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Louisa Sarah Chandler


Louisa Sarah Chandler (Pratt)
(Committee Member of the Lowell LDS Benevolent Sewing Society)

Louisa Sarah (or Sarah Louisa) Chandler was born March 12, 1822 [1] in Stoddard, Cheshire, New Hampshire, to Asa Chandler Jr. and Sarah Barrett (Fisher). However, Louisa’s mother, Sarah Barrett, had previously married Isaac Fisher on October 26, 1814, but he died less than two years later, as he was 25 years her senior. Sarah Barrett Fisher did give birth to a son before her husband’s death:

  1. Benjamin Horace Fisher, on July 30, 1815 in Stoddard or Westmoreland; married Mahala B. Edson about 1837; died October 29, 1893

Sarah Barrett Fisher then married Louisa’s father, Asa Chandler, on April 6, 1819.  Asa Chandler was born November 19, 1782, of Stoddard, New Hampshire and was just a few months younger than his wife.  Asa and Sarah had three daughters, all with confusingly similar names:

  1. Lovina Chandler, born March 19, 1820 (or December 19, 1822); endowed in Nauvoo on January 23, 1846; married William Taylor (born June 19, 1823 in Hale, England; converted by Parley P. Pratt in Canada in 1836) on June 19, 1846 in Iowa;
  2. Louisa Sarah Chandler born in 1822 or 1823
  3. Elvira Lovisa Chandler, born October 28, 1824; married Franklin Amander Rudd (born 1822 in Springfield, PA) on August 12, 1846 in Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, Iowa; died February 1, 1905

Unfortunately, when Louisa was 9, her father died at the age of 49 just two days after Christmas 1831 in Keene, New Hampshire further destabilizing the small, blended family.

Louisa’s half-brother, Benjamin H. Fisher, married Mahala B. Edson about 1837 and they raised a large family in Alstead, Cheshire, New Hampshire.  In 1850, Benjamin was a cabinetmaker in Alstead with his wife and five children. [2]  Elvira Chandler Rudd’s obituary states that she “became a member of the Saints’ church in girlhood,” thus indicating that the Sarah B. Chandler and her daughters must have joined the LDS Church around the late 1830s. [3]  Since their older half-brother Benjamin apparently did not become a Mormon (he remained in New Hampshire while his mother and half-sisters moved on), the Chandler sisters and their mother probably were converted after his marriage about 1837.  If my speculations on the time of their conversion are correct, by the time Louisa joined the Lowell LDS Benevolent Sewing Society in July 1844, she had been a member of that church longer than any of the other young women in the society – between some four and seven years.

Despite the many controversies raging in the Lowell and Boston branches, Louisa Chandler remained a faithful Mormon and migrated to Nauvoo in 1845.  23 year-old Louisa was sealed to 45 year-old Mormon apostle Orson Pratt in Nauvoo on January 17 (or 5), 1846 as his fifth wife; this was just six days after he was disfellowshipped for arguing with Parley in the Temple over plural marriage; his membership was fully reinstated though several days later, as he was officiating in the temple with Young, Kimball and others on January 27. Louisa S. Chandler Pratt took part in the mass exodus from Nauvoo in February 1846.  She was apparently ill during the move (as so many of the Mormons were, many from either cholera or malaria) for she died and was buried on June 12, 1846 near Mount Pisgah, Iowa.  Louisa was just 23 and the second member of the LDS Benevolent Society to die.

Just one week after Louisa’s tragic death, her sister Lovina Chandler married British-Canadian convert, William Taylor.  Two months after that, Louisa’s other surviving sister, Elvira, married Elder Franklin Amander Rudd in Council Bluffs, Iowa, a native of Pennsylvania.  A year later, the William and Lovina Chandler Taylor were members of the Edward Hunter-Joseph Horne Emigration Company, arriving in Utah in September 1847.  In 1852 Lovina Chandler Taylor gave birth to a daughter whom she named Sarah Louisa Taylor, after her sister, but the infant girl died about a year later. William Taylor married polygamously to Jane Mallett on June 9, 1855 and Lovina herself died December 1857.

Back in Iowa, Sarah Barrett Fisher Chandler reportedly died on September 27, 1850, however in contradiction to that, she is listed in the 1850 Census of “District 21” (Council Bluffs) Pottawattamie County, Iowa as still living there on October 10, 1850 with her daughter (Elvira) Lovisa and son-in-law Franklin Rudd. [4]    Sarah B. Chandler must have died soon after the census was taken and the Rudd family immediately moved from Council Bluffs to the newly formed county of Crawford around November or December 1850. By this time, the Rudds were apparently dissenters from mainstream Mormonism.  An undated typescript history of Crawford County, Iowa compiled by the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression of the 1930s, indicates “Crawford was one of the counties near Pottawattamie County which received many of the Mormons who disagreed with some of the tenets of that church and left Kanesville (Council Bluffs) to push eastward into the prairie wilds.” [5]  The history also records that Elder Rudd and his family moved to “Lower North Grove” (near what would later be Dow City) at the end of 1850.  They were the first white settlers in that isolated area.  This history asserts, “Rudd, a hunter and trapper, did not have long to wait for a neighbor.  A few months later, in March 1851, James M. Butler and his family came to Upper North Grove….” [6]

An interesting letter dated of 1859 from Franklin Rudd’s niece, Amy Melvina Thompson, to her sister-in-law (and aunt-in-law), Eliza Jane Gebeau, details where all Amy’s local relatives were then living in Crawford County, and how they were doing at the time. “Franklin [Rudd] and his famly are well…. Franklin Rudd lives on the beany [river] about a quarter of a mile belo whare Mr. [William Harrison] Jourdans yoused to live he has raised enoughf of produce to keep kem [them?] this winter.”  Amy Thompson then refers to the fact that many of her relatives, including her grandmother, Amy Furby Galland, had remained a firm Strangite, although Mormon schismatic leader, James J. Strang had been murdered in 1856 by disgruntled followers:

Mother Galland ses she is as strong in the Faith now as what she was the week before J J Strang was shot and still wars [wears] the short dresses [7] and Lovs to as long as she livs.  She still respects the sabeth day and all ways will the neighbors seams to think as much of her as of any one.  The most of the Brothern that wee hav heard of lives in Wesconsin near vore [Voree] and racine. [8]

While James J. Strang was initially strongly opposed to polygamy and thus attracted many Latter-day Saints who were opposed to it as well, he later “reversed his position, married four plural wives, and eventually became an avid defender of polygamy” before his murder. [9]  There were three Strangite missionaries working in Iowa at this time, drawing off those Mormons who had grown disaffected with Brigham Young and polygamy.  One was Uriah C. H. Nickerson, son of Elder Freeman Nickerson, the founder of the Boston Branch.  He labored in Iowa from 1846-1848 and took 20 people (including his widowed mother) to Strangite headquarters in Voree, Wisconsin at the end of this mission. [10]  Uriah wrote a letter to “Brother Greenhow” describing the horrible conditions of the Mormons in Iowa of 1847:

I’ve just received a letter from my mother, in the Western Mormon Camp, dated Feb. 6th, 1847, detailing unparalleled sufferings.  My father (Freeman Nickerson) died of exposure and suffering.  Three others of our family, making four out of six, have fallen victims to this rash undertaking.  And my mother, now 66 years of age, has been compelled to sleep on the open prairie, in the snow, without tent or bed.  This is but the common tale of woe in all the camp.

Dear brother, is not this sufficient, with the many evidences we have of sufferings of those who have gone west, to prove that God has rejected them. [11]

A year after Amy’s letter describing her grandmother’s faithfulness as a follower of Strang, Franklin Rudd was baptized a member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on July 15, 1860, by John A. McIntosh. [12] One year later, Louisa’s sister Elvira “accepted the Reorganization in 1861,” according to her 1905 obituary.  Elvira Chandler Rudd was baptized a member of the RLDS Church on June 21, 1861 by John Rounds. [13]



1. Some sources say 1823.

2. 1850 Federal Census of Alstead, Cheshire, New Hampshire, p. 4.

3. Saints’ Herald, (February 1905) vol. 52:191; I am grateful to Ron Romig, Community of Christ Archivist, for this citation.

4. See “Franklin Rudd”, 1850 Federal Census of District 21, Pottawattamie, Iowa, p. 96.

5. Crawford County History, Iowa, WPA compilation, no date no publisher (typescript), p. 8.

6. Crawford County, WPA, p. 9.

7. The practical short dresses with pantaloons developed by Strang for his female followers.

8. Amy Melvina Galland Thompson to Eliza Jane Thompson Hancock Rudd Gebeau, October 21, 1859, http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~brucekopf/amygalland.html (accessed October 2, 2007).

9. John Quist, “Polygamy among James Strang and His Followers,” John Whitmer Historical Association Journal, vol. 9 (1989), p. 31.

10. Robin Scott Jensen, Gleaning the Harvest: Strangite Missionary Work, 1846-1850, Master’s Thesis, Brigham Young University, August 2005, pp. 37, 59, 60, 94, and 153.

11. U. C. H. Nickerson to Brother Greenhow, Zion’s Reveille, February 25, 1847.

12. See entry for Amander F. Rudd, Early Reorganization Minutes, 1852-1871, Book A. pp. 125, 601, as quoted in Erin Jennings to Connell O’Donovan, email correspondence, October 3, 2007.

13. See entry for Elvira Louisa Rudd, Early Reorganization Minutes, p. 601.


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