Nathan Moroni and Sarah Singleton Thornton
Sarah Singleton was born October 27, 1861 at American Fork, Utah County, Utah. She was the third child and first daughter born to John Singleton by his wife, Hannah Binns. Her father was one of the first to break away from the Fort in American Fork and homestead land for himself. He settled near Utah Lake on what was known as the Binns farm.
When Sarah was four years and two months old, her father died, leaving his young wife with five children; the youngest only a few months old. We know very little about Sarah's childhood. But being on a farm and with a widowed mother, would suggest she had to learn to work at a young age.
When she was six years and three months old, Sarah's mother married Joseph Wild. Mr. Wild was a school teacher. Then to the family came four more babies, two girls and two boys, the second boy, Joseph Reuben, died as a child.
Sarah's mother was a midwife, going to help the sick and deliver babies any time of the day or night. Young Sarah had to take on the job of caring for the family and keeping the home going to help their mother.
Sarah was courted by a young man from a neighboring farm named Nathan Moroni Thornton. He was born November 28, 1855, and was the twelfth child of Oliver E. and Mary (Griswold) Thornton, there being four girls and eight boys in their family. Two boys [Dennis' note - and two girls, four children in all] died as children. Nathan's mother died when he was two years and six months old.
His father married a widow, Margaret [McAlvin] Stoddard. She had two girls by a first marriage, Mary and Dinah. This was the mother Nathan remembered.
Sarah Singleton and Nathan Moroni Thornton were married in the old Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah. Later when the Temple was completed, they went through the Temple.
Nathan and Sarah's wedding picture
To this couple twelve children were born, three died when they were babies; Mary Ella (January 1, 1882 - March 8, 1883), Bertha Maud (July 2, 1883 - January 14 1885) and Hazel Olive (November 1, 1894 - November 13, 1894). Those surviving to adulthood were Cora (November 11, 1884 - October 2, 1951) ,
George and Cora Hayes
Laura [my grandmother] (September 1, 1886 - September 28, 1950),
Ed and Laura Anderson [my father's parents]
Hannah Bell (July 6, 1888 - September 10, 1979),
Hannah Thornton and Niels Nielsen
Sarah Ethel (July 5, 1889 - 23 January, 1966),
Sarah Ethel Thornton and Thomas Trinnaman
Nathan Alonzo (August 28, 1891 - May 3, 1980),
Florence Cook and Nathan Alonzo Thornton (Uncle Lon)
Mark Binns (April 6, 1893 - February 17, 1974),
Mary Ide and Mark Binns Thornton
Edmund Earl (October 8, 1895 - December 20, 1978),
Pearl Connell and Edmund Earl Thornton
Velma (July 21, 1897 - April 16, 1979)
Velma Thornton and Golden Porter Moffett
and Joseph Ernest (August 3, 1900 - April 10, 1925)
Nathan's stepmother was very fond of him. When he and Sarah were married she wanted them to come to live with her in her home. But Sarah had other ideas. She wanted a home of her own. Nathan built a small log house with a dirt roof in which they spent the first three years of their married life. He later built three large rooms with a pantry, built out of logs that Nathan hewed to make them square. He put hard wood floors in the new house of which Sarah was very proud. Sarah took great pride in her home and family, and loved and respected her husband.
With the farming to do, wood to haul from nearby canyons, an orchard to care for, fruit to pick, garden to harvest, new babies coming; yet this young couple found time to take their family into the canyon for a few days each summer to enjoy nature at its best, and to teach their children a love of the out-of-doors. Here they learned to cook over an open fire and to care for themselves in the mountains.
Sarah would load her children into a buggy and go visiting with her sisters and brothers so the children could know their cousins. She also enjoyed visiting her aunts on these trips, more particularly the quilting bees at Nell Pulley's This was always a source of happy memories for her girls.
Nathan would take the children to the lake to fish, bringing home fish for his family. Some he kept in a pond on his farm which was fed by a spring. These could be caught again when the family wanted fresh fish. Others he would smoke to be stored for winter use. He claimed apple wood was the best for smoking meat and fish.
The lake offered other things besides fishing to this family of ten, as they also enjoyed swimming there.
They always kept bees, which Sarah took care of since Nathan was allergic to their sting. On the days she extracted the honey, Sarah packed a lunch for Nathan and sent him out early to the, farm so she could have a good full day to do her work with the bees. She fed this honey to her family and they made honey candy in the winter, but she reserved some to trade at the store for sugar needed for canning. She canned fruits from her own orchard.
After the crops were in and the apples stored, Nathan would take the extra apples and make cider. Apple cider makes a very nice drink while it is still soft, so the family could use this fruit juice for a while, then what was left could stay in the barrels until spring to be used as vinegar the following years. One year some of the men in town found out that Nathan had some hard cider in his cellar. Needing some money, Nathan agreed to sell them some. They were planning to drink it right there on the Thornton lot, but Sarah had another idea and when she saw what was going on, took her broom and cleared the lot of those men.
Nathan did not care to go to church, but would harness the horse to the buggy to allow Sarah to take the older children while he kept the small ones home with him.
Winter with its long evenings was a time of joy and happiness in this home. Apples were brought in and polished, corn popped over the wood fire, honey candy cooked and pulled; but the highlight of the evening was when Nathan and Sarah would read to the family or tell stories of the families as they crossed the plains to come to Utah.
September 28, 1900, eight weeks after Joseph was born, Sarah was taken from this happy family. She should have stayed with her mother longer to have regained her strength after the birth of her twelfth child. Her mother wanted her to, but she had canning to do and felt her family needed her at home to care for them. So, too soon, she tried to do the work she was too weak to do. The death of the mother changed plans for her family. Cora, the eldest girl canceled plans to go to Provo to continue her education. She and Laura would stay and help their father with the younger children. This they did until Laura married on April 6, 1904. Cora then came to Salt Lake to work.
Sarah's mother, Hannah Binns Singleton Wild, wanting to help out with her daughter's children, took the baby Joseph, and to help her tend the baby when she had to be away from home caring for the sick, took his sister Hannah to her home also. Sarah Ethel went to live with Nathan's sister, Alice Mott who had no children of her own and had married into a polygamist family as a second wife. One of Sarah Ethel's early memories of her mother was seeing her stand in the doorway panting for her breath. Her mother had developed a large goiter which made it hard for her to do all the things she had to do.
At this time Nathan was in need of help in the home so he brought his daughters Hannah and Sarah home to take over the job of caring for the family; Hannah and Joseph, now five years old, from their grandmother Hannah Wild, and Sarah from Alice Mott's. Both girls had been homesick and were glad to return to their home and family members. Hannah married on February 16, 1905. This left Sarah alone to care for the family. This she did until she married on April 26, 1909. Sarah did not want to move to Idaho with her father but kept Joseph with her. Velma stayed on with Laura so that she and Joseph could finish school.
Nathan sold his farm in American Fork, Utah and moved to Burley, Idaho taking his three oldest boys: Nathan Alonzo, Mark Binns and Edmond Earl. When school closed Laura and her family and Velma joined their father in Idaho [And that, my readers, is how the Andersons ended up in Idaho].
Nathan had built a two room house, planted a small orchard and had a garden spot. Nathan's health was not good so Alonzo worked the farm and did the hard work with Mark and Earl to help. Nathan milked cows and tended garden and kept the farm implements in repair.
In 1913, young Joseph, now thirteen, left Sarah's home to make his home with his father in Idaho, at which time Velma felt she was old enough to join her father and keep house for him.
Nathan farmed until his health failed after which he rotated living with one or the other of his children. The last few years were spent with his eldest daughter, Cora.
Nathan had one more sorrow to face, the death of his youngest son, Joseph, in 1926 [Church and other records show a death year of 1926. He died suddenly of an undetermined ailment].
Nathan died February 1, 1935 in Rigby, Idaho. He was survived by eight children, 38 grandchildren and 27 great grandchildren.