Sarah Harriet Blamires Sheffield


Sarah Blamires arrived in Utah in the fall of 1869 with her mother and siblings. They left the train in Ogden having traveled on of the early transcontinental trains and proceeded on to Kaysville. Although expecting their father to follow, he never did. Sarah married Heber John Sheffield on Christmas day 1874. At the time she arrived, the women enjoyed the voting franchise, but that right had allowed her for only a little more than a decade. In 1887, the franchise was banned by the federal legislature. Life was busy enough without political activity, Sarah and John opened a small store 1889 on midway between Center Street and 1st North which specialized in fancy and green groceries. First, they utilized a former carpentry shop, but later a large building was erected. Besides raising three sons who helped their father operate the larger mercantile shop, Sarah served as president of the Mutual Improvement Association, a church group for youth, between 1883 and 1890. A charter member of the Ladies’ Retrenchment Society of Kaysville, she served for twenty years as the Kaysville Relief Society president from 1907 to 1927. The Relief Society succeeded the Retrenchment Society in directing the mostly Mormon ladies of the community, an especially big job because of the territory Kaysville covered. She was called Mrs. Relief Society by many in the area (Ross). Sarah also served as president of the Young Ladies’Mutual Improvement Association [ ]. As an officer in the Columbian Club, a Relief Society driven and suffrage supporting organization, she clearly was in possession of organizational skills. Kaysville women contributed to the Davis County exhibit shown in the Utah portion of the Women’s building in the Columbian Exhibition, known as the Chicago World’s Fair. In order to fund the exhibit, balls and dinners were held in town.  Those leadership skills were also used as she and Heber were said to often give “food to the poor out of their store.” As a leader in the charitable organization of Relief Society, it was her duty to set an example of giving. She was said to stay up late at night making quilts and rag rugs for people in need of help. The motto of the Sheffield store was, “We never turn away anyone in need. (Ross)”