Lucy Simmons Groves is my 4th great grandmother. Though she endured many hardships in her life she pressed onward and forward and always maintained her strong testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Today I want to share the story of the births of her children (that touch my heart as a mother) and her journey to escape persecution.
Lucy and Elisha were married 14 January 1836 in Kirtland, Geauga, Ohio. From there they traveled to Clay county, Missouri. Lucy traveled with her friends and family and Elisha traveled separately preaching along the way. He met up with them before they reached their destination in the summer of 1836. They moved in the fall from Clay county to what would become Far West, Caldwell, Missouri and their first child, a daughter, Mary Leah Groves was born 30 October 1836.
Two years later in the fall of 1838 the mob drove them from their home in Far West. In either October or November their second child and first son, John Simmons Groves was born. He only lived a few months.
The images below are from the LDS Church History Library. They are Mormon Redress Petitions (aka Missouri Claims) from 1839-1845. These are statements pertaining to grievances suffered by the Mormons in Missouri, 1833-1839. The majority are petitions collected for the purpose of presentation as redress bills before the United States Congress. These 2 images are Elisha's petition for redress.
The mob drove them from their home and took all of their property and left them "without a shelter to cover from the storm." It is assumed that their son John Simmons was born during this time.
|Image: MS 2703_b0001_f0012_00043|
|Image: MS 2703_b0001_f0012_00044|
The family then moved to Columbus, Adams, Illinois (this is where the above redress was written) and where on 14 September 1840 their third child, another son, Samuel Elisha Groves was born.
After Samuel's birth, the family moved to Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois where 11 months later their fourth child, another daughter, Patience Sibyl Groves was born on 18 August 1841. Some records list her birth as 1843. Though she is quoted in family records as saying she was 7 years old in 1848 when she walked to the Salt Lake Valley.
The fifth child, another daughter, Sarah Matilda Groves was born 14 February 1846 in Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois, A mob had come to their home and told them that they must either renounce Mormonism or they had only one hour in which to leave. If they were still there at the end of that time the mob would kill the whole family. That night, during a terrible storm, without shelter or protection Lucy gave birth to Sarah. They then crossed the frozen Mississippi River less than two weeks later on 26 February 1846. Can you imagine four young children, with one of them being a 12 day old infant in those conditions? They reached Council Bluffs, Harrison, Iowa in late July 1846 and Sarah Matilda died in October 1846 of cholera.
Now Lucy has three living young children. Her half brother Samuel Thompson enlisted with the Mormon Battalion at Winter Quarters and left his two young children with Lucy to care for and take to the Salt Lake Valley. The Groves family stayed in Winter Quarters until late Spring 1848.
During the preparation to leave Winter Quarters for the Salt Lake Valley Lucy gave birth to their sixth child, another daughter, Lucy Maria Groves on 7 May 1848. Ten days later at 2 pm they left Winter Quarters in Brigham Young's company. Can you imagine six young children the youngest less than two weeks old?
The following took place less than one month later and this excerpt is taken from Thomas Bullock's Journal:
So my dear ancestor Lucy, having just had a baby 4 weeks previous, is sick and she fell out of the front of the wagon and the wheels of the wagon crushed her breast breaking ribs and then breaking her leg.
Nine days later, her eldest daughter Mary Leah was helping take care of the family and accidentally stumbled over her mother's leg breaking it a second time. The pain was so severe that Lucy told Elisha that he would have to pull the wagon out of the train and stop because she could not go on further.
The following excerpt is from Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young:
Brigham Young would not leave them alone on the trail. He helped her so that she could ride in a little more comfort. They made it to the Salt Lake Valley with their four young children and the two young Thompson children and Lucy continued to heal. She had a limp and used a cane for the remainder of her life.
I am so grateful for her courage, patience and long suffering. Often when my days seem difficult with my two young children, I remember her and her trials and I take courage that my life isn't as difficult. I have a home where I can exercise my faith and my freedoms. For these reasons and many more, I thank Lucy and all those who traveled the trail.