Relatives of Bountiful’s founder to march in parade

by Becky GINOS BOUNTIFUL—Before it was Bountiful, it was Sessions Settlement. Now the posterity of Perrigrine Sessions – the man who settled Bountiful – is gathering to honor his legacy in the Bountiful Handcart Days parade. “He was my great-grandfather,” said Darline Elggren, who is organizing the march. “He had eight wives, possibly nine and 50 to 57 children. My grandpa was the youngest. He was two when Perrigrine died.” Elggren said her mother instilled in her a love for genealogy and her ancestors. “I’ve grown to love him dearly,” she said. “His family could be in the 10s of thousands. A lot of them are in Bountiful.” The idea for the march came to her at last year’s parade. “I’m from Kaysville but I like to come to the Bountiful parade,” said Elggren. “I was watching the parade and thought, ‘my great-grandfather founded this town and there’s nothing in the parade about him.’ I decided to get together his family to march in the parade. I got excited and started calling cousins, etc.” She formed a committee of about 12 people who have been helping her find relatives from the Sessions clan. “I’m hoping to have maybe 75 to 100 people in the parade,” Elggren said. “We’ll have a convertible to carry some of them. Bonnie Oscarson (former LDS Young Women president) comes from the same wife as I do. She said half of Bountiful would be marching if we really got everyone.” Each member of the group will wear a neckerchief that identifies them, she said. “We’ll have a banner and flags to ‘honor the past and look to the future.’” Sessions was sent by Brigham Young to settle the area in 1847 after crossing the plains. “It’s said he had been given some grain to bring out and plant by someone who couldn’t make it on the trek West,” said Elggren. “When Brigham Young looked out over the field of wheat he said it was so beautiful it should be named Bountiful after the land Bountiful in the Book of Mormon.” Other histories credit the naming to Bishop John Stoker. Sessions built several homes in Bountiful to accommodate his large family. The “Sessions Home” located on the southeast corner of 500 South Main was home to his last five wives and their families, according to information from Bountiful City. Sessions’ mother, Patty Bartlett Sessions was also well known in the community as a midwife and schoolteacher, said Elggren. “She brought hundreds of children into the world. She started a school for children and Indian children.” Elggren has reached out through pioneer organizations and social media hoping to locate Sessions’ relatives. “It’s been fun to meet some cousins I had no idea existed,” she said. “They’re coming from all over the place. I hope to keep in contact with the cousins I’ve met and if it’s successful we might do it again next year.”


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