Elizabeth Lane Hyde (1811-1897)

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(This is a bonus chapter excerpt from the eBook Women of Faith in the Latter Days: Volume 1: 1778-1820.)


Biographical Sketch

Elizabeth Lane was born to James L. and Jane Lane on February 26, 1811, in the town of New Radnor, Radnorshire, Wales. As a young woman, Elizabeth established her trade as a milliner near her birthplace and was a member of the Baptist church. Her first romance was thwarted by class differences and other circumstances. In 1846, when she was thirty-five, she married a widower with two sons. Elizabeth and her husband had one son together, but the child lived only three months.

In the fall of 1847, a farmer’s daughter who worked at the millinery introduced Elizabeth to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elizabeth was baptized in February of 1848. She lost her Baptist friends because of her decision to join with the Latter-day Saints, and her husband was furious with her. He drank heavily, and after Elizabeth’s conversion his behavior became increasingly abusive. For eight years, through her employment as a milliner, she saved money in order to migrate to the United States.

When she had sufficient means, Elizabeth left her husband and in 1856 made the voyage from Liverpool to Boston with a company of Welsh Saints. From Boston, they took the train to Iowa, and then, as members of the Edward Bunker Company, they pulled handcarts from Iowa to Salt Lake City. Once she arrived in Utah, Elizabeth became acquainted with the family of Heman Hyde and consented to become Heman’s third wife. His first wife, Polly Wyman Tilton, died in 1862 at the age of seventy-six. Heman died seven years later, in 1869, just before his eighty-first birthday. In his will, he left Elizabeth the use and interest of his property for as long as she lived, and he appointed a son and two grandsons as trustees.

Elizabeth worked hard throughout her entire life; after she settled in Utah, she managed Heman’s family laundry business. Elizabeth wrote in her autobiography that after Heman’s death, it was too much work for her to manage his land, and so some of it was turned into rental housing that she oversaw. During the boom of 1889, she and the rest of the family realized a good profit on Heman’s old home in Salt Lake City. When she wrote her concise, two-page autobiography for the Woman’s Exponent in 1896, she was living comfortably in the home of one of Heman’s grandsons in Salt Lake City, where she died the next year at the age of eighty-six.1

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1. Elizabeth Lane Hyde died on August 27, 1897.

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