Friday, June 13, 2008

Hannah Tapfield King

I apologize for neglecting this blog - in the past few weeks, I moved cross country, started a new job and an intense course load, and had some technical difficulties, but I'm back.

What first caught my attention about Hannah Tapfield King was her ability to bear testimony. Her account of her life in Representative Women of Deseret hadn't jumped out and grabbed me, but then towards the end of her words, she stated:
...surely my few words wiil be a testimony that I rejoice I am a Latter-Day Saint. I have passed through many reverses and tribulations but in my darkest hours the Gospel has been a light upon my path and a lamp for my feet and I realize day by day the smile and approbation of God upon me.
I can't explain why, but for some reason as I read these words, I felt very strongly God's love for his daughters - his smile upon us, if you will. I decided to do a little more research into Hannah's life, and I'm glad I did, because this was a woman that understood God's love for his daughters.

Hannah was introduced to the church by her dress-maker in 1849, and she believed easily and whole-heartedly. Fifteen months would pass until she met another member, but when she finally attended a sermon by an American elder, she was baptized in the River Camm that same day. Like many converts, she faced disapproval in her community, and she and her immediate family headed to Utah in 1853, where Hannah made her mark.

Hannah was a dedicated and prolific writer. She wrote poetry, essays, biographies, and contributed regularly to the Woman's Exponent. My favorite work of hers that I stumbled across was entitled "Women of the Scriptures." She highlights the virtues of many Old Testament women, including Sarah, Hagar, Rebecca, Rachel, Miriam, Deborah, and Esther. She reserves the highest praise for Eve. She writes
[Eve] stands in close proximity to God the Father, for she is the life giving spirit of the innumerable hosts that have figured upon this earth. The one grand, stupendous act of her life is all that is told of her in the Bible, and it is enough.

I had always wished we had heard more about Eve after the garden, but I love that Hannah emphasizes that future silences don't detract from the importance of the choices she made and the life she lived.

Hannah had a firm belief in the eternal value of women. :) In one of her many somewhat spirited comments, she wrote, discussing Adam and Eve,
I would observe here in the penalties they afterwards incurred their punishments were entirely distinct; labor was laid upon the man, on the woman a far severer trial - "In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children and thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over thee!" showing plainly that this was not the original position in either case.

I love both her spunk and her faith in women's equal importance in the sight of God in the eternities.

Hannah was missed by many of her contemporaries after her death. There are several occurances in the Woman's Exponents of articles written and meetings held in her remembrance. She was an intelligent and motivated woman who encouraged women to live up to the potential that God wanted them to achieve.

Representative Women of Deseret, Augusta Joyce Crocheron
Hannah T. King, “Women of the Scriptures,” republished in Woman’s Exponent 32, no. 6 (Nov. 1903): 41.
Hannah T. King, "Woman," Woman's Exponent 7, no. 9 (Oct. 1878).


Elissa said...

Thanks for this. I would like to read more of her writing.

Amanda said...

I am so impressed with this blog!! I am supposed to give a talk this sunday on LDS women and how they found joy in their lives... I hope you don't mind if I borrow some stories :)

Anyway, wonderful blog. Do you mind if I link to it?

Erin said...

Elissa - I'll email you some links later this afternoon.

Amanda - Thank you! I know your talk was yesterday, but I hope you felt comfortable sharing the stories with your ward. I'm all about having these women's stories known by a wide audience. And feel free to link to it.

P.S. If you're interested in guest posting, I'd love to post your talk. Just email me at womenshistoryerin at gmail dot com.

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TheHannahBananaReport said...

This Blog has a lot of amazing Facts. My parents named me after Hannah Tapfield King and it turns out that i am one of her descendents. My family still has a lot of Hannah's original Documents and right now i'm trying to compile as much information about her as possible, if there are any other interesting facts you know about her i would love to hear them.

affleckb said...

Hannah Tapfield King's life has effected mine immensely. She was the wife of a wealthy farmer (Thomas King). Through her example my ancestors joined the church--Edmund Webb and Sarah Matthews. Edmund was their shepherd and Sarah worked in the house. (They married.) Hannah's husband financed Edmund and Sarah's family's move to Utah as well as other workers. She kept a constant journal which is supposed to be housed in the library at Cambridge, University. I never made it to the library to read it in its entirety, but I have sections that talk about my ancestors. She was quite a lady!

McKenna Berrett said...

Hannah is my great, great grandmother and although I have always known how much she meant to my family, it is a true blessing to see how many people she really affected. I am proud to have her as my ancestor. Love you Hannah T

Candi said...

I am a descendant of Hannah's through her daughter Bertha. I a reprint of Hannah's journey of coming over as well as a 1st edition of some of her spiritual writings I would be curious on other things.

Thank you!

Maurene said...

I am also a gr gr gr granddaughter of Hannah and I'm grateful for her wonderful example.

Allie said...

I'm also a direct descendant! Hannah was awesome. Her journal is online if you google it.

Sheila Saunders said...

So many of the comments begin with, "I am a descendant of Hannah Tapfield King..." so I feel right at home, as I am a descendant through her son, Thomas Owen King Jr. Unfortunately, when I searched the "memories" link under Hannah on the Family Search site, there was only a short biography sketch. Could you direct me to the links you referred to in your answer to Elissa of June 30, 2008? Additionally, would you consider uploading your LDS Women's History blog regarding Hannah under the documents section of Thanks.