Today we will be sharing part three of the Biography of Susan Elizabeth Wall (nee Bench), a woman with a bigamist past who we have featured here and here, as well as in the narrative story. Learn more about Susan and her first marriage to polygamist Francis George Wall in today’s post.
In 1886, Aunt Mary Bench Wall, father’s sister, asked me to come and live with her in Venice on the Sevier River. While I was there in Glenwood, the Glenwood Sunday School was organized. Charlie C. Cowley was Superintendent with Francis G. Wall and Thomas Johnson as Counselors, and I, Susie Bench was Secretary, the first secretary. I worked in the Sunday School all the while I lived in Venice.
In Feb 1887, I left my home in Manti. The snow was 3 feet deep on the level. I had promised to meet Francis George Wall, whom I had promised to go to the Logan Temple with to become his wife. We traveled by wagon to the Summit Creek, a days travel from Nephi. We stayed with some people in a big house that night. We left our horses and wagon the next morning and boarded the train for Salt Lake City. When we got to the depot that night it was a blinding snowstorm. We took the streetcar to grandma’s home at 647 South Main; stayed there that night and took the train to Logan the next morning. We got rooms at the Peoples Hotel. That night it snowed 4 feet deep.
On the 18th of February 1887 went to the Temple and I received my endowments and was married for time and all Eternity to Francis George Wall, by C. D. Felstead. We stayed at the hotel 3 days then returned to Salt Lake City to my grandmother and again stayed for the night and took the train for Summit Creek and stayed over again, and left for Nephi in time to take the Sanpete Valley train. Here I bid Brother Wall goodbye and I never saw him anymore until in November he came to see me and spend a few days. No one knew I had gone or when I returned as it was hushed up as the Church had been persecuted and the saints that had tried to live in polygamy, as non-members did not believe in it. I lived on the underground, as it was commonly called, for 3 years.
Our first son, John Edward, as we named him, was born the 13th February 1890 in Manti, Utah. There were four feet of snow that morning. Christine Luddiksen was the lady who took care of me. When my baby was one-week old I was arrested and put under $2500.00 bond to appear in Salina, Sevier County, by the United States Deputy Marshall, Kuddebeck & Clawson, to answer the charges, 5 years in all.
I was expected to appear in Salina on the 21st of March. I will never forget that day, the snow was deep and the weather cold. Father put a lot of hay in the wagon box, a carpet over it, a small stone in one end of the wagon with the wagon covered all to make it as comfortable as possible for my new baby and myself. My brother John drove the team, the first day we went 35 miles. I went to the home of a stranger, a lady by the name of Catherine Marteen, where we stayed all night.