PATTY BARTLETT SESSIONS
Patty Bartlett was
born and raised in southwest Maine. Speaking of Patty’s Father and
her upbringing, her oldest child, Perrigrine wrote: “[her Father] made
no pretentions to religion and never belonged to any sect he was
a very liberal man to the poor and was honest and upright in all his Deportment
and taught his children to work and always to speak the truth”
On June 28, 1812 Patty
married David Sessions. They stayed in Maine and “bought land
and made a farm built a log house and a large fraim barn...my husband
by his industry on his farm and with his mills And by keeping a public
house procured considerable wealth”. Patty and David had seven
children only three of which lived into adulthood.
While in Maine, Patty
was trained as a midwife by her mother-in-law. Later, as a
midwife in Illinois and Utah, Patty would deliver nearly 4000 babies.
In August 1833, Patty
came into contact with Mormon missionaries. Again, Perrigrine wrote,
as soon as my Mother herd she believed and she was baptized and Confirmed
into the Church of laterday Saints...” Apostles Brigham Young
and Lyman Johnson later visited and “the gathering of the Saints was
taught and preperations began to bee made to remove to Zion...we began
to dispose of property as my Father and I had considerable”.
The Sessions spent
a year in Missouri and then settled in Nauvoo. There, Patty wrote
in her journal: “I was sealed to Joseph Smith by Willard Richards March
9 1842 in Newel K Whitneys chamber Nauvoo, for time and all eternity...Sylvia
my daughter was presant when I was sealed”. Patty was 47.
Her daughter Sylvia had married Joseph a month earlier on February 8.
It is unclear if Patty’s first husband, David, was aware of the marriage.
After her marriage
to Joseph, Patty continued to live with David. Three months later,
he left on a mission to his former home state of Maine. Of the occasion,
Patty wrote in her journal, “He left me alone, and I am very lonesome.”
Two months later she wrote that she was “making shirts for Joseph.”
Patty’s duties as Joseph’s
plural wife included approaching and educating prospective wives, serving
as a messenger and go between, and acting as a witness at the wedding ceremonies
of Joseph and the other plural wives he took. Patty continued in
this role until Joseph’s death in 1844. Patty and David later left
Nauvoo for Utah with the other migrating Saints.