Catherine Sophia Simmons Fox

Third Wife of Isaac Wilson Fox

 

Life History

Written by John Alfred Fox, Isaac Wilson’s Grandson

 

Includes Life Sketch Read at Funeral Service

Retyped from purple ditto copy by Dayleen Felt, February 2003

 

 

[This brief history was written by John Alfred Fox, and prepared from his memories and those of other members of the family.  Family records, Lehi histories, and life sketches delivered at annual family gatherings have also been used.  The lives of our forebearers have been fruitful, their experiences plentiful, their wisdom sound.  And their thoughts and expressions are of great interest and value to all their posterity—and this, if all could be revealed.  It will give at least some of their endeavors and achievements.  All to the purpose of demonstrating the heritage they have left us.  To have known them personally would be to appreciate them and the values, virtues, and testimony that they had and bore.  To all who have contributed to this short history in any way I am sincerely appreciative and grateful.]

 

Funeral services over the remains of Mrs. Catherine S. Fox who died on Thursday, 11 February 1915, were held Saturday in the Lehi Tabernacle.  Bishop Andrew Fjeld presided.  The First Ward Choir, under the leadership of M. S. Lott, rendered the singing.  The invocation was offered by Elder A. R. Anderson.

 

Bishop Fjeld read a sketch of the life of the deceased and made appropriate remarks.  He referred to her life’s labors, the good she had done, how she had suffered, and her passing to her reward.

 

Elder Hyrum Kirkham was the next speaker, and during the course of his remarks, he told of his acquaintance with Sister Fox, of her devotion to her family, of the love she had for her religion, her good works among the sick, and her devotion to what she thought was right. 

 

Arthur Livingston sang “Just Beyond the Hill Top.”

 

Elder Edward Southwick was the third speaker and said he had known the deceased for many years, and referred to her kindness to the sick and those whom she knew needed help.  He spoke of the reward she had earned and of the family she had left to bear her name for generations to come.  President Heber Austin made a few closing remarks.  The benediction was pronounced by Elder M. B. Bushman.  Six of her grandchildren acted as pall bearers.  The floral offerings were most beautiful and bounteous.

 

The following is the sketch of her life as read by a grandchild at the funeral:

 

Sister Catherine Sophia Fox, daughter of Henry and Catherine Davis Simmons, and widow of the late Isaac Wilson Fox, was born in London, England, 7 July 1850.  She immigrated to America with her parents, who left the Missouri River June 19, arriving in Salt Lake City 19 September 1856, the same year.  Her parents located in Lehi where she has since lived.

 

On 8 July 1858 she was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and on 31 May 1869 she became the wife of Isaac Wilson Fox.  She is the mother of three sons and four daughters—all of whom are present—and 53 grandchildren, making a total of sixty descendants.

 

My grandmother, Catherine Sophia Simmons Fox, was the daughter of Henry Simmons and Catherine Davis Simmons.  She was born 7 July 1850 in London, England.  When she was a very young child, her parents embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the family left England on Monday, 18 February 1856 on the ship Caravan and sailed for America.  The family at that time consisted of Henry and Catherine Davis Simmons and three daughters—Margaret, Annie, and Catherine—the latter being always called “Kitty.” 

 

She was a beautiful little girl with golden curls and blue eyes.  She was a victim of the dreaded disease, tuberculosis.  Many would lift the golden curls and admire the dainty child and say, “She was never meant for this world.”  When her parents were leaving England for the gospel’s sake, her grandmother said that the bottom of the ocean was the only “land of Zion” little Kitty would ever see.  But, how wrong she was.  The ocean voyage and the hand-cart journey across the plains proved to be her salvation.  They arrived in New York USA 27 March 1856.

 

She, with her parents and sisters, left the Missouri River 19 June 1856 with the hand-cart company led by Israel Evans.  Being just six years old and having to walk, her beautiful hair became wind tossed, and her dainty skin became sun scorched.  She would get so weary that she slept by the road side and would be picked up by the travelers who were coming later in the company.  When they got into Indian country, the Indians tried to buy her, she was so sweet.  Her parents had to watch her carefully so that the Indians didn’t steal her.

 

She passed through all the hardships of crossing the plains on foot.  They arrived in Salt Lake City 19 September 1856.  Her parents located in Lehi, Utah, where she resided the rest of her life.  That was nine years after the first pioneers entered Salt Lake Valley.

 

She was baptized 8 July 1858 and became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of L.D.S.  She grew to young womanhood, and on 31 May 1869 she married Isaac Wilson Fox.  To this union were born three sons and four daughters:

            Margaret Ann, born 3 April 1870

            Mary Ellen, born 1 March 1872

            Jesse Washington, born 22 February 1874

            Lucy, born 29 September 1875

            Eli, born 28 December 1876

            Sarah, born 12 November 1878

            Joseph Roy, born 23 September 1880

 

Grandmother worked very, very hard.  She learned to weave carpet and did this work for many people.  She took in washings, cared for the sick, and did this work for many people.  When carpet was available in stores, grandmother was hired to sew the strips together to cover the floor.  She did this beautifully.  Later, she took care of Aunty Fox (Margaret Ann Slinn Fox), grandfather’s first wife, until she passed away.  She also cared for a lady we called Aunt Charlotte Taylor.

 

Grandfather (Isaac Wilson Fox) passed away on 11 June 1908 in the same month which would have marked his 90th birthday, had he lived.

 

Grandmother had no formal schooling at all as a girl.  But after her family was grown, she learned to read and write very well.  She did a great amount of temple and research work and had a wonderful record book that she had written herself.  It was a real example of work, study, and determination.

 

About the year 1910, grandmother sold her home to her son, Joseph Roy, and built a little home in the east part of Lehi, just close to our home.  How she loved this little home.  Soon after moving into it, she fell victim to a lingering illness, and on 11 February 1915 she passed away, leaving a large posterity and a host of friends to mourn her passing.

 

Grandmother was a sweet woman, always ready to help everyone.

 

The families in those days had to card, spin, weave, and sew in order to have many of the things needed to wear and to serve as protection against inclement weather.  They gathered sago roots and bulbs to eat, wild berries and fruits for jams and jellies, pig weeds for greens, ground cherries for preserves, and they used sorghum cane molasses for sweetening.  They peeled potatoes thickly, cutting the eyes from the skins so they could be planted in the spring.  Much of their seed used in planting was exchanged with neighbors who also had seeds to exchange.  Those who did not have seeds received on a loan basis the seeds they needed, and this with the understanding that the harvest would provide means for payment of the loan.  Sometimes a small charge would be made for this kind of exchange.

 

For pastime, entertainment groups would gather together at a neighbor’s home, usually in one which had the largest room, or rooms, available, according to the size of the group.  They would move all movable furniture into other rooms, corners, on the porch, or wherever, for a dance.  Food would be prepared—that which might be available—and served.  Some of the group would play the organ (if they had one), the violin, guitar, mandolin, accordion, trumpet, or what not—sometimes on one instrument when no more than one player was available—and then they danced until they were “danced out.”

 

The men hauled wood out of the mountains for home cooking and heating.  This collecting of wood was done when farm duties were done, and they were not rushed in making a livelihood. 

 

They cradled their grain by hand (the best men harvesting could not do more than one acre per day) and they tied the bundles by hand, using a few straws of the grain, the heads knotted to form a band.  The grain was threshed with muzzled animals treading out the kernels, and then the waste was cleaned from the grains by winnowing and screening.

 

Hay was harvested with a scythe until hay mowers were invented and available.  The first mechanical threshing machine was made with a set of cog wheels so arranged on a cart that when six or eight teams of horses walked around the cart it would produce the power necessary to operate the threshing machine.  The power cart had arms to which the horses were hooked—both in front and in back—and as the driver sat on the cart watching the horses, they were led in this circular manner all day long.  After the harvest season, they were surely ready for a rest.

 

Our ancestors were of a religious mind and nature.  They did their utmost to instill truth, freedom, obedience to the gospel plan, love, humility, kindness, love for fellowmen, and the love of God into their lives and into the lives of their posterity.  They always had a firm testimony of the truth of the gospel.  They were loyal to this great government of the United States, which was their new adopted land, the land of the free and the home of the brave.