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Absalom Woolf - Obituary

[This actually gives the best rendition of the romance of Absalom and his two wives Harriet and Lucy.]

Absolom Woolf Absolom Woolf, one of the pioneers of the state and also of this country and a man admired and respected wherever he was known, is no more, having passed to the other side at four o’clock yesterday morning. He had been ill for a long time and the end was not unexpected. The arrangements for the funeral have not been completed as many of the children of the deceased are away from here and have not been heard from yet. Appy Woolf as he was familiarly called, achieved distinction attained by no other man in the world; perhaps, at least there is no record of a man living for nearly fifty-three years with the two wives he married on the same day. Not quite three years ago, Mr. Woolf celebrated the golden anniversary of their wedding and the event becoming known, attracted attention all over the civilized world. The New York World at the time, printed in its Sunday issue, pictures of Mr. Woolf and his wives and told of the romance, of the double wedding. As this story has been printed in nearly all the great publications of Europe and tells the whole romance, well, we here reproduce a good part of it. Logan, Utah May 8th Married to two women for fifty years, living with both of them for half a century, all three people in a four room house most of the time with never a cloud to darken the horizon of domestic joy. In these days of divorce problems it is considered a matter of note when a man attains his fiftieth wedding anniversary with one wife; but two…… This hitherto unheard of claim to distinction belongs indisputably to Absolom Woolf of Hyde Park, a little village near Logan and his tow wives, Lucy Ann and Harriet who on April 19, in the presence of seventeen children and more than a hundred grandchildren and great grandchildren celebrated the event that has made them world famous. Even in the Mormon Church, to which the Woolf’s belong, no such occasion has ever occurred before, and the happy trio are still receiving the congratulations of their Church, family, and friends. They received them all in wonderment, having walked in humble paths all their days, the same peaceful atmosphere. No more that our duty “If I had known it would have raised such a commotion, says Mr. Woolf, I don’t believe we’d a had any golden wedding, ‘cause we’re just plain common folks and don’t want people makin’ a fuss over us because we’ve lived together happy for fifty years. If we hadn’t intended to do so we wouldn’t have got married, so you see, we haven’t done more’n our duty.” But people here honor the Woolf’s not alone for their admirable example of marital felicity but because all three are pioneers of ’47. People who came here with Brigham Young’s sturdy band two years before the great rush to California’s gold fields. Then too, they are among the first settlers of Cache Valley, coming here from the central part of the state to the Valley. Lucy Ann says, “Well, it is wonderfully different now isn’t it? The other day my sister came to see me and she made the trip from Manti in one day. When we came up in ’61, it took us three weeks and such weather as we had. I drove a team and carried my baby in my arms and every night when we stopped, we were both drenched through. I have never wanted to travel between here and Manti since. But it is nice to ride on the railway now.” Mr. Woolf was married to his wives on the same day, April 19, 1857. The ceremony being performed in the endowment House in Salt Lake City. The names of the young women were Lucy Ann Hambleton and Harriet Wood and they were each just beyond their sixteenth year. Miss Hambleton was born in Cass Co., Indiana and Miss Wood in Illinois. The husband was born in Pelham, Westchester, New York in 1832. There is a romance connected with this marriage to the two young women. In those days it was customary in Utah, at least, for persons to marry at an early age. Mr. Woolf had been keeping company with Miss Wood for some time and they were practically engaged. They were living one hundred miles south of Salt Lake City in Nephi. Folks then journeyed to Sal t Lake City by team to Conference. Upon one such pilgrimage, Miss Wood remained in Salt Lake City with friends. There was no mail service in those days and so the only way the sweethearts had of communicating with each other was by way of riders or freighters going between these two points. Word reached Appy that Harriet had deserted him and married another man in Salt Lake. This report reached him several times, and although it cut him up pretty bad, as he put it, he determined not to pine for the faithless one, but to seek another. Miss Hambleton had already evinced a fondness for him, and in trying to rid his mind of the other girl, he found great comfort in her affection. About the time they were ready to wed, Miss Wood returned from Salt Lake and at once made it plain that she was not married to any Salt Laker. Nor had she ever entertained a hope or thought of such a union. :Appy” as he is called was in a pretty pickle, both young women were in love with him and he was in love with both! What was he to do? After turning the matter over in his mind, he decided in fairness he could do but one thing, turn from both women and await for future developments to determine which of the two really loved him; believing the one with a passing fancy for him would soon turn to another. But he soon learned in no uncertain way that the affection which each women had for him was deep rooted and enduring, so he sought his Bishop for advice. “Marry ‘em both, my boy, marry ‘em both!” was the council of the shepherd of the flock to which you Woolf belonged. Married in the Mormon capital Polygamy was a principal of the Mormon Faith and the young pioneer was a devout religionist. He accepted the advice and laid the matter before his two sweethearts. They acquiesced in his decision and in April, 1857 they journeyed to Zion’s central city and were there united to the one man they loved. After fifty years together neither have any regrets. For many years the two wives lived close together. Never having a serious quarreled or dispute. Neighbors vouch for this, while they marvel at the even disposition of the trio. The union has been a fruitful one, too. Lucy Ann has borne twelve children. While Harriet has presented him with ten. Each wife at this time have buried three each. All the children are grown now. No black sheep in the bunch. And they are scattered in Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Canada. Nearly all are well to do farmers and teachers. All told, descendents total 153. Two thirds were at attendance at the Golden Wedding. Mr. Woolf is a man of sturdy build, with a frank open countenance and the keenest eyes. Like his father before him, he is and always has been, a farmer, horseman, and stock raiser. His parents became converts to the Mormon faith in 1843 in New York, and in the following year moved to Nauvoo, Illinois, then the Mormon headquarters. They reached there just before Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon faith, was killed. In 1847, he started across the great plains for Utah and though but a boy of fifteen, he drove three yoke of oxen from Council Bluffs to Salt Lake City. It was while crossing the plains that he formed the acquaintance of the young girls who were to become his wives. He remained in Salt Lake City about two years, then went into the southern part of the territory to help settle that region. In the early fifties, he was a mail carrier for Judge Kenney, who held court in Filmore, being elected for this dangerous job because of his skill as a horseman and Indian scout. He had some most thrilling encounters with the red men, but, was loath to talk of them except to members of his family, as he had a dislike for what he conceives to be notoriety. Probably no man in the state, however has done more Indian fighting than “Appy” Woolf. He went through the Black Hawk and Tintie Wars and wound up his fighting career in the bloody struggle at Battle Creek, Idaho, where practically a whole tripe of Indians were wiped out. In the settlement of Southern Utah, the Indians were especially troublesome and Mr. Woolf, having been elected a peace officer was consistently on the warpath. Lucy Ann was a midwife, brought 500 babies in her time, charging $3, $5, and the $10. Harriet was a weaver, mad yards and yards of linsey woolsey, and very pretty carpet. The children went back and forth to which ever house they pleased to eat or sleep. Have been true blue to each other as long as they lived. [Now, (1954) only two children are living, Lucy Ann’s Ida, 75, of Logan and Harriet’s Rhoda Reese, 77 of Smithfield, Utah.]

Linked toLucy Ann Hambleton; Harriet Ann Wood; Absalom Woolf

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