteristic of Lucinda to have discussed this dream openly, however, since it would have entailed discussing the faults for which she was "atoning" and she was obviously reluctant to refer even to Charles' lapses from strict sobriety, evidently a matter of common knowledge in Beaver.
In any case, the argument that has the most weight with Lucinda is not that her dream of redeeming Charles is vain but that by remaining married to him she will forfeit her claim to her children:
“Here is the thought that appalls me. My feelings as a mother are far keener and deeper than my feelings as a wife. I am the mother of six children; four still living, and two gone before; and I would not forfeit my claim to them as their mother, for the sake of the best man in God's kingdom. And whatever these four may do, I know those two to be spotless in the sight of God, and that they will act under his own perfect counsel; therefore, if I could but know what course they will take, it would decide my own. If they would choose to wait for their father to reprieve his mistakes and come up to their standpoint, then by all means, so would I; but if they thought best to press on toward Perfection, waiting for none, I should be anxious to do the same, though it looks to me like a selfish decision. But since I cannot know this now, I feel too weak and ignorant to decide so great a matter for myself and so many others, alone.”
Her request to President Cannon, with whom she has taken counsel before, is rooted firmly in her faith:
“God come to you, knowing you to be a sincere friend to my deceased husband, as well as to myself; and because there is not in Beaver any one to whom I can go with the same confidence that I would get disinterested, impartial, unprejudiced advice. As I said before, 1 feel almost ashamed of even asking counsel on this matter; but I am pressed for a decision, and I dare not rely on my own unaided judgment. Dear Brother Cannon, pray for me fervently; pray in the Temple, where your prayers will surely be heard, and if need be, take counsel for me; and then write to me and advise me what course to take”.
Her faith in the prayers of this righteous man and her faith that the temple is a house of revelation is clearly exercised in her willingness to abide by his decision. She adds revealingly in the last paragraph:
“God knows I would not wrong the dead; I only wish to know what is right. I do not even desire to be married, for I naturally prefer a single life; but I do fervently desire to serve the Lord with all -my might, mind and strength, and am willing to do all that can be required of me in righteousness; and I know that God will not require more than this, and to him I commend myself and all that a" dear to me. Amen.”
President Cannon wrote back, giving her what she calls "hard" counsel. Even though we do not have his letter, he obviously advised her to write to the president of the church and lay the case before him. Lucinda protests:
“It almost seems more than my soul's salvation is worth, to make a written accusation or complaint against Brother Charles, and then be so cold hearted and relentless as to ask somebody to sign it. I am by no means sure that I can get my own consent to do that, although, as you say, I ought to know him better than anyone else. I have grown so accustomed to befriending, consoling, and sustaining him that it would be hard to recognize myself if doing the opposite. Pray God, pity him as I do."
However, his counsel apparently prevailed, at least in part, for she wrote to President Taylor, heard nothing, and sent an anxious letter on November 24, inquiring after the previous letters. Her usually exquisite penmanship is rough, she misspells two words, and has gone back to put in others. If ever a letter breathed agitation, this one mutely does. Her worry must have increased as again she received acknowledgment of receipt but no reply from President Taylor. He was suffering the anti-polygamy persecution that would drive him as a polygamist to the Underground within a few months and she did not hear from him until March 17, 1887, two and a half years later.
They must have been anguished years, but we know little of how she spent them. She continued teaching school. Although she is a widow and the sole support of her children, she is listed in Relief Society records as having contributed two bushels of wheat for storage in 1885, that first year of her patient wait. The Beaver Sunday school minute books for 1886-94 list Lucinda as both a student with one hundred percent attendance in a class where no teacher is mentioned, and as a teacher for at least two classes; she also appears on the list of choir members.
But we have no indication of what Lucinda was thinking during the nearly three years before President Taylor was able to respond to her request. There may have been other correspondence between them, for when President Taylor wrote on March 17, 1887, he did not address it to Lucinda's home in Beaver but to Inverury (outside Richfield) where she was visiting. He apologized for not having answered her sooner and then said:
“After considering your case and giving it such examination as has been possible under the circumstances, I have decided that if you desire the dissolution of your marriage for eternity with your deceased husband, Charles Wakeman Dalton, it should be granted to you. From all that I can learn concerning his life, in addition to what you yourself have written to me, I consider your future unsafe in his hands. If you should decide to have the marriage for eternity dissolved, you will please give me the date when and the place where you were married to him, and I will have the entry made upon the record to the effect that the marriage is dissolved. When this is done you will be at liberty to contract a new alliance for time and eternity and of course will take your children with you”
It is worth noting that President Taylor does not tell her what to do. With a delicacy that honors her free agency he gives her the choice, his opinion, and the projected results, thereby assuring her that he has made a separate inquiry as well as considering her own report. The last sentence is ambiguous to a modern reader; was he promising her that she could have her children regardless of her marital status, or was he promising her children if she re- married? Lucinda clearly interpreted his instructions as a guarantee of her children. She sent him the information he requested, then pled poignantly for even more explicit reassurance. She wrote on April 2:
“I realize solemnly the magnitude of the step you advise me to take, and my whole soul goes out in prayer to my Heavenly Father that His hand may lead me and his spirit guide me into all righteousness, and preserve me from all evil. and in the Book of Covenants that whomsoever you bless God will bless, and whose so ever sins you remit on earth they shall be remitted in the Heavens; therefore I beseech you, in the exercise of your rightful authority, to pronounce me pure and blameless in this thing, and bestow upon me by the holy spirit of promise the blessings of the Elect; that I may press forward in the battle of Life strengthened by the assurance that I am justified in the sight of God.”
President Taylor, responding to this wholesale pleading, re-plied immediately, informing her that her sealing had been annulled. He reassures, "This will make you free to contract such an alliance as may be agreeable to you, for time and for eternity; and on taking this step you may rest assured, from all that I can learn of your former husband's conduct, you are free from all blame and condemnation, and stand acquitted before the Lord. It is not right that you should remain connected and bound up with that man for eternity, and for this you have been released, and are fully justified in the step you have taken.”
With this bleak comfort, Lucinda's marriage of almost nineteen years to "that man" came to an end. What do we know of him, the silent partner in this drama? The clues are pitifully sparse. We know that his father, Simon Cooker Dalton, gave him a heritage of sacrifice and courage. Undaunted, Simon took his two oldest sons, one of whom was Charles, and went to Nauvoo where he remarried. He crossed the plains in 1849. Charles, then twenty-three, either accompanied his father or followed him closely, even though he is not listed in the company, since his own oldest son was born "on the banks of the Sweetwater" in Wyoming on August 26, 1849, to Julietta E. Bowen, his first wife.
Juanita Brooks lists Charles W. Dalton among those called to colonize the Iron Mission December 2, 1850, "all of whom," she comments tantalizingly, "would be involved with John D. Lee in the blackest deed of Utah history"- the Mountain Meadows massacre." (Of note is that Charles Wakeman Dalton was not involved in this massacre.
Charles was, by Lucinda's testimony, a loving husband and father to the end of his life, and was also a good provider. However, only Julietta, his first wife, was willing to retain her title for eternity. His third wife, Sarah Jane Lee, daughter of John D. Lee, and Lucinda's sister Emma divorced him while he was still alive. Lucinda and Elizabeth Allred, his second wife, canceled their sealing after his death, Elizabeth apparently to be sealed to her second husband, Calvin White Moore, whom she had married on July 26, 1887, four years after Charles' death and, coincidentally, only four months after Lucinda's own sealing was canceled. (This cancellation was later revoked by President Heber J. Grant on February 26, 1931, fifteen years after her own death which would, in effect, left her sealed to Charles again.)
We cannot, of course, attribute what amounts to the failure of four marriages exclusively to Charles Dalton. We have reason from ward records to believe that his behavior may have once prompted ecclesiastical inquiry, and that people felt he did not deserve his wife and children. We do not know why he did not rebuild what had apparently been a good character. But perhaps, in all justice, we must share that burden of blame with Lucinda. She may have refused to let him repent. She was not a weak woman, and she must have been dismayed to the very depths of her soul that the man she had married with such a clear promise from the Lord had proven himself less than worthy. Possessed of few illusions about marriage in the first place and willing to marry "only because of its expected joys in eternity," as she says she may have seen in both her husband and her father lights that failed, towers that crumbled, whited sepulchers full of the bones of her dead dreams. Responding out of that disillusion, she may have given up on Charles completely and pressed him so closely with her mistrust that he could never build his own self-respect again. She was strong enough to do whatever her faith required; as she interpreted the gospel, her faith required her to press Charles toward righteousness in his lifetime and to separate herself from him after his death. Obviously she loved him during his life and grieved for him after his death. Her decision after his death was obviously agonizing for her. But once she had what she thought was a clear answer, she was inexorable. But did she review her decision during those thirty-eight years? Did her love for her children and the church sustain her through the times of loneliness and discouragement that must have come?
Even though our information about how she spent those years is scanty, we have one important piece of evidence; she died, Lucinda Dalton, Charles' wife in name if not in fact. We do not know what happened to that wooing suitor in Beaver. Perhaps his ardor had cooled in the long interval between his first interest and her permission to remarry three years later. Perhaps the ordeal had been so trying that she could not face the prospect of another marriage. And perhaps the simple political facts of the persecution against polygamy dictated her continued single state.
She moved, probably in 1888, to Manti, and probably at the same time her mother also transferred her residence to that city so she could "work in the temple." We know that Lucinda continued to teach school and, at some point, taught for a few years in Ogden as well, then returned to Manti "where she spent her last days in working in the Temple and attending to Church duties.” She continued to write occasionally, and her poems and essays appear in the Exponent and the Young Women's Journal.
She opened 1893 with the blazing manifesto in "Woman," the poem that begins this sketch of her life. In it we feel her pride in womanhood, her sense of outraged justice, and her unwavering faith that the Restoration includes the restoration of woman's eternal honor as well, ending with its exultant prophecy: "And the last shall be first, forever." That year was a banner year for Lucinda's feminism. "Woman, Arise!" a rousing, militant song, was published March 1, and later became part of a suffrage songbook. The next year she authored a "Woman Suffrage Column" on the front page, demanding rhetorically: "Shall our sons be untainted with servitude and degradation if their mothers be not free, any better than they could be all white if we gave them African mothers?"
Her contributions to the Exponent were not her only contributions to the suffrage movement. There are still minutes extant from a suffrage association in Beaver a few years after she left the town that she would certainly have participated in earlier years.
Her sister Rose was appointed Utah vice-president of the Utah State Chapter of Women Voters, and Lucinda is listed among five women praised in Manti for making "education and promotion of equal suffrage part of their daily lives.” She was a teacher in Manti North Ward's Sunday School for several years, and gradually, her family dwindled as death took one after another. Her mother died in March 1905, and the obituary contains a curious error: "Mr. Lee died in 1871.” In point of fact, John Percival Lee was still alive and would not die until April of 1907, almost exactly two years later. Given the vagaries of reporters and the case with which numbers may be mistaken by a typesetter, it would be foolish to put too much emphasis on this discrepancy, but we recall that 1871 was, in fact, the year when John P. Lee and Eliza Foscue Lee separated, bitterly and permanently. Perhaps for her that was his death date. Only a brief notice marks the passing of Lucinda's father two years later in Thatcher, Arizona. "Father Lee," it says, "was a man of sterling good character. His funeral was conducted here, where many friends of the deceased turned out to show their respect to him. The summer of 1912 five years later was one that wrung Lucinda's steadfast heart again. Her son Guy, by then the father of a four-year-old daughter, had suffered from tuberculosis for some time. That summer he decided to try the air in a canyon near Manti, but his health was more fragile than he had supposed. He died even before they reached "the point of their intended destination." The obituary reports: "Mrs. Dalton relates that there was nothing she could do but to place the dead body of her husband in the buggy and drive down the canyon to their home. The spectacle was a pathetic one when friends first saw the grief-stricken woman managing the team and seeking to comfort the 4 year old daughter, while the husband and father lay dead in the bottom of the buggy. Thus, only two children survived Lucinda, her oldest daughter, Belle, and her youngest son, Clifford. She died herself on November 24, 1925, seventy-eight years old. Her obituary records that her services were held on a Sunday in the North Ward chapel; her former bishop read some of her poems and commended "the good life and character of the deceased." The minutes list the names of two other speakers and add that the songs sung were "I Know that My Redeemer Lives" and "There Is A Green Hill Far Away."" We have no way of knowing if the songs were her own choice; it would be appropriate if they were, for every line breathes her own unflinching faith in the Savior. We also do not know what poems he selected, but "House of Life" would have been an exquisite choice. In this poem, written a quarter century before, the narrator describes herself as the mistress of a beautiful home, exquisitely built, carefully furnished, and lovingly given to her by "my Lord." Yet the sight of more splendid palaces dispelled her joy. Dissatisfied, she neglected her mansion. Dust collected on the windows, the lovely rooms went un-repaired and un-garlanded, cobwebs festooned corners, and "its beauty began to decay."
“A footstep draws near! My Lord-He is here!
He gazes in pain and amazement.
This wreck is the Temple for you I did rear," For shame I could not raise my eyes.
0, foolish one, what doest thou lack, but the will? If these were too narrow for thee,
More stately apartments to plan and to build? Who loves not my gift, loves not me."
He passed, and I dared not beseech Him to stay-
My opened eyes, yes saw clearly now,
How foolish and blind was my envy; straightway I made with repentance a vow-
To honor my gift, to fill it with light, Embellish and keep it with care,
That henceforth it be in my Lord's kings sight A dwelling place lovely and fair.
When next His dear footsteps draw near to my door, With gladness I'll usher Him in;
No mildew or rust shall He see as before, To restore it at once I'll begin.
I'll live my dear home for the Giver's sake, nor sigh if more stately ones be,
For God, the dear Giver, can make no mistake; He knows what is best for me”.
That last stanza represents reconciliation, not relaxation; peace, not mere patience. There is a wholeness and holiness about its acceptance that fairly radiates. Possibly it was in this mood-envy laid and dissatisfaction dissolved by joy-that she spent the next quarter century before her death.
She had cause for bitterness during those last years in Manti. She had thought marriage something to be endured during life for the sake of its blessings afterwards, and now she would not have those blessings. In this time of double bereavement, she must have clung to her children as the one great good that her marriage had produced-but death took half of those that remained after Charles' death. However, the quality of her previous life and the resolution of her character let us predict with safety that those years at the close were indeed years of peace and faith. If she had, at any point, been given the choice between suffering with eventual salvation, and shallow contentment with dulled sensibilities and a less-than-total achievement, she would have held out both hands to pain at once. She was that kind of woman.
The following is the official Autobiography of Sarah Lucinda Lee Dalton.
Sarah Lucinda wrote the story of her life in the form of this letter to Mrs. Emmeline B. Wells, then the editor of the “Woman’s Exponent” an unofficial journal reflecting the interest of the Mormon Relief Society and dedicated to promotion of woman suffrage.
In this letter of autobiographical material discussing her problem of being educated, liberated woman in world dominated by men. Born in Alabama, 1847. Joined Mormons in DeWitt County, Texas, 1849. Crossed plains to Utah, 1850. Settled at San Bernardino but returned to Utah at outbreak of Utah War, 1857-58. She was a Teacher. Married Charles W. Dalton. Spiritual experiences. Written in Circle Valley, Piute County, 1876.
The Woman's Exponent was a bi-monthly paper independently published in Salt Lake City between 1872 and 1914. It was outspoken in its support of feminism and suffrage, regularly editorializing and reporting on the movements. It also reported on the activities of L. D. S. women's organizations, including Relief Society and Young Ladies Association. It received encouragement from church leaders but was financed by subscription.
AUTOBIOGRAPHY of Sarah Lucinda Lee Dalton:
Circle Valley, Piute, Co. Utah
27 December 1876
Mrs. E. T. Wells
Salt Lake City, Utah
I prefer giving the brief sketch of my life, which you have asked of me, in the form of a letter to yourself; and although I leave you liberty to do with it just as you please, so abridge, to prune--yet I think I would prefer to have you treat me in the third person, still reserving to yourself the right to make extracts from my own words.
I was born in the year 1847 on a plantation in Coosa County, Alabama. The Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints gained my parents in DeWitt County, Texas in 1849. In the spring of 1850, they started with many other converts to Utah. And one incident of their experience, which, as related by my parents, always possessed most fascinating interest to met I must relate.
They were waiting at Council Bluffs or Kanesville in company of, many gold hunters and other unbelievers for the spring rain to start the grass for the support of the teams. The spring was warm but dry; and for weeks they waited and watched without seeing the least favorable indication.
At last Elder-Orson Hyde, who was presiding over the companies of Saints, instructed them to inquire into the condition of the poor among them, minister to all their actual needs, set all temporal things in order and then come with pure hearts and clean hands before their God and ask for rain. They did so; and the gold hunters looked on in round eyed wonder at the preparation; and when, all 'things being, prepared, a protracted meeting was called and the Saints began to pray so fervently for rain, they, the gold hunters, looked up at the smiling sky and shook their heads.
However, they forbore to scoff because they hoped for the same thing the Saints prayed for. The first afternoon a few small dots of clouds appeared and passed over. The second day a small but damp-looking cloud hovered about and I think it was on the third day "they fled, every man to his tent, for the windows of heaven were opened" so widely that some talked of a second deluge. The gold hunters shook their heads more than ever and declared it to be more than they could understand. The warm earth drank the refreshing draught and shot up the beautiful herbage all were so anxious to see, and then all joyfully crossed the river and took their way into the wilderness. I was not more than three years old at the time, but I distinctly remember crossing the river, and also many incidents connected with the journey to Utah.
Early in 1851 my Parents went to California with the company led by A. M. Lyman and C. C. Rich; remained there seven years and returned to Utah in the winter of 1857-8. They were so poor that sometimes we wanted for broad; but in my tenth year, a small patrimony of my mother's relieved the case a little. But during the deepest of his poverty, my father determined that his children should not be ignorant as well as poor. At the close of his days work patiently taught us while yet too young to attend the common schools. So effectual was his care on me, that when, according to law I completed 5th year and entered the public school, I found myself in a class of great, untaught girls entering their teens. My mother, too, was so energetic in the matter of sending us to school, that though having many small children, and being under the necessity of "taking in work" for the sake of what she could earn, she kept the older ones in school so resolutely, that I only remember losing half a day in several years. I was eleven years old when we returned to Utah, and though I did not then know, what I know now, how she sat by her candle far into the night while I slept, to keep up with woman's everlasting work so that she could spare me, her eldest daughter (the mother's right hand) to attend school. I was not ungrateful even then for I loved my books and came to regard the head of the class as my rightful place, my parents desired to give me especially every opportunity at their command, hoping that afterwards I would be able to teach my younger brothers and sisters. But the mixed and ill-regulated schools of new countries such as Southern California and Utah were twenty years ago, are not capable, of even when supplemented by diligence, of giving that thorough and methodical training which is the great object of school life. Scattered in- formation is certainly better than none, but in my opinion, for the purpose of life, it compares with symptomatic training much like a weak crutch with a strong leg. I keenly feel this great defect in my merely common school education, but much was the best then to be had.
The first teacher whose instruction I enjoyed in Utah, --bless him! Seemed to think me a sort of rough diamond, and compassionating my ravenous hunger for knowledge, gave to me instruction many a noontide hour when other children played and other men went home to dinner. He introduced me to a few of the elements of common philosophy, gave me a few simple lessons in botany and some other branches of natural history, and led me through some of the enchanted vales of poesy; and his criticisms on elevated and manlin sentiment in poetry are still my guide. He also gave me the first sweet drought from the immortal fountain of music--and the love of music was truly the master passion of my soul. On his authority I have the temerity to say that I had a genius for music: but alas, and alas! It is dying of hunger. His rudimentary instruction, the village choir and an accordion limit ray musical advantages and attainment. And OH, pity me that it in so ! because my longing for musical culture has been so intense as to be beyond expression. No weary traveler across the burning desert ever longed more bitterly for water, nor famished slave for bread, than I for music.
At the age of twelve years, this beloved tutor and friend began training me for a teacher; but a few months later my father opened a private school and took me to assist him, and from that time I was a pupil no more. I worked with him the greater part of the time until about sixteen years old, when I was installed teacher of an infant school. I followed teaching as a profession several years during which time the infant school resolved itself into a mixed or common school, and I found myself under the necessity of applying myself to my books or acknowledging myself vanquished by industrious boy or girl. Many an evening I faithfully fathomed the few pages in the Arithmetic which the first pupil would likely to achieve during the following day and the knowledge that it must be done, so sharpened wits that I never failed, and seldom had any serious difficulty.
Thus I advanced my knowledge of the common branches of learning, but my great ambition to gain a liberal education is still ungratified. In the early days of Utah, the struggle for bare sustenance was so severe that there was little time or opportunity for anything else, but I am thankful it is so much better now. I am truly thankful for every advantage I did enjoy, and truly wish I had improved them better; but there are times when my heart faints within me as I think of my God-given talents rusting away for want of polishing and I do believe there is sin in coveting that which is my neighbors when I see others slight their privileges and trifle those inestimable opportunities for which I have been almost consumed with longing. And it is most humiliating to see boys and girls get in their teens acquiring greater proficiency than all my tedious years of self culture have enabled me to gain. But I am glad they are not limited to my meager opportunities and I console myself for all that I lack, with the hope and determination that my children shall have a large part of that which I sought but never found.
From my childhood I have done considerable thinking and long years ago, pondered questions which puzzle me still. As long ago as I can remember I longed to be a boy, because boys were so highly privileged and so free. Thousands of things for which I heard girls gravely reproved, met only an indulgent smile when done by boys. They could go when and where they pleased, alone or otherwise, without a thought of danger or impropriety. Education was offered to them accompanied with bribes, promises and persuasions, while doled out to girls grudgingly as something utterly wasted and expected to be of no further use. Well I remember my disgust when I asked a gentleman teacher if, in his opinion, I was sufficiently advanced in mathematics to study algebra with profit and he replied that it would be wasted time for me ever to study it, because I already had more learning than was necessary for a good housekeeper, wife and mother which was a women’s only proper place on earth. However, it is but justice to him and myself to say that he has since warmly commended my efforts at self culture and the good I have done an a teacher.
Often I have winced under the unconcealed contempt for "Females" expressed by masculine of all grades from the urchin in pinafores to the finest scholars and ablest stamen of the world. For these and many other reasons, in my youth and "blissful ignorance” longed to be a boy; but like Fanny Ferin "I am now thankful that I belong to a more respectable class of society".
Not for all their boasted "supremacy", "superiority" and extended advantages would I have women come down to their low moral level. Intellectual acquirements, fame, power, and even their self conceit added is as feathers in the scale against moral purity and since undeniably there are vastly more good women than good men on the earth, who will dare decide that it would not be better for all potent custom to allow, two or more of these good woman to marry one good man, than to condemn them whether they would or not, either to live single or to wed a man a thousand fathoms beneath them? I never could see a spark of justice in that rule, inalterable as the laws of the Medes and Persians, that unless married, a woman passing to middle age must be severely condemned, while there is so little in the condition of matrimony and its male candidates to tempt a refined and noble minded woman.
(When I first entered "society" it did not take me long to perceive that the smiles and courtesies, the attentions and polite services which were showered upon me were given, not to me, but to my youth and personal appearance; while my mother whose noble soul and heroic self sacrifice for her children’s good I knew to be so well worthy of respectful homage, was indebted for brief courtesy to the sole fact of being a sort of appendage to a young lady's state.)
Even while polite attentions from gentlemen were in themselves pleasant, I always felt a sort of quilt in accepting for personality what I knew was tendered merely to abstract youth and beauty; and much disgust at the thought that my quick intellect, my honest heart, my high aspirations, all the sterling worth that was really of myself were never considered in this glittering realm of pleasure to which I was beckoned. What girl that ever paused to think that she was caressed by society merely for her youth and freshness, things not in the least due to herself, and which advancing time will surely take from her and then will surely be forsaken by this same society through no fault of her own, would ever become enamored of its fleeting pleasure and hollow praise? I never was. Although the metrical movements of the dance in time to the rhythm of sweet music were very pleasant, I could grow tired as of any other kind of exercise but I have seen girls who professed never to tire of dancing. I have often looked on while the beautiful girls, radiant in youth and happiness, with their devoted partners whirled through the dreamy waltz or sprightly cotillion, and mused on the possibility of one of these lovely and carefree maidens, become a woman and perhaps a wife of one of these same adoring youths, wearing out not only her youth but her very life, drudging from morning to night to keep his house and from night until morning with his ailing baby, only to be looked on by him as an inferior being, designed by nature to serve him. He will also think her a lucky women to have won so superior a man as himself to take care of her; and he will talk about supporting her as if she did not perform more actual work and do more real contriving in twenty-four hours than her lord and master in a week. I wondered how any men could have the effrontery to ask, or any woman the supiness to lay down the scepter and crown of girlhood to assume the yoke and burden of wife hood. M pray or was then as now that the time may come speedily when women will know and hold themselves at their true worth; when their eyes will be opened to the degradation of wasting their spotless lives on worthless and depraved men when by the extent of their knowledge of life as it is and as it should be by the depth of their contempt for men who lead unholy lives, and by the firmness of their resolution and the dignity of their self-respect they shall compel men to come up to their standard of morality and with them seek something still better, or be outcast from the Eden of women’s association. Since there is nothing in nature to prevent woman from sharing all the good things of this world. I am proud and thankful to see her beginning to burst the bands of that ironhanded custom which has so long warned her not to touch, and asserting her co-heirships with her brother man. I am not so unjust as to make no exceptions to all the sweeping assertions I have been making. I know all women are not good and true, nor all men tyrannical and unjust. I could mention the names of several men pledged heart and soul to the Latter day work of woman’s emancipation from her long bondage; and one at least of my acquaintance is a far more ferocious antagonist of Woman Slavery than I. From him I received the first antidote draught to cure my misanthropy and disgust of life. He was the first showed me wherein religion is not leagued with woman's oppressors; who first assured me with a man’s lips that woman has as good a right to her individuality and her free agency on this earth as her brother man. So you see, my dear friend, that for his sake, did I never know another liberal minded, large-hearted man, I could not, and would wish to condemn the whole race. I shall give honor where honor is due, and while waiting for the good time coming when all men-women shall be free and equal, put in my feeble oar wherever I can in her service.
I am religious by nature; and in behalf of my religion I will bear witness that it has upheld me through many a bitter trial, and comforted me in grief when nothing else could. I was early taught to pray, and for the greater part of my life never closed my eyes for sleep without prayer. I do not recollect ever attending a ball or place of amusement without asking God to keep me from all ill or unbecoming thoughts, words or deeds and from accident or harm of any kind. During the entertainment I often recalled the prayer and call truly say that my prayers were answered. Few young girls ever met fewer little mortifying mishaps, or moved amid giddy pleasures with less danger of becoming enamored of them.
I was baptized at eight years old with the understanding from my parents' teaching, that this ceremony and covenant, entered into willingly, entitled me to all the privileges and blessings of a beloved child of our Father until I should arrive at years of discretion; when it would become necessary for me either to ratify or repudiate the covenant. Looking back, I see Multiplied Manifestations of grace which should have comforted and strengthened and satisfied me. But, from reading and tradition, I was so deeply imbued with the methodistical idea of a sudden and entire change of Heart that I was blind to try open sweet experience of the grace of God; and sought mourning for that, which was already mine. Where can be a need of a "change of heart" if one's heart is already at the feet of Christ? And what could convince one of being accepted by God, if not such an experience as that.
When I was about sixteen years old, a beloved baby brother was very sick and sinking so rapidly that 1 had great fear that he would die; but I felt, in all humility, that I had lived near to the Lord, had tried to do His will and was entitled to claim the promise “Whatever ye ask in my name in faith that ye shall receive". Un-know to my parents, I fasted and prayed with intense fervor that the little one's life might be spared. I could not fail to see that he no longer grew worst, but neither did he grow better; but just remained at one point which was a point of deep distress. For several days he lingered thus, I felt like I had lifted heavy weight just to the edge of a place of rest but lacked the one-ounce of power necessary to deposit it thereon. Coming at one time suddenly into the room, I saw my mother wring her hands and cry in anguish: “Why, Oh why must my innocent baby suffer so much” If it is God's will to take him away, Oh, let his cruel sufferings end!" My heart smote me guiltily. Perhaps, thought I, it is God's will to take him, perhaps my shortsighted wishes stand between the beloved and his rest. I hastened away and with streaming eyes fell upon. my knees crying: "Thy will 0 Lord, not mine be done” As soon as I was calm enough to reenter the sick room I did so and was struck to the heart by the change in the precious one's face and the same evening he died.
But the greatest spiritual manifestation ever vouchsafed to me was in relation to my marriage. I had seen in the married state so much that was disagreeable amid humiliating to women, that I was firmly resolve to remain single. I knew I was quite able to provide for myself and lay up a competence for age without any man's assistance and although I loved children, I could not bring myself to believe that rearing children was the only way in which a women could serve the Lord acceptably. I knew that in my own profession of teaching I could do more to mold the moral nature of the young than any one mother in the privacy of her home. Moreover there are few who yearn for children who cannot find some poor, motherless lamb of the fold needing shelter and though I never tried to cheat myself into the belief that any such could ever be quite one’s own flesh and blood. I believed then as firmly as I do now, that it is the good we do rather than the personal pleasure in doing it, which brings us joy hereafter. I was quite willing that those who chose that manner of serving the Lord might marry; but I was determined to choose the "better" way according to St. Paul. But as I gained "here a little, and there a little" knowledge of the religion I professed and especially when after much meditation, study and prayer, I in my twentieth year, willingly renewed my covenant and enrolled myself a responsible member of the church. I learned that in the highest glory of Heaven, none are single. One man or one woman is but half of a perfect individual and we must bid adieu to reason itself when we try to suppose that anything short of absolute perfection will attain to the highest glory. The highest Heaven had always been my goal, this little insurmountable piece of reasoning was worse than gall and wormwood to me, for in my pride of heart, I had determined to win my soul's salvation alone. I did not want a co-worker, forgetting that the best and bravest of us are only too happy to be acknowledged coworkers with Christ. It took some time to reconcile my hard heart to this fact; I even told myself I should prefer to become handmaiden to some sanctified woman than what I termed "chief servant in a gentleman's household". I had been told in express terms by some blind leaders of the blind; that the Kingdom, here and hereafter be- longed only to man; and that woman enjoyed its gifts and blessings only in sufficient degree to make her man's efficient servant; and that looked to me not worth striving for.
It was in this state of mind that I first became acquainted with Charles Wakeman Dalton, who, after a time, intimated to me that I would make a most desirable wife. I resented the thought and told him that the man who thought I should be a meek, obedient, unobtrusive servant was very sadly wrong. When he comprehended my bitterness and my position on the subject, he mildly reasoned that to be a servant is not always a degrading thing, but the reverse. The greatest service ever performed on earth was done by Christ for the whole human family, and which left us all deeply his debtors. It benefits conferred, produces a corresponding obligation on the part of the one benefited. Between husband and wife there is need of mutual service and whichever fails in discharging this obligation falls thus far under condemnation. For the wife is no more bound to follow the husband's advice than he hers; but when advice is really good, either would lose by not doing so. He know of no such obligation which was not equally binding of each. This was new light on a difficult problem. This was speaking from reason and common sense instead of vaguely hinting at some foggy superstition about man's being created first and consequently best, noblest and supreme. These were arguments at once indisputable and satisfactory. No true woman wishes to evade her just obligations, but she scorns to enter into a contract which binds only herself. While mutual service is pleasant and desirable, one-sided service is bitter and detestable; the one is truly ennobling, the other degrading. I began to see that artificial rule had superseded natural ones in this matter, but that because most people arrived at a false conclusion by taking a false starting point, I had no need to do the same. With a husband who is willing, a woman may easily preserve her individuality even after marriage; always provided she has any to be preserved, and that I considered I did have. Here, thought I, is a man who does not think that merely because he is male he stands a whole flight of stairs higher in creation than a woman and believe him to be honest and true as well as liberal minded. I could see that it would be easy to love him. At this point a new hydra rose up before me in this shape: "Who are you and how did you become so wise as to dare choose with whom you will pass not only this brief life but the countless ages of eternity?" I felt that I did not dare; for had not thousands of wiser and better women than I made mistakes which wrecked not only their own happiness here and hopes for the hereafter, but entailed misery, disgrace and ruin on. innocent children. For time alone, as the people of the world marry, I could not and would not, because I considered that in a woman's case, the burdens and trials of matrimony far exceed its benefits and blessings., Only for the sake of its expected joys in eternity, could I endure its trials through time; but that cherished "free agency" which gives a woman the choice with which of her fellow beings she will undertake to find eternal happiness, began to look far more like a burden and a snare than a than a privilege or a blessing. I thought and dreamed about it; I grew pale and hollow-eyed over it but found no conclusion. I was at list willing to love a man, but dared not assume the responsibility of becoming his wife.
Getting no answer to all my prayers, in very despair and in deep humiliation because I was impressed so to do--I called on him to pray with me on the subject. I know he was startled by the demand, and felt it like assuming a great responsibility, but he hesitated only long enough to learn that there was no shadow of trifling in me. He knelt down first, and I placed myself beside him and laid one of my hands on one of his and as I did so, I felt a thrill through every fiber of my being and I know he felt the same. I was utterly crushed under the knowledge that within a few minutes a question would be settled which would shape and determine my destiny forever. Cowardly, I dreaded to meet the decision. The prayer was short, simple and unassuming, but direct, earnest and sincere and at every word uttered a huge stone of my mountain load of doubt and fear rolled from my soul.
I felt that we were in the presence of the hosts of heaven and a direct incontrovertible testimony was given me that it was the will of God and not my will that I should acquire this man for my yoke-fellow. He knew as well as I what the decision was and in awe struck solemnity we left the spot. To this day it is to both of us a most precious and solemn recollection and is never mentioned between us except with deepest reverence.
Early in my married life one day my mother was sitting with me in my own home, and I was embroidering a delicate muslin robe for my expected child. After much pleasant conversation, she inquired half playfully, how I felt doing such pretty work for a child of my own. A most natural and innocent question, but, my mother thought, most direful in its effect; for, throwing down the work and bursting into hysterical weeping I wailed: "Oh! Mother, I feel like I were sewing on a shroud." She was alarmed for my safety, and urged the necessity of self-control, and begged to know if she had said anything wrong. When I was sufficiently recovered, I explained. For months a haunting dread had hung like a great, black cloud over me, that my child would die in infancy. I had tried to smile at it; I had refused it admittance to my thoughts; I had fought it like a deadly foe, and barred the doors of my soul against it; but still it lay in wait, and my Mother's unexpected question suddenly flung wide all those barred doors and gave the enemy full possession. Lying, as I may say, a bound and helpless captive at the feet of my foe. I confessed my secret grief. As in duty bound, even had she not fully believed it, my mother argued that I mistaken nervousness for presentiment and assured me that by the time I had borne half a dozen children I should be able to discriminate better. I sobbed forth "I wish you were right, Mother, but my child will live six months, a year or possibly two years, but not longer.''
Great was my surprise and delight, when, instead of the funny, wailing little skeleton I had expected, my child was a great, lusty boy who seemed the very impersonation of good health, high spirits and precocious intellect. Nothing ever seemed to hurt him,, and in the pride of my heart I laughed at former fears to scorn. I told my mother she was right and I was tempted to give up my belief in presentiments entirely. But in his fifteenth month, I found myself compelled to wean him; and it was with a sinking heart that I took him from the breast and began the old warfare again. He pinned from that day and in spite of all care, all weeping and praying, he died in my arms on the second anniversary of his birthday and we buried him in the embroidered dress I had once called a shroud. A strange and sad experience truly, and my mother lives to testify to its truth; but the warning which was once my torture and foe, is now my comfort and friend; because it assures me that it was not my ignorance of the laws of life and health which deprived the world of so noble a soul, but the will of God..
In the year of 1874, one of my inmate friends lost her husband by death. She was a woman of weak nerves and frail health and it was a heavy blow to her. I visited her in her bereavement and thought she found comfort in my visits.
One night a few months after, when alone but for my second and only living child, I was suddenly, but without any stock or fear, with a vivid impression or consciousness that my friend's dead husband was present. I opened my lips to say: "Are you here Bro. and what can I do for you?" When the thought, "Who are you and what were you to him that you should receive communication from the dead?" I checked the words upon my lips. But the drawer was given that the husband dared not approach the wife because it would endanger her life and it was necessary that she should yet live--and that she would believe my word just as implicitly as a direct communication. At this point a pang, like grief reflected from another personality smote my heart and I knew that the presence was gone. Sorely did I repent my wicked humility, and with a sense of guilt I felt that I had lost an opportunity of doing good. After a few weeks my friend’s youngest child, an angle on Earth, died after only a few hours of languid discomfort which could hardly be called sickness. When I heard of it, I seemed to know that it was warning of this very thing, which I had been, desired to convey. When looked on the lovely, smiling face and dimpled hands, in all but color, a picture of blooming life and health, and beheld the frantic grief of the mother, my sense of guilt was almost more than I could bear. Soon afterward, I attempted to ease my mind by relating to the stricken one by incomplete experience, hoping she would utterly refuse to credit its genuineness. So far from doubting, she asked: "Oh, why did you not tell me even what you could? Do you think that had I known even that much, when my little girl came to see as she did only the day before she died, kissing and petting me, and saying so earnestly and so lovingly, "Oh, Ma, what makes you so good?" I say do you think anything on earth could have hindered me from returning her sweet caresses and precious love, instead of saying as I did say, "Shame on me, run away, dear, I am busy now” Do you think I would have been so busy as that, had you told me even a little?" Thus did that self-distrust which many are pleased to call modesty, become in me a sin; and as such do I repent it.
These are not all of my spiritual experiences, but sufficient to be here related. I acknowledge my comparative ignorance of the things of God and the laws of spiritual progression here and hereafter; but what I do know. I know!
I bear my testimony that God has stretched forth his hand to redeem his people; that Joseph Smith was a Prophet, Seer and Revelator, and Brigham Young his rightful successor; that the whole content, of the records from which the "Book of Mormon" was translated have not yet been revealed; but will be in the own due time of the Lord, at which time all who love him will rejoice. Blessed be most holy name. Amen
(Signed) Lucinda Lee Dalton
P.S. Dear friend: Even after "Rising in the night" I have overstepped the limits I gave myself, but truly have done my best. My husband's full name is Charles W. Dalton., and you may insert it where I had left it out if you think best. I hope I have not been tedious and that my story may do some good. I think you should send me a proof sheet. Received your postal too late. Sent a letter too just before, "By" unimportant. Please write as soon as you read this.
In love and haste,
L. L. D.
(Lucinda Lee Dalton)
Another letter written by Lucinda Lee Dalton:
Payson, Utah Co., U.T.
Dec. 9, 1891.
Dear Cousins Lois & John.
Mother forwarded your letters and her reply to me so that mine could go with hers. I was very glad indeed to hear from you, for I was feeling very lonesome, because I am a stranger here. I am teaching school here, and of course you will want to know how that is. Well, I "had too much to say"; that is, I always took the liberty to assert that it was a disgrace to the town to hire girls who had education enough, ability-enough, and character enough, to be trusted with our little children, for three dollars a week. The girls learned my tune and sung it to the Board until they were forced to raise their wages to the extravagant sum of $4.50 a week! Holding me to blame for this squandering of the publics funds, the Board resolved to take it out of my salary this year. But when I refused to rebate a hundred dollar of my wages, they hired another man, paid him as much or more, and left me to learn wisdom by the things I suffered. But Providence was on my side; I know, because Payson sent for me unasked, and I am all right yet.
Annie had been urging mother for some time to come and visit her and since I was to be away so long, she thought it a favorable time for her visit, so it works well all around. Clifford has been having mumps, but very lightly, and is on the mend. Emma was in Provo last week with Rose but is now back in Salt Lake. Mary Black, Mary's oldest daughter, visited mother at Manti since I came away. Mother does have letters from Rupert and Charles, and will now get more news, Ellen lives in Provo. Please write again. Your affectionate cousin, L. L. Dalton.
(The following was written upside down in the top margin)
Love to all your children and Ida Udall, and all inquiring friends. Cannot answer you
properly this time, but try, please.
Obituary of Lucinda Lee Dalton from the Deseret Evening News, 1 December 1925 - Section 2, p. 14.
"Pioneer School Teacher is buried at Manti"
Manti, Dec. 1 - (Special) - Funeral services for Mrs. Lucinda Lee Dalton were held in the North ward chapel Sunday under the direction of Bishop E.T. Reid. Speakers were: Bishop N. R. Peterson, Ezra Billings and L. H. Hoogard. Bishop Reid read some of Mrs. Dalton’s poems. The choir furnished the music. Mrs. Dalton was born Feb. 9 1847 in Coosa County Alabama. She came to Utah in 1849 with her parents, John P. Lee and Eliza F. Lee. John P. Lee was called with others by Brigham Young to go to California to settle the town of San Bernardino.
Mrs. Dalton started to teach school when 15 years old and taught 35 years in Manti, Beaver, Payson, Ferron and Ogden. She was a writer of both prose and poetry. She was married to Charles Wakeman Dalton in 1868. Six children were born to her, two of whom survive; C. W. Dalton, Salt Lake City and Belle D. Robbins of Los Angles Calif; Also four sisters; Mrs. Mary Black, Fruita; Colo. Mrs. Emma Sutherland, San Francisco; Mrs. Ellen Sanders, Salt Lake City; Mrs. Rose Sutherland, Washington D C.
and a brother, Charles A. Lee.
Buried in Plot A, Block 21, Lot 2, Grave 3.
The Head Stone of Sarah Lucinda Lee Dalton in Manti, Utah