Biography of the Life of Eliza Barney Wilkins
Written by her daughter, Mary Wilkins Bird
Eliza Barney Wilkins was born Dec 10, 1837 in Kirtland, Ohio. At the age of 12 she started across the plains with her parents from Nauvoo. They went to Winter Quarters, then to Council Bluff, from there over the plains 1,000 miles by ox team. Arriving in Salt Lake City in October, 1851, they went to Provo, arriving there on Christmas Eve.
They settled on the place which is now the site of the Stewart home in the sixth ward. There her father built a small home and was the place at which she spent the remainder of her childhood.
She was married to Alexander Wilkins on February 7, 1857 by her father, Edson Barney, who was at that time Justice of the Peace in Provo. She had her endowments in 1876 at Salt Lake City. She was the mother of eight children. They are as follows: Edward Wilkins, Eunice Wilkins Deming, Nancy Wilkins Young, Ormel Wilkins, Lillis Wilkins Wilson, Rachel Wilkins Markman, Joseph Wilkins, and Mary Wilkins Bird.
She was faithful as a worker in her Church, she was a Sunday School teacher for years, as well as Relief Society teacher, and was set apart as an nurse and was called from far and near to administer and nurse the sick.
At one time when the diphtheria was raging, she left her home and family and spent her whole time going from one home to another doctoring and nursing diphtheria cases with which she was very successful, and her efforts were blessed as she never brought the contagious disease to her own family, and was the means of saving many patients from death by her skillful nursing. She was also set apart for laying out the dead and making burial clothes. In her latter years she did a great deal of this work.
As a young woman she was very industrious and ambitious as a seamstress. For years she did dress making in the community, and even made shoes, tanning the leather herself, not alone for her own family, but also her neighbors.
She was a great lover of flowers and her garden was beautiful for the great variety she would grow, and was always sending bouquets to people who were ill.
She had a talent of singing, and was a member of the first Tabernacle Choir in Provo under the leadership of James O. Daniels. Her nature ran along the aesthetic line and she was fond of art, music and flowers. Although these arts were her ambitions, not her desires, she would adapt herself to any circumstances and could do and would do anything that any woman would undertake and sometimes do the work of her opposite sex in order to make a home and living for those who were depending upon her.
I have heard her relate how she shingled her home to protect her children from storms. She obeyed one of God's greatest commandments, "Love thy neighbor as thyself" and proved it many times and likewise won the love and respect of the whole neighborhood. They expressed themselves by calling her "Aunt Lyde" by which name she was known and called all the time by people who knew her.
In the spring of 1906 she left her home and went to visit her daughter Eunice, who was living at Coalsville, Summit County. She was taken very ill while there. Realizing from the beginning of her illness that she would not recover, she summoned all her children to her bedside from which she gave advise and blessing to each one, for she knew her time had come. She died May 10, 1906 at the home of Eunice. Her body was brought to Provo and placed in the Provo Cemetery in the family burial lot beside our father, Alexander Wilkins, where as her blessing said "She shall rise in the morning of the First Resurrection”