For Arden area resident Penny Hogge-Dayley, her appreciation for history is something that is a very important part of her life.
And for anyone who has had the opportunity to visit her home, it certainly does not take long to realize this point.
Penny’s love for history is quite obvious through some of her prized possessions alone.
With a tour through her house, one can view such historic artifacts as a rocking chair, which arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in Utah in a covered wagon in 1848.
The home also includes other 19th century items, such as a doubletree from a covered wagon, three large two-handled saws, flat irons, curling irons, autographed books, clothing, a blanket box, a gold mining pan, a set of spurs, a wind-up clock, keys, horseshoes, barbed wire and skates.
An early interest
Penny said that her love for history and collecting historic artifacts began very early in her life.
“I was born in Salt Lake City on the day that Britain declared war on Germany (on Sept. 3, 1939), so even my birthday was a historical date in history,” Penny said. “I have always loved old things. I always thought that I should have been born in a cabin. I loved pioneer stories, especially when I found out that I had pioneer stories in my family.”
Letters from Brigham Young
Penny fondly remembers visiting with her grandmother, Bessie McLelland.
“Grandma was a storyteller and I learned about her life and her love for her ancestors while I was washing dishes at her sink,” Penny said. “I started collecting (antiques) early, since one of my favorite sayings was ‘Grandma, can I have that?’ The first thing that she gave to me was a (tin) can without a lid from the top of the closet that included some letters from (former president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Brigham Young to my great-great grandfather (Thomas McLelland), a ticket to one of the (1893) Salt Lake Temple dedications and a ticket to the inaugural band party for the (1869) Golden Spike centennial (at Promontory Summit in the Utah Territory).”
Also among the items in the can was a letter from Thomas’ sister, Jane, who described her desire to come to America, mainly to the Salt Lake Valley.
The letter, which was sent from Glasgow, Scotland on Jan. 28, 1868, included the words, “I am stout, in good health and willing to work and if you would send for me, I will be very willing to work and pay you back again.”
A view into the past
During her teen years, Penny acquired one of her favorite possessions – a child’s toy buggy from the 1880s.
Another one of Penny’s unique artifacts is an 1864 Murphy bed, which, when folded, reveals a hand-carved mirror.
The bed, which has an original, horsehair mattress, was once located in the living room of Thomas’ home. At nights, the bed would open up, pull down and turn the living room into a bedroom.
Penny’s collection also includes an antique scale that was used by Thomas’ wife, Elizabeth, during a time when recipes often called for measurements of weight as opposed to using measuring cups.
Rich family history
Penny noted that she is proud of the fact that many of her historic artifacts represent her family’s rich history in America.
Her great-great grandfather, Thomas, came to the Salt Lake Valley in 1848.
Thomas represented the first member of Penny’s father’s side of her family to arrive in the United States.
A book of McLelland family history, which is in the possession of Penny, shows that at the age of 23, Thomas came to New Orleans with Elizabeth, who was then 21, in 1844. They then traveled up the Mississippi River by steamboat to St. Louis prior to making their way to Nauvoo, Ill.
Penny said that, like herself, Thomas was a dedicated member of the Mormon church.
She added that Thomas knew the church’s founder Joseph Smith and worked as a mason on the construction of the Mormon temple in Nauvoo.
In 1846, Thomas and Elizabeth left Nauvoo as part of the Mormons’ great exodus through the Rocky Mountains. And two years later, they arrived in Salt Lake.
Daughters of Utah Pioneers
About six years ago, Penny followed in the footsteps of her grandmother and great-grandmother by joining the preservation-driven organization, Daughters of Utah Pioneers.
As part of her involvement with DUP, Penny is assisting with the current restoration project at the Sloughhouse Pioneer Cemetery, which is located in the Sloughhouse community on the Jackson Highway, about 18 miles southeast of Sutter’s Fort.
The project includes cement work at the bases of fallen tombstones, drilling and pinning pillars and other tombstones, cleaning tombstones, placing and improving trails and researching family members who were buried at the cemetery.
‘Paying it forward’
Penny said that her work at the cemetery increases her love for past generations.
“I enjoy being part of a great, dedicated group,” Penny said. “Our work is to carry the torch for the people who lived here before us and to pass it on to future generations. It kind of goes back to, if you don’t tell the story, who will? Our job is to instill pride and awareness of the past for future generations.”
DUP is working diligently toward its goal of readying the cemetery for the 40th anniversary of the organization’s ownership of the cemetery.
In honor of this anniversary, DUP will hold a special, May 12 public event, which will include speakers, docents in period clothing and tours of the grounds.
Preserving nearly lost arts
In addition to her work at the cemetery and collecting historic artifacts, Penny is known for her homemade baked goods, rug making and sewing.
Additionally, she has spent the past 35 years working in a profession that she considers to be as much of a hobby as it is a job.
Penny is the sole owner of the Arden area-based business, Penny Pinchers, which provides flowers, food and planning for weddings and other events.
Through her business, Penny is able to use her creative side, making many artistic items by hand.
Penny, who has a husband named Lowell and 12 children and 41 grandchildren through two marriages, has resided in the same Arden area house since 1968.
And since Penny believes that she should have been born in a cabin, she said that the façade of a replica cabin inside her house is quite fitting.
“If I can’t live in a cabin, then I’ll have a replica of a cabin in my house,” Penny said.