Eliza Maria Partridge Lyman was born in Painesville, Geauga County, Ohio on April 20, 1820 as the eldest of five children to Edward Partridge and Lydia Clisbee. In 1831 Eliza and her family joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and shortly thereafter moved to Independence, Missouri. In July of 1833, armed men came to her house and tarred and feathered her father in the public square. Her family was then driven out of her home into Clay County where they lived for about two years. Eliza then moved to Caldwell County and began school teaching at age seventeen. Authorities told the Mormons that they had to leave the state because of mobs, so they left and settled in Illinois'-first at Quincy, then at Pittsfield, Pike County, and then at Nauvoo. Eliza again took up school teaching. She also learned to sew, which was somewhat profitable to her. At some point, Eliza and her sister Emily moved into the Prophet Joseph Smith's home for about 3 years. While there, they were taught the plan of celestial marriage, and on March 8, 1843 Eliza was married to Joseph Smith by the apostle Heber C. Kimball. After Joseph's martyrdom, Eliza moved in with the Coolidge family until she married Amasa Lyman, one of the 12 apostles, on January 13, 1846. Her sister Caroline was also married to Lyman. For a while, Eliza lived in Nauvoo with Lyman, but on February 1846, Eliza began her journey westward. On July 14, 1846 Eliza's first child, Don Carlos, was born in a wagon, and on December 12, 1846, Don Carlos died and was buried on the west side of the Missouri River. On August 20, 1848 Eliza bore a second child, Platte De Alton Lyman, in a wagon on the east bank of the Platte River. On October 17, 1848 Eliza arrived in the Salt Lake valley. Three years later on August 1, 1851, Eliza's daughter Caroline (Carlie) Eliza was born. For many years, Eliza's husband Amasa Lyman was often gone to California, which made Eliza very lonely. On December 13, 1856 Joseph Alvin Lyman was born to Eliza. In 1860 Lyman left on a mission to England, leaving Eliza and her little children in destitute circumstances. Later on August 26, 1860 Eliza bore another daughter, Lucy Zina Lyman. In July of 1863, Eliza moved to Fillmore, Utah where she began to think that something was wrong with her husband for not enjoying the Spirit of the Lord as he should as an apostle. He eventually apostatized against the LDS church and was excommunicated. In April of 1867 Eliza's son Platte was called on a mission to England which worried Eliza because he was still young and did not have any counsel from his father to follow. In December of 1868, Eliza began school teaching again. She and her children suffered through much poverty, but she tried her best to provide. Eliza also lived through a great deal of loved ones' deaths. On January 16, 1875 Eliza's sister Lydia died and left some of her children with Eliza, so Eliza moved into Lydia's house for a while until she moved to Oak Creek in December of 1876. On June 9, 1876 Eliza's mother passed away. On January 10, 1877 Eliza's grandson Alton died in his father Platte's arms. On February 4, 1877 Eliza's husband Amasa Lyman died and was buried in a black coat and pants as he had requested. On January 11, 1878 Eliza's granddaughter Eliza died. Then on March 20, 1879 Eliza's daughter Carlie died after childbirth and put her baby Joseph Platte Callister into the care of Eliza. Finally on March 2, 1886 Eliza herself died in Oak City, Millard County, Utah. Despite the numerous deaths of loved ones that Eliza endured, she had the faith to say, 'If we could see why things are as they are, our trials would not be so severe. We have to walk by faith and not by sight' (written on the death date of her grandson Alton).
This collection contains the 112-page photocopy of a typescript of Eliza Maria Partridge Lyman's diary. The diary begins with a brief autobiography and then recounts some of Eliza's experiences as copied from her personal journals. She describes her pluralist marriage to the Prophet Joseph Smith and her later pluralist marriage to the apostle Amasa Lyman. She also recalls the hardships of her migration to Utah, which include the inclement weather, lack of food, conflicts with the Indians, sicknesses, and deaths. She mentions her traveling companions, including George A. Smith, Parley P. Pratt, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, and Brigham Young. Eliza also writes about her efforts in favor of the Mormon practice of polygamy, for she believed that polygamy was 'one of the most pure and holy principles that has ever been revealed to the Latter-day Saints and one that is necessary to our exaltation.' Eliza also describes daily life in Fillmore, Utah and the births and deaths of friends and family. Included in the diary is a poem written by E. R. Snow upon hearing of the death of Eliza's baby Don Carlos as well as a poem written about Eliza from her daughter Carlie E. Callister.