HYMAS, SARAH (Bates; Daines), Mormon community leader; b. 6 Dec. 1841 in Rayleigh, England, fourth of the eight children of William Hymas and Mary Ann Atkins; m. first 16 Nov. 1862 Ormus Ephraim Bates in Salt Lake City (Utah), and they had five children, two of whom died young; m. secondly 5 April 1875 Robert Daines in Hyde Park (Utah), and they had a daughter and a son; d. 27 Nov. 1929 in Cardston, Alta.
At age 10, Sarah Hymas began to work for a living. When she was 16, Charles W. Penrose, an apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, converted her and all but one of her family to Mormonism. In 1861 Hymas and most of the family immigrated to the United States. They worked in Brooklyn (New York City) for a year to pay their way to Salt Lake City, which they reached on 26 Sept. 1862.
Before the practice of having more than one wife at a time was officially abandoned by their church in 1890, many Mormons accepted plural marriage as a divinely inspired teaching of Mormon patriarch Joseph Smith. In Salt Lake City, Sarah became the sixth concurrent wife of pioneer farmer, miner, and stockraiser O. E. Bates. After he died in 1873, she became the fourth wife of Robert Daines, the leader or bishop of the Hyde Park Ward. (A ward was a unit of the church comparable to a congregation; several wards composed a stake.)
The escalation of federal anti-polygamy laws in the 1880s forced Mormon polygamists to look for a refuge. Daines was one of a group of men, headed by Charles Ora Card*, who escaped the threat of imprisonment by immigrating to Lee’s Creek (Cardston), in southwestern Alberta. While Daines’s other families remained behind - he hoped to bring them to Canada eventually, without controversy - he, Sarah, and their children travelled north by wagon train, accompanied by one other Mormon family. Sarah tackled the rigours of cross-country travel and handled tasks that ordinarily fell to men, such as driving and repairing the wagon. They arrived in the fall of 1887.
Despite the vehement anti-Mormon sentiment expressed by some Canadian politicians and journalists, these pioneer families thrived, in part because of their agricultural skills, most notably in irrigation. Hymas was crucial to the development of the community’s fledgling social and cultural infrastructure. Her home accommodated religious services, public meetings, and musical and theatrical evenings. During the first winter, she helped deliver the first white child born at Lee’s Creek, Zina Alberta Woolf. She also played important roles in the newly created Cardston Ward: in 1887-88 she was the founding president of its Primary Association, which taught children about the Mormon religion, and secretary of the Relief Society, a traditional Mormon women’s organization devoted to charitable work, sewing, testimony, and scriptural study.
Robert Daines returned to Hyde Park in the fall of 1888. The next year Hymas followed, to help her co-wives care for him in his failing health. In June 1894, after his death, she came back to Cardston. The following year she would celebrate the marriage of her daughter Sarah Annie Daines to Chauncey Edgar Snow, a prominent local businessman. She served as president of the ward relief society from 1894 to 1910, and was treasurer of the stake relief society from 1910. By 1929 she was the oldest survivor of the 1887 pioneers. Her years of dedication to church and community had earned her the affectionate and respectful title of Aunt or Grandma Daines.
International Soc. Daughters of Utah Pioneers (Salt Lake City), E. P. and D. E. Haddock, “History of Sarah Hymas Bates Daines,” 17 May 1968; “History of Sarah Hymas,” 20 April 1973. Lethbridge News (Lethbridge, Alta), 18 Sept. 1895. News (Cardston, Alta), 5 Dec. 1929. J. E. W. Bates and Z. A. W. Hickman, Founding of Cardston and vicinity (n.p., 1974). M. U. Beecher, “Mormon women in southern Alberta: the pioneer years,” in The Mormon presence in Canada, ed. B. Y. Card et al. (Edmonton, 1990), 211-30. [C. O. Card], The diaries of Charles Ora Card: the Canadian years, 1886-1903, ed. D. G. Godfrey and B. Y. Card (Salt Lake City, 1993). Brian Champion, “Mormon polygamy: parliamentary comments, 1889-90,” Alberta Hist. (Calgary), 35 (1987), no.2: 10-17. Chief Mountain country: a history of Cardston and district, ed. Keith Shaw and Beryl Bectell (2v., Cardston and Calgary, 1978-87). Dan Erickson, “Alberta polygamists? The Canadian climate and response to the introduction of Mormonism’s ‘peculiar institution,’” Pacific Northwest Quarterly (Seattle, Wash.), 86 (1995): 155-64.