Friday, July 23, 2010
Arriminta was from a strongly knit family who lived, worked, and moved together in a multi-family group. Her parents had nine children, Arriminta being the fifth. She was only eight years old when her father died suddenly, leaving her mother with her children ranging from 17 to just a few months old. This family group became her safety net and salvation. Arriminta’s Aunt (her mother’s sister) was also a single mother and those two women combined their family to make their lives easier. So close was these two families that four of them married each other and most of them stayed close their entire lives, moving several times as a group having joined the LDS church in southern Illinois in the mid 1830s.
Arriminta was baptized a member in her early teens, along with several of her extended family and while living in the area east of St. Louis. Soon after they moved to Effingham, Illinois. Her uncle, then several others bought property there as though they had in mind a permanent settling. It was about the same time, whether planned or not, we cannot say, that Sidney North moved his family to the Effingham region. It was there that Arriminta met and married Levi. Levi had joined the LDS church in 1832 and we can suppose it was the Mormon group that brought the two together. They married in November, 1837. One year later Arriminta delivered their first child, a boy they named Charles Addison.
The time spent in Effingham for Arriminta and her extended family was short lived however. For in 1840 Levi moved his family to Sugar Creek, Iowa (Indian Territory) just a few miles west, across the river from Nauvoo, where the leaders of the Mormon church was gathering the Saints from all over the world. Levi, along with Arriminta’s several family had chosen Sugar Creek to live. It was in Sugar Creek that their second son, Hyrum Bennett was born. But that was not to be long either, Levi needed to be closer to the temple construction site in Nauvoo. In November of 1843 Arriminta delivered a little baby girl named Almira.
But trouble with a few church dissidents and many other malcontents forced a move from Illinois to the Rocky Mountains. The Norths joined the exodus into Iowa taking them to three temporary settlements in the Indian Territory. The first stop was in Garden Grove where they stayed just long enough to help build small cabins, clear some land, erect fences and plant vegetables. All this in preparation for the larger exodus that would follow. Levi then moved west to Mt. Pisgah, where he built themselves another small cabin. This is where the family spent the winter of 1846 and where Arriminta gave birth to their fourth child, named Levi Howard. How long they spent in Mt. Pisgah is hard to determine but the best guess is just a few months, maybe a year.
They then moved further west, to the Missouri River, but continued on, up the river, past Kanesville and to Harris Grove a little north-east. Here the land was more rolling hills, covered with trees. Here they could build larger cabins and had timber to cut for wagons, which is what Levi would be doing for about six years. It was in Harris Grove that two other children would join the growing family. Arriminta was born in October, 1849 and Merari was born in June, 1852.
Merari was literally just days old when, according to plans that had been formulated several months earlier, Arriminta and her husband gathered the children and all their belongings; packed them into three wagons and moved to the Salt Lake Valley arriving in September, 1852. It generally took over two months to make that 1100 mile journey. Merari would have made that trip as a baby. Arriminta made it while recovering from childbirth. What a lady!
But by the time she delivered her next baby, Mary Jane, in May, 1854 her home was finished in Millcreek Almost three years later, in March, 1857, she delivered another baby girl they named Melinda Howard (named after Arriminta’s sister who had been so very close to her through the hard times-and had died shortly after arriving in Utah). There would be one more daughter born to this couple, a girl they named Margery Ann “Annie” in 1849. That was Arriminta’s last child, she was 40 years old.
This must have been the beginning of a good life for her and Levi. These were prosperous times. Work was plentiful and rewarding. Everything was finally looking permanent. Arriminta was undoubtedly one who wanted the very best for her family and was willing to work hard for it, to sacrifice and to share the good things. And her church advocated plural marriage for the faithful Mormon couples. There were many women in the valley that did not have husbands and homes. She apparently did not have a problem with this principle and so on the second of March, 1865 Levi married Maren Kirstene Pedersen, a convert from Denmark. Levi built her a home on the west side of the Country Road, across the street from Arriminta’s home. Maren would eventually bear 9 children for Levi. They were accepted into Arriminta’s as though they were her own. She was, to them, “Aunt” Arriminta.
We are told that the good life for this large family continued with some notable exceptions. Three of Maren’s children died in early childhood. Levi spent six months in the territorial prison for the crime of polygamy. But otherwise, Arriminta’s life was very good and comfortable for the place and time in which she lived. She buried her husband in 1894 after a short illness. She lived another nine years with her children and grandchildren caring and providing for her every need. She died on 12 March, 1903 having lived true to her faith, active in her church and family affairs. Arriminta was a grand Lady.