- Amanda Hagle Sweeten
- Noble Woman Laid to Rest
Amanda Hagle Sweeten
Amanda Hagle Sweeten was born October 28th, 1849 in Warwick, Lambton County, Ontario, Canada, the daughter of Luke Hagle and Lucy Ann Chrysler. She grew up in the community her ancestors had helped settle in Revolutionary War days.
In 1868, she became acquainted with Robert Sweeten, a young Mormon boy who had returned to Canada from Utah to attend to some legal matters. After a brief courtship they were married February 24th, 1869 and for a year or so make their home in Canada. Here her first child, Martha Emma, was born. While her baby was still very small, her husband decided he wanted to return to Utah, but Amanda, or “Mandy,” as he called her, refused to go. She had heard that anyone who went among the Mormons and did not join their church would be killed. It took much gentle persuasion on his part to convince her to believe otherwise, but finally she relented and together they made the trip by way of the newly completed transcontinental railroad.
To the young girl who had been reared in the long established communities of eastern Canada, the rigors of pioneer life must have been a trying experience. She had probably never seen dirt roofed log cabin and a new one became her home until her husband could provide a better one. They settled in Mendon, Cache County which Robert had helped survey before he returned to Canada. Although a member of another church, she soon accepted the teachings of Mormonism and was baptized May 28th, 1871.
Unaccustomed as she was to pioneering, she quickly took her place in the community. Neighbors soon discovered that the young Canadian girl had a special talent for caring for the sick. Many times she was called to minister comfort and aid to those who were in need. In Mendon, as in many other early settlements, it was difficult to obtain the services of a doctor and women like Amanda were in great demand. One of her favorite remedies the family called “sweat and medic.” She would put the patient in a tub of hot water, with a hot rock to keep the water good and warm, then she would give something to make them vomit. The children testified that if you could stand the treatment you would surely be cured.
Amanda Sweeten was thrifty and industrious in her housekeeping. Many times her provisions were inadequate, but she always managed to serve wholesome meals to her family. She served in the Primary Association, where for years she took a motherly interest in the children of the ward. She taught them to sing and march and with gentleness and understanding she assisted them with their assignments. At the same time, she was capable of reprimanding the unruly. Her love of music caused her to make many sacrifices in order that her children might learn to play musical instruments. It was not easy, because many times it was necessary for her to assume added responsibilities as her children spent much of their time furnishing music for dances in neighboring communities.
In 1874, when her daughter Mary (Mame) was a baby, she returned to Canada to visit her family. Robert said she had been so homesick for Canada that he made her leave the baby in Mendon so he could be sure she would come back. That was the only time she ever went back to Canada; however, later her father and one of her brothers each made a visit to the west. In 1877, her older sister, Emma and her young family came from Canada and made their home in Mendon. The children of the two families were about the same ages and as they grew up they had much in common. An Aunt, Mary Nave and her family, also from Canada, also resided in Mendon for a time before moving into the upper Snake River Valley.
In 1898, Robert and his sons began taking up new land in the Curlew Valley of southern Idaho and because the “Homestead” laws required that the person filing the claim must live on the property a certain number of months out of the year, they spent the greater part of their time away from Mendon. These were lonely days for her as was disclosed in some of the letters she wrote to her children. She longed to be with them and share in their new adventures, but it was necessary for someone to remain behind to care for their property and animals and the family felt they were doing their mother a kindness by not subjecting her to the hardships of their new pioneering venture. Although the distance was great and the mode of travel slow and tedious, they made frequent visits to Mendon during the summer months and spent the winters there.
In March of 1903, the Sweeten family was called to mourn the death of their mother. She had been in poor health during the winter months and with the coming of a cold, damp spring became steadily worse and died March 8th. Funeral services were held in the Mendon meetinghouse and the children of the ward marched in a group from the home to the church behind the funeral cortege, because of the woman who had played such an important role in their lives.1
1. Amanda Hagle Sweeten, Author Unknown, Unpublished Manuscript.
From The Journal—
Mendon, March 11th, 1903.
Editor Journal: One of the noblest women of Mendon was laid to her final rest today. Sister Amanda Sweeten, wife of Brother Robert Sweeten, will no longer teach sons to the Primary children of this ward and oh! How the children will miss her. For many years she has labored in the Primary Association and in other organizations of the ward to help in uplifting the standard of morality and religion among the people whom she dearly loved and who in turn lover her.
The spirit of this noble woman took its flight from its mortal tabernacle last Sunday morning. Sister Sweeten, after an illness of about a month, died of heart failure and nervous prostration.
The large attendance at her funeral was a strong evidence of the high esteem in which she was held. The beautiful floral wreaths that covered her casket spoke of warmest love.
The speakers at the funeral service were: Patriarch Henry Hughes, Elders John M. Anderson, Joseph T. Wood, M. D. Bird, Jr., W. G. Reese and Bishop John H. Anderson, all of whom testified to her noble traits of character. Sister Sweeten was 53 years of age. She leave a husband and nine children, four sons and five daughters and many relatives to mourn her loss.1
1. The Journal, Logan Utah, Walter G. Reese, March 14, 1903.