Rachel Ellen Sanders was the middle of seven children born to a prosperous Quaker family in Delaware. Her next oldest sister Hannah’s childhood memories include their kind black mammy who sang to them and warmed their beds at night with a bed warmer. Hannah also remembered attending religious revivals with her black maid, and seeing the mummies in Nauvoo, so it’s possibly that Rachel had similar experiences. Rachel was just a child when the family converted, and she remembered listening when word came that Joseph Smith had been killed. The Sanders moved to Nauvoo after the martyrdom, and as a young girl Rachel lived in a fine brick home on a hill, with a view down to the Mississippi River and across to the nearly-completed temple. Legend tells of how she slid down the banister there.
Rachel turned ten years old while crossing the plains, and settled with her family in Centerville, Utah, where she received a good education. Rachel married Schuyler Everett in the Endowment House just months before they were called to settle the Dixie Mission, and it was said that husband and wife always worked lovingly hand in hand. In St. George, a wagon box served as their home for an entire year. Rachel gave birth to a daughter in that makeshift situation. They lived the United Order one summer with the other Dixie settlers and lost “practically all of their hard earnings” doing so.
In their later years, “Uncle Skile and Aunt Rach” worked in the St. George Temple and were lovingly known to all the youth in town. Her grandson said that she was next to his mother in his heart: “From the time I was able to walk and receive my cookie for going down to see her and till I die I hope she will always be that way with me. She is not a brilliant woman, nor does she pretend to be. She is just a plain everyday housewife, mother, and grandmother. She is and always was a quiet woman never desiring a public life.”
Rachel was noted as being the last surviving Dixie pioneer who had arrived married. The St. George DUP Museum displays a quilt she made from fabric brought across the plains.
I would give her a new cookie jar!