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Absalom Woolf - history - by Ada E. Morrell

(This article was written for and was published in the Cache Valley Centennial addition of the Herald Journal, Logan, Utah March 25, 1956.)

“Appy” was advised “Marry them both!” by Ada E. Morrell (This article was written for and was published in the Cache Valley Centennial addition of the Herald Journal, Logan, Utah March 25, 1956.) Absalom Woolf, born February 4, 1832 in Pelham, Westchester Co., New York, was the oldest of twelve children born to John Anthony and Sarah Ann Devoe Woolf. John and Sarah joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 1841 and in 1844 with their six small children they moved to Nauvoo, Illinois. Here one more child was born. They remained in Nauvoo until 1847 when they came to Utah in the Edward Hunter Company which arrived in Salt Lake City October 5, 1847. By this time Absolom, generally known as Appy, at the age of fifteen witnessed and suffered many of the hardships which the Saints went through during those early days of the Church. His father brought four wagons across the plains –three of them drown by oxen and one by a team of horses. The mother drove the horses and Absalom drove one of the ox teams. After a two year stay in Salt Lake City the family, by the request of President Brigham Young, went south to help settle parts of Juab and Iron Counties. Appy was a bold and fearless young man and so was called to be a ‘minute man’ and for years at his own expense, kept a horse saddled and other equipment handy and ready for service at any time. He was a member of the Utah Militia and took part in the Walker Indian and Echo Canyon wars. For about two years he carried the mail on horseback between Nephi in Juab County and Fillmore in Iron County while hostile Indians infested the country. He was ordinarily cool-headed and able to make wise decisions. However there was one that gave him a great deal of worry; what to do when two young women, both of whom he loved, wanted to marry him. Being unable to decide for himself he sought the advice of Bishop Hunter who said, “Marry them both young man and the Lord bless you.” With the decision made Appy took both girls – Harriet Wood and Lucy Ann Hambleton each just sixteen years of age – to Salt Lake and married them, in the Endowment House, April 19, 1857. They set up housekeeping in Nephi where they remained for four years, then they moved to Millville in Cache County in 1861. In 1865 they moved to Hyde Park among other early settlers and here they spent the remainder of their years. This union proved to be most ideal; Harriet had ten children and Lucy Ann had twelve, four died in infancy so each raised nine, a total of eighteen, six sons and twelve daughters. The two families did not live together but I have heard the girls say that when they were young they hardly knew which was their real mother. Whatever produce was brought in was always divided equally between the two families before any was used, so there was never any jealousy or hard feelings. The wives were both frugal and wise. They taught the daughters all the handicrafts common to the times. All could spin and weave, could make hats and rugs besides helping with the sewing and cooking as well as the making of butter and soap. Besides raising their large families Harriet taught school for several years and was active in the politics of the day. Lucy Ann was a trained and licensed midwife and delivered hundreds of babies in Logan, Hyde Park and surrounding communities. They were all generous and big hearted people and on many occasions took into their homes a niece or a nephew or two or three grandchildren whose mothers had died. Absalom was a farmer and stock-raiser and was a lover and breeder of fine draft horses. His father owned the first stallion named Sampson, in Cache Valley and from this animal came many fine animals known as the “Woolf Stock”. In Appy’s barn yard there were nearly always one or more men wanting to buy, sell or trade horses or just looking at and admiring them. One of his grandsons was Georgie Woolf one of the great jockeys and who rode to victory on such horses as Seabiscuit, Whirlaway and Azucaz. These wonderful people all lived to celebrate their Golden Wedding anniversary. This event was so rare that it was given great publicity in many of the large newspapers and magazines in both the United States and Europe. Mrs. A V. (Rhoda) Reese, who is nearly eighty years old, is the only surviving child of this great man and his wife Harriet. Lucy Ann’s youngest – Miss Ida Woolf – died last summer, 1955. However, there are numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren to the fifth generation, who are loyal and active L.D.S. church members and many of them have been or are schoolteachers or other professional and business people throughout the Western United States and Canada. Absalom died Feb 16, 1910, Harriet died April 19, 1912 and Lucy Ann died Oct 19, 1920. All are buried in the Hyde Park Cemetery.

Linked toLucy Ann Hambleton; Harriet Ann Wood; Absalom Woolf

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