Monday, September 27, 2010

An Enduring Legacy

April 11, 1917 — April 7, 1921

Elizabeth was the eldest daughter of Philip and Martha Roach Pugsley, born in Salt Lake City, Utah, December 23, 1854. Her parents were of splendid pioneer stock, having crossed the ocean from England in a sailing vessel, then crossed the continent by foot and ox team in order to be with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to which they had converted. They suffered the same hardships as other early pioneers. When Elizabeth was born, they were living in a little log cabin which had only a leaky roof and a rough dirt floor. She was told that upon the occasion of her arrival a quilt had to be held over the bed in order to protect her mother and herself from the storm.

Her early life, while one of sacrifice and hardship, was nevertheless a happy one, since she had the love of devoted parents and was a member of a large, congenial family. As the family grew in size and prospered in wordly goods, this helped to improve their advantages.

Being the oldest girl, Elizabeth did not have the opportunity for much schooling. Her time was spent in helping her mother rear the family, including two sets of twins. One boy of a set of twins was reared as her own. She had the entire responsibility for him from his birth until after her marriage.

In the early days, while she was at home, she helped with the making of tallow candles, the carding, spinning, and dyeing of wool for cloth, and other such necessary work. As a young girl she learned the art of dressmaking, and thereafter for many years made all the clothing worn by both the men and women of the family.

At the age of twenty-one, on her birthday, December 23, 1875, she was married to Henry J. Hayward. They moved into a little two-room adobe house he had built, most of its furniture having been made by him also. Here two precious children were born to them, but their home was saddened a few years later when both were taken in death by diphtheria. Her brother Albert, whom Elizabeth had raised from infancy, died the same day as her own boy died. They were buried December 23, 1879, the anniversary of their mother's own birth and marriage. During the next twenty years, seven more children came to bless their union, but only three survived to maturity: Jean, Elizabeth and John.

It was not until after the loss of so many of her children that she went outside her home to do public work other than her Church activities. Always interested in the welfare of children, her first public assignment was president of the Mother's Club of the Washington School. The aim of this organization was to improve conditions in the school.

In 1907 she joined the Daughters of Utah Pioneers and subsequently held the positions of corresponding secretary, assistant registrar, registrar, vice-president and president during the years 1917 to 1921. During World War I she was a special agent for the government, collecting and reporting on the prices of food in Salt Lake City and submitting a report concerning her findings every two weeks. She was also in charge of the state work of the Red Cross for the Daughters of Utah Pioneers.

Her interest in politics was rewarded by the Democratic Party when she was elected a member of the state legislature. She had the honor of being the first woman to preside over the senate, which honor was granted to her several times during the sessions of 1919 and 1921. [The legislature met every other year.] A sincere and ardent worker in the suffrage cause, as a member of the senate in 1919 she introduced a resolution endorsing national suffrage, and also introduced the resolution ratifying the National Suffrage Act.

A member of the League of Women Voters since its organization, through her interest and work in the cause of suffrage, she had her name placed on a roll of honor in the building dedicated to the work of the League at Washington, D.C.

The Salt Lake Council of Women, composed of representatives of thirty-eight women's clubs affiliated with the organization, selected Mrs. Hayward to their Hall of Fame, honoring the most prominent women of the city. Selection was made by ballot on the basis of each woman's civic contributions of permanent value to the community. This was indeed a highlight in Mrs. Hayward's life.

Although her public work was extensive, she was deeply devoted to her husband and children, interested first in their well-being. Death claimed her loving life partner in January 1927, but her splendid pioneer courage led her ever onward as a loyal adherent to every cause of justice and right.

She died January 27, 1942, at the age of eighty-seven, ending a life of useful service to mankind, beloved by her family and all who knew her.

Daughters of Utah Pioneers. An Enduring Legacy. Volume 1. "Presidents of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers." Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1978, pp 236-238.

The dates listed under Elizabeth's name are the dates of her service as President of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers.

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