Sarah Jane Gailey

Sarah Jane Gailey was born May 22, 1849, the daughter of John and Ana Greaves Gailey.

The home at this time was near the corner of Main and 7th South Street, in Salt Lake City.

Her own mother died when Sarah Jane was only two years old, but her step-mother Mary Mills Hudson Gailey took very good care of her and of her baby sister.

In about 1854, the family moved to Kaysville, where the father engaged in farming, and common with many others in the early days of Utah, they were very poor.

The children used to walk four miles in winter to attend school and as they had no shoes they would tie their feet up in pieces of buffalo hide or anything else that would keep out the cold, and run until their feet would get too cold to go father, when they would untie them, and rub them for awhile, then tie them up and go on again. Mother had her first pair of shoes when she was fourteen years old. At that time, her father sold a cow and with the proceeds bought shoes for her and for her younger sister.

At one time when food was very scarce, the family lived on pig-weeds exclusively, for six whole weeks and when they were finally able to obtain bran to make bread, it was a time of great rejoicing.

On September 28, 1867, she was married to Isaac Sears, in the old Endowment House in Salt Lake City.. Their first home, which was in Kaysville, was a one-room log house, with a dirt floor. Their furniture consisted of a tin stove, and a few small barrels and boxes for table and chairs. The bed vas made by driving a stake in the dirt floor and lacing raw hide from it to the log walls, on this was placed a mattress filled with straw.

The bride had only one dress, made of calico, and the groom one shirt.

Mother worked in the fields, gleaning wheat and doing any other work she could find to do in order to help get the clothing and goods they needed. Sometimes she washed clothes all day for a neighbor; receiving in pay a spool of thread, which at that time cost twenty-five cents a spool.

They lived in Kaysville until the year 1872 when they moved to Salt Lake City. The family at this time consisted of Father and mother and two children, a girl and a boy.

They built a two-room house, one upstairs and one down, living in a tent until it should be ready for them. Before the house was finished, the baby Isaac John died.

Later on additions were made to the house until there were nine rooms. A family of nine children grew up there and left only when they married and went to make homes of their own. For about fifty years mother lived there at 756 East 2 South in the 11th Ward.

Mother was deeply religious and for many years worked in the Relief Society as a teacher, and also as a counselor to Sister Bridge. One thing she never forgot to do was to visit the sick and those who were in trouble. In this work she excelled and many are the hearts she comforted.

She was always cheerful and optimistic and her courage and sense of humor carried her over many difficulties. Her life was an inspiration to her family, and friends, for she was a devoted wife and a kind loving mother. She died April 2, 1923.

Her good deeds live after her and her children rise up and call her blessed.

(Personal recollections of her daughter, Drucilla)

One of the first things I seem to remember was hearing the folks talk of Sister Dunbar, who was one of the pioneer midwives of Salt Lake City, and who lived on the corner of G Street and 2nd Ave. Father would tell of tramping through the snow to get her to come and take care of mother when Will and afterwards when I was born in the little room upstairs.

But I wanted to write some of the things that mother used to tell me of her girlhood days. Always they had to work so hard and there was so little to eat and to wear. Mother’s only dress, at one time, was made of a piece of wagon cover, dyed with sage brush. Yet they managed to be happy and to have plenty of good times. And I am sure that the reason was because she had a kind and understanding father and stepmother, and, that love made up for other things they lacked.

When mother was about sixteen she met father for the first time, or anyway that was the first time she spoke to him. She had seen him several times before as he was working for their neighbor, Mr. Barnes. But I told about this in father’s history. Anyway mother once told me of a dance that she attended with father and after the dance was over and they went outside, it was too dark to see to go home so they all went back into the hall and danced until daylight. (I suppose the tune was “We won’t go home until morning”) And when I was young we were expected to be home by ten o’clock, except on special occasions. (I remember a few of them)

Mother was eighteen and father was twenty-one when they were married.

After they moved to Salt Lake and father gradually established himself in business, prosperity came to them and they made additions to the original two rooms and as far back as I can remember there was always an abundance of food, clothing, and other things to make life enjoyable.

In the winter there would be a large keg of homemade mince meat, also molasses and cider in the cellar, together with plenty of potatoes, apples and other things to eat. Also we always had a years supply of flour in the house. How times have changed. Now in this year of depression (1933) we get what we need where we need it (if we can) from the near by grocery store.

I really think that the thing I most admired about mother was her courage. I never saw her afraid and there used to be plenty of times when indians and gypsies would come to the house and demand things and mother would give them a certain amount, but when they insisted on more she would say “no” and that was that.

But she had courage of another kind also, courage to meet all the trials that life brought to her and to face whatever came her way and look for the bright side. Courageous, patient, tolerant, faithful, loyal, kind, and forgiving, all these attributes were mother’s.