Thursday, September 16, 2010

Early Salt Lake City Flowers

As [the early settlers of Salt Lake City] shared bread with one another, so they shared their flower seeds and roots. Along the walks of nearly every home were rows of marigolds, mignonette, bachelor buttons, larkspur, and near the little home could be found the wild rose brought back from the canyon and replanted. Many are the stories told of the men going to the canyon to get wood, bringing back a wild rose, a honeysuckle root, or a bluebell to transplant in Mother's garden. Watering the plants was a problem, and most of the pioneer mothers carried water in buckets from the irrigating ditch or the well for their plants...

[A] flower garden noted for its beauty in those early days was that of Haslan Redfield, pioneer of 1850 [1]. He was a skilled gardener and brought some nursery stock with him when he came to Utah. His home was located on the northwest corner of 3rd West and 2nd North of Salt Lake City. His grandson told us of a huge trumpet vine that grew over his house and reached the chimney. His flags (iris) were the pride of the neighborhood. Many of the flowers that grew around their home and the home of their neighbors were grown from seeds brought to Utah by the Redfield pioneers. Mrs. Elizabeth Hayward recalls the joy this garden brought to the people that passed that way. She also tells of the flower garden of Pioneer Bevadlint (1853) [2] located on 5th North and 2nd West. They brought many seeds from England. They raised wall flowers, daisies, buttercups, and lilac bushes. Mrs. Hayward said, "They gave me a lilac start when I was very young, and I saw that bush bloom for over forty years—they were my mother's favorite flowers..."

J.E. Malan [3]... made five trips back to Florence [perhaps as part of the "Down and Back" Companies in the 1860s] and each time he brought back, securely wrapped, a variety of seeds for the flower garden. His pride was the hollyhock. They were one bit that reminded him of the Quaker garden his people left behind on the old Brandywine in Pennsylvania. Many times my grandmother has been called from her busy round of household tasks to answer the door and have someone with eyes filled with tears ask to be allowed to sit among [the] hollyhocks...

An excerpt from the book Our Pioneer Heritage, Volume 19, by Kate B. Carter, page 531-532. Kate Carter was one of the presidents of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers and a prolific author. She spoke at Elizabeth Hayward's funeral. I have added the following footnotes.

[1] Probably Levi Harlow Redfield (1801-1866) one of the founders of Provo. Besides his family, there are no other 1850 pioneers named Redfield listed in the Overland Trail database. According to an article in the Deseret News, he was in Provo in 1855 with a broken leg, but he shows up in the 19th Ward in Salt Lake City in the 1860 U.S. Census. He was the grandfather of Reed Smoot's wife Alpha Eldredge Smoot.

[2] He is not in the Overland Trail database; perhaps this is a misspelling, or perhaps he's not in the database. I read through the 19th Ward census and surrounding wards, but could not find anyone with a similar name. Unfortunately, the home addresses are not included in the 1860 census. I cannot find the Haywards in this census either, although I see the Pugsleys, and Brigham Young's family, and many others, including some who traveled in the same pioneer company as the Pugsleys and Haywards.

[3] Kate Carter seems to be getting people mixed up. Jean Daniel Malan was from the Piedmont in Italy, so she must mean someone else from the Brandywine.

Photo of the hollyhocks provided under Creative Commons license by Picture of the wallflowers (erysimum) from


  1. What a gorgeous photo. I found it on a google image search for hollyhocks. I thought that was pretty fun to see your blog show up!

  2. Thanks! How nice of you to comment. I get a lot of hits from Google Image searches. Much of my clip art is from Creative Commons content on Flickr. The picture of the hollyhocks has a very liberal creative commons license as do many other really excellent photographs.