Sunday, December 18, 2011

Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck. 1866-1868.

Cathedral in Derby, England

In 1866 when Nicholas Groesbeck was called to serve a mission to England, all but one of Elizabeth’s children were still living at home with her. Their oldest son Nicholas Harman married Rebecca Sanderson in 1862, and was presumably living in Springville, Utah with two children, and running the mercantile business Harmon purchased from his father in 1863.

William was 19 years-old, John Amberson was 17 years-old, Helen Melvina (Mellie), was 14, Hyrum was 12, Josephine, 9, Samuel, 6, and Joseph Smith was 2-years-old. Elizabeth’s eighty-year-old mother-in-law, Marie Bovee Groesbeck, would have also been living with her. Elizabeth probably had further household help, as she did twelve years later according to the 1880 census.

1880 Census Salt Lake City
Elizabeth was noted for her generosity and it was her custom to meet the immigration wagon trains as they arrived at the old Immigration Square (present day City and County Building, 4th South and StateStreet), where she presented baskets of food and clothing to those without necessities. Sometimes she employed young women as domestic help and companions for her children. She was instrumental in the emigration of a number of Saints,one of them, Sarah Blood, who became her daughter-in-law. Sarah married Elizabeth’s youngest son, Joseph Smith, March 24, 1887.

What motivated Nicholas’ return home from his mission in the Spring in 1867 isn’t known. In the letter (posted here and here) he wrote to Elizabeth from Derby, England in February, 1867, Nicholas discussed a variety of topics that may have influenced his early return; his health, longings for Elizabeth, his dreams, concern for his sons’ behavior and education, and his properties and holdings.

He wrote in the letter, “You have a comfortable and a happy home, which I feel thankful for, and a plenty to make you happy, as far as this world’s goods are concerned but that does not always add to happiness.”

On November 2, 1867, their son William married Eleanor Philotta Pack. A couple of months later, in January, 1868, while enrolled at The Morgan Commercial College, their daughter Mellie met her future husband, John Hamilton Morgan. 

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