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Peninah Shropshire Cotton Wood

March 12, 1827 - May 28, 1879

Peninah was born 12 March, 1827, in Johnson County Illinois. She was the daughter of Caleb Cotton, and Nancy Meredith. Her grandparents were Samuel Cotton and Sarah Crouch, and James Merrideth and Nancy Fulkerson. The last mentioned was a full blood Indian. She was very proud of her race. She was the first of her blood to enter plural marriage in this dispensation, and as far as we can find in history, she was the first of the descendants of Lehi to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. The Cotton progenitors came over on the Mayflower.

She was the youngest of twelve children. She was on orphan at the age of 19, when she married Daniel Wood on the 21 January 1846. Her marriage took place in the Nauvoo Temple four months prior to the dedication, 30 May 1846. She was present at the dedication, as her husband was one of the secret guard.

Her first child was born 27 January 1847 in Kanesville, Iowa, while they were b being driven westward from their homes by the mobs. In the early days of the church, they made home after hme (home), only to be driven from them further and further West by their enemies.

In February 1846, Brigham Young began making preparations for the great exodus west, to the place where the Saints could live in peace. By the first of April 1847, Daniel Wood and familyi, consisting of his firstwife, Mary Snyder and her five children, his second wife Peninah and her three month old baby, were ready to start the long journel. All the heavy work of preparation fell on Peninah, because Mary had been a semi-invalid since the death of her son, in 1845. Peninah first came into the Wood home as a hired girl to care for Mary and her children. Her Her kindness and efficiency had made Daniel love her, so they had been married. She continued to nurse and care for Mary for many years, until her death in Oct.. 1873. Peninah loved and cared for Mary's children as tho (to) they were her own.

Quoted from Daniels History:

We had two wagons, one carriage, four yoke of oxen, four cows, one span of horses, food enough for a year. That was all we could haul. We often hitchec (hitched) the cows to the wagons to rest the horses. The wagons were loaded heavily with furniture, utensils, clothing, all kinds of provisions, and bedding. Thus the journey began.

One day our President called us to a halt to tell us that he had been orders to get give hundred men from our camp of Isreal to go fight the Mexicans. After afew days the number was furnished. That meant the women would have to drive the wagons. These five hundred men were the Mormon Battalion.

Our travel was slow for we were heavily loaded and there were no roads. When our supplies were getting low, our President prepared a company of nine wagons to be sent back to Missouri for supplies. Since I hadn't a dollar in my pocket and my provisions were short, I decided to return with them to get a fresh supply. We found it necessary to part with clothing, furniture etc. to exchange for food-stuff. Leaving my wives and children in the howling wilderness alone, I trusted God to protect them.

On our return, as we were nearing camp, my two wives and my son, John came to meet us with tears of gratitude in their eyes. They were so happy to see us back safely.

Traveling on thru the middle of Sept. we came to an Indian village where there were some half breeds called the Sioux tribe. Here President Young called us to a halt and prepared to winter in this place. The Saints named it Winter Quarters. It was near Omaho, Nebraska. I was advised to stay behind and plant and provide provisions for the Saints. This is the reason I did not come into Utah with the first company in 1847.

Early in the month of April, 1848, as soon as the grass was grown enough to feed on we began to make preparations for our journey. We had three wagons, four yoke of oxrn (oxen), three cows, a span of horses, a carriage in which Mary rode with the small children. One wagon was equipped for three pigs, a pen with 24 chickens, three geese. Yes, and we had a cat, and we made a place for her. She was our pet. One of the other wagons was equipped with furniture, food, and clothing.. The third wagon was loaded with farm equipment.

(Peninah was a God sent to these people, as Sacagawea, the Indian maid had been to Lewis and Clark's expidition. She knew berries and plants that were good for food and medicine. And she made moccasins, gloves and clothing from skins and from cloth she wove herself. She also had to drive one of the wagons.)

It was a sight to see our wagons correll in a circle for the night. With the greatest of care, each one found his place.

After traveling safely across the plains, we landed in Salt Lake Valley 23 of July 1848. Not two hours had passed after landing, before we were planting corn and potatoes etc.

In the fall of 1849 we moved to what was called North Mill Creek, where we made our first home, a log house 14 feet by 18 feet. By the 15th of Nov. we were settled in this log home quite comfortable. Peninah's second baby was born 8 Dec. 1848. Though she was expecting this baby, she had driven a wagon across the plains, all the way.

Quoted from her son Joseph C. Wood's History:

She and her husband lived one year in this cabin on the upper road (4th East) on the side of Mill Creek, where Heber C. Kimball Grist mill was built, years later. There the wolves howled at night, and bear were often seen. She helped colonize Woods Cross when there were only six families there. She bore seven children, six boys and one girl.

She went thru the cricket famine, which lasted three years. She knew no fear, and was never sick until she reached the age of 44 years. She was 54 when she died of a tumor caused by the hardships and poor care in childbirth.

Home made clothes were part of her house work, making her own clothes as well as the childrens. She took worn out clothes to make caps for the boys. She braded straw for hats for the menfolk, her daughter and herself. (Many times she made hats for the men who were hired to help clear the land.)

She helped milk cows, drove the ox team, was an excellent hand with horse teams, and had a very tender feeling for dumb animals. She knitted the stockings for her family, from wool off into warp, as it was called then, to the loom to make cloth from which their clothes were made.

She was a lover of horses, taking a horse-back ride for an outing, going sometimes into Salt Lake City and back in one day.

I, her son Joseph C. Wood, have made this trip with her as a growing boy.

She knew how to strike a steel on a flint, or rub two boards together to start a fire, as matched were unknown. She could cover a pine knot up in the hot ashes and coals so it would keep a fire for days.

She made moccasins for shoes, homemade brooms to sweep the crude floors. She doctored the sick horses and cows and raised motherless colts many times. She made tallow candles, knew how to braid rope, made heavy thread for the mens clothing, and kept house with only a fireplace for heat and cooking. She baked bread in an old iron kettle on the hot coals. She made hominy out of corn, and cloth out of hemp, and cured all kinds of meat. She always took the wild animals that were killed to rend out grease for leather and harness oil..

Her summer times were always busy with ;lanting (planting) ner (her) own kitchen garden, and caring for it, drying all kinds of fruits, making her own molasses, syrups,, sour kraut, and pickles, for their supply during the long, hard winters. She knew how to make her own gloves, and those for the men fold as well.

She was a real colonizer, and was never known to quarrel, never having much to saw, but as brave as a mother lioness. And as for determination, she learned her alphabet with the little children, all at home except the last child. Struggling with it continually, she mastered the undertaking until she could write to her folks in the east, and read their letters. She also studied the Book of Mormon, which was her favorite book. She preferred reading to attending meets of gatherings. She attended one Relief Society meeting in the new ward of West Bountiful, and on returning to her family said, "Well, I think I have heard more of the bad things of our neighbors than I wish I had."

She spent her evenings kitting by candlelight or patching or brading straw for hats, never idling one moment of her time.. She was always an early riser. She always said "come children", never using the word go.

She is the mother of one of the very few living children that was brought from the East to Utah, in fact we only know of one other. He is D.C. Wood of Blackfoot, Idaho, 88 years of age.

She never knew anything but continual want, but she was never known to complain or speak of rude things. She was an honest and true as it is possible for a human to be, a true Christian. She was always humble and prayerful, and was not able to endure a liar. She was a true Christian colonizer and I know that God loves her..

By her son Jos. C. Wood
Written by his daughter
Kate W.. Anderson
18 May 1934

Retyped by Staci Bailey
August 31, 2003

Daniel and Peninah's Children
Tribute to Peninah written by Peter C. Wood
Obituary of Peninah Shropshire Cotton Wood

Daniel Wood History
Daniel Wood Cemetery
Daniel Wood Orchestra