Louisa Walker (1822-1888)

Louisa Walker (1822-1888)

Louisa Walker was born 14 July 1822 in Washington County, Ohio, the daughter of Alexander and Lois Knapp Walker. She was the sixth of eight children born to them. The family had moved around a great deal before Louisa was born. They later moved to Dearborn, Indiana where they settled for awhile.

She was converted to the LDS faith while in her teens and was baptized on 8 December 1839, "with a mob present, rifles in hand. The elders told her if she went into the waters of baptism that day, she would never forsake the truth." (Deseret News 15 April 1888)

As was related by her daughter, Rosetta B. Davis, Louisa "had long black hair and dark piercing eyes."

Not long after her baptism she and a girl fried were walking along one day when two Mormon haters walked up to them and began using rough, foul language. She looked them square in the eyes and said, "You dirty blackguards. You dare to put your hands on us and you'll wish you'd never been born." They slunk away and left the girls alone.

She married Jacob Butterfield on 19 March 1840, when she was not yet eighteen. By him she had three daughters:
Persis Amanda, born in March 1841; Mary Elizabeth, born 12 February 1842; and Sarah Lucinda, who was born probably in May 1845.

They were in Nauvoo at the time of the Martyrdom, with all it's attendant persecution. In October of that year little Persis Amanda died, age 3 years, 7 months and 7 days. The following August Louisa's mother died, followed by little three month old Sarah Lucinda about three weeks later. Louisa and Jacob were later divorced, leaving her with just Mary Elizabeth.

Just when they left Nauvoo is not known, but probably when everyone was forced to leave.

She became the plural wife of Edson Barney on 10 May 1847, according to family records, somewhere between Nauvoo and Winter Quarters. They were later sealed by Brigham Young in the Recorder's Office at Winter Quarters on14 January 1848.

The mere mention of Winter Quarters tell an unspoken story of extreme hardship. No doubt they suffered along with the rest.

The first child born to Louisa and Edson was Lucy Matilda, born 10 March 1848 at Winter Quarters. She died there exactly nine months later. The second child, Partha Ann, was born 17 June 1850 art Ferrville, Pottawatomie, Iowa, just across the state line from Winter Quarters.

The family came to Utah in about 1851 and arrived in Salt Lake City during the month of August. Edson was a carpenter so there was plenty of work for him in the fast growing city.

After a short time they moved to Provo where they lived for several years. Their next six children were born there; Lillis Louisa, 29 September 1852; Royal Hiram, 12 August 1852, James Alexander, 26 August 1856; Emma Jane, 9 August 1857, Rachel Marsh in September 1858, and James Alexander in October 1858. Of Louisa's twelve children by the two marriages, six died either as infants or very small children.

The family next moved to Parowan where the last child, Ellen Urselen, was born on 26 July 1862, and then to St. George where Edson helped to build the St. George Temple. They were living there when Martha Rosetta was married in 1875, much to the sorrow of the family, to a non member.

Settling Dixie brought many hardships to all who went there. But they went where they were called. When the persecutions of the Mormons over the practice of polygamy got so intense, Edson took Louisa to Annabella to live with some of her married children and he spent the remainder of his life with his first wife, Lillis. He would go to Annabella occasionally for a visit.

He wrote a sketch of his life and give many details regarding his church work and his first wife and children but meticulously avoided any reference to Louisa and her children. There was no hint of them anywhere in it. Many of the polygamist of that day had to divide up their families and scatter them to avoid imprisonment, but why he completely ignored his second family when writing the story of his life is a mystery.

Ellen Barney Thurston wrote that her mother "was a faithful Latter-Day Saint and could bear testimony of many miraculous healings. She was a good practical doctor and always helped the sick. She was loved by all that knew her." It was also said of her, "She was firm and steadfast, and never faltered from anything that would advance the cause. She died as she had lived, faithful to the end." (Des New Obit.)

Louisa Walker Barney died at Annabella, Utah on 15 April 1888 of typhoid pneumonia. She is buried in the Annabella Cemetery.


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