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Mary Cornelia Woodbury Stay

Taken from The History of the Jeremiah Woodbury Family

Mary Cornelia Woodbury Stay

Taken from the History of the Jeremiah Woodbury Family

By his Grandson Angus Cannon Woodbury


            Mary Cornelia Woodbury was born March 31, 1957, at 6th S. and 1st West Street, Salt Lake City.  She attended school at the Seventh Ward School and was taught by Herbert Van Dam, a privately paid tutor.  For seats they used stools of split logs with three legs.  The logs were of sufficient length to accommodate seven children.  They were taught the Deseret Alphabet and were taught to spell by sound.


            When she was about three years of age they moved to Dixie, Utah (now known as St. George.)  She lived with her family in a dug out for several months.  Her family had been appointed by Brigham Young to be a missionary and settle that country and start the nurseries and gardens.


            They killed snakes, lizards, and tarantulas to rid the neighborhood of them.  One day a large lizard fell on Mary’s mothers head and frightened her very much.


            Her father raised the first water melon in Dixie.  He used to trade the Indians all the melons they could carry away for a hand full of pinenuts.  It was funny to see them attempt to carry more than one of the large melons.  They would usually drop one before they had gone far, then stop and eat it.


            When Mary was seven years old, while in Dixie, she was poisoned by the drinking water.  She was very ill for several months, which forced her mother to leave her husband in Dixie and return to Salt Lake City.  This illness left Mary an invalid for seven years.  One day a chance caller told her father if she would take three bottles of his medicine which cost $40.00 it would heal her.  He bought the medicine and Mary was healed before the third bottle of medicine was gone.  No one knew whence this stranger came nor whence he went.


            Later Mary worked in a tailor shop for two years.  While working there a powder magazine upon the hills north blew up and scattered glass near the machine where she worked.


            During these two years, she had met Joseph Hyrum Stay, who had moved to Salt Lake with his parents from St. Louis.  They were married May 8, 1877, on her mother, Catherine Rebecca Haskell Woodbury’s wedding date.


            Mary Cornelia was single twenty years, married twenty years, and a widow 33 (thirty-three) years.


            She was always a devoted wife and mother and was very active in the Relief Society in both the Seventh Ward and Wilford Ward, and as a Relief Society Block Teacher.


            She died January 24, 1930.



1.      Joseph Charles Stay, born February 25, 1878.

2.      Mary Dott Stay, born November 5, 1879.

3.      Sarah Rebecca Stay, born Oct. 16, 1881.

4.      Aden Haskell Stay, born June 20, 1883.

5.      Ruth Woodbury Stay, born March 23, 1885.

6.      Rosetta Stay, born February 25, 1889.

7.      Jesse Haskell Stay, born February 6, 1891.

8.      Catherine Stay, born April 18, 1895.

9.      Wilford Valentine Stay, born February 14, 1897.


As near as we have been able to determine, the total number of descendants of Mary C. Woodbury Stay, living and dead, at the present time is 272.

Owner/SourceAngus Cannon Woodbury
Linked toMary Cornelia Woodbury

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