Sunday, March 15, 2015

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks -Week 9 - My Mormon Pioneers - Charles Coulson Rich & Sarah Jane Peck - Part 6

 Sarah Jane Peck Rich, Source: Charles C. Rich and his Six Wives, Complied by Nina W. Palmer

Charles Coulson Rich and his first wife, Sarah DeArmon Pea chose Sarah Jane Peck (who will be known in these posts as Sarah Jane) to be his fourth wife. Sarah Jane was born on September 15th, 1825 in Bainbridge, New York, the daughter of Benjamin Peck and Phoebe Crosby. Her father, Benjamin was known as a river man, acting as a pilot using rafts to go up and down the river. Her mother, Phoebe used her skills as a seamstress to  help support her family. 

There is not a lot of information about Sarah Jane's early childhood years. When Sarah Jane was four, her father died. Prior to his death, he gathered his family around him and explained to them that, "...the true church had not yet been established upon this earth. But there would be one soon. I will not live to see it, but the rest of you will, and you will become members of it.". Less than a year after Sarah Jane's father died, the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints became an organized institution and her mother Phoebe was baptized into the Mormon faith. Phoebe Crosby Peck was a member of the Colesville branch of the church, the first branch to be organized.

By October 1833, Sarah Jane's mother, Phoebe had married the widower, Joseph Knight, Sr. and a close personal friend of the Prophet Joseph Smith. While living in the home of her mother and step-father Sarah Jane learned the Gospels and principles of the Mormon faith. She saw first hand some of the early history of the Church, especially the persecution of Mormons in Missouri. 

On January 9th, 1845 Sarah Jane married Charles Coulson Rich in Nauvoo, Illinois. She was 21 years old at the time of her marriage. Sarah Jane was acquainted with the Rich family because her sister Henrietta was married to Thomas Ricketts Rich, a first cousin of Charles. There were eleven children born to Sarah Jane and Charles. They are Hyrum Smith, Henrietta, the twins, Orson and Orissa, Samantha, Henry, Benjamin, Lorenzo Ether, Phoebe Jane, Wilford Woodruff and Walter Peck. Of their eleven children, eight of them were born in Utah. Hyrum was born in Iowa on the family's way to Utah. Wilford and Walter were born in Idaho after their father was once again called upon for a mission to start yet another settlement, this time in Idaho.

Sarah Jane chose to stay in Utah when Charles was called upon for a mission to start a settlement in San Bernadino, California. While Charles was in California, Sarah Jane raised chickens and ducks, then selling the eggs as a way to support her family. Sarah Jane must have inherited her mother's talent for sewing since she was an excellent seamstress, knitter and quilter.

It is evident from his children's birth dates that while his mission in California lasted from 1851-1857, he did go home to Utah to visit with the families who stayed behind. During this period between 1851-1857, Sarah Jane would bury three of her children without the benefit of the support of her husband. She must have depended on Sarah DeArmon and Eliza Ann for moral support, especially since they themselves had lost young children. Their daughter Henrietta who was born in 1849, died in1853. The twins Orson and Orissa who were born in 1851 died in 1852 and 1854 respectively. 

In 1865, Charles and Sarah Jane would bury their daughter Julia Ann and in 1866 they would bury their daughter Samantha. Their only surviving daughter, Phoebe Jane would die in October 1879. All three girls died in Paris, Idaho. In 1883, Charles died and Sarah Jane lost her sons, Henry and Lorenzo died between January 1st and 5th in 1893. What sorrow and heartache she must have known! 

The eldest child of Charles and Sarah Jane, Hyrum Smith married Elizabeth Stock in 1867 and they had twelve children. Son Henry married Mary A. Ricks and had two children before his death in 1893. Lorenzo and Wilford never married. Walter married Kate May Price in 1901 and they had six children.

On November 29th, 1893, Sarah Jane Peck Rich died in Paris, Idaho. By all accounts, Sarah Jane was a true pioneer woman. She is buried in Paris Cemetery, Paris, Idaho.

The sons of Charles Coulson Rich and Sarah Jane Peck. Standing in back from L to R: Lorenzo E. Rich and Hyrum S. Rich. Sitting from L to R: Walter P. Rich, Henry B. Rich and Wilford W. Rich. Source: Excerpts of Letters from Charles C. Rich to His Family

Phoebe Jane Rich. Source: Excerpts of Letters from Charles C. Rich to His Family


Charles C. Rich - Mormon General and Western Frontiersman, Leonard J. Arrington, Brigham Young University Press, Provo, Utah, 1974, pp. 293-296, PDF Download digitally imaged at _ Family Search_ ( : accessed 4 September 2014)
[Unknown], _Excerpts of Letters from Charles C. Rich to His Family_ (N.p.: P.p., n.d.), 12; digitally imaged at _Genealogy Gophers_ ( : accessed 10 March 2015); citing original at Logan Family History Center, Logan, Utah. 
Nina W. Palmer, Compiler, "Sarah Jane Peck" Charles C. Rich and His Six Wives, pp. 10, 21, 234-263; PDF Download, digitally imaged at ( : 1 March 2015) Membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-1848 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013 citing Susan Easton Black, compiler. Membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830–1848. 50 vols. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Religious Studies Center, 1989. Private Donor. LDS Pioneer and Handcart Companies, 1847-1856 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA:, 2013, citing Susan E.  Black Pioneers of 1847: A Sesquicentennial Remembrance. Provo, Utah: © 1980. Private donor. Members of the Ellsworth and McArthur Handcart Companies of 1856 © 1982. Private donor., Members of the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies of 1856: A Sesquicentennial Rememberance. Provo, Utah:  © 1980.
Copyright © Dawn M Kogutkiewicz 2014-2015, All rights reserved.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Dawn,
    Very nice Biography of Sarah Jane!
    I am working on the family group of Charles Coulson Rich (my 6th Cousin 3 times removed) and wondered if you would mind if I used a very small portion of your blog, with credits and redirects of course, for the Biographies of Henrietta and the twins? Thank you for your time and research. It was a very pleasant read.

    -P Rich