Life of Catherine Walker
Second Wife of Elijah Knapp Fuller
Catherine Walker was born in Peacham, Caledonia, Vermont on 20 May 1824. She was the oldest daughter of John Walker and Lydia Homes. Her father was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1834. Her mother was baptized two years later. They left Vermont in 1834 for the west and found a small branch in Ogdensburg, New York which was preparing also to go west. Her father was induced to remain with this branch until 1837. During the year of 1835 the children, who were eight years old and upward, were baptized by Elder Abraham Palmer. They were full of faith, having been taught to pray by their parents.
The family, with many others, passed through many trying scenes. Her father was wounded in the Haun's Mill Massacre. Notwithstanding all of their trials, which were many, they did not falter in their faith but rather started on their journey, trusting in God. They passed through Kirtland just after the Saints had left for the West. When they arrived in Caldwell County [Missouri] they were surrounded by a mob of about forty people with blackened faces. They hooted and yelled and acted more like demons than human beings. It was very early one December morning when this occurred. They ordered her mother out in the deep snow, searched their wagons, took their arms and ammunition, pointed their guns at their children, and cursed in the most frightful manner.
They continued their journey until they came to a settlement on Shoal Creek, five miles distant from Haun's Mill. Her father with others went to the mill to hold council with Brother Joseph Young as to what course was best to take under the circumstances. They were in a blacksmith shop when a mob appeared in sight, formed a line and commenced firing without a warning. The first shot lodged in her father's arm. He returned the shot but found it impossible to reload. He then ran down the bank of the creek and crouched under some lumber, leaning against the bank of the creek which afforded very little, if any, protection. But in answer to prayer, their eyes were blinded, and they passed him by declaring, "Not another d--d Mormon was to be found."
It was two weeks before her father was able to get to his family. He had been helping others who were worse off than himself, doing the best he could with his left hand. He had to hide from place to place and came near to losing his arm, which had been neglected while he had been trying to aid others. Through the aid of a young officer, who had been forced to join the military to save his own life, the family had been led to a friendly neighborhood where they found shelter from cold storms of the winter. This is where her father found his family.
They left the state of Missouri in 1838, went with the Saints to Quincy, Illinois and to Nauvoo in 1841. Her father performed two missions in the Eastern States and emigrated with the Church in 1847 to Council Bluffs [Iowa]. Her mother took down with chills and fever in the summer of 1840, lingered until January of 1842 and then passed away, leaving a family of ten in the depths of despair. Her father seemed to give away under this heavy affliction. The Prophet came to their rescue. He said, "If you remain here, Brother Walker, you will soon follow your wife. You must have a change of climate. I would like you to go on a two year mission. You have just such a family as I could love, my house shall be their home. I will adopt them as my own. For the present I would advise you to sell your effects, place the little ones with some kind friends and the four eldest shall come to my home and be received and treated as my own. If I find the others are not contented or are not treated right, I will bring them home and keep them until you return." My mother Catherine and her sister, Lucy, and two brothers, William and Lorin, were taken to the Prophet's home, where they remained until his death.
Shortly after the father left, the little sister who was eight years of age was attacked with brain fever. They visited her many times and found that all was being done that was possible but this did not relieve her suffering. So the Prophet had the boys put a bed in the carriage. He went with them and told the family that they must excuse him, but he was under the greatest obligation to look after her welfare and had come to take her to his home. All was done for that could be done by the Prophet and his wife but she passed away in a few days. One after another were brought to the Prophet's home until all the younger members of the family were there except the baby. Catherine's brother, William, married Olive Hovey Farr in the fall of 1843. They took the children to live with them. Catherine's father came to Utah in 1850 and settled in Farmington and died at the age of 75.
On 18 January 1846 my mother married Elijah Knapp Fuller, who was a widower with three small children. Mother's first child was born 4 February 1847 in Winter Quarters. She came to Utah in the fall of 1847. She had five children, three boys and two girls. Unfortunately, it was not a happy marriage. They separated some time in 1856. At the time Mother had a young baby and very poor health. She and her brother John were keeping a boarding house in Salt Lake City when she met William Rogers and married him on 18 January 1859. My father then moved us to Nevada. Mother had three children by my father, two girls and one boy (of which I am the oldest). We lived there until I was about eight years old, then Mother with her family came back to Utah. Father never came to stay so my mother was left again with a small family. By this time she had grown sons who bought a small home for her in Farmington, Davis County, Utah. But times were very hard and we had a hard time to get along.
Mother used to work very hard, she had a nice little garden and orchard which she took care of herself. In those days we had no bottles or cans and the fruit was dried. At that time it was hard to get flour so Mother made yeast and traded it for flour. People would send a small bucket about half full of flour for that much yeast. In that way, Mother was able to help a lot. She would make five gallons of yeast every morning. Her home was well kept. We each had our little duties to perform and there was no quarreling about it. Peace and love was in our home. Mother tried to instill in our minds the Golden Rule: To do unto others as we would like to be done by and to tell the truth no matter what happened. She always said it was better to suffer wrong than to do wrong.
We lived in Farmington until I was about eleven years old. The boys took up some land in West Weber. My oldest brother married and took a home in Farmington and Mother, with the rest of the family, moved to West Weber where they made a new home. I have seen my mother sit and sew all night by candle light to finish some garment for her children to wear the next day. By the way, all candles used were made by Mother. She passed through many trials. The children were all grown and married but one when Mother died. This had been her life's desire, to live and to raise her children. The first child she lost met his death by trying to save his fellow workman from drowning. This was a very hard blow to my mother; he was her main support at that time. But she was always full of faith and courage and endurance. Her life was one long sacrifice.
Mother took pride in keeping the commandments of her God. She never, never murmured at the chastisement of His rod. She consoled herself in poverty and trouble when it came. In wealth, like poverty, she worshipped God the same. She died in full faith of a glorious resurrection. She passed away in Brigham City on 31 August 1885.
--by Anna R. Moyes
Family of Elijah and 2nd Wife Catherine Fuller
Elijah Knapp Fuller, son of Cornelius Fuller and Zilpha Knapp, married Catherine Walker, daughter of John Walker and Lydia Holmes, on 18 January in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois. They were the parents of the following five children:
M-1- Elijah Knapp Fuller, born 4 February 1847, Winter Quarters, Nebraska, died 8 October 1885.
M-2- Edwin Clark Fuller, born 3 February 1849, Salt Lake City, S.L., Utah, died 22 July 1875.
F-3- Rachel Catherine Fuller, born 27 March 1851, Salt Lake City, S.L., Utah, died October 1880.
M-4- Nephi Walker Fuller, born 18 April 1853, Salt Lake City, S.L., Utah, died 9 April 1901.
F-5- Lydia Holmes Fuller, born 6 September 1856, Salt Lake City, S.L., Utah, died 8 February 1942.
--Dallas Coleman and Gerald R. Fuller, Elijah Knapp Fuller and His Ancestors, 1985, pp. 27-29.
To read Elijah Knapp Fuller's autobiography, click here.
To return to the Christensen Family index page, click here.