History of Betsy Jane Tenney Loose Simons
This beautiful portrait of Betsy Jane Simons can be seen at the DUP Museum at the City Center in Payson. The museum has many portraits and histories of early settlers of the area.
Betsy was born Dec. 1, 1824, in Hanover, N.Y., the daughter of William Webb Tenney and Elkza Webb. Her parents were Methodists. They first heard about the gospel in the winter of 1833-34. They were baptized in September of 1834.
The following April they moved to Far West and in 1839 they moved to Illinois.
Betsy married Robert Loose on Jan 24, 1844, in Quincy, Ill. They had three sons: Warren, William, and Charles Edwin.
Robert passed away July 5, 1854. Her father had also passed away by this time, leaving her mother a widow. By 1859 Betsy and her mother Eliza decided to come to Zion. They left Quincey on April 27, 1860, with the Warren Wallings Wagon Company. They arrived in Salt Lake on August 9, 1860, and then moved to Payson.
Betsy approved of plural marriage and on Aug. 24, 1861, became the plural wife of Orrawell Simons in the Endowment House in Salt Lake. They had two children, a son named George Grant and a daughter named Emma Eliza. Emma died when she was 2 years old.
Orrawell Simons had three wives. The first was Martha Dizon, the second was Betsy Jane and the third was Kate Baldwin. The family lived in harmony until the laws on polygamy made it necessary to change. Mr. Simons therefore retained his first wife Martha and provided homes for the other two, settling upon each a comfortable allowance.
On May 7, 1868, the Relief Society was organized and Betsy Jane was ordained as the first president in Payson. She served in this position for 20 years.
Betsy was a school teacher in Illionois and also taught in Payson for many years. She died on January 14, 1904, at the age of 80 in Payson.
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