The Life of Tabitha Louvina Billingsley
from Maude B. Mickelson, Book of Remembrance, FHL film 2033291

Tabitha Louvina Billingsley was born in Trenton, Gibson County, Tennessee on 6 November 18 1832, the daughter of Elijah Billingsley and Emeline L. Northcott.

In 1835 Tabitha's parents and their four children Miriam age 8, William 4, James 1 and Tabitha, who was now 3 years old, moved to Pontotoc County, Mississippi where they resided for about ten years. During this time four more children, Joanne, Archibald, Margaret and Martha were added to the family and Tabitha grew to be a young lady of 13.

From Pontotoc County, Mississippi the family, now numbering five. Journeyed in about 1845 to Mount Pisgah, Idaho. Here they lived for approximately five years. During their stay in Iowa Martha died when she was six. Joseph Smith was born and died during 1846. Elijah Moroni first saw the light of day in 1848, thus by his small presence, bringing the family total back to ten.

In all probability the family was converted to the Mormon faith in Tennessee thus accounting for their subsequent trips to Mississippi and Iowa. It has been said, but not recorded, that when Elijah. Sr. discovered upon moving to Mississippi that polygamy was one of the creeds of his new faith, he registered his protest of it by returning to Tennessee. There, since he was a man of reputation, character and by no small means, he was hard and lengthily prevailed upon by the members of the Mormon faith not to abandon it, these discussions sometimes lasting all night. Eventually however, the Elders were evidently successful, as it is a recorded fact, that Elijah Billingsley, his wife Emeline and their eight children including Tabitha, who was by now a beautiful girl of 18, were driven from Iowa with the rest of the Mormons in 1850.

Undoubtedly the trip from Iowa to Utah was an extremely happy experience for Tabitha, as she so often described it. It is easy to picture her in her healthful youth with her strong young face turned west, tripping along beside the lumbering, creaking wagons. True, the wagons were scarce and only the woman, the aged and they tiny tots rode -- of course, you had to consider the Indians and wild buffalo, but you could always ride on the tongue of the wagons, sing, gather flowers and dream of the "promised land" and a gallant and handsome husband. And thus it was that Tabitha Billingsley, age 18 walked from Iowa to Utah.

When the family arrived in the Utah Territory, they settled near Provo City and it was not long thereafter that Tabitha met one Joseph Hyde. Joseph had also migrated west with his family to Utah, but not with Tabitha's group, he had also been born in Tennessee, in Perry County, on 1 February 1825. On 19 February 1851, when Tabitha was 19 and Joseph 26, they were married in the Mormon Faith in Salt Lake City.

Soon after Tabitha and Joseph were married, they moved with the first group of settlers to California. It was there that Tabitha gave birth to her first child, Sarah E. Hyde on 20 January 1852 in San Bernardino County, California. They remained in California until 1858, then they returned to Provo. While they were in California besides Sarah, Tabitha also gave birth to two other children, Joseph Alonzo and Martha. They lost Sarah E., their first child, on 15 March 1853.

Of course, California was beautiful, colorful place during these times and in spite of the loss of her first born Tabitha found beauty and happiness. The costumes and customs of the Spaniards and Indians, as well as their dancing, was always a source of delight after she grew accustomed to their first . Also strange and new were the earthquakes, which were apparently as frequent then as now and Tabitha said of the old custom of hanging a paper branch in the center of the room so they would be able to tell how much the earth was trembling.

The long trip to Los Angeles was made just once during the six or seven years they spent in California and was also a source or rest pleasure and interest. Visiting the old church, our Lady Queen of Angels, located at the Plaza in Los Angels. Tabitha, along with other visitors of the day, registered so is the custom there.

Tabitha was 26 years old and the proud mother of two children. When the little family arrived back in Provo City in 1858. During the next fourteen years. They moved about frequently in Utah. Living in Parowan, Minersville, Salt Lake and back to Provo. These were also prolific years for Joseph and Tabitha, who bore Cynthia A. 22 Mar, 1858, William Henry 17 June 1860, Charles L. Nov. 26, 1862, Lydia E. 3 March 1865, Martin E. August 1867, Edwin Monroe 2 December 1868, Leo 22 April 1871 and Edith Tabitha 23 April 1874.

Tabitha was 36 when Martin died and 42 when she lost Edith. She had lost her 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th children and they were to be her last. These children had all died before they reach four years. It was enough for any woman and Tabitha decided it was enough for her. Small wonder then at the decision and scorn she heaped upon a Gypsy, who in passing through Provo City had begged to tell her fortune for a few cents or crumbs as was their custom. The Gypsy, with her dark swarthy face, Long into Tabitha's small hand, then raising her dark eyes to Tabitha's bright blue ones said, "Me see child for you." Tabitha drew back her hand quickly-threw back her head and laughed. "Oh, no you don't, I've had eleven and I believe I've done my share." And in the house she went, -- "Silly old Gypsy, I just let her tell my fortune to please her. What does she know about it." -- But whether the Gypsy knew about it or not, or whether Tabitha reckoned without Providence, the fact remains what a few years later on 26 June, 1876 in Provo City Mary M., Tabitha's 12th child "was born" as the old family Bible so states.

In the years between Tabitha's children and Sarah E. her first and Mary M. her twelfth and last, those children that had [...] [Remaining page or pages missing from microfilm.]