Sally Carlisle was born in New Hampshire in 1805. She married James Randall, and they settled in Warsaw, New York, where they had two sons, George and Eli, and converted to Mormonism. They moved to Nauvoo in 1843. A collection of Sally's letters addressed to friends and family has been preserved. The letter she wrote July 1, 1844, less than a week after the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, has a remarkable provenance.
Sally wrote to her "dear friends" in the East, explaining her perceptions regarding the Martyrdom, and thus provided one Latter-day Saint woman's response to what she described as "one of the most horrible crimes comitted that ever history recorded!"