submitted by: SUP Trail Marker Pioneer Stories October 2022

Elizabeth Clements Kendall


Elizabeth Clements was born at Liberty, Clay County, Missouri on May 17, 1836. It was in Missouri that she spent her younger childhood. Her mother, Ada Clements, washed and ironed clothes for the Prophet Joseph Smith’s family. Elizabeth and her brothers delivered the finished articles in a little wagon.

Ada had a good sized copper bucket and when the clothes were ready to be delivered, she would say to the children, “Now you must shine up the bucket real good and we’ll fill it with popcorn and apples and you may take it to Joseph and Emma along with the wash.” They had to use vinegar and salt, and would work so hard to get it shiny enough that they could see themselves in it. Then they would fill it with choice apples and popcorn and go merrily on their way.

Joseph and Emma would be so pleased with them. Joseph was so kind to all, especially children, whom he loved very much. Whenever he met them he would shake hands with them and always had a kind, loving word for them.

On one of these trips to deliver laundry with her brother the Prophet asked Elizabeth if she would like to see the Egyptian Mummies. She was very thrilled at the thought and, of course, very curious, but she felt it a great privilege to be allowed to see them. The mummies were kept in the attic where they wouldn’t be destroyed. In those days there weren’t any stairways in the houses such as we have now, and in order to get to the attic one had to climb a ladder which was straight up along the wall. She told Joseph in a very timid voice that she would like to see them. She was a little frightened while climbing the ladder to the attic. But when at the top she saw the room with the curious looking things, and Joseph seeing that she was a little frightened stepped to her side, laid his hand on her shoulder and said, “Come little one, do not be afraid.” He took her by the hand and led her to them saying, “Touch them and you will never be afraid of the dead.”

This she did and he then placed his hand on her head and gave her a blessing. He told her she would be a great nurse and would care for and administer to many, and that she would accomplish various other needed services during her lifetime.

Her mother, Ada Clements, along with some of her children, went west with the Saints. However, Elizabeth was not among them. She had to stay behind. Later, in 1852, she joined Captain Zabriskie’s company helping to care for his wife who was a semi-invalid. They left after her mother’s company had set out for Utah. All those who were able to walk did so to relieve the weight of the heavily loaded wagons. Many interesting things happened to Elizabeth while crossing the plains.

Elizabeth made it to the Salt Lake Valley where she met Levi Newell Kendall, her sister Eliza’s husband. Levi went to Elizabeth’s mother Ada and asked for Elizabeth’s hand in marriage. She became Levi’s second wife and bore him 12 children. They moved to Springville in 1858, and, true to the Prophet’s blessing, Elizabeth, besides rearing her own large family, was called to do nursing, and also to help prepare the dead for burial. She became a midwife and delivered hundreds of babies for which service she usually received farm produce in lieu of money.

Throughout her life Elizabeth learned much about life and death and what it means when it says in the scriptures:
“Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die, and more especially for those that have not hope of a glorious resurrection. And it shall come to pass that those that die in me shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them.” (Doctrine and Covenants 42:45-46)