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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Caroline Harris

Recently I have come in the possession of some old original notes written by my grandmother Netta Poulton Spencer. My grandma Spencer would be 129 years old this summer. She wrote a short history about her grandmother who was born in 1829 in England. Interestingly, she wrote this history in pencil on four Union Pacific Railroad letterhead memo pad papers. Here is the content of her history:
Caroline Harris was born 4 Feb 1829 in Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, England. Baptized at Stratford-on-Avon when a girl. Married James Poulton 8 Feb 1852 at Birmingham. Endowed in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. Died in Salt Lake City 6 Nov 1898.
Sailed to America on SS Amazon under Captain William Bramwell on 4 June 1862. Landed in New York 18 July 1862 with husband and 4 children. Traveled on train to St. Louis and then by wagon to SLC. Caroline's health was poor, she was pregnant. They arrived in the valley in the late fall. The family lived in a small 1 room house that was unchinked with no floor. James was given the head of a beef from the slaughter house which when skinned and cleaned and boiled over a bonfire in a large kettle provided soup which was much enjoyed. Caroline's health became more threatened so the family was invited to live in a basement in the 20th ward where her baby was born prematurely and only lived a short time. James made a tiny casket and carried the baby on his shoulder to City Cemetery. James was a willing worker and soon was able to move his family to a small warm house on 4th South between 3rd and 4th West which was their home until 1891 when they built a store at 424 S. 200 W. Caroline worked hard alone in the store.
He found employment in the ZCMI shoe factory where he worked for years.
I can remember her so well with her little shawl around her shoulders. She was slender and bent a little. She had a sweet kind face and a heart full of love.
She was generous and interested in the poor and unfortunate.
She was the mother of seven boys and three girls besides two girls who died. For years the large family was invited to "grandma's" house for Christmas dinner and we enjoyed a bounteous feast. Grandma and grandpa loved music and the family was blessed with musical talent and also with rich singing ability. I can remember hearing grandma sing the Christmas carols. Her voice was a beautiful soprano. They were never happier than when their sons, daughters and grandchildren sang together in chorus. Caroline was a wonderful mother, a faithful Latter Day Saint, a friend of many and mourned by all at her passing.