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A Family Story
Kerry William Bate
Mormon Studies / Women's Studies / Utah
Family history, usually destined or even designed for limited consumption, is a familiar genre within Mormon culture. Mostly written with little attention to standards of historical scholarship, such works are a distinctly hagiographic form of family memorabilia. But in the right hands, many family sagas can prove widely engaging, owing to inherent drama and historical relevance. They can truthfully illuminate larger matters of history, humanity, and culture.
Kerry Bate proceeds on the premise that a story centering on the women of the clan could provide fresh perspective and insight. He portrays real people with well-rounded, flawed characters; builds from deep research; writes with a bit of style; and includes the rich context and detail of these lives. His main subjects are four generations of impressive women: the pioneer Catherine Campbell Steele; her daughter Young Elizabeth, the first Mormon child born in Utah; Kate, an accomplished community leader; and Sarah, a gifted seamstress trapped in an unhappy marriage. To enter their hardscrabble lives in small southern Utah communities is to meet women who pioneered in modest but determined ways.
Kerry William Bate has published in such periodicals as Utah Historical Quarterly, Oral History Review, The American Genealogist, and Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought.
Table of Contents:
Preface and Acknowledgments
1. “Husband What Is Thy Will?”: Catherine Campbell Steele
2. “Convicts to Bondsman’s Lands”: Catherine and Elizabeth Steele
3. “Letting Posterity Come In”: Elizabeth Steele Stapley
4. “Nicest Great Grand Baby You Have Got”: Catherine Steele
5. “She Wanted Her Own Rights”: Sarah E. Roundy
6. “Do Their Own Doing”: Sarah E. Roundy
7. “She Can Do It”: Sarah E. Roundy
8. “Nothing Too Refined”: Victor L. Sylvester
9. “Mother of the Ward”: Sarah Catherine Stapley Roundy
10.“Let’s Go Over and See President Harding”: Joel J. Roundy
11.“Just Getting Nothing”: Victor L. Sylvester
12. “Continue to Increase”: Elizabeth Steele Stapley
13.“She Only Had One Mother”: Sarah Catherine Stapley Roundy
14. “That Was Money in Her Pocket”: Sarah E. Roundy Sylvester
15. “The Queen Bee”: Sarah E. Roundy Sylvester
16.“Stern Looking but Well-Polished”: Elizabeth Steele Stapley
17. “Poverty and Progeny”: The Women
Praise and Reviews:
"A detailed, lively, local history. The author has done an astonishing amount of recording and transcribing of oral histories and brings characters to life in a wonderful way.”
—Todd Compton, author of A Frontier Life: Jacob Hamblin, Explorer and Indian Missionary
“The Women gives specific information about nearly every aspect of life on the American frontier—housing, food, medicine, animals, transportation, gas, and later electrical lighting. It personalizes a great many things that are often discussed only in general or technical and impersonal terms.”
—Colleen Keyes Whitley, author of Worth Their Salt: Notable but Often Unnoted Women of Utah and Worth Their Salt, Too: More Notable but Often Unnoted Women