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Davis Journal

New book tells story of essential Davis County resident

Nov 28, 2023 11:14AM ● By Braden Nelsen
The adventurous life of Patty Sessions brought to life in “Midwife of the Wild Frontier.” Courtesy photo

The adventurous life of Patty Sessions brought to life in “Midwife of the Wild Frontier.” Courtesy photo

BOUNTIFUL—The bountiful cemetery is home to a handful of famous and historic graves. Wandering around, people can easily find athletes, public servants, pioneers, and founders. There’s one pioneer grave, however, whose occupant is finally getting the attention she deserves, and having her story told. 

Many Davis County residents know the name Perrigrine Sessions, long credited for settling Bountiful, but fewer know the story of his amazing, and hardworking mother, Patty Bartlett Sessions. Her fourth great-granddaughter, Melissa Tyler, has just written a book that sets out to tell people what an amazing woman she was. 

Spanning the years from 1846 through 1888, Patty Sessions’ journals have been of great historical significance to the region for decades, cataloging daily activities, births with which she assisted as a midwife, and more, they are indispensable as a historical document, but, a little hard to digest. That was something Tyler wanted to change, for a very important reason, “I wanted my girls to know her story.”

That wasn’t the only reason, however. Tyler explained that, in doing her research about Sessions, she found that much of the history of the region was written by men, and therefore, somewhat one-sided. Tyler hopes that, in writing Patty’s story in a more approachable way, readers will finally be able to “get the full story,” especially when it comes to things like polygamy in the area. 

Tyler also said that she hopes readers can find inspiration in Patty’s life. “She showed that women can be super industrious and hard workers,” said Tyler. Sessions’ life definitely reflected that. In addition to being a midwife, and helping to deliver thousands of babies on the frontier, Patty worked as a weaver, nursing trees, and was self-sufficient and industrious in every way, “you had to make it yourself,” said Tyler.

More than anything, “It is Patty’s story,” said Tyler, explaining how she endeavored to write the book in such a way that anyone, whether or not they were familiar with the history of Utah and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Though it was difficult, Tyler says the process was rewarding, especially to be able to give a voice to such an outstanding woman, and important figure in Davis County history. 

“I hope,” said Tyler, “the broader takeaway is a desire to learn more about these women’s stories,” referring not only to Patty Sessions but the many amazing women who helped to build and shape not only Davis County but the entire Intermountain West. The book, in graphic novel format, is titled “Midwife Of The Wild Frontier,” and will be available for sale on Amazon, Benchmark Books, The King's English Bookshop, and Marissa’s Bookshop in the near future.