Elizabeth Bull
by Lorna England Bingham Olsen

My name is Lorna England Bingham Olsen. I am the oldest grandchild of Elizabeth Bull and William Brigham Parkinson, Sr., M. D.

My earliest recollection of Grandmother was when we had gone back to live with her after the death of my father when I was 4 1/2 years old. My grandfather was a doctor so he trained my mother to be a nurse. He had been a polygamist and had divorced my grandmother, she having been the first wife of four. He stayed with the youngest family.

Elizabeth Bull was born 15 January 1853 to Daniel Berry Bull and Elizabeth Tantam, in Salt Lake City, Utah. When she was very young her parents were sent to Morgan, Utah, to help colonize that area. Her father was a very prosperous farmer and a very skilled gunsmith, keeping everyone’s guns repaired, especially the Indians. At that time there were many Indians traveling up and down Weber Canyon and she told us how as a little girl when they could hear the Indians coming down the canyon they would climb high up in the trees so they could watch them as they went by. She told us of a time when a young Buck came to their house and demanded food. They gave him a bucket of milk which he angrily dumped on the floor. As he did this one of the women who was sleeping in the other room snored very loudly. He thought it was a man in the other room and quickly ran away. A friendly Indian later told them he was watching while this was going on and would have protected them if it looked like any harm was going to be done to them. She spent her early years growing up in Morgan. William Brigham Parkinson as a very young man came there looking for work and was employed by her father. She later married him in the Endowment House at the age of twenty, he was twenty-one in 1873.

William started working on the Bull farm at the age of sixteen and was a very ambitious young man. After work on the farm all day he taught himself telegraphy and became so good at it he was hired as a telegraph operator and a train dispatcher. He also taught himself the Indian language and was able to converse with them. After their marriage they lived in Morgan where Lilian and Ada were born. He then took a second wife, Clarissa Taggart, who bore him two children. He worked in a Co-op store, was called to be a Bishop and at the age of 26 was called on a mission to England in 1879. While on his mission the two wives lived together, one took care of the children and the other wove rugs for their living. They were also helped by their prosperous fathers during this time. William was sent home early because of rheumatism in his shoulder. He arrived home one day after the funeral of Clarissa’s two children that had died of scarlet fever. A year or so later he went to Rush Medical College in Chicago and studied to become a physician. William B. Jr. and Elizabeth were born to Grandmother these years. After returning home he practiced medicine in Coalville. In 1885 he moved both families to Logan, Utah, where my grandmother bought a home with money her father had given her at 38 West 2nd South. She bore another daughter, Afton, at which time he hired an 18 year old girl, Edith Benson, a daughter of Ezra Taft Benson, Sr. to help in the homes. She became Grandfather’s third wife. Grandmother bore her last child, another daughter, Winifred.

Grandmother was a very industrious woman, raising a big garden and helping her children go to school. She was a very good cook. During W.W.I she made all kinds of bread that the government had advised them to do. She made such wonderful whole wheat bread. She knitted stockings for her children and washed the heavy, white uniforms that my mother wore in her nursing. My job was to help iron them and take them to the hospital which was about a mile away. I can remember one day she had the lines full of white uniforms when a neighbor’s big, old barn caught on fire and we all had to run out and get them off the lines so they wouldn’t become soiled by the falling ashes. She washed them on the scrubbing board, boiled them, starched them, and we would help her iron them.

She was a faithful member of the church and always bore a strong testimony. She died in 1922 of diabetes. I stood at the foot of her bed and experienced such a warm feeling of comfort that the terrible feeling of her loss was gone. She had been blind six years at the time of her death.

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