Sarah Clarinda Bingham Phelps,
daughter of Lucretia Thorne and Calvin Perry Bingham, was born in
Pottawattamie County, Iowa September 6, 1850. Her father was a
blacksmith by trade; he was very neat and particular. He enjoyed
dancing more than anything else and continued to go to dances until
some of his children were grown. He was of a roaming nature and
moved many times during his life.
On May 27, 1883 while freighting between St. David and Benson, he
was killed instantly when his wagon tipped
over on him. He was found
by strangers who were preparing to bury him when his folks in St.
David heard about it and his brother Alonzo came and retrieved his
body to bury it in St. David. Her mother was rather large, with
brown hair and dark eyes. After Grandfather’s death she was left to
the care of her eldest son, Perry, who was also of a roaming nature
and made several trips to Mesa. At the time of her death, she was
living in Vernal, Utah with her daughter. She had prepared dinner
for Alice and she sat down in a rocking chair to wait, and when
Alice came, she found her mother dead with a sweet smile on her
face. (November 28, 1903). She was never known to complain when
trials and hardships were heaped upon her.
she was a small child, Grandfather moved to Cache County, Utah.
Clarinda was the eldest of eleven children and was willing to do her
part in taking responsibility of the family. The thing she learned
early in life was economy. When her mother would buy muslin to make
them gowns, petticoats, and pantlets, she would tear the selvages of
the muslin to unravel thread to be used in sewing. For her brothers’
pants, she would unravel threads from canvas.
When she was fourteen years
old, her father moved to Montpelier, Idaho. Here she met her future
husband, Hyrum Smith Phelps, with whom she fell deeply in love. Her
nearest girl friends were Caroline LeSueur Mallory and Harriet
LeSueur Warner. One winter they each had a new dress, and they
exchanged dresses to appear to have more dresses than the other
At the age of sixteen she became engaged to Father, and when they
asked Grandfather for his consent, he refused, saying they were too
young. He immediately made plans to move to Cache County again with
the idea of separating them. On the evening of September 26, 1866,
while she and her brother Perry were in the corral milking, father
came and proposed they go see Judge Turner and get married, She
reluctantly consented, gave her milk to Perry to take to the house,
and they went to the home of her friend Harriet Warner and were married.
Her bridal costume consisted of a calico dress with ruffled pantlets.
Grandfather was furious for awhile, but soon reconsidered and made
them welcome at his home.
Their first home was a two-room adobe, without a back door. Clarinda
found it rather inconvenient and asked Father to cut a door. He was
busy, which put her off, and she decided to cut one herself, He came
home from work one evening and found her sawing and said, “What in
hell are you doing?” She replied, “I’m making a door.” He took the
saw and finished it. This was not only a house but a very happy
September 26, 1878 sorrow came to their home with the death of their
four-year-old son Perry. At this time they had six children:
Lucretia, Hyrum, Calvin, Annie, Perry and William, then six months
before they left Montpelier, Guy was born.
They disliked the long cold winters and decided to move to a warmer
climate. On October 3, 1878, father and his two families, mother and
Aunt Lib, Uncle William, I. T. LeSueur, Uncle George and Charles
Dana, Charles Warner, Mallory and John Hibbert together with their
families left for Arizona. They arrived in Mesa on January 17, 1879
and lived in tents until adobes could be made to build their houses.
In April of the same year father had adobes enough to build a house,
it was two large rooms with a hall between called the bath house,
with a dirt floor and roof. Mother lived in the north room and Aunt
Lib the south. Father had a corn crib in the hall and the children
used to spend the evenings parching and grinding corn. At this home
Joseph was bom. In 1881 father built another house for mother on the
corner of Hibbert and First Avenue. This had a shingled roof. Here
Lottie and Oscar were born. Father planted a large vineyard east of
April 2, 1885 Father was sentenced to serve three months in the
penitentiary at Yuma for having two wives. That same day mother fell
from a box and dislocated her wrist which gave her trouble the
remainder of her life. Father was gone three months and on his
return there was great rejoicing, friends and relations were home to
meet him. He was brought home in a covered wagon and was under the
We lived in this home until 1885 then we moved to an 80-acres farm
that father bought. We lived in a tent while the house was being
built. While living here mother’s youngest daughter was born. The
house was an adobe with shingled roof and real lumber floors. After
moving to Arizona the families were given their share of the cows to
milk for their support. Mother often did washing and ironing and
also mended gunny sacks that the mill used for sacking grain. She
worked very hard to help support the family.
In 1888 mother’s eighth son, twelfth child, was born and in February
Hyrum, her oldest son, died and in December the baby, James Wallace
died at the age of eleven months. It was terrible for mother to lose
two so close together, but she stood up under it as best she could,
for she knew they had gone to meet Heavenly Father. After this time
mother was called to work in the Relief Society as a counselor to
Alice Richins. She was very faithful to her duty although she
usually had to walk to attend her meetings. She was loved by her
coworkers, and those who knew her best loved her most.
In April 1894 another sorrow came to her when her daughter-in-law
Annie, Calvin’s wife, died leaving two small children under two
years of age, and mother took them and raised them, giving them all
the love that a mother could give. People who didn’t know the family
wouldn’t know that Morris and Hazel didn’t belong to her.
It wasn’t until Dec. 21, 1905 that the next great sorrow came to
her. Minerva, the youngest daughter, went to Salt Lake City Hospital
to become a nurse. She was stricken with typhoid which took her
life. Oscar was up there at the time so he brought her body home.
Many joys and sorrows came to mother while living in this house, and
she longed to leave it and move to town where she wouldn’t have so
much work and responsibility. In 1908, Father sold the 80 acre farm
and bought a large lot on south Sirrine Street. He built a nice home
for mother, and she was very happy there until 1915 when Lottie died
in childbirth leaving three children and in 1917, Annie, who had a
large family, also died at the birth of a baby. This was her last
great sorrow until 1926 when father was gored by a bull and he died
eight days later. Mother was like her mother, never complaining when
trials came upon her. She was a real and true wife and mother, very
devoted to her children. She often said as she looked back over her
life, that she found her happiest hours when her children were small
and she could tuck them in bed and do things for their comfort and