Thomas, Sarah Middleton Holding, Polly Eardley, Ephraim
Daniel Holding was born April 5, 1813 and Sarah Middleton was born September 6, 1823 in Cottonwood, Preece, Shropshire, England. They both joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in December 1842. In January of 1844, they walked 20 miles to John's Church, Chester, England, to be married. During this time, their home was always open to the missionaries and Elders of the Church.
In 1853 the spirit of gathering came upon them. They sold their possessions and with their four children ages two to nine, (Margaret Hannah, Thomas Hyrum, Epraim George, and Sarah Jane) they sailed from Liverpool, England on the sailing vessel Elvira Owens on February 2, 1853. There were 345 saints aboard under the direction of Joseph W. Young, who presided over the Preston conference. Both Daniel and Sarah were very seasick and unable to cook meals for their children. Each family on the ship had to provide their own food and cook their own meals.
In March, after a speedy voyage lasting 36 days, they landed at the mouth of the Mississippi River where they changed to a river boat and sailed up the river to St. Louis. Three days before they arrived there, Sarah gave birth to twins, Joseph and Josephine. She was carried from the boat to the shore on a chair. In St. Louis, one of the twins died and was buried in a crude coffin made by Daniel. They took the boat up the river to Keokuk, Iowa and crossed to river to Nauvoo. On June 2, 1853, the other twin died as well as their two year old daughter Margaret Hannah. They were both buried in the same box made by Daniel. He gathered tree branches and made a big bonfire on top of the graves to keep the wolves away.
At Keokuk, Daniel made the wagon in which they crossed the plains to Utah. They joined the Cyrus E. Wheelock Co., known as the Independent Ten Pound Company, and left Keokuk on June 10, 1953, again with Joseph W. Young as president of the company. During the trip, the indians would steal possessions from their wagons and terribly frighten the children, who had never seen indians before. Their food while crossing the plains was buffalo meat, greens, roots and bulbs.
On August 29, their daughter Sarah Jane fell from the wagon and the wheels passed over her arms and crushed her head flat above her forehead. The whole company stopped and she was administered to by the elders. Then they squeezed her head back into shape, bandaged it, and continued on their journey. The scar was always noticable on her head and face the rest of her life.
Later, their oldest son Hyrum fell from the wagon and broke his arm.
They arrived in Utah on September 19, 1853 and camped in Pioneer Square. They later went to live with the Hewett family who had come to Utah 3 years before. Then they found a place to live on 1st South Street.
A few months later, early in 1954, they started back over the plains headed back to England. Daniel had been called back home to settle the estate of his father who had died. On July 15, 1854, Sarah gave birth to a son Richard at Savannah, Andrew, Missouri. In St. Louis, Sarah had typhus fever and was near death. It took them six months to get back to England. On July 30, 1856, a daughter Mary Ann was born. She was called Polly the rest of her life.
On August 6, 1857, Daniel passed away and left Sarah a widow with a family to raise.
The first of the family to return to Utah was Ephraim George who arrived in Salt Lake August 5, 1870 when he was 21 years old. In 1875 Sarah and her daughter Polly, who was 19, arrived back in Utah. This was 22 years after Sarah had made her first trek across the plains. Sarah was so happy to be back with her sons and the saints.
Polly married Bedson Eardley who was a pioneer potter, and they built an adobe house on 3rd South and 2nd West opposite Pioneer Square where Sarah and Daniel first camped in 1853. Sarah lived with Polly and her family. They had a tailor shop in their home where Sarah and Polly made suits for the men in town before they were available in stores. The lot their house was on was a large one and Sarah raised all their winter potatoes, other vegetables, and many herbs which was their year-round medicine. Sarah was a nurse and midwife and went into homes where there were contagous diseases. She was kind and generous and never failed anyone in need. She never wore glasses and in her spare time she knit stockings for her grandchildren.
Sarah died December 16, 1912 at the age of 89.