Sarah Ann Pulsipher Alger

  Husband: John Alger
11 Children:
Nelson Alger (1843-1848)
Sarah Ann (Surry Ann) Alger (1845-1933)
Olivia (Ollie) Alger (1847-1930)
Adeliza (Addie) Alger (1849-1925)
John Zera Alger (1852-1933)
Martha Ellen (Ella) Alger (1853-1934)
Ann (Annie) Alger (1856-1945)
Samuel Nelson Pulsipher Alger (1858-1911)
Alva Don Pulsipher Alger (1860-1898)
Willard Edgar (Will) Alger (1862-1947)
Mary Edna (Mame) Alger (1865-1946)
Father: Zerah Pulsipher
Mother: Mary Brown
Show Pedigree
Sarah Ann Pulsipher was born 2 Nov 1824 in Stafford, Onondaga Co., N.Y., the fifth child of Zerah and Mary Brown Pulsipher. The family had moved there from Pennsylvania in late 1823 or early 1824 and bought a farm and built a mill.

Sarah was seven years old when her parents heard the restored gospel and were baptized into the LDS Church. In March, 1834, elders from Church headquarters in Kirtland came to visit recruiting volunteers for Zion's Camp. Her father was the Branch President and little nine-year-old Sarah is listed in the records as having been one of only seven children who went on that military expedition (DHC 2:185). Her father did not go. When she was 10, the family moved to Kirtland, Ohio, in spring 1835, so she would have remembered those times well.

Persecutions drove them to Nauvoo, Illinois, and there she met John Alger, the son of Samuel and Clarissa Hancock Alger, who was four years older than she. At age 18 she married him in the Nauvoo Temple on Sun, 13 Feb 1842. About 1843 they had a son named Nelson, the name of her older brother who was killed at age 4 by a falling tree, but this Nelson also died young. Then Sarah Ann, known throughout life as "Surrie Ann" was born on 13 Apr 1845 in Nauvoo.

Shortly afterward, persecutions drove them from Nauvoo to cross the plains for the Salt Lake Valley. While at Winter Quarters, Nebraska, Olivia (Ollie) was born on 23 Jun 1847. Just as they were arriving at Salt Lake City, Sarah gave birth to Adeliza (Addie) on 9 Aug 1849. As the young couple struggled to establish a home there, John Zerah was born 15 Jan 1852, Martha Ellen (Ella) on 4 Dec 1853, and Ann Eliza (Annie) on 20 Dec 1855.

In 1857 Johnston's Army was determined to enter the peaceful valley of the Saints. Sarah experienced many anxious hours as her husband went with the other men into the mountains to thwart the plans of the enemy. The inhabitants of the city had been instructed to move south out of the way of the intruders, should they get by the guard. At this time Sarah was expecting another child and hence it was in Payson, Utah, that Samuel Nelson was born 26 Apr 1857. After the trouble passed, they moved back to Salt Lake where Alva Don (Don) was born 21 Jan 1860 and Willard Edgar (Will) on 11 Apr 1862.

In the fall of 1862 they were called to reinforce the settlements far to the south in Utah's Dixie. Sarah was happy to learn that her parents and all of her sisters and brothers had also accepted a call to do likewise. They began making preparations right after that October Conference and arrived at their new location in St. George, Utah on 1 Jan 1863.

Eight of Sarah and John's children:
Back, L-R: Addie, Mame, Ann, Ollie, Surrie Ann
Front, L-R: Will, Ella, John
Her parents, Zerah and Mary Pulsipher, soon established Shoal Creek, later called Hebron, and John and Sarah moved there with their family. At Hebron, Sarah's eleventh and last child was born, Mary Edna (Mame), 9 Dec 1865. The family later moved to St. George and established a permanent home there. She died there on 1 Jan 1909, at age 84, on the 46th anniversary of arriving in St. George.

Her grandchildren provided the most interesting part of this sketch:

"I think Grandma was about five feet and two or three inches tall. She would have weighed about 120 or 130 pounds after she got old. She was very erect and dignified and proud in her carriage. She had good articulation in her speech. I loved to listen to her talk."

"She had beautiful hair, even when she died, not very grey. Grandma said every few weeks she rubbed coal oil and salt into her scalp, then fine combed it. She was a great hand to have the children comb her hair. If she ever caught a youngster idle, she'd hand them a fine comb and take down her hair and they'd have a job as long as they'd comb. My oldest daughter, Cecil, remembers combing her hair when she was just a little tot."

"Grandma was a good hand at teaching youngsters to learn to dress themselves. I guess I was spoiled and pampered being the only girl. I used to bawl around for Ma to come and dress me but one morning Grandma turned on me and said, `You are a big girl now and your Ma is not going to dress you any more' and she didn't!"

"We were at Aunt Addie Price's home in St. George when the first automobile came into St. George. Aunt Addie came calling to us to `Come quick, the automobile was coming up the street.' Grandma passed us all and was out on the sidewalk cheering that new invention. She was always interested in improvements of any kind."

"Grandmother was a very proud, dignified lady. I can't ever remember seeing her when she didn't look like she had just stepped out of a band box. She did very fine needle work. She made a beautiful silk quilt, a crazy patch, that took first prize at the fair. I remember helping her feed silk worms. I think she was one of the first to raise them in St. George."

"I remember seeing Grandma Alger wear a black silk dress. She said she raised the silk, spun the thread, wove the cloth and made the dress by hand. She was a wonderful seamstress. She was also an expert at making buckskin gloves for ladies. She made hundreds of pairs. My mother had a pair of her gloves. I can remember they had high gauntlets, all silk embroidered. They were lovely."

"I do not remember ever being at Aunt Addie's place while Grandma lived there without there being Indians and usually a yard full of them around. They would bring pine nuts and jerky or buckskin to trade for medicine. She made excellent buckskin gloves and always got a good price for them from the white folks. Sometimes the Indians would just sit on the ditch banks or steps in the shade just because they felt at home around there. The squaws did the laundry for Aunt Addie. Grandma made most of her own medicine, usually pills. She had a pension from the U.S. government when she was old for doctoring the Indians."

"She was always telling about something that happened on their trip across the plains. How they prayed for a safe night's rest when they camped. She told us of a rattle snake going up Grandpa Alger's leg. It touched his garments at the knee and fell dead at his feet."

"I remember on her 80th birthday they had a party for her. She was dressed all in white and sang, `Oh, My Father,' besides joining in the games. She was very witty and always had an answer to everything. She was a temple worker for thirty years. She was very kind to everyone, especially to the Indians. She had doctored them many times, always preparing her own medicines."

From Pulsipher Family History Book, Terry/Nora Lund, SLC, 1953, pp. 42-46.