Susan Hancock Sorensen
Susan Hancock Sorensen was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on November 13th, 1852. Their home was a log house and it was in the Fourth Ward. She was a daughter of James Hancock and Ann Melsome Hughes Hancock. James Hancock was born in London, England, August 15th, 1827. He was a mason by trade. He worked on the Thames Tunnel. Ann Melsome Hughes was born June 21st, 1831, in London, England. They are buried in the Mendon cemetery. Father Hancock lived to be ninety-one years of age.
The Hancock family was living in Salt Lake City at the time Johnson’s Army came there. Everyone had their house ready to set fire to it. I was surely frightened. We had been told that our homes would be destroyed and our food taken. It was in the year 1857. I was only five years of age at the time. Our homes were vacated. Bacon, flour, etc., were hidden away, some of it was buried, so that we would have plenty when we came back. We left for the south, taking all of our possessions in our wagon. Straw and leaves were left in the house ready to start. My baby sister was just a few weeks old when we went south. She had been born with two teeth. Mother said, “What a shame, why couldn’t she have had a pair of shoes instead of teeth?” I remember when we were in meeting in Provo that they passed Ann Mary around for people to see her teeth, I was afraid she would not come back. We stayed in the south for the summer and when we came back to our home in Salt Lake the grass had grown half way up the windows, but we were thankful to get back to our homes instead of having them burned.
In the spring of 1862, my parents and their four children, James, Joseph, Ann Mary and myself had packed everything in our wagons and were ready to come north. Brigham Young had called on several families to come to Cache Valley to colonize it. We came to Cache Valley and on to Mendon. We lived in the fort. It was a double street running east and west. I was ten years of age. My father built a house where Aunt Emma Hancock’s house now stands. He helped to build the rock meetinghouse, which is now the opera house. I went to school in a one-room log house with a sod roof. It was on the southeast corner of the square. Jasper Lemmon was my teacher. He taught the three R’s in reading and song. “Two hemisphere’s on the globe, eastern and western, etc.” We could remember it by just singing the song. Brother Donaldson was also one of my teachers. He moved to Teton, Idaho.
Our main amusements during my childhood days were spinning yarn, making dye, making butter, knitting and making candles. Each family had a few sheep. We would wash the wool and then spin the yarn. Brother Emil Stumpf would weave the yarn into cloth and mother make the dress. I knit all the socks and mitts for my brothers and stockings and mitts for myself. We always liked to dance. The dance hall was our one schoolhouse, which was used for church, school, and amusements. I remember that the wax from the lighted candles would drop on our shoulders. We were afraid to ruin our dress because our dresses were usually one for Sunday and one for everyday.
The first doll I ever saw was one Brother Willie brought from England while on his mission. Everyone in town went to see it. We had only rag dolls. The first candy I ever had was when I was sixteen years old. Brother Elijah Bott of Brigham City brought it to Mendon we ate pieces of brown sugar for our candy. We went to house parties and had refreshments and sang songs. We used to go to Wellsville in our wagons and sleighs to dances. The Richard’s dance hall was one of the finest in the Valley. We always enjoyed dances.
I married Jacob F. Sorensen on December 1st, 1873. We went to Salt Lake City in a wagon with a nice team of horses. Aunt Seny Sorensen Richards went with us. We stayed with Aunt Mary (Sorensen) Hill. We were married in the old Endowment House. The roads were good. We made the trip in two days. We stayed in Ogden the first night and then went to Salt Lake. When we came home to Mendon we moved to the lot just north of where we now live. We had ten children as follows: Ann Louzina, Fredrick Jacob, Minnie Susan, James Parley, Ammon Ambrose, Clara May, Ethel Maud, Franklin Earl, Chauncey Leon and Claud Afton. We celebrated our Golden Wedding in 1923, and plan to celebrate our 60th wedding anniversary December 1st of this year.
My husband went on a mission to the North Western States. I had nine children under ten years of age. My baby was just six months old. We seemed to get along very well while he was away. I have been especially interested in the Relief Society and have been a member of it for nearly fifty years. At present I have eight living children, forty-two grandchildren and ten great grandchildren living in Utah, Idaho, and California.1
1. Life Sketch of Susan Hancock Sorensen, Susan Hancock Sorensen, as related to Verna M. Sorensen, February 1933.