Starling Graves Driggs

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Question: What was the name of the baby born at Provo, Utah, named after Starling Graves Driggs?

Answer: Starling Graves Driggs was born 12 February 1821, in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, the fourteenth child of fifteen children of Urial Driggs and Hannah Ford. Starling’s grandfather, Daniel Driggs Jr., was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. After the War, Daniel and his family, along with other war veterans from Connecticut, were transplanted onto a tract of land in Ohio, as a compensation for their service.

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About 1840, while the family was living in Licking County, Ohio, Urial and his children living near him, including Starling, age 19, joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After they had joined the church, they were scoffed at and scorned beyond their endurance, by their once called friends and neighbors. They and their friends moved to the city of Nauvoo so they could be with the main body of the church. They bought a piece of land at Upper Nauvoo, where they built a home. Starling and his family worked on the Nauvoo Temple until its completion and enjoyed the time they had in Nauvoo.

This peace which they had enjoyed did not last long. In 1846 came the sudden shock of being driven by mobs from their homes. They were forced to take what few possessions they could load onto the covered wagons which Urial and his sons built from abandoned carts used when the Nauvoo Temple was being erected, all seasoned wood having been used up. By this time Hannah and Urial were in their sixties and their health was failing them.

The covered wagon train made their first camp on the West side of the Mississippi River. Being so suddenly driven from their home and worn out with long years of hard work, Urial became bedridden. One morning while the caravan was breaking camp, word was passed to the family and friends that Urial could go no farther. His children gathered around the wagon. After giving his children a Father's blessing, and asking them to remain true to the faith, and to take good care of their precious mother, he fell into his last sleep and passed away September 14, 1846, in Lee County, Iowa. That day the caravan remained in camp. His sons sawed boards from a log and made a coffin. After a simple funeral service, Urial was laid to rest in a grove near a large walnut tree. Next morning, Hannah and the family moved on westward with the caravan.

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After they arrived at Winter Quarters, Hannah felt that she was not able to undertake another long journey. Her children realizing her physical condition, deemed it best that she remain in Iowa. They set out to find a suitable home for their mother and their sister Ruth, who had never married. They found a place on Pigeon Creek about fifteen miles farther north. After getting them fixed comfortably, Shadrach and Starling bid their mother farewell and returned to Winter Quarters. Hannah passed away seventeen months after her husband in February 1848.

Starling Driggs, meanwhile, had missed going with the Mormon Battalion while caring for his mother and finding a place for her, so he gave himself to assisting other mothers and children left by the Mormon Battalion soldiers. In gratitude for his kindly help, Polly, the wife of Battalion member Philander Colton, named a son born in Provo, Utah, Sterling Driggs Colton. (This boy later became the father of Don B. Colton, who represented Utah in the United States Congress.)

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In the summer of 1847, Starling was asked to accompany Brigham Young in his Vanguard Company to the Salt Lake Valley. They arrived in the Valley on July 24, 1847, and Starling helped build roads, plant crops, and did what he could to help prepare the Valley for the hundreds of Saints on their way to Utah.

During the winter of 1849, another call came to Starling to be in one of the exploring bands that Apostle Parley P. Pratt organized and led into Southern Utah, looking for a place where some of the Saints could settle. Starling took this testing trip, with its cold and hunger courageously, and returned from it with valuable information as to the region they traversed.

Two years later, in 1851, with Apostles Rich and Lyman, Starling Driggs was again on the trail leading over the Salt Lake and old Spanish Trails into Southern California. San Bernardino was soon developed into a thriving settlement. Starling's days were filled with helping build the fort, hauling lumber from its sawmill about ninety miles to the ships at San Pedro Harbor. Then he was with freight trains going back and forth over the desert trails from California into Utah, hauling merchandise to the settlers in Deseret, as the territory was first called.

Starling was with the Amasa M. Lyman/Charles C. Rich Company, which departed from San Bernadino, California on November 16, 1852 and arrived in the Salt Lake Valley December 19, 1852. Nineteen people in this small company departed from San Bernardino, California, via the southern route to Salt Lake City.

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Starling would marry Sarah Rogers, the daughter of Chandler Rogers and Amanda Hollister. Her father and mother and two brothers had died at Council Bluffs in Iowa. Their Courtship was a bit unusual. It began in Nauvoo when she, with a crowd of girls, was sitting on a hayrack just before sundown. Looking down the street they saw a young man coming toward them. She remarked that this young man was going to be her future husband and warned them to leave him strictly alone as she had already set her cap for him. Prior to her departure from Nauvoo, Sarah did not see the young man again, but she encountered him quite frequently on their trek across the plains.

After their arrival in Salt Lake, Starling Driggs, was summoned to the office of President Brigham Young for the purpose of receiving instructions prior to answering a call to help in the settlement of San Bernardino, California. During the conversation President Young said, "Young man, why are you not married? You are a likeable chap. Isn't there some girl you could get to marry you and go with you to California?" Starling answered, "There is one I like well enough but she doesn't seem to care for me." "Who is that?” “Sarah Rogers ." "You go and tell her to come up to my office." So he went and informed her President Young wanted to see her. When she entered the office there sat President Young, Starling Driggs and two other men. "Sarah," said the President, "Starling Driggs has been called to go help settle San Bernardino and you are called to go help him as his wife. Will you go?" "Yes, President Young, if I am called." He then performed the marriage ceremony. It was May 29, 1855. They left immediately for San Bernardino.

Parowan Pioneer Chapel

Parowan Pioneer Chapel

The promise of continuing prosperity and happiness in the colony of San Bernardino was dashed by the coming of Johnston’s Army to Utah. This caused the leaders of the Church to call back the settlers from faraway places. Starling and Sarah, with their baby girl, Olivia, returned to Utah and made a new home in Parowan.

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There, in Parowan, their first son, Starling, Jr., was born, but he died when a little over a year old. Starling, as always, gave himself to the work before him. Then one day something went wrong with the primitive threshing machine, and he was seriously injured. It was felt that he might recover from the accident, but pneumonia struck, and on December 3, 1860, Starling passed away. He was laid beside his little son in the cemetery in Parowan.

Sarah lived for a time in Parowan, but then moved to Pleasant Grove, Utah, to be near relatives. Her baby, Amanda, just four years old, passed away, and was buried in the Pleasant Grove Cemetery. Sarah was now left with only her oldest little daughter, Olivia, who lived and later married and became the mother of ten children.

Source: Most of this information was from a history found in the “Daughter’s of the Utah Pioneers,” Museum in Salt Lake City, edited by Judith Thorup Heiner Thunell, Family Search.org; FindAGrave.com.