Sarah and Charles were married for time in the Salt Lake Temple on 24 May 1934. She was 76 years old and Charles was 84. For persons of their age to marry was notable. The Deseret News took a photo of the couple as they were obtaining their marriage license at City Hall and published a brief story concerning their marriage the next day. This was the fourth marriage for Charles. (Two of his wives had died and one marriage ended in divorce.) Charles was a pioneer settler in the Union Fort area and had started the Union Merchantile Store in his earlier years.
The article reads "Bridegroom, 85, Takes 76-year-old Bride
"Here are Mr. and Mrs. Charles Denney receiving their marriage license from License Clerk George Graham at the City and County Building.
"It was the third matrimonial venture of Charles Denney, 85, and the second for Mrs. Sarah Williams, 76. They were married yesterday in the temple.
"Both are residents of Union, having resided there for the past 15 or 16 years. Previously to that Mr. Denney completed a service of 33 years as a compositor with the Deseret News, and Mrs. Williams resided in American Fork. They are both natives of England, coming to Utah as young converts of the 'Mormon' faith.
"Still going strong at 85, Mr. Denney has been active for more than half a century in Church and civic affairs. He has filled two missions of two years each to Germany and England and a short term mission. In addition he was superintendent of the Eleventh ward Sunday school for 11 years, 14 years superintendent of the Union ward Sunday school and five years as clerk of that ward.
"Mrs. Denney has also been active in the various auxiliary organizations throughout her life in addition to rearing nine children. Mr. Denney is the father of 13 children, grandfather to 54 children and great-grandfather to 24."
Sarah poses in one of her finely sewn dresses.
Birth: April 11, 1858, England
Death: March 14, 1945, Union, Salt Lake County, Utah, USA
Mrs. Sarah Rogers Williams Denny, 86, died Wednesday at 6:30 a.m. of causes incident to age.
She was born April 11, 1858, in Longford, England, daughter of George and Lucy Porter Rogers. At the age of four she and her parents moved to Auckland, New Zealand. In 1876, she was married to James Clark Williams and shortly after the couple moved to the United States and made their home in American Fork.
Mr. Williams was justice of the peace, and Mrs. Denny was clerk of the court for a number of years.
They later moved to Salt Lake City where the family had lived since. Mr. Williams died in 1925.
In 1935 she was married to Charles Denny, Union, who died in 1938.
Mrs. Denny had been active in LDS church work, having served as a president of the Relief Society in Auckland, and having participated in musical activities of the church.
She is survived by five sons and daughters, Jay B. Williams, South Cottonwood; Mrs. Ada Miller, Oakland, California; Mrs. Lucy E. Price, Union; Mrs. Olive Wiseman, Murray, and Mrs. Ivy R. Ekker, Eureka; the following stepchildren; Sam, John, Edison and Franklin Denny; Mrs. Laura Barret, Mrs. Jessie Smith, Mrs. Ruth Young and Mrs. Naomi Smith.
Funeral services will be conducted Saturday at 1 p.m. in Union LDS ward chapel by Golden Berrett, bishop.
Salt Lake Tribune (Utah) March 15, 1945
Burial will be in Salt Lake City cemetery.
Burial: Salt Lake City Cemetery, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, USA
Plot: O 10 16 2 EN2
found on findagrave.com
SARAH PORTER ROGERS (WILLIAMS DENNEY)(Daughter of George Whitmore Rogers and Lucy Porter)
Sarah Porter Rogers was born 11 April 1858 in Foleshill, near Coventry, Warwickshire, England. Her parents were George Whitmore Rogers and Lucy Porter. Sarah's mother, Lucy, was George's second wife. She married George after his first wife, Ann Porter (Lucy's older sister), died in 1847.
Sarah tells her own life story concerning her early years:
"I, Sarah Porter Rogers Williams, was born 11 April 1858. I was bout four years old when we left England on a Non-Conformist Emigrant ship. We were about four months on the water (S.S. English History). Joseph Wilkins and family came over on the same ship and were always the best of friends until death parted them. More about this family later. I was three years old when I started to school; a boy, David Smith, who used to work for father at that time in England (turning a hand loom) always carried me to school every day, and I cannot remember the time when I could not read. It was the custom in those days to send young children to a private school, partly to be taken care of while their parents attended to their work, weaving being the principal occupation in that locality.
Father gave me a very large volume of John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress on my sixth birthday.
It had quite large print with fancy borders in colors on every page and lots of pictures, but what a serious book for a six-year-old! Not much frivolity in those days. But, I could read it nevertheless, whether I understood it or not. Also the Bible which I loved as a daily companion. I dearly loved books. We were always taught to reverence any and everything of a sacred nature. I had a small pocket Testament that had been given to me later on by a Sunday School teacher. I always carried it around with me, and how I loved to open it and read at random whenever I had a spare, quiet moment. It always seemed to be so applicable to the occasion, no matter when or where I opened it, and was always a very present help in time of need.
When I was between six and seven years old and living at Freemount Base in Canvas Castle (before my baby brother was born), father sometimes caught an eel. He would "put it in a wash pan with water and tell my younger sister Ann and I that if we could catch that eel, he would give us a penny or something, but that eel was too darned slippery. We never could hold it.
I also remember time when I was seven years old; little sister and I were sleeping together and Father woke us one night and carried us in to Mother's bed to see our new little brother whom they named David. Then when he was about nine months old, Mother took me and the baby on a trip down the coast several hundred miles to visit my [half] sister Hannah at Tauranga, who was married to George Hinde, an officer, when she had her baby boy, Alfred Hinde. My brother-in-law, George R. Hinde, was a well and highly educated man and had been an officer in the army, so I had a little experience of army and camp life when the Maoris were frequently on the war path. When Mother returned home, she left me to stay with my sister [Hannah] about one year until they returned to Darlington, England. They wanted to take me to England with them, but my parents would not consent to that. I must have been about nine years old at that time.
The last school that I attended was called the Young Ladies Seminary or finishing school. We were taught all kinds of needle and fancy work every afternoon. I got my diploma for fancy work including crocheting, shawls, hoods, caps, mats, booties, petticoats, jackets, men's leggings, mittens, scarfs, in wool and cotton, all kinds of lace, all kinds of knitting, netting and fancy tatting, all kinds of bead work and fancy neck wear, ornamental embroidery, silks and cotton, alphabets, figures, and names on sampler with wool. I had to leave school when I was twelve years old on account of Mother's health. I was always fond of study, so I keep at it while at home.
When I was twelve years old, I enrolled and paid my fee as a member of a music class of one hundred members, called the Choral Union, later called Tonic Solfa Method. I passed two vocal tests and examinations with honor and perfect ability. I spent many, many hours and years of untold pleasure and enjoyment with the different classes, for my whole heart was in it. We were invited out quite often to give or furnish musical numbers and no matter how many or how few were chosen, I was always included for the alto, as I had time and tune so perfectly they could always depend on me as it were right on the dot.
We used to have some very enjoyable outings, mostly excursions on the water, but one time, we
went to the "Three Kings" to see some noted caves. We traveled with teams and carriages in
those days, and we were told to each bring one or more candles to lighten the darkness. We
descended far down into the bowels of the earth; after we were all assembled in a group, we
opened our books at a given place and sang as we never sang before, and such a volume of harmony echoed and reverberated around that big cave! It was a very grand and beautiful sight to see the glitter of so many candles and the beautiful and gorgeous coloring of the many stalactites. I never will forget that inspiring scene. Then we had a fine picnic spread afterwards and more singing.
Another treat I always enjoyed immensely: the music professor and his wife were very dear friends of mine, and nearly every week, they expected me to visit them on the same day that we had class; so while his wife was preparing supper, they would say, "Come on, Sarah, let us practice some of this new music." He used to have it sent out from some of the best composers in England every month regularly. He would play, and I would sing alto. He would also take me to his studio and show me their new paintings and sketches. He was a grand artist too, and made some of the most magnificent oiled paintings. I was sure in my glory when I went there in the midst of music and art. They gave me a beautiful oil painting, Coronandel, of a rural scene for a wedding present which I prized very highly. I got two diplomas in music.
When I was fourteen years old, I was apprenticed to a first-class dressmaker for a year and a half. Also I learned shoe fitting at the shoe factory which consisted of pasting the lining smoothly on the uppers before the soles were attached.
When I was sixteen years old, I was a full-fledged dress maker with my diploma. I made dresses that fitted so smoothly with darts and skillful padding, trimming on waists, of braids, fringes, and etc. all done by hand for $200; wedding gowns and specialty for $250. [In later years, Sarah told several of her grandchildren that she and each of the dressmakers were required each day to bring to work a bottle of their own urine, used as a skin-softening agent for their hands, so they could properly handle the extremely delicate threads.]
Next on the list, as my health was very good at this time, was a proposition from old friends of ours-Joseph Wilkins and family who came from England on the same ship that we did for me to try a season at the country home and work with their family about thirty miles away at Waikoukou [north of Auckland). Father took me there the first time I went. We had to go in a small river steamer up to Riverhead, taking two hours for the trip, then a walk of seven miles. No one there to meet us as they had not been appraised of our coming. It was all up and down hill and not another house anywhere around on the road until we arrived at our destination. We found them all busy in the flax mill or on the drying ground where I soon learned to work with the rest and liked to do the work. Some of my happiest hours were spend with them. In the Bush Country, flax was 10 to 12 feet high, broad leaf like corn, but quite thick.
At the Wilkins' estate, this is what I learned and did during a 12 months stay: flax cutting, scutching and helping on cross-cut saw, felling trees 7 feet or more in circumference and help yoke up 17 or more oxen, hitch up alone and drive horse and cart for a load of flax, help brand calves, hunt for the stock in the forest, help to build a small 3-roomed house, do a lot of sawing and finishing work, help dig five wells and two cellars on the Wilkins farm, learn to ride horseback, milk cows and goats, also make bread and yeast from flax roots, make everything for family wear but leather and shoes. I did tailoring and made wedding outfits, and acted as a] school tutor for the Wilkins children. They had an immense library all across one end of a large living room, hundreds of volumes and all the latest tools on music. They built a large house and their own lumber [mill] and saw mill and flax mill; [they] also made their own bricks, blacksmith and carpenter shops, [and] owned a large tract of and forest. [Sarah's autobiography ends here 1884, when Sarah was sixteen.]
At one point, Sarah was offered a position as a governess to the children of a local doctor. Later, when the first public school in Auckland was being established, Sarah was invited to be the school head and only teacher. Sarah noted years later that she turned down both offers because she was too self-conscious to accept. (Sarah always felt that her natural shyness caused her to forego many growing opportunities throughout her life.)
About the time Sarah turned 18, Sarah had met James Clark "Jimmy" Williams. A mutual interest was sparked, and they celebrated Jimmy's 22nd birthday-15 October 1876-by marrying in Auckland. Sarah was to have her first four daughters born in New Zealand: Ada Marion, Edith Mable (May), Lucy Ellen, and Amy Catherine.
Sarah and Jim were affiliated with the Christian Brethren church in on Cooke Street, in Auckland. In 1880, Mormon missionaries arrived in New Zealand, and scheduled scriptural debates with the Christian Brethren. James Sarah and others went to some of their meetings out of curiosity. The Mormon elders were convincing, and several families joined the LDS church, among them Sarah and her husband James. They were baptized 18 March 1880 in the graving
dock in Auckland by Elder John P. Sorenson.
In March 1882, Sarah's husband left Auckland with a company of Saints who were emigrating to Utah. The expectation was that James would prepare the way in Utah, then send for Sarah and the children. As it turned out, however, James was almost immediately sent back to New Zealand to serve a full-time mission. He returned to Sarah and the family and did missionary work until October 1884 when he was released as Presiding Elder of the Auckland branch.
The family immediately emigrated to Utah and in December 1884 settled in American Fork,
Utah. Sarah afterward gave birth to Sarah Hannah, Olive Bernetta, James Buchanan, Ivy Rachel and George Frederick, who were all born in American Fork. Sarah's last son, Fred (George Frederick Williams), was born in 1898 when Sarah was 40. Sorrow struck the Williams family when young Fred died of pneumonia at seven years of age in Salt Lake City in 1905.
James and Sarah Williams tried different ventures. In 1905, they left American Fork and moved to Salt Lake City. By the end of the year, they were living at 76 West 100 North [now 200 North], on Grape Street, [present-day Almond Street] in Salt Lake City, while Jim ran a restaurant and sold his famous Hot Scotch Pies. It was while they were living in Salt Lake City that Sarah and James took in their widowed daughter May and subsequently helped raise May's two children, Irvin and Verda May Fox. Sarah and the children (and grandchildren) all helped bake the pies and run the restaurant.
Living in Salt Lake City allowed Sarah and James the opportunity to renew many acquaintances. They both were active in the local Scottish Thistle Club and the Caledonian Society, and took an active part in the New Zealand reunions which included many native Maori converts to the LDS faith.
James and Sarah began to find mixed success with the baking business in Salt Lake, and she and James began to explore the possibility of becoming farmers. For a year, Sarah and Jim tried farming in Taylor, Idaho, where they helped their daughter Lucy and her husband, Angus Price, on their new farm. James and Sarah then decided to gamble on obtaining a homestead in the East Tintic Valley, south of the Tooele-Juab county line. Although this was desert country, a few dry farms in the vicinity had shown it was possible to grow a successful crop of wheat and lucerne in place of the sagebrush and juniper. Sarah's daughter Ada and son-in-law Ed Miller were also attempting to establish a couple of dry farms in the area.
James and Sarah began with a dugout home near Lofgreen, which Jim eventually turned into a snug log house. After a few years of bitterly hard work, Sarah and James realized that drought conditions made working their present homestead claim impractical. They relinquished the land and started over. James was now 65 years old, and Sarah was 61. They opened a new 321-acre homestead seven miles to the west, in the West Tintic Valley near Cherry Creek. This also happened to be near their daughters Sadie (Sarah) Cox and Ivy Ekker, and their husbands and families. Sarah and James built a small, but comfortable, wood frame cabin next to an excellent water source. The land was overrun with thick stands of sage and juniper, but over the next
years, Sarah and James and their family members were able to clear 80 acres and convert it into cultivated farmland.
In 1923, the government Land Office recognized James' claim to the homestead; however, by this time, James' health had deteriorated too far. He was now unable to even visit his farm, much less work it. Disabled by rheumatoid arthritis, James moved with Sarah into a small wooden cabin next to their daughter Lucy and her husband Angus Price on the Price farm in Union, Utah. It was there that Sarah saw the health of James gradually fail. Her beloved
"Jimmy" died 13 June 1925 of kidney failure. Afterwards, Sarah wrote of her life with James: "It is like heaven on earth to live with anyone that you can agree with so perfectly."
Sarah had been a widow for a few years when her daughter Amy and her family were in a car
accident in Murray. As a result of the accident, Amy's husband, Charles Joseph Brems, died 5
December 1927. Amy had not been in good health, and the injuries from the accident made
it necessary to have help; so Sarah moved in to take care of Amy and Amy's five-year-old
son, Robert. At this time, Amy's daughter, Mildred Brems Taylor, also came from California to help with the family.
Sarah took care of Amy, Robert, and Mildred from the time of the accident in December 1927 until Amy passed away 21 February 1930. The attending doctor advised them to keep the children at home where they were until young Robert finished the school year. Sarah remained until August 1930, at which time, Robert went to live with his sister LaRue and her husband Jim Reid, while Mildred returned to California.
At this time, Sarah returned to live in the small wooden cottage on the property of her daughter
Lucy ("Lu") Price in Union, Utah. While living there, Sarah met an elderly widower in the Union First Ward, Charles Denney, Jr. Like Sarah, Charles had been born in England. After emigrating to Utah, Charles had operated the "Union Cash General Merchant" store in Union and raised a family. Charles had also built the modest 40-year-old home in which Sarah was now living. (He had about the same time also built the adobe home immediately next door where Lucy and Angus Price were now living.) Soon, Charles found himself making frequent visits up the hill to Sarah's home on the Price farm. Despite their advanced ages, Sarah and Charles decided to
marry. On 24 May 1934, Sarah, age 76, and Charles, age 84, were married for time in the Salt Lake Temple by the temple recorder, Elder Joseph Christensen.
Charles liked gardening and poetry, and had written the words for the beautiful hymn, "O Thou Kind and Gracious Father," which is still in the official LDS hymn book (Hymn #150). In 1930, Charles had claimed in the Deseret News to be oldest living former newspaperman (or compositor) in the state, stating that he had started out in the trade 14 May 1867. No one ever
disputed his claim.
A week after the marriage, on 31 May 1934, the Price family hosted a reception for the newlyweds. Charles recorded in his diary: "At 9 p.m. Mother & I went with Bro. & Sis. Price to the Union hall for our wedding reception. Had a fine program arranged by Roy & Ralph Price, of solos & instrumental pieces. Recited "Bernarodel Carpis," Miss Joyce Kunkle recited "The Bald Headed Man, " a musical melange by the Ozark band (Bill Carday), comical and Swedish dialogue, etc, followed by 2 hours of dancing. Over 200 guests present, friends & relatives of both mother's & mine, quite a lot of glamour and cloth ware presents. We served punch to the crowd, all wished us joy and congratulations, and all had a jolly, enjoyable time until 12:30. "
Charles was not a large person, being five feet tall and weighing 105 pounds. When Charles became ill, Sarah cared for him until his death in 1937 at the age of 88. His diary often mentioned how kind Sarah was to him and how relatives often visited to bring food and cheer. Shortly after Charles death, Sarah started to have her own severe health problems, and she was moved into a
room in her daughter Lucy's home.
Sarah's illness lasted about seven years prior to her death. During this time, her daughter Lucy cared for her day and night. Her room was on the east end of the house, and the kitchen was on the west. A bell was rigged so that Sarah could pull a string and ring it from her bed when she needed care. Although restricted to her bed, Sarah continued to write to relatives and write family histories. Looking back over her life, she felt that she had missed many opportunities by being too reticent and shy. She looked at her patriarchal blessing and decided it showed "how and what I could have become if I hadn't always been so infernal self-conscious and bashful."
She wrote, "If I could see my time over again, I'd try to do different [be less diffident] in many ways that I now deeply regret."
Sara Porter Rogers Willaims Denney died at the age of 86 on 14 March 1945 and was buried 17 March 1945 beside James Clark Williams in the Salt Lake Cemetery.
PATRIARCHAL BLESSING OF SARAH PORTER ROGERS WILLIAMS
American Fork, Utah County, Utah
A Patriarchal Blessing by Zebedee Coltrin upon the head of Sarah Porter Rogers Williams,
daughter of George Whitmore Rogers and Lucy Porter. Born April 11, 1858, Longford near
Sister Sarah, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I lay my hands upon your head and seal
upon you a Patriarchal Blessing, for thou art a daughter of Abraham, the house of Joseph the
lineage of Ephraim. I seal upon thy head a father's blessing, for thou art a lawful heir of the
new and everlasting covenant. And in as much as thou wilt keep all the commandments of the
Lord thou shalt attain unto all the blessings of eternal exaltation.
The choice blessings of the heavens shall rest down upon thee and the light of the Lord shall
dwell within you, and every organ of the mind shall be filled with the inspiration of the Lord,
for thou wert called and chosen of the Lord before the foundations of the earth were laid, to
come forth in this dispensation to assist in bringing forth a righteous seed unto the Lord. And
thou shalt become the Mother of a numerous people, and the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood
shall rest down upon them throughout all their generations, and thy sons shall become mighty
men before the Lord filled with the intelligence of the heavens, and many of them shall become kings and priests of the Most High and shall become a great and a mighty people dwelling in the midst of the Zion of the Lord. Thy daughters shall become women of great renown and their daughters shall be come the Mothers of Holy men and women who shall [be] in the midst of the sanctified of the Most High. Thy generations shall become as the sands of the sea shore, innumerable, and many of them shall live and reign with the Lord a thousand years upon the earth. And unto thy generations there shall be no end.
And thou shalt be enabled to receive all the blessings and sealing powers which shall be given in the Temple of the Lord. Thou shalt behold the Lord when He shall come to His Temple and shall be enabled to do a great work both for the living and the dead and shall assist in the redemption of thy father's house. And great shall be thy reward in the heavens, and thou shall become a mighty prophetess in the midst of the daughters of Zion. Thou shall be enabled to teach the daughters of Zion the principles of the everlasting gospel and the angels of the Lord shall administer unto you and thou shalt be wrapped in the visions of the heavens and be clothed with salvation as with a garment and thou shalt remain upon the earth until thy head is as white as wool. And shall have power to do a great and mighty work upon the earth and shall become a mother in Israel and be a blessing to the daughters of Zion.
Thou shalt have power to behold the visions of the Heavens and the mighty power of Jehovah shall rest upon you. Thou shalt be numbered with the Lord's anointed and shall become a queen and a priestess unto thy husband. The blessings of eternal lives shall rest upon you, and no hand that is lifted against thee shall prosper. Thou shall be enabled to attain unto all the blessing of the queens of heavens. For thou shall become one with them in the celestial kingdom of our God. For the Holy Ghost shall rest upon and be with thee throughout all thy days upon the earth, and none of the daughters of Zion shall excel thee because the Lord thy God shall pour forth His Spirit upon thee. Peace shall dwell in thy habitation throughout all thy days upon the earth and the choice blessings of the heavens shall attend you, for the Lord will give unto thee great wisdom. Thou shalt receive an everlasting inheritance when the Ancient of Days shall sit, and shall have power to come forth in the morn of the first resurrection and shall be numbered with the Sanctified before the Lord.
And now Sister I seal all these blessing upon thy head, from thee up unto all the powers of
exaltation of thrones and dominions and powers of eternal lives in the name of our Lord Jesus
Sarah Williams, Scribe
Resourse: Autobiography by Sarah Porter Rogers Williams Denney
"Sarah Porter Rogers Williams Denney, Stories of her Life" by Naomi N Brems
Family records of Lucy Ellen Williams Price
Diary of Charles Denney Jr, 1934-1935
Family records of Marilyn Brady Elkins
Williams-Rogers A Family History pp. 59-76