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(Book review of Little Gold Pieces by Juliaetta Bateman Jensen, Salt Lake City: Stanway Printing Company, 1948)

My great-grandfather, Samuel Bateman, was born in Manchester, England in 1832, converted to the Church, and came to Utah in 1850. He met Marinda Allen, my great-grandmother, in 1853 as he ferried her across the Jordan River and married her the following year. He was 22 and she was 16. In later years he took a second wife, Harriett Egbert (who actually had been a baby when her parents came to Samuel and Marinda’s wedding dinner). Marinda gave birth to thirteen children and Harriet had eight. Marinda’s youngest child, Juliaetta, was my grandmother. She wrote a biography of Marinda, with much about the family and her own life, entitling it Little Gold Pieces. This article is about that book.

My purpose in reviewing this book is fivefold: 1) to acquaint the reader with a fascinating story about an early Latter-day family; 2) to illustrate, in particular, how polygamy affected the lives of women and men both before and after the Manifesto; 3) to emphasize the importance of education to Marinda and Juliaetta and the impact their education had on my own family; 4) to describe the strength of these women, which contributed substantially to my own appreciation and understanding of the importance of women in all our lives; and 5) to remind Latter-day Saints of today what remarkable things can be accomplished with faith, hard work, and determination.


Overview of Their Lives

Samuel farmed and took whatever work he could; for example, he worked at a sawmill in West Jordan. He and Marinda lived in a log cabin built into a hillside in West Jordan. Gradually they acquired furniture, only buying a stove eight years later. It cost $80 in the currency of the day. Before that, Marinda cooked on a flat rock in the fireplace. Marinda was an excellent seamstress. She made baby clothes and diapers from scraps of material, knitting tiny baby socks from some of it.

Marinda had several encounters with Native Americans. She was never afraid of them and confronted them with courage, and also fed them. They borrowed things and were generally honest with her. Samuel, who had a natural aptitude for healing, made friends with the medicine men and sometimes went on visits with them to sick tribal members.

Samuel was called by Brigham Young to be a member of the Road Patrol. The Road Patrol would go to small communities when needed and help new members build houses, protect them from Native Americans, and help them integrate into the community. On some occasions, they carried special messages. Because of this calling, Samuel was away from home much of the time and could not predict when he would return.

Samuel’s work gives us a glimpse into what trusted men of that day and time could be called upon to do in the Church. For example, one time Samuel was sent to report on a bishop who had become dictatorial. After he made his report, the bishop was removed. In 1857 he was called to help with the men who were to harass Johnston’s Army in Wyoming. They met part of the army, burned their wagons, and took about sixty-six teamsters prisoner. Although there were only twenty-six LDS scouts, Samuel says, “…the enemy thought there were nearly 500 of us, thus did the Lord magnify us in the eyes of our enemies.” They permitted the prisoners to take their own clothing out of the wagons, then burned the wagons. (It is not clear from Juliaetta’s account when the prisoners were returned to the army.)

Samuel married his second wife Harriet in 1871. She was 16 and Marinda was 32, exactly twice her age. It was very common for subsequent wives in polygamous families to be married at the same age that the first wife had been when she married her husband. Harriet grieved for a number of years because she had no children at first, but she helped care for Marinda’s children. From Juliaetta’s perspective, the two wives got along. Juliaetta (often called Julia or Julie), was the last of eight girls born to Marinda, who also gave birth to five sons. Girls were not valued very much because they could not help as much with heavy work. Samuel tended to favor and play with his sons more than his daughters, and Juliaetta always felt left out. She developed what we would now call an inferiority complex. Only later, when she lived alone with Marinda, did she really feel valued. I find this interesting, since when I knew her in her later years, I saw her as a powerful, determined woman. But the culture she was born in made it difficult for her to see her worth in the beginning.

Juliaetta tells of a tragedy in their home. A younger sister, born long before she was, was named Janetta. She was bright and lively and was the darling of her father’s eye (despite the fact that he generally favored his sons). One time, he was out on a scouting trip when a voice told him, “You will never see Janetta alive again.” He jumped to his feet and pled with the Lord to let him see her once more. When he arrived at home she ran to greet him, and he thought, “Oh, what could happen to her?” He did not tell Marinda about the warning he had received. The next morning he was at church and the rest of the family was home preparing dinner. They suddenly missed Janetta. On searching for her they found her face down in the canal. Marinda began first aid and sent a sister to fetch Samuel. Sitting on the stand, he saw the back doorknob turn and the Voice said, “Now Janetta is gone.” He rushed home, but it was no use. He picked up the lifeless body and cried, “I am to blame! I am to blame!” He had been warned and had not passed on the warning. It was some time before he could compose himself enough to tell Marinda, between sobs, about the warning. Subduing her own grief, she tried to comfort him. There was one grain of comfort: God had granted his request that he be permitted to see her once more.

Many years later, Juliaetta, reading her father’s diary, came across a mention of Janetta, and so at supper she innocently asked him after Janetta. His eyes filled with tears, he could not speak, and he left the table. Her mother told her, “I am sorry, my dear. That is one thing you should not have spoken of. We never talk about it in his presence.” She later told Juliaetta the whole story.

Another side to Samuel and Marinda is that they were both natural healers, apparently having that spiritual gift. Many people, including former enemies and Brigham Young, Jr., came to them for help. Glynn Bennion, in a 1935 Deseret News article, tells of Samuel’s serving as a midwife for an isolated woman in Southern Utah who was in travail. Both mother and baby survived. The baby grew up to be Bennion’s uncle. Bennion characterizes Samuel as cook, nurse, scout, peace officer, pioneer, and gentleman. Samuel also cast out evil spirits. He did not believe in disease germs and apparently did not believe diseases could be contagious. Samuel and Marinda were often in homes of persons with diphtheria, with no ill effects. Later, though, they accepted the idea of vaccination for smallpox. (Samuel did contract typhoid fever, as did Marinda, when he was 64, and was never in good health after that. West Jordan drinking water wasn’t very pure.) Both assisted in dressing bodies for burial. Samuel attended many funerals, conducted some, and spoke at many.

The family attended church on Sundays, but the children were permitted to play baseball in the afternoons. In the winter they coasted on sleds. Samuel didn’t like playing cards, so they played the children’s card game “Authors” instead. Their home was a gathering place for friends. At Christmas there were small gifts, since resources had to be spread among the large family. Samuel insisted that his daughters marry in the faith. Once Samuel emphatically said to his daughters, “I’d rather follow you to your graves than have you lose your virtue.” Juliaetta didn’t quite understand what that meant until later.

In the home, they had only the standard Church works and a few other books besides. Samuel disapproved of novels, except for historical novels like those of Sir Walter Scott. Juliaetta managed to read a great many novels in her adult life; she made marginal notes in them for later review for her classes.

Everyone in Samuel and Marinda’s family knelt in family prayers in the morning before breakfast. Juliaetta says that her father was so sincere in his prayers that she felt he was actually talking to God. But her mother was soothing, more real to her than God was. Juliaetta was nervous and anemic at this time, with many fears. In the book, she says that she needed to tell someone her fears, and God was the only one who might fully understand His imperfect child.


Polygamy

Juliaetta found it difficult to write about polygamy. While it appears that both of Samuel’s wives got along well with each other, she says that it brought deep sorrow to her mother Marinda nonetheless. Perhaps this was because Samuel was necessarily away from her in hiding for long periods of time after polygamy had been declared illegal, but probably also because Samuel and Marinda had a disagreement that kept him away from her (as explained later). Juliaetta herself completely rebelled against polygamy. Her mother Marinda admonished her, “Do not say that you do not believe it; say you do not understand it.” Juliaetta replied that she did understand it; she understood all the suffering that her mother had undergone because of it. But her mother responded that the principle was revealed by God and that the failures were because of human weaknesses.

Juliaetta says that Marinda was so sincere that she (Juliaetta) was sorry to hurt her as she did. If anyone or anything could have convinced her that polygamy was right, it was her mother. Marinda lived it as only a saint could have done, but that did not convince Juliaetta it was true, and had not convinced her later when she was writing this book. She knew the truth of her mother’s heartache.

Juliaetta’s eldest sister—who was named Marinda after her mother—married into polygamy at age 16 as a second wife. Her husband was away from home most of the time, in hiding. He had already served a term in the penitentiary and had paid a fine, so if he were caught again it would mean a longer sentence. Eventually this sister also went into hiding, along with her children, to avoid a subpoena to testify against her husband. She became severely ill after her one-year-old child died and they had to bury him secretly in bitter weather. She finally escaped from exile in the late 1890s, only to die of a severe illness in 1902. She was 41 years old, and had given birth to nine children. Juliaetta says that her sister’s life in polygamy was as sad as any she had known. So not only Marinda her mother, but Marinda her sister also experienced great heartache because of polygamy. No wonder Juliaetta rebelled against it.

In her account, Juliaetta reflects on the situation after the US Supreme Court declared various laws of the Territory of Utah—including laws allowing polygamy—unconstitutional. Hundreds of men and some women fled into exile, since fines and sentences were extremely severe. Juries were packed with opponents of the defendants. Thousands were deprived of US citizenship. The most severe years of exile were 1882–1889; Samuel went into exile around 1885 and was for a time a companion to President Taylor, as recounted below.

In the times of exile, Marinda and Harriet kept a home that was like a small community. Aside from caring for their own children, they never turned anyone away, whether they were relatives, guests, or tramps. There were beds in every room and some on the floors. Meals were served at a long lounge, which was made into a bed at night. In summer, sometimes the girls would steal out of the window and sleep on the roof. Juliaetta also tells of sitting in neighboring cottonwood trees with thousands of blackbirds, who sang in unison. They gave her her first love of symphonic music.

The two wives fed the multitude with a variety of foods: bread, wild rabbits, deer, ducks, carp from the canal, dried fruits and corn, squash, mincemeat pies, pickled peaches, preserved ground cherries, pork, wheat. With all the mouths to feed, it seemed like there was never enough. They raised hundreds of ducks, geese, turkeys, and chickens.

There was constant need for money. Samuel was on the Underground (in hiding) and therefore couldn’t work or support his family. Marinda and Harriet discussed the matter and decided that Marinda should go away to Salt Lake City to train as a midwife under the obstetrics doctors Ellis and Maggie Shipp. So she went for six months while Harriet took care of all the children, and Marinda finished the course by mid-1887. She began delivering babies immediately and continued to do so well into the 1890s, even into the 1900s, eventually delivering over 600 babies. She charged a five-dollar gold piece for each confinement, which involved staying with and caring for the mother and child for ten days. She traveled all over the Salt Lake Valley, in all kinds of weather, in all kinds of conveyances, often on horseback seated behind the anxious husband.


The Underground

The Underground (where men went to hide and where they were constantly moving from place to place to escape capture) was a mysterious world. Juliaetta says that there were shadowy figures coming and going at their house all hours of the night. They rarely saw their father, and when he did come he was often in disguise. Those experiences left ill effects on Juliaetta which lasted the rest of her life, which will be detailed momentarily.

There were various hiding places, usually designated by initials, such as D O, the G Q C farm, O P A’s or The Halfway House. (G Q C is obviously George Q. Cannon and O P A is O. Preston Arnold, but the origin of D O is not known.) In every town there were hideouts in the homes of trusted men and women. Obviously they ran a great risk. In one house in Salt Lake City there were panel doors hiding secret compartments. Samuel sometimes went to the home of his sister, Martha Jenkins, which was a small frame house surrounded by trees, almost hidden. There was a system of signals to let him know when it was safe to come home.

Usually, though, the exiles did not go to homes of relatives, who might also be under suspicion. Samuel spent much of his time away at D O, the Thomas F. Roueche house in West Kaysville. This was the place where President John Taylor spent his final years; there is now a historical monument there. (Juliaetta’s book has photos of the home, but it was torn down in 2012–2013.) President Taylor could only rarely meet with his counselors and administration of the Church was difficult. Samuel was a companion and nurse to him. To fill the hours, they played checkers, Fox and Geese, Old Maid, or quoits. Samuel says in his diary that sometimes “the Boss” beat him and sometimes he beat the Boss. Samuel read much: the scriptures, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Huckleberry Finn, a biography of Napoleon, The Count of Monte Cristo, etc. In February 1887, President Taylor’s wife Sophia died; this was especially difficult because he could not go to the funeral. Following his wife’s death, President Taylor went downhill and died in July of the same year. The funeral for President Taylor was held in Salt Lake City. Eighteen to 20,000 people attended. Samuel did not go because he was still in hiding, but he could hear the bands play.

Juliaetta tells of home life during this time when her father was in hiding. She remembers the night visits that Samuel would make to their home. The children would be awakened to come see him; it was strange because he would be in disguise; the voice and the eyes were the same, but the beard was dyed and the hair was different. One time he was told the deputies were on their way and he sat in his chair with a shotgun and said, “I won’t budge. What have I done that I should be hunted like a criminal? If they try to take me it will be over someone’s dead body.” Marinda calmly talked to him and suggested that he leave for the sake of the children. He finally did.

Sometimes the marshals would come suddenly in the middle of the night. Marinda could hear the buggy wheels and wouldn’t know whether it was friend or foe until they pounded on the door and insisted she open it quickly. She would plead for time to get dressed. Once they got inside they searched every nook and cranny in the house. They would throw the quilts back and feel between the children, frightening them half to death. Marinda would say, quietly and scornfully, “I don’t mind your searching the house for Mr. Bateman, but can you find no better method than frightening little children? You know he could not be in their beds.” Such visits occurred dozens of times during the four years of Samuel’s exile, and the children learned to be afraid to go to bed at night. I am sure that this contributed to Juliaetta’s continuing insecurities and fears.

On one occasion, three men came, in the daytime, in a buggy. One man came in the house while the others watched outside. He looked in the kitchen, in a cupboard, in a small sugar can. Marinda said, “Deputy F., have you no idea of the size of the man you are searching for?” (He was over six feet tall and weighed 200 pounds.) The deputy had known Samuel when he (Samuel) was on the Salt Lake Police force. (This is the only mention in the book about his being on the police force.) The deputy responded, “Mrs. Bateman, I do know his size, and know the character of the man also. I trust it will never fall to my lot to arrest Mr. Bateman. He and I were friends before this mess began. I admire him. I must make a pretense of searching or the fellows outside will bawl me out.” Juliaetta says that he was always a gentleman and Marinda respected him. When he came alone he seldom got beyond the sugar can.

Their home was also a hideout for plural wives who might be forced to testify against their husbands. That meant that Marinda had to be hostess as well as a housewife and mother. Furthermore, she continued practicing her profession as a midwife. In the second half of 1887, she recorded seven childbirth cases. In 1888, she recorded nineteen cases; in 1889 twenty-four cases; and in 1890 twenty-six cases. Sometimes she wasn’t paid. Even if she had received full payment in 1889, that would have been only $120 for the year—a pitiful amount. It is not clear how they managed except with extreme frugality. We sometimes forget the effects of the exile on the wives and children who were often left without means.

Both wives were able to visit Samuel occasionally. Sometimes Marinda took Juliaetta with her. The visits were pleasant; Samuel sometimes took them home in a buggy (at night, of course, for safety). Samuel, in his diary, speaks of going to plays at the Salt Lake Theatre. He must have gone in disguise. He took Marinda and Juliaetta two or three times.

Samuel and others eventually became tired of eluding the deputy marshals and voluntarily surrendered. He served 85 days in the penitentiary in the latter part of 1888 and the first part of 1889, and paid a fine of $75. George Q. Cannon served a similar sentence at about the same time. (Readers may remember a famous photo of President Cannon and other prisoners, posing in their prison stripes.) The younger children were not allowed to see Samuel at the penitentiary, which is just as well. They would have been upset to see him in prison stripes, with his beautiful black beard cut off and a shaved head.

It was becoming clear that the institution of polygamy was breaking down. It still bound people together, but there were differences of opinion among the Saints, concerning whether they should continue it at all costs or obey the law of the land. Many had been disenfranchised, the federal government seized and held title to Church properties, and the constant troubles and exile of some of the territory’s best men were retarding the development of the territory. Many government leaders came to confer with Church leaders, with a mutual desire to have good feeling and cooperation restored.

In the fall of 1890, the Manifesto was issued by President Wilford Woodruff, officially discontinuing the practice of polygamy by the Church. As noted in the Appendix to the Doctrine and Covenants, President Woodruff said that he would have continued the practice at all costs unless the Lord told him that it should be changed. Apparently the Lord strongly reasoned with the president to abandon the practice, which suggests that the Lord had not meant for it to continue as long as it had among the Saints. The Manifesto was presented to the members at October conference and was approved by a unanimous vote. It stated that the President was determined to obey the law and that members were encouraged to do the same. It should be emphasized that the abandonment of polygamy was done not for political expediency, as many have claimed, but because it was explicitly enjoined by the Lord.

Juliaetta tells about Samuel’s reaction to the Manifesto. She says that he and some of his friends, who had suffered so much because of exile and imprisonment, went to that conference determined to vote against it. But, he said, “some power not my own raised my arm, and I voted to sustain President Woodruff in this matter. As soon as I had done it a sense of peace and contentment came over me.” (Italics added.)

In Samuel’s view, the principle had been revealed by God to Joseph Smith. He had tried to live it honorably. But his intelligence told him that he worshipped a God of change and eternal progress and it was fitting that He should manifest Himself again for the good of His people.

Marinda said nothing, as usual, but she appeared to be satisfied with the decision. There would be no more exile and night raids. The future surely would be brighter.

To me, these events clearly indicate the Lord’s wishes that polygamy be abandoned. I have a favorite story concerning His wishes that it be undertaken at the beginning, indicating that it really was His commandment. It appears in Truman Madsen’s book about the presidents of the Church, in the chapter on Brigham Young. It is well-known that many of Church leaders were greatly disturbed by the introduction of polygamy. The story is this: Brigham’s wife Mary Ann was lying in bed on the second floor of their home. It was a warm night and the window was open. She heard Brigham and Joseph talking outside. Brigham said to Joseph that he just wasn’t sure that polygamy was right. Joseph said, “Do not worry, Brigham. You will come to know that it is true,” and he turned to leave, saying goodnight. Then she heard Brigham hurry after him, saying, “Joseph! Joseph! I know it is true!” The inspiration had come to him that instantaneously.

Arguably, the time of exile was harder on the women than on the men. They had to live with uncertainty, had to provide for many children, and to run a household without the support of their husbands. But there was nothing for it; they had to carry on for the sake of the children. While there were men who lived polygamy in a disgusting way, and whose families lost all respect for them, for Samuel and his family it was an honorable practice, though Juliaetta feels her mother and sister certainly suffered because of it.

After the Manifesto was issued, there were men and women who continued to practice polygamy. They defied the instructions of their church and their nation. Juliaetta knew of several young women who pretended to go away to “perfect their education,” but really who went away to bear children from a polygamous relationship. Her own brother Daniel continued the practice and was excommunicated because of it.

In the late 1890s, well after the Manifesto, Juliaetta—who was about 20 years old at the time—was attending the Normal School in Salt Lake City. Walking with her father one day, they met an old friend of his. He was delighted to see that the little girl in pigtails that he had known had grown into a young woman. He told her father that if he didn’t mind, he would keep a brotherly eye on her. Suspecting nothing, her father said he didn’t mind.

Soon baskets of fruit and boxes of candy came to Juliaetta’s door. She told the messenger she hadn’t ordered them, and asked him to take them back. The messenger said, “Well, Mr. ___ did,” and he set them down none too gently. With a mischievous twinkle in her eye, Juliaetta’s roommate Bernice said, “This looks suspicious. It may mean more than the friendship of an old man for your honorable family.” Juliaetta cried, “He would not dare. He has three or four wives and children older than I. They need the money that was spent on this fruit.”

Well, he did dare. He saw Juliaetta on the street and said that it had been revealed to him that she should be his wife. She says:

“Instead of falling on my knees in gratitude and thanking him for the unbelievable honor of being his fourth or fifth wife to bear children in poverty and obscurity, I felt insulted, and in anger and disgust I said, ‘If God wishes me to do this outrageous thing let Him reveal it to me.’
Thoroughly believing that God would speak to me, he asked me to pray about it, and when the answer came to send word to him. His conceit was colossal.
“I didn’t pray. Mother taught us not to pray for silly and ridiculous things, and this was both silly and ridiculous. When I went home and told my parents, Father swore an oath. He had been betrayed by his friend.”

This is one of my favorite stories about my grandmother. It shows what kind of independent woman she was. It also showed her that her father saw Juliaetta as a person, not as just a “woman” who should acquiesce to living in polygamy. This reaction, and the reaction of her father, may well have contributed to her development into a bold, forthright, and fearless adult woman.

Marinda was asked to be Relief Society President when she was 30 years old, but held the position for only a short time since several men (including Samuel) were called to the Muddy Mission in Nevada (although then the call seems to have been cancelled). They were to take their families, so Marinda was released. She continued relief work and was called to be Relief Society Stake President in the Jordan Stake, in 1896, when she was 57. Her daughter, Araminta, took her to meetings. With no prior notice, in 1906 she was suddenly released by the stake president at stake conference. He announced that she was being released because of her ill health, her advanced age, and because she had no carriage for travel. In indignation she stepped up to the pulpit and in a steady voice said, “My dear sisters, this is a complete surprise to me. I have been let out of my position without any notification whatsoever. It is not true that my health is failing. I have never felt better, and my means of travelling remains the same as it has always been. I want you to know the truth.” After the meeting, weeping women crowded around her and asked her forgiveness for voting against her. Later it was found that someone had sent a false report about her. She had offended certain people because she had not chosen a particular woman for an office under her.

Juliaetta, quoting Browning, says that “a worm must turn occasionally if it would have God recognize its cause.” The turning of this quiet woman must have surprised the men. It surely astonished her husband, but Juliaetta says that he must have been proud of her.


The Value of Education

A poignant incident occurred in Marinda’s life, due to the fact that she did not know the meaning of a certain word. In a cheap magazine she saw an advertisement for an inexpensive “miniature furniture set.” Not understanding the meaning of “miniature,” and because the front room needed a parlor set, she hurried to the Express Office and sent a money order to the manufacturers. She was excited to hear that it had arrived and asked her brother to pick it up. When it came to the house in a small package, she looked nonplussed, opened the package to find the tiny articles, and sat and laughed noiselessly while tears ran down her cheeks. Her brother and Juliaetta tried to laugh with her, but there were tears in their eyes and lumps in their throats. She put the toy furniture on the mantelpiece as an example of how she had been taken in due to her ignorance. It surely must have hurt because of the value she placed on education. Juliaetta says, “The darling! . . . What had she to do with the word miniature!”

Marinda yearned for knowledge, as much as she yearned for righteousness. She used to repeat three sentences to the children: “Cleanliness is next to godliness; the glory of God is intelligence; and knowledge is power.” She herself was not able to have much formal education, although she did know how to read and write well, but life had taught her wisdom. She wanted education for her children and was saddened because there were not the means to attain it. While many Mormons of the day feared that a college education would destroy the faith of their children, Marinda had no such fear. She felt that the training she had given her children would benefit them and she trusted them.

Marinda’s mother, Eliza, worked as a housekeeper for the president of the University of Deseret, John R. Park. Marinda took Juliaetta to dinner with him and Eliza one day and she was awed by the dignity and formality of the occasion. Marinda’s brother David had finished college and taught in West Jordan. Marinda, seeing his example, was further encouraged to obtain education for her children. One of Juliaetta’s sisters, Mary Janetta, eventually went to Normal School. However, she gave up school after two years, taught for two or three years, and then—fearing the yearly examinations for her certificate—gave that up and turned to dress-making, to the great disappointment of her mother.

In Juliaetta’s case, she says “Destiny took a hand in the shape of my cousin Julia Etta Jenkins.” This cousin suggested that Juliaetta take the entrance exam for the University of Utah. So Juliaetta went to Salt Lake, took seventh and eighth grades, and graduated. Following her graduation, she went to Normal School for four years. (Normal School appears to have been a school for training teachers, much like our current Elementary Education departments. It was later, in 1914, that she graduated from BYU with an A. B. degree.) In the meantime, she lived with her uncle David, who was now a professor of astronomy and mathematics at the university, and helped his family and other family members during the summers.

She accepted various kinds of work to save for her education, but the main source was her mother’s earnings from being a midwife: the little five-dollar gold pieces (from which the title of the book is taken). A later study of her mother’s record of baby deliveries helped Juliaetta realize what a sacrifice it was for her mother to send the money, since she needed it for her own family. Furthermore, midwives were going out of fashion and being replaced by regular doctors and so business had dropped off for Marinda. Her father also contributed small amounts. It looked at times as though Marinda would have to give up supporting Juliaetta, but Juliaetta’s brother Edward said to Marinda, “You must continue until she graduates. Don’t let her do what Mary did. Find the means some way, somehow.” And so Marinda did.

On 20 June 1900 the family went to the old Salt Lake Theatre for the graduation exercises for the Normal School. Samuel says in his diary that “our Juley” was one of the graduates. Her uncle David handed out the diplomas, and pride and joy were on his face as he handed out her diploma.

Juliaetta says of that occasion:

“Somewhere out in that vast sea of faces, tier on tier, sat my courageous little mother. It was her graduation day and on that paper should have been written ‘Marinda Allen Bateman.’ I am sure tears flooded her eyes and ran down her cheeks, as they are running down mine as I write this. One, at least, of her thirteen children had graduated first from the Eighth grade, and now from the Normal School. It could not have been had I not been the lucky thirteenth.
“All that my life has been since has been built on the foundation Marinda laid. The urge to go on was planted in my heart by her, and later that urge was fostered by my husband, who had, and still has, an insatiable longing for knowledge.”

The reader can see from this what inspiring examples my foremothers have been for me and my family, and how important education is for all Latter-day Saints, including the women who faced extraordinary challenges in those early days.


Juliaetta’s Life, and How Polygamous Families Lived After the Manifesto

When Juliaetta graduated, she was in debt, and worked for the summer to pay it off. She was also able to start buying a sewing machine. She went home to her mother’s and lived alone with Marinda there. Juliaetta had applied for teaching positions and settled on one in Midvale, which enabled her to live at home. Her class size at the beginning was 71 students, a figure unheard of today. It was eventually cut to 60, but the number of students shattered her dreams of being a model teacher. (I find poignancy in this, because she became a wonderful teacher.) She also taught in Sunday School and Mutual and was chairman of the ward finance committee—clearly an important job in her local ward. (In 1948, when this book was written, it had not yet become customary to use “chair” instead of “chairman.”) She and her mother lived together for four years, and according to her recollections, Juliaetta poured out her heart to her mother. After four years, she was out of debt, had purchased a new stove and piano for Marinda’s house, and she started taking piano lessons. She visited with her father Samuel on occasion. While she lived at home she sewed, carried water, and sawed and chopped wood, all the while attending to her school classes.

The reader may be interested in how polygamous families lived after the Manifesto, since it is clear from the above that Samuel was not living with Marinda. Actually, right after the Manifesto, the two wives established separate homes and Samuel alternated weeks between the two. However, at this time Samuel was living away from Marinda because they had a terrible argument that Marinda had won. Juliaetta never had the courage to ask her father why the rift had occurred; her mother told her the story.

The argument was actually over Samuel’s second wife Harriet’s second daughter Margaret, who had become engaged to be married to a man named Walter Irving. Walter had not been active in church, and when he and Margaret asked Samuel for permission to marry, he hesitated but approved it provided that Walter abide by the rules. Walter promised that he would.

However, as the time for the marriage approached, Samuel announced suddenly—seemingly on a whim—that the wedding must be postponed. Marinda defended the young people’s decision, even though Margaret was not her own daughter; Walter had lived up to his promise, and so must Samuel. Harriet was weeping. Marinda fought so stubbornly for the young couple that Samuel relented and said, “Have it your own way.” The couple’s wedding occurred as scheduled and they were very happy.

But Samuel ceased his practice of spending alternating weeks at his two wives’ homes and spent all his time at Harriet’s. Marinda thought his anger would blow over; it did not. They lived apart for four years. (Ah, that male pride.) Only in his final illness did he send for Marinda. When Samuel became ill with Bright’s Disease, Juliaetta’s brother, Daniel, went to see him and asked whether he would like to come home to Marinda’s. He said, “Yes.” So Samuel moved back to Marinda’s and they were reconciled. She cared for him until he died. From far and wide people came to see him—people he had known on the Underground, as well as others.

During Juliaetta’s second and third years teaching in Midvale, a young man named Christen Jensen came there to teach. They had become acquainted when he accompanied—on the piano or organ—an amateur stake performing group. In Midvale they spent many evenings together on the piano. In June 1903—after her third year of teaching—Christen proposed to her and asked her parents’ permission to marry, which was accepted. They determined to marry in the summer of 1904. She had poor health during the summer of 1903, and was given a hard class to teach in Sandy, but she loved the time of their engagement, took long walks, and her health eventually improved.

After their marriage in August 1904, Jensen went to the University of Utah while Juliaetta continued to teach. It was agreed that in return, he would work in the summer while she went to school. It is noteworthy that the arrangement of her working while he attended school was met with severe social criticism. Such a thing was largely unheard of, especially in LDS culture. But both sets of parents gave all possible approval and support; the young couple continued in their plan so that both of them might gain further education, and they were peaceful about it.

Soon after her marriage, Juliaetta was asked by her mother to carry a message to a prominent woman in Salt Lake City named Emmeline B. Wells, who later became General President of the Relief Society. Sister Wells asked Juliaetta about her mother, then about herself. Juliaetta said that she was married and was teaching in order to help her husband finish his college work. While she expected a rebuke, she was surprised to hear Sister Wells say, “I approve, my dear. That is a lovely thing to do, and I wish you success.” Juliaetta remarked, “Here was fine Old Age that could understand the problems of Youth. She never knew how she heartened me.” What a lesson can be learned from this about the difference between wisdom and mere social convention!

In June 1907, Christen graduated from the University of Utah with a B. A. degree. He worked in the summer while Juliaetta attended summer school. They had saved enough to pay all their debts, and also to cover his entrance fee to Harvard and pay the railroad fare to Cambridge, Massachusetts! They found a small apartment and furnished it with second-hand items. Their landlady, who owned a grocery store, hired Juliaetta to help her and even entrusted her with the store’s funds.

Christen and Juliaetta’s life in Cambridge and Boston from 1907 to 1908 was wonderful. They attended concerts, visited Lexington and Concord, visited homes of great men and women like Louisa May Alcott. Juliaetta attended classes herself, including one on three of the great romantic poets: Walter Scott, Robert Burns, and William Wordsworth.

In June 1908, Christen graduated with an M. A. degree in political science. There had been some question about his completing it in one year because no one from a Utah college had ever done so after getting a bachelor’s degree in that state. But his grades at Harvard were as high as they had been at the University of Utah. He was then offered a position at BYU to teach political science and history. He had hoped to have a position at the University of Utah, but there was no opening. Juliaetta says, “Destiny meant us to go to Brigham Young University . . .” His salary was $1250 for ten months of teaching. In seven months they were out of debt once more, having paid $500 in various debts.

Juliaetta became pregnant and was expecting in April 1909. But when the baby girl was born, she lived only two days. Juliaetta grieved during the summer, but in the fall she rallied by enrolling in three courses in English which helped her deal with her sorrow. She even taught courses at BYU as a substitute for Alice Louise Reynolds and made friends with many wonderful students. When she was expecting again, Christen and Juliaetta were delighted. When the baby girl was born 17 April 1912, they named her Lorna (from the story “Lorna Doone.”) Lorna was my mother.

Christen Jensen eventually obtained a Ph. D. from the University of Chicago. He became professor of History and Political Science at BYU, Dean of the Graduate School, and served as Acting President of BYU twice. The first time was in 1940 when President Franklin S. Harris served in Iran as an agricultural consultant. The second was from 1949 to 1951, after President Howard S. McDonald resigned, and before his replacement, Ernest L. Wilkinson, could be found. Juliaetta obtained an A. B. degree in 1914 and an M. A. degree in 1927, both at BYU and both in literature. In fact, it was her husband who awarded her the M. A. degree. She taught in the Extension Division at BYU for about thirty years and then at the University of Utah Extension Division for somewhat less; in both cases teaching once a week. Her courses consisted of English Literature—including Shakespeare, Milton, Browning, and others—the Bible as literature, Greek and Roman Mythology, and Dante. She even invited me, when I was ten, to sit in on her classes—which was a wonderful training in literature for me. But that’s another story.

Marinda died in 1919, the “best woman they ever knew.” The educational heritage left by Juliaetta (and her mother Marinda who paid for it) continues to the present. My mother Lorna obtained a bachelor’s degree in English from BYU. She married my father, Bertrand Harrison, in 1931; he obtained a bachelor’s degree from BYU and later a Ph. D. from the University of Chicago, and taught botany at BYU for 43 years. My two brothers and I all have doctorate degrees, and my sister has a bachelor’s degree. My wife has a bachelor’s degree, and our three sons all have doctorates. Our daughter has some college training (she has not completed her degree) but has published novels. Her husband has a doctorate.

Marinda’s Little Gold Pieces went much further than she could have imagined. I imagine she is very pleased with her posterity’s tradition of education. Her story has had tremendous effect upon our whole family.

There is one last lesson to learn from the life of Juliaetta: she was inspired to write her mother’s biography after a serious illness almost took her (Juliaetta’s) life. There is a lesson in all of this: write your family history; you may never know how much it will mean for your posterity.


Full Citation for this Article: Harrison, B. Kent (2019) "Marinda Allen Bateman: An Example of Life in Polygamy in Utah," SquareTwo, Vol. 12 No. 3 (Fall 2019), http://squaretwo.org/Sq2ArticleHarrisonReviewPolygamy.html, accessed <give access date>.

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