History of Sarah Elizabeth Carter Baum

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By Millie Bird

The summer of 1850 brought many pioneers to Utah, and among them were John H. Carter Jr. and his two wives Elizabeth Rommels Sweat and Sophia Eldora Sweat (sisters) together with their five children.

They traveled with the George A. Smith Company and arrived in Salt Lake City in the fall of 1850 and were sent by Brigham Young to help make the settlement at Manti. Mr. Carter was an expert blacksmith by trade, and such work was needed in a growing community, especially a farming community.

The built a two-room log house, and the two families lived together until 1852, when on August 14 a baby girl was born to Sophia Eldora. She was named Sarah Elizabeth. After in that same year the Carter family moved to Nephi, where Mr. Carter again carried on his blacksmithing trade and farming also.

When Sarah Elizabeth was about five years old the families moved to Provo and settled on the east side of 5th West between 3rd and 4th North, and here Grandmother grew to womanhood.

She never had an opportunity to attend a school. Tuition for pupils was very high, and so some of the older children went to school, and with their help Grandmother learned to read. She learned to write by practicing with charcoal and chalk on the wall. The fireplace furnished her with light.

Her mother taught her to weave, and she helped to weave the cloth for all of their clothing. She also did the quilting for the weaving.

When she was a young woman about sixteen years of age she was married to John Phillip Chesley, and two children were born to them: a boy, John Phillip Jr., and a girl whom they named Lydia. She died while quite small.

On July 20, 1873, while these children were quite small, her husband died, leaving her to provide for herself and babies as best she could. This she did by weaving and working for other people. Among those she worked for was George Baum. She married George and went to live with him on his farm on 12th North St. in Provo.

Mr. Baum had been married twice before his marriage to Grandmother. His first wife, Hannah Cloward, died leaving him with two daughters. His second wife, Eliza Allen, died leaving him with three sons.

The two girls by the first wife had already married and had homes of their own when Grandmother was married, and so she didn't have any of the care of them. However, she had her own two children by Mr. Chesley and the second wife's three boys to look after besides eight children born to her and Grandfather Baum.

These children were:

  1. Clara Elizabeth Baum (Smith), born July 24, 1876
  2. Sophia Eldora Baum (Cluff), born January 24, 1878
  3. Jacob A. Baum, born November 7, 1879
  4. David Wallace Baum, born February 25, 1882
  5. Lafayette Baum, born April 5, 1884
  6. Arthur Baum, born June 21, 1887
  7. Ernest Baum, born September 27, 1888
  8. Elmer Baum, born October 21, 1892

Grandmother was never idle. She did most of the weaving of the cloth for clothing for her large family, besides doing the sewing. She knit their stockings, and even their underwear was made in the home. She made quilts and made rag carpets besides washing on the wash board, cooking, mending and cleaning. Even the soap used for washing and cleaning was made at home.

At one time she kept boarders and cooked for the men who worked at the saw mill. This mill was located on the site of the present Riverside Tourist Park.

She was a good cook, and meals were served in the Baum home promptly at 7:30 in the morning, 12 o'clock noon and at 6 o'clock in the evening. All this together with churning and baking bread, pies and cookies made a great deal of work for one woman to manage, and still her daughters claim that they always had a portion, at least, of each afternoon to spend as they saw fit.

She seemed to realize that:

A little nonsense now and then,
Is relished by the wisest men,
And better had they never been born
Who read to doubt or read to scorn.

Grandmother was also a good nurse and often went out caring for the sick or those in need. When Nephi Penrod's family had diphtheria she went to the home and nursed them until they were able to do for themselves.

Her husband, Grandfather Baum, was stricken with apoplexy in 1911 and was practically helpless until he died in July 1916. During all this time Grandmother, with some help from her family, cared for him. She was always patient and kind with him, and his bed and clothing were kept spotlessly clean.

We all come at last, traveling slowly of fast,
To the gates of the Unknown Land
Whose latch lifts more gently for those who have had
And given a helping hand.

Grandmother lived two years after Grandfather died, but her work her had been finished. Her children were grown and married, her husband had passed on, and her home and hands were empty. Her family felt that she had filled her mission and had earned her rest.

Grandmother Baum died November 2nd, 1918 and is buried in the Provo City Cemetery.