Interview

Iím Sylvia Bailey and I am going to record Clara R. Ward, who is the great granddaugther of Edward Lennox Sloan Sr. about her history of her grandmother Margaret Wallace Sloan. This is September 1, 1988.

Sylvia: Clara, what do you remember about your grandmother, Margaret Wallace Sloan Parkinson?

Clara: Well, I never met her because she died before I was born. The only things that I remember are the things that my mother told me about her and of the things that they did.

Sylvia: What did your mother tell you about her?

Clara: Well, she was the fourth wife of William Brigham Parkinson. I was told that she was the only one that was married according to the laws of the land. The rest were just married in endowment houses or some place through the L.D.S. church. Grandmother was the only one that was married according to the laws of the land. Apparently she had a very hard time having children and there are no records that I can prove because Grandfather Parkinson was a doctor. So if there were twin boys stillborn, there would have been no record, possibly made of that. Although I donít think they recorded the stillborn births then. But Grandmother loathed grandfather and I donít know exactly when, possibly six or seven, (itís got to be longer than that. Itís got to be ten or twelve years after motherís birth,) they moved to Salt Lake to live because mother Marie Sloan Parkinson went to a Catholic school in Salt Lake.

Sylvia: Now, you mentioned that Margaretís father was not very happy with this marriage to this man up in Logan because he was a polygamist.

Clara: Right. Mother told me that Grandfather Sloan did not like polygamy and so I was very surprised to discover that Grandfather had two other wives.

Sylvia: Then, Great Grandfather Sloan was up there with the newspaper in Logan?

[Handwritten note: "This was probably Robert W. Sloan that was up in Logan."]

Clara: I assume that that was what he was because that is what mother told me. He ran the Logan Herald Journal. I have no dates or no information on that. I guess thatís one of the things that we have to look up and find out.

Sylvia: So this is now Maggie, as they referred to her, met the man that she married up in Logan. She must have been working for her father as a reporter up there in Logan?

Clara: Yes.

Sylvia: Now you also mentioned that several of her children died.

Clara: We think that she had two little twin boys born stillborn and then she had three daughters, Willis Sloan Parkinson who was born the 24th of May, 1893 and died the 23rd of April 1900, my mother, Louise Sloan Parkinson, who was born in 1894. She lived through adulthood. Then a baby Venoletta Sloan Parkinson who was born the 19th of January 1896 and who died September 1896.

Sylvia: So your mother was the only living descendant then of Maggie Sloan that you know of?

Clara: That I know of.

Sylvia: You mentioned also that somehow she became addicted to laudanum.

Clara: Itís an opium derivative, as far as I know. She had so much problem with her children. My mother, for instance, got whooping cough, the red measles and what we know now as a staff infection. She got that all at the same time and before she got over that, she pulled a pan of boiling water over on her and burned herself. Her children were all very very ill through this period of time. I think thatís what killed the baby, the whooping cough and these diseases. So she was just so ill trying to take care of the children that her nerves gave out on her and apparently she was going to have a nervous breakdown and so they gave her some laudanum to sooth her nerves and calm her down. Apparently, she became addicted to it.

Sylvia: Now, how did she die, do you know?

Clara: She died in Portland, Oregon in 1913 and I donít know how she died.

Sylvia: Did your mother ever say why her mother ended up in Portland, Oregon?

Clara: I think to get as far away from Grandfather as she could. I donít know whether she had friends or relatives up there for sure but I know that mother said that they would have a good time. They would go out on the river boats on the Columbia River and take river boat rides.

Sylvia: There is a branch of Sloans up in Portland, Oregon that we used to go to see.

Clara: Well, thatís probably the reason then.

Sylvia: Alright now. Tell me about your mother. Your mother was Louise Sloan Parkinson.

Clara: As I said, I have a picture of her in the Catholic school. I assume it was in Salt Lake City, but they did have a home in Logan, Utah. Mother got married when she was fourteen and had a baby three days after she turned fifteen, who was Deon Simmons [BP: Should read Theon?]. That baby died when he was two months and one day old. I never knew anything about him I think until long after my husband and I were married and went through the temple. Then she had another little baby called Robert Wallace Sloan Simmons who was her second child. She was more or less talked into giving him up to another lady to raise because this other lady had lost her baby and that ladyís name was Atkinson. Apparently, mother did not know that the baby was legally adopted and sealed in the temple until years and years later. That really upset her, but Mrs. Atkinson would come and stay at our house on her way to and from General Conference once a year. When I was three and a half, I remember telling her what a wicked mean lady she was because she made my mother cry.

Sylvia: Now, the boy was not raised as Robert Wallace Sloan. He was raised by another name?

Clara: He was raised as Robert Atkinson.

Sylvia: Now is he still alive?

Clara: He was in 1972. He has not contacted me since.

Sylvia: So he would be your half brother or full brother?

Clara: He would be my half brother also. Well, not really because Iím adopted also. Mother and Dad never had any children of their own. That would be Arthur Bishop Atkinson. [BP: I think this should read Arthur Bishop Rallison.

Sylvia: So, these three children she had first were by another man.

Clara: Yes, William Bradley Simmons.

Sylvia: Then she married your father.

Clara: Yes, she divorced him and married my daddy on December 20, 1960 [BP: Should read 1916] and she was sealed to my father at that time.

Sylvia: Then she adopted you and your sister?

Clara: Right. They adopted the two little girls.

Sylvia: And you have been sealed into the Sloan line then?

Clara: Yes.

Sylvia: But you mentioned that your sister was not?

Clara: Nope. My sister at this time is inactive in the church and she isnít even a member of the church although we talk to each other about once every two or three years. So we are still in contact. But she was never active during adulthood in the church.

Sylvia: Okay. Is there anything else you can remember either about your mother or your grandmother?

Clara: Well, I think going back to Margaret Louise Sloan, my grandmother, I think there was quite a bit of conflict between her brothers and her husband Dr. William Brigham Parkinson. I know that mother told me once that uncle Ed and Uncle Bob threatened to horsewhip Grandfather if he didnít have my Grandmother sealed to him.

Sylvia: Youíre talking about the Parkinsonís who threatened to horsewhip him?

Clara: Yes. Uncle Bob Sloan and Ed Sloan threatened to horsewhip Grandfather.

Sylvia: If he would not have her sealed to him?

Clara: Yes. But at this time, I assume that they were married. My mother, Louise, was very protective of her mother. I know when she got older, she was more concerned about being with her mother than being with my dad. I think she got senile and didnít remember daddy as much as she did her own mother, which is usually what happens in circumstances like that.

Sylvia: What else do you remember about Maggie Sloan, that your mother told you about her mother?

Clara: Well, on the river boats on the Columbia River out of Portland, Oregon, they used to have parties and ride the river boat. They seemed to have a very good time. Grandmother supported herself and her daughter and her daughterís baby at this time by writing magazine articles for Cosmopolitan Magazine. So she must have been a very prolific writer. She wrote them under an assumed name so I have not been able to find any magazine articles that she wrote. Mother, apparently, did not know or never know that there were other polygamist wives of her motherís father, Edward L. Sloan, because mother never mentioned any of them. She only mentioned the three children of Edward L. Sloan. She said that he was the editor and publisher of the Salt Lake Herald Journal and that sometimes he wrote articles against the Mormon Church and yet he was a active member of the Mormon Church.

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