MARGARET MANN FOUTZ

MARGARET MANN FOUTZ

Margaret Mann (Munn) was born in Thomastown, Franklin, Pennsylvania on 11 December 1801.  Her parents, David Mann and Mary Rock, had twelve children.  Her father died when she was four years old, leaving her mother with six boys and five girls; one child died in infancy.  Seven years later the mother died, and the following year Margaret was taken into the home and into the hearts of Daniel and Ann Borier.  They were kind, religious people and were Protestants.

The Borier’s kept a tavern.  They had a son who devotedly loved their foster daughter and wished to make her his wife.  So pure and unselfish was their love for Margaret that they refused their consent because they felt their son was not worthy of this girl, who they loved and treated as their own daughter.

Margaret was blessed with wonderful health and delighted to pay her foster parents with service.  She milked cows, churned, washed dishes, went to market and often got out of bed at midnight to prepare a meal for some delayed traveler.  She could not remember that she ever was tired.

This kind couple provided for her education in the best way they could.  There was a little log schoolhouse near, with a German teacher.  The only study was reading the German language, which was spoken exclusively in her home.  “Our teacher was a quiet man.” She said, “He would march us up in front by rapping on the table with a stick. When through, we would take our seats.”

When Margaret was fourteen years old she was a woman of responsibility and was destined to soon meet her future husband.  To their home one day came a fine looking young man of fair complexion to borrow an auger.  So impressed was she with his looks and personality that she inquired his name.  It was Jacob Foutz, who was of German descent.  “Right then,” Margaret said, “I decided that he was the man I wanted to marry.”  After a smooth sailing courtship of five years, they were married 22 July 1822 (or 1819) by a priest in Greencastle and went to housekeeping in their brother-in-law’s house.

The young husband was a bricklayer by trade and made a good living.  They moved from Pennsylvania to Star County, Ohio where they lived for several years.

Until this time, Margaret had never joined any church.  Here in Ohio, they both became Methodists.  They traveled by ox-team to Richland County in the same state hoping to better their condition.  Soon after arriving in Richland County, Jacob was away attending a two-day Methodist revival and while he was gone, two men called at their home saying they were preachers of the Gospel.  They asked if they might stay all night.  Margaret directed them to their neighbors, although she knew they had no more room than the Foutz’s had.  But that night she attended their meeting and said she did not believe a word they said.

Her husband returned the next day and they both attended the meeting that evening and listened to Elders Derby and Tripple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  “My husband,” said Margaret, “returned home that evening a believer in this new religion in spite of the fact that he had just returned the day before from the Methodist revival and he said, “This is just what I have been looking for.”  The following day he was baptized into the church.  I called him “green” their, but a month later, I too recognized the truth and joined the Church.”

Jacob Foutz was soon called to preside over the branch of the church there.  He had a throat or lung infection and it had reached the stage where he could not speak above a whisper but he said, “If the Lord wants me to preside He will restore my health,” and he was administered to by the Elders and made whole immediately.

Said Margaret, “The following summer we moved to Missouri to join the other Saints and we bought land on Crooked River and while here my husband was chosen with a few others to guard Brother Haun’s mill as a mob had threatened to destroy it.

There is quoted here some incidents relating to the Haun’s Mill Massacre, recorded late in life as she recalled them:

“I was at home with my little family of five children and could hear the firing of guns.  In a moment I knew that the mob was upon us.  Soon a runner came telling the women and children to hasten into the woods and secret themselves.  This we did in all haste without taking anything to keep us warm; and had we been fleeing from the scalping knife of the Indian we would not have made greater haste.  As we ran from house to house, gathering as we went, we finally numbered about forty or fifty women and children.

“We ran about three miles into the woods and there huddled together, spreading what few blankets and shawls we chanced to have upon the ground for the children.  There we remained until two o’clock the next morning before we heard anything of the result of the firing at the mill.  Who can imagine our feelings during this dreadful suspense?  When the news did come, lo!  What terrible news!  Fathers, brothers, husbands killed!

“We now took up the line of march for home, but alas what a home!  Who would we find there?  Now with our minds full of the most fearful forebodings, we retraced those three long, dreary miles.  As we were returning I saw Brother Myers who had been shot through the body.  In that dreadful state he had crawled on his hands and knees about two miles to his home.

“On the way to the mill, in the first house I came to, there were three dead men.  One, a Brother McBride, was a terrible sight to behold, having been cut and chopped and mangled with a corn cutter.  I was told he was a survivor of the Revolutionary War.

“After I arrived at my house with my children, I hastily made a fire to warm them and then started for the mill, about two miles distant.  My children would not remain at home as they said, “If father and mother are going to be killed, we want to be with them.”  I hurried on, looking for my husband and finally found him in an old house covered with some rubbish.  He had been shot in the thigh.  I there rendered him all the aid that I could, but it was evening before I could get him home.

“I saw thirteen more dead bodies at the shop and witnessed the beginning of the burial which consisted in throwing the men that the mob had killed into a vault that formerly was intended for a well.  They threw the bodies in headfirst or feet first as the case might be.  When they had thrown in three my heart sickened and I could not stand it more.  I turned away to keep from fainting.

“My husband and another brother had drawn dead bodies over themselves and pretended to be dead.  By so doing they saved their own lives and heard what some the mob said.  After the firing was over two little boys that were in the shop begged for their lives, but no, one of the mob said, “They will make Mormons “ and he put the muzzle of his gun to the boys’ heads and blew their brains out.”

“Oh, what change one short day had brought!  Here were our friends dead and dying, one in particular asked me to take a hammer and give him relief by knocking his brains out, so great was his agony.  And in all this we knew not what moment our enemies would be upon us again.  All this suffering, not because we had broken any law, on the contrary, it was part of our religion to keep the laws of the land, but because the evil spirit was at work among the children of men.

“In the evening Brother Evans got a team and wagon and conveyed my husband to our home.  He carried him in and placed him on the bed.  I then had to attend him alone, without a doctor or anyone to tell me what to do for him.  Six days later my husband, himself, helped me to extract the bullet, which was buried deep in the thick part of his thigh and was flattened like a knife.  We did this with a kitchen knife.

“During the first ten days the mob came every day with blackened faces (more like demons from the infernal pit than like human beings) cursing and swearing that they would kill the old Mormon preacher, who was my husband.  At times like these when human nature would quail, I have felt the power of God upon me to that degree that I have stood before the mob fearless although a woman and alone, these demons in human shape had to succumb to the power which they knew not of.  During these days of danger I sometimes hid my husband out in the woods behind our home and covered him with leaves.  When he was able to sit up he was dressed as a woman and put at the spinning wheel.  In this way his life was protected.  Thus, during my husband’s illness was I harassed by mobocratic violence.”

In another account she tells of how one afternoon a mob of sixty or seventy men came, their faces were blackened and they were riding full speed.  Margaret was on her way to get a pail of water when the mob spied her and began shooting.  She threw herself behind a large fallen tree and lay there unhurt until they left boasting, “there is one woman less.”

When Margaret returned to her home and five children, her son came and told her to run for her life to the woods.  Later, twenty-eight bullets were cut out of the log where she had first fallen and many more were picked up from the ground where she had fallen.  All that night she, with some forty or fifty women and children huddled together in the woods with a few shawls and blankets.

The story is told that on one occasion when the mob to Sister Foutz’s looking for her husband, she felt the power of God upon her to such an extent that she totally unafraid.  She commanded the mobbers, inasmuch as they had killed and injured the men of the community, to kill and dress a pig for her and her little ones to eat.  These men trembled before this little woman and did as she had told them to do.  Sister Foutz often told how she surprised herself on such occasions, but she was humble and gave credit and thanks to her God for this extra courage and strength.

President Brigham Young was also among the number at Haun’s Mill and although the balls flew around him like hail, he was not wounded.

While in Missouri, Susan, the eldest child, was very sick with a fever.  She had been speechless for twenty-four hours.  The Prophet Joseph was traveling through the country and stopped a half-mile from their home.  They sent for him and he sent two of the brethren in his stead.  They knelt down and prayed and then administered to her.  The next morning Susan got up and ate her breakfast and that same morning called at their home and shook hands with everyone and said, “I knew she would be all right this morning.”

In February 1839 the Saints were driven by the mobs from Missouri.  They took refuge in Illinois and Iowa.  Margaret’s husband, Jacob, in the Nauvoo area successively served as a Bishop’s Counselor, Bishop of the Nauvoo Fifth and Eighth Wards.  He was a Bishop when the Saints were driven from Nauvoo.

“I received my endowments and second anointing in the Nauvoo Temple,” Margaret tells us.

Jacob Foutz was a captain of the second fifty in his company in crossing the plains, which started in June 1847 from Winter Quarters.  They arrived in Salt Lake Valley 25 September 1847.  Margaret and her husband worked hard to get settled in this new land.  Jacob worked long hours in building their adobe house, hauling logs and sawing them into flooring and with hand saws.  He had never fully recovered from the wound he received at Haun’s Mill and with the hardships in crossing the plains his life was shortened.  Five month after arriving in Salt Lake City he passed away, leaving his wife and children, the youngest but five week old.  Jacob was Bishop of his ward in Salt Lake City until his death.  Their earthly possessions besides the adobe house consisted of seven bushels of wheat, two cows, one city lot, and five acres of sagebrush land.  Of their twelve children, five died without raising families.  (Margaret speaks in one biography as being a widow and eight children.)  The rest of their children all grew to manhood and womanhood, raised a numerous posterity, which is scattered from Canada to Mexico, and as far as we know, they all belong to the Church of their parents.

In March 1852 Margaret moved with her family to Pleasant Grove, Utah.  They first located on the land where the J. P. Hayes home now stands. (1937) Later they moved into a log cabin on the lot where the old Foutz home stood for many years.  This was on the northwest corner of First West and Center Street.  At that time there was a rock wall around the city, forming a fort.  This wall bordered the north side of the Foutz property.  February 20, 1882, George S. Clark, first Bishop of Pleasant Grove, wrote to the Deseret News:  “We have only five spinning wheels at present in operation, but hope soon to have many more so that we can have some of the best music in our domestic circles.”  Margaret, it seems had one of these five wheels and together with her daughter, Margaret, they spun wool for their neighbors.  They received wool for pay, which they made into homespun material and socks, selling the same for a good price.

In spite of the long hours spent in earning a living, their life in this pioneer country was not all toil.  Many evenings were spent in merrymaking at the Church socials and in homes of neighbors.  They often gathered for quilting bees, wool carding bees and so forth.  On these occasions the men folk would join them later in the evenings when the chores were done and they all enjoyed parched corn and apples or some simple refreshment, which the hostess was able to furnish.

Margaret M. Foutz was a splendid neighbor, independent, and she strictly practiced the Mormon creed, “Mind your own business.”  She was well liked by her neighbors.  She and her family enjoyed the friendship and association all in the little community.  Being a good neighbor and a good manager, Margaret found time to do for others as well as her own.  She was always ready to help and accommodate whenever she could.  She was an ideal Pioneer woman, honest, frugal, extremely neat, and made the best of every condition.  Her granddaughter, Mary Abigail White West, said of her:

“She could live in a hovel

And make of it a house of prayer

With peace for all who entered there.”

In 1876, when Margaret was living alone in her log home, one of her neighbors, Annie Swenson, who later became the wife of Ezra F. Walker, wrote the story of her life as Margaret dictated it to her.  The following paragraph is taken from this story:  “I am now in my seventy-sixth year, the mother of twelve children, fifty-two grandchildren and twelve great grandchildren.  I have witnessed the growth of our American government under the inspired document, the Constitution of the United States, and have rejoiced under the wise administration of pure and good laws.  And I have also witnessed law set at defiance, and mobocratic violence run rampant, yea, verily, when the wicked rule the people mourn.”

Later for some years this pioneer mother lived with her daughter, Catherine.  Her daughter, Maranda, did her washing and ironing and often fixed dainty food for her, but the mother was independent and to the last, chose to do for herself all that she could do.  Old as she was, she was good-natured and always looked on the bright side of everything.

On the morning of Aug. 5, 1896, Margaret arose as usual for breakfast.  She tidied up her room and seemingly was in good health but before noon, she had passed away.  Only her daughter, Catherine, was with her at the time.

This mother of twelve children, at the time of her death—95 years old—had 70 grandchildren, 126 great grandchildren, and 9 great, great grandchildren.

(from the files of Mary Jean Caldwell.)

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Author: Heather Hoyt

I'm a stay-at-home mom living in Wyoming and I like to write, take photographs, and play with my kids.

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