Amanda Polly Savage Cook was born at Leads, Upper Canada, County of York, August 23, 1836, She was the only child of David Leonard Savage and Theodocia Finch Savage. Her mother never recovered after her child's birth and died when Amanda was three months old. She was named after two of her Aunts, Amanda and Polly. Her father hired first one relative and then another to care for his little girl. When she was five years old he took her to Knox County, Illinois where he met his brother Jehial Savage, who preached the restored Gospel to him.
He was baptized in 1840, was soon ordained an elder, and preformed a short mission. On October 14, 1841 he married Mary Abigail White, at Walnut Grove, who proved a good faithful mother to little Amanda, loving her just as much, and treating her just as good, if not better, than she did her own children. The story of how David chose Mary for a wife goes like this. They brought two girls to the house where Amanda was staying. He asked Amanda which she wanted for her mother. She said Mary was the one she wanted.
In 1842 they moved to LaHarp, 25 miles from Nauvoo. In 1843 her father went on a mission to Michigan, taking his wife with him. Amanda was left with her step mother's mother, Grandma White. Amanda remembered little cakes of maple sugar they sent her while away. This mission lasted one year.
All her life she prized old fashioned framed pictures of her father taken with his cousin. She had them enlarged and framed. David Savage had a beard and the cousin had on a very full skirt of striped material. Grandma White had Amanda knit her own white woolen stockings. She objected to finishing them saying she wouldn't need them she was going to die. Before "the big move West" her father filled two missions and was electioneering for the Prophet Joseph at the time of the martyrdom. He was called home and labored on the Nauvoo Temple until its completion. He was ordained a Seventy and joined the Second Quorum.
At the beginning of the expulsion David Savage was called to take his team and help some of the distressed saints two hundred miles on their journey. It was a hard trip, taking six weeks to accomplish. The snow was deep, it was bitter cold and horse feed scarce. While returning one horse died. He rode the remaining horse home leaving the wagon behind. But it was home no longer. All who could had left the once fair city, it was peopled with the sick and feeble and mobocrats: The family lived there until spring, then traded their last cow for an old running gear. His neighbor (Bro. Cook) gave David his horse as he had two oxen. He also gave him a temporary box for the wagon. In it he carefully packed the necessities that they would need for the trip. The families were heavily burdened but glad to get headed out across the Mississippi to join the main body of the saints.
Arriving at the Des Moines River, the men found work. They stayed here until late fall then started on. During the forepart of the journey the little two year old girl, Margaret Elizabeth died. They buried her as best they could by the wayside and hurried on their way.
One morning Sister Savage became ill. A log cabin could be seen in the distance and much haste was made to reach it. It was a one room deserted shack with dirt roof and floor. The windows were broken out and the door gone. It's one redeeming feature was a huge fireplace. Quilts were hung at the openings and a roaring fire made comfort in the wilderness. It was there that Mary Theodocia Savage was born. This was February 28, 1847. Later she was blessed in a tent near the Elkhorn River by Patriarch John Smith.
The two families lived in this isolated spot until spring, completing their journey to Winter Quarters just in time to join the company under the leadership of Parley P. Pratt and push on to Utah.
As their old wagon and horses were unfit for the long journey, David Savage made arrangements to travel with a man who went on to California. David was to drive a team and care for the stock at night. His wife was to cook and do general camp work. For these services she and the two children were to ride. After the first few days, the man decided the oxen were too heavily loaded. The man made Sister Savage walk and carry her infant babe with little Amanda, now eleven years old, trudging along by her side. This man later apostatized and went to California. Sister Savage carried her five month old baby up hill and down. Amanda and another girl took turn driving the cows. She said she walked half of the way. She didn't feel that it was a hardship.
Parley P. Pratt the leader of the Company was kind and thoughtful and ready to give a helping hand. The joys and sorrows of these Pioneers were his joys and sorrows. The Savage family was in Perry Green Sessions Company of one hundred and arrived in Salt Lake City on 24 September 1847. The family suffered as others did that first winter for food and other comforts. They lived in the Old Fort. The first school Amanda attended was taught by Mary Jane Dillworth. Later she also went to the school of Emmaline G. Rich.
After the first winter when they could leave the Fort, David Savage moved his family into their own log cabin.
The spring following their arrival Brother Parley as they, called him stopped at the Savage home on his way, barefooted, to work in the field. "What are you cooking that smells so good?" he asked. "Greens, Brother Parley" Sister Savage answered. He lifted the lid and looked in asking, "where did you get them?" "Well, Brother Parley", she replied, I gathered them along the ditch bank and behind the corral." "But aren't you afraid of being poisoned?" "Well, Brother Parley", she replied "if I have to die I'd rather die with a full stomach."
It is said that before they got a house, when they were living out on their land in a wagon box, Amanda's parents would tell Amanda to go to the nearest neighbors to spend the night when they had to go to town. It was quite a distance. When night came Amanda thought Heavenly Father could take care of her here the same as if she left, so she went to bed in the wagon box and slept until the sun was up. I think through her life she was practically devoid of common fears. A characteristic her father had. As a child she herded their cow barefooted up City Creek Canyon.
Amanda endured new hardships, she had one everyday dress made out of a piece of wagon cover, and it had 45 patches on the waist. She had one Sunday dress made of a calico with a blue stripe that would fade most white when laid away in the dark chest. That was the most treasured possession.
When David Savage got the family settled into their cabin comfortable as he could make them and with a cow, he took his gun and said he would find something to do and at least make one less to share the scanty rations. He was gone so long that his wife became worried. When he returned he had earned some means to help the family. He had gone back along the trail as far as Fort Bridger, where he had braided whips and done other things for the soldiers. David Savage was a freighter and went back several times to help the saints to Utah.
As soon as she was old enough, she worked out in different families. Her father was called to help settle Lehi, where he was a counselor to Bishop David Evans, the first Bishop of Lehi.
Amanda worked for many prominent people and became a very proficient cook and house keeper. She said that the first dress she made was when she was about fifteen. She shut herself up in a room alone and cut it out and made it. After that she made all her own clothes. When she was a little past sixteen she went to work for the family of Phineas W. Cook in Salt Lake City. She loved Mrs. Cook and had the greatest respect for Mr. Cook, and it was through the persuasion of his first wife that she married Phineas W. Cook on 23 December 1854, and strange to say, the love that these good women had for each other lasted through the rest of their lives. Amanda was seventeen years and five months old when she married. Her husband was seventeen years her senior. They were living in Salt Lake City, and Phineas worked on the public works for a mere nothing. He helped build the Lion and Beehive Houses, also the Eagle Gate, the old Play and the City Hall. Brigham Young called him to build the first house on Utah lake on the Church Farm. Amanda went with him to cook for the crew of men who worked under him.
During the cricket and grasshopper war, the family had to go on rations. At first Amanda would give half of her rations to other members of the family, and have enough left. Soon the rations became so small that no one had enough. Then it came to bran bread. At first they sifted the bran and made of the fine part; but soon there was only the hulls left. The suffering of nearly everyone was great.
Phineas was called to settle Goshen. He took a sack of carpenter tools on his back and walked from Salt Lake to Goshen. He moved his family as soon as he could and established a town which he named Goshen, after his birth place, which was Goshen, Lichen County, Conn. 'There, Amanda gave birth to her first child, a son. They Called him David Savage Cook after his grandfather.
Amanda Polly Savage, was a little blonde woman who had a great love for beautiful dishes and flowers, and who, where ever she went, managed to have a nice collection of both.
Her father was one of the first Pony Express Riders, and freighted to California. He spoke the Indian Language so fluently that he was a great friend of the red man, and they always referred to Amanda as "Savage's Papoose". Amanda was also very well versed in the Piute and Ute languages. The Indians used to come to her for help with their problems. For six years they lived in different places. Then in the fall of 1863, they were called to go to Bear Lake to help colonize that place.
Amanda was in a delicate condition and could not go. She stayed at her father's home in Holden, Utah until the next spring. While at Holden, on 12 November 1863 she gave birth to a pair of twin girls. They were premature and Amanda had child bed fever. She was very ill for a long while. She was totally deaf for weeks. When her babies were a month old, the oldest one died. In the spring of 1864 she joined her husband at Bear Lake. They soon settled at Swan Creek, now called Lakota. The stream there afforded a wonderful water power and Phineas W. Cook being an excellent carpenter and mill right built mills of all kinds. His was the first mill to grind flour in Bear Lake Valley. They soon began to prosper and have plenty. They stayed there until the summer of 1882. Then they sold the place to his oldest son, gave his first wife and Amanda their share of the property and went to Logan with his younger family. This was in 1882.
Amanda and the first wife, Ann Eliza, each bought a home and small farm at Garden City, three miles south of Swan Creek. The closest doctor was thirty miles away. There were no cars in those days; so she was kept very busy taking of the sick. She was very successful, never losing but one case in her long years of experience. That woman went right opposite to all her instructions and would not listen to her sister who lived with, but through carelessness brought death upon herself. In that case Amanda was in no way to blame. When the first Relief Society was organized at Garden City, Ann Eliza Howland Cook, one of Phineas W. Cook's wives was chosen for President. She chose Amanda for her first counselor. They labored together in that capacity for twenty years, with the same unity and love that had characterized their whole lives.
After Ann Eliza died, Amanda still held the position of first counselor to the next president and served for about ten years. She also taught a class in Sunday School and one in Primary for many years.
Amanda often said that her blessing came true; for it said her last days would be her best days. And as she lived with people in Garden City, it was truly so.
When she was no longer able to nurse, she sold her home and lived with her daughter at Garden City, having her own room in the home that occupied the east corner of the city lot one block from the Logan Road. (Now owned by Willis Benson). Her daughter made her happy and comfortable.
She was a great lover of children and young folks, and enjoyed her daughter's large family to the utmost. She especially liked to hear the boys when they did their nightly orchestra practice, and was never too sick or tired to listen to music. In fact one of her last request was to have the door open so she could listen to that lovely music.
She died at her daughter's home in Garden City on the 15th of July, 1915, being ill only four days, and lacking only one month and eight days of being seventy-nine years old.
She left a vacancy in that home, and in the hearts of the children and her daughter that was never quite filled.