Sarah Louisa Presnell Porter Winn was born on 14 April 1881 in Muscotah, Kansas. She was the third of 14 children born to Daniel Foster Presnell and Ella Freeman Presnell, the others of whom were Charles William, James Levi, Winnie May, Daniel Elijah J., David Edmond, Hyram Lorenzo, Emily Elizabeth, Nora Edith, Lonnie Andrew, Gertrude Bessie, Julius Leroy Snow, Lester Ray, and Floyd Elmer. Sarah married 4 times. She first married James Allen Clinkenbeard on 4 August 1903 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and together they had 2 children, Earnest James and Paul Enos Clinkenbeard. Unfortunately, James died in 1909, leaving her a widow. On 22 December 1911, she married George Edward Porter and had 3 more children, Parley Presnell, Amos David, and Jean Ella Porter. After George’s death in 1943, Sarah met George Jefferson Larrabee, whom she married on 15 October 1945. Her final marriage to Ernest Winn happened in 1952, 3 years after her third husband’s death. Sarah was a devoted member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and spent much of her time doing genealogical work. She was also a licensed midwife for many years, and she was active in politics. She died on 8 February 1961 in Salt Lake City, Utah, after being hit by a car while crossing the street at 900 South and Edison Street, marking her as the first automobile fatality of the year.
This folder contains 6 items pertaining to Sarah Louisa Presnell Porter Winn and her life. The first item is a blue, paperback, personal notebook, numbering 80 pages. In the front cover page is written in pencil, “Sarah L. Presnell, 75 N. State St. Salt Lake City, Utah, May 27- 1902-” as well as “Col. School of Med., Boulder, Col.,” and “Where does that man live. Does he live in Grantsville? If so I know him,” possibly written about someone she saw during class one day. The notebook begins with a “Dictionary in obstetrics and nursing,” providing a handwritten list of terms and definitions one might need to know in such fields. The rest of the book contains detailed, handwritten, definitory notes on various anatomy, physiology, and obgyn terms, all within the context of female reproduction, pregnancy, and birthing, as well as the process of midwifing. The second item is the front cover torn from a pamphlet or workbook, which was entitled, “Gospel Doctrine Sunday School Lessons, 1940, For the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” In the top margin is written in pencil, “Sarah L. P. Porter 141 E. Burton Ave.” On the inside of this cover is a handwritten note, presumably taken during a Sunday School lesson, detailing how Mac Caldwell’s father was one of the soldiers in the company of men who took Joseph Smith’s life, and how when asked to take a step forward to kill the prophet or a step back to spare his life, Caldwell took a step back and was punished and ridiculed for it. The note also mentions that the name of the man who was called forth to behead the prophet was Jim Sharp, and when he went forward to do the deed, a light from Heaven came and knocked him and many other soldiers down, leaving them stunned. This note ends with, “related to Sarah L. P. Porter by J. Frank Whitestiner.” The third item is a 2-page typescript letter, dated 17 December 1958 from “Mrs. Sarah L. P. Winn, 937 Edison Street, Salt Lake City 11, Utah.” The letter details Sarah’s love for working with older people and for preserving crafts, hobbies, and livelihoods, and serves as a call to action to introduce better policies and reform to places such as mental institutions, convalescent homes, nursing homes, and the like. She cites these places as being more like prisons, where family members will drop their ailing loved one off and forget about them, and where in the meantime they will, if not suffer abuse at the hands of their caretakers, then at least certainly suffer neglect. What she outlines as her pursuit of interest is that the skills that get locked up in these places along with the people who have them be salvaged. That an old woodcarver might be given the tools and aid he needs to express his passions through woodcarving and pass his knowledge on to others as well, instead of passing his days in isolation, boredom, or under the influence of sensory-dulling drugs. She also cites some of her experiences with this kind of project, stating that she has done genealogical research on both coasts and everywhere in between, and that her pet hobby is “history, rare bits of records, crafts, antiques, lost arts, and almost lost trails and maps.” She ends this letter with a request that the unknown recipient aid her in building a reference library on “creative, constructive, useful crafts, hobbies, old and new ideas,” and so much more, with the hope that no creative endeavor – regardless of how insignificant it might seem – is lost to the passage of time and the people who love them. The fourth item is another letter, dated 13 May 1991 from LeGrand Baker at Brigham Young University. It is addressed to Rachel Courteau at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and directly references Sarah’s medical notebook. In the letter, LeGrand asks Rachel if she could help him with identifying the person who owned the notebook, as he does not have much information on her at the time of writing. He then describes the contents of the notebook for clarification. The fifth item is 2-page typescript letter dated 8 September 1950 from Salt Lake City. It is unsigned, but it is addressed to “Mr. Hal Hale, Am. Association of Highway Officials, National Press Building, Washington D.C.” Is it presumed that Sarah wrote the letter, and in it she talks about how she was at her office doing genealogical work the previous fall when a large tract of Utah land that hadn’t really been explored before came to her attention. She also mentions there being evidence of a prehistoric race that lived there once. After describing the rocks, mountains, and marine life fossils that can be found there, she talks about how she was encouraged to advertise the area to tourists, and she asks to be directed to the right people to make that happen. The sixth and final item is a 2-page typescript letter from the Atlas Moving Picture Company in Chicago, Illinois. It is dated “Sept. 20, 19,” and is addressed to “Mrs. S. L. Porter in Leeds, Utah.” The letter thanks her for the opportunity of sending her a catalogue and explains a little bit about their movie-making business and how their investment process works.