Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sketch of Roseinia Sylvester Jarvis, Part 1

Top (left to right): Roseinia Sylvester Jarvis, Joseph Sylvester, Althea Sylvester Gregerson. Front (left to right): Joshua William Sylvester, Lovinia Sylvester Berry, Rebecca Nicholson Sylvester.


Sketch of Roseinia Sylvester Jarvis

Written and compiled from Notes by herself and others, by Ella J. Seegmiller for the Dixie Camp of the D.U.P. at St. George, Utah and read by her at the Camp Meeting, December 12, 1947.

Roseinia Sylvester Jarvis was born at Springville, Utah, February 9, 1857. She was the seventh daughter and the nineth [sic] child of James and Rebecca Nicholson Sylvester.

Her parents were Converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from Sheffield, England, and they arrived in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake in 1852.

They lived in Provo for a while, then moved to Springville where they resided for nine years. It was there that Roseinia was born, and she was five years old when they left there. She remembers a broken arm and a sun-stroke which nearly cost her her life while living there. They endured many hardships incident to Pioneer life, such as Indian Wars, grasshoppers, crickets, etc. They had plenty to eat, such as it was, -- squash pies and Melon Preserves made in Beet Molasses, were among the delicacies, but they had bread, milk, butter and meat, also vegetables in plenty.

Her father had always desired to live in a warm climate, so when the Call was made for the Saints to settle the southern part of the Territory of Utah, he volunteered to go. There was also another reason for him wanting to go, as his oldest daughter, Mary, had married Joseph Birch, who had been called to go. Brother Sylvester sold out his property at Springville and started south with his family, traveling with ox teams. He had considerable stock, and as it was late in the Fall, he concluded to winter at Gunnison, it being a warm open valley, and then he would go on south in the Spring.

That winter the new settlement of Gunnison was visited by Apostle Orson Hyde, who advised all who were there to remain. James Sylvester went to him and explained his condition, to which Apostle Hyde replied, "Brother Sylvester, stay here and make your mark!" so he bought land and built a two-room log house that winter. In the spring during the high-water season, the Sandpitch River overflowed its banks and spread over the Valley. It was two feet deep in their house, and it covered the garden which was looking so fine before. It was then deemed necessary to move the town from the river-bottom to the Bench Land. Brother Sylvester, along with the rest, tore his newly built house down, and moved it to the new town-site. He was prospering very well when the Black Hawk Indian War broke out, which necessitated another "move." This time into a Fort for mutual protection against Indian raids. Roseinia's brother Joshua was a soldier boy at the time and he had many narrow escapes during that time. The War lasted four years and the people lived in constant dread of the Indians raiding their homes and robbing them of their horses and cattle. Roseinia remembered falling off the foot-bridge which crossed the Sandpitch River and she came near being drowned. After the War her father built a rock house on his City Lot at the upper end fo the town, and was quite comfortable again.

The family next moved to Nephi where the father had charge of a grist mill. Roseinia and her sister attended the first Sunday School held there, and they enjoyed it so much that the mile walk from their home to town was not noticed by them. When she was ten years old, she came to St. George to stay with her sister, Mary Birch, for the summer. While here, her sister Eliza, a beautiful girl of fifteen, died at Nephi. Brother Birch took her back, but thought it a kindness not to tell her of the trouble at home, as she would fret and worry along the way. Upon arriving at Chicken Creek, or Levan, near Nephi, at her brother's home, she ran in and asked how her sister Eliza was, as she had been told that she was sick. "How is she!" was repeated in tones which told her too plainly what the situation was, and then she realized what had really happened. She rushed rushed out of the door, and there outside, alone in the darkness, she sobbed out her grief and disappointment. She listened to the recital within, of her sister's illness and sudden death, and also learned that Eliza had been buried three weeks. It was a sad homecoming for her, as a favorite sister who had urged her not to leave home, had departed this life.

Brother Sylvester could not give up the thoughts of going to Dixie. His daughter Mary and her husband were constantly pleading for him to join them, so he finally disposed of his property there and arrived at Kanarra in July, 1868. Later, he decided to locate at Bellevue, where he pitched a tent and made a nice bowery in front of it, then placed the wagon box near by. These gave the family shelter until late in the Fall, when they moved into the Basement of their new rock house, which was completed by Spring. The children helped, — girls as well as boys — clear the land, make the rock walls or fences, around the land and plant the trees, vines, and gardens.

As time went on, their home and surroundings became more homelike and attractive. They raised their own meat— beef, pork, poultry, etc., besides milking several cows which furnished them with plenty of milk and butter. These with plenty of choice fruits and vegetables, furnished them a good living, but it was rather difficult to obtain clothes. Their mother took time to teach the children to read, write and spell, as they had no schools at first. Their father was very musically inclined, and at one time, he made a "dummy organ" marking the "make-believe" keys on a keyboard, and he and Roseinia, both practiced on it and learned a number of easy and simple selections, so that when they had a "real organ", they were able to play their numbers on it. As time went on, the father usually had some kind of a musical instrument to play, either the organ, violin or accordion, and Roseinia would accompany him on the organ as he played the other instruments. Sometimes, traveling musicians would stop with them over night, and they would have a musical evening, which was enjoyed by all so very much.

To be continued...

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

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