Hannah Flint Holbrook was born July 18, 1806, in
Braintree, Orange County, Vermont, the daughter of wealthy farmers. Her
parents were Rufus Flint (a native of Windham County and township,
Connecticut) and Hannah Hawes (a native of Worchester County,
Massachusetts). Hannah had three brothers and two sisters.
In 1831, Hannah moved with her parents to Madison, Ohio.
It was there, in Ohio, that Hannah first heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In
the Fall of 1837, after two years of studying, she was baptized a member of
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Hannah moved with her sister, Mary, and Mary's husband,
Anson Call, to Kirtland, Ohio, to join the Saints. Hannah's parents were
against the Mormon conversions and stayed behind.
Later, Hannah and the Call family immigrated to
Missouri. There, Hannah purchased 80 acres of land in Ray County. After
being driven several times from their homes, the extended family moved to
Hannah's brother-in-law, Anson Call was well acquainted with
Joseph Holbrook, a widower. He told Joseph that Hannah would make him a good wife.
Joseph considered it and asked her. She refused him, but after doing so, she didn't feel just right. She thought about it and began to
imagine what life was to Joseph's four motherless children. It was in at Anson
Call's home in Nauvoo that Heber C. Kimball performed the marriage of Hannah
Flint and Joseph Holbrook on January 1, 1843. Hannah soon began to cut up some
of her own dresses to sew much-needed clothing for the children.
Hannah and Joseph were baptized in the Mississippi River
for many of their deceased parents, grandparents and other relatives.
Hannah's income from teaching Nauvoo greatly assisted
Joseph in the care of the family. He was often away with missionary work,
bringing wood from the Black River pinery in Wisconsin, grafting fruit trees
in Pike County, Illinois, and Church assignments. Hannah cared for his
children while he was away. She taught school in her home, found the firewood
to heat it, and was paid $1.50 per student in her class.
In May 1848, they left for the Salt Lake Valley in
Brigham Young's Wagon Train Company. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on
September 24, 1848, then moved north to Bountiful, Utah.
Hannah's first school room was a wickiup down on the
Jordan River in the Fall of 1848. In this Indian shante made from mud, cowhide and willows, she taught her
step-children and her sister's family. Soon a log cabin was built for the family and Hannah established her first real school in her
home. The children sat on a bench aside her bed thus using the bed as a back rest. In 1851, Hannah moved into her first school
house purchased by Joseph for $800. With the school house's six windows, a door, a fireplace, and a wooden floor, the house
was almost a mansion. Teaching was hard for Hannah but she never turned down a student. B.H. Roberts got his first schooling
from her. He called her "Aunt Hannah". In 1854 she had from 70 to 80 school students and was getting paid
a salary of $30 per month. Apostle Wilford Woodruf visited the school and said, "Sister Hannah Holbrook has taught a school here........ She has
taken much pains with her scholars and manifested great interests in their learning."
[Insert is a copy of receipt for Newton Tuttle's schooling.]
Three months later Apostles George A. Smith and Ezra T. Benson visited and
recorded, "The north school has 60 scholars, taught by Mrs. Hannah Holbrook, an experienced and very efficient teacher." It soon became harder for Hannah to walk a mile
to school, so she turned her attention to the many children of Joseph Holbrook. Brigham Young
wrote, "Hannah's mission as a foster mother was needed more than she could appreciate."
Hannah was a beautiful seamstress. A large, very heavy,
blue and white bedspread made by Hannah is in the D.U.P. [Daughters of Utah
Pioneer] pioneer cabin in Bountiful.
Hannah died suddenly while at breakfast in her home at
Bountiful on April 21, 1883. She was 77 years old.
The Hannah Holbrook Elementary School exists today in
Bountiful, Utah. It is a fitting tribute to a faithful pioneer who shared her
talents with many, many children.