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LOUISE ELIZABETH LUSTY PENROSE
Written by Mrs. Frank W. Penrose
for Camp 11, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers
Oct 25, 1933
Louise Elizabeth Lusty Penrose was born in Cheltenham, Gloucester, England, on 20 June 1842. She was the only daughter of John Charles and Ann Price Lusty. She had one brother, Charles Lusty, born after the death of their father. She had two half brothers older than herself, William and James Underwood. Her mother was twice left a widow, each time with very young children. Elizabeth never realized any difference between her own and her half-brothers.
Her mother was a very proud woman and worked hard to educate her children and prepare them by proper home training for useful citizenship. She sent them to an Episcopalian School, the best in their town, and paid for it by the week. In the home she taught them to be industrious and honorable, modest and well mannered. The very simplest meal was set and served elegantly.
The LDS Missionaries enjoyed visiting her home as it was so clean and she was an excellent cook. They never knew just how much she sacrificed herself to make them comfortable. She sewed in a dressmaking establishment to earn the living for her little family.
At one time during her absence from home, while the children were in the care of a maid, Elizabeth was severely scalded on the legs, which caused her long months of suffering and came near causing her death. She carried the scars from this experience all her life.
While she was quite a young girl she took a course in dressmaking, both fitting and fine sewing. This proved to be a great blessing to her family and others in the early days of Utah.
She was an active member of the LDS church in her native land. All members who planned to go to Zion paid regularly into the immigration fund. When she was at work one Thursday, she got word from The Church immigration officers that as she had the most money in the fund and there was room for her, she could leave Liverpool on the following Monday with a company of Saints.
Her brothers thought it was crazy for their mother to allow their only sister to go so far away and without any of them to protect her, although the mother was grieved and worried she said she feared to hinder her as the way had been opened for the trip and was no doubt the right course to follow. Her mother and her brother James saw her off on the sailing vessel called the William Tapscott.1
An ocean voyage in those days was not the pleasure trip that it is today. The food was poor and there was scarcely enough of it. She was often hungry and frightened. She was only 18 years of age at that time. They were six weeks at sea.
She crossed the plains with the ox-team and hand cart company of Captain Daniel MacRae, walking the greater part of the distance. She was greatly shocked at the language used by the teamsters as they drove their oxen along. She called it the “hellin’ and damnin,” and lectured them about it.2
She was known as the “Nightingale” of the company because of her beautiful voice. After walking all day she would sing for the weary travelers gathered around the camp fires and would induce others to join in singing the songs of Zion. No doubt, as they traveled so slowly across the dreary plains her mind often went back to her beautiful home. Cheltenham was a city of retired army officers. It was an inland city and the flowers and lawns and homes can only be compared with those in California.3
When the company arrived in Utah, Elizabeth Lusty was met by her friends, Brother and Sister Penrose, who took her to their home. She very soon had several proposals of marriage always proposals to go into polygamy, which was the “order of the day.” These annoyed rather than pleased her. She often related how, when it was known she was going to marry Brother Penrose, people would remark that if she married him she would soon be a widow as he was not strong and would never make “old bones.”
She was married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City to Charles W. Penrose on 31 January 1863. They made their home in Farmington, all the family living in the small log cabin of two rooms. One was so small it could hardly be called a room, being only large enough for one bed. Her first child was born in that little log cabin.
Farmington is famous for its windstorms, and one of the worst in all history was experienced by the pioneers during that winter. On one bitter cold night the wind blew the door off its hinges, and broke the one small window. Piling boxes of clothing and whatever could be moved against the door, was of no avail, so while Brother Penrose went out in the storm for help, Elizabeth knew that the door must be kept in place, as there was illness in the home. She braced her head against it and when help arrived she was almost frozen and it was found necessary to rub her with snow before she was revived.
In 1931 Lulu Penrose Wallace visited the Lusty home in England. The home still stood and was well kept. She describes Cheltenham as the most beautiful and interesting of all the cities that she visited on her trip to Europe.
Before the next winter her husband was called to go back to England on another mission. While he was away and thinking of their experiences with the winters in Farmington, he wrote that beautiful song which is called by critics “a literary classic,” “Blow Gently Ye Wild Winds.”
During the first winter after Elizabeth left England, her mother who had always been her close companion, grieved so much that her sons thought she would die, so they made preparations to join their sister in Utah. Eventually all the family came to Zion.4
Although Elizabeth Penrose endured many hardships, incident to pioneer life, nothing daunted her remarkable courage, cheerful spirit, or her faith in the Gospel.
While her husband was on his mission in the early days, she made a living for her family by sewing, which she did so beautifully. She often remarked with pride that there were never debts for her husband to pay for her when he would return from a mission. She was ever a real helpmate to him in every way, encouraging him always in his work for he church.
Aunt Lucetta, the first wife, had very poor health, and a result lost many of her babies in infancy. “Aunt Lizzie,” of whom we are writing, took upon herself the task of saving these babies by nursing them along with her own. This indeed was evidence of an unselfish and truly Christian spirit. We have heard her relate how, at one time, between them they had five babies who were all too young to dress themselves not one of them able to put on a “shoe or a stocking.”
Elizabeth Penrose was the mother of ten children. As they grew up and could help her some, she took an active part in the dramatic and music of the wards, having sung in the choirs at Farmington, Logan, Ogden and Salt Lake City. In Salt Lake she was in the choir conducted by Prof. George Careless. For years she was an active visiting Relief Society Teacher in the Eleventh Ward, during which time she was able to do much good.
She was very timid about appearing in public and often told the Relief Society Officers that she would work and contribute to the cause in every possible way, but to please never call upon her to stand up in public to talk, as it frightened her so. She endeared herself to all with whom she came in contact because of her love for humanity and her willingness to lend a helping hand at every opportunity. In giving to those in need, she made no show of it, always remembering to “not let the left hand know what the right did.”
She was blessed with the quick wit and rich wholesome humor which made life enjoyable and interesting for herself and her family and friends. She brought up her children to be substantial citizens and as a result has living in Salt Lake City, three sons and four daughters, all of whom own their own homes. They all have families who are developing into a great posterity.
With all of her family around her on one of her last birthdays, her husband remarked with sincere and deep emotion that she had been a real helpmate and had never on any occasion hindered him from a church or civic duty. He expressed how much he appreciated her beautiful life, which had been devoted to unselfish service.
On October 3, 1925, the life of this wonderful mother ended in her own home in the Eleventh Ward, where she had resided continuously for 48 years.
1 Livermore, 5 May 1862 arrive NY 6 June 1862, 42 day passage, Master, J Bell 1525 tons, 807 LDS passengers, W. Gibbs.
2 Louise Elizabeth Lusty, Age 19. Listed under Homer Duncan Company, leaving 22 July 1862, arrive Salt Lake City 21-24 Sept 1862, 500 individuals.
3 In 1931 Lulu Penrose Wallace visited the Lusty home in England. The home still stood and was well kept. She describes Cheltenham as the most beautiful and interesting of all the cities that she visited on her trip to Europe.
4 Louisa’s brother Charles John Lusty, b 7
Sept 1843, Cheltenham, traveled to Utah with the Samuel D. White
Company, 1866. Left 10 July 1866. Arrived 5 Sept 1866. The company
included 230 individuals and 46 wagons. Charles had two wives, 14
children and died 9 Dec 1930.
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