DUP Biography of Sarah Helen Conrad


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Sarah "Sallie" Helen Conrad (Bunnell)

Sarah "Sallie" Hellen (also recorded Heller) was a daughter of German immigrants and was niece of Mary Conrad, David Whitmer's wife. James Lewis Nielson, great-grandson, recorded the following in his History of Sallie Heller Conrad:

"As a young girl of nineteen she was the housekeeper in the Peter Whitmer home when the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery finished translating the "Book of Mormon." Because of persecution they had to work in secret. Sallie would see the Prophet and Oliver come down out of the attic room after working long hours. She remembers them looking like angels. She was aware that something strange and unusual was taking place. Finally she insisted that Sister David Whitmer, her aunt, tell her the truth. Sister Whitmer had to reveal to Sallie what was taking place. She warned her that if she let the secret out, their lives would be in danger."

Oliver B. Huntington met Sarah at an Old Folks Outing in 1897 and records in his diary: "I conversed with one old lady eight-eight years old who lived with David Whitmer when Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were translating the Book of Mormon in the upper room of the house and she, only a girl, saw them come down from the translating room several times when they looked so exceedingly white and strange that she inquired of Mrs. Whitmer the cause of their unusual appearance."

An article appeared in the Church News, 5 Jan, 1980, in which "Sallie Heller Conrad" was mentioned among those who attended the meeting in the Peter Whitmer Sr. home when the church was organized 9 Apr, 1830. Nine days later, she and David Edwin Bunnell were married in the Whitmer home, and 21 Sep, 1831 both were baptized. They immigrated to Utah with their family of eight children.

One story is told by Vera Gray Williams, a great-grand-daughter, that they rough a peach tree with them and planted it in their garden in Provo. The crickets came and Sarah, fearing they would destroy the tree, unwound some wool stockings and wrapped the yarn around it, and thus saved the tree. Later, she removed the yarn and knit more stocking.

"Sallie was a very neat and clean housekeeper. Pearl Bunnell Newell relates an instance about helping her Grandmother make bread. Everything had to be spotlessly clean before the bread-making was started Pearl had washed her hand carefully with soap and hot water and dried them on the family towel. Grandmother Sallie questioned her about her hands. She wanted to know if she had cleaned her finger nails and what towel she had used to dry her hands. She insisted Pearl re-wash her hands and wipe her hands with a special towel reserved for the person mixing the bread. Only after this could she start mixing the dough which was kneaded by hand." (James Lewis Nielson)

Sarah was one of the noble and great pioneer women who remained steadfast and true in the church.




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