MSS SC 1128; BX 8670.07 .B4395b 1995- Americana Collection
Eliza Ann Harker was born on August 25, 1853 to Eliza Ann and Joseph Harker in the English Fort in Taylorsville, Utah. Both of her parents were from England but, had not known each other in England. After converting to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints they both came to America where they met due to the commonality of their background which them together. Eliza was Joseph's second wife in polygamy. Their daughter Eliza grew up in Taylorsville and met Hyrum Bennion there. They were married on December 13, 1869 in the Endowment House. In February 1870 they moved to Vernon, Rush Valley, Utah. In 1875 they moved back to Taylorsville. Eliza remained there until her death in 1946 at the age of 93. She was the mother of seven children.
This collection consists of a 71 page, typed-spiral bound copy of a transcription of Eliza Bennion's journal prepared by her granddaughter Dawn Bennion Sandberg. It is a record of the years 1871-1876 while Eliza was living in Rush Valley, Utah. The first page is a large photo of Eliza. In the following six pages, there is a family background provided outlining the lives of Eliza's parents. It tells of her parent's conversions, their move to America, their joining the saints and the trek out west, especially to Utah. It also talks about their being called by Brigham Young to help with the 'English Fort' that was built for fortification against Indians in the early days of the pioneers and gives a description of the fort itself. It also tells of Eliza's early days: going to school, the activities of the day, meeting Hyrum and their marriage. It gives a quick summary of the major events in Eliza's life. Following these sections is a list of the descendants of John's parents and a page entitled 'Eliza's Diary Community' which details the people mentioned in the journal and the number of times that they are mentioned. It then gets into the journal entries made by Eliza. It begins in January of 1871. Each month has a heading that indicates where Eliza was for the majority of that month such as 'Rush Valley Upper Ranch' or 'West Jordan.' Most of the entries are mostly a log of the household chores and daily tasks that she completed. She spent a great deal of time knitting, crocheting and sewing to meet the needs of the household. She also tells of dances that she attended, people she visited, and people who visited her. On November 18, 1871 Hyrum married his second wife Mary Karren. Eliza records the day saying, 'Hyrum went to the Endowment house. Went to a dance in the evening. It was a fine day (Hyrum married Mary Karren),' but does not write much more on the subject. She began to teach school on January 9, 1872 in Vernon. She writes about attending church meetings, especially Sunday School and Relief Society. She writes about visiting her mother, she would leave for about a month at a time without Hyrum. Eliza also mentions once or twice that Mary does the same visiting her family. There are several entries where Eliza expresses her struggles with having to share her husband with another woman and the resulting loneliness she feels. One such entry is September 6, 1874 'Oh Hyrum the time passes away so slowly without you. I am so lonely today but you know nothing about how I feel you have another to comfort and make you happy.' At the end of her diary Eliza lists groceries purchased in 1871 and the 'Report for Relief Society' for five years receipts, disbursements, and donation particulars. After this more of Eliza's history is given. It tells of moving to Taylorsville and the house that Hyrum built for her. It tells of the birth of her first child, Hyrum Jr., and goes on to indicate that she had six more following him. There is also a little about her feelings toward plural marriage. Following this there is poem by Eliza entitled 'Christmas Time When I was a Girl' written when she was 83. It was read by Eliza at the December 17, 1936 meeting of the Daughters of the Pioneers. There is also a poem written by Dawn Bennion Sandberg about Eliza entitled 'The Principle.' Finally, there is picture of Eliza and her family in front of their home.