Friday, August 1, 2014

Family Friday: A Misconception of Samuel Roskelley

As I have mentioned before, my grandpa has been working on his life-history. Just today, he and my grandmother have found an answer to a misconception that has been bothering people for a long time. I asked them if I could share what they discovered on my blog, and they told me that I could.

For a long time there has been a misunderstanding about one of my great-great-great grandparents. Samuel Roskelley was a very prominent member of Cache Valley back when it was first settled. As many early LDS pioneers did, he had plural marriages. His second wife, my great-great-great grandmother's name was Mary Roberts Roskelley.

For many years, people have had a misunderstanding of the way that Samuel treated my grandmother. In his personal history, he told of how Mary lived in a dirt roof log cabin that leaked every time in rained. He then stated that she lived there for thirty-nine years.

People have taken this to mean that Mary lived all those years in the three-bedroom, dirt-roofed log house that leaked every-time it rained for thirty-nine years, before he finally build her a nice five-room frame home. My grandparents have told me that a lot of people criticized Samuel Roskelley for not providing better for his wife. His other wives had very nice homes, and they couldn't understand why Samuel didn't prevent Mary from living in such despicable conditions.

However, as my grandpa was comparing dates for his history, he found something very exciting. He found that the frame home was actually began only eleven years after Mary moved to the farm. It took him five years to complete it, so it was completed on the sixteenth year. She lived on the farm for 38 (again, my grandpa recalculated using the dates that were given) years, and for 22 of those years she lived very comfortably in a nice home.

Samuel Roskelley was a very busy man with many responsibilities, both within the church and with his own personal work. From what my grandparents were saying, it sounds like he did his very best to care for all of his wives and children. As he built the house, he also caused some fresh water springs to be pumped to the house so she no longer had to fetch and carry water to the house.
This is a picture of my great-great-great grandmother
Mary Roskelley was a very impressive woman who worked hard her whole life and raised wonderful children. I am grateful to have such amazing ancestors. Hopefully this help clear up the misconceptions about Samuel Roskelley. He spent a lot of time and energy helping to make my grandmother comfortable and happy.


  1. Your mother has told me that story, and how it has been a struggle to understand. I am so glad it's not what people thought. It helps me, too... I have studied a lot about polygamy and polyandry in the early church and the difficulty and sacrifice it was. But if it didn't happen, I wouldn't be here, quite frankly. So. I guess I am also grateful for it.