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Sarah Oakey Sirrine collection

James and Mary Cooper Oakey family, ca. 1875

James and Mary Cooper Oakey family, ca. 1875

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a new digitized collection: Sarah Oakey Sirrine collection (MSS 8593). Materials include a collection of letters, journals, photographs and other records related to families of James Oakey and George Warren Sirrine, founders of Paris and Dingle, Idaho, and Mesa, Arizona. Collection was compiled by Sarah Oakey Sirrine, daughter of James Oakey and daughter-in-law to George Warren Sirrine. Includes primarily originals, but also includes some transcriptions and photocopies. Dated 1856-1938.

Sarah Oakey was born March 31, 1854, in Nottingham, England to James Oakey (1817-1896) and Mary Cooper (1815-1893). As a youth in England, Sarah helped her father in his lace factory. Her family joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while in England. The Oakey family kept the mission home for several years. When eight years old Sarah and her family emigrated to America to join the rest of the Saints in Utah. James, her father, remained behind a year and worked at his trade to pay for transportation and settle other affairs. The rest of the family sailed from Liverpool on April 23, 1862, the “John J. Boyd.” The sailing was delayed when Sarah’s twenty-year-old sister Mary came up missing, although she had run away to remain with an admirer in England. Eventually the ship would leave without her, and landed in New York harbor on June 2, 1862.

From New York the Oakey family traveled by boat and train to Florence, Nebraska, where they were assigned to the wagon company of John Grayham. While on the journey, Sarah’s seventeen-year-old sister Lucy died of mountain fever just a few miles from Florence. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on October 1, 1862.

The family first stayed in the home of Charles C. Rich, an Apostle who they became acquainted with in England. They eventually built a dugout in Kaysville, Utah, and worked in the area until James arrived from England. Upon his arrival, the family was called to settle the valley around Bear Lake.

While living in the Bear Lake Valley, Sarah enjoyed school and the local choir. A few years after their arrival, the Oakey family moved to Dingle, being one of three families who lived there at the time.

On November 6, 1879 Sarah married George Edward Sirrine (1851-1908) in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah, and they had six children together, three of whom lived to maturity. They lived in Dingle, Idaho, for the majority of their lives, except for two years where they lived in Mesa, Arizona, where George’s father, George Warren Sirrine (1818-1902), was one of the founders of that community. Sarah served faithfully in the Church, including many years of service the Primary Association.

Sarah Oakey Sirrine passed away on August 12, 1942.

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