Margaret Cooper West

The following is an excerpt from a chapter of Women of Faith in the Latter-days: Volume 1:  1778-1820 by Richard E. Turley Jr. and Brittany A. Chapman. This particular chapter is only available as a bonus in the ebook version, available from Deseret Book.

“Margaret Cooper was born on December 9, 1804, in Halifax, Montgomery County, Tennessee, the daughter of John and Esther Fletcher Cooper. As a young child, she exhibited a talent for healing. Her father died when Margaret was four, and her mother when she was fifteen. She missed her mother greatly and turned to religion two years later. When she was in her early twenties, Samuel Walker West asked her to marry him. She explained: “I prayed for the Lord to help me make a wise choice, and it seemed that the Spirit said, ‘You must pray together,’ to which I agreed. We were married the 29th of January, 1829, and I felt contented and happy.”


During a serious illness in 1830, Margaret dreamed that “the day of the Lord was at hand” and that “something great had either taken place, or was about to take place on the earth.” Shortly thereafter, two important events occurred that she thought fulfilled her dream. In 1834, a salesman came to the door with a book, Samuel Thompson’s New Guide to Health. Margaret’s interest in healing persuaded her to buy a copy for the then-huge sum of twenty dollars out of her own funds; thus began her lifelong dedication to the Thompsonian school of healing.

Soon afterward, two other men also arrived at the West home with another book, the Book of Mormon. Feeling that this was a sacred book, Margaret and her family accepted the gospel message taught to them by Elders David W. Patten and Warren Parrish. Margaret and Samuel were baptized in late 1834 and remained faithful the rest of their lives.

Because of increasing distrust and persecution, the family moved first to Kentucky and then, in 1842, to Nauvoo. The Wests left Nauvoo with other Saints in 1846, settling temporarily in Kanesville, Iowa. There Margaret’s tenth and last child was born, only to die within a year. Traveling with the Harry Walton–Garden Grove Company in 1851, their family had two wagons, eight cows, and eight sheep. They arrived in Salt Lake City in September. At general conference a short time later, they were called to settle in Parowan, Iron County, Utah. Their neighbors considered them “a vigorous, lovable, hospitable people.”

Margaret continued to serve in the community as a midwife and healer, blessing the lives of hundreds. She had gained a hard-won testimony of the principle of plural marriage while living in Nauvoo, and Samuel married two other women in Parowan. A few years after her husband died, Margaret went with several of her children to settle in Snowflake, Arizona.

Margaret died in Snowflake on June 19, 1882, leaving a large posterity. The Snowflake Relief Society composed the following tribute to her:

We hold in sacred memory her many virtues, both in precept and example: . . . her firm integrity to the principle of Celestial Marriage, even to the last . . . ; her many years of usefulness among the sick, etc. . . . We strive to imitate her meekness and patience, benevolence and uncomplaining disposition, her economy and cheerfulness, her wisdom, in being a woman of but few words, and her devotedness to her God and his people.”

The link between Eric Eastman and Margaret Cooper West is as follows: Eric Eastman – Blanche Savilla Jones – Amy Sophronia Whitney – Elizabeth Jane West – John Anderson West – Margaret Cooper West


Road Trip

It’s no secret that, for our family, the preferred method of vacation travel is a road trip.  We love to load up the car and head out. It’s a pleasure to be able to go at our pace, see the beautiful country we live in, spend time together as a family and create new memories every time we do it. A good road trip also reminds me of the vacations I took with my family when I was a kid. Those memories are priceless to me.

In June 2007, we were headed to Utah for Jed & Heather’s wedding. We left Denver in the morning and were driving north to Wyoming. I wrote the following in my journal:

“The last time we made this drive, on the return trip, Maggie was sure she saw some camels just south of Cheyenne. We all dismissed that as an impossibility and told her they were probably llamas. So, this time, as we approached Cheyenne, we looked for camels. And there they were! Camels! We laughed about that and apologized to Maggie and stopped paying attention to the road (also, I was reading Where the Red Fern Grows to the kids. It was the end of the book and I was crying and Jeff was crying) and missed a major turn and didn’t even notice. By the time we realized, we had gone the wrong way for nearly an hour. We had to adjust our route and ended up adding four hours to our drive. But, we saw some amazing things.

“We followed the Platte River for a long time and even had a picnic on its banks. It was beautiful!

North Platte River

“We also saw Independence Rock, which is so named because the wagon companies knew if they arrived there for Independence Day, they could safely make their destination before the winter storms.


“It was a fun diversion and another good road trip memory.”

Thomas Prence

Thomas Prence was born in England, probably in the area of Gloucestershire, in about 1600. Thomas was among a second group of pilgrims who arrived at Plymouth colony in 1621, aboard the ship Fortune. Thomas quickly became an important member of the community. He was elected governor in 1634 and served in positions of leadership for the rest of his life.

Thomas Prence has been called a “terrour to evil doers” and was noted for his integrity, industry, energy and sound judgement.

Thomas married Patience Brewster, daughter of William Brewster, in 1624.  Patience died ten years later.  Thomas died in 1673 in Eastham, Massachusetts, a community that he helped to found.  He is buried at Burial Hill, a historic Pilgrim cemetery in Plymouth.

The link between Eric Eastman and Thomas Prence is as follows:  Eric Eastman – Blanche Savilla Jones – Amy Sophronia Whitney – Job Hall Whitney – Francis Tufts Whitney – Joseph Whitney – Mercy Hinckley – Shubael Hinckley – Samuel Hinckley – Edmund Freeman – Mercy Prence – Thomas Prence


Mayflower, by Nathaniel Philbrick